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A Lonely Dawn

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PostSubject: A Lonely Dawn Thu 09 Apr 2015, 7:26 pm

It was warm, warmer than Aoi could remember being in some time. Something heavy was pressing against his body. "Uh... ugh..." He moaned as his consciousness slowly returned to him. The first thing he could identify before even opening his eyes, was the crackling of a fire. Slowly, he was able to raise his eyelids and finally awake. A quick survey clearly indicated that this was not the same place he last remembered being. He was in a small, wooden room. Directly above him was a small window, closed to keep the elements out. To his right, a fire was burning in the center of the room, over it was a large iron pot, steam was escaping from underneath the lid. The room itself was quite small, about three meters long and wide. The smoke from the fire escaped through a vent in the ceiling. Aoi himself was laying on a bed just large enough to accommodate a full grown adult and little else. Thick fur acted as a blanket, perhaps bear pelt from the size of it. Across the room from him was a single door.

Sitting up on the bed, Aoi immediately winced in pain. "Right... my ankle..." Pushing back the furs, Aoi was surprised to see his ankle, while swollen, was wrapped up and in a splint. Upon further investigation, he had found that all his wounds had been treated. At the foot of the bed, his clothes sat folded neatly in a pile. "Where... am I?" He mumbled as he rubbed his face. How long had he been out? Who helped him? Where was this place? There were so many questions going through Aoi's head at the moment, but most important of all, where was Teia?

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"TEIA!" Aoi cried out into the night. Exhausted, beaten, he continued to pursue her. Galateia too was wounded, Aoi was using her blood stains in the snow to aid his tracking. Her fight had been a brutal one from what he had seen of the aftermath. The room was in shambles. Walls, floor even the ceiling had suffered significant damage. Judging from the amount of blood, Teia had been wounded far more greatly than Aoi had, yet she was still able to push on even when the snow would be reaching up to her knees. "Where do you get that strength?" Aoi thought to himself. He was slowing down. His chakra was already pushed to the limit and even his extreme control over the Fairy Wings jutsu was not enough to keep him afloat. Walking was not an option either, he had sprained his ankle back in the mansion and now the pain was practically overwhelming.

"Just... a bit... more... Teia..." Aoi's words came out as gasps between breaths as he dropped ever closer to the ground. Finally, his body gave out. Falling face-first into the snow drift, it was all he could do to lift his head and attempt to crawl. Soft flakes of snow began to fall as he reached his hand forward into the darkness. "Teia..."

Everything went black.

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Perhaps he should consider himself lucky to be alive. Even with his natural affinity for the cold, being left out to the elements like that would have spelt his doom. That thought only increased his worry for Teia. If she was not lucky enough to find some place to take shelter, the cold would have done her in for sure. "No, she's too strong to just die like that."

Sliding his feet off the side of the bed, Aoi gently placed them on the floor, wincing again as his injured ankle screamed at him in response. "This... is... nothing..." He said through grit teeth as he stood up. For a moment, he simply stood there, trying to overcome the pain before his ankle failed him and he fell to the floor just in front of the fire. A yelp escaping him. Holding his ankle as gently as he could, the door across the room opened, revealing a giant figure on the other side. A blast of chilling wind filled the room.

"Hey, you shouldn't be out of bed." The figure's voice was deep and booming, echoing off the walls of the small room. It dropped something that landed with a dull thump before the figure moved towards Aoi. With a single hand that pratically covered his torso, Aoi was lifted back onto the bed and forced under the covers. "You need to rest. You were hurt pretty bad." As the figure returned to whatever it was that it had dropped, Aoi could only watch and ask "Who are you?"

"Just call me Yuri, now rest."

Aoi had so many more questions, yet not an ounce more of energy to ask them. His eyes were heavy and he quickly gave in.
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PostSubject: Re: A Lonely Dawn Fri 10 Apr 2015, 4:03 pm

When next he awoke, night had fallen. The window above his head was completely black. The only source of light was the still crackling fire to his right. This time however, a succulent scent was filling the room. Sitting himself up, Aoi rubbed his eyes as he groaned. His body was stiff and sore, his bones practically creaking with every movement. "Good, you're awake." Came a booming voice. Beside the fire was the giant figure he could vaguely remember before passing out before. This time however, Aoi was able to focus his vision better. The figure was masculine, crouched down but likely stood at least six to seven feet tall. Oddly, even though he was by the fire and the cabin was quite warm, the man was still wearing a thick winter coat. Even his hood was drawn up and over his head, obscuring his face.

"How long have I been out?" Aoi asked as he shifted to the side of the bed. The smell of the cooking meat was intoxicating. His dry mouth was struggling to produce saliva while his stomach rumbled with desire. The figure quietly prodded the fire for a moment before leaning his head back slightly to face Aoi. Even then however, Aoi could not see his face. "About two days. You probably have a lot of questions, but you should eat first." With that, he pulled off a chunk of meat from the rack, placed it on a plate and passed it to Aoi. The boy did not even object, it was far too tempting. Placing the plate on his lap, he quickly dug into it. Tearing off chunks and devouring them as fast as he could.

Juices spilled everywhere, dribbling down his arms, chin, chest, he was an utter mess. The meat was unseasoned, yet still the most delicious thing he could remember eating. Normally, Aoi was not a big eater and this chunk of meat was nearly the size of his head, yet he kept tearing away at it until his stomach was full to bursting. Taking in a few deep breaths as he let the food settle, Aoi looked to the man again as he licked the juices from his fingers. "Who are you? Why did you help me?" The man was silent for a moment, he simply stared into the flames for reasons that escaped the boy. When he did finally speak, his voice boomed throughout the small room. "I've already told you my name. I found you unconscious and half buried in snow. When I noticed you still had a pulse, I brought you here. This is just a little hunting shack I built years ago, but I was able to warm you up and tend to your wounds. As for why, I could not just let someone freeze to death out there..." Yuri's voice trailed off for a moment before he finished. "That's no way for anyone to die."

Aoi nodded at his words, it was indeed pure luck that had saved him. Had this random hunter not stumbled across him, he would never had awakened. Still, he had been out for two days now, there was no telling what had happened to Galateia, nor where she was now. "Did you happen to see anyone else? A girl perhaps, with blonde hair and a large sword? She was hurt really bad." Again, Yuri had no indication he had even heard Aoi for a moment before finally speaking. "No, you were the only one. If there were other tracks, the snow had already buried them. I'm sorry."

"Oh..." That hurt. It felt like Aoi's heart had just been ripped out of his chest. Not even his swollen ankle could compare to this pain. Why? Why did he feel this way? There was nothing special between the two. Teia was just a means to an end. Aoi had wanted to see what it was like to be truly free and observing Teia would teach him that. He was nothing to Teia either, just some tag along kid that she just put up with. Right? It shouldn't hurt this much.

"I need to go. Thank you so much for saving me, but I'm sorry. I have nothing to repay the debt." With that, Aoi pushed himself off the bed and onto his feet. Again, a sharp pain shot up his leg from his injured ankle. It was not as bad as he remembered. At the very least, he could grit his teeth and stand on it. Walking would be a different story. Thankfully, he was not one to really walk anyway. Turning to get his clothes, a giant hand grabbed him and threw him back on the bed. "Wha- Hey! Why are you-" Aoi froze as Yuri towered over his bed. With the fire behind him and the low light, he appeared more like a demon than a man. It was one of the few times when Aoi was truly terrified in his life. "No. You will rest here. Until you can walk again, you will stay in this bed."

Swallowing the lump in his throat, Aoi nodded feebly. Yuri stood over him a few moments more before going back to tending the fire. My... acquaintance is out there. I need to find her, she's hurt." Aoi's vision was becoming blurry. There were tears in his eyes. Again he asked himself why, but could come up with no answers. "I'm sorry for your friend. But leaving now would just leave two bodies lost on the mountain. You do no one any favours by going out to die like that."

Silence hung over the shack, broken only by the occasional cracks of the fire. "Sleep now. It is still some time until morning. The more you rest, the sooner you'll heal." With no other alternatives, Aoi laid back down on the bed, pulling the bearskin pelt up into a cocoon around himself and slowly drifted back to sleep.
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PostSubject: Re: A Lonely Dawn Fri 10 Apr 2015, 4:36 pm

Yuri was a strange one. During the daylight hours, he was often gone. Out hunting one thing or another and only returned during the night. It had been five days now, if Aoi was counting correctly, since he had been brought to this shack on the mountain. His wounds were healing up quickly. There was still some bruising, but the cuts had healed fully. Even his ankle was coming along. The swelling was almost gone and he could even walk on it now. Sure he still had a limp but it was something. At the moment he was washing himself off with a towel he was dipping in warm water. For the most part he had to care for himself during the daylight hours. Yuri would leave chunks of jerked meat out so he always had food. Water was as simple as boiling some snow from outside. Still, he was getting restless. A week had gone by and he was still stuck here. Teia could be anywhere by now, if she was even alive.

"No, she wouldn't die that easily. She's too stubborn." Lately Aoi had taken to vocally reminding himself that Teia had to be alive. It helped to push away the negative thoughts and to alleviate the loneliness. Once he was done washing, Aoi grabbed a clean towel to dry himself off before dressing. The fire was getting low again. Limping to the door, Aoi stepped outside into the cold mountain air. Beside the door was a stockpile of wood. Yuri seemed to always replenish it when he returned from hunting since whatever pieces he removed would be replaced the next morning. Grabbing a few logs, he quickly closed the door and placed them in the fire. Blowing on it a few times to feed the flames before limping back to the bed.

Taking a bite out of the jerky, Aoi laid himself back down. There was little to do here. Quite often he just slept the days away only to awake and try to busy himself with whatever he could for a few hours before just sleeping again. "Soon. I'll be coming soon." He muttered as he finished the jerky and rolled over, back to sleep.

When Aoi next awoke, it was late into the night. Yuri was once again crouched over the fire cooking new chunks of meat. Sitting himself up, he looked to Yuri. "Why do you always wear your coat? Even when indoors?" It was a small question that had been on the back of Aoi's mind for sometime now. Why he finally chose to ask, he couldn't really say. Perhaps he just wanted to kill some time? In typical Yuri fashion, he took a moment before speaking. "The cold is killer. Must stay warm." Something about the way he spoke chilled Aoi's spine. He couldn't exactly place why, but he rather not press the matter further. Laying back down, Aoi just stared at the ceiling as the time slowly ticked by. Eventually sleep would take him again.

"Come morning, you leave. You're strong enough now and weather should be good for next few days." Yuri suddenly said out of nowhere. Aoi just looked to him in shock for a moment. "Really? Well, thank you. I'm sorry I can't repay this debt. Is there anything I could do before I leave?" "Find your friend, and never get caught out in the cold like that again. It is no way to die..."

Silence fell over the shack once more. Eventually sleep did catch up with Aoi and he drifted off once more. A few hours later, he was shaken awake as Yuri stood over him. "Almost dawn. Time to go." Glancing out the window, it was still pitch black outside, yet Yuri was giving him no option. Aoi was dressed and packed within a few minutes as Yuri lead him to the door. "Could I ask one last thing of you, Yuri? I'd like you to lead me back to where you found me. I remember the direction my... companion went." Yuri said nothing this time, but he did lead the way. Aoi immediately activated his fairy wings jutsu. He still had a bit of a limp and would just exhaust himself walking in snow this deep.

The walk was a long one, at least a good hour before Yuri stopped. "Here." Was all he said before heading back in the direction of his shack. The sun was beginning to rise now. In mere moments it would peek over the mountains in the distance. Looking back at Yuri, Aoi called out "Thank you so much! I won't forget you." Yuri made no motion to respond. In the next moment, the sun broke over the mountains, blinding Aoi for a moment. When he looked back, Yuri was gone. Something that should not have been possible, this area was essentially a wide open field of snow. There was no place for the giant to hide.

"What the?" Was all Aoi could say. In the end, they had to part ways here. Perhaps it was just some hunter's trick. Taking in a deep breath, Aoi said his thanks once more under his breath before turning north. Teia was not one to stray from her path, so more than likely she had continued moving northward. "I'll find you sooner or later." With that, he flew off.

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