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The House of Paer; Pylys - The Wolf Trail

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The House of Paer; Pylys - The Wolf Trail

Post by Bloodtrailkiller on Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:29 am

Oh, forewarning.

This was roughly 17 pages of collective boredom over a week or so. Be prepared for a word wall.
Is your body ready?
is naht


Water rushes between the heavy boots of a traveller, rain barrages the leather cloak that hides his features from the light of the torch, blazing valiantly against the onslaught of falling water.
Up ahead, set upon a hill is a large, haunting castle. A solitary tower threatens to pierce the heavens, such is its steepness. Moss and vines stretch across the stones of the castle like veins of a great hand. Below the hand, is a lower wall, whereupon a village of sparsely populated huts that sporadically vomit forth lulling smoke clouds create the base of the castle.
A distant clamour echoes across the droplets, reverberating through the air like a sickness. The shouting of drunkards and singing from their putrid mouths. The travelling figure sighs and rubs his stubbled jaw. He sneers and continues trudging forth, a sack resting on his shoulder; jingling with metal and scraping against something fleshy.
His torch, like a firefly, flutters through the harsh night. In the distance, another flame burns angrily against the night; though fueled by other means than twigs and oil.
A woman's howl shatters the subtle noise of the clapping raindrops, silencing the inn for a moment. The man stops and yawns, looking up to the sky, towards the imperfect moon. He shakes his head, letting the hood fall back, the torch catching slightly paled flesh and ink-black tendrils which seem to rival the night's own veil. His eyes are closed, and he lowers his head, hiding them beneath the infinitely consuming hair which falls upon his shoulders in a messy fashion. His leathers whisper to eachother as he moves, a few belts holding various knives and a singular longsword and quiver hiss against the clothing.
The traveller's feet are soon at the inn, the woman's screams enveloped by the crackle of fire and righteous clamour.
He lifts his head, reading the well worn sign of paint which desires to return to the earth in chips. Still, the painting of a black, fat, and rat-like bird decorate the space above some burned letters.
"The Black Pigeon."
A chuckle and a slim smile gives life to the traveller's face and he enters the curious inn, tossing aside the torch which immediately dies to the earth.

Immediately, he is bombarded by an orchestra of sin. The intoxication of its inhabitants is almost infectuous as a large band of mercenaries dominates the meagre first floor; threatening to enter the second floor which holds half the building safe from their obnoxiousness.
"O` The Woodsman and the She
danced as the Wolf's head lay upon the stones
The She laughed and the Woodsman sighed
'Little She!'
'I'm sorry! I sin now so I stay the same!'
And the She screamed and squealed,
And She giggled and She sighed!
'I would sing! Ser Woodsman! Ye shame the Knights!'"
Various bawdy songs echoed throughout the hall, barraging any in their wake. Nonetheless, the traveller entered and went on to sit upon the many open spots at the bar-table; saving the Barkeep from conversing with one of its many drunken patrons. The Barkeep was jubilant, of dark skin and darker hair, one of his eyes boasted a basic murky brown pool, while the other caught the light within its cut gem of emerald.
"Good evening! Sorry for the lively crowd, I'd kick them out if half of them didn't own blades. Alas, they do and I am a forced host. I do not mind their gold, but they are quite loud."
The Barkeep spoke in a baritone spectrum, and formed refined words that spoke of being well brought up, or at least recieving an education. He bore tattoos over his right facing, which continued on beneath the linen shirt and leather overalls which hid the man's considerable weight. His hand's were more akin to a paw and the scar's were likely from a lash. He had a grin upon his face, his lips curling apart just enough to show the pearly white tombstones beneath, and the few missing ones. The canvas of his face was kind, and wide. providing ample space for the swirling tattoos mentioned before.
"Anyway, what is it that I can do you for? A room? A pint? Or a tale?"
The grin of the Barkeep widened at the last one with a queer twinkle in his eye.
"I want a room. I have no gold, but your hearth dims, and your woodstocks seem low, sire."
The words seemed to be of ice, sharp and crisp. Like daggers of the North, they sank into the Barkeep. The slight accent marked him as neither West nor South, but it was definitely not Eastern. More akin to those who've no place of birth. Simply intimidating and demanding authority.
The Barkeep nervously rubbed the mace beneath the bar table.
"Ah, yeah... Right, a few rooms are open. Mercenaries here, from Ser Jeule, recently paid and laid off until further notice. I, uh... yeah, need more wood"
The traveller nodded and tapped the bar table.
"Where would my room be?"
"Oh, right. Here, here. The key; second floor, past the door, then down and the bottom should have a room that has the shape of... ah, a fox, yes, a fox upon a fine bronze plate."
The key did have a crude carving of what could be a fox. Or a wolf, or a dog.
The traveller nodded again and took the key, looking up to the Barkeep, who winced behind his eyes.
"Thank you. I will depart in the morning."
"Ah, y-yes. Good, I appreciate your work; there should be a chopping block outside, that way in a shed."
The Barkeep jutted his thumb to the right, opposite of where the traveller had entered; his eyes followed and nodded again, shifting the weight of the sack on his shoulders, a subtle rustle following and chink of metal upon metal.
"Right. I'll go in a second, let me visit my room."
His dark-hued head nodded agreeably as the traveller turned and left. The scarred hands left the mace beneath the table and he sighed, cursing this busy and strenuous night. Bad enough a noble decided to stay, now a freak and a mercenary band. At least the gold would be plentiful... and the wood.

The traveller brushed past mercenaries, drunk with their gold and the various women of the tavern, some lacking base manners and taking them behind huddled bodies; so as the barkeep could not see. A few eyed him dangerously, noting the distinct build of a fellow sellsword; though quickly averted their curious eyes upon seeing the curious bow upon his shoulder, double-armed and utilizing a curious mechanism at either end. Intimidating enough, added upon the immense size which its bottom tip idly tapped upon the wooden steps as the traveller walked up the steps to the second floor. His tread left blotchings of wet mud and a curious dance of crimson. A few shuddered when their gaze lingered before returning to their revelry.
At the top of the steps, was a large man who was as dark as the host, but harshly opposite of his friend in build. Where the man at the front had a generous helping of food to his gut, this one seemed starved of fat, with only muscles taking their place. He towered over the traveller who stood infront of him, before raising his key,
"Excuse me."
The bodyguard looked down towards the host, who nodded, the tall guard nodded back; the jangling of gold jewellry upon his chiselled face giggled as he did so and stepped aside.
More muddy steps and eventually they stopped, dried by the heat of the tavern. Caking upon the hide-boots of the traveller.
He noted a trio sitting upon the small balcony at a round table, sitting all together and leaning over a single, smaller fellow who wore a large and curious pointed cap. The others were large and held the colors of merchants, their fat arms stopping the light from giving more character to the small fellow betwixt the both.
They were engaged in a hasty discussion, one would occasionally chuckle.
"...you sure your father..?"
"...if your father didn't..."
Things were getting heated there and the small man remained silent.
The traveller grunted, as he opened the door to the next area, he was greeted by almost a second building unto itself. A few patrons milled about, though most were definitely within their quarters; from the wild grunting to the humble prayer behind closed doors marked them as such. The traveller followed the barkeep's instructions and walked down the steps to his right, leading down to a lower floor that held a few tables, but mostly a long hallway with many doors. Most were closed besides three. Honor kept the traveller from indulging in his curiosity, and he continued on, walking down the doors; haphazardly glancing at the crude bronze carvings.
Cat. Skull. Smiling Face. Bird. Another bird, though upon a branch this time. A... fox? or maybe it was a dog; though this was front on, the key upon the traveller's key was profiled.
He was beginning to think he'd gone down the wrong way, when it was upon him. The fox. Or maybe a wolf or dog, depends upon ones intoxication. Either way, the key entered the lock and gave a strong noise before opening, letting the traveller into the small cell.
The cell consisted of a singular bed, with a fine feather mattress contrasting with the rather barbaric furs and lack of pillow. There was a bed table with an unlit candle. A window with actual glass was carved into the place above the bed. There was enough space for, at most, ten people. The ceiling was low, and the traveller could well and hear a duo enjoying the night in one bed above him as he set down his bundle.
He breathed deeply and looked up, seeing one's foot dangling off the bed and jumping in tune to the moans and grunting. He yawned and looked back down, his eyes scanning the room. All together, rather secure. The window was glassed and high enough for no cat-burglars to climb up and steal his things. The door boasted a good lock, from the sound of it. The floor was basic dirt, with the treads of others still waiting to be covered. The traveller couldn't help but notice the shape of sabatons, the armored foot-wear of knights and men at arms, still pressed into the mildly wet dirt. Another thing that was odd, that. The dirt within was still agreeably dry, perhaps a foundation.
Overall, not the worst place the traveller had stayed. The bed might not even have lice.
At any rate, he couldn't rest without paying due to the barkeep.

"You can't honestly expect us to escort you ALL the way to castle Azuleblanc!"
"Oui, t's true! We've almost no money after your early leaving! If you'd given us more time..."
"I do not believe, my friends, you realize thgh the big bodyguard of the host with the flail still dwarfed him, yet, she was rather certain the said bodyguard dwarfed everyone.
The man had a curious bow, not like the West; almost like if they'd taken a crossbow and mixed it with a longbow. He had a blocky sheathe that held a shortsword, but Red wasn't altogether sure what shortsword needed that much space.
"At any rate, Azuleblanc is a long way, and we don't have much in the way of trade in our carts. The South control this side today, but the West is just across the river."
"Oui, oui. We'd get more money from selling you!"
Those were dangerous words, but the merchant laughed; the other didn't. The situation became immediately tense. The other stopped laughing and Red felt her heart skip a beat. A bead of sweat slipped down her forehead and she no longer felt comfortable with how close the two merchants were so close to her...

The traveller sighed as he entered the loud room. Still filled with drunk mercs, but most were beginning to pass out. A few still bucked into the various women they'd bought, but most were trying to sing, trying to continue the momentary joy of mass suicide within their brain .
"...Azuleblanc is a long way..."
The trio were still there, though the group seemed even more huddled together. His gaze lingered and he caught the eye of the small fellow sandwiched between the two. Wasn't a fellow at all, actually. More female. She'd a boyish frame, marking her beneath at least year ten with five. Her dark hued hair caught the bumbling yellow flames of the scones within the inn in a red way, like blood almost. He shuddered and the girl looked at either merchant, then at him; her big stormy grey eyes were curious, like the slabs of a castle. Her un-pocked face marked her as one who'd lived within the castle, than without.
Her gaze was pleading, but too late as the traveller turned and left, heading down the steps and over a few unconscious mercenaries upon them.
The traveller's feet moved without him thinking, and the barkeep eyed him questionably beneath his heavy brow.
'I'm going, I'm going...' he thought to himself as he left the inn to the quieting night. The rain had gotten weary, the party seeming to have sapped its liveliness from before. The moon shined in a dastardly grin that lit up the wet mud and the woodshed not nearly as far as the traveller had believed.
His eyes happened upon the message board that boasted various pinned jobs. The traveller couldn't help but wince at recognizing his own face on a poster; expertly drawn, no doubt, by some sort of magician.
It captured his wolf like features flawlessly. Distinct, middling cheeks, slightly pronounced with bushy sideburns foresting the area beneath. A light black stubble decorated the lower part of his face. His thin lips boasting a slight moustache above them. A nose above that, was hooked downwards and sharp like the beak of a predator bird. His eyes were asymmetrical, something he noticed consistently in these drawings; a curiously noticeable thing, apparently. Then again, their hue was painstakingly repeated in the text beneath the drawing. As well as the reward, of which, the value was less than he'd remembered.
Maybe they were finally forgetting.
Maybe he 'ought to forget as well, maybe.
Those were thoughts for a philosopher, not for a woodchopper. The traveller picked up the axe, the wood a little spongy at the hilt, and the iron head beginning to rust. Still, he could make it work.
The traveller opened the door of the wood shed and sighed, something was off his shoulders; the place was filled with firewood. Unsplit firewood, but he at least didn't have to go out and find some. Perhaps, he could go back to working as a merc again.
He grabbed a few pieces of firewood and held them beneath the crutch of his arm, bringing them out and setting them in a small lean-to of wood with stone flooring. Black Pigeon inn was definitely not one of the worst he'd been at.
The traveller set a piece of wood upon the chopping block and aimed the ax, he sighed and couldn't help but smile. This was an easy enough job, maybe he could arrange something. He brought the ax down.

Red squirmed as one of the merchants, with a moustache like two caterpillars kissing, set his spindly arm; made bulky with the fine cloths, behind her chair.
"Ah, oui. We could do that. Much more profitable..." he muttered, his breath smelled of citrus, his brown eyes were like the brown close-cropped hair upon his scalp. His hand drummed on the back of Red's seat, she could feel the vibrations all throughout herself as the tavern quieted. The stranger had once again come by, stopping and staring at her with curious eyes, Red was too stunned by their hue to actually ask before it was too late. The traveller had left and she felt for her dagger, set in the sheathe at her hip on the leather belt of her first brother.
"Hmm, it is a good idea, my friend." the other murmured, "Or maybe good lady Red has other mean's of payment? Some... gem, hidden?" the other was larger, and filled his clothes. At his belt was an equal dagger, though on a thicker belt. His hand went down upon Red's thigh with a slap that brought a whimper from she.
"I... you can't. My uncle..."
"Is in Azuleblanc bastille. We are in Chateau du Caenbius`. Our debts well and cover the many miles from Petien e` Callien to here. How will you pay for the rest, hm?"
"Ah, and do not forget the Westerners, who are just across the river, maybe a way or two? They pay handsomely for ransoms..."
Red quickly pulled out her dagger and sliced the arm of the larger merchant, the other wrapped his arms around her waist and she turned, bringing the dagger down onto his back. Both howled in pain and she backed away from them, bumping into the guard who was watching the action ensue.
Red turned to face him, wild eyed.
"Help me!!!"
The guard turned to the host, down at the bar, who was also watching. He shrugged and the guard looked down at Red. And shrugged.
The merchants were getting up and she was trapped by the guard. How could they just let this happen? Had they no morals? Red cursed her luck again before looking over the balcony and vaulted over the railing.

The firewood was a little wet, and the ax bit harshly into the wood with a squelch and crack; he frowned and lifted the axe, the wood clinging desperately to it before he brought it down once more and split the piece of wood cleanly in two. Distant lightning lit up the sky, before thunder rumbled across the ground. Sending sporadic shadows onto the ground. The rain began to pick up and the traveller sighed, he set down the axe, pulled up his hood, then brought the firewood over to the pile of unsplit wood, set it down, and brought back another piece.
He shivered and patted the sides of his arms to pump the blood, or something akin to it. He rubbed the tips of his ears delicately and winced, still not healed; the wound had been there for long enough, but the tips would just not heal over.
With that, the traveller decided he couldn't have everything and returned to lining up the axe to the firewood, before bringing it down into a wet chop.

The table almost gave way, and the mercenaries around her grumbled or numbly felt for her or their weapons. Too slow, were they, as Red was dashing away. Or at least trying to. The countless bodies slowed her down to little more than a walk as the merchants got up and shouted curses at her, the merchant who she'd stabbed had pulled out the dagger. And threw it at her in a novice fashion. The blade didn't hit, but it was enough to make her stumble and fall over. The one whom Red had sliced was running down the steps, the host watching with mild bemusement as he nodded towards the door which the stranger had left, the barkeep obviously enjoyed this spectacle.
Red's leg was on fire from the fall, and she could tell something was not right as she'd begun her flee. Pain was simply more motivation to move, as she limped over the bodies again towards the door as the large merchant began chasing after Red. His slim friend catching up and passing him, he wasn't armed, at least.
She burst through the doors and saw the man chopping wood in the distance, thunder roared across the fields and through forests as he brought the axe down and split the wood cleanly. Red cried out, but her voice was drowned by the thunder.
She limped towards him, her boots sloshing in the thick mud before she tripped, her elbows saving her from the worst of it.
However, the scrawny merchant came out, and saw her on the ground, a savage grin spread over his long face and he hastily made his way over. Red had already dug into the mud and found a few solid stones, no doubt from some sort of attempted graveled path. She was turned onto her back by the wirey merchant, but Red sent the fistful of rocks into the man's face, bloodying it and sending him off from over her. She stood and continued limping towards the traveller, calling out.

A storm was definitely coming, the rain was starting to fall harder than before. And the traveller thought he was going to enjoy a nice night. At the very least, the gods could have given him that. It sounded like the inn was picking up in liveliness, again. He'd hoped the drunkards had worn themselves out on alcohol and other means of self indulgence. The traveller's gloved hands, the fingers chopped off from three on the left hand, leaving the index and middle encased in the leather home, pushed back a drifting lock of hair. He huffed and easily split the second piece of firewood in two, when lightning struck and thunder followed; rolling over fields and piercing forests.
Maybe the storm would deter the Kings from fighting for one day... probably not, the fools probably saw this as a sign of the good God or his angels offering them strength or the like. He hated blue bloods like that, especially now where generations are being raised on conflict; only knowing, living, and dying in a war started by their grandfathers.
And now, he heard echoes of his past, he supposed the night was similar to this... He sighed and picked up the two pieces of firewood and set them with the rest before turning and seeing a form moving towards him; instinctively, he raised his ax and stepped towards it.
Until, he noticed the girl's grey eyes. The traveller's bushy black brows furrowed, he cocked his head and looked up to see two men; one lithe and one bulky, making their way towards him. They were the ones at the little lady's table, no doubt. Maybe things had gone awry, not that it mattered, the girl was the one who showed up first with doe eyes, she got served first.
The traveller let his ax go calmly to his side, letting one hand go out to support the limping girl, who was only as tall as his shoulders if she was on her toes; hunched over like this... The traveller frowned and supported the girl who eagerly grasped his arm and hid behind him.
"Let go, I can't fight with one arm..." he told the girl as kindly as he could, watching the merchants come closer.
"Hey, ser. That there... It's ours. She belongs to us." the spindly one said. He had a handsome long face, his eyes a basic brown and his hair equally so. It was a general handsome face, the traveller supposed. His only problem being he was hunched over and lacking a bit of meat.
"I apologize, my lords. The girl... she seems frightened." the traveller motioned to the girl who was stepping behind him, gingerly and careful not to stumble. Her lower leg boasted a curious bulge which, the traveller knew, marked either a splintered bone or a large bruise.
The larger fellow, of curiously colorful clothes, and bearing a dagger in a bloodied arm, was red faced, even in this lighting. He snarled and, the traveller could have sworn, snorted like a warthog before distant thunder seemed to awkwardly announce itself.
"Tch, I don't care. Give us the girl and we won't gut you." the man barked aggressively, he had a definitely intimidating aura around him; the way he waved he long dagger about.
"Again, I apologize." the traveller remarked, he smiled lightly. "But I'm inclined by honor, to protect a lady in need."
He chuckled at his own joke, he'd done his best to mock that of many a knight, but it seemed lost on the merchants who staggered, before stepping forward in certainty.
"You're no knight..." the wiry one remarked as though he'd just uncovered a great clue. The traveller sighed and brought the splitting axe up across his chest, in a diagonal fashion.
"I like to play one when I frolic in the forests, though." he stepped forward, against the two merchants. The large one sneered and made a curse in a Southern drawl as he surged forward.
With an expert stroke, the traveller stepped forward and spun the ax; the blade at a forty-five degree angle to the opposition's core, and swung towards the ground. The blade haphazardly bit into the chest of the large man, and the blade shattered against the bone, which snapped beneath the force as the axe-blade was broken into a hundred iron shards within the mangled piece of flesh that was once the obtusely large man's chest. It had opened up grotesquely to reveal the fat and minimal muscle as well as the heaving lungs which now struggled to cope with the new opening. Blood mired with the brown mud beneath, and the fellow fell; overpowering the wet soil with red.
The wiry fellow stepped back, his face akin to horror, before turning to flee; too late and the traveller long-stepped. The broken axe was still effective as a bludgeon, which the traveller used to smash onto the skull of the man. The merchant spasmed as the entirety of the axe-head, including part of the shaft, split off in a spongy explosion of wood splinters, skull, and brain matter. He fell to the ground and his cortex spilled into the ground; exploded like a hammer to a melon. So much for the bounty reducing...

Red watched the display of skill in awe, as she awkwardly bumped into and fell upon the chopping stump. Her leg shot a cry of pain through her, but the traveller's movements were almost hypnotizing. His cloak beautifully flowing behind him like some prince of old, and his utilization of the weapon, despite changing, was flawless. So it seemed, to Red.
After her two mild escorts were slain, lightning struck again as wind began to howl towards the castle. The traveller tossed the broken handle aside and let out a heaving sigh that seemed to weigh his shoulders down as he looked back to her with eyes that seemed to see into her very soul. She shuddered at them and felt fear eep into her bones. She was next, she knew it.
The traveller lopsidedly walked back to Red, she could smell the blood and sweat on him. The eyes forgotten, she spoke up hastily.
"Th-thank you!"
The man winced, and rubbed one of his ears, shaking his head.
"No need to bleedin` shout. You owe me now, what's your name?" the traveller certainly wasted no time. Red swallowed any fear and set upon her bravest face.
"Red of House Gunsche, headed towards Azuleblanc; you know the way?" She stood up, hiding a flinch of pain as her leg flared in protest.
"Yeah, I do..." Red noted the way the traveller's eyes seemed to narrow at her, like a wolf sizing up its prey. She didn't like this, did she jump from two inexperienced, foolish, and daft predators to lone deadly one?
The traveller rolled his shoulders, as though to alleviate some unseen creature chewing upon him.
"Just say your name is Red, from here on out, yeah? Gunsches aren't exactly smiled upon around here. Your Uncle owns Azuleblanc, right? He's a Lord and all that?" Red was taken aback by this man's knowledge, she mimed the man's intimidating manner, narrowing her eyes and furrowing her brow.
"Yes. I was his favorite relative. More of a father than my father. I can get you gold an-"
"Don't need gold, just a pardon. Come on, we 'ought to get going. That barkeep has a loose tongue." the man turned and began making long strides back to the inn.
Red almost spoke out, but no. She didn't need help. She made a face and limped after her new escort.
'A pardon, huh? Great, I'm being escorted by a criminal...' she thought to herself as she passed by the two mutilated corpses. The wiry man that had given her apples everyday when she was young, lay with his brains turning grey in the mud as he occasionally twitched. The larger man who had told her stories of far away lands was staring blindly at the sky, his hands still moving; grasping at the mud as he bled out. His hand tried to move after Red and his eyes shot to Red's moving figure. She shivered in fear and cold, quickening her step as she did so.
She couldn't stop thinking about her new escort. Hair as black as night with a face that could kill. And the eyes.
Golden... Like a beast of Greed.
Red realized she didn't catch his name, and the answer was just in the corner of her eye; the name caught her gaze and she paused, reading up on the poster.
Pylys Paer. "The Yellow-eyed Wolf"
The face definitely matched, at least she supposed so; she didn't get a good look in the dim moonlight. He seemed quite a bit more weathered when Red saw him. Maybe it was an old drawing. The traveller named Pylys, who'd saved her, definitely didn't have a moustache or the stubble no more. His face was almost cleaner than hers. It was also missing the golden eyes, albeit, it was mentioned several times. Alongside the bounty of...
Red's hand caught her gasp as her eyes almost popped out of her head. She didn't even know how someone would have that much in their treasury, let alone how someone could rack up such a vicious score.
She frowned and entered the inn with the newfound knowledge, she watched her escort leave from the lodging area, the barkeep and his guard watching him as well. Pylys looked at the three of them; firstly at the guard who stepped aside, then at the barkeep as he descended. The barkeep retiring into the room behind the bar. And lastly Red herself. She could hear the rasp of metal upon metal within the decently sized sack the man carried. She also noted the slight press of a sword handle within the leather home. Questions raced over her mind, and were brushed aside as Pylys stopped at the bottom of the steps.
"Let's get going."
Red nodded and hastily limped towards him, the pain was alleviating and she was soon infront of him.
"Need help?"
The man offered an arm, but Red shook her head,
"I'm fine, lead the way."
Red stepped aside and the criminal shrugged, and walked past her, heading on and out the door; Red close behind.
"Azuleblanc, right?"
Pylys asked, looking back as they descended to the road.
"Right."
She replied, albeit between heavy breaths as she attempted to match his stride. Bastard didn't even slow down...


-Prologue-End-


Chapter 1: Blood on the Bootheel


Red and Pylys had hastily left the well-set tavern named ‘Black Pidgeon’ swiftly after the fight with the two colored merchants; their feet trudging through the wet mud as a storm began to roar and howl at the debacle.
Limping, Red eventually called out to Pylys, who looked back with a queer stare; golden eyes that showed nothing but listlessness and a small spark of fury.
“What is it?” He asked, though he already knew by the way Red’s tights bulged at her knee. A swelling from some fall, Pylys’ eyes already began to comb the darkness of the midnight forest for nearby herbs, of which there were none.
“My leg…” Red gasped, limping a bit forward before clearing her throat; Pylys didn’t doubt the she didn’t get very far on her own. Damned bag of meat that would spell an easy life again.
“...It stings, like fire. Can’t we rest?” she begged, Pylys looked preoccupied but shrugged; his locks of hair barely visible in the night, though his golden eyes seemed to glow. His face turned to the curiously still-shining light of the moon, marking his features beautifully in the luminescence of the lunar body.
“Aye, I suppose we can.” A simple enough answer, and Red was satisfied as she limped the last few meters and clasped his arm.
Pylys almost clocked a fist into her temple as she did so. He sneered and let the breath out in a mist. Cold was slipping into the air like blood from a fresh wound. Sighing, the golden-eyed man looked back once more at the town, well enough away to avoid the first patrols, but not far enough to set them ahead of a manhunter’s search. It would have to do.


The duo veered off the path, entering the dark womb of the forest which denied all but a few rays of moonlight. The trees shot up, clamouring for the rays, choking any light beneath. Their trunks shot up like so many gallows, and the canopy exploded into a web of branches and leaves. The floor was nothing but dead bushes, a few outcropping rocks marked the ground like tombstones. At least there wasn’t rain.
Pylys and his new compatriot marched through the forest, weaving through the trees like a needle in the hand of a skilled weaver. A few times, Pylys had to stop to untangle his bow from the branches or Red from a bush or rock she’d stumbled upon. The branches at this low of a level were like so many skeleton hands; grabbing enough to stop, but lacking the strength to hold and snapped at any amount of pressure. The entire environment was akin to the home from which Pylys hailed; dead and longing. Red’s eyes were screwed shut with pain, desperately shuffling to keep pace with her bandit escort.
Pylys noted the various tracks running throughout the woods, some of creatures of nature, the deer, the wolf, the fox, and the hare. And others which brewed from evils and imagination, the orc, the hobgoblin, the boggart, and the trolls. He could feel the sensations throughout the forest, within the trunks and in the branches and leaves. Each forest spoke to him like a kindly father, a second nature to himself.
Up ahead, was a basic outcropping of a cluster of rocks. The distant sound of a running stream would make treating whatever wound the good lady had taken a bit easier. It also provided a small amount of shadow, that would prove invaluable come the manhunters.
“Not much longer, little bird… A nest, just ahead…” he mumbled more to himself than anything. He wasn’t exactly used to carrying along living cargo. At least, none that were conscious. The red headed girl simply murmured something before returning to her heavy breathing.
Setting down Red, Pylys let out a sigh, the girl was tired beyond reason. She was only awake, no doubt, due to pain. The golden eyed bandit looked back towards where he’d come, already new sticks were falling and covering their trail as a light breeze tussled into their tracks in the mud. He inhaled deeply, through the nose and brewed in the chest, a tried method of his that helped him obtain a bearing of the surroundings. He knew the stream, smelled its crisp freshness from a nearby hill or mountain. He smelled the musk of a bear not too far away, and thankfully, not here in the overhang of a rock. He did, however, smell Kingshroom, an ironically small and gold hued mushroom with a crown head; a lucky find as they’re brilliant pain relievers when worked into a salve, though work as a sort of ambrosia when consumed raw.
“Girl, cut open your britches; get some air on your wound. I’ll find some things to wither the pain.” he motioned at the girl’s lightly swollen calf, huffing and rolling off his pack from his shoulders before tossing it to set beside the girl with a clamour of metal noise.
“You see fires, or hear someone coming. Call out, yeah?”
The girl mumbled something again, before shifting and removing her hat.
“Right… be back soon.” Pylys nodded curtly before turning and heading off towards the stream.


Red passed the night in a daze, the tall man coming back with a skin of water, which she drank from and was poured upon some pain in her calf. She felt it dissipate and a fire was made soon after. A thick paste, she remembered, which smelled of eggs and berries, was something she ate that night. Her toes felt warm and she’d felt something laid over her; encapsulating her in something no royal feathered bed could beat.
She awoke to find the fire dead, and the distant trotting of horses thudding in her head. Her leg was no longer swollen, or at least, not as swollen as before, and she was left rather barren besides what she’d worn the other night. Her leathers and breeches were seemingly retailored, and a tear was resown. But her escort was no where to be found.
The thought inspired panic within her, and the hooves grew louder with every passing second as she woke up, there were no trails, and she could see the horses now; a metal capped cudgel and a few pieces of good iron armor. There were three horses and a small compliment of militia men.
She squirmed and perhaps it was not the best idea, for one of the men on the horses looked over nearly immediately. He shouted and rounded his horse, five men joining him as the host stopped.
Red gasped and stood up, pain shot through her leg and she tried to limp out and around the outcropping rock. She hadn’t even gotten past the rock when she could feel the horse’s hooves pounding into the dirt some several meters away.
“Good lassy, we’ve reason t’ believe you were at t’ Black Pidgin’ last night. Owner says a girl with… Red hair…” the man pointed to Red’s scalp,
“...Fine clothes....” the cudgel pointed further down
“...and most like, blood.” the cudgel rested, pointing at her boots, still caked with mud and, of course, blood.
The man smirked like he’d just uncovered some grand mystery,
“Seems li’e y’fit the bill, nigh perfectly, m’good lady.”
The smirk was set uncomfortably well upon his features, he’d a rather borish face; neither good nor bad, a commoners face. He was sporting a rather typical short-shaved, ginger hued cut common amongst princes and those that think too highly of themselves. His eyes were a fair shade of brown, and he was growing sideburns and a moustache. His build was equally average, though the armor and cudgel made him look infinitely more intimidating.


At least, it did look intimidating. Until an arrow knocked him off his horse.
The black blur struck with a devastating thud and crack, as it sliced through metal and buried itself clean into the man’s chest, through the heart and peaked out the other side. Blood spilled quickly and calmly from the wound as the man gasped; his lungs filling with blood as he died in a matter of moments. The arrow poked out of either side of the man, a terrifiying visage like those jesters often played at.
The peasants began to stir, scanning the trees. There was a soft sigh, then a thud and a sick tearing sound as a man’s arm was ripped forcefully in half, the forearm being sent to be pinned to a tree with muscles and tendons raggedly torn from their place. A black-blue arrow holding it in place.
The man screamed, his aged face not sitting well with crying and agony as tears welled up in his one good eye and his eye patch fell loose from his squabbling, his compatriots screamed and fled back towards the host that was already coming forward.
The horse was strangely, and calmly, eating the grass; unmindful of its dead rider and screaming ally…


Pylys let out a breath and nocked another arrow into his personal bow, the laukinwod  didn’t offer a sound but a sigh as he pulled the steel-wire that made his bow’s string back. The bottom of the bow now held an iron cap, which he’d used to bury itself deep into the ground to save himself some strength as the tremendous draw weight of the bow was set upon his musculature.
His eyes flitted among the peasants, all wearing basic canvas or burlap clothes with menial weapons and the odd farm tool. A few wore soldier’s helms or breastplates, none seemed to show any reserve of prior training. The men on horses were, however, intimidating.
Solid iron breastplates, with one wearing a fine red cloak that marked him as either especially lucky or a noble. He wielded a queer spear, not in shape, but in hue. It was equally red and the tip was black, unlike iron nor any painted steel. His hair was a dark mop that rested on his shoulders, untidy and he looked over almost directly at Pylys. The man smirked as he watched Pylys, but addressed his men.
“Rally, men! It’s no big problem. Who liked Francis anyways? He was stealing from our cheese rations, you know!”
A curious speech, but it worked, Pylys kept the bow aimed at the man, who still stared at him with piercing dark pools of eyes. He could have sworn they had a spark of red energy within them as well. Did the man actually see him? Granted, he wasn’t expertly hidden, but the trees broke his form up flawlessly, and getting shot himself was difficult.
Pylys sneered and let loose the arrow. The dark painted arrow flew greedily towards the noble, and it almost felt like time slowed in that instant.
For, just as the arrow was half the distance, spinning unerringly towards its target, the man raised a buckler which rested on his free hand, holding the reins and out of sight of Pylys. It wouldn’t matter, the power of his bow was capable of penetrating solid plate armor at over three hundred meters. But, just like that, the man raised the buckler nonetheless, and the arrow struck the surface. Then angled off and struck the tree behind him, the man had risen the buckler and angled it just enough to hit the metal boss in the center, the small cap in the center of the small shield.
The fact was undeniable, the man saw him. No doubt about it, he quickly uprooted his bow and slung it over his shoulder, picking up the remaining thirteen arrows and slid them into their quiver. He slid through the morning shadows as the noble gave orders and the posse seemed to turn and leave. A curious action, maybe it was mercy?
It was of no consequence to Pylys, who’d swiftly retrieved his arrows, both men having bled out from their wounds, and uncaringly stole the newly demastered horse.
Pylys had heard the manhunters leaving at first light, some six hours ago, when Pylys had woken up from a short nap after taking care of Red. The sun was slow to rise, but now it shined gladly through the dense forest. The white bark of the trees now shining like so many bones. His eyes looked down to Red, who was staring at him with wide grey orbs that were obviously still trying to process what just happened.
“They’re leaving, be glad.” Pylys explained haphazardly as he passed Red and picked up his small leather bag, hidden expertly deep in the corner of the rocky outcropping.
“Did you…” Red began taking a few steps, towards Pylys,
“Aye, I did.” Pylys sighed and passed by Red, haphazardly patting her shoulder, “We’ve leagues ahead of us, the horse’ll be nice, might be we’ll make there in a few days.” he muttered as he checked the saddle for a hook or place to mount is basic bag; there was none, unfortunately. He sighed again and shook his head.
“Let’s get goin`, yeah?” in a simple and swift motion, he mounted the saddle and rounded the horse with natural finesse, the horse unerringly obeying. Red stared at him before setting her lips and nodding curtly, grabbing onto the saddle and mounting the horse as well, behind Pylys.
“Hold this.” He added as he kicked the horse into a canter, turning as he did so with the leather bag, large enough to hold a head, in his hand. Red sighed and took the bag, setting it between herself and Pylys as the horse moved on through the woods.


It didn’t take long for the questions to, inevitably, start rolling. They had trotted along quite a bit longer than Pylys expected to, before they came.
“So… Pylys… Where are you from?” Red began,
“You sure you don’t wanna ask about the weather?” Pylys scoffed as took a deep breath and prepared for the worst.
“Well… I figured how the weather was, is more obvious than where someone who cuts his ears and shoots a big bow faster than any trick shooter is from.” The girl retorted, tilting her head and idly holding onto the cloak of her escort; she noted that it was actually fur, though dirt, grime, and other means have slicked it down to almost a silk. She’d have to ask how long the man’d had this cloak…
Pylys rolled his shoulders, his head on a swivel, scanning the forest, he hummed and jerked his head once,
“I’m from the road. Parents never rightly settled in one place, always on the move…” he mumbled
“Ah, your parents still alive? Orphans are common in war…” Red mused as she rested her head against the dirty cloak of the man.
“Dunno, I assume as much. Never been one to get stuck by war, my family.”
The horses methodical trotting seemed to make the sun pass over the sky faster and faster. Red was quiet after that question, Pylys was thankful; though as the sun began to fall, she started up again.
“How old are you, Pylys..?” Red queried in a rather queer tone, Pylys chuckled and looked back,
“What? You got a princess at Azuleblanc I can marry?” He guffawed and sighed, raising his brows as he thought, he could feel weariness spilling into his bones; a good question, Pylys reasoned as he thought and thought some more. Red didn’t laugh, but Pylys supposed his humor wasn’t the greatest.
“Don’t rightly know. Been a long time, long suns, long moons and long rains and winds. Does it matter though? Old or not, a person’s still a person. They only slow down if they let themselves slow down.” he passed the time, it was refreshing to talk. Most times he had to philosophize by his lonesome, he noted that Red was awfully limp on his back. And it seemed the sun was well and setting, sending long shadows of trees across the leaf-ridding ground.


Red’s mind wandered, the man was obviously learned. Though he didn’t count how many years he was alive, that left a lot of questions. The man didn’t seem to exactly enjoy questions, no doubt because he was a bandit. He definitely smelled like it; blood, dirt, and trees and sweat. She rubbed the now empty sheath her first brother had given her on her thirteenth nameday. “There’s gonna be boys, and they’re gonna be stupid, proud, remember you’re a Gunsche. And we don’t take stupid, or proud.” her brother had said, the sheath was made of dwarf-leather. Skinned from a foe the Gunsche’s had once slain, captured, then flayed. It was sturdy, and felt like smoothed stone at places. Iron studs covered the fine spider-silk that made the sewings.
The dagger, she’d lost. Something that tugged at her heart because it was given to her by someone dear; made of drake-horn and the blade made of fine silver. Very little decoration, but it was pretty, styled in the way ear-daggers were.
In due time, she fell asleep against the back of her escort, they’d been riding for a long time and the sun had set when her eyes closed.
Red awoke to the sound of shouting, and the rattling of chains, and her eyes opened to a long line of prisoners. She almost fell off the horse if Pylys hadn’t reached back and steadied her.
“Eeeasy, little bird. Don’t fall from the branch…” he muttered as he faced forward and continued along. Red hadn’t even noticed them going back onto the road, it was faster no doubt. But more dangerous.
The lines were filled with non-humans and unity-supporters. Orcs even walked among the ranks, they shuffled and their muscles seemed to be eating themselves with every passing step. Their massive wrists were bound by tight iron and reinforced wood. Dwarfs were bound by the neck with a long plank of hard wood stocks, resting on their shoulders, their wrists were bound by basic hempen rope with iron rings at regular intervals. Elves were rarer, and were the worst looking; bloodied and bruised and starved, some walked strangely and often collapsed due to maiming, most had their ears completely cut off. One had an iron plate over part of his shaved skull. Most were soldiers, it was obvious from scars and the way they held themselves or from the brands or tattoos on their skin. But there were children as well, mostly elvish, no dwarves, and one or two orcs.
There was one orc, about as tall as Red herself, and with fire-red hair that radiated like its namesake whenever the torches of the guards passed by. Her tusks weren’t as long, and her ears weren’t as pointed. She also looked the best out of the group.
“... Watch your gaze, they don’t like it when y’stare”
Pylys had put up his hood, and was stooped over his horse; Red glanced to him then shifted uneasily, looking towards the forest…


Pylys scowled beneath the shadows of his hood as he eyed the humans of the Empire Nytheleim, their jack chains shining from the torches they held high, about the long line of prisoners. At their hips were mostly maces, a few held falchions within sheathes, they all wore basic gambesons or chainmail hauberks. They largely wore kettle helms, decently armored men. He counted as he passed each row. His number was at fourty-four, at the current count. And judging by the line, it would only get higher.
A few of the soldiers looked at him curiously, then at the girl. Usually lingering on the girl before glancing at him and his bow before continuing on. He winced as he felt the tips of his ears bleeding again. He habitually brought a hand up and felt where the well soaked bandages were; the familiar sharp spike of pain brought a sharp breath from his lips, before sighing and continuing on the road. The torches stretched long into the night, almost like a count-down `till sunrise…


… When the sun finally rose again, Pylys was nearly falling from his saddle; determined to beat the long line of prisoners. The steady breathing of Red at his back didn’t help, nor the counting of prisoners. Which finally ended and two hundred fourty eight. Or, so he thought; he stopped counting at that point. The sun was bright and shining almost blue against a light haze of fog, Pylys rubbed the sleep from his eyes and trudged on. The horse was getting tired as well, he could feel the hooves dragging in the ground, and the beast was getting restless.
“Red, we’ll be stoppin` soon…” he stated, the girl shifted behind him and mumbled something. Pylys grunted in response and chuckled, communicating like animals; maybe riding hard wasn’t a good plan.
The sun rose higher, and the haze thickened; and a familiar smell passed by the nose of Pylys, it made him sneer as a sour expression fell upon his wolfish features. The smell of ash, smoke, and blood. Wasn’t no fog they were going through, it was smoke.


The scene unfolded as the realization settled in, a bloated horse and the embers of a wagon were set aside the road, and trampled fences marked the fields. Soon, corpses of elves, man, and dwarves showed up on the roads. Most were bare, with various personal belongings strewn about; lockets, pendants, and locks of hair or ribbons were caked with mud and drifting away to be forgotten in the wind.

With a sigh, he accepted the surroundings; it would make finding good shelter easy, at least. The fires were dead or dying, like the corpses around the village.
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Re: The House of Paer; Pylys - The Wolf Trail

Post by Bloodtrailkiller on Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:29 am

That feel when all your google-drive formatting is like...
'nah
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