[One][Xylohem] The Forsaken

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Re: [One][Xylohem] The Forsaken

Post by TheDarkOne » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:01 am

"Ahh, so pretty standard then" Asgear said, not really showing much surprise. He had heard the claims of hundreds of people, ranging from everything to having relations with all the ladies in the Emperor's court to having killed the Emperor himself. While he waited for the meat to cook, he grabbed his spear nearby as well as a small rock he often used to sharpen his tools. Using it's flat edge, he ran it along the tip of the spear to keep it sharp, the last thing anyone would want when in danger is for a blunt weapon. As he watched her draw in the ground, he tested the bindings around the spear and found them still holding strong, although it wouldn't be long before they rotted and had to be replaced. Flipping over the meat, he listened to her questions about the Haunted Lands and rose to his feet, making his way over to the drawing. It was admittedly a very rough outline, but he could work with it.

"There is iron and more available in these lands, but not here. We're in the part known as the Oasis. Various groups have banded into tribes but the most prominent are the Yokuti and the Darmaru" He said, using the butt of his spear to draw. He drew the rough shape of the great lake, and the river that fed it that came from the north. He also drew a small triangle to the east of the lake "This here is Darmarintine, a walled settlement of the Darmaru but they permit no outsiders, only their own. The Yokuti are spread across the Oasis, they are man-eaters. They worship their cannibal God Yog-Satri. I wouldn't recommend trying to make friends of them"

"If you seek metals and more, you will need to cross the Mountains of Madness" Asgear continued, drawing a zig-zag line across the map just north of the Oasis. A large portion of the map was left surprisingly to the west, which he then marked with a giant X "It is home to the undead, monsters and much more. The river that feeds the Oasis flows down from here by way of a great waterfall. Not impossible to cross the Mountains, but those who are ill prepared and attempt to cross alone will perish, and join the undeads ranks"

"I have heard rumours from traders from the north, that Forsaken who have made the journey have established cities, where trade, food and water is plentiful. Where people who were once blacksmiths, miners and carpenters can now ply their trade once again" he explained, turning to look at Lily "I can't say for certain though, my group did not survive the crossing"

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Re: [One][Xylohem] The Forsaken

Post by Xylohem » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:29 am

Examining the crude map, Lily drew a line from where they were to the Mountains of Madness. As she drew the line with her finger, she spoke. "Then, if you want out as bad as I do, we have to head past the mountains..." Carefully she lifted her finger from the drawn path and moved it back to draw a path to Darmarintine that curved back toward the Mountains. "Our best option would be to check the city and hope they let us in so we can gather supplies. I am not sure what we could trade for a temporary entrance and buying supplies." Looking at the jagged lines of the Mountains of Madness, Lily attempted to determine what creatures they might encounter.

Entering the Darmaru's main city would be difficult though she needed to make her weapon. "I am sorry your previous group did not survive, but I am going to try getting past those mountains." The cannibals would be an issue though Lily had determined they would be an issue no matter what the pair did. Even leaving the little house for a minute would be dangerous. With no windows and the door closed due to the sandstorm, Lily could not judge how far the mountains might be though she examined the crude layout closely.

"How many days travel would it for us to go to Darmarintine?" Once more her gaze followed the winding path that led toward the triangle and then moved north to the mountain squiggles.
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Re: [One][Xylohem] The Forsaken

Post by TheDarkOne » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:04 am

"No, you misunderstand. It is not so much as a city as a stronghold in their fight against the Yokuni, there is little we will be able to offer them and they us" Asgear explained, waving his hand over the city to indicate that they shouldn't go there "Besides, you do not know how to survive in these lands. It will take time to prepare you, and time to prepare supplies for your journey"

Standing up from his kneeling position, Asgear dusted off the sand and the mud and made his way over to the fire. The smell of the cooked meat filled the air, and he was satisfied it was done. Taking the two skewers off the spit, It let them rest on the table while he filled two bowls with water from his waterskin, moving over to Lily and handing her one.

"For now, we eat"

Giving her one of the skewers of venison, Asgear settled into his own chair to enjoy his meal, tearing into the meat with his teeth while still warm, before taking chunks off by hand when it cooled. When he was done, he drained his bowl of water in one, letting off a refreshed sigh. The howling winds had began to die down, and light returned to the hut revealing it was nearing dusk. When the chattering of the door died down, Asgear stood and wiped his hands on his trousers, before pushing the boulder aside and opening the door. In the distance, a great wall of burning hot sand moved to the east, starting to disappear into the horizon. Moving out to his usual rocky outlook, He surveyed his surroundings. All was well, animals began to emerge from their hiding holes, and drank from the waterside. Returning to the house, Asgear took off his sand mask and thick clothing, leaving himself in some thread bare fiber clothing as he prepared to retire for the night.

"You are welcome to one of the bed rolls, there is enough blankets if you get cold"

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Re: [One][Xylohem] The Forsaken

Post by Xylohem » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:07 pm

Knowing that Darmarintine was a stronghold instantly threw a wrench into her plans. With a frustrated sigh, Lily thought more about the path that she would take. As she continued to think about the tools the Yokuni had, she determined a direct confrontation with them would be a bad idea. "They'd be useful as meat shields but other than that..." Hearing Asgear speaking specifically, calling the trip 'her journey' she then assumed she would be alone once she left his company. A feeling of sadness washed over her as he handed her a skewer of warm meat and a bowl of water. Quietly Lily found a seat and placed herself down. As she began to eat Lily noticed the warmth in her body grow slightly. The tips of her fingernails became sharper and stronger, as did her teeth. Though these changes were small, she did hide them as best as she could, acting like she was trying to be respectful while she ate.

The venison was quite good and as she ate, she couldn't help but smile tenderly. When he finished, Lily was nearly done, though she did not stop him from exiting his own home while she finished. Drinking down the last sips of water, Lily felt the warmth in her chest become stronger. She must've been asleep for some time. Carefully she stood and placed her empty bowl and skewer on a clean place of the table. As he reentered the house he mentioned resting.

While Lily was more awake than ever, she nodded her head and lowered herself onto one of the bedrolls. "Thank you again. Though, I hope you will indulge my last questions..." Carefully she brought her legs up and hugged them close to her chest and rested her chin on her knees. "Why did you try to travel past the mountains in the first place? And what stopped you from making it through?" Leaving a few moments of silence between her questions, Lily tried to find one last bit of information she wanted to receive from him. "Will you help me make it through the mountains?"
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Re: [One][Xylohem] The Forsaken

Post by TheDarkOne » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:26 pm

Asgear was seated on the edge of his bed, removing his cloth boots when she began to pry into the past. He sat with his back to her, looking down, and when he failed to answer the question in good time, she asked him to join her. Had it been any of the previous groups, he would have jumped at the chance in a heartbeat. Had her fellows survived, he would have jumped at the chance in a heartbeat. But now...

His mind was cast back to the day him and his fellow revolutionaries had tried to cross the Mountains. They had tried to climb over, but the rock was worn by the sandstorms, and some fell to their death. They had tried to go under the Mountains, only to be beset on all sides by ghouls and skeletons, grasping for them with boney hands. But it was the dragon that sealed their fates. It was huge, it's skeletal wings spreading from wall to wall, and from iits mouth spewed a terrible poison. Some fell choking on their own blood and bile, others were devoured by the creature, or dragged into the darkness by the undead. He had escape only after his friend had rushed the abomination, giving him time to flee through the tunnels and back into the air. All their work and searching, gone in an afternoon. Asgear recalled spewing bile into the Oasis, using the cooling water to soothe his poisoned throat.

"I will not go with you" he said softly, turning his head slightly to the right "You have a chance to make allies here in the Oasis, something I was unable to do. Two people cannot hope to cross the mountains. Me and five companions set out into the tunnels. The undead we could handle. That accursed dragon we could not. Perhaps if we had iron weapons, armour, we could have forced our way through..."

As he was about to turn his head back, he spotted the drawing in the dirt, and the X he had drawn in the sand. The Forgotten City. He had travelled their with his friends, but they turned back when they felt their minds corrupted. Perhaps the two of them could force their way through and to the north, there was no way a city of that size could have only had one entrance...impossible for one to cross with the corruption poisoning them. But with an ally...

"Perhaps I might join...I suppose it all depends..." He muttered softly, loud enough for her to hear him, but more for his own benefit "I must sleep. I will see you in the morning"

Removing his fiber shirt, he folded it neatly and left it by his bedside, before lying down and pulling the blanket around him. He may on his back for a while, staring into the ceiling, deep in contemplation. Could the two of them really overcome the city and whatever lay within? His group had only left it assuming the mountains would be safer. His mind was a whirl, and it needed to rest. Leaning over, he blew out the candle, and closed his eyes.

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Re: [One][Xylohem] The Forsaken

Post by Xylohem » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:33 pm

The darkness consumed her vision for a moment, and the warmth grew like a bright beacon of light in her chest. Slowly, everything came into the view in different shades of white, grey, and black. She had never seen something like this. It was as if the entire world in the darkness was granulated but just as clear as daylight. Quietly she muttered her response. "No matter what you choose, thank you..." Slowly she laid back on the bedroll and pulled a blanket over her fully clothed body.

As she laid in silence, Lily's mind continued to construct different ways to create her weapon. The feeling of being without it was almost like that of withdrawals from a drug. Maybe it had been the power that came with it? Just the inevitability of how it would end a life so effortlessly. "It was perfect... But there must be better..." Was there? It took a few hours before the deafening silence finally took over and Lily began to drift into sleep. Dreamless, or so she hoped.

Carefully she poured a mixture of the dark powdery substance into the barrel. Quickly she turned her head as a violent coughing fit caused her to stop her progress. The pain in her chest only worsened as she returned her attention to the black powder. After filling a minor portion of the barrel, she pulled out a small projectile and carefully inserted it into the barrel until she felt resistance. With a wicked smile, the woman brought back the flint arm until it was locked in place. Using incredible precision, she put a small amount of powder onto a small flash pan that was attached to the barrel. "This, now this will work."

Though, her test was not yet complete. Walking over to one of the three filled cages, the mutated beast sat docile. "I am truly sorry to do this to you. But your sacrifice has not been in vain." Tenderly the woman squeezed back the trigger and in a singular moment the flint connected with the steel sending sparks into the flash pan. However, the sudden ignition caught her off guard and a few sparks managed to fly astray. While the weapon did go off, the resounding explosion did not send the projectile flying forward. Instead, the weapon had jammed and a torrent of flames burst from the back of the barrel in all directions. Dropping the weapon with the sudden bright flash and the now searing pain crawling to be recognized by her mind. She let out a string of colorful curses and dashed to a basin of clean water to clean her wound. "The Gods hate me, damn it... They must!" Once again she began to cough violently as a cold feeling began to dig its way into her chest. She had only a few more months until winter... What would happen if she wasn't able to finish her project? No, she dared not think of that. She couldn't.

Rising before the sun was a bad habit that Lily had long before she became Forsaken. Yet she dared not move as she laid on her side. If she did anything to disturb Asgear's rest, Lily would feel much worse than how she did when she thought about how she had inconvenienced him. Her group that he had saved from the sandstorm had died but she alone survived. It was not luck. How could it be? The life of one over the life of two was not fair, but for some reason, Lily felt even worse as she remembered her morning ritual. Every time she awoke she had to tell herself to, "Be more human..." And this morning was no exception.
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Re: [One][Xylohem] The Forsaken

Post by TheDarkOne » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:27 pm

It was a few hours later before Asgear rose from his sleep, rising maybe an hour oror so after the sunrise. Awaking with a groan, he pushed himself up and threw his legs over the edge of the bed, rubbing the fatigue of the night from his eyes. Looking over at Lily, he was unsure if she was awake due to her having her back to him. Grabbing his shirt, he put it on before he started to put on his boots, standing up and stretching his arms back and forth to loosen his muscles. Heading over to the table, he grabbed his water skin and filled a bowl with water. Taking a drink from it, he left some to wash his face and hands before gathering the rest of his sand clothing, fixing his sandmask around his neck and head. Grabbing his spear from nearby, he left Lily to rest as he left the hut, making sure to close the door behind him. Passing the recent graves of the others, Asgear made his way around the rear of the house to the rocky outcrop. Climbing up onto it, he sat at the edge and looked out.

The oasis was bustling with life as always, giant turtles swimming through the water with ease with all manner of animals from deers to crocodiles staying by the waterside. He could swear he could make out the shape of some Forsaken moving along the ridge around the northern side of the water, perhaps some Yokuni who were looking to gather for their tribes. In the distance he gazed on the mountains, their peaks high above the trees that lined the ridge like a set of jagged teeth. Gazing to the west, he could barely see the tall black stone structures of the Forgotten City, surrounded by lush jungle that hides it from view if down on the ground. This was the routine he often did when by himself, looking over the place that had been his home for...how many years now? Asgear had tried to count the days and nights, but with sandstorms sometimes lasting several days and obscuring the change of the days. Resting his spear against his shoulder, he thought about what they might be able to do about the City. He had never heard of a group surviving long enough to reach the other side, many retreated when the corruption took over their mind and heart, but he heard rumours of giant bipedal bats whose screams able to knock over a man, as well potentially anyone who might still reside in the black spires. But their chances together was better there than at the mountains.

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Re: [One][Xylohem] The Forsaken

Post by Xylohem » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:32 pm

Listening to Asgear shuffle around the hut, Lily remained still and silent. Her eyes were nearly shut as she continued to think to herself. "Be more human... Be more human..." After hearing his footsteps exiting the hut, Lily decided to rise. Looking around the hut during the day, the grainy blacks and whites were now smoother and held color and texture. Apparently, the gifts of her serum were different than she had expected. The thought of being able to change fully into a beast made her question her own mental stability.

Shaking her head clear of the random thoughts, she stood and poured some water into a bowl. After taking a sip, Lily looked at herself in the reflected surface. The bags under her eyes were returning. Not an attractive feature but who would care? She was Forsaken, and with a cannibal tribe walking around they wouldn't care about if she looked pretty or not. With the remaining water, Lily cleaned her hands and washed her face. A sigh passed her lips as her gaze fell upon the door. The last time she looked out into the Haunted Lands she could barely see an inch in front of her. Even then, if she did, her eyes would've been cut by millions of shards of sand.

Carefully and quietly, Lily exited the hut. The sight and warmth of the sun hit her instantly and it took a moment for her to become acquainted with the feeling. While she had always seen the sun, it was rare to see her out of her home in the past. Even when the Imperium took her, they did so at night. Moonlight, however, now that was one of her dearest friends. Allowing her eyes and body to adjust to the warmth Lily spotted the two fresh graves. "They were weak." The sudden thought sent a shiver down her spine. No, Lily would not think so little of lost life. Tenderly she knelt by the graves and lowered her head. "I hope you found peace..." Because she certainly had not. No, Lily's life was a living and thriving Hell, no matter where she was or what happened. Though, an idea sparked in the back of her mind. "I will find my peace in this world, or die trying."
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Re: [One][Xylohem] The Forsaken

Post by TheDarkOne » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:22 pm

Hearing a sound behind him, Asgear turned to see Lily kneeling beside the graves he had dug, looking down at the disturb mound of sand. He wondered if she knew them, like he knew his cross-brothers, but then again she hadn't seen them before they were buried. Picking up his spear and himself, he leapt down from the rock, bending his knees so that the soft sand could soak up the impact rather than his bones, he made his way over to her, lifting up his headwrap to cover his mouth. Walking up to her, he tapped her shoulder and beckoned her to follow

"Come"

Making his way down toward the oasis, Asgear jumped down three small ledges until they reached into the valley. Breaking into a short dog, he led her down the side of the water, disturbing some of the local animals as he went. He kept his pace slow and steady, stopping every now and again to check on tracks or to take a knee to observe in front of him. When he was sure all was safe, he would start start again. The two of them made their way west, until they came to a small sandbar that rose just high enough in the water to not have to swim. Asgear walked across towards the other side, lifting his knees high to get out of the water before the crocodiles had any idea. When they reached the other side, they were in a lush area with tall palm trees as well as many bushes and reeds. Some coconuts sat at the top of the trees, ripening in the hot sun, but that wasn't what they were here for. Making his way over to one of the plant fronds, he used the tip of his spear to sever it from the rest of the plant, taking a knee and calling her over. Removing his hand wrap, he pulled downdown his mask so that he could be understood better

"This is the sort of plant you want to look for, wide and fully grown" Asgear said breathlessly, taking the plant between his teeth and creating a small tear. Using his nails, he gently pryed the from a apart to reveal the fibers that held it. He stripped these away one by one until he had a small handful that he rolled together and stored in a pouch on his back "These are essential down here. These tie the stone part of the weapon to the wood, binding them tight. It's always great for repairs and with enough patience, you make clothes like these"

Taking a hold of his headwrap, he pulled it put to show how important this was. If you wanted any chance of surviving outside during a sandstorm, a headwrap was essential, the sand being enough to choke a man if he didn't succumb to it scouring his bones. Grabbing a few more fronds, He carried them over to the waterside before sitting down. Asgear leant over the water, cupping it in one hand and drinking from it, droplets of water entering his beard or dripping only his clothes, before he began the work of getting the fiber.

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Re: [One][Xylohem] The Forsaken

Post by Xylohem » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:12 pm

Asgear's command did make her question the position she was in for a moment. Quickly she fought against this thought and followed him silently. Now was her time to observe, not to talk. So Lily filled her role thoughtfully as she copied Asgear's movements through the terrain. While the hot sun beat down on her pale skin, the beacon in her chest seemed to expand again. It took only a few moments and in that time Lily's body had adapted to the sun's gaze. She had not fully intended on this alteration, though she was thankful when the burning feeling on her back fell away. Still, she followed Asgear further. He was right before, she would have to learn how to survive first. "May whichever God he believes in bless him for this." Lily thought as he took a knee near a couple of plant fronds. Making as many mental notes as she could record. Lily, nodded when he showed her how to harvest the fibers from the plant.

As he stepped over to the water's edge, Lily looked at the remaining fronds. She could do it if she could get those damned claws back from the night before. With a sigh, she took one in her grasp and attempted to repeat what Asgear had done. Luckily she did not make a mistake as she worked on her first plant. While she continued to do as was shown to her, Lily allowed Asgear his silence. She was a guest and a student. If he had the need to speak with her, he would. "Unless he expects to be asked questions. Maybe that is the safer bet." No. Lily would not become a nuisance. If she wanted to travel north and build her weapon again, she needed him to like her. Be willing to help her.

While Lily thought of how she could find a way to make her life a little better she had mindlessly been collecting fibers. Her inhuman speed shined through as in the minute or two of her creating her plan, Lily had removed the fibers from nearly all of the fronds that had been cut. Once more her fingernails were sharp and stronger than a normal talon. Though, with her mind discussing the best option, she did not notice what she was doing or that Asgear might notice the strange side effect.
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