Private Tales The Mountain Pass

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Rangvaldr Tal'deneshaar

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It had been some weeks since Valdr had settled in his temporary quarters of Route. Months since he and his betrothed had toured his Homeland. The truth of it, was that he found much more peace out east. Less confined. There were more kingdoms, more warbands, more variables and far more unknowns. But it was peace.

With Esme taking a few days to settle court proceedings, Valdr would take some time to patrol their southern borders. This adventure had seen him visit with various other kings and tribal leaders, leading him to at least find a way to put faces to names.

He had been trailing whispers for a day now, along the foothills of the Spine. It was a treacherous area, a natural border against the plague of the Blightlands and dotted with hidden crossings that a cunning warlord could use to bring an army across.

Silver armor gleamed in the sunlight, the golden trim giving his silhouette a radiance that belied his person, enhanced further still by the golden eyes that pierced the visor of his winged helm. His war horse snorted and huffed beneath him as they trot along, weary of all manner of threats.

Every few hundred yards there would be an incline leading up into the mountains and at each one, Valdr would stop and listen for any sign of attack. Every thunderous stamp, every hitched breeze. At one such path, he paused, his war horse's ears perked briefly and that caused the visor to scan the path. "Easy.." he mused gently as he tugged on the reins, bringing his mount to a stop.

One gauntlet would start to wrap the reins about the other and with a slight guiding nudge and a gentle shift of his heel, his war horse would begin to work its way up the trail. Had he a sprinter, he would never made the trek, but Toron was of good stock and even better trained. This was nothing.

Valdr's visor would scan their surroundings, drawn ever forward by some melodic summoning.

Petra Darthinian
 
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Petra Darthinian

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"I fail to see why the weak proclivities of your flesh are due to any fault of my own." The dragon huffed indignantly from his perch above the pool in which Petra bathed and inspected her chafed and blistered legs.

Or at least she was sure that's how he meant to come across. She kept having to remind herself that Norvyk was a flesh and blood dragon. Yes, he was absolutely a sentient creature. But his emotions were that of his kind. The range and depth of which were surely beyond anything in human, dwarven, and even elven memory.

They were two very different creatures. And yet, as of this past moons' cycle, her companion. A bond that Norvyk claimed was forged through ancient magic called "Harmony." Again, something of dragons that they all understood very little of.

Which is precisely why Petra had ventured out into the wilderness in search of the elusive and fabled storm dragons herself. Her curiosity demanded to be sated in all its formed. And despite the now turbulant and unpredictable way her life had changed, she now had the best resource to find out all her heart desired. That is, if Norvyk could stop being a cryptic, esoteric, and long winded stick in the mud.

She hissed sharply between her teeth as she gingerly touched a matching new set of forming blisters along the inside of her thighs. A dragon rider she now may be, but that doesn't mean her body was ready to take the punishing reality that trying to ride a dragon without a saddle and any sort of protection was turning out to be.

She had been successful in finding her original mount, Muffin. And having retrieved her pack and saddle from the animal, she had released her for better or worse back into the wild before Norvyk could make good on his threat to eat the poor frightened creature. But the dragon had refused to allow Petra to place the saddle anywhere on his body. Claiming it was a disgrace and an offense he stubbornly refused to bear. For it was not a Dragon Rider's saddle.

So here they were. A month later. Tentatively trying to feel out this new found bond between them. The trials and errors were many. And so far they hadn't made it very far in the flying department. Petra was strong, but having nothing but the strength of her legs and a spinal crest to hang onto thousands of feet in the air while Norvyk flew in increasingly alarming maneuvers, wasn't a recipe for success over long distances. Thus far they've only been able to make small progress over many days. Most of them were spent with Petra on foot. Slugging her way back into the foothills of the Spine and back into the mountains. The destination of her home in Eredale her only goal now. She needed to go back to a place of familiarity and comfort to sort out what had now become of her life. Even if it meant she had a stoic storm dragon entow to explain for.

For now, she had decided to spend the day recovering in the mountains near a spring Norvyk had found from the air. She was dirty, tired, cranky, and lost more than anything. In more ways than one. Thankfully, this warm spring was helping with at least one of her problems.

She sank deep into its waters. Grateful for the warmth sinking into her bones. She began undoing all of the braids that were interspersed within her curls. Finding a comfort in the familiar task. She let her mind wander as she began to sing to herself and wash her hair; her rich alto lifting into a hopeful tune that regaled one of the many myths of Astra.

A happy accompanying humming reached her from the rocky perch above her. Her dragon sentinel content to guard his bathing maiden from approaching and prying eyes, even this far up in craigs of the Spine.
 

Rangvaldr Tal'deneshaar

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The higher he traversed, the louder the melody got. Singing. A woman's by the sound of it and something akin to guttural growls. Inexperience or eagerness would lead one to charge headlong, but from the sound of it, the two distinct tones were in synch, or at least close enough.

Then he saw it, a green dragon, perched atop stone as if it were a sentinel. Greens were evil, chromatics were evil. The green.. was also tinier than he expected, which meant it was likely not the green that ruled near there.

His gaze drifted to his surroundings and mentally, he could place himself into what one of the elves had told him was the territory of two purples. Which he hoped meant that the little dragon wasn't intent on issuing a challenge.

These myriad of thoughts would keep him from hearing the splashing in the nearby pool, nor seeing the obviously naked woman making the noises. "Hail, dragon." He would say as he pulled back on the reins to bring his steed to a stop. "You seem to be lost in these lands.."

Petra Darthinian
 

Petra Darthinian

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So lost was Petra in her song and in her trust that her dragon was a capable guard, that when the words of a male tenor voice broke through her daze, all she could do was screech in surprise. Whipping around in the pool, a wave of water splashing over the edge, she looked to find where it had come from. There astride a splendid war horse, sat a handsome warrior in silver armor, edges gilded in gold.

Her scream startled Norvyk above her and in what could only be described as the skittish scramble of a cat caught unaware, the dragon's singing cut off in a garbled growl as he lurched sideways. Almost teetering off the platform and into the pool below. He flared his wings in a wide arc to regain his balance. Regaining his dignity would be another matter entirely.

A sharp hiss escaped his maw as his head snaked around to look at whatever threat had meandered into their brief respite. Petra could feel magic being tugged along the gilded cord of their bond. It felt like a pool of energy had started to spark in her gut. The hair beginning to rise on her nape with the charged air.

Without thinking, Petra rushed to the edge of the rocky pool. Almost climbing out before remembering her modesty. In a rush she yelled out, "Norvyk! No! Enough!" Her eyes staring beseechingly at her dragon. This was the first time where their new bond and tentative trust was truly being tested. Could he trust in her leadership now, as she would do for him when the time came?

She saw Norvyk's head twitch towards her, although his eyes stayed locked on the man. A moment of silence passed where he only glared. Then with some reluctance on his part, she watched the dragon slowly lower his wings, the electric taste in the air disappearing soon after. He did not lay back down, but instead stalked closer to the side of the platform that was closest to the mounted warrior.

"You would do well to avert your gaze, son of Dor'zavayn," He growled begrudgingly.
 
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Rangvaldr Tal'deneshaar

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The screech of alarm would betray her location and as it came from the pool, golden eyes would remain averted from that direction. The reaction to the dragons fumbles, however, were another thing entirely. The spectacle would illicit a laugh from the knight, not one of mockery, but rather the one of two friends laughing over a shared joke.

He could feel the tinge in the air, feel the static as the dragon prepared to attack. Valdr would only lean forward in his saddle, his golden gaze fixed upon the dragon as he leaned atop the saddle horn. There wasn't a hint of fear amongst his features, and even his war horse only stamped the ground in irritation.

The woman intervened and as she moved into his view, his head would tilt to see her removed from it. "You have my thanks, m'lady.. and my most sincere condolences for happening upon you in such a state." When the dragon spoke, he would take no offense, it was merely a dragon protecting a friend. He would expect nothing less. "Fear not, son of Kilhadur. I would do no such disservice to your lady."

Petra Darthinian
 

Petra Darthinian

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The last of the tension left the air around Norvyk with the man's assurances. She herself let out a deep breath, one she didn't realize she had been holding. The relief almost enough to make her dizzy.

Registering the man's words, and appreciating his chivalrous reaction to her nudity. She felt confident in climbing out of the pool and quickly striding away from her audience to the majoity of her discarded clothing that she had layed out amongst the rocks to warm in the sun.

"I am embarassed to say, good sir, that you got the jump on us. I'm sure this is not how you planned on spending your morning. I do apologize for my well-meaning, if not cantankerous scaly friend. We will be on our way.." She quipped in a conversational tone as she quickly dressed. Gooseflesh playing along her skin, despite the weather. Much to her curiosity, the parts of her that were now transformed and draconic, still felt the differences in temperature, but the resiliency of that flesh was far greater than before now that it was covered in scales. Most interesting.

Norvyk blew out a disgruntled huff through his nostrils in response to her excuses on his behalf. Seeming to have fallen into a disinterested air as he took appraisal of the man and laid back down. Crossing his front legs in a dignified pose.

After dressing, th elf realized that when she had arrived, she had dropped her pack and other heavier outerclothing at the base of the platform.

Directly in front of the war horse.

Gingerly, she made her way over to her things. Reluctant to look up at the warrior. For fear she would see the horror on his face once he had seen her transformed flesh and eyes that matched the very draconic ones that continued to stare at him from above.

Seeing Petra gather her things and pull on her boots, the dragon stretched languishly and shuffled his wings as would any predatory bird preparing for take off.

"Make haste, Rider. We still have plenty way to go before night falls in these treacherous mountains." His growl coiled with the same anxiety that sat in Petra's stomach as she instictively glanced up at her surprise guest.
 
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Rangvaldr Tal'deneshaar

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"I wouldn't lose heart." Valdr reassured her. "If I were as deep in a song as you two were, I might have missed it to. As for your.. companion.. no apology is necessary. Hes only acting as one would hope."

All the while that she dressed, his eyes remained fixed on a neighboring peak as if it was the most interesting spire in the world. In fact, his gaze wouldn't even fix on her until she found herself before his horse picking up the last few outer layers of her clothing.

Where she looked away in what he could only identify as disgrace, his golden gaze would wash over her to locate the best cause he could think of: her arm where she had begun to grow what appeared to be dragon scales. Had she dared a look, she wouldn't find horror, surprisingly enough she wasn't the first he had come upon bearing an arm twisted by some sort of magick.

"Tis true, the Spine is treacherous. Though it may not seem to be an appealing offer, given your company.." Valdr began with a nod towards Norvyk. ".. I would be remiss if I didn't at least offer to provide an escort of some sort for you both."

Petra Darthinian
 

Petra Darthinian

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The man's words caught Petra off guard and she found herself staring at him curiously, and with a brazen air she did a quick once over of him. Noting the armor looked well kept, but in a way a disciplined soldier would respect his equipment, and not in the way of a pompous and naive noble having bought it for show.

Her dragon's musical bass entered into her mind a moment later. "I believe you should take his offer. It will give me a better chance to monitor from the sky and stretch my wings, instead of crawling over the rock by your side like a debased lizard." A hiss echoed his comment and she could still feel a cloud of suspicion emenating from him.

His skepticism was somehow amusing to Petra, she was glad she could count on him to be a voice of pragmatic reason. She needed more of that in her life. As she had a tendency to follow impulse and passion more than anything.

Decision made, Petra began speaking as she walked up to the man on the left side of his horse, sticking her scaled hand right up to him in the offers of a handshake, her own reptilian gaze trying to emit an air of gregariousness. "I will graciously accept your offer of escort, good sir. We are headed to Eredale. You may call me Petra. That beast is Norvyk. Pray tell the name of my new companion?"
 
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Rangvaldr Tal'deneshaar

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As she drew nearer, Toron would duck his head and Valdr's right boot would slip free of the stirrups and in a fluid motion kick up and over Toron's head and with the faintest of shifts the knight would slide from the saddle.

Landing with ease, Valdr would unfasten the buckles of his gauntlet and slip his right hand free. Taking the her scaled hand without missing a beat he would lift it to his lips and place a gentleman's kiss atop her fingertips. "Lady Petra." He would say with a bow of his head, before his free hand slipped the winged helm free and tucked it at his waist, revealing the features beneath the helm, namely golden eyes to match her reptilian gaze. "I am Ser Valdr, Lord of House Tal'deneshaar of Aniria." The tone would suggest he would prefer to drop the last bit, but years of training had required the full title.

Withdrawing his hand from hers, the gauntlet was slid back over his hand and fastened, his gaze shifting to her dragon and the gauntlet would rest over his heart as he bowed his head once more. "Norvyk, we are well met." He would gesture to his war horse. "This is Toron, he has been with me for many years."

His gaze then shifted back to Petra. "Eredale? I've wanted to visit since I learned the name of Be'senaar's birthplace. Its already on my current route."

Petra Darthinian
 

Petra Darthinian

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The elf was pleased when he passed her test with ease by taking her hand. But he threw her off balance when he charmed her with a kiss on those same scales. A gentleman indeed.

Clearing her throat, she took back her hand and occupied it by tucking a drying curl behind her ear and taking a small step backwards into the shadow of her dragon. Casting a pleased smile at Ser Valdr.

His title indicated he was a noble of some merit and not wanting to do her own heritage any shame, performed a small curtsy in return. "Pleased to make your acquaintance. Darthinian. Petra Darthinian, Songweaver of Eredale."

When he finally introduced his horse, she let her scaled hand stretch out to the noble beast. A warm light of welcome and friendship manifesting in a soft crystal note from her lips. "And a steadfast companion he is." She mused gently in agreeance.

She turned back to Valdr when he spoke to her of her hometown. Bittersweet memories flashed through her mind, tugging a nostalgic smile across her lips. "Then consider me your guide when we reach my home. I will need to speak to the Keeper about what they make of... well... my newest affliction." She opened and closed her right hand, inspecting the black claws at each tip. "I pray that I will find answers soon."
 

Rangvaldr Tal'deneshaar

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Valdr would note the change in her mannerisms, even with the more formal introduction, which pulled a smile to his lips. At the end of her formal intro, he would bow his head respectfully. "Then we are well-met Lady Petra Darthinian, Songweaver of Eredale."

His hands clasped in the small of his back as he twisted to look back at Toron, who either seemed unimpressed by the magick or was just tied. Valdr's guess was the former, but he hoped for the latter. Toron.. could be jerk. "He has saved my life more than once."

"Well, I am overjoyed to have such a steadfast and excitable companion and guide within Eredale."
One hand left his back and gestured to her hand. "From what I've gathered, people in the region worship dragons.. they may view this as a gift. For.. what its worth. And if not, I have a friend who may be of some.. assistance. She is similar, but different."

Petra Darthinian
 

Petra Darthinian

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The last of her things were packed away in her pack as Valdr spoke. And it wasn't until she had hiked the pack onto her back and she had turned back to him, that his words registered.

She took an eager step forward, her eyes arrested to his face for an answer. "Did you say you knew another like me?!"

Norvyk gave an indignant grunt from behind her. She could tell her intrigue wounded his pride a bit, so she sent a reassuring wave of friendship down the cord of their bond.

Clearing her throat, she tried again for her dragon's benefit. "What I meant was. That this... gift is not entirely unwanted. It was more of a... surprise than anything." She briefly threw a glance over her shoulder. Where the beast refused to meet her gaze. "And a gift it may be. But... it was not one that I was entirely prepared to receive. Or one that I even have an idea of how to navigate. It seems, although, Norvyk had the power to bestow it. He himself isn't able to tell me much more about what this means for us. Therefore, we are the blind leading the blind." A humorless smirk pulling at her mouth.

An outraged hiss culminated from above them. Petra partially turned to take in what was sure to be a grand bluster.

"What it means, Little Lark,' a sneer coloring his voice, 'Is that you accepted an accord ordained by an ancient magic that is older than my own memory and that of my brethren. And that magic binds us as Rider and Dragon.' His wings shuffled in a soft leather sign of agitation, "Do not mistake me for some beast of burden. Our bond is destined for greatness, because I AM GREAT.' A pregnant pause. 'And I saw that same greatness in you. Or we would not have been able to achieve Harmony."

He bunched his powerful legs beneath him, wings spread wide, as if preparing for take off. His eyes boring into Petra's. "I am greater to you than kin. Than country. Than any lover you will take. You would do well to treat me as the sacred companion that I am, as I plan to do for you."

Before Petra could answer in protest, the dragon took a mighty leap and flew up into the sky. The wind from his departure blew the hair from her face and smarted her eyes with dust. A turbulent and guilty feeling sat at the base of her throat. Leaving her speechless as she watched him fly into the clouds. Sparks dancing across his scales in anger.
 
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Rangvaldr Tal'deneshaar

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As she grew excited, he would lift a hand to calm her down some. "Similar. She bears her own gifts from dragons, she is not bonded as you two are." His gaze shifted to Norvyk as if hoping to assuage his anger with his rider.

But.. it was too late. She kept going off to the races until Norvyk, disgruntled and pained, took his leave of them. Valdr would sigh. "Perhaps you should learn the line before you upset him. I'm sure that.. affects your bond negatively." He would say gently. "And hopefully, he isn't the kind of dragon to raze a village in anger.. I hear all chromatics are some form of evil, just some are more measured than others."

He hoped the dragon was pouting off somewhere. If not, and the dragon took out that anger on the innocent, it would pain Valdr to hunt one that he knew the name of. With the final wingbeats disappearing on the wind, he looked back at Petra. "So then, to Eredale. I will walk with you so that Toron can recover some." As he spoke, he would pat Torons broad neck.

Petra Darthinian
 

Petra Darthinian

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Petra couldn't stop a reflexive rush of anger in her chest as she whipped a glare towards her companion. Her nostrils slightly flaring in outrage.

She knew how that exchange looked to Valdr. And she knew no matter how tactful she had been, the dragon would have taken any sort of unzealous comment as an ungrateful admonishment. He did not take criticism well.

She opened her mouth. She paused. Rethinking the angry retort that sat ready to fling back at Valdr as he continued to give his advice. Hmm, it would seem upon closer introspection, that her and her dragon weren't very different after all.

Instead, she cringed inwardly at the apology she would have to pepare herself to give Norvyk later and instead released her anger in a long and tired sigh. With a nod to Valdr and an equally vervant nod to Toran, the elf turned around and started walking in a determined march towards the path, away from where Valdr originally had rode up.

Over the shoulder that wasn't carrying her pack, she threw back, what she hoped, was an inviting reply, "Norvyk will find us when he is good and ready. I can feel now that he isn't very far. As I doubt he would leave me for long. It stands to reason, that even after 127 years, I still have work to do with my diplomacy. In the meantime, I hope you at least will find me to be charming and tolerable company, where he did not." The last sentence trailed off into a husky and self deprecating laugh.
 

Rangvaldr Tal'deneshaar

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He watched those emotions boil and crash over her features in the most neutral expression possible. Internally, she reminded him of his younger brother, and that would ensure the level smile on his face.

As they walked along down the new path, she would look over her shoulder and say something that he graced with a friendly laugh. "One hundred and twenty seven? Thats still young for an elf, yes?" He asked. He knew not all elves were the same, as some who came to Aniria with his father were as old as eight hundred, while some born in Aniria died before they were two hundred.

He would take the helm crooked in his arm and set it atop the saddle horn as they walked. "For what its worth, you're the most vibrant elf I've traveled with. Also the oldest woman." He said with a tinge of humor in his teasing tone. "Aside from you and Norvyk, tell me of yourself, Petra."
 

Petra Darthinian

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A surprised laugh of mirth escaped the elf's mouth before could stop it. Her eyes trained forward on the path ahead. New strength surging through her limbs from the morning of rest. Her long legs easily eating up the ground.

"Vibrant, you say? You and my Keeper seem to be of the same opinion." She did a quick pirouette on the ball of her foot, facing Valdr as she energetically kept walking backward. "Fortunately, you seem to appreciate my fire a little more than they did!" Another chuckle. "And my elderly wisdom." She gave him a wink and turned back around, an energetic energy to her gait.

"Ah, good knight. What is there to tell?! I am but a humble Songweaver, more interested in the pursuance and recording of knowledge than is deemed proper for a Wyld elf. So here I am. A result of that troublesome curiosity." She pushed back an overgrown bush that had taken residence over the mountain path.

Her voice rang out in a more somber tone. "I had a sister once." The lilt in her voice echoed with an old pain. "But that was before your time. MUCH of my life was before your time." Her voice teetered out.
 

Rangvaldr Tal'deneshaar

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"Vibrant... your Keeper seems like a smart person." He would say with a grin back. She was quite the firecracker and full of energy, now that she was walking backwards.

Then came the cockiness, the wink, and then the turn around as she continued on. Either this girl was direct, a tease, or would have been one of Drasts favorites. Hell, perhaps it was an opportunity to gain his siblings some chances to meet beyond Vel Anir.

"Ah, so you're a maverick for your own kind. Sounds like my brother." He mused softly as they continued on. "So aside from singing, what exactly does a songweaver do?" He asked, scanning the skies once more for her dragon. His laugh was rather sober. "I'm sorry to hear about your sister, but yes I think even at my oldest age, your stories would be older than I."
 

Petra Darthinian

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The morning stretched on as they got to know each other, the clouds rolling across the sun, periodically sending them into cooler shadows as they trekked closer to Tarlik-Za.

Petra spent some time educating him with the occupation she proudly held with her people, despite her otherwise looked down upon wanderlust outside of Eredale. She spoke to him of homes sung from trees, and failing crops that were encouraged to grow with a rousing melody, and even of the times in battle when a songweaver garnished nature against foe with a ballad that shook the spears of men.

She found the man to be very delightful company. He was a good listener and his humor came easy from one so dutiful.

Interspersed with her tale, she quietly hummed happily whenever she came across a particularly beautiful flowering bush, interestingly shaped rock, or passing woodland creature. She treated each discovery with a quiet wonder that was almost child-like. Although that same reverance was not to be mistaken with easily manipulated naivete. In fact, one look into Petra's eyes, and the fiery cunning was an easy spark to witness. For she was a feral and beautiful thing. An embodiment of nature itself. Humbly, a force to be reckoned with in her own right. And she welcomed any challenge that she could sink her teeth into and prove what she was worth.

Speaking of challenges, she snorted to herself, her dragon came to mind. And a niggle of worry along with it. It had been some time since she'd heard from.

But not wanting to be the one to bridge the gap between them just yet. She decided to calm her anxiety by talking about Norvyk instead.

"Ser Valdr. I don't believe I've had the opportunity to share with you what brought me into my current circumstances? Perhaps you won't think me so crass in how I spoke to Norvyk, once you hear how he came to be my dragon." There was a wry smile in her voice. Without waiting for an answer, she jumped right into the tale of what happpened a moon ago.

She spoke for some time, leaving none of the experience out. Even making sure to stop at the appropriate times for dramatic effect of course. There were elaborate sound effects and exaggerated mannerisms, galore. And if Valdr ever brought up this story in mixed company; that he had witnessed Petra badly impersonate the wingbeats and roar of her dragon, she would flat out deny it and he would later find his drink tampered with from some mysterious denizen of karma.
 

Rangvaldr Tal'deneshaar

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There was definitely one thing about this woman that would stand out: she could talk. She could fill any lapse of silence with a story about her or her dragon. She was definitely like his youngest brother. He just couldn't tell if it was nervousness, separation anxiety, or a need to be the center.

Regardless, it was entertaining all the same, and Valdr would pay attention to everything that she said and in the rare moments when she asked him a question, he would have a proper, concise answer.

When she finished with tales of home, she dove right into her meeting with Norvyk, leaving him no chance to comment on the situation itself. There was no annoyed look, no flash of anger, just a smile as she spoke and continued to remind him of his brothers.

When she finally finished, he would speak up, "My greatest hope is that Norvyk can sense everything you say.. just so he could hear such... masterful... impersonations." He teased with a grin. "Now I may not fully understand this partnership, but I think I may know someone with some insight."

Petra Darthinian
 

Petra Darthinian

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Valdr's words inspired a raucous snort and a laugh from the woman. The very thought of what Norvyk's reaction would be, was enough to send both foreboding and stitches into her side at the idea of his shocked and scaly visage.

There was a healthy sheen of sweat forming on the back of Petras's nape from the constant uphill. As her laughter died, she took a leather thong from her wrist and piled her obstinate curls into a semblance of a high ponytail. She could already feel small bits of hair escaping to frame her face. But it would have to do.

Taking a moment to pause on the trail, she planted her hands on her hips and looked out upon the vista. Noting the valley down below and appreciating the quiet ambience of bird song as the avians flitted back and forth among the trees.

Looking back at Valdr, she seemed to take on a reflective air. A thought mulling over in her mind. "As funny as that might be. I've found that he has the ability to close himself off from me. As I suspect he is doing now while he pounts." She sighed. "In the strangest and least romantic way possible. This feels like a courtship. A struggling one at that. And he's not giving me much to work with." A humorless laugh left her lips. Before she seemed to shake off the thought and looked back across the horizon. "Now Ser Valdr, we have been walking for hours and I have yet to see you consult a map. Do you have any idea how much farther we have to go?"
 

Rangvaldr Tal'deneshaar

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They came to a stop after a short while and a minor accessory addition and hairstyle change. "A courtship? Sounds like that could raise a few questions." He teased before he looked out over the Vale. From where they were they could still see the Eldyr Tree and the shadow that surrounded it, all the land affected by the blight.

His gaze shifted to her. "Me? Lady Petra.. You're taking me to Eredale.. -your- home. How would you have no idea where you're going? After all, you took the lead, I expected you to know where you were going."

Petra Darthinian
 

Petra Darthinian

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A sharp grin split her lips, it was more teeth than mirth as she glanced at him from the side. A mischevious glint in her eyes. "Oh dear, oh my. It seems our warden has placed too much trust into the maiden he found in the mountains." Scoffing softly, she stretched up onto her toes, trying to release the tension that had been building in her shoulders from carrying her back. She sighed before looking up, seeming to search for a dragon that was nowhere to be seen. "Well Valdr, I will admit. It has been some time since I transversed the Spine. I don't normally make it a habit to venture into such dangerous lands without the ability to defend myself." She squinted off at the Eldyr tree in the distance, casually gesturing to the giant shadow it cast. "I know my home is due north of the Eldyr, across the river. And directly west of Tarlik-Za. So if we can find our way down the mountain soon, we'll be able to spend tomorrow night in relative comfort."
 

Rangvaldr Tal'deneshaar

The Warden
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"Yeah, well.. at least now we know recording things is either not your calling.. or something you need to survive." He fired back with a smirk, a friendly jab to keep spirits high. So.. she was for loss of a better word: lost. No matter, Valdr was good with direction. "Could always roll down the mountain. Its the quickest way." He joked.

He would take the lead then, starting a descent, his heavy armor would keep him weighted to the ground but meant he would need to find sturdier paths. "Tarlik-za.. the humans at the Fort said it was a goblin village, correct? Its amazing how the Knights of Anathaeum were able to secure peace in the Vale, though I'm sure its tenuous with some of the Borderlords. I've already met Pinkrose, hes.. he doesn't even qualify as a man."

He was still learning all the diplomatic ties and rivalries of the region, but as they continued on, he would find a rhythm until they were down at the base of the Spine, just above the foothills. Toron was taking up the rear and would snort as they went irritated at the days events. After all, he could be at the stable eating sugar cubes.

Finally, they would reach an outcropping of rocks and a glint of silver would cause Valdr to pull Petra against him and behind the cover of a large rock. "Toron, down." He ordered and the warhorse would lumber slowly down, the barding causing some obvious discomfort. With his companion flush against her, Valdr would rotate slowly until she was between the rock and him, his eyes squinting as he looked between the rocks.

"There's close to two dozen riders up ahead.." he whispered to her as he began to identify each person. His golds focused on the banner held aloft by one of the men. Perhaps an envoy, perhaps this was a warband. "Vraexamore.. they shouldn't be this far South.." he would turn to Toron and with a hand signal the warhorse would rise to his hoofs.

"You have a bow?" He would ask Petra as he moved to the left side of the saddle. "If so, pick them off.. if not, stay to the edge. They're lightly armed, with surprise and justice on our side, we will crush them." He mused before removing his helm from the saddle horn and pulling it on. "No matter what happens, stay rotating." With that, he swung himself up into the saddle.

If Vraexamore was here, it meant they were up to no good.. and that was something that would need to be rectified. Opting for a javelin over his lance, Valdr would snicker and Toron would begin to advance. The slow clopping, would evolve into a trot before it eased into a full on gallop. As he began to close on them, he would let the reins fall free and heft his shield, trusting the instincts of Toron.

The fringe scouts didn't seem to note the arrival of the Warden, and that would be a shortcoming that would haunt them for the rest of their days. Valdr lifted in his stirrups and launched his javelin into the side of the first rider, impaling him with enough force to dismount him with a panicked yelp. Following the release, the Warden lowered to pull another javelin free of its clippings, and in a fluid motion cradled it just before Toron slammed into the side of smaller courser. The impact allowed Valdr to drive the javelin right into the jugular of the rider, before pulling it back and chucking it into the flank of a horse, causing it to tumble and throw its rider.

Toron would bite the horse he body checked before, slamming it aside with the barding along his neck, before beginning to weave through the enclosing scouts. Instead of reaching for his final javelin, Valdr would pull the warpick free from the loop on his belt and heft in preparation for the coming onslaught.

Petra Darthinian
 

Petra Darthinian

Dragon Rider
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Petra followed him nimbly down the mountain, avoiding the loose rocks that occassionally knocked and tumbled down the path ahead of them.

She was just mulling over the thought of contacting Norvyk soon, when Valdr piped up about Pinkrose, all she could do was snort derisively before replying in a venemous tone, "The Baron is a direct result of when a man child is given power that he is not equipped to handle. He treats his allies as disposable play things to accomodate his whims. I won't even go into how he's treated the Centaurs. It is disgusting. If I had the chance, I would rip out his throat with my teeth and do the Vale a much needed favor." Her words emphasized by slapping a bush out of her path with more vigor than was necessary.

Her outrage bubbling near the surface for some time as they finally made headway into the foothills. Peeking up at the sun, it was clear they had made good time. And if they could, they'd need to secure a camp site for the impending night soon.

Daydreams of food other than dried roots and jerky carried her forward, until Valdr suddenly grabbed her and threw her against his side behind a large rock, her shoulder slamming into the side, shocking her from her thoughts of dinner. The warrior's vervant whisper in her ear keeping her quiet from calling out in pain.

In a disbelieving hush, she leaned closer and asked, "Did you say Vraexamore?! What in the fucking sweet hells is King Ianlar's army doing down here?" She attempted to look around Valdr, but thought better of it and kept her back flush with the rock. Or at least, as best she could wth her pack and weapons.

Valdr spoke to her as he approached his mount and swung up into his saddle. She briefly gave him a flat and sarcastic look. "We've been traveling for the entire day and you ask me if I have a bow? Do your eyes not work?" She pulled the bow off of her person and quickly detached the capped quiver she kept secured on her pack. "I much prefer a sword. But alas, here we are. And yes yes yes. Rotating. Now GO. Go and show me you can kick some ass."

The elf kneeled next to the rock, using it to keep her steady, as well as a means for quick cover, should the scouts be revealed to also have an archer. She took a deep breath to center herself. Felt the eagerness of battle quicken her blood. The familiar grip of the bow settling into worn calluses. She had sung this very bow from the trees of Fal'Addas itself. In a sense, it was a part of her. Part of the music that made up who she was.

Only moments had passed, but it was enough to prepare Petra for the grim task that was taking the life of another. And grim it may be, but a hurricane does not apologize for tearing down the house of a farmer in its path. The guilt did not exist when it came to forces of nature.

Deep inhale and a full draw of her bow with her right arm; she would note later that the draw was easier than it normally was before her arm was transfored. She waited until Valdr was deep in the fray and already two javelins down, the assailants attempting to close in on him. She aimed for a scout that faced away from her and was blocking Valdr's path back to her. The scout's arm began to raise and she let her arrow fly with her exhale.

It shot forward and hit him in the back near his spine, the bright white fletching a contrast to the almost black red blood already forming around the entrance wound. Petra's smile was feral once the arrow hit her target. Reptilian golds eyes bright with a restrained fury. She nocked another arrow, noting that she only had nine arrows left. Not enough to take them all down, but she hoped it was at least enough to buy Valdr brief windows to slaughter the rest.

She hated that she couldn't songweave while the warden was in the midst, anything she did would have the possibilty of effecting him too. Thankfully, she could provide some damn good support in the meantime.

Snarling, Petra let another white-tipped arrow fly.
 
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Rangvaldr Tal'deneshaar

The Warden
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Valdr heard a grunt behind him: Petra. He would wheel around in his saddle, the hammer side of the warpick colliding with the freshly injured rider and throwing him from his horse. As the man landed on his back, there would be a snapping of the arrow while the rest was pushed deeper, killing him.

Turning to see another enemy approaching, he would flourish his weapon as Toron moved forward. The man would swing his sword downward as they closed, Valdr's shield lifting to catch the strike before he swung back, the business end of his weapon punching through the coif at the man's throat.

Valdr would go to tug his weapon free, only for it to catch. Instead of panicking, he would release the weapon and reach for his blade, pulling it free from its home at the scabbard tucked into his saddle.

The sound of something swinging through the air was barely audible, but the feeling of it colliding with his cuirass from behind, forcing his legs to tense and keep him from flying from the saddle.

Petra Darthinian