Closed A New Era (Az)

Samuel approaches Endrykas

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The Wilderness of Cyphrus is an endless sea of tall grass that rolls just like the oceans themselves. Geysers kiss the sky with their steamy breath, and mysterious craters create microworlds all their own. But above all danger lives here in the tall grass in the form of fierce wild creatures; elegant serpents that swim through the land like whales through the ocean and fierce packs of glassbeaks that hunt in packs which are only kept at bay by fires. Traverse it carefully, with a guide if possible, for those that venture alone endanger themselves in countless ways.

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A New Era (Az)

Postby Samuel Longwell on June 6th, 2017, 4:09 pm

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3rd Summer 517


Samuel held Dan's reins with just enough tension to remind the Tiaden he was still there. The great beast plodded along ponderously, following the pack horses of the caravan along the well beaten track. The Syliran had not enjoyed the flight, asking to be set down a distance from his goal when he saw the caravan travelling through the Sea of Grass. He shivered, remembering the fear he had felt as the Wind Eagles carried him from his birthplace. He would not be repeating the experience anytime soon, much better to make a journey on horseback in the future. Samuel rubbed his mount's neck, the stallion also seemed relieved to be back on solid ground and was far more docile than usual. The knight fished out half a dried apple and reached round to feed it to Dan. Samuel smiled as his horse eagerly snuffled up the treat.

The rider stared out across the plains that the caravan was passing through, watching for any sign of a threat. His bow and quiver were close at hand, ready for use at a moment's notice. The stories that others in the caravan had told him about the wilderness had set him on edge. Tales of ravenous beasts, faster than a galloping horse. Glassbeaks. The name had been whispered in fear, as if just naming them would bring them upon them. The caravan had guards of course, but from what the merchants had said Samuel wasn't sure how much they would be able to do if a pack of Glassbeaks did strike. So he watched the plains from horseback, ready to help if he was required.

He gently pressed his calves into his Tiaden's sides, who promptly broke into a trot. Samuel rode up to the front of the caravan, drawing alongside the guards leading the way. He smiled at them, signing a greeting. He had decided to practice his Pavi whenever he could, he was particularly rusty and he didn't want to embarrass himself when introducing himself to Drykas. The guards also spoke it, so he had jumped at the chance to improve his knowledge.

“How goes the ride?” Samuel asked, a rough accent colouring his words. “We are close to Endrykas now?” His left hand signed respect, interest.

“We are close, maybe one bell, maybe three.” replied the guard, his own hand signing something that Samuel did not understand.

“What is this?” he asked, copying the sign that the guard had used. “I have not seen it.” Samuel had already picked up a couple of signs from his conversations with the guards, their regular contact with the Drykas meant they could teach the language moderately well.

The guard pointed to his own face, screwing it up as if confused. He then switched to common. “It means I am unsure.”

Samuel nodded, signing thank you. His eyes caught some motion on the gentle hills that they were approaching. He quickly told the guards that he'd spotted movement then pulled his shortbow from his back, laying it across his lap. He wasn't sure what it was, but he wanted to be prepared in case there was an attack coming.


Many thanks to Prophet for the box code.
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A New Era (Az)

Postby Azmere on August 20th, 2017, 12:44 pm

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Moments.

Life was a series of events measured by the impact left behind on one’s memory. For many seasons, Azmere had stood guard over his people. He had been called by the gods to protect and serve in a way that many did and the memories of a hundred mornings filled his soul. Good vibes, bad feelings and a host of misunderstood emotions were tied up in messy little bundles then piled on top of each other so that no one occurrence could be drawn into recollection without towing some other lesson along for the ride.

Azmere Stormblood had moved up to a position of authority within the Watch. A Tavehk now, he was responsible for the decision making in his small sphere of influence. Lodai sat with him as did Aiyena and Brutus atop their striders. Atavan was the largest and as black as a nightlion’s anger but Skylla was the most striking. Her bone white face and star-speckled flanks was on display in perfect contrast to the rich, earthen tone that covered the rest of her. Sparrow was stretched out next to his mount in the grass, his essence in the web. The rest were keeping watch on the grass for threats while whispered teases were passed from Aiyena to Lodai. Apparently, the topic of his new lady friend was very entertaining.

The scarred Drykas listened and occasionally allowed the corner of his lips to curl but his focus was elsewhere. His eyes, contrasting in color and filled with stars, scoured the waving world as breezes rippled through the plains. Azmere loved the Sea of Grass and used the calming effect of its constant motion to weave a shield around the handle on his yvas. His fingers plied djed that siphoned from his palms around the leather to create a fixed point. As more of the shimmering material made its way into being, the watchman coaxed and pushed it off to one side as he moved the protective layer towards his leg. The desire to know and do more with his magic had brought on a childlike curiosity and each answer brought more questions. The ankal knew he could stretch and manipulate the shape of his shield until he tasked it but he now wanted to know if he could squeeze it between objects like his heavy leg and the yvas upon which he sat. This went on for several chimes until the mocha–skinned man with blue eyes rose from the tall stalks to climb up the yvas of his strider.

Caravan. Drykas. Knights. The thick fingers created signs which were directed towards his superior. “They should be on the other side of the far hill until sun’s descent.” The light blue eyes waited for his next instruction. Azmere nodded. The Conclave had received word from some outlying pavilions of an increase in travelers and refugees as the strange weather continued to take its toll on the world. Thankfully, there hadn’t been any recent issues within the people of the wind but tensions still rode high as food and water were less plentiful than previous years.

As the blue and yellow eyes looked around at the faces of his unit, he saw a range of things; duty, pride, uncertainty, family, respect and ambition. The right side of the Tavehk’s face curled into a grin. His big right hand waved the sign for ride and the pentaverate took off at a brisk gallop for the hill in front of them. Anyone riding would notice the increase in speed on the steppe as the extra arid climate created hard surfaces which gave the horses and other animals better traction. The tradeoff was a bumpier time in the yvas. This mattered very little to Azmere. Always one for some time on horseback, he’d developed ways to deal with various terrains to maximize his comfort. A life that was ever-moving demanded as much.

He bent his legs and allowed his weight to float from his thighs to his rump and occasionally would provide a few ticks of rest with his arms. Everything had a rhythm and Azmere had found his a long time ago. After half a bell of hard riding, the band of Drykas slowed and came to a shifting half below the crest of the hill. The ankal looked around and debated the best way to eclipse the landmark without exposing themselves. The elder watchman knew what type of approach he wanted to use but his mind was running through several situations to come up with the best plan. Like lightning, the answer became abundantly cler a few chimes later. The Tavehk ushered his mare out of the line then used his hips and knees to turn her around until he was facing his comrades.

“Aiyena’s with me. Lodai,” Wide flank. The weathered hand indicated which side the big man was to take then it pointed in the opposite direction as the azure and amber stare went to Brutus and Sparrow. Strafe. The ankal had done missions with Brutus before. The small man was as stubborn and prideful as they come. Fortunately, the young man was fascinated by the tale of Sparrow and a handful of other Drykas surviving the collapse of an underground temple and the collapse of a piece of Semele’s skin near Kenash. This was why they had been paired up and it made for a rather effective tool since Sparrow carried a deep respect for Azmere.

The Drykas gave small goodbyes to one another. Azmere rode up to Lodai and embraced him like they brother that he was by clasping an arm and gently pressing his forehead to that of the larger man’s. Sparrow and Brutus went around one side of the large incline while Lodai dashed towards the other. Aiyena and Azmere just sat on their stiders and discussed a few things. When enough time had passed, Azmere lowered his chin to his chest and ignored the world around him. He felt the djed in his body and drove a small amount into his eyes which caused the stars to twinkle. When the scarred man lifted his face and took in the scene, colors previously hidden exploded into his vision. Aiyena was encased in green and her stallion dripped a soft blue.

The duo led their mounts up to the top of the hill and they stayed there in plain sight while Azmere scoured the landscape for their companions and the caravan. The starburst eyes easily spotted the travelers. Their long line of people and animals brightly accented the multiple wagons and slow pace which was cutting a wide trough into the grass. To the right of this long snake was a long spot of color that was slowly making its way towards a pinch point; Lodai. Azmere shifted his gaze to the opposite side and quickly located his other two troops hunkered down behind some gnarled savannah trees. The seasoned gaze went back to the caravan then, one by one, he studied the riders of the convoy. One made a move towards the others then reached for his shortbow. Azmere smirked and made a note of the man’s attire while he generated a mental note about the stranger’s sharp eye.

Azmere nodded to Aiyena and they slowly made their way down the hill. The ankal dismissed the djed from his view, confident in the knowledge that his men were in place. It didn’t take them long to reach the head of the column and Azmere immediately made the guide at ease with his signs of Watch. Drykas. While practiced eyes began counting swords and bodies, a calm expression inquired with Pavi to those who led the group. “What’s your haul and destination?”

Word Count1291
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A New Era (Az)

Postby Samuel Longwell on September 6th, 2017, 1:02 pm

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There were two riders watching from the hills above. Samuel doubted that two would cause a threat to the caravan alone, especially coming from dead ahead in clear view. The fact didn't reassure the Syliran, but instead made him feel more uneasy. He scanned the surroundings, watching for a possible ambush. But he couldn't see anything, if there were any others then they were too well hidden from his eyes. He returned his focus to the pair ahead of him, who had begun down the hill. Samuel absent-mindedly brushed the hilt of his sword with his free hand and checked that his arrows were easy to reach.

His eyes gravitated to the man in front, who rode with the easy confidence of one born to ride. Such was to be expected, since the pair were likely Drykas. It seemed as though he was in charge, though from where he was Samuel couldn't be sure. As the distance closed, Samuel noticed the scars that covered the side of the rider's face. The marks were horrific, as though the man had been shoved into a raging fire. This was a man who knew pain. But it had no broken him, rather it seemed to the Syliran that the man riding towards the caravan may even be stronger for it. It occurred to Samuel that perhaps the scarring could even have been caused by a mage. He shivered, not enjoying the reminder of how fragile even the strongest warrior could be against a powerful magic-wielder.

The scarred man made two signs when he reached the front of the caravan. Samuel did not recognise the first, but the second pronounced that he was Drykas. The statement was accepted by the guards immediately, with no sign of mistrust.

“What does this mean?” Samuel whispered to a guard nearby as the business of the caravan was discussed by those in front. He covertly made the sign that the Drykas had made on approach, or at least made a good attempt at copying it. He seemed to capture the meaning as the guard understood the question well enough to explain.

“He is part of The Watch,” the guard replied “They are the protectors of Endrykas, and they patrol the Sea of Grass.”

Samuel nodded, his right hand curling to show his thanks. He returned his bow to his back and relaxed, it seemed that the pair were to be trusted. He pushed Dan into a walk and approached the Drykas slowly. As he did so he examined the man's mount. So this is what a strider looked like. He had heard such stories from his grandparents about their great speed, but now Samuel was face to face with one he struggled to believe them. Dan stood over a foot taller, towering above the Drykas mount. Surely such an animal couldn't carry a man as fast as it was rumoured. Regardless of the height, the strider certainly was beautiful. Such thoughts were brushed aside as he looked up at the Watchman and nodded his head respectively.

Greetings Walot, Samuel signed, hoping that he'd remembered the honorific correctly. “I am Samuel, knight from Syliras. Wish to improve relations between Drykas and Sylirans. Allies are important no?”


Many thanks to Prophet for the box code.
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A New Era (Az)

Postby Azmere on September 18th, 2017, 8:47 pm

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Azmere soaked up the man before him like dry soil greedily absorbing a short summer’s rain. The man was roughly the same size as Azmere though slightly less toned. Having met a knight once, the scarred Drykas remembered that they were very stout of heart and body but there armor lent them towards bulk versus lean muscle. Still, the foreigner was a formidable presence even atop his massive horse. The contrasting gaze went along the long, powerful flanks of the big stallion. Skylla blew her nostrils as if to voice her lack of enthusiasm towards the unfamiliar creature but she did not shy away or impose any close than her rider had steered. The Tavehk caught the rough sign of respect and bowed his head slightly in return.

The colorful bursts that surrounded black pupils shifted from one side to the other as if to study the outfit further. Azmere took these opportunities guised as surface inspections to check on the positions of his men. The relaxed air of the caravan and the location would have been fitting for the senior watchman to call his men back into the fold but he left them to linger in the shadows of tall grass and waving reeds. The ankal was not raised in the art of deception but he was beginning to understand its usefulness in the field. Outright pursuits and confrontations rarely end well. Several seasons ago, Azmere and Lodai had been kept in the rear as escorts. Fate had smiled upon them that day for the chance to save their kin had been granted simply because they had been allowed to avoid being seen in the initial conflict. Bearing this in mind, the stranger’s words held a heavy accent which made his Pavi sound drunk or of a weak mind. That being said, Azmere appreciated the effort and smiled his half-grin to the big bald fellow.

Azmere mouthed the man’s name once then spoke it aloud. “Samuel.” It was clumsy off of his tongue and having half of his face paralyzed by scar tissue probably didn’t help but it didn’t falter the words that followed. “Fair winds and bright skies precede you.” Good signs. The watchman remembered his encounter at the trade caravan and made sure to speak and sign slowly. “Allies are good.” Always welcome. The blue and gold stare seemed to shift in color as the pathfinding magic burned within the gaze. For the novice mage, the expended djed created blazing patches of color around the men and horses of the travelers. It was beautiful and at the same time, dizzying. This forced Azmere to move his gaze often and might even cause some to suspect him of being nervous if it weren’t for the stalwart expression he bore.

Aiyena moved freely along the wagons and made her own investigation before returning to her superior and signing with her delicate hands that everything appeared to be in order. Azmere took this to be a good sign and the scarred ankal wheeled his mare around next to the large horse and the bald stranger then bent his weathered hands into the signal for moving towards the wagon master. Once the convoy resumed its course and the noise of wheels, hooves and people rose above the grass, the ever-curious Drykas engaged the self-proclaimed knight in a more personal conversation. “Do you know a man named Gar-lan?” Azmere signed the words Knight. Short. Strong. Then swiveled his head about to make sure Lodai and the others were keeping alongside. Sure enough, their colorful beacons could be seen here and there through the silhouettes of the grasslands’ natural camouflage. The Tavehk made a mental note to inform Lodai of just how high he sat in his yvas. If the big man wasn’t careful, a rise in the steppe might give him away. The scarred visage never strayed longer than it had previously from Samuel’s attention so as to maintain the vigilant and possibly nervous impression that his constantly shifting focus might impart. Azmere was respectful of knights and wished to learn more. His chance with Garland had been cut short but Samuel was coming to Endrykas so perhaps there would be a greater opportunity to learn this time around.

Word Count1291+707=1998
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A New Era (Az)

Postby Samuel Longwell on September 19th, 2017, 4:40 pm

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The Watchman's eyes were not what Samuel expected. When the man got close, he could see the two orbs seemed to sparkle with a multitude of colours in concentric star-bursts. The Watchman had one of the most distinctive faces that Samuel had ever seen, the combination of the eyes and those scars would not be easily forgotten. The scarred man spoke precisely and Samuel was glad to realise that he could understand both the man's words and his signs. To Samuel's eyes the man was a professional, constantly scanning the area for any sign of a threat. Having such a man accompanying the caravan into Endrykas could only be a good thing and Samuel instinctively relaxed.

With a single sign from the Watchman, the caravan started moving once more. He turned to Samuel and asked about Garland, it seemed that he and Samuel had an acquaintance in common. The description fitted the young man very well, though he was short Garland was one of the most dangerous warriors in the knighthood. Incredibly deadly at short range, though lacking in skill in ranged weapons. There was only one thing that the Watchman had wrong.

“Yes, I know Garland.” Samuel said, signing his agreement. “He is not knight yet though, only...” Samuel paused, brows furrowing as he tried to recall the Pavi word for a squire. “only a baby knight?” He signed unsure, few words. Then, his own curiosity piqued he asked “How did you meet Garland?” The Watchman seemed friendly enough, but Samuel did not yet know his name. “What is your name Walot?” he asked, then gestured to the woman that had accompanied him down. “You are her leader? Only two of you?”

Samuel had been on patrols in Syliras in pairs before, sometimes with a squire and other times with another knight. He wondered if it was standard practice to go out in small groups in the Sea of Grass as well. But from what he had heard, it was far more dangerous out in the wilds outside Endrykas than in the streets of the city of peace. Although perhaps the stories had been exaggerated, he had experienced similar rumours in his home city.


Many thanks to Prophet for the box code.
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A New Era (Az)

Postby Azmere on December 13th, 2017, 10:02 pm

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Azmere twisted his mare about to walk beside the knight, Samuel. Skylla did not appreciate the slow pace and bounced a bit with her first few dozen steps – a feat that did not go unnoticed by her rider. The scarred man was a master upon the back of a horse and used his legs to control where his weight settled throughout the jostling fit of a young creature. The muscles in his legs strained to maintain balance of his upper body’s mass while he took firm hold of the handle and the strider’s mane. A few moments of synchronized pushing, pulling and shifting eventually set the mount back into an easy gait. The watchman relaxed down into his yvas once more and cast his starburnt eyes into the tall grasses. The magic which twinkled and fueled the paths of color quickly found the other members of Azmere’s patrol as they silently flanked the caravan and kept watch for potential dangers.

The djed was starting to thump against the ankal’s skull so Azmere took a few ticks to close his eyes. With relaxed breathing that helped him to focus, the man called for the magic in his body to retreat from his vision. The shift was getting smoother and the painful sensations instantly began to recede. He opened his azure and amber gaze then looked back towards the knight who was addressing him. The conversation would be a bit ungainly but the legitimate effort could be gleaned and that, alone, was worth patience on the part of the Tavehk.

Using his best Common, the archer went about answering the knight’s questions. “I am Azmere Stormblood.” His hands signed ankal. The baritone was a little flat amidst the formalities but it matched the almost vacant expression of stoic observation on the Drykas’ face. “I am Tavehk of Watch.” His fingers bent into the sign of his station then changed into that for Ra’athi before motioning towards Aiyena. “She is Ra’athi. In my patrol.” A slight smile crept up the right side of his face but only for a few ticks as Azmere thought about his men in the shadows of the grass. Deciding to change topics and avoid the discussion of where his men were placed, the scarred man returned to the topic of Garland, the baby knight. “I met Garland at big trade with knights.” The weathered hands signed baby and question. “Is he like Aiyena? Ra’athi are Tavehk in training.”

The calm posture of Samuel made him easy to talk to and this helped Azmere to relax while he waited for his questions to be answered. As a habit, he found his mind wandering to the djed within his being. It beckoned to him in various ways and tempted him to dive into its secrets. The best way to avoid giving himself a headache or disappearing into the web was for the ankal to practice his little-used discipline of shielding. His left hand held onto the knob of his yvas, its leather was soft and well worn. Never breaking eye contact with the knight, the novice mage pushed out his magic and used his will to smooth it over the grip. This was a process that took time since smooth coverage required a good deal of patience. Rush too fast and the magic seemed to bunch and knot upon itself much in the same way stringing new weblines entangled themselves if the webber wasn’t paying attention.


Word Count1998+576=2574
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A New Era (Az)

Postby Samuel Longwell on December 18th, 2017, 9:20 pm

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Samuel watched Azmere out of the corner of his eye. The Drykas' body moved perfectly in sync with his horse, controlling the mare with precision and grace. The knight had spent many hours in the saddle of a horse, but his ability paled in comparison to the man who rode beside him. The watchman was in his element, and to Samuel's eyes confirmed the rumours of how Drykas were born to ride. The warrior had always been told that his natural talent in riding came from his Drykas blood, but compared to the Watchman Samuel felt like a squire who had barely begun to learn.

The knight self-consciously sat up straighter in his saddle, fixing the lazy posture he had adopted during the long ride. He realised he had been making Dan work harder than he needed to, the great warhorse having to compensate for his rider's laziness. The lines in Samuel's head deepened, he could almost hear his riding instructor berating him for bad form. He put a hand on Dan's neck and rubbed the Tiaden with a whispered word of apology.

Azmere Stormblood. Samuel did his best to commit the name to memory. The words and signs that followed were new to him, seeming to denote some kind of rankings among the Watch. Samuel's intuition was confirmed by the Drykas' following statement. It seemed to the warrior that Aiyena was similar to a squire, currently in training under Azmere. He glanced back over to the slight woman. She was probably a similar age to Garland, and didn't appear to be as proficient a rider as Azmere.

“Yes, seems they are like.” Samuel nodded. “In common we say Garland is squire. Not be long before he becomes full knight, few seasons maybe. Knights must know bow, blade, and horse. Is it same for those in the Watch?” The knight was curious. He had heard smatterings of information about the brave riders who defended Endrykas, mostly from stories his grandparents used to tell when he was a young child. Azmere had seemed willing to answer his questions so far, and Samuel hoped that his curiosity would not be seen as intrusive. “Will be my first time in Endrykas. Have heard stories, but...” Samuel shrugged, signing unsure as he considered how to word his next question. “Anything important to know before arrival?”


Many thanks to Prophet for the box code.
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