• Solo • [Raelia] Silver Stalker, Chapter Two (Graded)

8th of Zi'da 719

The cities and villages of Melrath are as varied and diverse as they come. The capital of Raelia is the the jewel of this western kingdom, playing host to a merchants, artisans, Aesir priests, as well as a cut throat political landscape dominated by the nobles of Raelia. To the south in the depths of the Myrkvior Forest lies Melrath's second largest, and oldest city, Fensalir. Here people have learned to live alongside spirits and the natural world by maintaining their loyalty to traditions laid down the first Melrathi. To the east lies the small fishing village of Noatun, and to the western mountains rests the Mer city of Verimeer, the brewing town of Alivilda and the alpine village Vormund.
User avatar
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:15 pm
Race: Mixed Race
Profession: Hedgedoctor
Renown: 255
Character Sheet
Character Wiki
Wealth Tier: Tier 6



[Raelia] Silver Stalker, Chapter Two (Graded)

Silver Stalker
8th Zi'da 719 in Raelia

Continues from here

While the daylight had turned into dusk Ashling had spent her time losing her way in Raelia. She didn’t know how long time she had searched in vain for The Ox’s Bellow. Her latest stop had been a perfumery where she had bought a dog soap she didn’t need. It had been the only way to make the shop assistant tell her the way to the tavern.

After her visit to the snobbish perfumer shop, Ashling had done her best to follow the directions the perfumer had given her. Now she had the outcome. It had failed.

Before that, she had navigated by taking what she believed was the same route as last time. It had failed. She had also navigated by following the directions of children. It had been a prank and she had failed again. Now, she after having navigated by following the directions of a shop owner, she should have found her way. But, there had been so many things to memorize that she hadn’t made it all the way to The Ox’s Bellow. She had lost her way again!

Had she not been on an important mission she might have given up. But, she needed to speak with Soren, so she must find his tavern. She reminded herself that she was Melrathi. A Melrathi ought to be tenacious and hardy, right? Gritting her teeth she continued along the street, hating Raelia for being a maze.

The snow creaked under her boots, but now she was under the impression that it creaked more than it should. She stopped in her tracks. Listened. Indeed, she heard the snow creak two times despite that she was standing still. Or, had she only imagined it? Ashling felt her heart beat faster. A quick glance behind her told her that there was nobody else in the street.

She saw a light at a distance. That was where she would go! In the best case it would turn out to be The Ox’s Bellow and she would be able to rush into the tavern and stay there. She speeded up her steps a bit, but not by much. It was too cold for running. Besides, if she would run, this would show a potential stalker that she was aware of them. Yes, a stalker was what came to her mind. It could be a criminal looking for someone to rob. She had never been robbed, but she had heard stories about how it was best to immediately give the thief your purse. They might run away with their bounty and so, they might at least not injure you.

She told herself that couldn’t be Myrkvior’s Kin. Those had no reason to be after her. She was a traditional Melrathi girl who hadn’t done anything to cross them. Or, had she? They were said to hate stormtouched but Ashling tried to heal them. Was she on a secret blacklist as “stormie-lover”? Were they looking to take revenge in the name of The Dark Mother? Ashling had never even thought of this possibility before. It was a most disturbing thought.

Or, it could be a flayer. A mage of the worst kind!

You know how flayer mages prey on people who walk alone in deserted places. And then they strike!

She felt all for the abduction of mages that had been rounded up and arrested. It had been good that the mages (especially the man-flayers she had heard stories about) had been “removed”. It meant that there were no flayers around, didn’t it? But, her attempts to persuade herself to feel that she was safe backlashed. She might be safe when the mages weren’t around. But, it meant that innocent stormtouched people had been bundled up with the magic users. They might already be flayed and dead. That was something to worry about ...

She stopped and listened again. The snow creaked on time too much. She continued to listen but she couldn’t hear anything more. Still, she felt like she was being followed. As she resumed the walking, Ashling found herself looking for things she could use a weapon. There was nothing. Only snow. The extra creaking she had heard wasn’t there anymore though. Stopping several times to listen gave her nothing bar silence.

Could it be that whatever she had heard had gone away? Or had she only imagined hearing it?

Ashling arrived at the light she had used as a landmark, only to find that it was a street lantern, not a tavern. But, there, in the circle of light around the lantern she saw ... a stick. She picked it up. She knew what it was she had found. It was one of those sticks children used to pretend were swords. A plaything, thrown away when the fun was over and it was time to run home and have dinner. It was a worthless weapon but she kept it in lack of better options.

Then she heard a sound behind her, a low, whining sound.

“Show yourself and tell me what you want, “ she said. “I know you are there. Come here!”

To here surprise her words had an immediate effect. A dog stepped into the periphery of the circle of light from the lantern. The animal’s eyes gleamed like pools of darkness in its furry face. It seemed cautious but it wagged the tail. Ashling watched it, giddy with relief. It had only been a dog. When she spoke to it again, the dog came to her as if it knew her. The animal was of medium size and looked like a Melrathi Sheepdog. A stray dog, she concluded when the animal stepped closer and she saw how thin and shaggy it looked. It limped and tried to avoid the left front paw. Ashling threw the toy sword in the snow. Then she squatted to have a closer look at the injured leg but the animal stepped away. She watched it and a weird feeling of having seen the dog before came over her. It had also reacted to her voice. But, she had never known any dog in Raelia ...

And then the memory came to her. Could it be that dog she had given a sausage and petted and spoken sweet words to in The Ox’s Bellow, seasons ago? It was possible. If it was the same dog, the animal had looked healthier at the time. She recalled it as smaller too. It was an unsure thing if this really was the same dog. But, if it had still been a big puppy last time she had seen it, the animal could have grown a bit. It was hard to know. The dog behaved as if it knew her though.

The limp didn’t seem to stop it from walking. I occurred to her that if it was the dog she had met in Ymiden it might help her find the way to the Ox’s Bellow. If she would follow it, the dog might lead her there. Or not. Who could know where a stray dog would head. It might lead her on a long walk in the cold and then run away to hunt a rat. She could end up even more lost in Raelia than she already was.

Ashling decided against following the dog. But, she thought it could be a good idea to make the dog follow her. In the best case, the injured animal would help her if somebody tried to rob her. It was possible that she had only imagined that creaking sound. She hadn’t heard any other footsteps than her own since then. But, she was still feeling worried.

“Will you help me?” she said in a low voice. “If you help me, I will help you. I will bring you to a warm place and give you food. I will make your bad leg good again.”

She kept speaking this way for a little while. It was not because she expected the dog to understand it but because she hoped it would hear that she was friendly. Then again, the Ydalir rangers home in Fensalir kept saying that their dogs understood many words. They said dogs were more intelligent than people realized. Ashling didn’t know how true that was. The rangers had a special talent for contact with animals. It could be the reason for why they thought dogs were so smart and able. Anyhow, she continued to speak to the dog and hoped that the sweet and reassuring tone of her voice would make it want to stick with her.
It worked.

When Ashling picked up the wooden sword and continued to walk along the street, the dog followed her. Good. She wasn’t all alone anymore even if her company was only a stray dog with a limp. Anybody was better than nobody right now. She would even have welcomed the company of Nathon Eagleowl, to be honest. The stormtouched had his drawbacks but she had seen him make quick work of bandits when it was needed. It was the same thing with other stormtouched she had met. They were definitely a bit changed and had their difficulties, but some of them were also very resourceful.

And Melrathi. They are good Melrathi people, affected by the unknown powers of that weird storm. We ought to help them and try to find out how to reverse them to the people they were, not persecute them for what happened to them. But now, how can we do that when so many of them have disappeared?

Ashling continued to speak to the dog as they walked on.

“I’m going to find them. I’m searching for the people they arrested and took away. Nobody seems to know anything though. I’m down to looking for rumours and stories instead of official information. I mean, so many people can’t disappear without a trace. There must be witnesses who have seen and heard things, people who know something, people who get tempted to brag about it when they get drunk in the taverns ... “

She glanced down at the dog. It limped beside her, silent and enduring.

“We will go to The Ox’s Bellow,” she told it.

The dog turned it’s head bit and gazed up at her. Ashling hoped that the stories about how dogs understood words were true. “Take me to The Ox’s Bellow,” she said. “Show me the way! “
word count: 1773
User avatar
Peer Reviewer
Peer Reviewer
Posts: 3559
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2016 3:43 am
Race: Mortal Born
Profession: Alchemist
Renown: 1162
Character Sheet
Character Wiki
Plot Notes
Point Bank Thread
Wealth Tier: Tier 10

Re: [Raelia] Silver Stalker, Chapter Two


Animal Husbandry: Speaking to a dog in a sweet and friendly voice
Deception: Failing to shake off a stalker by pretending to not having noticed them
Endurance: Enduring to continue an important mission despite setbacks
Intelligence: Guessing that creaking sounds on a snowy street means being stalked
Intelligence: Guessing that a thin and shaggy dog on the street is stray
Intelligence: Guessing that a dog who loves you recalls getting a tidbit in the past

Loot: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: -
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: I enjoyed this solo. It was easy to read, and it contained some humour which I thought was great.

It amused me that Ashling got lost a couple of times on the way to the tavern – and that she blamed Raelia.

I also liked that you included her actual thoughts.

The dog showing up was surprising. I wonder what will happen to it. Will she keep her promise and help the dog?

Great job, and enjoy your rewards!
word count: 169





Worn Items

Ring of Reversal
Ring of Immunity
Post Reply Request an XP Review Claim Wealth Thread

Return to “Melrath Cities and Villages”