Chased awake by shadows

Beyond the city of Rharne lies the Stormlands, which is home to a number of farms, forests, fields, Lake Lovalus, and the River Zynyx. This subforum also includes the Stormwastes to the south.

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Vega
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Fri May 04, 2018 5:52 pm

91st of Ashan, 718


There was no doubting it, Vega needed more sleep than him. Especially since Cassion's blessing, which complicated things on a number of levels regarding them sleeping, she had slept longer than him. She didn't like it, but it was what it was; however Vega being who she was, and them together being who they were, it meant that, by the time they fell asleep at Immortals knew what hour in their tent, Vega slept hard and longer than him. This night had been no different and one of her last lucid thoughts as she felt sleep overtake her was that she was going to need a lay in come the morning - which might well be already nearly there. She didn't mind, far from it in fact. That moment, the one where she was trill away from being asleep but was still awake was one she loved; his arms around her were what she felt and the sound of his heartbeat slowing back to normal was what she heard. Somehow, they were all encompassing and though she opened her mouth to tell him so, the only sound which she made was a contented sigh.

She still wasn't dreamwalking much, although now and then she would waken in her dreams and be fully lucid it was still a very rare thing that she did. Mostly, her dreams were simply growing less jumbled, less jagged and were instead more or less back to what they had been. Inside and out, her scars were healing and there was less and less sign that anything had ever been wrong. As she heard the voice in her head trying to wake her up, Vega was dreaming of running through a field with her cousins, her father and uncle chasing them and the sun beating down on them. There was a picnic to be had, but they were playing a game of tag before eating - her uncle was currently 'it' and they were running and giggling.

"Vega!" It was Iris, her familiar, who whispered to her, trying to rouse her but Vega's mind simply incorporated her into the dream. Iris found this immensely irritating, but it was what happened. "Vega! Will you wake up!" But the stubborn half-Sev'ryn was as determined in her dreams as in her waking state and so she slept. Between the noise outside, though, and his small companion who was both a companion and a guard meant that Arlo had woken. Outside, there was a noise, Lyova said and showed him what she was seeing. A single wolf, but unlike any sort of wolf that either he or his diri had ever seen before.

It stood at maybe four and a half foot at the shoulder and it was pure black. It looked like a huge shadow moving around and it was walking towards the clearing in the woodland where they slept. Or at least, where one of them did. As Arlo whispered her name in her ear and gently shook her shoulder, Vega's eyes immediately shot open. Wide eyes and rather surprised, she nonetheless recognised that he was waking her for some reason which was unusual. "What is it?" she signed, not speaking but looking at him with a bleary alertness.

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Wed May 09, 2018 1:36 pm

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When Arlo did sleep, he really slept, just like he did just about anything else these trials. Cassion's blessing as good as assured that. It was a thing, taking life at it's fullest. Every bit of it. It also tended to mean that Vega didn't get much sleep either, though he tried to remain mindful of his own level of energy, and interest, and remember that not everyone was similarly inclined. Sometimes he just forgot in the heat of the moment. He tended to wade up ravenous too, long before the suns came up. But that was breaks away at the bit.

He was just drifting off, halfway between aware and not, when his eyes flew open again in the dark as Lyova left a long stream of excitable chatter racing round and round in his arm. "Oh Arlo it's big! Biiiig!" she exclaimed excitedly. "On and it's teeth, you really ought to see this! And if that wasn't enough. Danger, Arlo Creede!" Sitting up, blankets still wrapped around him, he dryly informed her that there wasn't a man alive who'd still be asleep due to her chatter and he groped around in search of his bow.

Vega was already stirring, after he nudged her, and he was pulling his trousers and boots on, having caught wind of the sounds outside. It wasn't what you normally heard in the dark. Owls hooting, small woodland creatures skittering about. This was something larger and according to Lyova, big with very impressive teeth. Sure she was awake by then, he smiled a little and uttered in response to her question, "Look smart, I'm fixing to have a look." And then he crept to the door of the tent, quietly, looked out and caught a glimpse of the thing, that looked more like a shadow than a solid thing for how dark it was.

{b]"You might want a weapon on you,"[/b] he whispered back. He'd only heard stories about what he was seeing, growing up. But he immediately knew what it was. "When I was a kid, they called it a boomtail. It's a thundermaw, I think," he added then, and the name itself ought to speak volumes. It was dangerous. And unusual, from what he'd heard, that there seemed to be only one. Or was it just the first, a scout for others behind it? But very dangerous, he told Vega as he pulled a shirt on over his head and grabbed his sword. Watch out for the teeth, watch out for the tail. In fact, watch out for all of it.
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Wed May 09, 2018 6:04 pm

"It's in the casserole dish," Vega had mumbled when he'd told her to wake up. She was asleep, she was warm and comfortable and there was this boy who was waking her. Not in a good, fun way either and Vega glared until she was awake enough to realise that there was trouble. Look smart he said, and she moved. Vega didn't bother with pulling on anything over her nightgown. Not until she had hold of her sword, her bow over back and she had pulled her hair back from her face. Then, she grabbed a pair of loose trousers, pulling them on under her night clothes, such as they were.

He turned back and told her she might want a weapon, and Vega looked at him with a look which spoke volumes, but she said nothing. A thundermaw or boomtail? Neither of those things sounded good and she really was of the opinion that such things shouldn't be allowed out at night. He pulled on his shirt and grabbed his sword and Vega put her hand on his arm. "Arlo," she whispered to him and if he didn't pay attention to her, she shook his arm just a little. When she was sure that she had his attention, she looked at him and Vega experienced something quite strange. She was convinced that she was going to ask him not to take too many risks, not to charge in and behave recklessly because she loved him and for all that he thought she'd been strong, Vega was incredibly aware of just how hard it had been for him. From the moment that he'd seen her die, Arlo had been there with her. He'd changed the dressings on her legs, he'd bullied her to get moving and had held her arms as she stood.

She'd been in dreadful pain. He'd watched the woman he loved be in that pain and been unable to do anything about it. It must have been torture. She couldn't do that, and she wanted, for just a moment to tell him to be careful, to not take risks. Because she couldn't do what he had done. And as he turned to look at her, she couldn't say it. Because what he had done was love her with every fibre of his being and, if it had been the other way around? That was what she would do. Always, completely and without hesitation. So, for a trill, she stood there and looked at him, unsure what to say and then she reached her hand to behind his head and pulled him to her, kissing him. "You've got sleep in yer eyes," she whispered with a grin. Then, she reached and touched his bow, praying a quick prayer to Xiur. "It'll do what mine did on the ship, remember?" She could do the same with hers, she assured him.

Pulling her bow, she looked at him wryly. "Distance, far as we can? Iris can only see one'f em?" If he was happy with that, as a tactic, then that was what she'd do. But he knew these creatures and what they were capable of and so, with what amounted to a supreme amount of self control, Vega let Arlo go first. "My hero," she muttered behind him and then, she got ready to fight.

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Sat May 12, 2018 3:50 pm

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Getting dressed under ordinary circumstances was something else completely from those times when there was something dark, large, dangerous and something with very sharp teeth and a deadly tail skulking around in the shadows. Pulling trousers on inside out or a shirt on backwards in shadowy and close quarters was just part of the process. What mattered was being armed to the teeth and between him and Vega, they were.

Right. Thundermaw. Boomtail. Arlo had never seen any or even one of the things up close and personal. But there'd been plenty of stories about them when he was a kid. "Lyova's only told me about one," he whispered in as they both glanced through the flap of the tent and peered into the shadows. "From what I heard though they're almost always in packs. I wouldn't count on there not being more of them that show up." What else could the thing be doing but scouting ahead of the pack for something to eat? He packed up their stores carefully at night in order to avoid drawing predators. But then the thing probably wasn't after butter and spices and fresh vegetables. Not when there was living, breathing prey right inside the tent.

He had sleep in his eyes? That's what she said after looking at him for a long, silent few trills and he grinned, but curiously. There'd been things running through her mind and he could see it in the way her eyes shifted color. But she didn't say it. Maybe she didn't want him charging in, the way that he didn't want her to. But he also knew, and she knew, that each of them would do it anyway should their impulses or instincts tell them to. He grinned again, kissed and whispered, "I love you too."

Then he turned back, nocked an arrow in his bow and swung it out into the shadows. And then? He remembered the lens that U'frek had given him for his spyglass. He'd fitted it to the thing a season ago and reaching quickly he grabbed the thing and peered through it. And there it was, in all it's awful glory. Handing Vega the spyglass, he pointed. "There." The view she'd get was if she was spying the creature during the brightest trial's light. and it was big.

And yet neither of them could fire a bow while holding the thing. Which made Vega's boon from Xiur an invaluable one. The beam cut through the darkness, dead on with the thing and taking aim, Arlo let his arrow fly, straight and swift. Undoubtedly they'd both strike the thing, though he'd heard tales about how hard the creatures were to bring down, and about how much more dangerous they got once they were wounded. At the very least, an enraged howl split the night and all of a sudden there was the loudest, well, boom sound in its wake. One would think the ground shook from it, or at least the leaves trembled on the trees. No wonder they called it a boomtail, and it had swung its head their way.
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Vega
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Sat May 12, 2018 8:34 pm

They hunted in packs? Vega looked at him and hissed, softly, "I bloody 'ate Rharne, jus' in case I forgot to mention it. I was havin' a right lovely dream." Still, he accepted that he had sleep in his eyes and she grinned in delight when, after they'd shared a brief and passionate kiss, he told her he loved her, too. They couldn't hang about and chatter, though and when he handed her a spyglass, she looked and then let out a low whistle. "Schnizzle my snoot an' flibberty my gibbet, Arlo, that's bigger'n a big thing on big-trial in big-town. A'right, we'll jus' have more to kill. Come on." And outside they went.

Vega held her shot for just a trill until after his and then as it roared, she used the Nalos granted ability and followed the beam of starlight to shoot inside it's mouth. She wasn't as good a shot as Arlo, and she knew it, but she was more than good enough to do that and it's roar intensified. "Damnit, it's not dead," she murmured and as Iris communicated urgently with her, at the exact moment that Lyova did the same with Arlo, just... from the other side, Vega said something in Rakahi. He'd heard it before, but she was happy that he didn't know what it meant - and long may that continue. "Incomin' from my left," she said and she fired another arrow at the one in front of them.

They might notice that her arrow into the side of its mouth had embedded in. Sadly, Vega wasn't a good enough shot that she could get it far enough in and in just the right place. As the one in front of them charged, and the ones either side of them did the same, Vega said, entirely calmly. "Oh, nuts." The boom was something which Vega found hard to believe, although she had to having heard it and the ground seemed to shake beneath them. She had two more shots at the one in front of them, she reckoned, before the one to their left got to them. She was on that side, so she'd turn and fight that one, back to back with him fighting the one to their right, she didn't doubt. But as she loosed the first of her two remaining arrows, aiming again for it's mouth, Vega hoped that between the two of them they felled it this time, so that they'd both get at least one shot off at the two running in at incredible speed.


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Wed May 16, 2018 2:20 pm

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"Well it appears," Arlo had whispered once they'd spotted what was just outside their tent, just a stone's throw from their tent, "that its a little of falling right out of a dream and into a waking nightmare." That hulking, dangerous thing he meant and the very real likelihood that there were more of them where it came from. And yet, a thrill ran through Arlo's veins at the prospect of facing such a creature head on. Part and parcel of being blessed by Cassion himself. But if he was Cassion, he might have charged bare fisted from the tent already and begun trading blows.

As for that? "By the way," he said, just after they'd both released their first shots. "It's happened again. Cassion. Twice blessed." It was something he'd held back from telling her, though he hadn't understood in the beginning why he'd believed that he should. But just as promised, there'd been trying times, and those were now behind them.

He could have sworn that Vega's arrow had flown in through the beast's wide open maw, and that his had embedded itself in the creature's throat, which should have created a fountain of blood. But as Vega put it, it wasn't dead. Not even close and in a flash Arlo loaded up another arrow. She shot straight ahead, he swung his bow to the left and sank an arrow into the animal's skull that entered through one of its eyes. It roared in fury, whipped its tail around and took out the crates stored nearby the fire. Better the crates than him or Vega.

He swung back to the right then, just late enough that the one charging from his right caught him in the side with its lashing tail as it circled and took a swipe at him. Which meant it sent him stumbling and knocked the bow from his hands in the process. He landed hard, and knew he wouldn't get up fast enough to avoid being run over and slashed apart by the thing. On impulse, he trust his fist forward, the ring on his hand in the fore and focused, thinking hard. And wonder of wonders, in mid stride, the ground beneath the thing buckled up, surrounding and holding the creature fast, right where it was.

Grabbing his bow then, Arlo retrieved his bow, loaded an arrow and added his shot to Vega's, aiming for the one on the left and hoping that the other would be held just long enough to allow them to combine their efforts to dispatch one, without having to worry about the other.
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Wed May 16, 2018 7:29 pm

It happened again? As they'd both finished their first shot, Arlo Creede oh-so-casual like told her, oh by the way it happened again. Vega's eyebrow shot up. "When?!" She hadn't been asleep that long and if Cassion had been outside their tent earlier?! Oh, that wasn't a good thought the redhead considered as she drew and pulled on a second arrow. "An' is now really the time?" He probably just didn't want to die having not told her that, rather than wake her up, he'd scrambled out earlier on. "Is this your fault? Or his?" Vega's second arrow hit, true enough and so did Arlo's, this one in the eye and it kept coming. Vega said something in rakahi and then spoke to it directly, "what's it take to kill ya? Huh? Will you jus' snarklin' well die, you pile of goat dung!" It's tail smashed into the crates and she felt irritation rise in her. "I spent ages sortin' them out! Between the two of you," the two of them being the creature intent on killing them and Arlo, it seemed. "I don't know who's annoyin' me more!"

But with four arrows in it, it finally first slowed down, then fell, however then Arlo got knocked off his feet, "ARLO!" She was going to kill him when she got ahold of him, Vega determined. "Will you be bloody careful! Look where yer goin'!" Vega yelled that at the thing, but in fairness it could seem like it was him she was telling off. Maybe it was a little, though she'd admit it not at all. She had to focus though, and she did that by shooting at the one on the left. "When this is over," she yelled, and yes, this time she very much was talking to him. "I'm gonna pound you senseless!" Releasing the arrow, she aimed the same place as Arlo had on the one that was currently in the process of expiring - in the eye. "What a stupid time," and another arrow, but now she was having to back off and fire, quickly moving, "to mention that you've been off on a jolly with Mister Grab an' Kiss!" She wasn't moving fast enough, though, and had it not been for his efforts and hers combining together, she'd have been trampled by it. However, with Arlo's second arrow in it, it too fell to the ground with a thump, which left one.

"Are you a'right?" she called. He didn't get the chance to answer exactly, though, as the thing burst out of the earth and leapt at her. Without thinking, Vega dropped and tumbled forward, having to drop her bow of necessity as she tucked her knees to her chin and rolled underneath it just in time as it's vicious claws sliced across the air where she had been less than a trill before. As she landed, she turned and pulled her sword. "This is all your fault!" It was the speed of the thing which scared her as it turned, snarling and tensed to charge again.

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Sun May 20, 2018 2:25 pm

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"Before!" Arlo shouted vaguely even as he'd loaded up his second arrow to fire at the beast that had seemed completely nonplussed by the first round. He didn't shout because he was angry of course, but because, well, he wasn't entirely sure. The blood racing through his veins probably, or because Lyova was keeping up an excited string of dialogue through his mind. "You got him Arlo! Vega got him! He's really mad now!" It probably could have gone without saying.

What fault, he asked, letting loose that second arrow. That thing? "No. Least I don't think so and it seemed like as good a time as any." Or might have, had Arlo actually given it much thought. Vega's colorful language and curses even failed to fell the creature, and Arlo was beginning to wonder if anything could. Look where you're going, she shouted as he was beaten and tossed aside by the thing's powerful tail. It didn't not smart, that was for sure, and he was a little winded as he stumbled back up on his feet. "Before we left Scalvoris," he uttered as he spun round, looking for something to shoot at or stab.

"He told me something would happen but not what it would be. Made it plain it was better to wait. And the next trial something did happen." She'd died that next trial and was resurrected again, after all, and the times since then had been difficult, for all that they were much better now. "I'm alright," Arlo told her when she worried, though there was still a sharp and throbbing pain in his side. Happily though, the ring he hadn't thought to use before now, had worked like a charm. For as long as the effect would last, at least.

As it happened, it didn't last long. No amount of time would have been long enough however and he felt a surge of fear race through him as it charged Vega, and she ducked out of its way. He was confident enough with his bow now however that no matter Vega's close proximity to his target, it was a shot he could take all the same and with confidence. His options were limited given the beast was turned away though slightly sideways to wear he stood. But he aimed for the soft spot on the throat, just below the thing's jaw. Success, at least, and it was satisfying to witness a gushing fountain of blood sprouting out of the beast's throat.
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Sun May 20, 2018 4:03 pm

"Don't you shout at me, Arlo Creede!" Vega shouted at him. How very dare he? She very much did shout at him because she was angry, and getting more so by the trill. She continued shooting at these things, but when he said it seemed like a good a time as any, she let out a snort. "Did it? DID IT REALLY?" Damn him and his stupid way of thinking. When they might be about to die was not the time to tell her that he'd been marked a second time by Cassion. But then, he committed two more rule breaks and she determined that, if they lived through this she was going to kill him. First, and most importantly, he got hurt and didn't look where he was going and then? Before they left Scalvoris? "You've been 'idin' it from me all this time?" She wasn't looking at him, she couldn't because there were these damned inconvenient creatures attacking them but by all the Immortals, she wanted to pound his face in right now. "All this time? Like I'm some kind of...DAMNIT WILL YOU JUST DIE!" The last was to the critter, although later she might be prepared to admit that she should maybe have made that more clear. He knew, though, she was sure.

"Oh, did 'e?" Vega yelled, and she was yelling in pure fury at that point. "He told you not to tell me somethin' so importan' an' you tipped yer 'at an' didn't ask no more? You jog on Creede an' share his tent an' bedroll if you're listenin' to that crud." No, she didn't entirely agree with that logic, had to be said. But the thundermaw thing was leaping at her by this point and so Vega dropped and rolled. It turned on a copper and charged at her again and Arlo shot it, blood fountained but it didn't actually stop and as it charged straight at her, Vega waited until the very last trill and then she used a dance move she knew and she turned, spinning on her back foot, twisting so that it literally missed her by... well, actually, it didn't entirely miss her as the sharp point of the horn tore through the sleeve of her dress like butter. It left a minuscule trickle of blood where it touched her arm, but she didn't notice it at the time, pulling her arm back as she lined her sword up and then thrusting forward with all her strength as she stabbed the damn thing in the eye. In fairness, she was fairly sure it was already dead and it was just momentum that kept it moving, but just in case.

Which meant there was just one left, the one which Arlo had encased in earth and she turned, rushing back to where she'd dropped her bow in order to make sure that she didn't have to get close to it, sheathing her sword as she did. It was still stuck, although it wouldn't be for long she thought, mirroring his thoughts although unwittingly, and she grabbed her bow and fired, twice. "I can NOT believe you. Jus' when I think yer some kind of reasonable bein', you pull somethin' this stupid!" No, she definitely wasn't talking to the creature she was currently shooting in the eye and throat. "You patronisin', stupid, irritatin' an' soon-to-be single jerk" Even in a state of fury, shooting at a creature which was about to break out of it's restraints any trill and shouting at the boyfriend who she did not yet realise had only done his best in an impossible situation, she regretted the soon to be single comment as soon as she made it. But since she stood by the rest, she didn't stop, just charged on. "Treaten' me like I'm an idiot, like I've got to be protected from th' truth? From who you are? I get that he doesn't know me, doesn't know us an' is obviously not in a relationship with anyone other than you. But you? YOU!! Wot on Idalos were you even thinking?!" She'd shot it twice in the time it took it to break free. No doubt, he'd shot it too, but she didn't really notice as for the first time she turned to look at him with deep crimson and turquoise eyes.
Last edited by Vega on Sat May 26, 2018 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mon May 21, 2018 5:58 pm

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"I'm not shouting at you!" Arlo insisted, there in the thick of battle. "You're shouting at me!" Meanwhile, impossibly yet quite possible indeed, Lyova had stopped her darting around in flurry and clapped hands over her ears. Technically the diri didn't have ears or hands, being a magical creature. But she managed it. "Would everybody stop shouting?!"

Even though the beast had dropped to the ground and had stopped his charge, though he was still thrashing around, and even though there was already a fountain of blood spurting out of it's neck, Arlo fired off another arrow for good measure. It wasn't enough for the thing to be simply dead. It needed to be really dead. "And what time would have been better?" he asked and then regretted it instantly. It was a loaded question and Vega was sure to have an answer.

"He didn't tell me not to," he argued, working on catching his breath and swiping a trickle of sweat out of his eyes, "so much as he implied it was better. And then stuff happened and I didn't think about it again. Stuff that was more important, and it could wait." If she kept up this steady stream of mad, he might just decide that this row in large part was Cassion's fault, who'd probably be looking on in delight just about now. Arlo had grimaced though when the thing had inadvertently got her, and was resolved not to let a ridiculous argument be the distraction that caused some grave injury or worse. So he'd held his tongue and let her rage on till the danger had passed.

And then it was. Or at least that was the case after they both loaded the lone surviving beast up with arrows. Till it looked like a porcupine or pin cushion. "It wasn't about hiding the truth, Vega," Arlo said, finally standing back in order to assess both their injuries. His ribs ached but it wasn't the sharp pain that happened when there was a break. But certainly they were bruised. "We had more important things going on. And it wasn't hiding who or what I am. If anything it just makes me more of what I already was."

There were other things he'd tell her of course. About what had happened. About how the potion he'd taken that had aged him, that they'd fought over, had somehow in some way, inadvertently saved his life, in a sense, that night. Of course before he could tell her all that, she'd have to stop shouting at him.
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