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(Dayan) [Seventh Umbral] [IC] Sunrise Ruby Eyes [Closed, OOC Welcome!]

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Timeline: 3 Years After Calamity

Ages of Involved Characters: Dayan Dotharl (28), Rumi Dotharl (12), Yesui Hotgo (8)


Chapter 1 - Prey and Predator


The silence in the small clearing at the feet of a rocky hill was broken just as the sun above started its descent towards the western horizon. The rustle of dead leaves being stomped on by fast, small hooves in great strides, then the whipping noise of something snapping, and a stomp that came in unison with the pained, throaty groan of a large mammal. In its frenzy, panicked escape from a bigger threat, the deer had been incautious in its steps and had not detected the trap laid in wait just over a small, dutifully piled outcrop of rocks and pieces of bark ahead of its route. The inertia of its race, and its natural weight had done the rest, delivering the beast to a bed of spikes made with bones and branches in the hole dug beneath the camouflage.


Thirty seconds of silence, and then a black-haired Hyur came out from behind a fallen tree. "It's done..!" He said, trotting up to the hole to look in it, and then bursting with a triumphing laughter. "Nakura, come! It's HUGE!"


Another, older man walked up to side with the first, his shoulders covered with a leather hide woven with leaves all over its surface. He carried a bow in hand, and looking down at the dying deer with a satisfied smile, he quickly nocked one arrow and shot it in the head, putting the beast out of its misery. "Our ancestors smile on us today, my brother."


"You think there could be more nearby?"


"Let us not push our luck, this will suffice us plenty for at least a week–" Nakura's words froze, and he looked up, alert.


His younger sibling was still admiring their prize, when he finally noticed the silence. "Naku–?" He winced when the archer slapped one hand on his mouth, and pointed one finger, slowly, towards the hill, the direction the deer had come from.


Horse strides, in a well cadenced canter. Someone was coming in a rush, and they were looking around for something.


"We need to leave." Nakura said in a whisper, starting to turn around.


"What? No. We have been sitting on this trap all day, I am not going to let some passer-by steal our food…!"


"It's probably what the deer was running fro– Makotsu!" Nakura crouched down, trying to grab his brother's collar to stop him from climbing inside the hole, but moved too slowly. He watched in anger as the younger Hyur began working the deer's body out the spikes. "We will never make it with something that heavy, come out, now!"


"Shut up and go get the ropes…!"


"You–-stupid– Ugh!" Fuming, Nakura walked away and out of sight, heading quickly towards the small camp they had set up along the river not too far from there. Both their horses were old and thin. there was no way they could have pulled out that deer out in a quick fashion. His brother was out of his mind!


After the last of the spikes had been pulled out from the deer's body, Makotsu was confident that in the evening they would have been welcomed back to the village as heroes. He couldn't recall a better prey in the past five years, and the ancestors were definitely answering their prayers at last. He didn't even hear the sound of approaching hooves anymore. His brother was just paranoid.


And, lazy, too. What was taking him so long? The sense of time was lost in that hole, but the sun was already out of sight from down there, and it wouldn't have been long before the pale gray of the sky would have faded in the flaming colors that were typical of the sunsets on that side of Othard.


After successfully counting up to one-hundred without hearing a single noise, Makotsu started to consider the possibility that his older brother had chickened out and gone to hide somewhere instead. And if he had done so, it would have been hours before his return.


"Nakura, you little piece of–-" He growled, struggling against the steep wall of mud and rocks to crawl out of the pit. "Just wait until I get you… You're not going to have the slightest credit for this hunt!"




Makotsu froze on the spot, his body hauled only half-way over the edge of the pit, as he stared in shock at the bloody form of his older brother to the ground, just a few yalms from him. He was face-down, his head turned to stare at him through eyes that were already veiled with death. His left hand twitched, in spasms, towards him.


"R-run–- Agh!" It wasn't a real scream what escaped the Hyur's mouth as a third arrow struck him, not in the leg or back like the former two, but to the back of the head, taking his life away without a spare moment of mercy.


"NAKURA!" Makotsu pulled himself up, crawling out and up to his brother. His hands were shaking, he didn't know what to do, feeling terrified even just to touch his brother, so weak and pale he looked already. It was as though he was just about to turn into a pile of dust to be blown in the breeze. "NAKU–!"


"He tried to shoot me. Because you were there."


Makotsu gasped at the cold, deep voice that came from the other side of the clearing. And there, he saw his brother's assassin. Riding on top of a huge bay mare was a just as imposing Xaela rider. Clad in dark leather and blood-stained cloth, the pearl-white hue of his skin seemed to give an even darker shine to the scales that framed his face, only a shade lighter than the raven, long wild locks of hair that danced in the autumnal breeze of the valley. His eyes seemed to be pitch black, with no clear distinction between the irises and schlera. The eyes of a beast, pointing straight at him without mercy, like the curved horns on the sides and top of his head.


If there was any doubt in Makotsu's heart about the tribe the Auri belonged to, it was wiped the moment his eyes set on the horse he was riding. The mane and tail were adorned with a series of dark, little horns, each tied to a different lock, that the wind shook and knocked together like creepy wind chimes. On the beast's forehead was the severed top of an Auri skull, the horns of its departed owner now decorating the sides of the animal's face as its own.


The Dotharl.


"So what will it be?" The Xaela asked calmly, his hands slowly rising and pulling the large bow, another deadly arrow aiming straight at the Hyur. "He died to protect you. Shall you live on to his sacrifice, to the torment of his spirit, or fight and join him in the Other World?"


With a scream, Makotsu broke out of his paralysis, and turned away from his brother's warm corpse to run, run as fast and far as he could. He knew he did not stand a chance. He knew he wouldn't have lived to see his camp again, get on top of his old gelding and escape death. It wasn't possible, he had been targeted by a Dotharl archer, and there was no hope. Oh, ancestors….




Dayan of the Dotharl kept his bow's string tense and ready for two whole minutes, before the sound of a horse galloping away vibrated against his horns. He relaxed, quietly exhaling without a blink. He put the arrow back in the quiver tied to the side of his saddle, and then dismounted to retrieve the others he had used.


As well as his deer.

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Chapter 2 - Dotharl

"A deer."


The contemptuous note in the voice of his younger tribe-mate did not go unnoticed to Dayan, but he didn't want to give him the satisfaction of a fight. As the black sheep of the Dotharl, he had gotten used on being picked on often, and the years had taught him that forgiving a provocation often hurt more than a dozen of well-placed fists would.


"I count my blessings, Amal." He said calmly as he worked on untying the dead buck from the back of his mare. "Or perhaps you'd prefer that I had returned empty-handed?"


"You were sent to look for settlements, not meat for nary a week." Amal spit to the ground by Dayan's feet, his crimson-circled eyes glaring daggers at him.


"We will have for two, if we add the gendling and moderate our diet."


"HAH! Truly?" Amal's long, spiked tail swung in irritation behind his legs. "The Dusk Mother must've hit her head really hard when she decided to waste the gift of four horns on someone like you. What good is a better hearing when you can't even follow the simples of orders from the Khan?!"


"That's enough, Amal." Tolon, a Xaela of no more years than Dayan, stepped forth from the encampment and towards them. "Join the others, now."


Amal's body tensed, and he turned to look up at the man. "But, my Khan--"


"Or perhaps your two horns do not suffice for you to hear my orders?" Tolon's eyes narrowed, his voice gurgling into something close to a growl behind his words.


The younger Dotharl looked away, daring but a final glare towards Dayan before turning away and heading towards the tents.


The Khan waited in silence for Amal's footsteps to be at a distance that satisfied him, observing the four-horned hauling the deer to the ground. "...It is a good prey."


His voice contained no effort to sound encouraring nor endearing. It was not a real compliment, Dayan knew, but tribal conventions urged him to show appreciation.


"Thank you, my Khan."


"Too good, for that gelding to carry alone." Tolon's eyes shifted on the gray horse that Dayan had found at the camp by the hunters' trap and used to ride while his mare's back was occupied by the deer. "That Hyur had to be very foolish, thinking he could carry this prey alone. Or, not alone."


Dayan slightly loosened the girth around the mare's stomach, before looking back at the Khan with an impassive expression.


"Are you sure he was truly alone as you told us, Dayan? Sometimes even four horns cannot hear everything." Tolon spoke very slowly, studying his warrior with his piercing gray eyes.


Dayan was quiet for a few seconds, choosing his words carefully. He didn't want to betray his lie. "I am sure I did not hear anyone else nearby. The fool was simply granted a prey that was never meant to be his in the first place, and he paid the consequences. It was naught by fate."


The Khan's lips pursed, his left eyebrow, split in half by a scar, twitched in a brief, ironic arch. "And I imagine that fate was also what prevented you to look for this hunter's settlement."


"I had to choose between the possibility of finding a settlement, or the certainty of a few good meals." Dayan responded calmly. "The beasts of the woods would have eaten the deer before my return."


He looked back up at his Khan, and the two sustained each other's gaze for a while, before Tolon's head tilted in assent, and he turned away. "I will pray for Sartak's return to be one with better news, then. Oh, and...."


The Khan turned to give Dayan a cold, but vaguely annoyed glance. "You should go see your daughter."


Dayan frowned, looking towards the camp. Most of the tribe were sitting by the fire in the center, and a good amount of them were looking towards him as they spoke to each other. Their eyes shown amusement, contempt, and a few others, pity.






The twelve-years old was curled up at the far end of the tent, and winced upon hearing her father's voice. She did not sit up nor turned around to greet him, instead continuing to lie on her right side, almost completely hidden under the thick hide of a gray wolf.


Dayan stood at the entrance for a bit, before letting out a quit sigh and getting down on all-four to enter the tent without tangling one of his horns in the many strings that together kept the leathers close enough to shelter the inside from most of rain and cold wind.


"Rumi, I know you are not sleeping." He said, sitting down to stare at the young girl. "Get up and greet your father properly."


"I am not feeling well..." Her voice creaked, poorly concealing pain.


"The Khan said something happened."


Rumi let out a loud sigh, her shoulder visibly sagging, before pushing herself up. She turned halfway to look at her father through the thin veil of the hair that framed the left side of her face, of a blue-ish black similar to the color of her scales.


"It hurts. I don't want anyone to touch it."


"Show me." Dayan's voice was stern, but somewhat warm.


With a roll of her eyes, Rumi turned to face him, tilting her head to show her right horn, broken in half. Three of the five "tips" that gave her horns that star-like shape were lost, and down her neck and right shoulder was a dark trail of dried blood.


Dayan frowned, and reached to inspect the damage with his hand. Rumi jerked her head backwards and sideways to dodge his hand, with an irritated grunt. The adult quickly moved his other hand and caught Rumi's left hown, blocking her head and tilting it to give him a better view. She hissed, but didn't attempt to push him away.


Ghosting the wound with two fingers, Dayan exhaled. "How did this happen?"


She frowned a little, looking confused for a moment, then bit her lip. "I fell on a rock."


"And why did you fall?"


Rumi hesitated, her bright green aquamarine eyes, the same as her mother's, were staring angrily at the ground. Her left hand clutched to grip on the wolf's hide with wrath. "Cota pushed me. We were fighting. She insulted Mother's--"


"I do not care what caused the fight. No childish squabble is worth this kind of price, Rumi."


"She keeps telling everyone you are a madman and that you hear voices..!" She cried, and then whimpered, pulling back and holding her head.


Dayan closed his eyes. He had hoped those rumors would have died by now. Because of their lifestyle, mortality rate is extremely high among the Dotharl, and to his knowledge only his parents, and then his mate, had learned of his ....curse... and all three had perished years before. But one of them had to have spoken with someone... perhaps Rumi's mother. She had a brother, and he was Cota's father... A man of few words to be sure, but always willing to spare some when it came to putting shame on his sister's awful choice for a mate.


Dayan the mad, Dayan the fool... Always had issues embracing the traditions of the tribe, that Dayan... Hearing whispers, voices that were not there... and seeing things. Shards of others' life, their memories...It happened almost always when he'd go to deliver the fatal blow on his enemy. It was too much for him, too heavy for his heart and mind. The only salvation from that soul-crushing curse was to avoid conflict.


And that, for a Dotharl, was beyond impossible.


His parents never believed the story about the visions, and blamed the "voices" on his four horns, a very rare anomaly among all Au Ra. They had very quickly cut bridges with him when they realized he'd never do them any honor as a warrior of the tribe. They had died in battle before he would even consider looking for a way to reconciliate with them, like most of those of their age. The Dotharl tribe rarely had any member older than fourty cycles.


Rumi's mother had been the only one who seemed to understand... she had even expressed disagreement when Dayan had made her promise to never talk about his curse, but complied to his will as a good mate would. She had even taken on herself most of the duties as a fighter for the tribe.. at least one in the couple had to support the tribe's raids against other tribes and settlements, in order to earn the right to feed on the spoils.


But that, obviously would have eventually taken her to her death. And it had happened way too soon. Dayan had been taking care of Rumi in her stead all that time, and long enough for the child to grow fond of him, but she still lacked an education as a fighter. This had put her in a dangerous situation in their community... the Dotharl welcomed no dead weights.


Dayan had made the effort to rejoin the ranks as a warrior and hunter again, though trying to shy away from direct attacks in turn for duties as sentry or scout, but... That meant leaving Rumi alone, and what had happened that day, was but the consequence.


"You fought a battle that was not your own." He said stoicly.


Rumi's voice trembled. "Y-your voice... it's weird..."


"Your hearing is unstable. Your horns differ in size and shape too much." Dayan sighed, and turned to take one of the large, flat rocks that were inside the tent to pin down the leathers on the edges of the ground. He placed it before himse.f "Put your head here. I will do what I can to make them even again..."


Rumi's eyes widened in fear, one of her hand reaching up to ghost her left, sane horn. "But..."


"It's the only way, Rumi." Dayan did not look at her, as he gathered a few tools to put next to him. A smaller, sharp rock normally used to file horse hooves, a pestle, a knife... "You will struggle to hear what is in the distance, but at least you will not be so confused regarding your enemy's direction."


As a tear rolled down her cheek, Rumi quickly wiped it, and though shaking, she lied down on the rock, closing her eyes. "Will it hurt...?"


Dayan looked down at her, resting one hand on her eyes, to shield her from flying shards and blood.


"Not more than it already has..."

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