|The Lost Voice|
The cold is ever-present. In the span of time that has been spent here, the throes of winter of something that do not ever seem to depart. Clouds often covered the sky, sending snow to fall across the landscape, whipped by winds into blizzards and other atmospheric effects that were as beautiful as they were deadly. Tree cover is sparse, but the trees that are able to be seen do thrive despite the temperatures, the evergreens dotting the landscape persistently covered in whites and blues. This is not home.
Your recovery has been steady, and that is good. Something about this place took effect not long after your arrival, and if it were not for the intervention of a wanderer, it would have been your end. That you would be greeted by something called "Chillbane Fever" certainly marked that this was not a familiar place. This was not a friendly place. Still, it has not claimed you, and in the weeks that followed as your strength returned, you learned more about this place called "Bleakmarch" from this hermit, someone who called himself "Arevik".
He seemed not to fear much, familiar as he was with the land, and despite some idiosyncracies of personality— perhaps to be expected of living alone– his disposition towards you is positive, at least. Whether this is more towards what you are, rather than who is open for debate. His aid is not without price, and you learn, at least enough to not be a burden, though it is difficult at first. The tasks are not difficult, though you do have to be careful. This land has more hazards than most, to hear Arevik tell it. Trolls and other ice-dwelling creatures, affected by the magic of this thousand-year winter.
Still, you have recovered, and you have learned. It is uncertain whether or not Arevik's goodwill is being exhausted, or something else portends, but today you are being prepared for your departure. This large-ish hut that you have become familiar with— having helped to expand it as part of your tithe– sits not far from rolling hills, covered in snow and ice. While you have enough to remain warm without too much effort, you still need be careful, as travel is infrequent, but with some luck, you may find safety in numbers.
Consider yourselves familiar enough to have a +1 in Survival, without the class bonuses. Go ahead and establish yourselves, please.
For Snow this harsh land is paradise. The swirling snows, the glowering clouds blotting out the sun and the freezing temperatures delight the little dragon, who can more usually be found outside than in - rolling in the snow, gliding (as best she can) on the blizzards and diving through snow-drifts for the sheer joy of it.
New-friend-mind-speaker Saelas spent most of his time inside with the strange-old-smells-man called "Arr-ee-vik", talking in languages which made Snow's ears itch if she listened to it too long. She knows that she could speak it if she wanted to, but mind-speak is so much easier and can be done outside in the delicious cold, while Saelas sits inside smelly-warm-dark hut where he seems happier, or less sick.
The best moment of the last few weeks was discovering the glitter-gem-stone caves deep under the snow. Digging and worming her way Snow found and extracted many beautiful stones from the deep earth, bringing them back for Saelas and Arreevik - although the best stones, the brightest and purest white are kept for her, as they should be. This has made Snow happy enough not to agitate for departure, even though being stuck in the same place has been itching her scales for many day-cold-nights.
Gambolling in the snow as Saelas gathers his coat and pack Snow could easily be some sort of particularly arctic kitten, emerging occasionally to rub against his snow-boots, before disappearing back into the snow. She doesn't emerge to say goodbye to the hermit - the shiny rock she pushed into his hut earlier should be enough.
We can go now? We can go now! She sings mentally - delighted to finally be moving on.
Saelas really thought he knew what cold was. You'd think someone from a place with centuries-long winters would be more prepared. Preparation was never his strong suit. While he was delighted to find the dragon safe on the other side of the portal, the cold quickly squashed that emotion, reducing him to a shivering pile of uselessness.
His memory is a little fuzzy after that. Whether the stranger found him on his own or Snow brought him, he doesn't know, but the stranger certainly saved his life. The next several weeks were spent shivering despite the warm fire and it was hard to smile, though he did on occasion at the dragon's innocent happiness. He would endure. He had to. For her, and by extension for his people, though he wasn't sure they deserved it.
Despite Arevik's clear intention to help the pair of them, Saelas was always a bit standoffish. Maybe that was why the man started putting Saelas to work. He didn't mind so much, actually. His people had been so worried about hiding him that they barely expected him to do anything. He found that with his strength returned, he enjoyed contributing. Plus, it gave him an excuse to spend time with Snow, away from the hermit. For her part, she didn't help often but he enjoyed watching her play. He still found it hard to believe that this was happening. That she was going to be so important. She was so small right now.
Finally, confident in his health and his ability to make do on his own with Snow if he's careful, it's time to move on. It's not that he doesn't trust the hermit. He actually kind of does. There's just too much at stake. For now, it would be best to keep moving. If anyone in this strange place finds out how important she is... things would be a lot more complicated.
And it's not that things are simple now, really. Someday he would have to find the portal again and go back through it. And Saelas has no idea where to even begin with that. But for now, he just has to keep Snow safe. And to do that, he has to learn more about this land. They can't hide forever. And he's pretty sure Snow would eventually go off on her own if he doesn't go with her.
So, they head off into the rolling white expanse, Snow frolicking in excitement and Saelas has a gentle smile on his face.
|The Lost Voice|
The choice of which direction to go is up to you, but as your eyes look to the northeast, you can hear Arevik come up beside you, wrapped as the two of you are in the furs that you've managed to trap and mostly cure in the span of time that it took the two of you to recover from whatever it was that you contracted upon the arrival. His blonde hair is long and unkempt, just like the beard that reaches just past his chest. Survival this long meant scavenging, supplemented with some hunting that Snow had proven the best at. "Stay near the river Avoid the capital to the south and east. This land is unforgiving, but Algidheart is even more so." His gruff voice seems impassive as the two of you watch the small dragon tumble about in the snow.
"Yensa might be best. It should be to the north and east. It's a trading city." What sun can be seen through the clouds is bright, and the weather has cleared up from the heavier snow that has been falling these past few days. "Just remember that the witch's daughters rule here. Wise men do not anger witches." His eyes look to the sky briefly, calmly examining the clouds before grunting to himself and turning to go back into the hut. "Safe travels."
The trade routes are not that hard to find, he had said. The problem was more that anyone that was easily found out here was avoiding the cities for a reason, like him. The alternative was that they wanted to be found, and were dangerous... "Same odds", he had said with a shrug.
Saelas gives Arevik a wry smile. "I'll try not to anger anyone at all, if I can. Yensa it is then." The young follows the man's gaze to the sky and shrugs as he turns away. "Thank you again. Farewell." Saelas isn't sad about the goodbye. Arevik seemed to prefer being alone anyway, and Saelas is ready to move on.
"Come on, Snow. Time to go." He says it aloud mostly for the hermit's benefit. But before long, they are well beyond Arevik's hearing. With the rising sun ahead of him and to his right, Saelas takes on the slow gait of a man planning to walk all day.
Snow enjoys being on the move, jumping in snow drifts, chasing after arctic hares and generally prancing around - often getting some way ahead of Saelas and then waiting for him with ill concealed impatience. After a while however, after they've been going for a couple of hours, it is apparent that Snow is becoming tired. She stops jumping around and falls into place behind Saelas, allowing him to push through the snow rather than doing it herself.
Are we there yet?
|The Lost Voice|
The nearest path to civilization was distant, even given Arevik's instructions. While Saelas was more of the impetus behind the travel, Snow had ranged further during his convalescence, thus some of the corrective measures in their path were given by the small hatchling. Unfortunately neither of them were especially skilled in remaining quiet in this new wilderness, and that was evident to the predatory creature that had its eyes on them from a little after they had left the hut. The snow was high, and the wind was biting and sharp.
Undoubtedly Saelas was as careful as he could remember without making a singular effort, while Snow was content to be in her environment, blending so well with the snow even Saelas was hard-pressed to find her if it were not for the sense of enjoyment that he could feel radiating from the dragon. The two of them were able to pick out the singular form that was stalking them as best it could, a white shadow that moved along the snow and through the sparse cover that the land offered. However, this beast was long in the tooth, and in the twilight of its life, though it still might pose a threat for the unwary. There was no pack for this wolf, and while that lessened the threat, it did not remove it entirely.
Snow was the first to notice it, playing in the snow as she was, the wolf's fur the color of ice and frost, though it was not as muscled as it might have been when it was younger, it still moved well enough. It could not close the distance between itself and Saelas in the seconds it needed to strike from surprise, so it would have to get closer.
I'll work to have a map up by default soon. YeOldeMapMaker is giving me difficulties at present.
Survival: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18
Stealth: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Stealth: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
Stealth: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
?: 1d100 ⇒ 31
I am being hunted.
The realization that Saelas is potential food for some wintry creature isn't a surprise, but it comes with another realization. The triaxian is woefully unequipped for dealing with the situation. He could scare it off briefly, perhaps. But it's much faster in the snow than he is and would inevitably catch up. And a hungry wolf is likely going to be difficult to deter.
Feeling for the mind of his friend, Saelas tries to convey a sense of serious urgency without seeming aggressive or angry. Upset dragon is at least three times as difficult to manage as happy dragon and he'd rather stick with the latter for now, even if it means a chance he'll have to fend off a wolf alone for a moment. "Snow, do you see that creature? Let's stick close together for now, okay?"
Saelas, despite his concern and inability to actually see Snow, makes an effort to keep walking forward with the same pace he'd been taking the whole time.
Knowledge Nature: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15 Any way to scare it off?
Map: I don't mind using my imagination. :)
Yeah - doesn't sound like its going to be too complicated! :)
I see it! It's not going to eat you - I won't let it! Snow's self confidence is absolute - she cannot conceive of a wolf, even one somewhat bigger than her getting past her to two-leg-friend Saelas.
Moving easily through the snow Snow circles between Saelas and the wolf, before throwing out her wings, puffing up her chest and looking as intimidating as she can! Overall she manages to look slightly more intimidating than cute...
Intimidate: 1d20 + 4 - 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 - 4 = 11
|The Lost Voice|
Snow's sudden appearance startles the wolf momentarily, but does not leave enough of an impression to deter it. It does pause, and stare at snow for a few seconds, gauging the small dragon before changing directions enough to start making its way around her, still intent on Saelas, it seemed. Snow's threatening posture does not seem to be enough to have deterred it, however. It does seem to be taking a wider path around, though. A slight growl was the only response as it crouched on the snow, almost blending in perfectly, as it began to slink once more.
Following the wolf Snow circles around Saelas too, keeping herself between the wolf and the triaxian, benefiting from the smaller circle required. She is hissing quietly, keeping her wings flared to make herself as large as possible.
With a frown and a sigh, Saelas watches the dragon puff up and challenge the wolf. She's tougher than she looks, wolf. Just turn around, he thinks to himself. There probably is little chance of negotiating with a wolf. But the triaxian isn't about to give up that easily.
He stops and turns toward the wolf.
Reaching inside and calling on his psychic power, Saelas seeks out the creature's thoughts. It's a long-shot, but maybe there is something there he can use.
Use Detect Thoughts spell-like ability, DC 14. Not really sure if this can even do anything, but then Saelas wouldn't know either.
|The Lost Voice|
The wolf pauses again as Snow mantles between it and its prey. There is a flicker of confusion amidst the hunger that is prominent in its thoughts, more a feeling than any sense of coherence, and a distant touch of frustration. Uncertain, it gives the dragon a wider berth, not willing to risk a fight when it is outnumbered and weakened. Turning away, it seems like it grudgingly has decided to seek better prey elsewhere. Watching it move away, eventually the bluish-white of its fur blends into the snowy landscape and sight of it is lost.
The wind stills briefly, and the momentary silence is broken by the distant sounds of a bird, the chirps somewhat different from home. The cold can seep into you if you hold still for too long, but there is something to be appreciated about the scenery, broken up as it was with the upright forms of frosted green. A thin tendril of grey rises up in the distance, the little dragon able to make out the difference between weather and smoke. Someone has a fire going.
Threat averted. 200xp each.
Saelas breathes a sigh of relief as the creature slinks away, a grin forming on his face that develops slowly into a deep belly laugh. His mirth carries through in the light tone of his thought-speech. Snow... that was very brave but you probably shouldn't do that kind of thing... The triaxian's grin is a mismatch with his stern words. His laugh settles into a resonant chuckle as he crouches down to pat her on the head.
With a mirthful shake of his head, he speaks aloud. "I'm very proud of you for protecting me. Now let's hope we don't run into a pack of them next time."
Despite the cold weather and the long trek, Saelas is in good spirits as he prepares to continue their journey.
Saelas can almost feel Snow swell with pride when he calls her brave. I'll make the whole pack go away! I'll be big soon and then they won't mess with me... us!
She is turning back to continue on when her sensitive nose catches the smell of hot-wood-fire. Following her nose her eyes pick out the column of smoke in the distance. Wood-smoke-fire! This way! She sets off towards the distant fire, confident that Saelas will appreciate the chance to warm his feet.
|The Lost Voice|
If it were not for the effort of the little dragon to keep the idea of remaining visible to Saelas, it would have been relatively easy for the Triaxian to quickly lose sight of her. It takes some minutes of travel before Saelas is able to make out what Snow had spotted, and at the distance that she noted, it was going to be a fair amount of travel before the source would be reached. The patchwork furs are holding rather well against the cold, and if any of them are not as cured as they should be, well, that would be made evident when it warmed up. The snowshoes make what could have been an exhausting exercise into something that was merely tiring. The cold is a good motivator, however. Saelas is well aware of the deadly lethargy that can set in if he got too cold.
Trying hard to keep Saelas in sight and moving Snow begins darting back and forth, moving ahead and then dropping back to bounce around in front of him ad keep him on the right track.
Saelas does his best to keep a positive demeanor as the pair of them trudge through the endless snow toward their objective. Shivering somewhat, and definitely tired, he manages well enough. Before long, the triaxian is just walking aimlessly forward, adjusting slightly anytime he sees Snow. It's hard to focus in the cold.
Are you sure you see wood-smoke-fire?
Saelas uses Snow's exact words anytime he wants to be really clear about his meaning. Otherwise, sometimes things get lost in translation. At least, they had before.
Yes! Even Snow's mental voice carries her vehemence, although Saelas can detect a tinge of worry. Wood-smoke-fire this way! Make warm-man-heat.
With that she scampers off ahead again, heading for the wisp of smoke she can see, but more importantly smell, ahead.
|The Lost Voice|
Longer than Saelas would have liked, but not as long as he feared, the source of the smoke that could be seen rising above the tops of the trees in the distance resolved itself. A decently made home, a log cabin, sat in a small clearing, the smell of the smoke more notable, as well as the smell of food being cooked. It was enough to make a mouth water. The surrounding area held no indicators of the owner of the home being outwardly hostile, and no warnings were immediately visible such as skulls or threatening markings, so that was a positive. A small stack of wood was covered in less snow than the home, a few steps away from the side of the building, and the shutters were tightly closed against the weather. Everything seemed to be in good repair from what could be seen.
Nothing distressing could be detected by Snow's senses either. There was that rope that could be recognized as a snare trap that Saelas looked like he was going to step into if he kept walking. Actually, there were a couple of those around that could be seen by the dragon. It seemed like whoever lived here was at least a cautious individual. Whatever else they might be remained to be seen, but it was likely that they would find out soon.
Snow Per.: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26
Saelas Per.: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Stop! Snow's voice is clear and urgent. Man-rope-trap! Be careful! Look! She scampers up to the rope and nuzzles near the loop, trying to point it out to Saelas' weak-man-eyes.
Saelas stops abruptly at the urgency in the dragon's demeanor and frowns at the building ahead. "Is... this the town we're looking for? I... guess probably not." The triaxian's voice is choppy in the cold and he resigns himself to mind-speech, despite the fact that it's important to him that Snow hears voiced speech regularly.
I don't think this is the town we're looking for, but perhaps he has a fire he can share. Can you lead me safely around the traps?
Let's see if we can make a friend.
Saelas follows Snow with a deliberately pleasant expression on his face, despite the temperature. The hermit had warned him that most people would not be so friendly.
|The Lost Voice|
Saelas' deliberately pleasant expression got a bit difficult to maintain as Snow navigated around not only the snares that were missed, but also other snap-traps that were arrayed around the house, buried under the falling snow. Whoever this was, it seemed like they took very few chances when it came to safety in this area. The door looked heavy, but at least the snow had been cleared around the door. This close to the cabin, the smell of the food that had been cooked seemed heads and tails above the basic fare that Arevik survived on.
The young triaxian takes a deep breath at the aggressive nature of the traps in the area and frowns. With an almost sad sigh, he focuses his mind. He shuts out the physical world.
For a moment, nothing exists. There is no snow, no house, no food, no dragon. There is just Saelas' mind hanging in emptiness. Then nearby, there is the tiny bundle of emotions that make up the overly keen dragon's mind. Comforted by her presence, the psychic reaches forward into the house.
Cast Detect Thoughts using a 1st level spell slot. I don't want to offer any will saves yet, so I'm just looking for the number and strength of each mind. No surface thoughts.
Snow fidgets on the porch - she recognises the silence of Saelas' man-mind-magic and tries not to distract him as she sniffs around the doorway.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
|The Lost Voice|
For a heartbeat there is silence, a moment of nothing before Saelas can sense a mind. Tempered. Focused. Certain. A second mind shares some of the feel of the first mind that was sensed, but simpler, less complex. No less tempered, no less focused, however.
For Snow, there is the smell of food. A smell of man, a smell of animal. The scent is clean, though. Cleaner than Arevik, almost like the lands that are around this house. Metal. Oil.
Saelas catches the spark of awareness the moment it happens. The simpler mind has noted something is outside. There is wariness there, though the mind— both minds– are weaker than yours. The complex one is just a bit weaker, though. Then there is awareness in both minds, that wariness being shared across both. Then intent.
Snow can hear footsteps come closer, a purposeful step that only reaches Saelas' ears at the same time as a loud 'THUMP' sounds off from the other side of the door. That it would come from the other side of the door was curious, but the sudden shock of cold from a large amount of snow falling from the roof to completely bury anything under its eaves does block his view for a moment.
When he is able to dig his way out in a matter of seconds, the sight that greets their eyes is a large wolf, its fur a whitish grey, similar to the one they drove off not too long ago, and just behind it, a woman looking down the length of an arrow at him. Dressed in leather and furs, she has the look of someone that knows how to navigate the area, and the iron in her gaze holds no uncertainty.
"Identify yourself", came her command. The low growl rumbling out from the wolf in the doorway would brook no argument.
Shivering from the long trek and after being suddenly buried in snow, the triaxian holds his hands up in a gesture of pacifism. "S.. sae.. las. I.. I'm just a c.. cold traveler. C.. can I w.. warm up inside?"
"Snow... stay hidden if you can."
Saelas isn't particularly good at hiding things, but hopefully the cold would cover up the omission.
Bluff?: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24
Saelas will keep concentrating on the spell if he can, but still no forcing of will saves by trying to read a target's thoughts.
At Saelas' command, and with no small inclination on her own part, Snow wriggles backwards into the snow and vanishes. She worms quickly around to the side and begins burrowing into the snow near the base of the house. It nicer out it the cold anyway.
|The Lost Voice|
There was a narrowing of her eyes as she saw through something in what he was saying. The feeling of suspicion was foremost in her mind, as she kept the arrow to the bow. "Lying. Lie again, and those words are likely t'be your last." The threat was not idle, as Saelas could hear and sense the determination behind the words. The large wolf was still in the doorway, and its growl shifted to a more threatening pitch, the feel of anticipation coming from the wolf. "What are y'doing here?"
The snow was very cold, and seemed to leach the heat out of him as he tried to be non-threatening, but if he got wet in this cold, it was very likely to be the death of him. Even the gentle wind felt sharp as a knife. His companion seemed to vanish under the snow as if she were never there.
?: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
?: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (7) + 10 = 17
?: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Snow Stealth: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (13) + 13 = 26
Saelas shivers violently for a moment before making a strong effort to gather himself and respond. "O..okay, I'm not a.. alone. M.. my friend and I.. I were looking for Y.. Yensa. I thi.. think we might be l.. lost."
|The Lost Voice|
There is a quirk of her blonde eyebrow, and a snort as she considers Saelas' response, but at least the wolf is not growling like it was about to attack. A tinge of amusement colored the focus of her mind for a moment. The open door is leaking some heat that could be felt on his face, but nowhere near enough to make him feel better, as a trickle of water made its way down the back of his neck. The hunter's sharp gray eyes cast about what she could see of the area, and even looked up. "Where is your friend?" Her mind was wary again, but not as much as it had been before. There was some consideration, and a touch of calculation before the bow was lowered, at least. The wolf had not moved yet, though.
I guess it's time to learn whether white dragons get shot on sight in this land? Maybe I should've taken bluff...
When the woman relaxes, Saelas exhales takes a cautious shivering second to brush and shake the snow off of him and though much of it falls down inside of his clothes, it's not so oppressively cold as it was. "S.. she's around here s.. somewhere." The young triaxian looks around at the nearby snow.
"S.. she's young and very protective of me, so please be careful." Saelas looks pointedly at the lowered crossbow. There is no threat or hostility in his voice. Just humble pleading.
"Snow... I don't think we can fight. Let's try to make friends. Like Arevik. But be careful."
With everyone being careful (Saelas hopes), he calls out gently, fighting hard against the shivering. "Snow... it's safe to come out. They're friendly." His voice is calmly optimistic, though he never looks away from the woman with the crossbow.
Speaking directly to her now, the shiver returns. "S... sorry we barged o.. onto your propert.. ty. I.. it's just cold... and I'm lost."
His shivering plea really is quite pitiful-seeming in this harsh environment.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
Snow pokes her head around the corner of the building and stares at the cross-arrow-woman and her wolf. Are you sure? She asks, not sure that Saelas is making good man-friend-decisions.
Never the less she emerges, trying to look as non-threatening as possible.
|The Lost Voice|
At the sight of the small head that looked around the corner, her eyebrows went down into a brief frown at a moment of confusion, then up as realization came in on the heels of that, along with a lot of disbelief. The bow was lowered, and a gentle whistle brought the wolf out of its aggressive stance. "Well damn. Shake off the snow, and be welcome in my home as a guest." There was a hint of formality to the words, and Saelas could feel a whisper of something magical settle into the threshold before him. "I am Alyona, she is Kiva, and you, Saelas... are lucky."
Her eyes did not leave the small head of Snow looking around the corner, though she did nod politely towards the little dragon, a solemn expression on her face. "You are welcome also, little one, though I think you are happier outside and may remain so, if you wish." The large wolf- "Kiva", if the hunter was understood correctly– was cautious, but regarded Snow curiously.
Suddenly shy Snow nods politely in return and scrambles fully up onto the porch. She has to think for a moment but the words Saelas used with Arevik come to her eventually and her voice emerges as a high pitched chirrup.
The young triaxian looks almost surprised for a moment, before nearly rushing inside, barely shaking off all the snow first. After spending a good long moment blowing into his cupped hands and shivering, Saelas finally calms enough to respond. "Heh. Lucky? I'm not so sure I've ever been all that lucky." With a glance out toward the tiny dragon outside, he amends, "well, maybe."
He continues, pulling his hood down and revealing his unusual feather-like ears without concern. "Thank you for your hospitality, Alyona. It seems hard to find in this... place."
With a smile, Saelas regards the wolf. "Hello, Kiva."
His ears looks a lot like in this picture, though that's not at all what he looks like otherwise.
|The Lost Voice|
The cabin was outfitted comfortably for the nature of its isolation. A table with several low-backed wooden chairs sat in the center, while a stone fireplace held a fire that felt like bliss after being covered in snow. All of the furniture seemed handmade, rough but servicable, and sharing similar features. A shelf sat along the wall under the window, items placed on its shelves, while a cot stood in the corner near the fireplace. Something rich and edible bubbled in an iron pot on an arm near the fire, the bubbling barely able to be heard over the crackling of the fire. This was a home, but things seemed less worn than the exterior of the house would suggest.
Saelas' hands burned at the feeling of warmth to them, they were so cold. Any longer out there, and it would have been the death of him, most likely. As it was the furs that he wore needed to be dried out before they were servicable, and if the scenting from Kiva was any indication, they probably could have dried better. All that paled by comparison to the relief of the warmth of the fire, though.
Alyona was regarding Saelas with some curiosity, though she did pull out the closest stool to the fireplace, looking him over with a slight frown. "Have a seat. I've food enough to share, and unless you've a plan to repay courtesy, I would take my repayment in a story. Those furs are local, but you are not." Kiva seemed to have taken a disinterest in Saelas, and had settled near the side of the fireplace, though the wolf remained facing him.
The +1 incidental bonus that was granted no longer applies. You have traveled beyond the area that you are familiar with.
The young triaxian gratefully takes a seat and warms his hands and feet at the fire. "Well, truthfully, I don't know how I got here. I don't really even know where I am other than a place I've never heard of called Bleakmarch. I came through a portal near my clan holdings and it brought me here." Saelus shrugs uncertainly. "I met a hermit named Arevik here who gave me these furs."
While Saelas will probably leave out a lot of details about the dragon, I don't think it's really a bluff. She asked about him specifically, afterall. But either way, he's willing to be open about himself, but not if it risks Snow.
Snow, seeing Saelas inside and at least relatively safe, returns to the large snow drift by the side of the cabin and begins to worm her way inside before curling up to sleep in the cool embrace of her namesake.
A tendril of her mind remains semi-alert, a wisp of thought connected to Saelas as she dozes.
|The Lost Voice|
Alyona's eyebrows raised at the mention of Arevik. "I know of him. I do not talk with him, but I know of him. He lives too close to the Vault of Silver and Ice. That place is death." She took a few steps over to take one of the two wooden bowls off of the shelf against the wall and went over to the fire, stepping over Kira. The lid was taken off of the pot, and she ladled a scoop of what looked like stew into the bowl before replacing the lid and setting the bowl in front of Saelas. "I don't know where you're from, so I do not know how to get you home. People like you are not known around here." A foot hooked under a nearby stool, and she took a seat, thoughtful. "You could see the sky from your clan holdings, yes?"
Saelas looks hungrily at the bowl, but forces himself to answer the question before eating. "I could see the sky, yes. But it was... different. The sky here is unfamiliar."
With that, the triaxian carefully and politely begins eating the stew. His people are reclusive and insular, but they do know about etiquette. And apparently, stew is not unheard of either.
How far away am I?
Does Saelas know anything about what the sky would indicate?
Knowledge Nature: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20 If it's geography instead, the modifier is 1 less.
|The Lost Voice|
"Then from home, you are very far.", she concluded. "It is a long way that even the sky is not the same." There was a long stretch of silence as Saelas ate, and she thought. After a while she shook her head. "The answers you want are more than I know... Yensa, I do know." There was a bit of a look of distaste on her face at the thought of the city. "Maybe answers lie there, but you trade one danger for another." She got up to add another log to the fire, poking at the log with a rod to set it in the best position for warmth.
The significance will hit him when he is considering the celestial bodies that he can see. It is already noticeable that he is in a different place, but without a chance to look up at the stars and compare, the only things he can notice is how different things are.
"Snow... are you OK out there? Let me know if you need anything. I don't trust her yet, but I think we might have found a friend here."
The triaxian sighs and nods, not entirely surprised. "I thought maybe that was the case. If not Yensa, then where? You mentioned earlier the Vault of Silver and Ice. What is that, other than death?"
With food in him and warmth spreading throughout finally, Saelas' skin begins to flush back with color, the pink managing to look almost orange in the firelight. The effect is especially pronounced in the tips of his feather-like ears that twitch occasionally, seemingly on their own.
Saelas gets a faint impression of contentment and curiously enough warmth, before the connection fades again. Snow seems to have decided that he is safe and decided to simply go to sleep. In retrospect, the tiny dragon has covered a lot of distance on their journey...
|The Lost Voice|
"Was a mine", she said with a dismissive air, coming back to the table to sit, a dried strip of some meat in her hand. "Some incurable sickness came out of it. Some cleric cured it, and got sealed into it, for 'er trouble." A bite of the strip of meat was torn out and she chewed it as she thought. "Nothing good near there... Nothing anywhere within the Witch Queen's lands, but the cold." She put her elbows on the table and stared into the fire. "Cold outside, and cold inside." one hand pointed to her chest, and she shook her head.
Remembering herself, she shook her head again, this time to clear it of unwanted thoughts, and looked at Saelas with some curiosity and a touch of uncertainty. "Not likely t'change, either."
Cold... is... good. The connection is even fainter this time, a whisper on the edge of consciousness.
Echoing the dragon's thought-speech, Saelas sighs. "Cold is good, I think. I just need to get better at surviving in it. It's the best thing for my companion."
The young triaxian gets a far away look in his eyes as he sits back and ponders his situation.
What am I supposed to do? She's too important to trust anyone. I find myself holding back, even from those who show me generosity. They wouldn't understand. Or they would, and like the elf who stole her egg,
they would try to capitalize. I think we're on our own...
With a slight frown, Saelas looks back at the woman, Alyona. "Yensa then. Did I even come close to finding it?"
|The Lost Voice|
"Oh, it's the right direction", she chuckled. "Just another week that way." One hand gestured roughly the way that he had been headed. "A lot of things between here and there, so very few of them kind." There was a slight shrug that followed that statement, acknowledging something with a sort of resigned humor. "At least most that talk to you will stand on courtesy, even if they mean you harm... They're upfront about wanting to kill you." Her mouth quirked in a bit of a wry smile. It was a small comfort, at least.
Eventually, she stood, and gestured to a space near the hearth, on the opposite side of the cabin from the bed in the corner. "Go ahead and rest. A long way from Arevik, you are, and fatigue comes quick in this cold. We can talk more later, you'll not be harmed by Kiva and I here."
"Thank you. I will. Can I ask you one question first?" The triaxian seems uncertain if he should ask, but knowing nothing of the social customs, he tests the waters as he begins to lay down. "If we find ourselves back this way in the future, can we... can we visit again?"
Saelas youth shines through clearly hear. Barely out of adolescence, he's acting strong because he knows he has to, for Snow. But he's still very young. There's no desperation in his voice at all. Only uncertainty.
|The Lost Voice|
Alyona chuckled as she took his empty bowl, and refilled it with some stew for her. "...Yeah, sure. One of us is likely to still be around by then." She ate standing up, efficiently and quickly, the remainder of the meat strip she had been chewing on was handed to Kiva. After that, the bowl was scrubbed in the snow— letting in the first bit of cold air that Saelas had felt since getting warm– and replaced on the shelf. "We're going hunting in the morning", she declared.