Book 10 - The Shattered Axe - Chapter 21: The Cold Shiver

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httyyd's picture
httyyd
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Joined: 10/12/2013

Well, here is another chapter for you all to read.

 

Writing's Block is the bane of my exsistance, especially when I know what I want to do but not how to get there, where everything but writing looks like a shiny object to look at.

 

But here is the next chapter.  This sequence is taking a little bit longer than I had planned for, but I am always one to put pace above rushing a section just to get where I want to go with the story.

 

I hope you all enjoy the chapter!

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Book 10 - The Shattered Axe

Chapter 17 - Back on Track

 

The Jarl Mollerson Mystery Series

All Chapter Links
 

 

Destiny in the Dark

Chapter 3 - Friends and Enemies

 

Proud Leader and fellow member of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are links to the chapters of my fan-fic series.  The books go in chronological order.

 

The Clue of the Missing Socks.

Chapters 1 and 2                         Chapter 3                                       Chapter 4

Chapter 5                                      Chapter 6                                        Chapter 7

Chapters 8 and 9                        Chapter 10                                     Chapter 11

Chapters 12 and 13                     Chapters 14, 15, and 16             Chapter 17

Chapter 18                                    Chapter 19                                      Chapter 20

Chapter 21 and 22                      Chapter 23                                     Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26 - There is a hidden surprise.  Can you find it?

Chapter 27                                   Chapter 28, Part 1                         Chapter 28, Part 2

Chapter 29                                   Chapter 30                                       Chapter 31

Chapter 32                                   Chapter 33                                       Chapter 34

Chapter 35                                   Chapter 36                                       Chapter 37

Chapter 38                                   Chapter 39                                       Chapter 40

Chapter 41                                   Chapter 42                                       Chapter 43

Chapter 44                                   Chapter 45, Parts 1 and 2

 

The Mysterious Frozen Fire

Chapter 1         Chapter 2         Chapter 3         Chapter 4         Chapter 5         Chapter 6

Chapter 7         Chapter 8         Chapter 9         Chapter 10       Chapter 11       Chapter 12

Chapter 13       Chapter 14       Chapter 15        Chapter 16       Chapter 17       Chapter 18  

Chapter 19       Chapter 20      Chapter 21        Chapter 22, Part 1       Chapter 22, Part 2 

Chapter 22, Part 3

Epilogue/Preview for my Third Story!

 

Thoughts of Guilt

Chapters 1 and 2          Chapters 3 and 4          Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7

Chapter 8          Chapter 9          Chapter 10          Chapter 11          Chapter 12, Part 1

Chapter 12, Part 2          Chapter 13         Chapter 14         Chapter 15         Chapter 16

Chapter 17 and 18         Chapter 19         Chapter 20         Chapter 21         Chapter 22

Chapter 23         Chapter 24         Chapter 25         Chapter 26         Chapter 27

Chapter 28         Chapter 29         Chapter 30         Chapter 31         Chapter 32

Chapter 33         Chapter 34         Chapter 35         Chapter 36 and 37

Chapter 38, Part 1         Chapter 39, Part 2         Chapter 40, Part 3         Chapter 41

Chapter 42, Parts 1 and 2         Chapter 43         Chapter 44

Chapter 45, Part 1         Chapter 45, Part 2

 

On the Edge of Mystery

Chapter 1          Chapter 2         Chapter 3        Chapters 4 & 5    Chapter 6, Parts 1 and 2   

Chapter 7          Chapter 8         Chapter 9            Chapter 10       Chapter 11        Chapter 12

Chapter 13        Chapter 14       Chapter 15          Chapter 16        Chapter 17       Chapter 18

Chapter 19        Chapter 20       Chapter 21          Chapter 22       Chapter 23      Chapter 24

Chapter 25        Chapter 26       Chapter 27         Chapter 28        Chapter 29 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 30       Chapter 31       Chapter 32 and 33                         Chapter 34 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 35 Part 1         Chapter 35 Part 2        Chapter 35 Part 3        Chapter 36

 

The Secret Symbol

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7     Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21   Chapter 22   Chapter 23   Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29 and 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39

Chapter 40 and 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43, 44, 45, and 46

 

The Legend of Shadow Mountain

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16   Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23    Chapter 24    Chapter 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29    Chapter 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39    Chapter 40

Chapter 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43    Chapter 44    Chapter 45 & 46

Chapter 47    Chapter 48    Chapter 49    Chapter 50    Chapter 51

 

Teaser "Trailer" for Book 8 - Conquest of the Truth

 

The Crimson Storm

Chapters 1 and 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Chapter 6

Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapters 10 and 11    Chapter 12

Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15    Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18

Chapter 19    Chapter 20    Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23

Chapter 24    Chapter 25 and 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29

Chapter 30    Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34

Chapter 35 and Epilogue

httyyd's picture
httyyd
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Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 10/12/2013
Deja Vu is an interesting subject

Here is the music mix for the chapter:

2-Hours Epic Music | THE POWER OF EPIC MUSIC - Best Of Collection - Vol.5 - 2019

 

The Shattered Axe

 

Chapter 21

The Cold Shiver

 

Jarl's Point of View

 

Map of Aberdeen Island

Start finish line is on the North side of the island

Right Click map and select "Open Image in New Tab" to see it unsquished.

Does the forum hate images now?

There is a clue on this map for something Jarl has thought of from a new perspective during the days leading up to the race.

Can you spot it?

 

         One of the worst feelings ever is going into a situation that you do not know and have zero indication of what will happen.  Regardless of how much you prepared for the worst not to happen, facing the unknown will always cause some level of fear for what could happen.

         The days leading up to race day was extremely quiet on every front that had been active.   Both groups of Khaos are quiet, Stormheart is quiet, and nothing more has been learned from the attack on the race at Frozen Warriors.  My crew and I work in tandem with Aberdeen Island’s leadership, but the more preparations are made, the more nervous I become.  Everyone around me attempts to comfort me but I see they are nervous as well.  Our nervousness spread to those on Aberdeen, which some of the average folks are starting to resent or presence because they do not see anything wrong.  Even after knowing what happened at Berk with Rebecca, the pervious race, the Iron Conclave, Wengo Island, also the Dragon Auction, vikings here are taking for granted what could happen saying, “That won’t happen here.  We’re a small island.  They would have no reason to attack us.”

         If something does not directly affect some people, they turn a blind eye.  At least Mak and his family are taking us seriously.  The threat of Khaos being at Aberdeen sours some of the reunion with our old friends we made here, but seeing Dotta reinvigorates a sense of positive energy.  She knows about Khaos and understands they are bad.  Yet she comments, “With my Dragon Rider buddies and their dragons, Khaos doesn’t stand a chance.”

         The mother chuckles, “This is what you and Annabeth have to look forward to…  But you will have two of these gifts!”

         Mak comments under his breath, “At least once you get past the first few years.  You never know how much you miss sleep until you are up taking care of a baby.”

         Annabeth sighs, but laughs, “It will probably be me up taking care of the babies.  Jarl is a sound sleeper.  It would take a Quaken at point blank range to wake up Jarl.”

 

         Conversations like this did help, but still, I am preoccupied with Khaos and what Samantha will do.  I am present in the moments leading up to the race, but my focus is fleeing me.

         The preparations we are implementing is for a determent to anyone thinking of attacking the race at Aberdeen.  My entire crew will be attending, so there will be a heavy Dragon Rider presence.  In my crew’s absence at Berserker Island, the A-Team will be there if Khaos has any fancy ideas of using the race as a distraction to retaliate against my home after accusing us of “attacking” the Iron Conclave and its new so-called “leadership”.  When all is said and done, Khaos will be stupid to try anything big.  But that is just it.  I am worried that they are planning something small, and Samantha is at the center of that move.

         Coordinating the preparations took up enough of my time I missed qualifying for the.  My championship hopes take a hit, since I need to make up ground on Jason who is starting on the Pole Position, yet the championship seems to be a trivial pursuit in comparison to Samantha being the primary suspect to a murder.

         Oh, and one detail about the race that is cool which I keep forgetting, is the race is at night.  The path of the track is one of the simplest on the schedule, yet different and one of the more challenging ones.  Since this racing series is to maintain a viking’s readiness to defend against an attack – which is rather ironic considering the circumstances – when dragons attacked, they would often do so at night, case and point, the Dragon Auction.  Being able to maneuver a dragon while at night and fly at high speeds while being able to still operate at same skill level as during the day allows for a viking to be ready for anything at any time.

         With the simple track comes an even greater emphasis on track position and speed.  It will be difficult to pass since everyone will be flying in a single line at full speed.  There are just a handful of turns which all can be taken at full speed.  However, the Sheep Laps will be crucial as well as the final laps when everyone will want to pass.

The bonus points for earning the pole could solidify Jason’s spot in the championship rounds while I am stuck in the pack.  I do not have any margin for loss of points after the last race and the points Jason has gotten and will get in this one.  It would take a complete collapse of his situation for me to stay even with him.

         I want to say since I am essentially out of the championship, I should drop out and focus on solving the mystery.  There is someone who has other ideas.

 

“You can’t quiet now, especially since I just started watching you again.”

         I give her a stare as I saddle Anora for the race, “You know what I mean.  I am wasting time when I could be solving this mystery.”

         “Reasons you should race:  One, you drop out now, Khaos will know something is up.  Two, well, two is the same as one.”

         “But if I drop out, would they then not try what they are planning?”

         Annabeth reaches across and grabs my hand, “Don’t try to control something you have no power to control.  Khaos doesn’t care what you do.  They will do what they want when they want and even more if you don’t stand up to them.”

         I sigh, “Do you know you are even more beautiful when you are the voice of reason?”  I lean forward on the saddle, lifting Annabeth’s hand up to kiss it, “Again, I have missed you being by my side on a more consistent basis.

         “I thank you for missing my company, but I know you.  You would have come to the same decision.  You think through every situation to be ready for what comes your way.  You already thought about Khaos thinking something would be wrong if you dropped out.  Hearing Me say the same helps encourage you that this is the right decision.”

         “And also, since you are my wife, you would suggest the right decision to make because you are always right,” I finish with a wink.

         Annabeth hesitates for a moment, but replies, “I take that as a compliment, but I sense it as sarcastic backhanded compliment.”

         “See,” I tell Anora, for the Razorwhip had looked back.  “Annabeth is always right.”

         All my wife can do is roll her eyes, “Fly safe…  You knuckle head.”

         She starts to learn across the saddle to give me a kiss.  She cannot quite make it.

         Anora shakes her neck as if to say, “Hey, you two idiots, go around and kiss there.”

         So, I meet Annabeth halfway at the head of Anora to kiss her, Annabeth, not the dragon.  This is from a mental note of mine to make sure after I wrote this down, that those reading this would not think I kissed Anora.

         Once Annabeth leaves, Ohmarr walks in with the rest of my racing crew, “Did you get the needed pep talk?”

         I ignore the snark remark and hand off Anora to take to pre-race inspection at Race Control.

         Coach Vixxen begins to talk to me about the gameplan, “Alright, you have a lot of ground to make up, but since we are in the back we can stay back there and save Anora’s energy for later.  Get what positions you can at the start of the race, but ride around in the draft.  During the first two sets of Sheep Laps, push the pace to make up ground.  The positions you gain here can set you up for another close race down the stretch.  You and Anora have proven before you can pass on the final lap on the final turn, but now you will have more work in the same amount of time further in the pack just to get to have the opportunity to pass on the last lap.  You won’t have the same energy left as you did at the Iron Conclave, so be patiently aggressive.  With this being a night race, everyone will be hesitant to push anything until the very end, so keep this in mind.”

         Vixxen finished yet began speaking again as I was about to open my mouth, “And before you say it, we will take care of Khaos.  You concentrate on the race.  Have some fun, or at least try.  We’ve split up the crew to guard the infrastructure assets of the island, from the high-profile ones to the less flashy targets, with even a few crewmates roaming the island to look at the crowds and the quiet empty places in between.”

         “So, get you mind off of Khaos, and focus on the race, for you might injure someone else in the race or even yourself,” Heather adds, getting my attention.  “Because of this being a night race, Anora’s black scales will allow you to slip by racers without being noticed until they see you in from of them.  But also, be careful and patient.  A racer might make a move right in front of you, not realizing you are there.  Knowing when to pass and when to wait will be key.  You may have to slow down just to maneuver the chao…”

         Heather catches herself, but I state, “You can say the word.  It isn’t a bad word.”

         She goes on, “You have one of the fastest dragons in the field.  And as Vixxen said, you can go to the front anytime you want to, it is only a matter of time, something you do not have much of with how quick the lap times are.  You’ve got to get to the front as quick as you can, however, having enough stamina from Anora to hold on to whatever lead you get is the problem, especially now having to work twice as hard just to get to the front.  Managing the time and pace to get to the front to set up a last lap pass, not letting anyone the opportunity to pass you back will most likely be our best course of action again.”

         I smile, “So, go slow to go fast?”

         “I know it doesn’t make sense, but this is the situation that has presented itself.”

         “With this crew, it makes perfect sense.”

         My crack caused a brief moment of joy thinking it was a compliment, but then they all quickly turned against me.

         Vixxen had to step in before the first punch was thrown, “I know you all wouldn’t hurt Jarl, but there will be plenty of time for that if he doesn’t make the championship,” she adds a wink.  “No pressure.”

         “Thanks,” I roll my eyes.

         My crew leaves to prepare our Sheep Launcher, so I am left alone to go to the Racers’ Meeting.

         Walking outside there is a buzz in the air.  The crowd is already cheering for the practice runs.  Though it is night, the island is lit up like it is Snoggletog.  From the crowd’s perspective they can see the action.  Yet, what I am hearing from the other racers who have been on the track at night, there are some areas with very little light.  I have practiced the track, but only during the day and only for a few laps.  Knowing this track was on the schedule, months ago my crew and I practiced launching sheep at night and me catching.  Not the greatest results to begin with, but after the practice we have had in the season to this point, I believe we can work through any circumstance that is thrown our way.

         From a purely racing standpoint, my crew is coming off of some momentum and confidence from the Iron Conclave and Frozen Warriors.  Needless to say, my crew has a target on our backs.  Yet missing qualifying I think will work in our favor.  Other teams will count us out even before the race has started, thinking, “Having one come from behind win is one thing, but to do it twice and this time starting in the rear of the field?  That’s never been done before.”  Once the racers towards the front see me in their wake, all the pressure is going to be on them to not lose, leaving my crew the opportunity to race for the win.  With doubts from other teams that my crew can pull off an amazing win again, my crew has everything to gain and nothing to lose.

         The drivers meeting at the main village at the northeast side of the island is pretty typical stuff.  Rules, sportsmanship, and a reminder that any extreme violators of these could be disqualified from the series altogether.  Because of what happened at Frozen Warriors, the racing officials will be watching for every little thing that goes on.  However, they picked the worst race to do it on when everything is under the cover of darkness.

         Inspection had completed on Anora, Ohmarr brought my mount to the start finish line just to the west of the village.  About ten minutes more are needed for the last remaining racers’ dragons to complete their pre-race inspection before racers are called to their dragons for the fly through practice lap.

         The track layout follows the outline of the island’s coast, except for when it reaches the single mountain on the eastern side.

         Race Official, Harrek Haukson, leads the racers through the course explaining the suggested racing line as we go.

         The start-finish line is on the north side in the middle of the coast.  The race will generally follow the coast except for the Sheep Laps, more on that in a moment.  Turn One heads down the west coast.  One thing of note, between Turn One and Two is the darkest part of the race, with the darkest section in the middle of the straightaway.  There is a tall cliff face here, one hundred feet from sea level, surrounded by the tallest trees in the island’s forest.  This shields the racing line from the main light sources for the race.  The racing line stays even all around except for the Sheep Laps, so flying close to the cliff could be very dangerous.  There is a slight clearing at the tallest point on top the cliff, however, it is extremely rocket and jagged not allowing for stable ground to build a fire stack.  Not much passing on this part is expected for these reasons.  The racers have been warned about pulling any detrimental moves on other racers, especially here.  Trying to officiate this, being so dark, will be a challenge.  I am eyeing Jason to pull something here if he gets behind.  Outside passing is instead recommended here, although it would add time to your lap on a straightaway.  Every second saved counts on this track.

         Rounding Turn Two, we come upon the farmlands of the island.  Still following the coast, we fly halfway down a short chute before a slight turn inland for Turn Three to set up to fly past the mountain towards the docks.  Also, when a Sheep Lap comes, a racer will fly closer to the Old Aberdeen Camp to receive their sheep, which each racer will have to hold on to until the start-finish line where the sheep can be scored.  The scoring system is much like Berk’s but now with only three sheep and twenty-five racers.

         After the second short chute, there comes Turn 4, a slight right directly into two left, sweeping, bank corners of Turns Five and Six.  There is still some flying to be had until the start-finish line.  So, while most will try to cut the final two corners as close as they can without striking the two ships docked, which are intentionally there as a reference point for the turns, the veteran racers will do something else.  Here is where flying on the outside will work in your favor.  Going on the outside will allow the racer to keep their momentum to set up a faster sprint to the finish.

         There will be forty lap segments followed by three laps for the racers to score their sheep, therefore, the total is one hundred and twenty-nine laps.  Sounds like a lot, but not when the laps are each twenty seconds.  Jason put up a nineteen second lap to be on the pole, so it is viable to have faster lap times, especially with the speed of the draft on these longer straightaways.  The total time this race will take is about forty-five minutes.  Granted, that is if there are no cautions and it stays green.

         My brain starts to wonder what else could stop the race, but I remind myself those scenarios are being handled, if they happen.

         Once the warm-up lap is completed, each racer perches their dragon on the row of Sheep Baskets.  Five rows of Five baskets.  Where you qualified determines your basket.  For a format like this, the higher you qualify the closer to the back your basket is, and vice versa.  This way it gives an incentive for qualifying.  If you qualify first but fall back in the race, you still get to put your sheep in first and concentrate on finishing the lap.  Those who are in the back, like me, have to make sure our sheep is scored which will slow us down slightly for the start of the next lap.

         Sitting on Anora, I feel her take a deep breath and relax, which reminds me to do the same.  Finally, I feel focused on the task at hand.  Anora has let go of the tension and stress, I have too.  I chuckle as Annabeth’s wise words ring through my mind.

         Leaning down to Anora, I whisper, “Let’s show these racers just how fast you really are.”

         Upon hearing that, Anora hunkers down into a small ball, shifting all of her on her back legs in a stance ready to push off at the start of the race.  I lower my helmet’s facemask and brace for take off.

         Harrek quiets the crowd, announcing, “I will light this firework.  You will go when it explodes in the air.  Repeat, in the air.  On your marks!  Get set!”

         Harrek lights the fuse, and we all wait for the explosion.

         The most eerie of silence deafens the whole crowd, one can hear the creaks in the wood as the dragons prepare for launch.  The whistle of the firework cracks the night sky as it flies upward.  Some watching it, some looking straight ahead.  And then…

         BOOM!!!

         The race begins in a symphony of dragon roars accompanied by the melody of shouts and cheers!

         From the start, I am able to gain a few spots before settling in line of the draft.  At least for the first few laps, no one really makes a move.  Everyone is patient with each other.  If a racer has the momentum, the one in front let’s the pass happen with little to no fight.  The first section of a race is the most cordial part, like none of us cared who came first.  Everyone in this field is too competitive to let this last the entire race.

         Before I know it, thirty laps have already gone by.  The flow of the race loosened up my tension even more, I started to have fun.

         If Annabeth could have heard that, she would say, “That’s the point, idiot.”

         Coming up on the Sheep Lap, according to the gameplan, we will wait until the third and final Sheep Lap to score ours.

         Push the pace, make up ground, score sheep.

         Once Lap Forty is completed, a horn is sounded to signal the racers that the Sheep Laps have started.

         The majority of racers typically want to score their sheep first.  Yet, that is specifically why I do not like doing that.  The longer you wait, the more room you have for error and less likely your sheep will get by someone else’s.  Plus, waiting for the third lap helps get some practice in for when we do our not-so-secret-anymore plan for firing the sheep.

         Rounding Turn Two, the majority of the leaders begin to set up their catch by going a bit wide on Turn Three to set up a better angle for the catch.  I hold my line to take the normal path to Turn Four.  I glance over to see several teams attempting to launch their sheep like my team did at the Iron Conclave.

         Hilarity ensues.

         I take a lower line around Turn Four to stay under everyone catching their dragons, but several miss their catch and I have to bob and weave my way through the raining terror of sheep bleating through the air.  The docks are bombarded with sheep, sending part of the crowd running for their lives.  As long as you can catch your team’s sheep, it can still count.  You would just lose crucial track position in the process.

         During Lap Two, the rest of the field learns their lesson and catapults their sheep like normal.  Glancing at the docks again, I can hear the crowd, not involved in the retreat from the attacking sheep, laughing at the entire scene.

         The only other racer to wait until the last Sheep Lap is of course, Jason.  Though he is ahead of me by a large margin, he still fears what Anora can do.  He wants to be sure he knows where I am and match my moves so that he keeps his track position ahead of me, potentially winning based on his starting position.  Not the mindset I would want to have.  Racing not to lose almost always the sure way to make you fly slower than racing with nothing to lose.  However, for the latter to win, racing with patience and pace is key.

         Going back around and setting up for my Sheep Lap, it still is a load to catch a sheep though I have done it countless times this season in a race or in practice.  It is a little awkward having a sheep cling to you, it is like the animal is not used to hurtling through the air at breakneck speeds.  Seeing I am better than mid-pack the pace I set during the first two laps, I slow slightly just to be sure to score my sheep on the first try.

         With a third of the race done, I regain the rhythm I had.  The racers are somewhat spread out now.  Counting in my head, I am setting nineteen second laptops

         Several small draft packs are seen because of the resulting counterattack by the sheep during the first Sheep Lap.

         As I enter the dark stretch, I fly up behind a familiar purple Nadder with a racer laden in black armor.  A cold shiver runs down my spine as I pass them.

         Samantha and Stormstar.

         I try and shake off the distraction, which is difficult to do because Samantha sees me and widens her racing line to contest the position.  Yet, she lets me by.  She could have prevented me from passing, but at least she still has some honor in racing.

         Completing the next lap, according to the official counter at the start-finish line, this is Lap Fifty.  I catch up to the next smaller draft pack, behind a purple Nadder.  Having the momentum behind it, the dragon, I Anora to the outside.  The racer does not contest the position, not even forcing me on bad entry setup for Turn Two.  Flying past them, I shoot a glimpse at the racer.  Black gear on a purple dragon.

         Wait.

         I turn my head back to stare and sure enough…

         There is Samantha again!

         My brain stuttering for a moment before I ask, “How could I pass her twice on the same lap?”

         The cold shiver is back.

         That is not Samantha and that is definitely not Stormstar.  Samantha would contend for every position.  She is too competitive for that.  But if that is not Samantha and her Nadder…

         Then where are they?