Author Topic: Jarmok's History - Not that he would share it with you...  (Read 1591 times)

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Offline Johan

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Jarmok's History - Not that he would share it with you...
« on: March 26, 2005, 01:41:24 PM »
The air was salty. It hurt to move. Somewhere in the deep recesses of his awareness was the realization that he was alive. Were he dead, there would be no pain. He opened his eyes on a broad, barren beach. The sun was low in the west. Night will bring scavengers. He thought. To be asleep on the beach would invite his death. But where was he? The land seemed odd. It seemed to him that the beach ought not face northerly, but why this might be he could not say.

Whether or not this was his home, his instincts told him that he needed to find shelter. He had sustained a great deal of damage; he thought his right arm must be broken and perhaps his right foot as well. Neither seemed to work quite right.

As he wondered what he might do, his nose caught the scent of fire over the brine. Then the voice of the ocean was shadowed by the sounds of people. Jarmok?s heart throbbed and fear splashed upon his soul. Unable to stand, he crawled towards the tall, dense grass at the edge of the sands; it was a much longer journey that he might have imagined. Exhausted, he collapsed amid the sea grasses.


The sounds of rejoicing assailed him. Music. Dancing. Laughter. Then his nose was awakened by the sweet smell of well-cooked meat. Fish. Flowers. A cool pressure graced his forehead. He opened his eyes to a dark, unfamiliar room and a lovely face with kind eyes and a friendly smile that put him instantly at ease. He closed his eyes gratefully. He was in no danger; he wondered why that thought seemed somehow foreign to him.

The next weeks passed quickly for Jarmok. He had been found on the beach, near dead, by a nomadic people. They brought him back to their camp and cared for him. Although they were friendly, they were careful to not cultivate friendship. They were as much frightened as they were helpful. Jarmok got the sense that it wasn?t him they were frightened of, but it was something that he must represent to them. He didn?t press it. He took their care, and what form of friendship they were willing to give, and he took them with great gratitude.

When, after nearly a full moon, he was near-healed, the gypsy leader came to him and explained. He told Jarmok that his people believed that Jarmok must have been on a ship of the Xanthakos Empire, and was likely bound for slavery in their land. This navy and it?s slaving ways are often referred to as ?Shadow Riders?. The gypsies theory was that Jarmok must have escaped ? albeit barely ? and that he was likely already being sought by the Empire. His presence was a danger for the family; he asked Jarmok to leave.

Unwilling to place his rescuers in danger, Jarmok agreed, and readily. The gypsies gave Jarmok a worn battle axe, a slightly abused long bow, and some mis-matched armor, and their blessings, and sent him on his way, pointing him in the direction of the setting fiery moon.

Jarmok avowed the gypsies his perpetual gratitude and indebtedness, and sadly left them, forever burned as his earliest memory that lovely face whose large and kind eyes crowned a friendly smile. To him, this was his mother as he knew no better.

Life was not easy for Jarmok as he wended his way into the night, but at least he was free. Summer was upon him and he honed his hunting and tracking skills daily. He tended away from the hated ocean and kept himself hidden in the forests of the land, fretting that agents of the Xanthakos Empire might once again seek to enslave him. Fear kept Jarmok alone but alive.

Red was touching the leaves as Jarmok came upon such a town as seemed untouched by shadowy figures. The town, being nestled in an idyllic mountain valley through which ran a mighty river presented the wayward traveler with the makings of a survivable winter.

Winter, however, set earlier than he expected and was colder than it should have been. As game became scarce, the hunter no longer hunted. In the belly of darkness, the hunter became the hunted. The survivability of that winter became more a question than a likelihood. Desperation moved Jarmok to kill and abscond with a sheep that was decidedly domesticated. Then another. He regretted this method of survival, but survival it was, and his options were few. He could not trust the inhabitants of the valley?not yet.

The nights were longer than ever when Jarmok, arriving back at his cave from a ?hunting? trip (sheep in hand), heard the crunch of newly-formed frost coming from behind a boulder. He crouched, dropping the sheep, and found himself under attack. Covered by a net, he struggled to free himself, stopping only when he realized that there was a crossbow aimed at him.

He found himself face-to-face with a grizzled old man. Disheveled as he was, this new-comer didn?t seem evil; his old eyes had a gentle, understanding cast to them. He lowered and disarmed his crossbow. ?Just trying to survive, aren?t you?? He asked in a voice as grizzly as he appeared.

Jarmok only nodded, unsure of what to expect. His captor nodded understandingly and knelt next to his captive, gently removing the net. ?The townsmen are frightened of the ?beast? that?s been killing their animals.? He explained. ?Come with me. I?ll help you learn to hunt if you promise to stop taking domestic animals.? The old man held his hand out to help Jarmok up.

Suspicion lurked in Jarmok?s mind, but his senses told him that this was not a wicked man. Tentatively taking the man?s hand Jarmok was surprised to feel the strength therein. Old this man may be, but not frail. ?Name?s Mercer.? He said by way of introduction. ?Bring yer sheep, but that?s the last one. From now on, you live off the wilderness. If you can?t live with that, I?ll have to run you off. But if you can, you?re welcome at my cabin.?

Quickly weighing his options, Jarmok accepted the old man?s invitation and, taking up the sheep, followed at a respectable distance. His eyes darted about the forest, looking for signs of a trap, but there appeared to be none.

Winter passed in a surprisingly contented manner for Jarmok. Mercer quickly became a friend and mentor to him, teaching the ways of the forest and the animals therein. Jarmok, for his part, was an apt pupil; an innate friend of nature. He couldn?t understand why anyone would want to live in an area clustered with people.

People, you see, suck.
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