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Post Reply Is It Only A Dream?
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25 / F / In my own little...
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Posted 3/17/09 , edited 6/30/09
Last Update to the Story ::
June 30 {{ Mori's Family and a Visit From the King }}
May 16 {{ Mori's Forge }}
May 6 {{ OMG IT'S HEERRRR O___O }}
May 1 {{ A Feast at the Capital? }}

Hehehe, finally got that big chunk in the middle done, so I'm posting it bit by bit ^^

There are a few things you should know first about this story.
It's set in a medieval-like time, so some things have different names than they do in our society. They don't have cars, or plumbing, or electricity ^^

THE CHARACTERS ::

Here are the characters so far ^^

Roen ::

(( picture in the making xD ))
~ The hero of the story. He has been having a dream often since he was ten. A dream about a girl who can't get up from the ground, and whispers something to him every time; the same thing. But he can never understand what she's saying.
Roen's father is the blacksmith for the village of Sar, and very good at what he does. Roen wants to be as good as his father, so he works hard in the smithy. He's very tall, and well muscled from working in his dad's smithy, so all the girls in Sar adore him xP

Tom ::
(( picture in the making xD ))
~ Roen's best friend since they were both barely able to walk. He lives in Sar with his mother, father, and siblings. He's a pretty carefree person, and doesn't seem to take things seriously, when actually he worries quite a bit about things. He loves poking fun at Roen, but admires his friend immensely :3 He can never beat Roen when he jumps him and tries to wrestle him to the ground.


Jero :3 ::

~ A funloving dog, just wants to be with his master <3
He loves to jump on Roen and cover him in slobbery kisses <3


CHAPTER 1

On a fine spring day, a dog roamed through the tall grass of a field.

On a fine spring day, a boy ran after it.

He was 10 years old, and the dog had been his Christmas present last winter. It had grown considerably since then.

A gentle wind played at the boy’s silky brown hair, and bright sunlight shone in his deep brown eyes. He wore simple clothes in dull shades, for his family was not rich, but better off than most in his village. The puppy the boy got had only been gettable because a friend of the family had said they could have one for free when their dog had puppies.
The dog jumped and rolled in a patch of softer grass, and the boy leapt after it.

“Hey, Jero, stop it!” The boy laughed and smiled as the dog gave him a slobbery kiss.

The dog paid no heed and continued to lick the boy’s face. Soon he did stop though, and rolled onto his back, as the boy scratched his tummy.

From far off, the boy heard his mother calling him. “Roen! Come in, it’s time for lunch!”

“Coming, Mom!” He called back, and Jero picked up the message, jumping up and racing to the door of the small house that the family occupied. Either that or he could smell his lunch being put at the doorstep for him.

Roen ran to the table, with his mother trailing him, telling him to take off his shoes and wash up before he ate.

“Awe, Mom, do I have to?” He looked up at her pleadingly. He was very hungry, now that he thought of it. Any delay was looked upon with dread.

“Yes, now go wash.” His mother, Sarah, patted him on the back in the direction of the water pump in the kitchen.

Roen rushed to the pump, hastily washed his hands in a wide bowl, and ran back to the chair at the table. He sat in it too fast though, almost knocking the chair over.

Sarah placed a plate with a sandwich on it in front of him, and he dug in, scarfing it down in a few minutes.

“Going back out to play!” He was already through the door by the time the last words came out.

After only ten minutes of play, he heard a familiar voice calling his name.

“Tom Groumly, ‘s that you?” Roen stood up from where he’d been sitting, and out of the bushes nearby came a boy his age, but a little shorter. Roen had always been taller than most his age.

Tom knocked Roen to the ground and they tumbled for a few moments, and ended up rolling into a dirt patch. They fought for control, each trying to pin the other, and Roen ended up on top, as usual. And as usual, Jero landed on top of him. The large dog’s weight made Roen cough.

Dog and boys got up laughing, and continued to play the day away. Half way through the afternoon, Roen’s mother came out with two glasses of lemon-aid. Roen always wondered exactly how his mother always knew when Tom was over. When he’d asked her once she had said that she could tell Tom was over because she had super secret see-through vision. So Roen had asked her which underwear he was wearing, forgetting that his mother had picked out his clothes. She’d squinted hard at him and concluded, “The white ones with your name on them.”

Sarah went back into the house to do some work, and the boys sat in the fading sun, sipping their cool drinks.
“Hey, Tom,” Roen started, and waited to see if his friend was even listening.

“Yeah?”

“We’ll be best buds for ever, right?”

Tom looked over and smiled, and said, “Duh!”

************

That night, as Roen was getting ready for bed, he heard his mother call out his father’s name. “Ben, you had to work late today?”

His father’s deep, resonant voice drifted to his room. “Yeah, got three horses needing shoes today. Took me forever to finish ‘em!” Roen could see in his mind’s eye his mother and father embracing and squirmed from the mushy thought. Love disgusted all boys his age.

Roen heard heavy footsteps coming towards his room and ducked under the bed, sniggering.

He saw his father’s boots come into his room, and his father said, “Oh, Roen? Come out come out, where ever you are!”

Roen waited a few seconds for his dad to come closer to the bed, and then jumped out, screaming, “Boo!”

Laughing, Ben picked his son up, lifting him high into the air. Roen got his height from his dad.

“Had a fun day today, kiddo?”

“You bet, Dad! Me an’ Tom wrestled and I won again!”

“That’s my boy, Ro!” His father ruffled his hair and placed him in his bad, putting his covers over him. “Good night, son. Sleep tight.”

“Don’t let the bed things bight!” Roen chimed in, his usual nighttime custom.

His dad left the room, leaving the door cracked open as usual.

And Roen closed his eyes.

************

He walked through a forest, with a stick in his right hand. The forest was dark, and he wondered what he was doing there. He also wondered why he held a stick.

He walked for what seemed like hours, calling out for his mom or dad or for Jero. But no body seemed to be there.

After another age of walking aimlessly, his feet seemed to take a more purposeful stride of their own accord. He let his feet do the walking, while his head thought about what this dream could mean.

Suddenly, he came through a row of bushes into a sunlit clearing, where a girl about his age lay on the ground. Having been brought up right, he rushed to the girl’s side to see if he could help her in any way. But not knowing what to do, he just nudged her shoulder.

After a few seconds, her eyes opened a little and she whispered something he could not hear.

Then things faded.


************

Roen opened his eyes to dim sunlight. He sat up in bed, and found that his muscles were tense and his forehead was a bit damp, as if he’d just run a mile or two.

He sat up, swinging his legs over the edge of his bad, and rubbed his forehead.

That dream, again! What is with it? Why do I keep having it? And most of all, who is that girl?

It was seven years later, and he’d been having the same dream at regular intervals since he was ten. And he always woke up sweating and tense, as if he’d run a lot. And the girl was always his age. He had watched her grow older, from child to young woman.

He shook it off, and got out of bed completely to dress. His trousers came on first, then his tunic with his rough leather belt. Lastly, he slid on the tough vest; the mark of an Apprentice Blacksmith. Where he lived, if you had a tough vest like this, people knew you had talent and would some day be a skilled blacksmith. And blacksmiths were highly respected in these parts. The ability to bend metal with heat and make things that people needed was no small thing in a place where horses and metal tools were essential to farm life.

He went to the door to his room, and opened it. His mother was sitting at the table, doing some sewing work on a pair of his father’s trousers. And Ben swore he hadn’t gained a pound since his youth.

“Mom, I’m out to the smithy! See you later!”

As he went out the door, Roen whistled, and the deep baying of Jero sounded in the field, where he’d been lounging. He came lopping over and slowed to a walk by Roen’s side. “Hey, boy.” Roen patted the large dog’s head, and they walked to the smithy down the road a ways. It was about two miles off, in a clearing in the forest that surrounded their house and it. It was owned by Roen’s father, and before him was owned by his father. And it would be Roen’s once his father retired.

As he walked into the forge, the heat hit him like a tidal wave but did not knock him down. He had grown accustomed to the sudden heat many years ago. He’d been helping his father and training in this forge for the last seven years now.

He picked up his hammer and started to work on the sword he’d started the day before. It was being made for a man in the town close by; a fairly wealthy man by the standards of the village called Sar. The village of Sar was only a mile further down the road from the forge, which was at the edge of the woods. Roen’s house was actually surrounded by very light trees, but he still considered it forest. The trees got denser further in.

Above the banging of the hammer, he heard the whisper of the girl in his dream, but could not hear what she was saying. It was like the wind; you heard it but not what it said, unless your ears were trained to.

Roen looked down at his handy-work, and smiled. Almost done! This was the first job he had all to himself other than little things. It was his first real job. A sword! After a few moments of sitting and just looking at the almost finished blade, his father walked in from the back, where he’d been chopping the special wood that made the forge hot enough to make metal soft. In his arms were a few blocks of it, which he set close to the forge for later.

Without a word, he came over to inspect Roen’s work. Roen stood proudly next to it, as his father critically inspected it.
After a long pause, Ben picked it up and brought the blunt of the sword against a testing wall, and it shattered.

Roen’s mouth dropped open, and Ben said sternly, “You make the sword look good, but it is not functional. You must learn to balance the two qualities, son. Make it again. Re-melt the iron and reshape it. And this time make sure it’s strong and won’t break at the touch of a feather.” Ben walked without another word out of the forge.

Roen sat in dismay for a moment, and then a slight anger filled his head. It wouldn’t have broken at the touch of a feather! He trudged to the split blade and gathered the shards, careful not to slice his hand open. He placed them into a special container and into the forge. He let it sit in there for a few minutes.

While Roen was waiting for it to get nice and melted, Tom popped his head in the door. He wore a silly grin on his face.
“Yo, Ro!” He stepped into the hot smithy and sat on a chair next to the workstation.

Roen heaved a large sigh and said, “Hey, Tom.”

“Something wrong?” He folded his arms on top of the back of the chair he sat backwards in, and rested his chin on his wrists.

“This darn sword. It looked great and took so long to make, but it shattered easily. Now I have to remake it.” Roen huffed another sigh.

“Eh, it’s not too bad. At least you learned something, right?” The carefree and ever optimistic Tom smiled cheerfully.

Roen shrugged and went to the forge to retrieve the molten metal. He had on thick leather gloves and used tongs to get the metal out of the forge, and carried it to the anvil. “Stand back,” he said to Tom, who had already backed up, knowing the drill. He’d sat and talked with Roen many a time since he started to work in the forge with his father.

Sparks flew as the hammer met the molten metal. Roen concentrated so hard on his work that if Tom had said anything, he did not hear it. Even the ghost of the whisper from his dreams had gone. All he heard was the steady, rhythmic pounding of his hammer on the metal. By the time the metal was darker and too hard to shape, he tested its balance and then used the tongs to hold it in the forge until it was shapeable again.

He moved steadily and swiftly. Years of experience had taught him how to move efficiently around the smithy, and he was pounding again in a few moments. After doing this a few times, he had a basic sword shape.

After a few more rounds of this, Roen stopped for a moment to get some water. Keeping hydrated was important when you worked in a forge. The heat made you sweat, so you needed to replenish your liquids or dehydrate yourself. He looked around the room and found that Tom was there no longer. He must have gotten bored watching me for so long, he thought, chuckling. He found Jero lying near the door, exhausted from running. He went back to his work.

By the time the sun was setting, Roen walked out of the forge, sweaty and sticky. In his gloved hand, he held a shiny blade. It had no hilt yet, which he would construct and attach the next day.

He smiled, having tested this one, hitting it against the tester with all his might. It had held and he was proud.

He placed it in a safe spot in the forge and locked up for the day. That was his job always, and had been for a few years now.

He whistled to Jero, who came bounding to him in seconds, and headed back home.



CHAPTER 2

The next morning, Roen was walking to the forge and was joined by Tom.

“Yo, Ro!” He called from a bit up the road.

“Hey, Tom,” said Roen, in a happy voice. He was still proud of the blade he’d made. “You should come down to the forge and see something!”

Tom looked up and smiled. “Sure.” He fell into stride with Roen, and put his arm around his friend’s shoulder. “You know, I think Susie fancies you,” he whispered.

Roen’s face went scarlet but he didn’t change his stride. “That’s crazy,” he said.

Tom looked Roen up and down, taking note of his now dark brown hair and deep eyes, the muscles he had acquired working at the forge and his tanned skin from being out of doors so often. He was also tall, which seemed to be something the girls all liked. Tom had always wished he had been born with Roen’s height.

“Don’t think so, buddy,” he said, smiling and looking ahead of them, to the forge.

“But I don’t - fancy her, she’s just a friend.” Susie had been in school with him and Tom all their lives. “You know that.” The only one I “fancy” doesn’t exist outside of my dreams.

Tom nodded, but said, “You may not fancy her but I’m pretty sure she fancies you. Just don’t break her heart, or her dad might come after ya.”

Roen shook his head, and opened the door to the forge, which they had reached by now. He led Tom to the blade, and held it up proudly. Tom clapped, and said, “Nice work, buddy!”

Roen smiled and said, “Thanks!”

They stood talking for a few more moments, and then Roen got to work on the hilt of the blade. The hilt was easier to make than the blade, and he was done in no time compared with the time it took to make the latter.

He took a break for lunch and walked with Tom to the village. Tom lived in the village, while Roen lived separate from them all with his family in the woods. But thevillage was still a popular spot for them. There were only about ten people in town Roen and Tom’s age. They were all at the lunch spot, near the river that flowed through the center. All the young people in Sar sat on the bridge across the river and dangled their feet while they ate their lunches.

“Hey, Ro,” they all said at intervals. Roen acted as if he’d never heard that Susie fancied him. But now that he had the information in his head he thought he did notice some changes in the way she acted around him.

After they had finished eating and chatting with the others, Tom and Roen headed back to the forge. They passed through the center of town, and saw a crowd standing around a well-dressed man standing on a box. Drawn by curiosity, they walked over to get a clue of what was going on.

The man was speaking to the crowd. “All are invited to the Great Feast for the Princess’s sixteenth birthday! The whole country is invited!” Cheers from the crowd met this, and when they died down, the man continued. “’Tis in a week and a day’s time, at the palace! There will be a feast and a ball, so bring something nice to wear! I hope you all can make it!”

The man got off the box and made his way through the crowd. He was walking toward where Roen and Tom stood, heading on to the next town, most likely. He saw the two young men standing and said, “And do you two plan to come?” He smiled inquisitively at them.

“You bet!” Said Tom, and Roen nodded. The man beamed and went on his way.

“Wow, a feast at the palace! And everyone is invited for once! This will be great!” Tom was bouncing eagerly in place.

“But can we go? I mean, are we going to be able to make it? And what will our parents say?” Roen was a bit more skeptical than his eager friend.

“Don’t know, let’s ask them!” Without another word, except a promise to meet Roen later, Tom ran off in the direction of his house.

Roen chuckled and shook his head at his hyperactive friend. He went back to the forge to finish the hilt for the sword.

He attached the blade to the hilt with painstaking care and then, soaking it in glue, wrapped blackened leather around it to make it easier to grip the hilt. Once the glue had set, he washed off the excess and shined the blade and metal part of the hilt, and when he was done, he thought he had a very nice sword indeed.

Just as he was holding it up, his father came in, saw the sword, and walked over to inspect it. He held it and swung it, testing the balance. It was good. He banged it on the testing wall; it did not shatter but instead made a ringing noise. He nodded in approval and handed it back to Roen, putting his hand on his son’s shoulder and smiling. “Good job, Ro.”

Roen beamed and his father told him to go take it to Mr. Spurk, the man who had ordered it. Roen nodded eagerly and rushed off holding the sword tenderly in his hands. He had made a sheath for the blade also, so he could hold the whole thing without cutting himself. Jero bounded along next to him.

When he got back to town, he was a bit out of breath but only for seconds. His muscles were trained for long runs and a mile wasn’t too much compared to the ten he ran one day, to and from a house further into the woods.

He knew exactly where Mr. Spurk lived; he knew where everyone lived. It was a small town. He knocked gently on the door, and waited patiently for Mrs. Spurk to open the door. She smiled at him and said, “Yes, Roen, what can I do for you?”

“Is Mr. Spurk home?”

She nodded and went to fetch him. She asked Roen to please come in and have a seat. As Roen sat in a chair in the kitchen, she left the room to get her husband. He was there in a few moments of awkward waiting on Roen’s part.

Roen stood up hastily as the man came into the room and said, “Mr. Spurk, the sword you ordered is finished,” holding out his work.

The man beamed and walked toward him to inspect the sword. After a thorough check, he nodded and said, “Give my compliments to your father, Roen. This is a great sword!”

Roen’s face colored a bit, and he said, “Er, actually sir, I made it.”

Mr. Spurk beamed at the boy, and said, “Well done, Roen, well done!”

Roen accepted the praise poorly. For all his confidence and rowdiness around those his own age, he was always so modest and shy around the older generations. He hastily bowed and left the man, to head back home.

As he was crossing the bridge to get to the road leading to his home, he was knocked to the ground. He grinned, and twisted, locking his assailant in a death grip. “Tom, you really never learn,” he said.

“Nope. Never do and never will, not ‘til I pin you one of these days. Mark my words, I’ll get you some day!” Tom grinned from his position under Roen.

Roen let him go and said, “No you won’t. Never will. Not if I can do anything about it.”

Tom shrugged as if to say that either of the two might be right, and got strait to the topic at mind. “So, have you asked your parents yet? I’m going.”

Roen shook his head. “No, I’ve only just now delivered the sword to Mr. Spurk. Haven’t had time to ask yet. Your parents coming with you?”

Tom’s face lit up even more. “Nope! This is my solo journey, away from home. I’m going to seek my fortune after the Feast!” Unlike Roen, who had a job waiting for him, Tom had no idea what he was going to do in his later years.

“Really? Then I’ll have to make sure I come with you. Wouldn’t want you leaving forever without one last adventure.” Under the forced smile, a dread rose up. He didn’t want to lose his best friend.

Tom didn’t say any more, and they continued to walk in silence for a while, until Tom had to turn back around and go home.

“See ya tomorrow!” He called behind his shoulder, not having picked up Roen’s current mood. Roen waved a casual flick of the hand and continued home.

************

As he sat down to the special dinner Sarah had made to honor his first job well done, Roen remembered the great Feast at the palace.

“Hey, mom, did you know that the Princess’s sixteenth birthday is coming up?” He asked casually.

“Yes, I knew that. Why?”

“Well, to celebrate, they are throwing a great big Feast, and the whole country is invited! Can I go? Tom is.”

Sarah didn’t even think twice about it. “Of course you can go, sweetie. You don’t need to ask me anymore if you can do things; you are a man now and can make your own decisions.” She’d told him this many times but he just couldn’t do something this big without at least asking first.

Roen smiled, and his father sat down. “So, you’re to go to the palace? You will need a horse. Take one from the stables. You can even have Soban for the journey.” Roen smiled. Soban was his father’s prized horse.

“Thanks mother, thanks father.”



CHAPTER 3

The next day, Tom met Roen in his room as he packed.

“Haha, so you are going!” He walked into Roen’s room as if it were his own; and it might as well have been. He had been over to Roen’s so many times that he felt as open there as he did at his own home. He flopped onto Roen’s bed, making his bag wobble and almost fall to the ground.

“Yes, and we should leave today, if we want to be able to find lodgings in the city before the rush of people comes in. Do you have your things packed? And do you have some money?” Roen put the last of his things into the bag and fastened it shut.

“Yup, got all my things ready. I was only waiting for your signal.” Tom smiled cheerfully, and Roen shouldered his bag, as they walked out the door.

As he walked through the kitchen, Roen picked up a fresh apple and bit into it. By the time they were out in the front of the house, Roen’s mother had come up behind them. She did not call to him, but he knew she was there and turned around, rushing to engulf her in a huge hug. “I will be back home in no time.”

Tears were trickling down Sarah’s face as she watched her baby boy, who was now a nearly grown man, walk away from his home.
She sighed. She had known the day would come when he’d want to go out and see the world beyond the village of Sar, but she hadn’t thought it would come so soon.

She turned from the door and continued her housework, and Roen and Tom continued down the rocky path to town.

Roen was bowled over in no time, and covered in slobbery kisses. “Hey, Jero, old boy! I’ll be back in no time. Don’t you worry!” Roen got up and hugged his dog tight before walking off. He couldn’t help feeling like he was betraying Jero, and didn’t want to look back.

************

Roen and Tom stopped at Tom’s house on the way out of town, and found Susie and Ben, her brother, there. Ben was a friend of Tom and Roen’s.

“Mom, we’re off!” He called into the house, through the noise of his youngest sibling, a three-year-old girl. He had three; the toddling sister, the reckless brother and the somewhat-mature-yet-never-to-be-as-mature-as-himself-in-his-own-opinion sister. She was reading a book to the youngest, who squealed and giggled at the pictures.

Tom’s mother came into the room, wiping her hands on her apron. Susie looked up and Roen pretended not to notice her glancing at him.

Tom’s mother hugged him tight, and didn’t let go for a few moments. “Come home rich, ye’ hear?” She teased, and ruffled his hair before he could get out of her reach. She sighed the same sigh that Roen’s mom had sighed, and watched them walk down the road for a while. Susie stood at the window and watched Roen’s back disappear.

************

Roen walked with Tom first to the stables, where he had tied up Soban, and where Tom’s family’s horse was. Then, when they had saddled their horses and put their bags on, they went to the produce market to purchase some extra food for the journey. They’d need about three-days worth of food.

And soon they were on their way, leaving the only place they had ever been. The realization sent a chill down Roen’s back, and he glanced at Tom, who seemed unperturbed by the fact that they were leaving home.

He sighed but did not look back as they made their way to the city.

************

Their journey brought them first through the relatively small forest surrounding their village. They rode at a steady trot down the road to the plains, and once they reached the plains, they spurred their horses into a canter. They continued like this for a few hours, and stopped for a rest and water.

Here Roen sat on the ground in the afternoon sun, taking a drink from his canteen of water as Tom walked up to him. His friend had been walking around, looking for a place to wash his hands of the sticky sap he’d acquired in the forest.

“Yo, Ro. How long should we rest?” He asked, sitting in the dirt next to Roen.

Roen shrugged, and said, “Not too long. We should get to the edge of the Hamarr Forest before sundown, and that’s at least three hour’s ride away.”

Tom stood up, nodding, and said, “Then, let’s get going.” He walked to his mount and lifted himself up, petting the mare’s neck.

Roen nodded and swiftly mounted Soban. With a sigh, he turned the stallion to the road, and they were off.

************

That evening, just as the sun was setting, they reached the inn at the edge of the Hamarr Forest. It was there for people like Tom and Roen; to house travelers before or after traversing the forest. They checked in quickly, and slept well that night.

Though Roen was troubled by the dream he’d been having since young, he woke up refreshed the next morning, and smiled before shaking Tom awake.

“Move your lazy bum, Tom. We have to get going.”

Tom mumbled a few groggy replies before sitting up and rubbing his eyes.

As they set off toward the forest, a sense of foreboding enveloped both travelers. The Hamarr Forest was the largest and darkest in the country. Roen sighed and urged Soban into the darkness, with Tom following close behind.

They traveled like this all day, and when the darkness of day slowly transformed to the darkness of the night, they made a camp and slept on the earth, always wondering what beasts roamed in the night.

The next morning, as they packed up their small camp and reloaded their saddle bags, Roen looked around, glad that he had at least had a dreamless sleep. He wondered if it was even possible to dream in this Forest… The trees here were all dark, and huge. No one knew how old they were, but it was obvious that they were ancient… some of them even rotted. They gave the whole forest the feel of the eerie places in the stories told to scare children.

Glancing around, Roen and Tom got onto their horses, and spurred them into action, heading for the edge of the forest. Half a day’s ride was yet ahead of them before they got to the City.



CHAPTER 4


Now Roen and Tom could see brighter light from the city; they were almost out of the forest. They could now see the trees thinning, and it made them both smile brightly and anticipate their first views of the city.

They first saw the tallest tower on the palace, the lookout tower. It was all white. Later, they would find that it was called the Tower of Vision. There were tall walls all around the city, to protect it from invaders. There were watchtowers along the walls as well as the Tower of Vision. They immediately spotted the North Gates, for there was a short line of horses and carts waiting to get in past the inspection. Because of the upcoming event, the guards were being careful about who they let into the city, apparently.

Roen and Tom looked at each other, grinning. They urged their horses onward, and down to the gates.

When they got there, they had only to wait ten minutes or so to be let in. The guards asked no questions except what they were in the city for, where they were from, etc.

Roen looked around at the huge city. Having lived in the small town of Sar all his life, the size of this city was beyond his imagination. He and Tom let their mounts follow the crowd of people, and eventually found themselves lost in the middle of the city.

“Now what?” Asked Tom in a distant voice. He was still awed by the hugeness of their current surroundings.

Roen, who was better at adapting to things, said, “We need to find lodgings for the next week or so. Let’s ask around and see what we can find.”

Tom blankly nodded, and Roen laughed at his friend, slapping him on the back to wake him up.

He bent down to touch an elderly man on the shoulder. He looked around, a bit annoyed, and Roen asked politely, “Excuse me, sir. Do you know where we might find an inn?”

The man grunted, and replied in a gruff voice, “There’s one right there with a few rooms left,” pointing to a door right behind Roen. He looked up and saw the sign above the door. It read, “The Red Crown Inn.” He thanked the man, who grunted again in reply, and headed for the door.

Within minutes, a pudgy woman was leading Roen and Tom to their room; they would share a room that had two beds. Roen smiled, thinking it would be like one of the many times he’d spent the night at Tom’s, or vise versa, as a child. He dumped his bag on one of the beds, and Tom put his things on the other. They both flopped down onto the beds, tired from the long ride to get to the city.

Roen closed his eyes, feeling a small jab of homesickness. He missed the forge a lot, and knew his mother must be worried about him. They’d been gone for three days now. He sighed, and sat up.

“I’m going to walk around the city; you know, get used to the place, find some places where we can buy cool stuff while we’re here. Scope the area.”

He got up and walked to the door, and Tom called after him, “I’ll be right here in this spot when you get back, most likely.” Roen chuckled and closed the door behind him. He went down the hall and down the narrow stairwell to the pub slash restaurant underneath. The barman nodded to him as he stepped out the door.

Once in the air of the city, he looked around for a place to start. He decided he’d try to find a smithy, a place where he felt at home. Maybe the blacksmiths here would spare some trade secrets.

He walked down a side alley, but didn’t get far before he was hurled to the ground by a mass of blue clothing.

After a few moments, he realized he’d shut his eyes, and opened them quickly, in order to see his assailant. He knew it couldn’t have been Tom, since he hadn’t been followed out of the Inn.

A few feet away, a girl about his age was rubbing her forehead. He stared in astonishment as he saw her long brown hair and green eyes. The curve of her jaw, her flushed cheeks, as if she’d been running for some time, and the fair complexion of the girl were all the same.

It was the girl from his dreams.

For a while, he just stared, unable to believe what he was seeing. Soon, she noticed and scowled at him. “What are you looking at?” He thought he could detect a hint of panic in her voice, and could tell she was about to run again.

“Don’t run, please.” He blinked, and she narrowed her eyes at him. She looked suspicious, and crossed her arms.

“Why shouldn’t I?” She raised an eyebrow and waited.

“Er… why would you run?”

She uncrossed her arms and seemed to become less suspicious of him.

After a short pause, Roen said, “What’s your name?”

She looked very surprised for just a moment, but quickly hid it. But Roen’s quick senses caught it nevertheless. “You're not from around here, are you? My name is… Katharine.”

He smiled and said, “And my name is Roen.” He stuck out his hand. “Nice to meet you, Katharine.” She shook his hand, a bit awkwardly at first.

He got up quickly and held out his hand to help her up. She looked at it and scowled, letting herself up. O… kay.

He brushed himself off and Katharine eyed him wearily.

To make conversation with the girl, Roen said, “So, what do you, er… do?”

Katharine looked at him with her right eyebrow raised and said nothing.

“Yeah… so. I’m a blacksmith, or at least will be once my father retires. See this vest? This is the sign of an apprentice and soon to be master blacksmith.”

At first she didn’t say anything, just looked him up and down. Then she suddenly smiled at him. It made his heart flutter, but he pushed down such soft things as that. He was a man now. A man’s heart didn’t “flutter.”

He smiled dumbly back.

“Nice to meet you, Roen.” She stood for a moment longer, and then seemed to go tense. Roen looked around for what could be the source of this sudden tensing, but could see nothing.

“Something wrong, Katharine?”

She looked over at him again and said, “Oh, nothing. Let’s go for a walk, Roen. That way.” She pulled him to another side street and they were down it in seconds. What’s with her?

When they reached another street, Katharine slowed the pace, and Roen decided not to ask questions. But he couldn’t shake the feeling that she was running or hiding from someone. Is she in some sort of trouble?! I could take her back to the tavern if she needs a place to hide, but that would be improper. But still, what’s her deal?

“So, you seem to be well off, Katharine.” He looked at her blue clothing; a blue shirt over man’s trousers. It looked good on her, but it was still odd to see a girl in men’s clothing; and blue clothing at that. Blue dye was not too cheap. It wasn’t as expensive as the bright red of the royal family, which came from a rare flower that only grew in ideal conditions... But still…

“Oh…” She paused for a while, unsure. “I, er, stole these, but don’t tell.” She trailed off, and looked around nervously again.

Roen looked over at her, confused enough for the day, and blinked a few times. So she was on the run!

She shook her head as if to clear it, and began to converse with Roen.

They walked for a while, talking, and before Roen knew it, the sun was going down and he was lost.

“Well, I have to be going. My parents won’t like if I stay out too long…” She turned to go, but Roen touched her shoulder and she turned back to him, her eyebrows raised. “What?” She looked slightly annoyed, but okay with that.

He rubbed the back of his neck, embarrassed. “Er... You don’t suppose you could take me back to where you ran into me? I’m a bit… lost…” The fact that he was a man made this very hard to say.

She laughed out loud, and accidentally snorted. She covered her nose, going scarlet. “Sorry, I do that sometimes. It’s so embarrassing…”
Roen just smiled.

************

The sun was almost down by the time they got back to the spot where Roen would be able to make his way back to the inn. Katharine waved goodbye and was about to turn to leave when Roen touched her shoulder again.

“Katharine, will I see you again?” He went deep red and was glad for the dim light. This was extremely embarrassing for him, even if they were alone. He looked into her eyes.

Katharine smiled, then looked up at him and realized something. Her eyes widened and her smile faded. Her hands went to her mouth again, this time in astonishment. “Oh no.” She looked around nervously and then to the ground and whispered, “Did I make that kind of impression?” Roen could just barely hear it and his heart sank.

She turned and without looking back walked the way they had just come. Roen was about to follow, but he held himself back, knowing things could only get worse if he did.

Roen walked back to the tavern, kicking pebbles glumly as he went. His hands were shoved into his pockets and his eyes were downcast. He almost missed a turn that would have gotten him lost again, but looked up when a bell was rung at the door to a shop indicating that it was closing up for the night. He walked to the door of the tavern he and Tom were staying at and trudged up the stairs to his room.

Just as Tom had said, he was still in the same place he had been when Roen left.

Roen had to laugh at this, for Tom was snoring loudly. He’ll never get to sleep now.

He shook Tom awake.

“Nnnngg. Wassit? Hmm?” He blinked his eyes sleepily and Roen smiled.

“WAKE UP!”

Tom’s eyes shot open and he sat bolt upright. “What fire?”

Roen laughed and Tom slowly took things in.

“So, you’re back. Have a good walk? Find anything?” Tom was sitting up now, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

Roen smiled ironically and sadly, and sighed before replying, “Good walk. Found something but lost it apparently. Wasn’t ever mine actually, but I did find it…”

Tom’s eyes slowly landed on his friend and a wide smiled played across his face. “You met a girl, didn’t you?!”

Roen just closed his eyes sadly, wondering how Tom always knew exactly what was going on.

“You did meet a girl! And you fancy her! Ooo, now you have to tell me all about it!”

************

Roen finished his tale and it was getting late. Tom nodded, still smiling. “So, not the best reaction in the world, but she didn’t slap you at least. Means she at least thought you were alright.”

Roen laughed and lay back in his bed. Tom lay on his own bed and they just sat for a while in silence.

“Good night Tom.” Roen rolled over and blew out the candle that lit his half of the room.

“Night, Ro.” Tom blew out his candle and they both slept.


Chapter 5

Roen was running through the forest yet again, and when he found himself in the clearing with Katharine in the middle, he didn’t feel the inquisitive curiosity he usually did, but a pain.

As usual, he ran to her side, and knelt beside her, trying to help her. “Katharine!”

She opened her eyes slowly and blinked a few times, whispering something he could never hear.


************

When Roen awoke sweating and stiff, the sun was shining into the room from the window. He took a deep breath, and lay for some time before getting up. Tom was still snoring peacefully in the other bed, so Roen left a note for him stuck to his forehead, using a small piece of paper and a charcoal pencil he had packed.

He opened the door and slowly closed it, so as to not make noise that would wake Tom.

As he headed down the stairs to the main floor, he thought about what to do that day. They would need some supplies. Food was covered with the cost of boarding at the tavern, but beer would cost extra, and they’d need to get some other things. And he wanted to get a trinket for his mother as a souvenir.

He was soon out in the open again, and the street in front of him was busy. He blinked and allowed his eyes to adjust to the bright sunlight, and then made his way to try and find a blacksmith’s again.

He kept note of where he was going, and eventually he came to a familiar looking place. The anvil was in a different place than he would have put it, but everything else in the smithy was well laid out and looked good.

There was a tall man sitting in front of the anvil, banging on something. Roen came closer and saw that the man was making a sword, like he had done not long ago himself.

The man put the sword into the forge and then looked up and asked Roen what he wanted.

“I’m an apprentice blacksmith from the country. Soon my father will retire and I’ll take on the family forge. I was wondering if you would like to talk and maybe exchange techniques?” Roen stood for a moment wondering if the man was going to send him away.

The man looked him up and down and after a few minutes, he stuck out his hand with a grin. “What’s your name, young man?” He asked once Roen had shaken his hand.

“Roen, sir.” He replied.

The man grinned again and said, “Don’t call me sir, Roen. Call me Mori.”

Roen grinned and sat down in a chair nearby, and said, “That was a fine looking sword so far, Mori. What metal are you using?”

The man grinned yet again and said, “You are very lucky, boy. This is the sword that the Queen and King are giving to the Princess for her birthday. The metal is the strongest there is; Gyptani. It was mined in the highest mountains in the land, and there are said to be only ten other swords of this material.”

Roen was staring at the metal, gleaming red as it came out of the heat of the fire. Mori had taken it out for a few moments, and then put it back in to heat for the next bit of shaping.

“I am very honored to be entrusted with such a task as to make this sword.” Said the smith, putting his hands on his hips. Roen just nodded slowly. The chance to see the making of a Gyptani sword was almost too much for him. He’d only heard myths of the metal. He’d always thought it a story of wishful thinking. It was said to be the metal left behind when the Gods warred in the skies and one of their blades fell from the heavens. It was very rare, and immensely expensive. He thought of the princess, and how lucky she was to be getting a Gyptani blade. He also thought about how lucky he was to be witnessing it’s making.

Mori laughed as he saw the look on the boy’s face, and said, “Would ya like to do some pounding?” He raised his eyebrows and winked at Roen. Now Roen’s jaw fully dropped, and he stared.

“Me? You want me to work on it?” He was dumbfounded by the trust this man was showing him by letting him work on the blade for the Princess. It had to be faultless.

In truth, Mori, who had been a smith for a very long time, could see in Roen great skill. He could see that the boy had a natural talent for the work of a smith, and that he could be trusted with a few blows of the hammer. He said nothing and handed over the hammer to Roen. Roen numbly found a pair of thick leather gloves nearby and took the hammer from Mori. He took up the tongs that Mori had been holding and retrieved the shaping blade from the oven. It was white hot and he placed it on the anvil. By now he had lost all attention for anything but the blade before him. He naturally slid into the trance he usually took when shaping metal, doing quick calculations in his head and working almost on automatic. His honed muscles brought the hammer down onto the metal, and there were sparks as the metal was shaped.
He beat the metal into a more refined shape than it had been in after the last shaping. By the time it was only yellow hot and too cool to shape well, he inspected it critically and put it back into the forge to heat again for more hammer work.

Now that there was no metal in his hands, he looked around, embarrassed, and said hastily, “I’m sorry! I did too much with it, didn’t I? I always go into a sort of trance when I shape metal… I’m sorry…”

Mori only laughed and said, “Boy, don’t apologize! You did a fine job with the blade, just as good as I would have!” He slapped Roen on the back companionably, and said, “and now you can know that you have helped make the sword that may well save the life of the princess one day!”

Roen nodded gratefully. “Thank you, Mori, for this honor! May I ask you why in the world you would entrust such a thing as this to a boy you have never even met before?” He watched the man for signs of sarcasm in his answer.

“Because I’ve been a blacksmith many years now, Roen, and can see skill when it’s right in front of me. I could see that you were skilled and could be trusted with this kind of work. You’ve made swords before, haven’t you?” Mori got up and walked to where a leather water sack was sitting on a table. He took a swig from it.

“Yes, I finished one just before I left my home town to come for the Princess’s birthday. The man I delivered it to thought my father made it!” He laughed a bit.

“From what I saw you do with that sword there,” he indicated the forge with his thumb, where the blade of Gyptani glowed hot. “From what I could see there, that man was lucky to get a sword made by you, Roen. Your father has taught you well, boy, and you have a natural talent for the work.”

Roen blushed at the high praise and smiled at the man. “Thank you, Mori.”

Roen stayed with Mori a bit longer, telling the man about his hometown and the people in it. When he described Tom, Mori just laughed out loud.

Mori told Roen of his own family; his son and his little daughter, and his lovely wife Annalyn. His son was ten and his daughter five.

When Roen looked out the door to the forge, he saw that the sun was beginning to set and said to Mori, “I should be getting back to Tom now. He’ll be lost without me.”

Mori laughed and said, “Come back tomorrow and see how the sword comes, and bring your friend with you. He sounds like a young man who would never bring a dull moment!”

Roen nodded and waved, and headed back toward the inn, stopping here and there to chat with the locals about the city.

************

As Roen stepped up the cobblestones of the sidewalk to the inn, he realized he’d forgotten to do the shopping he’d said he would do. He sighed and told himself he’d do it tomorrow.

He opened the door to the inn and found Tom sitting at the bar in the tavern on the main floor. He was chatting with a large man about something or other, and when Roen sat beside him, Tom grinned at him.

“So, what have you been doing with your day?” He put down the glass that had some sort of ale in it.

Roen grinned and replied, “Well, I see you’ve spent yours drinking… I met a blacksmith in the city, and we talked a while. I’m going back tomorrow and you’re coming with me so be sure to sober up by then.”

Tom looked unjustly accused and said, “I’m not drunk! This is my first half-pint!” He folded his arms and huffed good-humouredly.

“Ah, but not your last! I know you too well.”

Tom grinned and nodded, accepting the truth of the statement. “And this ale is much better than the stuff at home.”

Roen nodded and ordered a glass for himself. He knew he wouldn’t have more than one mug. He never did. He’d always been good at keeping sober, and didn’t find alcohol to be much good anyways.

While Tom was ordering his second drink, Roen found himself thinking of the girl from all his dreams, and how he’d actually met her. He wondered what it all meant; if he was destined to meet her, or if it was all in his head, or if it was just an odd coincidence. He pondered it for a while, until he had to get Tom back up to their room before he made a complete fool of himself. He led him to their room and to his bed and put him down for the night. He turned out the light and got into his own bed and slept.


Chapter 6

When Roen awoke the next day he just laid in the bed for a while and stretched. After a few minutes he sighed and sat up, rubbing his head. He blinked sleepily and looked out the window, into the street below. He saw people scurrying in the early marketplace, buying their goods.

He gently shook Tom to wake him up and said, “Wake up. Even if you have a hangover, you’re getting up.”

Tom shook Roen’s hand away and grunted. “Don’t wanna.”

Roen laughed and said, “Get up, or no more ale for you.”

“Okay, okay. Just stop talking so loud.” Tom sat up and blinked, yawning.

“Get dressed and meet me downstairs, okay? We’re going out for a walk today.” Roen already had his clothes on by now and was heading out the door.

“Uh-huh.” Tom nodded and yawned again, stretching.

Roen headed downstairs to the pub and sat at a booth by the window. He watched the people passing by, hoping to see the girl he’d met. But she never passed by and he didn’t even see any long brown hair like she had.

He sighed and when he looked up, Tom was sitting across the table from him, grinning. “I know what you’re thinkin’ about! It’s that girl, isn’t it?” He nodded satisfactorily when Roen just closed his eyes. “You’ve gotta forget about her, Ro. From what you told me, she wants nothing to do with you now. You’ll probably never see her again. You’ve to find someone else to pine after. What about Susie, back home? You know she likes you.”

Roen colored and sighed. “I just don’t like her like that, Tom.” He ran his hand through his hair and tried to change the subject. “So, only two days until the Feast. You did bring something good to wear, didn’t you?”

Tom let the old topic die and said, “Of course I did. I’ve got the suit I wore for my 16th birthday. It still fits, too!”

Roen sighed and said, “That’s just because you haven’t grown any since then!” He laughed, remembering how he’d grown out of his 16th birthday suit by his 17th.

Tom laughed, knowing it was true. “Yeah, that may be.”

“Well, we should head over to Mori’s now.” Roen stood up and stretched a bit more, waiting for Tom to follow.

“So Mori is the blacksmith you were telling me about?” They were heading for the door, and Tom pushed it open, to the sunlight outside.

“Yes. He has great skill, and he said I had great promise! And,” he lowered his voice. “You’ll never guess what he let me do.”

Tom laughed and said, “Oh, forge the sword that will be given to the princess?”

Roen’s jaw dropped. “How’d you guess?!”

Tom stopped, and then his jaw dropped. “I was joking! He really let you do that?”

Roen nodded, his eyes bright, but he put his finger to his mouth to indicate that Tom should lower his voice a little, not wanting to attract glances.

Tom just shook his head in wonder, and they continued on their way to Mori’s forge.

After a few minutes, Roen could see the red glow of the forge, and said to his companion, “Almost there. You’ll like Mori.”

Tom nodded and replied with an amiable, “There aren’t many I don’t like.”

As Roen neared the forge, he noticed a woman standing near the entrance with a little boy and girl. Mori’s family!

“Ah, Roen!” Mori’s voice met their arrival. “And this lad must be Tom!” He slapped Tom on the back, the same as he’d done with Roen.

“Greetings, Mori. How are you?” Roen smiled at the ten-year-old boy, peeking out from behind his father’s anvil.

“I am well, and I hope you are too!” He motioned for his wife to come closer, and said, “I’d like to introduce you to my lovely Annalyn.”

Roen bowed, and said, “It’s nice to meet you,” and Tom did the same, in his own special style.

Annalyn smiled and said, “My husband told me about you last night at dinner. I just had to meet the boy who impressed him so much!”

Roen blushed and tried to accept the praise.

Mori laughed, and gathered his children in front of him. “This here’s my little Rosie,” he said, patting the little girl gently on the top of her head. Roen was surprised to see how gentle Mori could be. He smiled and waved at the little girl, who then hid behind her father, shy of the young man before her.

The boy then stepped forward, and said boldly, “I am Henry. I’m going to be the best blacksmith there ever was, and my father is going to teach me how, very soon!”

Roen smiled, and said, “Well, you’ve got a long way to go. It’s tough, but I think you’re up for the challenge?” He prompted, and the boy nodded his head furiously. Roen smiled, knowing he’d like this child.

Mori and Annalyn smiled at their son’s attitude toward life, and then Mori beamed.

“Roen! Would you like to see how that sword is coming along?” He was moving toward the forge as he spoke.

Roen nodded and said, “Yes, how much did you work on it since I saw it?”

“Oh, a little here and there.” Mori pulled out the sword from the forge, bright white and hot. It was nearly the shape it needed to be, and Roen stared at it in awe.

Mori beamed and patted Roen on the back. “How about you make the final touches?”

Roen gaped at the offer and Tom beside him whistled. He was still shocked when he thought about how he’d done anything to such a sword. But making the final touches! He’d never imagined this in a thousand years. He shook his head to clear it and blinked, thinking of how to reply. He knew from yesterday that he wouldn’t be able to refuse.

“I’d be very honored.” He bowed slightly.

Mori smiled broadly and handed the material to Roen. Once in his hands, his mind focused on the work in front of him, and the rest of the world seemed to slip away. He was aware of Tom, Mori and the family there, but only vaguely, as if they somehow didn’t matter.

He inspected the blade and analyzed what needed to be done to finish it. He placed the metal on the anvil and began to work, doing what he’d been taught to do since age 10.

When the blade looked like it was finished, he held it up to the faint sun filtering into the forge through a high window. He felt a hand on his shoulder, and looked up to see Mori nodding at him in approval. “Very well done, Young man.”

Roen smiled and handed the blade to Mori, who dipped it carefully into a basin of water. Steam rose from the metal and it emerged gleaming and hard.

The rest of the morning was spent talking with Mori and his family and watching as the smith sharpened and shined the blade for the princess and engraved something on the blade in an elegant script. The church bells were chiming twelve-noon as the man slid the blade into a sheath made of tough black leather, which had red jewels at the top.

Roen looked over at Tom, who was underneath the children. They seemed to be having a competition to see who could climb to his head first. All three were laughing. Roen smiled, and walked to the three. “You guys having fun?”

Rosie’s head popped up and she beamed brightly. She had forgotten her shyness quite soon after they arrived. “Yeah! Tom is a mountain and I’m an explorer!”

Henry nodded, and scrambled over his sister’s head to reach the top. “Yeah, Roen, you should be a mountain too!”

Tom laughed, and said, “Yeah, Ro! You be a mountain too!”

Roen laughed, and said, “Rosie, when you’ve finished on Mt. Tom, see if you can make it to the top of Mt. Ro! I’m the tallest mountain in the lands!”

But before he could brace himself, the children had thrown themselves at him. He steadied himself as the children climbed up to his shoulders. Rosie sat on his right shoulder and Henry on his left, and he held onto them, running around and laughing.

“Now we’re on a dragon’s back!” Rosie was smiling brightly and laughing, holding onto Roen’s head. Her imagination was doing all the work.

As Roen ran around the forge, two children on his shoulders, the forge door opened and a tall man in red robes walked in. Roen stopped dead, and the children fell silent.

Before them stood the king himself, there to check on the blade for his daughter. He looked at the four young members of the party and almost smiled at their gaiety.

Tom bowed deeply, and Roen tried as best he could to bow with the children on his shoulders.

The king nodded to Tom and Roen, and strode to Mori and his wife, who were also bowing.

“Master Smith, how is that sword?” His voice was deep and, well, kingly.

“Just finished this morning, in fact, your Majesty.” Mori rose and strode to the desk, where the blade was placed gently. He picked it up and strode back to the king, handing it to him with a small bow.

The king took the blade in its sheath, and pulled it out, and the hissing sound of the metal leaving the sheath filled the room. He inspected it, and nodded, grinning. “This is fine work you’ve done, Master Smith. You should be very proud of this piece of work!”

Mori beamed and glanced at Roen. “Thank you, your Majesty. I am proud of it, and I hope it serves your daughter well.”

The king nodded and thanked Mori and left with the finished blade in his hands.

After a few minutes of silence, Tom burst out. “Did the king really just nod at me?!”

Mori laughed heartily, and the children began to play again; the ice was broken.

Mori walked to where Roen still stood still as stone, and pounded him on the back. “You hear that, boy? You should be proud of that work. The king himself praised your work as well as mine when he said that. Well done indeed, young man!”

Henry piped up, and said, “Just watch, that’ll be me some day.”

Mori and Roen smiled brightly, and the day went on.

More coming soon :3
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It's a lot better than the Option series.
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Errrm... Which Option?
They're all separate stories..... O.o'
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All of your Option stories.
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..... I personally like my first story about Ember best.....
Though I try not to take favorites....
But still, I dunno, I don't think this one is any better than my other ones...
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Although me and my buddies have created a lot of stories over the years, the military epic is my first here.
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The story about Ember was the first long story I've ever started AND the only one I've finished >w<
It's over 100 pages on Word, with size 12 font.
That story is the reason I call myself Ember online ^^
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The first story that I created is known known as "Rise of the Armenian Empire: War of the Superpowers". I created it when I was in my freshman year of highschool, and I finished it on the last day of my highschool freshman year. It's 125 pages on Word, with size 12 font and the font that I use there is Symbol.
That is one of the reasons that I tend to prefix the title of "Emperor" before my name, Romanized, Hellenized or otherwise.
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Cool
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Thank you. The funny thing is, I initially did it as practice for Word usage.
Posted 3/18/09
>W<
i liike tha taste of new stories x33
lmao
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Posted 3/23/09

ember1116 wrote:

The story about Ember was the first long story I've ever started AND the only one I've finished >w<
It's over 100 pages on Word, with size 12 font.
That story is the reason I call myself Ember online ^^


I almost forgot to ask this, but what is thetitle of that particular story?
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Doesn't have one yet
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Wait, if that is the only one that you finished, then there must be a lot of unfinished ones here on our group?
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don't switch topics so fast on me angelo, i'm so tired right now i can barely understand anything you're saying =_=

and uuhh isn't it obvious that there are a lot of unfisnished stories on the group...? i mean look at all the forum topics
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