[Vfw-times] MK Choices part 4 - end
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COkane8116 at aol.com
Tue Oct 15 23:55:59 CDT 2002
Long house was full of sound even if it wasn't full of people. The grand
area called Long hall played host only to a group of twenty children who were
playing there. Some were the children of Long scouts or of people who worked
for the Longs. Others were the children of other Keepers. All played together
quite happily, running and shrieking around the great open space. They paid
little attention to anything else.
Two figures emerged from a side door and moved nonchalantly into the
center of the hall. Both moved with an air of certainty that spoke of
seasoned veterans who could easily handle themselves in any situation. The
man was tall, with hard eyes that stared at the world from beneath a tangled
mane of hair. His body was tough and well muscled and bore the scars of
Gold rings decorated his ears and hands. He was dressed scantily, merely a
cloth of soft leather edged with silver thread and gold covered his loins and
a brace of leather straps on his hips. Both were covered with gold buckles
and hooks. In combat weapons would hang from those hooks but now they were
The woman was shorter but only just. Thinner then him her skin was darker
then his and her black hair was cut short, close to her head. She was dressed
solely in a loin cloth and several pieces of strategically placed strips of
black leather and gold buckles and rings. Long gloves of the same leather
covered her arms to above the elbow. The outfit covered just enough to keep
from being arrested for public nudity but just barely. It showed off every
smooth and supple curve of her slim form. Her body bore not a single scar or
blemish in spite of many years spent as a mercenary. Her flowing black hair
had been meticulously braided and gold, silver and platinum ribbons and
With the cold winds of winter blowing outside and with the snow still piled
hip deep outside the two mercenaries should have been cold. But Long Hall was
as warm as a spring day. Only the faintest hint of a cold breeze reminded
them that winter was still about and that bothered neither of them.
In the man's hands was a staff, longer then he was tall and made a light
colored wood. Ferwig would have preferred to use Gruffydd but the spear was
safely locked away in the Long House armory. Considering that less then 2
weeks ago he had been snuck into the Keep to kill many of the Keepers Ferwig
was lucky to just be alive. He and Teria at the moment seemed to be in
suspension. Officially they weren't prisoners and were allowed free reign of
Long House and the Keep but all their weapons and magic items were kept out
of reach. Also he had noticed that they were never alone. There always
seemed to be someone nearby watching them.
Teria showed no outward sign of being bothered by being watched but Ferwig
knew it did bother the woman. They had been together far too long for him not
to notice. She was covering it well enough for the moment. But being watched
was a minor annoyance. What really bothered her was boredom. They were fed
well and they were allowed to go pretty much where ever they wanted to but
there was nothing to do. Even sparing matches in the Great Hall had lost
"I can do it myself," a male voice suddenly said loudly.
"Of course," a soft female voice answered with a hint of disbelief in it.
Turning to the source of the noise they say two animal morph keepers
fumbling with a pair of pokers in front of a small fire place. One was a
lithe brown ferret, the other was obviously female and wasn't a ferret but of
some closely related breed. The ferret had his left arm in a large bandage
that stretched from wrist to shoulder. A sling kept the injured limb still.
The two were trying to stoke a fire to life with little luck.
Teria muttered the words of an incantation softly and wiggled her fingers
in the air. There was a soft whoosh and a ball of light raced from her
fingers in the direction of the fireplace and the two keepers. It struck a
log which burst instantly into flames.
The ferret whipped around, a dagger in each hand.
"Oh come now Finbar. You can't be afraid of a simple, fire cantrip." Teria
said mockingly and with a flick of her fingers sent a send ball of light
towards the ferret.
Ferwig didn't interfere, he knew that she was simply having fun and the
spell she had cast would only create a flash and some sparks, harmless.
The ball of light was less then a foot from the ferret when the female
with him acted. Danielle waved her hands and the ball of light shot straight
up into the air before it winked out.
A broad grin crossed Terias face. "A MAGE!" she crowed in delight. She
flicked both hands several times sending half a dozen balls racing towards
the two mustelids.
Danielle easily fended off all of them with easy.
Teria narrowed her eyes and shot off three more balls. These were larger
and danced and looped around each other as the streaked towards the pine
The pine marten managed to easily deflect two of them with waves of her
hand in spite of their erratic movement. But the third missile struck her
hand in a shower of sparks. She yelped in pain and shook her it to make the
sting go away.
"What happened?" Teria asked in genuine surprise. "You should have easily
stopped that one." She walked towards Danielle, Ferwig following close behind
in case the ferret objected too strongly.
"I am still recovering," came the simple answer.
In a moment the two mercenaries had closed the distance between them. At
this close range he could see that Danielle's right arm was bandaged. Teria
took hold of the pine martens left hand and held it up to inspect. Ferwig saw
that all the fur had been burned off up to the elbow and the hand itself was
covered with burnt and blistered skin.
"No wonder you couldn't stop that last one. What did this?" the leather
clad mage asked.
"A fire sphere," was the answer.
"She saved all of our lives," Finbar interjected forcefully.
"Just barely," Teria commented.
"But enough," Ferwig added. "I didn't know any of you Longs knew magic."
"What level of skill do you have? I have attained the eighth plateau
according to the Cuerth college of Magic."
"My skill is limited," Danielle explained.
"Who have you trained under?"
"No one. I have learned a learned most myself."
"No one?" Teria said shocked. "What spells can you cast besides shield?"
"Little. A spell of silence, and one to help detect traps, plus one to
make better vision in darkness. But I have little reason to use that last
one. My present body sees very well in darkness."
The woman mercenaries face brightened and she cheered up instantly. "Well
I can help you there."
"And what do want in return?" Finbar asked in a hostile tone.
"Tell me what this is?" she said calmly and slowly removed the glove from
her right arm. The skin beneath was covered with short fur that was covered
with large, irregular black, brown and white spots.
"That's the curse or course," the ferret replied in a delighted tone.
"You're changing into some sort of animal."
"I know that," Teria commented sarcastically, "but what kind?"
Danielle gingerly touched the changed portion of the woman's arm with one
finger. "A cat of some sort."
Finbar shook his head. "Not with those spots."
"An antelope perhaps," Misha said walking up to the group. Ferwig hadn't
heard the fox approach. A fact that made him nervous. "What do you think
A tall, brown otter walked up and peered at the arm. Ferwig hadn't been
aware of the her approach either. All Longs it seemed moved with an
"Definitely a predator of some sort," Caroline commented. "A bird
"Not with that fur."
"I've heard of birds with fur, like a griffon."
George pushed through the group, shoving Ferwig aside. He grabbed her arm
and licked the spotted fur on Teria's arm. "A dog or wolf."
She pulled it back in disgust and tried to punch the jackal morph dead
square in the muzzle.
Almost casually fending off the attack he reached into a pouch and pulled
out a dozen coins. "I'll bet all this that it's a dog or wolf."
"I'll see that bet," Misha countered. "It has to be an antelope."
"I'll bet twenty gold that it's a cat," Finbar added.
"Since we're all betting," Ferwig commented. "And I'll add this." The
fighter turned around revealing a mane of hair running down his neck. It was
short, thick, black, bristle like hairs totally unlike a horses."
"I'll bet twenty gold that he's one of those stripped zebras," Finbar
"Ten that it's a boar or some sort of pig."
"Twelve that he's a hedgehog or porcupine."
"I'll take all those against me becoming a hyena," Ferwig said boldly.
Teria scowled at him but he just smiled and patted her on the shoulder.
They were no longer bored.
Sir Terrant Gattaway stood outside the door to Sir Edmund's apartment. It
was a modest thing, made of a dark wood with hinges and lock of brass, now
green with age. Only a simple wooden plague with the words "Sir Edmund
Delacot" told all who was within.
Terrant had known Edmund for almost a decade. In that time they had
traveled the entire breadth of the Midlands. From skirmishing with
Lightbringer fanatics on the border of the Sathmore empire to fighting
eldritch horrors in Elderwood. They had even guarded caravans traveling
across the Desert of Dreaming and fought pirates on the sea of stars.
Nothing they had done before matched what they were doing now. Fighting
bandits, raiders and fanatics didn't scare him. If it was time for the Black
Dog to come for him, so be it but deliberately letting a curse take hold of
you that was something else. Still Edmund was right, they were desperately
needed here. Here at Metamor they could make a big difference. Just burying
the dead would be a difficult task.
He opened the door slowly and found the paladin seated at a small table
reading his private copy of the canticles. Edmund looked up at Terrant with a
somber expression. "You've decided?"
"How many have decided to stay?" Terrant answered, changing the subject.
"Two of my knights and fifteen of the foot soldiers have decided to go
with Sir Mursry," came the answer. "But we have over a score of people have
volunteered to stay with me."
Terrant shook his head in surprise. "It seems you are not the only one
who thinks this place is where they are needed."
"It is a new place," the paladin explained. "Here a person can make a new
life for themselves and not be bound by old social prejudices."
"Do you wonder what you'll change into?" Terrant asked.
"Does it matter?" Sir Edmund answered enigmatically. "The canticles say
that from dust we were created and to dust we shall return. Our form matters
not, only the soul within."
"True," Terrant answered. "I hadn't considered that."
"Have you decided?" the paladin asked.
"I have followed you for ten years. I see no reason to stop now."
"Are you coming out?" Finbar asked to the closed door.
"Teria" Danielle said to the closed door in front of them. "You are making
"I'm fine," came a muffled voice.
"Why don't you just admit you changed and come out," George added in an
irritated tone of voice. "You can't be THAT ugly. Besides we want to know who
won the bet."
"NO!" came the voice from beyond the door.
"Terry," Ferwig said softly. "You promised Danielle a lesson today. Now
"What part of no don't you understand," Teria said through the door.
"A battle hardened mercenary that's fought and killed men twice her size
and she's afraid how she looks," George commented to no one in particular.
"She knows more beauty spells then fighting spells," Ferwig said laughing.
From beyond the door came a low hissing noise like the sound of air
escaping from a pipe.
"Uh oh!" Ferwig said and suddenly ducked.
A hole the size of a fist appeared in the door and something heavy and
solid flew over Ferwig's head to shatter against the wall behind him.
"She's trying to kill you!" Finbar said looking at the sizable pockmark in
"No, she deliberately aimed high," Ferwig commented. "Come out Teria.
Aren't you curious to know what I changed into?" he ordered, sounding
A long silence followed and then there was the sound of a bolt being drawn
back. The door creaked loudly as it swung inward on its hinges revealing
slight figure standing behind it. The person seemed to hesitate for a moment
before stepping through.
The figure that came through the now open door was the same height and
slim build. Her whole body was covered with the same sort fur they had seen
before. It was colored with large patches which were light brown, black and
white in color. Her canine head had a black muzzle and large ears that
swiveled about. A black stripe ran from her muzzle all the way up her head,
between those large ears and down her back to a long tail. The curse had
changed her body but it had left her the same, supple erotic curves as
before. Indeed it seemed to enhance it. Ferwig noticed how the shape of her
breasts, now covered with white fur had been boosted by cleavage now colored
black. He liked the effect.
"What am I?" Teria asked. "I know it's a dog but of a type I've never seen
"A Wild Cape dog. They live in the far south, on the savannah of the
Flatlands," George answered.
She didn't seem to notice the people staring at her. Instead her eyes fell
upon Ferwig, the fighter she had spent the last ten years with. He was a
muscled and powerful as ever, but he was covered with a gray-greenish fur
that had black spots randomly scattered across it. His canine head had the
same pattern except for the mane of thick bristly fur that was colored black
as was his muzzle. He was a hyena.
"I won the bet," Ferwig commented.
Teria laughed for the first time all day. "How much did you win?"
End of Choices
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