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An attack on the caravan

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While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

[Ruins of Nial] Serpent in the Night

Postby Aladari Coolwater on July 25th, 2017, 9:09 pm

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20th of Summer, 517 AV

"Alrighty boys, let's stop here for the night."

The stopping location was unseen to Aladari, who was forced to wander at the back of the caravan due to her speed. However, she still slumped over on her horse with relief when the announcement came. "Oh, Gods bless." She sighed.

Near her, a squire on his horse smirked, but said nothing. At this point in the journey, with sores on her legs and what felt like a rod up her spine, Aladari didn't care what anyone thought of her. She just cared for sleep.

She eagerly dismounted (which was more akin to a fall), stretching her legs out with a groan as soon as she hit the ground. The squire's knight scolded him quietly before pushing the squire over towards the Vantha. The squire rolled his eyes, but strode up to her nonetheless.

"Ma'am, can I help you set up your tent for the night?" He asked in a far more polite manner than his expression indicated he wanted to.

"Oh, yes please." She said, "I cain't hardly do it in normal, but righ' now, I think I'd just hafta drop the tarp on the ground an' sleep like that." He responded with a genuine laugh before sliding off his horse gracefully.

"Come on," He waved to her, "I'll show you. Then you can do it tomorrow on your own."

"Oh, I dunno abouts that..." Aladari grumbled. She followed him off to the side of the caravan, where a few merchants were already climbing into the back of their covered wagons for the night, their horses tethered and their goods secured in ticks. "Petch, why ain't we do that? I'd but a cover'd wagon if it was a hundred gold pieces right now."

"It isn't just a covered wagon, Ma'am. That's a dorm carriage. They run 500 gold on a good day, not including the driving animals."

"Petch!" She groaned again. "Show me how to put up that tent?"

The squire smiled. "Sure thing." He handed her the bag the tent was contained in, opening the top with a simple drawstring. "Hand me the poles first."
"The sea always filled her with longing, though for what she was never sure."
- Cornelia Funke
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Aladari Coolwater
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[Ruins of Nial] Serpent in the Night

Postby Aladari Coolwater on July 27th, 2017, 1:24 am

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It took less than three chimes for Aladari to become fed up with the tent.

The squire, whose name she had learned was Reamus after trying to distract them for a tick, was becoming fed up too. He, however, was more fed up with his companion than the tent.

"We would be done by now if you just followed my instructions." He grouched at her.

"Well, they sounded like they's wrong!"

"You realize that doesn't make any sense, right? You're the one who said you needed help, anyway. Maybe you should just figure this out on your own."

And so the bickering went on for three chimes before Aladari threw the poles on the ground in a huff. The dust cloud lept back up at her, causing her to turn her head away in avoidance. As she did so, she caught sight of the stars spattering the night sky, and Leth's steady gaze coming down on them. "Comeon." She sighed. "Is too late. Let's jus' sleep on the ground."

Reamus begrudgingly agreed. "Fine. Go sleep in there." He pointed off to a small, half-standing stone tower which looked as though it could have been a good traveler's sanctuary...before the Valterrian. "But when you get eaten alive, I'm not coming back to help."

"If you ain't helpin' wit the tent, you better protect me in the night, or I's gonna..."

Reamus rolled his eyes, not really giving in to the command, but moving his sleeping bag over into the small stone turret with Aladari anyway. "Gonna what? You really think you could take me?"

"Well," She started, "You hafta take off the armor for it to be any fair."

"Ah! There it is. The 'but's begin."

Their chatter mingled in with the sounds of the caravan. Oxen mooed and groaned, shuffling their giant hooves in the dirt. Fire pits crackled happily. Low voices spoke to each other interspersed with the quiet sound of crunching food. Despite the outer conflict between Reamus and Aladari, the atmosphere was comforting, and neither noticed when they moved from talking to each other to drifting to sleep. They simply slept.

The next interruption didn't come until Leth was at his peak, and the crackling fires had already smoldered to a charred hiss. It was Aladari who woke first, as light of a sleeper as any natural-born Sunberthian. It didn't take long for instincts to kick in. She slipped silently from under her blanket and crouched in the corner with their materials, gripping the simple knife Reamus had packed with the food.

Once her knife was secure in her hand, Aladari padded towards the edge of the stone in soft bare feet. The gravel and pebbles were painful in her soles, but it was worth it for the extra stealth. She was especially grateful for her decision when she saw the mighty creature on the edge of the forest, peering in with illuminated eyes. She ducked behind a crumbling wall, breathing heavily.

Did it see me? Did it hear me? Dear Morwen, let it be deaf, dumb, and blind.

Though it didn't approach yet, the giant serpent had in fact seen her, and was merely waiting at the edges for the smaller, weaker prey to be picked away from the crowd. Unfortunately for Aladari, that was exactly her plan.

"Reamus!" She whispered. "Wake up, but stay quiet! I need your help."
"The sea always filled her with longing, though for what she was never sure."
- Cornelia Funke
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Aladari Coolwater
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[Ruins of Nial] Serpent in the Night

Postby Aladari Coolwater on August 2nd, 2017, 4:38 am

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Reamus gasped as he awoke, but his training kept him alert even halfway asleep, so he quickly absorbed the situation.

"What are you doing?" He hissed. "What's going on?"

"There's a...thing." She whispered back vaguely.

"Ah, yes." He grumbled, slipping into his boots and finding his weapon. "I understand now."

"Hush! Come look!"

The pair moved forward to the edge of tower, peeking around the corner one at a time so as not to attract too much attention.

"Petch!" Reamus cursed, scuffing the ground with the toe of his boot. "We can't take that thing, Al. We're going to have to wake up the whole damned caravan to take that thing. Let's just move away and leave it be."

Aladari bristled at the thought. Give up? Let it win? She could never. Her pride wouldn't let her. Knowing Reamus wouldn't approve, Aladari didn't answer. Instead, she stepped around him and began moving toward the edge of the forest where it paced in wait. Just as she had anticipated, he followed.

"Did you hear me? You know what that is?" He lectured, "That is a Balicani. They are fierce predators. Millions of teeth! Venomous spit! Highly territorial and we're on its land! Listen to me!" Reamus grabbed Aladari's shoulder, spinning her around to face him. She pushed his hand off of her roughly, but waited to listen to his plea. "That thing could kill us and everyone else here. We're not fighting it."

Aladari glanced at the creature again, which was winding its long body between the trees. Its tall wings brushed against the tree leaves imitating the sound of wind. Its eyes glittered in the darkness, and she could nearly hear its smirk. "We don't have to fight it." She told him. "You could go get some help and fight it with a team."

"Al, I'm not-"

"Well, I am." She left no room for argument, and the Squire recognized this. When she moved forward to chase the monster deeper into the woods, she didn't look back, but could hear the squire's soft footsteps in pursuit. Their combined breathing was loud and their footsteps louder; there was no way they were truly stealthed. No, this predator must be smart enough to play them. It would let them think they were stealthy. Well, Aladari was one step ahead. She would outsmart any bat-snake any day.

"We're goin' in headfirst." She told her follower.

"I don't know what you think you're doing, but we are most definitely not walking up to that thing and just chatting with it."

"Not my plan." She replied, stepping out of the shadows of the trees into the open area where the Balicani curled. She held the knife high in the air, as if she were already triumphant. "Come at me, scale-brain."

The regret only came after the monster grinned and gapped its mouth wide, showing off what had to be millions of razor-sharp, jagged teeth certainly honed to tearing flesh. By the time it hissed, she was already running so quickly she couldn't discern the direction.
"The sea always filled her with longing, though for what she was never sure."
- Cornelia Funke
User avatar
Aladari Coolwater
Rock the boat.
 
Posts: 478
Words: 267715
Joined roleplay: March 8th, 2016, 3:26 am
Location: Syliras
Race: Human, Vantha
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Medals: 3
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Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1)

[Ruins of Nial] Serpent in the Night

Postby Aladari Coolwater on August 4th, 2017, 2:04 am

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The world went by her in a blur. The smoldering ashes of the campfires in the distance flashed in her vision once, then reappeared in a rearview ticks later. The trees she crashed through were sometimes thick and scrapped her body, but some were thin, and snapped back at her as she passed through. The ground was rocky here- covered with bits of rubble and hunks of long forgotten debris. But the ground turned smooth there- slick with mud only passable at half speed.

For the most part, though, the surroundings were unremarkable in comparison to the creature lurking behind her.

The Balicani chased her at a leisurely pace, almost as if it were enjoying itself. Its great clawed feet crashed through any terrain, and its leathery wings swiped obstacles to the side without thought. Its body wound its way down the path with motions only seen before on a snake charmer's tune. It was unnatural, but that was hardly half the fear.

As Aladari ran and her lungs began to burn, an unwelcome memory began to surface in her mind of the last time she had run for her life.

There were too many times, of course. A person should never have to run for their life more than once or twice. But the most recent was burned into her memory and her arm, and thus stood out as an exceptional run. Images of Sunberth surrounded her in her waking moments now, just as they often did in her nightmares. She looked to the left and she could see the docks passing. On her right, a crowd of angry people shoved each other back and forth; a few dared to look her in the eye and the whispers of "Thief!" and "Whore!" were visible on their lips, despite the silence.

Looking straight ahead, Aladari could see the alleyway that would lead to her home. An escape! She dashed for the open entryway and upon squeezing herself in, immediately collapsed in exhaustion. There were no tears falling. There was only fear. She closed her eyes against it and rubbed her arm where the scar still stood out. As soon as her hand touched the scar, the realization that her wound was healed was just enough to startle her back into reality. Unfortunately, when she opened her eyes, she found yet another new nightmare.

She was indeed past a small entryway into an old building which barely stood on its arches, albeit not in Sunberth but the Ruins of Nial. Aladari backed up into the room, away from the beast, until she hit a wall. Pressing against the thigh-high wall gently, she watched it crumble beneath her fingers. She knew she wasn't safe here. The Balicani however, was not quite as smart. It had lodged itself in the small doorway trying to chase her in, where it now hissed and writhed, hopelessly attempting to break free of the stone bindings.

"Al!" A voice called out from a distance. The sound of heavy footsteps followed. "Al, I have help! Lead it this way!"

She heard the voices. She heard the approaching help. And yet, she took one look at the desperate beast and without a second thought made what may have been her worst decision to date.
"The sea always filled her with longing, though for what she was never sure."
- Cornelia Funke
User avatar
Aladari Coolwater
Rock the boat.
 
Posts: 478
Words: 267715
Joined roleplay: March 8th, 2016, 3:26 am
Location: Syliras
Race: Human, Vantha
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Medals: 3
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[Ruins of Nial] Serpent in the Night

Postby Aladari Coolwater on August 4th, 2017, 2:23 am

Image

I dropped my knife. Reamus won't mind. It was only an eating knife. Worth...1 Silver max. Unless it was silver? He's a Squire. How much do they make?

Her mind rambled endlessly at her. Perhaps it was an attempt to reason out her actions. Regardless of what went on in her mind, Aladari continued to advance on the Balicani barehanded. Getting closer, she could finally gauge its true size. It couldn't have been more than two or three feet tall. Its length was the true shocker at nearly triple that. Its scaled body was adorned with fur in odd places such as around its neck, almost endearing it to her.

I wonder if it has a family. She reached out for it. Maybe she had done so in an attempt to pet it, maybe in an insane urge to bond with it. She was unable to follow the thought through, for she was interrupted by a great glob of spit that the creature launched at her. She stepped back quickly, but the spit still landed on her boot-clad feet.

"Rude." She scolded it.

Her tone quickly changed when she discovered that the spit was eating its way through her boot and to her toes.

"What kind of hot hell..." Quickly coming to her senses, Aladari shed her boot, tossing it to the ground without touching its sizzling toe. The boot bounced on the ground before coming to a halt in front of the Balicani, where the monster hissed and spit at it again. Aladari took another step back, the fear coming rushing back. The blind urge to run shook her again, and so in an animalistic instinct, she hurdled one of the crumbling walls and ran.

She made it about five feet before she was halted by the call of familiar voices. "Al?"

She struggled to articulate herself for a tick, before finally coughing out a response. "R-reamus?"

"Al!" Heavy footsteps tramped toward her, crushing through the woods like a herd of oxen. "Al, are you alright? Where is it?"

Aladari shook her head, pushing away his concerns. "Is in there." She pointed to the fallen arch in the dark. One of the Knights lit a torch and swung it in the direction before nodding. The troupe headed out, leaving Reamus and Aladari behind. They took a chime to stare at each other in disbelief before the cries of the Knights brought them once again into the woods.

Reamus grabbed her arm and tugged her along. "We're coming!" He shouted. As he pulled Aladari towards the fight, he made a passing glance at her foot. He raised a brow but no questions for the missing boot. "Can you walk?" Aladari nodded. "Good. We're going to need you."
"The sea always filled her with longing, though for what she was never sure."
- Cornelia Funke
User avatar
Aladari Coolwater
Rock the boat.
 
Posts: 478
Words: 267715
Joined roleplay: March 8th, 2016, 3:26 am
Location: Syliras
Race: Human, Vantha
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 3
Overlored (1) Donor (1)
Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1)


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