Qeya River outstretched arm, and upturned hand
All Welcome  September 15, 2018, 08:50 PM
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Libertine Coterie
AW but @Wardruna is with him

the pair traveled, largely in a silence that was neither strained nor uncustomary. in their time together imrathil had learned to appreciate wardruna spoke with purpose -- and the gaps and pauses in conversation were a comfort designed to leave each in their thoughts unhindered.

little as he remembered, he was certain he had never been here before -- the frothy whitewater was a sight to behold, and imrathil watched as it snarled over heavy boulders and coursed in a thick, ruddy stream downriver. occasionally he heard the throaty growl of stones grinding underfoot; massive boulders being moved downwards by the fierce current -- and he also, to his surprise, caught the occasional ice floe --

ice floe? imrathil frowned, looking to wardruna for guidance. upstream the river coursed with a vulgar vigor, yet around the bend he thought he saw a flat floodpan that perhaps would suit them for crossing.
September 16, 2018, 05:00 AM
Wardruna
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        ever since his first trip to these wilds where the common tongue was spoke in full wardruna has learned to relish silence. a lot could be said without words and it was better than embarrassing himself as he stumbles over the common tongue and all their words. the northern language did not have quite so many and one word in his native tongue could mean several different ones in common. it all depended, he'd learned, on how he intended to use it. he keeps imrithal to his left in her peripheral vision as they travel. he does it out of what he feels is necessity, liking to assure himself that imrithal is still with him ...not that he expects him to abandon him. still, it is a fear that wardruna lives with. despite his best efforts not to, the northener grows attached to his companions.

        they move alongside the snaking qeya river, their heading due west as imrithal chose. wardruna's not sure what they're going to find ( if much of anything ) but if he's learned one thing it's that these wilds are always in a state of constant flux. regimes rise and regimes fall ...it appears to be the natural state of life here. wardruna catches the silent question imrithal asks with a look as chunks of ice float along the river as they pass. "a jökull," he makes a noise in the back of his throat as he searches for a way to communicate 'glacier' between the tongues. it should translate easily enough but wardruna struggles to grasp it's common word equivalent. "big ice. what is the big ice called?" he's been to duskfire glacier before and he points in it's direction with a gesture of his muzzle, trying to hide his frustration at his inability to translate between the tongues as well as he'd like to.
September 16, 2018, 11:49 AM
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Libertine Coterie
a frowning expression buried his countenance as he watched the jagged ledge of ice float downriver, scraping and shrieking as it went by. wardruna had caught his look, and spoke in his native tongue the name -- jökull. a strong word, hardened and as carved as the ice that slid by them. imrathil's sights wandered back to the murkwater river, which spat a frothy foam along the banks.

"big ice.." he repeated dumbly for a moment, struggling to recall what the tall peaks of monstrous ice had been named: "glacier!" he exclaimed, though found the name less commanding than the way it was said in wardruna's tongue. "i've never seen them in a river before."

at least, he didn't remember ever seeing them in a river; and he was right, for no such river carried ice in its veins that he had ever known in his life.
September 19, 2018, 04:17 AM
Wardruna
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        it appeared that the word that wardruna sought escaped imrathil too as the northerner's gaze flickered to a small chunk of ice that drifted lackadaisically past them, carried along by the river's current. it would nag at wardruna's mind for a while, especially if imrathil was not able to produce the translation but 'big ice' was a simple enough translation that imrathil appeared to understand. glacier. the word finally came to imrathil and wardruna's singular gaze flickered back to the ankyrian with a noise of acknowledgement in his throat. yes, that's it the noise communicates. "guh-lay-shur," wardruna repeats the word slowly, forcing his tongue to sound it out. the word feels clumsy and soft. "common tongue is so soft." he mutters his absentminded complaint under his breath.

        wardruna turned his head, allowing his gaze to focus on the ice floe in lieu of imrathil, though the scarred ankyrian remained within the edge of his peripheral. wardruna liked to keep him in his line of sight, in a manner that is not meant as controlling ( as it had been for his ex-wives ) and more for his own private comfort. those abandonment ( and exile ) issues were rough. beyond that, keeping his companions in his line of sight in some form or another was also merely out of habit. he might've pretended like he could still see out of the eye with permanent hyphema whose surrounding flesh is scarred but it was all a show. a lovingly crafted deception in order to keep the ex-berserker's intimidation level up.

        wardruna is quiet for a long moment as he pre-contemplates through his words. "i have never seen it in a river," he agrees with a soft pause, recollecting his thoughts and the messy translations crossing wires in his head. "but in the élivágar sea close to jötunn spine chunks from a ...gla — jökull — was common." the black beaches and icy waters of wardruna's homeland(s) was a stretch of territories that appeared to be plucked straight from niflheim itself and he thinks of them with a bittersweet fondness. the gods have barred him from them. that was the price of their continued favor: he could never return and he paid it. not because he was noble and it was the way of their culture but because he was, at his core, a selfish beast.
September 20, 2018, 08:06 AM
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Libertine Coterie
imrathil made no remark in response to wardruna’s sidelong comment, though a bemused smile fringed the corners of his lips. there were some strange words imrathil had heard the man speak; overall, he found wardruna’s nascent tongue as tall and as commanding as the icy mountain ranges it sprung from. 

he watched the slow passing of one such jökull, which choked the frothing waters with its dragged girth. he marveled of the distant lands these inimitable giants came from; and wondered then after wardruna’s home. 

”what was it like there?” imrathil asked quietly, looking then upstream where the current thinned.
September 21, 2018, 04:40 AM
Wardruna
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        a familiar and common silence settles over them as they presumably each watch the ice flow down the river. presumably, because while wardruna watches the ice float and bob and choke it's way down the river his focus is not on imrathil — a personal if not subtle sign of trust that not many ever have the privilege of knowing from him. as much as wardruna fears abandonment he also fears affection, feeling affection. he desires little more than to choke affection out of existence within himself ...it chokes him in defiance instead.

        wardruna is briefly alarmed at the quiet question that comes from his companion as it draws him from the darkened path of his thoughts. and it takes the northener a few seconds to understand that imrathil is asking about jötunn spine. "it is cold almost all seasons," wardruna begins after a few seconds longer, inhaling and let it out in a soft albeit heavy sigh. "the seers say that the spine — a ring of small ah, ...moun...mountains that protect the pack — was formed by a jötunn pup that got lost and died. over time his bones became the mountains, his life blood became the river and his skin ah...," he pauses grappling for the word 'nourish' but when it does not come to him settles for, "gave life to the forest." probably wasn't the best story to tell children but the seers were not known for candy-coating their beliefs from the pups of the spine. "the élivágar sea is made of black sand and icy waters. not good to swim in but good for hunting big water prey." especially if one was looking for whales and walruses.

        "there is always war. in the pack and out of it. we fight to to ah, make our claimed lands bigger. anyone can fight to be leader. you fight to the death," wardruna sojourns here in his telling of his homeland. it is still sore, still the source of all his rage at the world. "and if you lose and do not die they do not see you as chosen by the gods. to them you are cursed. they ban...ish — banish you. and your pups and your pup's pups." he finishes more bitterly than he means to. he is surprised ( perhaps pleasantly so, strangely ) that he manages to tell it relatively well in the common tongue despite the usual stumbles here and there. wardruna takes a heavy breath and finishes softly, "it is a cruel and harsh place." and he misses it terribly.
September 26, 2018, 07:00 AM
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Libertine Coterie
as the river spun besides them, so wardruna unwound the course of his own story; of the blackened strands of beach, cold icy waters, and of war and pride thick and as free flowing as blood. 

imrathil was troubled; something about envisioning the deep black sand sucked by cold blue waters jolted a fragmented part of his conscience; yet as soon as he was aware of its presence, it parted much like hands grappling for smoke. 

he turned and saw wardruna too was troubled, but a different kind than the sorrows that gripped imrathil. homesickness; it was not spoken of yet he could detect it in the bitter cast of the northern man’s words, in the soft arch of his hardened eye. ”you miss it. but it does not sound kind for old men or the crippled. i would surely die. perhaps it was better i wasn’t born there. maybe we could find something like that here, or make it.”

i will lay my people down.
September 26, 2018, 02:56 PM
Wardruna
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        wardruna shoulders the burden of his banishment alone. he does not speak of it often, and only speaks of it now because imrathil had asked ...and as disturbing as the knowledge may be to the northerner he does not desire to keep secrets from imrathil. that kind of trust frightens wardruna more than he'd care to admit. you miss it. imrathil speaks after wardruna finishes telling about jötunn spine. wardruna almost makes a noise of denial but he recognizes it's useless and catches it mid-way. the sound chokes off and is replaced by a quiet "já." of confirmation. there should be no homesickness for the place that had cast the brazen, young and overly ambitious commander out for failing to die.

        "no. the old fight until death. just the crippled and cursed are not welcome." and it was insulting to be cast lower than the old and feeble. wardruna will never be the warrior he'd been before the hyphema ...before the gods took his vision in his left eye. but he can still fight. and if trepidation grasps him and the gods do not favor him in the fight he is wily enough to weasel his way out of it. knowledge was power, after all and he was ruthless enough to use it as a weapon. an ear flickers towards imrathil followed by his singular gaze as the scarred ankyrian mentions that they might find something similar in the teekon wilds and if they couldn't find it then they could make it themselves.

        it is not a foreign idea to wardruna. he'd intended to create one with his wives but things had gone astray and slowly their numbers dwindled. he looks to imrathil with a soft furrow of his brow, contemplating before he looks back to the ice littered river, watching it with a thousand yard stare. "i worry." wardruna breaks his silence, feeling the words crawl up his throat like a prisoner who's just found the light at the end of his hand dug tunnel. "about you. ...and that you would not be welcome," feelings were messy. feelings were hard to speak, to put into words not meant for wardruna himself ( and even those were hard ). "i will not go where you are turned away." he admits firmly, his mind already made on the matter.

        wardruna's ears swivel atop his skull and he shifts his weight. "maybe the only way to get it right is to make a place for us.." wardruna thinks aloud, looking then to imrathil to judge the other male's reaction.
September 30, 2018, 11:45 AM
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Libertine Coterie
imrathil had been thinking much along the same thoughts as wardruna; that such a culture would be ultimately inhospitable, and end surely with his demise. long ago imrathil had thrown away his fondness for life, for the storied events of his life had left him, and in some ways he was simply a body, and little more.

he rounded his shoulders, touched by wardruna's concern for him. "i would be welcome in very few places - and i think, the same would go for you." he shared a quiet look with his guardian, a look both reserved yet sympathetic: "we are a sorry lot." imrathil could not imagine many wolves would find it good news that their wizened forms shadowed their doorstep - the two looked like a rough pair, and many wolves were quick to judge off of appearance alone.

"maybe we could. although, it seems others have made a place for themselves here." he was referring to the packs that bordered their progress; even through the overwhelming scent of the river he could detect nearby the presence of a stronghold.
October 08, 2018, 04:14 AM
Wardruna
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@Ingram i'm sorry for the wait on this!

        imrathil reminds him that just as he would not be welcome neither would wardruna. as bitter as it made him feel — that churning sea of rage and resentment for that need for idyllic perfection that everyone seems to have: that prejudice towards disfigurement and disabilities ...as if bodies is all they have to offer the world — imrathil is ultimately right. wardruna sees his and imrathil's survival as a gift of the gods. a cruel gift, surely, but when are they not cruel? their ability to survive terrible things should make them more valuable. not less. wardruna grumbles unintelligibly but in agreement under his breath — a hybrid language of northern and common that made no sense even to him. he grumbled just to grumble.

        he was too young to be this grumpy. gods only knew what he'd be like when he was actually an old man. assuming he lived that long, of course.

        we're a sorry lot.

        "i think that is wrong," wardruna protests, clicking his teeth together. not angry at imrathil — he doesn't think he ever could be — but at the judgement of wolves who have not seen half of what either of the pair have. "we are more strong than them." he huffs his belief, tail lashing against his hocks ...but even as the words hang in the air between them he knows that in the long run he's of a general unpopular opinion. last time he hadn't been turned away but he rather thinks it had been the presence of his wives that had weighed in his favor.

        wardruna draws in a deep breath, the faint scent of a pack tickling his black, leathery nostrils. an area heavily populated with packs might pose a problem. adding onto what might already be a challenge for them. it occurs to wardruna that two cripples might have trouble recruiting and if they do not that they might have trouble with wolves of peak condition thinking that they can usurp. nothing was without a risk, they just had to decide which risk they'd rather take. try to build their own empire or subjugate themselves to someone else's. take the chance of attempted takeover or be turned away because of their conditions.

        "there is much land in the south." there are a lot of neutral territories that they hadn't even covered yet and the northerner is not easily despondent by the fact that the taiga already has claims. he's not one to get attached to land. it's the way of life and sometimes the wolves that he grows attached to.
October 10, 2018, 06:35 PM
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Libertine Coterie
a rueful smile played the fringes of imrathil's pocked visage; he had struck a chord in the old northerner, though not deliberately. he felt a thin shake of guilt to antagonize the man so dear to him, but could tell the fire that flickered in the tundrian's singular eye was not tempered towards him.

it was not to say he doubted wardruna's words -- he believed the male was quite capable -- but imrathil earnestly believed also in his own shortcomings, which hounded him like small daemons. particularly, the lapse in his memory -- who was he, what was he -- and when he discovered these things, would he like what he found?

a nagging thing lurked over him, heavy as the presence of a stormcloud but undiscernable. something loomed the horizon, fretting his mind, so that he expected monsters around every corner. he pushed these thoughts deep, drowning them with idle and superficial thoughts of the day, the weather, wardruna's mood -- anything to close the lid on the torrent he so barely controlled.

"what is the south like?" he finally asked, brow furrowed. something in him said he should know - once more he felt troubled.
October 21, 2018, 04:15 AM
Wardruna
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        what is the south like?

        it is a fair question; borne out of what wardruna believes to be innocent curiosity, holding onto the belief that the sun rises and sets upon imrathil. perhaps it is just the attachment he feels for the scarred male despite his own firm rules against it ( feelings were overrated and wardruna will never like how they play him like a puppet on a string ) or perhaps it is something more. regardless, there's wardruna's firm rule of thumb that imrathil can do no wrong ( druna's very notice me senpai at times ). so no matter how annoyed the northman might feel by questions he deigns to never show it and to never truly discourage them. it's not imrathil's fault that wardruna struggles with the common tongue.

        it is... he begins and pauses as he searches his vocabularies for the right word. fjöllum. but what was the common translation? wardruna huffs. a lot of big, big rocks. rocks that ah ...reach the sky. his gaze had drifted to the chunks of ice that continue to float by them before it gravitates back to his companion. mountainous was the word the northman was looking for but it evades him wholly. his memories of the southern half of the teekon wilds were saturated with memories of his wives and the loss of what almost was. he turns away from those memories. as much as he does not want to think about all the ways he's failed they seem determined to crop up like an unwanted weed.

        there is land south of the ...big rocks, he states, quelling his annoyance as his inability to speak common without sounding like a caveman. i have not been there. it is the hinterlands he speaks of. he's heard of them but as he had no reason to venture that far and carting his little harem on adventures with him wasn't ideal he'd never made it that far south.
November 02, 2018, 10:20 PM
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Libertine Coterie
there are times imrathil feels guilty for his incessant queries: he had always been a boy with a wagging tongue, always been curious -- and that insatiable interest in knowledge had persisted into adulthood -- and, apparently, persisted through traumatic brain injuries too.

wardruna shouldered such a burden with a studied patience; imathril admired the man openly, for there were many things about the northerner that still awed him. he managed to keep his trap shut long enough for wardruna to laboriously compile an answer. imrathil supposes the description of the south was not exactly appealing -- rocks and more rocks were not his idea of an easy landscape.

for a moment in time it looked like imrathil was giving intelligent and careful thought; but then the old, rash ingram rose to the surface -- perhaps the first in a long time: "well.. to hell with rocks, and the south, and jotunns. and to hell with this stupid river, too." he kicked at a pebble with a blunted paw and then inspected the wearied eye of his comrade: "we can rest up there; what's for dinner?"
November 17, 2018, 05:24 AM
Wardruna
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@Ingram squeaks in apology for the wait.

        wardruna doesn't mind the endless stream of inquiries that spill from his companion. he is curious and curiosity is not a bad thing. the king god had sacrificed much in pursuit of it. thankfully, imrathil did not have to give anywhere near as much as the king god. it is only the loss of wardruna's own fluency that draws forth the seething annoyance that he feels. it is always aimed at himself. failure wasn't an option. not before, not now, not ever. he knows that the more time they spend here, the more ...social they are, the quicker he'll latch onto common tongue once more. wardruna knows this but tries to hide his cringe at the thought of being social beyond imrathil all the same. he is a taciturn beast happy with his own small social circle. once, it consisted of his collection of wives. now, it exists for imrathil solely.

        imrathil cursed the rocks, the south, the jotunns ...and then the river, drawing wardruna to glimpse at him from the corner of his functioning eye. it isn't funny, per say; but it draws a low chuckle from the northerner all the same. to Hel with them all. he echoes in low but firm agreement. wardruna offers a grunt of approval as imrathil chooses the spot for them to rest and then sneers in amusement at the inquiry of what was for dinner; if only because it bring to his mind a single word húsmóðir. irregardless, wardruna knows he'll venture out for the hunt because it's what he's always done. he might grumble in half-hearted annoyance but it's a front. he doesn't mind. every successful hunt is another time he's beaten his disability. another spite towards those who cast him out. another tidbit of proof that the gods have not forsaken him.

        what are you hungry for? wardruna inquires.

309 words
November 17, 2018, 01:56 PM
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Libertine Coterie
to hel with them all. YEAH! imrathil thought -- had he an arm or thumbs he might have taken a rock and hurled it with all his contempt at the river's coursing, unaffected face. take that, fucking river.

at least he made wardruna chuckle; imrathil, bless his shitty memory, would treasure that forever.

he looked up the bank and then back down it. rocks, water, whistling reeds. not much in the way of food. a hankering for something suddenly possessed him - the form in his mind formless and shapeless as mist, apparent one moment and gone the next -- but the taste lingered in his mouth and he frowned. what was that form?

he didn't mention it to wardruna - such constant rehashing of his gappy memory often made imrathil frustrated in a way that sometimes, he unfairly lashed out at his guardian. such vexing behavior was not unusual for a creature with a traumatic brain injury, but imrathil was (praise talos) no doctor; all he knew was the guilt that ate at him after he unfairly snapped at wardruna.

pushing down the troubling thought of that formless shape, imrathil limped along the bank. "hm. not much here. i mean, i'd take a moose but i don't think we'd find one of those here." nevermind the fact they obviously were in no position to fell leviathans; moose, jotunn, or otherwise.

"whatever we catch sounds good to me. wonder if there are any fish upstream?" he peered at the bend in the river, its long dark form snaking round a natural rise of stone that obscured the rest of the river's path.