Sulthra'kah, by RedEight, R, Updated regularly

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Sulthra'kah, by RedEight, R, Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:14 pm

Prologue


Journal Entry: September 10th, 1937

It was my pleasure that in the great year of nineteen and twenty three that I would have the opportunity of a life time to make a journey to a location that I had oft dreamt about in my earlier years. Though most would see a journey to Africa as a pleasure held only by eccentric old men longing for the thrill of the big hunt. But such concepts as the whole slaughter of lesser species as a simple and very base pleasure for a man to hold. No, my reasons were more existential, more childish, more meaningful.


Since a young age, I was always fascinated by fantastic faerie tales. Listening to my grandmother tell stories of mystical hills in the old country that would swallow small children whole; elves coming from the woods and snatching the breath of kids who wouldn’t go to bed before sunset; tales of adolescents growing into hideous monsters due to certain misbehavior's.


Once I had learned enough to read stories on my own, I would often find myself in libraries, pouring over collections of Grimm's Fairy Tales and Aesop's Fables. As i grew older and my tastes became more refined, I began studying the myths of ancient Egypt and Greece. Pantheons of gods ruling over man, making decisions and controlling the world with simple whims, creating and taking life with callous abandon. Fantastic concepts which seemed to reflect on ancient truths that governed and still in more subtle ways govern our lives to this day.


Alas, such pleasures must have a limit, and soon I had exhausted these resources of ethereal delights, and my hunger for more imaginative stores began to grow again. As it came time to make the decision as to what I would do with my life, I chose to make an anthropologist of myself, hoping that I would learn of near lost tales of ancient civilizations that may have existed at one time. Consistent themes across cultures such as ascensions from the heavens, and tales of a deluge permeating multiple cultures across multiple continents had come to lead me to believe that there might be a hidden truth behind such stories.


I began to believe that there may be truths to the myths of long lost Atlantis, near forgot Lemuria; and Suthkalir, buried in the dust of its people who had destroyed themselves in their own blood lust. When opportunities arose to travel and investigate this belief, I always lept at the opportunity.


Fortunately such an chance arose when the most prestigious Miskitonic University decided to launch an expedition to northern Africa after reports came in of a nomadic people happening upon what appeared to be foundations of an ancient city uncovered in the desert after a particularly intense storm season. When gathering a team for the journey, a professor tossed my name into a hat, and through happenstance, I was chosen, and found myself travelling across the desert on horseback while attempting to keep a log of my journey while expanding my own understanding of this very ancient land.


It was about three days of land travel before we met up with the nomadic tribe who had told the tale of locating the ruins, and about another day of travelling with them, before we came to the site. The nomads refused to go within about fifty yards of the edge of ancient foundations, claiming fear of upsetting the spirits of their elders, and so we made camp at a distance.


In the darkness of he uncivilized continents night, we sat gathered around the dusty orange light of a campfire, each of us sharing our thoughts and beliefs on the matter we were to approach in the light of the following morning. We shared tales of previous expeditions that we had participated in and compared our fields of study in a grandiose display of shadow-boxing.


Into this gathering of higher learning lit by dim orange flames hobbled the elder shaman of the nomadic tribe that had lead us to our discovery, his intent was to bridge to gap between his people who had camped further out near an oasis, and our people; a sort of peace keeper I would suppose.


He explained to us in a very broken English supplemented by the less broken English of our translator that it was tradition amongst the tribes of northern Africa to share tales with each other when they meet by chance in their wanderings. This was how it was, and how it had always been for many cycles before, and many of the tales had claims to being thousands of cycles old, possibly going back to the beginning of time.


The opportunity fueled my curiosity greatly and I jumped immediately at the chance to possibly be the first American to record such an ancient tale and bring it back and present it along with my other findings. Thus, when my time of sharing came, I reached into my trusty old cracked leather satchel which contained all my tools and recording equipment and pulled out a well used cloth bound diary in which I recorded all my favorite tales which I ha collected on my travels. Flipping through, I found a tale I felt would be appropriate for the evening since I had come to believe it had its origins in this very location. Pouring a cold drink and taking a long cool drag, I settled in and began to read the tale word for word for my unique audience and my unique location.

-----------------------
Last edited by RedEight on Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:20 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Sukthra'ah, by RedEight, PG-13 Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:02 pm

The Exile of the Cursed Prince


Long ago in the land of Suthkalir
Born to a king was a son
Who it was foretold was cursed
One day to bring the end
To his people’s way of life forever.

His whole life his fate was a mystery
Raised in blissful ignorance
Whist his father the king’s sadness grew
For soon he would lose his son.

On his fifteenth harvest
The prince was to be exiled
lest civilization end.

And so the King wept for his son
Who’s fifteenth harvest now neared.

But tears can’t halt time.


The night before the harvest the prince was told
His fate laid out before him
And he wept with his mother and father at length
For fate can’t be changed
So he gathered his things for his exile from his people.

He packed garments appropriate for travel
He packed food for himself
Tools and weapons for protection and utility
To his horse it was all strapped.

The horse had always been his companion
From an early age he’d learned to ride
And now to ride was his fate.

Forever alone he was doomed to be
Never to have a place called home.

His horse his only company.


In the morning he was set out by his people
His people no longer
For he could bring only misfortune with his presence
His direction south this fated summer
Beginning in the farmland ever worked upon by peasants.

His head hung low as he travelled his first day
Never looking back at the gate
The sound of wind blowing along the way
And the now hushed whispers of hate.

The city faded off into the distance and then below the land
Ahead a figure graced the side of the road
And as the prince drew closer he realized it was a man.

Pausing only once he noticed the prince
The man wandered along gathering dry grass and sticks.

A fellow exile like him.
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Re: Sukthra'ah, by RedEight, PG-13 Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:23 am

The leper welcomed the prince to dine with him.

The prince graciously excepted the offer
Aiding in the building of a fire to fight the darkness of night.

During their supper of boiled vegetables
The leper inquired as to the plight of the young lord
The topic of how they came to be equals.

The prince obliged the leper, grateful for the company
He wove his tale of sadness
Of kings and queens, of hunts and harvests a plenty
Whilst the leper listened with interest.

There was silence for a while after the tale was told
Then the leper cleared his throat
Though his story was no where near as grand
He would be rude to not share his own
And so his story was the next to be wove.

The leper talked of his village
Far away in a secluded forest to the west
A spiritual leader when he willed it
And his honor was the greatest of his people and no less.

Now cast out and doomed to wander
The leper longed for acceptance
And to grant wisdom as he had once before.

He told the exiled prince of a witch
From whom he could learn to lift his curse.

The prince listened intently.

The leper spoke unrelentingly.

The witch dwelt alone in a cave to the west
Past the dark wood, past the great dragon’s nest.

He was gracious for the leper’s advice
And that night at a great distance from home
The prince was restless, his spirit enticed.

In the morning he set his home to his right and began
His journey off the beaten path
The leper faded into the distance behind him
A foot print in sand.

Around and beneath him, the grass swayed lazily
A sea of green and golden yellow
Ahead; a wall of verdant brown of shrub and tree
Animals now lurched about
As nature began to overtake the land to now ran free.

The thick of the wood
True to the leper’s word
Took much effort to pass
Till a clearing he did observe.

A burnt patch of land
A cave up ahead
A fear of life blown away like sand.

Such dead places were feared
Since the beginning of time.

The time when dragons were much revered.

...
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Re: Sukthra'ah, by RedEight, PG-13 Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:47 pm

...


The poem wove out across the flickering white and black screen. In the darkness cast back by the wavering electrical luminesence a lone figure sat before the computer, a single gnarled finger tapping against a heavily worn key pad. With a couple key strokes, the screen went entirely black, its saga cut short at the whim of the viewer.

Now in pitch black, the silence was cut short by the heavy clapping of thick rubber on an iron floor. For a moment, the room fell silent again, before the heavy shriek of rusted iron hinges and iron grinding against iron ripped through the silence, and a door way was revealed by the faint light beyond it. A lone figure stepped through the entry way and after a pause, looked over his shoulder back at the now blackened monitor. The dim light behind him graced his left cheek and danced along the shadow of a deep wound that had never healed properly, a scar of a distant lifestyle.

The brief moment of contemplation was rudely interrupted as once again the sound of heavy rusted iron squealed and echoed through the room and the hallway beyond. The light that had been cast into the room began to shrink, no longer revealing the long rusted wires cluttering the room, or the long rusted floor panels, or the lone work station, three of its monitors long blown out, leaving only the single barely functioning screen that was now black. The light from beyond shrunk till it was a single sliver resting on the black screen. With a large clanking sound, the light left the room once more, and in its silent vacancy, iron rusted.


Chapter 1.

The sun hung onto the horizon, hoping to cast at least one more hour of its pure reddish gold light across the wheat fields.  The wind had already picked up on the deception and had begun to blow progressively cooler air against the landscape.  The grain plants danced and twirled to the forces of nature while here and there, farmers with large wooden sticks and wicker baskets bent the green and gold stalks to the will of man.

Crisp clear streams snaked through the fields, interrupting the sea of plant life with blue aquatic curves like that of a large sprawling serpent who's body the world derived its sustenance. Small irrigation ditches littered the edges of the stream, but most were closed once harvest time had neared. Beyond these, the small rivers disappeared beyond the hills and off towards a different world, one irrelevant to this small slice of peace.

Blaine stood far above this pocket world, his lineage a boon his current situation. Over his shoulder, he heard the decrepit voice of his elder grandfather attempting to assuage him into a lesson about his heritage. None of this concerned him however, his mind was lost with the wanderings of the world around him. His family’s hill top abode, granted to them by generations of leadership, allowed him a vantage point that was rarely afforded by members of his village.
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Re: Sukthra'ah, by RedEight, PG-13 Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:36 pm

The gentle breeze soothingly caressed his hair and carried the voice of the old man sitting next to the fire pit to his ears.

“Have you listened to anything that I have said to you today, or will today be yet another disappointment to our family name?” came the gruff aged voice of the squat old man.

Blaine jumped at the accusation thrown at him by his elder. A slight chill ran down his spine, and he spun around snapping into an agitated attention. The old man was glaring at him, and Blaine could feel the gaze sink deep into him, under his skin, and into his mind. All he wanted to do now was get the ice gold glare off him, and not feel the sinking feeling of guilt he now felt, a harsh juxtaposition to the beautiful warm autumn day that surrounded him.

“Yes grandfather, to start the flame, I must first understand the heat, feel the fire within, push it out, will the wood to burn” he replied, almost choking on the lump that was forming in his throat.

Blaine had always hated his grandfather's lessons, hated being confined; and as of this resent bouts with his grandfather, hated setting wood ablaze.

“You hear the words, but you do not listen to me” his grandfather said, thoroughly exasperated.

“Grandfather, I do not wish to learn any of this, let me strike a flint, and we will have fire much faster!” Blaine cried back, equally exasperated.

“Your mind wander and to buy yourself time, you'd rather do it the way you think is easy!”

“Why not? Why must we learn to use our will to burn things when a flame can be created by hand?”

“It is the way of our people, needn't I explain to you exactly who you are, explain our families role?”

“Spiritual guidance, we are a family of leaders and as such, we must lead with confidence, by example, and with the best interests of the village in our minds at all times” Blaine recited the speech he had heard so many times from his mother, his father, and his grandfather.

“You hear the words, but you do not listen...” his grandfather had begun shaking his head in frustration at this point.

Throwing his hands up in defeat, Blaine returned to his grandfather's side, hunkering down next to him and pretending to be interested in the pile of sticks laid out in the pit. The breeze picked up once more, blowing the sweet smells of harvest season across his nose, and brushing its sweet hints of freedom through his short dusty blonde hair.
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Re: Sukthra'ah, by RedEight, PG-13 Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:28 am

In about one hour, members of the ruling counsel would be making an appearance in the village to dine and stay with the village elders for the night. The event was on the surface a celebration of the joining of two communities in harmony with each other, but Blaine's father had explained seasons back; the true purpose of the gathering was political and economic in nature. The village of Turndon was well known for their smiths, whom forged the finest harvesting and construction tools in the land, however their farming and mining skills were next to nil. Thus, they relied on other villages for supplies, while crafting the tools to make such tasks possible.

Through this manner of trade, Turndon had rapidly grown into the largest and most powerful village in the area, and Blaine's father, as well as his grandfather, had known that to maintain peaceful relations with craftsmen was key to prosperity, as well as ensuring the safety of the village. Therefore, his family had always felt it to be of the utmost importance that Blaine learn the traditions of the village and know how to maintain the status quo.

His grandfather had stopped once more and was glaring at Blaine, awaiting the realization that his wandering mind had once again been found out. The silence was awkward once he had realized it, and Blaine stammered for any hints as to what the last words his grandfather had spoken, but none were to be found. A brief second, and an apology later, his grandfather continued on with his lesson, now at a more hurried pace, as the night now grew closer, and the trail of people mounted on horses emerged over the far western hill.


The fading hints of sunlight announced that darkness was near by the time the caravan of delegates from the village of Turndon arrived in Westleft. A total count of twenty five visitors comprised mostly of guards and several members of the Redding clan, the most influential family of leaders in the area. The guards wore ceremonial armour, not very practical, but useful enough for devastating a village such as Westleft who's standing army was comprised mostly of aging men with hoe's. Their long bows and quivers stuffed with arrows sporting extravagant feathers displayed that the Redding clan could afford style, even in war; but, despite his mind occasionally wandering to the politics that had been laid out before him in plain sight, Blaine's mind kept returning to the seat directly across from him, occupied by a young lady with fiery orange hair.

******

He noticed her as soon as she had arrived in the village on her jet black horse, her skin gravely pale in comparison, her hair fading into the reds and violets that had been cast across the sky by the fading light of the sun. Her lips were a soft pink, their natural beauty could only be lost behind a stain, and fortunately none had graced them. She wore a dress of cotton, decorated with elaborate shapes and patterns, typical of the leadership of Turndon. Across her shoulders was draped a shawl which alternated zagging blue black and white lines, also typical of well to do travelers.

After the greeting ceremonies had finished, and only the necessary fires that facilitated the guests burned, those in charge of Turndon joined Blaine's father and mother and grandfather in the elder's hut, sitting at a long rectangular table that had been set with various wild meats, breads, and wine. Blaine drank in the image, ignoring the stout man with black hair who was pounding on the table and either mouthing off or laughing jovially; the leader of the Redding clan and thus leader of Turndon; ignoring the aging lady with blazing red curls about her head, clearly the girls mother. Blaine was never interested in the politics of his parents, he knew it was all simply extortion of the weak by the strong; never interested in that which was plain as day, though none seemed willing to openly admit it. He simply watched her.

Occasionally their eyes would meet, but the moments were brief. Her guard/tutor/advisor would quickly elbow her or snap his fingers to bring her back to attention. Every time Blaine saw this, he couldn't help but smirk. After memorizing her image for a while, he feigned interest in the politics that had been laid out with the food and wine on the table before them.



She noticed him as soon as he had joined his father and mother and a few other important members of the farming village of Westleft; his dusty blonde hair fading into the yellow brown soil and steadily sun bleaching yellow of the village elders hut. His white-pink lips spoke volumes of a life spent mostly outside, neglected, cracking and bleeding in the dry heat, never knowing the care of a woman's hand. He wore a plain deerskin shirt with short sleeves and wool pants stained brown by use, sweat, and dirt, typical clothing for a farming village who's leadership cared more about its people and not its own personal wealth. In his hand was a torch which he had used to light fires around the village to welcome her family.

When they were welcomed into the elders house and joined him at the table, she had attempted to move closer to the boy with blonde hair, hoping to perhaps sit next to him at the table, but the hissing of her name from her adviser drew her to the opposite side of the table from him, and in the line of sight of those who would mind where her eyes wandered. He was flanked by a older woman with raven black hair, his mother; a tall man with deepening lines carved into his cheeks, mostly gray blonde hair, and heavily tanned skin, the boys father and village leader; and a squat old bald man with an intensely white and long beard and few teeth and almost completely browned skin, the boys grandfather and village elder. Her father never cared much for such people, all he worried about was how to best take advantage of the work of others to turn a profit for himself and his family. She simply feigned interest.

On the occasions when her father would become riotous, and her guardian would be momentarily distracted, she would shoot quick glances to the blonde boy, but this usually ended with a sharp jab from an elbow and a whispered tongue lashing. Out of the corner of her vision, she would see a slight smile light the boys face every time this would happen, and it comforted her that he had been paying attention to her. Though the moments were brief, she burned the few seconds into her memory as best she could.

******
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Re: Sukthra'ah, by RedEight, PG-13 Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:38 pm

“Stella!” her adviser hissed directly into her ear, her attention snapped back to the conversation her father was having with the leader and the elder of Westleft. She glanced over to her mother who had apparently heard that reprimand and had turned her gaze to her daughter. This of course would earn her a stern punishment once their overnight stay was complete and they returned to the safety of their walled community. But for now, she was content just to continue the game of cat and mouse with her guard.

“... recent unrest in the west, dissidents with old things coming out of the desert and attacking our trade caravans, therefore we will need more supplies this season so that we can raise an army to patrol the routes and make sure next season goes off without a hitch” Stella's father eyed the man who sat across from him.

The silence was thick for a moment while the two leaders looked at each other. A few beads of sweat began to build up just under Stella's father's hair line, almost to the point of beading and running down his face. Noticing the unnatural perspiration, her mother quietly coughed on an imaginary piece of food at the back of her throat, snapping the two men out of their mind game.

“Of course, members of your village will be welcomed to join, they will be fed, taught, and trained well, and of course a large sized contingent will be allocated to all trade routes that effect Westleft. Look, Daniel,” He paused for a second after saying the name, glanced at Daniel's wife, then his wife, crossed his arms in front of himself and sat back in the unstained wooden chair before continuing, “you know that the times are changing, there are more of us every generation, soon our territories will be growing together, this is an opportunity to unite our peoples and set into place a peace that will unite us for several more generations.” The thought complete, her father sat back and watched the Westleft leader mull it over in his head.

Stella had always known her father as a salesman more so than a leader. He simply had the means of buying, transporting, and selling more than most. He also owned the largest horse collection for several miles around. Her mother would often brag that her father taught her to ride on horseback before he ever held her hand to help her walk. He had always felt that teaching his daughter from a early age how to run Turndon, how to corner trade markets, these were the most important aspects of life, and being a lady always comes second to making a profit. Stella had listened, but she never truly heard the words her father and his advisers had spoken to her, she always longed for something else, to travel, to be on a horse, riding towards the sun, chasing it across the sky and down behind the horizon.

The Westleft leader, Daniel, shifted in his seat, his brow heavy in contemplation. Stella's father had just asked him if he could spare an addition twenty percent of Westleft's supplies for the winter and thaw for raising a standing army which would be parked outside his front door. Most people would have booked it, cut the deal, asked the salesman to leave the house. The problem was that this salesman lived next door, and this salesman carried fifteen bows with twenty arrows a piece. Stella figured he probably had the supplies to make it, but population in these regions was not necessarily booming, and as such, he was wary to lose anyone, let alone young men for a job in which they would probably die. Her father had told her several times that when it came to haggling, always ask for more than you need, that way you have room to reach your bottom line before the deal is complete, and her father was doing this old trick right now with Daniel.

“How many volunteers do you think you would need from Westleft?” Daniel inquired, carefully choosing the word volunteer rather than young men.

This made Stella's father smile a little, and he pretended to count numbers in his head.

“I'd say fifteen to twenty young men, fourteen to thirty five seasons aged and I will guarantee Westleft's safety as well as a share in the wealth that will come from the taxes instituted on each trade route to fund the patrols.” He chose patrol carefully to assuage and doubts Daniel might have
that this was not an army they were clearly raising, and simply a security force that would be disjointed and under the rule of whomever owned the land they happened to be located on. Stella knew this was a lie.

Her father had known that as the villages around Turndon continued to expand, he would begin to lose his stranglehold on trade as farming communities would directly trade with mining communities who would trade directly with craftsmen villages, cutting Turndon completely out of the loop, and thus he had begun the movement to create an army in which to enforce fear and maintain the tight grip he and his clan had been keeping for the past five generations.

“I don't know, Jon, I understand the purpose, but Westleft is so far to the east of most of the conflict, we rarely lose caravans these days” Daniel responded, his head shaking now, not a good sign for her father.

“Its an investment, think of it as something that will benefit you more so in the long run, plus, you will feel safe knowing you have trained warriors patrolling around your village, and not just the occasional night watch of farmers. Look,” he threw his hands up in mock defeat, “send me five strong men, and I will train them, they can come back and train whomever you chose, but I will need an increased shipment of food and supplies from this harvest, otherwise our craftsmen will not be able to produce the quality tools that your village uses to raise such remarkable crops.”

Her father shoved a piece of recently baked bread in his mouth and began to maw on it as if to tell his victim that this is where the line is drawn. The food slid down his throat and into his stomach, causing his brow to once again bead up in sweat. He wiped his brow with his crumb covered hands and wiped the sweat and bread on his red and brown vest, the crumbs collected on the top of his rounded belly, and after repeating the task a few times, he would brush off the top of his stomach, knocking the crumbs on the floor to be forgotten till tomorrow.
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Re: Sukthra'ah, by RedEight, PG-13 Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:58 pm

“I remember this same time eighteen seasons ago when we resealed the agreement of peace between our villages,” Jon mentioned offhandedly, as if to dismiss the original conversation that had brought them to the table. “Back then, there was much more peace, far fewer intrusions into our territories. Maybe that is exactly what our two villages must do again, renew our vows to always be allies with each other...” His voice trailed off and his eyes wandered to Daniels wife, and then to her son, then to her husband.

Daniel shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “I believe the bond between our villages has not faltered since our ancestors first agreed to peace...” Now it was his turn to trail off into contemplation. Stella could see the uneasiness take a hold of the Westleft leadership and his eyes now wandered to his wife. She sat beside him, her face blank to the new turn the conversation had taken.

Stella tried to understand what her father was talking about. She couldn't remember there ever being a renewal of peace ceremony in any of her travels. She only knew that this was her third trip to Westleft since her birth and there had never been any issues that had required the involvement of the leaders of either village in an official ceremony. These were always carried out by the commoners, instilling unity and a sense of general well being amongst neighbors.

Outside the chiefs home, the sounds of small children chasing each other in ecstatic glee fading into and out of ear shot. Fires roared in their pits around Westleft, and people wandered and talked and played traditional games while last seasons wine and mead wandered into their minds and slurred their thoughts. The sounds of fiddles and flutes filled the air, each part of the celebration its own tune, meshing together into a feverish amalgam of beats and rhythms and off key voices.

As if catching wind of the sound, Stella's father put his hand to his goatee and stroked the whiskers, doing his best to appear as if he was going to make another important decision before continuing his peace renewal talks. With a motion of her father's hand, Stella's guard stood up and dismissed himself and her from the table, then taking her arm, led her out of the hut and out into the night of celebration.

''Your parents and the leader of Westleft wish to continue the conversation in private,” her guardian explained once they had put a good distance between themselves and the meeting. “Your father has given you permission to enjoy the festivities, but if even a single hair on your head is off when you return once the fires are put out, it won't be me alone that will face the brunt of your father's wrath.” He paused and watched her for a second. His ornate armour, stretched to its max by his heavy frame gave him the comedic appearance of a overstuffed gourd cracking under the strain of its contents. “And remember,” his voice sounded out the word strangely, as if he couldn't sound out the 're' and 'er' quite right, and this coupled with his uniquely higher pitched voice was a stark contrast to his frame, and this was the one thing Stella found humorous day to day. “... you are to remain at a distance from this towns leaderships son; no interaction what so ever, do you understand young lady?”

The stern tone of his squeaky voice went unnoticed by Stella. She had lost interest in his words before he had even opened his mouth. Her father had always set ground rules for her, and when it became apparent to him that she had a air of a free spirit around her, Stella was assigned a guardian who took care of her day to day and always kept an eye on her every move. Once her guard had worn himself out laying down guidelines for her festivities, Stella wandered towards the center of Westleft, always aware of the guard maintaining a forty foot distance behind her.

She wandered down the path from the hut to the village in silence. Her dress kicked up and down with each step and every once in a while danced off key to the tune of the night time wind. Her right hand wandered away from her body and drifted off into the stalks of grain plants that bordered the narrow passage. The leaves and soft seed tufts graced the bottom and sides of her hand as it skimmed across the top, occasionally bending shoots that were abnormally larger than the rest of the crowd.

Walking between two huts and into the center of town, Stella was bathed in the warm flickering orange glow of numerous bonfires that had been lit across the village. The sounds of happiness and contentment and debauchery were thick in the air. Sounds of drunken conversations where brightened by the sounds of drunken singing. Here and there around the gatherings at the fires were the occasional drunken dancers, swaying into and out of tune with the different songs that filled the atmosphere.

Drinking in the scene for a moment, Stella eyed a group of kids about her age that appeared to be enjoying themselves far more than would be normal for their crowd. Taking care not to be noticed by the random patrols of her father's small contingent he had set to wander the town and take count of the population under the guise of fellow participants in the festivities, she slipped into the group of kids, sharing in their bottles of thick strong liquors and soon she joined their alcohol fueled ecstasy. They laughed and sang, and when the tune of the nearby fiddle player picked up, she would take turns dancing with each of the boys she now shared the night's celebrations with.

The haze of the alcohol grew thicker and her worries faded into the fog of the thick liquor. When a few of the kids had wandered off, she took the tallest and oldest of the remaining and after ducking out of the attention of her guardian, they slipped into a hut that had been abandoned for the night. In the quiet dark of the small structure, Stella let herself be taken advantage of. In the midst of his fifteen minute passions, he made wild claims of love, lust, marriage. She pretended to share in the feelings, even feigning pleasure when he was finishing. The brief act finished, he collapsed beside her in exhaustion. Once she was satisfied that he had finally passed on to the realm of unconsciousness, she slipped out of the hut silently and rejoined the crowd, occasionally brushing her hair and straightening her dress so that her guard wouldn't take note. For her, there were no feelings, no meanings. In the morning they would forget each other and probably never meet again. For Stella, it wasn't the act, so much as knowing she could get away with it.

Upon locating her guard and making sure she had his attention, Stella motioned to him, letting him know that she had to step away for a little bit while she took care of business in private. Once she had his approval, she made her way behind a hut where the light of the many bonfires didn't shine and lifted her dress to relieve herself. The business done, she stood up and straightened out her dress again, before her attention snapped from her appearance to the person she had just realized was watching her.

He walked towards her, along the backs of the huts. When he stepped out of the silky blackness of the darkness and into the short patches of orange light between huts, she knew immediately who it was. He drew close to her and in their silent privacy she whispered his name. “Blaine...”

“...Stella” he responded just as softly.

“I... I'm sorry about my father, he...”

“I know.”

“He's building an army.”

“I know.”

“He wants to consolidate his grip on these territories.”

“I might be a farmer, but I am not that dense...”

“I know.”

“I have missed you”

“I know”

“I... I find myself thinking of you often.”

“Blaine...” She murmured as they drew closer.

“I long to be far from here, to be with you, alone, away from all the politics.” Blaine's voice became progressively more exhausted with each word. Her eyes wandered across his face, lit by the pale light of the full moon. He reached out and took her hand and led her away, out into the fields where her bodyguard would not be able to track her down.

Once they were a good distance away from the festivities they began to run hand in hand. He looked back at her and when their eyes met, they burst out in joyous laughter. Once exhausted, they slowed to a stop and turned to face each other once more. They're eyes locked and they launched at each other grabbing hold and embracing one another tightly. Their chests heaved in unison as they struggled to catch their breath together.

He whispered something incoherent past her red curls and into her ear, she could smell the stench of wine on his breath but she knew that he still loved her and this made her smile. The smell of sweat and dust permeated his clothes but she still buried her face into him, inhaling his scents and feeling her nerves calm down immediately.

She pulled back a bit and looked him in the eyes, silence complementing her contemplation. His grip on her sides tightened slightly and he leaned in towards her. She closed her eyes and felt his mouth press against hers. The night of wine drinking did nothing to smooth his lips out. The dried flaked skin pressed against against her like several sharp pointed spikes that tasted of wine, grit, and hints of dried blood.



Thick whiskey, mint leaves, and hints of sweat; tastes of the nights activities. Her lips were smooth and warm, comforting against his. Since the first time they had kissed five seasons ago, he could never get the feeling out of his mind. She pulled slightly away from him, disconnecting them and leaving only a soft smacking sound in the end, his eyes opening in response. Her grip on his waist slightly loosened and she pulled further away from him. Silence complementing his contemplation, he looked deeply into her eyes.

They embraced once more and he buried his face into the nape of her neck and inhaled her scents, and his feelings once again spiked to a fevered pitch and he struggled to maintain his composure. The smell of spices, liquor, and sweat permeated from her dress and hair. The stench of alcohol was heavy on her breath, but he knew she still loved him and this made him smile. She cocked her head towards his ear and whispered something incoherent.

Their chests pressed against each other, they breathed in unison and for a moment the beating of their hearts matched as well. Once the moment had passed, they loosened their grips and Blaine took two small steps back. They looked at each other in the moonlight and soon the silence was broken once again by their laughter. Blaine cherished these small moments with her that he was afforded on very rare occasions.

Content with the brief moment, they walked back to the village hand in hand, their small talk once again fading into the din of the late night village activities. She spoke of running away with him that night. Blaine reminded her that she was intoxicated.
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Re: Sukthra'ah, by RedEight, R, Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:28 am

A final embrace, then slinking around to different sides of the village, they said their goodbyes and 'I love you's' before leaving each other for the night. Fires began to be put out and silence washed over the town as each went their separate ways, no one eager for the next days hang over. Harvest season was over, and soon the crisp cold of winter would be returning to Westleft. Blaine silently entered his home and crawled into his bunk, hoping to not interrupt his parents or the Turndon leaders silent discussions in the privacy of their separate rooms.

Before sleep took a hold of him, Blaine stared at the dark ceiling of his room, lit only by the soft fading light of the full moon, and thought of the girl he had only seen four times in his life yet loved with all his heart. The rhythmic creaking of floor panels from down the hall announced that Stella had returned and joined her parents in what was normally his grandfather's room. The muffled sounds of voices commenced for a while before they too fell silent. The quiet crept into Blaine's head and calmed his mind, sending him to the realm of dream's.



It was mid day when the Turndon leaders saddled up and made their final march through the village. Blaine and his family strode along side the delegates while the trail of armoured guards played follow the leader at the rear. Around town, people stumbled in and out of their business, suffering their punishments for last nights festivities. Occasionally the sound of hacking and choking announced that someone had consumed too much intoxicants, and ashen faces with dark rings around eyes had become a staple of the villagers faces. Somewhere in the village, Blaine heard yelling break out, and a young man burst out of one of the huts half dressed while an old man threw stones and random trash at him, letting him know that he had fallen asleep in the wrong home.

“They will return with us next season, I assure you,” Jon explained to Blaine's father, “and they will bring equipment and knowledge to share with whomever you decide. Soon, we'll be united, not just in blood but as a whole community.”

Blaine's father remained silent, simply nodding submissively, masking the frustration he felt as best as anyone in his situation could. His wife's face turned bright red and Blaine realized that something he never thought he would ever bare witness to was about to occur.

“Mayhap next time your visit will be more enjoyable,” she spoke with a slight air of sarcasm, “And you'll be able to stay a little longer...” Her eyes shot up to Turndon leader's, and Blaine noted that rather than silence her, Jon had remained silent and turned his gaze away from her's.

“Rosa...” Daniel trailed off, unsure of his wife's intentions.

“Mayhap next time won't be so demanding of us,” she continued, “and we won't spend the whole night expecting hardly anything but short bursts of disappointment, and receiving what we expect.”

Both Jon and Daniel's faces turned beat red and they continued on in silence.

Six boys with satchel's thrown over their shoulders joined the delegates as they reached the end of the row of huts on their journey west. Mothers and fathers wailed as the guards ushered their sons away from them for the year. They were each given new equipment for next years harvest in return, and the safety of their children was guaranteed by the armour clad troops. Still most knew they were being robbed, and though the resentment grew, no one openly complained for fear that they may bring Turndon's vengeance upon their family and friends.

“A gift from the young lady...” Blaine had no idea how such a large man, clad in studded leather armour and mounted on horseback could sneak up on him, but the bodyguard from last nights meeting had slid in beside him while his attention had been snared by his mother's banter. The large man reached down, stitched and riveted animal hide creaking under the strain of his girth, and he handed Blaine a bundle wrapped in a cloth with alternating zig-zag lines of blue black and white.

Blaine took the bundle of fabric from the large guard, then after pausing a second to think, he reached into a pocket and pulled out a stone that he had smoothed and polished into a near perfect sphere about an inch and a half in diameter and handed it to the guard. He had spent most of his nights the past season working the solid gray thing into the form it was now. “A gift for the young lady.”

Once the exchange was finished, the guard coaxed his mount to a faster pace and returned to his assignment of staying close and protecting his bosses daughter. The trail of Turndon delegates and soldiers began the two day journey home, and while Blaine regretted watching her leave, he knew full well she would not be able to turn back and look at him, or blow a kiss or even simply wave goodbye. When they finally disappeared over the furthest hill and disappeared from sight, the village unanimously breathed out a sigh of relief. For one more seasonal cycle they would no longer have to worry about men in armour prodding through their lives and attempting to steal their children away.

Blaine tucked the gift under his arm and departed from the dispersing crowd. He worked his way back to his house, doing his best to avoid his grandfather, lest he have to receive another berating for being unable to light the previous nights fires without the use of a torch. Once he had returned to the privacy of his bunk, he unbound the bundle of fabric and a small slip of parchment fell into his lap.

The writing was in the hand of a female, and quite short, though this was most likely a issue of limited surface area. He breathed in her smell from her shawl and read the letter over and over again, committed to memorizing it before he burned the evidence.

Six miles to the west, past the stretch of woods is a trail which leads to an abandoned hut, I'll be there waiting for you every night that the moon is full, I love you Blaine

He tucked the shawl under his pillow, a small piece of the girl he loved that he could keep with him while he slept. The letter on the other hand was far too incriminating, and thus he crumpled it up and jammed it into a pocket for the time being. He returned to the outside world once more to aid his father in the thatching of the roof. Soon winter would be coming and along with it would be the cold. Repairs had to be made, and meat needed to be hunted in preparation. Knowing this, Blaine had already figured out how he would sneak out of the village to see his love.

Two men walk into a bar; the third one ducks.

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Re: Sukthra'ah, by RedEight, R, Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:57 am

The cold soaked through the animal hides, through his skin, to the bones. He had made the journey twice since the harvest festival, but this time was across an unrelenting sea of frigid white. The night sky was clear except for the occasional tuft of clouds skirting about under the surveillance of the full moon. Its pale light cast an eerie glow across the landscape, highlighting the skeletal frames of the trees and giving them the appearance of ghoulish giants hands grasping desperately at the sky in an attempt to escape the freezing ground to which they were rooted.

The narrow road let out from the tree line and instinctively, Blaine turned right and followed a path that was now well hidden by the snow, but that he knew paralleled the woods. Occasionally his horse would pause without command and would uneasily eye its surroundings while its ears twisted and turned listening to something inaudible to Blaine. He would have cared if the cold hadn't numbed most of his fingers, his ears, and his nose. Instead, his impatience got the better of him and he coaxed the animal onward on his journey.

He couldn't see the trail yet he knew by what seemed like instinct when to turn back into the woods, where the snow thinned out and revealed patches of dead crinkled brown leaves which littered the ground. Soon he could see the path again and reassured that he was still on course, Blaine breathed a air of relief and picked up the pace a bit, anticipation beginning to run wild about his mind. When the small hut revealed itself from around a patch of trees, smoke streaming out of the center of the roof, and the warm orange glow flickering from behind the hide covered windows and entrance way, Blaine used all his will power to keep himself from driving the horse into a hard gallop.

He dismounted outside the structure and tied the horse next to the jet black one that had been there since before he had arrived. His horse whinnied uneasily and he patted it down to calm it. Once he was satisfied he started for the hut. Once outside the entrance, he rapped on the wall twice in succession, and was answered by a softer knock from the inside. A grin lit his face and he stepped inside. The warmth washed over him immediately and the still warmer embrace of his love stole the last of the cold from his body. He buried his face in the orange curls and breathed deeply and once again felt like he had come home.

The heat of her lips lingered on his cheek for a moment and soon the two of them were working in conjunction to remove the layers of fabric and animal skins from his person. His bow and sling of arrows tumbled to the ground in the process and were soon buried under his clothing till all he had on himself was a deerskin shirt and wool pants. He grabbed Stella by the waist and they returned once more to their embrace. Warm kisses showered his cheeks and lips, and he returned the favor on her neck and forehead.

She wore a hand woven robe of alternating patterns of white and blue that barely masked the fine curves of her frame. Her beautiful slender face appeared to glow and the orange curls of her hair shown intensely in the wavering fire light. To Blaine, this girl was perfection.

“I have missed you my love, with all my heart I have missed you” she said as small tears welled up in her eyes.

He took her into his arms and held her tight, feeling the rhythm of her breathing. He only had one night, but he wanted to hold on to her forever. “We have each other now, but our time apart feels like an eternity. I must have you for my own, not just on the full moons.”

She smiled at him and buried her face into his chest. “Then have me, lets leave this horrid life and make one for ourselves...”

“And go where? Your father has men patrolling everywhere, these territories are coming under your father's grip more and more with each passing day.”

“Then we'll go north, where my father has no control.”

“Where there is desert and mountains? How will we live there?”

Frustration spelled itself out across Stella's face, and Blaine smiled. He pressed his lips against hers and they settled down on a bed of animal skins she had spread out near the fire that burned in the middle of the old one room hut. It had been stripped bare except for a table and a few rusted tools that the previous occupant had decided weren't worth the bother of bringing along.

He ran his hand through her soft hair and she ran her fingers across his stubbly jaw line. His hand followed the curves of her arms, waist and hips before finally settling on the now slightly rounded form of her stomach. She smiled at the touch and rolled over, planting a deep kiss on his lips.



Clouds worked their way across the sky in ominous progression, first choking out the stars and then the moon. Tiny flakes began to loosely tumble from the sky, settling on naked tree limbs and on the deceased bodies of their comrades. Soon the wind began to pick up and here and there, dead branches weighed down by snow dropped from the trees. Small puffs of white skirted about, creating and dissecting drifts.

The tempo of the wind picked up and the snow began to fall in increasing volumes, till the flakes were near the size of a finger nail. The white world took on a faint glow of pink as the white sky fed the white ground ever more. Somewhere a distance outside the hut, a wolf cried out into the night calling for its partner to come. The wind picked up quickly and settled down in alternating fashions until finally deciding on a steady downpour of white fluff that softened the occasional sounds of nature.

It was the perfect cover for this kind of work. Leather boots crunched loudly through the snow covered underbrush and visibility was low, but the snow muted the sounds and masked the approach of the heavy set figure that stalked about the lone circular hut. Layers of deerskin masked the creaking of leather and metal armour strained under the load of extreme girth. A left hand clambered at a side and came back up with a sap. With much effort, the figure approached the hut as silently as possible till he was within striking distance of the entrance, and which point he waited.

The minute dragged out but soon enough the boy stepped out of the shelter to grab wood to stoke the fire. The motion was swift and methodical, the boy was unconscious and now it was time to grab that fucking girl, that little fucking princess, that....

The flames burst out of the hut in a roaring explosion, and the red haired girl followed. She was magnificent, ringed in fire, the building catching flame behind her. She screamed and the heat intensified. The guard had to move fast before the daughter of Westleft and Turndon unleashed all of her fiery rage upon him. The charge was probably the bravest thing he had ever done, and sapping her was probably the biggest mistake. His boss would be mad for harming her, but any punishment short of death would be better than screaming in pain while cooking in ones own armour. He took the chance.
Two men walk into a bar; the third one ducks.

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Re: Sukthra'ah, by RedEight, R, Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:44 am

Chapter 2.

Patrol was a chore, but Stella endured it the best she could. The southern trade routes were nothing special, she was usually bored with it by the second day, though the other three members of her unit always seemed to find ways to preoccupy themselves.

The sun was high above their heads and not a single brow was without sweat. Their armour creaked with each step that their horses took on the long winding dirt road leading to one of the few fishing villages that ringed the southern coasts. The occasional breeze brushed the emerald blades of grass and brought hints of ocean to the troop.

“Whoooo man, I cannot wait to be off this accursed animal,” the shortest of the group exclaimed. He took a swig of something that reeked of bitterness and alcohol. “Can't remember what it feels like not to be sweating my ass off in this blasted getup.”

He reached out and passed the canteen along to his comrade to his right. The man stared at the thing with contemplation for moment and then took a huge drag which he ended with a hick up. “Your getting paid to travel back and forth and intimidate on occasion, an' the only thing you can think to do is complain? Sig, your really somethin'.”

“Don't get me wrong, I love the pay, and I love seeing the sights, but we've only been in maybe twenty scuffles in five years” Sig retorted, “why do we have to carry this equipment and wear this fucking armour all the fucking time?” He removed a glove and wiped the sweat off his forehead, then flicking the moisture off to his side. “I'm not the only one here that doesn't see the point, right Lon?”

“The point is,” the no longer silent Lon reached out and snagged the canteen before its current holder could take a second swig and gulped a mouthful himself; grimacing, his face turning beat red, he let out a lung full of air. “The point is, we appear organized, and we appear intimidating. Your right though Sig, there's no way this will stop an arrow.” He flicked one of the rivets studded into leather on his shoulder.

“Thank you Lon,” Sig said with satisfaction, “at least two of us are in agreement, how bout you Stella? Your not on Durn's side with this one are you?”

“Sig, I don't ask questions, all I know is I am not here by choice, nor am I wearing this armour by choice,” she responded. She reached back and grabbed the canteen from Lon and took the largest gulp she possibly could. The liquid felt like fire on the back of her throat and the world almost immediately became a little hazy. She reached back and handed the drink back to Sig who was happy for more.

After sneaking one more shot, Sig returned the canteen to his saddle pack and brushed his hand through his shoulder length light brown hair. “Leave it to Stella to kill the mood.”

“Shut it you idiot,” was the response to that comment, and Durn concluded it with a blow to Sig's shoulder, nearly knocking him off his mount.

“Ladies, cool it,” shot out Lon, eying Stella for any sort of response whilst trying to pacify the fight before it could happen.

Coming to the crest of the hill they were currently climbing, they looked down at the ocean, its edges dotted with huts built partially on the water, supported by stilts. Small boats sailed to and fro on the water, hauling in their catches and returning for more.

They were stopped just outside the village by a old man dressed in a white and blue robe, the elder of the village. His wavy gray-white hair ran long down his back and his curly gray chin beard almost touched his chest. One hand clutched a gnarled wooden staff that was decorated with small inscriptions and images that Stella was sure held some significance to the people of the coastal town of Aracosta, but she never bothered with learning cultures. His other hand was extended to greet the visitors from Turndon, and Stella made sure to return the greeting.

“I wish I could give you all a more proper greeting, however, I must say I am glad that you have come when you have, there is a matter of great importance that we must discuss,” were the first words the elder spoke to them.

“Hellova welcome,” Sig whispered to Durn, who returned the comment with another fist to the arm, “sunnova...”

“Come, we'll discuss Aracosta's problems in my abode,” the elder continued, “we must make haste, for I know not if your arrival was too late.”

The group dismounted and leading their horses, they followed the old gray man to his home. The village was rather scattered, each hut was on the water, therefore it was more so a line of houses rather than a structured society. Here and there children ran up and down the hut line, weaving in and out of the stilted structures and drying racks lined with different varieties of fish. The smell was overwhelming at first, but fast became tolerable.

The elder led them to an older squat building that was slightly further inland than the buildings adjacent to it. Up a ladder and through a low sloping roof and they stepped into the elders home. The structure reeked of salt and aged wood. Nets and spears and rods lined the walls of the hut, the only furniture was a rack, a table with two chairs, and a few barrels with random nicknacks stacked on top. There were two square windows both on the eastern and western sides of the structure. There was a door in the back that led out to a exposed deck with a single chair on it, Stella assumed for leisure fishing.

“Welcome to my humble home, I hope you find it comfortable, and I am sorry for the lack of furniture for which you can sit in,” the old man said, impatience nipping at the back of his tongue.

“We thank you most graciously,” Stella responded, her impatience growing as well now, “now, what is the issue that you need addressed so urgently?” She joined the elder in sitting on opposite sides of the table while dispensing the formalities.

Behind her. Sig shifted uncomfortably on his feet, most likely due to the amount of alcohol he had consumed just earlier. The firewater was fine on the more casual days, but almost always was a detriment when the time came to actually fulfill the duties as a patrol watchman. Stella never minded drinking while working however, and thus, never attempted to control it.

“I, Lendell, elder and leader of the humble village of Aracosta, request your aid in dealing with a band of thieves that have recently begun to encroach upon our territory and halt any attempt we make to trade with Turndon.” The look on Lendell was rather grim, but once he had cleared his throat and was ready to continue, his face became far darker. “They've begun sneaking into the village and stealing woman, mostly younger than thirty seasons.”

“And they're using them for ransom, huh?” Sig tossed the question into the hat before hearing Elder Lendell conclude his thought.

“Have the bodies appeared yet? How many women so far?” Durn interjected, fearing the loss of faith in their work due to his comrade's question.

The old man sat there for a moment, running his hand the length of his beard. His darkened appearance softened and then re-hardened into sad desperation. “They've taken my granddaughter, and one other just last week. We've received no sort of indicator saying that they would be returned for ransom either.” A single tear ran down the leaders cheek, but Stella knew that would be the last, leadership can't afford to have strong emotions of sadness or any other sort of weakness, though he was most likely falling apart on the inside. “No bodies.”

“Doesn't mean a thing,” Lon finally added to the conversation. His gaze was fixated at the constantly rolling waters tumbling about outside the doorway behind the elder. “Most likely, they are probably still alive, but being used as slaves for breeding.”

Stella closed her eyes and dropped her her face, shaking her head at the dry wit of her team mates. If they keep this up, they may manage to lose the confidence of Aracosta before even being able to demonstrate their purpose. She knew full well that four trained soldiers were good, but were twenty times better when supported by those they are trying to defend. She was just glad Sig's comment wasn't quite as off kilter as Durn had thought. Hope is a strong ally.

“Their incursions have become more common as of late,” the elder continued, his eyes wandering from Stella to Sig, to Lon, then Durn, and then back to Stella, “we fear they will return tonight or tomorrow, that is if they hadn't already and no one has noticed anything amiss.”
“If this is the case, then we shall do the best we can to remove your little bandit problem, but first, any idea as to numbers and direction?” Stella was all business now, attempting not to step on any feet.

“Almost always west or north west, I'm surprised you all didn't encounter them...”

“I'm sure most travelers don't roll in wearing metal and leather, with bow's and quivers full if arrows and blades sharpened for death.” Leave it to Lon to attempt something inspirational after just talking about your granddaughter being raped repeatedly. He crossed his arms before him as if to add emphasis to how great of warriors they all were.

They did have more training than the average commoner in these regions, but their combat experience was most likely far lower than a roving band of robbers who probably saw combat every other day of their lives. Stella just hoped their equipment and organization would be enough to enable them to come out victorious in a defensive situation. The only issue she could see now was accessibility.

“Is there any particular time or location that they attack and or come from?” Stella inquired. She got up and made her way to the entrance from which they had all entered. The elder knew almost immediately and joined her in exiting his home. The others lagged behind a bit, but soon all five were back outside and looking down the row of huts.

The elder pointed his finger in the direction they had come from when they entered the village, and then angled it slightly. “The woods, they come from the woods. At first they would only raid at night, bursting into houses, beating the men and stealing away with women.” His finger settled on a wooded area that they had ridden past earlier. “However, my daughter was taken in broad daylight while her husband was out at sea. I fear they are becoming bolder and plan on wiping us out, thus I've ordered that we all work in shifts to keep an eye out. We are a peaceful people, and we would rather negotiate than make war,” Lendell paused at the thought, his face slightly contorting as if a stone was working its way through his insides, “but these people are savages. We need your help.”

Stella surveyed the line of trees, then turned her attention to the row of stilted huts. Not a single defensive position existed for the village. Not that this was surprise, most of these outlying towns had not seen war since back when they all came under the hand of Turndon. “I see, my question now is, what sort of accessibility do we have to peoples homes so that we may defend them?” She turned her attention back to the elder and was looking for any hint of something unusual.

“Most of these people have families, so privacy is very important,” the elder said with a air of pride, “but I'm sure if their homes come under attack, there won't be any talks of intrusions at the hands of their defenders.”

“Fair enough,” Durn chimed in to the conversation briefly.

Stella began walking down the row of houses, headed in an westerly direction along the line, looking for anything that could possibly aid them in a battle if it did come looking in the next day, otherwise they would be relieved by the next patrol and be on their way. Behind her, the elder tightened his grip on his staff and began to follow.
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Re: Sulthra'kah, by RedEight, R, Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:29 pm

Groups of women with children wandered about the houses, stringing up fish and building fires here and there. Conversations became hushed whispers as Stella and her troupe strode down the row for her little inspection. Durn had strayed a little behind and had pulled out a piece of parchment and a stick of charcoal which he used to mark down a inventory of the village and its population, his special little task that Jon Redding had bestowed upon him in private. Whenever the elder would throw a glance back over his shoulder, Durn would quickly hide the sheet, or feign interest in what they were discussing, but he could tell the elder was no idiot. He had to stomach it, or he would lose everything he had ever cared about, either to raiders, or to Turndon. Pick your poison.

“I – I notice that while your men each have bows and swords,” the elder paused and cocked his head slightly his eyes focused on the rows of knives running down Stella's waist and thighs, “but all you carry are knives, does Turndon only allow men to fight on the front lines and women to only defend themselves?”

Sig burst into genuine laughter at the comment and all but Stella paused their journey for a moment. “Hardly, old man. She's our leader for a reason after all. Don't let her gender fool you into believing shes weak, quite the opposite in fact.”

The elder turned his attention from Sig to Stella, looking for some kind of conformation that this young shapely red haired girl was in fact a bloodthirsty warrior. She had paused a bit ahead of them and after a glance over her shoulder at Lendell, she sighed and pulled the studded leather glove off her right hand, revealing several blotchy pink burn scars, and held her pointer and middle fingers in the air. Only a brief moment passed before a bright orange and blue flame burst up and flickered from her fingertips. It danced for a moment and then winked out as fast as it had come.

“I see, you are a student of the teaching of Sulthra'kah.” The elder seemed slightly relieved at the thought. “Have you... Has Sulthra'kah spoken to you?”

“I feel the touch as we all do when we are born, and I feel the presence, but we have not conversed, no.” Stella began walking again and the rest struggled briefly to catch up, “and shared only a hint of wisdom.”

“I see. My son-in-law is also a student, but he has not conversed either, I imagine he will soon enough though.” Lendell watched as Stella replaced the glove and continued to survey the village. “Here on the coast, practitioners are healers; and in the north, the miners can sense and make things from the soil. But in Turndon, practitioners can only arc electricity and breathe smoke. I am curious, how is it that you are capable of making fire?”

Stella didn't respond, rather, she ignored the question and continued on her inspection. There were thirty of the structures total. No gates or walls, sheets for covering entrance ways. These people had no security, no wonder they had been the targets of raiding parties. They turned to head back to the elders hovel, a small crowd of children and women that had been trailing a distance behind them turned in scattered. No doubt they weren't very much welcome, but Stella figured a good deed like this may just earn the trust of the outlying territories at least for a while longer. Daddy would be pleased.

“Now, if you would please, I beg of you, please, go save my daughter, do what you soldiers were contracted to do,” the elder had stopped outside of his hut and now held his one free hand out, pleading, “Do this and I'll promise Lord Redding whatever he asks of us.”

“This is agreeable, though it is a promise my father made to you years back that we must now fulfill. However, you must understand that we have been on horse back for almost three days now, we must rest.” Stella motioned over her shoulder to her three men, “we would be in no position, nor do your daughter any good to attempt to save her while exhausted.”

She couldn't see it, but she knew Sig breathed a bitter sigh of relief. She didn't see any opportunities to sleep inside of a hut, not at least until they did something heroic. She hoped the boys didn't get their hopes up either, though they're general unpopularity was nothing new.

Durn had already begun moving back to the horses, and Lon had begun questioning locals, seeing if he could purchase or at least barter for some freshly caught fish and firewood. Sig stayed at Stella's side while she concluded talks with the elder and set up the plan for how they would approach this problem.

On the eastern end of the village were a couple huts that were mid way through construction. One of the half-built huts belonged to a victim, and after much coaxing, Stella and Sig managed to get permission to use the lumber for any of their needs, that they would not have to trek to the woods that had become so feared. She pulled a larger knife from a sheath along the small of her back and handed it to Sig, he took it with care and headed to his duties of deconstruction for firewood and possible defense.

She headed about the village, attempting to question anyone for possible witnesses to give her an idea of exactly what they will be facing, but most were too scared to even face her. A child, barely five seasons aged, and probably ignorant to what their presence could possibly mean, ran up to her and tried to play with her armour and blades. She tried to coax a response out of the curious kid, but he simply smiled and ran off laughing, ending in the arms of his terrified mother.

Once she had exhausted the search, Stella headed to her team who had set up a small camp forty yards up from the coast. She didn't hear what Sig had said, but she saw Durn slug him solidly in the arm, knocking a bundle of lumber out of his arm and on Lon's shoulder. Sig laughed at Lon while pointing at Durn, as if to pass the blame. Lon had none of it and jumped to his feet.

The sound of Stella's whistling stopped them dead in their tracks. Sig opened his mouth and pointed at Durn who simply shrugged it off. Lon was not amused, but he'd rather not start something that Stella could be dragged into, he cooled down and laughed it off. The wind kicked up and touched them all with its cool breeze. The now welcomed smell of the ocean drifted about them, mixing with the smells of summer. This was not the time for internal conflict.
Two men walk into a bar; the third one ducks.

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Re: Sulthra'kah, by RedEight, R, Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:36 pm

They worked together to set up the standard camp they had long grown accustomed to. Four tents, four low stools. Lon pyramided lumber and surrounded it with twelve sturdy stones, each flecked with different alternating schemes of color. The fire pit done, he joined the others as they preformed the rhythmic motion of sharpening wood for spears and arrows. These moments tended to be silent, each knowing what the others were thinking.

The sun sunk low on the horizon when they were satisfied with the work they had done. Each had carved over twenty arrows and more than fifteen spears. Lon and Durn took a few of them from each pile and set up a perimeter of spikes around their camp, the majority of the spears facing to the north and east.

They waited for the cool air to roll in from the sea before Stella set the wood aflame. Its warm orange and red heat danced and twirled under the escalating winds, but it managed to hold itself together. They laughed and joked and shared in the rest of the liquor that Sig had kept on his person. It was a faux celebration, a ruse to attempt to get some of the bandits to attempt their little game of nab and run.

Exhaustion however set in like a boulder, and soon Lon had fallen asleep. Durn had returned from relieving himself and rejoined Stella, fireside. Stella had a fish that had been set on a stick next the fire in her hand, she had been working at the crunchy browned meat and handed another to Durn. He stared at it, but dismissed it after gauging his stomachs reaction.

After downing the last swig from Sig's whiskey canteen, Durn cleared his throat and looked over to Stella. “How long has it been now?” He looked back down at the empty canteen, his eyes then wandering to the fire. “Five seasons, eh? Has she grown up strong?”

Stella sat in silence, her meal now forgotten. She looked at her ungloved hands, burn scars marred her fingers, running down to the back and to her wrists. There use to be a stone also, but her daughter now possessed it. Her daughter that her father now possessed.

“Stella, how long have we been cousins?” It was an old catch phrase Durn had come up with for these little bonding moments.

She smiled at it and looked back at him. “Since I was born. Why do you pry, you know as well as I do the situation I am in.” She looked back down at the half eaten fish. “We both know my father sent you to keep an eye on me...”

Durn didn't respond to the comment. He simply sat in silence, unsure of what could be said. He was a spy, that was his duty, and maintaining silence meant maintaining his life. “Is she treated well?”

“My... my father raises her as his own, mayhap he believes its an opportunity to raise the daughter he intended me to be. Mayhap he believes its proper punishment for me falling in love with a farmer.”

With a huge bite, Stella ended her meal and now sat contemplating the now naked stick. With a second thought, a grimace crossed her face and she threw the stick into the fire, as if it were something despicable. “I care not to speak of the topic. It was ages ago and it is out of my hands, tell my father my heart grew cold long ago! He no longer has a daughter.”

The wind carried the height of the conversation off into the distance. Alone in the dark, sitting post, Sig shifted his gaze from the tree line back to camp. There was only silence now, and with a shoulder shrug, he returned to his duty.

Durn shifted uncomfortably, now searching for a way to ease the tense moment. He turned his gaze down to the fire, its flame shifting in and out of the colour of his cousins hair. He never cared about fighting amongst family, but then again, being part of the Redding clan was not like being part of your average family.

Since the time his uncle had consolidated his grip on the various small villages in the outlying territories and set armed guards patrolling all trade routes, they had ceased being simple village leaders, and had become politicians, generals, high priests. All Redding's knew the fine art of negotiation from the beginning of their upbringings. He had masked the exiling of his daughter in the manner he had as a clever ploy to gain more trust from the outlying territories. A token of good will for the robbing of their independence.

Stella stood up, and without a word headed to her tent, content with the night ending on the note that it now was. Alone, in the fire light, Durn sighed and took another swig of the whiskey. Replacing the cap, he got up and returned the canteen to its owner. Sig accepted it graciously and immediately took advantage of return of his property. Offering a seat to Durn, he finished his gulp.

“Wanna talk about it, big guy?” Sig looked up at the dark form of Durn who stood in silence, oblivious to the usual coaxing of conflict Sig always managed to tack into every sentence.

“You know, odds are there will be a lot more of them than us this time. Whomever these assholes are, they had this village pretty rattled.” Durn sat down next to Sig with that and for a moment said nothing before adding, “We're usually not welcomed at all, this is all strange.”

“That's what has her riled up?”

“Yes.”

“Yes?”

“Yes.”

“No?”
Durn glared back at Sig, who somehow managed to notice it and had guarded himself for the attack. None came, they simply sat in silence. Durn didn't think there was going to be a good ending for the night now, and set himself to return to his bunk and hope for sleep; at least a little while. Sig offered no resistance to his exiting company and returned his gaze to the tree line, and occasionally to his canteen.

Sure that he was alone again, Sig slipped a second canteen from under his armour, the spare for when he had these private moments. Sig's mind grew groggy from the drink, but he was a master in the arts of consuming alcohol. He enjoyed the drink thoroughly, oft to the point where others made it a point to keep it from him. Thus he enlisted in the lords royal guard. The company of others in the same plight as him he found made for good drinking company. However, he was unfortunate in that often drama between a certain two family members made the atmosphere a bit volatile for one to enjoy themselves.

It was quiet moments like this when Sig sated his thirst for the drink most. Away from the eye's of the others, free of criticism. He looked out towards the tree line. The light of the half moon cast the fields of grass and shrub in pale hues. Wading under the soft white light, the dark figures of deer grazing and skirting amongst each other wove across the landscape. The wind blew and the grass seemed to ebb and flow like the waters it lead to. Behind him, the campfire winked out, and all was dark save for the glow of the ocean under the half moon.



Stella woke with a start, nearing ripping her tent down upon her head. The sunlight told her it was only a few hours from noon. She stumbled out of her tent, only her under shorts and under shirt covering her. Outside her tent the situation was the same, the others, all under dressed were cursing and spitting. Sig had fallen asleep on post again. Lon searched through their packs, ensuring that nothing was amiss, while Durn stormed out towards the limp body of Sig, still sitting post, empty canteen in hand.

Stella winced at the kick Durn planted into Sig's side, sending the limp form rolling and struggling to right itself. She decided it was best to ignore the discipline part, and instead she opted in joining Lon in the search for lost goods. Durn had drug Sig back to camp, battered and beaten, but still functional, by the time Stella and Lon had finished their search. They each confirmed that nothing had gone missing, and returned to their duties, placing armour on and gathering their equipment for the days journey.

“I figure they won't be making any sudden moves on the village, at least for as long as we are out here guarding the place.” Stella pondered the situation while they all packed their bundles on their horses. “We can't remain here on a permanent post though, and I'm sure they know this as well. We're going to have to go out there and find them ourselves.”

“Yeah, but the only problem is they know the lay of this land. We would be target practice as soon as we enter that tree line” Lon pointed out to the woods. “Its suicide.”

Sig sat silently, obedience had taken his tongue. It had also made his jaw swollen and one eye black, Stella doubted he really wanted to say anything.
Two men walk into a bar; the third one ducks.

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Re: Sulthra'kah, by RedEight, R, Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:12 pm

Durn snapped the knot on his bundle tight and climbed up on his horse, eager to move out and be done with the place. Before any could join him, they were interrupted by a newly familiar voice. Lendell stood behind them, another figure beside him stood drabbed in the same style of robe with equally vibrant colors. The young man lead a horse beside him, its saddle and bundle already packed for a hard journey.

“Please, take my son-in-law along with you. He is a capable healer and has been granted great knowledge from Sulthra'kah already, despite his young age.” Lendell settled his gaze on Durn, already saddled up and ready to leave. “He longs to be the one whom saves my daughter, it is his responsibility.”

“We do not guarantee your safety,” Stella responded to the young man. “We will not be responsible.”

“I am more than capable for watching my own back,” the young man responded sternly.

Sig and Lon both shrugged their shoulders in conjunction, Sig clearly with more pain. More people only bettered their odds, and a healer, especially from a southern coast is always an asset. They all knew this, and it had been a major annoyance to Jon Redding that none ever volunteered to be a part of his army. This of course was because of the scattered and sparsely populated nature of the southern coast.

Without further argument, they each mounted their respective horse and began their journey to the north eastern tree line.

“The name is Xander,” the new addition announced once they were halfway across the grass field leading to the tree line.

Stella looked back over her shoulder to look at the youth. His thin frame and deeply suntanned skin spoke volumes of a life out on salt water, under a beating sun from morning till nightfall. His sun bleached hair almost seemed to fade into the surroundings under the noonday lighting, its clear wavy form twirling about in the coastal breeze.

“I am Stella;” she motioned to herself and then each in of the others in conjunction, “This is Durn, Sig, and Lon.”

“Your friend seems to have already seen battle...” Xander motioned to skinny one the girl, Stella, had called Sig.

Lon chuckled at this, and a vague smirk lit Durn's face at the comment as well. Sig didn't bother to respond, and Stella followed suit. The comment left without a response, they continued on in silence till they reached the tree line. They dismounted and leashed their horses to tree branches, then each unhooked their bundles and began the next part of their trek on foot.
Two men walk into a bar; the third one ducks.

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Re: Sulthra'kah, by RedEight, R, Updated regularly

Postby RedEight » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:02 am

Can a moderator please lock this for now, I am putting this story on hiatus for a while so I can brainstorm.
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