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.
“A man with no pants on and stitches in his arse is pretty much a weekly occurrence in my line of work,” said Etta with a wry twist of her mouth. “But the standing in a river makes for a change.”
As to him being a strange man, Etta almost laughed, but instead she shrugged.
“You’re not moving too fast just now,” she pointed out. “And if anyone tried to hurt me, Sage would rip their throat out,” she added cheerfully, throwing a fond smile back at the dozing cougar. “Come on, let’s get you settled and I’ll go find your stuff.”
Her line about naked arses made him laugh again. Etta had a good sense of humor. "Well thank goodness for the river. Makes me special."
Of course it all came with a subtle warning, which Nord did not doubtbforva second. He still wanted to try to connect with the dyr but he was too exhausted and in pain.
Fox was actually very glad that she went to fetch his belongings so he could pad his way to the fire again. For a moment he stood there warming and drying. Since she didn't seem to mind and had already seen every inch of him, that could possibly be of interest, he pulled the wet shirt off as well and hung it up on a bush near the fire.
Last Edit: Dec 30, 2020 15:11:36 GMT -5 by Deleted
Etta had taken long enough as she made her way back upstream to fetch Fox's belongings (treading carefully and listening for anything that sounded remotely bear-like in the bushes,) that the shadows had drawn in further by the time she made it back to camp, and the first glimpse of Fox drying himself by the fire made her halt in her tracks. She knew, rationally, that he was a stranger, and he was hurt, and she had helped him in her capacity as a healer, and all of that...but she had blood as red as anybody's, and a handsome man was more than enough to make it run hotter in her veins. She couldn't help looking, even just for a moment, before she resolutely dropped her gaze to her feet and carefully made her way down the little slope that led back into the clearing beside the stream, determined to be respectful of the situation, even if her face was flushed. She could blame her hike through the woods, she hoped.
"Is this everything?" she asked, showing him the pack of supplies she had found in the spot he'd described.
As confident as he was, standing there in the forest completely uncovered made him feel a little embarassed. After all shecwas still a stranger and a pretty one, too. Her face looked a bit flushed so Nord swallowed hard and motioned for the fire. "The sun is setting. I'm using the fire to dry off."
He accepted the canvas pack and pulled it closer to his chest. Then he thought about her question. "My bow and arrows were ....oh. I must have dropped them near the bear." He really wasn't sure because he had been focussed on the bear.
Nord set the bag down and bent down to pull put a blanket and some bread. His hip protested wildly against the motion, which made him realize that he actually might be somewhat depended on this half stranger now.
Nord straightened up and stepped close to her to hand her the bread and the wrapped the blanket around his shoulders. "I'm very thankful you're staying."
Last Edit: Dec 30, 2020 15:56:57 GMT -5 by Deleted
"Well I can't spend all that time sewing you back together so beautifully and then leave you to get nibbled to death by an opportunistic badger," she said, though she was well-aware there were far more dangerous wild creatures about. Generally, with Sage at her side, she just never concerned herself with them.
Before the light faded too much, she busied herself gathering cedar boughs, cutting them fresh from the lower branches of the trees with her little knife and piling them to one side of the fire to build a fragrant sort of thin mattress. The mossy ground was not exactly hard, in places, but overnight it would be cold and damp and mostly uncomfortable after several hours.
"You can rest on this," she told Fox, as she began to construct a similar pile for herself. "I have some dried meat, as well..."
Sage had woken from her own sleep by now and found her way to a rambling tree at one end of the clearing, which blossoms had fallen from in spring, but the fruit now was still green and hard. Sage rubbed her uninjured side against it, and Etta looked up to see the wild apples swell and redden as they grew ripe enough to eat. They were not large, growing in the shade of the forest as they did, but they would be sweet enough, and there were plenty hanging from the branches.
The cedar construction was simething he hadn't seen before. With curiosity hevwatched her build it. "I've never seen anything like this before. That's clever but it looks a bit uncomfortable, too."
"You said you have some clothes? And...Etaa..you've already done so much for me but ...could you wash and sew my pants?" He started laughing. "I'm kidding about the sewing part, although I'm under the impression that you enjoy doing it."
Nord got a little startled when something moved close by. But he soon realized it was Sage. So he relaxed again. Nord kept his feet close to the fire to keep warm. If the cougar felt anything like him, he was sorry for her because she probably did not understand why.
"Some food sounds great. I have bread and dried fish."
"It's not a feather-bed covered in furs, but it's not bad," said Etta, brushing off her hands as she went to her horse to retrieve the clothes. They were made for her, but loose enough that they might do for Fox, though undoubtedly they'd be a little short in the legs. She handed them over for him to try, and took his torn trousers back to the river to rinse them out. It didn't occur to her for a moment that he might have thought washing and sewing was women's work--it was that he was hurt, and she had just done a tidy bit of needlework on his own skin, so why not fix his pants, as well?
When most of the blood had been washed out of the fabric, she took it back to the fire, adding another fallen piece of dry wood to it before she laid out the clothing to dry before she would try mending it.
With the dried meat and a few apples she had picked from Sage's tree, she began to set out their combined food to make a decent meal, and put more water to boil for some hot tea--though this time it was more for flavour than for medicinal properties.
"Are you warm enough?" she asked, even if it was a summer evening, and the weather stayed fine. He'd been injured, and lost a significant amount of blood...he was likely to feel shivery and weak for a few days, at least, as he fought off any possible infection and began to heal.
Nord had just gotten a little warmer when she came back with her clothes. For the fith time he was laughing despite the situation. "You think I can squeeze into that?" He reached for the woven shirt, which he had a hard time squeezing into. It was so tight. "I might never get out of this again. I think I'll pass on the pants. I don't think I want anything on this..." He motioned for the stitches but kept the blanket wrapped around his hip. Then he leaned back on his elbows. His hair was still slightly wet and the sun had gone down. "I'm fine. Thanks to you. How is Sage?" He was hungry but at the same time cold, exhausted and in pain. Nord was well aware that it would be a tough night. "Better eat something. You, too. You probably need some."
Last Edit: Dec 30, 2020 18:23:19 GMT -5 by Deleted
Nord watched Etta closely when she only looked at her cougar but did not touch it, feel the wound...was her opinion just a guess or was there more to it? He had a feeling that there was a way that she could tell.
He let it go for a moment because the girl asked another question, that he really enjoyed talking about.
"I do. I spend as much time in the woods as possible. It's my home. The animals are my family....well, most of them. That's how I feel. nobody in my real family fully understands this. But they've always let me do it."
Etta sat down and the bed of twigs shifted a little under her weight.
Fox closed his eyes for a moment and inhaled deeply to fight the pain, then let out a slow breath and repeated the motion.
"The more I'm out here, the better I understand them and the better they listen to me."
His eyes fluttered open again, first focussed on the fire and then back on her, right next to him now.
She looked so calm and peaceful in the orange dancing light, now that the sun was almost gone.
"How do you know? Do you feel it?"
To learn about her connection with Sage was incredibly valuable for him. "I've never met another person, who connects with animals. Forgive me all my curious questions but I would really like to learn more. I have to touch them if they don't pay attention to me. If they do, a look into their eyes is enough. I use my voice but you seem to...well....I have no idea. Would you teach me?"
Etta looked at Fox with a faint smile. It was strange that his magic seemed so close to that of Dresmond, in some ways, and yet Etta did not think it was entirely the same. He could connect to more than one animal, and those animals could not manipulate the natural world the way dyrs did...and his powers had been his by nature, and since childhood, without any need of risk or ceremony to instill them within.
"I'm not sure if I can teach you what it is I do," she said cautiously, not wanting to disappoint him. She rolled the bitten apple idly between her hands. It felt odd to have to explain this, which was so widely understood by everyone in Dresmond that she had never had need to put it into words, before, even to explain to a child--somebody or other always explained to the children, bit by bit, answering their questions. Perhaps if Etta had ever raised a child of her own, she would have been better prepared with answers. "I can only connect with Sage. I feel her feelings and thoughts, and she feels mine. She can communicate with other dyrs--the other animals that are bonded individually to our people--but not with their humans."
She looked to Sage, bidding the animal to come nearer, and the cat did so, settling onto her haunches before them. Etta wasn't certain if she wanted to let Fox try to connect with Sage...what if he tried to command or control her, as he had done with the bear? Etta knew Sage was more than a wild creature, that her understanding was not so weak as a base animal's, but the idea that anybody could control Sage, or take her away from her...that was terrifying. It would be taking a part of herself, a loss of control of one half of her nature.
I'm not afraid of him, Sage insisted.
Etta looked back at Fox. There was no way his magic could be more powerful than her bond with Sage--that was something she had to believe.
"...well, if you can just look into her eyes, perhaps. Don't touch her if you don't have to. It's..." She sighed. He hadn't meant anything by it, before, she knew--he didn't know--but it was still a jarring memory. "It's...not forbidden, exactly, but...among our people, we don't touch each other's dyrs, unless...unless we are very close to that person. Family, or...an intimate friend. Sage and I are...we are two bodies, with one being. Sage is sacred to me, and so she must be respected."
Their connection seemed to be different from the ones he knew. It seemed much deeper than commanding and feeling a sense of belonging.
"So you feel her pain?" Nord wondered. "What if she gets killed?"
To his surprise the cougar came over to sit next to him but he was warned not to touch her.
"Alright." The warrior pushed himself up to a straight seating position.
"You must have a lot of trust in me. Don't worry. I will not harm her or you."
Briefly he closed his eyes to concentrate. He could feel her warmth close by just like Ettas next to him. Not many sounds could be heard now but the crackling of the fire.
When Nord opened his eyes, it took a moment but then Sage looked at him. He saw the catlike pupils, that widened like a door to her inner sanctum.
In that moment he felt like she let him inside and catch a glimpse of incredible calm and beauty. In the depths of a jungle he discovered truth behind every great green leaf. It was more of a feeling than an actual picture but it completely mezmerized him, causing him to let down his own guard and let her have a glimpse of who he truly was as well. Was that actually Sage he was feeling though or Etta, whose arm he was holding on to without even knowing it.
When he finally closed his eyes and broke the connection exhaustion overcame him and the need to take a deep breath but he could not say a word.
"Some of her pain, yes," admitted Etta. "And she would feel mine."
As to what would happen if Sage were killed, Etta shook her head, her face going pale at the idea, her lips tightening into a thin line.
"I...I would go on living," she explained. "Breathing. But I would not be myself. I would be...hollow. I think I would rather die, if Sage did."
She looked at Fox, and then at Sage, who continued to sit calmly, and Etta tried not to let her leg start bouncing with nervousness, pressing one hand to her knee to hold it still. She did trust him, she realized, but the rational part of her knew that that could be unwise, that there was monumental risk in that. But wasn't that true of every person anyone trusted, whether you had known them for minutes or years?
She felt Sage's initial resistance--not fear, but a show of strength, a display of her will that proved just for a moment that this was no invasion, but an invitation--and then the stranger's mind cast the shadow of an eclipse onto hers, and beyond what Sage could feel Etta found the echo of the man beside her.
A family she did not recognize. A home that had no wheels. A still lake reflecting the sky. Coyotes slipping through the trees of a forest like water flowing around rocks in its course. A girl with a smile that made a heart ache, because you knew she was loved and she was leaving.
Then the endless moment was finished, and Etta shivered helplessly as Sage pulled back. It was just the two of them, once more, as it ought to be; but now Etta could feel the unmeasurable space where Fox had been--a pinpoint or abyss beyond the material world that somehow now stood empty. But Fox seemed to struggle to draw breath, and Etta shook off the odd feeling as best she could, looking at him with concern, seeing a fresh sheen of perspiration beading along his forehead.
"Are you hurt?" she asked. "Do you need some water?"
No other animal had ever felt like this. Their tales were simpler. Easier to understand and handle. Easier to controll while Sage had taken him on a ride that he had no controll over. How ling did it last? He had no idea but it left a lingering feeling of belonging in him. A desire to know more and connect again and an overwhelming urge to cry. So he did. Tears suddenly welled up in his eyes as feelings overtook every fibre of his being. The grown man suddenly was wheeping like a child and couldn't even say why.
If she couldn’t quite grasp what had just happened, she supposed neither could he. Etta at least had the experience of sharing her bond with Sage, of having that profound part of herself walking around independently, of constant connection with it. Still, this was different. She had felt the difference, when Fox had looked into Sage’s eyes. The cougar did not seem unaffected, either—she paced over to Etta and pressed against her for comfort, as she often did when she was distressed or confused. Sage had been strong enough, her will never compromised, but this was still a stranger and something new to contend with.
If Etta hadn’t been too shocked to laugh, she might have done so, to have thought that asking Fox not to touch Sage out of respect for the usual boundaries was anything to compare to what had been accomplished when he simply looked into Sage’s eyes.
But he was sobbing so suddenly that Etta hardly knew what to do.
“Hey,” she said softly, laying a hand on his shoulder, squeezing gently to give a sense of the physical reality, if the magnitude of the mental experience was too surreal, too much at once. “It’s alright,” she told him.
Wasn’t it? She didn’t feel hurt or angry or afraid...just bewildered. But if they were lost, they were at least lost together.