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Lubidius

Kamar Prequel Thread

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The jungle smells were rich as he stooped low, bow lightly drawn and horizontal to the ground below. Kamar had ventured into this part of Pan Chaka many times, but never tired of the heart-pounding sense of raw nature that enveloped him as the canopy of the jungles loomed above. This is living, he thought. Not all of the politics, chanting, and rabble-rousing of the clan-home in Butrus.

 

Silently looming, the sounds of the jungle enhanced around him. Every twitch and wiggle of the flora and fauna around him amplified to deafening heights. He quickly drew the bow back to full tension, held his breath, and unleashed an arrow into the nearby foliage. A small shriek ensues, then rattled leaves and brush flap about. A good-sized Hma tumbles towards Kamar, it’s last death throws a comical effort to lash out at his feet.

 

The day turns twilight, and Kamar heads home, his recent prize folded, contorted, and roped to a carrying stick, dangling over his right shoulder. At times he switches the gnarled catch to his left ,resting his aching shoulder.

 

As Kamar approaches the gateway to his clan-home, he is met by Aitsae, a 10th circle priest of the clan. He cannot recall a day in his life not seeing the man, his thoughts fall back to childhood lessons, and running away from home to the woods on many an occasion. “Ahhhhh! You are back young one. And I see you’re catch is bigger then the usual fare? Please, take care of your catch and come to my study.”

 

Kamar catches his breath, takes the slain Hma to the kitchen, then washes his hands in a fountain in the clan-house’s central atrium. He quickly dries his hands, washed off as much dirt and grime as possible in a quick wipe, and heads to Aitsae’s study.

 

Aitsae is reading over a message scroll, recently unbound from the looks of it. The local twine used to hold the scroll tight, loose next to his hands. “Ahh, welcome Kamar, take a seat.”

 

After awaiting Kamar’s comfort he continues, “I have an important task for you. We’ve received a request from our brothers and sisters in the Temple of Hmakuyal. They are in need of an armed escort for one of their priestesses. They did not reveal the nature of the ensuing journey, but needless to say, I owe them much given help they gave me on a recent matter of a personal nature. (A look of angst mixed with embarrassment takes over Aitsae’s face). If you have no objection, you will travel immediately to Hmakuyal, and meet your travelling companion at the house of the Great Stone Clan.” An imperative gaze reaches across Aitsae’s face.

<GM Note: Please begin open role-playing. You may continue to freely use NPCs as you see fit in your narrative from here until you reach the Great Stone Clan in Hmakuyal. At that time, we will shift to traditional role-playing.>

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Speaking of place-keepers...

 

...I have a midterm on Tuesday and some projects to catch up on for my other online class. As such, I won't be working on this until Tuesday afternoon at earliest.

 

My ideas are that Kamar will probably think he's done something wrong and ask his priest if he's being punished, then report to his family and be surprised at their happiness at his "promotion." He'll be glum to have say goodbye to his brothers and sisters and a girl he was romancing. He will then set out down the Lushmun Canal by canoe to make a rendezvous with a caravan leaving Butrus for the east, then pack it along the Sakbe road to Hmakuyal with them. He might meet some mysterious Ksarulite schemers along the way and be totally oblivious. Not sure yet. Let me know what you think.

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Predictably, the young acolyte began to fidget. The (unsuccessful) effort he made to compose his broad, open features and conceal his shock and disappointment made the older priest wince internally.

 

“Trá! Tùsmiyálu,” he began, stumbling over the more formal pronoun, “it is a great honor the learned scholar does this humble... ah, seeker of knowledge...”

 

Aitsae took pity on his clan-cousin and interrupted. “Tlá! The temple needs you for your skills with the bow, not with words, and thank our Indigo Lord that it is so! I have known you since dribbled milk down my good tunic at your first naming festival, 'little dragon,' so do not waste my time! What is it you want to say?”

 

Kamár's shoulders slumped a little, and his brow un-knit. He continued to clench and unclench his fists, no doubt unconsciously. Aitsae wondered that his cousin had not gambled away his bow, his arms and all three of his sisters with such obvious “tells,” as often as the boy played at ovánsh-plaques or kévuk-dice in the barracks. “Ah, uncle, I really do appreciate that you trust me with this, ah, responsibility, but I must ask... have I angered you somehow? Am I being... punished?” The boy looked as abashed as a child caught stealing sweet ukó-melon from his mother's cook-bowl.

 

“Lá, boy, would I, your clan-uncle, ship you off to the Forbidden City to be devoured by the Demons of the Dark!? Our temple needs a trustworthy man to travel with this noble priestess and keep her safe, and our reverend superiors have tasked me with finding a man with the appropriate skills. They asked for an acolyte of our Forest Lord specifically. In sending you, I serve them, myself, you and most especially your clan-mothers, those hooting réndu-owls whose squabbling calls should never let me rest a single night should they learn I did not advance your career! It is noble in the eyes of our God and practical, as well! Punishment, he says!”

 

“Yes, uncle, ah, learned scholar! Thank you, uncle!” Kamár bowed and touched his right palm to his forehead in emphatic agreement. “Ah... what should I tell my mothers? How long before I must set out?”

 

“'Immediately' would seem fairly clear, né?” As the boy clearly attempted to muster the nerve to ask another question, Aitsae relented. “Oh, the temple would not expect you to slight your clan-elders. You may take the night to say your goodbyes. But there is a caravan leaving for Úrmish early in the morning, just after there is enough light to keep the slaves from dropping their burdens. You will meet it at the South Gate in the first kíren before dawn and present yourself to our clansman, Vurósha hiVaisúra, from Tumíssa, who is transporting incense and seeds east to trade for military supplies. You will bring your uniform and kit and weapons. Repeat it back!”

 

“I have the night to pay respects to our clan. I will pack my uniform, weapons and kit. I will meet our clan-brother Vurósha hiVaisúra from Tumissa at the South Gate in the first kíren before dawn. He is transporting seeds east to Urmish to trade for military supplies.” Kamár's dark green eyes were squinted nearly shut in painful concentration.

 

“Ssa, ssa. Such a dutiful acolyte might yet escape the slavering maws of the demons, né?” Aitsae chuckled a little at his own mirth. Kamár began to bow and scrape, but Aitsae cut him off with a swipe of his downward-facing left palm. “And one more thing, acolyte—missions to the Holy City are not to be discussed. You are headed east on temple business, and you may say no more. Not even to your clan-mothers or that pretty little cousin on whose bed-roll you will doubtless spend most of this night not resting up for the journey! Mark well my words!”

 

Kamár bowed several times, even more rapidly, until Aitsae feared he might topple over. “Of course, learned scholar! Yes, reverend priest! I shall tell no one!” He backed away, eager to escape, then paused once more. “Ah, am I dismissed, then, reverend--”

 

“Go, boy, go!” roared Aitsae, putting the skittish acolyte to flight. As his running footsteps echoed down the hallway, his elder clapped for a slave. Some cool chumétl and a twist of hnéqu might chase away the headache the acolyte's utter lack of decorum had brought on.

Edited by Purchasemonkey
clarity

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[[I wanted to add as a note that my character was born in The Great Stone clanhouse in Khirgar, but since Hmakuyl is a temple city I don't believe she stays with her clan there. They may not even have a house there. She stays in temple lodgings. So he probably wouldn't meet her at her clanhouse.]]

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[GM Note: I will quietly correct that point in the previous postings on Kamar's behalf (and my own). The two shall meet at the temple in Hmakuyl and NOT the clan house mentioned.]

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Dinner in the refectory was a raucous affair, given the news (or lack thereof) of Kamár's mysterious mission to the east. Predictably, his elder mother (his father's first wife Dalúna) alternately nagged him over his lack of ambition and fretted over his prospects, while his birth-mother Shekkára quietly preened and made certain the servants cooked up his kill and served him an entire one of its six haunches with his favorite airándu-relish.

 

Pi'úr, his father, shared a ceremonial glass of five-year-old másh-brandy with his now-drowsy son and the clan elders. Much was made of “the boy's” loyalty and piety. Much fatherly advice was dispensed as to how to address his betters, what offerings to make for prosperity and good health, and most importantly, what “inducements” to pay his superiors to ensure a swift rise and swifter return home. Kamár's elders made it clear they expected a return on the investments they had made to the hierarchy to produce this change in his fortunes. It was very late by the time he returned to his single small room to pack his belongings and uniform, and he was bemused by the challenge of fitting into his kit the many small gifts pressed upon him.

 

“Surely you were coming to offer me your tearful farewell next, O conquering hero?” Kamár dropped the ceramic jar of Mama-Dalúna's plum-ginger chutney at the sound of his clan-cousin Ma'ála's sardonic but honeyed voice. Reflexes slowed by rich food and expensive brandy, he clutched after it, but it slipped from his grasp, bounced off his kit-bag and rolled across the floor, where it was stopped by Ma'ála's outstretched sandaled foot.

 

“Cousin! You surprised me. I didn't know where you were—you weren't at dinner....” Ma'ála handed the jar back to him.

 

“The Urmicháni will pay good silver for that sauce, you know. You should hold onto it; it gets pricier the further east you go.” She arched an eyebrow expectantly, and was not disappointed.

 

“The temple, ah, uncle Aitsae from the temple, ah, he, they have sent me east on a, a secret mission, which I cannot tell you about. I may be gone a very long time.” He held the jar before him like a shield.

 

Ma'ála rolled her eyes. “I know that, you chlén-turd. I am a priestess of our temple—which is where I've been all night—and I do hear things. It's not as though Uncle's been exactly subtle in casting about for an agent for this mission. You're just lucky I was there to suggest your name, or it would be that oaf Mígor going to Hmákuyal in your place.” She expertly uncoiled her long braids as she spoke, daintily removing glass-and-silver ornaments from her glossy black locks.

 

Kamár goggled. “You mean it was you sending me halfway across Tsolyánu to escort some dried-up old baggage on a secret mission to, to pick flowers or something? I'll be gone for months, maybe even a year, just getting to and from wherever they're sending me!”

 

“Oh, Kamár, you always think so small.” Ma'ála sighed and turned her back to him. “Put down the chutney and help me undo the clasps on this robe,” she commanded, and as he drunkenly fumbled with the hooks and eyes along the join, continued, “and I will enlighten you. The temple is participating in an Imperial expedition, and needs someone with your mix of skills—woodscraft, archery, the lore of animals and plants, and clearly not your ability to handle fine garments!” Exasperated, she turned towards him and slapped his hands away. “As with everything, I will have to do this myself.”

 

“But why are you sending me away? I know I've not got the money or rank what your da' would let me marry you, but I thought we were having a bit of fun while you waited for some high-up noble's son in the hierarchy to make you his second wife.”

 

Sinuously shrugging her way out of the tight-fitting robe that penetrated the haze of alcohol and made the self-pitying young lover miss her all the more, Ma'ála rolled her dark eyes. “I didn't become Aridani just to settle for being some fat old lecher's trophy. I had to stand up for myself and reject the doddering sycophant my parents betrothed me to as a child—you were lucky enough to have your match declare herself a lesbian and march off to war. I shall marry whom I choose, you oblivious imbecile!”

 

As the indigo robe dropped to the floor, she kicked her brightly-painted sandals free. “Has it not occurred to you that escorting a high-clan scholar on a secret Imperial mission might, if you somehow manage to avoid offending the lady's sensibilities and making a hash of things, lead to a promotion which might just mean that my father would finally find you acceptable as a match?”

 

“Ah, well, that is... no, not really.” Kamár's rather bleary-eyed attention was not focused on his clan-cousin's glaring eyes, but rather on her slender and now-naked form.

 

She gave an indelicate and unladylike snort. “Really, darling, please show me that there are some things I don't have to do for myself!”

 

....

 

The expensive and intricate water-clock which was his grandfather's pride awakened Kamár with a start as the tinkling of its chimes echoed through the clan-house. Despite the ache in his head and the awful taste in his mouth (thanks to the másh-brandy), he was yet able to awaken at whatever time he chose (thanks to years of experience at sleeping on demand). As he frantically rushed to pull his breech-clout and kilt on, he noticed that Ma'ála had packed his goods neatly into his kit after he'd slipped into sleep.

 

Panic subsiding, he knelt down next to the sleeping-pad, where his pretty clan-cousin sprawled unawares. Her face was, at rest, peaceful and uncalculating. She murmured unintelligibly as he kissed her forehead and brushed her hair away from her face.

 

“Always thinking, tsámmeri, enough for the both of us. I expect you didn't think how much I'd miss you.” He kissed her one last time and shouldered his kit and crept out of the room to the kitchen to snatch some fry-bread for the road.

Edited by Purchasemonkey

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The journey to Hmákuyal had ached his legs severely. The mash laden haze had all but worn off, but the headache had not. It had slowed his short venture considerably. Kamar had been on journey's of his own making before, but never often to a place such as Hmákuyal. The old and new mixed effortlessly in front of him. Ruins in one area, and a fore-boding temple to the great Lord Ksaral laid in front of him. He could swear that the world grew smaller as he peered at the great doors to the temple. Several priests and attendants meandered in front of the temple doors, one staring at his dirt ridden face; quickly the priest moved along, obviously avoiding any small talk that would ensue. He clung onto his walking staff, carved out of a local brush tree limb. He had carved a small poem, one word at a time as he stopped along the way. His written words sometimes made up for his clumsy speech. As he had brought some dried meat with him, he did not have to stop to hunt. His mind focused again on the task at hand. Knocking at the large temple doors, an attendant opened a slit, asking his name. After quick pleasantries, the attendant walked Kamar to a small barren room, saying... "You may lay your goods over there sir. Here.. " she nods towards a kneeling stool... " you may pray for your good fortunes while you wait. I will find Osure, who is aware now of your intended sojourn." The attendant gave Kamar a slight grin, her cheek bones were higher then most clan women she knew, a nose slightly askew. If not for the miss-shaped knob she would be daringly beautiful.

 

The attendant finds Osure, and bids her to meet Kamar in this meditation room.

 

[GM Note: You may now do an initial exchange, openly role-playing NPC attendants and priests as needed/desired. I will interject once you both have one or two exchanges. Please continue this combined thread here in Kamar's thread. I will then fast-forward your journey to Jakalla timing itself with the others arriving at the docks.]

Edited by Lubidius

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Osure yawns outside the door to the meditation room, pauses to adjust her mask, and rattles the door clappers before entering.

 

The man sitting on the stool is indistinguishable from any other beneath his carapace-like armor and silver mask. After years living in Hmakuyal, Osure is used to identifying her fellow priests and the guards by height and mannerism. She has forgotten how unnerving the formal outfits make first meetings. On the other hand, she is (she hopes) as much of a mystery to him.

 

"You are my assigned guard?" She waits for the nod.

"They told me you were a forester. Can you trap? hunt? tan hides? I need these skills much more than those of a guard. Not that either of us have any real choice in this assignment."

 

The silver mask stares at her for a moment, no sound issues forth. Suddenly, she is recalled to propriety and blushes under her own mask. Her nervousness has made her rush ahead, and speak bruskly; hardly a way to make a good impression on someone to whom she will entrust her life.

 

"Excuse my manners. I am Osure hiKetkolel of the Great Stone Clan. Your name is?"

Edited by Danielle

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Kamár muttered prayers to Lord Mentutékka as he hurriedly washed himself, scrubbing the worst of the dust from his face, hair, chest and arms, and dressed himself in his uniform and mask. He'd taken care to polish and lacquer his gear during the nights on the road, and the silvery paint of the grinning mask gleamed. The indigo and black chlén-hide and bamboo armor was a heavy but familiar weight as he settled it over his arming-jacket and buckled it tight. Beads of sweat burst forth on his lip and brow as he scrambled to prepare himself to meet the great lady who would be his principal.

 

Hearing footsteps in the hall, he knelt on the stool and straightened his back, falling easily into a parade rest. As the aristocratic priestess entered, he observed her sidelong through his masks eyeholes as he stood to attention, then genuflected deeply, attempting to gauge her manner and attitude by her posture and bearing. Her mask concealed her face and age, but she was obviously tall (for a woman) and quite slender, and her long fingers were stained with ink. Her robes were appropriate but not opulent, and she smelled faintly of soap.

 

She snapped questions rapidly, demanding to know whether he were her assigned guard, and as he nodded briefly and marshaled the honorifics to answer, she continued, demanding that he re-affirm possession of the basic skills taught to the barest acolytes of his patron Aspect. He decided that it were wiser to wait, merely nodding briefly to her questions, as she clearly did not expect an inferior to speak in her presence.

 

Unfortunately, she then introduced herself and demanded his name, and he merely stared at her, thinking she would surely continue piling on questions. When she did not, he tentatively ventured an answer.

 

"Otuléngba, tusmiyálu!" he shouted, striking his left chest with his clenched right fist. "This humble guardsman has the honor of bearing the name Kamár hihiMeshkutáne, and is of the Second Circle of the Shrine Guardians! All glory to the Lord of the Blue Shadows!" He did his best to conceal his Chakan accent. "This guardsman awaits the orders of his superior and principal, the Scholar-Priestess Osúre!" He then resumed parade rest, standing stock-still.

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Osúre takes a step back as the martial roar issues forth from the hitherto silent young man. To hide her discomfiture, she busies herself for a moment smoothing her robes, which are stiflingly hot in this weather. She can't imagine what his armor must be like. There is something odd about how he talks, and after a moment Osúre places it as an accent similar to that of a Pan Chakan student of hers from a few years back.

 

"Ngangmuru Kamár. If I may ask, are you from Pan Chaka? I have heard that there are more types of insects in the Chakan jungles than could ever be recorded. Is that true? Have you ever seen a Hlu'un? I have always wanted to dissect one, but have had very poor luck convincing anyone to catch one for me."

 

With only the slightest encouragement from Kamár, Osúre will continue to ask him questions about the Chakan jungles. A few minutes in, she will sit down, remove her mask, and begin to casually fan herself with it. When she finally realizes how much time has passed, she exhibits a shy embarrassment, and jumps back to her feet.

 

"We have been ordered to proceed with all haste to Jakálla. My servant has arranged for two palanquins and barer slaves for the journey; and we could leave today unless you have other business here?"

Edited by Danielle

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OOC: Kamar and I are ready to be introduced to the main thread now. I will be out of town from the 30th to the 13th. I will be able to post, but I'd rather do any big series of introduction to other PC scenes this week if possible

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