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 Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert

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Alan_Dietrich

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:55 am

Sigurd's eyes narrowed "You may have doomed your child more than helped. You of all people should know that being a spellwolf is a gift! we can CHOOSE to change form with the exception of the full moon and you decided that praying to some god of the moon to rid her of her ability to survive attacks from non magic assailants!" Sigurd shifted into his hybrid form and raked his claws across his forearm splitting the skin only to watch it stitch back together. "You have damned her to a vulnerable life in hopes to protect her..." his voice was a low growl "That thinking alone would have gotten you exiled from home. I suggest your pray to Selune to give it back, less I come after her and convince her myself!"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:32 am

Brynoff glared at him. "Think what you want of the situation. It changes nothing." He stepped up to Sigurd, meeting his gaze. He stared down at him for a long moment, before he deflated and turned away.

"If it had been my choice alone I would have shouted from the mountain tops that she was my heir. I wanted nothing more than to raise her and teach her our ways. Lorelei made the call. I supported her decision."


Ashwyn frowned. She moved to Sigurd's side and placed a hand on his arm, a gentle signal to calm him. "He's right. It changes nothing now." She said softly, more to Sigurd than Brynoff. She turned away from her mate to look up at the older male. "What kind of attacks can we expect from this Kakerot, person?"

Brynoff didn't look up at them. His shoulders slumped in shame and sadness. "He doesn't fight clean, that's for sure. He'll take whatever advantage he thinks he has and try and use it against it. He also has teleportation magics. Which means he'll already be ahead of us if he's heading to where I think he's heading. I'd leave now to try and head him off if I thought it would do any good. And I won't leave Lopiena alone after tonight. Not until Kakerot's head is at my feet."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:23 pm

Sigurd turned to Brynoff and sighed "so what do you suggest, let the girl rest and then move out? If you know where he is then what's stopping us from going there?" he was half cautious and half gung-ho to attack Kakerot and he wasn't someone who enjoyed waiting when there was throats to be torn out.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:10 pm

Brynoff sighed. "She's had a rough night. It's probably best she sleeps. As you said, she has a weaker body." he saod, a bit of distain in his voice at the end. He cleared his throat.

"I'll gather a team of trust worthy fighters to send ahead of us. To keep an eye on things until we get there." he looked at Sigurd again. "And no, I don't know where he is. Not for sure. If I did I would have killed him years ago. But... His rage makes him predictable. I hope my hunch is wrong. But I don't think it is."


"Then it's settled." Ashwyn said. "You assemble your team. We'll stay here and guard the house. At first light we'll leave for Jacquelyn's village." she looked up at Brynoff. "I trust Zane can remain here until he's healed?"

Brynoff nodded. "Of course."

Ash nodded and turned to Sig. "Thoughts?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:15 pm

Sigurd didn't appreciate the backtalk but he bit his own tongue. He looked to Ashwyn and sighed "Fine, if we have no other choice then I suppose this will have to do. I do agree that the gnome stays here, he's no good to us in his current state." Grinding his teeth together he turned to Brynoff to say something but thought better of it "Go, rally your fighters, we'll be here at first light."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:32 pm

Brynoff nodded, without looking directly at Sigurd, and left.

Ashwyn sighed and turned back to her mate. "Can we just go one day without some major revelation?" She frowned.

She touched her hand to his arm. "Are you alright?"
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Alan_Dietrich

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:47 pm

He growled low in his throat. "No. I'm not alright. How could they do that to their child, It's an insult to my blood, my heritage HER heritage!" it almost made him sick to think about it. "Her arm would have healed without help if it hadn't been for here parents." From the first moment a spell wolf is born they are surrounded by family, a melting pot of cultures had amalgamated into the heart and soul of their society. Not just Sigurd, but every single child of thunderknoll was instilled with the pride and honor of what it was to be a spellwolf and what that meant. That it was a blessing, not given by any god but by chance and most importantly to cherish and embrace who they were, not hide it or pray it away..

Lopiena's parents decision to hide who she was to protect her was short sighted as she seemed to be in danger for the same reason anyway. A stupid decision by stupid people...
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:06 pm

Ashwyn nodded. "I'm glad that your proud of who you are. And I can not express how honored I am that you have allowed me to share in that. But... not everyone feels as you do." She squeezed his arm in a comforting manner.

"The fact is... we weren't here when it happened. We have no idea what they were feeling back then and... Well, we can't change the past."

She smiled at him. "What we can do is educate her about her heritage so she can be as proud as you are. Even if she can't transform."
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Lopiena

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:50 pm

At some point in the night, Lopiena woke up in a near panic. Her dreams were leading her through strange places with stranger creatures; she was being chased by unnamed horrors while searching for her companions, occasionally finding someone to help her search who would only disappear again in the mists of her subconscious. Awakening to the near silence of the night was even more unsettling; after so many nights being surrounded by her companions, she'd become accustomed to hearing the sounds of others sleeping, not the least of which was Zane's snoring. Struggling to rise, Lo found herself trapped by...something...holding the blankets down. Still halfway between dreams and wakefulness, she nearly threw herself at the whatever it was in a fight for her life when her hand touched soft fur. "Oh! Pip! You scared me!" Finally awake, she combed her fingers through Pip's soft fur and tried to calm her racing heartbeat. Right,  Zane is in the house of healers still recovering. The others are either outside or in a different room somewhere,  or... Listening carefully, she could just pick out Cirro breathing softly in his sleep not too far away, most likely in the next bed over. Feeling a little better that her dreams were just dreams and she hadn't been abandoned, Lo closed her eyes and tried to find sleep again. Only her mind would not shut off. Everything that had happened, everything that she'd learned...going from a nearly orphaned bastard child to discovering that she had a family that had sacrificed so much for her before she was born was astonishing, and she couldn't help but feel unworthy of such sacrifice. Plus the fact that she could have been born a Spellwolf...! Sigurd and his amazing abilities had become entrenched in her daydreams for over a week now, and as daydreams go she'd wondered what she'd do with such abilities...nothing wholesome, the only thing she really wanted to do was scare the balls off one of the boys back home...but to think such abilities could have been hers! It's astonishing! Idly wondering how relatives in Thunderknoll function....perhaps she and Sigurd are distant cousins!...but no, he was quite passionate about the conflict between Brynoff and his father. He might even despise her now. With that sobering thought, Lo starts thinking about how exactly she's going to explain all of this. It's just...too much. Besides, they still have a mission and all of this is just a distraction. Stoking Pip's soft fur while thinking about family, heritage, friends, old enemies, new enemies, how to stop a war...exhaustion slowly takes over and Lo drifts in and out of sleep waiting for the new day to begin.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:26 pm

Sigurd shifts back, his face clearly not pleased. "She doesn't have any traits. None. I don't feel any of our magic in her so as far as I'm concerned she isn't one of us, her blood may be that of a spellwolf but she's no better than human." It pained him to say it but it was the truth, she was stripped of her connection to her people. "Let's just let her sleep and we'll deal with this as we go..."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:05 am

Though there was unease in the air, the night progressed without major incident. Brynoff sent off 4 of his best fighters to Jacqulyn's village with the instructions to protect her family at all cost. With their speed and nothing to slow them down, they should reach the village within a day and a half.

Sigurd and Ashwyn remained outside for the rest of the night, watching carefully for signs of trouble. They found none.

Lopiena, Cirro, and Pip slept the rest of the night, and would feel rested and refreshed by morning.

Zane and Jacquleyn slept in the healing house, Zane well on the way to healing up.

The next morning, the group gathered together with their belongings and went to meet Zane at the healing house. After a rather vague explanation of the danger and apologies all around, they bid their farewell to Zane.

"Don't you worry!" He told them as they left. "I'll heal up nicely and be right behind you!"

Jacquelyn loaded up her cart, having rid herself of the trading items the day before and replaced them with much needed supplies for her own people. Zane's magical camel remained behind with Zane and had been replaced by a set of regular camels. Brynoff joined the group, along with the female human fighter, Tabitha, and the male half-elf fighter, Gazeem, that they met before when they were rescued.

The traveling went much faster this go round. Jacquelyn rode on the cart, Ashwyn rode on Sigurd's back, Cirrro rode on Tabitha's back, and Lopiena rode on Brynoff's back. They traveled for several hours, then stopped the rest and drink water, then they were off again. They ran through the first day and night fairly quickly. Lopiena, Cirro and Jacquleyn slept on the cart while the others continued their journey. By the middle of the second day on the road they could see the mountains in the distance. They came to an outcropping of large rocks that provided shade, so they decided to stop for a rest.

Tabitha and Gazeem were scouting the area ahead while Brynoff ran the perimeter looking for signs of trouble.


Ashwyn climbed off of Sigurd's back and scratched behind his ears a moment before pulling Pip from his back as well. He was still a bit to young to keep up with the big wolves, though he did try at first. She pulled a water skin from her belt and drank, the water warm but felt good on her throat. She knelt and tipped it over to Pip, letting it stream slowly into his mouth.

Cirro tumbled from the back of Tabitha before she left to scout and lay on the hot rocks panting. He still wasn't used to travel via wolf. Luckily, in his fairy form, it was easy for him to be carried and hang on to the course fur. After a while, his wings began to feel toasty against the rock so he sat up.

Jacquelyn stood and stretched her sore muscles. "Ugh.... I'm getting way too old for this kind of travel." She chuckled.
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Lopiena

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:41 pm

Lopiena woke up feeling amazing, which is surprising considering everything that happened yesterday. Her mind was still churning, trying to come up with a less than shocking way to explain everything that she'd learned last night, but there wasn't quite enough time to gather her thoughts before they were saying goodbye to Zane. Telling Zane that she'll miss him terribly isn't nearly expressive enough of what she feels about leaving him behind, especially since he become injured while saving them all, but his encouraging words about joining them later helps appease her heart a little. The logistics of exactly how and when such a reunion would take place nag at her, but again there's not enough time to consider it before they're racing across the desert as fast as wolf and camel can travel.

There's not much time or opportunity to converse while riding, so Lopiena has plenty of time to consider exactly what she's going to say...and still just can't seem to come up with the right words. It's one thing to talk about a potential threat; everyone needs to know about dangers to prepare for the upcoming conflict, but how does one explain why the threat matters so much to her?  How can she talk about her parentage to Jacquelyn, who honestly believed that Seya was her father? How can she begin to look at Sigurd the same way, knowing that their fathers had such conflict? Especially since the reason Sigurd had been so upset was because Brynoff had been trying to woo his own mother! To be sure, children do not always carry their parent's battles and Sigurd had calmed dramatically after the brief discussion with Brynoff that first evening, but there's still tension between them and Lo just can't quite place it. She'd always been sensitive to the emotions of others; being an emotional creature herself certainly has a lot to do with that...but she's no mind reader and can only assume that the tension is from something of cultural significance only to residents of Thunderknoll.

When they finally stop for a rest the second day, Lo carefully stretches while the others scout the area. Watching Ashwyn with Sigurd and Pip brings a smile, and Cirro in his fairy form is interesting to say the least...but Lo wants to talk this out rather than stewing on it for another day. Just go slow...small talk is a good way to start...approaching Jacquelyn, Lo grins at her comment about the hard travel. "Funny, I thought you did this sort of thing all the time. Uhm. How often do you travel? Have you ever had to travel this fast because of a threat before?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:29 pm

Sigurd leaned into Ashwyn's hand as he received his scratches before shaking his head and snorting the sand from his nose. Shifting back to his human form he moved his shoulders around to let his armor settle on his smaller frame again. "we're making good time" he said taking a swig from his own water skin then dumping it down his back. He turned to Brynoff, "How much longer do you think?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:11 am

Jacquelyn looked down to Lopiena when she approached and laughed. "Leisurely travel is one thing, kiddo. Grueling sprinting with little rest is quite another." She winked down at her.

Cirro flew up and landed on Lopiena's shoulder. "The pace has been rather brisk. Though given the circumstances it feels far too slow."

Jacquelyn frowned and nodded. "Agreed." She looked up and out over to the mountain. "I'm sure they're fine. The boys can take care of themselves. They're pretty powerful druids and won't be taken by surprise very easily." She spoke the words but her eyes reflected her worry. She glanced over at Bryoff speaking with Sigurd before looking back to Lo. "Did Bryn say anything more about this Kakerot guy? Or why he might go after the boys?"

----

Brynoff had just finished circling the area in his wolf form when Sigurd asked his question. He snorted once, then changed back into his human form. He stretched his back and looked out towards the mountains. "Not far. If we keep up this pace I say we stand a good chance of making it there just after nightfall."

Ashwyn nodded. She moved to Sigurd's side. "Then you need to get some rest once we arrive. Two full days and a night of running earns you a nap." She winked up at him.

Pip yipped happily behind her. She smiled at him, but then her eyes wandered back the direction they came and she frowned. "It just... doesn't feel right.... leaving him behind." She said softly, likly only Sigurd and Brynoff would hear her. As shocking as it seemed, she missed Zane. He was part of their package and... it just didn't seem right without him.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:22 am

Sigurd nodded at Ashwyn's concern for Zane. "He's better where he is. He'd be a liability in his current state" he admitted silently that he also missed the gnome, as much as he annoyed him it had gotten endearing. Their party demographic had certainly changed from when they started, it was nice to have another spellwolf with him but that didn't change how furious he was at him for his decisions with Lopiena.

Sighing, he sat in the sand and allowed his muscles to loosen slightly.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:59 am

Glancing between Jacquelyn and the rest of the group not too far away, Lo nods. It's time. "Yeah...uhh. Brynoff, would you be willing to do that silence bubble again?" Lo waits until everyone is more or less together and the shimmering bubble is around the group before explaining. Taking a deep breath...this is going to be hard...Lo launches into what almost seems like a prepared speech. She's had days to think about this, after all.

"So...I honestly don't know much about Kakerot, but from what Brynoff has told me Kakerot hates werewolves and anything to do with them, as well as anyone who chooses to associate with them. More than 20 years ago, when my mother used to live out here, Kakerot attacked her frequently because she was an easier target.  Brynoff is too strong for Kakerot to attack directly, so he goes after those who are close to him. And my mother was close to him. Jacquelyn, you told me once that my mother loved with all her heart, mind, and body...well, she loved Brynoff.  When she discovered that she was pregnant with his child, she told everyone that the child was fathered by Seya because she feared that Kakerot would attack her and kill the baby. That child is me." 

Lo paused, swallowing, trying to ignore her fears of how Jacquelyn would react, how Sigurd would react...even Cirro and Ashwyn might have serious misgivings about her murky parentage, but right now that's the least of her worries. "Brynoff also told me that any child of a Spellwolf is born a Spellwolf. My mother feared for my safety if Kakerot discovered me, so she prayed to Selune for help. Selune's answer was to block the...what did you call it, the blessings of the Mana Well...but in exchange my mother had to give up everything. She was to leave her family, never feel love again, to only take her daughter and go...spread the name of Selune wherever she went, serve the goddess only..." Lopiena was getting emotional again, and she didn't bother trying to hide it. "Mother gave up everything for me. She left you, her family, her love...all for me, for my safety. And now Kakerot is back, and he knows. There's a rune structure just outside the village that can only be opened with a combination of blood from my mother and Brynoff, and...Kakerot used my blood to open it.  Only mine.  And if that's not proof enough, here..." Lo produced the letter and handed it to Jacquelyn. "This letter and this ring are from my mother, addressed to me. The ring is what Kakerot was after...I don't know why. I don't know why he didn't kill us both when he had the chance, but now he's planning to attack again, going after those with connections to Brynoff..and now me, I guess. That's you, Jacquelyn. You and Yavin and my brothers. So now we're heading there, hoping to end this one and for all." Lo pauses for a moment, wondering what everyone's reactions will be...but before anyone can say anything she plows on.

"What bothers me...the reason I didn't want to try and explain all of this before...my mother went through so much for me, and now it seems like her sacrifices were in vain, Kakerot knew all along, and this gift of Selune...my life...was purchased at too high a cost. I doubt Selune would simply retract her gift from 20 years ago. I don't know if she would even accept my life in exchange for my mother's freedom, or if she'd have something else in mind...but one does not bargain with a goddess without being prepared to accept whatever the requirements may be, and right now there are more lives at stake than just mine. Once we're done with Kakerot, before I can consider even my own mother's freedom I must consider the lives at stake should a war arise out of Azrrhat Peak. Brynoff, you have already done so much for us, and I ask yet another thing. When we were trapped in that pit the other day, you and several of the warriors you had with you knew about it and I believe you may have knowledge about other underground passages in and around this area. If there is an underground passage near Jacquelyn's village that can get us close to Azrrhat Peak without being seen by those who dwell there, we might be able to reach...whatever his name is...and stop this war. I don't know if such a passage exists. I don't know what we'll be doing once we get there. But we still have a mission, and as fascinating as this sojourn into my past has been...as amazing as it is to learn about my family, meet all of you and my brothers...I don't think we can plan to stay there long."

Trying to smile, trying to hide the trembling in her hands, Lo looks around nervously and waits for their reactions. Most of all she's worried about Jacquelyn, but with the tension between Sigurd and Brynoff Lo is worried about Sigurd as well. "Sorry I didn't explain all of this before. It's still pretty shocking to me, and I don't know what to feel about it...other than overwhelmed."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:23 am

Ashwyn nodded to Sigurd's words, still staring at the horizon where she knew Zane was sitting in a healing hut right at that moment. She sighed and finally turned her gaze away. When Lopiena cleared her throat to get everyone's attention she turned towards her. "Uh oh..." She muttered, so Sig could hear her. "Here we go..."

Brynoff approached her when she called him and when she mentioned the sheild he shrugged. "I don't know that there's much reason for it anymore. But if you'd like..." he moved to the center of their clearing and cast the spell.

As Lopeina launched into her explination, he watched Jacquelyn's face carefully. It was devoid of emotion as she took it all in. When Lopiena finally fell silent, Jacquelyn turned to look at Brynoff. Her face was unreadable but her eyes reflected curiosity. She approached him slowly. Brynoff stoof his ground, but he feared the worst.

"All this time?" She asked him, her voice softer than any of the others had ever heard it.

Brynoff nodded.

"You were the wolf she always talked about." It wasnt' a question. Jacquelyn was putting the peices together. "I... I always thought that it was you but... I thought it was a joke." She smiled fondly as she remembered Lorelei. "I should have known. Lorelei was a master secret keeper but... she wore her emotions on her sleeve. I should have seen it."

Brynoff shook his head. "We did out best to hide it. Lorelei feared for your safety. I... did my best to follow her wishes."

Jacquelyn smiled, then started laughing. "Gods what a damn fool she is..." She shook her head. "Damnedable woman choosing everyones future..." She sighed. She turned back to Lopeina. "I love your mother, but she always carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. Even though she didn't have to." She walked over to Lo and put her hands on her shoulders. "Well... looks like you and I have some messes to clean up thanks to her." She said, but she was smiling fondly at her. "I'll tell you what... I have some pull with Selune. Let me see what I can manage. In the mean time, your right. You have a mission to focus on." She leaned down and smirked. "And let's just hope we all survive it so we'll both get a chance to yell at your mother." She winked.


Cirro was still in shock at the discovery, his mouth gaped open. He wasn't sure what to think but to find out that Lopiena was a Spellwolf? Or rather... she should have been? It was a lot to take in, but he could only imagine what it was like for her. When Jacquelyn approached, he flew off Lo's shoulder to give them a moment. He hovered at head level of the others for a while, just taking in the new information.

Brynoff sighed. He was glad that Jacquelyn wasn't mad. Then again, they were both in love with the same crazy woman so he should have known that she'd understand. At the mention of underground caverns, Bryoff nodded. "I believe we can help you there. This whole area is riddled with underground passages and ruins from days passed. From what I understand, this whole area used to be filled with villages and cities before it was razed. Since then, the sand has taken over and covered them all. We've mapped a good deal of them, but I can't guarantee the state of them the further out we get. But so long as they're clear, we can get you to the peak. Maybe even inside it. But we won't know that until we're there."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:17 pm

Sigurd's expression was like stone, he didn't react to the grand reveal of Lopiena's past, he knew the important points. Quietly he processed the details and nodded along. Drawing in the sand with his finger he spoke in a quiet inhale so that only Ash could hear it. "While I'm happy she's gotten it off her chest, it doesn't change what happened. I'm giving us give more minutes and we're on the move again..." Still clearly bitter about her mother's decision he completely missed the bit about Jacquelyn having pull with Selune.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:46 pm

Watching Jacquelyn interact with Brynoff is interesting; she'd rather expected a stronger reacting but then again this is Jacquelyn. It takes a lot to set her off. Somewhat worried about reactions from Sigurd and Ashwyn...or lack thereof...makes Lopiena nervous all over again, but she'd also been afraid of violent reactions...well make up your mind Lo, you can't have it both ways. Nodding to herself, Lo looks up when Jacquelyn puts her hands on her shoulders and smiles tentatively. "Yeah...I've been thinking about this a lot. I wonder what my life might have been if I'd been raised here rather than the village, but...I became who I am because of my past, how I experienced things. I'm not fond of some of my experiences, but without them I'd be someone else...and..." Lo paused, closing her eyes. Circular thinking is dangerous. "All I know is that it really doesn't change much,  does it? I mean...I am who I am now, and we have stuff to do, regardless of who or what might have been. So. Enough about me." Smiling again, Lo glances around the group, pausing a moment to watch Cirro hover. She can't even guess at his thoughts. ..oh well. "I guess we'll find out about the caves or ancient cities or whatever they are when we get there. But we won't get there any faster just standing here." Grinning at Jacquelyn, Lo indicates the cart. "If you're up to it, that is. You're not THAT old!"

Turning away from the group, Lo looks up at the shimmering silence bubble and allows the smile to slide off her face. It's still a lot to take in, and she's still not sure what to make of it all. Finding her father after all this time is amazing, but...but what? Isn't it a dream come true? Well yeah, but at what cost? For what purpose? None of it set right, but Lo couldn't explain why.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:16 am

Jacqyelyn laughed at Lopiena again and nodded. "I'll remind you of that once you hit my age." She winked. "But, she's not wrong people! Let's get a move on!" She said, loud enough for everyone to hear before climbing back into the cart.

Ashwyn nodded to the others before turning back to Sigurd. She smiled softly at him, squeezed his arm comfortingly, and then bent down to lift Pip into her arms, readying herself to climb back on her mate's back.

Brynoff nodded and released his spell. The bubble of silence loosened and slowly melted away.

As the sounds of the rest of the world came back to them, something stood out above the regular sounds of wind and sand. A strange whistling could be heard, mostly just to Sigurd and Brynoff's ears at first, but as the two listened it would become audible to the others. It was soon followed by the sound of paws running on sand, much faster and almost panicked. Then they heard it. The sound of two wolves howling a warning.

Without being transformed into his wolf form, Sigurd woudln't understand the exact words being howled, but he'd recognize the tone. Danger.

"Gods be damned..." Brynoff cursed. He hurried to the rock walls and quickly hauled himself to the top of them. He looked out at the horizon where the sound of running came from.


Concerned, Ashwyn followed him. Her keen eyes could see even further than his and they widened at what she saw from the top of the rocks.

"Sandstorm!" Brynoff shouted down to the others.

In the distance the entire horizon was blocked from view by giant clouds of sand that rolled like waves and it was heading towards them at a speed that was unbelievable. Just before the storm, they could see two wolves running with all their might to stay ahead of it.


"They're not going to make it!" Ashwyn gasped.

Moments later, the storm swallowed them and they disapeared from view.

Brynoff jumped down from the rocks and grabbed the camel's reigns. "We need to take shelter! That storm will tear us apart and leave us buried in sand if we let it! Quickly! Help me tip the cart!" He and Jacquelyn quickly began displacing supplies to the ground, making sure they were sealed and digging them a hole in the sand to keep them safe from the wind. Then he tipped the cart over to it's side.

"Everyone huddle inside!" He shouted. He pulled a tarp from the cart and tied it around the cart edges, securing it into the rock as best he could. He feared with the strength and speed of the storm that it wouldn't hold long. He turned to Sigurd. "We'll each take a corner. The winds will be stronger than any you've dealt with so hold onto that tarp with all you've got. The cart will protect us from the bulk of the wind, and the rocks will help, but sandstorms are not to be triffled with." He warned.

The winds were already picking up as the storm approached. The cart, while large, still felt very crowded with two humans, two spell wolves and a half-elf huddled inside.


Ashwyn found herself silently thanking Cirro for being in his fairy form or it would have been even more crowded.

Brynoff looked to Lopiena. "Better hold on to Fairy Boy. Not even fairy wings can withstand the winds of a sandstorm." He warned.

Cirro blushed, but flew near to Lopiena. "Uhm... do you ... have a pocket maybe?" He suggested, suddenly embarrassed about needing to be held.

Ashwyn huddled close to Sigurd, Pip nervously digging into her. He could sense the storm and it frightened him.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:40 pm

Halfway between Brynoff and the cart, Lo looks up when everyone with superior hearing reacts to...something. Suddenly afraid that her request of silence had decreased their awareness of the surrounding environment, Lo watches Brynoff and Ashwyn climb the rocks in silence. Brynoff's shouted warning makes Lo look to Jacquelyn; surely she knows what to do? But when Ashwyn cries out that they're not going to make it, Lo automatically turns and takes a few steps towards the open desert. "Tabitha...Gazeem...we have to help them!" Brynoff's commands get her attention quickly, though. He's seen these before, and if he knows there's nothing to be done for their friends...tears in her eyes only makes the blowing sand sting worse, so Lo turns back and simply obeys instructions. Empty the cart...tip it over...get in...help settle the tarp...even Cirro requesting a pocket isn't enough to snap her out of automatic mode; when an emergency arises action must come before emotion. Numbly untying some of the binding holding her robes closed,  Lo offers a safe zone next to her chest without even thinking about it.

Only after they're all huddled together listening to the howling wind does Lo finally come back to her senses. Showering Cirro with silent tears, Lo thinks about Tabitha and Gazeem torn apart by the winds, their last act trying to warn them off the coming danger. She'd barely gotten to know them at all, and they'd sacrificed themselves for their safety! After everything Lo had learned about her mother sacrificing so much, this additional loss is just too much to bear. Still, life does go on and Lo is grateful for it, even at such cost. Wiping her eyes, Lo checks on Cirro and blushes furiously...did NOT consider the fact that a safe zone against her chest was also right above her breasts! Oh well, there's not much there to be embarrassed about. Hopefully Cirro will feel the same...doubtful, but too late now anyway. Trying to get her mind on something else, Lo leans back and listens to the winds. She hasn't learned anything about blocking or rerouting wind yet, but the fact that Jacquelyn isn't doing anything only proves how strong the winds truly are. Jacquelyn is much more experienced, so no hope for her...still though. There must be a way to protect from the winds, otherwise life wouldn't thrive out here. Placing a hand on the ground, Lo focuses on the earth...and immediately pulls her hand back with a hiss of pain. The earth is still screaming; just because Jacquelyn taught her how to push it to the side doesn't mean it's not still there. Right. Focus on the life. Placing her hand into the sand again, Lo reaches out with her mind, seeking out the life in this place. Not very far...just around the rocky outcropping...but she's curious about the creatures who make their lives in a place like this.

(Perception roll 16+3 WIS = 19)
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:52 am

The earth responded to Lopiena's plea for information in a strange rush. She could feel the speed of the storm as it approached. She could feel the sand as it pelted the rocks and churned in the sky. She could feel various desert life taking shelter from the coming storm. Small lizards dug into the sand to protect themselves. Plants even seem to dig down and hold on with their roots, bracing against the winds.

She could also feel, though it was faint, the feeling of two wolf bodies huddling against the sand, digging down as much as they could to avoid the winds pelting their backs.

Jacquelyn watched Lopiena and smiled. She seemed to be getting the hang of listening to the desert. She reached up and rubbed Lopiena's back. "They're used to this kinds of storms. I'm sure they'll be alright." She whispered to her as comfort.


Cirro blushed furiously when Lopiena pulled him against her chest, but he didn't think it would be appropriate to complain considering there would be no way he could fight with wind with his thin wings. Who really wants to complain when being saved? He could have changed back to his human size, but there wasn't much room under the cart as it was with two large SpellWolves sitting here.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:35 pm

Feeling the life around her, feeling the earth, the very wind itself...Lo is amazed at the strength and endurance of the creatures that make their lives here. But feeling the lives of two wolves, however faint! It's incredible!  Looking up excitedly at Jacquelyn, Lo grins wildly. "They're alive out there! They're still alive!" Flicking her gaze from Jacquelyn to Brynoff and Sigurd holding down the tarp, Lo nervously licks her lips...then spends the next few moments getting sand out of her mouth. Blech. Finally able to talk again, she looks back up at Jacquelyn. "How long do these things usually last? All I could feel was the huge power of the wind and sand, nothing about how big or how long...but it's big and powerful, that's for sure. How long can they last out there?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:54 am

Sigurd was never a fan of dead silence, it felt like his senses being dulled, only hearing the voices around him and nothing else left him feeling less than at ease. Once the bubble was gone his ears twitched as sound once more filled his ears, he was not expecting however that there would be howling sands and two terrified werewolves barreling towards them. Watching Brynoff take off up the rockface with the others, Sigurd paused for a moment, almost as if he were ready to face down the storm himself. The other two had since been swallowed by the winds but Sigurd knew he was strong, and no gust of wind would prove otherwise.

As the winds picked up and sand began to blast his face and skin he decided against fighting a sandstorm and followed the others. Taking his elders cue, Sigurd grabbed on to the tarp and pulled it tight, shifting into his hybrid form to dig in a little deeper. He was relieved to hear that the other two were still alive, they weren't spellwolves but they were lycans all the same. "this is ludicrous!" He shouted over the wind, never in his life had he weathered a storm like this.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:06 am

Jacquelyn laughed at Sigurd's exclamation. "This is the desert!" She answered with a smirk.

When Lo asked how long storms usually take, Jacquelyn shook her head. "A regular sand storm can be anywhere from a few minutes to a few days." She answered.

Brynoff shook his head. "This is stronger than any storm I've weathered here. Something doesn't feel right!" He shouted.


"Could it be your friend?" Ashwyn asked, bracing herself against Sigurd as the wind batted against the tarp.

"I've never seen him do anything this powerful before!" He answered. "But I wouldn't put it past him either."

Jacquelyn frowned. "Well, if this isn't natural..." She looked down to Lopiena. "Feeling up to a little challenge, kiddo?" She asked with a grin.
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Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert
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