Topic: Travels of a Grown-Up

Perun unstuck his axe from the tough carapace of the Kincher, grinning as he looked at his charges, the three younger Matis who wanted to become rangers. They were largely unharmed and filled with the adrenaline left behind by battle, eyeing the Kincher while they traded quiet and mostly dignified grins of pride. 

They were good Matis. Very keen on adressing him with the proper respect and formalities of course, but they did not have that smug look of superiority in their eyes when they watched other races, and they were prepared to stand up for anyone they travelled with. Much better Matis than those from the 'family' he had travelled with during his childhood, he reflected.

"Almar, stand watch while the others skin the monster, I'll take a moment to myself.", he told them, adding: "You stood your ground pretty well, even remembered the tactics. Not very reckless at all.", he said with an ironic smile, almost managing to sound berating. The young Matis grinned with amusement and also pleasure at the praise, having heard their teacher tell them many cautionary tales of his own recklessness both inside and outside of battles.

Walking up to a rise overlooking the near endless plains stretching along the branch they were currently traversing, Perun of the Rangers turned his back on his pupils and breathed in the fresh air, body relaxing again.

This was a perfect life he thought with a pleased grin. After quite some rough years in the jungle and a short but intense try at forming a guild with his first friends, he had applied for a membership of the Rangers, leaving the Seeds of Atys, who scattered all over the New and Old Lands. The Rangers knew about and welcomed him - in his brief youth he had both gotten a reputation as one of the best, albeit impulsive fighters, and a reputation as one not to leave alone with your daughter... Although the rumours about that had evolved into, sometimes, unreasonably tall tales.

That young teenage life had been intensive indeed, but not without its share of struggles and heartaches. Still, only good had come of it in the end. He was where he belonged, his friends found their own places, and he felt pretty sure he 'had' the girl he loved. To be sure, she didn't want to admit it, but that was also a sweet and alluring trait of hers, a game they played with enjoyment each time they managed to meet. 

He grinned again, turning around to watch the Matis skin the Kincher. Apart from Ema, he hadn't seen his old friends for some time though. More than a year actually, though he had promised to visit. Scouting missions, foraging, escorting weary settlers and refugees, patrolling Kitin infested areas, striking into Kitin hives, learning about Zorai culture, about the Kami, about his Seed.. And now being responsible for training these potential new rangers.. One thing had taken the other, the seasons passing by.

What were his friends up to? Had Shula lost her spirit, becoming a mother living in a house (he certainly hoped not)? Did Kendrus get his quiet and peaceful life, so atypical for a Fyros? Were Tinai and Wheri still up for nights of boozing and dancing? Was Artash still as brass and womanizing as ever? There were many names passing through his head. Some, he didn't even know where they lived or had gone. Suryi and Ela amongst them, the two Fyros he had been closest with. Others, he knew exactly where were. His beloved little sister had married an atypical Matis, one he could actually respect, one who loved Leakis on her own terms.

Then there was Mercellus. He had built a home for himself and Jeziellia, the two staying together, even after the night at Perun's campfire, where truths were said and lights put out. He hoped they had both found what they wanted, that they were happy. A nagging suspicion told him neither had gotten exactly what they longed for, though he wished he was wrong. Perhaps it was indeed time to find out what had happened to his friends.

"Almar, Drothnan, Hyleas! Finish up, change of plans.", he shouted with an almost wolfish grin as he ran back towards the group of likable Matis youths. They looked up, their eyes showing curiosity and amusement. It was not uncommon for their impulsive teacher to change schedules and careful planning on the spur of the moment. "I'll help make you some Kincher armor tonight, but now we travel to the Old Lands", Perun announced, putting his axe back into its holster.

Re: Travels of a Grown-Up

[small][Im putting this little piece on Mercellus´ whereabouts here, since it takes place at the same time as we encounter Perun in the piece above... And because the title of the thread is very fitting as well :mrgreen:...][/small]

Dusk was settling in - if he should return to the house, now was the time. But then again, the clear sky and the lingering warmth in the air promised a beautiful night. How long had it been since he had spent a night in the open. No kitins sighted in these parts in weeks and his mount still fresh... He could go on a little further...

So joyful the stars, radiating with a playful golden glow like fireflies. This night were truly something to behold. This stream, this crossing... How long had it been since he had came this way from the exodus path? The stream was lazy and the crossing shallow... He could go on a little further...

The excitement of sneaking past the pack of sleeping ragus in the first rays of the morning sun. His mount tense and careful... The relief of leaving them behind after a brisk gallop. Old skills of surviving stirring. These tiny predators posed no threat to him. He could go on a little further...

Looking down on the barren hils baking in the midday sun. What might wait behind the horizon?

He could go on...

Re: Travels of a Grown-Up

After the girl left, Perun sat back down quietly on the knoll, letting the alien and yet so familiar sounds of the Prime Roots wash over him. These past months had been interesting, perhaps especially so since he couldn't have foreseen them.

He hadn't been able to find Mercellus and Jeziellia in the Old Lands, so he had taken his charges back into the new lands. He hadn't thought he would be back here so soon, but for now back he was. The homins here still squabbled pettily against each other instead of working together, finding life's meaning and worth in religious strife, racism and fights over resources. It made him irritable to let his mind dwell on that - he had seen a much larger world, had seen the dangers in the Old Lands. He understood that co-operation was vital, and yet the homins here still fought like it was all a game bereft of consequences. But he could do little about that. 

A gentle smile appeared on his lips as he watched the far-off Gubani play with each other. For them, things were so easy and natural wheras for homins, the new lands seemed to make life so very complicated. Or perhaps that was something civilization did to people. It hadn't taken long after his arrival here before he had a taste of the complications he had left. Luckily, he didn't feel like he had a part in these complications - he had the luxury of feeling free, working for the Rangers. Life was still good. 

He wiped the used cups in front of him with cloth, and put them into his backpack, another smile playing over his lips briefly, when he thought about the many girls he had brought to this spot in the Prime Roots over time. It had been strangely amusing this time around - not playing that game with the ambitious young seamstress he had escorted here.

He wondered if Emaelle felt the same as he did about these things, or was right now bedding some lucky and surprised refugee. He was not quite certain how he would feel about that, but it was strange to keep all of his witty and flirty replies in check for once.

Ah well, he missed the feisty Matis, but there were other matters to attend to for now. He had left his young charges in Dyron. They would be drunk and thoroughly entertained by now, unless some Fyros decided to pick a fight with them because of their race. He'd better join them and check up on how they handled their cultural lessons.

Getting up again, alert eyes watching a Tyrancha off in the distance, Perun reached out with his seed - but not to his charges. Instead he reached for that fleeting connection he had felt earlier, to that someone with whom he shared so much history. He had already met his Zoraï mentor again, had met up with one of the Tryker cousins and heard the other was nearby. This however, was one former guildmember he had not expected to feel anywhere near the new lands. A Fyros who had wandered off into the desert after the two of them had closed down their old guild. He hoped things were going well for him and his fiery love. If they didn't, Perun feared his own family might hold some blame for it. 

For a moment, he stood completely still, then shook his head. Nothing, he could sense nothing. Rummaging around inside his backpack, he found the pact that would take him close to Dyron, his youthful face unconcerned. He would try again later. For now, he had a bar to visit.

Re: Travels of a Grown-Up

He sat down on the small knoll outside of Yrkanis, the wind from below threatening to whisk away the fine vellum he was putting a pen to just now. Behind him, a young male Matis in turquoise armor stood at attention, two swords hanging at his waist.

Perun was writing his sister, both concerned and annoyed. So his family, his former family, as it were, had fallen on hard times while he had been away. And now the sister he loved was also affected by those ill fortunes.

Ignoring the roars from below him, Perun frowned, looking decidingly unhappy with the situation, a grimace few saw on his face usually. His mother had come upon him in Yrkanis. He hadn't seen her in over a year, and the first she did was to invite him to tea, even inviting his friend and the young Matis girl along. That was a bit suspicious already, but he had hoped that she just wanted to show her more congenial side.

He shook his head, staring up at the huge branches overhead. Well, it had turned out she wanted a loan from him. From him, the son who had turned his back on the family and the noble name. They must be more than a little desperate, and likely his mother was doing this behind the backs of his father and brother. It didn't matter though - he would not help his family prosper. Their worldviews, morals and deeds were not ones he wanted to support, and perhaps it would even be healthy for them to get down to Atys a bit.

He stood up, the finished letter in his hands as he waved Almar over and told him where to deliver it. His sister did not deserve this.. She wasn't like the rest, and had earned her life in comfort, with the man she loved. Perhaps he could help her without helping the rest of the Kalesins.

Watching the ranger recruit walk down to the road, a rare smile of pride played over Peruns lips. Almar would become a leader of homin in time, and he would teach other Matis about honour and tolerance by his actions alone. All of his charges would in time he thought. If they survived of course. Even though they could be wild and reckless at times, inspired by Perun himself, they did have a clear line as to what was right and what was wrong, a line Perun hadn't had himself at their age, 3 years ago. Perhaps he still didn't.

Perhaps what he was up to now wasn't exactly honourable, but he felt like doing it, and at least the old Perun always did what he felt like doing. Perhaps he hadn't changed at all, he mused, heading into Yrkanis to find a girl the old Perun had known.

Re: Travels of a Grown-Up


Perun smiled a little at the recollection popping up inside his head, as unconcerned about that insult now as when it was given. At least these days, it was only thoroughly drunk Fyros who dared pick a fight with him. The other Matis who lived in this city must have a considerably harder time with such thugs. It would almost have been an amusing encounter, if not for the Matis girl he was showing Pyr that day. She hardly needed more reasons to dislike Pyr or the Fyros - her list was pretty long already. Trying to be a guide to the good things of the different cultures was just a tad tricky when said cultures attacked and insulted you without provocation. 

He smiled wryly at that thought - many things had happened in the past days: his stay in the new lands were proving to be eventful at the very least, he thought as he was leaning back on the hot stone in the bathhouse, body submerged in water - axe and an empty bottle of Lydix' best firewine next to him. Well, he for one loved the desert and he even liked Pyr, oppressive and dead though it might feel.

Soon, he would have to get up, to go to Davae and decide what approach to take with the Matis who was spying on him. One of his friends, the one working with the ambassadors in Yrkanis, had urged him to continue the deception, to wait for the right time to strike. That was pretty sensible advice. But his superior, Lieutenant Mereo Felco had advised him to simply confront the spy. That was more in line with Perun's mentality - he didn't have much of a taste for the cloak and dagger game, finding it draining at length. Turning to the open backpack near him, he wondered if he would have time for a little Tryker rum first, then shook his head. He better get this over soon and in a somewhat sober state of mind.

And then there was what had just taken place in the bathhouse, alien and fresh memories of the Zoraï now stored in his own mind, floating around, making him feel guilty though he had no part in claiming them. She hadn't been giving out those memories freely, and now she had been excommunicated, seemingly for no sane reason. He felt sympathy for her, for her idealistic, naive dreams, which had turned out so badly. He was apparently the only one however, and he knew better than to discuss it with the one who had taken those memories in the first place - his former mentor would not have listened gracefully at that point. Kendrus had left in a rage after that as well. Those two contained quite some fury in each their own way he reflected, sitting alone in the hot waters.

His young face looked thoughtful as his eyes turned up to the daylight streaming down from above. Certainly, things were getting more complicated the longer he stayed in the new lands. It would not be bad to travel freely again, sleeping under the stars, hunting and teaching his pupils. Simple travelling had its appeals. And at the end of that road, she would be waiting for him.

Perun rose out of the pool with a gentle smile on his lips. But first, he had to set things right. In his trademark way. Straight to the point. While getting clad, he broke the pact that would take him on the road to Davae.

Re: Travels of a Grown-Up

Drothnan, standing together with Hyleas, watched his mentor from a safe distance - Almar was at Perun's side up on the hill, respectfully keeping a few steps behind him and Chiang as they argued. Drothnan had never seen his teacher this angry before. Actually he had never seen him angry at all. At his side, Hyleas sighed. "Well.. I hope he doesn't do anything rash this time.. Did you see his eyes? He looked like he was ready to take on the entire Karavan encampment by himself.", the youth whispered, nodding up at Perun. Drothnan shook his head in response. "No, he is not that rash.. Or he would already have done it.".

When he heard about the fight that had broken out at Sterga's stand, he had run there, suspecting his teacher was involved. As it turned out, he wasn't - his girlfriend was. There in front of Sterga she had almost burned down a tent and beaten up three refugees, leaving one with bone broken. A guard from the Company of the Broken Spear had restrained her before she could hurt more of the bystanders or Sterga himself. She was known for her spirit yes, and his teacher found that attractive, but the young Miss Mara'Tyr had stepped across a far bigger line than usual this time.

To his left, Hyleas folded his arms, watching Chiang the Strong reply to Perun, the gist of the response being lost due to the neutral manner of the Zorai. "Our teacher is right you know, this punishment brings shame to the Rangers. Did you see Almar's face? He couldn't believe it either.".

Drothnan looked at the fellow youth at his side for a moment before answering. When Hyleas heard about the punishment, he had gone to find Perun at once, being ready to calm and stop him from doing anything reckless. As it was, their teacher hadn't known anything before going into her hut and discovering it for himself. The youngest of the Ranger trainees had stood guard outside that hut, ready to calm him when he exited. They had halfway expected him to charge out in full armour, axe at the ready, running towards the Karavan camp. Luckily for both their teacher and the Rangers in general, that hadn't happened. "Yes, it is not our way Hyleas. But neither is it that easy. What Miss Mara'Tyr did was frankly.. quite bad. We could not really punish her by having her shovel more Mektoub dung, could we?". Hyleas nodded, a slow frown coming to his face as he thought. "No, but.. There are other punishments. Better ones.", he said with youthful certainty. "Even banishment would be more fair. At least that's understandable.".

Drothnan understood him well enough, but unlike the more practical minded Hyleas, he was able to see the politics, tiny as they were, beneath this. "She didn't want to be banished. And when the Karavan suggested to carry out this punishment instead.. There is a balance here Hyleas. The Rangers run the camp yes, but, you know, look at those Kami and Karavan beings.. You have heard the tales - just one of them could lay waste to the entire Ranger contingent here without breaking a sweat.. if they even do sweat.", he added. He knew the Rangers had given in because of expediency, as part of the daily politics that kept the camp running without incident. And he knew his teacher hated this more than anything - hated that the Rangers failed their ideals, regardless how small this case was, in favor of political expediency. Their ideals were exactly what distinguised them from all other homins on Atys - their justification for existing. The ever-idealistic Almar would feel the same as Perun, probably even worse.

Up on the hill, the argument between Perun and Chiang had apparently come to a close. A small throng of refugees had gathered to watch, perhaps mostly so because they all had business with Chiang. Their mentor walked down the hill towards the two waiting Matis. Almar followed, casting one last look at Chiang before bowing and hurring after Perun, his young face kept carefully neutral. Perun's face on the other hand looked like a rolling desert thundercloud, far from his usual jovial way. Drothnan didn't know whether it was Hyleas or Miss Mara'Tyr who had succeeded in calming him the first day, but that he had been calmed was quite fortunate for all of them. "Drothnan, Hyleas.", Perun said by way of greeting as the four Matis met up beneath the hill. "Remember this day. Remember not to sell out on your principles when you are Rangers.", he bade them seriously, Hyleas and Almar nodding sincerely. Drothnan found himself nodding as well. "Yes Sir.", he said, switching to the formal tone they didn't often make use of when alone. "It's done now, it can't be undone, but it will not happen again, Chiang and I agree on this at least.", Perun commented, casting a look of repressed rage toward the Karavan camp before turning back to his three charges. He was visibly trying to appear like his usual self, and only succeeding partly. "Sir?", Hyleas inquired, sensing there was something else.

Perun looked at the three with obvious satisfaction, pride warring with his anger. "Yes, and Chiang tells me he finds your skills and behaviour very much adequate for Ranger trainees. Congratulations, you've passed the midway evaluation.". The three Matis nodded somberly, a serious but obviously pleased, relieved look passing between them. Hyleas even began grinning before he remembered the previous mood. "We depart for the new lands in a few days, to continue your education there. I have been given full leave to teach you as I see fit before your final trials.. And that's exactly what I'm going to do.", their teacher explained with vehement insistence.