Tales A new world

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Raigryn Vayd, Nov 22, 2018.

  1. Raigryn Vayd

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    "The guards were first. Two armed naga watched the prisoners. They don't build great things, but they had fashioned carts with cages to carry their prisoners away. The mage struck at dawn, when the air was cold and the cold blooded creatures were sluggish.

    "The first one he split in two with his sword. Both halves of the snake writhing on the ground. A curse he set upon the second's spear so that it wouldn't leave the naga's hand when it tried to throw it."

    He grinned and paused for another swig of his drink. The bartender had already set another one next to him. It was yet to be seen whether Fife's nursed drink would have more of an effect than the series of flaggons Raigryn seemed determined to work through.

    "Even without a weapon a naga is a fearsome creature. Its bite can pierce right through steel," it couldn't, "and their poison can blind you with just a drop." also an exaggeration.

    "But just as it opened its mouth the cunning mage conjured fire from his bare hands and burned the snake from the inside out!"
     
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  2. Fife

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    She absentmindedly reached for a piece of the pie's crust to nibble on as she listened. Her eyes might have been fixed on Raigryn, but she was seeing something far away. Fife may not have been too fond of getting too close the action of a fight, but she liked to imagine herself in such stories. Fashioning herself as this wisened mage protagonist, venturing into certain peril to rescue the daughter of a friend was a story she hadn't expected when she'd voted for nagas, but it was one she was thoroughly happy with.

    Her recent discovery of her own magical abilities and their potential added a point of interest, and she chewed mindlessly on the crust as her mind illustrated the narrative he provided. She recalled the curse she'd seen Raigryn set on the crossbow the first nights they'd first met, and her mind replayed the sound -- the snap and crack of it breaking -- over the action she was picturing in her mind.

    It was about then that she paused her chewing, her eyes narrowing as she watched him continue. Surely not, she told herself, dismissing the thought. But as he went on, it niggled at the back of her mind. This couldn't have been a story he knew firsthand. She was going to go out of her mind if it was; was there anything this crazy old man hadn't done?? Fife put the crust on the table and took a drink, never taking her narrowed, suspicious gaze off Raigryn.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  3. Raigryn Vayd

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    "Now this is the dark part of the story. The Allirian Reach in autumn is cold in the mornings. Frost all across the ground under a blanket of mists. The other naga stirred, but slowly.

    "In the cages he could see the prisoners. But they could not run. They had been mistreated, underfed. The daughter of the family was there, pale and gaunt. He realised that even if he broke them free that they could not escape before the naga would chase them down."

    Raigeyn paused to shake his head slowly." So he turned on the rest of the raiders. Sword in hand he charged them. Calling upon magical shards of energy to cut them down, swinging his sword and darting away from the jaws and spears. One last warrior came at him with a crude blade fashioned of iron. The mage backed away, parrying frantically, on his left and right as the naga started to wake and overpower him.

    "Just as it seemed that the mage had come all this way to fail, the naga's sword broke. The crude iron was no match for dwarven forged steel." There was a murmur of agreement.

    "It shattered, the broken blade still cutting across his collar bone." Raigryn drew a line down the left side of his chest. "The mage put all his might into one last thrust and ran the naga through, blade piercing its dark heart."
     
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  4. Fife

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    Perhaps this story wasn't about him after all, she decided as he continued. She sigh with relief and her face resumed its normal features. The tale was taking a darker turn, and she once more began nibbling absentmindedly. A good story was more than bravado and bloodshed, and though the room turned somber for a moment, it was quickly turned around by the hero's final battle.

    There was a raucous cheer through the room as the last naga was defeated, and Fife pitched in a short whistle to the brief celebration. Their hero wasn't out of the woods yet, at she didn't think so. At least she hoped he wasn't. The return home was as important as the adventure, she knew. She sipped her drink, having put down a fair portion of her refill already.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  5. Raigryn Vayd

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    Raigryn wasn't sure quite how to tell the next part of the tale. He hadn't told the story before; it had only happened to him a few months ago.

    As he would often do in a story where he had started to forget details, he let a very serious expression cross his face and fell silent to create a dramatic pause to cover himself.

    When he spoke again the smile was gone, his voice become so soft that several dwarves craned closer to listen.

    "The battle mage looked back at his friends' daughter. She had always seen him as a kindly uncle who brought magic tricks to her birthdays to entertain her friends. She was a kindly girl. He stood there before her with his bloodied sword, armour soaked in the fresh gore of her captors and he knew she would never smile at him the same way again. When he opened the cages she didn't hug him. She looked up at him with sad, thankful eyes and they walked back to their homes.

    "When they returned the baron payed a reward for his son's betrothed. The mage made a polite show of not wanting to take it, before walking away with the coin. The baron cared not for the return of the rest of his farm hands. He was not a good man.

    "The mage had been working to a plan when he introduced the baron's naive son to the girl. She was kind and maybe the people of the estate would get a better life when the bitter old baron passed away. She was kind. And so she would never, look at the mage the same away again."
     
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  6. Fife

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    She didn't know what she had been hoping for in the ending -- for a happy reunion, a hero's welcome, the return of normalcy and joy to the lives of the suffering. But as Raigryn's story came to a close, she felt her heart growing weary, her expression tightening to one of sadness. Perhaps she had chosen the wrong story. It wasn't what she had expected, almost too real to be a story at all.

    Almost too real.

    Fife sat quietly and somberly, her mind turning with questions. Stories were often shaped from life, and while she wanted such a daring tale to be true, she also didn't. Had real people suffered for it? Or was it a yarn invented in the wake of growing fears of invading creatures? Frowning into her ale in contemplation, she once again wondered if this was a tale he'd experienced first-hand or if it had been passed to him. Either he was one hell of a storyteller, or his sober expression was from real memories.

    She drank the last of her ale, knowing it may not be wise to ask. He had indulged her curiosity often, but she knew better than to go poking sticks into cages of beasts she knew well.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  7. Raigryn Vayd

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    "Wow I'd make that ending a little happier," one of the dwarves reflected.

    "Nah, makes you think at the end. Good stories do that," another interjected.

    Raigryn laughed, colour coming back to his face. He wiped some foam from his lips on his sleeve.

    "Well," he said, "you know a story with a mixed ending might be real. Nothing ever goes perfectly."

    "Yeah...or it was real and they changed the ending cos it made the story shite!" one of the dwarves said to a round of laughter.

    Raigryn moved from the centre of attention, more conversation about the Naga threat starting up.

    "Want another drink Fife or want to head back?"
     
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  8. Fife

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    She listened to the banter, her eyes set on the last man to comment before a round of laughter broke through the room. As Raigryn returned to the table and sat down she sifted her gaze to watch him thoughtfully. Gods forbid the story was true, only to hear such a grave thing mocked -- worse yet if it was one he knew personally. Wanting to show some degree of camaraderie to combat the negative reviews, raised her hands in a small, near-silent show of applause as he took his seat. It had been a good story, in spite of its awfully realistic ending. Inside her mind, she was itching to ask him about its origins, but he asked after her drink first.

    Blinking was a task that required deliberate thought, but she frowned into her cup and gave it a moment's consideration before she shrugged and held her empty mug up to him. Why not; she was already unsure how well she'd be able to walk when he wanted to leave. If he was going to have to carry her like the damn lightweight she was, she might as well go all out.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  9. Raigryn Vayd

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    The bar was busy enough now that several waiters were moving between the tables taking coin from patrons directly and refilling mugs from great pitchers.

    "Dwarven constitution is such that dwarves have to drink a lot of strong beer to get merry," he laughed as their drinks were filled. His mug was more than topped off but by this point no one was bothered about some spilled beer across some tables. The bar. The floor. Beards.

    "I'm sure you'll be fine with one more," he chuckled. He drained nearly a third of his mug one one go. "Damn, but they know how to brew here. You enjoyed the story?"
     
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  10. Fife

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    Fife's smile was a bit lazy and overexcited, and she gladly took a sip of the fresh ale. The foam ticked her lip, and that was somehow funnier now than it had been earlier. Raigryn remarked on the raucous dwarves' consumption, accounting it to their sturdy constitutions. Their ale was more flavorful, but it was starting to work a number on her that she fully expected to regret later.

    He asked after her opinion on the story, and she contemplated it for several moments with a somber face. She gave him a thumb up: I liked it. But then her smile wilted and she drew the path of a tear down her cheek. But it was sad.

    She watched him for several long moments, but decided to let it go. If the story was true, Fife didn't think she wanted to know. A part of her already suspected what his answer would be -- the sad cast of his face and the soft tone of voice in which he'd spoken had felt too genuine to be good storytelling. She decided to let that beast lie until he saw fit to tell her himself.

    She gestured to him, drew a smile on her face, opened and closed her hand like that talking goose that turned into a poetic flourish toward the room. Did you enjoy telling your story?

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  11. Raigryn Vayd

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    It was becoming a little more arduous to turn the wheels and follow what Fife was asking now. This time the boy made his question obvious enough and the light of understanding appeared after just a few seconds.

    "Of course, grandest thing to tell a good story!" A pause.

    "Oh," he added. Fife had been denied a voice and had been one of the people who could have done with one the most.

    "Well...when we've finished your studies you'll be able to write up any adventures you go on yourself. There's an art to the written word just as much as the spoken!"
     
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  12. Fife

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    His reply made her smile ruefully and look away with a long sigh. She reached up to scratch the lunasloth, which had finally finished her painfully slow meal and appeared ready to begin her crawl back toward Fife's shoulder. When he seemed to realize what he'd said, she waved a hand dismissively and tried to offer him a more genuine smile.

    She couldn't blame him for not realizing what he was saying to her until after it had already been spoken. It had to be hard, imagining what it was like without a voice. Gods, it was hard for her to imagine the opposite. She didn't have the first idea of how people made the various letter sounds, what their tongues were doing behind their teeth. They lived in two different worlds, and she had learned to accept it.

    At the promise of writing, smiling became a bit easier and she nodded. I'd like that. Though she wasn't great with her letters yet, a sound means of communication excited her beyond description. She was already feeling warm and tingly from the ale, but the reminder of his continued kindness made her feel a flicker of warmth between her lungs. He was too nice. She hoped that whatever reward he got out of teaching her all of this was worth it.

    To get away from the strangely sentimental feeling, Fife indicated Jocelyn and held up her fingers to indicated a portion of the pie that she'd ate, a small bit of laughter hissing out of her otherwise silent mouth. The little creature had had quite a feast, and yet the two of them had failed to finish the whole thing.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  13. Raigryn Vayd

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    "They can eat a lot!" he laughed. "Think it's to do with how quick they move when no one is looking. They eat mountains of insects at night in the wild."

    Raigryn appreciated that he managed to wave away the stumble he had made. He hadn't intended to be mean to the lad and he was glad that they both knew it. The last few weeks he had truly enjoyed having a travelling companion again. It was the first time in years. Fife found everything outside of his experience fascinating, and his world had been so small.

    "They live east of these mountains actually. South East. Well, you wouldn't even know were in a mountain would you. We'll go outside and you'll see tomorrow. You'll need to wrap up warm though."

    Raigryn looked into the bottom of his mug as if it held an answer to some question he carried. In truth he was considering whether he should get Fife back responsibly.

    "Drink up and we'll go get some rest. Unless you think you can manage another half."
     
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  14. Fife

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    Fife smiled and scratched at Jocelyn's ear, her face shifting from intent to pleasure at the same tediously slow pace as always. She listened to Raigryn carefully, giving him her undivided attention as usual, except her eyes were half-lidded, appearing sleepy. Her lazy smile turned into one of greater excitement when he offered to take her to the surface the following day, and she nodded eagerly. The rough motion made her head feel as though it were full of slush and she put a hand to her temple, frowning slightly.

    He bid her drink up, then changed his mind and asked if she could manage more, and Fife subdued a timely hiccup. She shook her head and held up what was left in her glass, drank it down, then grimaced. That was probably more than enough. Her stomach nearly hurt from all of the food and drink she'd put into it, and she felt like she could have curled up on the floor and slept right there with all the ruckus around them.

    She was definitely regretting her evening's choices when Raigryn finally finished his own drink and they rose to leave. Fife teetered to the side, and was grateful she hadn't picked up Jocelyn. Managing to right her balance -- barely so -- she placed a steadying hand on the table.

    Oh no.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  15. Raigryn Vayd

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    "Oh dear," he said, scooping up Jocelyn and popping her on his own shoulder. He wasn't being a very responsible guardian. Still, a boy needed to learn to handle his drink eventually. He hadn't given him so much he would pass out or spew all across the floor. At least Raigryn hoped that was the case.

    "Come on, wrap your arm around me," he said, standing beside Fife. The lad was too short for him to get an arm underneath his own shoulder. Instead he dropped his arm across Fife's shoulders and took a fistful of his tunic. This way they could walk together and hopefully he could keep him upright.

    "Bed isn't far from here, don't worry," he chuckled.
     
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  16. Fife

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    Not too proud to take help when she needed it, Fife nodded and wrapped her arm around Raigryn as they began their trek home. Between her anchoring grip and the weight of his arm over her shoulders, she wasn't too wobbly. If she was, she was as slight as a twig and his hand easily corrected her.

    She whistled one of the bawdy dwarven tunes and was generally a but giggly, intermittently pausing her song with little hissing outbursts. Fife didn't laugh often, the sound of a voiceless laugh just odd enough for her to be self-conscious of it. But with her inhibitions loosened as they were, she forgot about that.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  17. Raigryn Vayd

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    "So you enjoyed the dwarven tavern?" he laughed as they walked. It was a little selfish, but he enjoyed a measure of pride at seeing him happy. The world had been a difficult place for Fife. It was selfish to take pleasure in seeing him enjoying their travels when there were thousands mote in trouble. He knew it. He knew that his time to make grand changes to the world had passed him by.

    They marched across the dwarven city. The floor laid more straight and smooth than any she would have seen in a human building. He pushed open the door to their Inn, the dwarf behind a table laughed at the sight of them.

    "I won't wake ye for breakfast then!"
     
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  18. Fife

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    She nodded up at Raigryn, breaking between one song and another. Of course she had enjoyed it -- she had yet to truly dislike anything they'd done or anywhere they'd been. Well. Except for that first evening at that one fellow's. The skinny merchant. What was his name? She couldn't recall presently. And the night she'd tried to rob him, too. Although, it was arguably the best night of her life, considering how it had changed the course of her fate. Her mind meandered through a myriad of thoughts, constantly moving.

    Their walk wasn't too far and was made shorter by the way time was getting weird in her head. It felt like they'd been just outside the tavern, and then suddenly he was opening the door to an inn. Based on the dwarf's remark, she must have looked a lot worse than she felt.

    The stairs were an obstacle she wouldn't have been able to manage at any reasonable pace without Raigryn's help, and even so, it was still slow moving. She paused at one point midway, gasping sharply and looking at him with concern, thinking they'd forgotten the horses before almost immediately remembering that they were tucked away safely in a stable somewhere, and continued on without trying to say anything.

    The moment he pointed her toward anything that remotely looked like a place to lie down for the night, she shucked off her jacket and laid down with a lazy thump, not even bothering to take off any further layers. Raising a hand to her tutor, she waved as a simple means to lump together "good night" and "thank you." When she could even think well enough to sign tomorrow, she'd revisit this night. For now, however, this night was swiftly coming to a close as she closed her eyes.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  19. Raigryn Vayd

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    Raigryn was too tired to bother helping Fife to undress. He seemed quite content to just collapse in his clothes so Raigryn left him to it. The door closed, but opened again a few minutes later. Treading as quietly as he could, he left a large mug of water on the bedside table.

    Maybe he should have stopped the boy at a half. You could drink the beer they used instead of water in the big human cities all day and barely get a light buzz. Dwarven beer was brewed much stronger. Still, he was young and would bounce back. A good learning experience.



    Raigryn was not young. That was the thought that entered his mind when he blearily blinked his eyes open. It was a very long way from the worst hangover he had lived through, but there was a distinct ache behind his eyes.

    There was no hour candle in his room. No sun to give him an indication of the time. Fresh mountain air was supposedly good for a hangover but he had no intention of tackling the mountain passes until he had a good meal inside of him. Should probably check in case Fife had chundered on the sheets.
     
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  20. Fife

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    On their relatively peaceful journey, her nightmares had persisted, though at a lesser frequency than when she was in Elbion. This night she had slept like a log, free of any horrors -- a rarity. Nestled deep in the heart of the mountain, there was neither sunline nor the chirping of birds to wake her. Rather, she would have been content to sleep for days, still sprawled across the top of her blanket where she'd fallen the night before.

    That is, if the door hadn't opened. Though she had slept like slipping into a small death, she was still a relatively light sleeper and the sound of the door jarred her awake. Propping herself up on her elbows, squinting into the dim light and trying to make sense of it. What time was it? How long had she been asleep? Fife called out to Raigryn, using his whistle as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

    Her head felt like it had been stuffed with cotton instead of her brain: lighter than it should have been and strangely buoyant on top of her neck. She had apparently slept well enough to ignore her churning stomach, which was a mix of hunger and regrets from the previous night's libations.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  21. Raigryn Vayd

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    The door opened a little wider, framing Raigryn's silhouette. Despite the years, he still stood tall, shoulders broad. If one squinted they could still see the fearsome battlemage who had once carved a path across the field.

    His smile was shadowed, but his voice was soft. "Hanging in there lad? There's some food on the cooker and tea being brewed downstairs if you want to join me?"

    The chuckle suggested that his sympathy didn't run too deep. Fife wasn't in any real danger after all. It was a good lesson. Not the kind he had been teaching her so far.
     
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  22. Fife

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    It was indeed Raigryn. She nodded to his inquiry. Though she didn't feel the best at that moment, she had felt a lot worse on a few occasions. Fife pushed herself up further; one of her feet must have hung off the bed all night, but it made it easier to get them both on the ground and sit up.

    The world chanted to one side suddenly, and she took several long moments to steady herself. Her stomach clenched and her throat was tingling. No. No no no, there would be none of that. Fife swallowed back the feeling and gently stood up.

    She washed her face and hands in the basin, then gave her tunic a brief inspection. When had she spilled on her tunic? The tawny collar showed the telltale spill of ale on the front. She considered her options, and decided that she'd rather change and chuck on her nice yellow tunic than embody the look of regret in every sense. Very carefully, she bent to dig her other tunic out of her things. Changing felt like it took forever, as though she were moving at Jocelyn's pace today. That was fine. She changed without incident, picked her coat up off the floor, and walked out to meet Raigryn in the hall.

    Obviously struggling, she still raised a thumb up to him. The first of the day's battles had been won -- barely, but it was a victory nonetheless.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     

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