Closed Welcome to the Sun

Ixzo's entrance to Sunberth, where she meets Anja

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

Welcome to the Sun

Postby Ixzo on November 9th, 2018, 4:13 pm


24th of Fall, 518AV

Perhaps there was a more civil way to do this. Ixzo knew that the customs in each city were different, and she figured this place would be different as well. But they had to have some semblance of a ritual for their dead. Ixzo stopped when she reached the edge of the city, or what she thought was the edge. She had passed a momentous fire a few chimes ago, and now the field that the forest had emptied into was melting into rundown buildings and shacks. This must be the bad side of whatever city this was, but she was still carrying a dead body into the city proper. Someone ought to stop her at some point.

She was exhausted, having trekked all night and then hunted, and then carried this boy all day. And once she passed the first stone building that these easterners loved, she stopped. Ducking forward, she let the boy fall to the ground, already stiff with death and smelling of waste. He rolled, eyes thankfully stuck closed. A few people seemed to be looking at her curiously, finding she was naked. Her emotions had undergone a vast turmoil from guilt at his murder, to confusion as to why he was dead, and then a strange greif for his passing that no longer acknowledged she was the one who killed him. As far as the lioness was not concerned, she found him like that. The thing she had hunted and this boy did not seem to be the same to her.

Because it was not, she wanted to give him a proper burial, but she didn’t trust these people. Not only was she in the obvious slums of the city, but no one seemed particularly concerned with the dead body. It was near dusk, and a few people rushed along on their way, trying to keep to themselves. Two scrawny children watched her from behind a pile of rotting wood that might have been a building at some point. An old woman glared at her, but otherwise no one approached. No guards, no clergymen, nothing.

Eyeballing the children, she ducked beside the body, feeling her hands in his pocket. She found four gold, two silvers, and a copper. He had a waterskin and his knife strapped to his belt, and otherwise nothing. She was going to give this boy a proper funeral, but she doubted he needed his things with him. They would be more of use to her, as she currently had nothing. Slipping his belt from the loops, she strapped it on, cutting his pocket with the knife and strapping it to the belt so it held the coins in place. She took a long pull from the waterskin before strapping it to her belt as well. She was cold, and wanted to take his clothes, but they had been so bloodied up, and torn by whatever attacked him, that it didn’t seem feasible. Still, she yanked his shirt from him, draping the crusted cloth over herself. It didn’t offer warmth, but it did offer decency.

“Hey, miss. You need help with that?” The twang of common rang out behind her, and she pun, hand falling to her knife. Two men stood, without any hint of offering help on their face. She leveled their stare, watching the second one who hadn’t spoke caress his own blade. She hadn’t understood what they said, and when she didn’t answer, they took two short steps forward. Ixzo let a guttural snarl rip out of the base of her throat, only barely parting her lips to let it through. The first one, the one who spoke, stopped short, one hand flying up and the other to his own blade. She could tell humans who were up to no good, and she wasn’t having it.

Of course this was the place that would prey on the foreigners.

Word Count: 649

Last edited by Ixzo on December 26th, 2018, 6:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Welcome to the Sun

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on November 19th, 2018, 9:56 pm

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The pull of death was particularly strong today. The song that chimed through the streets wasn't the usual mournful sorrowing cry of lives cut short before their time, undead life left desperately lingering in search of answers. Today's song was of violence and hatred, harmonized with desperation and a drive for survival that reached an inevitable, unsatisfactory conclusion. It was a dangerous time to go out. The city seethed. But that pull called to Anja, the black scythe of Dira on his hand all but burning to go and witness this masacre for whatever it was, and to do what he could. What would that involve? Guiding bleary eye spirits fresh in their undeath towards answers that would move them on? Seeing corpses carried to the Dust Bed so their souls could lie easier than if they were burned on the slag heap or left to rot in the streets? There was compassion to be offered to the dead, whether they lingered or not. And Anja couldn't bring himself to sit back while death seethed around him.

The Spiritist bid a polite goodbye to Light after giving her breakfast, and saddled Maisa into her yvas. Anja frowned at the roiling clouds overhead that foretold rain as the pale mare siddled nervously under the Drykas’ practiced hands. “Rain today or tomorrow, I think,” Anja signed at the strider in Pavi. Maisa lifted her head to look at the clouds and snorted in agreement. “If it rains, you can go stay with Moth and Kelski,” Anja told his friend. “But for now I would like your company.” Maisa nickered; a gentle, affectionate sound that was reserved only for her favorite people. Her head pressed against Anja's chest, and the man stroked her black tipped nose for a moment before swinging himself up into the yvas. More often than not, Maisa chose the direction that the pair would take. Today, Anja led the way. His knees guided Maisa deep into the city, where the thickest of that song of rage writhed.

The day marched by, slow but steady. Anja's face was known by some, and for those who did not know it they knew Jeb. He spent a bell and a half consoling a wailing widow in the Tent City whose husband had been beaten to death in a drunken brawl, and arranged for his remains to be sent to the Dust Bed. He had a conversation with a surprisingly calm ghost just outside of the No Man's Tavern who was searching for his wife's wedding ring, and promised to help him look for it if he would go to meet Anja at the Dust Bed later that night. The ever vigilant Maisa helped them to avoid two attempted muggings thanks to quick thinking and the impressive speed of a strider. By the time Syna began to fall low in the sky, Anja was exhausted and had come to the realization that he hadn't eaten anything at all that day aside from a brief breakfast. Just as he was contemplating braving the dinnertime horde at a nearby tavern, Anja felt a strong pull. He closed his eyes for a moment to listen to it. Fear, panic. A chase. And a quick death. The feel of it drew Anja's interest. Deaths were rarely quick in this city. They often lingered, suffered. Anja nudged Maisa gently towards the murmur of a lament, fatigue not enough to keep Anja's curiosity at bay.

Anja and Maisa turned a corner, and the scene meeting Drykas and Strider eyes caused them both to stop dead and stare. A woman, dressed in naught more than a bloody shirt and a belt with a corpse at her feet stared daggers into the eyes of a pair of ruffians fondling knives. The woman growled like a feral beast, more animal than woman. Every ounce of her screamed 'kelvic’. Anja had the lack of grace to experience a moment of fascination. Kelski had always been very sensible, so it was hard to see the eagle in her sometimes. But this woman shouted 'predator’ from every ounce of her being. She also looked like she might rip a hole in these two morons at any moment. Perhaps that would be for the best. There were more than a few people in this city who few would mourn, and the kind who attempted to assault a half naked woman were not particularly high on Anja's list. Still, lives cut down in their prime often had regrets. If he could intervene in the birth of a ghost, he must do so. Anja swung down off of Maisa's back, and his feet against the ground echoed and caused the two men to turn and look at Anja with a flash of surprise, followed by suspicion.

“I'm employed by Jebidiah at the Dust Bed,” Anja said. “My name is Anja Nightwatcher.” Instinctively, Anja made the Pavi signs to complement his introduction, as he would have if he had spoken the common words in Pavi. Despite the years he had spent away from the Sea of Grass, he often found himself using grassland sign anyways, a lifetime of habit hard to break. It did Maisa some good too; she was able to gather some meaning from the things that Anja signed and could come to some conclusions from the context. That could be essential here, particularly in a situation as high charged as the one was at this moment.

Anja saw recognition flit across the features of the two men. They might not know Anja, but they certainly knew Jeb. He was a force to be reckoned with, and feared by man and ghost alike. Still, Anja could see that flicker of stubbornness remaining in their eyes. A reluctance to let go of whatever they seemed to think they had managed to catch.

“Don't recall us needing an undertaker,” one of them said. “Petch off unless you want to see this knife up close and personal.”

Anja could feel his bastard sword heavy on his back. He really would prefer not to fight, but sometimes it was impossible to avoid. This wasn't a matter he could back down on. “I see a corpse right there,” Anja said, nodding in the direction of the body at the woman's feet. The man who had spoken tensed and took a threatening step in Anja's direction. “I said petch off, skyke licker,” the man snapped. A moment later though, his shoulder was grasped by his companion. An unkind smirk lingered on his lips. “No, no,” said the grinning man. “I want to see where this goes. Go ahead corpse boy. Take that body from her.”

Whatever entertainment the bandit hoped to gain, permission was still permission. Anja turned towards the woman and looked her up and down with a practiced eye. “Can you understand me?” Anja asked her in common. His hands still made the Pavi signs, for calm and safe. He pointed at the body at the woman's feet. “I want to help your friend there.” This time, he signed for assist. Behind them, Maisa watched the group with cautious eyes. If anything unexpected happened, she would be the first to let Anja know.

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Welcome to the Sun

Postby Ixzo on November 20th, 2018, 5:23 am


Even in this half-crazed state, she would recognize a Drykas from far off. Anyone so attached to their horse in a city this big, or with the distinctive Drykas tattoos. Any and all traces of wildness seeped from her face, and she felt a flood of comfort. Of course being familiar with this man’s race and culture did not mean he was a friend to her, but the Kelvic had gone so long without contact to people she had forgotten. She was a Kelvic after all; she craved connection with these strange humans, no matter how often it hurt her.

He spoke in common to the two men that she was attempting to intimidate out of a fight. It must have worked somewhat, because she was thoroughly exhausted and had a mere hunting knife to defend herself against two. But whatever he said to them decided their actions; they were not going to attack. Good. Still, the lioness’ gaze was quick to focus on the Pavi signs that habitual accented his common words that she did not understand. She was only recently fluent in the language, and was not quite to where she habitually did the same, but she couldn’t help but recognize the signs.

And then he turned to her, and was no longer met with the menacing growl she had given the man. Instead the dark woman’s face softened into a smile, and she raised her eyebrows in hope as he signed the words for safe and calm. She believed him. She didn’t understand the common he spoke, but the grassland signs were like a warm hug of home to the desperately lost Kelvic.

“I don’t speak common, but I do speak Pavi.” She said in clear but slightly accented Pavi. Home, memory. Her hands fell into the grassland signs as the familiar language fell on her tongue. “Are you Drykas? Do you come from the grasslands?” Hope, connection, curiosity. “I come from there! My Pavilion was the Stormbloods, my bond-“ And then Ixzo found herself choking on the words. The break was too fresh, too fresh for her to recount Rufio without a sharp stab of pain in her chest, fires slowly spreading to tear at the gaps the woman left in her soul. She didn’t have signs to display this heart break, and she didn’t want to share it anyway. Habitually, she clutched at the amulet on her chest, seeking comfort in her last gift from home.

She had forgotten what she was saying, her excitement cut off by the jarring reality of her situation. She was without a bond, again, and now she was without a home. Endrykas felt as much a part of her as Taloba did, and it didn’t occur to the Kelvic that she was clearly not Drykas, but Myrian. She had worked for over a year to be accepted into the Drykas society, and this lone horseman might not understand how much she had managed to ingrain herself into the city and the culture. But she didn’t think that he might question her knowledge of the language or his people, she was more curious as to why he was so far away from home and family. Only, where was far away supposed to be? She knew she was in Syliras, but did not know where exactly within.

“I don’t know where I am.” She said, looking around her and signing lost with the hand that was not attached to her horse amulet, feverishly rubbing it as if it would make the pain go away quicker Without thinking about the boy any longer, she stepped over the corpse, trying to get closer to the man to hear and watch his answer, far too eager to be seeing another Drykas, unaware of how much of a coincidence it was in a city such as this.

Word Count: 642

Last edited by Ixzo on December 26th, 2018, 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Welcome to the Sun

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on November 21st, 2018, 11:52 pm

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Anja's jaw dropped at the complex and intricate Pavi that came from the woman's mouth. Accented, perhaps, but actual, real, fluent Pavi. Anja had not heard a word of Pavi from any but his own mouth since he had left the Sea of Grass three years ago. Not even Tierra, the stone-hearted Drykas woman working at the Jolly Good Stables had spoken his birth language to him. And here, this half naked Kelvic was talking to him in his mother tongue.

“You are Drykas?” Anja asked in Pavi. Disbelief radiated from his face and through his hands. He took a moment to study the strange tattoos on her, but no, they did not have the flare of wind marks. A glance could tell Anja they had some cultural meaning to the woman, but whatever that meaning was the man couldn't begin to guess. “I am Anja Nightwatcher,” Anja said uncertainty. “Of the Nightwatcher pavilion. My pavilion is no more. We were of the Topaz clan.” As Anja spoke, he was suddenly fiercely aware of how strangled his Pavi sounded. He had been away for so long, it seemed as if his conversational skills had degraded. “It has been a long time since I have spoken Pavi to anyone but Maisa,” Anja explained to the woman, gesturing to his strider as he spoke.

Anja watched the change in the woman's face turn from joy to agony as her words froze in her throat. She clutched an amulet at her throat, and Anja studied it for a moment. Yes, if there had been any question of the woman's origins, that object was certainly Drykas. Anja's eyebrows knitted together as she stated to not know where she was. Alone, lost, with naught but a corpse for company. Maybe it was the sudden connection of culture, but he knew he couldn't leave this woman here to be eaten by the dogs of this city. He had to do something.

“This is Sunberth,” Anja said. The accompanying signs he gave in conjunction with the city were not flattering. “You are very far from home, little sister. Both in space and spirit. This is a bad city. It's dangerous.”

As if to further emphasize his point, one of the two ruffians, both who had been studying the pair's interaction with growing frustration, stepped forward. “I thought you were just going to take the corpse? Why are the two of you babbling I'm that weird language? Just take the corpse and go!” The second man laughed. “Stupid language. What's with all of this?” He waved his hands wildly in front of his hands and laughed.

Anja let out a soft sigh. “Change of plans,” Anja replied in common. “This woman is...well, let's say she's a relative. You won't be hurting her.” Anja took off his coat and draped it over the girl's shoulders and squeezed her shoulder gently. “These are bad men,” he told her in Pavi. “They had bad intentions for you. I will try to help keep you safe, but they may get violent. I hope you can defend yourself.” On cue, the men growled and unsheathed their daggers.

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Welcome to the Sun

Postby Ixzo on November 24th, 2018, 5:17 am


Ixzo shook her head at the question of if she was Drykas. ”The Drykas are my family, but I am not one of you, I just lived among you.” Family, home. “I am born among the Myrians. I b… I bonded with a Drykas.” Ixzo shook her head at the question of if she was Drykas. Her Pavi was still a little rusty as she spoke, but it surprised her with how easily it came to her now that she was speaking to the man. ”I am Ixzo Stormblood of the Diamond Clan.” Her deep Myrian tones took on the language with a familiarity that filled the Kelvic with a bit of pride. She was desperate for some form of connection to these humans, and although she did not know this Drykas, she wanted to trust him immediately.

”Sunberth.” She repeated the word, tasting it in her mouth, and then signed a question of why to the man, but he had his attention stolen by the bystanders who she had been growling at earlier. Her eyes narrowed at the man, and she had half the mind to lodge an axe in their heads, although she didn’t have one on her. And she didn’t want this Drykas to think of her as barbaric. It had been a stigma she had troubled to overcome in their home city, and although he said this city was unsafe, she wondered if he would judge her for the Myrian traditions she upheld. He spoke something in common to the men and then repeated his warning, shrugging off his coat and putting it on her.

The gesture pulled the Kelvic out of her brief bloodthirst, and her attention followed the light eyes of the Drykas then. It was such a compassionate gesture, that she had not felt in so long. She had been away from humanity for seasons, although she wasn’t sure how many. Her bond had broken and some point, simply faded and ceased to exist, an agony that Ixzo hadn’t anticipated. And here she felt the need to defend herself against every human she saw, although as a Kelvic she still craved their company and touch. So in some ways the squeeze of her shoulders from his hands scared her, it was foreign and intimate in a familial way that she had not forged with this man. In other ways it was so familiar to her it was as if he was her brother in this moment, as they shared the cultural connection of the Drykas, only seeming to be enhanced by the danger of this new city. Normally the prideful Kelvic would have shrugged the coat away, refusing help or pity, but this was not either. This was comaraderie.

Her unanswered sign was about to be answered when Anja asked if she could defend herself. She had the knife on her hip, but she was far more effective as a lion, especially since she had spent very little time in the past few seasons on two feet. She didn’t want to shed the man’s coat, not because it was warm, but for the symbol it was. But she didn’t have a choice. The coat and the blood crusted shirt were shed, and she took two steps back from the man. Not to evade the fight, but to give herself room, because within a few ticks she was pulling her human form into herself, exchanging it for the well-worn and familiar black lion. When she landed on all four paws, she glanced at Anja to gauge his reaction before settling into a crouch in anticipation for the oncoming fight.

As a lion, she was significantly larger than any man. Glossy black fur settled over her tones muscles, and there were defined marks in her back and chest where the intentional scarring of her Myrian tradition put divets in her fur where the ornamental designs lay. It distinguished her from other Night Lions, and for anyone who recognized those scars in her human form would also recognize them in her lion form.

She hadn’t the time to hope if her new Drykas brother could defend himself, because the first man had brandished his knife and was closing in on Anja. She gave none a chance to react, springing from her hunting crouch with vigor, and bowling the man closest to Anja over. She could not feel her claws break his skin, but by his shrieks of horror, she must have. The fate this man would meet would be similar to the boy’s if she was not careful. Some instinct that usually accompanied her hunt would not allow her to stop herself from killing this man. He was weak, and easy, but something else dragged at her. Some form of humanity tried to pry her attention from the man’s throat, and did so at the last moment. She heard the cling of metal before she felt it, and the lioness rolled off the man, finding her paws underneath her about ten feet from him. She stayed low, prepared for another lunge, and allowed a low guttural growl seep from her throat. The two men were now cornered between her and Anja, both with their knives out and ready. The man she had wrestled with had blood seeping down his thigh from her hind claws, but seemed to be otherwise okay. He wouldn’t be feeling the bruising and aching that came with being tackled by a full sized lioness yet, but that was likely just because of the shock.

The human part of her mind reminded her not to kill these two now, but it wasn’t for any good and compassionate reason other than sudden fear of Anja hating her. Whoever this man was, she wanted his trust, and she wasn’t sure if she would get it by eating a human in front of him.

Word Count: 978

Last edited by Ixzo on December 26th, 2018, 6:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Welcome to the Sun

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on December 18th, 2018, 9:14 pm

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Sparks of red light flickered off of the ruffian's daggers, reflections cast in Syna's dying light. Ixzo's name and clan had left an impression on Anja, but there was no time for him to react to them as battle rose up to meet them. The Drykas’ bastard sword flew to his hand as the nearest of the thugs stepped towards him, a vicious look shining in his mud-brown eyes. Anja gritted his teeth and turned to look at Ixzo, but she was stepping back, tossing the coat that Anja had placed on her and shedding the bloodstained shirt that had just barely covered her form. Ah yes, a kelvic indeed. Anja just barely had enough time to think those words when the woman transformed. The weight of her body slamming against the ground as she fell forward onto all fours was substantial, and for a tick Anja just stared. He had been right in assuming her to be a predator, it seemed. But he had not been prepared for her to be so massive of a beast as she was. The slightest of smiles flickered across his face. They had the advantage now.

Anja turned back towards the two ruffians to see them staring at Ixzo with a look of thunderstruck disbelief. The stunned silence lasted only a moment when one of the men let out a snarl of rage and charged Anja. The Drykas moved his sword into a guard in front of him, preparing to take advantage of his greater rage should the fool get to close. But before he had a chance to slash at the thug, Ixzo had pounced on the man and bowled him over onto the ground accompanied by his horrified shrieks. How it was that the men did not flee immediately was beyond Anja. Rather, his foolishness led him to brandish his dagger and lunge at Ixzo. The lioness had herself prepared however, and rolled away from him and onto her feet. Anja and Ixco both stared the pair down, her with a growl roiling from her throat and him with a stoic, emotionless expression that might be taken as coldness but was in fact concentration.

“I think the pair of you might be out matched,” Anja told the two in Common. “If you'd like to keep your heads where they are, I would recommend a retreat.” There was a poignant pause where the two men considered the situation, gears ticking in their heads like clockwork. “Petch this!” cried the injured one of the pair, who then turned and fled. In the same instant, the second of the two had stepped towards Anja and Ixzo with a look of fury. He faltered as his companion retreated, and Anja took advantage of the opportunity as well as his greater reach. Anja's bastard sword sang through the air and sliced a clean slash across the man's stomach. A superficial wound, but from the expression on the man's face a clear shock. Enough of a shock, it seemed, to make up his mind for him.

“You shyke eaters will pay for this!” the man screamed, then beat a hasty retreat after his friend. Anja held his sword at the ready until they were both out of sight, then sighed and turned to look at his feline companion. “You're not injured are you?” Anja asked, signing in one handed Pavi as he still held his sword with his dominant hand. The man took a piece of scrap cloth from his bastard sword and wiped it free of blood before returning the weapon to the sash.

He looked at Ixzo for a long moment, properly taking in the woman's new appearance without the distraction of mortal danger breathing down their necks. “All the kelvics I'm familiar with have smaller forms,” Anja told her with a slight smile. “I must admit I'm not quite sure what to make of you.”
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Postby Ixzo on December 26th, 2018, 12:19 am


Ixzo flicked her ears toward Anja in confirmation that she was okay, momentarily forgetting that humans would not understand her instinctual communication in this form. He said he was not used to Kelvics of this size, and Ixzo wondered what kind of Kelvics he had met. Her mother was an elephant, while normal for their size, massive in her own right. And yet her father, who somehow stood taller than her mother, was a small nightmare bat with little substance to his animal form. What sort of Kelvics had this Drykas been used to? Frogs and rats? Most likely. The Kelvic generally did not meet many of her own kind, few were predator types, and those who weren’t feared her. Too many things feared her.

Fatigue racked through Ixzo’s body, the short burst of adrenaline that came with a good fight had done a number on the lioness, and the thought of transforming back seemed like too much work. She knew she would have to, but she tried to give herself a chime to cool down before dragging the energy through her lion form to do it again. In a slow lumbering movement, the lioness rose to her feet from where she had been sitting. Heavy paws pressed slowly into the ground as she stepped towards the familiar stranger, pushing her shoulder against his hip and circling him. Using her body weight, although not at all aggressively, Ixzo herded Anja towards the body she had brought and ultimately looted. Once he took a step forward, either to steady himself against her weight or because he understood what she wanted from him, the lioness let out a small chirp. Ixzo rarely made noises in this form, but she needed something to garner Anja’s attention. Shen then ducked and sniffed the boy. Her odd state of mind did not allow her to remember that she was the one who killed the boy, out of cold blood nonetheless. Ixzo found herself mourning him instead, dragging a thick spiked tongue across his bare chest where her earlier claw marks had raked his abdomen and thigh. Marks that mirrored, although to a more lethal extent, those she had left on their attackers just moments before. She was not trying to clean her kill, but instinct showed the gesture as caring, and it comforted her.

It was then that she found enough energy in her to drag herself back into her human form. She had questions, and for the Kelvic, questions were a powerful motivator. As soon as her large black mass transformed into a smaller brown one, Ixzo simply sat back down by the boy, forgetting for a moment that she ought to have clothing on.

Sadness “I don’t know how to help him. How do you bury your dead here? What haunts these woods that would kill such an innocent boy?” Her voice was thick with the threat of tears, obscuring her usual accent. Still, no tears came for her false grieving that was so real to herself. The Kelvic usually showed little emotion and spoke even less words, but this evening seemed to overwhelm her. She had spent so many seasons away from humans, and the day had been long to her, and so weakness of the mind was invading her psyche and overwhelming the Kelvic, unknowingly dipping her mind into madness

Last edited by Ixzo on December 26th, 2018, 6:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Welcome to the Sun

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on December 26th, 2018, 2:39 am

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Anja watched as the lioness cooly observed him for a long moment, ears flicking towards him, then slumped forward. The Drykas’ eyebrows knitted forward with concern and he took a step towards her, a singular hand extended. He stopped himself with the realization that he hadn’t the faintest idea what he was doing. He couldn’t exactly support this creature who was upwards hundreds of pounds, could he? If she collapsed there wasn’t exactly much he could do about it. Ixzo was far too large for even Maisa to do anything about. And Anja was well aware of the fact that his strider was keeping her distance from the predator. Only her bond to Anja kept the white mare from having fled in terror.

As the lioness approached Anja in large lumbering steps, he braced himself as she pushed against him. The gesture reminded him a for a moment of the small domestic cats he had seen occasionally in Zeltiva, bumping their heads up against their humans as a display of affection, but there was intent and purpose to this that those cats had lacked. He allowed himself to be gently herded and as his eyes alighted on the corpse of the man whom he had guarded and a soft chirp spilled from her mouth, realization struck. He needed no further encouragement to follow in the kelvic’s steps. Compassion twinged at Anja’s heart as the lioness drew her large pink tongue over the man’s chest. Had she known him somehow? Was he a friend? Anja knelt beside the corpse and lightly touched the man’s pale skin. His eyes roamed over the long red marks, before eventually falling back towards the kelvic. After a moment of examination, his brow furrowed and his hand found its way to his chin. Those marks...they were rather unique weren’t they? There wasn’t any weapon that made marks like those; or at least not any he knew of off hand. But they were, nonetheless, easy to identify. While it was true that there were any number of beasts in the wilds who could make marks such as those, one such creature was now standing before him, and the simple presence of her made it impossible to ignore such a possibility.

When Ixzo turned back to human, Anja turned his eyes away from her reflexively, searching out his coat from where she had dropped it on the ground earlier. He scooped it from the ground and returned it to her shoulders, giving a small scan of the area as he did so. They were alone for now, or so it seemed. It was anyone’s guess how long that would last though. The bandits they had chased off could be running for reinforcements as they spoke, but Anja also couldn’t deny this woman a moment of his time. Particularly not as it fell into his specialty. He listened to her as she spoke her sorrows, and his brow furrowed once more. He paused for a long moment, and then when he had gathered his thoughts he gently rested a hand against her shoulder. “Dead here in Sunberth go to a graveyard on a hill by the sea. The Dust Bed.” Solemn. “We can take him there. I live and work there.” Anja was momentarily frustrated by his vocabulary failing him. He could remember the gestures quite well; he used grass sign often with Maisa. But his words were failing him, and he was being forced to simplify things.

“You found him?” Anja asked. Query. He nearly didn’t ask. He thought he probably knew how this boy had died. “Many dangerous things haunt and hunt here.” Bad, danger. Anja squeezed Ixzo’s shoulder gently, then, against his better judgement, added. “If you want to know how death took him, I can maybe find out.” Unsure on how to elaborate further, Anja simply showed the woman the mark on his hand. The black scythe bit into palm, so dark as to almost consume encroaching light. “Death has marked me,” Anja said, voice soft. “Sometimes Dira tells me what she knows.”
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Anja Nightwatcher
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Postby Ixzo on December 26th, 2018, 6:25 am


”Thank you, Anja Nightwatcher.” Gratitude, peace. She spoke in earnest, hoping he understood that it was not just the coat that she was thankful for. It was the kindness and familiarity, and the offer of something he probably should have kept to himself. Ixzo was not a threat to that information, but her own mind set to Priskil’s vortex that hovered in her left palm, and she already knew this city was not for the kind.

Ixzo’s eyes fell on the mark on his wrist, and immediately concern filled her. She was grateful again for his coat, a reminder that she was to behave like a human around these people, but her mind was consumed with the threatening looking gnosis. Ixzo should not fear death, she was a Myrian warrior, she was a Drykas hunter, nothing about her life spoke badly of death. As a hunter she had come to acknowledge that death was not always a tragedy, merely the end of life. As a warrior she knew that death was a victory, then end of a battle. But as neither of these? Death seemed a loss, an unexpected tragedy, no matter how expected it might have been. But what did this gnosis mean? The scythe was foreboding, but he seemed to offer the mark as an explanation and a comfort rather than a thread. Ixzo nodded at his offer and explanation of where he worked and lived.

”Yes, please.” Discovery, peace. She answered the man’s offer to use his gnosis, turning more fully to him now. If she had been of sounder mind she would have said no, knowing that he might find the true answer which she did not see. But Ixzo was not thinking straight. ”We should get out of the street.” She muttered, then as if she wasn’t thinking of what emotions her hands were forming the sign for guilty flashed, quickly followed by not guilty. Which she dragged to emphasize before realizing what her hands were doing and looking down to them as if they didn’t belong to her. The signs hadn’t made sense with her sentence, and Ixzo wasn’t entirely sure she had actually signed them. After a tick of watching her own hands in confusion, the Kelvic stood, and reached for the boy’s stiff arms before realizing she was not going to be able to lift him again. Whatever had possessed her to carry him this far was not going to provide her with support to do so now. Ixzo let his arms drop, wrapping her hand around the coat that Anja had offered her and pulling her shoulder’s properly into the thing before tucking it at her waist. She looked at the Drykas for a few ticks, wondering what more she could ask of him.

”Your Strider’s name?” Curious. She asked the man, ultimately wondering if the beast could carry the body where she clearly could not any longer. But she knew enough of the Drykas that she had no intention of being disrespectful to the horse or its bonded rider. She may not like the things, but she knew of their value and importance to the Drykas people, and if she was of their culture, like she said she was, it was only fair to show that respect in this forsaken city the two Cyphrus-dwellers found themselves in.

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Ixzo
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Postby Anja Nightwatcher on January 5th, 2019, 5:51 pm

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Ixzo was not well. The sensation had been slowly growing on Anja the more he spoke with her, but he had brushed away his initial uncertainties with the explanation that the woman was a kelvic. Sometimes they behaved in ways that seemed odd to humans. The Drykas had been puzzled on occasion by Kelski before, after all. Her and the residents of the Midnight Gem were all he had to go on, and puzzlements he had at their behavior could usually be explained through patience or questioning. But there was something beyond that in the lioness before Anja. Her mind had been blinded somehow, or she was choosing not to see the truth. It didn't feel like a lie. Why would she ask him to see the boy's death if she knew what fate befell him? Why carry him all this way? Why feel remorse, and question the cause of his death? The Eiyon wasn't entirely sure how wise it would be to reveal the truth of this matter to her. He did not know this lioness, nor how she would react. But at the same time, the man felt that he had to. Whether out of respect for the dead, a sense of duty to his Goddess, or for the lionesses own sake, Anja knew he had to reveal to truth of this boy's death.

“Death ends pain,” Anja said. The Eiyon had not missed the shadow that crossed Ixzo's features as he showed her the mark on his palm and told her it's purpose. Most people of good and sound minds feared death. Life was a fight against the inevitability that took everyone eventually. But Anja saw it as release. As deliverance. Where would men be if they could not die? Trapped in an endless loop of suffering? Endings were hard, and goodbyes painful. But the alternative was far worse.

The Drykas knelt beside the body of the man and his hands gently touched his wounds. The warmth of life had left him long ago. His body was stiff and cold, and with no beating heart to pump blood through his veins his wounds did not bleed. As Anja gently examined his body, he noted the bloody wound at the throat. The claw marks had been painful, but superficial. This was the blow that had killed him. He had bleed out from here, or suffocated, or had his neck broken. A feral wound. One of hunger? Desperation? Anja glanced once more at Ixzo, and her pitifully thin and starved form.

“Queen of Death,” Anja murmured softly, speaking in common now so he could be eloquent enough for his satisfaction. “This boy has perished by a means unknown to me… though I can guess at his fate, I wish to be certain. If he yet lingers in this world, knowing his fate will aid me in returning his soul to the cycle. And if he has moved onwards, then knowing his fate may allow me to prevent further tragedy that make lead to more restless souls. In this, Dira, I request your aid so I may continue to perform my task to your satisfaction.”

Anja's prayer lingered in the air for a long moment, and the Eiyon waited. Dira might very well choose not to answer his prayer, particularly not if she felt as though Anja did not need to know the answer. Dira was a practical goddess, and she did not offer aid out of sympathy. Just the asking was not enough for Anja to receive what he was asking for. Still, he waited patiently. If Dira chose not to show him the answer than he would find another way.

Just as Anja was convinced that this matter was not worth his time, a sound began to grow in Anja's ears. It was a song of desperation, drums pounded like the sound of a frantic heartbeat. Then Anja blinked, and he was no longer in the alleyway. He was watching a forest from a distance, and could hear the sound of a heartbeat to the rhythm of drums. Anja watched as the man tore his way through the tress, tears pouring from his eyes, trailed by a massive cat as black as night. Blood trailed from his thighs where he had already been wounded. Of course, there was no contest. He was but a boy, and Ixzo, for there was no question it was her, was a massive beast that was made to kill. She sprung at him, caught him by the throat, and the drums fell silent.

Anja blinked and was back. He looked at Ixzo, watched as her hands signed a confused array of emotion, and in spite of everything all Anja felt was pity. The Eiyon was a man who lived surrounded by death. When one lived such as he did, causes of death seemed to matter little. Anja did not like suffering or cruelty, but the act of killing was not something that bothered him overly much. He saw so much death so often that it was only the most brutal of deaths that made an impact on him. At the moment, Ixzo's killing of this man didn't really matter to him. He was far more concerned with her state of mind. Could this woman's madness lead to more deaths? Could ghosts be born as a result of her mad actions? It was hard to say. Anja was confident that Dira had shown him that vision for a reason.

Anja lifted the boy's body up and walked over to Maisa. The horse pinned her ears as Anja tied the body to her back, but she had dealt with similar unsavory matters before and a rumble of protest was all that she offered him. “She is Maisa,” Anja told Ixzo. The signs he made in relation to his strider betrayed great fondness. “Come, we go to the Dust Bed,” Anja told the kelvic. “We will see him buried.”

Anja gently whistled for Maisa to follow, but she was already moving. The strider knew where corpses were brought. As they walked, Maisa kept a close eye on the kelvic lion and did not step to close to her. They moved from the desolate alleyway and down the twisty streets towards the Dust Bed, and Anja gave Ixzo a sidelong glance. “I know how he died,” Anja said. “Dira told me. I think you know too. Can you remember?”
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Anja Nightwatcher
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