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Author Topic: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)  (Read 5375 times)

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Offline Shae Dravenmore

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Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« on: August 18, 2009, 09:56:57 PM »
The caravan plodded along at a regular pace.  By nightfall they would be within reach of the shores of the Golden Sea, the seemingly endless expanse of sand that had once been a shallow sea centuries ago.  Now an arid desert, merchants and travelers timed their journeys to travel in groups, for even though the land was arid and nearly incapable of supporting life, there were those who clawed life out of the flesh and purses of those who passed through.  Many merchants employed the services of a dedicated guard for their travels, but there was always the opportunity for mercenaries to find work when caravans passed through the Golden Sea.

Maiwen was no mercenary, at least not in the traditional sense.  She was a healer, and on a journey of sorts, and was lucky enough to be taken on for the trip across the sands as a hired hand rather than as another traveler, thus assuring herself a bed and a meal each day.  Which was fortunate, because Anna had arrived too late to be taken on as another hired sword.  So now the healer sat in the wagon she had been assigned, riding next to the wagoner and looking all about her.  Despite the incredulous chuckling from her wagonmate, the woman found the endless nothingness to be fascinating.  If nothing else, her presence made the trip more enjoyable, at least for those around her.  Anna, however, sulked anxiously behind Maiwen, wishing she could be out riding the perimeter with her blade in hand.  Seamar, her trusty charger, seemed equally put out to be tethered to the rear of the wagon and to plod along through the sand.

Additionally, as was her wont, Maiwen was making friends with everyone, much to Anna's derision and disdain.  But, despite the swordwoman's constant warnings, Maiwen spoke cheerily to the number of hired swords in their entourage, her smiles as plentiful as the sand below their feet.  There was one though that she hadn't spoken much too, simply because she hadn't had the chance to.  She thought his name was Roayln, as she had overheard from others.  She hoped to speak to him before parting ways with the traders at the next city.  But they still had a few days.

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hawkthethird

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2009, 09:56:12 PM »

Elements of the life he

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Offline Shae Dravenmore

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2009, 10:35:52 PM »
The sudden gust that had so irritated Roayln with the flying particles of sand gradually turned from scattered incidents to a more sustained wind.  Sandstorms were common in the desert, though the caravan had been lucky enough to avoid them up until this point.  The travelers and merchants pushed ever onward though, setting the whip to the mules and draft animals, seeking the safety of the lush forest that now loomed as a dark splash on the horizon.  The Sea would have none of it, however, and eventually hurried hope turned into grudging acceptance, and with the sun still high in the sky, the caravan circled in on itself to hide from the building storm.

The wagons were pressed tightly together, though the interior of the circle was still wide enough to easily accommodate those within.  The animals were hitched to the interior of the wagons, and with a little help from a couple mages traveling with them, the worst of the sand was held to the outside of the wagons.  With nothing else to do, camp was set up and an early dinner started.  Of course, those on guard duty were still on duty, though most of these lounged on the driving benches to peer out into the shifting sands.

Maiwen, as a hired healer, was tasked not only with the welfare of her employer, but anyone and anything he so specified, including the animals.  So she moved along the few wagons that were his, checking the apprentices, the horses, and even the goats that had been brought for milk and cheese.  Internally, Anna shuddered when they came to the goats.  They had creepy eyes.  She could stare down a bear, but put her nose to nose with a goat and she twitched and scrambled away.  However, currently, as she made the rounds of the more brutish mercenaries, Anna wanted to rip their eyes out for the way they leered.  But Maiwen, ever sweet, and perhaps a little daft, just continued smiling and chatting them up and looking over their 'poor blistered hands' while they undressed the healer with their eyes and envisioned all sorts of things to do to her.  Perverts.

At last she came to where Ro sat, and she smiled to him cheerfully and leaned against the wagon.  "Hey there.  Just finishing my rounds for the evening.  Is there anything you'd like me to take a look at before I go?"  Anna, too, was curious about this one.  They had witnessed the display the first day, and was impressed at his skill with the hefty axe, considering his size.  A weapon normally used by the brainless monkeys with them, he handled it with a degree of finesse.  While the bladeswoman could feed questions to the healer, it was up to Maiwen if she would actually ask them or not.  Odds were, Anna wouldn't get the chance to ask them herself.  "How's the desert treating you?"

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hawkthethird

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2009, 10:16:53 PM »
The half elf was muttering swears under his breath, almost the entire time it took for the impromptu camp to be set up. As expected, Ro sat alone. He rested barefoot, next to the wheel of a wagon, a single arm draped over and through one of the spokes. He was twisted around partially, peering out at the abyss of whirling sands beyond the mage
« Last Edit: August 22, 2009, 09:33:25 AM by HawkTheThird »

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Offline Shae Dravenmore

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2009, 09:51:51 PM »
"It could be worse," she spoke softly, her tone taking a rare seriousness.  "You could be here simply for the excuse to kill someone..."  Her words weren't exactly directed at him, more of an observation spoken aloud.  But, she knelt slowly, the movement easy and graceful, and took the first of his poor battered boots into her hands.  "Needed, no," she smiled, kindly again, but with a hint of annoyance.  "But if it's all the same to you, I'd rather waste time not being ogled."  His boot was turned over in her hands a few times, a few well placed taps and blows clearing the worn leather of sand, and then with a drag of her finger across the sole, the bottom and top seemed to fuse together once more.  The feat was repeated with the other boot, and at last she set it down with its mate where she had found them.  "It won't last long, but it should at hold together until we reach the next town, and you can find a proper cobbler," she smiled at him once more, the look apologetic, as if she should have been able to do more for him and his boots.  "If that's all then, then I guess I'll be leaving now..."  Now that was an invitation if ever there was one.  Maiwen rose and turned, but it was slow, giving him ample time to interject, to stop her and ask her back, and possibly save her from further objectification by the other hired swords.  Goodness knew he wouldn't be the only one to ask her to look at hurts that didn't exist.

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hawkthethird

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2009, 11:21:14 PM »
The half elf frowned as she spoke, looking a bit confused, but even more amused. He reached over his own leg to grab the temporarily repaired boot, slipped on socks, and then fitted the thing back over his foot. Briefly, Roayln looked impressed. When the second had been likewise fixed he gave an approving nod, then donned it too. "Thanks"

A single movement, and his waterskin was back on it's belt. "It ain't so much the killing that I'm here for-" He rose, brushing most of the sand from his person and speaking just a bit louder to keep the healer for leaving just yet. "-as it is the fight. Almost as good as the coins, in a way." It seemed that interesting company was lacking on this particular trip. Hell, it wouldn't hurt anything to be personable. And as the healer made her slow advance to leave, looking dismayed at the prospect of returning to the other brawlers, Ro was convinced that she was thinking somewhat along the same line. He leaned over and picked up his axe, then swung it over his right shoulder effortlessly. His left hand dissappeared behind his back briefly, and Maiwen would clearly hear a metallic clinking: the chain Ro used to hold it in place. 

"I'm sure you can imagine swinging a weapon around as being more exciting than, say, driving the wagon, or" -He made a gesture, as though performing same mending magic Maiwen had done "-Mending some blisters. But then, after a second thought, Ro shrugged, bending over to grab the machete. "Maybe you can't imagine it." He shrugged. She didn't look like she'd ever make much of a fighter. 

How little he knew.

The machete having been horizontally secured across his lower back, Ro reached up and grabbed the lip of the drivers seat. A quick hop, and the half elf was up and in, seemingly having returned to guard duty.

Roayln looked down at Maiwen, fidgeting with the glove on his left hand. "I'm just hoping I won't need you for anything more that a pair of ratty boots." He gave a quick glance to his right, to the invisible barrier holding the sand at bay. Then, suddenly, he looked back down , attempting to catch the healer beofre she left again. 

"Wait. What's your name?"

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Offline Shae Dravenmore

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2009, 11:05:08 AM »
Maiwen gave a tiny smile as he spoke of the 'excitement' of fighting, though the gesture wasn't entirely her own.  But it was fleeting, and hidden from his view by the turn of her body.  Anna laughed internally.  Half-elf or not, she doubted the man could imagine what she had seen.  But she stopped when he spoke again, and turned back to him, her smile her own once more.

"Maiwen," she smiled, and bowed her head gently in greeting.  "And you're Roayln, right?  I've heard your name in passing," she offered as explanation to her knowing, and took a couple small steps back towards him.  "If you dislike the desert so much, why sign on for this caravan?  There's always merchants who travel in other directions."

Anna took note of every action and reaction of the half elf, sizing him up, gauging him with a practiced eye, though it was frustrating to have Maiwen refuse to look where Anna wanted her to.  The foolish girl kept her eyes on Ro's, awaiting his response, and purposefully ruffling Anna's feathers.  The swordswoman had carefully gauged all the other mercenaries and guards up to that point, and the half-elf was the only one left to size up.  She wanted to know how useful he would be in an actual fight.  Maiwen just wanted to be social.

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hawkthethird

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2009, 10:36:23 PM »
"Yeah. I'd rather you call me Ro. Roayln sounds highborn and all that." The half -elf waved a hand dismissively.

Then he was smiling again, though, like hers, in was not his intent. Slowly, his head swiveled from side to side, a small shake. The Cheery One had him at a loss, for, what was the appropriate answer? He

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2009, 12:00:19 AM »
She giggled gently, as if it were the first time she had been posed such a question, and it's novelty amused her.  Maiwaena, Goddess of the Lost, and Maiwen's namesake, was often brought into conversation with people meeting her for the first time.  "You...might say that," she smiled mysteriously, as if she knew something but wasn't going to share.  "I was found several years ago by a master healer traveling in much the same way I am now.  I had no memory of my life before that time, no knowledge of even who I was.  She named me, and took me under her care and taught me her arts."  She paused, rolling her next words around in her mind, and having a short discussion with Anna before continuing to speak.  "I guess I'm much like you, in a way.  A body has to eat, and you need 'pretty coins' to pay for food and shelter.  I'm traveling across the lands now, sharing my skills in whatever way I can.  Perhaps along the way, I'll meet someone who knew me from before..."

It was at once a hope, and a dread.  If anyone from Anna's old life recognized her now, there could be repercussions.  Both for her, and for Maiwen, who was essentially an innocent bystander.  But at the same time, there were a select few that she hoped to meet again.  Though without returning to the land of her birth, there was small chance she would ever meet them again in this life.

The healer glanced out to the swirling sands, though her position relative to the wagon blocked most of her view.  She hoped that they passed the night uneventfully.  Even Anna preferred facing highwaymen of the woods than the raiders in the desert.  A man had to be mad to scrape a living out here.

A shout went up from within the camp, and a glance over her shoulder showed the heavyset merchant waving furiously at his hired healer.  Seems someone had done themselves some harm, and it was time for her to earn her keep.  She smiled back at Ro regretfully, whatever more of their conversation she might have had lost for now.  "Well, for all our sake, I hope we reach the next town without needing you or your axe...or any more of my healing."  She bobbed her head at him once more in parting, and then hurried over to where she was needed, leaving the half-elf once more with his solitude and the sand.

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hawkthethird

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2009, 09:00:00 AM »
"Ah, well. We'll see about that." Ro nodded as the healer answered the call of the chubby merchant. He flicked his hand in a sort of stilted salute, the physical equivalent of 'goodbye for now'. The coin did call, after all. Well...

He shifted, looking out at the dying storm again.

It called for her, at least. The way Ro saw it, his duties weren't fulfilled until he'd thwarted attempts to appropriate goods, and his axe was good and messy. He raised his arms over his head and strained, tensing the muscles until they were stretched as per his desire. A thin layer of glittering sediment still drifted lazily in the winds, which had died down in much the same way they'd built up. The sun was still in it's dominant position in the sky, glazing them all with heat rays; Ro figured the whole storm had only lasted an hour or so. 

Press on.

Ah, there came the words he hadn't spoken, or even thought of in a long time. Words of encouragement, for any of the worldly types, on either side of the caravan, that made the mistake of gracing an environment such as this. And, as it seemed, as soon as Roayln formed the words, the others in the camp had begun to bustle. They stood, or otherwise collected their things and themselves, in preparation for the continuation of this journey. The half-elf found himself scanning to look for Maiwen amongst the group, and he did spot her her briefly. Much as she'd been sizing him up, Ro had done the same. She'd been friendly, an effort which, while noble, Ro honestly couldn't believe was worthy of wasting on him, or any of the others here. And she'd been found. Simply that, with no recollection of what happened previously...that was strange. As for looks, the vagrant couldn't blame the other swords for their leering and salivating, but the girl seemed a bit draft. 

Or, no- He bit his lip, closing his eyes. He'd heard it somewhere...

"Daft." Was that the word? Anyway, she and Roayln weren't two compatible types. Not that he was much for 'companionship' anyways.

Speaking of companionship... A wiry looking man and his wife stood below Ro, looking at the vagrant with a slightly worried, but more annoyed gaze. To them, the guard looked criminal. Admittedly, he was more appealing than some of the other, bulky, more unkempt guards, but he emenated disintrest, frustration, and discomfort, none of which were becoming traits of a guardian. At first, Ro ignored them, drinking from his waterskin, but after a few 'subtle' attempts to clear his throat, the man spoke up.

"This is our-"

"I know." Ro slid over, then brought his legs up quickly and hopped off off the bench, landing in the sand with a dull thud and some upturned dust. He allowed his eyes to linger on the man for a bit, perhaps feeling that telegraphing his own irritation may somehow prompt the traveler to make things better. Alas, the attempt was unsuccessful. Without any more delay, Roayln mounted his animal and jerked it's reins. After everything was settled, Ro and the beast were back on patrol, though they hovered closer to the middle of the line, closer to the employer's personal vehicle.

Though the dark forest was somewhat visible from here, Ro wasn't sure even he could guage how long it would take to arrive. Dancing, frenzied and excited, the heated air of the desert often played hell on the eyes, ears, and other senses. Including the sense of well-being.

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Offline Shae Dravenmore

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2009, 01:51:56 PM »
The caravan rumbled along, slithering through the sand after uncoiling itself like a snake.  Maiwen spent much of the remainder of the day safely within the merchant's wagon, pretending to be entertained by his equally greedy and insipid son, who had taken a liking to Maiwen after she healed his hand earlier that day. 

Relief for everyone came with the setting of the sun, and once more the wagon coiled in on itself.  Traveling in darkness only opened one up for attack which, while exciting for the guards, would be disaster for their employers.  Cook fires sprouted across the inner circle as the travelers settled down for an evening meal, and watch fires ringed the wagons, providing light and warmth to those watching by night.

In the distance, the forest loomed dark on the horizon, almost forboding in the dying light of the day, but a destination which promised arrival by noon the next day.  There was some small celebration among the merchants, who, for once along the long journey, deigned to speak with their competitors.  Rumor had it that the desert raiders didn't attack within a certain distance of the forest, holding superstitions about it's dark boughs.  They preferred to strike further out, out of sight of the ancient wood if at all possible.  So, with the forest so close, safety was the assumption, and so wine was shared in celebration of a safe passage through the treacherous sands.

They assumed too quickly...

The first half of the night passed quietly, most occupants of the inner circle fast asleep, and the outer guards changed shift, rested bodies taking up the watch from their weary companions, the night still and calm, with not a sight or sound out of the ordinary.  Then, deep in the night, lights appeared, dancing across the dunes in shades of reds and golds.  Tiny things, mere pinpricks to the eyes of men.  One man, a younger adventurer, peered out at them curiously.  "Oi," he called to his fellows, kicking one in the leg to rouse his attention.  "What's that out there?"  The one he kicked, a scarred veteran, lifted his chin from his chest and peered into the night with one eye, the other still closed in a vain attempt to sleep.  "Ain't nothing but sand sprites.  Buggered things, they'll drop a scorpion in yer boot if you leave it turned up."  A low chorus of chuckles from the others, and they returned to sleep.  A few others had noticed the faerie lights and watched in amused distraction.  They skirted the camp for a time, as if curious, then slowly crept closer, creeping down the dunes in a match to see which was boldest to approach the camp of humans.  The first man to spot them stepped out away from the caravan, grinning to show his boldness to his peers, in that he would meet them himself.  The lights stilled, dancing about in place, and he gazed into the darkness to try and make out the shape of their bodies.  Instead, he found himself contemplating the fletching of an arrow that now stuck out of his neck.

A hail of similar bolts found their marks in the other men with little more than a whisper, and upright bodies tumbled to the ground with quiet clatters of gear.  The lights rose to the height of men, and then were covered with black fabric as the raiders crept closer, spreading out to remove the hindrance of other guards and searching for their prize.  The attack may have been flawless, but for an unexpected arrival.  A woman sleeping in the wagon where the men had been slain emerged in search of the toilet.  But shadows to her side brought her attention to the stooping forms of the raiders in black.  It hardly took a genius to make sense of the scene.  Her eyes widened, then her mouth, and a blood chilling scream filled the camp.

The camp exploded into life.  Sleeping guards were drawing weapons and jumping to their feet, and frightened travelers cried out for family members, many huddling in their wagons or racing for cover.  The black shadows of the raiders multiplied, and within seconds it seemed as though they were everywhere, and the ringing sounds and calls of battle filled the night.

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hawkthethird

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2009, 01:22:48 PM »
It hadn

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Offline Shae Dravenmore

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2009, 03:14:51 PM »
It was a wonder how Maiwen woke before Anna, but when the body began to move, it was the healer controlling it.  Housed safely within one of the few wooden wagons, she and the two merchants soon found that safety to be a cage when the rear door was flung open, and darkened by the looming black shape of a man.  He stepped in slowly, eyes moving from one to the next, and finally settling on the fat merchant at the far end.  

The son was a fool.  Where he had gotten the knife from, or if the poor bastard even knew how to use it properly, she didn't know, but in one moment he had it in hand and was lunging at the intruder, and the next he was falling, the long blade shoved so far into his throat that it pierced the spine and emerged out the back.  The raider had barely moved, the slide of his foot little more than a whisper over the boards, and his hands a silent blur in the darkness.  His hard gaze returned once more to the head merchant, unconcerned with the frightened woman at his side, who was more intent on making herself as small as possible than moving against him.  In her head Anna was screaming, commanding her to give up control, and to let her save them, but the healer was too frightened to do anything but stare.

The raider, an impressive pile of height of muscle compared to the short, soft merchant, easily batted away the terrified bats of his hands, and lifted him by his throat until they were eye to eye.  "Where is it?"  The voice was low and gravelly, frightening to hear, and unnatural from a human throat.  The merchant's eyes widened in fear, but said nothing, even when the question was repeated more sternly.  He trembled fiercely, and the pungent scent of urine slowly wafted through the air.  Disgusted, the raider dropped him back into the crates near his bed, and began rifling through the boxes a bins.  It was only when he uncovered one, carefully buried low to the floor, that the merchant seemed to return to his senses, and with a cry he lunged at the man, only to receive the same treatment as his son.  Only this time, the blade came from the raider, and was plunged into the merchant's chest.  He was back to searching before the body even hit the deck, and stood triumphantly with a gilt box.  Maiwen could feel the power rolling off of it, or whatever was inside, and it was tucked almost reverently into a pouch at his side, and as silently as he came, the raider was gone.

The merchant, however, still lived, and with gurgling gasps he struggled for Maiwen's attention.  She was at his side quickly, struggling to work past her fear to heal him.  There is no time.  "Please, Anna, I can save him..."  The argument was halted for the moment, when his stubby fingers clasped with a startling firmness around her forearm.  "The...artifact...it must not...be taken...  Please...it cannot fall...wrong hands..."  Blood was coughed up, his grasp on life failing.  But still he struggled to speak.  "Great...power...  Must....deliver'd...to Carthan.....temple..."  Another cough, and a shuddering breath.  "Terrible...power...  Terrible...consequences..."  He was rambling, his mumbling falling below her ability to hear, and once more Maiwen struggled to heal the dying merchant.  But Anna was fighting her, struggling for control.  "Please, Anna, I can help him!  I can save him!"  There's no time!  We must flee!  "No!"  Her hold was faltering, and the swordswoman's control grew stronger.  "Please!"  "There is no more time!"

She leaped away from the dying merchant just as another figure in black leaped for her.  A different man, this one seemed to be all too interested in Anna and the other treasures within the wagon.  But this was no longer the meek healer that had been encountered before.  No longer wide and frightened, her eyes were hard and calculating, and with only a moment to regain her balance, she charged the raider before her, who had no time or room to react.  It only took a few blows to drop him, and she moved swiftly for the door.  Without a pause she jumped onto the back of the other who stood guard for his buddy inside, snapping his neck and using his body to break her fall.  His crossbow became her own, and she used it mercilessly as she raced for the next wagon for her gear and her horse.  Not that she needed have concern for the beast.  Already several bodies laid strewn about the wagon Seamar stood guard over, his ears laid flat and teeth bared.  He guarded his mistress as she loosed the last bolts from the crossbow into the black chaos, and then donned her own weapons from the wagon before cutting him loose.

Anna was the utter opposite of Maiwen.  Where the healer was kind, the soldier was ruthless.  Maiwen's unwillingness to hurt anyone was Anna's brutality.  With double swords in hand and stallion at her side, she was unstoppable.  One raider attacked, and while the first blade blocked, the other struck, the first blade already moving out to guard again, and a booted foot kicking the body away and freeing her blade to strike once more.  Where her blades were engaged and another approached her unprotected side, Saemar lashed out to protect her.

The tides of the fight were turning.  The guards were routing the raiders, and already a group had fled.  Maiwen was certain she felt the power she had felt in the wagon leaving with them.  With the raiders leaving with their stolen wares, Anna plundered the nearest wagon as well, confiscating food and stuffing her saddlebags.  Her area was clear for the moment, and she took the precious moments needed to saddle Seamar.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2009, 03:17:56 PM by Shae Dravenmore »

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hawkthethird

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2009, 08:18:42 PM »
This one had hit the ground hard. Roayln

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Offline Shae Dravenmore

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2009, 09:02:16 PM »
She was mounted and searching for the best path out of the wagon circle when she spotted him.  Anna hardly gave him a second thought, but Maiwen was insistent.  You can't go rushing off alone!  It's suicide!  And murder!  "You hardly seem to care when I'm killing people to keep us alive," Anna grumbled, glancing from the single mercenary to the smallest obstacle out.  You'll be killing both of us!  A pair of cart horses had been stolen from a wagon, leaving the bar that ran between them from the wagon front.  Seamar could easily jump that.  But Maiwen was right.  Whatever they wanted that artifact for, there were too many for her to take on alone.  And Roayln had proven the most capable of the others, at least up until this point.

With a, annoyed snarl, Anna kicked her steed to movement, and cantered over to Ro, stopping sharply.  "You!  You wanted adventure?  Well it's currently racing across the sands away from us," she gestured sharply to the darkness where the raiders had fled.  "Get a horse and follow me.  If you live long enough, we'll see about your shoulder."  It was just as the half-elf had seen.  This was a completely different woman in front of him now.  Her voice was rough, her eyes hard, her movements precise.  Maiwen should have been rushing about with the surviving mages trying to save the wounded, but instead she was brandishing weapons with ease and ready to give chase.  Then, in case her first words hadn't been enough, she smiled, almost darkly, while her horse danced impatiently.  "Your employer is dead.  You coin now lies that way...  They took something important, and I intend to get it back."

That was it then.  With a slap of the reins to his rump, Seamar reared up tall and barked out a battle cry, and then he was off.  The battle was leaving without him, and he intended to catch up.  Anna pressed close to his neck, tucking in small and tight for the coming jump, and the war horse easily leaped over the empty harness and out to the sand beyond.  Honestly, Anna didn't know why she felt compelled to give chase.  It was no business of hers what was in that box.  She couldn't feel the power that Maiwen could.  But there had been something in the merchant's dying words that gave urgency to the cause.  It was supposed to have been delivered to the temple in Carthan.  There were priests there who guarded a vault of ancient treasures and relics.  Some were rumored to even hold great power.  Whatever this thing was, the merchant was convinced that it had the power to do terrible things if used by the wrong people.  Perhaps...perhaps that was why she felt compelled to stop these thieves.  Her whole life had been spent taking lives.  Perhaps now, she hoped to atone for some of that, by potentially saving some.

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hawkthethird

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2009, 10:10:30 PM »
The woman Ro assumed to be Maiwen was approaching, and then barking something. His eyes drifted from the raiders to the healer-turned warrior, and he found himself unable to suppress a nod of assent. Her words were true, though slightly mistaken. While his pay did lie in the hands of the fleeing raiders, Ro would be the one taking the item, not her.

Maiwen didn

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Offline Shae Dravenmore

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2009, 10:56:35 PM »
She glanced briefly over her shoulder at the sound of his voice, glad that he was able to catch up quick enough.  She simply smiled, and kicked her horse faster.  Indeed, the raiders had split, but they had done so early on.  The majority of them ran deeper into the desert, scuttling easily over the sand like the creatures that lived there with their bounty.  However, Anna chased the group further ahead, the ones who had left first, and who traveled with some difficulty over the shifting sand.  These men were larger, and made for the forest.  They were no desert raiders, but it seemed that they had somehow bribed them to aid in their assault.  Their leader was the biggest one of all.  It always seemed to go that way with brigands.  Gods forbid they ever get a leader who was small and smart.  It was always the big ones that held command.

They were gaining ground on them, the raiders having fled on foot.  It seems that they hadn't anticipated being followed.  Up ahead, discernible to Ro's eyes and barely noticed by Anna's, another small group waited with horses for the fleeing men.  The big one, his treasure still in hand, barked out orders, and half the group turned back to face the two on horseback.  Crossbow bolts whistled by them, but the same darkness that they used for cover now hindered their aim, the darkness of the desert nearly absolute so far from the camp.  The stars and moon above offered only slight light, revealing only outlines and vague shapes to human eyes.  A second volley flew, and this time several landed glancing strikes across Seamar's quarters, one embedding itself into his shoulder, while several more struck Anna, caught in armor hidden below her robes or slicing along her arms.  There was no time for a third volley, and while the swordswoman and her mount were wounded, it hardly stopped them from plunging into their ranks.  There was ten of them, and they closed tight, blades poised out to catch the oncoming riders.  But Anna had a trick up her sleeves.  Rather than diving into the mass of blades and bodies as they expected her to, she pulled sharp on the reins, causing Seamar to stop short and pivot quickly in the sand, sliding slightly as momentum continued to carry them forward, and then lashed out with rear hooves.  The raiders were unprepared for such a tactic, and the nearest was caught square in the chest, ribs shattering inwards and puncturing heart and lungs.  The momentum carried him and his fellows backwards, the disruption long enough to allow Anna to turn to the front again and for Ro to catch up completely. 

Once again she and her stallion worked as a team.  Hooves flew out forwards while her blades worked at the side.  However, they would not fall so easily as the raiders in the camp.  These men were trained to fight as a group, and more than once Anna found herself forced to retreat a few steps and rework her own tactics.  It was frustrating; she knew now that the group had split, and their leader was getting away, but the men before her were still armed with crossbows, and turning her back on them while they still lived would be folly.  But these men would have information, which could lead her to the stolen artifact.

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hawkthethird

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2009, 06:25:44 PM »
Yes, this was a bad situation. The men in waiting were obviously prepared, though their aim needed a bit of work. Ro took only glancing blows from the enemy projectiles. Nothing particularly painful, but distracting enough to complicate his current task. He worked hard, slowing his horse to a trot while Maiwen began her initial burst; he still needed distance between himself, his ally, and the raiders. Squeezing his legs to hold on, Ro released the reins from his right hand and swung his appropriated crossbow around to bear. Shakily, he squeezed off a single bolt, feeling a rush of pleasure overtake him as it caught a man unawares, ripping into his chest.

Six.

He would have liked to fire more, but didn

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2009, 08:10:53 PM »
Ah, now these were numbers she could deal with.  Her companion had eased the numbers back into their favor while Anna and Seamar danced around them, probing for openings.  Two turned to deal with the half-elf, leaving three for Anna.  And while they may have been trained to fight in groups, their numbers were shattered, and Anna could deal with three.  And she had a partner as well.  Seamar reared up, flailing with front legs, followed swiftly by Anna's boot lashing out once he was down again.

A series of events happened almost at once.  Anna slashed down, catching the middle one across the shoulder and chest.  However, the one to his left was prepared, and lunged forward and caught her about the arm, tugging her forward and out of her saddle.  The third, opposite the one that grabbed her, moved to take advantage of the new turn of events, but would get the shock of his life when he instead found himself nearly toppled by a half ton of horse flesh, the teeth of which were now buried deep in his neck.  With the second momentarily occupied, Anna was able to wrestle the other to the ground and gain the top, where severe blows were delivered with fists and elbows until he stopped moving.  She looked up in time to see Seamar's victim trampled to a bloody mess before the warhorse left him be, and for Ro to dispatch the last raider.

In the distance, horses whinnied as the others escaped, and Anna could only stare after them, panting breathlessly as her quarry got away.  But discretion was the better part of valour; they were wounded, and even if they were able to catch up to fresh horses, they would be exhausted when they arrived.  Little as she liked it, it was better to wait and heal before traveling on.  Her blades were cleaned on the clothes of the bodies around her before they were returned to their sheathes, one at her right hip and the other at her back, and she stood with a slight waver before trudging to Seamar.  He grunted and shifted, favoring his wounded shoulder, but only let out a small grunt of pain when her fingers poked delicately at the embedded bolt.  Anna ignored Ro for the moment.  He was not her greatest concern.  First she had to see to Seamar, then to herself.  If Maiwen had anything left in her, then she could deal with the half-elf.  And she was muttering softly to herself, speaking quietly one side of a conversation.  "Alright...alright...I know.  In the morning we'll...yes, I know!"  She laid her forehead against her stallion and sighed heavily, shoulders slumping slightly.  "Alright, Maiwen, you win.  Fix us up."

And just like that, the brash warrior was gone, and the gentle healer once more in place.  She sighed gently, looking over her various wounds, but ignored them for now beyond the effort of pulling away the bolts that had caught in the concealed armor and dropping them to the sand.  Seamar's demeanor changed as well.  Previously fiercely loyal and protective of the woman, even nuzzling against her while she stood close, he now was agitated and watched her with untrusting eyes, his ears laid flat and teeth bared, ready to bite if he thought she needed it.  She murmured gently to him, stroking his shoulder with a gentle hand while the other closed carefully around the bolt.  Then, with a soft apology, she ripped it out and laid both hands over the small wound.  A soft, bluish-white glow erupted around her hands, centering on the wound, and within moments the flesh closed itself once more, leaving only a small spot bare of hair and pink with the strain of healing.

Next those healing hands turned on herself.  Maiwen popped a few buttons on the front and shrugged out of the loose healer's robes, working them out from under the belt of her back scabbard, and left to drape over the one at her waist, revealing a tunic and sturdy pants below, and a vest of padded and reinforced leather, and chain mail that fell to her mid-thigh, light armor of exceptional quality.  Her bare arms were criss-crossed with a number of shallow grazes, the worst of which were given gentle healing, while the others were simply seen to be clean of all toxins before being left to heal naturally.

Only now did she pay Roayln any mind, and it was with hesitance that she turned to face him.  Maiwen smiled gently, a bit awkwardly, never quite meeting his gaze.  "I can see to your shoulder now...if you'd like?"  No doubt he would have questions.  Questions she wasn't certain that she could answer, or that Anna would want her to answer.  It was rare that anyone found out about them.  Usually the ones that discovered their secret were attacking, and they found out the hard way that they would pay a terrible price for attacking a healer with a deadly fighter in the same body.

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hawkthethird

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2009, 01:37:29 PM »
Though he wasn

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Offline Shae Dravenmore

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2009, 12:16:04 PM »
The healer nodded and summoned a small ball of light to illuminate the wound, passing gentle fingers over the torn and bloody flesh, probing gently to see how deep it had gone, and if she could feel any points or barbs beneath the skin.  And even though his shoulder and arm were completely numb, she still exercised care in the gentle extraction of the arrow, and at last tossed the bloody stub away.  She left him for a moment to return to the stallion, who still regarded her unhappily as he huffed and sidestepped, and then stood still for her to get into the saddle bags.  A moment later she returned with a vial. 

The healing was a quick matter.  After having him kneel and bend forward a bit, she gently dribbled the contents of the vial into the small hole.  It fizzed and bubbled gently before sinking in, and quickly spread through his arm and body with the beating of his heart.  All that was left to do was close the wound, which she did in the same manner as herself and the horse.  Palms flat on his skin, her hands warmed pleasantly, and the familiar itch of healing sprouted on his shoulder as the skin and muscle worked itself back together.  When she was done, all that remained was a small red mark that would fade in time when his body finished healing itself.

"There," she smiled, and stepped away from him.  "All done.  Your arm will start to tingle a bit as the poison is neutralized, but you should be whole again within the hour."  With the healing done, she began shifting her robes back into place, which wasn't always an easy task, and was ultimately forced to remove the scabbard at her back.  Maiwen handled it awkwardly, unused to and uncomfortable with handling the weapon, even within its casing.  She was utterly lacking in the grace and control that had been exhibited while fighting the raiders.  But, she managed, and once dressed and armed again, she moved over to the nearest of the bodies.

Anna knew Ro had already pilfered them.  Even without seeing him, the lack of valuables on them and the rustling behind her as she and Maiwen had conversed and healed was indication enough.  Not that she really cared.  What she did care about was anything that could tell her where these men were from, or where they were headed, or why they wanted that artifact so badly.  She picked through their garments, her motions uncertain, and guided almost as if directed by someone watching from the side.

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hawkthethird

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2009, 07:27:30 PM »
After he

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Offline Shae Dravenmore

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2009, 10:02:25 PM »
She was looking intently at a small object when he spoke again, having moved on to other bodies in that time.  It was a nearly flawless sphere of amber, the center of which contained a perfectly preserved scorpion.  It was foreign to Maiwen, who looked at it merely with intrigued interest of such an object.  Anna, however, knew it for what it was.  It was a sigil she had not seen in many years.  She had thought the clan had been wiped out, most of a decade ago.  It seemed she was mistaken...

If only bodies could speak...  Were Maiwen a necromancer, that wouldn't have been an issue.  Unfortunately, the healer refused to touch those magics.  Anna didn't care about her reasons.  It was simply an annoyance that she had to deal with.  And speaking of annoyances...  Her hand closed around the amber sphere, having shoved her way to the front in a matter of seconds now that Maiwen wasn't arguing anymore, and tucked it into a pocket within the robes.

Like a switch, once more the movements were precise, the air about her...different.  The healer's gentle voice replaced by the firm tones of the blade-mistress.  "Those are dangerous questions..."  Anna rose slowly, and turned slightly to cast her gaze at him over her shoulder.  "All you need to know, is that you are best served by not making me regret bringing you along."  She held her gaze on him for a moment longer, and then turned about for her horse.  The stallion whickered gently at her as she approached and nuzzled her hand when she reached to stroke his nose, much different from the behavior he had exhibited towards the woman only a short time ago.  "Come, our prey is escaping.  If you have further burning questions, ask them on the ride."  Deftly she mounted, and with a soft click of her tongue she was moving forward again.

When Ro caught up, assuming that he wasn't going to outright ignore her, once more the amber ball emerged from her robes, and Anna held it out ahead of her, allowing the scant moonlight to catch on the glassy surface.  "Tell me, do you know of the Circle of Scorpions?"  A band of ruthless mercenaries and assassins, they had been well known throughout many of the lands for generations.  However, they pressed the wrong noble, a man with close ties to her very own emperor, and so the Imperial Army had pressed back.  Anna had been young then, and so only heard stories of the battle, but all reports had come back of the den of thieves and sell-swords having been decimated.

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hawkthethird

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2009, 12:13:54 PM »
A master of a few languages, and gifted with excellent hearing, Roayln recognized a threat when he heard one. It took quite a bit of effort, but he managed to hold his tongue in place, even if it meant actually restraining the muscle between clenched teeth. She could speak as she wanted to. Real problems would arise if she got in between Roayln and his pay, or had the audacity to point a weapon his way. Though he hated the sound idea of being

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Offline Shae Dravenmore

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Re: Overtime (Attn: Hawk)
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2009, 05:34:48 PM »
The sphere was secreted away back on her person, and she continued to scan the sand ahead of them for the tracks she was following.  "The Circle of Scorpions was a mercenary group, but they were supposed to have been wiped out a decade ago.  It seems some escaped though, and are now out for hire once more."  She was quiet for a moment, digging through her memories to see what she recalled about their group.  "They're expensive.  Which means that they were hired by someone with power.  And they never have schemes of their own.  They just work for the highest bidder."  Another pause; she swore she just heard the faintest echo of a whinny up ahead.  "Right now, we don't care about them, only who they work for."

The group that fled ahead of them were making for the forest, that much was clear.  From there, tracking them would be easier.  As for catching up to them, it would be a matter who could hold out the longest.  And currently, it was she who was at a disadvantage.  "Your horse is tiring," she spoke casually, like it was a simple thing.  But a tired horse on unsteady terrain would stumble, and they would risk a broken leg.  Hers was a warhorse, born and bred for long chases and harsh conditions.  But Ro's animal was a petite thing, made for cooler weather and easier rides.  No doubt the poor beast would simply collapse once it was pushed too far.  "How much longer can it hold out?"  It would still be a few hours before they reached the forest's edge, and Anna refused to stop for the night until she was in a more enclosed position rather than out in the open in the sands.

 

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