Author Topic: The Dale of Wolves  (Read 2955 times)

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Offline Wildfire

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The Dale of Wolves
« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2009, 08:32:40 PM »
;)
Wildfire

One should never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity

Offline Johan

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The Dale of Wolves
« Reply #31 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.
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Offline Wildfire

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« Reply #32 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.”
Wildfire

One should never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity

Offline Johan

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« Reply #33 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.
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Offline Wildfire

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« Reply #34 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.”
Wildfire

One should never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity

Offline Johan

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« Reply #35 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."
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Offline Wildfire

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« Reply #36 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.”
Wildfire

One should never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity

Offline Johan

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« Reply #37 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."
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Offline Wildfire

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« Reply #38 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.
Wildfire

One should never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity

Offline Johan

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« Reply #39 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."
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Offline Wildfire

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« Reply #40 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.
Wildfire

One should never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity

Offline Johan

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« Reply #41 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.
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Offline Wildfire

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« Reply #42 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.
Wildfire

One should never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity

Offline Johan

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« Reply #43 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?
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Offline Wildfire

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« Reply #44 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.
Wildfire

One should never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity