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Author Topic: Capher's Journey  (Read 8391 times)
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Capher
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« on: June 06, 2005, 11:25:22 PM »

[Outside of Chykallis]

The old man awoke with a start.  He found himself in the midst of some Brisulivan bushes.  His movements were slow and clumsy as he untangled himself from the bushes.  He hurt all over the place: his body was a mass of cuts, scratches and bruises.  He could not recall where he had received them.  He sat at the side of a well-traveled road searching his body for more injuries when suddenly he heard laughter.  He looked up. A burly looking man, with forearms that bulged underneath his short sleeved russet colored tunic stared down at him beneath bushy eyebrows.  He was sitting on top of a wagon.

“Hey ol’ timer.  You had better put some clothes on.”

The old man did not even notice that he had no clothes on.  He quickly did a quick search of the ground around him and found no clothes.  He looked back up, squinting in the afternoon sun.  “Good Master, I cannot find my clothes.” The old man croaked out.  His throat was dry and parched.

The burly man got off his wagon.  The old man heard the joints squeak as it took and the was released from the big man’s weight.  Soon, the big man was looking over him.  “Well ol’timer from the looks of you, I would say that you had a run in with some thieves. What is your name?  Wait here just a moment.”

The old man waited and thought about the big man’s statement; Thieves? I do not recall being set upon by any thieves? Name? The old man thought and could not remember his name.   Soon the big man returned.  He carried what seemed like a large flour sack.  He pulled out a huge knife and cut some holes in the sack.  Then he took out a jar, opened the lid, and began spreading it over the old man’s cuts and scratches.  “This stuff is called Yahrle, it is a medicinal herb to help those cuts and scratches you have there.  I know it smells a bit like pepper.  But is smells a whole lot better than you do.  My wife makes it.  It does a very good job and quickly.  You would be amazed at how many cuts and scratches you can get working a farm. So what is your name?”

The old man shrugged his shoulders.  “I can not recall, good Master.”

“Well, never mind.  You have quite a nob on the back of your head.  You will remember in time.” He gave the old man a small tin cup of water, and then gave him the sack with a small tin of the Yahrle.  The holes he cut out fit over the old man’s head and gave him arm holes to slip his arms through.  The old man stood up.  “I thank ye, kind Master.  I have nothing to give ye, for your kindness, though.”

“Forget it.  I didn’t give you anything but some Yahrle, and an old flour sack.  There is a stream a bit farther up the road and to your left, a few  peds off of the road.  I suggest you bathe yourself, then put more of this stuff on.  The cool water will help heal and get the stink off you.”  He climbed back on to his wagon.  “Take care Ol’timer and try and stay away from thieves.  He snapped the reins to his horse and went plodding down the road.

The old man easily found the stream, bathed, put some more of that ointment on that the big man had given him on the cuts and scratches he could reach, got dressed and began his trek down the road.  He did not know where he was going or where he had come from?  He just felt or maybe the word was drawn to go forward.

OOC-this topic probably won't last more than a few posts.  It is mainly to help me get into the "swing" of things and also to get me up to where you are all are.

Capher.

Edited by: Capher at: 6/6/05 15:29
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Capher
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2005, 12:07:22 AM »

The sun was setting low in the sky; its bright red orb half-hidden by the horizon.  The old man afraid of thieves stayed mostly on the main road, slowly turning into a rutted dirt path and then it was gone.  He felt a gnawing hunger and searched for something to eat.  The few berries he had found on the way had helped but he needed more food.

As the sun sank lower, the day’s heat began to cool off.   He could see in the distance farm houses aglow with soft candle light.  He thought to himself, surely I can find food there.  He moved closer to one house.  The closer he came the more he could smell food being cooked.  He crept through the grasses until they could cover him no more.  The farmer had cut several peds of grass away from his home.  

The old man heard a cow mooing in the barn.  As he crept closer, trying to stay out of the path of the light that shone through the windows, he was suddenly startled by the sound of a barking dog.  The old man turned and there the dog was running , growling, baring its fangs as it came toward him.  The old man stood there terrified.  He did not know what to do.  The dog rushed toward him.  Then the old man felt something happen to him, he changed.  He felt himself lower and watched in horror as his hands and arms grew fur, his hands turned into huge paws.  He noticed his nose growing longer and white as well with a black tip; curiously he felt no pain and after his first initial reaction, it felt natural to him to be doing this, as if he had been doing this all his life.   The big dog screeched to a halt as he now faced a white wolf instead of a frail human.

He growled, the wolf bared its teeth and growled back.  The dog attacked and soon both animals were fighting each other.  The snarling and growling brought the farmer out of his house.  He had a candle in his outstretched hand.   He peered into the darkness, he had a sharp knife in his right hand.  “Jake! Boy where are you?  What are you doing?”  Jake didn’t answer as he was in the middle of a life and death struggle with the wolf.  The farmer edged closer.

“What is it dear?” his wife asked him.”

“I am not sure, Hilda.  It sounds like Jake is fighting another dog.”

“If it’s the Hansen’s dog, Rosa is going to get a piece of my mind.  And you should get after her husband, Peter, as well.  I am going back inside.”

“Yes dear, you should do that.  Cackling old woman, he muttered under his breath as he worked his way slowly toward his barn shining the candle as far ahead of him as he could to help him see, calling his dog.   He froze in his tracks when the candle light illuminated the forms of two animals locked in a death struggle: one was his dog and the other was the largest wolf he had ever seen, but the strangest part was that this wolf was completely white and it seemed its very fur shone.  At first the farmer did not know what to do, then as he saw his beloved dog being ripped to pieces he yelled, charged the wolf, swinging his knife.

The wolf heard the yell and let go of its opponents throat and looked at the approaching human.  Jake scrambled out from underneath the wolf, but was readying himself for another attack.  The wolf wanted to attack the human, but something told him no!  So it ran back into the grasses and soon was out of sight.  Jake started going after him, but he heard his master’s voice tell him to stop.  The farmer watched the wolf disappear into the night, heard it howl, which sent cold chills up the farmers back, and then turned his attention to his dog.  Jake was bleeding from a dozen or more bites.  The farmer quickly picked up his dog and ran toward his home.  “Hilda, open the door and get some Yahrle ready!” he shouted.

The wolf ran through the grasses and deep into the woods.  It was still hungry and soon its keen scent picked up the scent of a rabbit.  The rabbit was no match for the hungry wolf and soon it became prey and food for the wolf.  After its meal the wolf found a soft, leaved den inside a thicket and lied down. Soon it was fast asleep.

Capher.

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Talas Anthavin
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2005, 10:21:22 AM »

Ta’las looks deep into the still brackish water of one of Baveras’ Seven Jewels, while behind him the elderly priestess speaks her incantation in a language he does not fathom.  Above him a tapestry of stars litters the desert sky, and a strong wind bends the tall silvery blades of Ar’pun.  The priestess’ voice reaches a crescendo, and Ta’las looks to see if she is all right.  He returns his gaze to the limpid pool, and jumps back and shields his face as a fountain of cobalt blue fire erupts from the pool of water.  The Shendar draws his blade as the fire coalesces into the form of a woman.

“Do not fear, warrior,” the priestess says from behind Ta’las, who looks dubiously at her.  The priestess smiles.  “This is but an image of the one who you must seek out.”

Ta’las looks back, more closely studying the figure in the fire.  The woman looks to be a couple of spans more than five fores.  She is lean and athletic-looking. Her hair is tied in a tight plait that falls down her back, and held in place with a small braided leather ribbon.  

“Who is she?”

“Talia Sturmwind,” the woman answers quietly.

He is surprised to note that, though she is dressed in the manner of a Shendar, she does not bear a physical resemblance to his tribe.  “Why is she dressed so?” Ta’las asks.

“She was taken in by the Shendar, and raised as one of us,” the priestess answers.

Ta’las looks over the sword she wields.  He has not seen such a blade before – the gold pommel has been fashioned in the shape of an angel, it's feet form the handle which rest on a large sapphire, while the wings form the pommel guard.  Strange markings that Ta’las muses must be magical writing flow down the length of the blade.  Just above the pommel, more words are written in a language he also does not recognise.

“Why must I find her?  Is she in danger?”  Ta’las could not imagine a Shendar warrior would need his help.  “What can I do for her?”

The priestess chuckles.  “Death looms over all of us, Ta’las, as it does for this woman and her companions.  You can be of some help to her, perhaps a comforting presence simply because of your similar upbringing.”  Then her gaze becomes more piercing, finally forcing Ta’las to look away.  “It is time to grapple with those inner doubts that plague your conscience.  She and her companions can be of help to you in that journey.”

Ta’las angrily sheaths his blade.  “I am already at peace with myself, mother-sister.”  He starts to walk away from the water, but his mother-sister grabs his arm.

She digs her nails into his skin.  “You presume much, Ta’las!  You have always walked away from trouble all your life and never faced what lurks in the dark of your mind.”

The Shendar warrior glares at his mother-sister, and then looks down at the ground. There is a long pause as he considers her words.  Ta’las has always hated remaining in one place for too long, and always used the excuse that his occupation as a guide has kept him from attaining enlightenment through inner reflection.  “Where do I find her?” he finally asks, quietly.

“Look into the water mirror,” she bids him, as she nods at the pool.

He looks up, and sees the figure of the burning woman has been replaced by an image of a forest city.  Though still a cobalt blue, the fountain of fire is now water.  The city sits at the center of a large natural clearing, much of which is at ground level and surrounded by huge city walls made of blue volcanic glass.  The city centres around a huge building of marble.  Above this are a series of dwellings and other buildings linked by intertwined walkways that have been boarded over to give a level surface and paved in either marble or malachite.

“It’s beautiful,” Ta’las says reverently.  “What is this place called?”

“Aer'Ylferian.  You will find the burning woman in the city of Aer'Ylferian.”

Ta'las

Edited by: Talas Anthavin at: 6/8/05 2:22
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Capher
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2005, 12:07:22 AM »

The old man awoke once more with a start.  He found himself in a thicket.  His flour sack was ripped and torn in several places.  He crawled out from under the tapestry of brambles, shook some clinging leaves from off himself and ambled out of the forest.  He quickly found the stream that he had bathed in yesterday and splashed some water over himself.  He stared at his face in the water.  The face stared back, one blue, one green eye; silvery white hair covered his head, with a touch of baldness upon his crown.  He expected wrinkles all over his face but found, to his amazement, none.  In fact his face was bare of wrinkles and he looked liked he was just a youngster.

This curiosity as well as what had happened to him the night before, preyed upon his mind as he washed himself.  What was he?  Who was he?  And why did he have this urge to move…to follow this irresistible urge to go northward.  And a feeling of someone or someone’s in danger and he could help.  Help! How? He thought.

He quickly bathed; curiously he found his tin of Yahrle that the farmer had given him.  He scratched himself and felt his hand go inside his skin, and felt it touch another skin, this one felt scaly and had many bumps upon it.  He quickly pulled his hand back out, scared and frightened at this discovery.  When he did he noticed a red sparkling jewel had fallen into the water and lay resting on the bed of the stream.  He reached down and picked it up.  It was a ruby! Where did such a gem come from? Inside of him? He thought.  He thrashed out of the water…scared out of his wits.  Not knowing whom/what he was.  He ran and ran until he became exhausted and fell upon the meadow grasses.

He lay there for how long, he did not know.  Only the sun had risen quite high in the sky.  His fears had quelled and his mind was working over time.  The only conclusion he could come up with as he considered the facts that had been thrust upon him…was that he was a Shape shifter!  A mythical being!  But all the facts pointed to that reality.  He was a shape shifter!  But what about this gem? He thought as he gazed into the center of the ruby.  He tried another experiment?  He reached his hand into the skin around his mid-section and again found another bump.  He pulled on the bump and it freely came loose.  When he pulled his hand out and looked.  He was astonished; it was a small diamond.  He was puzzled, yet kind of thrilled at the same time.

He rose up and began walking.  He continued to think, and try to figure out why he knew so much, yet something’s he could not?  He knew what a ruby was, he knew what a diamond was, he knew the names of the grasses he walked through, he could name the trees, flowers, insects, birds and every animal he saw.  He felt very familiar with his surroundings.  But he could not remember his name!  Or his purpose!  Or why he was a shape shifter?  Or why he had this urge to continue on northward.

Soon his legs became tired and he was hungry.  He could see a small cottage set in the distance.  He walked toward it.  A man and his wife were generous enough to welcome them into their home.  Before he went on his way he thanked them by giving him that sliver of a diamond he had pulled out of himself.  They gladly took it and gave him a rucksack of dark bread, a jug of ale and some hard beef jerky and several varieties of cheese.  The woman also gave him a long gray hooded cloak and some different colored spools of thread with a needle; the last items he had just seen and for reason’s he did not understand asked for them.

Capher.

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Talas Anthavin
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2005, 01:42:22 PM »

Ta’las watches from the starboard deck of a merchant vessel known as the Blue Storm as Chylikis comes into view, and absently pats the narrow head of the Aj’nuvic standing at his side.  All around them, a fleet of fishing vessels litter the clear blue waters of the Aetryam Sea, and the distant shouts of fisherman mingled with the calls of seagulls float toward him.  Orange and purple streaks of clouds pastel the evening sky, embracing the sun as it descends toward the horizon.  From his vantagepoint, Ta’las can see the torrential flow of the yellow water of the Thaehelvil River intrude into the Aetryam Sea.

The merchant ship nears the city, whose buildings become distinguishable, and slows as it reaches the docks.  The sailors on board the Blue Storm work quickly to prepare for landing, tying up the rigging and dropping the ship’s anchor.  

“Come, Desert Rose,” he says with a warm smile at the Aj’nuvic.  The beast snorts at him, restless to stretch its legs after having spent nearly a week on board the ship.

When the gangplank is finally dropped, Ta’las departs large merchant vessel, leading his Aj’nuvic through the crowded port of Chylikis.  The damp air smells of rotten fish, and due to the mess of people working on the docks, also stinks of stale sweat.  Though he lives in the wilds of Brendolan, in particular the Ráhaz-Dáth, the Shendar has spent enough time in Bardavos and Uderza, that large crowds do not bother him.

He stops a man carrying a coil of heavy rope toward the docks.  “Good day, friend.  Can you tell me where is the nearest inn?” he asks with a smile.

The man scowls and points to his left.  “The Anchor’s that way,” he says as he grimaces at Ta’las’ mount.  “If you’ve got money, then you can try the Screaming Eagle in the merchant’s quarter.”

“Thank you, good man.” Ta’las claps the longshoreman on the shoulder and continues onward.  There is no need to spend an evening in the poorer quarter of a foreign city.  He will stand out no matter where he travels, but he knows he will be safer staying at a tavern in the wealthier merchant’s quarter.  The Shendar is not rich, but the head of his dome, and more specifically, his mother-sister, has provided him with enough money to allow him to stay at such a place.

Ta’las continues into the city, following the wider roads lined with merchant stalls, one of whom he asks for directions to the Screaming Eagle.  The man points in the direction Ta’las has been following, and within minutes the Shendar finds the tavern.  After ensuring his Aj’Nuvic is stabled, fed and groomed, he enjoys a bath, a warm meal and a soft bed, a pleasant respite from the gruel he had been eating and the hard cot that was his bed on board the Blue Storm.  

The following morning, after his ablutions which include a shave and a wash, Ta’las gathers his Aj’Nuvic and heads north, out of the city.  Before leaving Chylikis, he approaches a young soldier stationed at the gates.  “Excuse me, kind sir, would you give a traveler directions to the elven city of Aer'Ylferian?”

The soldier gives him a vapid stare and scratches his chin.  “You’re not from around here, are you?” the soldier asks slowly.  Then the soldier shrugs.  “I’ve never been to whatever-you-called it, but the elves live north of here.  Just follow the river until you come to the forest.”

“Thank you,” Ta’las offers with a smile, and then leads Desert Rose onto the road that runs parallel with the murky, yellow depths of the Thaehelvil River.  He looks at his mount when it nudges his shoulder and smiles.  “Yes, Rose, you can stretch your legs now.”  Ta’las mounts the Aj’nuvic and in minutes is speeding away from Chylikis.


Ta'las

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Capher
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2005, 01:30:22 AM »

The old man refreshed began his walk northward once again.  It was still warm so he carried the cloak in the rucksack that the farmer’s wife had given him.  As the sun began its journey downward and twilight fast approached.  The old man found the stream once again.  This time he set up a proper camp and soon a small fire was burning and he was thoughtfully munching on the food given him and drinking some of the ale.  He had put the small cask in the cold stream to cool it down from the heat.

In the distance he could see a forest looming.  It seemed insurmountable.  He thought, I guess I will have to go through it.  He pulled out the cloak as the weather cooled.  For reasons he did not understand he pulled out the spools of thread and needle and began to sew intricate designs into the cloak.  When he finished the first design he was startled to see it glow, for just a brief a moment and then the glow disappeared.  He assumed it was his eyes and the firelight.  He worked on the cloak until it was finished.  There were many varied designs upon the cloak.  The most notable ones were of a wolf, a tower upon a mountain, and a dragon that was so deceptively sewed within all of the designs, including some geometric, that you had to spread the cloak out and look very closely to see it.

When the old man finished the designs he sewed some inside pockets as well and then drifted off to sleep.  He was not asleep long, when he began to dream.  He dreamt of flying, of a young boy, who turned into a man…who had powers…a wizard.  The old man tossed and turned.  His dreams then changed.  He saw a battle worn knight, a young raven haired woman, with her hair intertwined and wrapped into one long piece hanging down from the back of her head.  He saw a greenish looking woman as well, slender, yet strong, with funny looking ears, a redheaded warrior woman, aloof, but carrying sorrow, so deep, deep as a well.  They seemed to be traveling somewhere…The knight was speaking to him…but he could not understand.   But he felt like they were his friends and he felt safe with them, yet he wanted to protect them as well…he did not understand.  

Then suddenly the dream turned to horror!  He was burning the raven haired girl, she was screaming and dying.  He tried to stop himself, but then they stopped him; others whom he did not know.  A sorcerer and ones with the funny ears…whom he know knew as elves.  But wait, it was not him they killed but a demon!  Something from Coor’s place of torment.  He watched detached, yet sorrowful as they pulled the burnt, dying woman out of the way.   The dream once again changed…now he saw the burnt woman, and the Red-headed one, lying on cots.  The ones whom he did not know were there also in this room…The old man cried as he watched the raven haired woman being taken care of by an elf!  In her coma, she seemed to scream out a name…Capher…Capher, where are you?  I need you.  The old man did not know who this Capher was but he dearly wished he could help her ease her pain.  He cried silently.

A wolf howled and the old man woke up.  He was sweating even though the night air was cool: The dream all but forgotten, except the vision of the burnt raven haired girl-woman.  The old man sat up and listened to the howl of the wolf.  He was not frightened by it, but it seemed to call him.  He felt something around his neck.  He felt his neck and found nothing.  He was curious as he could feel it.  He reached into his neck, and like his stomach, he went into the skin and felt a chain with a medallion upon it.  He pulled it out and looked at it.  

The medallion had what seemed to have a silver quill pen crossed over a silver broken sword embossed over a black jade background.  It was held by a strong, yet strange metal chain around his neck.  As the old man stared at it, wondering what it all meant the moon came out full and shone upon the medallion.  Suddenly the old man saw an iridescent dragon, much like the one he had sewed into his cloak, with an image of a man flickering back and forth between both images.  His mind swirled with thoughts that almost drove him crazy thinking about who he was?  

Then he felt a bump on his right ring finger he had not felt before.  He looked down and again realized he would have to reach into his human skin to find out what it was.  He pulled back the skin and though he thought he would have been surprised at what he found.  He was not.  It seemed familiar, as though it belonged there all the time, just like his necklace with the medallion.  It was a ring, with the same design as the medallion.  

Another howl broke the old man’s thoughts and he changed as if it were the most natural thing to do in the world into the white wolf and howled back in answer and then ran off leaving the campfire far behind.

Capher.

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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2005, 12:26:22 AM »

The following day dawned and found the old man back at the campsite.  He quickly broke camp and threw away the old flour sack and put on the cloak.  Though the weather was already heating up, he felt cool beneath the cloak.  He began his trek toward the looming forest.  

As he walked he could actually remember the previous night’s frolics with his brother and sister wolves.  They all gave him some kind of obeisance in their own way, but soon they were playing, chasing prey and howling at the moon.  He enjoyed himself immensely.  When he asked if any of them were human?  Their response was one of puzzlement and then outrage.  An older wolf with a scar across his eye asked, “One would like to know why you would ask about our enemy?  Look at what they have done to our kind, much less to your own, old wise one.”

The old man considered the wolf’s question.  He was confused by what the old wolf had said, “My kind.”  He answered back in wolfish, “One was wondering if there were any shape shifters like me that am all?”

The wolves laughed.  “One has never heard of a human shape shifter, not a true one.  Surely you must know this, old wise one.”

The old man did not know how to answer that question so he just shrugged his shoulders, lifted his muzzle high, and howled at the moon.  Soon a chorus of howling accompanied him.   The rest of the night was uneventful.

The old man followed the path and by mid-day he stopped and ate lunch.  The trees in the forest were becoming more defined.  He could see many Eur’Oak, and several different varieties of the Birch.  The old man puzzled as to how he knew he so much but could not remember his name or his purpose?  He gnawed upon some beef jerky washing it down with some ale.  His mind kept on nagging him about the statement the old wolf had said the previous night. ‘Look at what they done to our kind, much less to your own.’  My kind? The old man thought.  At first he thought he thought he was talking about shape shifters, but they all said they never heard of a human shape shifter.  So, what was the old wolf talking about my kind?  And why did he call me ‘Old wise one’ If I am so wise, why can I not remember who I am and what my purpose is.  And more importantly, why I feel driven to go into this forest?

The old man wrestled with these questions as he continued on his way.  

Capher.

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Talas Anthavin
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2005, 11:52:22 AM »

The Aj’nuvic carries its mount with ease, as its long legs carry it alongside a riverbed full of yealm reed and Marsh willow.  Its rider, whose face is concealed beneath a  headscarf that glints in the slanting rays of the evening sun, gazes out across lush farm fields made fertile by alluvial deposits from the Thaehelvil River.

Ta’las pats his Aj’nuvic’s shoulder.  “It is late, Desert Rose.  We must stop now.”  Though the Shendar knows his mount could continue long into the night and the following day without stopping, the ground here is uneven and there is too much risk of falling and breaking an ankle, despite the excellent night vision of the Aj’nuvic.

He laughs when Desert Rose snorts at him, but is not surprised when his mount obediently stops.  Ta’las drops to the ground and rubs the Aj’nuvic’s ears, as he unwraps his headscarf.  “Soon the time will come when your speed and strength will be needed,” Ta’las says soothingly.  He removes a brush from one of his pack and brushes his Aj’nuvic’s brown coat of fur, and sings softly as the animal begins to doze off.

When he is finished, Ta’las reaches into his pack for some food – a small piece of cooked meat that has been salted to allow it to last longer, some redberries he had harvested earlier that day, and a chewy piece of bread.  The Shendar kneels as he eats and looks southward across the lush plains south of Quallian toward where his homeland, the desert region of Truban, lies.  The air here is much more still and wet, he muses.  He can feel the humidity has almost dampened his clothes.  All around him is a sea of vegetation, and though it is nearly night, it is still warm.  It is strange here, he thinks, and then wishes he were home.

When Ta’las gazes into the river, movement all over the still water’s surface catches his eye.  He furrows his brow and approaches the marshy riverbed, keeping to a few large stones to avoid getting his feet wet.  From his vantage, he sees the movement is caused by a swarm of small beetles that float on the water's surface and every once-in-a-while use their legs to steer themselves away from water lilies or reeds in the water.  Ta’las grins as he watches the beetles, but is startled by the sudden appearance of a carris fly, which begins to make a meal of the strange little beetles.  Carris flies are familiar to Ta’las, though they do not make their appearance in his homeland until late summer or fall.

Perhaps I am not so far from home, he thinks.

Ta'las returns to his mount and finishes his meal.  He spreads out his blanket and quickly falls asleep.

Ta'las

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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2005, 12:12:22 PM »

From atop his Aj’nuvic, Ta’las waves at a man hoeing weeds in a field of wheat as he passes a small farmhouse.  A large dog basks on a patch of bare ground that surrounds the rustic abode, and lifts its head to bark at them as they race by.  Though he is several peds away from the dog when he passes the massive dog, the Shendar notices several deep gashes in its fur.

“Quiet, Jake!” the farmer yells angrily.  When the dog stills itself, the farmer returns to his work, grumbling about the stupidity of canines.

Ta’las smiles from behind his headscarf and urges Desert Rose onward, encouraging the Aj’nuvic to run.  Farm fields stretch out to his left, all fed by the waters of the Thaehelvil, and a number of small cottages dot the land around him.  The path here is well travelled and fairly even, and Ta’las feels a sense of urgency to find the burning woman as soon as possible.  They travel inexorably northward, and as the sun reaches its azimuth, and the heat and humidity begin to close in around him, he sees the distant outline of the Quallian for the first time. His forehead drips with sweat, which is beginning to sting his eyes.

Despite his strange dress, some of the people he passes wave.  At one point, a farmer dressed in a worn tunic calls out, wondering about where he is from.  The man appears pleasant, and his cottage is well-kept.  Three young boys run about behind the cottage, yelling and playing in the tall meadow grass.  

Ta’las stops Desert Rose with a light tap of his heel, despite the Aj’nuvic’s snort of protestation.  As the Shendar approaches, he removes his headscarf so the farmer can see his face.

“Greetings, good stranger,” the Shendar says between deep breaths.  “I am Ta’las, son of An’thavin, a Shendar of the Ráhaz-Dáth.”

The farmer raises his eyebrows.  “Really?  You’ve come all the way from Truban?” he asks incredulously.  The farmer offers his hand to shake.  “Please forgive me.  I’ve never met anyone from so far south before.  Name’s Randal.”

Ta’las shakes Randal’s hand and smiles.  “There is no need to apologise.  If I am half as strange to you as this place is to me, I can understand how you feel.”  The Shendar looks behind the farmer as a woman exits their small cottage.

“Randal!  Can you draw water for –”  She stops when she notices Ta’las and the Aj’nuvic behind the Shendar.  “Oh, who is this?” she asks as she approaches and stands beside her husband.  The woman does not look afraid, but is uncertain about this stranger.

“Carrah, this is Ta’las.”  Randal then motions to his wife and adds, “Ta’las, this is my wife, Carrah.”  He looks at his wife and smiles.  “He’s from the far south – a desert rider.”

Ta’las bows to Carrah.  “It is an honor to meet the leader of your dome.  Your man has just been kind enough to stop and share words.”  He notices the strange look that passes between the couple, but thinks nothing of it.  “I must continue northward, but before I do, could I trouble you with a question?”

The farmer shrugs.  “Sure.  Ask away.”

“That forest in the distance,” Ta’las says, pointing northward.  “Is that where Aer'Ylferian can be found?”

Randal and Carrah nod together.  “Yes,” Randal starts.  “But I’ve never been there before – I don’t know where it is.”

The Shendar nods.  “Yes, I shall have to hope I do not spend much time wandering the woods.”  Ta’las wraps his headscarf around his face, again concealing all but his eyes.  “Thank you, friends Carrah and Randal.”  He then mounts his Aj’nuvic and continues onward.

Behind Randal, the three young boys charge up behind their father and leap on him, riddling him with questions.  “Who was that strange man, father? Is he going to come back?  Why was he was riding a goat?”

“Stop being so rude, and go wash up for dinner,” Carrah sternly tells her sons, and shoos them toward the door of the cottage.  She rolls her eyes and looks at her husband, who is smiling broadly.

“You have to admit he was a bit odd,” Randal says.

**********************************************************

The woods of the Quallian become more distinct as the day progresses and finally, as evening falls, the forest appears to be within a day’s ride.  Travelling with haste, Ta’las nearly misses the abandoned camp – the burned out ashes of a campfire, a patch of bent grass, as if beneath the weight of a sleeping person, and an old flour sack.  

Ta'las brings Desert Rose to a stop, and this time the Aj’nuvic does not protest.  Once the Shendar dismounts, the Aj’nuvic strides to the nearby stream and brings to drink.  Ta’las lays out his blanket and begins to eat, when he notices the footprints in the soft mud at one edge of the camp.  The Shendar furrows his brow when he notices the human footprints quickly disappear and are replaced with those of a wolf.

Ta'las

Edited by: Talas Anthavin at: 7/18/05 5:05
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2005, 01:20:22 AM »

The old man continued his slow, but steady pace toward the forest.  It never had occured to him to ask the people whom he had met on his journey what the forest's name may be.  he shrugged his shoulders.
 Does it really matter
?  he thought as he stared at the looming forest.  Maybe?  

The sun was still up but in the shadows of the forest, it was more like twilght.  The old man looked up at the lofty, leafy limbs of the trees.  He looked around and found a place to camp for the night, Several fore's away, but still within the shade of the outer trees.  He made a fire, ate and drank and laid back upon the soft grass.  His eyes drooped as he looked at the stars and one constellation in particular...he named it as he drifted off to sleep...Seyella.

He did not know what it was but something woke him.  He rose and listened.  The wind was blowing through the top of the trees.  He could hear small animals rustling just inside the forest.  Then he saw the predator, an owl, sweep down and grab its prey.  It then swooped up into a tree and ate it.

What amused, or confused the old man, was that it was gray colored, and it seemed not be afraid of him as it sat in its tree tearing chunks of fur and meat with its sharp beak as it ate.  Then to the surprise of the old man the owl flew down to him and landed no more than a ped from him.  It looked at him and talked.  "Capher, have you forgotten?"

The old man was frightened, confused and yet there was something...about that owl that seemed somehow familiar...He stammered, "Are...are you talking to me?" he asked feeling a bit foolish.

"Yes Capher, I am." The owl replied

"Why do you call me Capher?  Is that my name?" The old man asked.

"Your human one." The owl replied.

"My human one??" The old man asked, a bit dubiously.

"Yes Capher. You must remember.  Try! The whole world depends upon you remembering.  I can not help you.  You must do this on your own.  I must be going."  And the owl lifted its wings and took flight.

"Wait!!" The old man yelled.  "Remember what?  Please help me?" He cried.  He felt so alone and then he heard a wolf's howl and woke up.

The moon was high in the sky.  The old man shook his head. "It was all a dream." He mumbled as he listened to his brother wolf call.  But what a dream!  It felt so real and he could not remember having such a vivid dream before.  He shook his head once more, shaped into a wolf and joined his brother's and sisters.  There, among them, playing, he was happy and the dream soon became a distant memory.

Capher.

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Talas Anthavin
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2005, 12:36:22 PM »

Ta’las wakes early the following morning.  The sun is just beginning to show itself over the crest of the small hill and dew still clings to the blades of grass.  The Shendar rubs his eyes and rises slowly, peering northward to the Quallian.  Though the trees are still indistinct, Ta’las can see the mist that wreathes the forest, giving it an ethereal, otherworldly appearance.

He removes some bread and redberries from his pack, fills a waterskin from the nearby stream, and quickly eats breakfast.  When he is finished, Ta’las looks at Desert Rose and rubs the Aj’nuvic’s short brown fur.  His mount makes quiet contented noises, and closes its eyes, obviously enjoying the Shendar’s ministrations.  “We will leave soon,” Ta’las whispers softly, and then walks to an open space in some short grass.

The Shendar closes his eyes and stretches – first forward, then to each side, and finally backward, until he nearly touches the ground behind himself.  Ta’las holds that position for a number of seconds before somersaulting backward in the air and landing on his feet again.  He then launches himself forward, unsheathing his sword as he flips high in the air, and finishes in a crouch with his sword in hand.

Ta’las swings the blade smoothly and slowly in gentle arcs that match his tumbling manoeuvres, rolling forward and from side-to-side.  As he continues, his pace quickens until his sword strokes are a blur.  The Shendar’s pulse races and he exults in the ferocity of his swordplay.  This melding of thought and action is his perceived doorway to the truth, yet as he continues he cannot see in his mind how to step through.  There is discord in his movement, and as quickly as he began, the Shendar suddenly sheathes his weapon.  

He hangs his head in failure.  The warrior’s way still eludes me, he thinks.

**********************************************

Desert Rose races toward the Quallian at a dizzying pace, its long powerful legs stretched to their fullest.  The Aj’nuvic churns up large divots of grass and mossy earth beneath its hooves and its keen eyes are fixed on the ground in front of it.

Before them, Ta’las sees the largest trees of the Quallian become more distinguishable.  Though he has heard of the vastness of the Sharadon Forests of Brendolan, a much larger woodland than the one before him, the Quallian is still impressive in size.  More and more trees line the Thaehelvil the further northward the rider and his mount travel, so at times he is travelling in the partial shade of an occasional stand of oak or birch.  He is awe-struck by the magnificence of the Quallian, never having been this close to a forest before.

Ta’las smiles fiercely as the wind rushes past his ears.  “It is beautiful, Desert Rose!”  He receives only a short snort in response, as his Aj’nuvic is focussed on their path before them.

He continues through the remainder of the day, ignoring the gnawing pain in his stomach.  His failure at the campsite this morning has accentuated his desire to find the burning woman and begin his search for the truth within himself.  His hale Aj’nuvic travels ceaselessly throughout the evening, and into the early hours of the morning.  

The Shendar taps his feet lightly on his mount's flank, but Desert Rose snorts back at him, unwilling to stop.  “Rose, you must stop.  I cannot see the trail before us.”  Despite that, Ta’las can still hear waters of the Thaehelvil off to his right, and on occasion glances across the moonlit waters of the river, so he knows they are still moving northward to the Quallian.

Before Ta’las can speak again, his mount slows its pace to a steady canter as another wolf howls in the distance.

“You’ve never worried about wolves before,” Ta’las says.  The Shendar peers at the trail ahead of them and finally sees something in the grass beneath the limbs of a large tree.  As he nears, he sees the remains of a campfire and a pack, and pulls on the reins.

Another wolf howls.  The Shendar dismounts from his Aj’nuvic and steps into the campsite.  It is too dark to be certain, but the campsite appears to have been recently abandoned.

"We will remain here," Ta'las says finally.  Wolves do not like fire, so he stirs of the embers to rekindle the fire, and adds a few pieces of wood to fuel it for another couple of hours.

"Stay close, Desert Rose," the Shendar says, and lays his blanket on the ground.  He grabs some more dried meat and bread, as well as his waterskin, and after a quick meal falls into a light slumber.  His Aj'nuvic kneels down next to him and also falls asleep.

Ta'las

Edited by: Talas Anthavin at: 7/18/05 5:07
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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2005, 04:40:22 AM »

The following morning the old man, after resuming his human shape, heads toward his campsite.  As he walks out of the edge of the forest he notices an animal.  The animal seemed familiar but he could not recall its name.  He was startled, yet curious why such an animal would be lying next to his camp.

As he neared the animal he then noticed a figure, lying on a blanket.  He could not see the figure clearly as the sun was barely peeking over the horizon and everything was in its early morning shadows.  The huge lofty, leafy trees of the forest also cast its own shadows making identifications harder.

The old man stood there, thinking.  He wanted to go to his camp and check out his things.  But, what if this stranger took them?  Why is this stranger in my camp?  I assume this is a man.  But what if it is a woman?  What would a woman be doing out here? And alone?

He just sat down upon the grass a few peds from them, pondering those questions...waiting for the sun to rise more so he could see more clearly.  He thought about trying to sneak into the camp, but changed his mind.  Besides, he had other things to think and worry about...that dream he had, kept on coming back.  So he sat there, chewing on a piece of long grass waiting...

Capher.

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Talas Anthavin
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« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2005, 12:27:22 PM »

Ta'las wakes early, to see the sun's rays filter through the leaves of the trees.  He blinks and rubs his eyes, then rises to his feet.  "Good morning, my friend," he says to his Aj'nuvic and pats his mount who is standing quietly.

The campfire had gone out long ago, and the pack still lies on the ground.  The Shendar starts to pack up his bedroll, when he notices the old man sitting quietly in the shade, chewing on a blade of grass.

He could not believe he had not heard the old man enter the camp.  Ta'las had lived enough years on the road, and had taught himself to sleep lightly.  However, Ta'las does not feel the need to be alarmed - Desert Rose would have woken him had the old man intended him harm.

"Greetings, stranger," Ta'las says with a smile.  "Please pardon my rudeness for sleeping while you waited, but I did not hear you enter my camp."  Then, he realizes with dismay that the pack on the ground might belong to the old man.  "Or perhaps, this belongs to you," he says, and picks up the pack and holds it out to Capher.

"If so, I thank you for sharing your camp, and know that you will be welcome in my mother-sister's dome."

Ta'las

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« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2005, 02:31:22 AM »

The old man listened quietly and peered at the man as he talked.  The young man in front of him did not seem to pose any danger to the old man and the young man even offered to give him his pack back, along with saying something about being welcomed in his mother-sister's dome.  The old man quickly snatched his pack away from the young man and searched through it.  Nothing was missing.

"Young man.  Are you always in the habit of sleeping in others camps without being invited?"  He asked.

As he waited for an answer he looked over they young man.  His clothes were unusual, but somehow the smile reminded him of someone.  Who is that someone?  His brain asked him.  

Suddenly, the old man's eyes glazed over and he shook violently. A sharp vision of a braided dark haired woman appeared.  She was very beautiful. she was riding an animal and talking with him.

Then suddenly the vision changed they were in a meadow near a forest and the woman was being attacked by a fiery demon. He saw her put her sword down and that seemed to protect her.

 The old man yelled..."Run! Get away, Run Talia."  

The woman ran but she dropped something in the meadow.  The old man thought it looked like a flute?

Then the vision changed again and he saw the woman, now near death, her beautiful hair had been nearly all burned off.  Her skin was charred black.  But she clung onto life.

The old man sat there clutching his pack.  Tears streaming from his eyes.

OOC Ta'las you heard the old man yell and mention Talia's name, however I will not remember what I said.

Capher.

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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2005, 11:21:22 AM »

Ta'las shakes his head and looks down in chagrin when Capher questions his using the camp uninvited.  "You are right to be angry.  I am not normally so forward.  It was late and though I had thought the camp abandoned, I should have continued onward."

The Shendar is about to apologize when the old man begins to shake and then yells out for Talia to run away.  Ta'las turns quickly, drawing his weapon in alarm, but he sees no one in the camp.  After a few moments, he resheaths his weapon and takes a step closer to Capher.

The tearstricken man is obviously upset.  "I am sorry, sir."  He reaches a hand toward Capher.  "Would you like to sit down over here?" he says and motions to his woollen blanket.

"I think perhaps we may be of some help to one another," Ta'las starts, seeing the man's eyes are no longer glazed over.  "You mentioned the name of someone for whom I am looking.  A woman named Talia, who I fear is in some danger, and obviously you have great concern for.  Do you know such a person?"

Ta'las

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