Sprig A seed of hope in a world of hate War rages as land runs out. Elves, Dwarves, Humans, and other races fight for control of the limited space they have. When a land mass suddenly appears out of nowhere, people flock to it, only to be caught up in i... https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig 1.1 Germ Father emerged from the forest with his haul slung over one shoulder. The other carried a bow, and a quiver with arrows rested in the middle. He wore only worn leather pants, with his chest bare. Father walked up to our camp, still careful not to ... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/1-1-germ Kaia 1.2 Germ 7 years later... "Welcome to the new land." The captain's voice was barely audible over all of the chatter. "Now get off my boat, ya filthy lot." He let out a hearty chuckle to himself as people began shuffling down the gangplank onto the docks. I... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/1-2-germ Kaia Chipry 1.3 Germ The massive tiger dove toward me in the middle of the town square as groups of various other races watched. Not one stepped in to protect me, an unarmed teen, from the Beastfolk warrior. I dodged around the far side of the well, trying to keep the... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/1-3-germ Kaia Daegal Rodrigo Chipry 1.4 Germ Rodrigo finished his speech explaining a communal map in the tavern behind him. "Please mark the location you'll be searching each day to avoid overlap, and report any findings. You'll be rewarded for any information you provide." With that, he he... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/1-4-germ Kaia Zef Rodrigo Chipry 1.5 Germ My eyes opened to a bright light in various shades of green. The leaves all around me filtered the light and created dancing shadows across my face. Chipry tweeted incessantly in my ear, the way birds tend to do in the morning. I groaned and rolle... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/1-5-germ Kaia Lolan Chipry Sprig Supporters Below is a list of all the people who have helped make Sprig a reality. Thank you all for your support and encouragement! ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/supporters 1.6 Germ I stared at him, studying his face, trying to determine if I was crazy or not. Here he was, a half-Human Elf living among the Elves all this time. No wonder he wore the hood. I bet they would exile him if they found out. They were a very proud rac... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/1-6-germ Kaia Zef Lolan Rodrigo Chipry 1.7 Germ The bobcat-faced Beastfolk saw my face and stomped out from under the canvas, like a lion defending its kill. She had a fresh bandage on her left arm and some kind of salve on the wound across her face. She stared silently at Lolan and me—h... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/1-7-germ Kaia Zef Lolan Chipry 1.8 Interlude: Rodrigo The sun still hadn't crested over the hills of the new land, and the colony lay dark and silent. Rodrigo sat in a chair with his feet up on a mahogany wooden desk. He had glasses on and an open book in his lap. The uncomfortable position bent his ... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/1-8-interlude-rodrigo Kaia Lolan Rodrigo Tibil Tallesia Kethral Srak 2.1 Bind The four of us walked through the forest as an awkward sight: a Treek, a Gnome, a half-breed, and a Beastfolk disguised as a Saurian. Once we got far enough out of sight from the colony the Beastfolk dropped her Saurian disguise, transforming back... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/2-1-bind Kaia Tigala Zef Lolan Chipry 2.2 Bind I walked into the darkness followed by the rest of the group. Light from Zef's staff reflected in irregular patterns on the damp cavern walls. We walked in silence. I'm sure everyone else was thinking about our predicament, and how we got here. Tr... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/2-2-bind Kaia Tigala Zef Lolan 2.3 Bind I felt Lolan start to breathe heavy and was reminded of his strange racial predicament. The person in yellow was using storm magic, which is only known by the Elves. And they were good at it. I was terrified, and I had no issues with the Elves in ... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/2-3-bind Kaia Tigala Zef Lolan Rodrigo Tallesia Chipry 2.4 Bind I watched Lolan sneak through the tents. He was creeping toward another camp that was dark. I put on my Human jacket and pants from my bag, hopped down from my hammock, and whistled. Chipry startled and then floated down to my shoulder as I walked... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/2-4-bind Kaia Lolan Chipry 2.5 Bind I woke up as a crack of thunder ripped through the sky and the rain came down in sheets. I had a small canopy of branches and broad leaves forming an umbrella over me. I kind of remembered doing it, half asleep, earlier that morning. I looked down... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/2-5-bind Kaia Zef Lolan Galia Chipry 2.6 Interlude: Lolan "Let him up!" she screamed. "Stop it! He can't breathe!" The boy plunged once again into the water, replacing the nearby screams with the sloshing. He struggled to break free of the grip holding him under. He flailed as hard as he could but the bi... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/2-6-interlude-lolan Lolan Brendell Ashlynn Wikith Tarnall 3.1 Shoot "Do you remember before all of the fighting started, Zef?" asked Lolan. "There's always been fighting," he said. "There's just more of it now. But yes, I remember before this war started, before the—" he stopped himself and glanced at me. H... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/3-1-shoot Kaia Zef Lolan Chipry 3.2 Shoot I heard the crunch of leaves behind me as we searched around the base of the tree. I turned to look and saw no one there. The other search party was supposed to be around here somewhere. Had they caught up? I studied the forest and looked for move... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/3-2-shoot Kaia Tigala Zef Lolan Lobo Torm Chipry 3.3 Shoot That was dumb. Why did I say that? Now she's going to know we're free. I thought, mad at myself for warning Tigala. The creature lurking in the branches turned to look at me. It bared its crooked teeth and then looked back at the tree dwelling tha... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/3-3-shoot Kaia Tigala Zef Lolan Lobo Torm Chipry Mila 3.4 Shoot I rushed into the center of the room where the body laid and began to roll it over. The body was limp, giving me no help in moving it. It rolled over its lower shoulder and settled onto its back. The glaring green of the veins beneath the body mad... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/3-4-shoot Kaia Zef Lolan Lobo Torm Chipry 3.5 Interlude: Tigala Up ahead, she could see them. The creeping group of Gnomes covered themselves in blurry illusions that mimicked their surroundings, but she had seen it all before. She knew right where they were—low to the ground where the images were at the... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/3-5-interlude-tigala Tigala Lobo Jaku Duma Katan Wadu Gatooli 3.6 Shoot Tigala dove into the room in her tiger form aiming more for Lobo's arm and weapon than his body. She crashed into him and his shapeshifted sword slid across the floor. Then Tigala turned her back to me and growled at Lobo. "Don't do this," she roa... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/3-6-shoot Kaia Tigala Zef Lolan Lobo Torm Chipry Mila 3.7 Shoot I woke up to my body being jostled around. It all hurt. Every muscle felt like I had just worked it specifically for hours on end. Every bounce reinforced the pain and made me groan. "Oh, good. You're awake." I opened my eyes to see Zef running n... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/3-7-shoot Kaia Tigala Zef Lolan Rodrigo Lobo Chipry Raffa 3.8 Shoot The giant bipedal tree strode through the forest in the distance, each footfall like a miniature earthquake. Is that really something I created? Could I do it again without the remnants of some old magical explosion? I was amazed and had so many ... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/3-8-shoot Kaia Tigala Zef Lolan Lobo Chipry Mila Raffa 4.1 Entangled With mountains high and valleys low We dig deeper in the earth To protect our mountain home And all that it is worth Not the dragons of the sky Nor the serpents of the sea Nor the beasts of the land Can ever take what's mine from me The red-hair... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/4-1-entangled Kaia Tigala Zef Lolan Marv 4.2 Entangled The hippo Beastfolk worked on Lolan for about an hour before she was ready to stop. Rodrigo didn't say much else to me. And I didn't say anything to him. We sat in silence throughout the whole operation. I contemplated what Rodrigo meant, while he... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/4-2-entangled Tigala Zef Lolan Rodrigo Marv Nadira 4.3 Interlude: Sillius "She's dead! Are you really questioning me on this? They killed her," yelled someone near the back gate of the colony. A small Gnome went running toward it. He turned the corner to find a large boar-like Beastfolk holding a limp black and white p... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/4-3-interlude-sillius Kaia Tigala Zef Rodrigo Tibil Srak Lobo Sillius 4.4 Entangled "Rodrigo! There's a giant lizard running towards the colony!" said the balding Gnome who stood by the window. He looked back at us with raised eyebrows and panic on his face. Rodrigo stood, his forehead creased with concern as he looked out the w... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/4-4-entangled Kaia Tigala Zef Lolan Rodrigo Marv 4.5 Entangled From the stalk of neck where the Saurian representative had just chopped, were now two more necks and heads. The creature didn't slow down at all. In fact, it seemed to fight with more tenacity. "I'm going to help," said Zef. "Really?" I said. "T... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/4-5-entangled Kaia Tigala Zef Lolan Chipry Marv 5.1 Interlude: Marv's Tale Tink tink tink It was a sound he'd heard so many times before. The sound of the mines where Marv spent his days. Countless other Dwarves, not unlike himself, were scattered in the distance, each in a separate passage connected by a central minesha... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/5-1-interlude-marvs-tale Marv Griff 5.2 Growth Once we had traveled far enough that the screams of the giant lizard and the battle cries of women and men faded out behind us, we stopped to take a break. I leaned against a tree. "So what do we do now?" Marv said. He was slumped against another ... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/5-2-growth Kaia Tigala Marv 5.3 Growth "Great. So now you've made another creature out of magic you don't understand," said Tigala. I didn't respond. The rock creature just stared at us and we stared back. After a few moments of silence, it seemed to look around. It saw some other pebb... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/5-3-growth Kaia Tigala Chipry Marv Crag 5.4 Growth Leaves slapped against my face as I ran through the forest. The only light that guided me was the reflection of the moon off of the deep green leaves. The flashes in the distance grew louder—closer. Something about running through the fores... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/5-4-growth Kaia Tigala Chipry Marv Abigail Crag 5.5 Growth "My name is Kaia. I'm here with your father, Marv. I'm going to come get you," I said. I began climbing the tree, using my magic to bend branches to me and make easy foot and handholds. At the very top of the tree, I found a very small Dwarven gir... ]]> https://houstonhare.com//stories/sprig/5-5-growth Kaia Tigala Chipry Marv Abigail Crag