[Oakleigh] The road to truth

A settlement east of Rynmere across a stretch of water called 'the eastern trench' broken into three regions: Welles, Oakleigh, and Berwick.

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[Oakleigh] The road to truth

Postby Sintih » Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:18 am

Saun, 7th, 717th Arc
Oakleigh Estate, Oakleigh


arly mornings were quiet at the estate. Besides Sin, only a few people were awake. He'd seen the cook when he'd gone in to grab some breakfast, cold leftovers from last night, and the gardener had just arrived when he'd gone out to the stables. Thetfretr was working with the horses there, doing what he did best in silence. The fact that the deaf man turned around to face him the moment he stepped into the stables still surprised him. For a deaf person, Thetfretr seemed to be aware of a lot of things going on around him. He quickly tapped his fingertips against his chin with his right hand while holding his left hand out, palm down. His right hand moved down underneath his hand and back up, palm up so both hands were together and his fingers from his right hand were sticking out from under his left hand. "Good morning."

The sign was returned and quickly followed with a report on his activities of the day. "Begin checking horses me. Duke stable person good hard not do self." He grinned at Sintih and the Eídisi nodded at him, understanding. Thetfretr had been working in the Iron Hand stables for who knows how many arcs before he joined Sintih to go to the Eastern Settlements. Apart from the fact that both young men got along well and Sintih had shown an active interest in Thetfretr's language, the stable hand had decided quite abruptly to join and leave.

Sin helped out in the stable for a while, cleaning some saddles and making sure the horses were fed. He had no problem following the deaf man's orders in here as he had much more experience in here than Sin did. A break or so passed and Sin finished up his second saddle. "Going me. Lunchtime see you?" Sin signed after putting the saddle down. Thetfretr confirmed and Sin walked back out. Despite the season, the morning was cool and a little breeze was blowing over the estate. With nothing else pressing on his schedule, the duke probably wouldn't wake up for several more breaks, Sin walked down the long road leading up to the estate.

Dressed in his, former, Iron Hand armor, Sin enjoyed the warmth of Saun. The season was much better for him than any of the other ones. He didn't suffer from his illness as much due to the heat and he could go about without being wrapped up in however many blankets he could find. His asterism had to work less and he felt more energetic than the rest of the arc. As he walked up the way, his mind wandered to defensive positions along the way, which trees would make good archer nests, how to best stop a mob from killing the duke. Day-to-day concerns for a man in his position, he assumed. He didn't know the duke's bodyguards well enough to have asked them about it yet. Perhaps when they got back from Andaris with the duke he could ask them about it.

At the end of the way, Sin stopped and enjoyed the sun. Things had been going quite smoothly so far. The duke had accepted his services without too much trouble, the duke's sister aside. Hart, the duke's brother, or rather half brother, was the least noble noble he'd ever come across. The man's "civilian" upbringing made him all the more likable to Sin. The rest of the staff was friendly enough and after a few trials things had settled down to a steady rhythm. Despite Atolini's best attempts, Sin and company had settled in nicely. If he had to be honest, they hadn't really had to do anything in the way of bodyguarding so far. For what little time the duke had been home, he hadn't received any visitors nor had he done any public appearances either. While some would claim this to be boring, Sin found it best to start slow and get settled first before Aelig started messing with things. "Thanks for giving me the time to settle in, Father.
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[Oakleigh] The road to truth

Postby Hart » Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:17 pm

"Speaking in Rakahi"
"Speaking in Common"
Hart was dreaming.

Someone was hurting and he couldn't help them. The dog was lost. Aelig had turned into Jack and nobody knew except Hart. Except Jack was gone and Aelig was Mistral instead, and the cat's claws outstretched towards Tristan and Ayla while they slept. As the claws stretched they got longer, longer, and then all at once turned into gruesome, grasping fingers that sought baby and father alike. What was he going to do to them? Somewhere, someone was crying--

Hart woke with a start. Confused. He was tangled in blankets he didn't remember covering himself with. He had a cold sweat despite the heat of Saun, and at first he wondered if he had a fever. But when he put his hand to his forehead his skin was chill, almost clammy to the touch. So he took the blankets and wrapped them around himself tight and shivered.

Already he couldn't remember the dream. There was something he had to do but he felt he couldn't do it and it was driving him nuts. He reached for his sketchpad, maybe it had something to do with art, but he stared blankly at the page for a long while before setting it aside. He still didn't feel right, and for a longer while yet he just sat in bed, propped up against the pillows, and tried to calm the beating of his anxious heart.

When that didn't work, he went to his bag and got out the strange mushrooms Thorn had given him the other day, and went to the kitchen --avoiding the cook-- and brewed a strong cup of purplish tea.

Then he sat down at the dining room table and drank it, every last drop.

---

Thirty bits passed and he wasn't exactly disappointed, but nothing was happening. He felt antsy, and his heart still raced too fast like he was on the verge of a panic. He kept trying to remember the dream, certain that it had something to do with his state, but he couldn't rememeber no matter how hard he tried. If only he could remember who it was he was supposed to help--

--when he heard something, some strange far-away noise, and then Ayla let out an abrupt scream, not like the cry of a baby but a scream, and he was out of his chair and running through the house, blankets and teacup forgotten behind.

---

A while later and Hart stood in front of Ayla's door. He was breathing hard as if he had run, but he couldn't remember running, in fact he remembered walking to her room. There had been something he needed to do, some reason he had come here, something he'd felt was urgent, but the urgency had passed and now he just felt tired and cold and alone. He thought about opening the door but he wasn't certain Ayla was here at all. Had he heard her cry?

Instead, Hart turned to head back to his room and noticed a little brown dog prancing down the hallway.

The dog was walking away from him, following closely behind one of the house servants, a young lady, and it wasn't until the dog turned her head and saw him --and Hart saw her mismatched eyes-- that he realized it was Jack. He hadn't known it was her before because she was missing her tail.

"Jack!" Hart called, but the dog only dashed away, and he barreled past the servant girl, saying, "Excuse me!" but when he turned to her she had no face and he put a hand to his mouth and fell against the wall, about to scream.

Then he blinked his eyes and there was no girl there, not at all, and the fear was gone just as abruptly as it had come, and the dog had gone as well.

---

He was outside, down the drive, almost to the neighboring village when he saw the crystal man and his heart nearly leapt out of his chest. "Quio!" he called, rushing up to him, but there was something wrong and he squinted for a moment, trying to make sense of the crystalline features before saying in a calmer but somehow more miserable voice, "Oh, Sintih, I'm sorry."

Then he wandered away.

Less than a bit had passed and he was back. "You haven't seen a little brown dog have you?" he asked. Then he couldn't help but say, "Sintih, what are you doing outside?" He looked worriedly at the man, who did not look anything like an Eidisi; his illusion was gone. The sun shone brilliantly off his crystal body and there was a bright light in his chest. "It's just that I can see you," Hart said. "And I don't want you to be hurt."

"You should go home," he said again. Then hesitated. "But if you see a dog, will you send someone to tell me? It's just that she's lost, and I really need to find her." No matter how Sintih answered Hart would nod his head as if having heard an affirmative, before hurrying off further down the road.

The young half-Biqaj was dressed heavily for a day in Saun which might seem unusual, especially due to the flush in his face and the apparent dilation of his eyes. He had on a warm woolen sweater over his usual clothes and clutched a heavier coat in his arms as if prepared to put it on, but he was missing his shoes and customary sketching notebook, and he walked unevenly-- quickly, then slowly, then quickly again as if to catch up to something that wasn't there.
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[Oakleigh] The road to truth

Postby Sintih » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:45 am

e spent some time looking around, enjoying the quiet morning when a sound drew his attention back towards the house. He turned to see the Duke's brother running up to him. He'd shouted something at him but Sin hadn't been paying enough attention to it to pick it up. Hart stopped right in front of him as Sin turned to face part of his assignment. The man seemed on edge, energetic. He sounded sad when he spoke again. Sintih got the distinct impression that something was wrong, he just couldn't figure out what. Before he could greet the Venora Bastard, he'd already turned away from him and started walking away, slower than he had approached him. Sin stood perplexed, trying to make sense of the man's actions.

"Ser? Ser?" Sin called after him but Hart didn't respond for some time until he suddenly turned and walked back to him. Hart approached him again and suddenly asked him about a little brown dog. There was such a creature in the house? Sin tried to remember a dog in the house. He highly doubted there being one considering the devotion the family seemed to have for their cat. "I'm afraid not, Ser. I've only seen the duke's cat around. Sorry." The duke's brother responded with a totally different question, looking like the first one had never even happened. Something was really not alright here. "What am I doing outside? Enjoying the quiet morning, Ser." He didn't think questioning the man under these circumstances would get him anything useful so he decided against asking about his morning.

When Hart said he could see Sin, the Yludih tilted his head slightly, confused. That was normal, wasn't it? Sin tried to remember if there had been any reports about a party in the house or if Hart had left the estate. He couldn't remember anything about it. There was a wine cellar in the building so perhaps the man had spent some time there. It was all possible. Still, the way he acted was weird, even for a hangover. "I'm glad you're able to see me, Ser, but you shouldn't worry about me. I can take care of myself." He wasn't sure why he was trying to assure one of the people he was supposed to protect that he wouldn't be getting hurt. It was his job to get hurt in their stead anyway.

The conversation, if you could call it that, abruptly turned back to Hart's never before seen dog. "I will, Ser. Talking about going home, I think perhaps we should go back together." Hart nodded and Sin prepared to escort the confused man back to the estate but the Biqaj started walking away from the estate, further down the road. "Ser? Ser!" Sintih asked, then demanded for the man's attention but Hart seemed keen on getting away from the estate, without his shoes, walking unsteadily. Sin quickly jogged up to the man and tried to keep pace with his uneven movements. Hart kept slowing down and speeding up and Sin was constantly ahead or behind him adjusting to his new speed. "Ser, perhaps we should go back to the estate and get you some footwear before you go out?"

"If you're thinking of going out for a bit, we should get some horses as well. Thetfretr was just working with them and getting them ready for us." He hadn't been getting them ready but if Sin could lure the man back to the stables perhaps Thetfretr could help in containing the Duke's brother. Sin didn't really have a reason to stop Hart from going shoeless into the world but he'd felt something was off since the man had shouted at him. Well, harsh manners for hard matters. When Hart slowed down once again, Sin stepped up and in front of him, snapping his fingers in front of Hart's face. "Ser! We have to go back the estate!" Sin tried to put as much command into his voice as he could without giving Hart the training officer shout. Hopefully, the man was still present enough to understand that he was running away without shoes and did indeed need to go back home.
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[Oakleigh] The road to truth

Postby Hart » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:09 pm

"Speaking in Rakahi"
"Speaking in Common"

Sintih wanted him to go home and Hart paused when the crystal man snapped his fingers in front of his face. Hart, wincing at the command in the guard's voice, nonetheless stepped forward towards him rather than back towards the house when he spoke.

"Sintih, any other time I would be glad for you to accompany me. But really, you need to get inside." He had a bag slung over his shoulder, a messenger bag, and as he spoke he rummaged through it as if to look for something. Only half of his belongings were in there, the rest no doubt scattered over the floor in his room, and Sintih was right-- where were his shoes? Hart glanced down at his feet and shook his head. He hesitated for a moment, turning to look back the way he'd come, but decided he didn't need them. He was just looking for Jack.

Instead he returned to shuffling through the bag. After a moment it seemed he had found what he was looking for. He took it out and held it forward for Sintih to take. "Here," Hart said. "Look at this."

It was a little hand mirror. Hart used it when he shaved, but Sintih needed it now-- to see that his face wasn't as usual. He didn't look like an Eidisi. He looked like a Yludih.

How had that happened, Hart wondered as the man seemed to look into the mirror. Hart had never known a Yludih's illusion to break. He hadn't even thought it possible. And Sintih, for his part, didn't seem to know he was walking around without--

Or could it be--? A new explanation struck him.

Oh, Hart thought. He took the mirror back when Sintih was done.

"You didn't see anything, did you?" he asked. "Sorry. I took these mushrooms, did Aukey tell you about them?" It was hard to judge by Sintih's expression. "They cause hallucinations, and frankly I was told by the person selling them that that was all they did." He touched a small purple flower which was tucked behind his ear, a new addition to his wardrobe.

"Looking at you now--" He stopped speaking to look the Yludih over again, brow furrowed as he squinted against the reflected light. "Well, what if they do have another use? It would be bad if they revealed, you know." He gestured at Sintih who was positively glowing in the sun. "I wonder if there's a way to test that?"

He shook his head.

"And what am I thinking? This is all a, a, a, all a distraction. I came out here because I've got to find-- I've got to find Jack."

He was getting confused now, as he tried to sort out which parts were hallucinations and which parts were real. Could he really see what Sintih was or was that his mind playing tricks, and if he could really see him then was that because of the drugs or for some other reason?

And had he even really seen Jack?

Maybe this had all been a bad idea--

Then again, Hart wasn't one to let a bad idea stop him.

"I just, I can't go back to the Estate right now. There's something I've, I've got to figure out. And I think it's this way." He pointed further down the road.

"I do hope you understand. Don't worry about me," he said, because he could tell that Sintih did not want to let him go. "I know what I'm doing. I think. And horses would be nice," he smiled then, replying to an offer Sintih had made earlier, "but I've always been a ship man."

As if on cue a dark shadow passed over them like the clouds over the sun, and sea-blue eyes glanced up at the sky. Hart looked back down at Sintih and then, belatedly, let out a gasp and looked up again, quickly this time, eyes wide. "Speaking of!" A huge smile spread across his face.

"I knew it! I do have to go this way! Sorry!" And then Hart was running.

He knew it wasn't fair to Sintih, his running off like this, since it might look like he was running away from the guard. But it was what he had to do. And he wasn't running away, not at all-- he was running to. He sprinted as fast as he could along the road, avoiding rocks and sticks and other debris that might jab into the bottom of his feet, and ran and ran and ran.

There was a ship in the sky, a very specific ship, Hart's ship called the Jovy Akor, and he had to catch her. She was sailing on the light breeze and going much too fast for the failing wind, pushing past the clouds as she went. She pointed him down the road, towards the west and slightly to the north, and he ran as fast as he could as long as he could to keep up with her til he had to stop, bent at the waist and puffing and panting. A bead of sweat dripped down his nose.

He had gone right by the little village of Dewwich chasing her, and it didn't make sense but he knew-- he just knew she was leading him to wherever he needed to go. She would take him to Jack or she would take him somewhere else, and it didn't really matter where. His hopes were soaring like the ship in the sky. He could feel it, he was on the road to where he needed to be.

Too early after he'd stopped to properly catch his breath he began limping forward again. The road had turned from dirt to cobbles and it wasn't forgiving on the feet. When he could, he started to jog, shoving his sweater's sleeves up against the hot Saun heat.

The Akor was always just ahead of him but that was how it should be, for now. He was happy, just so happy, to see her at all.
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[Oakleigh] The road to truth

Postby Sintih » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:19 am

t seemed like the half Venora wasn't planning on going back. Instead, Hart insisted that he go back inside. His voice even sounded like he was actually worried about Sintih. The young Yludih couldn't possibly fathom why Hart would be so worried for him unless he was expecting something bad to happen in which case he definitely wasn't going to leave the half Venora alone. He couldn't just grab Hart by the arm, despite the man's many attempts at convincing he wasn't a noble and didn't need or deserve noble treatment. Atolini had made it quite clear that she did think that way and he didn't want to antagonize the young lady even more than he already had, although he didn't know how.

Hart suddenly got busy looking through his pack and looked at his feet as if he just realized he'd left his boots behind. He then pulled a small hand mirror out of his pack and pushed it into Sin's face, who did his best to grab it before the half noble let go of it. He could only see himself in the mirror. A plain and simple, rather sickly looking Eídisi. Empty white eyes, a pale blue skin and light scars just peeking over the neck of his shirt, stopping short of his jaw. It was clear that Hart expected him to see something else in the mirror. Sin slowly lowered it and looked at the young man. "I look fine, sir." Hart was quick to take his mirror back and confirmed his thoughts. The man was seeing things that Sintih couldn't. Something was definitely wrong.

Mushrooms, Aukey, hallucinations? Sintih really had to talk with the older member of his team. He hadn't seen him this morning yet and, as he'd planned, Aukey and Hart had formed some sort of bond, probably over U'frek, but that was about it. Hart seemed to clear up a little and, despite not knowing what he was talking about, Sintih nodded and tried to commit everything to memory so he could question Aukey later. The mushrooms had other uses than hallucinating? What did he mean by revealing? It slowly clicked in Sin's head. Yludih born and bred paranoia combined with a quick mind had his thoughts racing. Revealed, can't see it, have to get inside. All these things would make sense if Hart was looking at something different than an Eídisi bodyguard. But that was impossible. There was no way to reveal his secret unless someone cut of a piece of him. No, Hart wasn't making any sense, he was just out of it from his mushrooms.

Even Hart seemed to think so as he looked around, confused. His focus was most definitely not on Sin as the young half noble's eyes drifted all over as he was thinking. Then he spoke again. And kept talking, about things he absolutely had to do, places he had to be. Wherever it was it was away from the estate. And horses would help so it was a long trip. He definitely couldn't let the young man leave on his own now. Anything further away than Oakleigh town itself was dangerous. "Ser, I can't let you go on y-..." Hart cut him off as he stared up into the sky, gasping. Sin looked up and saw nothing. Hart kept talking as he tried to spot whatever had drawn his attention upward and by the time he'd given up and looked back at Hart, the young man was already running away from him. Quickly too, despite his lack of footwear.

Sintih balled his fists and clenched his teeth. "Damn nobles." He hissed through his teeth before turning and the heel of his foot towards the estate and the stables. Sintih sprinted down the dirt road to the stables and almost crashed through the door as it didn't open properly. Thet was still there, working, and Sin signed at him in a hurry. By the end of it he was sure he'd signed something along the lines of 'Get Gallien's boots and put them on two horses'. Luckily for him, Thet was smart enough to read even his broken use of the man's language. The deaf man set to work saddling both Sin and Gallien's horses while the Eídisi ran back out and towards the estate. He didn't care about the noise he made as he bounded through the hall and down the stairs to where their quarters were.

Gallien was still asleep when Sin threw open the door but he was up with a dagger in hand before Sin could take another step in the room. Argun was up in a similar fashion, weapon at the ready, eyes everywhere. "Gallien... Get dressed, we're leaving. Right... this very bit!.. Pack two travel... bags. Stables in a bit. Oh, and a pair of boots." Sin was panting between his orders but before Gallien could ask anything of him, he was already out of the door again. Aelig damn these bloody nobles and their noble way of thinking. In the hallway he bumped in Aukey, who was enjoying a bite of cheese. "Oh... oh! You. We're going to have words when I get back." Aukey just watched his boss point at him for several trills before the blue skinned man was off again. Before he could fully recover from the shock, Gallien ran out the door passed him as well.

Fifteen bits later, Sin was sitting in the saddle of his horse, signing some final order to Thet to convey to the others. "Tristan. Tell Hart go away.
Going with me, Gallien. Gallien come back with news. Iemes leader return me."
He then turned to Gallien as the youngest of his team got on his horse, one travel pack on his back, one tied to the side of his saddle. Somehow, he'd also brought a pair of boots with him. "Let's ride and talk." Sintih turned his horse and set down the road, Gallien had to rush his horse to keep up. "Hart up and left, you have to find him for me. He's on foot, without shoes." That was all the young tracker got from him but he didn't seem to care much either way as they both rushed down the road.

At the end of the road leading to the estate, it connected to one of the larger roads leading out of Oakleigh town. Sin pulled his horse in, looking left and right without a sign of Hart. How fast was this guy? "Anything?" Gallien looked left and right as well and let his eyes glide over the ground. He got off his horse and knelt down, holding it by the reins, to inspect the ground closer. It took too long in Sin's mind but he focused on the task at hand, not willing to agitate his only tracker. Damn nobles. A bit or so later, Gallien got up. "He went that way." The young man pointed away from Oakleigh. Sin didn't say anything but the way he spurred on his horse to move again told the young tracker more than enough.

Several more times they had to stop to check for tracks. The solid dirt road didn't help with the tracking and when it turned to cobbles, things got even worse. They'd past the only other village Sin knew of in the surrounding areas, Deww-something, and continued on without a sign of Hart. The stops in between seemed to take longer each time. "Are you sure he's gone this way?" Sin knew it didn't help and Gallien was wise or focused enough not to respond. He picked up the trail again and they set off once more. It only took a few more bits before they saw a single man on the road, bag under his arm and, apparently, limping without shoes. With the horses, it didn't take long for Sin and Gallien to catch up. Hart seemed to be just as exhausted physically as Sin was mentally. He was still fine. Sin passed him by a little and stopped his horse, sliding out of the saddle in front of Hart.

"Ser Hart? I've brought you some boots to wear and a horse to ride." Sin caught the surprised look on Gallien's face before the young man could get a hold of himself. He quickly signed a sorry to the young man. "Ser, you're wounded and tired. Please, just put on the boots, get on the horse. If you really have to go looking for your dog or these mushrooms or..." He glanced up at the sky for a second. "...whatever is up there, we can do so, you and me, we can go look for whatever you need, ser. Everything is fine back home so we can go on a little trip." Sin was almost pleading the half Venora to listen to him. He'd given up on keeping Hart at the estate once he'd ran away from Sin and somewhere in the time it had taken him to chase the half Venora down, he'd decided that giving him what he wanted was a better idea. Besides, how long could these mushrooms last anyway?
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[Oakleigh] The road to truth

Postby Hart » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:22 pm

"Speaking in Rakahi"
"Speaking in Common"

He was limping along, trying to keep up with the fast-moving ship, when the sound of hooves on cobble reached him and Hart turned.

Sintih and another of the guards --Gallien, the quiet one-- were approaching him with horses, and Hart paused where he was standing. He wiped at the light sheen of sweat on his forehead as he waited for them to catch up. "Sintih," he breathed out.

The way Gallien was looking at him made him think they were going to try to drag him back, and wouldn't that ruin a perfectly nice day. Well. A nice enough day. But instead Sintih offered him boots and a horse. Hart smiled.

"I told you I was a ship man," he said, but still he came closer. "Wounded?" he asked, putting his hands to his abdomen, near his heart, and then realized Sintih was talking about his feet. "Oh no, I'm fine, really." His feet did hurt and he thought he might have blisters tomorrow. But he was used to downplaying such things. It wasn't a big deal.

Still, "Boots couldn't hurt," he decided, not because he thought he really needed them but because Sintih sounded like he wanted him to have them. The horse was another thing. For one, it looked like Gallien was using it.

Then again--

Hart glanced up and saw that the ship had gotten well ahead. "Oh no," he said, and reached for the boots and began shoving them on his feet, trying not to further dally. They were a little too big, but Hart didn't even bother to tie the laces.

"Sorry," he said to Gallien, who had glanced at Sintih. The man seemed uncertain, but nonetheless looked as if he might dismount. Hart was in a hurry, he had to catch up to the ship before it flew from sight, but still he took the time to ask, "Are you certain? I don't need a horse--" He did, or he needed something, the ship was so far ahead of him, but he would rather not have the horse than take it from someone who might need it. "I could walk." Should either Gallien or Sintih insist, Hart wouldn't protest further. "Well, alright," he breathed, and would step towards the animal.

Hart didn't know a lot about horses, but he knew they were faster than walking. He had ridden a horse once or twice before.

It should be fine.

Getting up and down from the animal was always the toughest part for him, and the untied boots didn't make it much easier, but the seaborn managed to get up in the saddle and cling on. "Nice pony," he muttered, patting it, and without ado pressed his heels into the horse's sides to make it go.

Only with the unfamiliar boots and the unfamiliar mount and the need to get going now, apparently he'd squeezed just a smidge too hard.

The horse broke from a stand-still to a canter, and Hart thought, Okay, this isn't too fast, and was immediately jerked back in the saddle and almost lost his balance. He wasn't used to steering --was it called steering?-- at this pace and the horse was quickly off the cobble and into the grass. Its ears were pointed back at him as if trying to make sense of what he was doing.

He let up on the reins and thankfully the animal was smart enough to get back on the little road on its own.

"It's okay," Hart called to the others, because he was certain they would be questioning the decision to put a biqaj on a horse. Just like that old children's rhyme. But it was fine. It really was fine. The horse was pointed the right way now, still going too fast for the seaborn's comfort, but fast was good. And beisdes. He wasn't sure he remembered how to make the animal slow or stop.

"Th-th-th-th-this way," he got out, bumping in the saddle as he spoke, the muscles in his legs and butt and stomach already beginning to grow tired of the horseback riding, but once he was moving correctly he quickly got the hang of it. He was brave enough to take one hand off the reins to point forward, towards the quickly-disappearing ship that was already halfway across the sky. "There," he said, and for Sintih's benefit explained, "I-It's my ship." Every once and a while the horse gave another little bump. "The Jovy Akor. She's been lost for some time. I think-- I think she must be leading me somewhere. Towards wherever she's gone. Or towards Jack, my dog. Another thing I've lost this past season."

Or she could be taking him to Quio, his promised one, also lost. Hart had trouble keeping hold of things of late.

"I-I don't know how far," he admitted after a couple of bits of questionable riding. "At first I'd thought not far, it wouldn't be far, but now-- well, the ship's halfway 'cross the sky. Dunno if we'll be able to keep up."

He was still in good spirits but at the same time, there was a certain sadness to the way he spoke. He had seemed sad sometimes the past season, especially when he thought other people weren't paying attention or wouldn't care, though if asked he would smile and never admit it. He had a way of deflecting when people were concerned about him.

"Do you think it would be stupid," he asked, for example, "To try to break into a gallop?"
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[Oakleigh] The road to truth

Postby Sintih » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:36 pm

intih was glad to finally find the Duke's brother. They had only been separated for a break or so but the half Venora had managed to cover quite a bit of ground. He also looked like it, feet dirty and bruised, sweating, heavier breathing. His hair and clothes were both a total mess as well. And yet, Hart didn't look like he was tired or anything, he was smiling, energetic when they spoke and actively looking around and patting himself down for some reason. The young man glanced up suddenly seemed to get worried. He quickly tried to get on his boots, finding them a little too big, which was better than too small if he decided to keep on running to wherever he was going. Sintih was happy to see that Hart seemed ready to get on the horse.

Gallien, on the other hand, couldn't help his surprise for a trill. He looked at his commander and the Eídisi motioned for him to dismount. The second pack the young survivalist had brought was tied to the back of the saddle of Hart's future horse. His first pack was on his back. There was some hesitation from the half Venora in regards to the horse but Sin spoke quickly, making sure that it was clear to both men what the plan was from here on out. "Gallien will not be coming with us, Ser Hart. The horse is for you, as is the pack on the saddle. It should keep us going for a trial or two, three, depending on how quick we travel." Gallien held the horse by the reins while Hart got in the saddle. Even Sin, with his limited skill with horses, could tell that Hart had little to no experience riding the beasts.

Gallien had carefully held the horse still until Hart was properly in the saddle and was about to step aside when suddenly Hart rushed forward with his animal. Only his quick reflexes and the fact that he was already moving out of the way kept the young ranger from getting run over. Before Sin could react, both horse and rider were heading down the road... and off the road? Where was he going? Sin pulled the reins of his own horse to the left, turning it in a full circle as he hurriedly spoke with Gallien. "Return to the duke. Inform him that his brother is doing well and that I will report back as soon as I possibly can. I'm not sure how long this will take." The young man nodded. "Have a safe trip, ser." Instead of saluting, like a proper soldier would have done to his commander, he threw his pack instead. Sintih managed to grab it and threw it over his shoulder, waving over it to the young man before kicking his own horse, trying to catch up with Hart.

The Biqal has veered far off the cobbled road by the time Sintih had caught up with him. It did seem like he was getting the hang of it a little as his horse was starting to turn back towards the road. It looked more like Hart was just letting the horse do the thinking for their course than anything else. Hart turned to him to assure him everything was fine and Sintih nodded quietly. Apart from the fact that something mushroom related was totally messing with whatever the Biqaj could see and that the young noble had ran away from home without an escort, things were absolutely fine. They continued at a good pace, Sintih somewhat more comfortable in his role as a rider than Hart. Now that he'd managed to catch up with Hart and had a way to keep pace with him, Sintih could see the joke in the Biqaj on the horse, his voice shaking with each move of the horse.

Hart managed to point them in the right direction, which seemed to be somewhere up in the sky, if Sin literally followed his arm. Then Hart began to explain and Sin's asterism sank a little deeper. Whatever the mushrooms had done that made Hart talk about a dog and about something he could see that Sin couldn't in regards to the Yludih's face wasn't running out any time soon. Now there were ships in the sky? Lost ships in the sky even. And the ship, which was lost to make matters worse, was now leading him to his lost dog? Sintih groaned in the saddle. A quiet fell over both riders as they both did their best to gain as little bruises as possible from the off road riding they were doing. Hart was the first to break the silence, sounding a little less optimistic than before. "Well ser, if it's a ship, wouldn't it be leading you to the sea? The quickest route is still two or three trials of travel..."

He didn't want to put a downer on Hart as he spoke but there was no way they could ride in one stretch to Welles and the port there. From what little he'd understood from Hart's words, Sin knew that the ship was moving faster than they were and as Hart brought up the gallop, he couldn't help but shake his head. "I'm afraid that is not the smartest of ideas, ser." Sintih looked at the rider next to him. "Neither of us are the best of riders and our horses wouldn't be able to keep galloping for very long before having to slow down to a walk, or even take a break all together." For a moment, he kept quiet, considering a few options, before speaking again. "How far away is the ship now, ser?" Perhaps if he could get some information from Hart's mushroom addled mind, he might be able to come up with some sort of realistic solution that might keep Hart from riding them both all the way to Welles.

"I would also suggest you try to move a little with your horse, ser. Up and forward to the rhythm. Try to stand a little. Sort of like how you adjust to the motions of the waves on a ship... just... without taking a step. Sort of?" Sin did his best to keep the rhythm with his own horse but he definitely wasn't the best of teachers. Every two or three bumps the saddled dealt him another bruising blow. "It'll hurt less tomorrow morning." In an attempt to draw his own attention away from the riding, something he found made his body adjust on its own to the rhythm, Sin started to question Hart about his dog and his ship. "While we ride, would you mind telling me some more about your dog and your ship? I'd love to hear more about the both of them. You mentioned they'd gotten lost?" Hopefully it wasn't an asterism wrenching tale of love and loss... He'd heard some of Tristan's lines from the play so many season ago.
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[Oakleigh] The road to truth

Postby Hart » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:14 pm

"Speaking in Rakahi"
"Speaking in Common"

Sintih, for his part, was reacting gamely in his efforts to keep up with Hart. He hadn't done the easy thing and told Gallien to snatch Hart up and drag him away like the misguided herione in a romance novel, nor had he even really told him no, though he was a bit hesitant on the whole gallop thing. His advice on the riding actually made some sense, and Hart tried rocking with the horse like he would with the deck of a ship.

"Well I'll be." He straightened his legs somewhat in the stirrups so that his heels were level with the ground and sat up with better posture.

It didn't stop his muscles, already tired, from hurting. But it did help. "Thank you Sintih."

"The ship--" He looked up at the sky, squinting as if at something far away, and then sighed, "It's pretty far." He'd almost added a sir by accident when he responded and he smiled slightly. Perhaps he should start. "It's maybe ten miles ahead of us." He paused and corrected, "Sorry, ten nautical miles." He was always forgetting that land miles were slightly different than those on the sea. "And," he squinted again and said, "She looks to be gaining speed."

The road they were on was taking them almost directly to the west, though the Jovy Akor looked to be flying west and just a bit to the north. Sintih could be on to something about the ship taking him to the sea. In fact, it was a pretty good deduction. Currently, they were heading towards Welles.

"Welles then," he agreed. He adjusted his posture whenever he felt himself wanting to slouch.

With his eyes still fixed to the ship, which was almost past the horizon now, Hart answered Sintih's questions.

"Well the dog, Jack, honestly--" He stopped, trying to be economical, but then it all rushed out, "I'm a terrible dog owner. I came to Oakleigh and Jack was here with me and then one day in early Ymiden I just realized she was gone and I didn't know where she was or when I'd last seen her or if she was alright." He took a breath and told himself to slow down.

"I looked all over." He had gone out in searches, before Sintih and his men had come, usually very early in the mornings. "But I couldn't find her. I thought maybe she had gone outside and someone had seen her and taken her home. I hope so." It was better to think Jack might have a new family than that she had gone out and gotten sick or died.

It was obvious it weighed heavily on his conscience.

"I really hope she's okay."

"The ship, though, that wasn't my fault," he said.

"I came to Rynmere about an arc ago with my promised one. Do you know what that means?" If Sintih didn't, he would explain. "It's like marriage for the biqaj."

He looked away from the Jovy Akor in the sky for just a trill as he considered something, and when he looked back she had vanished completely. "Oh no," he said. "The ship's gone."

As he continued speaking he sounded distracted. His eyes searched uselessly for the vanished ship.

"My promised one lost the Akor to some lowlife scunner." Obviously a person of ill repute. "I guess he went out for a bounty-- pirates, he could never resist going after pirates. And his partner, some guy he'd met at the docks, abandoned him in peril and took the ship instead. She was worth more than the reward, after all." He shrugged.

"My promised one ended up getting the bounty regardless, and so we took the pirates' schooner. The Blackheart." He said the name of the ship with obvious distaste. He'd hated that ship. "But then I guess something happened and last Ashan he took the Blackheart and left, so now I'm here and he's," he looked down at his hands on the reins, "somewhere else. I don't know."

"Sorry," he said after a brief pause, knowing that was not exactly what the other had asked. He glanced over at Sintih and couldn't help but laugh at the look on his face. Like he regretted the question.

"Welles is a long way off, isn't it?" Hart continued after a moment. The Jovy Akor had gone from sight, but as Sintih had pointed out, they knew the most likely place she had been heading. He tried to use a chipper tone. "You really don't need to come all the way with me. You've got duties to Tristan."

"I'll be alright on my own."

"Sintih, you--" He had been about to ask about the other man, maybe trying to think of a way to inquire if he was really a Yludih, when he paused and seemed to listen. Hart turned slightly in the saddle and glanced over his shoulder.

"Huh. People coming. Oh wait. They are there, aren't they?" He wasn't sure --it could be a hallucination-- but he looked over and saw the guard had already turned.

Real, then.

There were three people behind them on horseback, quickly gaining though they didn't look to be riding too fast. Perhaps it was that Hart and Sintih had slowed. They were relatively far away; just close enough that the clatter of horse's hooves could be heard.

They must have come from Oakleigh town. That, or Dewwich. Hart didn't know of any other villages around.

"Busy road," he said, though the dirt-and-cobble roads around here weren't usually very busy at all. Oakleigh wasn't too highly populated. The Eastern Settlement had a reputation for having more people than Rynmere, something the Settlement seemed likely to boast, but Hart wasn't too sure of it. The countryside had always been so sleepy around here.

"Huh," he said again, and then tried to manuever his horse to the side of the road so that, when the others caught up, they could easily pass.

But as the others came near, they slowed.
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[Oakleigh] The road to truth

Postby Sintih » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:52 am

art seemed to have calmed down somewhat. While he continued to look at the sky and whatever ship he saw there, he seemed clearer, more responsive to the things Sintih did and said. As they continued along the road, Hart's eyes to the sky, Sin's eyes to the road, the duke's brother began talking about his dog, Jack, and how he'd lost him. It all sounded mostly like the dog had simply up and left but Hart made a big deal off of it. It was just an animal. The ship's story, however, seemed to interest him more. "I've never heard of 'promised one'." He quickly admitted to Hart's question. The answer came just as quickly. Why didn't he just say wife then, if it was a Biqaj term for marriage? Silly Biqaj.

Sin shook his head lightly when Hart's focus shifted away from the conversation. He'd gone on one of his mushroom bits again. Looking at Hart, he got the general idea of which direction the ship was going. What little he knew about Eastern Settlement maps pointed it in the general direction of Welles, as general as one could with a distance of three trials still left to go. So he'd been more or less right about the boat, then. Despite having lost sight of his boat, Hart seemed to take Sin's thoughts to heart as he didn't freak out about it too much. Or perhaps the mushrooms were finally starting to lose potency and he was getting back to his normal self. The boat story continued as Sintih paid attention to their surroundings as best he could while making sure Hart didn't suddenly gallop away again.

While the general story was of little interest to him, there was a surprise in there for him. Apparently Hart's wife was a 'He'. That explained the use of the 'Promised one' term, rather than the more common choice. If he hadn't been a bastard, his parents probably would have treated him just the same if they'd found that out. Hart continued to talk about his ship, clearly emotional about some of the things that had happened or that he named. He sighed when Hart apologized at the end of the story. He'd expected something more but apparently that was all. Both his dog and his 'promised one' decided that Hart wasn't all that he'd been cracked up to be and up and left him. Sin could see why the man was using mushrooms. A sudden laugh pulled his attention to his companion.

"Yes, according to the maps it should be roughly three trials from Oakleigh to Welles." They did have the packs with them that Gallien had packed but he wasn't sure how long those would last them or if they fulfilled all of Hart's noble needs. Although, from his stories, the bastard seemed to be quite capable of travelling on little to nothing. "It's no bother. I-..." Hart stopped to turn and Sin looked back with him. He had to admit, he was impressed. Hart had picked up on them even over their conversation and the sound of hooves on the road. Impressive. "They're there." He informed Hart as he wondered if they were real or not. Hopefully the mushrooms were finished by the time they woke up tomorrow morning.

The three riders closed in on them, Sin could tell that quite quickly. Hart and him didn't keep the fastest of paces, which Sin thought to be a good thing, so other riders would most likely catch up with them. As Hart started to maneuver, inexperienced as he was, to the side, Sin followed suit and positioned himself so that he was between Hart and the incoming riders. "People are always travelling, no matter what roads you follow. Let's just stay to the side a bit so our horses don't get spooked by the noise." Hart had quickly shown how bad he was with the animals and Sin knew fully well the limits of his own skill. Neither of them had the skill to control a wild horse.

The riders came closer and closer and Sin made sure to check his blade. Not there. In his rush, his worry for Hart, he'd simply grabbed horses and packs and hadn't thought about his weapon. What an oversight. Sin cursed at himself mentally as the riders approached. They seemed to be slowing down, either because they were nice people who didn't want to spook other horses by suddenly galloping past or they wanted to ask them something. It was either one of those or trouble had already found them. Cynical as he was, Sin reached for the only other weapon he always had available.
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[Oakleigh] The road to truth

Postby Hart » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:15 pm

"Speaking in Rakahi"
"Speaking in Common"

Sintih's horse came between his and the others' and Hart found it best to let his own horse do the steering for him. The animal was well-trained; as long as Sintih's horse was slightly in front, it seemed Hart's own would simply follow without needing much direction at all. There was an iffy bit where he had apparently tugged the reins a little too hard and his horse momentarily went from road to grass again. But he eased up and the animal easily corrected once more. He patted the horse's neck thankfully as he watched its ears swivel towards the newcomers on the road. Hart turned to look at them as well.

There were three riders. They'd come up behind them fast and one of the riders, a man, pulled ahead of them with a nod and kept going. With a kick of the heels his horse broke into a canter, and he quickly pulled away, putting distance between them in the front. Likely he was not with the other two.

The others had approached quickly from the rear but now abruptly slowed to his and Sintih's pace, clipping along behind them. One pulled to the side of Sintih, a woman, smiling. The woman Hart recognized; he was certain he'd seen her in Dewwich before. He'd seen her 'round the center of the little town. The man with her looked vaguely familiar, probably also from Dewwich, then. The man, like the one who had passed them by before, gave a nod and Hart smiled and nodded back, glancing at Sintih as if curious before looking back at the others.

"Hail," the woman said, and Hart said back in a friendly voice, "Hello there."

"We thought that was you," she said, and Hart tilted his head slightly as he bumped along, as if in question. The woman's smile widened.

"We were heading out ourselves and Lyla noticed you passing by," the man explained. Lyla was one of the Oakleigh Thorns-- one of the great merchant families of the Eastern Settlement. Hart had met her twice now. The Thorn family managed Dewwich's little hospital and dealt in pharmaceuticals. In fact, Lyla was where Hart had gotten the mushrooms, though she had not been entirely happy about agreeing to let him buy them. She'd thought they might be dangerous to him. He knew otherwise.

"You didn't look well and she was worried," the man said. "Since we were heading out she wanted us to stop by and ask if you were alright." He looked pointedly at Sintih then, though his gaze refocused on Hart quickly enough.

Hart sighed. "I'm fine." Lyla ran the hospital; she was younger than him by a few years, in her late teens, but seemed to be far more cautious. She was very careful about her customers. More careful than the rest of her family, it seemed.

"You sure? You really don't look well." Hart felt okay; he glanced at Sintih again. The guard hadn't mentioned that Hart looked unwell, actually it had been the other way around, and surely he would have? Now that Hart thought of it he was a little overhot, perhaps his cheeks were flushed, but that was surely due to it being Saun. It was expected of the hot cycle. He shrugged.

"We could ride with you for a while--" The woman indicated the road ahead with a short laugh. "We're going in the same direction." There was only one road here, none branching off, if Hart remembered correctly, until they neared the border between Welles and Oakleigh.

Behind them, if one traveled to Oakleigh town, there was a small nexus of dirt and cobble roads which led from the capital to the rest of the region-- specifically, north. But for now, here, there was only one direction to go, unless one wanted to head back towards Dewwich and Tristan's Estate. "I'm Chelsea, by the way. Was Lyla's handmaiden in the big house." That was how citizens of Dewwich referred to the Thorn manor.

"And I'm Marcol," the man said.

"Hart," Hart said, though he suspected they already knew his name. If not from Lyla then because he had been hanging around Dewwich of late, and he knew for a fact that news had spread there about Tristan and his look-alike brother.

"And you are?" Marcol asked Sintih, giving him a strange look again. "We saw you come by not so long after Hart ran past the town. You were with another man, though we passed him heading in the other direction on foot a while back."

"A friend of Hart's?" Chelsea questioned, obviously more curious. Marcol-- Hart wasn't certain, but he seemed suspicious of Sintih somehow, which didn't make sense.

"I'm really okay," Hart said, though it didn't seem to make any difference to Marcol. He kept looking at Sintih with an intent expression.

OOC: I'm so sorry for the delay. I've been feeling quite poorly the last week or so.
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