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TOPIC | Courier Tales: short stories [LORE WIP]
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Here is a list of my short stories that make up Courier tales. I hope you enjoy this. Each story is about a Courier's adventures while she or he learns the trade.

These tales are written in second person which is a very rare thing for me. In fact these are the most I have used second person narratives in years.

Most of them are in no particular order except for the first one Draca.

They are all going to be Titled as Courtier Tales: and then will be the related dragon's name.
That means that you can view any of the tales by viewing my dragons. They are still a work in progress and as I have about 32 dragons it might take a while to get them all.

I would love to hear what you think about them....however if you have any ideas to improve them please make them constructive. But seriously if you see a typo or grammar issue let me know!!!
Here is a list of my short stories that make up Courier tales. I hope you enjoy this. Each story is about a Courier's adventures while she or he learns the trade.

These tales are written in second person which is a very rare thing for me. In fact these are the most I have used second person narratives in years.

Most of them are in no particular order except for the first one Draca.

They are all going to be Titled as Courtier Tales: and then will be the related dragon's name.
That means that you can view any of the tales by viewing my dragons. They are still a work in progress and as I have about 32 dragons it might take a while to get them all.

I would love to hear what you think about them....however if you have any ideas to improve them please make them constructive. But seriously if you see a typo or grammar issue let me know!!!
Here is the master list of Courtier Tales.

I will attempt to put them in the preferred reading order if there is one. Still working that out to be honest. They are NOT posted in order. However I will try to add warnings so that you can read them in order better.


But here it goes
Best read as

Courtier Tales: Draca
Courtier Tales: Epidemic.
Courtier Tales: Danica
Courtier Tales: Coral

and in no particular order

Courtier Tales: Willowwisp
Courtier Tales: Thyrine
Courtier Tales: Tigris
Courtier Tales: Assassin

These should be read after all prior listed stories.
Courtier Tales: Butterfly
Courtier Tales: Treasure
Courtier Tales: CrackleTiger
Courtier Tales: Anat
Courtier Tales: ArcaneStar

EXTRA Tales:
Courtier Tales: Cynbel subtitle Tale of Two Wolves.
Courtier Tales: Conrí subtitle: Spirit Brother Wolves.

more will be added in time
Here is the master list of Courtier Tales.

I will attempt to put them in the preferred reading order if there is one. Still working that out to be honest. They are NOT posted in order. However I will try to add warnings so that you can read them in order better.


But here it goes
Best read as

Courtier Tales: Draca
Courtier Tales: Epidemic.
Courtier Tales: Danica
Courtier Tales: Coral

and in no particular order

Courtier Tales: Willowwisp
Courtier Tales: Thyrine
Courtier Tales: Tigris
Courtier Tales: Assassin

These should be read after all prior listed stories.
Courtier Tales: Butterfly
Courtier Tales: Treasure
Courtier Tales: CrackleTiger
Courtier Tales: Anat
Courtier Tales: ArcaneStar

EXTRA Tales:
Courtier Tales: Cynbel subtitle Tale of Two Wolves.
Courtier Tales: Conrí subtitle: Spirit Brother Wolves.

more will be added in time
Courier's Tales: Draca

"Are you SURE you want this?" The lady behind the desk said "Being a courier is a stressful and physically demanding job." Her tone was careful as she stressed it. You sigh as you know your small frame is hardly one that inspires images of physical fitness. "I can handle it. I really want this job." The women nods slowly "If you insist. Then you should change into your new uniform and get ready for your training. Your instructor is Draca. Try not to anger her. She is a dragon after all. And you are quite human. Which to dragons means possible edible." She moves to look at the next pile of papers as you move to the locker room and change into the uniform. The clothes are made of durable fabrics but with some cheery colors. Your shoes will have to do. You told the women you wanted this job. But to be honest you just wanted a job that would let you close to dragons and let you use the one true asset you had: your body. Your mind might not be much to crow about but you were tough and willing to work hard. Besides this job got your parents off your back. However the women's words kept returning to you in a slightly different form 'Do you truly want this job?' Truth that was the strange thing. It seemed to be a dozen different things to a half dozen different people. Each situation seemed to have a different answer. And you were not quite sure what it meant.

As you mused over those thoughts you were now dressed and finished the look by putting on the cap. You then left to enter the training hall. Or at least to the door that kept between them. On it was a series ruins that stood for truth, honestly, courage, wisdom, work, and hope. They all were in a circle almost as if they flowed into each other. You stared at the ruin for truth. Do you truly want this job? You still think so. And you wonder why you are now second guessing yourself. You open the door with slides open with only the smallest of sounds. Beyond the double doors is a room filled with book shelves filled with scrolls piles of cushions and desks. On the back wall is a massive map of the land with a smaller map of each region dissected into smaller detailed areas. You pause as this might be a lot more learning then you had planned. Do you truly want this job? Your resolve hardens. You do. And you will complete it. You move over and the sculpture which suddenly moves revealing itself to be an actual living dragon. You stare at the dragon. Who turns to look at you and her lips seem to curl up. She points you at an empty desk. "That will be your spot. I am Draca. I will help guild you along this path as long as you seek to go along it." Her voice is deep and rich with a hint of other in it that seems to bespell you. "Though you might find that what you think you want and what you truly want may not be along the same path. Regardless I will help you pursue it."

You move to the desk and settle down. Draca speaks again "Why do you want this job?" You pause wavering on an answer. Which answer should you give. Which one is the right one? The ruin for truth runs into your mind again but you are starting to wonder what the true answer even is. Finally you settle on "I want to see what cannot be seen in this village. And travel to a place that I belong." It was a strange answer but it feels right. You are suddenly worried about your answer but the dragon does not seem to be annoyed or bothered. "An interesting answer. One I have not heard in a long time in fact. I hope you find what you seek. And I hope that you find that you actually want it when it happens." Another strange answer. But one that smacks of wisdom beyond your understanding. You nod and thank the dragon, no you thank Draca the dragon.

Draca said "No open the scroll tied with the blue ribbon. We will start there." And the lesson begins. The lessons that begin your path as a courier.
Courier's Tales: Draca

"Are you SURE you want this?" The lady behind the desk said "Being a courier is a stressful and physically demanding job." Her tone was careful as she stressed it. You sigh as you know your small frame is hardly one that inspires images of physical fitness. "I can handle it. I really want this job." The women nods slowly "If you insist. Then you should change into your new uniform and get ready for your training. Your instructor is Draca. Try not to anger her. She is a dragon after all. And you are quite human. Which to dragons means possible edible." She moves to look at the next pile of papers as you move to the locker room and change into the uniform. The clothes are made of durable fabrics but with some cheery colors. Your shoes will have to do. You told the women you wanted this job. But to be honest you just wanted a job that would let you close to dragons and let you use the one true asset you had: your body. Your mind might not be much to crow about but you were tough and willing to work hard. Besides this job got your parents off your back. However the women's words kept returning to you in a slightly different form 'Do you truly want this job?' Truth that was the strange thing. It seemed to be a dozen different things to a half dozen different people. Each situation seemed to have a different answer. And you were not quite sure what it meant.

As you mused over those thoughts you were now dressed and finished the look by putting on the cap. You then left to enter the training hall. Or at least to the door that kept between them. On it was a series ruins that stood for truth, honestly, courage, wisdom, work, and hope. They all were in a circle almost as if they flowed into each other. You stared at the ruin for truth. Do you truly want this job? You still think so. And you wonder why you are now second guessing yourself. You open the door with slides open with only the smallest of sounds. Beyond the double doors is a room filled with book shelves filled with scrolls piles of cushions and desks. On the back wall is a massive map of the land with a smaller map of each region dissected into smaller detailed areas. You pause as this might be a lot more learning then you had planned. Do you truly want this job? Your resolve hardens. You do. And you will complete it. You move over and the sculpture which suddenly moves revealing itself to be an actual living dragon. You stare at the dragon. Who turns to look at you and her lips seem to curl up. She points you at an empty desk. "That will be your spot. I am Draca. I will help guild you along this path as long as you seek to go along it." Her voice is deep and rich with a hint of other in it that seems to bespell you. "Though you might find that what you think you want and what you truly want may not be along the same path. Regardless I will help you pursue it."

You move to the desk and settle down. Draca speaks again "Why do you want this job?" You pause wavering on an answer. Which answer should you give. Which one is the right one? The ruin for truth runs into your mind again but you are starting to wonder what the true answer even is. Finally you settle on "I want to see what cannot be seen in this village. And travel to a place that I belong." It was a strange answer but it feels right. You are suddenly worried about your answer but the dragon does not seem to be annoyed or bothered. "An interesting answer. One I have not heard in a long time in fact. I hope you find what you seek. And I hope that you find that you actually want it when it happens." Another strange answer. But one that smacks of wisdom beyond your understanding. You nod and thank the dragon, no you thank Draca the dragon.

Draca said "No open the scroll tied with the blue ribbon. We will start there." And the lesson begins. The lessons that begin your path as a courier.
Courier's Tales: Epidemic

You enter a glade and look into the broken line of trees beyond. The rapid transition of the type of wood takes you by pause. You hesitate your will weakening for a moment before you proceed. You hope you are making the right decision because you are about to head into a bog. A bog that houses a dragon. At one point as you hesitate again as you look at the sickly excuse for a tree that before you if this really is the best idea. After all the dragon you are going to meet boasts the reassuring name Epidemic. Somehow that fails to reassure you. Your feet seem glued to the ground as you try to gather your nerve again while your mind and heart races filling your every though with a thousand excuses of why it would be a good idea to turn around and go back the way you came. Yet your task is still unfinished and you would have to be seen as a coward. You sigh your breath being the only sound you hear in the otherwise silent area. You finally succeed in gathering your nerve at the exact same moment your wits leave you. You are not sure if that is a good trade.

You then proceed. The ground seems a big gummy and gives more then you are personally comfortable with with each step. You are suddenly reminded of every horror movie you have ever scene that involves quicksand, poisonous reptiles, and other equally dangerous reptiles of the man eating variety. With that in mind you manage to break off a pathetic branch about three fourths as long as you are tall and poke it at the ground in front of you. The stick sinks in no matter where you place it and you swallow before tossing the stick as far away as possible right before you realize it might be handy to smack an alligator with and a really bad way to **** of the resident dragon. You freeze like a mouse before a cat. Or like a deer in the headlights. You hope you fair better then either of those doomed creatures. As you force yourself to breath again you almost sink with relief as nothing remotely like an enraged dragon appears. In fact all you seem to have scared out is a six inch lizard who you are reasonably certain has no ability to harm you in any way shape or form. You have the sinking feeling that you just might have used up what remained of your luck as you carefully pick you way ahead. You would hum or sing to yourself except for the stupid superstition that doing so brings a single traveler bad luck. Why you suddenly put such faith into the exact thing you usually made fun of is a matter that you would deliberate at another time. Like when you are out of the bog and possibly while you are finishing off your second or third glass of beer at the nearest bar to this god forsaken place.

As you step deeper you suddenly get the feeling you are being watch and you can't help looking around as your shoulders hunch and your hesitant steps quickly turn to a slinking shuffle. In a break right before what remains as your nerve snaps you are suddenly facing what could only be a dragon. The beast yawns exposing eight inch fangs that look more then enough to do your damage. It takes all your will not to faint while the beast examines you and speaks "So do you have it?"

You swallow suddenly trying to figure out what Epidemic is talking about only to be slammed by the reason you are here in the first place. You were to deliver a package.... to the dragon. Your nerveless fingers move to the courier's bag hanging at your side and you manage to undo the buckles and open the flap to pull out a package wrapped in what appears to be butcher paper tied with a ribbon which feels oddly out of place. "Here it is.... Epidemic ma'am." You decide that following manors is most likely a really good idea.

The dragon reaches a huge claw out and you drop the package in the well defended gasp of the dragon. Who uses a single claw to slit the paper revealing a stack of scrolls. "Good they are all here." The dragon reaches out again handing you a small bag. "Your tip. Thank you for the fast delivery." And with that the dragon leaves scrolls in claw.

You open the package revealing two carefully labeled pouches of gold and what appears to be a flask of some liquid. A quick sniff reveals it to be a rather strong brandy. You suddenly feel a lot better about the dragon and take a swig for good measure and head you way out. You might not be as worried next job..... maybe.
Courier's Tales: Epidemic

You enter a glade and look into the broken line of trees beyond. The rapid transition of the type of wood takes you by pause. You hesitate your will weakening for a moment before you proceed. You hope you are making the right decision because you are about to head into a bog. A bog that houses a dragon. At one point as you hesitate again as you look at the sickly excuse for a tree that before you if this really is the best idea. After all the dragon you are going to meet boasts the reassuring name Epidemic. Somehow that fails to reassure you. Your feet seem glued to the ground as you try to gather your nerve again while your mind and heart races filling your every though with a thousand excuses of why it would be a good idea to turn around and go back the way you came. Yet your task is still unfinished and you would have to be seen as a coward. You sigh your breath being the only sound you hear in the otherwise silent area. You finally succeed in gathering your nerve at the exact same moment your wits leave you. You are not sure if that is a good trade.

You then proceed. The ground seems a big gummy and gives more then you are personally comfortable with with each step. You are suddenly reminded of every horror movie you have ever scene that involves quicksand, poisonous reptiles, and other equally dangerous reptiles of the man eating variety. With that in mind you manage to break off a pathetic branch about three fourths as long as you are tall and poke it at the ground in front of you. The stick sinks in no matter where you place it and you swallow before tossing the stick as far away as possible right before you realize it might be handy to smack an alligator with and a really bad way to **** of the resident dragon. You freeze like a mouse before a cat. Or like a deer in the headlights. You hope you fair better then either of those doomed creatures. As you force yourself to breath again you almost sink with relief as nothing remotely like an enraged dragon appears. In fact all you seem to have scared out is a six inch lizard who you are reasonably certain has no ability to harm you in any way shape or form. You have the sinking feeling that you just might have used up what remained of your luck as you carefully pick you way ahead. You would hum or sing to yourself except for the stupid superstition that doing so brings a single traveler bad luck. Why you suddenly put such faith into the exact thing you usually made fun of is a matter that you would deliberate at another time. Like when you are out of the bog and possibly while you are finishing off your second or third glass of beer at the nearest bar to this god forsaken place.

As you step deeper you suddenly get the feeling you are being watch and you can't help looking around as your shoulders hunch and your hesitant steps quickly turn to a slinking shuffle. In a break right before what remains as your nerve snaps you are suddenly facing what could only be a dragon. The beast yawns exposing eight inch fangs that look more then enough to do your damage. It takes all your will not to faint while the beast examines you and speaks "So do you have it?"

You swallow suddenly trying to figure out what Epidemic is talking about only to be slammed by the reason you are here in the first place. You were to deliver a package.... to the dragon. Your nerveless fingers move to the courier's bag hanging at your side and you manage to undo the buckles and open the flap to pull out a package wrapped in what appears to be butcher paper tied with a ribbon which feels oddly out of place. "Here it is.... Epidemic ma'am." You decide that following manors is most likely a really good idea.

The dragon reaches a huge claw out and you drop the package in the well defended gasp of the dragon. Who uses a single claw to slit the paper revealing a stack of scrolls. "Good they are all here." The dragon reaches out again handing you a small bag. "Your tip. Thank you for the fast delivery." And with that the dragon leaves scrolls in claw.

You open the package revealing two carefully labeled pouches of gold and what appears to be a flask of some liquid. A quick sniff reveals it to be a rather strong brandy. You suddenly feel a lot better about the dragon and take a swig for good measure and head you way out. You might not be as worried next job..... maybe.

Courtier Tales: Danica


Another day and another job. This one was at least not in the middle of a bog.... though the dragon had been a lot nicer then you had first thought. This dragon had no scary name. She went by the name of Danica. It was a strange name but you guess that dragons all had unique names. You had not heard much of a typical name from one yet anyways. Regardless a job was still a job and you had a mission to do. At least you were not stuck in the room studying for endless hours and countless maps that all seemed to be remarkably similar yet were supposedly quite distinct and different. In fact you are not quite sure how you managed to pass the latest lesson. Maybe Draca had taken pity on you. Regardless you were going to enjoy this job. And after deciding that you push those thoughts out of your mind. It was time to focus on the job.

As this was one of your first jobs it was supposed to be pretty easy. And you were assured there were no bogs involved. Just had to meet the dragon in a stone circle at the top of a hill. Easy right? And then you see the hill in question and you pause. That hill looks suspiciously like a mountain. And the grade was pretty steep. You are starting to wonder what an 'easy' job was. However you gather your nerve and start hiking up the steep hill. You are grateful for the well maintained path that you got to travel on. However you were not as thrilled about having to cling to the edge of the path whenever someone will wheels wanted to pass you by. Well it could be worse right? You mentally curse as you did it again. You are not supposed to think those things and right on cue it started to rain. Damn jinx really does work too well for it to be natural. You pull up your hoot and trudge through the quickly forming muddy gravel of the path. At least the path is not dirt. That would have sucked. And the carts keep on coming. And now they have the added bonus of attempting to spray you with mud and water. You heroically refrain from swearing at the worst offenders. Or to be clear you refrain from swearing at them aloud.

It takes more restraint to keep from flipping a couple off whose drivers seem to drive with the intend of causing massive mud sprays that you have to dodge. You also manage to not to swear however you do let loose the phrase 'damn mud' a couple of times. But as you are swearing the mud not the idiot driver you call it even. The driver had the gall to smile at you as he loosed the spray. The... no you won't say it, you won't say it. Your mother taught you better. And swearing on the job is a bad thing. You work to control your thoughts. And to your joy the rain fades away and the rest of the drivers you encounter seem to be at least as miserable as you are and are not in the mood to share their misery.

After an unknown amount of time you manage to get up to the top of the hill and see a massive ring of boulders who are covered in moss and some vines. It takes you a moment to realize that there is a design to the vines who seem to form various shapes on the rough stone. The moss clearly has been scraped away in some places as well so that it also forms shapes. You also see the dragon in question. She seems to be working on one of the stones scraping at the moss with her claws in an almost surgical way. She looks up and turns when you enter and smiles flashing her teeth in a somehow friendly way. "I see you arrived. I was worried the rain was going to down the poor courtier." Her tone is friendly and just a bit perky. You feel a flash of appreciation for her noticing your plight even as you assure her that you are fine and that things were not bad at all. In fact they don't feel like they were bad now that someone actually took the time to care about how you fared. You pull out the package and hand it to her with care and she takes it and opens it revealing what looks like vine cuttings, packets of seeds and some various tools. In return she hands you your payment and it includes what appears to be a bare rooted thornless rose that is the exact shade of the red of the sunset. Better yet it included instructions on how to plant and care for it. You tank Danica for her payment and can hardly wait to get home to plant it. Who also resolve to take any job that has to do with her in the future. With that you head home actually humming a tune and smiling at the reckless and slightly crazy drivers.



Courtier Tales: Danica


Another day and another job. This one was at least not in the middle of a bog.... though the dragon had been a lot nicer then you had first thought. This dragon had no scary name. She went by the name of Danica. It was a strange name but you guess that dragons all had unique names. You had not heard much of a typical name from one yet anyways. Regardless a job was still a job and you had a mission to do. At least you were not stuck in the room studying for endless hours and countless maps that all seemed to be remarkably similar yet were supposedly quite distinct and different. In fact you are not quite sure how you managed to pass the latest lesson. Maybe Draca had taken pity on you. Regardless you were going to enjoy this job. And after deciding that you push those thoughts out of your mind. It was time to focus on the job.

As this was one of your first jobs it was supposed to be pretty easy. And you were assured there were no bogs involved. Just had to meet the dragon in a stone circle at the top of a hill. Easy right? And then you see the hill in question and you pause. That hill looks suspiciously like a mountain. And the grade was pretty steep. You are starting to wonder what an 'easy' job was. However you gather your nerve and start hiking up the steep hill. You are grateful for the well maintained path that you got to travel on. However you were not as thrilled about having to cling to the edge of the path whenever someone will wheels wanted to pass you by. Well it could be worse right? You mentally curse as you did it again. You are not supposed to think those things and right on cue it started to rain. Damn jinx really does work too well for it to be natural. You pull up your hoot and trudge through the quickly forming muddy gravel of the path. At least the path is not dirt. That would have sucked. And the carts keep on coming. And now they have the added bonus of attempting to spray you with mud and water. You heroically refrain from swearing at the worst offenders. Or to be clear you refrain from swearing at them aloud.

It takes more restraint to keep from flipping a couple off whose drivers seem to drive with the intend of causing massive mud sprays that you have to dodge. You also manage to not to swear however you do let loose the phrase 'damn mud' a couple of times. But as you are swearing the mud not the idiot driver you call it even. The driver had the gall to smile at you as he loosed the spray. The... no you won't say it, you won't say it. Your mother taught you better. And swearing on the job is a bad thing. You work to control your thoughts. And to your joy the rain fades away and the rest of the drivers you encounter seem to be at least as miserable as you are and are not in the mood to share their misery.

After an unknown amount of time you manage to get up to the top of the hill and see a massive ring of boulders who are covered in moss and some vines. It takes you a moment to realize that there is a design to the vines who seem to form various shapes on the rough stone. The moss clearly has been scraped away in some places as well so that it also forms shapes. You also see the dragon in question. She seems to be working on one of the stones scraping at the moss with her claws in an almost surgical way. She looks up and turns when you enter and smiles flashing her teeth in a somehow friendly way. "I see you arrived. I was worried the rain was going to down the poor courtier." Her tone is friendly and just a bit perky. You feel a flash of appreciation for her noticing your plight even as you assure her that you are fine and that things were not bad at all. In fact they don't feel like they were bad now that someone actually took the time to care about how you fared. You pull out the package and hand it to her with care and she takes it and opens it revealing what looks like vine cuttings, packets of seeds and some various tools. In return she hands you your payment and it includes what appears to be a bare rooted thornless rose that is the exact shade of the red of the sunset. Better yet it included instructions on how to plant and care for it. You tank Danica for her payment and can hardly wait to get home to plant it. Who also resolve to take any job that has to do with her in the future. With that you head home actually humming a tune and smiling at the reckless and slightly crazy drivers.


Courtier Tales: Coral

Draca had given you another job. It was described as 'not too hard and by the see. A job with a wonderful view.' That had some appeal. You did not get why a couple other of the more experienced courtiers were giving you a few commiserating looks. And one old hand patted you on the back wishing you good luck. You were still new at this and surely the job would not be that bad. Draca had said it was not too hard and you loved the sea. Not to mention it was before your day off and Draca had said you could send the payment using one of the birds that were kept near the meeting point. That meant you could really enjoy the sea. So you were in rather high spirits. It was quite understandable. And well you were as green as grass could be when it came to this courtier business with only a few jobs under your belt. There was even public transport most of the way. So how could this be anything else but a plumb job?

After a few hours on the public train you were finally to the sea or as close to the tea as the train would take you anyways. You could smell the salty tang in the air. The wind was nice. The actual sea might be a bit further away. However it was only a short thirty minute walk away. And best of all there was even a fairly decent trail. It was a broken cobblestone path but clearly it had been cared for and was missing a great deal of the pits, holes, or the countless problems that the so called 'paths' seemed to entail in either her experience or the experienced relayed on her to by others. However you were quite optimistic. Nothing bad had happened. In fact things were looked pretty sunny. However there were just enough clouds to keep it from being too hot. It was in other words pretty much perfect. And best of all the package was nice and light and well balanced in her bag. If she could dream up the perfect job this was pretty much seeming like it. So why had everyone acted so dodgy. You just could not figure it out.

Finally you arrived at a posted map. You knew where your meeting point called Mermaid Point Cove. However you found that particular point was actually located on an island. An island that would require you borrowing a boat to get there. Well you could think of worse things. So you went and found a boat rental place and borrowed a boat that was designed with an odd sort of technology. While it would require you rowing it had a fancy piece of tech that would allow you to set your end destination and point you in that direction. It also gave a little bit of information about what you were seeing. The travel funds that Draca provided covered it quite easily and you soon were rowing. You found almost at once rowing was actually quite a lot harder then you thought it was. Particularly the steering part of it. It took you about thirty minutes to figure out how to do it right and made any discernible and consistent progress. Best of all you were no longer working like a madman trying to figure out how to get back on course. Once that was figured out things got a lot easier. It took you about two hours to reach Mermaid Point Cove. Or at least the pier off the cove. You tied up and were thankful that that at least was straight forward. So now you went to the cove trying to figure out where your client Coral was. You saw what appeared to be a live size statue of an Imperial female made of rock, crystal, coral, and gems. It was breathtaking however you soon found out that the statue was actually a live dragon. That was a bit of a relief and you handed over the package which turned out to be some sort of culture kit for 'fraggging land coral' whatever that meant. However your extra item soon solved what it was as it was a little piece of land coral. It was lovely and colored the shade of Coral's horns. In fact it was shaped a bit like it. With it came a little kit to care for it. And a packet of instructions. As you did not live in a salt water environment you needed to keep a solution of salty water with it. However it would grow and remain alive on land. You loved it and made sure to thank Coral and were determined to keep your little land coral alive. You also were going to enjoy your day off at the sea. And you did just that.

Courtier Tales: Coral

Draca had given you another job. It was described as 'not too hard and by the see. A job with a wonderful view.' That had some appeal. You did not get why a couple other of the more experienced courtiers were giving you a few commiserating looks. And one old hand patted you on the back wishing you good luck. You were still new at this and surely the job would not be that bad. Draca had said it was not too hard and you loved the sea. Not to mention it was before your day off and Draca had said you could send the payment using one of the birds that were kept near the meeting point. That meant you could really enjoy the sea. So you were in rather high spirits. It was quite understandable. And well you were as green as grass could be when it came to this courtier business with only a few jobs under your belt. There was even public transport most of the way. So how could this be anything else but a plumb job?

After a few hours on the public train you were finally to the sea or as close to the tea as the train would take you anyways. You could smell the salty tang in the air. The wind was nice. The actual sea might be a bit further away. However it was only a short thirty minute walk away. And best of all there was even a fairly decent trail. It was a broken cobblestone path but clearly it had been cared for and was missing a great deal of the pits, holes, or the countless problems that the so called 'paths' seemed to entail in either her experience or the experienced relayed on her to by others. However you were quite optimistic. Nothing bad had happened. In fact things were looked pretty sunny. However there were just enough clouds to keep it from being too hot. It was in other words pretty much perfect. And best of all the package was nice and light and well balanced in her bag. If she could dream up the perfect job this was pretty much seeming like it. So why had everyone acted so dodgy. You just could not figure it out.

Finally you arrived at a posted map. You knew where your meeting point called Mermaid Point Cove. However you found that particular point was actually located on an island. An island that would require you borrowing a boat to get there. Well you could think of worse things. So you went and found a boat rental place and borrowed a boat that was designed with an odd sort of technology. While it would require you rowing it had a fancy piece of tech that would allow you to set your end destination and point you in that direction. It also gave a little bit of information about what you were seeing. The travel funds that Draca provided covered it quite easily and you soon were rowing. You found almost at once rowing was actually quite a lot harder then you thought it was. Particularly the steering part of it. It took you about thirty minutes to figure out how to do it right and made any discernible and consistent progress. Best of all you were no longer working like a madman trying to figure out how to get back on course. Once that was figured out things got a lot easier. It took you about two hours to reach Mermaid Point Cove. Or at least the pier off the cove. You tied up and were thankful that that at least was straight forward. So now you went to the cove trying to figure out where your client Coral was. You saw what appeared to be a live size statue of an Imperial female made of rock, crystal, coral, and gems. It was breathtaking however you soon found out that the statue was actually a live dragon. That was a bit of a relief and you handed over the package which turned out to be some sort of culture kit for 'fraggging land coral' whatever that meant. However your extra item soon solved what it was as it was a little piece of land coral. It was lovely and colored the shade of Coral's horns. In fact it was shaped a bit like it. With it came a little kit to care for it. And a packet of instructions. As you did not live in a salt water environment you needed to keep a solution of salty water with it. However it would grow and remain alive on land. You loved it and made sure to thank Coral and were determined to keep your little land coral alive. You also were going to enjoy your day off at the sea. And you did just that.

Please take note this story comes AFTER Epidemic and BEFORE Thyrine and Tigris

Courier's Tales: Tigris


Another day another job. You are starting to get used to this and your current job does not seem quite as hard as some of the other ones. So you are in a pretty good mood. After all how hard can it be to find a dragon in the sparse Savannah? It sure sounds easier then the other ones. Later you might remember that if this job turns out like the rest. You soon are at the edge of the savannah. And you find that this job has some unexpected challenges in it as well. Chief of which is the grass seems endless and is broken up by a few spread out trees. This might be a long day after all. Well it is not raining or snowing so it could be worse. You suddenly freeze as you realize you just might have jinxed yourself. You mutter a few swear words under your breath as you scold yourself for your mistake. With that you gather yourself and move to head out.

You eye the unrelenting landscape all harshly lit by the blazing sun. You get the sudden impression that this might be a lot longer task then you first thought. And the heat was slowly getting to you. You take a long drink of water before you go on your journey. So far the views you are getting are nice but each one is rather similar to each other. Some of the wildlife is changing but it is all to the background of various lengths of grass, shrubs, and a spattering of different trees. Your prior thoughts on how this was an easier task are already coming back to haunt you. Apparently it is a bit harder then you thought. After what feels like compressed days the sun starts to set. You manage to dig out a firepit and start a fire. You think that it might be a good idea to be extra careful to not start a grass fire. Especially as the grass you use to start the fire goes up like tinder. Just when you are about to settle down for the night you hear a noise. A very loud noise. You freeze like a rabbit and peer around trying to figure out the source while your heart racing like a champion thoroughbred's.

You find the source surprisingly quick. And it is massive. You at once know it is not a big cat. But rather then reassuring you that fact makes you feel worse. Lions don't have stripes and are smaller. You suddenly wonder if it is a tiger but what a tiger would be doing around here and what exactly is bigger then a lion is making your stomach clench with nerves. Suddenly a voice breaks the air. "Sorry for disturbing you so late. But I assume you are my courtier with my package? I am Tigris." The dragon strides into the firelight and the first think you realize is Tigris is bigger then you thought and is striped just like a tiger. You clear your throat and nod. "Yes I have your package." You pull over your bag and pull out the sizeable package and hand it over. The adept clawed hands made short work of it and reveal what appears to be a collection of crystals and trinkets. The dragon dropped off a pouch into your hands. Inside is the usual payment and what appears to be a pair of bracelets made from amber and hammered metal. You thank Tigris as she moves out. The night swallowing her quickly. You however are staying right where you are until dawn breaks. After all you don't have a cat's night vision.

Please take note this story comes AFTER Epidemic and BEFORE Thyrine and Tigris

Courier's Tales: Tigris


Another day another job. You are starting to get used to this and your current job does not seem quite as hard as some of the other ones. So you are in a pretty good mood. After all how hard can it be to find a dragon in the sparse Savannah? It sure sounds easier then the other ones. Later you might remember that if this job turns out like the rest. You soon are at the edge of the savannah. And you find that this job has some unexpected challenges in it as well. Chief of which is the grass seems endless and is broken up by a few spread out trees. This might be a long day after all. Well it is not raining or snowing so it could be worse. You suddenly freeze as you realize you just might have jinxed yourself. You mutter a few swear words under your breath as you scold yourself for your mistake. With that you gather yourself and move to head out.

You eye the unrelenting landscape all harshly lit by the blazing sun. You get the sudden impression that this might be a lot longer task then you first thought. And the heat was slowly getting to you. You take a long drink of water before you go on your journey. So far the views you are getting are nice but each one is rather similar to each other. Some of the wildlife is changing but it is all to the background of various lengths of grass, shrubs, and a spattering of different trees. Your prior thoughts on how this was an easier task are already coming back to haunt you. Apparently it is a bit harder then you thought. After what feels like compressed days the sun starts to set. You manage to dig out a firepit and start a fire. You think that it might be a good idea to be extra careful to not start a grass fire. Especially as the grass you use to start the fire goes up like tinder. Just when you are about to settle down for the night you hear a noise. A very loud noise. You freeze like a rabbit and peer around trying to figure out the source while your heart racing like a champion thoroughbred's.

You find the source surprisingly quick. And it is massive. You at once know it is not a big cat. But rather then reassuring you that fact makes you feel worse. Lions don't have stripes and are smaller. You suddenly wonder if it is a tiger but what a tiger would be doing around here and what exactly is bigger then a lion is making your stomach clench with nerves. Suddenly a voice breaks the air. "Sorry for disturbing you so late. But I assume you are my courtier with my package? I am Tigris." The dragon strides into the firelight and the first think you realize is Tigris is bigger then you thought and is striped just like a tiger. You clear your throat and nod. "Yes I have your package." You pull over your bag and pull out the sizeable package and hand it over. The adept clawed hands made short work of it and reveal what appears to be a collection of crystals and trinkets. The dragon dropped off a pouch into your hands. Inside is the usual payment and what appears to be a pair of bracelets made from amber and hammered metal. You thank Tigris as she moves out. The night swallowing her quickly. You however are staying right where you are until dawn breaks. After all you don't have a cat's night vision.

Courtier Tales: Willowwisp


It was supposed to be your day off, but a special rush order came in and everyone else was busy. So it got handed to you. But you were getting paid extra for it. Not to mention you were going to get a half day off to replace the half day you were missing. All and all it could be worse. Actually you were getting pretty decently compensated. And best of all this job was pretty close to town. The package was for a dragon named Willowwisp. From what you gather Willowwisp is a frequent client. And also one who would do rush orders time to time. That made this a really important job. And offending this client would be a really really bad idea. The fact that you had only a handful of jobs under your belt made both you and most likely Draca a bit nervous about you doing this job. But Draca at least had acted confident about your ability to do this job. However you were advised that Willowwisp was a bit of a different dragon then what you were used to. Whatever that meant. Still you had the package which was actually a few different sized packages which made some strange sounds as you moved.

You trotted on making good time. The town was lit up like it was some sort of holiday. Maybe it was a dragon holiday or some village festival. Regardless you don't know exactly what is going on. And you kept on moving tormented by the smells of spiced cider and ales and various food stands. It was enough to make your stomach rumble even though you had already eaten. And more then enough to make your mouth water. However you resist the temptation that seems to present itself in every corner. Finally you break away from the seemingly endless line of temptation and you felt a mixture of regret and relief. You understand why you feel the relief but the feelings of regret confuse you a little bit. You redouble your efforts. The sooner you get this job done the sooner you get back to your day off. And soon enough you arrive at the meeting site however there is no dragon waiting for you. That was not what you expected. You look around in the slowly darkening sky. You swallow. Your deadline is approaching fast and you are there but if you don't deliver the package by the deadline there is no excuse. You look around again and still nothing. Then you hear the sound of hoof beats. You track them and frantically dive to the left as you see that there is a Qiriq charging right at you. The Qirq keeps on going but is soon circling around forming a wide loop and charges at you again. You dive again this time to the right as the left side might not be so safe twice. You are getting to your feet much faster this time as sure enough the Qiriq is circling again. And a strange sound is heard over the sound of the pounding hooves... it sounds almost like crackling and partly like the jangling of metals... similar but not quite like bracelets but much louder. The Qiriq now is almost upon you and just as you manage to dodge again the beast stops and rears screaming something similar to a war cry into the sky. Your heart is racing like a track stars. And only the fact that you know the beast can outrun you while half asleep keeps you from making a break for it. It is much faster then you. But your single edge is your agility. And then the strange sound gets louder and above that the sound of wings is heard. And against your better judgement you look up and see what appears to be a mixture of ghostly fire in the sky. And the dragon descends. This you pray is Willowwisp. Otherwise you are really sunk.

To your shock the Qiriq advanced to the dragon making soft huffing sounds. And actually seems happy to see the dragon. The pair advances on you and the dragon clears her throat. "Sorry I ran into a problem that took more time then I thought. I hope I have not kept you waiting for long. I am Willowwisp." The dragon inclines her regal head and you take note that this dragon wears accessories. Not like the war gear that Draca sometimes boasts. But something similar to jewelry. You note the brightly colored gloves and bracelets that must have made the sounds you heard. You also note that there is jewelry on her tail as well. However the dragon seems friendly and to each their own. No one told you that dragons could only be wearing war gear. So you hand over the packages and you are not too surprised to see that it is more apparel. You accept your payment. And you know your share is going to be larger this time. As seems the tradition with dragons there is a little something extra in it. You are startled to see what appears to be a fancy silver lantern. It is a work of art. You stare at Willowwisp wondering if she made a mistake with the extra item. However you are now sure how to ask without being rude.

Willowwisp saves you the trouble. "I came upon that while I was hunting. It was pretty rough and I fixed it up but to a dragon of fire it is nothing but a pretty paperweight. To a human however it is much more useful. I hope you enjoy it." You nod and thank Willowwisp. You can see yourself using it. You note that the lantern is designed for candles and you happen to know where you can find some nice beeswax candles at a low price. This will work perfectly to hold the candle. Soon after that you both part ways. You now have to deliver the payment back to Draca and get your extra share of it. And then you are free. Best of all now you can buy some of those spiced nuts and cider. You smile as you head back to town. Your spirit light as the sun continues to paint the world in warm colors as day ends.
Courtier Tales: Willowwisp


It was supposed to be your day off, but a special rush order came in and everyone else was busy. So it got handed to you. But you were getting paid extra for it. Not to mention you were going to get a half day off to replace the half day you were missing. All and all it could be worse. Actually you were getting pretty decently compensated. And best of all this job was pretty close to town. The package was for a dragon named Willowwisp. From what you gather Willowwisp is a frequent client. And also one who would do rush orders time to time. That made this a really important job. And offending this client would be a really really bad idea. The fact that you had only a handful of jobs under your belt made both you and most likely Draca a bit nervous about you doing this job. But Draca at least had acted confident about your ability to do this job. However you were advised that Willowwisp was a bit of a different dragon then what you were used to. Whatever that meant. Still you had the package which was actually a few different sized packages which made some strange sounds as you moved.

You trotted on making good time. The town was lit up like it was some sort of holiday. Maybe it was a dragon holiday or some village festival. Regardless you don't know exactly what is going on. And you kept on moving tormented by the smells of spiced cider and ales and various food stands. It was enough to make your stomach rumble even though you had already eaten. And more then enough to make your mouth water. However you resist the temptation that seems to present itself in every corner. Finally you break away from the seemingly endless line of temptation and you felt a mixture of regret and relief. You understand why you feel the relief but the feelings of regret confuse you a little bit. You redouble your efforts. The sooner you get this job done the sooner you get back to your day off. And soon enough you arrive at the meeting site however there is no dragon waiting for you. That was not what you expected. You look around in the slowly darkening sky. You swallow. Your deadline is approaching fast and you are there but if you don't deliver the package by the deadline there is no excuse. You look around again and still nothing. Then you hear the sound of hoof beats. You track them and frantically dive to the left as you see that there is a Qiriq charging right at you. The Qirq keeps on going but is soon circling around forming a wide loop and charges at you again. You dive again this time to the right as the left side might not be so safe twice. You are getting to your feet much faster this time as sure enough the Qiriq is circling again. And a strange sound is heard over the sound of the pounding hooves... it sounds almost like crackling and partly like the jangling of metals... similar but not quite like bracelets but much louder. The Qiriq now is almost upon you and just as you manage to dodge again the beast stops and rears screaming something similar to a war cry into the sky. Your heart is racing like a track stars. And only the fact that you know the beast can outrun you while half asleep keeps you from making a break for it. It is much faster then you. But your single edge is your agility. And then the strange sound gets louder and above that the sound of wings is heard. And against your better judgement you look up and see what appears to be a mixture of ghostly fire in the sky. And the dragon descends. This you pray is Willowwisp. Otherwise you are really sunk.

To your shock the Qiriq advanced to the dragon making soft huffing sounds. And actually seems happy to see the dragon. The pair advances on you and the dragon clears her throat. "Sorry I ran into a problem that took more time then I thought. I hope I have not kept you waiting for long. I am Willowwisp." The dragon inclines her regal head and you take note that this dragon wears accessories. Not like the war gear that Draca sometimes boasts. But something similar to jewelry. You note the brightly colored gloves and bracelets that must have made the sounds you heard. You also note that there is jewelry on her tail as well. However the dragon seems friendly and to each their own. No one told you that dragons could only be wearing war gear. So you hand over the packages and you are not too surprised to see that it is more apparel. You accept your payment. And you know your share is going to be larger this time. As seems the tradition with dragons there is a little something extra in it. You are startled to see what appears to be a fancy silver lantern. It is a work of art. You stare at Willowwisp wondering if she made a mistake with the extra item. However you are now sure how to ask without being rude.

Willowwisp saves you the trouble. "I came upon that while I was hunting. It was pretty rough and I fixed it up but to a dragon of fire it is nothing but a pretty paperweight. To a human however it is much more useful. I hope you enjoy it." You nod and thank Willowwisp. You can see yourself using it. You note that the lantern is designed for candles and you happen to know where you can find some nice beeswax candles at a low price. This will work perfectly to hold the candle. Soon after that you both part ways. You now have to deliver the payment back to Draca and get your extra share of it. And then you are free. Best of all now you can buy some of those spiced nuts and cider. You smile as you head back to town. Your spirit light as the sun continues to paint the world in warm colors as day ends.
Courier's Tales: Thyrine

You stand at the base of a mountain trying to figure out exactly how long it was going to take to trek up to the top to deliver the package. You sigh hoping that there is at least a decent trail. What you see so far does not make you hopeful. You gather yourself and start on the broken 'trail' that seems to have been created by some animal more then a human. Judging from where you are it was most likely a mountain goat. Perfect. Now if you could just figure out how to saddle and ride one you might actually get all the way up without breaking your ankle or neck. With that cheery thought in mind you carefully pick through the loose stone and exposed dirt held together by broken patches of plants mostly weeds and moss. Though apparently there are some grasses who are refusing to give in to the inevitable and are clawing their way to survival.

Four hours latter you are sweaty, hot, have a burning stick in your side and have had a grand total of three incidents that nearly ended this whole journey with a broken or sprained limb or joint. You guess that is overall pretty good as you have not yet had any near death incidents considering that you are walking along what appears to be sheer cliffs, giant gorges, and suicidally steep valleys all laced with pitfalls and seeded with loose rock and ruble. If you wanted to design a route to have the greatest odds of causing bodily injury this would most likely be exactly what you would have in mind. You also got to see the before mentioned mountain goats who clearly are having a much easier time getting around then you are. You are however quite grateful that your boots are well broken in, have perfect tread, and are built for mountain climbing. In other words they are your saving grace. You are also grateful that you are fit and packed plenty of snacks and water. Because this looks like it might take a couple days. That was not exactly what you had in mind.

But you have found that being paranoid is very useful for this job. As well as packing for the worst case possible while still packing light. So you should be okay.....at least you hope so. You guess you will find out in time. But so far nothing too major has happened which does bode well. Or so you keep on telling yourself. Sometimes you even believe it. You take a break at about sun-height and settle in for a lunch which mostly consists of tough bread, dried fruit and jerky that seems to have more in common with your boots then food. At least it will last forever. Actually it might last longer then you do now that you think about it. After abusing your jaw to the point it is a bit sore the 'meal' is done and all has been chewed until it mostly submits as it travels to your stomach. You take a long drink of water. And you find that the stitch in your side has actually gone away. And your feet are not even sore. A major plus. You soon are traveling again. Finally you give up and guess you have another days worth of travel before you actually get to where the dragon is to meet you. It takes you a moment to remember the dragon's name. Thyrine... that was it Thyrine.

You sigh and turn in for the night and pick a place to camp that has as few rocks as possible.... or at least as few sharp rocks as possible. Exhaustion makes you sleep like the dead. You wake up feeling slightly sore but considering that you now notice the rock digging into your back you guess that is not too bad. You break up camp and start out again after having breakfast that is suspiciously like yesterday's lunch. In other words nothing worth mentioning but enough to keep a person alive. The day passes just like before and to your joy you actually make it to a stone circle of boulders at the top that has the before mentioned dragon standing inside of them. You hand over the package feeling mostly relieved then anything else that the task is almost over. And you are certain that going down the mountain will be a lot easier then heading up it.

Thyrine takes the package and opens it revealing two scrolls, a star chart, and a shiny rock. But why a dragon who lives on a bloody mountain would want another rock is beyond you. But it does explain the weight of the package which pretty much felt like you were lugging around a brick. A small brick but still a brick. To your job Thyrine actually overs to give you a ride down. You agree but you partly wonder why the dragon could not have meet you at the base of the mountain if she was so willing to be 'helpful.' Oh well it means that you will get home soon and better yet get a bath and some decent food. You accept your payment with ease. And to your job it includes a salve for sore muscles made from mountain herbs. You soon are settled on the dragon's back and your stomach promptly ties itself into a knot as you find out that you are not the most fond of flying. There is something unnatural of mimicking a bird when you lack the ability to fly yourself. You pretty much have a death grip of the spine before you and prey that you won't slide off or at least that Thyrine would be able to catch you before you hit the ground below. Your silent pious prayers are answered and you manage to keep on. You even manage to enjoy the view a little. Soon both of you are at the base of the mountain. You dismount on shaky legs and spend a careful two minutes thanking Thyrine. After the dragon leaves you spend two additional minutes basically kissing the ground. And resolve not to fly again without something akin to a saddle. That done you trod home draw a bath. Spend a lovely two hours getting and feeling clean before tucking into a hot meal. You even enjoy your own cooking for once. As pretty much anything is better then the travel food. Even your own cooking which is somewhat lacking in the skill department.



Courtier Tales: Assassin

There was a saying in the town that suddenly was giving you pause: be careful where you sleep, Assassin flies at night. It rather reminded you of a saying your mother was taken with saying: always wear clean underwear. You were not sure why you were making the parallel but considering your job seemed to involve you sleeping in some rather strange and at times unorthodox places you were feeling a little nervy about the suddenly re-popularized saying. After all the reason you should always wear clean underwear was because you were never sure what day you were going to die, or what would happen to you. When you thought about it it meant your mother was taken with a rather morbid saying. That gave you pause as your mother was generally more of a cheery sort of person. The kind that made it a little surprising for that to be her favorite saying. Perhaps that was one of the reasons you were feeling a bit more unnerved over the saying: be careful where you sleep, Assassin flies at night. Especially when those twin sayings haunted you when you were trying to settle down to sleep under the night sky.

However you usually managed to drop off until at least an uneasy slumber in the odd locations she usually found herself sleeping in. Tonight that odd location was halfway up a tree. After all it was a lot harder for the venomous ground dwelling beasties share bunk-space with you. Though calling whatever you ended up sleeping on bunk-space would be rather generous. Usually you ended up trying to cram your sleeping bag or hammock wherever seemed safest and the least uncomfortable. Honestly it was no wonder you had problems dropping off when there always seemed to be one more sharp rock of pointy branch that was jabbing into you. Not to mention the two times that the branch ended up not being as strong as you had thought and dropped you onto the unyielding ground. Or nearly devoured by a swarm of ants that happened to be living in one of the trees.

But it was the phrase that kept you up at night. Be careful where you sleep, Assassin flies at night. It was fast becoming a macabre interest of yours. And you were constantly trying to figure out who this Assassin was. What they were like to cause that saying. And it was really keeping you up at night. That is until exhaustion had its merry way with you and you passed out cold. You sigh as you face another night sky a few weeks later with the usual puzzle at the forefront of your mind. Who was this Assassin and what were they like.

It was partway through the wellworn track of these thoughts that you heard a strange noise, an unusual noise. Then you hear the faint thump and a rustling. You bolt up your heart racing and your mind hyperfocusing. You see what looks like a blob of black in an otherwise black and shadowy environment. Then you see the eyes. They were glowing almost like a cat's yet larger then the eyes of even a tiger. Then you slowly made out the form.... of black against the shadows. Just about then you nearly had a heart attack as the thing cleared its throat and spoke " Hi there. nice night isn't it?" The tone is quite conversational and oddly intimate. After your heart resumes beating you respond "I guess...." For lack of anything else to say. The voice speaks again "By the way if I were you I would move where you are sleeping. And leave early in the morning. There is a thief setting up shop just on the other side of the hill." The eyes flicker and point elsewhere before the voice spoke again "Just thought you might want to know it might get messy. And I would hate for you to walk into that little scene first thing in the morning." You follow the advice out of pure self preservation and also the fact that you know there is no way you are going to sleep for the rest of the night exhaustion or no exhaustion. The next day you read a paper with an article ASSASSIN STRIKES AGAIN: ROBBER RING DESTROYED EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE. All in bold capital letters. So that is want the saying means. You drink your coffee feeling a bit more relaxed. Maybe it is not you that is the one that needs to worry about Assassin... but those who are planning things they shouldn't at night. That thought soothes you and under that nights sky you sleep like a baby. Be careful where you sleep, Assassin flies at night.
Courier's Tales: Thyrine

You stand at the base of a mountain trying to figure out exactly how long it was going to take to trek up to the top to deliver the package. You sigh hoping that there is at least a decent trail. What you see so far does not make you hopeful. You gather yourself and start on the broken 'trail' that seems to have been created by some animal more then a human. Judging from where you are it was most likely a mountain goat. Perfect. Now if you could just figure out how to saddle and ride one you might actually get all the way up without breaking your ankle or neck. With that cheery thought in mind you carefully pick through the loose stone and exposed dirt held together by broken patches of plants mostly weeds and moss. Though apparently there are some grasses who are refusing to give in to the inevitable and are clawing their way to survival.

Four hours latter you are sweaty, hot, have a burning stick in your side and have had a grand total of three incidents that nearly ended this whole journey with a broken or sprained limb or joint. You guess that is overall pretty good as you have not yet had any near death incidents considering that you are walking along what appears to be sheer cliffs, giant gorges, and suicidally steep valleys all laced with pitfalls and seeded with loose rock and ruble. If you wanted to design a route to have the greatest odds of causing bodily injury this would most likely be exactly what you would have in mind. You also got to see the before mentioned mountain goats who clearly are having a much easier time getting around then you are. You are however quite grateful that your boots are well broken in, have perfect tread, and are built for mountain climbing. In other words they are your saving grace. You are also grateful that you are fit and packed plenty of snacks and water. Because this looks like it might take a couple days. That was not exactly what you had in mind.

But you have found that being paranoid is very useful for this job. As well as packing for the worst case possible while still packing light. So you should be okay.....at least you hope so. You guess you will find out in time. But so far nothing too major has happened which does bode well. Or so you keep on telling yourself. Sometimes you even believe it. You take a break at about sun-height and settle in for a lunch which mostly consists of tough bread, dried fruit and jerky that seems to have more in common with your boots then food. At least it will last forever. Actually it might last longer then you do now that you think about it. After abusing your jaw to the point it is a bit sore the 'meal' is done and all has been chewed until it mostly submits as it travels to your stomach. You take a long drink of water. And you find that the stitch in your side has actually gone away. And your feet are not even sore. A major plus. You soon are traveling again. Finally you give up and guess you have another days worth of travel before you actually get to where the dragon is to meet you. It takes you a moment to remember the dragon's name. Thyrine... that was it Thyrine.

You sigh and turn in for the night and pick a place to camp that has as few rocks as possible.... or at least as few sharp rocks as possible. Exhaustion makes you sleep like the dead. You wake up feeling slightly sore but considering that you now notice the rock digging into your back you guess that is not too bad. You break up camp and start out again after having breakfast that is suspiciously like yesterday's lunch. In other words nothing worth mentioning but enough to keep a person alive. The day passes just like before and to your joy you actually make it to a stone circle of boulders at the top that has the before mentioned dragon standing inside of them. You hand over the package feeling mostly relieved then anything else that the task is almost over. And you are certain that going down the mountain will be a lot easier then heading up it.

Thyrine takes the package and opens it revealing two scrolls, a star chart, and a shiny rock. But why a dragon who lives on a bloody mountain would want another rock is beyond you. But it does explain the weight of the package which pretty much felt like you were lugging around a brick. A small brick but still a brick. To your job Thyrine actually overs to give you a ride down. You agree but you partly wonder why the dragon could not have meet you at the base of the mountain if she was so willing to be 'helpful.' Oh well it means that you will get home soon and better yet get a bath and some decent food. You accept your payment with ease. And to your job it includes a salve for sore muscles made from mountain herbs. You soon are settled on the dragon's back and your stomach promptly ties itself into a knot as you find out that you are not the most fond of flying. There is something unnatural of mimicking a bird when you lack the ability to fly yourself. You pretty much have a death grip of the spine before you and prey that you won't slide off or at least that Thyrine would be able to catch you before you hit the ground below. Your silent pious prayers are answered and you manage to keep on. You even manage to enjoy the view a little. Soon both of you are at the base of the mountain. You dismount on shaky legs and spend a careful two minutes thanking Thyrine. After the dragon leaves you spend two additional minutes basically kissing the ground. And resolve not to fly again without something akin to a saddle. That done you trod home draw a bath. Spend a lovely two hours getting and feeling clean before tucking into a hot meal. You even enjoy your own cooking for once. As pretty much anything is better then the travel food. Even your own cooking which is somewhat lacking in the skill department.



Courtier Tales: Assassin

There was a saying in the town that suddenly was giving you pause: be careful where you sleep, Assassin flies at night. It rather reminded you of a saying your mother was taken with saying: always wear clean underwear. You were not sure why you were making the parallel but considering your job seemed to involve you sleeping in some rather strange and at times unorthodox places you were feeling a little nervy about the suddenly re-popularized saying. After all the reason you should always wear clean underwear was because you were never sure what day you were going to die, or what would happen to you. When you thought about it it meant your mother was taken with a rather morbid saying. That gave you pause as your mother was generally more of a cheery sort of person. The kind that made it a little surprising for that to be her favorite saying. Perhaps that was one of the reasons you were feeling a bit more unnerved over the saying: be careful where you sleep, Assassin flies at night. Especially when those twin sayings haunted you when you were trying to settle down to sleep under the night sky.

However you usually managed to drop off until at least an uneasy slumber in the odd locations she usually found herself sleeping in. Tonight that odd location was halfway up a tree. After all it was a lot harder for the venomous ground dwelling beasties share bunk-space with you. Though calling whatever you ended up sleeping on bunk-space would be rather generous. Usually you ended up trying to cram your sleeping bag or hammock wherever seemed safest and the least uncomfortable. Honestly it was no wonder you had problems dropping off when there always seemed to be one more sharp rock of pointy branch that was jabbing into you. Not to mention the two times that the branch ended up not being as strong as you had thought and dropped you onto the unyielding ground. Or nearly devoured by a swarm of ants that happened to be living in one of the trees.

But it was the phrase that kept you up at night. Be careful where you sleep, Assassin flies at night. It was fast becoming a macabre interest of yours. And you were constantly trying to figure out who this Assassin was. What they were like to cause that saying. And it was really keeping you up at night. That is until exhaustion had its merry way with you and you passed out cold. You sigh as you face another night sky a few weeks later with the usual puzzle at the forefront of your mind. Who was this Assassin and what were they like.

It was partway through the wellworn track of these thoughts that you heard a strange noise, an unusual noise. Then you hear the faint thump and a rustling. You bolt up your heart racing and your mind hyperfocusing. You see what looks like a blob of black in an otherwise black and shadowy environment. Then you see the eyes. They were glowing almost like a cat's yet larger then the eyes of even a tiger. Then you slowly made out the form.... of black against the shadows. Just about then you nearly had a heart attack as the thing cleared its throat and spoke " Hi there. nice night isn't it?" The tone is quite conversational and oddly intimate. After your heart resumes beating you respond "I guess...." For lack of anything else to say. The voice speaks again "By the way if I were you I would move where you are sleeping. And leave early in the morning. There is a thief setting up shop just on the other side of the hill." The eyes flicker and point elsewhere before the voice spoke again "Just thought you might want to know it might get messy. And I would hate for you to walk into that little scene first thing in the morning." You follow the advice out of pure self preservation and also the fact that you know there is no way you are going to sleep for the rest of the night exhaustion or no exhaustion. The next day you read a paper with an article ASSASSIN STRIKES AGAIN: ROBBER RING DESTROYED EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE. All in bold capital letters. So that is want the saying means. You drink your coffee feeling a bit more relaxed. Maybe it is not you that is the one that needs to worry about Assassin... but those who are planning things they shouldn't at night. That thought soothes you and under that nights sky you sleep like a baby. Be careful where you sleep, Assassin flies at night.
Courtier Tales: Butterfly

Draca smiles as you come in again after completing a job. "I have another job for you. An interesting one. It is in town but it should be a bit interesting." You perk as the phrase 'in town' is enough to make you feel like you might actually be able to recover after the most physically draining jobs of before. However you have already learned to be suspicious of any job that sounded easy. And while there were no mountains or major obstacles that you can remember it did not mean that there were not any. You give her a weary look. This job sounded too good to be true. Especially if Draca thought it was 'interesting.' Draca's grin widened "I see you are swiftly becoming an experienced courtier." She said in a conversational tone. You eye her wondering if that meant that you were learning to never take things as they were presented. And if that meant Draca had been doing this to you on purpose. Somehow you could see that happening. Draca when on "There are more challenges then to the body to be a good courtier. The mind also holds many mysteries. This job will help you explore those." She extends a claw holding the package and tells you where to go. You swallow as you take it. You are starting to wonder what you are in for. But you have a feeling in your gut that you are going to wish that this was just another physical challenge.

As you head on to to the meeting location you are wondering exactly what you are in for from this Butterfly. As usual you know next to nothing about her. And you have a feeling you are in for a rough ride. You mentally pause as you wonder if Draca is actually a closet satist and actually enjoys tormenting her trainees or if this is really for your own good. You are having a hard time making up you mind on what position to take. Perhaps this Butterfly can help you decide. Finally you arrive at the building and stare at the structure. It is impressive. It would appear that this butterfly lives in a treelike building could support a city of its own. Strangely enough there appeared to be a door for you to enter and you do. The room seems to be lit by small balls of lightning floating midair. A maze of bookshelves is carved into the living wood. You see another human sitting reading a book of daunting size. You clear your throat and ask where Butterfly is. The man pauses looking at you closely. "You want to see Butterfly?" He seems a little impressed. "You need to go to the other side of the tree. Go through to the far side and go through the door. She will be there. Good luck."

With that foreboding information you gather your nerve and now are certain that you are in for another one of the challenges that Draca's jobs seem to be. You follow the instructions all the same and exit the three entering a field of flowers some seem to be normal ones while others seem to be made of all sorts of a materials including glass, stone, crystal, wood, and bone. There are also other things made of similar materials in all sorts of shapes and forms. In the center of the 'flower garden' stands a dragon who appears to be constructing another flower out of paper. You guess this is your client and approach. "Butterfly?" You ask just to be sure. But before you can add anymore the dragon speaks. "What do you think makes a flower a flower?"

You pause as you are not sure what this is about. Butterfly said "I don't have all day answer when I speak to you. The question is simple what is a flower?" You sigh as this is going to most likely be an uphill battle. "Flowers are pretty and they hold a scent. They are flowers." That answer fits. And you are not sure why you need to define it. However you are at once challenged. "What makes a flower pretty? Why do they have to hold a scent?" Your answer most likely won't please this dragon but you say it anyways. "They just are. And some just hold a scent. Others don't I guess." Butterfly said "So flowers don't have to hold a scent but they have to be pretty. Show me a flower then." You sigh as you move to pluck a flower and said "Here." You say certain that this too will be challenged.

As expected Butterfly does "So all flowers must look this this?" You knew that it would be too simple. "This is one type of flower it is a violet and all violets look like this." This task is already starting to great on your nerves. Butterfly does not accept that "So are all violets pretty?" You say "If you like violets then one is as good as another." Butterfly's eyes gleam and you know you have slipped up. Butterfly points to a violet made of bone. "So this is a violet and it is pretty."

You said "It is shaped like a violet but it is bone. I guess it is pretty enough." Butterfly says "Does that mean that all bone violets are pretty then?" She then pulls out a bone violet that looks like it was made by a drunk using hacksaw. You of course shake your head "That one is not well made. I would not call it pretty." Butterfly eyes you. "So it has to be well made to be pretty then." She pulls out a glass sculpture of artfully blown and shaped class. It is clearly made with extreme skill. However the sight of it repels you. Something is about the color and shape that gives you a bad feeling. It looks almost like it was made to resemble something you instinctively fear. "no that is not pretty." You tell the dragon.

Butterfly said "But it is well made." You nodded "well made but not pretty." You suddenly realize why you don't like it. The glass seems to be shaped in the form of different body organs all mixed with each other. It is not exactly tasteful that is for sure. And certainly not pretty. Butterfly looks at you. "So then if a flower does not have to be wellmade to be pretty then what makes a flower pretty?" Again you are faced with the same question and you are trying to find an answer that can't be so easily challenged. You see a flower being visited by a butterfly and you seize on that idea. "Flowers partly are pretty because they help provide food for insects that drink nectar." You know better then to just accept any bug as a visitor as you might be shown a house of roaches or dung beetles. Butterfly said "So if it is a host nectorvores then it is pretty." She eyes you. "Did you know that the male mosquito is a nectarour while the female also feeds on blood of various species including humans and animals. Does that mean that those things are pretty flowers?" You pause as you are not sure it is wise to compare humans, skunks and dozens of other creatures to flowers. "No those things are not flowers. However some of those things are pretty perhaps to others of their kind." You are starting to talk like a lawyer for your own well being.

Butterfly said "So then what makes a flower a flower if a flower is not defined as pretty." You are faced with the original question again. You decide to really think about it this time instead of shooting with the first answer you come up with. You look at the different things and after several minutes of hard thought you say this. "A flower is seen in different ways. To me a flower is pretty. It is a lovely thing that you get to see in many forms at different times of the year. To different people different flowers hold different appeal. A person may also make things in the shape of flowers for decoration or using flowers as an inspiration. The ones I like are the ones of my favorite flowers or are well made and made with loving care. They are parts of a scene that is frozen in time. They can remind me of different times or memories. They also can remind me that there are better days to come with times are not going well. Or in the harshness of winter. To other people flowers might mean different things. Lovers sometimes give each other flowers or other gifts. They are used as part of weddings or gifts to females that you are close to. Some flowers are a labor of love and they can be the last gift to a person who has died. Flowers I guess are many things. And have many meanings. But to me they are honestly just flowers and many of them are pretty." You look at the dragon hoping that this answer is good enough.

Butterfly smiles "I see. So that is how you see flowers." She reaches out and seems to write down some notes. "Very good. I see. Your impression is interesting. Now what is your name?" You give it and you said "I am here to deliver a package for Butterfly. Will you accept it as well as my answer?" Butterfly smiles "I will happily. I am Butterfly after all and you have given me an interesting gift with your answer. She accepts the gift a book that appears to be titled 'Beyond the Obvious by Butterfly. She smiles "My new book. I see that they finished it. That is sooner then I expected." She grins and hands you your payment. The extra gift makes you smile as it is a flower that appears to have been carved of crystal. It is lovely. It also glows just a little bit with an inner light. You turn your smile onto Butterfly. "Thank you for this flower. It is very pretty."

Butterfly smiles at you. "Flowers are often given as gift. That one stands for friendship and new beginnings. I hope you enough it as much as I enjoyed making it." You said "it is lovely. And I like the meaning as well." Butterfly smiles "I hope to see you again. Perhaps you can lend me your insights again." You say "Perhaps...." And with that you turn to leave. Butterfly was not so bad. However you are not sure you would return. Yet as you stare as the flower you ponder the meaning. Perhaps it is something to have your views valued by a scholar and author. Perhaps you should accept that friendship..... a friendship that is represented by a pretty flower.
Courtier Tales: Butterfly

Draca smiles as you come in again after completing a job. "I have another job for you. An interesting one. It is in town but it should be a bit interesting." You perk as the phrase 'in town' is enough to make you feel like you might actually be able to recover after the most physically draining jobs of before. However you have already learned to be suspicious of any job that sounded easy. And while there were no mountains or major obstacles that you can remember it did not mean that there were not any. You give her a weary look. This job sounded too good to be true. Especially if Draca thought it was 'interesting.' Draca's grin widened "I see you are swiftly becoming an experienced courtier." She said in a conversational tone. You eye her wondering if that meant that you were learning to never take things as they were presented. And if that meant Draca had been doing this to you on purpose. Somehow you could see that happening. Draca when on "There are more challenges then to the body to be a good courtier. The mind also holds many mysteries. This job will help you explore those." She extends a claw holding the package and tells you where to go. You swallow as you take it. You are starting to wonder what you are in for. But you have a feeling in your gut that you are going to wish that this was just another physical challenge.

As you head on to to the meeting location you are wondering exactly what you are in for from this Butterfly. As usual you know next to nothing about her. And you have a feeling you are in for a rough ride. You mentally pause as you wonder if Draca is actually a closet satist and actually enjoys tormenting her trainees or if this is really for your own good. You are having a hard time making up you mind on what position to take. Perhaps this Butterfly can help you decide. Finally you arrive at the building and stare at the structure. It is impressive. It would appear that this butterfly lives in a treelike building could support a city of its own. Strangely enough there appeared to be a door for you to enter and you do. The room seems to be lit by small balls of lightning floating midair. A maze of bookshelves is carved into the living wood. You see another human sitting reading a book of daunting size. You clear your throat and ask where Butterfly is. The man pauses looking at you closely. "You want to see Butterfly?" He seems a little impressed. "You need to go to the other side of the tree. Go through to the far side and go through the door. She will be there. Good luck."

With that foreboding information you gather your nerve and now are certain that you are in for another one of the challenges that Draca's jobs seem to be. You follow the instructions all the same and exit the three entering a field of flowers some seem to be normal ones while others seem to be made of all sorts of a materials including glass, stone, crystal, wood, and bone. There are also other things made of similar materials in all sorts of shapes and forms. In the center of the 'flower garden' stands a dragon who appears to be constructing another flower out of paper. You guess this is your client and approach. "Butterfly?" You ask just to be sure. But before you can add anymore the dragon speaks. "What do you think makes a flower a flower?"

You pause as you are not sure what this is about. Butterfly said "I don't have all day answer when I speak to you. The question is simple what is a flower?" You sigh as this is going to most likely be an uphill battle. "Flowers are pretty and they hold a scent. They are flowers." That answer fits. And you are not sure why you need to define it. However you are at once challenged. "What makes a flower pretty? Why do they have to hold a scent?" Your answer most likely won't please this dragon but you say it anyways. "They just are. And some just hold a scent. Others don't I guess." Butterfly said "So flowers don't have to hold a scent but they have to be pretty. Show me a flower then." You sigh as you move to pluck a flower and said "Here." You say certain that this too will be challenged.

As expected Butterfly does "So all flowers must look this this?" You knew that it would be too simple. "This is one type of flower it is a violet and all violets look like this." This task is already starting to great on your nerves. Butterfly does not accept that "So are all violets pretty?" You say "If you like violets then one is as good as another." Butterfly's eyes gleam and you know you have slipped up. Butterfly points to a violet made of bone. "So this is a violet and it is pretty."

You said "It is shaped like a violet but it is bone. I guess it is pretty enough." Butterfly says "Does that mean that all bone violets are pretty then?" She then pulls out a bone violet that looks like it was made by a drunk using hacksaw. You of course shake your head "That one is not well made. I would not call it pretty." Butterfly eyes you. "So it has to be well made to be pretty then." She pulls out a glass sculpture of artfully blown and shaped class. It is clearly made with extreme skill. However the sight of it repels you. Something is about the color and shape that gives you a bad feeling. It looks almost like it was made to resemble something you instinctively fear. "no that is not pretty." You tell the dragon.

Butterfly said "But it is well made." You nodded "well made but not pretty." You suddenly realize why you don't like it. The glass seems to be shaped in the form of different body organs all mixed with each other. It is not exactly tasteful that is for sure. And certainly not pretty. Butterfly looks at you. "So then if a flower does not have to be wellmade to be pretty then what makes a flower pretty?" Again you are faced with the same question and you are trying to find an answer that can't be so easily challenged. You see a flower being visited by a butterfly and you seize on that idea. "Flowers partly are pretty because they help provide food for insects that drink nectar." You know better then to just accept any bug as a visitor as you might be shown a house of roaches or dung beetles. Butterfly said "So if it is a host nectorvores then it is pretty." She eyes you. "Did you know that the male mosquito is a nectarour while the female also feeds on blood of various species including humans and animals. Does that mean that those things are pretty flowers?" You pause as you are not sure it is wise to compare humans, skunks and dozens of other creatures to flowers. "No those things are not flowers. However some of those things are pretty perhaps to others of their kind." You are starting to talk like a lawyer for your own well being.

Butterfly said "So then what makes a flower a flower if a flower is not defined as pretty." You are faced with the original question again. You decide to really think about it this time instead of shooting with the first answer you come up with. You look at the different things and after several minutes of hard thought you say this. "A flower is seen in different ways. To me a flower is pretty. It is a lovely thing that you get to see in many forms at different times of the year. To different people different flowers hold different appeal. A person may also make things in the shape of flowers for decoration or using flowers as an inspiration. The ones I like are the ones of my favorite flowers or are well made and made with loving care. They are parts of a scene that is frozen in time. They can remind me of different times or memories. They also can remind me that there are better days to come with times are not going well. Or in the harshness of winter. To other people flowers might mean different things. Lovers sometimes give each other flowers or other gifts. They are used as part of weddings or gifts to females that you are close to. Some flowers are a labor of love and they can be the last gift to a person who has died. Flowers I guess are many things. And have many meanings. But to me they are honestly just flowers and many of them are pretty." You look at the dragon hoping that this answer is good enough.

Butterfly smiles "I see. So that is how you see flowers." She reaches out and seems to write down some notes. "Very good. I see. Your impression is interesting. Now what is your name?" You give it and you said "I am here to deliver a package for Butterfly. Will you accept it as well as my answer?" Butterfly smiles "I will happily. I am Butterfly after all and you have given me an interesting gift with your answer. She accepts the gift a book that appears to be titled 'Beyond the Obvious by Butterfly. She smiles "My new book. I see that they finished it. That is sooner then I expected." She grins and hands you your payment. The extra gift makes you smile as it is a flower that appears to have been carved of crystal. It is lovely. It also glows just a little bit with an inner light. You turn your smile onto Butterfly. "Thank you for this flower. It is very pretty."

Butterfly smiles at you. "Flowers are often given as gift. That one stands for friendship and new beginnings. I hope you enough it as much as I enjoyed making it." You said "it is lovely. And I like the meaning as well." Butterfly smiles "I hope to see you again. Perhaps you can lend me your insights again." You say "Perhaps...." And with that you turn to leave. Butterfly was not so bad. However you are not sure you would return. Yet as you stare as the flower you ponder the meaning. Perhaps it is something to have your views valued by a scholar and author. Perhaps you should accept that friendship..... a friendship that is represented by a pretty flower.
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