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Author Topic: Between Two Points  (Read 1265 times)


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Between Two Points
« on: April 19, 2016, 10:48:04 PM »

The clouds above hung as threateningly low as they did hours ago. With burgeoning rolls of thunder and indiscriminate flashes of lightning the storm had thus far only loomed. Predicted by the most curmudgeonly dwarf of several among their caravan from Minas Tirith to Dol Amroth a fortnight ago. The Dwarven caravaneers were now slumbering piles of blankets along the hillsides of Dol-en-Ernil, the human pilgrims with them camped in small circles around their campfires.

Maelúthien was among the few awake at this chill and dim hour, her cloak wrapped close around her chainmail clad form to stay warm. She meandered calmly about the caravan nags, having just snuck an apple to her own borrowed steed. With a slim cigarillo pinched between the long middle and pointer fingers of her left hand, her right petted passing ponies softly. Mae would pause at a beautifully black and white mottled one, the tips of her fingers idly brushing his bushy mane back from gentle eyes.

Maelúthien turned her own brilliant blues upwards to regard the vagrant thunderstorm above, wondering if the rain would ever fall as she took a long, slow drag from her smoke. With the cigarillo still rested upon gently curved lips, Mae blinked once as she felt eyes upon her. She turned her head slightly as azure eyes slid to meet a pair so mahogany they bordered black. The knight recognized her as one who joined their caravan late; a tall and tawny toned outlander with a curious piercing unlike any Maelúthien had ever seen. Inquisitive in the week since she had joined, Mae would find herself on occasion studying the stranger from a distance during their travels. As far as she knew, the chestnut haired woman hadn’t noticed yet. Yet now she seemed to notice plainly.

Dusky lashes would blink once more as Mae held the other woman’s gaze a moment, a courtly habit which bled too often outside the walls of the White City. A slow smoky exhale would pass from curled lips in a steady stream to waft lazily upward. It rose to join the clouds above, a few more wisps swallowed by the stormy veil. Realizing that perhaps she had held the outlander’s  gaze too long Maelúthien would drop her free hand to gather the black cloak draped about her frame. She moved to shrug it closer with a smooth roll of shoulders. Her countenance still and serene the onyx haired knight would turn her back on the foreigner.

Again the now half gone cigarillo would be brought to her lips as Mae strode from the ponies. Powerful winds would pick up as her steps lead towards the woods which lined their camp’s clearing. The hiss of air through leaves brought with it a breeze of nostalgia in Maelúthien’s heart. She paused several meters from the tree line to breathe in Old Toby and the deepening of her memories along these same roads so long ago.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 05:03:13 PM by Maelúthien »


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Re: Between Two Points
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2016, 01:14:09 AM »
The quiet hours were made dimmer by the turbulent sky, cloud cover snuffing out what little light they might have been afforded.  Dark, disinterested eyes reflected the occasional flash of distant lightning that would have illuminated the camp with dazzling brilliance if they had been closer to the heart of the storm.  Unsettled weather had often been read as a sign by her mother’s people but Muunokhoi needed no such omen to question her decision to travel with company.  In truth, the pathfinder almost regretted joining the caravan.  Almost.  They were a beacon, nestled in a clearing though they were, and it shone bright enough to no doubt beckon every thug, thief and bandit for miles around.

Muunokhoi huddled like a fat crow, her lithe body swaddled in dark furs and her chin dipped behind a woollen cowl, the scents of smoke and cooking meat sticking in her nose whilst the snoring of the slumbering Dwarven companions assaulted her ears.  They had a saying amongst her people, one about not undressing until the river was found.  In its simplest terms it meant a traveller should not relax until they reached their destination.  Those sleeping like stones beneath their crude, fraying blankets clearly had no equivalent.

Yet there were blessings to be grateful for.  The road from Minas Tirith to Dol Amroth grew wilder and less hospitable the further from the White City they journeyed, the increasingly rugged terrain suiting the pathfinder perfectly.  Travelling with company also afforded her an opportunity to observe the Westerners, one of whom she had been watching now for some moments, the disinterest that had dulled her mahogany eyes slowly replaced with mild curiosity. 

The figure ghosted amongst the horses, comforting them in the face of the brewing storm, her hands moving with quiet confidence and familiarity.  It was a gesture that spoke of kindness and sense, for hag-ridden steeds were of little use to anyone.  A pale ribbon of smoke rose from the cigarillo that graced the woman’s lips, its tip burning orange as an ember.  As though she sensed the weight of eyes upon her, she turned.  Unashamed and unthreatening, Muunokhoi held the brilliant blue gaze of the woman, of she who clad herself in metal, the armour glinting faintly from beneath her cloak.  The Khurgany would have rejoiced to have such protective garb, would almost certainly have used it to keep their husbands safe.  The Chono men would mock it, riding to battle instead with their chests bared, learning from no age at all to foolishly compare scars as they might their flaccid privy parts to measure who was manliest of all.

Muunokhoi recognised a fellow survivor when she saw one.  Tipping her head, she offered a faint nod of acknowledgement, the moment passing as the woman pulled her gaze away.  The pathfinder’s own attention shifted to a sky that was thickly veiled and heavy with the promise of rain.  Kharankhui ogtorgui, kharankhui udaa dagakh,” the Easterling muttered hoarsely to herself, an old proverb of dark skies being followed by dark times.  Murky eyes drew irresistibly back to the figure – she was unlike most western women, with their long dresses and soft, unshielded flesh – to see she had now edged towards the nearby woodland.  It might offer them shelter when the storm broke but it could equally provide cover for any wishing to ambush the caravan.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 01:15:49 AM by Muunokhoi »


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Re: Between Two Points
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2016, 09:49:09 PM »
So lost in thought now, Maelúthien did not notice her spectator’s renewed attention. Wisps of memory filled her vision as much as the smoke which wafted from her lips, momentarily distracting the knight from her surroundings. Old Toby always brought her lost love to light, and the old familiar ache in Mae’s chest with it. In learned habit his handsome visage and golden curls fell away with his memory. Slowly at first until naught but his eyes haunted her mind before they shifted into her Lord-father’s. One sealed shut by the ever creeping bark-like scales, the other as blue as Maelúthien’s peered at her with regret. His gray and brittle features would slowly revert back, the fixed eye opening once more as he regressed into the memory of Lord Malbeth before being diseased. Then the scent of pipeweed wafting from his furs and the sound of his laughter at dinner. A warm fire within the dining hall and the tart taste of fresh grapes from the past harvest. A happier time, a simpler time, a peaceful time.

A loud crash of thunder would startle Mae from her silent reverie. With barely a twitch of a finger towards the handle of her stiletto, the Blackheart would blink her brilliant blues as reality settled back in. She realized the cigarillo had neared its end, the cherry giving an orange glow to her two fingers. Thunder came once again, another massive roll seeming to fill the trees themselves all around the clearing. Maelúthien narrowed her eyes as she noticed the lack of lightning to herald this thunder, her careful steps peddled back at length. Slowly her gaze began to sweep the treeline, only pausing so Mae could drop the cigarillo roach when the ember touched pale skin in sudden heat. One of the few callouses upon her slim fingers took the brunt of the burn, but she showed no sign of feeling. A flash of lightning, and the loudest crash of thunder yet shook the very dirt to the point of stirring a few of the slumbering men; the dwarves in total remained unfazed and snoring drunkenly in dreams of salted pork. Yet it seemed the night was filled with nothing more than an oncoming storm and the encircling trees.

An unwelcome yawn began to rise, Maelúthien stifled it with a tightened jaw as she decided all was clear. As if on cue she felt her muscles begin to unwind one by one, a slight turn of Mae’s head given as the pipeweed began to work. A soft sigh was ushered as the knight turned to tread back to her mount, finally ready to settle down for sleep. His snout would be patted affectionately in greeting as Maelúthien stepped beside him. With practiced hands her cloak would be removed then draped over the horse’s back, the sound of unstrapped buckles soon followed as Mae removed the plate segments of her mail one by one. They would chime lightly as each was removed and placed into pouches within the steed’s pack. Though more comfortable in just the chain bodysuit, the storm winds would blow a cold reminder of how exposed she was.

With a shiver Mae would turn to reach for her cloak. Yet as her hand gripped the exquisite fabric her eyes caught the outlander’s once more. Maelúthien’s curved lips would press into a line and her cheeks would betray the palest blush. Unsure of how long the tawny woman had watched, the knight kept her gaze but swiftly swirled her black cloak to cover the matching chain. Secured close to hold in heat Mae couldn’t deny her envy for the stranger’s balmy furs. She would have held the gaze longer in challenge, but a subtle foul scent would be carried on the next gust of wind. Mae’s eyes narrowed in suspicion, and returned to the treeline as more thunder cracked without preliminary lightning.

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