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Ghost Land

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YH
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The coconut came to a rest an inch from the back of his head, then was lifted again, and thrust against his skull with force sufficient to rouse him. Sitting up, he coughed and groaned, and spat out grit and brine. He looked down at the nut, then grabbed it up before it could be carried back out by the receding water. He rubbed his face with his sleeve, brushed the sand and sleep away, and squinted under an upraised hand at his surroundings: he was on a black beach, and was not the only one; the shore was littered with the detritus of the doomed vessel, splintered planks and soggy sundries expelled from the water to roast in the sun.

A familiar squawk alerted him before a rusty red rainbird lighted on his hand. He smiled and leaned forward to touch the parrot's extended head, giving a brief whistle and calming coo as he stroked the beak with a fingertip. "Good boy, Mingo, you found me."

The bird wobbled up and down and echoed the sentiment, "Mingo, good."

"Yup," he said with a grunt, gaining his feet and balance. The bird shifted to the young man's shoulder and the two scanned the horizon. In the west, the sky was a cauldron of black smoke behind the turquoise waves, but the maelstrom was evidently in retreat. Following the edge of the world toward the wall of fronds and vines, he noted the bald head of a conical mountain peeking over the looming palms. For a moment he thought he spied movement from the corner of his eye, and realized he probably was not alone.

Turning the coconut over and over in his hands, the pair headed toward a familiar shape on the sand.

 

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The land felt nice and soft underfoot. The soil was moist from the morning's early rain, rich with worms who came out to wiggle in the puddles and the bugs that came to prey on them. His hand slung across a fallen log, the post-mariner watched intently as another figure rose up from the dead and shambled across the beach. He hadn't been seen yet but it would come quick enough to avoid any kind of boredom. The man's lips were drawn, a sublte arc indented in between his cheeks to certify he was not in an ireless mood. Running up blessings along his knuckles, the air here was cool, nourishment looking sufficient and also apparently completely sheltered from the storm, which blackened the sky past the point of even considering that the sun used to be a thing.

He stroked his chin gently. The other man had a bird. Strange that he hadn't noticed before, if the man had indeed been part of the voyage that led them to this little mirage. He shifted as if he had no qualms with being marooned, as if this was of no ill consequence to his current goal. Maybe he didn't have a goal. The kind of man who'd look a soldier in the eye while he pissed out his liqour on Tiber's boot.

Nah. Doesn't seem a drunk. The shirtless squatter pulled a flask from his boot. After sniffing the contents inside, and determining them whole-hearty and good, he tossed some back, and continued to watch life's epic unfold.

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From behind him, suddenly the man walking towards the distant shape could briefly feel a rushing by him, when a familiar, tall Orc stood near him. "Armas," he said, his grin showing the large teeth typical of his race, "did ya think you'd leave me sit on that beach alone, now?" Some of the larger front teeth were blackened, not, as one would expect, from some sort of dental decay, but rather appearing to be a burn. Similar burns seemed to cover spots on his hands and fingers.

 

"So, you think anyone else made it off the ship? It was pretty nasty, I've gotta say. Wasn't expecting to end up here, at any rate." He looked over at him, letting his grin down a bit. "Think we'll make it up to Winterhold for the show now?"

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 It was the dream again. The wastes of Oblivion erupted around him as he walked slowly along the straight, dark path. In the distance a figure stood, a smear of dried blood against the crimson fury of restless daedra. His pace quickened; he knew that he had but moments to reach the stranger before he would be wrested back into the waking world. He ran down the narrow corridor of fire. He must learn the identity of this stranger in his dreams.

And, miraculously, he made it. After countless nights, countless races down this same smoldering path, he found himself standing within an arms length of the dark figure. It was dressed in peculiar raiment. A robe of deepest burgundy, trimmed with intricate gold lace. Its skin was the shade of an old bruise.

The dremora turned. As its cold, grim features came into the young elf's view, the world around him seemed to blur and grow dim. Its eyes burned with the frozen flame of the infinite. The restless grumble of hellfire faded as a great rushing noise took its place. As its mouth opened to speak, a great force rose up and cast the dreamer back.

Molag'Sil awoke to the smell of salt and the taste of sand. He groggily realized that he was lying facedown on a beach. At the edge of consciousness he could hear the murmur of voices.

 

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She feels the sun, warm against her back. The sort of burning comfort that accompanies stillness on a summer's day.

She knows that she is lying face down in sand, yet has no desire to awaken.

Her head swims between sleep and consciousness, her half-dreams place her on the milk-white beaches of Anvil.

Slowly, she wakes from what seems to be her best sleep in months.

The memories hit her all at once. Basil and Ra'Skada at the Bent Nun, promises made, money changing hands under the table. The ship moored at harbor, the captain paid to look the other way. A forest of bottles, some empty, others still half full, on the table before her. A dark line of storm on the horizon. Stumbling to her cot, falling asleep, being awakened by the impact of a chest upon her head. Cold water, debris, the newly dead. Swimming. Swimming. Swimming.

Fighting against the sodden folds of her dress, she manages to scramble to her knees. She fights back a wave of nausea, vision filled with spots, brain pounding against her skull as if trying to escape.

Shit shit shit shit shit, she repeats as if it were a prayer.

Still on her knees, she makes a brief, practiced inventory of herself. The dress is a rag of mud; her hair and face match, she imagines. She pats herself down, finds the small sack of gold and the letters - now soaked into pulp. Her dagger is missing, as is her small pack and everything in it. Her ring and her amulet are still with her, though, their enchantment mostly charged. Small blessings, yet all she has.

She pushes herself to her feet, dry heaves, waits for the wave of spots to pass. There are flecks moving in the distance, congregating. She starts her way towards them, hoping that they are men.

 

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 Maglor was flirting with an Altmer woman in a nondescript bar that was completely empty. While he was quite average for a Bosmer in terms of height, the regal High Elf looked to be at least twelve feet tall. He was dimly aware that he made a nervous quip about physical mechanics when all of a sudden her head became a T-bone steak and she beat him about the face, wailing, as her hands turned to stone. 

 

"Flurgh, blahburgle..." Maglor sputtered as he woke with sand and the taste of blood in his mouth and a ripping headache. "Ow." He said, moving a hand to his temple, then "ow" again, as he clutched his thin, sharp jaw. He was missing a few of his back teeth on the left side of his mouth, and as he stood up, wobbily, he felt a dull pain run down his right leg. His dark skin with permanent green, red and white streaks painted on when he was a small boy was flecked with small scratches, bruises and cuts, and his long, pointed ears looked tattered and torn, but that was only because he had taken out all his various earrings and put them in his small box before going to sleep on board. He reached for his back to unsling his staff to use as a walking stick, and his hands clutched air as he lost his balance and fell over.

 

"Ow." He mumbled into the sand. The water licked at his bare feet. He pulled himself up again, grabbing a piece of driftwood and fighting back tears. Five years of paying dues and running menial tasks, and mere weeks after finally earning his proper Wizard's Staff, he loses it on some gods-forsaken voyage. He thought of the Master Wizard who had sent him off to go and get some world experience, and the other Wizards and ranking mages who had agreed.

 

Damn them. He thought as he hobbled towards a slowly-growing group of survivors. Damn them all.

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 Pushing himself unsteadily to his feet, Molag'Sil glared about at the land upon which he had been deposited. White sand and tangled vegetation. Bah. Some might like that sort of thing, but he had always felt more comfortable in his study, lit only by the light of lamp and hearth and cluttered only by his numerous books.

The elf frowned. His books had probably not survived the wreck. It pained him to consider the priceless weight of knowledge lost in that damned storm.

Turning, the young Altmer identified the source of the voices he had heard upon awakening. There was a small crowd of survivors gathering a short way down the shore. A fair number had survived, it seemed.

But not my library, he thought sullenly. Cursing everything from the Daedra to the shipwrights responsible for the leaking tub that brought him here, he hobbled painfully toward the survivors.

"Where are we and how the hell are we going to get home?"

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OOC: I'm not here for a few days and bam, lots of posts. Not too fast with the responding, Bibliophael, I'd like to join too.

 

IC:

 

Further inland, away from the beach, started a forest and hidden between the trees stood Aelfe, who was watching the strangers on the sand. Her red hair was tied in a knot and her yellow eyes watched the newcomers closely. Around her were the other warriors, waiting for her command.

<Are we not going to act?>

Aelfe turned her eyes to Simine briefly and shook her head. She tolerated the question; after all,  boy was young and had not gained much experience yet. She did not expect he would learn much today, seeing the people that had gathered on the beach.

Only a few of them looked like they could have been part of the ship's crew. Since they were just standing about, they also did not know each other. Or at least most of them didn't.

Aelfe would wait as long as possible. If she was lucky, they would leave soon.

YH
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Crowing "Grug! Grug!" the bird bobbed its head and shifted from foot to foot. Armas raised the coconut to Domingo, which regarded the green orb with a sort of vapid confusion.

Armas himself faltered at Grug's question. Not meeting the Orc's concerned stare, his answer was barely above a whisper, "Don't think there's gonna be a show no more." He examined the beach again, the wreckage, the seeming endless stretches of water, or sand, or jungle. The young man chewed on his lip and knitted his brow as he took account of the other survivors, but didn't look at any of them long enough to establish eye contact. He felt itchy under the sun's and Orc's gazes; his hat was gone. Pinching the fruit between his knees, he shrugged out of his vest and removed his soiled shirt, then replaced the sleeveless habiliment and draped the damp garment over his tawny noggin. Lifting the coconut again, he scratched a mark into the thick husk with a fingernail. He frowned, then shook it and listened to the sloshing inside before he offered the fruit up to his chartreuse shipmate, "Do--d'ya think you could open that?"

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Axe. Tree. His ranged weapon of choice was not among the wreckage and he had decided to fashion himself a new one while he waited. Tipless, the infinitessimally small front edge where it had prior been possible to perform Pankratosword — if he had so wished to try and learn it — had now been dulled. He grimaced at the waste of such a perfectly polished blade, iridian-blue in it's reflection. Nonetheless, tools to kill become tools to live, and switch easy between the two. Right now, living was what he needed to do, and the first step to that was a good crossbow.

His fondness of the weapon stemmed from his service in the Company of the Iliac Bay. Crossbows are cheap weapons, easy to manufacture, easy to train with, easy to kill with. Everyone knew how to pull a lever. Atop a hill overlooking the sea and the army approaching along the beach Fedrith gave him his first. It was of no special mark, just a few pieces of wood and steel and a sinew strung taut along the arms, but he had a fondness for his superior's deft control of the object in question, among other things, and the sly visage that was given to him along with the weapon said with simplistic frivolity: "You will enjoy this one."

And he did. For though the crossbow was a potent weapon that the skill-less could use, with a little care and a knowledge of one's platform the crossbow becomes a precision instrument of death. He had never seen Fedrith miss, and it awed him; brought filth to his knees and fondled his tearducts until they wet themselves in joy. He was made no happier than on the day that weapon was awarded him as well.

He took another swig of brandy. The burn had long since scorched his throat rotten. He grunted as he shaved away at a small segment of the fallen palm, in sheets thin like paper. Time was something of no shortage.

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Grug took the coconut in his hand, looking it over carefully. The fruit reminded him of a tune, which he almost started humming, but remembered where he was enough to avoid doing that. He shook it a bit as well, before shrugging. As he took one his smaller fingers and offered it in front of Mingo, he asked, "Do ya want it done neatly? Or do you just want it done?"

He was wise enough to ask after other such occasions where things needed to be opened, yet he had made the mistake of not asking how they wanted it opened. A rather amusing memory of kicking a box of glass objects, followed by the disappointing shattering sound within, came to mind.

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 Maglor hobbled up to the expanding group. His leg was, very gradually, feeling better as he used it, to the point where he could put most of his weight on it without falling over. He idly wished he had focused on Restoration more in his lessons. But no-o, He thought, you wanted to learn how to levitate and blow stuff up. "let Magister Athram wheeze, I'm too busy checking out the new apprentice in the third row." 

 

Swimming in his bitter self-recriminations, he sat down on a larger piece of driftwood and began idly tearing off the ragged strips from the sleeves and hem of his robe. He laid out the strips of soggy cloth and grabbed at a half-buried bottle. It was nearly full, and when he opened it he smelled that it was some of the sailor's vile swill. 

 

Perfect.

 

He may not have known much of Restoration magic, but Maglor remembered what his father would do if one of his men was bitten by animal or arrow. He dripped some of the liquor onto the strips and, wincing as they began to sting viciously, bandaged up some of his worse cuts. There were plenty of liquored strips left over when he finished. 

YH
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Domingo turned to inspect Grug's extended finger, traded perches from Armas to Orc, then bristled its feathers at the approaching people. The parrot craned its little neck, taking its own inventory of the assembly.

Daring another quick glance at the shambling survivors, lingering longest on the Altmer but avoiding eye contact with all again, Armas shifted nervously and tugged at his sleeves, pulling his shirt tighter around his head. He squinted up at the Orc and indicated the careful option, "Sharin' is the proper thing, huh?"

Taking a look at the sky trying to judge the time, he frowned and scanned the jungle again; bright yellow and orange and red and green dangling fruits, some were mottled and some spotted, but it all looked edible right now. "Least we won't starve," he mumbled. He licked his sore lips, realizing he was thirsty, then dragged his feet through the sand as he shuffled toward the treeline. Using his heel, he dug a short trench into the soil at the base of one of the more heavily-laden trees, then cat-like sprinted into the canopy; once at the top, he locked his legs around the trunk and picked an armload, then bent backwards and hung upside down to drop the food into the furrow. He repeated this process, released the tree, tucked and rolled twice in the air before landing on his feet--and then on his backside when he couldn't stick the landing on the damp loam.

Dusting off and then using his shirt as a sling to gather his harvest, Armas trudged back to the group and emptied his sack of loot at their feet before wrapping his head up once more.

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Grug brought the coconut up to his mouth, and began to bite into it, tearing through the coconut. While difficult, he managed to tear through the tough husk, and reach the interior. Pausing a moment, he took the opportunity to spit off to the side. "I'm not such a big fan of coconuts," he said. Grug found them to be little more than rocks on trees, and with the fruit that Armas had just made himself aware of, Grug cared little for it.

"Anyone want a coconut?" He asked to the group in front of him. "I don't. Unless you want it, Mingo. I'd be surprised if birds eat these things..." He walked over to where the fruit was, grinning at one of the green ones. "Now that's something you can eat."

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Molag'Sil limped over to the tree. Waving away the Orc's offer, he studied the mottled bounty that the ragged jester had fetched. All as alien as the land itself. For all he knew, they might be filled with deadly toxins.

"I don't suppose...anyone knows...where we've landed ourselves, do you?" He asked hopelessly. His initial temper was beginning to cool, giving way to the bleak pangs of despair.

A gurgling noise emenated from his midriff. And hunger, apparently. Poison or no, it mattered little at this point. What do I have to lose?

To the jester, he indicated the pile of fruit. "May I?"

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Aelfe made sure not to move an inch as the man walked towards them and started collecting fruit. The quick movements of the man with the bird were impressive; if he had not been avoiding eye-contact with the group, he would have made a fine warrior.

The Orc worried her, he was a strong force, although he seemed friendly enough. She was not certain what to think of the Altmer, she knew those were skilled wizards, but she could not tell if he had actually learned the trade. The Redguard she had been keeping an eye on from the moment she had spotted him. The rest of them seemed quite harmless, for now.

Some of her companions grew impatient, a bad trait for warrior, and she gestured once again to remain silent.

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 Maglor made his wobbly way over the the pile of fruit, realizing all at once how ravenous he was. On the ship, he had had very little motivation to eat. It was not that he was prone to seasickness, he was just so engrossed in a book he'd been reading that he had just forgotten to do so all of the day before. 

 

He breathed down the fruit, and then eyed the coconut. He had never had one before, but he had heard that sometimes on the idlands south of Valenwood you could find them. There was something to do with fresh water, but he did not remember. 

 

"I'll try it, sure." He said. The Orc's tusks had likely done most of the hard work for him. 

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Stroke upon stroke to the atypical timber, a rough tan shimmer lofting about his station as the splinters began to come loose. The wood had been dead a while but the rot had not yet come through. The wood had lost it's previous moisture, and was now merely soaked through in wet. It would be more difficult to work with, now, he knew, for it would not easily bend, but when it dried it would set strong, just as well as his previous tool. Well, at least as well as it would have worked without steel.

He observed the party of survivors forming on the beach. The man he had seen earlier was fetching some food for his bird. He wondered how easy it would be to peg from a tree...

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The sand, her headache, and the distance made her trek to the other survivors a slow one. It gave her time to clear her head and assess the situation. She passed numerous crates, barrels, and chests, at least some of which should contain usable provisions. A makeshift shelter could be made using the ship's wreckage, and, once dry, the rest could be used to light a signal fire. The jungle beyond the beach should have some edible plants and the mountain beyond could be used to survey the land in search of civilization. As long as they found fresh water, the shipwreck would prove a much needed vacation.

Somehow, the little party seemed even more desolate up close than it did from far away. It stank of that awkward forced camaraderie people develop when forced to meet for the first time. She appraised them quickly. A wood elf - tiny and beaten up, wearing what might have once passed for a mage's robe. Not a threat. A lanky man with a parrot - part of the ship's crew? He looked almost at home on the beach, certainly not as tense as the rest of them. Not a threat. The Orc - big, burned (she wondered how he'd managed to find fire in the middle of an ocean), but apparently not mean. A mental note to watch for temper, but otherwise not a threat. The final man was an Altmer, also a mage by the look of him, seemingly more confused than the rest of them. He looked more fearsome than the Bosmer, but, given how he stood, was probably not in the mood for a fight. Not a threat. 

She ran through the possibilities. She hadn't left her cabin much, and since neither the captain nor his mate were here to contradict her, she decided to play it strait. 

She straightened despite the hangover, straightened her dress and hair, and put on her best nothing's-the-matter face. 

"Mielle Belette, entrepreneur."

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Grug tossed the coconut across the way to the fellow who had requested it. "Here you are, hopefully you've got a taste for these things," he said. He then looked over to the newest person to have appeared. "An entrepeneur?" He said, having not caught her name. "Like those people who invest in buildings and make a living buying stuff?" Confused, he looked back over to Armas. "Exactly what kind of a ship were we on? Normally we only ever see workers or a few merchants, none of which called themselves entrepeneurs."

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The parrot exulted enthusiastically, abandoning the big green finger to perch on the exposed lip of the coconut. It tore a piece of the juicy white meat free with its beak, then balanced on one foot and held the morsel with the other while it ate.

"Sorry," he murmured and took the portion of fruit the bird was eating, leaving the rest for the others. Nodding in answer to the Altmer and in greeting in Mielle's direction, his eyes flicking anxiously between the group while his free hand tugged his hood lower to obscure more of his face. "Dunno," Armas replied with a shrug and slowly shrank away, taking his piece of coconut and the bird with him. "I--I'm gonna go get...more food...."

He foraged deeper, and gazing upward, adjourned before a tall, twisting tree; frowning and blinking rapidly, he gripped the remainder of his snack with his teeth and began climbing to the upper branches, while Domingo took flight and waited in the canopy. There, he sat with his back against the rough trunk while the parrot perched on his knee, embarrassed and muttering at himself.

"So, this is co-co-nut," he said to the bird. He took a small nibble, then a larger bite. "Good, huh?" he asked, peeling off a strip and holding it for Mingo.

Mingo squawked in reply, "Co-co!" at which the young man could not help but smile. Forgetting his disconcertion, Armas looked out over the treescape, letting his eyes wander from one edge of the rainforest to the other. Then he noticed it, and stared, wondering whether to hurry back and tell the others.

 

 

The citrine orbs of Aelfe's nest were not the only ones observing the gathering from the viridian shade. The titian glaive trailed a shallow furrow in the dark soil beneath the tree, traced a scar into the brittle bark, then was stood on a gnarled root by a graceful golden hand. The words slithered past sharpened teeth, <What new sport is this?>

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 Maglor had been right. Grabbing a stick, he scraped around the edges of the hole the Orcs' tusk had made. As he drank, his face wrinkled up. He would definitely have preferred normal water. He placed the empty husk down and picked bits of the fruit out of his teeth.

 

He had lived in the Imperial City since he was ten, so half his life he had eaten fruits and vegetables as well as meat, much as he preferred the taste and texture of flesh. Something about the island, not the trees that were completely different or the air that smelled of salt instead of sap, but something, some feeling in the air, the quiet that meant a certainty of living things of some sort, reminded him of his childhood. 

 

He tested his leg. It felt much better now that he had eaten and drank a little. He idly wondered if perhaps he could borrow someone's knife and carve himself a new staff. 

 

No. He thought. I don't have any Soul Gems, and I'm lousy at Enchanting anyhow, and any other way just won't work...

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"You make it sound so glamorous," Mielle said, smiling in genuine amusement. "It's mostly financial prospecting, research, and negotiation. A lot of sitting around and arguing. And travel, hence the boat. Sounds like easy money, but isn't."

She shifted her weight over to her other leg, shrugged, and smiled again, half winking. "Or maybe I'm just bad at my job."

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"Doubt it, if you have the job. If they let anyone do it, I'd be talking for a living." Grug grinned. "Though I have a few skills of my own which seem to convince people pretty well, even if they just get used on the folks who don't like giving tips. Dunmer get pretty fussy about giving money, but you'd be surprised how quickly they'll warm up at the thought of a few burns."

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Armas swung himself off the branch and slid down the trunk, tucking, rolling and springing into a sprint back to the beach. "Grug! Gruuuug! You gotta...!" He staggered abruptly, almost planting his face in the sand, then caught himself and tugged on his charred cohort's wrist. "C'mon, there's somethin' on top--" while turning, he halted both his locomotion and communication, now facing the lithe spirit that ambled apathetically toward them.

Onto bare shoulders, the aurulent warrior hefted his glaive, the posterior haft of which was tipped with an enormous shark's tooth; he stretched his arms to hang languidly over the shaft of the weapon in mock crucifixion. His topazine eyes split in half by inky slashes regarded the assembly of survivors with simultaneous curiosity and disdain. In a smooth, enervated motion, his head swiveled to survey the wreckage accumulated on the shore.

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 A sharp hiss of air escaped Molag'Sil's teeth. Tsaesci, he thought, but here? It was no secret that the serpent-folk ruled the Empire, but it was not often that they were seen outside the Imperial City and its provincial courts. Can this be Akavir? No, the journey has been to short. Then how-?

He shook himself. Idle speculation must wait. At the present he had what appeared to be an Akaviri warrior to deal with. And their race was infamous in their disregard for the lives of men and mer.

And yet it doesn't attack. Hmm...

<Greet this one, and ask this one's name and business.> The strange sounds slithered from his lips like so many snakes. Not exactly fluent, but hopefully it would get the point across. The High Elf proffered his open hands, palms facing down. <Appear unarmed, and wish no harm. These ones neither friend nor foe. Stranded. Molag'Sil,> this last delivered while gesturing toward himself.

He had always taken an interest in languages. Tsaesci had a uniquely fascinating set of pragmatics, once one accustomed oneself to their alien phonology.

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His souffle brushed fluidly around his construct, the smooth grains revealing themselves under the organic sand. It was looking good. He rolled it around, checking the incisions to make sure they lined up properly with each other. No seams to speak of. Casually he glanced back upwards. The group which had managed to avoid drowning had grown considerably in size. He grunted, knowing that this would make things a bit harder. Still, men were little more than monkeys in suits, and elves little better than herons in hats, he would be off the island in —

Recoil. That was most certainly not a garden snake. His grip tightened around the giving leather handle of his implement, suddenly on guard, unsafe. This was more than unanticipated.

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Aelfe almost let a curse escape her mouth. How had she failed to notice Szuradj's presence? She watched the warrior closely and even closer the people's reaction. They seemed startled, but not very afraid. The Altmer was even talking, but she was too far away to hear what he was saying. Her eyes then widened when he opened his hands, probably in an attempt to seem friendly.

If she knew Szuradj, this would go wrong. She could see his legs shift already and his shoulders tensed almost unnoticable. They needed to act, now.

She gestured towards two of her warriors, <You go get that other man, we can not afford him to intervene in any way. Make sure not to look hostile> They nodded and left.

Then they moved forward, out of the safety of the forest and onto the beach. She was aware that she looked more like a human than a Tsaesci, if only for her eyes and tongue. Szuradj would therefore not appreciate what she would do now. With the body of a human, but enough scales to prove his heritage, he was in higher rank than she. Aelfe had no other choice, though.

Her steps left footprints in the sand as she walked towards them, her head held high, while the others followed behind her. <Brother Szuradj!> she called <You have proven your hunting skills once again. What is this you have found?>

 

Two warriors appeared next to the man that had kept himself aside so far. Both had human features, one more scaled than the other. They bowed their head in a short greeting, before one pointed his spear into the direction of the group. This way.

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 Maglor's tongue wagged uselessly in his closed mouth. His brain came up with and discarded several thoughts in quick sequence before settling on of course I'd get stranged on an occupied island. After that his brain linked up the scales and features with half-remembered history lessons and then exploded with variations of ohshitI'mgonnadie! Before he managed to calm himself (for a given value of "calm" of course) and, never taking his eyes off the spear, slowly charged a spell. 

 

When the second figure, the female, came out of the tree-line and began speaking in a strange language to the first figure, he relaxed, in a way that he had only done once before. With a slow expulsion of breath, he let all the charged magic drain from his fingers. Only another mage would be aware that he had just let go of all his power. He had been born of a tribe of hunter-raiders in Valenwood. He knew that such calm conversation meant one of two things. Either no harm was meant, at least not at first, or they were simply so wholly outclassed that there was absolutely nothing that could be done. Y'ffre let it be the first.

Lady N's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2010

Mielle had seen her share of Argonians, and been in her share of standoffs (and even a few fights), but now, to her shame, she stood frozen. Thoughs raced through her head. She had only been with the group a minute or two, not enough time to get a good idea of their strength and rationality. For all she knew the Altmer had insulted the beast's parantage, and they'd all be dead in seconds. The sheer unknown of the creature frightened her more than anything else. She couldn't understand its language or read its body's movements. Even its body was foreign, an amalgram of human and serpent, bearing traits of both but not really ecompassing either. 

She panics.

Options run through her head, all inevitably ending in death. Time slows, then speeds up, some movements too fast to fathom, others slow as if submerged in syrup. She watches the group tense, no doubt trying to work a way out of the problem just as she. She sees the bosmer muttering something under his breath; hopes it is not a spell. Attack unwise when against an unknown foe.

It was then that she sees the woman (woman? Hard to tell at this distance) approaching from the jungle beyond. She looks human from afar, calm, in control. Mielle hopes that it means rescue.

Her hopes evaporate once the woman speaks.

The tongue is strange, slippery almost, yet somehow melodic. Mielle finds herself wondering how a human mouth can make such sounds. She recalls hearing a song in ancient Keptu once, is reminded of its cadences, if only for the feeling of something utterly foreign that sweeps through her now and swept through her then. The foreign woman looks as if she knows the creature; Mielle cannot decide whether this spells doom or salvation.

There is a tense moment of silence; between the survivors, between the foreigners, and between both groups.

Mielle does the only thing she can think of, and asks, quietly, hesitantly, "anyone know what is going on here?"

Somehow, this made the tension inside her vanish. Perhaps the new arrivals spoke Common, and would explain, and the whole unpleasant situation could be forgotten. Or maybe one of the survivors knew what was happening (the Altmer was a likely bet), and they could all formulate a strategy. And if her voice enraged the beast and cause their deaths... well, might as well die now rather than later.

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Joined: 01/03/2011

Molag'Sil felt a brief flash of irritation as the woman approached from where she almost certainly had been observing them for some time. He had everything under control! He had given the traditional Tsaesci indication of good will, the downward facing palms. Then why did it react in as to an insult? He had been observing the Tsaesci's behavior carefully, and its subtle transition to an aggressive stance had not gone unnoticed. But even if the situation had become violent, he could feel the Bosmer readying what felt like quite a powerful spell. You are not needed here! he glared at the approaching figure.

But then he saw her eyes. Good gods, what are these people? he thought. What manner of beings are these, that walk and look like humans, but have the eyes and tongue of the serpent? She called him Szuradj. Very well, that's something. But if they are truly hunting us, what use is a warrior's name?

The latest arrival asked a question. Molag'Sil didn't take his eyes from the two Akavir, but backed slowly away. "I cannot say for certain. They seem to be...Tsaesci...from Akavir? The people of the Imperial Potentate?" He kept his voice low, calm, flat. "But...the female looks almost entirely human. Yet you see the eyes? I know not what to make of this." If they view us as prey, we will certainly have a fight on our hands. The orc can probably handle himself, his kind are natural fighters, are they not? The newcomer seems paralyzed by fear and the jester's a gibbering wreck. But the wood elf, he has power. In Aldmeris, he muttered <Friend Bosmer, ready your magicks.>