Into the Wild Pursuit

Harroc leads Mara and Loxiel in pursuit of the source of River Elk deep in the jungle.

Home to the wildest breeds of flora, Ninraih's entangled jungles cover southeastern Khy'eras. Ajteire, city of the Fae, is situated in the middle. Here, an overwhelming amount of magic and unexplained phenomenon has materialized. Read more...
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Harroc Crownegrove
Character
Disciples of Balance, Defender of the Woods
Level 01
24 / 24 HP
21 / 21 MP
50c
Elemental and Shapeshifter / Druid
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Re: Into the Wild Pursuit

Post by Harroc Crownegrove » October 8th, 2019, 4:13 am

He watched her practiced precision as she tended to the tea and understood why he'd not been taught to make the same by his mother. It was not the same simple affair as simply drinking from a stream, or letting fruit rest on the tongue. Then she sat, and shared myth and legend he hadn't the slightest inkling of. His knowledge only extended to the vaguest understanding of the gods. His experience with rituals and rites centered around the Order of Balance and other less specific druidic practices. He heard the curious questions of his apprentice, and he found himself hanging on every word.
Word count: 104

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Mara Whitewood
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Disciple of Ristgir
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Re: Into the Wild Pursuit

Post by Mara Whitewood » October 8th, 2019, 4:48 am

"I believe they are a family in a way," Mara said gently. It wasn't clear if she sensed Loxiel's embarrassment, but she continued to smile and speak softly. "Maybe not in the same way as you or I know families to be, but they were there together at the start of everything."

Mara's sensitive ears alerted her to the fact that the water was starting to boil in earnest. She returned to the fire and reached in to withdraw the pot, using the thick fabric of her sleeve as a protective barrier between the flesh of her palm and the hot metal.

Loxiel's questions elicited a low chuckle of amusement. "I do not know as much as you make it sound," she said with a slight grin, "but yes. I did."

Once again she retreated from the shallow fire pit. This time, however, she turned her back to the fire and, after setting the pot in the earth, reached up with both hands to clasp either side of her visor. With a degree of caution, she slowly lifted the metal device from her face, revealing the portion that had been hidden until now.

Paper-thin lids fringed in pale lashes fluttered open. Mara's eyes, gray with a faint blush around the pupil, squinted even in the low fire light while her vision came into focus. It was still too bright to be entirely comfortable, but she wanted to see while she poured the water and tea into their respective cups. She set her visor aside on her pack to do just that.

"I am not totally blind, you see," she explained, hands carefully dispensing the steaming water into first one cup, then the other. "I read as much and as often as I could once my father taught me how. More than that, though, I listened."

The lid came off the tin of leaves and Mara dipped her fingers inside, grasping large pinches that she then sprinkled into the water. She replaced the lid and then sat back on her heels with a soft sigh.

"People visited the monastery frequently, pilgrims and minstrels alike. They always had an interesting song or story to tell. One just has to have the temerity to ask." Mara glanced to Loxiel with a knowing smile. "Never apologize for your curiosity, Loxiel. How can you hope to learn if you do not ask? Would you not agree, Master Harroc?"
Word count: 403

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Harroc Crownegrove
Character
Disciples of Balance, Defender of the Woods
Level 01
24 / 24 HP
21 / 21 MP
50c
Elemental and Shapeshifter / Druid
Posts: 32
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Re: Into the Wild Pursuit

Post by Harroc Crownegrove » October 9th, 2019, 6:34 am

Harroc watched Mara intently as she removed her visor. When she spoke, he heard the words of his mother. She never let an opportunity to learn or teach pass her by. He even recognized the prompting before she finished speaking. He shook himself from the distraction of her and tried to speak. All he managed was a soft cough, and he blushed before lifting his canteen.

"Through my mother, I was born into a very old religion. One of rites and rituals from a time before record. Of these the third is such," the Druid said, picking up his staff and firmly planting it into the ground. "It is in nature to grow, and so it shall be in you to grow. Question, challenge, seek with every fiber."

His voice was without inflection as if reading from his mind. As he spoke, small tendrils of vine broke through the soil beneath his staff. "So it is in nature that the inquisitive face lessons. Be they of defeat or conquest one may still learn." The vines began to twine around the wood of the staff, still creeping upward. "It is through these lessons one becomes strong. Of body, heart, mind, and spirit." The vines began to thicken at the base, reaching halfway up the staff. "And in times of need, that strength will be tested. Should you be found wanting, you will learn the harshest lesson." The vines reached the head of the staff and entwined. "Seek always, that you might face the final lesson prepared." The vines stopped moving and seemed to pulse with energy.

Harroc reached out and gripped his staff, tearing it from the pillar of vines. The pillar wilted and fell away as energy suffused the Druid from his implement. He let out a long sigh as the energy faded away. When he spoke this time, his voice carried a hint of exhaustion, "The Order of Balance guides it's members to seek harshness so they might better protect the world." He looked thoughtfully at his staff while he spoke. "I believe harsh lessons breed harsh men. Perhaps one should seek beauty and comfort as well as violence."

Harroc seemed to come back to himself suddenly. His eyes widened and he shook himself gently. "That was perhaps more than you asked for," he offered with a bow of his head. "As I said, I am not yet used to having company in the jungle, and thoughts are terrible companions."
Word count: 411

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Loxiel
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Level 03
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Re: Into the Wild Pursuit

Post by Loxiel » October 9th, 2019, 2:03 pm

Loxiel realised that he should have paid more attention to the elders who had been in charge of his education when he was a a youngling. Listening to these two fascinating people talk, he realised how ignorant he was. Well, if he lacked so in knowledge of ancient rites and the dealings of gods, the shifter could do something to prove himself. His young mind began to turn as he started to hatch a plot; something he could do that would impress Mistress Mara and his master, and give him a bit of self-pride (something he sorely felt in need of right now).

"So," he said after a moment. "Many folks pray to their god at the close of the day. How would I do this? He asked. "Is there some way of expressing my devotion to my lord, that I do not know?" He seemed quite earnest.

Loxiel added his own food to the mix when it came to eat. His was modest fare, as that's all he had ever eaten (thought he had gotten a taste for dew nectar, as Harroc had shown him on the first day they had met), it was mainly just common fruits, cheese, bread and even some butter (which to him was a luxury!)

"When we set out tomorrow," He said as they ate. "I wondered if I might be permitted to scout ahead? He asked, looking between them (though mainly at Harroc, since he seemed to know where they were headed). "It's the one thing I do well, and should like to keep what I have learned as keen as I can."
Word count: 270

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Harroc Crownegrove
Character
Disciples of Balance, Defender of the Woods
Level 01
24 / 24 HP
21 / 21 MP
50c
Elemental and Shapeshifter / Druid
Posts: 32
Joined: August 5th, 2019, 1:48 am
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Re: Into the Wild Pursuit

Post by Harroc Crownegrove » October 11th, 2019, 4:42 am

Harroc smiled at Loxiel's eagerness and moved to stand beside the boy. "Let me show you one of the simplest offerings. It is likely not much different than what your instincts have already guided you to." The Druid knelt down and dug a small divot with his hands. He then uncapped his canteen and poured a small amount of water into the dirt. Finally, he placed a piece of meat from his pouch into the small puddle of mud. With a neutral intonation, he spoke, "We come to you, guardians of this place, with clear intent. We make these offerings, that they might honor you and replenish what is lost."

Harroc knelt in silence for a moment before looking to the boy. "This would normally be done when parceling a kill. As we have none, I have used goods taken from the jungle before." He motioned at the muddied meat. "What matters is not the grandness of the sacrifice, but the intent of the action. The jungle overflows with bounty; yet, without time to replenish it would grow weak and sick."

Harroc rose and nodded to his apprentice, hoping the message was clear. "In time eyas, you will come to fully understand the meaning behind simpler things."

The Druid offered dried meats, fresh fruits, and a small stash of dew nectar as his contributions to the evening's rations. When Loxiel asked to scout he grinned knowingly. "Of course, we approach the river, and I will need your eyes to find the creatures we seek," Harroc said. "It will also help you stretch your ability to use your wings, there is a great deal of shifting wind to contend with along our route."
Word count: 282

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Loxiel
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Re: Into the Wild Pursuit

Post by Loxiel » October 11th, 2019, 3:57 pm

Loxiel watched as Harroc performed the rite. Next time he hunted and caught something, he would be sure to offer up the same prayer.

His expression changed as Harroc mentioned the scouting mission! It was what he wanted to be; the world's best scout! And a chance to stretch his wings were also very welcome. "I'll set off at first light," he said. "Though I may need to ask in which direction I ought to go!"

After the chat, Loxiel dug into his food, not realising how hungry he was until the first bit of cheese hit his tongue. A part of him cried out for fresh meat, which he shrugged away. Spending so long in hawk-form meant he was taking on some of the attributes, and he found himself craving the hunt and quarry.

When it was time to sleep, lox climbed into the hammock Harroc had put up for them. "Good night," He was excited to be given the go-head for the morning, but soon fell fast sleep.
Word count: 170

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Mara Whitewood
Character
Disciple of Ristgir
Level 01
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20 / 20 MP
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Re: Into the Wild Pursuit

Post by Mara Whitewood » October 13th, 2019, 6:06 am

As late afternoon bled into evening, the light continued to fade with the sinking of the sun. While this necessitated they all be on alert on the off-chance some predator wander into their camp, it also meant that Mara could see both of her companions all the better. She was not shy nor secretive about her watchfulness, choosing to be open as she regarded them when they took their turns to speak. This was, after all, her first time seeing them.

Mara didn't speak again, choosing not to interrupt the exchange between mentor and student. When the tea had steeped sufficiently, she carried one cup to Harroc and the other to Loxiel, placing the warmed vessels beside them if not directly in their hands. Afterward she retreated to where she lay down her staff to sip from her own mug, doing so with small, cautious sips.

The sample Harroc made of his offering to Ixaziel was met with approval from the priest on the other side of camp. She nodded, humming slightly. Loxiel's enthusiasm, and Harroc's willingness to facilitate it, never failed to elicit a smile. Mara hid it behind the rim of her cup, though her pale eyes never strayed far from either man.

A light supper was consumed. Mara ate rather sedately, and although she kept a mental tally of their rations, she was sure to eat enough to replenish the energy expended for that day's journey. A dollop of honey here and there didn't add an excess of flavor but it assuaged her sweet tooth.

Mara saw to her evening prayers when the meal was concluded. Kneeling by the embers of the small fire Harroc had built, she faced west and clasped her hands against her brow. She intoned the words, low and reverent, as not to disturb the other two too much. Once completed, she left what remained of the smoldering fire to peter out naturally, and rolled into her hammock with a blanket.
Word count: 328

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Harroc Crownegrove
Character
Disciples of Balance, Defender of the Woods
Level 01
24 / 24 HP
21 / 21 MP
50c
Elemental and Shapeshifter / Druid
Posts: 32
Joined: August 5th, 2019, 1:48 am
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Re: Into the Wild Pursuit

Post by Harroc Crownegrove » October 14th, 2019, 10:44 pm

As he finished his explanation, Harroc watched the gears turning in Loxiel's head with excitement he rarely felt. It was such a joy to see someone learning the same things he had been taught. "I'll show you the general way before light, and you can show me your talents when the sun rises," he said to his eager apprentice.

Harroc didn't eat any food, the earlier ritual filling him with enough vitality to pass the night. Instead, he slowly indulged in the tea Mara offered him. It was more flavorful than he expected, and he found himself trying to take the smallest drink he could manage and still enjoy the flavor.

As he drank, he took many opportunities to look over Mara's face. The color of her eyes reminded him of a faint mist just catching the colors of sunrise. Whenever she stared back at him, he found himself averting his gaze. He wasn't the most knowledgeable for social graces, but he did remember staring at women being something scorned.

Once his companions had moved into their hammocks, Harroc checked the last embers of the fire and did a short patrol around the outskirts of the camp. Finding nothing worthwhile, he moved back near the doused fire and quietly began removing his heavier pieces of armor. There was no sense in carrying the gear in leopard form, and he wanted to avoid needless confrontation, lest he draw beasts back to those sleeping.

Once he'd removed all his outer armor, he moved a short distance into the jungle and shifted. After a languid shake of his feline muscles, he began an easy lope into the distance. He'd be certain to return well before sunrise, and the more dangerous, and stupid, predators would already be enjoying prey at this hour.
Word count: 298

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Loxiel
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Level 03
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Re: Into the Wild Pursuit

Post by Loxiel » October 14th, 2019, 10:56 pm

Loxiel was not used to sleeping in a hammock, but more so, he wasn't used to waking up in one either. As he stirred and began to stretch, he very nearly fell out of the thing!

He peered out from under his covers, and watched as a sleek, but large leopard padded into camp. If not for his knowledge, his heart might have stopped in his chest! But when the form shifted, in a haze of green mist, and Harroc stood in it's place, Loxiel watched with envy, not fear.

The lithe young changeling was young and sprightly enough that waking up in a morning meant that he was cheerful from the get-go. He gave Harroc a smile. "Good morning, Master." He said, politely. "Were you checking the ... well, around? Perimeter! That's it!" He flushed a little. I hope you slept well ... when do you want me to go flying?" He asked, not able to keep the excitement from his voice.

He couldn't wait to feel the air under his wings. He also turned to the priestess as she woke. "Good morning, Mistress Mara."
Word count: 184

User avatar
Harroc Crownegrove
Character
Disciples of Balance, Defender of the Woods
Level 01
24 / 24 HP
21 / 21 MP
50c
Elemental and Shapeshifter / Druid
Posts: 32
Joined: August 5th, 2019, 1:48 am
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Into the Wild Pursuit

Post by Harroc Crownegrove » October 15th, 2019, 2:17 am

Harroc's evening foray out into the wilds had been rather fruitless. He wondered if he'd called the wolves too close together, or if some other force was pushing the normal denizens away. He strode back into the camp and spotted Loxiel watching him. He felt a twinge of amusement at the boy's last encounter with the leopard. "Morning, Eyas," Harroc returned as he moved into the camp and stretched his muscles. "I was, I ranged farther than I thought necessary, and yet encountered little. I am somewhat concerned our friends were overzealous, or something else is forcing creatures elsewhere."

After a particularly loud pop of the shoulders, Harroc motioned to the southwest. "You'll want to head that way. Find the river, and choose the best route to stay out of the low grounds. If you can, maybe look for a calmer spot in the water as you go. Then come back and let us know. Watch for cats on the ground and middle branches. Having just been one, I can say fairly, you're a tasty snack for one of them. We'll pack up the camp and eat. You can eat on the way."

His orders issued, Harroc set about donning his armor and left Loxiel to his own devices. The day was going to be long, but they'd be able to camp earlier and have a nice roaring fire tonight.
Word count: 230

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