Curiouser and Curiouser
#46 (In Topic #15)
Can curiosity help to bring back one's self?Kyporus 25th, Year 12 of the Third Era
Somewhere deep in the Chalcedonian Jungles
Saangoth Barrony, Empire of Chaladonia
"Ooh shinny..." An elf whispered as he spied something in a set of old ruins. The elf was an adult, should be an adult, but his behavior was... something else. Blind in one eye, extraordinarily long ears, and a mess of golden hair all helped to illustrate that this elf was like that of no other. Something was wrong... broken in him, in his mind. This elf had seemed to have forgotten everything from before the Great Collapse, only remembering that he is called Tann. He had woken in an old ruin deep in the jungle, twelve years ago. He knew then that he was looking for something, but couldn't recall what. Instead, he gave up, and followed the smells until he found his way back out. It was also then that he luckily met the Namaran shaman, without who he might not have survived.
But that was so long ago. This is now. Tann instinctly swats at a vespa fly as it sought to feed from him, while trying to figure out how to get to the 'shinny'. He could see it, though his blind eye. It was giving off a golden color. His good eye showed him there was an old temple. What was it that the shaman called this place?
An old ruin from another time. The namaran probably also suggested staying away from this place, which only helped to make Tann even more curious. He had to know why he shouldn't be here, and now that he was here, he wanted to know what was so shinny behind the walls of the ruin before him. The ruins was some sort of old temple, or perhaps old palace. It was hard to tell, with all of the growth, and the slight sinkage into the swampy terrian. Oh Tann knew the place was likely dangerous. But the last dangerous place he visited left him with a shiny dagger! And it didn't take the shaman more than a day to heal him that time!
That's it, Tann just had to get in there. Looking about he first checks to see if the shaman was nearby. That namaran had a weird way of showing up right before Tann was about to do anything fun. 'Not this time, planty,' Tann thought as he eyed the place again, 'I'm gonna get the... thing.' He then eyes some long vines and makes his way there, thinking to use them to make a rope....
And it would be ready soon. Minari headed off to look for Tann. He'd often wandered off where he shouldn't, so it didn't surprise her that his tracks lead towards a place she had warned him not to go.
She came on him as he was seeking vines to braid into a rope. Tugging down two long, sturdy ones from a nearby tree, she silently came up beside him and dangled the vines over his head in front of his face where he was crouched, concentrating on his task. "Try these, those are half dry and rotted. They'd never hold your weight."
She shook them in front of his nose till he responded.
It was at that moment that a sort of realization hit him. Minari now knows what he was planning. Tann gulped, he had to be smart about this. Otherwise she could sabatogue him, preventing him from going! He just couldn't have that!
"M... maybe planty want to come too?" Tann smiles sheepishly, "I... I hope so! It could be fun! We could le... learn something!"
She watched his face shift as he realized he'd been caught and smiled. The invitation was an improvement. Last week he would have made an excuse then come back another time without her.
"I'd love to go, sprout." She laughed while tieing off the other end of the rope to a nearby tree.
Glancing down, it occurred to her she was at odds about wanting it to be treasure versus a mere water reflection. If a treasure of some kind, he'd never stop rummaging the ruins to find more. If it was merely water, he'd never stop rummaging because he'd still believe there was something here. "Leave it to you to be fascinated by stones and ghosts," she smiled.
Minari stood over him as she finished up. At least this time she could go and hopefully keep him from major injuries. She waited till he was ready and took a grip of the vines to steady him as he descended.
"Weeeeellll, it might be more than just silly stone planty!" His eyes light up, "and... do you think there will be ghosts?! Do you do you!" He was very much excited over the prospect of meeting, and killing said ghosts. "What are we waiting for then? The ghosts might get tired and go away! Come on planty!" Tann gives a quick tug on the vine before jumping onto it and sliding down it.
Once down on the ground, Tann runs up to the front of the old ruin. It looked like it could have been some kind of castle, once upon a time. It was sinking in parts in the soft, swampy peet moss, but the middle was still on solid terra firma. Great trees and other flora sprouted through the aged and broken stone, but a great archway stood where perhaps a door or gate of some kind might have once been. "Oooh.... grand castle..." Tann remarks as he places his hand on the stone archway.
Doing so, Tann froze for a moment, like he was some sort of trance. His eyes stared at seemingly nothing, and he didn't move a single muscle. Even his breathing had slowed. Within Tann's mind, a memory surfaced. He saw himself in a similar jungle, standing before a similar ruin. He heard himself say, as if he was talking to someone else, "In here, here is where the old dragon said I'd find the first of my memories." Little did Tann realize of course that the words he said in his head, in his memory, he also said outloud here and now.
Snapping out of his trance, Tann blinks for a moment then shrugs it off. He then turns to look at Minari, "Well come on planty! Lets see whats inside!"
Home….. Was a tricky subject for her, she longed to find the little sanctuary that her parents Tiana and Taal had carved out of the Chalcedonian jungle. Even though she had often explored far from home, even went ona few trips with her mother to villages and towns for some supplies, and longed for more. Now all she could think was finding it again, spending one night there. She sighed, placing her hand against the near wall and hearing echoes of excited shouting and a mix of fear excitement and resolve, even if she never saw that place again, if she could just find her parents. Or people who knew her parents, that knew if they were alive, or where they were buried if dead. She knew if they were alive or dead, they would be together, her mother was absolutely devoted to her father, and the reverse could be said of her father.
She shook her head, taking a deep breath and standing up, it was time to explore this ruins even further, see if she could find anything interesting. Perhaps some clues as to what happened here, and if it was tied to what happened when she woke up all those years ago. She paused a moment when she heard something new, something else were in the ruins, and Tala became excited.
She started out of the throne room, and started to call out, but stopped herself, decided to use atleast some caution. She listened, and waited a moment, but heard nothing else, "hello?"
When she came up on him leaning on the stone and speaking, she frowned. His visions were a mystery she still had yet to unravel. In moments of lucidness just before falling asleep, he spoke of a kingdom he ruled with a queen named Lie'Ania. He spoke of children and grandchildren and of a friend who was a traitor but not a traitor. She had no memory of those dream times because she had not been part of them. Or if she had, she was not granted the memories that others who had wakened had been given. A dragon told him? She wasn't sure how she felt about that. She had never seen a dragon and had chosen not to take sides on whether they existed or not. If they didn, they lived no where near the swamp she resided in. And that was good enough for her.
When he glanced back at her se had a strange look on her face that faded quickly at his prompting. "All right, sprout. Let's go find your shiny." She followed behind him, a bit more closely than before, and prayed that this place held what he needed. She hated seeing him suffer, despite his ignorance of it.
They had only been inside a few moments when she heard a feint voice call out. She hadn't made out what it said, having not been paying attention to anything but Tann's path thru the keep. But she growled slightly and slipped her root knife from her hip pocket and clasped it. She didn't believe in ghosts. So if there was a voice, there was someone, or something, else here.
Tracing the images engraved into the stone, Tann stops to ponder them. A strong sense of dejavu hits him, causing him to ask, "Have I ever been here before?" He looks around abit, "I.... I think that I had...." He then steps, foot in foot, from one wall to the other, counting outloud, "28, 29, 30...." Tann scratches his head, "Why make halls soooooo wide?" He looks up, "... and sooooon tall? I think dragons lived here... once. Hehe, maybe find dragon ghosts huh planty?"
Tann turns towards Minari, only to see her armed and looking down another dark corridor. It was then that he heard the voice saying Hello. Without giving it a thought, the elf ran towards the voice and plast Minari, screaming back to the voice, "Is that you ghost?"
When he rounded the corner into the main room, maybe once a throne room, he tripped and fell hard on the ground. Picking himself up rather quickly, his head still buzzed from the fall and the memories of the place, and some dirt clouded his eyes. As he tried to rub some of it out he saw the figure before him. At first Tann couldn't make it out clearly, but his mind had no troubles filling in the details he couldn't make. It brought to him an old memory, of a guy with long blonde hair and ice blue eyes...
"T.... Taal?" The elf asked outloud. Tann wasn't sure where he heard that name from, but somehow he knew it, and it caused him to hesitate. Not only to hesitate, but to back up a couple steps. As his visioned cleared some, Tann could make out the black hair and purple-like eyes of the woman before him. Not Taal, not the guy he first thought he saw. Confused, Tann questioned, "W... what kind of ghost are you, that can change appearance and gender?"
As she started forward to offer assistance the figure spoke, "T..Taal?"
Tala froze, did this man know her father? SHe looked nothing like him, she asked her mother why she didn't really look like either of her parents, and was explained that Taal had used magic to change her features slightly. Her parents were the most beloved and most hated people in their world, and didn't want people to know they had a daughter, they were unsure how Tala would have been treated.
The figure, which she discovered was male, then spoke again breaking her out of her trance, "What kind of ghost are you where you can change appearance and gender?"
Tala smiled, but managed to keep from laughing, not many mistook her for a ghost!! "I'm not a ghost, atleast, I don't think I am. I am alive, I have to eat, and other body functions." She looked closer at him and noticed his ears, and some of the stories her parents told her came back to her, "Tann?" She covered her mouth in horror, "oh, I am sorry! I shouldn't assume who you are because you happen to have some attributes similar to someone I have been told about."
She made a slight curtsy, her manners kicking in, "I apologize for assuming, allow me to introduce myself, my name is Tala Ecarias Mercleis. And what should I call you?"
Finally, back in front of her, Tann laughs some more, "Tala? You have lots of names!" He looks confused for a moment, "Wha'do you mean what you call me? You already know my name. You said it. Maybe, you hit your head?" Tann smiles, "No worries Tala! Memory come back soon! My memory messed up too, but Planty says it come back when ready."
Tann's eyes grew wide, "Ooooh I didn't show you to Planty!" He calls out for her, "Heeeeeey planty! Come meet not-ghost Tala! She gonna help us find the shiny!" Tann turns back to Tala, "Right Tala? And maybe teach me how you change?"
When Tann turned to holler for her, she was hardly ten feet from him. "I am right here, sprout. No need to worry." She stepped close enough to rest a hand on Tann's shoulder and ease herself around him slightly. She wouldn't push him back, it would do no good if he wanted to be close. But she had taught him to stand just behind and to the left of her if she set him there.
"How do you know this man?" She asked with brows furrowed in query. "And what is your reason for being here? Do you understand what this place was or why he is drawn to it?" Her small blade was still in her right hand, but it rested gently at her side. Till she knew more… much more… she wouldn't sheath it as long as there was someone close enough to harm her charge.
She canted her head slightly, waiting for Tala to answer, as if listening or looking for something that wasn't obvious. She didn't believe in random acts. Something had drawn Tann here this time. And something had made her come along, this time. So it must be this woman that made those events occur. And since she couldn't ask all the gods why, she would ask Tala, and hope she got an answer that would help Tann.
She blinked again when she heard a new voice and new emotions, caution,w ariness, mistrust, and strangely hope? She focused on the woman who was talking and she spread her hands which were empty, "I actually do not know this man. He spoke my father's name, so I thought perhaps he knew my father, or maybe knew of my father. As for guessing his name I was actually rude by my mother's standards, I guessed his name by his ears. My parents told me stories of an elf who had exceptionally long ears for an elf and that were slightly deformed. The man's name in those stories was Tannhauser Nadir, Tann for short." her eyes took on a far away look as she thought back to those days of stories from her parents, "father said they were friends, and mother was also friends with him, but I never had meet him."
She looked around, "these are ruins, from what I can tell this was once a fortress for draconians, possibly dragons but I can't be sure to be honest. Things are to faded for me to be able to really tell much of anything for certain unless I come across other artifacts." She eyed the dagger at the woman's side, but wasn't concerned about it, "as for what I am doing here, the short answer is I'm looking for my parents, dead or alive. The long answer is a bit more complicated, and I am not sure if you would believe me even if I did tell you."
She shrugged her shoulders, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, and answered Tann's comment, "I didn't change, I was always a female you're eyes just were blurry and thought I was a man."
She looked back at the woman, "I assume you heard my name, and I know his," she pointed at Tann, "but what should I address you as?"
Moving towards Tann, she smiled ad nodded towards the throne. "Why don't you go sit in the throne. Maybe you will see the ghosts if they think you are the king." She stroked his hair like a mother touching a sick child.
Once he was out of ear shot, she turned back to the woman. "I found him wandering on the edge of the magic wastes. He didn't remember who he was or where he had come from, or even how he got there. He's been with me for almost a full cycle now and all I can figure out is his name is Tann, and at some point, he was a king. Since I can't think of a Kingdom missing their king, I can only guess he was caught during The Waking and somehow got fractured. There are many like that in the wastes." She glanced towards Tann with a sad look in her eyes. "Most of them kill themselves from madness after only a couple months. All I can think of is there is something he is looking for that is stronger than his will to die." The words were spoken as if absently, not to her in particular. She sighed and shook her head, brow furrowing in concern. "I wish I knew how to help him. And you'll have to forgive him saying you were changing. I've never seen magic so strong in someone so untrained. It's there, buried, and he can't tap into it. But when something happens, I can feel it, pushing like a boil under the skin. Only a small red patch shows on top, but beneath, the whole limb can be infected. It's like that with him," she nodded to Tann. "Beneath the suface he has more magic than I do. The elements just won't come to him right now. Which, in his state, is probably for the best."
She looked at Tala and smiled, as if coming back to herself. "Forgive me, I've been rude. We don't live far. You are welcome to eat with us this evening and stay the night. We are too close to the wastes to let you be alone out here when it is dark." She decided to give Tann a bit more time to explore before calling him back to go for the night.
Tann approached the stone throne and looked it over a bit. It had a very high back, but wasn't very wide. Ancient symbols were etched on the outsides of the throne. Tann wasn't sure what they said, so he shrugged and sat down on it. He thought it odd that the throne was just the right width to accomodate him, "Heeeey, I don't think big dragon sat here." Looking down he glimpsed an old metal ring attached to the bottom right of the throne, "buuut maybe dragon was pet?" But who, or what, could have a dragon as a pet?
Fiddling around with a strange shape sticking from the left arm of the throne, Tann feels a sharp stab in his left index finger, enough to draw a smidgen of blood. He quickly recoils, a look of hurt and shock plainly evident on his face. However that look soon is replaced with excitement when the throne begins to slide back. Happily, Tann calls out, "Heeey planty! Tala! I found secret!" The throne pulls back far enough to reveal a stone staircase descending into the darkness.
Tann hops off of the throne and stares down the dark abyss, "Planty planty! I find way to shiny!"
"When the sun is down, we won't be able to see the shiny. Will we? We need to come when morning shines bright and we can follow it all the way to the shiny." She was grasping desperately for any reason not to go down the steps with night so swiftly approaching. Last thing she wanted was to be stuck in the depths of this crumbling building with no torch or tools.
"Please. We'll even pack a picnic and come early so you can spend all day if you want." She was now smiling and trying to tempt him. It worked in the past, planning picnics in combination with adventures. She just hoped it would work this time. "And maybe your new friend can join us tomorrow, too." She hoped the last tidbit offer was what it would take to make him wait.
She blinked in surprise when Minara offered food and company, and she listened a moment and heard she was sincere. She was wary of Tala, but only rightfully so, she didn't know her, and she had a charge to look after. She opened her mouth to accept the invitation, when Tann broke in and Tala heard a new wave of emotions.
She whipeed her head around and even took a step towards thr throne and now open tunnel, was she imagining things? She could hear something that sounded like emotions from her mother, and her father. There were a myrad of emotions she could hear, and some sounded even like Tann. She took another step forward when Minara's voice cut through and brought her back to the present.
She bit her lip, stiffling a sigh, Minara was right, trying to explore anything after dark was fool hardy at best, and deadly at worst. She had learned this lesson the hard way, though had managed to eek through and survive. She took the same bright tone that Minara used, "oh that sounds like a good idea, we can even swap stories over dinner tonight, I know a few good ghost stories you might like to hear."
Tann walks away from the secret path, "But don't think that I forget, planty. I coming back tomorrow. If I come alone, I come alone. I'm gonna find the shiny. Have to before evil shadow get it and make it not shiny." He turns and looks at the other two, "Annnnd I get up early."
Feining a smile, Tann turns back around, "So. What planty making then? I hungry." Soon he's already headed out of the ruins and towards Minara's home...
She heard Tann's comment about seeing the shiny so bright, and she frowned slightly, thinking back to what her father taught her about the different magics. Could he see emotions in objects? Or was it the ,agic itself he saw, but it was just shiny to him? She shook her head slightly, she wasn't sure, and she doubted she could ask him and have him respond, he barely knew her.
At his comments of getting up early she perked up a bit, perhaps the delay wouldn't be as bad as she thought. She rarely slept at night, being alone it wasn't very safe to. She might sleep for a few hours tonight, but had a feeling her dreams would keep her up again. If he was up early, they could easily leave early and prepared. "At first light perhaps?" Tala commented in response to Tann.
"I am sorry to be a slight burden tonight for dinner, but truly appreciate the offer. Perhaps I can help prepare? My mother taught me basics of how to cook, and I am a fast learner."
Once he was heading for the pit where they had placed their dinner to cook through the day, she turned to Tala. "You are welcome, and it's no burden. We always have enough when it's needed." As they headed back, Minari glanced at Tala. "You are as anxious as the elf is, are you not? Well," she double checked to be sure Tann was truly out of earshot, she continued in a low tone. "Once he is asleep, I had planned to come back and see what this 'shiny' was that he keeps speaking of. It will allow me to be prepared tomorrow as well. We will need rope, I am guessing. Probably the knotted climbing one. And we will need a bit of a snack as well. Something tells me that once we are down there, the shiny isn't the only thing we will find."
She glanced at the direction Tann had run off in. She had spoken low because she'd learned that Tann's hearing was far superior to even her own. It helped on hunts, but was a hinderance when she was murmuring to herself and he would hear from several measures away.
"And you are welcome in the hut for the night as well. It is safe. And I am guessing, like Tann when I found him, you have not slept well in a long time." Her hand went to the woman's shoulder and she stopped them for a moment. "I do not know you, nor do you know me. That much neither of us will deny. But he knows you… somehow. And he desn't fear you. I have learned to trust that. He is strangly powerful in ways I do not understand. Perhaps you being here will help in some way." She let go and smiled a bit brighter. "The forest only brings us what we need. Nothing more, nothing less. And today, if brought us you. So there is a reason." She turned back to the path and rounded the corner towards the hut.
"I am sure we will find out in time."
As they entered the clearing, Tala would see what looked, at first, to be a simple hut. But on closer inspection, it was sturdy and weathered. It wasn't patched like it couldn't handle what came its way. Outside was a table along one wall under an extended easement in front of a window. On the table were various small plants, herbs and tools. As well as a couple pouches, one looked to be full.
There was also a cook pot over a banked smoking pile of wood, and beside it, off a few paces, a stone ringed area with a bracket of hard wood branches in a lattice covering a pit. The meat for the evening meal was in the pit and smoke was rising along with the smell of juicy meat, seasoned and ready for the eating.
((feel free to post whatever you both do in the interrim between leaving the site and getting 'home'. Seemed fastest way to move forward))
Smiling back at Tala and her suggestion about going at first light, Tann took off. He made his way back up the vines and out of the ruins, and soon he washeaded to their little clearing in the outer edges of the jungle. It wasn't terribly far, especially for soneone such as Tann. It took maybe an hour, if that, to get there. However the smells of the cooking beast reached him far sooner, and his stomach roared in anticipation.
Upon approaching the clearing and navigating Minari's safeguards, Tann reached the cooking pit. He could almost taste the slow cooked beast! However, upon reaching the cooking pit, an old memory forced its way forward. He could see before him elven soldiers gathered around the cooking pit, and a strange rain falling about them. Banners flew, yet the men and women appeared glum, as if they were losing their very will. Without giving it a second thought, Tannhauser addressed them, "Eat well and worry not fellow brothers and sisters! By this time tomorrow we will be storming the castle, and we will rid this land of Zodo's demon, Ammon, and his cursed rain! Soon, Eleusia will be freed and saved from his tyrany! So rejoice, and make yourselves ready for what must be done!"
Little did Tann realize, but there was no one around the cooking pit and there was no rain. It was but a memory that manifested in his vison, a memory of the Tannhauser from the dream world, and not a reality. Yet the words Tann said, though he did say then he also just said now, for all in the clearing to hear. And as soon as he finished his speach, the vison faded. Tann crouched to the ground and brought his hands to his head, which was throbbing in pain...
1 guest and 0 members have just viewed this.