World of Chaos: Chapter 12

Story by HowlingNightWolf on SoFurry

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#12 of World of Chaos

This series contains adult themes, including violence and sexual relations, often times between creatures of different species. If this offends you, or you are not of the legal age, please do not read this series. Otherwise, Enjoy!


The night of the ceremony arrived quicker than I liked. The palace was alive with elves all roaming around, preparing grand feasts, decorations, and entertainment.

I was certain this was more in celebration at Princess Vailadriel's return than it was at my knighting. I would have preferred that, in fact. The thought that later in the night I would be kneeling before the entire elvish court, as the counsel of lords and lady's bestowed upon me the title of knight, that was just too much. In truth, my actions in the arena left me feeling undeserving of any such title.

I stood before the highly polished steel mirror provided in my chamber, considering my attire. A breastplate of shining silver mithril, matching pauldrons protecting my shoulder, all worn atop a fine supple doeskin leather war skirt, embroidered with the fine detailed spirals of the wood elves.

Strapped to my side was the magnificent gift, Silvernight, in it's elegant, yet simple scabbard.

I gave an audible sigh. My wounds had healed up nicely, thanks to the elves healing. Barely a scar was visible, either hidden by fur, or gone altogether. The only lasting sign of my time in the arena seemed to be the small clip taken from one of my ears.

"Lord Rekkdyr. It is time." Ivaylis said as she entered the chamber.

"Please, just call me Rekkdyr." I asked, probably for the hundredth time.

"I'm sorry, force of habit. Princess Vailadriel awaits you in the corridor. She has elected to escort you to the great hall." She said, a slight note of humor coming to her face.

"Whatever you did for her in the arena, you certainly won over her favor." she grinned. "Not bad to have a friend amongst royalty."

My assigned guard was wearing a fine suit of plate armor, crafted as fine and delicate as the elf wearing it. The steel glittered gold in the light of the fire. On her hip, she wore a single-edge bastard sword that bore a slight curve across the blade.

"Are the elves not capable of making anything ugly?" I asked, admiring the weapon.

"When you're as long lived as our kind, you learn to take your time in many of your endeavors." She stated. "Come, best not keep the princess waiting."

Ivaylis turned for the door, holding it open for me.

I stepped out into the corridor, seeing Vailadriel with her escort of four royal guardsmen, all dressed in the same armor as Ivaylis.

"Rekkdyr." she bowed with a smile.

This evening, the young princess wore a flowing blue gown that appeared to be made from the finest of silk. This time, the shoulders and neck were bare, save for a silver sapphire necklace on a fine chain.

"My lady Vailadriel." I returned the bow.

"Any who calls the beast savage clearly have never witnessed the grace of the stag." Vail grinned, "Or, perhaps, the nobility of Rekkdyr of Duskshire."

"You're too kind, your grace. Though, 'tis you all eyes will fall upon this eve. You're the fairest flower of any field." I said, slipping into the poetic language of chivalry.

One of the guardsmen behind Vailadriel shook his head, smiling. I ignored him.

Vailadriel smiled. "Shall we?" She asked, holding out her arm.

I took it hesitantly, uncomfortable with the small group of soldiers following behind us.

We made our way to the great hall slowly. The various halls and passageways were deserted, most already at the feast.

The great double doors stood before us. Ivaylis and one of Vailadriel's guardsmen moved to pull them open for us..

As they swung open a large room opened up before us, lined with tables, all full of elvenfolk, plates and platters strewn across them. There was no ceiling, though large columns lining the hall reached up to the clear night sky.

The center of the room remained clear, leading straight from the doors to a single large table at the far end of the hall. Standing before the table were two men and two woman, all elves. The Lords and Lady's of Rainhaven.

I'd met Lady Aralyn Autumnsong and her brother Lord Livillios Summersun. Lady Aralyn was wearing Fiery red form fitting robes that truly complimented her slender, yet beautiful form.

Lord Livillios dressed in a fine dress tunic, that appeared to be woven from golden thread.

Accompanying them were Lord Aquilis Wintershade and Lady Eava Springwind.

Lord Aquilis had a proud mane of pure white hair, falling straight down past his shoulders. He was dressed in a fine suit of chainmail, with an almost frosty white tint to it.

I was surprised to see Lady Eava wearing little more than a short skirt of living leaves, which barely fell past her pelvis. Her chest was covered by a fine weaving of living vines, entwining and wrapping just enough to cover her nipples as they spiraled their way around her shoulders and neck, but leaving very little to the imagination. Her midriff was left completely bare.

Perhaps the most peculiar trait to the Lady of Spring, however, was the light greenish hue to her skin, coupled with her bright yellow hair that spilled down her back, reaching almost to the floor.

Vailadriel led me down the hall at a snails pace, all eyes in the room falling upon me. Whispers broke out among the watching audience, but I couldn't make out what they were saying.

After what seemed like an eternity of walking down the center of the hall, we came before the Lords and Ladies.

I gave a low bow, and Vailadriel did the same, before turning to face me. I mirrored her move, and she gave me a reassuring smile.

"Lean down, you're too tall." she whispered quietly. I obeyed, leaning closer to her.

She planted a soft kiss on my furry cheek, the very same one that had been damaged by Krell in the arena. Luckily, it was little more than a scar now.

My heart began to race. Nobody told me I was going to be getting kissed by the princess. Furthermore, a thousand eyes were upon me!

She moved to the other side of my face, kissing the other cheek, before separating herself from me, a soft smile on her lips.

She turned back to the counsel, and I copied her.

"My Lords and Ladies, I present to you Rekkdyr of Duskshire, Slayer of Trolls, and Unknowing Guardian of Royalty." Vailadriel announced to the room.

The elven kings and queens all bowed their heads to the princess. She returned the motion with a full bow, coming around to stand behind the table behind them.

"Bow, Rekkdyr of Duskshire." Lady Aralyn commanded.

I took a knee, drawing my blade, and holding it flat in my outstretched hands. The silver elvish script seemed to glow softly in the reflected starlight.

"Any oath of fealty we could possibly ask of you has more than been fulfilled already. You fought with bravery and honor, defending the royal blood of a people who bear no relation or rule over you." Lady Aralyn announced, taking my sword in hand. She touched it to my left shoulder.

Lord Livillios stepped forward, taking Silvernight from Aralyn.

"When an easy path of dishonor lay before you, a different path was taken. One laden with trials that would see the fall of many. Yet, you endured, and overcame." he stated, touching the blade to my right shoulder.

Lord Aquilis took the blade, stepping forward.

"May the world hear and sing the songs of the noble gnoll, friend of elves, and honor-bound guardian." the sword lightly came to rest on the top of my head between my ears.

It was Lady Eava's turn to take the sword.

"Rise, Sir Rekkdyr, Knight of Rainhaven. To you, I present the blade Silvernight. May it be the piercing light that banishes the darkness." She held the sword out flat.

I slowly rose, legs feeling weak with nerves. Perhaps emotion, also.

A trembling hand grasped the sword. I held it straight before me, both hands gripping the hilt, point piercing skywards.

"My Lords and Ladies of Rainhaven. The honor you do me is beyond words. Never could I have dreamed a simple gnoll could receive such blessings. If ever your need is great, my services, my life, is yours." I spoke, summoning every ounce of resolve I could muster.

"Know that you have done more than enough, already. You shall always be welcome in Rainhaven." Lady Aralyn smiled.

Even an hour later, my limbs felt weak, my head dizzy. That emotional exhaustion swept over me, though it wasn't necessarily negative.

I sat at the large polished white stone table at the head of the great hall, along with The Lords and Lady's of Rainhaven, Princess Vailadriel, Skempta, the halfling Ciara O'Connor, and perhaps strangest of all, a large snow leopard.

The snow leopard sat on a large padded seat awkwardly, positioned between Ciara and Lady Eava. A laurel of black rose petals adorned the animals head, giving her this strange feral grace. Lady Eava was talking to the cat, which made an odd amount of eye contact with the elvish lady.

I was positioned between Skempta and Princess Vailadriel, who insisted I sit beside her for the evening.

Another surprise that night was Skempta's attire. Since the first day I'd met her, Skempta had never donned more than her simple bear fur mantle. She merely paraded around wearing nothing at all. This was, she claimed, because she relied on mobility and speed over a coat of steel.

Tonight, however, she wore a thin, dark red gown, clearly a gift from the elves, as it was decorated in that familiar spiraling knotwork. She seemed so out of place sitting in gown of delicate silk among elvish nobles. She shifted uncomfortably.

Now, this description may seem biased, coming from a gnoll, but Skempta wasn't nearly as brutish or ugly as other orcs I'd encountered. She was a strong, built woman, with powerful shoulders and defined muscles, well endowed breasts, and legs that could crush a dragons skull.

There was a certain athletic beauty about her, though the airy delicate red gown seemed out of place. Perhaps I'd just grown accustomed to her nudity. Perhaps, due to the dress, and the lack of arena dirt, I could merely see her beauty for the first time.

"Is this the kind of party you usually attend, gnoll?" She whispered to me, a tusky grin accompanying the joke.

"Nothing quite this refined." I replied with a chuckle.

"I'm surprised the fairies--erh, I mean, the elves even invite an orc to dine at their table."

"You're an honored guest, same as me." I pointed out.

"Don't be expecting any fancy ceremonies for me any time soon though." she grinned, nudging me gently.

"Nice dress." I told her.

Her grin was quickly replaced by a frown.

"I have no idea how anyone can wear this! I mean, really, its confining around the chest. Can't take a good full breath. And I keep stepping on the damn thing, specially when I'm trying to walk up stairs!"

I chuckled, a little too much like a hyena.

"I suppose that means you're not in danger of becoming a proper lady, then?" I teased.

She snorted.

The entire meal, I couldn't help but notice how close Vailadriel was sitting to me. She would occasionally brush my furry arm with her soft smooth skin, or lean against me ever so slightly.

Perhaps I was merely imagining it, though every gentle touch, every single caress, and my heart would race.

I kept glancing around, ensuring nobody else was watching. The last thing I wanted was for the nobles of Rainhaven spreading rumors about the Princess Vailadriel and me.

She brushed my arm again. Why was I even feeling like this? I was certainly attracted to her, but why? We weren't even the same species!

Nothing could ever happen, I knew. For one thing, she was the equivalent of a human of twelve years, and not yet of age. Furthermore, though I now held the title of knight (something that still didn't feel real) I was not of royal blood, or even of elvish nobility for that matter.

She could never bear children with me, if we could even perform the act at all. At least, I've never heard of any Half-gnolls before. Besides, even if it were possible to conceive a child, we would doom the creature to a life of exile and misery. If I didn't fit into human society, how could I expect a half-breed too? I would be cursing it to a life of torment.

Furthermore, In the world of nobility, the sad truth is love doesn't always win out. More often than not, politics is the victor. As is the need for a true blooded heir.

"So, Sir Rekkdyr, what are your plans, now that your are free knight?" Lady Eava asked, reclining back in her seat, holding a fine chalice full of mead. The leopard she had previously been conversing with stopped to consider me with intelligent blue eyes.

"Honestly, my lady, I haven't given it much thought, yet." I replied. "The last few weeks have passed too quickly for me to gather my thoughts."

"I can only imagine." She smiled, sipping from her chalice.

I noticed Skempta eyeing her strangely.

"Told I was to dress appropriately..." she muttered, eyes falling to Lady Eava's scant natural clothing.

The feast ended, and the great hall began to die down. Bidding farewell, I took my leave, walking the empty corridors and balconies of the palace. This time, I was only accompanied by Ivaylis.

We came to my chamber, and she moved to open the door for me.

"Thank you." I told her, stepping inside the room. She stood in the doorway, pausing.

"Lady Vailadriel has fallen for you." She stated.

I turned to consider her.

"I saw her at dinner tonight. For both your sake, I want you to know that nothing can ever happen between you two." She continued.

"I know. I cannot remain here."

She frowned, nodding.

"I'm sorry, Sir Rekkdyr. Truly, I am. Lady Vailadriel is just too young to understand the implications her advances could have. And even when she comes of age, you will be long since passed on." she said, turning to leave.

"No, I understand. Thank you." I said after her.

"Good night, Sir Rekkdyr." she said, closing the door.

I took a deep breath. Even if Vailadriel was not a princess, Even if we weren't different species, or even if she wasn't too young, I still couldn't be with her. How could I trust myself with her, when, for a split moment in the arena, After I had killed Krell, I saw her not as a friend, or my mission, but as potential prey?

I shook violently, forcing the memory from my head. It was too painful. Stripping off my armor and war skirt, I collapsed onto the large, down-feather bed.

The fates must have a cruel sense of humor.

Overall, it had been a long, emotional night, one filled with highs and lows like I'd never experienced.

With my mind heavy with the events of the day, I slowly drifted off to sleep.


I sat at the table in the study, massaging my head. The light of the flames in the fireplace stung my eyes.

"I'm sorry to call on you so early, Lady O'Connor, It's just that, We may have found information in the Slaver's Records that could help you locate your brother." Lord Livillios said, sitting down beside me with a large silver pitcher of water.

I blinked against the horrible flickering light, making a mental note to never drink again.

"It's no concern. Any news is better than nothing." I assured him.

"Indeed. It took longer than expected, looking over the records. It would seem most of the captives are being taken to a dock across the plain. From there, a ship to Skera. From there, the documents do not say." he explained.

"However, there is a series of payment records from a certain individual in Manir, who is noted simply as the breeder." he continued, glancing up from the page, and pushing it toward me.

I followed his finger on the paper to where the name was written.

"Say's, basically, that he will purchase any creature of varying sizes."

"Why does this record stand out from the others?" I asked.

"Well, apart from the fact that almost seventy-five percent of all slaves heading to Manir are being purchased by his estate, he is the only one to have purchased 'Four male halflings, varied heights and hair color,' in the past three months." He stated, reading an excerpt from the page.

My head shot up at that.

"Manir. That's a far way off." I said. "I'm not sure I can afford passage. Furthermore, I doubt such lands will prove safe for my travel."

I doubted that would stop me from hunting Camden down, either way, but It surely would make the task more difficult.

At that moment, Aklys strode into the room, gracefully leaping to the chair next to me.

"We can assist with passage, though I fear Lady Aklys and yourself will be alone on the Island Kingdoms." Lord Livillios said.

The Lords and Ladies of Rainhaven have made preparations for a ship and crew to sail us to the far side of Skera. She told me.

"That's quite the journey, my lord. You and your kin are too generous."

"Well, in all honesty, we are actually hoping for something in return..." he hesitated.

"What is it?" I asked, beginning to dread the answer.

"Well, as you know, slaver activity has grown rather quickly over the course of the last year. Much to quickly. The counsel believes, while it is a major issue needing to be addressed, it is not the problem. Merely a side effect to a larger issue. Why is there such demand for slaves, particularly of varied species? Common beasts like bear or wolf are being sold alongside man and elf. We wish to know why." His eyes met Aklys'. "And who this 'Breeder' is."

_I've discussed at length with the counsel a strange feeling I've been having of late. Naettura are attuned to the health of the world, as we are tender's to it's balance. Something is wrong, causing that balance to teeter dangerously._The leopard projected.

"You fear it has something to do with the increased slave activity?" I asked.

"Perhaps. We would feel much better if a direct cause of such activity could be determined, and ended quickly. That is why, in exchange for our aid, we ask only that you try to discover the truth of this Breeder, and report any findings you may have." He said.

"Of course, I'll do this." I turned to the cat, "It's not going to be easy."

Lord Livillios pulled a small halfling sized ring from a belt pouch, placing it on the table before me.

"This ring is magically connected with a matching ring I posses. It is capable of sending short, one sentence messeges." He explained, sliding it toward me.

"Use it to report any information you feel is important enough to not wait for a full report, upon your return." He said.

I nodded, slipping the ring on my finger.

"Preparations are being made. Tonight we will be holding a conference among the nobility to attempt to gain extra support for your mission." Lord Livillios stated, rising from the table.

"Thank you, Lord Livillios, for your hospitality, and your aid." I said, rising as well. The elvish chair was tall enough for me that I had to hop down to the floor.


Crouching low, I could make out Haeko's form just beyond the treeline, disappearing behind undergrowth and reappearing every so often.

Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath, noting every molecule of scent on the air, listening the the wind rustling the trees. Feeling the vibrations of the earth under my feet.

A rhythmic beat echoed through the earth, and I could hear the accompanying noise of hooves on the earth.

It was a technique Fornvarr had taught me. Listening to the quiet rhythm of the forest, the song of the wild. It was applicable in hunting, being able to zone out everything but nature.

I lunged forward, breaking my cover, bolting around boulders and trees fiercely.

Still no sign of the caribou.

The rhythm was getting more intense as I leaped atop a boulder, crouching low.

The startled animal on the other side moved to leap away. "Stikla" I whispered, a spell aiding in feats of jumping. I soared impossibly far, slamming into the stunned animal.

I felt my teeth close around its neck, and I gave a violent thrash, dragging it to the ground. It quickly fell still.

I stepped back, licking blood from my muzzle, just as Istas rounded the bend, fur on edge, and ready to strike.

She had been chasing it, leading it into a trap for Haeko and I to spring. I got the jump on the beast earlier than expected.

"Oh!" She exclaimed, skidding to a halt at the sight of me standing over the lifeless carcass.

"I thought you were supposed to be in the treeline." She stated, as Haeko ran up behind me.

"He was." He growled.

"I saw a better cover opportunity among the boulders." I replied, meeting Haeko's gaze. The challenge was not taken well.

"Caribou can easily out leap wolves! What if it had escaped!? We have the advantage in the open, just beyond the boulders." He growled, stepping forward threateningly.

"Well, It's not an issue, now is it? Here is a dead caribou. The pack eats tonight." I replied calmly.

"Luck." He snarled, approaching the kill.

Istas gave me an amused look.

The alpha had his fill of the beast, before moving off.

"I'm sure he'll come around. I'm afraid he's just worried he'll lose his status. Like you're planning on challenging him for alpha." She said, bumping up against me playfully as she moved to the kill.

"Have my intentions not been made clear?" I asked, waiting my turn like a good omega.

"It's the way your so uncomfortably calm when you speak. Wolves are not calm in an argument. They snarl and bark and bite. You just sit there, breathing easily, talking smoothly. It's unnerving." She said, moving in for a chunk of flesh and meat.

"I suppose that comes from listening." I muttered aloud, more to myself than her.

"Listening?" She asked.

"It's nothing, just long nights by the fire, Listening to the druid's tales." I replied, thinking back to one in particular about an Arctic Elf witch.

She paused, turning to face me from the carcass.

"Fire?" she asked, shock on her face.

"It's heat was awful, but you sort of get used to it." I replied.

"Our kind perish in the flames. It's how these humans have been so successful against us." she stated, eyeing me suspiciously.

"I'd rather sit beside a raging wildfire than be stuck back in the slavers cage."

She accepted that response, returning to her meal.

"Istas, you were the closest to mother." I blurted suddenly. "Did she ever speak to you about her days long before we were born?" I asked.

She immediately stood, body tensing. She spun around, facing me once again.

"What do you mean?" She barked, angry.

Her reaction confirmed my thoughts.

"She did, didn't she?" I asked calmly.

She calmed some, taking a deep breath.

"The druid?" She asked, eyes falling on me.

I nodded.

"Haeko does not know." she stated.

"That our mother was not born a wolf?"

It was strange vocalizing the thoughts that had been in my mind since I'd parted ways with Fornvarr.

World of Chaos: Chapter 13

_Rekkdyr_ I gazed out over the forested valley from the balcony of my room. A large rucksack sat on the floor by the door, filled with various trail rations and equipment for the road. The sword Silvernight leaned against the wall beside it. The sun...

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World of Chaos: Chapter 11

_Ciara_ Quite the tale was told of the elvish princess and her unlikely saviors. A gnoll and an orc. Now, much like me and Aklys, these two were honored guests. A strange company, it seemed, as we traveled northeast, far beyond the city of Drifa. It...

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World of Chaos: Chapter 10

_Aatu_ The sun rose high in the sky as we peered down into the tundra below. Far to the east, We could just make out what appeared to a human city, what must have been Drifa. I glanced off to the west, beyond the tundra, where the Sutvalds curved up...

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