Open Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones (Crylon)

Bronwen crash lands in Syka

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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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Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones (Crylon)

Postby Bronwen on January 3rd, 2023, 3:14 am

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15th day
Winter 522


Bronwen stared down at the manacles encircling her wrists, contemplating the too-tight, thick metal cuffs and the short chain connecting them dangling between her filthy, skinned knees. Storm-colored eyes trailed down one thin leg to a slightly larger metal cuff around her swollen ankle before following the rusted links of a five-foot chain to her companion. Bron shook her head. Not a companion but a fellow slave.

The young female lying on her side facing Bronwen was just as dirty, if not more so, as Bron herself. Overly large blue eyes peered back at Bron through long, greasy blonde hair, which lay in clumps around a thin face. Ashlyn, or Ash, was at most eighteen summers, but her petite frame made her appear much younger. The girl wasn't a Sunberthian; that much was made clear the second night aboard the ship when another captive stole what little bread they had been given while Ash did nothing but looked on, cowering. That was also the first time Bronwen broke the jaw of a fellow captive and the last time Ashlyn lost a meal.

Bron and Ash were among a dozen female prisoners -Bron refused to call herself a slave- and half as many males aboard the ship, though Bron was sure more had been taken. She loathed thinking about what had become of them. Maybe the rest were in a different part of the ship, maybe not. Bron couldn't find the strength to care.

They had been sailing...Bron didn't know how long they had been aboard the vessel, but it had been long enough for the drugs riddling her body to clear out, the aches and pains of going without to come and go, and the air about them to cool, then grow hot again. More than a season, perhaps two? Bron didn't know. Didn't care, really, because it didn't matter. She didn't matter, obviously, because she was still in chains. No one had come for her, not even her father. It seemed no one cared, so why should she, right?

A sudden spear of sunlight cut through the damp darkness of the hold as the hatch door above was slung open. A rope ladder was thrown in, uncoiling with a thump against the dirt-laden wooden deck, stirring up dust that danced in the thick light beam. Rod, a short and round older man with more fingers than teeth, descended the ladder, pausing at the bottom to peer up through the opening as a bucket and sack were passed down to him. Time to be fed and watered, then. Ash and Bron shared a look as the younger female sat up and scooted closer.

"Think they'll have pissed in it this time," Ash asked, shoving tangles of hair behind her ears, manacles clinking.

Bron shrugged, watching the slaver make his rounds, offering a ladle full of water and what looked like a brown-crusted hunk of bread to each prisoner. "If it does, we'll drink it like last time."

When it was her turn, Bron raised both bound hands to accept the spoon as her portion of the bread was thrown in front of her. She tipped up the spoon, letting the water flow into her mouth between chapped lips before handing it back. Bron had to turn away and force the water down with a hidden grimace to hide her expression from Ash. Even if the water was more piss than water, they both needed hydration, and Ash would refuse based on Bron's reaction, but Ashlyn never got the chance.

With a sudden lurch of the ship, Rod was thrown forward into Ash. The slaver cursed and slapped his way free of the young girl, but before getting his footing, the ship tipped violently in the opposite direction, sending all the bodies in the hold sliding across the planks. Bron hit the opposing wall with a grunt as several bodies slammed into her back, knocking the wind from her lungs. Panting, Bron scrabbled for purchase as the vessel groaned and creaked around her. She heard a loud crack the instant before a wave of salty, warm water washing through the hold dislodged her and sent her skidding back down to where she had been. Bron's body rolled up the bulkhead as the ship tipped entirely on its side before righting itself and tilting in the other direction. Bron felt herself freefalling, then nothing.

She first became aware of the noise, or the lack thereof. There was nothing but the soft lapping of waves. Then, she felt the heat. So much heat. Too much heat. Cracking open an eye, she saw its source. Sunlight. Painful sunlight. Bron groaned and tried to roll over, but a searing pain in her leg cut the effort short.

Bronwen came awake again, coughing and sputtering out a mouthful of water. At least, this time, the sun wasn't directly overhead, and she could fully open her eyes, blinking at a clear, blue sky. Another wave of the incoming tide washed over Bron, rolling her to her side, the chain between her bound hands clinking before sinking into the wet sand. Bron lifted her head and peered around. Large rocks and boulders sat several yards to her right, littered with huge chunks of wood. What was left of the slave ship she had been aboard was broken into several large, splintered sections strewn across the jagged surface of the stones.

Large chunks of wood bobbed in the water, washing up alongside her before being pulled away again by the surging waves. There were also bodies, three that she could see, facedown in the sand around her. A sudden thought had Bron sitting upright, crying out as the movement caused her leg to flair with pain. Looking down, she could see that the flesh beneath the shackle had peeled back from the pressure of the pulling chain. On the opposite end of the chain, where Ashlyn should be, was a stone statue.

Bron frowned, pulling herself awkwardly across the sand closer to the strange form, but when she got a look at the statue's face, it was Ashlyn's face frozen in a rictus of terror that looked back at her. Bron scrabbled backward away from... whatever it was, her sand-covered hand flying up to cover her mouth, stifling the horrified scream she emitted.

For long chimes, as the flood tide gradually deepened around her, all Bron could do was stare at what was once a warm-bodied companion, now turned to cold stone. A strong wave nearly toppling Bron brought her back to the present, and realizing that she didn't know how deep the tide would become, panic washed over the Syliran as sure as the next wave.

Muscles straining, Bron attempted to pull herself farther up the beach, but the weight on the other end of the chain pulled relentlessly, pain wracking her leg as she felt the skin around her ankle split even more. Dark spots danced in her vision as Bron brushed back clumps of sand-matted hair from her face and gazed dazedly around at what seemed to be a deserted shore. Sucking in a ragged breath, she fought back a sob and started calling out, sure no one would answer.

"Help! Someone, please," she coughed and tried again, clearing her sore, dry throat, "help me! Please, someone, help!!"
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Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones (Crylon)

Postby Crylon Stonecraft on January 4th, 2023, 12:14 am


Stretching his body, Crylon headed out on a slow walk down the beach. Ever since he had ended up meeting Caiyha he had felt much closer to nature, and often felt the desire to just get away from the city for short bouts and enjoy the wilds. Admittedly he was not confident enough in his skills to explore the jungle like that, and so he settled on the relatively safe beach spanning the coast around Syka. Sometimes he would stop by and play with the pigs, other times he would just wander the sandy expanse and see where his legs would take him.

Generally he dressed lightly for this, just taking some basic things along in case he ran into trouble. A pair of trousers, generally no top, and his seemingly bottomless backpack which stored most of his smaller possessions. Which meant he had food, water, weapons, and other useful things easily within arms reach so long as he owned it and it was small enough to fit through the mouth of the pack.

At the moment though it seemed relatively quiet as he walked along. After a bit of this he began to feel some eeriness to the silence, something being off or wrong... He could not put his finger on it, but he could tell something was wrong. Looking around more closely he tried to think what it could be... As he walked he passed a piece of driftwood... Not too uncommon on a beach. And then another chunk... And then another... It was then he realized what the issue was. Driftwood was random, not uncommon but not so common he would see that much back to back... And now he was seeing lots of it, which meant it likely was not driftwood at random but something else. Wreckage perhaps of some ship passing Syka? Looking more closely he saw the signs, differing chunks of boat here and there all about... He walked a bit faster, still keeping a walking pace but with a bit more spirit to it.

It was not long before he saw more things washed up on the shore. He saw a body and rolled it over, seeing they were dead... He also saw other things, and began to worry. How big of a ship had crashed or broken apart? Should he head back to town and get help to search for survivors? Or keep looking. As he was beginning to consider this though, before he could turn back, he heard a voice a bit away.

Honing in on the sound he began moving closer, the voice getting louder as his bare feet padded across the sand. Soon he could hear the voice, a woman's, and saw her washed up on shore with waves occasionally coming in to crash over her. Either she was too weak to get up, or stuck. He assumed the latter, since she was able to make so much noise. Rushing up to inspect the source of the noise Crylon looked around, not seeing anyone else moving.

Being an Isur Crylon was quite clearly not human. Besides being on the shorter side his coloration and visible veins colored different from a humans, not to mention his one metallic gem limb, would make it quite clear what he was too anyone who knew what an isur was. And to anyone who did not, well it would be clear he was at least not human.

Tying to assuage the person he simply said the same thing a few times, while inspecting her person.

“Its okay. Its okay. I can help.”

Looking closely at her he saw one thing right away, the chains. It was a wonder with all that weight she had washed ashore and not sunk, Crylon realized. Somehow she had, either due to luck, chance, a lucky wave, or perhaps even Laviku the god of the ocean watching over her as Tide would say. Of course just from this one spot of the beach he could see not everyone had survived, and more from what he could see had died than had made it judging by the other bodies not moving.

First things first though he needed to help this woman, and then get back to town to tell the founders and others what had happened.

“I'm Crylon. Let me see what I can do about those chains...”

Noting the chain on her hands and one on a leg, he traced to the other end and saw she was chained to... A Statue? He puzzled on that for a moment, but then focused back on the task at hand and gently moved his hands.

First things first was her leg, which looked bloody and raw where she was connected to the iron manacle. Gripping with his obsidian Isurian hand he grasped the iron chain just below the manacle, focusing on a single link. And then squeezing with a strength most did not see outside of a forge, he bent the metal. If he could heat it he could have done more, shaped and molded it. But for now all he did was strain it until finally the cold metal tore and shattered, giving in, and the link broke apart into several chunks from the stress.

Eventually he would try to get the manacles off, but for that it would be better to wait until he had tools and was back in town. He after all did not want to risk hurting her more, or crushing her wrists or ankles like a clump of dry sand in a mans grip.

If the woman seemed to not want his help he would stop until she calmed down, but otherwise he would continue breaking the links one by one as they connected to each manacle, breaking in turn the link connecting her hands together, and then the ones holding it to the manacle. Not quite free, she would at least be able to move better, and be weighed down by no more than the single ring of a manacle on each limb.

“If you want I can carry you, but I need to get back and let people know what happened. Are you okay?”

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Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones (Crylon)

Postby Bronwen on January 4th, 2023, 11:30 pm

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Bronwen heard him before she saw him. Twisting her head, she watched as the dark-haired man picked his way toward her, deftly maneuvering his way over the sand and the scattered remains of the wrecked ship. It wasn't until he was much closer that Bron realized the man wasn't a man at all. Trepidation set in as the male toward over her, looking down. Judging by his musculature, the stranger was strong and powerful. Women in Sunberth who found themselves in the presence of a powerful male, all alone, and in a secluded place tended to not fair very well. Bron wasn't in Sunberth anymore, though, was she?

Bron could do little more than a nod as the male attempted to calm her, and when he reached for the chains tethering her to...Ash, with the intent to free her, Bron's mouth opened to remind the man that he would need something to break the chain, but shut it again without a word when the links snapped under the man's darkened hand. The Syliran swallowed hard, seeing just how strong this creature was, but the effort only caused her to hack when her parched throat constricted. She decided to ask him what he was when she could focus a little better.

Once she was free of the chains, Bron shifted her weight to stand slowly, the world only shifting slightly beneath her bare feet as she straightened. "Thanks," she said, looking about herself. Whatever had happened to cause the ship that she had been on to wreck in such a magnificent way had to have been catastrophic. Gingerly, she shifted some weight to her sore foot and winced. It was painful but not enough to consider letting this stranger carry her, no matter how kind she thought his offer was.

"I understand, but I think I can manage walking if you wouldn't mind me coming, too," Bron winced, her voice little more than a dry rasp, "Do you have water?" she asked, then glanced around again at her new surroundings, "Can you tell me where I am?" then more hesitantly, asked, "Your people, will they welcome a..a slave?"

She wanted to both go and stay on the beach, far away from people, especially if they were anything like the ones in Sunberth. She wondered who his people were and if they were fond of strangers crash-landing in their territory. Her luck, Bron had washed up somewhere the Myrians hid away their cannibalistic tribes. The man wasn't Myrian, so maybe luck was on her side for once. Bron doubted it.

Bronwen didn't desire to further impede the man from returning to tell his people about the shipwreck, so she trailed close behind him, limping along as quickly as she could. Her ankle burned, and the leg above it ached fiercely. She was beginning to think she had vastly overestimated her body, forgetting that she had just spent weeks aboard a slave ship and was now injured to boot. At one point, Bron spotted a long stick thick enough to resemble a staff and gratefully used it as a crutch. If nothing else, she had a crutch and a weapon. Hopefully, she had retained the skill to use it.

After several chimes, however, sweating, panting, and in pain, her body shaking, Bron came to another realization; using a walking aid also took strength, and she had none.

"Sir," Bron called out, swaying where she had come to a stop, "I think I may need you to carry me after all."

Bronwen's knees gave out on her, but thankfully there was a downed tree high enough to catch her, and she sat instead of faceplanting.

"I'm sorry," she apologized, the words leaving her chapped lips slightly slurred, "I'm so very sorry."

If the stranger was willing, she would gratefully, if not belatedly, take him up on his offer to carry her. Bron hoped the man was as strong as he looked because she was heavier than she looked.
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Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones (Crylon)

Postby Crylon Stonecraft on January 5th, 2023, 1:45 am


Luckily for Crylon, the edge of the beach was not too dangerous of a place. Perhaps if it had been a bit further out he would have had issues, but a small wave going over his ankles as it came in was not enough to upset him. Particularly with how solidly built he was. Being an Isur he was deceivingly compact and heavy for his size, as dense some said as the stone mountains in Kalea they called home. In truth he weighed about half again as much as the woman's own weight despite being so much smaller than her. Which still put him no the small size for an Isur and some of the clans more known for non-mental acuity...

Though, the Isur looking at her closely, the woman seemed even smaller and thinner than he had first thought, and she likely was even lighter in comparison to him than that. Perhaps even half his weight despite her likely towering over him when standing. Perhaps she had lost weight recently?

Watching as the woman slowly got to her feet he saw she was indeed tall, but thin. Of course having been in chains recently, it did not seem too likely she had been well cared for on whatever boat she seemed to have washed up on. He held out a hand, almost grabbing to support her, but he could see from the look in her eye and how she insisted she could stand on her own that she did not want his help in that moment. Some sense of pride, he assumed. Still if she looked to be falling he would offer aid.

At her thanks Crylon simply nodded, not finding a need for words in that moment. He had done what he had done, and did not think there was more need to vocalize it. And once offered he was not one to recant said aid. He did not question her or ply her for information, sure others would do so in time to come, instead just letting her be and letting her collect herself. He just wanted to help, and was sure others would address such issues later. Though if she offered information he would listen.

When she insisted on walking he nodded again, coming off as a bit silent but just not feeling the need to say much at that time. At her request for water he reached into his pack, focusing on pulling out a waterskin, and soon enough doing just that as the item was pulled from the mouth of his bag. He would offer it to her, letting her wet her throat, taking it back once she was done and stowing it back away.

As she drank Crylon shrugged, unsure on the answer to some of what she had asked. Instead he thought it over for a bit, before finally answering.

“This is Syka... Or, well, near it. Not sure you have heard of it... Its a small place near Riverfall, but across. As for slaves... Don't think we have any... But honestly I'm not sure about who can come in. You probably need to talk to a founder once we get back. They can answer better. But they seem good enough people.”

Once she had her water the woman seemed ready to set off, and Crylon set off at a steady pace. She for her part seemed to be trying to keep up, but it did not seem to take long before it was clear she could not do so. Still she had not asked for help, and he could tell this was some sort of point of pride for the human woman, and so he did not insist and instead waited for her to ask if she needed it. When the effort finally seemed to much Crylon paused as the woman sat in place, too tired to move more.

Nodding again at her words Crylon paused for a bit, fine with carrying her but wanting to let her rest for a chime or so first. In the meantime he thought about the contents of his pack, and recalled an item. As he began digging around he spoke slowly.

“Ah... I gave my name, but what is yours? Also, are you hungry?”

Having asked that Crylon focused on his pack and on pulling out a small metal tin he kept there, which held muffins. Or perhaps produced muffins? He was not entirely sure how it worked, but whenever he opened it the thing always seemed to have a fresh hot muffin inside, likely due to some odd magic he did not understand.

Pulling out the container Crylon opened the lid, showing the inside to the woman which held a decently large fresh muffin. However the Isur was unsure on the type, since it always seemed to differ. If nothing else he had yet to find any that were outright bad or poison, but the flavors did vary quite a bit.

“I have a muffin, if you want. Feel free. I have more. Not sure which kind this is, but you can have.”

If the woman took the offered muffin Crylon would close it and place the tin back in his pack, waiting a bit for the woman to start on the muffin, assuming she took it, before carefully reaching down and pulling her up off the ground in a two handed grip in front of him with his arms as the seat for her body. With his strength he was easily able to lift her like she was nothing, despite looking a bit odd due to their differences in height. Still he had no trouble carrying her, nor walking while doing so no more than a donkey would carrying a rider.

Once she was up Crylon would set off, letting the woman continue eating as he plotted along seemingly unaffected by her weight.

“When we get back I need to tell people what happened. But after that, you should talk to a founder. If you need a place to stay tonight, and can't work something out, you could always bed in my tent for awhile. I'm staying there for now till I build my own place, and its got room.”

While this might seem a bit odd, Crylon said it normally enough to the woman. If nothing else he did not seem to be intimating anything else, or having any deeper meaning, truly just offering her a place to rest and get back on her feet both metaphorically and literally. In fact he had not really looked at her with any sort of malice or lust so far, in truth not really finding human woman too appealing physically but liking them decently enough otherwise.

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Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones (Crylon)

Postby Bronwen on January 5th, 2023, 11:14 pm

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Bronwen accepted the waterskin gratefully and wasted no time turning it up and draining nearly half the cool liquid in one go as they set off. Thankfully, the man was of the silent type, which suited the Syliran well enough because her attention had been stuck on the word Syka since the man uttered it. She was in Syka? Had she been on that ship for half a season? Then, all those days in the back of that barred wagon meant that Bronwen had been near Syliras.

The beating that she took for causing a ruckus when she thought she recognized the port had been worth it. Bron had screamed for all she was worth, repeating her name, her father's name, and for someone to tell the Knights before a slave handler had silenced her with several well-placed backhanded blows.

But...she was in Syka. That meant that any Order ships hadn't caught up with them, and surely they would have before they had made it all the way to Syka. Bron's shoulders slumped. Maybe it hadn't been worth it at all, Bron thought, sagging a bit while she indulged in her impromptu rest. The man, Crylon as it were, spoke, drawing Bron's attention.

Gazing up at him with tired, grey-blue eyes, she gave a half-hearted attempt at a smile, "Bronwen," she said, hesitated, then added, "Druva. From Syliras by way of Sunberth," with a sorrowful tone.

If it hadn't hit her in the seasons that she had been gone from Syliras, homesickness and hopelessness hit her with the ferocity of a battle axe the moment she heard the word Syka. Bronwen was very far from home, the farthest she'd ever been from home, and she'd never even taken a step.

Bron shook her head, belatedly remembering Crylon had asked if she were hungry. She thought better of her dismissal, seeing the perfect muffin the man had produced, the scarcity of food, and the long voyage getting the better of the Syliran.

"But I'll take it for later," she said, snatching the treat, then gasping when she found the thing was still warm from whenever it had been baked. For a moment, Bron stared wide-eyed at the warm muffin cupped in her hand before she transferred her look of shock to the container Crylon was tucking away in his pack. Another question for a later time.

As muscular arms lifted her, Bron tucked the muffin against her chest like a precious possession, listening a little dazedly to the man as he explained what was to come. The invitation to sleep in his tent for the night sent another pang of sorrow shooting through the guard's heart. Ves had lived in a tent, and she had spent many, many nights in it with her. With the woman that had Bron thinking she was falling in love with. Closing her eyes, she let the grief wash over her and join the other emotion, scratching and tearing at her heart. She wouldn't cry, though. She hadn't thus far, and she wasn't about to start now.

"Thanks, Crylon, that sounds good."

As they continued on their way, weariness overtook the female, and Bron let her head rest lightly against Crylon's dark hair, but as the journey continued, she sagged more and more in the man's thick arms. Lifting her hands, Bron wrapped an arm around Crylon's shoulder, feeling a bit more secure, and fell into an uneasy, exhausted doze, the words Syka and founder bouncing around her thoughts.
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Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones (Crylon)

Postby Crylon Stonecraft on January 6th, 2023, 1:54 am


Crylon was certain the woman had a tale, but he was not going to press her on it. If she talked, she talked, if she did not... Well then in the end likely she'd either leave or end up talking to someone else if she wanted to stick around.

Once she was recovered a bit though he was keen to continue on their way, and get back to Syka as quickly as he could. He was unsure if anyone else knew about what had happened, but worst outcome there seemed to be a repeat of knowledge already known. And if they did not know it, he was sure they would want to know about a bunch of people and a decent ship crashing so close to the settlement. Particularly if others needed help.

Nodding at her name Crylon thought on the other spots she mentioned, but was not so familiar with some of them.

“Nice to meet you Bronwen. I think I have passed through Syliras at some point, but not really ever stopped there... But I have spent time in Sunberth, among other human cities. I can't say it was my favorite, though perhaps not my least favorite...”

He was unsure where she planned to store the muffin away, but simply shrugged when she decided to save it for later. Having lived as long as he had and experienced as many odd things as he had not much perturbed him. Which often resulted in him coming across as unphased by much of anything, since in a sense he was not really shocked or phased by it. A odd container producing endless hot pastries, not so odd. A pack that as far as he could tell had an unlimited space... At least for anything that would fit within its openings. Normal. A house that could shift and build a room and understood people, non standard but not unheard of. Which left the Isur being a bit indifferent about some things.

Perhaps from being so tired Bronwen seemed willing to accept his offering of a tent to sleep in, which as he thought on it was another magic item he had obtained and not really a normal tent... Still if other things worked out she might not even need it, but still it felt reasonable to offer it as a backup.Particularly since he had more than enough room, it being a quite decent sized tent when laid out.

As they moved along ans Crylon cradled the woman she seemed to doze in and out, not quite falling asleep as they moved but not fully awake either. Still if she wanted to rest he was going to let her, seeing as she appeared to surely need it. Crylon for his part would keep on silently, moving at a steady pace and heading back to the settlement as quick as they could get there if not interrupted.

He was unsure what would happened once they got there, but Bronwen seemed truly exhausted from the events of the day.

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