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Wanderers and Wilderness ~ Cor


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Afternoon had just arrived, bringing with it lengthening shadows that somehow seemed to enhance the beauty of the outdoors. Trees glittered and sang as their leaves swished together and the musical voices of many flying creatures ebbed continuously on the softly sighing wind. Drelana lost herself in it all, as though she were not some naturally corrupt human, but one of the magical things that resided untamed beyond the realms of cities and settlements. It had been a wonderful day, just as every day she spent among nature had been. Drelana’s muscles ached slightly at the rushing pace she had set all morning and there was a vague gnawing in her stomach, but she was in rapture. She was flying.


The young woman began to slow reluctantly as she neared her northern destination, thinking of a day a few years ago when she had told her father that she would not be staying with them, that she had decided to leave to pursue her dream of learning more about what she had some small amount of knowledge of, and smiled sadly recalling how difficult it had been for them both. Immediately after that she had taken to traveling as a distraction from worries for her sister and grief for her uncle.


Drelana wished she had gone to live with her uncle earlier than she had so that she could’ve been trained more. He might’ve had the chance to see her quite skilled had she had those extra years of training; which was actually why she found herself in a land she might never have desired to go. She wanted to learn about the different terrain that different parts of the world held, and she wanted to find someone to teach her a little more and she had heard that there were many fighters in Cairhien and figured a fighter would be able to help her. And so the young huntress found herself in this dreaful, war-filled nation of suffering people and of people who inflicted suffering.


Drelana crept into a large copse to find something to shoot; having neglected to eat even a small morsel of bread for breakfast, her hunger was escalating and she looked foreword to having some meat for brunch. She took off her cloak so that she could creep into little spaces without it getting caught on branches, tucked it into her pack and then put an arrow to her bow, before creeping into where the vegetation ran thicker. The young huntress managed to reach a clearing before she detected any sign of something she could eat and then just a few paces from where she stood she sighted a rabbit, raised her bow and pulled the arrow back, pulling in a breath as she did so. Drelana fell into deep concentration becoming utterly unaware of her surroundings, save for the little creature she hunted. She no longer felt the breeze stirring her loose, dark hair, no longer noticed the sun warming her cheek, or heard the music of birds and insects. She knew not that she had been being watched, and was now completely unaware of the stranger who lurked nearby.


OOC: Hope it's ok; tell me if you'd like me to change anything^




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Cor sat on his heels, as motionless and unnoticed as the bushes the wetlander was walking through.


He had kept her under his eyes for some time now, but he was as invisible to her as if he were on the far side of the Dragonwall. She ran well for a wetlander, and it had been her running that first caught his attention. He had only followed her to see what she was up to. These wetlanders were often crazy as a Shaido after too much oos’quai, and it paid to stay wary and watchful.


Especially with a wetlander who could run.


Now he watched her carefully as she stalked through the undergrowth. She moved well, and it wasn’t long before she found prey. However, she was blind. She saw nothing but what she expected to see, which he had found normal on this side of the Dragonwall. The wetlanders don’t use their eyes, the young Stone Dog thought for at least the thousandth time since he had left the Threefold Land. At one point, he could have reached out and touched her as she walked past, but he didn’t want to startle her with an arrow nocked. Who knew how she might react? And he had no need to see if wetlander honor would earn him a gai’shain.


Nei’din was lounging in the shade off in the distance, unconcerned and napping because his belly was full. But if Cor were to wager, he doubted the huntress suspected that two other dangerous predators were anywhere nearby.


He waited, as patient as only an Aiel can be, as patient as a stone. When she released her arrow, which flew true as he had suspected it would, he coughed to reveal his presence just before she took a step toward her prey. It wouldn’t be polite to spook her.


At the unexpected sound, her head whipped around but her eyes once again missed him. The tans and grays of his cad’insor faded into the background, and his motionless body didn’t draw the eye. She scanned the undergrowth but turned away before she spied him. Cor coughed again, and the huntress’ eyes grew wide with uncertainty, perhaps even a touch of fear, as she reached to draw another arrow and frantically scanned for the source of the noise.


Before her hand reached her quiver, he stood and spoke.


“I see you, wetlander,” he said with just a touch of humor as he stepped into the open. Then with unmistakable mirth in his voice, he added, “And now you see me. Uhm, there’s no need for that,” he continued as he pointed to the arrow she had drawn. “I only want to talk, and I’d hate to dance when the pipers aren’t here to play. I am Cor, a Stone Dog of the Deep Shade sept of the Dragonmount Aiel. May you find water and shade this day.”

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Drelana was startled to hear what sounded like a cough from among the shrubs nearby. Her eyes flashed in the direction, but she quickly dismissed the sound as some sort of animal or the cracking of branches being pushed together by the breeze when she failed to recognize anything out-of-ordinary. The young woman turned casually and was about to approach her croaking prey when the cough sounded again, clear and unmistakable this time. She spun, raising her bow as anxiety began to take hold when she couldn’t see anyone. And then the stranger emerged and Drelana became momentarily paralyzed by the sight before her.


“I see you, wetlander,” said a shockingly tall man (and Drelana was considered by no means short for a woman) as he straightened, a fierce-looking beast materializing at his side. The man had flame-colored hair that stood out in sharp contrast to his bright blue eyes; and skin tanned golden by the sun. His familiar was just as striking, a predator, by its appearance, and of deadly fighting potential, a creature of the like Drelana could never recall laying eyes on herself. An unearthly beam of sunlight shining down on the almost god-like pair enhanced the sudden strange idea the young woman got that this was a visitation by some beautiful, though possibly evil, storybook apparition. She was as awed as she was frightened.


“I only want to talk, and I’d hate to dance when the pipers aren’t here to play. I am Cor, a Stone Dog of the Deep Shade sept of the Dragonmount Aiel. May you find water and shade this day.”


The cheerful introduction enlightened Drelana as to his origins, and she couldn’t help but believe that part of what he said since, now that she thought about it, everything about him seemed to fit the descriptions she had heard of Aiel; everything except the beast. However, the huntress still felt uneasy around the man; but she knew that holding the bow up at him was sure to get either him or his pet agitated, so she returned the arrow to the quiver at her hip and swung the bow onto her back, complying to his suggestion.


Drelana took a couple of careful steps forward, saying, “My name is Drelana, I am from the southern land of Tear and I am a huntress. But just because I’m a woman and I’m young doesn’t mean I’m fool enough to trust an armed stranger, Master Cor,” she paused, violet eyes cold and wary, then said, “Make yourself vulnerable.”


Drelana doubted he would acquiesce. Even if he does disarm himself he is far from vulnerable.   It was an effort for her not to rest her hand on the hilt of the dirk, or slip out the knife she had hidden beneath her leather vest. Drelana looked him up and down and realized that her best bet would be to run if he attacked her, though she highly doubted she could outrun the towering man, much less the lion. Unease threatened to take hold and she fought it off as she silently hoped what he said was true and that she had not offended him.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Looking at the huntress and seeing the fear in her stance, the uncertainty in her eyes, he was struck by the image of a rabbit that had just seen a hawk’s shadow, uncertain of whether to run or hide. Then he heard the strength in her voice and took note of the boldness of her demand, even though it was a bluff, and revised his opinion upward.


Not a rabbit, then. She is a lioness in strange territory, unsure of who is friend or foe he thought.


He found the thought especially amusing under the circumstances, and he was sure it showed on his face. Wetlanders rarely noticed anything, but he knew that he had a ready smile and eyes that often twinkled with mischief if she but looked. Still, her demand was funny and daring, and he found himself liking the wetlander woman. Of course, he still might have to kill her, but she would be the one to decide if they were to dance together. Until then, he would enjoy the day. He had no desire to wash the spears.


He responded with a joke as he stepped forward, easily within arm’s reach of her. Despite her apprehension, she did not back away. He admired her even more for that. Many a wetlander quailed in fear at the approach of an Aiel.


“Perhaps I am the one who is in danger,” he said, the humor in his voice unmistakable. “And it is you who should ‘make yourself vulnerable.’ Are you young, then? I can hardly tell sometimes with wetlander women, but I would be beaten within an inch of my life if I ever thought a woman couldn’t be dangerous. I take it you have never met a Maiden, Drelana huntress of Tear.”


At the questioning look in her eyes, Cor knew he had hit the mark dead center. Furthermore, he suspected she was actually older than him. “I have told you I have no wish to dance with you today, but I will not throw down my spears for you either. Next, you would have me sing for you.”


The look of utter bewilderment on her face made him laugh out loud. “I am sorry. Do not be offended. I sometimes forget how different your customs are on this side of the Dragonwall. But before I confuse you further, perhaps you should attend to your rabbit. Otherwise, Nei’din might decide it’s fair game. About all he’s good for is eating, sleeping, and scratching himself. Like most males, come to think of it.”


Chuckling at the taunts he was giving to his little brother, Cor reached down and scratched behind the great lion’s ears. He was huge now, over six hundred stone of lean muscle, but Cor often teased him about getting fat. It was so funny he shared another joke.


“He has grown so fat and lazy here in these soft wetlands, he will probably starve to death when we go home. Come to think of it, I probably will to.”


Laughing some more, and earning another odd look from his just-met companion, he wondered why she hadn’t even cracked a smile at his jests. Maybe she doesn’t have a sense of humor. Many wetlanders didn’t, he knew. More likely she thinks I am touched in the head. It was a fair assessment, because he often thought that himself.


The Wise Ones just said he thought too much and threatened to send him to Rhuidean.


Squatting on his heels, he watched her gut the rabbit and wondered what surprises today had in store.

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