Flashback The Price of Peace I

What paths brought Anja to the place he is now?

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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.

The Price of Peace I

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on June 7th, 2019, 10:54 pm

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Winter 35, 515
The Wildlands, Kabrin Road
20th Bell

The forests of Syliras sang with a different melody than the Sea of Grass had. The grasslands had harmonized a song of ferocity and tranquility, life and death; an eternal struggle for survival. Here, among the dense trees that stretched as far as the eye could see, Anja sensed something more melancholy, quiet. That wasn't to say that there wasn't danger here, only that the threat was muffled. The snow hanging from trees and clinging to the ground gave an impression of devious compliance. Anja didn't have to be wise to know the threats lurking here, especially considering the mission that had brought him to this place.

The Drykas stirred the embers of the fire and blew on them, adding a few twigs and watching with bated breath to see if they would catch light. He had been nursing the fire to close to an hour now, only just barely keeping it from winking out completely. It would take hold of his meager offerings of tinder, only to sputter back to embers the moment he tried to add something more substantial to the flame. The patient and calm Anja Nightwatcher had been replaced by a stranger with cold eyes and gritted teeth. If he had stopped to consider the reason, he might realize his state of mind had more to do with than the state of the fire. Unfortunately, today his mind was not in a state that lent well to contemplation.

Anja felt a gentle clap against his back that made him jump and tense. His focus had been so intense that he had not heard the approaching footsteps. "The wood you're using is too wet, son. You'll just keep on snuffing it out at this rate." Anja glanced over his shoulder to see a kind, familiar face looking at him. The man with whom Anja now shared his travels was near to twice Anja's age, but the test of time had honed his body rather than break it. The salt and pepper in his hair gave him an air of dignity, and his broad shoulders and scars sounded an untold history of combat and diligence.

The words had been gentle, but Anja still found himself biting back a sharp reply. He had no quarrel with Logan, but the longer the pair travelled together the more tense Anja became. "You know more about this than I do," Anja told him. "These lands are still strange to me."

Logan chuckled. "I'll give you a hand then. Why don't you go tend to the animals?" If it had been anyone else, Anja would have found the words patronizing. Outside of his Homeland, the Drykas felt all but deaf and blind. The unfamiliar lands held hidden dangers that Anja had no way of knowing, and some of the less charitable people he had met had mocked him for his ignorance. But in spite of everything, no matter the circumstances, Logan had never faulted Anja his lack of knowledge. No matter how useless Anja felt to him, Logan never treated him as a burden. The man's words and suggestion to him, setting the Drykas to a task that he knew well, cooled Anja's temper a shred. At Anja's nod, Logan set the two rabbits he had caught by the fire, and crouched next to the flickering embers, a look of concentration blooming over his features. Anja left him to it and rose from the fire, turning towards where his skills would find the most use.

(Words 582, Total 582)
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Anja Nightwatcher
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The Price of Peace I

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on June 7th, 2019, 10:55 pm

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Maisa and Vanguard stood nearby, heads together to whisper secrets that silly humans couldn't possibly hope to understand. Maisa would have been nearly invisible against the backdrop of the snow if not for her dark legs. In contact, Logan's gelding, Vanguard, had a coat as black as night. His form stood out like a beacon of shadow against the landscape of white. A short distance away, two brown dappled mountain ponies picked at the snow covered ground. The stubborn pair were brothers, and refused to be separated under any circumstances. However, they were standoffish towards other horses, and likewise had been tied up a short distance from the proper horses so as not to start any fights that they would surely never win. They were tolerant of others not of their kind however, and as such at their feet lay a pair of tracking dogs. The fawn colored trackers were tricky to tell apart at a distance, but their personalities left their identities wihtout doubt. Even now, Sergeant sat at attention, his intense eyes scanning the landscape as his nose twitched. Honey, on the other hand, had curled herself into a tight ball with her tail covering her nose and was snoring softly, her tail's fur twitching with each exhale.

Maisa lifted her head and nickered gently as Anja approached. The Drykas' tension eased a fraction more, and he stroked his beloved's head while Vanguard turned a cool, discerning eye upon Anja. It had take some time for Vanguard to trust Anja, but the two had finally reached something resembling a truce. Vanguard no longer saw Anja's prescence as an affront, and he didn't have to worry about dodging bites or kicks while tending to him. Much like his master, Vanguard was a fearsome fighter and the steed demanded those tending to him to earn his respect. When Anja had shown him what he wanted to see, they had finally been able to see eye to eye. Anja offered his palm to Vanguard, which the horse delicately sniffed, and with Vanguard satisfied, the man set to work.

Anja took his time going over the pair with a curry brush, checking them over for any scrapes or injuries they might have picked up during the ride as well as checking their hooves for stones. Once their coats sparkled and the Drykas found no sign of injury, Anja pulled blankets out of the travel bags and tucked them around the two's backs and set out grain for their dinner. Maisa nibbled Anja's sleeve in thanks, and the Drykas briefly kissed his companion on the nose before moving on to give the ponies the same treatment. The twins squirmed with delight at the treatment, and both inhaled their dinner with an enthusiasm that suggested they had been recently starved. Anja gave similar care to the dogs next. Sergeant was irritated at the interruption and Honey groaned with annoyance when Anja woke her, but they both perked up when presented with dinner. His task was complete, Anja turned back to Logan to see that the fire had roared to life underneath the man's deft hands.

(Words 521, Total 1103)
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Anja Nightwatcher
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The Price of Peace I

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on June 7th, 2019, 10:55 pm

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Anja settled himself beside Logan next the fire. With the chores that had distracted him complete, Anja returned to ruminating thoughts. A rattling sigh through clenched teeth escaped him. Logan glanced over at Anja, a serious expression taking root in his feature. "Something on your mind, Anja?" The Knight had made himself busy skinning the rabbits and cutting them into pieces to add to a pot of melted snow that would soon be their dinner. Anja stared into the flames and several long chimes of silence stretched between them. Logan made no attempt to rush him, and seemed content with the quiet as he worked. The lack of busy work made Anja's hands ache, and his mind wandered dark paths.

"How soon until we get back on the trail?" Anja asked finally, breaking the silence. There was heat in his words that couldn't be missed.

"Dawn," Logan replied. The Knight glanced at Anja and read the discontent burning in his eyes. There was a calm in Logan's expression, but the words that followed were stern. "I know how you feel, but if we don't rest then we'll burn out. It's winter, son. The snows slow our travel, but they slow his too. That Nuit isn't moving any faster than we are. We'll catch him soon enough."

Anja could feel the frustration boiling inside of him. Logan's tempered calm and reason should have been enough to cool the Eioyn's rage, but it served only to stoke it.

"Every second that we spend sitting is a second that Nuit can use to find another body. If we don't catch him before he changes then everything is over. I'll never be able to find him " The Eiyon spat the words out fiercely. His voice shook with hate. Each word struck like a flaming arrow.

"Don't you think you're getting ahead of yourself?" Logan brushed past Anja to string the filled pot over the fireplace to boil and turned to face Anja. "One step at a time. There's nothing to say that he'll switch bodies on the road. The Kabrin road is patrolled by the Syliran Knights. He's following it for the moment since it's an easier route than any other path he could take, but he doesn't have access to any supplies and has to avoid the Knights. If he tries to grab a body, the knights will be on him in a flash. So he's keeping just off the road, has no horse, and minimal supplies. We've got him on the run. Even if he walks through the night, we're still gaining on him."

Logan took a swig of his canteen, and passed it over to Anja. The Drykas took it reluctantly. The cold of the water falling down his throat made his jaw tense and his throat clench, and the shock kicked him like a horse. He knew Logan's logic was infallible, and the man's experience and knowledge was a gift from the Gods. But even knowing that, Anja's rage still burned inside him. As the water chilled Anja's core, the Eiyon turned to look at the Knight. His calm was like a gust of wind in maze of smoke. His guidance always seemed to carve a path through the darkness. Anja could feel the battle raging inside of him; the aching demand to Chase and destroy the monster who had murdered his family was near impossible to ignore. But he also couldn't ignore Logan's wisdom. The man had done this work far more than Anja had, and without him Anja had nothing.

(Words 592, Total 1695)
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Anja Nightwatcher
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The Price of Peace I

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on June 7th, 2019, 10:58 pm

Image
The Eiyon returned the canteen back to Logan and silence once more bloomed between them. Despite the circumstances, silence between the two had never been uncomfortable. Both Anja and Logan liked outward silence and ruminating thoughts, and even in Anja's anxiety that comfort remained. For a time the only sound filling the air was the crackling of fire, and Anja's thoughts converged on the man at his side.

"I'm still not sure I understand why you came with me." Anja was the one to finally break the silence. He eased the heat in his voice as he spoke, and his tone was quiet, thoughtful. Logan glanced at Anja and raised an enquiring eyebrow. "It's not that I'm not grateful," Anja added hastily. "The Knights have been kinder to me than I deserve. I never could have followed the Nuit this far without your help." There was a few ticks of silence while Anja gathered his thoughts. "You know my reason for this. I suppose I just don't understand what you have to gain from it."

A yawning Honey wandered away from the ponies and draped herself over Logan's lap and buried her nose in Logan's armpit. The Knight gently stroked her back and cradled her against his stomach. There was another few beats of silence as he gathered his own thoughts. "You seem to be under the mistaken impression that your Nuit has only affected you," the Knight finally said. His voice held a hint of humor, and his patient hands combed through Honey's peach tinted fur. "An undead with the ability and tenacity to murder a family of Drykas is not a creature that should wander this world. If he did it once, who is to say he won't do it again? Who's to say you're the only person who has suffered under him?"

The Knight lightly touched the long sword at his side. It was a breathtaking work of art. The blade depicted an intricate system of roots climbing across its surface that culminated in a massive tree engraved in the hilt. No expense had been spared on detail. Even tiny leaves had even been carved at the tips of each branch, stretching towards a sun on the sword's pommel. Anja had never seen so lifelike an image, and hadn't the faintest idea how anyone could carve anything so fine. It was as if the tree might bloom from the sword if it had mind to.

Logan gently eased Honey off of him and deposited her into Anja's lap, then began adding small wrapped packs of seasonings to the boiling pot of stew. He stirred it, tasted it, then after a moment of thought added another packet to it. "The Knights of Syliras are dedicated to the preservation of peace, Anja. Just as your Goddess calls on you to exterminate the undead, mine demands me to pursue those who undermine civilization. A creature who murders a child and takes their skin cannot go unpunished."

(Words 496, Total 2191)
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Anja Nightwatcher
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The Price of Peace I

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on June 7th, 2019, 10:59 pm

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Anja stroked Honey's head silently, his fingers gentle as his temper quieted. The dog let out a deep sigh. "I'm grateful," Anja said. Logan returned to his side to allow the stew time to simmer, and gently clasped Anja's forearm. "Your mission is mine, Anja. We will find your Nuit and bring your family justice."

Anja nodded and returned the clasp, but his mind drifted. Over the months that Anja had known him, he had spoke often to Logan about his family. The tale of their deaths, along with those of their lives, had deepened the friendship between the pair. Those talks had been like purging a venom from his veins, essential to Anja coming to terms with his loss. The poison had not completely left him, but Anja was unsure of what his state of mind would be like without the man. The Drykas stared at Logan, his silhouette illuminated in firelight. Logan rarely spoke of himself, and Anja had not asked him many questions. Anja believed Logan's mission was true and that his intentions pure. There was something about the man that made him impossible to disbelieve. Still, the Drykas wondered if the Knight's desire to help was not more personal than he was leading Anja to believe. Once, when the pair had been dressing the morning before their ride, the Eiyon had caught a glimpse of a mark on Logan's heart, the same one that Anja had borne since Syla's death.

Despite those nagging thoughts picking at the corners of his mind, Anja did not question him. If Logan wanted to speak of these things than he would. For now, he simply appreciated the man's companionship and aid. The Drykas turned his gaze back to the writhing fire as Logan returned to tend to their meal. That same comfortable silence stretched between them, but even in that comfort the desire for revenge still simmered in Anja's heart.

(Words 320, Total 2511)
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Anja Nightwatcher
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Posts: 264
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The Price of Peace I

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 6th, 2019, 7:29 pm

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Grades Have Arrived



Anja Nightwatcher

XP Award:
  • +3 Wilderness Survival
  • +1 Horsemanship
  • +2 Animal Husbandry
  • +3 Observation
  • +3 Socialization
  • +2 Interrogation

Lore:
  • Wilderness Survival: Acknowledging Hidden Danger
  • Wilderness Survival: Keeping a Fire Burning
  • Logan Emerich: Personality, Appearance, Career
  • Vanguard: Logan's Horse, Maisa's Friend
  • Sergeant and Honey: Logan's Tracking Dogs
  • Horsemanship: Earning a Horse's Respect
  • Horsemanship: Checking Horses for Injury from Travel
  • Wilderness Survival: Pacing Yourself During Travel
  • Kabrin Road: Patrolled by Syliran Knights
  • Nuits: Have to Be Stealthy About Grabbing Bodies
  • Nuits: Don't Have to Rest But Have Other Travel Concerns
  • Logan: Calm in the Storm
  • Syliran Knights: Noble, Good People
  • Syliran Knights: Dedicated to the Preservation of Peace
  • Anja: Beginning to Heal Thanks to Logan

Rewards and Penalties:

Note:
User avatar
Anja Nightwatcher
Ghost Hunter
 
Posts: 264
Words: 299406
Joined roleplay: February 15th, 2018, 3:26 pm
Race: Human, Drykas
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
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Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)


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