Fable - Ask The Tides of Fate

A roleplay which may be open to join but you must ask the creator first

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá's lips twitched as Kol stood and started stripping as he walked away, but she made no comments. She was not, however, above appreciating a show, though she sighed and shook her head as he dropped his clothing as he went. She was half-tempted to gather it up and hide it, but that meant she would have to get up again.

Though all she saw through the shadowed night and flickering firelight was pale skin over firm muscles, and a few more scars. Pale skin was to be expected in the tundra, though. She was more the anomaly among the Nordenfiir than not.

She scowled then, and turned around to face the fire, starting to gently comb her fingers through her hair and work out the worst of the knots. Of course she would manage to sour her own mood. It was partially her darker skin that had caught Aggar's interest in the first place. "Come on, Ruv," she muttered quietly. "No use being upset with yourself over something you can't even help."

She couldn't change her past and she couldn't change her skin, regardless of the shapeshifting. But she'd be damned if she didn't get a lot more picky with men.

Ruvsá sighed and pushed her thoughts away with her exhale, and continued working at her hair.
 
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Kol

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By the time Kol returned the temperature had turned once more. The Nordwiir threw on his clothes without much of a wait, the heat and smoke of the fire having warmed and cleaned them. His shoulders rolled as he sat himself down.

After a few moments of silence filled with only the flickering of flames the Sorcerer spoke up. "What will you do after you return?"

She had mentioned that she'd come here to get away, for silence. She had told him of the Nordenfiir Queen and the ambitions the woman held. Would Ruvsa join the woman's crusade? Help unite the Tundra?

A loyal shield maiden?

Kol could understand the appeal. Leaders needed people they could trust, that was stalwart, and Ruvsa seemed both of those things.
 
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Ruvsá

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Ruvsá was tying off her freshly-braided hair when Kol returned. She watched with appreciation and bemusement as he re-dressed. After a moment, she stretched her legs out, bare feet toward the fire, and leaned back, hands pressed to the ground behind her to support her torso.

The air was turning quite chilled, but to Ruvsá it was quite pleasant. The Nordenfiir didn't enjoy being overly warm. It was the bear in them.

After a few moments of silence filled with only the flickering of flames the Sorcerer spoke up. "What will you do after you return?"

"Resume my duties," she shrugged. "Finish my current task, and then see what's next. If the Queen doesn't have anything specific after I finish my current charge, then I might travel some. Explore the southern lands a bit. Maybe go back home and visit my mother." Her eyes were fond, but her nose scrunched distastefully. "Thank her for giving me the knowledge I needed to not bear a sniveling brat for my late consort."

It sounded so mundane when she said it, but at least it was more than the solely-bedwarmer task she'd been shunted into in Indeholm.

"What about you?" she asked, turning her gaze over to Kol.
 
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Kol

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He considered her words for a few moments, tilting his head. It seemed she had formed a loyalty to this Queen.

Understandable really, given the circumstances. "I will lead my people South."

Kol let the words hang in the air for a moment, perhaps to induce a little panic within her. "South" for the Nordwiir was of course the Tundra proper, where the Nordenfiir and others made their home. Such tension would be surely unwelcome.

"Beyond the Tundra." The Sorcerer finally confirmed. "To the continents."

That had always been his desire. "For generations we have warred and slaughtered one another. I aim to put an end to that."

Finally.
 

Ruvsá

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If there was one thing Ruvsá had deduced about Kol so far, it was that he liked to mislead. To give a part of the truth, but not the whole truth. And while she wasn't exactly telling him anything that one couldn't learn about the Nordenfiir by walking through a village and listening to the gossip, the far greater secrets she carried were things she'd not even hinted at.

She had, after all, bedded a man for two years while actively plotting his downfall, and collecting evidence of his treachery. Even if Aggar had been utterly incompetent, it had not been easy to hide her intentions from the other jarnas.

So when Kol said I will lead my people south and then fell suspiciously silent, Ruvsá just rolled her eyes and waited. There was no reason she could think of that the Nordwiir would want to overtake the lands the Nordenfiir inhabited. Life wouldn't be much different than in the Lost Isles, surely. And the Tundra housed more than just the Norden. She doubted they were capable of putting together a force cohesive enough to present more than an annoyance.

When he finally continued, Ruvsá watched him, pondering. It was no small task he was attempting to tackle.

"One certain way to unite a people is to battle a common foe," she said, not missing the irony of her own words. The two of them wouldn't be here, having this conversation, if weren't for battling a common foe, though she suspected that Kol had come out of it with a greater reward than she. "Though I would caution you against making the Nordenfiir that foe. We have the advantage in this case, between our ability to shift to Svalen, and the fact that we have been united more often than not."

She quirked her head, and eyed him skeptically. "Your other, perhaps greater, challenge will be convincing them that you are worthy of leading them in the first place."
 
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Kol

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He gave her an amused smile, a toothy sort of grin that lasted for just a few seconds.

"Yes." Kol agreed. "That is the most difficult task."

No one, not in the whole of their history, had ever united the Nordwiir. Some had tried, some had even gotten close, but something always brought them down at the end. Whether it was the Dark Gods dragging them low or a single arrow to the eye it didn't matter. Something always stopped them on the eve of true progress.

Kol was well aware of that fact, and a part of him knew that the same would likely happen to him in the end.

The Dark Gods spoke to him. Whispered their secrets and told their stories, but that did not make him any more worthy. Not in his own eyes, not in those of his people. Yet each step he took, each little journey that he had took him closer and closer. Eventually the prize would be his.

Or he would die. "I cannot say what will happen."

He admitted.

"Only that I will keep trying until my people are freed from these lands." Kol said quietly.
 

Ruvsá

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"How to unite a people who do not even trust their closest kin, let alone their neighbors?" Ruvsá mused quietly. "How to convince them that it's better to work together for a common good instead of individual gain?"

She watched Kol quietly for several minutes. Despite the hardness of his eyes, his hesitancy to smile or laugh, she was willing to wager they were nearly the same age. To be so young but already with such ambitions... he had a shot at success, if he could see it through to the end.

No wonder she'd sensed a purpose to everything he did, a resolve she'd rarely seen matched in any others she knew.

"What is it that already binds your people together?" she asked. There had to be something, for them to even call themselves a people. "How can you weave your goal into it?"
 
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Kol

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These were questions that Kol had thought about for years.

He had tried many answers, attempted one way or another to find a solution. It was never as easy as he thought at first, never as simple as one thing or the other. Violence, coercion, even blind faith only worked for so long.

In the end, Kol knew what he truly needed. "Truth."

He told her simply.

"The truth will set them free." What was that truth? The truth that their blessing was meant for more than just war among each other. The truth was that the Lost Isles were not a prison, but a proving ground. The truth that they deserved more.

He just had to show them.

"Do not worry for my answers Shield Maiden." Kol said with a smile. "I draw closer to them every day."

The words were not dismissive of her words, not in the least. More a sign of just how confident he was, how pleased he was in comparison to the state she'd found him in upon that beach.
 

Ruvsá

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"I hope you can convince them of that truth," Ruvsá murmured sincerely. "I'd be... curious to see what your success looks like, one day."

She flopped onto her back, then, cushioning her head on her hands as she stared at the stars. More of them were out now than earlier during her bath. It had been... a long time since she'd gotten to just watch the stars, without some other obligation hanging over her head. Not that there weren't any, but they weren't... urgent. Or overbearing.

"Will the elf king's soul help you with that?" she asked Kol.
 
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Kol

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"It will." He nodded.

Though he had not planned for it, the piece would be crucial. The first thought of many would of course be that he would use it for conquest, violence, but that could not have been further from the truth.

"The Lost Isles are not a welcoming place." He explained. "Our tribes are split among dozen different islands. Thousands broken apart by waters that are almost impossible to sail."

The constant fog, cold, and icebergs made it almost impossible to get even from island to island, much less out of the area. "I can change that now."

He explained.
 

Ruvsá

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"Using the magic that we encountered in the prison?" Ruvsá asked, her eyes tracing the different constellations she could see overhead. "I've never traveled to the far northern coast myself, but I've heard it's nearly impassible. I can see how the ability to manipulate ice and frost would help."

She rolled onto her side, toward Kol, and propped herself up on an elbow, and gave him a friendly grin. "Sorry if I'm annoying you," she said. "My mind's too wound up to try and sleep yet, but if you're tired or find me too nosy, just ignore me."
 
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Kol

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He nodded his head.

Kol planned to use the Elf's magic to bridge the divide between some of the Isles that were closer together. No trees grew on the Lost Isles, at least not in any massive capacity. Those that did were carefully felled and planned, their growth cycled so that Shipbuilders could use them.

It was one of the few things that his people held sacred, the sparse forests that dotted some of the islands. Right now Kol controlled three of the seven that held forests, though it was not enough. Never enough. "It is alright."

He told her.

"I don't sleep much." Another gift from the Dark Gods, or perhaps a curse.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá wrinkled her nose when Kol stated he didn't sleep much. "That sounds... unpleasant."

Then she flopped onto her back again and let out a long, slow sigh. It would be nice to have some mead. This was almost like the trips she'd taken with her father along his trapline, when they'd go out into the wilderness for days at a time. Though this little valley was infinitely more delightful than the snowy slopes of the forested mountains outside Hjerim.

"Tell me about the Lost Isles," she said. "I told you some about my life, so tell me a little about yours."
 
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Kol

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Kol shrugged his shoulders.

He'd never quite understood if it was the Dark Gods influence, or simply a mark of his own mind. Sleep had never been a necessity, and the rare times he was allowed it felt like a calming gift. In his sleep was the only time the Dark Gods did not whisper.

It was precious time, something he craved more of. "The Lost Isles are a wasteland."

Kol explained.

"There are few forests, little plant life." Depressing, some might have called it. "The most common crop is a mushroom, though it provides us with more nutrition than most things."

A strange point of pride for many Nordwiir.

"The Isles themselves are sparse, but there are countless of them. Some hold our tribes, others are filled with packs of roaming beasts. Drakes, Frost Trolls, Mahaha's, Chenoo. All dwell within the Isles."

He continued. "A constant fog clings to the archipelago, heaving ice sheets roil through the seas. A frost clings to everything, not that of the Tundra, but something vile and...more. It eats at your flesh, clings to your bone. The only warmth coming from the rivers and lakes of lava that sprout from the earth."

"This is where I am from. A frozen hellscape."
Kol said as he peered at her. "A test for our people. Where we have survived for millenia."
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá listened as Kol described the islands where he'd lived, her eyes drifting shut as she imagined it.

Many called the Tundra a wasteland as well. It was covered in snow more often than not, and very little vegetation grew, and what did had to go dormant for months--and sometimes years--at a time until the rare thaw happened.

The Tundra had its share of wild beasts, as well. Some, like the drakes and frost trolls, were the same, but one name made her open her eyes and squint over at him.

"Mahaha's?" she said, and the name alone made her giggle. "What the hell sort of creatures are those?"

But otherwise... the Lost Isles sounded like something that should have remained so--lost. And from what he said, she understood why he wanted to lead his people out of there.
 
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Kol

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He smiled at her reaction, the amusement clearly reflecting on him.

"It is like a flesh burrowing insect." The explanation would not be as amusing as her reaction, but she had asked and he would answer.

The Sorcerer had found himself being surprisingly truthful, but then again he saw no reason as to why he should lie to her in the first place. He doubted that she would ever travel to the Lost Isles. Most people avoided his home as best as they could, and he could not blame them.

"It slips it's mandibles between your flesh." He told her. "And secrets a poison whick slowly drives you to madness."

Kol explained. "Mahaha's are named for the laughter they evoke once their victim is infected."

The murderous joy that they created within their enthralled.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá shuddered at Kol's description of the Mahaha's, but still laughed, and an insidious thought crept into the back of her mind. "Can they be caught and bred?" she mused. "Does the poison's effects increase with more exposure?" Something like that... could be handy, when dealing with interrogations.

It would occur to her later that she also should have asked about an antidote.

Recalling his words about the frost in the Isles, her mood shifted once more. She stretched out one of her hands, remembering the sight of her unnaturally frostbitten fingers. She'd never heard of a Nordenfiir suffering from frostbite before.

"Perhaps the powers that govern the Isles and its weather are the same as the ones that guarded the prison," she said. "With the way you said it eats at flesh and clings to bone."
 
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Kol

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Kol shook his head. "No more than you could tame the wind."

That was to say one could use them, but it required magic, and more often than not the fates twisted so that the creature ended up harming you more than helping. Kol had never tried himself, mostly because he'd heard the stories.

There were other, more effective ways of getting that effect.

"Perhaps.." He mused. "Though it's cause is no mystery."

That much at least he knew for sure. "The Lost Isles are bound by the Gods, they were crafted for us, broken and reforged for the Nordwiir to test us."

That tale was as old as his people.

"Many have searched for a way to break that shroud, all have failed." That was why Kol did not plan to break the prison, but simply free his people from it. "The Isles are no home."

The Sorcerer mused. "They are just temporary."
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá laughed softly and shrugged when Kol said the Mahaha's could not be tamed. It had been worth a thought, and she'd not shown any aptitude for magic since gaining her Svalen, so an untamable flesh-burrowing insect-type creature was not something she had any desire to try and capture barehanded.

As her companion continued to speak, Ruvsá listened, then gathered her thoughts in silence for a few moments.

"I know there are old gods that some among the Nordenfiir still worship," she said, "though... the only one publicly worshipped anymore is Eogorath the First, the Norden who freed our ancestors from slavery."

If she were among her kind, with the Queen's traveling party still, her next thoughts and words might have been tantamount to heresy.

"Eogorath is worshipped now because he even for a Norden, he exhibited unusual strength, and that was what freed us from slavery. But... to me it seems a bit lacking to simply earn recognition as a god for being extremely strong and having a desire for freedom.

"I hope that your people find a home, though," she said.

Indeholm had not become the home she hoped. She'd had some luxury there, some privilege, but since Aggar used her for one purpose, it had become a cage. And Hjerim... her mother was there. Her father's grave was there. But many of the friends she'd made while training to be a shield maiden would have moved on to other things by now. She didn't know if it would still be home when she went back, however long she went back for.

She looked back over at Kol, a lazy, mischievous grin spreading across her lips.

"You're very lucky, you know. Shield maidens as mentors are highly coveted."
 
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Kol

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He listened to her tale about Eogorath, nodding his head. Kol had heard the name from Brenna before, their short talk of histories having covered the man turned God. It had been an interesting subject then, and it was now as well.

The Dark Gods were not of this world, and they never had been.

Some of them had names, others did not. Those who did often did not appreciate being called them, at least not by mortals who had not sworn to them. It was a lesson Kol had learned early on, though not one that completely stuck with them.

Sometimes naming one of the Dark Gods was the only way to evoke his attention, and in his works that was required more often than not. "Perhaps there is more to the story then. More than earned him the title of God."

It was a small kindness to offer, though he had no real insight.

Perhaps he could have asked one of the Dark Gods and received an answer, but it would most likely have been filled with lies.

Kol gave her a bemused smile.

"Mentor is a tad overstatement, no?" He said as he raised his palm. "Especially when I Could show you so much more."

The Sorcerer let out a breath, and then suddenly the fire before them turned into a brilliant blue. It snapped, and then turned into a brilliant snapping rendition of a Dragon's head. The creature twisted, turned to Ruvsa and let out a muted roar before bursting forth and disappearing into the air.

It left behind only the simple flame.
 
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Ruvsá

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"Perhaps," Ruvsá shrugged. "In truth, it doesn't bother me other than that so many seem eager to blindly worship Eogorath. Even if some think him a god, he's still just a man."

When Kol made the dragon from flame, though, she just threw her head back and laughed. Showing her a little parlor trick when she already knew he could do magic was like her pulling out a shield after brandishing her sword.

"Could you?" she smirked, meeting his gaze with playful challenge in her eyes, her look and tone almost on the border of flirtatious. "Perhaps you should."

She hadn't had this much fun in a long time, she realized. Once becoming Aggar's jarna, being in the presence of a strange man for this long would've been forbidden. Even Aggar's most trusted men skirted clear of being seen alone amongst the women of the harem. Her instincts said that Kol was dangerous, but she was willing to gamble that for the most part, it was a danger she could manage.

"You've barely brushed the surface of my knowledge," she continued, still smiling, though the playfulness was dialed back a little. "Shield Maidens are more than just warriors. Any of us could command an army with ease, or silently infiltrate enemy territory. We're teachers. Strategists. Diplomats. Spies, if necessary." --she flinched slightly there-- "Coveted as mentors and mates."

Her grin widened and her eyes darkened, remembering the look on Aggar's face as he died. "Not to be trifled with."
 
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Kol

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He smiled at her, the flirtation in her tone and gaze not ignored...but simply never registering. As if such a thing were simply not possible, or perhaps non-existent in his world.

Instead he watched her as she boasted of what she was, running a hand gently over his knee.

"I have no doubts." Kol said with absolutely no sign of patronizing her in his tone.

The Sorcerer had no doubt Ruvsa was capable of many things.

A lesson Kol had learned early in life was not to carry himself with too much ego. Everyone had something to offer. Whether it be King or servant. Whatever knowledge could be plucked from someone was precious in it's own sort of way.

That was why he had asked so many questions, all of which she had answered to his delight. The southrons he'd encountered had never been as forthcoming, something that had always annoyed him. "Perhaps you should put your skills to true use."

He suggested, glancing towards her.

One of the Dark Gods was smirking behind her, watching.

"Take your own domains." He did not speak of rebellion of course, he doubted she would ever betray her Queen. "Ask for the blessings of your Queen and seek out something of your own."
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá watched him. She wasn't sure yet what to make of Kol. In one sense, she was dangling herself and her abilities in front of him like bait. She wanted to see what he bit at. She'd said little that he couldn't discover from a sheltered child in any Norden village.

But still, she smiled softly when he said he didn't doubt her. When he sounded utterly sincere. But at the rest of his words, she bit her lip. Looked away for a moment. It was tempting. After the two years, the two utterly boring years as Aggar's jarna, she had become disillusioned with Nordenfiir culture, though she still felt that they were her people.

"Perhaps I will," she said softly, turning back to meet Kol's gaze. "Though so long as I do not betray my duties, as long as I complete them, the Queen's blessing isn't something I need to seek to pursue my own life."
 
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Kol

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"Then do it." Kol said a though it were the simplest thing in the world.

The Sorcerer knew that he was a puppet of sorts, a marionette whose strings were pulled by the Dark Gods. He never much minded that fact, for his ambition was set upon the path that they had chosen for him. Ruvsa had none of those strings.

All but one really, which she could cut herself. "Take something for yourself."

He encouraged.
 

Ruvsá

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"Take something for myself," Ruvsá murmured, turning her gaze back to the sky for a moment, a smile teasing her lips.

"I could take this island for myself," she mused, sitting up and spreading her arms wide. "Perhaps there are other things those elves hid here. Buried treasure, whether books or gold. Mayhap even another prison, with another elven king." Though she wasn't serious about the last. She had no use for a soul beyond her own.

She stood then, approaching Kol with a strange gleam in her eye, quiet until she stood over him.

"But there's more than just an island here for the taking," she stated, catching his eyes with hers as she stepped over him and sank down to straddle his legs, curious to see how he would react.

And then--laughing softly to herself because really unless he was a virgin, he should have seen it coming after a comment like that--she leaned in and kissed him. It was not soft. It was not sweet. It was firm and biting and demanding and she wanted to see if he would push her away, or meet her in kind.
 
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