Chapter Two: The Green
It was a cold area, dead to the sight and like frost under the touch of the living. Mostly made up of faintly gouged rocks, and
ruins of some rocky structure, it was an area devoid of recent life. A castaway of history.
The very location of such an area was unusual. It was in the bypass between The Valleys and the Onarha Ohna, a fairly
well-travelled route. By all means it should be more well taken care of, the paths running through the rock more worn down.
Yet there were reasons why this particular area was walked around instead of through. It had nothing to do with it's
appearance; Raveens and Varishi alike had seen worse beyond the Border. It was what history claimed had happened here
that made them wary of it.
And it was the rumor of what lay buried beneath the obsidian rocks that turned many travellers away. For some, that very
rumor was what drove them to almost walk in to the desecrated area. The temptation to know whether it was true or not... It
could be overwhelming, crippling in it's intensity.
Dark eyes, almost the same shade of ebony as the rock they now studied, were focused on the beginnings of this rocky
terrain. Long black tendrils of mane fluttering and danced in the windy breeze, a harsh contrast against the being's white
fur. Blood red markings streamed from below the viewer's eyes, and curved downward to dip on to the start of it's shoulder
From afar the markings looked like wounds, deep cuts that were so red they were just delivered and the blood beginning to
pool. It was a little disconcerting, and it was only the glowing yellow lines cutting through these crimson markings that took
away their savage appeal. Rune-marks were around the creature's left eye, starting at the ridge of it's eye, cutting up to it's
ear, and curving back to it's cheek. A single red earring clung to the ear, with a red stone hanging from a thin chain.
His eyes blinked closed once, only to seek shelter from the wind which was picking up in it's ferocity. At such a high altitude,
it was only natural for the wind to pick up and die down at certain times of the day. It was enough to turn some away, to
make them return to the main paths and continue on their way, but not this Raveen.
He had come here after hearing the rumors, and troubled by them he knew he would have no choice to find the answers.
His blood-marked paws moved forward, gracing the obsidian rock with his touch. A furrowing of an eyeridge was his only
reaction to the cold.
His movements were graceful, otherworldly, as he seemed to glide across the rock. Ebony eyes traced over the ruins,
seeming to take little no interest in the more appealing of them. It was the rubble that drew his attention, not the remains of
a statue's eyepiece still clinging to a mutilated rock skull.
The shadows danced around him, at times seeming to cling to him as if they had a life of their own, before retreating like a
whimpering dog. Such a dance continued to repeat, and with each step the Raveen took another shadow seemed to join
the rest. And by the time the Raveen came to a stop in front of a flat area, the shadows were flat and solid around him.
Rune-markings glowed eerily in the midday light, and a faint hum rolled off the earring as ears flicked back. Curiosity filled
and clashed with ebony, as they turn their sights downward. The perfectly smooth surface was eyed for a moment or two,
before red-hued claws unsheathed.
As if the Goddess herself was holding her breath, the wind stopped. The shadows backed away, and the howl of a distant
hound broke through the silence with it's tales of sorrow.
Rock was slashed, the noise akin to metal being pulled across marble. Red lines erupted on the smooth obsidian surface,
breaking like blood as the rock melted around it. It simmered and crackled, fiery red sparks eating away at the black rock.
The Raveen kept his gaze locked downward, curiosity now swimming with something else. Something dark in nature, yet not
close to being sinister or evil.
Finally, after a few moments, the rock was melted in to a pool of crimson lava, which looked too much like blood even upon
a closer inspection. Red-marked paws reached down, and the Raveen's eyes narrowed to slits as he came in to contact with
Relief flashed through his eyes, as his claws caught whatever it was, and he pulled it upward. It was light, whatever it was,
and managed to get snagged on something once or twice on the way up. As it broke through the red pool, the Raveen
placed it gently on the obsidian rock, and stepped back.
Gleaming back at him, seeming to meet his very gaze, was a white mask. It was cracked, and nearly crushed on one side,
likely from it's time spent under the rock. Yet not even the time spent below seemed to make a difference to the emerald
green markings under the two eyeholes.
And even though the wearer of this mask was no longer there, the Raveen could not help but feel as the essence of the
creature were still able to see him. As if it were watching him right now, through those empty sockets where black sand clung.
The Raveen retracted his claws, and moved to once more pick up the mask.
As another hound howled to the sky, he paused in his movements. His ears rotated to the direction the sound came from,
and moments later his ebony eyes turned to follow.
"A dying plea..." His voice was dark, velvety with an undertone of something rough. The mask was momentarily forgotten, as
the Raveen contemplated on what action to take.
A third howl, and the Raveen moved forward to retrieve the mask. He hooked a claw around it, before placing it in a leather
satchel slung over his shoulder. With a sense of unease, and distrust, he moved silently back across the obsidian rock.
The shadows quivered and fell away, clearing his exit from their rocky chambers. They no longer tried to maim him with their
presence, as if the very shadows were now scared to even touch this being. As if they knew just what it was he now had.
Curses on your blood... Is what the locals would say if they knew. If they had any idea of what just was unburied, they'd not
take the news lightly.
But they didn't know, not yet.
The Raveen stepped off the rock, his ebony eyes glancing in the direction of the mournful howls. It didn't take a well-versed
individual to know something awful was taking place. That someone was dying, and there was nothing to be done for it.
He had to know what it was this hound cried for.
Blood-marked paws set out on this new task, and the Raveen let his attention moved away from the mask now encased in
his travelling bag. The low hum of his earring was pushed out of his mind, much like the white noise which now plagued his
mind as he tried to search for answers.