Private Tales The March of Progress

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Ahsoka

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Both eyebrows shot into her hairline at his flippant dismissal of the rare gift. Foreseeing was rare but that didn't mean it didn't exist. Dreamwalkers had been known, too, to catch a glimpse of the future in their wanderings. She herself hadn't ever been so lucky but the more wizened sisters who trained her had and had told her that she might in her years ahead. If she was blessed with many more years anyway. But she kept that all to herself as they walked.

On the lip of the canyon Ahsoka stopped but she didn't look down. Instead she raised her eyes to the sky and the lone eagle that was circling. To most it would appear as though it were looking for prey but she knew different. Raising her hands to her mouth she made a cry eerily similar to the birds natural one - only an elven ear would hear the difference - and the bird turned towards them.

Holding out her arm out the bird dove and then landed in a flurry of feathers, bumping its head affectionatly against her cheek.

"Makyah," she smiled fondly and returned the bump with a scratch under his chin.
 
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Vass

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Vass raised an eyebrow.

In the grand scheme of things, a pet bird wasn't that weird. One of the Red Hundred had once had a pet cat with six legs, but the whole thing was rather unexpected. A frown touched his face, and slowly he shook his head.

"Reunion, I take it?" He asked, nervously glancing over Ahsoka's shoulder.

He doubted that anyone was following them, but Vass didn't want to linger than they had to.

The edge of the cliff-side wasn't exactly the best place to not be seen, and he had no intention of getting caught just when they were outside of the Camp. His gaze flickered back towards Ahsoka, waiting for her to join him on the path.
 
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Ahsoka

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Ahsoka didn't grace his stupid question with an answer and instead continued to fuss the bird as Vass fussed over whether they might be seen.

"TAnha am returning. Ma a. Ei is vo ki ven anna. Kisha eth-ki," she murmured quietly. The bird's head cocked from side to side before giving a small trill of understanding and launching itself back into the sky. Instead of flying to the West where her people lay it veered to the East in case anyone was watching. The elf watched for a moment more then glanced to Vass and started down the slope, hopping from one outcrop of grass to another on light feet. Where her boots touched mud or dirt barely a mark was left.
 
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Vass

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Vass shot the elf a look, his lips thinning to a frown as she spoke in a strange language to the bird.

There was a brief moment where he considered saying something else, but as the bird leaped from her arm his head only shook. He decided that it probably wasn’t going to gain him anything asking questions.

Ahsoka didn’t seem all too forthcoming with…pretty much anything.

”You know, where I’m from, there’s surprisingly a good amount of elves too.” His home city was a diverse one, though they were obviously of a different sort than Ahsoka and her people. Those in his home were more…well he didn’t want to say ‘civilized’.

That seemed offensive, but they enjoyed the comforts of the city.
 
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Ahsoka

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"I'm not an elf."

Ahsoka's head whipped towards him with a look of outright horror. Likening the Tsa'lagi to other types of elf was as great an insult as likening a horse to an elk. Just because they both had four legs and hooves did not make them one and the same. The Tsa'lagi in particular took a great offense to being likened to their very, very distant relatives who had shunned the true Way of living in favour of cities and luxuries. Only the Tsa'lagi were connected to the earth anymore. She huffed and adjusted her belt, muttering under her breath before continuing.

"My people are the Tsa'lagi," she pronounced it slowly so he could hear the right pronunciations.
 
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Vass

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Vass blinked. "Right, and I'm not a human."

He put emphasis on the pronunciation of that too.

"I'm Aren." In truth there wasn't really much of a difference between him and someone from Alliria. Sure there were some cultural markations, but that was really about it. As far as he knew anyway. Wasn't like Vass was some sort of biologist.

"You really need to ease up a little." Vass noted as he continued down the path. "You get upset at literally everything."

His head shook. "If you're not careful you'll have a heart attack."
 
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Ahsoka

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"Aren is still human, Tsa'lagi is not elf," Ahsoka snorted. "Our species separated over two million years ago," her voice took on a lecturing tone as they walked. "Tsa'lagi are not as tall, our bones are more fragile. We don't live as long and our magic is different. Our ears are longer, and we don't look as though we could be blown away by a small breeze," she snorted. There were other details too, though she wouldn't expect a human to be able to notice them. Perhaps if their skin were black like the Drow they might be able to see it clearer.

She stopped abruptly when they got to the bottom of the valley and picked up a piece of dirt, rubbing it between her fingers with a frown.

"And maybe I would be in a better mood if I hadn't been kidnapped, starved and had my ribs broken," she shot him a glare then stood up and kept walking.
 
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Vass

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"Well you shouldn't have gotten caught then." Vass said with a simple shrug.

He did not seem to mind her lecture, nor did he much mind the lash of her tongue.

In a way he was used to that sort of treatment. Most of the Red Hundred had held some sort of contempt for him, generally speaking for the exact same reason. A book could be filled with all the knowledge that Vass did not know, hell, a whole library.

Over the last two years he had quickly picked up lesson after lesson, but even that was simply not enough. There was always something new to learn, to study.

Besides, Ahsoka had just taught him more about herself in five seconds of anger than in the hours that had gone by in her capture. "And we didn't starve you. You just didn't eat."

He reminded her.
 
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Ahsoka

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"You didn't offer me anything," Ahsoka retorted not missing a beat in her stride.

Not that she would have accepted it anyway. Who knew what they would have laced it with? Even now, as she led him towards her home, there was a niggling in the back of her mind that warned her to be careful. Humans were savages and had proven it over and over again throughout the centuries. This is likely to just be another trick in order for them to win the war.

Now they had gone past the camp Ahsoka had taken the lead in direction and begun to walk them in the same direction the eagle had gone. If anyone were to track the great ox's footprints then it would lead them astray. Once they were in the forests she would have to figure out how best to circle back. There were enough streams and rivers they could criss cross to throw off trackers before reaching the rendezvous point.
 
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Vass

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Vass moved behind Ahsoka, his eyes darting lazily back and forth. His stance might have been mistaken for lethargy, laziness, but it was the direct opposite.

The technique was meant to keep someone limber, ready. It was one favored by most of the Red Hundred who studied swordsmanship. There were only a few of them, but Vass had quickly nagged each and every one to teach him what they could.

This was where they had landed. "You didn't ask."

He replied idly, though there was no real bite to the word.

Vass wasn't really interested in arguing with her now. Not anymore. His mind was more on the others, on what might happen to them. He tried not to think about the Underdark, about what had happened there. About what might happen here.

"Have you ever been outside of this place?" He asked quietly as they went along.
 
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Ahsoka

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Ahsoka rolled her eyes skywards and said a silent prayer at the continued insistence she, the captured, were the one at fault in all of this. Perhaps she would just kill him and leave his body out here for the rest of them to find; it would certainly mean less of a headache. She sighed in an exasperated manner as he asked his next question. Had she ever been this annoying when young? Or was it just a human thing?

""This place" meaning Silevea Forest?" her pronunciation of the lands name was like a heart-aching song despite it being the same name used by humans, elves, dwarves and others alike. She glanced over her shoulder at him then gave a slight shake of her head in bemusement. "Of course I have. I have probably lived one of your mortal lives five times over, I do not spend it all tending the Ways."
 
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Vass

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"Fair enough." He said with a shrug.

Though that really just gave more credence to the fact that she was an elf.

That was how they always talked. Mortal. Immortal. Whatever that meant. Stab them and they could still bleed. Punch them in the face and they could still fall down. Didn't really matter all that much if you could live five hundred years if some human lout could tackle you to the ground.

Not that he was going to say that out loud. "So what's been your favorite place then?"

He asked nonchalantly.

"We did a stint in the Cortosi Islands." Vass mused. "That was nice. Warm sun, cold drinks. Jungles got to be a bit of a bitch but not too bad."
 
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Ahsoka

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Ahsoka sighed as he prattled on and paid it only half a mind to it as she tracked their way along the valley floor. It was quite some way to the East before the steep walls flattened back down and forests opened up once more. At his pace they wouldn't reach the designated spot until late that evening and whilst she itched to get home, being back amongst the trees at least soothed a part of her.

"I don't know if they still exist, the places I visited," human lands changed so often it was hard to keep up. A new king came in and renamed a city, or a hero brought home an enemies head and a town was given to him as a prize. "Thiria was quite beautiful - the dwarves know how to build cities well."
 
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Vass

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Vass thought for a few moments, trying to remember if he had ever heard of a place called Thiria. There was something touching at the very edge of his mind, but he could not quite bring it forward. "Hm."

He intoned, a shrug rolling over his shoulders.

"Never been to Thiria." Vass admitted. "But we did a stint in Belgrath for one of the Clans."

That had been a surprisingly enjoyable stint, but not because of the architecture. Dwarven women were shockingly flexible. "It was nice."

Though the fighting afterward hadn't exactly been. Vass had received a gash in his thigh near two fingers wide from an goblin blade. Even with a healer it had taken two months to properly heal. He'd practically never heard the end of it.
 
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Ahsoka

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A changed seemed to overcome the young Tsa'lagi once they were in the forest. She flittered from one spot to the next seeming to inspect leaves, bark, the dirt itself at one point which she chewed and spat out before changing their direction. The twitch of her ear and an odd glance were the only signs she was paying him any attention at all. Until finally she responded with a wrinkle of her nose.

"I did not like Belgrath. I cannot stand being... inside," even in stone homes and castles it made her uncomfortable. Too far away from the natural earth and its comforts. She had thought actually being inside the earth - inside the mountain - would be better but it had actually been worse. The Tsa'lagi needed the sky as much as the earth it seemed.

"Can you swim?" she asked suddenly as they turned through another twist of the forest and the sound of running water filled the air.
 
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Vass

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"Fair enough." Vass said with a shrug. "Took a bit for me to get used to too."

There had been something supremely odd about being so far underground. Belgrath sat within the greatest mountain of the spine, a hollowed out City that stretched beyond even the greatest human craft. There had been something magnificent to it, but utterly foreign too.

It had been as though the weight of the world had sat on his shoulders, even when there had been nothing to see.

Even remembering the feeling sent a small shiver down his spine, though that was quickly quelled as she demanded a question of him. His head turned, and he nodded. "Of course."

Vass answered.

"I was born on the coast." Had it not been for the Hundred, he might have become a sailor even. Would have been more interesting than staying at home.
 
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Ahsoka

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"There are a people who live not far from here - the Shai-ka-ri - who live over the river on huts on stilts," she started conversationally as the trees begun to thin and reveal a wide river. A bank of sand and pebbles led its way to the waters edge before giving way to the seemingly slow moving water. The shore on the other side was not two meters away - certainly the narrowest bend that could be seen to both left and right.

"None of them can swim," quite clearly meaning a person should not necessarily rely on the obvious. Without saying anything more she begun to wade into the river, taking off her bow and quiver as she went to hold them above her head. The water at its deepest only came up to her chest though the current was quite strong and would have given most grown men trouble to cross. Ahsoka took her time, one sure step in front of the other, before climbing out the other side and shaking her braids out.
 
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Vass

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"Well that's nuts." He said, clearly missing her rather obvious point. "Who doesn't learn to swim?"

Vass unhooked the sword from the hilt of his belt, pulling it free so that it would not get wet and holding it over his head as he followed after Ahsoka. He moved with careful steps, following the exact path that the 'not an elf' took through the stream.

He figured that she would know best, and when someone clearly knew better than him...well he didn't always question it.

Within a matter of minutes both of them made it across the river, though it was clear that Vass struggled just slightly more than his companion. His shoulders rolled slightly, and he glanced over towards Ahsoka who was wringing out her braid. "How long are we going to have to go before you blindfold me?"

Vass asked.
 
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Ahsoka

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Ahsoka looked at him and suddenly burst into a fit of laughter large enough that she felt the need to wrap her arms around herself. If there had been others of her people there - women in particular - she would have said something in their secret hand talk. Instead all she did was belt her weapons back on, put her bow away and her arrows, and then started off again.

It wasn't until the sun was beginning to dip that Ahsoka finally held her hand up to bring him to a stop. The thick forest sudden stopped and at their feet the land gave way to a beautiful carpet of wildflowers. The meadow spanned for miles before disappearing back into treeline in every which direction. From their position it was hard to see any of those edges though - anybody could be watching.

Ahsoka set off towards the middle after a seconds pause to listen to something on the wind.
 
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Vass

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Vass belted the sword as Ahsoka burst into her fit of laughter, his face remaining somewhat inexpressive. "That's not very helpful."

The boy muttered as she continued her cackling and eventually stalked off.

His head shook, and quickly he wandered after her without a second of waiting. It appeared that there would be no blindfold, something that he supposed he could be thankful for. Yet as they moved he kept a close eye on his surroundings, mostly to make sure he wouldn't get lost just in case.

There was no doubt he likely couldn't make his way back on his own, but that wouldn't mean he should just blindly follow where she lead. It was simply good practice actually paying attention.

He stood behind Ahsoka as she waited, blinking idly and letting out a yawn.

Then she suddenly set off.

With quick feet Vass followed behind her, scrambling as quickly as he could.
 
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Ahsoka

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"Sit."

Ahsoka stopped abruptly in the nearish middle of the meadow, her long ears twitching at some quiet sound far away. She rocked onto her tip toes and scanned the horizon clearly searching for someone or something but there was an anxious pinch to her expression and her fingers brushed down the curve of her bow.

"Stay and do not touch anything," she shot him a mixed look both irritated and concerned, unsure and excited. After making sure he did as he was told, Ahsoka nodded and then strode off.

She wasn't gone for long, perhaps 20 minutes at the most, and when she returned it was not alone. An elderly man garbed in more beads and feathers than Ahsoka's, with paint in bright blues across his face that threw his high cheek bones into sharp relief. His hair was completely white though braided too and sheared short on one side to reveal more tattoos. Behind him came two towering men who could have been his sons. Their height and broadness made Ahsoka look petite in comparison. The procession stopped not far from Vass.

"This, is the prisoner?" the last word the old man said with a hint of amusement. "What is your name, child?"
 
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Vass

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Vass didn't move, just as Ahsoka had told him to do. He remained quiet, peaceful, and observant. Everything around him was taken in. There wasn't much to look at of course, a bit of grass, some field, a meadow if you would.

It got boring very fast.

After a while he was almost wishing for a blindfold, at least then some of his other senses could have been better trained. A yawn escaped him when he finally heard something, though the sound was so slight it might have been a mouse skittering in the underbrush.

His head immediately turned as he saw Ahsoka, though his gaze flickered upward towards the two men that stood behind her.

The word 'child' made him frown slightly, but then he could hardly argue with them. He was probably one twentieth their age. "Vass."

He said, pushing himself up to his feet with one liquid motion.
 
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Ahsoka

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There was a flash of hand gestures from one of the larger Tsa'lagi and Ahsoka scowled in response, her own hands sending a message back. The Elder chose to ignore it. Instead he waved a hand and from the ground grew two wooden stools upon which he sat using the great staff in his hands to lower himself down slowly.

"Young Ahsoka tells me you have been sent to make a deal, on behalf of your people."

The Elder pursed his lips thoughtfully as his eyes ran over the young boy. A thousand lines creased the corners of his eyes giving the appearance he laughed often and his brown eyes were warm.

"My name is Chief Onacona. Why don't you tell me what it is your people want to offer us?"
 
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Vass

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Vass frowned for a moment, watching those odd handsigns. Then he reached back and pulled out the scroll which the Commander had given him. "I don't know if Ahsoka has told you."

He began.

"But the King has called for an army from neighboring nations. Twenty thousand men, or more." At least that was the number that the Commander had told them. Vass wouldn't have doubted it, given the swarm of cities that surrounded this land.

"The Red Hundred, my Mercenary Band feels we...and they are being brought here on false pretenses." He explained. "So we'd like to cut them off before they ever come, and we believe we have a reasonable chance at doing so."

Vass offered the man the letter. "As long as your side of the story is heard as well."

It wasn't that ludicrous of a proposal. How did you a stop an army from wiping you out? You made sure that the army never came.
 
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Ahsoka

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Another exchange of soundless words.

A sigh.

"What, my child, exactly do you want to hear from us? Ahsoka said she has explained the situation to your... general," the word clearly did not sit well with the older Tsa'lagi but he continued. "I do not know what else you hope to hear from my lips. What dark details do you want me to tell you, hm?" He shook his head sadly and shifted his old hands on the staff and slowly reached out to take the scroll. A ripple of tense energy seemed to pass between the two younger Tsa'lagi but neither stopped the older man.

Ahsoka shuffled uncomfortably as the Elder began to read.
 
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