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Missed Conceptions


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This was originally going to be for an Attic quiz way back when, but I only finished it just recently. The gist of the quiz was that there was supposed to be a misunderstanding or some such problem with a word or phrase.


And believe it or not BevH, there is no Anomen gelding in this one :)




Ailene Gorionsdottir (sometimes called Gorionsbane by the less charitable) pushed the brown strand of hair out of her face, and the smile she gave Anomen was full of promise and mischief for the night to come. Anomen’s returning beam was enough to set Ailene’s heart pounding…and her mouth to moisten slightly.


Ailene licked her lips, whispering, “It took a while, but it looks like we will finally have the camp all to ourselves.â€Â


Anomen’s eyes traced the curve of Ailene’s neck down to the swell of her breasts, and he rasped, “Are…are you sure we will be alone tonight.â€Â


Ailene gave a low, throaty laugh “Everything is taken care of my love. We shall rejoin the others tomorrow. For now…the night is ours.â€Â


“I…I even got everything you wanted,†Anomen said shakily, his entire attention focused on the vision of loveliness before him, “Though the grocer probably thought I was a little mental. I don’t know whether it was the peanut butter or the ostrich feathers.â€Â


Ailene smile widened, and purred, “Well, what are you waiting for, my love. An engraved invitation?â€Â


Anomen rose, beads of sweat glistening on his forehead in the firelight…when he heard the snap of a branch. The cleric of Helm immediately noticed the rustling of some bushes, while an odor reminiscent of spoiled cheese and unwashed loin cloths slowly permeated the air.


“Beware,†Anomen shouted and pivoted on the balls of his feet to face the source of the sound. The cleric of Helm balled his hands together, and thumped them one on top of another. With an extra flourish, he spat on the ground, and chanted, “Malleus mallificarum.†A wispy, white glow formed in his hands, lengthening and stretching until it formed a milky hammer.


Ailene meanwhile advanced forward, the unintentional roll of her hips momentarily caused Anomen to lose his concentration. In her hands, Ailene held a blade so dark that it drew all the ambient light into it.


“We know you’re there,†Ailene growled, “you better come out while you can.â€Â


There was another crack of fallen limbs as the unknown intruder approached, and the foul odor grew even thicker. Then, a large shadow emerged from the underbrush, briefly rose above Anomen and Ailene, then fell to the ground with a relief-filled cry.


“You…you are real…aren’t you?†sobbed the disheveled figure, a young woman with long, bedraggled hair the color of mahogany. She limped forward, her left leg bent at an ungainly angle, evidence of it having been broken, then healed without being set properly. Under clothing that was more tears and rags were dark, purple bruises and barely healed red scars. From one rent in the woman’s breeches, a rather ratty looking tail stuck out and hung limply along the ground.


“Delainy?!?†Ailene said in surprise, “Is that you?â€Â


“It…it is you!†the bedraggled woman shouted in a happy tone that bordered on hysterics, “You…not the bird…just you…â€Â


Delainy lurched, then dropped on her knees, pressing her head up against Ailene’s shiny, leather stiletto boots, licking the sides with her tongue.


“Here now, you get away from her!†Anomen bellowed, dropping his spell and grabbing Delainy roughly by the shoulders.


Delainy twisted slightly under the cleric’s hands, and she said, “Even you Anomen…it is good to see you…†Then Delainy grew weak and her eyes rolled up into her eyes.




Delainy woke with a start, clutching the blanket desperately to her chest as she tried to remember just where in Faerun she was. She grew calmer when she tasted two familiar scents under the overpowering musk emanating from her.


“Welcome back to the land of the waken,†chirped Ailene, pressing a mug of foul-smelling liquid into Delainy’s hand.


“This…this isn’t a dream, then?†Delainy asked hesitantly, holding the cup in both hands.


“No, it isn’t,†Ailene said gently, “Go ahead, drink up. It will make you feel better.â€Â


Delainy sniffed the bitter brew, and her stomach almost rebelled just at the thought of drinking it. Squeamishly, she pinched her nostrils, and drained the mug in a single draught.


Almost instantly she felt immeasurably better, though Delainy didn’t think she would ever get rid of the after taste. She looked around the encampment, noting Anomen’s absence.


“Where is everyone?†she asked.


“I could ask the same question of you,†Ailene said, “The others are in town. We will meet up with them tomorrow. So just what happened?â€Â


Delainy grimaced, “I…everything is hazy. It feels like I’ve been gone for a long time.â€Â


“Two weeks,†Ailene interjected, “You’ve been gone for two weeks. We searched the Bridge District for as long as we could, but we couldn’t find hide nor hair of you.â€Â


“I…I didn‘t know I was gone that long†Delainy said in disbelief, “…and…and you wouldn’t have found me. I wasn’t in the Bridge District. I…I caught sight of your prey at the time. She was moving fast, and I made the decision to follow her, and try to catch her on my own. It…didn’t turn out quite like I hoped, obviously.â€Â


Delainy stopped her exposition, looked around the campsite, then quietly said, “Wasn’t…wasn’t Anomen here earlier?†The bedraggled woman started to shiver in her bedroll as she noticed the two bedrolls laid on the other side of the fire.


Ailene laid a calming hand on Delainy’s shoulder, “It’s alright. He’s just gone hunting for some fresh meat. You are nothing but skin and bones.â€Â


Delainy pushed Ailene’s hand away with more strength than the Bhaalspawn expected.


“You don’t understand! It’s still out there! If it can’t get me, it will come after him!†Delainy shouted.


“What’s out there?†Ailene said, Delainy’s panic starting to seep through the Bhaalspawn’s self-control.


“It is…the bird…is out there,†Delainy tried to explain, “It’s been dogging my trail for weeks. You have to call him back! It is merciless…â€Â


“Bird?†Ailene said, trying to coax some sense out of Delainy.


“Yes,†Delainy said in exasperation, “The bird…the target we were searching for in the Bridge District. I saw the damn thing, and gave chase…â€Â


“But we weren’t looking for any bird…†Ailene said, though her words didn’t seem to have any effect on the agitated woman.


“I first saw it in the alley near the Bridge District. It was large, one of the biggest birds I ever saw, almost two feet long altogether. Black and white, it had a large crest on its head and the longest tail I’ve ever seen…I will be honest, I didn’t think anything like that could live in the city, but it did. I followed it as best I could, only changing to wolf when no one else was looking…â€Â


Delainy sighed, “That’s when things started to go wrong. We soon left Amn, and followed it for the better part of the day. Eventually, I got it cornered on a cliff. Obviously, it wasn’t going to get by me again, and so I charged. Who knew the damn thing could fly?!? I mean, it stayed on the ground all day, darting here and there, leading me on a merry chase without once taking flight. Well, it took to the air…as did I. Except I plunged over fifty feet to the ocean below. I almost drowned. Do you know hard it is to breathe when you inhale a jelly fish? Somehow I made it to shore…and there was the damn bird. It cocked its head, and cooed at me…I would bet my life it was laughing at me. I should have known something was up, but my anger got the better of me. And if a wolf can run far, a werewolf can run farther.â€Â


Delainy took a deep breath before continuing her story, “But even anger fades away. I quickly came to the conclusion that I couldn’t catch the damn bird in a straight rush, no matter how I tried. So I did the next best thing…I was going to trap it. I spent the better part of the next day digging a pit ten feet deep, and lined the bottom with wooden stakes. By that time, I didn’t give a damn whether it was dead or not. Worse comes to worse, I could bring the body back, and we could raise it.â€Â


The werewolf pulled the blanket tight against her shoulders, “Just as I was covering the pit with the last bits of leaves to hide it…I felt something pull my tail tight. Kind of like a cub playing with his dam’s tail, actually. I wasn’t expecting it, and needless to say I almost jumped right out of my skin…and right into the pit. The only thing that saved me from being skewered was a quick change into my battle form. That only saved me from death, not from the pain. As I lay there among the stakes, eyes staring skyward, the bird poked its head over the edge, and gave me that cock-eyed stare. It cooed happily, then ran off.â€Â


“When I eventually got out of the pit, I was in despair. After all, I tried to catch it directly, and failed. I tried to trap it, and failed. What else could I do? Well, I don’t know when it came to me, but my one advantage eventually dawned on me. Magic. I could cast it, and the bird couldn’t. All I had to do was get close to it, and it was mine. Obviously, it knew me in my woman shape, and in my wolf shape, but there was one more I could take on…that of a female of its kind.â€Â


Delainy cocked her head slightly, then continued, “And so, I became a female of its kind. Quite striking, if I do say so myself. Less than five minutes after I changed, the bird appeared. It cooed at me, but there was something different about it. It gave me a come hither look…and so I followed it. Every so often, it would race into the underbrush, then come back, offering me a bit of snake or a spot of seed. Eventually, we came to a cave. The bird stood at the entrance, ruffling its neck feathers, and bobbing its head to the inside. Well, if it was in a cave, it couldn’t fly away, nor was there a trap to fall in.â€Â


Delainy exhaled softly, “How was I to know there was a skunk in there? In the back of the cave, the damn bird’s eyes glinted with the fading rays of the sun. It bobbed its head in humor, it‘s cooing even more irritating than before…all the while I was being bathed in skunk musk.â€Â


The werewolf shivered, “It was too much for me. It had me beat, no matter what I did. And so I fled, like a common cur. And there it was, dogging me every step of the way, laughing at me from the corner of my eyes. I couldn’t sleep…I dreamt it would lean over me, clacking its huge beak, before bearing down to consume me…â€Â


“You poor dear,†Ailene said sympathetically, gently stroking Delainy’s hair.


Delainy looked down at her feet, “I…I am sorry. I didn’t catch your quarry…â€Â


A few pensive seconds filled the campsite, when Ailene said, “Delainy, a bird was never our target.â€Â


Delainy tensed, and a low snarl escaped her lips, “I heard it quite distinctly from your words…we were to find the…â€Â


“Find the streetwalker,†Ailene finished.


Delainy put both palms against her forehead, “Street…streetwalker? What I followed…â€Â


Ailene replied “What you followed was a roadrunner.â€Â


Delainy looked in disbelief at Ailene, then she started to shake her hand, coarse jags of laughter escaped her lips while tears streaked down her eyes.


“Road…runner…street…walker…damn Common, why can’t anything be simple.â€Â

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