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Step Nine of Many Steps


Dan paces smoothly, quietly, through the forest. He is mildly puzzled that Lilila sent him in that direction as he ventures homeward. It is a dirt road through the forest, a secondary way not as important as one of the dirt highways. Indeed it should be in better condition than it is. He is puzzled for the road leads to the Border Ranger Fort at Cross Creek. The name is an ironic one for it is at a wide river and not at a creek.


The lack of traffic is puzzling for the fort had a fair population, being camp followers along with troopers. He sees that there has not been much traffic at all for a fairly long time.


A small red dog darts across the road, then returns and trots up to Dan with her tail wagging madly. She is hungry looking with a body too skinny. A worn leather collar is around her neck and on it is a metal plate with her name. He knows her and remembers her when she was not filthy, hungry and frightened.


She happily eats of meat foodbar, drinks some water and gets generally fussed over while he sits next to her.


Wozzles, short furry humanoids, move quietly out of the trees with webbing of leather belts dotted with pouches and other items. They hold a mixture of guns, mostly basic bolt-action hunting rifles, along with powerful shortbows that they can use with deadly efficiency. Yet the short stabbing, throwing, spears are their most feared traditional weapon.


Roverisa, the dog, wags her tail, and barks in welcome. Clearly she knows those particular wozzles.


Dan is puzzled as wozzles do not normally dwell so deep into Craterland. Nor do they normally go around so heavily armed as these ones are. He notes their totem and other symbols that are in emblem form attached carefully to their webbing.


They squat in guarded formation as a young adult matriarch squats to face him. She speaks in Anglish with a noticeable wozzle effect. "You are looking after Roverisa and that is good. We would have her live with us but she is ever seeking her beloved humans though what happened to them, we do not know. When the Cross Creek Betrayal took place many Border Rangers were killed, along with camp followers and others. That included a large extended family of our people."

Edited by Maharg67
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Step Nine of Many Steps (Continued)


He nods and speaks in the same language. "I suppose that the incident took place a year ago."


The wozzle matriarch shrugs. "It was before we came to dwell here, having fled from the growing troubles to the north. We only that that there were two days of terrible fighting and, though taken by surprise, that the rangers killed a very large number of those that attacked them. This included traitor rangers."


Traitor rangers!?


The wozzle matriarch gives him an odd look, for a wozzle. "There is something about you that is most..."


A female shaman nudges her leader, in what is supposed to be a subtle way, to shut her up. The shaman speaks. "There is a small settlement called Cross Creek Town. To get there you need to pass through the area where the fort was."


Dan is not wearing Border Ranger gear, thanks to another puzzling request by Lilila Gaia. He wonders why he did not think that this was important until this moment. Not that Border Rangers had much in the way of fancy, distinctive, gear.


He wonders what he will do next.


Then he knows that he will go to Cross Creek Town and on the way he will try to learn more about what has happened in the year that he has been away.

Edited by Maharg67
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Step 10 of Many Steps


Lilila Qaia looks like a tough young woman casually dragging a netted monster behind her, along a dirt road, but the monster is huge being a quasidemon of scaled armor, great thrusting horns, huge fangs and just as huge retractable claws. The semiconscious beast snorts its disgust but makes no attempt to escape, remembering the agony the last attempt ended in.


Pixies, nymphs and other fae follow the EternalOne and her tribute to the Fae Queen Suqua'Tiaka. Not that the quasidemon will be killed for it did not kill. No it will be heavily punished for chewing on a sacred goddess bush of healing berries. In truth it had done so because of a belly ache but had foolishly eaten part of the bush instead of the berries. Now its belly is partly fully of the berries and it feels better. This is another reason that it does not try to escape.


The fae leaders can be very troublesome to deal with but Suqua'Tiaka is one of the less capricious, manipulative, ones. She is deeply concerned with the activities to the north and what is happening in the local region of northern most Craterland. Perhaps that is why she has agreed to meet the EternalOne but then again it is not every day that one gets to meet one of the TrueEternals who are far more rare than such fae queens.


Lilila passes an ancient, slowly rotting, tooth-tower that looks much as it sounds. They are part of the fae transdimensional realms and indicate that she is about to leave Craterland. The lesser fae stop following her, as she passes out yet more small gifts of sweets, useful tool and fae toys. Often one item will be both a fae tool and a toy.


The lesser fae can not, will not, do not want to, go past the tooth-towers where the other fae normally dwell. Even before Lilila moves across the barrier non barrier, the lesser fae have fled into the safety of the forest. Waiting for her are other lesser fae who also can not cross the Fae'ra Boundary.

Edited by Maharg67
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I am going to rewrite this story, from scratch, as a new story topic! This topic will be locked soon.

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