Sea Breeze (Open)

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Sea Breeze (Open)

Post by Somnia » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:17 pm

A pair of powerful talons touched down upon the dirty stone pier of Anshach. Burnum had been upon the Gawainian vessel called the Reise for several months now, although the voyage was not intended to last quite that long. After departing from Joannesburg, the Reise had been blown off course by a powerful storm, and it took an unpleasantly long time for them to find their route once more. This of course, did not disturb Burnum, for patience came easily to him. Despite their unfortunate misadventure, the crew had finally met their destination. The smell of fish was overpowering today, especially in the humid and heavy air of Summer. From time to time, cool sea breezes would rush through the port, bringing temporary relief to all of its denizens. Merchant stalls were cramped together, displaying their wares proudly. Shopkeepers and buyers haggled and argued while small urchins snatched what they could from the occupied sellers. The powerful cassowary made his way through the milling crowds easily, as most furs moved quickly out of his way. It was true, to foreigners he was a strange and imposing figure, but this bothered him none. It had now been almost a year since the Shaman Queen of his tribe had sent him on this mission, but it was to be the pinnacle of his mortal achievements. Burnum could easily see over the crowds, as he stood a foot taller than most of the furs that surrounded him. His blue and red featherless neck rose above the cluster of bodies like a submarine periscope, rotating this way and that as he analyzed the area. In truth, he hadn't the faintest idea of what to do now that he had arrived in Gawain. His task was to locate, "the artifact" as the Shaman Queen had told him. He was the strongest male in their tribe, and had been sent to retrieve the item that the Elder had seen in her vision. Despite his lack of direction, he was confident that fate would lead him to his destination. Suddenly, something caught his eye in this bustling sea port. Stopping rather abruptly and causing a pair of confused minks to nearly run into his backside, he surveyed the target of his interest from a distance.

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Post by zakorath » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:02 am

The vixen seemed out of place stumbling through the Gawanian crowds at the dock. In truth she was; she was an Edwinish soothsayer called Athena. Her sky blue cloak, with it's hood hanging over her back stood out a mile off in the crowd; she clearly did not belong. Her long flowing hair blew around her, annoying nearby furs, but she seemed not to care, or perhaps not to notice. To most she appeared to be either insane, or drunk. She stumbled around only able to see those furs within a few feet of ehr. She was trying to watch both her footpaws and the crowds, causing ehr to stumble around and knock into furs all too often. Eventually, she just stopped in the middle of the crowd, to the anger of most. She stood there, and sighed. She grabbed her staff in both paws, and hugged it to her chest to try and avoid further annoying the locals. The various items at the top of it clanked together in the wind.

Athena sniffed the air, and recoiled at the smell of rotting fish. Her eyesight only permitted her to see a few feet around her, so she was attempting to smell how large the crowd was. Eventually she gave up on this and again attempted walking. She came to a stop again shortly after due to the crowd's annoyance with her. They all moved so fast, and didn't care that she was nearly blind. They all began shouting at her in Gawanian. She didn't know what was going on, and so stood there, trying to be as out of the way as she could. Eventually she decided she'd have to wait for the end of the day, when the crowd would hopefully be leaving.

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Post by Somnia » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:55 am

The spectacle unfolding in front of Burnum was most displeasing to him. He knew that life outside of his tribe in the Territory was likely to be different, but he recoiled in disgust at the manner in which some of the men in the crowd were treating this vixen. Bumping into her, cursing at her... had they no respect? Outraged, the massive cassowary created his own path to the 'damsel in distress' by simply barreling over anyone who couldn't get out of the way fast enough. Once he had reached the fox, he planted himself firmly in front of her, extending his long neck and turning his head occasionally to stare with a frightening intensity at each of the cursing offenders. This action within his tribe is known as a display of dominance and protection towards the females of the tribe and the matriarch. Burnum performing this motion in Gawain in fact, had a similar reaction as back home. Even the toughest looking rioters shrunk back from his bizarre, unflinching stare, mumbled something inaudible and then proceeded to move along very quickly.

Once he was sure that no sane fur was going to protest the lack of movement in this particular part of the crowd, he turned to face the vixen. Even after dropping to one knee and lowering his head almost to ground level he was still rather large. Burnum extended both of his black, fingered wings towards the fox as if offering up a sacrifice, then spoke in a baritone not commonly heard in these parts of the world.

"I am Burnum Nejie. I am at your service."

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Post by zakorath » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:15 am

Athena stood, and tried not to get in the way, but was still being pushed, and shouted at. She was aware of something else causing a disturbance as the crowd was shouting elsewhere now. She tried to pinpoint it, but she couldn't see much except the fuzzy outline of a very tall creature bounding towards her. It stopped in front her her, and she could see it was some kind of large avian. He knelt before her, and came into focus as he lowered his head. A cassowary, she'd not met them very often on her travels, at least not outside their own land. She stood, and noticed that the other furs were giving her odd glances. She bowed slightly to the bird, and spoke in silky tones, "Athena." She said, and stooped slightly, to speak to him more personally. "Please... Stand." She said, aware they they were causing a disruption to the crowd. She would have attempted pulling him up, were it not for her accursed powers. The crowd milling around them eventually gave up shouting at them and just glared as they passed. Athena tried to smile gently at them, and waved them on with her free paw.

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Post by Somnia » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:39 am

As he once again rose to his full height, Burnum snapped his beak menacingly at a few persistent loudmouths before turning his full attention to the vixen. Although it was largely impossible for a beaked avian to smile in the manner that is accepted by the majority of Feila, he tried his best to look friendly. This was of course no small feat, considering his large stature and startling appearance. The cassowary was one that believed in such things as fate, and therefore he pondered the importance of his encounter with this woman. Perhaps she could lead him to the treasured artifact that his tribe had sent him to retrieve. Unfortunately for the denizens of Gawain, as long as this cassowary stood on their mother soil, there were going to be complications. As a bird of few words, anyone who ran into Burnum were undeniably going to face some hardships trying to discover what exactly it was that he wanted. Although he was perturbed by the vixen's friendly demeanor towards those that had been insulting her moments earlier, he speculated that it was a cultural 'thing'. "Where do you wish to go," he questioned, although it sounded much more like a statement than an inquiry.
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Post by zakorath » Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:21 am

Athena watched him stand up, and his face became a rough outline. She thought about his question for a long time,s taring at the floor. Where did she want to go? Where was she even going now? She had no direction whatsoever; she just walked. Looking up at the blur above her she answered, "I wish to go away from here." She said simply. It was the only answer that portrayed verisimilitude wholly. She did want to leave the dock, the crowds, behind, but didn't much care where she went. The large bird, although somewhat fearsome, and too tall to see clearly was her best prospect for the day. She couldn't stand crowds, they stunted her hearing. And the fish smell disturbed her scenting. She moved as if to walk away, but suddenly turned and grabbed his wing for a split second. A flash of thought ran through her mind. "What is the artifact?" She asked, narrowing her eyes. The fur on her neck and back wouldn't lie flat. This artifact he was searching for didn't sit right with her for some reason that she couldn't obtain. She didn't want to stay here, but upon seeing what he was here for, she didn't much want to follow him. Although, he wasn't dangerous to her, she could see that. His mind portrayed no anger, hatred, or fear to her, it was cold and emotionless and fixed on that artifact.

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Post by Somnia » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:05 am

The great cassowary felt the vixen's gentle grasp upon his wing, and turned his towering gaze downward. Burnum was careful not to meet her eye, as was customary in his tribe of a male speaking to a female, but he instead glanced over her body to detect if she was ailing. The large bird could have easily carried her on his back if need be, but he did not want to overstep his boundaries until he was certain. The avian was not surprised to hear her speak of the artifact. If fate had led him to her than it was natural that there had to be some way she could aid him on his quest. Burnum understood enough about those without feathers to realize that something had disturbed Athena, as the soft fur on her neck stood up like needles, and her eyes were as thin as reptile slits. Lowering his head so that it was now level with her, he spoke with his eyes averted.

"Perhaps you know more than you realize about it."
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Post by zakorath » Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:17 am

Athena thought about it. He evidently believed that she was important, although she wasn't sure why. She had met many strange creatures with many strange customs over the years, and so didn't question that he wasn't looking her int he eye. She didn't see it as a sign of distrust, but as just another custom that was unique to his people. She turned and squinted, trying to see which way the land was. She found it, and tried walking towards it, but the crowd seemed intent on stopping her. She used the base of her staff to feel her way through the crowds, and took down some of those furs who had cursed at her, by digging it into their footpaws. Eventually she was out of the crowd, and off the docks. She smiled at her accomplishment; it was quite an achievement for her to negotiate a crowd like that.

Turning back, she could see that Burnum was surprised at her. She couldn't tell if it was surprise at how she'd made her way through the crowd, or at the way she'd given the furs their comeuppance. She hoped it was the former. She'd managed to come out of the crowd ahead of him, not that he was far behind. His size seemed to make it easier for him. She ran a paw through her hair, pulling the fringe out of her eyes where it was now blowing, and stared up at the blur above her. "I know nothing of the artifact itself. I simply know that you seek it." she said in reply to his earlier statement. She was an odd creature to many. Nobody really knew how her mind worked, or why it sometimes took her so long to think about things.

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Post by Somnia » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:10 pm

Burnum's head was tilted slightly to the side as he observed Athena make her way through the bustling people. She seemed to be having some difficulty, but the way she wielded her staff reminded the cassowary of the Shaman Queen of their tribe, also known as his mother. Ah, the sight brought back childhood memories of bruised talons and plucked, black feathers floating dreamily towards the Earth along with raspy orders to, "FINISH YOUR FOOD". Pleasantly surprised at this foreign woman's courage and skill with a staff, he now trotted to her position, the melodious sounds of cassowary hissing echoing through his mind.

As predicted Burnum had no issue traversing through the remainders of the crowd, but continued to avoid eye contact with anyone he could recognize as a woman. This was much more difficult than it sounded for the cassowary, as the females of his race are larger than the already gargantuan males. As he finally approached the vixen standing in front of a deserted and narrow alley, he extended his neck to full height. Athena's response was not surprising to Burnum, as this was meant to be a challenging task. It was his job to go where fate led him, and fate had led him to this fox.

"I must take you where you wish to go. Your destination shall reveal another piece of the puzzle."

Burnum never understood why some foreign furs would become so frustrated with him. He said what he needed to say and nothing more, why cloud the sacred air with nonsense?
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Post by zakorath » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:27 pm

Athena thought his speech sounded odd. Almost as though it were rehearsed, like lines in a play. He seemed to speak with purpose, but without clarity. "If in riddles we must speak, then so be it." She said, and began walking the path ahead of them. Her staff chimed in the wind, and her hair blew back out of ehr face now they had changed direction from the port. The road was a mere stone laid track. The handiwork of some unqualified stonemason. It was hard for her to walk because of her sight. Her staff kept getting stuck between the stones, and she kept kicking those which stuck out of the ground.

Eventually they came to a fork in the road, and Athena felt her mind slipping from her grasp. Trying not to let it go was like trying to catch smoke with her paws. No matter how hard she worked it was inevitable. She fainted, and hoped that Burnum would not leave her alone there. Her mind clouded over, and became blank. Slowly an image revealed itself. ~There was an inn; it was on fire. She was trapped inside, with the cassowary, a few other guests, and the innkeeper as the building burned to the ground. The flames made escape impossible, and there was nothing that could be done. locals tried to get in, but the fire barred their path. Water was fetched, but not quickly enough. The image disappeared and was replaced by another. The two of them were stood at the fork in the road. They took the left paw path, and the image faded.~

(OOC - just to be clear - the "~" writing is her vision, and entirely within her own head while she lies unconscious.)

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Post by Somnia » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:15 pm

The fox gave the impression of being a little confused with his manner of speaking, but she seemed to recognize that it was simply a matter of custom and not a cause for alarm. Burnum was quite used to following females, as was the custom in his native tribe, but he had difficulty staying behind this one. Not only were her legs much shorter than the scaly stalks of his race, but she frequently stumbled on the uneven cobblestones laid at irregular angles upon the lane. He observed her as a silent sentinel as she made her way uneasily down the path, pondering the significance of this event all the while.

The vixen halted at the spot where the road they were currently travelling diverged into two separate lanes. Burnum watched her carefully as her body began to sway on the spot, struggling to maintain a center of balance. Realizing what was soon to come, the avian stepped forward and caught Athena's limp body before it had the chance to connect with the cobbles. The cassowary cradled the fox's body gently, using his large wings as a sling to keep her delicate body from the ground. His large amber eyes now inspected her condition. Burnum was in fact surprised, but not because of the peculiarity of the situation. He had witnessed this kind of fainting many times before, but hardly expected to see it here. The noble daughters of the Shaman Queen all possessed the gift of vision, but they were not born with mastery over it. Burnum, being the eldest son of the queen, was frequently appointed to lead the first "dreamworld" voyage of girls who had reached the age of passing. This required them to travel up into the treacherous mountains to visit the sacred shrine. Here, they were to receive their first vision from the mighty gods. All of the girls fainted the first few times around, but after some disciplining and training from the elders they developed more control over the episodes. Although there was a chance that he was incorrect, he was going to handle the situation exactly as he would back home: with patience. Folding his legs underneath him like a giant chicken, he cradled the vixen close to his body, and promptly fell asleep.
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Post by zakorath » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:35 pm

Athena woke up, and suddenly another flash of thought flew through her. She suddenly had her usual reaction to being touched: She slammed her elbow as hard as she could into whoever was touching her. She rolled out of Burnum's wings, and onto the hard stone path. She picked up her staff, and wheeled round to see what she'd done. She hated being touched because she saw the thoughts of those touching her, if only for a few seconds. It made her feel as if she wasn't herself, and she found that loss of identity horrific. She stood over the bird, only just able to see him. She moved closer, and he came into focus. "Ye Gods! I'm sorry. Did I hurt you?" She said each point in quick succession. She lowered her staff, and unfurled her fist. With ehr eyesight, she couldn't see him well enough to see if he was okay, and hoped he would say something despite his lack of talkativeness. Her breathing returned to normal as the adrenaline subsided within her. This sudden influx of violence was often how she woke after a vision. Far too often she had been found unconscious, and broken furs' noses or winded them. She'd sometimes smacked furs around the head with her staff, and once even stabbed one when she happened to be wearing a spiked gauntlet.

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Post by Somnia » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:10 pm

It was very true, if the one holding Athena hadn't been a seven foot tall warrior it was probable that the poor sod could have now been suffering from a fractured rib or two. Despite his physical prowess, the blow certainly did not go unnoticed by Burnum, who quickly jolted awake. He was so accustomed to 'rude' awakenings that they had never been considered rude by the cassowary. After all, it was not uncommon for cassowaries back home to kick each other around their sleeping areas until they were fully conscious. Feeling the body he had been cradling slip from his arms, he folded his wings behind him and shook his head from side to side. Burnum could plainly see that she was now awake, and was trying to discern his identity. As he waited for her to recognize him, he took notice that sun was now touching gently down upon the hills of the countryside, signaling to the avian that he had been asleep for quite a while. The fox was now rather close to the bird, closer than one with normal eyesight would need to be to identify him. He tilted his head to the side and yawned rather impressively as Athena spoke to him.

The cassowary chuckled deeply at her comment, although calling the noise he produced a 'chuckle' was a bit of a stretch. "Thank you for your concern, but I am fine. Tell me, what did you see?" As he spoke, he extended his neck upwards to read her facial features. He made sure to put emphasis on the word 'see', as he was not sure if she would be very open to replying to his inquiry.
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Post by zakorath » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:35 pm

Athena was glad he was okay. She didn't want to go hurting the person who'd made sure she came to no harm, even if he did touch her fur. She wasn't alarmed at his 'laughing' having traveled the world and heard far odder things. Her ideas were confirmed when he asked what she saw; he was of some tribal belief system. She knew that every other creature would have thought she'd simply blacked out. She'd met tribal furs and feathers a few times before, and due to her powers was always accepted openly. She wasn't a member of one herself, and still clung to the belief of the Old Gods. Her mind was still busy connecting these thoughts when she realised she still hadn't answered him. "I saw what i always see: Death. We should take the right paw path." She said, and turned to walk it. She wasn't used to not walking, except during her visions, or sleep. She was always on the move and this standing around seemed like a waste of her time.

She didn't have any second thoughts; her visions were always correct. She had tried ignoring them a few times, and each time somebody ended up dying; once an entire ship full of good furs. She didn't even stop to think that the inn could burn down even without them there, because that would only lead to the vision becoming the truth, and her own death would become inevitable.

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Post by Somnia » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:21 pm

Burnum rose to his feet, and shook his thin feathers free of any dust that might have collected upon them. He was almost certain that she was one of the spiritual rarities, those that could probe the mind upon skin contact, even before she fainted. The concept that she had very likely seen into his mind did not perturb him, as he had nothing to withhold nor fear in this world. In fact, he was often the one ordered to defend the young dream daughters as the presence of his mind was often consoling to their nerves. He doubted this was the case with this fox, however. His mind was soothing to one of his culture and homeland, and most likely disturbing and unfamiliar to foreigners.

Without a second thought, Burnum began to trail behind Athena once again. He trusted her senses better than he trusted his own, and although he knew nothing of the towns of this land, that hardly mattered. He knew he was going in the right direction. Place names and compass directions meant little to one guided by the spirit. To him, everything had a spirit. The sunset, the earth, each plant and animal-- every single one was connected to one another. Contented by the fact that the fox seemed to approve of his company, the cassowary now cleared his mind to allow his spirit time to rest.
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