The peace that formerly reigned in Terra Nova has eroded, now little more than a memory. War ravages the continent. Disputes divide kingdoms; ideals divide families. The quest for power consumes absolutely and indiscriminately. None are immune to its allure.
Who will rise and who will fall? Only time—and ambition—will tell.
New gifted family of Lorendale added to the Families of Importance, the Decarlos!
At the beginning of February 2022 the site will experience a 5 year time jump! The IC year will jump from 822 to 827! This gives us about 8 months to prepare our characters for that jump. We plan to host very intentional planning sessions to help everyone get their plots and characters ready for this! As of this moment, one thing you should all start considering is making sure the threads your characters are in are furthering your character's stories.
"Etta." He repeated her name as if it was some sort of magical word. The ears of the cougar turned and Finn noticed.
Yes, there was a special bond between these, two. But the lady Etta was also very observant.
Finn didn't like anyone knowing that he was gifted, not even a woman he met in the woods, that he most likely never see again. His family had been collared and abused too long for Finn to freely talk about it, even now.
So as he limped to the rock with growing effort and grunts, he contemplated how much to tell her. "The bear was a real bear and I'm a real man. We're both what we seem. And yes, I talked to her because she would have bitten my head off otherwise. What about you and your cougar?" It was a half truth, that he was comfortable with. Maybe if she opened up more, he would.
Right now, as he was lowering himself down, he needed to focus on something more pragmatic and it didn't look too nice. Even through the slits, that the bear had left in the previously grey fabric, he could see blood. "Oh my, that bear got me good. If only she had listened..."
Last Edit: Dec 26, 2020 20:01:56 GMT -5 by Deleted
"I don't suppose wild things are much used to obeying any orders," said Etta, but her face remained solemn as the stranger seemed determined to keep his secrets. Fine. She was under no obligation to explain anything too detailed about her cougar. "The cougar is not your concern," she informed him, before she cupped a handful of the water to splash across the wounds, washing away the oozing blood and dirt that had stuck to it already so she could get a clear look at the edges of torn flesh. "...these may need stitching," she told him, with a quick look up at the scratches on his face. "...those should be alright, once they're cleaned."
She pulled her mouth into a thoughtful frown, wondering how far they might be from any place that could offer more help. Almost certainly it was further than she'd want to let him walk with such an injury to his hip.
The cougar sat down and twisted her head enough that she could run the rasp of her tongue gingerly against her own bloodied side, and Etta fought off a shudder as the burning pain flared again beneath her skin.
"You'd be surprised..." He answered with a knowing look. "Or maybe not. Seems like you know a thing or two about animals yourself."
She splashed some water over the wounds, which didn't bother Nord much. Right now he was more concerned about his face because the other cheek already had a battle scar on it. Nord had heard some ladies call him handsome and would have liked for it to stay that way, rather than turning away and favouring other men. He tried to feel it again but couldn't tell much. Blushing a little he gave her a brief smile, but then he saw her expression change. Her face froze and he could see her flinch just a little...but why? Confused he looked at her. It had to be the sight of the torn skin but what kind of healer couldn't handle that?
Nord tugged on the fabric of his pants to push it down so she could actually get a better look. His skin was pale underneath, which made the deep scratches stand out even more. Blood was seeping from them. He could see flesh and was that bone? For a moment his vision swam and he felt a little nauseous. "Do you perhaps have some water for me to drink?" His best guess was to wrap it all up tightly and ride to the next village with either a doctor or at least a well stocked ale house. "You are a healer? What kind....?" He could tell that she was not from Lorendale...most likely Dresmond. Did this woman know what she was doing?
Last Edit: Dec 26, 2020 20:40:44 GMT -5 by Deleted
Etta looked up from pushing the skin back together to see how it fit properly to see his face had gone white. She looked at Sage.
...it's alright. Please?
The cougar moved a little stiffly, but she padded over to where the horse waited with the packs and picked up the waterskin from the ground, holding it gently in her mouth to bring it back to Etta, who handed it to the man before she picked out a spool of strong thread and a thick needle from her supplies without hesitation.
"Yes, I'm sure I'm a healer," she told him. "And while I haven't seen many bear attacks, it's not far off from the sort of accidents that happen when people play around with hatchets or swords they haven't learned how to wield properly, and I've seen enough of those. Can you bear the pain if I work quickly, or should you like some sort of sedative?" She didn't think she had anything already prepared in her pack--she was hardly going to sedate herself--but she was sure she could brew something up if she took the time to build a fire.
As soon as she was trying to piece him back together, his breathing picked up and his vision threatened to fade again.
Briefly he held her hand to stop her while she explained that she had experience. So did he. But the adrenaline from the fight with the bear was wearing off and he needed a moment to collect himself.
That it was the cougar, who brought him some water, didn't really help.
"Thank you." He took it from the animal and placed his free hand on her fur to see whether she'd link to him. She only lowered her head and Nord let his own head fall back. He was too exhausted, confused and in pain.
"I'd chew some mushrooms, if you can find some." Nord considered himself to be brave but it was fine to help ease the pain if there was a chance. "And heat that needle up over a fire." In fact, their best bet would probably to burn those claw marks out but he wasn't brave enough to suggest that. Maybe if they started oozing...
Last Edit: Dec 26, 2020 20:52:56 GMT -5 by Deleted
Etta jerked back when he touched Sage. The cougar stilled, but did not otherwise react. It didn't feel at all painful, but the taboo of it was almost instinctual, and it was more a twinge of mental discomfort than anything else. It was wrong, but he wasn't from Dresmond, he wasn't to know, and so Etta realized there was no point in getting upset about the infraction.
"I...I can start a fire," she said. "If you can hold on for a few minutes." She had flint, and a bit of tinder kept dry, of course, but would need more dead wood that would burn well. There would be enough, if she looked, she was sure--it hadn't rained for several days. Mushrooms were tricky...she always felt happy to find some, for Sage's magic could only help her so far with plants, and did nothing for fungi. As a result they were something of a delicacy and rarity in Dresmond, and several varieties were interesting and useful in healing. "I picked some mushrooms the other day," she said. "They'll have dried out a little, but should still be good."
"Yes, I'll hold on. I don't feel like strolling down the river banks right now." He joked whilst looking up at the skies. His eagles had disappeared in the late afternoon sunshine. The skies were a deeper shade of blue now and the tree tops swaying slightly in the warm breeze.
"I hope you know which mushrooms you collected, healer." He muttered.
"But any other herb, that's potent, will do."
Nord also knew a thing or two about the plants and wildlife out here in these woods, even though they were a little different from the ones near his homestead.
He closed his eyes for a moment to collect himself but the burning in his hip made every clear though impossible.
"Are you of Dresmond?" He finally asked her while she was rummaging around.
He had never imagined to encounter one of them alone, out here.
Last Edit: Dec 26, 2020 21:12:19 GMT -5 by Deleted
She did not deign to address whether she knew her mushrooms or not. She was entirely confident in what she'd collected; but if he decided to doubt them, it made little difference to her whether he had the courage to eat them or not.
"You are in Dresmond," she told him as she moved around the fringes of the clearing to gather enough deadfall to make a respectable fire. "And if you are not from Coheed, you must be from Lorendale." She knew there were other kingdoms, further off; that they had allies in a place called Arynn Frey, but they sounded like a people more concerned with stationary civilizations, rather than roaming the wild places of the world.
Arranging the wood neatly, she struck her flint and blew carefully on the tinder until it caught and began to crackle. She had been building campfires for as long as she could remember, long before she'd had a name, and could have done it, she was certain, in her sleep. Waiting for the initial roar of flames to die down to something more moderate for working with, she set out her supplies in an orderly line along a fallen log, and handed the stranger a single mushroom, to wait and see how he would tolerate it after having lost some blood before she would give him another.
With nothing to do but wait for the moment, she opened a jar of strong-smelling ointment and dabbed her fingers in it before starting to smear it across Sage's wounds, holding her breath as she felt the sting and Sage let out a soft rumbling that pitched into a whine. Etta tried to push a feeling of penitent calm, if not comfort, into the mind of her dyr.
There is no me, without you.
The cat huffed briefly, then butted her head against Etta's arm. All was forgiven, as it always would be.
Rest now, she told her dyr silently. He's in no condition to hurt me. It wasn't possible for anyone to fake the pain he must be in, bearing wounds like that.
The cougar carefully laid in a patch of sunshine on the bank of the stream, the blood and ointment glistening on her fur.
"...what should I call you?" Etta asked the man suddenly, as she poked at the fire with a stubby little stick. "If I'm going to be sewing you back together?"
Last Edit: Dec 26, 2020 23:25:02 GMT -5 by Deleted
Dresmond. He was in Dresmond? Those words made him sit up straight because they meant danger. "How did I wander so far south?" He gasped. "How far across the border am I? Yes, I'm from Lorendale." Nord tried to calculate how dangerous it was for him to be sitting here with a severe injury, that would prevent him from walking back into his own kingdom in the company of a lady from Dresmond.
One decision was clear now. He needed his senses to stay sharp so he politely declined her natural remedy. "Better not. I wasn't aware I'm on your lands.
He fell quiet as he watched her light the fire. In her presence he felt save but he wasn't sure about her folks. "How far away are your people?"
Then he watched her apply a salve on the cougars wounds while the fire turned to a glowing mass. She flinched when she did it and he was sure it wasn't sympathy. "You are connected." He observed. There was no other explanation for what he had witnessed. "Am I right?"
With a bit of horror he watched her lay out her supplies. Oh, that would not be pleasant. But even some strong distilled corn, which he wished for would disable his fighting abilty too much. "Fox. My mother named me Fox."
It was a name only close friends called him but it was his true name, yet unknown to most Lorendalers.
Etta was a little surprised by the force of his reaction to finding himself in Dresmond. She knew her people were nothing to mess with when they were under attack, but she was sure they had never been the aggressor in Lorendale. She looked north, as if trying to judge the distance, though she herself had never been that close to the border, and had known she was getting close to her own limit, here.
“A day’s ride to the border, I think, perhaps two,” she guessed. He waved away the mushroom but she left it within his reach all the same. “My people are not coming here. The caravans cannot usually camp this deep into the woods. I only came to forage for plants, to resupply. I’ll go back to them within the week.”
She fetched a small pot and filled it with water, crunching it down among the hissing embers to begin heating.
“I really doubt they’d shoot you full of arrows for lying on the ground with a badly wounded leg,” she told him. She couldn’t promise they wouldn’t—suspicions ran high after Coheed attacks, and he could be seen as a trap unless anyone got close enough to see that his injuries were real—but Etta knew the caravans were moving away from their present position. “Anyway, I’m here, and I’m here to help,” she said.
She kept herself busy when he asked after Sage, curious about their bond. She did not immediately look up, but continued to thread her needle.
“She is mine, and I am hers,” was all she finally said.
Etta measured a few pinches of something dried into a small wooden cup, then swirled it with a trickle of hot water before letting it sit for a minute. She handed it to the man, who still hadn’t touched the mushroom.
“This will make it easier, Fox,” she assured him. “You’re in no state to fight or run, anyway, and you have nothing to fight or run from.”
"I hope you're right about your people." He muttered and looked around once more to make sure none of them were close by. But the forest was quiet. Trees were occassionally hitting bark against bark in the breeze. Some birds were chirping and the nearby water gurgling.
He did not exavtly understand what she meant by the statement about the cougar but he was interested in finding out more about it.
For now he focussed on the strange conconction she was offering him. Was she to be trusted. His gut said yes, his experience no. Since she had taken it from a pouch and it was already prepared, he assumed she was often using it as a healer and not just when she came upon Lorendalers.
So he took it and drank it. It tasted like bitter grainy mudwater. "Oh...straight from the gutter. That's gross."
Scrunching up his face he slid off the uncomfortable rock and onto the cooling mossy ground. Briefly he looked at the u-shaped needle and then decided that her eyes were the prettier sight. "You need my garments to come off?"
Then he lowered his voice as if to keep a secret. "Please tell me more about the 'she's mine and I'm hers'". Perhaps the cougar was a person in disguise.
Last Edit: Dec 27, 2020 14:56:20 GMT -5 by Deleted
“It tastes awful and it does what it has to,” she told him. “That’s why I brew it in as little water as possible, so it doesn’t take forever to drink it down.”
She took the softer wool wrap she used to stay warm at night and rolled it into a bundle to place beneath his head.
“Here, turn onto your side,” she said. “You can pull your clothes clear of your hip.”
She took a clean cloth and wrang it out in warm water with a few drops of peppermint and cedarwood oils before she started cleaning around the gashes.
“Why don’t you tell me how you can talk to bears,” she countered. “Is it just bears?” A thought occurred to her suddenly, and she peered down at him with a curious sort of frown. “...are you actually a fox that can somehow take the shape of a man?” That might explain a few things...but it would give rise to several other questions, too.
He swallowed a few times more to get the rest of the sandy stuff down and accepted her soft fabric as pillow. With a bit of effort he untied the rope and pushed the top of his pants down to his thigh, which exposed a little more than was appropriate, so ge covered the parts in question with his hand. With an embarassed smile he averted his gaze.
She started dabbing and asked and outlandish question, that actually made him laugh out loud. "Am I a fox?" He snorted and laughed again. "No...but close enough." Something inside of him was loosening up a little. "If I tell you, you tell me.Deal?" He placed his hand on hets to stop her for a moment. "Some animals listen to me. They follow what I say, when I manage to get a connection." Oh holy. Why was he telling a stranger? Why was he babbling away like a child? "Wolves, eagles, cats, dogs...guess what my first one was?" He bit his lip, eyes a little glossy.
She kept a straight face when he awkwardly covered up as best he could, and kept her tone unflustered, but allowed him his modesty.
"You don't need to be anxious on my account," she said. "I've seen just about everything that can happen to bodies."
She stopped when he put his hand over hers, mindful that people had different ways of expressing their pain or hesitance, but then from his questions it seemed to be more about the strange specifics of whatever supernatural powers were at work, for both of them.
"...so you first befriended a fox," she said, wondering if Lorendale had a similar sort of Naming custom, for their children. Strange she hadn't heard of it, if they had--did they have a Cave? A medallion? Surely they would have been better allies if they had that in common.
"My cougar's name is Sage," she told him slowly, trying to decide what to tell, or even how to tell it. So much was simply understood among the caravans, about how these mysteries worked, that it was hard to recall the first time anyone asked, as a child, what and why dyrs were, or how it had been explained. "She is...more than an animal. She has things about her which are human, though she cannot take a human shape. She is partly a...hm."
Etta blew a loose strand of hair out of her eyes as she tried to think how to say it. Fox had told her of his powers in a way that made sense, in a way that made her doubt he was capable of meticulous lies while he was injured and already feeling the effects of her tea. Dresmond did not necessarily trust outsiders, but nor were they intensely secretive about the way they lived their lives.
"She is human enough, because she is a part of me," she said at last.
"How did you figure that out so quickly?" He asked with big eyes when she concluded that he first befriended a fox. "Cute red thing...he lived near my house for three years. My mom saw me with him." Whoa. Nord suddenly covered his mouth, not his bits. "I've never told anyone. You must keep this secret."
His eyes narrowed about the part human cougar and her being partly Etta. It didn't make sense because he had never heard of it. "I've never heard of such a union before. But I've also never met anyone like me." He admitted and looked at the animal. Nord had a hard time just looking at her for some reason. Like Sage was blocking him. Or maybe it was the herbs dulling his mind.
"Sage is blocking me."
He blinked a few times, the looked at Etta again.
"So are you going to wait until I'm bled out or do you enjoy me in my birth suit?" oh, loose tongue...oh would you just rest?
Last Edit: Dec 27, 2020 19:13:19 GMT -5 by Deleted