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fey-vetha'a - 'Nomadic trader, picker of pockets'

It was the shrill call of the seabirds that woke her.

As was her habit, she opened one eye very slowly, just enough to make out her surroundings, but not so much as to suggest she was awake. She listened intently, but was quickly satisfied she was alone. Sitting up a little, the view of the harbour greeted her once more. The same myriad of small fishing vessels, many of them ornately decorated with fine carvings and sweeping curves, clung to the jetties and quays, gently bobbing under a slight swell. A distant thunderstorm the evening before had made their crews nervous as they busied themselves checking rigging and poring over nets looking for breaks in the fine mesh, whilst casting an eye to the sky for signs of the storm’s path. They must have been lucky then, for this time they were proudly unloading their catch. More boats were navigating the breakwater and making their way into harbour. There was a distant cacophony of sound as the business of trading and bartering began in ernest. Some traders had even set up small stalls on the jetties and had wisely chosen to cook some of their catch in a hope to tempt as many folk as possible with the tantalising smell of their fresh fare. It had clearly worked as the stalls were already very busy.

It was about then that fey-vetha’a caught the delicious scent of cooked and seasoned fish on the slight breeze. She could not resist. She sat up from her makeshift bed underneath a large tree high up on the dunes, collected the few possessions she still had and checked the contents of her small coin purse discretely hidden beneath her clothing. To her delight, there was probably enough for a few meals yet, and so she made haste to the docks, the delicious smells teasing and titillating as she drew closer.

It was a wonderful sight! There were more stalls than she had first thought, and good business was being made by all. She made for one stall closest to her specialising in smoked fish - the best way to eat it, she muttered to herself - and made a respectable offer to the Khajiit trader for several pieces. The offer was respectfully accepted, as she knew it would be. Looking about her then, she spied what might be a quiet spot near an upturned boat out of the way of the bustle of the harbour. Without a sound, she slipped away from the crowd.

Sitting cross-legged, she first spoke a few quiet words to herself, paused for a moment, and then began to eat, slowly and deliberately, savouring the wholesome flavours of her simple meal. “Khajiit is happy to be alive," she whispered to herself.

Edited by menedhyn on March 26, 2017 3:30PM
'Pure rains make sweet rivers'
  • menedhyn
    Auridon was unquestionably beautiful. Waves of gently rolling hills spread out in every direction, their form occasionally broken by moss-covered rocky outcrops. Under foot, an intricate blanket of fragrant wild flowers interspersed with ornamental shrubs gave the air a distinctly sweet smell. Deer watched timidly from a distance, their faces partly hidden by the undergrowth, although other forest animals were content to venture closer, curiosity getting the better of them. The canopy above was made up of many different species of tree - small, tall, gnarled and smooth barked, but all equally glorious in their own right. Although the forest floor was occasionally bathed in sun, it was more often shown in dappled light which gave it a distinctly picturesque quality. fey sometimes struggled to recall memories of her younger years, more so recently it seems, but she could still remember that one painting of Auridon on a market stall in Dune. She was a cub at the time, eager and willing, curious and questioning, and the vibrancy of colour on the canvas had captured her juvenile imagination. Though she had seen many different regions over the years as she travelled with her caravan, she never had the opportunity to visit the ‘land of pink and red trees’, as she had called it at the time. But she was here now. She was not disappointed with what she saw, but it still felt distant to her. It wasn’t home.

    The forest thinned as she approached the shore. As rough grass gave way to warm sand, she turned north, retracing her steps carefully but casually for a short time, before turning inland once more. Before long, she came upon the small camp, hidden as it was in a thick pocket of vegetation and sheltered on the seaward side by a low hillock. It was still unoccupied. The sun was already sinking slowly below the horizon, and so a fire was lit - just big enough to give off sufficient light so she could see, but not so big as to draw unwanted attention. After a small meal had been eaten, washed down with water collected from a spring, fey strode across to the woodworking bench, unwrapped several pieces of meticulously worked beech she had been carrying in a makeshift sling, and set to work.

    The bow parts had been made from one single rough stave of wood she had found a few days before. It wasn’t quite as dry as she would have liked, but it was the best that was available, and it would have to do. The ears were spliced and set at each end of the main limbs and they in turn were fixed to the handle. As glues and resins dried and set, fey turned her attention to the bow string. A length of sinew was chosen, more out of convenience than anything else, for there happened to be several strips already hanging from the woodworking bench. Though fey would have preferred to use a length of twisted linen fibre or similar, it was a compromise she was prepared to make for now. By morning, the bow was almost ready.

    It didn’t take too long to make a handful of arrows, helped in no small part by the small pouch of flint heads she had ‘discovered’ whilst discretely investigating the contents someone’s backpack a few days before. After nocking the drawstring, the bow was tested by firing a handful of arrows into the remains of an old tree trunk lying on the beach. It wasn’t particularly powerful, but it was light and felt reasonably responsive, with a good balance. It was better than having to rely solely on her claws to defend herself, and for that fey took some comfort and reassurance for her efforts.

    Day had broken. She had worked tirelessly and methodically through the night, but now she was hungry and felt exhausted. Nibbling at what little food she had left, she retreated back into the forest and headed for her makeshift bed once more. “Rest first, provisions later," she said quietly to herself, as she closed her eyes and quickly slipped into a light sleep.

    Edited by menedhyn on March 26, 2017 3:36PM
    'Pure rains make sweet rivers'
  • menedhyn
    Cold. Ice cold.

    Deafening noise. Wind, howling, roaring… threatening… all around her. Incessant rain and spray. Dark, ominous walls of water appear and disappear. Teasing. Tricking. And then the sea engulfs.

    Choking. Gasping for air. Faint screams. Eyes, unblinking, petrified. Pleading for help. Boat listing badly. Sails shredded and torn. Splintering, shattering wood with broken, shattered bodies… breaking up. Broke its back. A flash of lightning, a snap-crack overhead. Claws dig deeper into the mast. Too late. Too weak. Slipping.

    Scared. So very scared.

    She awoke with a jump, hissing and spitting. For a moment, she was unsure where she was. But this time the seas were calm, the air was pleasantly warm and the sun was high in the sky. The memories that flooded her sleep quickly dissipated.

    “Easy there, sleepy one, you were dreaming, yes?” came the voice from nearby. It was deep, almost gravelly and broken, but surprisingly soothing. She propped herself up on her side and looked over at the Khajiit who had spoken. He sat a few paces away from her and was busying himself with a whetstone and several fishing hooks. He was dressed in simple clothing and had an untidy appearance. Not that it seemed to bother him.

    “You are hungry I think - here, have some of this," he said, passing a chunk of bread to her before returning to sharpening the barbs of his hooks.
    “Thank you," said fey sheepishly. The bread was still fresh and it had a lovely deep flavour. She nibbled away at it as she gazed again out across the sea. Waves broke gently on the beach in front of her. How the seas can change so, she thought.
    “Do you have a name?” asked the Khajiit.
    There was a short silence before she spoke. “My people… my clan, they called me fey-vetha’a," she replied.
    “And so that is your name, yes?”
    She shook her head. “Not quite. A description of sorts, perhaps, but not a name.”

    The Khajiit looked quizzically at fey for a moment. A strange answer, he thought. She was not from the island. The braids and beads woven into her hair spoke of travel and of visiting far away lands. Her clothes, though functional and practical, were well-worn. The merchants who visited the island to trade often dressed in a similar style, with lined pockets stitched into coats and secret compartments where coin purses were kept well away from prying eyes and nimble fingers. But very few merchants had visited the south of the island in recent months. He was curious, but was wary of appearing rude. After some time, he spoke again.
    “Sen. This one is honoured to meet you.”
    “Forgive me. Var an khaja," she replied. A weak but sincere smile spread across her face.
    “You seem… lost. Cast adrift, like a little boat without a rudder. Have you lost loved ones because of the storm?”
    She nodded. “Everything. This one might have lost… everything. The storm… it took us…. we were just trying to…”
    “…Shush, now, it is okay, you should say nothing more. This stupid one should not have asked. My apologies," he said softly. He handed fey a small kerchief to dry her eyes.

    They sat together on the beach for some time watching the waves breaking on the rocks below. They chatted occasionally about nothing and everything, about this and that, until eventually they were bathed in the warm, yellow-orange light of a typical Khenarthi sunset. It was a sight fey had seen many, many times before. The island had a special place in her heart, for she had visited often and knew it well. And yet despite this familiarity, the spectacle somehow seemed different to her each time she saw it - subtly different perhaps, but almost as if you were seeing it anew.

    “So, has the war found its way to this island?” enquired fey. Night had set in and the stars appeared in their thousands, filling the vastness above.
    Sen shifted uncomfortably in his spot, and stared northward as if trying to see what might be happening many miles away. “Sadly, yes. It will find all of us eventually, no matter where we are,” he said. “There is no choice, it seems. It found me quicker than most.” He lifted his shirt a little to reveal a terrible wound which ran from underneath his arm, down his side and stopped just shy of his hip. fey gasped, for it was a shocking sight. The poor thing was lucky to be alive. “Do not worry, they stitched this silly cat together well enough” he said, sensing her thoughts. “This one is grateful for that. But my wounds… they cut me deep, twisting as they did. It is a struggle now to lift a weapon. And it is still sore. So, what use is a Khajiit who cannot defend himself?” He lowered his shirt and reached for a canteen of water propped up against his backpack. He took a large swig before passing it to fey. “And what of you?” he asked.

    It was a simple question that filled her with unease, but one that had been asked many times already and one that fey had carefully tried to avoid. She thought about what to say once more - what might be spoken, what might be better kept unspoken - but it tired her to do so. She sighed a deep sigh, took a sip of water, replaced the cap and returned the canteen it to Sen, before speaking.

    “This one has a bow - of fine making - and know how to use it. This one also knows which end of a blade to thrust into her enemy because many times before, when threatened or attacked by those who want to do harm, there was no choice. This one may be a bit long in the tooth, but claws are still sharp, pads are still silent and eyes are still able to guide me in the darkest night. Yes, this little Khajiit can still draw a crescent moon on your throat in a flash without you knowing. But that does not make one a warrior, or a soldier. Little Khajiit is a trader, a merchant, a crafter, absolutely yes… but not a warrior.”

    Sen nodded sagely. She was right, of course. When thrust into the middle of a battle for the first time, he was almost torn apart. He looked fey in the eye and placed a hand gently on her arm. “Then there is only one thing to be said. ‘Kha'jay krimir iso jer,' and may you find your path.”
    Edited by menedhyn on May 2, 2016 5:58AM
    'Pure rains make sweet rivers'
  • menedhyn
    It had been raining steadily for several hours. Many of the narrower paths and less travelled tracks were already muddy, partly under water or simply impassable and this had made progress painfully slow and tiring. A slight sense of regret had crept up on her for not choosing to travel on the main roads, a regret caused mostly by aching limbs and heavy, saturated clothing it had to be said. She had chosen the tracks almost instinctively and had not given it any thought at the time. But then, why would she? Every time fey had travelled to the island previously, it had been with the company of her clan, her kin, her fellow merchants and traders. This is how they preferred to move from one place to another. The slow, scenic routes to the less-visited spots and well-nigh forgotten shrines were often a most enjoyable experience, and marked a time of relaxation and togetherness before they reached the markets and bazaars of the cities to sell their wares. They were good times, she remembered. Enjoyable, exciting, happy times, by and large. The cat-folk she had once shared her life with, had once fought with, argued with, forgiven, become fond of and attached to… they would still take these paths, she thought. They would do the same.

    By now the darkness had almost closed in. It made little sense to walk on through the night when the next day might bring better conditions and a chance to see the temple from a distance. A dim flash in the distant sky, followed several moments later by the feint rumble of thunder, offered a timely warning. It would be wise to find shelter, she murmured to herself, even though she was already soaked through. Thankfully, she knew just the place. Just up ahead was a small rocky outcrop with an overhang sufficient enough shelter her from the worst of the weather. It had served her very well before.

    Before long, a small fire was crackling away and fey immediately felt the warmth from it. Her clothing was draped across a flat stone facing the flames and a simple broth of vegetables and herbs was simmering away in an earthen pot. The smell of sweet wood burning on the fire and sweeter herbs from her meal, combined with the shelter from the rain and heat from the fire, had an almost instant effect and she cheered up quick enough. When the hot food reached her belly, she felt even better. She eventually sat back to let her food settle and watched the storm slowly approach.

    The rain fell heavier for a short while. Occasional flashes lit up her surroundings, bringing trees and rocks and beasts into sharp focus before they faded to darker outlines once more. Light winds meant the storm's progress was slow, laboured almost, but it remained a distance away and fey escaped the worst of it. After a short time, the rain had eased off to little more than a few spits and spots. The gentle, soft patter of drips falling on leaves was hypnotic, soothing even. On any other night, fey might have found herself asleep because of it.

    But not tonight. She was tired, and yet not quite able to relax. It was a slightly strange sensation. Apart from the beasts, birds and insects, she was alone, or felt alone, but she didn't quite feel comfortable. Eventually, she allowed herself to fall into a shallow sleep, her bow close to her side.

    In the dark of that night, with moons all but hidden by cloud, other eyes observed her from a distance.
    Edited by menedhyn on June 13, 2016 9:50PM
    'Pure rains make sweet rivers'
  • menedhyn
    Stretching its wings slowly and deliberately, the creature steadied itself momentarily before taking flight. A few brief downbeats were sufficient to gain the momentum it needed. It circled briefly, set its gaze on a large tree down below, and then gently, gracefully, it glided in a wide arc and alighted on a stout limb without a sound. Eyes immediately refocused on the dim light coming from the rocks just ahead. Talons, black and sharp, gripped the wood. It sat motionless. Waiting.

    Day had broken for some time before fey finally roused herself from her makeshift bed. Her usual routine of indulgent yawning and stretching followed. Gathering herself together, she grabbed her bow in one hand and slung the quiver across her back with the other. The morning air was warm, though slightly humid, but skies were clear. Not bad for travelling, she thought. A glance to the north revealed the expected outline of a great stone structure in the distance, and the sight of it brought a broad smile to fey's face. The ancient temple was her destination.

    She had only taken a few steps when she heard the sound of beating wings. She immediately turned around to see something rapidly closing in on her. There was no time to nock an arrow. Its talons and claws were outstretched, but fey managed to bring up her bow and slammed it into the chest of the creature. The force of the hit knocked her to the ground. The creature turned and approached again, this time making itself heard with a chilling call. Once more the bow was used as a shield. But the creature was quickly on top of her and pinned her free arm to the ground, biting viciously at her face. She dropped her bow and dragged her claws across its underbelly. It screamed, made to bite her once more and dug a talon deep into her other shoulder. The pain was excruciating. It had her pinned again. She was in trouble.

    Without a second thought, she reached up and bit into the neck of her assailant, tearing and ripping at the flesh beneath crimson feathers and skin. And then she was free. Grabbing the bow again, she jabbed one end hard into the face of the creature. And again. And again. And it lay on the ground, coughing, wheezing, and mortally wounded.

    Two more of the creatures had heard the commotion. They rushed at fey as soon as they saw her, calling out to others as they did so. Her shoulder was in agony as she reached around to the quiver which now hung awkwardly from her back. The pain was immense as she pulled back the drawstring and fired an arrow deep into the belly of one of them. And with strength leaving her, she swung the end of the bow with all her might into the face of the last creature. There was a sickening crack as it fell into a motionless heap on the floor, neck broken.

    She nocked another arrow and stood there, panting, bleeding from her wound, stinging pain coursing through her paw, arm and shoulder, waiting for more. But they did not come. They were there, watching her, but they did not approach.
    Eventually fey dropped her guard. Tearing a thin strip of material from her clothing, she tied a rudimentary bandage across her shoulder as best she could to stem the blood loss. It was good enough. Her bow, though bearing new marks and scratches, was surprisingly still in order. And so dusting herself down, she once more collected her belongings and set off along the narrow path northwards, a keen eye turned on the sky as she disappeared into the long grass.

    'Pure rains make sweet rivers'
  • altemriel
    oh yes!!!
  • menedhyn
    The massive, heavily weathered block of stone was slightly rough to the touch, and it radiated warmth following a day in the sun. The texture felt comforting. She allowed herself a slight smile as she brushed her paw across its face, tracing delicately carved patterns and archaic symbology that retained hints of reds, browns and gold colouration in its pores. It was ancient, and it was beautiful.

    She wearily climbed the steps that had been worn smooth in places by paw and foot over time, until she reached the shamble of market stalls, tents, booths and displays that hugged the lower platforms. Here, merchants and traders, armours and smiths, cooks, provisioners and bakers mixed with temple attendants, assistants, novices and fellow travellers, all of them taking advantage of the traditional meeting place to sell their wares and discuss the news of the day. The bustle produced a constant noise as folk went about their business. In the background, a slow trickle of folk - mainly Khajiit - made their way up a separate flight of steps to the upper platform and temple chambers above. She made a quick detour to buy some food - a fragrant rice-based dish wrapped up in a large leaf - and joined the casual procession up to the next level, eating her meal as she did so.

    As soon as she had reached the top step, she looked back over her shoulder to catch a glimpse of the panorama of the island below. It was... breathtaking. Each time she had visited, it felt just as special as before, just as dramatic as the last time. To the west, the sharp angles of the rooflines of huts and tents and stilted halls that clustered around the plantations pierced the gently rolling backdrop of green hillocks. Far to the south lay the vast shingle beaches and the small trading vessel that brought her here. And in the distance to the north, just about visible, lay the mountain that loomed over the great trading port.

    "Ja'fith khan. I see you have a friend with you this time."
    fey looked around and saw a familiar face smiling back at her. The Priestess was clad in soft, comfortable cotton robes of browns and creams and pale yellows, and held in one paw a small book of some great age, judging by the tattered cover. fey could not hide her pleasure at seeing her again and grabbed her other paw and held it affectionately, close to her cheek. "It is so good to see you, so very... I am relieved", she said, her voice trembling slightly with emotion.
    "And you are hurt, I see. Come, I will treat your wound."
    "You are kind, but it is nothing, really. Just a scratch," replied fey sheepishly.
    "Is it? Then why does it weep?" said the Priestess. She carefully lifted the makeshift bandage to one side. The wound was deep, but clean. "This one will treat this little 'scratch' of yours with a salve, and apply fresh dressings. You should bathe and rest, yes? And please, bring your friend with you."
    The Priestess pointed to a small cat sitting close by. It seemed to be watching fey closely, its brilliant green eyes fixed on her face as if awaiting instruction. She knew not where it had come from, or indeed how long it had been with her. But there was something very attentive about the way it sat, and fey was curious.
    "But I do not know where it..."
    "...sssshh, keep your voice down, or you may take offence! Come, walk with me," ushered the Priestess. As she turned, she gave a discrete nod to the cat, who duly stood up and followed them slowly towards a large canvas tent close by.

    By the time fey had bathed, had her shoulder attended to and partook in some sweet pastries lying on a table, the sun had dipped below the horizon and a pleasant, gentle warm breeze brushed playfully against her fur. For probably the first time since arriving on the island, fey felt relaxed and at peace. The torment of the recent past had slipped away, albeit temporarily, and for that she was grateful. Combined with the gentle sounds of the lutes from Khajiiti traders gathered around camp fires, fey slipped quietly into a deep sleep. And by her side, as if guarding her, a small cat with green eyes.

    Edited by menedhyn on October 3, 2016 12:54PM
    'Pure rains make sweet rivers'
  • SunnyBunny
    Lone Wolf Help ~ Royal Bank of Tamriel ~ Black Market Wares

    I Know I'm Lost

    *Ernestina - Imperial Temp
    *Ennus - Bosmer Sorc
    *Greavy - Orc DK
    *Somniate - Ra Gada NB
    *Cilano - Imperial DK
    *Ba'Raka - Khajiit Warden
    *Bird In Hand - Argonian Templar
  • Eirikir
    A deep and extremely well written story. It keeps excellent pace and I am completely drawn in wanting to see more of fay's adventures.

    Edited by Eirikir on March 18, 2017 10:57PM
    Server: PS4-NA
    PSN: Eirikir
    Name: Eirikir "Erik" Kololf
    Alliance: Ebonheart Pact
    Race: Nord (Lycanthrope)
    Class: Dragonknight (Range DPS)
    Playstyle: Crafter, PVE, PVP, Roleplayer
  • Angelfire_Arisen
    I agree with the above. Very easy read. Great work!
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