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[Diocha] Once upon a time there was a bird

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Title: Once upon a time, there was a bird…
Number: 57
Date: Jun 9, 2008 at 10:52 PM
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Divinatas – Jun 9, 2008 at 10:52 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173]Paige

Happily ever after her malnourished, freezing behind. [i]True love conquers all![/i] they say. [i]Dreams really do come true![/i] For what, 2 percent of the entire Novaria population?

Paige was admittedly bitter.

Not everyone could say they were kidnapped by a witch and turned in to a bird, forced to sing pretty. While she cackled and tormented poor suitors coming to save their imprisoned fiances. Sure, lots of men came to try and save their girlfriends and met their doom. While other men tried and failed, running back home with their tails between their legs mourning their lost loves. One day a boy managed to kill the rotten old witch and the spell was broken! All of the girls were free to go home to their men!

Of course, HER man had married someone else. Her parents sold their land and moved out to Florence assuming she was a goner, and not a single person in town would offer her a job. How nice of them.

Now here she was sitting on a street corner while it was snowing cats and dogs in a patchwork dress, fingerless gloves, and playing a lute. And singing. Still. Years of imprisonment in a birdcage singing for a crotchety old witch, and now she was out in the cold singing for enough coppers to have enough for dinner tonight.

She hoped that happy couple… grew bald and fat!

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Ocha – Jun 9, 2008 at 11:33 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117]
[b]Prince Hans Hendrick Hinckley Horatio Hubert of Hynes[/b]

A curse was a horrible thing to live with. All because you fell in love with a pure maiden who was the daughter of a jealous and powerful enchanter. Surely though, their combined love could overcome any obstacle. No challenge for the pursuit of happiness could be too much.

He could have mended his broken heart when she ran off with the wizard once beyond the lands of her forefathers. He might have even gathered up his courage and returned home and admitted he could not find love for marriage and settle for a formal marriage of state. Yet he had not had a chance to sleep on it.

“I didn’t think there were any song birds this time of year,” Hans looked around, there were none on the roofs or in the trees. Perhaps he was imaging it. It was after all too cold for any creature with sense being out.

Must have been why he hadn’t found a warm fire yet. [/dashed]

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Divinatas – Jun 9, 2008 at 11:44 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173]Paige

Her fingers slipped on the strings of her lute at the sudden comment. Paige turned her head to scowl ferociously at whomever it was dumb enough to compare her to a songbird. Not that singing as pretty as the birds would be an insult, but she about had her fill of birds. A stranger, probably a penniless traveler. So much for making a few coin tonight. No one was fool enough to be out on the streets in all this snow, and the one that was didn’t seem to be worth very much.

Paige decided it was fine to go to bed without dinner just to get out of the cold. She stood slowly, grimacing at the stiffness in her joints, and slung the lute over her shoulder. She scooped up her hat from the ground with it’s measly days contents and stuffed it quickly in to her pocket.

“It’s called snow, and it doesn’t stop, so you might as well stop staring up at the sky like an idiot.”

[/dashed]

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Ocha – Jun 9, 2008 at 11:56 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117]
[b]Hans[/b]

Looking at the young woman, a lute across her shoulders, Hans realized he had made a mistake. It was not the first since he woke up last. No song bird but the strings of the maiden’s instrument.

“No? Well it is better snow fall I guess than it would be if this was the small bits left from an army of fairies that challenged an old senile dragon.” He then gave her a courtly bow. “I might disagree with you however on the fact of it not snowing. Less this town has newly been invaded by some icy elemental? In which case waiting for Spring would be most pointless.”

He was chatty. He did not like being so chatty. He liked conversations with meaning, but he knew he could ramble when he wasn’t alert.

“Spring though of course is a time of rebirth. Not unlike the phoenix.”

Oh damn it, he’s still talking. He really needed to quit before the poor woman fled in fear for her life.

“But I haven’t introduced myself yet. Please call me Hans.” [/dashed]

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Divinatas – Jun 10, 2008 at 12:04 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173]Paige

“What the hell are you talking about?” Paige blinked as he rambled on about faeries, then about snow, then about spring, dragons, and… well she couldn’t make sense of it. It all sounded like nonsense.

Paige considered walking away and leaving him talking, but then he had to introduce himself. With her luck, if she were rude, he might end up being some sprite out to cast vengeance on the wicked. It wasn’t all that funny to think about, she’s met at least three people in this town alone to be cursed just for not saying hello to a stranger.

“My name is Paige.” There. She said her name. Now she was backing up slowly, aiming to ease herself out of trouble before anything started.

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Ocha – Jun 10, 2008 at 12:25 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117]
[b]Hans[/b]

“Very pleased to meet you Paige. Might I be correct in assuming you are heading to your home? A warm fire awaiting you with wonderful tasting food.”

Uh-oh he was starting to ramble again. He’d better get to the point. “Might I escort you to your destination?”

Actually he wanted to find an inn. A place to get some food would be nice too. He had to be careful about how much money he spent. It was cold and wet out though and there was a chance he could do some odd jobs to make money for a while. Hans would rather not have to dip into his reserves if he didn’t have to. It was much better for people to think he was near broke.

“Your music was very nice by the way.” [/dashed]

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Divinatas – Jun 10, 2008 at 12:37 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173]Paige

Paige crossed her arms and eyed him skeptically. Interested in a warm fire and tasty food, then offering her a walk home. Was he going to rob her or something? Trying to placate her with compliments wasn’t going to work either. She figured out his game.

“Sorry to burst your bubble, but I don’t have a fire, food, or a home for that matter. So if you were thinking of primping me with more pretty words and then making off with my valuables, you’re going to be disappointed.”

“Of course, if you’re not..” she stated, once she realized he was probably too dense to even thinking about robbing someone, “There’s an Inn right down the street. I was going there anywhere for a drink and I might as well show you.”

[/dashed]

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Ocha – Jun 10, 2008 at 9:05 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

She thought him a common thief? How depressing. Like his life wasn’t awful enough as it was right now. To be mistaken for someone that would rob a poor bard, it was down right insulting.

“You are but a blessing, and angel to offer me this. I would indeed like to seek out an inn.” It was best to be polite if nothing. He then held out his arm to her. “Please, lead the way dear maiden.”

The wind was starting to pick up as night descended upon the town. It wasn’t a bad place. Long rows of well kept shops, with the homes of the shop keepers up top. Further down there was the small cottage homes of other workers and beyond that the farms of those that did not live in town.[/dashed]

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Divinatas – Jun 10, 2008 at 11:00 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Who did he think he was anyway, a prince? Paige rolled her eyes, with no intentions of taking his arm. Instead she handed him her bag, which was a hodgepodge of colorful patches and a lot more heavier then it looked. After all, it contained all the possessions she had.

Paige was at least considerate enough not to stalk off and leave him trailing behind her. She walked beside him down the snowy sidewalk, having to stuff her hands in to her pockets to shield from the wind. Maybe she’d spare a few coin for a pair of gloves that actually had fingers if this awful weather was going to keep up.

She stopped at the Poison Apple Inn and slipped inside. Chosen because it was the only place in town that had cheap drinks and didn’t care if you spent all night sleeping at one of their tables so long as you bought one. Paige didn’t have to ask for her order, the barkeep passed her a mug of his hot cider as she dropped one of her copper coins in his hands. Once she had her drink in hand, she confiscated her bag back from Hans the Wanderer.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s passed my bedtime.” Paige gave him a ridiculous little bow, seeing as one hand held a mug and the other her bag, before she wandered off to her favorite dark corner to make herself comfortable.

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Ocha – Jun 10, 2008 at 11:49 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

Lovely he’d been demoted to porter. He understood why she was playing on a street corner despite her talents. Her attitude was too much to bare. It didn’t matter, they were in an inn now. He followed her example on producing a coin to get a drink and was not sorry to see her leave for some less noticeable corner. If she wanted to be an antisocial lush it wasn’t any of his business.

Hans for his part took his cider and politely inquired about a seat where some older men were talking. They looked him up and down but finally shrugged not caring if he stayed or not. That was perfect. He didn’t want to be in their conversation, just listen. It was very relaxing to listen to old people talk.

The old men were talking about the harvest they just had, their children, traders and craftsmen in the area, and all those things that villagers talk about. That is until the door opened to a large man. “Where’s the Muffin Man! Yeah the Muffin Man. Where is that wife stealer. I know he’s here.”
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Divinatas – Jun 11, 2008 at 12:23 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

“The one that lives on Drury Lane?” someone from the bar asked. A couple others replied “Yeah, I know the Muffin Man.” and others goin’ on about “That wife stealing jerk.”

Finally a big burly man at one of the tables stood up and pointed a finger at the intruder. “I ain’t stole nobody’s wife! If ya pleased yer women, they wouldn’t be over at my bakery gettin’ their buns baked!”

That, of course, was the final straw for the man at the door, he pulled a short twisted stick out of his back pocket and aimed! Suddenly the whole room was in an uproar! “Lookout! He’s got a wand!” It was all anyone needed to jump out of their chairs and start charging at the wand holder, though some thought it was a better idea to go after that Muffin Man. It was a crazy display of drunken townsmen.

Paige wasn’t paying much attention to that Muffin Man nonsense, at least not until someone mentioned ‘wand’, then she thought it would be a good idea to get up and escape before any curses were slung around all willy-nilly. To her misfortune as soon as she was standing someone crashed in to her from behind, making her sling the last of her cider right in to some cranky looking brute’s face.

“You dirty wench! I’ll get you for that!” he slung his chair back and snagged her by the coat before she could run off!

“I didn’t do that on purpose!” she howled, not really seeing anything else to do but crash the mug over his head. Sadly, it didn’t do much beyond making him madder!

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Ocha – Jun 11, 2008 at 2:38 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

“Wand?” The hell with having a warm place to stay for a few hours, Hans had no intention of being anywhere near some village idiot with a wand. Who knew what could happen. The whole bar could be turned into a room full of swine. Wouldn’t that just be lovely? Then they’d be hunted down by these men’s children for dinner since ‘Daddy’ disappeared. Oh no, Hans was not going to be in that mess.

The door was out of the question since the wand wielder was there. The window was always a last resort. The best path was to the kitchen. He was almost there when some drunk grabbed his arm, muttering something about wife stealers, and tried to punch him. Hans had no intention of getting into a bar fight, but he ducked and punched the man in the gut just to end it quickly. He had to shake the man off his arm, his grip, he’d give the drunk, was good.

The whole thing did not take much time at all, but it did get him all turned around and he ended up bumping into someone. Hans muttered an apology and was about to step in the direction of the kitchen again when he heard a woman’s voice next to him.

It had to be one of the bar maids. Hans couldn’t just ignore the fact that she was in trouble. Turning he grabbed the wrist of the man who was about to pound on the poor woman. The momentum was just right, for the man was not stable on his feet and Hans was able to cause him to fall backwards. Right onto a chair the was already turned over. “That had to hurt. Are you alright mi- YOU!” He stared at Paige in disbelief. He’d just saved that cheeky bard!
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Divinatas – Jun 11, 2008 at 5:50 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Paige was more concerned with other things to be offended at the stranger’s horror of coming to her rescue. She snatched up her bag from the floor, and as an after though had snagged Hans’ arm to pull him towards the kitchen. It would be a clean escape!

But a blast of wandfire wizzed past them splattering on the kitchen door. Paige slid to a sudden halt as the wooden panel shifted and came alive, forming first a face, then a pair of arms and legs… It had shifted in to an angry wood troll!

Paige fumbled in her pockets for something useful finally pulling out and pointing… a fork! She eyed the fork with a grimance and the wood troll eyed the fork with malice.

This was exactly why wands were trouble!

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Ocha – Jun 11, 2008 at 7:14 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

A fork? They were suppose to fight with a fork? Against a wood troll?

Actually Hans had worse odds in the past.

Snatching the fork out of Paige’s hand he threw the fork right at one of the trolls eye. It howled with pain, which was fine with Hans. Meant that the creation was being distracted. With Paige still holding on to his arm, though he tucked it in so she wasn’t about to be separated from him, he ducked under the trolls legs so that the two of them were now in the safety in the kitchen.

Or so Hans thought.

The kitchen was light with the light of a hundred candles, though from the brief look Hans gave the room there were only a few. The extra lighting wasn’t what set the prince on edge however. It was the fact that the dishes and cutlery with moving. No, not just moving, dancing. Dancing and singing!
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Divinatas – Jun 11, 2008 at 7:32 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Now Paige knew why the barkeep had such cheap drink and meals. All his work was being done by theater dishes! She groaned, deciding it was better not to waste time staring, questioning, or catching attention. Paige tugged Hans through the kitchen, having to duck acrobatic dishware, flying utensils, and jump over parading pots and pans.

Pushing out through the back door in to the snowy night was a relief! Free from the madness! Paige stopped short, finding they were now face to face with… well, she wasn’t quite sure what he was. With the body of the man and the head of a big blobby thing, he looked sort of odd. Worse, he was standing there with arms crossed and purposeful in that horrible ominous way suggesting he wasn’t just some random goonie taking a stroll behind the bar.

…Paige wasn’t going to ask his business! Instead, she took off running down the back street pulling Hans behind her! Unfortunately, the goonie was giving chase!

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Ocha – Jun 11, 2008 at 8:56 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

As they ran, Hans couldn’t help but ask, “Friend of yours?”

It was perhaps not the nicest thing to ask, but he did want to know if this was just a random encounter or someone that had been looking for Paige. As they ran, Hans found he had to be careful of his footing. Snow on cobble stone was bad, especially if many others had been down these paths and the snow had melted and refroze.

They had just turned a corner when they saw a pair of horses that for some reason were not secured to a post or anything. They were just passively standing there. It was not only strange but suspicious. Who cared though!
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Divinatas – Jun 11, 2008 at 9:19 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

“No one is friends with goons!” she shouted back at him, seriously alarmed at the thought that it could be chasing after her, and not the crazy stranger like she had been hoping!

They were being blessed with unmarked horses for an easy escape!

…A horrible overwhelming feeling of dread decided to sit in her empty stomach and growl it’s protest. Goons and free horses. It was sounding a whole lot like a story, that she really didn’t want to be in. But the goonie was right there, and had nearly grabbed them both as it caught up to them. Paige, didn’t think twice as she scrambled for the horse, hooking her patchwork bag on to the saddlehorn and dragging herself up on to the saddle.

Paige only hesitated long enough to wait for Hans to get the other horse before it was time to flee. Guiltily is was more of a hope that he’d get eaten first if the goonie managed to catch up with them!

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Ocha – Jun 11, 2008 at 9:33 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

They road at a gallop, through the village square and past the wooden signed that welcomed people to Golden Pond. If there had been a pond that was made of gold, Hans never noticed it while he was there.

They made good time, though it was cold progress with both the wet snow and the wind. Hans looked back once they past the last house and at first he saw nothing and thought they where in the clear. Then however he saw something that looked like pink lightening come from somewhere in the village, it was crackling up into the night sky and out every which way.

One of the bolts in fact was coming in their general direction and Hans reigned his horse over so that it pushed Paige’s horse off the road, hence they missed being hit by the bolt. Hans hoped it had come from the crazed baker hater and not the goon that was chasing them.

In either case the pink spark hit something, and that something was groaning.
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Divinatas – Jun 11, 2008 at 9:43 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

She was freezing, so freezing that her fingers were practically stuck around the horse’s reigns and she was much too cold to open her mouth and complain, for she might end up with it frozen open!

Paige pulled her horse to a stop at the groaning up ahead. That bolt of pink lightening seem to have hit a talking mountain. Wait, it was no mountain but one of those Boulder Beasts! It had been sleeping right there in the middle of the road, blocking the travel path, and seemed to get an unfriendly wakeup zap. Luckily for it, pink lightning hardly had any effect on rocks.

Not so lucky for them, there was no way around it unless they trekked off in to the forest, and she was painfully wary of forests. Especially of forests at night, when it was snowing heavy and you couldn’t see farther than a few feet ahead of you.

Stiffly, Paige started digging in her bag. There had to be something useful in there somewhere!

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Ocha – Jun 11, 2008 at 9:52 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

They were trapped. There was a goon behind them and he doubted it would stop just because they got up on horseback. The only thing to do was to get enough distance between them, or kill it. Hans wasn’t exactly squeamish about killing monsters, but unless he had no choice he rather not risk his life over it.

Paige was looking in her bag, for the blue fairy only knew what. That meant Hans needed to make a decision. Or so he thought.

Paige’s horse whinnied at his, and the next thing he knew they were headed in the woods. Hans wasn’t sure this was a good plan and was about to reign in his horse then he realized that both horses were white. He didn’t want to reach over and see if he felt something on it’s forehead. No, Hans did not want to know if he was rescued by a magical being, he just wanted off!
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Divinatas – Jun 11, 2008 at 10:02 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

“Not the forest…!” Paige squeaked! Her protests fell on deaf ears, as not even her tugging and pulling on the reigns would make those horses turn around and go back the other way. They well deep in to the forest, where the snow mounds were several feet high and the trees were so thick you couldn’t even look up at the sky.

Near an impossibly large oak, the horse reared back unceremoniously dumping Paige off it’s back in to a large mound of snow and her bag landing on top of her. It shook it’s pure white head, stamped it’s hoof on the ground with a snort and Paige was rather sure the beast was laughing as it trotted away to disappear beyond the trees!

Paige was muttered all sorts of wicked things about unicorns as she furiously crawled out of the snow mound.

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Ocha – Jun 11, 2008 at 10:55 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

Hans was still a little bit in disbelief that he was in his situation. “Well you do have a lovely trot, I must say sir… er ma’am… er would ‘Your Majesticness’ work?”

Perhaps it was his endless politeness, or maybe the creature thought he was insane, in either case when they arrived at the grand oak, Hans was not uncerimoniously dumped on the ground, but allowed to dismount. Once on the snowy forrest floor the ‘horse’ shook it’s impressive mane at Hans and ran off after it’s fellow.

“Welcome great heros.”

Hans was sure that the voice was very much mistaken!
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Divinatas – Jun 11, 2008 at 11:16 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Paige was trying to shake the snow out of her skirt when she paused at the voice. She glanced around warily, but upon seeing nothing dangerous, she quickly snatched up her bag and made a beeline to follow the tracks back towards the street. But her path was suddenly blocked by a large tree root that lifted itself up out of the ground.

“The forest is filled with untold dangers.” said the voice. It was booming but still held a strange gentle quality to it. “Rest this evening inside my trunk, so that you may rest before your long journey.” It didn’t leave much room for refusal… especially when a door appeared on the trunk of the oak. It swung open to reveal a grand looking room, even complete with a burning fireplace!

Dangerous frozen forest… or a warm magical tree. Paige really did have to think on it for a moment. All of this was going to lead to nothing but trouble, but she was so cold at the moment, that anything would be better than spending the night in the snow!

She pointed an icy finger at the tree. “You first…?”

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Ocha – Jun 11, 2008 at 11:25 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

“Okay,” Hans said with a shrug, but then he got by her before going in he whispered, “If this thing eats me, I’m haunting you.” Then with a smile Hans strolled into the tree.

There was no strange lurch in space, no blurring of vision. The inside of the tree was exactly what it appeared to be on the inside. Why there was a fire in a tree Hans didn’t know, but it didn’t matter at the moment, he was stuck here till morning so he might as well make himself comfortable. There was only one bed, but that wasn’t a problem, Paige could sleep in it.

Sitting in a chair, Hans set his sword belt against the stone of the fireplace and proceed to take off his boots. His toes were cold and he planned on warming up as much as possible. “Too bad there’s no food.”
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Divinatas – Jun 11, 2008 at 11:50 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Satisfied that he wasn’t getting swallowed by the tree and unconcerned about his haunting threat, Paige stepped carefully through the door.

The door the slammed itself shut and disappeared!

Oh, she really really hoped this wasn’t going to be some sort of prison for the next one hundred years! Paige left her bag and shuffled to the fireplace, where she promptly dropped on her knees and held her poor fingers out towards the flames. Wonderful heavenly heat! Maybe she won’t have any frostbite damage and have to play her lute with her teeth.

At the mention of food a little door appeared on the floor next to Paige. Not to skeptical to prevent curiosity, Paige lift it open. Inside was a tray covered with more food than she had seen in a long time! Steaming bowls of soup, warm rolls, cookies and milk. For the first time Paige smiled as she lift out the tray and set it down, closing the trap door.

“I officially change my whole opinion of this tree!”

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Ocha – Jun 12, 2008 at 12:02 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

However skeptical Hans might have been about the whole thing, he couldn’t escape the allure the smell of the food had on him. His stomach would never forgive him if he did not partake of the feast before his eyes and it made a large rumbling sound so he was sure to know this too.

“I do hope it taste as good as it smells,” he said as he reached over for a bowl of soup and took a sip of the broth. It was in fact even better than if smelt by some way or another. Hans was quiet for a long while before he spoke again, he was enjoying his dinner far too much.

“You may call me Hans by the way miss,” he said by way of introduction.
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Divinatas – Jun 12, 2008 at 12:26 AM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Paige was doing an excellent job of using her manners and not scarfing down the food like a ravenous dog. She made a peculiar face at his introduction as she took a bite of her roll. Didn’t he remember they went through that already? Chewing slowly, she took that under to consideration. In this sort of world, things like that weren’t usually forgetful slips of the mind.

“You already told me that. I’m Paige, remember?” She hoped he wasn’t memory-cursed. That would get real frustrating real fast. But, considering they were going to be there all night and that he [i]did[/i] help get them out of that bar brawl, she decided to be more friendly.

“I didn’t really thank you before for stopping that idiot from clobbering me. So thank you.”

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Ocha – Jun 12, 2008 at 12:33 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

The exhaustion was getting to him. “You did introduce yourself. I’m sorry, it’s been such a long day. And you are quite welcome. He seemed quite angry, and very drunk so I’m just thankful I was able to help when I did.”

Hans stretched out some now enjoying a cookie. “Is there any chance you know what has happened here? I feel like I’ve been swept up into something since I met you, and while I’m sure you’re a very lovely young woman to know…” Hans wasn’t sure how to finish his statement without it sounding insincere or insulting. Neither of which he wanted to be.
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Divinatas – Jun 12, 2008 at 12:54 AM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Paige raised an eyebrow. That sounded to her a lot like blaming her for the entire situation. “I was having a very uneventful day until you came along. The bar brawl was pretty normal, but a Goonie and Unicorns is an entirely different thing.”

Saving her cookie for nibbling later, she was pulling off her gloves, her jacket, her shoes, and her holy socks! It was so nice to get all of those extra layers off! She sniffed her sweater sleeve and frowned. What she needed was a bath and her clothes washed. She had been like this for weeks without any proper water, and if the tree was going to be helpful…

Tapping her fingers together as innocently as possible she glanced up at the tree. “I’d give anything for a bath. Even just a small one?” Paige was very happily rewarded when a wall spun around revealing a screen and a bath tub of hot steaming water behind it! A very happy cry of delight as she grabbed all her clothes and drug the, with her behind the screen.

“…of course if this is all your fault, I think I could forgive you!”

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Ocha – Jun 12, 2008 at 12:59 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

At least he hadn’t horribly insulted her. Hans stood up to move the chair so his back was to the screened off bath. “If it is my fault I will still ask for your forgiveness, though for the life of me I’m not sure how I did this if that is the case.”

Did that make sense? He wasn’t sure, but he figured she seemed bright enough to have understood the jits of it. Hans continued nibbling on his cookie. “Might I ask though if anything, unusual, has happened to you before? This might not be either of our faults, but it’s good to know what we’re working with.”
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Divinatas – Jun 12, 2008 at 1:13 AM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

It took her a moment to decide whether or not she was going to wash her clothes and then take a bath or take a bath and then wash her clothes. She decided a bath would be better if it were fresh, so she was quickly out of her clothes and in the tub with a sloshy splash!

She barely caught half of his yammering as she ducked her whole head under water. It sounded like he still thought it was her doing, and she considering throwing a bar of soap over the screen.

“As a matter of fact, once a witch turned me in a bird and made me sing for my supper. Now I’m human again and there’s not much difference.” She tried not to sound so bitter about it, but failed. “It’d be nice to say I was rescued, but I wasn’t. Some other girl was, and as a result all the rest of us birds were free. I think I might prefer being a bird now.”

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Ocha – Jun 12, 2008 at 1:18 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

There was a dry chuckle from where Hans sat in his chair. It lacked amusement. “A curse. I can understand the sentiment, but I’m sure being free of the curse is much better than how things are now. I doubt though a formerly cursed girl is something tempting though. Less of course someone fancies you for yourself, then they’re going to odd means to see you.”

Hans was honest enough with himself to be jealous, the girl was free, even if it was not by the means she wished. “Do you forgive him?” Hans was a bit surprised with his question, but knew he wanted the honest answer. Honesty was something that had been lacking in his conversations with people lately.
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Divinatas – Jun 12, 2008 at 1:33 AM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

“How would you know there’s a ‘him’?” Paige replied sourly, sinking low in to the tub water until it reached her chin. Why did she even tell him anyway? Not that anyone else had ever asked. Most people don’t bother chatting long with a homeless bard, and she didn’t exactly make it easy for them either. It was just better that way.

“As a matter of fact, I don’t. When a guy says he loves you, and will do anything for you, and will never love another person…they’re suppose to mean it! Other boys at least tried to save their girls, but you know what he did? He just went back home and married someone else! A week later!” There was an angry splash behind the screen as she smacked the water.

“So he and his wife can.. can… Have mutant babies for all I care.”

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Ocha – Jun 12, 2008 at 1:43 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

A more authentic laugh came from where Hans was sitting. “Who knows, perhaps not sticking through thick and thin for your cursed love has consequences. I certain hope that is the case. Though I don’t know if I’d wish for mutant babies. Might end up meeting them later in life.”

Hans ideally wondered how long it would be before his so called love would give birth to her first spawn. With the type of husband she had, it was too much to hope that it would be a long labor. Hans sighed, he sometimes wished he could forget ever meeting her.

“I will wish for you however that the next man will be a true love that will stand by you through all the hardships of life. It’s obviously the least that you are owed.”
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Divinatas – Jun 12, 2008 at 2:10 AM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

He was being surprisingly kind. Not that she knew what sort of personality he had at all besides being weird, but she hadn’t heard [i]anyone[/i] really say something nice or supportive to her since… well, since before that curse!

Paige flicked at her soapy water, silent for a few moments. “Thank you. I really appreciate that.” She moved and rest her arms on the tub basin while she plucked things out of her clothing pockets to prepare them for washing. “Now that you know my fabled story, are you hiding anything I need to know about? I don’t want to be be cursed by association, after all.”

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Ocha – Jun 12, 2008 at 2:20 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

“No, you don’t have to worry about being cursed by association,” Hans sighed and was silent for a moment. “I have paid the price well enough that nothing more is needed.”

Realizing that his cookie was now gone, he wiped his hands on the cloth napkin. The act of doing so took him back in his memories. “I haven’t slept since the day her mother found out I was courting her.”

Poems, flowers, risky rides at night to be by her window. All of that, and for what, some cheep memories he wish to bury and the lose of dreams. It was a horrible price to pay, but he doubted anyone could see being unable to sleep as a curse.
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Divinatas – Jun 12, 2008 at 6:49 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

It didn’t occur to Paige that he meant literately couldn’t sleep. She was more interested in the fact here was another person with a tragic love life in the land where all anyone ever talks about is True Loves and Happily Ever Afters! What a crock!

Pulling her dirty clothes in to the bath water, she was furiously scrubbing them down with a bar of soap. “Frankly, I think you’re better off anyway! How many couples are really all that happy after they get married? The Mister gets fat and drinks too, the Miss nags him to death, and their children count the days until the put them away in an old folks home.”

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Ocha – Jun 12, 2008 at 7:58 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

“I have met the lucky ones. The ones that truly are happy ever after. They work for it though. They know that love won is not so easily kept.” Those snide doting couples that knew they were perfect and rubbed it in everyone else’s face. Those people he didn’t like. Hans was forgetting about the modest, honest, humble couples that were content with who they were.

Hans looked up at the ceiling, wondering if a person could live a worthwhile life without dreams. Perhaps he’d be lucky and this stupid quest that the tree was plotting would be his doom. Hans was no hero and knew for certain that the unicorns had not picked up the right guy.
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Divinatas – Jun 12, 2008 at 10:08 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Paige remained silent as she finished scrubbing the dirt from her clothes. It’d be nice to wear some clean clothing again, but it would take forever for the darn things to dry. She jumped when a door popped open next to the tub revealing a small closet of fresh clothes.

“I love this tree…!” she muttered softly, pulling herself out of the tub. Paige draped her wet clothes over the screen so they could dry, and dried herself off with a readily available towel. Picking out the right thing to wear was the most difficult part. The tree provided everything from functional work clothes to fancy ball gowns. (Of which Paige wondered why one would have a ball in a tree.) For a traveling bard, though, she needed something attractive for performing, but travel durable for those long long days on the road!

Once dressed, Paige stepped out from behind the screen feeling very much like a new person. With her hair clean it looked like honey rather than a dull brown. She even modeled her clean clothes with a smile! A long thick green sweater with a neckline that fell just off the shoulders, and sleeves that ran all the way down to her knuckles. Complete with a thin little chain as a belt. She liked it for it looked pretty while still be warm and comfortable! Her skirt was just a simple warm brown with a good durable fabric. It didn’t have to look fancy, just be flexible enough for walking, running, or dare it happen – escaping from evil.

“Look at this!” She spun around in a circle! “I wish every tree was this nice!”

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Ocha – Jun 13, 2008 at 10:17 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

Hans was very much in mind to brood for the rest of the evening. He did not fault the bard for being happy about not only being clean but having clothing provided for her. He even half wondered if he should not bathe himself. It had been a while and he was no inclined to go without washing for prolonged periods of time. It wasn’t princely!

He was not prepared to be struck by the joy of hers as he turned to look at her as she showed off her new wears. It was too easy to get caught up in that simple joy and smile in return. She was also, Hans was willing to admit, easy on the eyes.

“You do look very comfortable m’lady bard. I agree it would be nice to meet more trees like this.”
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Divinatas – Jun 13, 2008 at 10:28 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Prancing was just not something a girl like Paige did. But after having a good meal, a hot bath, and fresh new clothes… it didn’t hurt to prance a little. She pranced herself right to bed, where she fell backwards on to the covers and sighed that rare happy sigh.

“There’s going to be awful consequences for all this, I just know it.” she muttered sleepily. “I think for now, I’ll pretend I don’t.” With that simple statement it didn’t take Paige long at all to fall asleep.

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Ocha – Jun 13, 2008 at 10:51 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

Oh how he envied Paige and the ease that it took for her to sleep. Hans was quiet for a while, less he wake her after so soon going to sleep. Even if he envied her, he wouldn’t want her to wake up.

After a while though the prince made up his mind about bathing and changing into cleaner clothing. The tree as it had been for Paige was more then generous. He made sure to thank the tree and then he whittled the time away by, well actually whittling. As long as he didn’t carve the tree itself it didn’t seem to mind that he made little figurings out of wood. It was an enjoyable enough hobby and thus far nothing had came to life, which he was very much relieved.

As dawn broke, the tree provided them with breakfast. Hans figured he’d let Paige have a chance to wake up on her own, with the smell of the food leading her away from the land of dreams.

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Divinatas – Jun 13, 2008 at 11:03 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Usually waking up was easy for Paige. But, usually she’s sleeping on a bar bench, outside in an alley, or curled up in someone’s barn. Having a real bed for the first time in ages, and not likely to get another chance for one, Paige was reluctant to move.

It wasn’t until her stomach was complaining that Paige gave up her heavenly spot, rolled on to the floor and crawled to her spot on the floor to perch. She seemed to be moving on pure instinct alone until she had a warm cup of hot chocolate in her hand and had taken a few sips.

Curiously blinking, she plucked up a little wooden figure that was sitting on the tray. A cute little carved horse. “What’s this?” she muttered holding it out for Hans to see.

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Ocha – Jun 13, 2008 at 11:17 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

Even if he had not known she had been cursed as a bird, Hans would have noted her movement as very birdlike that morning. He smiled slightly to himself as he ate his breakfast until she was more herself.

Hans figured after she ate she’d want to do all those girly things to get ready for the day. He hoped the tree, or whoever owned the tree would allow them that much time. Hans doubted she had been able to have that much luxury of time in a long while.

“That? Just a horse. I think it was because of our wild ride last night.” He gave her a weak smile. “Did you sleep well Paige?”

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Divinatas – Jun 14, 2008 at 12:03 AM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

“It’s a cute little thing.” she set it down, so she could finish her breakfast. “I haven’t slept so deeply in months. I don’t think I even dreamed.” Paige was making sure to eat more than she thought she could hold, as it was likely to be the last good meal she was going to get.

Taking her time with girly things was exactly what she did once the last of her meal was gone, and a few snacks were stashed away in her patchwork bag. Toiletries, fixing her hair, putting on shoes, and folding her old cloths to put away in her bag. She had wistfully thought about staying in the tree forever, damned the consequences, but she figured the tree was bound to throw them out at some point. And no one wanted to see a tree get mad. She was sure they couldn’t stay when a nice warm coat dropped right out of the ceiling and landed on her head.

Paige pulled it on, when she spotted the horse again and snatched it up. No reason to leave that behind!

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Ocha – Jun 14, 2008 at 12:17 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

Hans spotted Paige pick up the little horse but didn’t say anything. He didn’t see much point in it. He could always make another one. Wondering how much use their new winter clothing would see, Hans squared his shoulders and walked to the door that hadn’t been there a few minutes before and back out into the woods.

Except, Hans was sure these were not the woods they were in last night. He couldn’t put his finger on it. They had arrived when it was dark and Hans was not from this area to know the woods so well. None the less he was sure that things were different now.

“Okay, it’s day light, so now what?” Hans looked around wondering who or what would answer.

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Divinatas – Jun 14, 2008 at 12:55 AM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Paige followed Hans outside, her face reflecting his thoughts about the location. It really didn’t look like the same place as last night.

The tree’s branches waved in the wind as it spoke suddenly. [i]’The only way to leave these woods is to take the bridge over yonder.'[/i] It’s branches tilted in the wind pointing the way.

So that was that! Paige turned back to the tree and graced it with a most sincere curtsy. “Thank you very much for your hospitality, Old Oak. I had a most pleasant evening, and won’t ever forget it!” If a tree could blush, it certainly did. Even it’s leaves quivered!

Paige waved to the tree once more before taking the lead in the correct direction. She was much better company, if at least for the moment. “I took your horse!” she announced, showing it too him, but pulling it away in case he tried to take it back. “I’m going to keep it. But, as I’m not a thief, I’ll pay for it with a song. You can make any request you want, or I can make something up. It’s your choice!”

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Ocha – Jun 14, 2008 at 11:38 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

“I was going to say I really didn’t care much about the horse, but I can’t pass up a trade like this.” Hans looked thoughtful for a moment. “How about you come up with the song. I’m sure your selection would be far better than anything I already know.”

They traveled the way they were directed, Hans noted that they seemed to be heading up hill. He also noted that they were not told anything more than how to leave. What was the point of getting them all the way out here if they could just merrily go about their business? It was suspicious. What’s more, there had been no critters, just the trees. More oddness in his mind.

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Divinatas – Jun 15, 2008 at 12:25 AM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

“In that case, I have the perfect tale for you.” She dropped the horse in to her pocket, and spun in a circle or two while she walked. Paige didn’t seem to notice the lack of animals or creatures for the moment, and was content on plotting her song.

“[i]Across the land and beyond the sea, there’s lady of prophecy! Twenty seven vision or twenty seven curse, with every passing quest it all gets worse! Seek the ones who fight no more, reunite the lovers scorned and with their help you’ll stop the war. The land might burn and the sea might boil, but the lady of lace saves us all, you’ll see![/i]”

Paige stopped suddenly, before they had reached the top of the hill to the other side. She was tilting her head and listening to something, and frowning. “But the tree said we needed to go this way.” she said out loud, apparently not talking to him. “Well a fat load of good that does us, if it’s the only way to leave!”

She turned back to Hans, looking miffed as she crossed her arms. “The birds are all in a tizzy. They say there’s danger on the bridge and we should go back.”

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Ocha – Jun 15, 2008 at 12:32 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

Of course she knew what the birds where saying. She use to be one of them. Hans hoped that he could actually be as calm about the idea as he looked right then. People shouldn’t understand birds after all.

“I’d still like to know what the problem is. If we go back, I don’t know if the trees will be as kind to us as they were last night.” He started walking quietly, being careful of his steps in the snow. “Are you any good at sneaking, or do you want to wait here. I’ll come right back.”

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Divinatas – Jun 15, 2008 at 9:43 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Paige gave it some consideration, and quickly decided that she didn’t want to be alone in the forest if there was going to be trouble. She followed behind Hans, keeping her mouthed closed and all her commenting to herself as they headed over the top of the hill to start down the other side.

Just at the bottom of the hill was the bridge reaching over a rather wide river that hadn’t completely frozen over from the cold. There didn’t seem to be anyone there. No danger, no monsters, just the fast running water and the silent bridge. It seemed the birds had been wrong about the bridge, until they were practically upon it!

[i]THWACK![/i] A big mallet was smashed down, just narrowly missing Hans’ feet! A troll had appeared, looking grisly and hungry. Eying them with black beady eyes. “None passes my bridge. Not no way, not no how. Try not, less ye be eaten alive.”

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Ocha – Jun 16, 2008 at 10:37 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

Where was that thing hiding? That was the thought in Hans’ mind. However he doubted he’d get an answer to his question. Instead he danced backward away from the mallet.

“Well we certainly don’t want to be eaten. Dead nor alive. Do you want to be eaten?” It was of course a nonsense question, but Hans wanted to delay things as long as he could. He now understood why a hero was needed, someone wanted to be rid of this troll so they could cross the bridge and in stead of just hiring someone to do the job, he and Paige got thrown out here.

Hans eyed the troll. It was not only huge and ugly, but it smelled sour too. It reminded him of milk that was allowed to sit in the sun.

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Divinatas – Jun 16, 2008 at 11:32 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

“One does not aim to be eaten, one does his job and goes about his business.” replied the troll, whom look just as uneager to be eaten as the rest of them. He still had his mallet ready to start swinging it at all.

Paige peeked out from behind Hans with a frown. “I don’t supposed you take bribes or payment for people wanting to get across the bridge, do you?”

The troll promptly snorted, having obviously heard such suggestions before. “No bribes, no payments, no begging, no passing. Only a task if ye dare.”

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Ocha – Jun 16, 2008 at 11:45 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

The mallet was big and the troll swung it with ease. There was little chance of making a run for it and making it over the other side of the bridge.

“Let’s say, just for the sake of argument we dare. Now will the task you are about to set to us benefit either you or us? Because if this is nothing more than a third party task I think we’re both being horribly taken advantaged of and you should rightly complain.”

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Divinatas – Jun 16, 2008 at 11:55 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

The troll leaned on his massive mallet, scratching his crusty chin as he gave Hans question some consideration. “Benefit to one for sure. For you shall cross over the Mountain of Manchester, to fetched the Blue Flower of Dreams, take it to the Hall of Miracles where you will present it to the pr-”

As the troll rambled on a rather impressive and annoyingly detailed to-do list for his task, Paige stepped out from behind Hans. Pulling her lute from her back she ease around behind the troll while he was distracted with instructions and promptly clubbed him over the head.

The troll crashed down on his knees, howling in pain has his hands covered his head! “Ouuwiiiee!! Why you go on and do that to oneself?! Oneself is only doing ones job and one is now bruised and battered!”

“One was talking too darn much! Who is actually going to have time for a task like that anyway? It’d take two years to finish it, and we’d have done crossed this river somewhere else! It doesn’t make any sense!” Paige shouted back, raising up her lute ready to hit him again if he were going to complain some more.

“Don’t hit one again! One will let you cross bridge if you don’t hit one again!”

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Ocha – Jun 17, 2008 at 12:02 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

Nothing more than a big bully. Hans was impressed with the way that Paige had taken care of the situation. He wouldn’t have considered trying to clobber then troll himself.

“Thank you very much,” Hans said in as sincere way as he could as he walked over to where Paige was to cross the bridge. He’d be glad to be over that cold, rushing, rocky, deep, water. Wow it was a long way down, wasn’t it? Certain death if you fell in!

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Divinatas – Jun 17, 2008 at 12:12 AM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

“If I find out you’re terrorizing more people, I’ll come clobber you again.” Paige threatened to the troll, who even whimpered and ducked when she shook her lute at him. Satisfied with a job well done, Paige returned her lute to her back and walked with Hans to cross the bridge.

“I guess the tree only needed any old person to come shout at him, not really a hero.” she said, shrugging. “We’re out of the forest, anyway, and I suppose that means I’ll say goodbye.”

“Yes! Goodbye, suckers!” shouted the troll once the pair had reached the middle of the bridge. He was waving a crooked hand right before he swung his mallet up in the air and slammed it on the ground. Suddenly, a trap door opened up from under Hans and Paige’s feet! They dropped down in to the icy cold water below!

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Ocha – Jun 17, 2008 at 12:21 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

“Suckers?” It was the last thing Hans said before he started screaming as the fell straight into the icy water below. Even though the river had not froze, it was much colder than freezing, it was just moving too quickly to freeze up yet.

Not only was their nice new heavy coats weighing both Paige and Hans down, Hans had another disadvantage. He could not swim. It was considered the past time of the peasantry and thus no one taught him as he was growing up. He gulped water, thrashed around, and then sank.

Thus is the story of Prince Hans, unlucky in love and unable to sleep.

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Divinatas – Jun 17, 2008 at 7:35 AM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Paige didn’t have time to scream! They were plunged in to the river like a couple of dumb chickens! She didn’t have any time to think about her stupid she was for falling for a trap like that. The river was washing them very quickly down stream and it was so hard to keep her head above water! She splashed around looking for Hans, just barely spotting his head sinking under the river.

Muttering an unlady-like curse Paige ducked in the water and dived. She snagged him by his and pulled for the surface! Drat it all if he weren’t heavy! Paige nearly sank with him as she struggled to swim against the current. Gasping for air as both their heads broke the surface, she hardly had time to curse his name before they toppled over the edge of a waterfall! A scream!

Then… THUD! They landed on something flat.. scaley. …A dragon turned it’s head to peer at the two humans that had landed on it’s back while it was trying to take it’s bath. “Do you mind?” it said crossly. “I was showering.”

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Ocha – Jun 20, 2008 at 5:46 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]

There was a lot of sputtering and coughing coming from the male human, but finally he was able to get enough water out of his lungs to stand. Hans was going to go back up to that bridge and push that troll off the bridge into the water. That would be right and justified. “Or fire,” Hans muttered before finally looking up at the dragon. They sure were big!

“Um, pardon the intrusion. It was indeed not our intention. You seem to have someone up stream that enjoys throwing people into your shower water. Might you be indulged to fly up that way and burn down his bridge. You would be doing yourself, as well as others a favor.”

Hans gave the dragon his most winning, princely smile. Stately was a bit beyond him at the moment since he was still looking like a drowned rat and his teeth were now starting to chatter due to the cold.

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Divinatas – Jun 20, 2008 at 9:25 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

There was a low humming in the dragon’s throat as it thought about burning the bridge and it’s rewards for doing so. Shrugging it’s massive shoulders it must not have liked the thought of leaving it’s shower so soon, and returned to scrubbing it’s under arms with a round fluffy bush.

“I am much too busy to meddle in the affairs of humans and trolls.” it said. “If you would kindly get off my back.” The dragon flicked it’s tail around scooping up Paige and Hans and depositing them safe and sound (if not totally soaking wet) on the riverbank. “However, if you wanted to seek to stop a troll from guarding a bench, you might do well to stop the one that ordered him to do it.”

Paige supposed that was a roundabout way to say the dragon knew the troll’s boss. “By all means, who ordered him to do it?” she replied, busily squeezing water out of her coat.

“Down this river and by another bridge is an old mill. A wizard lives there with a goat.” The dragon tilted it’s long head down and snorted at them with a puff of hot steamy breath. Within moments their clothing and bodies were all dry. “Do not accept anything that he offers. He is the one to order the troll.”

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Ocha – Jun 22, 2008 at 6:19 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]
“Which one, the wizard or the goat?” It was a serious question. You never knew in this day and age.

The look the dragon gave Hans made him suspect this was not one of those odd cases though and he turned to look at Paige. “What do you think? If we don’t eat any cabbage from here to there, we’ll likely not turn into goats ourselves.”

Hans then paused, was he actually considering going after a wizard? With the only help being a homeless bard? Brute force would of course be out of the question. They’d have to be much more cunning than the wizard. Hans could be cunning at times, and he was in the mind for revenge.

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Divinatas – Jun 26, 2008 at 12:11 AM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Paige gave a resigned sigh. “Well I don’t see why not. The tree did us a favor, might as well do it a favor in return.” She didn’t look as convinced as she sounded, but what is a bard going to do?

Bidding the dragon goodbye with a curtsy, Paige started down the edge of the river, wary of magical traps, goats, or other trolls. “We’ll need a plan.” she mumbled. “Maybe if I offer to play him some music for a treat. You can sneak around and see why he’s ordering trolls to watch bridges? Or talk to the goat, if the goat even talks.”

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Ocha – Jul 11, 2008 at 1:25 AM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]
“Sounds like a good plan.”

Truth was it was barely a plan, but Hans wasn’t confident in his ability to make any plans currently. There was also the fact that it would be easier to figure out what to do when they were closer to where the wizard was.

It was with that minimal amount of thought that Hans looked up at the rockery and found the best way to start going back up. He didn’t want to be too close to the water since he figured it was only extreme luck that caused him to live this long. The last thing he wanted to do was go down the waterfall again.

The hike up was not pleasant. The rocks were slippery due to the spray from the waterfall and the freezing temperatures. If either of them missed their footing they might wish they were still in the water.
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Divinatas – Jul 15, 2008 at 7:11 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

Up the side of the rocks in a skirt, in the winter was the worse idea ever. But Paige had no time to complain, she was busy trying to not slip and get herself killed. When they finally made it back up to the top, she was breathing hard, pressing a hand to her chest. Her lungs felt like ice! Once she could finally breathe normally again, she led the way back upstream. …A good several feet away from the river. If Hans fell in again, she might not want to jump in and save him again!

It took some walking, but before long a small cottage with a tiny windmill came in to view. Paige ducked behind a tree to peek around and survey the place. It looked like a normal home to her. Nothing all that strange about it. But then, that’s usually how those sort of things went. Normal usually meant something bad. “I don’t see the goat, do you?”

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Ocha – Aug 28, 2008 at 9:05 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]
Hans shook his head. If there was a goat, it must have been on the other side of the cottage. There was something odd about the windmill though, Hans looked at it for several moments before he finally figured out what it was.

“It’s moving,” he said somewhat startled.

Even though there was a breeze, it was only slight now and the way the windmill was moving you’d think the greatest storm of the century was about to hit the region. Looking up at the sky Hans noted that the clouds were not moving at any tremendous pace so his first observation was not mistaken.

“What do you think is making it move like that?”
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Divinatas – Oct 15, 2008 at 1:20 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

“The goat?” Paige replied, quite seriously. It could have been for all they knew!

“Okay, I’m off to give this a whirl. If you get captured, just scream so I can come save you.” Straightening her clothes and pulling her lute to her side, Paige dashed off for the front door of the cottage without waiting for a reply from Hans.

[i]KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK![/i]

Paige waited, shuffling on her feet. There seemed to be a sound from behind the door, and she wasn’t at all surprised when a little old man opened it up and beamed at her with a half toothless smile. “Oi, oi! What’s this? Have ye come to sell somethin’?”

“Well no.” she had to resist glancing behind her to make sure Hans was well hidden! “Actually I’ve been traveling all morning and it’s freezing outside. I was wondering if you mind me warming up by your fire? I’d be happy to play a song or two for you.”

The old geezer took a moment to think about it, then he opened up the door wide to let her end. “Oh for sure! Nothin’ like a song from a little lady to warm an old man’s heart! You come right on in then, yes, yes!”

Paige stepped inside and the door closed behind her!

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Ocha – Oct 28, 2008 at 5:52 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]
The bard save him? Hans truly hoped it never came down to that. How could he live with himself if he was saved by a girl-bard? What would people say? He was already cursed, if that and this were both to be learned it would be ruins not only for himself, or his family, but the kingdom at large.

Starting to stress about all of the things that could go wrong, Hans didn’t even notice the goat until it started chewing on his coat.

“What the…!” Hans pulled his coat away from the goat. “That was rude!”

The goat just looked at him in a dumb animal look, smacking it’s lips a bit.

Hans sighed. “You just wanted something to eat didn’t you? Not much of a wizard’s familiar are you?”

The goat said nothing.

“I’m going to take a look at the property. You can follow me for now if you want, but don’t get any bright ideas.” Hans then dusted himself off and started to sneak over to the cottage.
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Divinatas – Nov 8, 2008 at 3:37 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

The inside of the little cottage looked pretty normal. All the furniture was made of wood, there wasn’t very much in the way of personal items. Some dishes on the table, a few lit candles, a blanket thrown over an old dusty sofa. The fireplace was lit warmly, with a cast iron pot hanging over it. The old geezer ushered Paige over to an overstuffed chair next to the fire, where she sat down obediently and happily warmed her fingers for a few moments.

“I jus love havin’ company!” Stated the old man as he bustled over to a meager looking kitchen. “How ’bout some hot soup n’ crackers? I gots plenty!”

“Uh… No thanks, I’m fine!” replied Paige. She settled the lute in her hands and tested the strings. A few plucks of each sounded the perfect tones. “So… That’s a nice windmill you’ve got out there. How does it turn when there’s no wind?”

Chuckling, the old man returned to the fireplace with a tray of goodies, despite her refusal. “Oi, oi, it’s a good litle piece, doncha think? Got myself some help! Muffin?”

Shaking her head at the muffin, Paige dug a little more. “Help! That’s great! So you don’t live alone here?”

“No, no, I live all by my lonesome self in this lil’ cottage. Never a pretty face to keep an old man company.” He picked up a box of candy from the tray and hovered it under her nose. “Do you like chocolate?”

Paige blinked at the box. It did smell divine! That sweet mix of cocoa and sugar, that so perfectly melts in your- Paige shook her head! “I, uh… So, um, that means you have hired helpers? What does the windmill do anyway?” Oooh… it did smell [i]so[/i] good. There wasn’t a such thing as cursed chocolate, anyway. Paige took one of the pieces and popped it in her mouth, delighting at that wonderful smooth flavor!

“Oh just a troll here n’ there. They work hard when ya pay ’em good! Luckily one good damsel is worth a good several months!”

“Damsel? Those are so hard to come by these days.” Paige replied pleasantly. It was too bad Hans was stuck outside doing- …What was he doing again? Oh well, it wasn’t important. Paige took another piece of chocolate!

“Yes, yes! Most go down the river, so it’s luck to get a knock on the door! Oi, don’t you jus look all tuckered out. How about you close those weary eyes jus a moment n’ I’ll make you a nice bowl of soup!” cooed the old man, pulling the blanket off the sofa to drape carefully over Paige.

“Uh huh.” Paige leaned back in the chair, resting her head against the back. Closing her eyes for a moment of two wasn’t going to make a difference. Whatever she was doing could wait until tomorrow!

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Ocha – Dec 2, 2008 at 2:54 PM

[dashed=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=117][b]Hans[/b]
Hans stealthily walked to the windmill, the goat following him. It was just slightly disturbing. As he got there, Hans thought it reminded him of a tower. “I wonder if there’s a room at the top.” Circling the windmill, Hans couldn’t imagine how one got in, it seemed solid.

“Is there a secret door, or do you have to go in from underground?”

The goat said nothing, but munched on some brown grass it found.

“Thanks for the help.” Hans leaned on the wall and tapped his fingers for a moment, and fell into the windmill. “Oh!” Hans looked around, but it was far too dark to see. Getting up and dusting himself off Hans realized there was only one thing to do, make a torch. He hoped he’d not have a hard time refinding the hidden door as he walked out. Of course the door didn’t close. Maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing, it wasn’t like the wizard was going to come out in this weather.

Hans walks out to the edge of the property to find a good stout stick, hoping the bard was getting good information.
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Divinatas – Dec 10, 2008 at 6:37 PM

[dotted=http://space-kitten.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=173][b]Paige[/b]

While Hans left the windmill and walked to the edge of the property, that little old man was stepping outside of his cottage. Stretching his arms and legs he walked across the yard to the windmill and disappeared inside.

Instead of going up, as one would expect, the old man started [i]down[/i] a spiraling set of stairs. He walked along in the dark, not bothering to light a torch or lantern. When he reached the bottom there already seemed to be a mild light. A few dim candles on the walls. The most surprising part of the room was the amount of trolls that seemed to be shacked up in the building. A couple were walking a wheel that was turning the windmill, a few others were sitting around a black stew pot stirring up some grub.

“Oi, oi! I’ve got a nice damsel for yer stew pot, so ye better get movin’ them legs a little faster! Magic don’t generate itself!”

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By Diana Calloway

Diana is a House Elf that spends most of her time being creative and all around bossy. You'll find her most often sitting on her giant sofa snuggling cats and watching really bad romantic comedies.

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