Unexpected Happenstance

Tunawas are more than sticks among the cobblestone.

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Finn
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Vhalar 7, Arc 716
Where has it gone? The innocence. The peace. The security and assurance. Like clouds of breath disappearing in the cold morning air, even those qualities have faded leaving behind despair, confusion...empty holes in people's hearts that could never be filled. All that whilst scarring the land like ugly marks of beast's claws across one's chest. They bled. All of them. One way or another, they all suffered injuries that would require time to heal. And the city...it laid covered in smoke which like their hopes vanished into thin air.
Finn and a group of three assistant priests were sent out by the temple to help clean the rubble and wreckage of the aftermath with beings no one still fully understood. The horrors etched into the collapsed houses with lifeless limbs protruding from the gravel with irrevocability of death. Marionettes with strings cut off and cast into the dirt to be left there, forgotten. His fist curled, nails dug into his palm fiercely. Anger still broiled inside him. It was stronger now than during the days of fighting. It dug its claws into his flesh just as the shadowbeast would have done. It burnt with venom Finn wanted to spit out and cleanse himself off.
"There. You two help that group. Luc, you come with me." Finn said as they arrived at one of the sites where citizens were already trying to move the fallen ruins in search of survivors. How many would have to run into an alleyway to empty their stomach of the nothing they ate? How many tears would be shed in delight or despair when the stone would be moved elsewhere and the desire for secrets uncovered fulfilled? Finn would lie if he said none of this affected him because it did. The misery was rubbing against him day and night like a desperate lover seeking the warmth of his arms. Its call was seductive during the sleepless nights. Yet, he refused it every single chance he got. Among the darkness, he needed to be his own light as well as the beacon for others.
Simple nod of greeting and acknowledgement was all it took for the men to join a group further down the treacherous street where fallen wood and pebbles laid traps to careless feet. Any pair of hands was welcome to clear away the outcome of the violent encounter with the enemy and silence was their guide for if there was a survivor among the rubble, they were all straining their ears to hear their weakening breaths.
word count: 432
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They do not yet understand the purpose of forgiveness. It is not to spare wrongdoers a punishment they deserve. It is to spare the injured ones the ongoing pain they do not.

~ Ymiden
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Ailluin-Yelven
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The chaos of the shadow creatures was past, at least for now. But they had left behind a city torn asunder. She had never seen anything so terrible, and she had survived some pretty horrible things herself. Buildings were collapsed, some still smoldering from the fires that burned them, others looking as though they had exploded or simply grown weak and collapsed, as no doubt many who learn the fate of their loved ones would end up doing as people picked through the wreckage today, looking for survivors and ways to rebuild.

The roads had deep gouges in it in several places where the shadow creatures had torn into it, but they might as well have been deep ravines for her to traverse in her petite form. More than once, she had to get a ride on the pantleg of one of the citizens that were walking, a small weight most barely felt as she would leap on and drop again once safely on the other side. She was looking for her master now that the battle was over, her sewing needle turned temporary sword still in her hand, as she had no sheathe or other way to carry it, having grabbed it at the last moment as a weapon in a last ditch effort to try and go out fighting rather than cower in the room. It was probably good that she did not remain, as at one point she passed the inn they had been staying at and saw it in ruins. Her mind didn’t linger on the thought of their things being buried or burnt to nothing in the inn, thinking it was more likely Avrae got to them before the building collapsed and if not...items could be bought back, people could not.

She hated to see the destruction, people crying as they called for their loved ones, children lost amongst the smoke and fallen buildings, covered in soot or blood and crying as they hold their parents or sibling, just begging them to get up. It brought tears to her eyes, and she did her best to try and comfort anyone she ran into that needed it. One child was covered in blood not their own, crying over their father who had undoubtedly died protecting him if the wounds were any indication. She wasn’t able to do much, but it seemed that the hug she offered before being picked up like a doll and squeezed until she thought she might burst. At that moment, someone she guessed was their mother came upon them and she was quickly dropped to run to the woman and hug them. She picked herself up and brushed herself off, then continued on her way, glad she had been able to help at least for a little while.

All around her, she could see nothing but death and destruction. It was a sobering image, made more so by the occasional lifeless limb one might see poking out from the wreckage, just another calamity, another death to stack onto all the horror these beasts had wrought upon the town. She kept alert as she walked, knowing that being so low to the ground, she might stand a chance at hearing anyone who might be buried beneath the rubble of the fallen buildings around them. Or at least, she figured that was how it worked, she didn’t know for sure. It was hard to stay positive when all around you was death and destruction, but she pushed onwards anyways. She paused in front of what she guessed might have been a house, it was hard to tell if it was one house or many all collapsed and crumbled upon each other, and tilted her head to the side. She was standing nearby someone else, a priest perhaps, she couldn’t say for sure, but that didn’t matter. She went up to him and quickly yanked on his clothes to get his attention and shouted up to him, “I think I hear someone in there!” and pointed at the house in front of them. When it seemed as though she was not succeeding in getting his attention, she huffed and turned to dive into the wreckage, worried that help might come too late. She wanted to check for herself and make sure what she heard was not someone in trouble, and being as tiny as she was, it was easier to maneuver through the wreckage rather than move it out of the way.
Last edited by Ailluin-Yelven on Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 753
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Finn
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In the rhythmic drop of stones, everyone was clearing away rubble into the somber sounds of expectations. Finn was focused on what he was doing, making sure that he was looking, noticing and not only seeing. His eyes were straining into the thin apertures, into the shadows, the anticipation creating tension in his body.
”Ah!” Luc, the assistant priest next to him, breathed out a fraction of a trill before a miniature avalanche of pebbles, some as large as a fist, plummeted towards his feet. But in that singular moment, the trill that sound left Luc’s lips, he brought dreadful hope to everyone. Did he find someone? Dead? Alive? Their eyes alight with silent prayers for good news looked to the young man as they would to a messiah, only to be dimmed as they watched the young man’s contorted face as he tried to avoid the falling disaster. It was not Luc’s fault. He was trying like everyone else to help, but the drop in mood was almost tangible. Everyone was strained. Who knew when someone's will and resolution would snap first.
”You alright there?” Finn asked in his usual caring but solemn manner which he has adopted without knowing ever since few trials past.
”Yeah. I...just. It just somehow tumbled…”
”It’s alright. Just be careful next time. Broken toes take time to heal.” Finn jumped in leniently, with a small nod. The boy has not seen death before. His nervousness was like a cloak clinging tight onto his body and moulding that wish-to-be-confident smile into a poor imitation. Finn felt sorry for the boy, but Luc was adamant about coming. As for Finn, there was a reason why he was sent out here on order. Whilst the rest of the temple staff was tending to the injured, the seeking and the broken on the premises, Finn was to put his abilities to use right on the field.

”Oh medicine and graft magic? You sure are quite resourceful, Finn.” Seumas said, looking at Finn with those measuring eyes that Finn started to find somewhat unsettling and rather odd. It almost appeared as if the head priest was gauging how valuable someone was. That alone just highlighted certain things in Finn's psyche he thought were long subdued.

Either way, his attention was elsewhere than on noticing a small twig person joining in their search. If he would have noticed, his heart would have probably warmed for a moment from within the cold, dark cage he locked it in to protect it. If he noticed, a smile would peak through the serious clouds that settled over his expression and for a trill he would have felt more like himself and not only a ghost. Tunawa’s were wisps of heart-warming memories that might just anchor him to himself so that this overly collected man might realize he was slipping back to old habits.
word count: 493
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They do not yet understand the purpose of forgiveness. It is not to spare wrongdoers a punishment they deserve. It is to spare the injured ones the ongoing pain they do not.

~ Ymiden
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Ailluin was not a big fan of the small area she had crawled into. It was cramped, though she knew that going into it. Still, it brought back some awful memories of cramped cages and being bled dry for a crooked doctors nefarious purposes. Shaking the thoughts from her mind, she focused on the task at hand, and the faint voice she had heard. She needed to hurry, and she did her best to wiggle quickly over pieces of stone, under spurs of wood, and shove dirt out of the way with her hands, clearing a path and doing her best to not shift anything that would collapse the small semi tunnel she was making. She figured that, while also needing a path to get out again, having a tunnel leading to air would be good for whoever was inside, as she did not know if there was any air holes in the rubble. “Hello?” she called, after she figured she was in deep enough to be where someone might be. She crawled forward a little further and yelped as the ground dropped out beneath her. Luckily for her, rather than hitting the ground and being impaled on something or being unable to climb out again by being too far below her hole, she landed on the head of a weakened, bleeding but luckily conscious young man. He had to be just at the cusp of adulthood, and from his wounds, some slashes on his arm and leg that had torn his clothing but nothing that seemed lethal, he must have tried to fight, then hid in the house when he was overwhelmed. She tapped on his head and said, “Hello? Are you awake? Can you talk? Can you move?” and repeated the questions louder until he noticed her and plucked her off his head to put her at eye level. His voice was raspy and he had many pauses when he spoke, but he didn’t seem like he was going to keel over any second, which was good. Apparently, the only reason he was okay was because the house he’d taken refuge in (he hadn’t been fighting, apparently the slashes were from falling) had a tiny cellar, and when the house collapsed, the floor gave out too and dropped him into it, which saved him from being crushed entirely. Though it did break his leg, something she hadn’t noticed when she examined him. “If you put me back up to the hole I made, I can go out and make sure people know you are here.” she told him, standing in his hand. “They are searching the rubble, but if they know where to look for you, then you’ll get rescued faster.” It took a bit of coaxing, he was loathe to have her leave when he wanted someone to talk to to keep calm, but he eventually lifted his hand up as high as he could, and while she had to scrabble a bit at the dirt to get up, she managed to haul herself into the little tunnel and she went as fast as she could back out.

It took her longer than she wanted it to to get back to the surface, and she started trying to call out as she started to reach the exit, or rather the place she had crawled into the rubble. She’d done her best on the way out to widen her little tunnel and give more room for air to flow so he wouldn’t suffocate. She didn’t dare to push or shove anything too much out of fear of the whole thing caving in on itself. She had just gotten to where she could see the world outside of the rubble when suddenly, a hand approached her and she was picked up as though she were a piece of debris. Fear of falling into a pile of sharp rubble (it wouldn’t kill her but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t hurt like heck) from a careless toss, she started to thrash as she cried out, “Don’t toss me! I’m alive! I’m alive! I need help! Please don’t toss me, I know of a young man trapped in the house!”
Last edited by Ailluin-Yelven on Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 713
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Finn
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It was an endless cycle of lift, toss, check, repeat. After a moment those motions became automatic. The mind could switch off and the men could do their work, detaching themselves from the results to a certain degree. The level of apathy in this place was astonishing. Everyone was trying to help, but only a few were clearly alert. The rest was here only to escape thinking about their own misfortunes. Finn noticed this as he worked when a man next to him hauled a stone that loosened another which nearly fell on his feet.
"I'm so sorry!" The stranger apologised whilst Finn reassured him that no harm was done and that he should be more careful next time. Stern blue eyes that lacked the usual warmth, gave his words an almost lecturing tone. He tried to crack it with a subtle smile to soften the impact. Whether it was successful or not, Finn couldn't tell. He did not stare at the man long enough to gauge the results, nor did he care at that moment. To some degree, even he became somewhat apathetic.
Lift, toss, check, repeat, lift, toss, check, repeat, lift, t--. He was about to cast off a twig and to his surprise, it turned out to be so much more. At first, Finn though that he caught some sort of wriggly worm and as a natural reaction of any person, he nearly dropped the Tunawa anyways. Until she began to speak which then triggered a catch reflex in the priest. Suddenly, it all turned into a game of hot potato - who drops it first loses. It was a slippery dance for Finn as he was trying not let go of the little being. For a few trills, he appeared to be flailing about, bouncing a piece of wood up and down.
"For goodness sake, I am so sorry," he gasped at last when he managed to capture the creature safely in his open palms. He was looking at her in disbelief as were those of the men nearest to him. Yet, there was a difference. Whilst others weren't entirely sure what they were looking at, Finn was surprised to see her there.
"Is that a Ti...Tu...?"
"Tunawa. It's a Tunawa." Finn replied with that softening smile of wonder that managed to crack some of the ice in his attitude. He did not recognise her from Moseke's temple. But perhaps she was a new addition to the small colony of wooden creatures there? However, soon his curiosity was struck by the words she shouted to save herself from a perilous fall and a frown settled back onto his brow.
"You said you found a young man trapped? Where? Could you lead us to him?"
word count: 463
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They do not yet understand the purpose of forgiveness. It is not to spare wrongdoers a punishment they deserve. It is to spare the injured ones the ongoing pain they do not.

~ Ymiden
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Ailluin was almost positive that the man who had picked her up was going to drop her. When she started to thrash, he’d nearly dropped her, and then when he tried to catch her, flailing about so she wouldn’t fall, she got jostled around enough to have a hard time telling what was up and what was down, getting dizzy rather quickly as everything seemed to move and sway as though she were feeling the effects of a drunken stupor. “I-it's quite alright. I’m just happy you didn’t drop me.” she said when he finally held her steady, a hand pressed to her head. She blinked rapidly as she pushed herself up to her feet, balancing unsteadily on his hand as she smoothed out her outfit. “My name is Ailluin, and yes I’m a Tunawa. I heard someone crying out in the rubble, but when I tried to get your attention, you didn’t so much as glance my way, so I went myself. There’s a young man in there, his leg broke when he fell into the cellar below. He needs rescue pretty bad, there’s not much air down there. I can take you to where he was at.” she said, looking at the rubble with a frown of concentration. She looked up at him and said, “I’ll need to be put down to pace it out. I counted on the way out, but I can’t pace it if you walk, your paces are too big.” She peered at the ground near his feet, wondering how much time they had to save the young man before it was too late.

She bit her lip at the thought and said, “We should move fast. I’m worried he doesn’t have much longer.” Once she was placed on the ground, she stumbled a few steps before she was steady again and immediately started to climb over the top of the rubble, mentally counting her pace as she climbed over where she had pushed under. Rough in the middle of the rubble, she stopped and started to jump and wave her hands to make sure they could discern her from the rest of the rubble (she was certainly not very clean after crawling through the debris and thus blended in a little easier with it as a result) as she called out, “Over here! Hurry!” She wished in that moment that she was as large as human so she could help them dig to find the young man, but most, if not all, of the debris was larger than she was and she was not particularly strong herself, and as such she wouldn’t be any help at all. But, that didn’t mean she’d let the boy die without trying her hardest.
Last edited by Ailluin-Yelven on Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 474
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Finn
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She was shaken but alright. Finn has forgotten how fragile Tunawas were, if at all. It has been such a long time ago and even in the Southern Temple, Liliwen would not let him go to the Tunawa Refuge that often. So many arcs passed and her presence touched his heart softly with memories he just could not indulge in at that moment.
Nodding at Ailluin as she told him what she knew, he put her back down carefully. Whilst she was looking for the entry to the tunnel she made, Finn started gathering more men. Luc was already by his side. The other two assistant priests rushed in with the group.
”I’ll need you as well if that’s alright.” He asked the man who nearly dropped a stone on his feet.
”The rest of you should keep working on the rubble where you are. If there’s too many of us, we risk chaos and collapsing the ruins on top of the boy.” Finn explained, generally receiving agreement from the crowd. They all looked concerned. It would be logical to have as many of them to help as possible, but if the structure has already collapsed on itself once, it could do it again. If that were to happen, this time, the boy would not be so lucky. Moreover, with five men in the group already, there were only so many people one could have facing the heap of stone before the manoeuvre space got too tight as well.
By the time he had everyone gathered, Ailluin was already trying to get his attention.
”Everyone, be careful not to chuck Ailluin aside. She is the only one who can guide us to the boy!” Finn stressed her importance as he gave her an encouraging nod, hearing the hum of acknowledgement from the rest. Apathy was gone. He felt sharp and with it. He was ready to tear through the rubble to get to the boy as soon as possible. By the feel of it, the rest of the men around him felt exactly the same.
Their hands dug into the debris, removing it as fast as possible without risking any danger to the Tunawa or the injured young man below. It was swift, yet organised search. Only a few times the rubble shifted, came down a little bit. One of those times, Finn’s hand darted to where Ailluin has disappeared to prevent the bits of stone from falling on her and hurting her. He never knew whether it was a successful attempt, whether he really managed to protect her because she was always out of his sight, but he prayed that it did. For every single time, he heard her again and it lifted his spirit ever so slightly.
word count: 463
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They do not yet understand the purpose of forgiveness. It is not to spare wrongdoers a punishment they deserve. It is to spare the injured ones the ongoing pain they do not.

~ Ymiden
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Ailluin could tell that her discovery of the boy in the cellar had lifted the spirits of the men. When she had tried to get their attention before, they were moving as though they were automated zombies whose only task was to shift rubble, uncaring of if anything were uncovered. But now, they had a purpose. They knew that someone had survived, and now they stood a chance at recovering him alive. Ailluin did all she could to help, and dashed about on top of the rubble, where her slight weight would not be enough to shift it and cause anything to happen. She used this to her advantage, leading the men to where it would be safe to disturb the rubble. She ducked beneath it more than once, making sure they weren’t blocking or disturbing where she made the tunnel that led to fresh air. Uncovering him wouldn’t do any good if he suffocated. She had to dodge hands more than once as occasionally, she was almost grabbed in their haste and excitement to uncover the lad, but she didn’t blame them.

It was not easy going, and her hands were soon aching from her doing her best to help, her muscles sore from straining against rocks and boulders. But, it was all worth it when they finally uncovered the boy. He squinted in the light, his chest rising and falling rapidly from labored breathing. It was clear that they had come just in time, only so much fresh air could go in through such a small tunnel after all, which was why she wanted to have him uncovered as swiftly as possible. She hopped down into the cellar, landing on the boys head and leaning down to pat his cheeks, bringing him around and saying, “Look, I brought you help. Just like I said I would. You’re gonna be okay.” she smiled at him, then glanced up at Finn, who seemed in charge of everything, wondering how they were going to get him out.
word count: 340
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Communication hasn't blossomed as much as it did, when they were working to remove the rubble. Most of the time, it was to make sure Ailluin would not be grabbed and tossed away, but they were also making sure the feeble structure of collapsed stone would not fall apart further, crushing the victim below. Finn lost track of time as they worked.
"Ay! Here!" There came an ecstatic shout from one of the helpers and they all saw a hand grey with dust with dark streaks of scrapes, either from the fall or the boys own attempts to free himself. Or worse.
"We'll get you soon, lad! Just hang in there!" Another member of the group spoke loudly with excitement in those words.
"Alright, careful now. We don't want to disrupt the air bubble and have stone fall on the boy." Finn quickly instructed as he saw someone almost diving mindlessly for the nearest stone. Moments later, they saved their first life in the aftermath of the attack of the shadow beast. Group of faces were looking proudly down on the young man who was blinking into the light. Finn's expression was the most measured of them all, but his eyes were bright nonetheless, speaking of the merriment he felt too.
Finn moved gingerly among the rubble closer to the young man. Like Ailluin, he noticed the scabbed lacerations across his arms and legs, but no clear sign of broken bones. Still...
"Luc, go get the water flask we brought." The boy must have been crammed in that space for quite a while. Dehydration was just one of Finn's concerns. Extending the bottle to the young man, he took it eagerly, trickles spilling from the corner of his mouth. Off on the side, one of the rescuers chuckled.
"Good, good. Take it slow. There is still plenty to come." Finn said. He didn't move further for fear that if he would, he would cause a rubble slide, landing on the boy. Instead, he reached out with his hand towards him.
"Can you move?" He asked and the young man tried before his face turned into a scowl with an equally as pained moan. As he tried to prop himself up to take a hold of Finn's extended arm, his leg seemed to have given in. It could have been weakness and stiffness of the body after being crammed in that small space for god knew how long. A cough followed, dust being angrily stirred with the sudden movement. A frown settled on Finn's brow.
"Does it hurt? Where?" Finn asked and the boy rasped his response, shaky hands cautiously landing on his right hip. Indeed, a drop into the cellar from the ground floor, even if having the drop cushioned, if unlucky it could have caused damage to the bone or the joint. Finn has not done a splint on the hip yet.
"I need pieces of cloth. Long ones. We need to make sure the boy's legs are tied together so whatever has happened to his hip doesn't get worse." Few of the rescuers dashed off. He would need to tie the young man's legs together for a temporary splint-like solution.
"What's your name young man?" His words turned from instructing to calming. Confidence and equilibrium cloaked his features like a second nature. There was nothing to worry about, his body language was saying.
"Raineir." He spoke in a hoarse voice.
"Nice to meet you Raineir. Name's Finn. I'm with the Eastern Temple. We'll get you out as soon as we can and then I'll have a look at your leg." A simple nod of a head, almost giving the young lad a wink, his eyes shifted to the Tunawa. Finn's blue hues appeared to be swirling with energy.
"I'll need your help a bit longer, if that's alright, Ailluin." Finn started, the name slipping off his tongue naturally. "When they bring the clothes, some I will need you to bring around his ankles and knees so we can tie it there for support. Other two pieces will then go underneath his knees and under his arms and around his back. We'll need to haul him out of here since he can't move. Is that ok?" Not wanting to take her help for granted, he could do as much as show her that simple courtesy of requesting further assistance.
word count: 753
Favourite quote:
They do not yet understand the purpose of forgiveness. It is not to spare wrongdoers a punishment they deserve. It is to spare the injured ones the ongoing pain they do not.

~ Ymiden
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