Starlight Star Bright [Alivilda]

Navyri please

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.
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Starlight Star Bright [Alivilda]

95 Vhalar – Starlight Star Bright

Brent was bundled in a thick warm coat with his typical black cloak thrown on top. He had gotten into a pattern. Scoop, toss, scoop, toss. The shovel was a simple design, but it helped clear a path in the snow where the main road of Alivilda ran. Even though no one had asked him to do the work, it gave him a feeling of peace and order when the road into the village was traversable, or at the very least it could be distinguished from the blanketed fields on either side.

Scoop, toss, scoop, toss. His cheeks were rosy from the cold and his hands tingled even with the thick mittens he wore. But the end was in sight. Down the road, the cartographer could make out the distant shape of the Waystation. He had started that afternoon in the middle of Alivilda and steadily progressed along the Ardiechy lands along the road and to the north. While he could have been inside working on new maps or making copies, he felt the need to make the most of what precious days were left before it got too bitterly cold for even the most basic of outdoor activities. This was also his way of giving back to the community, knowing just how important it was to be able to walk to the village centre and back.

He carried a simple back pack with only a couple of items. In it were a simple map of Alivilda and Melrath. He had already eaten the snack he’d packed and there were a couple of small writing implements. As Brent neared the Waystation, shoveling snow as he went, he spotted some vague shapes amongst the trees that were unfamiliar. By now he was more interested in a nice hot drink, but he became troubled as he neared the figures in the trees.

Brent stopped suddenly as he realized what they were. Five figures, all dead, and all displayed grotesquely. One was especially mutated but the others were marked in such a way that went beyond a typical embla. The slow swinging of the one hanging from a tree branch was especially unnerving but the ones placed on stakes were not much better. He stared for several moments at the gruesome display and was shocked at how close they were to the road and the Waystation itself. He tried to repress a shudder as he tore his gaze away. This was not just a murder or desperate killing, this was organized with the intent to send a message. He hurried towards the small Waystation cabin in hopes of learning about what had happened.


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Re: Starlight Star Bright [Alivilda]

Rakahi Gravokian
"A greedy father has thieves for children."

“You know, for a man whose mobility is limited, you sure were hard to hunt down,” a dark shadow swooped across snow, the pine leaves of the treetops rustled and among them blue eyes as sharp as blades peered down at the man passing, “Forrester, do you ever stop working?” she teased, wings shifting to reveal the woman bundled in furs and blackened indigo. Navyri tugged away the fabric that had been wrapped around her face, revealing flushed cheeks and a white smile. Bits of ice clung to cloth fringe and she grabbed a branch, flipping forward and landing with a soft crunch of snow beneath her boot.

She knocked the white powder from her gloves and regarded the acquaintance and the shovel he carried, “I saw your maps,” she started, hoping to answer his questions before he found her arrival too cryptic. Looking down the road at the bodies that swung silently from their nooses was enough to give even her a feeling of disquiet and from her vantage point on the way here, there had been more lining the roads, “You have promise. I’m not a cartographer, but I have a grasp of navigation. Truly, I was wondering if you’d like to discuss a trade. A bit of business?” She moved forward, stopping out of reach as her head nodded towards the road in silent invitation to walk with her, “It’s freezing, so I’ll try not to waste your time.”

Clearing her throat, she fell into place beside him, “You’re methodical and hardworking, I respect that,” Navyri had flown first to the Alvida’s town center, asking the locals if they had seen Brent around or knew him, but xenophobia had kept most mouths shut. Annoying as it was, the winged Naer had only needed one person to speak and with a little more effort than originally intended, she had found out exactly where to look. Brent was off shoveling snow of all places, which confused her a bit. It brought him little personal gain and must have been harder than it needed to be with his bad leg. But he had done it for others. For Alivilda, Melrath. It gave her hope that he would agree to her proposition.

“I think you will become a strong cartographer and I would like to offer my eyes, so to speak,” she walked backwards, facing him with spread wings “The sky allows a whole new perspective. You would be able to see the world like only the Avriel can. The landscape, the slope of rivers and trees. The cities…” her voice had taken on a storytelling quality, breathless and tempting, “You could have the most accurate maps in all of Idalos. What do you think?”
Last edited by Navyri on Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 491
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Re: Starlight Star Bright [Alivilda]

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Starlight Star Bright
95 Vhalar 719


A sudden voice from above stopped him in his tracks. At first he missed the darting shadow, his hood slightly obscuring his vision as he craned around trying to see the intruder. But the voice was vaguely familiar with its light and airy timbre. Brent turned again, hearing a rush of wind and finally caught sight of woman with jet black hair contrasting against her snowy wings. Nav… Navyri. He watched as she landed with a graceful flip onto the powdery white snow.

What had brought her here of all places? Surely she hadn’t come just to see him? Awkwardly he stood with his shovel in the ground next to him. When she spoke next, it seemed as though she really had come to see him or at least in regards to his trade. By now, he had completely forgotten about the gruesome bodies that made up the backdrop of the Waystation. Navyri was just as striking as she had been when he first met her, except now bundled up in furs and her wings almost even more prominent.

Brent stood in stunned silence as the winged woman began to explain herself and eventually he started to clue in that she was being quite serious about the prospect. When she gestured down the road with a nod of her head, he hesitated, torn about leaving the last section of road unshovelled. But then he picked up the shovel and decided to go along with her. People could walk the last stretch through the snow if they needed to.

His limp was more obvious in the deep snow but his pace steady, albeit slow. He listened curiously to the winged woman’s offer. She sounded almost like Soren in the way she proposed the deal. No wonder they got along. The compliments made him smile, yet at the same time made him wary. What was it that she wanted?

The display of her wings was magnificent. Pearly white and stretched out with an enormous wingspan. The thought of working on his maps with her mad his heart skip, and she did have a point about being able to see the lands from above. Earlier that season he had used a high vantage point to his benefit when creating his map of Fensalir. Her voice was enticing and persuasive and he imagined looking at the landscape from high up.

The cartographer was struck by a startling deja vu. He had looked down at Alivilda from way up high, but this had been in a dream where he stood on an ethereal bridge made of stairs of light. In the dream he had been trying to reach the shadow of Navyri at the top of the stairs, but she had always been just out of reach, while down below Alivilda burned in chaos.

Brent shook himself from the vivid memory of the dream. This was here and now. Yet there was something at the back of his mind that seemed to warn him of temptation.

“I, um, it’s quite the offer Navyri.” Brent replied trying to keep himself composed while giving himself a little more time to think. “There are definitely some advantages to seeing the world from above. I have never had the experience of flying, but even finding a tall hill or look out point does wonders in speeding up the map making process.”

She certainly seemed keen, especially if she had made the trip for this. So part of him felt the urge to add a bit of a reality check. “But just having a good view doesn’t make for perfect maps. Elevations may look similar from high up, whereas on the ground they practically define which paths people take. Rivers may be easy to see as they cut the land, but forest trails and mountain passes may be obscured unless you walk them. I can teach you to make sketches of what you see, or confirm aspects of maps I already have. And um, I find it a pleasure to be able to work with someone.”

While he had reservations about whether she could single-handedly make his maps the best in all of Idalos, there was definite merit in the concept even for the chance to work alongside company. He was reminded quite strongly of his mapping with Ashling, and tried to set aside any feelings of hesitation or guilt about trying something similar with Navyri.

But there was still the more important question he needed to ask.

“A trade usually goes both ways though, and all you’ve mentioned is what you have to offer. What are you looking for in return, Navyri? Money? I have little to offer as I have only just begun my business here in Melrath. Some stake in the business? It would require more than just an expedition or two. Some other kind of favour?”

While he was fascinated at the prospect, he could also feel his toes going numb. If Navyri seemed open to the idea of warming up briefly at the Waystation, he would gesture for them to go inside and ask for hot drinks for them both. The hanging bodies were no less ominous and he wondered if any of them had been Outlanders like herself. Although he shared many traditional views of Melrath, he was far more open when it came to meeting people.

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Re: Starlight Star Bright [Alivilda]

Rakahi Gravokian
"A greedy father has thieves for children."

“You’re… unsure?” Navyri was not used to being told no, and while he did not say the word, she sensed reluctance. Searching his face, the Naer tried to determine why, listening to his rationale. Brent was inherently the expert on cartography; if he said maps took more than just a good view, she believed him, but she wasn’t sure she’d learn the skills quick enough if he sat down to teach her. Art wasn’t learned in a day and she chewed her bottom lip in thought, “That’s fair.” Still, drawing could prove a useful skill along the line and her creative side had been admittedly neglected.

“It’s not really a favor I want, or even a claim on your future success,” she was happy to follow him in the direction of the waystation, the cold having bit into her extremities, encouraging her to hug her arms to her chest, “But, you already know me too well. There is a catch,” A smirk. Every good deal involved a bit of self interest. She worked on pushing through the snow, her legs tiring from the extra force required while wondering just how much it was affecting her company. The warm glow of a hearth was a beacon in the darkening winter night and she stepped through the door’s threshold, Brent not far behind. Shambling up to the bar, he ordered them both drinks, and she began to remove some of her layers, starting with her scarf.

She continued her pitch once the drinks were poured and set down, blue eyes briefly following the server, “I want you to come visit me in Raelia sometime,” her attention resettled on Brent as she reached out to take her drink from him, “I know that doing so won’t be easy with the weather but if you can… There’s this old theater house,” she took a drink, leaned forward, “It’s gorgeous but it’s been awfully neglected. I’d like to have it fixed up and I want you to lead the project.”

She tried to gauge his reaction, smiling for good measure and reassurance. Men always loved a smile; at the very least, they were always asking for one. It could be rather annoying, “I know it might not be your expertise, but with the wall I thought…” What did she think? Navyri trailed off and sighed, settling into a chair while her wings draped over its back. Wings that she had allowed him to touch and clean. He had been patient and thorough. It was exactly the type of attention to detail she was looking for, “I just thought it would be something you could excel at.”

He had a bad leg but that didn’t mean he wasn’t strong in other areas. In fact, she had been initially impressed by his natural leadership, even if the children at the wall had disregarded him shortly after and his brother thought he spent too much time with exotic distraction. That interest could be a weakness to exploit, “The work would be steady and I could help you, just like before, with the mortar. Not every day, but… From time to time, and you’d be compensated, of course. You scratch my back, I scratch yours.”

Navyri took another drink and met his gaze, “I just think,” she began, tucking a lock of hair behind a pierced ear, “We could learn a lot from one another. And Melrathi can be so callous. I’d very much appreciate a friendly face from time to time. Wouldn’t you?”
word count: 633
"At last. It has been too long since I have walked the face of this world. Too long have I been locked there, awaiting my champion to release me. My champion... This is you, daughter of Audrae. You have, whether knowingly or not, released me from my self imprisonment, and are here to fulfill the destiny I have seen written in the tapestry of nature. You, daughter of Audrae's daughter, will be my foothold in this world." - Belaera to The Nightingale, after the 600 arc imprisonment
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Re: Starlight Star Bright [Alivilda]

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It’s not really a favor I want, or even your future success.

Well that was a little blunt. Brent blinked and gave Navyri a wry look. To go through the trouble of telling him how great his maps would be, and then to say it didn’t really matter to her in the long run. Although the surprising part was that she hadn’t noticed the slip of phrase. When she carried on, she seemed intent on leaving him hanging on her word. It wasn’t until they were inside the Waystation, with drinks in their hands, that she explained the other half of the deal.

“A theatre house…” he mused quietly to himself. His hands were clasped together with his elbows on the table as he listened to the rest of her pitch, considering the idea. He took a drink from the tankard. She seemed to be smiling an awful lot, so maybe the theatre meant something more to her than just a run-down building.

As she continued her persuasion, his mind was instead thinking about the theatre. How big was it? Did it need a lot of repair or only a few touch ups? What was it made of? Would it be something he could work on from inside mostly? How much building material would he need? The first step would to be assess it, and then he could determine some of these answers.

She explained that the work would be steady, so there were more than just a few touch ups. However he wasn’t expecting the sudden mental imagery that came with her next words.

You scratch my back, I scratch yours.

Brent coughed and shifted in his seat uncomfortably. Pull yourself together. But part of him already knew he had been ensnared. Their eyes met and he couldn’t help but glance at her silky black hair. He clasped and reclasped his hands, trying to regain his focus.

“The theatre,” he began slowly in response. “It sounds like an interesting project, and one that I would be glad to take part in.” His word choice was formal in attempt to keep his emotions in check. “If the building is sufficiently intact so that most of the work can be done indoors and during the cold season, then it will have little interference with my regular work. While I can copy maps or combine them in new ways during the cold weather, I am restricted by the weather in terms of charting out new lands.”

The cartographer managed to relax his shoulders a bit and took a long hearty drink. His eyes finally rested on her face again, whereas earlier he had been looking ‘beyond’ her when he had struggled against her obvious distraction. Taking a breath, he continued in a more conversational tone.

“I would much enjoy working with you, Navyri. Be it outside charting lands or in your theatre. In fact, there was much more than just the stone wall here in Alivilda. With the help of my brother, we built a gate for the bridge and a wooden wall on either side. Fixing up an old theatre in Raelia seems challenging, but certainly not impossible.”

Brent downed the rest of his drink. His nerves seemed to have relaxed somewhat and he leaned back on the chair.

“I’ll help you with your theatre, if you’re willing to stick around till Ashan to help me with some of my maps. Especially of the Melrathi countryside since I have yet to flesh that out with my current maps. But first I’d like to feel you out. Erm… in terms of your flying abilities and being my eyes. If you’re up for it, we could chart out a small section of the river before the sun goes down.”

He realized that if his favour would come first, helping with the theatre, he needed at least some sort of token from her to indicate that she’d hold up her end of the deal.

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Re: Starlight Star Bright [Alivilda]

Rakahi Gravokian
"A greedy father has thieves for children."

“A theatre house,” she repeated, trying not to appear too eager. Navyri might not have been as strong a swimmer as any Biqaj but she felt the tides of business turning in her favor. He seemed interested at the very least. If Brent agreed, Soren would be happy to know they were making progress and the sooner they had the building ready for the public, the sooner coin could pour through its coffers. As a co-owner of a budding empire, Navyri saw no reason as to why she couldn’t hire an extra hand or two and if the tavern owner had any problems with it, he could take it up with her over breakfast.

“The original owner, a playwright, is still around but the doors were closed arcs ago due to… martial problems.” She couldn’t quite remember what Soren had mentioned. The wife had cheated on him, or… no, had she died? Oh well, didn’t matter, certainly not to her. Navyri waved away the thought and took a deep drink, pushing past the gossip, “Long story short, the heartbroken old man just let things go. Most of the work is internal, especially cosmetic but I imagine there's a bit of water damage and the like.”

Oh, the decor hadn’t been updated in well over thirty arcs. Moths had eaten the curtains that remained and age had weakened a few boards on the actual stage. Faded and chipped paint, squatters, and stray creatures. Windows had been busted and bits of decor broken off and stolen at one point or another. It would need work. As to how much… that varied. She hadn’t decided if she wanted to tear anything up or focus solely on structural restoration efforts. She had only visited the location a handful of times to see the children.

Should she mention the orphans?

Brent repeated himself, his mind clearly turning over deep thought. Navri wanted to interject, and perhaps she would have to sweeten the deal if she really desired to. Brent, while he struck her as a more ‘honest’ man than most, was hardly a winning piece. A far cry from cutthroat and still harassed by childhood bullies, he wouldn’t have been someone she would have noticed outright by cunning or physical prowess. What stood out to her, so foreign and curious, was his complete… selflessness?

What kind of man shoveled snow for ungrateful strangers and built walls for men who sneered his name? It made him an true enigma to the thief.

Mulling over this, Navyri swirled her drink, shoulders pulling back when he agreed to help her. And then he made his demands.

“Ashan?” her brows rose and she did not hide the surprise from her face, “That’s quite the commitment.” Between Soren and everything else, it would be a challenge of time management. Not to mention flight, traveling back and forth between the cities.

Brent backtracked on his words, clarifying what he meant by ‘feel her out’ and the Naer chuckled into the rim of her drink, “That so?” her words were light but she felt weighted to the chair. After all the time spent in the cold, she was reluctant to go back out where damp clothes would frost against her skin, “You’ll be satisfied, but if you have your doubts, a demonstration wouldn’t hurt.”

Navyri waved over the barmaid and ordered two more drinks, paying for them instead. Settings such as this one were becoming nearly second nature and the winged beauty was clearly at ease despite the eyes that stared. They would need to get going soon, but a bit more drink wouldn’t hurt. They had come here to get out of the cold, after all, “Do you need anything else before we go? Any questions for me?”
word count: 670
"At last. It has been too long since I have walked the face of this world. Too long have I been locked there, awaiting my champion to release me. My champion... This is you, daughter of Audrae. You have, whether knowingly or not, released me from my self imprisonment, and are here to fulfill the destiny I have seen written in the tapestry of nature. You, daughter of Audrae's daughter, will be my foothold in this world." - Belaera to The Nightingale, after the 600 arc imprisonment
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Re: Starlight Star Bright [Alivilda]

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Brent’s eyebrow rose at her mention of commitment. Was she really such a flighty woman to see Ashan as a commitment? Or had she not thought out her offer in terms of when it was practical to chart the land? He vaguely recalled the list of faraway places she had been to. Maybe it was in her nature to move about from place to place, but then why invest in fixing up an old theatre?

However, he didn’t speak his thoughts aloud. Maybe Ted had been right about not getting distracted by exotic and frivolous beauties. Yet despite Navyri’s striking form and stunning blue eyes, the theatre project itself was almost equally enticing.

“Yes, Ashan,” Brent replied simply. “While we may try a little something today, it is not practical for either of us to be charting vast lands in the cold and snow.”

Brent was moderately surprised when Navyri ordered the next round of drinks. He gave a nod of appreciation and thought about how to put her skills to work and also check the accuracy of what she could do. After a few sips in, he reached into his bag and pulled out his regional map of Melrath.

“What I have here is a map of Melrath, however, I believe there may be some inaccuracies. We are here on the Vynmur river, on the edge of Alivilda.” He pointed briefly to the place where they were at.

“What I’d like you to do is take a blank piece of parchment and a charcoal stick and sketch the Vynmur and anything else you can see from above. You shouldn’t need a compass, since the sun is already setting in the west and you can use that as guidance. Once you have your sketch of the area, you can come back down and we’ll compare it to my map. Where there are differences, we’ll have to determine whether the fault is in my map, or yours. So I’ll have to walk the length of the actual river for the section you choose to draw, so that I can determine where the error lies.”

Brent finished up the last of the drink and stood up, ready to head out. But as he reached for the map, he had one more thing to say. “Scale is an important part of map making. If you fly low to the ground, the land will appear large, and if you fly higher up it will appear small. I don’t care what scale you choose to make the map, but the trick will be to use the same scale consistently for all features. I can’t have one bend in the river appearing small because you were high up and another part appearing large because you were lower to the ground. If you really want my confidence, draw me a line on the page and label it with the corresponding field dimension.”

As the cartographer gathered up his supplies, he also took out a blank sheet of parchment and a charcoal stick to give to the winged woman. He bundled up in his coat and threw on the black cloak over top. He had warmed up just enough and was ready to brave the cold again. Opening the door, he gestured for Navyri to go first. He pointed to the river in the direction of Raelia, if they intended to travel that far.

“We’ll go downstream from here, since I know Alivilda quite well.”

The sun was already starting to dip towards the mountains of the west. Brent didn’t offer any further instruction than what he had said in the Waystation. Instead he pulled out a small paper of his own and started his walk through the deep snow alongside the winding Vynmur River.
Brent's Average Map of Melrath
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Brent's Average Map of Alivilda for Reference
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Re: Starlight Star Bright [Alivilda]

Rakahi Gravokian
"A greedy father has thieves for children."

“While we may try a little something today, it is not practical for either of us to be charting vast lands in the cold and snow.”

There were things he did not know about her - about how she was protecting Soren from Naer assassins and crafting a means to destroy a business that wanted to rival their progress. Did she mention how she needed to train the orphans, teach them read, and restore the playhouse? And then their was her sessions with Eihr and gaining citizenship, hosting events at the tavern… “That’s true,” Navyri, nodded, fingers briefly drumming against her chin, “I’ll just have to make it work.”

Navyri turned her focus on her drink, enjoying the malt taste as Brent leaned over and began rummaging in his bag. Licking her lips, she collected the charcoal he had set on the table and turned it over in her hands while he began his instruction. She followed his finger as it moved across the paper, humming to signal she understood. Accuracy was important in nearly every endeavor, even more so in map making. Navyri glanced at the window, at the creeping pink of a promised sunset.

“I’ll do my best,” she knew a bit about reading distance, but she wanted to try and remain as consistent as she could with her work. Navigation was one thing… but cartography? Navyri was surprised by the sudden doubt she had in her abilities, “Keeping the same altitude can prove difficult,” The wind currents were fickle things, “It should be good practice. I’m ready when you are.”

Navyri rose to her feet and began to re-wrap herself in her layers, tugging her waves free from the binds of the scarf around her neck and pocketing the art supplies, “Shall we?”

Together they walked towards the door and then into the cold, trekking through the snow in the direction he had suggested. Used to Raelia’s more bustling streets, Navyri made an effort to take notice of the Alivilda scenery, a blanket of white leading to the green trees and looming mountains to the west. She followed Brent for some time, pensive in a polite sort of way, “If you ever favor a different subject for your work - your art, that is - I’d very much like to see it.”

The sounds of the river played in the background, her footsteps slowing. Somehow she doubted he had always been the kind of many he was now. Were cartographers born or made, she wondered. Humans grew so quickly and yet they picked their specializations and hobbies just as fast, no time to doddle with lifespans so short. Brent felt more serious than so many, and perhaps it came with age or disability. But maybe it was his shyness at the wall, his stutter and embarrassment that gave him sort of a boyish quality that made her believe he had a softer side. An artist turned logician? “I wasn’t really allowed,” she muttered into the wind, not quite sure why she said it but her mouth wouldn’t stop, “My parents always had a different direction for my life and my…. my mother was very strict.”

Navyri stared at the treetops draped in a layer of snow, reciting her story clearly, almost as if it didn’t happen to her. As if she had detached from it all, compartmentalized it before the memories threatened to shatter her, “By the time I was sixteen, I was completely on my own in a city I had never been to. There were so many things I didn’t know existed… Well, drawing, painting, any sort of art - If it didn’t keep me alive, I had no use for it.” she looked at Brent, searched his face for a reaction, an opinion. She hoped he wouldn’t pity her, opting to lighten the mood and get to her original point.

“If I turn out to be completely useless to you in this endeavor,” Navyri smirked, tugging her scarf higher so the cold would stop biting at her neck, “Which at this moment, is quite likely, I have other skills. Fighting, for example. I could teach you to defend yourself. Defend others? They shouldn’t speak to you like that.”

She shook her head, mouth settling into a frown at the memory of the wall. The arrogant pricks. Navyri certainly didn’t have a habit of playing white knight (if it could be called that. She had definitely enjoyed giving punishment by principle alone), but why should a group of idiots be prized higher than a man who actually did things? It made no sense to the proud woman.

word count: 814
"At last. It has been too long since I have walked the face of this world. Too long have I been locked there, awaiting my champion to release me. My champion... This is you, daughter of Audrae. You have, whether knowingly or not, released me from my self imprisonment, and are here to fulfill the destiny I have seen written in the tapestry of nature. You, daughter of Audrae's daughter, will be my foothold in this world." - Belaera to The Nightingale, after the 600 arc imprisonment
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Re: Starlight Star Bright [Alivilda]

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The cold wind lapped at his exposed skin, and Brent pulled up his hood as they left the Waystation. His boots crunched against the snow with every step and the Vynmur to their right babbled away. The evening had grown quiet but it was clear and crisp with hardly a cloud in the sky.

At the mention of art and a different ‘subject’ for his work, Brent’s cheeks grew rosy as he caught the woman’s eye before looking away. He had occasionally thought about doing a proper portrait of Ashling from Fensalir, but Navyri? But perhaps he was jumping to conclusions. Surely she didn’t mean it like that.

In his hesitation, the winged lady carried on, with a sense of longing in her voice. Despite the choices she was able to make now, she had not always had that freedom.

“I would like to do more of it,” he replied. “Art, I mean.” When he looked over at her, she seemed to have an expectant look, and he tried to elaborate.

“Sometimes I’ve found solace in it. Helped me get through some hard times.” He paused wanting to acknowledge her story in some way as well.

“It, um, must have been tough living in constant danger. I hope Melrath treats you better. Even with our…” He was going to say something like ‘eccentricities’ but then he recalled the disturbing bodies hanging by the road. “Even if some of us are not so accepting.”

They had reached a place along the river where it bended away from them, and Brent took the opportunity to mark it down and then swiftly return his mitten to his hand.

When Navyri mentioned the idea of teaching him to fight, a tangle of emotions hit him all at once. He had been humiliated that day. Yet she had stepped in and sent them running with their tails between their legs. But what had the others thought? An outsider protecting him? And he had been unable to do anything himself except fall flat on his face? He felt himself burning up with shame, and it certainly didn’t help that it had been a woman to protect him.

At last he was able to compose himself enough to speak. In a stiff and measured voice he said, “I’d like to learn to defend others.” His emotions were reined in tightly due to his pride and what he thought he should be as a man. “But not today.” So long as she didn’t press the subject, he would noticeably relax. The offer was still appreciated but he was not prepared to face his inner demons. Not today.

With slightly forced cheerfulness, Brent asked, “So is it time for you to see the lay of the land, my dove? I’ll be right down here marking it out as I walk.”
“Then we’ll compare notes,” he added with a wink.

As much as he had enjoyed the conversation, he was still a man of business and wanted to see how Navyri’s original offer held. If she didn’t need any further encouragement, Brent would start the exercise on foot. After every twenty paces, he would leave a mark in the untrodden snow and use his compass to note the direction of each line segment. He would stay fairly close to the river, as it was his intent to map out its curves, but just far enough so he wouldn’t slip on an unstable bank.

Brent smiled as he started to see stars coming out one by one to the east. He had been told that some people used the stars to find their way at night, even without a compass, but he had never truly studied them. Curiously, he paused in his methodical mapping and noted a small familiar cluster of stars that were exactly northeast.

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Template Credit: Navyri
word count: 664
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Navyri
Approved Character
Posts: 665
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:27 pm
Race: Naerikk
Profession: Thief
Renown: 348
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Re: Starlight Star Bright [Alivilda]

Rakahi Gravokian
"A greedy father has thieves for children."

“Everyone’s always in danger of something.”

Navyri took a deep breath and watched the sky, wondering how long she would stay the territories of Melrath. It felt safer here, even if the Spirits reigned and Delroth’s name was shushed instead of praised. She doubted the Immortal would want her to stay here for long, but he had always allowed her a fair bit of freedom in exchange for his high price requests. Still, how could she ever hope to predict his mind?

“So,” the sudden brightness in Brent’s voice drew her attention and she looked over at the cartographer, “Is it time for you to see the lay of the land, my dove?”

My dove?

She blinked.

“I’ll be right down here marking it out as I walk”

Navyri couldn’t decide if she should first address the possessive nature of it, or the bird comparison. And then he winked!

Delroth’s breath, was he flirting with her?

My dove!

It was difficult not to laugh. Oh, she certainly was nothing of the sort. A dove was far too delicate. Navyri was the grey goshawk. The white-bellied eagle. The snowy owl. Navyri Nightingale! But a dove? She would have liked for him to compare her to something with a bit more magnificence. With more devastation! With amusement dancing in her eyes, she took to the skies and flew upwards, against the winds and clumsily pulled the charcoal and paper from her pocket. With her gloves on, her fingers felt fat and stiff and she bit their fingers to tug them off and surveyed the landscape, suspended in the sky. The mountains were more looming in Alivilda than Raelia, decorated with patches of barren trees and frosted evergreens. She could see the road Brent must have carved free with his shovel, the footsteps leading to and from the Waystation that dirtied to slush.

Navyri pulled to the east, away from the dying sun and dropped low to the river, the chill increasing tenfold. She had told him she would sketch this landscape, and she intended to. But to see it from above was one thing, closer she could see the cuts in the river and where the water deepened most. Her reflection pooled and shimmered like a shadow across the water and she followed its curve, Brent forgotten behind her.

The river pulled North, towards Raelia. She knew this from her own journey and so she rose higher, cutting over the patch of forest and circled around towards Brent once more, climbing in altitude and locking there. Ice clung to her hair, her nose hurt and she shivered openly now, struggling to keep her hand steady as she imagined the landscape on the paper, each beat of wings making it harder to balance the paper in her palm, “Fuck,” she shuddered, her charcoal smearing. She dropped her glove and watched it trail to the ground, but kept her attention focused.

Navyri kept her markings simple, primitive almost. Pointed triangles for the mountains in the East, crosses for the trees. The river itself was a pair of parallel lines which she struggled with, looking up at the landscape from her vantage point and noting where it widened and split, trying to maintain the spacing where she knew the distance remained the same. That was important, she knew. Would it have been easier to create the scale first? She should have asked for a straight edge when they were inside.

Sniffling, her wings began to ache from the temperature but she kept them beating, trying to control the shaking of her hands. Navyri was having to pause to get the lines as close as she could between the flight and the weather, “Get it together,” she growled in frustration, looking down at Brent who was barely a dark smudge, fading to a grey as the stars came out and her night vision took control.

Navyri lowered to the ground and wrapped her wings around her in a tight cocoon, wings fluffed and appearing larger as they tried to trap heat around her shivering form, Enclosed, she tried to wipe her nose, oblivious to the dark smug that now ran along her cheekbone to her bridge, realizing far too late the black on her fingers as more smears pinched at the edges of the parchment.

“This is a mess,” she muttered, scoff-laughing at her attempt, “I should have taken a flat edge, something to write on,” she said, louder this time so it could carry to her companion better, “I should have planned better.”

It wasn’t like her to show such oversight, but now and again her pride took lead and she believed her abilities greater than what they were. She had assumed she could keep the map simple but did not take into great consideration just how hard drawing, writing, flying, calculating and balancing would be. Combined with the chill? She never stood a chance, “Can I see yours first?”

Blue eyes, illuminated in the night peeked out above soft feathers, while icy fingers clutched her work in embarrassment and uncharacteristic shame rosined her cheeks.

Last edited by Navyri on Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 890
"At last. It has been too long since I have walked the face of this world. Too long have I been locked there, awaiting my champion to release me. My champion... This is you, daughter of Audrae. You have, whether knowingly or not, released me from my self imprisonment, and are here to fulfill the destiny I have seen written in the tapestry of nature. You, daughter of Audrae's daughter, will be my foothold in this world." - Belaera to The Nightingale, after the 600 arc imprisonment
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