The Water of Aetas

Disclaimer: I in no way, shape, or form own the characters from SSO. Nor can I spell worth a crap. I checked this to the best of my abilities, and well, I'm sure there are still a few words I used which just plain don't exist. It's listed as rated MA, for even though the language/content is no more than a 'T' at the moment, it shall progress much farther into the realms of the carnal, the gory, and the foul-mouthed by the end. Woot.
Hey Majic!

How's the Tower of Fang been treating ya lately? Your studies going along alright? Tell Shrimpy if he's not treating you right, that I'll have to drop in and have a word with him.

I'm sure you're having a much better time than we are, well, at least than I am right now. Mr. Moody-Broody is his same enjoyable self as usual. So here we are, wandering around as we have been for the past couple of months, little old me still no wiser to what in the hell we're doing out in the middle of nowhere. I swear, the guy has no decency...this is not how you're supposed to treat a lady, especially one of fine upbringing, such as myself. We were relaxing, well, I was at least relaxing in this pleasant little hot springs town when he made up pack up all of a sudden and head off for some little nowhere place called Lytra? Never heard of it huh? Yeah, make that two of us. You know really, I think he makes these places up sometimes. Apparently the local sorcerous library guild thing just unearthed some new tomes or whatever, and we of course must leave all behind at once to check it out. If this turns out to be some other stupid wild goose chase for Dragon-Lady, I am going to SCREAM!

Argh, I'll probably write you again once we're there. I mean, this is the new lows I've sunken too…..I get more in-depth conversations out of you - hundreds of miles away - than I do out of the damned nit-wit I'm traveling with. I should have stayed in school.

Hugs and Kisses-


P.S. – Leki says hi too!

P.S.S. – Orphen doesn't want to say hi at the moment

P.S.S.S. – don't forget to get something nice for Eris for her birthday!!! I mean, Where would you be without Me?!

P.S.S.S.S. – Oh wait, now the second rate magician does want to. Too bad, I'm mailing it now.

Another gust of wind caught Cleao's hair, whipping it around her face and into her eyes. Her cloak provided no protection at all from the wind or rain, flying and twisting in random directions, and only served to throw her more off balance. She could feel Leki shaking in her backpack, but there wasn't anything she could do for him at the moment – it was taking all her current concentration to just stay attached to the tree alongside the road.

Cleao tried once more, unsuccessfully, to shake off the wet hairs stuck to her face, but only managed to get more plastered to the side of her cheek. Growling in frustration, she glared at the sorcerer farther up the road.

"Oh yeah, clear skies today, Cleao," she said in a sarcastic, deep voice. "It'll be an easy day today, Cleao. I used my fancy-shmancy never-wrong magic to check the weather, Cleao." Tearing one arm away from the trunk, she gestured angrily at the dark clouded sky. "How the hell does this say 'clear-skies' to you?!" she yelled at the top of her lungs.

Orphen clenched his fists and ground his teeth together. So help me …. This had better just be some joke, or , or a nightmare. Yes, a nightmare. I'm going to open my eyes and there'll be no storm, no rain, no bratty girl…

"Do you hear me, Orphen?! Orphen, are you listening?!!" Cleao's eardrum-splitting voice cut through his inner monologue.

Shoulders slumped, he looked up towards his disheveled traveling companion. She had finally stopped screaming and had resorting to simply glaring from underneath her limp bangs, and he had to fight down a sudden urge to laugh at her. Man, she really does look like crap right now. Majic would have loved to see this.

A sudden peal of thunder shook the air around them, and Cleao clapped her hands to her ears, yelping at the noise.

"That's it, Cleao. I'm tired of this stupid, well, whatever the hell you're up to. We need to keep going to find some sort of shelter. The storm's only getting worse and I frankly don't plan on spending the night in it."

"Keep moving? Keep moving where?" Cleao yelled back at him. She flung out her arms. "Where is there to go? We're out in the middle of bumble nowhere, you've admitted yourself, at least a good two days from any sign of civilization. Where the hell do you expect to find shelter?!"

Orphen closed his eyes and slowly started to count to then. Heavenly Ones help me, I'm going to kill her, and tried reasoning with again."Look, I don't know, but standing out here certainly isn't going to help either!" Orphen drew breath to start another fresh string of arguments, but stopped when he felt the hairs on his arms start to tingle and rise slightly in the wind. Wha-?...Static….

His eyes widened, and he started to push his way against the wind towards her. "Cleao. Cleao, get away from the tree right now."

"No. No, I will not." Cleao crossed her arms in front of her and continued to glare.

"Cleao, damnit, I'm not playing around. Get away from the god-damned tree!" Orphen broke out in run towards her, cursing as he slipped in the mud churned road.

What's gotten into him now? Cleao wondered as she watched his new found movement with some curiosity. Leki's terrified yelp was the only warning she had, when the sky split open above her. Cleao screamed and through her arms up in front of her face, trying to protect herself from the searing light and heat. She felt something knock her backwards hard, and then pin her to the ground underneath its massive weight.

I – I can't breathe! Cleao struggled but did not manage to move an inch. That's it then… I'm dead. I finally did it. Finally did one stupid - Tiny teeth and paws clawed at her back, and Cleao yelped in surprise. Hey wait…dead people can't feel, right? Right? Hopefully? Her eyesight began to clear, and Cleao gasped when she could finally make out what was in front of her.

Orphen lay on top of her, his back pushing her body into the sodden ground. She could feel his muscles struggling to hold the thin purple shield suspended above them. The burning tree was no more than ten feet above them, and the intense heat of the fire, being fanned by the wind, was already reaching through the shield towards them

He heard her whimper softly from underneath him, and he strained his will in a renewed push against the falling tree. I am – NOT – going to be killed in the middle of nowhere because of a stupid tree!, he yelled at his muscles. Extending both his arms he called out to the struggling form beneath him. "Cleao, close your eyes!"

"Huh, why –" She screamed out grabbed his shoulders as he let the shield drop, watching in horror as the flaming branches tumbled down towards them.

"Damnit Cleao, I said to close your eyes!" Just as she was certain the first branch was going to impale them, a ball of light shot forth from Orphen's hands and careened into the tree, sending it flying backwards through the air and across to the other side of the road. It left a trail of burning embers in its path, which Cleao would have found pretty at any other point, except for when it was almost responsible for killing her.

Orphen lay limp on top of her, his hair falling in her face and breath ragged. She ventured softly, "Orphen….?" and tried to sit up a bit.

Leki took his chance and wiggled out from underneath her, making unhappy yipping noises and looking nothing more like a sopping wet blue rat. "Oh Leki, I'm so sorry! Are you ok, my poor baby!" Leki took one last look at them, sneezed and ran off the road into the bordering woods.

"Leki, wait. No, Leki!" Cleao screamed, and with new found strength, shoved the sorcerer off her and took off after the running blue streak. "Wha –" Orphen started to ask, as he found himself rolled face first into the road. Wiping the mud from his face with the edge of his cloak, he watched Cleao run after the baby Wolfen into the forest.

"Cleao, come back here!", he yelled out, and shakily got to his feet when there was no answer. That's done it. If I wasn't going to kill her before, I'm certainly going to do it now, he thought as he stumbled into a run after the two retreating figures.

Leki pulled up short, and started yipping madly, crouching low against the howling wind and rain. Cleao caught up shortly and scooped him up into her arms, fussing his fur against her face. "Don't you ever do that again, Leki, you hear me?" she murmured into his side. Orphen ran smack into her from behind, almost sending them all sprawling in the mud of the forest floor. Cleao managed to barely hold her feet underneath her, and turned her head to glare, and was rewarded with a sheepish grin. She was about to start lecturing him about looking where he was going, when his eyes traveled up past her. "Look over there," he said.

Cleao turned back to follow his gaze and squealed with excitement when she made out the fuzzy form in front of them. "Oh my God! It's a house. A House!! Oh, we're saved! Leki, I love you, you're the best boy ever!" Leki yipped in pleasure, as Cleao began to make her way hurriedly to the front door. Orphen trailed after her, shaking his head. "Finally, we can get something decent to eat, get somewhere dry, have some decent company for a change.." Orphen tuned her out as she continued to praise the wonders of the unknown cottage.

Running up to the front entrance Cleao used her free hand to pound on the door. "Hello! Heeeellloooo in there! Open up! Hey, it's wet out here! Hey, …HEY!!"

Orphen walked up behind her and gently grabbed her hand, bring it down away from the door. Tilting his head he looked down at her, "Stupid girl, don't you ever look before you do something? Look, there's no light, no smoke, no movement….no one's home. No one's going to be answering that door no matter how hard you pound. ..Or yell."

Cleao's shoulders slumped and her face fell. "Well, what are we supposed to do then?" Leki looked up at her and nuzzled the bottom of her chin.

"What do you mean what do we do? We go in."

"Whaaat?! You, you can't just barge into someone else's house uninvited!"

Orphen looked at her quizzically. "You want to stay out here?"

Cleao paused and stared at the ground. "Noooo……"

"Well, then, it's settled." Orphen nudged her out of the way and bent over the lock, muttering a few words under his breath.

"Hey, what are you doing, let me see..." Cleao began and tried to get a better view over his shoulder.

Orphen straightened up and smiled, albeit a little arrogantly, at her. "After you, madam", he said, bowing low and flicking the door open with one finger.

"Show-off" she muttered, and heard him snort underneath his breath as she passed by him.

Cleao stood in the center of the small living area, her dripping clothes forming a small puddle on the wood floor around her. It was cozy, if a bit small for her tastes. The kitchen and dining area were to the left, and a fireplace and rug to the right. She could just make out in the darkness a door across the far wall, which she assumed led to the bath and bed areas. Orphen grunted and slammed the door back into place, cursing the wind in the process

Slicking the wet hair out of face, Orphen headed towards the fireplace, sparing a glance for Cleao on the way. He shook his head at the bedraggled mess that was his partner. "You're hopeless, you know that?" He expected an explosion, or at least an argument from her, but instead it looked completely defeated and about to cry. Oh great job, he thought to himself. She's almost killed, sopping wet, and what do I do, I make her cry.

The fireplace appeared to have been well used, but there weren't any traces of logs or tinder he could use to start a fire going. He crouched down in front of the opening and extended an arm, chanting quietly underneath his breath. He felt Cleao draw up beside him and join him, enlarging his own puddle forming on the floor. Orphen sat back on his heels, turned and winked at her. "Well, I wouldn't exactly call it a raging fire, but it should get the job done." A tiny ball of crimson light was forming in the center of the fireplace, growing until it filled stone space. Leki struggled out of Cleao's arms and jumped to the floor in front of the fire spell, flattening and fanning out his fur around him.

Pushing himself off his knees, Orphen stood up and looked down at the contented Wolfen. "He's got the right idea. You, stay here," he said, and pushed Cleao firmly onto the floor next to Leki, then headed towards the door again. Cleao spun around on the wet floor and watched him indignantly

"What do you think you're doing?" She all but spit at him as he pried the door open. A fresh gust of wind whistled through crack, sending shivers down her back.

Orphen turned a bit to look at her from the corner of his eye. "I'm going out to see if I can lessen the storm any. Promise me you'll stay in here. Promise me, Cleao." It looked to him as if she were about to argue, but then her mouth set into a thin line and she nodded curtly.

"Good. Make yourself useful for a change then and start drying our extra clothes," he yelled over at her as he slipped out the door and fastened it behind him. Muttering under her breath, Cleao jumped and startled Leki when she heard a loud noise from the roof, her imagination supplying the vision of another tree toppling down on top of them. She let out a held breathe however when she heard the systematic thumping crossing the ceiling. Snarling, she shook a fist at the ceiling. That man and rooftops, I swear, she thought, and started to peel open the sodden packs and arrange their clothing around the floor.

Leki scampered up and grabbed one of Orphen's shirts out of the pack and dragged it across the floor. Cleao followed behind him and helped straighten it out, ruffling Leki's ears afterwards. "Oh, so you want to help to? You are such the cutest thing ever!" Leki yipped in agreement and continued to pull out new articles as Cleao straightened and arranged them.

Finishing up with the last garment, Cleao stood and stretched, and immediately froze with her arms still above her head when the entire house shook to its foundations and there came a series of loud crashing noises from above the ceiling. A weight settled down upon the small living room, the only sound the deafened wailing of the wind through the trees and the occasional shaking of the window panes.

As Cleao stood transfixed in the center of the room, the baby Wolfen swiveled its ears back and forth, then flattened them against the back of his head. Growling low in his throat, Leki jumped up and snatched the hem of Cleao's pants in his teeth, and began to pull her leg towards the cottage door.

Broken out of her trance, Cleao stared down at the pup, concern and confusion lacing her eyebrows together. Cleao allowed herself to be dragged to the door, to which Leki proceeded to throw himself against with increased fervor. Understanding lit in her eyes, and she began to manhandle the door open against the incoming wind. A gust caught the edge of the crack, and blew the door open, crashing it open against the wall of the cottage. Grabbing the doorframe for support, Cleao squinted her eyes against the onslaught of wind and rain. Leki dashed out beside her, his blue coat blending in with the gray, dreary landscape.

Cleao stumbled through the wind, calling his name and scanning the ground for any hint of blue fur. A glint of green eyes caught her attention a short distance ahead of her, and Cleao rushed in its direction. As she drew near, what she mistook for at first for a small mound slowly gained definition, and she dropped to her knees and crawled the last few feet when she made out the sodden form.

Orphen lay on his side on the ground unmoving, Leki licking the tip of his nose and mewing plaintively. Cleao bent over his listless body and clapped a hand to her mouth, shaking her head slowly. She didn't even notice the tears mingling with the rain running down her face.

Wringing out the wet rag, Cleao sat next to the bed and dabbed away the last of the dry blood from his forehead. She and Leki had managed to drag him back to the cottage and into the bed, where she had proceeded to strip him down to his undergarments. Unconsciously biting her lower lip, she ran a hand through his hair and down the side of his face. The entire left side of his body was a mass of blue and green, but at least she was fairly certain he didn't have any broken bones during the course of her rudimentary examination. Resting her chin on her hand, she chewed the side of her mouth and watched his chest slowly rise and fall. Her head sunk into her hands and she stared at the floor, oblivious to Leki's quiet whimpering underneath her chair.

I just don't know what else to do, she thought, and berated herself for not having the skill or knowledge to do anything else for him. You'd better wake up, Orphen …you'd better… Wordlessly screaming, Cleo suddenly bolted upright and slammed her fist into the wall, knocking the chair over backwards and sending Leki flying into the living room.

"Nothing else to do then," she said to no one in particular and reached down to pull up the blankets to cover him. An abrupt gust of wind shook the window in it's casing on the far wall, and Cleao shivered and wrapped her arms around herself against the sudden chill. Tucking the blankets carefully around Orphen's shoulders, she noticed he was shivering ever so slightly, even after being under all the blankets the small cottage supplied.

Hesitating for a moment, Cleao finally shrugged and climbed into the bed carefully next to him, trying to stay out of contact with the masses of bruises. Blowing the one candle out, she carefully placed herself against his side and thought she felt his muscles relax against her just a bit. Don't be silly, she thought to herself and closed her eyes against the lightning outside. A soft brush of a wet nose on her forehead caused her to crack an eye open, and she was greeted with a pair of glowing green eyes on the pillow next to her. Closing her eyes again, she whispered to the baby Wolfen, "If you tell anyone about this, you'll be spending your next life as a handbag." Leki only snuffed softly and curled up into a ball..

Tada, my first fan-fic!

Sorry, couldn't resist the little Lassie moment near the end there. "Something wrong? What, what is it, girl? Did Timmy fall down the well?" Heh heh. Anyway, I've got most of the outline for the rest of this done, but I'll have to see how fast I can actually get the rest of it written with finals currently ripping my brains out. Also, I have no clue how many chapters this will be. My outline is currently VERY inconsistent, ranging from full dialogue and descriptions to lovely "see spot run" moments. Yes, I am a mess.