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A New Land; (Walker and Jade origin, othes are welcome)
Topic Started: Apr 10 2015, 01:17 PM (610 Views)
Gigantor
Advanced Member
[ *  *  * ]
They stood facing one another through their raised hoods upon the stone wharf. The ship was nearing but there was still time yet, the waters were too choppy for the Captain to risk anything but the most cautious of approaches. The waters were always choppy near the stone continent, it wasn't a welcoming land. Walker believed it was because he felt the land wanted to protect its secrets and riches like a hoarding dragon. It was a difficult good bye but it was necessary. He would face alien dangers in the new land but he would become stronger. The new lands had so much to learn.

Remember to honor the pact of your digit and your blade will cut true. Your eyes will see true. Your heart will know true. You will always be Dei Lunathi and will always have a home and a family here. Go off and learn, my son." The tall cloaked figure pulled his hood back showing a narrow, face with heavy age lines and a pale, neatly trimmed beard lining his face. His eyes were pale as milk and they stared off into nothing. Only the way he smiled suggested that he was looking at you.

Thank you father. Walker was of even height with a mirrored body shape to his father's. They clasped arms then pulled each other into a hug. The ship was close enough for Walker to travel by shadow. The next chapter in his life was about to start. Good bye Father.

He didn't wait for a response. There was nothing left to say that he didn't know already. He flared out his cloak then he semmed to crumple into the earth and was gone. The ship crew were startled by his sudden approach and since that moment suspected him of bad omens and kept their distance. All except the captain. He knew better. Dei Lunathi were polite and usually boarded earlier, were quite travellers and rarely caused a scene. Captain Phoenix smiled at the easy money.

Walker didn't stay with the ship crew for long, though he did enjoy the quiet and his own solitude, the stares of judgment and fear weighed heavily. This was a good lesson for him to learn. Before leaving, the Captain helped Walker find his first job with a desert caravan. They were only looking to hire for the duration of the trip, deep oaths would not be required.

And soon they were moving along a cattle path through the desert. Walker kept his cloak right about his body, it kept the hot air away from him and he relied heavily on his cloak. The desert was a bright place, so much so that it made Walker nearly blind. He kept this fact to himself, the loss of the sense wouldn't affect him but it would worry his employer needlessly. Travel had been easy, with few events more important than a few sick animals. That all changed after the angel fell out of the sky.
Edited by Gigantor, Apr 10 2015, 01:22 PM.
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Oru
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Sol
[ *  *  * ]
Fly! Fly now, and don't look back!

Jade's wings beat the sky around her, batting themselves through smoke and haze of fire. Her eyes stung, and her limbs ached from running, and her hand was still warm from holding his hand...

Dust had pushed her off of the ledge.He had Forced her to take flight without him. She couldn't bear to look back, to see him fight, hearing the furious beat of his stave on the weapons of their aggressors. He would fight his way to safety, she knew it...

The smoke disoriented her and she threw herself through the air without rhyme or reason. She brought herself higher and higher, and only when she thought she was safe did she feel the breeze of a crossbow bolt grace her cheek. It burned like fire where it kissed her skin, droplets of her own blood smearing down her cheek in the wind. Her auburn hair whipped about her face, pulling threads of crimson across her cheek and obscuring her view of the foes about her. She could faintly hear them calling in a language she didn't know.

Why is this happening, Dust? She remembered asking him through tears as he pulled her up the winding path of the TreeHome of her village, fires lighting in their wake, neighbors running and flying for their lives. He hadn't responded.

She dove. She whirlled in the air to avoid the crossbowmen, she pulled herself higher and higher, and flew farther and farther. Soon, smoke and fog gave away to the cloudy, dismal rains of morning. She barely noticed the transition. She sped onward, keeping no notice of the sky, for the clouds obscured the sun and the moon and the stars. She dipped and wove at every change of breeze.

Half the time she was feinting at ghosts. The terror was so far behind her she wasn't being assailed by anything but wind, but onward she flew.

Fly! Fly now, and don't look back!

"Oh, Brother...." Jade whimpered, blurred eyes from the chill ripping force of the wind and her own tears. The sun set and still she flew. Hazarding a moment of rest, she landed in a long, sea-like field of tall grass to rest. She drank from a small stream. Noises in the world around her caused her too much fear to stay, so she took again to the air without so much as a night's rest.

Fly! Fly now, and don't look back!

The moon made everything glisten silver and yet she still flew. She couldn't admire the landscape, see the woods drift away behind her and the grasslands stretch onward. She was so high that all she heard were her own thoughts and all she felt was the wind in her hair and the pain in her heart.

The moon sunk below the horizon, and when it came up again, it found her gliding listlessly high above the horizon, everything below a shade of brown. No green... Just endless sea of brown and gold.... But this was no longer grass. It was as if the world had been swept clean. jade remembered a tale from her elders that would be told around campfires... About how the end of the world and the beginning of the realm of spirits blurred together into a vast nothingness.

For a moment she thought she had died.

She beat her wings and it felt like she was flying trough molasses. Her eyes blurred again and she fought to keep them open. A sob escaped, and she rubbed the heels of her palms into her eyes to alert them. She didn't want to die! Dust's rescue would be in vain if she died now!

But this battle too, was lost, and after the updraft died away, and one wing's cramp turned her in the air, she fell. Panic curled in her chest but she didn't scream. A moment of her old self peeped through - truly indomitable (as her brother always said) and she marveled at the golden world below. Her eyes - her namesake - took in the seemingly endless landscape of roiling sand, and the heat of the sun weighing down on her as it climbed higher in the sky, and she realized she was not dead.

She was just very, very lost.

A last moment of panicked adrenaline swept through her, long enough to bank hard, saving herself from almost certain death, only to tumble and crash amid the sand, a scorching, searing heat blinding her until everything turned from gold to black.

((I hope that was ok! Not too different. :)))
Edited by Oru, Apr 11 2015, 05:23 PM.
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
At first sight, he thought it was a large bird, like a condor or eagle but as it descended in the sky he could make out a human form. That's when he thought an angel was falling to the earth. He checked the caravan, they were coming to a stop, many of the workers pointing into the sky. They'd seen her too.

Walker turned back and watched the angel go down. He ran in her direction, his long legs helped him cover ground quickly but the loose sand made running a trial. He managed to keep his balance and after coming over a sand dune, he saw the angel crumpled in a heap of wings. He came to a stop a few feet away from her then stopped.

Walker: Are you alive?

He stepped closer, noticing her auburn hair and wounded face. The fact that she was bleeding told him he wasn't dealing with an angel but a mortal.

Walker: I can help.

He told the fallen form then heard the first shouts of the caravaners. Walker raised his arm high and waved it around until there was a response. Soon several men were gathered around the girl.

Caravaner: We need to build a stretcher and get her out of the sun.

Walker heard one man say. Life in the desert had made these people efficient as a team and soon they were ready. Walker held them back with an upraised hand. He didn't want to move her until he knew more about her injuries. If she'd fractured her spine, moving her could kill her.

Walker: Are you still with us?
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Oru
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Sol
[ *  *  * ]
After the pain hit her, she lay still. In the foggy corners of her mind, she felt like she was back home, nestled among the warm high branches of her TreeHome. She half expected to open her eyes to the glimmering crystal chime her father had made for her when she was a girl. But it was...perhaps a little too hot.

Jade's eyes flickered, fluttered, then opened briefly, cringing against the sun. And it was as if that motion, the aknowledgement of this world of sand andheat, that brought to reality everything else. Her eyes flickered around for a familiar face - but she found none. So she let her eyes find the ones who were speaking. The closest one struck her as ... well ... different.

"I....Fell." She murmured. Almost through a haze of delerious embarrassment, she tried to getup, and her left wing twinged like a bladehad been plunged right into the joint. She cried out, face paling. The pain was too much, and the place, and the heat and the sun, and all she wanted was to see her father's chime. So her body, loving as it was, allowed her to sleep again to dream of them. Jade slumped as the faint crossed her and she lie still again.

On closer inspection, the ird woman was in remarkably good sape. She had the healthy flush of tan on herlimbs, with the cords of muscles acclimated to being an active young lady. Her hands bore the callouses of gentle work, but would be unmistakable as perhaps used to wield some sort of two handed weapon. Though her tone did not speak of a great deal of battle experience. Soot and several droplets of blood on the fringes of her clothing spoke of a fire in her recent past, and the tension of her muscles said she had been travelling for some time.

Her eyes of Jade, (as briefly glimpsed,) and her hair, however, were tell tale signs of being foreign, although a common tongue spokeof the distance being reasonably near. A riddle perhaps in her origins as well, because one coul not ignore the elephant.

The great wings spread behind her like a flared cloak.They were shades of a deep, bergundy-red, darkest at the edges and tips, and becoming the color of fresh spilled wine on the inside, displaying quite the colorful plumage when her wings were spead wide open. Her hair nerly blended into the feathers at her shoulder, but extended only just past the root of her wings.

As for injuries there was plainly a fracture of some kind in her let wing. The brief moment of wakefulness confimed no paralyzing effects, and she would more then likely just be bruised and battered. A remarkable recovery from a ptentially fatal situation.

The whispers began in th caravan, and spread imemdiately to those still tending the carts, gathering the stretcher, readying the water and pitching camp. For with this news, there would be no more travel today - except perhaps for oneor two of the lone riders who felt this information would be too valuable to keep silent about for long.

((Hope that was all right!))
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
(Quit worrying, your posts are fantastic!)

Walker caught the woman before she hit the sand. The other workers were quick with the gurney and with some knowledge Walker earned in his homelands, they safely moved the girl. Often the adolescents of his village would attempt to climb the cliffs, many fell but it served to teach them how to carefully move someone with "the deep break" as they called it. He wasn't a surgeon but together with some of the elders in the parade, they would be able to patch her up.

They wouldn't let him take an end. They knew his job was to protect them and that's what they wanted of him. Two brothers carried the girl away and Walker was left to find the Leader

Fairk: Walker! What in the nine hells is going on?

The leader was a fat man with dark skin. He was balding but possessed an intimidating pair of black sideburns. He strode toward him with heavy strides and insisted on being as near to shirtless as he could. Put in the desert, there was to be no thread upon his shoulder at all.

Fairk: Why are you chasing birds? Is that what you wanted for supper? We have people making supper, you don't need to eat that. Don't leave, protect the caravan.

He scolded but not harshly. Walker knew the man loved stories and gossip. Fairk's game face was slipping away in a big grin.

Walker: A woman with wings like the evening sun fell from the sky. She survived the fall and your men have carried her in. Not for supper though, to try and help her."

The caravan leader clapped a heavy hand on Walker's shoulder.

Fairk: You're a poetic fellow who tells funny jokes. I forgive you. Now, bring me to this woman.

By the time the woman was bandaged and treated with herbs that would ease the pain, the whispers about a fallen angel had become talk and talk and become opportunity.

Fairk eventually banished Walker to the outside. It was coming onto night and that was the chosen time of bandits. The night time was also Walker's time and he was eager to see how the desert men fight. He walked outside of the camp into the sand dunes. He saw riders leave the caravan, opportunists hoping to earn more coin. More would come, more always came.

Walker paced the night away without further incident. Fairk called him over to the medicine tent.

Fairk: She will recover but only if we don't move her.

Walker: Which poses a problem if men of greed catch up to us.

Fairk: We'll see if you hold to your oaths and sigil.

The big man left with a friendly clap on Walker's shoulder as he passed. Walker didn't like the smell he was picking up in the wind, it smelled of trouble.


(Hope that last phrase wasn't too corny)
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Oru
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Sol
[ *  *  * ]
Jade strolled through the atrium of the Tree web. The ground was soft with leaves and moss, and rising up out of the soft peat were the great trees that housed the families of her home. She waved up at a young boy with Owl wings and his sister. She helped Old Crow (The widow from next door) with her basket, and then took the steps of her TreeHome two at a time, flapping a few times for extra lift to the door.

"Dust! Dust, the traders are here! I saw their green flags!" She skipped towards her brother, wings nestling in close to her spine. Her brother turned and smiled at her, one half of his burned face still steaming with the freshness of the wound. A deep, heavy woud at his side bent him over and he collapsed to the floor. "I'm going to buy you a new spearhead." Jade proclaimed, picking up the dishes he had dropped on his way down.

Dust grasped at her ankle unable to speak, tiny rivulets of blood seeping down his chin. His dusty blonde hair was a shambles of burns and blood, and his grey eyes were rheumetic and dead. Jade looked down at him curiously, unable to understand why her brother had suddenly fallen.

She crouched close to him and grasped one of his skeletal hands as he withered before her. "What is it, Dust? You don't want the spearhead? What can I get you? Please let me get you something." Jade's voice began to carry the edge of hysteria. Her brother opened his mouth, a steady seepage of blood pouring out, and he coughed out a word, the spittle hitting Jade in the face.

"Fly!"

Jade's eyes fluttered open, and already the heart-pounding nightmare was a hazy memory thrumming in her veins. She blinked at her surroundings. It felt like night. It was cool, and she had furs tucked around her. She ran a hand over them, confused.

This fur... what creature is this from? She thought. A dull ache in her wing slowly brought back memories of a flight and a fall, and she looked around slowly. She was careful not to move overly much.

"Hello?"

~*~

Several riders made it to an outpost before nightfall. These opportunist made hasty work of sending word to a very profitable contact among the capitol. The message detailed the caravan's location and its direction. Though the very first riders didn't know the state of the angel's injuries, they made great talk ot the figure and plumage of the woman, regardless of condition. A monumental find, indeed! Any trader of flesh would make their career with a sell such as this! But be wary, tere are very capable guards with this caravan, especially the dark foreignor....
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
The first group to risk an attack on the caravan were desert riders, bandits that traveled the dunes making their lives off of what they stole from caravans. They attacked without the knowledge of the winged woman, to them this was every day.

The bandits were experienced and clever, they waited until the moon fell behind some clouds then kicked their horses into a charge. Four men on foot rose out of the sand on top of some high dunes. They drew crossbows and began lighting their bolts and firing them into carriages. When the people of the caravan scrambled to deal with the fires, they loosed bolts into their backs. The riders rushed into the crowds, slashing at people as they went.

Fairk returned the attacks with his guards carrying spears and shields.

Walker was standing over Jade when he heard the attack begin. He took up his sword and stepped out. Fairy called to him immediately.

Fairk: Walker! They have archers in the sands. We'll hold back the fires and the riders.

He turned and thrust his spear at a horse's face, it flinched and kicked back. Fairk side stepped and stabbed the rider repeatedly with the spear, the horse ran off.

Walker moved into action, he pulled his hood back, finally able to use his eyes at their fullest potential, he slipped by people unnoticed then located their positions. He sunk into his cloak and then sunk into the shadows. He pulled himself through a rock's shadow behind the first enemy and was dispatched with a clean swing, the archer was still aiming when his head rolled. The remaining three were no different.
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Oru
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Sol
[ *  *  * ]
Jade jumped at the sound of a screaming horse, very close to her own tent. She pulled herself in as close as she could among the furs and felt her eyes go wide, and her blood start humming with panic. Her heart thumped in her chest and she suddenly heard the clank and thud of her brother's stave as it beat against the aggressors of their village.

She didn't realize she was holding her breath until someone charged into the tent and she let out an undignified yelp. The man was dressed in head-to-foot brown, a scarf covering the lower half of his dark face. He had a wicked looking sword drawn, and Jade was mortified to think she saw blood gleam on the blade as he approached her.

She scooted back, crying out at the sudden pain in her wing. She flailed her hands about over the surfaces nearby, hoping to grab hold of something solid to defend herself with. There would be no flying away from this.

Jade's eyes darted all over the cramped little tent and didn't notice the man eying her wings with a more then interested expression. The folds of his scarf would have shifted as he smiled toothily behind it. His first thought was to kill the girl and take the wings only. No doubt they would fetch a fair price, and she would be too much trouble to care for anyway...

As his imagination full of riches ran off, he stalked slowly closer. As he reached out to roughly grab the front of her tunic, Jade's hands closed around something solid, and she brought a bowl full of cold soup lurching around to strike him square in the face. Blood sprayed from a broken nose, and Jade quickly pressed the advantage, kicking out at him with both feet, knocking him back out through the front flap.

She flailed past the cushions of her little bed area and tucked herself as tightly as she could between two crates near the edge of the tent. Her knees were tucked up under her chin, and one wing (the injured left) was haphazardly strung around her, limp, throbbing and quickly getting worse for the wear. She clung to the now empty soup bowl and listened to her surroundings with fear clutching her heart.

~*~

The bandits were clearly unprepared for someone to be able to sneak behind their lines of archers. When she bolts stopped flying, and the force of the caravan began fighting back in earnest, they began to reconsider their life choices with some dismay.
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
Walker ran across the sand, jumping through shadows when the advantage presented itself and if seen by an observer his movements would've been erratic and out of sync. A large rider waited on the outskirts of the camp, waiting and watching. He was the first to notice the Dei Lunathi. He watched with some confusion but drew his scimitar and kneed his horse into a canter then into a gallop when he saw Walker step out from behind a sand slope.

The rider screamed and raised his sword high, then the horse bellowed and charged. Walker threw a line attached to a narrow, hooked blade. It arced out to the right, it was silent and difficult to see in the dark. The rider felt a small pain in his shoulder. Walker felt the line go tight and gave it a jerk, the hook bit into the man's flesh and the pain with the sudden force pulled the rider out of his saddle. The fallen man got to his feet with amazing speed and held his scimitar in front of him, his eyes scanned the dark to find his opponent. Walker flipped his arm and the line coiled around the man's neck. He flipped three more cools before the rider realized his danger. Walker wrenched, choking the man.

Walker released some tension when the man fell unconscious. He quickly tied his hands and legs then moved into the camp. The place was chaos. The first thing his eyes were drawn to the patches of blood, more often than not it was a bandit wearing the red scarf he'd seen on every man so far. He heard Fairk and silently rejoiced that the man was still fighting. His guards were holding their line well, several bodies lay dead around them.

Fairk: Walker, cut them down!

Walker found the first bandit with new purpose. Cut them he will.
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Oru
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Sol
[ *  *  * ]
((Hope this is all right.))

When the fighting quieted outside, Jade managed to pull herself out from the boxs. That man, whoever he had been, had not returned. Standing on shaky feet, she managed to stumble to the flap of the tent. SHe hesitated just inside of it for about a thousand yeard before she carefully parted it and peered outside.

There were many bodies. As she watched, dead people were being dragged away from the tents - it would seem one side has won. peering about she tried to discern which side had been victorious. The bodies had scarves and all seemed to be the same color as the one who had invaded her tent, while the others even started laughing. What made her decide that everything was all right was the people looking out from the tent flaps aroundher with relieved faces.

One young woman spotte her peering out and waved. Jade waved shyly back and the young lady dissapeared. She peered about amoment longer before she spotted him - the man in the darkness. He was hard to make out, but with the fires being doused and order being restored things were clearer. She... recalled his face from.... yes, when she fell.

She hung there in Limbo until a small gaggle of Caravan women ushered her back into her tent and went to fixing the bandages she had made askew in her brief battle, reaplying salves and giving her something for the pain that lulled her into a groggy sleep.

~*~

Fairk was not the sort of man to leave things to chance. He ordered all the bandits slain and burried in the dunes. It would seem that they had won the day! The caravan breathed easily for now, unawares of the talk that had been quickly passed from stranger to stranger. By dawn it will have reached the imperial city of Al'Hazad, and by mid morning it will have tickled the ears of His Eminence Jal'Rakar, Kahlif of all the sun touches. By lunch time he would order a party of soldiers to depart for the dunes to 'escort' the caravan to the city, and as for payment, he was certain of what he would ask.

Meanwhile, another party of bandits from a local oasis will gather their forces to hit them the next night, hoping to be the first to get their hands on such a prize.
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
The people of the caravan set to repairing tents and carts, cleaning the spilled goods while others took stock of everything that was destroyed. The bandits had killed only 4 but seriously injured several people. The medics were busy patching people's wounds while the able bodied carefully took up the corpses of their friends. They would have a burial for them in the morning.

Walker helped where he could, carrying items from one place to another, sometimes he helped with stitches and bandaging. Fairk came looking for him and was pleased to see the shadowed man had enough initiative to keep working. He'd been used to guards that would do nothing else. If given the chance, Fairk was thinking of signing Walker on for another trek. He hoped the man wouldn't ask for more money.

Fairk: Walker, go walk the perimeter. It's not rare that a second group of bandits to roll in after an attack. I don't feel like burying anybody else.

Walker nodded and without another word he left for the darkness of the desert. He made one stop first, to check on the angel woman. He found her being tended to by the healers.

Walker: It's good that you're awake.

He said simply.
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Oru
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Sol
[ *  *  * ]
Jade came in and out of sleep. Other women came and went while she was like this. She was certain some of them had offered names, but there were a good amount of them, and they kept coming and going. Several times she thought she was back home, when the tent would empty for moment. Thankfully she had been too tired to call out for her brother, but the thought had crossed her mind. Whatever plants they were giving her to ease the pain seemed to help her heart as well. Having rest and a comfortable bed after such a trek and an injury and Gods know what else was doing her well.

Once she opened her eyes and peered about as she had seemingly dozens of times before, and something was different. Fo a moment she thought to panic, but... there was something familiar about the face. Surely not someone from town - Oh. Of course, she wasn't in her town anymore. And it wasn't one of the other women either. It was a man.

Attempting to regain full consciousness, Jade murmured a soft 'Hello' and a watery smile. She shifted her weight a bit to turn her head more towards him. The women had been thorough in their wrapping and padding of her wing and she didn't want to disturb them. She was lyng on her belly among the furs now. The woman had washed and pleated her hair to keep it out of the way, and they had bound her left wing in a mostly comfortable position. Her right wing draped lazily off of the bed and soem feathers brushed the floor abently.

"You were there. When I fell." She added, sleepily.
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Gigantor
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Jade: You were there, when I fell.

Her voice was tired and quiet. Walker stepped closer and knelt down in front of her so she wouldn't have to strain.

Walker: Yes, I saw you fall and I went to you. I'm glad to see that you're mending. My name is Walker.

He introduced himself then took his first real opportunity to see her eyes. Though they were red from exhaustion and pain, the jade (?) colour of her eyes was piercing. A lock of her auburn hair fell across her face and broke the pull her eyes were having on him.

Walker: I'm sorry that I can't talk longer but you need rest and I have been given a task. Know that you are with good people.

He said, brushed the lock of hair behind her ear then left the tent to do his rounds. He would check on her again later.
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Oru
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Sol
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Jade smiled. His eyes were so familiar... it was wierd. She didn't know this man, but his eyes reminded her of something. Ah! Like stormy clouds. His name was Walker, and he said he would be back to check on her. She wasn't really surprised at his kindness, for that would be the wrong word. Everyone she had seen so far in this desert land had been nothing but kind (Except the man withthe sword of course). But... Familiar perhaps.

The gesture of him scooping hair behind her ear was deffinately familiar. It was... heartwarming. Especially after all that had happened. Ravena will guide me through storms and into calm skies. She recited the prayer in her head and sighed as Walker left. She had the thought that perhaps she should have said something... but what? Dust would shake his head and make a face at her for being so awkward in front of strangers, but she always was.

Soon enough, she drifted back into sleep, strangely comforted by the words of the grey-eyed Walker.

The night would pass without further incident. No doubt the bandits were saving their efforts for the next eening, in the hopes that the caravan would still be stationary. In them orning, However, when the women came in to check on Jade, she was standing with both hands on a large crate to steady herself, and she was carefully movinger wings to test their rane. She had undone the painstaking work they had done to strap her wing down.

The women started crying out i alarm and trying to get her to sit down again.

"I'm fine, really, no, stop that, its all right... Ow!" One woman gently prodded the fractured section of her wing and Jade scowled while the other woman quirkedan eyebrow in a definite'I told you so.'
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
Walker was perched in a dried out desert tree and watched a large cloud of sand far to the South. It stretched for miles, a phenomenon the Dei Lunathi never knew existed. He'd seen snow storms and squalls but never did the sand rise up and attack. He'd sat in awe, watching it swallow dunes by the second. He dropped to the ground and re secured his hood over his eyes. The sun was angrily bright in this part of the world, as if it wanted to burn the life away.

During his return his mind wandered to thoughts of his journey, but mostly he thought of the woman with the wings. He'd rarely seen a woman with hair a colour other than the shades. Their hair pigment was basic for the lack of sun they received in his homeland. He had a deep curiosity, a well of questions that was quickly overflowing, as he imagined it must feel for everyone else in the parade.

When he returned, he reported to Fairk about the sand wall, it gave the leader some concern.

Fairk: We're forced to remain here another night. This is a bad omen, we'll have to speak to the clerics but first we must tell everyone to prepare for the storm.

Walker took his orders and moved throughout the camps and spoke to everyone. Fairk and every other able bodied digger were digging up walls like a long corridor. Others piled tarps and wood in the centre to fashion covers. Walker watched how quickly they all fell into their roles to face what was coming, it was dangerous but it was life. He smiled then approached Jade's tent. One of her attendants smiled behind her hand then pointed to the winged woman.

He thanked her with a nod and approached.

Walker: Have you sandstorms in your homeland?

What Fairk didn't realize was that the sandstorm was a cunning maneuver used by a vanguard of riders sent out to investigate the rumours of the fallen angel. The sand would bury them but their defencex would protect them while be cocooned.
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Oru
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Sol
[ *  *  * ]
So far Jade managed to remember four names. There was Fairk, the leader of te band - he was nice, ina business-like kind of way. He reminded her of her neighbor the way he smiled at her, in a fond sort of way. She remembered Jahla and Kaila, they were the one that pleated her hair, and they liked to tell her all about the desert. (Not in any way was this unwarranted; Jade was full of questions and they were all too happy to answer them.) ANd the last was Walker.

They all had skin frequently kissed by the sun (except Walker) and had dark eyes (except for Walker) and hair. In a way they resembled some ravens her family once knew (except for Walker).

She did manage to ask about Walker amidst the talk of Oasis, Camel (strange beasts) and sandstorms ('We'll be busy preparing for that but don't you worry!'). Jahla told her that he was hired at the port city of Kira'Hal for their journey to a place called Al'Hazad, miles over the stretch of desert, mired with bandit troops and desert storms. It sounded very exciting, but also...

In any case, Jade had very little opportunity to ask about him, and she was strongly advised to remain in the tent. That didn't mean she had to keep that stifling wrapping on her wing though. And it was amidst a fresh (and gentle) argument with Kaila about that when Walker came in.

Kaila continued to do her business in this tent (which was also being used to house the more delicate supplies) and Jade was seated back on her cot to remain out of the way. She offered Walker a shy little smile and shook her head. "No... I've never seen this much sand in one place before. Not even on the beaches. Do you? Have sandstorms where you're from?"

Being one of the only people (besides herself) what looked different, she made the assumption and out if came. She daintily chewed on her lip for a moment in the hopes she hadn't offended him, but the words had already come out and there was no point in backpedaling. Regardless:
"I'm sorry. You're just different. Like me. I mean, not from here."

Kaila put a hand over her mouth to cover the escape titter, and quickly excused herself. Jade furrowed her brown at the woman's back in exhasperation.

Dust always told her she had a habit of inserting her foot into her mouth around new people. Which was why HE always went to market days instead of her.
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Gigantor
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Walker: I take no offence. Your observations are correct, I am foreign to these sands. My land has never encountered sandstorms either, we live in the mountains. The closest thing we get would be a snowstorm.

He explained and began picturing his home.

Walker: I suppose a sandstorm could be close to an avalanche and we risk those.

He mused. The winds ambushed them like a horde of screaming banshees, the sand sweeping over the camp in a golden cloud. Walker moved to look for Fairk but the big man was pushing his way into their tent.

Fairk: We will maintain your duty of protection here in this tent.

Walker nodded and they sat with Jade.

Fairk: it,s a funny thing that it takes a sandstorm to finally get a chance to talk with you.

He took one of Jade's hands into his large one.

Fairk: what is your name? Are you in danger?

Walker was shocked that he never learned the woman's name.

The sands passed over and buried the travellers in a tomb, one they could escape because of the walls and roof they'd built. It wouldn't serve well against the riders, led by the vizier Dima Tul Avanis with some of the Sultan Tul'an vi Kandar of the Eastern Nabil. The vizier brought with him the vanguard. Warriors chosen by the sultan and the vizier, deadly, skilled and obedient. They had a reputation of magic and invulnerability.

What was in stow for Walker and Jade?
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Oru
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Sol
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Jade pulled her good wing in close as the winds began to hol outside. She could hear the persistant fwip-fwip-fwip of loose coverings, and the sibilant hissing of the sands as they pelted the make-shift enclosure. As with most of her people, the thought of being buried or without the sky sent trills of fear along her spine, but the idea of trying to compare it to a snowstorm seemed to help somehow, and instead of focusing on the storm, she focused on Walker's voice.

Jade found it interesting that he spoke so formally. She thought she could detect an accent of some kind, but it was so subtle and his language was so proper she couldn't pinpoint it on any of the homelands of the merchants she knew. That was probably just as well.

Fairk came bustling into the tent and Jade smiled graciously at him as he approached and took her hands. She hadn't even noticed that she had been nervously fiddling with he loose end of the wrap for her wing.

"My name is Jade of DuskRose Clan." She hoped for the air of some recognition, but when none immediately graced Fairk's featured, she added, "...I am Jamata, Of the Tribe of Ryvana's Brave?" It was a mouthful that Dust had insisted she learn to say properly. Up until three years ago, when she was just a 15 year old kid, she kept getting the clan and trib mixed up. It took a lot of scolding for her to finally get it straight: Clan is Family, Tribe is Village.

Whan Fairk still didn't have ny idea what she was talking about. Jade looked down at their hands. "Oh." She swallowed thickness in her throat and blinked to clear her eyes. "...Maybe I am in danger." If this man, a proclaimed merchant and traveller didn't know where her people were, she was far more lost then she thought. She had hoped she had been flying in a straight line - but who knows, maybe shen she landed she was off course, or when she was tired she started drifting and weaving. With all that had happened, she couldn't really blame herself for not paying attention to where she was going. She could almost hear Dust chiding her carelessness.

"Thank you for all of your kindness. I ... I hope I'm not causing any trouble. I feel like I'm in the way..." She felt a bit of blush creep up her neck and she smiled sheepishly.

Anything to distract from the storm.

As the sands roared on faithfully, the vanguard was prepared and waiting for the break int he winds, and for the unsuspecting caravan to awaken into action. They were lethal in their precision - if all went well, however, there would only be a need to kill the guards and leave the merchants and their families intact. Then there would be much more willingness to barter for the things that Dima wished to retrieve on behest of his Sultan.
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Gigantor
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Walker sat quietly while Fairk spoke with Jade.

Fairk: I am Fairk Umbata. I come and go as I please, traveling across the desert to bring spices and other provisions for trade. Life under the burning sun and walking upon the fiery ground is the life for me.

He grinned, showing the deep lines in his face from being baked by the sun but the smile was genuine. He wouldn't keep it for long.

Walker listened and decided it was best to follow the leader.

Walker: I'm Walker, Dei Lunathi of the Guardian sigil.

Their introductions turned into small talk, sharing details of their homes which turned into some jokes and laughter. Soon there was a group gathered around them and sharing.

The sharing would soon end. The riders nearly passed the caravan, buried under the sands as it was but there was some luck when one rider stepped through a tarp. Dima sent all of his riders to set up around the burrowed prize. He kept Raka next to him.

Dima: Let them dig themselves out. It'll make them tired and more agreeable to our presence. Let the men know that any resistance should be met with the blade.

He told Raka then let him spread the word to the others. As he watched Raka walk away, he felt a pulse in the pouch on his belt. He overlooked it though, he was always hoping to find another stone wielder.
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Sol
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Raka D'janni bowed to his master and turned on heel to execute the order. His right wrist throbbed. With his other hand, he lovingly ran his thumb over the crimson Aries stone embedded within his skin and bone. Its warmth soothed him. As a balm for his thoughts, he pulled on some of the energy, feeling it course like fire through his veins. Tiny flames tickled at his fingertips and he smiled.

He was not physically imposing; rather he was only a whelp's 5'8" for "his" people's standards. His tan skin was tightly stretched over his lean, corded frame, and made the angles of his face that much more pronounced. He had high cheekbones and a sharp jawbone that attested to his seeming frailty. Each fingertip was adorned with black nails, and each joint of his fingers and arms was accentuated, giving him an uncomfortabe, knobby appearance.

His face was unblemished save for a scar that split the left side of his top lip, and the occasional rough stubble on the end of his chin. His eyebrows were slim to non-existant, and his hair was thick and wiry, to the point that he took to wearing it up and back in dreadlocks rather then keep it in his face. It was a dark brown almost black, with the faintest tinges of red in the light of the sun or a roaring fire. When it was bound such, it only fell to his shoulders, and tinkled with tiny steel spikes at the ends.

His eyes were the color of dead coals - but not all the time. When he drew on the magic of Aries, his eyes lit, like coals being bellowed back to flame. They linered as such for a brief moment before he put the flames away.

His orders were snapped out briskly and he pulled the bottom of his hood scarf up over his mouth and nose. It was red, faded from too much wear, and the end of it went over his shoulder and ended in ripped tatters by his waist. There was a small stain there, near the bottom, of blood. This hood mostly concealed the two nubs at the base of his hairline, just above each temple. These were as wide as the bottom of a glass and the striations on the bone-like material showed Raka's determination to keep his horns filed down.

His dress was... strange. Other then the faded, almost rust-colored hood he wore, he had a pair of brown britches, patched with odd-shaped swaths of fabric where holes must have been. He wore a shirt of ill-mended leather that was more like a vest in its current condition. Overtop of that he wore a baggy faded blue coat-robe, patched in orange at the elbows, and lashed at the waist with what looked like any old bit of rope. He wore leather boots, and a pair of equally faded green gloves with the fingers cut off. Each one a trophy.

He had a Scimitar at his left hip, the hilt boasting a steel ring, and the handle wrapped with dark leather. Criss-crossed over his chest was a length of steel chain. The chains linked both ends at his right hip. One end was a weighted steel ball, just smaller then his clenched fist. The opposite end of the chain had a hook and a catch that could click onto the ring of the scimitar for some truly wicked maneuvers. When rested, it clicked to the end of the chain to secure them about his person.

The winds began to die.

~*~

Jade laughed and joked shyly with her new friends, and soon she forgot almost entirely that she was burried under the whirlling sands. She asked about their families, and holidays and festivals and things. Happy topics. She asked about this Kira'hal and Al'HAzad, and learned a few things about them. When she was asked about her own family, she spoke as if nothing had befallen her homeland. It was one part pure, unadulterated optimism, and one part denial. "I have a brother, his name is Dust. My father was a trapper for the village and my mother made blankets." The implication of past tense only allowed the assumption that her parents were no longer with them. WHich was true. Her father had died just before she was born, and her mother shortly thereafter from complications therein. Dust had raised her.

And then - the winds stopped howling. Several of the veteran guardsmen left their post by the door and poked their heads out. They reported that the storm had stopped. Other tents were beginning to dig out. They dissapeared outside after that to assist with the efforts.

Raka returned to his master's side after the rest of his men had encircled the encampment. He watched with muted eyes, behind which was a yearning to release.

Shortly after there was a startled scream as someone fromt he caravan noticed their visitors.

((I put the edited description in here - wanna describe Dima a bit?))

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