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(Part 6) For a complete list of this series, please go here.

Ashes and embers clouded the air as Aerissa stamped out the last of the dying fire.  The morning sun started to light up the woods around them.  Aerissa was already awake and hadn't slept very well through the night.  Aerissa chewed at her bottom lip as she packed up what little belongings she had.  One pack was full of skins, extra branches for arrows, and her handmade pillow.  She carefully filled another pack with smoked meat, berries and nuts she had gathered.

eversong-woods

“C'mon, we need to get moving while the sun is up,” she said to the Lynx as she surveyed the now empty cave.

The Lynx stretched his back, and yawned lazily, watching her scurry around.  He sat down, slowly lifting his large hind paw to scratch at his ear.  He shook his head then walked over to her.  Aerissa fastened one of the packs to his back, patting his head.  She strapped the other pack to her own back and slung her bow and quiver over her shoulder.

“I think we are ready…” she said with an edge of nervousness in her voice.

Aerissa and the Lynx trekked through the bright woods for a good portion of the day.  The high sun was warm, but there was a gentle breeze.  She continued to mull over her mixed emotions of heading towards the settlement that must be within the dark woods.  She knew she couldn't survive forever in the woods, and felt she had made the right decision.

As they approached the area they had reached yesterday, where the bright woods changed, she paused.  The Lynx continued a few paces further into the dark woods before he realized she had stopped.  He turned and sat down, waiting.  Aerissa looked back at the bright woods and took a deep breath.  She summoned her courage to continue with her decision to find the settlement within.

Satisfied that she was continuing forward, the Lynx began to walk again.  His hackles rose as they became surrounded by the dark trees.  Every snap of a branch and rustle of dry grass made Aerissa jump.  After a few miles, a large shadow loomed over them.  Aerissa looked up, and saw it was another winged creature, flying to the east.  She nodded curtly, pleased to know they were heading in the right direction.

Continuing forward, Aerissa began taking in the devastated forest around her.  The trees were dark, lifeless, and the ground was black with patches of sickly weeds.  Her long slender ears heard faint whispers upon the wind, causing the hairs on the back of her neck to rise.  Aerissa caught her breath, stopping abruptly.  A deep pain could be felt in the chilled air.  The Lynx appeared to hear the sounds as well.  He stopped to lift his nose, sniffing at the air as his ears twisted at the faint sounds.

Pssh psssh psssh~” Aerissa gasped, catching the sight of a wispy figure out of the corner of her eye.  She turned quickly, but it was gone.  The Lynx whined, his ears back.

Aerissa spun around in a circle as she slid her bow down her arm from her shoulder and raised it fitted with an arrow in one fluid motion.  Her keen emerald eyes stared into the woods, but there was nothing there.  Anymore.  The sounds were gone and the unnerving quiet had returned.

“Let's go, quickly,” her words cut through the still air.  Aerissa quickened her pace as she shouldered her bow and replaced her arrow into the quiver.  The sun was falling behind them and she knew they would need to set up camp for the night.  She was right, it would take more than a day to reach the settlement.

A building loomed in the distance.  Aerissa's heart jumped.  Had they really made it already?  She sped up to a quick jog, listening and peering into the coming darkness.  She could not see any lights or smoke.  All was eerily quiet and still.

ghostlands-abandoned-buildings

“Oww!” she yelped as she tripped over a jagged piece of a broken and forgotten road.  She reached out to break her fall, scraping her palms as she fell forward.  The Lynx hurried over, whining and licking at her face.

“I'm fine, I'm fine, thank you.”  She brushed the dirt off her palms, chest and knees as she stood up.  Her brows furrowed as she looked at the road.  It appeared to lead towards the building.  She straightened the pack on her back, looking at the waning sunlight flitting between the black branches.  The trees looked like grotesque bony hands reaching for the sky.  She shuddered and ventured forward.

The building looked in tact as Aerissa approached it, the architecture distinctly elven, although the rich colors of its roof and curved walls seemed dulled.  She frowned as she went around the side, seeing that it was abandoned.  And in ruins.  Half the roof was missing, the brick walls crumbling and scorched.  She reached out to touch the cold stone, rubbing soot between her finger and thumb.

“The Blackened Woods,” she said breathlessly.

The Lynx tilted his head to the side quizzically.  Aerissa reached down to remove the pack from his back and ran her fingers through his thick fur, smoothing it over.

“Or rather, Ghostlands, as they call it now.  I've never been here before…” She slid her bow, quiver, and pack from her shoulder and set them on the floor within the ruined building.  “That means… we were in Eversong Woods.  The bright woods.  I traveled a lot farther than I thought, dear-”

Locke.

The name entered her mind.  She stared at the Lynx.  He looked back at her, directly into her eyes.

Locke.

She felt the name again as though it was coming from him.

“…Locke.”  The Lynx's tail flitted about as he began to purr.  He nuzzled his head against her leg.  She rubbed behind his ears, feeling it odd that she had never called him by name before.

“Well, Locke, we need to bed down for the night and this building is as good as any place around here.”

Aerissa and Locke gathered fire wood.  She pushed their belongings against the back wall, which was still solid and covered by part of the roof.  She built the fire near the entrance in hopes to deter anything or anyone from entering while they were asleep.  The wood crackled and popped from being so dry and the heat of the fire consuming it quickly.

Aerissa pushed and prodded her pillow as she tried to get comfortable.  She laid with her back to the stone wall, tucking her hands beneath her cheek.  Locke circled around twice, then curled up next to her.  They both felt the need to face the open part of the ruined building.  As Aerissa closed her eyes, she heard a faint humming which seemed to be coming from within the building, but outside, her ears detected skittering, slithery sounds.

“Keep alert, Locke,” she mumbled into his fur as she drifted off.

** Please note that some of the events included in RP pieces are based upon actual in-game role play.  Also, some of the events and/or character names may have been altered during the transition from in-game RP to story formation. **

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Welcome

We are a family of gamers. Mom (Darcy/Syrana) and Dad (Brian/Sideshow) have been gaming for as long as they can remember back when you only had a joystick to use and saved your games to cassette tapes.

They've been gaming together since they met in 2002. Sometime after 2006, they both started playing World of Warcraft and did that for many years. They started this blog, originally called Sideshow & Syrana which has now transitioned to the new Stay-At-Home Gamers site, while keeping all of the original content.

Starting in 2010, two more gamers came along (now known as Princess Boo and Mr. X) and they are now old enough where they both enjoy playing games and watching others play games. They are both excited to have others to watch them play their favorite games. Come along with us and let's enjoy these games together!

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