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The title says it all. Most of it anyway. I've got this big thing I'm working on writing but I've got some work to do on it. So I got some motivation by writing a little short story (real short) in the same universe. That's right here

The Element Most Essential



Aviren spanned the ages. Behind his name, his crystalline blue eyes, was held ages upon ages of lifetimes. His soul had been petrified, hardened, warped with the incredible knowledge of his being. He was, in some ways, a god.

But today he was a beggar. Around him a worn-down city built of cracked stones and splintered wood, the winds sharp and cold, the people little better. He was somewhere below the midplanes, and so the people wore rags and possessed little to no knowledge of The Commands. A covert order among them held what little knowledge their plane possessed to themselves, zealously guarding secrets they could not fathom to keep.

He watched the sickened, impoverished, and dying pass by him on the street. He searched diligently for his quarry, what was a very rare element, especially in this world. He only saw stony, grim faces and hollow eyes.

Aviren could see into them. He could see, not with his eyes but with himself, their very souls. Each a burning bonfire with no mortal limits. Once, he had held that same light within himself. He could still feel it at times, almost. Or perhaps he simply felt its absence.

Yes, the world had done its best to quench these souls, but Aviren knew of no power that could manage that. Beneath the walls and facades of misery, each person held within them a flame, a passion, a power. If only they could remember that it was there.

And so he searched. It gratified him to do this work. So many of his people had longed to help those of the lower planes, before they had discovered the Severance. Now, he was a beggar, dressed in shoddier, shabbier rags than anyone, sitting on the street-corner, and he would rather nothing else. For in this, he could make a difference. If only he could find-


A spirit that had not been crushed. A spark. He reached his hand forward, feigning hunger, illness. There was a hesitation. This moment was crucial. He could not afford to have this spark die. He was tense, more so than he should have been. The moment reached on for ages, and Aviren was no common expert on the subject of age.

And then she turned, looked at Aviren. A small girl, easily younger than eight. And in her, a spark of that critical element. She walked towards him, and pressed into his hand a small piece of bread. No more than a heel at best. He had centuries of experience acting, so his imitation was perfect. He looked upon it with an almost religious fervor. And the girl smiled.

Oh, Aviren wished he could repay this gift a thousand times over. He could speak the Commands, but they would have no effect. Instead, he simply handed the bread back.

And began to stand. He had been acting as though he had a bad leg. So to see the frail man stand up tall, confidently, must have been really something for that youth. He transformed from a dying beggar into a strong and living man. If an old one. For a moment, he let a bit of godhood show through. And he smiled back. In these simple actions, he had conveyed the most important message he possibly could have to that young girl.

You can make a difference.

In this, Aviren found the element most rare, most wondrous, most essential, most vital to life, its glimmering light growing, abounding in light and power, potential and majesty.


(Random note at the bottom, the shard can do weird stuff to formatting. It's fine though)


More writing. Needs a name but I don't have one. Too bad. First two chapter bits


Chapter bit 1


Oshe had always liked the mists. Some found them unnerving, but they had always brought a particular sense of peace to him. They were always there. They were a constant. Besides, why would they fear the mists? Did they not derive their very lives  from the mist? Too many stories, that was what Oshe thought. Tales of Sha’ra and mist ghosts told to them as children.

Perhaps Oshe was an oddity. But he had always loved the night, the stars, and the mists. Something about them distracted him, took away the pain, if only for a moment. But he shook himself out of his thoughtful reverie. The pressure, the burning light in the back of his head told he he had important things to be about. It had always been present, in his mind. Since he was born, he could sense when he was needed. Where he needed to be. And the sensation he felt this particular night, it had been building for years. Something very important was nearly upon himself.

It was only natural that it take place in his place of birth. Looking around himself, Oshe saw the familiar houses of Shulkan Astra. Made of especially  strong Tabsa wood and then patched and covered with long pines and mud, they reminded him of childhood. Of when there had been people, living. Experiencing the world. It was a temperate night, and the mists bounded playfully across the ground. They kept their distance from the trees, but a constant path of vapor flowed through the woods. It made Oshe wonder. Where the mists really just one entity? One collective mass? A weather phenomenon or something more? They couldn’t just be normal vapor, as produced when one boiled water. There was something surreal about them.

A sudden crunch of the ground, nearly imperceptible, told Oshe he was not alone. Which was an impossibility. No animal would cause such a noise, one false step among so many silent ones. No, that was something more intelligent. But no Sharni knew about this place. It was, as far as he could tell, the best-kept secret of these forests. So, there were only two explanations for why someone would be here. And only one that could explain why they would try to be quiet.

They had returned. After so many years, the one who had silenced his home Shulkan had come back. Why? No, Oshe was not concerned with questions of ‘why’.

He ignited into a Cuotii. The boost in control made him feel energized, capable. He walked, strolled would be a better term, towards the sound. Within moments, he could see the invader. Dressed in grey, he looked around furtively, as if trying to find something. He had the look of a man searching, looking for something. But what?

With a deft lunge, Oshe was on top of the intruder. There was a gutteral curse from the man as he tried to unpin himself. He managed only to put a  tear in Oshe’s sleeve and to start to stand up before he was solidly thrown to the ground again. A stray wood chip dug deeply into Oshe’s elbow, but he was beyond such minor pains. The man, he could now see, had unruly black hair, and his expression was a mix between fear and outrage. Quietly, viciously, Oshe spoke. “Why are you here? What do you want?”

The grey-clothed Sharni opened his mouth, but Oshe pressed his forearm against his throat. “Think before you speak. Be wise and you might even live”. 

“They sent me here”

Who, you fool, who?”

That got him only a sneer. He clearly thought he still had some semblance of power. In a way, he did. Oshe had to know. Was this invader the one who had killed them?

“They wanted me to find something. A clue. Something we might have missed.”

This brought a smile to Oshe’s face. Not a kindly smile. Not a smile of levity.

I am what they missed.”

He died before the words had a chance to sink in.


- - -



Even a good while  later, Oshe was still somewhat short of breath. He hated it, but taking a life still took a toll on him. But the emotion in him had to do with more than just the killing. He finally had a chance. A possibility of finding the one who he really needed to kill. He had a lead. The man had an emblem in the pocket of his oddly-colored coat. On it, emblazoned in gold, was the symbol representing the Iyash, roaming lawkeepers and judges.


Why? They were not an organization to have ulterior motives. Were they? So much about them was unknown. Their presence was generally taken as a given. No one questioned them. The simple fact of that raised immense suspicion upon them  in Oshe’s mind.

He could take this emblem to the deserts. To the Mistless Ones, who could trace its past, and find what he wanted. Secrets about the Iyash. In some circles, their arcane arts were frowned upon, but to Oshe, it was too valuable a resource not to exploit. He had made the journey into the desert once before, but he had been sorely unprepared then, and weaker.

Now, he stood at the edge of the forest. It had taken two hours to walk here, and Cuotii had been of little help. It provided near to nothing in terms of endurance or strength, for all of its benefits. He now stared ahead at the Great Plain, endless grass and hills and mist for days on end. It was so foreign to many Sharni, who had lived their whole lived surrounded by the trees. Other than the near inability to hide, it wasn’t that bad. If Oshe was lucky, he might stumble across a stray  Jho’le to ride. He couldn’t spot any of the leathery-skinned beasts in his immediate vicinity but they wandered all around the Plain. 

Unfortunately, so did more predatory beasts. Most animals were content feeding only on the mist and grass. Larger species like Railei or Mascha took in the mist, but it alone could not provide for any substantial portion of their body. So they had to resort to eating smaller animals. They ate infrequently, but were near-unstoppable when on the hunt. He had heard of the movings of the tide, out by the coast, waves growing taller than a man. He imagined these beasts as a wave, not an animal but a force that simply moved forward, indiscriminately shoving everything it could aside.

The plains held so many wondrous dangers. Oshe stepped out into them, beginning his long journey.


Chapter bit 2




Oshe had been walking for what must have been hours, but he very rarely felt the time pass. Such a simple task made it easy to lose focus on the physical world and instead concentrate on what really mattered. Finding the Mistless Ones. And after that, the Iyash. Then the one who had ended his childhood.

As he crested a hill, he saw an odd sight for the plains, three smaller, nondescript wagons, in a semicircle around a fire, the large, placid beasts that must have been pulling them unhitched and grazing. He wasn’t familiar with the breed.. Maybe ten or twelve people, diverse in appearance, sat closer around the fire. There was very little held in common between them all, save their worn, ragged aura and the air of tiredness. he walked forward, determining they would not be a threat. Some turned heads towards him as he approached, though other just kept staring into the fire   They said nothing, even as Oshe stopped and stood just outside their circle. What poor souls were these? The mood of despair they held around them said volumes.

There was no aggression, no reaction even, when Oshe entered their circle and sat. “Where do you travel, asha?” he asked, using a term meant to refer to friends in times of need. He spoke as quietly as he could manage, while still being understood, but even that seemed to utterly shatter the silence that had brought them some small peace. After a concerningly long pause, a tall, gaunt man was the one to respond to him, with a single word only. “Khufal,” he said. He was dressed in torn and ragged clothing, seeming to have been patched time and time again, but to no avail.

Oshe couldn’t say he was surprised at hearing where they were going. True Sharni wouldn’t be caught dead travelling in such close confines with so many other people, and no weak Sharni remained with their people. Those not capable enough to survive  would often leave their quiet native forests, for the tightly-knit, bustling communities of Khufal. Among the Sharni, they were called failures for this decision. Oshe’s own parents disliked such abrasive labels, though they had no great fondness for the Khufali.

“What has done this to you, my asha?” he asked. “You look deadened inside. Broken. Who has wronged you this way?” He said at the same quiet tone. The question was meant to ease what concerns they might have had that Oshe thought they were weaklings, cowards, or deserters. Meant to show empathy. But as he spoke,the silent fugitives began to look at him with a dark mirth in their eyes. One of them, an older woman wrapped in a shawl, answered him. “Where have you been, boy? Are you simply a fool? A dreamer? Where have you been?” Her voice was derisive, but had a hurt in it, hard to pick out at first but obvious when one sought for it. “No, I… I’ve just been away. For a long while. I’ve lost touch with my society.”

The man, seemingly the leader of this rugged group, was the one to explain. “In many of the Shulka, it’s no better than the Khufali cities. Those with enough power have begun to rule over their Shulkan. In others, entire areas have simply been burned to the ground, leveled. It’s carnage. Those who are strong enough to fight for themselves have no extra energy to save those who cannot. And then there are the miststorms. So we leave, for Khufal. I hear they are prospering during this time of chaos.”

He spoke this last sentence with a sort of whimsy in his eyes, as if wondering what happiness felt like. Or perhaps trying to remember it.

Although curiosity burned within Oshe, wondering what these supposed ‘miststorms’ were, he restrained himself from asking. Why they were so devastating? Why did they appear only now? “The sun has almost arrived at the horizon, for its resting time,” said an older fellow, sporting a grizzled white beard. “You can stay with us tonight, and find your way in the morning”.

“You are very kind,” Oshe said civilly, though his mind rang with questions. He looked around the circle  more carefully, inspecting the travellers individually. Doing this, he spotted something curious. A youth, not a child but clearly not old enough to travel on his own, and he had skin and eyes that told of Mistless heritage. The boy seemed to have more vigor than the rest of them. What was a Mistless One doing with these folk?

They sat in the circle for a while longer, but once they dispersed, Oshe made sure he ended up next to the boy. He glanced at Oshe, but uncaringly turned his head back. Oshe tried to talk to him. “You are mistless, no?”

The boy seemed tired of this question. “I am of the Afrid, yes. You may call me Torra”

“It is good to meet you.”


“I am searching for your people, in the deserts beyond here.”

More silence, but then the boy spoke, rather softly. “But you won’t be able to find them. And the deserts are a long way from here.”

“Maybe so,” Oshe replied, “But then maybe you could help me. You see, the… Afrid, some among them have a particular skill. To See what is Sought.”

The boy, Torra, shook his head. “I do not have the practice. And the Afrid are well hidden. Very well hidden.”

“But surely you know where they are?”

“I am going to Khufal.”

A pause.

“Yes,” Oshe said. “Yes, I suppose you are. Then that means my goal cannot be achieved?”

“It is very unlikely.”

Oshe’s mind was rushing, in a mad dash to come up with some plan, Anything. He could not be told to give up. How to find the Iyash? He felt the iron disk in his pocket. He could not let them escape. Not with the blood of his Shulkan on their hands. The blood of his parents.

Torre simply left, walking towards one of the wagons. The travellers finished tying up their animals and retired as well. What would he do? Shulkan Ashovan, there was an Iyash stronghold there, was there not? But how had the Shulkan fared during this turmoil? For all he knew it could be dust by now.

He kept thinking, turning the situation over in his mind. His crazed ponderings eventually led to sleep.


- - -


In his sleep he dreamed of an ocean. A vast, enormous pool of water so big you couldn’t see the sides. So deep the water looked opaque. The water churned and swirled around him, engulfing him in liquid, It started to become warmer. Hotter until it was comfortable and then further, until it started to boil and steam around him. It steamed furiously, until there was nothing left but fog. And then it seemed to part around him. Figures, vaguely human but with no defining features. They held no one form continuously. They had no eyes, but Oshe could feel them staring at him. He heard nothing but received distinct impressions.

Is he the one?

He cannot be.

The blood.

Can he See?

One ‘voice’ stood above the others.

He must be. We have no options.

Consent around the circle, and then the dream faded away, into other, more regular dreams.


- - -


The caravaneers were no less silent in the morning then they had been the night previous. They responded when Oshe asked a question, usually, but spoke very rarely otherwise. Torra, the Mistless boy, seemed more inclined to talk, if only slightly. By the end of their first meal, Oshe knew the fugitives’ names. 

Hota, the tall man who had been the first to speak, seemed to be a sort of leader. His hair remained mostly brown, but flecks of grey had begun to appear. Illis was the oldest, and the most outspoken. Komi was Illis’ husband, but was the least. Oba and Rien were brothers. Apparently there used to be a third. Mecca worked with the animals, which Oshe now knew were called Haafi. They were a southern breed, and apparently difficult to manage. Ghan and Siem had both lost families. Tellen did the foraging and cooking, and what he prepared was always delicious, though the mood dulled the effect. Chenoe was dying of an illness he’d had from birth. 

Torra was the youngest, though Anlan was barely an adult. You couldn’t tell from the hard-worn lines on his face. Mecca was the only one of them he knew could pull off Cuotii., but they all seemed plenty capable without it. They now pulled what they had taken out of the wagons back in as they prepared to ride further westward. Oshe had decided he would ride with them for a while as he decided what to do. His task seemed impossible.

As he sat next to Mecca at the front of the wagon, Oshe twisted the two rings he wore. One from each of his Tei’din. Every Sharni should have two of them, but he had noticed that none of the refugees had any on their person. Where had they gone? Surely they had possessed them at some point. It was a tradition that had been in force for centuries.

He didn’t dare ask them about it, it seemed too volatile or personal. Those two seemed to overlap frequently.

The air around them seemed tense somehow. The day should’ve been peaceful but instead it seemed as though it was simply waiting for something to happen as they rolled along slowly. Maybe it was just his fatalistic company making him think that way. But Oshe of all people knew how to heed a warning. Even an unclear one. Especially an unclear one. Thinking on this brought the pressure in his mind into focus. He was very good at ignoring it, but once he started thinking about the dull push in his conscious there was very little that he could do to banish the feeling. It spiked whenever he touched the Iyash emblem in his pocket. He noted that for later reference.

The sound of the wind was interrupted by Mecca’s calm, rugged voice. “Behind us. Don’t look. It’s a Mascha of some sort I believe. Right now it’s just curious, but if it feels threatened it will break this whole wagon into splinters. And they’re very easily threatened.” 

Oshe was alert now. What did the older man intend for them to do? He seemed to have very little worry. Would they just let it follow them as far as it could? No, he saw Mecca bring his animals to a stop, signaling the other drivers to do the same. When they came to a full halt Oshe could hear the beast behind them snuffling, stepping around. Mecca calmly reached down beside the seat, and pulled out- Was that a sword? What kind of… Who carried a sword with them? The older fellow hopped off the wagon without a word, and drew the sword. It was no common thing, either. It was thick, and had a curve towards the point. How unconcerned Mecca looked approaching the Mascha. Oshe turned now, not caring about the repercussions it might have, and saw the thing.

In a way it was magnificent. It walked on four legs, each powerfully muscled and lean. There was very little fat on this creature. Excessively long canines protruded from its mouth, and its skin looked hard, plated almost. The coloring was distinctive, bleached white in some places, stripes of dark grey in others, and every shade between present somewhere along the  beast’s bony body.

 It looked towards Mecca as he approached, then quickly bent its legs as though to pounce, a slight growl emanating from its throat. The thing jumped forward, taking less than a heartbeat to close the distance between itself and Mecca. The still-placid looking man moved with deftness and precision, placing himself just outside of where he would have been killed. With another swift motion, the sword cut deeply into the Mascha’s upper leg. It lunged again, angrily, but Mecca seemed to see it before it happened, moving again mere inches away. Another swing and another deep incision. The third time it pounced, jaws wide open, Mecca simply pushed its head aside.

The two seemed to have a staring match. An unspoken debate. After a few seconds of stillness, it prowled off. Mecca walked back, wiping blood off the sword with a small cloth he had produced. He climbed back into the wagon, and they moved on as if nothing had happened.

“Where… How did you…?”

He seemed to understand what Oshe really meant. “It’s no mean feat. Just takes some experience.”

They were both silent for the rest of the day.

So when I do figure out some important stuff and write it, here's where it'll be, if ya care to have some random stuff to read.

Edited by Tacitus
Added mist (Wow mist how original you say well too bad it's part of the story)
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