[RP] The Curse of Valeisea

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[RP] The Curse of Valeisea

Post by F R O S T » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:46 am

"Brother, when can I stay out past sundown? I want to stay up too," Valeri whimpered as she hugged her arms close around her older brother. Their other younger sibling was already asleep, too young to care about what Fenris and the older children did after sunset and their older bothers were both already running out to the fire burning at Crimeria's center. Valeri always stayed with Fenris like magnetized metal- like a gnat trying to get at a piece of food. Her brown eyes were so wide and curious, her face was cute and round with freckles splashed across her cheeks, kissed by the sun- that's how she got what she wanted, whether it was staying up later or getting out of chores to go play with her friends.
But Fenris was immune.
Fenris unhooked her arms from around him. "Go to bed, you're being annoying." Typical brother-sister interaction. He was young too, but he'd only recently became of age to stay up. He was going to go dance and his little pest of a sister wasn't going to keep him.
Valeri stamped her foot in frustration. "Will you at least show me to dance next time?" She huffed making an expression of exaggerated annoyance. Fenris was the best of his siblings, after all.
"Yeah, yeah," Fenris smiled and grabbed her shoulders, turning her in an about face. "Now go. I had to wait sixteen years for this, and you aren't above the rules." He moved back to the door.
-
Morning had come. Fenris's eyes cracked open slowly with little more prompting than the light gust of wind pushing against the house's exterior. The wood naturally creaked against the force of the autumn chill. It would only get worse until Fenris was able to bank up the side of the house with snow to protect it from the cold.
He sat up slowly in his bed in the dark room and gave a short shiver. Easily he had woken before dawn, his internal alarm was used to getting up early.
He rubbed his eyes slowly as he hunched forward; little more than the shuffling sound of blankets in his room could be heard in a near-tangible silence.

It had been the first time in a while that Fenris had dream't of his family. Tonight it was one of his siblings, Valeri, his younger sister. She always had a fascination with the outdoors- flowers, just like their mother. She was going to be beautiful when she was older- yet all Fenris could picture was her face stiffening in pain, her jaw locking up as the plague spread through her body. She died horrifically and suffering the entire while, mostly of dehydration and starvation than anything. The plague having locked her jaw up too tightly to open- where, not even breaking it could have helped her.

Reality was like the putrid aftertaste of alcohol on the tongue after a long night of drinking; such was a feeling that Fenris was quite used to by this point. Gods, how he wished those dreams would stop- how he wish they didn't test and torment his mind leaving him to believe that the reality he lived in wasn't true.
It was.
His family was dead.
He got up slowly from the bed and moved to the bathroom where he leaned down and washed his face in the basin of water by cupping his hands together and bringing it up to scrub his skin. The shadow that covered his jaw yesterday was now a little thicker and while usually he shaved, that morning he didn't quite feel the energy to. Hell, just an extra measure to keep him warm. He threw on a shirt, pulled on his pants and boots and walked out into the cool, brisk autumn air.

The world outside the wood door of old Lorei's house was still dim, but Fenris didn't need much light to get to the woodshed for his ax.
Last night had been pretty cold, he and Lorei ended up burning through a good part of the firewood Fenris had been gathering while the woodpile was still dry. Fenris planned to reinforce those walls at some point, but for now this was all they could do...

He made his way to the storehouse. It had hay for Lorei's oxen Bui and many of her old gardening tools on the inside. Fenris always kept the ax here because of it's proximity to the wood and the cutting stump. He pulled open the wooden door with chilly fingers and stopped immediately.
The sun was just peaking up now, giving enough light to shine into the shed where, on the inside laying the mound of hay, was a woman. Fenris warily stayed back. There was no room to underestimate other's these days. People to beasts and monsters- they'd kill you for a scrap of food, some of them. Others look weak and frail- but that's just a ploy, a trick. They'll trap you sooner than you can say "Valeisea" and rob you blind in and instant.
"Hey!" Fenris growled knocking impatiently on the wood. "You can't just come in here," he said leaning against the frame. Lorei's had thieves come before. They even came in this shed once and pilfered through her belongings. That night the took one of the trowels hanging on the wall, as well as a bag of seeds- though, she dismissed it, telling Fenris that if they needed to steal something such as that, they must really have needed it.
Fenris had been angry for her.
He would never let someone wrong her on his watch. His bright amber eyes didn't fail to catch her silky, fine clothes. If anyone wore such a thing, even covered in grime- he could only believe they were of the Kingdom.
“I'm a sheep wearing wolves' clothing in a pack of wolves.”

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Re: [RP] The Curse of Valeisea

Post by Annasiel » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:24 pm

The only thing that kept her going was the rhythm. Steady footfalls on the rural path, a pattern that now seemed to be the sole focus of her entire being.

Left, right. Left, right.

She stumbled on the occasional rock and ditch, faltering for a moment, but wouldn't allow her concentration to break. Push through the febrile burn that consumed her legs, push through the dry tingles of her air-parched tongue. She feared that a moment's hesitation, no matter how much she yearned for it, would leave her unable to start moving again, a soon-to-be corpse on the edge of some godforsaken country road.

So she walked on.

There had to be some sort of shelter nearby. The street, though unkempt, was an obvious sign of civilization. It would have been overgrown otherwise, reclaimed by the grass hooves and feet alike keep safely trampled. A town, a house... even a barn would be welcome, anyplace away from the autumn wind.

At last, she spotted it; a small cottage and some kind of shed. It was a good way from the road's edge, but definitely near enough to reach. She wanted to weep. Instead, she doubled her drive and pushed her numb feet onward, eyes locked on the homestead. Soft grass was a welcome change from the hard, cold road, and for the first time since her sandal broke, her steps held relief.

Initially, she walked towards the cottage, but changed her course for the shed. It was late, and whoever lived in there was doubtless asleep by now. Besides, she wasn't entirely sure she wanted to meet them. Her interactions with the common fold of Valeisea were always limited, even before her imprisonment, and the mind-numbing years that came after would have brought changes of their own. How long had it been? Decades? Centuries? This land might now be foreign, and she had to treat it as such until shown otherwise.

The shed was filthy and smelled like hay, but it broke the wind, so Therin didn't mind. In fact, the hay itself proved a comfort in disguise, cushioning her from the chilled floor. It was uncomfortable, but definitely bearable. She had little time to even consider how much her body hurt before fatigue pulled her into darkness.

...

"Hey!"

Her eyes shot open. Still half-asleep, she didn't recognize where she was, and was momentarily caught in a hold of panic.

"You can't just come in here."

The events of last night snapped back into memory. Therin sat up in the pile of hay, looking at the man who had woken her.

He was tall, seemingly young, and dressed in a simple shirt, boots, and leather trousers. A farmhand, maybe. Or - she noticed his pointed ears, and immediately reassessed his age - possibly the farmer.

"I ap-" Her words caught in her parched throat. Swallowing, she tried again. "I apologize, sir. I merely needed a place to spend the night."
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Re: [RP] The Curse of Valeisea

Post by F R O S T » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:07 am

There was time in Fenris's life where he would have taken a step back from this situation. Here, a woman, clearly weary from travel, possibly hungry, possibly hurt was taking refuge in a woodshed. She was meant to be protected, to be offered water and food and shelter from the cold. Clearly she was of a higher caliber, of wealthy blood- but the Fenris of the past would have discarded such notions as a triviality. Such had been his families way not to judge a person by their lineage.

He was not that Fenris. Not the scrawny, naive child of eighty years, not even when he was a hundred and sixty. He had grown since then and part of him had died with his family. He was cold. Colder than the compassionate child who only wanted to finish a days work and go to dance- to drink and joke. Whether or not this change was for the better, he was still sorting out.

"Well," he said expectantly and stepped back, wafting his hand out the door as though he were one of the castle's frivolous doorman. Yes, he'd heard the rumors. The royals had people to open doors for them, where his people were eating bread full of weevils and moldy cheese. He didn't realize he was so bitter. His nightmare from last night had gotten under his skin- it set him on edge and rekindled his hate for the kingdom and every noble a part of it.

This girl was the same as the rest, he speculated. Running away from her plush and lofty manor to get back at her no-good viscount husband. Perhaps a flash of morality. He didn't believe nobles were capable of such things.
But oh how wrong he was.
Worst of all, nobles had access to magic- especially pure high elf lines. They had a knack for the skill in just about every "-mancy" that ever "mancie'd".
The powerful have the magic, the rest are treated like dogs.

Fenris wouldn't trust this noble within an inch of his life, whoever this was. She may look tired and weak. She may have looked like she had crossed the Eir' Alleah mountains on all fours, but he did not judge a persons abilities based off how they appeared. She could be as dangerous as Micah, his old friend from Crimeria- he was now a giant, 6'7'', all muscle, little brain. He's a good guy, but he could crush a man's windpipe with just his fingers. This girl was no different in Fenris's eyes.

"Fenris?" A familiar voice made Fenris freeze up. His eyes didn't immediately leave the girl, but eventually they did and he was forced to drop his tough act. Lorei was leaning out the open door to the cottage, an old patched-quilt of a shawl wrapped around her bony shoulders. She was a head of snowy white hair woven in a long braid that reached to the floor. Her eyes held this strange mischievous sparkle despite her old age. The wrinkles of her face were deep but her face was that of one that was once impressive beauty. Every flower withered, they say, but somehow still she was beautiful.

"I can hear you yelling. Please tell me you aren't arguing with the raccoons again? One of these days someone else will see you and think your brains have been scrambled up." She cackled softly. With the proximity from the cabin's doorstep to the woodshed in the growing light, Lorei could see the young girl inside the shed, even before he spoke. Clearly, she was just teasing Fenris in a playful grandmotherly sort of way. She gathered up her skirts and slowly walked over to the open door of the shed, not bothering with shoes on the chilly earth.

"Ah, not a raccoon at all." She cracked a toothy grin. "You are much cuter than a raccoon." She mused and looked up to Fenris, "well- why didn't you invite her inside yet? It's cold out here." She mumbled as she looked from Fenris to the girl.

"Child, come inside." Obviously she knew the girl wasn't a child, but to Lorei, all those around her were children.

Fenris shuffled awkwardly. He still felt distrust for this woman, but Lorei would beat him with a pan if he persisted his caution. He gave the girl a wary look before grabbed the axe off the wall and stalked off to split wood.

The inside of Lorei's house was modest and small, but there were several chairs to sit around in, a nice table and a hearth set in stone. It was far more comfortable than a woodshed.

"Please, don't mind his sulking." Lorei seemed to watch Fenris stalk off for a moment. He was once a gangly child, lean and tall, there had been little to his body but skin covering bone. The worst part was how severe his face was. Absence of warmth with hollow dead eyes and sunken cheeks and scarred lips; Lorei was only just now witnessing it's return on that sharp face, he was more handsome when he smiled, but that was few an far in between.
“I'm a sheep wearing wolves' clothing in a pack of wolves.”

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Re: [RP] The Curse of Valeisea

Post by Annasiel » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:31 am

At first, she thought the man was set to show mercy. She would have done the same, in his place, had a bedraggled traveler seemed in need of it. But a long silence passed with no offers of food, drink, or shelter, and Therin's hopes fell once more. It was nearing winter. The land outside seemed bleaker than what she once knew, as well, and she began to wonder if some famine had befallen Valeisea. It would not be the first time the farmers had suffered. Memories, distant but crisp, rose of her father in a bout of fits over the "constant bleating." Something about a shortage of grain, the first in a long time, muttered under the guards' breaths as a telling omen of worse things to come.

"Well," the farmer said, with an unexpectedly dramatic gesture. She didn't recognize it immediately, until... oh.

And she thought he had been deserving of sympathy. She was going to give him the benefit of the doubt, to accept being turned away on account of whatever troubles plagued the countryside. No, he had to be morally haughty, had to disrespect a total stranger who came to him for help. Tired eyes flared with vexation, a cold hearth bathed in embers, and for a moment, a lecture reared behind her tongue. A new voice called from outside, and Therin bit her sour words back.

"Fenris?" the voice had said. Was that this man's name? More curious than the content was how he reacted to the call, first trying to maintain his glare, then almost seeming to melt into an accepting slump. From over his shoulders, Therin could just make out a woman with skirts in hand, making her way from the nearby porch to the shed. A mother, perhaps.

Or, she reassessed after a closer look, a grandmother.

The woman was beautiful. Not in the way one might call some sprightly young child, doomed to fade with the years, but how one might describe a work of art, a timeless essence of beauty that age could not touch. Pale of hair, with an age-worn face, Therin could not begin to guess her age. Seventies to eighties if she had been human, but her thin face and long ears betrayed a highborn heritage. What, praytell, was a highblooded noble (or, at the very least, the descendant of one) doing at a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere? Then again, she supposed the same thing could be asked about herself.

"Ah, not a raccoon at all. You are much cuter than a raccoon," the woman said to her with a brilliant smile. She couldn't help but smile herself, despite the situation. Well, possibly out of bewilderment from the situation, too. Her spirits rose even further as the woman chastised the farmer. He seemed incredibly uncomfortable, but did not argue back. "Child, come inside."

"I-" But the woman was already gliding back to the house, Therin hurried after.

Once the warmth of a blooming fireplace washed around her, she realized how cold the outside air had really been. Shivering, she lowered himself into a seat, stretching out her numb fingers towards the flame.

"Please, don't mind his sulking," the woman said, glancing at the man for a few moments. Therin shook her head.

"Fear of strangers is understandable, though I remember these lands being more hospitable," she replied placidly. "I have not seen them in many years, and much has seemed to change."

Now that she thought, the chill had rarely pressed this far back in her youth. This was the weather of midwinter, not of fall's turning, when little more than a thick overdress sufficed. It was fitting. Cold winds, cold hearts, and from all she had seen, only more cold to come.

"Thank you for your kindness... forgive me, I do not know what to call you. I am Therin."
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Re: [RP] The Curse of Valeisea

Post by F R O S T » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:10 am

The cottage could be best described as a place for many small things. Little trinkets, pieces of paper, bowls and cups- there seemed to be little discernable order to where Lorei placed her possessions. It wasn’t that it was pigsty, rather, it was as though the many small objects within her house had its own place. These things, ranging from bundles of dried herbs and flowers, to odd little mangled shapes made from dried clay had their own specific home within the home breathing life and personality into the modest space that would otherwise stand to be rather dark and boring.
Lorei offered the young woman the fire while she herself readied the tea was fixing before he heard Fenris’s voice from outside. Good thing too. Man was more stubborn than a mule- he was wary too, even when it wasn’t always necessary. She moved back to the fire after filling a cast iron kettle with water.
From the outside, a muted ka-chak! cut through the silence of the dawn. Fenris’s axe always echoed in these quiet mornings, the sound of the metal splitting the wood reverberated over the hills of the countryside. Lorei always teased him about waking up all the animals.
“Why do you always wake up so early to chop the wood?” She’d tease, “I’m sure the birds and squirrels would like to sleep in.”
She knew better though. Fenris couldn’t physically sleep until sunrise, he just wasn’t made that way. She still found herself trying to piece that puzzle together.

“Aye,” Lorei knelt down with the stiffness of one with more aches than she cared to remark, “changed indeed,” she spoke slowly allowing a bit of wistfulness to seep in her reply. She set the kettle onto a hook within the hearth.
“I'm called Lorei," she responded softly but not before giving pause after Therin introduced herself. The older woman smiled secretly to herself, but otherwise was quiet for soft steps soon resounded outside the door to the cabin approached slowly.

When Fenris came back he filled the door frame, both arms filled with freshly cut firewood. He stepped in through the threshold, sparing the girl a short glance, his dark eyes remaining suspicious. Still, looking to Lorei it was as though he couldn’t maintain the coldness and levity. He moved over to an empty place on the floor where flakes of tree bark seemed to mark where the firewood was typically kept. Like the rest of the objects in the house, this too had its own special place.
He knelt down carefully lining up the wood pieces to make it easy for Lorei to just toss them into the fire as they were needed.

"Therin, would you like some bread with your breakfast?" Lorei seemed to move to the table to gather a couple eggs and a pan in her hands. She moved past Fenris with a small touch to his shoulder.

Fenris seemed to be too busy scowling at a dripping from the roof after he was finished with the firewood. His foot nudged a bucket beneath it were water was puddling on the floor since the other night, deciding that this morning as part of his tasks would be in patching it up again.

"Fenris, leave that be and have breakfast first," the old woman admonished him and he broke off his gaze of leaking roof. She could see his hands just itching to busy himself. He was quite wary of the girl, she could sense- not that his disposition had changed much from the usual.
“I'm a sheep wearing wolves' clothing in a pack of wolves.”

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Re: [RP] The Curse of Valeisea

Post by Annasiel » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:57 am

It took a few seconds for Therin's eyes to fully adjust to the cottage interior. It was a cozy place, and not only for its small size and comfortable fire. There was an undefinable personality, one that lent itself very well to the word home. She had never seen it in her life, but despite that, it felt familiar. Comfortable. Sentimental. A far cry from the dark rooms where she'd spent most of her life.

Lorei, as she was called, had paused for a moment at the mention of "Therin." It may have been a lull to think, but Therin began to wish she had used some other name. The other one, Fenris, had obviously marked her as a noble, and Lorei had all but confirmed the country was in decline. She was beginning to see her father's ramblings, just echoes of childhood by now, in a darker light.

What had father done?

It might not have been him. It may have just been circumstance, or a force outside of anyone's control. No need to blame yet. No need to point any fingers.

Fenris returned with an armful of wood, his attitude towards her unchanged. Then again, if her father's hand had caused this decline, would she expect anything else? Nobility would not be trusted, least of all by the common folk. She had to know what was going on.

"Oh! Yes, thank you," Therin said to Lorei in reply. "I... what exactly has happened? It can't be anything more than fall, but the air's already crisp with winter. Everything seems so desolate, and nobody was travelling the roads... despite my years away, I don't remember things ever being like this."

It all came out in a bit of a ramble, her words fighting to escape her lips.
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