Migration

Atop a stony plateau overlooking the lands of central Idalos, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from the rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence; firm in its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the many factions set aside their conflicting agendas and see this through?

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Fur
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:43 pm
Race: Ithecal
Renown: 0
Character Sheet
Wealth Tier: Tier 2

Migration

Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:37 am

4 Ymiden, 719
Eastern Civilian Housing Quarter
20th Bell


It was hard to break patterns when they were set in the stones that one walked upon. Like the arm on a clock face, Fur found himself moving east on his journey, slowly but surely. What did he seek? A new dawn rising, an escape that sat due south of him. Midnight’s nightmare was behind him, he hoped, tossed onto the carts that scoured the back alleys in search of the men and women who did not see the night through, the appointed pall bearers asking no questions, seeking no retribution for the deceased. It was Etzos, after all; death came with the territory.

Fur could’ve made it to the southern side of the city in a single trial, but he did not rush the trip. Guilty men ran headfirst into the unknown, because their fear of what lay behind him was far greater of what possibly could be waiting for them on the other side. Fur did not believe himself a guilty man. Bloodstained, there was no denying, but he would’ve ended up that way regardless. No, he walked out of that side street alive, not bleeding out into the dirt. He would never apologize for that.

More practically speaking, Fur still needed to eat. The dagger he had looted from the drunk had barely bought him a meal, and the child wasn’t interested in stealing to get what he needed. There was a greater risk to thieving, with consequences he didn’t want to face right now. At best, he got roughed up by the shopkeeper or home owner. At worst, he’d find himself in a Black Guard interrogation room. Just imagine those questions. Why do you have dried bloodstains on your clothes? Why does this War Pick had the insignia for the army printed on the bottom of its hilt? Fur would probably earn him a cart ride of his own before it was all said and done. No, better to beg. Safer.

The child had lingered in the Eastern Quarter for three trials, hoping to milk as much as he could from the locals before diving into the southern quarter. His plan was to settle on that side of town for a while, maybe find a more permanent place to squat while he waited for . . . well, he didn’t really know what he was waiting for. He had forgotten what it was like to have goals that extended beyond a few trials worth. He had lost the meaning of home and of hope.

Just a migratory bird driving to and fro by the periodical seasons of trouble. Tonight the east, tomorrow the south, and who knew after that?

Fur wandered a neighborhood on the southern edge of the quarter, looking for a darkened doorway or alley to curl up in for the night. He could see the Breaker alley ramp in the dimming light, just a few blocks over. A good nights rest, as good as one could get on the hard ground, and a quick hope into the next quarter. Then, something or another. Best to go with the flow.

The Ithecal stopped short when he heard the crying for the first time, echoing off the walls to his right, down a side street. They were that of a child. Fur hesitated, his body and his soul drawn in two separate directions. There was no telling what else was lurking down that street, waiting to prey on anyone who answered the wails. But he knew what it felt like to be in that position. Alone. Overwhelmed. Fur would have welcomed a friendly face when he had hit that lowest point in his life. The least he could do was pay it forward.

Mind made up, Fur ducked onto the side street, following the sound of the cries in search for its source. “Hello?” the Ithecal called out in Common, waiting, hoping for a response.
word count: 663
Fur
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:43 pm
Race: Ithecal
Renown: 0
Character Sheet
Wealth Tier: Tier 2

Re: Migration

Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:06 pm

There were two children. The one Fur had heard was curled up on the ground, knees pressed to chest. A scrawny pup, no older than six or seven. Blood poured from his nose, staining the tattered jerkin he wore. The second one was slightly older and bigger and he was looming over the crying lad. Fur got the sense that he was a bully; he certainly carried himself like one. He clutched a stuffed animal in his hand, a crude looking toy cat. Fur had a good sense what had happened, but he didn’t want to be hasty. Children could be fickle, and the Ithecal didn’t want to just assume that the bigger boy was the villain in this scene. Though it certainly seemed to be that.

Fur creeped closer, hugging the shadows cast by the two story home to his left, until he was close enough to hear their conversation. The younger child spoke through his tears, reaching out for the toy. “Please, Gerald! Its my sister’s and she’s gonna miss it.”

Gerald kicked the hand away, balling his hand into a fist. The other child flinched. “I don’t care, its mine now!”

“You can have my toys, any of them. Just not that one.” The child tried to roll into a kneeling position, but Gerald shoved him back down. “Olive needs it. She don’t know I took it.”

“Don’t. Care.” Gerald turned to leave, shaking off the weak hands that wrapped around his ankle. The child cries intensified. The bully began to run a moment later.

It was such a small thing, in the scope of the world, a stolen toy. Yet to these children, it meant the world. All the dangers and hardship that loomed in their futures meant nothing to this present loss. Fur couldn’t believe he had been the same way, not too long ago. Deep down, he probably envied them. Not that he believed he could ever go back to it, the naivety. It was hard to pick up a wooden sword when you’ve held a real one.

Harder to pretend how it felt to kill the bad guy.

Fur nearly turned away from the scene, to allow it to play out. There was a lesson to be learned in its conclusion, as painful as it might feel in the moment. But he didn’t. He couldn’t because he had a role to play, one that had been thrust upon him when he chose to turn down the side street. Adults, they tried their best to insulate children for as long as possible, allow them to hold onto hope for as long as possible. Wisdom protecting blissful ignorance. Fur hadn’t ask to grow the way that he had, but there was no changing it. Maybe ignore it, but Fur couldn’t do that either. The child’s parents where out here, so the Ithecal was the next best thing.

To remind the boy that there were still heroes in the world, wearing their tattered cloaks.

Fur stepped into the light, moving towards the child. He looked like he was going to cry for help, but Fur shushed him with a finger against his lips. “Stay here,” Fur commanded, in as a soft a voice as was possible. “I’ll get the animal back. For Olive.”

The child wiped the tears away with the back of his hand, nodding. Fur broke into a crouched sprint after that, trying to catch up with Gerald. Bare feet struck dirt and cobblestone, softer impacts than boots, allowing him to move at a faster pace while still masking his approach. He was still far too loud than he should be, but a child wasn’t exactly the most attentive target.

Gerald had stopped running once he had gotten out of sight, ducking into a doorway just around the corner to examine his new possession. Fur watched him from around the wall, trying to decide how best to approach. There was a chance that he could just go straight at him and snatch him up before he bolted, but it was risky. Miss the grab and he’d be chasing a child through the streets of the neighborhood, waking up locals who definitely would not side with the Ithecal. Fur didn’t really want to bring a lynch mob down on him, not over a toy. He needed another way.

Fur glanced up, judging the distance. The first building was single storied and connected to the one Gerald sat under. He rose to his full height and held his hands up. Just out of reach when he was flat-footed. Maybe a running start. Fur stole a second glance to make sure Gerald hadn’t moved yet and then took a few steps back. Deep breaths, and then he lurched into motion.

His fingertips latched onto the roof, but just barely. He could already feel the strain of his body weight on his arms, but he didn’t plan on pulling up that way. Instead, bracing himself his arms, Fur walked his way up the wall until his body was in a right angle. From there, Fur pushed with his legs upward. This allowed him to get above the wall and to put his weight on his elbows. He wormed his way onto the roof, rolling onto his back. Exhale. One climb had nearly bested him; he needed to work on that.

Rising to a crouch, Fur moved quietly across the gable roof until he was directly above the doorway. From the street, the roof hadn’t looked that high, but that was deceiving. Too late now. He had to come down one way or another, so might as well follow through with the plan.

One more deep breath and then Fur jumped off the roof, turning in midair to face the doorway on the way down. He landed with legs spread and knees bent to absorb the impact, directly in front of Gerald. The kid squealed and Fur lunged forward before he could make any more noise. Fur’s left hand pressed against the child’s mouth while the right lifted the boy off of his feet, pressing him against the wood behind his back.

Pain shot through Fur when Gerald bit him. The Ithecal bared his fangs, growling, when he slammed the child against the door. It wasn’t to hurt him, just dislodge him. It worked. “I wouldn’t do that again, Gerald,” Fur warned the smaller child. “I’ve just come for the toy, but I’ll take more if I have to.”

Tears rolled down the child’s face as he dropped the stuffed animal. He shouldn’t have, but Fur took joy in that. He hated a bully, so it felt good to see them get a taste of their own medicine. Moving his left hand underneath Gerald’s arm, the Ithecal pivoted and tossed the boy into the street. “Go home now, and don’t think about trying to tell your parents about this either. I’m the monster beneath your bed, and they can’t protect you from me.”

Gerald bolted and, this time, he didn’t stop.

Fur flexed his hand, examining it for blood. Thankfully, the teeth hadn’t broken skin. Then, leaning down, the Ithecal snatched up the toy and made his exit. He was confident that Gerald wouldn’t out him. It had been dark and Fur had appeared out of no where. Plus, by trying to snitch, he would be owning up to stealing in the process. Better to just pretend nothing happen, and maybe be extra careful when he went to bed later tonight. Still, the Ithecal didn’t linger, because who knew who else might’ve been watching.
word count: 1304
Fur
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:43 pm
Race: Ithecal
Renown: 0
Character Sheet
Wealth Tier: Tier 2

Re: Migration

Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:13 am

The child was exactly where Fur had left him, sitting up with arms wrapped his knees. The blood was gone, wiped away by hand or by cloth, and the boy looked pretty unscathed besides that. Hurting inside, no doubt, worried about the possession that he believed would be lost forever. It brought a sliver of pride to Fur when he returned, tossing the stuffed cat onto his feet. He snatched it up, clutching it to his chest, whatever fear he might’ve felt towards the Ithecal gone now. Children were blessed by this ease of opinion. “Thanks!” he exclaimed, looking down to examine the toy for rips and stains.

“Look it over while we’re walking, kid,” Fur said, glancing up and down the street. “I’m taking you home. Gerald won’t be coming back, but there might be others like him out here.” Fur didn’t want to traumatize the kid, so he settled for associating bad characters with the earlier bully. Unfortunately, there were people who roamed these streets who would do far worse to a child than steal his toy.

“Sure, I don’t live far from here,” the kid said, pushing himself to his feet. He too wasn’t wearing any shoes, and his pale skin could barely be seen beneath the dirt and grime caking them. “My name’s Kin,” he added, flashing a smile at the new friend he had made.

“Fur,” the Ithecal replied gruffly. “Lead the way, Kin.”

They walked in silence for a few trills before Fur spoke again. “Why’d you steal your sister’s toy?”

Kin stared at his feet, shoulders drooping. “I was mad. Mama and Papa have been spendin’ all their time with her, even though all she does ‘s sleep. Mama says she’s sick, says she needs them before she has to leave.” He paused, sniffling again. “I don’t know how she’s plannin’ ta leave. She can’t even walk yet! But Papa just says to stay outside, where its safe, even when I try to tell ‘em about Gerald.”

Fur’s heart went out for the child, who didn’t realize the hard truth his parents were trying to shield him from. Plagues were a nasty business that forced families to make the hardest decisions sometimes. Kin’s sister was dying and his parents were trying to both comfort her and protect him, even if he saw it as a punishment. Maybe, they hoped, keeping him away would help keep him healthy, though Fur wondered if they even stopped and considered the life they were going to force on their son if they died too. At best, relatives or an orphanage would take him in. At worst . . . well, Fur didn’t like thinking about those scenarios.

Hit too close to home.

“I don’t think you’ll have to worry about Gerald anymore,” Fur said, deflecting away from the heavier topics. That definitely wasn’t his job to teach him about. The least he could do was reassure him about his lesser worries. “Just don’t take your sister’s toy anymore. She probably misses it terribly.”

“I know,” Kin replied, apologetic. “I won’t.”

The pair continued in silence until Kin stopped them in front of a small hovel at the end of a side street. “Going home too, Fur?”

“Somewhere, though I wouldn’t call it home.”

“Papa’s got a little shed in the back, if yeh think it’a be better than somewhere.”

Fur paused, looking down at Kin. Maybe it was wrong to deem him ignorant earlier. In fact, to say children were the most naïve was foolish all together. Children could be some of the wisest individuals, because they often saw the same things adults saw and weren’t hindered by prior misconceptions of prejudices. They weren’t yet hardened. Yeah, Fur did envy that about them.

“Sure, Kin,” Fur replied, “I appreciate it.”

Kin showed Fur to the shed in the back area of the shared courtyard before disappearing into the house, leaving Fur alone. The Ithecal moved about as quietly as he could, trying his best not to wake the locals. It seemed the father was a potter of some sorts, and it was hard to make space on the shop floor because of the wheel. Fur managed, though, and had settled down on his bedroll, head rested against the backpack like a pillow, when he heard a soft knock on the door. Fur tensed, and pulled out a knife as he slowly cracked the door open—

--To find a clay bowl filled with cold beans and a hunk of black bread

. . .

Kin awoke early the next morning, eager to roust his new friend from his bed to introduce him to his Mama and Papa. He found only the bowl, though, licked clean on the shed floor. There was no other sign that anyone had been in the room at all, save for a missing tool or two from the father’s pottery kit. Not that he was likely to notice their absence, at least not until poor Olive had finally passed from her suffering. By then, the Ithecal would be long gone from the quarter and from the child’s fleeting memory, replaced by the adventures of a new trial and a new friend.

Kin scooped up the bowl and ran back in the house, before bounding out into the streets again for a few breaks of play before breakfast. There. Already forgotten.
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word count: 923
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