PM to join A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

An unfortunate accident leaves a group of hunters trapped and in need of rescue.

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The westernmost tip of Kalea, Wind Reach is home to an amazing group of people and their giant eagle mounts. [Lore]

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Sira on December 10th, 2014, 3:34 pm

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Timestamp: 5th of Winter, 514 AV

Sira could smell the stables long before she reached them. It wasn't a bad smell, really, very grassy, and certainly a much better smell than when the deks slacked off on cleaning the eagle aeries. It was different, however.

Sira rarely ventured near the main gate, much less the stables. She did not need the gate to get out of the city, and she could get places faster on her own than she could on a horse. Sira had never even sat on a horse, though she had eaten one. They weren't bad, but elk were much better.

The endal walked into the stables and paused to look at one of the horses. It was big. and brown, and had a white mark on it's face. The horse looked at her, snorting nervously. Sira was not frightened of horses like some endal she had met, but rather, she saw them as prey. That was the wind eagle in her, and the horse could pick up on that somehow. The animal stomped and snorted again as Sira stared at it.

They were powerful creatures, but Sira knew that wind eagles were more powerful. There were times when she wondered why the Inarta even bothered with the animals, and then she was reminded when she was given missions like the one she had that day.

To say she was thrilled about the mission would be perhaps the biggest overstatement of the season, but it still had to be done. And to do it, she would need the help of a horse, and hopefully someone who could handle one. She finally turned from her examination of the animal, glancing around for somebody to talk to.

"Hello," she called out in Nari, "Anybody here?"

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Zhol on December 10th, 2014, 5:19 pm


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Nari. That did not bode well.

Zhol was getting better, marginally. Drusilla, and Khara, and Val the gatekeeper had all been helping. He'd been borrowing children's story books from the Enclave because of their simplicity, trying to train his mind to get comfortable understanding large swathes of the language. He had been borrowing books on horses, animals, religion, history, all so he could fumble through, trying to piece together the meanings, trying to learn the words that were important. Stringing sentences of his own together was still a struggle, but he was getting better at understanding the gist of things when he was spoken to, and knew enough basic phrases to fumble his way through platitudes if he needed to.

That wasn't the source of his concern, though. The problem was, despite all of his efforts, if a conversation was anything but a brief passing encounter, there was inevitably a point where his command of the language failed, and he had to admit defeat and make the shameful effort of steering the conversation into the Common tongue. Every time that happened it was a little harder; every time it made it feel as if all his efforts were an ineffective waste of everyone's time.

He didn't dread the prospect of speaking Nari: it was the inevitable certainty that at some point he'd have to stop.

"Hallo!" he offered, as warmly as he could muster. Khara always chuckled when he did that; something about his accent, about the way that the hints of Pavi in his voice made him say the vowels a little wrong. With her he didn't mind, but now he suddenly felt very self-conscious of it. He emerged slowly from within the maze of stable stalls, peering around the amply-sized ass of an amply-sized ass to catch a glimpse of whoever was visiting the stables. He didn't recognise her, not that it was ever particularly surprising to discover there were people in Wind Reach that he didn't know; she certainly wasn't any of the regular Chiet and Avora who swung by because their work demanded it though, and that was interesting. Almost as interesting as the strange way the horses seemed to be reacting to her.

Zhol fought hard to keep a frown from furrowing his brow, and to keep a warm smile affixed to his face. "Is there a way that I can help you today?

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Sira on December 10th, 2014, 6:30 pm

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What a strange accent, Sira thought to herself. He must be foreign.

Sira did not have the outright loathing that many foreigners, mostly Sira was just curious about them, but she did like to play with them. It was unlikely that this man had a very good grasp of the Inartan language, but that did not mean Sira was going to go easy on him. She did not like common, and only spoke it when absolutely necessary. Plus it was amusing to watch people struggle to understand when all they really have to do is ask her to speak common.

"I need a horse. The biggest, strongest one you have. Some hunters got trapped in a cave from a landslide and there is no way for a wind eagle to get down to them. I told them it was a bad idea to go out right now, but they didn't listen. Anyway, we'll have to fly the horse to a spot nearby then ride in. We need a strong horse to pull boulders out of the way. I don't think anybody is hurt, but we'll see when we get there. I hope you know how to handle one of these things, because I don't."

Perhaps his command of Nari would surprise her, but she doubted it. Sira was fairly certain she was going to have to repeat what she said in the common tongue, and she did not like the idea of that. She could speak common well enough, if she had to, but she didn't like it. She did not like being uncertain of her words, or how it made her sound like a simpleton. Unfortunately she was probably going to be doomed to do just that.. But she would try Nari first.

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Zhol on December 10th, 2014, 8:48 pm


|.
Well, horse he understood, so at least that was a good start. It had sounded like she'd wanted a fat horse, but that didn't quite sound right. A large horse, perhaps? Were those two concepts synonyms in Nari?

The next part was trickier. Cave and landslide were words he'd been warned about, words he'd been sure to learn to recognise, in case he happened across anyone charging through the warrens yelling about them. He wasn't quite sure what it was the woman was saying about people, but the tone of her voice, and the smattering of words he did pick up on suggested something bad was going on, and it didn't take much imagination for the kind of bad that cave and landslide might lead to. There was something about flying horses as well, which Zhol was sure he was getting wrong; but he knew enough to work out what was needed.

"People are trapped, and you need a horse to help free them," he paraphrased aloud, not wasting time dancing around with an uncomfortable language when people were in danger. He paused for the briefest of moments, waiting to see if the woman tried to correct him, before turning on his heel and heading straight for the tack room. His mind contemplated what they'd need for that kind of task: the right kind of harnesses, sturdy enough rope; extra cargo to make their journey to the accident all the more complicated.

He halted, glancing back over his shoulder towards the woman, an entirely separate part of his mind working it's way through the list of horses that might be able to help with this kind of heavy labour. "Will one be enough -" he asked, wondering if he needed to factor in horses of equal strength and equal size into his decision, "- or are we going to need a whole team?"

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Sira on December 10th, 2014, 10:07 pm

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He seemed to understand her, but he did not waste time trying to respond in Nari. Straight to business, Sira could respect that. She wasn't as concerned as he was, this kind of thing happened fairly often and there were no reports of anyone being hurt, at least so far as she knew. But she understood his urgency. His question did surprise he a bit. How in the world would they bring two horses? How strong did he think wind eagles were? Plus, she couldn't begin to fathom how they would safely dangle two horses beneath her.

"I can only carry one," she responded, this time answering in common, and noting how much different her own accent made her words sound in comparison to his foreign accent.

Sira followed him, wanting to see which beast he would choose. She was going to be stuck carrying it for almost a bell, after all, and wanted to know what she was in for.

"Dek's are bringing a... um.. straps to carry the horse while we fly."

The word she had been looking for was harness, but it wasn't something she said often, and so she could not recall. They were also bringing her saddle. Normally Sira loathed the idea of letting anyone other than Aidara in her saddle, but since the healer's mysterious disappearance Sira had been forced several times to carry others on her back, and she was starting to grow used to it. It would be a medical saddle, a large bulky thing designed to carry injured riders if needed, and it would make flying with the horse all the more exhausting, but Sira could handle it. She hated the medical saddle, but of the various types of multi-rider saddles, it was the one she complained about the least. She wore it often when Aidara was around, the woman being a healer, and was used to it.

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Zhol on December 10th, 2014, 10:39 pm


|.
The woman wasn't exactly some sort of scrawny, insignificant waif; even so, the notion of her carrying a horse was utterly baffling, and his mind scrabbled like the back legs of a pony trying to climb a muddy bank, as he attempted to fathom it out. Suddenly though, the last piece of the puzzle fell into place, and resolved into understanding. Not flying horses, not carrying horses; but horses being carried in flight.

That meant the woman was an Endal, and that changed things. He didn't have much experience interacting with Wind Reach's highest caste: they usually had no interest in interacting with an outsider like him, and he had no particular desire to do anything beyond staying out of everyone's way here in the stables. He wasn't really sure how to react: he knew the cultural significance of the Endal caste, but he didn't know it. There were similarities to the way things had been back in Endrykas, but there was no true analogue that Zhol completely understood. Was he supposed to bow? Call her ma'am? Avoid eye contact? Maintain eye contact? He had a sudden new appreciation for the way Khara felt around the higher castes, and how much she struggled trying to tailor her behaviour to fit their unspoken expectations.

Flying complicated matters though. The woman had asked for the largest, but Zhol had no idea what kind of weight a Wind Eagle could safely carry; a lot, he supposed. But there were other factors to consider, too. His instant reaction would have been Smoke: perhaps his favouritism towards certain horses was unfair or unwise, but she was half-Aventhalian, strong, dependable, reliable, and hard to spook. However, she was also with foal, and while they were still a few seasons away from when her pregnancy would affect what she was capable of, Zhol had no idea how the stress of flying might affect her or her child; and uncomfortable as it was to admit, if anything went wrong and Smoke took a fall, it was double the loss for the stables' future.

Worse: Solo would never forgive him for it.

The stables had other large horses, but contrary to typical Inartan belief, you couldn't use one horse for all your needs. The horses that were best for riding fast and far were not the same as the ones best for hauling heavy loads; those who had pulled carts and wagons up the Sanikas Road from Thunder Bay when the settlers there had migrated back to the mountain for the winter were not the same as those who pulled carts through the mines, or carried loads up mountain slopes.

There was only one horse that Zhol could think of that might be a wise fit; if only because he'd seen first hand the mountain pony's grace in the face of fear last season in the mines. If she could survive being crushed beneath a cart harness, stabbed with debris, and set aflame to sear closed a dangerous wound without hating everyone and everything as a result, a short trip beneath a Wind Eagle would be a breeze.

He grabbed what he needed for the tack room and navigated to her stall, draping the harnesses and strapwork over the gate. "This is Asfodel," he explained, fighting the urge to smile at the name that a certain someone had helped him to choose. "She isn't the biggest horse in the stables, but she's strong as an ox. She works in the mines; shifting heavy loads is her life. She may not look it, but trust me: this is the horse you need."

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Khara on December 12th, 2014, 5:54 am

Of course Lhex would see to it that her first actual day off from work of the season wouldn't coincide with Zhol's. Okay, so that was assuming that Lhex had anything to do with the trivial lives of a silly game scout and horse boy, but still. Fate be - Khara had to pause and reconsidered her line of thinking - fate, or not, she wasn't about to spend the day cooped up within the warrens of Wind Reach. She liked the warmth they offered during the Winter, a break from the biting cold that encompassed her bells spent outside normally, but these days the warrens offered little in the ways of comfort when she was alone. Truth was the Chiet girl still had trouble just walking from the Common Rooms to the door that stood aside the now locked Sanikas Gates, but once free and in the open air the building anxiety melted away into nothingness.

The girl adjusted her scarf, a small smile accompanying any slight touch of the fabric, before heading off towards the Skyhigh Stables. The trip to the outdoors wasn't necessary she knew the path leading from the warrens, but it was more tradition than anything else for her to approach from the outside. Not that Khara had a reason to be there, not a good one to most, anyway. Truthfully she expected only to have maybe a handful of chimes to spend there if Hansi was about. Plenty more if he wasn't though. She was small enough to stay out of the way and she was sure that Zhol wouldn't turn away her company.

So many little expectations, nervousness, giddiness, all built up to the moment when she stepped out of the chill early morning breeze and into the surprisingly cozy stables. Of course, the small skip in her step and overall lackadaisical manner scattered as her eyes settled on the other people within. Zhol was talking to someone, which wasn't unusual, but he was talking to an Endal and that was more than enough for the Chiet to remember her proper place. There was a small twinge of guilt that came with that. While Zhol never made her act subservient despite his Avora status, she couldn't just act like she normally did around him with someone so respected around.

It wasn't just any Endal, either. It was Sira. Khara didn't know if Zhol knew anything about the Dire Kelvic, or if his reaction would even be like hers had been when she had first discovered the woman and the Wind Eagle were one and the same. She approached the two carefully, just enough to catch the end of a mention of the fact that Sira apparently needed a horse. That seemed about as far fetched as saying Ivak was in the Communal Kitchens teaching the Yasi how to make lava cake. Still, it was more than enough to spark the Chiet's curiosity.

A small, timid and uncertain gesture was made as she caught Zhol's eye. It was probably wrong, but hopefully he would know what the attempted grasslands sign he had taught her was supposed to mean, at least. Which left only the uncertainty of how to address the other. Sira hadn't seemed to care much for her meek attitude before, but it was hard to gauge exactly how to address the Endal Kelvic.

Khara settled on a slightly more direct approach, praying she wasn't entirely wrong in doing so. A gentle and respectful nod of her head was given to Sira before Khara looked back up, her eyes remaining downcast out of typical difference. "Endal Sira, it's good to see you again."

Don't ask, don't ask, don't ask... "Forgive my boldness but this is a bit of a surprise. I wouldn't have ever expected to see you here." Not better. Petch. Khara cringed as soon as the words left her and she offered a quick apologetic glance in Zhol's direction. Hopefully she hadn't managed to offend the Endal, that wouldn't exactly be the best way to start a day she had been looking forward to.


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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Azira on December 12th, 2014, 1:52 pm

She was having a hard time finding Khara. The huntress was finding that her fruitless search was frustrating as she couldn't understand where the Chiet could be. Rather than sending a Dek for her she'd chosen to look for her herself. That had been a big mistake but she hadn't sent a one of the drudges and remedied it. No, she had to find the scout herself. It was the task she'd set herself and she was going to damn well complete it. The girl couldn't be that well hidden.

She'd tried her room, she'd tried asking the other scouts but according to them she had a day off. The Avora hadn't allowed that to deter her and so she'd searched in other places. She'd gone to the Kitchens, she'd gone to the Chiet shooting range, she'd gone to the Enclave and yet the girl was nowhere to be found. She wandered down to the Sanikas Gates to ask Val on the off chance that the scouts had been wrong and Khara had gone out with someone. If anyone was likely to know it was the gatekeeper. She caught the older man's attention where he sat by his little fire.

"I'm looking for a game scout. You might have seen her with me before. Goes by the name of Khara. Have you seen her today? I asked the scouts but they said she had a day off or something but I've been everywhere looking for her and I just thought that she might have gone down this way for some reason. It's stupid I know but I'm pretty much out of options to check," Azira explained, getting straight to the point rather than wasting time on formalities. It had been stupid but it was the only option she had left to her before she gave up. Wherever Khara was it didn't seem likely that the huntress was going to find her.

The gatekeeper nodded. "I think I did see her pass by but I don't think she was heading out scouting. I think she might have headed to the stables," he told her softly. She looked at him in puzzlement. Why would the Chiet visit the stables of all places with all of its horses and its-

"Oh Zhol!" she exclaimed, surprised that she hadn't recalled the friendship between the Avora horse boy and the Chiet game scout. Val chuckled at her reaction and nodded in agreement. "Yes, she might have gone up to visit him if he's working but-"

"Thanks, Val. Gotta run," she called as she rushed off without waiting for him to finish. It was quick work to go out the gate and into the stables, somewhere that she didn't frequent but that she'd been in before. Her disastrous encounter with a mountain pony last year had put her off the beasts. They seemed too temperamental. She didn't like any creature, human or otherwise, that was temperamental. She wasn't going near the animals if she had the choice though. She was grabbing Khara and going... somewhere. The teen hadn't even made plans, she'd just gotten it into her head that she should force the girl to put up with attempts at niceness today although she hadn't decided what form such attempts would take. Stealing her away on an off day when she had plans probably wouldn't be appreciated though.

The sight in the stables was different than she expected and her mind went momentarily blank as she paused to survey things briefly. There was Zhol and Khara as was to be expected but there was also Sira. She had no idea what had brought the Endal here but she was standing with the other two and as Azira approached them, she noticed that Khara seemed flustered by the other woman's presence.

"Endal Sira," she greeted her superior with a brief nod before turning to Khara. "I have been looking for you everywhere! I would have done less walking if I'd gone hunting," she complained. After the ordeal of trying to find the scout, her idea of being nice had evaporated.
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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Sira on December 12th, 2014, 4:55 pm

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Sira did not question Zhol's choice in the horse. She knew next to nothing about the animals, and the only reason she had suggested a big one was because she assumed it would be ideal. Bigger wing eagles could generally carry more than smaller ones, but apparently with horses it was different.

Sira eyed the pony for a moment, and in the end decided that she was pleased with the choice. It was stocky, but smaller, and looked like it weighed less than some of the behemoths she'd glimpsed in the other stalls.

Weight was not a huge issue for her. Sira had once carried one of the black and white whales out in the bay half a bell back to the shore. It was a small one, to be fair, but she was fairly certain it weighed more than the horses. She'd done the same with a large shark once, and many of the walrus on the shore were just as heavy. But lighter was always better, and Sira wasn't about to object. As long as it could get the job done, Sira didn't care how big the horse was.

Khara's appearance surprised the endal. Had it been any other chiet she might have responded with irritation, but Sira liked the woman. They'd been hunting together, and Sira found Khara's quiet timidity endearing. She was about to respond when Azira appeared as well, greeting Sira respectfully before moving on to berate the chiet.

Both of them, she thought to herself. Actually she was quite pleased. She wanted to get to know the women better, and having the extra hands would make the unpleasant mission wrap up all the sooner. Sira did not wait for Khara to respond to the Avora, interrupting before the chiet could reply.

"Actually, I'm glad you are both here. A group of hunters is trapped, and I need extra hands to get them out. One of them is an endal, and his eagle tells me nobody is hurt, but the sooner we get them out the better."

"Horse boy," Sira switched back to common, not knowing that she had called him by the same nickname that Khara did, "You're with me, in case the horse acts bad and we have to land quick. One of you two will have to ride Zika, he can only carry one."

Sira eyed the two women carefully. Zika was a very young wind eagle, barely large enough for a rider. Both women looked to be about the same size, but Azira was probably surer in the saddle, and that would be helpful with an inexperienced eagle like Zika.

"Azira, you can ride Zika. Khara, you'll have to squeeze in with the horse boy.. or we can strap you to one of the stretchers, if you prefer."

That last bit was a joke. Sira did not think anybody in their right mind would want to be strapped to the stretchers. The medical saddle had two of them, removable bed-like things that an injured person could be strapped to and then carried on the saddle.. they did not look very fun.

"Okay, bring that horse outside. The dek are here with my stuff and Zika is getting impatient."

Sira motioned for them all to follow and then walked out into the pasture. The dek were already there with the medical saddle and the harness for the horse. Zika was off to the side, wearing his own saddle an waiting impatiently. Sira sent him a mental hello and explained that he would be carrying a rider, and then began to strip.

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Zhol on December 12th, 2014, 5:50 pm


|.
Every time Khara tried her hand at grassland sign, Zhol's heart completely forgot about what it was supposed to be doing. Partly, it was the simple fact of Khara not just making the effort to use common to speak to him, but going a whole step further and trying to use a completely unfamiliar language. More than that though, it was what that sign meant: the only one she knew; the only one she'd asked to know.

Zhol tried to stop himself from smiling as he waved back his own signed gesture of affection, but failed. He knew Khara was nervous about displaying their feelings for each other openly, worried about what people might think about a Chiet and Avora being together; an Outsider Avora, no less. Mostly, she worried that it might somehow reflect negatively on him, but to Zhol's mind, the only thing they had to worry about was how jealous everyone would be of how lucky he was. Anyone who thought otherwise could go petch themselves.

Azira's arrival was a little less welcome, more for the uncertainty than anything else. Zhol struggled to think of how to describe things between them other than an uneasy truce. Learning that Drusilla was fond of the huntress had changed things; and for Khara's sake, he had promised himself that he would do everything humanly possible to be patient and understanding of her. Unfortunately for him, Azira had a knack for being inhumanly annoying.

Zhol remained silent as the Endal spoke, and at her instruction dutifully set about readying Asfodel for her no doubt unsettling journey, his shoulder and all his other aches and pains reminding them that he still hadn't fully recovered from his altercation at the end of last season. Gently, he rested a hand against the ugly scar from the wound that Zhol had been forced to sear closed with reimancy when Asfodel had been trapped in the mines; it was almost a ritual between the two of them now, an unspoken apology for the horse boy for what he had done, unmoving patience from Asfodel that showed her understanding and forgiveness.

As Sira ordered them outside however, Zhol lingered behind, slipping himself into step behind Khara. One hand holding the rope that guided Asfodel in his wake, Zhol let the other slip around Khara's waist, pulling her against him in a one-armed embrace that let him plant a single kiss against her cheek. "Khara, you'll have to squeeze in with the horse boy," he muttered softly into her ear, echoing the Endal's words, his cheek nuzzling against hers. "Oh no, what a shame."

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