Tolderas' last moon

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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by YeweLion on Tue Aug 09, 2016 7:26 pm

Andrew sensed disinterest from the men when it came to the village’s celebrations. He thought it rather insulting that they would think about joining in when giving such little thought to the meaning behind it…but, well, he was well aware of how ignorant certain individuals could be.

He peered down into his stew in thought, quietly assessing Heindrik’s words before bringing the spoon back to his lips. Yet again his gaze was upon the human’s features. Heindrik was different from his bearded companion when it came to what Andrew assumed of a knight, and especially that of a mercenary. Perhaps it was because the man was younger than Skjall, but Heindrik’s appearance lacked…edge. Still though, soft features could hide strong traits. Perhaps Heindrik was more than he appeared to be.

Intrigued, Andrew nodded at the knights as they pondered extending their stay in the village. He had to admit that celebrations of battle and war tended to draw in those that excelled in the subjects. The lone traveler was no exception.

“Do you feel that they would let us join in?” He smiled a toothy smile around his spoon, “I was thinking of asking, but had not gotten to it quite yet. Are you good with the sword?”
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by Wolkenser on Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:04 pm


“I asked already.” Said Skjall, dark eyes peering towards Andrew with a certain air of snobbism. “The innkeep said that whoever participates was up to the village. I fear someone would have to vouch for you in order to enter their ‘trial of champions’.”

No doubt the dark-haired knight was more likeable when he was anti-socially silent. He was usually straight forward to a fault, and rarely treated anyone but his direct superiors with respect. Try as hard as Heindrik could, it was hard to compensate for this attitude once his companion opened his mouth during their errands. That is, unless it was needed.

To the traveller’s last question, both knights exchanged an odd look. Why, they were knights! Of course they had to be good with a sword. One did not get the title by simply getting cozy with royalty… usually. Not he, at least! He had worked hard to become a knight errant, as for some it was unbelievable that he’d be even slightly intimidating in battle. However, they’d be fools not to fear anyone in a full suit of armour, even if they had a babe’s face.

The knight put down the bowl on the floor before him and tapped the hilt of his sword, strapped to his belt. Though it was hardly anything impressive, it was evidently worn with battle; the pommel had a few scratches, and even the scabbard had seen better days.

“I’m not one to boast, but I can safely say that there’s a reason we sell our swords!” Heindrik laughed, amused. His swordarm had never failed him. “That’s a very odd question.”
“Odd indeed...” Skjall added, raising a brow to the blonde.
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by YeweLion on Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:22 pm

“Oh? Shame.” Andrew wasn’t troubled much by Skjall’s newfound ability to speak, though he didn’t take well with the tone of it. He wasn’t sure if the displeasure entered his gaze or not…he was once told that eyes were like windows to the soul, but Andrew didn’t know how true of a statement that really was.

“I made on pretty well with one of the men,” The blonde continued thoughtfully. “Perhaps I can speak with him. Maybe make some arrangements?” He offered a grin, thinking highly of his suggestion. These two men before him liked to talk the talk, but could they walk it? Andrew was enjoying their responses to his questions, though he felt they weren’t used to someone such as himself. Their exchange of looks only cemented that.

“No harm meant, gentlemen.” A hearty laugh escaped him, had he struck a nerve of some sort?

Mirth laced his narrowed gaze as a smile played upon his lips. Heindrik seemed awfully proud of his fighting skills and Skjall…well, Skjall didn’t seem like he felt the need to prove himself.

“I am a curious creature, by nature. Forgive me.” Andrew too placed his bowl on the ground before sitting back to observe the two, amused by their questioning expressions. “I was just wondering if your skills lay elsewhere when it comes to weapons.”
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by Wolkenser on Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:28 am

“Aren’t we all? Though I’ve tried warhammers and greatswords, I’m no good with them.” The brunette knight laughed, but then simply gave a small shrug. “Sword and shield are my weapons of choice. The strongest counter is a strong defense.”
Skjall, however, held his plate to his lips for a split second with his brows furrowed.
‘Curious creature’. No man he’d ever known referred to themselves like that. Was this traveller more than he claimed to be? Was he hiding something? A couple of years under the service of The Coven had taught him to never let escape details like these, especially coming from a stranger.

If Heindrik had detected this detail as well, he wasn’t showing it. And the bearded knight did not intend to make it obvious that he felt something was off. He set down his own bowl over his companions’ and ran his wrist across his mouth.
Heindrik, however was quite interested in Andrew’s newfound Tolderan friend, wondering who it might be. He seemed eager to join in on the celebrations, and he didn’t know what to think of it.

“You think this friend of yours might…” He was interrupted by the sound of a cheering crowd, gathered around a generously large keg of beer as it was tapped by a townswoman – apparently Birna herself.
“…Might convince the townsfolk to let us participate?” Heindrik continued. “I doubt that’s an easy task. Secluded villages rarely allow outsiders to invade their traditions.”

The dark-haired innkeep placed an iron valve on the bottom of the keg resting above a small table and with medical precision began to hammer it; not hard, but with just enough force for the wood to give in. It was not about how fast you did it, but how clear-cut your hammering was.

The small crowd she gathered let out soft ‘Ooh’s and claps as she expertly tapped the large cask with no leaks or splashes escaping. An accomplishment no other can claim of in Tolderas. Birna beamed and laughed, giving her brethren an exaggerated bow as she welcomed them to fill a flagon, if they so desired.
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by YeweLion on Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:49 am

Andrew enjoyed toeing along dangerous lines. It was a thrill like no other…though none truly knew his secrets like he did. His cobalt eyes slipped shut as he offered Heindrik a nod.

“I can appreciate a good sword and shield…” Andrew let his voice trail off before lifting his lids and fixating his gaze back on the friendly knight. His voice held a playful tone as he continued, “But, the way I see it, two blades are better than one.”

A smirk played along his lips as he tapped at the shiny pommels at his hips. They were beautifully crafted, forged from the strongest of fires and steel. He was quite proud of them, as they had served him well. Though…they certainly didn’t appear to have seen much battle.

Andrew broke his stare and concentration on Heindrik when loud applause roared to life at their side. He blinked, at first surprised but then excited. “Looks like the entertainment will be starting soon.”

His eyes returned to Heindrik, head already nodding a confident assurance. “I am sure we can work something out! Come, I want a taste of that.” Andrew stood from his seat without much care for courtesies, but he stopped momentarily to look at Skjall’s pinched face, a knowing smile reaching his eyes.

“Perhaps some drink in you will loosen the noose on your mind. It is not good to get lost in your thoughts when celebration is afoot.”
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by Wolkenser on Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:34 am

“Do not worry yourself with Skjall! A drink will simply sour him more.” He laughed loudly. “None of us want that now, do we? Today’s to be merry!”
Heindrik put a hand lightly on Andrew’s shoulder, softly leading the way towards the townsfolk chattering and drinking. His companion narrowed his eyes at them with a clenched jaw. Nothing but an angry sigh came from him as the man did nothing but watch them walk away. No matter, he had other things to do. Much more important things…

As they approached, the innkeep whispered to herself ‘Oh, you again.’ Regardless, she smiled happily.
“M’lords! We’ve just tapped the first keg of the day. Do enjoy! We’re setting up the feast for sundown.” She informed them, assuming they didn’t know the festivities would not begin immediately. Most combatants were still getting ready, either practicing or dressing themselves in their armour.

Heindrik thanked her, grabbing a flagon from the prepared feast table behind them – really because every other townsfolk seemed to be doing just that. He helped himself to the beer and gave it a sip, a quick sample. He had not expected it. It was surprisingly good, for a town this far away from civilization. Was that honey he tasted in his tongue?
“So, sir Andrew… where’s this friend of yours?” He asked Andrew after swallowing. This beer was nearly as good as the one he’d tried in Kaer Uskar!

Smells were beginning to fill the air around the village, most coming from the inn’s own kitchen. There, the cooks of the town were preparing all sorts of delicious food. From sweetened duck, to rabbit stew, and one of the farmers even gave them one of his cows! It had already been slain and cleared of the inedible entrails, but it had been lucky the farmer had been this generous with so many guests abounding.
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by YeweLion on Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:05 am

As the two left Skjall to stew in his own thoughts, Andrew turned his attention to brighter things. Like the keg they were approaching. Attempting to be friendly, the man lightly elbowed Heindrik’s side.

“Is he always so stuffy? Must be grueling for you.”

Andrew now viewed the friendly knight like a pup fresh off its mothers’ milk. Social, curious, but…as with all beasts, he was sure to still bite. As such, Andrew didn’t let his guard down around Heindrik. He silently wondered if the man was as shrewd as his companion, but much more skilled at hiding it.

As they neared the keg his eyes fell to Birna and her little self. She seemed slightly cagey to him, but it was sometimes hard for Andrew to pin point the reasons for this. Some women were just… Not finishing his thought, the blonde smiled at her. “Milady, pleasure.”

Andrew too took her up on her offer and grabbed a flagon for himself, eager to fill it up. He brought it to his nose and breathed deeply, first to savor the scent, and second to of course smell for poisons and draughts. Although he failed to recognize anything wrong with the brew, the man found himself watching Heindrik for a moment before taking a sip of his own. A sudden happy and throaty groan sounded from him and his knees buckled comically as he relished in the bold but sweet taste.

“Marvelous! Is this a special blend?”

A genuine grin spread across his face as he regarded the woman. It was obvious that he was thoroughly impressed. He opened his mouth to speak more, but promptly shut it when Heindrik spoke. Giving a nod, he returned his attention to Birna.

“Milady, do you know of a man who chops lumber? I was speaking to him last night about Rhyfelwr and he invited me to stay for the festivities.” He gave a detailed description of the man, perhaps being a bit too precise for only having met the man briefly. “I made a promise to seek him out…could you assist me in keeping it?”
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by Wolkenser on Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:54 am

Birna hummed softly and tapped her chin, eyes narrowing downwards as she listened to Andrew’s description of the man.

“Ah, you must mean Halbjörn!” The innkeep said suddenly. It was unmistakeably him – the more able-bodied of the two lumberjacks in Tolderas, hard-spoken and red of hair; thick yet short and well-kept beard gracing brutish features, framed by a shoulder-length messy mane. He was very… fierce about his devotion to Rhyfelwr. Not that she didn’t share it, she did! But she seldom spoke about Him the way the lumberjack did. More often than not, it drove people away and as an innkeep she could not afford to do that.

“I have yet to see him around, but I’m sure you can find him in his home.” She said. The woman raised a finger to point southwest.  “A shabby house by the sawmill, hard to miss.”
The knight turned towards the direction pointed and twisted his mouth a little. Shabby indeed. It seemed almost like a ruin – wooden walls being gnawed on by moss and edges bordered by climbing plants. It was obvious where the hut had holes as they were covered by nailed-on wood that stuck out like a patch.

“Thank you, milady! We’ll leave you to continue your, uh, duties.” Heindrik did not know what else to call it. Planning? Work? Chores? None seem to fit, so he stuck with the most neutral term.
Either way, the knight had begun walking to Halbjörn’s home house with calm, as he still had some beer left in his mug he’d like to enjoy before talking to someone. He had been the colourful fellow him and his group had seen when they first entered this miserable town, and from what he remembered he did not take kindly to them. He hoped this time would be different.

As they walked, he noticed that the village’s decorations were finally coming along. The arena, while still pretty shoddy, looked like one now. Kaer Uskar’s peasants used similar areas for their fistfighting competitions. The houses were also decorated with small red flags from a hung rope, at least all but the one in front of them.

Heindrik stayed back a few paces away from the door,  welcoming Andrew to be the one to knock. It was his friend after all, no?
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by YeweLion on Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:13 am

“Halbjörn, is it?” Andrew nodded at the name, a soft rumble of a hum breaking his silence. “Thank you kindly, Birna.” He looked in the direction she had pointed and locked onto what he assumed was the lumberjack’s home. Birna had called it shabby, and she wasn’t mistaken…though Andrew saw mostly commitment. Halbjörn could have left it much worse, yet he chose to patch it up. Recalling his gruff behavior, the blonde couldn’t help but chuckle. It suited him.

After waving the pleasant woman off as politely as he could put thought into, Andrew turned to follow Heindrik. The man was awfully eager to meet Halbjörn. It came off as interesting to the lone traveler and this time he was the one feeling that his newfound acquaintance was odd. He shrugged it off however and decided instead to down his brew in place of critical thinking. By the time they reached the door to the lumberjack’s home, his mug was empty and his mind silent. He paused when Heindrik stayed behind and slowly turned to face him, expression somber.

“This fellow is quite in touch with his religion.” Andrew stated, glancing Heindrik up and down. “I understand you feel it obscure, but if you want to have a place in their fights I suggest you keep your opinion locked away.”

The carefree smile returned to his face moments later and he turned back around to rack his knuckles across the wooden door before him, not bothering to dwell on his change in character.
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by Wolkenser on Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:44 am

Though taken aback and off-guard, Heindrik kept his cool best he could and lifted a hand apologetically –as the other one was busy with a flagon-.
“You’ll not hear a word from me.” He said with a gesture across his lips, he plainly raised the mug and drank the few drops he had left, though he was still sincerely thirsty for more.
The wood inside the hut creaked a little, though the man did not even vocally reply to the call upon his door. Two groaning footsteps lingered for a little bit before the door swung open harshly.

Halbjörn was not expecting visitors yet, though seeing the blonde man from the night before was a pleasant surprise. The man’s eyes almost darted towards Heindrik gravely, who just raised a hand to wave at the lumberjack and put the other one, flagon and all, upon his chest.
“Salutations, friend!” He said – and spoke no more.
“Afternoon.” Halbjörn replied. He did not recognize him without his armour, apparently, and Heindrik was thankful for that. He did not want to get in Andrew’s way, and having the man become sullen would’ve been very bad indeed.
It seemed that Halbjörn was the one with armour this time around, albeit a humble ensemble. He was wearing a thick leather and iron cuirass with leather pants and boots. Surprisingly, his armour was well-cared for and hardly had any traces of dents or cuts. Evidently, the lumberjack planned on participating on that night’s trials.

“Is there something I can do for you?” He asked them, though more to the blonde than the other man. He did not care much for him.
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by YeweLion on Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:14 pm

Seemingly pleased with Heindrik’s oath, Andrew waited with bated breath as the sound of stirrings from within reached his ears. The skin behind his neck itched a little when the heavy steps fell silent, but with his keen sense of hearing he was still able to hear the soft whisper of breath crossing lips. He did not flinch when the door swung open.
“Afternoon, Halbjörn! Birna directed us to your home.” Andrew took a slight step back to give the man some space if he chose to cross the threshold
.
Andrew curiously eyed the set of armor the red head was adorned in, noting its’ fresh appearance. It was obviously a well-kept ensemble, perhaps meant especially for the trials he was hearing so much about. It occurred to the blonde that he didn’t know exactly what happened during these trials. He could only assume, but that was never a good thing to do.

“I promised to seek you out to learn more about Rhyfelwr and I am making good on it.” Andrew’s smile reached his eyes as he cocked his head to the side, motioning towards Heindrik. “I hope you do not mind, but I brought another ear.”

And truly, the lone traveler hoped Heindrik’s presence wouldn’t harm his chance at learning. Halbjörn hadn’t seemed very pleased with the man when he saw him. Andrew sincerely hoped that Heindrik would keep his oath of silence when it came to the village’s traditions, as he understood how human men could be quite opinionated.
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by Wolkenser on Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:39 pm

The red-head's thick brows lifted with interest. He was telling the truth the other night, and honestly the lumberjack did not quite expect that from a traveler. He did accept, though, that he had shown more curiosity and, above all, respect for their customs. Thus, he was not displeased by their unexpected appearance at his front door. Although pleased wouldn't be quite exact, either. Halbjörn truly appreciated that the man had kept his word, however.

"This one?" He asked as he motioned Heindrik with a his hand, scoffing at the knight with certain disdain. "I do not recognize your face... friend."
Heindrik only gave a bow, presenting himself.
"I only come to listen." He claimed, and the lumberjack waited - he waited, perhaps thinking that he would have something other to say; declaring he was perfectly interested in today's celebration or perhaps saying that he was only here to observe.

Halbjörn stayed silent for a few other seconds and then sighed heavily, as if he was resigned.
"Very well." The lumberjack said finally, retreating behind the door for a minute. "We can talk over the feast. It'll be starting soon."

A loud bang of metal against wood sounded, as if the lumberjack had hit his house with something quite heavy. A few short seconds later he emerged, heavy iron axe in hand. The same trusty axe he used for chopping lumber was the one he would use to fight in tonight's trials; a worn, blunt-looking weapon with the leather slightly torn and shaggy on the handle and grip. It sufficed however, and that was enough for the red-haired man.

The lumberjack walked out almost directly towards Heindrik. The knight nonchalantly got out of the way to let him pass with no trouble, even without showing any expression of offense or surprise, and followed the lumberjacks' strides back towards the village square.

Townsfolk were shuffling around, carrying bottles of spirit or cider as they almost danced around the feast table to place them. From the inn a few men and women came back and forth, carrying the exquisite-looking platters of food, each larger and more delicious in appearance than the last.
The base of Rhyfelwr's statue had been pelted with all sorts of weapons; swords, simple daggers, warhammers, and axes. Some seemed impressively grandiose for how poor the villagers were, others were evidently working tools that were going to be used as weapons - a skinner's dagger and, as Halbjörn walked towards the pile to add his own contribution, a lumberjack's axe.
He bowed his head towards the statue and moved to the side, arms folded as he regarded the men - though not giving the statue his back out of pure respect.
"We place our weapons here before the feast." He explained, gesturing towards the pile of weapons.
"It's a sign of good will towards our brethren to show you're unarmed as you eat and it, too, is a way to beseech for Rhyfelwr's blessing on the trails. As outsiders yourselves, it is more of an obligation."

Heindrik was honestly quite impressed. What a convenient and useful tradition to unarm strangers, he thought to himself. He was tempted to ask if this tradition had stemmed from an incident, but a glance at Andrew made him swallow his question. He needed to keep quiet.
Halbjörn, however, was not satisfied with only silence. He was drilling the knight with his eyes... not out of anger, but out of expectation. The brunette, however, had looked blissfully unaware of the fact for a while, though to his surprise Heindrik grabbed the sword on his hip and carefully placed it on the pile without comment. Only a smile.
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by YeweLion on Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:12 pm

It appeared that the knight was doing well on his promise to keep silent, and Andrew was pleasantly surprised and perhaps curious about what was going through Heindrik’s mind. The man did take it quite seriously though…Andrew hadn’t meant for him to stay completely silent, he wouldn’t have objected to honest questions. The blonde’s brows furrowed slightly. He had forgotten momentarily that it was very well possible that the knight cared very little for what the lumberjack had to say. In fact, he was probably just very keen on joining in on the fight.

Andrew sighed quietly to himself when Halbjörn disappeared into his house, leaving him and the knight alone. Silence blanketed them before the return of the redhead broke it, and Andrew was grateful. His dark eyes fell upon the large weapon Halbjörn wielded and he couldn’t help but let out a low whistle of admiration. The axe appeared well-loved. Had he ever killed with it?

“Much appreciated!” Andrew clapped his hands together once before sticking them into his pockets, content to let Halbjörn lead them to where ever it was he wanted to go. He watched with mild amusement as Heindrik was forced to move out of the mans’ way. This knight was oddly a pushover.

Things had picked up surprisingly fast since their stroll over to the saw mill. Plates of food were being placed and more delicious alcohol was being passed around. Andrew didn’t realize quite how hungry he was until the smell of cooked meat filled his nose. “Mmm…you and your people sure know how to celebrate, Halbjörn.”

A grin dropped from his soft features as Andrew turned to observe the redhead’s actions. He witnessed the man approach the statue of Rhyfelwr and lay his axe among the pile of other weapons, each with their own history it seemed. The act itself was interesting, though it made the skin on his neck itch once again. Andrew didn’t necessarily need his swords, but…

Heindrik surprised him by being the first of them to lay his sword down, causing the blonde to tilt his head curiously. The man clearly wanted to make a good impression.
“Ah, what the hell, yeah?” Andrew beamed at the two before skillfully untying the sash from his waist and the swords with it. He carefully placed them among the other menagerie of weapons before straightening and eyeing Heindrik. His eyes then shifted to Rhyfelwr’s beast-like face.

“Halbjörn,” Andrew began with his eyes on the statue, before glancing to the side at the lumberjack. “Has an outsider ever partaken in this tradition?”
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by Wolkenser on Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:37 pm

Andrew´s comment had almost made the lumberjack smile. Almost. He just nodded towards him and avoided saying anything, as he might just show how swelled with pride he was.
This was the only and most important celebration in Tolderas, it was only fitting they showed their care for it with the only ways they knew how. Battle and cooking.
To his right, the knight was bemused by the young man; he observed with interest as he placed his incredibly ornate swords among the rest. It was a fascinating sight, like spotting a diamond amongst a fistful of obsidian rocks. Everything about him, though, expelled that strange aura – both he and Skjall were terribly aware of that. He did not belong here, and Heindrik pondered: Where did he belong to?

His string of thoughts was interrupted by Halbjörn’s voice, a tint of seriousness in his tone.
“No. None ever vouch for them in the trails.”
Heindrik was not surprised, though he was a bit disappointed. Did that mean they could not participate? What sort of hoops would they have to jump through to do it, though? He bit down on his questions.
“It is uncommon for travelers to want to participate.” the lumberjack continued. “They are… hard to trust. They do not understand, usually trying to convince us that we are heretics.”
The last the lumberjack added while staring at Heindrik straight in the eye. The knight returned the stare, unwavering and unflinching.
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by YeweLion on Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:51 pm

Andrew swooped in to diffuse the obvious rise in displeasure. “Ah, I am not surprised. Many are ignorant and only know their own ways.” And it was true, the blonde didn’t have enough hands to count on the number of times he had seen wars fought over petty differences. His nose wrinkled ever so slightly at memories and images that the thought had brought forth. No, he didn’t pride himself on being ignorant.

His gaze lingered on Heindrik for a split second before returning to Halbjörn’s unhappy face. It was unfortunate that the man had taken a dislike to the knight, but Andrew could only believe that Heindrik was somehow at fault. There seemed to be something hidden under the surface that he wasn’t aware of, something the villagers had been witness to.

“Come, let us discuss this over the feast.” Perhaps things would go more smoothly with everyone having a belly full of mead and meat. Andrew would be satisfied alone to hear about the trials, even if Halbjörn refused to vouch for him. He just hoped that Heindrik would feel the same. The man had a troubling aura about him and Andrew was beginning to wonder about it.
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by Wolkenser on Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:36 pm

Heindrik turned towards Andrew, a half grin tugging on thin lips.
“Ah, I’d love to. I feel a bit… naked though, at the moment.” The knight said. Halbjörn only continued staring. “I wish to don my armour and check on my men. I will join you soon as I am done!”
The brunette gave each of the men a courtly bow before turning on his heel to leave towards the band’s campsite.

Halbjörn was right; he had been one of the murky fellows that arrived yesterday. A soft grunt escaped him, but he turned towards the blonde nonetheless. The lumberjack’s voice was cold.
“I do not like him.” He said flatly. Without waiting for a comment from the other young man, Halbjörn walked towards the table and sat slowly.

On the far side, two slim young men had sat on benches a few steps from the feast table; one was holding a fine lute and the other a flute. The rest of the town was already gathering on the table, cups or mugs in their hand and faces filled with laughter and enjoyment - few among them were also clad in simple armour like Halbjörn himself.

Birna sat on the opposing end of the table, her dark locks free of her headdress and left flowing on her back and shoulders. Now that her job was done, she could relax and enjoy the festivity. She caught Halbjörn and Andrew as she chat with another townswoman and flashed them a grin. The woman pulled on a slim chain from her neck while looking very amused. She was wearing the locket the young man gave her.
The lumberjack didn’t quite understand her gesture, until he analyzed where she was looking and said a simple ‘Ah.’

“She seems to like you.” He told Andrew, stretching an arm to grab a bottle of cider to serve himself. Honestly, he was almost surprised. An outsider had charmed dear ‘ol Birna, would you look at that?
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by YeweLion on Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:04 am

“….” Andrew watched Heindrik leave in silence alongside Halbjörn, expression flat and somber. He turned to look the lumberjack in the eyes after he spoke his mind and tilted his head thoughtfully. It seemed that the man had an instinctual dislike for the knight, and Andrew wasn’t sure that he was incorrect in feeling as such. He watched Halbjörn walk away with a heavy feeling in his gut. Something felt wrong…why would Heindrik leave so soon when he had seemed eager to get Halbjörn’s approval moments before? As he moved to follow the lumber jack, he sighed and quietly murmured to himself, “I am not certain I do either…”

It was hard to stay in his thoughts however. Andrew found himself drawn out by the merry laughter and was entertained by the chipper music that the musicians began to play. He sat down at the table beside Halbjörn, thoughts of Heindrik forgotten as he conversed with the redhead. His cobalt eyes blinked at the man’s next words, however, and he shifted his gaze to further down the table where he seemed focused.

“Ah,” Andrew repeated, feigning ignorance though losing the battle to keep a grin off of his face. “That it seems.” He crooked a finger at the woman, offering a nod of acknowledgment and a handsome smile. She was rather pretty…for a human.

The traveler used one of his hands to push the strawberry blonde hair out of face, curling it around an ear so that it wasn’t shrouding his vision before joining the lumberjack in drink. “Do the women partake in this event?”

He wouldn’t be surprised if they did. Some of the fiercest warriors he had come across had been women. As they frequently said, hell hath no fury…
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by Wolkenser on Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:53 am

The redhead drank in deep, savouring his drink without stop until he had finished off the last drop – he was thirstier than he thought. Before he could help it, Halbjörn let out a chuckle.

“They do.” The man said. He put the mug back on the table and scanned the crowd with his eyes for a few moments before pointing towards a comely yet large woman amongst the crowd, wearing leather clothing.
“That one’s Syana An Craig. Cut the heads off two bandits who attempted to raze her home after hours. Their skulls decorate her house on a pike outside.”
Halbjörn paused and then turned to motion at another woman. She was pale with almost white stringy hair and a slim figure, though one of her arms fashioned a deep, wide scar that ran from shoulder to wrist.
“She’s Alyse, nearly won the trail naught two months past. Forfeit while carrying the flesh of her arm on her hands.”
Halbjörn served himself once more as he continued to speak, the tiniest ghost of a smile creeping on his lips. “Birna cut the throat of a man who tried to force himself on her, she didn’t even flinch.”

The lumberjack had taken the time to explain the women he’d personally dealt with out of personal admiration and pride of what he knew of their deeds. He also knew, however, that all the people in the village were natural fighters. Even if few participated in the trails, all loved the feeling and thrill of a good battle. Nothing they knew rivalled it.

The large, lengthy table of the feast was coloured with yellows and gold reflected by the sun on its golden hour, even painting the sky above them a dim but rich amber. The benches around the buffet had begun filling – only the musicians remained standing, but they seemed quite content with their music for the time being.
After a few words in Toldera’s strange language that came from all the townsfolk, the feast was declared finally begun.
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by YeweLion on Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:07 am

One by one Halbjörn pointed out women, telling of their feats of battle and Andrew listened intently, nodding and impressed. The women of this village were apparently a cut above the rest, for the only thing sharper than their will were their blades. When the last honorable mention was fair Birna, Andrew could hold back an amused guffaw.

“Good girl!” He mused, wiping the brew that dripped from his chin. He had been mid-sip when he had learned of Birna’s tale. With a grin he raised his flagon at the woman in approval. It didn’t deter him that she was apparently a violent lady, if anything it only intrigued him more. She was suddenly much more interesting.

The village was a little gem, a diamond in the rough. Although their practices seemed barbaric, Andrew found himself impressed with their loyalty. If this God did still live, he had quite the following. He felt the need to press Halbjörn further, to get him to solidify his assumption.

“The winner of the trials earns a place in Rhyfelwr’s halls, yes?” Andrew spoke, voice slightly thick after having stayed up the whole night drinking and laughing. There were slight bags under his eyes, but he paid them no mind. “How do they accomplish that?”

Andrew knew the answer, he just needed the man to state it for himself. Truth be told, the blonde should never have entertained the thought of fighting alongside the human villagers. If he should win, then what? Ah, but, if he should win…meeting a God sounded fairly interesting.
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by Wolkenser on Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:56 am

The man nodded as he listened to Andrew talk, his plate being filled with all the food around him. Fish, rabbit, steak… This was the only time he could eat until he couldn’t anymore, and he’d be damned if he didn’t take full advantage of it.
“In death.” Said Halbjörn casually. “There’s no greater honour than giving your life to the service of Rhyfelwr. To go to Him broken and bloody… it’s almost showing how fierce and battle-hardened you are.”

He sliced up the food in his plate, staring at it as he did so almost meditatively. After taking a bite of steak, the lumberjack spoke again.
“The trails are not for those who are afraid of death…this is why outsiders despise it. They are afraid, and oft think others should be too.”
Halbjörn hated them in return, in that they could agree. He did not comprehend them when they tried to interfere in the sacrifices, the arena or in a fight to the death. It was tremendously disrespectful to interrupt their event to voice an opinion nobody asked them about. If they were disgusted by the gore and the revelling of violence, they could leave whenever they wanted.
At the creeping thought, the lumberjack turned to look over his shoulder towards the traveler band’s campsite. It seemed empty, and it did not look like they had been there for a few hours, perhaps. Eyes rose towards the inn’s window directly behind him. A man’s shadow danced to candlelight reflected on the visible wall. Most likely Heindrik donning his armour.
Halbjörn had not thought much of his departure, though he was glad to be rid of him – especially after learning he’d come with the others.
Turning back towards his food and resuming his feasting, the redhead raised a brow.
“You sound very interested in the trails.” He stated as he chewed. “Out of curiosity?”
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by YeweLion on Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:22 am

As expected, Andrew thought. He took in the mouthwatering sight before him as he set his mug down, belly now ready for the feast.

“The soul of a warrior,” He hummed, cutting into a hunk of meat, watching as its’ juices drenched his plate. “A fine prize for your God.”

He wasn’t surprised that most people that visited Tolderas weren’t fond of such a celebration. Wars and battles were usually fought to settle an outcome, not in vain. Andrew entertained the idea of giving his soul over and chuckled quietly to himself. Rhyfelwr would probably refuse it. Still though, he couldn’t help but smile at the thought.

Andrew listened to Halbjörn carry on about the traditions, the mention of gore and death effecting him little. As the man spoke the traveler drank up the words, imagining past trials. Imagining a soul clinging to life before a winged beast… How was it extinguished? Morbid curiosity drove him to learn more about the trials and so he hung on to every word Halbjörn spoke.

When the man turned to him directly and pointed out Andrew’s apparent interest, the blonde paused before setting his utensils down. He used the pad of a thumb to swipe away any grease from his lips, eyes gaining a faraway look. Instead of answering the man’s question, Andrew shifted his gaze until he was staring Halbjörn dead in the eyes. It was only after a moment of silence that he spoke.

“Halbjörn, will you vouch for me?” Andrew’s expression grew solemn, “Even if I fear death?”

Suddenly he blinked, as if snapped out of a daze. Slowly he turned away with a shaky smile.

“I apologize,” He began. “Yes, I am curious.”

Though that wasn’t just it. Andrew paused for a long moment, as if fighting thoughts that had entered his mind. Perhaps it was because of the great amount of ale that he had consumed, but he found himself continuing.

“I often find myself in darkness.” Cobalt eyes grew dark and smoldering as they burned a hole into the plate before him. “And so I often find myself reaching for purpose.”
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by Wolkenser on Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:28 am

“No.” Halbjörn said with finality. He did not even give the man a chance to explain himself. The lumberjack continued speaking, breaking a loaf of soft bread.
“If you fear death, she will claim you under her terms. If you’re to depart, you should do so under your own.”
The sudden dark sullen tone Andrew adopted had caught the lumberjack off-guard. This had come quite abruptly for him – Halbjörn did not know quite know how to react towards Andrew. Was he drunk already? If so he had a very… weak tolerance to alcohol.
Calmly and with a low snort, the Tolderan man put down his fork and the piece of bread on his plate and turned towards the traveler.
“If darkness reaches towards you, perhaps therein lays your purpose.” He said as he brought his chin to a raised palm. “If you’re not finding it, you might be reaching in the wrong place.” The lumberjack tapped his index against the side of his head softly. “We are taught to fear things we cannot control, like death or destiny. Here in Tolderas, we learned that death cannot manipulate us if we do not let it.”
Halbjörn placed a heavy hand on Andrew’s shoulder, shaking him very softly as if he were trying to wake him.
“If you continue to rise each dawn, you have enough purpose to move on. Seek what your heart wishes for, you will find your purpose there. I’m sure.”

This time, the redhead did give a heartfelt smile, even though it was short-lived. Alas, he’d gone through similar dilemmas himself – he used to worry that he’d never live a fulfilling life in this miserable town, but oddly enough he found that it did not matter how rich he was or how powerful he could become in life. In the end, king and peasant both ended up as ash and bone. What mattered was what he was willing to lay his life for; for an ideal, for a person? It was up to each of them to decide such fate.
As he finished his plate of food the lumberjack looked to the sky above. Twilight had arrived, gorgeously dyeing the heavens a deep purple and almost crimson-like orange that was softly dotted with stars.
“The combats start at midnight.” He told Andrew. “Even if you’re not participating, you’re welcome to watch the fights.”
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by YeweLion on Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:46 am

Andrew felt a flash of unhappiness at Halbjörn’s flat refusal, but with sudden clarity he realized that the man wasn’t wrong. How unusual. A bubble of hysteria rose within his throat and came out as laughter, startling him. To think that a human could possess such wisdom, wisdom that stabbed him like a piping hot blade. It was disgusting.

Andrew sobered, but not without a few rogue chuckles plaguing him. He turned to face the redhead with a new expression.

“Ah, you speak truths Halbjörn.” A wispy smile played along his lips though his eyes had taken on a slight sneer. “You speak truths.”

However, Andrew didn’t care much for those truths. They only brought his insecurities out of hiding. His ideas of offering his soul shattered into what felt like a thousand pieces and he felt foolish for having even considered it. Whims were a dangerous game to play by, a game he couldn’t afford to be a part of.

Still though… The blonde traveler longed for the devotion Halbjörn felt. He was envious, jealous even. To believe in something so fiercely... Alas, he was just a coward.

“Thank you,” Andrew nodded, folding his arms in front of him. His mask of friendliness returned with gusto. He might have felt bittersweet, but he was still respecting of their traditions. “I will be sure to watch. I wish you strength.”

For luck was for dice, and not for battle.
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by Wolkenser on Thu Aug 11, 2016 4:52 am

Oftentimes Halbjörn forgot that, even if he was the more likeable traveler, Andrew was still a foreigner. Many of his reactions were puzzling to the lumberjack, but with time he’d learned to let these details roll straight off of him and thus paid them no mind. He only hoped the young man had taken his advice to heart.

He stretched his arms upwards until he felt a familiar popping on his joints and fingers, and realized that perhaps he should not have gorged on food as he did. He was confident, however, that his stomach would settle in time for the trails in the arena. Or, so he hoped.

Around them, some of the more cheery townsfolk had left their seats to twirl and dance about the square to the rhythm of the lute, and others were standing in groups near the half-empty keg of beer, visibly tipsy by the tumble on their step or their dragging speech.
Beside the inn there was a faint glint of silver armor, provoked by the fire from the torches lit around the town square. It came from the knights. They both seemed to be lost in conversation judging by their hand motions and body language. Strangely, both Skjall and Heindrik seemed to be cross about something. This could be assumed by the bearded knight’s frown -revealed by his lack of helmet- and the occasional coercive gestures from Heindrik.

This was all happening behind Halbjörn’s back, who was happily unaware of their reappearance. A momentary bliss, as it took a few minutes for the knights to part from each other.
Skjall had left in the direction of the forest behind the inn, and Heindrik was approaching the festivities.
The knight moved with special care to avoid bumping into a villager, dodging the dancing couples and avoiding the small groups of drunks completely.

As he approached the table, the lumberjack ignored him purposefully, not even turning to regard him with gaze or word. Heindrik paid no mind and greeted them either way.
“I apologize, there seems to have been a small mishap back at the camp.” The knight said, and plopped down on a bench with a sigh. “Some of my men went missing in the woods. They have yet to find any trace of them.”
Halbjörn snorted.
“They should’ve known better before daring to tread the woods alone.” The redhaid said.
“Ahm, pardon me?” Heindrik asked him, keeping his tone light – a hard task when the Tolderan man was hammering him with his words.
“You outsiders think every forest to be the same. A bundle of trees, roots and dirt.”
“You do not know my men.” The knight stated.
“You do not know my woods.” Halbjörn replied, this time turning to look directly at the knight. “If you wish to find your men, I advise you to wait for daybreak. That is, if they still live.”

With that, the lumberjack stood up from the bench, expression hard and hands holding an empty flagon. The red-haired brute looked like he was about to smash the knight across the face with it, however he simply walked away towards the keg of beer.
Heindrik watched him with furrowed brows and slightly parted lips. He sighed again.
“I do not understand what makes him loathe me. I have not offended him.” The knight scratched his chin. Honestly, though, he did not know. “Have I?”
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

Post by YeweLion on Thu Aug 11, 2016 5:35 am

Despite being told a firm no, Andrew was still able to enjoy the festivities. He entertained himself by watching the villagers circle around in dance, and while he didn’t join them, Andrew appreciated the primitiveness of it all. Gorge on alcohol and meat, dance it off, and then fight to a literal death. He hoped that the humans never lost their primal spirit. It was so boring without it.

Andrew stamped a foot in beat with the music as he watched the dancers twirl and clap. He was so absorbed in it all that he didn’t realize that another person had joined them until Heindrik spoke aloud.

The man was once again donned in armor to the teeth, looking as though he was ready for an attack. Andrew wasn’t sure who would attack him though, for all of their weapons lay at wooden hooves. Heindrik’s arrival was met with an unimpressed expression from the blonde, as well as a cold shoulder from Halbjörn.

“Ah, Heindrik.” Andrew’s voice was flat, “So nice of you to rejoin us.”

The traveler was not impressed with the disappearance of the knight, and it was sure to show in his treatment of him. He wasn’t fond of those who broke their word. Though, it seemed that the man had reason enough to be late as he quickly gave an excuse.

Troubled by the information, Andrew rose a brow. “Why did they go into the woods?”

There was no reason for them to…the festivities were in town, not the shade of trees. Andrew narrowed his eyes. How strange. He was broken from his thoughts when Halbjörn seemingly spoke his mind, and before Andrew knew it, there seemed to be a line of tension between the two men before him.

It was apparent that Halbjörn was not pleased with Heindrik, but it went farther than a normal distaste for outsiders. If Andrew didn’t know any better, he would have thought that Heindrik had done something to offend the man. He prepared himself for a brawl to break out but thankfully it appeared as though things would be left well enough alone. Again though, as if his mind was being read, Heindrik spoke Andrew’s thoughts aloud as Halbjörn stalked away.

“Well,” He began, “Maybe his first impression of you was poorly?”
Andrew eyed Heindrik up and down, noting his appearance.
“You are dressed to kill and you have enough men to cause a mess. Any smart man would be wary.”
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Re: Tolderas' last moon

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