Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by malina, Nov 28, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Caravan day. The most important and extravagant festival in Waldstead, a time to show off one's dress, to host the ultimate cookery, to sell little trinkets and much more. A day of hope and sorrow, a day which could signify the end of their existence or continue it for two more years. It all meant to nothing to Ernest Donnelly who remained locked up in his little hut, more preoccupied with his little carving than the sights outside. It was a bit darker than usual today as without the loggers the branches had already grown over the patches of sky but it did nothing to dispel the mood. The village was aligned with various stands full of forest delicacies, small games and prizes to win and in the center of it all, the caravan stood ready next to the village shrine, adorned with lanterns and flowers. If it wasn't for the lingering blanket of fear and doubt over the village, it could have been just a regular festival.

    It was almost midday when the mayor, Eliza Rebena, took the stand. Cupping her hands to be heard over the crowd, she shouted, "Attention everyone! May I have your attention please?" Once the noise subsided, she began her carefully prepared speech. "Now is the time for Waldstead to acknowledge this year's Caravanners. Please welcome Russal Yew, Ronin Kantono, Sameen Demir, Melody Carpenter, and Eric Smith!" Mayor Rebena would wait until they made their way towards the center but she did notice the absence of Eric Smith. It was not something the villagers looked over either, as the sudden whispers showed. She raised her voice to drown out their fear. "Their bravery and sacrifice will not be forgotten. To brave the mist, to brave the open world which we know nothing of - it is nothing short of heroic. We, Waldstead, wish you the very best of luck."

    There were a few scatterings of applause before the meeting dispersed. The absence of Eric Smith had been duly noted, and just like that, the mood had been broken. The mayor left the group of Caravanners to themselves, muttering about finding a replacement Caravanner. Ernest Donnelly saw all this and more behind the moth bitten curtains of his hut. He guessed at what had happened to Eric - Miasma, and he knew from the mayor's footsteps where she was headed.
  2. "Grreeaaat. We haven't even left Waldstead and we're already down one man," Ronin muttered aloud, a sarcastic smirk on the verge of becoming a scowl taking shape upon his face. "This is going to be fun." He stepped over to the bioxen packs, pulling off a few of the decorative flowers and tightening the ropes holding the pack on, much to the bioxen's protest. He wouldn't make the mistake of trusting a villager to tie it off correctly again after the last "incident". Ronin had made it a little ways out when the entire pack fell right off the beast's backside. Now he tended to these types of things personally to avoid suffering at the hands of someone else's shortfall.
  3. "'Which we know nothing of...'" Sameen uttered under her breath, leaning against the side of the caravan and turning her plans over in her mind. She had made plenty of trips out into the open world--She hadn't gone incredibly far, but her extreme resistance made exploring relatively closer locations possible. She had brought parchment and ink everytime she went. She was no cartographer, but the rough sketchs she had made of the landscape had helped her optimize the efficiency of further journeys. By planning her route, she could spend as little time out in the danger as possible and skip past any ruins she'd already discovered. Unfortunately, she had never been in the direction of the mines, so her maps didn't extend that far. Nonetheless she had still carefully laid them in a pocket on one of the several bags she stored inside the caravan. The bags, in addition to essential supplies, contained tools, a few spare arrows, and just the few potions Sameen had picked up along her visits to Elysium ruins. Two were healing, emergency measures if someone was critically wounded. One banished fatigue, giving the consumer temporary instant stamina, although it had the side effect of usually causing them to pass out when the effect ended. The final potion was perhaps the oddest. It was perpetually as cold as ice in the sealed vial, and if poured out, became even colder and froze what it touched. Sameen wasn't sure how practical the effect was, but at the very least it could make a grenade weapon by tossing it at a foe in an emergency.

    "Let's try not to lose anymore." Sameen responded to Ronin. "I'm not wasting the space in the caravan hauling a corpse back." It was the first time she had personally met Ronin, but she had made it a point to know all the other caravanners in the village, at least by reputation. She rechecked the pouchs at her belt, making sure they all contained the proper contents, and readjusted the loop her sword's sheath hung on. Her weapon falling off her hip at the wrong time could be disastrous, although she still had secondary weapons. Her glove and supercooler were both stored in a pocket on the inside of her black cloak, ready to be retrieved should she need them. She wasn't sure how her companions would re├Ąct to magic, but she would be using it whether they approved or not.

    Sameen didn't care for the festival of caravan day. She didn't like being in the spotlight. Would be better to just go out, get it done, and get back. The village could celebrate when they returned with a shard. She would have liked to slip away from the festivities, but she had been checking the packs when the mayor had caught her as they started, and she had little choice but to stay now. It was tiresome, and she really just wanted to leave. But in due time.
  4. "We'll be waiting for you!" called Marcus Carpenter, as he watched his daughter make her way to the caravans and the other Caravanners. They had spent the last couple of days trying their best to prepare her for this trip. Everyone knew it was dangerous. There were many dangers, according to the Caravanners who have survived, the least of which was the mist sickness. From animals to other desperate people in search of the valuable energy source. He put his arm around his wife's shoulders, trying to hide his worries with a smile.

    Melody on the other hand, apparently didn't share the fears of the majority of the villagers. She had been looking forward to this day for quite some time and now it had finally arrived. Her quiver was already on her back, the arrows in it neatly covered by leather to keep them from falling out. She carried a bow in her right hand, of simple yet sturdy make. The boots she wore squelched on the damp ground as she neared the bioxen. Neared the people she would entrust with her safety and whom she would protect if they required it. It was the first time she would take part in the gathering of the shard, which meant she wasn't really familiar with the others that were already there. Melody had like passed by some of them, if not all of them, multiple times within the village, but with the conditions as they were, few had the luxury of dawdling around others to share gossip.

    "Russal, Ronin, Sameen," she whispered to herself, making sure to match each name with the corresponding face. It was a shame the other man wouldn't be joining them. She also wasn't oblivious to the fact that the same affliction might become a reality to them all in just a short while. "Focus on the positive," she told herself. Unfortunately the girl couldn't help but hear the words "...hauling a corpse back". With pursed lips she stood silently near a bioxen, awaiting the mayor.
  5. "One down already." Russal sighed. He heard Sameen say something about hauling corpses. "If we do this right, might be we won't have to haul anything back but the shards," he said, trying to ease the tense mood.

    He loitered around the bioxen silently, until he spotted Peter waving at him from the crowd. Russal gave a smile and waved back at his foster father. He saw the girl, Melody, standing silently by the bioxen. He thought she looked nervous, probably because of all this talk of miasma and having to haul each other back from the mist and beyond. He moved closer to try and console her. He was never the type to make people feel comfortable; much the opposite, in fact, but he didn't want his team to dawdle on death and doom when they were needed the most.

    Trying to find the most easing and suitable words, he said, "Don't worry about Eric," he started. He thought about lying that Eric was alive and well, but he saw no point in hiding the truth. Especially since it might happen again. "However he died, no matter how sudden, he died here, at home. Much better than dying out there."

    Russal mentally winced. That's not helping. "But I'll make sure none of you die out there." He patted his sword and gave his most reassuring laugh.
  6. Ronin sighed, standing up and turning towards the one with the raven he had overheard. "Don't make promises you can't keep," he stated roughly. "We're going on one of the most dangerous expeditions known to Waldstead caravanners, and there is no guarantee any of us will make it back. Pretending otherwise is dangerous." He went back to the pack, tightening the last strip and went on to checking the packs. In truth it wasn't miasma Ronin was worried about. At least the mist dulled your senses to the point you couldn't even feel when someone gave you mercy. But starvation, infection, an enemy's blade in your gut, those were slow, and agonizingly painful ways to go. And Ronin didn't plan on suffering.

    His father had given him a full bunch of striped pommas, which he had distributed evenly amongst the packs so if something happened to one part, all of it wouldn't be lost. That, combined with the rations of oxen meat and various crops distributed amongst the caravan in the same fashion, gave him confidence they'd have enough food to last for the duration of the trip. Especially if we lose a few more mouths along the journey he thought to himself. Next was the tablets he had salvaged from a wrecked building. A vial which contained tiny seed looking things, but smoother, that when swallowed, would reduce pain and sensitivity. The first time he had tried one he thought he was suffering from miasma, much to a fellow caravanner's amusement once the effects wore off.

    Ronin looked up from his work, liking the much more reserved mood in the air as opposed to the celebratory one that had permeated the square not a few moments before. The reason for all the cheer and extravagance was lost on him. That much happiness, he believed, was dangerous. It gave too much hope. Hope that anything could happen and everything would be okay. Hope that blinded you from the truth, making you not be able to see the danger till it was too late to act. Ronin wouldn't make that mistake. That, he was sure of.
  7. "Doesn't matter where you die." Sameen said. "If you're dead, you're dead. It's the how that matters. Besides, are we even sure he's dead? He could have come down with a fever or something." She shrugged. She wasn't usually optimistic but they didn't really have enough information about the situation to jump to conclusions. It's how you die that matters... She subconsciously glanced down at her sword sheathed at her waist. Kinslayer was a wry reminder of how her brother had chosen to die: Betraying kin and home. She shook her head. It was best not to dwell on the fool. He had walked his path; now she was walking her's.

    "I agree with Ronin." She spoke again. "But we also can't have it set in stone in our minds that we're going to die. Just proceed with caution and with a plan. ...Maybe that's the point of this festival. To lighten the caravanner's mood. Best for possibly your last day at home to be a joyful one." It was an angle she hadn't thought about before, and it made sense. Regardless, she still disliked the party. Sameen would have preferred a quieter sendoff. All the noise made it hard to collect her thoughts. Absentmindedly she retrieved a quill and folded piece of parchment from her pouch, beginning to sketch out a map she'd drawn previously from memory. The movement and concentration eased her anxiety, and it would sharpen her memory. She drew a circle around a blank spot, the beginning of the route toward the mines, pursing her lips and wondering if they even had any good maps of the area.
  8. Ernest Donnelly hobbled over to the door of his hut. He knew what the mayor wanted. It had become a little ritual before them and he found himself looking forwards to their little verbal spat. She always wanted him gone - perhaps she wanted him dead. After all, Ernest was a waste of resources as a retired Caravanner. Refusing to do work, refusing to go on outings and yet it would have caused a scene to kick him out of the village - all these things Ernest knew well. He fumbled over the latch and creaked the door open enough for him to let in a little crack of vision.

    "Here again, eh Rebena? Can't let an old man enjoy his well deserved retirement?"

    There was something different in the air this time. A sense of real fear instead of the perpetual annoyance lingered over their heads so strongly, Ernest could almost smell it.

    "It's Eric. He's... not well. Miasma."

    His upper lip twitched, the only thing betraying his poker face. Ernest coughed. "Get one of the others to do it. Ralph, Sarah - they know the route as well as I do."

    "Ralph and Sarah are gone. All the others are gone Ernest! Outings, hunting, dead, MIA - I wouldn't be coming to you if this wasn't desperate. Look," she gestured towards the group of Caravanners, "they're all relatively new. No one with experience to boast of."

    Ernest grumbled low in his throat. She'd won their argument lasting years at long last. "It's not something to boast about." He stood still, thinking over the options before finally disappearing into the depths of his hut to retrieve his spear, dusty from years of unuse. "If this is a trick to get me out Rebena," he opened the door all the way, "it's a good one."

    Relief evident in her face, the mayor pointed the way towards the caravan before nodding a quick "good luck" and going off on her own affairs, the problem being taken care of. Ernest strode slowly down towards the group, reaching halfway before realizing his pack remained tucked away in his closet. It was in this fashion that he arrived considerably late but fully armed and ready to go.

    The group of Caravanners didn't look like they amounted to much but newcomers rarely did. It brought back memories of his own first few outings and he knew the journey ahead would swiftly speed up their aging process, mentally at least. "Right." He mumbled under his breath. "Name's Ernest. Ernest Donnelly. Let's get going." He clumsily fumbled with the knots on the caravan before finally getting the flaps to open.

    He ushered them inside, uncaring of any activities they may be doing before clambering in and taking the reins of the bioxen. "Someone close her back up!" He barked before starting them off. He cursed under his breath - muscle memory could only support him so far. The effects of age and rustiness were begininng to show in his speed and finesse of things. "So. Who're all of you?"
  9. Sameen crossed her arms, slipping the map back into a pocket. "Sameen." She just said. He might know her by name; she was the only blacksmith in the village, after all, and she knew that that name was now oft a topic of whispered conversation, rumor trading, and gossip. The social stigma of being a magician was not something that mattered to Sameen. "So. How good are your maps? Mine don't cover our route very thoroughly." She got down to business. There was no use socializing with these people; an emotional burden would just be a hindrance. Any or all of them could die, and she planned not to let it affect her if they did. The only time she'd speak to them was when they needed to share resources or talk a plan through; knowing how they fought was the most personal information she wanted from them. She just hoped the others could see it the same way.
  10. "I imagine his maps are the most detailed you've ever seen," Ronin muttered, not even looking in Ernest's direction. He stared at the girl with a self satisfied smirk. "You really don't know who he is?" he asked with a chuckle, enjoying the fact he knew more than her, as his mind went back to the stories he had heard of the pair of them. The crazy old man in the shack, and the famed blacksmith turned magician. He'd never been in more famous company. Not that he cared much.
  11. "Of course I know who he is." Sameen said. "Am I supposed to gush over being in the presence of a veteran caravanner?" She said sarcastically. "All I care about is what he can offer as an asset, not as a person. And I happen to need a good map." She could already tell that she wasn't going to get along with Ronin; he seemed like the type who liked to feel superior to others and would make up imagined failings in those around him to fulfill that need. But whether or not she liked him didn't matter. What mattered was what he'd contribute to getting the team back alive, and, more importantly, bringing a Shard with them.
  12. Don't make empty promises? That stung Russal's pride. No matter how wise or smart he thought himself, a boy is still a boy, proud and naive. It wouldn't matter, though.

    The thing about where you died didn't matter got to him. He didn't want to die like his parents, lost in the mist, haunted by shadows and the knowledge that they would never see their son. No matter what, he was determined not to die in the mist, or let anyone else die on the journey. An empty promise, but a promise nonetheless.

    That was when an elderly man appeared. Russal tried to remember who he was, but Ronin and Sameen confirmed for him. This was the veteran caravanner, now retired. If he was coming with them, their chances would surely go up, he thought to himself.

    "My name's Russal Yew, sir."
    #12 Cheesecake, Nov 30, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2014
  13. Melody, although not really comforted, did appreciate Russal's attempt. It at least showed a bit of caring towards someone other than oneself. Not the same could be said about the other two who would be their team mates. They seemed intent on just caring about the end off the journey, not particularly how the end was reached. She sighed as the conversation continued its morbid path, trying not to let it get to her. The girl always thought that the entire point of a team was to look out for each other. This team was after all part of the bigger team that was the village. A community that without each other wouldn't be able to survive.

    The advent of the last Caravanner was a relief. He was a seasoned adventurer. Melody recalled standing in the crowds on multiple occasions as he was sent off in the same way she now was. Earnest obviously was good at surviving, since few Caravanners made it to eventual retirement. He was likely asked to accompany them due to Eric's absence.

    She was a bit shocked at the abruptness he showed in chasing the bunch into the caravan. Especially when he commanded the flaps to be shut after they were all inside. She wanted to protest. The whole excitement of going outside of the village's bounds was to see what the surroundings looked like. Her years since hearing she was immune had been filled with training, so she never got the chance to explore. The brunette moved forward as much as she was able, all in an attempt to see out of the front, near where Earnest steered.

    "I'm Melody," she answered his question, once the others had introduced themselves. "Marcus Carpenter's daughter." She had perched herself at the old man's left shoulder. Her bow rested against her knee.
  14. "Ronin Kantono," he shouted up to Ernest in the front, still watching his new favorite blacksmith out of the corner of his eye. The way he saw it they were either going to get along greatly or horribly. Personally he didn't care much either way. But as a fellow caravanner he got the sense he'd want to stay on her good side. She struck him as the type that used people, like grunts in a game of kingdom. He admired her for it in a sort of respectful way. Though he didn't want to be the one being used.

    His chain of thought was interrupted as he felt his throat start to heave just the tiniest bit which made him open his mouth wide like he was choking, although no sound came out. As quick as he could he fumbled for the black bandanna he always kept in his pocket, wrapping it around his nose and mouth. He tied it off in the back in a single knot the way he'd been taught, sighing in relief once he could breath comfortably again.

    The others didn't seem to notice the difference in the air quality. He sighed again, this time in disappointment, as he realized he was the only caravanner who couldn't breath the stuff. They had reached the edge of the mist clouds that surrounded the village, and from here on out he'd have to wear the bandanna, just like he'd done on his first "voyage" outside the village as a lowly branch cutter. Unlike most his body seemed to reject the mist, hence his resistance to it's effects. But he'd start losing hearing, and sight very quickly without some kind of filter, even if it was just a well made piece of cloth.
  15. Ernest remained silent for a while, processing all of their names and what he knew about them. It wasn't much, considering how he'd barricaded himself in his hut but no one could miss the village's only blacksmith. "Up here." He grunted, jamming a finger into his forehead. He spoke once more to clarify. "Maps are all locked up in this brain of mine. Though if worst comes to worst I've got mine chicken-scratch uns in that bag." He concentrated on reigning in the bioxen as they neared the borders of the Shrine's protection. This was where it was hardest to coax the animals forward - even though they were not affected in the same way as humans were, they could sense the malice and hunger in the fog.

    It'd been a long time since he'd seen the gates, the weathered wood mixed with magic barely keeping the mist at bay. The bioxen snorted and flicked their tails before ramming into the gate, creating a jolt throughout the caravan. Ernest cursed before yelping and grabbing onto his right knee. "Goddamn it. Goddamn it. Been so long since I've been on an outing I clear forgot about the locks on these gates." He rummaged around a rucksack before pulling out a two pairs of rusty keys. He tossed one to each Caravanner before ordering them out.

    "Do us a favour and unlock the gates. Make sure you all twist at the same time now." He eyed Ronin and his bandana. "Keep that tied nice and tight." Ernest peered through the gap in the fabric of the caravan before grimacing. What he'd seen only served to reaffirm his theory on the mist - that it was a sentient phenomenon. He'd noticed ever since his first mission that the mist seemed to sense the weakness of the barrier. Every time the Shrines were recharged Ernest couldn't shake the feeling of anticipation coming from the fog. "Er, bring your weapons. Don't be alarmed - it always behaves like this. The barrier should prevent most of the attack but if by chance you put even a finger out well," he shrugged, "that's where your weapons come in."
  16. Sameen deftly caught the key thrown to her. She had slipped on a mask a moment ago, drawn from one of the many pockets on the inside of her cloak. Keenly aware of the danger, she also slipped on her glove and supercooler, being adept enough at equipping them that it took but a few seconds. She pushed the flap aside and slid out onto the ground, glancing around. They key in her right hand, she drew Kinslayer in her left, advancing carefully to the gate and selecting the keyhole closest to her to unlock. She looked at the other caravanners, ready when they were.
  17. Ronin caught the other key, flipping on one of the gas masks and hopping out along with Sameen, running towards the gate. As he got closer he slowed down, grabbing his sword, ready to strike at anything that came near. "Don't screw up magician," he called out jokingly, forgetting the mask made vocal communication impossible. He approached the gate and stuck his key into the the hole, holding up a fist and waiting for the countdown so they could turn them simultaneously.
  18. (I didn't get any alerts. Might want to tag everyone to make sure they're still getting updates)
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.