The World We Long to See

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Artemis, Jun 2, 2016.

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  1. The World We Long to See

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    Costia Kom Trikru (open)
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    Name: Costia
    Age: 18
    Occupation: Healer of the Woods Clan


    Lexa Kom Trikru (open)


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    Name: Lexa kom Trikru
    Age: Wood Clan leader
    Age: 19


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    The gravity of the position still hadn’t sunk in. As part of the night bloods trained under Anya, Lexa was chosen to succeed the former commander. She was simply the most capable out of the current host. What else, she possessed a certain wisdom. A wisdom that sued for reason over violence when appropriate. The other night bloods saw it as a weakness. She did not. Clearly, Anya hadn’t thought so either. Under her tutelage as Anya’s second, she’d learned many things. Detailed war tactics, surviving when cut off from her people, accepting death when it may come.

    But now Anya’s fight was over. Lexa hoped she was smiling from the Beyond. The ascension was a success. The visions brought about by the potions were trying. Even the smallest mistake within would’ve denied her her birthright she had to earn yet again. Her people saw it. The past commanders saw it. The position of heda was indisputably hers, and she had plans. Ambitions.

    A pound came from her reception room at the topmost level of Polis. “Enter.” The door swung open as her guards stood at the ready. It was Hayden. Her eyes narrowed. “What news from the front?”

    “Heda,” Hayden said. He was a strong, swift, relentless warrior. The second he took under his wing would be formidable in due time. She looked forward to that day. “We’ve surrounded those that descended from the sky. Our archers keep them at bay. We have the forest line.”

    “Their weapons?”

    “Staffs that render those paralyzed. Temporary. Guns like the Maunon. Roak does not risk open confrontation. Our losses would be heavy due to the sky people hiding behind their walls. They are not honorable. Just like the Maunon!”

    Fingering the armrest of her chair, the frown on Lexa’s face was unmistakable. Her people had been taken by those that dwelled in the mountain. The men in green turned them into monsters. Reapers. Warriors of Trikru seldom feared their enemies. The mountain was different. They were silent killers. They took her people for purposes unknown except to transform them into mindless monsters. It was yet another headache Lexa had to deal with. One problem at a time.

    Lexa got up to her feet. She beckoned to Hayden. Walking over to the war table, she looked at it. The situation with the sky crew was laid out on the table. “We have the trees. They have the walls. A perfect circle?”

    “They’ll see our advance.”

    “We shall assume their range far exceeds our archers.” Lexa looked towards one of her strategists in the room. Brant. Her auxiliary master. “I require your knowledge.”

    The brute of a man stomped forward. His footfalls ricocheted throughout the room. “Yes, Heda?”
    “The sky people are dug in. Heavily from what Hayden reports. Our archers can reach, but the cowards hide behind walls. What if we skew their sight?”

    Brant snapped his fingers. “Smoke. I can make preparations right away.” Brant looked to Hayden. “How many would you need?”

    “A dozen. The sky people have their fortification, but what land they took remains small.”

    Lexa nodded. “See to it. Travel back and tell Roak. We conclude this matter now.”

    Hayden nodded. “Yes, Heda.”

    “I shall see to the smoke,” Brant said, he turned and made for the door. Brant following close behind.

    About to turn back to the matter of an alliance, Lexa heard footsteps approach. An aid to Costia. The aid bowed. “Apologies for the interruption, Heda.”

    “Speak.”

    “You asked to be told when Kodrik awoke?”

    The news of the night blood drew back her attention. “And?”

    “The recovery was long. The wound deep. But he’s awake.”

    Lexa strode towards the door. No matter the competition among the night blood to be commander, Lexa valued them. They were the next generation. Their safety was paramount to the commander lineage, and she would see it continue.

    ---

    Walking into the healer’s wing, Lexa nodded to the guards who bowed. Her movement was swift as she navigated the various bedding where the sick, the wounded, the dying occupied. Many times she rested on them after trainings and outings of her own. She’d rather not visit it for injuries again. The atmosphere was dread.

    Looking about, Lexa saw Costia doing her rounds. Death and life present in the same room. Being a healer must be an ordeal. “Costia.” Lexa closed the distance to the dark beauty. Lexa dare not let her eyes wander for too long. The feelings confused her. “Kodrik is awake? His condition?”
     
    #1 Artemis, Jun 2, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2016
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  2. Shouts and yells for others to move out of their way travelled in from beyond the hut; heavy footsteps stormed towards them. Costia nodded towards her aides. All three young teens scattered from their patients and from wooden shelves removed bottles of commonly used herbs, rolls of bandages, to place them by a few clean tables; one then began to boil water. In a moment the door was shoved open, cold air rushed in, and a heavily scarred warrior Costia knew to be Iro, the deputy chief of security, entered. Another with the garb and weaponry of a scout was carrying an unconscious boy. Black blood covered his face and seeped from his wounds. He laid Kodrik onto where Costia gestured. What Costia had assumed to be an ordinary situation had immediately escalated into a dire emergency. Besides the Commander, a nightblood was the topmost priority. She asked for her best assistant Nora and together, they cut open and removed his soaked clothing as carefully as possible.

    “One survivor,” Iro said in a matter-of-fact tone. “Patrol found him outside the wall.”

    “Cause?” Costa quickly assessed his body riddled with holes. The boy had been caught in a gunfire from multiple angles, but the darkness of the night had helped to save him from accurate shots. The fact he was still alive, having had survived the trip home, meant no internal organ had been ruptured. It was a race against time to stop the haemorrhaging and Costia wasn’t the best surgeon in Polis. She breathed in deeply to calm her nerves, mentally ran through the fastest and most efficient strategy, and focused on the patient.

    “Guns.” She barely heard the confirmation that was laced with disdain. “I’ll leave you to it.”

    * * *

    She relieved her aide Brandon of rotational duty and sat beside the pale-looking boy whose eyes had stayed closed through the night. His chest rose and fell in shallow breaths. Kodrik was holding onto the thread of life but there was nothing else she could do for him. Costia stroked his clammy forehead, feeling sorry for the ten year old boy. She knew the mountain-men had never hunted at night and trikru who had escaped their clutches had borne clean bullet wounds. They were expert marksmen who aimed for incapacitation if not death. Kodrik had suffered from blind fire. He had met a new enemy and survived.

    She did not linger in thought about the rest of his squad.

    The door opened and sunlight streamed in. Costia stood up to greet Ghavesh. The old, dark man beckoned for her to sit and pulled up a chair next to her. Like all healers, he was distinguished by blue streaks on his face, but decorative feathers, signifying the spiritual realm, adorned the necklace he wore.

    “You did well,” her mentor began without preamble in a slow baritone, as was his wont, and rested his sinewy hand upon hers in an unusual show of reassurance. She guessed worry had been etched on her face. “Yours was the closest hut they could get to and you saved his life. It was not an easy procedure. Some might have waited and called for me. Some might have lost a nightblood.”

    “I did what I could.”

    He smiled and Costia was under the impression she had unwittingly passed another one of his tests. She stayed silent, within the proper boundary of etiquette, and waited for him to continue. “As you know, I am going to choose my second. You show the most promise. But there is a wildness in you that is carefree like a bird in nature. Jagnu was like you. I could not keep him in Polis, where master healers belong, where we are needed, where we are… safe.” He sighed, deep in regret. “I will not make the same mistake.” He gave her hand a squeeze. “My condition for you is to fulfil your duty to your people, to your Heda and to Polis. You will never leave the city. Promise me and you will be my second.”

    The vow he needed from her stirred up a sense of unease. Ghavesh’s authoritative gaze expected an answer from her. In the pressing moment, Costia raised her fist to her chest and bowed in deference to her mentor. Their bond was undeniable. “It would be my honor,” she said respectfully.

    * * *

    The boy woke on the fourth day to everyone’s relief. Costia’s medical fussing over Kodrik provided brief respites from her own rumination on the oath. She had sent Nora to inform the Commander of his status: it would be another week before Kodrik was strong enough to leave her care to debrief the council.

    She checked on her patients in a routine inspection, trying to put a lid on a kind of anxiety simmering within her. The seconds ticked by until Nora’s return for a handover. For once in a long time, Costia yearned to escape into the forests as she did when she was a child back in her village. If she could have a few hours to herself, running through the woods with grass and mud between her toes, jumping into the icy flows of a waterfall.…

    A new presence announced itself behind her, interrupting her fancies, and Costia turned to face Lexa. In her surprise, she stared at the girl she had known, the nightblood she had helped to treat for a few years, who was enrobed in the regality of the Commander. She suddenly remembered her place and, looking downwards in a formal bow, felt the burn of embarrassment in her cheeks. “Heda,” she replied with due reverence, “Kodrik is awake but extremely weak. Please, if I may ask, let him rest soon.”

    Costia took her leave of the Commander and exited the hut for much needed fresh air.
     
    #2 sepia, Jun 3, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
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  3. Kodrik looked as pale. Too pale.

    Lexa's eyes were fixated on the night blood while Costia spoke. The wounds from the guns were not of the precision of the Maunon. With the sky people coming down, she was sure Kodrik was wounded from them. The jackals. But her mind wandered elsewhere. Why was Kodrik - a night blood - even near the front? They were precious to the lineage of the commander. Only the strongest were to be chosen for ascension, and they bled and died for the honor. That did not imply placing them in highly dangerous situations. She would have a word with Titus. He saw to the night bloods. He should have the answers.

    "I intend to let him sleep," she said, staring at his pale face, "even in war, I still care about my people's well-being."

    Seeing Costia depart, she turned her attention back to Kodrik. She would not let the sky people get away with this. Blood must have blood. That was there way, and she intended to show these invaders what it meant. For invading her lands and killing her people, she would find their leader. Death by a thousand cuts. That would be the sky peoples leader's fate. In this world, unlike what tales the shaman told of past peace, war and strength trumped all.

    That was how Lexa held the alliance of the clans together, or what few she had. Of the twelve clans that her people knew of, the Ice clan openly opposed her coalition. Ice clan's neighbor to the west - the Lake People - were pressured to break away from the coalition due to their trade with the clan of Ice. It was through sheer will and much negotiation on her part to make the Lake People stay. Materials and supplies cultivated from their lands was necessary. All the other clans had sent representatives. Terms were still being hashed. Being commander had its perks, but it was equal in hardship.

    Looking at the aide who'd taken over, Lexa said onto her, "make sure he survives. We will need him in the coming cycles."

    "Yes, Heda."

    Crossing to the nearest exit, Lexa welcomed the fresh air. The tents were always so oppressive to her. The atmosphere. Not the people. Noticing Costia, Lexa turned to her. "He will live." She was no healer, but she had to believe that he would. Night bloods were too rare to lose. "You have my gratitude. A life is a life, no matter of what occupation. Warrior, night blood, healers, general folk."​
     
  4. The hustle and bustle of the western marketplace was a street away from where Costia waited outside of the hut for a suitable time to re-enter. Idleness was a stranger to her since she became a full-fledged healer six months ago - what felt like a lifetime away - and had chosen to hone her craft in an artery of Polis.

    She knew many of the people she was watching. The little boy playing a game of stone marbles by himself was Kent, whose sprained ankle she had treated last week. She smiled and waved back at Tessie the fruit shop lady. Her daughter had a difficult birth some months ago. A group of guardsmen patrolling the market nodded at her as they passed.

    Costia traced the curve of a graceful scar along her right arm which had been carved by her first mentor. The symbol, designed by Mercer and herself, was raised to the touch. An age of three years had faded its hue but its meaning for the healer was never lost. Mercer would be proud of her.

    “Heda!” Coming from a short distance away, Nora was sweaty and out of breath, pointing at the capitol tower and back at the hut.

    Costia got the message and chuckled. “She’s already here. Gave me a fright.”

    Propping herself up by her hands on her knees, Nora said, panting in recovery, “I’m sorry, she didn’t give me a chance to explain. I tried to outrun her, even took all the shortcuts I knew.”

    “Guess she was faster,” Costia answered tongue-in-cheek. “Anyway, you better get inside. It’s been ten minutes. This time, tell her to come back in a week.”

    Her aide looked back in shock and numbly placed her hand on the door handle.

    “I’d like you to keep your pretty head, Nora. Tell her nothing. She’s Heda, she can do what she wants. But I’m going out for a while. Tell the boys to change the bandages on Holden and Nix. The burdock jars need replacing. And remember to - “

    Nora had broken into a grin. “Yes, Costia. Now go. You need a break. I’m amazed you suggested it. Go on! I’ll try not to burn anything.”

    Not two seconds after had Nora entered the hut that Lexa concluded her business within.

    In the light of day, with responsibilities of the world upon her shoulders, Lexa looked tired to the sharp observing healer. Her green eyes held a firm stare and underlined the distinction that she brooked no frivolity. Their easy camaraderie had dissipated with time and space between them; obeisance was her default conduct towards the Commander.

    “He will live,” Lexa said in what Costia thought sounded like a mixture of insistence and relief. The healer took in her words of appreciation and revealed, with a heavy heart, his prognosis. “Life can be as cruel as death. He will live but he suffers from severe damage to his right arm and thigh. He will walk with a limp and I don’t know if he’ll be able to use his arm again. He might always have pains. I’m sorry.”
     
    #4 sepia, Jun 4, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2016
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  5. Lexa remained silent. Being born with deformities - handicaps - was a heavy burden to bear. Worser yet it be a night blood. Kodrik was a promising one. There were talks between herself and the flame keeper that he'd be one of the best contenders for her position when she was to pass on the torch of Heda. Costia's words dimmed that possibility. Anger welled within her replacing the momentary lamentation. The sky people and the mountain men will pay for their violence against her people. She swore it.

    Blood must have blood.

    "Do what you can. I expect nothing more." Lexa did expect more though. She wanted a miracle. She wanted her healers to preform a miracle and give all her people suffering from wounds and illnesses a full recovery. Wishful thinking, however, must give way to realistic expectations. Many warriors had been lost. If Kodrik was to join them, then his fight was over. "... he showed promise."

    Her guards standing nearby, Lexa knew she had to return to the tower. Receiving good news followed by poor news, she didn't want to see to the war against the sky people nor the hostilities still ensuing between her coalition and the ice clan. So many things to yet so little time.

    "Do you have everything you need?" Lexa asked. Now she was simply stalling the inevitable. She sighed. "Come find me when Kodrik's more lucid. Do what you can for him."​
     
  6. For months there had been nervous whispers circulating among the populace about a full-scale war between the fledgling coalition and the Ice Nation, whose Queen was notoriously ruthless, punishing and obstinate - much like their own Commander. Words on the street about a new enemy who had shot Kodrik and killed his squad - the Sky people - aggravated the undercurrent of worry in Polis. With two dangerous threats closing in on the Grounders, Lexa exhibited the telltale signs of psychological exhaustion: the slight forward hunch of her shoulders; the quietness in her voice; the unnecessary trip to the healer’s hut; the sigh when she had to leave to resume her duties in the Tower. Costia felt first-hand the grind Lexa was going through and knew a reprieve without people shadowing her, without the constant reminder of her purpose, would help to revitalise the Commander and serve the greater good than for her to fatigue at this critical period of time.

    “I will do my best for Kodrik. He will be sent to the hospital next week to be under the care of the master healers for rehabilitation. There is… something,” Costia requested with a glance at the pair of warriors flanking Lexa.
     
    #6 sepia, Jun 22, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
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  7. Noting Costia's glance towards her guards, Lexa turned to them. "Give us some privacy."

    Normally Lexa wouldn't have time to entertain individual problems that weren't related to the prosperity of the coalition or the ever present threat of warfare. Right now was an exception to that policy. Lexa knew Costia since she was still a Night Blood second to Anya. Her friendship - or perhaps acquaintance - was welcomed. Becoming Heda distanced them however. The position was an honor. Lexa knew. That didn't, however, stop her from feeling the nostalgia of days past.

    The guards nodded and stepped off a fair distance. They were still close enough to intervene if necessary. Giving Costia, a welcomed distraction, her attention, she rose an eyebrow. "So this something. What is it?"​
     
  8. Costia turned to lead the way from the boisterous market. They strolled down the street, a healer and the Commander, and the crowds parted before them and remerged after the trailing pair of warriors. It wasn’t lost on her when the people furtively glanced at them and whispered to their neighbours while under the guise of minding their own business. “It’s about my training,” Costia began while her footsteps guided them towards a fringe district outside of the busy city heart. “I am about to become Ghavesh’s second.” She took in a breath, then confessed, “I am not ready.”

    “He doesn’t want me to leave Polis - ever - and I’m not sure if I can.…” The young woman shakes her head, her gaze held down. “This is my home.” She smiled at Lexa. It was thin and barely contained truth. “But I would like to see my family, my village, one last time. Ghavesh would not allow it. He thinks it will be worse for me, like reopening a wound, or I might run away. And he would not like to know that I’ve undermined his authority, Lexa,” she added, calling upon their old friendship for a favour.

    The dark maroon roof tiles were in sight. They formed the unstated line marking the underbelly of Polis. Faces familiar to the healer peered out of grimy windows and around corners like ghosts. The dirty scrawny children would not swarm her with the Commander by her side. Costia noticed the guards protectively step a little closer to them. She looked to Lexa for a sign of recognition and if she wanted to join her as when they had escaped from their lives years ago: to race through the maze in the slum that exited to the great forest beyond.
     
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  9. Lexa kept pace with Costia easily. The attention of her people was something she'd already gotten used to. Her guards ever vigilant as they hounded her steps. Her people looking on with respect, dread, or whatever they were inclined to feel. As long as they obeyed and fell in line, she didn't mind allowing some free thought. She did care how they felt though. She wanted the love of her people in peace, but respect when they were at war. She felt like she had it, but there was certainly still room to progress. Sometimes the thought of being a normal warrior was something Lexa entertained here and there. Life would've been so much different.

    When Costia began to speak, Lexa felt a mixture of pity and nostalgia. She missed her village too. Truly. They were friends when they were younger, getting into trouble which earned a stern scolding. Things had changed since then. Each had their own responsibilities. Lexa, a leader. Costia, a renown healer in the making. "Ghavesh gives you a great honor. I would think many would want what he extended you. He's wise in not letting you leave. It makes it harder," she said. Lexa looked at Costia's small smile. She frowned. Commander's couldn't give into personal feelings, yet she was failing here. Lexa sighed and scratched her chin. "I can't play favorites nor give special treatment. Understand that."

    Feeling eyes on her, Lexa looked about until her eyes fell onto the faces of children hidden behind filthy windows. There was still so much she needed to do that the war with the ice nation and sky people interrupted. Infrastructure improvements, living benefits, things that past Commanders only thought about but not enact. She wanted to give her contribution that the others didn't give. But in wanting for the best for her people, there was a kernel of softness.

    "... Suppose I, myself, visit the outer villages. Suppose I require a healer to come along? You are about to become Ghavesh's second. You're not yet, correct?" Lexa's face remained as stoic as ever though her eyes softened a tad. "Your village is near the frontline. Not close enough to be in danger. Yet still close. If you want, you can come with me. You have yet to become Ghavesh's second. If you don't mind the company, you'll accompany me."​
     
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  10. A sense of relief rushed over her. The weight of her burden, of what had been heavy on her mind, was lifted at Lexa’s generous offer and a smile brightened upon her face. With a gaze grateful at Lexa’s kindness, Costia nodded and took the Commander’s hand in her own in a natural gesture of outpouring appreciation, saying, “Thank you. It means so much to me.” The sudden realisation that she had lost all propriety through the touch made her blink in surprise and fright, and she quickly let go. “My apologies, Heda,” Costia uttered, head down with a step back. Then she continued, looking at Lexa, “Ghavesh will not be pleased at your decision but I will make my preparations to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. I - ”

    Costia paused, interrupted by the worrying sight of Hayden running towards them. His expression grave, a hand on the hilt of his sword by his side, he stopped in front of Lexa with steady breaths. “I have news from the North.”

    With Lexa called for duty to do with the Ice Nation, the healer bowed to take her leave. There was no need for her to seek solace in the forest now; she returned to the hut with buoyancy.

    * * *

    Over in the northern territory under Lexa’s command lay the smouldering ashen remains of a village. Neapol was one of the Grounders’ larger settlements, prized and well-guarded for its strategic position against the Ice Nation and the natural resources that formed its veins. Now, blackened corpses littered the ground that covered miles of housing: every life that had throbbed within Neapol had been snuffed out.

    The sudden attack reeked of the destroyer’s deliberation and lethality. Like a crippling strike to a limb, it was a blow to the Grounders’ sense of safety, one that would aggravate paranoia within the fragile Coalition, and leave stark empty a pivotal guard post against their enemies; the major supply route that was a direct passage to Polis was compromised, too.

    They had been careful to erase all tracks of themselves: anonymity was a powerful tool in their arsenal.
     
    #10 sepia, Jul 7, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
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