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 Post subject: Scale [Story][Public]
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 10:49 pm 
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Scale
by Tevish Szat
Status: Public :diamond:



Ygraine grasped at the protruding horn of the mighty dragon, the wind rushing over them nearly threatening to tear her from the monster’s back and send her spiraling down into the deep green of the rolling hills far below. Slowly, she heaved herself forward, up along the back of the creature’s neck, and then gave a mighty tug to her handhold, pulling the beast into a steady climb



In a moment, they rammed into the heavy cover of clouds, plowing through the impenetrable grey, its moisture soaking Ygraine to the bone. She felt the water washing the blood – some hers and some the dragon’s – from her skin. Desperately, she fumbled for her bearings, and to maintain her free hand’s grip on her steel sword.



Then, they broke through, into the bright sunlight above the clouds. The world stretched below Ygraine, mighty hills of white and grey, and the only thing save birds that kept her and her foe company was the white-veined silhouette of Mount Yaren, highest as far as the eye could see.



“Alright!” Ygraine growled, “Enough is enough.”



At once, she brought her off hand to bear, and plunged her blade into the back of the wyrm’s neck, cutting through its spine at the base of the skull, beneath the bony frill to which she clung. Its wings grew slack, but open did not entirely fail to glide, and Ygraine angled its head towards the pinnacle of Mt. Yaren, growing rapidly more massive against the banks of clouds below. With but a second to spare, seeing that her aim was true, she braced for the impact.



The corpse of the dragon crashed hard into the ancient snowpack, and Ygraine, for all her effort, was thrown forward between its horns. Yet her skill was not without use, for she tumbled in the air and landed feet first before sinking knee deep into white powder.



Behind her, she could feel the dragon’s dying breath, hot and rank, melting the snow of the peak around her. She did not even look back, but, half to see what way down she could gain, walked slowly forward to the black stone of the highest point, and surveyed all she could see from the mountaintop.



As though prepared for her, a gap opened in the clouds, revealing to Ygraine a rift of green, gold, and azure – the foothills of Yaren, their deep and trackless woods, the villages of the small folk and their fields along the river Neth as it meandered to the vastness of the sea in the west, where some claimed the leviathans swallowed the sun each night as it fell away beyond the curve of the world.



At this, Ygraine raised her blood-bathed sword to the sky and let out a mighty cry of exultation.



Then, Ygraine was somewhere else entirely. She stared into eyes far larger than her head, and a chubby face, the face of a babe that towered many times the height of Ygraine’s whole body, drool dripping from the titanic infant’s toothless maw as a chubby, stunted hand reached out for Ygraine. The giant, for once in her life knowing terror at the scale of an enemy, turned to run. She took a step.



And Ygraine stood on a plain of hard-packed earth. It was inside, in a vague sense, but the ceiling above, though crisp to Ygraine’s sight, might have been fifty times her height or more. Before her there was a veritable mountain of wood, great pillars broader than the trees Ygraine knew supporting a plateau that arched perhaps a third of a way to that mighty ceiling. Ygraine paced slowly forward, admiring the titanic construction, for there was no way it could be natural, and then slowly coming to the realization that it was familiar. It was a table.



Ygraine’s inspection of this strange world was interrupted by a blow from behind. A furry paw struck Ygraine about the middle, and white claws each nearly as long as Ygraine was broad scratched across her dragon-hide armor. She was thrown back mightily, against one of the legs of the table, but managed to right herself and get a look at her attacker.



The creature was like one Ygraine had once held in the cupped palm of her hand, the domestic cat of the small folk of Segovia. Though too tiny for Ygraine herself to consider keeping, the inquisitive hunters had always been decent company. But their scale was now reversed, and Ygraine realized she would fit quite nicely into the cat’s jaws, and must look not like a master or companion to stroke the creature and bring it food, but rather as a small mouse or insect to hunt or kill.



The cat’s silent tread had let it get the first strike, but Ygraine locked eyes with the creature, intent to not permit it a second unopposed. All the same, she sheathed her sword. By cleverness, and a bit of the magic that tingled in the tips of her fingers upon command, she thought she might convince the creature she was too much trouble, and then find some escape before the masters of the hall might return.



Slowly, Ygraine paced forwards, readying her magic. If she failed here, it might cost her dearly, but that was how Ygraine lived, and as she stared down the feline, a smile spread across her face.



“Okay Fluffy,” she said, “Do your worst.”



A moment later, the cat pounced, but Ygraine leapt as well. And as she jumped, she released an azure burst of power, sending her sailing into the air, so high that she even cleared the top of the table. As she reached the apex of her ascent, Ygraine pushed against the nimbus that momentarily enshrouded her, giving her some backwards momentum as the spell’s threads let her hang in the air and fall slowly, softly to the tabletop



Here, the landscape was all the more wonderous. Nearly to the edge came a cloth of white lace, oval and covering much of the top, and upon that a crystal vase with bright red roses taller to the crown of the petals, though far narrower, than the highest citadels men raised upon the river Neth. Having eluded her attacker, Ygraine began to take in the sight.



Then, two furry paws, and a calico face that seemed to scowl appeared near her on the edge of the table. For a moment, the cat hung there in silent stillness, and Ygraine began to run away from it. Then, the bulk of the creature seemed to become subject to gravity, and began to slide backwards. Its claws caught the white cloth with its mighty bands of lace, and as Ygraine saw it, the world was sliding backwards towards angry jaws as the cat struggled and failed to climb up upon the table, dragging the cloth backwards and over the edge, the towering vase rushing up to meet Ygraine who ran with all her might to stay ahead of the precipice. Ygraine ducked to the right and jumped, and in that moment the vase blew past her, and the rest of the cloth under her with it, crashing with the cat to the ground, attended by a mighty crash and a startled yowl, and the thunder of the cat’s feet as it ran swiftly out of the room.



Exhausted, Ygraine lay down on her back, and let out a heavy sigh, and wished she were elsewhere, or restored to her proper self.



When she drew breath again, she found she was elsewhere, upon a soft pillow in a bedroom decked in pink, and all to the same scale as the great hall with the cat, and the colossal babe.



The door of the room opened, then shut, and another of the colossi was inside. This one was a young girl in a white dress with pink lace trim. She walked over, and then she saw Ygraine. The girl approached closely, smiled, and Ygraine stood. The girl, then, jumped back and covered her mouth with a hand to stifle a scream.



Ygraine raised her hands in front of her and spoke.



“Woah,” Ygraine said, “It’s okay…”



At that, the girl lowered her hand, and looked in wonder.



“Are you a faerie?” she asked, breathless



“Faerie?” Ygraine replied, “No, I’m a…”



She looked around herself, and realized the true answer might raise more questions.



“Look, someone or something shrunk me, and sent me here. I don’t know what did it or where I am. So maybe you can help me?”



“I don’t know.” The girl said, “I should call my mother.”



“No!” Ygraine barked, and then calmer continued. “Please, I don’t want more people to get involved in this mess and have you. Look, perhaps you’ve heard of me. Ygraine, Hero of the Neth Valley?”



“I’ve never heard anything of that like.” The girl said, and she stretched out her hand. “Here.”



Ygraine climbed onto the girl’s palm, and the girl began to raise her up.



“Really? Conqueror of the halls of the Bandit King Xartix?”



“No, I’m afraid not.”



“Slayer of the dread wurm Venithrass?”



“No.”



“The one who triumphed over Skalderos the Carbonizer and his army of Cindergoblins?”



“… I don’t think all of those things were words.”



“Ok,” said Ygraine with a sigh, “So you haven’t heard of me. That’s OK. But surely you can tell me at least what way lies the meeting of the River Neth and the Leviathan Sea? The port of Vahrleen upon the delta? And maybe you would know it’s a very far way away, or somewhere close by?”



The girl shook her head, and began to walk towards the window.



“I’ve never heard of any of those places.” She said, “Look-“



She lowered her hand, and Ygraine hopped off to the window sill.



“We’re in the town of Siran-by-the-Sea. You can see the water over there, to the left, if you really look, and the air’s clear, but I’m afraid it’s a bit foggy today. The big city of Inem would be east of us – that’s off to the right. To the north there, you can just make out Witch Hill.”



“And the rest of the world?” Ygraine asked, gradually filling with dread.



“Over the sea are the other lands, and the far islands.” she replied, “Like great Sula, that people say has magnificent beaches of white sand and people that never have to care about a thing. Or there’s the isle of Onyx and Fire,” The girl smiled, “which seems much more interesting to me. I’ll see them all some day, I’m going to be a pirate when I grow up.”



Ygraine sank to her knees, staring out at the strange, titanic landscape.



“This… this isn’t even Segovia, is it?”



“What’s Segovia?” the girl asked.



Ygraine thought of explaining the strangeness of her transportation, that Segovia was a world away even if it existed across the seas somewhere.



“Home.” She replied.



“Well,” the girl replied, “Cheer up. Perhaps when I’m a pirate, I could sail you there. I may not know where Segovia is now, but the seas of Elentry are wide, and the lands without number. We could find it. That is, if you mean to stay until them.”



Ygraine, who had stood astride her native land and surveyed it all from the highest peaks that pierced the sky did not think it sounded in the remotest like any landscape or seascape she knew. Conclusions were occurring to her, ones dire and sad. But with them, hope, and some thirst for the challenge ahead.



“How old are you?” Ygraine asked.



“Twelve years,” the girl replied.



“Yeah,” Ygraine replied, “I’m sorry kid, but I think I’ll have to find my own way, sooner or later. I’m dead tired, though. It’s been a long day and I could use a rest. You don’t imagine I could stay overnight?”



Indeed, Ygraine had climbed one mountain, killed a dragon, been deposited on another pinnacle, and fought for her life with a housecat. She was strong, and she could keep going if she had to, but the desire to rest was very strong.



At that, the girl walked over, and knelt by a wooden ship that rested on a stand upon the floor.



“This was made for dolls,” she said, “but it has a little bed in the cabin that I think you’ll fit.”



Ygraine went to the edge of the sill and looked down. It seemed a terribly far drop onto the rug below, but then, Ygraine’s sense of scale had changed. In her mind, it was no longer that the world had been rendered fantastically enormous, but that she had somehow been rendered very, very small. And at that a jump from a windowsill would not do her any harm. She crouched, looked, and with but a moment’s hesitation hopped down to the carpet below, then began to jog to the ship. When she had reached it, the girl lifted her up, and indeed the doll-ship was meant for people about Ygraine’s current size, though clearly made by those much larger. She found the cabin, and the bed, which looked better than it felt but was soft, and more luxury than stones or straw. Then she emerged again, and looked to the girl.



“Thanks, kid.” Ygraine said with a smile, though she could not hide in her voice how she was troubled.



“It’s no problem.” The girl replied. “Though if it wouldn’t trouble you, um… I rather just now realized I’ve not given my name nor properly asked yours. I’m sorry, it must seem terribly rude.”



“Don’t worry,” Ygraine said, “I’m Ygraine, like I said before, and having met a pirate or two in my time, I can say if you really want to be one, rude comes with the job.”



The girl laughed a little.



“Maybe out on the water.” She said, “in any case, I’m Lissa Croos, and very pleased to make your acquaintance, Ygraine.”



“Don’t mention it. If you don’t mind, I’m going to lie down. We’ll talk again before I leave, hopefully.”



And with that, Ygraine retreated into the cabin. There, she demanded of herself that she would not weep at what she land lost, but steel herself for what she had gained. The scale of the universe had been turned upside down, but somehow Ygraine had moved from place to place, and there were sure to be ways in which she could still give a good account of herself.



Indeed, Ygraine resolved to do what she had always done – she’d figure out the problem, and then she’d figure out how to win.



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