Open Unknown Dangers (Empyreal Demesne) (Anja)

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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.

Unknown Dangers (Empyreal Demesne) (Anja)

Postby Vasin on July 9th, 2019, 10:52 am

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Timestamp: 16th of Summer, 519 A.V.
The ashes of last night's fire sat there in the fire pit cool, some blowing out with the oncoming breeze. The gentle sound of waves rolling onto the beach not far off. The salty sea air filled the nose mixing in with the smell of burnt wood. Multiple spots around the fire pit had begun to wear in, from where people sat or stood. Vasin poked through the fire pit with a stick, slowly sifting through the ashes, he wondered if maybe there was an ember, still hanging onto life? But no, it seemed that all there really was just ash and charcoal. Vasin breathed out, squatting next to it as he glanced around. The sun was rising over the horizon, the sky was lighting up, the warmth of the day rolled in like the waves on the beach. Tenderly Vasin prodded one of the wounds he had received on a previous day. He ran his hand over the area on his side. A Mountain Lion had attacked him, it's claws having dragged through his flesh. He had been bloodied pretty bad, and if it hadn't been for Tack he wondered if would even be here. After the encounter Vasin had brought the Cougar corpse into camp, not sure what to do with it. Maybe it could serve as food? Regardless, he had his wounds initially treated with seawater, scrubbing them clean.

It hadn't been one of the most pleasant experiences, and he had to go into Zeltiva to get proper treatment. Vasin was glad he had done so though, as a Healer there had tended to the wounds. In Sunberth he never recalled such miracles, probably because any healer there would have been lynched by ignorant townsfolk. Vasin sighed shaking his head, his mind going back to that Mountain Lion. It had snuck up on him so easily, silent, only Tack had noticed it. Perhaps if the sounds of him chopping wood had not scared the birds into silence? Then they would have fallen silent for the Mountain Lion. Vasin wasn't sure, he was no hunter, he didn't really understand Wild Animals all that much. Vasin stood up, giving a stretch the wind coming through his beard. But, there was something else, if he had encountered a Mountain Lion so close to camp... then surely someone else here could? That was a scary thought, to have someone disappear like that, never to be seen again all because a Mountain Lion would... He had to figure out something to do, try and make the area more secure? How? Anja! If anyone would know a thing or two about it, then he would! Right? Anja seemed pretty good with animals, could more than hold his own in a fight.

Vasin glanced around the camp, thinking of where he could find Anja at this hour? At his tent! Of course. Vasin would wander his way past a few tents, including his own. The Camp was slowly but surely stirring to life. People entering and exiting tents to get started on the day. He had managed to clear a couple of acres of land, but there was still so much more that had to be done. Though, when he came to Anja's tent he would find that they were not there. Scratching his beard Vasin glanced around, before then, snapping his fingers."The animals." he reasoned Anja would be over with the Animals. Perhaps caring for them? Vasin nodded, though knew if he searched long enough regardless he could find Anja. With that in mind, Vasin headed over to where the horses were being kept. There, he saw Anja and would approach."Hello there, Anja." Vasin said giving a little friendly wave."Other day I had a run-in with a Mountain Lion. Been worried that there might be some more surprises in the area." Vasin said getting to the point explaining his reasoning here."I was wondering if maybe I and you could make the area safer? Not sure how one would go about it." Vasin would say as he came up next to Tack gently placing his hand on their side."Also ran into some emerging Yukmen before that, had to dispose of the bodies."
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Unknown Dangers (Empyreal Demesne) (Anja)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 11th, 2019, 7:08 pm

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By the time Syna had peeked her head up off the horizon and spilled her beautiful rays across the white speckled beach, Anja had already been awake for some time. The chance of running into ghosts was rare out here beyond the edges of civilization. The wilds held little interest to the undead. However, it was still a habit for Anja to wake up at the crack of dawn, and offer prayers to his Goddess as he watched Syna rise, while he set to making his soulmist for the day. The recipe that Anja had learned from his grandmother all those years ago was no longer possible, and the Drykas was forced to improvise.

Three types of food from different sources, all capable of being mixed together. Flour, the usual thickener for soulmist, was all but impossible to be found in Zeltiva, and certainly couldn't be found in the Wildlands without some considerable work. Anja highly doubted they would be growing wheat anyways, once the farm was started. So instead, Anja had taken time to consider other materials that might be found more readily. He had finally decided on the hearty potato, one of the easiest to acquire vegetables. He would make sure take several home on his trips from Zeltiva to the homestead, and slowly use them throughout his time there.

It took more preparation than flour, unfortunately. After some trial and error, Anja had found that the magic refused to adhere unless Anja diced the potato into very thin and small pieces, then mushed it in with the egg and cheese (which, thanks to the homestead's animal population, were easy enough to aquire). Therefore, the preparation time for Anja to make Soulmist had been nearly doubled. This meant rising earlier, usually before dawn. But it also meant that Anja got to watch synarise every morning.

That morning, Anja sat on the edge of the beach, legs folded, and mind empty. The vial of soulmist had been filled half a bell ago and was safely stashed in the Drykas' sash. His mind was blissfully empty as he watched the gentle waves carve rivulets onto the beach. Sparks of light glittered underneath the surface of the water, leaving trails where the fish nibbled at algae covered rocks and darted away into deeper waters. Imposed over the irasao vision was the dim auras of the unintelligent creatures. Occasionally, their auras would spark bright in fear or surprise. But the colors remained dim. It was a pattern Anja had noticed. Animals, in general, has smaller, fainter auras than humans. And so too, was their djed trail weaker and more frail. It had occurred to Anja that tracking animals by Pathfinding alone might be a challenge. Or at least until he was better at it.

Anja exhaled and rose to his feet, dusting sand off of his pant legs. He gently released his auristic vision and severed his Pathfinding link to his eyes, and watched the colors slowly fade. Though they contained similarities, Anja was beginning to note the differences between the two magics. Pathfinding revealed what one was, at their core, and as such where they had been. Auristics showed what one was in the moment. It was an interesting distinction to make.

Anja walked back to the camp, enjoying the feel of the cool wind against his warm skin. The days were getting hotter, and it was wise to keep activity to a minimum during the heavy heat of the day. He replaced his Spiritism tools in his tent, which was now serving as a place to keep his things, then headed over to the animal enclosure. Maisa, awake as early as Anja had been, nickered at the Drykas as he approached. Anja opened the gate for her (a formality since she was more than capable of opening it herself) and she nibbled his shirt sleeve before darting down the beach in a gallop. Anja watched her a moment to assure that her gait was healthy before he headed into the enclosure to check on the other horses.

Kizzy, Smoke and Tack were in good spirits, and the usual check of their coat, hooves and manes revealed nothing particularly worrisome. However, when Anja moved towards Moth to give the young gelding the same treatment, he startled.

"What's gotten into you?" Anja mused aloud. Moth was a shy boy, but Anja had spent a lot of time with him and the creature was usually pretty forthcoming with the Drykas. Anja approached slowly, speaking to the gelding in a gentle, soothing tone. Anja allowed him to smell his hands, and once the young horse had relaxed an inch, Anja began going over him as he had with the others. The Drykas found the problem almost immediately. "Where on Mizahar did you pick up this stone from?" Anja gestured at the offensive stone with his free hand, the other holding the geldings foot upright. Anja released Moth for a moment and hunted down a hoof pick. A moment later he had returned and popped the offensive stone out, then cast it over the edge of the fence.

Anja was hunting the border of the fence for more possible stones when Vasin found him.

"Good morning," the Drykas told Vasin distractedly. Smoke, Kizzy, Moth and Tack had all joined Anja at the border of the fence, watching curiously and threatening to get in his way. Morte had also arrived from wherever he had spent the night and was sitting on the fencepost watching the scene with barely concealed amusement.

"A mountain lion?" That statement caused Anja to stop what he was doing and give Vasin a concerned look. He knew there were predators about, but he had hoped they were nothing fiercer than wolves. Though Anja had never encountered a lion other than Ebon, any type of lion sounded like bad news to the Drykas. Anja leaned against the fence, frowning as he considered Vasin's proposal. "Were you thinking of scouting the area?" Anja asked. "We can take Morte. And Maisa. They'll let us know if there's anything dangerous nearby." As if on cue, Maisa trotted up from her beach run and nosed Anja's chest.

Anja scouted the area near the enclosure and found Battle and Sayeth laying nearby in the shadow of the fence. Anja had fed them earlier that morning. "The twins can stay and watch the animals. They'll let the rest of the camp know if anything is wrong."

Anja called Maisa over and took her yvas out of storage and began adjusting it to her back. "What's a yukman?" Anja asked Vasin as he worked.
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Unknown Dangers (Empyreal Demesne) (Anja)

Postby Vasin on July 24th, 2019, 12:43 am

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Vasin quietly nodded flashes of what had happened running through his mind. It had been a quick encounter even if it stretched onto infinity in his mind. Details blurred, but Vasin knew the series of events well enough."Yeah a Mountain Lion, never encountered a live one before then. While I was chopping trees I noticed Tack acting up. His ears were pointed right past me. That's when I saw the thing! It was creeping low to the ground, barely making a sound. Its eyes were dead focused on me." Vasin explained pointing to his own eyes."It pounced right onto me, if it hadn't been for Tack coming to the rescue, I'm not sure I would have made it. He is a lot fiercer then he looks." Vasin said with a rather brief pause, it seemed Anja and him were on the same wavelength."Yeah, I wanted to scout the area. See what else is around. Just that, I think I would stand a much better chance of not getting ambushed if I have help." he said thinking of the predators in the area as if they were muggers in Sunberth."Ah!" he said with a pause raising his finger."I brought its body back into camp. I think someone already dressed it though..." he said wondering if Anja would like to see the body. Vasin smiled a little at Maisa's display of affection towards Anja. Having the two of them along surely would help them out greatly.

Vasin would stay there and watch as Anja would go off scouting the area for Battle and Sayeth. Vasin himself standing there would glance up and down it, trying to see where they might be. Vasin was glad however to see progress being made. Already a fence was up and ready, which meant that with this and the cleared land they were on track. Regardless of being on track or not, he wanted to make sure it was safe for people. Having been rudely prompted both by Yukmen and that mountain Lion."Good to know that the camp will be incapable... paws?" Vasin said flubbing the saying a little as he had spoken."The animals seem a lot more adept at noticing danger then I am, that is for certain." Vasin said making a rather obvious observation."Should we let the others know we are heading out?" he asked not wanting the others at camp to worry. The situation here was a bit different, being out in the wilderness with no help for miles.

Vasin would blink at Anja's question but shook his head knowing that Anja probably hadn't encountered one. Just because you hunted ghosts didn't mean you ran into monsters like that."Monsters." Vasin replied simply."First learned about them from an encounter in the tunnels under Sunberth. They look like humans... or people... but they don't act like it." Vasin said recalling both encounters rather vividly."They rise up from the ground, clawing their way out, and have rocks and soils embedded in their skin. They let out these terribly loud and high pitched screeches! They seem to attack anything that isn't them on sight and will try and rip whatever that is from limb to limb. Though they don't seem to be mindless and are scary in how fast they can learn and copy. On two occasions now I had one trying to mimic my swordplay. My advice on them is if you catch them emerging, kill them as they are. Where there is one, there are many." Vasin said placing his hand to his chin, trying to think of other important details."They don't seem to care for one another's safety either." Vasin would add.

"Should I bring Tack?" Vasin asked Anja as he stood there."Was thinking we could pack some extra water on his harness." Vasin said patting the waterskin attached to his belt."It's going to get pretty hot by midday. Noticed that while clearing the land north of here." Indeed, it seemed to gradually just be getting hotter and hotter with each day. It was rather dry out too, but luckily they would have plenty of tree cover.
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Unknown Dangers (Empyreal Demesne) (Anja)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on August 7th, 2019, 4:21 pm

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"One can often rely on the instincts of animals more than their own senses," Anja said as Vasin explained about the attack from the mountain lion. "It's worth it to always keep a few animals with you. They are much better at detecting danger than we are." The Drykas chuckled at Vasin's mention of Tack protecting him. "That's a mule for you. They can be better guards than dogs."

At Vasin's mention of the mountain lion being brought to camp, Anja was already shaking his head. "If the skin is still intact and hasn't been broken down for blankets or clothing I can take a look at it later," Anja said. "But that isn't really all that important right now. I imagine I'll know the creature if we run into one out there now." Anja had already quietly filed away the potential danger into a corner of his mind to be saved for later use.

The Drykas quietly listened to Vasin talk as he settled the straps around Maisa's chest and tightened the Yvas around her belly into a firm, but still comfortable grip. "The twins have good eyes and good ears," Anja said as he worked. "And Battle is a loudmouth. She'll let the whole camp know if the animals are in danger." Maisa snorted a complaint at Anja, and the Drykas quickly saw the problem and pulled at the pad underneath the saddle so that the bunched up section of the pad lay flat. The Strider nibbled Anja's sleeve in thanks and turned her head back to the grass below her to snack while Anja worked.

At Vasin's suggestion, Anja gestured to Morte, who alighted on his usual spot on Anja's shoulder. "What's up Chief?" Morte asked, his skull covered head tilting briefly to the side. "Could you go let Mercy know that Vasin and I are heading out to scout?" Anja asked. "As soon as you let her know, hurry back. We'll need your eyes out there."

Morte chuckled. "Sure thing! Be back in a tick." A moment later, Morte had launched from Anja's shoulder and taken off towards the Pavillion.

Anja went over Maisa's yvas with a frown as Vasin described the monster's known as Yukman to him. Anja had a niggling feeling that he had heard of the creatures before, but the details of the how and why eluded him. It sounded like a story he might have heard as a boy, gathered around a campfire in Endrykas. There were always tales about some beast or another, but Anja had always found himself more interested in the creatures one had to worry about on a daily basis, like Glassbeaks.

"They sound monstrous," Anja said. Then, he added as a stray thought: "Perhaps not too intelligent though."

At the suggestion of bringing Tack, Anja nodded in agreement. "A good idea," the Drykas said. "Let's get him saddled up."

Anja had been, reluctantly, learning to use the riding gear typical of men who were not Drykas made for mounts who were not Striders. Anja still disliked the concept of bridles, bits, reins, and halters, but had eventually recognized that in the case of an emergency it would be worth learning to ride the way nondrykas did. Anja slipped a halter over Tack's face and gently led the mule out of the paddock towards where the horse gear was kept. He looped the lead over a fence post to keep Tack from wandering off, and dug the mule's saddle out from storage. "Do you want to ride him?" Anja asked. He was fairly sure Vasin was still a novice to riding, but their pace would be slower if Vasin chose to go on foot. If Vasin wanted to ride, then Anja would be sure to include a bridle in addition to the saddle and saddlebags as he got the mule ready. Otherwise, he would leave it as a halter and lead so that the mule could be guided.

Just as Anja had finished getting Tack all set, Morte fluttered down from the sky and alighted back on Anja's shoulder. "All set, Chief!" the bird said cheerfully. Anja gave his crow companion a brief scratch on his stomach, then turned back towards Vasin. "I think we're all set then," the Drykas said. Maisa was already pacing and tossing her head, ready to get going. "Pack up what you want on Tack, and lead the way."
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Unknown Dangers (Empyreal Demesne) (Anja)

Postby Vasin on August 27th, 2019, 1:35 pm

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Vasin nodded a little though went on to stroke the tip of his beard a little when Anja explained why it was a good idea to have animals on hand."Sounds about right! Especially since Tack was able to save my hide like that." though this line of thought made him curious."Is it because they back big ears? Big eyes? Or maybe both!? Tack also has a pretty big nose." Vasin said nodding, his eyes half-closed thinking that made sense."I suppose animals never really let their guard down in an unfamiliar place. When I was out chopping down trees Tack seemed always alert. Though I never expected him to have a violent streak." Vasin said having not dwelt on it since the day it happened."Is it possible to... well I suppose encourage isn't the right word... but to teach him to come to my aid with words? Reactions are good, but sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Or however, that saying goes."

"Oh for certain, you will know it by how slinky yet powerful it appears. How it looks at you with a killer's curious watchful eyes. Just how quiet they are to." he said waving his hand a little listing of some of the things he recalled about the beast."They are like the murderers of the back allies in Sunberth. Though probably a lot rarer." he would say though thought for a moment about it."I am good with a sword, and I've gotten good about half swording. But, I don't think a sword is best for killing or fending off such a creature. They are fast and strong enough that you don't want them to get in range to pounce on you. Maybe a spear or some kind of polearm would be best... I'm not a hunter by trade, but that sounds like a better tool for the job."

Vasin watched as Morte took off, his eyes following those wings before glancing back to Anja."It's always good to have friends to both alerts you, and to know where you went." he said thinking for a moment."As I recall when I and Kelski went into the tunnels we made sure that people knew where we went should we vanish. Though, out here it is both easier and harder." he shook his head."Regardless! Having someone to both alert, and to find is always a good move in my book. I mean, if I had a book..."

Vasin nodded from that assessment by Anja about the Yukmen."You would be correct. While they are quick to copy what you do, I have found that have no problem solving or imagination. When they started to copy my techniques they had no idea how to respond when I countered them or lured them into an obvious trap. All that is on their mind if violence and bloodlust. You can probably use that to your advantage.... but they are extremely strong. When I encountered them in the tunnels had I not been wearing padding under my armor they would have likely killed me. They come in large groups, but by no means do I think they work as a team."

Vasin smirked and then clapped his hands together."Right!" Vasin would say glad that Anja agreed with his idea, or found it agreeable. He would watch as Anja went over to start getting Tack equipped and ready. To which, Vasin followed him over. Vasin would hardly wait to answer Anja's question."Of course, I'd like to ride him. It would make our exploration a bit more efficient. Plus I need to get some more ride time anyways." Vasin said crossing his arms with a nod. Vasin was far from being an experienced rider. However, Tack knew what he was doing more then Vasin did.

Vasin would be packing the supplies he had mentioned earlier into Tack's saddle when Morte returned. He was about halfway done when he looked over."Sounds good, and almost done. Just a couple more things..." Tack had helped Vasin with removing those stumps and trees, so Tack was a strong boy. But Vasin made no efforts to overburden him of course. When he had finished Vasin would saddle up. Placing one foot on a stirrup and then hoisting himself up. Though, it noticeably took him a couple of tries. On the first try, he didn't even get his leg over. On the second he almost did, but then slipped off. finally, on the third try, he got up onto Tack who didn't seem to mind. Taking the reign Vasin gave a light smile."Not so used to being up here..." Vasin said trying to keep his balance. He felt a bit taller up there, that was for certain."Alright! Let's go!" he said giving Tack a light tap to signal him it was time to go. Tack started not so enthusiastically, but he began to walk now that he was free from where he had been secured to.

After a little effort in steering Tack and some light prodding, they were off in the direction they had set out to. Endless forest in front of them as the shadows of those trees came over them. Light glistening through the leaves onto the soft forest floor. Birds chirped, and the forest was seriously alive. Tack continued at a decent pace and Vasin glanced around their surroundings. Moving between trees, and always using the ever-present mountains as a point of reference. So long as he saw the mountains which reached off into the distance even through tree branches, he knew what direction east was.

"How long do you think it's been?" Vasin would suddenly ask."I mean, since someone besides us was out here? We are not that far away from Zeltiva... yet those mountains make it out of the way." Vasin breathed out a feeling welling up inside of him. This was an adventure, this was the exploration he had been talking about all along. It was in service to his new home."Over by Sunberth, the wilderness there had been touched... game trails.... footpaths.... and mines dotting everywhere you could see. But here? Hardly a sign of recent life. The air, it is noticeably clean." Vasin would say as they trotted along. He had to occasionally correct his steering as Tack was a willful creature.

Though Tack seemed to start looking in a direction, their ears pointed in that direction too. They slowed, and Vasin found this familiar."Do you see something?" Vasin asked glancing in the direction he had been looking. A glint of white between trees. Amongst the fallen leaves and brush, it looked out of place for how to clean white it appeared. Vasin would bring Tack to a stop, and then dismount, nearly stumbling over as he did so. Breathing out he took Tack by the lead and pointed out what he saw for Anja. Trying to be quiet with a hand on the hilt of his sword he approached. Though, as they came up to whatever it was as they approached it became clearer."Bones..." Vasin muttered glancing back to Anja then to the bones. Bleached white, and looking semi-melted. They appeared to be the bones of a deer, neatly piled up as if just left there. Vasin knelt looking at them without touching. This seemed familiar somehow, but he couldn't place a finger on it. There were no signs of cut marks on them.
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