Anarenn: Rise of the ancient blood




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  1. #1

    Anarenn: Rise of the ancient blood

    In the end, he managed to get power. Now we see if he chokes on it. The man who is merrily speaking is a young human with dark, unruly hair and penetrating blue eyes. He wears a simple brown robe, and walks slowly under the thick cover of the trees. Amusing, huh? He would not be the first, you know. There are so many pigheaded idiots who go on chasing secular power as soon as they are sure than no is watching over them, after they get the title of "wizard". -he stops and admires silently a beautiful, blooming tree. The woman walking beside him, a beautiful young lady with blond hair and stern green eyes, watches him impatiently, and seems on the verge of speaking, when he resumes his monologue: You know this tree? It's called akaia. Usually it is ugly. It only blooms for two days at the beginning of the spring and then it returns at being a twisted, small and dark tree.

    I am not here to listen your idiotic monologues, which last for hours and mean nothing, damn you Cordel!!!. The young woman apparently has lost her patience. Her face is blushing with anger and her eyes are shining as she continues her tirade - Cut it and tell my why I am following you in the midst of all this mud! Why should I wake up each morning for an unwanted walk with you?

    Ah, well, I suppose that's because I am a wizard, while you are nothing...on the hierarchy ladder, I mean -Cordel grins
    I am a senior apprentice, for the Father's sake!
    Exactly my though. And you need the approval of master Tygreb, which means that until he has the time to speak with you, you are under the supervision of his right hand...where is he now....ah, but it is me. Me, me, me. How silly, I couldn't spot my self. I am indeed getting old, yer Senior-Apprenticeship Erenia Silverthorn. The grin on the face of Cordel widens again and again as his young companion loses her patience more and more.
    You are just two years older than me - mutters she as if she was speaking about a great injustice.





    It is a wonderful spring morning, and the warm breeze is melting what remains of the heavy winter snows. Nature is stirring itself, and the animals celebrate the return of the warmer -and oh soo good- seasons. The sky is clear and all in all, it seems to be a wonderful day to play a little bit in the forest just under your cave. Of course, the presence of three humans somehow spoils your plans. There are these two unarmed fellows, and a silent figure 15 yards behind them, with a light but well-made armor and some quite menacing weapons. He seems to be a bodyguard, and a very skilled one, too.

    You are sitting on one of the highest branches of an oak, and currently trying to decide what to do. Eavesdropping is fun, but playing with the warm spring breeze is quite fun too. And it doesn't involve the stupidity of the brutish beings called "humans".
    Last edited by Nightbreeze; Friday, 11th January, 2008 at 09:12 PM.
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  • #2
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    Since the surrounding trees have yet to sprout their springtime greenery, the diminutive dragon's scales have adopted the drab grayish-brown hues of the oak branch upon which it lies coiled. Even a sharp-eyed raptor would have difficulty picking out the camouflaged reptile from its surroundings.

    The dragon tracks the pair of humans with its predatory gaze as they slowly pick their way over the massive oak's roots far below. The woman's brocaded dress was delightfully colored, but quite impractical for a springtime stroll through the melting snow and mud of the forest. Already, the hem of her dress is caked with mud. Even with the distance between them, the diminutive dragon's ear-frills can easily catch and amplify the pair's confusing conversation. Snaking out its tongue, the camouflaged reptile tastes the breeze. A delicate floral scent, quite out of place this early in the year, drifts up from the female.

    A more peculiar and eccentric pair of human the diminutive dragon has never seen. Unlike these two, most humans who entered the forest moved with purpose. Swineherds drove their herds and beat on trees with staves to loosen acorns to feed them. Trappers either set or checked their lines. Children collected wild seeds, mushrooms or berries. These humans did nothing but walk slowly, talk and argue with each other.

    The diminutive dragon might have ignored the odd couple altogether, but one word spoken by the male had piqued its curiosity: wizard. The forest dwelling reptile had heard little about wizards, but had come to understood that they were strange practitioners of a mysterious eldritch art of some sort. The dragon is excited by the prospect of directly observing a pair of wizards and hopefully learn something of their wizardry.

    Moving through the forest's canopy, the camouflaged reptile attempts to follow and spy on the pair and their armed chaperon as they continue their meandering stroll (Hide +25, Move Silently +6, Listen +7, taking 10 if possible).
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  • #3
    The discussion between the strange pair goes on. Indeed the man, apparently called Cordel, is the most strange human you have ever seen. He seems to really like the sound of his voice, and he goes on and on speaking. His random banter touches a myriad of subjects: horse breeding, trees, flowers, masonry, the quality of life in a farm, the best color for sheep's wool, the endurance of a someone coming from the south in this northern climate.

    The girl listens to him, apparently stunned by the sheer amount of useless information coming out from his mouth, and slowly builds up her anger. She seems to be the hot-headed kind, and every now you can almost spot the steam coming out from her ears. However, every once in a while, he throws a idle comment on someone, and that gets her attention and slows her. The problem is that nothing meaningful follows it, and soon she is exhausted by the constant shifts between anger and attention.

    They walk for a while, but after at least 2 hours, they start heading in the direction of the village. After a brief (and rare) moment of silence, Cordel softly speaks: Your father isn't going to let you wander off anywhere after your graduation, you know. Don't associate the wizard title with freedom, girl.
    -What? The girl's face turns white and she stares at him in disbelief. She opens her mouth to make some -actually some hundred- question, but he just offers her a sad smile and adds: You are destroying that nice dress, lady Silverthorn.

    Than the wizard makes a sharp sign to the bodyguard and strides out of the forest, trailed by the girl, who almost trips on her dress in the hurry. Her shouted questions -What do you mean? What do you know? Answer me, damn you!- meet no answer, as he completely ignores her.

    During the conversation, you felt something odd. As she said, he seems to be of the same age, and aside from a difference in rank, there was another factor that made him different: his self-confidence and his vast knowledge. He seemed to imply that he know far more than she did, and regarded her as almost a child. Unusual, for someone only 2 years older.

    By now, the sun is high in the sky, and you feel the first grips of hunger.
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  • #4
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    Puzzled by the odd trio, the diminutive dragon perches for a time at the edge of the forest to watch the three humans winding their way through the fallow fields towards the nearby cluster of human dwellings. It wonders if and when they might return.

    Relieved of the distraction, the dragon turns its attention to the matter of survival. With the melting snows comes the return of migratory birds and the end of the small mammals' hibernation period. Like the dragon itself, many of them were out and about in the forest and hungry for fresh nourishment. The wily hunter pulled the corners of its mouth back into a crocodile's smile. Patience, skill and speed should net it a quick meal on a fine day like this.

    Tasting the breeze with a flick of its tongue, the dragon detects the enticing aroma of rodent musk. Stretching its wings wide, the wily hunter turns and feels the wind pressing delightfully against its thin alar membranes. With a swift downbeat, the hungry dragon takes flight in search of prey (Survival +5, taking 10).
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  • #5
    The spring is beautiful. You hatched 11 months ago, so you know how it feels. But it is especially sweet now, after you knew for the first time the cold and silent days of the winter, where nothing seems to move, and when you hardly managed to get out of the cave at all.

    The breeze carries you around the forest, and while you are hunting for your pray, you delight yourself with some aerial acrobatics. After a while, you decide to stop playing and fix your stare upon a small rodent, who carefully picks his food. You swiftly dive upon him, and when he hears the sound of the breeze stroking your winds, it's already too late.

    Much later, when you hunger has been satisfied and you are idly contemplating the sun at it's highest point in the sky, you hear a distant sound krrm, krrm, krrm. With a smile on your lips, you recognize it as the heavy steps of a living tree: either Oak or Tall. At the same time, however, the loud laughs of two children come by from the opposite direction. The steps of the treant stop. You know what he is doing: he probably will be sitting silent and disguised as a normal tree until the humans are safely far from him.
    Last edited by Nightbreeze; Sunday, 13th January, 2008 at 04:52 AM.
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  • #6
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    The echoing sound of a lumbering treant moving through the forest tugs at the corners of the newly satiated dragon's maw; pulling them back into a wide reptilian grin. Apparently the warm weather was causing the ents' sap to quicken as well. The soaring wyrm is about to adjust its wing phalanges to carry it into a turn when the sound of laughing human children reverberates along its ear-frills. Laying its neck frills flat the the dragon carefully snakes its head around as it tries to judge the distance, direction and declination to the juvenile pair of humans. A few seconds of subtle shifting and concentration allows the diminutive predator's senses to home in on these latest human visitants to the forest.

    The diminutive dragon suspect that these humans are none other than the adolescent Shiri and her infant sister Danee. They lived with their parents in a small hovel within the bounds of the ancient forest, and so were the humans with which the dragon was most intimately familiar. It hadn't seen much of them throughout the cold winter months however. The fact that they might have survived to see the spring warmed the small reptile's heart. Even though they were many years older than its own paltry 11 lunar cycles, the dragon nonetheless felt strangely protective of them; especially of Danee. She was the smallest human the dragon had ever seen, being not much bigger than itself, and so it felt an odd kinship with her.

    Twisting its tail frills to catch the air like a rudder, the gliding reptile begins a wide languid turn towards the distant humans. Catching a headwind, the dragon beats the air with its nimble wings to make forward progress. Getting closer to the pair, the creature looses speed as it begins to glide once more. Catching sight of movement from beneath the forest canopy, the dragon warps its wing phalanges and rolls over and silently begins to slide sideways down through the highest branches. The nimble flyer weaves through the tangle of branches throughout its rapid descent before rolling level once more. Rearing back, the dragon's wings slam against the air and quickly arrests it's forward momentum. Reaching out with its small but sharp talons, the reptile quickly snatches at a low hanging branch and comes to a sudden rest on the tree limb. Once more, the dragon's mottled grey-brown hide effectively camouflages its position as it begins to spy on these newest visitors to its demesne.
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  • #7
    Disguised as only a dragon like you can manage (ok, Oak and Tree are not bad too. But they are too big for move and hide), you spy on the humans under you.

    Both sisters have a long dark hair. In this moment Shiri is carefully placing a crown of flowers on the head of her beloved sister. The crown is rather beautiful (somehow crude, however), and evidently too big for the little head of Danee. A loud explosion of laugh echoes in the forest when the crown goes down and becomes a flower necklace.
    -I told you. You know that you shouldn't pass to me every single gift that you get by the boys- Danee says, smiling. Shiri smiles too, and nods, replying with a serious voice -I know, Danee, I know. But you know, I can't give Edunter the satisfaction of wearing each of his gifts. He may become overly confident if I did.
    -How so?
    -He may start to think that I've already made my mind. He is more or less mine now, and I can't let him think about me as given. It required me almost 3 years to get him, and I have to especially careful now.

    The little girl listens attentively and at the end frowns for a moment, as if thinking.
    -Ok, I dicided-says she at the end, with a grave voice.
    -What? - Shiri appears to be startled by the sudden change of mood of her sister.
    -I've got to choose my husband next time I go at the village. This way I can start chasing him and training him as soon as possible.
    Shiri stares at Danee in disbelief, then she laughs until the point she has no breath left, while she embraces the little child.


    They speak and play for a while in the glade, and you gather a great deal of interesting rumors: it seems that Shiri went in town this morning, and she is now informing Danee on everything that happened. Most of the informations come down on what a particular boy, girl or grown man did during the winter. She informs her that some rich merchants with their servants arrived, Danee is all excited by the description of the wonderful dress worn by one of the merchants. At some point during that description, your mind suddenly clicks, and you realize that she is speaking about the red-haired girl you saw this morning. After an hour, they seem be ready to go home.
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    As it listens to the girls, the dragon languidly curls up on its branch and allows the emanations of their sincere pleasures to drift across its consciousness. It isn't familiar with all the names they mention in their conversation; only being able to associate some names and stories with certain villagers it itself had observed the previous year. Unfortunately, for the curious wyrm, the girls don't discuss those humans it would most like to hear news of; their parents Etheryl and Shereena or their brother Ibranden. The eavesdropping dragon wasn't surprised by the omission; why should the girls be expected to discuss a topic they both already knew? The creature resolves to visit their family's hovel sometime later to observe their parents directly. Perhaps it might even venture into the village to visit the smithy with the hope of catching sight of their brother.

    For the moment however, the camouflaged wyrmling simply sits still and watches as the two human siblings rise and begin their homeward trek. Once they're well on their way, the diminutive dragon unfurls its wings and, catching the wind, drops down from its branch and begins winding its way beneath the forest canopy to the treant in knows to be sitting still nearby.
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  • #9
    As you approach the area from where the sounds of the treant were coming, you sharpen your eyes and start looking for him. The fact that he doesn't reveal himself means that either he is still suspecting that humans are nearby....or it is Oak. That green giant always enjoys staying in the middle of other trees, and it is always very difficult to say where he is....he is just too similar to a normal tree. It seems that he finds this game very funny....treantish humor.

    After a quick search in the area, you fail to notice him, and start hopping from tree to tree, examining them. After a couple of minutes you have to admit defeat. As if sensing your anger, an oak nearby opens his eyes Arghmffffff....are the little humans gone far enough?. Oak doesn't speak about his little victory, but you can almost see a smug on his eyes.
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  • #10
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    The wyrmling regards the self-revealing treant with an appraising eye; trying to memorize his particular configuration of branches, bark pattern and general shape for future reference. The diminutive dragon hadn't seen Oak since the previous fall and hadn't recognized him without his distinctive crown of golden foliage. As a fellow creature dependent on camouflage, the dragon understood the pride that comes with outwitting a pursuer and so felt no ill will towards the treant. But as a prideful hunter, the wymling also resolved to not fail in any future attempts to find its hiding friend.

    A quick crouch, leap and two downbeats carry the nimble dragon onto one of Oak's outstretched limb. Reaching out with its thoughts, the wyrmling lightly brushes against the treant's conscious mind. ((Yes. They're homeward bound and roughly a half-mile away by now. It's nice to see you again Oak. It's been a long cold winter, but the warm air and longer days have returned once more, as you told me they would. Was it a normal winter in your experience?))
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