Today is of the Cycle Of The Seventh Moon.
Current Season & Month:  , Year: 543 A.R. (ref)

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Lost in the Forest

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Talan
(@talan)
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Talan did not know how long he had been running, but his lungs felt like they were burning and his legs felt heavy like lead.  His escape from the Gladiatorial School in Haven where he had been enslaved had been treacherous and full of dangers.  On his wrists were the iron cuffs they placed there to suppress his fire; one could not have a magical Gladiator using his powers when he felt like it. His throat still bore the locked iron collar with the name they gave him ‘Blaze’ inscribed upon it like a shameful badge.  He was a Pyromancer, an untrained one at that, he found the fire came when he had reached sixteen and he was scared as hell when it had.  Everyone knew that Pyros usually went insane and killed people and Talan didn’t want that.  Grampie the one that had given him a roof over his orphaned head had seen him wield the fire and he had trapped him with iron and sold him to the House of Cathiss Novell, a well-known owner of the Gladiatorial Games in Haven.

Things had gotten difficult, branding him did not work, not in the conventional way, so they tattooed him instead.  He was smaller than most there, he was an eighteen-year-old Human, among seasoned fighters.  There had been a large Wolvian in charge, Iron Claw, and he was scary.  There were a few Elves, Allegro and Goldeneyes. A half Daemon called Thestro to mention a few.  Days had blended into weeks and life had been hard, training and learning to use weapons.  Then his chance came, it had been a Games Day, people had come to watch them fight.  Everyone was occupied on what they needed to be about and he took his chance and ran, straight out of the front gate and into this surrounding woodland.

Here he stood now, praying that he did not hear the baying of hounds in the distance, or the growl of a very annoyed Wolvian hunting him down. Cathiss had paid a lot for him and surely would want his prize returned.  He kneeled down by a stream and drank thirstily, the cold water hit his stomach almost painfully making it ache.  All he wanted to do was sleep, curl up somewhere safe and sleep, but where was safe in this large, dark unknown forest? He did not have his fire to protect him thanks to the iron he wore. He sat by the edge of the water and rested his head on his knees, had he done the right thing running away? He was hardly dressed for it in a thigh length tunic and sandals.  He would stand out like a sore thumb if he came across anyone out here.  The whole ensemble just screamed escaped slave.  He had to rest, soon he would continue onward…to who knew where.

Every sound in this old forest made him stare wide eyed out into it's depths, a deepness that seemed to stare right back him and it was quite unnerving.  This place felt so very much alive, he half expected the trees to talk in soft whispers and he was very sure they would not appreciate his sort being here.

"What are you doing Tal?" He said to himself very quietly.

Perhaps he should go back and say he had mistake, he was sure that he would be punished for running and scorned by others for slinking back. Where could he go, he had never been outside Haven.

"Something will present itself I am sure." He said in a wavering voice.

"I am sure it will."

 


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Talan
(@talan)
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Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 134
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He picked himself up and wrapped his arms about himself and started forward, shivering slightly,  He felt none of the usual heat he carried from the fire he could call upon.  The iron made him feel cold, both inside and out.  As he moved further into the forest, sunlight peeked through the thick canopy above him creating shafts of yellow light here and there before him, beautiful in its own way, the natural light show it created. The soft mossy ground beneath his thin sandals felt cool, not wet though, and now he really concentrated he could hear birdsong and the scuffling of small creatures in the undergrowth...well what he hoped might be small creatures and nothing that might take a fancy to snacking on him.  He still could hear none in pursuit of him and with a grin he twirled in a shaft of sunlight and grinned, a boyish grin and his hair flopped forward into his face.  Part of him wished his only friend at the Gladiatorial Place could be here.  The Golden Elf, Goldeneyes would have like this, but he had been in the arena fighting when Talan took his chance and fled.  He felt sad momentarily that he could not have waited for him, but one had to take one's chances when you could and the open gate, unguarded because of visitors presented itself as just that.

"This is not so bad." He mused.

"What was I thinking in turning back!"

He came to sit on a small boulder sticking up out of the verdant ground, it too, mossy with age.

"This place is beautiful really. I am free, this place is free and together we shall live." He whispered softly.

In the depths of the bushy undergrowth by the trail, a wolf watched and waited.  Stupid two legged thing would be tonight's dinner.


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Talan
(@talan)
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As it watched the two legs walk through it's one good eye the wolf remembered other two legs, ones it had know a while past.  The elf two legs, that had spoken in his mind so he could understand, called himself Inarion, the warrior two leg with the red hair that had been friends with the Elf, and the female four legs who body had been that of those things that two legs rode on and a woman.  It had been a long while past and the elf had fallen to shadow and ruin and he knew not what had become of the others. Round the wolf's neck was a cord and on it sat a blue stone, it had come from the water, the old female two legs had fetched it. It had been meant for Inarion to stop the shadows getting him, it had been too late though. It remembered the name that the elf had given him, Hawkeye.  He rose on old stiff legs and moved out following the scent of the male.

Talan moved through the trees feeling much lighter than he had a few hours ago.  Soon it would be dark though and he wondered whether the forest would look so pretty at night. He would have to make a camp and light a fire which was going to be much more difficult with his power restrained as it currently was.  He had never had to make a fire, Grampie always had one lit in the loft where he and the other orphans lived. How hard could it be? He had seen Grampie bang two stones together and make sparks which had ignited the tinder.  There were plenty of stones about at the side of the small worn path and he was not short of tinder.  He started to gather pieces of wood by the path side and looked about for a suitable area to make a camp for the evening.  His eyes alighted on a small clearing that was set back from the path and he headed towards it and set the wood down.  There a few boulders to one side and he decided to make his bed with them to his back and he looked about for some stones he could bang together like Grampie had.

Several hours later and much banging together of two large stones, Talan had thrown them aside in frustration. Grampie had made it look easy! He had no fire and the dark was drawing in.

The wolf had watched from his resting spot not far away with much amusement and decided that as soon as the two legs was asleep he would move in.


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Talan
(@talan)
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He sat by the pile of kindling staring at it morosely.

He was hungry, he could not tell how long he was going to have the light of day and he was alone.   Again he started to doubt whether he should have left the Fighting House, he would have warm food in his belly and a comfortable straw pallet to sleep on and oddly he felt like he was being watched.  By who or what he did not know but he felt eyes on him, they had been for the past several hours.

"I ain't afraid yew know!" He called out into the tree filled depths.

"I 'ave magicks about me and I can kill a man with my bare 'ands!"

Somewhat of an exaggeration, maybe if he did not have the iron holding him back and he could actually summon what magicks he did hold which were temperamental at best.

The wolf lifted its head from its comfortable spot in the bushes and cocked his head listening to the male two legs making noise.  It understood a word, only one because he had heard it before from the others he had once traveled with.

'Magicks' 

Inarion had magicks, it was what allowed the elf to speak inside his head so that he could understand.

He watched the young male with renewed interest, was he like Inarion?


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Talan
(@talan)
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The lad closed his eyes and huddled up at the base of a tree, he was tired and hungry and just a tad scared now.  He had no weapons to defend himself and no comrades to watch his back.  He had not wanted to be a fighting slave, Grampie had chosen that for him, rotten old miser.  He had made a good bag of coins on his sale to Cathiss.  The wolf watched through his one good eye, the longer he watched the male, the less he wanted to eat him. To Hawkeye he just looked like a lost cub, unable to look after himself, at least Inarion had been able to use a sword and a bow and he could make fire!  He rose stiffly and padded into the clearing and sat a way off from the male.

Talan opened his eyes and swallowed as he saw the wolf.  The thing was sitting right at home across from him, now licking on grey paw.  It was old, white flecks in his grey muzzle and it only had one eye. It was not attacking him though.

”Hey Wolfie.” He said softly.

Hawkeye stopped licking his paw and stared through his good green eye at the boy.  He gave a soft yap in return and went to lick his other paw.

Talan took this as a sign, maybe someone was watching his back after all.


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Talan
(@talan)
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Feeling a little safer with his strange companion, Talan closed his eyes again and huddled down against the bole of a tree.  Sleep took him a little quicker this time and held him captive in his dreams. 

The wolf watched as the two legs curled up and closed its eyes, it appeared he was on watch then.  The wolf chuffed lightly and it's tongue lolled from his mouth, almost in a kind of grin.  Hawkeye was mightly amused by the whole situation.  His dinner had turned into his charge so it seemed and slept like a cub tucked up in the curve of the tree.  He rose and moved forward and settled down much closer to the sleeping two legs and laid his head between his paws.

There were many scent abound in the woods, some drifted on a light breeze to his sensitive nose.

Wood smoke.

Blood.

Goblyn.

At least there was no scent of Moonwender, cursed creatures, dark creatures that had felled the village of Straith by the River Ahvinn.  They had been led by Inarion after the darkness had took him. He promised them Blood and Meat, not prisoners though, 'Wenders did not take prisoners.  The Old Woman of Straith had given him the stone he wore about his neck and told him to go seek the Centaurs and bring back reinforcements.  He had run hard, but ultimately he had been too late.  He did not know what had happened to Old Woman, nor Bryndel Kayel, Inarion's travelling companion nor the four legged girl they also had befriended.  Their bodies were not among the mauled dead, that would soon rise as Ghuls.  He had howled to the Forest Gods to keep them safe but he did not know if his howl had been answered.

This one he would make sure was safe, he seemed lost and alone and somewhat unworldely, after all Hawkeye thought  all two legs could make fire!


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Talan
(@talan)
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Talan woke with a start, he did not know how long he had slept, as he moved from sleep to waking, he saw the wolf, much closer to him.  The creature lifted its head and watched him solemnly as he stretched, his bones cracking pleasurably as he did.

”Hey Wolfie.” He said softly, in two minds whether to reach out and try stroke the grey furry head, then again this wasn’t a dog he might see on the streets looking for scraps.

His stomach rumbled and his throat felt parched. What he wouldn’t give for a hot meat pie and a mug of warm spiced cider or mead, maybe a peppermint cream pie.  His mother had made those when he was very small and he still remembered the taste.

”C’mon Wolfie, we need to find something to eat and water too…can you hunt food Wolfie…huh?”

Hawkeye watched as the cub two legs jabbered on at him and he gave a short sharp bark silencing him.  He turned and started into the woods, looking back occasionally to make sure the two legs was following.

Talan had pulled back a little scared at the bark, but he rose and started to follow his new friend further into the trees.


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Talan
(@talan)
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Talan trailed after the wolf, not quite sure why he was actually following the creature.  He just felt better with him around. Hawkeye looked back occasionally to make sure the two legs was with him.  He was on the scent of smoke and blood in the air, perhaps there would be others that might be able to look after him, could speak its language. He obviously did not understand wolf and could not speak in Hawkeye’s head as Inarion had done.

Both of them needed food and water and Hawkeye had to find some quickly.


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Talan
(@talan)
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Talan wrapped his arms about himself, he felt cold.  His eyes drifted upwards to see the tiny points of light above him shimmering in their dark velvet nest above.  It was cold, it was night and he was lost.  He stopped and stared about himself realising that he could no longer clearly see his travelling companion at all, a cold sweat broke out on his forehead.

"Wolfie?" He hissed into the darkness.

"You out there?"

Hawkeye stopped and turned back noting the two legs had stopped and was shaking and knew they would be walking no further.  It was a well known fact to the wolf that two legs didn't see too well in the dark and he was likely to fall over his stupid feet and hurt himself.  He took a few steps back and stepped into a small patch of moonlight so that the boy might see him.

Talan heard the noise and then saw the animal he had been trailing stood in a patch of moonlight to his left and he breathed a sigh of relief. He headed towards him and the wolf did not move away and Talan kneeled down and reached out to touch the grey and black fur.  It felt rough, coarse to his fingers, but warm, the further his fingers delved.  Hawkeye had gotten used to being stroked by Inarion, Bryndel too; so what the boy did bothered him little.  He nudged the two legs arm with his muzzle which drew that curving up of his mouth, he had seen humans do that too when they were pleased.  The wolf sat down, there was no point going any further in the dark, hunting would be scarce too.  All the tasty things slept at night, only foul things walked the shadows in the dark.

"We staying here huh?" Talan said as the wolf plonked himself down.

He leaned against him, happy for the animal's warmth.

 


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Talan
(@talan)
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Hawkeye had only been dozing when his good eye snapped open and he lifted his head.

Something...bad...out in the depths of the forest had woken and the wolf had felt it.  Hawkeye had known bad before, the bad that had snared and invaded Inarion, the bad that had bought the Wenders to Straith's shores.  He did not know what this bad was, likely not his friend, but something equally as bad.  He gave a low deep growl as he stood, shaking himself and the two legs opened his sleepy eyes.

"Waz'up Wolfie?" Talan asked sleepily.

"Bird startle you?" He yawned and sat up, opening his eyes more fully.

The hackles on the wolf's back proved this was no pigeon and the baring of sharp white teeth said it all. Talan rose and stepped behind the growling animal, he could see nothing, but it did not mean something in this vast leafy darkness had not stirred and caused his new friend to become very alert and defensive.


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Talan
(@talan)
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It was gone as quickly as it had come.

Hawkeye glanced about, sniffing the air, aware of the two legs hands curled in his fur.  Whatever it had been had gone again back to its own place which was not the living forest. Talan felt the wolf start to relax and he released his fingers from its fur. The wolf tilted his head and gave a long howl, the sound echoing through the trees, a warning he was about.  Hawkeye dropped his head and padded about the perimeter of their small den before coming back and settling down again.  Talan stood for a while longer, staring out into the dark shadows, wishing he had the bloody sense to get the iron bracelets and collar removed before he fled the Gladiatorial school.


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Talan
(@talan)
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Talan eventually came to settle back by his new friend, laying his head down and staring up at the clear star filled sky. He could hear the rhythmic breathing of the dozing animal next to him and he wondered whether the Wolvian, Iron Claw, who assisted in training the gladiators sounded like that when he slept? Iron Claw had been scary and ferocious to the young man when he had first arrived.  Cathiss put the talking bipedal wolf in charge of training and he did a very good job of it taking no backchat or attitude from any of those around him.  He was handy with a whip and more so with a blade.  Nothing Talan seem to do pleased him, not even when he used the fire, because he could not control it properly.

Then there had been Goldeneyes. The golden elf was another memory to muse on for a restless night sleep.  

He had to wonder though, what had the wolf spooked like that.  What was out there in the forest?


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Talan
(@talan)
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Talan felt something nudge him hard it the back, he groaned and rolled away from it only to have a hank of his hair tugged hard. Hawkeye spat out the hair and growled. It was time to move and the silly two legs would not open his eyes.  As a final resort the wolf lifted his head and howled, loud and long. Talan opened his eyes to the rising dawn and a howling wolf.

”Cut that out.” He moaned rubbing his eyes, trying to adjust to being awake.

What he would give for a cup of juice of some hot tea, maybe some warm bread and a wedge of cheese. Looking about himself he saw a dead rabbit, off to one side, dead glassy eyes staring mournfully at him, blood splattered on its fawn coat.

”Gross.” He muttered under his breath so as not to offend the bringer of food.

He had never skinned anything in his life and had no knife, he looked to the wolf and back to the rabbit, and moved to gingerly pick up the small corpse, it was wet with blood and limp. He could see where Wolfie’s teeth had pierced so he pulled back the fur to reveal flesh. He took a bite and forced himself to chew, and forced it down his throat, willing himself not to puke.

”Ummmm. Tasty.” He said with a forced grin and pushed the rabbit to the wolf who sat with his tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth it almost looked like he was laughing. Hawkeye set about devouring the tasty morsel, crunching bones and flesh as the mortified two legs watched on.


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Talan
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They had started walking again, the wolf sometimes ahead, sometimes behind.  The daylight made the forest seem more hospitable than the night before, with its soft dappled pools of light.  He stared up at the canopy above, happy to hear the birds singing once more. The path seemed to be taking them northwards, what was North?


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Talan
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As they walked and the sun got brighter, Talan felt at peace, the warmth on his face and the sound of birds. The wolf sometimes disappeared but came back, and finally they stopped to rest by a stream.  Tal cupped his hands into the water and drank his fill, the water was clean and crisp and tasted good. As he and Wolfie took their rest Talan leaned back on a mossy log and closed his eyes, moments later he opened them. He had heard an odd thing, not usual to the forest, he could have sworn he had heard singing.


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