Closed Call of the Wild

Only the brave or the foolish dear to answer

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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.

Call of the Wild

Postby Elias Caldera on April 15th, 2018, 8:28 pm

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51st day of Spring, 518 AV


Whenever he was out here, amidst the towering trees and winding hills, amidst the whispering winds and rocky shores, Elias always found himself wandering of ‘what could be.’ The wilds were endless, devouring expanse of untamed hinterlands that divided this world into little more than scrounging city states and frontier settlements. The expanse was so far reaching, so utterly untapped in its potential, that if Ravok could only seize it for herself, there was no telling how much wealth and untold riches could be hidden within the unknown. Beasts and monsters infested the wilds in the north just as they did every corner of the world however, and to tear these woods away from their clawed grip would require a sacrifice of souls to the monumental cause. Yet, nothing gained was worth it if not earned with blood and sweat, and the sons of Ravok were bred for such sacrifice in the name of their lord. They could take all of this if they truly wanted, claim it all for the Black Sun and have their dark flags raised high for all of Mizahar to behold. To think of it was to make him smile; They could have borders again, like they did in ancient times where lines were drawn on maps instead of in the dirt. Men wouldn’t have to judge their wellbeing and limits of their aspirations by the distance they were from the city they called home, but instead would be free to venture forth and grow unburdened by the growling threats that once lurked in every bush and shadow place.

He’d seen the world outside of Rhysol’s embrace, witnessed the glory and greatness of other cities and their gods, and now that he was returned, all he wanted, all he endeavored for, was to see that greatness overshadowed by Ravok in every way. Nyka, with its golden fields and crumbling walls, would fall in an instant if truly pressed. Zeltiva, so proud and magnificent, would find all that splendor useless in the face of the great tide of Ravok’s war machine. Hell, even though Morwen’s rebellion had stirred so much chaos in the world, Ravok had barely suffered for it thanks to the Defiler’s protection, yet Elias had a sense that the other nations of the world would be cheering them on if the Ebonstryfe decided to march on the winter witch’s palace.

Mura, Novallas, Syliras, Elias had seen the world… and the world was weak.

They could seize it all if but given half the chance.

If only everyone saw it as he did.

Yet, though the Caldera dreamed of empire, every ambitious thought that clouded his mind only served to remind him of his own limitations. In his lust for glory, the stryfer had set his eyes on the heavens themselves, yet back on earth he struggled daily just to keep his own house in order. He was starting from the bottom again and he knew it, though to imply he had ever made it any farther than that in the first place would have been fallacy. His impotence and lack of control was unbearable, and nowhere else did he see those shortcomings reflected back at him than he did in the Northern Outpost.

A waste of potential and time, the outpost felt more like an excuse for those within the high echelons of Ravok’s ruling powers. They had sent the stryfe out here armed with little more than twigs and rocks and had expected them to forge an impregnable fortress from the nothing they’d been granted. Then, when the feeble walls the soldiers had struggled to erect inevitably collapsed against the first real threat thrown against it, and the tide swept away the shattered remnants of this place entirely, those in power could point and jump and say ‘look, look! See, we told you there was no point in trying.’

Isolationists. Cowards. Weaklings.

Just as it was with the wilds, if they had truly wanted, they could have done so much more with this place. Instead, they hadn’t even given this fort a proper name, it was just a thing that served only to make their paradise more comfortable and perfect in some way or another. Even the lakeshore was a disposable asset in the end, something that could be lost without much care, as long as Ravok was safe, as long as Ravok was soft, as long as Ravok was content.

As long as Ravok endured and its people were happy, what cared they of the world. What cared they of their god’s vision?

Yes, Elias had seen the world, and the world was weak… but so was Ravok.

Rhysol had seen fit to forgive the mage his transgression for a reason. Though the god of darkness had returned the exiled son to the fold, it had not been without consequence. Elias had shown weakness before the lord, had reached out in his desperation for guidance and for love, and in the face of that misery -that feeble, pathetic despair, Rhysol had struck him down. It had taken a long, long time to understand what that meant, but in the end, the realization of his purpose was made clear. There was a sickness in him, just as there was a sickness in his city and his people. He was brought back for one reason, and one reason alone; to cure the disease, to cull the herd, to make his city strong again. Elias Caldera was here to drag Ravok from it decrepit, listless dormancy and back into the light of god’s plan. This city could no longer remain content. It had a purpose, a destiny that needed to be fulfilled, and Elias would be the harbinger of that most hallowed design.

But he was alone, and alone, even the sorcerer could not do everything that he knew needed to be done. Ravok had to convinced of its own glory, not forced into it, and to that end the solider had gone to great lengths to swallow his pride and enlist the aid of others in his task. He’d begun the foundations of a powerbase in Ravok, calling those to his side who could either assist him in the climb, or whose backs were strong enough to hold his weight as he ascended towards his goals. He may not have held any love for the outpost, but perhaps here too he could find those willing to join him in his holy task. He was tired of fighting his own, so perhaps out here he had a chance to change that. There was a great many things he could do for his brothers in the black out in the midst of such hostile territory, and if he could win their trust and admiration by doing so, then it was worth a chance. When the day came, the real fight would be in at the heart of Ravok proper, but it couldn’t hurt to have a few allies on the outside too.

That said, making new friends was not easy for one such as he, but when god himself gave you a mission, failure was not an option.

So then, how to best make an impression here out in the middle of petching nowhere? Well the answer was simple, find out what men wanted in its most base form, for out here away from the pleasantries and decorum of city life, the base form was what everything devolved into in the end. Being a man himself, that made things particularly simple to work out, for it really only boiled down to three basic components; all men liked a warm bed, a tight hole, and hard liquor. He wasn’t sure what he could do about those first two, but that last one had been denied recently, and when Elias had taken notice of the call to arms posted on the work board, he’d jumped at the chance.

Apparently Krahk, the personal slave of Samara Alenta and purveyor of the only watering hole this dreaded settlement had any claim to, was recently missing a shipment from Ravok. Out here in particular, when soldiers were forced to forgo their reprieve from their arduous labors, they got frisky to put it mildly. Things only escalated from there once they realized they wouldn’t even be able to drown their woes in a cup of grog at the end of the day. Elias brought this to the attentions of his superiors at the fort, and in turn they had scowled and dismissively sent him on his way, eager to be rid of his ilk. He had no doubt that a few were hoping his sojourn into the madness of the wilds would be his last, but Elias did not begrudge them their ill will. He had been too eager to leave and begin his mission for the sake of his brothers… right up until he’d reached the door of the office and a voice had caught him before he could escape.

“Oh and, you’ll be taking a ‘partner’ with you…”

As it had turned out, that partner had been commander Lazarin’s pet slave of all people. A spy more like it, one sicced on the swordsman’s heel and doubtlessly instructed to report back everything the untrustworthy soldier said and did down to the tiniest detail. Elias would have suspected the creature was sent to kill him out there in the lawless wastes, had the animal been the least bit intimidating. No, the beast was to be the eyes an ears of his masters and little more. He could see him now from his place at the gates where he waited, the red haired boy standing there in front of his ebon-clad mistress as the hard faced woman prepared him for his journey like a mother would a child for school. he wasn't sure what those two were whispering about over there, but he had a feeling he'd find out soon enough.

The soldier groaned, tapping his boots impatiently upon the muddied ground. His horse, a dark chestnut steed who’d been with him for years now, saw its rider’s familiar restlessness and reflected it back at him, shaking its head and prancing in place, uncertain of why they had to wait if the pale man so clearly did not want to. It was a good question, he’d already spoken to the Eypharian whose shipment had been waylaid and learned what he needed to about the circumstances. He’d even asked for a sample of whatever it was they’d be transporting so that he could read its aura and seek it out if given the opportunity. Armed and armored, outfitted and ready for whatever the wilds could throw at him, Elias was more than prepared to do this thing. Now if only his ‘partner’ could find the same resolve and finally join him.

The wilds were calling, the soldier figured it was about damn time it got its answer.
Last edited by Elias Caldera on August 14th, 2018, 10:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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The Call of the Wild

Postby Rook on April 16th, 2018, 3:00 am

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Under less complicated circumstances, Rook would have liked the North Ravok Outpost. He could have done without the cold; his body was not built for it, and he had to resist the urge to bundle himself up in layers of blankets and and furs and do nothing other than sleep. But he loved the smells of the place. The sound of birdsong and wildlife echoed from every crevice of the place. Squirrels and possums scratched against the ever present trees that loomed in the distance. The wildlands inspired Rook’s instincts in a way Ravok never had. He wanted to run and smell and scratch every inch of the North Ravok Outpost. He wanted to know it like he knew every scrape on his hands.

Things were, of course, far too complicated for the kelvic to enjoy the place. Rook’s body was frequently tested to and past its limits for things he simply wasn’t built to be good at. The kelvic would never be able to manage physical labor readily, but it was expected of him. Fetching and scenting he was better at. A few times he’d been sent out to hunt with the dogs, the damnable collar removed around his neck so he could flex the fullness of his sense of smell. Rook liked the dogs. They were better friends than any of the Ebonstryfe could ever be, and though he couldn’t speak with them as equals he could understand most of what they had to tell him. He liked the simplicity of them; it was a welcome comfort in the maelstrom of confusion that had been troubling the kelvic since his bonding. Rook mind, slowly, gradually, was changing. He was not so content to sit and let things happen to him. He didn’t just watch people now. He analyzed. And Rook was beginning to grow less content with the way of things. There was more to this world than just being a dumb slave. And Rook’s growing conviction was determined to find it.

It was with this mindset that the kelvic found himself forced to hide his resentment at his newest assignment.

“You’re only good at two things,” Rook’s master said, a cold gleam in her eyes. “Scenting and watching. I need you to do both.”

His master went on to describe the details of the mission. Track down a missing shipment. Clean, cut, dried. He was being sent with a member of the Ebonstryfe, an apprentice. This caused Rook’s ears to prick. A single Ebonstryfe? And an apprentice to boot? Strange.

Jessica frowned at the kelvic, her eyes piercing his like small stakes of ice as she relayed the information to him. “You’re to keep an eye on him and let me know everything he does. Understand slave?” Rook nodded. He tried to keep his gaze vacant, but inside his skull gears were whirring like clockwork. Why would he need to keep an eye on an apprentice? Why would anyone care? And for that matter, why would a single man and a fairly useless kelvic known only for a keen nose be tasked with anything? Very very strange.

When the man finally approached the gate, an answer started to form for Rook, although he couldn’t see its full shape yet. He was the oldest apprentice Rook had ever seen, and ten times as battle hardened as the handful of soldiers Rook had shared words and work with. He was not, Rook decided, a man to be trifled with. Not that it really mattered. Rook dealt with men and women best not to be trifled with daily. Maybe he was becoming numb to it. Ruby, a memory mingled with the scent of spices and coddled by the warmth of affection was a swift fading ghost.

Jessica’s eyes fell on the man, and Rook could see that there was no scrap of friendliness buried anywhere in the woman’s compassionless eyes. This man was nothing to her. She did not respect him. Rook wondered if she couldn’t see the battle hardened lines in the man’s face or the confidence in which he carried himself, or if she simply didn’t care. Arrogance, Rook decided, could turn people blind.

As usual, the Lady Lazarin spoke for Rook. Rook said nothing, simply taking in the man’s appearance with a stoic calm mingled with a hint of curiosity.

“He’s useless for everything aside from scenting and scouting,” the woman clipped at the apprentice. “Don’t expect him to do much work for you. He is mine though, so I expect him to be undamaged. Understand?”

Rook might have felt a little flattered if he didn’t know that all Jessica cared about was keeping her investment.

His ears pricked metaphorically as he watched the woman remove a key from her pocket and hand it over to the man.

“I wouldn’t uncollar him at all,” she said. “But his nose is better when he’s a wolf, so you might as well use it.”

Rook stared at the key and said nothing. But underneath his collar, the skin burned.
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The Call of the Wild

Postby Elias Caldera on July 30th, 2018, 1:05 am

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Elias had lost track of just how long he’d been stationed at the outpost by now, but there was nary a day that went by in this forsaken backwater that he didn’t notice Commander Jessica Lazarin stomping around the fort with what could only be described as an immeasurable stick up her ass that’d she’d gained something of a reputation for. A stick, so undoubtedly grand in scale and unwavering in ferocity that if the woman had opted to unsheathe it from her backside, Elias had little doubt in his mind she could very easily beat him to death with if she so chose. That was why, when confronted with her obnoxious glare and snarling undertones, his reply was as courteous and professional as humanly possible. “As you say, commander.” The soldier stated, saluting perhaps a bit too crisply in his feigned enthusiasm. “Not a hair on his fiery little head will be out of place upon our return. I promise.”

A Ravokian’s promise wasn’t worth much, especially to another Ravokian who knew better, and the wilting look the other Stryfer was shooting Elias told the swordsman she wasn’t buying it, nor was she at all amused in the least bit. Unsurprising. The Caldera’s attention however, had now wandered over to the kelvic in question, the extra pair of snooping eyes and ears that would be tagging along for this little sojourn into the wild. He was a mangy thing by all accounts, with legs and arms lanky like a spider’s and hair the color of dried rust. The way he milled about uncomfortably next to his master’s side spoke volumes of his training and pedigree, and the collar about his throat had long ago alluded to the fact that he was more than what his outward appearance presented, even before Jessica had mentioned his breed.

A red haired kelvic wolf the mage mused uneasily, Gods help me, I’m cursed.

Curious amber eyes looked back at him when Elias's unapologetic and scrutinizing gaze finally fell upon them, eyes that soon found more interest in the key swapping hands than it did anything else. Interesting He thought to himself as he pocketed the small iron trinket. It seemed the wolf was more than accustomed to hiding his true emotions by the way he'd stifiled that reaction, but such talents did little good against the invasive gaze of an aurist. A reading of any substance would have to come at another time however, for now the Caldera simply wanted to escape the gouging glare of the Lazarin Commander before the woman had anymore time to burrow deeper into his wretched soul.

With a wordless jerk of his head, he bid his new wolf companion to follow as both he and his steed, laden with equipment and arms for the journey, turned to leave.

Finally it seemed, they were underway.

With each step in retreat from the noble Lazarin Elias felt a palpable weight lifting from his shoulders, and yet, with each step drawing them closer to the wilderness, that weight was quickly being replaced by another. By the time the duo had passed under the paltry stack of sticks that amounted to the fort’s main gates, the Ravokian’s nerves were already beginning to fray. Thankfully, much like he suspected of Rook, Elias too was well practiced in hiding his true intentions.

“That woman,” The scarred soldier began, taking a cautious look over his shoulder one last time to make sure he was out of earshot, “needs to get laid... for all our sakes.” He let that hang for a moment as the two walked, his attention focused front and on the dangers that lay ahead instead of behind. “I had assumed that’s why she kept you around, but either I was mistaken, or you’re simply not up to the task. I have a few friends at the House of Immortal Pleasures who could show you a trick or two if you’ve found yourself… waning.” With that, he turned and gave the wolf an inquisitive and clearly prodding look, his obscene smirk slight, but all too present none the less.

“There’s only one real road from the outpost to Ravok, and calling it a ‘road’ is charitable on the best of days.” He continued nonchalantly after a while. “A shipment that size wouldn’t have much choice other than to follow it, so we’ll keep to the trail until we discover something out of place.” And with that last word, the soldier turned to Rook once more, though this time his shyke eating grin had been replaced with something far less mocking or playful. A shadow had fallen over his features, and as his face hardened, his scars began to crumple and stretch, making the worst of them all the more unpleasant to behold.

His thin, pale lips moved, and from them, an icy threat did flow.

“I care not for what you do while your master is absent, but by god heed now my words, wolf; if you get in my way, if you so much as hinder my progress, I will not hesitate to break you. Am I absolutely clear, slave?”
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The Call of the Wild

Postby Rook on July 30th, 2018, 8:23 pm

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Rook could feel the irritation surging off of his master in hot and angry waves, enough to make Rook cringe. He supposed an Ebonstryfe soldier had the advantage of being able to annoy one of his fellows; a privilege that slaves simply didn't have if they wanted to keep both ears and their nose still attached to their face. Rook allowed himself the slightest pang of envy for that. The wolf boy had thought up any number of clever retorts to his master’s nasty remarks, but he’d kept them locked up in his skull lest he wanted his skull cracked. The glibness of the man was a fair amount entertaining though. Rook might have allowed himself a smile if he hadn't worried about getting beaten for it.

When the man jerked his head towards Rook to bid him forward, the wolf went without complaint. He did do a backwards glance towards his master, but the woman’s hard gaze snapped Rook’s attention back in the direction of the soldier he was accompanying. Rook would have welcomed silence well enough, but based upon the man’s earlier comments he wasn't the silent sort and their passage through the gateway of the Outpost was like a lever being flipped.

Rook gave the Ebonstryfe soldier a bewildered look, less from his words and more from the extreme casualness from which he now spoke to the kelvic. Rook was not used to being spoken to as an equal by...well anyone really. Aside from Shiress. Rook was told to do this or do that. Even his fellow slaves treated him with disdain. He closest friends at the Outpost were the hunting dogs who he was occasionally sent out with, but they weren't much for conversation. Was this man the sort to speak casually to his inferiors? Or did his glibness extend to everyone and Rook was merely being included in all of that?

Rook was so unused to talking that it took him a moment to formulate a response to the Stryfer’s words. “I am not used for...that,” Rook said finally. He knew many slaves were, most often beautiful women for the male soldiers use, but Jessica had never shown the faintest interest in such a thing with Rook...which in all honesty was a vast relief for the wolf boy. Sometimes he wondered why Jessica had taken an interest in him enough to tear him away from Ruby, but keeping him as a night time companion was not the reason. Lanky near-mute ginger kelvics apparently weren't her type.

The soldier’s offer flew over Rook’s head. Although he had visited the House of Immortal Pleasures once while he was hunting down Shiress just before their bonding, the kelvic hadn't spent enough time there to really grasp what the purpose of the place was. “I think I’m good, thanks,” Rook said. A hint of suspicion crept into his voice, that old familiar, ever present cynicism that even Shiress’ optimism couldn't quench. Acts of kindness from anyone other than his bondmate struck Rook as suspicious. What would this soldier demand in return? Better not to give him the opportunity.

As the soldier moved on, speaking of the road, Rook found himself nodding in agreement. He had walked that road with his Commander and her men, forced to run behind the horses until his paw pads cracked and bled. He remembered it well enough. The soldier’s words made perfect sense and Rook had neither reason nor inclination to argue with him.

It would have been nice if the words that followed were a surprise to the slave. If there had been even a shred of hope that this man might be kind to him, then perhaps Rook might have been hurt or frightened. But he was numb to threats. Pain was a constant burr that never left him. The Stryfer’s cold, remorseless threat earned him a blank look that reflected in Rook’s amber eyes. He tensed, but only just. It was a reflexive reaction in anticipation of a blow that didn't come. When the Stryfer made no attempt to strike him, Rook shrugged.

“Same song, different verse,” he said. The words out of the wolf boy’s mouth surprised him. In them there was perhaps another hint of Shiress, that rebelliousness that his bondmate had sprouted and nurtured. He wondered mildly what the Stryfer had hoped that threat would accomplish. Obedience? He was already obedient. You could only stack so many threats before they started to lose meaning, whether they were followed through with or not.

“If you want to break something already broken I guess that’s fine. It doesn't matter to me. I won't get in your way.”

The pup stared down the road as he felt his independent streak take a firmer hold over him. “I won't be able to smell much in this form,” he told the soldier. “I might be able to catch more in my wolf form. But it's your call.”
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The Call of the Wild

Postby Elias Caldera on August 3rd, 2018, 12:59 am

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The soldier’s step had faltered.

In fact, it had altogether stopped in the wake of Rook’s bold and wholly unexpected response. Now the Ravokian was simply staring at the boy with a mixture of astonishment and something… else. Something that, if one didn’t know better, might have been confused with admiration. Whatever it was, in the end it served to bring a wry smile to the man’s marred face.

“This wolf has fangs.” Elias breathed with an air of surprise. “I can appreciate that.” He continued, hand falling from the reigns by which he guided his horse and fell instead to his pocket. “It takes a certain kind of courage to stand up to those who would see you kept down.” Cold, blue eyes studied the kelvic as if actually seeing the slave for the first time, and the swordsman nodded, rifling through his pocket before withdrawing something. “Tell you what,” he said, holding up the key Jessica had given him, the very same key that would unlock the archaic device that restrained Rook to his pitiable human form. “If you wish to run free…” The key, now pinched between the soldier’s fingers, glistened mildly in the midday sun. “As free as the wind…” The key began to crinkle and bend. “As free as you run that petching mouth of yours…” The source of Rook’s liberation continued to fold in on itself, squeezed and deformed by the gloved fingers that held it aloft, until at last its shape resembled more a clump of mangled bronze than anything else. “You go right ahead, pup.” Elias growled, his venerating tenor having slowly faded until at last all pretense had been shed. “I won’t get in your way.” With a disinterested flick of his finger, he sent the squashed metal slug bouncing harmlessly off the wolf boy’s chest before casually turning away and continuing on with his trek.

Just his petching luck he’d been stuck with a dog who thought itself kicked one too many times. As Elias saw it, the little shyke clearly hadn’t been felt the sting of the boot nearly enough if he had the audacity to speak as such. Part of him had wanted to use his Flux on the boy’s throat instead of just the key, but had withheld his fury despite having every right to dispense it as he saw fit. Mayhap it the arrogance of having not just an officer as master, but a Lazarin on top of it all. Well he’d been watching her, just like he’d been watching everyone else of note who had the misfortune of calling the outpost home, and what he had seen did not frighten him. The others may have whispered of her terrible talents at extracting information from her victims, or how she was handpicked by the Defiler himself, but all Elias saw was a woman with too much to prove, trying too hard to prove it.

As much a pet to Samara as Rook was to her, Jessica had in fact ticked all the marks of a superior the ever-ambitious Caldera was looking for. She was the kind of leader men respected because they had to, but would not mourn or seek to avenge if pressed by her untimely absence. Best of all though, she had a reputation. Not too grand as to garner the wrong kind of attention, but not too inconsequential to be ignored either. It was the kind of reputation that held her aloft above her peers and subordinates just enough to gain the eyes of those who mattered. The kind of reputation Elias would inherit the day he challenged her to a duel to the death before cutting her down like a dog. Like so many others before her she would be easy pickings for the mage, but a number of factors had stayed his hand thus far. First the timing was poor to say the least. He had so much still left to consolidate there was little sense in trying to heap more responsibilities atop his already mountainous pile. Then there was Samara. As much an exile from Ravok as Elias had been (or still was depending on who you asked) though still desperately clinging to the guise of actually being a part of her people. It was clear to everyone a woman like her did not belong out here, and whatever affront had landed her this deplorable position must have been truly grave indeed. Unfortunately, she’d made the Lazarin commander her unofficial right hand as of late, which would have spelled trouble for anyone who intended to stick around after murdering her favorite, let alone assuming the dead woman’s role as was Ebonstryfe tradition.

It was funny, how even out here in the middle of nowhere, politics had still managed to wiggle its way into the mix.

Perhaps it was testament to the long reach of Ravok’s influence; to have consequences to one’s actions even so far away from civilization. It was the only reason he hadn’t already laid his hands on the Lazarin’s slave after all. If he’d returned with a battered and bruised Rook tied to the back of his horse it would have been tantamount to throwing down the dueling gauntlet at Jessica’s feet then and there. No, if it was to happen it would be at his discretion, not another’s, and definitely not because some mouthy slave’s bravado.

He almost reminds me of- The wayward thought was banished almost as quickly as it arrived.

“I think you and I are going to get along fabulously, pup.” Elias shouted with all the feigned enthusiasm one could expect after such an uncomfortable stand off. He had walked ahead of the slave, not caring to look back to see if the boy had actually followed or not, though he’d have known regardless. “That is if you survive long enough.” He carried on, idly stroking the mane of his horse as they walked in tandem, the latter no longer led along by its harness but by its own ‘free’ will. “Tell me, now that you’ve naught but the flesh and frailty of man at your disposal, how do you imagine you’ll fair out here? Oh, I’m sure the beast within you is raging right now, hmmm? No doubt appalled to find itself so limited like us mere humans.” The cruelty of his words were as casual as his step, and all the while the soldier couldn’t even be bothered to look his traveling companion in the eye.

"You’ve the stink of the Institute about you.” He went on as if the conversation were a mutual one. As to the boy’s origins, it had been a guess for the most part. Almost every Kelvic in Ravok found its heinous beginnings as part of some Nitrozian experiment or another, thus it was hardly a leap to expect any different of this one. “The stink of all the pain and suffering their cages cater to, but none of the lessons that pain should have imparted.” For Elias, the creatures that slinked out of the KRI were of the lowest caliber. Confined to their cages and bred solely to amuse, they had been doomed to ineptitude even before birth, and it showed. To be properly broken, one needed to be whole in the first place, but to truly rise above the chaff required testing, and not in some experimental manner that involved prodding men of science torturing you day in and day out. No, pain without purpose was pointless, and Elias had to wonder just what this kelvic had endured, if he had truly endured anything at all. “They teach you how to do more than sit and roll over in that place, or are you as truly useless as your master claims?"
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The Call of the Wild

Postby Rook on August 11th, 2018, 7:43 pm

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The piece of crumpled metal that had once been the key to Rook’s collar bounced off of his chest. On instinct, Rook caught it and stared at the hunk of metal in the palm of his hand with numb disbelief. Why? Why? Rook lifted his head up to stare at the Ebonstryfe man’s back, his brown eyes wide and stunned. The soldier had turned his back on him and Rook struggled to make sense of the situation, his common sense shouting in harmony with his pride. Both were in agreement; the man’s actions made absolutely no sense. Rook understood cruelty. He understood that sometimes men felt the need to strike slaves down, to show them who was in charge. Rook knew this information intimately. He had lived it enough times.

But what this stranger Ebonstryfe soldier had done just now was the equivalent of breaking Rook’s leg. It hurt, certainly. But it also severely limited Rook’s capabilities. Especially, especially considering the fact that the only reason Rook was even here was to act as a scent hound. He was supposed to aid the soldier wasn’t he? Now his nose and ears were only half as useful.

“I don't understand,” Rook said, plainly. His voice was flat, bereft of emotion. “I am a tool for you to use. That was my point in being here. You have all but made me useless.”

He stared at the soldier’s back, listened as the man droned on with fake cheer, articulating how well he thought himself and Rook were going to get along, and subtly threatening him with abandonment, and mocking him for his lack of abilities in his human form. Was that what this had been? A power play? Look at the big strong Ebonstryfe, smacking down the poor pathetic slave to show him who’s boss. As if Rook didn't already know how helpless he was! It was ridiculous.

“I am in this collar almost every waking moment of every day,” Rook told the man, still in disbelief, speaking slowly as he tried to process the situation. “It is only removed from me when I am sent to hunt. You honestly don't think that I know by now how helpless and useless I am?”

Rook could feel something hot boiling inside of him, a ferocity and pride that he knew his beloved bondmate’s link was fanning. He squashed it, shoving it into a void of nothingness. When he saw Shiress again, he could scream the unfairness of it to her and know she would find it true. He clung to that small scrap of hope as he fell into silent step behind the soldier. Even alone, he was not truly alone. Not anymore.

When the soldier spoke of the KRI, Rook’s emotions were already buried too deep for him to be able to react to the man’s words. He simply glanced at him mildly. There was anger and hatred in him somewhere, but it was too far away to touch, like it was held back behind a pane of glass.

“The Institute taught me how to understand pain,” Rook replied simply. “And I learned how to watch and… understand. You don't understand a chasm until you’ve touched the bottom of it. Just like you don't know light til you’ve felt its warmth.” He thought, of course, of Shiress. The KRI and Shiress. His two extremes.

Rook wasn't sure why he was suddenly so chatty with this soldier. He certainly wasn't this philosophical with anyone, really. In fact, most of the people in the Outpost thought he was mute and those who knew he wasn't thought he was a dullard. Rook had never made any attempts to draw attention to himself. So why now? Perhaps it was a way of venting the steam from that boiling anger he had capped.

“I can scent and I can track a little. I know how to fight a little as a wolf or with my bare hands. I can sneak, I can hide. I know how to find wild herbs to numb pain. And I’m good at watching people and...learning things.” Rook knew Elias was mocking him, but he simply tallied out his list of skills and talents in a slow drone, ticking off each talent with the tip of his fingers. It was a meager lot, a fact the wolf boy knew very well. He doubted the man to be the least bit impressed but he tallied them off anyways. He, of course, avoided the new talents he’d been gradually acquiring by way of his snooping. Mentioning he was a spy for the Larks was not any of this man’s business.

“I’m not sure what use you expect me to be of now, honestly,” Rook said bluntly. “Am I just to be bait to throw at a charging monster? My sense of smell is my most useful talent and you’ve all but crippled that.”
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The Call of the Wild

Postby Elias Caldera on August 12th, 2018, 10:20 pm

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Both horse and rider shared an exasperated look as the flood gates opened behind them.

My god, was this what he sounded like to others? No wonder everybody wanted him dead. It was unbearable!

It seemed Elias hadn’t just struck a sore spot with this wolf, he’d accidentally put his fist straight through something far too fragile for its own good. Now the dam was all but broken, and the crashing tide of bitter wailing and gnashing teeth bore down upon him without relent. If Rook hadn't been such an obvious plant and spy for his dear master, Elias would have almost felt bad for the boy, but the fact that he had practically professed himself as much while going down the list of his capabilities only hardened the pale man's resolve.

The slave was pathetic in no uncertain meaning of the word.

Impotent in his powerlessness, deprived of direction, and beneath it all, seething with a dark rage that had no purpose or place to go, thus could only delve its way deeper down to depths still untainted by its corruptive malice.

He was weak, and he was worthless, and he was everything Elias hated about himself.

In this slave he saw the mewling child he had once been. Felt each somber word reverberate and cling to old wounds like stinging reminders of what he had strived so doggedly to cast out of himself. It had taken a God’s rejection on the precipice of oblivion for the soldier to recognize his deep-seated follies and begin their exorcism. He had no idea how or where Rook would find his own salvation.

Not all were deserving of it, of course. It was the place of the weak to be mulched under foot by the strong, but everyone deserved at least a chance to ascend beyond the muck. Shiress had taught him that.

Now, the sentiment was one of the core mandates he taught to all his… what was the right word for them? Followers? Students? Ah, 'Chosen.' Yes, that seemed fitting. The apprentices and raw recruits who heard his preaching, saw the meaning in its rhetoric and had found their souls subsequently stirred to action. If Elias’s destiny in this world was to save his people from themselves as he truly believed, then did that not entail all those who called Ravok their home, soldier and slave alike? He cast a glance over his shoulder at the wolf, listening intently even as his inner thoughts whirred with decision. Was the boy even worth the effort in the first place though? At first glance, It didn’t seem like it. He was far too brash and foolhardy, as if he had yet earned such privilege as a slave. Elias couldn’t understand where that boldness stemmed from, nor did he believe everything the pup had claimed. If he truly understood pain, then he wouldn’t have been so quick to invite upon himself, yet that was all his pride and sorrow would ever achieve if he could not find the strength to harness either.

Rook would find himself suddenly assaulted by a pair of tiny bags haphazardly thrown over the Stryfer’s shoulder. “A herbalist!” Elias exclaimed. “Somewhere amidst all that whining I heard ‘herbalist.’ Well there, feast thine eyes upon our prize.” The bags were light and easy enough to catch, being tied together as they were. Should the wolf open them, he’d find one was full of mash, and the other hops, each with their own pungent odor “The two most divine ingredients necessary for concocting the nectar of the gods, boy. Beer.” Upon the mage’s request, Krahk -the unfortunately named ephyrian bartender back at the outpost- had given the samples to Elias before their departure. He’d already gotten a whiff of their auras and was certain he could sniff it out again should any more find itself in his presence, but the wolf would have likely been much keener and more competently suited for such a task… if he could still turn into a wolf, that was.

“You’ll be a hero to the boys back at the outpost if we can turn the taps back on and fill their mugs again. I’m not sure if you know this about us meek and meager humans, but men need reprieve from their daily labors, whatever they may be, and that reprieve comes in the form of that glistening, glorious beverage you hold the precursor to in your hands. Think of ale as the key to one’s collar. Duty and diligence are our shackles, but every once in while we crave the freedom only a stout pint can bring, else we a get a bit cranky when deprived what we feel is owed. Or in your case, unbearably melancholy. Make sense?”

At this, he had finally turned and addressed the slave instead of simply speaking and expecting him to listen. The strain on his craning neck was growing irksome however. “Tell you what, pup, I’ll strike a deal with you, if only to spare myself any further yowling. If you-” The words trailed off in the gentle evening breeze as something caught the stryfer's attention. It would grow obvious to Rook what it was once he followed the scarred soldier’s gaze off into the distance where it had suddenly snapped to. Far down the road, on the far flung little line between sky and earth, stood a tiny smudge of black dots in the distance and whose details were still far from perceivable.

Dots that were moving.

People.

Elias hadn’t slowed his pace despite the distraction, but he had snapped his finger at the kelvic rather insistently. “By my side, slave. Don’t wander.” It would be some time before the pair would be upon whatever it was that lay ahead. In the meantime, the Caldera showed no more concern for the matter and continued on where he’d left off. “As I was saying, I’ve a deal for you.” He said, affixing his cold eyes on the demure and grim boy. “If you want freedom from that thing about your throat, then I’m happy to allow it. In fact, I’d be ecstatic.” His pale smile broadened. “If you can manage to tear that collar from your neck, I…” There was a moment of hesitation and consideration. He had to think about this. What would the boy find deserving? What would spark his drive and fuel his incentive? “I… will make certain your master never collars you again. That’s a promise from one servant of Rhysol to another.”

It was another ten chimes before the duo had made it down the road, giving Rook some time to consider what the mage had said, and time to make out what it was they were actually approaching.

“Hail.” Elias greeted heartily. It was much in contrast to the frigid way he’d been conversing with his traveling companion. Almost as if a switch had been flipped.

The gangly, dour looking man he’d been addressing removed his dirty cap and bowed, immediately recognizing the swordsman for what he was. “Good evening, ser. Good evening! How fair you this fine day?”

The scene the two had stumbled upon was a familiar one along this path. As the only road between Ravok and its northern holdings, travelers journeyed to and fro on these poor dirt trails all the time. Unfortunately for these wayward souls however, their journey seemed to have had hit a bit of a snag. “Much better than you it looks like.” Elias replied gingerly, motioning to the unhitched wagon wheel that had fallen off the cart behind the man. Two oxen stood idle off to the side, unencumbered by their harnesses and munching lazily on the abundant greenery about them. Behind the man who the soldier had been talking too sat a fair haired child no more than ten or twelve sitting upon the back of the cart. Next to her was a middle aged woman in simple but dirt stained garb, the same golden hair as the girl tied up in a messy bun atop her head.

No doubt a family traveling from the lakeshore.

“Ah, blast it all.” The scruffy looking fellow cursed, angrily sweeping his wide brimmed hat at the animals nearby. “Accursed beasts got spooked by some russtlin’ in the bushes back yonder. Daft things went wild and tried to stampede. Damn near scared the life outa mi’ wife and little girl -did even worse to our field hand back there. Poor lass got dragged behind cart for quite a ways before they managed to pop the wheel and finally stopped. Now she’s all cut up and bruised like that. Only just bought her too.” For the first time Elias noticed the girl in the far back, hiding in plain sight behind both the mother and the child. A skinny, downcast thing of short, dark brown hair and trembling twigs for limbs. If one had thought the family’s clothing shoddy and cheap, hers were barely even rags. She seemed underfed, and like the old man had said, she looked as if she’d been in a battle to put it mildly. Small scrapes and lacerations marred almost the entirety of her exposed legs and arms. Her lip had been busted aswell, and one of her eyes was beginning to swell and turn purple. It was an injury Elias was all too familiar with, and the swordsman gave her about a bell or so before the eye was completely sealed shut.

“I’ve half a mind to head straight back to the Lakeshore and put mi’ boot up the backside of the bastard who sold me these wretched beasts, begging your pardon for me uncouth candor, ser.”

Elias raised a calming hand at the weary man, his bulbous nose and reddened cheeks still shaking in indignation. “Its quite alright, I understand. Good news is, you're very near the outpost now. Its not much further, and I’ll have you all on your way shortly.”

“Oh, gratitude my lord. Truly, but you need not concern yourself with us. This is beneath the likes of the Ebonstryfe. I-”

“Nonsense, I’ll hear no more.” Elias cordially interrupted. He had already disarmed, ushered his horse out of the way and was rolling up his sleeves before the other Ravokian had a chance to protest any further. “I insist. It’s the least I can do.” The soldier chuckled. His arms were bear now, and the scars revealed upon his ghostly white limbs were nearly too many to count. His blade, much like his mount, had also been set aside in preparation for the work ahead, and Rook would be the only one who noticed how queerly the farmer had eyed it for but a split second.

“Now,” Elias chimed in cheerily as he studied the cart, “before we begin, might I bother you for your identification papers, please.”

There was a pause. Uncertainty. Nervousness. Then…

“Oh, oh of course. I’m sorry. We don’t often get asked for them this far out from the city. Uh, Maria, fetch the papers would you.” The wife, having remained quite this whole time, nearly jumped out of her shoes at the sound of her own name, so surprised was she. She nodded, and turned to retrieve their packs nearby. The girl on the cart moved to follow her, ruffling the large covering that laid atop whatever was in the back, but Maria hastily halted her, before silently chastising the child with a stern finger and an even sterner glare that made made sure she didn’t move from where she sat.

By the time Elias had all three documents for the family in his hands, the red haired kelvic would be hard pressed not to notice the eyes now watching him intently from beyond the hubbub of the humans. The slave, her hands bound by rope and strapped to the back of the wagon, was staring at the wolf now, her lithe, battered form rigid like a deer who'd just noticed the slavering fangs of a predator drawing closer and closer still. Around her neck lay a similar collar as is own, though clearly not nearly as fine a make.

It was her eyes however, that would catch his attention if nothing else, for rn her eyes, he could see the fear as plain as day.
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Call of the Wild

Postby Rook on September 20th, 2018, 1:14 am

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Rook saw the expression of exasperation seep onto the soldier’s face as he shot a look at his horse, of all things. Was he grinding on the soldier’s nerves? Well whatever. It wasn't as if it mattered anyways. Rook had done what he had asked, and the boy couldn't imagine how he could be faulted for that.

Rook jumped slightly when Elias tossed a pair of bags to him. The pup just barely caught them and cast the man a puzzled look. This soldier changed moods like a rainstorm. At the man’s statement, Rook hesitantly pried open the bags and breathed in the scent of them. The smells hit Rook like a brick wall, and he immediately sneezed. “Shyke, that’s strong!” he exclaimed. Rook took another tentative sniff, then carefully looped the bags around his belt. “I think I can find them if we get close,” the kelvic said. He chose not to mention that he would have been able to find it much easier if he could turn into a wolf. The man surely already knew.

The soldier's talk of beer being the key to one’s collar simply went in one ear and out the other. Rook knew perfectly well what beer did to soldiers, and as far as he was concerned it was best utilized by giving it to other people and staying far far away from it himself. What was the point in drinking something that made you an addled moron? Still, if it was something that could give him an edge, it was worth noting. The pup decided to put some thought into how to best utilize the information.

Rook heard the sound of people before Elias noticed it, his keen ears picking up the faint sound of speech still too distant to make out any words. He paid it little mind until the soldier brought attention to it. He was far more intrigued by the mention of a deal. A deal? Rook sent the man a quizzical look. What could he possibly want to offer him? It was clear how much the man thought of him, that is to say not much. So why offer anything?

'If you manage to tear that collar from your neck, I will make certain your master never collars you again.’ What was this man offering him? And why? Rook touched his collar with hesitant fingers. The feel of cool iron brushed against his nails. It wasn't exactly something that could be shorn off of his neck…

But the offer was compelling, even if there was something hidden there. What was worse, a danger he knew nothing of, or one he understood entirely too intimately? Rook chewed the offer, and his tongue along with it. There was one important point the pup had to clarify, otherwise there was nothing to deal in.

“Would you be able to free another slave, someone other than me?” Rook asked, his voice a half whisper. “There’s someone who needs to be saved more than me.”

When the soldier and wolf boy duo reached the strangers, Rook hung a few steps back behind the Ebonstryfe soldier, silent, as would be expected by a collared kelvic slave. But, as always, Rook had turned his intense powers of observation onto the scene at hand, instincts honing his senses. What was hidden here? What was the greatest threat?

Rook listened with half an ear as the man babbled lies upon lies. This in itself was not necessarily something damning; everyone lied in Ravok. It was a given. But whatever it was they were hiding with their lies; that was the important part. Misdirection, deceit, a terrified kelvic slave, and a tarp covering something, something perhaps that these strangers didn't want seen?

Rook inhaled slowly, trying to take in the scents of cart and their inhabitants, but gritted his teeth from frustration at how week his senses we're. The pup had a thought, but no way to confirm it. Perhaps the soldier could get answers; if he chose to listen to a lowly kelvic slave.

Rook tapped the soldier’s elbow to get his attention. “Does the slave have papers too?” he asked. “I only see the three for the citizens.”

When the Stryfer turned to face him, the soldier’s body would perfectly block Rook’s face from view.

“There's something under the tarp,” Rook said in the quietest of voices.
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Call of the Wild

Postby Elias Caldera on September 27th, 2018, 11:52 pm

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“Eldrin… Maria… and that must make you little Natti Cauthon.” Elias cooed as he looked up from the small stack of papers in his pale grasp. The girl winced as he smiled at her.

She must have been a good judge of characters, he thought.

His musing were interrupted however as Rook piped up over his shoulder, inquiring about the other slave’s identification. He turned on the boy, lips already working in a most condescending manner to correct the poor kelvic before he noticed what was happening. Oho, he exclaimed in quiet, mental intrigue, so the pup thinks he has a nose for this, does he? Elias gave the red head a curious look, nodded, then returned his attention back to the family who now awaited his judgement in uneasy apprehension. It was almost too easy to tell they were hiding something from him at this point. The mask of lies they each wore were already crumbling even as the stryfer drew closer, pretense and facade slowly fading in the drowning tides of fear that wafted off of each and every one of them in waves.

As an aurist, the Caldera was granted many an advantage in his everyday dealings, as one could imagine. Being able to sense strong emotions, decipher thoughts, sus out secrets, it all gave him an incalculable edge over his foes when handled correctly, but the one drawback few master aurists ever seemed to acknowledge and one he himself now faced, was that when one wielded the power to know anything and everything with just a bit of concentration, surprises became something few and far between. Unfortunately, knowing the all the twists and turns of a plot ten chapters before it ever happened had a tendency draining a great deal of the excitement out of life.

Needless to say, Elias already knew what was waiting for him beneath the covering of the wagon, just as he knew exactly how he was going to handle it.


---------


There was a loud ‘smack’ as Elias clasped his hands together and shot the Cauthon’s one of his winning grins. “All seems to be in order here.” He declared enthusiastically as the crumpling of papers signaled the return of the family’s passes, followed promptly by another clap as the soldier turned on the slave girl next. “My fiery haired companion is correct to inquire about a bill of sale for the slave, but as we are all good, Rhysol faring folk here, I see no need to trouble you further with such trivialities. Come, lets get that wheel back on, shall we, Eldrin. Can I call you Eldrin?”

“Uh, yes, of course ser. Of course you can. It’s what me Ma named me after all.” The older man muttered uncertainly as he shared a quizzical look with his wife. She seemed just as perplexed as he, but not so much as to lose her wits. She gave her stuttering husband an incentivizing push, and before long he and the stryfer had begun working on the broken cart. “You lift there, yes just like that and I’ll… there we go. Now... steady, steady... Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but that sounds like a Zeltivan accent. Old Quarter if my ears don’t deceive.”

“Ah, they do not, ser. You’re right on the money.” Eldrin replied, voice straining as the pair of them struggled with the weight of their labor. For a chime the two strangers went on like that, chatting like old friends about this and that -well, at least the stryfer did, the old farm hand merely played his part as best his nerves allowed- until at last, a solid ‘cachunk’ heralded the end of the repairs and thank the gods, an end to the incessant jibber jabbering between the lot of them. Sedric was beginning to feel his legs fall asleep, and he didn’t think he could spend another tick stuck in amidst all this bloody seaweed. The stink of it alone was enough to drive a man mad!

“Well then,” he heard a voice say from beyond the tarp, followed by another jubilant clap “that should see you on your way!”

“Yes ser, I do truly appreciate your help with all this. I don’t know what kind of mess we’d find ourselves in if you hadn’t happened along. Isn’t that right, wife?”

“Y-yes. Yes! Thank you so much. May Rhysol reward your kindness.” Maria sputtered hastily as the two of them nodded and bowed with all the tact of a bloody Yukman. Idiots, Sedric spat. Damned, bloody idiots, the lot of them. They had nearly given away everything within ticks thanks to their ridiculous antics. It was if they'd never lied before in their lives! If it hadn’t been for the equally supreme idiocy of the Ebonstryfer who’d come along, he was sure he’d have been found out almost immediately. If this was how these backwater farmers kept a secret, he was definitely going to have to deal with them later. A shame, especially about the little girl, but necessary none the less.

“No need for that, it’s simply my job. Though, I couldn’t help but notice the familiar scent of cattails coming from your wagon there. I assume that’s what you’re hauling to the outpost, yes? All that heavy lifting has worked up something of an appetite. I don’t suppose I could help myself to a few for the journey ahead, could I…”

Sedric froze.

Petch! he thought. If that dolt tried to grab himself a handful of snacks for the road, he’d end up grabbing a handful of Sedric instead. He knew hiding in here was a bad idea! Damn it! Damn it! If this went to hell, he was going to have to use his blade after all.

“I would be glad to,” Eldrin near shouted in his apologetic distress as he abruptly darted to the soldier’s side, “but I’m afraid lady luck has damned me for a fool thrice over today. The cattails have all been infested with… uh, river mites you see. The little buggers are all over the harvest. Absolutely crawling with the blasted things. They’re no good for eating anymore, i'm afraid…” Eldrin finished, clapping his hands loudly on the edge of the wagon.

There was a pause, long and brutally painful, until at last “I see. Unfortunate. Well then, I pray you fair better during your stay at the outpost.”

And after a few more scraping bows and accolades of thanks, the wagon was moving again and on its way. Once he was certain they were gone and the road was clear, Sedric came bursting out from under the tarp a few chimes later, gasping and cursing in his frenzied escape. “Petching finally, I thought they’d never leave!” he coughed, plucking the cattail from his long, disheveled black hair and beard. He was going to be smelling of this shyke for weeks, he just knew it.

“You did good back there, old man. Real good. You saved your family a world of-”

The words caught in his throat. Something wasn’t right. This looked like… this looked like where they had stopped? Had they moved at all, or was he going mad? Wait... what was that sound? He could hear it in the distance, like galloping hooves or clattering metal. It was familiar, but where had he heard it before. Then it struck him. It was clapping! ‘Clap, clap, clap’ The sound was like thunder in his ears now. He could hear it from every direction, all around him,. enveloping him. He turned, looking for the farmers and quickly found them nearby, huddled together, clasping one another in a frightful fit as if they’d seen a ghost. Why were they staring at him like that? ‘Clap, clap, clap’ Pellia. She was gawking at him too, mouth agape and eyes bugged in shock as her hands reached for the collar around her thraot. What was going on here?! Sedric spun around, the world going topsy turvy for a moment as he sought out the source of their absurd reactions. What were they looking at?!

Two gloved hands came together with a resounding smack right in front of his nose, and Sedric jumped.

“Wha…” It was as if a curtain had been lifted, and the world around him fell away to reveal the bitter truth beneath. They hadn’t moved. They hadn’t moved an inch from where they had stopped. The wagon wheel still lay where it had fallen, the ox were still grazing, and… and now he was staring into the cold blue eyes of the stryfer he thought he’d left miles behind. “What…” Hazy eyes drifted to the red headed slave to the man’s side, then back. “What did you…” One hand reached for his head, trying to steady to turmoil bubbling to a froth beneath his skill. Another fell for the dagger sheathed at the small of his back. “What did you do to me?!” He roared, lunging forward. Something whirred, a shadow shifted, and the next Sedric knew was the darkness and the hard embrace of the floor beneath.


-------


Elias watched impassively as the bandit hit the ground, cheek and wits alike sundered by the sudden fist that had taken him. He wiped his knuckles clean on the hem of his pants and then turned to the family still staring slack jawed from the sidelines. They had watched Sedric come stumbling out of the wagon as if drunk, his eyes glazed over and his lips mumbling some incoherrant nonsense as if the man was caught in a dream. The truth was, he'd been caught in Elias's. An illusion was a difficult spell to pull off for any hypnotist, and it required the right kind of catalyst to induce a victim into the proper stupor. Clapping had been the Caldera's trigger of choice, and after silencing the family with a finger, he'd begun weaving his magic in with the sound, directing it all at the man he'd sensed hiding beneath the cattails from the beginning.

Eldrin, though dazed and flummoxed, caught the Ravokian’s harsh glare, and immediately fell to his knees. “Oh god, please forgive me, my lord! They made us do it, I swear! They said they’d kill my family if we didn’t hide them. Please! Please, I’m begging you show mercy.”

The hypnotist turned his chin up at the groveling, his grin long since replaced now by a cold sneer as he regarded Eldrin, who was soon joined by an equally prostrating Maria, her child clinging to her skirts and wailing in fright and confusion amidst all the excitement. “I do not forgive those who… wait, 'they'?”

He looked up from the mewling trio just in time to see a spinning collar come hurtling out of nowhere and strike him in the nose.

“Oh petch!” he hissed, reeling and clutching at his face. He made a sound somewhere between a snort and a sneeze as he tried to regain his bearing, nearly stumbling over his own feet.

The slave girl was running. Running fast, and heading for the woods where she would inevitably lose herself among the wild and winding foliage. With watering eyes, Elias spun on Rook. “Well, what are you waiting for!” He hollered, scooping up the dagger Sedric had dropped in his hypnotized state and shoving its pommel into the kelvic's hands. “Go petching get her!” He snarled, still pinching at the bridge of reddening shnoz.

So much for no petching surprises….


WC - 1925
Last edited by Elias Caldera on October 21st, 2018, 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Call of the Wild

Postby Rook on October 14th, 2018, 8:13 pm

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Rook felt the tempting lure of his face threatening to pull up into a teeth-baring growl, but the wolf pulled his anger back and kept his face blank as the Stryfer brushed his concerns aside. What was he even here for, if not for his observations to be given merit? Jessica would at least take his observations into account!

But as Rook bit back his anger and the snarl that was threatening the back of his throat, another thought bubbled up above that. Rook looked at the Stryfer soldier. Really looked at him, the way one does when analyzing a danger or a unique curiosity. This man might be arrogant, he might be cruel, but Rook was not convinced that he was stupid. Rook was naturally impulsive. He wanted to do things, not just sit and wait. But if this man was hatching a plan underneath all of that arrogance and deceit, the Rook wouldn't be the one to ruin it. And if the man was actually that stupid? Well, if their mission failed, that wasn't Rook’s problem after all. He was just a tool after all; a tool that had been crippled, at that. So Rook held his tongue, relaxed his body, and watched the scene unfold with unflinching and calm eyes.

The wolf boy’s eyes kept on flicking to the kelvic slave girl. Her eyes would not leave his. It was unsettling, in a manner of speaking. She seemed half-paralyzed, like a deer caught in the ray of a lamplight. When Rook returned her stare, he saw her throat working and her hands trembling like a leaf. The wolf boy peered at her curiously. What had this little one so frightened? He wondered for a moment what form her animal side took. Was she a prey animal, or a very terrified predator? Either was possible.

His musings were interrupted, however, by a man suddenly throwing himself from the interior of the wagon, babbling excitedly like...like? Like he were safe? Rook was just as stunned and confused as the caravanners were. What was going on? Rook turned his eyes on the Stryfer, wanting but not expecting an explanation, only to see the man strike the charging buffoon who toppled to the ground.

Rook watched as the family prostrated themselves, and as the Stryfer’s smile turned to a sneer. There, that was more of what Rook had been expecting. Yes, this man certainly wasn't one to be taken lightly. No fool, him. At least, mostly not, for the man had evidently not expected the terrified kelvic to be any sort of a threat. Rook, however, had been watching her. When the collar slammed into the Stryfer’s face, the soldier hardly had enough time to shove the dagger into Rook’s hands before the wolf boy was off and running.

Rook’s instincts flared with the prospect of a chase, and adreneline flooded his veins and made his heart thud in his chest. Rook almost transformed into his wolf form before he stopped himself. Human bodies weren't made for running like wolves were but for the moment it didn't matter. Rook’s feet pounded against the rough, untamed terrain and the dagger was clenched tightly in his hand.

She was easy to track. Rook didn't even need her scent, what with all the noise she made as she stampeded through the forest. Better yet, Rook was able to follow the path she had blazed, and as she caught herself on branches and thorns which slowed her speed, Rook only had to follow in her wake. Gradually, he gained on her, the noise of her stampede growing louder, and the bright flashes of her clothing blowing in the wind growing closer and closer together.

Perhaps Rook was too focused on the chase. Because he did not notice as the sound of thudding stopped, nor did he realize he should be on guard until the moment that a snarling bobcat came springing out of the bushes and collided directly with Rook, sending the wolf boy slamming into the ground. The kelvic snarled, spit, and growled as the pair of them struggled on the ground, a rising panic filling Rook as the adrenaline of the chase was replaced by a fast growing fear. The kelvic’s claws slashed against his body, and Rook pushed back against her, struggling to keep the cat’s claws away from any vital parts. The claws bit into Rook’s stomach and chest, causing howls of pain to come out of the wolf boy’s mouth. Rook took advantage of his superior weight and size and rolled her over, slamming her head against a nearby rock. The bash dazed her, and Rook remembered the knife in his hand. With a snarl, Rook plunged the knife straight into the slave’s ankle, and cringed at the wail of pain that rose from her mouth.

Rook jumped off of the slave and stood back, knowing full well that she wouldn't be going anywhere now. The cat made another lunge in his direction, but shrieked as the pain in her ankle made it impossible to move far.

“Stop that!” Rook snarled at her. “You’re beaten! Get over it.” She hissed at him in reply, and struggled to stand, but collapsed in a heap.

With a growl of irritation, Rook walked back over to her. “I am having a very bad day.” Rook told her. “If you keep struggling, I’m just going to smash your head with a rock. Got it?”

The kelvic growled, but this time it was more subdued. Rook put the knife into his hand, then scooped down and picked the kelvic up. She snarled, but shut up when Rook put the knife to her throat. “Quiet,” Rook snapped at her. Then, slowly, painfully, Rook made his way back to the clearing where the broken wagon stood. When he returned, bloody claw marks bright red through his patchwork clothes and hands red from the blood dripping from the injury to the kelvic girl’s ankle, then he would drop the kelvic to the ground near the Stryfer soldier and look to the man for further instruction, albeit with a thoroughly unamused expression dawning his features.
Rook
ImageImage Elias Caldera
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Rook
Ever Watchful
 
Posts: 145
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Joined roleplay: January 14th, 2018, 4:26 am
Race: Kelvic
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