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The Hummingbird

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The Hummingbird last won the day on April 28 2018

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About The Hummingbird

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    Penguin Overlord

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    Writing, drawing, reading, sleeping
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    Expert Charcoal Wielder, Conte Crayon Adept, Surveyor of Acrylics

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  1. That evening, Zenahriel chose his clothing with care. He often wore a military-style uniform, attire his mortal host favored most, but tonight demanded something more. Therefore he donned a tunic of stygian black and black slacks, their dark and intimidating appearance softened by a surcoat of a soft gray background adorned in bright blue embroidery. A half cape and cowl of a lighter blue draped over his shoulders, and a red ruby pinned back his hair, which had been done in a fashionable braid. For he had come today not as a High Lord or hopeful suitor desperately courting the Black Queen, but as an An’She of Umbra, escort to Rou Ji. She was certainly trying, though not altogether succeeding, in being courtly and formally polite. Her expression utterly failed at keeping at bay her distaste for the offered wine – and her displeasure, perhaps, at being here at all. Zenahriel, unfortunately, could not blame her much. The day before he had listened raptly to every word she spoke to him, and with new understanding came to know just how much an effort visiting Orisia was. The servant quickly brought Rou her desired scotch, while Zenahriel simply took the house wine. He did give Rou a warning glance, telling her wordlessly that drinking too much and too heavily would only make matters more difficult, not to mention it was unseemly. He took a delicate sip of the wine, enjoying the subtle nuanced taste of overripe berries, vanillas, and dark oak. Rou might not be fodno f it, but Zenahriel rather liked the exotic wines of the Island of Summer. It was not long before the Queen entered, glorious and beautiful, looking fresh and elegant as any proper royalty should. Zenahriel stood with the rest of the company as she made her way to the table, head down as was also proper, and waited until she bade them to sit once again. The first course they were served at the Queen’s behest smelled absolutely wondrous. The garlic and spices in the soup mingled together with a strong yet tantalizing, almost spicy scent, topped with savory vegetables, a finely done egg and a lovely slice of fresh-baked bread, still hot from the ovens. The butter served alongside was also freshly churned, and it all looked delightful, steaming on the silver platters with matching, glittering silverware. Despite the eerie tension in the air, Zenahriel laughed. He had never had anything authentically Spanish before, tasting only a few Terrenus dishes and Genesarian fare, with Orisian to round out his experience with food. This was, as the Queen had claimed, truly a treat. He picked up one of the spoons, choosing carefully to make sure he picked the right one, and dipped it into the soup. Leveling a modest portion to his lips, he tasted it and gave the queen a gracious and genuine smile. “This is absolutely superb, Your Grace. I thank you for the chance to dine with you on such short notice. Even if it was only bread and water, the honor remains,” he finished.
  2. It was clear Ark had not been touched so in years – decades, perhaps even more. His orange eyes blinked in surprise as Akni hugged him, and there was significant pause before he returned the gesture. The embrace he gave was tentative and almost awkward – dragons, after all, didn’t usually hug. Still, he smiled as he released her, breathing out in a sigh. His breath smelled like fire and hot ashes, but underneath it lay another scent – an aroma that could only be called the familiar scent of blood kin. “Alas,” he agreed, “I too wish my son had been given a different fate. But many humans have hunted us for millennia, and some will continue to do so. ‘Tis this that makes me surprised by thy choice in a mate – bah, he is even too scrawny for a meal in a pinch.” Landon looked offended. “Thick enough for her,” he muttered. Ark ignored him. “My son did tell me he had a nestling,” Ark went on, “and I suspected thee would eventually come searching for answers. He was right, it seems… though I slept assuming thee would not come for a long time yet. But thee hath finally come and…ha!” He laughed. “I have been called many names, but a ‘big dumb lizard’ hath never been one of them. And to call her dragon self a... bitch? My little hatchling is headstrong!” “Not as strong as Mighty Aslashar!” Aslashar squeaked. “Mighty Aslashar can be quiet,” Ark admonished with a growl. One brow quirked up at Akni. “Aslashar’s power as a being of the Inferno Caves was harnessed by the people of Velhatia. I took it back and hold it now as punishment for his being so… foolish as to believe their promises of sacrifice. Feh.” Smoke streamed from the corners of his mouth. His wings flicked behind him in irritation. “But enough of him. What drew thee here, Akni Otria? Surely thou desires more than just to find a large, stupid lizard as her grandfather.”
  3. Prowling the skies, Zenahriel was home at last. Tilting his wings to catch the brisk wind that roamed over the Red City, he watched the citizens of Umbra. Unaware of his vigilant, guarding eyes, they went about their daily business – merchants and mercenaries, hired hands and help, all comprised of nonhumans and humans in great numbers. Soon the streets would be crowded with activity and profit before falling back into a quiet night, when the vampyres would awake and conduct their own peaceful business. Umbra was by no means a perfect kingdom, but from this high up, one could not see the flaws in the tranquility achieved here between the countless races of the world. Dipping lower and away from the rising warming sun, Zenahriel flew to investigate the less populated grounds of Umbra. It was exceedingly rare to find any trouble there, but he liked to look upon the gardens of Ivory Square. The colorful array of flowers growing there gave peace and a little bit of joy to his heart, and this early in the morning it was often unoccupied, and sometimes, even he liked to feel perfectly alone. This time, it appeared, would be different. Seeing the pair long before they might see him, Zenahriel felt the odd sensation of power and blood he did not recognize. It was calm, and so he was not yet alarmed, but still he was wary, for time and past experience taught him that beings who wielded even small amounts of power could grow fickle and then fierce. It would not do, not today and not ever, to harm the gardens and any citizens who sought refuge in them. Thus, he swooped low and slow over the heads of the pair, letting his shadow linger but for half a second over them. It was a gesture to let them know he was here, that he saw them, that they were warned. But it was also a gesture to let them know he did not intend to attack in stealth, as long as they returned the same courtesy. He landed a few meters in front of them, his feet touching lightly upon the ground. His wings swept over the heads of the flowers and blooms, the feathers black as midnight shadows. The tips of the primaries and secondary feathers flashed in the morning light, for each one had been carefully bleached and then dipped in gleaming gold. He wore a backless tunic, also black but embroidered in bright blue and silver down the chest, matching loosely fitting slacks that fell around tighter, laced boots. He straightened, examining the pair, one of who was armored, the other in richer attire. Both were quite catching in appearance, one of whom was beautiful… and the one who felt so strange. It was unlikely Rafael did not know they were here, but his lack of personal appearance made it clear he expected Zenahriel to greet them, and deal with any wants they might display… or trouble they might give. He hoped it was not the latter. He stepped forward, spread one wing while the other curved around his body in the manner of an elegant cloak, and bowed. “My greetings to you. I am Zenahriel Zacharias, An’She of Umbra, Second in Command and proud Mate to His Majesty, Emperor Rafael. To whom do I have the honor of addressing?”
  4. The ancient dragon’s eyes glowed orange with amusement. He waved a clawed hand dismissively, wings rustling behind him with the motion of his shoulders as he leaned back. “Mighty Aslashar is mighty, not smart. He doth mix the names up easily, and cannot remember since that day the city was destroyed.” He stood, and bowed with a strange combination of mockery and respect. “The name for thy grandfather is Arkanalandaro. Such a mouthful,” he laughed, a deep bass sound. “Humans called me Ark.” A tiny voice piped up from the rocks next to the dragon. “Mighty Aslashar is sorry,” the fire elemental squeaked. “Mighty Aslashar misses Arkanalandis.” “Indeed.” Arkanalandaro snorted. “Thy father, my son, was killed by dragonslayers. His skeleton lies in the Eastern Mountains, along with the dragonslayers I slew in vengeance for his peaceful rest.” He sat down again and smiled with fanged teeth at Akni, not all too unkindly. It was a mischievous, but grandfatherly smile. “My granddaughter is full of questions, she is.” He held out his hand, and a crimson light filled the cold air. Within it the image of a mighty city floated. In the translucent center the temple Akni and Landon had entered was clearly visible, and around it the mirages of people danced and sang and bowed in worship of some unseen being. “Velhatia was a city of splendor,” Ark hissed. “But it hid a secret. They were worshipers of demons and elementals of Hell. Infernalis, the Fire Elemental of this desert’s accursed core, was but one. They worked to summon more, evil gods such as thou hath never seen before. But thy father called this land his territory, and knew what they did. But what to do, he did not know. He flew to me, and I infiltrated the city in this guise thy doth see before thee. When I returned, thy father was already dead. ‘Twas I, granddaughter, who destroyed this poisoned city and its people. The elementals, enslaved by the venom they wielded, are free due to me.” “Master good!” Aslashar piped, swirling around Akni's head. "Bow! Bow!"
  5. Although there were still a few men and women hanging around the cages, none of them were alarmed at Iris’s malicious tone. In fact, more than one or two tittered, laughing at her demands to be answered before meandering away to give attention to more important matters. As for the slaves, all of them, including the twins, cringed. A few did stare, not knowing what the make of the strange girl whose spirit had not yet been broken. The twin boy stroked his sister’s hair comfortingly as she whimpered, cowering in Iris’s small yet intimidating shadow. He tried to put on a brave front for his sister’s sake, swallowing hard before speaking with false confidence and bravado despite the words themselves and the situation he was in. “M-master Longrivers is the l-leader here,” he stammered. He swallowed again, trying to steady his voice. “They sell and trade us for... for…” “Pleasure,” his sister whispered. She flinched. “But… but Ma-ma-master Kefka promised to keep us together and find us someone good…” “We don’t know who Gradius Entreve is, or seen him, but we’ve heard his name,” the boy said, eyes wide. “He’s… everyone laughs when someone mentions him. Don’t know if that’s good or bad. But…they said you’re a spy, right? Were you sent to help us?” He choked on a laugh. “And they send someone like you? That’s funny.” “Trading Time’s tomorrow,” the girl suddenly said. She shivered. “Please, Heth, don’t let them take me away…” “I won’t. Promise.” Heth straightened his shoulders and gave Iris a brave glare. “You get us in trouble and I’ll… I’ll beat you up, no matter who you are.” After about an hour, the chains holding the cage rattled. The man, Master Kefka, was back, balancing a tray with two bowls filled with some kind of beef stew and a pitcher of water as he messed with the locks. The bowls were surprisingly large and the stew smelled delicious, and looked even more so. At the very least, the men and women weren’t keen on starving their prisoners.
  6. So it was true. Kassandra smiled around a bite of fruit. She had heard on the mainland rumors of the sovereignty concerning Orisia – that the queen was a vampyre, as powerful was she was beautiful. Supposedly allied with the eastern kingdom of Umbra, the stories surrounding Orisia and its Black Queen ranged from royal kidnappings, renouncements of the throne, even frightful regicides, to many other fascinating tales. Kassandra had wanted to see the land that harbored such conflict and excitement, to see if it was all folly and meaningless gossip. Apparently, at least some of the gossip was true. Kassandra focused her hazel eyes on the Lord Roen’s and smiled pleasantly. “Thank you, my Lord. I’ll be pleased to tell you your fortune…” she glanced at the clock. It was getting late, but then again, she was something of a night owl. The far hours of evening did not trouble her or her concentration, and she preferred the quiet, cold moon to the active, blazing day. “… as soon as I change, it seems.” Roen invited her to finish eating, and so Kassandra ate at an efficient but unhurried pace, enjoying the rich taste of ripe fruits and berries. She was not a glutton, however, and was soon finished, sated but not stuffed. An overly full stomach was known to fog the mind and tire the body, after all, and that would not do. She thanked the Lord Roen as a servant came to lead her to an upstairs guest room, nicely furnished and complete with a prepared vanity for women. The servant left her instructions to Roen’s upstairs study, ready whenever she was, and departed. Kassandra was in no hurry, knowing Roen might need to make preparations of his own. If he was wise, he would know fortune-telling and séances of the future depended as much on the skill of the soothsayer as much as the subject. She set down her satchel on the fluffed bed, opening it, checking her items. Vials and a ceramic bowl. Medicinal herbs. A small needle and thin, small spools of thread in many natural colors. A small handbook with quill and pot of ink. And below all this – she sighed as she pulled out a garment of silk, folded and refolded many times to preserve space. She smoothed out the dress along the bed, seeing the fine, smooth material shimmer beneath her fingers. It was made of many shades of green, from translucent emerald to the deep greens of healthy woods and forests. It was embroidered richly in silver around the front and waist, with a small slit at the right leg for easy movement. A bath was needed first, and it was all prepared for her. She made herself clean, washing the impurities from her skin, rinsing away the taints of earlier magic and castings that might disrupt her plans. Only thereafter did she slide the dress on and check herself in the vanity’s mirror. She smoothed and combed back her hair, and closed her eyes for a moment. “Hmm… La’Ruta, I believe it was called. Interesting…” she murmured. “Harmless enough this far out. It should not cause us too great a trouble.” She flashed a smile at her double in the mirror. “All the same. Be careful, my dear.” She let a few minutes more pass, and then traversed the distance to the study. She mounted the stairs leading up to it, satchel in hand. She was interested in what the man’s personal study might look like, what it might entail. What she might draw from it, what it might hold in secrecy. “No new visitors now, my Lord,” she called out, singsong. “Privacy is important.”
  7. Though he was no stranger to the human body, Zenahriel’s eyes wandered perhaps a little more than appropriate. The silk shift Rou wore left little to the imagination, and was almost completely transparent in the light due to the residual dampness left by a recent bath. He noticed the elegant curves of her body, her smooth skin, and her dark hair – even the callused hands that gripped the brush as tightly as one would grasp a sword. Any imperfections he saw seemed only to accentuate the perfections he also noticed. In all of this, she was beautiful and alluring. Due to the mortal body he had chosen, Zenahriel was not immune to the desires and wants of a normal man. It was irritating at times and quite inconvenient. But his long life and practiced manners gave him an edge of temptation, and he managed without much struggle to avert his eyes, respectfully focusing instead on a piece of porcelain set above a blazing hearth. It was a fine vase, painted black with white doves flying below a flared rim. Unfortunately, he was allowed to admire this design only briefly before Rou approached and snatched up a pastry, returning his eyes to her. In spite of himself, he smiled as she returned to the vanity. “La’Ruta,” he supplied for her the name of Orisia’s odd magic. “It suppresses and enhances, and for us, it suppresses. Even my powers are limited here,” he admitted softly. He observed Rou as she applied a bit of paint to accentuate the sharp points of her eyes. He didn’t think she needed any cosmetics, but kept the notion to himself. “Not so much a lecture,” he admonished her, glancing to where she gestured. He strode towards the chosen attire, examining with appreciation the vibrant colors and exquisite embroidery. The bright reds and deep indigo blues complimented each other greatly, and the close-fitting stitch and flowing design were clearly meant to highlight the curves and sweep of the female form. Yet it was also somehow subtly modest, too, concealing skin that, if overly exposed. could easily be considered scandalous. Pacing to the fire, he gazed pensively into the flames. It was quite a while before he finally spoke, his words careful and gentle. “You and my Black Queen have quite a history, do you not? I have not heard too much of it, but the way you look at each other, the way you, in particular, spoke and stood, tells me I have missed much. Every line of your body, my Empress, issued challenge.” He demonstrated, copying the military pose she had assumed just moments before, then relaxing. “That was not wise.” He turned away from the fire and walked to her, his steps long and quiet. Upon reaching her he extended a hand and took the brush from her hands, gesturing for her to turn around. He began brushing her hair, far more gently then she had, starting from the curling ends and working upwards to decrease and release the tangles. “If you are not careful, more than you were, this shall be a monumental mistake and you will embarrass and disgrace yourself, your retinue, and me.” He sighed. “I have already suffered much here, Rou Ji, and I feel it is only beginning. But enough; I digress, and I think you know all this.” “Tell me, my Lady. No more secrets. Why are you here?”
  8. It's kinda disheartening when you feel like you're nobody.

    1. Twitterpated


      Not that it means much, but I think you're somebody. 

    2. Vatista


      I share that feel, Hummy.

    3. Die Shize

      Die Shize

      All of you are somebodies in my book.

      I am writing a book about people who help each other out with their needs and priorities. 

      Jack Cheddarfish, nicknamed “Cheese Shark”, needed a new AC unit installed in his mobile home. Only, his friends, Stacy, Stazy and Stacy were not expecting an apartment on wheels (it had been ripped out of the apartment complex with magnets).

      Well, Jack thanked his friends for their help and their support during the cold winter months when they installed his AC unit. He gave them beer and a bit of a bite to eat and told them that, hey, anybody who helps anybody is somebody, but nobody is everybody who doesn’t help anybody.

  9. Back, I see nothing happened. Reckon I'll post soon.
  10. @Pasion Pasiva and @Narcissa and @Vatista and @Roen I'll be gone for a few days, probably back on Monday or Tuesday. I'm going to Colorado to visit my Father, Shooter of Turkeys, and I doubt I'll be spending any time on the internet.
  11. Set up neatly in rows and columns, the cages glistened in the low light. Their iron bars were wrapped with chains secured with heavy locks, and through the spaces between Iris would see the children trapped inside. They were of varying ages; some looked to be older adolescents, others perhaps between seven and thirteen. A few, disgustingly, were even younger than that. A handful looked up as Iris wand her captors entered, but most kept their eyes down, staring dejectedly at the floor. None of them wore any clothes, a cruelty as the air here was cold. The only thing granted them was as little bit of food, judging by the stained bowls in the cages, and the collars around their necks. As soon as Iris entered the room, the collar around her neck seemed to shiver. The interface that made up her vision suddenly turned to static, and error messages made up of numbers and technical jargon popped up in red. “We deal with spies like you all the time,” one of the men holding her suddenly said. “Bitches coming in here, pretending to be innocent sluts. We know your collars aren’t operational, so Longrivers set up barriers around the whole place. Sucks for you, eh?” Contrary to whatever Longrivers wanted, the men weren’t all too gentle as they led her to one of the cages. They fondled and groped her breasts and between her legs, chortling as a third man standing beside the cage procured some keys and opened a total of three locks. He drew loose the chain and opened the cage door, at which point Iris was unceremoniously tossed in. Apart from Iris, the cage was occupied by two others; a girl and a boy. Both appeared to be around fourteen years. By their similar brown hair, hazel eyes and facial features, they were twins, hugging each other in fear. The door slammed shut. “Dinner in an hour” the third man said flatly. “Except for you, purple-hair. We catch you eating, you get sent to Suite 24601. You other two, you share, same fate.” “Please, Mister Ice,” the girl piped up in a quavering voice. “You said… you said you would…” “Yeah, I remember. Shut up now,” the man grumbled as he walked away with the other two.
  12. For a moment there was nothing but silence. Interrupted only by the dragon’s slow, steady breaths, the silence was oppressive and intimidating. The dragon’s great head tilted to one side, eyes narrowing. The pupils grew round, then narrowed again to slits, like a feline when struck by shadow and light, each in turn. Then it spoke, its voice amused. “Thou hath quite the brash personality.” The dragon settled on the ground, one foreleg crossing over the other. It yawned, the teeth glistening, the amber tongue shiny. It snapped shut. “Thou doth make strange choices in mates, much like my son, Arkanalandis.” The dragon paused, then clarified. “Thy father, Granddaughter. Though he was much more… respectful of his elders. Who is he? Why, my son, of course. Look, my child. We are not so different.” The dragon’s mouth opened in a slight grin. Suddenly, a glow emanated around its massive body. It pulsed, lighting up the entire cavern until every crease and crack could be seen. The light coalesced, drawing inward, and with it, the dragon’s body shrank. Scales rippled and smoothed into skin, the claws drawing inward, the spikes on the dragon’s back rearranging as bones cracked and repositioned. In a few seconds, there was no dragon but a man, very tall, who stood over Akni and Landon. Red hair fell over his broad shoulders form which there sprouted crimson wings, matched by a spiked tail that swept over the ground. The resemblance between he and Akni was uncanny; it was like looking at her, only taller, and male. The dragon paced around and sat on a rock. He grinned at Landon, who was again wide-eyed. “Peace, little man. If thou truly art my Granddaughter’s chosen mate, I shall not harm thee.” Bright eyes swiveled back to Akni. “No more games. To business, Granddaughter. What bringeth thee here to this cursed place?”
  13. Whereas Zenahriel was relaxed, content to remain silent and composed, Rou was a furious, hungry predator. Tension and fury rolled of her like flames, a harsh contrast to the serenity that Gabriela radiated. Worried eyes were on the An’She, both that of Zenahriel and the soldiers behind, so tangible was her tightly reined ire. Rou looked as though she might explode at any moment, a mistake that would have brought disaster down on them all. Gabriela would never forget, much less forgive, any show of violence here in her own kingdom, in her own castle. As beautiful and serene as Gabriela was, she was still a ruler, a queen, and sovereigns were fickle beings, easy to offend. They liked to think not, but under the rule of honor and etiquette, it would be reprehensible and doubly disgraceful if Rou made the wrong move now. Fortunately, she didn’t. The anger that roiled around her seemed to dim just a little as she assumed a proper military poise. She spoke in a tightly controlled voice – too controlled, but let that be. In return, Gabriela responded with a polite and proper offer of hospitality. Relieved, Zenahriel felt himself disregarded, but he was neither offended nor held it against the queen. It was his place. This meeting involved Rou and Gabriela, and he had merely come to watch and observe. And protect, but that was not needed now, not yet. He murmured a quiet thank you to the queen as she called upon Lilly, who appeared shortly and, with a bow and a formal greeting, led them to their rooms. Captain Fowler and his soldiers were led to their own temporary barracks to rest and served breakfast, a sorely needed respite. Zenahriel and Rou, in their honored status, were led to separate rooms that were already lavishly prepared for visitors. They were large, did not lack for furnishings or comforts, with washrooms and featherbeds fit for lords. Adorned with curtains and draperies in deep blacks and passionate wine-red, with porcelain ornaments set over small hearths, their chambers were the best of hotel suites. There was, of course, a touch of the Queen’s own taste within, for the rooms were not overly extravagant; there was a underlay of elegant simplicity to the rooms as well, allowing comfort and relaxation. Breakfast was brought to them in their rooms, rolled in on a cart bearing silver dishes and platters. There were fresh chicken eggs rolled into omelets, steaming sausages, hot cakes, pastries and breads dressed with butter and honey, and fruits. To wash it down was milk, juices, and water all provided to choose from. Lilly left the laden carts in the rooms for them to serve themselves as they wanted, saying she would be back to collect the dishes in due time if they would kindly leave the leftovers outside the door. Zenahriel took a plate and prepared it with a bit of everything. He did not necessarily need to eat, but his human body appreciated the nutrition and he enjoyed the taste as any mortal did. Quietly, he exited the room and walked to the next door where Rou was left. He knocked on the door before opening it and letting himself in. His wing swept behind him, shutting the door as he entered. “Do I disturb you, Rou?”
  14. This bird needs some refreshing love after a long day of gathering nectar.

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