Order and Chaos

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Psychedelic, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. It was the typical story from the townspeople. "Help! Help! There's a dragon up there!" And there was, as there always had been. For hundreds of years that beast had lain dormant, snoozing on her pile of treasure. In truth, these treasures were nothing but a pile of shiny rocks, but some dragons weren't very clever, just like this one. Anyway, that was really neither here nor there. What mattered, was the fact that some band of adventuring idiots had thought it a good idea to scale the cliff up to the cave in which the ancient dragon dwelled. Of course, in doing this they had disturbed said female, and ever since she had been raining hellfire down on the town. Luckily for them, she wasn't incredibly powerful in terms of dragonkind, but of course it was still more than enough to cause a huge amount of devestation.

    As luck would have it, a pair of real heroes were passing through, and due to the begging and bribing of the townsfolk, they had eventually agreed to take on the foe. Eliana was one of those two. She was a confident redhead, though not of the fiery personality so often associated with the colour. Instead, she was a relatively balanced woman, though of course as all men and women of any race, she had her moments of weakness. Even so, in general she kept her emotions in check, seeing the world through a logical lens. She sought peace where possible, but of course, she would always charge headfirst into battle if need be, and would not hesitate about doing it. This was a goal oriented woman who always sought the best route possible to her ends, whatever they might be.

    This grey eyed adventurer was currently sitting in a local tavern, waiting for her partner. She wasn't entirely certain where he was, and she doubted if she wanted to know. The man was unpredictable at the best of times, although so far they had never come to blows over it, nor had he let her down when things really mattered. For what they lacked in commonality, they made up for in closeness. They recognised eachother as different sides to the same coin, and worked together like a well oiled machine - most of the time.

    In this dank environment, she sat for at least half an hour, though she had to admit that she had arrived ten minutes earlier than planned. Sitting next to her were a pair of well supplied packs, stocked with various remedies, food and water, as well as various other miscellaneous items that might come of use during their `hike up to the dragons' lair. Upon the woman herself, were a pair of curved blades. They were slung from her hips by a carefully crafted leather belt, sitting neatly against her clothes - which also happened to be mostly leather. Armour had never been her thing, and so she simply wore this lightweight hide along with a fairly drab green tunic. Of course, atop this was the obligatory cloak - essential in cold weather, as it was at the moment.

    "Where is that fool?" Eliana muttered to herself, drumming her fingers impatiently on the table at which she sat, sly features glancing about the dreary place in search of her counterpart. They needed to get going, or else they would be caught by sundown before they even made it to the base of the crags. But then again, what was one more day of the dragon breathing? They had survived this long, the town could cope with a few more hours. Eliana tucked a rogue strand of supposedly plaited hair behind her ear, merely fiddling now, doing anything to prevent the temptation of ordering a drink in this filthy room. If that happened, god knew what diseases she'd pick up.
  2. Thick brown boots thudded steadily against the soft mix of soil and grass – occasionally he thudded further into the forestry to get a closer look at an unnatural pathway which the beast had formed. Cassius would pause momentarily to take in the remnants of some scorched building, or a section of forestry on the line between the town and the forest, which he was walking. His amber eyes took in the details, memorizing anything which may be of use to them – an area which hadn’t been flattened in the dragons rage. Cassius relished in the simplicities of small catches – loopholes that allowed for him or his companion to escape unscathed.

    While the town was off a substantial way from the castle, Cass didn’t dare wander around the edges of the enclosed stone building. The guards were on high alert, so even a man in dark grey-green leather from foot to chest would appear suspicious. He kept his steps even, his hand hidden beneath his black cape ready at his side on one of his skillfully crafted broadswords. The cross guard of the sword was embellished with gold, and intricate engravings; while Cassius was privy to the meaning behind it, and the origin of the sword he rarely flaunted it. His father had crafted the swords, a special gift to his son as he was coming of age – a small reminder of where he came from, and the secret his family kept.

    When a full circle of the town had been completed – aside from the castles portion of the circle – he finally headed back to the tavern by cutting through the middle of town. Cass kept his head up, his dark few inches long hazel hair was a mess but swiped back against the wind. While he appeared to be zoning in on his targeted building his mind was reeling, his ears straining to hear any distinct details which might be useful. ‘Northern ports are still untouched,’ ‘Franklin took refuge in the woods,’ ‘The Dragon’s dwelling in a cave close to the King’s Castle,’ Cassius listened to the hushed voices in the market square attempting to pick up on anything, but instead found himself faced with the grungy looking Tavern. Perhaps his body was a little too concentrated on his destination. His mind had taken in the details, but didn’t note much of the content, he would dissect it later.

    Sighing lightly he pushed through the door. For a mere moment his tawny eyes were in shock at the appalling condition of the innards of the bar as his eyes took it in. Finally settling on the fiery colored hair of his partner he strode casually over to her, and nonchalantly slid onto the stood next to her. His elbows rested against the top of the bar, his back arched out slightly. Her words resonated in the air a few moments before he slid in beside her, on the opposite side which she eyed, a smirk slid onto his face, his olive skin lighting up with the simple notion, causing the dark lighting to accentuate his high cheek bones. He was a bit of a looker, though the years of travel had worn on him. On occasion dark circles graced his face when they hadn’t gotten enough rest, or if one looked closely enough they could see the wear on his face in the form of wrinkles around his eyes prominently when he smiled.

    “Rare event it is, you getting all riled up, I must have kept you waiting,” he said staring forward at the owner of the tavern. When the guy took a few steps in his direction Cassius shook his head, and let the smile disappear. A small notion to initiate that he too wasn’t purchasing anything – which the man caught onto, and returned to cleaning his mugs. “Shall we then?” Cassius finally let his eyes rest on Eliana. Pushing away from the bar with his arms he slid back around on the stool before standing at his full height – not a staggering one, but a good five-foot nine, which was perfectly fitting for his lean but not overly muscular body. Holding a hand partially out, he spoke again, "After you." He had kept her waiting long enough that he knew she would be jittery with energy ready to move, and get on with their current agenda.
  3. The moment her companion walked through the door, Eliana shot a stony glance his way. It wasn't quite anger, just an expression of her impatience. Although usually the woman was relatively calm, when there was a job to be done she didn't enjoy all this waiting around. But, it didn't really matter, Cassius was here now, and that was all that mattered. The dragon didn't stand a chance. First though, the drably clad woman laid a few coins on the somewhat sticky surface of the bar. She felt it was unfair to get the barkeeps hopes up and then leave without so much as a pint. It was just common courtesy.

    Once this was done, Eliana stood, just over a head shorter than her partner. She handed him one of the prepared bags of supplies, shouldering the other herself without a word. It was fairly heavy, but a familiar and almost comforting weight. When one travelled for such long stretches at a time, the encumberment became part of the person, and when times of rest were available, Eliana often felt as if she might float away withoout it. It didn't look like they'd be having any rest periods for a while, alot was brewing in the world. While there was adventure to be had, the two would also be there. Honestly, it was as if the two were magnetised, and would invariably be attracted to scenes of disaster. It was for this reason that as their fame grew, in some circles they were less than welcome, whereas in others they did more good than harm, and so were revered. It was all down to chance, really. Sometimes the costs were high, sometimes not.

    Breathing in the fresh air of the outside world, Eliana slowed her pace ever so slightly in order to walk alongside Cass. "Where were you?" Spoken with some curiosity, as well as a little bit of caution. In all likelihood he had been behaving himself, but one never could tell. "You do realise you're late, don't you?" Perhaps time had just run away with him. What did it matter anyway? He was here now. She shook her head, rolling her eyes ever so slightly as they progressed towards the wilderness. They would be travelling for some hours, so it was probably best not to get into an argument just now.

    Thankfully, the day was a good one. The winter snows had thawed, and although many of the days were still blustery and cold, this one was much kinder. It was one of those that refreshed the hopes of the onset of spring. The day was wonderfully still, the only breeze occasional at best, and certainly not as icy as it had been in previous weeks. It was the perfect day for travelling. The sun was out, and afforded just enough warmth to light up even the dullest of hearts. No doubt the farmers would be out in force at the moment, preparing their fields for the coming high season. The animals were almost visibly salivating at the thought of the lush spring grass. They couldn't wait to fatten themselves up, though of course they were not capable of realising that this sudden influx of good grass would only end in their demise. At least they would be happy.

    The woman who mused on all of this walked with an almost regal bearing, though she most certainly didn't deserve so. Perhaps she had delusions of grandeur, or just too much pride. It was difficult to tell if either of these applied. Whatever, it didn't matter, the effect was usually the same. Eliana was a woman who commanded respect, it was clear to even a drunkard that she was no weak old maid, she was a deadly force of nature. Of course, there would always be those naysayers who despised a woman of power, but in this day and age that was just backward thinking. The human race had not yet embraced female power, but others had done so successfully. Eliana always enjoyed spending time among these people far more than those patriarchal societies - she hated the conflict that so often went with the territory.
  4. With Ease Cassius took the pack from his partner, letting it fall into its familiar place at his back. On some occasions they traveled light, and on other – longer events they traveled heavy. Either way, as of late their packs were heavier, flush with survivability supplies, and less full with conventional or keepsake goods to pass the time. Somehow in the passing hours of the day Eliana had ended up with his bag, and feeling it against his back again was a constant reminder of the fact that they were moving on, forward in the journey and out of this strange little town.

    Cassius moved forward as Eliana seemed to fall in step with his stride. “Scouting the town,” he said the words rather plainly, almost as if it should have been obvious, but still with enough lackluster that it didn’t appear to be snide. “Sun’s all I got for tellin’ the time,” he glanced sidelong at her, “And today isn’t the ideal for that.” He wanted to mention that neither was this town, or the people which inhabited it. They all seemed peculiarly average. In most towns you could tell the peasants from the lords, you could tell on some level what the difference between classes was – but not here. Everyone sort of morphed as one, coming and going in the small area, a close knit town. It was one of the many things about this quaint little area that baffled him – but he didn’t voice it, instead he just let his body take over the actions it was supposed to be doing.

    Even if the thick brush and forestry made it hard to tell the time, it was good for concealing oneself. That was if especially the case if you were headed directly past the King’s Castle, and up into the mountains towards a Dragon’s den. The wildlife around them buzzed with anticipation of spring, still slightly unknowing to the fact that they had a few weeks left of the chilled weather. “Apparently we’ve got a dumb dragon, oddly shaped too, but that could benefit us,” if they even got that close that is, he finished in his own head. He wasn’t being negative, but he knew that others were overly cocky, too confident and often found themselves squished under the dragons massive body, or scorched to a crisp – and personally while he wanted neither he tried to keep his head leveled, prepare for anything.

    After a time of walking Cass let Eliana lead, falling in step slightly behind her, which was due to passing by a portion of the kings castle. Here he took pride in letting his dark cape blend with the shadows, and morph to become a part of the forestry. “They are in thick numbers across the perimeter of the king’s area,” he said the words lower than the buzz of the animals, but still loud enough for her to hear.
  5. Perhaps she should have trusted him more. Such an innocent activity as scouting the area was hardly worthy or reprimand. Sure, he'd been a bit late, but it wasn't as if the dragon was keeping to a tight schedule. Eliana shook her head, relaxing her shoulders as she did this. Maybe next time she'd just stay quiet about his tardiness, if indeed he was late again. He wasn't unreliable, he simply happened to be the sort of person to become absorbed in whatever activity he might be carrrying out at a particular time. She did the same, although her desire to stick to her own set of rules tended to keep her firmly tethered to the rest of the world around her. Sometimes it hindered her, of course, but she didn't like to talk about those ocassions.

    "Forget it. It's nothing." She muttered this some time after the last words had been spoken, pretty much out of the blue. It was for the simple reason that the vague background noises were not sitting well with her. Although Eliana did often enjoy the sounds of nature and the near silence that so often went with it, today she was on edge. There were rumours going around, and they had unsettled her, though if they were true - the places concerned were still far away. It was none of her business, anyway, the politics of any culture. She had never ascribed a nationality to herself, her origin was hardly clear. As such, she shouldn't have worried about rumoured tensions between nations, only seen the potential for work in it - or else nothing at al.

    As Cass moved on to mention the dragon, Eliana nodded. She reckoned that for them it was an open and shut case. This was no brood mother or ancient alpha they were hunting, it was just your bog standard, slightly stupid brute. Of course, she was not one for over confidence, and did not charge into this lightly, instead ensuring all her faculties remained in tiptop condition. She rarely let herself relax, even when they were having some down time. Eliana needed to be on her guard at all times, just in case the worst happened.

    As they became ever more immersed in the wilderness, brambles often catching on their clothes, despite all efforts to avoid them, the sun began to fade into the clouds as the moon gradually rose to replace it. They were sheltered by the beginnings of the cliff face, at the bottom of which stood the well stocked forest for which the town was known. Hunters did well here, it was where the wealth came from, as well as the relative equality. Eliana had skirted around the forest during the day, preferring to take the longer route that would leave them far more able to see the dragon, should it deign to lift from its perch.

    "What do you say we make camp for the night?" Eliana asked, slowing her pac significantly now. They had been on the move for some hours now, and although she wasn't all that exhausted, she knew that it was always better to rest before symptoms of tiredness began to show themselves. "If we rest here, we can make the summit tomorrow, perhaps even slay the thing tomorrow, certainly the day after." Unless anything happened, though it was unlikely. This was relatively peaceful country, not that it was entirely free of crime or scary beasties.
  6. The full moon had risen to the sky taking the place of the ball of fire. A few stars could be spotted between the branches, and bits of leaves still clinging to the trees. It was then when her voice cut through to him, a soft ‘hmm’ escaping his throat as his eyes snapped to her face. His tongue slipped from his mouth and wet his dry lips, his deep voice filling the air, “Yea sounds good.” One of the two straps of his pack slid from his shoulder. While the pair had worked together previously they didn’t know one another as well as they might have, they more so seemed to function on an unspoken trust – a need to have someone beside you who you were able to count on. He didn’t always understand her, or need to, but she watched his back, and he did the same in return.

    So while her voice had cut through his thoughts, his mind was still a little fuzzy, inactive with the constant scenery, the repetitiveness of travel, and for that reason alone he missed the inactivity, the lack of buzz from the insects, from the birds around them. While this tiny fact was screaming out in his head, he was too distracted, whether on sleep, or simply on the dreary day of traveling they had already had. Instead he let his pack slide completely off his back and onto the stump of a tree. The thud which his pack made against the damp wood was the first thing which brought his foggy mind back to reality – back to the fact that they were hunting a dragon, that they very well could be in danger at any moment.

    “Eliana,” he said the words quietly, but even with the silence around them, they were deafeningly loud. His tawny eyes snapped up from the dark colored backpack, and to her face, alarm present on his face, “What is it?” He let his eyes leave her face and scour the small clearing for anything, but there was nothing. Only as his eyes settled on the tops of the trees did he see against the dark sky the billows of gray smoke rising off a ways in the distance. It wasn’t the alarming, dragon riddled fire and smoke, but potentially the fire and smoke of a separate camp?

    “Shall we make a visit to our neighbors?” he glanced back at her, his eyes jumping between the smoke and her, “Or just set up camp, and forget a fire?”
  7. Eliana rarely found herself bored whilst on the road. She enjoyed the constantly shifting environment and wildlife, eveen if those shifts were only miniscule and gradually achieved. Some might have seen it as rather bland, but since when did that matter? She knew that it was boring as hell to almost anyone else, but it was a way of suviving the long hours of travel that were so necessary to her life. All she ever experienced after too much time spent trudging along was the pain of exhaustion that any nomad would know all too well. After a time one began to learn their own limits, but most who chose this life continued to push themselves to the brink, as foolish as this might have been. There were also the biting insects. Eliana had no time for those, but thankfully they would not be out in force for a few more weeks, at which point she would most likely become quite crabby. For some reason she seemed to be a magnet for them.

    It was a while before the woman began to feel a little uneasy, and she didn't put her finger on it until her companion spoke, alerting her to the fact that this feeling of oddity was definitely not something she had simply dreamed up out of nothing. There reaally was something wrong here. The second he spoke, she had turned to face him, concern (however slight it might be) obvious in her expression. How she had missed the stagnant silence in the air, Eliana couldn't be quite sure. But the fact of the matter was that she had, and now they had managed to stumble onto something potentially dangerous - or interesting - depending on how one wished to look on it.

    Soon after she had first turned, Eliana refocused her attention to the point at which Cassius had settled his own. It was not terribly far away, and was certainly close enough to cause a little discomfort in the adventurer. A camp without a fire was not an option. Although spring and the warmer weather along with it were on their way, it would be a while yet before the nights warmed. As it was, at the moment it just wasn't practical to attempt to sleep through the chilly nights that inevitably lingered far longer than the uncomfortably cold days. It was an unfortunate fact of life that most sensible men and women were familiar with.

    "We investigate." Eliana answered pointedly, feeling that there could be no question of what to do. She was concerned about who else might be out here. There was little reason for the average traveller to be in any woodland, let alone this one that was so neatly blocked off by the cliffs. Most stuck to the roads, but this group hadn't. Her slightly pessimistic mind jumped immediately to a theory of hostiles camping out for some unknown but terrible reason. It wa this thought that caused a hand to immediately rest on the pommel of her first blade as they moved off in silence, ready for anything that might come their way.