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5/6 Birdmom and Eggson

JWaldman May 11th, 2019 128 Never
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  1.  Artaghh whispers: Listen....can we head'ta the beach? Ye' can stab me after.
  2.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl whispers: ...That may be more likely than you think.
  3.  Artaghh whispers: Works fer me.
  4.  Artaghh whispers: Pretty please?
  5.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl whispers: ...Fine.
  6.  Ohtli wobbles as she gets back up, grumbling and grousing all the way.
  7. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  8. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  9.  
  10.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "Come along then..."
  11.  Ser Artaghh would follow with a whoop of joy and minor fear.
  12. (Artaghh)
  13. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  14.  
  15.  Ser Artaghh would pace down to the beach of Crafthold with the stern bird herself, tapping along heavily and clankily with his black sabatons as he made it to the sand. Heavy armor swiftly sinking into the sand as the small grains found their way into the hinges and crevices of the armor, the knight would sigh before swiftly removing and tossing the pair of armored boots over to the grass as he let his uncovered feet spread open and closed in the soft sand.
  16.  
  17. Pacing forth until he found an ideal place just above the tide, soft sand still warmed from the fleeting son, Ser Artaghh would simply, elegantly collapse backward entirely, thudding onto his backplate with a clamor and a groan as he gripped his definitely not displaced internal organs before staring up at the sky from the ground.
  18.  
  19. "This part's importan', for we chat. Nae somethin' I'm real familiar wit', bu' I heard its called tryin'ta relax. It's hard fer me, bu' yer more experienced, ye' shoul' be able'ta manage."
  20.  
  21.  
  22. (Artaghh)
  23. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  24.  
  25.  The Drakan watches as Artaghh flops to the ground. She unsteadily and uncertainly lowers herself.
  26.  
  27. "This is not the part, then, where I stab you?" she asks dryly.
  28. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  29. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  30.  
  31.  Artaghh says, "No....tha's after."
  32.  Ser Artaghh would grant Ohtli a tired smile as his head turned to the elder Drakan who was humoring him, lines worn heavy on his face as he sighed lightly before turning his gaze back up towards the sky. His lips were pursed, as if for the first time in his life he was genuinely considering the choice of his words. What a shocker.
  33.  
  34. "I didn' end up dyin' as soon as I expected, so my plan'ta make ye' feel guilty a' yellin' a' me failed entirely. I've decided to fall back on my secondary strategy." The knight would grit his teeth, knowing that whatever he said next was just asking for another scolding.
  35.  
  36. "I'm sorry tha' I'm no' as good a person as I should be, Ohtli. Tha' I keep disappointin' ye'...tha' I'm stubborn an' stupid an' indecisive an' cannae abandon my home. I'msorry tha' e'ertime I tell ye' I'm goin'ta make things be'er, they ge' worse. I'm sorry I killed the dragon even though ye' told me no' too, even though it had a spire shard, cause all'a these things have one'a the few consequences I cannae tolerate. I'm fine wit' ye' bein' mad a' me Ohtli, bu' I cannae bare ye' bein' sad...it breaks my heart."
  37.  
  38. Ser Artaghh would flop aroun, his face flat in the sand and parallel to Ohtli's torso as he spread his arms in surrender. Though muffled, he could still be heard. "Now ye' can say e'erthin' tha's wrong wit' me, an' stab me. It's the righ' part."
  39.  
  40. (Artaghh)
  41. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  42.  
  43.  "No...no. It's not a matter of you abandoning your home anymore, Artaghh…"
  44.  
  45. She says, staring out to sea. Apart from an initial glance she outright refuses to look at the knight.
  46.  
  47. "You wouldn't have to abandon your home to make the continent better. You could steer all of your people in a better direction. You could deny the people that are doing terrible things. You could make Dawn brighter, maybe.
  48.  
  49. "But you, you and so many of the people in Dawn, continue to feed the monster. The monster that is raising kids from the dead and erasing their memories, the one that puppets corpses against their will and summons in evil things to do his work. I've been quiet here for a long, long time, Artaghh...I've watched good and bad things pass in this city. Dawn at least, to its credit, wasn't so terrible as it was now. Now it's different.
  50.  
  51. "You might have made an oath to serve Dawn. I don't remember you telling me you made an oath to serve that monster, Artaghh."
  52.  
  53. To her credit she's not stabbing him. Yet. Yet.
  54. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  55. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  56.  
  57.  Ser Artaghh would slowly raise his head from the sands, staring out towards the sea with his remaining eye as he frowned lightly. Ohtli was uniquely talented at bringing the poor knight incredible shame, she had weaponized this ability, refined it to an art of scolding. It was....truly something else.
  58.  
  59. "I didn'....my oath was'ta protec' the people of Dawn from danger, an' serve my superiors. Arthur Rowan, Lady Cho, one sleeps in a dread stupor while'ta o'er tugs away a' her puppet strings. Nothin' in me oath says'ta twin liches are me superiors, bu' to walk away woul'ta be to damn my home to death."
  60.  
  61. The commander would sit up a bit, feet stretched out towards the tide as he put his head in his heads, heavy from stress and exhaustion. "Dawn's people don' deserve'ta be slaughtered because'a one man. An' tha' one man, tha' reviled man, is one'a the few things preventin' Huang's zealots from puttin' all those people'ta the sword. They look a' Dawn, the north, an' they see the skeleton king's shadow, nae wha' falls underneath it. They nae see the young Valmasians thwackin' each o'er wit' wooden swords on'ta fields....Oscuri girls tha' sing like songbirds....heartbreak an' friendship an' family...Dawn's a livin' city, no matter how many undead are there."
  62.  
  63. Ser Artaghh then seemed prepared to be hit, for he braced himself before continuing."Dawn is my home, Ohtli. I've lived their twenty two years, an' loved an' los' the whole way through. Dawn's a city'a monsters....bu' monsters go' souls an' hearts too. An' no one deserves'ta be slaughtered jus' cause o' where they live.
  64.  
  65. (Artaghh)
  66. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  67.  "Then Dawn should choose more carefully who represents it. Who is its face. You are right. No one man should be the reason for an entire city falling...
  68.  
  69. "Then why does that city follow him so fervently? Stand by as he commits these atrocities? The children are not to blame for this depravity no. They don't know better. And if Huangzhou does come to charge them with crimes, they are no better, that's true. The sins of the mothers and fathers don't belong to the children..."
  70.  
  71. A pause. She turns to face towards Artaghh and stare down at him.
  72.  
  73. "But if you do not give them a brighter example to follow, if you don't show them what good can be done? Then they are doomed to repeat those sins all of their own volition. I have seen it. I've seen it everywhere, and nowhere wants to be the one to break the cycle. Not Dawn. Not Huangzhou. Not Gehenna.
  74.  
  75. "No one.
  76.  
  77. "That ultimately, Artaghh, is why I am sad. No side is right here, and the wrongs on each one continue to mount without signs of stopping."
  78.  
  79.  
  80. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  81. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  82.  Ser Artaghh would nod sadly, sitting beside Ohtli as he was stared down while fully accepting the judgement she manifested. Nothing she said was wrong after all, it was in truth a cycle of violence that Artaghh had only grow more and more intimately familiar with the more he learned of the island's history, and the longer he served in Dawn. It was a sad truth, and one that would likely only grow sadder still.
  83.  
  84. The knight would glance back towards the sea for a time, just sitting in silence as he allowed Ohtli's words to brush over him. Finally, he would slowly begin to raise one of his bandaged arms from the sand, moving to slowly, carefully place it on Ohtli's shoulder. If this was the moment for him to get blasted halfway across the beach, at least he tried.
  85.  
  86. "Brings me back'ta when I firs' me' you. We talked abou' these same things, didn' we? Abou' wantin'ta make the islan' a be'er place, one tha' was finally above this..endless cycle of slaughter. I'm...very tired, Ohtli. I feel as if e'ery day I walk a bi' farther from the light, ge' too comfortable wit' the evils I've grown so...numb to. I always heard'a someone's fall bein' real dramatic like, some monstrous change'a heart where men turn int'a monsters in the tales, possessed an' corrupted. Bu'...I think its slowly gettin'ta me. I've ne'er touched occult magic, bu' it hangs heavy in the air'a Dawn. No matter how much I meditate, how much good I try'ta do....I feel as if I'm losin' some battle agains' me'self I cannae see."
  87.  
  88. The knight would lower his head, downcast, a somber frown on his face. "I don' know why we follow Arthur Rowan, sides tha' he's strong an' he's always been there. Bu' I believe in you more Ohtli, an' I believe in our dream. If somethin' happens'ta me....remember tha'."
  89.  
  90.  
  91. (Artaghh)
  92. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  93.  
  94. The Drakan inhales, exhales, then slowly brings a hand up to pat the Paladin's. She shows great restraint in not shoving him across the beach like a leaf in the wind.
  95.  
  96. "...There is help if you know how to reach out to it. Help to keep you from falling to corruption.
  97.  
  98. "If you invite it in, if you welcome it, nothing can save you, Artaghh. That is a fine line. It's hard to resist, yes, but it's never impossible.
  99.  
  100. "You've got power in your hands to change Dawn for the better. I only pray that you use it instead of continuing to make excuses. A hard truth- but everyone deserves the truth. No matter what or who they are."
  101.  
  102. She shakes her head.
  103.  
  104. "You don't think I'm not tired too, do you? Over fifty years of serving the Serpent and the greater good. I'm exhausted. But here I am."
  105. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  106. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  107.  Ser Artaghh would nod steadily, a small smile creeping upon his face as he heard the Drakan's words of encouragement. There was still the barbs of a disappointed mother there, the familiar comfort he'd received that painful night where he'd broken down in the clinic once more swept over his chest.
  108.  
  109. Taking a deep breath, he would smile his missing toothed, foolish grin at Ohtli, closing his remaining eye as he place his right arm behind his head. "I've go' you, don' I? When'eer I fear tha' I'm drownin' in tha' city, I come here'ta find you. O' all the things tha've helped me remain....solid, nae corrupted, the though' tha' fallin' would make ye' frown has done more than any dogma I've e'er heard."
  110.  
  111. The paladin moved in for the side hug of reconciliation. This was the moment of telekinetic truth, the proof in the pudding. If he was slammed now, then he would need to retreat. "I'm....goin'ta make Dawn a better place. If you believe I can, I do too. No matter how tired I ge'....bu' yer goin'ta help me e'ery step o'ta way mom."
  112.  
  113.  
  114. (Artaghh)
  115. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  116.  
  117.  The Drakan is tense and prickly at best, but no...No pushing. She doesn't have the heart to send him sprawling like a small part of her wants to. Ohtli tries very much not to give in to the desires of that small part, lest it grow larger.
  118.  
  119. It's probably how it started for the rest of her kin. Best not to indulge it now this late in life.
  120.  
  121. All the same he gets his side hug, even if it's a bit stiff.
  122.  
  123. "So long as you earnestly try to improve Dawn...then we have no quarrel, Artaghh. And so long as you earnestly try to improve it. You will have my help. But those improvements don't include any of your current chain of command in my eyes. And they don't include over half of Dawn's practices either.
  124.  
  125. "So long as we have that understanding."
  126. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  127. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  128.  
  129.  Ser Artaghh would whoop with joy, barking out with light hearted laughter as he leapt forth from his sitting position....before realizing that his legs had very much fallen asleep. Face planting into the wet tides, he'd lay there for a time and consider simply drowning before pushing himself up, shaking his head as he turned his one, once more alight with energy eye to his Drakan mom.
  130.  
  131. "Well, ye'd be a terrible mother if ye' didn' disapprove'a me sketchy friends, all things considered. Aye, I swear on my word as a knight. As long as ye' swear ye' won' abandon me, aye? I cannae do any'a this wit'ou' ye' there'ta keep me on the righ' track. Ye' bring ou' the bes' in me mos' days."
  132.  
  133. (Artaghh)
  134. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  135.  For one reason or another, the Drakan frowns. She shakes her head.
  136.  
  137. "No...I've never abandoned anyone. I don't intend to start now. You keep to your word, and I will keep to mine," she declares.
  138.  
  139. "But I'm curious now...just what you intend now to do to uphold that word-...Also you have sand all over your face."
  140. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  141. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  142.  
  143.  Ser Artaghh would take the brief lapse of tension to remove the sand from his face, there was a lot of it. With a swipe of his bandaged hands across the surface, he would nod steadily.
  144.  
  145. "Star' from the groun' up, I figure. If I can make Dawn's legion one'a honor, build a military tradition'a noble service, spread my knightly tenets to those tha' serve, tha's half the battle. A dozen more Sirocco's an' Artaghh's, Chaacas….they coul' outweigh'ta madmen an' dark sorcerors. As fer those in charge....tha's goin'ta take time. Time I go', if nae the sort I'm lookin' forward'ta spendin'. "
  146.  
  147. (Artaghh)
  148. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  149.  
  150.  Artaghh says, "Mmm."
  151.  Artaghh says, "It's hard, Ohtli."
  152.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "No one said it would be easy."
  153.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "Good things never are. Good and lasting things."
  154.  Artaghh says, "Yeah, you're right."
  155.  Artaghh says, "..."
  156.  Artaghh says, "I was afraid I wouldn' ge'ta talk to ye' anymore."
  157.  Artaghh says, "Tha' ye'd be mad'a me forever."
  158.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "If you were unwilling to change? I would have been."
  159.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "...I am still not pleased with you. Or Dawn's state. Make no mistake."
  160.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "But if you earnestly try to improve Dawn, I can hardly fault you."
  161.  Artaghh says, "I'm no' really pleased wit' myself either."
  162.  Artaghh says, "Or Dawn's state."
  163.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl asks, "Then now is the time to fix it. No?"
  164.  Artaghh says, "Well, if it weren' for the whole "We're all goin'ta die in a siege from Huang" thing."
  165.  Artaghh says, "Bu' if we do survive...yeah."
  166.  Artaghh says, "This is the time."
  167.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "The greatest and most beautiful gems are made under pressure."
  168.  Artaghh says, "Tha's....real pretty Ohtli."
  169.  Artaghh says, "Real pretty."
  170.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "It is true for people all the same, Artaghh. Believe it or not."
  171.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "Good deeds shine all the brighter when they are the least convenient."
  172.  Artaghh says, "Mmm, if only I'd me' ye' when I was young, foolish, an' two eyed."
  173.  Artaghh says, "Maybe I'd ne'er have been in all this mess."
  174.  Artaghh says, "Bu' then....I wouldn' have had the opportunity to make things be'er."
  175.  Artaghh says, "Things happen fer a reason, I guess."
  176.  Artaghh says, "..."
  177.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "So I've often been told."
  178.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "You have a chance to make things better, as you said."
  179.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "Your position is unique."
  180.  Artaghh asks, "So's yours, aye?"
  181.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl asks, "And how do you figure that?"
  182.  Artaghh says, "Who'da though' a Gehennan Drakan in her seventies would have the ear of Dawn's legion commander more than her own people's chieftains."
  183.  Artaghh asks, "Strange times, aye?"
  184.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "Strange times indeed..."
  185.  Artaghh says, "Mmm..."
  186.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "They didn't heed my warnings. They will pay their own price, I imagine."
  187.  Artaghh says, "My mother's been dead for thirty seven years. Died'a disease as non-magi do. I barely remember her face somedays."
  188.  Artaghh asks, "Bu' yer the closes' thing I go', Ohtli, so ye' be'er no' do anythin' stupid in the meantime, alrigh'?"
  189.  Artaghh says, "I will learn spiritmancy'ta literally yell'a ye' if ye' die heroically 'fore I do."
  190.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "Stupid? That is...relative."
  191.  Artaghh says, "As someone who's done a lot of relatively stupid things."
  192.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "I can promise I will attempt. Duty demands nothing less."
  193.  Artaghh says, "Mmm."
  194.  Artaghh says, "Fine."
  195.  Artaghh says, "A fair compromise as any."
  196.  Artaghh says, "Now 'fore they think I killed ye' a' the beach, s'pose we should soon head back."
  197.  Artaghh says, "Bu'..."
  198.  Artaghh asks, "Will ye' stab me if I hug you?"
  199.  Ohtli sighs. "...No. No, I will not. Be careful, though. I'm not at my best."
  200. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  201. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  202.  
  203.  Artaghh says, "No spine shatterin' then."
  204.  
  205.  Ser Artaghh would turn to the Drakan with a stern nod, cracking his bandaged fingers with audible snaps as he stared deviously at Ohtli. Igniting forth in a glimmering shroud of dense, rich blue mana, the bandages would strain as the paladin bulked up in muscle mass in preparation for the hug to come.
  206.  
  207. Without further delay, the knight would....wrap his arms delicately, but frimly around Ohtli, resting his slightly taller head on her shoulders as he embraced her with familial warmth. His heart eased a bit, then, for this small bit of comfort he had missed most of all since he'd upset the Drakan. She gave good hugs.
  208. (Artaghh)
  209. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  210.  
  211.  Ohtli braces for a real spine-cracker. Then she's treated to something much more gentle- which is deeply appreciated, because she's looking more off of her stride than usual. She exhales, relieved, and lightly pats the large knight's back.
  212.  
  213. Maybe there would be hope for Dawn yet...Maybe so, or maybe not. It does not change what she has to do regardless. If she offer comfort in the mean time? Then so be it. The embrace is warm and cleansing, like a stone left out in the sun.
  214.  
  215. "I should be getting back up then. The usual fire-watching," she grumbles, struggling just a bit more than usual to stand. Perhaps, finally, old age is catching up to her...
  216. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  217. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  218.  
  219.  Artaghh says, "Ya know, I can walk ye' up if ye'd like Ohtli. I can make it look like yer helpin' me."
  220.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "-Bah. Nonsense...Give me a little time. I'm just...tired."
  221.  Artaghh says, "Course, I'm wit' ye' e'ery step o'ta way."
  222.  Ser Artaghh would patiently make sure Ohtli made it back to a cozy seat, he was no poor eggson.
  223. (Artaghh)
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