1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

The Winds of Ysgard - Part One

Discussion in 'Winds of Ysgard' started by Nimue, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

    9,825
    2,954
    413
    From the corner of her eye, Addison stole a glance at Sneaky McDagger. Whether he was surprised by the choosing, the Huntress could only guess. His scribbling on the parchment piqued her curiosity. Me name in print... again.

    She would spell her name or answer the bearded man's questions later, she figured. For now, she was most comfortable at the elder's side, hoping he'd accept her arm perhaps for her own comfort more than his.

    The civilized world is so much noisier than the wild. I'll bet them guards're wondering how the likes o' me slipped 'em by. 'Twas nothing next to rushing a pack to ax the alpha, and Ciardha knows, 'tis nothing next to navigating the crowded streets without a wall o' guards parting the way.
     
  2. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

    283
    148
    43
    Loke leant against the wall, chuckling to himself as the brash huntress was pushed back towards the crowd, only to suddenly be invited forward at the words of the old man.

    So the rumours he had heard were true. Not the rumours of the expedition, everyone had heard about that. Sparrows would be singing it from treetops, soon enough. No, he had heard rumours that the druids were involved, that their sight had been consulted. He would think it an act of mere desperation but if the Seer was so certain… perhaps something else was at play.

    "Are you Loke? The one from the poems!"

    He turned to see a small boy staring up at him, eyes as round as a shield's boss. He was young, well fed. Here with his family, no doubt.

    "You have me mistaken for another." He sliced off a final piece of apple and threw the core into the boy's chest, watching him catch it. Quick reflexes. "Run along now."

    The boy did so, still clutching the core, and he popped the final piece of apple into his mouth, freeing his hands to wipe the seax clean on the hem of his cloak. He had not lied, not really. The Loke of the poems was merely a myth.

    His eyes returned to that of spectacle and he wondered who else would soon be chosen. Who else had fallen into the Seer's gaze? Fate was a fickle beast, ever illusive. The further one reached, the more it seemed to dart just beyond the grasp. Who would soon find themselves thrust upon its back, at the mercy of its vacuous whims?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
    Nimue likes this.
  3. Tom

    Tom Istar

    2,726
    1,191
    163
    Troia shifted from one foot to the other, her attention turning from Ari and Rikhard and back to Farrun Ramshorn. "Look, you two--that red-headed girl is up there with the druid. Farrun must have chosen her."

    "You don't say?" Einan shaded his eyes against the sunlight and glanced up at the group before the doors of Haelding Hall. "I wonder how they're choosing companions for this journey. If it's by way of magic, we might have a chance...but if it's just a selection...well, they'll probably choose people of influence and fame. We're no one special."

    Troia sighed, but somewhere in a corner of her mind, she was hoping they wouldn't be chosen. The only reason she'd agreed to come with Einan was because there was a chance she could have a hand in the freeing of the Folk and Dunmen who still slaved under the Yvalhyn. But she already missed Firin. The world seemed a little too big and a little too unknown at the moment.
     
    Nimue likes this.
  4. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    11,095
    1,562
    313
    Rikhard nodded in silent agreement with Einan's final words. He didn't know about the other two, but Rikhard was dead certain he was no one of note. This whole affair was too grand for the likes of him.
     
  5. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

    1,592
    1,019
    163
    Well, she seemed forthright enough. Farrun noticed the flare of Thoros's nostrils as he tried to catch the scent of the various skins and hides she wore, without lowering his head too close--people tended be alarmed when they turned and saw a huge scaly muzzle right next to them.

    This is an odd one, the dragon said. An odd human female, Farrun caught in wordless clarification.

    There's a lot of variety in the species, Farrun told him drily. Thoros snorted, and a whiff of brimstone rolled over them.

    Eamon had taken the girl's arm, and was gesturing ahead with his staff. "Onward, lass, we have some faces to find."

    Farrun came up behind them. "Make way," he told the crowd, raising his voice again. Eamon ploughed ahead as folk shuffled and retreated. The druid seemed to know exactly where he was going. Farrun followed them, feeling rather unneeded. Though he kept an eye on the crowd--he had seen a few speculative looks after Addison had broken the line of guards and then been chosen. If need be, he could keep anyone from accosting the druid, though he would be surprised indeed if someone decided to start trouble under Thoros's watchful gaze.

    Some sought to catch his eye, rather than the druid's--Farrun smiled back at them, but kept a lookout. Was it possible for the druid's sight to be clear in this press of people?

    "There he is," came Eamon's voice.

    Farrun followed the line of Eamon's outstretched finger to a tall man in a dark red cloak and a gilded tunic. He stared, then squinted--no, there was no mistaking that hair, or that inked head. He nudged past Addison to face the man.

    "Loke Bloodaxe?"

    The echo of the name scattered through the people around them, all of them staring. A grin crept across Farrun's face. At the sight of this rough-edged man, one of his fears--that he would be shepherding half a dozen sixteen-year-olds, all as hot-headed as he had been at that age, across the wilderness--faded. "Harrowfeld, wasn't it? I remember you. I was the fellow on the dragon," he added merrily. "Ah--"

    Eamon and Addison were already moving on, heading deeper into the crowd.
     
  6. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

    9,825
    2,954
    413
    Addison was enjoying her place near the old druid. As Eamon led her to another chosen—wherever he is… or she—the Huntress decided the best way to handle the world of men was the same way she handled the world of beasts. Never show fear.

    She spoke to total strangers as she passed them. "Pardon us," she told a man in the elder's path. "Aren't you cute?" she asked a young girl on her father's shoulders. When bypassing a couple, she said to the man, "She's a pretty one. Hang onto her." That was the last random stranger she'd address, Addison decided. The Huntress realized there was another reason not to dread civilization.

    He was so close…!

    "Earon," she said out of the blue. "I should've pet him. That dragon wanted a sniff at me, he did. Maybe Sir Dragonrider can tell him I'm not afraid he'll eat me. Some'd say he's tame, that dragon. Oh, but he ain't that. He's got a will of his own, that one."

    Addison tossed back one side of her cloak to reveal her breelwing armor. It made her chest look like a man's, but the design was rather feminine below the waist, forming a gunmetal gray skirt which draped over her breelhide leggings.

    "I know a predator when I see one. Maybe a dragon's a predator, but that one don't mean to make me his prey. I don't know that dragon like your friend does, but that much I do know. Beasts, I get."

    Addison spied a sled dog in the crowd, and a playful one at that.

    "See? Now, there's a tamed beast. See how he tolerates the crowd like the thousands o' people ain't there? Tamer than I am, that one."
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
  7. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

    283
    148
    43
    Loke allowed himself a wry smile. Yes of course, throw a stone carelessly into the air and you had no right to complain when it struck you on the head.

    "Yes, Harrowfeld. Rarely have I seen elven ranks collapse so completely. It will be good to fight alongside a dragon once more."

    He saw the old man heading into the crowd, the brash huntress at his side.

    "But you have others to find," he said, inclining his head.

    He pushed his way through the crowd, heading up to the great hall, his eyes turning to the Wolf Queen. Was this part of her design or was she being dragged along like the rest of them?

    He left the crowd and saw, for the first time, Bendalitz, the Queen's Left Hand. Loke would not presume to say he knew the man, but they had killed elves together at the height of the war. That was enough for him to know he was worthy of trust.

    He turned to address the crowd, smiling his wolfish grin. "I, Loke Bloodaxe, am honoured to join this expedition and to lend my axe to its great cause. There could be no greater calling than to aid in the return of dragons to the world!"

    The crowd cheered; although a crowd like this would cheer anything said in a loud enough voice. Still, it would not be said that he meagrely accepted fate. He would grasp it with both hands and wring its neck, if needed.
     
  8. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    11,095
    1,562
    313
    Rikhard looked around as a man's sudden shout rose over the crowd's murmuring, and an answering cheer rose around him. He applauded politely, glancing to Einan and Troia. "Have you heard of that man? Bloodaxe?"
     
  9. Tom

    Tom Istar

    2,726
    1,191
    163
    "...No." Einan's eyebrows drew together. He craned his head, trying to get a look at the man in question. "Our village is deep in the foothills, and news of the world at large is rather rare."

    "And you miss half of the news we do get," Troia tossed at him, "what with spending hours each day out in the woods."

    He snorted in return, not paying very much attention to the jab. He'd finally caught a glimpse of who he thought might be the Loke Bloodaxe man. Hm. He certainly didn't look all that important; just a rough Folkish man in what looked like the garb of a simple footsoldier. Maybe there was hope for his and Troia's inclusion after all.
     
  10. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

    1,592
    1,019
    163
    They were coming close to the back of the crowd. More onlookers than hopefuls, these. Farrun looked back as Loke proclaimed his intentions, eyebrows raised. He was taking to it well--not the only rousing speech that man had delivered. Even with the advantage of his height, he could just see Loke. But Thoros could be seen from anywhere in the square, and Farrun was amused by his posture now; he sat coiled like a statue, his neck curved back and his green eye regarding Loke sharply. He looked like did when presented with butchered meat and not a live meal.

    He seems like he will face this as a warrior faces a battle. Farrun caught a hint of disapproval in the dragon's thoughts.

    Is that not apt? We've done our share of fighting.

    But you were not a warrior when I chose you.

    These are different circumstances, Farrun maintained. He tried to catch some of the conversation between Addison and Eamon--which was largely one-sided. Here, though, Eamon lifted one wispy eyebrow and said, "You'll come to know both of them, lass." He craned his head back and told Farrun, "Here they are, in a bundle."

    The three young people in front of him were turned together, as though they had been speaking the moment before. A tanned young man with striking green eyes and a worn tunic. A blond, elfin male and a shorter young woman with a stubborn chin and twin braids, both wearing country clothes with rich colors and fur trimmings. And a very large, woolly dog, panting complacently.

    "These three?" Eamon nodded, impatiently, already steering Addison around to return to the hall. "What about the dog?" Farrun wondered.

    "Aye, the dog leaves with you. What else the dog will do is up to himself."

    With that answer, Farrun was left with the young folks. "Come up, then," he said gently, unable to keep back a smile. They were all older than he had been when Thoros had called him, but he was reminded of that time, and those feelings.

    Even for your kind, you aren't old, Thoros said dourly. Farrun chose to ignore him.
     
  11. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    11,095
    1,562
    313
    Rikhard looked up as two men and a woman approached. At the mention of "these three", he glanced around, unsure of whom the old man might be referring to. But a moment later it was plain. He, Einan and Troia were among the chosen.

    For a moment Rikhard did not speak, but simply took a deep breath, recalling Einan's talk of destiny. Maybe this was a good thing... a trek further inland would take him well out of the Captain's reach. Maybe Adannus had ordained his escape from that accursed ship and his travels here just in time for this. One hand clenched and relaxed again as Rikhard resisted the urge to reach up to the golden pendant hidden safely under his tunic, against his breast.

    He met the old man's eyes and gave him a nod. "As you wish."
     
  12. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

    9,825
    2,954
    413
    Addison was momentarily confused by the druid's answer—but then she was led to not one, but three chosens. Four, counting the dog.

    Her eyes lit up. Somehow, having a dog in the group made things easier. And not just the dog. "Looks like I ain't the only lady in the bunch."

    The old man could move for a guy with bad knees. Addison followed his lead, but glanced back to confirm the other chosens were heading in the same direction. She introduced herself to the three, "Addison Lane's me name. I'm a Huntress."

    She then fixed her gaze on the dog. And what about yourself? Are you a hunter? You're tamed, yes, but stronger than your wild brothers. Addison felt a tingle in her hair. Her curls started to straighten a little. She turned her back to the animal, but wanted the dog to come to her side so she could get a better look. She extended her free hand. Come to me. I am a friend.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
  13. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    11,095
    1,562
    313
    "I'm Rikhard," he answered, looking curiously at the redhead. She definitely looked like a huntress, all clad in fur and leather, with a bow and quiver on her back. "I'm... a wanderer." What else could he say, really? The most he'd accomplished thus far was surviving. And not without a lot of help, both earthly and divine. This Huntress looked entirely self-sufficient. Rikhard wasn't bad at mending clothes, but making them himself was something he'd never attempted. Caradoc and Eoran had taught him how to set snares for rabbits and take birds down with slingstones, but they'd hunted all their bigger game themselves.
     
  14. Tom

    Tom Istar

    2,726
    1,191
    163
    Troia could almost sense Einan's shock beside her, radiating from him like heat from a lamp. She herself was numb, too taken aback to blink. Us, she thought. Us, out of all these tens of hundreds of people. Two youths from the backwater of Firin.

    "Aye, I'm glad to see another woman here."

    She managed a smile for the red-curled huntress, Addison, taking in her slightly feral appearance and otherworldly green eyes. Something about the girl's open manner and direct address sparked admiration and genuine liking in her, and the smile grew a little of its own accord.

    "My name's Troia," she continued, and then gestured to her two companions and her dog. "These are Einan and Rikhard, and the dog is Ari."

    The girl looked down thoughtfully at Ari, and suddenly the air took on a charged feeling. Troia shivered as the hairs on her arms stood up on end. Ari cocked his head, tail wagging hesitantly. After a few heartbeats, during which he seemed to be wavering on the cusp of a decision, he trotted up to the girl and nosed her hand in greeting.

    "Mm, high honor," Einan observed dryly. "He only does that for just about every stranger he's ever met."

    Troia elbowed him hard in the ribs, eliciting a growl of protest which she ignored, then turned to Farrun Ramshorn and the old man with Addison. With his sharp eyes and wizened appearance, Troia could only assume he was a druid. She bowed her head to them both, her heart leaping, her doubts seeming to have vanished into thin air.

    "Thank you for selecting us. We're honored to join you on this expedition."
     
  15. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

    283
    148
    43
    Keeping an eye on Farrun was not difficult, as most of the crowd turned to follow him wherever he walked. So it was that Loke was able to see when three more were chosen, all clumped together like a particularly destined bunch of grapes.

    An interesting group, they were assembling. The road would be hard if they were to travel with any speed and there was every possibility the elves would attempt some ambush. They could only carry so much food and mountains were treacherous places at any time.

    The brash huntress did not concern him. She looked capable enough and clearly knew her trade. There was a young man, though, who looked like he'd struggle to win against a light breeze and would be destroyed utterly by a harsh word. Perhaps he had some strength well hidden, because it certainly was not cloaked by confidence. The other woman was young but looked hardy enough for the road and beside her was… an elf.

    An elf was joining them. Perhaps he was not Yvalhyn, Loke could not yet tell, but he was still an elf. Could an elf understand their conflict? Could he be trusted against the sickness that dwelt within his northern kin?

    "Oh, they have a dog!" He turned to one of the guards, smiling as he clapped him on the back. "Perhaps the dog will be a dragonrider. Would that not be a sight to see?"
     
  16. Tom

    Tom Istar

    2,726
    1,191
    163
    The man Loke was staring at him. Einan shifted his weight and stared back, resentment and jangled nerves gnawing in his stomach. Oh, he'd seen that look before. He may have been dressed like a human. He may have been covered in scars and callouses. He may have spoken in a rough accent. He may have spent his whole life among humans. All everyone saw at first glance was an elf.

    Just let him try. Just let him try and connect Einan's being an elf to the Yvalhyn. Troia put her hand on his arm, and he realized with a jolt that his hands were clenched and his teeth gritted together.

    "Calm down," she whispered. "It's not as if he's accusing you of sorcery on the spot."

    Einan let out a short breath through his nose, trying to disperse the good head of steam he'd felt building in his chest. At the same time, apparently sensing that the man had made a joke at his expense, Ari barked at Loke--a short, hard bark of warning. With a stern rebuke, Troia tugged the big dog's leather collar and made him sit still beside her. His crystal-blue eyes stayed trained on Loke, however, and Einan could see the tension in the dog's body.

    It was odd, Einan thought, how Ari seemed able to sense the temperaments of the people around him. None of Troia's other dogs had the ability, though it could stem from the fact that Ari had been cared for and hand-fed as a pup, having lost his mother and all his littermates at birth. He had grown up practically a part of Troia's family.
     
  17. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    11,095
    1,562
    313
    Rikhard wasn't sure he understood what was going on, but the tension between Einan and Loke was thick as butter. He looked at the older man in confusion, his brows knitting. Why should he act so hostilely toward Einan just because his ears were shaped differently than everyone else's? It wasn't as though Einan could help it.
     
  18. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

    9,825
    2,954
    413
    Addison asked Troia, "Is this fine beast yours by any chance? I'm hoping it's the case as I assume the sleeping arrangements put us as roommates. If we get the dog, too…"

    A man's voice boomed a comment about a dog riding a dragon. Addison saw him laughing—the same man Sir Dragonrider had spoken to moments ago.

    Calm, Ari, and stay close. He's a predator, but we're two predators if it comes to that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  19. Tom

    Tom Istar

    2,726
    1,191
    163
    "Yes, he's mine." Troia laughed. "Sorry, but I'm claimed at the moment."

    "As if you'd really let me claim you--as if I'd want to, anyway." Einan rolled his eyes. "Really, Troia, you always say that you're your own person, and that you value your freedom...and then you go and say something like that."

    "You've got another jab in the ribs coming," she replied, ruffling Ari's fur. He gazed up at her with curiosity in his eyes, oblivious to what her words meant, but alert to the sound of her voice. "No, not you. You're not the snide one around here."
     
  20. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

    9,825
    2,954
    413
    Addison enjoyed the light exchange, but decided the big man deserved a reply. She faced the predator, with no intent to provoke him.

    "Don't know about riding dragons, good man." Is he that? "But the dog's been chosen to tag along with the rest of us. Dog's also got a name. Ari's his. Addison's mine. And these here are me new friends, Einan, Troia, and Rikhard.

    "Seeing how you've been chosen to join… whatever it is we're joining, I assume we'll be getting along nicely. It starts with names, and I'm afraid I don't know yours—or Sir Dragonrider's." Addison faced the dragon rider himself. "Begging your pardon for that. Seems you and the big guy are quite famous in these parts, or maybe the entire world. I spend most o' me days in the wilderness, so the world o' men eludes me."
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
Loading...

Share This Page