Into Ruins

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Adrian

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#1
into ruins.
 
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#2
Adrian Adrian

V R A U R D O I N


Name: Vraurdoin

Gender/Sexuality: Male/Straight

Height: 7'2"

Personality:
While not being a genius, Vraurdoin can be considered to be on the more intelligent side of things. It's just not like he'd have a very strong preference for highly sophisticated, brilliantly laid out solutions, so rather frequently one can see him exhibit a great degree of stubbornness even if it ultimately helps to harm himself dangerously. He's eloquent, experienced and very well capable of surviving on his own in the wilderness, but once confronted with the comfort of a city or even just a decent tavern he's also more than just tempted to let go off things and buy himself a decent headache for the next morning, be it in the form of beverages or in the form of a brawl.

To his friends and those he considers to be friendly he can be a true companion though, willing to take risks for their sake and not his own. However he has been a longer for a very long time by now and might take quite a while to truly warm up again.

Background:
Vraurdoin is technically an elf, but not exactly one of the usual kind as it is commonly seen on the mainland. He stems from the continent of Madyrua, a secluded, small-sized continent that is separated from the rest of the known world by the great sea. It's not like many people would go there on a regular basis. In fact there has not been an expedition reported successful for centuries, so rumors have stacked up. It is said that Madyrua might be home to an offspring of the common elves, kind of a sub-species that has separated from their common ancestors a very long time ago and fled from the mainlaid. The reasons for them to do so, presuming that they exist in the first place, are obscure though. The most common theory is either tension within the society of elves itself or war having driven them off.

Anyway. The truth is: Vraurdoin is in fact a member of said sub-species, and in fact he has made a successful return to mainland. The problem is that not many others survived the trip that was purely meant as a scouting mission. Those very few who have are largely dispersed, thus effectively leaving him to his own devices. This greatly contributes to people not even considering him to be anything else than a usual elf -- even though a tad overly tall. He is just too insignificant for other people, but at least some other people are far less insignificant for him.

Vraurdoin can see that society has fallen ill -- again. It is pretty much the same disease that once has made his kind leave the mainland, but he doesn't have any plans for rushing to the sea right now. While he'd be an incredibly humble match for the armies of king Varinir and be even less for those of his opponent, his majesty Lord Hadran, he thinks he can at least use his prowess in order to make it sting. He's currently quite unsure if he should even be opposed to Lord Hadran's invasion plans against the impoverished prison Varinir has transformed his lands into, but at least he can help those who are trying to flee from the latter.
 

Adrian

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#3
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Comfortaa
Bree Serif
khaala.
“When children are born in Zurakhul, they learn to survive before they learn how to speak.”

Life, for Khaala, seems to be an endless cycle of survival.

There has never been a day in her life where she didn’t worry about food. Not a second in her day where she wasn’t constantly looking behind her back. To live in the slums is to experience war on a day-to-day basis. Here, poverty has reduced people into their basest instincts. Crimes are commonplace. Death is but a side effect.

From early on, Khaala learned how to fend for herself. She rarely needed any help and took pride in that fact. She knows every nook and cranny of Zurakhul, knows exactly what it takes to get by. Among her siblings, she is the only one that remains. And now she has a family of her own.

Once, she swore she would never bring a child into such a treacherous, unsafe world. But she went back on her own promise, plagued by loneliness, and met a man. For the first time, she found herself fearing for the lives of other people, and her fears turned into reality. Her husband died on the streets. Yet another death in a million, but to Khaala it felt like the end of the world. She has hidden her grief ever since, determined to keep her child safe. But deep inside, she knows that there is no guarantee of safety in Zurakhul.

She needs to find a way out.


  
» Personality and Abilities:

Khaala may be illiterate like those who have grown up in the slums, but she is by no means a fool. She possesses a good head on her shoulders and has the capacity to be deceptive should the situation call for it. The woman can be remorseless and isn’t beyond taking a life if it means survival. Twenty-six years of living in the slums has hardened her so. It has made her sarcastic, prideful, and exasperatingly pessimistic, but it has also provided her with many useful skills.

Though she is extremely skinny, she is by no means weak. Khaala can wield a knife, and while she doesn’t have a lot of strength, she possesses speed and quick thinking.
 
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Adrian

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#4
The kingdom was falling into ruins.

There was no hope here, just death. For years, she had managed to survive with scraps, but now even that wasn't enough. If she had been alone, she would have embraced her fate with wide open arms. Embraced it the way her husband did when a knife pierced through his heart. But she was not alone. She had her son to think of.

There was no time to plan out what to do next or how to get out safely and completely undetected. They simply had to risk their chances, and hope for the best. They were lucky to even get this far. For the price of a few coins, a merchant had helped them into the back of his wagon. Hand in hand, mother and child crouched underneath a blanket amidst barrels of goods. When, after cautiously peeking out, Khaala determined they had arrived at their destination, the two snuck out and made their hasty way to the boats.

"Stop them!" A man cried out from afar. Presumably the owner of the boat they were about to steal. "STOP!"

There was no time to look back.

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#5
Jobs could be boring, but the most boring and at the same time most thrilling jobs were those with an uncertain beginning. For certain circles it was a well known fact that not only were there plenty of people who wished to escape Zurakhul, but also that quite a few of those were actually daring enough to try it at all costs. Vraurdoin considered himself to be one of few who were actually willing to help and not just talk about it on the quiet. The discomforting problem was that this task meant that he'd have to wait for days, sometimes even weeks on end without anything happening while at the same time he could miss the event he was waiting for during things as simple as sleep or a brief lapse of attention.

Not this time though... The boat's owner cried out so loudly that it almost hurt in his sensitive elvish ears. While this did not yet prove anything, the sight of Khaala and her child did pretty much so. They looked poor and desperate enough to be people trying to escape and the docks were one of the rather prominent routes -- the reason why Vraurdoin had set up his camp in their vicinity in the first place. The giant elf had prepared himself well for this kind of situation, his bow at the ready so he could pick out and disable any potential pursuers. He didn't say anything. He just ran towards the boat that was still moored to a massive wooden pillar. If the small vessel's owner would arrive there before they could unlatch things had great potential for becoming ugly.

The boat creaked dangerously as Vraurdoin jumped aboard with momentum, but it was still attached to the thick rope that could hardly be undone with brute force alone. So he'd have to undo the knot and fast, even if it meant that water was on the verge of spilling over boat's side walls with him sitting at one end of it instead of the middle as usual. Hopefully the woman and her child would notice that he tried to help them and that he wasn't hostile. There wasn't much time to talk after all.

Adrian Adrian
 

Adrian

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#6
There was no turning back now.

Khaala began to untie the knot, hands shaking, as the voices grew closer and louder. Yoren clung onto her arm in fear. Tighter his grip grew, that Khaala had half a mind to scold the boy, until she realized what had made him so frightened. The boat creaked, and before her on the floating vessel stood a man--no, an elf--that was perhaps several times bigger than she. He was armed, but Khaala knew he hardly had any use for his bow. Why, he could swat her away with just one sweep of his hand! Tensing up, she backed away, holding her son close. Never had she seen such a creature!

But then the elf did something strange. He began to untie the rope. Khaala looked behind her. The owner of the vessel had managed to garner the attention of several onlookers, who were now getting threateningly close. Desperate, Khaala urged Yoren to hurry and climb onto the boat. Then, she began to follow suit.

Just then, an arrow shot past her leg and burrowed itself into the pillar. Khaala hissed in pain.

Without wasting a single second, she took the arrow, and for a brief moment her eyes fell once again on the strange man standing on the boat. Fear and anger warred in her eyes. She raised her weapon--and for a while it looked almost as if she were about to attack him--but then she swiveled around and jammed the pointed end into the neck of a sailor that had just now reached them. Blood sputtered out of his wound and he fell to the ground, the knife in his hand clattering, abandoned.

Khaala hopped into the boat, and before long, they were at sea. Arrows whistled past. Some managed to hit the vessel, whilst others fell into the water. But for the moment, they were safe. As safe as they could be, with this big burly elf sitting across them. The boat cleaved through the blue waters as it inched onwards. Yoren was still shaking from head to toe.

At length, Khaala spoke, "You are not from around here. Who are you? Why do you help us?" Her tone was accusing, her accent thick. There seemed to be as much fear in her eyes as there was in her voice. However, she also beheld him with some curiosity. She had heard of folk such as he. Old wives' tale, she had called it. And she knew she ought to be more shaken up than she was currently, but enough had happened in one day. She was exhausted... and desperate. If this elf had wanted to kill them, he would have done so already.

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#7
The hissing noise of an arrow flying by and impacting into solid wood probably was rather disturbing, but Vraurdoin was way too busy getting done with that knot in order to truly worry about that. Given the fact that he himself was very used to archery he could tell just by listening that this had been a very close call, something that demanded for him to work even faster. Then however he could listen to an entirely different event: The sound of weak flesh being torn apart by something sharp with much less violent velocity involved. Vraurdoin raised his head, seeing a muscular man falling to the ground with an arrow sticking out of his neck. As the dagger rolling away from the sailor's hand gave a series of clanking noises it dawned upon the elf that this clearly was not the original site of impact for that arrow. There had not been another shot, so Vraurdoin twisted his head in order to look at Khaala. He had not seen it happen, but the overall situation clearly pointed into her direction. Killing for the first time was much harder than it sounded, so hopefully this action wouldn't have any consequences for her later on. He had not seen that for moments his own life had been at stake...

Luckily they managed to separate from the dock in time in order for the growing crowd not to reach them. The elf maneuvered himself further into the middle of the boat in an attempt to balance it out, but still it was sitting dangerously low in the water. There was a large sail and a folding mast stowed away at the bottom of it, but deploying that in order to save them from rowing would have taken far too long. Also a burning arrow hitting solid wood wasn't much of a threat if one was surrounded by water to put it out immediately. A burning arrow hitting a sail however was a different thing, allowing the fire to grow much faster. He had no intention of giving their pursuers that opportunity.

Vraurdoin proved to be quite good at rowing. Even by non-elven standards his body was an enormously large and intimidatingly muscular powerhouse that could propel them out of harm's range rather fast. Still Vraurdoin was interrupted by heavy breathing as he started to answer her questions: "There are people who have made it their goal to help other people like you. You probably were unable to notice from inside that cage that calls itself a 'kingdom', but the outside world has been watching for a very long time -- and some actually decided to start acting. I'm not from here, but explaining the details would be a little too much at this point I'm afraid. Let's say I want to help and that I'm an elf, okay ? I need to know if there's any specific point on the shore you need to reach. Is anyone waiting for you ?"

That might come across a little harsh, but Vraurdoin indeed was worried that if he would unpack the entirity of his story right now she might lose trust in him. Most people were already disturbed by his appearance in a random tavern -- and he had just burst into her plans of escaping and starting a new life.

Adrian Adrian
 

Adrian

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#8
"Fine," The woman relented, though the suspicion in her eyes never wavered. It would take more than just an oath to convince her. Many years had she lived in Zurakhul, many deaths had she seen of those who trusted too much, too soon. She held Yoren close, who still quivered at the sight of the man. He buried his face in her arms. "But I keep an eye on you. I don't trust you. If you try to do some funny business, I kill you, elf or no. I have done it before."

Her eyes flickered meaningfully back onto the shore from whence they had come. Though she knew she wouldn't fare well in a fight against this big brute, she was willing to take her chances if he so dared threaten her life or her son's. They had come this far. Freedom was worth fighting for.

She shook her head in response to his next question. "Nobody wait for me, I know nobody on the other side. We did not have time to prepare. There was no way." She looked down at Yoren. Underneath that hard expression, there were grief and pain--barely visible, but still there.

The waves flapped hard against the boat, and with all of their weights put together, the boat seemed to be in danger of sinking. It floated just enough not to, though some of the water had already managed to get in.

"Just take us where there are no people. Safer."

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#9
Vraurdoin's ears were rather sensitive, but even someone would only a humble understanding of tone and body language would have received the message that Khaala was not very fond of the elf's presence at this point. For him this was both understandable and irritating at the same time: Of course that poor woman must have gone through terrible things and she probably was taking a protective stance in front of her child with her words, but on the other hand what would have happened if it had not been for him ? If he was honest he didn't believe that she would have made it on her own in this situation. Or at least not as comfortably.

He swallowed the words he had wanted to say, having convinced himself of their inadequateness for the situation in the rather last moment. He didn't want to start a verbal struggle, let alone a real fight as either of those would have been a perversion of his intial goal. And that was getting her out of here alive and as unharmed as reasonably possible. Aside from this he could feel another issue literally creeping up along his feet. It was cold, liquid and clearly rushed in from around them: Water!

"Alright! There's a place my people usually have prepared some horses or so to get moving further way, but I can't guarantee anybody will be there at this time!" After all he knew that their resources were somewhat limited since there was no official support from any ruler. "You need to get the water out of the boat while I'm rowing or we'll sink!" In fact there was no way to deny that with every other of Vraurdoin's moves a small bit of water came over the boat's edge -- and he knew perfectly well who was to blame for this: himself.

The elf tried to hurry up even more, knowing that their time was slowly running out. The place he had been talking about was roughly one mile away, deep in the forests where noboy could spot it front any kind of watchtower and also no place many patrols came around. Yet there was a small, narrow stretch of water that led deep into the forests, right to where it was. It was a secret connection he planned on using now, but what he didn't know is that there would only be one steed available to them.

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Adrian

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#10
Khaala frequently ran into some trouble when it came to the nuances of the common tongue. When the elf mentioned people, her eyes widened, and she shook her head at once. As if the mere suggestion of the word triggered a raging beast inside of her.

"No people!" She warned, "Or I let this boat sink."

But of course she wouldn't. With Yoren around, she would take any of her chances. The young boy had already begun scooping up the water and casting it back out to sea, though his hands still shook with a persistent fear.

"If you was not so fat and heavy, this boat still floats!" She gave the elf an accusing glare, as if the fault were his and his alone. But she did as he had told her to anyway, saving themselves from potentially drowning in a watery grave.

When at last they reached the shore, Khaala climbed out to find a horse waiting for them. Just the one. A look of horror dawned upon her face, though not for the reason one might seem to think.

"I will not ride this beast," she said, shaking her head and looking quite pale. She had never ridden a horse in her life. "We walk, elf."

Yoren, on the other hand, seemed quite fascinated by the animal. Some of the fear left his eyes when the horse whinnied upon his touch.

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#11
The job Vraurdoin had devoted himself to attend to could be quite harsh on the emotional level, but noone had put his mental strength to contain his feelings to such a test before. Fat it echoed through his mind. Heavy was perfectly okay for there was no point in denying it, but fat was very well past the boundaries of the acceptable. Silently, the elf pressed his teeth against each other and did not say a word until they had safely arrived at the shore.

And it wasn't like her particular style of complaining would have ended there. On the contrary his ears could perfectly understand that Khaala was not willing to share the way of escaping he had hoped for, no matter if it was faster or not. "Now listen!" Vraurdoin started even while still turning towards her. His flow words of stopped though once the turn was complete and her pale face had come into his view. For moments the elf just stood there, saying nothing. There was not only her, but her son as well. Yes he would not have much of an issue walking. He was strong, trained through and through and had almost ridiculously long legs after all. She was an adult probably used to a lot of hardship so he did not expect her to break down so soon as well, but what about her child ?

"Now listen..." and Vraurdoin continued in a rather rugged, very sincere tone: "We might not have much of a problem with walking, but what about your child ? I can't see him keeping up with us all day long if we go fast. And we have to go fast or your escape might end very, very quickly. Or do you think this forest is going to protect us forever ? Right now they are probably already backtracking our path to the entrace of said creek we just passed through."

The elf turned towards the horse and checked if everything was alright with the large saddle. "Someone has to support your son and make sure he stays on top of the horse. Now you obviously would be the best choice for this, but I can see in your face that you would not be able to do so comfortably." And Vraurdoin sighed a little. "So it seems the fat elf that just has helped rescue both of you is the only option left to do that." He put particular emphasis on the word 'fat', making clear that he was strictly opposed to her opinion about his body...

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#12
Her son.

Khaala pressed her lips together, visibly annoyed at the elf but at a loss for words to throw back at him. She approached the beast cautiously like some wild animal that could eat her up and swallow her at any moment. The blood seemed to have left her face completely, but she nonetheless attempted to mount the horse. It took several embarrassing attempts, but with each time she kept slipping back onto the ground. When, finally, she thought she had managed to do it, the horse bucked as if in protest. Such was Khaala's surprise that, before she could realize what was happening, she was face first on the ground breathing soil.

Yoren looked amused, and Khaala knew he would be laughing if only the poor boy could speak.

The woman struggled to get back onto her feet, slightly disoriented, wild hair looking wilder than ever before. Then she shot the elf a murderous look as if she dared him to laugh.

"This beast do not want me to ride it," She shook her head, "You first, elf."

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#13
"You're making this excessively difficult, Khaala..." Vraurdoin muttered more to himself than to her, but still loud enough for her to be barely able to hear it probably. "And you think this beast wants me to ride it ?" he added, more loudly. Having said this the elf stepped forward and approached the steed. He was tall enough not to need any stirrups, instead a piece of rock that happened to lie nearby was enough for an aid in order to swing his leg over the horse's back.

The horse protested loudly, even tried to toss him off in the same way it had gotten rid of Khaala just moments before. However Vraurdoin was a much tougher nut to crack in that respect, both because the elf was much more capable of holding on to the saddle and because his sheer weight was a lot more difficult to lift -- too much for their future mount to do in fact. After a bunch of moments the elf finally managed to calm the steed down, but to the outside observer it was unclear if this was just due to his words and subtle gestures or because the horse simply was giving up the fight.

"This is going to be tight. Come here and sit in front of me, I'll hold you in place if the need should arise, Khaala. You're smaller then me so you wouldn't see anything from behind me. Yorick should sit in front of us for the same reason and so that you can hold him."

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