* 
Welcome Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?


*
gfxgfx Home Forum Help Search Calendar Login Register   gfxgfx
gfx gfx
gfx
Embed Maximize


Newbies, read these!

Character Creation
FAQs
Restrictions

Main Site
Portraits
Rules
Story Creation
Racial Crossbreeding
Magic

Contact
Tips and Tricks
IRC Chat
Measures Converter
Elven Aging Calculator

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 6   Go Down
Print
Author Topic: Chapter Two - "Thalambath" - Part One  (Read 27602 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
Adventurer
Admin
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 7034


Human, Remusian


« on: March 07, 2011, 03:46:52 AM »

It was early.  The first rays of morn were not yet breaking over the horizon, though it was light enough to see without the light of the campfire.  Altario sat a small distance from the tiny fire, wide awake, taking the final shift as lookout for the group.  He preferred to be up before the others.  It gave him time to himself at the start of each day.  Besides, he was finding it hard to sleep in this god’s forsaken land.  At night, it was cool, sometimes even cold, and he found that he could sleep, but within moments of the sun coming up over the horizon, the heat became too hot to sleep, at least for him, so he would have been up anyway.  This way, he got to sleep as much as was possible.

He glanced to the others.  Though some stirred with the coming dawn, none were yet awake.  Just as well.  Strange as it seemed, as the Remusian's eyes traveled over the sleeping form of the orc, he did not feel hatred bubbling inside him.  Nor was there a liking, mind you, for if she disappeared right this moment, he would never lose a moment sleep over it, but simply an absence of malice.  After all, it had been her idea about the wagon.

Altario looked to the wagon.  Much larger than the cart Ana had used to guide them to Strata.  Larger, but still sleek in design.  It would not bog down in the loose sand.  But there was something else about the wagon, something only the mind of an orc could come up with.  Though from the outside the wagon looked sleek and light, it held within in a secret.  Somewhere between the bottom of the wagon and the floor of it was a chamber, skilfully designed by carpenters to exact specifications set out by the orc.  Only a creature of cunning (not a positive attribute in his mind) could conceive of a plan like this.

A soft neighing brought his attention to the two horses of his.  Danilyn was tied to the wagon, while Horse was hobbled off a little way further.  She wasn't yet able to be hobbled, as he didn't trust her not to try and run off and possibly hurt herself.  From his squatted position, he hauled himself to his feet, grimacing as his knee protested.  He noticed that the mare's eyes were on him again, as they often were.  She was smart, that one, Altario mused.  She had much character.  It had been too long since he had owned a horse like that.  Horse was a faithful friend, but he was nothing special as far as horses went.  She was.  But, she still needed much work.  She was young, with too much unfocused energy and a wild spirit.

He walked over toward her, and raised his hand to stroke her neck, but she pulled back violently.  The tie to the wagon held, but a frown came over Altario's face.  She was too skittish.  This had to change.  She couldn't be allowed to stay jumpy at everything that moved.

The Remusian leaned forward and checked the rope that tied the mare to the wagon.  It was strong, and it was tied well; there was no chance of her breaking away.  He then stepped over to where he had stowed his saddle and belongings.  From there, he picked up his saddle blanket and shook it vigorously to lose the sand from it.

Spinning on his booted heel, Altario started back toward Danilyn.  The large bay eyed him warily as he approached, her star catching the first rays of light as the sun finally broke over the horizon.  As the Remusian strode forward, he began to wave the blanket wildly about, over his head, then off to one side then the other.

The wain pulled tight against her ropes, but was held tight.  She snorted loudly and with a frightened tone, her eyes large and white with fear.  Still, Altario advanced, and when close enough reached out and allowed the spinning blanket to brush against the horse.

Danilyn whinnied in terror, pulling back with all her might, her back end lowering to give her more pull, but it was in vain.  She was trapped.  She tried to dodge the blanket as much as she could, but there was nowhere left to go.  Even if there was, Altario read her every twitch, her every move, and whenever she tried to shy away from him, he stepped in her way, waving the blanket and letting it wash over her, hard enough that she felt it, but not hard enough to hurt her.  After all, this was a lesson to teach her not to be afraid.

For several minutes this dance continued until finally, panting heavily, her dark coat covered in froth and dripping sweat, Danilyn came to a stop.  Though her eyes continued to follow the waving blanket, her body no longer had the strength to try and escape it.  Altario noted this with satisfaction, but continued to wave the blanket, allowing it to hit her.

He watched her eyes.  With every wave of the blanket, every time he allowed it to drag over her back, her flanks, around her hooves, over her backside and around her head, he watched her eyes.  Slowly, the white in her eyes began to disappear, until she closed them, too exhausted to keep them open any longer.

With that, Altario casually tossed the blanket back onto the ground.  His own breathing was laboured and the muscles in his arms burned.  He barely had the strength to place his arms around the neck of the wain, leaning in and resting his forehead against the star on her own forehead.

“Do not feel bad, Danilyn.  You fought bravely.   You must learn that there is little that can hurt you, if we are as one.  When you learn this lesson, nothing will be able to stop us.”

Altario felt a set of eyes on him, and he turned toward the source.  He knew the look in those eyes.  “I did not hurt her.  She needs to learn that there is little to fear in the world.”  He strode past the figure.  “If you wish to make yourself useful and help her, why don’t you grab a brush and groom her until she is dry.”
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 07:32:35 PM by Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin » Logged

Favorite Cartoon Quotes
"It was a dark and stormy night."  - Snoopy
"Ack!" - Bill the Cat
"I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinski." - President Bill Clinton

My Character can be viewed @Angelina Jolie's house.  But knock first, in case I'm in my underwear.
Toama SorInyt
Confident Nomad
Approved Character
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 151


Human, Sand Sisters


« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2011, 03:49:58 AM »

She was feeling wonderful. Despite the illegitimate nature of their endeavour, it had been a long time since she had felt quite this good. Of course, that was not to be wondered at - it had also been a long time since she had been in an environment quite so much like her own homeland. When she closed her eyes she could almost imagine being back with her sisters. The hotter the weather became as they travelled, the more she enjoyed herself, though she could tell that the warmth had a different effect on a number of companions.

As she had been used to do back home, though the habit had slackened somewhat with living in these soft countries, she woke with the first rays of the sun. The change in the temperature was immediate, and that woke her up. She loved living this close to nature again. She got up quietly, so as not to disturb any of the party still asleep. Altario was up, as she had known he would be - he had taken the last shift more than once on their journey here. He was doing something with one of his horses, though from where she was standing she could not see what exactly. She walked around the sleeping form of the orcess to get a better look.

What she saw made her raise her eyebrows in surprise. The man seemed to be waving a blanket at the horse, which was obviously terrified of the flapping item at its back. It was interesting to see the struggle between the horse and the man, but in the end the man won out - if barely, as far as she could make out. His caress of the horse was as much a hug as it was a search for support. Then the man spotted her looking at him, and snapped something about helping out. As Toama grabbed a brush, a crooked little smile lit up her face, though she did not say anything. She wasn't quite sure why he had snapped at her like that, she hadn't understood half of what he said, but she felt too good to let his brutish manners get to her. Anyway, he was a man - what else did she expect, sensitivity? As she brushed down the sweating horse, the thought actually made her laugh out loud.

When she was finished with this horse, she turned her attention to her own. Desert was freshly rested, contrary to Altario's horse. She worked methodically, occasionally scratching the horse in places that she knew he enjoyed. She murmured sweet nothings to him in her own melodic language, which few people around here understood. For a while she stood with her cheek pressed against Desert's neck. Then she looked up and around to see who by this time had also got up. She was eager to go on.
Logged

Lili the Elfcat
Endearing Cutthroat
Approved Character
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 642


Human, Helvet'ine Kuglimz


« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2011, 09:56:29 PM »

The desert had eyes. That’s how it seemed to Lili. Because there was nowhere to hide, she couldn’t do a step without the feeling that she was being watched. And at the same time, what with the glare of the sun in your face and the sudden winds that swept eddies of sand in your eyes, blinding them, Lili felt that she herself could see hardly anything. And because of that, she suspected that others, with eyes better suited or trained, must surely be watching her. Behind every dune that she and her companions climbed or circumvented, she suspected something to wait for them. An animal maybe, of a kind that she had never seen before, yellow like sand, quick like the wind, ready to bury itself into the dunes at any blink. Or a Shendar caravan with their aj’nuvics that had stopped for a rest, unconcerned by the sandstorms or the burning sun, at peace with themselves, and unsurprised by the arrival of Altario’s party of greenhorns, whom they would have seen or heard or smelled from strals off.

This was not how Lili was used to travelling. There were no trees to climb for a better view, no animal calls to gauge the presence of danger by, no undergrowth to disapper in if required. She felt exposed, vulnerable, small under the towering dunes, and small in the face of the endless expanses of sand on whose soft surface the party were riding and walking like on a yellow sea.

But she liked the nights, when it was cool and you finally felt like eating again, and your tongue would stay moist for longer than a blink after you’ve had a swig. For then, in the sky, another sea would reveal itself, its dark smooth waters unblurred by clouds, and thousand stars swimming in it. Lili looked for, and found, the four stars that made the constellation of the dove, the sign of Eyasha, Goddess of Peace, and would reflect that even in the middle of an unknown desert, on a desperate mission to smuggle contraband into the most fiercily guarded city in Santharia, hoping against reason that this would satisfy the blackmailers that had a hold on Altario’s brother – well, that even in situations like this it didn’t pay to worry too much. So Lili slept rather well, thank you very much.

When she woke, someone was already up and stirring. It was Altario. Apparently, he had a little disagreement with his new horse. He tried to teach it not to be afraid of a blanket, and, it seemed to Lili, wasn’t succeeding all too well, for the horse’s frightened whinnying was what had woken her.

Lili rubbed her eyes, but didn’t sit up. For a blink longer, she would stay under her blanket and enjoy the illusion that she actually needed it, before facing the fact that the sun had already begun to warm the air, and that very soon she would wish for a river of mountain meltwater to sit and cool down in.

Meanwhile, Altario had noticed someone else who was awake, and commanded them to brush down his beast. This someone, it turned out, was Toama, the dark-skinned stranger. And she actually got up and did his bidding! Why in the boardrak’s name would she do that? Lili realized that she hadn’t figured this lady out yet. Her actions and her motivations were a mystery. Maybe she came from a land where the women obey the men, and do their chores for them? It was possible.

Lili propped herself up on her elbow and surveyed their makeshift camp. There was the wagon, sitting in the sand like a sleeping beast. There were the horses, her own Fiddlesticks among them, with Kassandra perching on the saddle, her head still in the wings. There were the little bundles of blanket, cloth and hair, were the companions lay and, presumably, still dreamed of cooler lands. And there was Altario, who always managed to put on an air as if he was in control, even though this whole journey, of course, proved that he was not.

”I take it you used to have servants?” Lili said to him, and lifted an eyebrow.
Logged

"It's not good that I'm bad, but I'm proud that I'm worse than I seem."   ~ Lili the Elfcat ~
Foul-mouthed Familiar: Kassandra the Charlatan Daggerbeak (Gossiper)
Mysterious Memory: Kuglimz Love Song
grallen gast
Softly Smiling Scoundrel
Mini-mod
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 385


Orc, Ashz-Oc


« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2011, 12:30:26 AM »

Something was breathing wrong. Grallen’s ears twitched, poking out from under the mess of dark hair and rumpled blankets bunched over her face, and she opened an eye, staring blearily at the rough wool a nailsbreadth from her face. On second thoughts, this wasn’t such a terrible awakening. She’d woken to fire and falling masonry before, and to kicks in the ribs and the sound of chains. It had become habit to identify the sounds that had pulled her out of her dreams.

Ah, right, the breathing. Panting, whinnying, snorting sort of sounds... oh. She smiled to herself, realising it was just a horse, probably that awkward fancy thing his lordship had picked up at the inn in Strata. In her eyes the ideal horse should be fast, not averse to the sudden introduction of a new rider, and not too securely stabled.
 
She stayed still and quiet, not moving the blanket off her face and just seeing what she could pick up of her surroundings. It was usually Altario on lookout at this time in the morning, so he must be the cause of the horse’s whinnying. Sure enough, he spoke, presumably to somebody else already awoken by whatever he was doing.

“I did not hurt her.  She needs to learn that there is little to fear in the world.”

A sour look came over her concealed face. Yeah, right. She shifted very slightly, and felt the dull ache still in her abdomen, where the knife wound had only just healed over. It hadn’t much added to her enjoyment of the journey over the dry, hot unreasonably sandy desert, but she’d done her best not to show any sign of discomfort. It wasn’t pride, she told herself; it was necessity, with her standing in the group still not quite higher than that of the carthorses. Alright maybe it was a little bit pride, but nobody would notice with Altario in the vicinity. She smirked to herself, at that, and then her muzzy smile widened as she heard Lili’s voice.

”I take it you used to have servants?”

So from the sounds of things that’s three others awake. Probably the one brushing down scaredy-horse is Toama, she’s always up early... Grallen decided she might as well give up the pretence of sleep, if only so she could see the expression on his lordship’s face, at Lili’s remark. She turned over, and sat up, picking up the pouch with Ernest inside in an automatic movement.
Logged

When you’re entirely lacking in conscience or sense of risk, a frog will have to do.
Grallen's CD
Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
Adventurer
Admin
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 7034


Human, Remusian


« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2011, 04:56:17 AM »

Altario returned to the sleeping area, where the others were beginning to stir.  Good, they could get a move on soon.  He stepped to the back of the wagon where a keg was attached and opened the spigot, allowing a few drops of precious water to fall into his cupped palm.  He then sipped the water from his hand.  He hated having to be so careful with the water.  It was so very different from the north where there was water everywhere in the form of ice and snow.  But, he knew that wasted water meant death, here.  Their guide, a Shendar, kept giving them all disapproving looks whenever they would drink too much; whatever "too much" meant.  Come to think of it, Altario couldn't remember seeing the man drink at all.

His lips moistened, he knelt down near the others and began to gather his belongings.  He looked up when he heard Lili ask him a question.  He stared at her for a moment, wondering if her query was some sort of backhanded insult.  If it were the orc, then he'd know for sure, but with Lili...  Of all the people here with him, Lili was the one he found most perplexing.  The orc and the dark elf, well, they were orcs and elves, what was on the surface was all there really was.  How deep could they be?  But, Lili was different.  She was, by and large, the friendliest of the group, nearly always in a good mood (somewhat annoying to the Remusian), yet, from what little he could gather about her past from her stories, she had lived a life not entirely on what one would call the straight and narrow.

He shrugged minimally.  "A few.  Grew up with them."  Altario glanced back toward Danilynn and the dark skinned girl who was brushing her.  "Though, when my parents died, they were more like surrogates."  His eyes fell back on Lili.  "My attitude comes from my days in the army, I suppose.  I mean, that is what you were asking, right?  Why I'm such an ass?"

He scoffed slightly.  "I was a good soldier.  I'd like to think that by my commanding, I saved more of my men than I lost."  For a moment, his grey eyes clouded over as memories of people long gone crossed his mind, those he lost in the war with those damned orcs back in Remusiat so many years ago.

It was then that he became aware of the orc moving.  He caught her stare and for a brief second, their eyes locked.  Inside, he was awash in differing emotions.  In his minds eye, he saw the carnage those orcs in Remusiat had caused.  He saw the violence, the killing, the rape.  He could still see clearly the faces of those monsters that tried to kill him, and the faces of those that he left dead or dying in the snow.  But her face wasn't theirs.  Yes, it was a damned ugly orc, but it wasn't the same feral face as those in Remusia.

Altario scowled.  Moral ambiguity always confused him and confusion only annoyed him.  He quickly scooped up his stuff and stood.  "The day is wasting.  We should get moving."  He turned on his heel and headed toward the horses.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 08:28:34 AM by Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin » Logged

Favorite Cartoon Quotes
"It was a dark and stormy night."  - Snoopy
"Ack!" - Bill the Cat
"I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinski." - President Bill Clinton

My Character can be viewed @Angelina Jolie's house.  But knock first, in case I'm in my underwear.
Lili the Elfcat
Endearing Cutthroat
Approved Character
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 642


Human, Helvet'ine Kuglimz


« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2011, 11:02:45 PM »

Men who like to lead also feel the need to justify themselves. To a brief remark that, however remotely, questions their personality, they will respond with a Grand Speech. Lili had often found this, and she was not surprised that Altario decided to use the morning to prove her theory – even though it was a Remusian Grand Speech, of course: rather concise by Southern Santharian measures. Well, at least he managed to summon some sense of self-mockery. Of course he was an ass. But he was a likeable one. And that, thought Lili, was because he was vulnerable. What a privileged life he must have been able to look forward to - servants and all - and what a hard life it had turned out to be.

”A few servants, eh?” Lili said, and grinned.

”But don’t worry, mate. I won’t tell. Almost nobody has a clean past.”

She wondered what it would be like to be a soldier. Pretty much the same as being a bandit, she thought, except your gang was bigger and the top neeps had fancier titles. But either way, you killed for your money, and if you lost a leg, you ended up sitting on your bum in a city street, sewage running into the holes in your boots, and stretching out your hand to beg for your bread. Let’s be grateful, then, thought Lili, that we still have both our legs, so that we can use them to walk into this desert to die of thirst. Or, failing that, to have our hearts ripped out by the Thalambathian guards.

Lili yawned, stretched her arms, crawled out of her blanket, and got up. The day is wasting, we should get moving,  Altario said. Lili looked at Toama, who seemed as sprightly as a kuatu, despite the early hour.

”It’s nice to have someone tell us what to do, isn’t it?" Lili said, and winked at Toama.

”That way, we don’t need to make any decisions by ourselves, and have time to enjoy the scenery. Do you like this desert much?”

Lili hadn’t really understood Toama until now. Why she was in Stratania, where she was from, why she had been on that pirate ship, why she had decided to join this party. It was time, Lili decided, to change that.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 11:08:47 PM by Lili the Elfcat » Logged

"It's not good that I'm bad, but I'm proud that I'm worse than I seem."   ~ Lili the Elfcat ~
Foul-mouthed Familiar: Kassandra the Charlatan Daggerbeak (Gossiper)
Mysterious Memory: Kuglimz Love Song
Toama SorInyt
Confident Nomad
Approved Character
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 151


Human, Sand Sisters


« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2011, 12:44:50 AM »

By the time she was finished with the brushing, it seemed that most of the party had woken up, some a little grumpier than others. While she grabbed a bite to eat, knowing how important it was to digest her food while the sun was not yet too scorching hot, she wandered over to where Lilli and Altario were having a conversation. The bantering was a little fast for her, but she liked being near talking people. It had been too long since she had actually been in a travelling group, and it took her right back to her nomad sisters. There had been constant chatting then as well, though the language was different.

Just as she finished her breakfast, Lili crawled from under her blanket, her hair a tangled mess. It reminded Toama that her own was probably not much better off, especially since she had let it loose the night before. However, that was something she could take care of while she was in the saddle. She smiled at the other woman's quip, as far as she understood it. "It is way for dealink to men. Let thinkink they are be in charge. We are knowink better." Her expressive eyebrows arched upwards a little, then she winked back, feeling a little bit more connected to this strong woman.

The second question she did not really have to think about, but still she took a moment to look around at what lay around. "I do am likink desert. It is home. Or... not home, but ... like home? I was beink livink in desert too, but other... I meanink... far away, yes? Over big water, what is beink name. Ocean? We livink as nomad, the way that are livink these Shendar. I am thinkink that many our group are not liking desert, yes?" As usual, she was getting frustrated with her lacking Tharian, but she ploughed on nonetheless. In some ways this Lili person reminded her of her sisters. In short, she liked her, and didn't really want the conversation to end - it would soon enough, when the heat became too much for much more exertion than going onward.

While she talked, she took a comb from her saddlebags and then mounted Desert. The horse seemed to remember home as well, and was eager to be off. Controlling the horse mostly with her knees, she started combing her long hair, working methodically to have everything looking as neat as possible. She decided on a simple braid, one that would shorten her hair considerably. The best hairdo while travelling was one where your hair didn't fly in your hair constantly. While she worked, she looked to the side to Lili, hoping that the woman would ask some more. In the foreign Tharian tongue, she was better at answering questions than she was at asking them, she was always a little bit at a loss what to ask, even when she was bursting with curiosity.
Logged

grallen gast
Softly Smiling Scoundrel
Mini-mod
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 385


Orc, Ashz-Oc


« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2011, 02:01:25 AM »

“...that is what you were asking, right?  Why I'm such an ass?"

Grallen didn’t bother to suppress a low chuckle. It’s a good day already. She took her canteen and poured some new water into Ernest’s bag. He seemed to be doing pretty well, despite the heat. Provided she kept him safe in the shade he would probably bear up better than she was.

"I was a good soldier.  I'd like to think that by my commanding, I saved more of my men than I lost."
Sensing his gaze on her, she looked up, smile vanishing briefly as she thought of all the commanders she’d known. The givers of orders, the men at the end of ropes and chains.

It is a nice day. Don’t spoil it.

She smiled, briefly, friendly, every bit the slightly sleepy girl just woken up, and took a sip of her water before stowing it again, and starting to get up. Stretching out stiff fingers, shoulders, back, and yawning languorously she nodded to the others awake, breathing in the desert air. It was still a little strange not to breathe sticky city air, full of scents that must be ignored if you value your appetite. This place just smelled of space and heat. She ran a hand over pockets, belt, sleeves, checking everything was still in place, and grinned.

Yes. It is a nice day. Let’s, as the man says, get moving.

She found a safe place for Ernest in the cart (our cart, our idea and look how beautiful it is, it’s perfect) and stood up to see if anyone needed help packing up. It also allowed her to see the desert, stretching for strals in all directions. She frowned at it, and asked nobody in particular:

“Are we nearly there yet?”
Logged

When you’re entirely lacking in conscience or sense of risk, a frog will have to do.
Grallen's CD
Lili the Elfcat
Endearing Cutthroat
Approved Character
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 642


Human, Helvet'ine Kuglimz


« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2011, 06:37:38 AM »

The women’s trick, the tattoed one said, was to let the men think they’re in charge, while the women (“we”, she said!) made the real decisions. She really did come from a place where the men call the shots, then, Lili thought. Else why would she have to play tricks? Anyway, this Toama lady had spirit, and that was good. How much easier it was to make friends with women than with men! For a man to include you in their “we”, you first have to prove your worth, swear twelve oaths of allegiance, or (and this was the only method that never failed) show them you’re stronger than them. With women, it was enough to share a joke and a wry smile at the messiness of one’s morning hair, and – Seyella behold – you had made a friend.

Toama talked funny, and slow, and sometimes Lili wondered whether she understood what was going on around her, especially when the talk went fast from mouth to mouth. But now, when it was just the two of them, Lili was pleased to find that Toama followed her perfectly well, and actually turned out to be quite eager to speak..

"I do am likink desert, she said. ”It is home. Or... not home, but ... like home? I was beink livink in desert too, but other... I meanink... far away, yes? Over big water, what is beink name. Ocean? We livink as nomad, the way that are livink these Shendar. I am thinkink that many our group are not liking desert, yes?"

”You can say that …”, Lili said. From the corner of her eye, she saw Grallen digging her way out of her blanket. The little orcess was one who looked particularly out of place among the dunes, with her rapscallion's cloak and her backalley grin.

”Actually, I think you are the only one who likes it here. So you used to live in a desert? Maybe you can teach me a thing or two, you know. I mean, how do you know what’s happening? To me, it’s all just sand, sand, sand. The sun kills all smells, and the wind brushes away all traces. Everywhere we go, it looks as if nobody’s ever been there before. How do you know where the animals are, where you can find water, where you can find food? How do you tell if someone’s following you, or laying in wait to cut you to bits and steal your horse?”

While they talked, Lili didn’t fail to notice the practiced movements with which Toama mounted her horse and arranged her hair. There was a poise and an elegance to this woman that made Lili feel good to have her in her party. Even her mutilated, three-fingered left hand looked graceful as she plaited her hair into a practical braid. Yep, someone who could deal with unruly hair so easily might just be able to look the Thalambathians in the eye and neither run away nor rush into a mad attack.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2011, 06:45:17 AM by Lili the Elfcat » Logged

"It's not good that I'm bad, but I'm proud that I'm worse than I seem."   ~ Lili the Elfcat ~
Foul-mouthed Familiar: Kassandra the Charlatan Daggerbeak (Gossiper)
Mysterious Memory: Kuglimz Love Song
Toama SorInyt
Confident Nomad
Approved Character
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 151


Human, Sand Sisters


« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2011, 07:58:58 PM »

It seemed that the woman was quite interested in the subject. Toama thought for a moment, trying to order her thoughts so that her answer would not be too jumbled. "Large part of livink in desert, is workink together, as team. Is like... every Sister is knowink every skill, but one person is knowink it better, and she is one to doink that task. To take example, water findink. I am not knowink how is in this desert, Shendar will be knowink better, but home there is beink certain plant, it can keepink water inside. If you are knowink this plant, and knowink where cut just good, this you can drinkink. But there are be also place in desert, where water is close to surface. It is beink not easy to findink. Some of Sisters had... feelink... how you say, instink? When we were beink near. Like desert had different feel there. I was not havink this instink, I was "Cani'tpa". I was defendink Sper'itua for attackink. This I am knowink more of, how see comink of enemy. In places in desert, you are seeink very far, if you are seeink movink it maybe is enemy. Maybe also not enemy, but you are knowink somethink is there, you are can beink prepare. But sometime... sometime they are managink surprise. Sometime you are not knowink."

For a moment the desert woman's face darkened, as her memory went back to the day she lost her mother, and two of her fingers. She flexed the fingers of her left hand, looking pensively at the injury. Then she woke herself from her memory, looking back at her conversation partner. "And so is beink with all knowink things. I am knowink animals in desert, but is for Loopa... hunter... to knowink where is beink animal, when is comink out, and so on. This way, every Sister is doink what she can doink best, and tribe is better of it."

As she was talking, she watched the orcess getting ready for the coming day. She was an enigma to the desert woman - savage looking, with a face that was much harder to read than a human's, and yet there were times when she seemed to be just like any other woman. Just as she finished with her explanation, Grallen asked if they were nearly at their destination. Toama waited to see if anyone would answer - probably the person to know this best would be their Shendar guide. If she had been at home she would have known exactly where she was at any point, but as this time she did not know the place where they were going, it was hard to know how far from it they were. However, something in the feel of the sand told her that it could not be very far anymore, even if it did look just as it had ever since they had entered the desert. It would be hard to describe this feeling to someone who had not grown up in the desert - it was like the finding of water, but still a little different, telling her that they were nearing the end of the desert proper, even if the place where they were going to was still hot and surrounded by sand. It was colonised by settled people, and that for Toama was no longer desert.
Logged

Damien Scar
Commander of the Gates
Approved Character
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 596



« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2011, 07:54:58 AM »

Damien Scar stood at the bow of the ship, his right leg bent as his boot rested upon the rail, his right arm lying casually across the lower section of his thigh, his left leg was ramrod straight as he stared at the ocean in front of him. The water sparkled as if the stars themselves had fallen from the sky. The sun behind him and climbing gave warmth through the slight chill of the ocean breeze that caressed his dark hair and creased face.

He looked down at the two small pieces of paper gripped between his right thumb and forefinger. They were messages from home; one was from his friend who he had given authority to take care of his lands and holdings, and the other was from Voltigar, King of Voldar. The first message was actually meant for the bank merchant of Strata confirming that it was okay to give Damien any amount of money he so desired as it would be paid promptly, and the second one from Voltigar surprised him even more: He reread the message again.

My friend and compatriot. After careful consideration I have determined that I was in error when I dismissed you as Captain of the Guards. I wronged you and for recompense I have given you the title of  Duke along with all rights, lands, and privy’s associated with the title. I look forward to seeing you.

Voltigar: King of Voldar.

“Tis a nice day to be sailin’, don’t cha think yer lordship?”

Damien turned and looked down at the Captain of the Pearl, a twin mast schooner he had hitched a ride on to take him to Thalambath. The Captain was a small wiry man, with bright blue eyes, deeply tanned and wind burned skin. His hair, which Damien assumed was probably brown, had grown so light now over the years of being on the sea and in the sunlight, that it was almost colorless; Damien had no name for it.

“Lordship? What made you say that?” Damien asked.

“Yer ring. I ‘ave seen many rings in my time and yer’s has a crest on it. Only people I know that wear those kind of rings are titled men or women, as the case may be,” the Captain answered.

Damien glanced down at the ring snuggly encircling his right ring finger. “Ah, I see,” he said as he removed the ring and put it into his pocket. “Let’s keep that a secret between you and I shall we?”

“Fine with me yer lor…”

“Damien will do.”

The Captain grinned. “Damien it is then. You can call me Grady or Captain. I came to tell ye that breakfast will be served soon.”

“Thank you, and I will be down in a few blinks,”

“As you wish, but I would not tarry, or else the crew will eat yer portion,” the captain said as he turned and left, nimbly climbing down the short stairs to the main deck of the ship.
Logged

I have travelled far and wide.
And Foiro's must have been my guide.
For I have discovered these things to be true;
A man must have two, mayhap three things in life to be truly happy.
A good weapon at his side.
A virtuous wife, if he can find her.
A quver full of children.
Sadly, I only have one;
A good weapon at my side.
Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
Adventurer
Admin
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 7034


Human, Remusian


« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2011, 02:10:39 AM »

It was a mountain, albeit a mountain unlike any he had ever seen before, and he was somewhat chagrined that he hadn't realized before what was now so obviously apparent.  He had seen this mountain before; they all had.  In fact, it had always been there, just beyond the horizon, for as long as he had been in this gods cursed desert.  Now they were heading for the mountain; this Norong'Sorno.  Yet, each morning he would wonder if they would reach it by that night, and each night it still lay beyond the horizon, only larger and taller.  How large was this mountain?  It looked as if the whole of Remusia could fit on it, if not the entire world.  It was bigger than anything in all his imaginations.

Taking his eyes off the mountain, he glanced back to the others.  He had often set himself apart from the rest, as they crossed this burning sand and pebbled sea, telling himself he was ahead in order to scout the trail.  It wasn't that he didn't enjoy talking to them, it was just... okay, it was because he didn't enjoy talking to them.  He didn't know what to say.  What did he have in common with any of them?  Nothing.  He was pleased that they were coming with him, thankful they were helping hunt for Nayriss, but he didn't understand why.  He wouldn't have done it for them.

Sitting atop Horse, he had the rope that held Danilyn wrapped around his left arm.  Most days, she followed obediently.  This was not one of those days, as occasionally she would pull back, nearly pulling the Remusian from the saddle, and causing his shoulder to ache.  What was her problem, this day?  Was it simply the sacking out she had received earlier?  He scanned the desert around them and there was nothing, no people nor animals, that should frighten her.  It puzzled him.

It was well after the sun (the Injera, Valannia would have said), had passed its zenith that Altario spotted what was the probable cause of the mare's distress.  What had started out as a dark line on the horizon was growing fast.  Rolling dark clouds above a brown cloud of sand was heading in their direction.  The speed on which it was crossing the strals between them and it left little doubt that they could out run it.

Altario pulled back on the reins, bringing Horse to a halt.  He waited for the others to catch up to him before turning in the saddle to face them.  "Looks like a storm coming in.  We might want to rest up a bit."
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 10:09:34 AM by Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin » Logged

Favorite Cartoon Quotes
"It was a dark and stormy night."  - Snoopy
"Ack!" - Bill the Cat
"I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinski." - President Bill Clinton

My Character can be viewed @Angelina Jolie's house.  But knock first, in case I'm in my underwear.
Lili the Elfcat
Endearing Cutthroat
Approved Character
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 642


Human, Helvet'ine Kuglimz


« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2011, 07:27:46 PM »

It was the same mountain, she was sure of it. There could not be a second one like it. She had seen it on her journey to Strata, from the ship that travelled down from Varcopas. The mountain was so high that you could see it from far off the coast, even if you saw no other land. This mountain, Lili had thought, didn't look as if it was standing on the world. It was the other way around: the world was clinging to the bottom of the mountain. If the world let go, it would fall into the Netherspheres, never to be seen again. But the mountain would still be there, sitting in its accustomed place in space, unperturbed at having lost a puny hanger-on.

Lili had sat on the railing of the ship, her legs dangling over the calm see, and gaped. That looks just like the sort of place where dragons live she had said to Kassandra. A sailor who had happened to pass by on the deck had overheard her, and said: Aye, dragons do live there. It's the Norong'Sorno. Its belly is full of flames, and sometimes it vomits liquid fire, which flows downs its flanks and over the land, scorching and destroying everything that it touches.

Lili had thought for a moment, and said: Well, let's not go there, then.

And now she was here, in the fierce volcano's shadow, within the reach of its fire tongues. That's how life goes, when you're a Kuglimz girl that roams aimlessly around in the South, hesitating to do what she has decided to do, because she is too afraid of what she'll find if she returns to the home that she lost.

*****

From a distance, the sandstorm looked beautiful; like a dance of golden air, a wind spirit in trance. Lili's head told her that a flurry of sand couldn't be so bad: okay, storms that hit you in the face are never pleasant, and she'd get sand in her eyes and her nose and her clothes – but then, Lili's eyes and nose and clothes were full of sand already anyway, and for someone who has lived through the snowstorms of the North, eddies of warm sand didn't appear so threatening.

But her belly told her otherwise. Her belly told her not to trust the golden colour and the pretty appearance, but to look at the furs on the brow of the Shendar guide, and consider the utter lack of protection their little group had here, in the middle of the desert. Lili's gaze fell on Toama, the only one here who knew what a desert was, apart from the Shendar guide. Lili had come to like the woman, and had found out that many of her assumptions about Toama had been wrong. This morning, after Toama had explained how her tribe was able to read the signs of the desert and make a living, Lili had scratched her head and said:

”Sisters? You keep saying “sisters”! You mean, in your tribe the women do everything? So what do the blokes get up to?”

And the widening of Lili's horizon had started from there. During the day, Lili had kept close to Toama, steering Fiddlesticks to trot next to Toama's sand-coloured horse whenever she could, trying to find out more about the tribe of sand sisters from over the ocean. Uncharacteristically, the bird Kassandra had not interrupted the conversation much. The heat, the dryness of her beak, and the buglessness of the desert had shut her up. In fact, she spent most of the day hiding from the sun in Lili's saddlebag, sucking on a moist rag. And so Lili had had plenty of time to ask questions.

She was close to Toama again as Altario halted the group.

”Stopping here?” Lili said. ”Where's the inn?”

”Inn,” repeated Kassandra from Lili's saddlebag, but without much hope in her voice.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 07:51:19 PM by Lili the Elfcat » Logged

"It's not good that I'm bad, but I'm proud that I'm worse than I seem."   ~ Lili the Elfcat ~
Foul-mouthed Familiar: Kassandra the Charlatan Daggerbeak (Gossiper)
Mysterious Memory: Kuglimz Love Song
Toama SorInyt
Confident Nomad
Approved Character
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 151


Human, Sand Sisters


« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2011, 03:56:11 AM »

All day, as they were travelling towards the city of Strata, an uneasy feeling grew in Toama's stomach. Like something was about to happen, and not something good. It was a feeling that she knew, one she had learned not to ignore. She enjoyed her conversation with Lili - apparently a group of women living together without any men had never even crossed her mind as a possibility. But during the talk, she kept scanning the horizon for signs of trouble - in human form or, more likely, sand-form. She was so intent on dividing her attention between what might be coming and talking to Lili that she at first did not even notice the mountain looming in front of them. When she did spot him, however, she was speechless for long moments. It was huge. It was humongous. It was larger than anything she had ever seen before in her entire life. Her home lands had high places, but nothing could quite match this towering mass of blackness. The sight of it was enough to make her forget her uneasy feeling for a while. She would never forget this moment, and feeling so small and insignificant, like she had never felt before. This mountain had been right there since before anyone could remember it, and it would remain long after anyone now had passed away, even long-living elves. All she could do to express herself was whisper to Lili, who was close by: "I was not knowink this could be existink!"

From that moment on there was a constant awareness of that mountain looming over them, seemingly close no matter how far away it still was, mixed with her uneasy feeling. Every now and then her gaze would stray upwards, then she would quickly look away again to continue her scan of the horizon. When she saw the first rolling of golden sand there, the mountain was again pushed to the background. Her uneasy feeling had finally gotten a name, and it was definitely not a good one. She kept looking at their Shendar guide, but apart from a frown in the general direction of the sandstorm, he did not show any signs of changing their course. Her worry grew at the same rate as the golden cloud on the horizon. It was Altario who finally spotted the brewing storm, and made everyone stop. Lili, who was still close by her, asked something about an inn. Toama shook her head irritably - her reaction having not so much to do with annoyance with the woman, but everything with focus on the storm. Deciding that their guide was useless, she led her horse towards Altario. "No inn, no stoppink also. We must be tryink get around storm. Tryink not go in if can help. I am knowink desert, you all followink me, yes?" She hardly waited for a curt nod from the Remusian before leading her horse in the direction of the storm, but considerably to the east of the course they were following before. There was no use in trying to actually outrun the storm, as that would take them in the direction they had been coming from. She went at a canter, knowing that a full-out gallop would tire and dehydrate her horse, and make chances of an accident even larger. She preferred being stuck in a sandstorm quite a lot above being stuck in the middle of a desert without a horse.

As she rode, she kept looking worriedly at the growing cloud. Only once did she look back to see the rest of the group following her, then she went back to judging the distance between them and the storm. The closer it came, the louder the humming noise became. It sounded like one of those... what was it, hivelings? The things made of insects. Except that this was no human form, had no awareness of anything and consisted of sand rather than beasts. Apart from looking at the approaching mass of sand, she also kept an eye out for any shelter, but found nothing apart from sand dunes, which was not a good place to hide behind unless you wanted to be buried in sand.

Eventually, she had to admit defeat. They were not going to be able to outrun the coming sandstorm. If they had wanted to do that, she probably should have spoken up sooner, instead of assuming that their guide would lead them right. And then the other part of the problem was the cart. Maybe if they had not had that with them, they could have gone faster and perhaps still outrun the storm. As it was, it slowed them down too much, and they could not leave it, it was their only way of getting into the city with their precious cargo of wood. She stopped her canter, holding up her hand to have the others stop as well. Automatically she sought out Altario, who seemed to be generally considered the leader of their expidition - of course, because without him they wouldn't even be on it. "We are not beink outrunnink storm. We are needink stop, preparink storm. Makink horse lie, together but tied with rope, or they might goink away alone, we are not wantink this. We are should puttink on mask, make little bit wet, put over mouth and nose, then other mask, puttink over eyes and ears, keep out sand as many as can." As she talked, she pulled from her saddlebag the bandana's that the Shendar guide had given all of them before they set off - at least one thing that he did right. She mimicked binding the bandana's in front of her face, but would leave off binding her own on until she had seen everyone was prepared. She had to speak up as the wind around them was picking up. "Now we must linkink hands... arms, make sure nobody is wonderink away, and lie down also."

Their preparations were done just in time. The horses were lying with their backs towards the approaching storm, their eyes and ears also covered with cloth, partly to keep out the sand and partly to keep them from panicking. Their leads were tied to the cart, with the most steady horses on one side. Even if they more flighty ones panicked and tried to galop away from the flying sand, they would not be able to. Desert was one of the steady group - At least he knew what was happening, and would not run away, even if it had been quite some time since he had last seen a sandstorm.

The group, their bandanas tied around their heads and their arms linked, was lying behind the horses, trying for the little bit of shelter their bodies and the cart could afford. Toama was the last to tie the cloth over her eyes, after she had made sure that everyone had the arms of at least two neighbours. She felt her way to her own place, keeping Lili's hand in her own maimed left hand, and linking her right arm with the orcess, Grallen. By this time, the wind was so loud that they would not be able to understand each other even if they had been so foolish as to open their mouths. She felt rather than saw the sand engulf them, wind blowing around them and sand beating on their skin, making them feel almost as if they were being flayed alive. Almost immediately, the outside world became dark, darker than night almost. It was good that she knew what was going on, or she might well have panicked. She tried to communicate through her linked hands to her neighbours that things would turn out ok, that they were going to survive this turbulent time just fine. She had no idea if the message came through, but it was the only means that she had of comforting at least two people. There was nothing more she could do now. It was just a matter of waiting until the darkness had passed - literally.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 06:53:49 PM by Toama SorInyt » Logged

grallen gast
Softly Smiling Scoundrel
Mini-mod
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 385


Orc, Ashz-Oc


« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2011, 06:00:16 PM »

Grallen closed her eyes and made herself breathe slowly against the dampened cloth in front of her face. She did not like this. Do not like that I’ve somehow got stuck holding Altario’s hand, do not like that I have no idea what to do, do not like that our guide seems not to be as expert as I’d made the mistake of assuming, and most of all do not like the storm. She could hear it now, hissing and moaning like some demon from wild spaces where people shouldn’t go. It stung and bit and clawed at them and there was no way to fight back. You couldn’t talk your way around a storm, and there were no vulnerable parts to kick, no way of scaring it. Lying flat and submissive here, she felt very keenly that she was a city-grown creature, had left the place she was born so far away it was out of reach even to her instincts.

Toama’s hand squeezed hers, and she remembered she was supposed to be taking deep breaths, keeping calm. Smoke-scarred lungs would not do well if she panicked now, with the air full of powdered rock. Ears laid flat against her head, she tried to think of something else. All she could think of was that bloody enormous mountain, or the faces and scents of the slavers back in Strata, or the storm that had rolled in that night, that confused, ugly, desperate fight at the docks, or, or...

Or the cart.
In her mind’s eye the solid, sturdy shape of it, the secret hollow at its heart, became a beacon of stability. The cart was the Plan and the plan would see them through, if they were careful. It will be alright.
Logged

When you’re entirely lacking in conscience or sense of risk, a frog will have to do.
Grallen's CD
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 6   Go Up
Print
Jump to:  

Recent Posts
[February 12, 2021, 07:16:33 AM]

[December 13, 2020, 12:16:51 AM]

[December 13, 2020, 12:16:21 AM]

[October 05, 2020, 02:58:40 PM]

[March 19, 2020, 03:47:44 AM]

[July 23, 2019, 07:02:29 PM]

[July 23, 2019, 07:02:23 PM]

[June 19, 2018, 12:49:51 PM]

[April 28, 2018, 03:44:22 AM]

[April 13, 2018, 06:36:29 AM]
Members
Total Members: 2847
Latest: DizzyKitt
Stats
Total Posts: 214561
Total Topics: 8051
Online Today: 44
Online Ever: 216
(November 30, 2006, 09:08:03 AM)
Users Online
Users: 0
Guests: 38
Total: 38

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2005, Simple Machines
TinyPortal v0.9.8 © Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Theme based on Cerberus with Risen adjustments by Bloc and Krelia
Modified By Artimidor for The Santharian Dream
gfx
gfxgfx gfxgfx