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Clan Akelara giveaway / bonding

Marked Man

Bonded to: Zah

Age: 19 Sex: Male Species: Human
Soul Name:n/a Known By: n/a
Mate Status/Sex Preference: single, hetero
Children: none known
Parents/Relatives: alive, but disassociated
Height: 5'9" Build: slender but wiry muscular
Hair Color, Length, Style: short dark brown, ragged cut
Eye Color, Size, Shape: dark green-brown, wide
Skin Tone: tanned
Voice Quality: deep, quiet, grunts a bit
Clothing -- Summer: hide cloak, hide loincloth, leather sandals
Clothing -- Winter: if he finds furs, he'll pile them on
Jewlery Worn, Made: none
Tatoos/Markings/Scars: is marked by his old tribe - see story
Pets/Animals Kept: none, but is pretty good with goats and other herd animals
Notable Posessions: just his skin
Holt Function: not yet, but will become a human emisary
Magic? How Powerful? unknown magic - very possibly has 'the Sight' which allows a bit of precognition or visions to events in the future or past
Climate/Locations Preferred: warm, likes rain, prefers hilly terrain where he can get a look around
General Likes: rain, daylight, being accepted
General Dislikes: his old tribe, being forced to do anything, being marked
Fears/Worries: these elves, they may turn on him - they were known as demons in his tribe
Special Strange Info: as a "marked" man, he is made to wander the world, see story
Basic Personality: quiet, but very senisble and observant. Probably why he was singled out, he is not a great hunter, nor is he a very brave man, but he is willing to see both sides of anything before passing judgement
How they feel about
: feh, maybe the elves are right about us
Elves -- herders: I used to do that!
Elves -- magic users: .... I think I used to do that too...
Elves -- bond-riders: what an amazing idea, but dragons are a bit scary aren't they?
Trolls, etc: never seen one, but has seen their work - weapons and armor scattered around the world, all elf-sized
Bond Animal Info if any: no bond, but befriended by preserver named Amberbonnet

Skills: herding, baiting traps, trap making (simple), land knowledge. As a Marked, however, he is unable to enjoy any of the fruits of living around people, so most of his recent skills (such as tanning, clothing and the like) are not only poor, but forced.

History: see story


He had once had a name, but now no longer remembered it, because there was no one there to call him. He didn't much care for that. He also didn't much care for the weather just now, it was snowing, and he hadn't been able to catch anything bigger than a small squirrel in days. So that meant he was hungry and cold.

At least in the snowy winter weather, he didn't stink as much as he did in the summer. These hides of his... they were awful. They weren't like the smooth baby-swaddling his sister used when she had her child, they weren't like the cloth woven by the old women, and they certainly weren't like the old Chief's cloak.

He bitterly remembered yet again, the Chief. Not a small man, but neither was he the biggest of the tribe. He was fast, though, and his fists hit just as hard as the biggest hunter's. So when the boy who would be marked asked, "why do you hit your woman?" he was now the target of those fists.

It was whenever he asked something obvious: why do we not hunt the older deer, these big males are too dangerous? Why don't we put up a bigger shelter for the goats, they keep getting out? How come the women avoid the Chief? ... those questions always led to beatings.

It was when that one day... when he asked something he really didn't know the answer to. Because all logic was defied by what he imagined he'd seen. He must have imagined it. He had to have: it was something he knew had happened before he was born. "Why did the Chief kill his father?"

Now, only three people had ever heard him ask that question. The Chief, the boy's mother, and the Chief's main shaman. The boy's mother had brought him before the shaman, because she was worried he'd said something wrong - and the shaman brought him before the Chief because he knew the answer.

At the age of eleven snows, the boy was brought to the middle of the tribe's clearing, and bent over a bale of sticks. He thought he was to be beaten or whipped. But that was mild by comparison. His mother, he remembered her cries and her anguished screaming, to spare him anything but this thing.

The boy had never seen such a device, it was a long metal rod, and at the end of it was a twisted bit of metal. They had plenty of metals, they traded with northern tribes and those on the east of the plains, who knew how to mine for metal and purify ores and make things out of it. Spear heads, poles, jewlery, pots and cookware, knives. And this, a brand.

He realized too late, that it was the goat-brand, the symbol which lay on the rumps of all their cattle. He had wondered once about those too, but hadn't been around on the days that they branded their animals. It was kept in a special shaman's kit, but it was another who did this deed.

Over a fire, brought to life right before the boy's eyes. The brand rested in it for a long time, long enough to be brightly red. Until a few minutes before the whole thing was to be done, the boy didn't even realize what was going on. The image was reversed on the brand, of course. It took him a few moments to understand what it was.

A five-fingered hand, clutching a round object. It was the symbol of their tribe, it marked their goats when they went to trade gatherings. A hand and a rock. That was pretty much everything that the boy knew about this brand.

Until they pressed into his shoulder.


The pain was unbearable, he screamed and his eyes watered so much he wondered if he could put the fire out with his tears. He heard his mother, still screaming like he was - almost like they'd branded her too. But fortunately, she hadn't been given such torture.

As soon as it was done, the metal pressed so deeply that some around worried it would hit muscle, they yanked the boy up off the bale and pushed him into a corral. No dressing on the wound, no cool water, no wet cloth to help alleviate the pain.

He was now a posession. His mother and sister were allowed to talk with him, but only so much as to tell him to get out with the goats and herd them. The boy realized within a day or so that they would not be feeding him either, so he had to forage for roots like the goats. At first he became quite sick, though thankfully the brand on his arm didn't get infected, and healed reasonably well into a pale scar on his tanned form. He caught small animals, mice, or found eggs in nests. He never really became good at those things, because of course he was also herded by his superiors - time to come in, if he strayed too far he was beaten not with a simple fist or switch, but with the whip that the herders often carried, or a staff which threatened to break his bones.

He spoke, often.

He spoke to the goats, or to whoever was nearby. They were meant to ignore him, to consider his words as the bleating of an animal. But he spoke truth. Only the shaman realized this, but the shaman was old, and didn't feel like protecting the boy against his much younger Chief.

The Chief had indeed killed his father. And his mother too, by all accounts, and taken the tribe by wit and not strength. He convinced everyone that they'd died some other way - another tribe, an elf, whatever. No one asked. That itself might have been another form of magic, the boy didn't believe that the Shaman had real magic, but he did think perhaps, that the Chief had pulled everyone's minds into a daze. They all ignored the facts, they all went on ignoring them, even when the boy bleated out the man's guilt.

He had nightmares, after a year or so. Something terrible would happen, to many many men. And elves - they'd seen the plains dwelling point-ears and even traded with them. Their goods were small but beautiful, some of the women had pottery and bracelets that the elves had made - they made to last, always more durable than they looked.

But ... something awful. An unknown terror crept into the boy, and night after night, he spent more time out in the corral yard instead of sheltered with the warmth of the goats. Looking up at the stars. There was something about them, in his nightmare.

But when he looked, he saw nothing like what he's seen in his mind, so eventually he had to believe that whatever it was, either wasn't going to happen, or had already, or ... something.

When the boy was just under thirteen snows, the tribe went to the big plains gathering. They brought their goats, and they brought the boy - as a slave, to be bartered.

They warned that he spoke nonsense, which was why he was branded as cattle. Another tribe picked him up, and just like that, his whole life vanished.


However it could have turned out, this was how it did go. The boy was branded again, on his opposite shoulderblade. He now had two hugely visible markings, though this time the pain wasn't quite as much, the tribe offered those cool wet cloths and soothing salves so that he wouldn't cry so much. There were other slaves in this camp, he realized, seeing their markings. They weren't treated as goats, though.

He realized that his tribe was quite ... primative. Very much so, in comparison with the others. Though this nomadic group would wander all the warm months of the year, they settled into a nook which was sheltered from the worst of the winter storms, under large heavy canvas tents. There, they expected their slaves to treat them with whatever they had: to cook and clean, help them bathe, they didn't allow the slaves to hunt, but they did feed them well and kept them healthy. They respected their slaves, a bit more than the boy's old tribe had, and he appreciated it.

He spoke truths, still, but now, he was told in plain words: don't speak them until you've consulted the Shaman. And it was plainly clear that the Shaman here wanted very much to keep the boy by his side, and learn these secret truths for himself. But the tribe shared everything, so he only could watch and learn.

Whether the Chief's woman would have a boy or a girl - he knew that. Inconsistantly, but they realized that his Sight was magic, and no one forced magic! If he had a vision, people would listen carefully. That was good, it was so much better than he could have expected in his old home!

But life here wasn't perfect. He was beaten still, he was somewhat clumsy, and though everyone knew that, some of the tribesmen would insist he do a task knowing he'd fail, just so they could laugh and beat him again.

The thing was, he knew this would happen - not because of any magic, but because he was a smart young man by now. At fifteen snows... he felt a weird dread. The Shaman would die, there was a ground-quake - it wasn't nearby, it was far to the north and east (how did he know that?!) and it would cause a landslide.

But he ... didn't tell anyone. Instead he knew just where to be, just when... And escaped during that ground quake.

He didn't, however, get very far. They were on their westernmost swing across the vast plains, and he stumbled into a big darkly forested area. It was spooky, to say the least, because it was almost deadly quiet. Except... there were voices, singing, but they weren't human, and they weren't birds.

What exactly were they?

Elves perhaps? They didn't sound like elves, he'd heard and met some on the plains gathers. No, what met his eyes when he looked around at a big coccooned object - was another pair of eyes, tiny, but bright and wide. The thing was greeny-yellow in color, had wings like a bug!

"What are you?" He asked, but the bug didn't reply, instead it chittered loudly and flew off quickly. It brought others. They stared at the boy, the Marked boy, and decided what to do with him. He wasn't injured, he wasn't sick, he was a bit hungry. And sleep would take him soon enough - he didn't understand their speech. They left him be for a day or so, even while he slept, normally they would have spat their coccooning goo all over him, but ... they left him for a bit.

He opened one of the smaller coccoons, and discovered a rabbit! It was easily captured, being sleepy itself. He roasted it (with difficulty, producing a fire was something that another slave always did), and for the first time in a long while, he slept soundly with a full belly, free.


The little bright-skinned things woke him, but it was odd. He had all that white goo on him, and had to scrape with difficulty to get it all off. It was ... spring? It was in reality a good number of years after he'd fallen to sleep, but the preservers didn't know quite how to tell him. Not knowing human-speech after all.

That was when he was befriended, one of the little preservers took it upon himself (herself? the Marked man didn't know) to follow around and 'help'. Perhaps it was that they'd kept him in wrapstuff for so long - the stars were the same, but now...

It didn't take much to realize that the vision he'd had - with the white streak in the sky, and some sense of dread in his heart - had come true. But then, it took more than two years to learn the preserver's language, even then not very well. He wandered east, dreading the consequences.


It was cold, it was snowy, and it was the nook where the nomadic tribe had wintered. But they weren't there. Why not? What was wrong? Even if they hadn't taken him in, surely they'd have been here to watch?

As he progressed more easward and north, he had a strange sensation creep back into him: this was where his birth tribe lay. But... they too were gone. As though they never existed... Wait...

Cautiously, with badly cured hides and a cold, stiff branch to help balance, the Marked man made his way through what he might have recognized as the corral. There had been a clearing, there had been habitation. But it was long gone, the trees had been cut, they were dead - and hadn't returned even though the area was bare of human habitation now. Perhaps they'd headed across the mountains, or south, but... When?

How could this be?

Well there was nothing for it, his old tribe was long gone, and he was to spend his next season alone - well, alone if you didn't count his helper. His helper's name eventually came to him: Amberbonnet. It was a hard name to understand, for someone who had no concept of 'bonnet' or that colors could be named different things. Yellowhat was about as close as Marked man got, but frankly, that was close enough.

He lost a little of the meaning in the translation, however - because he also didn't know that amber could preserve things for millennia.

Marked man had more dreams, the farther east he went. And, he followed them. Though it seemed madness at this time of year, he went into the hills, heading northwards too. At last, he saw something he'd dreamt about long, long ago.

A long, slender figure in the air, not a bird, not a bat, but flying none the less. It was accompanied by another figure, an elf - flying.

For some reason, this didn't even surprise the man. He looked up, and wondered aloud, "what must it be like, to fly?"

His words couldn't have been heard, not from that distance. But... The big white-colored dragon came downwards, and only then did he notice that there was a second elf on its shoulders - one who didn't fly. Well, she did, but...

The darker skinned flying elfess stayed back a bit, but the shorter, paler one lept from the dragon's neck and approached with a big smile on her face. She spoke - with a bit of difficulty - in a human tongue.

"Greetings," she said, "welcome to Bald Mountain!"


It wasn't the first time they'd had humans up in their Aeries, however it was apparently the first time they had one there for a reason, like this. They allowed him to keep whatever his real name was 'private' but they also called him by a name: Brand. It was obvious after a while that several of the elves here also had such scars - and it was because Squall knew slave brands when she saw them, that she openly accepted Brand into the holt.

Others didn't feel so genuinely happy about it, but if she could be impressed by someone they knew he was trustworthy.

If only he didn't stink so much with those badly done hides!

That was the first thing they did: they made sure that his clothing was switched out for real soft pelts and cloth. It was cold, so he had a bearfur cloak now. And boots! The softest boots he'd ever felt, lined with fur and made with hard leather soles. He felt like he could tromp through anything in them!

Within a year, he had learned more and more words in the elf language, and oddly enough, his mind seemed quite open to some of them too.

The strongest minds in the holt wouldn't touch his, of course - the Tall elves, those who were oldest of old, and who had brought their own preserver? They were a bit put off. But, still, it was all for the best that a human be around, he could more easily communicate with the local men in their own language.

Apogee, the chieftess here, decided that he too should truly become a member of their tribe. It was the first time he'd really been accepted by anyone, in ages. This soft-spoken man who questioned everything, and hardly had a hurtful bone in his body, he was accepted by the chief and her lovemate.

Especially it seemed, by Squall. She knew that even though he was human, he was her equal on one important thing: they had been captured, they had been slaves. She offered to do something odd, the colorful tattoos that she had - she would put them on him if he wished. Something that would show the world that he wasn't afraid of being who he was.

Brand accepted. He decided that a mark of the smudge in the sky, the comet as it passed overhead some years ago - the comet which seemed a portent to the huge disaster on the coast. Blue Mountain fell, not long before. The comet had been in the sky some thirty years ago... The preservers silken coccoons kept Brand from getting too old too quickly, as humans were wont to do. But also, they kept him confused a bit. What he'd seen before, he learned...

"It was many turns of the seasons," Squall told him as she tattooed his chest. She placed colorful marks in the locations of the stars, and the sweep of the comet's tail in bright white. "It must have been hundreds of years ago," she admitted, "your tribe probably was absorbed into others long ago. The plains dealers grew stronger and stronger, that's what Bowcrescent says." The male elf was the father of chief Apogee's daughter, newly born. He too was more apt to accept the human in his presence, knowing it was better to be a friend than an enemy.

"But... so ... wait, I was - I was born when?" Brand stammered. Squall chuckled.

"I think it would be probably four or five hundred years ago. Long enough for many things to change, but not too long for them to be so different you wouldn't recognize them. And the preserver is why," she nodded toward Amberbonnet, who chirped happily at being remembered. It had to be reminded constantly - don't interrupt Squall. She didn't much care for the things on a personal level, but they were very handy indeed. "It keeps everything safe in those coccoons. You fell asleep one night, and woke up in the morning many years afterwards."

"A few times," Brand said, "I think it was a few times, but only short years. One big one, and some little ones on the way here. But... What about you? You don't have to do that, you elves are demons, so said my shaman. But I know you're just people, like me. Otherwise how could you be a slave?"

Squall nodded, biting her lip and continuing her work.

It was a few months later, when the two moons were both full, Apogee brought him to the Aerie. They had decided, since he seemed to like being tattooed, and there were already some talk of it... They made him mount up a dragon, and head to another world - he barely comprehended this. But his Sight kept him sensible. They knew what they were doing.

Something in his gut told him that he was also yet again, traveling through time more than anything else. It was when he met up with Crystalstorm - he knew. How odd. Because Crystalstorm already had a dragon, and plenty of tattoos. However, he had fewer at this time.

Meaning... He'd gone back to meet a younger Crystalstorm, and would probably not meet him again when they parted, until Crystalstorm was older! Brand didn't want to think too hard on it, it would probably melt his brains.

But they took him to a place which required him to be tattooed again, and this time he eagerly took them up on it. It wasn't so bad, when you knew it was coming, and when you could prepare! It didn't hurt that elf hands had healing powers, and those at the Holt weren't afraid to try using them on him! (Well, at least the one Tall elf didn't mind, his mate! Oh did she make a noise!)

He'd have to concentrate on learning new things. How to ... how to be a rider? Perhaps. He wasn't much taller than the Tall elves, and would never be a big man, because he'd been so starved during his younger years. He didn't stoop or slouch, but he was definitely not a big guy.

Sometimes... It came to him in dreams, that he'd lost more than most humans could: he lost his whole tribe, twice, three times? But they had cast him out first. They weren't lost to anything more than time. And now he felt a little apprehensive: would he too be lost to time? He was only human, he wasn't a demon, an elf, an angel. He would be a dragon rider, true, and maybe that would change things. But would he be able to live longer? With the preserver coccoons? Perhaps... Perhaps...

It was at Clan Akelara that he was led, tattooed with a new, very interesting ink. And then... Perhaps, he'd find out what he'd gotten himself into! (Apparently this creature's name is ZAH)

Name: Zah
Gender: Male
Color: Gold
Markings: Silver
Personality: proud, energetic; assertive