• Memory • Memory: Passing Muster

Vincent's Journey to Ivorian and the trials he faces.

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Vincent D'Ordyn
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Memory: Passing Muster

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It had been over a dozen trials since the boat had left the city of Andaris and set out for the Ithecal city of Ivorian. Vincent sat in a chair that had been bolted to the floor to ensure it wouldn't move during times of rough weather on the open seas. Across from him, shackled at the wrists and chained to a bolt in the floor, sitting on a small wooden bed with a wool blanket and an extremely old and well used mattress for padding was his charge, Valeria Felstar. A woman of average height and build. Clad in what must have once been a decent set of travelers clothing, though after spending sometime in the prisons of Andaris the outfit was now torn in numerous places, and covered in a thick layer of dirt, sweat, and maybe a little blood. The woman glared at him through her hair, matted by the same filth that covered her clothing. Her hunter green eyes, staring daggers into him. Valeria was a thief of some note in Ivorian it seemed. Wanted by the Ivorian Militia for multiple acts of theft, fraud, and counterfeiting. It was almost ironic that she had been caught in Andaris for little more than a matter of taxes. Vincent just stared back, not affected by the hate that seemed to radiate from the woman. Early on in the journey he had tried to make conversation to pass the time, but that had earned him little more than grunts and sneers.

Vincent stood, double checking his charges bindings to ensure their security, then left the cabin. Sitting had stiffened his body and he decided to get some fresh air and sunlight. As he walked through the lower portion of the ship, Vincent adjusted his leather armor. Normally he would have been in either chain or plate armor, but both were inconvenient for traveling. At his hip hung a longsword, and back in the room sat his shield, both plain looking but extremely functional. When he finally made it up to the main deck of the ship the smell of the sea hit him. Breathing deep the aroma of salt and sea, and letting the sun bathe his face in warmth for a few seconds, Vincent couldn't help but smile a little. The weather was warmer, but the breeze from the sea dulled the bite of the heat. As the second passed and Vincent returned to himself and continued to where he knew that captain of the ship would be, near the helm. As he approached the captain saw him and a smile split his face. "Ah, Knight D'Ordyn, decided to join us on this fine day?" He asked, clasping arms with Vincent when he drew near enough.

Vincent returned the smile, "It seemed a waste to spend the entire day below decks." He replied letting go of the man’s arm and stepping back to lean against the wooden railing of the ship. The captain, Trillion, was a good man. Well into the prime of his life, but still going as strong as any man half his age, he had come highly recommended by an U’frek friend. So on that recommendation, Vincent had hired the man and his crew to transport him and his charge to Ivorian as quick and quietly as possible. The man had done everything asked of him, and had been more than hospitable to Vincent, and Valeria alike. Thinking back to the woman shackled in the cabin below, dirt covered and clad in rags, he decided to ask the man a favor. "Captain, do you think I could trouble you for a washtub, soap and a change of clothes. I'd happily compensate you for the clothing and soap."

Trillion eyed him for a moment, seeming to weigh the knight's words for a moment before answering. "Aye sir, I can do that. I'll even have Albert fetch you a few buckets of salt water for the tub, and no need to worry about compensation. Just join me and mine for supper, we'd love to hear some stories of your time in the Moseke Knights. The sea can be a dull place at times." Smiling at the last bit Trillion turned and shouted. A few seconds late a boy, only a few arcs younger than Vincent himself appeared. "Albert, I want you to fetch a washtub, some soap, a change of clothes from the store and take them to Knight D'Ordyn's room. Then take a few buckets of seawater to fill the tub for the Knight." The cabin boy nodded once and turned to leave.

"Leave the tub and clothing at the door I will take them in." Vincent said straightening from his perch on the railing. The cabin boy looked back at Vincent gave a hurried agreement and was off. Turning back to Trillion, Vincent shook the old seaman's hand again, "Thank you captain. I'll join you again later in the day," and with that Vincent left the captain at the helm and went back to his cabin. Looking around as he entered the room Valeria was where, and how he'd left her. Sitting on the edge of the bed, hair hanging over her face, and still glaring at him like he was the vilest person she'd ever met. It was quite a look; not sure he'd ever seen someone pull it off so effortlessly before. Shutting the door Vincent leaned back against it and just returned to the staring match they had been having before his brief trip to the upper deck. They both held their positions as the moments ticked by. After a handful of bits, there was a knock at the door. Straightening, Vincent opened the door. There sat a small washtub with a folded change of clothes and a bar of soap sitting atop it. Albert was nowhere to be seen, Vincent assume the cabin boy must have run off to fetch the water. Grabbing the items off the top of the tub he moved them inside and sat them on the chair he had occupied before. Then he returned for the tub, shutting the door behind him as he brought it into the room. Valeria hadn't moved, nor had her glare moved from him, but as he placed the tub in front of her she did do something that took him by surprise, she spoke.

"Plan on making me watch you bathe, Moseke Dog?" she growled at him. Her voice was a little hoarse, Vincent assumed from the lack of use over the past few trials. It might have even been pleasant otherwise, if not for the scorn and hate that seemed to trip on every word she spoke.

Before Vincent could respond, there was another knock at the door. This time when Vincent opened it Albert stood there, laden with four buckets of seawater. Taking the buckets from the boy and thanking him by way of a silver nel, Vincent returned to the room and his charge. Emptying three of the buckets into the washtub, leaving the fourth beside it, Valeria continued to sneer at him. Vincent just let the look slide off him as he had done since the start of the trip. After he'd finished Vincent collected his shield and pack and moved them outside the door, before returning to stand before Valeria. Looking down at the woman Vincent finally spoke. "You're a mess, covered in mud, and the Immortal's know what else. Bathe, change, and cause no trouble for me or the men of this ship." With that Vincent pulled the key to the shackles from one of the pouches on his belt and undid Valeria's binds. For once, the glare slipped, replaced with something else for a second before returning a second later. "Remember, no trouble, or this will be the last time I let you out." With that Vincent retreated from the room, shutting the door behind him and took up watch, leaning against the wall next to the door. After a few moments passed, he could hear the sounds of water splashing.

After what seemed like half a break had passed Vincent pounded on the door. "Clothe yourself woman, and sit back on the bed." He called through the wooden door. Giving her a few bits to comply he opened the door. As he stepped in a bucket came flying at his head. Vincent had been expecting it though. Ducking the bucket and grabbing the arm that held it, he twisted and pinned it to her back. To the credit her, she did not drop the bucket right away, forcing him to apple more pressure to her arm. Eventually she let the bucket fall to the floor with a hallow thud. During the brief struggle Valeria never shouted or cursed, if anything she seemed strangely calm. "I thought we agreed no trouble." Vincent said to the back of the woman's head as he walked her back to the bed.

"I don't remember ever agreeing to that." Valeria said as Vincent returned the shackles to her wrists, a smug smile on her face. Now that she was clean Vincent could clearly see the woman that had hidden beneath the grime. She was easily attractive, if not beautiful, though the clothes that Albert had brought her did little to show off her body. Her hair was a fiery red and though a little stiff from the salt water was much more vibrant now that the mud and been washed from it. Catching him examining her washed appearance she spoke again, "See something you like?" She teased, the same smug smile still painted across his face.

"Not in the slightest Felstar, just making note of the changes in appearance, encase you attempt to make a run for it later." Vincent replied, all of his cool military calm, even after her little attack. Picking the bucket back up he began to empty the tub out of the little porthole window. After a few bits he had emptied enough to be able to lift the tub and carry it out of the room. Leaving it beside the door and returning his possessions to their place on the far wall of his room. Again, Vincent walked over to Valeria, reaching down to check the restraints on her wrists and the bolt on the floor. As he went to leave the room Vincent stopped, back to his charge and door handle in hand. "I will be eating with the captain and crew tonight. Would you like something?" Vincent waited a bit, no reply. He could feel it though, the glare had returned and fallen on the back of his head. With a heavy sigh, Vincent pulled the door closed and went back to the main deck.

Many breaks had passed and the sun had disappeared from the sky long before Vincent returned to the room. As he entered the room he noticed that Valeria wasn't sitting on the edge of the bed, where he normally found her upon his returns. No, she had lain down and the steady breathing coming from her form suggested a deep sleep. That was a first, normally she waited for Vincent to nod off before allowing herself any rest, and was always awake before him in the morning. Closing the door behind him Vincent crossed the room. Stopping at the head of her bed, he knelt down and placed the cloth full of bread, dried meats, and fruits on the floor, before standing and crossing to other side of the room to lay down against his pack. A few bits passed, and Vincent started to drift off to the gentle rocking of the boat on the sea.
Vincent - Them - Others - Thoughts
End Part I
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Vincent D'Ordyn
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Memory: Passing Muster

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It had been twenty trials since Valeria’s bucket attack. The trails had passed mostly the same as they had before the incident, with silence, dirty looks, and the occasional rude comment or obscene gesture. They had taken on a routine of sorts. Vincent would awake to glares and silence, ask if the woman wanted anything to eat, often answered with silence though on occasion she would give him a request. Often something involving quite nasty and profane. His favorite to date was her request for his eyes on a skewer, with some kind of glaze. Today had been no different in that regard, but at about midday something broke Vincent from his bored musings as he leaned on the railing starring out at the sea.

“LAND HO!” came a shout from above, snapping Vincent back to attention. Looking up first, then to the captain, who was looking to the bow of the ship. Following his gaze, Vincent couldn’t see anything at first. As the bits passed, Vincent began to doubt the man’s eyes, then slowly, as if watching it rise from the ocean itself, land began to come into view.

Turning back to the captain, Vincent called out, “Is that it?” he asked pointing off to the land that was just on the horizon.

“Aye sir, that is Yithiral.” Trillion responded, turning the helm to adjust their course. “We should reach the island by the end of the trial, and be in Ivorian before tomorrow night.” The captain continued, looking out across the water to their destination.

With a nod and a wave, Vincent walked to the bow of the ship and looked out at the rising mass of Yithiral. Another trail or so and his duty would be done. His charge delivered to the Ivorian Militia to stand trial for her crimes, and Vincent returning to Rynmere with the goodwill of the Ithecal people. Taking a deep breath of the sea air he couldn’t help but smile a little. The trip had been surprisingly peaceful when compared to the patrols he ran throughout Rynmere. Letting the smile fade and stepping back into his role as Knight, Vincent turned from the sea, and their destination and headed back for his cabin.

When he entered he found Valeria as he always did. Sitting on the edge of the bed, glare locked on him, and sneer twisting her mouth. Walking across the room to his chair, he sat returning the stare. “Yithiral came into sight a few bits ago.” He stated, not really expecting much in the way of conversation with her. “We will be in Ivorian in little over a trial.” At this the woman seemed to deflate a little. Her glare sliding from his face and down to the floor. As if the news of their imminent arrival seemed to take some of the wind from her own sails.

Vincent sat there, silently staring at the top of the woman’s head. The bits passed, and soon so had a break, it seemed a second break would pass in much the same way. Then for the second time that trial Vincent’s routine was broken. Valeria spoke. “Tell me dog, why did you join the Moseke Knights?” The question shocked him, the woman hadn’t said more than a handful of words to him since they met, none of them nice, and never one that showed any interest in Vincent as a person. “Was it money, or maybe the power that can be obtained through the ranks?” Her eyes rising to meet his again as she finished, a fire dancing behind them.

Vincent thought for a moment, before breaking the silence that had followed her question. “My father.” At first he could see confusion in her face, but that soon gave way to scorn, and something else. Disappointment maybe.

“So you joined the Knights just to make daddy proud? Did he not tell you he loved you as a boy, was he not there to hold your hand while you rode your first horse? What a pathetic man you are dog, throwing your life away for the approval of one man.” She muttered her eyes slipping back to the floor.

She was baiting him, he knew it. She was trying to get a rise out of him, get under his skin. “You misunderstood my answer Valeria. My father was the reason I wanted to join in the first place. Not to make him proud, but because I was proud to be is son. His men would die for him, and he would do the same for them. The people respect him because he is unwavering in his resolve to do what is right, and his want to make a safe a protected place for people to find peace.” As he spoke, Vincent couldn’t help but smile a little as he thought about his father. “I could care less about the money, or my rank in the Knights. I want to be a shield for the peace that my father strives to create for the people of Rynmere, and I will fight naked, alone, and without my rank if that is what it takes.”

At some point Valeria’s eyes had returned Vincent, and there was a small smile on her lips. Not the ever present sneer that he had become accustomed to seeing, but a genuine smile. The moment lasted on a bit, and then was gone. Without word Valeria laid down on the bed and rolled over turning her back to Vincent. “Still so naive, little knight.” Was all she said before falling quite again. Vincent didn’t push the subject, still reeling from the shock of the whole conversation. After a few bits, it seemed Valeria had drifted off, so Vincent followed suit and let his eyes drift shut.

Something brought Vincent out of his slumber. As his eyes opened he noticed it was dark, a few breaks had passed since he had fallen asleep. At first he couldn’t place what had woken him. Valeria was still on the bed but she too was awake and propped up on an elbow, head cocked as though listening for something. “What’re…” she cut him off with a gesture before returning to her state of alertness. Then he heard it, a series of noises, like knocking coming from the bottom of the boat. As the noise passed Valeria’s eyes grew big in panic.

Jumping from the bed, she pulled at the shackles and chain at her wrists. “Get these damned things off of me.” She demanded. Looking from her binds, to Vincent, to the area that the noise had originated from. Then it was back, the knocking on the bottom of the boat. This time there were more knocks, and the boat seemed to groan under the onslaught. With that Valeria’s panic doubled, as did Vincent’s own worry. Standing, and walking for the door Valeria called out to him. “Don’t leave me here, not like this…” Looking back at the woman, Vincent didn’t see the same self-assured woman that he had been sharing a cabin with for the better part of the last cycle, but a woman who was terrified and in need of help, “Please.” She whispered seeming almost to fold in under the weight of the word. Vincent sighed. Walking back to her he kneeled down and undid the lock on the floor bolt.

Chain in hand he led her from the room and up to the main deck. The ship’s crew seemed to be running every which way. Some in the masts, others on the deck securing lines, and more still near that railings. Looking at Valeria, she too seemed to be taking the scene in before noticing his eyes on her. She said nothing, but nodded in the direction of the helm. Vincent understood the meaning, the captain.
As Vincent approached the old seaman this time there was no warm greeting or pleasant exchange. “Knight D’Ordyn, I’m glad you awake. I didn’t have any spare men to send to your cabin to wake you. My apologies, but it seems we have hit a bit of trouble.” For the first time since he had approached the helm, Trillion glanced over to where Vincent stood. For a second Vincent saw fear and panic in the old seaman’s eyes, the same he had seen in Valeria’s. If Trillion was shocked to see Valeria on deck with Vincent, it never showed. “It would seem we have stumbled across a school of Torpedo Fish.” As the words left the captains mouth Valeria spat a curse. “Aye lass, and it’s no small gathering either, seems to be about hundred or so of ‘em swarming around the ship. I’ve got some of the lad tossing tethered spears and harpoons, but I don’t think it’s going to do much.”

Vincent turned a questioning look to Valeria, still unsure of what was happening. “Wood eating fish.” She replied, her panic making the words come out sharp and cutting.

“I’m trying to get the ship close enough to land to swim for it. The closer we can get the better chances we have of…” Before Trillion could finish the ship gave a long low moan, like a giant waking from the depths of the vessel. It was quite for a heartbeat, and then with a noise like a thunderclap the ship lurched. Vincent nearly lost his feet and only barely remained upright with the help of the banister. Valeria was not so lucky and was sent sprawling. Trillion started cursing as he stood from where he too had fallen at the helm. Standing he began shouting orders to his men. After he was done with that, he turned back to them. “You two need to get off this ship and make way for land. If there are any Rock Turtles nearby they’ll be sure to be waiting for the ship to go down to get an easy meal. I’ve gotten as close to the beach as I can.” With that he turned back to the helm and continued to bark orders.

Cursing for the first time since this whole situation started Vincent turned toward the side of the ship and the island beyond. They were much closer, he hadn’t realized it in all the panic but now the island loomed before him, a black mass rising from the dark sea. Though they had covered the expanse that had been between them the island it was still a fair distance from the ship to the beach. Vincent cursed again, he’d left his pack, shield and sword in the cabin. Without thinking he dropped Valeria chain, and turned and ran for the lower decks. He heard her call out to him as he ran, and then curse him as he continued. The water had started to fill the lower decks quickly, and had already risen to half way up his shin. Moving with as much haste as he could Vincent made his way to the cabin where he had left his few possessions. It took more time than he would have liked due to the water, but he made it, the water only just reaching his knees now. Turning the handle, he pushed on the door to open it, but it wouldn’t move. The water and swollen the door in its frame. Cursing his luck, Vincent rammed his shoulder into the door, but it refused to give. Over and over again he tried, and still the wooden portal refused to open. In a last ditch effort, he threw himself against the door with all the strength he could muster in the rising water. Finally giving way to his assault, the door deposited him in the now waist deep water of the cabin. Regaining his footing Vincent looked around. The water had risen high enough to cover his belonging, though he knew where they had been and was able to find them with little trouble.

As he emerged from the belly of the ship, pack, shield and sword in tow Vincent noticed the emptiness of main deck. Empty save for the two standing at the helm, Valeria and Trillion. “Why are you two still onboard, why haven’t you abandoned with the rest of the crew?” Vincent asked looking between the two.

“You stupid sot,” Valeria shouted at him as he approached, tears and anger in her eyes. “How could I possibly swim to the beach with my hands bound and the weight of a chain dragging me to the bottom.” Vincent mentally berated himself. The woman was right, by rushing off to get his stuff he’d left her there to die if he himself had not returned. Without a word he pulled the key to her shackles from its pouch and undid her binds. As they fell to the deck Valeria rubbed at her wrists trying to relive the soreness the shackles had rubbed into them. After she was satisfied her wrist were okay, she reached back and smacked Vincent across the face. “You’re a fool little knight. You risked your life and mine, for a shield, and sword you won’t be able to swim with anyway.” With that the woman turned and leaped over the railing of the ship and into the dark waters beyond.

“I think she likes you, lad” Trillion teased from behind the helm, “but she’s right. You’ll never be able to swim with all the metal weighing you down. Leave it and get. Don’t want her to escape in this mess do you.”

“And what about you Captain, you need to get off this ship now.” Vincent said as he secured his pack and dropped the shield and sword to the deck.

“No lad, this is where I belong. Now go, before the sea takes us both. Immortal’s know she has no qualms about which souls she devours.”
With a final glance of his shoulder at Trillion, Vincent leaped into the black waters. The weight of his armor and pack seemed to drag him downward before he started swimming toward the beach. Valeria and Trillion had been right, the added weight of the sword and shield would have been too much and would have dragged him into the depths, and his death. A few bits passed as Vincent swam on, and then he heard them. Screams out in the darkness. The screams of men, of the crew. Something was attacking them in the water, something was killing them. As Vincent went to move in the direction of the crew in an attempt to save them, something grabbed his arm. Twisting in the water, ready to strike whatever had a hold on his arm he found himself face to face with Valeria.

She just looked at him, an almost sad look on her face, and shook her head. “It’s Rock Turtles, there’s no saving them now. We can only hope to save ourselves, we need to get to the beach.” With that she let him go and turned for the beach. Vincent cursed himself, and his inability to help the men whom had only been doing their jobs, but followed after Valeria.

It took the better part of a break to make it to the shallows of the beach. Vincent was exhausted from swimming in his armor and hauling his pack with him. As the two sloshed their way to the shore, Vincent looked up and down the shores of the beach. To his dismay he saw no signs that any of the crew had made it out of the water. He and Valeria, where the only two survivors. Then something in the water caught his eye. Something shimmered in the water, moving towards Valeria. “Valeria run!” Vincent shouted as a warning to the woman, as he himself started to run as best he could in the water after her. Turning at his warning she saw what was in the water and took his warning to heart as she started sprinting to the beach. She was feet from the shore when it struck her, high on her right calf. As it struck Vincent finally got his first good look at it. Some kind of serpent whose skin seemed to shimmer like light through mist, even in the blackness of night. When it struck Valeria scream, but Vincent was right there. Grabbing her by the elbow he dragged her the remaining distance to the shore.

“What was that?” Vincent asked, tearing the woman’s pants to get a clear look at the wound.

“Rainbow Sea Snake. Their poisonous, but if you can kill one their skins sell for some decent nel.” She responded, gasping as Vincent prodded at his wound. “Stop that, you need to cut the wound and drain as much of the poisoned blood as you can or I won’t last long.”
Vincent looked into Valeria’s eye for only a moment but saw the truth painted there in her pained gaze. With a quick nod he pulled the small dagger from his belt and cut her at the wound. Blood started to pool on the sand. “That not enough, you’ll need to suck on the wound to help.” Looking back at her again, he again saw no sign she was joking, and with a sigh brought his mouth to her open wound. The blood flowing into his mouth, tasting sickly sweet of metal and something a little bitter. Vincent assumed that had to be the poison. He sucked for only a few seconds before he had to break away to spit out the contents of his mouth. Again and again, he returned to the wound. By the fourth time, the bitter taste was no longer present. Spitting out the last of her tainted blood Vincent cut the ruined portion of her pant leg free and used it to fashion a make shift bandage. Valeria had lain back on the beach and was now just staring at the dark night sky. Walking back to the water’s edge Vincent get an eye out of anymore dangers as he washed Valeria’s blood from his mouth, face and hands.

Returning to the woman, he helped her back to her feet taking up a position under her right arm to help her keep pressure off her injured leg. As the started to walk into the jungle Valeria finally spoke again. “Welcome to Yithiral, young knight.” And with that she fell silent again.

Vincent - Them - Others - Thoughts
End Part II
Last edited by Vincent D'Ordyn on Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 3131
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Memory: Passing Muster

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As the pair made their way further inland the vegetation began to grow thicker. The small shrubs and saplings giving way to dense bushes and older trees. Vincent was exhausted from the ordeal that had been the past few hours of his life, and Valeria was even worse off. The woman may have been of average height, and slight build she was little more than dead weight in her current state of fatigue. There was little Vincent could for her right that moment though. Stranded on an island whose geography he knew next to nothing about, let alone what kind of animals made it their home. Stumbling deeper into the jungle seemed like a bad idea, but so had staying on the beach any longer. Especially after the creature he had seen there. Looking at the woman who could do little more than drag her feet along as the pressed forward Vincent felt a pang of worry. She was pale, even in the darkness of night, and had her eyes squeezed shut against the pain.

Vincent slowed and then stopped. “Let’s take a break.” He said as he gently lowered Valeria to the ground next to a tree. She didn’t say anything, though as she seemed to relax some as she her weight was off her injured leg. Kneeling down next to her to get a better look at the hastily made bandage he had applied hours before. The cloth was soaked through with blood, and had started to come undone. Removing his pack, the one thing he had been able to save from the sinking of the ship, he opened it and pulled out a small roll of clean cloth, and a small porcelain jar. Pulling his dagger from his belt he cut the failing bandage clean of the wound. Valeria winced as he worked but didn’t stop him. Using a portion of the old bandage that was still slightly clean he wiped the wound as clean as he could, before tossing the ruined cloth away. Removing the lid from the jar Vincent dipped two fingers in a pulled out a pungent green paste, a poultice his mother had given me for the many scrapes and scratches he always seemed to come away with during his sparring sessions with his Steward. It wouldn’t do much for Valeria wound, but it would help to numb the pain some and give her a small amount of relief as the trials passed. As he applied the poultice, Vincent couldn’t help but breath deep of the harsh smell of mixed herbs and oils. It burned his nose, but reminded him of home. After was finished applying the paste to the open wound he bound it again with the fresh bandages from his pack. This time he took his time and made sure the cloth was secure.

As he wiped his hands clean on his pants he looked up to Valeria’s face, only to find the woman completely asleep. It seemed the woman had been far more fatigued than Vincent had realized. Standing he shook his head, the woman was a mystery to him, sharp tongue, fierce eyes, and strange mind. Grabbing his pack, he leaned her forward and secured it to her pack. She protested a little to the movement at first, but eventually fell back into her slumber. She was almost a completely different person when she was asleep, mostly because she wasn’t calling him names or insulting him. She was almost pleasant. After double checking that his pack was properly secured to Valeria’s back he bent down and lift the woman onto his own back. Staining a little under the additional weight Vincent continued on into the jungle, looking for a place for them to rest and figure out what to do next.

Breaks passed, and as the jungle grew denser Valeria finally stirred. “What are you doing?” She asked as she finally returned to her senses.

“Looking for a place for us to rest.” Vincent replied.

“I meant, why are you carrying me like a sack of turnips?” She retorted.

Continuing to walk forward, Vincent glanced over his shoulder at the woman on his back before answering. “You passed out while I was changing the dressings on your leg. I figured you could use the rest, so I let you sleep. Was that a problem.”

She was quiet for a few bits before speaking again. “You should just leave me. I’m only going to slow you down and get you killed.”

Vincent shook his head at the words. “Well, I can’t do that. I'll be quite honest with you, I have no clue how to get to Ivorian, or anywhere for that matter. So I’m going to need your knowledge of the area to help me get back alive.” He stated still looking around for a place to lay down for a few hours. “Plus,” he added, again glancing back to Valeria, “I still have to get you to Ivorian for your trial. Can’t have you getting away from me just yet.” With that they both fell silent. Vincent marching on, head scanning the jungle for shelter, Valeria with her head resting on his shoulder as he continued on.

A few bits later Vincent finally found a hollowed out tree big enough for the two of them to lay in. Setting Valeria in the hollow, he went out and hacked a few of the lower hanging branches from the surround trees. Dragging them back to where Valeria sat he used them to help hide the opening in the tree. After he was satisfied that they were as concealed as the could be he sat back against the inside of the tree. “You can go ahead and go back to sleep. I’ll keep watch.”

“Like hell.” She snapped. “I’ve already gotten some sleep, and you look about ready to keel over any moment. You get some rest, I’ll keep watch.” With that she held out her hand, silently asking for the dagger. Vincent looked from her outstretched hand to her face. “We’re going to have to trust each other if we’re going to live through this.” She replied as if it was as simple as that. Vincent couldn’t help but be reluctant to give up the only weapon he had, but she was right. They were going to have to rely on one another if they were going to survive. Vincent pulled the dagger from his belt and placed it in her hand. “Good.” She said with a nod of her head as she gripped the dagger, “Now get some sleep. I’ll wake you in a few hours.”

Vincent took her advice and laid back on the slightly damp floor of the inner trunk. It wasn’t long before his weariness started to catch up with him, and like a leviathan from the deep slumber swallowed him whole.

When Valeria roused him from his slumber he had no idea how much time had passed. As he climbed his way back to consciousness from the depths of his rest the first think he noticed was the light. It wasn’t blinding, but it was brighter that it had been when he had dosed off. As he became more and more aware of his surrounding the reality of the night before caught up to him, and so did the tragedy of all the lives lost to the sea. “How long was I asleep?” He asked Valeria who was still sitting where she had been when he had drifted off.

“No more than a handful of breaks. Here,” she replied, offering the dagger to him hilt first, “wake me in a couple breaks. We need try to keep covering as much ground each day. Without supplies we’re going to be hard pressed to survive as it is.” As Vincent took the dagger from her, she laid down, and within a matter of bits was, as he had been, swallowed whole by sleep.

Crawling from their make shift shelter Vincent decided to take a look around the immediate area. As he scanned his surrounds everything looks so alien. The bushes, trees, vines, nothing looked like the plants he knew. It was strange, and yet refreshing, to be shown how truly ignorant he was of the world. Never straying more than a couple yards from where he had left Valeria, explored more of the area. Eventually he returned to the shelter and took up sitting just outside the opening. During his wondering he had found a couple of decent branches and began working them into something a bit more useful. One of the pieces of lumber, forked at one end, as long as he was tall, and about as think as a grown man’s wrist, he fashioned into a crutch for Valeria’s bad leg. The other was a little thicker than two of his fingers and about half the length of the other. Sharpening on end into a point he was able to make himself a makeshift spear. It wouldn’t win any awards for beauty, but it would have to do.

As he finished his spear, he decided it had been close to two break. Crawling back inside to Valeria side he gave the woman a little shake. Rolling over, she looked up at him through sleepy eyes. “Already?” she asked. Vincent simply nodded. She sat up and, with his help, made her way out of the tree. As they stood Vincent had he lean against the tree they had just exited. He then ducked back into the shelter and returned with his pack. Securing the straps quickly and with practice ease.

“I’ve got something for you.” Vincent said, lifting the makeshift crutch for her to see.

“Oh? And here I thought you were going to carry me all the way to Ivorian.” Valeria said, a fake pout on her lips.

“It’ll be faster if we can both walk.” Vincent stated, missing Valeria’s obvious teasing. At first the crutch was a bit too tall for her to use, but that was quickly remedied with his dagger and a quick kick. “So, which way?” Vincent asked looking to Valeria.

Taking a quick look around, Valeria eventually pointed in a direction. “East.” She replied. “We should hit the foot of the mountains by tonight. After that it will take us about two trials to cross them, and another two from the other side of the mountains to Ivorian. A total of five trails to get there. If we don’t become prey along the way.”

“Then let’s get moving, and hope we stay out of the way of anymore predators.” With that the pair began their trek through the jungle of Yithiral. It took them longer to reach the mountains than Valeria had estimated. Partly due to the injury to her right leg, and partly because Vincent insisted stopping every couple of breaks for them to rest. During these periods of rest Vincent would check on her wound, and change the dressings as needed. Several breaks into the march they had their first bit of luck. A small river that seemed to originate from the mountains, and their first supply of fresh water since jumping ship. Greedily they drank from the shore, the water was cool and refreshing, chilling Vincent’s throat and insides as it went down. He hadn’t realized how thirsty he had been. Pulling his pack from his shoulders, he dug out the waterskin’s he had packed away. He hadn’t needed them filled on the ship, where water had been easily obtained. Filling the two, he tossed one to Valeria’s side. She gladly accepted and tied it to her crutch. During their extended rest at the river back Vincent took the opportunity to was Valeria’s wound more thoroughly, using water and sand from the river bed to scour the wound clean. While he washed the wound out, she spat curses and insults at him, though part of Vincent knew it was more to help cope with the pain then to be mean or insulting. After he was happy that her wound was as clean as he could get it, he applied the last of the salve that he had, and rewrapped her leg.

When he had finished, she muttered something. “Hmm?” Vincent inquired halfheartedly.

“I said ‘Thank you’!” She snapped back.

Vincent blinked at her for a moment before a small smile spread across his face. “You’re welcome, but there’s no need to thank me. We’ve got to keep each other alive if we’re going to make it out of this in one piece. Right?” He replied, offering her his hand to help her up.

She looked at his hand, and then took it with a quick nod. “Then let’s get going we’re still not as close to the mountains as we should be, and the daylight won’t wait for us.” With that she started off again, her pace a little quicker than it had been before their rest.

After finding the river, they followed it back towards the mountains. Staying just inside the jungle brush as it wound its way through the forest. Their beaks became less frequent and they only stopped when they needed to refill their waterskins. Though, even with the brisk pace, and the reduced stops, it still took them three breaks after the sun and fallen below the horizon to reach the foot of the mountains. They spent little time searching for a place to rest for the night, and eventually settled under a small outcropping in the side of one of the mountains.

“At this rate, it’ll take up another five trials to make Ivorian.” Valeria muttered to the ground, exhaustion and doubt heavy in her voice. Vincent knew why too. He felt it just as sharply as her, the hunger pains had started breaks before for him. They had been fortunate to find the river when they did, but he had yet to see any signs of wildlife, and new nothing of the vegetation in the area. He knew if they didn’t find something to eat soon, the distance might not matter.

Pushing the pain and the fear to the back of his mind Vincent made himself as calm as he could. “You get some rest. I’ll take first watch.” Passing his pack to Valeria so she could use it as a makeshift pillow. As the breaks passed Vincent sat and watched the night pass, thoughts on the journey ahead, and how they might find food. Sadly, nothing came to him, they’d just have to push on, and hope they made it. A few bits before Vincent was to wake he, Valeria stirred and then sat up.

“I’ve slept all I could. Your turn.” She muttered, still rubbing the sleep for her eyes.

“Wake me before dawn. We should get as early a start as we can tomorrow.” He replied, laying his head on the pack and letting himself drift to sleep. It did not come as easily as it had the night before, the pain in his stomach making it hard to relax, but eventually the fatigue beat the hunger, and he was asleep.

It felt like only bits had passed when Valeria roused him. Sitting up, he could tell she had done as he asked and woken him just before dawn. The blackness of night was starting to lighten to the deep blue of dawn. Standing he stretched, trying to chase the stiffness from his body, before securing his pack again. “I’m going to go fill our skins, I’ll be right back.” He said, taking her skin, and handing her his dagger, and with that he made his way to the river. By the time he made his way back to where he had left her, the night was all but gone and the sun only bits for breaking the horizon. Handing the waterskin back to Valeria, and getting his dagger back in return. “How’s your leg?” He inquired, glancing the bandages on her calf.

“Seems to have stopped bleeding.” She replied, turning her leg to show him that little blood had bled through. “Still hurts, but I can manage.” At that the two resumed the same brisk pace they had set the latter half of the previous day. There didn’t seem to be any trails in the part of the mountains they were in so they just aimed for one of the lower canyons between two of the nearer peaks. It was slow, and hard progress. Moving not only on in incline, but also over and around the rocky terrain of the pass. Breaks passed, and little was said between the pair. They both knew that the energy spent talking was better utilized moving forward. As the day drew towards its end, and the sun was only about a break from disappearing below the horizon, Vincent decided it was time to find a place to shelter for the night. The two of them were covered in sweat, despite the cooler temperatures that the mountains elevation provided. His legs felt as if someone had dumped molten lead in his veins and it was just beginning to cool. Turning back to Valeria, he could she too was almost at the point of collapse. Leaning heavily against her improvised crutch. She could do little more than nod agreement when Vincent informed her of his decision to seek shelter.

He had taken little more than a step when Valeria let out a shout of surprise. Spinning around Vincent had enough time to see as the woman hit the ground, the bottom half of her crutch missing and a gray blur disappearing behind a rock. Eyes dart around, Vincent didn’t have to ask before Valeria answered. “Gray Volex! Be careful!”

No sooner had she shouted those words than the gray blur returned, leaping off a boulder and pouncing right at Vincent. For the first time Vincent got his first good look at the creature. Some sort of canine, with a gray coat and a white mane was all the detail he had to take in as he reacted to the beast’s attack. As it had come down on top of him, Vincent had gotten his spear in-between the two of them and had let the Volex’s own weight drive the spear deep into its chest. The beast howled in agony but still managed to swipe at Vincent as they rolled together after the impact. Coming up in a crouch Vincent found the animal a few feet away, it struggled for a bit then fell still. Standing, Vincent breathed a small sigh, that had been close.

“Watch out!” Valeria screamed from where she had fallen only bits before, “They always hunt in pairs.” Though her warning came too late. The second beast was on him before he could react. It knocked him off his feet, and if not for his military training would have pinned him there. Instead as the beast pushed him to the ground, Vincent rolled landing on his back and giving him an up-close view of the beasts bared fangs as it went for his throat. At the last minute he got his left arm up to defend his open throat and the Volex’s teeth sank into leather armor and flesh. Vincent let out a muffled cry as the things teeth pierced him, and latched on with wild power. As the beast thrashed its head, trying to wrench he arm from his shoulder, and swiped at his armored stomach and legs with its hind claws, Vincent knew he didn’t have much time before the thing won this grabble and killed him. There was little he could do, the beast had him pinned, he couldn’t get enough leverage for any real power, and his dagger was just out of his reach. Then there was a loud crack, followed by a small yelp, and the relief of pressure on his arm. The Volex, and Vincent both looked up and there stood Valeria and what little remained of her crutch. She had used it, along with the last of her strength to brain the beast. Though now as beast’s eyes feel on her, the terror and exhaustion froze her in place. As her eyes met Vincent, he saw the certainty of death in them.

As he felt the Volex’s muscles tense right before striking at Valeria, Vincent let out a roar. The sound so loud it startled the beast and in that moment Vincent flung himself up and onto to Volex. Instincts, fear, and training all working in tandem Vincent drew his dagger and he landed atop the animal and with what strength he had left drove the blade into the beast chest. Once, twice, three times, but the beast didn’t stop fighting and so, neither did Vincent over and over again the dagger feel, until eventually the claws and teeth finally stopped their assault. As the fight left Vincent the first thing he noticed was all the blood. He was cover in it, as was the ground around him. He had no idea how much of it was his and how much of it was the Volex’s.

While he sat there staring at the slain beast, Valeria crawled over to him and touched his arm. The contact startled him, and caused him to flinch turning the dagger on her, but stopped as soon as he realized whom she was. She didn’t seem mad, or hurt by the action. She simple took his hand and eased the dagger from it. Then, using him as a support she got to her feet, and pulled on Vincent until he too rose. “We need to find a place to rest. These two should have a cave nearby.” That was all the words that passed between the two as she dragged him forward. It took them about half a break, but they found a cave deep enough for them to both fit inside, and given the number of animal bones with it was undoubtedly the former home of the two slain Volexes. Sitting Vincent against one of the cave walls, Valeria made her way back to the cave entrance. “I’ll be right back.” She said over her shoulder as she hobbled out of the cave.

Vincent wanted to stop her, to call out and tell her not to go by herself, but he was too tired. Battered and wounded, Vincent decided to take a look at the damage the fight with the Volexes had left him with. His left arm was a mess, the leather bracer shredded beyond use and four deep puncture that went all the way through the armor and into his arm. The stomach of his body piece was shredder too, with little in the way of protection now between him and the elements. If Valeria hadn’t distracted the beast when she did it would have gutted him a bit later. The rest was mostly superficial, scratches cover a good portion of his arms legs, and face, but nothing too deep.

As the bits passed Vincent grew increasingly worried. Just as the first break was about to pass, and Vincent was starting to pick himself up to go look for Valeria she staggered back into the cave. His pack over one should and a makeshift litter behind her. “Sit back down you fool. You’ll brain yourself on a rock if you try walking around right now.” She snapped at him, and returning him to where she had left him the first time. After she was sure he wasn’t going to move again, she left the cave again, but was back bits later, arm full of wood and tinder. Within moments she had a small fire going, how she’d started it Vincent missed as he slipped in and out of consciousness.

The smell of cooking meat brought him out of his uneasy slumber. “Meat? Where did you get ...” The question died on his lips as he realized where the meat had come from. The slain Volexes. That’s where Valeria had gone when she’d left him here the first time. She’d skinned, cleaned, and harvested enough meat for them to survive.

Sometime during his rest she had cut the ruin leather bracer from his left arm and bound the bite wounds. She’d also taken the time to wash the dirt and blood from his hands and some of the deeps cuts on his arms. “Eat this.” She said passing him a skewer of meat. It wasn’t very flavorful, and it was extremely gamey, but right at that moment it was the best thing he’d ever tasted. Vincent had to force himself to slow down after almost choking on a piece. Valeria smiled as he devoured the meat. “No need to rush, there’s plenty to last the two of us for the rest of the journey.” She told him as she greedily devoured a skewer of her own.

“Are we sure it’s safe to stay here?” Vincent asked, tossing a piece of bone deeper into the cave. “What if there are more of those things?”

Valeria looked at him, her green eyes piercing him, but not in the same way they had on the ship. The hate had left their hunter depths, leaving only intelligence. “Gray Volex hunt in pairs. They are fairly territorial, and very few things hunt them. As this cave was their home, this is probably the safest place in this pass.” As she finished her explanation, she grabbed another skewer and offered it to Vincent, before taking one for herself. “Eat your fill and get some rest. I’ll take first watch, and finish cooking off this meat before I wake you.”

Vincent did as she suggested. Finishing the skewer, she’d handed him, he laid down his with his back against the cave wall, facing towards Valeria and the fire. Watching her for a time, his thoughts a mess from all that had happened that day. Though one thought did stick in his head. The look in her eyes when she’d saved his life, that certainty that she was going to die there. Without knowing Vincent passed into slumber.

His dreams were full of gnashing teeth, and raking claws. The smell of blood and the taste of dirt. Then her face again. This time however it was covered in blood and the life and left her hunter green eyes. Vincent woke with a start. Sitting up, drenched in sweat, and gasping for air like he’d just run the length or the island. As he finally started to calm down, Vincent noticed Valeria on the other side of the fire watching him. “Are you alright?” She asked, a bit of worry in her voice.

“Just a nightmare, nothing serious. Though I don’t think I’m going to get back to sleep tonight. I’ll take watch.” At first she said nothing, just studied him from across the small blaze. After a few moments she nodded agreement, then bid him goodnight before laying down and eventually falling asleep. The rest of the night passed by without incident. Leaving the cave a few times to gather fuel for the fire, and to stretch his limbs, trying to shake the aches and pains from his muscles. Vincent found that though he was still extremely sore, and more than a little beat up, he was able to move again. Having food in his system had done wonder for his energy. As the night grew to a close, and dawn was close he roused Valeria. She woke slowly at first, but as she seemed to regain herself made quick work a getting ready to head out.

After packing the rest of the meat, and refilling their water skins from a small spring near cave they started out again, Valeria using a fallen branch to help her walk, hoping to make it out of the mountain pass by the end of the trial. Though bruised and beaten, Vincent felt better now that he had food on his stomach. Though it seemed Valeria hadn’t improved much with the addition of a full stomach. She seemed paler, and extremely fatigued. Every time he’d ask her about her condition, she brushed it off and continue walking. As the trial wore on she got worse, but still refused to acknowledge the fact.

The sun was balanced on the horizon by the time the made it to end of the canyon. Beyond, in the distance they could see the city of Ivorian. Maybe another trial and a half away. A smile spreading across his face as he saw their destination. “We’re almost there, just a few more days.” As Vincent turned to Valeria, his smile faded as quickly as it had sprung up. She was much worse than she had been, pale as a corpse and barely able to stand. Seconds later she lost consciousness and began to fall to the ground. Vincent was there to catch her. She was warm to the touch, feverish and sweating. Unsure of what had happened to her, his eyes caught sight of the bandages on her wounded leg. Soaked through with dark crimson blood. “Fool woman.” Vincent mutter laying her gently against the canyon wall. Stripping his pack from his back and tossing it to the side he quickly gathered their waterskins and a few skewers of the meat she had prepared the night before. Securing the meager supplies, he had taken from his pack, he hefted Valeria onto his back in the same fashion he had their first night on the island.

The pace he set this time was punishing, he covered as much ground as he could, stopping only for a handful of bits to eat and drink, and force some water down Valeria’s throat as well. The night passed, and still he continued his march toward Ivorian. The day was hotter on this side of the mountains, and though it seemed to drain him more as he marched, he continued on. Again only stopping long enough to eat, and force fluids into Valeria before picking her back up and marching onwards. The breaks passed, and just as the sun was setting on the city of Ivorian, Vincent found himself at the city’s eastern gate. Exhausted, dehydrated and dazed Vincent approached the gate. Vincent felt eyes on him, but didn’t notice them much as he tried to walk into the city. Before he made it though he was stopped by a large Ithecal with a spear and shield. They said something to him that he couldn’t quite make out. “Out of my way, I need to get this woman to a healer.” Vincent barked at the Ithecal as he tried to shoulder his way passed. The last thing he remembered was taking his first step into Ivorian, before being swallowed by darkness.

Vincent - Them - Others - Thoughts
End Part III
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Vincent D'Ordyn
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Memory: Passing Muster

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As Vincent’s senses started to return to him the first thing he noticed was the smells. Medical and clean, the smells of dried herbs, pungent salves, soaps. It brought back memories of the few times he’d had to pay visits to the Moseke Knights infirmary. The closer he drew to consciousness the more of his sense returned. Sounds, people talking softly, in a strange language, and even though it was foreign to him Vincent could still the soothing tone in it. The feeling of a soft mattress and silken sheets under him was shocking at first, but welcome. Finally, he slowly opened his eyes. Like the rest of his body his eyelids felt as if they were weighed down with sand, and it seemed to take all his strength just to open them.

His first sight was a smooth stone ceiling, splashed across with bright light from a window to his right. Slowly Vincent sat up, it was hard going as his body was still heavy with weariness. After finally propping himself up on an elbow he finally got a good look of the room around him. He lay on one bed of six, of which three others were occupied. Two Ithecal women moved between the beds, changing bandage, administering medicine, and providing water for those two weak to quench their own thirst. As he watched, one of the Ithecal women noticed he had sat up and came to his bed side. Without speaking she tried to push him back down into bed.

“No, I don’t want to lay down. Where am I?” The Ithecal just continue to try and push him back into the bed. “NO!” Vincent snapped at the caretaker. At this she stopped, though she didn’t seem frightened or startled. If anything she seemed more annoyed with him, but instead of continuing to fight Vincent she helped him sit up fully in bed and adjusted his pillows to better help support him. With a sharp nod the Ithecal woman left him and moved over to, what Vincent assumed was a mixing table of some kind. He watched her as she moved about the room. It was startling how graceful the race was despite the length and size of their tails. As the bits passed, Vincent’s head started to clear from the fog of his slumber, and memories of the past few days rushed to the forefront of his memory. “Valeria!” Vincent blurted out before he could catch himself. At this the Ithecal that had helped him sit up came back to his side. A confused look on her face, she offered him a waterskin. Vincent shook his head, and pushed the waterskin back toward that woman. “No, no. The woman that was with me. Where is she?” Vincent ask as he began to move his legs off the bed an on to the floor. As his feet touched the smooth, cool stone the Ithecal woman hissed, and again tried to push him back into bed. “Stop that, I have to be sure she’s fine. I have to see her!”

Vincent shouted as he swatted the woman’s hands off. Eventually the woman again relented, though this time much more annoyed with him than she had been the first time. After taking a moment to regain himself Vincent push off the bed and stood and, as the bedsheet feel from him, for the first time since waking realized he was nude. The caretaker had noticed before Vincent and spun around. Muttering saying something in, what he assumed was the Ithecal’s language before moving to a cabinet on the wall. As she rummaged through the drawers of the cabinet, Vincent used the bed’s sheets to make himself a bit more decent, before attempting to follow after the woman. Moving was hard. His body was stiff and heavy, as if he had been cut open and filled with sand from head to toe. Though slowly he made his body obey him. One foot in front of the other, one step after another. A few times Vincent had to use the bed to steady himself but eventually he was able to move more freely. By the time he had made it to the edge of the bed the Ithecal woman had finished her searching and turned back to Vincent. A small blush on her cheeks she approached him in that graceful swaying manner, and shoved a bundle of cloth into his chest. A little confused at first Vincent looked down at the cloth, then realized what they were, clothes. Taking them with his right hand, while using the left to keep himself covered he looked up the woman. “Thank you.” He said with a polite bow of his head. Again saying something in her native language she turned away and again returned to the other patients in the room.

Finding the least visible point in the room Vincent quickly changed into the clothes the Ithecal woman had given him. After he had finished dressing himself, he took the time to look over the clothes he had donned. They’re were by no way fancy, however they were well made and extremely comfortable.

Fully clothed, and able to move, albeit slowly Vincent left the room and proceed down the hallway that it was connected to. After a few bits of wandering he realized he hadn’t thought of how he was going to find Valeria. After about a break Vincent eventually ran more Ithecal. This group however, was armed and armored, and stopped as soon as they saw him. Vincent stopped as soon as he saw the Ithecal draw to a halt. Soon after they began talking in the same language the Ithecal woman in the medical area had. Though they hadn’t drawn weapons, as a warrior himself Vincent could tell the whole group was ready to if he made the wrong move.

Before he could move, or speak though the group seemed to relax and bow their head a little, then a voice came from behind him. Female and speaking in their tongue, it was full of authority but without sounding commanding. Slowly Vincent turned his head to see whom was behind him. It was an Ithecal woman, pale in complexion, with raven black hair, and crimson eyes. She was beautiful in a way that Vincent couldn’t explain, and vaguely familiar, though Vincent knew he’d never seen her before. Clad in an elegant tunic, adorned with leather vambraces. After a few more words to the group of Ithecal, they turned and left. Then her gaze finally fell on him and it made his breath catch for a moment. “Now, tell me young one, why are you wondering these halls alone?” She asked in Common, her tone soft, and polite, yet something about it left no doubt that she wanted an answer. It reminded him of his mother in many ways.

At first Vincent’s voice seemed to stick in his throat. Though as the woman raise an eyebrow, waiting for his reply, Vincent remembered why he had left his bed, and rushed out into the unknown. “I’m looking for someone. A woman, she came here with me. She was wounded and ill.” Vincent finally replied, his voice gaining strength as he continued to speak. “Her name is Valeria Felstar, and she’s in my care until I officially pass he to the Ivorian Militia.” By the end Vincent was no longer the confused human in the middle an Ithecal city. He was the Moseke Knight who had to find his charge.

Both of the woman’s eye brows rose as Vincent finished speaking. A little surprise played across her face, before during into delight and then just as quickly fading back to the same somber look she had had before he had spoken. “Valeria Felstar is no more.” She stated simply. “Though, if you’d like. I can show you to where she now rests.” And with that the Ithecal woman turned and moved down the hallway in the same graceful swaying all Ithecal seemed to do when they moved.

Vincent was stunned. Valeria had died. After all he’d done to get her to Ivorian, to save her. It felt like something fell out of the bottom of his stomach. The Ithecal woman stopped after a few yards and turned back to him. “Are you coming?” This snapped Vincent from his stricken state, and he moved after her. A few times he tried to ask the woman questions about how Valeria had passed, but each time she ignored the question and just continued down the hallway. Bits passed and eventually stopped at a door. Stepping up next to the Ithecal woman, she nodded towards the door. He couldn’t read the look on her face. Reaching down for the handle Vincent undid the latch and pushed the door in.

The room inside was warm and had a comfortable lived in air to it. The furniture was all well-made and of a polished dark mahogany, the floors where of a soft plush carpet that took the cold from the stone floor, and a larger four post bed sat close to a large window that face out towards the sea, the midmorning sun falling gently on the form of a woman sitting in the bed, shoveling some kind of porridge into her mouth as if she hadn’t eaten in an arc. Vincent could only stare at the woman. It wasn’t until the Ithecal woman entered the room and cleared her throat that Valeria noticed she had visitors. “Ah! My lady.” She said bowing he head a little to the Ithecal woman, then she seemed to she Vincent. “Vincent, you’re awake!” She nearly knocked over her bowl trying to get out of bed.

Before she could get more than one foot out of the bed, the Ithecal woman was there pushing her back into bed. “You still need rest, young one.” With that Valeria gave up her attempt at standing and sat back. Afterward Valeria ushered Vincent closer.

“You said she died.” Vincent said to the Ithecal woman and he stepped closer.

“I said Valeria Felstar was no more. That was truth. She no longer exists, as she didn’t exist before she left here to collect you.” The woman stated as though it was the worlds simplest truth.

“What do you mean collect me?” Vincent asked, his gaze bouncing between both women. “Why did you want me brought here?”

“My Lady, have you not told him yet?” Valeria asked. The Ithecal simple shook her head in the negative. At first Valeria seemed to be at a loss for what to say next, but eventually she took a breath and turn back to Vincent. “Vincent, I’m sorry I had to lie to you, but it was necessary. I was sent to Andaris to bring you back to Ivorian, and to gain some insight about you along the way. The tragedy that befell our vessel and its crew where never part of the plan. After that, if I had told you the truth you would have had no reason to see it as anything but an attempt to get away.”

“But why go through all the trouble of bringing me her. Who are you, and who is she.” Vincent asked, his voice raising, not in anger but confusion.

“My name is Valeria Riasol, and I am a servant of the Immortal Protection, and this is” Valeria said raising her hand to the Ithecal woman standing beside her bed.

“Ethelynda” Vincent finished in a whisper, looking the Ithecal Immortal in the eye. That was why she had seemed vaguely familiar. He had heard stories of her, seen a few paintings of her in battle hold shield and spear. Vincent didn’t know what to do, so he did the only thing his training had prepared him for. He saluted her. “I’m sorry my Lady, I didn’t realize.”

At first Ethelynda just stood there and studied Vincent with arms crossed. After a moment though a small smile parted her lips. “Calm, Knight D’Ordyn. No offense is taken at such a foolish thing. Though I feel I must ask you forgive Valeria, as she was only doing as I had asked. I couldn’t just send for you. I had to test you without you knowing you were being tested. I had to see if you were worthy. I need to know if you were compassionate and honorable. If you could be the shield for those who needed it.”

“For what reason though?” Vincent asked looking at the Immortal that stood before him. Feeling as if he had brought himself here to be put on trial for some unknown crime.

“I had to see if were worthy to bear the Mark of Taithir and become one of my blessed.” Ethelynda finally answered. “After what Valeria had told me of your journey together. Both before the sinking of your ship, and after. I am now sure that you are. That you truly wish to help others, and to protect those who cannot protect themselves. If you are willing to carry the burden, I am willing to bestow upon you my Blessing.”

Vincent was silent for a few bits. His face a mask of contemplation. Eventually he spoke, his voice as strong and sure as it had ever been. “Lady Ethelynda, if you would accept my pledge to always be a shield for those who need it, I will gladly accept your Blessing, and all burdens that it entails.

Vincent - Them - Others - Thoughts
End Part IV: Concluded
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Memory: Passing Muster

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Ethelynda nodded as Vincent accepted her offer and made his pledge, then took hold of his dominant hand. "Then receive my Blessing, Vincent D'Ordyn, and wield the shield of Taithir as a ward for those who have no defense of their own." she said, a surge of power flowing from her into Vincent's hand, the shield of Taithir appearing on the back of his hand.


Skills
+1 Rhetoric
+3 Socialization
+4 Endurance
+2 Medicine
+1 Melee Combat
+2 Wilderness Survival

Basic Knowledges
Seas between Yithiral and Rynmere: Warm but but breezy
Can't swim with a sword and shield
Torpedo Fish: Attack ships and eat wood
Rock turtle': Prey on drowning sailors
Rainbow Sea Snake: Pretty and valuable, but venemous.
Gray Velox: Always hunt in pairs
Gray Velox: Territorial and not preyed upon
Gray Velox: Has very gamey meat
Sucking venom from a wound
Dressing a wound
Surviving in the forests and mountains.
Ithecal: Graceful despite their size

Specialized Knowledges
Captain Trillion: A good man
Captain Trillion: A good sailor
Captain Trillion: Willing to die with his men
Valeria Felstar: Good at being bitter
Valeria Felstar: Doesn't yield easily
Valeria Felstar: Not bad looking
Valeria Felstar: Knowledgeable about Yithiral fauna
Valeria Felstar: Can skin, clean, and harvest meat from dead animals
Valeria Felstar: Not always willing to admit to injury
Valeria Felstar: Is actually Valeria Riasol
Valeria Riasol: A servant of Ethelynda
Ethelynda: Beautiful and oddly familiar
Ethelynda: The Immortal of Protection
Taithir: The Blessing of Ethelynda
Taithir: The shield of the helpless

Blessing
Taithir
Protective Spirit (Minor)
Enduring Aura (Minor)
Martial Skill I
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