Post by Aguila Saber on Jul 26, 2008 13:40:16 GMT -5
Eight Years Ago, The Nunnery in the Vale of Sorrow, Rosa’s experiences, part 2
Two of the sisters arrived at the gong and looked around; one of them was holding a torch. They noticed that the door was open and went inside, discussing between themselves. Rosa recognizes them as Sister Vera and Sister Anna.
“Strange. No one at the gong and the door is open,” Sister Anna says.
“Peculiar. Take a look at this,” Sister Vera answers
“Footsteps and they look fresh, and here look at this” Anna says
“I’ve not seen foot tracks like those before. What are they?” Sister Vera replies.
There is a short silence while Sister Anna stoops down by the tracks.
“I don’t recall seeing one either, but judging by its size and shape I say a giant bird made those” Sister Anna says.
“A bird?” Sister Vera says sceptically.
“Yes, three large claws here, here and here. And here is a mark for the spur. Pretty far between them so the bird who made them must have been huge,” Sister Anna explains.
“So a person mounted on a bird then. That still does not explain what they did her and why the gong was sounded,” says Sister Vera sill being sceptical.
“Perhaps someone noticed them arrive, went to investigate and then sounded the gong?” Anna suggests
“I don’t know. Why was the door open and why is there no one by the gong?” Vera replies.
There is a small whimpering sound.
“It’s the girl the Head Mother put in Carcer. Perhaps she noticed something?” Sister Anna suggests.
“I think not,” said the other dismissively.
“It wouldn’t hurt to ask?” Sister Anna tries.
“I said no,” Sister Vera says raising her voice. “Let’s return. There is nothing here”
The two sisters leave and lock up the door again. Sister Vera looks quite stern, while Sister Anna is somewhat reluctant to leave.
Rosa waits for the two to disappear inside before opening the door again and then closing it behind her.
“Aguila, it’s me Rosa,” she calls out.
There is a small sound to her left from the ground. Rosa goes to look but there is no Aguila to be seen. She then steps on a wooden trap door. There is a small sound again, this time below her.
“Aguila! What are you doing down there. When are you getting out?” Rosa had so much to ask. When she had calmed down and stopped speaking she listened by the door.”
“Did you sound the gong?” Aguila asks.
“Yes, there was a creature here and a large flying beast,” Rosa says excitedly.
“Rosa... I owe you,” Aguila says in a weak voice.
“What did they want? They seemed a bit sinister.”
“Kill me,” Aguila says.
“No, you can’t be serious?”
The two talks for a while, and Rosa is getting more concerned by the muted answers she receives. Her friend is not going to survive much longer in this hell-hole they’ve placed her in.
“Green eagle,” Aguila says.
“Sorry. Green eagle? What do you mean,” Rosa says.
“Bring the green eagle here,” Aguila says.
They are disturbed again. Someone is at the closed gate. Rosa whispers “I must go now.”
Four of the sisters have returned. They look carefully through the place. While they search through the area Rosa sneaks out through the gate and resumes her previous hiding place.
Presently the four returns outside and discuss between them.
“At least she was still there. It would look bad if she was removed now,” one of the sisters says. Rosa can’t place her voice.
“Any ideas about the bird?” a second voice says. Rosa does not recognize it either.
“I think one of our competitors,” the first voice suggests.
“Isn’t it best we take care of this now?” sister Vera says.
“I’m impatient as you are, but it was stressed to me that her death had to be natural and not give rise to questions. We will see how she handles some more nights in carcer.”
Rosa freezes as she recognizes the voice of the Head Mother.
To be continued
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 1, 2008 16:01:42 GMT -5
Eight Years Ago, The Nunnery in the Vale of Sorrow
It’s noon the next day. Rosa is distraught. She has not slept at all during the night and she has forgotten to return the key, and now the Nuns have noticed that it has gone missing. Rosa is however too distraught to take much notice of all this.
Three camels have arrived at the gate carrying people from the far-away city of Telchos. The Council of Thirty is performing their annual inspection of the Nunnery.
Last time, there were complaints on the hygiene in the dining hall and the tables and the results were rather dismal in Rosa’s view. The children were sent to scrub the halls and clean the stables and they received tuition in how to work a broom and a fork with hay, among other things.
“I wonder what they would say if they knew they placed their students in Carcer,” Rosa thought to herself, and then she thought about it again, remembering Sister Maria’s reaction. “I will make sure they do not hide it.”
Rosa made her way to the arriving delegation. It was three people and she was walked up to them. She observed them for a few seconds.
One of them wears a Nun robe which while Rosa recognizes the colour and cut to be the same as for the Sisters it nevertheless has sigils and marks which she has not seen before. A veil over her face covers her face.
The second is a Telchos Amazon in the traditional battle gear. She is very lightly dressed and armed, wearing the traditional light clothing and weaponry, holding a javelin in her hand. Her body is darkened by the desert sun, her eyes are brown and her hair is dark brown and cut short. She moves very gracefully and there is a certain fire in her eyes.
The third who appears to be the leader has raven coloured hair, and fiery green eyes. She is strongly built and wears a reinforced leather-armour coloured in green with some embellishments in gold and black. By her side is a scabbard with a sword. Rosa wonders where she comes from. While her skin is tanned, she is looks slightly out of place in the Telchos Desert.
“Where is the Head Mother?” she asks. “Why is she not meeting us?”
“She awaits you in her chambers,” the Sister answers.
“How about we have a look ourselves Urraca?” asks the Amazon.
“My thoughts exactly Rama,” the woman answers. “Corina. I will want you to take a look at the small chapel they have here. Make sure everything is as it should.”
“But … “ the sister tries.
“No buts. This is a non-prepared inspection. Follow Corina and show her the Chapel,” the woman named Urraca glares at the sister. She shieds away.
“I can show you the place,” Rosa says. “I know of a lot of things.”
The woman bends down and looks at Rosa. “We are making an inspection, not a tour. You have something interesting to show us?”
“You mean like complaints?” Rosa says hopefully while watching the Sister following Corina casting anxious looks behind her.
Rosa turns back and catches sight of the embellishment on Urraca’s sleeve. A large eagle-shaped wing made in a dark green colour.
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 2, 2008 16:08:05 GMT -5
Eight Years Ago, The Nunnery in the Vale of Sorrow
Urraca nods. “Yes, something like complaints.”
“Yes, I have. My friend Aguila has been treated very poorly. Let me show you,” Rosa says and takes a few steps encouraging the two to follow her.
“Isn’t the student’s room in the other direction?” Rama asks.
“She’s not there. She’s being punished,” Rosa says. “Come I’ll show.”
They follow. “Where is your friend Aguila?” Urraca asks.
“In the supply area,” Rosa says.
“The supply area? But what type of punishment is there to be had there?” Urraca asks.
“They call it Carcer,” Rosa says.
“Carcer?!? Just how old is your friend?” Urraca asks.
“Perhaps two years older than me,” Rosa says.
Rama and Urraca looks at each other, their faces showing some concern.
“Please, lead the way Rosa,” Urraca says.
“Why did they put her there?” Rama asks.
“I truly don’t know. She had stayed out in the desert on her own,” Rosa says.
“And that is all?” Rama asks sounding incredulous.
“I told you it was being totally unfair,” Rosa says.
They’ve reached the supply area. It is locked; Rosa unlocks it and then hands over the key to Urraca.
The two don’t mention the key; instead they are distracted by running steps. The Head Mother and two of the sisters are hurrying towards them.
“Seems the Head Mother has seen fit to show up after all,” Rama says.
“She doesn’t look happy to see us here,” Urraca says to Rama.
“What are you doing here? Who are you?” comes the angry voice of the Head Mother.
“I’m Urraca de la Luz, Chief Inspector of the Council of Thirty making an inspection,” Urraca says holding up parchment with a seal.
“You can’t go in there it’s off limits,” the Head Mother says.
“We’ve been told that you have placed a student called Aguila in Carcer inside,” Urraca says.
The Head Mother looks angrily at Rosa who places herself behind Urraca.
“Did you order the girl to be placed in Carcer?” Urraca asks sounding stern.
The Head Mother glares at Urraca. “I passed the sentence on her…”
The next instant Urraca’s sword strike the head mother in her stomach, she cries out in surprise and tries to clutch the sword with her hand.
“You are here to educate and train the young women in your care, not to murder them,” Urraca says deliberately. “You have totally misunderstood your role here and the sentence is death.”
“Look out Urraca,” Rama says. “She should be dead now.”
Rosa watches the Head Mother’s guise fall away. The skin of her face appears to writhe and change colour, growing darker and shrinking as it decays on her skull. Her eyes begin to glow red and fangs protrude from her lower jar.
There is a cry from Urraca and she uses her sword to send electrical energy into the Helghast. Rama is by her side and she too has used has cried twice in rapid succession and she now pounds the warrior with her handbolts.
The Helghast looks at disbelief at the sword. It can’t understand why it is being wounded, and its surprise makes it an easy target. In less than half a minute, the Helghast lies motionless on the ground.
But the ordeal is not over yet. The two other Nuns have changed into skeletal creatures with boned hands. They draw handbolts from their robes and with a scream of malice they attack Urraca and Rama. They are Vordaks, no doubt in league with the now dead Head Mother.
There is a fight but it is over quickly. Urraca and Rama are simply too well trained and equipped. The psychic attacks of the Vordaks cause them some pain, but the Vordaks are not well trained in using handbolts.
Two minutes later the two decaying Vordak corpses has joined the diminishing Helghast body on the desert sand inside the Nunnery. More nuns are approaching and watch the corpses.
There is muttering between them, most of them look utterly shocked. Younger girls approach and look wide-eyed at the decaying corpses, and ask questions to the Sisters.
Urraca and Rama pay them little attention instead they follow Rosa to where Aguila is kept. The Carcer is locked but Urraca destroys the mechanism and then swings open the wooden trap-door.
She steps down into the chilly hole in the earth, and reaches down to take up Aguila. “You are safe now, Aguila. Let me take you out from this hell-hole.”
“Salvatore?” Aguila says weakly.
“I will take you from this place,” Urraca says.
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 3, 2008 15:56:17 GMT -5
Eight years ago, Telchos
Aguila remembers very little about the time following her rescue from ‘’Carcer’. She had caught a bad cough and her head was aching and she had a fever as well. During this time her dreams were plagued by nightmares of people seeking to do her ill. Large birds descended on her at night, carrying wicked creatures that call on the very earth to swallow her whole.
Then one day the illness is no more. Aguila finds herself waking up on a soft bed in a room she does not readily recognize. The air seems cooler and fresher than she remembered from the desert, causing Aguila to guess that she’s either somewhere else entirely or somewhere underground.
Aguila rises. She finds her clothes cleaned and lying on an adjacent table. She dresses. There is still no one around. There is a window on the far end of the room. Aguila decides to take a look outside. Her heart takes an extra beat when she catches sight of what is outside.
A green lush garden! And there are a lot of vegetables, bushes and trees growing. Aguila spots many small winged insects and a lot of small birds, which she cannot recall having seen before. “A far cry from the desert around the Nunnery,” Aguila thinks. “I wonder where I am and how I ended up here.”
At length she steps away from the window and take a closer look at the room. It is a fairly large room with simple furniture in it. The walls are white embellished with a pink pattern. Aguila thinks the pattern resembles a long coiled snake broken up in spaces with snake heads with open fangs.
There is nothing else of note in this room. There is something that looks like a wardrobe but it’s empty so it is difficult to guess its real purpose. A carpet made of dried sticks with some cloth interlaced between the sticks. There are approaching foot steps outside and Aguila returns to the window to look outside, but there is no one there. There is the sound of a door outside closing.
Aguila walks to the door in her room, but it opens before she reaches it. Before her is a woman. She only has the vaguest of memories that she has met her before. She looks a bit surprised at Aguila, but the surprise turns into a welcoming smile.
“Salvatore?” Aguila asks.
The woman nods and then bends down to give Aguila a hug. Aguila is not late to approach her so they are standing close nose-to-nose.
“My name is Urraca de la Luz,” the woman says. “How are you feeling Aguila?”
“Better I think. I don’t remember how I got here or where I am, though.”
“You were wrought with fever and you had a bad cough. Luckily, Amanda is quite skilful healer.”
“Amanda? I thought you said your name was Urraca,” Aguila says.
“I brought you to her house to be treated, and that’s where you are now,” Urraca said. “You called me Salvatore. Why Salvatore?”
“She sent for a salvatore, bearing the mark of my tribe,” Aguila says and takes a look at Urraca’s clothing. “I don’t see a mark on you.”
“It would be on my formal clothing; this is a more causal dress. I take it you mean the green eagle emblem on it?”
“I think you will need to remain her at Amanda’s place a few more days for observation.”
To be continued
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 4, 2008 16:55:11 GMT -5
Eight years ago, Verduran coast.
Meanwhile, is there anything you need or questions you want to have answered?”
“Where am I?”
“You are in a village called ‘Leon’. It lies in the narrow fertile part of Telchos called the Verduran coast,” Urraca replies.
“How long was I ill?”
“A little more than three weeks”
“Did you get my drum?”
Urraca nods. “Yes, your friend Rosa made sure that we got all your thing with us. The drum was one of those things. Do you want me to bring it to you?”
Aguila brightens up and hugs Urraca tighter.
“What will happen now? Have you adopted me?”
“Sort of, but not formally. My plan is to let you stay with me for now. Meanwhile, you can think about what you want to do yourself.”
An elderly woman entered the room. She has tanned skin. Her hair is brown with some white locks in the front, and her eyes are brown. Aguila notices that she is wearing a simple robe with a large greenish apron.
“Aguila, you’re up!” the woman exclaims.
“This is Amanda,” Urraca says to Aguila. “Give her a long warm hug hello as well.”
Aguila does so. Amanda and Urraca look at each other and Aguila notices.
“What are you doing?” Aguila asks. “Something I should know?”
Urraca nods and explains. “It is no coincidence that you recover now. The illness that tormented you was not normal, so we suspected that it was magically induced. Something to do with the nightmares you had.”
“It seemed to me that someone entered your mind and poisoned you from within,” Amanda fills in. “In order to deny these spirits entry to your mind I asked Urraca to gather the ingredients needed for making a protective rune and inscribe it on an amulet.”
“The amulet you wear around your neck as we speak,” Urraca continues. “It would be wise if you kept it on at all times.”
“What does it protect from?”
“It makes it very difficult to detect your mind with psychic or magical means, and offers protection against intrusion in your mind. The amulet will also grant you the ability to see spirits lingering in this world. I suggest you live with that for now.”
“Spirits?” Aguila prompts.
“They may look hideous. You would do well to ignore them. They will not be able to communicate with you or interact with you, and as long as you don’t show that you’ve noticed them they will not try either.”
“It’s a side-effect we can’t do much about,” Urraca says. “But be careful if you see someone. Spirits may become dangerous if they are aware that you can see them.”
Aguila nods. “I’ll be careful.”
“There is a meeting in the village hall tomorrow. Do you think Aguila will be well enough to attend?”
“Perhaps. As long as she keeps the amulet on her.”
“Who will be at the village hall?” Aguila asks.
“Almost everyone in the village. It’s a good time for you to get to know everyone here. Now, if you excuse me. I’ll go fetch your drum.”
“Did you find my amulet as well?” Aguila asks.
Urraca ponders and then asks: “What does it look like?”
“It is flat and the motif is an eagle with large wings. I had fastened a string to a catch on the back of the bird.”
“Oh. You mean the brooch. Yes, it was among your things.”
“Could you bring it as well?” Aguila asks.
“Of course. I’ll be back soon.”
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 5, 2008 9:04:39 GMT -5
Eight years ago, Verduran coast.
After a couple of weeks Aguila starts to get used to her new environment, and there is a lot of things to get used to. New comrades, a male population, fertile fields, and the culture is in many ways different than what she has been taught at the Nunnery. Here in the Verduran coast there is no greater emphasis on speed and daily survival, instead the important thing here is to preserve and protect the land.
The soldiers here are trained in heavier weapons; they use shields and leather armours, though metallic items are shunned when possible because they would get too hot in the relentless sun. As a result, the warriors here are slower. They are still faster than the average Klarnos Warrior, but they are also overall stronger and better suited to withstand and survive in close combat.
Aguila is curious about Urraca so she asks who she is and how come it was she that came to the Nunnery to fetch her. Urraca explains her background to Aguila. Her mother is the mayoress of the village, and her father is one of the wandering members of the tribe of the green eagle. As is the tradition in most places in Telchos, children are always brought up in the mother’s home village and so was the case also for her.
Over the years Urraca’s mother has managed to secure a position of power for Urraca and as a result of this and the part Urraca played when the Agarashi rose from the land last time a few years back, Urraca was elected to replace a member of the Council of Thirty, who had died in the attack.
Aguila notices that Urraca speaks of her parents in present tense so she asks if they are still living in the village.
“Yes, they are. While I’m the eldest daughter they had three other children, and they too live here in Leon. They did miss the village meeting you were on.”
Things are getting dizzy for Aguila. So many relatives! Already, Urraca’s own family consisting of Urraca, her husband Paolo, their son Pedro and their two daughters Felicia and Lupina is large for her.
“What about the Nunnery? Why did you come there?”
“I had had a strange dream, and after talking to my father about it I decided to follow up. He thought the dream was a request for aid from your tribe. I recognized the nunnery from my dream so I knew where I had to go. Since I am a member of the Council of Thirty I arranged for an inspection of the Nunnery to take place and took charge of it myself. The Council sent Corina and Rama with me for the inspection.”
“Did you meet the Agarashi?”
Urraca is taken aback by the question, wondering if Aguila heard anything about the fight against the Agarashi. “Yes, we did. The inspection was secondary to solving the Agarashi problem. We helped fighting the monster, but it was not us that slew it. After it was slain our duties kept us by the battlefield for a few days before we could visit the Nunnery. As I recall it Rama needed to recover from her wounds she sustained in the fight as well.”
“Did you know I was the one you were looking for?”
Urraca hesitates, and then she sighs. “I guess I’d better tell you. You carry the blessing of a shaman of your tribe on your forehead. It’s clearly visible, although …”
“Yes? Go on,” Aguila encourages.
“I haven’t noticed it since you put on the amulet.”
“You think others could have noticed it?”
“Most people in your tribe would. I know that my father did when I first brought you here. Perhaps you should ask him?”
“I’d like that,” Aguila replies with a smile.
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 8, 2008 16:51:51 GMT -5
Seven years ago, Verduran coast.
A year goes by. It’s a year of recovery and fulfilment. Aguila visits Urraca’s father often and learns much of the lore and history of her tribe. Lore which will no doubt prove worthwhile for her later. They often spend time together and Aguila prefers to meet with him while his wife is away in Telchos, which blissfully is often. She doesn’t like Aguila much and she is the controlling type keeping her husband within strict limits.
During her visits Aguila finds out that Urraca’s father is a musician. Although he has no longer any knowledge of the tribal music played in the tribe, he nevertheless teaches Aguila to play her hand drum and a lute, which he has at home.
Urraca places Aguila in the village school. After her years of training in the desert she’s the fastest runner, but she falls well behind in many areas where there was no tuition in the Nunnery. The school is shared between pupils of varying ages, and this time Aguila has little problem finding comrades and play-mates. Overall, she finds her stay in the Verduran coast pleasurable, and considering her earlier life it is an appealing prospect to stay.
Yet, the call to return to the desert remains within her, and she still remembers the conversation she had with Sofia before entering ‘reja del cielo’. One day Aguila seeks out Urraca to speak of her about Sofia and her calling.
“So the time has come for you to leave us?” Urraca asks.
“I think so,” Aguila says. “It’s time I returned.”
“So my father was right,” Urraca says.
“Your father spoke to you about this?” Aguila asks.
“I asked him some weeks ago, if he thought it likely you would stay or leave. He was sure that you’d leave when you were ready,” Urraca says. “Still, this is not something which is arranged quickly, but I could send a request to your friend Sofia’s tribe and ask them if they are willing to ‘adopt’ you”.
“About a month, before the reply arrives I’d say.”
Urraca nods. “You are welcome here, if you need to return later. Oh, Ishir. I will miss you Aguila.”
“I will miss you too,” Aguila says.
“There is one thing I’ve not shown you before. Come with me and I’ll show you now.”
The two went into Urraca’s house where Urraca opened a wardrobe, where hung a formal dress.
“Do you recognize what it is?” Urraca asks.
“It looks like the clothes the Nuns wore but different,” Aguila says. “Why is it here?”
“After the Head Mother put you in that hell hole I demanded that the order compensated you, by bestowing upon you full the full privileges as a Nun of the Nunnery as well as the honorary title of ‘Protector of the Desert Rose’, “ Urraca says.
“I would rather not go there again,” Aguila says.
“The title does not require you to go there. You know the dream I mentioned having when I set out to find you?”
“I saw the symbol of the desert rose then. I think it was the shaman’s wish that you should have this title. Perhaps, she has foreseen that you will need it.”
“I will keep this in mind,” Aguila says. “Meanwhile I trust I can let it remain here?”
Urraca nods. “It’s a dress for an adult, and I agree it would be best if I remained here until you have a need for it.”
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 10, 2008 11:23:26 GMT -5
Seven years ago, Verduran coast, The Beach part 1
Urraca had taken the family and Aguila on an excursion to a beach overlooking the ocean at the Suncoast. Aguila had never seen the ocean before and seemed fascinated to see so much water.
Urraca’s children had split up and engaged in an beach expedition to salvage small mementoes which the waves have washed ashore. After Lupina found a crab the expedition turned into a ‘Who can find the fastest crab?’ competition.
Aguila mounted her own beach expedition. The beach was sandy but there were also a lot of rock and stones. Sometimes they formed larger formations, and Aguila showed them some passing interest before continuing on her expedition. After half an hour she came upon what looked like a hole in the ground and went over to look at it. Peering down the hole she saw a small trickle of water in an excavated passage. It seemed to extend a fair bit in either direction. Aguila wondered what it was about, but then resolved to continue her expedition. Later she would ask Urraca and Paolo what it was all about.
She went out to examine the area where water met land, and jumped around in ankle deep water for a while. Then she saw something floating before her. She stopped down and picked it up. It was a dark-green coloured bottle encrusted with seashells and there was something inside it! Excited over her find Aguila made her way back to Urraca and Paolo who had prepared some food.
Looking around Aguila saw several other people on the beach. She wondered where they had come from. An old woman had seated herself not far from their spot and Aguila noticed that she seemed to be observing Aguila. She sprang up to Urraca and Paolo.
“Look what I found!” she exclaimed holding up the bottle.
“A bottle mail,” Urraca says eyeing Aguila’s find.
“A bottle mail?”
Urraca explained what a bottle mail was, while she helped Aguila open the bottle. A while later her efforts to open the bottle were rewarded with success. The bottle had once contained a message, but the ink had faded away so the paper had become blank. Apart from the message the bottle contained a small silver droplet shaped like a bird’s foot and an engraved obsidian stone bearing the motif of dragon like creature and a rose.
Aguila watched Urraca examine them. After a while she handed them over to Aguila.
“I do not know the significance of these symbols. I gather they are meant to identify the person who threw the bottle into the sea. It is your find, you had best hold onto them.”
Aguila did so. The stone she added to a small pouch where she kept her small mementoes while she attached the silver droplet to the amulet she was wearing.
“Where does all the people come from?” Aguila asks.
Urraca looks up seemingly puzzled by the question. She shrugs.
“I want to make my own bottle mail!” Aguila suggests.
Urraca smiles. “Prepare the bottle with a message and some small things of your own, and I’ll help you find a good place to put the bottle in the sea.”
Aguila does so.
Going through her possessions, she decides to put some of her trinkets into the bottle. A yellow stone, a locket of her hair, and a small message which she wrote in Telchos script.
The yellow stone she had found in the desert while she was hiding away from the Nunnery. A chance find in the desert and she would probably not had spared the stone a second glance had it not been for the fact that it was hollowed out and the hollow looked like her tribe’s emblem. A lucky find she had thought then, but this made the stone perfect for being sent away with the bottle. She also included a locket of her hair, and a small message which she wrote in Telchos script.
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 12, 2008 6:19:24 GMT -5
Seven years ago, Verduran coast, The Beach part 2
Aguila did not have any writing implements with her. She was lucky enough to find some bird feathers which after some work on her part became serviceable as a quill, and as ink she resorted to use her own blood. She used the sheet which had been in the bottle she found to write her message.
While Aguila works with the bottle mail, she notices that the old woman who had been seated close to Urraca and Paolo approaches her.
“I did like you long ago,” the old woman says.
Aguila looks up at the old woman. “You sent a bottle mail?”
The woman nods. She waits for a while watching Aguila prepare the message. A few minutes later she says.
“I have been awaiting your arrival,” the woman says.
Aguila looks up at her puzzled. “I’ve never planned to come here.”
“That is because you do not know what significance this place has for you.”
Aguila refocused on her script. She had a feeling this woman would tell her whether she wanted to or not. The woman watched her for a while, while Aguila proceeded with her work.
“This port once saw the birth of your tribe. It happened after an agarashi attack which ruined all of the town.”
“You know of my tribe?” Aguila asks.
“I was once part of ’Alas del águila verde’,” the woman states.
Aguila looked up interested, and looked more closely at the woman.
“You are a spirit,” she says.
The woman nods.
“The other people on the beach? They are spirits too?”
“You see them?” the woman says looking mildly surprised. “No, they are not. They are ghosts who cannot find a rest. Most of them are forever looking for people who were lost in the agarashi attack.”
“That’s rather sad,” Aguila says. “They seem to wander around aimlessly.”
They watch the people moving around on the beach for a few minutes.
“If you want to help try to find a boy your age who carries a small ghostly flute,” the woman says.
Aguila gives her a quizzical look.
“He is waiting for her sister to play a duet for their parents. Perhaps he will accept you and your drum to play the duet,” the woman suggests.
Aguila notices a new group of people. A group of men dressed in elegant and expensive clothing. “What about the men?” Aguila asks.
“They were part of the Wise Ones when they made their ill-fated bargain. While the Wise Ones was dethroned they remained unpunished in many places, but here in Aguila Saber they were sentenced to eat the ore and minerals they had summoned from the ground.”
“Aguila Saber? That was the name of the port?”
“It will be your name as well one day. So it has been decided.” The woman looks around her for a while. “Soon the agarashi will come and wreak havoc upon the land again. The one you caused to stir in ‘reja del cielo’ was but the first of many.”
“I didn’t stir anything!” Aguila protests.
“It’s lair was directly below the place where you found the amulet,” the woman responds.
Aguila remains quiet for a while. “Why wasn’t the city rebuilt after the agarashi attack?”
“Because there was a prophecy that the rebirth of the city would herald a new wave of agarashi attacks. The name of the city became taboo after the destruction because it was feared that speaking the name of the city would cause the agarashi to rise.”
“Do you recognize this emblem?” Aguila asks holding up the obsidian stone.
“It is the emblem of a house of knights to the north,” the response comes.
A few minutes pass although nothing more of importance is said. Aguila has finished her message and she puts it into the bottle. She prepares to return to Urraca and Paolo and casts one more look at the woman before saying a short farewell.
Aguila returned to Urraca and Paolo and together they sealed the bottle again. Urraca then followed Aguila in search of place to put the bottle to sea. A small creek ran into the ocean about half a mile to the south and this is where they put the bottle into the water. They watched for a couple of minutes while the bottle moved slowly out to sea before returning to watch the crab tournament.
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 18, 2008 5:30:15 GMT -5
Seven years ago, Verduran coast, The Beach part 3
The crab tournament was a steeple chase tournament where the competing crabs had to negotiate obstacles. Each of the crabs was coached by one of Urraca’s and Paolo’s children and it was an exciting tournament, which was won by Pedro mostly because the crabs of the two girls had entered a fight with each other.
After the crab tournament, there is time for refreshments. Snacks and food are shared out and eaten rapidly. Aguila takes the opportunity to ask Urraca about the port and its name.
“The name is taboo,” Urraca says. “It’s believed that speaking it may bring woe upon the land.”
“Was this a large port?” Aguila asks.
Urraca nods. “During its golden era it was the sixth town in all of Telchos.”
Aguila decides to have another look at the ruins, and Felicia accompanies her on her exploration. They quickly cover large parts of the beach. Felicia has a hard time to keep up with Aguila. Suddenly she sees Aguila sprints away for something and she shouts for her to wait.
Aguila on her hand has found what she was looking for a buy with a small flute in his hand.
“Hello,” Aguila says stopping up before him.
The boy looks back he looks side to side, but there is no one there except Aguila. Presently, he mutters a glum “Hello” back to her.
“We are late for the play,” Aguila says. “You must come with me.”
“The play …” the boy stammers. “You know about the play?”
“Of course. And we are running very late!” Aguila says.
The boy nods and agrees. Still, he looks doubtful.
“Perhaps if we rehearse the song one last time, you will feel more confident.”
The boy shines up and nods eagerly. Aguila takes out her drum. Behind her a panting Felicia has finally caught up with Aguila.
“You start playing and I will follow you,” Aguila says sitting down with the drum before her.
Felicia collapses on the sand and breathes heavily beside her.
The two finishes the rehearsal.
“Are you ready to play now?” Aguila asks the boy.
He nods and gives her a smile.
“Play?” Felicia says thinking she addressed her.
“You have a flute,” Aguila says. “Think you can play along with the drum beat I just made?”
“Of course I can!” Felicia says.
“Then take it out, and try it out while we return.”
Aguila turns towards the boy. “Let’s return with music, shall we?”
He nods and puts the flute to his lips.
“I know where we must go,” Aguila says striving to find the tune with her drum.
The three return to Urraca and Paolo where they perform the play. Urraca and Paolo gives them much applause and their two other children do their best to make some ruckus.
When they have finished the boy has disappeared from Aguila’s vision. She hopes that he has finally found some peace. Where he stood there is a small wooden flute, which she picks up. The flute appears to have become darker in colour and much smaller, and Aguila doubts it is possible to use it as an instrument any longer. For a moment she cradles it in her arms and then she places it in her satchel.
It has been a long day and it is time to return to Leon.
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 19, 2008 14:30:15 GMT -5
Five years ago, Telchos desert
It had gone as Aguila had wished and in due time Aguila moved to Sofia’s tribe in the Telchos Desert. There she was brought up as one of their number. Aguila learns that Sofia’s mother had been one of the leaders of the tribe, and following her death prior to Aguila’s meeting with Sofia outside ‘reja del cielo’, Sofia has been groomed to take over the responsibilities her mother had.
To Aguila’s regret this meant that they were forcefully separated most of the time, but on the brighter side it meant that Aguila had a lot easier time to be accepted by Sofia’s tribe. On the brighter side this meant that Aguila could spend more time with Ramon, Sofia’s Father, developing her abilities in playing the hand-drum and singing, she was also taught the basics of Ramon’s trade which also involved crafting and tuning instruments.
Much of Ramon’s teaching is new to her and Aguila is an eager student. The life in the desert is harsh but Aguila finds the tribe a hard-working collective, and for the most part everyone gets along and assists in the chores that must be done. Since she is seen as a member of the tribe, this applies also to Aguila. These missions means that she often spends days and nights alone in the desert, while scouting for prey, desert herbs and water, or looking for tracks of predators or Klarnos Warriors. A Telchos is expected to be able to feed herself at her age, and Aguila is able to do so, mostly. Inevitable, sometimes prey is scarce and hunger pangs are something that she learns to endure for shorter periods of time.
During Aguila’s two first years in Sofia’s tribe gets to know each of the members of the tribe, and it’s a training and learning experience. The blessed spirit guide she has does not awaken during this two years of learning and training. On Urraca’s advice, Aguila does not remove the amulet she received from her. Aguila notices that the desert has its fair share of wandering and lost spirits. In fact these spirits seems more prevalent in the desert than in the Verduran coast, but then again it’s hard to be sure since she didn’t move around as much while she lived in Leon.
Aguila asks about the likely source of the attack against her when she left the Nunnery. Vera sheds some insight to her query, and tells her about the tribe called the “Los Halcones Negros” (The Black Falcons). They too were a wandering desert tribe, much like Aguila’s tribe and Sofia’s.
However, legend has it that in order to evade a sandstorm, the tribe entered a dangerous area called “Risa del dios oscuro” which normally was avoided by the tribes. Few people have ever entered this area and left to tell about it, and it is also one of the places where most of the Agarashi dwell under the sand dunes. When the tribe eventually emerged from this place they were decimated and the survivors were much changed, and had been tainted by the evil of the place. Legends say that the survivors took residence in the eastern part of the Kelderwastes and have ever since been waging war against the desert tribes, favouring to attack those who were trained to become shamans in the future.
These attacks are staged using giant black birds, and they often strike without warning. While they are few in numbers their riding mounts allow them to strike at very large distances.
Vera cautions Aguila to be on her guard at all times, even if she at some time in the future goes abroad. Vera tells her that the tribe’s name for these sinister hunters is ‘Cazadores del Cielo’ (sky hunters).
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 21, 2008 16:34:14 GMT -5
Five years ago, Telchos desert
One day one of the scouts of the “Pies del Camello” tribe returns accompanied with an envoy and a girl. Aguila watches the appearance of the newcomer with some interest. Neither of them is of Telchos blood, but they carry the emblem of the tribe and have requested to speak with the leaders.
Aguila goes to see Ramon to speak to him about the newcomers; Sofia is already greeting the newcomers together with several others in the tribe. Ramon looks puzzled.
“Few foreigners wear the emblem you speak of. It’s only given to those who have proven their worth to us, and when the tribe owes them a debt of gratitude. What do you think they are Aguila?”
“They are surely not from Klarnos, but I guess Lunarlia is a possibility,” Aguila says.
Ramon nods. “For foreigners Lunarlia would indeed be the most likely. Our tribe has received help from them on a few occasions, and you may have noticed that we open trade with them once per year when we are close to their border.”
Two hours later Sofia enters the tent with the two foreigners. A male in his middle-ages and a small blond girl roughly of the same age as Aguila. Sofia introduces them.
“This is Esperanza also called ‘Golondrina’,” Sofia says. The last word is said with some reluctance. “And this is Beno, royal ambassador of Lunarlia,” Sofia adds. “Meet my friend Aguila,” Sofia says while Aguila makes a curtsey towards the two strangers. “And my father, Ramon.” Ramon bows politely to the two strangers as well.
“Esperanza needs to stay somewhere safe for some time. Outside Lunarlia. It has been decided that she will travel with us,” Sofia explains.
Aguila and Ramon both smiles and say that she’s welcome, and that they will do their best to aid her during her stay with the tribe. Sofia then takes her leave, with the two strangers in tow.
They have left the tent and Aguila makes sure to seal the tent canvas, before asking Ramon. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Ramon says.
“I’m not blind, Ramon. Tell me what’s wrong,” Aguila persists crossing her arms.
Ramon sighs and says: “Her name is one of ill-omen to our tribe. La Golondria plays a very sorrowful part in our history. Many of our tribe will see her coming as a bad sign of events to come. Especially this close to Blanca’s wedding with Oberon of the “Arena Roja” (Red sand) tribe.”
“Ill omen?” Aguila says. “Regardless. She looked a bit unprepared… You think she will survive?”
“If Ishir is willing,” Ramon says. “She should strive to earn herself a new name, only by doing so will she earn the respect of the tribe members.”
“Perhaps she will not stay for long?” Aguila says.
“That would be a blessing but not what I read from my daughters face,” Ramon says.
Aguila somewhat reluctantly agrees with Ramon. Sofia would not have felt as uncomfortable if the stay was likely to be a short one.
“I think it will fall upon you to take care of her, and teach her how to survive in the deserts” Ramon says. “You are not of our tribe so the ill-omen is unlikely to affect you.”
“Teach her how to survive?” Aguila says a bit surprised. “Would we really?”
“The tribe must honour our promises; if she stays she must be taught the necessary skills.”
The shifting sands seemed to be moving under Aguila
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 22, 2008 16:10:04 GMT -5
Five years ago, Telchos desert, The Wedding (part 1)
As Aguila had surmised, it is she which is appointed the teacher of the fugitive. It is not an easy task to teach a newcomer the necessary skills to survive. Aguila quickly finds out that Esperanza has lived a sheltered life and lacks all the necessary skills to survive in the relentless deserts of Telchos. Luckily, she and Esperanza take a liking to each other and this makes her duty much easier.
Aguila makes sure that Esperanza is outfitted in the proper gear and with the coming wedding, Aguila teaches Esperanza the proceedings, what to do and when to do it at the wedding. It is many things to tell since important weddings between leading members of two tribes tend to follow the strict rules and protocols very closely.
The day of the wedding approaches and the two tribes gather at the oasis of ‘El Solitario’. Since all the tribe members want to attend the wedding, it fall on Aguila and Esperanza to stand watch during the proceedings, and they share this responsibility with other members who have been taken in by the tribes, some of which have been hired for this occasion.
While scouting the surrounding dunes with Esperanza, Aguila notices that she is uncomfortable.
“What’s the matter Esperanza? You look like you sold the camel and lost the money.”
Esperanza shuffles uncomfortable, looking away.
“So something is wrong?” Aguila says. “Is it something with the wedding?”
After a while Esperanza relents and nods.
“You had better tell me. Perhaps we can do something?”
She shakes her head.
“Esperanza, please. Tell me,” Aguila says. “What is wrong?”
In the end Aguila gets Esperanza to break down, and she tells her that she overheard a conversation. The wedding was discussed. She recognized the dialects of the speakers as one of ‘Pies del Camello’ and one of ‘Arena Roja’. While she only overheard and understood fragments of what was said it was clear to her that they intended to sabotage the wedding at the party following the ceremony.
“Their laughter chilled me to my bones,” Esperanza concludes.
“A pity that you did not recognize their voices,” Aguila says. “Did you understand why?”
“They did not want the tribes to be united by this wedding,” Esperanza said. “My tribe is best left on its own were their words.”
Aguila nods. “I’ll think about this, and try to come up with something. For now I fear all we can do is to be watchful. I will try to get word to Sofia to be watchful as well.”
To be continued
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 23, 2008 13:54:06 GMT -5
Five years ago, Telchos desert, The Wedding (part 2)
Aguila and Esperanza return to the oasis. Aguila is lucky enough to find Sofia and relay a warning to her. Sofia acknowledges the warning, but there is little she can do without proof. Sofia asks the two to keep their eyes open and inform her if they obtain proof. The two exchange a hug and wish each other luck.
Aguila and Esperanza spend time walking around among the tents, but they see nothing suspicious. At this time the ceremony has already started so those who are around are mostly those who are not permitted to attend the actual ceremony, although they will be permitted to attend the festivities which will occur afterwards.
Under ‘El Solitario’ there is a large circular hall which has been excavated and dug out from the stone-rich soil. This hall is the reason that important weddings are held here at the oasis, since the tribes do not have large enough tents to hold everyone invited.
The party starts. All seem to be in good mood and food and drink are served. Aguila and Esperanza are seated far from the centre of the hall which is reserved for the bride and groom and their families. All related to the bride are sitting on one side of the circus whereas those related to the groom are sitting on the other side of the circus. Those not directly related are seated between the groups on the far edges of the circus.
The party has gone on for quite a while, when Esperanza addresses Aguila.
“What do you think, Aguila?” Esperanza asks.
“All seems well,” Aguila answers.
“Tell me. Aren’t some of the guest a bit too … lively?”
“Perhaps, a little. But it is a wedding,” Aguila says.
“They do seem drunk to me. I thought you said the wine and spirits were weak?” Esperanza mentions.
The two look at the centre for a few minutes taking in the scene.
“You are right,” Aguila says. “They are … drunk. More affected than they should be this early.”
“You think it is planned?”
“Your guess is as good as mine. Most of the people seem normal,” Aguila says.
“Only two tables in fact,” Esperanza says.
Aguila nods. “Yes, and it is not any tables.”
“How do you mean?” Esperanza asks.
“Well, it is the table where the ‘defender’ is seated for the two families. They are supposed to keep a clear head throughout,” Aguila says.
“Their behaviour seems to be attracting some attention,” Esperanza says.
Four people, two couples of each tribe enter the centre of the circular hall dressed in their tribal clothing and start to perform a tribal dance. The lighting is lowered and somewhere in the room, the shamans start to play their drums and sing.
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Aug 25, 2008 12:30:09 GMT -5
Five years ago, Telchos desert, The Wedding (part 3)
For a while the entertainment lifts the mood in the congregation. The couples start by performing the hymn of each of the two tribes in song and dance and the performance is greatly appreciated.
However, when one of the couples comes close to the ‘defender’ of the ‘Arena Roja’ tribe he overbalances his stool and fall backwards awkwardly. It goes not better than he breaks his arm, and he has to be bandaged. The performance continues at the ‘Pies del Camello’ table and it goes little better there. In her stupor the defender says some ill-selected words of the dancer’s tribal hair cut, and she receives angry stares from the ‘Arena Roja’ tribe for the open disrespect.
The anger cools down when the dancers leave and a small fire is lit in the centre of the circular hall. The bride and groom come forward and each of them holds a speech which is duly applauded. They bow away which is the signal for the main course to be served. In the background the shamans play with their drums, gradually the mood lifts again.
The calm lasts until the main course is all but over, then the ‘Reciters of the Clans’ enters. The custom is that each one of them is to relate a story which they have written for this occasion.
The Reciter of the ‘Pies del Camello’ starts, but the tale is not appreciated by the ‘Arena Roja’ tribe, they start to mutter and interrupt. The Reciter looks lost for this reaction and the angry glares, but continues his tale of how a young Amazon of his tribe found and tamed a red fox, and then trained it to guard and keep safe the live stock. The longer he gets the angrier the ‘Arena Roja’ clan becomes, flustered the Reciter sees fit to keep ending his story after less than ten minutes. The latter causes the ‘Pies del Camello’ tribe to be unhappy since these stories tend to last at least twice as long and they now feel cheated.
Calm is eventually restored and the Reciter of the ‘Arena Roja’ tribe tells his story. Already after four sentences Aguila knows that this will not end. The story is about a young boy in the tribe who captures and trains swallows to carry messages. The angry faces in the ‘Pies del Camello’ tribe gets angrier for not only did their tribe’s story stop short, the other tribe’s story is seen as n insult.
Esperanza leans over to Aguila.
“Wasn’t the swallow a sign of ill-omen for ‘Pies del Camello’” Esperanza asks.
“Exactly. Judging by the reactions earlier I’d wager that the fox was a poor sign for the ‘Arena Roja’”
“Either the Reciters have been misinformed or they are trying to ruin the wedding,” Aguila says.
“Why doesn’t someone stops them?” Esperanza asks.
“That would bring dishonour on the family to stop the tale. It would start something bad,” Aguila says.
It goes for the ‘Arena Roja’ Reciter as earlier for the ‘Pies del Camello’ Reciter. She feels obliged to stop early, and red-faced she leaves the scene for the other Reciter.
A game of riddles is announced. The Reciter of the ‘Pies del Camello’ tribe recites the following:
He gets short when he gets old.
When he goes out, then it gets cold.
There is a hush among the audience. No one answers. The faces of the bride and groom become anxious. On the ‘Arena Roja’ tribe people lean towards each other and whisper.
“What is going on? Why aren’t they answering?” Esperanza asks.
“The riddle is too difficult,” Aguila grimaces. “None can answer. This may start something truly bad.”
To be continued.