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Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 48 part 1 of 3 :iconbasileusioannis:BasileusIoannis 0 0
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Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 48 part 3 of 3
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 48 part 3 of 3 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
Viturhimin and Pana turned towards the direction of the voice, as Chawinda quickly leveled her bracers in the same direction. “Who’s there? Show yourself,” shouted the bodyguard. With her Darkvision, she could see that a doorway existed about eighty feet away.
A soft laugh echoed from the portal, as a figure stepped into the room, followed by a dozen armored warriors. They made little noise as they moved, their armor silenced using cloth wrappings. Silhouetted in the doorway as they entered, their outlines betrayed that they were Drow.
Welcome back, Avatar Viturhimin. Should you not be on your flying city?” The speaker stepped closer until Pana could see her. She was beautiful, with a complexion of onyx, her eyes garnet, her lips amethyst. Easily six foot, she was the tallest person in the room. Impossibly slender in her revealing dress of gold thread, she wore a necklace of g
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Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 49 part 1 of 3 :iconbasileusioannis:BasileusIoannis 0 0
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Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 49 part 2 of 3
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 49 part 2 of 3 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
Pana and Chawinda stepped out of the coach’s doorway to a fantastic sight. An ornate entrance guarded by several Drow warriors and priestesses stood nearby, on a gigantic dome made of solid looking grey stone. A series of flying buttresses extended from the periphery of the great dome, but they went from ground level upwards to meet towers that were tilted towards the dome. The stone towers were carved like giant Drow warriors in armor holding their arms up as if supporting the buttresses. Above the entrance, there appeared to be a cluster of large bubble windows, two larger than the rest, emitting a dim red light. The effect of the whole was to look like a stylized Brobdingnagian spider.
All around the entrance were throngs of Drow from the various clans, all awaiting their turn to enter. The foggy overcast above was well lit in various rainbow hues, with red-orange predominating. This reflected enough ligh
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Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 49 part 3 of 3 :iconbasileusioannis:BasileusIoannis 0 5
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Literature
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 47 part 1 of 4
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 47 part 1 of 4 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
The sun had set in the west. The cumulus and stratus clouds at a lower altitude turned a deep grey, the ocean below now nearly black. The medium altitude altostratus were a deepening shade of mauve, while wispy cirrus above still shone silvery, increasingly turning ashen to the east.
Suddenly the top of a mass of clouds swirled and parted, as a dark metallic pole jutted up through the vortex, knifing its way through the night sky at tremendous speed. Following the mast, a large rectangular glassy enclosure came into view, a faint greenish light spilling out from the windows. Supporting the structure was a long black neck of stone, as the clouds continued to part way.
Vatishehir cleared the cloud layer, the magic paddle wheels having been stowed. The brick shaped remnants of the ship-city continued rising while picking up speed. Aboard, thousands of High Elves were busying themselves, preparing for combat. Only the
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Literature
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 47 part 2 of 4
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 47 part 2 of 4 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
Vatishehir had reached fifty thousand feet altitude and was cruising at just under the speed of sound. Mundhelm was able to reestablish contact with the capital, allowing a more complete exchange of information. The consul was finishing his report into the crystal set. “Therefore, considering that they departed with speed directly towards the east, I feared they were targeting the Ciulthann.
I see,” replied Slesk, the Grand Vizier (writer’s note: from chapter 38, q.v.). “Thank you for your timely notice, Serrasqer Bashal. We have Owl patrols out, I am told up to five hundred kilometers, and we have informed them to use their night vision and ears to detect any sign of the Quzayshehir. So far, we have not detected hide nor hair of them.
Intriguing, Saadrezam Bashal...have you heard from any other community? We have been monitoring th
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Literature
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 47 part 3 of 4
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 47 part 3 of 4 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
Vatishehir had indeed found the clear shaft of air above the city, and rammed the top of Quzayshehir. The bridge was instantly destroyed, the tower and all the tall buildings of the central district of the Skibbyen smashed nearly down to ground level. Inertia caused both vessels to lose altitude, drifting downwards towards the city below.
Mundhelm clapped his hand on his helmet bubble. “Skibsfoorer, lift away and bring the Skibbyen about! We must push the Quzayshehir over the sea before it crashes into Doushehir!
Serrasqer Bashal, we do not have the mass...
Do it, now!
Vatishehir slowly pulled away from the falling Quzayshehir, as sporadic magic spells rose up from the latter, ineffectively splashing against the former’s rocky lower hull. The brick-shaped vessel backed up, then descended to line up against the edge of the intact pie-shaped ship-ci
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Literature
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 47 part 4 of 4
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 47 part 4 of 4 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
The party, now comprised of Mundhelm, Slikkepind, Blaesende, Pana, Chawinda, Gemma, Haergrim, and a Band of the Pine fighter-mage, materialized in a rubble-strewn street near the central district of Quzayshehir. Sounds of fighting could be heard a block away, and the occasional flashes of spells lit up the night. There was a butcher shop, a shuttered wainwright, and several other businesses that looked like they had been abandoned for some time. There were no flowers adorning window ledges, and the one tree they could see was dead. A nasty looking centipede made a hissing sound as it disappeared into some rubble. It was too dark to see if any of the buildings had color to them.
Above them, the cylinder of clear sky yawned to the heavens, the clouds still swirling about the column. The full moon shone pallidly, but the six Lumina pools were no longer focusing the moonbeams, merely illuminating Doushehir below them.
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Literature
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 46 part 1 of 3
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 46 part 1 of 3 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
Quzayshehir, Viturhimin’s flying ship-city, sped along at very high altitude to the southeast, crossing over Hannetzbirg. From the ground, it was barely visible, as the three-mile wide Skibbyen was magically enshrouded from normal sight. But travelling close to the the speed of sound, the sonic footprint was audible. Most who heard it didn’t realize what it was, some thinking it was going to rain. More noticeable was the vapor trail, caused by the friction between the mass of the Quzayshehir and the freezing cold air at that altitude. Even this was minimized by the Vindbrugers controlling the ship-city.
Aboard the Skibbyen, atop its tallest building, the consul stood in Flag Plot, watching over a glowing map of the countryside on a table. The map moved every so often, indicating the motion of the Quzayshehir. A black circle in the middle of the map represented the ship-city, with a red line extending f
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Literature
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 46 part 2 of 3
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 46 part 2 of 3 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
The party walked into the Serrasqer’s conference room. Only two large crystal balls remained on the table, the other two having fallen and been removed by servants. Amazingly, Yaegermaskine Two Seven Seven Kay, the Kolyarut Inevitable, still stood in the same place he was a day ago, apparently not having moved an inch.
“Seven! It’s good to see you’re okay!” shouted Pana as she walked through the double doors, waving at the machine-man. “You didn’t get hurt in the collision?”
“Hello Princess Pana von...Pana,” it said in its hollow-sounding voice. “The impact caused me to topple, but it will take more than two flying cities colliding to disable a Kolyarut.”
“Heh, can’t keep a good man down, eh?” laughed Chawinda, walking up to the tall golden statue-like being and patting him on a metallic arm.
The red skull-like head pivoted d
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Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 46 part 3 of 3 :iconbasileusioannis:BasileusIoannis 1 0
Haergrim chibi by Yan 'Kern' Gagne (Drowtales) by BasileusIoannis Haergrim chibi by Yan 'Kern' Gagne (Drowtales) :iconbasileusioannis:BasileusIoannis 6 0 Chawinda by Yan 'Kern' Gagne (Drowtales) by BasileusIoannis Chawinda by Yan 'Kern' Gagne (Drowtales) :iconbasileusioannis:BasileusIoannis 7 5

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by Yuuza

I'm fond of shades of grey, and agree that the preponderance of grey draws the viewer's eyes to the splashes of color in the girl's fac...


Oh my word, 'Bones' McCoy never looked so good! DeForest Kelley has a pretty unique look, his powerful eyebrows and that devilish twink...

1
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the two aspects I think that make this an outstanding picture are the color palette appearing to be all shades of green, and the dark f...

by Yowsie

very nice neon effects! :thumbsup:;) I love how the wolf's head kinda looms out of the night sky, with the glow emanating from his eyes and mouth...

Activity


10052017 - I changed my mind, I'm sticking with chapter 49 as is. Three reasons for this: A. it would be enormously disruptive, a lot of wasted work, and a lot more work to redo it; B. I already had the plot in my mind for the next chapter or two, and I would have had to change that too; and C. it's my story. I've had unpopular chapters before, but I didn't try to scrap those (revisions are okay and expected). Of course, I value your input, dear readers, and I take all that I receive into consideration

Sorry for the fuss, folks, and thank you again for reading my story :worship:

06052017 - chapter 49 is no longer canon, and has been removed from the main gallery. it can still be found in the first drafts subfolder, but is marked as obsolete. chapter 48 part 3 is being revised, and until that is finished, it too is no longer canon. thank you for your understanding and assistance in the matter :pray:

so, how soon will a replacement chapter 49 be ready? I dunno, it took me 3 months to make chapters 48 and 49, so I think 1-1/2 months would be a conservative guess, not including the time required to redo chapter 48 part 3 to erase all references to the Drow stuff that apparently didn't work. let's get back to Quzayshehir and what's happening there

and how do I know it's not working? chapter 48 part 1 and part 2 continue to have readers, at 5 views each today. how about part 3? zero. remember when part 3 had as many if not more views than parts 1 and 2? not any more. part 3 has fallen behind by 39 views, because there has been almost none over the past week. and yet people keep reading parts 1 and 2. bizarre.

in any case, I am truly sorry to those who really like BBRB for screwing it up. and as always, thank you very much for reading my story :worship:


John "Basileus Ioannis"
04052017 - chapters 48-1 and 48-2 had about 25-26 views today, but 48-3 through 49-3 had between 2 and 4 views. I think that narrows it down to something going wrong in 48-2, as in that's where you bit the apple, found the worm, and chucked the rest of the apple. so I can imagine readers feel drawn in by 48-1, expect 48-2 to be more of the same, and when it isn't, interest wanes. I gotcha. so I'll focus on where the train wrecked in 48-2, and redo from there :writersblock:

right, cursory read-thru conducted. the first half of 48-1 is Pana and Chawinda being joined by Viturhimin, and the second half is Slesk and Haergrim's dad arguing about the failure of the Band of the Pine commandos. hmmm, I might have been mistaken, there's no Gemma, Haergrim, Mundhelm or the others on board the Quzayshehir at all :omfg:

now the first half of 48-2 is Gemma, Haergrim and Mundhelm's party getting off of Quzayshehir. the second half is a lengthy chat between Pana, Chawinda and Viturhimin about the history of the Drow. ah, is that it? lots of dialogue, somewhat boring and confusing with all those names? or is it indeed Mundhelm and the gang that turned out the lights? :confused:

I sure hope some of you take the time to give me feedback...even one word, like TL;DR, or something... :pray:

03052017 - very interesting. it has been a month since chapters 48 and 49 were posted, and chapter 48 looks to have been quite the hit. part 1 has garnered 361 views, part 2 got 362, and part 3 364 views. that's an average of 12 views per day. I'm glad so many folks took a look at my story! :worship:

but chapter 49 bombed. it tanked. it blew chunks. it sucked green donkey dongs. part 1 got less than half, at 151 views, or barely 5 views per day. part 2 got only 27, and part 3 barely 19, both less than 1 view a day. a whole month of elapsed time kinda takes the "still reading" factor out of the equation. which means folks really didn't care for it. since it's gonna be quite a while before I run these two chapters through a read-and-review site, unless some brave soul is willing to let me know just what they didn't like about chapter 49, it sounds like a primo candidate for a re-do, huh?

of course, to re-do it, I need to know what I did wrong. nobody's leaving critiques neither. so if y'all could do me a favor, and drop me a line in the next few days about what you DIDN'T like about these 2 chapters, so I'd know what to fix? otherwise, I'm amputating chapter 49 and saying ta hell with the tour of the Drow wonderland. because obviously I screwed it waaay up :stare:

not to make a pun off the title of this journal page, but I had a bit of a health scare at the end of March. after a couple days in a hospital, involving a minor procedure and a fistful of prescriptions, I'm pretty much running on all cylinders again. I mention this because since I had wrapped up both chapters right after I got back home, maybe I wasn't in a right frame of mind, and you sensed it? I mean, I'm too close to the trees to see this forest. I like Drow, I like how they're dangerous, sometimes wicked, and sexy. but like the combat scenes, some readers (nay, a whole lot of readers) might have found how I portrayed them distasteful. or maybe it was how Pana got polymorphed into a Drow, which I went into some detail about. or how we left the falling Quzayshehir arc behind as we concentrated on Pana's adventures underground. or maybe they were too revealing of Drow society, and they're more popular the less we know about them. whatever the reason, if you're dissatisfied, that makes me dissatisfied

please help me out here, and leave a comment/critique on chapters 48 and 49 over the next few days. by this weekend, I'd like to scrap chapter 49, and revise chapter 48 part 3 to redirect the story on a more relevant line. knowing what to hack off would be a plus. thanks in advance for your help

John "Basileus Ioannis"
03042017 - the watermelon is passed :faint: sweet Lolth's fuzzy butt, what started as one chapter months ago got bigger and bigger until I had two chapters' worth. I do sincerely hope you enjoy the encounter with the Drow. I strove to make my Drow unique, which ain't easy what with such prolific Drow subjects out there, like D&D Drow, the manifold books, and of course webcomics like Drowtales (which I highly recommend for its nearly 16-year-long production run and massively involved world, dynamic script, more characters than some small countries, and of course the awesome art). but BBRB is not a fanfic per se, so I had to roll my own. naturally, this is influenced by D&D insofar that it uses D&D races, rules, spell names, etc. with artistic license modifications to fit my story. due to the popularity of Drow, I seriously considered avoiding taking this trip into the vast underground realm. but it's like that departmental box of pizza that some kind soul paid for. diet, shmiet, it's FREE FOOOOOD! :chew: I hope you like it so far, and if you don't like Drow (what, really?), well, just pretend they're orcs. smexy orcs ;p

05042017 - alrighty. so Pana and Chawinda ended up getting sucked into Viturhimin's teleportation field, and they now find themselves where they didn't quite expect to be. some readers may wonder why Pana didn't say 'forget the guided tour, take us back yesterday!' it's actually a good thing they didn't, because by that time, Mundhelm and his party were no longer there, and the Quzayshehir is in no condition to re-board (it's busy falling for the ocean in pieces). in case you haven't figured it out yet, with the masks with round eyeholes and the black outfits, Viturhimin's Skibbyen is mostly crewed by Drow (the Vindbrugers aren't, but they're also in cahoots with Viturhimin). as Mundhelm explains, when he slammed the gateway to the Elemental Plane of Air shut, and the Vindbrugers still inside the mechanism didn't come out, it means they ended up on the other side. at least they won't suffocate (but food and water might prove problematic...poor Vindbrugers)

as I said earlier, there are so many Drow stories out there. so if you read them, and see familiar things, it is purely accidental, as I haven't read the Salvatore books. my knowledge of Drow come from D&D itself, Drowtales, Norse mythology and that Thor movie. I think anyone who's played the way-old module D3 The Vault of the Drow would be inspired by the fantastic cave-world of those Drow (albeit that was for 1st edition rules). I don't think those Drow used spiders as draft animals, but I could be wrong :shrug: Drowtales is surprisingly bereft of spiders, there is a small one which was a lap spider pet, and a slightly larger one that one Drowling wore like a backpack, but overall there are nearly zero spiders. those Drow also don't worship Lolth after all D&D references were retconned out. my Drow are more like the D&D version, but Lolth isn't a demon living on a plane of the Abyss. if anything, Lolth was a proto-elf who died and rose to godhead at the whim of the apparently one god (please don't draw parallels with real world religions, for God's sake :pray: )

another thing: why do my Drow royals have jumbo racks? :confused: Drow tend to be these wiry, lean things, so why the almost-comical hooterage? well, it is a matriarchal society, and I figure they closely associate their queens and the empress to motherhood. besides, they're a lot of fun (heh, eggplants...) ;) and fit in to the reproduction-obsessed Drow culture. for 46 chapters, we had only seen Chawinda and her near-twin Sialkot, and neither were buxom. they are built wiry and lean, which works for their rogue/assassin character classes. but by the time you're old enough to be a matriarch, I guess they get progressively bigger? I wouldn't ask a Drow about that, you might just get stabbed for your trouble...

speaking of stabbed, my belief is that Drow as a culture might lean evil, but not every Drow is that evil. you saw that in a compare and contrast in chapter 47 part 1 between Vijya Durandesh, who wanted to save the High Elf children, and her sister Radica, who thought children make a fine snack. some Drow did indeed go nuts due to the famine (as Radica might have), and welcomed eating intelligent meat. but others (like Vijya) find the practice abhorrent. it's like how some Drow like spiders, while the commoner Drow don't like them. just another aspect that makes it hard to stereotype them as a race

oh, and the last scene of chapter 49 part 3, heh. that little spider has a lot of personality for a minor role. maybe 'talking spider' will prove to be a major player, who knows. btw it's been years since I've read Charlotte's Web by E.B.White (nope, haven't seen the movie), the spider's dialogue is meant as a nod to that book. while not explicitly referenced, I also liked another old book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien (the rats had an elevator...AN ELEVATOR...in their nest) :omg: 

will add more later. as always, thank you very much for reading my story! :worship:

John "Basileus Ioannis"

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Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 48 part 1 of 3 by John "Basileus Ioannis"

Pana opened her eyes. She was lying on a stone floor, but not the same fitted stonework that she had been standing on. This floor appeared to be hewn out of solid rock. Where, am I? she wondered, as she realized she had blacked out when Viturhimin suddenly flashed with a bright light. And where is everybody else? She slowly lifted her head to look around. The Serrasqer, or the avatar as he called himself, was gone. The room was even darker than the hallway on the Quzayshehir. She swung her vision to her right. Chawinda lay there, face down, her arms outstretched as if she was about to shoot her bracer daggers. With some effort, the high priestess reached out with her armored hand, and shook her lover. “Hey, hey hun.”

The Drow’s head popped up, her garnet eyes wide. All of her muscles tensed up as she raised her arms to firing position. Seeing that her target was gone, she turned to face Pana. “Missy, what happened?”

“Looks like we might have teleported. I’m not sure if we’re on Quzayshehir anymore.”

Chawinda relaxed somewhat as she sat up. “Where’d he go? And anyone else make it?”

Pana pushed herself up to a seated position and replied, “I don’t know where Viturhimin went, and I don’t see anyone else.” She looked around, and noticed that where the wall met the floor, it was seamlessly curved. Likewise, the smooth wall met the slightly rough ceiling without a corner. The wall was about ten feet to her right. The rest of the room was shrouded in darkness. Judging by the way their voices echoed somewhat, the room must have been fairly large, but bereft of carpeting or furniture.

“Well, I suppose if he wanted to, he coulda killed us while we were out. What did he say just before that flash of light? Something about Lolth and the High Elf gods are one in the same?” Noticing where the high priestess was staring, the sneak also scanned the stonework, and she mumbled, “I’ve seen this architecture before. A long time ago.”

“Where?”

Chawinda sighed. “It’s Drow work.” She stood up, leaning against the wall with one hand. “If my senses haven’t failed me, I think we’re quite a distance underground. Mmm, I can feel the presence of Adamantine, there’s a smell to it, a taste. Might be a vein, might be something made with it.”

“Well let’s find out how to get back to the Skibbyen. Neither of us would be particularly welcome in a Drow holding, right?”

“Yeah. You, they might just enslave. They find out what clan I used to belong to, and, yeah.”

“What? They’d kill you? You’ve never told me much about your clan.”

“Not much more to tell. Civil wars were all too common, the empress thought our clan and our allies were becoming a threat, so we were made an example of. If it wasn’t for Sialkot...”

Pana remembered her tale. “You told me, how she disguised you as a commoner so you two could slip away from the Drow authorities. That must have been awful, losing your entire family, being exiled from the world you knew into a hostile surface world. So what was your clan called?”

Chawinda got a distant expression on her face, as she almost whispered, “House Pahnjahb.”

“Pahnjahb. But it’s been what, a hundred years or so since then? Surely things would have changed?”

“Oh, no way, missy. The Drow and the High Elves have been fighting off and on for more than eight thousand years, memory goes back a long way with us. So as far as we’re concerned, I’m just a trader from an Isht’vahlee subhouse, okay? They’re so prolific, and go all over the place, I don’t think even another Isht’vahlee would be able to know everyone in their clan.”

“Ishtavolley, gotcha. And me? I can pass as your slave?”

A deep voice echoed, startling both Pana and Chawinda. “Not without a slave collar, you will not.” They both whirled about, and finding the source of the voice, the Drow raised her bracers to attack. “You will not need weapons with me, young Drowling, I will not harm you.” Standing several feet away from the pair was Viturhimin, only his face and hands visible. He held up an open white palm, his eyes glowing like embers on his pallid features, but he did not come any closer.

“Serrasqer Viturhimin Bashal,” said the high priestess, her brows lowered in mistrust. “Why did you bring us here?”

“Admittedly, I did not design for you two to have been caught up in my departure. Now that you are here, perhaps it was for the better. Will you hear me out?”

The Drow did not lower her arms. “I’m all ears,” she said without a smile.

“Sir Viturhimin,” Pana said, looking sternly at the man. “Setting aside for the moment what you did to Vatishehir off the coast of Albi Aula, which could have doomed all aboard including yours truly, were it not for the quick thinking and foreseight of Sir Mundhelm and his crew...”

The pale elf interrupted, “I foresaw that Mundhelm would be able to forestall a total catastrophe. It was necessary for him to be delayed, unable to pursue us. But yes, let us discuss that later, in his presence.”

“You said some alarming things back on the Quzayshehir that run counter to common knowledge, that the Drow and High Elves were once one beings split by fell magic, and their gods are one in the same.”
“Yes. Regarding the Dokkalfar and the Lyosalfar, the Dark Elves and Light Elves, and their deities, I spoke truly. Their enmity was of Elf design, the pantheon a misconception of the truth.”

“You’ll forgive us if we don’t take the words of a mass murderer at face value,” growled Chawinda.

“Murderer?” said Viturhimin, raising an eyebrow as his eyes turned to the Drow. “In actions of war, we do not murder, we kill. You know that better than most, I presume. Are the Dokkalfar murderers for fighting back against the Lyosalfar who drove them underground?”

“Prevaricator,” hissed Chawinda, looking down her bracers with her narrowed eyes, baring her white teeth. “Quit using our races as an excuse for the crap you pulled.”

“Alright, you two. Let’s keep calm, our bickering isn’t going to solve anything.” Pana cast a ray of wisdom that a little over a month ago she might have had difficulty conjuring, while facing the escapees led by Rilthien and Sialkot. “I want to know the truth, Sir Viturhimin, to be able to make the right decisions.”

“And I wish to convince you of my veracity. Princess Pana, you should ask your deity for guidance.”

“My deity?”

“Yes, just bring forth your holy symbol, and commune with her. I shall wait.”

The high priestess stared at him, unable to read any emotion or ill will on his face, although she found his unnaturally incandescent eyes disturbing. She turned to Chawinda, who glanced back at her. “Alright,” the cleric finally said, drawing out her holy symbol by its thong.

“If he tries anything, I’m putting daggers in his glowing peepers,” said the Drow in reply, nodding.

As Viturhimin stood still expectantly, Pana got on her knees and went into her prayer trance. Her mind’s eye reached out, and she could see her hands, palms upraised in supplication. A scroll materialized, floating in her mind, as the familiar feminine holy voice said, “Believe.”

Pana opened her eyes. The spell was not in her memory as usual, but was cast upon her through her prayer. “Well, that’s new,” she mumbled, as she stood up and looked at the avatar. “I have been granted the power to Discern Lies. I am ready.”

Unphased, Viturhimin held out upturned palms, closed his eyes, and sighed.  “Place your hands upon mine, and I will impart knowledge unto you. You will know whether it be truth or fabrication.”

Chawinda twitched. “Hey, easy there, ‘avatar’.” But the man remained standing as still as a statue, waiting for the young lady to make the next move.

She hesitated, then said to her bodyguard, “It’s okay, hun, my deity told me to ‘believe’. I’ll be alright, I still have some of my buffs up from before.” The cleric slowly stepped forwards and placed her hands on top of his. But nothing untoward happened.

The Drow stepped aside a pace, maintaining her aim on the pale man’s face. I don’t trust him, but I trust you, missy. Be careful, she thought.

Pana also shut her eyes, and in her mind, a picture began to form like in her dream-like state she would enter during her prayer trances. Interesting. I can understand, that it’s a story about the formation of the humanoid races of the world. And somehow I know that it’s all true. Kinda reminds me of the shows on the crystal set in the stateroom on Vatishehir.


Near the outskirts of the destroyed city of Gyneyshehir, Band of the Pine fighter-mages were hiding amongst the trees and bushes, quietly observing. Even without vision aids, they could see the long columns of prisoners and wagons streaming out of the city gates. The lines coalesced to the north of the city, heading up the highway towards the capital. A couple miles up the road, the Drow had the slave columns turn off the path and head due west into a hilly plain. Nearby was what appeared to be a huge nostril, a cave entrance to the Drow realms.

The High Elf commandos used a portable crystal set to call in their observations, and waited. Within minutes, the cave entrance and nearly a half mile radius around it erupted in flames as strings of barrel-shaped fire bombs rained down from the night sky. High above, dozens of Rocs circled, ensuring the destruction of their target. The huge bonfire lit up the night sky, the clouds of smoke reflecting the orange firelight on the terrain around it. None could survive such a conflagration.

Yet, the long line of prisoners continued to head towards the flames unabated. The High Elf leader frowned. “They’re not even slowing down, something is not right.” She pulled out a spyglass to examine the row of oblivious captives. A closer look revealed that despite the sky being lit up by the flames, none of the slaves or their burdens cast a shadow on the ground. She muttered a curse, then said, “It’s a ruse, those are illusions.

The soldiers hastened back southwards to the other side of the ruined city, but too late. All they found were many, many footprints and wheel ruts in the dirt around the southern city gates that had been cleverly obscured using spell power. The Drow Fifth Army had broken camp and was gone. The commandos summoned the giant owls that loitered overhead. But even the birds’ keen eyes could not see any trace of the invaders or their captives. They had vanished right out from under their noses.


In Alfler’vashqenti, Grand Vizier Slesk was furious. “How? How could the best of the best allow an entire city’s worth of people and a Drow army to escape? And to be fooled by simple illusions?

They were crafty, Saadrezam Bashal,” said the image of the Band of the Pine commander in Slesk’s crystal set. “Their illusory columns stretched for at least ten kilometers, drawing us northwestwards, away from their true positions which were cloaked, both visually and audibly. This is no ordinary Dark Elf incursion, there is an intelligence at work beyond...

Enough,” bellowed the court official. “Find them. Fan out. I want those Nightskins and their captives found.” He waved his hand dismissively over the sphere, not waiting for a reply.

Gave you the slip, did they?” said a calm deep voice.

The grand vizier spun around to face the source of the words. “Veliaat Bashal. Yes, a minor setback, I assure you. They will not get away.

Rohrgrim smiled pleasantly, eyelids closed. “It would appear that they already have. The Band of the Pine are magnificent soldiers, able to defeat nearly any opponent on the field of battle. But they lack the millenia of experience in dealing with the Nightskins that the Constabulary have. Even before there was a High Porte army, the Constabulary’s predecessors maintained the peace.

Slesk’s eyes narrowed to slits in consternation. “You hold the, militia, in too high a regard, Veliaat Bashal. The times have changed, it is open warfare with the Nightskins. This was no simple raid, they have sacked Gyneyshehir. This is an army matter now.

On the contrary, I have received permission from the Ciulthann Ephendil to mobilize Constabulary Command, they are en route now. The Band of the Pine are to hand off the Gyneyshehir operation to them upon arrival.

Indeed? I work under the Ciulthann Ephendil, I have not been notified.

Rohrgrim waved an open hand towards the crystal set. “You are welcome to confirm with Eiliftgraen. I can only tell you, he was not pleased with your lack of success.” The royal heir nonchalantly dropped his arm and turned to leave.

The perceived insult was too much for Slesk to bear. Eyes ablaze with fury, his balled fists glowed with magic power as he spat out, “Rohrgrim.

The Veliaat stopped in his tracks. “Do not let emotion write promissory notes that your level of skill with the Art cannot honor.” As the grand vizier raised his arms to strike, the royal heir spun around, raising an opened hand. The glowing magic left Slesk’s hands and were sucked into Rohrgrim’s palm.

As if saved by the bell, a chime rang out from the crystal set. At first, neither elf moved, staring each other down. The tone came again, and the grand vizier whirled, swiping a hand over the sphere. “Yes?” he blurted, still upset.

A booming baritone voice nearly shook the walls and floor. “Slesk, I am departing for Doushehir. Rohrgrim and his Constabulary are to take over the Gyneyshehir situation. Recall the Band of the Pine, and defend the capital. That is all.” With that, the crystal set fell silent again.

The royal heir leaned in to the grand vizier’s face. “We have our orders. Listen, Slesk, I will overlook your indiscretion. With both the Ciulthann Ephendil and myself absent, Alfler’vashqenti will be vulnerable should the Nightskins have designs on the capital. Focus your energy on protecting the city. We are both counting on you. Do not let us down.” With that, Rohrgrim spun on his heels and left the room.

Slesk stood alone, breathing heavily, awash in mixed feelings. He knew that the Veliaat was right. But he could not reconcile the resentment he felt towards the royal heir, nor shake the suspicion that he went around his back to the Ciulthann. He sighed, letting the anger bleed away. “Alas, were I the heir.” He turned to his crystal ball to contact the commando leader with amended orders.
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 48 part 1 of 3
Pana and Chawinda awake to find themselves no longer in the corridor on the Quzayshehir. As the sneak tells her more about her childhood in the Drow underworld, they find that they are not alone. Meanwhile, Slesk's Band of the Pine find the Drow making off with the survivors of Gyneyshehir. Or do they? Slesk has a heart to heart with Haergrim's dad, Rohrgrim (yep, we finally get to meet him! :aww: )

mature filter for subjects that some readers may find ideologically sensitive (fantasy religious discussion)

back to chapter 47 part 4: basileusioannis.deviantart.com…
forward to chapter 48 part 2: basileusioannis.deviantart.com…
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10052017 - I changed my mind, I'm sticking with chapter 49 as is. Three reasons for this: A. it would be enormously disruptive, a lot of wasted work, and a lot more work to redo it; B. I already had the plot in my mind for the next chapter or two, and I would have had to change that too; and C. it's my story. I've had unpopular chapters before, but I didn't try to scrap those (revisions are okay and expected). Of course, I value your input, dear readers, and I take all that I receive into consideration

Sorry for the fuss, folks, and thank you again for reading my story :worship:

06052017 - chapter 49 is no longer canon, and has been removed from the main gallery. it can still be found in the first drafts subfolder, but is marked as obsolete. chapter 48 part 3 is being revised, and until that is finished, it too is no longer canon. thank you for your understanding and assistance in the matter :pray:

so, how soon will a replacement chapter 49 be ready? I dunno, it took me 3 months to make chapters 48 and 49, so I think 1-1/2 months would be a conservative guess, not including the time required to redo chapter 48 part 3 to erase all references to the Drow stuff that apparently didn't work. let's get back to Quzayshehir and what's happening there

and how do I know it's not working? chapter 48 part 1 and part 2 continue to have readers, at 5 views each today. how about part 3? zero. remember when part 3 had as many if not more views than parts 1 and 2? not any more. part 3 has fallen behind by 39 views, because there has been almost none over the past week. and yet people keep reading parts 1 and 2. bizarre.

in any case, I am truly sorry to those who really like BBRB for screwing it up. and as always, thank you very much for reading my story :worship:


John "Basileus Ioannis"

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:iconkenjisama:
Kenjisama Featured By Owner Edited 6 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday sir ~
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:iconbasileusioannis:
BasileusIoannis Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Thank you Kenjisama! :squee: :happybounce:
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:iconkaijuduke:
KaijuDuke Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Happy B-Day!
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BasileusIoannis Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Thanks Durlyn! :squee:
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:iconotiakaito:
otiaKaito Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Student Traditional Artist
:cake:
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:iconbasileusioannis:
BasileusIoannis Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Thanks otiaKaito! :squee:
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:iconaliana-chan:
Aliana-chan Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Happy Birthday to You, fellow Gemini! :la: :hug: :heart: :iconcakeplz: :party: Have a wonderful day! :la: Miraculous - Chatemote - Peace Miraculous Ladybug - Adrien - Icon 
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:iconbasileusioannis:
BasileusIoannis Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Yay, thanks Aliana-chan! :squee: Fellow Geminis, unite! :happybounce::hug::la:
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:iconduchesseofdusk:
DuchesseOfDusk Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy Birthday Basileus :woohoo: :party: :cake: :sun:
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:iconbasileusioannis:
BasileusIoannis Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Wooo, thank you Duchesse! :squee: :happybounce:
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