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D&D Campaigns => Threshold => In Character Discussions => Topic started by: Wildfire on June 24, 2008, 07:14:10 PM

Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on June 24, 2008, 07:14:10 PM
The Dale of Wolves

Duthash Gyth Arkus VY. 237  (May 28)

Ashe leaped from the balcony overlooking the enormous waterfall. He plummeted head-first towards the rocky froth below. His grey hair whipped back and his emerald green cloak fluttered behind him like a flag in a vicious wind. He held his arms out and spread his fingers. His face was elongating and his legs were shortening. The symbol on his chest blazed forth and in a flash he transformed into a silver falcon. He caught a burst of mountain wind and was elevated over the thick, wild forest.

The terrain before him was a pleasant cocktail of streams, trees, and hills…oh the undulating hills! He was in the Wildlands and the majesty of it always gave him pause. He knew well why the folks that lived here fought so valiantly for their homeland as its beauty rivaled that of the Valley of Mist. He hoped the honorable folks would win their war with the City-State of Rhohannus and secure their sovereignty. That matter was not his concern though. He had sympathy for the Wildlanders’ struggle but such was not his place to interfere. There were other matters to attend to.

He had come to the Wildlands, in particular, to the sacred Tower, in order to speak with Zebulon about the Vallenwoods. He had to find out where the next acorn would drop so Maccabeus could claim it and save Whisper and her Goldleaf trees. Only one acorn would drop on the Day of the Valley to signify the Valley’s rebirth. It was a production of hope. Ashe speculated that perhaps someday the Vallenwoods would be freer with their children and they would once again claim this land as theirs.

Having gotten his answer from Mahiya’s Champion, Ashe decided he would visit the tribe of Dale Gnomes that Maccabeus hailed from since they were a relatively short flight away. He wanted to pay his respects to Maccabeus’s mentor, Shankaria. The venerable druid prayed to Akadi, a child of Mahiya, for swift winds to bring him to the remote tribe. A burst of wind blew from behind him and continued to carry Ashe over the rich and vibrant land.

(OOC: Johan, I would be most pleased if you were to play the part of the beloved Dale Gnomes in this thread when the time comes)
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on June 24, 2008, 09:18:58 PM
I think that this can be done happily, Wildfire.

You and I will need to do some coordinating though.

Finally got to figure this out:

The night’s hunt had been good for Farnack and his younger brother, Arhaneia. With their wolf friends (Bragthar and Graiggur) they had located and overcome a good-sized boar. It wasn’t huge, but it was certainly enough to feed their clan for a couple of days. Perhaps even a few.

As Kossuth rose free of the hidden horizon, Farnack and Arheneia carried the boar into their clan-camp. They had set themselves up there when Venric broke into Sythus. There was a good fish-bearing river to fish, and there was a variety of hunting here, being that they weren’t too far from the forest’s edge, and the herd animals that dwelled in the Dale. They would stay here through Brak and into Rynnyx, when they would once again move northward to the somewhat warmer – although more crowded – reaches of the forest north of Bralsham.

Farnack was very tired from the night’s hunt, and he could tell that Arheneia was similarly tired. From ahead of them amongst the oaks, birch, and maple trees there came the low greeting of Karaschel, a young badger that had bonded with Tarrangus, the clan’s skinner and tanner. Bragthar, Graiggur, and Karaschel had become fast friends in the short time that Karaschel had been in the clan, and the two wolves bounded ahead to greet the badger. It wouldn’t be too long before they arrived at the clan-camp, and Farnack could sleep. They would eat a good meal this night.

Rather suddenly Farnack could smell the morning fire of this clan-camp. It was burning high this morning; no doubt the clan already knew of their success. That was often the case.

An impossibly loud hawk’s screech made Farnack jump in surprise. Arhaneia did much the same, and they almost dropped the boar that was slung upon their spears between them. They both cast their eyes to the sky to catch a glimpse through the trees. Farnack wasn’t surprised to see nothing through the trees.

“Kossuth’s blaze.” Arheneia swore. “Tha’s th’ bighest hawk ah e’er seen.”

“Ah dinna seeit.” Farnack admitted.

“’s biggah’n tha’ ol’ Gnarcheon’s eagle.” Arheneia said.

“Kossuth’s blaze.” Farnack agreed with his brother’s earlier assessment. He cast his dark eyes upward, hoping to see the roc.

He was disappointed though, and they returned to their clan-camp in silence, as was their wont. He just wanted to turn the boar over to Tarrangus, who would skin it, then turn the cookable part over to Chuntinka who, with her sisters, would cook it for the day while Farnack would catch up on his sleep.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on August 22, 2008, 07:31:19 PM
The venerable Druid with his predatory eyes noticed the two hunter gnomes carrying their kill. They were, no doubt, heading towards the source of the grey smoke plume that rose into the air not too far away. How simple a life they led Ashe thought and he longed for simpler times.

Simpler times were not a luxury at this moment. With the omen of the Blood Tear in the sky, simpler times were certainly not forthcoming. There was much weighing heavily on Ashes mind and he felt as though neither his life nor his wisdom was enough to contain all of it. It would be easier if the unfolding events would relent and offer themselves up in turn but such was not the case.

His meeting with Zebulon was soothing though. The Champion of Mahiya held within him the spirit of Mahiya completely. Though he was not the avatar of Mahiya he was certainly the closest thing to it in the physical world. It was odd for Ashe to see his grandson in such a unique position. Liam was a gifted Druid that Ashe had taught since the youth could walk. It was fitting that Liam was chosen to harbor the great spirit of Zebulon since it was Ashe’s father that had done the same. The Druid turned falcon could not be prouder of his heritage and descendants.

Ashe decided that these two hunter gnomes, having been skilled at traveling across “the skin of the land” as his friend Mercer used to say, just might know where Shankara might be.

He went into a decent and looped around to a nearby copse of trees where he could make his transformation. The Dale Gnomes revered the Golden Stag and would see one as sign of luck and not run away or take up arms. This was his best course Ashe determined.

He landed on a sturdy tree branch and reverted back into his human form. The elation of flight stayed with him as he swung down from the branch to the ground making as much noise as possible hoping the gnomes would be alert enough to hear it.

Without hesitation, the aged man invoked his gift. His body began to glow with an aura of gold and soon he was walking on four hoofed legs towards the two hunters. The emblem of Mahiya, a circle with quadrants representing the four elements, blazed on his chest. His fur was a rich gold and his massive antlers were a gleaming silver. He had contacted Maccabeus in this image of sacred wildness so very long ago it seemed. That had been a meeting of destiny…that had been a meeting that would be the marker of new times.

Ashe innocently walked out of the trees and towards the two clansmen. He made no motions of casualness as he had little time for coy games. He was on a mission.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on September 06, 2008, 06:50:46 PM
bump
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on September 24, 2008, 09:03:47 PM
As Ashe assumed the shape of the Great Stag, and was about to step forth into the vision of the two small hunters, a rapid flurry of color fluttered in front of his sapphire eyes. The suddenness of the assault took Ashe completely by surprise, and he took a hesitant step backward.

He quickly identified a female kestrel flapping furiously in front of him, her back was a beautiful pale red, her wings were silver, and black dots spotted her back and chest. Her eyes were the color of Istisha’s moon at its fullness. Ashe regarded her with curiosity for a moment, and then the little bird alit upon the upper frond of his left antler.

A small, gentle voice spoke in Ashe’s mind. “Should you show these hammarahn your stag form, revered Brother, they might well stop thinking entirely.” She said. “It’d be safer to show them your human form.” The little bird winked a bright green eye at Ashe’s Sapphire ones.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on October 09, 2008, 07:00:33 PM
I realize that this is like calling the kettle black, but...

bump
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on November 05, 2008, 05:59:46 PM
Ashe thought this little bird curious…it did after all speak within his mind. To Ashe’s knowledge only seers had that power or the occasional arcane crafter…of which there were few Ashe well knew.

Could this little bird, who had called him revered brother, know who he, in fact, was? If it did, could this be Maccabeus’s teacher?

Realizing that his thoughts of surprise were not going to answer his questions he decided to speak back…in his natural tongue.

“My many thanks little wondrous bird. May I have the honor of your name?” he requested while searching for any signatures of Mahiya.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on November 09, 2008, 02:19:44 PM
The colorful bird of prey twittered in the way of birds, and the silky voice once again entered Ashe's mind. The slightly clumsy nature of the intrusion told Ashe that this was no skilled seer, but the communication was effective nonetheless.

"I am Shankaria, brother." She answered. "I am a servant of Mahiya and protector of these lands and these hammarahn as well. I beseech you, approach them with care and kindness, as they are tender children of the wolves and carry not the sophistication of our world."

The bird flitted off from Ashe's great antler and alit upon the frond of a birch tree near by. The trees here were naturally further along in their venric growth as compared to the trees around Threshold. Still, she had alit upon a branch that afforded Ashe easy view of her.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on November 11, 2008, 06:23:08 PM
“Shankaria! It’s her!” Ashe thought.

Though Ashe carried the title of Hierophant he always felt honored in meeting those that were in service to that which he held most dear. They were kin through thought and persuasion. The idea of meeting Shankaria filled him with wonder as she would, no doubt, have different means and wisdom than he though their goals were ultimately the same. Here was a chance to learn ever more…and perhaps teach.

“I’m am most humbled by your presence Sister Shankaria and equally surprised for it is you I seek. A son of your clan has arrived into my guidance and shows remarkable promise. In fact, the purpose of my journey to the Tower once again is due to him. I felt it would be ill mannered to be so close and not pay a visit to his homeland and in particular, his revered Torqaniq.”

Ashe felt as though he should reveal his true form. Though in a flash he wondered exactly what form that was! He had been many things on many occasions and to be defined by one seemed inadequate. Realizing that that this was a pondering for the flight home he reverted to his birth form.

Ashe stood on his two human legs. His long silvery hair tussled down in a wild mess. At once, he gave a bow to the colorful bird and checked to see if the “hammarahn” could see the activity near them.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on November 11, 2008, 07:13:43 PM
ugh...I have NO idea what Shankaria looks like. This is going to take some time :(

We should perhaps kabbitz on it.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on November 12, 2008, 06:18:35 PM
Love to toss those curveballs  ;)
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on November 23, 2008, 11:21:46 AM
bump de bump
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on November 27, 2008, 08:35:40 PM
The little falcon fluttered to the ground, her wings flapping furiously so that her form was blurred and her color s mereged with one another. When finally she alit upon the ground in front of Ashe she was no longer a bird.

She was instead a small middle-aged Dale Gnome, over whom Maccabeus towered. She was lovely in her own right, with bright green eyes, but she was also quite feral.

Her brownish-red hair was everywhere, and wiry besides. Bits of twig and pine needle nestled here and there in it

Although the dark skin of her face and hands was clean, her clothes were a shambles. Wrinkled, and while not dirty they too carried bits of wood, grass, and leaves, not to mention the occasional feather or two. She wore tiny pants and a tiny tunic, and a tiny open-front robe of earthen hues. Ashe noted that her feet were bare and hairy, covered with thick wires of black.

In her hands was a staff that was slightly taller than she was - it was all of three feet in height. In was an ancient staff, the upper end of the shaft of which was inlaid with the ancient symbol of Mahiya and her children, made apparently from ebony. The lower end of the staff's shaft was carved in magnificent workmanship with the image of wolves chasing a deer. Ashe was interested to see those images shift as she moved, making it appear that the wolves were chasing the deer.

"I am gladdened by your visit, but would be even more gladdened by the gift of your name, revered brother." She said. Her voice was rather small, but smooth as fine silk. It was much in contrast to the nasal voices of the Dale Gnomes that were just now on their was to their clan-camp. "And might I ask also which of my clans sons you have been met with?"
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on November 29, 2008, 03:51:14 PM
With a curt bow Ashe stated, as he revealed his bronzewood medallion, “My name is Ashe Clearwater, Son of Zachary Clearwater the Avatar of Zebulon.” Ashe wondered if Shankaria would recognize the name of Zebulon or if the Dale Gnomes would know that entity by a different name. “It is by the arrival of Maccabeus and Brother Wolf, Ministers to The Ring of Mists, that I have come to visit.”

Ashe unlaced his baggy, emerald green shirt unveiling the symbol of Mahiya imprinted on his chest. He wasn’t sure what he was looking to achieve by such a gesture except to show that there was a something common between them.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on December 03, 2008, 02:06:30 PM
You know, it hasn't been said, but I would think that this conversation is being held in the Cant.

Also, I wonder at the Clearwater name. The last time Ashe instroduced himself he was Prysant or somesuch.

A broad smile graced Shankaria's face at the mention of Maccabeus's name. "Welcome to my home, Ashe." She said grandly.

Then, her formalities apparently complete, she waved a hand in up at Ashe as he bared his chest. "No need for that, silly man." She said playfully. "Tell me please what news of Maccabeus and what's this Ring of Mists of which you speak? What has that rascal stumbled into? I've heard nothing since he left me so long ago."

She spoke like a worrisome mother who hadn't heard from an errant trouble-making son, and she projected a strong maternal sense that Ashe knew would make even the tallest trees feel young and immature by her presence. It seemed as though she was mother to all who lived in these lands.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on December 03, 2008, 07:06:45 PM
Correct on both accounts Johan. And my applause on your astute observation towards the name…and no, it’s not a mistake.

Ashe did indeed feel silly with his grandeur of showing the natural tattoo on his chest.

Progressing on, Ashe responded to her inquiries with one of his own, “Shall we walk to your Dale Gnomes fires while we speak?”
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on December 05, 2008, 08:08:11 AM
Shankaria's head bobbed in the fashion that Ashe had numerous times seen Maccabeus's head bob while he thought on propositions. "We could do that, if you'd like, but be warned: if we do that, we're going to have to entertain them and tend to all their ails; we won't get a moment to talk betwixt ourselves." If you join me in flight, my home is but a hand or so north of here, where we can eat and talk in peace and privacy." Her brows lifted in question above her bright green eyes.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on December 06, 2008, 09:25:25 AM
“Then fly we shall!” Ashe proclaimed. Ashe jumped into the air and before his feet would have touched the ground he was suspending himself in feathery, silver winged flight.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on December 11, 2008, 10:16:37 PM
The colorful little falcon was on her wing even as Ashe hefted himself into the air.

Ashe's huge silver wings dwarfed Shankaria's much smaller vibrant ones. Initially, Ashe tried to follow Shankaria closely, but in short order he realized that Shankaria was as capricious a flyer as Maccabeus was a thinker. As she flew forward she rose and fell, she swayed left and right, as if pushed about by the unseen hand of an aeffreet.. Ashe recognized that she looked in flight much as Maccabues did during his morning dance.

Ashe did the best that he could in predicting Shankaria’s path. He soared as straight as he could, following her continually variable path as they made their way northward. They were still above the trees of the wildlands, but from a height Ashe could see the wide expanse of plains that was the Dale of Wolves not far to the west.

Kossuth rose by about a hand – a little more, actually – when Shankaria rose up higher and higher into the air. Having watched the utter enjoyment that she held in her flight thus far, Ashe knew what was to come.

Up, up she rose. Higher and higher. Ashe only watched, keeping himself below her. A fine falcon’s screech cut through the morning air as Shankaria reveled in her flight. Abruptly her ascent came to a halt. She rolled over onto her back and rolled into a twirling dive.

In but a moment she was hurtling towards earth, spinning seemingly out of control as she did so. Far below her Ashe could see where she was headed. They were about a quarter of a day’s walk from the edge of the Dale of Wolves, and far below him was a small cottage that could only be owned by a Dale Gnome.

The cottage had actually once been a huge oak tree, nearly fifteen paces across. But the tree had long since fallen and was now capped with thatching. Ashe imagined that it had been hollowed out to make a cozy home.

There was a small vegetable and herb garden beside the cottage and a stream trickled happily around the yard. A horde of rabbits hopped merrily between the two, paying no heed whatever to the two raptors that so rapidly approached.

Ashe watched as Shankaria plunged towards the ground. It was clear to the venerable druid that she was either incredibly foolish or she was incredibly good. Suddenly she pulled up out of her dive and came to a near stop in mid-air, apparently defying the laws of physics as she consumed the sum total of her momentum in an oddly contorted blur.

The little Dale Gnome landed unceremoniously in the soil of her yard and was instantly covered by a blanket of rabbits.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on December 12, 2008, 06:52:09 PM
No worrries, I'm a patient bear  ;)
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on February 14, 2009, 05:48:05 PM
Ashe was amused at Shankaria’s flight. It perfectly defined the mannerisms that he had come to know as Dale Gnome trait. It reminded him of a tail expressing a cat’s emotions. There was an unrefined honesty that often came out in the animal form of an individual as though they had, in fact, actually become that creature.

The silver falcon had slowed his decent to the ground. Fluttering his wings in a hover, he morphed back to his natural human form and gently landed his feet to the ground. Ashe chuckled with a childlike laughter as he watched Shankaria play her family of rabbits. He thought it curious that gnome from the Dale of Wolves would be bold enough to have such pets amidst the many wolf packs that roamed this area. However, Shankaria was an agent of Mahiya and had a connection with animals as he had. The wolves would understand what was prey and what was friend.

The home that had been made here was cozy to Ashe to say the least. Suddenly the house he had back in Threshold didn’t seem so luxurious. He held no envy of the makeshift cottage but he admired the innovation of culture.

“In looking at your home, Shakaria, I regret not visiting sooner.” Ashe said with wonder. “I’m certain you would like my faerie friend Whisper, as she also lives in the heart of a great tree. In fact, it is she who has led me to the Tower west of here.”
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on February 17, 2009, 05:30:16 PM
"Begone, rascals!" Shankaria shouted playfully at her rabbit friends. They scattered, clearly having played that game before.

"A-ya." She replied to Ashe as she rose to her bare feet. "Welkum ta me burrough."

She transitioned suddenly to the cant then. "How can we not love the faerun, eh?" She asked. Ashe noted that even though she spoke the cant, she carried now a thick north-woods accent that she had not exhibited earlier.

She transitioned once again to the common tongue, then. "A trip ta th' tower essplains yer bein' in th' Dale, an' I'm glad tha' ye came ta me ta talk on Maccabeus too." She moved about her yard much like a human child would: her walk was almost a skip. As she spoke to Ashe she poked her ancient staff into her dormant fire pit. Flames leapt up merrily. "Wha's Istisha gut'm doo'n?" Next to the fire pit there was a large (though still gnome-sized), covered black cauldron that hung upon a transit. She swung the cauldron over the fire and turned her bright green eyes to her visitor.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on February 20, 2009, 09:06:21 PM
Ashe mused at the comment. Only one of a pure understanding could ask that question seriously and without doubt. Ashe sat by the newborn fire and took off his boots. His aged and gnarly toes cracked as he stretched them out before the flames. Few things matched the comfort of a fire at ones feet.

“Grand things await good Maccabeus and his Wolf brother.” Ashe said with pride in the nature cant. “He has brought the Ring of Mists back into majestic awakening by the healing power of Istisha. They have been chosen and it’s my honor to say that they are fitting the role perfectly.”

“It is no accident that Maccabeus and Grr growl grr grr have arrived.” Ashe said with a tint of distress and speaking Wolf’s lupine name with ease. “The soldiers of the Nameless Void have been on the up rise and times are on the edge of change. You’ve no doubt seen the Blood Tear.” Ashe, through his Seer’s training and omen reading, knew this to be an unavoidable truth. “Our Maccabeus could very well be instrumental in shaping the future in the trials to come. Istisha, Syrryth’Nyx, as you well know, does not choose it's guardians lightly.”

Wildfire's Note: For further background and memory shaking please read the ICD "Secrets and Truths"  http://griznuq.com/index.php?topic=5236.0
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on February 23, 2009, 01:45:27 PM
North Woodlands Gnomish 0066ff
Brethren's Cant ff9933
Common (for the wildlands)


Shankaria's face held a moment of sadness as Ashe spoke. "Ah-norya." She said. "Ah'v seen th' Descent." She clucked, knowing as Ashe knew that dark times lay ahead.

"And I'll be not surprised to see that Maccabeus and Wolf are pivitol in your grandson's efforts against the Bull's Head. Those two are special amongst special folk, though neither knows it." Ashe could tell that there was more than mere pride in Shankaria as she spoke on her former student.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on February 24, 2009, 07:25:49 PM
OOC: My aplogies for the delay...the baking is over

“Special indeed” Ashe confirmed. “He has already planted a Vallenwood…a seed that I had been holding for a reason that, until recently, eluded me. It’s now come to light as to why. It was meant for him…as other seeds are meant for him and those who would seek what he seeks.” Ashe’s eyes went vaguely vacant as he spoke.

He went deep into his own mind and was acutely aware of his surroundings and events to come. He saw a majestic forest of singing trees shedding a tranquil light. They spoke the wisdom of ages past and present. Their word was in the most ancient tongue…the tongue of Mahiya, of Nyx itself. The forest was not the Valley of Mist but rather it was the daughter of Valley and was equally sacred.

Ashe’s now wispy voice floated on the breeze and his eyes echoed the stars, “This is his dream, the dream of us all, the dream of the Vallenwoods, the gift of Nyx. It will be his legacy if he should so choose it to be.”

Ashe consciousness became presently acute. “The future and what may come to pass is but a hope. As for the now, the minions of Zyxu infected a most treasured grove near the Ring of Mists. The guardian dryad of the grove was likewise affected. Without the life breathing power of the Vallenwood, she and the grove will wither and die…or worse yet, become one of them. Maccabeus has taken the mantle of preventing that. Soon he will be armed with the knowledge that Zebulon has imparted to me as to where to find the youngling tree. This is one of many steps for both sides.”

Ashe looked down at the short wise woman, “Truly his first teacher must be extraordinary indeed to have nurtured such a mind as passionate as his.”
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on March 25, 2009, 09:13:50 AM
At this last compliment, Shankaria’s ruddy face flushed. “You give me too much credit.” She said. “I did ought but what Mahiya and her children bade me do.” That was true, certainly, but Ashe knew that craftsmen use only the finest of tools for their work.

“In truth,” she continued, “I knew that a Vallenwood had been planted. I was deep in the wood dancing with the Vallenbrush on the morning of the planting. Though I knew not where or by whom the planting had been had, I knew that it had been done. It warms my heart to know that my Rascal had a hand in it.”

She looked up at the elder human then. “An’ don’ ye wurree none.” She said. “He’ll have dun what he sets ta doin’. Him an’ Wolf’ll hav’ it Her way. The lights’ll shimmer forth frum th’ gates o’ the Valley an’ th’ Bull’s Head’ll be blinded an’ hornless asides.” She jerked her head in a nod that seemed as though to assure the doing of her portent. “Th’ Rascal’ll make good’uv it.”

“If you need, revered Brother,” she added, falling back into her cant. “My forests are at peace, relatively at the moment, and she is well guarded in the now by her Gnarcheon. I’ll make my way to Threshold to ward over the Ring of Mists (which I’d be remiss to not see) while Maccabeus and Wolf journey to the Acorn.” Her eyes took a far-away glaze to them. “It’s been a long, long while since I’ve crested the mount into the Valley. It’d do my old bones good to see it.”
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on March 25, 2009, 07:05:05 PM
Ashe silently berated himself for not extending an offer to join him. He tried to rationalize it by maintaining that much had been on his mind, but deep down, he knew that wasn’t true. He simply hadn’t thought of it.

“I think it would be a savory surprise for Maccabeus if you were to come back with me. Not sure what the ol boy would do to be quite honest.” Ashe smirked at thinking of Maccabeus’s antics…and really, he knew just where they came from.

“He’ll be more at ease knowing that someone is there to guard the Ring just in case. Not that others wouldn’t bu…” Ashe thought a moment. He remembered that the Wolfjaw family would be back from their hunting trip soon if not already. “How would you like to meet the descendants of the Great Hunter while you’re in Threshold? I can assure you they would fascinated by your arrival.”
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on March 26, 2009, 08:47:38 AM
"Akh kreuberrin!" Shankaria exclaimed, stirring her heating cauldron with a wooden spoon that looked more like an oar than not. "An' a treat tha'd be." Her feet did a little jig while she worked. She moved a clay kettle over to the edge of the fire, resting it on a flat stone that looked to be there for that specific purpose.

"Buht I can' leave jest yet." She continued pleasantly. "Th' Gnarcheon are meetin' a' th' Grove a' Needles inna bit more th'n a week yet. After tha' I'll be along. If ah miss'em, ah'll see'em onna their return."

She turned about, covering her pot, and skipped over to a small well-worn stump that appeared to be worked into a chair just for her. A small reddish rabbit hopped into her lap as she sat. "But tell, me dear," she addressed Ashe, pulling his wandering attention from the various rabbits that littered the vicinity of Shakaria's cottage. "How's your young scion?"
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on April 09, 2009, 07:43:36 PM
Ashe’s pride swelled at the mention of the young Vallenwood. As he took a seat on a nearby moss frosted rock he wondered how much more it would have grown by the time he got back to the Ring of Mists.

Speaking in cant he replied, “It’s truly majestic. I’ve never seen any tree grow as fast as this one. What makes it truly gifted is that it’s drinking from four very remarkable founts.” Again Ashe’s thoughts went back to Maccabeus. Had it not been for his channeling of Istisha’s life healing power, the founts may never have seen salvation. In fact, something far worse may have occurred though only Ashe was aware of that.  “Each fount, it would seem, is the blood of the four. As their waters mingle, a most unique water is made.” The venerable druid thought for a moment and continued, “I’ve been to many places…many sacred places in my life…and I’ve not ever seen water of this kind. It has a purity that…well, is divine.”

Ashe felt his shortness of words did little justice to describing the nature of the water. He knew that the wise Dale Gnome would understand.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on April 10, 2009, 08:18:10 AM
HAHA!

scion: Pronunciation [sahy-uhn]
 
–noun
1. a descendant.
2. Also, cion. a shoot or twig, esp. one cut for grafting or planting; a cutting.

I had intended definition 1, and you took definition 2 (with masterful literary license)...I'm going to have to digest this! :)
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on April 10, 2009, 08:32:40 PM
;)
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on April 16, 2009, 08:36:53 AM
Ashe's gift of allegory was amazing to Shankaria. Of course he would think on his grandson as a tree, in prefect unity with Her. Shankaria laughed a bit as she borrowed Ashe's metaphore and posed Maccabeus as a shrub. With all of his wiry hair the allusion was a perfect fit and she somehow thought that she might never again see her rascal as a gnome, but would forever more cast him as a bush.

"Time is faster at the end than it is at the beginning." She said.

"I shall have to visit soon then." She mused, thinking to stop by the Tower of Zebulon en route to Threshold in the next fortnight. "I suppose that's why She chose to put his home where he could soar, towering over all to better survey and protect. Blessed are we who are his friends."

She smiled and rocked in her joy at this happy day that brought her in touch with her unknown brother.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on April 16, 2009, 07:21:12 PM
Tower? Ashe thought. He pictured the mountains around The Ring of Mists and Threshold as watchtowers to guard the Valley. He smiled at the wise gnome with an assuring nod.

“I’m sure it would please Zebulon if you were to pay him a visit.” Ashe said with confidence. “The last time he was seen it was my father, Zachary Clearwater, who brought him forth and became him. It might please you to know that my father was a friend, a blood brother, to the Great Hunter.”

The puzzle in Ashe’s mind became clearer as destinies were being realized. Everything seemed to make more sense. The next generation of Chosen Ones was potentially emerging. Perhaps the Blood Tear wasn’t a sign of ill omen but rather, a change in the world. If , in fact, the Chosen were here once again, then why?

Ashe absent mindedly poked the fire with a stick. He watched the fiery wisps float into the dusky air. “There are no accidents, Shankaria. That which we may see as coincidence, is grand destiny and design. Every moment, we are exactly where we should be in this powerful play.”

Ashe again smiled wide as he glanced sidelong at revered woman. “It would be nice to see the Vallenwoods stretch their limbs to the fair forest here. I wonder how your kin would view such a blessing as that.”
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on April 17, 2009, 09:14:09 AM
I'm taking some liberties here, Wildfire. Please let me know if I've overstepped any bounds and we can fix them.

"Ah'v lived in these woods - an' on th' pray-eree - fer a lot longer th'n us gnomes git ta live." Shankaria said dreamily. "Th' Horn-ed Giant's a good frend ta hav' oot heah. In His grace, we gnarcheon kept th' north wood t'geth'r during th' last wahrs an' it wus in those tymes tha' I met yer da." She looked upon Ashe again, the memories obvious in her bright green eyes.

"Ye must fav'r yer ma." She smiled playfully and swayed in a little jig-like motion.

"Th' Rascal's skremarch - tha's his grand-da ta yew - made sher I met yer da, an' I'll be cotton-tail'd if I don' meet yer erkinmarch - tha's yer grand-boy ta yew." It was becoming obvious to Ashe that it was vitally important to Shankaria that airs not be put on. The little feral druid talked so plainly about the great icons that walked the earth, and that made some sense. Everything was perfect in Mahiya, but the large and the small were equally important, and it was good to keep in mind that all were but servants to Mahiya and her children.

"Yer right, lad: it'd be a nice thing ta see the great trees abound heah, bu' know ye tha' the Vallen family is alive an' well in the depths o' the forest. As I menshoned a wile bak...the Vallenbrush is heah, and in so bein' we keep th' Vallentree's home a-waitin'. Ah'd like very much ta bring a aykorn bak fer plantin'."

"An' ah'd like very much ta go'n meet the childr'n uv the Great Hunter. Ah'll bet I c'n tell'm a thing 'r too 'bout thier line tha' they don' know yit." She danced a bit with her cauldron as she seemed entertained by the notion of talking with the Wolfjaws.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on April 17, 2009, 06:55:23 PM
The liberties are just great actually…it’s good for me to have surprises too ;)

Ashe could hardly contain his glee! Shankaria was fast becoming one he would call kindred. It gave him comfort that one such as her was vigilantly watching over the forests here.

He was warmed by the mention of his father. Ashe had not seen his father for what seemed like ages. To his knowledge he was still alive…but in what form he could not say. Ashe barely knew his mother. She was an elusive fey that lived in the nightmarish  region now known as the Wasteland of Archea. He wasn’t sure if she lived through the calamity that befell that once beautiful wood. He got the sense that somehow she had.

Ashe was most intrigued by the prospect that Vallenbushes had survived. He’d not encountered one for many years and even then they were rare. He was now twitching with anticipation at seeing one. “Tell me, how prosperous are the Vallenbushes here? Their growth would be a most wonderful addition to The Ring of Mists.”
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on April 21, 2009, 11:50:28 AM
"Meh." Shankaria responded with a bob of her head. "th' 'brush'r heah and theah, tended too by the Vallenbrush Chakanthur."

She seemed to settle down a bit as she spoke and stirred her cauldron. She seemed a bit impatient for the stew that was in the cauldron to heat up. "Decades ago the shadewolves of these forests seemed determined to wipe the Vallenbrush clear, eradicating them completely. We lost countless acres of them in that dark time, and the Gnarcheon were hard-pressed to spread our already thin resources to prevent it. The Vallenbrush's soft whisper became quieter and quieter as the shadewolves neared their directive."

"It was decided that some of the Gnarcheon must undertake to specifically guard the Vallenbrush, and thus the Chakanthur were convened." She looked up at Ashe through tearing eyes that were impossibly vibrant green, as tearful eyes often became brighter than those in dry times. "Wuz a hard choice ta make, Ashe. We had ta leave many gnomes ta th' shadies tha' th' 'brush'd live." She looked to her bare feet and tears dropped onto them.

At length she gathered herself again and continued on. "The small group of Chakanthur were appointed to their tasks, and each was charged with a single, small Vallenbrush to secret away and tend in isolation. As Maccabeus's grandsire led a cadre of the Dale's finest against Shadewolves everywhere, the Chakanthur went their separate ways with their separate charges, and now there are pockets of the Vallenbrush that thrive and whisper to us while the shadewolves are fighting for their own survival and being pushed out."

"I know where most of the Vallenbrushes are, and I'll take you to my own, if you like. Without a Vallentree hereabouts, they don't have the ubiquitous voice that they used to have, but when you're with them you still hear their deep wisdom."

"But if yer commin' ta see her, ye'll haf ta not take tha' over-large bird-n-stag forms ye seem ta fav'r." She said playfully. "You can imagine that to secret the Vallenbrush away, we had to find or make places where you can't see them from the air, and a shadewolf can't get into, even as a pup. The enemy favors large agents, so the Vallenbrush is only now in those areas where the tiny can get to."
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on May 03, 2009, 04:19:18 PM
Ashe listened intently to the wise woman’s tale. He felt a genuine sorrow for the sacrifice the gnomes made but admiration in the devotion of the gnomes to guarding the precious Vallenbushes. “My sympathies for the loss of your kin, Shankaria. I imagine that it must not have been easy to say goodbye knowing what would happen. Though in their choice everyone knew the hope behind the sacrifice methinks.”

So much of this conversation forced Ashe to revisit his long lived life. Many sacrifices had been made through the years and he would never truly know if some were worth the price. He knew that there would be more to come and hoped that there would be more certainty in those choices. “Few things are ever certain” he thought. One thing he knew to be certain was visiting the Vallenbushes that she guarded. “Shall we eat before visiting the Little Vallen?”

Ashe leaned back and enjoyed the fire. The scent of flames always gave Ashe the feeling that no matter where he was, as long as there was a fire, he was home. He pulled out his longpipe and his pouch of Bimblesprig tabac. Opening the pouch he took a deep breath of the woody leaf and smiled. How he loved the comfort of his pipe. After placing the leaf in his pipe he stuck a twig in the fire and used it to light his pipe. He took the first draw and hummed as he exhaled.

Realizing that he might be perceived as being rude he looked to Shankaria and said, “Oh! Forgive me Shankaria…would you like to join me? It’s fine Bimblesprig dried just to the point of the best draw.”
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on May 04, 2009, 09:05:14 AM
"Ach, no thank ye." Shankaria  responded. "Is too early fer me pipin' yet." She was laying out a rough blanket on the ground, as though she were preparing a picnic spot.

Weighting the corners of the blanket with stones, she scampered into her home and quickly returned with a bowl of fruits and nuts. It wasn't a large bowl, but Shankaria was a small gnome, and so it seemed ponderous in her hands.

The fuits and nuts she unceremoniously dumped into the center of the blanket that she had just put down. As she looked at the small pile, she popped a round orange berry into her mouth and sucked on it. It ellicited a satisfying moan from the little wise woman.

"Th' stew ain't been heatin' long, but thar's warm left from breakin' me fast earlier, so it shouldn't be too col'. Uh'll haffa ask ye ta hol' yer bowl though; I canne handle both tha' an' the cauldron."

Ashe took the bowl from Shankaria; it was a rather plain clay bowl, and was poorly crafted besides, but it looked sturdy and was certainly capable of holding a near-noon-time stew.

Shankaria transitted the cauldron off of the fire and indicated for Ashe to hold the bowl so that she could, with the aid of a couple of thick cloth mits tip the cauldron and pour stew into the bowl.

The stew itself smelled wonderful; Shankaria was clearly a master of the spices. It contained venison and fish mostly, and was filled out and thickened by the addition of wisely-chosen tubers and roots.

It would probably have been easier for Ashe to serve himself, but that didn't seem to be an option here. Shankaria at last presented Ashe with a too-small spoon for him to use to eat his stew. "I usally jest take it right frum th' bowl, wit' p'rahps a bit o' bread, but if ye like, ye c'n use this spoon." She explained. She then disappeared again into her home and brought forth a somewhat amorphous lump of crusty bread which she tossed upon the blanket with the fruits and nuts. She then dunked a smaller bowl into the cauldron, serving herself some of the stew.

Setting herself on her little worn and shaped stump she ate with her hands, picking pieces of meat of vegetable out of the bowl and popping them into her little mouth.

"Tha' bowl ye use wuz made by th' rascal fer me when he ferst came ta me." She said, then noisily slurped at her bowl. "Ye don' show up at sumone's home ta live an' not bring sumthin' fer them. But he didn' haf nuthing - his skremarch had seen ta tha'. 'Th' less stuff ye haf, th' more stuff ye appreciate' he always says."
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on May 06, 2009, 08:08:45 PM
Ashe watched the motions of Shankaria. He found it amazing that she could be strikingly deliberate in a casual way. No action was without purpose or meaning. There was a wisdom that came from a life of this sort and Ashe was yearning to once again experience it without the noise of his surroundings back in Threshold.

“We are always where we need to be” he thought. Zebulon had spoken those words to him during the recent visit. Statements of wisdom were not easily forgotten by the master Druid and he would write them down for any that might care to read them. Though he scribed words of wisdom, he knew that only life would offer the experience of those words.

Ashe took the crude bowl and spoon from her offering hands. The spoon was dwarfed in comparison by what looked like his paw-like hands. He dipped the diminutive spoon into the bowl and took a sip of the broth. For such a simple meal the stew was remarkably tasty. However, the tiny utensil was not enough adequately sized to satisfy his voracious appetite.

Ashe instinctively looked to each side of his rock for a side table. He was momentarily confused by their absence. Witnessing the domestic antics of  Ashe, Shankaria mused, “Ye be away frum th’ forest too long m’think”.

Ashe chuckled to himself at how right she was. It was time to get back in touch. He glanced at Shankaria and said in the cant, “When in the forest, eat like the wolves!” At that he began to pick the plump pieces of meat out of the stew and slurp them down without reserve. Etiquette is relative.

While eating the juicy meal a thought came to Ashe and he figured he’d enquire. “Shankaria, you mentioned that the shadewolves were apparently on a mission to destroy the Vallenbushes…that it was their directive. Was there someone or something pushing them to this genocide?” Ashe dipped the rough bread into the stew to soften it. He savored the combined tastes and truly enjoyed the primal feeling of eating.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on May 07, 2009, 08:16:15 AM
"Ah-norya." The little gnome replied. This was the third time, at least, that Ashe had heard Shankaria use that north-woodland term, and this time he caught why it sounded so familliar to him - it had the same cadence that Maccabeus used when he said 'a-ya'. Ashe realized that Maccabeus, despite his studied diction was true to his northland home.

"Ye c'n bet onnit. Th' shadies mite be a bit smart as anim'ls go, but they don' think long-term - they don' plan and they don' jest attack treez-n-shrubs."

She burped rather suddenly and noisily and hic-coughed immediately thereafter. "Gracious." She said, seemingly surprised by the twin shudders. "Pardon me, revered brother. This stew does that to me, and it seems to take me by surprise every time." She then laughed deep and feral, Ashe thought he detected a slight growling canine influence to her laugh. "You'd think that I would expect it after all these years." Smiling, she went back to her bowl.

"Fer th' shadies to be so beaver-mind'd 'bout gettin' sumthin' dun, thar must've been sumone d'rectin' their doin's. But th' arrogance uv their master wuz our savin' - ha' they set th' wee folk ta tha' task, there'd be nuthin we gnarcheon could'a dun ta stop it. But as it's aullays been, the darkness likes th' big critters, thinkin' tha tha's where th' true power lies." She cast a fleeting reproachful look at Ashe as she spoke. "Their master, whoever tha' mite be, don' look ta the wee folk for his tools, an' tha's why we c'n doo whut we done."

"I think tha' they think they be dun wit their task too." She continued, placing her now empty bowl down beside her. She kneeled down on the blanket and started sifting through the pile of nuts and fruits that were there. "Hehe." She held up in her small palm two more or the orange fruits that Ashe had seen her eat earlier. "It's the right time of year for these barkenberries." She said. "They grow only here, as far as I know. You find them up in the tall pines, under the bark just above where the woodpeckers make their holes. I think that the woodpeckers bring the seed from the feyberry and accidentally plant it up there, and the addition of the pine creates this wonderful fruit. It's sweet and woody." She held one out to Ashe for him to try. The other she popped into her mouth with a hollow report.

"There'r no more vallenbrushes in th' forest tha' aren't hidden an' unner th' pr'tecshun uv a gnarcheon. Th' shadies 'r goin' back ta bein' solitary an' are a bit more randum in their doin's. They jest ain't so beaver-minded no more."

"Happily."
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on May 14, 2009, 07:21:22 PM
Ashe took the orange fruit from Shankaria and pondered it for a moment. What an odd occurrence for a pine tree to produce a fruit of this sort. He sniffed it in inspection and then bit the fruit in half.

Juice from the fruit ran down his whisker stubbed chin and his taste buds exploded with life. It was a sort of fruit he could liken to nothing else he’s eaten before. It was delicious! After all of the enthusiastic gnomish articulating of Maccabeus, Ashe would have expected the Barkenberry to have cropped up in conversation at least once.

Ashe’s love of plants demanded that he examine the half fruit to see the inside for the seeds and the meat of the berry. Interestingly enough the seeds were green. In an orange fruit they could not help but be seen.

Ashe popped the rest into his mouth and once again reeled at the taste. “Would you mind if I took some of these to the rascal?” Ashe queried. “I’m sure a taste of home would set him at ease before embarking to the Valley.”

Ashe thought back to Whisper in her golden grove. Part of him felt as though he was wasting precious little time with the Dale Gnomes. The other part of him knew that Shankaria and the other Gnarcherons would do well to know of the events unfolding. It was a choice that Ashe knew Whisper would not only support, but have encouraged.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on May 15, 2009, 08:49:12 AM
"Heeheehee..." Shankaria's cackle was that of a conspirator who couldn't hold a secret. "He don' eat'm." She said. "Gives'm a nasty rash. Heeheeheehee." She seemed to get a fair amount of pleasure out of that notion.

"But ah'll git ye sumthin' fer th' lad ta r'mind'm uv's start. Fer now, tho, we should be gitt'n along ta me Vallenbrush. It'll take us a bit o' goin' ta git there. Ye ready?" She looked questioningly at Ashe.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on May 15, 2009, 07:01:43 PM
Ashe mused at the slight gnome in her delight of Maccabeus's idosyncrasies. He slurped down the rest of his soup and with a burp pronounced, “Ready!”

Ashe wondered what sort of animal form he should assume. Shankaria stated that only small animals could get to where the bushes were but how far away…”How far away is the little guy?” Ashe finished his thought with words.
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Johan on May 18, 2009, 09:01:49 AM
Wildfire, I think that this is a good concluding place for this particular thread. I'd suggest that visiting the Vallenbrush would be served by its own thread. I also think that the Vallenbrush visit is flavor...it shouldn't impede the game itself from moving forward.

I'm going to develop an outline regarding how Shankaria leads Ashe to the Vallenbrush, and I'll bounce that off of you via e-mail (your comcast acc't?).

Any thoughts?
Title: The Dale of Wolves
Post by: Wildfire on May 20, 2009, 06:34:13 PM
I agree. The main point of the ICD has been fulfilled. Send me what you draw up to my comcast email.

As a side non impeding ICD we could flesh out more of the vallenbrush encounter and even perhaps a trek into the village proper if you like. If not, that's okay too.