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Two Moons Tales: 1 THE JEWELSMITH OF NAN FARLAS1THE JEWELSMITH OF NAN FARLASYEAR 2558Little light reached the undergrounds of Nan Farlas. The isle was hidden in gloom by vapors over the lake, and the ruins of the tower by a thick clump of alders. And what lay beneath the tower, the dungeons and endless dragon labyrinths, stone walls and clayey soil, tapped with gnomish hands, veiled.There was a crack in the wall, though, through which by nights a thin ray of moonlight was falling in. Hubble had found it years before and used to look through it sometimes at the evening sky, especially when he lingered before leaving his beloved darkness and appearing at the Wizard's summons.That evening, the sky gleamed brightly dark blue, and even the Darksome Sage was whole swathed in the sapphire glow like in a festive druid cloak of airy silk. When Hubble walked to the wall and almost stuck his upturned nose between the crevice of the crack, his sylphish eyes too shone with the same blueness of the night light, reflecting in them, and for a moment they became even more navy than they usually were.Hubble let his chin down, and his gaze moved lower, toward a swarm of bats that was swirling wildly in the air, alternately flying in and out of the tower ruins as if in some neurotic dance.Black, blind fools, Hubble thought wearily and wrapped himself more tightly in his own wing, not knowing whether the thought was of bats or, perhaps, of himself. He did not have time to consider it, though, as he heard a cry, another and already somewhat impatient one, which, muffled, reached him from above, and then spread farther among the silent corridors of the labyrinth: "Hubble!".The sylph winced. He loathed everything about the Wizard except his voice, that he could never hate - the dark, magical voice that had been ringing across the Last Dragon Island like a soothing song of a wood wetland.The voice, suddenly and ferociously, awakened the warmth of day buried deep down in Hubble's dark, indifferent soul. The warmth was heating him for a brief while, and then something almost similar to joy was appearing in the heart of the Eternal Child of the Night.However, the Wizard knew well what he was doing, for the happy memories were Hubble's greatest torment, they burned like dragon fire that unfortunate day, and the immediate desire to escape them brought him closer to the Wizard's darkness than anything else. Now, too, a shiver went through Hubble as if his body wanted to shake off every last scrap of those memories, whereupon the sylph rubbed his blackened eyes with the outside of his webbed hands, grabbed a torch from the wall and dragged himself on his crooked legs up the narrow stone staircase.Hubble had served the Wizard for several decades, yet he remembered not the time when his master had rebuilt Nan Farlas from its first, ancient ruins and made his headquarters here. Nor did he know what had caused the place to become a ruin again, the one it was still. Even Hercho seemed not to know the truth of what had happened then, though he sometimes told of a mighty, mossy fire-tower among the alder boughs growing through the windows into its midst, and of the Lady of the Alders, mysterious and beautiful as a moonlit night, who spun threads lighter, whiter and more luminous than spider's web. One of the few things Hubble had not learned to treat with indifference were such tales, and ever since, at the beginning of his service for the Wizard, he had learned Hercho's wolf speech, he had listened to them with almost childlike enthusiasm, even if he had never let it be known, and had been reluctant to admit it to himself.When the sylph reached the surface, a gusty wind from the lake, blowing with a dull whistle through the windows of the tower, pierced him. Hubble cared not at all, though, and without even flinching, only began to climb higher the great steps of another stairway, created by the hands of trees and too large for tiny sylphs' feet. Some of the steps were made of stones, here and there now moss-covered, with blades of grass growing between them. Others were simply the branches of the alders neighbouring the tower - these Hubble detested in particular. When he climbed them, his feet, not so well adapted to walking on branches as elven feet, slipped on the soggy bark as on a sheet of ice.He finally walked onto the last step and found himself at a place that, since the fall of the tower, had been its highest covered floor. He breathed deeply, and his gaze moved again through the window to the sky, and then through the narrow clearance between the alder branches to the Chestnut Bridge, connecting Nan Farlas to the foot of the Mountains of the Moons, silvering like sword blades. The vast roots of the tree bridge passed directly from over the lake shore into the courtyard of the fortress hidden amidst the mountain rocks, as huge as the tower on the isle, glittering bluishly in the glare of the Misty Wanderer."Hubble!" a third cry rang out, even more impatient.Someone not knowing well the Wizard of Nan Farlas might have not noticed this impatience at all, for, whatever he felt, the Wizard was always the same, reserved and distinguished. Hubble, however, had learned to recognise the subtleties in his voice with the precision of an embroiderer working ornate patterns full of color and interwining threads. He knew very well that his master's anger was worse than dragon fangs, even if he fell into it with a polite smile on his lips.The workshop was drowning in dimness and dull silence when Hubble stepped inside. He noticed not the Wizard immediately. It was not until a simple, rough "Here you are" that he heard as his gaze went up the low, wooden stairs which connected to an alder bough leading to a nearby tree hollow - the backroom of the wokshop.The Wizard stopped motionless on the bough for a moment, then began to walk down slowly. Hubble watched dispassionately as his tall figure was emerging gradually from the darkness as from a black mist, and the pale candlelight was falling higher and higher on the folds of his emerald silk cloak.Paying no attention to Hubble, as if he were not there at all, the Wizard walked to the pot hung above the hearth in the spacious, clay furnace and went back to his work. So Hubble interwined his palms behind his back and stood still as a figure of stone, waiting to see what would happen."Matter," the Wizard said after a while, without even glancing at his sylphish servant, still stirring something in the pot with the rod in incredible focus. This inconspicuous goldsmithing activity, which he had already repeated hundreds of times before, he performed almost with solemnity. "What a spellbinding thing it is - matter. I have always valued it, for all that.""Not for matter you keep sitting here at nights, Master Wizard," said Hubble as he moved closer to the furnace and managed to see the shadow of a subtle smile on his master's face. His own quiet voice rumbled disproportionately loudly in his head, and for a moment the sylph thought he had spoken those words unwisely and that he would be soon punished for them.Before the Wizard said anything, though, the liquid in the pot boiled unexpectedly and expelled an orange-colored vapor than was thickening rapidly with each passing moment, so that in an instant it formed an ethereal cloud floating above the cauldron.Hubble's bright, bulging eyes for a moment widened even more in sudden fright as it occurred to him, for some unknown reason, that this cloud would soon turn into fiery flames. The sylph quickly calmed down, though, chastising himself inwardly for his foolishness.Even in the Wizard's wokshop steam turned not into fire, except through illusion."No," the Wizard replied then, and laughed mockingly, and Hubble was not sure whether he was laughing at his own words or at his fearful reaction. "Not for matter."The vapor subsided and reunited with the liquid, just as quickly and spontaneously as it had come out of it. Hubble smiled crookedly at the inside of the pot, lifting slightly one corner of his clenched lips.Damned color, he thought.The liquid in the cauldron boiled threateningly again, this time probably reminding the master of the workshop who was brewing it that he had slowed down the movements of the rot, which he should not have done. So the Wizard's hand holding the rot sped up, and his bright, beautiful face grew serious again and petrified for a moment in silent musings."Are you a good thief, Hubble?" he quietly asked at last, and his voice was icy and piercing this time as an echo from the depths of a well.Hubble knew this was not a question the Wizard expected him to answer, so the sylph merely shifted from foot to foot and continued to wait motionless for his task."You will steal something for me," the Wizard said. "One elven boy."
Wind In The WillowsAs I went walking one morning in springI met with some travelers on an old country lane.One was a Dragon, a Phoenix the next,A Licorne was the third one, who smiled as she said:"With the wind in the willows, the birds in the skies,There's a bright Sun to warm us wherever we ride.We have ancient knowledge and the lore of our mindTo share on our journey with all living kind."I asked them to tell me their names and their raceSo I could remember each smile on their face."Our names, they mean nothing, they change throughout time,So come sit beside us and share in our rhyme."So I sat down beside them, with flowers all around,To hear the bard tales and poems they had found.They sang of the realms fleeting 'neath their wingsAnd the Spirits of Nature, who know everything."We travel through ages, as the Moons wax and wane,To hear the Wild voices, their joys and their pains.We travel the wide world, over land, over sea,To tell all who listen how they can be free!""With the wind in the willows, the birds in the skies,There's a bright Sun to warm us wherever we ride.We have ancient knowledge and the lore of our mindTo share on our journey with all living kind."So sadly I left them on that old country laneFor I knew that I'd never see them again.One was a Dragon, a Phoenix the next,A Licorne was the third one, who smiled as she said:"With the wind in the willows, the birds in the skies,There's a bright Sun to warm us wherever we ride.We have ancient knowledge and the lore of our mindTo share on our journey with all living kind.""With the wind in the willows, the birds in the skies,There's a bright Sun to warm us wherever we ride.We have ancient knowledge and the lore of our mindTo share on our journey with allLiving kind."
Abomination: City of Ice 32 The House of Mosiah
The late afternoon sun shown bright upon the waters of the harbor, but it did little to warm the permanently frozen port. House Master Firuz Jewelfist pulled his silken coat tighter against his considerable frame, trying to maintain an air of indifference as he silently cursed whatever ancient, forgotten fool was responsible for this never-ending winter. Firuz hated coming to Iceport. Having grown up wandering the searing Sea of Sand, he was far more accustomed to the relentless heat of the desert sun. Standing at the railing of his magnificent ship, the Jewel of the Sands, the merchant watched as the ice-breakers went about their daily task, keeping the harbor clear or the ever-encroaching ice. The magically propelled ships rammed the ice with their reinforced hulls, briefly sliding on top of the ice before their weight bought them crashing back into the water.
The worse part of this particular voyage w
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