Interludes.

From Tried's Mouth to the mysterious Tower, the waters around Scalvoris and the island itself hold a vast array of secrets, just ripe for discovery. Here are landmarks and small villages of note, dotted in and around the island itself.

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Interludes.

Postby Vega » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:49 pm


91st Zi'da 717

The weather was beyond bloody awful, or it had been for most of the journey here. The last few breaks, though, they'd hit a clear spot and had just been trudging through the snow and dealing with the winds which had lessened a lot but were still very much there. Vega glanced at Arlo and she saw the frown on his face. They were lost. There was no doubting it in her mind. He knew it too, but he wasn't likely to admit it. Vega pulled her scarf more tightly over her face and considered for a moment, just how to broach the subject. But then, did she have to, she considered? Probably not, no. They both knew it, they'd got turned around in the snow storm of a few breaks ago and they were trudging through.

"I reckon, if we go up those hills there, we might get a view of the tower-thingie," The problem, one of the problems they were having was that visibility was so poor that they couldn't see The Tower, which had been a major landmark for them in order to keep going in the direction they were. From their boat, docked in Scalvoris Town dock, they'd decided to walk, to stretch their legs and feel their feet on land for a few trials. Vega was glad of that, it kept balance and, as much as she enjoyed being on a boat, she turned to Arlo and said, quite honestly, "I'm lookin' forward to curlin' up in a bedroll in a tent under the stars with you, tonight, Arlo Creede. Eatin' from the campfire cookin' my man does." Their life, however they lived it, was delightful to Vega but she was glad to get a balance. Land and sea, it was important. Their feet should walk everywhere, after all.

The landscape was hilly, rocky outcrops and low hills, some taller ones in the distance. Vega pointed to a group, rocky and snow covered, but high enough that maybe they'd see the tower over the low-hanging snow clouds. Maybe. "They look climbable, an' it'll be interestin', see what's up there even if there's not anythin'" Being lost was ok, after all. They weren't on a deadline and if they didn't get to the Derby because they were here, well, here would be an adventure.

"What you say? Climb up there, see if we can work out the distance we've still got to go?"

In this weather, snow storm abated or not, it was not going to be an easy climb, but who knew what was up there, Vega thought. Looking over to Arlo, she grinned. "What's up there, then?" It was an interesting game to play, to think about what they might find. "I reckon there's a snow tiger mamma, with all her snow tiger pups. An' they've been outcast from all the other snow tigers, cos they've got black patches. Over their eyes, like yer pirates, with eyepatches. Pirate snow tigers." Nodding to the surface which would be a challenge to climb, but was more than doable for the two of them, Vega nudged him. "Your turn."

If he agreed, she'd be more than happy to climb up there, try and work out where they were and, even if they couldn't do that, it would be somewhere they hadn't been, something they hadn't seen. He'd like that, she thought. Since Cassion's blessing, Arlo had been more... intense, she guessed. More given to grand gestures and empassioned speeches. He did everything he had always done, just, more. She saw no reason to doubt that climbing hills in snow would be just the same.

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Interludes.

Postby Arlo Creede » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:57 pm

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It wasn't so much that they were lost, Arlo figured. He knew exactly where they were. It was the ground they were walking on. He knew where they wanted to go. It was the place where they were holding the derby. It was the way in between, the knowing of it, which had become a little sketchy once they'd got turned around and off track. The ground was layered in deep snow and any path was covered by a foot or two. The sky was so heavy with cloud cover that it was a hopeless prospect, trying to use the position of the sun to find their way. Sure, his ordinary compass was some help. At least they were moving in the right, general direction. But he couldn't know much more than that.

He'd realized too, after sleeping on it a night or two, what the true nature of Cassion's gift was. The compass more specifically and as soon as he'd realized, he shared it with Vega. It didn't point north consistently. What it actually did was show the way to whatever destination he wanted to reach. the tricky part of that was though, he needed to have actually visited that place once before. In this case, it would do them no good at all. "Up there?" he said, stopped and adjusted his hat and looked in the direction that Vega was pointing. It was as good an idea as any. Once they got up there, maybe there'd be a break in the weather and they'd be able to spot some familiar landmark or other. Turning in his tracks beside her, they headed uphill.

"We can do that, you know," he said when she mentioned laying out under the stars. "Even in this weather, that blanket makes it right...so long as we're wrapped up good in it." Then there was the chicken leg of course. "Race you to the top," he said with a grin when the ground got steeper and more uneven. He wasn't planning on running up that craggy hill however, and took her hand so they could help each other along when needed. What was up there though, Vega asked him, and when she told him about the tigers, Arlo grinned. "I might like to see a couple of those," he told her. "But that's not all what I've been told."

Taking her hand once more as they navigated a tricky spot, he stopped and eyeballed the rise, figuring there was a good bit left to go between there and the top. "I heard the real story from missus Fleishmann, back at the market. You know the one, the old woman that sells fresh baked bread? Anyway," Arlo went on, "she said it was nearly two hundred arcs ago that it happened, thanks to Geoupagus. You've heard of him?" He asked it with an utterly serious expression on his face before glancing away in order to hide a grin he couldn't quite suppress. "Not surprised if you haven't. Lesser Immortal, hardly heard from in all these arcs since then."

Stone was Geoupagus's domain, Arlo told her. Just stone, rocks, pebbles, probably why he hadn't enjoyed much fame or notoriety over the centuries. Sort of a one trick pony, that's what he was, and he preferred the guise of a grumpy old man. "Anyway, he didn't like people much or even the other Immortals. Just liked to be on his own, in a little house off the path, and he liked tending his little garden in the back." A rock garden naturally, Arlo supplied after pausing to catch his breath, and on they went up the hill. "But if he didn't like people, there was one thing he hated even more, Geoupagus, and that was children. Just didn't like 'em, and the local children were forever coming into his garden, no matter how many times he shook his fist and told those kids to get off his lawn...which was only a patch of gravel really."

Well one trial the Immortal had had enough, and he didn't just take out his frustration on a couple of children. It was all the children in that village, and all at once. "He created a new race that trial," Arlo said in all seriousness. With a wave of his hand, he turned all the children into stone. Some of them the size of your fist, others the size of pebbles. Living stone though they didn't look it, but stone all the same. They couldn't cry out, couldn't talk, "all they could do was roll about being rocks and when they tried to go to their homes and tell their parents what had happened, their parents didn't recognize them at all and wouldn't let them in."

That was the trial, Arlo said, that Geoupagus created a new race, and he called them Granitees. "Maybe you've heard of 'em?" he teased, and bumped Vega's shoulder as they neared the top of the hill. "It was a miserable existence though. They got tired of being kicked around right quick. Folks would kick them from one place to another, sending them tumbling along the path. Others would pick them up and throw them through windows and some even slung them out over open water, sending them skipping before they sunk to the bottom." So finally, one dark night, the Granitees got tired of being kicked around, and they organized themselves. "They fled right up into these very hills. That's what missus Fleishmann of the fresh baked bread told me."

But by the time they'd regrouped in the hills, the granitee had quite the axe to grind, Arlo revealed. "Just like Geoupagus didn't like children, they don't like people very much and want to get back at them for all the wrongs they've had done them. Mischievous creatures, looking just like any other ordinary rocks." But take care and better to watch her step, he warned when finally they crested the hill. Sometimes it was small, mostly harmless mischief, when one of the smaller ones found their way inside your shoe and caused trouble till you emptied it out again. But other times? "Well they sometimes act alone, by getting back when you trod on them and turning out from under you." The best you could hope for then was a sprain, or at worst a break.

Sometimes though they got together in large groups, and hurtled and tumbled down the slopes. "Granitee slides, much worse than ordinary rock slides and they could kill the unwary in a flash. Anyway," Arlo said and shrugged as he took a good look around him. "That's what I've been told is up here. And missus Fleishmann has sworn to me that it's the gospel truth, every bit of it. Beware Geoupagus's Granitees," he warned and kissed her there on top of the hill.
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Interludes.

Postby Vega » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:32 pm


They could lay out under the stars? Vega considered as he said it and a grin lit her face at the suggestion. "I'd love to do that." She chuckled and gave him a friendly shove. "I'd be a'right with bein' wrapped up good with you, snug an' warm an' jus' us, so long as you didn't steal the blankets an' leave me shiverin'." It wasn't something he was likely to do, in fairness, when they slept he held her so close their hair entwined. Still, it was always worth to tease him. She gave him an arch glance when he suggested that they race to the top, but thankfully he either wasn't that reckless or, more likely she knew, he wanted to make sure that she wasn't. Pursing her lips in a disapproving manner, Vega couldn't resist the smile which immediately followed.

He liked her tiger story, but then he started to tell her what was really there. Or, what he'd heard. Geoupagus the Immortal? Vega looked at him, a little surprised but then there were undoubtedly Immortals she didn't know about and he'd done a qualification at the university on it. So, she figured, he knew more than her was something of an understatement."I thought Moseke was stone, isn't she?" Maybe not, now she thought on it, but then she thought that was what the old man in the temple had said in Desnind. But he carried on and explained and Vega frowned, listening to him. The way he spoke, the way he told tales was astonishing to her, his voice somehow took you to the story and carried you along with it.

But granitees? Was he serious? Vega held on to his hand and concentrated on climbing, but listened to the story. The shoulder bump made her think he was teasing her, but he seemed to be telling the truth and most earnestly. She said nothing, just listening to his tale, but by the time he'd got to Granitees being children, turned into pebbles by Geoupagus, Vega had a frown on her face as she tried to ascertain whether he was trying to tease her, entertaining her or telling her the truth. Men. It was hard enough that she had to concentrate on her footing here, making sure that she didn't slip on the icy surface, never mind trying to work out the truth of Arlo's tale.

Well, Vega decided, whether it was true or not didn't matter, what mattered was the story itself and it was a good story. She grinned at him when he explained the dangers of the Granitee, how they looked just like normal pebbles and stones but how, as the creations of Geoupagus, the granitee were even worse. Beware Geoupagus' Granitees? They had crested the hill, finally, and both of them had looked around and Vega turned to Arlo to say something, but she didn't manage to say it. He wrapped her in his arms and kissed her and Vega gasped in surprise, but her hands were on him in that same trill and she was lost. Lost in him, Vega could only describe it that way and as she pressed close to him, she whispered in a breathless voice. "Arlo.. " With an almost monumental effort, Vega pulled herself out of his arms, turning to look around at their immediate vicinity. Spying an area, protected under a tree where they could lay down, she turned to face him, shrugged off her backpack and began walking backwards, her eyes a deep indigo, her smile crooked and her expression unmistakable. "You wanna bring that blanket, Arl...."

Vega's foot moved and she put her weight on the back foot, then the ground tumbled out from underneath her. She didn't even let out a cry, although he got to see the surprise on her face as she simply dropped, vertically, out of sight. The ground fell from underneath her in a single, sudden movement, no warning at all. He was standing with his toes hanging off what turned out to be a cliff, should he look. The ground had fallen away in a very rough circle-shape, revealing a very large, deep hole in the ground. Considering how completely pitch black it was, the small sliver of light from the hole which had appeared under Vega's feet did very little and the light certainly didn't even reach down to wherever it was she had dropped. From the pitch darkness came a number of strange noises, a rustling, the sound of running water maybe, though it was hard to tell and a general disturbance. "Arlo!" Vega's voice sounded impossibly far away both considering how high up they were and for her to be alive if she'd just fallen that far. "Arlo!" She certainly sounded alive; shocked, but alive. "Get away from the edge, I can see you! I'm in a tree. I'm gonna climb down, I think I'm below ground level." There was a tension in her voice which was familiar to him, though she wouldn't admit it, but the "ow.." that she muttered, hoping he couldn't hear, followed by the string of Rakahi and the thumping and bumping sounds which might well be someone falling out of a tree all reached his ears. "I'm gonna 'ave to try an' find a way out that isn't climbin', I think I've dislocated my shoulder. But there's runnin' water, I can hear it. I jus' can't see anythin'." Of course, her backpack was a few feet behind him. Her voice was strained but she was doing her best for it not to be when she called up, "I was plannin' on somethin' quite different you know! I'm gonna have to try an' find my way out, Arlo. Don't do anythin' daft, please? Arlo?"

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Interludes.

Postby Arlo Creede » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:06 pm

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"Well that was part of the problem with Geoupagus," Arlo insisted when Vega asked out Moseke. "Rock, it was all he was interested in. Wasn't willing to consider other realms of interest, immovable as a boulder and volatile as a landslide, that's what he was." For all that he'd told the story with a most, relatively straight face, surely she didn't believe a word of it? Hard to tell, and Arlo couldn't tell for sure. Maybe he ought to say something, but then on the other hand, that's where legend and folklore came from, wasn't it? Some might have a grain of truth to them, others maybe, not a bit. Maybe a dozen arcs from now, maybe a hundred, folks all over Idalos would swear up and down that Granitees were as real as, say, dragons.

Of course by the time they got to the hill and he finished the story, the grin on her face implied that maybe, probably, he'd gone too far and gotten carried away. But he was sticking to the story anyway. Arlo had other things on his mind anyway once they were in each others arms, and when she took his hand, looking into his eyes and meaning to say something, he forgot all about made up Immortals and their silly creations. In fact what he was thinking, what she was thinking was such a distraction, that he'd curse the lapse in just a few bits, for him not being as cautious of new surroundings as he ought to have been.

The ground dropped out from under Vega, she dropped through in a flash and the suddenness of it all, the surprise, caused him to lose his grip on her. If it hadn't, he might have been able to stop her from falling. Or as likely, been pulled through the gash in the ground with her. Instead he was left alone on the top of the hill. "Vega!" he'd shouted after her, barely before she was out of his sight and he was down on his knees, peering down into a very dark hole. "Vega!"

It felt like an eternity before she called back up to him, and Arlo would have been hard pressed to describe the level of relief that he felt. She was there, she wasn't dead, and chances were, she wasn't too seriously injured. So long as she still had it in her to criticize, boss and instruct him, then she wasn't too far gone at all. "What in Xiur's name is a tree doing down there?" he asked, though so far as trees were concerned, that was probably more Moseke's line of interest. He was grateful for it anyway, it had probably broken her fall and spared her a far worse fate than if it hadn't been there at all.

"And don't you move from where you are!" he called back when she told him not to do anything daft. Who did she think she was talking to? "You stay put, I'm coming down." First though, she needed her sack which she'd let go of before the ground had given way. And she could use a little light too, he figured. Digging into his own sack, he found the jar with the blue lightstone in it and wrapped it up good in several layers of cloth before putting it into her back and cinching it up tight. "Here's you bag, look out," he called down as he swung the thing down through the opening and let her bag go. It wouldn't do to have it land on her and knock her out cold.

From Arlo's perspective, if Vega thought he was going to be standing around on the top of the hill or looking for another way inside, then she'd both taken leave of her senses and on top of it, didn't know him very well at all. But neither was he so foolish as to just dive into that hole and hope for the best. He didn't think for a trill that Cassion's blessing had left him indestructible. But he'd bought a climber's kit not long ago, had brought it with him and now seemed like the perfect time to try it out. What he lacked in actual doing to now, he figured he made up for by a knowledge of how the gear actually worked. That combined with his acrobatic skills ought to get him safely down.

The first thing he needed to do was anchor the climbing rope in or around good solid stone that wouldn't be giving way once he applied all his weight to it. That was simple enough to do, and the rope ought to be long enough to at least get him most of the way down. Then it was the rest of the gear, the harness and so on, though he opted out of the hat and kept Cassion's firmly on his head. "I"m coming down," he called out as he backed into the opening of the hole and began a slow descent. If there were walls within reach, then he could mostly climb down while relying on his harness and rope to stop him from slipping and falling. But as it turned out, most of the way down was a straight drop and he needed to use the gear to lower himself.

It took a while. Arlo wasn't an expert at rappelling after all. Slow going, a few slip ups that sent him a handful of yards too fast before he got hold of it, but eventually his feet made contact with the top of Vega's tree and a few trills later he'd found a reliable foothold. He'd also, given how taut the rope felt. come to the end of the line and needed to remove the harness. "Shine a light up here and I'll find my way down?" he said as he anchored the harness to the top of the tree.
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Interludes.

Postby Vega » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:16 pm


"Not an awful lot, really!" Vega shot back in terms of what the tree was doing. "It mostly seems to be standin' around an' stoppin' me from dyin'!! Why are we questionin' that, exactly?!" She hadn't sounded quite that snippy since she'd be battered by the enormous snake and he'd insisted that she rested. "Maybe you could write a formal letter of complaint to Geoupagus abou' trees in his pitch dark scary cave places, an' he can get rid of it! An' don't you dare, Arlo Creede! Don't you even think about it!! What will I do if you miss the tree? I can't.. " There was no point, she knew, he was doing it. He was determined, absolutely determined. "Arlo, please. I'm a'right. I can follow the water" It was too deep, it was dark and they had no way of getting down here safely.

She'd dropped her backpack with the full intention of divesting herself of her clothing quick smart, but it would be useful down here and so she didn't argue when he dropped her bag down to her. "Thanks! Look, I know I'd be doin' the same, but you've got no means of gettin' down 'ere safe, Arlo." When he told her that he had a climbing kit, though, that prompted a change in her tone of voice, relief flooding her words. "Oh, thank all the Immortals. Jus' be careful, though, yeah. I'm not gonna be able to climb up, Arlo." Unless his skill with a first aid kit had really improved, she thought. Looking up, she tried not to show just how relieved she was in the tone of her voice, but she failed rather dismally. "I thought you were gonna jus' jump down, an' then we might both be stuck." She explained. "My shoulder really 'urts, Arlo." She hadn't even admitted that after the snake, but Vega made her way to where she thought the bag had landed. Since it tumbled through the tree, it had hit different branches to her and landed a little way away. Vega made the decision to crawl there, rather than try and stand with her shoulder like it was.

It was exquisitely painful every time she moved, but she bit back any noise she might make, although every now and then Arlo would hear a sound; a soft moan once, a sudden intake of breath and then swearing in Rakahi another time. In the pitch dark, it was hard to find, but as she felt the strap in her hand, she shouted up. "I've got it! I've got it!" Rummaging, one handed, she found the lightstone and she held on to it. "Arlo, be careful! Jus'.. " When he dropped a sudden few yards and she bit her lip to stop herself from calling out to him. The last thing he needed, she knew. "Come on, Xiur, come on. Let 'im be a'right, yeah? I told you about 'im, watch 'im now. Give 'im all the hope 'e needs, please?" Low, whispered prayers, all the way down and then she breathed out as he reached the tree. It was massive, that tree and whilst the top of it was a long way down, from the top to the ground was also a similar distance. She held up the light as well as she could with her good hand, so that he could climb down.

The branches were broken in places, snapped and bent. The tree itself was a strange black wood and it's leaves felt odd. Thick and almost like tree bark. When he got to the ground, Vega was kneeling on the floor, holding up a light. Her skin was ashen white and she had a strained look on her face, but she smiled when she saw him and she stumbled forward, trying to get up, her good hand moving to grab hold of him. He'd know just how she was feeling when she didn't argue with him checking her over. She was covered in small cuts and scrapes, most of which were small enough not to be a bother. However, her right shoulder was very obviously dislocated, the joint was visible under the skin it was misshapen and the whole area was a vivid purple bruise from her neck to her waist and down her arm. Just breathing near it hurt, he could tell from her face. There was a longer cut on her leg, but that was easily cleaned up, although she hadn't been able to. "Remember when you found that chasm?" Vega asked, her voice shaking with the effort to not cry. "An' I tried to climb back up, but I couldn't? I fell an' pulled my shoulder then. This time, I jus' fell, an' then I was in these branches an' I just grabbed on. I felt it then." Every time she moved, she told him, it hurt a bit. "You wanna put a dislocated shoulder back in, Arlo, or do you wanna bind it up?" She did her best to smile as she asked and she added, "if you can't, it's a'right. It's 'orrible an' I might cry if you touch me." If he'd rather, she said, he could just help her up and she'd be fine.

As for where they were? It was definitely below ground level. The top of the tree probably was about ground level and the cavern they were in was enormous. There was a fast running stream over the far side, the tree was pretty much slap bang in the middle. In terms of exits, there was a sort of ... honeycomb like feeling, with openings here and there all around the place, in the walls at different heights and intervals. One on the level with where they were right now wasn't yet apparent, but there was a lot of the cavern they simply couldn't see. Vega did the best chipper grin she could. "Well, it's somewhere new, innit?" Unless he'd done so, she'd not taken her hand out of his. "It's my fault. I.. I should 'ave checked before I started walkin' backwards. I was gonna leave a trail of clothes behind me, not a pile of dirt an' a bloody big 'ole."


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Interludes.

Postby Arlo Creede » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:00 pm

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"Well it's nice to see that the fall hasn't gone and broken your prickly disposition!" Arlo called back down before he'd even begun the descent. And didn't he dare? "You're not the boss of me, remember?" he added, once he was already over the edge. For the most part, while they enjoyed engaging in getting as good as they got, both of them as often as not, this time, mostly, it was because he was hoping to distract Vega from the pain in her shoulder and the darkness down there until he finally reached her.

But if she'd thought he'd even think of staying up top until she found her way out, she didn't know him nearly well enough. Then when she told him that she'd thought he'd been planning to jump down, in spite of it all, Arlo grinned a little. "I might be clever and quick," he stated, humbly in his opinion. "I'm not indestructible." It might have been nice, had Cassion worked that little bit into the contract. But then what was adventure, daring, boldly going, if there wasn't any risk of disaster along the way. It would take all the fun out of it. And as if to remind him of just that, the rigging on the rope had slipped and dropped him a yard or two in the process.

Finally though he'd unhooked himself and was making his way down through the branches, with Lyova buzzing and fretting round his ears. Then he dropped the last yard or so the ground. Once he was there, Arlo was quick to grab his lamp, then use the light to better look her over. One look at Vega's face told him all he needed to know. She might not have any broken bones or life threatening injuries, but she was in a lot of pain. She wouldn't be able to climb anywhere, or fight back either if they ran into trouble. Unless of course something was done.

"I've never put a dislocated shoulder back in place," he considered with a dark frown. "I've seen it done though. When I was a kid and a friend fell from a tree." Come to think of it, sounded familiar. But the boy's father had relocated the boy's shoulder and put it to rights. Could he do the same? Probably, and while it would relieve the pain she was feeling now, once it was done, the doing was going to hurt too. "Well I'll let you take the blame for this hole, since the last one was my doing," he said, attempting to bring a smile to her face while he found a flat place on the ground and made sure to brush all the small rocks and other debris out of the way.

Then taking one of their blankets out of his bag, Arlo spread it out on the ground. "You're going to have to lay down here. And then you're going to have to extend your arm out straight from your body. It's going to hurt to do that." As if Vega didn't already realize it. But if she could do that, then he'd sit down beside her, take hold of her hand and wrist in his own hands, and brace himself with his heels for leverage. He was going to pull, he told her, and she ought to try and relax as much as possible. Meaning she shouldn't pull back or twist away.

Slow, steady, a constant pulling, enough, but not too much. "You should feel it when it pops back in place. You'll probably hear it too...like a thunking sound. And if that happens, it might still be a little sore, but most of the pain should be instantly gone," Arlo said, and continued to pull gently until what was supposed to happen, did.
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Interludes.

Postby Vega » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:07 pm


She wasn't the boss of him? "I'm jus' tryin' to stop you from killin' yourself, you know! I 'appen to quite like you alive, although that feelin's fadin' fast!" She looked up at him, already making his way down and she tried to not just sound relieved, although it was all she was feeling. "No, I'm not. Shame for you, really. I'm the boss of me, an' I'm awesome, but not even I could 'ave survived that without that tree, an' if you get yerself killed an' I lose you, I'd never forgive myself. Or you, you dweeb." Declarations of love, Vega-style, it seemed. She couldn't deny that she wanted him down here and very much didn't want to be on her own. Yet, the thought of him jumping down here, of him missing the tree or getting hurt made the pain in her shoulder fade in relation to the panic she felt. The pain returned quick smart and worked in conjunction with the panic, though, as she winced at him slipping.

Just the sight of him, the proximity of him, was enough to make tears spring into her eyes. Vega cried when she was angry, which she hated, but it was rare that she cried with emotion. However, as she'd fallen, she'd been afraid and then as he'd said he was going to leap to his almost certain death to save her (in her mind) that fear had grown worse. Now, she was in pain, afraid and relieved all in one. When he said that this could be her discovery, Vega smiled through the pain and it was a genuine one, for all that it was tense and she couldn't hide the pain on her face no matter how hard she tried. "Well, in the battle of who discovered the best chasm by fallin' down it, I win. Yours was right boring," It hurt so much she felt sick, but she wasn't giving in to it. She was, after all, Eva Lei'nox and she had felt sick her whole life. "I mean, mine's got a tree, an' runnin' water. Plus, Stu an' Jeannie aren't anywhere near. All good things. I win."

He wanted her to lay down and extend her arm. Extending her arm sounded more than painful, Vega wasn't sure that she could do it. She wasn't going to admit that, though, and so she nodded, just a little. "A'right. That'll be fine." He needed her to do it, she could. Laying down was more painful than she'd felt before, but that was going to be the easy bit, she knew. After she'd got herself horizontal, she took a moment, breathing and forcing her muscles to relax. "Gimma a bit, Arlo. Jus'... let me do this." Vega considered her options and then, she did the only thing that made sense to her. She thought about maybe slowly edging the arm out, but that would just be really painful for a very long time. So, Vega laid down and moved her good arm, grabbing her injured one and she let out a yell of pain as she grabbed her own wrist and then moved her arm. When she laid down flat on her back arm out, she was ashen white and panting slightly with sweat on her forehead. "A'right. Get on then. Stop lollygaggin'." The level of pain she was in meant that she had to concentrate and Vega focused on breathing and she closed her eyes.

"Relax. Yeah, that's simple. I'll do that then. Tell me a story, Arlo?" She breathed in, then out again slowly and tried to visualise the story he told her, trying to relax and ensuring that she didn't move. Her teeth were clenched together and the muscle in her cheek was bouncing with tension; as he did what he needed to do, she turned her head away from him so that he couldn't see the tears of pain. With a focus which was as fierce as she usually was, she just let him get on with what he needed to and she didn't move.

The feeling was like nothing she had ever experienced before and the pain was unbearable, but she had to just keep with it and then the world swirled in shades of red as she felt and heard the sickening thunk. She yelped and then breathed out. "Oh! Oh... oh, Immortals, Arlo.. oh, thank you." Sitting up, she gingerly put her hand on to her shoulder and moved her arm. "Oh, oh, that's so much better." With a grin which told him how much it still hurt, yet how very much better it was, Vega moved to hug him, albeit one-handed, nestling into his arms for a moment.

Then, she lifted her head and smiled. Her hand (the one attached to the good arm) reached up and stroked his cheek. "So, I couldn't decide between spendin' the afternoon makin' love under a blanket, or gettin' stuck down an impossibly deep 'ole. An, you know, I figured this would be a change." Her smile was as good as it was going to be and she did her best with it. "Come on, then, lets see if we can find our way out of 'ere? An', you know, if there are critters or more 'oles or rockfalls or anything?" Vega's grin was more or less back to its usual when she said, "You're welcome" Up they got and, dusting herself off Vega looked down at the ground a little way away and sighed.

"Hey, Arlo?" There was no doubt that she'd seen something she didn't like. "What sort of a track is that, d'ya reckon?"

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Interludes.

Postby Arlo Creede » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:19 am

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What Arlo was suggesting, a way of getting her shoulder back into proper alignment, had brought an expression to Vega's face that he would have recognized, if only he'd looked in a mirror. Without ever having experienced it himself, or even the reason for doing it, he knew how painful it would be. How painful it already was. On the other hand he resolved to steel himself against the dread of it. He'd witnessed a shoulder realignment having been done, after all, and had seen the relief that had come with it. "I'm sorry," he said as he got onto his knees and she struggled to get down onto the blanket. He helped where he could, but it was probably better for Vega to feel her way into it on her own. Much as she could.

"You take your time," he said when she told him to wait. She needed to be as relaxed as possible and rushing her seemed counterproductive. But a story? The distraction might actually help, he figured. "Did I ever tell you the little deer in the pond, back when I was a kid? It was the dead of winter, just this time of the arc, I think, and the pond was frozen. We used to slide around on it, my friends and me, even though all of our parents warned us not to." It probably wasn't surprising that he hadn't listened, deciding that he more than them knew better. Smiling past the sense of dread he was feeling, he'd braced his heels into the cave floor and took hold of Vega's wrist.

Anyhow, he told Vega, he'd been on his own that trial, messing about in the woods near a pond when he realized that a grown doe was following him. It wasn't something that happened very often. Deer were skittish creatures but this one followed, paused when he looked turned the other direction, then back to look at him. It took a few times before he'd finally figured it was trying to tell him something, and he followed her. "I followed her all the way to that pond and out in the middle of it was a fawn. Little thing, it still had it's spots," Arlo said and began to pull back a little on his arm. He felt sick to his stomach at the feel of it, knowing how much it must hurt her.

"But there it was, off by itself and no matter how hard it tried to walk off the ice, it was slipping and falling all over again. And it was just me, but on my own I went out on the ice to get her, and carry her back off. When I got her back to her mother, they ran off. But after that?" he said before he began to pull harder and even though her cries might drown out his voice, he finished the story for Vega. "Every once in a while when I was out on my own, that deer and her fawn would appear and watch me. Like they were thanking me or something. Even an arc later they were still coming around..." And then of course it was done, and there was that sickening sound when Vega's shoulder popped back into alignment.

"I don't want to have to do that again," he said with a deep frown when she thanked him. He didn't want to need to, and would never want to be a healer of any sort. Nonetheless, it was time to try and find their way out of this place. If they could find the running water, he figured, it would make the job much easier. He stuck close to Vega however, not only to help her along if she struggled, but "We don't want you discovering any more holes. One per trial is enough." But they'd hardly traveled a yard away from where they'd been, when Vega stopped.

Frowning, Arlo crouched down and shined a little light on the tracks, using the lantern he'd pulled out of his sack once her shoulder was repaired as well as could be. It didn't take long to identify what he thought might have made the tracks. Except that the size and number of them gave him pause. Holding his lantern up to cause the pool of light to grow larger, he revealed dozens of the tracks around around them. "Looks like mouse or rat tracks," he muttered with a deep frown. Which wouldn't have ordinarily concerned him any. Except, "Look at the size of some of them though. If those are rats and if the size of their feet is in alignment with the size of their bodies, then those are some really big rats."
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Interludes.

Postby Vega » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:14 pm

Vega hadn't cried out, not till the very last trill when it had actually popped back in. That had been too much for her, but it was painful like nothing else had ever been. However, before that she did her best not to yelp or yip, as she considered it. He didn't need that, after all. He already looked sick to his stomach at the thought of what she was asking him to do and as he'd knelt down, he'd even apologised. Vega looked at him incredulously and shook her head. "Don't, Arlo. This is my stupid fault for fallin' down 'ere, an' you're jus' rescuin' me. Please don't apologise." He left her to get into position as much on her own as she could and she was entirely grateful for that. She didn't think she could cope with him, or anyone, touching her.

He gave her the time she needed, too, to recover from getting down and then from more or less throwing her arm out sideways. It was what she needed and, as her breathing settled, she focused on his voice. The doe had led him to the pond and Vega smiled through gritted teeth. "Yer a good kid, Arlo Creede. I've always said it, 'aven't I?" There was no doubt how much pain she was in, but Vega was determined that she was going to endure it without making too much fuss. He was doing his best, there was nothing more that he could do and her making a fuss would NOT help.

So, she did her best. She kept her head turned away so he didn't have to see the look on her face or the tears which she tried to hold in but could not. Just listen to his voice, Eva, she thought to herself and so, listen to his voice she did, although every now and then a noise escaped her, a groan or an exclamation. Whenever it did, she followed it with "I'm sorry. Sorry.. It's ok, I'm relaxin', jus' relaxin'. Nothin' to see here."

The yell of pain she gave as it popped back in reverberated and echoed around the place, but by all the Immortals, she felt better. Sitting up, she leaned against him and thanked him, but as she moved to hug him his frown stopped her. He didn't want to have to do it again? He sounded like her father telling her off. "I know you don't. I don't want to fall down an 'ole again, either, Arlo. I didn't do it on purpose, you know." She shook her head, her own frown matching his. "It was an accident, an' one that's happened to you before now. I'm sorry." She clambered up instead, still being cautious of that arm, but she was at least able to move it and she would, she thought, be able to swing a sword. Not as well as usual, but if needed, she could.

He stayed close by her and Vega stopped still, turning to him. "I'm sorry I scared you," she said, looking at him with a mix of colours swirling in her eyes. "An' that I 'urt your feelin's tellin you to stay up there, I was jus' tryin' to keep you safe, an' I know it was stupid sayin' it. An' I'm sorry that you had to 'urt me to make me better. I should 'ave been more careful up there, paid more attention to where we were, not on what I was plannin' on us doin'." Then, that said, she turned and got on with getting out of there.

And, of course, within three footsteps they were looking at. "Giant rats? Well, knickers." She looked at him and quirked an eyebrow. "Come on, then." She didn't need his arm to steady her, but she was glad that he was close by. As they made their way, they could easily see the running stream at the far end of the cavern they were in. There were lots of exits but many of them would require climbing, were too small for them and so on. The stream, though, flowed into an exit which was tall enough that they could walk and although the floor was entirely taken up by the stream, so their feet would get wet, they could walk side by side. Vega looked at him and sighed. "So, we goin' in there?" She figured they probably were, but thought it best to check in case he had a better idea. Looking into the pitch darkness with the slippery, wet flowing stream-floor, she rather hoped he did.

But somehow, she doubted it.

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Interludes.

Postby Arlo Creede » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:05 pm

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It really wasn't the time or place, or under the right set of circumstances either, to remind Vega not for the first time that he wasn't a kid any longer. She was in pain, probably the worst physical pain she'd been in before, and Arlo was more interested in humoring her, than not. "That's right. So I've heard," he'd told her with a smile, which looked more like a grimace when he'd applied backwards pressure to her arm. If it was painful for her, it was for him too in a completely different way. He was in the position of making the pain worse in order to make it better.

But when it was done and he'd helped her up, he shook his head. "I know it was an accident, not on purpose and I was only teasing to distract you," he told her. "You didn't hurt my feelings a bit." After all, the whole argument, all the way down from top to bottom had been contrived, at least on his part, as a distraction. But now they needed more than anything to remain focused and not let distractions take hold. At the least there were rats down here. From the looks of it, rats as large as a farm dog or larger.

Still, of all the things they could conceivably come across, rats were probably not the worst. They skittered and scurried and traveled in packs, but if they were anything like the expected norm, then not the most aggressive of creatures. As they went though, looking for a way out, more than once they could spy beady red eyes watching them from the shadows. And the sounds of scraping and scurrying, and squeaking.

As for the way out and Vega's question? "It appears so," he said. That way. It was a large opening and some distance through the water to reach the opening, but taking her hand, Arlo was intent on making sure they didn't get separated again. "Watch your step. Chances are it's slippery," he warned, all the while keeping an eye out for anything that might rush out from the shadows.
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