Flashback The Price of Peace II

What paths brought Anja to where he is now? Finally he finds his son.

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy role play forums. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

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 II

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on June 8th, 2019, 7:31 pm

Image
Winter 48, 515
The Wildlands, Kabrin Road
14th Bell

The storm of hoofbeats against the frozen ground rattled the bones of Knight and Drykas, nearly drowning out the high pitched bark of dogs hot on a scent. Maisa's muscles rippled underneath Anja's hands, the strength of will harmonizing between the pair into an unstoppable force. It was time. Finally it was time. Not even the howls of the dogs or the thunder of hooves could quiet the tempest raging in Anja's heart.

The dogs were fast, but they could only keep so swift of a pace. Maisa and Vanguard kept just at their tails, both ready to surge to full speed the moment that their target came in sight. Anja's breath rattled in his chest and adrenaline surged through his veins. He and his Strider were so connected he might as well have been riding in her skin with her. Her muscles, her bones and her breath were all his.

As the forest thinned Logan shouted something, but Anja couldn't hear it through the din of dogs, horses, and his own hammering heart. The frozen ground dipped suddenly, and Maisa skidded to a stop to compensate, nearly throwing Anja over her head in the process. The thick evergreen forests that the dogs and horses had been weaving through parted to reveal a small clearing surrounded by trees. As he righted himself on Maisa's back, the scent of smoke and charred meat hit the back of Anja's throat. He gagged, throwing his inner elbow over his mouth and fighting the urge to retch. It was the same smell from those six months ago. Visions and sounds of smoking pavillion and the screams of the wounded and dying filled his senses, overlapping with the scene present before his eyes.

The corpse of a woman lay slumped over an overturned log, her eyes wide and vacant as she stared up at the sky. Part of her chest had been blown apart and was charred black from the fire. The campsite was peppered with scorch marks, and two dead horses lay side by side. The camp stunk of death, and a mournful harmony rattled in Anja's ears forcing him still.

Anja jumped when Logan set a hand on his back. "Can you keep it together?" the man asked softly. "I need your help." Weakly, Anja nodded and slid from Maisa's back. He reached a hand to brush Maisa's shoulder, and she touched her nose to his chest with a reassuring nicker. The Drykas could feel the tension thrumming beneath her skin, but as he stepped towards the camp he felt his strider right at his heels, head at his back. Her breath beat against his back to remind him of her constant presence.

Honey and Sergeant ran into the camp at Logan's command, noses to the ground. The Knight followed, picking at the sparse remains surrounding them. He knelt beside a pack of charred belongings, slowly pulling them apart, a deep frown forming on his features. "He destroyed their supplies," the man said. "It's hard to tell but...this amount of supplies, two horses. I'd say it was a pair travelling together, wouldn't you?"

(Words 521, Total 521)
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
Plotnotes
Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)

The Price of Peace II

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on June 8th, 2019, 7:33 pm

Image
Anja didn't reply. He had crouched next to the dead woman. He touched her cheek and found her skin cold. She was a young woman, probably no more than eighteen or ninteen years of age. Her hair was brown and curly, and her skin splashed with freckles. Though her eyes had clouded over in death, Anja could see through the white haze that they had once been blue. In life she had been pretty, but the pall of death had left her pale and cold.

Anja exhaled deeply, ridding the scent of charred meat from his lungs. It was strange. He had been dedicated to death nearly his entire life, but even he had felt a sense of unease in the presence of the dead. Now he felt...nothing. A touch of remorse, perhaps, that she had died young. But he did not feel unsettled. Gently he touched her hand and lifted it slowly. Her body had gone stiff in death.

"She's been dead a few hours, I think," Anja said. "No more than a day." What was this calm feeling he felt? Why was he suddenly so relaxed? Was he in shock? He felt dreamy

"Not so long as to draw the wildlife though," Logan replied. "No more than twelve hours." He glanced around the campsite and sighed. "Damn it. I was sure we had him." Logan turned towards Anja. "Does it feel like your Nuit?"

"The dogs led us here," Anja replied, still dreamlike. "And this is very similar to how my pavillion was murdered."

Logan gave Anja a sharp look, and Anja looked back at him impassively. "Are you okay, son? You sound strange."

Anja reached a hand up to run through his dark hair. "I'm not sure," Anja said. An odd feeling was filling him, like a glass overflowing with water and pouring down the sides. His eyes went to the woman once more, her vacant eyes staring up into the cold air. Moving with a force not his own and that he could not entirely understand, Anja reached forward and touched her forehead. And suddenly, abruptly, he was no longer there.

Anja stood, invisible, in the corner of the clearing. The lack of Syna in the sky and the chill in the air told him that it was after dark. Although Anja could feel the cold, it didn't seem to penetrate his skin. He felt floaty and insubstantial, as though he were a part of a particularly vivid dream. Slowly, he took in the scene surrounding him. The girl who he had found dead was snuggled up against an unfamiliar man with gold hair and green eyes. The two were tucked beneath layers of blankets and warm beside a roaring fire. Behind them, two horses picked at the snow covered grass.

"What do you suppose Zeltiva is like?" asked the woman. The insistence in her tone, followed by the roll of the man's eyes and the easy going smile suggested to Anja that this was a conversation that the pair had often. The man, however, indulged her, clear fondness shining in his eyes.

"It's a place where our dreams will come true," he told her, favoring a kiss on her forehead. "I'll become a sailor...and you can enroll in the academy and learn magic, just like you always wanted." The girl squirmed underneath the blankets with delight. "What type of magic do you suppose I could learn?" she asked.

"Oh I don't know…" the man said with an easy going tone. "Anything you like I suppose. It doesn't matter, you're brilliant at everything you do." The girl giggled and shoved at him and the two laughed and began to wrestle playfully in the dim firelight.

(Words 621, Total 1142)
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
Plotnotes
Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)

The Price of Peace II

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on June 8th, 2019, 7:35 pm

Image
Anja felt a chill growing at the back of his head. Since his goddess had placed her mark upon him, Anja had felt similar feelings in the presence of those who had passed on, or the dead still lingering beyond the pale. Hearts still full of regret for a life they could not live sang somber songs. The music that filled his mind in the presence of such was melancholy, sad, or fierce depending on the circumstances. But this sound. Anja had never heard it's like.

If toxin were given a voice, this is what it would sing. There was no sweetness to it, no melody, no rhyme. It was like the sickening slap of raw meat against stone, blood on grass, teeth against flesh. It was beyond dead, stinking, rotten. There was no shred of hope in this wet and decayed cacophony that refused to be a song. It was a farce feigning the semblance of life. The monster's sound made Anja's stomach twist and if he had a functioning mouth he would have retched.

A pair of wet and rotten eyes peered out from between the trees, it's full visage hidden by the thick branches. The gaze was that of a predator, flavored with a hint of desperation. The monster extended its hands, and Anja watched as a viscous fluid began forming from it's finger tips. The creature balled the substance into a sphere, kissed it lightly, then flung towards the camp.

"No!" Anja said, but his words only echoed inside of his head. The world exploded with fire. The girl died instantly as the fire ball collided with her shoulder and burned her lungs, not even given a moment to have a breath to offer a scream. Her body shielded the man from the worst of the blast, but the horses were not so lucky. They screamed at the fire, along with the man as he threw the flaming blankets off of him. A second blast hit the campsite, sending both horses into the ground with screams. It was only now that Nuit stepped into the campsite, and gazed around with impassive eyes.

His form had once been familiar to Anja, but now the visage of his dead son was corrupted. His beautiful blonde hair had all but fallen out. His skin was pockmarked with stitches where rotting skin had been forcefully pulled back together. Even now he limped as the tendons in his legs had began to fail him. Teeth poked out of the rotten and broken skin of his jaws. But more than the broken and rotten body, it was those cold, condescending eyes filled with an absolute lack of mercy or pity that told Anja that no semblance of his son remained. The fallen man looked at the nuit and screamed.

"What do you want?!" he howled.

The monster's eyes focused on him, and it clicked it's rotten tongue against decaying teeth. "To survive," it said. It's voice was guttural, inhuman. "Your legs better still work," it added, taking a step towards the man and pulling a vial out of its pocket. The last thing Anja heard was one last scream before everything faded to black.

(Words 534, Total 1676)
Last edited by Anja Nightwatcher on June 9th, 2019, 4:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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
Plotnotes
Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)

The Price of Peace II

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on June 8th, 2019, 7:36 pm

Image
When he came back to himself, Anja was breathing erratically, as if he had run a marathon. On one side of him, he was being held up by Logan under his armpit, and on his other Maisa had seized the shoulder of his coat with her teeth. Logan saw Anja's eyes clear and gently released him. "You okay son? I thought we lost you for a second."

"I…" Anja's throat felt dry, and he put a hand to it and cleared his throat before continuing. "I saw that girl die. It was the nuit. It has a new body." And then, all of Anja's rage and despair exploded inside of him all at once. He fell to his knees and buried his face in his hands. "We failed," he rasped.

Silence filled the clearing. Maisa pressed her head against Anja's back, but he could barely feel it. He was caught in a maelstrom of rage, helplessness and inadequacy. He felt as though his skin would shatter from the storm screaming inside of him. He wanted to tear himself to pieces, as if that would stop the loathing he felt for himself.

"Anja, look at me." The Eiyon felt his face pulled forcefully upwards so that he was staring into Logan's stern eyes. The Knight's hands on his head and Maisa's nose at his back held him upwards, refusing to let him fall. "This is not over," said Logan. There was a fierceness in his voice that Anja had not heard before in the patient man. "You're not allowed to give up. This is your mission remember? It's not over till it's over."

The Knight's grip on Anja's head eased, and the Drykas turned to look towards the dogs. They were hovered around a slouched figure at the edge of the campsite. Anja didn't need a closer look to know what it was.

"But we've lost the scent," Anja said weakly. The rotten remains of a corpse had been easy for the dogs to follow. Could they find the trail with one that was fresher?

"We'll pick up a new one," Logan said. There was nothing but confidence in his tone. "He can't have gone far, and I bet he's still following the road. We'll find him Anja." Logan straightened and turned from Anja to the scene of devastation surrounding them. "But I think there are more pressing things to do here first. I'll go get the ponies, wait here."

Anja nodded vacantly and turned to watch Logan mount Vanguard and ride out of sight. Maisa's head was still pressed against his back. Anja leaned against her and for a moment the breaths fell in sync as Anja's deep, slow breaths calmed his jittering mind. When his hands had finally stopped shaking, the Drykas stood. Maisa was at his side, wary and alert for change. Anja took another rattling breath and walked towards the dogs.

Honey and Seargant looked up at Anja as he approached, tails wagging. Look! their eyes seemed to say. We found the target! Did we do good?

(Words 516, Total 2192)
Last edited by Anja Nightwatcher on June 9th, 2019, 4:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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
Plotnotes
Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)

The Price of Peace II

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on June 8th, 2019, 7:36 pm

Image
"Good dogs," Anja said, but his voice was tired and absent of enthusiasm. The two dogs jumped away as Anja pushed past them and he stared at the remains of what two seasons ago had been his son. His heart was tight in his chest. Anja wondered, would he have felt relief if he had personally ended the life of the monster wearing his son's skin? Or would he feel as empty as he did now? The pile of rotted flesh bore no real resemblance to the boy that he had loved. At least now he was empty. His flesh was still, the way it was meant to be. Maybe now Lok could rest.

Anja wasn't sure how long he stared at the corpse of his boy, but eventually he became aware of Logan standing beside him. The man thrust a shovel into Anja's hands, and he stared at it blankly before looking to Logan with a dull expression .

"We should get them in the ground before animals and monsters come sniffing," said Logan. "I'm going to need your help. The ground is hard because of the cold."

Anja's fingers drifted over the handle of the shovel. "Is this what you do with your dead in Syliras?" he asked. "Bury them?"

"Aye," Logan said. There was a gentle sort of pity in his eyes. "What customs do your people do?"

"We don't often find bodies. If we do, we position them to see Syna, Leth, and the stars and leave them for the wilds to consume. We leave offerings of food and trinkets...and allow the creatures of the Sea of Grass to consume them and scatter their bones to the wind."

Logan sighed. "You can do as you wish with him," said the Knight. "He's your boy."

"Does it really matter?" Anja said softly. "Funerals are for the living. He's gone now. It doesn't matter to him."

"What matters to you?" asked Logan.

"That he's quiet," Anja said. "And he is. He's resting now and that's all that matters. We can bury him."

Logan squeezed Anja's arm and found a spot of open land to dig the grave. After a moment, the Drykas followed. Digging a grave enough for two people was difficult enough; Anja and Logan collectively agreed that the horses could be left to the wildlife. It was backbreaking work, and it took hours. Several times the dogs showed their teeth at creatures prowling the edge of the treeline, and the horses stamped their feet and whinnied warnings. Finally the hole was deep enough. Anja first tucked the young woman into the hole, whispering apologies. He followed soon after with his son. Somehow, the rot didn't seem to bother him now that Lok was no longer moving. Anja touched the remains of his once beautiful head of hair, and placed him beside the girl. "I will make this better," Anja told him. "I promise."

The Knight and the Eiyon stood in silence for a long time, staring down at the lifeless shells that had once been loved.

"Anything else to say Anja?" Logan asked finally. The Drykas started to shake his head, then faltered. He touched a set of beads strung around his neck; his last moment of Endrykas aside from his sword. "You sure?" Logan asked. Anja didn't even hesitate. He pulled the beads over his head and cast them into the grave. "May you find your way back to the weave," Anja murmured.

The rest of the evening blurred. Anja was too tired to think. By the time they finished burying the bodies it was already synafall. When they found a clean campsite, it was dark. Anja tended to the animals with half a working brain and collapsed into his bedroll, unable to keep himself standing any longer.

Just before sleep took him, Anja's blurry eyes watched as Logan offered several charred pieces of cloth to the dogs. They turned up their noses at those he offered, shaking their heads and growling. Finally, Logan offered them the last piece. The dogs snuffled at the piece of fabric and slowly, oh so slowly, their tails began to wag. Just as unconsciousness took him, Anja saw a smile spread across Logan's face.

(Words 705, Total 2897)
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
Plotnotes
Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests