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Group A Hunter's Duel

Discussion in 'Rauru Village' started by Varus, Jul 28, 2018.

  1. It had been nearly two weeks since Varus' encounter with the two Lizalfos just outside of the village, and his time with Tabitha in the forest. He had been in hiding, only returning to his house once, as to not lead whomever might be following him right to it. He lived off the land and hunted, as he had done his entire life, with his wolf Harma, his only companion. He continued to collect herbs here and there, subconsciously wanting to go back to Mrs. Tweed, but he did not want to involve her in his plight. After this time had passed, Varus determined that he was no longer being followed or hunted in the forest, and decided that it would be best to slowly go back to his regular routine. He picked up the large bag of herbs that he had collected, along with the meat of a few fresh kills, and began to head back to Raru.

    His first priority was to see Mrs. Tweed who was probably worried sick for him, and mad that he hadn't come around with fresh herbs and food in two weeks. He smiled at the thought of getting to see his friend again. He took a different route to the city, a very difficult and potentially dangerous path through the forest that only he knew of. This provided him with a feeling of security, something that he welcomed at this time. The path lead him to the opposite side of Raru from where his encounter with the Lizalfos was earlier. He entered through a small and not commonly used gate and proceeded towards Mrs. Tweed's herb shop. Moving between alleys and remaining vigilant for anyone following him.
     
  2. Squamata

    Squamata Honorless Warrior
    Lizalfos

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    Quill
    Rachel
    Well, this had taken longer than she'd expected. Squamata had left Moone behind in the Moblin cave thinking that she'd be back in a few hours, maybe a couple days at most. Varus had only run away a day before, and she was a skilled hunter. He couldn't have gone that far- surely she'd be able to track him down and kill him in short order. But things hadn't worked out like that. Varus' tracks weren't obvious signs of a human blundering through a forest he'd scarcely visited. She wasn't able to just glance down and see his path, a conveniently straight trail through the woods she could follow without breaking stride. No. If his trail was anything to go by, Varus was more a shadow than anything else. The signs he left behind were frighteningly scarce, and it often took Squamata many minutes combing over a scene to find a bent twig or depressed moss that signaled his direction. The Wolfos that accompanied him had proved far easier to track, and she'd resorted to trailing it instead of him. The only problem was that the Wolfos often went on long, rambling trips through the woods (presumably to hunt), and Squamata had no way of knowing whether this was in the man's company or not. It was tedious, frustrating, and exhilarating. What had begun as a simple hunt for justice turned into a thrilling chase, and Squamata was eager to prove her skills superior by finally catching this elusive archer.

    Varus' trail took her on a long, meandering trip through the forest, and more than once Squamata wondered whether she'd lost the man altogether. There seemed no end destination in mind, and if it weren't for the occasional dead animal that had been stripped of all its meat and the patch of herbs that had been recently stripped she might've thought she'd accidentally started on a wild goose chase. Eventually, however, the trees thinned, and Squamata found herself staring at something she'd hoped never to lay eyes on again: the city of Rauru.

    She sighed and double checked the latest sign of Varus' passage. There was no doubt- he was in there. "Let's hope they don't chuck me out again," she said. She hadn't done anything wrong, but the guards had still taken issue with a Lizalfos wandering around their city. Hopefully this time would be different.

    Squamata hesitated just before entering. How was she supposed to find him? The tracks had been growing fresh recently, and she knew she was only a little ways behind him, but still. There would be no trail here like there had been in the forest. Stone did not hold bootprints like mud or moss. But last she knew, that Wolfos was still with him. That would leave a trail of a different kind.

    "I'm coming for you, killer."
     
  3. It was close to dusk, and Mrs. Tweed would be closing soon, but that was fine. Varus didn't plan to stay long. He took to the shadows like it was his lifeline, keeping vigilant of wandering eyes or signs of a being followed. The path took him through hidden alleys, small streets in the outskirts, and only sparingly across busier streets. He kept his senses extended listening out for the tiniest detail that seemed unnatural or out of place. He changed his path many times ending up crossing past places he had been before, or freezing for periods of time to feel out his surroundings. He had always know there was a possibility he would be tracked by sent, which is why, in the forest he always kept himself downwind from his previous path and always shrouded himself with the sent of the forest. This was less of a concern in the city however, as he assumed that the thick smells of the city would hide his sent to any hounds or animals that would track him this way. Even still, he was cautious and his path lead him past several spice shops and kitchens that would blind a possible tracker's sense of smell, likely leading leading them astray, or losing his and Harma's scents entirely. He grew confident that he was not being followed, but remained wary the whole way as the last person he wanted involved was Mrs. Tweed.

    After well over an hour of circling the city Varus finally arrived at Mrs. Tweed's Herb shop. A sense of relief washed over Varus as he approached the small two storey building Mrs. Tweed called he home. He rejoiced in every familiar and comforting detail: from the vine plants growing on the balcony above them, to the beautifully cultivated flowers out front, to the greenhouse built out to the side filled with herbs, to the sweet smell of the Honeysuckle tree nearby, to the chime of the bell as he opened the front door, to the small table in front of the window, to simple wooden counter where Mrs. Tweed worked, to the shelves filled with Herbs and concoctions, to the open doorway which lead to the drying racks in the back, to the pleasant voice of the old woman herself stepping from the back room. "Hold on! Hold on! I'll just be a minute! Wait aren't I supposed to close now anyway? Bah, whatever just..."

    Mrs. Tweed froze as she saw Varus. He began to open his mouth but she placed her hands on her hips and spoke first. "Well where the heck have you been," again Varus opened his mouth, but once again he was interrupted, "Do you know what I've been through since you were gone?" Varus began to fear that she had already gotten involved, "I had to go down to that grumpy old butcher down the street for a decent meal, and i'm out of Moonberries again, and i'm low on Chamomile, Chickweed, Chuchu jelly, and feverfew. And..." Varus lowered his head in preparation for another barrage of reasons to be mad at him, but was surprised when he found himself grappled between her arms with a slight smile on her face. "You made me so worried for you." He hugged her back, feeling the warm love of a motherly embrace. She pulled back saying, "This calls for tea." She hurried to the back coming out with a fresh pot of evening tea, that she had presumptuously made for herself, and two small cups. She sat down at the table next to Varus. He asked, "So how have you been for the past week?" Sensing the opportunity to talk about herself and feeling Varus' wanting to avoid questions about his time away, she started recounting the week's experiences, prattling on and falling into side stories which spawn more side talk, as many old women do. Varus smiled, happy to be comfortable once again, in the presence of a friend.
     
  4. Squamata

    Squamata Honorless Warrior
    Lizalfos

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    Quill
    Rachel
    Squamata kicked a bucket down an alleyway. Damn it! Varus was either onto her or he was paranoid as well as psychotic. It had been bad enough when he’d meandered all through the forest before finally ducking into Rauru through a back gate, but now he was doing the same in the city. Squamata hated the city. It was loud, smelly, and most importantly, full of people who hated her. Not her specifically, but anyone who wasn’t soft, pink, and fleshy. Or a slimy fish-person, they probably got along with the stupid Zora just fine.

    She stood by a line of stalls, struggling to sort through the barrage of smells assaulting her all at once. It was hard to smell anything through the nearest stall, which was sizzling chicken balls in a searingly spicy hot sauce. Her stomach rumbled distractingly, and Squamata was forced to admit defeat. She wouldn’t be able to follow Varus’ scent through the city. But there was the Wolfos… she knew it was with him from a few strands she’d found in one of the many alleys Varus’ trail had led her through. No, she couldn’t follow the Wolfos by scent either, but it was a giant freaking monster wolf. People would remember that.

    And they did. The problem was getting the information out of them without being so threatening that the guards took notice and chucked her out again. Squamata couldn’t hurt any of the townspeople or frighten them too much. She did her best to smile, but most of the townsfolk wouldn’t tell her anything, especially not when they realized she hadn’t any rupees to buy anything with. But some talked, and a few more told her enough with unconscious flicks of the eye toward an alley or another. It took her a long time, and more than once she had to beat a hasty retreat at the sight of a guard or two walking her way, but eventually she managed to track Varus to a two-storied store with herbs and flowers growing out of every nook and cranny.

    She stood in front of the door, her claws tapping against the cool cobblestones as she contemplated the building. This street only had two entrances. A homeless man had seen the Wolfos and a large Hylian dart through one, so she knew they’d gone down here. Facing the other entrance on the road this street dumped out on was a jewelry store, and the greeter outside had been so shocked at the idea of a Wolfos walking through the city that Squamata was reasonably certain Varus hadn’t exited the street. She’d checked around anyway just in case the greeter had missed them and had found no clues. Either the man had gone through one of the houses on this street and up onto the rooftops or he was in here. It was the only shop on the street, the only publicly accessible building. She wasn’t sure he was inside, but it was very likely, especially when she remembered the patches of plucked herbs she’d come across in the forest. This was an Herbs shop- perhaps Varus made money as a gatherer of some kind.

    Squamata stepped up onto the doorstep and paused. Kneeling down, she ran a claw along a small puddle, barely an inch wide and almost completely dried. She lowered her face to the stone and sniffed. Wolfos slobber. So, they were here after all.

    There was a window to the side, its wooden frame lined with vines of sweet smelling flowers. Squamata glided over and stood next to it, her back against the wall, her eyes closed, listening.

    Two voices: a man’s and a woman’s. The woman was likely old, judging by its sound, and she talked much more than the man. She hadn’t heard Varus speak much, but she was pretty sure that the man she heard was him. She stayed there, perfectly still amid the flowers, listening for several minutes. She didn’t hear a single other person in there, though she did make out the Wolfos’ pants from time to time.

    A thrill of satisfaction coursed through her. She’d done it. She’d finally pinned down Varus, and by the sound of things he was totally unaware of her. Adrenaline beat through her with each quickened heartbeat, but she maintained control and kept her motionless vigil. What now? That Wolfos never seemed to leave Varus’ side, and two against one were odds she didn’t like. Varus was an archer, judging from how he’d disposed of those Moblins (and the other dead forest creatures he’d hunted over the last weeks), and since Squamata couldn’t use any weapons but her fists and her iron arm guard he’d have the advantage unless she kept things close.

    She was definitely in a bad spot. The Wolfos could hound her and press her back while Varus made distance and shot her from afar. Not to mention if she fought openly in the city the guards would surely hang her. Finding the killer was nothing if she couldn’t stop him from attempting to murder another of her kind- she had to put him down.

    Squamata smiled and finally pushed off the wall. She crossed back to the front door. There was an ideal environment right at hand that would solve all her worries. “Excuse me,” she said, pitching her voice up a bit and dampening her Midoran accent, “are you still open? I’m looking for some chickweed, my sister’s having her monthly pains and says it’s the only thing that helps. Hello?”
     
  5. Mrs. Tweed continued to prattle on about her time for the past week when a voice came from the front door. Varus jumped up startled, and glared for a moment, before Mrs. Tweed stood up and placed a hand on his shoulder with a warm smile, calming him down. She walked towards the door after he had calmed saying, "Oh you know i'm closed now, but since i'm still here and I just so happened to get a fresh batch, I'll help you out. Varus, would you be a doll and go grind up that fresh chickweed you just brought me?" Varus nodded and headed to the back while Mrs tweed walked over to the front door and unlocked it, stepping outside to meet with her customer. "Well my my, it's been a long while since..." Varus tuned out the conversation retracting his senses, finally calm again.

    He pulls a mortar and pestle off a shelf in the back room and places the Chickweed from his bag in the mortar. Using the pestle he begins to grind up the small plant into a paste. He enjoyed finally doing something normal and simple after two full weeks of running and hiding. He continued to grind the paste, then poured a small amount of water into the past to make it slightly less thick and diluting it slightly. The paste was more effective when slightly diluted anyway, and it made it so that there was a little more for them to work with. He took the paste and wrapped it up in a leaf, twisting the top and tying it with a small string so it didn't open before it was intended to. He picked up the small bag and brought it out to the front, as Mrs. Tweed was... less having a conversation than just talking at the customer.

    Varus' eyes now saw the person Mrs. Tweed was talking to, and he froze. It was the Lizalfos girl from that encounter two weeks ago. She had been following him! She was going to kill him! Varus instinctually grabbed his crossbow and began to raise it, then he stopped remembering his thought process from when he first encountered her. She was young, it wasn't her, she wasn't there, they are not all responsible for what happened. He began to hyperventilate, staring at the floor just in front of Squamata, his eyes glazed over with fear as he recalled the horrid memories of his past. The crossbow lowered slightly, as he still continued to see the brutal butchering of his family and friends before his eyes. He saw her standing next to Mrs. Tweed and feared what might happen next.
     
    #5 Varus, Aug 13, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  6. Squamata

    Squamata Honorless Warrior
    Lizalfos

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    Quill
    Rachel
    The door opened, and a small Hylian woman stepped out. She was old, with frizzy red hair that was turning steadily white, and her back was stooped, bespeaking decades spent hunched over a cutting board. She wore no perfume, but the crisp scent of herbs curling off her pegged her immediately as an herbalist. The squishy ones in these northern lands had no true shamans, but still... her work demanded respect.

    Squamata snaked an arm in and grabbed her, pulling her close and muffling the woman's words with her other hand. "Ware, honored one," she said, her voice low and her words quick. "There is a killer in your shop. I mean no disrespect, but I must bring violence to your house. He is a danger to my people, and I must stop him." Stop him with nothing but her wits and her metal gauntlet when he had his weapons and Wolfos. Still, it had to be done. She would find a way.

    She started to tell the woman to flee, but her voice cut off as the hunter stepped around the corner. He stared at her with wild eyes, and Squamata saw his hands reach for his crossbow. "Ah-ah," she said, holding the old woman between them, "don't shoot. Or do you kill your people as easily as you kill mine?" She hadn't wanted to get the herbalist involved, but damn, it was the only way forward now. She had a sudden flashback to Midoro, when Anolis had held Rachel at knife-point against the warrior Garen. That standoff had ended with both Anolis and the woman dead. Spirits preserve us. May history not repeat itself.

    Squamata glowered at Varus. "Weeks I've hunted you, ever since you shot at me and tried to kill my kin. Unprovoked, the battle won, you turned against us. I won't let another innocent be claimed by your bolts. Lay down your weapons!" Her gaze flicked to the Wolfos. "All of them."
     
    #6 Squamata, Aug 13, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  7. "NO! MRS. TWEED!!" His voice cry filled with fear and sadness. The Lizalfos had pulled Mrs. Tweed in front of her to act as a living shield. This time once again, the painful memories pounded themselves through Varus' head. He closed his eyes the memories becoming ever more vivid, his body shook with fear. Then the image of Mrs. Tweed's throat being torn open by her claws imagined itself in his mind. Was he just as useless now as he was back then? Was all of the years spent training with his mentor useless? These thoughts were quickly cut out from his mind as a single thought unified his mind. I WILL NOT LET HER DIE!!! This new drive filled Varus with willpower the likes of which he had never known was possible. His hunter's instincts took over, and he opened his eyes. His eyes are one that Squamata would recognize, they are those of a cornered beast that is ready to unleash with all it has to win.

    Harma takes note of Varus' new aura, and stands growling at Squamata and puffing herself up to look even more intimidating. Varus takes a defiant step forward, raising his crossbow once again. Not a single quiver runs through Varus as he takes aim at the small part of Squamata's head that is still visible. Though the target is small and there is no room for error, for Varus, at this distance it is impossible to miss. The short distance also gives Squamata not nearly enough time to react to the incoming bolt, should he choose to fire. Should she adjust herself to have her head completely hidden, the situation would be even better. With her line of sight blocked, a bolt would sprout from her ankle before she heard the click of Vaurs' trigger. At which point she would recoil, Harma would jump at her and Varus would put another bolt into a more vital area, finishing the fight all the same.

    None of Squamata's words phase Varus, as his eyes pierce through Squamata's, as if they were the bolt loaded into his crossbow, already jutting out from her skull. The words are simple, but the intensity behind them tells her that every word is true, "I am no killer, But I am not afraid of becoming one if it means saving her."
     
  8. Squamata

    Squamata Honorless Warrior
    Lizalfos

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    Quill
    Rachel
    Varus’ eyes were wide and crazed, and Squamata knew she’d made a mistake in coming here. Things hadn’t gone at all how she’d hoped. Damn it! She was too impulsive. What had been her plan? Barge in, take him by surprise, kill him quickly? Instead he’d stumbled across her before she’d stepped past the threshold and things had quickly devolved to this. Her use of the herbalist hadn’t been enough to keep Varus’ crossbow down, and there was no way she could run without either the Wolfos or his bolt taking her. She could push the woman at them and make a break for it, but her back would be so exposed… weaponless, friendless, with a bolt trained on her face, how was she supposed to get out of this?

    The Wolfos growled, and reflexively Squamata snarled back at it. Damn her worries! Damn her fears! There was no place for them now. She barked out a laugh, the sound edged with madness, and glared at Varus.

    “The herbalist is in no danger from me,” she said. “I have nothing but respect for her kind. I came for you and you alone. You say you’re not a killer, but you shot at Michael’s heart without a second thought, and you’d nearly skewered me not a minute before. How many of my people have you butchered? How many Lizalfos will you go on to kill?” Varus’ voice had sounded sincere, but his actions had not been those of an innocent man. Maybe she had been foolish to come here, maybe this had all been crazy and a complete mistake, but damn it, this was something she could do. For too long had she been skulking uselessly across Hyrule Field, alone and frustrated, but now? This man was a threat, a killer, and she wasn’t about to let him loose another bolt at another Lizalfos. She would have to find a way. Spirits above, help me from this mess! Maybe if she kept him talking long enough an opportunity would present itself to her. Heat twisted violently in her stomach, and she fought not to double over, not to let the pain show. In the sudden flash of agony, her hand covering the herbalist's mouth slipped, but she managed to keep her face from betraying the pain twisting in her gut. Not again! The burning pain had plagued her sporadically ever since Moone's deadly invention caused her to drown in her own vomit. Why did it have to bother her now? She pushed down the pain and the panic it brought and focused on Varus. She would find a way out of this, she would!
     
    #8 Squamata, Aug 24, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
  9. Varus' gaze never quivers, as he responds to her rebuttal. "Again, I am no killer. No being, but the wildlife game of the forest and the various -blins that taint it, have fallen to my bolts. You however, all you have done since you came here is given me more reason to kill you. Your kind have murdered my family, my friends, my village, and though I have held back and learned to accept it..." Varus closes his eyes and takes a breath, the burning focus and rage within him drives him to a breaking point, as tears well in his eyes. Though his aim remains true. "BUT I WILL NOT LET THAT HAPPEN AGAIN!!!" His shout echo's throughout the room, as he tightens the grip around his crossbow, beginning to pull the trigger.

    "Varus, Stop!" Mrs. Tweed's voice pierces through him and the rage is instantly gone, but he is still left with intense emotion and focus, as tears continue to roll down his face. His finger releases the trigger, the bolt still resting in his crossbow, as Mrs. tweed speaks again, "Varus, don't let her drive you to this. You know you are a good person, don't let someone like her change that!" Varus eyes well up with more tears as he lowers his crossbow a little, but still enough so that he could bring it to bear should she try anything. Mrs tweed looks back to the lizalfos that is still grappling her. "And you had better let go of me, unless you don't want me to help you."

    "B-b-b-but, Mrs. Twee..." "No! no buts! She is hurting and it is my job to help her." She glares at Squamata with that You WILL accept my help whether you like it or not!! face that Vaurs had seen her give her, more reluctant, patients. Varus just stood there in shock at the sheer bravery and dedication that Mrs. Tweed held, going as far as to even offer help the person that was currently holding her hostage. At this point, Varus' mind is a mess of emotions. He is afraid, as the memories of his past dance through his mind. He is distraught seeing his family slaughtered before him again. He is determined to not let any harm befall Mrs. Tweed. He is confused, unable to comprehend why Mrs. Tweed is so willing to help this person who attacked her. Harma, able to read his mental state, stands down and walks over to Varus. She gently rubs her fur against him, calming him. He stands straight, crossbow out and ready but not aimed, waiting for what might happen next.
     
    #9 Varus, Aug 30, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  10. Squamata

    Squamata Honorless Warrior
    Lizalfos

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    Quill
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    Varus’ voice rose to a fever pitch. Squamata tensed. This was it. He was about to shoot. It was time to act, but she still didn’t know what to do. She struggled to think of a plan, anything, but all that came to her was a fierce renewing of the fire in her gut. As her terror soared so too did the flames lapping at the walls of her stomach, up her chest, and higher still. Varus screamed, tears shining in his eyes, and Squamata roared in both pain and challenge as the fire blazed up and up until-


    “Stop!” The old woman’s voice cut like a knife through Squamata’s soul, and her mouth clamped shut on the inferno within. Steam hissed out her nostrils, but no fire blazed out. The old woman’s voice, so similar to the shamans Squamata had known, was one of an authority who demanded respect and immediate obedience. She had been raised to follow their commands without thought, and the habit continued on even now, even after the ones she had obeyed had cast her out.


    Squamata took a moment to reorient herself- this was not a shaman, only a human, and she mustn’t think of her as a substitute for one. She was a little lightheaded now, as if the fire had blazed up from her very spirit, her soul serving as both its flint and fuel. She grappled with the sudden onset of dizziness and was relieved to see that Varus, his eyes wounded, haunted, and confused, fared little better.


    The woman- Mrs. Tweed- spoke, and indignation rose to the surface of Squamata’s churning emotions. ‘Someone like her?’ Varus was clearly the brute here. And Mrs. Tweed said that he was a ‘good person?’ Squamata had looked into Varus’ eyes, and she didn’t see a confused person. She saw a psychotic one, a raving madman who only barely clung to control. Still, he seemed to obey Mrs. Tweed as Squamata had once obeyed her shamans, and as he lowered his weapon Squamata released the healer.


    “Wait,” she said, holding up her hand. “Help me?” She frowned and pressed her hand against her chest. “I don’t need any help. I’m not hurting.” She jabbed a finger towards Varus. “He’s the crazy one here. I’m telling you miss, he shot at me and my cousin earlier, and we hadn’t done anything wrong. He nearly killed us just for being there. Look at him- do you really believe he’s safe to wander around? Can you trust him not to try and kill anyone else?” She looked at him. He was a mess. “I don’t know what happened to his village, but I can’t let him go around shooting people.”
     
  11. Varus fell to his knees, from the emotional exhaustion and relief of seeing Mrs. Tweed freed. He was unable to do anything more however as he knelt there in sheer shock of what Mrs. Tweed had said. While Varus could not bear to move himself, Mrs. Tweed took action. She quickly made sure Varus was ok before spinning back towards Squamata. "You! Sit down now! I will brew up a remedy that should help you. Varus go to the back and get some of that Bloodroot from the back, and that Chu chu jelley you just brought me too." Varus looked at her with confusion and shock. "Well go get it you know where they are." Varus looked back and forward between Squamata and Mrs. Tweed, before tentatively standing and walking to the back. Harma stayed in the front never straying far from Mrs. Tweed.

    Mrs. Tweed then turned and stalked up to Squamata again. "Varus is no killer, he is a simple shy hunter who lives a very seculded life in the forest. No I don't know what this whole situation about him attacking you is about, but I do know this. You are Lizalfos, his village was razed, his family butchered, by your kind. It was at the very end of the war, before you were born likely, as your fangs are not developed enough to be that old. Varus was five when it happened, five! His last memories of his family were their bloodcurdling screams for mercy as they were ruthlessly butchered. His last memory of your kind was of them doing that to his family, and of one Lizalfos standing over him think out loud of how he was going to cook him. What sort of image do you think that painted in a five year old's head? You are lucky he didn't turn out to be a killer like you imagine him as. He has kept to himself and is only just breaking out of the shell he has built around himself. You and your kin are probably the first Lizalfos he has seen since then, so you tell me what do you think was running through his head when he fired a bolt at you!" Mrs. Tweed's voice is not filled with hatred for Squamata, but is does hold anger and frustration that a mother might hold for someone who threatens her son.

    She turns back and pulls a mortar and pestle, a cutting board and a knife from under the counter, placing them all on the table. "You are only the fifth person he has told of this. You are the one who brought violence to my house, and now you will shut up, sit down, calm down and accept my help." She pulled up a bottle of a murky green liquid as Varus reemerged from the back room with the herbs Mrs. Tweed had asked for. Though he seemed calmer, he kept a close eye on what Squamata did, but avoided direct eye contact. He knew that if Squamata saw his eyes, she would be able to see his weak emotional state, and know that he would not be able to respond effectively should she strike.
     
  12. Squamata

    Squamata Honorless Warrior
    Lizalfos

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    Squamata laughed, an ugly, bitter sound. “I know exactly the sort of impact that can have on a child. Blue Maiden is full of such violence, and the gangs are made of orphans, each with their own tragedy. His story is sad, but it is not an excuse to shoot people who have done nothing but exist.” Her voice was firm, but in her heart she squirmed. Hadn’t she done similar things to the Zora in her lands? She shoved the thought aside, that was different, they had stolen her lands and were oppressing her people, and anyway, the only people she’d killed were other gang members. Never civilians. Beaten, yes, robbed from, yes, but never killed.

    Her voice softened. “I am sorry to hear of his family, and I have seen my kin suffer from the memories of trauma. Their hands shake, they jump at the smallest sound, and their dreams are haunted.” She remembered what Moone had said. Warstained, he’d called Varus. He wasn't pointing his crossbow at you, he was pointing it at every Lizalfos he's ever had to fight. Except it wasn’t fighting that Varus had done; it was surviving. “But at the same time, if he reacts this way every time he sees a Lizalfos, he will kill someone. I’ve seen his skill with the crossbow. If he goes on like this, he will very quickly go from the one who survives terrible crimes to the one who performs terrible crimes. Even if by accident, someone will end up dead.”

    Varus re-entered the room, and Squamata returned his suspicious stare for one of her own. Mrs. Tweed raised a bottle, and the warrior grimaced. “I don’t know what that’s for, Mrs. Tweed. I’m telling you, I don’t need a potion.” Its green depths triggered something within her, and a thought floated up to the surface of her mind. It was only half-formed, but it was intriguing. “You say the problem is that he’s seen so few Lizalfos, and that when he saw me and my cousin he was dragged back into those memories.” She tapped the table, her brow scrunched in thought. “It sounds like there’s two issues: first, that he’s been exposed to no Lizalfos since that day, so the sight of us is an ugly shock that triggers the memory; and second, that the trauma still haunts him and can drive him temporarily mad.” She shot another glance Varus’ way. If she had a smoother tongue she might’ve put this all more delicately, but she hadn’t the skill for such things, and anyway, they’d just been pointing weapons at each other. This wasn’t a time to be delicate.

    “I think I may have a solution. I cannot, in good conscience, leave him to wander the woods on his own, when he might any minute stumble across another of my people. More of us are traveling beyond the Swamp these days, what with the Zoras encroaching on more of territory each season.” She took a deep breath, scowling at the thought. Stupid fish-people. “You haven’t actually killed anyone yet, and from what I’ve seen you don’t want to, either. So, why don’t we do this. I’ll travel with you back into the forest, Varus. You can get used to me and acclimate yourself to the sight of a Lizalfos. Hopefully then you won’t freak out every time you see someone with scales instead of skin.” She hesitated. “And… and there’s something else too. I think… I’m not sure, but there might be a way for you to confront the memory of what happened. It might help.” She didn’t know where the idea had come from. It had welled up from deep inside her, from a place she didn’t understand or known she had. Yet it felt right. “I have a cave in the forest, not far from where we fought the Moblins. We can go there.”

    She locked eyes with Varus. “What do you think?”
     
  13. "I don't care what you think you don't need, Im telling you to accept my help," Mrs. Tweed tells Squamata with a forceful look. Varus handed her the bloodroot and Mrs. tweed began mashing up the herb in the mortar. Varus began to prepare the Chuchu jelly as Squamata continued. Several times he found himself frozen, and on the verge of a panic attack, but he somehow managed to hold it together. He winced as Sqaumata ruthlessly brought up every issue that he had concerning his experiences, sometimes visibly shaking, and barely holding back tidal wave of emotions that would throw him into a panic attack.

    When Squamata brought up her solution to the problem, Varus Froze. There are more of them traveling this way?! Were they all out to get him like Squamata was?! She wants me to travel with her?! All of Varus' logical thoughts screamed that this was a trap or a ploy, but his hunter's instincts... were less sure. She seemed honest enough, like she wanted to help, but the likely hood of this being a trap was very high, but both of them knew now that Varus had the clear advantage in these forests, but if Squamata was already close, then his home field advantage wouldn't amount to much. His mind raced, as he struggled to read Squamata, still frozen with a combination of fear and suspicion.

    He then was startled by a slap on the shoulder, as an old woman's voice spoke up, "Well he is a quiet type, and he didn't say 'no' so... That's a Yes." Varus turned flabbergasted and at a total loss for words, as he opened his mouth and only gibberish came out. What is she thinking?! Why would she... His mind continued to not function, as he sat there mouth open eyes wide. "But, not tonight, it is already late for you two to step out, and you still need this." She extended the now finished potion towards Squamata. "And don't give me any of that, 'i don't need it' crap. Im old, but im not blind, and especially attuned to picking up signs of sickness."
     
    #13 Varus, Sep 30, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  14. Squamata

    Squamata Honorless Warrior
    Lizalfos

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    Aliases:
    Quill
    Rachel
    Squamata leaned against the table more heavily. The dizziness she'd felt earlier hadn't passed- if anything, it was only getting worse. Her head spun, and it was a struggle to continue focusing on the old woman. Anger reared up in her, and it was a guiding light she clung to in the nauseating fog clouding her mind. She started to snap out a retort, but pain was burned in her stomach, and she dug her claws into the table. That pain- was it new? Or had the adrenaline of the last few minutes only covered it up? Varus was obviously not a threat anymore, he cowered beneath the herbalist's eye like a scolded puppy, and his Wolfos wouldn't attack unless he did. With no more threats, her panic had eased, and this-

    Pain twisted in her guts, and she gasped out loud. The old woman was by her side in an instant, dragging up a stool and easing Squamata down onto it. "Breathe deeply." She sucked in a breath, held it, and released it in a slow woosh, then motioned for Squamata to follow her lead. She did so, and after a few rounds of breathing her dizziness and nausea settled a little.

    "I'm going to touch your stomach," the old woman said. She set the potion down on the table and laid a wrinkled hand on Squamata's abdomen. The warrior tensed, but when Mrs. Tweed made no move to hurt her she relaxed. Mostly. "Tell me where it hurts." She pressed on different portions of Squamata's stomach. Each time she asked if Squamata felt any pain, and each time Squamata answered no- until, that was, the old woman pressed on the upper middle part of her abdomen. Squamata hissed, and the herbalist paused. "Here?" Squamata gasped an affirmative.

    "Hmm." Mrs. Tweed leaned back. "What does the pain feel like?"

    "Burning," Squamata answered. "Or gnawing. Like something hot is eating away at me."

    "When did it start?" The old woman asked. "Do you remember?"

    "Yes," she said. "A few minutes ago, when- you know." She averted her eyes and licked her lips, which were suddenly very dry. "I had grabbed you, Varus was about to shoot, I panicked, and- there was this burning in my stomach, it was like there was fire, and-" she choked. "Actually, it still feels like it's there. I-" she gasped. "I'm going to vomit. Oh-"

    She made to stand and wobbled. The old woman grabbed the potion and thrust it into Squamata's hand. "Take this," she said, "it'll settle your stomach. Quickly, I don't want sick all over my floor."

    Squamata popped the cap and raised the trembling vial to her lips. She tossed it back, trembled in place for a moment, then curled over and vomited. Chunks of sick spattered against the floor, but it wasn't the only thing to come out. Bursts of fire- actual, burning gouts of flame- roared out of her mouth and seared the wood of the floor. Squamata screamed and flinched back, the blackened sick dribbling from her mouth, but the fire wasn't painful, and her vomit was wet enough to keep any of the wood from burning. She hurled for another minute, then drew in a deep, shuddering breath, wiped her mouth with the back of her metal gauntlet, and rose, shaking.

    Mrs. Tweed stood beside the table. Her shoes were drenched in green-and-black sick, her floor was a mess, and the wood under the vomit looked like it had been charred by the heat of the flames. After a moment, she cleared her throat and said, her voice composed but a little higher than it had been before, "well. Feel any better?"

    Squamata coughed and nudged a piece of broken glass with her foot. She must have dropped the empty potion vial. "A little. The pain's still there, but it isn't as sharp." She pressed a hand to her stomach. "Definitely still there."

    "Why," the old woman asked, her words still calm but with a growing undercurrent of anger beneath them, "did you just vomit fire onto my floor?"

    Squamata held up her slightly wet hands defensively. "I don't know! I've never- you know- breathed fire before. There are some Lizalfos who can do that, but I've never done it. I didn't know I could, and spirits know I've tried. Everyone wants to believe they're special, you know, when they're young, but I-" she realized she was rambling and clamped her mouth shut. She took a moment to compose herself. "I'm sorry," she said. "I don't know what happened."

    Mrs. Tweed studied her and nodded. "I believe you," she said, "and I accept your apology." She tossed Squamata a towel. "Now, clean this mess up. I don't want to see or smell the slightest trace of vomit when you're done." Squamata immediately bent to the task, and Mrs. Tweed watched her with a thoughtful gaze. "Whether or not you've ever done it before, you can breathe fire now. That was probably the burning in your stomach you mentioned. You said it still hurts? I don't know much about how Lizalfos breathe fire, but I would think their body would be better protected from their own flames."

    She tisked and threw Squamata another towel. The first one was soaked. "I'll have to do some tests to be sure, but I think you might have a stomach ulcer. Your stomach is full of acid to help digest food, but acid isn't picky about what it burns, so your stomach has a layer of protective mucous to keep it safe. Usually it takes an infection, too much drinking, or some serious stress to wear a hole in that protective layer, but you-" she chewed on her lip a moment. "This has never happened to you before, you say? Hmm. Like I said, I'm not certain yet, but it sounds like the fire may have burned some of that protective layer away. Is fire-breathing an in-born talent in your people, or can it be developed?"

    Squamata looked up from the spot she was rubbing. "Born," she said. "Not made. I... I've never heard of a Lizalfos who wasn't born with the gift who could breathe fire. We first see it in kids, once puberty starts, but once puberty's done, we're sure, one way or the other. It's one of the ways we look for potential shamans. I mean, not all fire-breathers are made into shamans, and there are shamans who can't breathe fire, but-" Rambling again. Squamata went back to cleaning.

    The old woman shrugged. "I don't know anything about shamans," she said, "or why you can breathe fire now but you couldn't as a child, but if your body isn't used to it, maybe the fire damaged the protective lining in your stomach. That would explain how you're still in pain. The fire's gone, but the damage is done." She pursed her lips. "Stomach ulcers aren't deadly- unless they get really bad- but they aren't any fun either. No eating spicy food for a while, and try and keep your stress down. For now, I'll give you some antacids to make the acid in your stomach less... acidic. I'll be able to do more after I run some tests. And for goodness sakes, no more fire-breathing!"

    Mrs. Tweed sighed at the floor, which, while clean, was clearly singed. "You owe me the cost of a new floor, by the by. You can start by taking Varus out with you tomorrow, he knows what you can do to earn me some money." She eyed the Lizalfos. "Because you don't look like the sort of person who has a green rupee to their name. I'll do some tests tonight, and you two can head out in the morning."
     

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