Post by zipp on Jun 30, 2010 13:43:47 GMT -5
Inside the Planning tent; Military Camp
Cloe chose to stand while the knight sat. Sitting in chairs had never been a comfortable position for the Wolf Creatures; when they relaxed, they tended to prefer to lay down in a sort of curled position or to crouch, which pleasantly stretched the muscles in their powerful legs. Cloe chose to stand now because it gave her the position of command and made the interrogation feel less like an interrogation.
"For your first question," she said. "I come from the Illion Plains. But I was exiled."
This much she remembered from her past life. She couldn't remember why she had been exiled but she knew that she had not been welcome in her home. She wondered, suddenly, if that would still hold true. Would they even know her now? It raised an odd feeling of hope in her.
"As for what I'm doing here," she continued. "I'm simply trying to survive. Life is not easy for an exiled Beast Creature."
She said this last part remembering, with a surprising amount of regret, the death of the other wolf creature at the hands of the odd creature. She also remembered that that creature had sent her to this camp. She had some reason for being here, though she didn't know what it was.
"I don't know any Vakeros," she said, thinking it a rather odd question to ask her. "I don't know anyone. My name is Cloe, by the way," she added. She didn't know quite why she felt compelled to give her name. Knowing so little about herself and nothing about these people, she thought it safest to be as honest as possible. Without knowing what her purpose was, she could hardly make up the proper lies to serve her.
Also, the thought of spinning a web of lies exhausted her.
Post by Sahmas on Jun 30, 2010 16:22:59 GMT -5
Edge of the Durenese camp, outside the original tent area, a few moments before
Sahmas felt the oppressive atmosphere, and felt it personally. The frustration of helplessness, the claustropoebic terror of his duty, the insanity of all those around - every aspect of it seemed to be pressing on his chest or crushing his insides. He was almost shaking in his armour, it was all he could do to resist clawing at a strap to loosen the dead weight of bluesteel forcing him into inaction.
Sahmas would not have imagined he could have felt worse, but the blow to his psyche came when Armadalus was rejected by the White Knight that had stood shoulder to shoulder with Armadalus a few days ago. Had stood shoulder to shoulder with Beowuuf.
Sahmas had good hearing, and had lucked a good angle to view the moment. He could see the swiftly moving shape coming back, he could hear the derisive sniggers of the Durenese and the grumbling of the commanders closeby.
The knight, Sir Armadalus, walked with swift, stiff steps. He did not look down, but he did not meet the eyes of any around. His fists were balled very, very tightly. They spasmed open as the tendons twinged and muscles stiffened, and then returned to balls soon after. Armadalus's face was inscruitable.
The Durenese Knight-Commander seemed to make a move forwards, but Sahmas barely comprehended that, racing forwards first.
"What happened?" the young Vakeros asked, shocked. However, his mouth would not stop, too many emotions strated to pour out. Sahmas had taken a chance on this lying idiot, instead of trying to convince his own bretheren. "I TRUSTED YOU!" snarled Sahmas, standing in Armadalus's way as the Sommlending Knight tried to veer away.
The Sommlending stopped dead. Sahmas took a breath to vent his rage further.
The backhand caught Sahmas offguard, and the young man landed heavily on the ground, sitting with a look of surprise on his face. Armadalus looked to his gauntleted hand as if he did not know it. He looked to the Vakeros and his own hand again with no real expression forming.
Sahmas knew what he had to do in the face of an unexpected attack. What any Vakeros should do. Mount a stoic defence.
"You stupid bastard, what have you done!" yelled Sahmas, leaping to his feet with preternatural grace and swinging his fists wildly into Armadalus's shocked face.
* * * *
"For starters, I will see you stripped of your commision, any titles or rank you possess, and of course any association with this accorde. Both of you. The articles of our entente, and your own regulations, surely demand no less."
The Durenese Knight-Commander had been the swiftest to exert control and rank at the scene of the fight. Many of the lesser Durenese knights had stood back dismayed or darkly amused, and no Sommlending nor Dessi had come forward fast enough to offer resistance.
It was a small, shabby tent the three knights found themselves in. Armadalus and Sahmas were not bound, but their ramrod stiff postures and fidgetting seemed to indicate otherwise, as if invisible bonds kept them tied to the chair. Sahmas's face possessed a great purple bruise around his jaw. Armadalus has worn a gauntlet, and it was possibly only a partially fractured jaw was keeping Sahmas from speaking. Certainly, the Vakeros knew something was keeping his jaw painfully clenched shut. Meanwhile, Armadalus calmly sat still, even though a small rivulet of blood was emerging from his nose, and he had several cuts and abraitions marring his Sommlending features.
The Commander addressed Armadalus. "You, striking a junior knight of another's authority is so far outside the bounds of your code I would be surprised if you were even allowed to set foot in Holmgard, let alone King's Court. I do not know how you Sommlending do things, but that is certainly a black mark on the honour of a knight. Still, we Durenese also value honestly, a trait you Sommlending apparently turn your back upon."
Armadalus flinched. His eyes flicked to the Commander, and his body became even stiffer. The small blood trail met Armadalus's lip without comment, although the Commander's eyes flicked to it briefly, and the Durense man moved on swiftly.
"And you," said the Commander, addressing Sahmas, "the act of striking a superior, of any denomination under the accorde, carries a severe penalty. Be glad we have not officially declared war against our foes, I personally would see you put to death and have done with it."
The commander passed this last remark breezily, even though his lips were puckered in disgust at the two knights.
There was a moment's hesitation, and then the Commander brought his gaze back ot Armadalus. "What were you thinking? Not your lies, I do not wish to you know what baser trickery you were trying to drag a good knight into back with the wolf. What were you-"
"I was not thinking," said Armadalus.
"Of that, we can agree."
"I feel anger. Rage. At Vojske. At the she-wolf. At nothing."
"That is not becoming for a knight of any-"
"Shut up! Do you not see what I am telling you?" said Armadalus hotly. The Sommlending knight jerked in his chair, once more acting as if under invisible bonds. The bonds were obviously the knight's own though, and Armadalus seemed to only restrain himself from leaping from the chair by gripping the chair's arms knuckle-whiteningly tight.
"He doesn't," said Sahmas quietly. Armadalus looked across at the Vakeros for the first time. Sahmas swallowed painfully, and tried to loosen his jaw.
"When spoken to, Vakeros!" said the Commander.
"You don't feel anything, do you?" asked Sahmas of the commander, shaking in his chair. The young man's eyes bored into the Durenese kngiht's in a disconcerting way. The knight took a step backwards, and began to re-iterate the legal bindings the two knights were placed under, just as he had when Armadalus and Sahmas had first been taken to the tent.
"Two knights have fought infront of your eyes, and you might think disdainful thoughts, but you don't feel disdain for us, do you?" Sahmas was breathing heavily, for the speech was painful. However, the slow pain and slow speech seemed to the Vakeros to continue. "You aren't angry. You just spoke of my death as if speaking of withdrawing my rations. What is wrong with you?" Sahmas then turned to Armadalus. "What's wrong with us?" Sahmas's voice raised an octave and the last words caught in his throat.
Armadalus was gripping his chair tightly, eyes down as if focusing on his breathing. "We must get out of here. I can't think! It all started just as that she-wolf returned."
The Knight Commander stood tall after his momentary confusion. He shook his head. "Stop speaking, both of you, you are confusing the issue with your base whims and lack of self control nd unordered speech! By item 7 you are bound to my custody until such times as a joint hearing-"
Armadalus's chair, propelled with remarkable dexterity by Armadalus's arms, smashed into the side of the commander's head. The man fell down, joined a moment later by Armadalus's discarded chair.
Sahmas rushed forward, a cold sweat breaking out on his forehead and prickling his back as he went to check the commander's status. The man still seemed to be breathing, and had no cuts on his head. Still, Sahmas had only the barest of field training in this regard. "He seems alright, but I don't know. What are we doing? What's going on?"
"He was making me so angry, I can barely think!" said Armadalus. Sahmas had not known the Sommlending knight, and so had no reason to feel chilled the way Simey might have been at this unexpected dissolution of the knight's reserve. Still, there was enough about the situation to allow Sahmas to feel chilled anyway.
"The she-wolf. We must get to the she-wolf. I must know why she is here, finally, at this time, within my grasp. I must know what this means!" said Armadalus. striking his own leg.
"We can't!" said Sahmas, a nasal quality in his voice.
"What do you feel?" asked Armadlaus with difficulty, looking to the Vakeros.
Sahmas blinked in surprise, and shuffled back. "I...I...I'm afraid." Sahmas painfully swallowed again.
"And Simey too, I'll warranty. Yes, that must have been it...that must have been why he...that must have been it," said Armadalus, focusing on his odd thoughts and sounding desperate for it. "No wonder we are different, Vojske and I were focused on that she-wolf for so long. And you...no, you were focsed on the other wolf, but perhaps close enough, you seemed worked up over it." Armadalus had a gleam in his eye. "Listen to me...LISTEN!" Armadalus calmed himself down. "Do not be afraid, we just need to control our emotions, and go back to the she-wolf."
"No, I don't mean I'm scared and we can't!" said Sahmas, desperately. "I mean we physically can't! All the leadership of the three orders will be around her now! How are we supposed to get passed them?"
Armadlaus stood up straight, and his eyes lost forcus for a moment. "I'm so stupid. So very, very STUPID!" he roared. It took an effort to calm himself down again. His voice had a sing-song quality to it, as if he were concentrating on something else to keep his feelings in check. "A lure, it is like casting a lure on the water. You just flick your wrist, and let the colourful, unusual little thing drift over to where your fish are. So simple. And you just wait, wait, and wait and it slowly drifts over. And you let all the fish fight amonst themselves. Let the biggest fish come to the surface and push their way into the centre."
"A trap?" asked Sahmas. His chest hurt again. He had not stood up, and sat beside the unconscious commander with wide eyes.
"A good one," said Armadalus, and for some reason he started laughing.
"Who is the 'fish' they want to capture?" asked Sahmas, on edge as Armadalus kept laughing. "What does the Darklord want?"
"Who needs to pull the lure out," said Armadalus, with tears starting to string to his eyes, "with a flick of the wrist, my father used to electrocute the whole mass of them with a Lightning Bolt."
Armadalus laughted harder.
* * * *
The thing could smell the personality of the she-wolf. It had been denied its compulsion to kill, at least that second time. It had been forced to reject the she-wolf. Even though the wolf's thoughts wafted in the air, tasting so rich. She had an acrid outer shell of order and calm, enough to fool anything around her. However, the she-wolf could not disguise the whirling ball of chaos just underneath. Delicious disorder, warm emotions ready to flow out along with the blood when the chaos creature was finally allowed to kill.
The chaos creature could not appreciate its own chaotic nature, could not appreciate how otherwise distracted it would have been if set loose upon the camp. Even en masse with its fellows, the chances would have been high that the chaos creatures would have tired themselves out on the lesser knights at the edges of the camp. Perhaps even frenzied upon each other instead of going deeper.
Instead, however, the chaos creature was overwhelmed - for the moment - with one set of emotions. Hunger and lust and curiosity swirled in their minds. Each emotion was vying for a place in the primative brain, but for once all the emotions were tugging in the same direction, just like the chaos creatures themselves
Hundreds of chaos creatures finally stopped being stealthy, finally stopped stalking at the edge of the camp, and were let loose upon the army that had come to seek them out.
The chaos creatures were not distracted by the shiny metal bodies that looked in alarm at first. The chaos creatures did not play and paint with the rich red blood that began to flow. The chaos creatures howled in concert with the first screams, instead of chasing the screams' origins.
Some knights looked on in shock, unable to comprehend the sight of twisted flesh that moved towards them. They had no experience to fall back on, no previous thoughts nor well known plans nor contingencies nor training for this sort of thing. The whirling mass before the knights sucked their creativity and spark away, and then a moment later the twisted wave of creatures shattered the knights' very existances with a dismissive claw and insistant fang.
Other knights were luckier. The cowards and the masochists and the intolerant felt a swirl of unbareable emotion, as if the mass of bone and flesh coming towards them personified their own internal struggles.
Some of the knights fled upon the swiftest wings they had ever known, while others fought with a ferosity they had not experienced before, nor would again. One group held on to lifer a little longer than the other.
For one group could at least swiftly make for the calm centre of this bloody storm. One group could make for a simple planning tent, in one of the military areas, where all of the most important of the commanders were even now congragating.
Post by Simey on Jul 5, 2010 19:16:27 GMT -5
Knights' Council encampment near Eshnar
Hearing her name - and particularly giving voice to it himself - made the wolf seem less threatening to him, and as Simey looked, intrigued, at the creature, he found himself relaxing to a surprising degree. Part of him knew he should be considerably circumspect in his questioning the stranger - doubly so given that she wasn't even human - so as to protect the actions and integrity of the Magnamund Knights' Council and all the individual knights attached to it; but he found the appearance of a second wolf creature after Beowuuf - when mere weeks ago he would have denied such beasts existed - peculiar to the point of fascination, and felt oddly relaxed about baldly asking the question he most wished to.
"Are you really unaware of any other such creatures as yourself around here?"
Post by Beowuuf on Jan 31, 2011 2:19:42 GMT -5
The voice hollared from the door to the tent before the wolf creature could answer Simey's questions. The voice belonged to Simony Bryont, head of the Knights of the White mountain, and was directed at Simey.
Just ahead of Simony, another knight stood dressed in finest armour and carrying a powerful sword at his hip. It was the head of the order, nick-named 'Nighthunter' before his meteoric rise within the ordanisation. He stood now looking at Cloe, although spared Simey a glance. And expression of puzzled recognition crossed his face, as if trying to work out if he knew the man.
"Leave us," agreed Nighthunter in far more reasonable tones.
Outside the tent, the guards stood up straighter knowing the most important charges were currently inside. They drilled themselves and puffed themselves up and recounted their duties quite thoroughly.
Not a man of them - for now - were bothering to look onwards to the clouds of dust on the horizon, nor listen to the sounds comign towards them. All too soon, this would change.
* * * *
Later, it would be known simple as the Black Day of Eshnar. Some might have wished it were simply the blackest day, but history shows that far worse was to happen after.
* * * *
Post by Simey on Apr 3, 2011 11:54:01 GMT -5
The dwarf's tentacles writhed to either side of his rotund body, sure to lash out at any moment.
“I thought I'd found....something.” Simey struggled to articulate something that he really didn't want to say, but had to somehow: it might be the only thing that stopped him bursting into tears. “I didn't even have a clue what it was. But something....something had....”
“Changed?” The dwarf looked evenly at him over the flames, the hip-flask that Simey had accepted too many times that evening poised for another draught, but waiting patiently for a response.
“I don't know. I didn't really notice anything particular.” Simey was trying not to mumble, aware that the crackle of the fire would make it difficult for Glorem to hear him, but the temptation to let the supportive frame of the words quietly collapse allowing the blanket of despair to cover him completely was difficult to fight.
“Change doesn't have to happen in a moment,” said the dwarf before lifting the flask towards his lips. He paused before drinking, however. “I've never seen a mountain stream shape the rocks it flows over, but you can bet my ancestors a hundred generations back were looking at different shaped rocks to what I see today.” A sturdy finger was lifted from the flask momentarily to accompany raised eyebrows in assuring Simey that the point was a pertinent one. Then Glorem drank briskly.
“But how can I know something has changed-” One of the dwarf's razor-sharp-claw-tipped multi-jointed limbs swept about, taking a man's arm off at the shoulder. Simey winced, but tried to ignore it and continue. “How can I know when I don't know what it is?”
“Well, I'm not sure, of course, but it sounds like you're using the wrong part of yourself to figure this out.” Glorem knocked the flask against his head a couple of times, the tink-tink sound it made considerably higher in pitch than when he'd rapped it on the newly lit firewood in a humorous gesture of persuasion that it should hurry up and warm them.
“What do you mean?” said Simey, still in fact wondering how some change could have come over him without his noticing it.
“In my experience, life's not arranged for our convenience.” Even though the voracious maw in the dwarf's abdomen still had copious entrails hanging out of it, his tentacles were nevertheless trying to feed it with another broken body, apparently heedless of the outer shell of armour still attached to it or the gore-soaked tabard that seemed now to show the white mountain in the light of the most ominous red-skied morning. “If it was, the path we need to take would always be clearly signposted by various information, discoveries, happenings, and we could work out everything we need to do just by thinking about it a bit. As it is,” - Glorem gave Simey a simultaneously sympathetic and amused smile - “sometimes we just need to let our hearts lead us, without knowing why, without any evidence to support that choice. You know, trust your instincts.”
Simey shuddered. Armadalus had talked about trusting his instincts and Simey had begun to think towards the end of their journey to Holmgard that he'd perhaps started to do so himself. But none of his instincts had warned him that the Sommlending knight would turn out to be something other than what he seemed, that he should know something about Simey's hallucinations and apparently be pursuing the dreadful truth. “But I don't,” Simey muttered.
“Well, that'll be why you're looking a bit lost then, won't it?” said the dwarf, spreading his free fingers wide in a gesture suggesting that his statement was obvious.
“No!” snapped Simey, his eyes suddenly brimming with tears. “I'm looking a bit lost because of....” His arm pointed furiously back in the direction they'd come, towards the place they'd run from for hours until his chest felt like it was going to explode, his legs like they'd been filled with river silt. “Because we....”
“Back in Holmgard, lad,” said Glorem, a lightly threatening tone momentarily in his voice. “You thought you'd found something. What did your heart tell you?”
Simey snorted wetly, looking derisively at a glistening, tear-warped vision of the dwarf. “My heart?” Simey's lip curled in despairing scorn as he wiped his eyes and nose with his sleeve.
“Well, you had no idea what you'd found,” said the dwarf almost offhandedly, bringing one of his enormous cloven hooves down on the chest of a fallen knight, crushing the man's ribcage and causing a gout of blood from his mouth that turned the last sound he ever made into a pathetic burble. “So I'm assuming it wasn't the rational workings of your mind that was telling you something.”
The rational workings of Simey's mind? Oh, if only the dwarf knew. Unless somehow he did. “Then what are you saying?” said Simey suspiciously, suddenly preparing to aggressively defend against any suggestion that he might be losing his mind, precisely because he knew he was.
“I'm not saying anything.” There was a mischievous smile sketched briskly on Glorem's face, but the firelight clearly illuminated the solemnity in his eyes. “But I will tell you this: my father once found the ruby bonding ring worn by his ten years lost brother, my uncle, given by, and in honour of his marriage to, my aunt – there are rings and particular gems for the various stages of a dwarven marriage that I know are a bit complicated for you humans to understand, but suffice to say this ring had been of great significance. Now, my father put the ring away safely, wishing he'd never found it, because my aunt had recently married again and he was sure that it would hurt her and complicate things for her to receive such a potent symbol of her first marriage. I knew nothing of this, of course, until one day he sat me down, showed me the ring, explained what it was and told me his dilemma. He knew full well that to return the ring to my aunt would cause her great grief and he was concerned about how that would affect her marriage and that her husband might consider the move a deliberate one designed to undermine him. Despite this, he was aware that in the weeks since he'd found the ring his heart had been growing gradually heavier as it unsuccessfully urged him to do what every rational thought told him was a bad idea: give the ring back to my aunt. I think he was only telling me everything because he'd made up his mind what he was going to do and needed someone to know why – even though he could not really explain it – before he did it. Anyway, later the same day he set out on the short journey to where my aunt lived.”
Simey's wariness had subsided and Grolem's pause, as the dwarf looked reminiscently into the fire, had him leaning forwards to try and regain the storyteller's attention. “What happened?”
The dwarf looked up, perhaps eviscerating someone else using the barbs on the back of a spindly arm, but Simey wasn't very aware of that now. “My aunt and her second husband had found things difficult immediately after receiving the ring. But little more than a week later they came to our home to thank my father for having the courage and wisdom to take it back to my aunt. She said she had finally been able to put her grief for the loss of my uncle into the past, so that while it would of course stay with her forever, it would no longer hold her back from continuing her life. It turned out that she and her second husband had always felt there was something unknowable standing between them, much though they loved each other. The return of the ring brought realisation, allowed them to discuss much that my aunt had never been able to speak of before and gave them the gift of moving on unhindered in their life together.”
Simey sat quietly for a while, looking at the fire-lit ground in front of him, listening to the gentle crackle of the firewood as it gave up its substance to the flames and letting Grolem's story settle into his bones and gradually tease out the realisation that the dwarf had been after all along. He could feel the little fellow watching him patiently.
“It felt like there was something I had to do,” Simey said eventually, looking up as far as the fire but not over it at the dwarf. He was nevertheless aware of Grolem's eyebrows being raised. “Alright, it feels like there's something I have to do.” He noticed the dwarf's slight, satisfied nod. “I can't do what I intended anymore. Somehow, by the time we arrived in Holmgard something had happened: I don't understand it and I don't like it, but I have to do something before I can continue with anything else.”
“No need to be quite so dramatic,” Grolem chuckled lightly. “It might not mean you can't do anything else. Just so long as you acknowledge it and don't fight it.”
“But I don't even know what 'it' is,” sighed Simey, finally looking forlornly up at the dwarf.
“One step at a time, lad,” Grolem said, smiling kindly. “I think you can leave that for tomorrow. Sleep on it – can't hurt.”
Simey smiled bleakly back and nodded, shifting stiffly out of his sitting position and easing himself with the creakiness that should surely have been the preserve of eighty-year-olds on to his back. He pulled the blanket over himself, once more regretful that only Grolem had escaped with any equipment beyond a weapon, since the dwarven mantle only covered him as far as his knees. The woods were quiet and, despite everything, his new reconciliation with himself seemed like it might allow him to sleep.
As consciousness was slipping from him – exhaustion helping him narrowly evade the nightmare images that would shock him awake – Simey turned his head to look through the flames at the dwarf. Grolem was looking satisfied at having calmed the young Durenese knight enough to get him to sleep; but as Simey's eyes gradually shut to be so little open that the dwarf could surely not tell that he could still see him, Grolem looked around uncomfortably, fear entering his expression for the first time.
As darkness found him, Simey could quite imagine why, what with his own tentacles writhing to either side of his sleeping form, sure to lash out at any moment.
Post by Simey on Jun 24, 2011 21:51:06 GMT -5
“Where are you going?”
Simey had avoided asking the question for two days, but couldn't hold it in any longer, so desperate was he to answer it for himself, as well as to distract from an unidentified creeping feeling.
“This way,” said Glorem testily, nodding ahead along the muddy track they were walking: “same way we've been going.” The dwarf was clearly exhausted, so his ill humour was understandable; Simey was starting to work out that after Glorem had calmed him enough to allow him to sleep for the last two nights, the dwarf had actually barely slept himself – whether this was through deliberately keeping watch or simply being too fearful to close his eyes, Simey had no idea.
“No, I mean where are you going? Where are you heading to?”
“I know what you meant, lad,” growled Grolem, stomping onwards impatiently without looking at Simey. “I'm heading to whatever's this way.”
“But where are you going to try and get to?” pressed Simey. “What's your plan?”
The dwarf spun round, stopping Simey in his tracks. “Do you really want me to point out the ground you're standing on?” Glorem's tone was full of annoyance, but shaken into something far more perturbing by suppressed emotion. “Those creatures, whatever sickening joke of creation they were, ripped everyone apart back there. Scores of my brothers in arms. I don't know if a single one of them is still alive. Or any of your army.” The dwarf took a breath and continued in quieter – though no less vehement – tones: “But I do know you're alive. So I'm going to go with you until I get you somewhere safe.”
Simey was shocked at the suggestion that the dwarf's entire present outlook focussed on him. “You could go back,” he mumbled. “See if anyone....”
Glorem snorted derisively, turned back the way they'd been going and walked onwards. “You know we're being followed, don't you?” he called back over his shoulder.
Simey was startled and hurried forward to catch up. “Yes,” he said, surprised at his answer, but realising at the same moment that the creeping feeling he'd had – still had – told him it was true.
“Well then, you'll agree heading back there would be absurd.”
“You think it's those things following us?” The notion didn't seem right to Simey. “I don't know. They didn't seem that....methodical.”
“Do you want to go back and find out?” snapped the dwarf, seeming to pace himself deliberately to stay slightly ahead and not look back at Simey. “I'd gladly go and kill as many as I could before they got me. But we survived; and we mustn't try and set that ill fortune straight by questioning it.”
Simey was surprised by Glorem's words and bitter tone. “Would you rather have died?” he said, feeling a chill run through him that had nothing to do with the inclemency of weather.
The dwarf did not respond immediately, and when he did speak, his manner was much more considered, his voice calmer. “The rest of them – all of the rest of them – may be dead. I might be the only one left alive while all my fellows were killed.”
Against Simey's expectation, Glorem said nothing more, just kept marching forwards through the damp countryside. Simey wondered what had stopped the dwarf rejoining the fight when he had regained consciousness, since he seemed so distressed at having escaped the battlefield. Then he realised with a twist of the stomach the probable answer.
“I'd be dead if it wasn't for you,” Simey said quietly, the words seeming feeble. “I'm grateful.”
It was a long, uncomfortable moment before the dwarf spoke again. “Then you'd better figure out where you're going, hadn't you?”
“Home, I suppose,” said Simey without much thought; he'd known this, the proper answer since early in their escape, but something about it had made him need to be asked. “I need to report what happened to my order. Though if I'm the only one, who would believe me?”
“Does fear of not being believed mean you shouldn't tell the truth?” The dwarf spoke gruffly, but with an edge of contemplation that suggested he was asking the question of himself as much as he was Simey.
“No, of course not,” said Simey with dubious conviction. “We must always tell the truth.”
“In which case, they'll believe you,” said the dwarf flatly, sounding fed up with the conversation.
Simey smiled bitterly at the mist-threaded landscape around them, thinking of Armadalus apparently trying to discover the truth about his state of mind and of the peculiarly particular interest in him he had sensed from Knight Commander Gelas Fleck; if it was all some kind of operation by his superiors to prove that he was losing his mental faculties then a report of the Knights' Council's army being wiped out by a force of creatures of unknown origin certainly wouldn't be believed, Oath of Truthfulness or not.
Presently the track they were following entered a more wooded area and the seclusion offered by the trees to the land either side of them brought Simey's mind back to the idea that they were being pursued in some way. “We're not going to shake them off, are we?” he said. “Not just walking along like this.”
“I was thinking about that,” said Glorem, apparently engaged by the redirection of their dialogue. “They're obviously not keen to approach so long as at least one of us is alert,” - Simey was reminded of his suspicion that the dwarf had not been sleeping - “so I think perhaps finding somewhere we can get lodgings and be a bit secure might be enough to put them off.”
“So we should keep walking until we come to a settlement.” It didn't sound like much of a plan to Simey.
“In a way,” said the dwarf with what sounded like a touch of reluctance. “My best guess is that our approaching a settlement is what'll finally bring them out, force them to act before we get amongst others.”
Simey was puzzled. “Those creatures,” he said heavily, feeling sick as he did every time he thought of the terrible things he'd seen only two days previously: “they didn't seem the type of things to hesitate in finishing us off. Or to be worried by other people. Even a whole army....” He tailed off as images of stalwart knights being torn apart as though their limbs were petals being plucked off a flower overwhelmed his thoughts.
“I know,” barked Glorem, bringing Simey's mind back to the present. “But I can only judge on what I've perceived. Unless you've some great insight to add?”
Simey shook his head – a pointless gesture from behind the dwarf – but couldn't bring himself to actually say 'no', concerned that such an answer might not be true, though he didn't know why. Instead he spent a brief moment being surprised at the words spoken from behind him that preceded a sharp pain, then the loss of all sensation:
“Where do you think you're going?”
Post by Simey on Feb 29, 2012 17:47:04 GMT -5
When he finally got up from the floor the first thing he did was peer through the slats at the scene outside: a small bonfire with a half a dozen or so village folk standing near it in various states of hushed conversation. On the periphery of the firelight were what appeared to be a ring of rough wooden buildings, one of which he must be in.
“Not much to look at, is it?” grumbled the dwarf from behind him.
Simey turned towards the patch of gloom where Glorem was sitting and then stared at the middle-aged woman also locked inside the shack. “Where are we?” he said aghast, head giving vent to another dizzyingly painful throb in protest at his breaking his silence.
“Little Bridge,” the woman said simply, her dirt-streaked face looking as though it had been dirtier before wiped-away tears had cleaned it somewhat.
“Where's that?” Simey snorted incredulously, finding the answer infinitely unhelpful.
“Back road to Temel, way we've been going,” said Glorem sounding either reassuring that Simey need not feel threatened or threatening that Simey should act reassured – it was hard to decide.
“And Little Bridge is a village of bandits?” said Simey, trying not-very-hard to control his exasperation that the two people who had been conscious for longer than him were not explaining what on Magnamund was going on.
“No!” hissed the woman. “We're good, honest people!”
Simey's eyebrows rose even higher than they already had. “This is your village?”
“The way the lady tells it,” soothed Glorem, “the people here have become greatly afraid of a threat from the west and are acting out of character through paranoia.”
Simey's vexation subsided suddenly; he could well imagine the villagers having good reason to be terrified if they knew of the army of horrors that had appeared near Eshnar. He looked with uneasy sympathy at the woman whose eyes glinted sadness and worry in the firelight that bled through the gaps in the wall.
“A boy came,” she said quietly. “Maybe even younger 'an you. Said he had to warn us 'bout somethin' terrible. He seemed frightened.”
“How did that lead to you being locked in here?” Knowing the threat was real, Simey was concerned as to what the woman might have done to deserve her incarceration.
“He spoke to Griman – 'bout the most 'spected person here – spoke to him in private, and then Griman's organisin' watches, warnin' everyone we can't trust outsiders and then castin' suspicion on some people in the village.”
Simey supposed that might appear to explain why he and Glorem should have been ambushed if they'd been spotted approaching the village from the west, but it didn't answer his more pressing question. “Why you?”
“I know some 'bout plants, herbs – usin' 'em when people hurt 'emselves. Said I might try and poison people, so they can't fight or escape or such.”
“Why would he say that? And why would anyone believe him?”
“Strange things been happenin' round here for a while now. Makes people nervous, see things that aren't there.” The woman paused, eyes falling to the floor and face even more anxious. “Still, the way things got worse so quick, that boy must'a been real persuasive. Can't see why anyone would'a gone along with Griman's crazy ideas – even his – else.”
“Is the boy still in the village?”
The woman looked up again, her brow slightly creased. “No. Was only here for a couple hours, then went sayin' he had to warn other people.”
“When was this?”
“The boy comin'? Three days back.”
“And you....?” Simey raised his bound hands meaningfully.
“Tied up and locked in here less 'an a day after. And my husband's got people watchin' him so as he can't help me.”
Simey looked at Glorem. “We need to tell them what we've seen – make them see it's nothing to do with us.”
The dwarf looked sceptical. “You could try, lad, if you're a better talker than you are a fighter,” - Simey winced inwardly and wondered what state Glorem had seen him in on the battlefield - “but I'm not sure what you'd say to them that wouldn't sound too outlandish or too different to what this boy has told them.”
Simey frowned. “They're taking quite extreme action on the claims of a stranger who wandered into the village.”
“He wasn't wrong though, was he?” rumbled the dwarf darkly.
Simey looked between Glorem and the woman through scrutinising eyes, struggling to keep a sick expression off his face at again recalling the hideous, deformed creatures that had annihilated the Knights' Council's scouting force. “Wasn't he?” he said eventually. “How did he manage to tell them enough to scare them into tying up members of their own village, when he clearly didn't know that it wasn't people that they should be worrying about.”
To Simey's fleeting gratification the dwarf seemed not to have considered the point, but they were interrupted in contemplating their circumstances further by the sounds of approaching footsteps accompanying the disappearance of the light from the fire outside. Simey twisted round in the now almost complete darkness as scraping noises told of bolts on the outside of the shack being withdrawn.
The door was dragged open across rough ground and the only part of the figure standing in the doorway that was not cast in silhouette was a thick finger pointing directly at Simey's face as a deep, and deeply unfriendly, voice spoke.
Post by Beowuuf on Mar 12, 2012 15:39:55 GMT -5
On the plains close to Eshar, Sommerlund
It had been waiting for ths moment since it had come to be in earnest. It had not been dormant, the better word was 'passive'. Yet it amounted to the same. It was an unholy thing, it did not have true existence, it was simply a conflux of many complicated and contradictory drives bound by a will and given vitality by an energy termed magic. And yet was that not the definition of all life?
The thing could finally stretch forth, freed from its self inflicted prison, to stretch tendrils of intention between what was, and what could be. It environment finally allowed it to roam free by crumbling around it. The thing had not much time, less for discovering the horrible twists of fate that all - even those not technically alive - could fall prey to.
Something else the thing had felt as a kin, something it had expected to form a union with, and draw true life from, was alien to it. Alike and yet different, the pit at the bottom of this world had teeth and hatred. It was a powerful engine, and yet the thing had no way to take the reins. Or perhaps the pit only worked as an engine when repressed, the world endeavouring to be everythign that the pit was not.
That was not the thing's desire, it wished to be like the pit in so many ways. Denied a kin, the thing now had so little time, so little means. It wormed its way where it could, revelling in the crumbling world, not knowing the emotion called terror. It only had echoes of the foul emotions of its creators - joy in destruction, ecstasy in deception, fullfilment in corruption.
It wrapped itself where it needed to go, and then shrivelled back. The brightest points, the hidden jewels in this land were the deadliest. It found a physical sensation that burned it, dissolved it. It lost much of itself twisting and choking that vein. And yet it bought itself a little time from the conversion of that energy there.
The thing did not know time, and then it did. It followed the smell and tasted the area it needed to burrow in to. Its tentrils, ephemeral and fading all the time, trailed behind it knitting what needed repaired, holding the world together.
The thing just needed to find the spark, the spark to light this land once more. And again, that jewel, that perfect light to corrupt burned it. Unravelled the very will the thing needed to have existance. The thing had no choice, it had to wrap what in another entity would be a head around the core. It tried to feel joy as it crushed, it tried to feel ecstasy in what it would achieve if successful, it tried to imagine the fulfilment when it corrupted and claimed this land for its own.
It had feelings...it had imagination... it had a brain and a spine nerves and muscles and arms and legs and and lungs again to breath and a mouth to scream, for everything it was was burning away, it had fingers and it could remember the sensation of when those fingers would be barely crasping a lip, a lip in to a deep dark pit with teeth and hatred, where only oblivion and failure dwelt.
A single, shining thought met its dark driving will... an imoveable rock to its unstoppable force. Time was running out...time had ran out...it felt...terror...
* * *
The movements were stiff, subconscious. A limb would fail for no reason and the figure would fall forwards. It would try to get up again. Like a foal taking its first steps, finally it found semi-stable footing. Then it realised that limbs were inconsistant lengths. Another unsteady movement saw the figure raise to its full height, balancing on two legs. Despite having no weight on them, there was still sensation in the arms. The figure looked to the left arm, using blinking, blurry eyes to focus on the area. The rioght hand reached up so the blurry eyes could compare. There was a difference, not just the mirror imaging of the two limbs. The long fingers of the matted fur of the right hand slowly, unsurely reached across to the left arm. With easy strength, slivers of something were pulled without care. Something oozed out afterwards, but the fingure already grew bored of the game.
There was a scent in the air, and without a real reason why, the figure staggered in the direction of the scent.
Discarded on the disturbed grass of the plains, amists the twinkling red blood, were many small slivers of steel. To a certain observer, the slivers might be suggestive of the shattered slivers of a sword blade. That observer might then wonder why black steel shards were left on the grass in Sommerlund.
Post by Simey on Apr 3, 2012 20:12:20 GMT -5
Between Eshnar and Temel
The large owner of messy hair, suspicious eyes, rough manner and thick finger shoved Simey through the doorway of a hut on the other side of the bonfire. Simey stumbled forwards, legs that he'd only been walking on for less than a minute after a long while off his feet still weak from inactivity. His almost falling to his knees did at least stop him from cracking his head on the low doorframe, but it did not present quite the assured entrance that he would prefer to have made when meeting the man who might decide his fate.
For Simey was fairly sure that it was Griman – the village leader it seemed, from what the woman being held with himself and Glorem had said – that was standing in the dim illumination of a single lamp inside the little building. A rough hewn table and several log seats were the only other things that Simey could make out properly with eyes that had just looked at the fire outside. He tottered himself back to a stable standing position with all the grace of a new born foal and tried to confidently meet the other man's eyes.
“Well?” demanded the villager through a substantial beard and dark-but-slightly-greying, jaw-length hair that swung forward making his face hard to see in the light.
The abstraction of the question halted the feeling of superiority Simey had decided he ought to muster and he felt his expression stutter into dumb incomprehension.
“An't you got anythin' to say for yourself?” The man's tone was far from friendly, but had shifted to incorporate a modicum of encouragement. “Why you're here?”
“Oh, entirely by choice, not because of somebody knocking me out, tying me up and bringing me here,” Simey replied, though with far less sarcastic a curl to his voice than he would have liked.
“But what were you doin' comin' to our village in the first place?” the man asked, his hands splaying open towards Simey in an imploring gesture that implied a measure of stress which his voice did not.
“We weren't.” The bluntness was irritatingly forced. “If the track we were on leads here, we didn't know. Why would we?”
The man stood a little straighter and hitched the loosely hanging hair on the lamp-lit side of his head behind his ear. By his puzzled face he looked to be in his mid-fifties, but it was difficult to tell with such rural folk, the outdoor life ageing them more quickly than those inhabiting the relative comfort of a town or city. His eyes were dark and anxious. “You sayin' you were walkin' along not knowin' where you were goin'?”
Yes, it did sound a little stupid. “We were a bit lost.” Simey's tone was turning gentler with reluctant diplomacy. He'd more expected to walk into a flurry of accusations, but the fact that the man in front of him seemed actually to be trying to work him out – albeit with no clue how to go about it – rather dampened his primed belligerence. “I assume you expected a threat coming along that road?”
“That road?” The voice was suddenly angry. “Any road!” But the anger was being undermined by something else.
Simey instinctively knew he could not afford impatience if he was to talk his and Glorem's way out of captivity, but his past negotiating had usually been done on someone else's behalf and had meant interaction with people with influence in affairs of state; he was finding it hard to motivate himself to carefully move through a proper, considered discussion with someone whose highest concern was probably how much of a season's potato yield to store for winter. He breathed deeply and almost addressed the man as 'sir' before recognising the title for the artificial and patronising deferential that it would be. “Griman, is it?” he said instead, head tilted forward and eyes looking at the villager past politely inquiring raised eyebrows.
“How'd you know that?” asked the man with confused suspicion.
“I heard someone say your name.” Simey's hand brushed the importance of the matter away through the air. “Griman, then,” he went on, turning his head slightly in a half-respectful sideways nod. “It would probably help both of us if you told me why you think the village is under threat from all around. What gives you that idea?”
Griman shifted his shoulders in an attempt to cover his swallowing hard, and his answer was spoken with a false off-handedness.
Post by Beowuuf on Apr 8, 2012 15:33:20 GMT -5
On the plains close to Eshar, Sommerlund
The figure turned around, startled at being addressed. A wolf creature, over six feet tall, was not something that could easily hide itself. And yet subconsciously the creature had been trying to conduct itself with as much stealth as possible. To be addressed startled the creature. It looked around left and right, seeing nothing in the small copse of trees ahead, nothing in the grassy plains behind.
It then made a snickering noise that. to a tuned ear, was a quiet laugh. The creature had addressed itself as it accessed its memories. "Idiot," it - he, infact - said quietly to himself, shaking his head. he then sighed. The name, now he said it with this mouth, did not seem correct. He sighed again. "Beowuuf," he said. Damn, from these lips, it just felt far more natural.
Beowuuf wasn't sure what had happened to him. He'd been helping scout with the Border Rangers, moving towards Eshnar. And then...he'd woken up on the grass. There was nothing in his memory saying what had happened one way or the other. The sun seemed to even be the same, as if he had only blacked out for a few minutes or at worst a couple of hours. Though if that was the case, where was the entire army he had been with?
Had he blacked out a longer period of time? Sadly, he wasn't quite sure how the length of the day played out in these parts, nor what time it was now. He doubted that even if he watched the rise and fall of the day tomorrow, he would be able to get the sense of if a few days or weeks had passed.
He'd heard about and even seen once amnesia from a battle wound. And yet he did not feel as if his head was wounded. His back felt stiff and strange, and he'd almost forgot about his trick leg when he'd first started walking. However, his head - odd taste in his mouth aside - seemed physically healthy. No wounds, no bruising he could feel. It was just his memory had odd holes. He could recall how he injured his leg, and yet npt what he was runnign from, for example. Though there was another face that swam in to view when he thought aboutthe incident with his leg.
Beowuuf had decided to move back the way, hoping to find the main bulk of the army. However, his sense of direction in the sameness of Sommerlund's landscape was not the best. He needed to find civilisation. And even then, he was hesitant to find that. Meet the wrong people, and he would have to explain his own appearance. That could go wrong in so many ways. Especially if he had no explanation of how he came to be away from a large army he claimed to have been a part of.
Again, that same face swam in to his mind as he tried to shuffle through the odd puzzle pieces of his memory. The picture was almost complete, there were just odd blank areas where the piece was temporarily missing. He hoped he just neded the right stimulous to remember. Like trying to recall a face or name, and then finding a scent or stray thought brought them all flooding back later through some unconnected prompt.
Beowuuf realised why the face kept coming back in to his mind. He now knew what scent he had been following. "Simey," he said, trying out the name. He nodded. Why that seemed to be a lone familiar scent - that was a question almost as disturbing as the quetsion regarding his memory loss.
Post by Simey on May 16, 2012 17:32:17 GMT -5
Between Eshnar and Temel
“What did this boy say?”
Having endured a description of what he already roughly knew of someone of about his own age arriving in the little village three days previously and asking to speak to Griman – the man now trying to interrogate him – in private, Simey was keen to actually find out what the stranger could have said to turn the place into the hotbed of paranoia that had led himself and his dwarven companion to be ambushed and knocked unconscious simply for having approached the settlement.
“He said that somethin' was coming,” said Griman, eyes struggling to meet Simey's.
“Something like what?”
The village elder's gaze roamed at random around the dimness inside the hut. “Creatures,” he replied in a half squeak as though the word was a hot loaf to be dropped on to a table before it burnt him.
“What sort of creatures?” said Simey.
Griman hesitated, looked for a moment like he wanted to escape, only it was him that was supposed to be holding Simey captive rather than the other way around. “Terrible things, like you can't even imagine,” he said in a tremulous half-whisper.
Simey thought that he probably could. “Go on,” he said, trying to maintain a neutral tone.
“Like bits of all sorts of animals altogether.” Even in the poor light it looked as though some colour was draining from the village leader's face. “Fur and scales and claws and hooves and horns and teeth. Like somethin' I an't even heard in the stories of the Darklords.”
It sounded horribly familiar. “Did he say anything else about them?”
Griman looked momentarily surprised. “Oh, yes,” he said uncertainly. “Said they could change people. Make them do bad things.”
It struck him like a knife in the guts that from what he'd seen the only bad thing that the creatures had made people do was allow their insides to be strewn all over the ground. But then Simey remembered the strangeness of the knights' encampment in the hours before they were attacked, how pragmatic, military men had seemed all of a sudden to be incapable of coordinating with each other, of making straightforward decisions. He'd dismissed it unconsciously at the time, he realised, perhaps assuming the sight of the blasted landscape outside what little remained of Eshnar to have shaken even the scouting party's commanders.
“What sort of things?” he asked, for the first time genuinely feeling that the man might have some interesting information to offer him.
“Well, I dunno,” said Griman, apparently having to dredge an answer from somewhere deeper in the pool of his memory, where the descriptions of the creatures had floated brightly sunlit on the surface. “Working against their fellows. Using anything that only they understand to hurt people.”
Although he considered that the villagers having acted on such a notion explained the incarceration of the woman who was apparently an amateur herbalist, Simey was disappointed by the relative lack of conviction in the man all of a sudden. “What made you believe all this?” he said, barely keeping the defensive sneer out of his voice.
Griman's brow and lips tightened intently and his eyes darted fitfully around the inside of the hut. “The boy seemed....” he started. “He was very....” The man's agitation was growing by the second and he began to rub two fingers abrasively on the middle of his forehead as though trying desperately to remove a tattoo that he'd grown to hate, or fear even. “Very....”
Simey waited in mounting discomfort for an answer, starting to wonder if the village leader was just plain mad.
“He was sure.” The agitation was abruptly stifled; the voice was forced into calm, the gaze into steadiness. “And I believe he spoke the truth.”
Simey tried to rally his composure in the face of Griman's disconcertingly inconstant manner, but his response still sounded infuriatingly irresolute. “Well, you can believe that I speak the truth.”
“How's that?” Dripping doubt.
“I am a knight of The Order of the White Mountain of Durenor,” said Simey, trying hard for a rock of benevolent superiority, but struggling to pull himself clear from a mire of disdain. “I am bound by The Oath of Truthfulness.” He took a deep, slow breath, hoped it would send calm and patience right through him. “I have seen the creatures that you describe. I was part of a scouting force of knights and dwarves that was investigating what had happened to the city of Eshnar. Three days ago we were ambushed these things and they killed nearly everyone. The dwarf and I escaped – we might be the only ones, I don't know.”
Simey took a brief moment to steady his voice which was starting to waver at the horrifying memories of the battle that cut into his mind however hard he tried to fight them off. He noticed that Griman appeared to have the beginnings of a scowl pressing into his features now, but he ignored it, determined to say his piece.
“So this boy was right,” Simey continued: “there are creatures out there. But I have seen no evidence that they manipulate people to act against their will and against their fellows.” He acknowledged to himself that what he had just said might amount to looking at the truth through a door that was only ajar, but decided that the intentions of the statement were honourable and went on: “And therefore, while I commend you for taking action to defend your village, I de-” - he quickly stopped himself demanding anything - “I request that you allow my companion and I to continue on our way and that you release those of your fellows that you have imprisoned.”
There was a definite disdainful grimace on Griman's face now, for all that Simey felt his entreaty had overall gone fairly well. “The boy said something else,” said the village leader, his tone suddenly heavy with threat. “Said someone might come, most likely knights from an army, sayin' that it's jus' the creatures themselves we need to fear. Said these people were nothin' more 'an agents of the monsters.”
“We need to get out of here,” Simey breathed urgently once he'd been shoved roughly back into the shack and the door closed behind him.
“Well, that's obvious,” grunted Glorem. “Why are you so keen right now?”
“Because I think they've just decided to kill us.”
Post by Beowuuf on May 17, 2012 13:25:11 GMT -5
Between Eshnar and Temel
"I'm going to kill you. Slowly."
Beowuuf slowly turned around. Once more, the words had been uttered by himself. He'd said it deliberately, loudly in the direction of the thing that was tormenting his mind.
He turned around one last time, then sighed and shook his head. Nothing. His hair had been bristling, he had that prickles one got when you just knew something was watching him. And yet all his other senses said nothing was there. It was the only reason he'd decided to challenge, just to prooke some form of reaction.
It was like an itch, as if the eyes upon him were just on the inside of his head, looking at him from the one place he could never, ever see. He shuddered, and decided on a new course of action.
The moment he tried to run, his leg gave out from under him and he fell flat on his face with a snarl. He spun around as if he had been struck, and then whined as the source of his fall became apparent. He looked around for a source, then the memory floated to his mind.
His leg, he had a weakened leg. An odd adventure with Simey - the knight he was trying to track - came to mind. Being chased by solders. And of before that he had been hovering on the edges of this place, spying on the knights because they didn't trust themselves, and he'd just woken up having been nothing more than a scout for the knights. He was really starting to resent this place. Having the land smash him in the face just seemed to be another indignity heaped upon him.
He sprang up quickly on one leg, away from the grass, and shook off the aching muscle. His leg was still strong, and now he was reminded of the weakness again, he knew how to run perfectly on it.
The land whipped away quickly as Beowuuf found a lopping run easily. The scent did not waver, and his nose processed the clues of it without fault. Still, the thing that did not leave him was that itch in the back of his head. It was still in the same place. Something watching him without losing pace with him.
The wolf creature slowly, shaking his head irritably. He looked aorund again. Nothing behind him, infront of him-
"It's one of them!"
"Don't l;ook it in the eyes!"
"Don't wave your sp[ear ner me! Are you turning?"
Three figures - simple peasants by their garb, but armed remarkably well - were standing at the entrance to a path through a treeline.
The largest strode forwards. "Knew you were real! Any last words, monster?"
Beowuuf blinked slowly in shock. He looked down, for some reason to the dried wound on his left arm where he recalled pulling splinters. He looked to his right arm...or rather, the claws there. Just like the claws on his left hand. He looked up, with an unpleasant smile on his face.
"I'm going to kill you all. Slowly."
Post by Beowuuf on Nov 30, 2012 16:15:46 GMT -5
Between Eshnar and Temel
Inside a hut, a knight and a dwarf could hear the commotion build. It was difficult to form a plan of escape when the entirity of the village outside wanted your death. And when the hut itself held very little for even an enterprising and incentivised mind to use. What made it even harder was when you were sure the commotion was the villagers now planning your imminent death. Necessity was not the mother of invention, it was the mother of mind paralysing panic.
"The creature comes!" yelled a voice from outside. "We need to make an example!"
There was an ominous silence. When people stopped yelling their intent despite having the upper hand, it was because they were whispering words they did not wish their consciences to hear.
There was the pressure of people outside the door, without the sound of it. The mind had a way of noticing the subtle shifting of shadows and the deadening of natural sounds that spoke of bodies in front of the door even if they were being quiet enough not to actively speak of their presence.
"It's like a slug," came a whsipering voice from outside, said quietly and only a quirk of air movement and the otherwise silence carrying the vpice outside to the two figures inside.
"Slugs don't have so many limbs..pointing everywhere..." came a second voice, whispering less becauase of the quiver in his voice.
A silence fell upon the place. The commotion had settled. What were those outside planning?
"IS ANYONE HERE?" come a sudden yell, breaking the silence form a distance. "I HAVE THREE IDIOTS TO RETURN AND A FEW QUESTIONS!"
To one of the occupants in the hut, the voice was oddly famililar. The voice was speaking accented Sommlending, but accented by quirks of Dessi speech. And further complicated by a careful pronouciation that came from shaping such words around the obstructions of oversized teeth and an overlong snout.
Familiarity was not the father of relief though. It was instead the father of that familair sinking feeling of things getting far, far worse.
Post by Simey on Jan 30, 2013 19:15:17 GMT -5
Between Eshnar and Temel
“What is it?”
The dwarf's hushed question expected an answer. Simey realised he'd frozen, half listening, half rummaging through his mind in disbelief.
“It's....” He immediately tailed off, concentration still largely bound up in deciding whether the apparent arrival outside was as bad a development as it felt.
Glorem managed to keep quiet, even while stomping pointedly right up next to him.
“It's what?” hissed the dwarf.
“It's....he's....the wolf....” Simey could hear a scatter of voices undulating outside now. His gaze snapped to the dwarf. “Shut up, will you? If things get worse, try and kick through the back wall.”
Glorem sliced a lips-tight, teeth-bared frown at Simey, but said nothing more and moved to the rear of the hut. The woman glanced between them in mute confusion.
A voice outside sounded as though it was addressing the intruder. It was impossible to pick out many of the words, but the rising, sheered-off tones feigned threat, failing to conceal terror. Understandable, Simey thought.
He knocked on the door. “I can help,” he said, raising his voice but trying to sound calm as he addressed whoever was standing on the other side. “The creature: I can help defend you against it.”
A thud on the door, a gruff, “Shut up.”
“It's a wolf, isn't it?” Simey managed clipped severity. “Like a wolf, but stood upright like a person.”
Another impact on the wood, but softened by uncertainty. Low muttering close to the door.
“It's very dangerous. But I've encountered it before. I can help.”
More murmured discussion, lasting too long to be a straight dismissal of his claim. Simey nodded tightly, willing the villagers immediately outside the hut to grasp at critical moments and act on their own, not take the time to refer to Griman or anyone else who'd fallen under the spell of complete paranoia. In the background, the jagged, uncertain thrusts of an ultimatum were still being delivered.
“Okay then, help.” Grunted to mask fear. “What we got to do?”
Simey rolled his eyes at the villager's stupidity. “I can't help from in here.” Shards of his rising irritation at having to deal with such a person slipped into his speech. “I need to confront it.”
Silence from the immediate outside. Petering out of defiance from a little further away. Low crackle of fire.
“I understand that you don't know if you can trust me.” Simey tried quiet insistence now, not wanting his voice to carry far from the hut. “But letting me out can hardly be worse than facing that thing, can it?”
“There are a lot more of us.” Low growl, mulling over the prospect of a fight.
“Believe me,” said Simey, sickening images of the knights' army being torn apart slashing suddenly at his mind, “it won't make any difference.”
Someone shifted right outside the door. A last moment hiss of doubt didn't prevent the bolts being drawn back. The door partially opened, but the way was blocked by the silhouette of a big man.
“I'm not untyin' you.” The blunt statement rolled with wariness. “Only you. Get out here.”
As he got to his feet, Simey glanced at Glorem. The dwarf's intent eyes glinted in the dim light, but his expression was unreadable. Simey turned away and ducked out into the space cautiously made by the villager. He could see now that the man was scruffy of hair, beard and just about everything else, but his eyes held a readiness to do violence that made him someone to be taken seriously. Immediately behind him were a group of other villagers whose attention was torn between the hut and something on the other side of the fire.
“What you gonna do?” said the man who had let Simey out, looking him up and down and crooking his upper lip in doubt at what he saw.
“I'm going to take a look,” Simey said icily, covering for a more substantial answer he didn't have.
The man moved aside and gestured for Simey to move forward past the fire. He did not have to go far.
Simey's first view of the lupine Vakeros had been flame-lit outside another hut. He'd been horrified that the creature would be his likely doom back then.
He needed the flame-lit horror he saw now to be his unlikely saviour.
Post by Beowuuf on Mar 5, 2013 16:09:17 GMT -5
"Who are you?"
The figure stood over Beowuuf's prone form, legs stretched, feet on tip-toes, body leaning as far forwards as possible without the whole precarious form of the figure falling forwards.
Beowuuf would have preferred that. The figure's face was blurry, indistinct. Beowuuf found it eyewatering to focus on the figure, a male from the tone of voice - most likely, anyway. The only thing Beowuuf could see clearly made his eyes water even more - the figures own eyes. They burned red.
Beowuuf had to look away, and pointed to the figure's feet. "Watch out," he said, pointing to the crack in the ground. It ran from horizon to horizon, the thickness of an outstretched hand yet unfathomably deep. Beowuuf was on one side, the figure was leaning across from the other side. Despite the impossibility of it, the figure seemed to be able to poke and prod at Beowuuf and also seemed to be enjoying doing so with impunity.
"I won't fall," said the figure with an elusively familiar tone to their voice.
Beowuuf look to the infinite crack. Well, infinite in a few directions at least. Still, perhaps it was just an illusion it was so narrow. Perhaps it was staggeringly wide, and the figure itself was therefore very, very large yet very far away. That made sense...that was why Beowuuf couldn't make out the face. The figure being very, very large - looming vastly and yet now so far away - stirred some recognition and dawning understanding in Beowuuf. A recognition and understanding that friustratingly flitted away again.
Beowuuf was stirred from his thought by being poked in his bad arm.
"You seem to have lost something there. I didn't think you ever would," the figure said of the thin theincisions masked by Beowuuf's fur. "And you've lost my sword too. Really, you've lost so much. Is it gone, or just...misplaced?"
"I have no idea. Who are you?" asked Beowuuf with a curt retort, echoing the question asked of himself earlier.
"And your eyes. They don't burn," said the figure. finally stopping its leaning and standing up straigh.t rocking back and forth on its heels at the very edge of the crack.
"Why, is that what everyone's eyes do here?"
The figure laughed an oddly uplifting laugh. "Where do you think you are?" That was a second questions Beowuuf couldn't answer. The figure seemed to understand that and tried a different tactic. "It does seem that the more you lose the more complete you are."
There was a pregnant pause as if Beowuuf was supposed to comment on that. However, since he didn't understand what he was supposed to have lost, he didn't know what to say. His identity and location were not conscious concerns, though not focuing on them most likely highlighted how great they were as unconscious concerns. Both Beowuuf and the figure ignored the deep, rumbling roar that came from far away inside the crack.
The figure sighed. "Why did you threaten to kill those men," it asked quickly.
"They wanted a monster. I needed an advantage," said Beowuuf so quickly it was as if he knew the question already.
"So why did you kill them," was the equally fast response.
"I didn't, they're beaten but conscious for the most part," he volleyed defensively.
"Exactly," shot back the figure. A quick questioning shrug in response. "So when you draw the creatures to their village, they'll be weak. Too weak to defend themselves."
"And you knew this."
"How did I-?"
"And you wanted this."
"Want them de-?"
"Do you care about anything more than your answers anymore?"
The last was said slowly and without any emotion, yet had all the force of a fresh serve, hit fast and perfectly past Beowuuf's defenses. Beowuuf realised something.
"My leg," he said.
"I put my weight on my leg again, the wrong way. First fight and all that. I'm a person who's unconscious. I'm on the ground after the fight. And you...you're nothing I should be speaking to. I need to wake up."
Beowuuf was gone in the blink of an eye. The looming figure, standing so far away at the edge of a near infinitely wide crack, fell to its knees and looked in to the chasm. It cried tears even though there was nothing left to see, and despite the infinite depths of the crack, the water filled the chasm and began to flood the land all around.
Beowuuf had stood up, once more mindful of his trick leg, and surveyed the still barely conscious forms of the three men that had assaulted him. He had seen the strange sackcloth square they'd laid out behind them as if to carry back a trophy. And he had smelled the direction of they had come from. It had been in line with his own intended target.
Without memory of his daydream, the wolf creature had secured his hostages and moved onwards...
Village between Eshnar and Temel, the present
"The thing's detached pieces of itself! They're coming alive!"
"It's your men!" said Beowuuf in frustration, pointing to the bundle he had brought. He was aware that the firelight created shadows and blind spots. Blinding those further back from seeing what was actually being illuminated. A mob whose majority of braincells were detached from the small circle of eyes and mouths he could interract with.
Still, Beowuuf didn't actually care about any of them. His own senses were pulling his eyes in one direction. His nose showed the path to a door open a crack. And his own eyes, as he shielded them from the torches around, focused on that familiar face.
"Him," said Beowuuf, pointing to the hut, and the cracked open door, and the barely perceptible face behind that door. Beowuuf's black eyes seemed to have more fire in them than when they had once been reddened as he regarded Simey in the didtance. "I want him."