• Solo • The Return I.

Known as the City in the Trees, Desnind is a town bustling in its own way. The locals follow odd customs, and the visitors are never quite sure if they're visiting the same city as they were last time. It's home to the Immortal of Life, Moseke, as well as most of the Sev'ryn.

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• Solo • The Return I.

Postby Nir'wei » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:25 pm

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40th of Zi'da, 717.

He'd never realised how thick the canopy over Desnind truly was, until he'd tried to go through it. Sohr Khal were not small creatures at the end of the day; exceptionally large wingspans and long, sinuous tails made it difficult for Traveller to find a comfortable spot to rest when constantly being forced to slither between the gaps of thick foliage, wrestling with nature itself for every step. That was just finding a comfortable space to lie down! In the end, it'd barely taken a single trial before they'd both made the promise to keep flying, even if they'd struggle with finding ideal locations for take-off and landing. So they did, though the canopy was so thick that he was forced to navigate through nothing more than pure memory, an old one at that - and when they'd found the right spot, they'd circled it for what felt like breaks, searching for a gap, at least a thinning of the forest roof, to no avail.

With no other choice left, they pulled back, rising as high as they dared, and dove through. They'd picked a region where the branches seemed thinner, but that meant there were much more of them too... and though Traveller tucked his wings tight to his body and Nir'wei shielded his face with both arms, both of them broke through into the dappled shade of the Desnind outskirts covered in small cuts and minor bruises that'd take a few days to clear, at best. At least one of the benefits of such a rich forest - the undergrowth easily cushioned their landing, making it one of the softest by far from the Sohr Khal. Or perhaps Nir'wei was just becoming more used to the jarring sensation of his bones being ripped through his ankles.

From their landing point, it was a small walk to their final destination, and Nir'wei had to say, it looked... smaller than he remembered. The huts were quite clearly in the same style as the rest of the city, far away enough from the bulk of the actual city to be placed... near enough to the ground, instead of pushed to the higher trees like many others in the throng of the capital. The thick box of a house rested mostly on a large platform with supporting pillars pushing back down into the ground, almost like smaller trees in their own right. One thing about it was still exactly as he remembered it though. On the lip of the narrow platform, on the opposite side of the spiral staircase leading to the higher houses, a small set of finely-crafted and terribly worn chairs sat looking over its view of the forest. Nani was sitting on one of them, sewing - he knew it was her from the long wrist-thick braid strung together with tough cords - but as he approached, she quickly noticed him and rose, staring at Traveller with her jaw unabashedly hanging open. "NIR'WEI!"

"Don't worry yourself, I'm coming!" he yelled as she motioned to stand, climbing up the staircase two-at-a-time to catch her in a tight hug. "Moseke above, it's been ages, I know. I'm sorry for not sending more letters like I'd promised." He did actually feel bad for that one - Nani, Ganda and Aunt Ol'ma had been the only ones to see him off on the trial he'd left, and he still remembered tears in all of their eyes. In truth, it'd barely been what, less than five arcs since his departure?

"Oh hush. I never bloody expected it." She chuckled, slapping him on the back with a fair bit of force before she turned to Traveller - who'd reared up while Nir'wei had been distracted, propping himself against the tree with his head ducked down so as to not intrude upon the residents of the upper levels. "Now, mind telling me what in the name of blight this is... and telling it to shuffle back a step? It's about three feet into my personal space and I very much hope it's an outdoor pet." Traveller huffed loudly at that and readjusted his wings, conveniently stretching them out to near enough their full length. Even expecting it, Nir'wei recoiled a little. Nani looked Traveller up and down a second time, perhaps in a different light than before. "Does he understand us?"

"He seems to be able to follow the basics of conversation, even if he doesn't truly understand the words in them." Sohr Khal were intelligent creatures but they weren't capable of completely understanding speech, as far as he knew. Perhaps they were just adept at body language, or reading expressions.

Nani nodded. "Fine. I've got some treats to leave out on the front deck for him while we go inside and chat."

"... Oh, you might need more than just a few," he muttered as Jasper pushed his head out from inside one of Traveller's mounted saddlebags and Greyhide materialised before them, looking expectantly up at his rapidly-paling grandmother.
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Nir'wei
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The Return I.

Postby Nir'wei » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:36 pm

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Traveller remained outside (of course) with a small plate of fish and a relatively clear space to stretch, to satiate him for the time being. The rest of them came inside to sit at the dining table, Jasper with half a smoked trout left over from yestertrial's meal, while Greyhide and Nir'wei settled down for a small bowl of assorted cooked meats, ranging from rabbit to deer. He still had a good few days worth of rations left over from the journey, not to mention that the three beasts had already shown their competency in catching their own food and were generous enough to leave some to spare for Nir'wei at the end of the day, but he accepted graciously all the same.

Of course, she wanted to hear everything, and so he told her. His time in the Ivorian Empire, brief but fulfilling. The arcs of Rynmere, training with Volareons and Jacadons, working under the prestigious Xiur Skyriders, which earned a good eyebrow-raise from Nani, if only because of the name and yet its complete separation from Xiur himself. Worse still were the Moseke Knights, though he tried not to let her dwell on 'such irresponsible use of her title', as Nani fumed. He tried his best to focus on the positives through those arcs. Finding Greyhide and Jasper, for two. Making friends with a lovely slave girl, among many others. Finding his true passion for training and caring for animals, for which he felt himself rather accomplished.

As much as he wanted to try and just avoid what came afterwards, she pressed insistently.

Disease. Rot. Being left with five arcs to live, in unimaginable pain. The knowledge that he'd been born with it, that there would be no cure. Faith's surgery and its banishment. "Immortals above..." She'd been forced to sit down part-way through his story; now she cradled her head in her hands, sporadically looking up into his face and then straight back down into the table again. "I had no idea. If I'd have known, ever even suspected... why didn't you come home? You know Mother would have--"

"I prayed, Nani." He'd prayed harder than ever before, to all the Immortals in Idalos, most especially to Moseke, hoping that she'd hear his calls and find a way to him. "I was scared, I was as alone as I've ever been before and I didn't know where to go or what to do. She didn't answer." He didn't know what that said about her, or what it said about him... or the Immortals in general, that none of them truly came to him when he needed it the most. "Greyhide stayed with me through it all, though. Faith dedicated everything to save me... and they both succeeded. Karem herself emerged afterwards... she marked me, but honestly I think it was more just as part of the deal for rewarding Greyhide for his loyalty and courage." The wolf looked away in embarrassment. Though Traveller would never truly understand human speech, Greyhide, being a former human himself, understood every word.

Nani sighed softly. "Be that as it may..." she started, but one look to Nir'weis face and she decided it'd be better to change the subject. "Well, it's wonderful to have you back again at last. I must confess, we repurposed your room into a new trophy room and the bed was taken apart for furniture, so I hope you won't mind sleeping on the floor, if you plan on sleeping with us at all." Her tone very clearly assumed that he would not be, and of course she was absolutely right. He'd shunned even a perfectly comfortable bed for the great outdoors many a time in his younger years. He'd sooner visit the old stomping ground and set up camp in the same place he'd done it the last ten arcs. At least then he could set up the heavy canvas so that Traveller would have a nice spot of shelter to sleep under for the night, as opposed to curling up at the base of the tree and hoping for the best.

"Wait." Nani paused, shoulders visibly tense and posture stiff. "You haven't told me anything about what's happened here. How's Aunt Ol'ma, how's Ganda and the rest?"

Nani had never been one to hold back on anything. With all the stuff he'd explained at excruciating detail, he would have thought she'd be practically exploding with talk on all the good things that he'd missed, all the cheer and well-wishes and this and that. Instead she turned, smiled, and said "Oh, you don't want to hear about all that. Now, why don't you grab your saddlebags and whatnot and let me take a look through them? If everything in those are as worn and torn as what you're wearing right now, I should say I'm going to have my work cut out for next few arcs..." she grumbled, cracking her knuckles and donning the same expression he'd seen a bare-knuckle boxer take just before entering a ring.
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The Return I.

Postby Nir'wei » Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:07 am

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Ganda, as it turned out, was out doing errands, so the rest of the trial was spent exclusively with Nani, rifling through all the possessions he'd brought with him for the journey. Two heavy canvas saddlebags, three large strapped sacks. She emptied them unceremoniously all over the living room floor, and he balked slightly at the realization that he'd packed more animal cleaning tools than clothes. As a matter of fact, he'd pretty much packed everything that he owned... and he owned more tools than he did clothes. Maybe it was time to do some actual clothes-shopping or something.

Nani set about stitching together what she could, salvaging ruined rags to create new patches for his less worn gear. He outright refused to let her disassemble any of the bags to make more patches for his clothes, however. The bags were good quality, the clothes were not - he'd sooner just buy new clothes than disassemble perfectly good gear to help some shoddy gear last a few trials longer, and when he told her so, she nodded with a smile, as if confirming something. Was she trying to see whether he'd held onto the lessons she'd taught him? "Well you've obviously forgotten to take a good wash once every other trial, so I just wanted to make sure that rot hadn't stolen any of your senses. Barring sense of smell. I can tell that much has gone."

He rolled his eyes, but Greyhide nudged him playfully. "Finally, someone that agrees with me," the wolf muttered.

They spent much of the remainder of the trial cleaning and fixing old clothes, sharpening and storing away all the tools into all the inconvenient little pockets of his backpack, until a loud shout near to the door announced Ganda's arrival. "I've got this," Nir'wei sighed. He should have known that leaving Traveller to guard the door would have been a horrible mistake. Stepping outside, he found the old man already kneeling on the ground before Traveller, a nocked bow in his hands and the arrow being raised and drawn with Traveller's head as the target. "WOAH, WOAH WOAH!" He ran down the stairs as fast as he dared, waving his arms as he immediately pushed himself between the curious beast and the seasoned hunter. "Take it easy, just put the bow down please. He's with me." The old man had gained a fair few wrinkles, but he handled that bow as well as he ever had, and even as he lowered the bow and removed the arrow, his hand hovered around his pocket, where Nir'wei knew he'd find a hidden cache of thick-bladed throwing knives. "He's perfectly trained and very friendly--"

"What're you doing here?" Ganda interjected, cutting Nir'wei off mid-sentence. "Who told you about the funeral? Was it Aunt Ol'ma? I told her not to we all had--"

"What funeral?" Something really wasn't adding up here. Ganda kept glancing back up to the Sohr Khal, but he had a good reason to now; the inquisitive eagerness in Traveller's eyes was gone and he shuffled uneasily, glancing back between the old man and Nir'wei as if deciding whether or not it was time to take action.

Ganda looked away, suddenly looking very uneasy. "It's nothing." Nir'wei started to press and Ganda clapped a hand on his shoulder with a surprising deal of force; Traveller growled, but the wrinkled man didn't pull back. He'd never been an easy one to shake, but when Nir'wei looked into his eyes, he saw... real concern. The kind that didn't just come from ordinary worry. "It's. Nothing. There was an accident out in the forest and your poor cousin Mal'pau drank from a spring when he really shouldn't have, ended up catching something horrible. Everything went downhill very fast and he kept saying he was fine and refusing to go to the doctors. By the time Aunt Ol'ma managed to drag him there by his ear, it'd already spread too far and before they knew it, there were some complications and... well." It sounded horrible. He remembered his cousin very fondly, as a matter of fact. He'd never been for Nir'wei in the same way as Ganda and Nani, but they'd played games together, hung out...

"Look. Come to the funeral, be with the family, show your face a little... maybe leave that thing at home..." he motioned with a hand vaguely towards Traveller, "... but then I really think you'd be better off leaving. Perhaps a bit quicker than you came, too." He turned and left without another word, climbing up the stairs three-at-a-time. By the time Nir'wei had regained his spilled wits, Ganda had apparently already turned in for the night, and Nani was getting ready to join him. Taking the sign to leave, Nir'wei repacked his clean clothes and set about finding a space to sleep for the night. Even after finding arguably one of the better spots and setting up a full tent, complete with overhead canopy for Traveller to avoid the rain, he didn't get any. His mind was too full of questions he wouldn't get any answers to.

Continued here.
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The Return I.

Postby Zipper » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:23 pm

Overview : "He should have known that leaving Traveller to guard the door would have been a horrible mistake." Cause he basic, yo.

This thread was an excellent showcase for the cowardice, entitlement, and smug primadonna-like nature of the weak-willed Sohr Khal creature. Even Aunt Ol'ma hates that wretched creature, and I can't blame her. You managed to convey Nir'wei's disgust, his sickly unease at the low cunning of such a craven creature, and his covert carthasis at forcing the monster through foliage it can't fit through. I hope you're rid of it soon.


@Nirwei
Points : XP: 10/10
Loot/Injuries/Overstepping :  Light cuts on the man and the monster
Knowledge : Knowledge: Mount (Sohr Khal): Making yourself as small as possible during descent.
Mount (Sohr Khal): Bracing before landing impact.
Mount (Sohr Khal): Picking the best landing positions from the air.
Fieldcraft: Using spare canvas as a makeshift roof.
Fieldcraft: Trees make good anchoring points for structures.
Fieldcraft: Picking the best location to set up camp to leave plenty of room


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