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There are tales of ghouls and the dead rising along the Eastern Allir Reaches. The Templar chapter based of Allria has gone to investigate the matter... and perhaps bring to an end to whoever is at the root of this evil...

Interested? Find out more here.

OOC:
A necromancer seems to be ravaging the Eastern Allir Reaches(near the spine). Some of the Templars are trying to stop him/her. Feel free to join in as a survivor, a passerby, maybe the necromancers servant!

Tales Out of Place

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Hath Charosh, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. Scabhair

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    "Interesting is one word for it, yes." Her lips quirked up at the corners as she cast him a sideways glance. "She's never forgiven my mother for falling in love with an elf. A heated night under the stars, certainly, but love?" Scabhair shook her head and resisted the urge to roll her eyes. It used to be a sore spot – she was a walking reminder of the permanency of the union, after all – but after Elbion her brand of intolerance seemed little more than gentle jibing.

    "Mhatharra is a proud leader. Sometimes so proud she can't see the earth she walks on for the stars."

    She rose at his prompt, whistling Inodeirr along as they wandered out of the verdant copse and back onto scorched ground. "Any other clans nearby?" she asked at length, the both of them content to keep a slower pace after that little race.
     
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  2. Hath Charosh

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    "Ah," went Hath as they walked. Inodeirr walked beside them, but occasionally bounded a little way ahead. He wasn't sure if she was merely restless or hoping the orcs would break into a run again.

    Hath was aware that he had made rather blunt comments about elves on several occasions around her. Even had his prejudices pulled up once. He wondered if she had thought going to a great college where knowledge was held sacred would have put an end to such treatment. He wasn't about to feel sorry for her; that would betray his respect for her. It was interesting to understand more of where she came from.

    "Mathmawr are too large to come here. They're the largest in the region. Red Fist might come. Jintakki might, we've had a good bond with them for years now. Joined us when we saw off some human settlers.

    "Kardidua always has the clan in mind before anything else. I'm sure Mhatharra still saw your value to the clan," he said.
     
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  3. Scabhair

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    His answer brightened up her face with a grin.

    “That’s good to hear. Our Rites are always lonely.” There was little contact between the tribes of the steppe, the distances so vast that most modes of communication was uselessly slow. They weren’t hostile to each other, but they rarely met outside the largest gatherings.

    “Oh, she did,” said Scabhair with a snort. “She saw my value so much she always sent me the farthest out when we had to hunt. I got familiar with the Spine early on.”

    Sometimes she thought Mhatharra just hoped she’d die in those woods; to the wolves, to the humans, to the gnolls, to the trolls – there were plenty of dangers that could fell a young orc, gathamhr or not.
     
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  4. Hath Charosh

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    #229 Hath Charosh, Dec 6, 2018 at 8:14 AM
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 8:35 AM
    Her grin was infectious. Hath smiled far more easily near the relative safety of home and with the celebrations ahead of them. Even when he wasn't throwing himself into the event, one could appreciate the importance of the day, enjoy watching as orcs painted themselves up before proving their skills. The pyre was tall, the flames reaching towards the the skies and Lessat as she eclipsed the light. Then there would be the constant drumbeats as the music started and the shamans prepared the herbs for the flames that would bring the visions. He could almost hear it, smell it now, echoes on his senses of events gone past.

    It did not sound that Scabhair had been given the easiest lot in life at any time. She didn't need his sympathy for that, though he did wonder how her life might have gone without the prejudice. Hath had always lived on the fringes of his tribe's social order, believing that to be his choice.

    "You are a fine hunter now, I trust you started to end up disappointing her with an excellent return on your journeys."

    Whilst Hath would follow the wind and his feet for long periods at a time he still savoured those moments when he was afforded some respect by the tribe. When they moved in larger parties during the wet season he was often assigned younger hunters to lead them and to teach them.

    "If you see any of the young bloods trying to prove themselves who could make good trackers and hunters do point them out to me," he said. "Sometimes I get a say in who I get to teach and they might still expect that of me before we head north."

    "Easy to get distracted by the wrestling and fighting," he laughed. "Especially with other tribes here. They'll pad up weapons and do some one on one fighting and I expect some crowds when the best of each tribe stands up. Archery is... Less exciting to watch."
     
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  5. Scabhair

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    #230 Scabhair, Dec 6, 2018 at 1:15 PM
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 4:00 AM
    She rolled her shoulders in a shrug. “Yeah, when I got older. Finally stopped calling me half-blood when I got back from the college.” It helped that she’d recalculated their migration patterns so they cut a month of travel from their yearly rides.

    “I’ll keep an eye out,” she said with a nod, mouth curling up again. “Not if you do it from the back of a gathamhr.”

    Losing the race was no deterrent. There was always room to strive higher, be better, improve on mistakes until nothing proved an obstacle anymore.

    “Maybe I’ll do that to make things more fair.”
     
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  6. Hath Charosh

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    The wince that crossed his face at the story of the label she had lived with soon vanished at her challenge.

    Hath tried very hard - and failed - to keep the amusement from his lips when he replied.

    "Well, Inodeirr will be out here. But what we can do is get you a stump to sit on when shooting. That will make it fair."
     
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  7. Scabhair

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    “Implying I need something between my legs to shoot straight?” She threw her head back with a long laugh and clapped his shoulder.

    “We’re not allowed to take a bow into saddle until we can hit a tent peg at a hundred paces. And that’s the bare minimum.” Scabhair turned over her right hand to show the ring resting against the last knuckle of her thumb. Besides the shallow notch where the string would rest at draw, the band of bone bore two more markings cut into the concave hollow.

    “This one is for felling a Huungok scout with a single arrow.” Scabhair sobered here, a furrow forming in her brow. “He would’ve gone back to his hunting party, led them to our tribe. It would’ve been a slaughter, with tens of warriors killed on both sides.” For all the lives she regretted taking, he wasn’t one of them.

    “And this one is from ra Bhreagchuirtneamhabhartha, five years past now.” Her mouth quirked up again. “First time I outshot my aunt.”
     
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  8. Hath Charosh

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    "I might be in trouble then," he laughed. A tent peg at a hundred paces was not a laughing matter. He gave some consideration to whether or nor he could even manage that.

    He brought up his right hand and slapped it against the outside of his left forearm. A mark of respect, but typically used for an achievement whilst a fist to the chest was mark of respect in greeting.

    It was probably time to stop goading seeing as Scabhair already seemed settled on the notion of proving herself and the worth of her own tribe during the Rites. Whilst there was always an emphasis on the young bloods starting to prove their skills to the tribe the experienced hands still tested their mettle against one another. With several tribes gathered there would be more focus on that side of the Rites than usual.

    "I'd need a still day to hit that peg," he admitted after giving it some thought. "Heard of some human horse archers that draw with the thumb but never saw it before." Hath looked from her hand to his own, mimicking the way he drew with his two fingers before twisting his wrist to a thumb draw. It seemed quite an unnatural position to him. The pads of his two draw fingers were slightly lighter than the others, the skin having formed a thicker layer.
     
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  9. Scabhair

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    “We’ll see. Anything can happen. Might be the wind spirits lead your arrow true.” She shrugged her shoulders and quickened her step after Inodeirr, who’d gained near-to half a mile on them while they blathered. Outside of hunting, the gathamhr was markedly short on patience.

    “I can show you a bit when we get back, if you’d like. Unless we’ll be needed for the preparations?” If there were other clans coming, then surely land would need to be cleared of stones. There was never enough firewood for the pyre either, and the overlap between felling men and felling trees was surprisingly narrow. Took quite a bit more to put down an oak.

    Once the Pale Grove had disappeared behind them, Scabhair finally stopped and gestured to the open plain. “This should be far enough, no?”
     
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  10. Hath Charosh

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    "This should be fine," he asserted. He didn't think any clans would come through this way to their home and it put Inodeirr outside of the usual hunting grounds. Hopefully it was far enough away that she would follow the scent of their livestock all the way back. Hopefully she wouldn't end up full of Charosh arrows.

    "We may well need to help," he said with a nod of his head. He had to reorientate his thoughts to the question, her jibe having left him thinking that being between her legs wouldn't help either of them shooting.

    "But we'll be afforded time to practise if we're going to shoot during the Rites. Probably best to do that first so we're not shooting from arms wobbling after chopping wood or raising more tents.

    "Guess we can use me as bait to find her again," he said with a soft, baritone chuckle.

    If they could find his uncle they could probably get on hunting duties instead of the manual labour around the camp.

    "So who will you look forward to seeing again from your tribe?" Hath asked suddenly. He assumed her mother at least. Though had she said if her mother was even still with the tribe? He couldn't recall.
     
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  11. Scabhair

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    #236 Scabhair, Dec 8, 2018 at 12:05 PM
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 12:16 PM
    Much like orcs did amongst themselves, Scabhair and Inodeirr touched foreheads before parting ways. Anything but tired from the trek, the lion broke into a swift lope, leaving the pair in a cloud of yellow dust as she disappeared into the shimmering horizon. Likely she’d already picked up on some old trail and was on her way to a late lunch.

    As if on cue, her own stomach made a noise of protest.

    She swung her pack around to fish out some of the leftover jerky as they started back for the camp. After a stretch of silent chewing, Scabhair swallowed and articulated a proper answer. “Mother. The gaggle of gossiping fishwives I’m supposed to call siblings. Ino’s younger sister,” she counted off on her fingers, peering skyward in thought, “the Shaman, and the Shaman’s apprentice.”

    “You have kin other than Bathyr?”
     
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  12. Hath Charosh

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    "My uncle Ghawek is who I look forward to seeing the most," Hath said, before popping another morsel of dried fish into his mouth. There was a hint of a smile on his lips as he chewed. No mate to return to, he noted. Hadn't expected as much but it wasn't as if he had pried into her life in great detail. Neither of them talked a great deal on the road or offered up thoughts unnecessarily.

    "He won't be in the centre of all this," Hath explained. "The best tracker and hunter we have. Never took an interest in clan politics but I ran with him from quite a young age. Taught me most things, other than making arrows. That was Lhovys, she would probably take a good gander at that curvy bow you carry. All my bows are hers," he explained.

    Once you went beyond immediate family in the tribe you went beyond what mattered much beyond the bond that every member of the group shared.

    "Almost miss the crocodile," he reflected as they meandered back towards the tribe. It had lasted a good few days and he had become accustomed to the taste.

    "By the wind I'm not trying to kill one of those myself."
     
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  13. Scabhair

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    “Lhovys – is she family too?” she asked before unsheathing her bow, strung for as long as they travelled outside the safety of the palisades. The bowyer would surely have many questions about the curious shape, especially when she considered the gentle curve of the weapon Hath carried. She’d encountered both in her travels, and various steps in-between.

    It didn’t seem tied to culture so much as to climate, but she had yet to draw some final conclusions. The codex in her pack called to her, unused in well over a week. Winter grew quiet up in the steppes, and Scabhair suspected it wouldn’t be much different here. She’d get her writing in then.

    Footfalls were their only companions for a while further. They’d have enough talking and singing to do on the morrow, when Lessat swallowed the sun and the sky came alive with all the spirits.

    Her throat was always all raw the next day. “What was the best meat you’ve ever had, then?”
     
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  14. Hath Charosh

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    #239 Hath Charosh, Dec 8, 2018 at 1:28 PM
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 1:38 PM
    "She might be Ghawek's aunt," he replied noncommitally before falling silent. It was the point where blood relation fell behind the tribe bond. She was venerable for an orc, certainly into her fifties or sixties.

    They were already passing the Pale Grove when she spoke again. They had spent so many days walking in comfortable silence.

    "Lamb," he replied without a moment's consideration. "Not overcooked like in Elbion. That was something I liked in Bhathairk. Fresh lamb with a little flame and a little spice. You?" They had been served a leg in Elbion but it had been cooked for so long that the meat had been almost falling off the bone. Meat needed some texture to tear into. In Bhathairk they had given it a crust full of flavour but the inside had still been pink and bloody.
     
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  15. Scabhair

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    Scabhair wasn’t nearly so swift with an answer now the question had been turned upon her. Her brow scrunched up in thought as she considered the many flavours she’d tasted on her travels.

    “As little as I care for ships and the sea,” she began at length, “I might have to cast my vote for shark cutlet. That, or braised dwarven ham. It’s a difficult decision, now that I think of it. Is there a traditional dish you prepare for the Great Rites?”

    Back home it was a centaur or two, roasted on a spit and cut off bit by bit until they had a stack of bones to fashion tools from all winter long. She hadn’t yet encountered centaurs in the savannah, though.
     
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  16. Hath Charosh

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    "Gotta braise or slow roast a dwarf," he said in agreement with a nod. It was like mutton, just too tough cooked any other way. But it was always nicely marbled with fat that would melt in time.

    "I would say...more cured meat than usual. They take the time to prepare it over a long time so we have plenty stored up for the Rites. Dog leg is a popular snack. Cooked with capsum seeds, extra spicy.

    "What's a shark?" he asked. He had eaten neither that nor centaur, but knew what the latter was. Suddenly he was looking forward to the feasting as much as all of the other aspects of the rituals to come. He shot Scabhair an easy grin over his shoulder.
     
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  17. Scabhair

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    Dog leg?” she echoed with some incredulity. “I saw plenty of those rangy things stalking around Elbion, but I can’t say I ever felt tempted to throw one on a fire. Seems like you’d barely get more than a few bites before you were gnawing bone.”

    Still, meat was meat. She’d eaten worse in times of need.

    “A shark is… a bigger sort of fish. I’ve never seen a live one, and from what I hear people mostly don’t come back from it. They can only be found in the sea, I believe.” She could count the number of times she’d been on a ship on one hand, and even then they were all those small, coastal affairs. “Stinks like piss when it’s raw, but once you cook it… soft, tender like the ones you catch in the rivers only it’s got more character, you know? More bite.” Her mouth split in a grin. “And you don’t have to salt it.”
     
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  18. Hath Charosh

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    He made a murmur of appreciation. That was something he would try when he was near a fishing community again.

    "The dogs from the savanna are a bit more meaty, but that's why it's a snack! They tend to bother the hunters so we make an effort to hunt them down now. Thins the numbers."

    They were soon approaching the outskirts of the village. Orcs were still playing some practise ball on the open field. Bathyr had the ball and was running. Three orcs were hanging off him and it was barely slowing his stride. A fourth was apparently too many and he stumbled and fell, laughing all the way. The pile on began in earnest.

    "Wont see the ball for another candle mark now," he muttered. "You ever had crab?" he asked suddenly, at the scent of cooking yhe thought of food popping back into his brain after its brief break. "Never seen one, but told they live in hard shells with claws and spines. Sound dreadful, but supposed to be amazing to eat."

    It was the next clearing on where the sound of bow strings twanging could be heard. There were three orcs stood shooting arrows down the range at tightly bound hay made to look like warriors. They had gold targets in the middle of the chest. Lhovys was there, looking over someone's bow. She had a great wrap of spare arrow shafts with her. To his surprise Kardidua was there with one guard, watching Sepdun teaching a young orc he didn't recognise to shoot.
     
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  19. Scabhair

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    It made sense, even though they didn’t have pack hunters in the steppe. Well, besides the gathmahr, and the prides knew well to stay far away from each other’s territories. The only real danger was getting stuck in the middle of the Taagi Baara during summer, when food was scarce, the days long, and the starving predators plenty.

    The open savannah slowly petered back into the village around them. Scabhair shook her head at the wild game, then at the question. “Only heard of them. Another sea animal, I think. Funny thought, isn’t it? A fish with a shell. Wouldn’t they sink?”

    She pushed aside the idle musings as they approached the range, silver eyes snapping into sudden focus on the trio of young archers releasing arrows at the bales. Offering a nod of respect to the chieftain, Scabhair left Hath exchanging words with the other hunter as she made her way to Lhovys.

    Whilst waiting for the bowyer to finish up with the current orc, Scabhair couldn’t help but observe the form of the other Charosh in the field. She’d stood side-by-side with Hath before, but they’d always been shooting at real threats, fighting real battles – there was no time to pore over his style then, and now she was curious.

    “Well? Did you want something?”

    She snapped her eyes back to the elderly woman and dipped her head. “Apologies. And yes. Hath tells me you’d perhaps like to see my bow?”
     
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  20. Hath Charosh

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    "Did he, eh? I wonder why..." the orc fell silent as her eyes flicked to the shape of the bow. She had thick locks of very pale grey hair. The wrinkles across her brow creased as he cast an appraising eye at its curves.

    "You shoot from the back of a horse?" she asked.

    A short distance away Kardidua kept one ear on the teacher she was appraising and the other on the new conversation.

    Hath strung his bow quickly using the inside of his foot again, earning a tssk from the bowyer. She decided not to say anything when Hath started to warm up the bow.

    He stepped up in line with the other orcs and dropped a bundle of arrows at his feet. It would take a few to get the bow truly warmed up and the get sighted. Different conditions meant that the speed of a bow could vary a great deal. He had been using this now for a couple of years now so had a good notion of where to start. He nocked his arrow, leaned forwards at the waist, canting the bow to the right. The bow came up until his arm was straight and his two fingers held the string at eye level. Hath let a slow breath escape his lungs and tightened his core.

    A smooth draw brought his thumb to his cheek and he held for a fraction of a second before releasing. He kept his eyes on the target until he had filled his lungs again. It was a novice mistake to flinch to look for the arrow. Eventually you flinched before the arrow left. He didn't want to make a novice mistake when both Scabhair and Kardidua could see exactly what he was doing.
     
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  21. Scabhair

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    “A lion,” she replied lightly, amusement seeping from her smile to her voice.

    “The belly is Huungok – centaur – horn. The core is black birch, the back is Huungok sinew.” As she explained, Scabhair turned the bow around. “The laths are horn again, and then it’s wrapped in tanned Huungok hide.”

    The scout she’d killed then – he turned out an excellent bow. There was no waste in the steppes.

    After handing the woman her weapon for inspection, Scabhair turned her gaze to the practise range. Even though Hath shot a different bow, with a different draw and different form, she could nonetheless appreciate good marksmanship when she saw it. It was the end result that mattered, and the arrows buried deep in the centre of the bale spoke for themselves.

    “I shall have to unstring and store it for the winter, when the rains come,” she said, turning back to Lhovys. “The hoof glue doesn’t agree with moisture overmuch.”
     
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  22. Hath Charosh

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    "Don't get much rain in winter here," Lhovys explained. "This far south we get a little. Don't leave it strung in our summer. Hot and humid, then hot and dry."

    She twisted the bow so that Scabhair could hold the bow whilst she pulled back the string with bow hands. She cast an expert eye over the curve of the bow as she drew it inch by inch and then let it down just as slowly. With a grunt she gave a sharp nod of appreciation. There was perhaps a touch of disappointment that her eye could not find fault in the manufacture.

    "That is an exceptional bow. If you would like something else for our wet season then Hath knows the trees to fell. His only has glue for the horn and to thicken the..."

    Lhovys looked up at Scabhair sharply, eyes widened a fraction. "Did you say a lion?" she asked suddenly. Distracted by the article before her it had slipped her attention for some time.

    Meanwhile Hath's next three arrows dropped just short of the mark. Red Fletching stood out from the ground. He hadn't changed the point of aim just so he could see if they would group there. Now he knew how the bow was behaving he would change his sighting. He waited for a break in the shooting to retrieve his arrows.
     
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  23. Scabhair

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    “Oh,” she brightened up at the piece of information. “That’s good to hear. I’ve shot the kind you use, but I’m not very good with them.” They weren’t quite as agile in her hand, much longer and heavier than her own. It made shooting from the saddle a hassle, when she could even hit anything.

    It was clear they weren’t nearly so sluggish in the grasp of an experienced user – the Charosh hunters put arrows into their targets at a respectable speed, though they valued accuracy above all. Precision was paramount in hunting – one miss, and hours of tracking could go to waste as an elk took off into the trees.

    War… well, that was another matter altogether.

    “Thank you for the offer, though it seems I won’t need another.” At her reaction, Scabhair only chuckled. “A lioness, yes. Inodeirr. I’ve not brought her into the camp, if the notion worries you. My tribe have a long tradition of riding with her kind, but she is quite content to spend time on her own.”

    They both were. Even between beast and orc, familiarity could breed contempt.
     
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  24. Hath Charosh

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    If this brought relief then no outward sign was shown. Whilst her hands worked the same way every day for decades on end she wasn't frightened on new concepts. If she was then she would never have risen to her skill in her trade.

    However, she did tend to stay within the Penteth during the wet season now and send her apprenticed North with the clan. She did not travel and see new things as often as she once had. Seeing the enormous creature might have triggered an internal battle between wonder and fear.

    "If you need shafts there are plenty here. You are welcome to what you need." The same invitation would not have been extended to those of the visiting tribes, but it was already known that Scabhair was a guest of Charosh. The bowyer simply hadn't been listening when the rumour of the pale lion had been passed around.

    Hath was now jogging back from the targets, arrows in hand. He slowed to a walk to check the fletchings were still neat and tidy before taking up his bow again.
     
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  25. Scabhair

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    She nodded again, running her hand over the smooth grain of the wood. It was pleasant work during the long nights, to sit by the fire and whittle away at the bark and the gnarls, stockpiling the shafts for spring. Wasn’t much to do then but quiet work. If they got lucky the Shaman would feel like weaving a tale – it was then that the whole tribe trickled into the big tent, huddling by the flap if need be.

    Nobody would miss a story.

    Scabhair set her pack down by a stump and knelt to find the codex buried at the bottom. There was no index in the volume; she knew it by heart, and rifled only through a few pages before extracting the parchment she’d been looking for.

    “Here,” she said as she offered it to the woman. “Should you ever want to try your hand at this strange bow.” It was a diagram she’d drawn during a long interrogation with their own bowmaster, and though it was by no means precise, it would likely be enough for an experienced artisan like the Lhovys.

    “Now if you’ll excuse me.” Scabhair turned away with a nod and a smile, eschewing the rest of her extraneous gear as she joined the four hunters in the field. Her own fletching was colourless – or, rather, the plumage of a silver partridge.

    She strode to the far end of the line and found a comfortable patch of ground. With an arrow nocked and three more in her palm, Scabhair pulled with her back, the feathers kissing her cheek for the briefest of moments before she flexed her shoulder just a bit more. Her fingers opened, and the arrow was gone with a sharp snap of string against horn.
     
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