[Memory] Running With The Night (Oisin)

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Aziza
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:29 pm
Topics: 9
Race: Wick
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Writer: Maximus
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Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:03 pm

Yaris 50, 2710 | Dusk
Desert Dunes
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The sun was disappearing rapidly beneath the horizon, the golden landscape losing its glint as the grains of sand grew dull. If only the land was as flat as the colourscape, without sands that shifted and slid so treacherously underfoot. It hadn't been this difficult in the beginning. When she'd left home, the going had been much easier.

Their lands had been fertile near to the river, benefiting from the flood plains and the more even terrain. The camel she had brought had fared well on the reasonably flat surface and she had left early enough that things weren't hot for herself or the animal, enabling her to spur it into a decent canter, covering a fair distance before the heat of the day had taken over. She had been able to ride until the middle of the day when the heat had grown unbearable, forcing her to take shelter beneath the canvas she had brought, using the beast of burden as a means to support it. She'd been able to snatch sleep here and there, the heat draining her of energy but also making it difficult to rest. She'd hooked a rope around her wrist and attached it to the animal, tugged if it decided to move far so that she wouldn't risk losing it during those occasions that she passed out.

This was the end of... her second day, yes. Strange as it might seem, she had only left the previous morning although several lifetimes felt as if they'd passed under that blazing star and the cold light of Benea. She had no idea just how many houses of travel she'd managed to achieve, had no idea how far she'd managed to travel. The land had shifted from green and yellowed grasses to loose, rocky soil to the shifting, undulating sand dunes. Distance had certainly been covered and her supplies were dwindling but she had no idea where she was, if she had moved far enough away from her home to risk heading for a river. In truth, Aziza wasn't entirely sure where the Turga was now. Direction could be worked out based on the sun and the moons provided that they weren't directly overhead but it was strange how something so fundamental to life could become so confusing and uncertain when you were so hot and so tired, the air shimmering and shifting as much of the sands during the day and the monochromatic monotony of the night equally disorientating.

With the sun setting, the teenager encouraged the camel to kneel, gathering up her accoutrements so that she could saddled them on the beast before adding herself to its burden. Positioning herself as comfortably as she could on the single hump, she cried a command, one that she had heard called many times over the years. Thankfully the animal was well trained, responding accordingly as it rose. It was a sickening sensation, the lurch and wobble as it escaped gravity's pull and unbent its thick knobbly knees. Riding one wasn't the most relaxing thing in the world either but she was more accustomed to it now, the bouncing, swaying actually quite soothing and almost liable to lull her off to sleep once again as the heat of the day still rose from the sands.

In a way, the Mugrobi was glad that the sands didn't allow her to get the animal up to any great speed, the canter she'd managed to spur it into the day prior a little too novel of an experience for her to wish to repeat it just yet. A camel in fast motion did not feel very stable, its legs seeming ready to collapse at any moment as one bobbed along on that hump that shifted and wobbled. It had reminded her of the first experience with alcohol, her limits untested and the effects of the substance far stronger than she could have anticipated. She had overdone it then, the world whirling and wobbling and unlike the camel, she hadn't been able to remain on her feet, even when she was only standing still. A few minutes into the canter, the results had been the same as that first drinking session; she'd ended up on her knees vomiting her guts up and praying to Hulali that it would stop and that the world would stop moving. Just like with alcohol - which she had vowed she'd never touch ever again - she'd gone right back and done the same thing all over again; thankfully, she hadn't thrown up again, no matter how awful she'd felt and that was possibly because she'd had nothing left in her stomach.

No throwing up since, thank the Circle, the young woman not having the supplies to cope with that level of dehydration. They'd been seriously depleted, even though she had brought so much water and had been rationing it so carefully. The last thing she needed was another catastrophe like that and as it was, there was a fear beginning to creep its way into her core that she was in serious danger even without another disaster. Aziza was somewhat lost and there were strange cries after dark, some predatory beasts known to roam the sands and not all of those were nocturnal either. There was a great deal of danger out here and while she had known it, the witch had stubbornly chosen to stick to her plan.

Aziza was sixteen now, less than a week as such but still sixteen! She was certainly old enough to look after herself and go out and explore the world. Her parents might want to stay in one place and content themselves with gaining secondhand excitement from the travellers who passed along the river but it wasn't enough for their daughter. She wanted to experience it for herself and she was more than capable of being independent, she was! The girl had attempted to leave before, a fair number of the past few years in fact but they had all been silly, childish attempts and of course da and daoa had gone out of their minds with worry and made sure that she was brought back as soon as possible. But this time, she wasn't going back! Following the river was the natural choice, the easy choice but it meant a higher chance of pursuit, swifter means to find her and bring her home. Striking out from the Turga certainly wasn't an easy path but the young witch had faith. People managed to live out here, people managed to live throughout Mugroba in spite of the oft inhospitable conditions so why couldn't she? Hulali would watch over her and was sure to provide; his waters ran deep and cropped up in the most unexpected of places.

The youth hadn't encountered any water yet but... it was only a matter of time, right?

She urged the camel on, sand shifting between its toes as it ploughed a path over the dunes, always looking a head, doggedly determined and never contemplating the idea of looking behind her. Who would find her out here? Who would be moony enough to attempt to pursue her? Besides, there was no point on dwelling on what lay behind; things would turn quite chilly soon and looking back would only make her dawdle.
word count: 1275

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Oisin Ocasta
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:00 pm
Topics: 9
Race: Wick
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Writer: Amphion
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Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:37 pm

50th of Yaris, 2710
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For most of his journey, Oisin had been glad of the horse. Across the scrubby grasses and rocky ground, they had made good time, eating into their quarry's valuable lead. On such terrain, the distance between them would evaporate in no time, and anywhere else in the world that would have been all that mattered: but this was Mugroba, and time was far from the only consideration.

It had been a difficult choice: far more difficult than the one Oisin had faced when he volunteered for this solo expedition. On flat, solid ground, his horse had several advantages. For one thing, it was faster than the camel his quarry had liberated for her exodus; for another, it was familiar, one of the several such steeds that he and his fellow mercenaries had been using on patrol of late. By contrast, the misappropriated camel was a creature of endurance: slower on even terrain, but better suited for the shifting sands of the dunes, and naturally equipped to better survive the dry environs of the Mugrobi wilderness. Ultimately, it had been familiarity that swayed his choice. On horseback, he knew he could outride the errant Mugrobi, and with luck on his side he'd catch her before they even reached the dunes. If not, then he'd rather have braved those scorched sands on a creature he knew how to ride, than on the back of an unfamiliar and disconcertingly awkward-looking dromedary.

Luck had not been on his side after all, but the mercenary could feel in his bones that he was drawing closer. Oisin was twenty-three now, less than a week as such, but still - old enough, he had decided, that he could start having feelings in his bones. Perhaps it was instinct, perhaps it was hope, perhaps it was the mona - but to Oisin, it didn't matter; and to others, it didn't seem to either. The only difference between a guess and a hunch was conviction, and the only difference between a hunch and an instinct was whether or not you wound up being right.

Oisin wasn't riding entirely blind, of course. Camels were hardly subtle beasts, and the trail that Aziza had left behind hadn't completely been consumed by the desert and its wind. Trampled undergrowth here, a broken branch there, faint perforations in the distant dunes: like faded pencil that someone had worked hard to erase, a faint remnant still lingered, and that was enough to steer Oisin's course. Apparently, some of what he'd been taught about tracking by his fellow mercenaries had managed to sink in: not that they'd be impressed if they knew, of course.

They hadn't been impressed when Oisin had volunteered to help, either. In his defense, it had seemed like a prudent survival tactic at the time: whenever an undesirable task came along, Oisin usually found it assigned to him if he didn't volunteer for it first, and at least by volunteering he was able to keep his pride intact. Normally, such delegations brought his fellow mercenaries amusement and relief, but not this time: this time, it brought potential delays, and diminished their number for the task at hand. We're mercenaries because we get paid, the Sergeant had chastised him. If you work for free, that just makes you an idiot.

Oisin had been undeterred: for while the mercenaries hadn't appreciated his intentions, in this rare instance someone else had. Oisin had seen it, the worry in the eyes of the girl's mother. Oisin and the mercenaries had passed through this particular settlement enough times to start remembering names, and they knew - as the mercenaries reminded him - that Aziza had a habit of this, fleeing home by various means only to be found and brought back, sent back, or turn back of her own accord. But this time they were concerned. The camel, the direction: Aziza was making a break for the dunes, and for Oisin, the If she dies, she dies, attitude of his cohorts and comrades simply would not stand.

The locals had been more helpful than the mercenaries, once Oisin had agreed to help. Rough maps had been sketched of the path to the dunes, and insights offered into where Aziza might have gone, what she might have known, and where in the long term she might be heading. 'Away' seemed to be the best guess, away from the village, away from the Turga, and that meant west: that was the only direction - or at least, the easiest direction - to go if you didn't plan on wandering the wastes forever. West meant towards the sunset; and so as dawn dawned, Oisin stood with his back to the sunset and peered off at the horizon, his eyes scanning the horizon for signs of Aziza's journey, his hands busy attending to the task of refilling one of yesterday's depleted water skins from his own internal fountain. It was a grim precaution, but a potentially vital one, especially if he didn't come across a more pure source of water: and besides, a little bottled urine wasn't something that a little Spoke's magic couldn't fix.

Liquid provisions and camping supplies stowed, Oisin eased his way back into the saddle, and set off across the sands, muttering a story to himself and the mona as he rode, about a young man and his horse traversing desert dunes, in dire need of the mona's help to aid their balance. Oisin could feel them on each descent, on each perilous and unstable angle, as he and Smoke cantered, stumbled, and galloped their way through the wastes, sight set on the broken sketched-out trail that Aziza and her camel had pencilled across the dunes.
word count: 990
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