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    Near Death Experience

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    Curtana
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    Near Death Experience

    Post by Curtana on 11/06/12, 08:40 am

    The sun was over the horizon by the time they made it back to the goliath encampment. The last few hours of walking had felt like they were never going to end, at least to Aleyn. He was sure this had been easier when he was 21, the working through the night without rest. At least when they finally got back into camp, there was breakfast waiting for those who wanted it, and he certainly did. After devouring some porridge and feeling slightly more human, he made his way back across the camp, now bustling with morning activity, to the area where the Thunderbolts had set up their tents. He felt mildly relieved, but also guilty, to see that the one he had been sharing with Warryn was already up, but he couldn't help but notice Vedran was still working on his. His exhaustion urged him to just go to sleep already, but he pushed it aside and strolled (or, well, at least dragged himself over) in that direction.

    "Hey, need a hand?"
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by elanya on 11/06/12, 08:52 am

    He felt like a zombie, trying to get his tent arranged after walking through the wilds around Vanilorra almost all day. At least the morning - yesterday morning now - had been pretty easy, but after the negotiations went bad it felt like constant trekking interspersed with fights. The last one had been especially scary, and he was still kicking himself for not pressing on after the other verbeeg the first time. He should have known better.

    But hey, at least they were all still alive, and that was something. Even if he still didn't feel it after pecking at the offered breakfast.

    Despite his general exhaustion, he couldn't help but look up from pounding in another tent peg with a tired grin at Aleyn's offer. "Man, I'm dead tired and that's still too easy."
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by Curtana on 11/06/12, 08:56 am

    Aleyn mustered a weary laugh. "Too exhausted even to avoid setting myself up for lame jokes, evidently," he said with a smile. "Did you get some food, at least?" he asked as he knelt to help Vedran.
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by elanya on 11/06/12, 09:00 am

    Chckling at Aleyn's pun, he sat back on the grass for a moment. "I did, yeah, but I really can't eat much when I this tired. Mostly I just want to shove all of my things inside..." he waved at the still somewhat saggy looking tent, "...and just pass out."
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by Curtana on 11/06/12, 09:06 am

    "Absolutely justified," Aleyn agreed. "I'm realizing why it seems to be mostly twenty-year-olds who do this - they're the ones with the energy. Or maybe I'm just completely out of shape," he added. "Which, going by my performance in that last fight, might be the case." He plucked at the bloodied rags of his shirt, thinking about extremely sharp teeth with a slight shudder.
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by elanya on 11/06/12, 12:07 pm

    Vedran matched Aleyn's shudder with one of his own. "I don't think that was anything on you - those things were nasty. I'm just glad Roscoe gave you that infusion before the fight. I know I just got lucky."

    He glanced at the bloody tatters the sorcerer was wearing, and then around generally at the Goliath camp, half-emptied at the moment with so many of its usual residents off raiding in the verbeeg territory. "You gonna have a chance to get cleaned up before you crash?" He smirked again. "I *do* know this ritual...."
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by Curtana on 11/06/12, 12:16 pm

    Aleyn looked down at what was left of his clothes. "These are basically wrecked," he admitted, "but I do have a couple others. Just... one fewer now, I guess. Maybe I can pick up a replacement set in Vanilorra before we leave." He glanced over at Vedran, who, despite all their exertions, was pristine as usual. "I wouldn't say no to the ritual, though, just to feel less disgusting. If you're sure you don't mind...?"
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by elanya on 11/06/12, 12:20 pm

    "You help me finish getting this thing up, and I'm sure I can spare ten minutes for a guy who almost got eaten by a terrifying landshark-thing."
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by Curtana on 11/06/12, 12:32 pm

    "Sure," Aleyn said, and stood to move around to the other side of the tent and tighten up the ropes over there. When it was finally up, and no longer seemed in danger of collapsing, he came back to Vedran. His neck was sore (well, everything was sore) and he rubbed it absently, reflecting that it was never as good when you did it yourself. "Ready whenever you are," he said, managing a tired smile.
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by elanya on 11/06/12, 12:38 pm

    "Right." He sat back on his haunches for a second to rub his eyes with the heels of his hands, hoping futilely to feel a little more alert. "Hopefully I won't just pass out on you." Grabbing the rest of his gear that he hadn't already shoved inside, he waved the sorcerer inside, hastily cleared some extra space, and looked around at the disarray with sleepy resignation.
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by Curtana on 11/06/12, 01:04 pm

    Aleyn ducked into the tent, biting back the urge to say that Vedran could feel free to pass out on him anytime. He settled down in the confined quarters, legs crossed. "Is there anything I have to do?" he asked uncertainly. "Never gotten cleaned by magic before, mostly just gotten dirty because of it," he added with a hint of a smirk.
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by elanya on 11/06/12, 01:15 pm

    "Nope, you get the easy job of just sitting there." He moved some things over so that there was more or less room for the two of them, fetching his toiletries set where he kept the components for the Fastidiousness ritual, mostly scented oils, a vial of pure spring water, some soot from a burned scroll, and a few other esoteric elements that the magic would consume. "You want a book or something, or are you too tired to read? And uh... I hope you don't mind sandalwood, because that's all I've got."

    The ritual itself was pretty easy - easy enough that he likely could actually do it in his sleep - he was just going to have to make sure he didn't go on auto-pilot and cast it on himself.
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by Curtana on 11/06/12, 01:24 pm

    "I think the words would be one big blur at this point," Aleyn said, rubbing his eyes. "I'll just concentrate on not falling asleep while you're casting." He wondered if he did, whether Vedran would wake him up, or just leave him there and maybe go sleep in Warryn's tent, or if maybe, maybe, he might stay. It was a tempting possibility, but he forced himself to stay conscious through the ten minutes or so it took for Vedran to complete the ritual, even though after a few minutes he succumbed enough to his exhaustion to lie down, looking up at the morning light filtering through the tent.

    When it was done, he realized that all traces of dried blood and grime and sweat were erased, and his clothes, while still tattered and shredded, were clean. He gave a tentative sniff and murmured, "Huh, I smell like you."
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by elanya on 11/06/12, 01:32 pm

    It was really only about halfway through the ritual that he started to question his own wisdom, when Aleyn lay down on his bedroll, stubbornly keeping his eyes open, looking over every so often to watch what he was doing. The tent felt very small and there wasn't much room to maneuver anyway, but he tried not to think too much, and just finish the ritual.

    Vedran watched the sorcerer sit up when it was all said and done, the dirt and blood and travel grime all vanished. He flushed at Aleyn's comment - of course he would know what he smelled like, they'd certainly been close enough. "Ah.... sorry?"
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by Curtana on 11/06/12, 01:46 pm

    "I didn't say I minded," Aleyn told him, glancing shyly in his direction. "I appreciate you taking the time, I'm sure you're just as tired as I am." He paused for a moment, running a hand nervously through his hair (also unusually clean) before pushing on. "I appreciated your help in the last fight too. Things were, um, looking pretty bad there for a while..."
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by elanya on 11/06/12, 02:31 pm

    "No kidding - I'm just glad I wasn't too far away to do anything." He shook his head, yawning and slumping back against his pack as he very haphazardly stuffed his supplies back in their pouches. "After I saw what that thing do to you, not gonna lie, I was terrified when it popped out of the ground beside me." He yawned again, waving his hand in a gesture of benediction. "And thank Avandra for a lucky miss."
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by Curtana on 11/06/12, 02:36 pm

    "Yeah, well... so was I," Aleyn admitted. "Terrified for you, I mean. Well, and for myself too, but ... all I can do is attack and run away, I couldn't really... help you... I mean, I did what I could, but..." He shrugged, trying not to think about how things could have gone far worse, but it was almost impossible. "I guess it's a good thing Avandra was looking out for you too. I mean, I didn't mean 'too'... just, I'm glad you're okay." He trailed off, aware that he was exhausted and rambling less coherently and more revealingly that he would have liked.
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by elanya on 11/06/12, 04:18 pm

    Lying against his pack was not exactly comfortable, but he'd gotten used to sleeping in worse conditions. He'd closed his eyes, not on purpose really, but he was so tired, and the sun was coming in now and he worried vaguely that if he didn't fall asleep soon it would be too bright or too hot. And listening to Aleyn babble was somehow... comforting, in a way that set part of his mind of edge but the rest was just to tired to care about. He smiled sleepily, forcing his eyes open for a peek over at the sorcerer. "No," he muttered, "it's cool, thanks. I'm glad we didn't die." Of course the things had gone after the girls too, he thought idly, but Del and Agyness were tough. "Everyone's fine, it's good...."
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by Curtana on 11/06/12, 04:30 pm

    Vedran was plainly just on the edge of falling asleep, just as Aleyn was, but if he slept sitting up against his pack, he was going to be miserably sore the next day - or even more miserably sore. "C'mere," he mumbled, reaching out to gently tug Vedran by the arm. "You should lie down."
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by elanya on 11/06/12, 04:47 pm

    "'M fine," he protested, but let himself be guided into lying beside the sorcerer, letting his exhaustion reassure the part of his brain that thought this was a terrible plan that he was too tired to care, let alone act on any dangerous impulses. He just wanted to sleep,to feel safe and cared for, and what could be wrong with that?
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by Curtana on 11/06/12, 05:08 pm

    It was probably for the best that they were both far too tired for anything more exciting than sleep to happen, Aleyn thought drowsily as he curled up beside Vedran. But there was still something comforting about being so warm and close, hearing the steady whisper of his breath, knowing that if he opened his eyes, Vedran would be the first thing he saw...

    It took only moments for sleep to overtake them both.
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by tuck on 11/06/12, 06:57 pm

    "Hey guys!" Kallista yelled as she raced for Vedran's tent, "One of the Goliaths challenged me to a drinking contest! You wanna come..."

    The energetic young tiedling cut herself off suddenly as she poked her horned head through the tent flap. The two men were fast asleep already, snoring lightly next to each other on the bedroll. Vedran's arm had fallen lightly a across Aleyn's waist. They were so deep in sleep that even her entrance hadn't managed to stir them.

    Kallista smiled warmly down at the pair. It was one of the most adorable things she had seen in a long time.

    Slowly and quietly she withdrew her head from the opening and let the flap fall back into place before quietly making her way back to the main camp.
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by Curtana on 11/06/12, 10:31 pm

    Aleyn blinked gradually awake, puzzled for a moment over where he was and who was wrapped around him, until he remembered going into Vedran's tent, and the ritual, and falling asleep without really meaning to... The angle of the light, and the considerable level of warmth in the tent, told him it must be mid-afternoon - evidently they had both needed the rest. Vedran's head, auburn hair curling and damp with sweat, was nestled up against his shoulder, and the half-elf had both an arm across his chest and a leg flung over his, careless in unconsciousness. Aleyn found that despite the heat he didn't want to get up and wake Vedran just yet, so he turned carefully onto his side, trying not to disturb his rest, just wanting to look at him a little longer, the way the light fell on his hair, his cheek, his jaw, his lips... "Beautiful," he whispered, happy for this moment at least, even if it couldn't last.

    Vedran murmured something incomprehensible in response and burrowed in closer, and Aleyn wrapped an arm around his waist, below where Vedran was still twined around him, holding him gently for what might have been another quarter of an hour.

    "Afternoon," he said quietly when Vedran's head drew back slightly from his chest and his blue eyes finally opened. "I think that might have been the best sleep I've had in... years," he added with a hint of a smile.
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by elanya on 11/06/12, 10:54 pm

    The simple pleasure of waking up nestled up to someone else, of opening his eyes to see Aleyn smiling at him contentedly, green eyes shining, black hair sticking up endearingly in every direction... All of these faded quickly as the icy fist of self-doubt, of guilt and self-disgust at the ways his body betrayed him, knotted in his stomach. His own initial smile turned hesitant, and he rolled over on his back, disentangling himself with what grace he could muster, then sat up quickly to prevent further embarrassment. The stress seemed to travel with him, threatening him with another headache, and he closed his eyes and rubbed his neck self consciously, not daring to look more at Aleyn. "I .. uh, I guess we were pretty tired."
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    Re: Near Death Experience

    Post by Curtana on 11/06/12, 11:13 pm

    "Yeah." Aleyn readily picked up on Vedran's tension, but tried not to let it affect him too badly. It wouldn't make things any better if he got nervous and stammered, or ran away without saying anything. "I hope you're not feeling too sore," he said sympathetically. He sat up as well, stretching out a little bit of the stiffness in his own back and shoulders. "I could rub that for you if you wanted," he offered, eyeing Vedran's hand at his neck, but fully expecting him to refuse.

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