Enter the Witchwood

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by The Mood is Write, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. [​IMG]
    This roleplay is between The Mood is Write and Windsong.

    The captain of the local guard is found by a farmer and her son who live in a strange forest. Her care keeps him alive, but he's nowhere near where he last remembers he was when he closed his eyes. Is there more to the woman than her simple home lets on?​
  2. The air still had some bite to it on his cheeks, long in need of a shave. A luxury he doubted his face would ever know again given the circumstances.

    Blasted bear. It seemed as if it didn't care about him trudging through. Next thing the guardsman knew was it lay dead some distance away and so was he.

    Breastplate crushed in. Breathing was harder than it needed to be. His leg hasn't fared better when the beast had stepped on it after he'd tripped, surely broken at the knee. Even his shield was a bent piece of scrap beyond recognition. The arm that held strong against sword blows and pikeman formation was limp on his stomach.

    As blue skies gave way to oranges and pinks his lips parted slowly. No man should slip into oblivion quietly.

    His father told him to sing when his moment was coming. Let the earth know you're grateful for the life you had.

    "Did they beat the drum slowly, did the play the pipes lowly?
    Did the rifles fir o'er you as they lowered you down?
    Did the bugles sound The Last Post in chorus?
    Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest..?" A grunt followed a hoarse cough. "Nah. None o' that for me today ."

    Warmth faded further and he surely kissed goodbye his last day.
  3. When the man woke, he was inside a small wooden house. Preserved food hung heavily from the rafters above him. He was laid beside a wall, near nude, on a thin, padded mattress on the floor with a straw pillow and a quilt to offer him warmth and comfort. Neither were plush, but they kept his head off the floor and his body heat close. His head ached from the lasting effects of exhaustion and too long sleeping, and his eyes were sensitive to light, and his ears to sound. His chest ached and felt stiff. His bare torso was bound with light green, stiff bandages wound about it to keep pressure on those wounds which had before leaked blood. His dry mouth was filled with the taste of dirt, leaves, and vinegar, and though breathing was tough, it was not quite as painful as freshly broken ribs usually caused. His arm, limp last he knew, was splinted and wrapped in the same light green, stiff bandages-- same for his broken leg.

    His whole body felt halfway numb, and his hips were sore. His hair was pasted to his skin by evaporated sweat, but beside that, his body and hair were clean.

    The house was dark, lit only by a dying fire in the fireplace across the room-- in the direction of his feet. Beside him, another set of bedding like his own was occupied by a woman's figure that partially obstructed a third set of bedding (minus pillow) that was wrapped tightly around a smaller figure.

    From what he could see of her face, the woman looked well-matured, with wild hair that was all curls and waves, and a round face with a few small lines of age visible in the shadows. Above her quilt, a lightweight white nightgown hugged her neck, though left her arms and shoulders entirely uncovered.

    On the far side of the room, opposite him, a shelf held what looked to be most of the small family's worldly belongings-- toys, clothes, tools, and other things lined the shelf neatly. His belongings, including his smashed breastplate and scrapped shield, were neatly laid out on one of the shelves.

    On the side of the shelf opposite the fireplace, in the light of the moon from the two full-height windows, another room branched off, with neither wall nor door to separate the two spaces. The window was made with small, thick squares of glass, held together with lead and metal.

    The woman slept peacefully, despite eerie sounds from the other side of the wall-- sounds like starving men, of wood and leather on flesh and of clattering of old-fashioned weapons and armor, all in a slow, almost lazy manner, as though the ones making such noises were nearly dead and fighting desperately with their final breaths waiting on their lips.

    The woman made a noise, a soft huff as she shifted closer to the man until a soft forearm rested against his upper arm, warm from a night under blankets. This close, it was not hard to make out the darkened circles under her eyes, or the light scent of a woman's body, soap, and mint. Her hair, all wild, seemed to seek whatever way it could to escape the woman's head, despite being attached.
  4. He'd never thought to awaken with a start from death. Only once when a fire had caught Sean's barn did he jolt up and out half-naked into a winter night to fight the blaze. Not this time.

    Eyes creaked open like ancient vault doors, wincing even from the dim light in the otherwise dark room. He hurt, pain meant life, for what was life without pain if not boring and terrifying at the same time. Mostly.

    A test of his right arm suggested it worked, lifting like a rusted mechanism to satiate his nose which itched something fierce. Left arm lay still, his fingers flexed, feeling his bare stomach and the thin hair upon it. The legs would have to wait for dawn and the awakening of his savior, if the woman was what he assumed she was.

    Having been bedridden for a whole harvest month as a boy left him with an aversion to being still too long. As such he rose up. Only a few inches before lowering back down, her arm was a unique weight, one he attributed to a husband not seeking to wake his wife should nature summon him in the night.

    Of course, she was neither his wife and he not her husband. Strangers. Perhaps more so they were to him than he was to them, if he had been bed ridden here for some time.

    With nothing else to occupy himself with his ears adjusted slowly. That strange noise from just beyond his vision was unsettling, it made his skin crawl and his bowels tighten. Opening his mouth to speak produced no sound, frustrating as it was he tried again. A sigh escaped him instead. All these things could wait until dawn. Pity that sleep didn't seem to want him, so he lay awake, occasionally looking to his host so close.
  5. Night passed slowly for the man who couldn't sleep, and the sounds continued. A hiss passed by to his right and faded into the distance slowly, and something clattered against the thick wall. The woman remained snuggled against his arm, seeking warmth as the heat from the dying fire faded from the room and the chill of the night set in.

    The sounds faded as the room lightened faintly. A square of light from around the corner lit a patch of the produce in the rafters above his head, and the woman slowly sat up, her weight on one arm as she blinked in the faint light. Slowly, she moved her quilt aside and lifted herself to her feet, eyes closing again as she struggled with the process of waking up-- worse, of convincing herself to move despite the chill of morning air and a fire long extinguished by the night. She turned away from her guest and shook the bundle on her other side. "Wake up, Beliam." She murmured, then used him to push herself up. The bundle grunted miserably under her weight.

    The woman, now standing, bent and began to roll her quilt and mattress together, then paused and looked at her guest to see if she'd woken him, or perhaps he had been already awake.
  6. He'd like to have pushed her off. As politely as possible would be what he thought was the right thing. Any thought of doing so that would've led to action was interrupted by those odd noises. More than once he questioned his sanity, thinking this was some form of limbo where his soul had departed to after the bear had gotten the better of him.

    One thing that fueled his paranoia beyond the noises was the smell. Gone was the earthy smell of peat and bog, replaced by the sharpness of pine and other ones he couldn't quite place. None of them were familiar to the forests of his home, that he knew.

    "Good morning, ma'am." The wizened soldier said gently as he sat up to near sitting. Not without some strain of his face was any indication. Ribs felt like they were shifting, preventing him from sitting up straight or even partially slouching. From there he saw the child, giving them little more than a second of mind before returning his attention to the freshly woken woman. Even if he was in his own bed he'd have been awake hours before. A creature of habit.
  7. The woman tilted her head at him. "Good morning." She smiled. "Tired of resting?" She watched him carefully as he lifted himself, ready to steady him if he began to wobble. "How do you feel?" She squatted beside him once her bedding was tied into a bundle, then rested a hand against his forehead. Her hand was chilled by the morning air, and calloused from a life of work on the farm. In the slowly-brightening room, he could see that her brown hair was almost the same darkness as her sun-touched skin, and her eyes were only slightly darker.

    Behind her, the bundle of child curled up more tightly, steadfastly refusing to acknowledge the start of the day.
  8. "Like a bear killed me and I've been bedridden for nigh on a week." Was his grunted reply, welcoming the cool touch of her hand, being beneath the covering had left much of him feeling too warm, but he'd not had the mind to push them off and be unable to draw them back up. A sound of discomfort left his lips as he tried to straighten himself up a bit more, the bandages shifting as he moved.

    It took a few more moments than he wanted to speak, but he was no poet, so words weren't the swiftest thing he could come up with. "I've nothing to say that would tell how grateful I'm for this." A long inhale was cut short by a gasp and quickly let out. Ignored as he spoke once more, gray eyes looking to the nestled child. "If there's aught I can do to repay you for the kindness, I'll see it done."
  9. The woman smiled briefly at his description. "You certainly look the part." She moved her hand to his chest and smiled at his mention of gratefulness. "Be grateful after you've made your recovery. For now, be a little lazy." Ellith smiled. "I'm Ellith, by the way." Gently, she began to push him down, her hand positioned to avoid touching his broken ribs. "What's your name?"

    As she spoke, the bundle on her other side began to wriggle and grumble unhappily.
  10. It seemed that he took some brief offense to being touched in that way, thinking it perhaps too intimate for a stranger before looking abashed. She was only trying to get him to lay back down. Despite a brief moment where he didn't budge he relented, seeming ashamed he'd argue her hospitality.

    "It's Samson, but most know me as Sam. Thank you again, Elith." He spoke her name just to commit it to memory, and to be sure he spoke it properly as his back went straight to the mat on the floor.

    "Your little one doesn't seem so pleased mornings arrived." Back on the floor he could see the bundle past her night gown covered legs, at least figuring the soft noises for a child. Once more now with the creeping light of the day he began looking over the home. "Is this an inn?" One of a hundred questions he wanted to ask.
  11. She smiled at hearing his name. "Sam." She repeated. "It's nice to meet you-- now that you're awake, I mean." His next words reminded her that her son was being lazy, and her leg shot out and hit her boy, causing a grunt from the blanket.

    "Get up, Belly. You're not skipping chores twice in a row."

    She looked again at Sam. "Yes, he's a bit lazy, and hates cold mornings." Her smile returned. "And no, this is no inn. This is my farm, and my house." She nodded. "it's a little small, but it fits two and any guests we find lost in the woods.
  12. "Does anyone?" He did of course, to stand before the dawn with breath misting before him. Even as a boy he hates waking to them, now they just make his legs ache and his back hurt. Age was ever the enemy. His own joke made him grin impishly as it earned the boy a kick.

    Her last words struck him as peculiar. As if the happening upon a traveler in need of help was common. Superstitious nonsense. She was perhaps close to a road that was too near a bear den. Basic sense dictated it to be coincidence. "Seems I'm in good hands if it has happened before." Played off he felt no need to pursue it further, no guest should wear out their hosts hospitality.
  13. She smiled. "I'm quite experienced, for certain." Her foot nudged her son again. "I need to do my morning chores now." She began to stand, and stretched as she did. "The cows are going to start complaining soon if I don't go out and milk them." Her smile was tired as she finally let her arms fall to her sides. "I'll let Belly stay in here with you to keep you company until I finish. He should be able to do that much." The woman stepped on the boy and rolled him toward the wall, revealing the one spot where the boy wasn't covered-- his nude front.

    "NOOO!" He howled as the cold air hit his skin.

    Ellith used her foot to keep him from pulling the blanket back around himself. "Get dressed and tend the fireplace, and you'll warm up."
  14. There was no use hiding his surprise at the mention of cows. Those alone were a handful to take care of on a farm, how large was her farm?

    It was easily dropped as he nodded in agreement to her statement. "It's not as if I'm going to go far." There'd be no more attempts at standing up when she was gone, feeling as if her ire was nowhere worth his antsy feeling.

    "It's a long cold way to that fireplace though." He playfully replied to the mother bothering her child, ever an endearing sight even at the childs expense.
  15. "That it may be, but a nice fire will ward off the chill better than a blanket that's already greeted the air." She nodded.

    Her son grumbled as he hurriedly pulled on his tunic and belted it with a rope. Through a loop in the rope, he stuffed an axe, then pouted as he stomped toward the fire. The boy's hair was just as wild, his skin as tanned and freckled, and his body almost as rounded as the woman's-- though clearly not female and not adult. He looked perhaps twelve, and wore no pants to cover his legs, nor any shoes.

    Once he was moving and setting wood into the fireplace, Ellith smiled and nodded. "I'll get to the chores, and by the time the room is warmed up better, I'll be able to make breakfast." She walked to the shelf her son pulled his clothes from, and picked up one folded article of clothing from each of two piles-- one filled with dark-colored clothes, and the other all white, though some pale embroidery was visible, as were a few stains.
  16. A rough chuckle left him at her words and at the boys childish reaction. For his guess age and reaction as well as the small fact he carried the axe just his size spoke volumes about the youths self reliance. A mature facet of life that wasn't too rare in many his age.

    "Of course." Came his reply as he slumped somewhat into his sleeping mat. "Don't believe I'll be going anywhere anytime soon." It was troublesome to think about, letting the woman do chores while he lay bed ridden. That didn't sit well with him, already forming some plan to repay her however he may. Perhaps mending the roof, or moving something too heavy for the pair, something, anything to show his gratitude to her extreme kindness. Caring for and feeding a third mouth couldn't be easy if they were as isolated as it felt.

    For the time he relegated himself to studying the back of his eyelids, figuring she would need to dress. His mother had raised him better than a peeping Tom.
  17. Ellith didn't even glance his way to see if he was looking before she stripped off her nightgown and pulled on the heavier, but showier dark red dress, and then the rough white apron. Once dressed, she walked into the kitchen to grab a metal bucket and then a wooden one that was stuffed with straw, and walked out the door.

    Beliam pouted as he tended to the fireplace. Each log was added with a grunt, and below them, he shoved some tinder onto a live coal, then began to blow on it, his whole body pressed against the brick that surrounded the fireplace-- likely to prevent the wooden house from burning down.
  18. The sound of the woman leaving and the heavy blows of the boy had lulled into brief relaxation. Maybe his soft sigh wasn't the best choice when it was let out rapidly, making bum wince and grunt in a short spurt of pain, bringing him back to the reality of his situation.

    "Belly, hm? Surely that's short for somethin', lad?" Sam asked with a pleasantly playful tone, trying to simply talk with someone. On normal days he'd speak with near on everyone in his hometown. Now he was relegated to a boy and his mother.
  19. The boy looked up, as though caught by surprise. "Uh..." He stared, still not awake. "Beliam." He finally answered. "My name's Beliam." He blew again on the fire, and it finally caught. He stuffed some medium sticks in, between logs and tinder, then scurried back toward his discarded bedding. "It's cold this morning." He began to curl up and wrap the quilt around himself. Unlike earier, he peered between a gap at Sam. "What's your name?
  20. It was a name he'd never heard before, but fitting a young boy he felt after some brief deliberation. Those thoughts ended as he heard the fire pick up. Any other situation and it would be a relaxing sound. It still was, but not being able to watch it somewhat hindered that idea.

    "Samson, but Sam works for me just as well. It's a fine home you tend to, Beliam. Is it really just you and your mum out here?" It didn't feel right to pry into the child for more information, worse yet if Elith caught him and decided his welcome was worn out before he had healed enough to walk.