What Lies Within

Discussion in 'Archives' started by Kitsune, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. Kitsune

    Kitsune Fox Lady of Madness!!! Staff Member

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    What Lies Within

    Dain and Rislyn

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    She waved goodbye to her father as she crossed the boundary between worlds. Two years of work with many gods, and she still had no magic. A babbling stream greeted her as the portal closed behind her. Looking around, she smiled. The mortal world was truly beautiful, no matter what her father said.

    "Lookee what we 'ave 'ere?" A gruff voice sounded from behind a tree, followed by a large man holding a bow. A notched arrow pointed at her face. A doe darted away from them, her life spared by Rislyn's arrival.

    "She's a right freak, ain't she, boys? She'll make a pretty penny on the slave market," Another voice, behind her, this time, made her skin crawl. She was surrounded, nearly a dozen men stepped out from behind trees. All of them held weapons.

    "I advise you to let me pass." She growled, trying desperately to sound stronger than she was. Her only chance was to run, she couldn't fight so many men, she just wasn't a strong enough fighter.

    One man lunged at her, intent on capturing her. At least they didn't want her dead. She jumped over his head, grabbing a tree branch and scrambling up. An arrow whizzed by her ear, startling her. She lost her footing, and fell, landing on top of another man. A branch snapped to her left, distracting her as she rolled to stand. Another of the ruffians grabbed her, roughly binding her wrists.
     
  2. Paladin_girl

    Paladin_girl Between the Chapters of a Dream Staff Member

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    “You know. There are two things that I hate in this world – you’ve managed both of them.”

    The bandits suddenly stopped, turning to hear the cold tones that had shivered through the forest, belonging to a figure, dressed in total darkness. The cloak over her shoulders was ruined and battered, rugged, just like the rest of the form that stood defiant. Her face couldn’t be seen, for a black material had stretched over her mouth and nose, and wrapped around the dark tresses of her hair – it had been hurriedly done, so that strands of black trailed from the gaps between the head-cover, gathered at the back so that a long ponytail dangled and curled down to her lower back.

    Hanging from the cloak, the pelt of a white wolf was laid, the vicious, gaping head staring with beady, ruby eyes. It threatened to come alive at any second.

    The only thing that seemed to gleam brighter than the blood-glare was the cold, violet gaze of the wolf’s wearer.

    “Yeah? And what’re those, darky?” called one of the bandits, looking to his similarly-sneering companions. These men were not fighters, thought the stranger, they’re pathetic.

    There was a sudden, strange buzzing sound, before three of the men were keeling over, thudding to the ground, grunting in confusion.

    A thick, elaborate polearm followed one of the cards, stabbing the bowman against a tree. He slumped, his lips silently stuttering into cold deathliness. The stranger was unceremonious, pulling the strange halberd away with a cold crunch before stabbing it into the next target. She twisted the blade, the gurgled screams abruptly stopping.

    The girl’s captor relinquished his hold on her, reaching for his sword – but then the violet eyes met his beady stare – and, quite wisely, the stranger thought, stumbled away, screaming into the forest, readying to tell his other bandit compatriots that they were beaten by an evil spirit.

    With a sharp swipe of her weapon, it was returned to its resting place on her back, small droplets of blood falling from her left fingers. She frowned.

    “Perverts and insects.”

    Kneeling down, the stranger scooped up the cards from their bodies, not looking at the girl, whom she had swiftly saved.

    It was not a good start to her day.

    It had been a chance to get away from dysfunctional Kings, insane Gods and annoying fellow-mercenaries and to retrieve just a few herbs.

    Just a little way from the Haven, Pointy had said, no problems at all. Optimistic little…

    “Horseshit.” The stranger’s gruff voice became strangely faint as she checked for any signs of origin, any evidence of an organization. Aside from some coin, the bloody fools had nothing.

    Stinking amateurs.
     
  3. Kitsune

    Kitsune Fox Lady of Madness!!! Staff Member

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    Rislyn hastily shed her bindings, furious that she had (once again) be rescued. "Bloody fucking hell, just once, can't I save myself? What is it with this world, do warriors just happen to pass by all the time?" She grumbled to herself, smoothing the fur on her arms. Fucking bastards. She looked to the stranger who had saved her, and shook her head.

    "Thank you for helping me. It was kind of you." She held a hand out to shake, and only then realized she was still in demigod form. Fuck.
     
  4. Paladin_girl

    Paladin_girl Between the Chapters of a Dream Staff Member

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    The ‘helper’ looked up from her body-search to stare at the girl, the violet gaze falling to her outstretched hand – then to her ears, right down to her tail. An eyebrow was visibly arched, but the masked warrior looked away; there were stranger things, she supposed. She didn’t want to know how the girl gained her orange protrusions.

    “Shut up.” was a response before looking away, stranding up and brushing the muck from her fingerless gloves.

    She turned away, her back facing the girl before slipping her hands into her skirt pockets. She looked aside, but didn’t attempt to look at the woman.

    “I apologise that a warrior passed by in time to help you. Such a pain in the arse,” came a snarl from the mask.
     
  5. Kitsune

    Kitsune Fox Lady of Madness!!! Staff Member

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    Rislyn scoffed at the woman. Humans were rude creatures, but, she did have that one coming to her. "I'm sure you are a pain in the ass, like most humans are. I forgive you though," she said sweetly, putting her hands behind her back and rocking to and fro innocently.

    "I can save you time. They were just local hunters, after deer. Probably from the town a couple miles from here." She growled, glaring at the bodies, sweet act forgotten. "Stupid, that they caught me so easy, but... I'm not the best fighter."
     
  6. Paladin_girl

    Paladin_girl Between the Chapters of a Dream Staff Member

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    “This ‘pain in the arse’ saved your life, girl. Save it or stow it.”

    She sighed faintly before leaning against a tree, staring downwards. She waited for the stinging sensation in her left arm to stop. She overheard the girl’s complaint about lacking in fighting skills.

    “So it seems,” replied the stranger before looking away, starting to walk away from the gory mess, the halberd glistening in the peeking sun between the trees.

    So it wasn’t just the girl’s ears that were sharp, just as her ears weren’t the only pair that she had – the Mantaris couldn’t see this ending any time soon. Did the girl want revenge or something? On a bunch of amateurs?
     
  7. Kitsune

    Kitsune Fox Lady of Madness!!! Staff Member

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    "Wait," Rislyn spoke before she fully thought of what she wanted to say. There was something about this woman that called to her. "Umm... Look, I'm sorry about what I said. My name is... Betheyn."

    What was she doing? She didn't need to talk to this woman. She needed to get out of the forest and find a town to live in for a while.

    But... she really didn't. She didn't need to be anywhere. Suddenly, Ris thought her life was just dull. Maybe she could follow the woman. That would be entertaining, until the stranger tried to kill her.
     
  8. Paladin_girl

    Paladin_girl Between the Chapters of a Dream Staff Member

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    At her call, the dark figure had slowly come to a halt, looking over her shoulder to once again regard the girl, as if in slight disbelief. What was she doing? Beneath the mask, a frown etched onto her lips, followed by a deep breath. It’s her funeral, thought the warrior; let her do what she wants.

    She was beginning to get used to this.

    Annoyingly so.

    “Kinslayer,” the warrior replied.

    There was a pause. A bird’s call could be heard, before a scatter of wings flapped over their heads, breaking past the thin sticks of branches.

    “… And what do you want with me, Betheyn? If it is company you want, you’re barking into the wrong burrow. Try a tavern, not a forest.” The warrior gestured towards the girl’s tail with a hand while, nodding towards her ears. Her purple orbs spoke instant weariness.
     
  9. Kitsune

    Kitsune Fox Lady of Madness!!! Staff Member

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    Rislyn sighed, unsure what she was doing. She was turning away from the infuriating woman, when a breeze ruffled the leaves over their heads. On the wind, a sickly smell wafted her way. Coming from the stranger. She opened herself to the world around her, and nearly recoiled from the magic coming from the girls arm.

    "What the bloody hell is that?" She snarled, pointing at the girls left arm.
     
  10. Paladin_girl

    Paladin_girl Between the Chapters of a Dream Staff Member

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    Dain stopped walking and looked down at her arm, moving the wolf-hide and black cloak to show the twisted mark in full. The breeze became a chill whistle, as if Betheyn’s remark had brought the eyes of nature towards the terrible curse; the Mantaris’ bare fingers glided across her tanned flesh, resting upon the blood-crusted stain, feeling the faint grooves of the embedded mark, as if it were recent and not, as it in fact was, a great many years ago.

    “Don’t look at it too closely, Betheyn.” The grizzled she-warrior looked up at the young woman with stern eyes – but within them now betrayed a sense of sadness.

    She would always have this mark. It would remain on her skin until death and then sink into her bones until they too, became mere shadows and dust. Even then, the mark would lie within that dust. They were bound together; he, the original, celestial wielder of Dhaka’shin and she, the impenetrable bulwark of rage.

    “An old God,” Dain replied, “an old, angry God of Destruction, almost summoned here by insane idiots. Otherwise… it’s my left arm. A mercenary’s arm. No more… no less.”

    Yet I’d still go back to those times, if I could.
     
  11. Kitsune

    Kitsune Fox Lady of Madness!!! Staff Member

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    Rislyn had heard stories from her father about the Twin Ascension, and around 17 years ago, there was a commotion on the mortal realm. Something about a new host. This woman couldn't be... Yes she could. Time to change the subject again.

    "A mercenary, huh? What are your rates? I have need of an escort, if you think you are strong enough to delve into legends." Rislyn knew she was taunting the stranger, but facts were facts. She could not go to Hell's Gate alone, and she needed a demon's blood. Her father must be running out of ideas, to send her into Hell.
     
  12. Paladin_girl

    Paladin_girl Between the Chapters of a Dream Staff Member

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    There was a faint chuckle before the mercenary turned to face the girl fully, squared in stand and her violet orbs for once, betraying some amusement. She tilted her head in arrogance, raising her head in pride.

    “My rates are expensive, since you are hiring one of the Vanir,” she answered, “but ask yourself… Betheyn… if you think that you are strong enough to delve into legends. To hire me is to admit weakness – to ask for help is not.

    “I will ask for payment only when the job is done. Prepare for that.”
     
  13. Kitsune

    Kitsune Fox Lady of Madness!!! Staff Member

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    She pondered that, wondering if this stranger would really help her if she asked. She settled for simply saying, "I am not a fighter, but I am still very hard to kill. I can hold my own in most situations. You found me at an awkward time... I don't know what awaits me at my destination. It is better to be over prepared, and out gold, than stranded and in trouble. I'm hard to kill, but not... immortal" She finished in a whisper, debating that past word fiercely.
     
  14. Paladin_girl

    Paladin_girl Between the Chapters of a Dream Staff Member

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    Dain’s lips twitched slightly, as if to smile. From the outside, the movement of fabric was the only thing to indicate a latent mirth on the mercenary’s features, before she faintly nodded.

    “Be glad that you can’t fight. It changes people. It makes them arrogant and foolish. You live in battle and you will die the same way.

    “Guide me,”
    she said faintly, “and I will protect your path. This I pledge.”

    Dain looked aside for a moment, before eyeing a plant which grew humbly at the bottom of a tree. Kneeling beside it, Dain took a knife from her belt and carefully peeled away the leaves before placing them in a pouch, leaving nothing but the stem and the red-and-white petals to flower.

    She frowned slightly before standing up and dusting away the soil which stuck to her bare knees. She had finally attained what she wanted from this forest. There was no other reason to remain here any longer.
     
  15. Kitsune

    Kitsune Fox Lady of Madness!!! Staff Member

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    Rislyn nodded, and turned away. Hell's gate was in the far north. It would be at least a three week journey on foot, through bandit infested territory. She wasn't worried about bandits; she had intended to make the journey as a fox, though she was going to put it off a few weeks. Wait until the festivals started for the harvest, less chance of being noticed.

    But a fighter stumbling across her path was a sign she couldn't refuse. They walked in silence for several long minutes. As the trees were beginning to thin out, Rislyn turned to her companion. "I can't been seen by humans in this body, you saw the villagers. I just need a moment." Her body melted around her, transforming from the half fox demigod she had been into a petite human woman.

    Cinching her belt tight around her slimmer waist, she nodded. "Hell's Gate is north. Do you need to stop at a town before we start?"
     
  16. Paladin_girl

    Paladin_girl Between the Chapters of a Dream Staff Member

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    Dain glanced at the fox-girl in silence, looking away when she began to transform into an ‘acceptable body’.

    I wish I could hide myself as you do.

    The she-warrior raised an eyebrow slightly – so, how did she get herself into this mess again? The Æs were waiting across the expiring number of trees – her mercenary troupe, built from the rubble by the one, remaining Vanir. They would have wondered how such a little morsel managed to attach herself to the stoic warrior.

    In short, there would be questions. Ones which Dain was not prepared to answer.

    “Yes,” Dain replied faintly as they came nearer to the gate, “I will buy you something to defend yourself with. And a breastplate. I don’t want you getting shot in the back. I’ll give you some coin for anything you might want. I need to see my troupe first. Don’t follow me into the tavern. I will meet you in the marketplace. All right?”
     
  17. Kitsune

    Kitsune Fox Lady of Madness!!! Staff Member

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    Rislyn grumbled a reply, sensing it would be useless to argue against armor and weaponry. "I have my own coin, I'll meet you by the fruit stand later." Without a backward glance, Ris left.

    Her first stop, was a weapons dealer. She was so small, she would need a light weapon, something she could use while moving. She looked over several swords and daggers, hefting them up and putting them back. She was stronger than she looked, but a full length sword was too much. Daggers might work, but they felt odd in her hands.

    At the back of a stall, she caught sight of a pair of small gloves with curving steel claws. The device gave her an idea, so she asked the man running the stall if she could see them. Upon closer inspection, she saw the claws retracted, and would lay along her forearm, underneath a leather bracer. Sliding the weapon over her hand, she marveled that it fit comfortably. If she could remove the claws, and use her own, no one would know the difference unless they looked close, and all she would need to buy is gloves and bracers. Thanking the man for his time, she left his stall.

    Farther down the cobblestone road, she bought small gloves from a leather vendor. As the man laced them, he offered her a pair of delicately tooled bracers to match. She accepted, and he tied those on as well. Thanking him, she left, ducking into a hidden alley. Her hands shifted, growing claws from her fingers. It works perfectly, no one would know it was her own claws until they were dead.
     
  18. Paladin_girl

    Paladin_girl Between the Chapters of a Dream Staff Member

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    Dain watched her go until she was lost within the growing crowds of the market, her eyebrows rising in slight disbelief; so the Gods were generous donators, were they? Dain snorted, turning away and slipping her hands into her pockets, the loose strands of her hair riveting gently in the wind before pushing open the doors of the tavern.

    M: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRxi39JK5XU&feature=related

    The sound of amateur bards playing rough jigs and the sounds of smashing glass which flew past their heads into the wooden pillars behind them. Dain felt her feet stick to the beer-soaked floor, peeling the soles of her boots from it each time she took a step before walking towards a table where a group, consisting of six men and a woman sat, all but one peering expectantly at their approaching leader.

    The Æs Troupe. It was a simple, short name, but one which only in a few months, had grown a harsh reputation under their infamous leader, ‘Kinslayer the Faceless’. None of the members had ever seen beyond the violet eyes and treacherous mark on her shoulder, but each member was fearless in their own right. The beefiest of all of them however, was Singeon, his form grotesque and intimidating, his arms proving worthy of the great maul which he had wielded and killed with. His hands were large and crooked, his fingers each having suffered a breakage. He would have been a perfect thug, had he not have contained a beady look in his eye and a haughty smugness which stunk as heavily as his breath.

    “Took you long enough,” the Svjaren jeered, gulping a second helping from his pint, “what were you doing? Giving fashion tips to the guards?”

    There was a murmur from the troupe – some in fear, others grinning in amusement. Dain retained her stare on the man, her dusky eyes unmoving.

    “Or were you fishing yourself some piece of ass while we kept our own in this shithole?”

    “So those grunting noises in yesterday’s camp were just you fishing yourself? Keep it down in future. Nobody needs to know that you’re lonely.” The only woman at the table, Niri’yel Nilen, a gaunt, but beautiful elven magician from Alakrest, had quickly reddened and pouted her lips in pride, yet defeat could be seen in her slouching back. Dain folded her arms, having exacted similar arrogance to Singeon, before tearing her eyes from the snarling barrel, looking to the others, bearing sagacity in her countenance. “I have been asked to traverse with a… stranger… who has asked for my help.”

    “So we have to continue pissing around in this dump?” Singeon pressed, slamming his hands onto the table in disbelief.

    Either you continue pissing around here or you’ll snag that poor woman’s rear before I have a chance to kick yours. Dain’s eyebrow twitched.

    “Go to the next village,” she told the troupe, “Take as long as you need.” A leather coin-purse landed into the centre of the mottled table. It was overflowing. “That,” said the Mantaris, lying through her teeth, “is the money that the client has paid me in advance. Take it and make good use of it. Go to Mulsin and wait for me. I will be there before you arrive.” She turned away, overhearing Niri’yel’s protest.

    “That… that’s two months away!”

    Dain looked over her shoulder, a smirk appearing beneath the cowl.

    “Precisely,” was her answer. Her feet strode across the floor – in the air, the mood had changed, three men having overtaken the stage from whence the previous bards had fled, cowering in a corner. The men plucked their lutes and pressed a flute to their lips – and together, produced a song which had even made the cold-blooded warrior halt in order to listen.

    M: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL7i9yOZea8&feature=related

    ‘Oh, my love, the sun is fading,
    Night grows cold, long shadows creep,
    But I hear you in the darkness,
    Your sweet song guides me into sleep,
    When I wake anew,
    Then my dream of you,
    It fades until...
    You are here,
    I'll waste no time,
    'Til you are mine,
    Then my mourning heart can sleep...’

    She closed her eyes, her eyebrows creasing faintly, the song seeming to touch her for a moment – it was only when the lute player had looked up and stared at her did Dain stand rigid and leave swiftly, shutting the door behind her with an almighty slam.

    She stood at the fruit stand, switching a blade between her fingers in thought, the song haunting her – she wished to hear it again, unsure of the reasons why, but it had touched her, a smile hidden beneath the mask as she patiently waited for her companion.
     
  19. Kitsune

    Kitsune Fox Lady of Madness!!! Staff Member

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    Rislyn hunted around the various armor stalls, but found no breastplates small enough to fit her. Knowing she was late, she bought a new gown and travel skirts and tunics, as well as spices and other travel necessities. Food they could hunt on the way.

    She approached the fruit stand with her burdens, unsurprised to see her escort there already. "I'm sorry it took so long. There isn't any armor here to fit me, so I will ask my father when we stop for the night to bring me my gear from home. Are you ready to leave?"
     
  20. Paladin_girl

    Paladin_girl Between the Chapters of a Dream Staff Member

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    Dain looked around and her smile faded, replaced with her stoic demeanour – not that it would have seemed to have made a difference. She simply nodded; there were other ways, to the mercenary’s logic, but she was not about to pick at them. It was her body.

    Dain took a step forward, hesitating slightly before looking behind her, staring at the demi-God. If she were to survive, then Dain had to protect her with greater effort. The mercenary disliked the idea, but she suspected that the outcome would be better. She blamed ‘Red-Cape’ for that shard of optimism. No matter how much she disliked it, it had seeped through a crack in her armour.

    At the mention of Betheyn’s father, the mercenary raised an eyebrow.

    “Convenient. Why don’t you ask him to protect you, instead of me? You don’t trust me.”

    She didn’t wait for an answer, but instead slipped the dagger into her boot and strode onwards.

    “Show me the way to this… Gate… if you want. There is nothing here for me.”