|Biography of a Blue
To fully chronicle the adventures and travels of Blueheeler Sunfire in the limited boundaries of text would be a task approaching the impossible. Certainly it is beyond the abilities of a humble Rhukian such as myself with a limited knowledge of this world of Tesiare and its' peoples. Admissably my task has been augmented greatly by the access the the libraries of Tarsin and by some notes and musings of the subject of this text. The same BlueHeeler Sunfire. Since many of the details have been lost into indistinction in the mists of recent times and turbulence it would be difficult to fully chronicle the life of this very active canine. Still, suffering from writers block from my attempts to chronicle the last days of the Empire of Pryde, I turn to this interesting subject. I humbly present my work to you, most discerning reader, and hope that it is of interest.
**Authors Note** This document may not be completely accurate and may indeed clash or ultimatly contradict other documentations in existence. The dividing of fact from fiction is difficult to accomplish and will be left to you, the reader.
North Jer Wolf
While Blueheel never comes out and says it his birthplace can roughly be pinpointed by investigating the circumstances surrounding his youth. A full story of Blue can not be considered even remotely precise without looking at the life and times of his Father, Alexander Sunfire. Alexander held the position in the realm where he lived in the early days. The duties of this position in an organization called the Awarding apparently was to be a guard against corruption in the Government. By this simple statement we can pinpoint Blue's Birthdate as being after the fall of the Empire of Pryde since the Empire never supported any such institution. This narrows the time frame down to only a few hundred years and precludes entirely the possibility of Blue's being born on the western coasts of the continent. The organization was called the Awarding and consisted mainly of weasels. This seems rather contradictory, having weasels guarding AGAINST corruption which may be why the purpose of the Awarding was so easily perverted. Though we can prove nothing it is possible that the Awardings swift corruption by one fur may have been aided by the minions of Balkoth since upon gaining control of the kingdom Wekesal, the head of the Awarding, immediatly sent his army to aid in the overthrow of the old Emperial capital of Pryde. In any case, with this information we easily locate Blueheeler Sunfires' home as being Sunspear on the east coast of Tesiares main continent. Astonishingly in the archives of the Empire we find that a family called Sonfyre was the last dynasty that ruled this Emperial province as Govenors. The province of Sunspear collapsed early into rebellion as Balkoths plot was begun and the Lion God Romo began to weaken. Without Romo's influence the minions of Balkoth were able to use shadow magic to twist the minds of the people of Sunspear against the Empire and to overthrow the Sonfyres. How Alexander Sunfires ancestors escaped the bloody purge that supposedly anniahlated their family is a mystery lost in the blood rage of those horrible times. In any event Alexander Sunfire was a member of the Awarding and apparently cooperated unknowingly with Wekesal. When Wekesal eventually made an error and his plot was threatened with discovery the head of the Awarding laid the entirety of the blame successfully on Alexander Sunfire. Taking the elder Sunfire into Custody along with his older son the head of the Awarding continued to use Alexander Sunfires ability's for his own purpose. Alexander Sunfire was helpless as his older son, also named Alexander, was held hostage. Alexander Jr. Was the subject of much experimentation which gave him a number of special abilities. These abilities were apparently passed naturally to Blueheeler from Alexander Sr. which is one reason the Awarding looked so earnestly for Blueheeler. Alexander Jr. was smuggled out of the testing lab where he was being trained by a scientist named Genis. Genis put Alexander into an underground stream and then went back to rescue Alexanders' friend a wolf named Richgast. Tragically Genis was captured and was repaid for his treason in a most hidious way which we shall address later. Sickenenly Alexander Sunfire Jr. would meet his friend Rich again years later after the Awarding had perfected their Obedience Virus. Alexander Sunfire Jr. would not survive the encounter.
Blue sat up abruptly his senses tingling as he heard the door to his room open. Sitting up he looked hurridly towards the entryway nervously only to relax when he saw that it was only his Mother. "Mother? Why are you sneaking in on me?" He inquired sleepily. His Mother, he noticed, seemed very upset with tears standing out in her eyes and a grey stone held in her paw. "Shhh Blue, don't make a sound." She cautioned gently as she hurried up to him. "We have to go on a trip right now." Blue got out of bed coming fully awake. "Where is Daddy?" He asked excitedly. "Is he coming with us?" To young Blue who saw far to little of his adored Father the idea of an outing with his Mother and Father was delightful. Alanna Sunfire shook her head tears slipping from her eyes. "No Blue, Daddy can't come with us." Blue whimpered unhappily as he struggled into his clothes. "It's those men again isn't it Mommy? They're the ones who're keeping Daddy for coming." Blue's Mother nodded. "your brother too Blue, they took my little bab..." She caught herself abruptly. "They took Alexander too, and they'll want to take you." Blue looked up from buckeling his belt. "I don't want to go with them Mommy!" Alanna smiled wanely. "That is good Blue. You own't have to but only if we leave quickly." Blue held his paw out to his Mother trustingly and she gripped it firmly. "Do you have your locket?" She asked tenderly. Blue proudly showed his mother the intricate silver locket that his Father had given him. "Yes, I wear it all the time." Alanna smiled proudly. "Good for you Blue, now hurry we must go." Gripping her son's paw in her own the silver haired canine led lue into the dark streets of Sunspear. Working his little legs vigerously to keep up with his mother Blue inquired. "Mommy, where are we going?" Alanna looked down briefly and then returned to guiding them up the winding streets. "We're going to a special place Blue, a place your Father and I consider very special. It's very old and beautiful, a survivor of ancient and beautiful times." Blue looked pleased. "I like that Mommy lets hurry." Alanna nodded fighting the lump in her throat. The two sped into the night.
Alanna Sunfires' origins are obscure. That she was a resourceful and intelligent canine is clearly obvious. We have reason to believe that she was an archeologist at the time considering her intimate knowledge of many of the places that she hid her son while trying to secure passage out of Sunspear. Some attention should be given to Blue's locket. Alexander Sunfire had given the locket to his son the last time that Blue saw him. It was this meeting that Alexander was going to in which Wekesal used Alexander Jr. to secure Alexander Sr.'s obedience. Wekesal immediatly sent Awarding agents to the Sunfire household to sieze both Alanna Sunfire and Blueheeler Sunfire, who in Wekesal's eyes was the more valuable prize of the entire scheme. A canine with the desired Sunfire powers naturally developed still of a mallable age. Alanna Sunfire through methods unknown to us discovered Wekesals' plan a few minutes before Awarding agents entered her house. It may be that the scientist Genis warned her. If so then he deserves far more memory for his contributions to the Sunfires history than a mere footnote in these pages. Had Wekesal gained Blueheeler at his tender young age it is quite probable that he would have been able to fasion him into a deadly tool and the world would be a darker place than it is today. When the peoples of Sunspear rebelled, the province of Sunspear was a very trusting place. The rebel mob was able to charge unhindered through the open gates of Sunspear province house. The halls of the province house saw great horrors that day but unlike many of the Emperial Province Houses Sunspear Province House was left intact and standing. The rebels felt uneasy in the solemn and dignified halls of the Province House however and after stripping it of all obvious assets, they built a new center of government. Thus Sunspear Province house sat in solitary grandure atop the hill of Sunspear for several hundred years slowly decaying.
Blueheeler stared at the efidice that loomed over them as they hurried towards it. At the top of the large hill that Sunspear was built on stood a grand and large building. Centuries ago this had been the center of the government of Sunspear. Imperators and Govenors had walked it's resounding halls, Imperial soldiers and captians had consulted in its' war room for the thousands of the years that the Empire of Pryde had united the continent. Grand parties and solemn trials, brave demonstrations and furtive secrecy had unfolded itself in the stone galleries and halls of Sunspear Province House. The Rebellion had stripped it of all its' power with the exception of dignity. Sunspear Province House had fought against the userpers long after its' true residents had been executed. Depressing them with its' haughty grandure it had silently stood around them as a symbol of the great works of the Imperators and their Empire. So they had left, slinking off to build new halls and new government centers leaving Sunspear to its' memories. Now time alone was its' enemy. Slowly cruel time had gnawed at its' turrets and battlements, rotting out floors and doors and laying down layer after layer of dust and grime. Its' estates and outer walls had been stripped from it and built with industrial buildings. The industrial buildings had perished and now Sunspear Province House stood the ruler of a derilict street, entertaining only riffraff and beggars. Still none of the derelicts who gazed upon it dared to sleep within its' halls. They whispered around their burning barrels over plates of moldy castaway food that the Sonfyres ghosts stalked its' echoing halls seeking the murderers of their line. It was towards this brooding structure that Mother pulled Blue hurridly. Blue pulled back looking a touch uneasy. "We're not going in there are we?" Alanna nodded and turned reluctantly to face Blue. "Blue dear, I know it looks scarey but I think that there is something in there that can help us go on our trip." Blue looked from the beloved face of his Mother to the ominous doorway of the old Province House. "Well...."
His answer was interrupted by cries from the far end of the street. A large group of furs dressed in long black cloaks charged around the corner shouting. "Alanna Sunfire! Halt immediatly and put your paws in the air! You are under arrest by the authority of the Awarding!" Mother gasped and reached swiftly into her pocket. Pulling out a strange object she turned and pointed it at one of the looming industrial structures.
We have determined that the device Alanna used was a powerful sonic pulse device. It is a very potent weapon but is good for only one shot. They're favored by assassins because of their small size and great accuracy if you point them right you only need one shot.
The device hummed furiously and fired a rippling distortion through the air. The distortion sheared neatly through the struts of a sagging cooling tower bringing the entire structure crashing down onto the road. From the other side of the obstruction the Awarding furs shouted angrily. Alanna turned to the wide eyed Blue. "Blueheeler. You have to come with me. We don't have time for questions right now. Do you trust me?" Blueheel did not hesitate for a moment. Years of love and affection shone in his eyes as he put his small pay back in his Mothers grasp. Alanna smiled tenderly and hugged her son "That's my little darling. Now lets go before Wekesals' goons get over that mess. Blue and his Mother turned and rushed for the building. Blue had little time for hesitation as his mother rushed him through the gracefully arched entryway of Sunspear Province House. In a flash, they were inside.
Sunspear Province House was built by Anakandile Sonfyre after he was appointed Govenor of Sunspear by his close friend Piderian IX, Imperator of Pryde. At the time the city of Sunspear suffered from almost incessant raids from raiders from the Kingdom of Tarsin (which wasn't conquored by the imperators until twenty years later) as well as slavers from Drag across the Firey divide. As such, the province house was built as a fortification in which the inhabitants of the town could hide in the event of an assault. Honoring the tradition of a fortified building the following Sonfyres continued to upgrade the Province house with modern defense systems until it was sacked in 5420 by a rebel mob. Ironically the Sonfyres at the time were so trusting of their subjects that the defense system was not online when the mob arrived. The rebels were able to simply walk into the building. After the Govenor and his family were gone the newly appointed President Fulrach Andel had all of the electronics stripped from the province house to help outfit the new palace he was building. The skills of the engineers disassembling the Province House were substantially inferior to the skills of the Emperial Artisians who built it.
They stood in a grand entryway. The ceiling arched overhead for a dizzying four stories terminating at a cavernous stone vault. Stairways and doors branched off from the large room going in many directions. Though filled with refuse and dust the ancient lines of the hall still held beauty and dignity. Blue stared around in wonder his eyes wide. "What is this place Mommy?!" Alanna hugged he son gently and looked about her expression wistful. "A house Blue, a very special house. A leftover fragment from a happier time." Her expression hardened. "And unless I miss my guess, a refuge." She led blue into a small room just to the left of the doorway. Inside the walls showed clearly the ravenges of some unknown people who apparently had torn great amounts of equipment and wire from the walls and floor. The stonework was scarred where bolts and struts had been torn out. On one wall gently hands had brushed away the dust and a clever chisel had revealed the hidden outlines of a rectangle on the wall. Alanna smiled coldly as she touched the rectangular shape. "The engineers stripping this place must have been spooked to miss this Blue, still, your ancestors were fond of hidden secrets and delightful surprises." Blue's eyes went, if possible, even wide." My Ancestors?!" He yipped excitedly. Alanna nodded. "Somewhere a long time ago, the people who's childrens grandchildrens grandchildrens grandchild would be your father ruled all of this Blue. Under a great and majestic organization called the Empire." Alanna sighed. "Perhaps it is only wistfulness but I don't think the old Govenors would have tolerated people like that weasel Wekesal in the position he was in." Her paws pressed heavily on the rectangle which depressed slightly with a grating sound. After receeding about an inch into the wall, the entire section of stone slid smoothly to the left revealing a flat set of buttons and controls underneath a black screen. Blue yelped in delight. "A secret panel!" Alanna nodded. "The question is if it works after all these years?" She frowned as the shouting of the Awarding agents outside alerted her to their approach. "We haven't much time!" She pressed buttons and turned dials producing clicks and snaps but no other response. Her frantically feeling paws pressed upon a certain button hidden among the controls and abruptly the screen came alight with a long forgotten logo in tan and gold. Blue cheered in delight as the light from the screen fileld the room. Alanna bit her lip and pecked her way along through flashing indicators obviously near her wits end. At last she pressed a sequence and was rewarded by a faint chime and then a flashing red message. She read. "Please produce authority authorization??" She said worridly. "Oh Blue, it won't work! The people who this thing was programmed to respond to died centuries ago!" She began to shake with unshed tears. Frightened and anxious to give comfort Blue flung his little arms around his mothers leg. "Don't cry Mommy! I'll make it work for you." He promised brashly and standing on a small piece of discarded junk he began pecking at the buttons earning many an annoyed electronic buzz and squawk. Alanna stopped her fit abruptly staring at the light shining off of her sons blue fur. "Alex said to me before...." She murmered. "What was it he said? The blood goes on... the blood.. his blood!" She grabbed Blue's hand firmly and guided it to a small glowing red square. With a proud kiss she murmered. "Good boy my wonderful Blue. You are the solution." Blue smiled and licked his mothers cheek proud to be a solution. His finger made the softest hiss as it touched upon the pad. And the computer began thinking.
Electronic components old beyond design came alive with flowing electricity. The Artisians who designed the PHEDS (Provincial House Emergency Defence System) were proved in their art as after hundreds of years... it worked. Ancient components slagged to dust under the touch of running current but for each one that failed there was a failsafe which took up the load. The blood made it work. The DNA gleaned from the touch of the young canine was not on record but the old computers were able to trace it swiftly and easily back to its' aristocratic origins. Hundreds of years had passed and the system knew it,but the young puppy touching the sensor pad in the guard room was directly descended from the last authorized user Govenor Akeela Sonfyre. Thus the system obeyed. Ancient magnetic engines howled and ancient coroded gears turned. There was nothing coroded or weak about the door of heavy alloy which sealed shut the doorway of Sunspear Province House literally in the astonished faces of Wekesals' minions.
Wekesal stepped out of his armoured limosine cautiously looking about at the seedy looking neighborhood. Before him stood a structure that he had been marginally aware of for a very long time. The fact that Sunspear Province House stood had been considered by him a completely trivial detail among millions of much more important facts. Wekesal in fact had very little against the idea of the old Empire except that he considered it an outdated archiaty. His professional eyes took in the Soaring towers and the straight walls of the ancient building. He turned to Gastros his aide. "Gastro my friend, there is something you don't see everyday. There probably isn't a building in this city that's older than that one yet I'd lay you good money that THIS building could take more firepower and still stand than all the other dumps in this city combined." Gastro twirled his moustace like whiskers and eyed the door. "Errm sir.. well that door. It looks like Quardranium Iron alloy. The boys at Tech don't have a bare clue how the old Emperials made that stuff but it's harder than titanium and is partially laser reflective. It's going to take a long time to cut through it." Wekesal remained calm which was a clear sign that he was furious. "There is no need Gastros. Have some Helijets brought and send men in through the windows on the fourth storey there. And a memo. This place is our new 'munitions testing site. If a rock of this building is standing in a year I'll be VERY dissappointed. Understand?" Gastros nodded nervously swallowing hurridly. Wekesal turned and walked back to his Limo. "Oh, and the agents who lost the Sunfire woman and her pup.... have them sent to Biotics, as test material not guards." Gastros nodded trying not to get sick.
Wekesal was going to be a dissapointed weasel. The stones of Sunspear Province House, reinforced with metal and magic and built with skills that modern engineers could only dream of, stood for three years under the steady stream of test explosions. Awarding lost thirty four furs to the Provincehouses' internal defense mechanisms as well and when the walls finally did collapse they fell on a explosive test crew of almost that many furs again. Anakandile Sonfyre would have been proud. By the time the agents and sniffers of the Awarding entered the Province House Alanna had made good her escape using a spell that she had labourously mastered in the preceeding years. Alanna had some small skills as a mage which may have contributed somewhat to Blueheelers ability's both natural and magical. Though it took her hours she was able to teleport her son and herself out of the city. In a series of small towns down the coast of the Firey Divide, Alanna guided her son. Using hidden caches of money left by her husband who had been planning for this contingency Alanna was able to keep herself and Blue alive in comfort. Always she was moving slowly away from Sunspear avoiding the larger transit systems so as to evade Wekesals' agents. After several years of slow travel Alanna and her now teenaged son came to the massive city of Tarsin due south of Sunspear. Tarsin had been a contested region for decades switching hands sometimes as often as five times a year. Elected governments, Kings, Self proclaimed Emperors and craft Guilds had all taken a stab at ruling the city and all felt that they were the rightful rulers. The people of Tarsin developed a genuine indifference to who was ruling what so long as the taxes remained low and the infrastructure was kept in relatively good repair. In fact the lack of solid government authority contributed greatly to the "Illegal" business's like drug running, assassin and theives guilds as well as seedy corporations and the like. Tarsin found itself prospering as it never had since the fall of the Empire. When Blue and his Mother arrived in Tarsin the city had only recently been aquired by a young assassins guild called Voldin Keep. Voldin Keep had lost many good furs in gaining the rulership of the city and they were in great need of new ones. Their young lupine leader was personally interviewing applicants for the jobs. It was this time that Blue first met someone who would later become the center of my humble universe. Shawn Jhonas Wolf never forgot Blue. Perhaps their relationship has always been effected by the means of their first brief encounter. Only I would know and I would have to resort to bed tricks, which I refuse to do unless he whines in that special way... err emm...Anyways, Blue had a noteworthy encounter in Tarsin.
"Is this really Tarsin, mom?" The teen-aged Blue questioned.
"Yes, Blue, it is." The female turned back to watch the approach to the city. "I want you to be careful when you're in there."
"Of course, mom." as he watched with growing excitement. The carrage arrived in the city, and Blue nearly busted out of it. He wandered around the streets some. Gawking at some of the furs he saw. Smiling as he introduced himself to some others, using their own proper greetings. Blue loved showing furs that he knew many customs when they wouldn't have expected it. As he walked around, he saw a few signs. After reading them, he grinned and padded over to where they stated he should go. The fur at the desk gave him a sheet to sign. With a grin, he put in his name and something else. Blue then sat with others in a waiting room. Finally, a fur showed him into a room. Infront of him was dark brown wolf, his grey sad eyes looking first at the sheet, then up quickly.
"Blue Heel SunFire? I see you say you're a .... sex assassin?? You Yiff
your victims to death???" He looked at Blue baffledly. Blue grinned as only a young adventerous hormone crazed canine could, "Would you like an in depth demonstration?" he inquired with a wink. The wolf backed away, even though he was 7'3 to the canine's 5'10, his eyes open wide, "Err no thanks... thanks but no... I think we don't have a position for someone with your special... talents." Blue noded and exited the room with a jaunty wave.
Had Alanna ever discovered that her beloved son had applied to become a yiff assassin she'd probably have gone into fits, or swatted Blue into the next millenium or perhaps both. Maybe she found out and was a much more liberal fur than we would know. Only Blue could tell and he always keeps his mouth shut about his Mother. In any case we do know that the crushing weight of having left her mate and older child in Sunspear under Wekesals' none too kind paws wore on Alanna in a terrible way. She was a beautiful canine with bright silver fur. Silver fur is a great rarity on the main continent which suggests that one of Analla's ancestors may have come from the mysterious island of Fair Andrala. If the blood of the mist folk of Andrala ran in Analla's veins then that would easily explain both her small ability at magic and her unique colouring. Analla, however, was definitly mortal and the weight of her unreasonable guilt over her losses aged her prematurely and blighted her joy at being free with her son.
The small ship rocked and the storm blew furiously against the rigging as Alanna sat up in bed. She had been having the strangest feelings ever since she had boarded the ship for passage across the Brightfyre Ocean from Whisperwave to Falwyn. Blue had very much wanted to take a luxury cruiser to Falwyn probably in hopes of meeting more people. Alanna, however had begun to see signs of the Awarding in Whisperwave and had opted for the much faster schooner FireWind. The Britefyre ocean surrounded the mysterious Pinnacle, a unmeasurably tall mountain of crystal surrounded half way up by a ring of pure flame. Legend said that the mysterious Fire Lions guarded the Brightstone of Balkoth atop the peak of the Pinnacle. Legends aside, no technology operated anywere near the Pinnacle and thus the cruisers would have to hug the coast all the way to Falwyn. Blue had contented himself on the hopes that he might see a Fire Lion and had stationed himself in the crows nest with the lookout. His hopes had been dashed when a strong storm had roared up from the south.
The wind wailed higher outside and Alanna felt the call again. The deck rocked heavily agianst her paws as she got out of bed and wandered out of the small cabin. A single sailor intercepted her as she headed for the gangway up to the deck. "No no missus." The young seacat advised her gripping her wrists firmly. "Its' nary a night for canine nor otter up on deck tonight. The winds' strong and all is buckled down for a blowout." His grip became more firm and he arched his back slightly causing his wet uniform to plaster against his defined sailor body as he grinned. "Perhaps Missus you'd like to come warm my bunk with me? We could whip up a little personal storm of our own if ya know what I mean..." The call came yet again and Alanna instinctively mouthed a musical sylable. The cat stared for one moment and then slumped to the deck fast asleep. In a daze Alanna walked to hatch and stepped out onto the heaving deck of the FireWind.
Alanna's light shift blew furiously in the screaming wind as she walked slowly to the bow <front> of the boat. Looming in the night she could distantly see the blazing spire of the Pinnacle. But beyond the Pinnacle more to the southwest she could dimly see a strange luminous haze from which the call came. Something inside her stirred and she cried out a vast and noncanine call. In the darkness of the howling storm they answered. With a gasp the winds died away as a great hole opened in the storm. Alanna stood in a trance as they came, first a small cloud of whizzing giggling canines and wolves the size of fireflies with small wings who traveled in a ball of luminescence. They scooted about the deck playfully carefully avoiding the iron railings with loathing. Then the older ones came striding across the water. Tall and graceful and immortally beautiful they stood on the unnaturally smooth waters looking at Analla. Finally She came herself, a tall wolf with fur a blinding silver and mighty butterfly wings of pure light. Around her neck hung a throbbing orb of misty power. The Jewel of the Mists itself, the source of the Fey and all the greater and lesser Faerie of Andrala. They stood facing each other, Alanna Sunfire and Eledrameranerie Brightwing the lady of the mists, communing. In Alanna the powers of her birthright boiled furiously agianst their mortal constraints fighting to be freed. Alanna felt herself letting go giving in to the ache to release the pain, to let go her misery, to grow wings and fly with the Faerie of Andrala, her kin.
"M-m-mommy?" Blue's sleepy voice intruded on her. Alanna looked about in shock. Blue had apparently woken from his sleep and had come looking for her, he stood still young in shorts and a t-shirt looking at her with sleepy incomprehension. Could her son come too? They could escape the misery of mortality together! Alanna looked back. The Lady frowned, a smirch on her perfect features, and shook her head no. **He is too much Mortal child. In his blood, the Jewel of Divinity reigns supreme.** Her silver thoughts laced across Alannas' mind. **Come child! Enough of this hesitation, your great grandmother and all your other kin anxiously await your coming. Enough of this mortality foolishness. Come with us. Let go.** The other Faer echoed their queen. "Let go." The ocean itself resonated with the words. "Let go." Blue 's whimpery voice still confused with sleep cut harshly through the mounting chorus. "m-momy?" He whispered his sleep drugged mind bowled over by the sights before him. Alanna shook against the longing which swept her. Something inside her rose up and drowned the bright cold silver in her with warm red. "no" she whispered. The Faer shivered in their ranks as the older Faer advanced on Alanna their expressions at once cajoling and demanding.. "Let Go!" They demanded their voices like the ringing of a thousand crystal bells. Alanna stood fast. "No." The Faer were silent in total astonishment. Eledrameranerie herself advanced towering over Alanna great and terrible. "LET GO!" Alanna whispered back in agony. "No."
There was a great wail from the Faer. Alanna felt something break inside her and cried out in pain. Then Blue was with her holding her up his expresison frightened. Alanna looked at Eledrameranerie who's face was a mask of sorrow. She sent her silent request humbly, pleading. Eledrameranerie nodded slowly. Pointing one long finger at Blue she intoned. *Forget. Sleep.* Blue collapsed into a cloud of lesser Faers who bore him back to his bunk giggling merrily. Alanna retreated to the gangway and turned to shut the door. Eledrameranerie stood before her. *Come.* Alanna said gently. "No." There was a great explosive thunderclap then a scream as the storm howled in Alanna's face. The Faer were gone and inside her Alanna felt no trace of their call. Shutting the door with great effort Allana returned to bed her bones aching.
They disembarked at Falwyne. Blue seemed to have no memory of the event. If he noticed Alanna's stiffness he didn't speak of it and when she could not lift the heavier of their bags he took them without comment.
As the watched the FireWind head away for its' mooring Blue playfully touched a strand of Analla's hair. "What's this Mom?" Alanna smiled wanely her eyes dark in her silvery face. "Just a white hair Blue, everybody gets old you know." Her eyes swept southwest in the direction of a distant land, a deathless land, a land that she had forever rejected. The waves seemed to whisper as they hissed on the beach. "Farewell." They whispered grating across the rocks. "Alanna, Farewell."
Alanna Sunfire became extremely ill for several months after her arrival at Falwyne. Fortunatly they were carrying a modest fortune which had been laid by for them by friends of Blues' Father. Alanna recovered and promptly left the city never to return. Cutting across the Falwyne peninsula in easy stages by train and carridge they moved slower now. They were very far from Sunspear and the forces of the Awarding were quite weak here. After arriving at the old port city of Balain Alanna once again became very sick and they were forced to remain for several months again. Alanna was clearly alarmed by her failing health and in her desparation remembered an old friend she had known in her youth. Falice Depris had been a close friend of Alanna in the boarding school that they had both been sent to by their respective families. Falice had married a young nobellion from the small remains of what had once been the continent ruling Empire of Pryde. In desparation Alanna thus took ship from Balain to land in the city of Dhassa. Dhassa had only recently rebelled from under Emperial rule and the area was still chaotic. Fleeing with her son across the plains Alanna once more became ill this time with the lung disease which would claim her life. With their resources failing and her health collapsing Alanna entered the domain of the Imperator of Pryce at the province of Cantival. Cantival was ruled by the Govener Felinad Pryce, the husband of Falice Pryce, Alanna's schooolgirl friend. Alanna hoped to find refuge in Cantival but someone else found her and her son.
BlueHeeler looked about interestedly from the windows of the train as it glided across the broad fertile plains that lay about Lake Nerisee. "What is this land like Mother?" He inquired interestedly. Alanna smiled gently at him and patted his head. "I have been keeping this destination secret from you for a surprise Blue. We're in the Empire of Pryde now. Blue almost leaped from his chair in excitement. "The Empire!! You mean THE Empire!?!" Blue had been fascinated by stories and sights connected with the ancient continent spanning Empire of Pryde since he had been tiny. Perhaps it was because an ancient Imperial building, Sunspear Province House, had been so instrumental in securing his escape from the grasp of the Awarding. Alanna smiled fondly at Blues' obvious excitement. The pleasent weather they had been enjoying on the trip from Howarth to Cantival had aided her health some and she was not suffering from the racking coughs which had plagued her since Falwyn. Still her face was deeply lined and her silvery hair was rapidly paling to a duller white colour. Blue looked to his Mother. "Please tell me more Mother! I didn't know the empire even existed anymore. Alanna nodded amiably settling into the soft padded chair more comfortably.
"Well Blue, noone knows exactly why the Empire began to break up but it began long ago on the east coast. Sunspear was one of the first provinces to go. The Empire has always been here I guess, slowly shrinking away. The decay has slowed down a lot though. At the height of the fall three Imperial provinces rebelled against the Imperator every decade or so. Now it has slowed greatly. Many learned furs hope that the process will stop and maybe reverse itself for the world is a darker and more lawless place without the technology and order that the Imperators gave to us. Cantival, for that is where we are, is an ancient Imperial province only a short distance from the frontier. Only Howarth lies between Cantival and the independant realms beyond. Cantival is ruled by the Pryces who are Govenors. It's actually a Pryce we're going to see."
Blue's eyes grew wide. "You know a Govenor of an Imperial Province Mother?!?" Analla laughs softly and coughed. "Well she wasn't the wife of the Govenor when I knew her Blue. Falice was a Depris when I met her in school. She was betrothed to Felinad Pryce at the time and they were very much in love. When Felinads' older brother Folor died fighting the Dhassa Revolution Felinad became Govenor. And Falice became Governess." She looked out on the bright fields watching the reaping machines which were steadily scything the golden grain in the fields. "Its' a beautiful land, Blue, full of ancient traditions and great technologies. Its' a proud land and the people are very loyal to the Imperator. That makes it hard to invade. Many barbarians from the rebelled provinces have tried. I have been bringing us here for the past ten years on purpose. This was my ultimate goal. I pray that we can find refuge here." She coughed again her body wracked by the violence of her choking. Blue could only hold her gently and wait for the fit to pass helplessly. Blue kissed his Mother gently on the muzzle. "Don't worry Mother. Surely your friend will help us and we'll be safe here." Alanna could only nod mutely her expression desparate. The train thundered on.
Who can say for sure how long Ravon had been tracking Alanna and her son. We believe that he probably picked up her trail when she was forced to remain in Falwyne by illness. In any case the prospect that she would find refuge in the Empire frightened him for not even the Agents of the Awarding were a match for the Imperial Security Service. This probably forced his hand and caused him to strike before all his men were in place. Considering how Wekesal punished failure perhaps we can understand why Ravon reacted so prematurely.
It was dark outside and the lights of the ivllages the train was passing through flashed in the windows as they streaked by. Blue sat stiffly in the chair at his table as Alanna lightly sipped a purple glass of wine poured by one of the fox waiters. Blue found his eyes following the swell of the older foxes haunches as he stepped gracefully away to help other guests. The foxes intriguing red tail was neatly bound in white ribbons to meet health standards and to match his white uniform. Blue found the entire effect rather appealing. His attention was perked as nature called. "Mother excuse me. I'll be back in a moment." Alanna, looking very relaxed, nodded amiably and watched her son go. Though only 14 Blue already had a slim trim build that promised he would be an eye catcher when he got older. He was a handsome dog already she noted as one of the servers nudged a fellow worer and pointed at Blue whispering conspiratorially. The othewr server nodded his yellow fox eyes following the young canines passage through the dining cart. Alanna took another sip of her wine and smiled as a server poured more into her glass. Her smile flickered as she caught the flash of a tatoo on the wrist of the dog pouring her wine. It was a farmiliar shape. She stiffened. Apparently reading her body language the dog sat across from her and they watched each other. He was a heavy set canine with black hair. The darkness of his pelt was marred only by a steak of greay that ran across his head. Smiling he bowed mockingly to her. "Lady Alanna, what a distinct pleasure to see you again and so far away from Sunspear at that! How is Blueheeler doing?" Alanna found her voice. "Ravon! You miserable traitorous dog! How dare you be here! I'll call the guards and have you thrown off this train!!" Ravon, for that was the dark canines name, smiled cruelly. "I don't think the guards will be listening to you Analla. Or at least all the ones who might have listened to you are not with us anymore." He chuckled menacingly. Alanna spared a quick glance towards the doors. She realized immediatly that the watchfur standing there did not seem very comfortable and his uniform did not fit well. She felt cold fear grip around her heart. "What are you doing here Ravon? I though you'd be at home toadying up to that weasel Wekesal." Ravon smiled maybe a bit nervously. "Wekesal doesn't really have time for me right now Alanna dear. Being king is a full time job you know." Alanna gasped a startled chocked off sound. Ravon nodded continuing. "That's right Alanna, King. NO more watchdogs to worry about no more hiding in the shadows. And guess who killed the old King." Alanna shook her head mutely in denial. "No, you're lying." Ravon continued unperterbed. "Yes, Alex did himself. He's a fine tool now. And the younger Alex is the most bloodthirsty creature you've ever seen. You'd be proud of him." Something in Ravons' voice alerted Alanna and she smiled. "You're lying Ravon. I can hear it in your voice. My son got away didn't he. You idiot. You bumbling fool! You let Alex escape somehow and now Wekesal has sent you out here to get another Sunfire child for his collection." Ravon cursed angrily. "A lucky guess Alanna. You've lead me a merry chase for years now and Blueheeler is too old now for simple training. Fortunatly the obedience virus is complete so age isn't such a problem now." His eyes spat silent cruelty at her. "Sit here and enjoy your wine Alanna, my men and I will pick you out of your room after dinner and then it's back to Sunspear with you. If you odn't make trouble we may even allow you to see your precious husband again." Standing he smiled fakely and walked away. Sitting numbly Alanna took a mechanical sip of her wine as another fit of coughing assaulted her. Wekesal had won. So close to rufuge and her brain could only scream silently. Wekesal won! Wekesal Won!
Ravon had been the head of security of the science facility where Alex Jr. was being experimented on along with his wolf friend Richgast. The scientists had endowed both with extra speed, strength, senses and the ability to conjure blinding flashes of light. Alex Jr., however, was so stubbornly defiant that it was decided to try the prototype obedience virus on him even though the odds were heavily against his living. Genis, a compassionate ferret scientist, had snuck Alex away from his cell and placed him unconcious in a pod in an underground stream. Genis was captured by Ravon on his weay back to rescue Richgast, Alex's friend. Wekesal's rage at loosing Alex was mitigated only by Ravons' having kept Richgast contained and capturing the fur at fault. Genis's punishment will be mentioned later and Alex escaped. Wekesal decreed that Ravon would only be allowed to live so long as he was working to get another of Sunfires children for Wekesals' use. Ravon decided that capturing Blueheeler would be easier than trying to find Alex in the slums of Sunspear. Ironically when Ravon finally did make his move to kidnap blue and his mother Alex Sunfire Jr. was much closer at hand than any of them had imagined.
Blue found his Mother coughing and pale at her table looking perhaps ten years older since he had left her a mere ten minutes earlier. Alarmed he sat beside her and took her paw. "Mother?? What is wrong? What happened?!" Alanna sipped a little more of her wine and looked at the anxious Blue with tears standing out in her eyes. "Blue my darling please forgive me. I've failed you." She whispered. Blue looked baffled and held her paw. "What has happened Mother?" Alannas' tears escaped the confines of her violet eyes and sank into the fine white fur of her face. "One of Wekesals' minions has found us Blue, he's been following us for quite some time now and he's taking over the train to get us." Blue went rigid with horror. "But we're in the Empire now!" Alanna shook her head subsumed by another coughing fit. When it passed she whispered. "We're only at the edge and Wekesals' reach has grown farther than my wildest nightmares. He is king in Sunspear Blue." Blue winced at the bad news. "Surely we must escape. I can get us off the train and away from these people. I'm sure I can!" Alanna considered. "Well, certainly it's worth a try." With little hope but some defiance she let Blue lead her back to their room. Once inside Blue locked the door and after several moments consideration he wrenched a heavy metal handle from the wall and drove it into the doorjamb as well. Alannas' eyes went wide and blue grinned. "I've been hiding how strong I've been getting mom. Surprise!" Alanna nodded mutely as the room began to spin. Blues' expression went from mischevious to alarmed as his Mother sank into one of the couches. "Mother what's wrong? Are you ill?" Alanna shook her head an image of her wine being refilled by Ravon flashing though her mind. "My wine...," she murmered through clenched teeth as she began to shake. "Poisoned... I feal like such a fool." Blue held Alanna as she sank into unconciousness. Only a few minutes later someone tried the door. Blue heard the lock click open but the jammed door didn't budge. At first the intruder tried to open it quietly but then they gave it a solid kick causing it to quiver only a little. Foorsteps sounded heading hurridly away. Blue looked hastily about the room. Only the tiny windows offered some possibility of exit but looking out of them revealed that the train was streaming along a high elevated causeway which cut over Lake Nerisee. Jumping out the window with his Mother would be tantemount to suicide. Behind him blue heard a solid blow against the door which shook harder this time and creaked. He also heard a strange scratching sound. Wrenching another bar from the wall blue stood in a protective pose as the door shook. There was a metalic screech from above him and a roaring rush of air. Looking up blue gaped as he saw the roof of the room being pulled open like the lid of a sardine can. Blue prepared to attack as the fur above looked down.
Eyes met eyes and too similar faces locked in astonished recognition. Alex Sunfire had left far too profound an imprint on their features for either of them to mistake each other. Besides they had played together as children and had relived those cherished memories during more turbulent times. The addition of a few years of maturity onto the faces did not make them strangers.
"Alex!!" Blue gasped in total astonishment. Looking down from the hole was Alex Sunfire. Grinning in an oh so farmiliar way Alex waved. "Blue! Hi! Hand Mother up please. We can escape this way." Blue hurridly bundled Alanna in as many clothes were on hand and handed her up to his older brother. Alex took his Mother tenderly and then extended a paw down to help his brother up. As Blue was getting to his feet in the rushing wind on top of the train the door below gave way. Immediatly Alex hurtled soething downward and there was a massive explosion of blinding light. "This way Blue!" Alex cried and his younger brother towards the rear of the train. They ran supporting the unconcious Alanna between them. Directly in front of them a weasels' face popped up from below. Alex, not sparing a step, kicked the rodent solidly in the face causing his head to snap back with a loud "Craak" the weasel collapsed back down.
At length they arrived at the caboose of the train which was merely a small empty baggage car with some rear signaling lights. Alex gripped Blue on the shoulder and shouted to him over the roar of the wind. "Get down between the Caboose and the baggage car and unhitch us. We'll slow down and eventually stop and the rest of the train will keep going." Blue nodded in silent agreement and clambered down. Meanwhile Alex tenderly settled his Mother onto the railed catwalk on the back of the caboose. Returning to the roof he saw an alarming sight. Ravon and five of his henchmen were running towards the back of the trian. With a curse Alex went to his knees to present the smallest target to them and launched a minisun at them. The weasels shrieked in terror as the immense burst of light surrounded them. Disoriented and confused they fell from the sides of the train wailing. Ravon, however, ignored the light and springing forward with lupine agility landed on the caboose. "Alex!" He snarled. "You miserable cur. You have no idea how much trouble you've caused me." Alex drew a blade baring his teeth. "What did you $&@$%#ers in the Awarding do with Rich and Genis?" He demanded harshly. Ravon laughed drawing his own sword. "Richgast is doing fine. The obedience virus worked perfectly and I have no doubt it'll work well on you as well. Genis on the other hand... well suffice it to say you don't want to know." With a cruel laugh he lunged at the dog. For several minutes they fought parrying and thrusting at each other with naked savagery. Abruptly Alex's heel caught on the edge of an uneven roof tile and he fell onto his back. With a snarl of savage glee Ravon prepared for a crippling stroke. His triumphant ovice changed to surprise and furey as his head was suddenly engulfed in a dazzling swirl of many coloured lights. Alex recovered and, lunging forward, drove his sword into Ravons' chest with a steely slither. Ravon gave a howling cry of pain and fell from the train his cries cutting off abruptly as he hit the track. Alex looked and saw Blue, with his head and shoulders sticking up over the edge of the caboose. "Thanks ofr the help bro!" Alex said happily as he cleaned his sword. Blue nodded agreeably and returned to his task. Some moments later the caboose lurched and began to slow as the rest of the train pulled away. Within ten minutes the train was out of sight and the caboose had been braked to a stop.
Blue and Alex shook Alanna gently. The dog only moaned softly and then coughed. Blue looked at his brother worridly. "Ravon poisoned her in her wine at dinner." Alex snarled over his shoulder in the direction that Ravons' remains lay. "I wish I had killed you slower!" He looked back to Blue obviously upset. " She's very ill Blue, we have to get her to a doctor." The two brothers looked at each other worridly as the overcast sky rumbled menacingly. Along the edge of the causeway ran a catwalk which allowed for maintenence of the track without shutting down the entire length of the shortcut over Lake Nerisee. It was along this catwalk that Blue and his newfound brother Alex carried Alanna. As they walked the temperature began to lower. Blue spoke quietly to Alex as they trudged along. "How did you get away Alex?" Alex responded his eyes dark with memories.
"Alexander, pay attention." the female horse yelled.
"Yes, Nani" the dog replied gloomly.
"Now what was the answer to number five."
"I don't know or care."
The horse slapped the dog, "You don't talk to ME that way, Alex. You have to keep up your schooling."
"Why, I know all I need to know to get through life. I have the muscles and agility and fighting skills and.... So why do I have to know all these stupid thing."
"Because my 7 year old dog, you need to know them if you are to do what the boss wants you to."
"I don't ca..."
"BE QUIET! You will go to your room NOW and study. In a half hour I will call you back. If you don't have the work done, you will get NO dinner or books." The teacher drags the dog to a room and throws him in.
Alexander doesn't cry at the treatment, he's been trying to rebel ever since he can remember. He knows this isn't the home he was born into. All he can remember, though, is the experiments and the teaching. There hasn't been much fun in his short life at all. Every so often he remembers a loving family, but the memory doesn't stick. Alexander sighs loudly, then starts to read the book again.
"Alex," a familar voice whispers, "You in there."
"Rich, you're here" Alex whispers back into the air grate.
"You get in trouble again with Nani? You get in more and more trouble.
You have to quit that, you want to get the boss mad at you!"
"I don't care for the boss, someday I'm out of here." Alex goes back to reading so he's ready for the teacher. The wolfcub called Rich crawls back through the vents. Alex finishes the reading as the teacher enters the room.
"Alex, are you done?" Nani askes.
"Yea, I'm done with the stupid reading." Nani glares at Alex, but doesn't say anything. She starts to ask questions as the leasons continue.
Blue was silent for about half an hour after Alex fell silent. "I'm sorry Alex." He finally ventured. Alex smiled faintly. "You don't have anything to be sorry about Blue. We both know who is actually to blame. Both canines spoke together their voices hard with hatred. "Wekesal!" Alanna stirred moaning softly at the name. Quickly the brothers lowered their mother to the catwalk. Alex stripped off his thin jacket to wrap around her and Blue, using his fantastic agility, climbed down one of the supports for water. The cold water of Lake Nerisee didn't revive Alanna but she did seem to be breathing a little easier. Clearly the small amount of the substance Ravon had tricked her into drinking was fading from her system. After their mother had gone into a deeper sleep the two began carrying her gently again. Blue looked to Alex. "What happened to Rich?" Alex shivered. "I never found out. I'm not exactly sure." With a cold voice he lanched into story again.
"But, Nani, why do I have to fight Rich?"
"Alex, don't question my orders," the teacher started, "you are to fight Richgast to improve both your skills. You are both weapons, tools, for theboss. Therefore you will do as I say. You HAVE no free will." Both the dog and wolf sigh loudly as the stand off against each other. The wolf takes the quick advantage and pounces on the position where the dog was.
Looking around, he suddenly regreats that as a flash of blinding light blinds him. Rolling to the right, he pulls a cloak of darkness around the area, then rolls to the left. The dog pounces on the rolling wolf only to find himself in darkness. The dog sniffs, the yelps as the wolf hits him. Rolling with the punch, the dog lashes out with a foot, connecting with a part of the wolf.
The dog's smile turns to a frown as his leg is grabbed by the wolf. The wolf groans as he is kicked, but grabs the leg starting to twist it. He pulls it then pushes to get the dog off balance; lashing out with his paw at the knee to crack it. The dog feels himself being pulled then pushed as he tries to move out of the way. CRACK. The dog howls loudly, then snarls. The dog jerks his injured paw out of the grasp, pouncing on the wolf ignoring the pain. The dog starts slashing and biting the wolf. The wolf feels the bones give way under his hit, but is not prepared for the pounce. He feels the dog hit him, then feels pain. The dog feels paws on him pulling him away, but frees himself and goes back to attacking the wolf. The guards pull the dog away again, giving him a shot. The dog falls asleep.
"Alex...Alex, are you there?" Rich asks carefully out the grate.
"Yes, I'm surprised you want to talk to me; I tried to kill you."
"It wasn't your fault. It's what they're doing to us. If we stay long enough, they will make us totally their tools."
"Someday, we will get out. I won't let them make me their tool."
"They were trying to brainwash you then?" Blue asked his face a mask of distaste. Alex nodded his expression fierce. "They did. Some sort of berserker conditioning. It's still in me somewhere, when I get angry enough I go mad and try to kill everything I can lay paws on. It scares me Blue." Blue patted his brother on his shoulder. "I'm glad you got away." Alex nodded. I don't remember much about my escape.
The scientist moved carefully down the hall. He looked all about, waited, then moved again. He finally reached a door, stopped, and placed a substance in the lock. He heard the chemical work, and shortly there after, he opened the door. "Alex" he whispered. "Alex, it's me Genis. Oh please be here."
"I'm here, what do you want." Alex replied.
"You have to get out of here tonight, they are going to try to put the obedience virus in you tomorrow. It will kill you, it isn't ready."
"We have to get Rich."
"There isn't time, we go now."
"NO, I won't go without him."
"I said," Genis said as he grabbed the arm of the dog, "you come now."
The dog tried move out, but he felt his conciousness slip away from him as a chempad on Genis's paw injects a sedative into his small body. Genis walked out the chamber, moving to an unused door. Pushing the door open, the scientist carried the dog through, and into a small shapped device. The scientist put a letter in and pressed a button. The device dropped down, and floated away on an underground stream. The scientist sighed, and walked out of the room. The dog woke in a small chamber. Looking around quickly, he punched up, and through the top. As he ripped the device open, he noticed he was against a shore. He stepped out of the box, and then noticed the letter.
"Alexander Rowlings SunFire, You now have your life ahead of you. You should not look for your family for a while, the boss will be watching you. I will try to get Richgast out, but I can't promise it. Someday you must find your Mother and Brother. The Boss wants your Brother very much. He has the same powers that you do only he aquired his naturally. You are very valuable, try to take care of yourself. Signed: Genis."
Alex looked at the note several times, then cried.
Interrupting the narrative here. Alexander Sunfire Jr. never knew what happened to Genis and his friend Richgast whom he called Rich. However since the destruction of the Awarding some of my loves agents have aquired material from Awarding installations which shed considerable insight into the matter. From the surveilance tapes, the reports and the records we are able to piece together what actually happened.
Ravon was in the washroom when it happened. Perhaps he was remiss in indulging himself in a quiet moment with his paw and a magazine of dubious nature but who would be insane enough to try treachery in an Awadings installation? Emerging from the washroom several minutes later he made his cursory check of the readouts. A red light caught his eye. It indicated a failure of a lock mechanism on a high priority cell. Beginning to breath deeply Ravon quickly keyed up the camera in the cell. The video feed showed only a rumpled bed and an empty room. With fear beginning to rise in his chest the wolf quickly reran the security tapes. "Genis!" He snarled in fury. He watched as the scientist disabled the main security cameras. Unknown to the scientist, a redundant system had promptly engaged rendering that action useless. Ravons' own laxness had allowed Genis to carry one of the Boss's own pet projects away. Reacting quickly Ravon called a number on his phone. Genis's assistant, an ermine called Petrik answered. "Yes?" Ravon barked into the phone. "Ravon is a traitor. Are you as well?" Petrik gasped and answered hurridly. "No of course not! What has Genis done?" Ravon quickly outlined the details of Genis's plot. "Pitrik responded. "I'm on my way." Ravon waited until Petrik had entered the level and then, throwing the switched, he sealed the floor off. It was only after Ravon had performed this action that he realized the mistake he had made. Certainly Genis had been sealed in but the security forces had also been sealed out. Only Wekesal himself could lift the doors now. Ravon and Petrik sat for long minutes thinking when Petrik snapped his fingers. "Of course!" He exclaimed. "I know how we can capture Genis. If he let subject #1A go surely his next target is..." Ravon finished for him. "Subgect #1B! But how do we use it." Petrik smiled an oily smile. " I have just the thing in mind." Genis had just turned around in the far end of the level after putting Alex into the underground stream when Ravon and Petrik arrived at the door labeled Subject #1B, Richgast. Opening the door the two furs stepped in. Richgast sat smoothly up from his bed, his young face puzzled. "What do you want?" He asked. Ravon stepped forward. "Injection." He anounced calmly. Richgast sighed resignedly. Injections, even at the dead of the night, were not that unusual. He submitted meekly. Petrik took a great needle of lurid green liguid and solidly injected it into Richgasts' shoulder. The muscle immediatly began to swell. Rich's eyes widened as his pupils dialated. "What.. what is that... oohh.. what?? wha?" Ravon and Petrik retreated outside and watched through the door as the young wolf began to howl and whimper banging his head uselessly against padded walls as blood began seeping from his ears and nose.
It multiplied in the receptors of his brain. Richgast had always feared being a tool and some part of him recognized the virus as just that. A tool. Thus it was that he fought it as it infested him filling his head and causing his cranial cavity to swell. It came so close. So very close to killing him. Another micrometer and his heart would have stopped beating. A miniscule minitismeter and his lungs would not have worked. The synapses of his young brain were flooded. But, after minutes of great pain his cells reluctantly accepted the new virus's and his brain synapses settled into adjusted patterns. In the front section of his brain, the part controlling decision making, there was a profound change. Two voices were programmed into his conciousness. Those voices now meant everything to him. He was nothing without them. They gave him purpose, life. They spoke and he would obey. He was not Richgast. Richgast didn't even think of himself as Richgast anymore he was simply...Tool.
Genis poured the corrosive chemical onto the lock and stepped into the cell. Richgast sat up smoothly in his bed,
"Wht do you want?" Genis smiled gently. "Come on Rich, you have to go be with your friend Alex. You're escaping." Genis wheeled sharply a small pistol coming out of his pocket as a voice interrupted him. "I somewhat doubt it Doctor." Ravon stood blocking the hall from where he had stepped out of Alex's empty cell. "Genis sighed as he heard Rich walking up behind him. "I'm sorry Ravon, I won't let you stand in my way." Genis raised his gun and would have fired had Rich at that moment punched out with great precision. The wolfs' strike shattered the spine of the scientist who had come to rescue him just below the shoulders. With a gasp of pain Genis fell to the floor as his body from the neck down went numb. Ravon applauded. "Good Tool. Wekesal will be delighted." Lying on the floor Genis looked up at Richgast only now noticing how the wolfs' eyes were now green instead of grey. His mind shook with terror. Yet. In the midst of his own nightmare genis opened his mouth and spoke softly to the wolf kneeling above him. "Rich, I'm sorry. It's not your fault." The green faded slightly for a moment and the head moved in a imperceptable nod.
Wekesal stood in inspection and praised Petrik greatly. The scientist was promoted and given great rewards for his competence. Richgast stood covered in sweat having obeyed his Boss's instructions to the letter. He could not think of doing otherwise. Genis lay nearby, fastened onto a rack so he could watch the proceedings. The scientist wept silently. Ravon would be punished for his laxness, Richgast would be incorpotated into the boss's elite. Right now though, the wolf stood in the training room. Richgast no longer. He was an instrument of Wekesals' will. He was a willing accomplis. He was loyal he was obedient. He was Tool. Tools' eyes flickered grey every now and again. When they did they always filled with tears. He'd have wept if he'd been allowed.
We know now that Richgast, controlled by the obedience virus, became an important tool in Wekesals' march to power. It was Richgast who killed the King and it was Richgast who silenced any voices of opposition to Wekesals' ascending to the throne. Genis was treated with the very same obedience virus. He was used in another of Wekesals' sadistic programs. This program, involving the splicing of a living brain into a machine, was not expected to work. To everyones astonishment one of the test subjects survived. Genis. The once scientis was grafted into a walking arsenal of waeponry and used as a heavy infantry support unit. Ironically Richgast was often sent on missions aided by the machine that had once been Genis. The sadism of Wekesal can not be emphasized enough. This miserable creature was responsible for generations of strife and misery on the eastern coat and was the direct cause of the destruction of many fine and ancient institutions. In any case. Blueheeler was once more united with his older brother Alexander Rowlings Sunfire Jr. The brothers found themselves on the Cantival plains after walking to the end of the Lake Nerisee causeway.
That it would begin to rain was simply fates way of making a bad night even worse. Only minutes after the Sunfire brothers carried their Mother off of the causeway the heavens opened up and poured cold torrents of driving rain. Despite their best efforts, Alanna was soaked and the temperature plunged. Her condition visibly grew worse as her desparat sons carried her into the teeth of the storm. Perhaps fate felt that it owed them something for after an hour of blind stumbling Blue found himself facing the weathered surface of a very large stone wall. "Alex!" he cried. "A wall, there must be a building here!" The two brothers spoke as one. "Shelter!" Several minutes of tracing the wall in both directions led the brothers to a gate set in the wall. The heavy doors stood open but a light grating of metal was closed baring the way. A small amount of pounding and yelling brought a hooded figure out of the gatehouse. The lion pulled back his hood and peered hrough the gate at Blue. "And who might you be?" He inquired. Blue, with considerable effort, forced himself to speak calmly. "We have been caught in the storm and we need shelter. Our Mother is sick. Please let us in." The gatekeeper nodded agreeably and opened the grating. Alex inquired as they carried their mother into the sheltered gateway. "By the way, where are we?" The gatekeeper hung his cloak on a hook revealing the tan and gold uniform he was wearing. "This is Cantival Province House lads."
That grate signified a great change of fortunes for both brothers. Alanna was carried into Cantival Province House and given a warm bed and a doctor. Blue and his brother were ushered into the presence of the Govenor of Cantival, Felinad Pryce and his wife Falice. Horrified at the state of her old friend Falice took the Sunfires side. Govenor Pryce was horrified at the news of Blue and Alanna's misfortunes and working in concert with the Cantival branch of the ISS the Govenor virtually anihalated the Awardings presence in the Empire. Wekesal lost hundreds of informants and agents as well as his access to Emperial technology. It was probably better for Ravon that he had perished in his kidnapping attempt as Wekesal would have killed him in a myraid of unpleasent ways. Blue and his Brother Alex were beyond Wekesals reach and for the first time in some eight years were able to relax somewhat. Alanna would never enjoy their newfound freedom however. The cold and the poison aggravated her illness literally destroying her lungs nad circulatory system beyond the reach of even the Emperial sciences. She spent a few lingering days in Cantival Province House and then passed away.
Alanna Sunfire was dying. The doctors, priests and mages all agreed. The damage done to her system by the disease was beyond their arts. The wife of Alexander sunfire and mother of his sons was living on borrowed time. Under their tender ministrations however she regained conciousness. Blue smiled lovingly at her from the bedside holding her paw as she opened her eyes. "Blue...?" She whispered. "What happened?" Blue gently explained how they had escaped the Awarding. "We're safe Mother, thanks to you. And more." He opened the door and Alex stepped quietly into the room. "Mother... I don't know if you recognize me but.." He got no farther. Alanna gave a soft cry of joy and held out her arms. Alexander choked out a strangled sob and knelt in embrace with his mother united after so many years. There was much crying, reminiscing and storytelling.
And it would be crass and rude to delve into the more personal part of thie reunion. Falice and Felinad Pryce visited Alanna as well and promised to take the Sunfire boys as wards of the Empire. With her mind at ease Alanna was able to drift gently off into the afterlife in comfort. This kindness is something that Blueheeler never forgot. To this day he has always considered the Empire to have been one of the greatest nations of the world. His grief when Pryde was finally overthrown was intense and he would gladly have given his life in the Imperial Forces defending his adopted nation had he not been elsewhere when the violence erupted. Alanna had one task to convey to her son however.
Alanna was breathing her last. It could be heard in the tired wheeze that underlay her every breath. Still in her last moments she called Blueheeler, her younger son, to her side. "Blue...." She whispered. "I ask you...to trust in me..... one last time." Blue kissed his Mother gently on her white muzzle. "Anything Mother." He stated vehemently. Alanna murmered on. "I am, in a higher state of mind now Blue... I can see past events and I can see the future vaguely. You must do something nomatter how strange it sounds for in it lies a part of the survival of the world." Blues' eyes widened and he gripped his Mothers paws. "Anything Mother!" He said. Alanna whispered. "You must go to the mighty city of Pryde and seek out Romo, the lion god. You must get him to tell you...." Her breathing faltered. Blue whimpered and held her frail body firmly as if to hold her spirit in her body. She struggled on. "tell... he must tell you... Oh my beloved Alexander!.. You must get him to tell you where it is." Blue looked puzzled. "Where what is Mother?" Alanna rambled dazedly. "Oh Alexander, he was so handsome, dashing in his Awarding uniform, laughing in the sun. His eyes melted my heart. My husband how I've missed him." Blue squeezed Alanna's paws gently. "Please Mother, I must ask Romo to tell me the location of what??" Alanna's breath gasped and faltered as her eyes widened beholding a realm beyond Blue's perception. Her voice whispered as if from a great distance. "The....Pristine Tower. Oh! Alex..." And with the name of her beloved mate on her lips, Alanna Sunfire passed into the bright paths. Blue rocked gently back and forth cradeling the still body against his chest as he wept. "Yes Mommy." he sobbed "I'll find it. I'll find the Pristine tower for you." Blue had a purpose in life.
Blueheeler took his Mothers death very hard but his brother Alexander Jr. was almost incomnsolable. He had only just rediscovered his mother to have her taken irrevocably away again. The Pryce family generously accepted the Sunfire boys into their fold and Blue and his brother recieved an excellent upbringing and four years of true peace. The Awarding was powerless around the environs of the old Empire and Blueheel and his Brother were free from attack. Blue had a great deal of adventures during that time but my knowledge falters compared to the great deal of information which Blue and his close friend Felinar can write about that time. Thus I will move ahead a good number of years. Having reached the age of twenty Blue finally felt ready to leave his foster home and fulfill his Mothers bequest. The family at Cantival had been greatly disturbed by the then recent revolution of their neighboring province of Howarth. Howarths' citizens had risen in violent and bloody revolt and had slaughtered their govenors who were close friends of the Pryces. Needless to say Govenor Pryce now sitting uneasily on the seething frontier of a crumbling empire had more important things on his mind than the activities of a foster son of his. Blue left Cantival and after a small amount of uneventful travel found himself looking upon a city of legend. The heart of the Empire and the home of a god. The city of Pryde.
It gleamed. Blue Heeler, sitting in the chair on the plane which was coasting into the Fostern IXth Emperial Airport, could only gape in astonishment at his first sight of the city of legend. For thousands of years it had ruled an entire continent, virtually an entire world. For millenia an unending line of Imperators stretching back to Imperitor Aegean I had ruled a world from the golden throne of the Imperitorial Palace. It showed. The old city of Pryde rested like a sprawling lion, a soft gleam of tan coloured stone and glass encircled by three concentric rings of massive walls. The Pryde river trickled through the sprawling older city tamed millenia ago by innumerable canals, damns and dikes. Now it turned turbines, flushed sewers, cooled parks and watered the heart of an Empire. The city rose on a steady rise that rose from the plains surrounding it. This hill, it was whispered, was raised before the city had been built by a mighty sorcerer. The sorcerer had conjured the massive hill out of nothingness as a bridal present to his daughter who had newly married a young Leonar IX King of Pryde later to be called Leonar the Builder for it was he who first began building the city. At its' height the hill of Pryde broke apart into two high points. On the slightly lower of the two stood the seat of Imperial power, the Spiral palace. The home of the Imperial court and their Imperators. On the smaller but higher of the two stood Romos' Mount an ancient looking pyramid supporting at it's peak a savannah which had remaineded warm and dry even during the Age of Ice when snow had buried even tropical Drag and the ruthless wolves of Rhuk had raided across their borders into the Empire. It was here that Blue's paths took him. Once every month the Priesthood of the Mount allowed the a small number of the public into the lands at the height of Romos' Mount so that they could seak out the Lion God. No one really knew if the petetioners actually found the ancient lion in their search for no one who had been permitted to the peak of Romos' Mount had been willing to speak about their experience. Govenor Pryce had provided Blueheeler with a letter to the High Priest Vitrim of Romos' order. Upon delivering the letter Blue was ushered into the presence of the high priest. The rather elderly looking lion looked upon Blue kindly when he was ushered in. "The lion bless your path my son." He intoned softly. Blue nodded. "My thanks holy Father. You have read my patrons' letter?" The priest nodded. "I am happy to say that we can arrange for you to seek the lion god. But please be aware my son that if he does not choose to speak to you then you will not find him." Blue agreed. "I'm sure I will be able to find him holy Father." The priest nodded and gave Blue a series of simple instructions and directions to a comfortable inn to stay in. After blessing the young canine the Priest watched him go with an unhappy expression on his face.
In no place in any records could we find any reference to a person who had actually had an audience with Romo after 4832 Pax emperium. It is only from Blue's own accounts that we are able to determine what actually was hapening on Romos' Mount for all those years. The once a month ceremony when one hundred and eleven petetioners were allowed to ascend to Romos' Retreat for one day was a favored carnival in the great plaza before the temple. Vendors would sell all manners of goods, entertainers would perform and there would be dancing, music and laughter. It was believed that the lion god himself had ordered the first of these days thousands of years ago so that he could look down from his Mount and see the happy people below.
The ceremony in which the petitioners were selected was a simple ceremony involving thousands of tiny talismans of bone which the priesthood claimed were made from shavings of the lions mighty claws. The shavings had been carved into myraids of tiny animals. Among the ten thousand tiny statuettes were one hundred and eleven miniature lions. All the applicants were to draw from the basket and the lucky few who drew lions would ascend the mount. Unknown to all the basket contained a tiny kinetic field manipulator which could be keyed to up to fifty dna patterns. If the machine detected a programmed patter reaching into the basket it would kinetically move a lion statuette (which were equipped with microtransponders) into the applicants paw. In this way the priesthood was able to dole out favors to those with the wealth or influence sufficient to merit them. Blue found this somewhat disturbing and smacked of conspiracy but considering that sixty one statuetts would be distrubuted randomly he decided that it was only a minor little bit of trickery and not worth raising a fuss over. It came as no surprise to Blue that it was he who drew one of the tiny lion statuetts thought he recieved numerous congradulations from the onlookers.
At length Blue found himself escorted up a series of ascending stairways. Finally a mighty pair of golden doors embossed with the key sigil of the lion god swung open admitting a warm puff of fragrant air. Blue and the other supplicants looked out upon the heights of Romos' Mount in amazement. They stood in a wide doorway set in a small pyramid. From the base of the pyramid stretching in all directions lay a rolling mass of savanah. Here and there the grassy plains was dotted with clumps of dense jungle and still pools. In the distance Blue could see lions roaming about in a leisurely fashion. Other animals, gazelles, giraffees and all manner of beasts were visible. As the supplicants began streaming out in all directions Blue turned to the onlooking priests.
"How do you maintain it all? It's like a slice of wilderness at the top of a pyramid. The animals alone would require tons of food." One of the priests smiled gently and patted Blues' arm.
"We don't maintain itself. What you are looking at is a perfect balance, the plants feed the animals who in turn feed the predators. The predators eventually die and feed the plants. The divine Romo maintains it all and keeps it in balance. The water comes from a spring that the mount was built upon at the gods' orders. This land has been like this since the age of legend." Blue looked about in mute awe and then back to the priest who looked to be only several years older than Blue.
"Have you ever seen him? Romo I mean." The priest shook his maned head sadly.
"The great Romo has never seen fit to speak to me in person though I feel that he speaks to me in my heart." Blue nodded. The priest smiled and made a shooing motion.
"Off with you now. For all we know Romo may wish to speak to you. You'd best not keep him waiting." Blue nodded and left climbing down to the plains below and wandering out into the savannah.
The remainder of the day was one of frustration and tedium for Blue. He searched the quarter square mile of Savannah from end to end. He found numerous animals and plants and here and there an occasional statue or bench. He often saw other supplicants but from their frustrated expressions he gathered that they were having no more success than he. Blue tried praying and even went so far as to try to question some of the local lions (who eyed him lazily with their tufted tails batting at flies) but all for naught. Blue at length threw himself on the mercy of the god reasoning that if Romo wished to speak to him he would draw him to his presence. Blue's random wanderings always brought him to the same place, a heavy golden mosiac of a gold/red lion guarding an ebon key which was set in the side of the pyramid. Finally at the end of his day as the sun set below the rim of the Mount Blue was escorted back to the smaller pyramid and ushered to a modest feast. After he had eaten he was politely and firmly shown the door. No entreaties, threats or bribes could regain him entry into the temple. At length Blue sat frustrated against the side of the great pyramid and fumed.
When questioned Blue never could tell us where his inspiration came from. The canine preferred to think that it was a summons from Romo himself. The truth of this would be known only to Romo himself and as the great lion has since passed beyond to rejoin his mother in the Outwhere the answer shall probably remain hidden until the end of time.
The idea came to Blue slowly like a slow welling of bright water in his mind. At length he looked up the side of the massive stone structure he was leaning against. Romos' mount was composed primarily of sandstone blocks each one about half Blues' height. The face of the massive pyramid sloped up farther than Blue could see leaning inward at perhaps a 85 degree angle. Unclimbable, for a normal fur. Blue was not a normal fur and he was determined.
Blue thinks he was climbing for a day or so. A tiny fur on the side of Romos' Mount would not have been very noticable. In any event Blue did accomplish his climb though the effort nearly killed him.
Blue heaved himself up over the edge of the Savannah and lay panting and gurgling on the grass. Around him he was surrounded by the comforting sound of empty plains. The first hour had been okay, maybe even fun. His muscles had blaked at their task at first but had soon loosened up. After five hours though the task of climbing rapidly went from hard work to tortorous agony. His paws bled furiously as the pads were worn by the harsh sandstone and some of the edges were rotten due to millenia of erosion. Several times Blue had nearly been hurtled from the side of the Mount to crash broken and shattered to the plaza below. Finally with screaming trembling limbs and paws which were masses of blood, Blue found himself once more on the top of Romos' Mount. He dragged himself over to the nearest pond and drank in heaving gulps chokingo n mud and swallowing water dwelling insects. To his parched mouth it tasted like the nectar of the gods. After several hours of dozing Blues ' natural toughness and stamina began to restore him. A length he sat up and surveyed the savannah. The plains lay quiet and serene just as he had seen them the previous time. Getting up Blue followed his memory to the base of the smaller pyramid which faced east towards the rising sun. The mosiac which he remembered was not there. Instead the entire side of the pyramid gaped open. Swallowing nervously Blue entered the sanctum to meet the Lion God of Pryde.
When Tesiare the creator defeated her brother Balkoth the Unmaker she was forced to forge his power into eight seperate objects of power. To keep these objects from breaking and remerging into Balkoth she took half of her brother gods' will and forged it into a key. The key to infinity. A being would be needed however to guard they key and to reinforce its' bindinggs with its' own will. To her many children Tesiare presented her problem. To guard the key to Infinity the guardian would have to enter into Tesieres world. The constant wear and pressure of the key would eventually break down their form and they would perish a slow and lingering death. Romo the golden, one of Tesiares oldest children boldly stepped forward to take up the dreaded burden. Perhaps this is the best way to understand the mind set of this awsome being. The other gods of Tesiare, the pantheons which we furs worship, do not interfere with Romo in any way. Fact being the hold him in awe as a being far older than they. The pantheons of Tesiare draw their form and power from the wills of concious furs and from the stuff of the jewel of divinity which is a part of Balkoth. Romo, whose power is in no way connected to Balkoths, is a great enigma to them.
Blue entered into a great cave. Before him was a massive bed of simple dry grass. He lay reclining on it with his head turned towards the open air. With his noble face turned towards the rising sun. Romo the Golden, the Lion god of Pryde. He was massive, a full fourty feet from nose tip to tail end. His heavy body was corded with rippling muscles but these mighty thews were not the solid smooth sheen of a lion in his prime but rather the lean corded lengths of a older lion. The massive mane and the thick pelt were liberally coated in glittering silver and white and the gold had faded into a duller brass colour. His claws were massive, the size of long swords but they were cracked slightly in places and showed an occasional jagged edge. His entire body was engulfed in an aura of silent nobility and power which flowed about him like a rainment. About his neck was a chain of crude stone links and from this heavy ungraceful bond it hung. The Key to infinity. It was black and it shimmered with a strength and malevolence all of its' own. Just looking at it you could almost feel it unbinding the air around it atom from atom lusting to reach out farther to unbind all. But it was restrained in the iron grasp of Romos' will. Two priests were present, members of the higher levels of the order by their robes. They leaped to their feet when Blue came in.
"Who are you?!? How Dare you!!" One sputtered in furey. Blue prepared himself for a fight. It was then that Romo moved. All watched him in silent astonishment as the grizzled but regal head lifted from his massive paws. The eyelids trembled and slid back. Underneath was nothing but a great black void filled with shining stars. He did not speak but the weight of his thoughts was like a great wind passing through their minds.
"I will have words with you Blueheeler Sunfire." He stated. His attention turned to the preists for a moment.
"Leave children. Fetch Vitrim to me." With one last astonished gape the priests turned and fled. The divine regard returned to Blue who was on his knees in silent reverence. Romo did not quibble with the guesture but merely accepted the homage as his due.
"You have shown great daring and guts in seeking me out son of Alexander Sunfire. I shall reward your fortitude with three answers. No more, no less." Blue stammered.
"Thankyou great one." The lion moved his massive shoulders in a divine shrug which radiated staggering wearyness. "Ask."Blue asked.
"You are growing old great one?" Romos' heavy head nodded slowly. Blue continued. "But how? Gods are immortal, they don't die of old age." Romos' weary thoughts seemed laced with irony.
"Wise you must be, child of Canine, to know all that is and is not possible while even I do not know the hows and why's of all that occurs." Blue hung his head abashed at his forwardness as Romo went on.
"Know that Gods do age but at a rate infinitly slower than that of mortals. I have for untold millenia born the burden of half of my malevolent uncles will. Half of a will powerful enough to throw this universe down into broken oblivion. That effort wears on me. Know also, Blueheeler, that I will be carrying my burden for not much longer. My end stalks nearer on velvet paws even as we speak." The lion gods voice was filled with aching wearyness and his starry eyes were filled with silent pain as he gazed beyond the boundaries of the world.
"Mother, I am so tired." Blue swallowed nervously.
"Lion god, what will happen when you die? What will happen to the world?" Romos' gaze focused on Blue.
"Somewhere in the future occurence, images float before my eyes. Of battles
magic and treachery, rising as my city dies.
Blue stood staring at the lion as it came out of its' trance and laid its' head wearily on its' paws.
"Go now Blueheeler Sunfire. I am weary and I must rest." Blue yelped in alarm.
"Wait, I still have one more question, the most important one." Romo opened his eyes again.
"Be brief." Blue hesitantly outlined the story of his mothers death and explained his quest.
"I was told to ask you where the Pristine Tower is." Romo actually jumped in startlement and his eyes widened.
"You presume much!" Blue stood in silent fright. Romo seemed to be
musing to himself. "Has it truely been so long?" He looked at Blue.
"Very well Blueheeler Sunfire, son of Alexander Sunfire. Listen and listen
well." Blue listened intently as the lion god began to recite as if from memory.
"On the sides of the river lie, the plains of Taliban and of Wie. The
cloth of world meets the sky and comes the river rolling by from the cold and broken
lands. Follow the rivers winding flow, to where it's born of ice and snow, to where the
arctic flowers grow, round a glacier there below, the glacier of deman.
"Go, Blueheeler, leave me to my dreams." Blue silently retreated from the sanctum. Priests waiting anxiuously outside politely conveyed him outside with the utmost of respect. Boarding a flight for Validane, Blue began his trek back to Cantival.
Blue never did make it back in time. In Validane he discovered that the peoples of Cantival had risen in wild revolt and the Pryces had falled fighting. Blue did not know that his dear friend Felinar and one of his brothers had escaped the battle. He also did not know that his brother had by stealth and cunning escaped the province when he realized that he could do no more to save his foster family. Blue wandered for several years and had innumerable adventures. He met a phoenix born of the firey pinnacles shield called Napalm. He met dozens of others and vanquished much that was evil. After years of adventuring he discovered Wekesals' cruel plans and after years of fighting and battle, he killed the enemy who had hunted his family for so long. Napalms accounts speak of a year which the phoenix spent resting in an inn in the city of Nordwei. Napalms' memoires state that blue dissappeared for almost a year heading up the great Fal river. Noone can say for certain where Blue went in that time but when he returned his magical powers were more focused and strong than they had been before and he had apparently been healed of the hurts both physical and mental which he had sustained over the years.
These were the chronicles of some of the adventures in the early life of Blueheeler Sunfire. A tale filled with both great and depraved beings. With gods and mortals. This characterizes the person whom these tales follow. Blueheeler, a figure both capable of great merryment and fun with a core of iron determination to do what is right. With the strength to make a difference and the wisdom to make the difference a good one. A powerful fur, a wise fur, a friend. My friend. Blueheeler Sunfire.
I trust that this narrative has provided you with some insight.
North Jer Wolf