Archive for January, 2014

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One does not simply walk into Alfheim…

Slowly his head turned, scanning from side to side for intruders. A chore it was, but someone had to watch the Tree whose blessed branches shaded the entire city of Upspoke. Too many Outlanders relied on its magic to world-walk into Alfheim, and it was far better to appoint Guides around it than to risk letting strangers wander freely. His task was to catch them right away, escort them to whatever business they had, then make sure they left without making too much of a mess.

Ársalf[1] was not alone of course, sitting bored on a mossy rock, chin resting on his fist. No less than three Guides were stationed at all times to greet visitors, each one responsible for watching nine of the great roots. Though he ran like the wind, it took him three minutes to run all the way around the massive trunk[2]. Its base was so large it seemed like a flat wall from up close. Yet ancient as it was, the Tree of Tribes was a mere sapling compared to the mighty World Tree Yggdrasil.

A shimmer to his right caught Ársalf’s attention. At once he started toward it, purple moss squishing beneath his feet with a rising scent of lavender. The shimmer became a transparent woman whose lower-half was hidden by the giant root between them, as the visitor walked along its length toward the Tree.

He broke into a run as the shape became solid, jumping atop the waist-high root into a crouch beside the her. What little sound he made was covered by the soft music of wind chimes, thus he has a chance to inspect her unnoticed. Her blue dress and long brown hair were irrelevant, it was her aura he was interested in.

Thus he noted a light-blue life-glow extending a thumb’s width from her skin, and the usual whitish bubble around her reeking of mortality’s decay. She’s definitely human, he thought. No glamour, not a single shred of it. Have these barbarians no shame? (more…)

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