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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

The Storyboard of Ataniel Archives: June, Part 2

Name: Alyssa Gulledge
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s) Melissandra, Sashami
Title of Post Further trials of a Young Lady
Sent: 8.39 am - 6/4

Melissandra mustered up her best curtsey, and said to the woman in the scale mail "I humbly apologize for blocking your way. Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?"

The woman looked up at her and frowned. "Well, who are you and are you in league with the assasin?"

"Um...I am Melissandra Clarabella Annisetta, and no I would NEVER be in league with someone as impolite as an assassin. If I go get him, will this make it up to you? Would you then be inclined to help me? I am not from a city and I am feeling quite lost."

Sashami looked up at this huge woman, dressed totally out of place, and said "Sure?"

Melissandra dropped her enormous bag in the doorway, reached in and grabbed her sword. She looked at Sashami, with a hopeful gaze then turned around and began running. Her long legs and extreme need drove her forward much faster than anyone would have guessed. All of the denizens of the city got out of her way ? even the people on the opposite side of the street felt the urge to flee.

She saw the flapping of the assassins cloak towards the end of the street make a quick shift to the left. She sped up and followed. Just as she entered the alley, he was stepping into a glowing hole in space, likely a portal of some type. She made a frantic lunge for the assassin, grabbing his cloak as he was stepping through. She yanked as hard as she could, pulling him back though. Unfortunately the sudden lack of resistance snapped her back onto her rear-end and knocked the wind out of her. The assassin fell back, smacking the pavement as well, but was able to crawl back through the portal before Melissandra could recover. As his cloak passed through, the portal dissipated, leaving Melissandra sitting in the mud and filth, with nothing to show for her attempt.

She slowly stood up, holding back her tears. She was in a city where no one would give her the time of day, and her last chance at help had disappeared. She sniffled, not caring how unladylike it was, and kicked at the trash in the alley. A strange noise made her look, and she realized that the assassin had dropped a pouch. She opened it and found the wand that he had been holding, some papers and an odd ring.

She went back to the Silverhammer, and found the woman in the nice armor. "Miss? I am afraid the villain got away from me through some portal, but I was able to recover this bag of his. Is this enough? Would you help me anyway? Please?" And despite her best efforts one gigantic tear rolled down Melissandra's face.

Name: Eric Gasior
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Alexke
Title of Post: A Minute Late
Sent: 9.25 am - 6/4

Alexke had planned on providing backup to Sashami. The women had still been talking to her about being a thief when the old man entered. Alexke hadn't done much lock picking, but she knew how to backstab.

She turned left at the door when Sashami turned right and didn't see the crash. When Alexke turned onto vine from the other end of the block, she expected to see the warrior engaged in a fight. Instead she saw a large woman and a disapppearing portal.

Following the woman back to the bar, she heard the recent arrival ask for help. Alexke wasn't good at sympathy but she put a hand on the woman's arm. "He left through a portal. It looked extradimensional. I couldn't follow. What does the scroll say?"

Name: Lora Redish
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Sashami and Chloe
Title of Post: Sashami's vote
Sent: 9.30 am - 6/4

Sashami's jaw dropped open as the hulking woman in the evening dress chased after the fleeing assassin with superhuman speed. She too had disappeared around the corner before the young ranger--no slowpoke herself--had any chance to catch up. She only had a few minutes to stand around the intersection in helpless frustration, however, as the hulking woman swiftly returned with a bag and a piece of a ripped cloak, apologizing tearfully for allowing the assassin to escape.

Sashami wasn't sure whether to be more impressed with the woman's evident prowess in chasing the man down from behind, or the honor that must be underlying her shame in failing. Either way, this was a worthy companion in her book. She wasn't happy with this new influx of thieves Thalia seemed to be trying to recruit. "You made a heroic attempt," she said, trying not to stare at the woman's misshapen grey-green features. "My name is Sashami, and we are the Silver Bullets... I for one would be glad of your company."

"Aw, dammit, he got away?" Alderon looked dejected, and kicked the nearest lamppost. "Hey, Berryn, do you know Speak With Dead? Maybe we could get that old guy to speak in a complete sentence."

"Unfortunately," sighed Chloe, coming back out of the disheveled Silverhammer, "his body seems to have disappeared."

"It's going to be one of those days, isn't it?"

"Is everyone all right?" Chloe's eyes skimmed the group of young adventurers like she was taking roll: she and Berryn, Thalia, Alderon, Jason, Sashami, Rissa, the two new thieves, and the overdressed troll. At least, she thought, they hadn't lost anyone. Yet. "We have some clues about the assassin now, if not his target... should we try to figure out what his deal is, or concentrate on these weird markings on the amulet and the scroll?"

Name: Jonah Cohen
Plotline: At the Mithril Dagger
Character(s): Introducing: Carter Edison
Title of Post: Dial M for Mithril Dagger!
Sent: 4.31 pm - 6/4

Carter Edison walked dejectedly through the streets of New Lianth, a city that looked like it had been constructed by a few dozen architects. Fitting, in a way. He wandered aimlessly, until he found himself standing before a tavern plainly labeled "The Mithril Dagger". Wouldn't you know it, he thought, and walked inside.

The bar was mostly empty. All of the people were looking up at the rafters, and a blonde elf was poking around the beams with a broomstick. Reflexively, Carter looked up as well. After a moment of spotting nothing, he said "What are we looking at?"

Everyone was startled, as though they'd been caught googing off at work. "Oh, hi. I'm Kevin," said the man wearing the Mage t-shirt who stood behind the bar. "Welcome to the Mithril Dagger. We're trying to get this baby Aurumvorax out of the rafters, but he's pretty stubborn."

"Did you try using Monster Summoning?" Carter asked.

Kevin, the blonde elf and the cute waitress looked at each other. Then, in an exagerated voice, the waitress called out "Gosh, I hope there are no monsters around!"

"Yes!" Kevin said. "I fear I am down to just 1 hit point!"

"And, uh, I'm very tired from carrying all this treasure!" the elf added. Everyone looked up again. The Aurumvorax wasn't taking the bait.

"Well, it was a good idea, Mr...?"

"Just call me Carter," he said, taking a seat next to the heavy-browed woman. "Aquavit, please."

Kevin produced the drink with more efficacy than Carter had ever seen in a bartender. "So, what brings you to the Dagger, Carter?"

He stared into his drink, and in the same tone of voice with which one would announce testicular cancer, said "I'm a hero."

Name: Kristin L'Kar Andersen and Evan Haag
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Rissa and Berryn
Title of Post: Mmm... Scroll...
Sent: 9.31 pm - 6/4

Rissa stood carefully from behind her chair and brushed mirror fragments off her skirt. Knowing full well that she'd never catch anyone in a chase afoot, she lingered behind the other Bullets for long enough to grab her satchel. There was flash of light at the corner of her eye. She snapped her head around, just in time to see the old man's body disappear.

Her face tingled as if frostbit. The skin between her shoulder blades crawled.

�Rissa cut her brain off in mid-prayer and mentally kicked herself. Hard.


Rissa blinked once as she scanned the party outside, gathered around a� formidable young lady in a rather battered ball gown. What a fascinating bone structure... Part troll? That can't be right, can it? The female thief was speaking comfortingly to her, as was Sashami; so Rissa contented herself with a friendly smile and a wave for the apparent newest member of the Silver Bullets, and headed for the male thief.

"Hi," she said shyly to Jimmy. "My name is Rissa. I'm the bard, more or less. Do you think I might look at that scroll?" She stood on tiptoe and peered at it over his arm as he turned it upside down, then right side up.

"Um�" Being forced to voice a bare-faced contradiction, she prudently selected one of the people she'd known for more than half an hour. "Berryn? I� don't think this is an actual scroll."

"Well, does it taste like a scroll?" asked the slightly-smirking priest. Chloe immediately whapped him across the shoulder in what looked like a reflex-response. "Sorry, hon, my bad. Why do you say that, anyway?"

"Look, one edge of the paper is ragged. Someone ripped this out of a book." She edged it away from the male thief with an apologetic smile, and played gently with a corner of the page. Pale smudges of dust came away on the fingertips of her gloves, but the silky paper remained intact. "A very old and expensive book. The writing looks similar to the amulet, but�" She blinked down at the paper. "There's a word or a name occurring several times, and it's oddly emphasized. Do you� think this might be from a holy text of some kind?"

Berryn gently took the expensive parchment scrap from her, and looked at it thoughtfully. "Well, in addition to being a professional consoler of the bereaved, I also happen to be the apprentice of Luthien Greyspear, and as such have spent way too much time staring at old books reading stories about dead people and dead cultures. I have to say I agree with your theory that this might be a holy text; there's definitely some sort of excessive emphasis on this one string of symbols here. It's definitely not Bryttani or Dalen, or Cynystran for that matter. It doesn't resemble Riklandik runes either. Hell, for all I know it's Goblin, and this whole page is a recipe for sewer rat stew. Unfortunately, I wasn't prepared to decipher any weird menus; I don't have a Comprehend Languages spell memorized."

Name: Alyssa Gulledge
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Melissandra
Title of Post: Where are my manners?
Sent: 7.55 am - 6/5

"Silver Bullets? Hey! Silver Bullets!"

Melissandra's face split into a surprisingly joyful grin, her incongruous blue eyes lighting up. "You are who I have been looking for! A kindly seer in the mountains outside my home told my mother that I should seek out the Chromed Projectiles, but I guess that meant Silver Bullets. She said that my destiny lay with you. I had lost all hope of finding you, and in fact my request for your help was to"

Melissandra tried to look demure, which was odd on her huge unnatural features. "I am very pleased to have you ask me to join your group. I would be my humble pleasure to assist you in any way I can. I am sorry to have failed my first test, but I will be much better in the future. Thank you." She dropped another curtsey, once again surprising everyone in the room. Typically trolls don't curtsey, especially not in a befouled blue taffeta ball gown.

"Um, if it isn't too rude, might I ask the rest of you your names? I missed them while I was chasing that awful assassin. Oh, dear! Now that WAS rude! May I FIRST ask, who is the deceased and to who, er, whom do I offer condolences? Then I would like to know the names of the bold and brave heroes of the Silver Bullets, if I may."

Name: Alyssa Gulledge
Plotline: The Mithril Dagger
Character(s): Rhynwa!, Flicker, Kevin, Kayla, other people
Title of Post: It's just a Baby!
Sent: 8.19 am - 6/5

Rhynwa stood outside of the Mithril Dagger and smiled. All of the good times, and most of the bad ones, started here. After 7 years of child rearing and high priestess-ing, it was nice just to see this place. But now, to summon danger and trouble ? open the door and step in.

"Hullo? Guys? Kevin! Kayla! Flicker! And you other people I don't know! Hi! And now the big question... what the Hell are you all doing?"

"Baby aurumvorax in the rafters."

"Um...poking it with a stick will NOT get it down. Kevin, would you get me a bowl of milk please? And Kayla, I need a mortar and pestle from the kitchen. And Flicker, get off the chair. Trust a mother to figure this one out."

Kevin and Kayla gave he a quick hug as they went past to the kitchen. As Flicker dismounted his chair, she asked "So are you and Kayla a thing yet?"

Flicker smirked and said "I don't paticipate in 'things' but if you mean 'are you dating' then the answer is yes."

Rhynwa chuckled. She walked over and gave him a hug, and said "All these years, and at least 4 bodies, but I still can't help but to think of you as Sunny. On the other hand, I ALWAYS think of you as my friend."

Just then Kevin returned with the milk, and Kayla with the mortar and pestle. Rhynwa took a gold coin from her pouch and dropped in into the mortar. She ground it into a fine powder, and sprinkled the gold dust into the pan of milk. She walked over to the chair Flicker had been on, set the pan of milk on the floor and propped the broom up on the chair to the rafters. She smiled at everyone in the room watching her. "You will now NEVER admit to hearing what happens next. Not anyone in this room. Agreed?"

The two newcomers and the three old timers looked at each other and nodded or mumbled consent, not sure what was to happen. Rhynwa sat down next to the pan and began singing. Singing a lullaby. Her voice was a little rough, and her tone was hardly perfect, but it was a distinct and proper lullaby. Flicker grinned, as did Kayla, and they quietly lent their voices to the ancient bedtime tune.

After a few minutes, the aurumvorax, calmed by the quiet melody, cautiously began descending the broom handle to the chair. It sat and stared at the people in the room, snarled a bit at Flicker, but descended to the pan of milk and gold. As it began lapping at the milk, Rhynwa slowly reached out her hand, still crooning to it, and lightly stroked it's back. It paused in it's meal, but sensing no danger went back to eating.

"It is very young to be without it's mother. It was hungry and scared and there was this big, blond thing poking it with a stick ? of COURSE it wasn't coming out of the rafters, guys!"

Kevin, as well as Kayla and Flicker, looked a bit sheepish. "Um...want a beer, Rhyn?"

"Yes, very badly. So Kevin, when are the rest of the heroes getting here?"

Name: Lora Redish
Plotline: At The Mithril Dagger
Character(s) Heart
Title of Post: Just can't help the meta-comment, dammit
Sent: 9.12 am - 6/5

Heart watched the black-garbed woman carefully as she lured the aurumvorax down from the rafters. She had the look of a shamaness about her, but Heart couldn't tell if she was trying to cast a spell with all the milk and chanting or just using her maternal instinct.

"So, Kevin," the woman said, "when are the rest of the heroes getting here?"

Kevin looked a little confused. "Was someone supposed to meet you tonight?"

"The reunion was postponed," Flicker said apologetically, hopping down from the rafter. "I'm not really available for adventuring just now, either--"

"We got engaged this week," Kayla explained.

"Oh, that's wonderful!" Rhynwa scritched the little aurumvorax on the tummy and it purred contentedly. "Personally, though, I'm ready for a little action. Luth's been saving the world from lich lords or whatever these past five years, and it's his turn to watch Gordon for a while. Is anything cooking?"

"I'm a hero," sighed Carter, in a highly depressed voice.

"So am I. One more in the same bar at the same time and something's bound to happen."

Everyone looked at Heart. "I'm more of a writer," she apologized. "I'm doing a study on magic use... I was hoping to tag along with a couple of magic-users for a while. I can handle myself in a fight, if that helps."

"Well, the dinner hour's only just starting," Kevin pointed out. "Plenty of time for new arrivals. You know how the Dagger works."

"We know," nodded everyone in the room but Heart, and settled in to wait.

Name: Eric Gasior
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Alexke
Title of Post: Getting to Know You
Sent: 10.18 am - 6/5

"He didn't say. He just ran in, said amulet and got blasted." Alexke ignored the proprietor.

Melissandra's appearance didn't bother her. She liked the way the half troll's skin worked with her hair even though Alexke had been uneasy lately about her own blond hair. What she didn't know how to react to was Melissandra's ettiquitte. However the debutante was growing on her.

"I'm Alexke," she said clipping the final vowel. "I've just met the Silver Bullets and I am applying for membership, too."

Name: Lora Redish
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Sashami, woman of action
Title of Post: A time to muse, and a time to move
Sent: 10.37 am - 6/5

"Yeah, he just kind of wandered into the bar," Chloe agreed with Alexke. "We don't even really know that he was the good guy. For all we know he came to murder Rissa here and the hooded guy saved her." Rissa shuddered involuntarily. "His body seems to have mysteriously disappeared, so we're kind of at a dead end where that's concerned. What was in the killer's bag?"

"His papers," said Sashami, "Dalencian, though they're probably a forgery. How many assassins travel around with valid passports issued in their real names? It says Mitchel Ewens, though, if that's worth anything. And his wand. Thalia, you should probably take that. You never know when a lightning bolt will come in handy."

"And then this parchment the dead man was carrying," Chloe said, frowning at it. "A page from a holy text, huh? I still think this part of it might be a map." She indicated a stylized criss-crossing of lines. "But the rest could be writing, though it's certainly no language I've ever seen before. Why don't we take it to the New Trade Library?"

"The library won't open till morning," said Sashami. "By then Berryn could have his language spell memorized anyway. I say we catch a coach to Dalencia and see if we can find this 'Mitchel Ewens'. We can introduce ourselves on the way. My father always used to say there's a time for idle musing and it's not when there's an assassin at large. He may not be the wisest man in the world, but there's a certain amount of sense in that."

Name: Jonah Cohen
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Jimmy D and the Silver Bullets
Title of Post: First Impressions? I may be out of my league
Sent: 7.04 pm - 6/5

"Perhaps we could examine this en route to Dalencia?" Sashami suggested, taking the ring from Melissandra.

"Ooh, hang on!" Jimmy said. He reached into his bag of holding, the only magic item he owned. He pulled out a schedule of Trade Carriage arrivals and departures. "Lessee... her we go. One departing for Eddimon in half an hour."

"To the station!" Alderon said with gusto.

It was only a five minute walk, and when there, Jimmy said. "OK, just to avoid me getting confused, one more time, what's everyone go by? I'm Jimmy D, just to start." He sized up his teamates, or at least potential teamates, as they went along.

Thalia would appear to be the sorceress of the group, as Sashami had forked the magic wand over to her. The impression he got from her was that she came from a family with a lot of class and a lot of cash. Rich girl, but no snobby vibes.

Chloe Paris might have been the leader of the Silver Bullets. At least, she seemed like the organized type, and unfazed by the strange events of the day. Her and Berryn either old chums or dating. He recalled Cosmo Paris' carnival coming to visit his town when he was a boy, and wondered if there was any relation.

He hadn't had time to powow with Alexke, but as a cohort in crime, he was looking forward to working with her. She seemed young... but she had spoken with great certainty when she declared the assasin's portal to be extradimensional, like she had experience in this area. Maybe she had pulled some jobs looting the Plane of Copious Gold or something. That would be too cool.

Sashami was the one most likely to be team leader, Jimmy quickly decided. The axe, the armor, the action before chat 'tude. She was a woman who meant business. He felt a slight twinge.

Rissa Minarye, bard of the Bullets, seemed one of the group's brain trust. The young elf had a likeable way to her quiet manner, and she'd identified the page as torn from an ancient text quickly. Jimmy was impressed. He was good at spotting a number of kinds of valuable loot, but not books. Rissa was also womnan of the hour, as the amulet she wore was stirring up a lot of attention.

Jason was rather quiet, but he was strapped with a large sword and might well have been one of the group's bricks.

Jimmy liked Alderon, who, he got the feeling, might be some kind of pirate. Still, he was lacking a parrot or a peg-leg or eye-patch, and had yet to end a sentence with "Arrr!"

Where to start with Melissandra Clarabella Annisetta? Well, start with the fact that she was green. And absolutely huge. And she chased down an assasin, scuffled with him, and lifted his purse - damn impressive. Add to that her child-like way of presenting herself, the prom dress, the formal manners, and the elegant name... well, she was quite a piece of work. And green.

Then there was Berryn, to whom Jimmy said: "You said before you trained with Luthien Greyspear. Not Luthien the Mithril Dagger Hero?"

"The same."

"For real?" Jimmy said, not even close to hiding his amazement. Berryn nodded.

"I used to adventure with Khyrisse Starshadow's team," Thalia added.

"Khyrisse is my aunt," Rissa said.

"Flicker the Sunfighter is my cousin," Alderon announced proudly. "Oh, and I once shared a strange adventure with Shilree."

"I was on a quest with Flicker and Shilree once, too," Jason said quietly. "And Praxis."

Jimmy could all but hear Mary's voice in his ear. Get your jaw off the ground, farm boy. You'll inhale flies.

He tried to not look like such an awestruck hick. Beside him, rather - two feet above him, Melissandra was trying to daintily dab the mud from her face. Absently, Jimmy reached into the bag of holding, found a bandana and handed it to her.

"Thank you, kind sir," she said, taking the makeshift handkerchief from him. Did she just call me sir?!?

About this time, Jimmy DiLaurentis realized he wasn't in Kansas anymore.

Back to the June Archives, Part 3

'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

Pueblo Indian home style * Native clothing * Male Indian names * Micmac * Moccasin slippers