Stolen Dreams pt 1
Location: The Black Road - Arden
Date: 03/09/2016
Cast: Jondrim Tara

Stolen Dreams - pt 1

The message that Jondrim recieved when he went to the Second Mate was a simple one, scrawled in loopy hand on a scrap of paper torn from something grand. "Seek me along Arden's scar. - Tara" It was that, and nothing more. But if he took up the hunt, she's an easy prey to catch. Just wander through Garnath to the bits of Black Road that still linger and follow it until the woman of platinum hair and red and black clothing is found sitting astride a delicate looking horse, bareback.

Jondrim isn't much for horse back.. so he made the journey on foot.. he he moves along quickly. Really quickly. Jumpig and leaping about, darting around trees, over rocks and the occasional swing on convenient branch. He slows when he sees her and leaps atop a large rock to give her a wave, ensuring he is seen, before walking up to her.

Five yards in front of Tara the Road runs its course into the shadowy fringes of Arden. The trees are monstrous - twisted into the shapes that frighten children and the tired, swaying when there's no wind to move their branches. Slimy leaves coat the floor in dark and unsettling shades while, against one outcropping of rocks, the remains of some decaying beast can be seen sticking up. A close inspection will reveal the wide ribs to be carved with crude runes of some sort.

It's this beast, at a distance, that seems to be holding Tara's attention. She stares in that direction until the flurry of movement that is Jondrim catches her attention. The platinum blonde-capped head turns and the ruby red lips twist up into a smile of seduction and calculation. "You did not keep me waiting too long, Jondrim. That is good of you."

Jondrim turns to look at the remains of the beast with a slightly raised brow and then looks back to Tara with a grin. "I do try to be fast when it's asked of me… and quite delayed in other things." He steps up to within a pace of the horse and swivels his head about his neck to examine the area. "What has us all the way out here?"

Tara curls her fist into the horse's mane, slender fingers flexing tightly against the long strands of pale horse hair. "I am being called out," she answers, giving a nod towards the decaying creature amongst the rocks. Anger spices her voice, giving the dusky twang the heat of a distant volcano - the kind observed from a safe distance for now, but still showing fiery explosions of lava against a night sky. "I will be leaving Amber for a while, to deal with the challenge." Now she turns to regard Jondrim again. "Do you fancy yourself ready for an adventure, sweet one?"

Jondrim looks over at the road… all that black decay and the smell that just… lingers in the air. He looks back over to her, a brow slightly raised, "I'm nearly always ready for an adventure, Tara. What sort of things did you have in mind?"

The way that Tara's smile quirks isn't wholesome at all. "They think they can invade my territory," she says, all the warmth in her voice gone and replaced with icy calculation. "So we shall quest into theirs, Jondrim, and release such devestation that they will not again think to question me." One might wonder at what point Amber and Arden's segment of the Black Road became -her- territory. But that's neither her nor there. "But I shall warn you, Jondrim, because I like you enough to grant such warninigs. This journey will show you Truth, and expose the Lie you have lived and known. It will start setting you apart from the rest of the blind sheep that follow the doctrines of Amber."

Jondrim watches her expression, the change in tone, and his brow raises further. When she gives her that warning his lips quirk up into a grin and he shakes his head, "I.. have no idea what you're talking about. Truth, Lies, doctrines… I'm not from Amber… wasn't raised in it. Hell, my House would probably love for me to disappear so I stop questioning everything they do… I'm not to worried about having any worldy foundations rocked."

And like that, his answer has her bouncing in the…well, not saddle. She doesn't have one of those. "Excellent. I shall make a true sage of you yet." That seems the only other thing Tara's inclined to say before nudging her mount forward, towards the stretch of Black Road. "Do not stray far from my side and the Road will leave you mostly alone."

Jondrim moves up along side the horse as she starts forward, and in close enough to gentle place a hand on the side of the horses flank after he ensures the horse sees he is there. "Mostly alone, hm? I've avoid the Road for the most part since I've found myself in Amber… seemed the prudent thing to do." he glances up at her, "but prudence isn't my best trait"

"Mostly," Tara says with a nod. "The Road wants to learn, Jondrim, and to do that it needs to test the world around it. Even for those who bear its mark, this is occasionally true. It needs to ensure it learns only from the strongest, smartest. Sometimes you have to prove you fit that category." She shrugs as if this is just how things are and it's no big deal. The hooves of her mount make a squishy-crunchy sound when they first contact the slime-covered dead leaves on the Road. "And, beyond that… I can't speak for the people you might meet on it. No more than Random being beside you would stop a thug in Begma, if you take my meaning."

"Fair enough." Jondrim says as he steps on to the slimey surface. He twists his feet a little in the leaves to get a feel for the texture of the road under his boots as they move along. "You're so marked then? As you said?"

The slime proves to be sticky rather than slick, an adhesive that refuses to finish drying. It'll no doubt leave Jondrim collecting an ever growing pile of decaying vegetable matter on his boots. That's also what's happening to the horse's hooves, the motion of the beast growing a bit erratic as it tries, and fails, to kick the leaves free.

"I woke on the Road, in Garnath, with no memory of what or who I was. The Road was the second voice I heard, and the first to offer any insight or help in my new understanding. We became friends, of a sort." Tara lifts a hand, tucking stray hair behind an ear. "You know what it's like, to remember nothing of where you came from, to lose the dreams and hopes of your future and the foundation of your past, all at once. You know how disorienting and frightening that can be."

Jondrim nods as she talk, but then lifts and drops his shoulders in a shrug as he looks about the road and the scenery along the side. "It wasn't quite like that for me.. the lost of memory. Disorienting.. perhaps. But not frightening. Dreams and hopes forgotten can't be missed.. everything was new. A book of blank pages to be filled. Bewildering only from the sheer expanse of possibility."

"Mm." Tara draws her mount up and looks over her shoulder, where they have just passed the half-dead beast with the rune-inscribed ribs. "Fetch me the rib there in the midddle, love. The one with the writing on it." Helpfully she lifts a hand and points a finger for Jondrim.

Jondrim follows the length of her finger to where she points and nods. A hop and skip and he moves to the beast's carcass to eye the ribs. He gives the rib a tentative poke with a finger, not too keen on just grabbing and wrenching on something so inscribed all wily nilly… should nothing happen though he'll reach down and disjoint the rib from the body with a quick stroke of a shadow.

The rib is… just a rib. That may be disappointing, but for now, that's all there is to it. It'll break under his efforts, cracking and splitting as bones can do. The only oddity is the ease in which this happens, as if the decay and decomp of the body has grown at an advanced rate. But then, the smell coming from the poor creature - some form of centaur? - might be Jondrim's warning of that.

Tara watches Jondrim do this. "And have you written on those blank sheets of your sould, Jondrim? Or have you left them open and untouched for now?"

Jondrim is gentle… stopping his motions as the bone starts to crack and letting his fingers gingerly grip the thing while he slices it free and lifts what he can away before turning and moving back to the horse with it . "They started getting written in the moment I woke up, Tara. Different things. I still seek my past to see who I was.. but my future is still my own."

"What does your future hold, Jondrim?" Tara asks. There's an edge of longing in her voice, either the thirst for this little bit of personal knowledge, or some loss on her own part maybe. She waits for the man to finish his business in corpse defiling before starting her horse walking again. A massive pile of leaves as started clinging not just to hooves but about six inches up at this point. Each step is a rustle of gooey and dry matter.

"That is still up in the air, I suppose" Jondrim answers as they start to move along again and he takes up his place next to her mount. "Perhaps most immediately I will be going to Pengali… it is very likely I am from there or at least lived in the empire…. It will hopefully give me some clue as to my past."

Tara's brow furrows in confusion. She doesn't reach for the rib he broke off, but rather lets Jondrim carry it along their way. The trees seems to sway towards them, making progress difficult but not impossible as they have to push through twisting branches and undergrowth. "Why do you seek your past, if you find yourself free from it and with a fresh start?"

"Curiosity, mostly… same reason people on Shadows look into their family trees. See where I cam from.. perhaps who I came from. What." Jondrim says lets his hand with the rib dangle as his side as he walks. "Perhaps what other abilities or skills I might have locked away I just don't recall."

"Why relearn those skills, when you can make new ones?" Tara asks. the trees begin to grow more sparse now, though larger than even before. Each slick-barked tree becomes a tower that holds up the heavens. The firmament is seen more often, pastel and flat with a ball of yellow heat that shines brighter than Amber's sun. Yet on the path the pair walk, where the leaves of gooey mess have turned into low-crawling vines of thorns - the shadows are thick.

"Ease, mainly." He says with another shrug. "I have found that i've some muscle memory for various tasks. Makes it easier to… relearn something my body already knows how to do even if my mind doesn't. Maybe I'm just lazy." he gives a grin, "But also.. some things are just hard to know. Had someone not tried to drown me I wouldn't know I could breath underwater, for example."

"That seems useful," Tara admits. "At least in places where water holds such a purpose as to cut off a man's breath." The scents of decay are beginning to fade, bringing instead that of fresh earth and rain with a coppery tang.

Jondrim chuckles, "My connection with the element has a few other perks I've found." He grins and keeps moving along. The shadows don't seem to bother him in the the least. The dark, foreboding hint they add the bleak atmosphere lost on him.

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