[Trono, Alainn] Which Way is Up

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Lady Alainn, Jun 15, 2014.

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  1. Early evening's leafy shadows stole across the young elven maid's still form as she lay slumbering on one of the Great Oak's broad branches. One arm crooked behind her head and rested against the tree trunk while the other draped across her abdomen and gently rose and fell with each breath. A leg dangled languidly from the limb as the slipper on its other end balanced haphazardly on her big toe. With her finely chiseled features relaxed and full lips smiling softly as she dreamed high above the ground, she made a very pretty picture.

    The unruly chocolate tresses that normally cascaded down her back were piled atop her head in a loose bun. Several strands of hair had escaped and tickled her nose. She swatted them away as if they were a fly. Down, down, down fell the shoe until a light thump signaled it had reached the ground.

    "Hm?" She stirred enough to open a vividly green eye. It was then that she noticed the odd quiver in the bark upon which she rested. Scooting herself into a sitting position, she straddled the branch and placed a hand on the trunk. Footsteps. She frowned, lifted her hand away for a moment, and then placed it back again. It was true, the tree was vibrating with strange footsteps.
  2. Somewhere amidst the forest of old, a human treaded heavily with a drunken gait. His filthy rended clothes were like the broken wings of tree fowls. His head and shoulders were sunken and his hands seemed to search for something in the air as he neared a small pond.
  3. The young elf swung herself around the large trunk and shimmied down the tree, curiosity getting the better of her. Once her feet touched solid ground, she placed her palm on the bark one last time to determine which direction she should run in search of the footsteps. A tiny bell attached to the tip of one of her elongated ears tingled lightly as her ear twitched. It was almost as if she were listening for them instead of feeling for them.

    "Aha! There he is!" she gleefully exclaimed. Whether friend or foe, a stranger in her wood was still an adventure to break up the monotony of her day. Bursting into a full run, she cleared ground as swiftly as a gazelle, her toes barely touching the earth. She heard the stranger before she saw him and was able to dig her heels into the warm dirt to bring her to a stop behind a tree. Cautiously, curiously, she peered out and watched the fumbling man. He was stumbling toward a pond. She watched him a moment more. He did not seem to have malice in his heart...and it was painfully obvious he was not aware of the pond.

    The maiden swung herself up into the branches of her shield and scurried across an overhanging limb until she was right over the man. Her movements were precise and fluid, sounding not unlike a skittering squirrel. She hung upside down and tilted her head to get a better view of him. It had been ages since she'd spoken to anyone and it took her a while to piece together a verse of greeting in Common Tongue.

    "Wanderer fair, what does he here,
    Stumbling towards the pond so near?
    Is he foe or is he friend?
    What does he here at day's end?"

    Her sing-song inquiry was directed to the forest creatures, but she didn't mind if he answered her.
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  4. Perhaps he felt her, perhaps he heard her but one thing was clear; he knew she was near.

    The tall man straightened his back to look around him revealing his long black beard and shaggy black hair. Despite his instinctual attempt to see that which quietly followed from above, he knew it was futile. And so the man, evidently not from these parts, decided to ignore whatever lurked. Be it creature or nymph, he had a task to complete. With a swat to the gentle breeze, he thought, 'perhaps it will go away if I ignore it.' Nevertheless, such was far from truth.

    It was then that a voice, obviously not of man, possibly dwindle or gnome queried a melodic tone. With a bitter and purposely cold voice, while coming ever so nigh to the pond, he flatly responded, "leave me be child, I eat children."
  5. Crawling a few inches more along the branch to keep up with the man, she hooked her legs around the thick bark and dangled down until only a few feet remained between herself and the dark-haired head of her visitor. In the same style of song, she replied to his statement, her tone ranging from a mild indignation to a teasing jab.

    "Such mean words this one utters!
    I should prefer it if he mutters.
    But what does he, this stranger here,
    In my wood where none come near?
    His filthy clothes look ripe with age.
    Perhaps he stumbles into pond to bathe?"
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  6. Being so close to him, she must have seen his unfocused and uninteresting brown eyes. Her sweet voice was as a lovely gift given to a man deep in his sleep. "Argh grr," half growled the grumpy man as he came to an abrupt stop that caused his foot to slip on the muddy earth. Had the sojourner a longer moment; he would have yelled and screamed according to the madness within.

    It was then that a single toe touched the cool waters amidst the humid forest and for a time refreshing his dry spirit. Forgetting, if such were verily possible, that nuisance of a creature for a few moments he came to his knees. Like a buck who pants for water so did he put his mouth into the pond.

    But that wasn't enough. Had it been so long? He did not want to wet just his mouth but his whole body. He decided to delve within and threw his broken shirt and pants onto the dry earth. Maybe for a second, just maybe a smile tried to become known from the weeds of bitterness that had grown.
  7. He's blind! The thought sobered her instantly as compassion welled in her heart for the harried man. He couldn't see the brilliant gold tendrils of sunlight as they caressed the pond before slipping into shadow. He might not even know night would soon be upon them, and with night came... She shuddered. It was best not to dwell on what lurked in her forest after the sun had gone to bed.

    Dropping from her perch she landed softly on the balls of her feet, detecting for the first time that one foot seemed to be lacking a shoe as earth squished between her toes. Retracing her steps to find it could wait. She crept closer, observing him curiously as he lapped the water like an animal. Whether she should speak again or quietly keep watch to see what he was about she did not know. So consumed was she with her inner musings that she did not notice him start to undress until it was too late.

    "Oh!" Hands flew to her hot cheeks and she whirled around to avoid seeing him indecent.
  8. The strange man knew no shame as he quickly bathed. Upon finishing, he turned to grab his clothes but had lost track of the immediate direction. With a false confidence, he stepped out of the pool of water dragging his feet on the damp dirt and green grass in search of his clothing.

    If a creature durst observe his nakedness they would notice, he owned muscular legs and arms that were moderately hairy. His lower abdomen was not flat but slightly rounded. His back bore a black symbol of a moon near the loins.

    As he sought for his clothing, dusk was turning into darkness. While it was true that he could not visibly observes the glorious lights; he came to learn that nature manifested itself in many ways. For e.g., he noticed that at night an odd fragrance seemed to subdue certain areas that in turn caused moths stick to his clothes. However, the native to the forest understood that it was the Rembark Catchfly - a bluish white wildflower whose petals were like teeth. The hairy plant, a bit shorter than a man, only bloomed during night hours emitting a fragrance that attracted insects like moths.
    #8 Trono, Jun 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  9. Hands clasped tightly and pressed to her chest, the little elven maid squeezed her eyes shut to give the curious stranger as much privacy as possible without losing his position in her forest. Her ears twitched at every splash and swirl of water as he bathed, the small bell tingling wildly at the tip the only sound emanating from her statuesque form. Her visitor was not long in the water and soon sloshed along in the bank, no doubt in search of his clothes. Considering his handicap, he could be rummaging through the brush for hours.

    She bit her bottom lip. They were far, oh so very far from her little cottage in the tree! Her safe, snug, happy little cottage that dared any night dwellers approach and scoffed at their feeble attempts to trespass into her territory. All around them, the trees moaned and creaked as a strong wind blew through with night close upon its heels. Suddenly, she wanted nothing more than to curl up in a blanket with a book and a cup of chamomile tea. The only thing standing between her and her fantasy was this man. Slowly, ever so slowly, she turned back towards the pond, keeping her eyes trained on the ground. There were his discarded clothes. She approached them quietly, knelt to gather them in her arms, and scanned the bank until her gaze fell upon two dirty feet attached to glistening, muscular legs. Her skin prickled with heat as the fiery flush spread onto her cheeks again. She stood, gaze sticking to the feet like glue, and walked towards the man with his clothes outstretched in her arms.

    "Here...your clothes are here." Her voice gained strength as another rush of wind chased an unknown prey around the foliage. "We must take shelter before the winds cease. Have you a place of safety?"
  10. As the blind man took the clothes a chary expression came upon his countenance. In times of old, the city dweller bore impeccable discernment. He was able to distinguish a mans intentions by the light or darkness reflected from their eyes. However, in these last days he was lucky to know between his left and right hand.

    He sloppily redressed his wet body. After a small pause he asked with an almost authoritarian tone while tilting his head to the opposite side after every few words, "is it warm? Do you have hot food?"
  11. She winced as the demanding words fell from the stranger's lips, but no amount of rudeness would keep her from offering her hand of help. He was in her wood and therefore she must be hospitable.

    "If it's comfort you seek, then hot food your tongue shall taste." Her fingertips brushed the man's hand. "Take my hand, we must make haste!"
  12. The drenched newcomer to these forests exhaled deeply. His hand began to move on its own for he could not help but put his large, callused fingers on top of her silky hand. What he feared the most came upon him. His heart began to pump again causing him to feel and see old memories.

    Upon touching her, indignation pricked his heart and resurfaced upon his face in a way only he understood. But such sorrow was invisible to the naked eye and as a star twinkles into darkness so did the aged pang return to its abyss.

    In an uncaring, rough voice he spake, "Let's go already. I'm hungry."
  13. The elf laced her fingers through the ornery man's, the leathery palm of her hand a sharp contrast to the rest of her smooth skin. Somehow...somehow she felt safer with his strong hand enveloping hers, though he was blind and she the guardian of the forest. She smiled softly to herself. His own reaction went unnoticed as she focused on getting them to safety.

    It took her but a moment to sniff the air and set their course in her mind. Gripping his hand tightly in hers, she took off running through the dense undergrowth. At every sight of a gnarled root or large stone, she held out her free hand and chanted a few unintelligible words. Instantly the obstacle flattened or rolled to the side to grant the man safe passage. The wind was howling now and as it whipped viciously around their bodies, the distant sound of a wolf cry joined in, sending shivers up and down the guardian's spine.

    Hurry! They must hurry!
  14. With a slight pull of his hand and arm, the visionless visitor allowed himself to be led as a dog follows his master. Where, why were unimportant as long as heat and food were provided. Running for the most part was of ease but trusting someone else always proved difficult, especially when blind. At first his body would unconsciously show reluctance for fear that she'd lead him into a tree or a profound pit of sorts.

    On the contrary and rather rapidly, the stranger began picking up speeds matching the lady of the forest. It was as if her gentle touch gave a temporary peace to his madness. Her voice, though an unknown tongue, was a helping hand amidst raging waters.

    As the travails of a woman giving birth so did he unexpectedly stop after feeling the violent winds muster all sorts of threatening smells. His head turned to the direction of the cries with a fearless glare.
  15. The maiden was unprepared for the abrupt halt, losing her balance as the solid stance of the man countered her propulsion. With a squeak, she found herself yanked back and falling on her rump against the man's leg. Her green eyes peered up at his features in confusion. They were so close to her home! Using her grip on his hand to help herself to her feet, she pressed close against him as another howl broke loose from the wind. It was closer than the first. A violent shiver wracked her small frame. She tugged on his hand in desperation.

    "Please...please...we must go."

    As she spoke the fierce winds began to ebb, the last of its fingers rustled the branches overhead and disappeared through the foliage. Her ears perked up in alarm, her head turning wildly from one side to the other. Memories from the last time she had spent a night away from her hearth played around in her head. Painful memories. Her entire body trembled. Fear widened her eyes and saturated her voice. "We must go..." she whimpered, but already she was beginning to think it too late to run.
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  16. His distinct chin was up, chest puffed and his head tilted as he gave ear to the many silences.

    The first silence, the bastard son of silences, was comprised of or rather the absence of wolf howls, rushing winds, and the treading of bare feet. Most people were only aware of the bastard son, although a true warrior spirit knew never to rely of such ruckus and silence as it usually was a deterrent to something benevolent or perilous.

    Now the second silence was the father of all silences. In this situation, the silence was menancing, dark and very loud. To the frail or inexperienced, it made legs tremble, teeth jitter, eyes close, pants wet and those wise enough - run.

    With little to no inflection in his voice the stranger uttered matter-of-factly, "they want to eat you." If eyes unaware gazed upon him, they'd see his semi-matted stalagmite hair cover the ear that heeded darkness' voice.

    After he spake, he shifted his head and body to the general direction of the Guardian of the forest. It was then he took note of the third silence - fear. Fear was something that this man did not know - consciously that is. He then ran to the woman girl and extended his hands into her rough palms, if she allowed it. And grabbed her, the way a father his child within both arms.

    "Be unafraid. You are a bright star," he said in a deep, manly voice. He then continued blindly running in the direction they had been, breaking the silence that was and is no more. But as he ran whatever lurked in darkness ran also, as a shadow never leaves a man. It was then that a large oak tree stood in his path about the height of three men's distance.
    #16 Trono, Jun 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
  17. A gasp squeaked from her throat as strong arms enveloped her body. Instinctively she curled into his warmth, tucking her head into the stiff folds of his shirt. He smelled of earth, grime, and rainwater. His scent, along with his voice, soothed her and images sprang into her head of a rocky cliff standing firm against a battery of ocean waves. Her hands clung to her rock and she fought back her fear. It would only give the darkness more power. Then they were running again. How he could be so sure of his footing she did not know, but she was certain the forest would lead them safely.

    In the darkness a large oak tree towered above the forest floor. Her tree. Though night pressed in around every angle, the gnarled branches gave a soft shadow of light. As they drew nearer, the light shimmered and moved as hundreds of fireflies flitted about the ancient oak. They slowed as they approached. A rope knotted every few feet and lit by the illuminating insects dangled by the trunk. The elf held out her hands as the rope slipped between her fingers and thrust it into the man's hands.

    "Climb," she commanded him. Bounding from his side, she drew out her little dagger from the sheath strapped to her thigh and stood guard against the dark, groping fingers. Numerous pairs of red eyes peered at them from the surrounding forest. A snarl, not unlike a wolf but also very much not a wolf, erupted close by her. Shivers consumed her body until even her toes tickled from the sensation, but she held her ground and pointed her dagger in the direction it came from.
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  18. Having the rope in one hand he jumped, thus letting her go completely as she clung to his body like a spider, grabbing onto a higher point. He allowed part of the rope to fall off of the outside of one leg, while using the other foot to lock a piece of rope in place. Each leg changed positions quickly. To those viewing it was as if he took turns bringing a knee to his chest and constantly springing himself higher.

    As he climbed, he could feel he that lurked coming so close. It was a rush that caused him to laugh and say, "not tonight you won't." As he said those words the gnashing and bearing of teeth were heard while they climbed the trees many arms.
  19. As each tendril of darkness probed at the Tree, it evaporated with a shriek as it made contact with the insect shield. Each shriek came nearer and nearer the Tree as he came closer. The shrieks morphed into words like a faint echo on a wind... "My love...." it cried "Come to me..." The form from which the Darkness came separated from the darkness of the night until she could see the being distinctly. Like a man but not a man, as a wolf but not a wolf, the hairy humanoid with glinting fangs reached out a hand with claws. It pleaded with her, beseeching her, with glowing blue eyes. "Save me..."

    The little elven maiden slowly edged backwards into the trunk of her Tree, dagger pointed at the horrific being, until the fingertips of her free hand touched bark. A note pure and sweet emitted from the ancient bark. It coursed through her hand, up her arm, until her whole body shone. In a great cry, her child-like voice joined with the deep voice of the Forest:

    "Hear ye beings of the night
    Ye shall not shelter here tonight!
    Go back to the mountain from whence you came
    And tarry there 'til Sun shall reign.
    Then ye shall hide in cave and tree
    Until Night again shall beckon thee.

    But here ye enter my domain
    Where Night has not the power to reign.
    Begone ye creatures dark and foul!
    Not one more note shall ye howl!"

    The Darkness receded and a peaceful calm descended upon the Forest as the stars began their twinkling in the twilight. Shaken but not immobile, the maiden clamped her dagger between her teeth and vaulted up the rope to the front porch of her cottage. Once she reached the landing, the dagger clattered to her feet and she collapsed with a heart-wrenching moan as her shoulders shook with her sobs.
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  20. It was most probable that the elfess of the forest did not notice what had become in its entirety. Surely her power and majesty was strong enough to cause darkness to flee even in the night. So strong that the blind man was forced by the light of her voice to flee into the deep of the forest, once again. But why? Was he too a foul creature of the witching hour? After sprinting, stumbling and standing afar from the blazing light which he could not see but felt as hot coal within his blood, within his dark soul. At a distance he looked back - if that was even possible. Hiding under a tree vine his normally lazy eyes seemed to be looking toward the direction of the elven princess of the Rembark forest. After some moments, in a twinkling of an eye, he disappeared into the blackness of the dark horizon. A place most durst not follow.

    Days later near a few small cascades a few goblins stirred havoc. The brownish green creatures laughed wickedly as they tied two men and two women to a young tree.

    "Please don't eat us," cried one of the ladies. "I will give you money if that's what you desire," she beckoned. But when she saw that they didn't respond her plea turned into wails.

    A blind man who also had been tied calmly told the woman and the other two if they listened, "the reason they don't answer is because they don't understand common. Their language is known only by few above ground. But I seem to understand them. They don't want to eat us. They just want our toes and fingers. It seems someone sent them."

    The only other male replied, "how do you know this? Are you a goblin pretending to be human?"

    The blind man ignored his ignorance but whispered to himself, "if such were true. I'd at least know who I am."
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