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The Winds of Ysgard - Part One

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

  1. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Chrisania shrugged and said, "Lone woman on road sometime must defend herself. I try trick before violence, but sometimes tricks not enough so I keep knife in boot. But cantrip work just as well on cleaning animal blood or anything else off blade. It not only for washing human blood off blade. Zat would be very specialized spell, yes? Shall I do now?"

    She pointed a hand at the blade and offered to clean it off with her spell.
     
  2. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison looked at her blade. Cleaning it was a job she should handle herself, she thought.

    "Ye can make the blood disappear? How about memories? Could I forget—"

    The question Addison was about to ask made it clear to her: she needed help.

    "—no, I'd never want that. I need to remember me killin', and what I'd look like hogtied and surrounded by men if I didn't. I need to remember the bag o'er me head, and the thoughts o' what'd follow if not for me axe and me willin'ness to use it."

    When the first one fell, the smell of bile told her she had already crossed the line. The man was paralyzed, not just by lightning magic—the axe penetrated deep enough to sever his spine. Slitting throats made it clear to the enemy that it was her intention. It was. Addison wanted a fight to the death the moment men made a Huntress their prey. Rik and Loke knew capture, slavery, and... Addison wanted no part of that.

    She took another look at the axe. Wyverns bled more. This would not be so difficult to clean.

    "Chrissy, can ye sit with me when I clean me axe at camp? I think the mess ain't more than I can handle. If it is, then I might trouble ye for a spell."
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  3. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Chrisania nodded and said, "Of course I will sit with you, sestra. Whatever you need," without further comment, though she had many thoughts of her own on the subject. Addison didn't need lecturing, she just needed time to sort her thoughts.

    Though she knew of several ways, both magical and mundane, to alter or erase one's memories, Chrisania knew that the world was sometimes a violent place and that Addison would likely be forced to take more lives if she wished to survive. Forgetting the pain would make killing easier, but then killing should never BE easy. It was good for the huntress to learn that killing should be a last resort, though the hard part would be balancing that with doing what needed to be done when no other options were available. Love of life was admirable but one should never forget to value their own life when someone threatens to take it or they might become paralyzed when the time for action comes. It seemed that Addison might need help finding that balance between the two extremes and Chrisania secretly vowed to help her sestra find that balance.
     
  4. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    When she arrived at camp, Addison thought of a place she would clean her axe. She thought everyone could use a rest by the campfire first, herself included.

    Addison showed Loke her bloody axe. "Didn't kill any animals today. Just people." She didn't know what else to say on the matter. There were supposed to be tears and guilt, but she suppressed neither. Now she only felt guilty for failing to provide food. That would be easily remedied...
     
  5. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    Loke looked Addison over. He'd seen many take their first life and few reacted much the same. She seemed calm, but hunters were experienced at killing. Perhaps to her there was little difference... or perhaps the slain lurked behind, merely waiting for her to turn around.

    "You'll want to clean that axe. Wipe it down, at least. Blood and metal make terrible companions." His hand slid down to his new throwing axe, caressing the toe of the axe bit. "I seem to have missed a great deal of excitement. It was a good thing they had you to look out for them."
     
  6. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison felt like a new member of a secret club. To join, you had to kill somebody.

    "Chrissy's magic kept the whole dozen from jumpin' us at once. Not sure if ye remember her from the festival. The brigands wanted attention, and got it with the lady brigand feigning cries o' distress. A fool plan, lurin' those who're willin' and able to put up a fight.

    "I ain't pretendin' me first kill won't take a bit o' sortin' out, but I've had time to think on it, and I think me first beast was more deservin' o' me tears. I'll head to the river to clean me axe and skewer some fish. I didn't let the men make me their prey, and I won't let 'em stop me from bein' a predator neither."

    The Huntress stood, axe in one hand, sharpened stick in the other, and what other weapons she couldn't hold, she wore. She took a few steps forward, then stopped. "Thanks, Loke." Something about his look and his words helped her in a way she couldn't express, nor did she want to. The tears were coming. Another word from her lips would surely spill them. Addison started toward the river, not concerning herself with who would follow and who wouldn't.
     
  7. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    Bendalitz squinted at Addison as she walked in the direction of the river. He sighed. "Well, at least she's not being melodramatic." Starting off, he added, "Yet."

    Bendalitz, while considering himself a man with a way for words, would be the first to admit none of those words had anything to do with consoling or comforting. But a challenge was a challenge, and he was game. He caught up with Addison at the river and, having run through several possible angles to take, made no hesitation in beginning the ordeal.

    "When I was barely a man," he said, "I killed five Yvalhyn who were occupying my village. I showed no mercy, and I made sure that, before they perished, they heard my words: 'You deserve to die'."

    He drew his dagger and ran a finger down the engravings on the blade. "I carved those words into my blade, because they are, I think, some of the most powerful words that can be said." He sheathed his dagger again and turned on his heel to face Addison. "Tell me, do you think those brigands deserved to die?"
     
  8. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    As Addison cleaned her blade, she heard footsteps approaching from behind. Chrissy... she could cry in front of... oh.

    Bendalitz. She resented hearing his voice, enough to keep her from melting in front of him. As she heard his words, Addison figured he meant well. He was welcoming her to The Club. Someday, Rikhard or Troia would kill, and Addison would have to offer her own words. Maybe Einan wasn't in The Club yet, but what of Chrissy? She seemed too sweet to kill even the most deserving. Addison pictured her sticking an assailant in the gut, then handing the man a potion to save his life while warning him of the possible side effects. She imagined the warning would go something like, Eef you have an erection in ze next venti-four hours—

    —Most powerful words? What words?

    Not wanting to remain lost in her own thoughts, Addison read the engraving. Bendalitz went on, then followed his story with a question.

    Addison thought of the bag over her head, and the thoughts that raced through her mind as she struggled to tear the bag off—what she feared eleven men would've done with her and Princess while the lady in red watched and cackled. The one she spared more or less said it wouldn't have come to that. Just as likely, he said what he had to to keep Addison from gutting him.

    Visions of blood spilling from a man's gut, a slit throat, another—the last with a gratifying arterial spray—those visions of her kills were much more pleasant than the visions of what could've been.

    Only a second passed as she thought her thoughts and envisioned her visions. She rested her axe and took another second to ponder the engraving Bendalitz had pointed to on his dagger. It amused her at first, but the message was serious: Bendalitz would not stick that dagger in anyone unless the engraved words applied to his target, and he would stick it in without remorse. At a later time, Addison would find the words to express her heartfelt appreciation. For now, she would look Bendalitz in the eye and answer his question sincerely.

    "Yes."
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
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  9. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Chrisania decided it was best to keep an eye on Addison for now, so she followed to the river. With ample water available, the huntress would need no help cleaning off her blade, so Chrisania decided she would help with the fishing. It had been quite some time since she had last been fishing and she had never done so with tools before. Carrying around fishing rods or spears with just add extra weight to her road travel that she didn't want to bother with. Not to mention if some local noble decided that she was "poaching fish", the lack of fishing tools would work in her favor.

    Allowing Addison and Bendalitz to speak in peace, she began her preparations while still keeping within earshot. Boots off, skirt hiked up to the knees, and into the water she went. The chilly water rapidly flowed around her calves as she slipped her fingertips below the surface of the shallow water, and gently swayed them back and forth. As she stood still in the water fish swam past her, unaware that she was anything more than a mere obstacle in their path. It was not long before a large trout swam right between her hands and rubbed its belly along her swaying digits. Chrisania's fingers danced along the fish's belly, apparently tickling the trout, which one not familiar with trout tickling might assume would frighten the fish. Instead, the trout grew calm in her hands, entering a trance-like state that made it easily for her to lift out of the water. The trance did not last for long though and as it was pulled from the waters, it began to flail back and forth, but by this time Chrisania's grip was firm enough that the fish was going nowhere. Prize in hand, she calmly walked back to the bank and dropped the flailing fish into the grass.
     
  10. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    "Oh?" Bendalitz stroked his beard. "Is that so? I'll take your word for it." He made to leave, but stopped after a few steps. "Of course, there are times when someone doesn't deserve to die, but must. Those are the people you should cry over." With that he continued back to the camp.
     
  11. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    "If the brigands had their way with me, I'd be bound in rope. Killin' was me way o' changin' the stakes. I'd rather kill or die than live to be bound by men."

    Addison wasn't sure if Bendalitz would listen or keep walking. She went on anyway.

    "I had time to sort it out enough, and I can tell ye that the words on ye knife apply to the ones that got away. If it were up to me... if I didn't have better things to do, like lookin' for dragons' eggs, I'd stay and hunt down the other nine. The world ain't fit for anyone who'll bind and bag a helpful stranger. Farrun's takin' the one I spared to be locked up. I see any o' the other eight, they die unless Farrun orders different. If it's me call, I ain't sprain' another man who arms himself with a bag and a rope. It don't matter if the battle's over, they kneel with hands in the air, beg... what'd be me fate if I'm taken alive by their ilk? What'll the ones that run off do to their next victim?"

    Addison picked up her axe. It seemed lighter now. Plenty clean too, but not sharp enough. A glance downstream confirmed that Chrissy knew a few tricks to keep herself fed in the wild. The fishing would be faster with two Huntresses on the job.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
  12. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    The bandit had begun to stumble on the last leg of their march, despite Farrun's growled threats. It seemed like honest weariness, after the number that Addison's lightning had done on him. What made Farrun decide to slow, though, was Rikhard's slump in pace. He wanted the young man sitting down, and by the fire. The three women went ahead of them, desiring to put as much distance between them and the bloody clearing as possible.

    They weren't far off, though. Between the trees came the glitter of firelight and finally, familiar shapes and familiar faces, by the light of the evening sun. The horses grazed by the wagon, undisturbed, and everyone was there--no more errands in the woods, tonight. Another reminder of the road's danger.

    Farrun heard Addison's explanation as they came up, and added nothing to it. It was their story to tell. He'd only had a glimpse of that fight.

    "Thoros is out looking for more rats," he said aloud, and cleared his throat. "Loke, watch this brigand, while I look after Rikhard." He shoved the man in his direction, knowing that he needed no further instruction of vigilance. He made sure that Rikhard sat down at once beside the campfire's warmth, and, finally able to give healing his full attention, began to scour away the dirt and sweat from the wound's crust, and seal Rikhard's arm completely. Light curled around his hand like the aurora.
     
  13. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Rikhard sat down where Farrun led him, and watched in fascination as the older man healed his arm. Only when the light had faded did he ask, "Have you always been able to do that?"

    He didn't want to think about what had just happened, or what might have happened. What could happen was another story, though. Maybe Farrun could teach him how to heal. He'd probably be better at it than at fighting or killing.
     
  14. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Still reemerging from the trance of rapid healing, Farrun blinked at Rikhard. "What, healing? No," he rumbled. "I had no magic at all before Thoros. Afterwards, it was never one of my natural gifts, like battlemagic, but one worth chasing after. Saw a lot of men and women die from wounds left untreated in the early days of the war, before we had many witches or druids with us."
     
  15. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    Loke led the brigand slightly away from the others, sitting him down on an old fallen tree branch.

    "How strange it is, the mind of the merciful. One could almost believe we weren't at war."

    The man opened his mouth to speak but Loke cut him off.

    "No talking. You'll have already spoken to the others; they are merciful but not foolish. Now is the time for you to listen."

    He sat down next to the man, drawing his seax and picking at the dirt under his nails.

    "It has been some years since I was last here. The elves still ruled here then, and it was their rule we fought. Loke's Raiders. I admit we developed a mixed reputation but there were many who would later join the Wolf Queen who learnt to hold a blade while by our sides. Many more stayed behind when we moved on, returning to their towns and farms. People who now work the land or tend a bar and yet still possess skill with a blade and a fondness for me. Though perhaps a greater fondness for those with whom I now travel."

    He drove the seax into the tree, turning to the captive and fixing him with the coldest of stares.

    "I wish to be clear. You know nothing of us. You remember nothing of us. You will tell no townspeople or guard, you will tell no fellow prisoner, and you will most certainly not tell your old friends, should they come for you. Are we clear?"

    The bandit opened his mouth, then seemed to think better, nodding meekly instead.

    "And my name? The one you heard from our dear leader's lips just earlier?"

    "No idea," the man said, shaking his head. "I didn't hear nothing. Not on any of the earlier times, neither."

    "Good man." Loke clapped him on the back then pulled his seax from the tree and slid it back into its sheath. "Just remember, there are worse fates than a noose."
     
  16. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison waited a bit for Bendalitz to distance himself before removing her boots and leggings. The skirt of her armor covered her enough, but something about disrobing in a man's presence didn't sit well with the Huntress. It never did, no matter how many times she traveled with men. She thought of the alpha whose silvery furs were now worn on her back—her first kill for clothing rather than food.

    I wonder if there was a wolf like Rikhard, glad to have the alpha out o' his way...

    She stepped out into the river. She let a trout pass between her feet, then another. The third one, she skewered.

    Bein' the big fish has its advantages, but not when ye got a Huntress lookin' to feed a whole party. It don't hurt none, now.

    Addison wasn't sure best-speaking could make death painless, or if she was just talking and there wasn't any magic behind her words. She'd always spoken to her targets in her mind, and sometimes it tingled. At the moment, it didn't. Addison skewered another.

    Join ye friend. I'm sure Ciardha'll see ye spirits get to swim together. Someday, I'll be dead too, and if our spirits cross paths, I won't have a sharp stick on me.


    When it seemed she and Chrissy had caught enough, Addison left her spear but stayed in the water. Another school of fish swam by. Addison watched, and gave them the idea to swim against the gentle current. Fish were simple creatures. They were fun to watch.

    "They're so dumb," she said to Chrissy, "but beautiful too."

    Tears ran down her cheeks. Addison didn't know why. She wasn't guilty about killing men who deserved it, wasn't guilty about killing fish to feed the party. As far as she could tell, she wasn't troubled at all—though the way her vision blurred made it hard to watch the fish.

    "I'm fine," she told Chrissy. "I was a mess earlier, but..."

    She gave the fish the idea to swim downstream.

    "...thanks for fishin' with me. It did the trick."
     
  17. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Chrisania had managed to catch two more trout with her method by the time Addison addressed her which, combined with Addison's speared catches, was more than enough to feed everyone back at camp. Wading through the water over to her fishing partner, Chrisania pat Addison on the back and said, "Sings will be better. Sestra is strong warrior but battle can make strongest warrior grow weak. Grandmother used to say, 'Full belly and full sleep make everything better'. We have enough fish for full belly. Then it will be time for full sleep, yes?"
     
  18. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    "Warrior's the meanin' o' me surname." Addison looked down at Chrissy's catches. Caught without equipment. Was it magic or...? "If ye name happens to mean 'fisher,' y'are livin' up to it."

    She managed a smile.

    "Yeah, our bellies'll be plenty full, and fish o'er a flame's one o' the few things I can cook without burnin' it to a tasteless crisp. I'll even feed the bagman, and without throwin' his share at him or gettin' a bird to shit on it as he's about to take a bite. I can make a bird shit--if it has to go--but I won't. Swear to Ciardha."

    There was no bitterness in her tone as she mentioned the prisoner. A strong warrior defeats a foe, then eats and sleeps. Addison wasn't sure she would sleep well, but eating well would not be an issue.

    "How about we find some wild mushrooms or some herbs on the way to camp? Ye may look like a softie--in a good way, I mean--but I also mean ye know ye way out here, in the wild. The two of us gatherin' won't delay our meal much."
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  19. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Though Chrisania's fishing technique certainly LOOKED like magic, it was completely mundane. It was actually quite common with the poorer folk and was deemed illegal in many areas; supposedly on the grounds that it was "too easy" to catch the fish and if it was allowed, rivers would be fished barren. This was utter nonsense of course, but YOU try telling the king that.

    Though her abilities certainly included manipulating the minds of others, she could only do so with the sentient. Animal minds simply couldnt comprehend her commands. Their thought processes were just too alien.

    Chrisania smirked at the comments about the brigand. When Addison mentioned the mushrooms and herbs, Chrisania said, "I have some, but I am always needing more. Zis will be good idea." Chrisania often had to acquire all manner of things for her potions so she was well accustomed to gathering herbs. It was always a good idea to stock up on the basics and a seasoned fish always tasted better than a plain one.
     
  20. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison plucked a few mushrooms and showed them to Chrissania.

    "The brown ones' juices'll add a bit o' flavor, and I can skewer 'em with the fish. I ain't plannin' to cook the purple ones. That'll give us all fun dreams, and if Farrun means to keep the prisoner for the night, we need our heads on straight. I figure ye might have a use for the purples to make a potion or something." Addison shrugged off her apparent ignorance. "I don't know nothin' about potion-making. Me knowledge o' shrooms is limited to what's poison, what's not, and what's safe but leads to weird dreams or a degree o' flatulence unfit for mixed company."
     
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