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[P]  Devour This

Offline Falks Mar 29 2020, 12:49 AM
#1
  • Rogue
  • Age: 50
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
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  • Total Posts: 27
  • Played by: Sbicy
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"Ya' gonna make it, fella?"

Falks adjusts the thick furs around his shoulders, pulling them tighter to preserve what little warmth he could retain. The ends of his fingers were numb inside the leather gloves he wore, his nose and cheeks chapped from the wind on the icy sea. The long, white horizon of Snelandia sways behind a haze of mist, still some several miles from the bow of the ship he had boarded. Fishing was a treacherous career, and due to the demand and the lack of work, it was easier to come aboard and have no one question his identity. All they wanted was a pair of hands to labor, a service he was more than willing to provide for some spare coin. Some of his supplies needed repair and replacing, affording himself time by being on the northern sea for at least a couple of months.

"I'm fine." Falks is dismissive, looking to halt interaction as soon as possible. Any second granted could spell disaster, even if his entire face is covered in furs--save for his eyes. Gold was already an unorthodox color, no need to bring more attention to it than it already garnered.

Pulling up their latest haul, the tuna are massive and the captain is pleased. The men and women talk of drink and port, wanting to take advantage of the small communities nestled along the shores for a warm bed. Falks is not keen on it, but an opinion (as he has learned throughout the years) is a battle one must choose to fight. One night wouldn't kill him, though he wonders if the icy shelf allows passage to moderate vessels like theirs.

---

Falks does his best to guard against the bitter bite of the wind, sitting alone below deck with a cup of cold ale. The walls are damp but the air is still, warmer than the frigid gust that gains strength over the rolling waves. The ship creaks and moans, slowly pushing through the sea on its way toward land. They would sell some of the fish in exchange for basic goods on their journey back. An arrangement with a small trading post granted temporary docking for one evening, giving the crew the supplies they required to be endure the freezing return. It was risky, given that the sheets of ice were populated by large, bold walruses and seals. Territorial and undeterred from conflict due to their size, the animals were highly aggressive. Wasn't uncommon to lose at least one sailor during the one-night stay.

The dull thump of small glaciers bouncing from the side of the ship and scraping along the wood alerts him to their proximity to the landmass. A misty sigh leaves his mouth, gathering his things as best he could to climb the stairs back to the deck.

By some miracle they don't sustain any damage on their way in, the captain being the first off the ship to present his documentation and speak to the dire awaiting them. Their coats are thick and a blend of the natural whites and silvers of the tundra. The few that populate the homes around the trading post mostly walk in their wolven form. Once, a scene such as this would have been intimidating to witness. Now, it hardly made a difference. Snelandia had stayed within their own borders, regardless of the conflict raging below them. Given that their way of life is often harsh and isolated, he doesn't blame them for the political stance.

Finding one statue of a man, he approaches and blinks at the sheer size of the brute. Standing at least seven feet, Falks maintains a healthy distance so he does not have to crane his neck too hard to meet his eyes.

"Do you know where I can get something warm to eat and drink?" He asks, voice muffled through all the fur. He doubts that this man would have any trouble hearing him through the barrier, or over the wind.
Offline Tibor Apr 2 2020, 1:53 PM
#2
  • Age: 83
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Dire
  • Rank: Soldier
  • Total Posts: 6
  • Played by: Isilzheha
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White, snow-covered tundra is all the eye could see, broken up by distant shapes of mounds shaped by the harsh wind. Tracks left behind by wanderers and animal alike were nigh impossible to follow here, unless one knew exactly what to look for, and pine trees stood as the only green that broke up the monotony of the Yuukon. Cutting corners was essential to navigating the particularly ruthless stretch that easily could claim the ignorant, and the large wolf seemed to know the paths of least resistance. He kept to the treeline at first for a while, alert and conscious of his surroundings as snow hissed across the drifts around him. There wasn't much to glean for now, and likely there wouldn't be until he arrived further south where his destination had been set. Frenzied whispers and fearful conversations had pulled his attention, rumors at first but beginning to hold some weight with the scope of it all. They all were kept busy within Snelandia, inside the Dynasty and out of it, so to have something become a cause for concern further north when it originated in the Yuukon was not something Tibor intended to ignore.

His thick pelt staved off the rush of wind when he mounted the hill, powerful limbs carrying him down the slope to where the ground evened out into the frozen lake. Its surface was miles long and inches thick, the layers of snow over the top easy to grip with large claws to keep the earth beneath him. Tibor didn’t have to look to know that Hyperion would not be so far behind, his companion and mount off to hunt on his own around where they were going. This part of Snelandia was not absorbed into the Dynasty, and while there was respect for those who operated to keep the lands in balance Tibor knew they might not always be welcomed warmly to the fires they built and the tables they set. Some had been shunned or otherwise betrayed, in the eyes of those who felt slighted, while others chose a life of ill deeds and acts punishable by death. Tibor was no executioner, even if he could be should his Emperor desire it of him and the reasoning was sound, and it wasn’t those he sought now.

The trading post was modest along the icy shores, as it were, a coast of floating sheets where docks had been constructed around the stronger portions. Boats pushed them aside, the heavy chunks lightly tapping the underside as they approached to be vetted by the people of the Yuukon. Luckily the snows had not started yet, but the clouds overhead were taunting the idea of it. Tibor pulled his magic close, letting it shift his form even as he walked until it was on two legs. His furs wrapped around him, heavy on his broad shoulders, and waist-length grey hair remained pinned beneath it. With it came his weapons that he had outfitted himself with prior to leaving the western Dynasty, shield on his back and sword at his hip as it generally was. His steps were heavy and careful, Tibor mindful of the dire that walked around him, and gave silent acknowledgement to those who felt the need to do the same. Or stare. It was when he got closer to the docks where they turned into the main stretch of the small collection of reinforced shop buildings and boathouses that he heard a voice.

Tibor would have ignored it, like he had the other murmurings carrying on the wind, if it hadn’t been directed towards him. ‘Do you know where I can get something warm to eat and drink?’ the man asked pleasantly, Tibor turning towards him so that yellow eyes could find his face. Partially it was hidden by the fur concealing his body, a keen eye looking him over with subtle and neutral scrutiny, and even with the biting dry winds he could tell he was human. His breath huffed out with a mildly humored breath, crystallizing immediately as it puffed out to dissipate in the changing directions. The language took a moment for Tibor to situate in his mind, a voice rarely used unless in the company of the Emperor, and he lifted his hands all the same to translate it as he might any of the other indigenous folk around them. “Follow me.” His voice was rough from the disuse, tones deep and rich nonetheless, and the soldier didn’t wait for the other to acknowledge before turning back around on his heel to guide the apparent newcomer. Where the boat had been docked and would be tended to Tibor veered to the left of it, boots thudding against the wood to turn into stamping down the snow.

He didn’t often have the need to come this far south, not unless there were pirates to fend off or beasts that would pose a threat if allowed to follow their irregular migration patterns. It was good for training, the Yuukon, and especially so for hunting. That was evident by the butchers with their cuts of meat and the fishers scaling their catches. As he glanced around nothing looked out of the ordinary, but there was a tension amidst the trading outpost that Tibor picked up on. The porch he stepped up on provided small cover from the elements, the dire turning to glance at the human. When he came to the door he stood to the side of it, offering a gesture towards the modest tavern. “Will this do?” he asked then, flatly, while fingers twitching as he refrained from signing it.
Offline Falks Apr 6 2020, 1:18 AM
#3
  • Rogue
  • Age: 50
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
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  • Total Posts: 27
  • Played by: Sbicy
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The North is largely a mystery to Falks. The Snelandian dire were elusive creatures of the tundra, born and raised and adapted to the harshest climate on Gil'lead. The human could already feel the blood becoming uncomfortably stagnant in his veins, fingers, toes, and face going numb against the bite of the wind. Even in their skin they were better outfitted for this weather, hardy and resistant to the reflection of the sun across the blank, white landscape. Luckily, the sun was setting, though this caused the temperature to plummet further into a range Falks was sure couldn't be described in spoken word. Bunching the white-tipped furs around his body, he walks the careful length from the plank to the ground when they dock, his weight causing him to sink into the inches-deep snow. The cloudy sky overhead hinted at an oncoming blizzard, the woods hissing and shuddering with the prequels of its arrival. Less-than-favorable conditions were something he could be used to in terms of weather, but cold ones? This was going to be a long night.

Looking to find some warmth and comfort while he could, he trudges into the small port town and surveys the faces that walk about. He side-steps a large, fluffy black dire dragging a sled full of logs taller than a house. The deep prints it leaves in its wake are enough to confuse him. How had he ever managed to bring these magnificent, powerful creatures down? It certainly wasn't without personal casualty, and his body was gored and ruined. Several times he had come close to death, and he supposed that the fear was what gave them an advantage. The dire were strong and thought to be gods once, but even a god could be killed when they let fear turn their ichor into blood.

Finding it in himself to approach the nearest (and largest) person he could find, he feels a sharp, immediately sense of embarrassment at forgetting custom. He hadn't interacted with the Snelandians much, but with even a basic understanding of their culture it should be the first thing he should remember about them. The man doesn't say anything for a long while, and when he does speak there is no hint at the lack of utilization of his voice. It is deep, the sheer base of it rumbling in his wide chest. Though most of him is covered in fur or hair, Falks can already imagine the type of face the man has. Luckily, no rebuke rises from the stranger's mouth, and instead he agrees to aid him. Age has taught him not to take things so personally, saving him further embarrassment as the man turns without another word and starts to walk away.

The ice feels like its growing in his boots, the snow beginning to fall in sheets as the wind whips against his back from the sea. Off to his left, he can see a group of animals wading from the water, massive in size and a deep shade of brown--spotted like a big cat. Their faces were nearly cat-like, in a way, but the thickness of their whiskers and the black of their eyes told him that they were seals. Big ones. Predatory ones. Their aggression was legendary, as there was little other than a dire that could contest them for a meal. If bothered enough, they were even rumored to sink ships if a pod grouped together.

Turning his eyes away from the growing mass of seals on the beach, he stops when the stranger does, looking at the sad, yet modest tavern creaking against the weight of the snow on its roof. Falks resists the urge to wet his lips, lifting his hands and offering a pitiful sign for Thank You. Obviously, he needed some refresher training.

"If you wish, allow me to buy you a drink." He offers the tall man, nodding his head in thanks before he moves past him to allow him time to decide.

When he enters the warm light of the tavern, he can already tell that it is only marginally warmer in here, but damn it feels amazing. He drops his hood and brushes the snow off his shoulders, kicking the toes of his boots against the door frame to clean them before he steps inside. There are a few loitering about and drinking, a couple of faces he recognizes and many he does not. Ordering the strongest thing they had, he finds himself a corner and sits--tucking his hands under his armpits and scooting as close to the fire they had going as he could.
Offline Tibor May 20 2020, 11:45 PM
#4
  • Age: 83
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Dire
  • Rank: Soldier
  • Total Posts: 6
  • Played by: Isilzheha
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Being approached by strangers was not an oddity among the people of the Dynasty. There was no suspicion to be had for their neighbors and the ones who functioned within, but out here in the Unclaim it was a drastic change. They were natives of their own right, living in conditions far different and more harsher, so it was custom to be wary of strangers. Outsiders especially, much like the one who sought assistance. To turn away everyone who passed their borders and braved the U-na-jux in order to trade meant casting out potential business. When the weather was harshest that would make for even longer nights. Tibor was surprisingly happy to assist, even if it didn’t show on his stoic face. Instead he receded into clipped words and spoke with a voice rough from disuse, the cold burning in his throat in ways it hadn’t for days now. He didn’t miss the mild embarrassment or awkward shuffling of the man’s weight, Tibor not commenting on it as he might do so with someone more familiar.

His focus already shifted to the only location possible for the man to find what he was asking after. It wavered at times, tracking the shifting of dire in their true forms and the people who walked amongst them. The ice was breaking, Tibor’s head turning just enough to see the surge of larger seals onto the thicker ice. Some of the sheets floated away at the disruption, the warrior hesitating just long enough to count how many there were. None of them looked to be the disruptive sort, but it was odd these ones were getting so close to the settlement. The feeling he felt, deep within his gut, it was difficult to place. He had yet to question anyone on the rumors he’d heard, and there often was no better place than the very one he led the newcomer to now.

Tibor saw his hands moving when he stepped aside from the door, a flicker of yellow eyes to track the motions of roughly executed QSL. A sign of gratitude, the warrior dipping his chin in a casual bow as further amusement rose to the surface. He was not one to degrade the uneducated or those who had little practice in their culture, not unless they were deserving, but it was a humble attempt and he accepted it in much the same way. His arms crossed over his chest, gaze already having drifted away to beyond the awning. ‘If you wish, allow me to buy you a drink,’ the human said then, Tibor’s eyes flicking to him once more.

He was already heading inside, warmth spilling out to combat the cold that always seemed to win. Tibor’s nostrils flared with a bit of a huff, arms unfolding and he ducked inside after a moment of consideration on whether he wanted to or not. It couldn’t hurt to get to know him a bit if he were truly not from around here, which all that was obvious was his inability to sign properly. Many chose to migrate here, so it became a question of how long he might have been here or traveling to and from. In his experience people could fake anything, be anyone, if they knew what they were doing. The human moved through the tables, shaking himself out and brushing the snow to the floor. Tibor left it to melt when he crossed the space towards the bar. He knew the one who ran it, and a few who sat spaced out within the chairs lost in their own worlds, so it was to them he greeted with casual hand movements.

Once the human settled Tibor found himself eyeing him again, not out of entire suspicion this time, but it lurked there all the same. It had to, to some degree, for the warrior otherwise it was easy to get lost in the charisma of others. He didn’t strike him as a pirate. Tibor sat when the man’s drink had been brought, foregoing his own with a raised hand and shaking of his head when he was asked what he might like. His weight settled into one of the chairs across from the human as he huddled for warmth, a stillness in the way he sat. Relaxed as much as the wolf allowed himself to be, leaning forward with forearms on the table. His fingers laced together, a personal silencing of their reflexive movement. “Why are you here?” he asked bluntly, knowing immediately how that might have sounded. So he offered a small smile. “Are you here to trade? I do not venture the Unclaim often, my manners are a bit sparse. My name is Tibor, and thank you for the drink offer.
Offline Falks May 28 2020, 9:02 PM
#5
  • Rogue
  • Age: 50
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Rank:
  • Total Posts: 27
  • Played by: Sbicy
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In spite of the way he stumbles into the uncertainty of who he was now, a shroud of who he once was lay over him like a veil, a light obscuring of his vision but nothing permanent. Falks drags his gaze after the giant of a man’s, locating the dark oval bodies of seals as they hobble further onto the thick sheets of ice. Further out to sea the glaciers are breaking up, the shelf splitting into precariously thin pieces that threaten to fool even the most observant into the trap of questionable integrity. Largely ignorant to the ways of the northern wolves, the human does not question what about the pod of seals was so interesting.

The mild warmth of the building burns his cheeks, temperature drastically rising from the change. Wind howls against the small inn, scraping at the wood against the walls and hissing as ice crystals form and cut into the surface. One of the only windows in the establishment is fogged over, revealing only the shadows of the ghostly flurries that grow more aggressive as the day wanes. Falks is glad when his company takes his fumbled attempt at signing with a graceful, but amused, nod. He would have accepted any criticism had he shared, but the lack thereof was fine, too.

With no verbal confirmation on whether or not the Snelandian wanted a drink, Falks took his silent trailing as a sign that he wished to interact further. Finding a place nearest to the fire as he could get, he lowers the hood of his coat and peels off his gloves, running a bare hand through the freezing snow stuck in his beard. His hair is longer now, just enough that it is kept in a set of tight braids atop his head that do not reach the back of his neck. Palms lay flat against the warm ale when it is brought, greedily soaking in the heat of it that leaks through the wood.

Golden irises flicker up to the same giant who sits across from him, almost too big for the chair he huddles into as if trying to make himself smaller. Large hands fold into one another on top of the table, contact made before he opens his mouth to speak.

”No offense taken, Tibor. My name is Sahan.” He nods a greeting, unsure of whether or not the Snelandian’s used their hands to shake upon the first meeting. Falks takes a sip of the hot liquid, licking the foam from his upper lip as he pauses, ”The ship I arrived on is a fishing vessel from Svalbard. They were accepting hired hands to assist in the catching and shipment of a large haul to U-na-jux. From what I was told, they conduct business here a couple of times a year, as the journey is long and arduous, but never in the winter.” Not that he could tell the difference between summer and winter, here.

”Where are you from if not from here? Further inland where the dynasty resides?” Falks was vaguely familiar with the layout of their cities and territories, knowing that the closer to shore one became, the more dangerous it got. Hence, they clustered in the center, leaving smaller tribes to brave the harsh climate of their own volition.

As if he needed reminding, the building gives a harsh groan as the ice beneath it shifts and gives an echoing crack. Everyone in the room stills, as if waiting for the strike of a snake. Falks sucks in a breath, holding it for what feels like minutes before a couple of locals near them begin to hastily sign to one another.

”It is too early in the year.”

”The seals are wary, they know it is here.”

”No, it must be something else. They are disturbed by the ships.”

”You know it is not that. The fishermen are in danger. The ataaniittuq will tear their pathetic vessel to pieces.”

”Telling them will solve nothing, they won’t understand unless they see it.”

”...Do they know what’s going on?” Falks can feel the tension in the room, with a collective, nervous shift.
Offline Tibor May 30 2020, 2:09 AM
#6
  • Age: 83
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Dire
  • Rank: Soldier
  • Total Posts: 6
  • Played by: Isilzheha
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Had Tibor been attempting to find a semblance of peace among the indigineous of the Yuukon he might have fallen more easily into the conversation he sought now. Half of his attention spanned to the small interior of the tavern, the warmth welcomed even with the tolerance to the elements they moved back in from. The tension had hardly died among those still aware to feel it, hushed conversations passed between the owner behind the counter and the server who moved among them. Tibor tried to quiet it all the same so that he could extend courtesy to the outsider who had shown him the same. The scabbard of his sword adjusted to the way he sat, a blade fitting for a wolf of his size, and Tibor settled forward to give the human more of his attention. 'No offense taken, Tibor. My name is Sahan,' he returned evenly, the Vassal keen subconsciously to the body language he presented. Open and welcoming, as had been advertised before in word alone, and Tibor nodded in acknowledgment of his calling.

Receiving vessels from various corners of Gil'ead was not uncommon, outside trading something the tribes of the Unclaim delved more in. There seemed to be truth in the words, and Tibor even let out a gentle huff that could have passed as amusement with the description of the ice floes. They were unrelenting more often than not, the Juxan partial to their movements and in the winter it was best left to the locals for such endeavors if at all. “Do you take such odd jobs often? Snelandia is usually too far for most,” he conversated, a smaller dig for information that he wasn’t entirely sure was even necessary to have. It is true that Snelandia isn’t always the most sought after place to live or even do business with, the Dynasty far from the affairs of most of Gil’ead and preferring to turn away the rabble than accept it. If they could help it, that is.

Sahan wondered where he was from, Tibor considering how much truth to say. The Unclaim and the tribes within were not so spiteful all the time of his ilk within the Dynasty, but it was no secret there were plenty who still held their grudges. The tribes in the Yuukon and here along the coasts tended to get along better than those from the Dynasty. “From the West,” is all he says in response. His ears shifted back to the distant and muffled outcry from one of the seals, muscles tensing with the wind outside causing the wood to creak. It wasn’t just that. Seconds later it settled again, this time with the deep, musical reverberation in the thick of the ice the building sat upon. Tibor’s hand fell to the pommel of his sword, looking back to Sahan as a hush fell through the establishment. He could say nothing before the two sitting not far from them started to rapidly move their hands, Tibor’s attention snapping towards it.

...Do they know what’s going on?

Tibor glances to Sahan. “Ataaniittuq,” he explained as if the outsider might know, voice a touch quieter now as he listened for any other testing jabs from the beast. He let out a short, soft whistle to gain the attention of whoever would listen. He’d turned in the chair, wondering the size of it and if it might be large enough to test further. The floors were thick and the ice even thicker, though if there was something bringing it to curiosity and not the food source of the seals then such odd behavior might be difficult to predict. “Step lightly if you must move at all, otherwise stay where you are,” he signed to the others, some at the bar trapped where they sat as if afraid to move. The ataaniittuq didn’t usually stray so far where traffic became heaviest, least of all during this time of the year. “Be at peace, the seals will lure it away.” Tibor turned towards Sahan again, ready to move should it be needed. This wasn’t the rumor he had been chasing, the sighting of the great seal not far from here the least of the concerns if their visitor decided to stay. “The ataaniittuq can feel the movement if they are most sensitive. Even the voice at times. Ambush predators, so give them nothing to ambush.