Wheewwww... good thing school was cancelled today or I wouldn't be writing this. 'nyways, no apologies this time for the lateness, since authors usually update quite erratically. I'm currently in the middle of a few other stories and projects, so updates will be slower than usual (meep!) but getting started again is always the hardest part.

The cliche to look out for this time is the thief. The thief, the assassin and the demon have got to be some of the most overused characters in the world of Fantasy. I can see why, I'm just saying to RESIST THE TEMPTATION! ... ahem.

(Forgot to mention: No reader spotlights this time around. I think I lost track of which page I was on. Too bad. But I'm sure you'll all want to be getting to the next chapter, so I'll let you alone.)

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Chapter Fifteen: That Guy Saves Their Lives 'N Stuff

The little group trudged slowly onwards, through the darkening brush of the Mysterious Forest. They had tied a stout rope (which Irm had produced with much flourishing of the hands) around the bars of Jharva's cage of ice, and attempted to slide it over the ground towards where they hoped was the nearest village. This was a mistake; magic or not, ice was ice, and the rope gradually dug into the melting bars until it snapped like a fragile icicle. Jharva was out in a flash, but he slipped in the puddle that the melted bar had left behind and was quickly re-apprehended.

Finally they just tied him up with the soggy rope and dragged him behind them. Jharva protested, but was silenced by one of Uealyn's seemingly inexhaustible fireballs.

As they continued on their Quest, Amanda interrogated Uealyn on the subject of Character Bios. "What are they, anyway? Do they just, like, appear out of nowhere? Where do they come from?"

Uealyn made a smile that, for a second, looked like that of the Oracle's. "Everyone has a Character Bio within them," she said, poetically. "It takes many years to learn to Summon them, but if one has the patience and wisdom, one can eventually master the true power of-"

Jharva interrupted her. "Nah," he said, casual despite the fact that he was being dragged over an increasingly bumpy, insect-infested forest floor. "It ain't that hard. Why, the whole point of even taking the effort to summon one is so you don't have to take the effort of inter-ducing yourself later!" He chortled, and yelped as he hit a particularly nasty rock.

Uealyn ignored him. "After you learn the art of conjuring Bios, you can eventually summon them whenever you need them. It's not a very honoured practice, but certain-"

"Lady, you're talking rubbish. It ain't hard at all. Just watch this!"

Jharva squinted, and Amanda read his birthdate as it hung in the air. "See?" he said proudly, and gagged on a forest spider.

Amanda made up her mind. "I wanna learn," she said boldly. "If I can't hurl balls of fire or cast cool spells, or unleash the Power of that X-rated guy-"

"X'rael," Uealyn corrected, looking slightly alarmed at the thought. She is not yet Prepared! she thought, worried.
"Whatever. It can't be that hard."

"You're right! It isn't!" Jharva the UnSubtle Rogue said brightly. "Like what I said before!"

"Silence, thieving scum!" Irm shouted. At that precise moment, Uealyn and Fahramere disappeared.

Amanda, Irm and Jharva came to a halt. Actually, only Amanda and Irm did- Jharva, having been dragged behind them on a rope for the last half hour, just sort of grunted and rolled over. They looked around.

"You!" Irm spat, turning on Jharva. "If you were in any way responsible for our companion's sudden absence, I will slit you from neck to thigh and fill your rotting corpse with Sh'neda mushrooms 'till you bloat up like a Medrian Volbird!" Jharva shuffled backwards on his butt. "I didn't do nothing!" he whined.

"Mwa ha ha! Of course you didn't! That's because it is I who did it first!" cackled a malevolently familiar voice. The party of three (four including the Humeller) looked up.

Standing triumphantly on a tree branch was the tall, skinny, and imposing-in-a-tall-skinny-way form of Dremor Cildrum, the Former Advisor to the Late King of Fyndl. His blue D'Morian clothes were ripped, tattered and shredded (as well as torn), and he had scratches all over his face. But even more frightening than he was the demonic cloaked figure from their battle at the castle, the Demonic Cloaked Figure.

It stood beside Dremor on the tree branch and held Uealyn and Fahramere in each clawed hand, looking down at them. Fahramre wasn't looking too good, but Uealyn was a wildcat- that is, until the DCF bonked her head against the tree trunk. Then she was still. Until she suddenly awoke and nearly scratched the DCF's eyes out with a throwing knife. At this, the DCF teetered dangerously on the unstable branch, roaring and hissing. This did little to stop the enraged Fire Magess' assault... until the DCF's wild thrashings finally put Uealyn back to sleep by arranging another rendevous between her head and the same tree trunk.

"Why you foul creature, I'll put an end to your hideous existance with the very force of my righteous anger alone!" Irm shouted, not doing anything much at all. In fact, Amanda was sure Irm's mouth was probably not connected in any way to his brain, because he was currently engaged in the task of seperating two rather sticky buns from the inside of his travel bag.

"What do you want?!" Amanda yelled to the two dastardly villains, who had actually been tracing them for the last few days. Cildrum, and indeed, the DCF, were about as useful a pair of map readers as Irm and the Humeller.

Cildrim cackled evilly. "Wouldn't you like to know!" he sneered. When nobody said anything, he looked rather disappointed, and continued. "If you must know," he began, "the Dark Lord is rather concerned with your whereabouts, and he'd prefer it if you didn't come any closer to the Objects Which Might Destroy Him Forever... I mean, which might unnecessarily detain him from Achieving What Is Rightfully His. You see the problem? So we're just going to kill you all right here and now, destroy the Holy Weapons, and Rule the World!"

Cildrum looked so pathetically confident at this point that Jharva almost couldn't bear to sneak out of his bonds, climb the tree behind the two evil-doers, stun them both with a special potion made exclusively for that purpose, grab Uealyn and Fahramere with superhuman strength and allow them all to escape relatively unharmed.

But, being the kind of guy that he was, Jharva did it anyway.

When they awoke, Cildrum and the DCF were very displeased with the whole affair, but that was nothing compared to what The Dark Lord would feel about the situation if they explained it to him now.

Meanwhile, their prey were running as fast as they could to the nearest village, which was surprisingly easy to find when Irm didn't have his nose buried in a map. They collapsed just outside the village limits and lay there until, coincedentally, they were picked up by a kindly old couple out searching for edible mushrooms.

As the group lay in the couple's hut, semi-unconscious for no particular reason (except the Humeller, who was being its annoyingly cute self as usual, much to the delight of the old couple), Fahramere was having another dream... ...no doubt caused by the fumes of dried substances hanging from the ceiling. This was probably why Fahramere found himself taking a bath in a pool filled with pink teddy bears before his dreams finally gave way to some Startling Revelations.

"Finally," he thought as he drifted into the Darkness... again... weeeee...

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I tried to put in proper paragraphs, but FictionPress hates me. Or so it would seem. Maybe my computer is just gross. As usual, please review or I'll slit you from neck to thigh and fill your rotting corpse with Sh'neda mushrooms 'till you bloat up like a Medrian Volbird. No, really.