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The Dale of Wolves

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Wildfire:
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)

Johan:
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.

Wildfire:
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.

Wildfire:
bump

Johan:
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.

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