Dying Lands IC
All was calm in Hertula, as the guards made their daily rounds, and the townsfolk languished in the day-to-day hardships of life. The only ones that weren't covered in dirt were the guards, but that was only because they were able to bathe in the river than ran near the city--though, of course, not all was well in Hertula. Corruption ran rampant in the government. The king wielded almost no authority, and instead his advisors locked him in his throne room so that he had no control over his city.
Meanwhile, in Wurthal, the farmers worked their fields, ever-dwindling in size. Little did they know that a group of the Hungry had built a hive on the side of one of the mountains near them--and with the Hungry came death.
Terrileg was bustling, as always. Mercenaries and bandits roamed the streets, often bullying the poor who occupied the slums of the city, and the thieves stole from them. This was the daily life in Terrileg: the strong steal from the poor, and the swift steal from the strong.
Henna let a giggle pass her lips och focused the view in the orb on the running mans face. "What drama!" she whispered and stared at the milky white mist inside her glass as if in a trance, eyes wide open. Her room was pitch black, illuminated only by the faint light provided by the scrying glass. It was a powerful artifact, her glass, but also a dangerous one. She knew somewhere deep inside that if you stared into it for too long you wouldn't be able to stop, but she could manage a bit more before finishing for tonight. Just a little bit. With a wet sound she ripped a piece of the runny red, spiced meat she kept in the bowl beside her and put it in her mouth. Little red steams ran from her lips as she drooled and chewed on the stolen steak. She took to running her now greasy fingers down her hair, as she always did when she was focused, and let out a breathless sigh. "Just a little more" she mouthed as the running mans persuers started to come closer, "just a little..."
The suddenly the door creaked and Henna threw herself around, tossing a little skin over her orb in the process. "Who's there?" she shrieked and started fumbling for her knife.
Flora was running across the rooftops of the town, jumping from one building to the next. She had stolen a whole bag of various small fruits and was looking for a safe place to eat them in private. Finally she found a building secluded from the rest and out of sight from the population. Leaping onto the roof of the building, she didn't make it quite far enough. Her right arm scraped along the edge of the roof as she attempted and failed at grasping it. Falling the short distance to the hard ground below, she had dropped the fruit. Children's voices could be heard in a nearby alley as they heard the commotion. With the shuffling of their feet, Flora could hear them approaching her.
Gathering the scattered fruit quickly, she put it back into the bag and ran inside of the building. The door creaked as she opened it, then she slammed it behind her. Now she could heal her wound without revealing her special power to anyone. She dropped the fruit by her side, then paused. A woman's shriek was heard from across the room and a glimmer of a light was seen for a moment before being hidden by what Flora guessed was the woman herself.
"I'm sorry, I did not mean to startle you. I will be leaving soon." Flora sighed. She wasn't going to be able to heal her wound just yet, and the scrapes were burning mildly. Oh well, she had suffered worse. This was nothing compared to her past occurrences. Flora leaned over as if to pick up the bag of fruit, but pulled her knife out of her boot instead. The lady couldn't possibly see Flora reaching for a weapon in this darkness, correct? Although Flora did not plan to injure the woman, she merely got her knife out for her own protection, just in case. She hesitated, looking into the direction where she saw the light, hoping to see it again. What was that thing? Was it valuable? If it was, Flora would consider stealing it.
She couldn't see too well; staring into the scrying glass had deprived her of her darksight, but she knew from the sound that the woman who'd just entered her "home" was still standing by the door. "That's right, you won't!" Henna hissed, "This is my room, get out of my room! Get out!" She knew she wasn't a very intimidating person; her high pitched voice and scrawny build didn't help towards that. But hopefully, if she just kept insisting, the stranger would leave her alone. Most people weren't looking for trouble, after all.
She carefully scooped her glass up and hid it in her bag. Having secured her treasure, Henna hid her knife up her sleeve and hid herself as best she could in the darkness. "Get out, I mean it!"
The darkness seemed to fade away as her eyes gradually began adjusting, now being able to make out faint outlines. She saw the light for a split second before the woman hid it away, Flora's eyes staring intently at it's last known location. The woman was acting quite strangely to someone who posed no threat at the moment, she felt as if she must be hiding something.
"Calm yourself, lady. Are you hungry? I have more than enough fruit. I could give you one." Flora could sacrifice a single fruit to lure the woman into some temporary trust. She was insanely curious as to the glowing artifact, which may not be wise to act upon, but she did anyway.
"I can't leave this instant, I must wait for the children to scurry off. So you'll just have to be patient." She said this as a matter-of-fact rather that rudely. Her voice was warm and inviting, trying her best to sound soft and trustworthy. "What's your name?"
Caervon was lying down on his soft, wooden bed. He had recently napped after a long training period. The room was quiet and dim. He decided to stand up and get something to eat and drink. He left his house to the nearby marketplace to buy some food and a pouch of water. He purchased a chicken and returned to his house. While walking, he looked up to the mountains. It was such a beautiful view. In the midst of taking in the view, he looked to the side of the mountain. "What in Wurthal is that?", he thought to himself. What he saw was unspeakable. He saw something that resembled a hive. A hive. Full of the Hungry. "This is not good....", he muttered to himself as he immediately dropped the goods and sprinted to his house.
At his house, he slammed the door, and locked it. He knew that, at any moment, the Hungry would creep down the mountainside to invade Wurthal. "Ok. So, the vicious, deadly, disgusting Hungry are near. Think. What would Master Mireas do in a situation like this?", he asked himself. He was walking in circles around his dining table, pondering on what he should do. "Should I evacuate and leave the Hungry to slaughter the city? Should I tell the town? Should I go to the hive and fight them myself?", he asked himself. "HELP!" He was in a panic, like how he was in many other situations. He was on his knees, thinking about what would happen. "Ooh! Maybe, they haven't noticed the city, and won't attack! There's a possibility. I just hope no nitwit around here who doesn't know about the Hungry nearby does something.....noticable." Just then, the noon bell struck. The ringing was so loud, so noticable, it was sure to attract the Hungry.
Caervon gulped. "NO!"
Bitch! Bastard! Miscreant! Why wouldn't she leave? And the audacity! But... if words didn't help, what could she do? She wasn't ready to skewer the stranger on her knife - she didn't have the guts for such violence anyway - and going further with threatening the invader was pointless if she wouldn't be able to carry it out. What was left for poor Henna to do, then? Wait. She would wait and hope that the stranger would go away just as she said. The kids wouldn't be long, kids never stayed for long, had no concentration. So she waited, in the darkness, ready to fight or flee if the woman came any closer.
The stranger asked her name, but she decided not to answer. Names held power, and to give ones name away to suspicious strangers was foolish. No, Henna wouldn't give her anything. And she could keep her stupid fruit. "You can keep your stupid fruit!" she said to emphasize her thoughts. But now she would keep silent, yes. Wouldn't say a word. Damn her! Just when things had been so exciting! So dramatic! She wished she could finish looking into the glass, just to see what would happen with the fleeing man. It was like a terrible itch you couldn't scratch, a most terrible itch. She couldn't resist it, not for long. Perhaps it would subside if she just touched the glass? It couldn't hurt to try. With trembling fingers, she started searching her bag for the glass and found it at the bottom, still wrapped in the skin. She touched it with the tips of her fingers and... it helped. For now. But she wouldn't be able to let go of it now, not until she'd gazed into it. Unless her life was at stake, then she'd let go. Or would she? Henna wasn't so sure anymore...
Of the few remaining settlements in the Dying Lands, Terrileg was Brand's favourite. The city stank, riddled with peasants, thieves, mercs and your everyday scumbags, but Brand liked it anyway, for it was never too bright in the forest-city, and it was always green.
The Reaver made his way through the city toward Market Square, a turn of the shoulders here, a gentle push there helping him negotiate his way through the crowded streets. Cut purses were out in force, as per usual, but Brand did not need to worry about that, for he'd hidden his small pouch of silver coins in his boot. Nevertheless, he shot warning glances at any boy or girl who he suspected of being a thief.
In the market square, Brand looked around...
"Thief! Somebody stop that woman!" a fruit vendor shouted.
... Other merchants shouted their wares over him, and too there were cries of fortune tellers, dice-rollers and other con-men out to make a quick coin or two. No one cared about the fruit vendor or his stolen goods. Brand saw a group of mercenaries stood around the mouth of an alley, lounging, conversing and generally looking mean. One was picking his teeth dagger. Another was flirting rather aggressively with some peasant woman. The woman slapped the merc and he knocked her to the floor with a backhand strike.
Brand was already walking past and away as she cried out for help. It wasn't his problem. He was dead. A ghost. His job was to fight the fell beasts. the Foul Ones and the Hungry Ones. Protecting people from themselves was a job he did not desire or care for.
"What'll it be, archer?" asked the long-faced stall-keep when Brand stopped at his stall.
"Flint," Brand answered gruffly, his voice hoarse from under-usage. The sooner he was out of here, the better............
A soft chuckle escaped Flora's lips. "Very well then," She smiled, mostly to herself. Still holding onto her knife in one hand, she leaned over and removed a fruit from the bag with the other. It was a fresh, shiny, red apple. Lifting it to her mouth, she slowly sank her teeth into it, making it as audible as possible. The delectable crunch of the apple was followed by a flood of juice, drenching her tongue. Sighing, her taste buds thanked her, as well as her belly, even though she wasn't all that hungry. She took another bite, making it louder this time, with attempts at teasing the woman for putting down such a gracious offer, as if she were dangling a treat in front of a mutt. Walking about the room casually, she spotted a table and set the twice-bitten apple upon it. "In case you change your mind. It's very good."
Flora walked back over to her bag of fruits and picked it up, simultaneously putting the knife back inside of her boot. She decided she could always return, perhaps at night when the woman was sleeping, and get a better look at the glowing object. For now, she bid a polite farewell, and exited through the door from which she had come through previously. The children had long been gone by now.
The woman walked confidently, shoulders back and head held high. Her attire consisted of cloth of varying shades of purple, adorned in shining accessories which she stole long ago. The wind swept her long, blonde hair around her, a strand or two now resting on her face. She brushed it aside as she approached a stall, selling the fruit she just stole from across town. With her newly acquired money, she walked over to another stall, waiting patiently behind a man older than her. She needed to buy more arrows, having broken or lost her other ones. Animals were hard to find in the woods around Terrileg, being nearly all wiped out from those trying to sell them just as she was. With patience, she always tended to find an animal or two.
Was this man having a laugh? Is he having a laugh?
"Are you having a laugh?" Brand said. "Four silver for a piece o' flint?"
"It's the going rate," the stall-keep replied casually. "Ask old Butterfingers down the street. He sells flint... oh wait... no he doesn't... on account of me buying all his stock. I suppose you could go to One-eyed Pete... oh no, he's all out of flint too. There ain't no flint in a hundred leagues but what I got stocked. And the going rate is four silver."
Brand grimaced as he studied the stallkeep. He couldn't tell whether the man was lying or not. Brand wasn't the best at reading people. Flint and steel was life and death in the wilderness. And steel was easier to come by. He had eight silver in his purse, but he needed arrows too. When he could think of nothing clever to say, he pressed on stolidly.
"Two silver's what I pay, all I've ever paid for flint. Six for a batch o' arrows."
"Aye, I'll take six silver for a batch of the pine wood. But it's four silver for the flint."
The stallkeep would not be moved. Brand was considering introducing the horse-faced bastard to his friend, Rickon. Rickon knew how to get messages across. The stallkeep smiled victoriously when the Reaver's hand started moving. He stupidly thought Brand was reaching for his purse...................