Tales The eve of starry lights

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Mabess, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Mabess

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    Mabess Mother, Clanswoman, Chieftain

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    Snow settled the slopes of the tired hillside. Mashkaroth was now a long dead town, burried and gone in ashen remains. It was the eternal cycle. Birth, life, death. And life would bring forth new, and the birthed would raise from the dead.
    Hath Charosh had been invited to stay with the tribe and live like one of their own. Offered a place to rest and good clothing for the time.


    The ashlanders moved lower into the valleys, where the winter would not be as harsh, and more land was good to build upon. The next settlement was far too big just for this one tribe.

    After the clearing and the rite of naming, mabess declared the new settlement as 'Roshkamar'. The elder searess would thus divine, among the ash fire and snow, among the tribesorcs that eagerly avaited the fortune.
    From the first hunted game, a boar, from it's guts and it's bones.
    'Time will be grim for Roshkamar, the spirits do not align with the stars, and the elder gods lie waiting.'

    The mood was grim for the evening and the boar was then discarded and turned to fodder for the Ash leopards and barghests. Most went to bed that day worried, only briefly celebrating the birth of Roshkamar.

    Only the following day when the gentle snow came falling down again would the mood lighten. And in two days everyone was extatic.

    What was this day? Some children seemed more gleeful than on the other days.
    From the west came the Blackhawks, Mabess would be the first to greet and embrace Dormak Nighthowl. This time they brought their whole families with them, and not just elite warriors on painted barghests

    The Snow-wolves were only an hour behind. Their leader was elderly and wise, the previous Warchief of the Ashlanders. Mabess would mention to Hath that he, Do'Ras Silvermane was once her teacher.

    Three hours later came the Silverstones on their ash leopards. Among them, right up front, her daughter and eldest child, Arda.
    Mabess was too proud.

    Later still, last came then the Shadowreavers from the south. Their furs the darkest of them all, and their presence more imposing than the blackhawks, yet most were wise mages and seers, their children were most composed. (son to turn into rioting devils!)

    And so the ashlanders were not one, but many. Yet why they all came, it was unknown to the outsiders.
     
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  2. Hath Charosh

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    Hath took his time over his thoughts. Used to long sojourns through the Aberessai Savannah there was lots of time to mull things over. Yet he could also go for days with his mind almost devoid of any higher questions or conundrums.

    Two thoughts were being entertained within his head. Firstly, snow was very fucking cold and he did not like it. Even when the great rains came he would stand letting the water pour off him as relief from the heat. Hath had tried to wrap up every bit of his body to avoid any of the flakes stabbing his skin with their ice. Apparently they had moved down from the mountains to escape the worst of the cold. He couldn't really imagine worse cold, but someone had joked that a sneeze could be ice before it hit the ground.

    Secondly, he was starting to think that a lot more tribes travelled mounted than he had realised. Almost all the tribes on the savanna travelled on foot. Barghests, gathamhr, leopards and wolves. If they could ambush a human army on broken ground with such mounts they could make short work of them.

    Haths fur hood was pulled tight around his head. Even with just a small window out from the exposed parts of his face he could see the mixed atmosphere around Roshkamae. The tribe seemed to be a collection of tribes, far tighter woven together than some of the alliances between tribes he had seen in the savanna. There was an air of anticipation from the moment the first tribe started to arrive, yet the shaman's predictions still seemed to rise up in conversation and taint the jubilation of reunion.

    Hath lingered near the greetings. He wanted to ask about the occasion, but as an outsider didn't want to interrupt ceremony. Traditions could be important to their people and they varied across the lands.
     
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  3. Mabess

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    #3 Mabess, Dec 12, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
    And a small tribe turned to many. All one of heart, they were different in mind and paint.
    The shadowreavers were quick to learn about the bad fortune, their gloom higher than festive joy, at least among the shamans. While those of Blackhawk dismissing the concern the most, being of the warrior stock. Most others began to finally settle the houses, first beginning to paint the buildings all sorts of colours and patterns to help distinguish which belonged to whom. Generally paints used were black, white, red, yellow and orche. Occasionaloy nose kisses were seen from member to member, each orc sharing their unique tales


    Do'Ras after reuniting with Mabess would ride to other companions of his youth. He rarely went off his mount, his aged legs were too worn to walk or stand for long. While the warchief, Mabess would head off with Dormak to another after catching up with her elbest child.

    Finally she had time to divert her attention to her guest, Hath Charosh. Approaching him with Dormak.
    She let a low chuckle at seeing the wrapped up orc again.
    »The cold seasons are nothing like back home? Tomorrow, the night will be the shortest.«

     
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  4. Hath Charosh

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    "We don't have cold seasons," he replied. "We have a dry hot season and a wet hotter season. I will get used to it."

    If he didn't, those buildings would have fires lit and he could go and defrost his bones soon. How did they even live in this? When he turned to face the wind it felt as if his lips were being peeled away from his face. He reluctantly pulled his arm from around his chest and offered it to Dormak.

    "The town is being built for all to stay for a time?" he asked Mabess.
     
  5. Mabess

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    Mabess Mother, Clanswoman, Chieftain

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    »And I already complain how the summers here are hot,« spoke the chieftainess calmly.

    Dormak tightly gripped Hath's arm, his palm being far warmer and bursting of life. Seeing him, Hath before, back at the gnoll raid, but never introducing himself propperly, the face on Dorm being welcoming and full of sharp charisma.
    »Dormak Nighthowl, Chief of the Blackhawks.«

    »Each winter we build a town to hold all of us together, It is also a time when we initiate the young into the clan.«

    The little children whom were less cacooned than Hath gleefully ran in the snow. This was their favourite season. Running around, sliding and pelting eachother in snowballs.

    One stray ball in the flurry flew towards the three, Mabess dodged but it hit Dormak square in the face.
    Mav lowly rumbled, barely able to stifle her cackle.
    Dormak wiped off the snow, and the kids froze still. The chief then bumbly charged at them while letting out a comedic 'roar'. The tension soon evaporating as he messed with the kids as the 'big bad' to defeat.
    In a way play, but play was always a precursor to training.
     
  6. Hath Charosh

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    Hath only joined in as far as kicking up a shower of snow over a child who had threatened him with a snowball. Orc children went through a relatively feral phase between staying with their parents and being truly inducted into the clan. They started to learn how to forage and fight. They learned not to get under the feet of the warriors when they were in a dark mood if they didn't want to be trodden on or swatted aside.

    Hath much preferred children either side of that age. When they were small and cute and when they were old enough to start being taught seriously. Within Charosh there was always a large number of births a number of months after the Great Rites were held. They were normally clinging tight to their mother's during the migration north but were on their feet soon after. Orc children grew quickly.

    "Many will come of age?" he asked, doing his best to keep his teeth from chattering.
     
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  7. Mabess

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    Mabess Mother, Clanswoman, Chieftain

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    Soon enough the mighty Dormak was fallen, piled over by rampaging children. If one looked closely, most of the crazy ones were of the Shadowreave, as predicted. They had to get steam out before they'd start their much calmer life past puberty.
    Snow was still eagerly tossed around. Mabess flinched every so often as stray flakes came tossed around.

    Mabess crossed her arms and shook her head.
    »No, but tomorrow eve all of the six year olds of all the ashlanders will finally be named, a rite of passage to be a fully fledged member.«
    Hath likely noticed that many children of the Stormcallers were called after their parents, with -wa, -we, -ri and ro, attached to the names to distinguish between daughters and sons, and after which parent they carried their name. While the parents themselves called their own child just by the suffix. It was a tradition to not name a child right away, for mortality tended to be high among the young.
     
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  8. Hath Charosh

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    A particularly macabre thought crossed Hath's mind: how many small orc children might have failed to come of age due to the jaws of a hungry barghest, leopard or wolf? In the savanna you kept up with the tribe or you were left behind. The parents of a child with serious wounds or a sickness might fall behind the tribe for a day or two, but never much longer.

    "How will these Rites of passage take place?" he asked. Some tribes had ritual so sacred that if you interrupted them, no amount of gnolll killing would save you from a swift kicking and exile
     
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  9. Mabess

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    Mabess Mother, Clanswoman, Chieftain

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    »It is good you asked. You only have to sit and watch, cheer and gift if you so desire.«
    Among other events, this one was the mildest of the ashlanders, meant not to appease the spirits, but to appease the ancestors and have fun in their name.

    »The worst that can happen is you slipping on ice or the children burrying you in snow for not being treated.« Mabess then quickly chuckled, though the gaze she gave Hath was a serious one:
    »Do you want to learn to skate?«
     
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  10. Hath Charosh

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    "To what?" Hath asked. He was vaguely aware of the term in orcish that meant something similar to sliding. What he didn't know was why any would would need to learn to do it.

    "Have any trees nearby that make good arrows?" he added, if only to bring the conversation to familiar territory. Arrows were good gifts for any orc that could use a bow.
     
  11. Mabess

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    Mabess Mother, Clanswoman, Chieftain

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    »Skate...Ice...you ever seen ice?« Mabess spoke a bit curiously. In the vicinity was a smalelr lake completely frozen over.

    »Ash grows in the lowlands nearby.« Mabess spoke.
     
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  12. Hath Charosh

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    "I've seen ice," Hath replied. He had seen icicles before when he had been north before. The concept of an entire lake or river freezing over was so far beyond anything he had ever experienced he would not have believed her if she told him it was possible.

    "You...slide down a slippery rock?" he asked.

    There was probably time to make plenty of arrow shafts, but not to hunt the birds to fletch them all. Still, he made good, straight arrows that any aspiring hunter would be grateful for.
     
  13. Mabess

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    »Lakes freeze over whole at this time of year. Well... we can try it out tomorrow morning, it is a grand test of baance,« she chuckled before almost readying herself to leave.
    »If you plan to go out, don't forget to return sometime after sundown.«
     
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  14. Hath Charosh

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    "Fuck off can an entire lake freeze." Hath laughed in disbelief, before remembering that he was actually speaking to the chieftain of the tribe. He very quickly bowed his head in deference and muttered an apology.

    If an outsider had spoken to Kardidua like that then there would have been trouble. It was a stupid slip up, but he was certain that the cold was numbing his brain as much as it was his extremities.

    "As soon as it gets much colder I'm sure to come back for a fire, " he said, hoping that he wasn't about to have his invitation to stay revoked.
     
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  15. Mabess

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    »Tomorrow morning we'll have you dragged to the middle of the lake,« Mabess gave a mischevious grin before patting Hath hard on the shoulder.
     
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  16. Hath Charosh

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    #16 Hath Charosh, Dec 16, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
    Hath kept his head down as he mirrored her grin with a ghost of a smile and stepped away. Mabess was a very different kind of chieftain to what he was used to. Every leader cared for their tribe, but he was used to Kardidua - his own mother - kept a bridge of authority between herself and the tribe. Mabess wasn't like that at all.

    Taking his axe, as well as a spear and his bow, Hath picked a path towards the woods he could see in the lowlands. He quickly broke into a jog to keep himself warm. Once he had found a tree of a good age he cut down several thick branches and cut into lengths he could carry back under his arms. The delicate work of sanding down the shafts wasn't going to go well with his fingers trembling.

    It was relaxing to work with wood. To lay out a simple task and devote himself to it for a few hours. He discarded unsuitable pieces of wood and tossed them straight into the fire that burned in the small hut. There was peace to be found in the slow rhythm of shaving down the length of the arrow, turning it a fraction and repeating. Round and round, little by little until the smooth was smooth and circular. The scent of the small pile of wood shavings at his feet would always be intrinsically tied to the task.

    By the time he had decided to finish he had forty good pieces of Ash and had rounded two of them off into shafts. Hopefully he could finish off at least three sets for the naming ceremony.

    He emerged to the smell of roasting nuts and meat and the sound of laughter. Orcs had started to assume around several large fires.
     
  17. Mabess

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    Night befell Roshkamarr, and the closer one came the louder it got.

    Plenty of fires were lit, and some had good meat roasting over it. The scent alluring, only the best spices have been used to flavour the meat.
    It seems as all have gathered round a round central path. Teens and kids were forming various group, all painted and dressed up to represent various people and concepts. Chitchat was among them and the adult spectators.
    For now most were catching up still on past events.
     
  18. Hath Charosh

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    He watched as two young ones swung wooden sticks at each other to play out some ancient tale of single combat. One accidentally caught the other across the bridge of the other. 'Spears' clattered to the ground and they launched into each other with snarls and growls. Adults left them for a while to see if they were sort it out by themselves but had to intervene. Hath laughed.

    He turned towards the chieftain. Within his own tribe he wasn't of high standing, despite being the son of Kardidua. He followed his feet and wandered far from the tribe. Sometimes that was with his uncle, sometimes that was with a small party or scouts, but often it was alone. He pondered whether the question was too direct before decided to continue.

    "When did you come to lead these people Mabess?" he asked.
     
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  19. Mabess

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    #19 Mabess, Dec 18, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
    From all the skirmishes and quarrels, charmingly played out wrong or accidentally right, and from the pretend soldiers whom played dead, rose a child holding the most prominent role,
    »And of the battlefield, when all -uh- seemed ... Hopeless, Stormcaller rose!«
    »Leader of the org-orcs!«
    He rose a stick high in the air.
    The children were obviously not the best actors, just don't tell that to their parents.

    Then an older child came, painted red and black, pretending to be all mighty.
    »But then came the furious King of orcs, Magala, seeking revenge upon Stormcaller whom turned hi-My slaves against me! «
    The older children were more experienced in this, being in plays for years. But it was dubious how many parts were still truthful, being passed down as oral tradition, changes were common.



    »That was a long time ago, I was a daughter of hunter named Dordan and the young pupil of Silvermane, perhaps a nobody to most orcs. Yet... Thirty years ago, a large band of Stormcallers was captured by humans whom wanted to sell them as slaves. I and Dormak were almost captured too... Well, we had to do something about it and soon.«

    Another she-orc passed by, offering them a platter of fine food cut up into enjoyable slices. It smelled too good too pass up, so mabess took one and thanked the lass.

    » I and Dormak made the swift decsision to part, he ran back to get help while I started a jailbreak. One by one, more were freed, but the humans quickly caught up on it. Thankfully Dormak arrived with a warband when the human soldiers were almost upon us, not everyone made it, the old chief did not...The humans got slaughtered and the ashlanders finally free... ... And then... the Stormcallers wanted me as their Chief.«
    Yet how mabess became the chieftain of all ashlanders was another story.
     
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  20. Hath Charosh

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    It was an important lesson on display. Even if an orc did not act, they told stories. It was a part of who they were. Not so focused on the past, but was lessons for the future. Of course, it was also a pastime when the nights drew in early. The nights did seem to draw in early here along with even more of the damnable cold.

    "I am not surprised they asked," he replied. He took a slice of food gratefully. "Does the cold make you more hungry?" he asked. He was certain he was having to eat far more since the cold had descended.
     
  21. Mabess

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    Another grand battle scene was enacted asthe two figures clashed, occasionally the inexperienced ones tripping over or swinging weapons around with so much force the weapon carried the child along with it.
    »It takes a lot to keep a body warm, the feasting starts well into autumn in fact.«
     
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  22. Hath Charosh

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    "In the dry season of the savanna, food is sparse. Even when we hadn't eaten for days I'm not sure I felt quite as hungry as I do here when the cold creeps in," Hath explained.

    If he was honest with himself, he rarely turned down food when it was available. Long hard days on the road had left him with what was a relatively lean build by orc standards. The males who stayed close to the centre of the tribe ate well and packed on layer upon layer of muscle.

    Hath would have taken a few more layers of muscle or fat right now. He leaned towards the scant warmth of the fire, hoping to chase the chills from his bones.
     
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  23. Mabess

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    Of the display, Stormcaller rose victorious, raising the head of Magala, the villainous opressor of orcs... Though the head looked more like a sack with a funny face scribbled over than the head of a fearsome warlord.
    And everyone did a heroic shriek, the fallen warriors slowly getting back to their heat.
    »And the ashlanders were finally free!«
    The children began to enact a trip down the blighted lands to more fertile lands...

    »Thinking about the cold does indeed burn up a lot of fat, but I suppose this is your first white winter?« jested Mabess before genuinely asking.
     
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  24. Hath Charosh

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    Should have kept walking downhill, he thought of the reenactment. Orcs were supposed to have emerged into the world from these mountains. He could see why they had moved to places where the warmth could reach them.

    "This is the first time I have woken to snow and had to remind myself that rather than a brief surprise, this is the weather now. Never snows on the Savannah, but it rains. Oh how it can rain. So hard, so fast that water can be up to your ankles in minutes."


    Mabess
     
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  25. Mabess

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    »Travelers from savannah spoke of the rain too, we have a season of rain, but only ever short and after to purge the snow, but an entire season...Rain and storms here are dangerous, what do they bring to your lands?«
     
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