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Birthday Stories 2016
**Author's Note: Keep watch on this page to see upcoming artwork by Maddy Moore pertaining to these stories.|
Being the son of the qarin Bromius and the lenai Azina, Fufluns became something of a bridge between the two races. Not that there was much to work on between them, the races got along rather well, but if a lenai wished to communicate with one of the sleeping qarin, Fufluns was the only one who could communicate effectively between them. Whenever he could, he visited his father down in the catacombs, and though the qarin slept, he related many things to his son, mainly of the days before the qarin race was split into two factions. Fufluns would even visit his grandfather, Bacchus, who often told him of the days before Bromius was born. With the knowledge and the strength of a qarin, plus the speed and the gentleness of a lenai, Fufluns was often the head of the away missions as they continued to search for the genies, the keys of Antillia, the people with whom they would share their lovely island, and most importantly, the rulers of Antillia. Lenai, hyleoroi, shedu, and qarin were not meant to rule an island, let alone a people. Hence why Fufluns and his team tended to wear masks when they visited the different worlds, they had no king to report back to, they had no dukes to get them out of tight spots, and they had to search for that authority. It is true that many times they, Fufluns especially, would help some of the local populace with a situation, like helping the police catch the criminal, return stolen items to the rightful owner, or get a child back home. As such, the legend of the Bluebird spread across space and tongues. But as time wore on and the keys still had not been found, getting out and back in was getting harder and harder, and Fufluns’ team was getting smaller, until he and Amitolana, another half qarin, were the only people heading out to search. Finally, they found the genies, and the island was allowed to rest, until the day they would set out again, this time, hopefully, their search would be nearly over.
Bluebird Helps Ananse
The lone figure darted atop the close-knit roofs, barely having to use his wings to fly across the rooftops. He paused atop one roof and took out a pair of binoculars from his pack. He scanned the area with them, his right foot subconsciously tapping to the beat of the music that wafted from the party below. He paused; he noticed some frantic movement in the distance, too far away for even the binoculars to pick up. He flew quickly to a few rooftops down and used the binoculars again. This time, he could see a little more clearly, two figures were battling a masked figure. He recognized the emblem on the masked figure's suit; it was a spider in the form of an X, the emblem of the masked hero Ananse. He flew quickly to a rooftop just above the fight, pausing to see if the great hero really needed any help. As if on cue, three more assailants rushed Ananse. Bluebird sighed, looks like he did need help. First though, he fitted an arrow to his bow and shot in the midst of the group, a gas bomb exploded. The assailants began to cough, giving Bluebird the distraction he needed to get to Ananse.
"Hey, are you alright?" Ananse paused and glanced at him, though the mask hid any facial emotions, his body language surely talked of the surprise the hero thought.
"Who are you?"
"My name is Bluebird, well, that's my hero name, as yours is Ananse, right?"
"How do you know that?"
"I'm from Antillia, we were the ones looking for the genies, well, at least one of the four groups, it seems."
"Oh, has Matthew agreed to help?"
Bluebird chuckled, "He apparently already has. Several of the qarin recognized him from an earlier experience with him."
"Oh, but I mean, did he agree now?"
Bluebird sighed, "He seems to be talking it over with the genies, I guess, he seems to have disappeared."
Ananse chuckled, "He does that a lot. And I'd love to chat some more, but I still have a problem to handle."
"Of course, consider me at your service." With that being said, the two tore into the dissipating smoke and fought the five criminals. Bluebird was thrilled, and a bit surprised, at the swiftness and grace of his ally. Ananse apparently could have taken these guys out easily, but having to face five at a time was a bit much. Ananse, on the other hand, was thoroughly surprised at the swiftness and grace of his ally. He had never seen a bird fly or even fight as fast as Bluebird was. Ananse could tell that hand-to-hand combat wasn't his strong suit, but he was doing much better than the five crooks. It wasn't long before they had all five tied up in plain sight of the next squad car before the two masked figures dashed away. They stopped at a nearby rooftop to keep an eye on the crooks, but were well out of earshot.
"Why are you here?" Ananse blurted.
Bluebird blinked, "What do you mean?"
"Why were you in this neighborhood?"
Bluebird shrugged, "Just out getting to know the ways of humans. They are a strange race, and I felt I must know many of their ways if we are meant to share our island with a select group."
"Well, not all humans are like that," remarked Ananse, pointing at the group they just defeated.
Bluebird laughed, "I know, I have come across many good specimens, a good thing, I think, for we will no doubt have many of the best of their kind. We most certainly must have the best to lead us all."
Ananse nodded, "Quite true, quite true, and I have no doubt the genies will find exactly who you need."
"Exactly why we need them, now, if you'll excuse me, I must be going. I would like to speak with you more about this and many other things, for I sense we have much in common, but I'm afraid I have a schedule to keep and I must return to Antillia soon for the gates do not stay open for very long now. Perhaps another time?"
"Perhaps; but, if you don’t mind my asking, why do the gates not stay open?"
"Well, how should I put this? Our locks and keys are rather different from yours, rather than a mechanism and a piece of metal, we have ethelline and virtium."
Bluebird nodded, "Substances that are hard to describe, I'm afraid. Um, I guess you could say ethelline is like the sun in a marbleized form and virtium is the rainbow in a crystallized form? That is the best way I can describe it, it would be easier if you saw it."
"Wow, it must look magnificent."
"Compared to what you have here, it is indeed. Anyway, to put it bluntly, the ethelline is unlocked by the virtium, which is powered by emotions and virtues. The genies removed the virtium a long time ago to keep everyone out while we searched for our human companions, only those who were on the island before the removal could come and go as they pleased, given that they used the gates sparingly, or else they too would be locked out."
"Wait, before the removal?"
Bluebird laughed, "Yes, that would make me over fifty years old, by your reckoning. I am half qarin, the main reason why I am one of the few who can leave. I'm sorry, but you'll have to excuse me, I really must go."
Ananse shook hands with him, "Right, of course, perhaps I can come see Antillia one of these days."
"You should, it really is lovely. Good day!" Bluebird waved as he took off.
"Good day, and thanks again!" replied Ananse with a wave before he swung off on his platinum webs in the opposite direction.
Haunted House Club
As anyone on Alixandria knows, genies are fascinated by otherworldly reports, specifically ghost stories. There is some speculation as to why this is as genies are often quoted as having a connection to the other side, some hypotheses wilder than others. Perhaps they can just sense the spirit world and can't see anything. Perhaps because they cannot die they wish to find some way of catching that feeling. Perhaps they too wish to speak to their loved ones, the mortals who have passed on. Whatever the case may actually be, the entire race seems immensely enthralled by stories of the otherworld, so much so, that the fascination passes on to future generations of half-genies, the primary residents of Jardines. Every city on the islands has a team of ghost investigators; every school has a paranormal club. Not all the inhabitants of Jardines can participate in the fun and excitement of a mystery, though they do follow the adventures of the ghost investigators most ardently. But those who are lucky to be part of such a prestigious group find that not all adventures are to their liking, and one such group, known as the Haunted House Club from Midnight Gulch, certainly had its fair share of strange cases and close calls. The members of this renowned club varied due to the fact that it was a high school club, but the cases best remembered were solved by a certain group, Nicky White and her brother Chuck, her best friends Lu and Jess Scarlett, his best friends Fred and Jon Mustard, along with the club president, Nate Green, the club vice president, Jerry Plum, and the club secretary, Clara Peacock. They had begun with simply exploring haunted houses, until one haunted house proved to be rather exciting.
It all began when Nicky nearly fell through the floor, revealing a secret passageway. The group set about eagerly exploring it, only to discover a dreadful secret. The previous owner of the house found cruel satisfaction in the torment of numerous victims, the current owner, his son, beginning to discover his own evil delight in screams. The gang soon found themselves caged in the house, the owner scared of their revealing his family's secret. He captured the group one by one and locked them up in his dungeons, ready to torment his next set of victims, starting with Nicky. However, if there's one thing about the people of Jardines easily and quickly forgotten by the rest of Alixandria, it is that they still posses powers inherited from their genie ancestors. Though they do in fact rarely use it, in instances like the problems the Haunted House Club were facing at that moment, the genie side tends to come out in almost full force. True, they did not have every single power of the genies, but they didn't need every single power either, for what they did have was enough to get them out of a tough situation. Fred and Jon instantly took the lead when Chuck's recently acquired knowledge of locks proved to be useful. Using their knowledge of the house schematics, they were able to get everyone out safely before going back in for Nicky. A brief but intense fight ensued between the three teens and the owner of the house in their attempt to rescue Chuck's sister. Fred and Jon thought quickly, and managed to catch the owner in his own dungeon. The police soon arrived, and with the teens' help, was able to put a maniac behind bars. And thus the adventures of the Haunted House Club truly began.
**Stories by: Amanda P.