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Thread: Lay the Past to Rest (Solo)

  1. #1
    Member

    EXP: 4,120, Level: 2
    Level completed: 71%, EXP required for next Level: 880
    Level completed: 71%,
    EXP required for next Level: 880


    The Huntsman's Avatar

    GP
    560
    AP
    0
    Name
    Fil'ayn Kiljarden
    Age
    87
    Race
    Drow
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Alerar

    Lay the Past to Rest (Solo)

    The air was heavy, thick and choked with soot. It was hard to breathe actually, after months away, in clean, or at least cleaner, air. There was a chill to the wind that swirled around me, driving a biting cold that pierced straight through my coat and shit to make my bones ache. I drew my coat tighter about me as I took in a deep breathe. It stank, of oil and metal, of fires burning on for far, far too long. The faint scent of mildew clung to everything.

    Academy City had two kinds of weather. Fog, or smog. Right now, it seemed to be transitioning between the two, leaving my nose trying to decide which was more pervasive - the smell of wet wood and wet stone, or the smell of ash hanging on the air. It was - an unpleasant mixture. I had forgotten how much I detested the smell here - I usually only put up with it for short trips into the Academy. I drew my collar up tighter around my neck and pulled my face mask up, the treated leather cutting at least some of the everpresent smell. I shook my head - I was beginning to doubt I should have come here.

    Still, I pressed on. I needed to see who knew about what had been done to me - and to my family. Once I had explored this place, seen if anyone remembered me, then I would do what I was really putting off. Returning home. Or to what had been my home, once upon a time. My leather boots clicked against the cobblestones beneath my feet as I passed through the large, imposing gates of the Academy.

    -----

    The milling crowd of students, moving back and forth, was a bit jarring to me. When I had been here, there had not been this many students - not in either life. Though admittedly, my memories of my time at the Academy the first time through were rather hazy, due to sheer age. Still I didn't think there had been this many - just what had happened? And what's more - many of them were wearing the slender patch on their shoulders that indicated that they were a part of the Huntsman or Guardian programs - programs that had been almost devoid of students.

    Just what had changed? What had brought on this revitalized interest in the combat programs? Even ignoring the fact that during my recent Academy years I had been isolated, the normal distribution of students interest in various programs tended more towards the scientific or the engineering fields. Huntsmen were rarities, oddities more than anything else.

    I was pulled from my thoughts as a slender whip of a woman popped up in front of me. She had been walking beside me for a few paces as I moved through the courtyard, but I hadn't been expecting her to suddenly move before me. I tilted my head to one side and raised an eyebrow.

    “Can I help you?” Here, back in Alerar, I had found myself slipping into the verbal habits that I'd used for the last few years.

    “Are - are you a full Huntsman?” My eyes flicked downwards as she spoke. Sure enough, she wore one of the Hunter’s badges. I inclined my head.

    “I am indeed a Huntsman.” She let out a loud squeal and bounced on her feet - drawing the attention of several people around us. I frowned behind my mask. Why in the name of the moon was she so happy to hear that?

    “I can't believe it! You must be him then! The one who stopped the winterfall, and and killed the valewulf and -” I interrupted her, raising my hand up and stopping the flow of words. She was practically trembling with excitement, and she looked downright hopeful as I dropped my hand back to my side. “I'm sorry, sir Huntsman, but it's just that, there hasn't been a Huntsman who did more than just kill a few bears or something in nearly a hundred years. I - so many of us want to live up to what he's done.” Looking around the gathered crowd, I could see many people nodding to her words. I could feel that my eyebrows had risen up into my hairline, and my glasses had nearly fallen off the end of my nose at the shifting in my facial muscles.
    Cruel and brutal are the blades for the Beast
    It's time to Carve and Clatter and Cleave.

    A member of the NevCrew:
    Nevin: Thread count: please, don't try.
    Erik: Thread count: five or six. Maybe seven...
    Huntsman: seven. Maybe eight. Shhhhhhh.
    Telli' thread count: zero. I just can't get into writing the little hellion.

  2. #2
    Member

    EXP: 4,120, Level: 2
    Level completed: 71%, EXP required for next Level: 880
    Level completed: 71%,
    EXP required for next Level: 880


    The Huntsman's Avatar

    GP
    560
    AP
    0
    Name
    Fil'ayn Kiljarden
    Age
    87
    Race
    Drow
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Alerar
    I was finding it hard to believe that had had such an impact on people. I was just a Huntsman, what they were training to be. I swallowed and cleared my throat. It was a little unnerving to. Be the focus of so many sets of eyes - amber, amethyst, golden yellow, the range of hues of drow irises spread out around me, locked onto me, the men and women, or rather boys and girls, hanging onto my words. I was used to operating mostly in the shadows, away from other people.
    “I did slay the Valewulf that was attacking in the southeast. And yes, I was the one who stopped the artificial snowfall. I am also, however, well acquainted with hunting normal foes, animals and lesser monsters like gnolls.” This admonishment did nothing, absolutely nothing, to lessen the enthusiasm of the people around me. Some even looked happier, bizarrely enough. A man stepped out of the crowd - and I recognized him. A single long, ropey claw mark stretched down the right side of his face, extending from his hairline all the way down off the edge of his jaw. He had been one of the village watch at the last village that the hideous wolf thing had been attacking when I caught up to it. I hadn't realized he had survived the assault.

    “You.. Have the.. Spear?” His voice was raspy, and hard to hear. Unsurprising, as the scar ran over the edge of his mouth. He likely had trouble speaking. In response to his question, I unhooked the Saw-Spear from its holster and slowly brought it out from beneath my coat. His eyes locked on it, before he finally nodded. “That.. Is the blade that… Saved my life.” I had? By the time I caught the Valewulf, I had been completely focused on stopping and slaying the beast, I - hadn't realized that its victim had still been alive when I interrupted it.

    His words made many of the people in the crowd grin widely, triumphantly. He stepped up to me and helped out his hand, offering me a shake - and I clasped it, shaking it twice, sharply, as my other hand returned my weapon to its holster. The energetic young woman who had initially confronted me took that hand as soon as it came out from beneath my coat, and held onto it as she began speaking at a league a second. I actually had no idea what she was trying to say at this point - her words were running over each other far too much for me to make out the individual ones.

    She seemed to realize the problem, and she gave me an embarrassed smile before letting go of my hand and stepping back. The scarred man had also let go and stepped away, though he had returned to the small crowd of watching people. As the smoggy air hung about us, she grinned brightly at me. “Do - do you have any words of advice for us? So many of us are trying to become a Huntsman like you, someone who really makes a difference.” I felt my eyebrows disappear back into my hairline. They wanted advice from me? This was - not at all how I had forseen my trip to the Academy going. I had thought I'd be shunned and ignored not - not looked up to as a damn role model.
    What the hell did I say here? I - was thoroughly unprepared for this. All I had was a lifetime as a Hunter, I had left the speeches to Ri when someone needed something. Even if she had always called me the manipulative one. I - right. I cleared my throat again.

    “A Hunter must hunt. Large and small, our prey are Beasts, things that threaten innocent lives. Huntsman strike out, delving into the dark places to find their foes, while Guardsmen wait upon the walls, to be the steel that breaks the fangs when they come. You refer to some of my more outstanding deeds - but bear in mind that I have long Hunted things like packs of wolves that threatened farmers, boars that were running rampant and destroying property, and the like. Big or small, it is important for someone that our prey falls.” I had started to see some boredom as I spoke - of course, they'd likely heard this a thousand times during their courses. The boredom faded as I spoke of my smaller hunts.

    "And because our prey must fall, the Beasts must be stopped. I bear this in my mind as I hunt. A Huntsman uses all the tools available to them. I do not just mean the trick weapons you will be learning to forge, or science, or even things like the genetic experiments some of you have likely heard about.” I reached back and tapped where the Saw-Spear hung, obscured from sight. “I utilize magic as well. A mild enchantment, one that allows me to continue fighting even when I am hurt. A lesson I learned when I fought the Valewulf.” I unbuttoned my coat and my shirt and pulled them open, wincing as the cool air hit my skin. I heard gasps, as people saw the thick scars that ran across my body.

    “That thing nearly killed me. Because everything I had let myself use before then, was not enough. This is the path we tread as Hunters. We never know when the next Beast will be too much for us. Do not limit yourselves, because the beasts that threaten what we hold dear will not.” I slowly started to button back up my clothing as a sharp, loud clapping rang through the courtyard I had been stopped in.

    “Excellently put, most excellently put Huntsman Ansari! Students, off you go, you are late for classes I believe. I'll see if I can convince the good Hunter to come speak with some classes, but I'm sure he came here on business. Off with you, go on.” The man speaking was older, a short, white haired drow who I remembered distinctly as being the headmaster of the Academy the first time I went through it - hundreds of years ago. My eyebrows rose. I didn't think I had ever seen the man during my ‘second’ life.
    Cruel and brutal are the blades for the Beast
    It's time to Carve and Clatter and Cleave.

    A member of the NevCrew:
    Nevin: Thread count: please, don't try.
    Erik: Thread count: five or six. Maybe seven...
    Huntsman: seven. Maybe eight. Shhhhhhh.
    Telli' thread count: zero. I just can't get into writing the little hellion.

  3. #3
    Member

    EXP: 4,120, Level: 2
    Level completed: 71%, EXP required for next Level: 880
    Level completed: 71%,
    EXP required for next Level: 880


    The Huntsman's Avatar

    GP
    560
    AP
    0
    Name
    Fil'ayn Kiljarden
    Age
    87
    Race
    Drow
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Alerar
    The Headmaster’s office was small, almost quaintly so. Large bookshelves lined the walls, with thick texts occupying each shelf. The man himself was currently seated in the ornate leather chair on the far side of the mahogany and oak desk from me. The chair I was in was less ornate, but still fairly comfortable. The Saw-Spear was leaned against my leg, as the back of the chair wouldn't have let me keep it in its normal location strapped to my back. The Headmaster was calmly sipping on tea as he studied me from behind half-moon glasses, his purple eyes watching me intently. I had received a mug of bitter, strong coffee as I entered - even though I hadn't asked for it. I drew in a deep breath, smelling the potent brew, as the other man watched me quietly. When he finally spoke, breaking the silence, it was almost sudden enough to surprise me.

    “You are more.. Man, than automaton. The Ansari who left the academy seven years ago would never have tried to warn those children, tried to encourage them to reach out to new options. He would have ignored them as unimportant to his hunt.” Headmaster Tryvain’s words were calm and soft. I took a slow drink of my coffee, closing my eyes as I worked out how to respond to the unspoken question.

    “Huntsman Ansari might very well have walked past them. Hunter Kiljarden, could not.” I heard him draw in his breath sharply. I opened my eyes, to see that he had nearly dropped his mug of tea as he stared at me in open shock.
    “You - you remember? You're back?” I rolled one shoulder in a shrug.

    “I - do remember. Bits and pieces come back to me, some things return sooner than others. I didn't remember you until I saw you, for example, but now I can recall that you like your tea with just a faint splash of salted honey because of a run in with a creature that damaged your body’s ability to process salts,leaving you craving them. Ri always made sure we had some mixed up just for when you would come by.” My voice had caught as I mentioned my dead wife, and I could see a flash of pain on Tryvain's face.

    “My friend.. I am so happy to see you back with us.” Tryvain set his mug down and drew a deep breath. “I tried, hard, to find a way to break the block on your memories. But none of us could get close enough to you. And - I can't blame you for keeping your distance. Galain and I never did find out who it was that had actually called that damn magic hunter group on your family. But it had to be one of our group.” For a moment, the older drow sagged, and he looked every year his age. Then the moment passed, and he had steeled himself again his back drawing straight as he locked his purple eyes on my silver ones.

    “Do you know who did it?” I clenched my fist, fingers cracking the ceramic handle in my hand, and I shook my head. The voice was naggingly familiar, like I should remember it but couldn't. It danced right outside of my memory.

    “No. But the only people who knew about Ri and Ky'lin being magical were you and Galain.” My voice was cold and hard. I was staring at one of two potential traitors to my family. Tryvain met my glare steadily.

    “Peace, my friend. You know both of us were at ease with Ri’s magical heritage. But - I fear Galain might have told someone else. He always did have a problem with loose lips when around friends and drink.” I turned my gaze down into my coffee cup, one foot tapping its toes against the bottom edge of his desk. He - wasn't wrong. Moon, we’d joked about it in the past, that if you ever wanted to plan a surprise, not to let Galain in on it, as the scientist would spill the first time he took a drink. At the very least, he was keen enough to only do that when he was around trusted friends. But that - that still meant there were only a few people who might have called the damn mage hunters on my love and my child. And I still couldn't remember who it was.

    “Your house was kept up. We - did our best to preserve things, after.. You came to us without your real memories.” Tryvain’s voice was quiet as he spoke. I turned my eyes towards him. “You - should go home. Get some sleep. It might spark a memory or two.” I shook my head sharply. I - could not. Not yet. I couldn't go back to that house. Not - not today.

    “N-no. I.. Should sleep in the dorm if you've room, or at an inn. I.. The shadows of my past are a bit too much for me right now, to face alone.” His eyes softened as Tryvain nodded in response to my words.

    “Right. Well. We can indeed set you up in dorm wing for a night. But - you will. Have to abide by my request to give a lecture while you're here.” My old friend was trying to give me something else to focus on, and I appreciated it. I sat back and looked around the room, breathing in deeply.

    “I - can do that. Thank you, Tryvain.”
    Cruel and brutal are the blades for the Beast
    It's time to Carve and Clatter and Cleave.

    A member of the NevCrew:
    Nevin: Thread count: please, don't try.
    Erik: Thread count: five or six. Maybe seven...
    Huntsman: seven. Maybe eight. Shhhhhhh.
    Telli' thread count: zero. I just can't get into writing the little hellion.

  4. #4
    Member

    EXP: 4,120, Level: 2
    Level completed: 71%, EXP required for next Level: 880
    Level completed: 71%,
    EXP required for next Level: 880


    The Huntsman's Avatar

    GP
    560
    AP
    0
    Name
    Fil'ayn Kiljarden
    Age
    87
    Race
    Drow
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Alerar
    It was bizarre, being back here in the dorms. More so, because when I had been in the Huntsmen dormitory, this place had been.. Quiet. Dark, except for when I was in here and lighting things up as I busied myself with tasks in the dark of night. Now - now, everywhere I looked, there were people moving about, bustling and doing things. Sharpening simple daggers, arguing with each other about various weapons, different creatures. It - made my heart sting. Because this was what I had so desperately desired when I was schooling here, for there to be other people here. But now - now I was so much older, and had another entire life separating me from those around me. Not that they knew that - they all knew me as Fil’ayn Ansari, recent graduate. Not Kiljarden, one of the oldest Huntsman who had suddenly disappeared without word, his family vanishing the same night.

    And that had been a shock to find out. The news leaflet still sat on the end of the bed I had been pointed to, and it had drawn a few odd looks. Until someone realized that I ‘must be looking up the famous Hunter that I had been named after.’ Which had spawned a whole wave of new fascination in me, as people realized my ‘namesake’. I had finally got them to leave me be, long enough to read the article that Tryvain had indicated I needed to read.

    My family, and I, had been declared as completely missing, due to malicious actions from an unknown party. The fact that she, and I, were still so ‘young’ had been remarked upon - but in an ironic twist of fate, the fact that it was magic at play had been accepted readily, and in fact praised, because of what we had accomplished in our own small ways. I as a Huntsman, and she as a respected Alchemist, helping research magics. Ironically, it was she who had created the antidote to the Gorgon venom that I had used to save Celandine, Philomel’s daughter. I wondered how the Faun might take it, if she learned that it was Amari who had created that medicine, nearly, what, four hundred years ago? I chuckled dryly and sat back on the bed, staring up at the ceiling.

    Investigations had been done into our disappearance, but.. Nothing had come of it. All they knew is that while my wife and I had vanished, our daughter had - had died. I swallowed, as a renewed ache stung my heart. It was the clue that my wife and I had been - taken, vanished. Because everyone who knew us, knew we cherished Ky’lin, and if she had died, then something had to have happened to the two of us. But no culprit ever came to light, officially, or in the more intense, private investigations that Tryvain, Galain and a few other of our close friends had spearheaded. It was apparently still a topic of debate over a century later.

    That had been another odd thing that I had found out. I had consistently, before, thought that I was eighty seven. And when my memories had come back, I had thought that I had just lost them eighty seven years ago. I was -wrong. My vanishing, Ri and Ky’lin’s deaths - they had happened over a century ago. I was somehow still missing roughly twenty years - years where not even Tryvain knew of what had happened to me. I had shown up at his door in the middle of the night, unaware of where, or who I was, or even who he was. All I had known was - how to fight. How to kill. It had panicked the man. I had thought ‘Ansari’, the Huntsman I had been, had been an emotionless automaton. It turned out, I had been even worse when I showed up that day.

    Hearing that I only responded to direct orders, even for things like satisfying physical needs like food, water, and slumber. It had -frozen me to the core. What in the name of the sweet moon had happened to me that night? Where had I gone? What had I done, and become? It ate at me, the back of my mind. I had nothing. Not even Amari’s second delve had revealed these missing years to me, all I knew was a silvery, shimmering haze that stretched, now, from when Ri had been gutten in front of me, to the moment clarity returned to me roughly thirty years ago. I’d been at the Academy in truth, but I - couldn’t remember any of it. And I felt, whatever was locking those memories away from me, was also locking away what happened in those twenty years where no one knew where I was. I swallowed roughly, clearing the lump in my throat, and rolled over. I had to sleep, even if this bed was somewhat uncomfortable. Tomorrow would be a full day. Giving a guest lecture, then… visiting my home.
    Cruel and brutal are the blades for the Beast
    It's time to Carve and Clatter and Cleave.

    A member of the NevCrew:
    Nevin: Thread count: please, don't try.
    Erik: Thread count: five or six. Maybe seven...
    Huntsman: seven. Maybe eight. Shhhhhhh.
    Telli' thread count: zero. I just can't get into writing the little hellion.

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