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A Storm Was Coming-- Open

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A Storm Was Coming-- Open

Post  Eddick the Steady (XIV) on Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:44 pm

Athus awoke with a start. His mind still ran with the vestments of his dreams. War, death, and blood faded away slowly to a starlit night, cicadas noisily buzzing in the humid air. A storm was coming, but he didn't know how far away it was. He realized with a groal that he was completely awake, and his mind drifted to his crop. He had that haystack that should be moved into the barn before it rains, or it could mold. With a more agitated groan, he swung his legs off the bed to find his shoes. He glanced over his shoulder toward his wife and smiled. All of his moving around hadn't even made her stir. He shook his head. Five babies in four years and pregnant again, it was enough to make anyone sleep like the dead.

The farmer cracked some bones as he stood and made his way through the dark room. He passed the cradle and the bassinet, and squeezed by the bunk beds where the twins were. Only the baby made a peep as he passed, but relaxed again and continued her rhythmic breathing. Athus thought to himself "that was a close one," and slipped out the door.

The heat was not too bad at night, but the humidity made it hard to breathe. Athus surmised that it might not be all that bad to get this taken care of at night, and maybe take a nap with the kids in the afternoon. They usually went down to the root cellar because it was nice and cool down there. He went to the barn and pulled out the wagon and threw the pitchfork in with a dull thud and headed out to his haystack. It would be so nice to lie the cool ground with his children later that day. He felt a small wave of euphoria.

When he was younger, before they were married, he and his bride did a small amount of adventuring. They earned a small fortune and bought these few acres in prime farming country. Their old friend owned the keep down the road, and kept the area quite safe from humanoids and bandits. This was their own little peace of heaven. And nothing had been happening for the last five years, but that didn't mean that Athus had let down his guard. He had a beautiful wife and some beautiful daughters. Even in the best of times there would always be some unsavory types looking at his women in a way that did not please Athus. Then he would show them his axe. Athus loved the way that reason seemed to return to lecherous young men when they saw his axe. He probably would never tire of it.

He reached the haystack and began to fork it into the wagon. He was particularly good at piling it pretty high, thereby making fewer trips. He was so wrapped up in his thoughts that he did not seem to notice the less than round shape of his haystack when he arrived that moonless night. He did notice however when his fork went through something a little more solid and wet than hay, and he jumped a bit when he heard it moan. He pulled his fork out and took a close look at it, and sure enough smelled the rusty smell of blood. He cursed Beshaba and dug through the hay to find a bare foot, which he promptly pulled out the hay along with the body to which it was attached.

Athus could barely see in the dark and he had not brought a lantern with him, so he leaned in close to make out some details. At that precise moment, the body convulsed and screamed, flailing around and flinging some blood on the farmer's face. When he felt the blood and heard the scream, his old adventuring instincts flared up in him and he swung his fork handle down at the helpless form, cracking it once in the skull. The figure fell silent. Athus felt a bit ashamed on knocking out the definitely injured if not nearly dead figure. He leaned in close again to get a better look at his vanquished foe.

He was an elf, or what was left of one. Open wounds and burns were all over the body. The elf looked like he should have been dead. His left arm was missing up to the elbow and it looked like he had been struck by lightning. Also, there was a strange wound on his back that was still dripping blood. Well, all that and he had a few new holes in his leg and a bump on his forehead.

What else was he to do? Athus picked up the figure and threw him over his wide shoulder.

As he wandered back to the house, he wondered what it was that could have caused his visitor to be in his haystack. He couldn't have been injured very long ago, but here he was, without a friend or foe for miles in any direction. There was no sound of conflict all night. The cicadas usually quiet down in the presence of a powerfully magic creature, so that ruled out anything nearby. He looked up to the sky and did not see or sense anything strange, but injured elves don't just show up in one's haystack. There had to be an explanation, and his wife was going to demand one.

He looked back at the haystack and felt the coming storm pushing the wind before it. No sense in moving it into the barn now. He did not want the smell of blood in the barn spooking the animals. The whole situation spooked him.
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Eddick the Steady (XIV)

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Re: A Storm Was Coming-- Open

Post  Eddick the Steady (XIV) on Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:09 pm

Athus allowed his long legs to carry him quickly across the fields. The carried not only him, but a bleeding elf over his shoulder. The blood dripped down his shirt, and dribbled off of his elbow. He had to get him to the temple quickly. There was no telling how long this elf might last. As he traveled, his mind wildly speculated on what could have injured him, but it was obvious he was going to have to take him to a professional to get any worthwhile opinion.

He made a short detour to go to his house and pick up his axe. The blood trail and missing axe will alert his wife that something had happened. It was times like this that he wished he had given in and let her teach him to read and write, not that he would admit that. She was always telling him what to do, and even though she was often right, he had to hold on to his pride somehow. Whether she liked it or not, a stubborn Athus was the one she fell in love with, and if he changed himself too much, he would not be the same man. Of course if he told her that, she would probably point out something wrong in his reasoning for that too, so that's why he kept it to himself.

It was not too long of a walk to the temple, but Athus decided to take his horse anyway. Time may be of the essence in making sure that the elf did not die. Elves took exception to people who tried to bring them back after that point. Athus never understood that idea, but Athus never lived that long either, so it's possible that they just got sick of life after a while. Athus enjoyed life too much to consider that for himself, but if others wanted and even enjoyed death, who was he to argue. He always thought it was more sporting if he fought and killed someone who wanted to live though, so he avoided killing elves if he could help it. Unless they made him angry.

Athus' horse was big, even by horse standards. The farmer had bought him with the first reward money he ever got adventuring, mostly because the first horse he had bought had died. It was a source of much debate between him and his wife that he had killed his own horse. She insisted that he had, and he insisted that it was the man who sold him the horse that condemned it. He should have known that Athus was going to wear armor and overload the horse so that when they were running for their lives, its heart would not take the strain. His wife said that if he had only listened to the man and his wife, it would never have happened. She was so pretty when she was mad, he almost went and bought another horse that was exactly the same, but thought that it might not be practical.

The huge horse exhaled greatly when the big man hopped on, but did not seem to notice the extra burden of the elf. He might have left half his weight in blood back in my haystack, Athus thought to himself. Either that, or he has not been eating well. As my guest, that won't be able to happen. The big farmer liked food too much to not let anyone else enjoy it as well, so they always had more than they could eat. How else were his girls to be strong and healthy?

The ride was short, and Athus nimbly jumped from the steed with the elf still over his shoulder. He let the horse wander, knowing that it was a short walk home. He walked over to the front gate of the temple and banged hard on the door. He could just knock the gate down, but he would have to replace it. They knew him too well to write it off as an accident.

"Open up, I found a beat up elf, and you're gonna help 'em." As usual, his request sounded more like an order. He had been meaning to fix that, but he went and banged again anyway. Maybe he would work on that tomorrow.
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