Jump to content
Valucre
Jotnotes

Square Two is a lot like Square One

Recommended Posts

The druid became more serious and downcast at her question, and stood there pouting for a moment, engrossed in the way his head spun as he tried to arrange his thoughts in the watery mess of his mind. Beyond his inebriated brooding, he showed little to the cat person. He said, "Sharing." In a low slur and left it at that, looking to the sky beyond her and reaching out to all that surrounded him, even the sound of the stream. 

He swayed in place, with his head tilted upward, absorbing the scent of the wind and the life running through the earth and the distant trees, and found something like oil within himself, incongruous with all that he was, singular and amorphous. He was tainted, or marred by that which he had imbibed the night before, and it continued to circulate through his blood, as he was learning through this moment of peace and self-exploration, because of the very mycelium which allowed him to create that flower, and denied him the conventional magics he had learned some thousand years ago. He felt it recirculate, denying his body's natural process of ridding it from him, and he learned it was not just a matter of the volume of his consumption that left him so. Already, the effects of his wounds and his folly were marking him. Using the Mycelium as a substitute for flesh on much of his torso had broadened its effects on the function of his anatomy. He burped and brought his head down, using Kalli's shoulder to brace himself as he hung by his neck, the dark ringlets he inherited from his mother not unlike vines or moss in how they dangled. 

The flower was still in her hand, and he reached for it, raising that hand. He frowned over his creation, noting darkness in its veins and early signs of decay and wilting already, as if the poison within him had translated through the Mercurial Mycelium. He shuddered, thinking that it might taint all that he created for some time, and leave him in a further dazed state than that of the throbbing red hand that cupped the girl's. But perhaps he had an option. "Thank you." He muttered and slouched away, seating himself on the wet grass near the water and resting his palms in the mud. 

He breathed as the water flowed then, already submerged in his impaired state. The small sounds of the grass in the wind, winding and unwinding on the other blades was the same in how he opened his mouth to taste the air, and he found a connection with all that laid beneath him. In truth, this all took some time to do, leaving Kalli to watch if she might in her confusion, though no amount of disruption short of physically moving him would disrupt Thelan then. He hummed through two exhalations in that time. Not as any matter of significance, but perhaps it was a sign of the process. 

He measured how much he could do with what magic of his was not fully absorbed by the hyphae, and wondered how much would be enough. How much would rid him of that poison, and how he could avoid doing damage by exerting it. 

He grew the roots beneath him, letting the grass extend and take hold, dominating what weeds invaded its territory until the mana was used and the scent of fresh earth told him as much as his own introspection did to that note. He was dry, and he opened his eyes. Dizziness and a haze still clouded his mind, but some details were clearer. He felt more in control, and hoped the alcohol would not simply kill the grass or the earth in which he had instilled it. Thelan opened his eyes and leaned back, much as he could with one of his Stone Briers stuck in the mud. His golden eyes widened in shock at this, and he was quick to draw his knife and cut it, viciously stabbing and digging in the mud to root up the thorns which pierced his flesh when he tore it from the ground. He held it in a bloody fist, trying to measure whether it had left anything of a seed and feeling relief thinking he had stopped it from spreading. He shoved that segment of brier into his pocket and rose, only a little steadier in his imbalance than before. Good that he had fended off something like that.

The plant had not shown a tendency to attempt to spread in his life like that before, but he did not often go into such a state, or expend so much mana at once. 

He looked to Kalli and frowned. "I need t'walk. Lead me somewhere. Anywhere." His lips were still heavy with his words, and his stability was still questionable, but there was some air of clearer cognizance about him. "I c'n't grow anymore fluwers rut now, but... We can do something. I d'n't care what." Thelan said this, but made no attempt to move from where he stood just yet. He was watching her. Looking her over, trapped in the flood of new information and aptness toward attention. She was small and pretty, with massive fuzzy ears that only served to compliment her soft, meager stature. No wonder she had tried to use those tactics she had on him before. She was all but made for it, and it was a relief he had been too out of it to take note. Now, at least, he knew to be wary. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Sharing" 

That didn't explain a whole lot, and Kalli's expression said about as much. She frowned in confusion at his explanation, and would have probed him further had he not lurched forward and rested himself upon her shoulder. The man's weight wasn't terrible, but the poor catgirl wasn't expecting it all that much. She staggered, but caught them both and held him aloft, bewildered. Seconds passed, and Kalli had no idea of discerning his intentions. Then, with a slow, awkward reach she patted him in the back with her free hand, confused.

"Uh...there-there? It's okay..."

He pulled away from her again and muttered a quick 'thank you', leaving the bard totally confused once again. She watched him hobble to the water's edge and stick his hands into the bank once again, and Kalli could only look on. What exactly was going on? She had sort of hoped that he'd be a little less drunk by now, and a little more able to talk with her, yet somehow it seemed almost like they'd made no progress at all. Kalli's ears twitched as she examined the lilly he'd given her again, taking note of the careful petals beautiful color. She wasn't quite vigilant enough to see that it was already beginning to rot, and to her the flower was still perfect. It was one of the nicer things she'd ever been given, Kalli recognized. Most men just took her as she was, maybe with a drink or two if she was fortunate, and maybe even without telling her if she was unfortunate. While Thelan may not have been trying to seduce her, he was doing a pretty okay job regardless. Kalli figured that if he did have a change of heart in the future, she wouldn't mind at all. Her tail flicked back and forth as she watched him stare into the water some more, until he finally pulled away again and approached her.

20 hours ago, Wanderlost said:

He looked to Kalli and frowned. "I need t'walk. Lead me somewhere. Anywhere." His lips were still heavy with his words, and his stability was still questionable, but there was some air of clearer cognizance about him. "I c'n't grow anymore fluwers rut now, but... We can do something. I d'n't care what." Thelan said this, but made no attempt to move from where he stood just yet. He was watching her.

Seeing his watchful gaze forced color to crawl into her cheeks again, and Kalli had to look elsewhere to keep herself from losing her composure. His stare was...aware, this time around, and she could feel his eyes on her, tracing the little hairs along her ears as they flicked about, down her locks and across her face and body. It made her feel simultaneously appealing and indecent, that stare of his. It was as if she'd taken his innocence somehow, just by being around long enough for him to register who she was. She'd have to talk with him later, ensure that he didn't hold any ill will for her attempts at flirting earlier. For now, she just did what he asked and grabbed his hand, pulling him towards the road leading out of town again.

Thelan had asked for her to take him somewhere. Kalli didn't know their surroundings well enough for her to take him anywhere close by, but she figured there were a number of nearby landmarks or something. Upon reaching the beaten dirt roads, she paused, standing up on her toes to ogle around for anything of interest. Far from where they were, there were foothills and trees of course, but nothing that immediately stuck Kalli as noteworthy. She considered maybe turning around and heading back into the city to look for a job again, some kind of mercenary work. However, an epiphany struck her, and she realized what they ought to do. She clasped both hands around Thelans and tugged him down the road. 

"I have an idea! Let's head to Aelindra!" She beamed at him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A sober Thelan might have cared to ask questions along the lines of whether there was an Aelindra on Genesaris, or how far away it might have been. At present, he cared little for such details, no matter how important they may have been. He did remain silent as the girl dragged him along however, considering these things in a way. Though in the end, whatever he came to was insignificant next to his following realization. He was simply wasting time. He had accomplished his life's dream to an extent, and had no aim as he waited for reciprocation, though he acknowledged the sad thought that without his Eternal Ivy, he may very well die before his mother ever regained her memories, and what they be worth thousands of years later? How could he still care as much as he did that she may have had a reason to abandon him? Perhaps his greatest issue in life was an astounding lack of direction, if he was able to bear longevity in such an obsession. Though, such thoughts dizzied and confused him, and spun into small words in repetition. 

"Sure, let's go." Thelan agreed to Kalli's idea some time after she'd begun to lead the way North, in an awkward silent limbo between offering a proper reply and wordlessly conceding. 

And they walked. Or, she all but skipped and jaunted, and he kept a tireless limping march beside her. Focusing on moving through the pain and denying any notions of relent, which left a stoic expression on the druid's face, yet still he held her hand. Mostly because she was leading the way, his mind told him, but in truth the gesture was extraneous, and perhaps even romantic beyond his perception. He didn't care to even consider such things, and kept on with it as a point of focus to reinforce his resolve, though he did note her hand as warm, and appreciate the sweet scent of a woman that surrounded her. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holding his hand, cantering down the road, Kalli knew full well that her pleasant, skipping demeanor wouldn't last forever but she didn't mind it for the time being. For one thing, being a bard meant that when she was willing, she could easily blow a tune on her ocarina, the small, hand blown glass flute in her bag, and with her charmed notes she could adjust their journey on a whim. Eventually when they got moving, she'd give them a tempo boost, just to help them along. However, Thelan's hand in hers, the tired, ragged-looking man still dogging behind her tirelessly as she wandered with boundless enthusiasm and lust for life made her feel as if things were, in that moment, satisfactory. For a Bard, perfection rarely occurred. You just sort of drummed up your own happiness along the way, wherever that way took you. The road they traveled along sloped and sank every so often, but the catgirl marched along anyway. Her pace slowed a bit as they went, but she was certainly still riding some kind of high. Her ears twitched and perked as she moved, and her clothes ruffled and rumpled with every move. Most of this wasn't noticed, of course, and in time they slowed to a comfortable walk, Kalli still holding Thelan's hand.

His hand in hers only started to mean something as she slowed down, of course. Once her little burst of stamina had faded, the silence of the road ahead of them beckoned in tension, and Kalli had to wonder about her companion. He was so washed up when she'd first met him, when he'd first turned her down, but now that they were on the road he was looking better, more sober. Kalli wanted to ask about the lilly she still kept close by, about how it'd risen from his flesh like that. Was he a fae of some kind? Possibly, but if it was she'd surely have noticed it. She supposed he could have been some kind of druid. Druids did stuff like that, right? She had no real way of knowing. Fed up with not having answers, Kalli decided to find some.

"It took you a really long time to sober up." Kalli observed brightly. "Usually that means you have a weak liver or low blood pressure, right?"

She waited, to see if he would answer, then continued with another question. "I don't think I've ever seen a lily just appear like that, either. That was really cool."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Her innocent question brought hacking laughter to the otherwise dour man, and he cleared his throat. He had been so caught up in such serious thoughts that the sheer amount of whimsy in her tone blindsided him, let alone her blatant insult. Mannish pride still had its vestiges in him despite his age and he felt an urge to defend himself, but he knew better than to act on it. Once he had settled down, he sighed and explained, with reservations.

"I'm gl'd you liked it, I guess. But it was just a flower." By this time, walking more comfortably as they were, Thelan felt it was time to let go of her hand, and he tried to play it off in a form of subtlety, running a hand through his tangled hair and scratching at his sparse beard. "'nd yeah..." He chuckled. "Usually tha's what that means." He crammed his free hand into the pocket of his thick coat, symmetrical with the resting place of his other arm, which changed his limping gait in the slightest. "Don't think so thisstime though."

He went silent after that, thinking about sharing all the weight her carried. What harm could it really do? A lot, He answered himself. He hardly knew the woman and she was humanoid, more attuned with city cycles than natural ones. Therefor, she wasn't a person he thought he could trust. 

That thought made him miss Tora. Even if the bear had been harsher than he, he had been an ally and a friend, and someone to confide in. But their paths had diverged. They had agreed that they wanted different things, and that Tora was getting too old for constant fighting and adventuring. He had liked the forests of Genesaris, and Thelan knew he would be content living a more normal life for his kind.

Still, it left him lonely and more introspective, and somehow, that increased awareness of himself made all his pains and grievances hurt all the more. Perhaps that was why he spoke before his reservations. "I'm a garden." He had thought of himself that way before, and he was always faintly amused by the idea. It seemed ludicrous and yet, it was very near the truth. Focusing on the memories, which were clearer than much of what had happened since, he found an improved grace in his tongue. "There was a place I went to. Long ago... It was the first place His gift took me. The first place I followed my mother to. 

"It was called the Successor Grove, which supposedly encompassed the whole world. Great living trees took care of it, and they spoke ill of a former race of elves that sought violence and found their own destruction." He drew a long breath and sighed the following words, "Well it turned out that they engineered many weapons and tools." He said, "Among them were plants, which took living beings on as hosts, which came to lay latent in their great forest after most such living things died. Some were designed to benefit the host and fend off others that were more invasive." A wheezing developed in his breathing as he spoke, and he took the time to cough and clear his throat. 

"Anyway, I am host to a few such things, and it has come with its benefits... But it is a blessing and a curse. For a very long time, it was more a blessing, but recently...

"Well, I'm going to die in something like a year, I'm guessing." He chuckled, trying and failing to make light of that heavy thought. "Maybe if I were to return there, there would be a chance that I could find the Eternal Ivy that served me as well as it did... I tired to recreate it with the power of the Mycelium, which I showed you, but the seed of it was nothing more than ivy with a tendency to root into the skin..." He trailed off, though not to the exclusion of a conclusion, and this was much due to a change in how he felt. 

As he had spoken, he had begun to feel alleviated of the haze on his mind and the hyper-consciousness of his pulse in the veins of his crown. Focusing on something seemed helpful, but moreover, control of his body had generally returned to him, which was strange. But he also felt dizzy and tired, and something had changed in the way his coat hung on him. Like it was sticking to him.

But he didn't worry himself on that past laying a hand over his stomach. There were some random shooting pains in his torso, but none that seemed to correlate with any issue he could identify. 

"What about you? What of your past damages you, little Kalli?" He prompted her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kalli's face fell somewhat as she heard his dilemmas, and though he couldn't see her face, he could certainly see her ears twitch as she registered the news. She shouldn't have been taking it as hard as she was; for one thing, she barely knew the guy. The only reason they were walking down this lonely road together was because Kalli had attempted to seduce him for money earlier. Had she found a wealthier john, perhaps an old man or a young newlywed, they'd never have met, and Kalli would never have cared. Yet, here they were, and Kalli's forward gait ground to a halt. She spun curiously on her heels, fixing him with a curious, questioning stare. 

"You're dying? Not as in, 'everybody dies, but at different speeds', but like...you're dying. In a year." She tried to swallow that information, bothered by the revelation. Kalli wasn't comfortable with death; nobody really was. As a bard, she saw it a lot more than she liked, and most nights she managed to ignore the haunting images of the dead, but that didn't stop her from disliking it. People were full of life, full of that creative spark that made them so loveable. Even Kalli, screwup that she was, had a bright disposition and lust for living that she knew some people admired. To hear that Thelan's life had a definite close to it, and such a close one at that, made Kalli uncomfortable. She fidgeted in place, obviously unsure of how to behave. Color blossomed in her cheeks as she realized she was getting worked up over a stranger, and she quickly shook her head, bothered.

"Well, that settles it, then." She declared with zeal. We're going to Aelindra, and we're gonna try and get that...what did you call it?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The girl didn't answer his question, and the shadows drawn by his dark hair made a frightening image of his dour demeanor, which deepened as she displayed her ignorance. "We can't. It was an ancient weapon forged by a dead race on what could very well be a dead world by now." He saw her discomfort, and he took it for excessive empathy rather than an aversion with the topic, so he held no reservations in his speech over it. Instead, his resigned tone reflected his feelings on it. "I'm more than a thousand years old. I've lived... A long time. And not for a lot." There was tiredness in his voice even saying that. 

He placed a hand on Kalli's shoulder, all sincerity. "All that I have lived for, little as it be, is just out of arm's reach. Soon, I will have the answers I have sought, and I will be free from this pain." His eyes fell at that. "But until then, I am simply to suffer and wait. So take me to Aelindra and we can follow your whims, if you want. Perhaps your cheer will suffice for the both of us."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Wanderlost said:

He placed a hand on Kalli's shoulder, all sincerity. "All that I have lived for, little as it be, is just out of arm's reach. Soon, I will have the answers I have sought, and I will be free from this pain." His eyes fell at that. "But until then, I am simply to suffer and wait. So take me to Aelindra and we can follow your whims, if you want. Perhaps your cheer will suffice for the both of us."

Kalli wanted to claim that she handled his demeanor with more tact than she actually did. Hearing him talk about it so trivially, so absently, so uninterested in the fact that he was dying was heartbreaking. Life, no matter how little you had in it, had tremendous value. The fact that Thelan couldn't see that, that he was resting his hand on her shoulder, trying to console her over a death that hadn't yet occured, threatened to break her heart. Her ears showed as much, too, splaying against her head as if she were in danger. Kalli shifted her stare first into his eyes, obviously hurt, before her eyes stared elsewhere. She longed to pull away and act distant, to show disapproval in his resignation, but on instinct the catgirl pressed towards him, wrapping her slender arms around his midriff as she pulled him close, hugging him tight. She held fast to him for several heartbeats, clinging to a guy she barely knew, and all but refusing to let go of him until she was satisfied. When she did pull away, she cast her stare down at the ground before sighing mightily and making a declaration. 

"Fine then. We'll go to Aelindra, and find something to do from there. We'll make a buncha stops along the way, see some cool stuff, and when we get to Aelindra, we'll figure out our next move."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The catgirl's hug had Thelan coughing and sputtering, as much pain from his former operation--would such words grace such an act--still lingered. He patted her head once, then let his hand rest there, and was audibly relieved when she backed away, then echoing her sigh. He muttered an affirmation to her statement for what it was worth, but it had no bearing on the inevitability of him following her jaunty lead forth. Northward they walked, with Kalli rolling her past infinitely off her tongue and Thelan listening, trying to keep his pained breathing inconspicuous. 

The trail they were following circumvented a forest in favor of a much less comfortable lowland cradled only by short mounds, and they kept on through the light of day. Kalli told Thelan about how awfully rude her boss had been in the town they were putting behind them, and he listened. Over time, his breath became more conspicuously uneven.

They stopped under the dappled shade of a tree that hung over their trail, where Thelan had undergone a surprisingly painful process to settle against the trunk of the tree; he could feel wetness against the flesh left on his torso and dreaded how it stuck his coat to him, as it was not a good sign, but made no move to tend to the possibilities, as no pain indicated an open wound.

They rested there and had of bread and berries. The former a courtesy of Kalli's sleight expertise, and the latter handed to the well of mana gathering in Thelan's Mercurial Mycelium again. It seemed almost a fourth of what he could sustain without losing the excess to the flow of magic in the world around him, and would have made sense to use to work on getting rid of his inebriation if it still seemed an issue. But it didn't. Actually, that moment of sudden clarity had been more than that, as he no longer felt the numbness in his fingers or lips, or a haze over his own body. Now it had shifted to a tired, dizzy fog on his mind, which had him swimming in introspective thoughts, trying to fight through an isolationist cognition to connect with his new companion. 

For all that Kalli had told him in the previous hours, she was quiet when she ate, and he took an opportunity to open up some about himself, or the thoughts he'd been brooding on. He chuckled, mostly at the futility that came with a perspective as worldly as his. "You know, I've been across so many worlds. There are so many amazing things in this universe--if it's all been one universe--and so many unique worlds. And yet... None of them are special. I'm only staying here because my mother is on this world..." He paused. Thelan had been making a point not to mention her, and hoped it would not come to Kalli's attention as something significant. He tried to continue as seamlessly as he could for fear of having to explain, "I've been to a couple worlds where elves are the dominant race." He said, flicking his subtly pointed ear nearest Kalli. "I come from one, actually. I've been to very violent ones and fought in wars. I've been to abstract realms where humanoids are not born or meant to be... There's so much out there, and so much of it looks like this world. Magic flows through everything everywhere, and even though they look different sometimes, there are always plants and fauna. Which is... Sort of beautiful. But I suppose it's not that I have a desire to be away from here. More that it doesn't matter where I am, as it all seems like it's part of the same thing. Y'know?"

Edited by Wanderlost

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Their journeys were thankfully made all the more swift thanks to Kalli's talents as a bard. A few merry notes on her ocarina, the small, finely polished glass instrument she kept in her bag at all times, and the bard's spirit had boot a spring in their steps. It wasn't too noticeable, but they made splendid progress that way. Even so, the roads were long and painful to trek, and Kalli kept the time filled with nonstop chatter. As it turned out, the catgirl had a lot to share and most of it wasn't sexual in nature. Kalli took the time to fill Thelan in on the time she'd first gotten into a scrap with another girl, and how she'd given that woman a black eye easily, and only walked away with a major concussion. She described the time, in small detail, that a direwolf she and her party had been sent to slay mistook her for a female and attempted to couple with her. She'd fallen asleep under the beast's weight until her party came around to save her. She also mentioned the time she'd spent a month with a group of raiders, conveniently disguised as a concubine. She thought he'd laugh at that one, but for the most part Thelen was a very patient, but ultimately very quiet listener. It didn't stop her from talking, however; after she'd paused for a while once and heard his breathing, rough and broken, she'd had to keep talking so she wouldn't fuss over it.

After that, they'd stayed for lunch, enjoying their findings under a comfy tree. Thelan seemed comfortable enough, even in good enough shape to produce a wildberry bush for them to pluck clean. Coupled with the hot, warm loaves she'd snatched earlier, the bard and the druid had a veritable feast between them to indulge in. Kalli had sat comfortably against the trunk of the tree, legs uncrossed as she ate happily. The bread was thankfully still very soft and a little warm, and coupled with the sweet berries it was pretty much the greatest thing she'd ever eaten, since the last time she ate that is. As Kalli pulled off hunks of bread and gnawed on them happily, Thelan joined her in their feast, while throwing in some stories of his own. His stories were nothing short of engrossing, and Kalli watched with obvious interest as he described visiting whole other worlds, meeting whole other races. He talked of warlike elves and war-torn hellscapes, of pleasant, peaceful lands. Places that were seemingly indescribable, and yet he found the words for it. Kalli's ears declared her interest in the topics quite accurately; the cute little cat ears flicked and pointed almost excitedly. She nodded her assent when he finished his ramblings, and Kalli sat back to dwell on what he said.

On 1/20/2018 at 11:08 PM, Wanderlost said:

More that it doesn't matter where I am, as it all seems like it's part of the same thing. Y'know?"

It seemed to her that, while she never planned on or expected to leave this place, this world, there was no denying the truth to his words. It was like bridges; if you could cross from one place to another via a bridge, it was safe to claim they were connected. Some bridges were big enough, but who said they had to be physical? What about portals? What about airships? On the cosmic sense, their world was a lot smaller than she perceived it to be, but beyond that, beyond whatever other scales there were, everything was small enough to connect, somehow. 

"I guess, if that's the case," She reflected quietly, happily. She was full of berries. "Then the part where I met you in the market today is a pretty big deal, huh? That couldn't have happened anywhere else. Nowhere else but here. That makes it kind of special." She purred.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×