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Author Topic: Down by the River  (Read 1454 times)


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Down by the River
« on: July 10, 2017, 06:09:38 PM »


Mornings in Ethir Anduin were as crisp as they were quiet – peaceful and still. Stray sea smoke that rose from Belfala’s bay rolled in quiet waves down the mouth of the river, skimming gracefully across the waters before dissipating in the breeze. The sun rose red in the mornings, setting the smog aflame, and the land beneath it basked gleefully under the display. It was not beauty, however, that convinced the ranger to set camp close to the mouth of the Anduin river. For Ihsan, everything had a purpose and that too was the case with the lovely stream.

It was not the steam reminiscent of fire that convinced the ranger to stay, nor was it the way the waters bubbled and glittered in playful shingles. Instead, it was close enough to a small fishing community in the province of Lebennin that she may offer assistance as needed be, but far enough that the ranger could make a hasty escape from the noise, the bustle, and the people that inhabited it. That and only that the reason behind the ranger’s decision to set camp there; the prettiness a mere oversight in her part. For the most part the ranger had been to her own devices for the month that she had been staying by the river – the wild hut built from branches and moss, the scorched earth left in the wake of camp fire, undisturbed.

That is, until today.

The ranger had been asleep when the sound first came – sloshing and splashing reminiscent of trampling – but the more it continued, the more aware Ihsan became of how much it seemed to be out of place. SPLOSH. Blue eyes snapped open, suddenly fully awake as the sound continued. It was odd and erratic, the noise, different from a bear chasing after its catch and most definitely not a fawn crossing the waters. Ihsan sat up slowly, the blankets that had covered her body rolling off her shoulders brusquely and falling to her lap. There was nothing for a minute, then the splashing continued. A pause – then splashing, then a pause again. And a voice?

Ihsan groaned, the woman’s brow knotting in annoyance. “Unfortunately, seems like there is company.”  She inhaled through her nose, palming away the remaining sleep from her gaze. “What now?” Legs untangled from the blankets and head low, she moved. Ihsan crawled from underneath the hut’s low ceiling with one graceful swoop, speaking volumes of familiarity. With quiver and bow slung over her shoulders, the woman followed the sound to the edge of the river. 


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Re: Down by the River
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2017, 01:14:15 AM »

The beauty of the morning hadn’t escaped the tall, muscular man who was down by the river’s edge since before the sun came up. In fact, he welcomed it! As the birds sang, and the mists of the morning began to rise, so did this man. His makeshift camp was … disappointing. But, to understand the severity of just how disapointing it was, let’s start with how Eldred (the name of the man beside the river enjoying the morning) ended up beside the river bed not far from Ihsan to begin with.

Actually, that’s a long story, so we’ll shorten it for you: Pirates, New Crew, Bet.

Pirates. Nasty pieces of human flesh that like to rob you of everything. Some of them are more accepting than others, and many have silly rituals before you can join their little crew. When you’re crew hunting, sometimes you just have to suck it up and deal with it. Conclusion: this particular group, not worth the coin.

New Crew. Searching for one is probably the hardest thing to do. Sometimes there is no going back, but Eldred wasn’t going to give up so easily. He was going to try his damndest to find one before going back to his roots.

Bet. The tavern had been routy all night long. It was the first time in weeks that Eldred had been allowed ashore for any sort of liesure, and he had planned on making the most out of it. This included, but was not limited to, having one too many drinks. Gill (no idea what his real name was, but everyone called him Gill, and he seemed to hate it) had been on a roll. He was up three pints of beer from Eldred who was taking it slow (you know the saying, ‘slow and steady wins the race). There were people surrounding them on both sides. “I’m going to beat you.” Eldred said as he turned the pint upside down, and placed it on the table. Gill laughed as he finished his own, also turning his pint topside down, Eldred picked up another pint. “Nice to see how I’ve met my match, Eldred. You play the betting man quite well!” Eldred felt a little better about himself, it was the first sort of compliment he had recieved at all from anyone in this crew. “I’ve always been a betting man, Gill, and I’m pleased to report that I haven’t lost one yet.” This seemed to intereset Gill, but he said no more.

As the night wore on, both Eldred and Gill had become quite drunk. Without even realizing it, Eldred boasted about he could find his way out of any situation. Some of the crew heard this, and well, here we are by the river.

Eldred’s headache was something fierce. So, even while there was no real threat aborad, it seemed that everything was too bright, and too loud for him to focus. The soft sound of the river made him question where he was, and the air was too fresh to be the smelly pits of some crew mate who had rolled over on top of him during the night. He sat up and rubbed his hands over his face, and tried again. It was only a little better after the sun had come up fully and he could see again. The river was as deep as any river he had encountered. He stepped up to the water’s edge and dipped his toes in.

Bitterly cold. That’s alright.” He muttered, stepping into the water until it came up to his waist. He gazed at the top of the water. There were places that were shallower (more shallow?) than others. He turned to look behind him. Nothing but trees as far as he could see. His belongings were piled nealy to one side. Eldred sighed heavily. There was absoloutly no end to the mischiefe of Pirates. He splashed his way out of the river to his things and slung them over his shoulder. “Where am I?

Ishan would have been right about the sloshing and splashing of someone walking through the river. Eldred had come a little further upstream from where he was. By this time, though, he was getting hungry, and there is no better breakfast than Fish a la carte. So, stopped and set his things down. He calcualted the speed of the fish to how quickly he could react, and sploshed into the river until he was roughly knee deep. Then he waited in silence, watching the water.

His hand reached down, breaking the surface of the water, his fingers wrapped around someting smooth, but when he brought his hand back up in a fist, it was empty. Damn, try again. He did. Again there was nothing. Third times a charm. He told himself. He spread his feet a bit, and squated slightly. His eye was fast, and his hand a little faster than the fish this time. The slimy thing was no match for Eldred’s tight grip. “YES!” He exclaimed, pleased (with his success, not the size of the fish).

One would do just fine, besides, next time he would craft a pole…

But when he turned around to head back to shore, he paused. His sharp eyes seeing a discrepancy in the foliage. He tensed up, the fish still in his hand. Some of the birds had stopped chirpping and the morning crickets had gone quiet close by. “I know you’re there, c’mon out, I won’t hurt you.” Eldred called, judging the distance between him and his axes...


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Re: Down by the River
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 08:58:30 PM »

Chest rose with an intake of breath, a red-feathered arrow held between her fingers knocked against the bowstring. Ihsan slid past branches and dry leaves with seldom noise, sure steps carrying further from the makeshift camp and towards the bubbling river. But nature betrayed her, those keen enough would note, bird’s ceasing their chirping and bug’s ending their buzz the closer the ranger crept.

“I know you’re there, c’mon out, I won’t hurt you.”

She froze at the sound of the voice. Ihsan would admit her surprise when the man noted the discrepancy, whipping around as she closed the distance. The bowstring slacked, but the arrow was kept in place, still secured tightly between her digits at the ready in case there was any provocation. Ihsan’s jaw tightened, popping in mild annoyance as she considered her options. It was after a few minutes of silence, that the ranger spoke. “Doubt you could.” The woman voice rang in greeting, cordiality present but otherwise free from any warmth. There was silence again as she moved closer, greenery beginning to give way to the silty channel. The sound of the brook crackled happily, oblivious to the terse interaction between ranger and pirate.

Still mostly hidden from sight, save for the sly shift of shadows and light that betrayed her steps, Ihsan caught glimpses of the uninvited guest. A stranger – not one of the villagers that she had come to meet over her stay because, in all honesty, he would have been hard to miss. Even while knee-deep in the stream, he was impressive in size – barrel chested and wide shouldered, built more like a bear than a man. Fitting, she thought in fleeting amusement, all the racket considered, but all joviality was quickly snuffed. The woman’s cold gaze followed the larger man’s, falling on the haphazard pile of, what she could only assume, were his belongings – and the pair of axes discernible underneath it all. Ah. Pale eyes snapped back to the man, clicking her tongue in quiet contemplation as she thumbed the arrow’s red feather.

She considered firing a warning shot and douse any thoughtless action from the man, but decided against it. For all the woman knew it might only rouse a worse reaction. With the arrow and bow still aimed at the ground Ihsan brought herself out from the shadows, ducking beneath a branch and into plain sight. “I would recommend against it.” Ihsan said, nodding towards the axes’ general direction, eyes holding the man’s warmer tone; movement tore her gaze away briefly, her blue gaze falling on the man’s catch – the fish rippling in his grip – before settling on the sun kissed face. “You are ways away from the village just to catch a fish. What are you doing here?”


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Re: Down by the River
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2017, 12:57:40 AM »
Well, the person (whoever they were) was not going to show themselves easily. Eldred forgot about how lovely the morning was, and focused on the distance between his axes and the mystery person hiding in the trees. Chances were, and he was very likely correct, that they had some sort of bow. Still, despite Eldred’s bulking size (and handsome face, let’s face it, it’s a stunner) he could move pretty quickly. The fish that was in his grasp was starting to stop moving altogether (breakfast), and he definitely didn’t forget about it.

Still tense, he listened to the person speaking, and a coy smile stretched across face. “A very bold assumption, ” He commented, “But I’ve recently learned never to underestimate my opponent, a lesson you would be wise to learn yourself.” He moved only to adjust his feet to the rocks that were slipping, and moving with the river beneath his feet. A bird called in a nearby tree, to which a response was called not too far away, but since Eldred did not understand bird, it was useless to make such a note.

But now he was quiet. The Voice asked him what he was doing so far from the village, and on this he had to think. He looked up stream from where he was standing, and watched the water ripple by. How had he ended up here? The smart answer would have been: By walking of course! Which he almost blurted out with a smile all to himself. That, of course, was not the question The Voice had asked. He pondered, but it was all a black blur. He only remembered drinking, and an inn. Then something about … something… and something, then things, and god it was as mess!

A few minutes had passed, and the fish was officially dead by now, when he turned his head to look at The Voice (which was just a mass of trees and shadow). “Frankly, I don’t know how I got here. Fishing was not on my mind, but drunkenness, and pirates are not a good mix some days. I fear my crew has left here to, essentially, get rid of me.” And frankly, they weren’t much of a crew. The pirate moved now, calmly towards the shore, the water splashing about his knees, then his calves, then his ankles etc. till he was standing ashore. “Come out of the trees. As I said before I mean no harm; I just want some breakfast, and this trout is big enough for two.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 01:02:38 AM by Eldred »


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Re: Down by the River
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2017, 02:36:15 AM »
Two fingers coiled still about the drawn bowstring with an arrow steadied between them ready to be fired at the slightest provocation. While the man was large, an imposing figure even to the tall woman, he still wasn’t an immediate threat; he had offered no warning remark and his stance was lackluster rather than disquieting. And, from the way his gaze scanned the thicket before her and the shadows within, it was clear he was unsure of her exact whereabouts. If he decided to follow some foolish endeavor, an arrow would sail quicker than he could trample across the water, ending all attempts in a single, well-aimed shot. Still, the ranger kept the arrow aimed to the ground, still ever careful to not engage in an otherwise preventable incident. It was one thing to kill a man in the midst of a scuffle, but another to do so without provocation - a costly mistake she had seen committed by rangers too young to be left to their own devices.

“A very bold assumption.” Said the lumbering river man with the dead fish in his hand, rousing the woman from her thoughts.

She chuckled dryly at the admonition, but the sound was as mirthless as it was mechanic. “A statement, not an assumption.” Ihsan corrected dourly, shifting closer to the river - and, in turn, to the dark-skinned man. His gaze turned suddenly in her general direction and the ranger froze. Muscles tense and eyes narrowed, regarding the man. It was easier to see him now, how he had opted to keep his hair short - shaven - and how his physique was better suited for fighting than working on a farm. It was odd in every sense of the word.  And yet, here he was so unmistakably out of place, yet ever so pleased by his own situation - fish in hand and breakfast on his mind.

Were she better tempered, she would find it more amusing. But Ihsan was not better-tempered and instead viewed the current situation in mild annoyance. How long would it take before the man would go on his merry way and she’d be left to her own devices again? Ihsan sighed quietly, chest falling softly as she opened her mouth to give a simple goodbye and return to camp; except, it was the stranger who spoke first. It was he that broke the silence and rooted the ranger where she stood. Pirates. My crew. The words rang viciously in her mind, forcing the woman out of the shadows and to the river bed. 

“What sort of piss-poor criminal admits his illicit profession to a ranger?” Ihsan rebuked, water sloshing with every determined step she stood. Ankle-deep and bow engaged, Ihsan waited for his answer.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 02:03:39 AM by Ihsan »


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Re: Down by the River
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2018, 05:00:17 AM »
Eldred smiled, a bright, gleaming white smile! He had never been so pleased to have someone threatening him before, especially such a lovely creature as who stood before him now. She was tall, her hair was dark, but it looked as though she had just been woken from sleep. It was a quality that Eldred himself lacked, not that he couldn’t grow hair, but he chose the keep it shaved, less messy, and tangley. On anyone else hair looked simply stunning. A wig would have been Eldred’s best interest!

And still, he was not daunted by the bow she held in her hand, tightly drawn back, and her eyes very serious. Huh, Eldred had let slip what he had been doing, and his mind worked quickly to figure out what to say to her. Truthfully, all he really wanted was breakfast, and for this woman to decide whether or not she wanted to join him. He could eat the trout all by himself, but… why not have company too?

The truth will set you free. I make no secret of my endeavors to anyone. You simply do not know who you may run into, and the truth is always easiest.” Eldred answered as she stepped into the water ankle-deep. “Unless you would prefer I lie? In which case, I am simply passing through. But, then, that is also the truth. Just stopping for some breakfast before I go. So, you may continue to point your arrow at me, but I’m going to get this fish over the fire...” What else could he possibly say?

The situation before him was growing a bit tiresome. At least he knew now that he was dealing with a Ranger, the woman said so herself. Since the conversation had come to a stand still Eldred could really do nothing but let the water run over his calve. It was truly cold. So! Eldred calmly made for the shore to start on his breakfast. He wasn’t going to interrupt her anymore than what he already had, the sooner he got what he had come for, the sooner he could leave.

He picked up a stick and skewered the fish, setting on a patch of grass by the bank, "Why should it bother a ranger what I do? I haven't really done anything, you know..."
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 05:02:07 AM by Eldred »


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Re: Down by the River
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2019, 02:02:40 AM »

The stream tugged at the seam of her pants, continuing about its business despite the man and woman that thrashed about its surface. Unaware, Ihsan would have called it though perhaps it would be presumptuous of her to assume as much - indifferent, perhaps it would be best to call it. The man moved towards the shore, the woman following with a tentative step forward. Toes curled around the smooth surface of the river rocks to keep her from slipping.

She faltered slightly, drawstring slackening. ’My sodding boots!’ Ihsan glowered the sudden realization of her very bare feet, a heavy sniff pushing through her nostrils in clear annoyance. It certainly seemed the fates were diligent in their attempts to play cruel tricks on the ranger - rudely awakened from her slumber by this lumbering buffoon and now her breeches would take the better part of the day to be dried. ’Look on the bright side,’ the woman thought ruefully, ’at least your boots are dry.

It was a slightly comforting thought. But not by much.

“The truth will set you free.” The giant man warbled breaking her reverie, sharp blue eyes back to his dusky features. Ihsan’s brow knotted deeply and the pirate’s doltish smile grew. Handsome, some women might have called that smile of his, and perhaps he knew as much. Mayhaps he was used to being allowed on his merry way as he saw fit if only for that damned feature of his. It was irritating. Words continued spewing from the man’s lips in a chirrup reminiscent of the rivulet before them - bright and far too eager.

‘Maker! It’s far too early for this nonsense,’ thought she watched him, catching snippets here and there of the words he continued to shoot in her direction.

Dull-witted or arrogant, she was unsure which he was; claim that was further cemented he settled on a grassy patch close to the bank. “Why should it bother a ranger what I do?” asked the man, “I haven’t really done anything, you know…”

Heat rose up her neck and settled on her cheeks tinging red the sun-kissed, freckled skin. “You haven’t really done anything?” The woman repeated, an incredulous laugh pushing past her lips. Dull-witted, she decided, the slack on her bow reduced to nothing. The bow knocked against her thigh as she looked down at the seated man. “Kindly tell that to the villagers by the coast whose homes have been ravaged by your kin. I’m sure they would have some objections to these  claims of yours.”

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