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Ralph Nicholls

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Jump Starting Your Inner Novelist: Published!
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Taran Eowilmandellin is the captain of a dunerunner and is hired by a motley bunch of explorers to help them get to and help explore the death trap laden ruins of an ancient Terran colonial city in the midst of the unforgiving Parallayx Desert.

The tome opened with a crackling sound and the edges of the yellowed page crumbled into powder and in unreadable pieces. the portion of the writing that had been writ thereon was irretrievably lost. Or would have been save that a member of the adventuring party happened to be a chronomancer. 

"Close th' book up; and put it away There'll be plenty of time to read it, once we've gotten back to Pseudoaurum" the old man rasped.

He was dreadfully parched but understood all too well the party's need to conserve their drinking water, brackish though it might be.

"That is if we survive the trek back through this God forsaken desert,..." 

"Look alive noaw, " barked the leather faced dwarf, Benvevaar Brindlehair. " We're nae alone out here. Raiders are a-comin' an' i doan figger they mean us any weal." 

"Raiders!? Out here?" piped Nicholette incredulously 

"We're 'out here', aren't we?' Lily the blind silver elf rejoined. 

The swordswoman shot the light magi an evil look. For a blind woman the elfess always seemed to be aware of things that even the keen-eyed sword-mistress missed. 

"Stow it, " growled the half-genasi, Taran Eowilmandellin "Raiders can be found most anywheres. Even 'out here' in this gods-forsaken desert-land. Perhaps more so out here, as there's no one to uphold civilized laws. I suggest we gather up our things and head back to the Desert's Foam" 

Abraxus the liontaur held his tongue. He knew the dunerunner's captain was merely playing zodo's advocate. The Half-genasi was very at-home in the gods-forsaken desert-land, but he also knew these strangers could not appreciate the amount of peril they were all in, whether they chose to vacate the ruins or stay inside and prepare to do battle with the raiders. The dunerunner's ship'smate would have already had weighed anchor and borne the dunerunner out of the vicinity knowing it would have be torn to pieces had he delayed any longer. The turtalian was anything but stupid. 

" I almost have to agree with our good captain, but a storm is brewing not a handful of leagues from us. And we'd be torn to ribbons if we were to leave these ruins now." added the perpetually scowling wizard, Aristobulus the Arrogant.  The aristocratic artificer rarely smiled; and then never in frivolity.  the mage's rare smile was almost as welcome to the crew of the Desert Foam as the death ricus of a smiling suns bleached skeleton. 

"Alright, everyone, " Taran rejoined, with a look at the magicker.  " You've heard our ship's-mage.  We can expect visitations from both raiders AND a storm, so best we go below. Seek out a room or antechamber that's better defensible then this one.  Be wary of traps; dont touch anylevers or touch any of the statuary." 

A collective groan gave Taran to know his crew and passengers had not quickly dismissed the harrowingly close encounter with the Living Colemns, not yet an hour agone.  This sort of statuary was a pretty common feature in the Terran colonial ruins, he had been told.  Not thathe was overjoyed with having an artificer aboard his ship.  But it was better to be made aware of these things, even if the warning almost had come too late to save the life of his firstmate. 

Abraxus had handled the affair quite adriotly, despite his obvious stupification.  The crew of the Desert's Foam had looked upon Tarran ruins before.  They had often been viewed from a respectable distance.  But rarely was one's ship contracted to take passengers TO one of these ancient ruins.They were usually; as this one had proven to be, festooned with ancient defences and death traps designed to discourage exploration and or intrusion conducted by non-Terrans. 

Despite the majesty and beauty, and sheer ingenuity of the Terran architecture it was patently obvious these People of the Eagle were a fierce war-like totemic nation of peoples who would not hesitate in the least to putting a preceived adversary on Spector's very doorstep.

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