Private Tales A new world

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

  1. Raigryn Vayd

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    His legs soon ached. Rushing down the stairs hewn into the cliffs worked muscles that were not used to being worked. He doubted the orc's bodies complained in the same way. What had been tiny black dots on the cliff had taken form when he checked over his shoulder.

    "Don't...stop..." he called out between breaths.

    Heavy breathing, harsh growls and clattering weapons seemed to close in all around them. As if a feral world was swallowing them up. Raigryn panted his foot and stopped suddenly. One of the orcs was running across the rocky ground above the carved out track and leaped towards him.

    Raigryn called on his Desire again, drawing deep to take gravity away from his attacker. The orc continued overhead and Raigryn swung from low to high, gutting the orc as he passed overhead and covering himself with putrid gore. It was a strange situation having blood rain down as he felt a pulse-quickening well of undirected desire. He couldn't draw on that aspect for a while now.

    Raigryn set himself in a defensive stance and counted how many orcs were coming down the cliffside. It was too many.
     
  2. Fife

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    Fife Terrible Thief, Worse Empath

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    Fife gritted her teeth and kept going, denying the awful urge to look back. She could and did, however, glance briefly to the side in time to see a tall, dark silhouette in her periphery.

    Strangely rational in that moment, thanks to the Tranquility, she drew on her bright stores of Joy. She was already quick and deft on the run, and with the extra speed she was there and gone in a moment. Fife had issues controlling this Aspect most of the three she had yet learned to use, and she staggered when her body slowed, nearly a hundred meters further down the path than she'd been but a few moments prior.

    Pitching precariously to the side, she would have normally taken the risk of falling as it came. But today she recklessly slammed into that store of Tranquility. It felt like the flow of water sounded, soothing and peaceful, and her foot caught a lip of rock in time to correct herself. Her mind was foggy and clear at the same time, and she easily understood that she was pushing her limits. She could deal with that later, though; it was preferable to the alternative: certain death by orcs.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  3. Raigryn Vayd

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    "Stand!"

    Apparently one of the orcs knew some human. Raigryn drawing on his Aspects to stay light on his feet and keep outside of each sweep of the axe angered him enough to use it.

    He had to keep his own fear in check now. Regardless of what his powers drew forth if he allowed his emotions to rule him then he lost his power of them.

    Two more orcs reached him. One dashed across the rocks to pass him, the other dropped into the pathway with a spear. Raigryn swung for the one trying to get past, his blade biting into a calf and sending the orc tumbling. At least it couldn't run down Fife. He paid for that, the head of an orc's spear slicing the sling behind his should blade as he tried to turn away.
     
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  4. Fife

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    Fife Terrible Thief, Worse Empath

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    Dipping below the first ridge between Raigryn and the gate, out of sight of her mentor and the orcs, she set a determined pace. Carefully watching the path in front of her, she used short, calculated bursts of Joy to shorten the time it took her to get there and Tranquility to steady her footing when her feet fell on loose patches of gravel and snow. She could hear a single pursuer behind her but her mind was perfectly quiet, devoid of fear and calm in the singleness of her task.

    When at last the gate was in sight, so were a few dwarves: guards on the next rise. Fife carefully slid down a mix of ice and gravel before sprinting into a hollow. For the first time, she stopped, heaving for breath, and shoved her fingers into her mouth. A sharp, shrill whistle cracked across the mountainside, and two dwarves turned toward her in surprise.

    Fife quickly rested her index fingers against her bottom lip, jutting them upward to emulate orc tusks, and then pointed up the rise behind her. Turning to look behind her, the pursuing orc popped over the ridge with perfect timing for emphasis. It looked down at her, snarling in anger before it noticed the dwarves and skidded to a stop. Fife was already scrambling away, running toward the guards.

    But her energy was flagging. Her mind was foggy and the clarity that had carried her this far was dwindling. Panting, she looked up at the dwarves and pointed back again, cursing her throat for the silence that prevented her from saying what she needed to.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  5. Raigryn Vayd

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    Raigryn growled at the pain. The orc he had wounded carried on at a much slower pace down the mountain. That left him with two. Whilst it had been a long time since he had balanced the mental stress of being on a full battlefield he could still handle a small skirmish. He carefully balanced his own mental load whilst drawing strength from his opponents. Taking the edge off their anger and turning it into his own strength.

    The bloodied head of the spear thrust for him again. He turned his body aside, letting his left hand slid from the hilt of his sword to pin the spear to his side. With a touch of Fury he brought the sword down and cut through the haft. He didn't cut it cleanly but as he skipped back down the steps the orc was left with a spearhead flopping around. It was thrown to the steps and clattered down past Raigryn. As Raigryn parried several swings from the second orc he cursed the spearman's short sword and bound it to its scabbard.

    He was left slowly trying to gain an opening against just one orc. His opponent had the higher ground but Raigryn had his routines mapped out already. Yet before he found that moment to turn his defensive posture into a counter attack a third orc joined the group. The spearman had now abandoned his sword short, taking up a dagger and scrambling up over the rocks. He would probably now try and get behind Raigryn.

    The two orcs ahead of him kept forcing him back down the stairs. He doubted they would tire before he did. The onslaught left him few opportunities to strike back. They were increasingly frustrated that the old man was keeping them at bay, the sound of their weapons clashing ringing out across the mountainside.

    They did not know how much he had survived to get here. Worse than a few blight orcs, but in those times he had been prepared and wearing armour. The pain across his back was growing, the warmth of his own blood spreading through his underlayers.

    Raigryn heard the third orc drop into the carved out path a distance behind him. He hoped that Fife had made it back. If he fell here, he thought to himself, at least the dwarves would look after him. They were set in their ways but some of those ways were worth keeping. They would find even an orphaned human boy some work to do.
     
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  6. Fife

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    Fife Terrible Thief, Worse Empath

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    The guard nearest to her lifted the crossbow at their side, quickly firing at the orc. There was a second metallic twang and whizz of the other guard doing the same followed by an angry snarl by the orc as it retreated back over the ridge. Little of which Fife saw or noticed. The world was stained bright and sickly with color, the snow and rocks blues and purples as she struggled up the path. Taking the ridge with haste, the closer guard descended toward her. They grabbed Fife's arm when they reached her, hauling her upright.

    "...there more of them?" she finally heard them saying when they gave her a firm shake, and Fife nodded, pointing back again. That must have been all the dwarf needed. The dwarf turned to another guard, who had since appeared over the rise, and said something in their native language. Looking back from where she'd come, Fife could see that the other guard she'd first seen already giving chase and the newcomer followed the same path.

    There was a stark disconnect between her concern for Raigryn and the growing quiet in her mind. As she watched the dwarves go, she struggled to grasp that feeling of fear that had pushed her so hard. It must have been the third or fourth iteration when she heard the first guard speaking to her, and she still had to look down and focus before she heard their frustrated question.

    "Come, boy, answer me. Were you alone?"

    Fife shook her head, staring blankly at the dwarf. She managed to raise a single finger, then point once more up the hill. The dwarf nodded, then turned her back onto the path.

    "Can you get to the gate?" Fife only nodded, and the guard walked with her to the top of the path before letting her go and following the rest of them.

    She moved toward the gate, having to focus on the steps in front of her. Though her mind was foggy, her vision was vivid and crisp, the colors oversaturated and every minute detail sharp. It was disorienting and she knew she should have been concerned, but that veil between her and her concern kept such thoughts from truly sinking in. The gate was, however, deceptively far -- just like that crag they'd been making toward.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  7. Raigryn Vayd

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    "Good...fight," the orc growled. Compared to Raigryn he was barely breathing. He held his crude sword up easily, point towards Raigryn's neck. The creature gave a slow nod of respect.

    Looking down at the shattered remains of his stolen sword, Raigryn sighed and tossed it to the ground. There were two wounded orcs left on the trail behind them, but the Empath knew that he was done. He couldn't keep fighting like he used to and now he was unarmed and on the lower ground.

    Everything, everyone had an end. The balance had to be maintained by every life form, in every use of magic. That was the truth taught to every Empath. Even this orc played its part. He tried not to wince. He was prepared for what would come next, but he didn't want to suffer.

    An orcish cry came from behind him. The warrior before him took his gaze away. The opening was just enough for Raigryn to throw himself backwards. He tumbled several feet, harsh corners of stone stairs causing even more pain before he found his footing.

    There was an orc rushing up the stairs towards him but perhaps he could use his position to disarm him. The orc's eyes went wide. Not because of the unarmed, wounded old man rushing down towards him, but because of the tip of the crossbow bolt protruding from his chest.
     
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  8. Fife

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    Fife Terrible Thief, Worse Empath

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    The gate was so far away, and yet it never left her sight. She wasn't sure how long it took her to get there, the whole trek just blurring together into one constant stream of color and light as she kept putting one foot in front of the other.

    But when she got close to the first guard post, somebody ushered her in. They asked questions she couldn't answer, vaguely gesturing half-formed responses to what she could. She hadn't seen how many orcs there were and could only indicate the direction she'd first heard them from.

    When they were finished, a younger guard escorted her the rest of the way to the gate. They sat her down by a fire in a room that she didn't know the intended use of, and she waited. She didn't know what she was waiting for: for Raigryn to return or for someone to tell her that he wouldn't be returning. Fife stared at the fire, its colors streaking and bleeding into one another in a flickering dance.

    Raigryn was going to be angry, but the dread or fear or shame didn't sink in like it should have. He would make a proper example of this, saying some wise words on the matter, relate it to some grander lesson in Empathy, and tell her to never do it again. If he was alive, anyway. That didn't seem to rankle her as it should have, though she knew it would later. She should have been afraid, or even sad, but that fog still lingered, barring her from feeling much of anything.

    But she was waiting -- for something.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  9. Raigryn Vayd

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    Half an hour passed before Raigryn appeared at the door. A stout dwarf was under his left arm, taking most of his weight. Blood was smeared down the left hand side of his face from a gash just below the line of his hair. He winced with every step.

    There was no anger on his face, no disappointment. Relief flooded through the pain that had his face screwed up. It slowly turned to a smile and finally a grimace.

    "Come here lad. You're not hurt?" he asked, waving Fife towards him with his free arm.
     
  10. Fife

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    She lost track of time, not really caring. Nobody bothered her and nobody came for her. Fife simply sat there, staring at the fire at times and others her eyes drifting to random places in the room. When the door opened, it took her a full moment to blink and turn, and another to realize it was Raigryn.

    So he was alive. She took stock of his appearance, seeing the cut on his face, his limp, and his haggard expression. But he looked relieved to see her. In her right mind, she might have been a sniveling mess after rightly thinking he'd died. Rising, she calmly walked to his side. Fife shook her head in response, her expression blank. She didn't lie to him. She wasn't hurt, per se, unless he considered a throbbing headache an injury.

    But she pointed to him, as she came near, then raked her fingers over the left side of her face in the place where he appeared to be hurt. You're hurt. She was about the same height as the dwarf, which wasn't saying much in comparison to Raigryn, but she moved to slip herself under his arm and help bring him toward a seat.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  11. Raigryn Vayd

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    His eyes fell and rose as Fife approached, looking for any sign he had been hurt. The lad must have been quick down the stairs. Even a wounded orc could cover ground with long, swift strides.

    "The face always bleeds more than its hurting," he said to Fife miming his injury. "The one across my shoulder will be worse, no doubt."

    When Fife moved to try and support him Raigryn wrapped his arm around Fife's shoulders. Instead of leaning any weight on the boy he gave him a firm squeeze.

    "I'm glad you're not hurt," he said softly. He accepted their help towards a bench that creaked under his weight. Outside he heard a loud rhythmic jangle of metal. "Dwarves on the march," he murmured to Fife. They would reinforce the gate and send soldiers out in numbers into the mountains. Dwarves would be swarming the area in the coming days looking for trouble.
     
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  12. Fife

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    He wasn't wrong about the bleeding. The blood streaked down his features appeared cherry-bright in her current state. It was hard to look away from, but she settled under his arm. She would feel good about his relief, that arm around her shoulder that squeezed her gently, later. For now, she focused on getting him to a seat, even if she didn't really help much.

    They turned toward the sound of marching dwarves and she simply nodded as she stood beside him. It may not have been the best luck on their part that they had been on that slope, but it may yet prove to have been a luckier outcome overall.

    Fife quietly whistled his name to get his attention, made the same raking motion with her hand over her shoulder before holding her fingers out toward his. You hurt your shoulder?

    She didn't touch him, but she couldn't help touching the wet fur across his back. Her fingers came away smeared sickeningly bright red. Blinking, she wiped it on her own furs and looked back to him for whatever response he might have to her vague query.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  13. Raigryn Vayd

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    "Oi, Lynmeer!" the dwarf who had helped him inside shouted out of the room. When no one replied he marched away with a huff.

    Raigryn tried to smile at Fife. "It's not so bad. I'm just not as quick as I used to be. Never thought orcs would come this close. Should have taken my sword."

    His own sword wasn't magical. It was just well forged steel. It wouldn't have broken on him.

    The dwarf returned with who Raigryn assumed was Lynmeer. From the way he approached and wrapped calloused hands around his jaw and tilted his head to check the wounds he assumed he was a medic. Lynmeer moved to his back. There was a tug and the sound of fabric being torn.

    "Ah, ye old man will be fine lad," he told Fife, smiling through his thick beard. "Just a few stitches needed. Onri! My bags!"

    "You don't have to stay for this bit," Raigryn said with a wince.
     
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  14. Fife

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    It didn't look like it wasn't so bad, but she didn't argue. She patted his arm when he voiced his regrets, hoping to mitigate some of his concern, but lacking any greater way of conveying that he couldn't have known. Today was supposed to have been a special treat, of taking her to see the sights for the first time. Instead, she'd pushed her Empathy way too far and he'd nearly been cut down by orcs on the mountainside.

    Bad luck seemed to follow them, and she had a moment to wonder if it wasn't her own before the dwarf returned with a companion. Fife stepped aside, and the newcomer immediately took Raigryn's face, turning it for inspection before walking around to his back. Her brows rose as the medic ripped open the back of his shirt, the first true change in her expression since he'd been brought in as she saw the glaring stripe of red across his shoulders.

    Though she was certain she wouldn't have been so steady under normal circumstances, that distinct foggy absence of feeling made it easier to shake her head, point to herself then the ground, and give him a thumb's up. I'll be fine here. She doubted this was the worst thing she'd ever seen, nor would it be the worst if he was so hellbent on getting into trouble at every turn of their travels.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  15. Raigryn Vayd

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    Raigryn started to shrug and then gasped at the cut being pulled. He rolled his eyes at Fife instead. The pain was very different when you were in the middle of a fight and waiting to be stitched up afterwards.

    Despite the fire his hands trembled as he under his furs and slipped off his coat. The adrenaline was very slowly ebbing away.

    "Sit, relax, check on the eight," he told Fife. He was aware that the boy had probably drawn too deep the flee down the mountainside from an orc. When it was life or death caution tended to go to the wind.

    Lynmeer returned with his box and a younger assistant. He helped raigryn take off his shirt and then offered him a shot of whiskey. That was accepted gratefully before he laid down on his front. Lynmeer threaded the catgut through the fine, curved needle and went to work.

    "I'll stitch this better than some've these were," the dwarf explained. A few of the scars across his back didn't appear to have healed neatly. Raigryn remained silent, eyes squeezed shut and breathing through his nose.
     
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  16. Fife

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    Though she watched with a distant sort of neutrality, Fife still felt bad. This was Raigryn, after all, and no amount fog in her mind could truly push her concern fully out. She stepped forward when he began to shrug off the furs and coat, helping him take them off and folding them over her arm. They were soaked, but the dark cloak and red coat masked the blood too well.

    He told her to sit, and she hesitated for a moment before folding his things and sitting down. Fife closed her eyes and focused on her Aspects. She was pretty sure she knew the damages before she even got to them, and the difficulty she had reaching them reinforced her thoughts.

    Lynmeer returned before she could do much more and she settled in to wait. She was as good as useless to the surgeon, but she sat by and watched with a small frown forming a crease between her brows. Eventually she had to look away, the bright ruby color of his wound seeming to make her eyes throb worse from her headache. Looking at the coat and cloak in her lap didn't make it any better.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
  17. Raigryn Vayd

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    "Fife?" he asked. Raigryn turned his head towards the boy. He couldnt keep the grimace from his face; being stitched hurt. They were using a strong thread for the deep gouge.

    "We can get someone to take you back to the inn if you want?" he asked. He objectively knew that this wasn't his fault. The dwarves had always kept the lands around their gateway fortresses clear. Bad timing, rotten luck. They were both alive though, even if his body didn't heal like it used to.

    Charity was often the most difficult aspect to come by. Honest selflessness was rare during hard times and Raigryn did not have much stored up. Even if he used it all he might only half the time it took to close up the wound.
     
  18. Fife

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    Fife looked up when Raigryn spoke, but shook her head fervently at the question. She didn't want to go, wanted very much to stay even in her foggy state of being. Hastily pointing to herself, she jabbed it toward the ground several times. I want to stay here. She pointed to herself again, cut her hands across her neck as negation, held up her index fingers close together before shifting one away, then pointed at him. I'm not leaving you.

    Her gestures were quick, leaving little time for him to interpret each sign before she moved on, but her face remained calm though still frowning slightly. For once, Fife had a lot to say and the inhibitions that generally prevented her from thinking of ways of expressing herself were loosened temporarily.

    Indicating herself once more, she made a running gesture with her fingers, then quickly cycled through her numbers before tossing her hands away. I'm always running away. Still not finished, Fife pointed to herself, dragged her hands from her shoulders down her chest as she made a sagging expression, and ran her fingers once more. I'm tired of running.

    It was definitely one of the longest string of statements she'd ever thrown at him, and he probably wasn't in the best circumstance to be trying to understand her. If it took repeating, she'd do so more patiently, but getting the words off of her shoulders and at least trying to convey them was important.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  19. Raigryn Vayd

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    "You can stay if you want but..." Raigryn hissed softly in pain. His top lip curled up over his teeth. Behind him the dwarf drew the needle away from his skin, drawing the catgut thread through.

    Raigryn knew the needle was only some of the distance up the length of the gouge. This was going to go on for some time more. He braced as the tip of the needle returned to his skin but focused on Fife.

    "But I didn't get all of that. You want to stay then you're running..." he waited until he started to repeat himself.

    "You've already run to exhaustion? No. You're tired and you've...no. You're fed up of running.

    "Its okay that you ran away today Fife. But I am going to have to teach you to do more than that with your magic."
     
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  20. Fife

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    Fife was patient, spared from her usual frustration when Raigryn took a few tries to understand her. But he seemed to get it, in spite of having his back stitched up. Her eyes glanced over to the surgeon's work, and that bright ruby color staining his hands and the rag he used to clean the area before beginning the next stitch.

    She knew it was okay, but that didn't make it any easier. Even though she could do literal magic, she was still a veritable useless child. As a grown woman, that reality burned her even through that numbing haze. Nodding in agreement, she pointed to herself, held out her hands palm up and grasped them towards herself, then hesitated.

    I want...

    Frowning, she looked down. What did she want? How could she possibly say all that she wanted? She wanted to be useful. She wanted to be able to stand up for herself. She wanted him to stop getting hurt everywhere they went. She wanted to be something other than a burden to him, a worry over his shoulder. That was far too much to even attempt right now, however. Fife shook her head, waving a hand dismissively. She fiddled with his coat, folding it more neatly in her lap. It transferred blood onto her hand, which she wiped on her dark trousers.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
  21. Raigryn Vayd

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    It was like trying to see the detail in a distant town through the fog. It wasn't just his pain that obscured Fife's feelings from him. Nor was it the training to keep other Empaths out; that was closer to a sheer wall obscuring your view. Fife had burned through his Aspects too quickly. It was more than that: he was simply out of emotional balance after their experience.

    "Hey," he murmured. His eyes squeezed shut to the cadence of the medic's sewing. He reached out towards Fife, his hand open, palm upwards. "Take a breath," he said as he offered his hand.

    The boy had been through a difficult upbringing, more than Raigryn could understand. The old man had wanted to break his walls and show him how grand the whole world was and perhaps he had been too eager. Too eager to impress someone again. To leave a mark on the world as he treaded so quietly through his waning years.
     
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  22. Fife

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    Fife looked up from her fussing, met his dark eyes before he reached out his hand. She looked at it for a breath, then looked back up at him with obvious uncertainty. Very slowly, she placed her hand in his. Her hands were small and coarse, familiar with hard conditions. She had very few memories of having her hand held, and all of them from her actual youth. The only human contact she'd had since those few instances had been unkind and cruel -- except for Raigryn's reassuring and comforting hand.

    It rankled a feeling somewhere beyond that fog, a joy that seemed distant and other. But it was something. So instead of overthinking, she followed his instruction. She drew a deep, steadying breath and closed her eyes. Though she was already in an objectively tranquil state, she began with her usual exercises of clearing out her mind, pushing out her thoughts.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  23. Raigryn Vayd

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    "Good," Raigryn murmured, leaving Fife to his mental mental exercises. At least, that had been his intention.

    "Fuck," he growled, opening his hand to avoid squashing Fife's.

    "Sorry," muttered the healer, though there was little hint of apology in his tone. "Healing salve. Feels like burning, eh?"

    Raigryn raised an eyebrow in Fife's direction. "Yes. Like you'd actually set me on fire."

    Lynmeer stepped around him with a wad of thick, bitter-smelling salve on his thumb. Before Raigryn could protest it was smeared into the gouge on his forehead. There was no swearing this time.
     
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  24. Fife

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    Taking a breath, then another, she swept out her mind. She had practiced it enough in the last month to be getting fairly good at it, and the overuse of tranquility helped her empty every stray thought from her head until it was only silence. Fife had begun to focus on her emotions, striving to return to balance when Raigryn cursed. She blinked her eyes open, looking to him first and then Lynmeer.

    Standing, Fife stepped out of his way as he rounded his patient and smeared something on the cut on Raigryn's forehead. Clutching his things to her chest, she leaned to peer around the dwarf and watch. She hadn't witnessed or received much medical attention in her time, and was admittedly curious. Her tutor didn't look like he was enjoying whatever it was.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  25. Raigryn Vayd

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    The next morning

    As Fife left her room a young dwarf was leaving Raigryn's. His beard - nearly as short as Raigryn's - made this apparent. When he saw Fife he gave a friendly wave.

    "Sorry I don't have time to stay!" he apologised to Fife without context. The dwarf turned and took the stairs in a hurry.

    "Fife?" came Raigryn's voice from his room. He had stayed there since returning from the garrison at the main gate. With only a small meal, but a good few beers, he had gone to sleep early.
     
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