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The Winds of Ysgard - Part One

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

  1. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    "Aye," Farrun agreed. "If any of you need weapons, you will have them. Armor, too, if you can carry the weight. It won't be custom-made, but you can have the pick of the Queensguard armory. I'd recommend you take anything you can use."

    He was carving up an apple, flicking the pith into the fire with the tip of his knife. Inwardly, he had been preparing a shield spell in case he felt so much as a spark of magic from Addison's "shocker", but the thing seemed dead enough to his senses. The dwarves could craft things he'd never understand.

    "One thing needs to be clear--don't engage a sorcerer in combat unless you have no other choice. I'll take care of them." He was quiet for a moment, his elbows resting on his knees as he sliced the apple, the knife meeting his callused thumb. "Greatsword's my weapon," he added. "Good for close quarters, armored enemies, big creatures. I'll leave anything small and quick to someone else." He smiled, halfway. It was good that they were thinking of combat, couldn't be too well-drilled, but he wondered if the less battle-hardened among them felt less useful for it.

    "I won't say that these skills won't be useful on the way there, but they're not why you've been chosen," he said quietly. "When Thoros came to me, I knew nothing except goat-herding and cutting coal out of rock." He paused to chew an apple slice, then, "And how to win a fistfight," he said, honestly. "A dragonling doesn't care about skills or prowess. All they look for is a good heart."
     
  2. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    "Is there any chance we might run into the Yvalhyn?" Einan asked, crossing his arms. "What if they capture or kill us?"

    He knew it was unlucky to even think of such things, but he wanted to know what the danger was. His hand clenched around the mug's handle, and he took a larger swig of the mead than he'd intended. Just what was he doing, getting nervous already? He'd been hunting for years, had shot bears, and had even once helped defend the village from bandits. Forcing a breath out his nose, he told himself to stay calm.
     
  3. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    Loke finished with the ptarmigan, washing it down from his goatskin and wiping his hands and seax on his cloak. "If the elves kill us then we will be dead and it will no longer matter." Loke chuckled. "Any elven party will likely be smaller than ours if it expects to reach us without being caught by the Wolf Queen's forces. We can handle a few elves."

    He smiled at the elf. There was something strange about the boy. He did not move or speak like an Iridheen. No, there was something Folkish about him. He'd said he was from a village called Firin.

    "Though I must add caution to Farrun's words. He is correct about sorcerers but as I have fought them without magic, and in open battle—" He nodded towards Bendalitz. He acknowledged the man's experience but assassination was not the same. "—I will say my own warning. There is no 'holding a line' against a sorcerer. The moment he knows who you are, where you are, he will kill you. You do not 'confront' a sorcerer. Surprise and ambush are the only weapons the rest of us will have. Thankfully, most elves possess no particular skill with magic, though most will still have a little to call upon."
     
  4. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison smiled as Loke said what she was thinking on matters of death. She thought death would be preferable to capture, but reminded herself she was in the company of ex-slaves.

    "No point in fearing death. It's a certainty; just a matter o' when. I trust Ciardha's got a place for me once me body's no more than meat and bones. Our spirits go on. If I'm wrong on that, it's as Loke said—won't matter; I'll be too dead to complain. I don't care for being captured, but some o' you survived slavery. What ain't killed you made you stronger, and I admire you for that.

    "I ain't fearless and anyone claims he is, I don't believe it. I believe those known for fearlessness' those who don't let fear take over. Fear's more powerful than a sorcerer. A spooked beast is easier to kill than a cunning one, or even a predictable reckless charger who gets you if you miss or lack a means o' stopping him.

    "If enemy forces're small, I'll consider 'em as potential equals. Must be some strong like Loke, some with magic enough to match Farrun, and I'll assume the stealthy ones know most o' me tricks, and—" She turned to Bendalitz, adding. "—no offense meant by this, but I think the sneaky ones'll use your tricks more than mine."

    So, what exactly are me tricks?

    Addison turned to Troia. "With your permission, I mean to feed Ari something by me own hand. Would he prefer red meat, or white?"
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  5. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Rikhard ate in silence, looking at the others as they spoke in turn. When Addison mentioned slavery and the way surviving it made one stronger, his heart seemed to swell a little. It could do with some swelling, small, scared thing that it was. Maybe he was stronger than he thought... stronger than the Captain had made him believe. He had survived, hadn't he, for eight years or more? And he had escaped, which had surely been a feat in itself.

    Unconsciously he raised one hand to hold his mother's pendant. Taking that back had taken some nerve as well, not to mention drugging the Captain to do it. He was still amazed -- but grateful -- that the Captain hadn't just thrown the pendant into the sea on their first meeting. What was it Caradoc had told him? "Some say that a person's dearest treasure becomes a tangible part of their soul. Perhaps the Captain believed it too. Thought that by taking a part of your soul, he could break you. But you took it back, fixed your own soul."

    Rikhard sighed and lowered his hand. He wasn't sure if he believed that, but it was a nice thought all the same.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  6. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Troia sat back in her chair, considering Addison's question. "Well...usually I make it a principal not to feed him from the table. Too many tidbits and he'll get to thinking he's entitled to them. But I suppose it won't hurt just this once. He prefers good red meat--sled dogs are wolfish at heart, after all."

    Ari cocked one ear, sensing that they were talking about him, blue eyes fixed on Addison expectantly.
     
  7. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    " 'My tricks'?" said Bendalitz in thought-delayed response to Addison, palm resting on his dagger pommel. He addressed everyone. "I would like to get one thing clear to those of you who, unlike Farrun, are perhaps unaware of my job. I am not an assassin. I have assassinated people, that I will never deny, but to call me an assassin is like calling a dragon a snake, or a soldier a murderer. The Queen did not appoint me as her 'Left Hand' because I know how to kill. She appointed me because I ... well, because I am someone who knows things."
     
  8. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    "As I said, no offense meant," Addison said to Bendalitz. "I only meant that me own tactics apply to the world o' beasts and not the world o' men as yours. Sorry if I misunderstood what your tricks are. Seems I never quite understood me own tricks neither. Perhaps me wolfish friend'll help me change that."

    She then thanked Troia for her permission, and turned to the dog giving a friendly smile. Her love of wild beasts was genuine, which would work to her favor, she figured. A fake smile could never fool an animal's senses. She let her green eyes fix on his blue. Stay here a moment.

    So far, it seemed Ari understood. Addison picked up some red meat and crossed the room. She put the meat on the floor, and moved twelve paces to one side, and put down her trap—checking first to confirm it was locked into its unarmed position.

    She then walked up to Ari. Get the trap. Ari wouldn't know the word, so Addison pictured the image of the trap. Leave the meat. She stepped aside but could already see Ari was only interested in the meat.

    Addison's fist clenched as Ari padded in the wrong direction. Fear and panic are me enemies. She drew a breath. Her palm slowly opened.

    She recalled Troia's voice, and visualized Troia standing by the trap and pointing to it. Get the trap. Addison imagined Troia saying those words. Leave the meat. This thought was followed by an image of Ari changing course from meat to trap, delivering the trap to Addison, and Troia looking very pleased.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  9. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    "I'm impressed." Troia could feel that her eyebrows had taken up residence just below her hairline. "Usually he'd make a beeline for the food. What did you do, Addison?"

    Had it just been her imagination, or had a faint charge filled the air? Like the feeling before a lightning strike, a slight tingle that danced along the backs of her hands and down the shafts of her hair.
     
  10. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison caught the trap from Ari's mouth. Her red curls were frizzy and disheveled, and when the orb fell into Addison's hand, a blue spark jumped from her ring finger to the starmetal trap. Addison heard the faint pop but felt nothing. She simply said to Ari, "Good boy, go on and eat the meat now. I owe you a prime cut o' me next kill."

    Addison visualized the meaning of her words as she focused on Ari.

    When she turned to Troia, her cheeks were flush—which seemed to make her freckles more prominent—and her eyes were moist. She bit her lip, an action which seemed to serve the sole purpose of preventing her grin from extending all the way to her ears.

    Her answer to Troia's question was uncharacteristically hesitant and brief. "I haven't the faintest!"
     
  11. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    "Yes you have," said Bendalitz, who'd taken a step back from Addison and the hound. "You used magic to manipulate the dog."
     
  12. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Troia blinked as Addison spoke. That really hadn't been the answer she was expecting. Biting her lip in thought, she went through the last few moments in her head, trying to make heads or tails of it. The lightning-feeling had only appeared when Addison began her "trick", and had ceased once she was done. The two were connected; Troia wasn't sure how, but there definitely was a connection.

    She tapped her fingers on the tabletop and glanced down at Ari, who was finishing off the meat Addison had offered him. Odd. She knew Ari well, and knew that once food was introduced into the mix, his mind was fixed on it like a hawk to its prey. Why had he gone for the trap first? There had been no spoken command, which was normally the only way he could be dissuaded from the thought of food, and Addison hadn't seemed to be using the cue gestures Troia sometimes used instead of words.

    Finally, the paths of her thoughts led her to the only conclusion.

    "You used magic, didn't you?" she asked Addison. "Druidry, I'd expect, seeing how you used no spell that I could see."

    As the words left her mouth she blinked again, hearing the same conclusion uttered by Benalitz at the same time. A tiny flare of disappointment lit within her. For once she had wanted to be the one with all the answers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  13. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    "Druidry…"

    Addison thought back on past hunts.

    "Ain't no denying it. And it ain't just Ari. Sometimes I got a clean shot and I think to meself, 'just keep grazing. Nothing to worry about.' And even on me last hunt, me heart wasn't in killing me target. Now I know it—that liger knew I wouldn't do him in. He knew I was tracking him, but knew me own intentions better than I did."

    The Huntress gave Ari a pat on the head.

    "Troia, I just send words and pictures to your dog. It's not beast-speaking like a real druid does. Oh, but it's a start! I hope you don't mind, but… I'll want to practice more. Think on it. We find a pack o' wolves, we got protection. Birds in the air can be me scouts."

    Turning to Farrun, Addison went on. "I had a feeling if I came to you, I'd learn about me connection with the liger. Didn't know it would be all this. I just thought you'd answer me question and that'd be the end of it. Say… you don't suppose Eamon beast-spoke me to gimme that feeling, do ye? I ain't so different from a beast. Just a beast who can curtsy and put flowers in her hair. That's all I am."
     
  14. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Rikhard had taken in the huntress' test for Ari in his typical silence, eyes wide with awe at the power she exerted over the dog. When Addison spoke, comparing herself to a beast, he couldn't help but respond.

    "You're not a beast. You may dress in their skins or eat them for food, but that doesn't make you like them. You're a woman, just like Troia. Why would you call yourself otherwise?" He knew how it felt to be called an animal, to have all their least favorable traits assigned to him, and he had grown to loathe it.
     
  15. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    "Animals is what slaves are called under the Yvalhyn," Einan spat. "Brutish, dumb, good only for work, born to die."

    His hands curled into fists as his memories rose up. So many times as a child he'd heard his parents called that. The epithet had even fallen on him a few times. It had made his heart thorny with rage, and twisted the shreds of torn innocence to hatred. But he had been small then, and a slave, and the Yvalhyn had power and magic and the years upon years of their assured rule behind them.

    Not so now, he thought grimly. I'm free now, and not so small as I used to be.
     
  16. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    "Not just the Yvalhyn," said Rikhard, turning to Einan. "Human slavers too."
     
  17. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison put down her now-meatless bone and slowly sipped her tea. ​Like a lady; unlike a beast.

    "People are different than beasts, yes. But only because we clothe ourselves, build shelters, and try not to fart in mixed company. I can spend months away from civilization, just run for miles or bathe in a lake or tear into me kills like any other predator does. I ain't never forgot me humanity, but I've seen men who act like animals. There's a beast in all of us. We keep it caged all o' the time or most o' the time."

    The Huntress—Druid. Say it.—stifled a laugh at her own expense. It came out as a muffled snort.

    "Me first day facing the fact I'm a druid. Too soon to get philosophical about it. Sorry. Just meant maybe a Seer could find the beast in me and use his beast-speaking to bring me right to him. But now that you said your piece, Rikhard, I'm thinking me speculation's a bit ridiculous. Eamon did say the gods pointed the way, so it's Ciardha I should thank." Eyeing the same cut of steak she sliced for Ari, Addison added meat to her plate and words to her goddess, "Lots to be thankful for this day."
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  18. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    "Indeed, we are all beasts in our own way," Loke said, keeping an eye on the dog. He was curious if the inexperienced use of magic would have side effects. Did it push against the dog's mind, bending it to its will, or lead it like the scent of food? "There is no shame in acknowledging this part of ourselves and it holds power if we are willing to draw from it."
     
  19. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Rikhard frowned at that idea. The only animal he'd ever been compared to was a rabbit -- small, mute and helpless, forever running and hiding, never fighting back. Whether he'd become that way because the Captain called him that day in and day out, or if the Captain had chosen that animal because Rikhard was already like it, he would likely never know.
     
  20. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    Loke saw the uncertainty in the young boy, Rikhard. He was timid, certainly, but was that because he lacked potential or had it simply never been drawn upon? He himself had been timid once, accepting of the world.

    "Even the most fearsome beasts start small and weak," he said, pretending to be focused on the dog. "We were all once newborn babes, capable of venturing no further than our mother's breast."
     
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