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Unread 1st of May, 2008, 23:48
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Refusing to Sow [Epic GM]

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Aleina, Aashya

The Dorn looks down at her, mighty thewed, and nods his assent. Far removed from the cities and culture of the Sarcosans, his ancestry is one where civilization and the wild hold a truce and coexist not in harmony, but in familiarity. The elves are the people of Erethor, the dwarves are the people of the Kaladruns, and the Dorns are the people of Eredane. Long before the Sarcosan cogs landed upon the shores of the south, the Dorns ruled. By blood and steel they forged their kingdoms. True to their nature, it was only when they were defeated in battle did the great northern lords bend the knee to the Sarcosans.

It is the men of the north who bore the worst of Izrador’s machinations. It was their homes and cities that felt the first wave of darkness break. Nalford was sacked amidst a maelstrom of unholy wrath. In Cale, they unleashed a horror that was not of this world. It was in Highwall that the combined knowledge of thousands of scholars was taken and corrupted. The Scholar’s Academy was razed to the ground and rebuilt in horrible parody as Theros Obsidia.

Despite his people having been utterly conquered, Rhotha’ah still clings to the Dornish pride, honor, and way of life. He keeps his head shaved as a mark of shame and recognition of his people’s loss. When pressed, he will acknowledge that the Dorn obsession with single combat and the glory it brought had been corrupted. When the Shadow came, his people were weakened from the years of obsessive combat.

To Aleina his eyes blaze with blue fire here beneath the heavy branches of the hangman’s oak. They burn with an intensity and rage that paces its cage like a wild cat, searching for a way out. She cannot offer him blood, not yet, but she can give him this: the smell of earth, the rustle of leaves, and the trail of prey.

They find the footprints soon. Leading south, the trail takes them beyond the oak and further away from the shack. Rhotha’ah makes no pretense at stealth, but his large feet still make little noise amidst the wet leaves and fallen twigs. The footprints move with a purpose, not meandering, but taking a path away from the tree.

As the trail ends, they come to a stop. A hundred paces distant lies another shack, but this one is in an even worse state than the hermit’s. The roof has caved in and half of the boards are missing. Aleina crosses the distance and draws near, feeling the presence of the Dorn right behind her. She measures her stride, steady but not quick. She stops a short distance from it, her eyes cooling appraising the structure.

It doesn’t feel abandoned; it feels empty. It lacks spirit. Where the hermit’s shack is a pitiful sight, it still bears the scent of life. This collection of rotting wood does not. It is blank with naught but the echo of ghosts. If anyone had lived here, it has been a very long time since.

Returning to where the trail stopped, Rhotha’ah scans the area. He eventually finds the footprints again. They do not stray close to the hovel and instead move back through the trees toward the shack.
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