Keepers of the Mountain

Post forms specifically made for either 1x1's or private group role plays. Can include anything from animals, humans to fantasy based role plays. These can be based off of movies, books, or games.

Re: Keepers of the Mountain

Postby SkieNight » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:44 am

James hadn’t been sure what he was expecting when Gweli popped back out of the skull, but a box was certainly not something he would have thought the skull would be hiding. He watched Ayal deal with the box, turning it over but never opening it. It appeared too challenging at the moment. Perhaps warmer hands and proper lighting would do the tick, but James could not say. Maybe it was just another mystery from the monastery, a trick no one had ever solved, a trick that maybe could never be solved.

The younger keeper was pulled from his thoughts by Ayal. The keeper tried to sound happy, and James had to admire his effort. Now was not a time for smiles and laughter, even with great discoveries. One book and one box did little to fill the ever-growing hole inside of James’s chest, and he was willing to guess that Ayal was feeling much the same. On top of that, the cold was brutal and nipping. Ciess shook out her main then pressed herself against James as if to block him from the wind.

Still half in the skull, Gweli gave a small chirp. With one last look, the otterling dove back down through the eye and into the darkness of the skull. While Gweli was taking her time looking for whatever else was left, James took the box from the other keeper. He was surprised at its weight and heft, which only made him wonder how Gweli had managed to lift it up in the first place. He turned it over slowly, studying the sides and the writing. A puzzle box for sure, but also… was there something inside? It was impossible to tell, and impossible to open. “I think a clear mind and some good light will be needed to crack this mystery,” James said after a pause.

He let his pack slip from his shoulder to store the box away for a later time, then turned to the skull just as Gweli returned from its depths. The otterling held one last little booklet that looked more like a notepad or a small leather journal than an actual book. James took it from her, and the otterling clambered out of the skull. She bounded back onto Ciess, and James would have missed the last object if it wasn’t for the silver light of the twin moons. Tucked between Gweli’s split tails was a shimmering coin. James couldn’t see what was on its face without drawing near. He held out his hand, but the otterling only bounded up his arm to perch on his shoulder. She never handed over the coin. He took that as a sign that he would not be looking at it anytime soon and turned to the book in hand.

It was old, its cover worn. Something had once been written on it, but the letters were so faded that they looked like the shadows of spirits or ghosts. He flipped to the first page and stopped. It was written in a script James had never seen before. The young man had studied different languages even before becoming a Keeper. He’d done lots of traveling with his father and picked up many a dialect and many a scroll of a different language but this was something else. “I have never seen these symbols before,” James said to the man beside him. “Could it be a lost language?”

He passed off the book just as another wind swept in and nipped at his nose and cheeks. The young man found himself looking over the snow covered ruins and sighed. As interesting as the skull was there was more work to be done, they could not ignore it, as much as James almost wanted to. The question became, to finish all of this tonight or to wait until morning. It would be warmer during the day, more pleasant, but that would almost make the horrors bellow the rubble easier to more real. After everything that he’d seen, James couldn’t imagine the sun rising over such an empty mountainside.

Watching a gust of wind pick up some snow and spin it around, James asked, “What is our next course of action?”
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Hiding under sheets with the news on repeat
'Cause the screams and cries are hard to delete
While I'm trying to sleep, oh how could I sleep?
Laying in bed, trying to empty my head
All these acts of violence ripping this world to shreds
While I'm trying to sleep, oh how could I sleep?

Wish there were words to say to make a change
Oh, the words to sing to end this suffering

Let's start a revolution where we all stand as one
Cause we need to make a change for a new day
We need to be the generation that’ll awaken a solution
Cause we need to make a change
Make a change, make a change for a new day

~MisterWives

______________________________________________________________________________________________

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Re: Keepers of the Mountain

Postby Silverhart » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:55 am

    Ayal perked up when the little otterling gave a chirp and dove back into the skull, but he wasn't about to get his hopes up. He nodded at James' assessment. “I could do with a hot cup of tea to open the mind and ease the heart before we start on any mysteries.” Though why a mystery exists at all is a question I'd like answered. The monks weren't suppose to keep secrets from each other, not important ones at least. Secrets bred rumor and lies and ignorance – everything the monks stood to fight against. He breathed into his palms to warm them, but the action only existed as a means of keeping his hands busy, since it did nothing to warm them or his running nose. It seemed to be getting colder by the moment. Zlabia came around his side and sat, wrapping her flowing tail around his feet, her bulk blocking the fierce buffet of the wind from him. He flapped a dismissive hand at her. “I'm a grown man Zlabia, not a cub to be coddled.” The Keeper spoke absentmindedly, as if he often said this to her, and she just as often ignored it. The liger plopped her head on his shoulder and stared into the skull's empty sockets.

    Gweli surfaced with something more in her mouth. Ayal smoothed Zlabia's whiskers, as he watched the boy retrieve it and open it. Ayal reached for it, curiosity once again aroused. His numb fingers thumbed the pages so clumsily he feared they might tear. “Hmm... Possibly...” he muttered. “I've seen this language before, or something very similar. I cannot tell you what it says though.” Ayal turned the notebook over in his hands. “The language is old. Very old. But this writing isn't as old as that...” he mused, studying the ink. “Hm...” He closed his eyes. “Zlabia, where have we seen it before?” He snatched at the memory of the mysterious symbols – refusing to let this one escape him. And then a hunch – a dreadful sickening hunch made his eyes widen and his stomach churn. Quickly he tried to hide his reaction from the young man. “I think...” He tucked the paper booklet beneath his cloak, close to the burned book. “I shall need to consult my journals before I say for certain. We wouldn't want to go starting unverified rumors.” Zlabia chuffed as if to ask who exactly James would go tattling to, but a sharp tug on her whiskers, and a stern look silenced the liger. Her eyes seemed to glow as the two shared a meaningful look. She rumbled deep in her throat in reluctant acknowledgment of his assessment.

    His thoughts still preoccupied with their finds, Ayal swept his eyes over the ruined landscape, speaking calmly and with conviction. “We keep searching of course. These books are precious, and they will not withstand this weather for very long. We will -” A sharp jab from Zlabia made Ayal turn his head. He looked down on the young man, shivering in the snow with his liger and otterling. A haunted look hung behind his eyes, as if he wasn't seeing what was in front of his eyes. A stab of guilt flared in Ayal's heart, and he looked at Zlabia. Lifting a hand he traced the gentle spots along her jaw. In his hurry to preserve the words of the dead, he had nearly forgotten the more urgent needs of the living. Shame heated his cheeks. How long had he been away from the monastery to have forgotten something so fundamental? A Keeper's duty was as much to his brothers and sisters as it was to long dead knowledge. What need was there for knowledge with no one left to teach it too?

    “You're right Zlabia,” he whispered in her ear, too soft for any but her to hear. A rumbling growl echoed in her throat, something that might have been a purr in a smaller feline. Resting a hand on her head he continued. “We will return first thing in the morning. Tonight, we shall gather our strength. Let us get down and out of the wind, shall we?” Ayal help out a hand to James. It was cold, numb with frost, and streaked with ash, but right now Ayal couldn't think of anything else to offer the lad but that hand.
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Hellooo!
My name is Silverhart and I am here to collect pets, draw fanart, and geek out over Eld related things. And all while simultaneously searching for the truth behind the very many excellent questions. I am a stamp enthusiast, a loyal minion to my Lord Sullivan, partaker of muffins, and a shipper of apologies.
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Re: Keepers of the Mountain

Postby SkieNight » Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:25 pm

After handing the small book or journal – James found that he couldn’t decide what to think of it – off to Ayal, and after he looked over the ruinous landscape, which in the shadow of the night resembled a mountainside burned and destroyed by a great drake, James turned back to Ayal. He turned just in time to see a flash of dark recognition cross the older man’s face. In a blink, the look was gone and Ayal was tucking the book away into his cloak.

James frowned but would not let his thoughts carry him away. Ayal was a fellow Keeper and monk of the monastery, no secrets would be kept between them. It simply wasn’t done. Secrets created rumors and rumors created distrust between men; James had seen enough of that in his own family to know. Yes, Ayal was withholding something, but James would not fault him for that. Now was neither the time nor the place to talk about such things and certain topics were bound to be skirted as the wind picked up of the snow-capped ruins.

Just in front of him, however, Ciess was not withholding such thoughts. James could feel the ligeress’s anger and confusion burning next to his own quiet conscience. As Ayal spoke, James rested a hand on his bondmate's head and ran his fingers through her scruff. The younger man nodded. “I’ll leave the book to you to study,” James replied, and Ciess gave a snort, sending a puff of white, hot air into the night. Ayal continued and James found himself turning to look over the ruins again. The older Keeper was right, there were so many books, and who knew how long they’d been exposed to the elements. Some were bound to have already been destroyed, but others were probably still in decent condition. If they acted now…

Ciess butted his knee with her head not all that softly, and James looked up and back to his fellow Keeper. “Yes, of course. You're right. We do need our strength, and we are bound to find more in the morning when we have more than just the light of our twin moons.” The young man shifted the pack on his back to readjust one of the straps and then turned back to the path he and Ciess had failed to use coming up. Walking up the mountain freely in the dark was an adventure. Walking down the mountain and off the beaten path in the dark of night was poorly thought, especially in a small group such as they were in now. So with that in mind, James picked his way around the rubble, Ciess always just to his right. If he stopped and lingered too long at a site or his mind started to wander about the wreckage, the ligeress would guide him towards the path they needed to take.

The wind had really begun to pick up. It tossed snow into the air as it did so. Whips of graying snow danced around their feet, like little humming bumbles as they moved. Once upon a time, Ciess might have chased or pranced around such flurries, now the liger walked stoically, her tail sweeping behind her. She pressed herself against James’s side as another gust blew through. The temperature was dropping as well, or at least if felt as though it was. Leaving the rest of the search for the morning was a good idea; they couldn’t move any rubble if their fingers and toes fell off.

The path down the mountain lay in front of them. To most, it looked like yet another mountainside covered in snow, but just under it lay a familiar cobblestone path, one James had used many times in the past. He stopped just before the mountain began to slope downwards, looked to Ayal and Zlabia, and asked, “How far down should we go? Do you want to find a cave where we can spend the night or would you prefer us to head to the base of the mountain?” Even if they were to go all the way to the base of the mountain they would still need to find shelter, there weren’t any town that close to Mount Bastion. The monks wanted solitude after all, so they build the monastery as far from established civilization as possible as to not be influenced by its corruption or politics. True shelter made up of four walls and a roof was hard to find less than a day’s journey away from the mountain. On occasion, the Mystic people would come and hideaway at the base of the mountain, but they were hard to come by and it was unlikely they were there now so late in the fall.

Ciess gave his leg another bump forcing him to take a step if only to catch his balance. The Keeper sighed but did not have the energy to glare or even playfully swat at the liger’s ears. He didn’t have to look at her either. He could feel her desire to move to walk away and to rest echoing in his mind. James looked back to Ayal and his liger. “Let us walk to rid ourselves of the cold and we will decide on the way.” With that, Ciess started down the path and James followed, not allowing himself a chance to look back at the ruins.
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Hiding under sheets with the news on repeat
'Cause the screams and cries are hard to delete
While I'm trying to sleep, oh how could I sleep?
Laying in bed, trying to empty my head
All these acts of violence ripping this world to shreds
While I'm trying to sleep, oh how could I sleep?

Wish there were words to say to make a change
Oh, the words to sing to end this suffering

Let's start a revolution where we all stand as one
Cause we need to make a change for a new day
We need to be the generation that’ll awaken a solution
Cause we need to make a change
Make a change, make a change for a new day

~MisterWives

______________________________________________________________________________________________

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SkieNight
 
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Re: Keepers of the Mountain

Postby Silverhart » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:49 am

    Ayal had never known the wind to sound so lonely as it did that night. It whistled low and desperate, like an abandoned pup begging for it's pack. The presence of the two lone Keepers, their ligers and an otterling was not enough to placate it, and it cried. Ayal almost didn't want to leave. He felt as if he were abandoning his brothers and sisters, then promptly scolded himself for such sentiment. His grandfather would have scoffed at such foolery, and given him a swift cuff besides. Grandfather... Now that was a memory he hadn't recalled in many a year. Why it should alight in his mind now... Ayal shook himself. It was not time to dwell on the past, especially such ancient times as his youth.

    “Lead on.” James was already on the move when he said it. Reclaiming his staff, the older Keeper stalked after him, Zlabia padding beside him. He slowed his steps, letting himself fall behind and out of earshot - if James asked he could blame that old leg of his. Ayal bowed his head as if in prayer. “We'll come back,” he whispered to the mountain. A sliver of wind clawed at his back, begging him not to go. Zlabia's growl broke the spell. He looked up to see her several yards ahead, her yellow eyes looking back at him. “Yes, yes, I'm coming!” Zlabia snorted, and twitched an impatient ear as her Keeper stumbled through the snow towards her.

    He reached James and his liger Ciess quickly after that, and looked down at the snow covered trail. Great Ancients, but he remembered walking up that path all alone those many years ago, and seeing the monastery emerging from the mists, the crown gem of Mount Bastion's natural majesty, as if the Ancient of Knowledge themself had drawn back the dusty curtains of uncertainty and ignorance that covered the world. Ayal liked to think he had played a small part in tearing aside some of those curtains, but now it seemed as if he'd done hardly anything at all. He was jstirred from his thoughts by James' voice inquiring where they should go, and blinked at him as if he were waking. “Hmm? Yes? A cave you said?” Zlabia nipped at him. Ayal had the grace to look down, abashed. He hadn't been paying attention, and as the elder Keeper he should know better to become distracted and leave their safety in the hands of a junior. When James suggested they continue walking he merely nodded and followed.

    Walking down this path in the dark and a snow storm, even as light a one as this was treacherous, but at least it got them out of the wind. Every instinct of Ayal's was screaming at him that this was a bad idea, but he had to ignore them, as what other path was there to be had? None that he could see. They could sit and freeze to death, move further up the mountain into deeper cold, or seek shelter further down the path. This course of action was the only viable one. It was then that Zlabia growled, deep in her throat, and looking up, Ayal saw James and his liger disappear behind a rise of snow. “Slow down, brother!” Ayal called. He planted his staff firmly in the ground for support as he lowered himself down, but if he was being careful he couldn't hurry himself. “Zlabia, I'm in no fit state to lead anyone this night,” he confessed softly. “You take the lead. I daresay you know this mountain a far sight better then any of us.” Zlabia rumbled low in her throat in acknowledgment, glowing under the praise. She swished her tail as if to imply she'd always been in the lead, and had just let Ayal think otherwise. Then she sprinted after James and Ciess. “Keep an eye out for any shelter!” Ayal called out to the three of them – well, four really, counting the otterling, but he couldn't see the creature from where he was. With three giant bounds Zlabia soared downward, planting herself next to James and his liger, showering them in fresh powder. She growled at them. Without waiting for their acknowledgement, the spotted liger took command, butting her head against Ciess' shoulder, pushing the other liger over towards the tree cover.
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Hellooo!
My name is Silverhart and I am here to collect pets, draw fanart, and geek out over Eld related things. And all while simultaneously searching for the truth behind the very many excellent questions. I am a stamp enthusiast, a loyal minion to my Lord Sullivan, partaker of muffins, and a shipper of apologies.
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Re: Keepers of the Mountain

Postby SkieNight » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:03 pm

Naively, James had figured that walking would rid himself and his fellow Keeper of the cold. He should have known better. While going down the mountain and turning behind the rocks had relieved them of some wind, every step sent another chilling tremor through the younger man’s body, and the cold seemed to nestle itself deeper into his bones with every breath. Ciess was faring better than he was, but not by much. The ligeress lacked a true winter coat as it was only mid-fall, and though she hid it well, there was a stiffness in her muscles. Had they climbed the mountain, walked around for an hour, then found shelter it wouldn’t have been a problem, but they had been traveling nonstop for upwards of two weeks. After traversing a mountain only to find ruins, James and Ciess were no only physically tired, but mentally exhausted as well. It was the latter that was really wearing them down.

As they moved through the snow, James did his best to keep his mind present and not allow himself to waver or wonder. There would be a time for sitting and thinking and now was not it. Somewhere behind them, Ayal and Zlabia were walking. Realizing that he hadn’t heard much from the two since they started their decent, James looked back just as the older Keeper called for him to slow. He halted then gave a sharp whistle for Ciess to do the same. The liger flicked her tail but said nothing else.

A moment later, Zlabia bounded up beside them and Ayal called out another order. Yes, shelter was important and was something James should have been looking for. He would have been too if his mind had not been so muddied with thoughts. Clearing his mind with a subtle shake of his head and a blink James turned his attention to the older of the ligers. Zlabia was currently pushed Ciess to the side, turning her towards the forest. For a moment James was sure Ciess would stand her ground as a wave of stubbornness washed through his consciousness. James met her half way through their bond and bid her silently to calm and listen. Now, more than ever, was not the time for pride. The ligress flicked her tail but allowed herself to be guided towards the trees. James followed a few steps behind only when he was sure Ayal was following.

It was cool under the shade of the trees, but whatever was left of the wind was gone, and there was an added sense of tranquility, as though the forest was acting as a drape, hiding them from the truth. They continued down the side of the mountain, Zlabia leading the way, while Ciess and James took their time looking for anything that resembled a cave. James found himself praying silently to the Ancients that any form of shelter would present itself. He also made sure to make a quick plea to Dolos. Now was not the time for any tricks or games.

A low growl that sounded almost like a cough drew James’ attention back from the mountain to his bondmate. Ciess had moved a few steps off of Zlabia’s path and was looking towards a wall of rock, a jagged piece of cliff that had been worn and battered by the weather for years. At its base, half hidden in the shadow of trees, was a darker spot. James’ blinked and narrowed his eyes. He could just make out hidden depth. It was a cave or at least a carving in the rock that would shelter them from whatever else the weather had to offer them. Turning back to Ayal, James called out, “Brother I have found what looks to be shelter.”

When he was sure Ayal, or at least Zlabia, had heard him, James started towards the rock wall. Sure enough, a cave had been carved into the cliff face. Sending a thank you to whatever Ancients had heard his prayers, James stepped inside. Despite having no fire, the air of the cave was already considerably warmer than the air outside. James peered in. Despite having the blessed eyesight that came from being bonded to a liger, the darkness was impenetrable. It was impossible to tell was lay beyond the faint but silvery light the moons had to offer, but this was no desert or cursed forest, this was Mount Bastion, it was more than likely that the cave was empty. If it hadn’t been, Ciess should have taken note, but the upon enter the cave and taking a careful sniff, the ligeress padded back aways and nestled herself against the stone.

James set down his path and opened it up. Gweli, coin still nestled between the twin tips of her tail, jumped out and James immediately went digging. After a moment he sat back, frowning at the bag in front of him. “I have nothing with which I can start a fire,” James admitted after a moment. Of course, he had nothing, he had figured there would be shelter for him and his companions, but that shelter had been destroyed. Chest aching, James looked back to Ayal. He could mourn later, for now, he needed to focus on warmth. “Unless you have some kindling, Ciess and I will go out and collect wood.”
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Hiding under sheets with the news on repeat
'Cause the screams and cries are hard to delete
While I'm trying to sleep, oh how could I sleep?
Laying in bed, trying to empty my head
All these acts of violence ripping this world to shreds
While I'm trying to sleep, oh how could I sleep?

Wish there were words to say to make a change
Oh, the words to sing to end this suffering

Let's start a revolution where we all stand as one
Cause we need to make a change for a new day
We need to be the generation that’ll awaken a solution
Cause we need to make a change
Make a change, make a change for a new day

~MisterWives

______________________________________________________________________________________________

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SkieNight
 
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Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:38 am

Re: Keepers of the Mountain

Postby Silverhart » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:18 pm

    Zlabia trotted through the deep snow between the trees, weaving in and out of the shadows that striped the snowscape. It felt as if she was wading through the fur of a great white tiger liger. The trees were silent as ghosts; stunted, rail-thin giants shot full of arrows, and frozen in time. The wind skirted and whistled between their boughs hauntingly, occasionally upsetting a few snowflakes on their branches, and sending them tumbling. Zlabia set a strong pace, her large chest plowing a path through the snow. If the cold bothered her, she gave no sign of it, even as the water from her breath froze in tiny icicles along her chin fur. She didn't waiver from her course in the slightest, until she heard James voice cry out that he'd found shelter. Twitching an ear in slight annoyance, she turned to study this so-called shelter. She trotted up between James and Ciess giving the cave a brief sniff. She circled around the perimeter as the other liger padded towards the back, taking in every rut and scrape on the walls. When she was satisfied, the great cat walked out snorting on James as she passed as if to say 'it'll do, boy. It'll do.' With a flick of her tail she padded out into the night. Lifting her head, Zlabia began to let out a deep, guttural roaring. It rose up to a pitch, wavered on the edge, and another followed closely after, call after call, vibrating among the trees. As if to say 'I am here.'

    Ayal felt the deep roaring as much as heard it, and it settled in his chest like a comforting drum beat. “Ah, good,” Ayal muttered, recognizing that the call was not one of distress. Leaning against his staff, the Keeper slowly began to make his way towards the sound, half tripping on the slope. It wasn't difficult to locate the source of the roaring. There stood Zlabia in front of a dark patch of stone – no, an absence of stone. A cave. Upon sight of him Zlabia chuffed a greeting. Approaching them, Ayal looked around for the other Keeper. “That was quite fast James. You must have a keen eye for these sorts of things.”

    Entering the cave Ayal was hit by the soft smell of dry stone. Shrouded as they were in a blanket of snow, the crackle of snow melt seemed to pierce the silence of the cavern as it ran between the crannies of rock. It lacked the warmth and open hospitality of home, but it smelled of the familiar mountain at least, not that ash-stained ruin up the mountain that stank of death and destruction. The barest musky scent of a vanished creature remained. “Whatever was living here must've been frightened off by whatever occurred here.” Zlabia growled. “Yes, Zlabia – I doubt they'll be coming back with you two around.” The liger came up to rest her head on Ayal's shoulder, and her Keeper reached up to undo the pack that was slung on her back. As soon as that came off, the great liger stretched luxuriously, tendons popping and flexing, melting from their frost-locked state. Ayal dropped his pack on the ground, and quickly pulled out a tinderbox. He held it up at James. “Always a prudent measure to carry one on you, James, especially when traveling. A worthwhile investment for any traveler.” As a child he had taken the constantly burning kitchen fire in their home for granted. It wasn't until he'd spent a night in the wild lands with no light and heat that he'd come to truly appreciate what fire could mean. From his pack he also withdrew a candle, and set it beside him. He opened the box and fished out flint and firesteel. “But if it's warmth you want, we'll need a good deal of wood to get any sort of decent fire going.” As if to punctuate his point, he struck the flint against the steel, and sparks went skittering into the tinderbox. Nothing happened, so once more Ayal struck it, and leaned forward to blow a tiny flicker of orange to life. It wasn't quite a flame, but with gentle and patient guidance born from years of practice the ember flared into tiny life. From it he lit his candle, before snuffing out the tiny flame in the bottom of the box. He held the candle aloft to better observe their shelter. The tiny flame seemed pitifully small in the dark, not unlike the two of them on this great big mountain. But protected from the wind by the walls of the cave and Ayal's hand, the light held firm and steady, even if it's light wasn't the strongest.
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Hellooo!
My name is Silverhart and I am here to collect pets, draw fanart, and geek out over Eld related things. And all while simultaneously searching for the truth behind the very many excellent questions. I am a stamp enthusiast, a loyal minion to my Lord Sullivan, partaker of muffins, and a shipper of apologies.
Eldemore Fanfiction ~ Current Project ~ Deviantart
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Re: Keepers of the Mountain

Postby SkieNight » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:08 am

James allowed himself a nod in Ayal’s direction when the older Keeper arrived before shrugging at his comment. He’d always been observant, even before meeting and bonding with Ciess. Small details had always been easy to pick up on, and once he was bonded to a liger and gained some of Ciess enhanced eyesight, spotting details – such as a dark spot among rocks or the absence of rocks – had become almost second nature for the young man.

Once Zlabia had made sure the cave was clear and announced to the surrounding area that they were here, James turned back to the cave the conundrum that was warmth and shelter. Even if the cave air was warmer and even if they no longer had to deal with the wind, they needed something to fend against the cruel chill of the mountain. The thought was funny, in a deeply ironic way. The mountain that they called home, that protected them and offered them shelter, could now just as easily end their lives with ill-angled wind and another temperature drop.

James peered into the cave again. He couldn’t see the back, even with his enhanced vision. But he knew that whatever had once called this cave home, was gone, and it wasn’t because of the two ligeresses they had in their company. For a moment, James tried to imagine the beast that occupied the cave but came up with nothing. Drakes didn’t settle in these parts often, and if one had the monastery would have taken note of it, and it was much too big for a liger, which meant that something else had settled here and had then been scared off. James decided not to think about it too hard and turned back to Ayal.

His faced warmed with a sort of embarrassment at the realization that he had, indeed, made a mistake when it came to not having anything with which to start a fire. More often than not, James would start a fire with the tinder he found himself. It was easier than carrying around flint and steel, but Ayal was right he should invest. Later. If there was one.

For a moment, when the candle was lit, James was captivated by the small light flickering just behind the man’s palm. Against all odds – the wind, the cold, the damp – the light pierced through the cave. Our hope must do the same, James realized. They were allowed to mourn, to grieve, to be upset. But they couldn’t allow such strife to drag them down or hold them back. If the spirit of the Keepers was to live one, they must constantly move, placing one foot in front of the other.

Ciess shot him a look, as though she could read his thoughts. She let out a huff her breath white against the faint glow of the candle. You act as though they have all died, her stare read, you do not know that. With a flick of her long tail, the great feline started towards the Cave’s entrance. James looked back to Ayal. “Ciess and I shall go fetch us some wood. We’ll be back shortly.” He placed his backpack along the wall just as Gweli poked her head up. He glanced down at the otterling, his face soft in what would have been a smile had his lips curled up. “Don’t bother these two. Okay?” The Otterling squeaked in response, and with that, James followed Ciess out of the cave.

Immediately he was met with the crisp mountain wind. Pulling his coat around himself he trailed Ciess as she stalked through the forest, now made of sticks. It felt colder, though that might have been the partial-warmth of cave talking. James didn’t allow himself to focus on anything for too long as he moved through the trees. He felt like a ghost, not quite there but not quite gone. His thoughts were fragmented. If he closed his eyes too long the image of rubble bubbled up from his mind. But if he blinked, he could almost see the lights pouring from the mainstay windows. There was a part of him that wanted to trudge back up the mountain to see if the debris was gone, to see if it was all a cruel joke by some Ancient with a wicked sense of humor. Instead, he followed his bondmate and picked up whatever sticks he could find, praying that some of them were dry enough.

When it hands were full, he turned and started back to the cave along side Ciess.

He dropped the sticks and branches and tinder they found a way from the entrance and knelt down in front of it. “Hopefully some of this works,” he said to Ayal. He didn’t want to think about what he would do if they were all too damp to light.
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Hiding under sheets with the news on repeat
'Cause the screams and cries are hard to delete
While I'm trying to sleep, oh how could I sleep?
Laying in bed, trying to empty my head
All these acts of violence ripping this world to shreds
While I'm trying to sleep, oh how could I sleep?

Wish there were words to say to make a change
Oh, the words to sing to end this suffering

Let's start a revolution where we all stand as one
Cause we need to make a change for a new day
We need to be the generation that’ll awaken a solution
Cause we need to make a change
Make a change, make a change for a new day

~MisterWives

______________________________________________________________________________________________

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SkieNight
 
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Re: Keepers of the Mountain

Postby Silverhart » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:39 pm

    Once the candle was lit, even as small as it was, it seemed to cast the cold, musty grey of the mountain cavern in a wash of warmth. Even if the darkness held steady, it felt less oppressive; more a curious onlooker than a looming enigma looking to swallow them up. He caught sight of the young man's expression at sight of the candle. For once words failed him, and he could not put a name to the look on James' face. And when a similar feeling welled up inside him, he found he had no words for it either. It was an indescribable sense of loss, and longing, and maybe even hope, for all that tiny thing was worth.

    “Very good,” Ayal grunted, nodding in agreement. He was hardly paying attention to the young monk now, consumed in rummaging in the packs for something. He looked up only when James addressed the otterling, startled to see the man and his liger leaving the cave. “Keep each other safe!” he called after them. It felt more like an afterthought. Once the young man had disappeared, Ayal and Zlabia leveled their gazes on the little otterling, as if just seeing it for the first time. A thought came to Ayal. Digging in his pack, the man uncovered a bit of something. Leaning over toward the otterling he dropped what he held in front of the quivering little nose, revealing a small fistful of oats mixed with dried berries. The old monk held a finger to his lips, playfully begging the otterling's silence. Ayal was not a particularly sentimental man, not when it came to people nor animals, but he was grateful for the little otterling's help in uncovering what it could. Besides at least someone in their party deserved a little happiness.

    As he waited for James return, Ayal spread a tattered cloth out on the ground beside him and took out the treasures from their search on the mountain. It was a paltry display. A journal in a language he couldn't read; a charred hunk of wood and paper, about as useful as a chunk of charcoal; and a handful of paper scraps. He sighed and looked up at Zlabia. “I trust you and James had a bit more luck.” She made a deep guttural sound, as close to a purr as the big cat could manage. Well, that was reassuring at least. He rubbed his tired, wind stung eyes, phosphenes bursting into rainbows behind the lids. For a long moment he sat there, and let his eyes soak in the comforting darkness, the weak glow of the candle not even enough to penetrate it. He thought about meditating, but his emotions were like a boiling ocean that he was floundering in - impossible to calm; he could only reef his sails and wait out the tumult, clinging to his ship and hoping it could withstand the onslaught. Something warm and furry pressed against him, and he knew it was Zlabia by her scent. He leaned against her warm, solid side, and took comfort in her stillness.

    Ayal was startled into looking up at the sound of James and Ciess, and forced a tired smile on his face at the sight of them. It felt fake – as if someone had plastered the grin across his mouth without his consent.“Welcome back.” He stood and went to the pile of kindling. Kneeling besides James, he picked up a thin branch and rolled it between his fingers, noting it's dampness. “If we strip the bark off these we might be able to get a hot enough flame going to dry out some larger logs,” Ayal told him. “Have you a knife, or hatchet we could use?”
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Hellooo!
My name is Silverhart and I am here to collect pets, draw fanart, and geek out over Eld related things. And all while simultaneously searching for the truth behind the very many excellent questions. I am a stamp enthusiast, a loyal minion to my Lord Sullivan, partaker of muffins, and a shipper of apologies.
Eldemore Fanfiction ~ Current Project ~ Deviantart
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Re: Keepers of the Mountain

Postby SkieNight » Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:12 am

Upon James and Ciess’ leave, Gweli glanced up to watch the person and liger she had been left with. The otterling tracked her movements with cautious eyes. Ciess would not eat her – though there was no doubt that the thought had crossed the liger’s mind on more than one ovation – but Zlabia, Gweli could not be so sure. So she remained tucked in her pack, alert. The man placed something in front of her, a pile of oats and barriers, dry, no doubt chilled by the weather, but there none then less. With a thankful squeak, Gweli slid out from the pack and munched on a few berries, before shuffling the rest away behind James’ bag and out of sight. All in good timing too, because the young Keeper returned to the cave a few minutes later.

James knelt beside the sticks and logs, placing them in two piles: the ones that were damp but could possibly be saved with the technique Ayal had described, and the ones that needed a warm flame to dry off. He glanced up at the other man, a knife, now that was something James had. He called for Gweli softly, requesting the otterling bring the knife in the side pocket of his bag. In truth, James didn’t know how much the otterling understood when she spoke, but after a few seconds Gweli scuffled over and dropped a small knife by his feet. It was a nice blade, small, used for wood cutting and not much else, certainly not protection, even with its leather handle. It was one of the few possessions James carried around from his former life. The last gift his father had given him before his first journey to the mountain.

James picked up the wood and began to strip away the back. He liked the job. It forced him to concentrate on the blade as to not cut himself. It didn’t let his mind wander far, and when he began to, Ciess was there, her nose pushing into his shoulder as if guiding him back onto the right path. He finished with one branch and set it down in a separate pile that would soon be their fire if everything went well and the Ancients decided to be kind.

Glancing up from his work, James looked to Ayal. He did want to speak or talk about this. He could see if in the older man’s eyes, the pain and confusion that echoed James’ own. But they would have to cross the bridge eventually, and they couldn’t ignore the hypothetical drake-in-the-room for too much longer, not without making the subject even more of a burden to bear. Letting out a breath, he set down the second stick and picked up the third.

“What is the plan for tomorrow?” James asked softly. Talking about the ruins that lay hidden in wind and snow made it seem more real and less like the nightmare it was turning into. To talk about them, meant that they both acknowledged what they saw, both knew it to be true. The monastery was no more. As if sensing his writing and aching soul, Ciess leaned into him, sharing her heat and her comfort. His bondmate was not normally so tactile. She preferred to remind James that she was an independent entity in their relationship. But she was a kind one a heart, once you got past the claws, fangs, and fur.

James allowed a moment to lean into the ligress before looking up. His eyes fell on the items laid out behind Ayal. The only things the other Keeper had salvaged from the debris. “Do you think there will be more?” James didn’t let hope creep into his voice. He could only guess when this travesty had occurred. For all he knew, it was too late to save most of the artifacts buried bellow chunks of wall and snow. Had this been done in the spring or summer, they might have had more time to save more items. But winter was coming, and the weather as worsening. James could only pray to whatever Ancients were listening that the real snowfall held off until they could gather as much as they could.

With a soft huff that was less sound and more motion, James set the last stick in the pile. “Hopefully this will be enough,” he said. Most of the sticks were still damp, but if even one caught the flames would grow and spread. Fire was like that; it didn’t take much to pass it on. It was something James had always admired about it as if you could admire an inanimate thing. Settling back down against Ciess, the younger Keeper closed his eyes to focus his swirling thoughts and uneasy soul.
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Hiding under sheets with the news on repeat
'Cause the screams and cries are hard to delete
While I'm trying to sleep, oh how could I sleep?
Laying in bed, trying to empty my head
All these acts of violence ripping this world to shreds
While I'm trying to sleep, oh how could I sleep?

Wish there were words to say to make a change
Oh, the words to sing to end this suffering

Let's start a revolution where we all stand as one
Cause we need to make a change for a new day
We need to be the generation that’ll awaken a solution
Cause we need to make a change
Make a change, make a change for a new day

~MisterWives

______________________________________________________________________________________________

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SkieNight
 
Posts: 5493
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:38 am

Re: Keepers of the Mountain

Postby Silverhart » Sat May 06, 2017 11:11 pm

Ayal watched the young man at his work stripping away the damp bark. There was something reassuring about seeing the set of James' jaw as he focused on the task at hand – all the worry seemed to evaporate as he put his mind to the task. Work was the best cure for a worried mind and anxious hands. No doubt they would find work enough between the two of them to occupy their thoughts. There was much to be done. He began to list off the things in order of importance as the dank, wet earth smell wafted up to him as the chips fell to the floor.

Firstly, getting a fire started, getting warm, and possibly getting food into their bellies, though Ayal did not feel particularly hungry. Zlabia growled hard at him, reminding him of the dangers of losing his appetite especially so far up the mountain. She was right of course. So after the fire, food and water for the night would be their concerns, followed by sleep, which he already knew was going to be more difficult to procure. The books would need to be secured of course, and if possible the damage to them repaired. Ayal was not a conservator. Though basic restoration techniques were a part of his Keeper training, the books they had rescued were far beyond his capabilities. Not to mention, that training had been many years ago, and he would not trust even his sharp memory to such a delicate and important task unless absolutely necessary. Bitter regret at having not chosen that path welled up inside him, but the sight of Zlabia made him swallow it. When it came down to it the decision hadn't been his in the first place. Zlabia was not a cat for a conservator, cooped up all day with foul smelling vials of glues and inks. She was a wanderer by nature, and would've been miserable in that field. It was the liger who chose the path of the Keeper, and Ayal could not bring himself to regret her choice of the adventurer's path. Even if it wasn't what he would've chosen, her trusted the judgment of his bondmate, that the long and uncomfortable journeys were just what he needed.

As for tomorrow... “I – I don't know,” Ayal said without thinking. James had startled him out of his wandering thoughts, and he let his collected, in-charge exterior slip up, revealing his uncertainty underneath for a brief second. He wasn't used to being looked to for guidance. He and Zlabia were used to their independent lives away from the monastery, always having to think for themselves. And at Mt. Bastion he was still the patient and obedient student. Even at his age, there was always someone older or far wiser that he took his cue from among the monks. They always knew what to do. They were his teachers, his guides, his commanders. Surrounded as they were by the great libraries, and the voice of Cerdiwen themself constantly, his knowledge could never match that of theirs. It was always their orders, and their morals he followed. Without them he was as lost as James, perhaps even more so since he had depended on them for far longer then the younger Keeper.

But that was not James' problem. So Ayal stiffened his backbone, and set his jaw, and simply said: “We'll see what the morning brings.” Yes, that certainly sounded like he was putting a brave face on things. Now what had been next on his list? Food, and water. Well, the second was easy to come by - they need only melt some snow. Absently rubbing his leg, Ayal straightened and walked to where he'd laid his pack. He drew out a battered old pot. "If you can get that fire started we might be able to have some tea," he told the younger man. Retreating to the front of the cave, be found a clean patch of soft snow, and scooped some into the pot. His eyes unbidden glanced upwards towards the mountain they had descended, as if hoping to see someone standing there watching for them. But of course, there was no one there. The wind forced him back inside quickly, and he laid the pot of snow next to Zlabia. Then he stood back, still as a cat, and eyes just as alert, as if waiting for orders that would never come.
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Hellooo!
My name is Silverhart and I am here to collect pets, draw fanart, and geek out over Eld related things. And all while simultaneously searching for the truth behind the very many excellent questions. I am a stamp enthusiast, a loyal minion to my Lord Sullivan, partaker of muffins, and a shipper of apologies.
Eldemore Fanfiction ~ Current Project ~ Deviantart
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Silverhart
 
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