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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

The Bard Babe

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  1. Arkin took a few deep breaths, relaxing back into the feeling as much as he could. It wasn't hard to, all things told. It was hard to get himself riled up. More and more, he didn't enjoy this feeling of helplessness, but the good company he was in made it a lot easier to bear. A drink would help even more, but he couldn't reach his flask from here. That could wait. That had to wait. Instead, he focused on the slight pokes and pains of the needle as it dipped in and out of his skin. He was no stranger to being stitched up, though, and Emrin was good at it. This was no rough job that would leave horrid scars, no rush to tie him back together and get the next person on the table before they died too. It was actually quite nice, all things considered. As long as he didn't forget where he was, what he was doing there. Still, the stitching made it easy to focus, and Emrin made it easier still. Arkin laughed. "You don't have to worry about a hit from me, good sir," he said. "You'd barely notice it, I'd wager." It was true. Arkin could certainly hold his own in combat, as his recent scrap showed. But he did better at the beginning of a fight, preferably from somewhere far away, before his foes knew he was there. And with a weapon. That part was utterly essential. Unarmed, the best Arkin could do was run away. Though he was a champion at that. He watched the medic work. He was swift, and focused, and practised. Arkin could see it in those hands. They weren't made for punching either. Made for delicate work. Maybe stitching hunks of meat like Arinth and Arkin back together wasn't quite so delicate, but Arkin saw the clever fingers at work. He worked through Arkin's wounds with a calm efficiency. It reminded Arkin of Jehryn, just a little, but Arkin shoved that thought away. He'd been back in Tanchico enough for one day, he thought. Instead, he watched Emrin tend to the cut on his chest. "Yeah, I'm usually pretty lucky with broken bones," Arkin said. "I think I may have been smacked around the head and fallen off enough walls as a child that I just learned to bounce." He wrinkled his nose at the concoction Emrin slathered over him, staring at it curiously. "What is in that?" he asked. How did plants make you whole and hearty again? It had never made much sense to Arkin. He had never really thought about it before. But he saw plants all the time. Were any of them these plants that could heal wounds? Was that something useful he possibly should have been bringing back to camp for years now? He sniffed again. He was sure he recognised that smell. Maybe it had just been put on him before. "Mmm, yes, there was a sword and an axe and some other milksop in the trees. Just glad they got the non-essentials." He grinned. "All in the service of our glorious leader and good old fashioned fun," he added to Emrin's wonderment of soldiers' mishaps. He had a point. But this was what they were getting paid for, right? "Oh, there's plenty you can do with a scalpel," Arkin said. "Particularly if you drug us up first, looks like. You'd make a fine assassin, I'd wager." He pursed his lips. "Suppose that wouldn't work on a trolloc though, you're right. Think you could handle something a little bigger than a scalpel?" he asked. He gestured vaguely at his belt, trying not to interrupt Emrin's work too much. His brain felt a little fuzzy still, so he wasn't too bothered about the slight laziness in his actions and his tone. "My knives aren't that much bigger I s'pose., and they can handle trollocs alright."
  2. Arkin took the pummelling he deserved while on the floor. Out of habit more than anything else, he checked where his knife had landed. Not one of his best knives. Not one of his best throws, come to think of it. He let his gaze slide to Arinth, looming above him. Everything stank. Arkin stank. Arinth stank. Then again, he always stank. The kitchen staff had vanished - probably for the best, though Arkin didn't doubt they would have solid aim when it came to throwing their food around. Surely that was a highly honed skill developed in the kitchens. Grinning to himself, he felt the pleasant aching of his muscles and the winding down of the energy around them. The fruit simply had to have run out by now. Well, other than what was lying around their battlefield, of course. Quite content at this point to stay where he was and watch the clouds for a while, Arkin sighed when Arinth offered a hand up. Taking it, he pulled, hard enough that he practically flew to his feet. The big man had just enough time to catch a glimpse of Arkin's fruit-filled hand before it spattered right over his face. It was more mush than it was structurally sound at this point, orange flesh mixed with soggy blades of grass. A bit of pulp dripped off Arinth's eyebrow, and Arkin laughed as he leaned against his friend, surveying the damage they had done to the open patch of grass. He waved a hand at the carnage. "An orchard would really add to the Citadel's homely aesthetic, I've always felt."
  3. OOOooooOooh! *downs the MG brew* *hugs Cairos back* Thanks buuuuuddy!
  4. Oh no! I hope you've had a better day than your bad night was ? Always drinks and hugs available round these parts For example, I will be requiring some form of beverage to get through the rest of these papers uuugh
  5. Arkin grinned at Arinth's response. He'd thought he'd like it. He only hoped they both still liked it tomorrow. A laugh bubbled out at that thought, though it quickly turned into a belch, which made him laugh again. There was a tingling warmth suffusing him now, one he wasn't sure was from the alcohol. Glancing over at Arinth, he didn't think he was the only one, although he did think that the alcohol was probably helping Arinth along. Grinning, he leaned back in the chair the artist had provided. The artist hadn't seemed overly amused by them, but once they had a confirmed design, he had focused up, bringing out his tools and prepping Arinth with a professional ease. That was at least encouraging if he was going to draw on them with stabby somethings. It was quiet, out here. They could hear the distant sound of cheers and laughter from the tavern, and the ever-present faint whiff and clank of patrolling guards. And in here, just the familiar sound of Arinth's breathing and the sharp smell of whatever the artist was using. He spoke to Arinth, nonsense things about the evening, awful bar stories he could barely remember, making conversation with the artist, all something of an effort to keep awake in the warmth of the tent. And then, when it became obvious that Arinth was in no position to respond, Arkin just watched. He watched Arinth's eyes droop, utterly relaxed despite the company, trusting Arkin as they always did. He watched the image slowly build up on Arinth's arm, their bond, their brotherhood, made real. He smiled at Arinth as he mentioned the long wait. "I am, for once, perfectly happy to wait." And he was. His limbs were pleasantly aching from the day's activities and their mad dash across the Citadel. His mind was soft around the edges, and quiet, and the memories of Tanchico were muted and dull. They were shared. They were being exorcised as they were drawn onto their skin. Something in him ached when Arinth named them brothers though. It was true. Of course it was. But it had been a very long time since Arkin had had anyone close to calling family. There was a cold part of him that the absence of his sister had long left there, and nothing and no-one could ever warm that. But he had been a child still when he lost her, and as a man, he had never had anything close to it. Brothers in arms, he had had, yes. But Arinth was right. This was more than brothers in arms, now, with their blood spilt for each other and their memories and nightmares made flesh and guarded by the other. Arkin smiled as Arinth glanced up at him, and slightly wobbly, leaned forward to rest his forehead against the infant's. He lightly rapped his fist against his own chest, then against Arinth's. Pushing off the larger man, he half-fell back into his seat, right in time to see the artist pulling back, cleaning off his tools. The artist nodded. "He's done. You're up." Arkin slid wrist wraps and bracelets off, offering up bare skin to the artist. A reminder of his brother on the opposite arm to that of his sister. He yelped at the sharp pain as the artist began, shooting Arinth a quick scowl, but he took a sip from his flask with his free hand, and the pain faded away into the buzz.
  6. Ooh! New person!! *shoulder checks Dicicle on the way to hug the recruit* Ignore the oaf. Except for the part apart the cavs. We are objectively the bestest. I believe my style of combat has mostly involved aggressive tap dancing so ya know, you're fine on that front. And yes, banbuns are good, but try banTEA. Bandy and tea, the best ever. Also, hi, I'm BB!
  7. Arkin lay in wait. He was behind Arinth now, almost perfectly in position. They had been discovered, but that had only been a matter of time. Arkin had been surprised they'd gotten away with it as long as they had, to be honest. He checked again on Pahl, whose hiding spot was really only adequate enough because Arinth's had been worse. And of course, the big man couldn't stay still for longer than a minute. Arkin, on the other hand...He snuck closer, snaking through the undergrowth, a fruit in each hand until the perfect time aaaaand - Splat. He ducked back into the trees, just in time to miss a barrage as their seriously affronted discoverer gaped at Arinth, mouth wide open as sickly sweet fruit ran down their shirt. It had been a very good shot, Arkin thought. Fruit started pelting Arinth - he dodged one well enough, but the others not so much. Arkin took that as his cue to start howling like a madman and make a break for better cover. Besides, he couldn't let Arinth cop all this on his own. That wasn't how they worked. His well intentioned thoughts survived right up until he next glanced at Arinth and saw the big man, dripping with fruit, a melon in each hand, eyes full of malice. Maybe he had misjudged this particular occasion. Arkin scrabbled backwards as not only Arinth, but their discoverer started hefting fruit at him. The first apple went wide, the next fended off with his blade, but in his efforts to dodge Arinth's first hunk of melon, he slipped in some remains of some poor fruit that had never made it to breakfast, and fell onto his rear. He was forced to throw his knife at the chunk of melon to split it, and it blocked his view of the next missile. Yelping, he rolled, barely dodging, and picking up a great deal of dirt with his sticky clothes and skin. One knife down, on the floor, it was all down to dodging now, and Arkin tried his very best. The barrage finally slowed, and Arkin lay back, spread eagle, eyes briefly closed as he caught his breath. They had to be out of fruit now. The sun was far too hot for this sort of smell. Arkin heard it coming, but he merely groaned and snapped his eyes open as Arinth loomed over him. Oh. So he wasn't out then. Arkin just lay there, waving a brief come at me gesture.
  8. Arkin smiled at the suggestion. A fierce bear, hmm? Well it was certainly accurate. He'd know Arinth would pick something that suited him properly if given a moment. He laughed, clapping Arinth on the shoulder. "I suppose that makes me a fox then." But Arkin couldn't help thinking...he didn't need another piece of himself on his skin. Maybe he did. Just something to remind himself during those little times he forgot. Arkin collected memories, in the silk wrapped around his wrist, the bells in his hair, the cords around his neck. But he had never gone this far before. There was something different about this time. He had mostly been going along with this because Arinth had suggested it, but now, he found himself wanting more and more to have a permanent reminder of what had happened to them, what they had survived, not alone, but together. He would never forget it anyway. Tanchico would be a part of him forever. But, he thought as he glanced over at Arinth. Not all of it had been bad. He clapped Arinth on the shoulder again. "The golden tree is the symbol of Tarabon, right? Let's get a tree then, maybe a burning tree, and over that, a bear, and a fox." He squeezed Arinth's shoulder as well as he could when the man was a foot taller and built of muscle, nodding to him. He looked over at the soldier waiting to draw on them. "You think you can do that?"
  9. Yeah I'll tackle that on a laptop haha. *does a little chair dance* I have been first year PhDing and dying haha. How about y'all? Any updates?
  10. Arkin kept an eye on the Banders as they began to mingle with the Tinkers. It was an interesting study. He had begun his evening exactly as expected, rushing in through the crowd as soon as Calder and the Mahdi had completed the formalities. Even just hearing the words had brought a burst of warmth that had moved through him like a wave, a kind of bright light that reminded him of sitting a little too close to the fire, of sore limbs and a golden, warm throat after dancing the night away. It left a kind of ache behind as it rolled through him, an ache that Arkin hadn't quite expected, one that pulled his brow down into the slightest frown. As soon as that shiver had passed, his legs had moved of their own volition towards the fires. There was stew in cookpots, free flowing mead and wine, the coloured wagons and clothes bright. But Arkin had only one destination in mind. There were fiddles and drums and lilting voices around one campfire, surrounded by laughing and easily dancing tinkers. Arkin barely stopped as he ran over, sweeping the closest person up for a dance. And for a little while, he forgot. He was there, singing, laughing, drinking, dancing with the shadows cast by firelight. He forgot the other Banders. He couldn't see them from here anyway. They were still staring around with wide eyes, their armour and weapons too heavy to dance with. But this was where Arkin was meant to exist. And so he danced. Right until his back tore open. It wasn't dramatic or even overly painful. But he felt the still healing wound pull and split as he was slightly too athletic, just a hint of blood sticking his shirt to his back. Grunting, he swung out of the dance, passing his partner onto the next in line and sitting on the log beside the fire. There was a young man beside him, who immediately passed him a wineskin. Arkin took a long pull of it, smiling his thanks under the noise of the music. He handed it back and quickly pulled down his shirt, fingers checking where he had ripped open. It hadn't been much, just the scabbing portion at the top that had yet to heal or scar. Not too hard to reach. The man next to him winced, turning to him and staring with wide eyes. "Are you ok?" he asked. Arkin grinned back at him over his shoulder. "Right as rain! Just forgot not to bend that way for a moment." Arkin watched as the tinker eyed the scars littering Arkin's skin, the extent of the wound on his back that travelled on further than where his partially rucked shirt revealed. The tinker's eyes were wide, one hand tracing an old, thin scar on his shoulder, obvious in the firelight. Those blue eyes filled with sorrow, and a touch of fear, but also interest. Scars like this were the mark of battle, but also of tales to be told. "It's ok," Arkin said, tossing him a wink. "It's a good story." Swallowing, the tinker nodded. He glanced back towards one of the wagons. "One moment," he said. "Wait here." Arkin did as he was told, taking a swig from his own flask of something a little stronger than the tinkers were drinking. He wiped the bit of blood on his fingers off on his pants. He had already stopped bleeding, but he'd have to be more careful. Maybe he shouldn't have tried to spin his partner quite so often. He grinned. Worth it. The young man returned with a few supplies, and asked with his eyes if he was allowed to touch. Arkin nodded, turning his back to him a little so he could fix him up. "You're too kind," Arkin said. He saw the tinker grin and shake his head in his peripheral vision. "No, we can't have the soldiers saying the tinkers do not care for those in need. Though, it seems to me that perhaps you knew that already. A man who can dance our dances, but wears these on his back?" The man ran a light finger over one of Arkin's scars and he shuddered slightly despite the warmth of the fire. He nodded. "It's a tale, to be sure." He paused, wincing at the tinker's ministrations. "I travelled with you for a time. But it was not my story." They were quiet for a while, and Arkin swallowed past the sudden divide he could see between the life he may have had in the wagons and where he was. What he had become. His reverie was broken by a gentle hand, warm against his back, as the tinker righted his shirt. "Will you tell us that story?" he asked. Arkin turned back to face him, righting his shirt as he met the tinker's grin with one of his own. "You cannot tell me that your time with those weapons," he eyed the knives at Arkin's side - he had removed them before dancing, but he was never far from them. "Has taken from you your songs and stories. I can see it in you." He gestured to the space by the fire, where the dancing was winding down. "The stage is yours this evening." Arkin smiled, and shifting his shoulders to check the stitching - good effort - he vaulted up onto the log and gave a bow. "If that would be payment for your kindness, how could I refuse?" The tinkers he had been dancing with all cheered and assembled into an audience, those with instruments quickly picking up on his tune as Arkin launched into a bawdy re-telling of some of the highlights of his tale, embellishing the details, speaking of his drinking buddies, his training, his days with the tinkers, playing up his story as a bumbling fool who stumbled from mistake to mistake, always the solution to one problem causing another, keeping his audience in stitches. There was something different about this though. Standing up like this, he could see the Banders, scattered amongst the tinkers, small knots of armour and gleaming weapons among the swirling colours of the tinkers. It was different. He couldn't pretend they weren't here anymore, losing himself in his past. It was new, but it was strangely comforting having the two parts of his life mingle like this. He began to weave the banders into his story, Arinth becoming his equally bumbling partner in crime, accompanying his misadventures, taking turns leading the other astray. Arinth was far across the camp, speaking with a tinker. But Arkin wove him in anyway. And before he knew, he was at Tanchico. He hadn't meant to speak of Tanchico. He had been carefully avoiding bringing talk of violence of battles into his song. But his tongue seemed to move without him, words spilling from his lips, his throat attempting to seize up and scream and project all at once. Tanchico poured out of him. His audience quieted, the tinkers with wide eyes, the banders who were close enough to hear with tight jaws and eyes closed to memories, or wide-eyed interest from those who hadn't been there. There weren't many to hear it in the noise of the camp, only those in the nearest fires, but Arkin felt it as heat claws its way up his throat and across his face, hot tears pouring from his eyes as he re-lived the memories, as he painted the picture and purged it in a way he hadn't known he needed to until then. He painted the wagons red with blood. His. Jehryn's. Arinth's. The Seanchan's. The thing was, tinker wagons never held blood for long. And he finished. And he bowed. And he left. The tinkers all nodded in understanding as he took his leave, dashing tears away with one hand as he drew his flask out with another. He paused by the young tinker who had helped him, now staring, mildly horrified at the tale he had asked for. Arkin put a hand on his shoulder. "Sometimes I wish I had chosen this path," he said. He shifted his hand onto his cheek. "Thank you." The young man, who had flinched away slightly at his touch, softened, warming. He nodded. Arkin took a deep breath, the air of the camp filling his lungs, and felt...different. Cleansed. The activities continued around the camp, dancing and laughter as the Banders finally relaxed and began to enjoy themselves, Arkin's tiny audience huddled around their fire, someone picking up a lilting flute tune. He felt a little selfish, using them to clean his own conscience, to scrub his soul raw and flash it around, but he also knew that they understood that it had needed to happen. But right now, he needed a drink. Seeing Arinth still deep in conversation, Arkin headed to the deep shadows at the edge of the camp. He slipped up into a tree, quiet as a whisper, and vanished from the sight of anyone below. No-one could find Arkin when he didn't want to be found, even if he was moving carefully with his new stitches. He closed his eyes and took a long, long drink, starting to feel a pleasant buzz flutter over his cheekbones. His ears twitched the same moment the dogs started to bark. Instantly on alert, he dashed through the trees in the direction of the sound. Creaking armour. The faintest shifting in the trees. They were good, but not good enough to hide from dogs. Whoever it was either hadn't known the dogs would be there, or didn't care. As Arkin silently launched through the trees, he spotted them coming. They were fanned out, armed to the teeth, dressed in leathers and piecemeal plate and chain. They weren't the first bandits Arkin had known to attack tinkers, taking what they wanted, knowing they wouldn't fight back. Arkin gave a savage grin. Well, whoever they were, they certainly wouldn't be expecting half an army in amongst the dancers. Arkin glanced back towards the camp, and his grin grew. Darting back through the trees, he dangled from a branch above Arinth, dropping down to stand beside him. He glanced once more back at the camp, the tinkers who had all stood, staring towards the trees, holding each other. "To the wagons!" the Mahdi was calling, and many were scrambling to obey. The Banders were all coming to their feet, not all of them sober, not all of them well-armed, but all turning towards the danger as the colours and light of the tinkers faded behind a wall of armour and swords. Arkin, at the front of the soldiers, the bandits still moving up through the trees, turned to Arinth. He pulled a long, wicked knife from his belt, and held out his hand to Arinth with the other, ready to pull him to his feet. The tattoo they both shared was clear in the lights of the wagons. "Shall we?"
  11. BB Cav!! It's technically still this month? Where's Dice?
  12. GUYS I AM SO CONFUSED BY THE NEW CLUB THING HOW DARE THINGS CHANGE IN MY ABSENCE
  13. I swear I will be making an appearance again reeeeeal soon!! ❤️ to all
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