OK - here I have another one for you. (This is going to be long, as I do not have a homepage, that I can link it to). And I'll have an inspirational challenge for you at the end <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />

There is no developped plot behind this - just the idea for a somewhat different character. Consider it an introductory chapter, or the beginning of a short story - at the moment, I am just playing around with (wild) ideas.
The Naming

I stirred, when the strange thought hit my mind! What was that? Someone was entering my cave! That had happened before, rarely though, as I live a lonesome life since the creator died, far away from any civilization. Only stray adventurers pass by every now and then. Whenever adventurers camp in the vicinity, I would approach in the dark; listen to their tales at the campfire.

But this one’s mind reaches mine!?

Carefully avoiding any sound I leap up to the niche that allows me to watch the interior of the front cave without being seen. It’s dark inside the cave; only the setting sun’s fading light provides an indication of where the entrance is. The silhouette is barely distinguishable against the light; even my eagle eyes cannot make out any details, other than that it holds a short staff in his right hand. Too long for a club, too short for a weapon staff. I can smell him though with my fine wolfen sense – humanoid, sort of; a man, no doubt.

I feel the man probing the cave with elven senses – that will find me!

Alarmed, I send a thought, “Who are you?” – Surprised, the man steps back, and looks around, puzzled. “My name is Leaf Swifthand”, he says loudly, “I was seeking cover for the night”. My ears hurt from the unusual noise. “No need to yell”, I think, annoyed, “I can hear you very well”.

The man Leaf seems irritated. So he can understand me!

“Are you reading my mind?” he sends a tentative thought. “Yes, indeed”, I answer happily, “You’re the first one in eons, whose I can read, and your mind is the first one at all, that can understand me!”

A multitude of pictures flood my mind, as Leaf is trying in vain to control his thoughts and emotions. “Calm down, please – this is too much”, I beg, “I mean no harm – this is the only way I can communicate, and I craved for conversation my entire life!” I sense his impulse to back out of the cave. “Please, don’t go away!” I feel Leaf hesitate, a mixture of curiosity and caution – no fear though. I feel his decision to shed some light in the situation, and instinctively withdraw to where I know will be shadow.

A little light sphere suddenly appears in the hands of the man, rises and then hovers some feet above him, lighting the entrance area and most of the front cave. Now I can see him clearly!

He is tall – the feathers crowning my skull would probably just reach above his hips - of slender build. As he pulls back the hood of his greenish dragon leather cloak with his left hand, I see long dark hair bound to a plait, very green eyes and pointed ears, almost like mine. Underneath his cloak he wears a thigh long mithril chain armor, leather pants and boots. No visible weapons, other than a dagger at his right side, and this ridiculous walking stick he holds in his right hand.

He looks around, but there isn’t much to see in the front cave. I keep it tidy so as not to attract unwelcome visitors. The beasts in these mountains have long learned that avoiding my cave serves their survival best. Though I don’t have a lot of needs out here, I do have to eat every now and then, and I am no vegetarian!

“Where are you?” Leaf asks, now thankfully at a moderate voice level, “Show yourself!”

I hesitate – I know this is going to be a shock for him. Here is the first being that I ever met, which I can communicate with. Every encounter with intelligent beings other than my creator so far led to disaster and them trying to kill me at sight.

“You will not try to harm me?” I send a thought to him. “You know, I am a little – unusual. But I assure you, I am very happy to meet you, and I really would like us to become – friends? You see, I never had a conversation in my life!”

“Don’t worry!” the man answers, still actually speaking, though that would not be necessary, but I guess that’s just because he is so used to it. “I acknowledge this is your home, and if you don’t attack me, I have no malevolent intentions! I was just looking for a safe and dry place to spend the night. I even can feed myself, should that be necessary”.

What a polite, educated and sophisticated man! And he understands me! Oh what a joyous day!
How many winters did I have to wait for this moment – must be over three hundred by now. Yes, 307 since the winter my old creator died.

“I have seen strange things in my life and on my travels, there isn’t much that can surprise me anymore!” says Leaf, “Come on out and tell me who you are”.

So I make sure that my wings are neatly folded on my back and step out of the niche into the light.

I sense his surprise and his shock; his reaction is instinctive and swift – this man does move fast! A leap backwards, his stick coming up before his breast in a defensive swirling move, a sharp clicking sound and pointed, double edged blades appear on each side of the stick – now it’s a weapon, and no ridiculous one!

Appalled I sit back and don’t move, careful not to smile, as I have learned that my fangs tend to intimidate people, though they seem to always show their teeth when they try to be friendly.

So we stare at each other, motionless. I see his picture of me in his mind. A gigantic (gigantic? Me? He is taller than I! ) black wolf with unblinking golden eagle eyes, a dragon tail and – wings?

“I told you I am unusual, actually I am pretty sure that I am unique – and believe me, this is not funny” I send to him.

Leaf, recovering from his surprise, relaxes. A smooth upward, downward swirl of his staff, and the blades slide back out of sight.

“Let me rephrase my question”, he says, mystified, “What are you?”

“My creator called me a Lupogryff”, I answer, “He made various creatures, but it seems I am the only one that lived”.

“By the might of Pharys, what an idea!” Leaf utters in disgust.

“But, please, tell me – what are you? Your smell is unfamiliar to me, I can’t define it – it seems vaguely human, but then there is something strange to go with it. Almost like the forest”. This puzzled me since he entered the cave.

Leaf is amazed, then blushes for some reason and seems uneasy. “You have a fine nose! I am a Half-Elf, my father was human, and my mother is an Elf”.

“So your father is not human any more?” I ask curiously.

“No – my father is dead. Humans are a short-living race; much shorter than Dwarfs and especially Elves, who are very long-living unless killed by force. I am very old for a human, but still young for an elf”. He hesitates, thinks “Why, by the spirits of nature, am I telling – it – that?” And then speaking again, “And you? How long have you been living here?”

“307 winters since my creator died, 43 winters together with him since I gained consciousness, I don’t know how long before that”. I feel Leaf’s awe and pity.

“350 years without communication with another intelligent being!”

“At first it wasn’t that bad. I could read my creator’s mind, and in the course of the years absorbed all his knowledge. But I couldn’t reach his, and he was very disappointed that he could do nothing with me. After he created me, he lost interest completely, and pursued the creation of a spiritual form, but he failed. After he died I have been flying and wandering around, but whoever saw me tried to hunt and kill me – so I kept hidden. Rarely would I find one whose mind I could read, but never anyone could be reached by mine – except you”.

“Fascinating”, says Leaf, and continues “You wouldn’t have a fireplace and some water by coincidence? It’s getting cold and I gather there is no need for us to stand here all night”.

“There is a spring in the back cave, and my creator used to make a fire there, but it’s been some years since. Let’s go there!” And I turn to lead the way.

“I bet!” murmurs Leaf, and follows me.

In the back cave there is a spring of clear water, an old iron stove and some left over coal, as I never had any use for it. I watch curiously while Leaf puts some coal in the stove, conjures a little flame in his right hand and lightens the coal. When Leaf takes off his cloak a small backpack is revealed from which he takes out some fruit cakes. I decline his offer to share them with me, and get myself a junk of boar meat I had stacked away in a corner.

So we sit before the stove, in front of each other, eating silently, and Leaf is trying hard not to think anything. But his curiosity makes him watch me closely, and I can see how he visualizes the golden brown feathers on my head and wings, the silvery streak of scales along my spine ending in a dragon’s tail, contrasting with the black fur of my wolfen body, all the time avoiding the piercing glance of my eagle eyes watching every move he makes. After a short while he gives up.

“You can really read all my thoughts?” he thinks, uneasy. “Thoughts you direct at me, yes”, I answer, “Your emotions and what you visualize, I can see also. Whether that’s all your thoughts, I cannot say”. “I can hear you in my head”, Leaf speaks again as it seems to make him more at ease, “but I cannot read your mind at all”.
“Well, you did not know you could receive a mind’s thought up to now. Nor that anybody could read yours. I have centuries of training, and no other possibility – maybe you can learn?” I suggest.

Leaf considers this, nods, but still is uncomfortable at the thought of sharing his inner self with a stranger, a creature of unknown origin and uncertain intentions.

“By the way”, he suddenly asks, “what’s your name?”

“Name?” I am perplexed. “I do not have a name. My creator never bothered to give me one. What would I need a name for? I am - I”

“Yes, but what should I call you?” Leaf asks. “You certainly are a magical, intelligent…” he hesitates, and I see a tentative “person?” forming in his mind, but he continues by saying “…being. You should have a name!”

“Well, then give me one!” I challenge him.

And now to the challenge!
What could this name be?
Inspirations welcome!

Any comments also <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />

Last edited by GlanceALot; 31/08/04 08:11 PM.

In times of crisis it is of the utmost importance not to lose your head (Marie Antoinette)