Discussion in 'Archives' started by Kitsune, Apr 27, 2011.
"Yes, you are. Can you honestly deny that?" she studied the woman intently.
Dain shot daggers towards the woman. Was this conversation really happening?
“You… don’t know what you’re saying.”
She stood up, picking up a water canteen and leaving the campsite – in one fell swoop, she had felt her shoulders start to shake. After all this time, that bastard still got to her?
No, she could understand that. She had thought about those small moments when the mercenary life began to get tiresome – and whenever the members of her troupe had felt lonely, they went out and sought company. She couldn’t see herself doing anything like that. It felt wrong. Traitorous, almost, even though she wasn’t… what? Right? She wasn’t the prettiest or the most elegant. She wasn’t gentle, petite, seductive or graceful.
There was nothing to feel bad about, really.
Rislyn shook her head, grinning. The woman was in serious denial, it was clear by her avoidance that she loved him and didn't want to admit to it. But, it wasn't her place to pry... much.
It was funny, though. This woman was everything Rath liked in a girl. Spirited, tough, able to fight her own battles, yet clearly in need of someone to trust. Shrugging again, she busied herself with cleaning their horses tack.
Dain advanced back to the camp, loosening her breastplate and shoulder guard, covering them with Malris’ fur before picking up her weapon, returning back to the empty clearing. There, she breathed in deeply, trying to keep her mind focused, her pulse steady, willing it not to succumb to any recklessness. The extended halberd’s blade shone diffidently in the shivering light of the moon, glistening viciously before a crescent could be seen, followed by the crystalline bladesong which cut into the night air as it moved.
It hadn’t felt so carefree – she wasn’t amongst large groups of people and wasn’t incessantly bothered constantly. She could feel freer. Suddenly, she stopped, a droplet catching the edge of the blade, which softly separated against its razor edge.
What would Brandr have said about this?
She stuck the halberd into the ground, tightening the mask around her face with a frown.
He probably would have laughed. He seemed so ugly to her now. So… chaotic in her memory.
Dain raised a hand, brushing the lengthy strands of her hair. Was it getting longer?
“Wait, why do I give a damn?”
“You, my naive friend, are in love with Rath Condarrion.”
Drat the woman.
Rislyn stretched out on a blanket, Rhonin to her left, and Rath to her right. The two horses were talking in soft nickers and grumbles about the differences in the grass here, verses back in their home pastures.
Her arms crossed under her head, she began counting stars. At three, a memory of doing this several years ago with Rath crossed her mind. Perhaps Ris had judged the woman a bit quickly, but she stood by her conclusion. Blushing whenever his name was mentioned, the jokes about Rath the horse, and her attitude about Ris herself having slept with him. That alone is an ear mark of a jealous woman.
After a few long moments of practice, Dain landed on the ground, her legs feeling the gentle brush of grass against her skin. Turning the blade, she clamped the halberd to her back, taking a deep breath and stretching. She stared at what she could, her eyebrows creasing. Not even one bit of slenderness. All callous.
She kicked a stone.
This was not her. She wasn’t some loved-starved twit. She was a warrior.
She returned to the camp and sat down, rubbing her hands, wiping the sweat from her brow with the back of a hand, tightening the mask around her face.
Rislyn watched the woman out of the corner of her eye. She was sweaty, and had probably been either running, or spinning around with that oversized weapon on her back. Sitting up, she fought to hide a grin as she said, "I'm sure he loves you, too. He told me a great deal about Rosalyn, and you are much like her. Even I can see that, and I hardly know you." She turned her head, gazing into the fire. She was done, until the woman offered some information.
Dain threw a stone into the fire, staring into it as she listened to Ris’ words – she resisted giving a sigh; she doubted that she was anything like Rath’s lover – the she-warrior doubted that he had ever thought of her as anything more than a… what, a friend? She snorted, shaking her head slowly.
“You jest. I am not beautiful,” replied the Midgardian, “and I do not bear that highly-spoken countenance. She was a woman of strength, but also that of grace. Approachable, it would seem. I am not.”
Rislyn stood, and walked around the fire. Kneeling by the woman, she tilted her hidden chin up, and stared into her violet eyes. "You're eyes along are more beautiful then most women. I don't even need to see your face to know that it is as lovely as your eyes, and Rath surely must see that, as I do."
Dain softly brushed the woman’s hand away with her back of her own, her eyes glistening coldly in the firelight, a restrained reaction on the she-warrior’s part. Being touched was an uncomfortable experience – for the reason that she would hit the stranger afterwards. Betheyn was not a stranger, but she was not trusted either. Dain stared at the woman in silence for a moment – beneath the mask, her face was contorted in thought, eyeing the way that the half-goddess spoke and the way that she moved.
She eventually looked away, staring into the fire, her eyebrows creasing.
Rath had known this woman before; she doubted that it was a purely passionless journey, as theirs had been. Betheyn seemed to be a woman who was honest about what she wanted – even if it came in the form of emotional pestering. Dain didn’t envy it.
“… As I say… you jest.”
"I do, but not now. I read people very well, and the time I spent with Rath, I came to know him. And I see you, try as you might to hide. You, friend, are more fragile than you will ever admit. For some reason, you don't consider yourself beautiful, or worth being loved. I pity you for this." Rislyn turned away from her and sat down by the horses again. Pulling her bag to her, she dug around until she found a silver ring. Cradling it in her hands, she sighed, and waited for whatever the she-warrior would say.
Dain narrowed her eyes. The words struck her more than she would admit. Perhaps she did feel unworthy of feeling such mistakes – but she had felt wounds. She had slept with a married man, without realising it. She thought that she was…
“Don’t,” she snarled wolfishly, “pity me. I don’t pity you – honour me with that same courtesy.”
She pulled out her cards, distracting herself by arranging them. Offensive, offensive, offensive, defence, healing. Setting them on the floor, her fingers felt the strange, elaborate grooves, unnatural in their form, which glistened lavishly against the light of the fire. The rush of blood in her veins whispered their familiarity with the strange weapons, the trill causing bumps to emit on the user’s skin.
She sighed softly.
“I don’t need your counsel. Should you ever bed the man again, it wouldn’t surprise me.” She took a card and grasped it firmly in her hands. The rise of blood in the back of her throat threatened to escape. She ignored the pain. “It…”
She looked downwards. She couldn’t say it. Not to her.
“… just wouldn’t surprise me. Godly or not Foxy, don’t assume to know me when I barely know you. Your task is more important. Rhys is probably more important than that.
“My job is to see you to that gate. Alive. You’ll never see me again after that.”
Rislyn crooked an eyebrow at the woman, amused. "I do not pity you for what you have lost, only that you can not see what others see. As for Rath, I doubt I will ever have the fortune to come across him again. If I do, should he seem to want it, I will not turn him down."
She could see her words affecting the woman, and continued, almost wishing the warrior would do something, or say something honest. Her pulse sped up when she lied; she was surprisingly calm in her anger.
"Rhys is more important, but I can do little in my quest tonight, and I enjoy trying to understand you. Why is it that you blush so furiously when you mention my sleeping with Rath?"
Dain rolled her eyes wearily.
“Don’t pity me at all, Betheyn.”
She snorted at the fox-girl’s provoking, shaking her head slowly. Was this conversation really getting this pathetic?
“It's nothing to do with that idiot. If it didn’t occur to you, I’m wearing a mask. Secondly girl, I’ve just come from practicing with a huge polearm. You get red after working yourself out.”
She drew the cards together, adding, “Understanding me isn’t in our contract.”
Rislyn laughed, hiding it in a cough. Foolish woman. "Alright then, Kinslayer, have it your way. I'm going for a run." She shifted her form again, shrinking down into the small red fox. Nipping at the two horses, she raced off into the trees for a bit of freedom.
Dain ignored her words, but watched her leave, shaking her head slowly. How was she meant to protect the woman if she kept disappearing all the time? Dain took the opportunity to lie back and stare at the night sky.
‘If I do, should he seem to want it, I will not turn him down.’
She closed her eyes, her eyebrows creasing to hide the pain. She doubted that the man knew how to say no to a pretty face. She could live without him, she thought, she could live without his presence being there. So why did it hurt to imagine him seeking comfort in someone else’s arms?
Maybe that’s why I’m so calm about it. Because it is comfort.
She rolled to her side.
She didn’t have to bring it up. This is poison. Years of not thinking about him and now this. I don’t even think about men. I think about h-
Dain sat up, throwing a card into the fire – it glimmered for a moment before making the fire blare larger for a moment, before the material flew back into her palm.
“Bastard,” she muttered bitterly, before drawing her knees towards her and picking up a stick to poke the settling flames.
Rislyn returned to their camp long after her companion had fallen asleep. Curling into a ball within the confines of Rhonin's legs, she too, went to sleep.
The next morning she was awake as the sun rose, tacking Rhonin. She was determined to get to the mountain today. The horses had the speed for it, even if it was still long trip. If they didn't stop, they could make it.
She tacked Rath, calling out for the warrior to wake up. Realizing she still didn't know her true name, she also asked, "Do you have a real name? I feel awkward calling you 'Kinslayer'."
Dain sat up slowly, hearing movement – she hadn’t slept at all. In some ways, she was glad that she didn’t – sadly, what had kept her away were the rivets of conversation from the night before. Annoyingly, they had shackled her more than she had realised. She pulled the mask over her mouth and nose, slightly looking over her shoulder when Betheyn spoke.
An interesting question – one that had left a doubt in her mind, too.
“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours, Betheyn.”
Rislyn straightened from tightening the girthstrap on Rath, staring at the woman. Thoughts ran through her mind. She doubted this stranger would ever use her name for worshiping her, or tell others, but the possibility that she would use her name to hurt her was there. A god's power was his or her name.
Ah well. She could always kill her if she caused trouble.
Walking to the woman, she held out her hand for a shake. Taking a deep breath, she said, "Rislyn al'Riyan, daughter of Doyle the Fox-God."
Dain smirked; she was glad that she didn’t deny it. Maybe she saw little point in it. She raised her hand to shake the outstretched one from Rislyn – but then stopped. A mad laughter ran through her mind, faint and soft. She pulled it away, instead, pulling down her mask – there was no reason to hide, now that Rislyn too, had showed truth.
“Alaria Dain Arinanst, daughter of Kerghan the Betrayer.” Her last words were a embittered snarl, but she wasn’t going to hide the truth. That was whose blood she truly inherited. Something which she came to terms with in her loneliness.
Her tanned features betrayed a short smile. It had flourished into maturity well, showing hardened, strong features, but were now relaxed, calmed through the years. Her face, which evidently once showed a short temper, seemed bent on retaining her feelings, the stoicism surmount to the obvious feeling that she showed in her violet eyes.
“Now we can see about keeping you alive… Rislyn, daughter of Doyle.”
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