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Author Topic: Blood and Sand  (Read 5835 times)

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Offline Magyar

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1200 on: May 31, 2017, 06:49:49 PM »
"Well," Bolion said, wiping rather futilely at his face, given the nature of his environment, "I don't think it would be a far-fetched guess, considering how rural mountains are here. Or my line of work. Or your line of work."

He smiled, and kicked back off from his cross-legged squat, and was halfway through floating on his back across the pool when the wall to his back erupted. Fire and shards of superheated wood embedded themselves into the walls and peppered the water. Bolion felt a series of burning stings on his back and scalp, immediately submerged himself in water, and dove for the deep end of the pool. It wasn't deep enough to hide from whatever had happened for long, but it would provide some shelter. Hopefully.



Through the smell of gunpowder and a plume of smoke, five men stepped into the private bath. The walls between the private bath Bolion had chosen and the public saunas were only about a foot and a half thick, and these intruders had blown their way through it with ease. Much of the public baths was deserted, probably done by these same men, but the residents who remained were scrambling to leave.

Tall, musclebound, and blonde like white gold, the Northerners scanned the pool. Survivors of Della's magic, or perhaps absentees that day... either way, they'd tracked Bolion and Della to the baths. They were here. And Bolion was unprepared.

Offline DragonSong

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1201 on: May 31, 2017, 06:57:00 PM »
It was only thanks to instinct and years of training herself to react and adapt as quickly as possible that saved Della from a shard of wood embedding itself in her throat. In a whiplike movement, she flipped sideways and lunged half out of the water, unconsciously putting her body between Bolion and the attackers.

Ignoring her state of undress, this was hardly the time to worry about it, she scrambled from the bath before allowing magic to erupt along her skin.

"Bol, get out of here, now!"

With all the water in the area, she was lucky she hadn't electrocuted him yet. He didn't need to be around for this, he had nothing to fight with- he'd just get himself killed.

Offline Magyar

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1202 on: May 31, 2017, 07:07:45 PM »
Bolion surfaced and pushed himself up from the poolside, before biting back at Della, "Fucking where?!"

He was about to argue that he had no time to open the door and escape when, as if to punctuate his unsaid words, an axe flew at him. He tried to escape its trajectory but managed to suffer only a glancing blow. The blade scored his shoulder, slicing into the tissue before crunching into the wall behind him. A spray of his blood painted the floor and the base of the wall, as well as mixing with some of the pool water.

Biting back a gasp, he nodded angrily to himself and bolted for the closed sliding door.

Offline DragonSong

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1203 on: May 31, 2017, 07:09:54 PM »
She hardly had time to argue with him, or really spare much attention for him at all.

Eyes flinty, she stared across the space between her and their attackers. "Stand down. I don't want to kill you, if I can help it."

Offline Magyar

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1204 on: May 31, 2017, 07:20:41 PM »
Her reply was another axe, thrown before she was done speaking, and aimed at her chest. The men flooded the room, two remaining to cover the newly shaped entrance, and the other three circling the pool, two on the left, closer to the door and thus to them, and one around the other side.

Bolion had just managed to slide the door open with wet fingers when a wild swing came his way. He ducked and the blade of the broadsword caught in the doorframe. He couldn't escape an ensuing kick, however, and suffered a gash on his shin because of it. He did manage to slip out, however, and ran for the nearest object that could be used as weaponry. He settled on a chair, carved of red stained oak, and entirely wooden. Bolion delivered a vicious kick of his own, snapping a leg from the chair and sending it flying. The leg was short, and no match for a sword, but it would have to do.

He spun on his heels and sprinted back for the bath.

Offline DragonSong

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1205 on: June 03, 2017, 12:09:00 PM »
Well. So much for not killing them.

Gritting her teeth, Della twisted to avoid the hurled axe and flung her arm out toward her attackers in the same movement, lightning arcing from her fingertips.

She saw a flash of movement and cursed silently. "Damnit, Bol, avoid the water!"

Offline Magyar

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1206 on: August 02, 2017, 12:59:12 AM »
"Yeah, I can handle myself!" Bolion snapped back, swinging back into the bath from behind Della. He ran alongside the pool leaped onto and then subsequently off of the wall and launched himself at the farthest right of the five men.

They went down in a flailing knot of limbs, Bolion clearly the aggressor if not the more dangerous of the two. He managed to straddle the man - who was nearly two feet taller than he - and drove the jagged chair leg into his chest. It pierced leather and forced the breath from his lungs, but the northerner wasn't dead. Bolion followed his staking with an open palmed jab, breaking the man's nose, and another strike to his now revealed neck.

Bolion's knuckles met chainmail, splitting them on impact. To say the man didn't feel the blow, however, would be a lie. Breathless and in pain, the throat-punch sent him into a violent coughing fit, from which blood sprayed with every exhalation.

Bolion was already on the move and ignoring the twinge in his now inflamed shoulder, he picked up and threw his downed assailant's hand axe. The axe glanced off of one of the center three's helmet went clattering on the stones behind him. "Fuck a duck!" Bolion swore, now rapidly back-pedalling away from the advancing northerner.

Offline DragonSong

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1207 on: August 02, 2017, 07:17:45 AM »
Della swore and twisted, ducking wild strikes and unable to keep Bolion within view.

Snarling, she thrust her hands out in front of her in a pushing motion and a ball of force, crackling blue-white energy, burst from her palms and slammed into the two men who had been charging her, knocking them prone.

The scent of burning flesh and singed hair reached her nose and she winced, but didn't really have time to see if they were actually dead.

Offline Magyar

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1208 on: August 02, 2017, 09:58:02 AM »
Three down... two left.

Bolion was still very much at a disadvantage, being naked and unarmed as he was. The man coming toward him was not only bigger, but also had maille, leather, and plate armour. Add a shield and an axe to boot and, without the element of surprise, Bolion was far out of his league in this fight.

He slipped momentarily, stumbling but then righting himself reflexively. His eyes widened, and he stole a glance towards the slick tile below him. Water.

"I'm a fucking idiot!" He said through clenched teeth, and ran at the man. The northerner raised his shield, readied his axe, and bit down in anticipation for what he thought would be another attempted tackle... but Bolion just ran past him, to the other man behind him. The one focused on Della. He did try to tackle this man, ducking low and picking him up by the thighs and then dumping him into the shallow pool. Bolion twisted to face his new assailant, but for all of his speed he couldn't dodge the axe coming his way. It lodged itself squarely in his sternum and the impact forced him off of his feet and onto the ground with a dull. squelching, thud.

Bolion cried out in pain, and wished now more than ever that he had some sort of special power or weapon or something. He felt sometimes that he was the only bounty hunter this side of the Thunderblacks who was just a normal-ish guy. "Get him in the water Della!" He coughed, turning his head to face his similarly nude companion. He'd have said more, but he launched into a cough that was punctuated by grimaces and clenched teeth. He dug his nails into his palms so tightly blood began to drip from them, but his pain was only beginning.

The northerner took hol of the axe in Bolion's chest, and yanked it free. Bolion cried out again as his chest was pulled it like a marrionette is with strings. A combination of his head hitting the unforgiving stone on the fall, his immense pain, and a lack of strength to keep conscious, his slid shut and he slipped into darkness.

Offline DragonSong

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1209 on: August 02, 2017, 10:33:16 AM »
She turned in time to see the ax strike home. Her eyes widened. "Bol!"

Almost on reflex, her magic snapped out to shove against his assailant, knocking him back one step, then another as she hammered into him with blasts of electricity.

The man Bol had knocked into the water groaned and started to rise. Her eyes flashed as she ran forward, planting herself between the bounty hunter and their attackers as she threw her hands outward with a scream and another surge of magic.

Both northerners were sent crashing into the pool and her eyes crackled with arcane energy. Vision narrowed, tinting blue at the edges, she shoved her hands forward and released a miniature lightning bolt directly into the water.

She didn't even pause to watch the gruesome destruction that spread from her magic, whirling around to catch Bol under an arm and trying to get a look at his wound. Damnit, what she wouldn't have given to be a healer!

"Bol? Bol, wake up. Can you hear me?"

Offline Magyar

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1210 on: August 02, 2017, 10:52:06 AM »
Della's actions stretched his gash, the increased pain jolting him back into momentary consciousness. He gasped in air before coughing it back out involuntarily. Bolion met her eyes for a second, a confused look taking his features. He didn't register what she'd said, and couldn't hear much of anything. His brain was shutting down again, trying to force him into a reparative sleep.

But she had a scratch along her jaw, small and inconsequential in the long run. It must have happened during the explosion, perhaps debris or her sudden exit from the pool. Either way, he reached up to thumb away the blood trickling toward her chin. But he couldn't feel it. He tried pressing his fingers and thumb together, slick with blood as they were. He couldn't feel the touch. He couldn't feel anything in his left hand. Now that he thought about it, he couldn't feel anything in his right hand either. He couldn't feel his right hand at all. He turned his head to find it resting on Della's thigh, and smearing quite a bit of blood on her as he did so. Was that his own blood?

Gentle shivers went through torso, and for a small second, he forgot his pain in the immense numbness that was calling him. Then a sharp and stabbing sensation, far below his sternum, clenched inwardly against him. He brought his numbed left hand to his heart, and again went limp. His eyes were still open, however. He was still awake, every second feeling like a day, dragging on slowly. The only thing he knew then was pain.

Offline DragonSong

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1211 on: August 02, 2017, 11:06:18 AM »
"No no no no no." Della pressed her hand over the wound, desperately trying to staunch the bleeding. The smell of burned flesh and hair was sickening in the air around her, mixing with the coppery tang of blood.

Eyes a little wild, she lifted her head and shouted, "Help! Someone help, we need a healer!"

How had no one come to see what was happening? They were in a public bath for gods' sakes!

"I'm lodging an official complaint," she muttered, some small part of her hoping Bolion might be conscious enough to hear. "Service has been terrible." Her voice shook slightly, somewhat negating her attempt at confident nonchalance.

"You're gonna be fine, okay?" She looked around again, spotting her clothes, and carefully shifted Bol so she could crawl toward them and drag the red robes toward her. Sitting back, she started ripping it into strips in an attempt at creating makeshift bandages.

Offline Magyar

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1212 on: August 27, 2017, 09:14:35 PM »
"Ha, service..." He said quietly, his voice faltering towards the end, "I'd like to think I've rubbed off on you, but I've got a sneaking suspicion that you're a funny girl all by yourself under that grump."

He could still feel his tongue, and now his face. A great and sharp pain in his chest came suddenly, then faded, and then again. His breathing stopped for a moment, jaw clenched and chest tense. His face froze in a mix of pain and fear, and he sought out Della's eyes as the only comfort he could find. Then it left him, and he sucked in a breath. But it was... wrong. Something was wrong...

His chest was tight, his vision was tunneling, and he could feel the life slipping from his hands and feet. He wished to scream out, to tell her that he thought he was having a heart attack, that she should save him. But he couldn't. He could only watch her, see her eyes, her panicked expression. And a pang behind his heart, one not of physical pain, but of great sorrow wracked him. He didn't want to leave her like this. Not here... not now.

Offline DragonSong

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1213 on: August 27, 2017, 09:26:08 PM »
She could feel him slipping. She wasn't sure entirely how, but she could feel it.

"No." Della shook her head, fists clenching on his chest. "No, Bol, no. You don't get to bail on me like this, you hear me? We've still got a job, damnit!"

Sharp ears picked up the patter of sandeled feet on stone, but she wasn't sure exactly how far, or who was coming; friend or for, it didn't really matter if a healer didn't get to him in time.

She felt his heart sort of stutter beneath her hands and her eyes widened. "Bol!"

Purely on instinct, her magic reacted. A surge of sparks swept from her fingers down to his chest, sinking through the skin and seeking his heart. There was no spell, no chant, not even a gesture she could give to direct the power- it reacted purely to her will and intent, to the painfully strong desire that suddenly swept through her, a pounding beat that echoed her own heartbeat in her head: save him, save him, save him.

Offline Magyar

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1214 on: August 27, 2017, 09:41:59 PM »
Bolion gasped for air, strained against his own body, and laid down again. His breathing was shallow and his chest deeply pained, but at least his heart seemed to beat again. And he began to bleed again. He could feel his toes again, and he could taste the air again... so he began to slip into unconsciousness again. At least this time, his darkness could be temporary. He had no strength to fight back, and he fell asleep but breathing quickly against Della's thigh.

Several of the previous bathers had been the source of the footsteps Della had heard, returned with guardsmen and two combat mages. One of the mages carried with her a large tote bag with thick spined books in it, and a satchel with dried herbs and poultices laying across it. She wore golden brown robes, simple and unadorned, save for her box braid hair, which was intertwined with many beads of different colours. She rushed to the pair as the others searched the area for the aforementioned danger, and found them in the pool. She fell to her knees in front of Della, asking first in Essyrni and then again in common, "What has happened here?!"

Offline DragonSong

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1215 on: August 28, 2017, 05:36:11 AM »
"Oh thank gods." Della's brow fell forward onto Bol's chest as she sagged in relief, shaking slightly. "You have to be okay," she whispered, though she knew he couldn't hear. As she heard the guards entering, she lifted her head and just stared at his face for a moment, then leaned forward and pressed a quick kiss to his lips.

Her attention snapped to the Essyrni mage when she spoke and she shook her head. "We- they attacked us-"

She burst into tears. It was really only half fake, if she was being honest, the stress and relief helping her performance along. She explained what happened as she best she could, trying to remember to stay in the role of a traumatized concubine as she did, while leaving out the fact that the men who'd attacked them had belonged to a slaving caravan she'd completely decimated.

Her grip on Bol never loosened, clutching his shoulders and she held him in her lap. One hand remained in his chest, feeling his heartbeat, just to reassure herself that it was still there.

Offline Magyar

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1216 on: August 28, 2017, 01:51:14 PM »
...

"I don't know if I can keep doing this," Bolion muttered to himself, leaning forward in the cot he'd been assigned. Linen sheets pooled about his waist, some dangling off of the small cloth bed.

Several rows of similar cots lined a large tent, the city's mass healing tent. Only a few others sat in the tent with them, perhaps thirty or forty feet away. Most patients took tent side cots, as to have people smuggle food, drink, and other small delights in under the tent walls, but Bolion was stationed squarely in the middle. He'd been attacked in a public place, after all, and the mages who'd kept him alive didn't want a repeat. They'd placed him in the hardest to reach location in the tent, dead center, next to the giant support beam that held the tent up in the middle. His cot had several small chairs around it, for the mages and visitors alike, but no mages were with him now.

His chest had a large, smooth scar from just beneath his collarbones, down to his solar plexus. It was perhaps an inch wide at its broadest and was just barely concave, dipping towards his sternum. His breathing was still a tad tight, but aside from that... his chest had been sealed up again. Of course, he'd sat in a cot for two weeks while skilled magicians knit his flesh together over freshly fused bone, and checked in quite regularly.

"I'm gonna kill myself," he said, studying his newest cosmetic addition. He'd seen it many times, but it still interested him to no end. It had no nerve endings, so a stripe of his chest was completely numb and presumably would not bleed if cut. A useful trick in future, no doubt.

Offline DragonSong

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1217 on: August 28, 2017, 02:03:05 PM »
Approaching Bolion from behind, Della frowned. "That is not funny," she snapped quietly as she walked around to the front of the cot and placed the jug of water she'd gone to get beside it. "You've ha a few too many brushes with death to be saying things like that."

She stood in front of him with her arms crossed, and her eyes flickered over him with concern. "How're things today?"

Offline Magyar

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1218 on: August 28, 2017, 02:37:35 PM »
"It wasn't a joke," He replied, "It was an observation. One of these days I'm gonna bum rush the wrong dude and get gutted for it. I just know what to look forward to now..."

Bolion had been given a lot of time to think, immobilised as he was. And he'd been given a lot of time to see the things around him. It was a quiet first few days, filled with long periods of sleep and seemingly maddening silences... but he'd grown to accept and even enjoy them as the time went on. Della's near constant presence saw to that. He hadn't been able to write this one off though, like his other rather deadly encounters.

Nevermind that he was getting worse for wear by the week traveling with this woman, he actually enjoyed doing so. He found a contentedness in her company, all the while counting down the days in his head. They were behind, technically, not that they would necessarily have made more progress uninjured. But he had held them back more than once with what seemed like reckless abandon and rash decisions. Even as he saw his own mistakes, he couldn't, or perhaps wouldn't stop making them. It was how he'd lived his life for years, and it was how he lived it now.

Except that every time he saw Della he saw her through tunnel-vision eyes. He saw her as he'd seen her while he'd been dying - on more than one occasion. Each and every time he hurt himself doing something for her, he felt even more justified in doing so. But every time, it was worse and every time, he felt worse about it. Not for having committed the act, but for having almost left her alone in doing so, again and again, and again. That troubled him, almost as much as the thought of eventually having to cut ties with her troubled him.

"I'm doing just fine," He assured her, "Those literal wizards sewed me back together on the fourth day. I think they're just keeping me here so I don't walk out and have a stroke or something, I dunno." He tried to bring light to the mood, but it hadn't been overly easy in the past few days. He decided to keep going, albeit in a more sincere tone, "You look nice."

Offline DragonSong

Re: Blood and Sand
« Reply #1219 on: August 28, 2017, 03:05:14 PM »
Dressed in simple cream robes that were handed out to the volunteers in the healers' commons, hair in a simple braid over one shoulder, and with none of the rouge or kohl common in this part of the world, Della seriously doubted she looked anything but tired.

With a quiet sigh she knelt by the cot and took his hand in hers. "I think you're lying, but thank you." Some of the playfulness that normally would have accompanied such a comment was missing from her voice, replaced with a tinge of exhaustion.

She'd hardly slept more than an hour or two at a time in the weeks Bolion had been recovering. She didn't know the city, didn't know its people, and every waking hour was spent either caring for her partner or doing her damndest to avoid too much unwanted attention- with only moderate success, if she was being honest.

And when she did have time to sleep her own thoughts kept her awake, telling her that they needed to get this job done before it was too late, then offering the idea that perhaps they should simply bail and leave the city. And always the constant worry for Bol.

She didn't mind, strangely. Caring for him, worrying after him, she thought she'd have been resentful about it, but she wasn't. And she was...touchy. While she didn't enjoy foreign objects invading her personal space- and that had caused quite a few issues early in their relationship- now that she knew him, was comfortable with him, she seemed to have gotten into the habit of constantly touching him: holding his hand, brushing his shoulder, a quick hug or a kiss, even just sitting with her arm pressed against his.

It was comforting in a way that made her paradoxically nervous.

"What's your range of motion?" She curled the fingers of the hand she held. The healers had said he had back full motor control by now, but she couldn't help being cautious.

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