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Twilight Tiptoes

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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Ae'garn
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[Krome] Every Step Counts [Sky]

Every Step Counts
18th of Cylus, Afternoon
Krome's Forests

O
ne guide escorting two strange looking characters through Krome’s streets, and out to the forests nearby. A small, blue cloaked Sev’ryn, though only his size might give his hooded face away, carrying a bow, quiver, a knife on his belt, and dressed in a fine black leather tunic, in a rucksack lay a few supplies for the trip. Beside him walked a tall gangly priest of Famula, carrying a staff and wearing robes to identify him as such. If it were just these two walking the village, perhaps there would have been fewer whispers, but the pair’s guide and his malformed face marked him as one who worked with magic, extensively in fact. An elderly known alchemist named Hathmar that rarely ventured far from home, today was an exception. People usually sort Hathmar out when they wanted alternative medicine, or hope when there wasn’t any from a healer. Given how he looked, and understandable local superstitions, he moved his home with the cycles, always cagey and hard to pin down.

As they reached the edge of the forest, the priest bid farewell to them and headed back to the village. “By the blessings of the immortals I will return within the day.” Ae’garn said quietly to his departing travelling partner, “there is no rush young one, we know where they are now, bring as much powder as you can.” The old priest replied, and headed back to the safety of the village to pray, content to know the direction the two were headed in.

H
ot on the trails of the stolen relics, they were headed into the deeper forest, to stock up on certain supplies that they need to breach any lock or vault at their next stop in Viden. Powder for smoke, light and distraction. That was where the alchemist came in, done for free, personally as a favor to the immortal’s priest. When Hathmar had heard the story of how the holy man was robbed, he'd wanted to assist and had recommended what to get.

It was pitch black as usual for Cylus, cold as usual too, and the floor was covered in light snow. Visibility was low, which was why Ae’garn was here, to protect the alchemist. Footprints in the white floor could be seen by the animals travelling the wood to point at passing dangers. While Ae’garn wasn’t the most skilled tracker, he’d lived in a forest all his life, so he was extremely comfortable here even if it wasn’t home. His soft soled steps might give away how easily he moved across the forest floor, often having to slow down to keep pace with the taller, older man who led him.

“This way, it is half a day’s walk.” Hathmar pointed with his hardwood staff, a closer look would show a range of potions around his belt, a small sack across his shoulder, a sickle and other alchemist tools upon his belt. Even for those that didn’t know him, or hadn't a reason to seek out his kind, he wasn’t hard to pick out for his trade.

Approaching a small clearing to the thick trees, filled with fallen or felled logs, Ae'garn bent down to fill a waterskin with fresh water. At the alchemists say that the water was fresh, the Sev’ryn took a long drink from his hands.
word count: 582
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Sky
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[Krome] Every Step Counts [Sky]

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Sky had just come from a hunting trip, and decided to eat the kill the moment it fell to the ground. He was still covered in a thick coat of spattered blood, and dirt. He was clad in nothing more than his Korowai, Loincloth and Boar-hide shoes that were somewhat thin. The Savage went off in search of his cave only to find something far more interesting. There were tracks in the snow along a commonly traveled trail, and the trail led off toward the small body of water he often drank from. Yet, if the intruders were still at the river his window of opportunity to kill them was closing. They were not bare-footed tracks either as he could not see any defined toes in the tracks.

Snow seemed to hold prints longer, and maintain their shape for extended periods of time. The Savage wasted no time, and followed the tracks for several bits only to find that they stopped in a different area than he expected. That made what he intially thought correct; these prints did not belong to any animal. They belonged to a Barbarian that intruded on his land, and Sky wanted to make sure that he paid for entering without his permission. The Savage sprinted for a short duration, and spotted the body of a man at the river. He used what little knowledge he had about being stealthy and knelt down on the edge of a tree. With the cover of darkness he simply hoped that he would not be seen firing a shot.

With his longbow slung over his shoulder for storage; he began a series of movements and took up a position to fire. He raised the bow with his right hand, and grasped hold of the drawstring with his index finger and thumb. The Savage notched the end of the arrow onto the string, and pulled back with all of his strength. The moment that the drawstring had maximize tension; Sky took aim and pressed the palm of his hand against his cheek. In order to increase the likelihood that the strike would land The Savage held his breath. He wanted to pierce the trapezius muscle located at the right side of the persons neck if possible. Therefore he made an educated guess as to where it would be based upon the silhouette he saw in the distance.

He took another few trills worth of holding his breath, and when the shot was finally steady enough he loosed the arrow. Sky watched as it successfully hit the target, but did not seem to land as he watched the projectile continue to fly through the air after the tip contacted his preys flesh. It cut across in a cut that was of medium-length and only struck medium depth before it continued its journey to the ground. His arrow did not kill the target as he hoped it would, but Sky began to load yet another arrow onto his drawstring.

The Savage inhaled, and filled his lungs to capacity before he let out a scream that did not sound human in any way shape or form. His damaged vocal cords aided him in creating a frightening and obviously intimidating scream that would likely be heard for quite some distance. He continued to scream until he was out of breath, and inhaled yet again so that he could fire. If his target fled he would wait and then go in pursuit of the target. If the prey turned toward him or attempted to fight it was he who would flee and maintain a distance to fire from.
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word count: 616
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Ae'garn
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[Krome] Every Step Counts [Sky]

W
ashing his neck quietly, Ae’garn had picked up a small reptile, his fascination for tiny creatures a quirk of his character. About to ask the alchemist the species, and comment on a passing flower that ran downstream along the river banks, there were two sounds to his ear, one of a bow being released, and another of an arrow landing near him.

“Did you see where it came from?” Scurrying to take cover behind one of the fallen logs, hoping it was in the way of whoever was shooting. There was no answer, the alchemist above him was holding his neck, gurgling uncomfortably. Realising he'd been hit, the wild shout soon changed things, with Ae'garn pulling the injured man down with him behind the log. Ae’garn looked up over the wood, and then down again just as quickly, scared stiff.

His bow was for show more than anything, this was a fix, all those days at home he could have learned to use it. Alive but having trouble breathing, the mage was struggling to get something off his belt, his hands shaking. A small green pot of something, Ae’garn sniffed them, his sensitive nose almost made his eyes water. The old mage made a gesture of throwing them, and Ae’garn got the general idea.

The next thing whoever was firing would see, was a small jar of something tossed up into the trees in front the log, it didn’t go very far because it hit one of them, breaking glass, and then went up with a loud POOF. Horrid smelling smoke billowed out and added to Cylus’s already dark obscurity, it made Ae’garn's eyes water. There were two more fragile containers on the mage’s belt, which Ae’garn took with his blessing. Ripping off part of his own sleeve, he tried to tie the alchemist’s wound, doing it too tight and only increasing the man’s choking till he loosened it. Having no idea if this was helping or not, hopefully it would stop his bleeding, but it didn’t look like it.

Scurrying to the end of the log, “wait here I’ll lead them away, then you head to the village.” The small Sev’ryn whispered with tears in his eyes from the smoke. He held his breath, one… two… three… out he raced to hide behind a nearby living tree, light stepped and fleet of foot. “Delroth carry this.” Not making a move for a trill, the small forest dweller imitated the forest call of a bird, to draw attention away from the injured mage, the best he could manage anyway. Back to his tree, it wasn’t a savage or fearsome shout, but it was all he could think of to help.

Meanwhile the elderly man was sitting up behind the fallen wood, and breathing heavily, fumbling with some sort of healing salve. Maybe Sky could clip his head with an arrow, maybe not, the foul smelling smoke and darkness of Cylus probably wouldn’t help make a straight shot easy. Ae’garn could feel his own hands tensing, clammy, heart racing, he was shaking too. Never having expected this, naive to the world, and getting his first taste of what lay in store for him in the wilder places far from home.
word count: 559
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Sky
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[Krome] Every Step Counts [Sky]

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Sky obviously hit his target as intended; he noticed that the figure went into what seemed to have been a panic. Something went up in the darkness, and covered far more of his vision than it should have; then again he was in the dark and at a distance. He did not expect to hit anything if he shot again, but often times gambling is worth the risk. Luck certainly can have far more of an effect than skill, and in this case he decided to fire again. The Savage rose his bow again, and loaded the notch of his arrow onto the drawstring again. He noticed what looked similar to mist fill the air, and The Savage pulled back the drawstring until the ball of his wrist came in contact with his cheek.

He took a moment to search for a target in the mist, and his eyes darted back and forth searching for something to attack through the “Cloud”. What the Savage saw he could not identify, but he saw what appeared to be two shapes. One far larger and wider than the other, and then the other that was small and appeared to be either behind or in front of the first object. The Savage fired the shot again toward the smaller circle that could arguably have been a skull. His goal was not to kill the person, or people but simply to make them leave the area. However, if they continued to battle back with him he would try harder to ensure they would die.

Sky had abandoned his Mandrill at the cave and left him to tend to Alexa and Venom. This particular situation was not one that was ideal for him; if the two were to turn and fight him Sky would certainly lose the battle. In a situation against multiple opponents the only chance he had to attack and win was to stay at a distance and shoot. Not even stealth was his strength and thus he could not even hide from them successfully. He focused as the arrow was loosed, and managed to clip the skull of the individual that he fired it at. Sky waited again and prepared to repeat the process of shooting, but rather than remain in the same position he advanced forward several paces. He hid behind yet another Tree that was in far closer proximity to his two targets, and knelt down as to prepare again.
word count: 409
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Ae'garn
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[Krome] Every Step Counts [Sky]

The small Sev’ryn heard the shot before he saw it. Ae’garn’s palms almost glued to the tree, scared as a cat caught somewhere it shouldn’t be; he glanced downward and to his side, to see the alchemist now clutching his head as well as his throat. What do I do? What do I do? The old man was bent over to one side awkwardly behind the fallen log, groaning. Ae'garn tried the bird call one more time to draw the shooter away, having a better idea of where Sky was firing from, but no clear sight of him.

Those moments and choices which define who you are, that you remember seasons on as what ifs. He was too good a Sev’ryn to leave the alchemist bleeding there. Ae'garn darted off at a quick leap to another tree, further around the side of where he thought the shooter was. His young silhouette leaned out from behind a tree trunk, putting an arrow in his bow, how he thought you were supposed to do it. The Sev’ryn pulled the string back, shot with all his strength, and it landed about five feet in front of him. So much for beginner’s luck! This wasn't going to work.

Again Ae’garn made the call of a bird, throwing a stone where he thought Sky might be, where was he! He didn't know if any of this would give the alchemist time to crawl away, which his travelling partner was doing now, but making slow progress through the mud and forest floor. The alchemist was not done just yet, malformed and marked across his face, as a man who worked with the elements. Now a desperate one, he got off his feet and turned, blood running down his face and neck. There was nothing to lose, his life on the line, the alchemist made a run for it, throwing one potion pot, then another, then another. Each that landed made a horrid rushing sound, setting flames, burning tree, leaf and stump to charred black. The alchemist didn’t see Sky exactly until the last throw, but it was quite a light show, the bouts of flame turning his forest to cinder and ash. Ae’garn’s eyes went wide at the old man’s display, he’d never seen it before.

“Back! Back! Back!” The older man kept calling with some unease in his voice, visibly wounded twice. He was of course now a sitting, or rather running duck, smoke or no smoke. Did Sky want to risk an aimed shot at the cost of meeting the flames, or take a hopeful snap shot? More importantly, would any hatred of damage to his forest get the better of his personal safety?
word count: 467
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