[Challenge] The Inequities of Life III

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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[Challenge] The Inequities of Life III

Postby Alric Lysane on October 24th, 2022, 6:02 pm

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26th Fall 522 AV - The Syka Commons


“Nymkarta”

Alric just groaned each time he awoke now, what had been a curious phenomenon that was something to try to figure out now a form of torture, fated to repeat the same day over and over again. Fishing…for eternity. Mathias was usually good company but Alric was growing tired with the never-ending quest to try to help him with his problems, I was a nice feeling the first few time, deep and meaningful conversation for a few more times after that, with varied answers based upon what he decided to say differently. After that though, it became more annoying and he was starting to wonder what this was supposed to be teaching him – he didn’t doubt there was a purpose to it. Most things that happened to him these days had a reason to them it seemed.

“Come, Mathias wants to see you, lost little beach thing” Jade stated and, for the first time since the day had begun repeating, he felt a flash of anger and pushed himself up to his feet to jab a finger at the Gasvik.

“You know what…no. I am not doing this damned thing again. I’ve fished with the man twenty-something times now and it still doesn’t solve anything. I just wake up, here, with a headache that I didn’t deserve after the first time, and you get to go have fun with Lys whilst I fail at fishing” he finished, breathing hard and his flash of anger spent, ending it with a sharp sigh and a raking back of his hair.

There was a long silence and Alric felt sure, as Jade loomed up and came closer to him, that the Gasvik had finally had enough of him and was about to smack him into…well hopefully tomorrow, or at least a different tomorrow. Instead, after a while, one of Jade’s claws tapped at his forehead and he made a noise, as if thinking perhaps. Then the moment passed and the Gasvik retreated slightly.

“You have not injured your head, so I do not see why you would claim such things. Is this an attempt at humour? If so, it was emotional, but not very funny. Come, Mathias awaits” and with that Jade turned and set off as if expecting Alric to follow, though he was damned if he was going to do so for a thirtieth time. Something wasn’t just fishy, it was bloody well molluscoid.

He waited for Jade to get a little distance and then with a wriggle of his fingers, tapping into Ionu’s gift, he created a false image of himself, not moving but wishing he could endow it with enough semblance of a funny walk that it amused him. Still it would buy some time by its very existence. Another wriggle the real him vanished, or at least as far as that was possible, changing his hair colour and length, the colours of his clothing switching around and his weaponry vanishing. For a moment or two he watched, snorting to himself at the lengths he was going, not to mention the reason why, before high tailing it in the other direction, eventually letting the illusion vanish so that anyone awake at this early hour would see the real him – fleeing most spectacularly. As it turned out he met that someone coming the other way up the path that he had been told led towards the sawmill, amongst other places.

“Alric! Out for a morning run are we? I thought Mathias wanted to have a chat with you this morning?” the question was gentle but the eyes were pointed as they gazed out from Randal’s face, another of the three Founders of Syka. If he took the time to reflect he might have wondered why a second Founder was covering an exit – a coincidence perhaps.

“Oh…well you know…I’ve never really been one for fishing. Can’t seem to get the knack for it” he offered up lamely, caught by surprise.

“Neither for the Rangers, eh? Strong Sunberthian like yourself…should be an easy choice for you. The Maw is much like your city you know”

“Oh?” his eyes darted for somewhere to escape to, but the big man was already upon him, slapping an arm around Alric’s shoulders and deftly capturing him.

“Definitely. Deadly…probably more deadly than your city. Challenging too. And you need your wits about you. Surprised you haven’t signed up, at least to learn and grow”

“Wilderness survival…oh I wouldn’t know where to begin”

“Good! Because I do. Follow me Alric!” Randal said, the words a statement that brooked no refusal as he walked him back down to path towards the Commons, to what purpose Alric had no idea.


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[Challenge] The Inequities of Life III

Postby Alric Lysane on October 24th, 2022, 7:40 pm

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The Community Forge

Eventually their destination was revealed – The Communal Forge – though for the life of him Alric didn’t get why he was being led there. Randal wasn’t silent as they walked, engaging him in some small conversation, the kind that you might share with anyone of a morning, checking in on them, making sure all was well and accepting platitudes and cliché responses as if they were the most obviously true things. When they arrived though he sat upon the anvil, not in use and the forge itself cold in the early hours, until the blacksmith roused themselves for work.

“We need a forge for teaching Wilderness Survival? Are we going to start fires? I’m not sure I’ve the metal for much else in the forging arts,” he said, flashing a slight smile of amusement at what was essentially a foolish attempt at humour, “see metal…no?”

“I see what you did there, you should start a show,” Randal responded, not committing to true mirth but at least there was a flash of something in his eyes beyond calculation, or at least alongside calculation, “humour…even misplaced…can be a useful thing. I’ve known it to keep people going longer than they should you know”

“And like that, the moment passes. Everyone is so serious today. Mathias said it was an important day. I’m not sure he understands the meaning of the word important”

“You’ve seen him then?”

“No…well yes and no. I suppose it doesn’t matter”

“Everything matters”

“Except what really matters,” Alric grinned almost manically, “that kind of thing is what keeps people sane, I think. Do you ever wonder how people do it? Plod through their days as if nothing terrible has happened? Telling themselves they’ve moved on, moved past whatever it was, yet deep down never truly being able to do so? A selective, special kind of madness mixed with amnesia”

“You certainly sound mad, sure you haven’t been at Stu’s a bit early today?” Randal asked, full well knowing Alric hadn’t even as he crossed his arms across his chest, leaned into the anvil further and gave Alric a careful look, “what would you rather people do? Stay in the mess?”

“Less than a year ago everyone here was well and truly cursed, some people died, a Priest of Rhysol having their way with them…and yet now…nothing. Poof,” he snorted, suiting his words with a wriggle of his hands and a wisp of smoke expanding from his palm as if something small, yet silent, had exploded, “I suppose it doesn’t matter. I am overly dramatic I guess, probably why Ionu was amused with me in the first place. Why are we here, anyway, if I might ask? You haven’t taken me to Mathias, so maybe you’ve got your own lesson?” he asked, raising his eyebrow with curiosity.

“Perhaps you have yet to discover why people really take an interest. In my experience you have to go beyond the surface for such things, yet you sound stuck on the surface. Still…do you know who works this forge?”

“Artik…know him by name from others…not much more. They…don’t speak highly of him” Alric said slowly, wondering where Randal was leading him.

“Would you like to have the same thing happen to you?”

“Wait…what? Look I don’t know him from anyone else but from the stories I’ve heard I’m not that bad”

That bad?” Randal said, his tone precise and pointed, “that may be true. Yet at least Artik has some uses – he makes things. Not as much or as often as we would like, but he has been here a while and served a purpose. What purpose are you serving, Alric?”

“Clearly not providing amusement and a sense of street rat charm. What are you trying to tell me? That if I have no purpose here then I am not welcome here?”

“Maybe…or perhaps we’ll just let you use up all of your coin and send you on your way. But to live here…that does require a purpose. A commitment, a gift…a vocation…whatever you want to call it, or whatever it means to you. To be a part of Syka, and not just a tourist, you need to contribute. The point of this place was to show you that even a drunk can be useful, if not entirely fantastic. Yet you have yet to find your usefulness. So, Mathias wanted to teach you to fish, to offer advice and counsel…direction, perhaps. I have my own idea, if his has been passed away”

“A relaxing day on the swings and feeding the monkeys of mischief?” he asked, his half-smile fading in the face of Randal’s own.

The man shook his head and stepped in the gather Alric up and begin half-marching him towards the man’s home, apparently there to prepare.


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[Challenge] The Inequities of Life III

Postby Alric Lysane on October 25th, 2022, 5:03 pm

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A little while later, after some very direct talk and instruction that amounted to a crash course in ‘we are going out into the jungle, do as I say or probably die, or be slowly poisoned, munched on, or if you were really lucky all of these at once’ they were making their way down another rough path, clearly routinely kept as clear as one could in Syka, towards what Randal had said was the first destination on their little excursion – the end promising to be a true eye-opener for Alric…if he could stay alive, and keep up with the obviously more experienced wilderness explorer.

He doubted Randal would leave him out in the wilderness willingly, or let him come to harm willingly, but given his own luck he decided to listen intently as items were placed before him and then he was shown how to pack them. Some were items that he would have taken anyways, but others were less obvious and would never have chosen himself. Either way he had had little chance to think upon it as Randal was true to his word and started giving him a purpose – in this case taking the lead and making sure Alric was following him. In that, at least, he was smarter than Jade.

“Where are we going? Doesn’t look like wilderness right now” he commented, eyeing the rough path they were making good pace down, much like the longer one that headed east out of the Commons.

“This isn’t the wilderness, this is the short path to the Banana Grove. It’s easier to take this at least part of the way. One of the first lessons in surviving the Jungle, or any survival situation and area, conserve your energy. Don’t make things harder than they need to be, your energy is precious, and you may need it for a true emergency. Wasting it unnecessarily is detrimental to the task of survival”

“Conserve your energy, got it. And what is a true emergency exactly?”

“If you fall into a sinkhole, or some beast tries to kill you let me know what you think one is” came the jovial, if blunt reply and Alric frowned briefly at the Founder’s back before shaking his head and sighing.

As they paced along, making decent time as far as Alric could discern, his mind wandered back to the items Randal had had him pack, and the clothing he had recommended that he wear – though much of them he already was. It seemed Sunberth ways were basic survival ways, at least after a fashion, and no heatwave of tropical environment could truly kill them off.

“If this is going to be a short trip why did we pack all of that kit? Fishing hooks threaded into cloth into my belt pouch seems unneeded if a day is all we’re going to be suffering through this journey. Cordage, a tarpaulin…was that what it was?”

“And the water flask and knife? Were those not needed too?” Randal asked him in a thoughtful tone.

“Well…no…I can see the point of those. This place drains you of water quicker than where I come from, and knives are always good to have just in case”
“So, perhaps you’re just not looking at them the right way then. Fair to say? What if I told you that a day is what is planned, there and back, but what if something went wrong? Perhaps we’d need to shelter somewhere? We’d need to find food if we got lost…and many other possibilities”

“Are you expecting that to happen? If so then I’m heading back right now, no matter what you think of me I’d rather not be abandoned in the jungle for no reason” Alric said, though there was a snort of amusement at the idea, it would certainly be…an adventure. Put him out of the misery of a repetitious day certainly.

“Have no fear young Ranger Trainee, I am not known to be vindictive. No, but plans don’t always go as you expect. Anything could happen, so you plan for as much going wrong as possible without compromising on utility. Meaning you can’t carry your house in your backpack. If nothing goes wrong, well than at least you didn’t need it. You’d be wise to remember that, and embrace it as the chief lesson in wilderness survival”

“So…better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it?” Alric queried.

“Exactly”

“And you couldn’t just say that?”

“I wanted to see how you puzzled through it. Survival is also as much about the mind as what you have”

“And my mind?”

“To be determined. Ah! Here we are, coming up on the Banana Grove…a very important place indeed. Abundant in food of many types, not just for what it is named. Come, we’ll gather some before we head off for rations” Randal beckoned him to step up alongside him for whatever he had planned next.


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[Challenge] The Inequities of Life III

Postby Alric Lysane on October 25th, 2022, 7:06 pm

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Banana Grove & Jungle Wilds

Randal led the way and Alric didn’t complain, he might prefer to do as he wished but if he was going to have to do something, he’d rather get out the other end unscathed and alive. He may be a lost little beach thing, as Jade suggested, but he wasn’t suicidal or disliking of life, beyond the usual human experience at any rate. No, Randal could lead and show him what he wanted and when they returned to Syka proper they would part ways, and he’d live another day. Well…the same day perhaps. Or perhaps this changed day would trick whatever magic held sway over him and broke him free.

I’ve not heard of such magic though, it wasn’t in Tazrae’s book. Unless it was one of those…what was it, forbidden ones? Still…this is strange. No, strange doesn’t cover it. At first it was shrugging it off but now…now it’s clear something else is going on. Does Syka never have a normal season? I suppose with the people here it would be a bit of a stretch he thought to himself with a frown, stopping when Randal paused and pointed at the fruits before them.

“Banana, an edible fruit. Can be cooked by one with enough talent but good enough raw, especially good in a survival situation as has a slow release of energy from eating. Keeps for a while too after being picked, if picked at the right time,” Randal said, indicating the ones that were mostly yellow, the last vestiges of green fading at either end, “lets forage us a few each, say four just in case. Only ever take what you need, you never know when someone else might be passing your way, lost as you are and in need of food”

“Take only what you need…the Sykan way I suppose”

“Catching on, though don’t forget the bit about giving back. In this case making sure we tend the plants where we can so that they continue to grow, be free of disease…to provide for us”

“Circle of life, huh?”

“You joke, but it’s as true as it is funny. Quick, let’s forage and we’ll move on and you might learn more should you have an interest. No point teaching unless you do, so I’ll let you ask the questions for the answers”

Alric merely nodded and set about finding what he had been asked to find. It proved more difficult than expected, his experience with picking fruit non-existent given his city existence. More of them were either fully green or only partially yellow to begin with, and of the ones that were closer to what was wanted were tucked away behind other ones that were not ready. A sort of hide and seek game of picking them ensued, Randal telling him to pinch the stem before twisting and breaking so as not to tear overly much. The task completed he stowed the four he had foraged into his pack before shouldering it and setting off once more behind the Founder.

“I’m assuming that such foods aren’t exactly laying around inside the jungle proper?” he asked after a few chimes of walking, watching as Randal hacked away at vegetation every so often, but more often than not finding a way to gently push it aside or avoid in entirely. Alric was less successful, though his own abilities stood him in good stead at dodging and avoiding most of the ones that were not immediately severed. Still, he certainly didn’t have the other man’s effortlessness when it can to forging a path forwards.

“Depends what you mean. Banana’s…not really…but if you’re lucky and in certain spots. Mostly if you get caught out, though, your looking at the big four – edible fruits, plants, insects and fish, if you’re lucky to find a decent water source for it” Randal spoke back over his shoulder, his voice low but still carrying given how close they were to each other.

“Insects? I’d rather not eat”

“Oh at first sure, but given it a few days and you’ll eat anything. Hunger is powerful, and you’d be smarter to cast aside your tastes to ensure survival. Did Sunberth not teach you that?”

“Sure, it did, but the choices were…less about food and more about who you could get things from. No people out here though, I suppose”

“Think of it like a giant Sunberth, just that you’re by yourself. No one to pilfer from or trick. Just you against the wilds…and you’re trying to outsmart them, outlast them…beat them, if you think you’re able to and that helps you get through…but I’d start with surviving”

“Let’s say I’d rather put what Mathias taught me to work first” Alric suggested with a twist of his lips still at the insect suggestion.

“I thought he hadn’t managed to yet?” Randal’s eyebrows rose slightly, and he paused to turn and give Alric a slightly new look of weighing up, “well…if you were lucky enough to find the right spot then you’d be able toe at most of the fish in the jungle. Some are tastier than others – perch, catfish…if you manage to get to the coast I suppose you could try for some others…bass maybe. Eels…they can be delicious but I’d avoid unless you know what you’re doing, which you don’t. They have their own abilities, can shock you something fierce. Deadly if you’re unlucky” Randal gave him a long look, met his eyes to check Alric’s understanding and then clapped him on the shoulder and pushed him forwards.

“Why don’t you try forging a way for a bit? Give me a chance to talk at you without turning so I can pay better attention”


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[Challenge] The Inequities of Life III

Postby Alric Lysane on October 25th, 2022, 8:45 pm

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“I’ve got no idea where I’m going!” Alric protested but nevertheless he was thrust forwards and Randal took up a position behind him.

“I know where we are going and it’s a pretty straight shot for a while, good ground to learn a few things. I’ll take over when we get to the tricky bit. Now, take out that kukri of yours, better to use that than your fancy family blade” Randal suggested nodding at the weapon at Alric’s back.

"This? It’s a weapon, not a jungle tool” Alric stated after he pulled it out and hefted it, feeling its weight.

“Yes it is, it can be both. Remember how I was cutting? Not high to low but the other way around> Conserve energy and makes less noise, a good thing when you don’t want to attract predators. And speaking of predators that charm of yours…the snake one…that’s a common one around here, a few of us have it. Let’s you know where snakes are, if you concentrate on it and…feel them out. Even lets you know the dangerous ones if you properly listen. I suggest you take the opportunity to learn as you forge our way forwards. Don’t cut everything, just what can’t be pushed past or moved easy, not too much noise…understand?”

Randal waited, watching Alric as the information was processed and he opened his mouth in the beginnings of a protestation before sighing, closing it and turning around to face the path forwards, pulling face once Randal could see it. Shrugging he began walking, far more carefully than before admittedly, and thought upon what had been revealed to him by the other man. He flicked the snake charm and confessed he had wondered what it was for and had yet to figure it out like some of the others. He paused, took and deep breath, then thought about the charm and wondered what ‘feeling it out’ meant. Nothing immediately happened so focused upon his surrounding whilst keeping the charm in the back of his mind, making sure he didn’t step on any damned vipers – the ones Taz had told him about sounded nasty.

Every so often he sliced his kukri upwards from his was it as he had been shown, but more often than not he twisted past vines or pushed the aside with the flat of his blade. It was as he was focused upon trying to make their way forwards, his senses as heightened as he could make them, ears straining for any noise and eyes darting here and there that the faint echo within started flashing every so often. It was subtle at first and he barely noticed it but when it started to get more frequent, stronger, he stopped entirely and his gaze turned inwards, his finger toying with the snake charm.

He didn’t know how long he was stood there, he was lost in the ‘feeling out’ but it was long enough that he went from scattered sensations to a handful of stronger, coalesced sensations. Nothing in terms of data, but somehow, he knew they were there…a couple off to the right and one back and to the left a way…none ahead of them that he could feel.

“See what I mean? You know, you could make a decent Ranger one day. And you’re a mage. Your steps are plenty quiet too…think that Sunberth is the only place you need stealth? Try hunting animals to feed a community and see how far noisy blundering gets you. Think on it…go on, keep going. The ending is just as important as the journey”

“Whilst we go…what other foods are there to eat out here? What rules to follow in general?” he asked, continuing onwards, pushing some foliage aside and slipping past them.

“Don’t eat anything you aren’t absolutely sure about. Mushrooms…most of them will kill you so avoid them entirely. Most berries aren’t good either. – especially the white or yellow ones. I’d not even touch the plant entirely. There are exceptions, but you’re not ready for them at the moment. There’s always palm trees…the inner fleshy part – heart of the palm”

“You eat trees now?!” Alric asked, incredulous and turning to meet his gaze for a moment and see him nod.

“Sure, when necessary. I’d not cut the tree down unless it was life or death though, it’s a death for the tree after all”

“So…practically everything should be avoided…good to know” Alric snorted as he hacked away at a particularly immovable piece of vegetation and cast it aside with the flat of his blade.

“You’d be surprised what else there is to learn, and what is edible…but perhaps it would be better being taught to someone who is actually committed to learning and who enjoys learning it?”

“Who says I don’t enjoy it?”

“It’s clear that you do, but today isn’t about the lessons…it’s about finding a vision. Come on…you’ve done the easy part and I’ll take over. Follow in my footsteps, it’ll be silent from here on out unless an emergency...understood?” Randal stated flatly, waiting for Alric to nod before pushing past him and taking up the lead once more.


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Alric Lysane
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[Challenge] The Inequities of Life III

Postby Alric Lysane on October 27th, 2022, 7:57 pm

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Once the silence had fallen it was harder going and if he were honest with himself, he wouldn’t have been able to talk anyway, even if he had wanted to. Sweat that had already started to trickle down from his temples before became a torrent as the humidity of the jungle replaced the less oppressive portions of jungle. He thought upon that for a while, simply content to use his kukri to move aside vegetation or finish off what Randal had started, and came to the conclusion that it must be some sort of barrier – a signal that you were no longer on the outskirts, but inside the belly of the beast. He made a note to ask the Founder, if he got the chance, as it seemed a decent way to know you were on the right track if you wanted to escape the bowels of dangerous humidity.

He had little time to admire the vegetation, what with making sure to watch where Randal stepped with his feet, but what he did take the time to look over was quite beautiful. It wasn’t a strange thing to him, the fact that beauty could be deadly, it was a fact of life in Sunberth. Randal’s words about things not being so different here from in his adopted home city resonated with him – perhaps there were some truths to what the man said, though he felt sure things were not so simple as the ‘native’ Sykan mindset seemed to suggest at times. Still, it was something he could relate to, and perhaps that had been the point of it.

It’s funny, I spend a life wanting more, to be somewhere better, and when I get there I don’t really feel like I deserve it. Petching Vas and his…visions! Bloody alternate lives and shyke…gods…how I hate the gods. Well…maybe not all of them he thought, feeling the back of his neck where Ionu’s mark was and pausing to look at Eyris’ upon the back of his hand. Then the flashed of brutality came and he became lost in them for an unknown amount of time.

“Alric…Alric! Keep up…what’s wrong?”

“Sorry…I..it’s a long story…I’m fine…I’ll keep up” he sighed, nodding and as Randal turned around once more started moving after the man.

They were heading steadily uphill for the next Bell or so, or at least he thought it was that long but truly it might have been longer. All he knew is that despite his stamina his arms were growing tired, even with switching the kukri between hands, his legs were beginning to ache and despite the breaks for food and water he felt hungry, parched. After what seemed like an interminably longer period of time, legs feeling as if they were about to give way in their leaden weight, the ground levelled out and the foliage cleared to expose one of the most extraordinary views he had ever seen. Two towers, what looked to be part of a much larger complex of ruins, poked up from the greenery and despite their ruined appearance they were sublime.

“Cheenga Ruins,” Randal swept an arm across the scene, “Sister Towers”

“Glorious,” Alric breathe, taking a moment to let it all sink in alongside recovering his breath and raking his hair back and out of his eyes, dripping with sweat as it was, “it truly is a marvel. Pre-Valterrian?”

“We believe so, though none of us really know what it was for. Still, it doesn’t matter that isn’t why we are here”

“We can here over something that doesn’t matter? And they say I’m the crazy one sometimes” he snorted, wondering if there was time for a smoke but then realising that even if there was his hand were shaking enough that it might not be possible anyway.

“It was about the journey, and about you. You made it, despite everything you might have experienced. Weathered and bruised perhaps, like this ruin, but both are still here. This, Alric, was what those of your ancestors time were capable of. It doesn’t matter what it was actually for! The fact that it even happened, that they made so much possible, is what truly matters. You can sit on a beach the rest of your life, life passing you by…or you can become more. Do you not see that?”

“You realise that it doesn’t matter how hard I try, even if you are right, I’m hardly bringing all of that back? We’d not even come close, for all the efforts we’d still be lesser than we once were. What if it’s time to just…let it all go? Everything has its time Randal”

“Does it? And who are you to decide that time? By not trying to decide it won’t return, even if it is but a thousandth. And even if there is no magical striving…would you decide not to throw your lot in with those who have sheltered you? So that in time, perhaps, someone else might do what we cannot?”

“You’re saying that my inaction is as bad as acting poorly…so action, no matter how small, if positive, is still preferable?” he wrinkled his nose and scratching his chin as he thought it through.

“I’m saying that you’re wasting your life, ruining your potential and that none of us want to see that happen. And, if it comes to it, I won’t watch another sink into pointlessness, I’d rather send you on your way to learn elsewhere. But…would it not be better if you stayed? In this, one of the more complete and untouched sites of the past, of what people such as your ancestors wrought? Who knows what you might be capable of? At least think about it”
Alric paused and thought upon the man’s words, turning them around in his mind and not immediately being able to find glaring fault with them. After a while he tilted his head thoughtfully and slowly nodded.

“I suppose thinking is something that I can do. But stop being dramatic…even if it was needed…I’m supposed to be the dramatic one” he smiled slightly, the corners of his mouth turning up, and his gaze slipped past Randal and to the ruins once more, taking them in and trying to imprint them upon his memory.

They broke for a rest for a while, finishing their rations assigned for the day after leaving some aside ‘just in case’ and then made their way back towards the settlement. All the while there was silence, the moments of this particular daily cycle, working their way into Alric’s mind and heart, there to truly stat petching with his preconceptions. It wasn’t an answer to his experiences, but t was a reason to try, perhaps.


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Alric Lysane
Carry On My Wayward Son
 
Posts: 763
Words: 1010203
Joined roleplay: October 29th, 2021, 5:41 pm
Race: Human
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Medals: 2
Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)


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