Sir Decus and the enchanted pine needle

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On a bitterly cold morning, the kingdom came together to join in on a wonderful feast to help break away from the chill of the season. All were cherry and happy dancing around the polished floor, when a ragged man walked in half-frozen nearly collapsing on the floor. He looked to King Thasten and pleaded, "The enchanted pine needle has been stolen." Soon after which he died. Thasten rose and proclaimed, "This is indeed a grave occurrence. The needle must be retrieved else we may face eternal winter. Who will venture into the Burning Forest and discover what has happened to the needle and retrieve it?" No one stood for they knew the perils of the Burning Forest to be great. All that is except for Sir Decus, a young noble knight newly accepted into Thasten's court, who bravely stepped forward saying, "I know of the dangers of the forest, but I will venture forth and test my valor against it." Thasten replied, "Decus you are but young and the dangers of the forest a great, I would not want to lose you in this quest." Decus persisted, "Sire, give me this opportunity to prove myself to both myself and the court." To this Thasten had no reply, he simply nodded and Decus knowing he has been given the quest, bowed sharply and left the hall.

A great cloak was prepared for Sir Decus' quest to protect him from the fires of the forest. "It must be soaked in the slime of the Jarkit slug. They can be found buried in their piles of slime on the edge of the forest," Warned the weaver. Decus took the cloak and stuffed it into his pack. The winter's bitter touch kept most people indoors, such that few people were present to send off Decus. He was given a final piece of advice, "Do not linger in the forest, despite the warmth that is gives it also takes from the inhabitants to gather that warmth. The cloak will protect you for a time only while it is still moist, be sure not to be in the forest after is has dried.” With that Decus spurred his horse and started on his quest.

On the forth night Decus came upon a tiny gnarled creature baring his way, “What mean you barring my way?” To which the man replied, “How am I barring your way, I am but a small man, can’t you step around?” “I stop because clearly you meant to stand in my path, and to honor your desire I have stopped. So what have you with me?” Interested the man replied, “You have a keen eye, I did indeed intend for you to stop. I meant to warn you of the perils that lay ahead, the Burning Forest is not to be taken lightly. The reason it burns is not that the trees are alight, but that the fire comes from the misconception of the power of the Jarkit. Many people have ventured into the forest to meet their demise, because they did not know the answer to the forest’s fire. Once this is known the forest is freely wondered.” With that the man walked behind a nearby elm and disappeared. Decus thinks on how a misconception can cause a forest to burn, but decides that it is best to move on.

Decus arrives at the forest just as night is falling on the tenth day after leaving Ranaruk, he decides that it would be wise to wait until morning to venture into the forest. As he lays down to sleep, he notices a faint light coming from the edge of the water, curious he quietly he walks over and finds that it is a small Jarkit floating in its slime. He bends down to look at the creature, and notices that it is not a slug at all, it is almost human. Startled by his discovery, he decides to try to pick the creature out from the slime. After some very delicate working he manages to carefully pull the creature from the slime, holding it to the light of the forest he finds that it is the creature that approached him a few days earlier. “You’re a Jarkit? How, I was told that you were a slug that protected itself with its slime.” “That is why I came to you. I knew your mind would better understand the reality of what we are. Yes I am a Jarkit as your people call us; we are protectors of the scared and powerful. Within the forest lay some of the most powerful talismans are taken, to keep those who do not understand their might to prevent catastrophe. Only those with the presence of mind to think of the simple rather then only what is told to them. We project the fire on the forest and also drain from those who enter unknowing. Now that you know this you will be able to see past the fire, but be warned we are not the only protectors of the talismans.” With that he returned to his slime bubble.

Decus entered the forest and found that the flames merely disappeared as he approached them. He walked into the center of the forest and found an old, weather-beaten cabin with a ghost of a smoke trail coming from the chimney. He cautiously entered and was greeted by a unexpected sight, a figure of a man, except for the fact that he was seemingly a part of the cabin. “Decus, you seek the enchanted pine needle?” “Aye, I hope to return it so that my people can have relief from this bitter winter.” He cordially responded. “You have a choice, eternal health and prosperity or the needle.” Decus thought for a minute and simply said, “Life without honor is not a life I want to live."
 
U.S.U. Startraveler
Dimension: StarGate02
Tree/Branch: Main trunk - section S6E22
Location: Crab Nebula, Milky Way

Koah ignited the lightsaber and brandished it with a twinkle in his eye.  Yet this this 48 year old in a 15 year old's body was neither jedi nor a deizen of that universe.  His home was destroyed long ago, and as such, he was fated to roam the universe.  It was a prototype ship designed as an escape for the people of his Earth, but the devistation came ahead of schedule, and by chance, only this motley crew of teens survived.

"Captain?" came a voice from the doorway.  It was less of a military crew and more of a group of friends, yet they still respected and followed protocol.

"Yes Max.  What is it?"

"We've discovered an interesting timeline branch in the Mythic-Camelot tree."

"Ah good!" exclaimed Koah as he disengaged the jedi weapon and placed it on the shelf next to an EMH holo emitter.  "I'm on my way."  Being bored with no home to stay at, these youths became explorers by heart, not only adventuring through their own universe, but examining and traveling through others as well.  "I thought there would be some interesting branches to be found there." he said as he took the captain's chair.  "On screen please!"

Koah and his crew watched with joyful curiosity as King Thasten's feast was at its peak.  He knew it was going to be an interesting tale.
 
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