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A Band of Huntresses (pods & BrighterFlame)

Joined
Apr 11, 2016
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941
#1
Steffon of Highvale was not having a great day. He stood with his back against a tree, panting as he held his simple wooden staff before him. Sweat dripped from his handsome face, his robes were damaged and dirty, and his dark brown hair was a mess from all the running he'd been doing. 'I can't believe this!' he thought to himself, his hand shaking from the stress of the day, 'It's day one of my plan to travel the world, and I'm already in such a bad situation?'

The young man had left home earlier that day, saying goodbye to his family before he'd set out, and hardly a few hours after he'd entered what could be called the wilderness he'd been attacked by monsters! "I can't believe it's going to end like this!" Steffon groaned under his breath. He could feel that his mana was almost depleted, so he knew that it wouldn't be long before the monsters would be able to break through his guard and slay him. Falling to his knees, the human muttered a prayer to whatever benevolent gods might be listening, asking desperately for a miracle.
 

BrighterFlame

Pet looking for a master
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
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38
#2
“There’s Nothing But orcs around here, another path would have been more sensible.” The shorter Minotaur male said as they walked along, the larger female shook her head, “but this is the fastest way to Kanarzan, humans may not heed the call but our kind will.” They continued to walk till they heard yelling, then they saw what looked to be a human protected by magic, being attacked by several goblins and a werewolf. They wouldn’t have gotten involved and kept walking except they were spotted. The goblins all started shrieking as they charged the two new travelers.
“Looks like you get to let out your frustration after all!” Novar bellowed and charged with his horns leveled and Rita gripped her two-handed mace as the goblins reached her.

The fight didn’t last long, the little goblins were no match for the muscle and raw power of the Minotaurs. Rita looked around and saw the human and walked over, she gave him a once over then held out her hand to him “what is a human like you doing around these parts” she asked.
 
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#3
Steffon's head shot up when he heard the goblins shriek, apparently having found something else to catch their attention. Looking over the crowd of them he could make out a pair of figures walking along the path., almost as though his prayers had been answered!" His heart leapt in his chest as the goblins turned and ran towards them, apparently deciding that he wasn't much of a threat any more.

The robed young man watched as the Minotaurs quickly dealt with the goblins, occasionally sending out a bit of flame or ice to help them, though it didn't really seem like they needed it. He was basically drained by the time the woman of the two approached, and he grinned weakly up at her. "Oh you know, just enjoying the good nature of the locals!" he chuckled a little at the poor joke, but winced when it aggravated his bruises. "More seriously, I was simply traveling along, wondering where this road leads. I don't have much of a plan for my destination, so I was content to wander for as long as I could...That is, until I was attacked."

Steffon took the offered hand, using it to pull himself back to his feet. "My thanks. The name's Steffon, son of Daylen. Might I know the name of my rescuers?" He looked up at the woman before him, struggling to meet her gaze such was the difference in their height.
 

BrighterFlame

Pet looking for a master
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
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38
#4
Rita chuckled at the wit of the human, “I see, well my name is Rita and the bull over there is Novar.” He was finishing up looking for anything useful among the goblins. But Rita frowned, there had been a werewolf, yet it was not among the dead. “Don’t thank us yet...Novar! Get over here!” No sooner had she spoken when the werewolf charged through the brush and tackled the male Minotaur, they tumbled down the rocky hill. “No!” Rita bellowed and rushed after them.
As the two brawled, she brought her mace down on the werewolf’s head, crushing the bone and splattering brain and blood. But it was too late, the wolf had torn out Novar’s throat. “Oh Novar!” She knelt by his body, grief overcoming her as she contemplated the loss of her long time friend.
 
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#5
"Pleased to meet you," Steffon began, but before he could say so much as a single word more their attention was back on the werewolf, and it's fight with Novar. He ran after her, and arrived at his body moments later. He looked down at Novar, sorrowful that one of the ones who had saved him had died in turn. "I am deeply sorry for your loss," the wizard said after a few moments had passed, unsure of how to comfort the obviously distraught woman.
 

BrighterFlame

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#6
Rita continued to cry till she she couldn’t cry anymore. She decided enough was enough, she used a hand to close her friends eyes then proceeded to take the pouch of coins and his amulet, she placed the amulet on his chest before whispering a few words. Then a small fire appeared as it began to burn the corpse. Once it was reduced to ashes a small plant began to grow.
Satisfied that the proper rites had been observed she stood and began walking away. “You should come along with me, it would be safer.” She said to Steffon as she passed him.
 
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#7
Steffon watched as the fire burned Novar to ash, and whispered a short prayer under his breath asking for the minotaur to reach his final destination safely. While not the most devout of men, he could do that much at least.

The young man looked at Rita as she made her offer, considering it as he moved to catch up with her long stride. "Safety in numbers and all that right? Well, you're not wrong. Certainly I doubt those goblins would have attacked me if I'd had someone as strong looking as you with me." He paused for a moment before nodding. "I suppose I'll accept! I'd be happy to join you on your journey... Though I should probably ask where we'll be going?"
 

BrighterFlame

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#8
Rita was more then willing to talk, anything to distract from the loss she felt. “Kanarzan, there is a war meet there, unrest between races of the earth and sky” the Minotaur slowed her pace so he could walk beside her. “So you are a mage? I only ask because I saw the shield you protected yourself with.” She had been interested in magic but she couldn’t use it herself, she came from a long line of warrior Minotaurs, highly sought after as guards. It was also the main reason why she chose to leave her village, so she wouldn’t be pressured into taking a mate to continue her bloodline.
 
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#9
"Never been to a war meet before," Steffon commented, thankful that Rita had slowed enough for his comparatively smaller legs to keep up, "They don't exactly have a lot of those in Highvale." He looked up at the redhead, smiling a little at her question. "Why yes, I am a mage!" He raised a hand, making a few sparks fly from his fingers, "The first such in my family in a long time. It took a great deal of hard work, but I have a certain talent for the arcane arts!"
 

BrighterFlame

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#10
“Sounds like the lifeshapers of my people.” She continued to ask questions just to get to know her new companion. They didn’t run into anymore enemies that night, so they walked till they were tired. She rolled out her bedroll and settled by the fire he had built. “Tell me about your people, I only know of those humans who seek out my kind as guards, but not much is shared about humans in general.” She picked up her mace and started cleaning it back to perfection.
 
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#11
"Oh?" Steffon perked up at the thought of another culture's magic users, "I would be very interested in hearing about your lifeshapers," he commented, taking his own bedroll out and placing it down not too far from Rita's own. He sat down on it and held his staff over his legs, the strong wood a bit soothing in his grip. "Ah, but you asked me about my people first, so I will tell you of my own people."

"In truth, there is not much to tell," the young man said, idly stroking his chin as he gazed at the flickering flames before him, "My parents are farmers, as were their parents, and so on for as long as we can remember. Though I have little to compare it to, I believe that my home of Highvale is quite nice as far as they go. The people are kind, with few exceptions, and the weather is usually quite nice, though the winters can be quite bitter." There's a light in Steffon's eyes as he described his home, clearly he is quite attached to the place. "Sadly, there are none there who could help me learn to use my talents, so after I did as much as I could on my own I packed my things and set out on a journey to improve myself and my art!"

Steffon nodded to Rita, "And a few hours later...Well, apparently I was not as ready for my journey as I thought." He said sheepishly, a faint dusting of red coating his otherwise pale cheeks.
 

BrighterFlame

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38
#12
Rita plucked a long grass leaf from the ground and put it between her lips as she listened to him tell his story. “You should not be afraid to be a beginner, everyone is at one point.” She felt that she herself was no exception. “You will be sought after by many, weather for your skill or your seed, magic is a rare enough gift among the races.” She wasn’t bothered about speaking plainly, Minotaurs were fairly blunt and hated deception. “I’d keep my wits about you, don’t fall for any female that throws themselves at you unless you are sure of yourself.” As she examined him a little more closely she found that he had a handsome face, not rugged or unshapely, but well proportioned. Even with a lack of horns she knew that more then one girl from her village would have taken him as a mate without issue, Minotaurs were not picky about who they liked, it was nature and natural was rarely wrong.
“So how do you fair with females? I can only assume that your experience is lacking...or am I wrong?”
 
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#13
Steffon raised an eyebrow at Rita's blunt way of speaking, the earlier redness of his cheeks getting a bit more intense at her advice and question. "Well you aren't wrong about that," he agreed, "My experience with women is somewhat lacking..." The wizard paused for a moment, considering, "There was a girl who I think was sweet on me, but her father has a reputation for being able to shoot the wings off of a fly with his crossbow, so we did not do much before I left."

As he spoke Steffon couldn't help but look at Rita, noticing that despite their difference in species the woman was quite attractive. Her long, flowing red hair made her look fiery, almost like a drawing of a warrior queen he'd seen in one of his books. He pushed those thoughts aside though; she'd just lost her friend, so he doubted that she was interested in that sort of thing at the moment.
 

BrighterFlame

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#14
His look did not escape rita’s notice, and she might have been interested back, but she didn’t say anything. Maybe when he breeding season cane around and she was alone with him then she would consider it, it also helped that he wasn’t bad looking.
Despite having been together for a few months, Novar had never been more then a friend, he’d had his share of females and Rita had made a point that she wouldn’t be one of them. The night was uneventful, quite even but when the morning came, the sounds of huge wings could be heard in the distance.
Rita was somewhat of a heavy sleeper so she didn’t react to the impending warning.
 
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#15
Once their conversation slowed Steffon prepared for sleep, crawling into his bedroll suddenly feeling very tired. "Good night Rita," he drowsily said, and before long he was drifting off, fast asleep.

Hours late the young wizard would find himself waking quite easily, his years on the farm making him both a fairly light sleeper and an early riser. Yawning a bit, he looked over to see that Rita was still sound asleep, and decided to give her a bit more rest before they got moving.

Sadly that was not to be, as in the distance Steffon began to hear wingbeats, and quite large ones too for that matter. Alarmed by the unfamiliar sound, he looked over at the minotaur who shared his camp. "Rita!" He called placing a hand on her shoulder and giving her a shake, "Something is approaching us, and rapidly too!" He didn't know what might be out there, but after yesterday he didn't want to take any risks
 

BrighterFlame

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#16
Rita was reluctant to wake and grabbed Steffon, pulling him into a hug, but with his struggling she came round. She heard the wing beats then rushed to her feet, pulling the human up and onto his own. “Why didn’t you wake me?” She readied for a fight, mace held firmly In hand. She took a deep breath of the shifting winds and she stiffened “Dragon.” She managed to say as the silver giant flew past overhead and circled back around “Don’t attack, Don’t do anything to provoke them.”
The silver dragon came back around then landed in the clearing with an earthshaking ‘thud’, the Dragon looked at the two with sharp blue eyes, waiting to see what would happen. Rita suddenly placed her mace headfirst into the ground then knelt before the Dragon, head bowed, she motioned for Steffon to do the same.
“Well, it seems you know your manners.” The voice was female and rumbled through the air. “We apologize for any offense we have caused you Fireblood, we are only traveling to join my kin” the dragons chuckle made the air vibrate, “fear not warrior, it was merely curiosity that turned my gaze to you, I have noticed many crossing my territory of late and you two seem the most...unique pair I have seen.” She settled on her belly and got comfortable. Rita tentatively got to her feet “we did not know this land was spoken for, we do not have much but will offer proper tribute to satisfy.” The Dragon looked down at Steffon “no tribute is necessary, but your human....he is touched with magic...and does not share his kinds view of the world” she opened her mouth a little and breathed on Steffon before her jaws snapped shut “his mind is open, accepting.” The dragons tail was swaying with apparent delight, “tell me, little one, what do you think of this Minotaur here? What is she to you?” She seemed to be staring into his soul.
 
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#17
"Mnf!" Steffon's surprised cry was muffled as Rita pulled him close to her body, his face pressed against her surprisingly soft skin as he struggled to get free. Eventually she let him go, and he gave her a look. "I did try," he grumbled as he reached for his staff, eyes widening as she said that it was a dragon approaching.

The wizard watched, legs shaking, as the dragon descended, it's silver body shining in the morning light. Steffon mimicked Rita's position, kneeling before the much larger being. He shivered a bit as she breathed on him, as although her breath was warm he couldn't help but notice the sheer size of her teeth.

"What do I think of Rita?" Steffon asked under his breath, wondering where she was going with this but unable to keep from answering beneath her gaze. "Well, she saved my life yesterday, and she has been quite friendly," with the way the dragon was looking at him he began to babble, saying a bit more than he probably intended to. "And of course, she is quite beautiful as well, so I am glad to know her."

Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Steffon continued. "Regardless, I would certainly call Rita a friend, even a hero after the events of yesterday!"
 

BrighterFlame

Pet looking for a master
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Dec 25, 2018
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38
#18
The dragons eyes seem to twinkle at the answer he gave “indeed? Well, you have a good heart.” She turned her gaze back to Rita who’s cheeks were a little red. “Keep him close, there are few enough in this world who are so trustworthy or honest.” Rita nodded slightly, also seeming confused. “Now, as I have said, many have been traveling my home, but their destination lies outside of my boarders, tell me of your plan, perhaps I can aid you in some way.”

Rita was surprised at the possible aid from a Dragon, not wanting to disappoint she started “my people have been experiencing growing skirmishes in the southern lands, so a call for a war meet was sounded, to find the best of our people, we would honor our treaties with the druids, elves and humans, and so the best are needed.” She eyed Steffon then continued “our paths crossed only yesterday and it seemed for now, our goals benefited from one another, though, in truth I’m am unsure how long he wished to travel with me.” The topic hadn’t really been discussed. “But He is welcome to come and go as he pleases.”

The Dragon was silent for a moment while she considered. “I have heard the likes of the younger races gathering, but for what cause I was unaware, threads are so often cut, but seldom tied without reason.” She mused to herself till she noticed them looking at her “oh pay no heed me, my thoughts stray down strange paths.” She looked at Steffon again with that same look. “Now mage, I will lay two paths before you, both will lead you to your destiny and each will have a price...are you brave enough to choose?” Her tone became a little more serious, “I see many lives intertwining with your own...and you are at the center...” Her eyes had gone colorless “two crowns will be placed before you, one of sun and the other of moon, what you decide will shape the world to come for many years....so here is your choice, do you go with me? And learn of Dragon magic? Or do you remain with Rita and fulfill the debt that only a life can fulfill?”
 
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#19
Steffon shifted in place as the dragon complimented him, not being used to such high praise, especially from someone so much more grand than him. "I thank you for your kind words," he said, careful to remain respectful to her.

The wizard's eyes widened as she continued however, her words seeming to possess a greater weight than before as she spoke of his possible paths. To learn magic from a dragon of all beings, that was so far beyond even his wildest dreams it was hard to comprehend! But then he looked at Rita, and thought of how she and Novar had saved him at great cost, and she had welcomed him into her travels with hardly a thought. He visibly struggled with his decision, but finally spoke up with clear resolve.

"Rita," he began, looking the minotaur woman in her eyes, "I owe you a debt that I might never be able to pay, even if I lived for another hundred years." He struggled for a moment, trying to find the words, "But in truth, I don't know if I will ever be able to help you as you did me. Not as I am now. Perhaps if I take her offer I will one day be able to help you as you did me."

He turned to face the dragon once more. "So I will take you up on your offer, honored dragon. I will learn the arcane arts from you, for so long as you'll have me as your student."
 

BrighterFlame

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#20
Dragon magic? None had ever been worthy in the elder races eyes to receive such power! And this human was to receive such a gift? In a not so small way Rita felt honored to know Steffon. “Do what you will, a chance like this is nothing to sniff at” she put her hand on Steffons shoulder.
The Dragon hummed loudly, making the air vibrate. “Very good, there are things I must prepare..hold out your hand mage..” when he did, she raised a claw and touched his palm, there was a flash of light and a Draconic rune formed in blue on his skin. “I will return for you in a weeks time, look after him valley walker.” Before she left the Dragoness leaned down and whispered in Steffons ear “when the time comes...do not hold back...your blood must spread to the many races.”
The the wind rushed as her wings filled and she took to the air, gone as quickly as she had come.
“In all my years of travel, I’ve never been graced with the privilege of meeting a Dragon.” She was still in awe of what had happened.
 
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#21
Raising his hand as the dragon requested, Steffon felt a bit of energy when the dragon touched her claw to his palm. "I will make sure that I am ready when you return," he said, looking at the blue rune that had formed on his skin. When she leaned in the mage couldn't help but wonder what else she had to say, and her words made his eyes widen. Did she mean what he thought she meant?

"In my wildest dreams, I never could have imagined that I'd ever meet a dragon," Steffon agreed, the wizard having a slightly dazed expression on his face as he watched the dragon flew off into the distance, "Let alone on my second day of traveling!" After a moment he looked back at Rita with a small grin on his face. "Quite an auspicious beginning for our travels together, wouldn't you say?"
 

BrighterFlame

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#22
Rita nodded slowly, “it would seem you are destined for greatness.” She stood there for another moment before she shook herself, “well, we best get some ground covered while we can.” She moved back to her things and packed up her bedroll and everything else. “You will be a formidable spell Weaver when you finish your time with the dragon.” She realized that the Dragon had not given her name. “Come Steffon, this day has much to offer it seems” she eyed him as he packed and then they set off.

While they walked many things crossed Rita’s mind, mainly Steffon, powerful males were desirable to females of her kind, weather by strength or magic, they often considered bloodlines when thinking of conceiving children. With a Dragon taking interest in the human she was traveling, she was beginning to consider him more seriously, but what would he think? Would he accept her advances if she put them forward?
 
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#23
"Aye," Steffon agreed as he finished packing his belongings back up, hefting them onto his back with a small grunt, "Who knows what else might happen on a day that starts with a dragon offering to teach you magic?" He laughed a little at the thought, eyes slightly distant as he wondered what else the new day would bring.

Rita was not the only one thinking deep thoughts as they walked; Steffon was pondering the dragon's words long after she'd left. 'Your blood must be spread to the many races' she had said. He looked to Rita, who was walking slightly ahead of him, and wondered what she would think of such a thing. She was certainly beautiful, he thought, and he wouldn't mind being with her, but did she feel the same?

Shaking his head to remove that thought, Steffon spoke up to get Rita's attention. "You said that you are traveling to...Kanarzan was it? Can you tell me about it? It would be nice to know a little more about where we are going."
 

BrighterFlame

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#24
Rita was startled from her revelry, “hm? Well, there will be many of my kind there, the city is built with many arenas for provings, anyone may enter to prove themselves, the more wins one has from the arenas the greater your standing.” She twisted the strand of grass she had in her mouth. “It is were many find worthy mates as well, my kind desires strong beings to continue their lines, what better place to find such then in the arenas?” There were a few things she left out, like the fact that anyone may challenge anyone for any reason. “It is also a place of trade, you find many exotic things there, I’m particularly fond of the jasmine tea from the eastern tribes and the barlen weed from the west.”
 
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#25
"It sounds amazing," Steffon commented, the mention of arenas and provings certainly catching his attention. "While I doubt I would be able to put on a particularly impressive showing in any kind of fight as I am now, perhaps once I've had a bit of training I'll be able to return and see just how I fare against your people." The mention that the provings were used to find suitable mates among Minotaurs also caught his interest, and he wondered if performing well in one would impress Rita enough for her to consider him as an option.

"Perhaps we'll be able to find some tea for you while we are there," he continued, smiling as he widened his stride in order to catch up with Rita's much larger steps. While he certainly didn't mind being behind her (in fact he found the view to be quite intriguing, though he wouldn't admit it out loud), it certainly made conversation a little more difficult.
 
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