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Author Topic: What We Fight For  (Read 124 times)

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Offline DragonSong

What We Fight For
« on: June 14, 2017, 08:13:57 PM »
@Marakai

"Ruby, Ruby, look what I found!"

Ruby looked up from her weaving to smile at the small snake her young charge had picked up, twisting this way and that in his hands. "Well, look at that. You've probably scared the poor thing, though, don't you think you should put him back?"

Azure pouted, but gave a little shrug and a nod as he trotted over to return the snake to the shrubbery where he'd found it. "Do you think it was poisonous?" he asked curiously, glancing back at Ruby over his shoulder.

She chuckled and shook her head. "No, not that one. Now, if it'd had a yellow stripe down its back, we should have been worried." But she would never have taken the children out where they might find poisonous snakes- though it certainly didn't do any harm to teach them what to avoid, just in case.

The small clearing wasn't too far from the village, but it was calm and quiet. When her charges had begged for a change of scenery, she hadn't seen the harm in bringing them out here; they were still just within shouting distance, just in case, but the general bustle of the village was far enough away that all they could really hear was the sounds of the forest around them.

All three of the tribe's children had been put under her care for the afternoon, and Ruby smiled again as Azure ran to the other blue-scaled boy, Sapphire, and tugged on his arm, obviously trying to goad him into some sort of game. The eldest of the three boys, if only by a few years, Sapphire seemed to be more concerned with acting more mature than Azure and Emerald than he was with actually enjoying himself.

With a quiet laugh to herself, Ruby set her weaving aside and got to her feet, brushing a few loose strands of hair behind an ear. "Alright, boys, if you can't play nicely together than you can help me find some more reeds for this basket I'm making," she told them with a pointedly arched brow.

Immediately they were good as gold, chattering and laughing and chasing one another happily about the clearing. Emerald even grabbed her hand and pleaded with her to join in, batting those massive golden eyes at her.

With another laugh she relented. "Okay, okay. You three hide, but stay close." She put her hands dramatically over her eyes and heard the boys scramble to find nearby hiding places. In a singsong voice, she chirped, "Run and hide, I'll come and find you, through valley and over hill. Hide away, hide away, before I-"

A hand closed over her mouth and a suddenly suffocatingly close scent filled her nose. Ruby's heart stopped and she threw her hands back, attempting to grab at whoever had silenced her.

"Easy there," a voice breathed in her ear, making her skin crawl and a growl scratch at her throat. Her wrists were grabbed, jerked behind her back at an angle that made her cry out in pain, the sound muffled by the hand clamped over her mouth.

She bit down, sinking sharp teeth into flesh and holding on. Her captor cursed and suddenly a sharp blow landed on the back of her head, making her see stars. He released her wrists, but hit her again, sending her to her knees with a sharp cry.

"Damnit! Wild thing, huh?" Before she could twist to even get a proper look at him, a solid blow landed on her side- a kick, probably- and she could only gasp in pain, automatic tears welling in her eyes and she heard and felt the sickening crack of her ribs. "Don't be more trouble than you're worth now," her attacker sneered, leaning down to leer in her face.

Unable to get a proper breath, Ruby nonetheless still kicked out, catching one of his knees and making him shout in pain and curse loudly. She felt a tiny flash of satisfaction as she struggled to push herself up, ribs screaming in protest. "Boys, run! Back to the village, run-!"

Another blow struck her from behind and her vision went black for a moment. Dazed, she heard her attacker snap, "Eris, Thane, you get the little ones?"

No. No no no no NO!

"Got 'em, Boss. Slippery little things though, had to gag 'em quick." Blearily, Ruby saw two more strangers emerge from the trees. Human? No- no maybe not. They weren't kulshedra, but...

They had the boys. One held Azure and Emerald by the napes of their necks, crude gags stuffed into boys' mouths and their wrists bound together. The other had Sapphire over his shoulder- the child appeared to be unconscious.

Ruby screamed, her whole body burning as she tried to launch herself forward. "Let them go!"

She saw Emerald's eyes widen, saw the panic in Azure's already terrified little face, and then the blade sank home, sliding into her side with horrifying ease. She dropped, gasping, one hand pressed to the wound in her side as she tried desperately to push herself up with her other arm. "No..."

"She worth taking?"

"Nah- the others must've heard by now, we don't got time to drag her along. Besides, she'll bleed out soon enough."

Ruby's vision flickered as the man who had first attacked her stepped over her, grabbing Azure from the woman who held him and throwing him over his shoulder, kicking and screaming into his gag. "Let's move!"

"NO!" She tried to push herself up, grabbing desperately for a leg as they started running, but she couldn't hold on, her grip was too weak. Blood soaked the moss and grass around her and she felt cold creeping into the tips of her fingers.

Still she struggled, forcing herself to her hands and knees with a cry of pain and trying to crawl after them. She couldn't let this happen, this couldn't happen, she had to save them, she had to get them back...

Her vision tunneled, then went black.

Offline Marakai

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2017, 05:52:20 AM »
It was time for his rounds again. Same time, every day, the same methodical routine that he had fallen into years ago. Wake up, eat, bathe, hunt, rest, patrol, eat, bathe again, sleep. Every day, almost as long as he could remember, he had dutifully stuck to this routine.

The tall, dark scaled Kulshedran tribal stepped out of the open doorway of his hut, once again greeting the sun as it was beginning it's descent towards the horizon. His weapons - spear, sling, and bow - were nestled in a tidy pile right next to the doorway, and these he took up and settled in their appropriate places. Bow, slung over his shoulder and across his chest, the string  a comfortable tightness across his bare chest. His sling, hooked over the belt of raw leather he'd fashioned to hold up his buckskin trousers. His spear, with its lethal point fashioned out of flint, held tightly in one hand, a grip well worn from years of use.

With his free hand, Onyx brushed several of the thin braids of his white and black hair out of his face, tucking it behind his ear as he made his way first through,  and then out of the village.

As he exited the village, he noted the odd silence - usually the children would be somewhere close, and were often quite loud with their rambunctious activities, and this unsettling silence was out of place. Perhaps one of the others had actually managed to put them to work....but he decided it important to check, anyway. He'd find them during his patrol - he always did.

And so, when he stepped into a clearing in the trees and the pungent scent of blood assaulted his sensitive nose, he was immediately on edge. Those icy blue eyes of his narrowed, and he cast his gaze around to survey the area, searching for the source of the smell.

What he found shocked him - the form of Ruby, crumpled in a heap in the grass and covered in blood, clearly the victim of an attack. That, coupled with the absence of the children, shocked him. Quickly, he made his way over to her, dropping his spear on the ground beside him while he attempted to wake her.

"Ruby...Ruby, wake, please." He shook her shoulder gently, trying not to aggravate her wound. He could still see the blood gently trickling from her side - stabbed, apparently. He grimaced and grabbed his spear, gently wedging it through the staff of his bow,  and picked the weaver up, cradling her against his chest.

"I'll get you help. Please, live."
My characters. Treat them kindly, some of them are a little unhinged....

Independent

 Marakai Trin//Kulthanos//Kranath Trin//Edge //Izrael

Connlaoth

Disgaua Carthalion//Onyx

Hyoite

Gaelio Fyldrel

Thanatos

Mizaak

Adela

Itachi

Offline DragonSong

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2017, 10:06:20 AM »
Cracked ribs protested- loudly- as Ruby was lifted and the pain brought her blearily back to consciousness with a sharp cry.

"N-no, let them go, let them go, help!" She started to struggle before she recognized the scent of the person who held her. "O-Onyx?" She winced, stilling in his arms. "What are- no, you have to find them! They went that way, please, you have to-"

Her vision flickered again as she twisted to try to drop from his arms, sending a fresh pulse of blood from the wound in her side. "You- we have to..." Her lashes fluttered as she struggled to keep her eyes open, then her head lulled back.

Offline Marakai

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2017, 12:07:38 PM »
Onyx let out a grunt when she tried to twist out of his arms, fighting with her a moment to keep her still. "I know. But if they've been taken, it means their wanted. They'll survive the ten minutes it takes me to get you help."

He glanced down at her and sighed. "...and you're unconscious again."

At this point he stepped back into the village. "Hey! Ruby needs help!"


(Sorry, bit rushed)
My characters. Treat them kindly, some of them are a little unhinged....

Independent

 Marakai Trin//Kulthanos//Kranath Trin//Edge //Izrael

Connlaoth

Disgaua Carthalion//Onyx

Hyoite

Gaelio Fyldrel

Thanatos

Mizaak

Adela

Itachi

Offline DragonSong

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2017, 06:17:39 PM »
Unable to respond, Ruby was a dead weight in his arms- well, as much as she could be, with her slight frame.

The village seemed to suddenly explode with activity as Onyx brought her back- a few had heard the commotion of the children's capture, and had been moving to investigate, so they were already on edge when he returned with the unconscious weaver.

"Oh, Fire..."

"What happened?!"

"Someone get the Elder!"

"Where are the little ones?"

"Azure? Azure! Where's my son!?"

Offline Marakai

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2017, 04:40:35 AM »
Onyx laid Ruby gently on the ground, and immediately ducked his head to avoid the barrage of questions. He stepped away from the crowd, slowly shaking his head.

"All I know is that she was attacked, and the children are missing. All three of them..." Onyx narrowed his eyes to slits, and turned back to look into the trees.

"I'm going after them. See that Ruby gets help. I'll leave signs to follow, when someone can join me."

Partially to avoid the crowd, but mostly due to the urgency of the situation, Onyx turned to run back towards the clearing.
My characters. Treat them kindly, some of them are a little unhinged....

Independent

 Marakai Trin//Kulthanos//Kranath Trin//Edge //Izrael

Connlaoth

Disgaua Carthalion//Onyx

Hyoite

Gaelio Fyldrel

Thanatos

Mizaak

Adela

Itachi

Offline DragonSong

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2017, 09:58:50 AM »
Panic exploded through the village. If the Elder hadn't come on tw arm of her younger assistant, some half dozen warriors may have followed Onyx.

As it was, she managed to get a hold on the situation and begin a plan. It was too late to stop onyx, but she could rally some of their hunters and fighters and formulate a strategy to retrieve the children.

Ruby slept, fitful and whimpering in pain every time the healer touched her. It wasn't until some hours later, as dusk was fading to night, that she finally opened her eyes.

The Elder questioned her. Through tears, Ruby managed to choke out what had happened.

"I'm s-sorry," she whispered between ever ragged sentence. "My fault, im sorry, im so sorry, this is my fault..."

Even the obviously traumatized mothers were kind to her, assuring her that she'd done what she could, and the hunters who had been sent after the kidnappers would bring the children back. But Ruby refused to listen, retreating into herself.

Offline Marakai

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2017, 11:44:34 AM »
Onyx stopped only briefly in the clearing again, trying to hurry and make some headway before the sun set completely - travelling by scent was fine, but without the use of his eyes it would be more than difficult.

When he arrived in the clearing, the signs were plain to see - pushed into the grass were scuff marks from booted feet, seemingly three pairs. He recognized the signs from the few times the tribe had run foreign hunters out of their lands.

He knelt down low and sniffed the ground, scenting treated leather. His eyes narrowed to slits.

"Not too old..." he muttered under his breath. He glanced around and noted the bloodstain where he'd found Ruby earlier, and stepped over to it. With his tail, he dug a furrow into the ground, marking his presence so the others could follow. And then, he was off again, following the signs south.


==================


Hours later found him on a ridge, staring down into a camp. His eyes were narrowed, his face screwed into a frustrated grimace. Below him were 10 or more men, difficult to discern with their fire destroying his night vision.

Inwardly, he seethed. Not only had they taken the children, but also they came to possess their own fire. And yet, there was nothing he could do - he was hopelessly outnumbered. He only hoped the signs he'd left for the others would be easily found and followed, before they broke camp.
My characters. Treat them kindly, some of them are a little unhinged....

Independent

 Marakai Trin//Kulthanos//Kranath Trin//Edge //Izrael

Connlaoth

Disgaua Carthalion//Onyx

Hyoite

Gaelio Fyldrel

Thanatos

Mizaak

Adela

Itachi

Offline DragonSong

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2017, 07:45:45 PM »
She'd never done anything like this before- but she couldn't very well do nothing.

Still reeling from the Elder's healing, Ruby found herself following the path she had taken the children that morning. None of the tribe had expected her to get up and leave, especially with her injuries, so it had actually been surprisingly easy to do so.

The rescue party was tracking the kidnappers and Onyx, they should have been far ahead of her. But they were moving under the Elder's caution, and she was too heartsick and wrathful to think logically.

She barely even followed a trail, pure luck guiding her as much as her senses, and it was luck that saved her from barreling into the humans' camp. She managed to catch herself on the edge of the ridge, clinging to a tree and panting as her eyes flickered through the darkness.

Her cracked ribs ached and the wound to her side had opened again, bleeding sluggishly. She closed her eyes and gritted her teeth, trying to force her body back under control.

Offline Marakai

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2017, 11:41:54 AM »
Onyx's ears perked up at the sound of someone haphazardly blundering through the forest, and he pushed up from his position on the ground. He'd been waiting for the hunters to arrive, and clearly this wasn't them.

He cast his eyes about, looking for the source of the sound, when the metallic tang of blood once again assaulted his nose. Then he saw Ruby, very nearly running straight into the humans camp.

He sighed, shaking his head as he quietly made his way behind her.

"What are you doing?" he half hissed, his voice low.

"You're going to give us away...and you're still hurt. What are you doing here?"
My characters. Treat them kindly, some of them are a little unhinged....

Independent

 Marakai Trin//Kulthanos//Kranath Trin//Edge //Izrael

Connlaoth

Disgaua Carthalion//Onyx

Hyoite

Gaelio Fyldrel

Thanatos

Mizaak

Adela

Itachi

Offline DragonSong

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2017, 04:04:57 PM »
Ruby gasped and did a sharp half spin, claws ready to tear and teeth bared before she realized who it was. "Onyx."

Shebslumped against the tree, breath short, and pressed a hand to her side. "I- I couldn't do nothing," she whispered. "This was...my fault. I have to help. I can help, please." She stared up at him, eyes wide and teary.

Offline Marakai

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2017, 03:48:32 AM »
Onyx looked at her for a good long moment, eyes narrowed with a hard gaze. After a minute, his eyes softened, and he laid a hand on her shoulder.

"This is in no way your fault. Look at those men, and look at you. You're not a fighter, Ruby...I mean no disrespect, but to be honest I don't think there's much you could have done."

He smiled a bit, trying to further soften his expression. "It'll be okay, though. I won't send you back, but I need to know..."

With his free hand and a smile, he pulled his sling from his belt, holding it up in front of her.

"Do you know how to use one of these?"
My characters. Treat them kindly, some of them are a little unhinged....

Independent

 Marakai Trin//Kulthanos//Kranath Trin//Edge //Izrael

Connlaoth

Disgaua Carthalion//Onyx

Hyoite

Gaelio Fyldrel

Thanatos

Mizaak

Adela

Itachi

Offline DragonSong

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2017, 03:36:23 PM »
Ruby tried to take a deep breath and winced as her ribs protested. "I- I can use a sling," she replied. True, she was no hunter, but like all their tribe she'd learned to defend herself, both with a weapon and in hand to hand.

Fat lot of good it had done her.

Despite Onyx's words, she blamed herself. She shook her head. "I can be...a diversion," she panted. "Please, let me help."

Offline Marakai

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2017, 07:41:42 AM »
Onyx nodded, a small smile crossing his features. "Well enough, then. Here." He handed her the sling, along with a leather bag full of small stones.

"Don't worry about aiming...just keep them occupied. If you hit one or two, good, but I want you to concentrate on drawing their attention." He laid that hand on her shoulder again.

"If they spot you, just drop the sling and run. No heroics. Try to find the other hunters, and send them my way."
My characters. Treat them kindly, some of them are a little unhinged....

Independent

 Marakai Trin//Kulthanos//Kranath Trin//Edge //Izrael

Connlaoth

Disgaua Carthalion//Onyx

Hyoite

Gaelio Fyldrel

Thanatos

Mizaak

Adela

Itachi

Offline DragonSong

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2017, 05:26:29 PM »
She nodded shakily. "Y-yes. Okay, I can...do that." Taking a breath, she forced herself to straighten up as she took the sling from him and pushed off the tree, slipping around to attempt to approach the camp from a different angle.

She could smell the children- could smell their fear. It raised her hackles, pain and fear drowned in a sudden surge of white hot rage.

Offline Marakai

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2017, 05:33:34 AM »
As Ruby was skirting around the edges to find a different vantage point, Onyx quietly slipped away to make his way down the precarious slope of the ridge. He kept his eyes, ears, and nose on his surroundings, trusting his senses to alert him of danger.

His spear tightly in his grip, he stalked through the bushes, grateful for his dark tone as it hid him in the shadows. Here he sat, waiting and watching for Ruby's distraction.
My characters. Treat them kindly, some of them are a little unhinged....

Independent

 Marakai Trin//Kulthanos//Kranath Trin//Edge //Izrael

Connlaoth

Disgaua Carthalion//Onyx

Hyoite

Gaelio Fyldrel

Thanatos

Mizaak

Adela

Itachi

Offline DragonSong

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2017, 07:24:19 PM »
A single stone was enough to draw attention in her direction, a few of the hunters crying out in surprise as the projectile landed among them.

Ruby skittered back into the trees, trying to make as much noise as possible as she did.

Offline Marakai

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2017, 04:33:21 PM »
Onyx crept around the camp, his spear held tightly in his hand. Slowly, he made his way towards what looked like a large wooden cage, set on top of a horse-drawn cart, and as he drew closer he could smell the children. Hear them whimpering in fear, smell their fear. Hidden in the shadows, he could feel himself quivering with rage.

These people, these humans or what have you, dared to take the children and fetter them in a cage like cattle. His cold eyes narrowed, as he waited in the brush, listening for Ruby's signal.

And then it came. A palm-sized stone landed solidly against the ground among a group of the men, and they all jumped to their feet in surprise. Onyx then heard the sound of someone barreling through the foliage,  away from camp. That would be Ruby.

Good girl.

Four of the men turned after her and ran, and Onyx couldn't help but hope she would decide to run toward home. Any hunters sent after himself and Ruby would surely take care of anyone chasing her. In the meantime, he had...

Five? Six? It was difficult to tell by sight, and all of them smelled like the same dusty roads. He'd have to keep his wits about him.

Before investigating the cage, he decided to leap from the brush, spear solidly burying itself in the back of the man standing guard by the cage. He'd mop up the fighters, and then free the children.

The man fell easily and silently, and Onyx ripped his flint-tipped spear free, and glanced around for other opponents.
My characters. Treat them kindly, some of them are a little unhinged....

Independent

 Marakai Trin//Kulthanos//Kranath Trin//Edge //Izrael

Connlaoth

Disgaua Carthalion//Onyx

Hyoite

Gaelio Fyldrel

Thanatos

Mizaak

Adela

Itachi

Offline DragonSong

Re: What We Fight For
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2017, 04:03:13 AM »
Running was agony, but she kept moving. Fire, this was a horrible idea.

No, no it wasn't. She had to do this, she had to save the children. Ruby panted as she sprinted through the trees, hearing the slavers tramping through the foliage behind her.

Please let Onyx be getting them out. Please please please...

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