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The Hunt

Sunlight lazily filtered through the treetops, vines, and heavy jungle mists of Virrah as three figures stalked their way into the depths of the southern jungle near the outskirts of the SpottedEar lands. Two of these were obviously natives of jungle, while the third was visibly struggling to keep up.
Tsa’Bakr could sense his loyal ocelot companion, Mardoon, somewhere up ahead to his left scouting for any potential prey in which Tsa’Bakr and the Atralonian could take, and as usual, Quintus was struggling to keep up with the small, quick Ra’Virr. Tsa’Bakr always felt the most alive when he was traveling through the jungles of his home, and today was no different. Taking a moment to bask in the sunlight and let Quintus catch up, Tsa’Bakr thought back on the incidents that led to this important hunt.
It had been three phases of the moon since the Night of Introduction in which Quintus made his oath to the SpottedEar. Since then, it had been Tsa’Bakr’s task to train the Atralonian in the ways of the People of the Jungle and in the traditions of the SpottedEar. Starting quickly the next morning, Tsa’Bakr immediately began training Quintus in the proper way to travel through the jungle. After countless cuts, a sprained ankle, and a near miss with a Fer-del-lance, the training was finally beginning to show. Quintus would always be a bumbler, but he could now travel in the jungle without catching his foot on a vine every ten steps and avoid the most common hiding spaces of venomous snakes. Tsa’Bakr was amazed with how quickly the Atralonian was picking up jungle lore. Qunitus explained that he had always been an “academic,” a profession he explained was similar to the Ra’Virr’s Storytellers and Orators. He was a keeper of history and was traveling to unravel the past of this land. However, before Quintus could truly be accepted into the fold of the SpottedEar and allowed to travel through the jungle with authority, he would have to be deemed Hunter. This was the purpose of the excursion the companions were currently on.
Tsa’Bakr was taken out of his memory by the loud appearance of Quintus as he came up to the Ra’Virr breathing heavily. Shaking his head, Tsa’Bakr signed to the man, “I have told you before, you must breathe as silently as a whispering wind. Our prey will hear you coming and you will never get your chance.”
“Yes, about that,” Quintus answered in the Atralonian as his hands were occupied with holding him up against a near-by tree, “what is it that we are hunting this morning? We set out five days ago from the village and haven’t seen anything you’ve deemed worthy enough to be “Hunted.” (This last word was in Virran signs, as it was a special variation of the word that Virrans had more than forty ways to say.)
“It is not what we hunt, but what the jungle brings to us to hunt.” Tsa’Bakr explained.
“I’m sorry, but that makes no sense.” Quintus responded standing back up and stretching his arms and neck. “I’ll trust you though, you know what you’re doing. Just point me in the right direction. By-the-way, did I ever tell you about the time I was chronicling the whaleing vessels of the Geats in the Northern Ocean…”
Turning his back on the rambling Atralonian, Tsa’Bakr closed his eyes to form his connection with Mardoon who was nearly a league ahead of the two bipeds. As his mind’s eye linked with that of the ocelot, Tsa’Bakr began to grin. The Jungle had provided. Now to just keep Quintus quiet.

Tsa’Bakr pushed Quintus faster than he normally did, and he failed to explain why. Quintus, for his part, did not ask too many questions and seemed to sense the urgency of this companion. When Tsa’Bakr was near enough to hear the roaring and sound of fighting, he stooped and jumped into the branches of a near-by tree. Signaling for Quintus to follow him into the branches, Tsa’Bakr explained, “Your Hunt has begun my comrade. Do exactly as I tell you, and you will survive this to see the sun rise again.”

Testing the air, Tsa’Bakr knew that he was down-wind of his prey. Using all his experience as a hunter, he set out to lay his eyes on the creatures making the horrendous noise in the clearing in front of him.
As the two hunters carefully crept forward, going branch to branch, they came upon the epic struggle of two great jungle predators. Nearly fifteen Atralonian feet in length, the two dire-tigers were locked in the great combat of territorial control. The great pelt of a single dire-tiger would be enough to trade for any supplies Quintus would need on his expedition, and if Quintus took any part of the Hunt, he would be considered full SpottedEar. Tsa’Bakr knew that he could not kill both great cats without risking the life of Quintus, so he began to carefully form a plan of attack. In the time it took to form three breaths, Tsa’Bakr had his plan. In essence, Quintus would provide a distraction while Tsa’Bakr went in for the kill.
Turning the Quintus, Tsa’Bakr signed, “Do you have a trick in your bag that will distract one of the beasts?”
Quintus signed back, “Yes, I think I do. I was traveling in the forests of Geatahem when I witnessed…”
Tsa’Bakr cut him off. “Then use it.” He pointed to the left-most dire-tiger. “Wait for me to jump,” he continued. Slowly creeping out to the perfect ambush point, Tsa’Bakr closed his eyes and began a ritual, silently said in his mind.
“Great Mother in the Halls of Spirit, your child has kept his oaths. You have provided this child The Great Hunt, the Reason of the Oath. Hear my call echo. Provide this Oath Keeper a sign that you are watching.”
As Tsa’Bakr thought this final word, one of the great dire-tigers caught its hind leg on a jungle vine that suddenly seemed to reach out and grab it by unnatural means. At the same time, the jungle ferns parted at the edge of the clearing and a reddish-orange tank barreled between the two beasts. As the two giant jungle cats separated to avoid the horn of the jungle rhinoceros, Tsa’Bakr leapt into the expanse unsheathing his Tempest Pair as he soared. Clearing twenty paces in his bound, Tsa’Bakr rolled directly underneath the throat of the right-sided dire-beast neatly slicing his sickle through the wind-pipe of the cat. With one blink of his eye, Tsa’Bakr was back in the trees before the other tiger could retaliate. Turning and preparing to protect his companion if need be, Tsa’Bakr was suddenly stopped short in disbelief. As the blood of the tiger Tsa’Bakr dispatched continued to seep into the jungle soil, three ethereal men held the other dire-tiger in place by a misty-silver chain.
As Tsa’Bakr watched, the three bearded mist-like men called to each other in a language Tsa’Bakr did not know. Two of the figures held the chain while the third methodically strung a bow and pulled an arrow from his quiver. The dire-tiger roared and lunged, but no matter how it struggled, it could not break free of the iron grip of the ghost-men. The ethereal bowman walked forward, staring straight into the eyes of the beast. Slowly, the tiger calmed and righted itself so it stood at its tallest. Nodding, the bowman pulled back and let his arrow fly. As the arrow pierced its heart, the great beast fell. With a final call, the three figures began to dissolve into the mist they were made of. Soon, the clearing was empty of their presence but for the continued fog of their dissipation.
Approaching the downed tiger, Tsa’Bakr saw that there was no mark where the arrow appeared to enter its body. Turning towards a sudden sound, Tsa’Bakr saw Quintus slowly climb his way down from the tree he had been perched in. Clenched in the Atralonian’s teeth was a piece of parchment with glyphs Tsa’Bakr was not familiar with. Quintus approached talking in Atralonian, “That’s odd. When I saw the Geats do this spell, the third figure used a spear, not an arrow. Of course, that was on a bear. I will have to make a notation on the differences and check the Guild’s library to see if there are other variations of the ceremony.” Pulling a scroll from his pack, Quintus furiously started writing.
Still in disbelief but always practical, Tsa’Bakr started skinning the dire-tigers. After clearing the front half of one of the beasts, Tsa’Bakr had collected his thoughts long enough to interrupt the Atralonian’s note-taking. “You continue to surprise me, Quintus Carbo.”
Suddenly, Mardoon appeared on the shoulder of the Atralonian causing him to yell and nearly fall over. “Great, you little wretch, you made me smudge my notation.” Mardoon merely blinked in response and started liking Quintus’ hand.
“Mardoon is finally recognizing you as a friend. You should be honored he chooses to perch on your person. It is a sign of respect.” Tsa’Bakr told Quintus.
“Thank you Mardoon, but you are putting me off balance” Quintus replied. And putting action to words, the Atralonian stumbled.

When Tsa’Bakr was finished skinning the great tigers, he made a deep throated call into the air.
“What is that?” Quintus asked his feline companion.
“It is a call to my cousins in this area. We are on the outskirts of the SpottedEar, but there are other clans and families that live on this land that do not have the resources my tribe has. We cannot take back this meat to the village, but it should not be wasted. The jungle has provided for us, and we must honor that sacrifice. Now listen, and tell me what you hear.”

Quintus did not have to wait long. On the wind, the same deep-throated call that his companion had made came wafting back into the clearing. Shortly after that, slight shifts in the branches of the trees that Tsa’Bakr had told him to watch for, showed the signs of appearing Ra’Virr. Within two minutes, Tsa’Bakr estimated that there were around eleven Ra’Virr around the clearing waiting for him to allow them to approach his kill, as custom and honor dictated.
Once the signal was given, the awaiting Ra’Virr came forward and lined up.
Beckoning Quintus to rise and stand before the waiting Ra’Virr, Tsa’Bakr pulled the canine teeth from the tiger Quintus had dispatched. Placing the teeth in Quintus’ hands, Tsa’Bakr turned to the Ra’Virr. “Bear witness to this Oath, People of the Jungle. We set forth to perform the Hunt, and the Gods in the Halls of the Divine has provided for these Oath Keepers. This guest of the SpottedEar has taken his kill, and I proclaim him Hunter.”
All the Ra’Virr present lifted their heads and chirped while repeating the sign, “Hunter.”
With a smile, Tsa’Bakr embraced Quintus and signed, “You are ready.”
Mardoon just yawned as the sun set.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Quintus Carbo, Tsa'Bakr

 

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The Village, Quintus pt. 4

Quintus had never heard a Ra’Virr make a sound before.  They were typically very quiet, and only used their bodies to communicate.  He remembered reading somewhere… where had it been?  Oh, some library in some city or other.  Anyway, he remembered reading that Ra’Virr only make noise when things of great importance are imminent.  Births, deaths, mortal dangers…hopefully, someone had just given birth.

“My, erm,” It wasn’t a good start, and it did nothing to engage his crowd.  He thought about his older brother, Aerin, serving as  representative of the Council of Ghara; he always had a way with words.

By this point, his newly-resurrected friend had made his way towards the center of the assembled Ra’Virr, where Quintus himself stood.  “Ugh,” a shudder of revolt washed over him as he smelled the carcass of the Hressh.  Long, clean gashes could be seen in important-looking places, and Quintus couldn’t help but notice the blood on J’Hanir’s blade, and the slight limp in his walk.  In short order after his companion had come to a halt, a few mean-looking Ra’Virr snatched up spears and became quite familiar with the live Hressh.  Several were hissing, and the whole crowd seemed to be boiling with rage.  To its credit, the Hressh that was still alive was a study in guarded emotions.

The native Ra’Virr–whose wounds were more serious–hobbled over to the village elders, and after a few quick, guarded signs and a little sniffing, one of the elders stepped forward.

My people!” The Elder had certainly earned his title, but his patchy fingers and matted arms moved with an energy Quintus found hard to discount.  “The Naked Giant has returned one of our own to the jungle.  If not for this, Princess M”Aravi might have died at the hands of the Demons!”

Quintus had never expected to hear any noise from a Ra’Virr.  This much noise, from so many, and so many times a day, gave him pause.  He offered up a silent “I need a favor” to one of his gods, and stepped forward, hands raised.

After a few moments, the crowd grew silent, all eyes glued on Quintus.  “Well,” a nervous deflation escaped his lips.  “People of–of the Jungle,” He kicked himself for not brushing up on his Sign before he left.  He could understand it just fine, but speaking it was a different matter.  “Just so.  I have returned one of you to–the–fold… and have come to learn about your people.

Restlessness seized the crowd, and it didn’t seem friendly to Quintus’ eye.  “Fool!’ He thought to himself.  “A gift!”  He had nothing in his pack, and Ra’Virr didn’t trust the word of man.  “In the name of Kh’asz, Lord of Oaths, I do–solemnly sweat–” Twice-damned fool.  “That is, swear, to aid the SpottedEar tribe–to the best of my ability–until my debt is fulfilled.

Quintus flinched.  To his knowledge, precious few men had bothered to learn Virran Sign, much less learned the terminology for a proper Virran Oath of Fealty.  It was chancy, but these things were sacred to the Ra’Virr, and Quintus was willing to do whatever it took.

It took him a moment to notice the complete stillness of the crowd.  All eyes stared past him, and when he turned he saw the Elder was almost touching him.  He was close enough to be face-to-face, but the Elder barely reached Quintus waist, so… well.  Quintus paled when he saw the ceremonial dagger carved of ornate, jet-black bone in the Elder’s hand, but the Elder merely held it out.  It was not an offer.

What would you have me do?” Quintus signed.

First?” The Elder snorted in derision, then his hand lashed out and opened the throat of the Hresshi prisoner.  The hulking lizard fell to its knees, then slumped to the ground as its life’s blood trickled down through the boughs.

Clean them.  When you are ready, we will teach you.

Quintus thought back to the decades of slavery the Atralonians had tricked the Ra’Virr into.  Many times, Atralonians would engineer situations to make it seem as though as Ra’Virr owed them a debt, only to guarantee a loyal servant for the rest of their lives.  These SpottedEar’s might indeed share news about their village and the surrounding jungle, but Quintus was going to have to earn it.

“Oh, um.  Right.  Well, here I go!”

The stench of the two dead Hressh never got better.  Quintus retched several times that night before the work was done, and passed out from exhaustion in a larger-than-average sling the Ra’Virr had fashioned just for him.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Miscellaneous

 

The Village, Tsa’Bakr Pt. 3

After the Orator had finished her story, she knelt down on all four legs in the traditional gesture of remembrance for The Life Before The Oath. Repeating this gesture, as all Ra’Virr did after witnessing The Story, Tsa’Bakr felt the intense satisfaction for the history of his people. It was known without a doubt, as far as Tsa’Bakr was concerned, that the Ra’Virr were the true inheritors of the land (there was no need to debate this with any other race in Aina).

Leaving the contented simplicity of his own thoughts, as tranquil at the moment as a small jungle brook, Tsa’Bakr turned to the Atralonian sitting next to him to further his more temporal goals. The Atralonian, who from sight and smell, Tsa’Bakr could tell was both intrigued and oddly terrified from the experience he had just gone through. As he stood, Tsa’Bakr pulled on the clothing of Quintus. Gesturing to the elders sitting in front of the congregated Ra’Virr, Tsa’Bakr signed to Quintus, “It is your turn to tell a story. Present yourself to the elders and the tribe, and only then will judgment be passed on your appearance among the sacred land of my foresires. I wish you well in your actions tonight. I cannot tell you what to say, but if you mean no harm to our land, our traditions, or our Oath, then you should have no need to worry for your life.

Leading Quintus forward, Tsa’Bakr bowed low to the assembled village and tribal elders. Knowing that the fate of his future plans and aspirations rested in the ability of this newly met man, Tsa’Bakr composed himself accordingly to show his deepest modesty and greatest respect for the traditions and protocols of the SpottedEar.

Tsa’Bakr introduced Quintus to the tribal elders, “Protectors of the SpottedEar, I present to you the Atralonian, Quintus Carbo, who I found among the trees of the land of The People of the Jungle. Hear his story and decide his fate.

Without anymore ceremony, the Ra’Virr pushed the startled Atralonian forward and stepped back into the shadows of the tree. Afterall, Tsa’Bakr did not really like being the center of attention, and from the reaction of the present tribe members, this was an event that would be remembered for a long while. As Quintus awkwardly stood in front of the tribal elders, the remnants of the assembled tribe stared in awe at the strange appearance of the nonVirran. Many of the younger Ra’Virr had never seen one of the races of men, and the natural curiosity of the cat-like folk caused many to stand-up and even approach the front in order to get a better view.

Obviously attempting to collect his often fast-moving thoughts, Tsa’Bakr could sense that Quintus was about to begin his address when a startled noise from the back of the congregation caused nearly every attending adult Ra’Virr to suddenly spring to their hind-legs and reach for any weapon nearby.

Eyes-wide, Quintus stood in disbelieve, his previous traveling companion J’Hanir, who the Atralonian had assumed to have died in a vicious giant centipede attack only the day before, was pulling the carcass of a mottled blue Hressh up the center aisle while simultaneously threatening a yellow and black striped specimen by knife-point past the obviously angered SpottedEar tribemembers. Limping behind this outrageous parade, a recently injured SpottedEar scout was frantically signing, “CALM,” to her brethren.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in J'Hanir, Quintus Carbo

 

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The Village, Quintus Pt. 3

To say that Quintus was beside himself would have been an understatement. Absently thanking his voracious appetite for language–the same appetite that drove him to learn such an obscure language as the Ceremonial Sign of the Ra’Virr–Quintus sat with his mouth agape as the bedecked dancer in front of him began the story of these jungle folk.

The orator leaped into the sky, spreading arms wide in a grandiose version of the sign for “attention.”  To make such a gesture in Ceremonial Sign was no request; it was a command equivalent to the official edict of the Atralonian Empress herself.  In any other culture it would be seen as a sign of intense arrogance, but here it conveyed the exact respect and responsibility with which the orator had been saddled.  To ignore the dance we was about to begin was to shun the deepest part of what made the Ra’Virr a people.

When the orator landed, she immediately crouched on all fours, moving with a grace Quintus had never seen in the civilized world.  “There was a time when The People of the Jungle lived as our primal cousins,” the orator expressed.  “In the beginning, we stalked on hand and foot through the leaves, we slept naked to the elements, and our whiskers had not grown dull.  We were princes in this jungle.”

Quintus glanced to the sky for a moment, convinced that the orator had been distracted by something above as she threw herself to the groundA dumbstruck half-smile was plastered to Quintus’ face as he realized that the orator was merely weaving together signs that meant something like “The Commanding Spirit of God that Roams the Land and Hears Oaths From the Mouths of All Things, The High Gods in Halls of Spirit.”  Given the emphasis she placed, Quintus supposed the orator would find it acceptable to translate this symbol more simply as “God.”

“God came to the place of birth, and laid out before us the world and its treasures.  It showed us the way to be princes no longer, but kings.  The Hunt was the path, and The Oath was our sacrifice.  Service to the High Gods In Halls of Spirit was the price of our gifts, and The Hunt to Control All Lesser Divines was the impossible task to be done.”

The dance took on movements that drove home the indescribable sorrow of its story.  “Those Who Would Not lived among us on that day.  They turned their eyes away from the Light of God.  The freedom of life before thought was the treasure they wished to guard as they went back into the trees.  The High Gods in Halls of Spirit unleashed their Great Power on Those Who Would Not, and they were consumed by the Fire That Is Not Seen.

Chaos reigned on that day, and many of The People of the Jungle died, even in the moment of their birth.  Those who lived were of two kind: in one hand were those who escaped into the vines and leaves and dark places of the Jungle; in the other were our ancestors, those who saw the death around them and knew it to be the punishment for refusing the Gift of Thought.”

The orator fell on bended knee, making furious signs with her hands and arms.  The dedication with which she performed this next section of the dance sent an eerie chill down Quintus’ spine.  No other member of any other race that he had seen had displayed such devotion to a cause, though he had heard of the Vethier’s Ho’i Hou Pono, the Return to Virtue they held to recommit themselves to the service of Utsirte, goddess of the earth.

On that day, every one of The People of the Jungle gave their Oath to fulfill the Hunt of the Divine, even those who have yet to see the world outside of mother’s womb.

A wild noise rose amongst the Ra’Virr, something that sounded like the marriage of growl and cackle.  All in attendance took up the bizarre chirping, and the air electrified into an atmosphere of primal urging.  Some of the Ra’Virr began to cast glances his way that made Quintus absentmindedly reach into one of his bags, clutching the first potion his fingers touched.  He looked to Tsa’Bakr for elucidation, but was only met with the same strange sound.

Almost as soon as it began it ceased.  The orator squatted low her hands raised and active in front of her, which was the exaggeration of a sign that Quintus understood to mean “The Hunt.”  As if a command had been given, Quintus saw half of the congregation immediately leap to their feet and flee in all directions.  Rising to leave himself, he felt Tsa’Bakr’s small, clawed hand stop him.

“No!”  The Ra’Virr’s hiss required no sign to understand what it meant.  “Only those who are compelled by the Oath may seek the hunt now.  You are not one of us.  You must remain.”

Quintus let out a heavy sigh.  “Gods beyond!” He whispered.  “I thought you all meant to kill me!”

Tsa’Bakr let out a chuckle.  “The history has not been finished.  It would be blasphemy to kill a guest at this time.  Now watch.”

It wasn’t the answer Quintus would have preferred, but it seemed to carry no malice.  Returning to his seat, Quintus watched the orator as she related the spreading of the Ra’Virr to different corners of the jungle, the rise of the Waterside tribe when they gave birth to the elite Ra’Virr commandos known as Falcons, and the story of the SpottedEar tribe for the past several centuries.  Wrapped in a fascination he felt only when discovering lost secrets, Quintus hardly noticed torches replace the sunlight as the hours slipped by.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2011 in Backstory, Legends, Quintus Carbo, Tsa'Bakr

 

A Taste…

I never seem to be able to leave “Well Enough” alone…  More to come at my deviantArt website!

http://kungfuamadeus.deviantart.com/

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Map, Miscellaneous, Quintus Carbo

 

The Village, Pt. 2 Tsa’Bakr

As Tsa’Bakr and Quintus trekked back towards the center of the Ra’Virr village in the Southern Jungle of Virrah, the sudden pounding of drums sent a flock of blue-and-yellow macaws soaring. Surprised into falling himself, Quintus dragged himself up and asked Tsa’Bakr, “What is that infernal racket?”

            “Do not worry,” the cat-man signed in reply after plucking a falling blue macaw feather from the air and attaching it to the leather throng around his ankle, “It is merely the call for meeting. The tribe has a series of drums set about in our lands to send messages over vast distances. You shall see the drums at the gathering.”

            After a short distance, the glow from many large fires began to light the darkness of the jungle, revealing the ceremonial gathering to the Ra’Virr and Atralonian. After some quick calculations and some commandeered help, Tsa’Bakr rigged a sling in which to pull his companion into the treetops onto the platforms of the village. Shortly thereafter, Tsa’Bakr had Quintus firmly situated in the forefront of the gathering tribe directly across from the Tribal Elders and the myriad of ceremonial drummers.

            Ranging in size from five tail lengths across to a pawsbreadth wide, these drums were expertly crafted from the best jungle woods and hides to produce a wide range of pitches and timbre.

            Creating a euphony of driving beats, the drummers began a highly ceremonial tune. Dancers, specially trained since they were only eight seasons old, leapt up from the crowd and began to circle the mass of Ra’Virr in a highly intricate and ritualized dance.

            At a nod from the aged-grayed head of an elder, a tall white Ra’Virr stepped forward into the light of the fire. Standing nearly five and a half Atralonian feet tall, unheard of among the generally short Ra’Virr, and with a pure white pelt and piercing blue eyes, this rare Ra’Virr was visible to the entire tribe. Dressed in a simple cloth of leather and adorned with roc feathers along the lengths of her arms, the Ra’Virr appeared as an odd amalgamation of bird and cat. Quintus leaned over to his newly acquired tribal contact and whispered in the common vernacular, “I don’t mean to bother you with so many questions, but WHO is that mighty looking female?”

            Perturbed with the Atralonian for interrupting such a traditional ritual, Tsa’Bakr signed back, “She is the orator, the keeper of history. Watch carefully, she will tell the story of our tribe from the creation. You will surely be the first Imperialist to witness the saga in a SpottedEar gathering.”

            Tsa’Bakr had not had the opportunity to sit this close to the orator since he was in his ninth season. So, with eyes as wide as a newly introduced kit, Tsa’Bakr joined in with the rest of the tribe with a deep guttural growl (which Quintus thought sounded like a purr…). Suddenly, the tall, white Ra’Virr leapt into the air and launched into perfect full-body ceremonial signs of the saga, the history of the SpottedEar and of all Ra’Virr.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2011 in Quintus Carbo, Tsa'Bakr

 

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The Village, Quintus, Pt. 2

“Oh!”  Quintus said, battling with his conscience as to whether or not he should conceal his glee.  He had come to the jungle with a guide that turned out to know a good deal less than advertised, only to wind up dead or deserted.  Now, crouching before him was a real native who wanted to go on some adventures.  Nevermind that Quintus had every intention of staying in the jungle for a good, long time: a companion for the foreseeable future would be invaluable.

“Well, I suppose we could… oh, I just can’t help myself!” His words came tripping over his tongue almost faster than he could speak them.  Mouth agape and lungs full of momentous air, it suddenly occurred to Quintus that this creature probably couldn’t understand his rapid-fire babble.

“I would love for you to accompany me,” he signed enthusiastically, tempted to use the full-body Ceremonial Sign even though it would have been profane.  “…For as long as you would like.  You are under no obligation from me, new friend.”  Ra’Virr might value taking a stand and making a commitment and all that, but it was much too definite for Quintus’ taste.  He didn’t keep slaves in Atralonia, and had no intention of starting now.

At that moment a group of Ra’Virr appeared at the door to Tsa’Bakr’s hut.  They were adorned with feathers and carried curious polearms.  The blade was perhaps a cubit long, and forged of a dark metal.  The pole could not have measured more than two cubits, and was joined to the blade by a large ring, by which the Ra’Virr were holding them.  As Quintus looked them over, he noticed the bird skulls that had been fashioned into helmets and hung down the felinoids’ backs, and he realized that these were Falcons, the most elite of Ra’Virr warriors.

Quintus braced for the worst, but Tsa’Bakr exchanged a few signs of welcome and turned to Quintus.  “They’re here to take us to the meeting.”

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2011 in Miscellaneous, Quintus Carbo, Tsa'Bakr