[Krome] So, we meet again!

Fridgar stops in Krome on his pursuit of a Volareon and meets up with a certain noble.

The seven Duchies of Central Rynmere and their respective baronies, cities, towns, villages, and landmarks each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families and ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.
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[Krome] So, we meet again!

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22nd Cylus 717
A Volareon. Word had it that they live in the forests around Krome. He'd needed a people carrying totem for a while now, and blending eagle and bear just... wasn't pretty... He soared through the sky as an eagle, his wings stretched wide in a glide. The air was freezing and despite echoing the endurance of the horse, he'd had to take a dozen or so rests to warm up. That would all hopefully change with the acquisition of this new totem. He'd been warned that hunting these creatures was against the law, they were a protected species. But what did he care? Nothing at all! What would they do? Throw him in the dungeon again? For their sake, he hoped they'd replaced the bars.

Orange lights danced below in the darkness, heralding a village of some sort. Finally, after two trials of flight, he'd made it. At extreme speeds, he took to dive bombing the site before pulling up in his glide and soaring for a rooftop. He wasn't sure, but this was probably the right place. He'd have to ask some locals once he could speak again. There weren't many people about, he believed it to be early morning, though telling the time of trial was growing more difficult. He leapt from the rooftop, flapping his wings to slow his descent before landing in an alley. He echoed the vision of a Ryon and scanned the area. Once satisfied at the lack of people, he focused his being on the totem necklace he'd flown with, initiating the transformation of a Fridgar under the cover of darkness.

An entire two bits of agony later, he was Fridgar again, he stood up and stretched his jaw. He was getting very good at not screaming during the process of transformation, hell, he hadn't screamed since before buying Rey'na flowers in what felt like an eternity ago. "Testing..." he coughed, choking on some air. By the immortals, it was weird to be a Lotharro again. Brushing off his leather coat, he straightened up before stepping out of the alley with his hands in his pocket. The night vision persisted, aiding him in his mission to ask a local to ask where they were.

The streets were dark, save for the light of the glowing windows that harboured families sat around the hearth. If this was Krome, it was a nice place, much nicer than low-town. Maybe he ought to come and visit in the next season?

He'd found his target, a fancy looking human male. He approached without a second thought, scanning the area for anyone else in the immediate vicinity. "Excuse me?" He spoke in his usually low voice, one that the human might recognise. "Is this Krome? And do you have Volareons in your woods?" He spoke casually without thought, as though his questions were normal. He hadn't realised that the man he was speaking to had betrayed him at the mid-winter ball or danced with Rey'na. He only knew such a man by scent and sound, and was neither echoing the bears sense of smell or the cat's sense of hearing, telling him apart was going to be difficult.
word count: 558
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He had only been back in Krome a short time, long enough to have settled back in but he had decided a trip to town would be better than spending the whole day in his home. He had grown weary of sitting around in the house and so instead he was walking the frozen and icy streets of his the town. The only light came from the stars the eclipse and the warm orange glow of the windows. The light from these windows cast long shadows of the few people that braved the outdoors in the freezing temperatures.

Xander actually quite liked the cold, he didn't like the feeling of freezing your extremities and the way it effected the poorer classes. Yet, he still liked the refreshing and clean feel it left you with, the cold seemingly cleansing your skin and fresh chilled air seeming also to calm the soul. For that reason he had just been walking, wandering the street and relaxing. This was enough for him and he was enjoying the quiet solitude.

He watched his breathe turn to white mist in the air as he walked, it was a pretty sight. He watched it dissipate in front of him when he heard a strange coughing sound coming from an ally way behind him. He turned to face the source of the sound. He was curious it was an odd cough it seemed to be a word more than just a cough. He was about to go and check it out, his hand falling to the sword at his side as he stepped forward.

He would have continued walking if a mountain of a man had not suddenly appeared from within. He was tall and built like a house, not to mention his scruffy beard and hair. The man was so big in fact that he appeared more like a bear, especially with the addition of the facial hair. He seemed familiar, he was so big and powerful looking that Xander doubted he could really be anyone else.

He was also hit by the mans voice, it was slightly different but clearly recognisable to him. This was a man from the ball he had attended just trials before. He didn't seem to recognise Xander and so he kept his mouth shut on the matter for the time being. "You are correct, this is the duchy of Krome and you are in the right place. Although I don't know about any Volareon, I haven't heard about any nor have I seen any but they might be out there somewhere." He shrugged as he waited to see if the man would recognise his voice.
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Fridgar scratched his head. 'Well, that was easier than i thought it'd be.' He pondered before looking the male up and down. "Hang on a trill... I know your voice." Fridgar crossed his arms. "What? You thought I wouldn't recognise you?" The Lothar bellowed with laughter, as if to mock. Quick enough he touched a segment of the bone necklace around his neck, echoing the sense of smell of a bear. He walked to closer to the man, sniffing him uncomfortably. "yeah, that's definitely you." he spoke, releasing the scent in one whitened exhale of his nose. "You're the nob from the ball, Aintchya?" He took a bow of mockery in his presence. "Your highness." he chuckled.

Why did he hate this man? He could not remember. "So, that was fun, right?" he spoke, hoping that the man wouldn't recall the events. "What are you doing in Krome anyway? And are you serious? There's no Volareons out here?!" The Lothar spoke, disappointed. "For fucks sake!" he booted a nearby building, sounding a loud impact that echoed with the shaking of the windows. "Do you have any idea how long it took to travel here for one of them bastards!?" he punched the same building, stone dust fell from the impact. Evidently, the Lothar was strong and hard. Going as far as to shrug off the whitened skin on his knuckles. Inspecting the would would reveal that it had in fact drawn blood, but the Lothar hadn't noticed. What is the pain of grazing skin on cobblestone in the face of destruction of your entire body at every use of becoming? Not much to a Lotharro.

He crossed his arms, placing one had to his chin while he thought. "Hey, would you help me find one? I've got nel if you're looking for a favour in return." The Lothar spoke with a shrug. "Or I can be kinda useful, if you need a jar opened or something..." Suffice to say that the Lothar looked desperate to find one of these creatures. "What do you say?" He offered, extending a big meaty paw for the noble to shake. He'd apparently forgotten about calling Xander a nob in the first place. "Oh, and my names not actually Robek by the way, it's Fridgar. Nice to meetchya, uhh..?"
word count: 402
Whenever one finds oneself inclined to bitterness, it is a sign of emotional failure.
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He laughed as the man called him his highness, he was far from a king. “Yes I was there, I remember you too. You're the 'nob’ that threw a door at us.” He laughed harder now as he looked the huge man over. He had forgotten about the man in all honesty, he may have thrown a door across a room but he had had no reason to think of him since. Now he was here though he remembered the man's and temper and great might.

“Fun is one word for it, although it did get a little heated.” Xander eyed the man curiously, hoping he would not be unhappy be remembered the events. He was further reminded of this when the man got angry that he had heard of no Volareons. He watched uncomfortably his hand gripping his sword hilt as he watched the man kick the wall. The window near to the point of impact quivered, he was both in fearful and in awe of the man's strength. He had never seen a man with as much power in purely his muscle. As the man seemed to calm a little he released the hilt and stood more comfortable but making sure he was ready to fight if need be. The man made him feel constantly uneasy.

He wasn't sure, he imagined around four days if he had come in a horse from Andaris. He would not say that though, he did not wish to make assumptions about the man's mode of transport or point of origin. “By your current actions I would assume it took you a while.” He shrugged a little, he knew the pain and waste of time travelling was. He wished he could just think hard and appear where he wanted to be. Yet that was not possible and he knew that, or not easily anyway.

The man wanted his help, in finding a creature he had no idea where to find. He was no monster hunter or tracker but he could offer his company. “Well I'm no hunter but I can offer you my company, for all it's worth.” He was sure that the man must have knew that though, there weren't many noble hunters. He accepted the man's big hand and shook it, as he spoke. “I want to learn to be strong, maybe not as strong as you but more than I am now. Can you do that for me?” He asked as the man had offered to help him in return. “Xander.” He gave the man his name as he had revealed his own. He had forgotten the man's fake name so it was good he was told the real one now. “Glad to make your acquaintance Fridgar.”
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Fridgar's eyes widened as the man spoke - Oh yeah, the whole 'door' thing... His hand reached behind his head, scratching through his mane with his claws as he looked away. "Ha... Yeah... Did it hit you at all? I was too busy concentrating on... what happened next. I was aiming for the blue girl though, I promise." The Giants gaze returned to Xander, his mind worked in magnificent ways, especially after having downed a bottle of spirits bits prior to the event. He smiled, heated was one word for it, yes. Awesome was perhaps another word for it though, one that he'd use. "Would you believe me if I said I was drunk?" A snicker confirmed this to be clearly not the case.

"Bah." Fridgar spoke with a wave of his hand. "Not so much the time that annoys me, but the damn cold, you know? Anyway, I trust my sources, and if they say there's a Volareon up here I've gotta at least look." The beast had all but forgotten his sudden outburst to the house. "You're kinda brave, huh?" The Lothar spoke with a nod, apparently accepting the Noble's help. "First, you don't flinch when you see me, after I'd thrown a door at a person. Then you're totally chill when I give a house a beat down, now you're alright with coming to find a beast that might not exist in the woods during Cylus with me?" Fridgar hadn't noticed Xander reaching for his sword during the house outburst.

The Lothar was tall, broad, muscular to the point that it could be seen through his leather jacket, covered in scars and very hairy. Most would have immediately turned the other way upon seeing the hulk approach, but not this man. did anything scare him? Further yet, he asked Fridgar to teach him! Fridgar looked the man up and down as they approached the gate to the wilderness. "I think we can sort something out, yeah." The human he was in company with looked about his age, pretty tall for his race as well, though a considerable amount shorter than Fridgar. He looked to be training, or at least exercising regularly as his form was more defined than the average of his species.

"So, what's your diet like?" Fridgar asked, jumping right into the lesson. "Building strength isn't all about pumping the most iron, you've gotta fuel up right, too." He continued, thinking back to the lesson he'd been given by David some twenty trials ago. "You look wealthy enough. You'll be able to afford these just fine, I think. Take notes." Fridgar continued, taking a deep breath. "So meat is important for muscle growth and repair. After a workout, the fibres in your muscles tear and need to be healed with a nutrient we call protein. That's the aching sensation you feel afterwards or the next trial." The Lothar spoke suddenly, sounding a lot more intelligent than he had just bits ago.

"The meats you want to be looking at eating are lean beef, it promotes muscle growth. You can find it in stuff like sirloin steak. Skinless chicken is also great for muscle growth, being high in protein, but it’s also good for bone health and weight maintenance. Finally, Tuna and other fish, but mostly Tuna. They're rich in protein, and omega 3 oils, which aids in fat loss and makes your muscles look more prominent..." The Lothar trailed off with the information he'd had stowed away somewhere in the recesses of his mind. His black eyes fell to the human, if he were paying attention, he might have noticed the shine in them as they entered the darkness. Almost appearing to glow. This of course, was the by-product of the Ryon's night vision. "Are you following?"
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Whenever one finds oneself inclined to bitterness, it is a sign of emotional failure.
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Xander looked at the huge man and smirked, the idea of him being drunk as an excuse was amusing. "Of yes sure, you were 'drunk'." The sarcasm was clear on his voice as he let out a chuckle. "No big guy, I don't think I would believe you." Xander was also given the idea that it was not true by the snicker let out by Fridgar. Clearly the man liked to joke around and that was okay, Xander had found Alistair also enjoyed passing of funny comments. "You were as drunk as I was high." he looked at the man again. "And just to clarify that was not at all."

"Brave, foolish who knows, I just know that I don't scare easily." He shrugged as he said it, looking at the blood dripping from the mans knuckle. The truth was he was nervous of the man, he had just seen him punch a house after all. He could often be nervous but fear, it was something he didn't seem to often feel or maybe it was just that he didn't recognise the feeling well. "What is the worst that can happen, I am sure if you were going to kill me you would have done it by now." His point was pretty stupid really as the man might not have killed him in the public place but he didn't seem like he was the type to care if people saw him.

Xander followed the giant out of the town and into the wilderness, the twilight was dark but he could still see a little bit. He wished that he could see better, he was worried about tripping over a root and twisting his ankle or something. He would have to remain extra aware of the surroundings. "I would say good, I don't eat too much and I have a good mix of items." He thought he had a good diet, although in truth he didn't know what was classified as a good diet. As a child he had always been told it was important to eat your vegetables and so he did. As for meats and other items like cheese he just ate a mix and variety of them. However, evidently he wasn't eating quite right for the strength he wanted to gain.

Of course Xander had no paper or writting implements with him and so he would make notes in his head and write them down once he got home. Meat is important, muscles tear and that is why they ache and protein, found in meat, is needed to fix these. He mentally repeated the ideas so he would not forget them, he kept listening as it appeared there was more about food to come. He began another list in his head. He felt like he was working, trying to remember what he needed to shop for the household. lean beef good muscle growth, sirloin steak as an example. Chicken, without the skin is good for muscle growth as well as healthy bones and weight maintenance. Finally, Tuna. Tuna is rich in protein, and omega 3 oils, which aids in fat loss and makes your muscles look more prominent. It wasn't a long shopping list but it was a list that included reasons as well which made it a little more difficult to remember, so, he repeated it a couple times.

It appeared that Fridgar was more than just a brute after all, he was surprisingly intelligent. Maybe it was just because of strength being his speciality, it seemed to be what he was best at. Yet, it was also possible that Xander had judged the man too early. Although, to be fair when someone is his size and starts throwing doors around it seems to be the kind of thing you assume. The man paused and Xander noticed that the man's black eyes appeared to glow in the darkness. This was the second time Xander had seen strange eye defects this season and the first had been on Alistair, who had later explained it to be because he was a mage. Could it have been that this man too was a mage? Xander looked at him but did not mention it, he did not want to make the man angry. However, to Xander it seemed it could have been the reason he was so strong it would explain it in his eyes at least.

"Yes, I am following. Eat certain meats for Protein and other important nutrients. What about vegetables?" He was sure that he couldn't be expected to just eat meat. After his whole life eating a mix and being told that vegetables were important it would be difficult to unlearn that. Not to mention he liked veg and also fruit something else that had slipped his mind. "Also what about fruits?" He added quickly before he had time to reply.
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If the damn human would just take his eyes off his bleeding knuckle he would be able to heal it. He resisted a growl as to not give way his irritation. "Fear is a good instinct you know, it keeps you alive." he spoke casually, though his words were edgy. When it came to the wilderness, however, those words would surely come to life, possibly even save the human. "Yeah, true." The Lothar shrugged. "For some reason, I don't think I've given you the impression of self-control." He grinned, baring his fangs.

"Well, that's going to have to change. Most of building strength is in the diet, like sixty percent, in fact." This had been made especially difficult for him as he was only able to consume meat due to his mutation, consumption of anything else gave him tremors, nausea, vomiting, weakness - lots of unpleasant things. As such, he hadn't paid much attention to David’s lesson, only listening with half a year after he'd heard the meat side of things. That had come back to haunt him with Xander's next question. "Uhh.." he spoke, almost panicking. Think Fridgar, think. "You uhh... Need to eat bread?" he asked, almost as though he was trying to answer a question for a quiz.

"No, my bad. Whole Grains. Whole grains are rich in carbs, carbohydrates and give a slow, steady release of energy through the trial, which will make it easier to work out." he believed is what David had said when he stopped listening, something along those lines anyway. He could vaguely remember being told that whole grains were a good source of healthy energy. "Yeah, fruits and vegetables are good." He spoke while cycling through the recesses of his memory, he sorta missed the taste of lettuce now that he thought about it. "They're chok full of vitamins that are essential for your immune system, I think, that and increase your nutrient intake." he hadn't thought of it before, but bodybuilding was starting to sound like alchemy.

"Do you like oatmeal?" Fridgar asked suddenly while travelling deeper through the almost-pitch-black woods, though he could see perfectly. The only part of him Xander could likely see were his eyes, like an animal's in the dark. "You're gonna want to be having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, It makes you less hungry throughout the trial and aids in fat loss, which we know is a good thing for that definition." He'd been speaking as it came to mind, though most of it sounded true. By the immortals, why couldn't he just pay attention? Like Xander here, walking straight for a tree. Fridgar looked to him in surprise. "Whoa, what are you doing? Dude, there's a tree there." Fridgar grabbed him by the shoulder, halting him and slapping at the tree with his free hand. "See?" he would need to be Xander's eyes for this journey, it would seem.

He kept an eye on his footing, ready to catch him or stop him if any more obstacles came in the way. "So... Do you get high often?" He asked out of nowhere in regards to what the human had said prior. He sniffed the air suddenly, halting in his tracks. "Do you smell that?" Excitement welling in his tone, a beast he'd never smelt before had caught his attention. "This way!" he broke into a sprint for the general direction for a trill or two before realising that Xander couldn't see. He ran back with the same enthusiasm. "Alright, so three options. We can walk, I can carry you, or I can guide you while we run." he let out a small breath of frozen air, carrying Xander was going to be difficult, while he was strong he lacked endurance or a good running form.

Whichever Xander chose, they would arrive at a tree and Fridgar would declare "We're here."
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Xander listened closely about whole grains, not bread, or he assumed not white bread at least, but definitely whole grain foods. He noted why in his head, they were carbohydrates and give a slow, steady release of energy through the trial. Apparently he was right that Fruits and Vegetables were important too, and Fridgar confirmed this also explaining why. He said they are full of vitamins that are essential for your immune system and also increase your nutrient intake. The man who had appeared at first rather stupid and animal like now appeared to be a genius in diets, or to Xander that was the case at least.

"Yes, I find it bland but what is important is if it is good for me, taste not so big a deal." He nodded and looked at the mans strange glowing eyes some more, it was an odd thing to see and not something he had seen on normal people before. He made another note about Oatmeal, he hadn't expected the man to know as much as he did but he was glad for the info. He was going to need a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. It would make him less hungry throughout the trial and aid in fat loss, which he now would know is a good thing for definition.

Xander was pulled out of thought and his mental notes as he was grabbed by Fridgar. He was surpised by the amount of force the man could provide with such an effortless tug. "How in the world did you see that? It is so damn dark out here." Xander reached forward and felt the tree himself only just barely now seeing the outline in the very dark twilight. He wondered how he could see and he found himself seeing it even more likely that the man was doing something beyond your normal human ability.

He allowed Fridgar to guide him, taking the mans wrist as they ran through the dark and dangerous forest. Xander realised immediately he needed to work on running, his feet struggled to stay up and he grew tired quickly. He had no skill and little practise in good running form and so he found himself nearly falling over three times, tripping on roots and just running unevenly and inconsistently with pace.

Xander could not smell whatever it was Fridgar was smelling and nor could he see it. "Where I don't see it? Are you sure?" He strained his eyes as he tried to see the beast Fridgar believed to be there.
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Fridgar went silent for a trill or five when he asked about his spotting of the tree before replying bluntly "Carrots help you see in the dark." and choking back hysterical laughter. He sighed, even if the man had believed him, he couldn't leave doubt in Xander's heart or the useful advice he'd shared would go to waste. "I'm a mage." He spoke suddenly, nearly confessing. "Relax, I'm not a maniac running around flaying people. I use my natural body to wreak havoc instead." The Lothar explained, Xander might notice that he was entrusting him with quite a lot of knowledge. "Don't tell anyone though, because I have your scent." he smiled, patting the smaller man on the back.

Despite the recent knowledge he'd imparted to the man, he came along anyway. He sure as hell didn't scare easy, that much was certain. "Up there, it's asleep." Fridgar spoke, pointing upward. The outline of a large, horse-sized creature could be seen, lounging in the branches of the large tree in front of them. "What do you know about Volareons then?" If Xander knew that the beast was a protected one, could he trust Xander? Bah, Xander knew he was a mage. he couldn't get much worse than that, surely?

"The Volareon is a protected species in Rynmere, its unlawful to even clip their wings, let alone hunt them." Fridgar declared. "I need a sample of its bone, blood and skin. The creature is probably gonna die. If you want to back out now, I won't blame you. But I still have a lot to teach you about strength..." The Lothar offered, a half nod and a turn of his wrist. "Whatever you choose, don't forget..." Fridgar took two short, sharp inhales through his nose. He didn't want to have to hurt the human, but people had died for less. Even if he let the human survive, how much did he need the Fridgar form? He could probably get away with discarding it for a better totem at this point.

"If you fancy sticking around though, I'm gonna try and climb up, maybe you can catch it when it falls?" The Lothar offered. He hadn't considered that the Volareon might be too heavy for one man to catch, so he readied himself at the bottom of the tree. He'd not climbed a tree in arcs, but how hard could it be? Using his whole body, he hugged the body of the tree and sunk his claws into the back. Bit by bit, he worked his way up by squeezing his whole body around the bark. Inevitably, he slid to the floor with his claws scratching and skinning the surface of the tree, he landed on his ass. "Ah... That didn't work. Got any ideas?" He winced, standing up and rubbing the affected area.
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So Xander had been right, the second person this season who had strange eyes had been a mage. Surely this must be some sort of sign, maybe all mages have some form of eye defect or in the case of Fridgar here an improvement. Xander made note of this for the future, maybe he would need it at some point. Even though he could not of course be sure this was a sign of a magic user it only seemed logical from his experiences this far. “I had a small inkling it may be the case.” Xander was not like many of his class, magic did not bother him.

“Your secret is safe with me, I do have a question though.” He looked at the outline of the giant man and his shining eyes. “What is flaying, I have never heard of this?” Maybe it was a common thing but if so he did not know. He had lived a rather sheltered life from the cruel things of the world. He had seen his fair share of suffering for sure, Badon had made certain that was the case. But he had seen little actual death or any of the true horrors that some people committed.

Xander followed the direction of Fridgar to where the Volareon was sleeping up on a branch. “I see.” He whispered as he strained his eyes peering at the dark shape above them. As for what he knew about the creatures, that was little. “I don’t really know much, they can fly and that is about the extent of my knowledge.” He remembered this as he had once seen one being flown by a soldier at a banquet hosted by the Duke. He certainly didn’t know they were protected or if he did then he had not thought it important to remember.

Xander felt a small lump appear in his throat as the man basically threatened him. He had come this far he would not leave, but the man had also made him an accessory by now. Leaving would do little to make him safe from the man turning him in if he was caught. So he stayed and watched the man go and attempt to climb the tree. He failed. “Probably for the best, I don’t think I could catch such a large beast.” He said rather shamefully, although to be fair he was not as big or strong as the giant who was probably just not thinking.

An idea did come to Xander’s mind, he didn’t like it and in fact it made him feel a little sick. He placed his hand on his sword and drew it. Removing it in a smooth and cross ways motion. The leather wrapped hilt was cold but still easy to grip as he held it out to the man in front of him. “Throw it. But be careful I do want it back and I don’t want it broken.” He kept hold of it while he said that whether the man tried to take it or not, he would not let go until he assured him he would get the blade back in one piece.
word count: 541
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