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Vluharqih's First Memories of Uleuda

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Vluharqih
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Race: Yludih
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Memories of Uleuda

Memories
Arc 702, 122nd trial of Ashan
Vluharqih wandered, the shining city bright and glorious to her eyes. She smiled, and laughed, looking down at her shimmering arms. She twirled in the street, her head tossed back, soaking in the sights and sounds of this wonderful place.

Behind her, Warren and Ashley smiled at their little girl, her face a blank slate. Their faces were blurred, but Vluharqih could recognize their voices, and their presence wrapped Vluharqih in a veil of safety. She laughed and danced down the roads, her parents following her along.

Soon, the bells tolled, a pealing, clear sound above the murmur of the city, and her parents grabbed Vluharqih's hands and began walking. She was distracted, staring at the buildings they passed, buildings that appeared alive, and Warren was forced to pick her up. As they walked, they passed other Yludih, and Vluharqih began to see the first ones who had fully formed faces. Their structure was elegant, and the infinite facets forming their features caught the light, making them appear to glow. These ancestors smiled at them and waved the family on, their chisels and hammers pausing as they passed.

Before long, they appeared before the school. The massive, glittering building appeared as though it would touch the sky to Vluharqih, and when she looked down and saw the other children entering the building, she excitedly hopped up and down.

Her parents, smiling, brought her to a table set up in the front. "Hello, we are here to register our little girl for classes?" Her father asked, his deep baritone seeming deeper than normal. A grin kept splitting his face, no matter how hard he tried to hide it, and when he looked at his wife, she could see the pride he had for his daughter shine through.

"Yes, Sir. I'll just need her name, her age, as well as your names, and your city of origin. This is to provide additional information and teaching relevant to your individual locations. If you would like to provide her current forms, we can also teach languages and habits for those." Her chipper voice didn't show the fact that she had done this for hundreds of parents before, and would continue to do it for hundreds more.

"Her name is Vluharqih, and we are Vahmorquh and Gurvah. She is 7, and-"

"Seven and a half!" her little voice rung out.

Her father chuckled as he continued. "Yes, seven and a half, and we are from Ne'haer. We would prefer not to list her forms, if that's okay."

"Yep! No problem! Just let me finish these forms....and.... there. So she can head inside, and we can dismiss them ourselves. Enjoy the rest of your night!" She replied, ink flying from her quill as scribbled across several forms, and handed them off to an attendant.

Her father knelt beside Vluharqih, and stared at her face. "Now you behave, okay? And remember, you only use your real name here. Have a good night, little princess. We'll see you at home." As he gave her a tight hug, and whispered in her ear "I love you, Vluharqih, and I'm so proud of you."

With that, her parents turned and walked away, but Vluharqih didn't see that. She had already turned and sprinted for the doors. Her parents had taught her Yludih from the time she was young, but hearing the buzz of it among the other children was a novel experience for Vluharqih. She sat in a large, open room with hundreds of other students. A fuzzy-faced teacher walked in, and introduced himself to the class. “Good Evening class, my name is Vluhome. I am to be your teacher in the ways of the Yludih.”

The buzzing of the class slowly died down, and he smiled at them. "So, first we will divide you up based on language- those of you who understand Yludih, please stay where you are." He then proceeded to speak the same language she heard her parents talk in sometimes, and she noticed many students perk up at the sound of it. With a rumble of noise, most of the students stood up, and filed out the door. Vluharqih looked around anxiously, and saw about thirty students left behind. What am I supposed to be doing? Before she could get up, the man at the front of the room spoke again.

"Good. So you all understand Yludih, right? Now do any of you also understand Common?" A few children raised their hands, but most of the class just looked around, confused. "Very good. So, for those of you who don't know, this is going to be your formal schooling. It's probably the only schooling you'll get, but we're going to make it count."

He clapped his hands, and three more Yludih walked in, pushing carts overflowing with books. Each cart had a large name on it- one cart for each major city in Idalos. Vluhome walked over the a cart, and pulled out a large list. It was a list of books containing information about customs, practices, races, and history for that city. "You are all from different cities, so I would like you to go find your own cart, and wait there for further instructions."

Another rise of noise as the students jostled their way towards the carts. Vluharqih pushed her way to her cart, and looked around. There was only one other person standing at her cart, an she stared at them curiously. I didn't know there was another one who lives in Ne'haer!. They stared back, obviously wondering the same thing, before they both looked away awkwardly.

"Oooookay class. Now you'd better get started! These books are all in Yludih, so you should be able to read them. If not, ask someone for help. I want you all to pick out a book to read, and learn its contents. No matter where you are, or who you are, knowledge of your surroundings is always helpful." He strode back and forth in front of the small crowd of students, his hands clasped behind his back. When they didn't move, he turned and yelled "Well go on then!"

Vluharqih jumped at his voice, and looked down at the cart. She reached out for a book on the history of Na'hear, only to have her hand bump into another's. The other student looked at her, and withdrew his hand. "Oh, sorry about that! My name's Quhbah. What's yours?" His voice was high, but distinctly masculine, and as he spoke he held out his hand.

"Hey, my names is Al...Vluharqih!" She replied, barely catching herself in time. She shook his hand, and looked back at the cart. "I'm thinking I'll look at a different book- this one's all yours."

She flipped through the books, before one caught her eye. 'The Underground World of Western Idalos; Famous Crimes' .Ohh, I always loved hearing stories about daring escapades. Maybe this one will be interesting. She pulled it off the shelves, and headed back to her seat. As she sat down, Quhbah sat beside her. "I'm excited to read about this!" He said, as he returned his gaze to the book in his lap. After a break or two, and some incredibly interesting stories, Vluhome returned to the room. "Okay, so that's enough of that for today. Return your books, but don't forget where they are, or which one you read. You'll have to pick them up again tomorrow."

"Okay, next we are going to focus on one of the most critical tasks for any Yludih, no matter where you are or what you do: Meditation."Vluhome paused, as if expecting a response, but upon receiving none, he continued. "For those of you who don't know, Meditation is the key to remaining in Uleuda after death, not to mention the key to unlocking your inner ability to appear as various races and even animals." His voice was barely more than a whisper, and the class exploded at that knowledge. "What I can be-"

"Who knew that-"

"This is so amazing! I can totally be-"

Raising his hands, he slowly quieted the class. "Yes. So today we will begin with a rather simple exercise. I want you all to sit on the floor. Relax, it's clean."

He gestured them all down, and sat with them in a small circle. "Good. Now sit straight up, but be somewhat relaxed. Good? Okay, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Ignore the other sounds and smells. Focus on that feeling. The involuntary in and out of your body."

The class fell silent, devoid of noise. Vluharqih found it easy at first, but soon found her attention wandering. As if by reading her mind, Vluhome quietly intoned "If your mind wanders, simply bring it back to the breathing."

He had them remain motionless for almost a full break, and when he ended the session, the class was oddly quiet. None of the chattering that had occurred before was heard. "Good, you all feel different, right?"

Without waiting for their response, he quietly continued " That feeling is what you should feel after every meditation session. I want you all to practice meditation every day for a break in Idalos, before returning here for your schooling. And do not think of cheating- trust me when I say it is very obvious who has and hasn't followed my instructions." Slowly getting to his feet, he continued. "In a few months we will move on to walking meditations, where your body must continue a basic task while maintaining its solace and clarity. If it helps, instead find an object or repetitive sound to focus on. The idea behind it is to focus on one thing, and let the rest of your thoughts fade into nothingness."

He then turned on his heel, and called over his shoulder "On to our third section of school!" The crowd went down a long hallway, past classrooms filled with other students, until they came to the end, where a large door was inset in the wall. He leaned into the door, and it slowly creaked open, presenting a massive room, filled with rows upon rows of nondescript books.

"Here we learn how to change forms- purely theoretically, since it's impossible to change our forms up here. But you will choose your forms, and learn all you can about them. Also, for those of you who are unaware, you can also choose to transform into an animal-but you cannot change your size. This will take more practice than the other races, but the processes are identical. The books are not categorized, so take your time" He lectured them, his voice growing more serious as he continued. "They remain unsorted to preserve our anonymity. Do not attempt to discover another person's race under any circumstances. This will lead to severe punishment."

With that, he released them, and the children scattered to all corners of the library. Vluharqin headed to the back corner, and soon found herself alone among the stacks. The towers of shelves were made of pure crystal, and stood over a dozen feet tall. Ladders were lying on the floor of the aisles, but Vluharqin kept her eyes on the bottom few rows. Soon she spotted what she was looking for- a copy of 'Introduction to Avriel Customs'. Pulling the thin book out, she began to read.
Several breaks later, she heard Vluhome's booming voice echo throughout the chamber. "We are done for the day. You may go home!" Vluharqin got out the chair, and stretched. She hadn't finished learning about Avriels, but that was what she wanted to be. Free, majestic and powerful, she felt a strong pull towards them. This is my first form. This is who I want to be.

Heading back into her own body was not difficult by this point, and she felt herself return. She lifted her arm, and the heavy blanket shifted off it, revealing a decidedly pink hand. I'm back she thought, before passing out again.
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Vluharqih
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Arc 705, 12th trial of Cylus
Vluharqih sat down, exhausted. She had been coming here for years now, and every time she tried to decide on an animal, she never could. Becoming an Avriel was one thing, but this....this required thought. Her parents had forced her into the Avriel form, but this...this was her choice.

Vluharqih looked at the stacks of books lying around her, and sighed. There are so many of them, how am I supposed to decide?. She was currently leaning towards the Hyx, but she felt that it might remove the mystery and purity of them in her eyes.

Closing her eyes, she drew in a long, slow breath, feeling it rush through her lungs, imagining it rushing through her veins. Her mind began to enter a trance, and her breathing slowed, each one seeming to last a lifetime. As Vluhome had recently advised them, she focused on the pause between inhalation and exhalation. As her mind focused on that task, she began to realize how stillness is part of activity, and each cannot exist without the other. Her mind quieted, and she felt an intense sense of peace seep throughout her body.

She slowly opened her eyes, came back to the world. She peered down at a heavy, leather bound book entitled 'The Total Guide to the Grey Velox'. They're agile, powerful, fast...but I'm just not sure.

On her other side lay a plain journal, titled simply: 'The Obsidian Panther'. Inside lay plain sketches of the mammals, but their beauty and strength was evident, even through the simple lines of the artist.

"Hey there, whatcha lookin' at?" Quhbah poked his head around the corner of the shelves, and spotted Vluharqih among the books surrounding her.

"Hey! None of your damn business!" She shrieked, and threw a book at him. The peace of the previous bits had shattered, and she noticed her heart race spike. "You're not supposed to look at what someone's researching!" He moved to the side, and caught it easily as it flew past.

"Hmm....Habits of the Rare Hyx... You're trying to decide on your animal!" He laughed as he sat down opposite her. "You still haven't made up your mind? Most people have already successfully transformed into their animal!" His voice became more incredulous as he spoke. "Besides, it's an easy choice- you've gotta take a bird of some sort. An eagle, a falcon, something fast and speedy."

As he spoke, Vluharqih couldn't help but chuckle to herself. The more he described them, the more she saw the resemblance. He was a small boy, and skinny too. He looked as though a stiff breeze could blow him over- no wonder he could fly so easily. He was also the fastest, and incessantly bragged about it. Most kids didn't care about athletics in this world, as it didn't carry over to the real world very well, but Quhbah just wouldn't let it rest.

"Yeah, yeah. I get it. Still, maybe you can help me decide?" She asked, cutting of his praise of birds.

"All right, fine. But you're sure that you don't want to be a bird?"

Vluharqin hid her smile, and replied, trying to convince him. "Nah, I'm afraid of heights. I could never be a bird." Little does he know that I'm actually an Avriel. She chuckled to herself for a moment longer, before presenting him with the two books. "It's down to these two. What do you think?"

He looked at the two books in his hands, and leaned back. "Hmm, tough choice. I'd say go with the Grey Velox. It's a little more common down this way, and besides- the Panther lives way up north. You'd have a hell of a time dealing with the cold up that way. Besides, you've always reminded me of the Velox."

He tossed her back the leather bound book, and headed back down the passage way. She smiled, glad that her crystal hadn't evolved enough to show her blush. She tottered her way back to the chair, a stack of books in her arms. Who knew there was so much to learn about Velox? Breaks passed as she poured through book after book, discarding some, and adding others to her personal pile. The scribbling of her notes became more and more frantic as she copied over diagrams, images and personal accounts involving the reclusive animals.The stack of discards grew, and shrunk again as Quhbah appeared to lend a hand. She peered through ancient texts on their mating rituals- turns out that wild Grey Velox mate for life, and many will commit suicide if their chosen mate refutes their advances. They also will kill themselves if their mate dies, an odd practice to Vluharqih's eyes. She searched through the new journals of various adventurers, learning of their habit of marking territory with long, vertical scratches in the trees.

Before long, her head began to ache, and she closed the last book. Closing her eyes, she rubbed them and leaned back in her chair.

"Well? All done?" Quhbah asked, having just returned the last of the books. "About damn time- it's almost morning!"

Vluharqih sighed, realizing that she had a full days worth of work ahead of her. "Well, I can start practicing tomorrow then. I'm sure that Vluhome will be excited to hear I've finally chosen an animal." She smirked at the self-depreciating joke. "I'll catch you tomorrow?" She asked Quhbah, and disappeared before he had a chance to respond, slipping back to real life.
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Arc 707, 14th trial of Ymiden
Vluharqih slowly appeared, impatiently tapping her foot. As she slowly materialized, she hopped up and down. Come on, come on! The moment she made it in, she took off down the street. She whipped past the houses, their arching, organic nature causing them to blend together, giving her the odd feeling of being stationary.

She paused, and bent double, gasping. Maybe Quhbah was right about being a good runner here, it’s more useful than I thought…. Groaning, she pulled herself upright, and forced her legs to move through the burning pain. Up and down hills she ran, coming to a sudden halt, a full street of construction barring her path.

She quickly looked at the scene, and began moving again. She ran towards the right wall, and leapt upwards, reaching, stretching. Her hands barely grasped a protruding beam, and she adjusted her grip, using her momentum to swing back and forth, and releasing at the peak to fly, so blessedly free for a moment, before landing, and rolling along the scaffolding. She got to her feet, unharmed, before sprinting off again, jumping and reaching for another beam.

This time, Vluharqih jumped too far, and slammed her chest into the solid beam. She grasped it, gasping as she found herself unable to breathe. She slowly clambered onto the top of the beam, and knelt for a moment. Damn, that hurt. The clanging of the bells brought her back to the moment, as she stood up and jogged quickly along the length of the narrow beam. As she ran, her feet landed surely in the center of it, and she looked down at the street, dozens of feet below. Better not fall today she thought, remembering the countless times she had walked along something smaller, back with her parents in Ne’haer.

Reaching the end, she wrapped two scraps of cloth around her hands, and jumped for a rope hanging from the scaffolding above her. She wrapped her hands around it, and slid down to the ground. Ha, did it! she thought, looking back at the construction behind her, and tearing off down the street.
“Quhbah, Quhbah!!” Vluharqih cried as she pushed open the doors. Quhbah was sitting against the wall, and appeared to barely be materialized. “What the hell!” She yelled, rushing to his side. “What happened!!?” She looked him over, as if she could treat his injuries from here. “I heard that a gang found a Yludih today, and I came as soon as I could!! Are you okay?” Her words began to jumble together, and he gingerly lifted a hand, forestalling her next bout of questions.

“I’m alive, that’s the important part.” It seemed to take great focus to speak, and Vluharqih simply held his hand as he tried to get it out. “ I have no clue how they found out… I was always so careful when I was changing…” He winced, holding his stomach. “Huh, normally pain doesn’t carry over so well…. So much for that.”

“Who did this to you? I’ll make them pay!!” Vluharqih asked, and the venom in her tone made Quhbah look up in surprise.

“It doesn’t matter. My parents have already packed up our stuff- we’re already outside of the gates. It isn’t safe for us here anymore and…” His voice became quieter as he faded, becoming almost translucent before his face contorted and he pulled himself back. “I’ll still be here, don’t wor-“

Suddenly he vanished. Vluharqih stared, unbelieving, at the space where he was. No, no. This can’t be happening. No. Her mind began to think in circles, repeating the same words over and over, like an echo inside her head. Dead,
dead,
dead.


They had all been taught, from a young age, that it took time to appear here, and it took time to return to Idalos. There was no way to instantaneously return, hence why it was so important to be careful of where you slept. But he had disappeared… and that could only happen if he was killed.

Vluharqih sat in shock, blankly gazing at the spot on the floor where he was, so short a time ago. Her mind was a mess, and she was unable to move. She dimly felt people lifting her up, moving her, but it seemed like a dream. They laid her down in a bright room, and she stared numbly at the ceiling. Why him? Why now? Vluharqih’s vision slowly faded to black as she fell asleep for the first time in months.



EDIT: Part of a series, will be graded by Mal
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Come and get your Loot!

(There's plenty more where that came from)


VLUHARQIH:
Skills:

  • Acrobatics +1
  • Discipline +2
  • Meditation +2
  • Research +3
  • Running +1

Knowledges:

  • Basic
    • Animal Form Choice: Grey Velox
    • Horror and Anger: Watching a Friend Die
    • Quhbah: Fellow Ne'Haeran Student
    • Uleuda Location: Yludih School
    • Vluhome: Yludih School Teacher
    • Yludih Curriculum: Meditation is Fundamental
    • Yludih Location: Uleuda
  • Specific
    • Expert on the Grey Velox
    • Meditation: At Rest and In Motion
    • Meditation: Focusing on Breathing is a Key
    • Quhbah: Annoying but Friendly
    • Uleuda: Appearance Open to Any Design
    • Why be a Bird When You Can be an Avriel?
    • Yludih School: Choice and Theory of Transformation
    • Yludih School: Introduction to Animal Forms
    • Yludih School: Massive, Glittering, Crystal Building
    • Yludih Schoolbooks: Languages and Cultures of Idalos

Loot:

Just the Joy of Learning


Injuries:

The Stricken Feeling of Knowing Quhbah Died


Comments:

Yeah okay, a point of Acrobatics (you'll notice I also gave you "Running"...lol)
As for all that Velox lore, I just decided to lump it under the title of "Expert". That should cover it.
PM me with any comments or concerns :)
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