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Just a start of a story

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Umm... I dunno what I think of the story I'm working on, so I come to the doom community for some advice, remarks, observations, constructive criticisms... anything that you can say about the story - point out any of its weaknesses (and strengths if any are to be found) anything at all you can say to help me with it.


They landed with the sound of crunching metal all around them. Upon clamoring from the twisted wreck, they found themselves in beautiful country. Wheat grass on a rising slope falling steeply away on either side with hills and mountains rising up far away in the distance. The slope rose steadily with the wheat grass giving way to some twisted dog wood trees and a narrowing ridge. The path suddenly turned to gravel as the base of the mountain was met. As they ascended, large rocks were on the sides of the trail and the path became hard passing as it turned to larger, sharp rocks.

They found a shallow cave-- more of an alcove in the mountainside, where a flat, smooth area covered in short grass presented itself right on the side of the stony trail. A brief investigation of the area showed that no sign of life occupying the cave could be found, and so the weary, bewildered troop made a small fire and huddled around it in the shelter of the mountain.

The night came on cool and still. Stars shown clear and cold overhead and a thin moon came creeping over the towering mountain behind them. Mori had a "flap dap and dibble doi" way of saying things, as he liked to put it, and now took pleasure in the simple task of packing his long slender pipe with tobacco. The flame he placed in the midst he now toked on delightfully, one leg propped up on his knee as he chuckled at their sudden, precarious plight. Somehow, though, he felt there was a glimmer of promise to their unplanned dropping in on this strange land. If only they had some food, thought Mori, their unexpected camping trip would be quite welcomed. Dori, the youngest, wasn't altogether enthralled by their sudden and uncontrolled change in course; as their destination still lay over 300 miles east of their crash site.

"Sit tight little buddy, I'm gonna see if I can't scare us up some dinner." Sitogle jumped up and walked into the darkness. Sitogle wasn't the oldest of the group, Mori was, but his uncommon vitality and fearlessness made him often a strong leader, although not always the most prudent one, as clear, thought out thinking was not a concept he seemed to be able to wrap his little head around.

Dembole had said little since they had piled out of the wrecked plane . He now gazed into the darkness where Sitogle had now just disappeared. He was given a sudden start when a large crack was heard from the direction of where Sitogle had entered the wood. Mogi's pipe which had been playfully dangling in his mouth fell from his lips. He lept to his feet and grabbed a burning branch from the fire. He saw coming at him and following the screams of Sitogle as he came running back to camp, what looked as though there were two glowing embers darting swiftly among the shadows of the forest and now coming straight for him. But Mori did not let fear overtake his wits and cunning, and brandished the firebrand with fearless coercision at the oncoming beast, his eyes reflecting fierce the dancing flames of the nearby fire. They could all see now that it was a mountain lion of some sort, uncommonly large, but it soon retreated when Sitogle joined Mogi's side yelling and waving a firbrand wildly over his head. "Bring it on, beeotch!", but even the wild mountain lion was intimidated by Sitogle's display of ferocity, and retreated with feigned disinterest. The two then entered the forest with their firebrands at the ready to see if they couldn't scare up some more reasonably sized game for a meal.

"Give a hollar if anything happens!" Sitogle cried back to Dori and Dembole. "And don't venture off anywhere!" Called Mori.

Dori and Dembole suddenly realized they were alone in the cave.

"Don't be scared, Dori, they'll sure to come back screaming the fear out of you and into the hearts of any beast that might try to threaten us in their absence. Plus, we are protected in this cave with the fire guarding the entrance." But Dembole wasn't feeling too assured himself about being suddenly left alone.

A cold, long call rang out in the still night, and Dori pulled close to Dembole.. It was hard for Dembole to make out how far off the cry was. At once it was very close, and he shuddered, and yet it had a faint lingering echo that made it seem imperceptibly far off. To Demble the cry was too shrill to be of a wolf and yet, there was too much sorrow in it to be a mountain lion. It sent a chill through them both despite the warmth of the fire.

Some time passed and Demble started to doze off. But not as soon as his eyes had rolled up in his head was he jolted awake by two sharp jabs in his side.

"Look, Demb! Wake up!" Cried Dori in a loud, shrill voice. Dori was shaking him.

"What! What is it?" Demble whispered loudly.

"Look! Two large glowing things coming toward us!" Cried Dori.

Sure enough, just like before, two glowing embers were moving closer, but slowly, and this time much larger. Demble peered into the darkness, but couldn't make out in his mind what the two lights could be. Perhaps papa lion had come to avenge the other's cowardice. Dembole then heard the sound of footsteps crunching on the overbrush and quickly jumped to his feet. He had recognized the sound. He walked briskly toward the lights and then hesitated.

"Any luck?" He called out into the darkness. Two figures emerged from the forest each holding an embered firebrand.

"Just a few berries. I think we're going to have to spend the next few days coming up with some kind of gameplan for finding food, such as fashioning some weapons." It was Sitogle's voice. He handed some blueberries to Dembole.

They spent the rest of the evening eating mostly ripe blueberries and tending the fire. All in all, it wasn't that bad, and before long they each dozed off, one by one, but for Dembole, who sat up for some time gazing into the embers of the dying fire, mulling over the strange events of the past day and evening.


Morning broke with the chorus of bird song and the bright yellow sun breaking through the trees, spilling light into their cave. Dori was the first to stir. He looked around at his surroundings. They looked much more welcoming in the light of day.

Dori had awoken after a dreamless sleep before the rest and thought to himself their camp was quite nice indeed and all the fears and dread of the night before now seemed so trivial in the light of the fresh gleaming day. He took a deep draught of the early morning air still moist from coating the leaves and mossy grass with dew. Not bothering to wake the others, he gathered some small twigs and began carefully placing them strategically in the fire pit. He then struck a match to a white birch bark twig (the forest was sparsely interspersed with thin white birch saplings) nestled at the heart of his little fire and quickly a lively flame lept, licking the other twigs to a crackling fire, and very soon he had a nice little blaze going. Despite his hunger and thirst, he was in quite good spirits. The rest woke and took in the new day with a similarly surprised delight.

"One thing we did find last night was a stream running down the side of the mountain," Mori said as he stretched his arms toward the sky. "We'll get some water and more berries for breakfast before setting off again".

Dori was forced to put out his clean burning fire that now danced so merrily with hardly a whisp of smoke.

They came to the stream and each took long draughts of the fresh mountain spring water. It tasted specially sweet and delicious and all took their time to drink their fills. They then washed their faces and freshened themselves and Mori gave out a sudden shout as he crashed backward into the shallow stream, arms outretched, laughing as he splashed about like an excited puppy in the glistening water.

After their meager breakfast of blueberries they headed up the path again, with eager resolve to reach the top of the mountain. The first two hours of hiking were a breeze, as the sun climbed steadily and the heat of the day was still some time out. They were rising at a fairly good rate, and the views on either side of them were becoming increasingly more breathtaking.

Rolling hills could be seen for some distance where they met barely visible mountains blending in with the horizon. The sky seemed uncommonly vast and expansive. None of them had ever seen country quite like this before and it was actually a delight to be in such an unknown land on such a mysterious mountain despite the uncertainty of their situation.

The trees started becoming shorter and thinner and the view of the distant, surrounding hills became clearer. Ahead of them the trail continued to rise steadily, curving slightly to the right as it climbed ever higher, where it disappeared from sight behind the rocky mountainside that now jutted high into the sky someways up the path.

They could now see that to the right of the path the hill rose at a much steeper ascent above them, creating a wall of earth on their right side climbing higher and higher above them until at some point nearly beyond their sight it met a giant slab of black granite that jutted straight up obscuring their path where it curved to the right, completely out of sight.

A red bird bearing some resemblence to a cardinal and a small red tail hawk (so it seemed to Dembole) stood at the top of a particularly tall dead tree, seeming to be content in just taking in the vast vistas, although its true intent or whim none could guess at.

The path was fairly narrow at this point, and the slope dropped off to the left at a fairly steep grade. They paused here for a moment to catch their breaths and take in the strange land.

"I daresay, where are we?" Quipped Dori. "How strange it is that we have landed in this otherworldly land."

"I dare wage a guess at how far down that slope it is to those rolling, fielded hills," mused Mori.

"Something tells me it's a lot farther than one might think", replied Sitogle.

Dembole looked up ahead at the black rock shooting out of the steeply rising slope in the not so far distance and wondered what lay up ahead around the bend.

But before Dembole would get to find out, Mori announced that they better get their hunting gear made while the day was still young. They found that the diverse vegetation of birch saplings and spurs and all manor of fauna made fashioning spears quite easy and quick going. Sitogle even attempted to fashion a bow out of some young white pine but was having some difficulty with making string out of the various wild flowers, plants and weeds. He couldn't quite find the right plant combination to make string that had adequate strength spring.

Within several hours, all had fine weapons fashioned, each befit to its maker. Dori's spear was small and light, and Sitogle had made a small bow to be used with the spear to give Dori an added edge when fishing. Sitogle spent the rest of the day looking for proper bow string. Their weapons gave them new confidence and renewed spirit.

They all agreed to camp there for the night as they were becoming increasingly weak from lack of proper nutrition and spent the rest of the day practicing their weapons, with the hope of scoring a meal.

They hiked down the steep slope, down, down, down until they could hear the babble of the stream again. Patience was not something Dori found readily forthcoming, but Dembole found the cool air and the constant murmur of the stream to instill a much needed peace within him during this time of angst. The tranquility of the land, the caw of a bird, the soft rustle of the trees were calming to Dembole and he found hismelf tuning into nature and felt as if he could almost communicate with the fish-- communicate a respect for it, and it in turn seemed to surrender out of respect, and it was in this way that Dembole made the first catch of the day. His spear point was plenty sharp and without much thinking about it, he perceived the time to strike with a sudden moment of calm clarity, and found to his great amusement and surprise even a slippery and agile fish wasn't quick enough for his catlike reflexes, as he fancied them.

"Hey, guys, look what I've got!" He called to the others, holding up the squirming fish on his wooden spear.

Mori got one soon after, "Hey, this isn't so hard! You just gotta quiet your mind... which doesn't seem so hard, here, for some reason."

But Sitogle was still searching for some good materials for his bow string. After about two minutes of trying to use his bow spear, Dori gave up.

"Uhg, I'll never get this" and instead decided, rather optimistically, to get a fire ready for the meal they surely would be having come sun down. Dembole caught another one just as the sun passed out of view behind the distant mountains and so they had three whole, well sized fish among them. Sitogle carved another stick for roasting the gutted fish on. After their meal they were all set to make camp right there around the camp fire, but Dembole insisted they hike again until nightfall in the hopes of finding a flatter, safer place to sleep. The rest agreed, somewhat reluctantly, and they hiked back up the steep bank, back to the trail.

They reached the trail again to see the light of the set sun still streaking the strewn clouds with fire. Dembole led as he was eager to see what lay ahead round the bend. Soon enough, they rounded the bend to see the path seemingly stop at the mouth of a black cave in the side of a giant slab of black granite that shot straight up a thousand feet or more before it gave way to barren, tundra like terrain that sloped gradually out of sight. Here the trail seemed to have come to an abrupt dead end. Thick, boggy forest was on either side of the cave entrance, but the ground on which they now stood was solid. The cave was pitch black, and none of them could tell what was inside or how far back the cave went.

"Well, I daresay this is strangely peculiar!" remarked Mori.

"I had a feeling something cool would be round the bend - something about this black mountain suddenly jutting up out of nowhere deemed to me a a tell-tale sign of something intreauging." said Dembole.

"I'm not sure how cool it is, Dembole, unless you are prepared to enter the cave as it appears to be our only recourse?" retorted Sitogle. It was only then that they noticed upon looking around at their surroundings that there really was no other way. On either side a thick bog riddled with twisted trees that seemed to grow in every direction but up, entwined with large thorned brambles and choked succonaut trees met the side of the mountain slab that stretched in either direction, where in the forest's entrenchment, nothing could be seen beyond the thick bog. The very light seemed to be swallowed up in the grey, murky midst.

"I sure don't want to go that way," said Dembole uneasily.

"What about the ridge that rose above the path on the right while we were hiking up to here? Might not that lead somewhere?" came a small voice. It was Dori, who had no intention of stepping foot anywhere near the cave.

"I do not think that will be to any avail, as it looked as though that ridge met this mountain at an unclimbable angle," came Sitogle's reply, "but perhaps you could make us a fire and we could use the lit logs from it to look inside this cave."

"Shouldn't we at least have a look at what's at the end of the ridge?" said Dembole.

"We can see as plain as day that it comes to a dead end against the steep mountainside, why must you always insist on senseless further investigations of things plainly visible?" Said Sitogle. That didn't come out quite how he intended and he stammered in frustrated embarassment. "Anyhow, in all likeliness this cave is empty."

"Maybe there's a path that goes round the backside that we can't see from here, Stigg, did that ever occur to you?"

"Demb, let's you and I go and check it out." Interjected Mori.

"Seems like a long way to walk when it's pretty clear that it will be a waste of time, but don't let me stop you. -- Dori and I are gonna check out this cave while you're gone, right Dori?" Dori didn't say anything or even make a motion.

"Alright, just be careful. Don't do anything stupid," came Mori's reply. So it was agreed that Sitogle and Dori would make a fire and wait while Mori and Dembole investigated this possible alternate route. Dori got a fire going several yards in front of the cave while Sitogle poked around to see if he couldn't find some proper material to make string for his bow. More of the same wheat grass that was in the sloping field where their plane crashed ran up the ridge and cushioned Mori and Dembole's feet as they hiked. The view from the top of the ridge was like nothing they had ever seen. The sky stretched over their heads like a giant canvas splashed with water colors and oil paint alike; the fire licked clouds were brilliant crimson, the green forests lay below them like a thick blanket covering the base of the mountain while its head, the black mountain stretched high into the sky. They were like little ants on the neck of the mountain.

They could now see clearly just how narrow the ever ascending path they had been hiking up was. They couldn't see the bottoms of the deep gullies that dropped steeply away on either side and the forests in the distance on the far side of the gullies were a rolling, hazy sea of dark green and blue. Where the hills met the far distant mountains could not be guessed.

To Dembole's excitement, a very narrow path did indeed wrap around the side of the mountain head, beyond where the ridge they were on dead ended up ahead of them at the edge of the black mountain head. The point where the ridge and mountain head met, the path turned to the right at 90 degrees where the fold in the base of the mountain dropped away beyond guess. The narrow path disappeared from sight round the back of the mountain head. After a short rest, they continued up to the mountain wall to get a closer look at the path.

Suddenly Dembole was overcome by an uneasy apprehension. At first he was eager to creep along the narrow trail that crowned the mountain head, but now that they were nearly at the ridge's end, he wasn't so sure. There was something all so eerie about this place they had found themselves in that he had an incredible sudden urge to get off this high ridge, as spectacular as it was, and run back down the ridge, back down the mountain, back to their broken down plane. It was almost as though a wave of panic swept over him, and he felt a great sense of dread and weight on him.

"I suppose you want to go that way?" Said Mori pointing at the ribbon of path that clung to the side of the mountain head.

"Maybe not... there's something all out not right about this place," said Dembole. "I feel terribly exposed and vulnerable beneath this giant, looming black monstrosite that seems to not want us to get by." The barren emptiness of the land was not helping. They had seen hardly any wildlife and hadn't heard anything all day.

"Do you suppose anyone or anything use these trails?"

"Mountain goats, I suppose, though I haven't seen any." Dembole thought he should very much have liked to see some sheep or goats on the hillsides peacefully grazing, but Mori was right, there wasn't any sign of tameness as far as they could see.

"Let's get out of here. I feel as if this mountain will stomp us out at any moment; almost as if its pressing down its evil will upon us. Let's go see what Dori and Stigg have discovered. Hopefully they haven't gotten into any trouble. Who knows, maybe the cave will prove a better route." Said Mori.

The two made their way down with a brisk run, careful not to trip, but spurred on by the inexplicable need to get off the high ridge.


Sitogle took an enblazened stick from the fire and slowly walked toward the cave. Dori was at his side. It was cool inside, much cooler than the lingering heat of the day. The walls of the cave were sharp and jagged. The two entered the cave ever so slowly, doing their best fox walk. Suddenly Sitogle thrust out his arm to stop Dori from walking any further. Sitogle thought he could make out some sort of black shape among the dancing shadows in the blackness. Dori saw it too. They both stood frozen, the dancing light on the walls from their licking flames of their makeshift torches the only movement.

Mori and Dembole arrived at the end of the path again. There they saw the fire alone in front of the cave. They both looked at the cave and then each other and both sensed what to do. They looked at the cave again and then again at the fire. Gently they each removed a burning branch from the fire and slowly approached the black gaping mouth of the mountain. Upon entering they saw Sitogle and Dori standing motionless. At first they hesitated and then slowly approached on either side of them. They, too, froze in their tracks upon seeing a black shape among the dancing shadows. Dembole's first thought was a bear. The black shape moved, they saw a glint of green reflected fleeting a flash off the fire light, and then the shape was gone.

The four didn't know what to do. Do they leave the cave while they're still alive? Do they venture in deeper? Sitogle slowly took a few steps in the direction where he thought the black shape had disappeared, but found the cave ceiling became quite low. He came to a low, narrow passageway, not four feet high. He looked down the passageway but could see nothing. He decided it best not to follow, and the thought of squeezing down the tiny passageway deep inside the pitch black cave was enough to make him ill. Sitogle slowly walked backward out of the cave, and the others, without saying a word or making a sound, followed his example.

Once again they were standing in the blinding light of day, in front of the gaping, pitch black Mouth of the Mountain. Then came a deep, commanding yet warm voice from the cave.

"Welcome to The Mouth of the Mountain." Echoed the mysterious voice. "You weary travelers are not from here, and are bewildered at the sudden adventure you have found yourselves on. But do not be alarmed nor afraid. It is no accident you have found me."

A short man wearing a great black cloak giving him size beyond his build emerged from the blackness. His eyes were bright with a glint that instilled an unwavering trust into whomever gazed into them. His smile was warm and relaxing. But the dark places he had been could be guessed at by those worldly enough to seek out the truth in his face.

"I am called Alzarob, and you are in the land of Azgoroth. I will tell you of your coming here. Let us sit around the fire."

But they all just stood there blinking stupidly. Alzarob sat down in front of the fire with his back to his cave. Mori got a hold of himself and quickly followed suit, sitting next to Alzarob. The others nervously sat down and tried to hide their beflusteredment. They all sat silent and waited for what Alzarob had to say next. But he just sat there. Finally Mori stammered: "our plane crashed on the side of the mountain."

"Yes, I heard it." Off their bewildered looks: "The High Mountain carried the sound and echoed off the Black Head."

"Why are we here exactly?" Stammered Mori, before he could realize the absurdity of the question.

"You have come on an errand, I presume", replied Alzarob.

"Err... but we did not intentionally crash on your mountainside," came Sitogle's interjection.

"Few do who come here", said Alzarob.

"You have other visitors, then?" said Sitogle.

"We haven't had any visitors in a long time."

"Well, we aren't visiting. We are trying to find our way home." Mori was getting fed up.

"But you feel there is some errand that you have come here to see through." came Alzarob's reply.

"Begging your pardon?" Sitogle made no attempt to hide the agitation that had been growing inside him and now came through unrestrained in his strong voice.

"You are not in a regular land as you know it. You are no longer on your home planet, as you understand it in simple terms." And as Alzarob spoke these words, Mori somehow felt it to be true, as if he had known it as soon as they had "arrived" but just needed someone to out and say it; though he had no way of rationalizing it. He looked over at Dembole and saw that something had stirred inside of him as well. Alzarob's words stung Dembole with a sudden shock. A troubled look came over his face, as if he had just smacked into some unpleasant realization that now suddenly plagued him. Mori thought of what Dembole had said way up on the ridge earlier that day. Mori wanted more than ever to get out of this place. This was getting too strange for comfort. Dori just wanted to be safe in his bed. Sitogle wasn't having any of this strange man's words.

"I don't know what you're getting at Mr. Alzarob, but I don't appreciate you scaring my friends. Come on you guys, let's get out of here. We don't need to listen to the ridiculous banter of a crazy cave dweller getting us all worked up." Alzarob turned to Mori, who now was quite troubled by their plight and the resonance Alzarob's words had struck in him: "where will you and your traveling companions go? You do not know the way of this strange land; I can assure you you will need a guide if you are to go far."

"Give us a moment to discuss this among ourselves." Stammered Mori. Alzarob pulled his large hood over his head and disappeared back inside the cave. "Good, he's gone. Now let's move on." Said Sitogle.

"Where are we going to go, Sitogle?"

"Someplace other than here would be a good start. -- Look, we can hang around here and chat with a crazy mountain man, or we can start making in the direction of home."

"And what direction would that be...? Does anyone even recognize any of this land? Because I don't." Said Mori. Sitogle hadn't really given it much thought, but now that Mori had drawn his attention to it, he suddenly realized he didn't recognize any of it one bit. There was usually cloud cover when they flew this route home, but on the few occassions when they could see the ground it looked nothing like the dramatic landscape they were now in; although all day it had been brilliantly clear with only the occasional passing cloud. For the first time, fear and the feeling of desparation siezed Sitogle.

"What do you think we should do, Dembole?" Dembole looked at Sitogle, uncertain at how to explain how he felt.

"I don't get a good feeling about this place one bit, 'specially after hearing what that Albaroz character had to say. But I feel we should take the council of him nonetheless, as we have little other option."

"I feel the same way, Sitogle." Said Mori. "And what do you think Dori? Do you like this dark cloaked man? Do you think we should listen to him?"

"I just want to go home. -- He seems like he wants to help us and since we're all alone out here, I think we should let him try."

"Well, I think that settles it, Sitogle." Said Mori. "Fine, but I think it's a bad idea heeding council from this cracked hobo. I don't trust him one bit. -- Well, who wants to go get him from his cave?" Just as Sitogle volunteered Mori with a look of "well, go ahead and get him" as the worthy candidate, Alzarob emerged from the cave with his hood folded up in the front so that his guests could get a good look at his soft face and gleaming eyes. "So you have come to a decision!" He said. "The right one, I can assure you Sitogle. Do not be alarmed, you will come to understand the nature of your coming here in due time."

"I will cease being alarmed when you give us some explanations to where we are that make some sense." Came Sitogle's guarded reply.

"It is not so much where you are, but why you are where you think it is you've arrived."

"We don't know where we've 'arrived' and can't possibly have any thoughts on where we think we might be. All we know is this is a strange place. (beat) If you cannot tell us where we are, are you willing to clue us in on why we are wherever it is we've 'arrived' as you put it?" Came Mori's flustered response.

"The purpose of your errand I cannot guess. All I can tell you is this: you are not here by accident, however the circumstances might seem to be, given the sudden and unexpected crashing of your plane."

"I am in no mood for these riddle games. Give us some clear, simple council on what our course of action is to be from here." Agitation was creeping back into Sitogle's voice.

"It is not a mere simple matter of telling you what direction to head in or what spefically to do. You need to gain a better understanding of why you are here before you can start to know what you best should do here in this land." Replied Alzarob.

And what a land it was. Dori felt a nagging inside him, but he couldn't reconcile what it was. He wanted to say something but didn't know what. A troubled look came over his face, but he just slouched where he sat. "What is it, Dori?" Asked Dembole. "I dunno... I just... I have this weird feeling... I can't explain it."

"Do you feel sick?" Asked Sitogle. "No, no. It's not my stomach or anything... it's... it's this place." Said Dori.

"I think I know what you're talking about, Dori... I've had a growing uneasiness for awhile now. A feeling that I have to... I have to... or we have do something, and soon."

"You may stay by my cave tonight. No harm will come to you while you are between the entrance to my home and the firepit. And if you like, you are welcome to stay inside. I do have a cozy spare bedroom available and there is room in the living room as well." They were all a bit startled by Alzarob's deep, commanding voice. It wasn't intimidating or coarse, but rather assuring, almost soothing, a subtle sweet musicality to it, which is perhaps what startled them. Even Sitlogle found his guard somewhat softened.

"Your offer is kind. I should like to sleep infront of your doorway." The others didn't say anything.

"And what about the rest of you? (beat) Here; I will make an exception for you beleaguered travelers and light the torches in my den. I prefer it nearly pitch dark, and haven't lit them in a long while, but if it will comfort you the more, then it shall be done. He entered the cave and as if they didn't perceive they had an alternative, the other three followed him into the cave. Sitogle remained outside with a sharpened watch for any funny business. He certainly did not like the idea of anyone going inside that tight cave, let alone spending the night in there, but somehow he wasn't able to formulate a protest, and he was growing tired of fumbling over his words with awkward phrases; it was as if his tongue had frozen to the roof of his mouth when in the presence of Alzarob.

Darkness fell. Sitogle made a fire and huddled around it, his back to the doorway of the cave, his ears tuned for the slightest noise. Once through the tight, narrow passageway which wasn't too long, the others found themselves in a low, wide room; Mori and Dembole had to bend their heads slightly so as to not scrape against the rock roof. They found it very cozy, though, and Dori found a nice spot in the living room to curl up in. There were low, soft, moss covered benches and it was at the foot of one of these that Dori made his bed. Dembole and Mori found two small beds in the spare bedroom. They were delighted by the sleeping quarters. Moss made for a very sleep inducing mattress.

After everyone was settled in, Alzarob came outside to see how Sitogle was getting by outside.

"Will you be warm enough in front of the fire? It will be getting a mite chillier yet before the dawn breaks." Alzaraob was holding a large, thick fur in his hands, of what animal Sitogle couldn't imagine he had seen before.

"Take this, it will keep you warm." He bent down offering the fur to Sitogle.

"Yes, I suppose a blanket would be nice. Thank you very much." Alzarob smiled and disappeared back inside. Sitogle lay on his back just staring up at the star flecked sky. So strange had the day's events been. What was the meaning of Alzarob's riddle speak? What if he is more than just some old cracked hobo? Perhaps there is wisdom there beyond that of an old bum. But how did we get here? How are we ever going to get back? And where the bloody hell are we?! The others were not so angst ridden. They were so surprised by the strange hospitality of this mysterious benefactor, and the odd coziness of his home, that they completely forgot about their worries and fell immediately into deep, dreamless sleep.

They awoke feeling refreshed, if not invigorated at what possibilities the day would bring; what the land had in store, and what promise Alzarob's council might hold. Even Sitogle felt there was some strong promise offered from the turn of events. But, still, they needed to uncover the vague hints and suggestion of Alzarob's words the night before. If he wasn't going to show them how to get back to their own land (did he even know?) then how were they to go forward?

Sitogle was the first to get up the courage to ask Alzarob not twenty minutes after waking (and before the others were up) "Pardon me, Alzarob, but I couldn't help wonder in which direction will you set us out from here?"

"Not so hasty" came the curt reply. "And please call me Alzarob, not Mr. Alzarob."

"Right, of course."

"You are about to taste food you have never experienced before. But first, sip on this hot beverage. This, too, should be a pleasant surprise." But before Sitogle could protest, Alzarob was already handing him a large, round mug filled with a mysterious, dark liquid which aroma relaxed his guard and almost as if his arms were being lifted by some unseen force, he brought the mug to his lips. It was soft, and light, and yet with a strangely strong, if not subtly so, flavor that seemed to, for fleeting moments, cut through the buttery texture of this delightful morning elixir as Sitogle danced it around his tongue. His eyes widened like an infant's that's gaze has fallen upon some new wonder of the world.

"Ahh... so you see that not all things of this land are ominous. Things here may be different, and altogether strange, but in time you will learn, the more you let down your guard, the more you will see beauty and good in the most unlikely and strangest of places and the more you will witness all there is to behold and be enchanted by." His demeanor had suddenly changed, and a broad smile that seemed to spread wider and wider without limit broke over his warm, smooth face, seeping into the corners of his mouth; and his eyes softened and glistened.

"I'm... not so sure... I want to be enchanted," stammered Sitogle, trying to remain stalwart.

"In this land... I'm not so sure you have a choice!" Sitogle found it very hard to resist Alzarob's charm. There was such a blithe, jovial nature about him, a safeness inpenetrable; and yet at the same time, a strong, untouchable command rang through his rich, calming voice, but Sitogle was stubborn and did not want to appear weak.

At that moment Mori entered the room, "You have to try this-- " "Mazik" interjected Alzarob. Mori was surprised and heartened by his friend's sudden change of demeanor and Sitogle stammered, foibled by his own enthusiasm.


The food was equally strange and wonderful, and after they had eaten, they felt light in the head, almost as if intoxicated, floaty and sort of lazy with lightened faces, but within 1/2 hour, just when they were beginning to think a late morning nap might be in order, the lightness of their eyes and of their heads was felt in their limbs as well, as if they could bound up a mountain with effortless grace and speed.

"You won't be needing to eat again today, I can assure you my friends."

They all just gazed at him with wide eyes and large grins plastered on their faces. But a shadow came over Alzarob's face. He had won their trust and knew at some point he would have to let them on of the dangers they were to face. Now as not the time. Doubt would assail them again before too long. But first a little more fun to ease their bewildered minds.

The rest of the morning was spent perfecting their weapons. They showed Alzarob their weapons and Alzarob showed them the proper sinews from which to make a good, strong bow. With the aid of Alzarob, they learned how to use the beautiful and peregrine vegetation for the fashioning of weapons.

"You had the right idea with these weapons. You will need them on your journey. My skill in these matters of weapons will be of great aid to you in the (here he paused for a short beat) time laid out before you. They weren't sure what connotations his words held, and none did dwell on them for more than a passing moment. Alzarob knew all to well the danger in dwelling on one thought or thing for too long in unknown lands and took great pains to avoid it with these new comers.

Their new weaopns were a sight to behold. Unlike anything they had ever dreamt of in there most adventurest dreams. The material resembled something closer to wood than metal, but the quality was altogether uncomparable. Very eager were they to learn the mastery of their new weaopns. And Alzarob appeared to be more than equally willing to teach them.

In all the excitement and wonder at the amiable Alzarob, the beautiful country they were enjoying and learning in , the weaopns, the games they made for themselves, the incredible athleticism and quickness of Alzarob, the day by day wonder at the ever increasing skill and performance at which they were learning to master their weapons, they totally forgot about their worries and doubts of the days after their plane crash that now seemed so long ago... a memory of which the details they found they could scarcely recall... now almost a blur.

They learned so much in each day. One day's learning here with Alzarob held as much in a week back home. Alzarob was tireless in his showing to them of the trees -- how to climb them, how to hide in them and use them for cover, how to sleep in them, of where to find the foods that would nourish them all day - of which animals were their allies. With their new diet of food, they, too, were learning day by day how to be as tireless as Alzarob. There were no forests in these parts, just the expanse of high fields with mostly small fruit bearing trees and the occasional large Lineora tree, with large horizontal branches that carried the space of the tree so eloquently and in which they climbed and practiced their hunt. Alzarob even showed them how it was possible to sleep high in the cradling bows of the Lineora.

Their training went on, their playing went on - so filled with wonder and joy. They even forgot that they were going to be leaving - or that they had been meaning to. Their agility grew day by day. They learned to jump higher, to move quicker - even their cunning was quickened and sharpened. They were becoming in tune with the symphony of the earth. They were the music dancing in the grasses and riding high in the trees, alighting to every subtle neuance of twig and leaf, every vibration of plant and stone. They remembered their connection to the earth in a way they never realized they had forgotten. In all their fun and wonder, they forgot it was all a training for the journey ahead, of which they still new little, if anything about, and also had completely forgotten to care.

It was on a day of rest, Dori was lingering around the cave, being perfectly lazy and even more contented to be so that he suddenly remembered to ask Alzarob what was next. "Patience, my young little hero." Came the warm and sure reply. "The day will come. Enjoy now this day of contenting in the glorious beauty, peace and quiet." The simple words worked simple magic. Dori did exactly as he was "commanded" (it happened upon him that the suggestion befitted the moment perfectly. He resumed his blitheful state of doing absolutely nothing. The others were exploring the realm, hoping for the off-cahnce they might get to use their weapons on something other than targets and Alzarob (who was impossible to hit) in the various games they had made. They were itching for some real live action. Alzarob had given them a parimeter, a general sketch of what landmarks they shouldn't pass, and where they might tramp to in order to scare up some manageable game, a good test of their new learned skills.

Dembole had asked Alzarob earlier that morning of the high pass he and Mori had investigated. Alzarob told them their intuition had served them well, that they were wise in coming down again so quickly... although he wouldn't say why, and Dembole et. al. had learned by this point the futility in pushing the point.

So they decided not to go that way. They went up the Black Head where Alzarob had told them a kind of black mountain goat were busy this time of year making last preparations before the coming storms pound the mountain face, and that they would have no trouble sighting, but that killing one was an entirely different matter. But they didn't see anything save what Dembole thought he had seen, the flicker of a shadow for a fleeting moment, but couldn't say he saw any particular shape; just that he thought it was mostly black. They returned to Alzarob a bit annoyed.

"Ahh... you have much to learn yet in the rite of hunting in the land of Azgaroth. Tomorrow you will learn the meaning of "The Hunt." And with that, the troop were left to mull over amongst themselves further the obscurity of their situation here under the care of Alzarob.

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Use more 'hard enters' and don't post so much text in one post.
That'll intimidate people...

Small chunks of text are easier to read.

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m0l0t0v said:

Use more 'hard enters' and don't post so much text in one post.
That'll intimidate people...

Small chunks of text are easier to read.

I'm not sure about that. People read dsm's stories and he posted gallons. :P

As for the story here, it depends how hellbent wants to present it, but i would have split it into more paragraphs, which is not necessarily saying there should always be two lines between each and every one. For example should a character speak i would have put the speech on the next line down rather than continue the current line. This can make it a little easier to read at least.

Otherwise it doesn't seem too bad, but i'll come back for another look methinks.

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BlueSonnet said:
I'm not sure about that. People read dsm's stories and he posted gallons. :P

Yeah but I remembered to use paragraphs and lots of them.

I haven't read the story yet - mostly because the lack of paragraphs put me off, but I hope I can get around to reading it.

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Dr.Doom said:

You are a good author and I think you should keep writing this one. Good job.

Thanks Mr. Doom. I need all the encouragement I can get. I do plan on working on it more. There will be updates, but prolly not too soon. The more people that read it and reply, the sooner will there be more story to read! :)

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Remind me to write more Underworld and shame you all :P

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Spike said:

Remind me to write more Underworld and shame you all :P

Aww, I thought there was gonna be a comment on my story....

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