Season & Year
The continent, as vast as it was in land and diversity, as rich as it was in culture and spectacles which few could ever hope to admire in their lifetimes, it was a land in which Luchta usually found himself on the same paths. From Virida outlook in the south to the Ventamir Tundra in the north, the furthest West that the wanderer ever tended to walk was the island of Ilyanor itself or the Hoptus forest he knew from his childhood. He had seen almost all of Vyldermire in his hundreds of years upon it’s surface, but the Outer Realm was a place that he rarely tread. For some such a place was obvious to avoid, usually out of fear or hatred, but Luchta found himself avoiding such places out of a fire simpler motivation. Sadness, The shambles was a land that while he sensed life he never saw it, walking only upon the corpses of nature that had long been void of love and care, at least to his knowledge. The fact that every day, morning and night, he had to look up to the sky and not be met by the warming rays of light that made the world feel alive, it weighed on his heart as if the world was dying and he alone saw it. But he knew that such was simply the necessary way for the Eldritch inhabitants to find peace and comfort in their own homes, so it was he did not try to change them and instead kept to his same paths, his same adventures.
When word spread that the plans for a church of Fleuve’ir were to go ahead, he felt comfort but did not worry himself too much with such matters. He was more traditional in that sense, a lesson passed down from his parents. The great river of life was all around them, the true way to love and cherish their faith was in the appreciation of all that surrounds them, to watch the sunrise or sing through a sunset, the need for a church was a tradition he never understood with humans but he respected nonetheless. But as with all things between Humans and Eldritch, tensions were rising and all sides would seek to aim the label of aggressors at the other. In the midst of it all though he couldn’t help but to fear, not for war or for religious conflict, but for the innocent souls of Newdale who were to be the pawns in a game between those too far away from such a place to ever be affected by it’s day to day life. How would a church in Newdale harm the rituals of the obsidian isles? And how would the lack of it bring anarchy to the people of Riverforte? It would not, but if the plans were to go ahead he could only expect that forces outside of the town’s usual constituents would make themselves involved. So it was that he set out on a walk, one that brought him to Newdale.
When he set foot inside the town for the first time in over a hundred years, he could not help but to feel like a weed amongst cobbles. The dusk like sky was interwoven with the faintest traces of colour from the sun but no trace of it’s rays reached the surface. Instead the only source of light was from the flickers of warmth in the many lanterns hanging along the streets, and the beams of internal light that spilled forth from many windows and shutters all along. Each house, a combined construction of stone and wood, looked barely different from some of those made by humans further east, one of may signs that life was not so different on the other side for those who dared to look. Where one might expect to pass monstrous demons and wolves at every corner, he instead saw Children sat playing, he saw a witch cleaning the porch on her book shop and he saw a pub with singing and laughter raising it’s roof in camaraderie.
But none of this was to be flawless, as every place had it’s secrets. Walking beneath the glow of lanterns, halting by the wall of a bakery, Luchta peered out from his hooded cloak and glanced down the alleighway nearby. As he did so, two pale blue eyes reflected from the shadows, staring back at him as if waiting for any misstep he might make. Across the street from him he saw three incubus, each dressed well and friendly with each other, but who’s faces straightened when they saw him and did not look away untill they had moved past him entirely. There was peace here for now, but the sands were counting down, upturned in their glass by the arrival of those who did not mean to make Newdale their home.
The half elf decided that for tonight at least he had to make himself comfortable, and to keep watch. Tomorrow would be the start of construction, and the opportunity for him to support those who he knew would face harassment from all sides, merely for doing what they felt was right to even just taking the pay to keep them afloat. The crimson haired hybrid sat himself under a tree, just at the outskirts of town where he felt he would not be of hassle to anyone. While he knew he could request a room at an inn he realised even if there were rooms left he would likely be taking them from someone unblessed by his condition, so he decided against it. His backpack and equipment placed to the side, his red cloak wrapped around his body like a blanket and his concentration relaxed, splitting his body back to it’s resting divide between flesh and plant, he wondered how much help could he truly be but did not let it dampen his spirits. He was no there to change the fate of the continent, to bring conflict or break it, he simply wished to help the burden of those tasked with the church’s construction, that he could do to the best of his abilities. If it was successful then he would rest happy, if not then he would hit the road once more and hope that Newdale at any rate, could move on and find it’s peace again.
Word Count; 1063
made bycapt. meows
made bycapt. meows
Raised voices pierced Luchta’s sleep, tones and pitches each roaring against each other in a chaotic clash as various parties within the town began their aggressive and uncompromising debates. He opened his eyes, wrapping himself in the cloak once more but leaving his equipment by the tree as to not provoke anyone with the weapons he carried. As a further step, though it pained him to do so, he wrapped the cloak in a way that his his left arm fully from view, and pulled back the wooden construction of his face so that he would appear to anyone at a glance like any other elf. After hundreds of years with such a life, and pride in his heritage, to know he still had to do this on occasion brought shame and regret, but in his wisdom he knew it would likely be necessary at least for now.
He raced across the gap towards the nearest alley and began searching for the paths that would carry him towards the crowds. It took some time, ten minutes or so given his decent stamina, but eventually he did find the first conflict on his way. A human stood in the centre of the path, flanked to his right by an Anthro, the nervousness on both their faces clear for anyone to recognise. Around them stood four locals, two of which were human enough in appearance he could guess they were witches but wouldn’t to assume out loud, their bitter and judgemental looks being more passive aggressive than anything else but it was their two allies that seemed to be the focus of the fear. One, a towering humanoid wolf with a snarl behind every word and the other an incubi with his hands resting on two Khopesh’s strapped to his belt.
“We assure you we are only here on pilgrimage, we wished to see the new church begin construction and then we will leave, we do not mean you any harm.” The human said in a quivering but proper voice. Pronunciation and posture implying he was from a good education or at least good family, while the Anthro nodded along in agreement, his ears drooping slightly as he clutched to the other man’s arm.
“Oh yeah? That’s why hundreds of you zealots have invade our homes aye? Taken over our pubs and harassing our neighbours? If you had our way we would all be driven out! Back to the isles where you can forget anyone but your kind exist.” The wolf growled low, their face mere inches from the man’s now as their steps got closer and closer, moments away from being so close it’s saliva would likely drop down onto the man’s clothes to add insult to potential injury.
Luchta raced forward, stopping a few metres out as he raised one hand in peaceful clarity, palm flat and a gentle smile on show in an attempt at a warmer welcome. First looking to the two witches he bowed his head with respect, but found himself focussing on the wolf as they seemed the most worked up by the arrival of these two pilgrims. “I am so sorry to interrupt my friend, but i know how much you all like your peace here and i would hate for anyone’s arrival to intrude upon that.” He said sincerely, approaching until a sharp growl stopped him in his tracks.
“What do you want elf? Your kind are hardly caring about what these entitled shits are doing to our lands. They come here, build their churches and then what? Next thing you know my daughter is gonna be locked up just for her curse, hunted down again like the old days!” With each bitter, truly believed word, the werewolf towered over their desired pray further, it’s shoulders broadening as if ready to swipe their head from their shoulders at a moments notice.
“I remember…” He started, taking a step closer while glancing at the Incubi to make sure he wasn’t going to be a second potential threat. “I remember… i was there during the war, and i won’t lie i took no sides. But i saw what humans did to your kind, and i saw what yours did to them. Sins of the past will always cause pain…” As he got closer he placed his revealed hand on the man’s shoulder, pushing them back gently away from the wolf and sliding himself in the middle. “This church, for better or worse is drawing eyes from all over, and some have wished to come here in person. These men will never know the pain or sting of hatred in a way others do, but that does no mean they bear the blame of their species. Please, let them complete their visit and they will leave. Allowing your community to know the peace it once did.”
If anything the incubii seemed to be more agitated by Luchta’s involvement than any of the others, the witches still sneering but seemingly more bored by the interaction than anything else now. When the khopesh wielder stepped forward, jaw clenched and ready for his own words the wolf placed a large clawed paw upon his shoulder and sneered at Luchta, front teeth barely an inch from his forehead. “If they’re still here when that thing is built, you’ll know im right.” And with that last warning he turned, dragging his friend along with him and the witches soon followed suit. Now all that was left on the street was the three men, raised voices from further into the city still colliding but he doubted that there would be much silence that day.
“Th... thank you so much mister. Sincerely, that brute seemed out for blood if not for you.” The human said, still stuttering with fear though his posture was fixed and his chest pushed out as if regaining his pride. “And to think, these creatures do not see the benefit of such a holy place? Ignorance, to see some faith brought to these people was enough to warrant any journey, we set off from the Avalon islands without delay.”
Luchta turned to them both for a moment, eyes squinting at first but he bowed his head calmly and tried to speak with soft sincerity but purpose. “With all due respect sir, they are no more brutes or creatures than you or i. They live here, they sleep here, they eat here, it is only right they worry for heir way of life. But hatred stirred from fear is no excuse, and i did not wish to see either of you come to physical harm without warrant.”
“Ah yes, well that is a lovely way of thinking isn’t it? Very optimistic.” The human said, laughing slightly to break the awkwardness as he glanced down, face contorting in disgust and judgement before taking a step back. “Well in any case, let us hope they build it fast, then we can be home away from… things.” Without any context or explanation the two ran off, making their way hurriedly to the church’s intended grounds while Luchta was left alone and confused. Confused at least for a moment, before he looked down and saw what had been unveiled by the last blow of wind. His left arm, until then hidden by the cloak was now on display, a limb constructed by interweaving branches and vines as if he were a garden display, the one physical sign he bore that he wore no true elf, merely half of one.
Word Count; 1254
made bycapt. meows
made bycapt. meows
Whatever form of body clock that Luchta had told him it must have been approaching night fall, though the reality was that such regards didn't matter in Newdale. The sky above was thick with clouds and the enchantments over the Outer realm meant the subtle shift from dusk grey to night black was as unimportant as a candle under the ocean. But he had been up for hours, everyone had, and that meant as the day wore on the tensions only grew from the tired strain and stress gnawing at everyone’s patience. Ever since his interaction that morning the half elf had been busy trying his best, though only time and fate would tell if his efforts were in vain.
The red haired elf was seen racing throughout the settlement in desperate attempts to calm the conflicts that arose, seeking to disarm the anger and aggression of the locals towards the new construction to varying degrees of success. For the most part he was succeeding, encouraging and inspiring the Eldritch and human locals to be peaceful while spurring on the workers and foreigners to make their way to the church grounds with haste where they might at the very least have strength in numbers. But there were other times, he was tragically too late.
Earlier that Day
The cries that echoed over from the street nearby was not one of fear, not one of anger, but of pain, deep emotional pain. Such shrieks of anguish and horror Luchta had heard before, and never for reasons that were free of tragedy. Dropping the food that he had purchased for lunch, the Gaiyan sprinted with all the force and haste he could muster. Reaching out with both arms he called upon the magic in his olde blood, branch like tendrils shooting forth from what was once appearing to be flesh and like great whips he grabbed a hold of the rooftop in front of him, pulling himself towards them as if a man fired from a trebuchet. The air tore through his hair and cloak with grace that cared not for perfect aesthetics. It was only by the experience of his muscle memory that he landed as he did, both feet atop the roof with one hand down, heroic in appearance even if to no avail.
Luchta stood up tall and looked down, within the centre of the street he saw an Anthro women on her knees, holding over her lap the still and bloody form of another, her fingers running through the figures hair as tears poured down their face. “Anybody! Please!” She managed to cry out, words barely recognisable through the mess of emotions that flooded her nostrils, throat and mind. Luchta leapt from the roof, landing as close as he could before rushing over and kneeling himself beside the pair, sisters it seemed from their similarities though it was not the time to waste time with questions that would not change the situation. The chest of the still women, where should have been at least, was instead three separate puncture wounds, sharp and perfect incisions that flooded her clothes with crimson and the ground beneath her wet. Luchta was no pessimist, but he had seen enough bodies to know that whoever had attacked her was successful. She was limp, getting colder, and the women who held her as barely able to lift her head for more than a moment.
At the construction site, with some though not all of the foundations built, the workers were taking their break as nearby troublemakers heckled them with abuse. Taunts, attempts to frighten or enrage those who were simply doing as they had been asked with no physical harm to the locals. He could understand their trouble, he knew why they opposed the church, but their anger should have been aimed at their own council for allowing it not the people who were sent to simply build a church for the sake of those who wanted a place of worship.
Some of them, the ones who did not spit at Luchta’s existence at least, sat around a campfire as they ate their rations. Faces dour and conversation dead, whatever joy they once knew at home seemingly a world away. He could not build the church for them as he did not have the knowledge how, and he could not single handedly dispel each of the crowds or issues faced, from low materials to low manpower. But he could try and lift their spirits.
So, without a word and without demands, Luchta reached behind him and picked up the Hurdy Gurdy that he often brought on his travels. A mechanical instrument, like a violin in some of it’s sounds though with a unique and complex way in which the sounds were played. Luchta began to turn the crank, playing the keys with his elven fingers with grace and precision. The tune that came out was not intricate, not fast or fancy, but it was simple and beautiful in it’s own way. Simple enough in fact, that it must have reminded one of the workers of a song, not one Luchta knew but one the others seemed to. The voices of the group began to harmonise, like an emotional shanty it was not smooth nor pretty but it was warm and uplifting, one that brought some memory of the daylight and families they would reunite with soon.
The Gaiyan looked over however, after a few rounds of the song, and saw a figure nearby. He never made out a face but he saw their hands, the movements that would soon project a spell and before he could react darkness surrounded them. The campfires, lanterns, torches, all were extinguished and the various groups who had been resting were now left near blind in unwelcome lands. Their panic and uproar was sudden, as men and women raced around, tripping over each other in any attempt to find some form of light. But even those of the distant buildings and lanterns didn’t seem to reach them, as if whoever was tormenting them wished for the humans to feel truly alone.
But Luchta knew these people were many things, alone not being one. The red headed hybrid raised his wooden arm to the sky, and soon it became visible. All those in attendance suddenly look towards him as the wooden branches unwrapped themselves, turning his arm into a flower like opening but where branches replaced petals and from inside the centre began to float little balls of light. Little orbs of luminous spores began to fill the air, the gentle breeze floating them around the now silent campsite as everyone looked up in wander or confusion as to what was casting light upon them. With a soft smile he continued to play, a tendril of his arm separating to hold the instrument in place and turn it’s crank once more while his eleven arm continued to play. All the while he lit the night sky above them and their voices returned yet again for more songs.
There were many days ahead, with much opposition and many flaws to overcome, but Luchta knew he would be there to do what he could. He would bring water to the thirsty, help carry weight for those about to fall and bring distraction and hope to those who needed it. This church would either be built or it wouldn’t, neither outcome mattered more to him though than being there to support those building it and see to it that all conflict was minimised. He just hoped his efforts would be enough
Word Count; 1265
made bycapt. meows
made bycapt. meows
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