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Messages - Ristiinna

Pages: [1]
1
Further Afield / Re: Tumbling Out Of Control
« on: August 07, 2020, 08:38:36 PM »
Dandelions, Ristiinná thought. What a sweet-sounding name. Imagine having so much of them to use to make tea. She shook her head in wry, grinning amusement at the profound bounty that people took so for granted. Indeed, he was asking if she liked rabbit, and now she was imagining being so wealthy in food options one could decide, no, thank you, I will turn down that rabbit, I will wait for something else whose taste I prefer. "Yes, rabbit is lovely, and the furs very useful as well," she said in a pleasant if bland tone, as much of her thought was held back trying to encompass the plenty of this green land, and the way it made its inhabitants think.

But the ice is shiny from both sides, she thought. From this Nomad's view, my land shapes how I think. What do I take for granted? That every day, the greatest enemy, the most dire threat, is the very air around me. Here, the air is as if peace itself were exhaling into me, and comfort, and certainty. And thus complacency threatens. The air breathes life into not just me and Koira, but all others, friend and enemy, hunter and prey, kind and cruel. Only in a land so soft could a man, bedecked top to toe in metal, plan to trade coin to buy a person in chains. I must not solely relax my guard against the air. I must also raise it against everything and everyone else that is now free to menace.

She was cataloging the sorts of mischief beast and man might get up to in a land where the worst winter might bring is the need for an extra coat, and had just about gotten as far as to invent the idea of theft, when Nomad returned, with rabbit. She already had her little knife in hand to skin it, having noticed Koira (sitting at her feet) perk up at the sound of the man returning (or more likely the smell of meat). But he had already skinned the creatures, and indeed, set to work on cooking them. Of course, he travels alone, a nomad, she thought. He's not used to sharing the work. Watching him do the cooking made her a little nervous, but at least he passed her one rabbit to roast for herself, so she had something to do. Cooking rabbit was a rare treat, especially in the northern village she and her family lived in. But she had seen it enough to know how to do it properly. She set her big cast iron cooking pot nearby and as the fat began to sizzle, she moved the rabbit back and forth between fire and pot, collecting the drippings. Of course, rabbit was amongst the leanest of all meat, so there wasn't much. Imagine trying to make candles from rabbit tallow! You would need a year's worth of rabbit and it still wouldn't be enough. But the drippings were still nutrition, and the fire did not need to be fed.

"Tell me more about life up North," he had asked while the meat darkened. Where to begin?

She started with the obvious. "Well, naturally, it's much colder than this, and snow and ice are almost always present. My family lives at the northern edge of the southern inlet of the Ice Bay, the northernmost of our permanent settlements. Its name in our language might be said Jewel of the Ice in yours. We live in round homes called ghoati, made from bone and tusk and stretched hide, onto which snow and ice are packed. A ghoati for a family is about as large as from that tree to that one, across." She pointed a distance that perhaps two horses could stand in nose-to-tail. "There is a fire in the center, that is never allowed to stop. Wood is very rare, and most of what little we have is used for tools like spears and fishing poles, so a fire is started with wood, but then we burn bone and antler instead, to keep it going. The… oven, for lack of a better name, in which this is done is constructed in a clever fashion. Air can enter it in only a few narrow paths, so once there is a fire going within, the fire itself grows hungry, greedy for air. The air flows in under pressure, and the fire itself is kept in a confined space, so that the fire remains hot enough to burn such fuel. Valves are closed and opened to keep the air flowing at the right level of force to keep the fire alive, whatever fuel is available. Smoke is captured in a smaller chamber that is even hotter so it, too, burns. With the wood you have there, we could keep the ghoati warm for a week." She laughed, and quickly added, "Well, warm enough for us to live, anyway. You would likely find it bitter cold. Some of us do, too, but I was never one of those. Sometimes I even take my furs off inside the ghoati and only wear my dress."

The rabbit was nearly done, and she took a few moments to pull some of the more gristly bits off to toss to Koira. Not much, though. Koira had already found a few morsels of its own, by digging up small ground creatures. Still, a sled dog is always at attention when meat is roasting. "It's just my mother, my father, and me right now, but there used to be two brothers, both of whom have gone off. One lives in the village with his wife and they have a baby coming. The other went to the camp on the western glacier." She frowned slightly, remembering that no word had come from that camp, that that's why she was out of the village in the first place. But she hurried on, to not dwell on this. "So the ghoati is chillier at night with so few. We sleep together for warmth, you see, though there are two small private areas at the back, one for my parents and one for the children to use in turn, for things like washing and changing clothes. But we spend most of our time in the main chamber, together, doing whatever work we have to do. Mama's work was making sure the village always had the supplies it needed -- keeping inventory, assigning people to particular gathering tasks or hunting, sending people to resupply the beacon caches or to trade with the other settlements, and the like. A very practical person, she is. Always telling me to…" She trailed off a moment, then leapt back in. "And Da is the… what you would call a minstrel. He keeps the stories and the songs of the Lumi-Väka. Most of us do not read and write, but the minstrels use writing for recording the tales, so I learned reading and writing and singing and dance and storytelling. Though those were not to be my trade. My brother will follow in Da's place in his turn. My duty was those goods made from animal tallow." She gestured to the cooking-pot, into which she had been dipping the rabbit to keep the meat moist as she ate it, and not let one drop of fat go to waste. "Candles are particularly important in winter, when there are but a few hours of sunlight in a day. And there is soap, sometimes with scents added. Mostly for us to use to clean ourselves and our own tools, but… the sea monsters of the Ice Bay sometimes produce something we call 'ambergris' which make a scent the Southron traders find very valuable, so I might sometimes make candles, or soaps, or perfumes, infused with ambergris, mixed with other things at times. Ambergris is rare, but a small amount can earn as much trade for my family as all the furs a hunter can bring, and all the carved bone a hunter can prepare, in an entire season, if luck is with me."

By then she was finished with the rabbit and licking the last bits from her fingers, not out of any great amount of hunger (those blueberries had been a nice snack and she'd had some cold salted fish earlier) but the habit of letting nothing whatsoever go to waste. (In fact, she wondered if he'd wasted the blood. Koira wondered that too.) She sat back and caught her breath, providing an opportunity for Nomad to speak, or interrupt, before she plunged on to some other topic.

2
Further Afield / Re: Tumbling Out Of Control
« on: July 26, 2020, 07:19:13 PM »
Ristiinná's delight at blueberries was so evident that, if there indeed were pursuers dogging their footsteps, they might for a moment have been blinded by it and not known why. At first she's clearly happy to learn of a safe berry, and takes a few carefully, and just as carefully leaves a few. She speaks a few words in her own language as she does: "For the hirvi, may they keep from hunger until it is their turn to feed us", intoned almost like an orison. And when she tastes the berries, she almost cries out. "I have never tasted the like!" she says, and there's a moment where it almost seems like she might try to hug Nomad in her glee, but it passes quickly, perhaps because her mending arm would make it challenging. She looks back at the berries she left on the bush with longing in her eyes, but shakes her head. The woman who eats tomorrow's dinner today, starves tomorrow.

By the time Nomad was showing her the camp, her earlier amusement at his intention to teach her fire-making had ebbed. This was a different land, after all, and while she was sure she would have been able to make a tidy fire with her own gleaning, that did not mean there might not be more to learn here. She would not have expected to find a fire-ring unmarked in the wilderness, for instance; in her lands, a cache like that would have been beneath one of the beacons, the towers made of great tusk and bone and stained in the blue berries that gave color to her dress, berries that even the hirvi did not eat, so bitter were they. Such beacons could be seen from great distances by the traveler in need, and saved her life and many others often; there were Lumi-väki whose sole duty was traveling to them to maintain and restock them. But here, a fire nearly ready to start was left unmarked, because men like Nomad knew where they were, needing no beacons; and she had yet to learn.

"...but unfortunate for whoever comes after." At this, she frowned. Were she alone, she would speak words of thanks to whoever came before, but also, she would do all within her power to leave for the next person as much as she'd found, and more if it could be obtained. The man who will not help his brother, will perish needing help from his brother, she recited in her thoughts, another aphorism inculcated by a people whose survival every day depended on the whole clan. There were no nomads who traveled alone in Forochel. At least not for very long.

But she was attentive, and eager to learn, and so she would do things how he taught. She studied with wide eyes and sharp focus all he did, not just what he demonstrated. She even did what little she could to reciprocate: as she collected a few leaves from a simple weed with golden blossoms, one that grew so widely that the gardeners in Umbar probably swore at it as much as those of the Shire, and even her people saw it in summer peeking up through snow-melt, she showed it to him. "Voikukka," she explained. "Take half the leaves and a quarter of the petals, and grind together, with some animal fat or tallow if you can, or with mud if you have nothing else. It helps to drive away itches and redness, even the redness of chills." She demonstrated, finding a small rough rock to grind the leaves with against a larger rock, then mixing in a bit of the oil from one of her smoked fish (scarce though it was, she only needed a tiny bit), and finally rubbing the resulting pungent unguent under the splints on her left arm, where the bindings had rubbed a slight rash into the skin. Perhaps they know of the uses of voikukka here, and he is laughing at me inside, she thought, but how else can I show him how grateful I am, without... as Mama would put it, being like myself, but too much? I have already babbled more than I should, and he has no idea how little of the river has been allowed past the floe...

3
Further Afield / Re: Tumbling Out Of Control
« on: July 26, 2020, 05:28:47 PM »
For a moment Ristiinná looked at the messy pile of branches and twigs she'd gathered, then back at Nomad, after he said she wasn't going to get what she needed from it. Does he not know how fire works? Maybe the southrons, living where it's always warm and they don't need fire, don't know about it, she thought. Then she shook her head. But there is a word for it in their language. And they use it in shaping metal, and probably in cooking. Does he think I couldn't make a fire with these? This much wood could keep my family's ghoati warm through three winter nights, if used carefully! These soft southrons must be so wasteful, with so much wood all around, that they think they need the central fire of the Great Lodge just to roast a fish.

She might have continued on this line of thought, even sneering a little at how unprepared Nomad would be for even a sunny autumn day on the hills near the eastern glacier where she went to gather branches for the fibers that made the wicks of her candles, but he was looking expectantly at her. Had he asked something else? About skills? Well, how not to brag in answering...

"Many of the skills of survival of my people, but in these soft lands of plenty, few of them will avail as much. I was not a hunter or fisher in my clan, nor a keeper of herds or hounds, though; my family had other responsibilities. I know most skills of hearthcraft, mending, sewing, cooking, healing, the keeping of a fire and a home, preserving food, caring for children and the women who will bear them, and the making of candles and soaps especially. And I am a tale-teller and song-singer and dancer, though I have not my lyre, flute, nor drum with me. Sadly, none of these things will feed me today."

It was an effort not to roll her eyes at the man's intention of teaching her how to make a fire. Perhaps he felt a need to blind the sun. It seemed a shame to leave behind the branches she had gathered, though. In the northern village this would have been the bounty of a day long to remember. Two more days like this would make a dowry. But here, if she had a hatchet she could have had a hundred times as much in an hour. Even the soft men of the soft lands will be able to gather enough for a respectable fire here. I suppose I'll let him have his way. But later I may make up a song of what might come if I took him home, and had to show him the real way to make a fire...

"Koira!" she called, though the dog was already beside her. "Lead on, Nomad," she said, though she had already picked up her bag and started at a brisk stride towards the distant stand of trees.

4
Further Afield / Re: Tumbling Out Of Control
« on: July 24, 2020, 06:51:57 PM »
If there was one thing that could keep Ristiinná from babbling every thought that crossed her mind, it was listening to someone else do the same thing. Time and again she thought a question that there wasn't time to ask, as the strange man who called himself Nomad explained in his unhurried, yet unbroken, way. What are Dúnedain? What is an Angmar? Did he just call my people men with tin plates for brains? What is tin? Does gold come from Dwarves? I've heard of it, but I don't know what it is, only that it is valuable even to the southrons.

But it was the mention of a town that brushed all this aside. "There is a town?" she asked urgently. But before he could answer her mind leaped ahead. "I have no goods nor silver to trade there." Well, I have furs, and a cook-pot. Can I consider trading them? Will I need them here? "But perhaps I can find some welcome if I can work. I have no sled, nor mammuti, so on my own two feet will do, if you can point me the direction?" There was one thought she chose deliberately not to express, though. Back to my people... if they wanted me, would I be here now?

5
Further Afield / Re: Tumbling Out Of Control
« on: July 24, 2020, 03:52:38 PM »
Probably anyone else from her tribe would have held back, untrusting and reserved. Even the sled dog -- I should probably stop calling it that, as it has no sled to pull, she thought -- remained guarded, as the great beast stood down, and edged its way around to be with her. But not Ristiinná. This stranger had called off his beast, had offered a hand, had spoken kindly, and (she quickly convinced herself) had no reason to do any of these things if he were a lackey of the armored man, or a friend of her erstwhile captors, or some other blackheart with ill intent.

She started to reach for his proferred hand, then drew short; she couldn't use her left hand, and her right one was concealing a knife. Well, there was simply nothing for it. She tried to subtly slip the knife away and only dropped it. Hoping this wouldn't seem like a threat, she picked it up and tucked it into the tiny pocket in her dress that fit it, and hid it to casual glances. Then with a sheepish grin, she took the hand and let him pull her to her feet.

And she was already speaking before the gesture was concluded. "You assess my situation quite accurately, sir, even to the mode of transport. Though those who drove it were not friends. They intended to sell me to a man in metal clothes. I know little of the business of the chieftain in the Great Lodge, but I have heard some stories, particularly in preparations for the expedition for the which I had prepared the provisions and packed the sleds. And there were tales of men from the troubled south who sought something in our lands, that is to say, Forochel, within Forodwaith, as your words name it, and tried to find a means to force us to their bidding in its pursuit. It was thought that the camp on the western glacier where my brother dwells, might have been captured by them, you see." The torrent of words tumbled from her at the pace of a high waterfall, unbroken, as she used her right hand to brush down her dress and her hair, trying to make herself presentable. "They cannot muster an army to march into our lands, for the ice would defeat them, so they seek to take hostages, to ransom in exchange for our doing their will, or so the chieftain speculated might be the explanation for why the outpost on the western glacier went silent. That these ice-hearted scoundrels took me to sell makes me hope that the western camp was not taken by the metal-clothed man, for why then would they also need me?"

This finally gives her pause a moment, as the joy of this thought warms her through. But not long enough for him to recover before she's going again. "Arthnomad, it is good to meet you." She folds her arms across her waist, somewhat stiffly as the left is still mending, and bows over them. "I am Ristiiinná of the Lumi-väki. And this is... umm, Koira. I still need to see if it's a boy or a girl so I can name it." (Arthfael might not know that "Koira" is the word for "Dog" in her language, which might have rendered this last a bit nonsensical, but this didn't occur to her.)

6
Further Afield / Re: Tumbling Out Of Control
« on: July 24, 2020, 02:51:08 AM »
Green this land might be, and warm, and in many ways far more bountiful than her home -- even though it was largely unwooded, there was more deadfall within Ristiinná's sight from any spot she chose to scan the horizon than she was used to seeing in the whole of the lands around her home. And yet by the time the sun was lowering, the thrill, almost euphoria, at having escaped a terrible fate was starting to ebb. The iron pot was heavy to carry around, yet far too precious to leave behind, as were the three sets of furs. There was only a few day's worth of dried and salted fish within, and where would she find more? She was no hunter, nor very good at fishing, and she had neither pole nor net anyway. She eyed some berries, but did not dare taste one. Back home there were berries that could be eaten, and many more that should not be. How could she tell which was which, here?

The situation was grim, to be sure, and a certain weariness was dulling the edge of her cheer, but still, this was Ristiinná, the young woman who had single-handedly annoyed an entire tribe with her effusive optimism. "We will find some food, Dog. And some people. And until then, we should gather wood for a fire. Not that I need one for warmth, mind you, but the fish might be better warm, and fire keeps away the stalking-beasts. Or," she glanced around, "whatever beasts stalk here."

The dog didn't much seem to mind her chattering away in the language of the frozen north, and indeed, was paying little attention. "Sure, easy for you to say," Ristiinná said. She'd been speaking to the dog this way since the instinct had arisen from a muddled mind, but now it had become a habit. "A dog hunts much the same anywhere." Indeed, the dog's nose was sniffing avidly, and it ran some yards, pounced, dug, and soon had its supper. "Fine. Keep it for yourself. I'll just have fish, then."

Near a tree of a type she had never seen, she was collecting gnarled and snapped bits of wood broken free in some recent storm. Crouched down with a bundle of branches and twigs, she heard a snuffling sound from the dog and glanced at it to see its ears swiveling. Thoughts darted through her mind. Is the dog noticing something? Some danger? The armored man, or some lackey of his? Don't be silly. The dog is always noticing something. An hour ago its ears perked at a bird. If I'd only built a fire already, it would keep away whatever terrible beast--

So tumbling her thoughts might have continued if not for the sudden snort of a horse which was thundering into view. The branches spilled from her arms and she tried to stand, to reach for her knife, and to whirl to face the strange and unfamiliar beast all at once. None of these actions succeeded. The husky-dog had also never seen a horse, but dogs have only a few ways to react, and engage in these with confidence; it crouched, bared fangs, and snarled, its tail high and twitching, its posture ready for either a charge, or to flee, whichever might be called for. If only Ristiinná had been able to comport herself so gracefully; she had landed heavily on her bottom, her tattered sea-blue dress tangled about her legs, her left arm huddled tight against her side. She pushed herself up onto her right elbow to get a look at the terrifying beast that loomed over her and her dog; her curled locks now had a few twigs and leaves caught in them.

"I apologize for his behavior. He doesn't like dogs…" The words were in Westron, and she spared a few moments to think, I suppose those are the only words I will be hearing now. She pulled herself up enough to see a man's back, but her eyes were more caught by the great beast behind him. It and the dog seemed to be coming to some sort of détente, the dog remaining in an alert crouch, the horse doing much the same. The thought of trying to be guarded seemed foolish now, but even so, she slipped the tiny knife from her pocket and tucked it once more below her right wrist. The tribe's policy of ensuring that death had to come on its own two feet had worked for her before, and she saw no reason not to give it up now.

Her words in Westron had a notable accent, but were precise and erudite, perhaps even over-formal in enunciation. "I offer assurance that my dog means no harm to him or you, if you mean none to it or me," she said, though she was thinking, at least I don't think it does. "And I hope you mean no harm to it or me in kind, stranger. If you do, I again do not intend to go easily to your master's clutches, and my dog may be no match for your beast but it will make him pay some price first." She was trying to make her words sound brave and strong, but there was no getting around that she was a fairly slight girl with no visible weapons, sitting on the grass, hugging her splinted left arm. There wasn't much bravado she could really offer. At least her voice wasn't quaking.


7
Roleplaying Extras / Re: Open Threads
« on: July 23, 2020, 09:31:19 PM »
Thread: Tumbling Out Of Control
Location: Forochel, Evendim, and possibly eventually moving into the North Downs or the Shire from there.
Year: 3018 or so.
Description: Ristiinná has become lost in a land strange to her. Perhaps she'll run into other people there, or perhaps she'll wander on to some settled lands farther south.
Character(s) Involved: Ristiinná, Arthfael
Available Slots: No limit (within reason)

8
Start here... / Re: Who Plays Who
« on: July 23, 2020, 09:28:45 PM »

9
Further Afield / Re: Tumbling Out Of Control
« on: July 23, 2020, 09:16:09 PM »
The chain would not bend or break. It was hard for Ristiinná to test it, as she was never more than a few yards, through thin canvas, from her captors, but she had plenty of time to try, in between feedings of soup and pretending to have forgotten. She tried with her hands, with her knife, even with a bone carving. It never budged. She would have needed… she didn't actually know what; the Lumi-väki did not have enough metal to make the kinds of tools that would break a chain like this, nor the chain itself. The cooking-pot she had was one of the clan's most prized and valuable possessions, and they would be sorely missing it.

She continued to dramatically play up being dazed, slumber-wracked, and forgetful. Going through the motions of asking the boy what kind of soup it was, in her own language, time after time, was tedious, and yet at the same time it brought her a secret thrill, a grin she had to hide, because he ate it up every time. Never even seemed to doubt it. He was so convinced that the Lossoth were frail and foolish, as well as being cheaters, thieves, and scoundrels, though she could not imagine why.

Sometimes the others took a turn with the soup, or came in to check on other things, and she studied both of them closely while pretending to be nearly incoherent. It soon became clear that, while the man made big noises, the woman was the driving force, and made the true decisions, though she always let the man think that he was taking the initiative. For him, as much as he repeated unfounded slurs against the people he called the Lossoth, designed to let him ignore that they were people, Ristiinná was just a valuable commodity; but the woman took actual pleasure at the idea of some unspecified suffering that this Lossoth was destined for, from some spite in her like rot, some genuine hatred. She took care of Ristiinná, but it was plain she would rather be hurting her; when she checked the splints on her broken arm and reset them, Ristiinná could see in her eyes that she was imagining instead yanking and twisting.

And she wore a slender silver chain around her neck, from which hung an iron key.

When she wasn't testing the shackle, or pretending to be asleep, Ristiinná couldn't help but watch the land passing by through the back of the wagon. In the middle of summer, in the southern parts of her people's land, the snow would be clear from much of the ground in a good year, and there might even be some greenery peeking out from the land, mostly lichen and some shrubs. Those were times when the reindeer ate constantly, and brought forth foals, so that they would have saved enough fat for the winter to come. The lands seemed so transformed, so green, at that time of the  year. But the tiny slice of this world she could glimpse through the wagon's canvas had more green in it than in all of Forochel in the greenest day of summer; and every creak of the wagon brought another emerald bounty beyond counting. And a brighter green than any lichen of Forodwaith. She couldn't stop staring.

Night followed day and day followed night. The green began to fade, replaced by a pale brown, as of thousands of tiny stones; one might sometimes see something like this, though darker, beneath the ice at the edge of the bay, where tides had worn down stones to tiny grains. Sand, in Westron. Ristiinná was growing anxious; she had her knife hidden away, but no better idea how she might ever escape even with it, and the three days that the man had counted were running out.

"There, that ruin, stop a score paces from that and wait," the man said. "Don't bring her out until I say I've seen the coin. Not even to show her. This buyer is no one to be trifled with. Do not let him look into your eyes, either of you. He can cloud minds and sway wills. I don't know what is his purpose that needs a Lossoth; probably ransom or leverage, to get one of their tribes to do something they need done. Whatever it is, it's none of our concern. Let's just make the sale." The wagon lurched to a stop, and there was a heavy tread as he jumped down and walked somewhere.

"Now or never," Ristiinná whispered to herself. She slipped the knife from its hiding place, then held it tucked under her right wrist. She peered through the back of the wagon. In the distance, she could see the man speaking with someone wearing a hundred chieftain's treasures worth of metal. Clothes, but made of metal! With absurd prongs and flanges sticking up from the sides of the part over his head and concealed his face -- a 'helmet', she remembered was the word. He was tall, impossibly tall. In the sunlight of a bright day he stood apart from everything and yet seemed to be shrouded in a shadow that nothing cast.

And then her one fervent hope was finally answered: the shape that filled the back of the wagon was the woman, not her son Jacob. "Wake up, fish-eater," she said, and the way she said this last, with bile in the words, it was clear to Ristiinná that it was a dire insult, not against just her but all Lumi-väka. (Which made no sense; even the southrons ate fish. But did hate of another people ever make sense?) "Things are about to get a lot worse for you, and you will wish you were back in our wagon soon."

She had wondered if she might hesitate, fumble. She'd never so much as punched someone before. But the knife went quickly and cleanly through the woman's throat in the space of a heartbeat, so fast the woman could not even cry out, and Ristiinná felt no twinge of hesitation or regret. Blood covered her clothes, and the metallic scent almost made her retch. The knife slipped from her hand, and she grabbed the key from around the dying woman's neck, yanked, and started fumbling to remove the shackle from her foot.

"All right, bring her out now."

The shackle popped free; Ristiinná swung her leg out. She fished through the blood and found the knife, then grabbed the bag with her furs in it. But as one hope had been answered, another crashed down on her. "What's taking so long?" A dark shape approaching; the man nearing the wagon's rear, too close. Ristiiinná could not hope to escape before he arrived. Surprise had been her only weapon against the woman; she could not hope to overpower him the same way, or any other. To say nothing of the man in armor, a dozen paces behind.

She sat up, got the knife ready. If death was coming for her today, it would have to come on its own two feet, and she would fight to the end.

The man's figure filled the rear of the wagon. He stopped. He gaped. Then he snarled and barked, "You little--"

Whatever slur was in his mouth was snatched from the air. There was a pale grey blur, and the man was gone; then she heard yelping, and snapping, and growling. Ristiinná hurled herself out of the wagon and for only a moment stared. "Dog!" she said in the tongue of the Lumi-väka, her tone both of exultation and command. The man's face and neck were bloodied, as were the fangs and claws of the sled dog perched atop his supine form. Feebly the man tried to bat away the dog with both hands. "Dog! Come!" she said, as she turned to run.

The sand was soft beneath her boots. To the right, water; at first, she thought to avoid it, as water was cold, and cold was death. But this was a land of warmth and green. And there was no other way to go that was not towards the man in armor, now towering and lumbering forward, the boy, Jacob, beside him. She ran for the river, whose waters ran brown.

Jacob could have caught her, had he been chasing her. He was running instead to the fallen man. He fell to his knees, crying out, "Father!" Ristiinná did not see how bad the man's hurts had been. The sled dog might have only startled and scratched him, or it might have ripped out his throat. Perhaps Jacob could heal him, and would have only one parent to mourn that night. Perhaps not.

The man in armor kept coming, but, as imposing as he was, he could not hope to outpace Ristiinná on sand, and could certainly not swim in all that impractical metal. She ran, she swam, and she ran again for hours, up hills and down them, the sled dog easily pacing her, darting ahead and coming back.

When she couldn't breathe any more, she stopped, crouching, gasping. "Were you following the wagon all that time, Dog?" she asked. "I should give you a name." The dog only wagged its tail at her.

She looked around at rumpled hills, covered in an embarrassingly large amount of green. She was free. But she was lost, far from home, in a land of which she knew nothing and no one.

10
Further Afield / Re: Tumbling Out Of Control
« on: July 23, 2020, 09:15:49 PM »
The storm was full of thunder, and the ground was angry. It lurched and tilted and yelled back at the thunder, until both the ground and the clouds grew tired. Still they argued, still the ground tilted and jostled, still the clouds swayed and grumbled, but the sound was subdued, like an old couple long married who still argue but have no heart in their words. Sometimes, the sky and the ground, the quake and the thunder, changed places, though only briefly.

There was a boy, and sometimes Ristiinná thought it was her brother, but no, he was away at the camp on the western glacier, and in any case, he didn't make soup, and if he did it would taste like fish, but this soup tasted like something Ristiinná had never tasted. Did it have a name? Maybe it was the flavor of dreams. No, that doesn't make sense. Dreams would taste better than this, and you wouldn't make them into soup, and they wouldn't be served spoonful by spoonful, by a boy who is not your brother, but could be. Perhaps they were on the western glacier, and there was a kind of fish there that had a different flavor. But surely something of glaciers was missing here, and not just her brother. She couldn't decide what.

Then the thunder and the quake would argue again, but after a time, she would dream of the boy, and the soup that was not fish. One day she asked the dream of the boy, "What kind of fish is this in the soup?"

The boy looked impatiently at her and said some sounds that were not words. At least not at first. Then they gathered like birds and hopped over one another, finding the right place to stand in a line, and she knew them as words at last, but in the southron language they called Westron. "I don't know your language, but it's not fish, it's chicken, and your people don't have anything like chicken so I can't tell you what it's like," the boy had said wearily. "You always ask, but then you fall asleep again and forget, and I'm tired of answering."

It took a few moments for the birds to align. Then Ristiinná spoke, carefully, in Westron, which her father had taught her for speaking to the traders who sometimes came as far as the trading camp, to whom she might sell ambergris, or perfume, though probably not candles or soap. The southern-guests had that of their own. "Why do you feed me soup?"

Another voice, a woman, who she thought at first was her mother, but no, this woman was far more angry and (she immediately felt) evil, or perhaps that was only the dream, called out, "Jacob, don't talk to her, just feed her and get up here."

The thing that was missing was cold, she suddenly realized; she was as warm as in the Great Lodge before the central cook-fire in summer. In fact, she suddenly noticed that she was only wearing her dress, not the three layers of furs that should be atop them. This seemed like a grave threat, but somehow a threat missing its teeth; for she was not cold. "Where are my furs?" she asked the boy.

"It's too warm for them here. That wouldn't help you heal." He gestured with the spoon towards her left arm, and she looked at it. Where it had before been very crudely bound with a splint made of an inadequate branch, held on by unevenly tied strips torn from the hem of her dress -- and tied poorly, as one must perforce do when tying them with only one hand and straining against the agony of a broken limb being pulled into place while doing it -- it was now neatly bound, splinted with a slender plank on either side. She moved the arm experimentally. The break had not yet healed, but at least a week had passed, and it no longer sent shivers of hurt through her at the slightest breath of wind upon it.

There was more soup flavored of dreams (or chicken) before she could ask, "Where are we?"

The boy considered for a moment, then shrugged. "I might as well say. You're only going to forget again once you fall asleep. We're in a place called Evendim, heading southeast towards some old ruins."

"I don't know this place," she said, glancing past the boy. The ground was still quaking, but she now realized it was actually a wagon; the clouds above her were merely a canvas draped over its top, and behind the boy, there was something impossibly green bobbing along. "Why do you treat my wounds and heal me?"

"You're worth more silver that way."

Some deep-rooted survival instinct in Ristiinná seized her tongue and stopped her crying out in surprise, or asking anything too challenging. She had, apparently, asked this before and forgotten the answer, so if she remembered this time, it was best she not let on. "How did I come to be here?" she said, affecting a dream-like tone. Which was easier than it ought to be; her head was still a little clouded, though those words had been like a splash of cold water, a rude awakening in every sense of the phrase.

The boy was still spooning soup to her, and it seemed this was all very boring to him, so answering this question amused him more than not doing so did, notwithstanding his earlier protest. "We had come to your trading camp to buy bone-carvings. Father says your people cheated him. They refused to sell him as many of the carvings as he was counting on. Made up some story about a hard winter and not enough bone to carve. Liars and cheap-skates, all of you." Ristiinná knew that the winter had been hard, the hunting sparse; why should these people think this was cheating them? They could not control the weather. "As we made our way back out of your awful frozen lands, Mother saw a shape off the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere. You, freezing to death. She said that you would be worth more, to a certain person, than all that your people had cheated us out of, and there was no one around to see. Your people rarely travel alone, so a chance to take one is rare. So we took you, and now we have to heal you, so the buyer will pay full price. For some reason he wants you hale and healthy, or near as we can make you. We can't fix your broken arm any quicker."

This was an awful lot of words, and the act of rearranging them, to understand them, made her tired, and that feeling of tiredness, of the lure of the dreams of the quake and thunder (the wagon rocking) calling to her, reminded her of the need to maintain the illusion. She let her head bob, and said in a blurred smear of words, "Thank you for healing…" and trailed off, letting her head sink back. Closing her eyes, affecting a dazed snore. What her father would call 'hamming it up', but as he always said, if you're trying to sell someone on a performance, you should always err on the side of overselling it.

The boy seemed to believe it. "I'll tell you all this again tomorrow," he said mostly to himself. "But soon we'll be there, and I'll be done with this, and good riddance, I say." He took up the bowl and spoon, then climbed out the back of the moving wagon. She could see a shadow on the canvas as he walked along a board on its other side, at the edge of the wagon. "She's fed and coming along nicely, Mother," the boy said. "She's very curious though."

"You shouldn't waste your time talking to her," the woman said. "What if she remembers this time?"

Another voice, a deep man's voice, joined in. "Doesn't matter. We'll be rid of her by this time three days hence, and sitting on a happy bundle of silver for it. Enough to make up for all this chicken we're giving her. Here I'm eating beans while she gets chicken."

"Only broth," the woman said. "She needs it to heal. It'll pay off triple."

"I know," the man said, "but that doesn't make me like it. We'll have eggs and bacon soon enough, though."

The whole time they were talking, Ristiinná was, very gently, exploring the wagon. There were a dozen bags and sacks about her, and moving as quietly as she could, she was peeking inside them. The first few contained bone carvings, or traveling supplies like bread or rope. Then she found something familiar: her furs. She had to bite back a cry of happiness to have found them. Her hand explored this bag, and at the bottom she felt the cold metal of her cooking pot, and within it, smoked fish, and finally and most pleasingly, her little knife. This she carefully drew out, eyes darting as if expecting to be caught in the act, and when she wasn't, she hid it away in her dress, in a pocket no one would likely ever find.

While moving her leg to reach this hidden pocket, though, she made one other discovery: a solid iron shackle around her right ankle, linked to a short, sturdy chain, the other end bolted to the wagon itself.

11
Further Afield / Re: Tumbling Out Of Control
« on: July 23, 2020, 09:15:30 PM »
One good thing about being entirely alone in a desolate, frozen wasteland is that you could sing as loud as you wanted and no one ever glanced askance at you, let alone criticized you for being off-key or too loud. Ristiinná's voice was high and sweet, but thin and perhaps a little nasal, better suited to soft ballads, or harmonizing, than to trying to belt it out to outshout shrieking winds. Her father had always tried to teach her to keep her voice lower, to make it rise from deep within her abdomen instead of high up in her chest, to ground it. She'd tried, but not as much as she should have. Now, walking along the top of a high snowy ridge where she wasn't even sure if that was earth or ice below the snow under her boots, she didn't care. Might as well sing however felt more natural. No one could hear. Perhaps no one ever would.

Actually, to her surprise, that wasn't entirely true. Four days after she'd awoken, battered and bruised and with a broken arm, in a hollow of snow made from her own terrifying tumble, she'd been sitting on a piece of stone -- the roof of some ancient building, probably made by the Dwarves who once dwelled, in ancient days, in these lands. Apparently her tumble had somehow left her not down into the crevasse, the winding path through the eastern glacier, but above it, atop the snow and ice that now all but buried those stone buildings, so that she walked above them, and the occasional spot where a bit of their masonry projected above the frost proved a good place to rest. There were no trees here, but there was frequent spindly shrubbery, untouched by the reindeer. These had provided her with lichen and berries to eat to supplement her fish, a strong branch she'd managed (with many failed and painful attempts) to bind into a crude splint for her arm, and most importantly, a meager supply of wood for fire. She was sitting in front of one such camp that day, trying to warm up enough that she could get through the night without shivering herself awake, when she thought she saw movement in the flickering shadows.

Even as her good hand reached for her small knife, she laughed at herself -- out loud, as she had forgotten how to keep quiet, and all her thoughts poured from her mouth now, even more than they always had before (those from her tribe would be amazed to know that the constant torrent of either over-cheerful or maudlin words she spoke was only the smaller part of those which raced through her mind). What could she do with so tiny a knife against anything that might stalk the snows here? Still, this entire effort to find her way to the road had the air of a desperate, pointless gesture. She'd hoped to reach the path almost immediately, and instead, after two days of exhausting trundling through snow, she realized she'd somehow overshot it and was now making her way towards the distant settlement in the pines beneath the glacier, which her expedition had not planned to visit. And she couldn’t turn back; she'd come downhill too far and over drops too steep for her to make it back up with a broken arm. She had no choice but to try to press forward, though even if she were in the passable crevasse, it would be far too long a journey in her condition, and here, above it, it was insane. She went on only so that when death caught up with her, it would have had to do so on its own two feet.

The knife, a precious bit of metal scarcely as long as her pinky, in a carven bone handle, flickered in the firelight. She forgot why she was holding it; the threat of movement had slipped away. Pain and weariness and cold were leeching the life from her and her thoughts were rarely clear. Then a grey-white shape appeared against the snow and she dropped the knife in her surprise.

She fumbled for it in the snow. By time she looked up, she recognized at last what was approaching, as it had arrived. It was one of the sled dogs, from the expedition, bounding up to her with a triumphant wag of its tail. She didn't know the beast's name or even if it was male or female, only that, when she had taken a turn to toss it scraps of meat, it had always seemed pleased to see her. Or perhaps anyone with meat. How had it come to be here? Had it gotten lost in the storm as well? Her thoughts went to her tribemates, and the difficulty the loss of a sled dog must bring them; perhaps they would hitch a sled to some of the reindeer instead, as they'd discussed before setting out. Maybe they'd sent the sled dog to try to find her? Indeed, she now remembered, while a Lumi-väki tracker might have seen no trail to follow in the fresh-covered snow, the keen nose of a dog might have been able to follow her. "Fool," she said to herself, "you should have stayed, they might have found you!" Though she didn't dare speak aloud her certainty that, even if they had been looking for, and even if they had found her, she would likely have died before they did, had she not pressed on to find these scant scraps of firewood.

The dog didn't seem frightened of her knife, and came right up to her, tail aflutter. In the days since, it had stayed with her, its warmth helping her get through the nights, its pointed ears swiveling every time she spoke (until she thought perhaps the dog thought she was speaking to it; eventually as her mind muddled further, she also thought it could understand her). It hadn't even needed much of her supply of dried fish; it would sniff about the snow, then frantically dig and come up with some small burrowing creature for its supper.

And it didn't seem to mind her singing. In fact, sometimes when she hit a high note, it joined in. The dog's howls felt like teasing, but friendly teasing, and somehow it always brought a smile to Ristiinná's face. The dog had become her singular focus, apart from the plodding of this endless high path. She'd forgotten she wanted to get down to the low road, where she might see travelers, others of the Lumi-väka, or the occasional guest from the southlands, merchants who came to the trading camp with their wagons. She'd forgotten that the road might, one day, lead to the southernmost settlement of the Lumi-väki, though that was many days away by this path even for a healthy and seasoned traveler of her tribe. More by more she forgot what she was hoping to accomplish. She just plodded forward, slower and slower, weaker and weaker, her left arm throbbing more and more until she felt like she was merely a broken arm that had grown a body to pull itself along by; and she talked to the dog in long rambling incoherent monologues which were farther and farther from sense with each passing day. Sometimes she remembered to eat, or make a tiny fire. Sometimes she sang, though she forgot why. When she couldn't move any more she slept, with the dog held close for warmth, and had dreams of cold, of abandonment, of rejection, of pain, or sometimes of hope. Each time she woke it took her longer to remember where she was going, and she very probably turned herself around several times.

The ground had been sloping downward for some time, and in the distance she'd been able to see trees. "Oh, good, trees," she told the dog. "That's good. This must be the southern valley. We're saved." None of which made much sense. There were trees in many places, and even if she'd just reached the point where in the distance she could see the outer fringes of the valley, she still had days of travel to reach the village. If she was even going the right direction. Even if she'd truly seen trees; more and more her eyes had been playing tricks on her too. But her thoughts were as cloudy as the depths of the Ice Bay now. So relieved was she to have reached safety, that she simply sat down in the snow and slipped into a hazed slumber, in which she dreamed, as she slowly froze, of sitting before a warm fire, eating a hearty steaming stew in the company of friends.

12
Further Afield / Tumbling Out Of Control
« on: July 23, 2020, 08:46:19 PM »
The world was whiter than usual, and soft, and she knew it must be deadly cold. But the cold felt good. It eased some of the deep ache in her bruised and battered body. Might as well embrace the cold for what good it does, Ristiinná thought, as I can't do anything about it. She moved slightly to peer inside the precious heavy iron cookpot that she was wrapped around, but simply moving her left arm elicited a cry she felt sure could be heard all the way in the northern reaches. It was probably broken. Another thing I can't do anything about, she thought. Gingerly moving the pot only with her right arm, she peered into it. Though the storm was breaking, there was very little light within the bubble of air in the snow she had formed when her fall had ended; she was cut off from the outside world on all sides but one, in what was very nearly a cave of snow. As good a shelter as she could have made. Well, at least I have plenty to eat, she thought as she surveyed the plentiful supply of smoked and dried fish tucked into the bowl. This elicited a manic laugh, which broke into a fit of agonized coughing, as the bruises and aches all over her body caught up with her. That was the nearest she'd came to a lucid thought for a while, and it would be the last for even longer.

- - - - -

Some of her dreams were simply echoes of the expedition setting out. Time and again she could hear her mother exhorting her to volunteer for the journey, doing what she herself would have done, supplies and provisions, were she young enough to go on so long and arduous a road. The little song she'd made up to memorize the provisions list kept coming from the air around her, as if it were being sung by a hundred breathless spirits, or the winds themselves. Even in her pain-wracked hallucinations, she could look at each of the three sleds and see, as if her vision could penetrate the hides and furs bound tightly over them, everything in its place, carefully organized so that things needed earlier would be at the top.

But even when her delirium took her on the long sloping paths from her village, alongside sleds and a dozen others of the tribe, the pains of her body and those of her heart entwined together and drew her imaginings into darker places. The others of the tribe plodded on through the snow, faint and almost transparent; she waved her arms at them, shouted, ran back and forth between them, but nothing she could do would rouse any reaction. Slowly the chill in the air made her realize they had all died, they were merely ghosts, walking because they knew nothing else to do, and they could not see her. She stopped to wail and sob, at how she must have failed them, at how she would now certainly be forever alone, only to notice their footprints in the snow… and the lack of her own. And her cries would turn to gasps of shock as she realized she was the ghost.

- - - - -

She lifted her head and looked out of her snow-cave, blinking at the brightness. The storm was gone; she'd been dazed and dozing, battered and nearly broken, for hours, perhaps longer. Perhaps they will be looking for me, she thought, though the idea felt completely uncompelling; they'd never really seemed much inclined to notice her, save to be annoyed by her. "Just be yourself, only not as much," her mother had told her, but it had never worked. Being sure not to move her left arm, she pulled herself up. It took a dozen tries; the snow was packed hard beneath her from her tumble finally coming to an end, and there was nothing to pull herself up by. She had bundled herself in three layers of furs before venturing from the tent to try to get food and a cookpot in the middle of the storm, and this made her even more clumsy, especially with all the bruises. Though those extra layers was probably why she hadn't already frozen to death, and no doubt saved her even worse breaks and bruises, they weren't helping her get out of the snow-cave.

The sun was blindingly bright on the smooth expanse of snow before her, leading up, up, so far up. Presumably to the road where the expedition had hastily stopped and quickly put up the three tents as the storm had blown in, making vision impossible, the keening wind drowning out all but the loudest shouts. Somewhere, far above her, they had probably awoken, miserable and hungry. (Had someone else tried the same insanely risky thing she had, plunging out into the blinding storm to try to get food for everyone, and a pot to melt snow for water, when she hadn't come back? For a moment she wondered if someone else was in similar straits to hers.)

But even if they had chosen to try to find her, when they'd shaken the snow from the tent and packed the sleds again, they would have no way to do so. She had wandered blind, trying and failing to find the tent in the storm, for some time, her prize clutched to her chest, before she'd stumbled, then fallen, tumbling for an unimaginably long time down this slope before she finally stopped in a bank of snow deep enough to stop her fall. Leaving a huge scar in the snow, no doubt, but the storm had erased all traces of it; the surface was now as smooth as freshly tanned hide.

Well, I may be the least capable of all the Lumi-väki to survive like this, with no skill or weapon for hunting, no hatchet for cutting wood, and no idea where I am, she thought, but at least I have plentiful furs and plentiful food. And a pot for melting snow. And I am no southron who knows nothing of the cold. I am Lumi-väki. She turned slowly, still favoring the broken left arm. Climbing, though it might lead closer to her company, seemed impossible; and there was surely no wood there anyway. She turned to the downslope. "Perhaps I can find the road and then meet them there," she said with a cracking voice to no one, and was shocked by the sound of her own words, or rather, by the fact that she hadn't said anything aloud in at least a day. So unlike her. She scooped snow into the cooking pot; without fire, it would not melt easily, but the pot was dark and the sun was bright, and so, some would melt. She would need water to drink; she already did. She ate some fish; it invigorated her more than she expected. She stretched, wincing at every bruise and pulled muscle. And then she started plodding on heavy footfalls down the hill towards what she thought might be the road to the trading post village where the expedition would be stopping soon, hoping to meet them on the road, or in the village.

13
Men / [LotR] Ristiinná
« on: July 22, 2020, 09:44:58 PM »

RISTIINNÁ



NAME: Ristiinná
NICKNAMES (IF ANY): none (that anyone's admitted to her)
TRILOGY: LotR
DATE OF BIRTH AND AGE (AS OF T.A. 2941/3019): born summer of T.A. 2999, currently age 20
PLACE OF BIRTH: Forochel
RACE:  Man (Lossoth aka Lumi-väki)
GENDER: Female

HAIR COLOUR AND APPEARANCE: Dark brown, curly, shoulder-length
EYE COLOUR: Dark brown
BODY TYPE AND HEIGHT: A little shorter and more slender than average
OVERALL APPEARANCE: Dresses, typically in sea blue or sometimes crimson and gold; in cold climates, furs of white with accents dyed in deep blues and reds.
DISTINGUISHING MARKS: Brown skin with dark brown freckles. Her left arm is very slightly misshapen at the middle forearm due to a break that didn't heal that well. (more accurate depiction than the face claim here, or an artistic version here)
WEAPONS: Small knife with carved bone (scrimshaw) handle; crude spear for hunting and fishing
FACE CLAIM: Lulu Stone

STRENGTHS: A minstrel and storyteller of the Lumi-väki with a good voice (particularly for harmonies) and an expressive style. Has learned how to provide for herself in the wilderness, with the help of her sled dog. Is skilled in the making of candles, soaps, perfumes, and other things made from animal tallow, as well as those basic cold-weather survival skills all of her people know, and basic hearthcraft that almost any woman of the Lumi-väki would know (like mending clothes or basic healing). Also good at organization, taking after her mother's talents at organizing the supplies and needs of her tribe. Can read and write. Has mastered a skill of making up little songs to memorize things when she can't write them.

WEAKNESSES: Talks way too much, too enthusiastically, almost faster than her own thoughts, in an way that many people find off-putting (especially amongst her tribe). Over-eager to make friends, and hurt too much when people are mean or curt with her. Has a poor sense of direction and easily gets lost. Has very little experience with the ways of survival in warmer climates, though she's learning. Has no particular ability or experience at battle. Other than their language, she knows almost nothing of the people or places of southern lands. Has very little gear or supplies.

ASPIRATIONS: Beyond the basics of survival, she longs to find a place where she feels like she fits in and is appreciated, and to make friends who appreciate her -- ideally, just as she is. Perhaps to go back to Forochel one day, when she feels like she'll be welcomed. To learn more stories and songs. To feel loved. To see places and people she's never seen.

FEARS: Loneliness. Being excluded or disliked. The idea that who she is, no matter how carefully tempered, is unavoidably 'too much' for her to ever make friends, and she will have to choose between being herself, and being cared for. The fear that even her family couldn't bear her.

PERSONALITY: Most of the time, Ristiinná is bubbly, cheerful, optimistic, and very gregarious, prone to chattering every thought as it crosses her mind, straining to make friends with everyone, and always finding the glitter in everything whether it be gold or not. She's not brash out of any desire to push anything on anyone; she's simply carried along by an inner well of enthusiasm that never stops bubbling.

At least until, as happens all too often, someone finds it all 'just too much' and snaps at her, and then, like a sled dog puppy whose nose has been struck, she slinks back and becomes maudlin, morose, and withdrawn, trying (and entirely failing) to hide how hurt she is. Particularly by how much it hurts her to be excluded, to not make friends of everyone she meets.

But the well still bubbles and before long, without really choosing to break out of the gloom, or being pushed out of it, she simply moves past it as if she forgot that she was saddened, and is again cheerful and too warm.

Ultimately what she wants more than anything is friendship, a connection to those around her, feeling like she fits in with people, but that's just what she's always struggled to find, since her effusive nature turns away so many people, particularly amongst her laconic, severe tribe-mates.

HISTORY: Ristiinná was born in the snowy north to the Lumi-väki, or Lossoth (as they were called by the southerners who sometimes came to their lands in summer to trade, especially for bone carvings). Her father was a clan storyteller and minstrel, while her mother, the more practical one, oversaw the provisioning and supplying of the clan. Though she learned her father's trade somewhat, she also trained in the making of animal fat and tallow into candles and soaps, useful things the clan would need, especially in winter when it was dark most of the day.

One day the chieftain was sending out an expedition to a distant camp from whom no word had been heard in some time, and Ris's mother urged her to volunteer to be part of it, and do what she herself would do if she weren't too old to go: make sure the expedition had everything it needed. Ris's bubbly, over-cheerful personality put off most of the others in the expedition. They were stopping for the night when a blizzard swept in and they had to set up tents quickly, so much they didn't get any food or cooking pot from the sleds. Ris ventured out, in three layers of furs, to get these needed supplies, but got lost in the blinding winds and tumbled far down a long slope, breaking an arm. She could not get back, and attempts to cross to the road to meet up with them led her the wrong way. One of the sled dogs found her, but she ended up curled up in the snow, spent, freezing to death.

Passing merchants who felt robbed by the Lossoth, finding her, decided to take her and see if they'd be able to sell her as a hostage to a servant of the Shadow that they knew of in the lands near Lake Nenuial, who was trying to put pressure on the Lossoth for reasons unknown to them. All they cared about was getting some coin. Just before the trade, she was able to break free, killing one of them, the dog injuring another. This left her lost in a green and warm land totally unfamiliar to her, with no way to get home, nor any reason to think she would be welcomed if she did return. She was fortunate enough to be found by a Dúnadan who helped her learn some basic survival techniques like spear-fishing, before he had to move on. She's been fending for herself, with the help of her dog, afraid to try to go north and re-enter Forochel, and has finally decided to cross south to the lands she sometimes glimpsed in the distance, where smoke rose from chimneys.

YOUR NAME: HunterGreen
AGE: 53
COUNTRY: United States
EXPERIENCE: First roleplaying game was in 1980. First play-by-forum game was 1988, on Quantum Link. Have been roleplaying (tabletop, play-by-post, voice chat, MUD, MUSH, and/or MMO) for 40 years.
OTHER CHARACTERS: None yet
CONTACT: Discord HunterGreen#5163 or PM
HOW DID YOU FIND US?: Google
ROLE PLAY/WRITING SAMPLE:

Quote
(Ristiinná had lain down to die in the snow, but is now coming through muddled, comatose dreams to gradually awaken finding herself in a wagon, being cared for by strangers.)

The storm was full of thunder, and the ground was angry. It lurched and tilted and yelled back at the thunder, until both the ground and the clouds grew tired. Still they argued, still the ground tilted and jostled, still the clouds swayed and grumbled, but the sound was subdued, like an old couple long married who still argue but have no heart in their words. Sometimes, the sky and the ground, the quake and the thunder, changed places, though only briefly.

There was a boy, and sometimes Ristiinná thought it was her brother, but no, he was away at the camp on the western glacier, and in any case, he didn't make soup, and if he did it would taste like fish, but this soup tasted like something Ristiinná had never tasted. Did it have a name? Maybe it was the flavor of dreams. No, that doesn't make sense. Dreams would taste better than this, and you wouldn't make them into soup, and they wouldn't be served spoonful by spoonful, by a boy who is not your brother, but could be. Perhaps they were on the western glacier, and there was a kind of fish there that had a different flavor. But surely something of glaciers was missing here, and not just her brother. She couldn't decide what.

Then the thunder and the quake would argue again, but after a time, she would dream of the boy, and the soup that was not fish. One day she asked the dream of the boy, "What kind of fish is this in the soup?"

The boy looked impatiently at her and said some sounds that were not words. At least not at first. Then they gathered like birds and hopped over one another, finding the right place to stand in a line, and she knew them as words at last, but in the southron language they called Westron. "I don't know your language, but it's not fish, it's chicken, and your people don't have anything like chicken so I can't tell you what it's like," the boy had said wearily. "You always ask, but then you fall asleep again and forget, and I'm tired of answering."



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