Private Tales Behind enemy lines..

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Sorai

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She let out a nasal huff and glared at his mocking before wandering outside. Even if she wanted to run, he'd hear her, and how far would she even make it? She'd be a fool to believe she could survive out here on her own. As soon as she was out of sight she cried. She'd never been lost before. She'd never really had to worry about anything and now she was in the worst possible situation she could have ever imagined. She had no idea if her family had even survived the rebellion or what she'd be returning to if she ever could return. Hopelessness, she found, felt empty.

She returned a short time later having dried her tears and picked some forest berries which she set down on the smooth rock that she'd slept on, a little red juice on her lips from those she'd eaten on her way back. She didn't speak to him, but she gestured to the pile of fruit, a mute thanks for allowing her her dignity at least.
 
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Katyr

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Katyr's eyes shot open. "Did you eat those berries?"

There was a quick concern within his voice, a press. He seemed now panicked, but almost worried. Almost. He glanced down at the berries, picking one of them up.

Quickly he pulled himself up from the ground and went over to her. Within the span of a breath he stood besides her. His hands came up to grasp her wrists, fingers folding precisely over the veins. A frown touched his lips.

"Open your eyes." He told her. "Wide."

An intense blue stare met hers if she did as she was told.
 
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Sorai

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"I.." she froze, looking down at the berries and then back to him. She wasn't sure whether she should answer, uncertain if he was angered that she'd assumed to have been allowed to eat, or if there was something wrong with the berries.

She tried to answer and flustered as he came to grasp her wrists.. "Sh..should I not have?..." she swallowed, her breaths frantic in panic as she widened her eyes on his intense gaze as per his instruction. "What are they? They ...looked safe.." she blinked.

She felt dizzy, but it could have been from the panic as much as from whatever berries she'd consumed. Her legs felt weak.. For all she knew she could have moments to live, and the thought caused tears to glisten unshed in her eyes as she stared at him in fear.
 
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Katyr

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He stared into her eyes, frowning for a moment. "They're Guuso Berries."

Katyr said with a frown, lips thinning as he watched the blood vessels in her eyes expand just a little bit. He shook his head.

"They're not deadly." Katyr assured her, though there didn't seem to be any form of relief in his voice. Fingers tightened for a moment, as if taking her pulse. He counted in his head, and then gently let go of her hand. "Some of the Wild Tribe Shamans use them, they induce hallucinations in Elves. Can spark magics."

The Escapee looked at her. "In humans the affect is...pronounced"

They were not yet in the Falwood, but they were in the Anirian Lands that had once been a part of his home. Much of the foliage here was close enough to his homeland that he knew the berries the moment he saw them.

He reached behind himself and grabbed a waterskin.

"Drink this." Katyr urged.
 
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Sorai

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She could feel her heart pounding frantically against her rib cage.. "Not deadly. Great, good.. that's good right?.." She was suddenly very aware of how her mouth moved when she spoke, and they weren't quite matching up with her words.

"Magics?" Sorai frowned, blinking a little less than usual. He'd said to open her eyes wide and she'd forgotten to stop doing so. She looked down at her hands, curling and uncurling her fingers. "I don't want magics.." she muttered and tears welled in her wide open eyes in. She accepted the water skin and drank from it.

Sorai managed only a gulp before realising that she was drinking sand and she choked, dropping the skin to the floor. "Why would y--" she frowned, though when her eyes settled on the water skin she let out a shriek at the sight of tens of roaches skittering out of it. She slammed herself back against the cave wall.

"Katyr!.."

What the fuck was happening?
 
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Katyr

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Kress.

This was going to be worse than he had thought. Katyr knew of the berries only because he had been told never to eat them, trained to stay away from them. They were powerful things, not because of any magic, but because of what they could do once they were eaten.

If someone like him had consumed them it was utterly dangerous. A man capable of magic mimicry could wreak utter havoc if they saw a thousand different things.

Sorai had none, at least from what he knew. A lucky break.

She would suffer through the visions, and they would be delayed by a few hours...but hopefully it would not mean the end of a nearby village. Quickly the Elf moved towards the girl, catching her as she tried to press herself into the cave wall. "Easy."

His voice was soft, calming.

"It's alright." He told her. "Breath."

His touch was surprisingly soft as he tried to calm her, the Elf knowing any violence would only make it worse. Much worse.
 

Sorai

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Sorai didn't feel in control of her own body or mind, and the sensation frightened her more than the thought of death had. She could hardly breathe from the panic and the little cavern around them seemed to expand and shrink and twist the rocks into odd shapes.

She felt hands on her and heard the voice echoing in her mind over and over, and she repeated them under her breath.

"Easy...Breathe...Easy....Easy.... It's alright....Breathe...Breathe.."

She tried breathing with her eyes closed for a moment, finding a grip on Katyr's shirt and clinging onto it as she tried to calm herself, though when she eventually opened her eyes she let out a shriek and tried to push back into the wall again.

Katyr's form had shifted to something far more monstrous and it's serrated teeth were grinning wide at her. His eyes were orbs of pure black, with no white nor iris and his tongue was forked as it lashed out toward her.

"It's not real it's not real it's not real. Make me sleep!! Please!" she begged.
 
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Katyr

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The Elf grimaced as Sorai began to panic.

He watched a different sort of fear suddenly flicker through her. Not the terror that he had inflected on her, not the horror of facing death. It was something else. Torture. A look that he might have seen in the mirror. A look that he might have witnessed from himself.

Pity flowed through him. Lips thinned for a brief moment, and he glanced down at his hands. He grimaced, and then suddenly the tattoos on his flesh pulsed.

The black veins encapsulating his skin seemed to scream out for a moment. For Sorai they would seem to writhe and wriggle like snakes, shifting and moving beneath the Elf's flesh. They looked almost as though they were going to lash out.

Then he reached up. "Okay.

Katyr said softly.

"Sleep." His finger touched her head, and then suddenly a wash of exhaustion would drift over the young girl. The Abyss of sleep seizing her.
 
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Sorai

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She was certain that her chest was mere moments away from bursting wide open as her heart thrashed. She was certain she could feel it try to claw its way out, that the tears that rolled down her cheeks were not tears but blood, that the skin was peeling off of her flesh.

Her body shook, wracked with sobs as she watched those snakes slither under the surface of Katyr's skin.

"It's.... not..... real......."

The moment his fingertip touched her head her muscles eased, her shoulders no longer shaking and slumping instead as she looked up at him, her eyes heavy. She drew in a few deep breaths as her mind slowly drifted and her body fell limp as the peace of darkness consumed her.
 
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Katyr

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It was days before Sorai would awake.

The berries she had eaten would have only lasted for a night, but the recovery was often a...process. The Shamans often thought of the journey home after the trip almost as important as the trip itself. A way of finding oneself after seeing a new part of their mind.

Katyr did not have time to allow Sorai that time, that rest.

Instead he decided to carry the girl.

The Elf allowed her rest, for the night, but the following day he began to carry her. Her weight was tied onto his back, her things thrown onto his belt or tied to his side. His progress was slow, but by the time Sorai awoke she would find them at the true edge of the Falwood.

A small fire flickered in a clearing, Sorai lay on what appeared to be a massive leaf folded three or four times. There was a rabbit roasting over the fire, it's scent flowing through the air.
 

Sorai

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Her dreams were vivid and surreal. She was lost in the Falwood, except somehow, she wasn’t afraid as she should have been. She should’ve realised then that it was a dream. In the Falwood in her mind she found a sense of peace and connection that she never had in Vel Anir. Everything was bright and beautiful and pure and she felt her very soul breathe it in.

As she walked the winding paths through the trees, she was very aware that she was being watched. More and more eyes surrounded her, and here and there she caught sight of people moving between the trees. Still, she couldn’t summon the fear that she should have had. There didn’t seem to be hostility, and rather the atmosphere was one of warm curiosity.

“My name is Sorai…You don’t have to hide.”

Elves. Adults and children surrounded her, the children coming closer to inspect her ears as she crouched down to greet them. They smiled and took her hands, and she was led to their home. Beautiful homes had been built into the trees, carved with ivy and forest animals. On the ground, the elves sat around camp fires, playing music and dancing, and together they welcomed her.

She became one of them. There was no desire to return home, not when she’d found where her soul was at peace. She knew them, and they her, and she spoke like them, dressed like them, hunted and played and danced with them.

Until the humans came.

The fires burned through her home, their arrows skewered her friends and her family non discriminately. She drowned in the sounds of screams of fear, of grief and pain, and she begged the soldiers to stop. She was Sorai, a highborn Anirian, but they laughed in her face and struck her on the side of the head.

Sorai fell, her hand reaching to the bleeding wound, and when her fingertips met her ear it was no longer curved, and instead it was as pointed as the elves who fell around her.

The place they dragged her to was dark, damp and foul smelling. She was chained to a wall, denied food or water. Every few days they dragged her out to hurt her, and the more she screamed, the more they seemed to enjoy it.

“Hold her down..”

The voice was her father’s, and by his instruction she was pressed down onto a table, staring up at him as he looked down at her with disgust.

“You’re no daughter of mine.” Was all he said at her protest, and she felt his knife hot against her ear as he sliced it off.

Sorai’s scream carried from her dream into her waking moments, her hands slamming over her ears as she woke in panic, her breathing laboured and her skin glistening in cold sweat. That she was somewhere entirely unknown to her did not help with her disorientation, and her head whipped this way and that as she sat bolt upright. Senses were slow to return to her, and she pressed her palms into the leafy bed she lay in in confusion.

It was the smell of the cooking meat that called her attention to the fire. She recalled the hunger she’d felt in her dream. It’d felt real, and her stomach tightened at the thought of food. She remembered everything else too. The peace, the terror, the pain, the anger. It gripped her all at once and her hands covered her mouth as she tried and failed not to cry.
 
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Katyr

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Katyr offered her a surprisingly sympathetic look.

There was nothing he could say to her, nothing that he could offer her as a piece of advice. He had never eaten the berries, never gone under the ceremony or performed the rites. What insight had he to offer save for rumor and stories told by the firelight.

Over the last few days he had felt her nightmares. On his back Sorai had twitched and mumbled, whispered an quietly screamed as she'd suffered through visions of another life. The Elf knew what it was like to feel tortures of the mind, along with those of the body.

It was not the same though.

What he had endured had been brought forth by others.

Dreadlords and Human nobles probing his mind, making him see nightmares that were not his own. Sorai had experienced something alltogether different, something created by her own thoughts, her own mind.

A fate that was perhaps more.

"Take deep breaths." He advised her as more of reality faded onto her mind. His expression was stern, watchful.

Katyr had no idea what other effects the berries might hold, what they might have brought to the forefront of her mind. For the Wilders it brought forth magic, perhaps it would be the same for the girl. Though in truth he had no idea.

"Touch the ground, rocks." Katyr told her. "Anchor yourself."

To know she was awake, gone from the dreams.
 
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Sorai

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His voice rumbled in her ears like soft rolling thunder, dragging her further back into her reality and though it may have been a frightening one, right here and now she told herself that she wasn't in any imminent danger. She drew in deep lungfuls of air and the breaths shuddered from her lips as her shoulders shook. Her hands ran into her hair, pushing the sweaty locks back from her face and her eyes closed as she focused on a few more deep breaths.

She did as he asked and let a hand fall to the pine needle carpet beside her, her fingertips drifting over the dirt and rocks before she grabbed a handful of it and let her eyes close. Her breaths slowly calmed and her tears came to a stop, but she felt far more exhausted than she should have considering how long she'd slept.. At the thought, her eyes opened and she looked up at him..

"How long was I out?... Are we.. In the Falwood?.." she asked, looking up at the trees that seemed far taller than any she'd seen around Vel Anir.
 
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Katyr

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Katyr nodded, though only slightly. "On the very edge."

There was still one human city that stood between them and his home, a fact that he was loathe to think about. Yet the trees here, the animals, they were of the Falwood. Traveling here alone for most of her kind was dangerous. Things could often go wrong for those who did not respect the wood.

"You were out for..." He considered a moment. "Two days, almost three now."

That seemed right.

When the canopy grew thick it was not always the easiest to tell just how much time had passed, and in truth Katyr had not paid too much attention. His focus had been on keeping on, moving forward. Always in his mind there was a chase, and he had wanted to keep ahead.

Reaching over the elf grabbed up a waterskin, offering it towards Sorai. "Drink."

He told her softly.
 
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Sorai

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Days?..

"Gods." she muttered under her breath as she looked around, hugging her knees to her chest. "You carried me all this way?.." she frowned. Was it really that important to him to bring her?

She hadn't been awake to pay attention to the way in which they'd travelled, and so she was about as lost as she could possibly be now. It was difficult not to look afraid of that thought as she stared through the trees and her heart continued to pound in her chest.

The offer of water dragged her gaze back to the elf, and after a moment of consideration she reached to take the water skin from him and took a few small sips, dragging the back of her hand across her dry lips.

"Thank you." she sighed sombrely.
 
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Katyr

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He nodded. "I did."

A part of him had been concerned at first that they might stumble upon a group of humans. In his time an elf carrying someone like her would have created a mob. Luckily no one had crossed their path, a small blessing that he was thankful for.

When she thanked him he only nodded his head.

"Your journey..." The Elf began, a hint of curiosity in his voice. "What did you see?"

From what she had muttered in her sleep, it had not been pleasant.

Katyr had always been curious, wondered what the Shamans and their apprentices saw during their escapades. It was said the experience was spiritual, but if Sorai's reaction was anything to go off of, he guessed it was less than such.
 

Sorai

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Sorai settled her chin on her knees, her brown eyes rising to look at him as he questioned her. Her brow furrowed slightly, but she assumed he'd meant her dream. It wasn't the sort of dream that she normally had, one that seemed like a distant memory, or patchy. It was as though she'd lived it all, and waking up had been a relief, and yet, she felt an ache in her chest that none of it had been real at all.

She swallowed. "I dreamt that I was imprisoned, and tortured.." she answered quietly, her skin chilling at the memory.. "It seemed so..real."

"Remind me to ask you before I decide to eat forest berries in future.." she frowned and bowed her head to rest it on her knees with a deep huff. She'd been out for almost three days and yet she felt exhausted.
 
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Katyr

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"Interesting." Katyr mused for a few moments. He wondered if that had been because of him, a reflection of the stories that he had told her. Had his own experiences somehow been mirrored upon her?

His magic reflecting onto her own consciousness?

Lips thinned, and slowly he shook his head. Sorai had to magic of her own, and thus his abilities should not have touched her. Not even with how close they'd been over the last few days.

"The most dangerous thing in the Falwood is not the Elves nor the creatures that roam it's forests." Katyr mused. "But the plants that grow in every corner."

He watched her for a moment. "You will need some rest ye-"

The words died on his tongue, his head snapping to the side slightly as though he'd heard something. Almost immediately he stood, his boot kicking sand over the flame in the center of the cave. The fire doused in just a second, and he motioned for Sorai to be silent.
 
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Sorai

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Sorai listened to him with a soft frown as he taught her first lesson in survival. As though the elves and beasts she'd heard of were not frightening enough, she had to worry about the damned forest itself. She'd seen and worked with many different plants and roots in her training, but she'd never been this far from home, and already, many things were different.. She hadn't even set foot in the Falwood yet. She hugged her knees tightly at the thought.

She hadn't heard anything, but as Katyr's head snapped to the side, so too did hers. She watched him, eyes wide as he doused the fire and had been about to ask what it was before he silenced her. She got herself to her feet and remained still, following his gaze through the trees. Her heart was pounding. Elves, were her first worry. Some bloodthirsty beast, her second. Humans, her third.

Please be a deer..
 
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Katyr

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"I swear I saw that fucking Knife-Ear run this way, Ser."

The voice carried through the cave, echoing out from someone who must have stood just beyond the entrance. It was a harsh and guttural tone, marked by a low-Anirian accent.

Katyr didn't recognize it, he had never heard such a dialect before. Yet the words were all too clear. His fingers tightened for a brief moment, and slowly he pulled the knife from his belt. Sorai would be able to see him, in the small flickers of the embers just below.

His entire body was tense, ready to snap.

"Don't know why you're lookin for 'im. He was runnin' with a girl bu-"

"Quiet."

There was a hiss, a much more stern tone. This tone Katyr recognized. Not the voice itself, no, but it was the educated words that he noted. Fingers tightened even more as he waited.

"In there, Ser."

What followed next was the sound of falling boots on stone.
 
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