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Foreword

ALRIGHT SOOO...Thommeh's page layout has been updated...maybe one of these days I'll go through and fix the content/update the headers/etc |DD~~



A chill wind stings your ears and you huddle into your Gnorbu Wool Coat. These trips to Terror Mountain would be alot more enjoyable if this cursed mountain wasn't perpetually iced over...the wind picks up again and spits snow into your face.
You're in the Top Of The Mountain area now, and as badly as you want to get out of here, you're dreading going through those frozen ice caves. If the top of the mountain was like standing in a refrigerator, the Ice Caves were a deep freezer. It would take some courage gathering to go back through there again.

guest: There must be some other way to get down the mountain...A shortcut or something. You mumble to yourself as you meander in the general direction of the Ice Caves. It didn't even have to be a shortcut, you'd give an extra fifteen minutes if you could avoid the deep freezer...Then you spot it. In the freshly fallen snow, there are pawprints leading around the side of the mountain, and as you follow them around the stone corner, they seem to head off the mountain towards the bottom. Someone's pet must've gone this way...

guest: What luck! You cheer as you follow the tracks - that look like they'd come from a kougra or large xweetok - towards the bottom of the mountain.

guest: I should buy a scratchcard next...I'm feeling lucky today. Someplace warm...like the Lost Desert, You hum to yourself while following the pawprints for fifteen minutes or so...The Mountaintop Village is just a speck in the distance behind you now, but you still can't see Happy Valley, and it seems like you'd have been out of the Caves by now...

guest: Worth it, You remind yourself. Worth avoiding that... frostbite...trap..

Gusts of arctic air bite at your nose and cheeks, and the falling snow seems to be getting heavier. A quick glance at the sky confirms that a storm is on the way. There are enormous, dark grey clouds moving in overhead, eclipsing the light white ones...this can't be good. You look back towards the top of the mountain, and the speck that was barely visible in the light snowfall is now completely invisible in the heavy snowfall; and you haven't seen Happy Valley since coming up the mountain, not likely that you'd see it now. What's worse; those tracks you were following are filling in quickly. There are only a few feet of your own footprints left behind you. Just...peachy. Getting caught in a snowstorm wasn't on the agenda today.

Ever thickening, the snowfall conceals everything on the mountainside that isn't five feet from you: the trees, the rock face, the sky: it's all a hazy white. But if you hug the side of the mountain and go back the way you came, you'll eventually come back to where you started and be able to go home that way...but there's the Ice Caves, and you'd hate to waste all the effort you've spent avoiding them. Press onward and risk getting lost, or go back and risk your toes falling off in the Icebox Caves? With the windchill like this, you may lose your toes anyway. But just to be safe, you decide to stand near the rock wall and think about this. You head in the direction you think the side of the mountain was last time you checked.

...And you keep heading that direction.

Still walking.

You start to panic...how could it be this far? You were walking parallel to the mountainside; rock close on the left, loose forest on the right, kougra tracks leading dead ahead. So why have you taken thirty steps forward and not yet felt the wall? Your eyes dart around, looking for any point of reference...white, white white. That's all there is: uniform whiteness. No horizon, no mountain, no forest, no help.

Suddenly, you feel very weak and much colder than before. You drop to your knees and fold your arms in on your chest, teeth chattering. This is seriously bad...your eyes bore into the whiteness ahead of you, desperately looking for something that won't be there. Your senses begin to play tricks on you: the snowflakes that fall close to your face make you hope for a split second that you saw someone or something move...you hear in the distance the piling up and dropping of snow off of tree branches, maybe someone's come for you? But you spend minutes - maybe hours - in the whiteness, hoping for something...

You're still kneeling in the middle of the blank space when the falling snow starts to take shape. You blink, expecting it to be gone when you open your eyes, just like all the other abstract shapes your hopeful brain has made of the falling snow...but it's still there. You move your head to one side, maybe a different point of view will reveal the shape as what it is..but it stays there. You start to get excited...maybe it's really help? Or maybe this was the neopet that made those tracks before? The shape doesn't look human; it looks to be about the same size as you are on your knees. The shape's outline wobbles a little bit as it comes toward you, and you see first a white paw seem to materialize out of the falling snow and light mist on the ground. The paw is followed by another paw, but this one seems to be made of...ice? An ice pet? You follow the legs upward with your eyes to see a xweetok's shape taking form out of the snow and fog.

It's a very solid looking form, with bangs like icicles on one side of its face and eyes the color of red wine. It was very clearly there, and yet you sensed no presence like you would with any other living thing. If you closed your eyes, you'd be all alone again. You could see his breath turning to fog and floating away, yet you couldn't feel it, as close as he was; nor could you hear the snow under his feet as he shuffled them.
...Are you alright?

His voice startled you, and it takes you a moment to answer.
guest: Y-yes, I'm just c-cold, you sputter, you words accented by a sudden violent shiver. guest: And I'm. . .lost.

He dips his head in understanding. There seems to be a freezing cold air coming from him...it couldn't just be his leg. You feel like the moisture in your eyes is going to freeze if you get any closer.

I can lead you down the mountain. It's not safe for a human to be up here for very long. He locks eyes with you again, as if he were asking your permission.

You nod once, your jaw slammed shut to keep your teeth from chattering with only partial success.

Alright. My name is Thomason, and I'll be happy to take you to the village. Just take hold of my fur and we can get out of the snow.
Thomason smiles a very small smile, then turns and offers you his furry shoulder. You hesitate to touch him, because of his proximity, you're now certain that the closer he gets, the colder you feel. He looks back at you reassuringly.

Thomason: I'm sure your fingers are cold; they'll be warm under my fur. Trust me.
Not wanting to be...rude, you wrap your fingers around the long hair above his shoulder, and instantly you feel warmer - not just your hand, either. That painfully cold air seems to have lost its effect on all of your body, and you feel a cozy warmth spread through you.

Thomason's smile gets a little bigger. Thomason: Then let's be off.

As the two of you walk, this uneasy feeling starts to creep up on you. The shock from feeling cold and lost fades away, and at the same time your perception starts to return to normal. You realize that the crunching of snow is coming from only your feet, that his body feels strangely unreal, and your hand feels the need to grasp tighter around his fur because at times it doesn't seem to be there at all. He had always had a dreamlike quality to him, without a real presence...but help was help, so the fear didn't register in your mind when you were just wanting to get out of the cold. Now the pit of your stomach writhed with the realization that this Thomason was simply not normal...not real at all.

It crosses your mind that you know nothing about this strange creature. He could be leading you to safety, but he could be leading you to a cave somewhere to eat you and pick his teeth with your bones. You shudder, and he glances backwards.

Looking at his face, you can't imagine that Thomason could ever mean any harm. His eyes tell of unspeakable sadness, but he wears a small smile on his face. He's so gentle and calm, and kind to offer his help...if he'd wanted to eat you, he could've just left you to die in the snowstorm. The clouds continuted to drop buckets of thick snow from their undersides. You try to silence your doubts and that uneasy feeling in your stomach, but your body feels the urge to run in the opposite direction. You eventually convince yourself (convince your mind, anyway; that feeling of dread refuses to leave from the pit of your bones) that you're just recovering from hypothermia or something. Why question a good thing, anyway? You'd been walking for a while, the two of you must be close to the bottom of the mountain.

You see a dark spot amidst the white...grey, like stone. Who knows what it is, but it's something besides white, and you were starting to think that your eyes had become incapable of seeing anything else. As you walk, the spot gains dimension, and you're able to tell that it's a cave...an area devoid of snow! Finally! You press forward, and Thomason speeds up to keep pace with you.

The grey spot turns into a black spot as you get up close. You're within four or five steps of the opening when you let go of Thomason's fur-the shock of cold air was almost crippling. Oops. But you walk forward into the cave anyway.

The transition from all white to all blackness makes your eyes ache, so you concentrate on the deep grey stones that are lit by the reflection of the snow outside. Your teeth start chattering as you glance back for Thomason—what's taking him?—and spot the tiny bit of pink and red amidst the white. He's hesitating for some reason. That worry flares up again.

Thomason: You doubted about me, didn't you? he mutters.

You're confused about what he means, before you realize that he didn't intend for you to hear...Your brain tries to peice together what he could mean...besides knowing what you were thinking earlier...that's too creepy to handle.

Thomason seems to tense as he steps onto the cave floor, and you can see his body against the rock face. You can compare the two objects, you have a point of reference. A...very well lit point of reference.

That feeling of dread springs from your bones and overtakes your whole body, threatening to pull your footing out from under you, but you lean against a rock while looking over the xweetok's form for the first real time.

Real and unreal, now you know why that comparison kept coming to mind earlier. The very real presence of the cave wall contrasts greatly with the questionable existence of Thomason's body. A soft white glow is coming from him, and you can look straight through some parts of his...non-body. A mist comes from around his paws, and the one thing that hadn't been present up until now finally makes itself apparent to you: his presence itself. What you couldn't feel before is now quite obvious, stronger than you'd ever felt before.

A very unsettling ironic smile appears on his lips. Though the look on his face by itself still calms you, everything else about the spectre makes you feel like you really will be eaten...or whatever it is whatever he is does to poor unsuspecting neopians.

Thomason: Do you still want me to take you down the mountain?

Well when he put it that way...

guest: What... are you? Your voice trembles a little, and the shivering now isn't just from the cold—though you do feel like the cold air that was rolling off him when you met has returned stronger than ever.

Suddenly he looks very ancient, like he's seen eternity a thousand times over. And you feel bad for accusing him with your thoughts. He takes a few steps deeper into the cave, illuminating the way ahead, and looks back at you, almost pleadingly.

Thomason: Can I tell you?

guest: ...Please do.

Thomason: No, if I...tell you everything, about me, about...her?

You think you recognize the incredibly faint light of hope in his dull eyes, and that feeling of dread starts to fade. You stand up and steady yourself. Facing him, you try not to worry about the dark cave and undetermined distance alone in the dark with this relative stranger, whom may or not be among the living. You try, but achieve only partial success. There is still a small chance that you could end up dead or scared out of your wits, but out there in the cold, there is only a small chance of your survival. You don't really have too many options.

guest: I'll go with you, You say, walking over and placing your hand on his shoulder, finding that he's even less solid than he was outside. The warmth floods your body again though, so it doesn't make much of a difference at this point.

Thomason's face explains all you need to know about his gratitude, and you wonder what it is he's so anxious to tell you about...The two of you begin walking again.

Thomason: First, let me ask you your name, He begins. I just realized that I haven't asked you.

guest: Call me guest.

Thomason: Alright, guest. His voice echoes off the walls in an grand way as the cave mouth disappears behind a corner. The path ahead is now completely illuminated by the glow that comes from his body.

Thomason: Now where should I start...the beginning, I suppose...

Thomason: First, you should know a little about myself.


Name: Thomason
Alias: None
Gender: Male
Age at Death: Sixteen Seasons (Approximately 20 in human years)
Current Age: Immeasurable
Personality: Quiet, Friendly, Protective, Strong
Family: Naomi (mother, deceased); Tarak (father, deceased); Marin (sister, deceased); Baron (brother, deceased)
Love: Sella (deceased)
Other Pride-Mates: Rodek, Arlem, Kara, Tole, Sura
Offspring: 3

Species: Lesser Arctic Xweetok
Markings Type: Albino
Fur: Smooth Thick
Eyes: Dull Red
Body Type: Solid, average
Height: 66 cm (2.1 feet)
Weight: 127 lbs.

Level: 3
Strength: Great
Defence: Heavy
Movement: Mach 4
Intelligence: Average


Snowfall.
She loved the snow...
Peace and Quiet.
The mountain has become so popular these days, it's nice to get away from the commotion.
Tepid Temperatures.
The snow is nice, but it's always refreshing to get a warm day every once in a while.
Family.
I never knew my children, and being with a family brings back the few memories I have of them.
Mountain Caves.
Perhaps it's because I spent the majority of my time alive in our den, all those years ago...
Other Lesser Xweetoks.
So far, I've only encountered a few xweetoks who still display the features of our kind, though their heritage is questionable. It's been so long, it's not surprising we've all died out...

Harsh Sunlight.
Lesser Xweetoks aren't meant for harsh, warm conditions; other than that, I have trouble keeping a tangible form in the sunlight for whatever reason.
Chaos.
I had more than my fill of chaos back when I was alive.
Industrialization.
The mountain is becoming increasingly busy, and more and more my forest is being paved over.



(Cover draft of the novel, if it becomes one 83)

Alright, so you won't find his entire polished story here. |D; But I am making exciting progress on it and expect the first draft to be finished by November (if I make the challenge, haha) And the finished to be absolutely perfect by about February or so. :3 But here are a few of my favorite parts so far from the first draft, just so you can get a taste of my writing style and the general tone of the novel. :3 (But excluding part 6, for some reason, my favorite parts so far are the 60% in, solemn mood selections. 8D;; IT'S NOT ALL EMO, TRUST ME~)

6.Morning

Thomason! I startled awake to Arlem's barking command. Get up, you've got work to do. I groaned and opened my eyes to the faint light of pre-dawn coming in from an opening in the rocks.

What could you possibly have for me to do at this hour? I complained, rolling over. Just because Arlem was son of one of the directors doesn't mean he could work me late hours and wake me before dawn.

You're supposed to be a runner, aren't you?

Yeah…

So come accompany one of our ladies on a walk.

It took me a moment to respond to that. I thought Arlem was the only one around here crazy enough to be up at this hour.

Who in the world wants to go out before the sun's up? It's got to be freezing cold out there!

At that moment I saw the shape of someone coming into the room, and in the dim light I could spot her light violet coat, something very uncharacteristic of our locals. One of the northerners…Perfect.

I didn't mean for you to wake someone, She mumbled apologetically, her low voice a silvery rebuke to Arlem's shouting.

Not a problem miss, Arlem said, turning full attention towards her while kicking me with one of his back legs.

Ow…

This one's already up. He's not much, but he'll do for a morning walk, He didn't bother keeping his voice down as he walked past her, out into the main corridor. If you need anything, don't hesitate to ask me.

That's very kind of you, She said, voice still low. She smiled a little to me as I stood up and walked forward, less than enthused.

I appreciate you accompanying me,—

Sure, I yawned, squinting as I came into the now blinding light of sunrise. How anyone would want to walk around in the snow at this hour was beyond me.

She was silent for the few minutes it took to get off the rocky outcrop that formed our cave dens. The rock near the bottom was so cold, but the snow on the ground was even worse. We stood there for a moment before I turned to face her.

Well, we're out, I said, trying to keep the exasperation out of my voice with only partial success. Where would you like to walk to?

She picked up on my mood. I noticed a nice spot by the stream that runs around here, She said, the appreciation gone from her voice. And…it appears I do recognize this area. I'm sorry; I don't think I'll be needing you to escort me this morning.

She started off sounding defensive, and ended with a cocky tone that made laughter hard to contain.

If that's how you feel, I'm going back to sleep, I bluffed. Arlem wouldn't let me sleep anyway; but besides that it had become a matter less about the sleep deprivation and more about putting this northerner in her place. I waited for her to falter and retract what she'd said about not needing me.

Watching her face carefully, I turned and began to walk in the general direction of the dens. She surveyed the area before taking a few confident steps…toward the area she spoke of earlier.

I was a good five feet away before she made a sound something like "Hmph," then trotted daintily off on her morning walk.

15.Security And Patrol

For weeks after the attack, our three hunting packs of five got split into six escort pairs of two and a few sentries; ensuring safe travel for groups of mothers and young or the old on the night-long journey to the underground tunnels that lead to our new den farther south. Baron and I made most of the trips together, one of us running in the lead and the other bringing up the rear and guarding the mothers and children. Baron would lead for the first part of the journey, his dark coat easy to spot through the snow; but as we made it farther down the mountain, the snow began to melt away and my coat was easiest to spot on the backdrop of dark soil and barren trees.

The mood was sober even among the kits, as they hovered under their mothers' feet as we made the trek at a fair pace. The adolescent brothers would even trot along beside me whenever I was behind the family group, senses alert for detecting any threat while keeping their baby sisters in check.

We made so many trips back and forth from our den to the tunnels, picking families up and handing them over to the care of a guard posted in the brush out of sight of the underground passageways. He would give a sharp nod, then walk out of the underbrush and back again: signaling whoever was actually at the mouth of the tunnel. Baron and I always stayed to watch until the group had disappeared before heading back.

So many times we made the journey, so many times back and forth between the old den and underbrush meeting place, our paws began to wear a path in the dirt. It almost became mundane, but every time I would allow my mind to wander we'd come across some fresh blood on the path, or find someone injured waiting for our escort back home. Often times I'd catch the scent of those wretched monsters in the forest, hidden from my view…but none of them ever made a move on our group. By the scent the few that I did detect were young, and stories from other escorts reported that they only attacked the old or young that fell behind, and would never make a move on us in numbers.

Many of the guards would sleep through the day and wake in the night to move groups, but I could never sleep well in these times. I would often set out with Baron at sunset, return at sunrise, and then set out with the patrol groups to make sure that the den was still secure. Patrol ended an hour or so before sunset, and I'd use that time to help round up the next group of movers; and we'd set off for the tunnels shortly after.

21.Death

I heard the crunching of snow as my brother came over the ridge to where I lay...and the agonizing silence as he took the gruesome scene in.

He moved slowly in front of me, and I saw my reflection in his wide eyes...I hadn't realized the injuries were this bad. There was a lot of blood, matted in my fur and soaking into the snow around my battered body. If he didn't take action quickly, I could die from these wounds...so why, brother, have you not called out to me? Spoken my name? He only stood there with his disbelieving, horrified look on his face...

It had only then occurred to me that my life was in danger, but my brother had known it from the moment he set eyes on me. He had no way of knowing that I was looking back at him from behind my glassy eyes.

In silent mourning, my brother bowed his head and brushed my hair over my eyes with his muzzle. It was the same as nailing my coffin shut.

Panic set in...Would I get no chance to recover? The wounds were bad, but I'd seen our healers work miracles. If they were swift, my brother and the others could possibly save my life! Wouldn't you try speaking to me at least, brother? Wouldn't you try anything at all?

I didn't have the energy to worry for very long, and the panic turned to sorrow as I saw him turn and walk away, back up the ridge. I would get no chance. I was already dead to them. The only help that was coming would come to bury my body.

A few small snowflakes began to fall as my brother's back disappeared from my view.

He left me for dead.

What little I could see from behind my bangs started to blur and darken, then the sorrow turned to peace…until I heard her voice from the top of the hill.

Is he there, Baron? Sella's voice rang clearly in my head, though it seemed that everything else in the forest was muffled. Even while my body was dying, I was still dedicating my entire being to her…

It was silent for a moment while my brother hesitated to answer her, so she tried again, her voice climbing an octave.

Well, is he or not? He's badly injured, don't stall!

Baron still hesitated, and I imagined my brother's eyes averting hers. …Sella, He began, his usually strong voice low, even to my dulled senses. Thomason…has…

She began to piece it together. What…what are you saying? Her voice trembled, and I pictured the horror on her face. I knew what she'd do next.

We have to help him! I heard her light, frantic footfalls in the snow, then the shuffling of feet as Baron must've moved to stop her.

Out of my way! I have to—

No. Baron's voice was a low command, absolutely final. Thomason has already passed on. I can't allow you to see him that way.

Thank you, my brother. I hadn't been able to communicate to him my desire to live…but he knew me well enough to prevent her from seeing my wounds. My mangled body would be traumatic for anyone to look at, let alone the woman I loved…who loved me, too. Maybe if she didn't see me, it would be easier for her to move on.

Easier for her in the long run, perhaps. That's what I had to assure myself as, after a moment of agonized silence, Sella's dainty sobs reached my ears. I was making her cry.

My fading spirit strengthened, just for a moment…I wished so badly to comfort her, to hold her and ease the pain. But the sound of her body collapsing into the snow made me so regretful. I had my reason to live, my reason for everything, the driving force behind taking my next breath—and I couldn't stand to hear her so unbearably sad.

Tears pooled on my cheeks, and I imagined that I'd have an enormous lump in my throat were I able to feel my throat any longer. She was hurting, and I could do nothing about it. If she ever hurt in the future, I could do nothing about it. I couldn't make her smile or comfort her or protect her.

Let's take our leave of this place, Baron murmured. Or he could've been shouting, I couldn't tell anymore.

I don't want to leave him, Sella's sorrowful whisper back to him was thick with tears. How…could I leave him?

Her voice faded…I didn't want to leave her either, but every time I tried to force myself to realize that I didn't have much of a choice, a new wave of pain would overtake me. I couldn't see at all now, and I strained to hear anything that let me know I wasn't alone yet…and the last thing I heard as that sense dwindled to nothing was Baron's voice as he comforted Sella.

I felt entirely disconnected to my body now, everything was fading. I couldn't feel physically, nor could I feel emotionally, and as the pain went away I mused almost contentedly about how it felt to die.

23.Time And Its Passage

Written from the point-of-view of Marin, Thomason's sister.

In the weeks that followed adapting to our new home, I think it might've been easier on Sella knowing that Thomason had never set foot in this place. There were no memories to tie him down to here.

Baron tried to both his share of the work and the load that Thomason surely would've taken on, and he was constantly aware of what Sella was doing…as was I. We tried to take care of things the way we knew he would, especially concerning Sella. It wasn't hard to do, seeing as Sella would spend most of the time gazing up towards the sky, looking for snow. I worried about how she was taking this and what she was thinking, because she never told anyone and kept the same quiet, pensive front no matter what the situation. She mourned, outwardly at least, very little considering what had happened.

As for me, keeping working in the beginning was no small task. The new den had the opposite effect on me than it did for Sella. Thomason hadn't had a restful night's sleep since those first attacks on our pride, and I knew he wouldn't be resting now. There was too much work to be done, and it was strange not to have him in the middle of it all, where he belonged. Every patrol or scouting group that came around looking for more members made me choke up from the knee-jerk reaction of thinking about where my brother was and if he was able, no doubt willing to help.

24.Sightings

It was a shame to see that she'd have to sleep alone tonight of all nights…but what could I do? There would be no replacements for her bedmate tonight—…Suddenly, my hair stood on end as an icy wind snaked through my fur, chilling me to the bone. I stopped moving and stood stock still, eyes wide and facing the door. I couldn't describe this feeling I had…but I knew there was something here that didn't belong, something very real and ominous behind me. I turned slowly, and my joints locked up in fear and awe.

Sella and the kits lay sleeping, exactly how they had been. But there were five bodies on the stone instead of four.

As much as I didn't want to recognize him, my brother's appearance sprawled out next to them, his eyes brooding and examining of every detail of his babies. He touched his nose to the nearest one's forehead before looking into Sella's eyes. They had opened slightly and were looking straight through him, to me.

Marin? Sella asked drowsily, and I saw Thomason's apparition react to her voice. Could I imagine something like this?

Marin, what's the matter? She started coming out of her sleep, and her voice was louder when I didn't respond. Thomason stood up.

Nothing, go back to sleep, I whispered, struggling to find my voice. I watched my brother's—my brother's ghost's?—Movements as he stood. Sella laid her head back down and closed her eyes, and Thomason brushed her forelock from her eyes with his muzzle before turning to glance at me briefly. He looked exactly the same, just very sad. I imagined that he'd feel that way after Sella took no notice of him…because I couldn't imagine something like this. There was nothing imaginary about his very strong presence, or about how my body reacted to him. He walked towards the door, and I was afraid to follow him with my eyes as he passed.

26.Drifter


Thomason's point-of-view.

There was a mound of dirt and an arrangement of stones to mark the shallow grave where the body of Thomason lay. A delicate white flower with a bite mark on the edge was placed in front of the center stone. I tried not to think about who must have put it there.

Looking at this…the only thing that I realized was that my physical body was no longer attainable. That made things all the more difficult, but that wasn't the point anymore…My body had been damaged badly, anyway, I could do without it.

The sun was setting on day twenty-seven of my thirty day long stay in the mortal world after my death. I was finding it increasingly hard to keep myself stable, and I needed something to attach to if I wanted to stay any longer at all. That's why I was here at my grave, chasing some futile hope that I could use my discarded body to tie myself down to this world…where my new family was.

I'd spent the time I was allotted looking after my three babies…even though it didn't count as looking after them exactly, so Sella or Marin were always with them. There were a few times when I almost thought Marin could see me, but it must've been just a coincidence because she never spoke about it or looked at me as far as I could tell. Sella seemed oblivious to my presence, whether because of her inability to do so or because of her dedication to being a mother. She paid full attention to the kits, so I doubt she would notice if my flesh body had walked into the room. She was very happy, and I was glad. I would sit next to her and watch her coo to them the way mothers do. Whenever she told them about me, she kept the same contented look and sweet voice as she did describing anything else to them, and that at least was enough to make me think that I could move on, that she and my babies would be fine without me.

Without me…

I sighed, frustrated, while walking in the general direction of the new den. I'd spent my borrowed time making sure things would be fine in my absence, so the rightful course of action would be to allow my soul to fade away into whatever was waiting beyond. I should spend these last three days saying goodbye to my family and preparing to leave this world forever.

That was what I should do, but in terms of what I wanted to do…the thought of leaving them made me cringe from the heartache. I couldn't find a way to stay now…but I was too stubborn to give up looking.

I glanced around at my surroundings as I walked. The place was devoid of any snow, and I imagined that it might be fairly warm, judging by how the sun beat down on the sparse forest. In this form I wasn't affected by physical phenomena. I could see the wind shaking the leaves, but my fur remained untouched; I could see the sun and clear sky, but couldn't feel the warmth. I wasn't affected, but I could affect. Lately my presence had been sending chills through whoever was unlucky enough to be standing closest to me.

I didn't understand it all, but this was what I'd come to discover during the time I'd spent here in this form. Not much had been explained when I was in that hellish purgatory.

The place was unlike anything you'd find in the mortal world, and it was as unique as it is difficult to describe.

Just as he concludes his story, the cave starts to brighten just a little. You come into an open room, with makeshift natural shelving formed out of the cave walls. Stacks of paper, notebooks and art supplies are shoved haphazardly onto the ledge, and another nook holds a few blankets, plus a flashlight and some candles. The basket in the corner looks like it was meant for a picnic.

Thomason takes the mess in fondly.

Thomason: Clouded must've been here today...I guess I missed her.

guest: Does someone live here?

Thomason shakes his head. Thomason:I met a girl recently on the mountain...she was out in the snow, claiming she wasn't lost. But she allowed me to take her back down the mountain anyway, and she seemed to take a liking to me. The xweetok laughs ever so slightly.

Thomason: She's a strange one, but company nonetheless. She likes coming to the mountain and asking me about my life before.

This person must be strange, if she enjoyes trips to the mountain. You look around at the clutter.

guest: So these are all her things?

Thomason: Yes, Clouded likes keeping supplies up here for whenever she needs them, and the rest are entertainment for her whenever she waits for me to meet her here.

You glance at the mess, noticing that alot of the papers have drawings on them. You sift through them.

guest: These are...of you?

Thomason laughs lightly again. Thomason: Clouded always has her nose shoved in a sketchbook. She seems to have some odd infatuation with me too, and these are all the things she's collected for me. Feel free to sift through those things. Clouded's quite proud of the collection, I think.


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Art by Me
Art of Thomason and others from his story. :3

Drag to address bar for fullview.Please, just take himThomason SitsTole Sits.Tole Pulls. :3CONFIDENT SMILE AND KIND EYESOld ref sheet version oneOld ref sheet version twoWe're all in this togetherCaptiveDon't worry, things are being taken care of.DescendantsThomason StickerWhiteout

Art by others
Hover over to see who drew them, thanks so much everyone!!

Thomason: Clouded likes getting others to draw me, too. I enjoy looking through them, it seems Clouded associates with some talented people.
By mojokittieBy treliaayBy rikadigimonBy livingtropicalBy carolin158By milokittykookiekatBy zuriteBy hikabunniBy rohrik2By apocalypsedby sara_mossflowerby ali_stormlightby moonbitternby frozen_fire_dragonby mirelle_earthshineby ledgers_angel_3by imcd37by nezalaby horsesrock102495by sara_mossflowerby carson4uBy ethercaBy grissom2006

Adoptables!



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Old Adopts!



You know the drill. No entering them in the BC, no removing my name at the bottom, no removing the link, blah blah.

Customs will never be open for these adopts, seeing as I'm tired of the lineart. xD


They're transparent!

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Moving on, you notice a notebook that's open, about to fall off the shelf, filled with pencil marks. "Thomason Writings" is scrawled across one of the top pages. You flip through it, until something catches your eye.

Since navigating the ends of my imagination often proves difficult, I've decided to supply you with an explanation of Thomason's world in its entirety, without the fancy text and obscure inferences that are sometimes necessary to grasp the concept I'm trying to illustrate. This version is, while anything but short, a simpler way of mapping out how things work in my alternate universe in which Thomason lives. And while this section might be more for myself than it is for you, but I'm hoping it will provide some sort of insight into my tangled web of the way of the worlds. :)

Different Realms

First things first: the difference between the mortal world and the world of the afterlife, plus a few realms that don't actually count as realms.

The Mortal Realm

Self explanitory, really. Where mortals live and die, where the struggle of life wages on and time marches forward indefinitely. This is where Thomason's conciousness resides for most of the story, as well as where he and his family live.

Purgatory

Purgatory doesn't count as a realm technically, because it's merely a state of conciousness, a product of a dying mind merging back with the mortal world's energy. While that world and whatever appears within it (sometimes family or friends, or complete strangers; a mysterious voice, a light in the darkness, or sometimes no one at all;) are ficticious, the consequences of what your conciousness decides while in that state affects what happens to your awareness next. If you are strong enough to retain your sense of self, then depending on your strength and desires, either you will return to the mortal world as a reincarnated soul (this rarely happens); or you will return to the mortal world with a chance to bind yourself to that world for eternity (this happens slightly more often than the former option, but is still very rare). If you are not strong enough to hold yourself together, it is said that your conciousness moves on into whatever is waiting in the Afterlife.

The reason the option to decide your fate becomes available in the Purgatory state is that is the moment that your physical body is discarded. Your body ties you down to whatever world you're in, once the body dies you can no longer exist in that world without a substitute. At the same time, if you have a body (real or substitute) in one world, you don't have the option to leave the world.

The Afterlife

The world of the Afterlife is never visited by Thomason, nor is it explained from the point of view of anyone in his story, so Thomason can not be sure of its reality. But as it is understood by Thomason's pride, The Afterlife is a "heaven" of sorts. It is a place of resting, where all the souls of the living go after they've died. In the story, Thomason must choose between the questionable afterlife and staying in the mortal realm with his family.

Different Forms

Here you'll find an explanation of the different forms Thomason takes throughout his journey of the different realms.

The Physical Body

The simplest form. A vessel of flesh and bone, that is affected by the elements of a world as well as being able to affect them. Others will react to this form the way they react to any other element of the world. They will feel your presence, they will feel your touch, and they won't feel the exchange of energy between you.

The Energy Form

This form only exists in Purgatory. This is where you don't have any senses besides the very basic sense of awareness, and can feel the flow of energy between your own life and that of the world.

The Makeshift Form

Also called a "Substitute" body or form. This is the artificial merging of your energy/spirit with your surroundings. Thomason uses the snow and ice of the mortal realm to create for himself a makeshift visible form. When his strength wavers, so does the seeming "reality" of his body (this accounts for all the reality comparisons in the intro narrative.)

While in the makeshift form, energy will be drawn from the surrounding enteties to remain stabilized. The attributes of Thomason's form while in this world (after he loses his physical body) can all be accounted for if you look at his energy level: the "cold air" that seems to come from his body in the intro narrative is actually the feeling of energy being taken from you. (This also accounts for the sudden weak feeling when you first drop to your knees in the snowstorm. Thomason's invisible spirit manifested itself nearby you and was drawing energy out of you.) The reason he seems less solid when you get to the cave is because his strength is waning, as it's difficult to keep up such a visible solid form for any period of time.

The reason you feel warm once you touch Thomason's body is because while you're connected by touch, you've become a part of his energy, therefore you're absorbing energy from the surrounding area as well. Just a side effect of his makeshift form, but quite useful when rescuing wandering tourists on Terror Mountain. ;)

Those are the more complicated aspects of Thomason's story, but if there's anything not covered here that you're having trouble understanding, just mail me telling me that I'm confusing and that I need to add *insert topic here* to this section. |D

RP Sampling
Alright, so I'm not the best out there, but I'm working on it. xD This RP was set in the real world, since Gabby's unfamiliar with neopets. Her character is a wolf.

Gabby's Post
Clouded's Post

Darn snow," I grumbled as my black paws were held chest and belly high just to get over the snow and continue on. Like most wolves, I can normally walk on the top of snow, but this has yet to settle and it was too soft to walk on top of. Black ears pinned to my skull, looking like black markings in my iron blue fur rather then ears. The mist of my breathe seemed to warm my exposed nose for a heartbeat or two before it seemed to freeze anymore. I wonder if the wetness on your nose could ever freeze... A snap crackled above my head and plop of snow burried me. I struggled and dug my self out. "Damnit." I growled as I slid my body out of the snow. I glanced around and finally noticed my surroudings. The forest line was drawn out in front of me. Ahead the snow wasn't as thick due to the evergreen trees shielding much of snow from hitting the ground. With releif in sight, I bounded forwards, nearly tipping in the snow. Once at the base of a tree I sighed and laid down among it's roots. My black tail wrapped around my blue hanches, trying to keep them a bit warmer.

I skidded to a hault as faint noise reached my ears. There shouldn't be anyone around, and it could very well be just a squirrel, but it sounded like a voice to me. I cautiously moved slightly off course towards the disturbance. I may have been just begging for an incident, but the recent hunting missions had gone farther out of our territory than ever before, and the accomplishment made me more confident in my skills than was hardly nessecary. I raised my nose to the air to catch the scent of whatever it was that I'd heard, and the unfamiliar smell immediately sobered me up. It certainly wasn't a squirrel, and was unlike anything I'd ever encountered around these parts. I continued, trying to make my footfalls lighter than before.

With a yawn I stretched out now, pratically wrapping my back around the trunk. I froze, my position awkward and very exposed. I had to force myself to casually sit up and glance about. The sight caught me before the scent. A wolf! I thought at first as I stood up to greet the other creature. It took me a moment to realize the difference between this wolf and I. It face was much shorter and it had a tuff of long fur down it's back, merging into his tail. On arm was armed with hard ice. Perhaps he had followen into a river earlier? His body was short and his legs were long. I spotted his dull red eyes watching me, framed by pink skin and white fur. His nose was pink as were the bottom of his paws and the tips of his ears. Such an odd creater. I stood up higher. I was a good sized wolf and knew how to protect myelf. My blue fur bristled slightly. What was this creature. I stared in uncertainty.

I got a good look at the thing as I glanced around...it looked almost like one of my kind, only with a longer muzzle and longer legs, maybe a distant relative? The strangely colored fur on its back bristled, and I made sure to posture my body in an unthreatening way. I would fight this enemy if I had to, but I certainly wasn't asking for a fight. No time today. "Hello, you there," I called, coming forward slowly. Friend or foe, I was interested in these new creatures.

So he speaks! Well isn't that new. My fur started to flatten along my spine now. At least he wouldn't be a foe. "Hello," I greeted back, letting my voice be as soft as sweet as possible. I allowed a small friendly smile to rest upon my lips now. My tail wagged a bit, brushing against my lowering heels.

I smiled warmly, walking towards her. I wasn't quite in the mood for a fight either, and now that I knew, I didn't make a habit out of fighting females. "Might I ask where you're from?" To satisfy my curiosity. "I've never quite seen someone like you before, no offense meant if it could be taken that way." I came to a stop a few feet infront of her.

I let my rump slid to the floor slowly as I sat, my tail wrapping around my hind paws agian. "A day's or so walk away from the trees. My pack's prey is running threateningly short. My father fears this may be the last for the pack. I and several others have been sent out as scouts," I said, as if it was rehearsed. I've told this story to a few as I found a new wolf to talk to. I studdied him again. "No offence, but what are you exactly?" I pondered aloud as I stood up and closed the small disance between us enough for me to get a few good sniffs at him, though being mindful to keep my distance. My pack has never seen a creature like this, I'm sure. I normally learn what to avoid and what is fine to befriend from my den mates. I stood back a bit and continued to watch him, my dark brown eyes trying to find something reconizable in him to spark some memory to some story my elders have told me but nothing matched up. Unsatisfied, I sat down and waited for his response.

To be continued

You finish browsing and set everything down, perhaps a little neater than it was. Thomason is standing, behind you, facing the way out of the room.

Thomason: Ready to go?

You nod and place your hand on his fur again, and the two of you continue walking for a few minutes.

You come around a sharp corner to see the blinding light of day greet you once again, along with...trees! The snow is only lightly dusting the ground now, and as you release Thomason's fur and head farther into the open, you can see Happy Valley not too far into the distance AND handle the temperature, as the clouds are parting to reveal the sun.

Thomason walks up to your side, and he smiles up at you.

Thomason: Not much farther now.

You begin walking down the path, Thomason slightly ahead of you now that you don't have to cling to him for dear warmth. You keep at a fair pace.

guest: So does this Clouded have any pets of her own?

Thomason: Clouded has a large family. Few are actually blood related, but the rest seem to be a random collection of...unique characters.

He pauses, as if he were preparing himself for telling you about his strange friend's adopted family.

Thomason: I've only met a few of them, but I'm sure I'll encounter more as time goes on.

Kyavie

What little I've heard about this moehog has always been good things. From what I hear she keeps Clouded's sanity in check, as well as keeping the rest of Clouded's pets from tearing the place down. She seems like a very nice person to me.

Anjhelah

Perhaps the opposite of her sister, this Anjhelah isn't kind at all. She makes a habit of stealing from others, and it isn't any kind of secret, either. I met her once when she came to Terror Mountain, and besides being generally rude, I only realized that the pack she carried was stolen after she left my company. I wouldn't like to meet her again.

Akuizuiro

This sad little eyrie lives in Neopia Central, and as far as I understand has lived there since before the city was built. He's seen less time on this world than I have, but we are the same in the fact that the world just passes infront of our eyes. We are different in that he is still living, though never aging. I'd like to meet him, just to speak with him and see what he thinks about all that.



As you break the trees, you notice a small white airax sitting on a branch of a small bush. It sings in recognition as Thomason approaches.

Thomason: Hello, Eirwyn,

The petpet springs into the air, her feathers unfurled like dazzling snow white ribbons as she lands on Thomason's back.

Thomason: This is Eirwyn, an airax I befriended several months back.

Eirwyn looks at you curiously as you examine her from a distance.



Name: Eirwyn ("White as snow")

Thomason: I've always enjoyed the birdsongs on the mountain, particularly of the few airax you'll find around here. So several months ago, I'd started keeping tabs on a family of airax that lived in the forest. Her dazzling white plumage was unlike any I'd seen before, so she intrigued me, and when she laid eggs I was curious to see if her chicks would have the same interesting coloration.

Not long before they were to hatch, I came to find her nest destroyed and two eggs gone, one cracked and broken under the branch where the remains of the nest rested. The mother hopped back and forth from the nest to the bushes to the branches again, calling frantically for her chicks, before finally discovering the broken egg at the bottom of the tree. It seemed like then she realized that her young were all dead. She fell silent.

For the next few days she stayed in silent mourning at the tree where her nest was, and I worried that she wasn't eating. I picked some berries from a nearby bush and offered them to her, and she ate.

Eventually, Eirwyn began following me around, hopping from tree to tree as I walked. She was eating herself and seemed more lively again, but still would not sing. I decided that as long as she was with me, I'd make an effort to get her to sing again.

She's as recovered as she can be, I think. I named her Eirwyn after the first time I heard her sing after she started following me; her voice was as soft and pure as the snow, and since Eirwyn means "White as snow" I thought it suited her nicely.

FrozenSpires Awards

You must have one COOL petpage ;3
Applications currently CLOSED.

These FrozenSpires go to the COOLEST (get it?) petpages in neopia. Typically, I'll neomail you telling you if you've won the award, but there's no way I can get to all the deserving petpages out there! So, if you know a petpage that you think is deserving, neomail me and I'll check it out. :3

Winners

None! How sad. ):

Awards Won
Thanks so much to everyone for these! 8D

Something has happened!

Congrats, Thomason! You have won Dragon's Music Lover award for that awesome song!



You come around one last snowy corner before seeing it. Happy Valley suddenly seems so mundane compared to the trek you were just on, listening to the tales of life and death of the Lesser Arctic Xweetoks from the point of view of someone who lived it.

Thomason: Here it is, Happy Valley. This is where we part ways. Thomason looks up at you with that same tired smile before taking a few steps back.

As eager as you are to get out of the snow, leaving him alone is the last thing you want to do.

guest: Would you mind if I came to visit again?

He looks slightly surprised, though pleasantly.

Thomason: Not at all. Please, have something to remember me by.

Frozen in Time
Frozen in Time
Into The Mist

You take a few steps towards Happy Valley, the token in your pocket, when a sudden blast of freezing snowy wind comes from behind you.

guest: Thomason? You turn to see the place he was standing in gone, and only your footsteps are visible coming off the mountain. Eirwyn, who had been hopping from tree to tree trailing you, chirped once then took flight. You were alone.

guest: Thank...you...

You shove your hands in your pockets and make your way into the main plaza of Happy Valley. All the smiles and laughter of pets and people bolden the line between Thomason's life and this one. You turn again to check where the two of you had been standing, to find the spot still empty.

As the last tiny snowflakes drift to earth, you begin to wonder if Thomason was ever really there at all.

guest: Now...where to next?

Family Links

Others

For the sake of this petpage, there have been...
Images created (by myself): 77
Images by others: 25
Characters written: 99,893
Hours Spent: 90+

All content, coding, art, writing and characters (excluding the species)
is © Cloudsandlightning/Clouded unless otherwise specified.
Usage of any of these materials without express written consent
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or more of your accounts. And I'm not talking about the cool
kind of ice like Thomason's leg. I'm talking flash frozen solid here, dudes.
...So don't steal anything.
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