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Frozen Sand (Open to all)

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Frozen Sand (Open to all)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 17/8/2018, 20:26

"This is not what I had in mind" muttered a weary blonde, shivering under his scarlet shawl.

It isn't hard to locate the desert, though few venture into it willingly. Just west of Wall Rose, it looms over a rather expansive area. Even before the titans had access to it, it was rather unpopulated due to the harsh conditions. However, those few who did call the desert their home didn't leave when Wall Maria has fallen. 'This is our lands', they said 'And in this land, even the titans may not defeat us'.
According to all accounts, this statement was debatable at best. Some settlements have yet to see a single titan, or managed to elusively escape their wrath using the familiar sands to their advantage. However, there were just as many settlements that were rummaged through by the grotesque, giant beasts.
Because the desert is so far north from the hole in Wall Maria, there are still very few titans roaming about. However, the extremely harsh weather has supercharged these titans, making them faster and deadlier than their southern counterparts.

These days, only desperate merchants and soldiers-in-training make their way in and out of this accursed desert.... and among them, is Mikael.
The foolish, naive free soul that he was, he wanted to see and experience the world to its fullest, even if it meant exploring one of the most radical places in the known world. That was Mikael in a nutshell. Spirited... but ultimately unprepared to face the consequences of his actions.
This was his first night in the desert, accompanied by two individuals, as well as a guide. A larger group would be more likely to be subjected to titan attacks, or so the guide has told them. He has assured them that without him, they would be lost within hours, and die a most horrific death at the hands of the sun... or worse.
Mikael wasn't so sure the desert would be as deadly as he was told. After all, he grew up in The Underground. Still, he did want to stay alive. Very much so.
As they walked that day, the stony terrain slowly gave way to sand, until sandy hills were all that Mikael could see around him, save for a few flags previous travelers have left behind to guide those unfortunate enough to roam the desert.
However, by that point, it was well past night-time, and Mikael felt nearly as cold as he did when he was a homeless child.

"I thought you said the desert was dangerous for its temperature" Mikael complained, eyeing the back of their guide angrily.
"Yes, exactly." replied the weathered guide, not stopping to look behind him "Dreadfully hot during the day, chillingly cold during the night. Such is our mistress, our home."
Mikael sighed and wrapped his shawl closer around him, urging the horse below him on. It was another hour until they stopped for the night, lighting a fire for some respite from the cold.
"It is very important to light fires during the night, even with the beasts about" warned the guide, his large, coal-black eyes glimmering in the camplight "Without one, you'd be dead before the sun rises."
Mikael said nothing, and huddled by the fire. It felt sweeter than a watermelon on a hot day, and Mikael loved those.
"Well," he finally spoke, too curious to keep his mouth shut. He turned to one of the two other travelers, handing over his canteen of water.
"What brings you here?"

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Re: Frozen Sand (Open to all)

Post by Sprw201 on 28/8/2018, 23:13

A journey through the farthest expanses of the walls. The desert. At first glance most people thought it would be easy to deal with, but if anything, the desert was two faced. Instead of being warm all around, it was deceptively cold at night. And yet René was still amazed at how people lived here in this cruel place. There was enough sand here to drown a man, and with the breach in Wall Maria still not closed there presented an ever-present threat. Titans. To the red-haired scout it didn’t seem logical that a titan would be out this far. He was half-hoping that the titans would melt in the heat or freeze in the cold.
René was traveling in a small group which would supposedly gather less attention from roaming titans. Besides him, there were two other individuals in the group besides the guide who blabbed about his skill constantly. One wore a red cloak, which was contrasting to René’s dusty blue cloak. As part of his protocol, he had his hood up and had pinned back loose strands of his hair in order to hide the color. He was on a recon mission for the same person who he’d met at that other titan capture mission. Mika Allurd had heard of the desert and the bizarre way titans behaved. She couldn’t come, so she’d sent him to just observe. This was classified information however, and he was supposed to be telling everyone that he studied desert wildlife for the kingdom’s book research. Which to him seemed a lot more conspicuous, so he’d thrown that idea out of the window and was claiming he was a traveling smithy. Which considering his lanky physique, would be pretty hard to believe.

The group was at least traveling on horseback, and that saved René’s feet from feeling like they were going to burn off. Under his cloak, he wore plain brown pants and a grey button-down shirt. He had a habit of rolling up the sleeves of the button down during the heat of the day and then pulling them down during the night. All in all, he was careful to never let his hood down. There was usually enough of a shadow that only the bottom part of his face would show. But tonight they’d lit a fire for warmth and he had to position himself slightly away from the fire so the light didn’t expose his identity. It was dangerous out here. Who knew why his other two companions were out here? There wasn’t any help nearby, so if a situation did arise, they’d be dead in mere moments. For the sake of the mission’s secrecy, he’d had to leave behind his 3DMG, but instead had a dagger sheathed close under his shirt for rational protection. The night was quiet except for the soft snapping of the fire, until one of his companions spoke out into the night. It was the one with the red cloak.

“Well,”  the man paused, and offered René a canteen filled with water. The man continued before he could accept it with “what brings you here?” The dreaded question that he’d been hoping to avoid. It was inevitable though. The red-head reached out and took the canteen to delay the questioner for a second. After taking a swig, he handed the container back. “I’m actually here for gathering materials. I’m a blacksmith’s apprentice in my town.” He paused for a minute. Hopefully no other questions would arise. Though it seemed a conversation would be starting. “How about you?” In most customs, it was only proper to return a question. Maybe he would get an interesting answer from the man.
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Re: Frozen Sand (Open to all)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 1/9/2018, 12:02

Mikael glanced at the hooded man as he spoke, his sapphire eyes giving away nothing. In truth, he was a little tense to be travelling in such a small group with these mysterious folk. Still, finding out more about them would turn them less mysterious and more friendly.
The crimson-garbed rogue was less than fully convinced by the hooded man's claim of being a travelling smithy. He assumed that those usually had a more bulky physique, but to be completely honest, he never really met one, so he couldn't call the stranger out for his lie.
Besides, it was Mikael's turn to lie.

Mikael chuckled when he was asked about his identity. His chuckle quickly turned into a shudder, however, and he leaned closer to the fire. He didn't understand how the robed man could keep himself from the warmth. Perhaps he was a witch or something.
"Would you believe me if I told you I'm just a curious wanderer?" he finally asked, smiling cheekily at the mysterious, somewhat frightening stranger.
The guide grinned at Mikael through his crooked teeth. "If that is the case, you are a bigger idiot than you seem, and that's quite a feat."
Mikael's smile wavered a little, and blush started seeping into his cheeks. He turned to the guide, his blue eyes now cold. "I wouldn't treat your customers that way, old man."
"Bah," replied the guide, waving his hand in dismissal at the young rogue "I don't fear you. You're in our land now, and without my services you'd be dead before you know it."
Mikael's face grew redder, but he knew better than to speak back. The guide was an arsehole, but he was right. Mikael really couldn't do anything to him... for now. He started imagining the different possibilities for dealing with the scum when they'll finally be out of the desert, and a thin smile returned to his face.

All the while, the fourth companion, a thin-faced man, remained silent. His eyes darted between those who spoke, but not a word emerged from his own mouth. If Mikael were of a more careful nature, he would've noticed this already, but he wasn't particularly on his best day, nor was he feeling threatened. For now, despite being cold and embarrassed, he was quite happy. His dream of exploring the ends of the known world were finally coming into fruition.
Finally.

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Re: Frozen Sand (Open to all)

Post by Sprw201 on 3/9/2018, 03:52

The red-cloaked figure shifted closer to the fire. The night was in it’s thickest now, and the desert’s persistent chill was all around them. And then he explained himself as a curious wanderer. Even taking the liberty to phrase his explanation as a question.

Would you believe me?  

Such burning questions in such an arid climate. The amount of trust that the red-cloaked man offered René was shocking. Just a wanderer….
The man’s explanation only raised more questions for him, but he thought of two that would be the most appropriate to ask.

As the red-head was pondering over his thoughts, he caught the blond haired man and the guide chatting together. And there was something else… their fourth companion hadn’t even spoken yet. Of course, shy people existed so he reminded himself of that fact. They could be overwhelmed or maybe even terrified of the desert. And so René decided to make, or attempt, a quick conversation with the other member of the party.

As he turned to face the fourth, he noticed the man have a thin face and almost unblinking eyes. His eyes were glassy with the reflection of the bonfire and they shifted from person to person. Immediately his first impression was that the man was nervous, possibly even scared of traveling.  

Maybe he’s here against his will.  

“Hi!”  For the fourth, a simple greeting may have been shocking enough to stop his heart. René noticed that the man shifted from the ‘fright’ and tried to cover his terror by turning his body to face the blue-cloaked scout. He seemed to pause for a moment, not quite sure of what to say, until he managed to stutter out a hello back. The scout repeated his explanation of who he was and asked the same questions that he had asked to the blond-haired man. After the fourth managed an explanation, René realised that none of them had ever actually said their names. “My name is…” he faltered for a moment, unsure if he should make up a name. “... Tristan. What are yours?” He’d tried to at least cover up his fake name with a question. Hopefully that was all the other three would be thinking about for now.
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Re: Frozen Sand (Open to all)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 4/9/2018, 11:23

(OOC: Don't be afraid to RP as any of the 'NPCs'. This is your story as much as mine Razz)

The silent man was started by being approached by the hooded one. It appeared things were getting a bit too chummy for his tastes. Still, whether he liked it or not, he was going to be travelling with these people for the next few days.
"H-hello." he finally managed to reply, his glassy eyes looking for companions under the hood, but finding none.
When asked about his profession, he managed to spout that he was a bodyguard that was hired to protect some family in one of the desert towns. The man certainly did not seem thrilled at the prospect of heading into the cruel desert in order to protect some lordling, but he did seem to have the muscle fit for the job.

By now, Mikael was laying on his back, looking at the stars above. He'd never seen such a clear sky before, so devoid of clouds and buildings. It was truly awe-spiring for him, considering stars were symbolic for freedom to him. He was staring at them with his mouth slightly open, a smirk stretched across his lips. He was feeling calm, and happy, and that didn't happen to often.
When he was asked for a name, he believed the circumstances were good enough to use his real name.
"Mikael", he said, not taking his eyes off the stars. However, the bodyguard's attention shifted to the young man who lay under the stars, his eyes intently staring at him, as if looking for a sign.
After a moment he turned back to the hooded man. "My name is Gabriel Weber. You probably haven't heard of me before. I'm not very famous..."

With a bit of struggle, the guide rose to his feet from the sand. "While I'm very happy all of you are enjoying your talks, I suggest you get some shut eye while you can. When we leave, I'll not be stalling for any of you."
The older man smiled his crooked smile once more. "I'll take the first watch. Tristan, you'll be next. I'll wake you up in a few hours."
And with that, the guide turned his back to the party, and sat perched on a nearby rock, a sheperd's stick in his hand.
Michael did not need to be told twice, and was already laying sideways, his eyes closed and a thin smile across his mouth. Whether the desert was dangerous or not, it was certainly beautiful, and that's all that mattered to the young rogue.

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Re: Frozen Sand (Open to all)

Post by Sprw201 on 5/9/2018, 03:00

Being on watch didn’t surprise René, but second watch would be a stretch. He wasn’t tired, but if he was going to keep vigilant, he would have to try and sleep. He spared a glance at his other companions. Mikael was already asleep on his side, and Gabriel was trying to get himself settled. The poor man still looked shaken up. Though the red head was confused as to why a man of his stature would fear anything. Maybe it was a ploy. Their guide had perched himself on a rock, the evil looking curve on his staff in his hand in case of attack.

As he shifted himself into a lying position on the sand, he decided to leave his back to the fire. If anything snuck up on him, he’d rather be woken to looking at it rather than being stabbed in the back. The desert was such a cheery place. Having to watch your back every second sounded pleasure-filled. He adjusted the hood on his cloak so it wouldn’t fall back in a panic. And with a chilly breeze all around, he drifted into sleep.

It only felt like a second, but soon he felt the guide’s calloused hand on his shoulder, shaking him awake. “Your turn for the watch. Stay for a few and then wake somebody else when you want to change places.” René nodded, maneuvering into a sitting position and brushing the sand off. Somehow he’d managed to get some in his mouth because when he swallowed he could feel the grit against his teeth. As he passed the guide, who took his place in the sand, the weathered figure handed him the shepherd’s staff. “Insurance,” he mumbled as the sand clouded around him.

He didn’t expect that anything would show up, but the guide’s staff was well appreciated. For him, it was actually comforting to have the weight of the wood in his palms. He knew if anything did show up, he’d at least not be going up against anything empty handed. What exactly did one do during a watch? Think things over? Ponder existence? Just sit there quietly?? He decided to take the same post that the guide had been at. Perching himself on the rock was a relief, but he was concerned about the lack of light. He could only see a certain distance into the unending night, and while the firelight made it easier to see closer to it, it made everything past the perimeter of light seem all the darker. René made the decision to circle the campfire once or twice during his shift, not only to see how his companions were doing, but also to make sure that the space around the fire wasn’t compromised. So far it was a peaceful and quiet night, and although he had no pocket watch to judge the time from, he almost felt like his shift was almost up.

Of course… he’d rather stay an extra few minutes or so than shortchange himself and make himself seem like a slacker to the others. He had glimpsed Mikael looking at the sky earlier. What was up there? As he tilted his head back, his hood fell back, allowing him to gaze deeper into the starry night. And he couldn’t help but think of how beautiful it was. Above him stretched a never-ending cosmos that expanded far beyond his vision. Just like the desert. He wanted to continue to oggle at space, but he felt weary from pointlessly looking into nowhere. And so he trudged back towards the fire to wake up Mikael for the next watch. He would have woken up Gabriel, but the poor man looked skittish enough in the daylight and he wasn’t keen enough to die alone in the desert. Gently, he knelt down beside the crimson cloaked blonde and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Hey. Mikael? It’s your turn for the watch.” Once he woke up, René planned on passing down the staff to him like the guide had before. It was for the best.
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Re: Frozen Sand (Open to all)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 6/9/2018, 14:19

...Dim lights...
It was The Underground. Mikael could recognize it instantly. He tasted the dust in the cold air, and felt the cave walls close all around him. He was on the stairs leading to the world above, at the very top a faint light.
However, he wasn't alone. On his way up, he recognized three figures waiting for him.
As he slowly walked forward, the figures took shape, mist-like. A girl was standing over two kneeling men, a white dagger in her hand.
Mikael's steps faltered. He gazed up, eyes wide, too overcome by feelings to step any closer. He struggled to speak words, that simply did not come.
Sofia brushed a stray red hair behind her ear and stepped down to the dumbfounded Mikael. Silently, she slid her hand to grasp his, and led him to the kneeling pair.

Alan and Cord knelt side by side, so different and yet so alike. On their faces was the same reluctant smile that seemed all too natural. They weren't afraid.
Sofia placed the white knife into the palm of his hand, and gently closed his fingers around it with her own.
"You know what you have to do" she spoke with a sympathetic tone, breaking the accursed silence.
"Sofia...." Mikael managed to say, looking at his love who returned from the dead. Her throat was slit, but she was still very much alive, and in her eyes he saw the same calm he always loved.
He turned to Alan and Cord, the two brethren he betrayed and killed for his own sake. Was he willing to do it again? Was this the only way he could be reunited with Sofia?
Mikael started sobbing. First quietly, then his sobs turned to a wail of grief.
"T-this isn't real, is it?" he asked as he turned back to Sofia. Her previously pleasant face was now plain and pale. She stared out into the nothingness, her mouth gaping for breaths she could not take.

Suddenly, the very walls shook, and it seemed the ground started moving and turning under their feet. The staircase began rotating, and Mikael flattened himself and grabbed the coarse, rocky steps with all his power. He turned his head below, and watched in horror as Sofia, Cord, and Alan all plummeted down, crashing through a large window that was not there before.
As they were falling, they screamed his name, voices united in a harmony of hatred and anger.
"MIKAEL! MIKAEL! MIKAEL!"

A hand was placed on his shoulder.
"Hey. Mikael? It’s your turn for the watch.”
Mikael awoke in a total panic, rolled aside and slid back before he could understand what was happening. Above him loomed a young man, looking rather bewildered. Mikael looked at him aghast, like there was a ghost before him. However, slowly he regained composure and remembered where he was and what he was doing, and that it was just another awful nightmare.
He managed a weak, embarrassed smile at the currently unhooded man. "Sorry about that... Tristan, was it? I don't take well to being woken up."
He chuckled and rose to his feet, brushing the sand off his clothes. He must never appear weak. Especially not here.
"I take it no biggies attacked us during the night? Good to know."

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Re: Frozen Sand (Open to all)

Post by Sprw201 on 19/9/2018, 01:06

Mikael thrashed out of René’s grip. Naturally, the man has rolled away from the thing that had awoken him. The brief moment of fear upon his face had told the red-haired scout all he needed to know. Mikael had seen hell just like he had. The blonde’s face morphed into an embarrassed line of a half-smile.  “Sorry about that… Tristan, was it? I don’t take well to being woken up.” René was taller than his companion, but Mikael’s presence loomed over him. He felt like he was going to drown. Not taking well to being woken up sounded strange to him. There was only one other person he even had the option of waking up. There was… there was no other choice but to wake someone up.

He was so obsessed with his panicky rambling that he almost didn’t even hear Mikael ask him the question of, “I take it no biggies attacked us during the night? Good to know.” He visibly jumped. “Huh? Oh yea. Nothing out of the ordinary. Though the guide was kind enough to lend me his staff in case anything tried to attack us.”  He extended his arm and offered it to Mikael. “You should have it for the next shift.”

Once everything was settled, René lowered himself into the sand where Mikael had been. Before he would have taken his original spot, be he’d remembered that the guide had taken it for its warmth. Warmth…. Right now all the scout’s body wanted was heat. He was trembling in every limb and he found that all his strength was left to falling into a deep sleep.
Drifting, he almost felt weightless in his exhaustion. His sleep was feverish, perhaps he was secretly worried about his other companions. They’d introduced themselves to each other, but did they really know each other. What if one of them was out there for blood? He couldn’t outrule any options, but Gabriel seemed a likely option. Who looked around that dodgely? He didn’t even look like he wanted to be here! He turned over during the middle of the night, glancing at each of his fellow travelers. All except the one on watch were asleep. Probably because it’s night time René, that’s what most people usually do. Exhaling, he felt somewhat more at rest, and he reminded himself that he could make it through the night.
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Re: Frozen Sand (Open to all)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 19/9/2018, 19:29

It seemed the red-haired man was rather worried by the whole affair, as if many words were flooding his mind as he stood in silence and gazed at Mikael. When the rogue asked about the titans, however, it seemed enough to snap him out of his inner turmoil.
“Huh? Oh yea. Nothing out of the ordinary. Though the guide was kind enough to lend me his staff in case anything tried to attack us.” The strange man offered the stick to the rather bewildered Mikael “You should have it for the next shift.”
Mikael gazed at Tristan for a moment, and then turned his eyes to the stick. He let out rolling laughter, much less to the delight of those trying to sleep.
As he struggled to gasp for air and recover from his whimsical spasm, he grabbed the stick with one hand and dismissed Tristan with the other. "Sorry, sorry-" he apologized, a wide smile still spread on his face "I'll be sure to slay any titan brave enough to cross sticks with me."
Smirking, he turned and walked over to the nearby rock. Rather than sit on top of it, he decided he'd rather lean his back against it, and sit in the shifting sands.

A whole has passed, but it only felt like a moment for Mikael. He was still trying to figure out what that nightmare was all about. He only remembered bits and pieces.... But it felt so real, so overwhelming...
Mikael was rather certain he's had this nightmare before. It was hard to tell. He has had so many nightmares in the past couple of months that they all sort of just blended together into one horrific, scarring mess.
Mikael sighed and lifted his head, letting the chilling desert winds into the folds of his shawl. He breathed in deep the cold air around him, and let it out slowly, carefully. He was free. Completely free. Free to roam the world, no obligation, no family, no loose ends... And yet....
The only cage remaining was in his head. A cage that wasn't real, a cage built bar by bar from regrets and shame. He wanted to find some sort of closure from those he hurt... But he couldn't, because they were dead. They were dead - and he wasn't. because they were dead, he wasn't, or so he liked to believe.

Mikael shook his head, and set his sights on the horizon. He mustn't think like that. He was free to do whatever he wanted, right? So why spend that time lamenting about what could've been?
He spotted a small shadowy hill on the distant horizon. For a split second, fear grasped his heart - could that be a titan? But as he continued staring he saw no movement, none at all. He sighed, relieved to understand it was just a distant rock.
The cold winds rose once more, and attacked Mikael like a chilling wave.
Frowning, he huddled low and hugged his legs closer. He looked over at the fire, that was starting to dwindle at this point. Suddenly, he saw the thin shadow fingers moving. He rose abruptly from the rock, and spotted a small dark creature slowly making its way by the fire. Mikael had never seen something like it before, but it looked like a big spider with a strong, spike-ended tail. Mikael sneaked closer, part afraid and part curious. It was long, and had tiny claws on its front. Whatever it was, it seemed slightly dangerous. After coming to that assumption, it wasn't long until Mikael swung his stick hard and hit the weird creature. With a small thud, the creature flew through the air and landed in the fires. Mikael stood his ground and watched the fires for a while. The creature didn't return from the fire.
"Huh." he finally said, making his way back to the stone. He looked over at the stick and smiled to himself "Not bad at all..."
He sat down on the rock itself now, far more wary of what could be roaming in the sands.

It was a few hours until he woke up Gabriel, and passed down to him the great weapon he inherited from Tristan. Wearier than when he began his sleep, he rolled into a ball and returned to slumber. Thankfully, no more nightmares came to find him.

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Re: Frozen Sand (Open to all)

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