Closed Undiscovered Country (Part 1)

Zhol joins Khara on her search for new hunting grounds. (Seasonal Open Event)

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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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Undiscovered Country (Part 1)

Postby Zhol on March 22nd, 2015, 3:25 am

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21 Spring, 515
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It was dark, and it was raining, yet through the mist of falling water, Zhol could see the smouldering echoes of what he had done. Damp grass and mud eagerly soaked into the knees of his pants where he had crumpled to the ground in despair. The shouts, the blame, the accusations, rang out from all directions like the raging rumbles of a thunderstorm, but there were no reassuring flashes of lightning, no glimpses of what was out there in the dark. He knew it was his family that taunted him; their voices were burned into his memory. Without a single sight of them though, they might as well have not been there; gone from him entirely.

The rain pummelled the crackling ruins into simmering embers, and then into nothing but wisps of smoke. The light faded further, the blackness wrapping around him, threatening to envelop him, to drown him like a massive wave. The feeling from his legs was gone; the sensation of sodden ground had disappeared completely. Suddenly he was falling, tumbling, drowning in the rain-filled night, descending onward into oblivion.

Light stabbed suddenly through the night, so bright that he could barely see it. Confusion swept across his face, his fingers rising to his lips, some strange feeling upon them. The rain had stopped. The blackness was fading. Zhol looked up, and peered into the sun.

* * *


His eyes fluttered open, and in an instant his only reaction was to smile. His vision knew her before his sleep-plagued eyes had even finished blinking the tiredness away. There she was: his smiling dawn; his beautiful sunrise; his light; his love; his sun. "My Syna," he whispered gently, his night-cracked voice not allowing much more of a sound than that.

As conscious made it's slow march into his mind, the tingle of pleasant sensation on his lips made him realise that she had kissed him. He smiled a little more, though inside he was conflicted: usually a good morning kiss was his way of waking her; he hadn't realised until now how bittersweet it was to know that it had happened before you were awake enough to appreciate it, and made a mental note to always kiss Khara again, as soon as she awoke.

"I thought I would be awake first," he managed to say, forcing out the words with a slight groan. He wasn't ready to move yet: his muscles didn't want to let him, and his heart was just fine with that. He couldn't imagine a single thing that would fill him with any kind of urgency to leave her arms. Contentment broadened his smile. "If this is how you're going to wake me though, I might have to let you start doing it more often."
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Undiscovered Country (Part 1)

Postby Khara on March 22nd, 2015, 4:40 am

Khara had known she had wanted to wake him. The hint of disturbance at his brow, the way his eyes had moved under his eyelids, the way his body had tensed; Khara knew Zhol was dreaming and knew enough of her own panicked wakings to know it wasn't a good one. She had wanted to gently nudge him with a hand at first but it seemed a cruel way to shake another awake, even if it was to help save them from some horror their mind was conjuring. Instead she had settled on the kiss, echoing the way he had woken her on occasion. The smile that formed as Zhol had awoken let her know the decision was a wise one - at least wise enough for the two of them.

"I could not let you sleep so much longer, we need to be somewhere today," Khara softly whispered as her fingertips gently ran down the side of Zhol's cheek. "And I missed you."

Her features instantly blossomed into a smile though it was with no small amount of reluctance that she gently pulled away from him to sit on the edge of the bed. Khara watched for a second as her feet barely brushed the floor before standing up and stretched her arms over her head, causing the over long sleeves of Zhol's shirt that she wore to slide down her arms as the bottom hem that brushed at her thighs was lifted ever so slightly as well.

A glance was cast over her shoulder at him, a small shy yet flirtatious smile flickered across her lips. "As much as I would like to keep in bed with you, we have someone waiting on us and it is not so wisdom to keep an Endal waiting."

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Undiscovered Country (Part 1)

Postby Zhol on March 22nd, 2015, 5:58 am

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With each passing day, Zhol became more and more convinced that Khara was secretly some sort of enchantress. It was not that he thought he was under some kind of spell - while love was a bewitchment of a sort, he knew enough about magic to know that nothing this intense, nothing this pure and limitless could possibly have been conjured by any sort of magical means; there was not enough djed in all the world to falsify a feeling this intense - but rather, it was the fact that every time she looked at him, it was as if she was working some kind of magic. She had looks of sadness that could break his heart; looks of joy that infected him with the same; looks of love and adoration that could make him melt; and then there was that look, the one that made him freeze solid and then shatter into a million pieces.

It was cruelty, of a sort: to put such a notion in his head for the sole purpose of denying it. He almost pounced at her, almost dragged her back to the bed, almost tore aside that shirt so that he could pepper her bare skin with kisses -

She was right though. They had somewhere to be; a quick glance at the already packed and ready supplies reminded them of that. Today was their expedition - or rather Khara's expedition, that he had half insisted on joining, and half stared at her with saddened eyes until she invited him of her own free will. He knew that this was her work, her job, a vital task to the city that was important to her; but it was two days in the Unforgiving, a night spent alone against the elements, at the mercy of the wild...

It was not that he doubted her. It was not that he lacked faith in her skills. If anyone could survive those conditions, it would be Khara: he had no doubt of that. It was something more selfish than that; not the kind of greed for her time that made him not want to spend even a single night without her, but more of a selfish fear, of how utterly it would destroy him were anything to happen to her without him there to try and stop it. It was one thing to try and protect Khara from harm and fail; but Zhol knew from experience that the feeling of having failed by being absent, having not been there when he was needed most, was a guilt that never completely seemed to fade, no matter how much joy it was buried beneath.

He would never allow that to happen again; not today, at least. He slipped eagerly from the bed and stood behind her, wrapping his arms around her body, nuzzling his way into the side of her neck to plant a kiss against her impossibly soft skin. "One of these days," he whispered, equal parts teasing, romantic, and utterly honest, "You will say something enticing like that, and I will be unable to let you leave without dragging you back to bed and making you live up to those words."

His lips retreated, a gentle kiss left behind on her cheek. "Not today though," he conceded. He didn't care much about whether or not they kept the Endal waiting; his only concern was doing right by Khara, and if she wanted them ready to leave as early as possible, he would do absolutely everything to satisfy that.

"I love you," he said quietly, giving Khara's body a gentle squeeze, before releasing her, and retreating across the room to his corner, already stripping off his sleep clothes ready to change into his work gear.
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Undiscovered Country (Part 1)

Postby Khara on March 24th, 2015, 2:55 am

If it had been any other day, if there had been even a shred of a tick of time to waste she would have let him. The words begged to be spoken, the few steps between them ached to be crossed, but in the end Khara simply couldn't bring herself to do it. It was a simple concept that swayed her, one that had been integrated into her mind since birth and cultivated through her entire life - Times of pleasure were to be enjoyed and embraced with every last fiber of your being when they came, but duty to the city always came first.

When the Valintar had made his announcement and encouraged the seeking out of new hunting grounds the game scouts had immediately become all a twitter over the excitement of new territory, new trails, but mostly new opportunities to prove their worth. The fact that whatever the game scouts found would be overwritten by the quickest Avora or Endal to claim the find for their own didn't seem to phase them. Khara had been one of the first to volunteer for the thankless task and when Zhol had found out there hadn't even really been a question of him joining her.

The rest had been beyond her control, arrangements made between potential hunters and the scouts they preferred or maybe just a list was tacked up in the Aeries somewhere so that the Endals who had offered transport could choose who they would rather be able to claim ignorance about when the lower castes went missing in the Unforgiving. Either way, Khara still had found it somewhat remarkable when she had been given her assignment to meet a specific Endal in his Aerie the morning they were to set out. It meant someone had agreed to take them, not just the game scout but the horseman as well. It was an odd pairing as far as most would have been concerned but anyone who knew the two would have seen the - maybe slightly faulty - logic behind it.

Whatever the reason they had agreed to, Khara didn't want to keep the Endal waiting past the time she had been told to make sure her and Zhol arrived. It was for that reason that as soon as Zhol turned away she kept herself from running and putting her arms around him and instead turned to the simple work clothing she had laid out for herself the night before. Not that there had been even a question of what she was going to wear during the endeavor, but it made the process all the quicker.

Her backpack felt heavy as she picked it up, stuffed as it was with everything she could think of possibly needing over an overnight stay in the harsh lands outside of Wind Reach. Next came her quiver and bow, both of which she hoped she wouldn't have to use but secretly wished for the opportunity to. Maybe they'd come across rabbit she could kill for dinner rather than resorting to the rations they were bringing along. Right. Because you know how to clean and actually cook a meal that wouldn't result in the two of you being sick. As discouraging as her thoughts could be sometimes, Khara did have to admit her inner voice did have a point.

One last check was made, an extra blanket picked up and offered to Zhol to tie to his pack and then - !

She'd almost forgotten. Along with the bit of twine to help secure things she'd mostly snuck away to the market the day before to pick up one item in particular. The thought had occurred to her and Khara hadn't even realized she'd gone alone until she had been well among the stalls and shops that had been set up.

The girl quickly scurried over to the chest that kept her belongings and the more battered backpack that she was leaving behind. A few ticks had to be taken to rummage through the contents, to push aside the various stoppered vials of ink and the almost entirely blank journal within to find a small parcel she had hidden away. The smile that formed was barely contained as Khara turned around to Zhol.

"B-before we go, I have something for you," Khara said as her hands held out the small wrapped package towards him. "I- I know it's not as nice as the one you got me, but... I just wanted you to..." Her words trailed off as she nudged the wrapped item towards him again.


ledger changeFine Wool Scarf Dyed Emerald Green & 1 Ball of Twine -1 Pinion (Rounded up to account for the string, let me know if it needs to be more!)

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Undiscovered Country (Part 1)

Postby Zhol on March 24th, 2015, 3:47 am

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Zhol wasn't sure if Khara was nervous. Well, she was always nervous, he supposed, but it was whether or not she was exceptionally nervous that occupied his thoughts. He hoped not. He hoped the swiftness and determination was about keeping excitement contained rather than keeping anxiety at bay. He wished it was for a benevolent reason, but the cause of those thoughts was entirely selfish: he was more than nervous enough for the both of them.

It was sensible to be apprehensive at a situation like this. They were heading out into the Unforgiving: the dangerous, deadly wilds that surrounded Wind Reach. They would be beyond hope of help - not that the Inarta were all that big on helping those in need, he supposed - and hope of rescue if anything went wrong; too far to safely travel back if the Endal who would be flying them out there decided not to come back for them. But then, the Unforgiving wasn't as frightening or alarming to him as it might have been for people born in Wind Reach, yes. He might not have been a hunter or a game scout, but he'd travelled through Kalea's inhospitable mountains before - for hundreds of days in fact, trudging from Alvadas to Wind Reach. Yes, he'd been far from alone; yes, there had been people much wiser than he who knew how to find food, and build shelters, and protect them all from eagles and bears; but he'd survived it, for a long, long time. One night alone with Khara? He could survive that. He could keep her safe through that.

It wasn't the Unforgiving that made him nervous though: it was Khara. He wanted, desperately, to spend the time with her. He couldn't bare the thought of her being out there - running the risk of never returning - without being there at her side, either to ensure that she did or to know that he'd done all he could to try. The alternative, the prospect of waiting here in the city for Khara to return, with no hope of knowing what had happened if she did not, constantly wondering if there was anything he could have done were he not too useless to be of any help? That would simply be unbearable, and when he had explained as much to Khara, in somewhat more heartfelt terms, she had - between the tears and embraces and kisses - agreed to allow him to come along.

What worried him was that unlike the day in winter where she'd brought him along on what she had assured him was a routine and mundane task, they had been close to the city; close enough at least that he could navigate his way home if she changed her mind and sent him away; if he failed too badly for her to be willing to let him remain with her. Out in the Unforgiving though, they would be trapped together; and while under absolutely any other circumstances that was a situation he desperately wanted, it terrified him at what such concentrated exposure to his inept wilderness skills might do to her opinion of him. Each culture had it's own concepts of masculinity; Zhol was already far short of the Inarta criteria, and dreaded the inevitable moment when he would screw up and move him further still from it.

Zhol's reaction to such things was to ignore it entirely, and over-prepare. While Khara channelled her anxiety into fidgets and rambles, Zhol's nerves made him meticulous and organised. He had spent nearly half a bell last night polishing the buckles on his climbing quiver and making sure that the arrows within were all angled in matching directions. He had spent another half-bell carefully wrapping and unwrapping his longbow from the cloth bundle that would - he hoped - protect it from the addles of nature that Vincent had been so insistent he shield it from, trying to reduce the time it took to unpack the bow in case of emergency and repack it in case of rain to an absolute minimum. He had sharpened his sword, the scabbard buckles, carefully adjusted the lengths of each strap for maximum comfort, rehearsed over and over which pockets contained which items to spare himself the embarrassment of having to fumble around for something that Khara might need. There were few things Zhol could think of that felt more important, more imperative to get right than this.

He hadn't even been facing her when she'd rummaged for the parcel - he was busy making sure that his sighting glass was in the pocket he wanted it to be in, and could be pulled out without an unfortunate amount of awkwardness - so when she spoke, and he turned, his expression shifted from confusion to curiosity at a slow pace.

Almost reverently be began to unwrap the parcel, his pace quickening as Khara began to explain and he began to understand what it was. His fingers found the wool before his eyes did; he gently discarded the wrappings onto the bed, and unfurled her gift eagerly. A scarf! He was grinning already. Last fall, Zhol had bought the scarf that Khara now wore almost constantly, aware of the significance attached to such gifts by the Inarta, but feigning ignorance to disguise the way he felt, just in case Khara had reacted negatively. It seemed to silly now - so much time could have been saved, so many more days of honesty could have been had if he'd simply confessed how he'd felt to her back then; but as they said back in Endrykas, There is always less wind in your eyes when you look behind you, but doing so does not help you to see where you are going. Everything was always easier to see in hindsight.

He draped it around his neck instantly, eagerly, coiling a few loops around his neck, letting the loose ends hang down over his jacket. The wool was a deeper green than his coat - warm and comfortable as his leather jacket was, the green of his cotton one felt like a wiser choice if they were to be creeping through the wilderness - but complimented perfectly; the fabric was soft enough to encourage him to nuzzle his cheek into it for a brief, silent moment.

"I love it," he enthused, beaming. He took a step closer, but hesitantly, not wanting to force her into an embrace; he had promised to act professionally whenever she brought him along for work after all, and today certainly counted.
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Undiscovered Country (Part 1)

Postby Khara on March 30th, 2015, 5:56 pm

Where Zhol hesitated, Khara simply couldn't. All it took was that one statement, that single step forward, and she practically launched herself at him, feet leaving the floor for a tick as her arms found their way to his shoulders and across the back of his neck before her toes found the stone floor once more, if just barely.

It was the weight of her pack, or maybe a remembering of the fact they were supposed to be in job mode, that had her quickly let go and slid back fully to the ground. Her hands trailed down his arms until they found his hands and Khara let out a quick breath.

"Good, I am glad," she said with a small bob of her head. Another uncontrolled smile graced her features before she forced her hands to slip away from his.

"I hope the color is okay. I thought of getting you a red one so that it would match mine," Khara confessed as she brought one of her hands up to touch at the soft crimson at her own neck. "You know, to show we are..." She hesitated with the word before letting herself continue. "Connected."

For a moment she felt herself regretting her choice. Maybe the red would have been better. Her eyes lowered to her hands as they knitted together in front of her. Part of her wanted to hear Zhol tell her that the green was fine, but another far more impulsive side wanted to finish her explanation, had to let him know all her reasoning.

"But then I saw that one and.. and it made me reminded of your eyes and I thought it would look nice and..." A quick glance was cast upwards before her gaze immediately darted back to her hands and the small wringing motions they were making. "Then I remembered you saying about the clam...? No that's not... what is word... Group? Yes, groups that are in Endrykas and the Emerald - the green - one was where the hunters are."

The thought sounded overly foolish now that she spoke it out loud. Zhol wasn't a hunter and neither was she, she didn't have the slightest clue what color they would have been if they were in Zhol's homelands rather than her own. Though, the game scouts did work closely with the hunters, maybe they would have been Emerald too? Maybe not called something so valuable though.

"We are not hunters, you and me. But that is the group I wish to be part of and I would not want to join one group if it means you cannot come too." A small shrug of her shoulders came just before a sigh. The reasons and the symbolism had all been so clear to her when she had been at the market, now though it all sounded like some jumbled mess.

"That did not sound so good. I think, I should have stuck with saying it would look nice, maybe?" Khara hadn't quite expected herself to voice the thought but it left anyway as she looked upwards slowly but didn't make it any higher than the scarf Zhol now wore.

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Undiscovered Country (Part 1)

Postby Zhol on March 31st, 2015, 3:01 am

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Zhol didn't care that they were supposed to be acting like professionals today. He didn't care that there was an Endal waiting on them. He didn't care that Khara weighed almost twice as much as she normally did because of all the gear there was carrying. He didn't care about any of that; there was absolutely no way that his love could express a sentiment like that and not be swept up into his arms and kissed.

"You are not a hunter yet," he whispered back, clinging to her a moment longer; stealing a few more ticks of closeness with her before they had to head off into the wilderness and stable their feelings for a time. "But you will be, and I believe that, know that, with all my heart. Your scarf is for the clan I came from; mine is the clan were you are destined to belong. Green is perfect. This is perfect. You are perfect."

"Thank you, I really do love it," he added, his lips pressing a gentle kiss against Kara's cheek. "And I love you."

With more reluctance than any being had ever experienced, Zhol released Khara from his arms and took a step backwards, his hands lingering against her arms for as long as they could, a smile lingering on his lips and looking as if it would never, ever fade. "Right now though, we have somewhere to be, and we're going to be very late if you keep seducing me like -"

He stopped his words mid flow, eager steps closing the distance between them, his arms enfolding her get again, kisses pouring uncontrollably from his lips onto Khara's. "Too late," he said softly, his smile turning into a grin. "You did it again."
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Undiscovered Country (Part 1)

Postby Khara on April 3rd, 2015, 1:42 am

A hand was slowly raised between them and pressed against Zhol's lips as her own formed their best attempt at completing a stern look that utterly failed to fully manifest. There was far too much happiness reflected in her eyes and while the gentle pressure she applied with her hand was keeping Zhol away for the moment, it was clear that her heart wasn't exactly in the effort. Khara never wanted to stop feeling everything that Zhol brought on, but she did on very rare occasions wish there was a way to simply dim it a bit, to keep it more contained, if nothing else to only make it easier to leave his room each morning or to actually find motivation for tasks like the one before them.

"I didn't do nothing," she protested, even if it came out sounding more apologetic than chastising and once more carrying the slightly confused tone of wondering if she had spoken correctly. "But you said as much - we are going to be late."

Even then she couldn't quite stop the playful glint in her eyes, the way her bottom lip was caught and slowly let go as her eyes looked upwards to meet his. Gods, she wasn't even nervous right then, if they'd only had woken earlier-

There was no use pondering such a thing and her thoughts thankfully reminded her that an Endal was waiting on them; being late was not an option. With a bit of a forlorn sigh she slipped away from Zhol's hold and quickly retreated to the door and opened it in an effort to keep them both from causing trouble for the other.

"Come on, then," Khara encouraged with a nod of her head towards the warrens beyond. "You can tell me all about how I am not knowing that I seduce you when we set up camp tonight."
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Khara had to admit she was slightly out of breath when they reached the stop of the stairs that lead to the Aeries. The climb wasn't entirely unfamiliar to her now, but with the added weight of the equipment she was bringing and the rushed pace she almost thought to linger and attempt to calm her breathing. Activity was only starting to stir, lower caste members either arriving to tend to their morning tasks tending to the Endals while others left from their more sorted nightly ones.

Khara allowed herself one deep breath before heading down the halls, trying to remember the directions she had been given that would lead the door they wanted. It occurred to her then that she wasn't entirely sure what to expect, after all, there was two of them and the few times she had ever been lucky enough to ride a Wind Eagle had been with one other person and even that had been cramped. Maybe this Endal had a saddle made specifically to be able to carry more than one person, maybe they did this sort of thing all the time - or at least, took Avora hunters with them. Maybe they would take two trips and either her or Zhol would end up waiting in the wilds. Alone. She really shouldn't ahve been as concerned as she was with the entire prospect, it wasn't like an Endal would agree to such a thing if it inconvenienced them or was unwieldy and annoying for the Wind Eagle they were paired with.

Finally Khara came to a stop at the room of the Endal they were to meet and waited just a tick or two, pondering which of the two of them should be the one to knock on the door and speak with the Eagle Rider. Zhol was the higher caste member, but Khara was the Inarta and some of them would rather speak to a lowly Chiet than any sort of outsider. She supposed she could always let Zhol take the lead and they could adjust as was necessary. Stop worrying so much and just knock already, she scolded herself before she cast a small shrug at Zhol and raised a hand to lightly rap against the door.

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Undiscovered Country (Part 1)

Postby Zhol on April 4th, 2015, 5:02 am

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"Come," a voice instructed from within.

The anxiety that Zhol had been trying to keep contained cracked open like an egg, and began to ooze it's way slowly to every extremity. He had been trying to remain confident, and calm; he knew that Khara would be anxious about the prospect of being in the presence of an Endal, and knew that she needed him to be her rock of tranquillity. After all, he was an Avora: the caste disparity was smaller for him, and so he should be far less anxious. It wasn't quite so simple, though. The Inarta were raised to understand how the castes worked; they knew the ways that respect was shown in Wind Reach; they knew how much deference was appropriate for which combination of castes. Zhol did not have that knowledge. He spent most of his days in the stables, where his peers were other Avora. He knew how Chiet and Dek would react towards him - though he put a great deal of effort into encouraging them not to treat him that way - but he had almost no exposure to Endals, no real understanding of how an Avora was supposed to act towards them. His only real comparison he could draw was the way that Azira acted towards Sira, and he was fairly certain that Azira was not a frame of reference he should be relying upon when civility and manners were concerned.

That anxious feeling inside intensified like a sudden rainstorm, beating down faster and faster upon him as he and Khara shuffled their way into the Endal's aerie, until the exact moment when his eyes settled upon the man who was going to be depositing them in the wilderness.

Recognition unexpectedly came from the Endal first. "The wrestler of llamas himself," the Endal spoke, with a degree of reverence that was surely for comic effect.

Zhol thought back to the autumn, to his trip to Thunder Bay; to the Endal who had flown him there, and drafted him into the hunt for the predator that was plaguing Thunder Bay's wool herds. He filtered through his memories, searching for the fragment of thought that contained the Endal's name. "Jensen," he uttered, not entirely able to hide the surprise - and relief - from his tone. His head bowed slightly; it took him a moment to realise that his body language was adopting the same tactics he would use to calm an aggravated horse. "My apologies, I did not realise we would be flying with you today."

A small flicker of a smile tugged at Jensen's bearded jaw; as much of an expression as his grizzled features seemed capable of conveying. "And I didn't realise that you were moonlighting as a game scout," he countered, his voice managing to convey slightly more mirth than his expression could. "Which can only mean -"

His gaze strayed to Khara, his eyes surprisingly alert and intense despite the image that the rest of him conveyed. His attire seemed chosen more for practicality than style, far more functional and worn than what the average Endal would usually strut around the city in. His beard was on the borderline, not completely unattended, but not trimmed to sharp perfection either. There were stories about him: the Endal who dwelt in the wilderness; who spent the summer days in Thunder Bay, avoiding the city as much as possible for reasons no one really understood. They said that he'd been gone from the city, though no one really seemed sure where: some said he'd travelled the world; others said he'd merely wandered off into the wilderness and later returned; most didn't even seem to notice that he had gone, or had assumed he was dead until his return proved otherwise.

"- you must be Khara," Jensen surmised, slipping effortlessly into Nari mid-sentence. Something about his expression softened slightly, something hard to define and describe lurking in the background behind his expression.

A long, hesitant pause hung in the air before Jensen at last spoke again. "You look very much like your mother."
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Undiscovered Country (Part 1)

Postby Khara on April 4th, 2015, 8:33 pm

There had been various scenarios that Khara had come up with in regards to how the Endal who would be transporting them far out into the Unforgiving would treat her and Zhol. It had ranged from somewhat hostile to vague indifference but she never had predicted the strange sort of familiarity that the bearded man was portraying. He never looked how he did in her mind's eye either, but that was perhaps more from her experience with Endals typically choosing to dress so that no mistake regarding their status could be made within a glance. Though, Khara did have to admit that it seemed that the Endals she actually had any sort of prolonged interaction with tended to be on the usual side. Though for every one that threatened to cast aside her beliefs on how an Endal actually treated the lower castes, there were five others that she would observe throughout her daily life that only reinforced the fact that they knew they were superior to everyone else.

Jensen's casual mocking, though in a somewhat friendly manner, towards Zhol had been more than enough to put the Chiet off balance but when the Endal's attention shifted to her Khara suddenly felt as though she had been caught unaware by a wave crashing to the beach and she was swept under, losing sense of which direction would lead to the surface.

"How did you-?" Khara began to ask before propriety stepped in and hauled her back to her senses. The confused look upon her face melted towards shock and quickly followed with her bowing her head and lowering her eyes in a more proper display. "I-I m-mean... th-thank you."

It wasn't the first time Khara had heard the comparison made, though the last had been when someone was handing her mother's short bow to her following the huntress' death. The girl wasn't entirely certain if this time was any less jarring. How the Endal knew her name she could only guess at - he had probably been told the names of his expected passengers. Her mother though? That was another mystery, one she couldn't quite-

"I used to be an Avora, we hunted together a few times," Jensen replied, heading off further mental questioning from the Chiet as if it were the most obvious and simple thing in the entire world. An amused sounding breath left him and Khara chanced a glance upwards. She couldn't quite shake the feeling the answer had a rehearsed quality to it, but she immediately cast the thought aside.

Silence lingered for a tick or two, a strange tension forming in the wake of the explanation that was finally broken as the Endal spoke again. "I take it you both are ready?" He waited only for an instant, a slightly more expected authoritative tone creeping back into his words, making it apparent the question wasn't entirely to be answered. "It should only take a few bells to get you out to where you've been assigned," He began as he turned and lead them to his Eagle's nesting area. "Cetan and I will return for you tomorrow around fifteenth bell so that should give you both plenty of time to survey the area."

Khara halted mid-step as the Endal turned to face her and Zhol. "Any questions so far?" He looked to the both of them and Khara only shook her head in reply, Zhol must have done similar as he nodded, expression softening again as they stepped inside where the Wind Eagle was saddled and waiting on the perch that stood on the threshold of the exit to the outside world. Khara eyed the Eagle warily, mostly focusing on the fact there were only two seats on the saddle. She caught the Endal eying her and quickly looked downward again. She thought she heard a somewhat regretful sigh leave the man but quickly blamed it on the wind just outside.

"Cetan's taken two passengers and a rider before with this setup, it's actually quite a bit more roomy than it looks," He explained, once more seeming to hone in on the Chiet's unspoken worries. "It may be a tighter squeeze with all of your equipment, but we won't have to resort to taking multiple trips; something I'm sure we all will appreciate."

A question came to Khara and her throat and mouth seemed to dry in protest of her asking, but the thought was starting to eat away at her. She couldn't bring herself to look towards Jensen though, and instead glanced back towards Zhol. "Wh-What if we're delayed in returning to the meeting place tomorrow?"

"Worry about that if it happens." The Endal answered simply, though not harshly. Khara suspected there was an unspoken don't let it happen to the phrase, though. She caught another stolen glance at the Endal and then the Wind Eagle, Cetan, and couldn't quite shake the feeling that she wasn't entirely imagining that they were both watching her more intently than she expected. Stop it, Sparrow. You're just nervous.

Her inner chastising was cut off as Jensen motioned for the two of them to approach the Eagle and quickly began final preparations. "Unless either of you have any further needless worries you need to voice, I suggest we be on our way."

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