Private Tales What Does Not Kill Us

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Pern

Thish Ishn't a Time For Jokesh
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Pern nodded, still looking rather alarmed as well, and stood near Hath as the gigantic beast lowered her forequarters closer to the ground and folded her wings. There was an invitation in Pern's head to get on, stern and commanding as only a mother might be. She did as told and moved forward to carefully climb up, using the leather harness the gryphon wore as leverage and a handhold once upon her back.

She gasped and clung tightly, folding forward as Dawnbringer stood again, watching the gryphon eye Hath for several long moments as though she were sizing him up to gulp down, then reared with her wings beating to grab him bodily in her talons. Care was taken not to inflict harm, but her grip was quite firm and he'd find the scales covering her forelimbs would be far too thick for his blades to puncture.

Those massive wings beat strongly, pushing her amazing bulk skywards with seemingly little effort. Pern closed her eyes against the rushing feeling in her stomach and flattened herself against the feathers beneath her. Ignatius had always spoken of the Dawnbringer being so kindly and gentle ... but perhaps it was just his animal magnetism. Once they had reached gliding heights into the sky, Pern carefully pushed herself to sit up.

"How -" she cleared her throat in the cool air rushing past, "how long until we reach the Shire?"

By morning, said the voice in her mind, perhaps sooner if the winds stay with me.

Another shaky nod, Pern leaned over as far as she dare, trying to see Hath, "Hath! Are you okay?!"
 
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Hath Charosh

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This was a place where creatures went before they died. Held, more likely punctured, by talons of steel. Anything in this cage new that it was the end of life's journey. They were soon to be eaten by the gryphon itself, or perhaps its babies.

"Am I okay?" he muttered to himself. When he was held tight he braced to be crushed. When the grip loosened he prepared for the fall.

The wound on his leg had opened up again as they had fled. For an orc, it was a minor inconvenience compared to being carried like this. The demonic presence was more active. Perhaps in response to the magical creature, perhaps simply because it knew they were now going to reach their destination far sooner.

"I will be fine!" he shouted against the wind with stubborn resolve.
 
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Pern

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She didn't feel particularly reassured given the nature of her friend and how he never seemed to like admitting his fears or shortcomings. Pern sat there and worried enough that their ride became annoyed.

He will be fine, if a bit cold, now will you please stop pulling on my feathers.

"Sh-shorry," Pern said, releasing the gryphon and instead taking hold of the leather harness.

The ride was a long one - several hours aloft in the chilly altitudes - and Pern nearly nodded off a few times. When the light of the rising sun began to blind her squinting gaze she felt the gryphon begin to descend through the clouds and over a landscape that looked completely different from the one they had left. Here the forest was old growth, dense, and deep green. It was a portion of Falwood that did not often seen travelers by foot given how difficult it was to access. But just beyond it where the trees began to taper, it turned into vert and rolling meadows and hills. Smaller tree groves and planted farming fields. Grassy knolls were intersected by a winding, glistening stream and dirt roads.

The gryphon glided downwards toward a quiet, flat area of grass between the road and stream where she dropped Hath into a thicket of clover and ferns before touching down. Pern waited until she stilled and lowered herself to lay down before slipping off her side. She spilled into a pile, her wobbly and chilled limbs not quite prepared to catch her, and lay there for a moment catching her breath she didn't realize she'd been holding.

The gryphon seemed perfectly nonchalant. Settling in comfortably for a rest and likely a nap.

"Thank you," Pern breathed as she sat up, "you've no idea how much thish hash helped ush."

I have a good idea how much... the gryphon peered at her, your Healer is at the east of the Shire. Be warned, should you or your friend bring harm or misfortune to this place or its people, nothing will stop me from bringing you both to swift deaths.

"We would never," Pern shook her head, eyes wide as she eyed the point of the gryphon's beak, "never bring either. We mean no harm, I shwear. We only wish to help my friend..." speaking of. Pern looked over to where he'd been dropped and quickly pushed herself to her feet, "Hath? Hath!"
 
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Hath Charosh

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"Still alive," he groaned out. His body was getting a second opinion on the matter from somewhere. After the awkward and often painful ride his limbs were not responsible. He managed to roll onto his side and take a fistful of grass to start heaving upwards.

There had been a precious few moments where his instincts had let him ignore the biting cold and steel talons. A few moments where he could appreciate the view from their great height. It was beyond even the views from the mountains of the Spine he had explored.

None of that balanced out the descent. The ground had rushed up to meet them. Even meter down gave more of a sense of the velocity the gryphon carried. He hadn't expected to suddenly be in free fall. His heart was still pounding.

"She talks to you?" he grunted.
 

Pern

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Pern quickly moved to help him sit up, eyes widening as she noted the frigid temperature of his skin, "You're freeshing!" She'd been cold as well, but she'd also been sitting on the great gryphon, whose own body heat had been enough to keep her at a mild chill. Hath ... felt like he'd been sitting in the Eretejva tundra, willingly collecting snow on his form.

She pulled off her bag and untied the blanket rolled along the top, then flung it open over his shoulders. The sun had only just risen in the shire and it felt like fall weather here. The air was crisp and cool, the grasses around them were taking on a shade of bronze. Beyond, in the trees, the green of leaves was broken by patches of yellow and red.

"She talks to you?"

"Yesh," Pern nodded, brusquely rubbing her hands along his upper arms to create friction heat, "in my mind. Only those who poshesh her feather or know her name can hear her voish ... at leasht, that'sh what my father shaysh." The orc frowned, "We're here now, we've only to walk to the easht of the Shire, but you look exhaushted. Let'sh resht a bit ... I can shtart a fire to warm you and look at your wound."
 
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Hath Charosh

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Hath wrapped his own arms around his chest as she rubbed his shoulders. He was not a creature made for cold climates. It was still better than the frigid mountainsides where Mabess' orc tribes lived.

When she was this close it reminded him of the moment she had stood her ground and forced the demon back into hiding with her ward. He could have killed her. Hath briefly looked towards the gryphon. Pern hadn't been ready for this journey, but she had thrown herself into the path of danger for him several times.


He gave a single, firm nod at her suggestion. Parts of him ached that had never ached before. Being awkwardly hauled through the sky wasn't as much of a threat as the damage done by the elves, but it still hurt.

Hath remained seated. He was reluctant to stay on the ground. Everyone in the tribe pulled their weight. They also pulled more when they had to, when an orc was inevitably injured.

"Thank you."
 
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Pern

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Pausing at his thanks, Pern offered Hath a reassuring smile, "Of courshe."

She'd never minded working hard - it kept her busy, kept her focused, and more often than not it kept her out of trouble. If it weren't for her hard work she never would have made it to the smithy. She didn't like to think about the fate of her life if Master Galen hadn't given her that opportunity. Her father could only protect her for so long and he wouldn't be around to do so forever.

Luckily that worry was a long way off. Ignatius was a healthy, stubborn old man. He'd survive them all if he could.

With some dried moss and gathered branches she had a fire going in short order. Though the wound on his leg wasn't life threatening, it was still deep enough that she couldn't care for it properly. Pern did what she could to clean it and bandage it, but admitted that the Apothecary they sought would just have one more thing to tend to.

"You know," she'd made herself comfortable sitting next to him by the fire once everything had been tended to, "it will be shtrange ... to go home after thish ish all finished."
 
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Hath Charosh

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Hath nodded slowly, but his eyes remained fixed on the heart of the flame. His people had a close relationship with fire. The days were hot, but the nights brought in a frigid cold on the savanna.

They stayed close to fire as it danced and fed. From the small camp fires of the hunting parties, to the great pyres they formed when tribes gathered in ceremony.

"Your city is not so like...this..." he said, waving an arm to encompass the open air. The first stars were breaking through, forming the band across sky they liked to congregate inside.

"I am sure both place could suit you. But...we will not be returning to my tribe."
 
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Pern

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Hath spoke a broad but deep truth. Elbion was nothing like this ... these adventures and experiences had truly opened Pern's eyes to just what lay beyond the city walls, judgmental stares, and not-so-private remarks made of herself and her kind. Having found acceptance in his tribe and waking up every day with purpose and the respect of his tribe members provided her with profound feelings of heartache for the world she'd endured as a child.

Why did everything she knew turn out to be so mired and sullied with hatred? Why, when she had spent years attempting to prove herself worthy of the College of Elbion, then to scrape and scrounge for a job only to be chosen by the Master Smith simply because she was strong - why was it that she merely only speak of her skills to an Orc Chieftainess and be taken for her word and gifted everything she needed to do her job?

Pern idly pawed and rubbed at her sternum where a knot of discomfort at these notions had formed.

"...we will not be returning to my tribe."

She blinked, turning weary golden eyes to her companion, "Becaushe of your brother?"
 
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Hath Charosh

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Hath was suddenly wound up in his own thoughts. Enough that whilst he could see Pern lost in her own that he didn't ask about them.

He had never been fond of his half brother. Hath had accepted that his place was not at the heart of his tribe, but Bathyr had gone out of his way to ensure that his dominance over Hath was known.

That didn't stop the image of Bathyr being cleaved in two from being painful.

"Because of my brother," Hath confirmed. "I will not be able to back."
 
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Pern

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A deep frown settled down around her tusks, expression drooping in growing melancholy.

"I don't undershtand ...why not?" His brother had hunted them down. It was his brother that had tried to kill him - to take her back to the clan. What happened to survival of the strongest and fittest? If Hath had been capable of overcoming his brother, why wouldn't his clan welcome him back?

Never being able to go home or to see family again... the very thought made her feel sick to her stomach. Despite having lived among his clan for several weeks, Pern still struggled to grasp their culture.
 
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Hath Charosh

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Why not? He realised she was asking in earnest. Hath sighed. The residual cold in his bones had his lips lightly tremble enough to change the sound.

"His father would not see it that way. There is no going back. Not unless I am going back to take the tribe from him."

It was as simple as that. There was little corruption in the way they formed their hierarchies, but there was no time for sympathy either. Hath would kill him or be killed. Right now, he could not imagine having the stomach for it.
 
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