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Jungle leaves and the distant breeze.

- - - - - Nightsisters Aaris III

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#1
Kayanna Djo

Kayanna Djo

    When Rock and Water collide

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Aaris III

 

Her feet, wrapped in corded and scuffed leather, stepped across the ramp. Not because she was descending as some triumphant presence. Not because she had safely landed at intended target. Far from such dreams. No, she placed her foot on the ramp because she was stuck. Stuck in the mud and dirt and stuck in her frustration. Placing a hard forward kick on the living ship, feral teeth bared in a show of annoyance. Her father had shown her the way but now, without his guiding hand, she felt more lost than she ever had.

 

Breathing out hot huffs irritation, she glanced skyward towards the dark night. Towards stars in the sky, the very same that had promised to guide her. And now, with ship and expression crestfallen, she cursed these things too. There was no fortune in exile, no hopes in the path of excommunication. She had left them, everyone she knew, to seek out a vengeful path. And without the contrition expected from her clan, they forced her out - as if she had never been a piece that made them whole. 

 

Curse the Singing Mountain. Curse the Misty Falls. Curse her father and curse his stupid ship. She lurched forward, immersed in anger, as she planted the toe of her left foot against the hull of the ship. The groan of metal and boot echoed through the empty night, palm trees and mist chiming with the sound of reptilian chirps and night fowl cooing. And then a tree moved, the groan turned into an earth shattering roar.

 

Sapphire eyes widened, brown furrowed, as her expression changed to one of steel. Reaching for her spear, with the sound of the hunt guiding her, she lunged forward and threw the spear with deadly accuracy. Whistling a soft murmur through the sky, the spear entered the dark of tree canopy only to be deflected, piercing the ground where moonlight cut through the haze. She looked down, looked back up, and yanked her short sword from it's scabbard. Orange eyes opened in the shadows, 30 feet from the ground, as a great beast moved out with arms as long as its body and teeth the size of common man.

 

A hardened gaze soften into despair and with teeth clutched, she managed to whisper a singular phrase. "By Allya." Rolling to her right, just in time, the hand came crashing down to smother earth and roots beneath heavy weight. Turning and with guided off hand, she stabbed the short sword down and through the massive paw. The other hand of the monster side swiped, sending her flailing through jungle vines and mud. Grimacing and coughing, she looked towards her ship and then back to the beast. It now stood between her and a useless vessel. And her sword. And her spear.

 

Clawing at the dirt, she turned and ran hard through the jungle. Hopping over logs, sliding beneath fallen trees and tangling vines, she let the guidance of the forest push every stride. That...and the sound of the roaring beast, knocking trees down behind her.

 

Tilzi


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#2
Tilzi

Tilzi

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Kayanna Djo

It took time for the sound to reach them. Three witches sat hunched on a thick bough watching the bright trail. A graceful arc of fire cut through the sky. The youngest of the group watched with wide, fearful eyes. The breeze only brought the roar of the descending object when their eyes could finally resolve it seperately from the trail billowing in its wake. It did not look like a natural shape.

The oldest of the trio whispered a count from the moment it crashed through the canopy. She stopped once she heard it crash. Being the eldest of this group didn't mean she had decades of experience. Scouting was a job for the young. The girls on either side of her were young adults, possibly even teenagers.

The eldest turned to the witch on her left, but kept her eyes ahead on the slowly dissipating trail. "Fetch your sister Preena."

"I don't need her to..." She started indignantly.

"I don't need Tilzi because she is your better. I need her because she speaks some of the languages of those from off-world." That seemed to stop Preena from bristling.

"You think anyone will be left? That's Big Red's nest," observed the last of the trio. The witches didn't hunt those predators that could threaten them unless necessary. Instead the Twisted Root clan tracked their movements and drew them away if they came too close. Each of those predators kept an expansive territory to themselves so they were few in number, but it was a constant task to move across their lands and check on them. They tended to have informal names for them too.

Big Red was old and ornery. He wasn't known to suffer strangers in his territory. As if to accentuate the point made by the youngest, his roar reverberated through the trees.

"Fetch Tilzi," repeated the eldest. They couldn't have off-worlders here upsetting the balance. All three moved quickly, heading the seperated ways. Several more shapes moved through the trees behind them. Difficult to spot, their passage had almost no effect on the terrain they traversed.

Edited by Tilzi, 10 August 2017 - 02:52 AM.

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#3
Kayanna Djo

Kayanna Djo

    When Rock and Water collide

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The dark forest grew thick around her, ever impeding steps with lush wildlife and fronds of ground palms. Cutting hard through the jungle, she moved in swift pace across a narrow game trail that had been carved from moss and leaves - leaving exposed earth and roots below. She would have liked to assume the expression cast over her shoulder was tepid, even approaching stoic. But she knew it to not be true. She knew that fear and anger coursed through orbs of sapphire.

 

The roar of Big Red shook the earth beneath her, the vibrations of each step accounted for 10 to 15 of hers, yet she made no progress in outrunning it. Trees groaned far beyond her, cut down by big hands and held upright by suddenly taught vines of rotunda. Through the occasional break in the canopy, the moonlight shone through, revealing the flash of her shadow and interruption of puddled water in the footsteps that had preceded her. Like taking a singular step in the life of something bigger, she was content to leave it all behind with a mild splash and reflection of swift form.

 

But the jungle was closing in around her. She could feel the stifle of the breeze, the way humidity was shifting and not in the direction of her favor. Thick understory to her right, thick brambles and vines to her left. And in front of her, a great outcropping of granite and mica. She looked up, finding her emotions landing someone between shock and despair. The upper story was now open and somehow, she hadn't realized that she had stepped across an open causeway of flowing water. Her boots were nearly topped, her arms and pants were cut from the snag of thorns. And as she turned, the world grew silent.

 

Slow steps, triumphant in gaze, moved the beast into the bright white light of a full moon. Anna looked skyward but there were no obvious grips in the stone. She now looked to her left and right, but there was no quick way through. It was as if the jungle had formed these walls just for her. Despair turned into defiance as she looked towards the beast, finding just a hint of something smug beneath a large jaw and eyes that had been wronged by her presence. Her gaze narrowed into slits, hidden by the blue tribal paint of her clan, as her teeth showed in a snarl. She remembered the words her grandmother told her, of the life of a brier.

 

Root yourself deep. She took a step forward, planting her left sole against submerged cobble. Make yourself bigger than the vine, bigger than anything. Her hands came forward, muscles rigid, as ichor gathered in green spirals around her shins - encircling against the slow flow of the water. Make yourself a tree. Her arms lifted up, her stance cemented, even as the monster trudged towards her. And take control of the forest.

 

Just as the beast would lift a hand, intent on bringing it down upon her, a vine whipped out from the forest. And then another. Smooth and brambled, they clung to the rigid flesh, as it bound wrists and ankles. Over and over again, the beast struggled and broke one free, only to have two more take its place. Just as it found itself confined to the position the jungle allowed, Anna removed herself from her stance and sent a fist skyward, emboldened by the notions of celebration. A series of vines snapped and the beast lunged forward, swiping towards her chest. With a hop back, her vision narrowed, her expression hardened. Even from such a distance, she could hear the vines dying, she could hear the tethers breaking.

 

Turning, she hopped up the stone wall, finding the ever hidden first hold. And as she placed another hand upwards, ascending the wall, she heard the beast break it's left ankle free from the vines.

 

Tilzi


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#4
Tilzi

Tilzi

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Kayanna Djo

It was a slow crescendo. The vines around its second leg creaked and groaned. The first snap was followed by a hiss as it whipped through the air. With their strength in unity stolen the vines started to give. A great crack heralded the rest breaking together.

A bright, unnatural flash lit up the rockface. Sodden ground hissed where the energy bolt had struck. A second followed. Flashing across the face of the breast. It was followed by a volley of arrows that struck its flanks. These ones were primitive stone and for the most part bounced off harmlessly.

Big Red turned its gaze towards the shapes in the trees to its left. Another magenta energy bolt was loosed to ensure its attention was held. The next step was the first of Big Red's new chase. Those figures in the trees flitted away. They wouldn't be caught. Not because they had any innate ability to traverse the terrain more quickly than the stranger in the rocks, but because their feet knew every inch of this region. They knew which boughs could take their weight, which roots could be skipped under to escape a predator.

Up above at the cliff face Tilzi's shock of red hair appeared. She leaned out to watch the ascent of the stranger.

"Came in a ship?" She asked.

"We saw it go down," Preena replied. She was still frosty over being sent to fetch Tilzi.

"That was magic," Tilzi murmured. Having spent time away from her people she could tell the difference between the way her own people used magic and the Jedi and Sith called on their 'Force'. "Do we extend the hand and drop a vine or ask questions from here?" She mused. The outsider was high enough up the cliff that a fall would be quite unpleasant.

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#5
Kayanna Djo

Kayanna Djo

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Her body ached. The sort that seemed deep set, beyond the muscle, from exertion that surpassed simple utilization of legs and arms. Where her skin stood tarnished from soot and dirt, from thorns and holes that were all but superficial, now they carried the silhouettes of ravines down the length. As if the very nature of her powers would mar her form in the absence of control, absence of things she didn't fully understand.

 

Her right foot slipped and the weight of her whole body rested on the grip of her right hand. Letting out a yelp, she spun just in time to watch the attack commence. Bolts of orchid and mulberry, released from the night, splashed around the great beast. Across its flank, Anna could almost hear the muffled whisper of arrows and their subdued song. She recalled a hunt of similar fashion on Dathomir, the way the clan would chase in groups and strike as one entity. 

 

With the flare of teeth, lips curled back in evident struggle, she twisted and flailed her feet for the proper foothold. Finding purchase, her left hand dug into the surface as she pressed body against stone. Letting breath out like it was fire, she looked up and then over. With the beast being pushed off, she could descend back down and make off for the woods. Get to her ship, get it off the ground, and find the things she was looking for.

 

Slowing her heart her mindful thoughts, she went against her gut, and took another step upwards. The very same ichor flowed freely from her palms, florescent green but dulled in the light, as her grip hardened and her hands found strength in every inch she took upward. There was likely someone up there and she knew that, but it wasn't the place for conversation. Not when her life hung on the rock face.

 

Tilzi


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#6
Tilzi

Tilzi

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Kayanna Djo

A vine slapped loudly against the rock face beside Kayanna. Tilzi had one foot planted at the edge of the cliff, one hand set on that knee as she leaned out. A few steps behind out, out of sight, stood Preena with a very sharp knife close to the vine.

The witch was still ascending, using magic to bolster her fortitude to complete to climb. At least Tilzi hoped that was the case. She didn't sense anything subtle behind directed towards them.

"What clan are you from?" She called down. The Aaris III dialect varied slightly from that of Dathomir, but not significantly so.

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#7
Kayanna Djo

Kayanna Djo

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She looked over, nearly shuddering herself free from the rocks, as the vine slapped against the wall next to her. Her glance shot upwards, contrasted sapphire against blue, as she looked towards the black sky.

 

What she saw was something that reminded her of something. Or someone. Faded images of sisters, clanswoman, wearing tribal markings of the Dathomiri. She immediately grew angry, irritated at the prospect of being asked questions in one hand and offered help in the other. She had no need for help, no need to give credence to unneeded questions.

 

Bearing her teeth, she took another hand hold and lunged upwards, foregoing use of the vine. For the time being.

 

"None of your business!

 

She understood just fine, despite the thickness of the dialect that was spoken.

 

Tilzi


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#8
Tilzi

Tilzi

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Kayanna Djo

Tilzi leaned forwards a few inches. That was certainly an interesting perspective. Clans tended to be strictly territorial and at this moment there was a witch from outside their clan within their borders. In the distance Big Red could be heard crashing through another row of trees.

The outsider was making a determined effort to scale the wall. None of the other clans operated ships. There was occasional traffic in and out of Aaris, but it would be an exceptional event for a clan to use one as transport around the world.

"I don't think you're a scout for a raiding party. A rather extravagant show for a diversion. It is our business what you intend to do in the land we look over."

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#9
Kayanna Djo

Kayanna Djo

    When Rock and Water collide

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A scout for a raiding party.

 

She laughed, albeit silently, as she looked towards the vine. Clenching her teeth, she had to admit that the woman was right. Anna now stood in the backyard of someones clan, absent permission or acceptance. And she was looking for their help.

 

Perhaps defiance and outright rudeness wasn't the best way to go about this.

 

Clutching rock, she pressed her forehead against the cold granite. The women atop the cliff might feel the weight collect at the end of the vine. Anna applied enough pressure to indicate consideration of use.

 

"Let me up. I'll tell you whatever you need to know."

 

Tilzi


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#10
Tilzi

Tilzi

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Kayanna Djo

Tilzi turned her head in the direction Big Red had set off in. She could see some shapes flitting through the trees. The others were supposed to circle back around once the danger had been led far enough away. Red had a habit of sulking and travelling long distances when the witches had to tease him and draw him off course. He would have to be watched carefully for a few days.

Having more of the clan around when the outsider reached the summit would be preferable. The confidence of youth had only taken a few knocks so far, but she was well travelled enough to realise there were beings far more powerful than herself.

"Fine," she called down. She gave Preena a look and the knife was sheathed. Tilzi checked the vine wasn't going to abrade on the cliff edge. It ran over a relatively smooth, mossy stone. She took the vine with two hands, long powerful legs bracing. One smooth motion and the tall, powerful witch was stood tall, prepared to take the weight of the outsider. Preena took the vine just behind her so they could lift the other woman up the cliff.

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#11
Kayanna Djo

Kayanna Djo

    When Rock and Water collide

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She had no reason to trust them.

 

No reason at all.

 

But then again, she was in a bit of a spot. It wasn't getting any easier to climb the cliff face and now, depending on her actions, she could either be dealing with enemies or non combative strangers. She'd prefer the latter, if possible. While swallowing some pride towards the notion of needing help, she gripped the vine with the full force of her body. Half expecting it to give out. But it didn't.

 

With the help of the strangers, pulling her weight up, she slowly walked up the vine, pulling and tugging and doing her very best to maintain balance. This was not the typical practice for Witches of Dathomir. Having thought back on it, she would have preferred the thick brambles to this nonsense that involved great heights and dependency.

 

Coming over the cliff face, she gripped the last stone and pulled herself up of her own accord. Sapphire eyes looked towards the horizon, shifting between the large individuals that had come to her aid. Or perhaps disturbance. Taking in a few breaths, content to rest against the rocks on her knees, she looked back down the cliff face to get a grasp for the height.

 

"Misty Falls Clan. I was..." She breathed in. "Exiled from Dathomir."

 

Tilzi


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#12
Tilzi

Tilzi

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Kayanna Djo

Tilzi placed her hands on her hips. She wasn't as breathless as the exile who had done all the climbing, but her chest still heaved from the exertion. An outsider then, but from the original home of their people. Tilzi's aunt has a greater interest in off-world matters than most. She said that the migration had happened nearly a thousand years ago.

Tilzi cast her eyes over the exile. She didn't seem in the mood for a fight. Nor did she seem to be well armed. Tilzi visibly relaxed, bit only marginally. There was just one question that came to mind right now.

"Why did you come here?"

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