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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...

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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. Hath Charosh

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    #201 Hath Charosh, Dec 3, 2018 at 12:42 PM
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018 at 3:45 PM
    "Where the fuck have you been?"

    A trio of orcs strode out to meet the pair. The one at the centre, leading the group was relatively young. Perhaps in his early twenties. For an orc that was already a seasoned warrior. The two keeping to his shoulders were much older. They had whispy grey hair and distinguished scars. Layers of tattoos covered their bodies. Veterans of the clan whose time to lead had passed them by.

    The one in the centre came to a stop. He pointed a wickedly curved sword at Hath. The blade was worn with many notches. It might once have been a two-handed scimitar, typically wielded by the desert warriors from Amol Kalit.

    Hath gave Scabhair a brief hand signal to stay in place as he walked forwards. He dropped his pack but kept his axe in hand. The two veterans looked entirely disinterested but the orc in the centre puffed out his chest and barred his teeth. Across the shoulders he was half as wide as Hath again. Thick, corded muscles held up the sword as if it were weightless.

    "Went west, then north."

    "Who the fuck is that?" the sword stayed in place but a nod was thrown at Scabhair.

    "Scabhair ri Eine of the Aiforn."

    "What the fuck is that?"

    "Inodeirr. A gathamhr. Giant lion."

    Hath had given almost no information at all but the orc took a few slow seconds to process it. He grunted and dropped his sword to the ground. He beat his chest with one fist and grinned.

    "You look just the same, little brother. "

    Hath dropped his axe, gave a nod and walked forwards. There was a purpose in his stride. Despite the smiles the tension still hung thick in the air.

    "As do you...Bathyr!"

    At the call of his name the larger orc swung his meaty fist. Hath was already moving. He ducked under the arm and drove his shoulder into Bathyr's chest. He got his hand to the back of a knee, pumped his legs and drove his brother to the floor. The ground almost shook.

    Hath cocked his elbow and the sound of each strike his administered to his brother's ribs rang out. Unfortunately he didn't managed to solidify his position and take full advantage of the situation. Bathyr drove his hand under Hath's jaw and pushed him away with raw strength before rolling them over.

    They grunted, snarled and wrestled for position. The two older orcs kept their distance. One of them eyed Scabhair to see if she would interfere.

    Hath struck with an elbow and split a lip. Bathyr spat blood across the ground before managing to pin the offending arm to his chest, taking away most of Hath's ability to fight back. His free hand was so large that he managed to grab Hath's entire face and slam his head down into the ground. He held it down until Hath went limp. A single second seemed to stretch out.

    Bathyr roared in laughed and let go. He slowly stood up before pulling Hath up, who looked slightly shaky on his feet. He grasped Hath around the back of the neck and pressed their foreheads together in an almost affectionate embrace.

    "Good to have you back," Bathyr grunted. "Just in time too."

    "It is good to be here."

    They seperated and Bathyr looked towards Scabhair. "We will have to see the chief. Where did you come from again?" he asked her.
     
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  2. Scabhair

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    Halfway through the spectacle of brotherly reunion, Scabhair found herself… bored.

    It wasn’t that they didn’t fight well. Nor even that she wasn’t interested in their clan. She was simply inured. And, perhaps, a bit indifferent to it all.

    Sometimes, in the dead of night, when sleep wouldn’t come and her eyes would wander so long across the stars that every last constellation dissolved into an unsolvable puzzle of pinpricks – that’s when Scabhair wondered if every orcish custom preserved through millennia, untouched, was worth the effort.

    If words couldn’t find a stronger place among them; if they wouldn’t be the better for it.

    Then they were done, and the massive orc was looking straight at her.

    Scabhair let her lips tug up into a smile, and was surprised to find it sincere. “Manna ri Mladhmanna.” The plains of flames. “Or Taagi Baara, if you’d rather sully your tongue with Steppespeak.”

    She stepped forward and offered her hand to Bathyr with an easy confidence. She’d met his type before; preferred his brother. “You may call me ri Eine if you wish, but Scabhair will do. Shall we?”
     
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  3. Hath Charosh

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    Bathyr's confident expression was slightly undermined by the shift of his gaze towards Inodeirr as she padded forwards. He gripped her forearm and stepped away.

    "Well then, you are welcome."

    Hath had started to look as if he was once again aware of which way was up and which was down. He managed a subtle, apologetic shrug as Bathyr walked towards the camp.

    Having established dominance, his older brother brought a hand up to his jaw and rubbed it. "Got a few good ones in. Something new every time Hath."

    "And the same from you every time," Hath replied. It hardly kept him awake plotting at night, but whenever they were apart he gave some thought to how he might catch his half-brother out the next time.

    "Always works," Bathyr laughed, turning to flash his teeth in a grin and give him a shrug. His eyes looked west to the rising smoke.

    "There's smoke coming from the west, see what happened?" he asked. Hath fell into step a few paces to the left and behind his larger, younger brother.

    "The elves ambushed a force of humans marching this way," Hath explained. His head was still swimming from having it bounced off the ground. If Bathyr had been the elder he suspected he wouldn't be treated like this every time he returned. It was what it was.

    "Fuck!" Bathyr grunted in clear annoyance. "We were going to head out to meet them tomorrow. Did the elves win?"

    "Probably killed them all," Hath said almost apologetically.

    "Fu-uck!" Bathyr added with an angry grunt.

    "There were perhaps six hundred humans," Hath explained. He hoped that being outnumbered at least three to one would make his brother realise that meeting them in open battle would have been a mistake. The news did not have the intended effect.

    "Fuck!" Bathyr shouted to the sky, swinging fists towards the floor in a petulent gesture of frustration. "Those skinny, sneaky little fuckers and their..." he continued muttering curses at elves who had stolen his chance of combat all the way until they reached the circle of huts at the centre of camp.



    An elderly shaman, back as arched as a willow in the wind was conversing with a woman. Bathyr brought them to a halt and waited out of earshot. The shaman tossed some bones into the air, snatched them again with long, wiry fingers. A few moments later and he turned and ambled off away from them.

    Kardidua turned towards the group, gaze slowly moving between Bathyr and Hath. She was shorter than Scabhair, but broader. Around her neck was the jawbone of a much larger creature. Perhaps a troll or ogre. It half covered her mouth. A dark tattoo formed a diamond over her left eye.

    She didn't ask Hath anything as she looked to him. If she had been searching for any answers she found them with what she saw.

    Her gaze settled on Scabhair after giving Inodeirr a cursory glance. She strode out towards her, Barhyr and Hath moving aside with a deferential nod. She didn't stop until she was just feet away. If she was in any way nervous of the enormous gathamhr, it did not show.

    "I am Kardidua, this is my tribe. You are welcome to my food, to my water. See that your companion does not disturb the northern paddocks." A heartbeat of a pause. "Why are you here?" No apology for the question, gaze never left Scabhair as she waited for an answer.
     
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  4. Scabhair

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    #204 Scabhair, Dec 3, 2018 at 5:47 PM
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018 at 6:01 PM
    “Thank you,” Scabhair spoke with a fair measure of esteem now – far more than she’d afforded to Hath’s brother. She dipped her chin but held the keen gaze of the Shaman, well aware how thin the line between respect and obeisance was with orcs.

    Especially orcs you didn’t know.

    “If you show me the appropriate lands for it, I would set Inodeirr out on her own.” It did a lion no good, being cooped up in the same place for days on end. The Great Rite would soon be upon them, and with it the blood, the fighting, and the rutting.

    Even in the Aiforn, gathamhr did not join them in venerating wind and fire. There were places – more mental than physical – where only an orc was ever meant to go.

    “I am here because I walk with Hath,” she said, her voice calm even as she cursed her oversight. She might’ve asked him about his tribe before they barged into the camp.

    No use crying over a snapped bowstring.

    “We intend to continue northward in the spring, but crossing ra Caolas Allire in winter is tantamount to suicide. If you will have me, I can range out farther than the rest of your hunters when game becomes sparse,” she tilted her head towards Inodeirr with a slight smile, “and bring back twice as much.”
     
  5. Hath Charosh

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    Kardidua did not match the smile, she didn't even raise an eyebrow at the bold assertion. Only a hint of a reaction crossed her face at the mention of travelling north in spring. As the chieftain, she gave direction to the tribe, but it was not her duty to tell every orc how to do their job. What every member of the tribe knew was that if they told her something would be done, then there had better be a very good reason for it not to end up done.

    "Out beyond the Pale Grove. Hath knows the way. Not the best hunting grounds but we will have many mouths to feed soon.

    "Bathyr!" she finally called loudly over her shoulder, aware that the hulking warrior would have already grown bored of the conversation. "Find them a tent on the Eastern side."

    He grunted by way of reply. Kardidua brought her right fist to her left shoulder, inclined her head. Then she walked away. That was done and Scabhair was welcome within the tribe's territory. None would question that invitation without word from the chieftain herself.

    Hath offered her a brief smile as they were led away. It was clear that there were a mix of permanent and temporary buildings. The central circle of buildings were all wooden, with decorated fronts. There was little formal structure within the tribe, but if one was invited to live at the centre circle over winter then their voice was carrying weight within the tribe.

    They walked through a wide, open central space. Already the pyre was being assembled in the centre. To the south of it was the great hall, by far the largest building in the village. It could fit nearly the entire tribe if they packed in.

    The buildings on the far side were semi-pemanent. Wooden structures that had been covered with canvas upon the tribe's return. They passed this area too.

    Bathyr found them a tent just outside this. It was just tall enough to stand inside. A circle of beams with a sloping roof, a small porch and wooden doorway holding up the outer tent flaps. Sewn hides of deep brown pulled right across it. It was towards the edges of where the village typically ended. Hath placed relative to his station.

    This time there was a space a few metres across that formed a line outside of these tents before another area that had been flattened out. There were tents more sparsely spread across this ground. The area seemed uninhabited.

    "We really are hosting the Dynngagh?" Hath asked.

    "Yes," his brother replied. "Those that honour our tribe will come soon. It is a good time for the Charosh." There was a curtness to his tone. He did not appreciate Hath spending so much time away from the tribe. He would have preferred another blood ally within the inner circle. He left without another word.

    Hath dropped his bag within the outer doors of the tent, taking up his bow and quiver. Turning to Scabhair there was a subtle change in his demeanour. He looked slightly more at peace, less on edge within the safety of his people.

    "The Chief likes you," he said with a chuckle. "She has been an exceptional leader," he said, the respect in which he held the clan's matriarch clear in his voice.
     
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  6. Scabhair

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    She trailed after Hath with her mouth closed and her eyes open. Though her tongue burned with many questions, Scabhair held it, and drank in the many answers the tribe could provide on its own.

    Their structure was not so different to the circle of tents at home, though the Aiforn never built anything sturdier than houses of canvas. They never stayed anywhere long.

    Her gaze lingered on the massive pyre as they passed, admiring the craftsmanship that went into its assembly. It was no easy task, building a fire this large, then keeping it burning all day long and well into the night. She couldn’t.

    Immediately after discarding her pack at the flap of their tent, Scabhair used the opportunity to indulge a long, full-body stretch. Inodeirr did the same, pawing at the soft dirt in simple pleasure.

    “I’ll take your word for it,” she said with a quirk to her lips. After another glance about she motioned to the gathamhr, who was already peering at the unknown orcs with a particular twinkle in her eye. “Pale Grove, was it? Best get it done sooner rather than later. And—” her brow furrowed here as she raked her brain for a proper translation, “what’s a Dynngagh?”
     
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  7. Hath Charosh

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    #207 Hath Charosh, Dec 4, 2018 at 5:18 AM
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018 at 5:41 AM
    "It means other tribes will be coming here for the eclipse," he said. "It shows something of the standing of the tribe. Twenty years ago we were half the size we are now. Kardidua led us from those bleak times." There was a note of pride in his voice. Not something he expressed very often.

    Hath rolled his shoulders in a much smaller stretch. Apparently he couldn't observe the two of them without at least partially mimicking the gesture. There were now deep lion claw marks on the ground outside the tent. That would be amusing to explain to his neighbours.

    "The Pale Grove is a few miles north west," Hath said before chuckling suddenly. "Other tribes will be fresh kills, hopefully Inodeirr does not catch the scent and follow the visiting tribes in."
     
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  8. Scabhair

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    “How many summers did you have to your name twenty years ago, Hath Charosh?” It wasn’t said with any kind of bite, just mild amusement hidden in the corners of her eyes. She followed him as they slowly began their trek to the Pale Grove. Interesting name, at that. Suppose she’d find out soon enough how the place had earned it.

    “That… could be a problem,” she admitted, casting a glance at the beast that ambled at her side, easily able to match their stride. “I’ll be sure to have a talk about it.” Inodeirr wasn’t as fond of carrion as some of her fellow beasts – her mother’s gathamhr, for example – but they were all practical by nature. Why exert effort when you could just snatch meat off a weaker creature?

    “Could also just venture out further than the grove.”
     
  9. Hath Charosh

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    He chuckled easily at the joke, wasting no time in picking a path through the camp. He enjoyed the dry, subtle sarcasm that shared from time to time. There was a group of orcs on the clearing now. A group of four of them had a vaguely spherical leather ball and were practising changing forwards in a wedge with arms locked.

    "Old enough to reach my uncle's shoulder and skin a deer," Hath replied. That was somewhere between five and seven years. "Old enough to understand how bad the times were for the tribe."

    Old enough to miss his father once he died, but not old enough to understand why some of the warriors left the tribe after he was gone.

    "Your tribe ever settle in one place for very long at a time?" he asked her.
     
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  10. Scabhair

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    Her eyes followed the game with an almost childlike curiosity as they passed, for her people played nothing of the sort. Feats of riding, taming, archery – those were commonplace, but they were little more than training for the war and the hunt, masked by laughter and prizes.

    Though… she could see now how the charge might translate onto the battlefield, with spears raised and warcries echoing to the skies. The ball still confounded her, though.

    “Depends on what you consider long,” Scabhair replied as they slowly put the last of the tents at their backs. It was easy to pass through with a massive lion to part the crowds. “But I wouldn’t say, no. Never long enough to build anything out of wood and stone, anyhow. Everything in the steppe moves, and we move with it. It is often called the sea of grass, the land of the wave. It is not for nothing.”

    A fond smile curled her lips as she talked of her homeland. She liked to think of the wide world as her home, but there was peace in the circle of her tribe that was hard to find anywhere else.
     
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  11. Hath Charosh

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    Hath nodded towards the ball game, following her gaze. "Just practise for now. They'll find a clearing a few hundred paces long and set a hundred orcs on the field. Normally noon the day before the Rites and it goes on til dusk."

    There were normally a handful of the tribe nursing broken bones the day after a game of ball. The result was typically a draw unless someone managed to break free of the crowd with the ball, but no one usually lost their life. Hath noticed the wistful smile as she spoke of home, his gaze lingering longer than necessary.

    "When we travelled to Bhathairk we kept to the southern coast so we did not go far into those lands. I look forwards to you showing them to me. As I look forward to showing you the savanna in the wet season.

    "This..." his arms went wide to encompass the camp, "...was what I thought of as crowded before going inside the walls of Elbion."
     
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  12. Scabhair

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    “Really?” She glanced over her shoulder with raised brows. “What’s the point of it?” She’d encountered sports before, of course. Humans had plenty of them, especially those in the Amol-Kalit. Sometimes it seemed like very village and town had invented a game of some sort, and each were equally fervent about it.

    Quickening her step, Scabhair caught up with Hath again, an amused smile playing at her lips. “What did you think of Bhathairk, then? Of civilised orcs?” Sarcasm dripped off the word as she emulated the articulation and stance of their northern cousins. It had always struck her odd that they styled themselves as such. An orc was an orc; no amount of fancy clothes could change the black blood in your veins.

    “It is good you’re used to the emptiness,” she added, gesturing to the fields opening beyond the cluster of trees protecting the camp. “I’ve travelled with people who couldn’t stomach it. Curled up crying every night because they couldn’t see where the land ended and began. No walls, no trees, no mountains.”

    Scabhair let out a wistful sigh and ran her hand through Inodeirr’s fur.
     
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  13. Hath Charosh

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    He gave her question some thought, chuckling at her shift of accent. He hadn't realised you could even have more than one, but apparently Scabhair could manage at least three.

    There were a few ideas about why the game was played when it was played. He had kept them to himself but he decided to gather them up and put try to justify them. Hath was used to keeping his own thoughts and decisions to himself.

    "I think it's played the day before the Rites so that certain cool off their blood. Stops any petty squabbles really spilling over the next day."

    There was quote obviously one orc they had met already that fell into the category of 'certain orcs' in Hath's mind. Not that there wasn't fighting the following day. It would be a very strange Rites without some. There was a difference between a few fistfights and the entire event exploding into chaos.

    "Suppose I missed out Bhathairk in between this and Elbion," he admitted. "I guess I thought 'this is a strange way to live' and then entirely forgot that when I saw how people lived in Elbion."

    Hath took her final statement to mean that she liked travelling with him, even though it wasn't quite what she had said. That made him glad.

    "Tried to imagine living like your friend Pern. Inside the same walls all day, every day." He narrowed his eyes and took care over how he phrased the next thought, concerned that it would sound rediculous. "I suppose if you were used to that the open land would seem...frighteningly vast?"

    He looked over his shoulder at her as they walked away from the perimeter of the village. He had been about to make a joke about the crying travellers but thought of his own behaviour in Elbion. His smile faded.

    "I nearly lost my temper at that inn I guess. Very nearly did something stupid."
     
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  14. Scabhair

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    The logic was sound. From what she’d seen and heard, Scabhair had an inkling it was Kardidua’s idea. Orc warriors were often impulsive, letting their heart rule their heads. She couldn’t fault them for it; faced the same challenge herself on more than one occasion.

    Age often brought wisdom and cooler tempers – provided they survived long enough to see it. A game to let the aggression out seemed to her a brilliant solution, and she made a note to bring it up with mother.

    “It happens to all of us,” she said kindly, catching his grimace with a smile. “The first time I stepped into the College…” she trailed off, tamping down a shudder.

    Growing up in a place without walls, being stuck between four of them wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience. She made an effort to spend as much time as she could in the open courtyards and the grand halls whose ceilings dissipated into shadow even during midday. The corridors and towers were the worst – narrow passages and steep stairwells with no windows and no end.

    “We all have our weaknesses, Hath. Fighting against them is what makes us orcs.” She grinned brightly and nodded at the copse of birches in the distance. “Care for a footrace?”

    If Charosh Rites were anything like their own, there’d no doubt be some kind of endurance test on the day. Scabhair would be loathe to miss out on a chance to leave a good impression of the Aiforn, and training never did anyone any harm besides.
     
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  15. Hath Charosh

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    He still couldn't imagine being there for years. Scabhair hadn't grown up in that life. All the land belonged to the wind and so the orcs, but that seemed a dark place to be blown.

    "The targets will be up for practise soon. Might even be up already." On the note of a race, that challenge was still there to be met. Twice he had proven himself the best shot on the morning of the Rites. Scabhair was a genuine threat to that.

    After making that point he came to a stop, took a long stride and lowered his weight ready for the sprint.

    "To the first birch?" he asked. A nod was all he needed to grunt and spring forwards. Hath was tall, with long legs but lighter than most orcs. He pumped his legs and slowly straightened as he eased into the sprint. Whether he could maintain the speed all the way to the Pale Grove was to be seen.
     
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  16. Scabhair

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    They had both grown up in the flatlands, and knew better than most how deceiving distances could be when the earth stretched even from one horizon to the other.

    Thus Scabhair didn’t sprint, but rather paced herself – that is to say, she could still outrun a human soldier doing his damnedest, but that was simply what being an orc meant. Couldn’t grow out of your skin even if you tried your whole life.

    Out in the open the sun still beat hard on bare shoulders, still coaxed heat out of the cracked earth. Their boots raised dust from the charred grass as they barreled ever closer to the Pale Grove.

    Ostensibly, anyway.

    Because those trees weren’t getting any bigger.
     
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  17. Hath Charosh

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    His eyes never left the silver trees. Not even when Inodeirr make a mockery of his pace by loping past him before circling back around.

    That first burst of speed had given him a short lead over Scabhair, but his thighs already started to ache as he eased into a more relaxed pace. For now he kept that pace going, leaving Scabhair with a distance to catch up.

    Hath picked a particular tree as the wall of silver became individual trunks. He let the terrain flash across his periphery, altering the angle of his run to avoid a patch of stumps. The tribe had clearly been this way with their axes, but the Pale Grove would have been left untouched.

    As his heart began to pound he started to enjoy the simplest things in the world. Running towards a place just because you could. Testing your strength, stamina and resolve against another orc.
     
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  18. Scabhair

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    Aiforn ran like their beasts. A casual trot. A swift lope. A brutal sprint.

    Still, Scabhair was no gathamhr. Certainly she was no Inodeirr, who ran circles around them both with what she could easily interpret as a self-satisfied smirk.

    Even though she could tell the blur of birches apart now, she could also feel the breath coming up short in her lungs. It was never the muscles that did her in. In her weaker moments, Scabhair blamed her father – he’d never been much of a fighter, and where he travelled, he did on foot. From him she’d inherited her love of stars, her tolerance of heights, and much of her looks.

    Unfortunately this meant she hadn’t gotten quite as much of the orcish endurance.

    “Fuck,” she gasped out on a ragged breath, gulped down as much air as she could, and pressed forward full-tilt for the last stretch.
     
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  19. Hath Charosh

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    The axe on his back bounced in an ungainly fashion and threatened to throw his balance. Hath kept his eyes up, his fists pumping to drive his legs. Only in the last few feet to the trunk did he slow his pace marginally.

    His hand slapped against the tree loudly as he passed, fingers scraping against the almost paper thin layer of silver. They always looked particularly delicate to Hath, as if the skin was always on the verge of peeling away.

    Slowing to a stop he turned and placed his hands on his knees. His chest heaved as he drew in air. He had pushed himself all the way. He had never turned his head to know where Scabhair was, but even if there had been distance between them he wouldn't have slowed.

    Why insult someone by going easy on someone unless there was a distinct reason for it? How else would someone know how fast to run next time?

    As it was she was to the trees barely seconds behind. Hath offered a nod, but was too preoccupied with finding his breath. Such a simple thing to see a goal and to reach it with unrelenting determination. Just like climbing the walls in Elbion. No competition there, but if there had been she had proved herself the better climber.
     
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  20. Scabhair

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    In the end he beat her by a good few paces, a dark streak amid the pale trees. Her own palm struck the trunk moments later, another layer of sweat, another set of red lines on white bark.

    She veered to the right, lengthening her stride until speed petered out and air rushed back in. Leaning forward, Scabhair braced against her thighs and greedily drank in new breath. It was only high up in the Spine that she’d ever felt this lightheaded, where the air thinned out and no amount of gasping could fill your lungs.

    Her muscles ached with a pleasant burn as she stretched, ambling over to Hath to clasp his shoulder. “Swift like the wind,” she said with a wide grin, pearly tusks glinting in the midday sun. “Inodeirr would eat us both for lunch, though.”

    The beast in question was sprawled out next to the crystal blue pond in the middle of the grove, muzzle wet from the water. She was dipping her paw into the pool with curious eyes, likely aiming to catch some kind of sparkly fish.

    Breath returned, Scabhair cast a longer look about them. None of the trees bore the mark of an axe, nor had they ever been coppiced for timber. She found his eyes before gesturing to join her on the bank.

    “This place means something to your people, doesn’t it?”
     
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  21. Hath Charosh

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    "Yes, the bit where she ran around us in a circle..." he took another breath, apparently not quite recovered, "...kind of distracting."

    Hath drew himself back up to his full height. There was a sheen of sweat across his brow. In the shade of the grove a pleasantly cool breeze started to wick it away.

    "Could have killed you, eaten the good bits and still run me down before I got here."

    Hath turned tilted his chin back and looked to the skies. Lessat was chasing the sun across the sky, one side of its ring brighter than the other. Soon it would engulf it, the light dancing through her swollen rings in the most brilliant display. The birch's dark fingers swayed in the breeze, the odd curled knot a nest of a bird.

    "In a way. Shamans will carry out some of their rituals here. If an outsider joins the tribe they will be blooded here. We never cut these down."
     
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  22. Scabhair

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    Scabhair Bestriding beastrider

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    “Ours is a circle of stones.” Though it came from no particular preference for rock, simply from a complete dearth of trees.

    Scabhair sat down at the edge of the pond, careful not to slip into the water down the steep bank. In defiance of the charred savannah the grass was a virulent green here, soft and dense like the fur of a lion.

    “Does that happen often? Outsiders becoming part of the tribe?”
     
  23. Hath Charosh

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    "Not often. When the old chief died we lost quite a few warriors and hunters. The tribe was in a bad way after several bad years. Just the way the wind had blown, but I don't remember it that well.

    "On top of all the other decisions she made to lead us out of those times Kardidua was also aware that a tribe low on numbers is also an opportunity for an orc coming of age. We took in quite a few over those years. Would normally run with us for a few months before pairing off and becoming blooded."

    He chuckled, idly reaching out towards a sliver of peeling bark to feel the smooth skin between finger and thumb.

    "Some still don't like others joining us. Most see her way and new blood being a good thing. Who leads your own tribe?" he asked to slightly shift the topic.

    Some within his tribe would treat outsiders with suspicion, especially a half-blood. Others would see bringing an outsider into the tribe as a badge of honour. Hath didn't feel comfortable with either of those aspects, but Scabhair didn't seem one to suffer foolish behaviour. Admittedly, they would also have several other tribes around to keep their interests. Blood would be up for these Great Rites.

    Hath turned towards where they would need to continue to put some distance between themselves and the tribe, content to continue getting his breath and talking for now.
     
  24. Scabhair

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    Scabhair Bestriding beastrider

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    #224 Scabhair, Dec 6, 2018 at 4:16 AM
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 4:36 AM
    On the list of orcs that would take offence with mixing blood, Scabhair would certainly always come in last. She'd argued over it with many an elder, though few could be made to see reason. It was one of the old orcish ways, rooted in tradition and principle.

    She'd always thought growing roots was the antithesis of what it meant to be an orc. They were of the wind and fire, neither of which sat still for very long before being blown the other way.

    She puffed her cheeks at the question, sinking a little further between her shoulders. "My aunt. We don't... always see eye to eye."

    Mildly put.
     
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  25. Hath Charosh

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    An eyebrow perked up. With the last hour clearly in mind the possibility of the reverse situation occurred to him.

    "Will that be interesting if we come across them heading north?" he asked, wondering on what terms they had parted ways. Hath was set on that travel north, perhaps even east towards the Spine. He had no intention of encouraging her to permanently join the clan. That wasn't to say the notion of claiming her over the winter hadn't occurred to him. Or being claimed - it wasn't the one way exchange as it seemed to be in human culture. He could still remember Bathyr's hollow, arrogant laugher when Elsee and Prethys came to blows vying for his attention last winter. The last few years he had helped his uncle set the tracking challenges and tried to avoid his brother's behaviour, living on the fringes of the tribe.

    It suddenly occurred to him, given the explanation he had just given that Kardidua might have other ideas if she saw Scabhair as potentially being valuable to the tribe. Hath wondered if he should warn Scabhair that her bold proclomation of hunter skill might have ready started that thought process off.

    "The chase is on," he murmured, giving Lessat a final glance before turning to walk further from the tribe.
     
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