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Aranée 70: Interregnum

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The night guards were taken aback when Maeral'a and the Drow party silently appeared at the gates at twilight the next evening. But Aranée had left precise instructions and they were admitted and escorted to their new quarters. At first, neither group trusted the other because of their obvious differences. For the most part people on both sides had a healthy curiosity about each other, but a few holdouts in both groups fueled suspicion and division.

Emotionally weary from the recovery of Galen's personal items, even a few hours of discord pushed Aranée to her limit. After conferring with Maeral'a, she ordered every soldier to invite at least two newcomers to a family dinner within the week - or risk expulsion.

Similarly, Maeral'a ordered her people to accept any offered invitations. And the Drow "guests" followed their usual customs and arrived with small gifts for their hosts and their children - and the thaw was in full swing.

Aranée was relieved, but still had a sick heart. The recent reminders of her past triggered yet another source of torment: Guilt for her neglect of Kuila.

The big cat adored her. But in her new role as queen she had hardly any time for him. Quite simply, she could not allow him to freely roam the grounds or accompany her in the throne room for more than a day or two each week. Things were getting better, the guards and the people were learning to accept his presence and she believed she could gradually increase his time with her. But he was far too attuned to her moods and if somebody angered or upset her, the big cat became dangerously agitated towards the unfortunate offender.

Images of past moments with Galen and Kuila chased around in her mind and she could not sleep more than a fitful hour or two. Finally she could stand it no longer. She gathered Kuila and fled the fortress for a refuge they had not visited in quite awhile: An extended hunt in the deep forests of the Aeritan, a place even Greeners avoided.

Mubela and Grigham both protested of course, but she told them they had better let her go or damned well find a new queen. She at least relented to their request to take an escort - her Elf bodyguard and six soldiers. She lined them up before their horses and warned she would personally deal with anyone who crowded her or spooked her quarry.

Maeral'a was astonished to find her new friend so abruptly gone. But after discussing it with Grigham and Mubela, the three of them hatched a plot to shadow Aranée and maintain a protective perimeter well outside the limits of her detection.

And so for a twelve day period, Aeriteuin was without a queen, Aranée reconnected with Kuila and slowly banished old demons in her head - and the people in the fortress fully realized just how much they needed her back where she belonged.

TO BE CONTINUED!


View episodes in sequence for the entire story, links below.

This would have appeared a bit sooner, but I discovered my Kuila character files had become corrupted. Grrrr - So I had to create a new Kuila and it took a bit of time.

The background is a photo I took on one of my prior trips to the Sierra and is part of my freebie Woods background collection. I'm on my way back up there for a week, maybe I'll take a few more and update the collection...

Please leave a note or suggestion, your words keep me stoked...

FIRST CHAPTER -:- NEXT: Smoke in the Wind -:- PREVIOUSLY: Keepers of the Night

Image and story © 2012 by Larry Hodge
Details
Uploaded
September 16, 2012
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Carrara/RDS
Genre
Story/Sequential
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480.5 kB
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Image Comments


Sep 16, 2012 11:56:15 pm
Fantastic work on both the image and story Larry, really like the point of view you went with here

by magnus073 Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 12:12:26 am
Beautiful image! The lighting between photo and 3D match perfectly.
Excellent chapter in this story. I always look forward to more.

by Cimaira Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 12:13:16 am
Marvelous creation ans story my friend, superb chapter! Loved it!

by mgtcs Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 12:48:23 am
Ah. We all fight the demons in our head. ;}
Super job! ")

by Savage_dragon Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 1:38:21 am
splendide scène bravo

by art-digital Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 1:50:25 am
Wonderful work,

by ArtistKimberly Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 2:11:26 am
The integration with the photo is first class - and your story telling is as gripping as ever!

by PhilW Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 3:10:26 am
Cool story and work my friend!!!Bravissimo!*V*:DDD.Hugsxx Whylma

by Mondwin Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 3:38:44 am
Stunning scene, well done!

by fallen21 Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 7:04:39 am
Wow, Exceptional scene, better and better!

by restif Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 8:01:03 am
Wonderful image and great read
glad to hear she is getting better

by Faemike55 Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 9:47:22 am
Yes!! Excellant image and POV..Lighting is outstanding..

by vitachick Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 9:56:42 am
Love both the story and the image!

by jandunne Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 10:47:43 am
awesome :-)

by mapps Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 12:49:36 pm
Beautiful image. You integrated your characters with photo expertly. Great work. Good chapter too. More people should try your idea of inviting people to dinner. It might create a little more peace.

by adorety Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 3:55:00 pm
Very beautiful scene!!!!!!!

by drifterlee Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 8:11:32 pm
Really awesome stuff!

by Drakkendark Homepage »

Sep 17, 2012 11:34:54 pm
Fantastic compostion and lightling, seemless

by spdskool Homepage »

Sep 26, 2012 5:27:01 pm
Beautiful composition my friend, the lighting is superb.
Also a wonderful story.....excellent work.

by adrie Homepage »

Sep 28, 2012 10:52:11 am
Wonderful story and a fantastic scene to compliment your fine writing =) Top class work! Thank you for your recent comment, btw, I truly appreciate it!

by TheOwl68 Homepage »

Oct 12, 2012 6:55:03 pm
Larry, I am sitting here returned from a long journey and catching up on the beautifully told story written by someone I consider to be an old friend, or so it seems. I have Vitamin String Quartet cranked up on my ipad and between their gorgeous violin symphony and your exquisite writing I am almost moved to tears as I read your words.
Lovely, just lovely.

by brewgirlca Homepage »

Mar 28, 2013 2:48:12 pm
Great scene!

by romangirl Homepage »

Apr 12, 2013 9:29:57 pm
Stunning!!!!!

by rawdodb Online Now!   Homepage »

Apr 23, 2013 2:55:57 am
Sounds like she needed to shake the cobwebs out - needed this time away. Really beautiful story-telling and great render! Bummer about Kulia but sometimes those things work out for the best and we make better ones :)

by SidheRoseGraphics Homepage »

Oct 3, 2013 12:51:53 pm
Great compositions!!

by pregiato Homepage »

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