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Falling Shadows [Closed]
« on: August 06, 2015, 02:21:01 am »
The first thing that registered was whispering. She didn't remember drinking, and certainly not to the point of being pass out drunk, but she hurt everywhere and the world was rocking. Then there was the slosh of water before she felt something jab her side and she grabbed it, sitting up quickly and growling as the world rocked hard beneath her before she fell back onto something hard and the rocking continued.

There was a squeal and the running steps of two children. "I told you she wasn't dead!" "I'm telling!" One of the footsteps stopped, "NO! I found her! I get to keep her!" Then a redoubling of effort.

She pressed a hand to her head and rubbed her eyes and then shook her head.

"Stupid. Stupid! STUPID!!" she muttered to herself as she opened them, looking up at nothing with their pale translucent unseeing blue.

She hadn't been drunk, but harried and exhausted to the point of stupor. Her hands dropped and felt around the rough wood grain of a less than new boat and she took a deep breath and winced at the sudden shock of the sting it brought to her side.

That's when she remembered- she hadn't been on a road or path for days, following the sound of the river through the trees and the smell of it's mud and crisp wetness more than anything. She'd been making a wide birth of any settlement or fishing village along it, and last night that had been her downfall. Despite her small fire, she'd attracted the attention of the wildlife. Had it been men and not wolves, she would most likely had been fine, but it wasn't and despite all the skills she'd been taught, she'd fallen to running away, the wolves dogging her heals.

She carefully let her hands slide around the small boat, searching for what she knew wouldn't be there- most of her things. She could feel the strap of one of her bags, and found the hilt of her short sword, but all else was back where she'd left it to the wolves, where ever that was now.

In her panic to save her life she'd done something she swore she would never purposefully do again and had dipped into that endless stream of possibility and had found the boat, if it could still be called that. She hadn't remembered much past shoving off and paddling with her hands to get into the middle of the swift water before she'd collapsed. She must have been pushed up along the shore at some point down river.

Her thoughts about the night before were broken as she heard the sound of feet, and voices coming this way again through tall grass, short steps and longer, more reluctant ones. She could smell smoked fish but that didn't give her any indication where she was more than she already knew. "If she's a river nymph, just remember, I found her first and so I get to keep her," the boy from before said to whoever it was he was dragging with him.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2015, 11:21:40 pm by Peregrine »


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Re: Falling Shadows [Closed]
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2015, 04:34:47 pm »
It might have been the howl of the wolf that woke him, but he knew different.  Something in the air moved.  He could only describe what he felt like a ripple in a river of consciousness, and that was what caused him to appear, bare foot in the forest, unprepared.  His brown hair was mussed.  He yawned.  One hand rubbed his eyes finding a face solid to the touch with chisled cheekbones and cleft chin.

“What did you do?”

The voice was deep and well timbered.  That too seemed to ripple as Shen Kala adjusted the volume to something less than thunder.  The wolf at his feet wouldn’t answer the question if she thought he was angry.  She’d pout instead.  So, the same hand that straightened his tunic switched courses and dropped to his side to rub the ears of the she wolf he called Bowan.

They both knew he didn’t really need an answer; the confirmation of that in the sigh between them.  Still, Shen waited for the wolf to explain why the pack was hunting a helpless human when hunger wasn’t an issue.

Two other wolves appeared to champion their leader.  Shen wasn’t intimidated by the increase in numbers, the pair Riley and Mir both knew the true Alpha.

“I understand she smelled different, but that doesn’t give you the right to test.”  He frowned as he listened further, turning to walk along the path of the river. Shen adjusted the long bow over his shoulder, the weight as familiar as it was uneven. “What if she’d been armed?”

Bowan walked abreast, keeping pace with the hunter’s long strides.  His bow didn’t seem to deter her as they spoke silently of other weapons.  She put her nose against his palm, the cold intended to get his attention.  The fingers curled in response and returned to caressing her black ears.  “I’ve been busy.”

The sun was starting to come up.  The golden hue seemed to match Shen’s skin, almost as though he was absorbing the light and becoming more solid with each step.  Such wasn’t far from the truth.  He studied the current of the river rather than his reflection.  Vanity wasn’t one of his sins.

A couple of birds in the tree above chirped.  One flew down and landed on his head.  The tiny feet started to straighten his hair.  The sensation caused Shen to smile even as he shook the bird off.  “Not now.  We’re not here to impress anyone.”

This woman Bowan had found, seemed to want to avoid company.  No town or people were close. He knelt down and looked at the tracks leading up to the river.  She’d managed to drag her things which seemed more important than haste or fear.

He stood again and looked down stream.  They could do this the easy way, or the hard way.  Shen glanced down at his furry companion.  “All right, Bowan.  But, just you.  Go find her.”

« Last Edit: August 22, 2015, 10:01:04 pm by Beau »


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Re: Falling Shadows [Closed]
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2015, 07:30:30 am »
The chuckle about what he'd found being a river nymph was cut off as a large man, from the sound of his stride and the deepness of his laughter attested for anything. But she could also feel where the shadow he cast fell. He was large.

She'd closed her eyes before they'd come up, "See! Told you she was pretty, looks like she's sleeping, but she sat up before." The man looked down on what was clearly a woman, though she was dressed in breeches and leathers. Her face was almost angelic, skin the color of honey, a strong jaw, a straight nose, high cheek bones with cheeks that hinted at dimples, what would be almond shaped eyes when she opened them. Her head was wrapped in a violet head scarf, a fashion mostly seen in the larger and richer cities, though most women would leave some of their hair out, this one had all of hers bound up.

"Sorry, I'm no nymph." She said, and attempted to sit up again, though it hurt, and she only managed to get up on her elbows before she stopped and the boat rocked again.

She heard the boys shoulders sag in his rough leather tunic. "Though I could use some help."

"Go and fetch ur Mum."

"But I want to throw water on her and find out if she's lying."

"None of that. Go. And Fetch ur Mum."

She heard the boy huff, but then turn and run off. The boat shifted under her again, but this time it was being held, though to be pulled ashore or pushed off again, she wasn't sure yet. "You look like you've been in a might of trouble. There's blood on ye. We don't get many strangers round here, what's ur business girl?"

A little bit of truth, mingled with the lies was best, she knew. "I'm trying to get to to the Jinz healers, to see if they could help me." Lie. She opened her eyes and heard his breath suck in and she quickly closed them and pulled the half veil on her head wrap down over her eyes and nose as the boat shifted, "I was attacked, yesterday I think, by wolves, but I managed to get into the river."

She could feel the man scrutinizing her debating as she made sure the tight wrap around her head was still secure.

"You blind from some sickness?"

She almost rolled her sightless eyes, "Born this way." Half truth.

"Where you coming from?"


"Long way to come from, and a long way to go, especially on your own... in your... condition."

She sighed, "I've no family left, coming alone was my only option," Lie. It was likely her 'family', and their connections, that were stirring the powers to life to hunt her down, and force her back to the Capitol.

"The blood?"

She sighed. "I slipped pushing off, it's from my own sword. It isn't deep and it stopped bleeding some time ago." She figured he was curious why a blind woman would be carrying a sword in the first place, but his human nature won out.

She felt the man scrutinizing her and then she felt the boat move and the scrape of stone and mud slide across the wood. "Well, we best look after it for you."

When he reached to help her out, she jerked away, "Don't touch me!" and he froze. She swallowed, that was suspicious. "It's just, I'm not used to help... especially from men. I can manage on my own. Thank you." She could still feel him tense, probably wondering if she'd perhaps lied about being sick. That part had been true at least. It was no illness that had made her the way she was.

To prove her able bodiedness, she pushed herself up and stumbled slightly to get out of the boat. Then she stood a little crooked and sheathed the sword.

Once she was on solid ground she felt more grounded. Living things gave her a sense things. The dirt filled with roots and bugs and animal life. If she wanted to 'see' where she was, all she had to do was concentrate as she reached out and touched the tall grass she'd heard stirring in the breeze, but she'd get other things with that. Her fingers stayed curled tight, one of her arms wrapping around her side. It was a bit less painful standing.

The man cleared his throat, "Well then, if you turn just a bit to your left, we'll go up a small embankment and then straight on into the village. You'll need someone to help you stitch up that side. My wife Gail can help, she's a bit of a healer in our village, and I'm Ollie."

"You may call me Ora..." she stopped herself short from giving the trained and conditioned response, Oracle. "Thank you for your help Ollie." She didn't tell him that no one would be touching her at all if she could help it. She pulled the gloves still tucked in her belt out and pulled them on tightly as they walked.

As they did, the boy came back, again someone in tow. Ora suspected it was the mother, Gail, who had been mentioned.


"S'all right Gail. This lady, Ora here just needs a bit of looking after. On her way to the Jinz.  Says and fell on some bad luck. Though landing here, with you around, suppose her luck turned."

She heard Gail cluck, but suspected she was really flattered by her husband's high appraisal of her skills.

"Well then, come along then, we'll get you fixed up. Looks like you could use a meal too, skinny thing." When Gail reached out and grabbed her around the shoulders and she braced herself, but nothing happened and she supposed if she ever got back to the Capitol, she had a seamstress who deserved an extra bit of payment for the special attention she'd taken in the garment she was wearing. Whatever it was she'd said she'd weaved in the cloth, had kept the touch from sending Ora into a vision of Gail's future.

Gail exchanged a look with her husband at the girls flinch at her touch. Ora could hear him nod and Gail's tightening of her jaw, her teeth grinding slightly. Ora suspected that they had just silently agreed she was some sort of abused runaway- a wife, a servant, a slave perhaps. If Ora actually let Gail help her dress her wound, she would only be more sure of what they had decided after seeing more of her skin. All the better.

"That would be much appreciated. I don't have much, and I lost some of my things, but I can pay..."

"Nonsense." "'Course not." Gail and Ollie's replies came at once.

Ora felt something wet splash over her leg and her head turned.

"Lawrence!" Ora's mouth turned up slightly on one side, a dimple sinking in, at the action.

She heard his cry as his father most likely boxed his ear,

"Apologize now." A twist of said ear.

"OW! I just wanted to know for sure she wasn't a nymph! She's pretty as the river stories say! OW! Beggin your pardon Miss."

"It's alright. I'll dry."

"Get on now!" Ollie growled and the boy ran off.

After that, Gail's guiding hands, still not causing her any problems, led Ora to their simple stone home, several people calling out, stopping their work to find out what was going on. Ollie eventually stopped to talk to a few as Gail led her inside.

After several minutes of heated argument over Ora insisting she could dress her wound herself, and Gail hearing nothing of it, Ora finally said, "Then I'll just be on my way."

Gail held her breath and then sighed and Ora heard her sadness, "You've got some terrible secrets I can tell, but I only want to help."

Ora pursed her lips, how to play this a little more truth, though not the clarifying kind. "I don't like being touched." She heard Gail's teeth grind again, she'd won, but offered, "You can watch and if, after I am done, you look at my work and aren't satisfied, I'll let you do it again."


Despite being hesitant to let the young girl stitch herself up, it turned out to be only six shallow stitches, which had been executed simply and with skill- she'd obviously stitched herself up before. Though she noted the young woman only rolled her shirt up enough to expose the cut and skin a few inches above her hip, that was enough to show several other scars from who knew what, and a small glimpse of black scrawl on her spine.

Gail offered her a clean shirt and then left to give her some privacy she sensed Ora was craving while she sought out her husband to confirm to him, and those still  around him, that the girl had to be some sort of victim and that she wasn't sure they should let her leave.


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Re: Falling Shadows [Closed]
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2015, 06:12:54 am »
Bowan needed no further instruction. She took off down the river bank, not quite at a run, but sure of the scent and her path.  Shen knew he could follow easily at his own pace so he was in no hurry.  He backtracked upstream instead and found that he’d over simplified the situation.  The woman might have taken some of her things with her, but she’d left some as well.

“Mir,” Shen scolded, seeing one bag torn by sharp teeth that he knew belonged to the brown wolf.  “What have I told you about eating people food.”

The wolf hung his head and whined.  His tongue dangled from his mouth and Shen could almost taste the salted meat.  The man shook his head as he inspected the rest of the trappings of the rough camp.  If she’d lit a fire it hadn’t been here.  Overall she was traveling light and apparently alone.  The second satchel with the bedroll had the same lavender scent as the first.  He tied the knot and slipped the strap over his shoulder.

Additional clues were offered in the pattern of the scuffle.  She’d had a weapon of some kind.  Perhaps a sword?  He wasn’t quite sure as he was looking more at foot patterns than any sort of tracing in the ground.  He bent down and touched the earth where he thought there might be blood.

He let out a whistle.  The call echoed through the trees, but there was no answering bark.  He suspected she’d struck one of the pack but the wounded animal wasn’t close.  Or was it? Shen decided to venture off the path and away from the stream. Drops of blood showed the way. Within a half mile he found the downed animal, and let out a sigh.

“Erikan.”  The silver male was larger than the others.  A bit of a loner it wouldn’t surprise him if he started it all and paid the price.

Shen knelt down beside the wolf and placed his hand on his side.  The gash was deep and would require some skill to heal.  He set aside his bow and the gathered luggage, before he went in search of a certain flower to speed the process.

Bowan was not delayed.  She journeyed on along the river, only pausing a few times to be sure the boat hadn’t escaped into hiding amongst the reeds.  It was one such foray into the water that she heard the shout of children.  Then, things happened too fast for her to think.  A cry for help and  she sprung into action, catching one boy by the collar of his shirt as he struggled to free himself from the mud and seaweed.  Bowan had seen grown men eaten by the quicksand before.  It took sure footing and all the strength of her powerful jaw to rescue the boy.  Only because he helped and didn’t fight against her was she successful.

The boy’s cry had brought others to the river bank.  A woman used a large stick to beat the water and try to separate the wolf from her cub.  Bowan wasn’t deterred.  She kept hold of the boy until he could stand on his own near the shore.  “Mom,” the boy called.  “Don’t.  The wolf saved me.”

“Lawrence!” The woman admonished the boy with her tone as she gathered him into her arms.  “Wolves don’t save people.”  But she stopped short of saying what wolves did do, and casting the cloak of murderer over this particular she wolf.  The look of intelligence on her face was a bit more than expected and the wolf didn’t move to attack, or move away for that matter.

A voice behind the woman said, “Bowan has a soft spot for the young ones.”

She turned to see a man on the bank, and his commanding presence caused her to wonder why she hadn’t noticed him before.  He wasn’t the type that you overlooked, and with his size it was difficult to fathom that he would move soundlessly.  “Your wolf perhaps?” she asked.

He snapped his fingers and Bowan left the water to come to his side.  “Bowan belongs to no-one, but we are acquainted.”  The wolf’s head touched the edge of his fingers affectionately.  “Is the boy alright?”

“I’m fine.” Laurence rushed to add.  “My mom’s probably just nervous because we found a lady this morning who said she was attached by wolves.”

“Hum,” Shen said.  He showed the bedroll and luggage in his hand.  “I think I found her things.  Perhaps you could show me where she is? I’d like to return these to her and ensure that no harm has come to her in the forest.”


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Re: Falling Shadows [Closed]
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2015, 06:48:11 am »
Once Ora was certain Gail was gone, she gingerly pulled the bloodied shirt off and the first thing she reached for was the pouch at her neck. Her fingers worked quickly across the leather finding it hole, but she carefully poured out the contents into a palm and carefully counted the stones as she returned them back in. Twenty-one, all accounted for. She sighed heavily and picked up the needle and thread again. There was another longer and deeper cut that had crusted over and another smaller gash, but she knew had she exposed it, Gail would have insisted on stitching her up.

The previous night had come back to her. She had hoped the cut had been from carelessness on her part, that she'd cut herself with her sword, and if anyone asked that would be what she said, but it wasn't the truth.

She'd heard the wolves long before they'd come for her half made camp. She had a few twigs burning, figuring the light would keep them at bay. It obviously hadn't, and on the banks of the river, she'd wounded and been wounded in return by a large male wolf.

She knew something was odd about the attack, but when she'd put her hand against the thing to pull her blade out and stumble the last few steps to the boat, she'd felt it, 'seen' it in a sense. The wolf, and many creatures of the woods and land like it, has been spelled.

She winced as the needle slipped with her lack of concentration and plunged deeper in her skin than she'd intended. She forced the knowledge from her mind as she quickly finished up, washed and dressed the wound before putting on the shirt Gail had left. Her leather vest must have ridden up, because upon her touch inspection, there were no gashes in. Or it could have fixed itself, as the leather worker hadn't been completely forthcoming or specific about what spells were weaved into the things she'd bought.

She mourned the loss of her coat though, as it not only provided protection, but also made her look more like a boy when she styled the wrap on her head in a different color and fashion. Something else she wouldn't be able to do without buying new wraps since all but one other were lost in her pack.

With that thought, her mind went back to the spelled wolf. She concentrated on what she'd felt, and the intent behind it. It wasn't meant to kill her, just hurt her to the point of slowing her down, stopping her. She sat down and took a deep breath, clearing her mind of all but the feel of the spell. It wouldn't be hard to guess who had asked for it, there were a great many number of people invested in finding her again- the Emperor, his enemies, The Visionaries, the Lords and Ladies of the capitol, the public that could afford the Visionaries price to see her. All of them would want her back, but only two had the means or influence to get the spell casters or the gods they served involved.

Ora sighed, she couldn't place the caster- most likely someone she hadn't met yet as her short term as Oracle before she fled.

She supposed it didn't really matter though. All that mattered was that they were on to her, so she needed to figure out a way to travel faster, or a way to better cover her tracks.

She ran her hands over her person, making sure every bit of skin she could, was covered, then pulled on the leather gloves that were tucked in her vest pocket. She didn't suppose she'd get out of town tonight, but an evening of rest and recuperation weren't completely out of order.  She felt her way to the door and was just about to open it when it was opened from the outside.

Ora stepped back just as a fussing Gail came in and would have bumped into her as she was clutching a dripping Lawrence. Ora stepped to the side before Gail saw her. "Oh dear! I'm sorry. We had quite a fright, but also a bit of luck!"

Ora's veil covered sightless eyes had turned to the door and the new smells following the fisher folk. Her hand went to the blade on her hip at the smell of wolf, but it didn't draw, only rested there. There was another smell, earth and trees and grass and sweat- nature and man all jumbled up, and when her eyes went that direction she thought she saw a pale green silhouette of a man before everything was black again. She convinced herself it was her imagination- only casters and gods had any kind of form when they stood in front of her, and while one of them seemed to be involved in her situation, it was rare for them to leave their exalted perch, or travel past the wealthy city states that could comfortably accommodate them.

Her brow furrowed under the wrap and veil as Gail kept talking. "...Seems he's found some things, and we thought they might be yours."

Ora straightened her frame a bit. "Perhaps." A man traveling with a wolf was still odd. Gail hadn't heard her or had just kept talking about how the wolf had saved Lawrence and the man had come up and weren't the fates kind, before Ollie finally stepped in and bustled her off to get the boy changed in another room.

"Well now, shall we see if this fella's happened across your things?"

Ora nodded, but kept her senses open and alert, the man could very well have been sent to kill her. Though they couldn't easily be seen behind the veil, she kept her eyes on him, "It was a bed roll, a leather coat, and a blue bull leather pack with a uniquely carved bone clasp and a finely carved wood walking stick. If that is what he's found, then it is mine. I certainly hope there weren't other travelers attacked and loosing their things nearby. I know I'll be glad to have them back so I can set out again."

Despite her earlier thoughts, she felt uneasy around people and the possible exposure it could bring.


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Re: Falling Shadows [Closed]
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2015, 10:50:05 pm »
The people here lived simply.  He liked that.  Shen never really understood why people wanted so many things when nature could provide what they needed.  Here he sensed a core set of values based more on fortune and fate, rather than opportunity.

It didn’t surprise him that he was easily accepted into the village.  Rarely did people shun Shen’s smile and obvious friendly demeanor.  The curve of his lips came naturally, rather than cultivated.  Bowan had made this all too easy.  Everyone loved a hero, even if they were covered with fur.

Good thing.  He glanced up at the sky and noted the time.  The moon would be full tonight.

Long strides took him towards a house in the center of the village.  Humble, but obviously the home of someone important given its size and the location near the water.  Bowan had further served him by picking well, although he doubted she would have admitted to any calculation.  He hadn’t been lying when he mentioned she favored the ‘young ones’.

His fingers gently stroked her ear as he kept pace with the group.  The mother and boy had rushed ahead.  Already he could hear the hurried explanation to the woman standing in the door.  Family member? Guest?  All too soon the woman and boy moved further inside, leaving Shen with the other man, and the obligation to display his luggage carrying prowess to the woman with the veil who remained in the doorway.  He refused to admit he found it disconcerting that he could not see her face.  He didn’t need the gentle nudge from Bowan to advise that he’d found the victim from the night before.  His astute senses caught a hint of magic, although he suspected it was more an ability to manipulate the flow than anything one would label as casting.

“Hello,” he offered, deliberately choosing not to reveal his name or identity.  “No walking stick, but the bag, coat and bedroll are here.”  Shen bent his elbows to lift the burden a bit higher in an awkward wave.  He found it curious that she was completely covered.  What would she need the coat for? 

“The bone handle is rather curious.  Caught my eye.  What sort of animal is it?”

He stopped just short of offering to make her another walking stick to fill in the gap.  He wasn’t quite sure where the urge came from and that further stilled his tongue.

Bowan let out a low growl.  Her nose lifted to sniff the air and her tail swished.  Shen offered a small tweak to her ear, but that wasn’t enough to calm her.  The wolf sprinted off into the woods, in the direction from which they came. 

For the first time, Shen’s smile faded.  “She’ll be back,” he said, but whether the thought was to explain, or offer himself some confidence in the fact, it was difficult to tell.

« Last Edit: October 04, 2015, 02:21:45 am by Beau »


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Re: Falling Shadows [Closed]
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2015, 01:56:13 am »
Ora was stopped from answering his question by the low growl of the wolf with him. She tensed until she heard the animal leave. Unless she touched it she wouldn't know if it had been spelled.

In the distraction, she silently and gently took her bag from the man, though she winced slightly as she swung it over her shoulder and she could tell Ollie was watching her and trying to decide if he was going to say something or not.

Ora held her hand out for her coat and the strap of the bedroll and a smirk slipped across her lips, "No one said anything about it being animal bone." Whoever this odd man was, traveling with a wolf, she couldn't get a good read on him, so she didn't feel like setting him at ease.

She pulled the strap of the bedroll over her shoulder and settled it across her chest and draped the coat over her left arm, her right hand settling casually back on the hilt of her knife. Ollie shifted loudly, "Are you planning on going somewhere Ora? It's getting late and I don't think my wife would look kindly on me letting you leave. At least not until she's fed you and made sure you've had a good rest."

So, Ollie had plucked up his courage. She resisted grinding her teeth. "I really ought to keep going now that I've got my things back." She turned to the man, again- that hazy almost blip in the darkness she blinked away behind the see through cloth over her eyes, "Thank you. There aren't many that would return found items so easily or would have carried them in hopes of finding someone they had no reason to believe they would find."

Ollie cleared his throat, "Really though, you ought to stay," he gestured at Shen, "Both of you. The sun will be down soon, you wouldn't get very far before dark and it's the first night of the harvest festival. They'll be plenty of food and you can get a good rest and start out fresh in the morning."

Ora did grind her teeth slightly at that. She was used to traveling at night, only stopping when she was almost to tired to make camp. What was night compared to endless darkness?

She opened her mouth to let out another excuse when Ollie seemed to really find his spine and said, "I insist," and went so far as to clap Shen on the shoulder, pushing him further into his home and forcing Ora to take a few shuffling steps back so she didn't get plowed over.

She took a deep breath and held it, "Then I suppose it would be rude to refuse."

Lawrence came darting out then, weaving deftly among the adults while Ora heard Gail coming after him, but she stopped at the door, shouting at him, "Don't you go near that river again today or I'll tan your hide!"

She turned back to the others, fanning her face, "That boy will be the death of me. So, did Ollie get things settled for the night? The food and festivities will start in about and hour. Ora we've got an extra bed in the back and you can put your things down." She turned to Shen, just now realizing, she at least, never got his name, "And we've got a cot we can set by the fire, though something tells me you'd rather sleep outside. You're welcome to the hammock in the back as well." She slapped her hands together twice as if shaking off the dust of settling them all, "Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some pies to tend to. Ollie make sure they're comfortable."

Ora almost sighed as Ollie held out his hands for her things. She gave him everything she'd just gotten back, but her coat, which she put on over her long sleeves and vest, despite the warm late summer air. Ollie smiled, glancing between the two of them and then shuffled off, saying he'd be back with the cot and leaving the two of them alone.

Ora crossed her arms and then immediately uncrossed them as it pulled the stitches in her side. She wasn't sure what she was supposed to do now. Silence, whether awkward for others, never bothered her. So she pretended to be interested by the odds and ends of the house.


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Re: Falling Shadows [Closed]
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2015, 03:48:05 am »

She was blind.  He didn't realize it at first, distracted by her witty retort over the luggage handle. The smile on his face flickered a little as he considered this new wrinkle.  Maybe that's why the lady of the house thought he might not want to sleep inside, his expression a bit less than enthusiastic.    Surely, no one knew who he was. 

"Mighty kind of you to offer," he said without committing to cot or hammock.  He offered a small bow in deference to the festival.  "I do enjoy a good party. And one should always give thanks to the gods."  The smile returned like he told a joke.  The twinkle in his eyes elicited a return smile from the lady of he house as she went off to her pies.  "Pies, music and dancing.  What more could one ask for?"

His  companion didn't seem emamored by an eve of revelry.  Shen watched her reluctance as the luggage was taken away.  "I'm honored by their hospitality."   He glanced at the humble surroundings.  "Such blessings are often returned."   

Did she think the same?   "Pity that misfortune befell you."  He took stock of her appearance. "Wolves can be vicious if provoked."  His tone implying she might have done something to spur the attack although he knew it wasn't true. 

The were alone now. He started to shadow her as she roamed about the room. "Why were you so far from the road?"

Then he snapped his fingers. "So sorry.  Where are my manners. They call me Shen. And you are?"
« Last Edit: October 24, 2015, 06:18:55 pm by Beau »


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Re: Falling Shadows [Closed]
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2015, 09:53:05 am »
Ora listened to him rattle on, someone obviously that hadn't met with many troubles, or fallen out of favor with the gods with the way he talked.

She wouldn't be thanking any of them any time soon, though she could think of a whole host of things one could ask for, sight again, but she bit her tongue.

Ora decided she might be a bit jaded by her upbringing and recent lifestyle, because she what she knew of honors didn't include practically being held prisoner. She ought to know, that was the kind of "hospitality" she'd run away from.

She picked up a smooth stone from a shelf as her fingers trailed over it. Her fingers ran over it, feeling the dust and pollen- once living things caught on the wind and deposited, a sigh from a wife not fully satisfied, a hearty laugh from a husband trying to act as happy as he wished he felt.

Then she heard his comment about misfortune and her tracing fingers stopped. Then he was accusing her of provoking the attack upon her person. She set the stone down with a hard thunk and turned back, her veiled eyes pointed at him, the corners of her mouth turned down and visible.

Before she could say she had not provoked the attack he was asking more questions and then, oddly, offering his name.

Her frown deepened. His manners had run off with this words and his wolf in her estimation, but she didn't say so. "You may call me Ora."

She did not offer her hand. "Though pity hardly seems to be what you are feeling, Shen, since you clearly seem to think I deserve what I got. Interesting how you found my things so far from the road and happen to have been traveling with a wolf. It was rather odd that wild animals would come so close to a camp fire." She knew why they had, but there was one thing she was certain of, people rarely did things out of the goodness of their heart. "I don't know why or how your are involved, but I can assure you, I will not be caught off guard so easily again."

Olie came trundling back in with the cot just then, banging it against a few things and Gail could be heard shouting from the other room for him to be careful. To his credit he blushed. "It hasn't been used for a few seasons, but it's still in good shape." He looked between the two, feeling like he had walked in on something. He swallowed and shrugged, "I'm off to make sure the wood for the bonfire is all sorted, hollar at Gail if you need anything. Festivities start when the sun is four fingers above the horizon." And with that he gave them a few backward glances as he grabbed his hat from by the door and shuffled out.


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Re: Falling Shadows [Closed]
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2015, 06:24:31 pm »

"Ora." A beat.  "But that's not your name."  He blinked and wondered over it as the words spilled from his mouth.  Something else not yet revealed like the veil she wore.  "Hum.  Perhaps that is wise.  Names hold power."

The pending question on his lips was held silent as Ollie came barging back in.  Shen lifted a brow over the antics, then moved to help right the cot in the intended place.  The man's reaction to the atmosphere confirmed Shen's own perception of the banked hostility.  Nervousness he understood, one should be cautious with the unfamiliar. But he wasn't used to the clandestine - people tended to be too open with him.  And yet while that was often a source of trouble, he found he preferred it to the new circumstances.

Ollie grabbed his hat and offered instructions.  Shen took a look around and decided perhaps that his presence wasn't welcome after all.  His words about gratitude seemed to have fallen on deaf ears even though her hearing was good.

He raised his voice.  "I'll come and help you," a call to the parting back of the host.

Shen turned back to the woman.  "I can help you as well, but you'll have to ask." And you will when the time comes.  "For the record I wasn't traveling with the wolf, although I will admit that Bowan led me to you.  She seemed to think I needed to find you."  A pause, and step to the door.  "And you are correct.  Pity is not what I'm feeling."

With that he took his leave.  He waved to Gail in the kitchen and went to the door after Ollie.  Fires and forest didn't tend to go well together. He wanted to be sure that this, at least, didn't get out of control.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2015, 02:41:49 am by Beau »


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Re: Falling Shadows [Closed]
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2015, 09:40:43 pm »
No, Ora wasn't her name, not all of it at least. Aurora had been her name, so long ago she almost couldn't remember it, and Oracle was the only title she was supposed to claim for the rest of her days. Her lie was so close to the truth Ora was surprised at his remark. Usually she was the one picking up on half truths and out right lies, but her face didn't register her thoughts.

Her eyes followed Ollie and then Shen as he started to follow the large fisherman, she'd gotten a glimpse of both he and his wife, and their home, from the stone, though how long ago and what they actually looked like now she couldn't say with certainty.

Her eyes turned back to Shen as he spoke directly to her. Her brow raised at all he said but she remained silent. She did not trust him and would certainly not be asking for his help. Once she was certain he was gone, his footsteps still faintly crunching on the gravel and grass, she turned and made her way toward the kitchen.

She knocked knuckles on the door post and heard Gail startled, "Ora! My goodness, for a girl without sight, you certainly move quietly. What can I do for you?"

"Now that I have my things back, I'd like to change, I just wasn't certain where they had been put."

She heard Gail wipe her hands on a towel or her apron before she came toward her. Ora instinctively stepped back before the woman could touch her. "You were serious about the no touching thing, though for the life of me I don't know how you could tell I was close."

Ora shrugged, "A lifetime of learning."

Gail nodded, which she heard, and the woman belatedly said, "Of course... Well, right this way."

Ora couldn't keep her from putting a gentle hand on the back of her elbow, but again, whatever spell or magic the tailor had put into the clothing, the coat in particular, no vision racked her body. The touch was quick and quickly removed once they were in the room. Gail described the small space, though Ora could have figured it out. "Thank you. You and your family have done more than most. I don't have much, but if you'd let me, I'd like to leave a few coins for your trouble."

Gail shook her head, and again began to speak after the fact, "Certainly not! It is an honor to be the beacon in someone's storm. The gods will bless us plenty."

Ora's lips pursed at that but she nodded, "If you insist."

Gail nodded, "I do. I'll let you change, it won't be long before things get started and it would be a shame to miss the sunset benediction." She gently shut the door on her way out.

Ora moved the small desk next to the door, slightly in front of it- a habit- that alerted her better and slowed down any welcome, or more often unwelcome, company before she moved to her bag.

She pulled her gloves off and ran her hands along it, checking for holes, and getting a picture of Shen when her hand touched where he'd held a strap. He was good looking, even with his brow furrowed looking at her things. She moved her hand away and opened the bag, going through the contents, nothing was missing. That made her wonder too.

Still, she went through her usual routine, laying everything out in a specific order so she could easily pick up what she needed and then repack after she'd changed.

She pulled the veil off, and then unwound the head wrap, her head tingling from the loosening of the tight weave and twist. She ran her fingers through it, pulling a few tangles from the white streaked auburn waves that fell down her back. She knew she ought to chop it off, it would make it easier to play the part of a boy, but she hadn't been able to do it yet.

She sighed and then began to undress so she could redress in her own clothes that fit. She heard a low, quiet chuckle, and a shuffling behind her and she pulled a shirt up over her chest and spun around, a bright purple glowing man in her vision as her eyes narrowed. "Pip. What are you doing here and who have you told you've found me."

A very lean and tall young man was sitting cross legged on top of the small table, pulling at a piece of curly hair at his forehead. "Hello to you to," he said quietly, "you know it's nothing I haven't seen before, and I'd keep your voice down unless you want your hostess thinking your crazy as well as frightening and odd."

Ora rolled her sightless eyes, but also lowered her voice, "You didn't answer my question, and to remind you yet again, you and your kind I can clearly see, so it doesn't matter if you've 'seen it all before' I don't want you seeing it again."

Pip unfolded his long legs and stepped one pace closer, his hand darting out and then impossibly delicate, his fingers traced over her fresh stitches, but didn't contact her skin. "I came as a friend Ora, and you have precious few of those. I haven't told any of them that I know where you are... or where you are going."

Her jaw clenched and she carefully pushed his hand away through a piece of her shirt. "I'm surprised you're the only one that has worked it out."

Pip chuckled that deep chuckle again, his rejected hand going and twirling a piece of white hair, "I'm not. Your night time visitors should tell you that." She watched his head tilt to look at more of her hair. "You're going to run out of time before you get there if you don't pick up your pace."

She ignored his second statement and focused on the first, "Who then?"

Pip shrugged, "I'm not sure, one of the three no doubt- all wanting to prove to Farin they should take his place upon the throne at the next rotation. But I can tell you, all of us lesser beings are getting instructions to look for you, bring you back..."

Ora pulled away, the back of her legs hitting the bed and her hair slipping from his fingers, "Is that what you're here to do then?"

Again that chuckle, "No. I don't like any of them. Besides, I told you, I'm here as a friend, and to bring you a gift- two gifts actually- though one is a piece of advice, well two pieces of advice."

Ora rolled her eyes again, "Fine." Pip smiled, looking at her in a way that always unsettled her and pulled a hand from behind his back, holding something, it only had a faint outline while in his hand. She gripped it, it was her staff, the one that Shen hadn't found with her things. She raised a brow.

"You can't go leaving any of your things lying around Aurora, or you will be found."

"Was that the advice?"

"No, that is a fact. The advice is this- apologize and accept Shen's offer of help. You need it if you want to get to where you're going before it's to late."

Ora turned her head, Pip was a nosy lesser god that had flitted about her for as long as she could remember, though why that was, and seemed would always be, was a mystery. He had told her once that he liked contradictions, and she was a walking, talking one in his mind. She kept her head turned away "I don't need his help." Pip shook his head, "Yes, you do."

Ora still didn't look at him, "And the other piece of advice?"

"Dress in something nice, as the woman you are, for the festivities. Your disguise isn't as effective if anyone can tell someone coming here and asking what you look like in said disguise. Besides you're beautiful, and beauty can be a great tool. Who knows, gods forbid, you might even have fun!"

Ora's face turned back to him, feeling a cool brush against her mouth as she opened to protest, but Pip had gone. Disappeared as quickly as he'd come.

There was a knock on her door, Gail's voice coming through, "Everything alright? I thought I heard you talking. Do you need something?"

Ora chewed her lip for a moment, debating. She hated when Pip was right. "Everything's fine, I was just lamenting to myself that I don't have a dress with me to wear to the festivities."

"Oh! I can help you with that if you'd like! I've held on to a few dresses from my younger years, I'm bound to have one that we could make work for you! I'll be right back."

Ora almost instantly regretted her decision. She carefully pulled her white shirt on, and then quickly rewrapped her hair tightly back up in a black silk wrap, in a more feminine and popular fashion before Gail came back with the dresses.

Not long later, Ora was in a comfortable blue hued dress that went over her shirt, slits in the shoulders and the sleeves showing the white, that Gail had laced a bit tighter than necessary in the bodice, but left looser around where her stitches were. Ora could tell, despite that, the dress had made her even curvier than she usually was. Against Gail's protests, she'd pulled a black shawl the tailor had made over her shoulders, covering the handy work, as well as putting her veil and gloves back on. She had also refused to let her hair down. Even this far from the capitol cities, the white would give her away as who she really was.

Then, feeling ridiculous for listening to Pip, Ora had carefully taken one of Gail's baskets and started heading in the direction of music, slipping out while the older woman had gone to change herself.