• Closed • Silence of the Caravans: Travel

Part II of the knavish Saga.

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Limbo
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Silence of the Caravans: Travel

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56th of Zi’da, 716
Once the plan was accepted by all parties, and the supplies needed for the trip had been gathered, the three wise men began their journey. Atop rented horses, each of the men advanced forth in unison. The pace was hasty at first, perhaps fueled by excitement or greed. Each of them had their reasons, which were as tightly sealed within their own heads that no amount of shovels could ever dig them out. Paplo’s reasons were simple: the sense of curiosity and the notion of forming bonds with these two males was attractive enough. It was a rare chance what he had gotten. The ability to explore Paplo, Kovic’s fabricated character, and the ability to portrait a generally knavish male that sought nothing but his own fortune. To mingle with killers, and perhaps crafting something meaningful with them, was a tale any good actor would like to witness. Even if there was no script, and the play was improvised, so far Kovic was enjoying these new acting challenges.

Riding a horse was not as easy as it had seemed. Without any notable experience in riding, Paplo found his rear hurting whenever the equine contorted its body with every gallop forth. Eventually he managed to counter this by relaxing, allowing himself to enjoy the motions of the animal like a ship enjoyed the wavering of the sea. It was hard to explain, and if Paplo was allowed to confess, he’d quite clearly state that he had no idea how he had managed to achieve comfort whilst riding, yet some things required no explanation; they were just there, like the sky, the soil, or the breeze that kissed his flesh.

Despite traveling in group, a strange sensation of lonesomeness swept over Paplo’s mind. Even if he could turn his head and witness his temporary allies riding beside him, glancing towards him (or grunting, in Noth’s case), he only felt as if he was traveling alone. None of them spoke, for everyone clung to their private affairs deep in their mind. Three strangers following the roads, passing through wooden patches, uncultivated fields, or distant frontier towns that came and went as the horizon changed. One could wonder what went on within each of their minds, what grim thoughts circled around their psyche or just what fantasies they imagined for their future, and one would continue wondering for all eternity. Men like these, overburdened by their secret woes, social rejects of one way or the other, were pleasant mysteries for those that looked towards them.

Kovic’s attention, at first focused on trying to decipher or predict the outcome of their little quest, eventually shifted on more tangible matters. He thought a lot about Paplo, and the backstory his character carried behind him. Humble origins, of course, and a distant relationship between him and his family were guaranteed facts Kovic had portrayed for a long time. Unlike Kovic, Paplo’s age had proven to be far too great, perhaps circling a hundred arcs – a lie told to Noth when they first met, but later turned into a characteristic of the role. A joyous and amicable attitude outside, whilst hiding dread and bitterness deep inside were also ideas Kovic considered, for he suspected Paplo was a damaged man overwhelmed by his lonesomeness. Finding common ground between character and actor felt nice and legit. Appreciated, too. The idea of adopting an orphan was also there, and Kovic seriously began considering it.

Eventually, those thoughts too died as time passed. It had been perhaps a few breaks of travel, and even if his body was okay, his mind was beginning to feel somewhat tired from all the travel. Even the scenery began to change too slowly for his eyes, and the lack of any meaningful activity somewhat annoyed the immature and ever-hungry male. Paplo preferred to live within the minds of others, not within his own. Thankfully for him, his presence always brought hunger, and the group eventually halted their passage in order to please their stomachs.

Noth was apparently the master chef of the group, for he had brought some unidentified meat wrapped in a few rags. Its horse, he said, once he stabbed it with a stick and held it atop the flames of the fire. The smell of roasted meat rose to the nostrils, and awoke the glutton hunger of all but the horses, which instead seemed somewhat nervous once they witnessed how the flesh of their brethren was torn within the maws of the humanoids. The darkness of night would come soon, and so they needed to advance as much as they could before the paths were swallowed by the night. At least, the group proved to be professional and disciplined, for they ended their snack quite quickly, and before one could realize it, they were, once again, surfing against the winds of Zi’da towards the targeted caravan.
Last edited by Limbo on Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 834
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Noth
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Silence of the Caravans: Travel

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33rd Zi’da, 716

Gentle rays of sunlight flicked through the treetops, highlights of a far more majestic sight. The eternal blazing ball of fire now slid slowly downwards, covering itself with the tips of mountain tops, and concealing itself with the very horizon that they yet traveled towards. It seemed as though the sun died somewhat faster in Zi’da than it did in some other seasons, though it didn’t truly hurt their travel plans by much. It meant they had a couple of breaks to make up whenever dawn finally broke from its stony prison, but that balanced out with the earlier resting times that they had been granted by the sky. Slowly, carefully Noth removed himself from the saddle of his horse, careful not to accidentally rake at the poor beast’s side as he had earlier in the trial. He hadn’t been atop a horse since he had been a young boy, and Nicholas had kept careful hold of its leash that entire ride, ensuring that it would not speed away with his adopted child. He had remembered that memory fondly, and had been assured of his natural talents of a rider only for those dreams to be dashed the instant he realized that he had to climb onto the beast of burden. Talons were excellent tools for dealing death and injury, and for frightening drunkards that wandered too far into the woods, but they were not quite as useful for climbing things without injuring them, and were it not for the animal being leashed, it would likely have sped away after his first accidental slash.

It had been a superficial wound, but he had been far more careful afterwards, using the environment and his lone wing to help lift himself up onto the horse’s back. Now, as he departed once more from his mount, he carefully swung his legs over its back, allowing them to plant gently upon the dirt as he moved to tie it down to a nearby tree. Within the span of several bits, the entirety of the group had managed to dismount and they now worked to create a fire. The allies that he had gathered for his journey of pillaging had assisted well in the gathering of wood from nearby, and he had worked tirelessly with his own fire-starting tools until a gentle blaze had furnished itself; the fruits of their combined labor finally showing themselves.

Admittedly, there was a slight discomfort with sitting upon solid ground, as if though his innards had become accustomed to the gentle rocking back and forth that the horses created as they moved, and he twice had to cover his stomach with his hands to ensure that he did not develop a terrible ache within his gut. His stomach had calmed itself after nearly half a break, and as soon as it had, he recognized the gnawing feeling of hunger that had likely helped instigate his previous discomfort. It took little effort to remove the remaining horse flesh from the back of his mount, and he placed it down for all to gather whatever they wished of the meat. There still remained the fairer cuts of flesh, but there was also nearly a pound of entrails, as well as a pair of large blue eyeballs that stared upwards towards whomever went to grab their meal.

He had no qualms about eating horse meat, though there were some individuals who absolutely detested the idea of feasting upon such pleasant beasts. Horses for their part were perfectly capable of killing people with only the slightest effort, but people preferred to look upon them as if though they were sentient, as if though they could think and act upon those thoughts in the same manner that a person acts upon his own thoughts. That was a somewhat foolish junction, and one that Aerlan likely shared about such beasts.

He was still somewhat unsure of the blue-skinned arrival to their group, but Kovic had mentioned that he might be invaluable in assisting them upon their journey, and so Noth had determined to test him, to see how well he reacted to the sight of slaughter and to the gruesome work that now lay ahead of them. One such test came as he began to unravel a story, his voice quiet so as to draw in the attention of his companions as they feasted.

“Do you know how I gathered these clothes? Surely they are not nearly as worn as one might expect for someone wandering through the woods all their trials. You see, I knew that the bitter cold of Zi’da would come, and so I determined in my heart to creep into Etzos, and to procure a set or two of clothes from an outlying peasant home.” He paused, taking a bite of cooked meat and hoping that it would settle his ravished stomach. “My mission was an absolute success, and I was just then leaving in the dead of night from their residency, three sets of cloth and wool tossed over my shoulder, when suddenly I heard a yelping noise of fright from somewhere farther in the street. I immediately threw down my pillaged goods, and pursued the fellow, and upon taking hold of him, I proceeded to do exactly what was necessary.” Another pause as he stared off into the foliage, a blank look of remembering harsh memories. “Do you know, I still remember the crunching sound. The noise of bone when it meets metal. It’s like a crackle, the gentlest popping noise. It’s the same sort of noise you hear when you roast fat over a fire and it pops from the heat.”

“They heard me within the home, they heard what I had done, and they awoke, the man and his wife both of them awoke to discover what sort of deeds I had committed outside of their home. They never left that home. I stalked into their kitchen and caught them unawares, and then I removed the body from outside and planted it indoors. I remember setting them aflame, of burning down their home, and of gaining so much from my misdeeds.”


He ended the story there, gripping one of the horse’s eyeballs from within its container and sending the meaty morsel into his mouth. The crunching noise it made was reminiscent of the noise he had only recently described, and he wondered if they would think so as well.

Without further stories or affairs to discuss beyond a quick reconsidering of their plans and how their actions would continue, Noth lay down to rest, listening carefully for any signs of betrayal, a hunting knife held within his palm.

He laid down far before they had, and yet… he could not sleep.



word count: 1146
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As a note: Noth is a Grandmaster in Intimidation. That means that he's at least as scary as the Count from Sesame Street. Beware.

"The tyrant confuses those he can't convince, corrupts those he can't confuse, and crushes those he can't corrupt." - Anonymous
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Aerlan
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Silence of the Caravans: Travel

To say that the young Eidisi moved along like a bouncing sack of potatoes would be an insult to the sack. It was apparent that rhythm was a foreign idea and ever learning to dance a far flung hope. With an arse sorer than a catamite under a perverse master, Aerlan was thrust up and down repeatedly in the saddle of a beast that the Frayed was slowly coming to hate. The constant abuse his buttocks were taking slowly edged the mage beyond annoyance and into a realm of emotion that only his Aberration master had ever induced. Quite a nostalgic feeling.

“I’m gonna Flay this damn horse as soon as we finish this mission.” The beast huffed and Aerlan bounced uncomfortably. “Fekkin’ skich,” Aerlan swore as he grunted in discomfort. Go ahead and try that his shadowy companion chortled while Glaren’s yellow eyes appeared before him.

The yellow-eyed shadow glanced at the two companions alongside Aerlan. Tell me again why you haven’t flayed either? I’ve never tasted Avriel and I’m sure you’ll find Paplo quite…exceptional. Glaren’s eyes wagged up and down, which Aerlan assumed was some attempt at teasing.

Aerlan didn’t care to explain himself to the Harvester. There were times when the Harvester presumed far too much about their partnership, but Aerlan had no reason to fight the situation. The addiction had to be managed and the Harvester was useful. That thought process was the same concerning the man and bird. Partners for mutual benefit. Nothing more or less. It was why Aerlan didn’t fight the dark desire of Flaying and why he didn’t attempt to kill these two partners in crime. So long as the benefit to him was greater than the consequences, he would remain an ally.

Breaks passed in agony as Aerlan counted the bits until they would make camp. When it finally came, he threw himself from the horse unceremoniously and lay on the ground staring at the darkening sky above. Once the others began to make camp, the Eidisi dragged himself to his feet and assisted as he could, mainly with the gathering of firewood. He was not the type to have ever gone camping or spend any great amount of time from a city, so he could merely do as directed. His footsteps thumped a patternless tempo as he walked around haltingly, his muscles fatigued from the horrible journey thus far. His vast distaste for the beasts of burden surfaced again. The susurrus of a slight breeze echoed around Aerlan as the wind flowed around him, ruffling his hair like a lover’s fingers. With a slight twitch of his lips, he gave a gentle push and the wind flew off. Sighing softly, Aerlan finished his chore and returned to camp to await dinner. It surprised him that their unspoken chef was the Avriel. For some reason, he had made the assumption Avriel just ate everything raw.

Aerlan tore into the horse meat with gusto. It mattered not to him what food was eaten so long as it provided sustenance. Taste was the most useless of the senses to Aerlan. He couldn’t quite grasp the importance that people placed upon it, or the animals and plants from which it came. Food was food. His eyes bore into the depths of the fire while he chewed. Mind blanking he merely existed. It was a state of calm one would suppose. This period of thoughtless meditation slammed to a dead stop when Noth began speaking but his eyes never left the flames as he listened. His ether built slowly and he poured it gently into a single thought: sway. The flames seemed to bend and flow in mass one direction then the other, slowly alternating back and forth as Aerlan’s eyes were lit by the flames. His right hand subconsciously waved in sync with the flames. As Noth’s story ended, Aerlan blinked and the flames crackled back into their natural, chaotic dance.

Softly and without emotion, his voice whispered into the silence that followed. “Theft of necessities, silencing of witnesses, and erasure of evidence. Efficient and precise. No loose ends. I commend your expediency and resolve in the situation. I would question the choice of the mark, however. In the dead of night and in apopulated city, why not choose an empty home? Without residents the chance of exposure would have been far less likely. One could only think that a subconscious need to risk and the potential for violence would make the option of robbing an occupied home the chosen decision…” Aerlan trailed off as his eyes shifted from the fire to his companions. “What would I know, though. I would have killed the couple in their sleep, just to make certain, and then looted the home after the deed.”

The yellow eyes of Glaren glowed softly over Aerlan’s shoulder and a soft, maniacal chuckle could be heard if the two companions listened closely enough. Into the Eidisi’s ear, the Harvester breathed huskily. ”And this is why I like you so much, empty thing that you are.”

Shortly after his comments, Aerlan lay back onto the earth and covered himself in his wolfskin cloak. The earth beneath him softed gradually and molded to the Eidisi’s body, making a perfectly soft bedding. The mage breathed in and out in measured breaths and slowly drifted off to a dreamless void.
word count: 920
"Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world... No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he. I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance"
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Silence of the Caravans: Travel

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The night was as cold as it was silent. Without the crackling of the fire, or the neighs and huffs of the horses, it seemed as if the world would’ve fallen silent. Occasional gusts of air tortured the males gathered around the fire, or so Paplo assumed. His own eyes opened and closed intermittently, befalling to a light sleep until some sound woke him up again, opened his eyes, made them inspect the scene, before closing them once again. A hand often moved beneath his bedroll, tracing gentle circles over his stomach, a motion that aided him in calming down both his needs of fodder and his night-time paranoia. It wasn’t until he turned to the side and kept the two individuals nearby permanently in his sight that proper sleep found him.

The light was barely raising through the horizon when Paplo awoke again, and quickly hopped out of his bedroll. The cold was supreme, especially now that only smoke remained from the fire. As such, some warm-up was needed, which was accomplishment with the packing of bags.
“Stop the sleeping charade, comrades. We must embark on our journey once again,” he announced. “Will we be enjoying breakfast this morning?”

Paplo began packing his bedroll, tying it up neatly and leaving it by the horses. He merely left it there, waiting for someone else to lodge it atop the equine.
“I could sure use some meat,” he commented, trying to, indeed, persuade them into eating. A few pieces of horse meat would only hurt their inventory, yet sparing it may hurt the lives of both his companions and the animals. “I love meat.”

Paplo approached a small pond nearby, which threatened to freeze under the Zi’da cold. Splashing the ice-cold water upon his features aided him to awaken extremely fast, especially when he spread the liquid across his neck.
“My father was a butcher,” he said, looking back at his companions. “Chopping meat was his pride and joy, and so was mine. As such, meat was very important in our lives.”

The Mortalborn now stepped a bit away from the encampment, and he proceeded to extract his manhood for a quick release of his bladder.
“My mother had befallen to illness when I was but an infant, and so my father had to fulfill her place. The other boys in the village often believed him a monster, but I knew better. My father was a loving man, albeit I must confess he was somewhat scary. Even with his apron, blood was often splattered upon his clothing and features, and most times he did not realize of such.”
“Fuck!” An unfortunate gust of wind blew against the urine, which splashed over the male far too quickly to react. Turning to the side, the urination against the wind was no more.
“In time we opened up our own rabbit breeding grounds. Rabbit was easy to breed, fast, and it yielded a lot of profit. I got to adopt one of them. He was as white as snow, except his head, which was entirely black. I called him Mister Eerie. You remind me of him, Noth!” Paplo chuckled.

After returning his piece within his pants, Paplo began stretching his back and limbs, a sigh of pleasure escaping him as he did so.
“I was always an odd child, so Mister Eerie was my best friend. I did everything with him, be it sleep, eat, and yes, even poop. One day, I forgot to close the door, and Mister Eerie left the house whilst I slept. I was terrified.” Paplo now headed towards the remnants of what was once the fire, poking it with a stick, the embers gaining some strength and thus producing some heat. “When I finally went to my father’s butchery, I believe he too had realized of what he had done. His blue eyes stared towards the decapitated rabbit, frowning and doubting, wondering why that damned rabbit was so familiar. Once he looked at me, with the blood of Mister Eerie spattered on his features, I saw my father shed a tear for the first time in my life.”

“Obviously,” chuckled Paplo, flashing a smile to his companions. “I never took another pet from that moment forth. It’s better not to get attached to one’s meal, correct? Anyway, if we’re not eating then I’d suggest we best be on our way. By the looks of the skies, I’d say rain or snow is chasing after us.”
word count: 765
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Sleep inevitably came as it always does when the weight of the world grows too heavy, when the burden that consciousness bears suddenly becomes too weak to hold itself steady. That didn’t mean that the guilt he still occasionally felt wouldn’t continue to burrow into his heart, to eat away at his very soul, but it meant that he could have a few breaks without needing to think of it, without needing to contemplate it for the remainder of another trial. The psychopaths that he had allied himself with would likely look upon emotion as something of a weakness, and indeed it truly did stop one from pursuing a logical course at all times, but there was some use to having a more familiar understanding with emotion. He could understand people’s motivations for acting far better if he could relate to them, and even though he viewed others as pitiful worms and as weaklings, that didn’t mean that he couldn’t understand why they acted certain ways, why they walked upon their chosen paths.

His feathers did well to keep him from freezing to death in the night, though were it not for the added protection of a blanket, he likely would still have felt the ungodly chill that crept throughout their camp. At first it hadn’t been so terrible, merely a simple inconvenience that could be resolved by rolling oneself closer to the campfire, but as the night progressed and the flickering and dancing flames; for if one were to observe the night prior they would have seen that they had truly engaged in some choreographed routine, finally died, it became far more difficult to stay warm. He had awoken to the sound of a calling Paplo Ynush or Mamnon as he had revealed in a previous engagement. The fellow urged his companions to awaken themselves and to prepare for the next leg of their journey, stating a question as to whether or not they would be consuming breakfast.

Indeed, almost as if though it were on cue his stomach rumbled violently, sending his intestines flailing about within their fleshy case as they sought out some manner of nutrition. He couldn’t help but to wonder whether he burned more energy when he was around the others, for this was not the first time that he had felt exceptionally hungry in the presence of Paplo Ynush. It seemed likely that he simply worked far harder when surrounded by others, because he could remember distinctly that he never felt as terribly ravished when he was alone with Vern.

He missed the goose, and wondered for a moment how she had faired for her first night alone in quite some time. Naturally, she had been left almost completely alone when he had marched in the war for Treid’s heart, but even then there had been the occasional caretaker to ensure that Noth’s favored pet hadn’t succumbed to disease or starvation or some terrible accident. His favor for the small creature was not entirely based upon sentiment, though there was little doubt that he genuinely cared for the bird. She was exceptionally useful for keeping watch over his sleeping form, and had provided some manner of security during his sojourn in the wilderness, especially when predators prowled just outside of his cavernous home. She was also quite good at using her voice to frighten potential assailants, and send them fleeing back to their dens and burrows in terror. Mind you, that was more effective upon drunks and other humanoid beings, but smaller predators were also hurried away by the frightening sound of an angered goose.

He arose from his prone position, wiping away sleep from his eyes and feeling his talons scrape against the dirt. The barrel that held their food provisions was nearby, and upon searching through it, he determined that they likely had enough to last them for a meal, or perhaps even two if they carefully rationed their supplies.

“I doubt that we will have enough provision to carry us through the remainder of our journey, though I have brought my tools to ensure that we might catch some manner of meal while we march. If you see some manner of animal, please do freely point it out to me so that I may pierce it with my arrows.”

With that statement completed, he listened lazily to Ynush as he regaled a tale from his youth, apparently one that ended sourly for him if he heard correctly. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like to lose his favorite friend, but he doubted that the offender would survive the encounter. It took little effort for him to spear through a chunk of horse meat, and to cook it, and the delightful smell that emanated out of it did little to calm his stomach.

Tearing into the flesh did far more for that specific aspect. After he had finished his short meal, Noth began to saddle his horse once more, though that took far more time than he had originally imagined. He hadn’t quite expected it to be so terribly difficult, but such things were to be expected when one had little to no knowledge on a given subject such as riding. The twilight hybrid was far more careful upon this more recent mounting to ensure that he didn’t accidentally ripple the flesh of the horse with his talons. Once he had gained his composure atop the beast of burden, he directed his companions towards their own valiant steeds and nodded forward, intending to once more begin their long and arduous march.



word count: 950
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Credit to Pegasus


As a note: Noth is a Grandmaster in Intimidation. That means that he's at least as scary as the Count from Sesame Street. Beware.

"The tyrant confuses those he can't convince, corrupts those he can't confuse, and crushes those he can't corrupt." - Anonymous
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