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Thread: [M] Fires Fade... (1x1 private RP with Bluemoon.)

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    Default [M] Fires Fade... (1x1 private RP with Bluemoon.)

    The Manirishian Deserts. Unmoving. Uncaring. The often still wind did little to stir the dunes rising high into the icy blue sky. But nothing else in this place could be considered icy. The blistering sun beamed down upon the browned and tan hues, scorching all it laid it's sweltering gaze upon. From the top of a dune, one could look on and on, seeing nothing for miles. It is said that places like these are the conduits of the gods- that the desert, in all its absence of creation, shows most blatantly the goal of a creator.

    But whatever created this place eons ago was raging now. Not far, in that usually still place, was the rumbling, writhing duststorm, blazing across the desert. Anything unfortunate enough to be caught in its wide path would no doubt be buried under tons of sand, doomed to lay the rest of eternity unearthed beneath its grainy weight. It barreled now towards a small outcropping of man-made creation in the sands of the desert. A mountain range, barely peaking above the dunes, with the buried remains of a city protruding mere meters out of the ground. It may as well have looked as though it was a complex of single-floored buildings. Beneath that sea of sand, however, it was possible their remains traveled for dozens of feet below. But with the towering wall of sand approaching, it was likely they too would be lost to the desert.

    But oblivious to this was Dominique. As he crouched in the shade of a building, he eyed across the sun-baked street between sides. Sunbathing on the sloped roof of a building that gently declined beneath the sand was an Elder Snapper. Massive beasts, a meter high and several long, from tip to tail. They were, in essence, large scorpions. They held intense strength in their claws, yet only the young had stingers with venom. A ten-inch spine like this one had, though, was most certainly deadly without it. The paladin had woken up from camping in the building to see the beast there. Perfect.

    He had been extremely hungry, having scarce food in his pack. Spotting the creature meant he was close enough to having a meal; all he needed was to kill the thing. With how old this one looked, it should have been relatively easy, as age withered away the creatures joints and power. Despite the unsavory look, one held enough meat beneath its armored carapace to feed a man for days on end, something he could certainly use. The flavor could have been worse, too- if you closed your eyes and concentrated, it could have been very much like the similarly armored beasts of the sea. If only.

    Dominique stepped softly through the shaded, sandy innards of the building towards the window he'd crawled in through. He would need to act fast to kill it. Even older snappers could kill the unsuspecting traveler, and one this big would only need one good strike or grab before it would wretch him to suffocate beneath the dunes. Suffocation in sand- a death that he often had nightmares about. No. Not today. Today, Dominique would feast.
    In the age of ancients, the world was unformed, shrouded by fog...

    But then there was Fire, and with fire came disparity. Heat and cold, life and death, and of course...

    light and dark.

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    While the paladin crept forward, another set of eyes looked over the basking quarry, the gaze of pale green orbs peering out of a dark hood. Dirt smeared, the woman's face was obscurred by a coarse cloth which draped across her finely chiseled nose and sun chapped mouth. She stifled a dry cough as she silently moved from the shadows, keeping her belly low as she inched closer to her prey, the desired meal only a slight leap across an adjacent roof.

    Movement by a window to her left caught her attention, just the slightest shifting of light, and then a tall form was outlined. "Scoundrel!" The word hissed harshly from between her lips. She had spent the past hour observing the snapper and planning her attack. No where in her plan was there a challenge for the only meat available for miles. She abandoned stealth and charged the beast, throwing her hood back as she covered the short distance in little more than a few seconds. A battle cry preceded her attack, her short sword held out before her in a less than menacing manner. It was all for show anyhow, her smaller blade her planned menace.

    She had its attention now, the serrated edge of a red-tinged claw exposed as it prepared to grab her from her place before it. She dodged the attempt, dropping into a roll and landing back on her feet a few yards away. The roof bounced under her, the creature moving in for the kill, its bulk almost more than the structure could handle. She started. A swift breeze across her cheek the only warning that she had just missed being skewered by the lethal stinger. Perhaps she had been wrong and her sword might just come in handy. She swung the blade with all her might, aiming just above the tail's spine, a deep gash above it her reward.

    Squealing. Tittering. The sharp sounds deafening. Disorienting. Scarred hands covered her ears to shut out the noise, her own voice joining in the cacophony. A barely noticed clang echoed as her weapon fell to her feet and she stumbled backwards, teetering on the roof's edge, then falling to the sandy ground a short distance below. It was only then she realized her plight. "Damn it all," she cursed, struggling to her feet then looking to the snapper, the intruding man, and the forboding storm. She was running out of time!
    Last edited by bluemoon; 04-12-2019 at 01:21 AM.

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    Dominique was preparing, was aching for this meal. He slowly pushed onward, creeping forward through this window before he heard what he could have sworn a snake. As he looked up towards his prey, he watched as a figure, cloaked in leathers, screamed as it threw back the hood cloaking it. He was stunned, for a second. Had he been so focused on his meal that he failed to notice he wasn't alone? And by some belligerent form, no less! This person lacked the decorum of a warrior, yelling, thrashing about, falling- what manner of woman was this? The man felt a familiar bubbling of emotion within. Yes, he could feel his rage starting to boil. No one, especially someone of this arrogance, would steal from him his meal. He stood, his barred teeth barely visible beneath his hood.

    "You... You foul wretch!" The sand muffled his heavy footsteps as he reached to his side, pulling his arming sword from its leather scabbard. "That is my kill!" Charging through the dust was difficult as it dampened his speed, but charge did he regardless. His anger was visible only on his face; His form showed desperation. He was frantic in his movements, doing his best to claw his way to finish this beast and defend his hunt. It'd been injured, luckily- it may prove to make things easier. But as he ran, he looked off as something caught his eye by the corner. He tilted his head to the side, looked back, then hit a double take. He nearly stopped pace as his eyes landed on a veritable mountain of dust, a cloud that consigned all it flew above to death by suffocation. His worst fear. Any anger disappeared into shock, into awe. He had to get this Snapper, and he had to run.

    He once again took speed, clambering up the roof as the snapper turned its large form. It was going to make a run for it down the slope, likely to burrow into the sand or skitter away. They were remarkably fast on the sand. As it took its time to move, it turned his back on his position, to which Dominique almost appeared to take offense. Getting to his feet, a guttural growl escaped him, yet still did his face reveal his panic on this situation. Darting forward, his footsteps thudded heavily on the shuddering roof. The beast had almost reached the sand just off of the slope as Dom got just on its hindquarters. He hated the idea of drawing this out, but he couldn't risk its escape. With his shield arm, he looped around the beast's tail, just barely clutching it within the crook of his arm. The struggle, immediately, was immense.

    The creature let out more of its piercing screeches, its legs clicking on the floor as it skidded in place. With a heaving shudder, he pulled back. Slowly, glacially so, he wretched the beast back into the center of the roof. This thing was going nowhere, and he would make sure of that. As he held the creature in place, he reeled back his sword arm and delivered a strong, downward chop on one of the beings hind legs. A crack sounded through the air as the blade bit into the carapace, stopping halfway in. A thin bead of clear fluid oozed from the slice, and a howl erupted from its sun-burnt form. It would take a hell of a lot more to incapacitate, but it was the best hit he had. He hardly had the mind to peer over his shoulder, where the girl had just gotten up. He'd almost forgotten about her, in all honesty, what with the oversized arachnid he tried to wrangle.
    Last edited by Stockholm; 04-12-2019 at 06:19 AM.
    In the age of ancients, the world was unformed, shrouded by fog...

    But then there was Fire, and with fire came disparity. Heat and cold, life and death, and of course...

    light and dark.

  4. #4
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    The sand between the buildings was not as tamped down as that on the desert floor, and walking though it was like stepping in quicksand, Kinna's legs sinking into the grainy substrate several inches with each step. She was moving in slow motion, the time it was taking just to get to the edge of the roof seeming like an eternity. She ignored the creature's squeals and the man's insulting words, there would be time to deal with both, once she got back into the fight.

    Scrambling to pull herself up, Kinna's then stood to her full height of five and a half feet, only now realizing the man was much bulkier than she had imagined at her first glimpse. There was no way she was going to be able to take this kill from him, her chances of defeating him in a battle zero to none. The best she could hope for was a portion of the kill if she pulled in her sword to assist. The determination in his movements and the size of his build were daunting, but she squared off her shoulders and moved past him to get into position before the snapper again. 'Slam into him,' ran through her mind as she did so, but the move would work against her as well...and there was no guarantee that he would even be budged.

    Her first goal was to retrieve her sword, which was easy enough with the beast being held in place. It was almost comical--the position he had to maintain to keep it steady. She leaned down, snatching her blade up while risking at glance at his face. Not the best of ideas, but she stared hard at him, lowering her scarf to mouth the words, ''not today'', at him before bringing her weapon up and slashing at the snapper's claws. She continued her assault, left to right, knocking ineffectively against the armored pinchers. It tried to back away from her, its body pressing against the man's, and for a moment Kinna thought he might falter, an even better outcome than she could hope for. She might not be able to defeat him, but if the creature did it for her, all the better.

    No such luck. The man held and the thief continued her tapping. Sweat dripped down her hairline and her arms tired, but she kept at it. Finally the result she had been waiting for occurred...the snapper rose up on its hind legs, despite its injury, exposing the softer underbelly. It was her moment, the one she had missed out on producing when she had taken the unexpected and humiliating fall off the roof. She tossed her sword, yanking her smaller blade from its sheath as she dove under the belly and dragged the edge of the razor sharp knife through pink flesh. Her momentum carried her past the beast and through the man's legs. The resulting opportunity too good to pass up, even if the outcome was fairly obvious.

    She was behind him again, his hands occupied with the thrashing snapper. She got to her feet quickly, and with knife still in hand, she came up against him, pressing herself into his back, one hand reaching to loop around his midsection while the other, the one carrying the threat, reached for his throat.
    Last edited by bluemoon; 04-12-2019 at 07:02 PM.

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    The snapper twitched, writhed, screamed. The girl had landed what Dominique would consider a brutally effective blow, hitting the thinnest, least armored part of the creature from tail to tip. It was an astonishing display of acrobatics and reactions, something he should have expected from such a lithe form. But he was so taken aback, it appeared that he dropped his senses for a moment. Just after the maneuver, he felt an arm nearing itself to loop around him, certainly for the sake of betrayal. It was an uneasy truce they shared, forged by the throes of battle. He wouldn't stand for a double crosser. His shield arm swung away from the tail, not caring if he lost the meal now. It did so in a tight arc, going for a solid bash to the torso of the woman behind him. The absolute worst it would do would wind her- he was really just trying to distance the two. Luckily for the both of them- or the winner of their quarrel- the beast was sputtering to death. It was likely that they had a meal; but who would get it?

    The blow was effective, knocking Kinna a few feet away, where she landed solidly on her back. Her face twisted in anger, her dagger no longer in her hand. Defenseless, she gasped out a curse and managed to get to her knees, her head hanging low as she tried to catch her breath. “Bastard!” she spat, not caring that it was her own fault for trying to subdue him. “Get away...from...my...kill.”

    The paladin's eyes peered over the readied shield, creating his own mini-phalanx. “You have killed nothing. And I will be taking, now, what is rightfully mine.” He started to back away, still facing the woman before glancing over his shoulder. Gods above, that storm just got closer and closer; It was faster than anticipated. His sword arm very quickly worked to sheath the weapon. “If you wish not to be buried, you had best get moving. And mark my words, I shan't be so forgiving of your transgressions should you decide to keep yourself in my view.” With that, he leaned over, growling in a guttural expression of stress. Slowly, he lifted the large, slightly moving carcass up above his head. It was a foolish move, easily taken advantage of. But truth be told, he was just afraid of that damned sand. His eyes diverted to the small peaks of the mountain just next to this little outcropping of buildings. They barely noted a small indent. If it was a small cave, then it was hope. If it was a trick of perspective, he was in danger all the same as he was here. It was worth a shot.

    Kinna narrowed her eyes, not at all impressed with his threat. “Transgressions?” she repeated, the word tinged with sarcasm. She would have said more, but her eyes followed his gaze, knowing what had drawn his attention. She looked away with a huff. There was still time. With his weapon now sheathed and the large prey in his arms, she was presented with a new opportunity to get back what was rightfully hers. With his head turned away from her, she made her move and pushed against the sand with her feet, propelling herself forward. She wrapped both hands around his ankles and pulled, driving her elbows into his calves.

    With no way to really prepare for her lunge, Dominique yelped in shock as he was driven down to his knees . As he crumpled, he grew visibly angered, before chucking the corpse in front of him. It was simply far too heavy for him to stand such a fall. “You insolent whelp! Fine; take the damned thing! Good luck moving it on your own!” With this, despite the woman still holding onto his legs, he began to try and struggle out. The damned beast lay still as he turned to look back. He may have said she could have the thing, but he was not about to give up that easy. He used a free hand to unclasp his shield, which fell beside him with a resounding clatter. The moment it dropped, he thrust his hands to her neck. If she wouldn’t let go, then he would make her.


    Surprised by his sudden attack, she cried out, too slow to avoid the choking hold. She could not win this fight and wondered at what moment she had stupidly decided the odds were turned in her favor. So foolish! And now she was paying the price. She squirmed in his grasp, tried to pull in a breath, a wheezing sound the only result. Eyes opening wide, she released her hold on him, her hands coming up, slender fingers slipping under his in an attempt to loosen his grip. Desperately she looked for a weapon...anything that she could use against him. Her braid swayed from side to side as she shook her head, hoping against hope that this wasn’t her end.

    As his fingers wrapped around her neck, Dominique's gaze momentarily flitted over to the storm approaching. He didn’t have long. He focused back on the girl, retracting a hand from her throat and balling to a fist. He almost struck her, and his rage was so seething that he very well might have, but just couldn’t bring himself to continue any further with this pointless fight in the face of danger. Using his occupied hand, he simply gave a slight squeeze before throwing her back against the floor. Now free of her grasp, the paladin had to act fast. Wordlessly, he scrambled over, hoisting the beast up beneath his grasp and tucking it under an arm. As he rushed for this, he grabbed his now loose shield and started to make a break for the side of the building to hop into the sand. He wouldn’t have to kill her if the sand did it for him.
    In the age of ancients, the world was unformed, shrouded by fog...

    But then there was Fire, and with fire came disparity. Heat and cold, life and death, and of course...

    light and dark.

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    Kinna found herself on her back again, coughing, sucking in mouthfuls of air, and cursing. She lifted her head painfully, only high enough to see the back of the paladin retreating, then dropped it down again. She had to get moving, but the adrenaline rush was ebbing and her strength with it. 'Just a little bit more', she thought, forcing herself to roll over onto her belly then push up to her hands and knees. She could hearing the whistling of the wind and would need to find shelter. Here? Or wherever the man was heading? Slipping back inside the buildings would be the easiest choice, but the storm was heading this way and what little remained above the sand would surely by covered by day's end. If she could not dig out, she would be committing herself to a sandy grave.

    "By all the gods," she moaned. She hurt...her back, head, and ribs ached furiously. Biting her lip until she drew blood, she began to crawl in search of her weapons. She had not gone far before she felt the roof buckle and groan beneath her, a cracking sound reverberating along the wood. Immediatley she froze. Her luck on this day was cursed...to end it with a fall several stories to her doom would just be fitting. She slid her hand forward slowly, following it with her knee. The roof held...and she let her breath out in a puff. A short distance further and she was armed again, both weapons slipped into their sheaths.

    Kinna got to her feet with some difficulty, crossing over to the other rooftop where her belongings had been stashed while she planned her attack on the snapper. She was so much worse for the wear since then. She shouldered her pack...a days worth of provisions wrapped within...and looked to the storm again. She would be heading right into it if she followed the man's path...perhaps a death sentence either way...but she had to try.

    She took to the desert floor at a pace a little faster than a jog. It was the best she could muster at the moment. Her head down, with hood and face covering up, she tracked the man easily enough, starting to worry as the winds began to swirl around her and circle through her clothing in a deadly dance. Along the storm's front she could see a darker edge, tendrils of mist that called out to her, their voices hauntingly seductive. Demons. She put her palms to her ears, but the sound was in her head, growing louder as the sand advanced. "Not now," she whispered desperately, gritting her teeth against the summons.

    She fell to her knees, dropping her head down to the ground in a hunched position. The wailing was unbearable, the abrading sands now flitting across the skin of her exposed hands. Needles pricked at the flesh and she felt the blood ooze from her pores to feed the dry earth. The pain revived her...motivated her to continue. Falling flat to her belly, she inched forward, no longer able to see where she was going, but knowing the mountain face was straight ahead.

    Long minutes passed and finally her hand fell upon cool rock. Gropping blindly, she used the rough surface to get to her feet, pressing in close to the wall for support. A sideways motion took her to a depression in a short time, her fingers finding the gap and pulling the rest of her along. She fell into a small space, relieved to finally be out of the open air, the grit which found its way inside minimal in comparison. Eyes opening, she found herself in a shallow antechamber which opened up into a small cave, the acrid smell of the snapper's blood the first thing to assault her nostrils. She had found him, but wasn't sure how she should feel...elated...or despondant. An unoccupied hollow would have been preferrable...but the food source was at his side.

    Remaining silent and hoping her entrance had gone undetected, Kinna sat with her back against the stone and pulled her injured hands to her. The upper portion of her face also felt abraded, but her hands were numb. She swallowed hard, bringing her knees to her chest. She only had to outlast the storm...and the foul man within the cave's main chamber. How hard could that be after all she had suffered this morning?

  7. #7
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    Within that inner chamber sat the tired cleric, his lantern shining its light on the walls and figures of the cave. Several feet away was the corpse of this horrid creature, but unfortunately for him, there just so happened to be a grave oversight in his plan. For in all of that preparation, then in haste, he had forgotten in the ruins all of his other gear. All of his rations and his mess kit, his journals and maps- gone. He was seething.

    He glanced over the useless body of the Snapper, which was nigh inedible raw. Without anything to cook with, it may as well have been another stone in the cave. And he without any rations was as good as dead, depending on how long this storm ran. He could hear the shriek of the wind on the outside of the cave, eradicating any sense of quiet that he might have felt there. Slowly, with a great sigh, he stood. His mind buzzed slightly with the idea of maybe braving the storm, but he'd have to be quick. The storm would only get worse, and Snapper meat expired fast. He dragged his feet as he started to approach the entrance once more.

    As he began to see the cave's mouth, he saw the wind whipping sand wildly on the outside. He could feel even now the force of the wind. And out of the corner of his eye, a figure, balled near this doorway to the outside. Funny to see they'd made it. How strange, he thought to himself, that someone he'd expected to go down so easy was so lucky to have found the same cave. He cleared his throat in a manner he hoped would catch attention, much like an upset parent having caught their kids in the midst of doing something wrong.

    "I see you braved the storm." His shield hung on his arm at his side. He hadn't drawn his blade, but his hand rested upon its pommel. Anything more that this wily apparition had tried would result in her death- he would no longer allow for her aggressive motions. "What say you? Looking to kill me in my sleep? Hoping you'd catch me unawares?"
    In the age of ancients, the world was unformed, shrouded by fog...

    But then there was Fire, and with fire came disparity. Heat and cold, life and death, and of course...

    light and dark.

  8. #8
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    Kinna glanced up at his words, her pale eyes reflecting silver as she warily looked to his face. She saw his stance, read into it the threat, and remained still, keeping her arms and legs pulled in close to her body. “I am only looking to brave out the storm,” she said softly, not in any mood to challenge his ire. “I am not foolish enough to attempt such things as you suggest. You have proven you would only turn the tables and slit my throat.” She stared hard at him as she reached a hand out to her side slowly and snagged her pack, snuggling it up against her. “I will just stay here...out of your way...you won’t even know I am here.”

    The man stood still a moment. Seemed she had grown her wits about her, for death was the only thing to await her should she try and make yet another attempt on his life. “You would be smart to follow such ideas.” His gaze was noticeably cold, something the two seemed to share. With a moment of silence to separate to follow, he just about turned, walking further into the cave. But as his stride continued, a few ideas flared in his mind. The pack- the one she pulled closer. He slowed his gait to a stop, looking over his shoulder. “Hm…” It was quiet- a sound of thought, of entertainment of a notion. “What have you in your pack?” It was simple. It harmed his pride, admittedly, but he was hungry. If she had something to cook with, then he could perhaps strike a deal. If she refused to do so, well… he need only wait for her to fall asleep.

    Her eyes narrowed, her hand twitching slightly as her grip tightened on the mentioned item. “Do you plan to take it? Like you took my kill?” The words were out of her mouth before she had the sense to stop them, and she prepared herself for his rage, knowing her belongings were his if he so chose. She raised herself slightly, leaning forward and coming up on her toes...almost in a crouch. The pack disappeared under her and she sat back down, her head tilting as she challenged his next move. She said she wouldn’t try to attack him, but she would defend herself if he came at her. It was a matter of pride.

    The man's brow crooked into a gaze of pointed judgment. It was as icy as before, but with the extra bite that came with such a glare. “My pack is gone. I left it in the ruins.” With a masterfully bitter crossing of his arms over his chest, he continued. “If you have with you something to light a fire… then perhaps I can be willing to share some of the hunt with you.” It wasn’t as though it sounded particularly nice, in fact, it sounded rather sharp, like the hiss of a snake when a rider's horse draws too near. He was acting out of formality, almost. This would go either smoothly or roughly, but it would go.

    She huffed, chewing on her lip as she considered his offer. If nothing else, it would allow her access to the cave and put some food in her belly while she waited out the storm. Under different circumstances she would have tried to sweeten the deal, obviously she had the upper hand, but this man had a temper which outdistanced her own by many a mile and she dared not forfeit what little he had already put forth. With some effort, she got to her knees, pulling out the pack and digging inside. She flinched at the contact, but didn’t make a sound, her hand emerging with a small pouch which contained a flint stone and some tinder. She held the item out to him, giving him a nod.

    The man’s glare softened ever so slightly. “You are smarter than you act.” He reached down to take from her the flint with his free hand, and upon doing so, turned back to soldier onward back to the main chamber of the cave.

    Upon reaching it, he hunkered himself down near the body and started to prep the area for cooking. The tinder, the flint- wasn’t long before a nice little fire made itself a new home in the cave. He was not lost on the girls tricks, though- he routinely made it a goal to look at the girl and ensure she wasn’t doing anything that might be considered aggressive towards him. Not today.

    Kinna made her way out of the antechamber while he busied himself with the fire and took up residence in a farther corner, more a relative term considering the cave’s circumference. Watching him as he watched her, she set up a small sleeping area for herself, then set to removing her outer clothing, leaving on nothing but her jerkin and leggins to keep from getting too warm. Water skin in hand, she looked to the man again and grumbled.

    Letting out a sigh, she rose from her area and approached him cautiously. “Do you need a hand prepping it?” she asked, her dagger the only weapon left on her person. “I can trim up the pieces if you want to do the heavier work...or the opposite. Whichever you choose.”

    After getting the fire to a nice, respectable size, he looked to the blaze as he heard the girl speak. “I can hack it up easy for ye’. You can crack the meat out of the shells- should be easy. You made short work of a good many parts of it.” He drew his attention away from the fire, unclasping his shield before setting it to lean upon the wall of the cave. Drawing his sword, he got right to work, taking decently precise, swift cuts to the joints and dividing pieces of the beast. The legs were segmented, the edible portions of the torso and tail removed, and soon, there was little but a husk of a shell and a pile of viscera and body segments. As he finished it up, he reached up with a free hand to take off his headwraps, with which he used to clean the blade of his arming sword. He’d slept in armor a good many times. As he scoped the woman prepping herself for bed, he decided he’d do it again this night. No need to take unneeded risks around someone with a history marked already with attempts of betrayal.

    It took Kinna a bit longer to remove the meat from the carapace pieces he had cut, but when she was done, there was a sizable pile in front of her. “I suppose you don’t have anything to cook on either?” she said with a sarcastic tone, getting up to dig through her bag again. She came away with a charred piece of wood, the edges upturned to form a shallow bowl.

    Essentially ignoring him now, she heated up some rocks and placed them into a small pit she had dug. Her bowl she filled with water and snapper meat and set it over the stones with a heavy leather skin covering the entire set-up. She sat back after she was done, appraising the situation and the person she was forced to share it with. Not ready to play at being friendly, she merely stared at him openly, her look anything but casual.

    The man simply watched as the girl set to work cooking the snapper meat. He was rather impressed with the efficiency with which the girl worked, and remained quiet through the process. He wasn’t exactly enjoying this uneasy truce either. “How long had you stalked the beast?” His voice came without warning. It wasn’t as biting as before- but nor was it kind. In some ways, he was just trying to get past the oncoming awkwardness of the situation. “I just… woke up. And it was there. I suppose I am lucky it hadn’t found me before I found it.” That was going past the fear of the dust storm, too, which could have very well caught him in his sleep. No doubt he’d be gone by now.

    She was surprised he took the initiative and started a conversation, her own mood not one for small talk. She could have gone the entire day without speaking to him and been just as content. Like dealing with a grouchy vendor, it was a necessary chore that left you with a foul taste in your mouth. She relented with a shake of her head and a heavy sigh. “An hour...maybe more. I followed it to the ruins where it stopped to get a tan.” Her voice was plain, without inflection, just telling the facts without lingering on them. Even her attempt at a joke came out neutral.

    “I suppose your claim is as good as mine since I had not attacked yet...but I see it differently. So if you don’t mind, I’d rather not chat.” She was putting on her bitch face, one which she had become rather proficient at. The look that followed it spoke volumes, one that she hoped would cause him to leave her alone.

    The man listened intently, hearing everything she had to say even as it rounded out to an expression of dislike towards him. “Ah. Yes; Would probably be best.” He was happy in that moment to comply. In truth, he just wanted to eat, to go to bed, to wake up, and pretend this all never happened. He was a long way from home, and he just wanted to go on with his business. Ugh… even the mere crossing of the thought of the church he came from caused a contemptuous glare, directed into the fire. He was a righteous man- just in his actions, if not his beliefs. “How long till the food’s done, do you suppose?” He was not a proficient cook, often burning or undercooking anything that needed some sort of attention on the fire. Many nights had he gone to bed with food poisoning because of it. Hopefully, this girl showed more prowess than he.

    “Not long,” she replied, unsure of the exact measurement of time, but knowing by appearance. She leaned back against the cave’s wall and closed her eyes, glad for the rare moment of peace. Her mind was quiet, which meant her demons were still caught in the storm, most likely swirling in an eddy of their own making. She might even get a good night’s sleep before they descended upon her again.

    In a short while she stirred, the aroma of cooked meat permeating the air. She pulled off the leather cover and drew the bowl out of the pit oven carefully, the contents still boiling. Using her blade, she removed a piece and cut it in half. Satisfied, she pushed the container towards him then stuck the sliced morsel in her mouth. It was worse than she remembered, the aged meat tough and grisly, but better than nothing. She made a face and continued chewing.

    Dominique was long awaiting the food, occasionally taking an angry glare or smug grin as his thoughts ran through his mind. Perhaps all the time alone in the desert had driven him a little closer to madness than he had thought, but if not to the extent of hearing voices, then certainly to the point where he reacted to most of his thoughts rather expressively. When the girl stood and got to checking the food before pushing it to him, he scooted himself closer before reaching into the folds of his outfit to pull out a small dagger of his own design. It was obvious that it was hardly built for combat or even utility- it looked like some sort of ornate ritual blade, likely for cutting some sort of food for an event. He too skewered some meat before eating. His eyes wandered a moment as he tried to take hold of what he thought. Swallowing, he spoke up: “Hey- that's alright.” He went for a second piece. At least they would eat decently for the night. He paused a moment to shoot the girl a somewhat wayward glance. Reluctantly, he continued, “... You have my thanks.” He wasn’t going to forfeit his manners for someone he wasn’t in combat with… not yet. Should it come to anything beyond a slight argument, though, it was no holds barred.

  9. #9
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    Thieving had started as a means of survival, but as years went by, it became a lifestyle, one which Kinna rarely thought twice about. Necessities always came first of course, but if she saw something she liked, she took it--no regrets or apologies. ...and now, as she looked to the stranger when he thanked her, she saw something which caused her to do a double take. His knife...was...exquisite! She tried not to stare, but the designs carved into it were quite intricate, requiring her full attention. She pulled her eyes off the prize reluctantly, meeting his gaze and gave a slight nod to his gratitude, her mind already spinning as she made plans for obtaining the delicate blade.

    Going through a bit more of the food- tough as it may have been, given the rather unsavory nature of such a cut- he proceeded to get a few bites in before quietly shifting to pat some of his clothing. He had the knife, most parts of his armor- of course, his journals were completely buried by the sand, and he had little chance of getting them back. He wondered if the dig would be too bad to get them back. He had quite a bit there. “Say, how bad was the storm? See any snappers surfacing whilst you were out there?” Snappers often times resurfaced during storms due to the wind tricking them into thinking they had found prey. Ironically, he too could be considered some type of prey- he hadn’t noticed in the least the girl eyeing of one of his valuables.

    “Thinking of going out in that to retrieve the belongings you left behind?” she asked with a lift of her brow. “I wouldn’t recommend it. The storm is bad. Once the front hit me I couldn’t see anything...snapper or otherwise.” She rubbed the back of her hands idly, the skin tender, but the damage not as bad as she had first thought. “If you had the right gear...maybe...but I found my way here by feel. I had seen the direction you were heading before hand and just kept moving along the same path. Figured I’d meet up with you eventually.” Grabbing up her canteen, she took a long drink, then extended it to him. She might as well play nice now...she would have to get close enough to him to get her hands on the knife at some point.

    “Just what is it you are so desperate to recover that can’t be replaced?”

    Dominique shrugged a little, seeming very matter-of-fact about the situation. “Journals about my travels, mainly. A bunch of rather… charged letters to the old cathedral I used to be a cleric of. Whole lot of bastards, they are…” The further he disclosed on the matter, the more bitter he got about it. He shook his head, clearing the anger away. “No matter, I suppose. But there were also my survival tools as well. Not quite sure where else I’d get some in this destitute place.” He wasn’t past having had thoughts about stealing this girl’s equipment, but for this moment, he was going to push that out of his mind. “I suppose I will have to make do.” He examined the wiry form ahead of him a moment. “You travel light. Rather hard to do. I envy it.”

    She scoffed, then shook her head. “Weight just slows me down. I only carry what I need,” she explained, not disclosing the little ‘trinkets’ she kept on her person. They were small enough to fit in her many pockets. She thought on things as she stared into the fire, chewing around the information he had disclosed about himself. It would definitely account for his chastising words about her little ‘transgressions’. He obviously had some of his own or he wouldn’t have been ousted from the church. His temper could be one of his problems...he surely did not know how to control it.

    “When this storm passes, you could always try to dig up your possessions. I might even assist you if you have something to offer in trade?”

    The cleric entertained the idea a moment, his eyebrow arching. “I have a couple of things in excess I could stand to trade. We shall see.” He was still wary about speaking to this woman in any manner considered friendly. There was much to worry about, mainly that they still were fresh from making attempts on each others lives. But… as long as they were sharing a cave, might as well make things easy on the two. “At least one of us hasn’t lost too much. You look sort of… roughed up by the storm. Scratched you up and everything. I haven’t really gotten anything to help with that, unfortunately.” Several times had a large gust of sand blown over Dominiques face. The result usually was more annoying than anything, but things like that added up quick in the desert. The cleric technically could have helped by lending his hand to aid in some minor reflection of his healing magic, but… again, too friendly too fast. His magic was reserved for himself.

    She had no interest in his ‘excess’ as he put it, the only thing she was interested in was in his pocket, but she kept her mouth closed about it. There would be time to contemplate its removal from his person soon enough. Although she had to be sure it happened as they were going their separate ways..otherwise she would have to deal with his bulk beating her down again. And once was enough!

    She shifted, feeling tense under his watchful eye. Her body still ached from his earlier handling, her hands just an added irritation. She was going to have to keep up her guard. Something about him was very untrustworthy and she would be foolish to think his previous association with the church made him a pious man. She laughed lightly...here she was worrying about him assaulting her while she planned to do the same to him.

    She finally rose from her place by the fire. “I’m going to go lay down. Unless there is something else you wanted to discuss?” Sleep was not going to come easy..if at all...but she could at least rest. Her blade would stay close though. Perhaps they would get lucky and the storm would abate by morning.

    He shook his head. “Nay, go on. I’m going to tend to the flame.” He shifted in his seat slightly, facing the little fire more head on. He could admire her for her bravery- he would sleep in no quick measure around someone like this. His nerves were much too on end to ever let him go with something that made him so vulnerable so quick. He raised a hand, wafting it away in a ‘shoo’ motion towards her corner of things. “Go on.” He thought about checking the storm, about seeing what there was to see outside from the safety of the cave. It would be something to do in a little while, not now- he had much to reflect on.

    Taking his view away from the girl, his eyes once more cast down into the fire, reciprocating their intensity in full. His mind, almost easily, slipped away from the now and became entrenched in the past. The church taught him all he knew- his zealous nature, his strength in combat… his disrespect for authority. It had been years, now, since he’d been kicked to this desert. But still he lived. Someday he hoped he could return to that cathedral. He wished to see it in ruin.

    Sitting by her pack, Kinna undid her hair, allowing it to fall free upon her shoulders. She also unwound her wrapping, keeping her back to the cleric as she did so. She never slept with it on, the discomfort too much for her to tolerate. It had its purpose however. It kept her figure hidden, and from a distance she could pass for a man. She avoided confrontations that way, her being of the weaker sex always leading to trouble. Something she could more often than not handle.

    As she lay down, she turned to her side, grabbing up her discarded clothing and bundling it up as a pillow. Her dagger was strapped to her thigh, her hand resting near it. For the longest time she watched her fellow traveler, her gaze occasionally drifting to the fire. It was there that she made her mistake, the flickering flames very hypnotic, soon causing her weary body to relax and her eyes to close. Her breathing slowed, and soon enough she slipped into slumber.

    The cleric sat, silently watching the flame for a good while. He didn’t know when he took notice of the girl falling asleep, but he did- the mind lost track of time when deep in thought. Soon he felt his ideas becoming muddied and convoluted. Sleep was approaching. He was apprehensive about letting guard down near a stranger, but it would have to do. Slowly, the figure lifted himself, walking over to pick up his shield. The fire was waning. Strapping the shield to his arm and secluding himself in the opposite corner of the room, he took the time to calm himself and place the shield in a position between the two. It would do little but afford him some peace of mind. Slowly, his head rested back on the wall, and he drifted into a dark puddle called sleep.
    In the age of ancients, the world was unformed, shrouded by fog...

    But then there was Fire, and with fire came disparity. Heat and cold, life and death, and of course...

    light and dark.

  10. #10
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    Kinna awoke just before dawn, the interior of the cave still shrouded in darkness. It took her a minute to realize where she was, the memory less than pleasant. Scowling, she sat up with a groan, her hand going to her lower back as a sharp pain radiated upward. ‘I am getting too old to be sleeping on a stone mattress,’ she thought. Wiping at her eyes, she finally managed to make out the few points of interest in the cave--the fire, the pile of snapper (meat and waste), and most importantly, the cleric.

    She rose, stretching her back, a popping noise following the movement. “Ahh...better,” she whispered, hoping not to wake the beast of a man. She padded barefoot to the antechamber, the wind howling loudly beyond the small vestibule. “That’s not better,” she followed up, going back to her area to grab up her blanket and shoes. She slipped quietly out into the storm, wrapping the meager blanket around her and trying to peer into the coming morn. It took all her strength to keep her feet, the gusts of air circling around her legs like a lasso. It was enough to inform her of her day’s events. More of the same as yesterday. A one on one experience with the paladin.

    Grumbling, the thief came back inside and shook herself like a dog to shed the sand. Her hair was particularly affected and she had to use her fingers to purge the fine grit. “Gonna be a lovely day,” she said sarcastically, her mood already starting to sour as she walked towards the sleeping man. It seemed they both fell victim to their exhaustion, and the wonder of miracles was that neither of them suffered for their mistake. She briefly entertained ending the game now...just draw out her sword and pierce his heart...but unfortunately the objective was covered by armor and a shield, the latter pitifully set before his reclining form. Not to mention the fact that her sword was not on her person at present. Such poor planning.

    With a slight smile--the expression closer to that of a hungry cat eyeing its prey--Kinna moved closer, her head tilting as she recalled the location of the ornate knife she had mentally claimed as her own. She was only inches away from him, her breath coming more rapidly now. It would be so easy...but if she failed… She shook her head. It was better to wait. She could last another day in his company. The knife itself really was not worth a death, but she doubted the blasted world would miss his miserable presence.

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