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Old 11-11-2007, 12:01 PM   #2041
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"Dammit!" Carwyn cursed as Aya fainted. Turning to Maggie, he pointed toward the fainted merchant. "Mags, go take care of her."

"But-"

"Just do it, please," Carwyn ordered as he reached over for Tellis' bag.

"Okay," Maggie assented, taking one last look at Tellis before moving over to Aya.

Carwyn looked up at the tall warrior. "Kyo, we've got to do something for her," he said. "I know basic medicine, but this is far beyond me."

Kyo nodded. "I'm not so sure I can be of much use myself," he stated grimly.

Carwyn was near his breaking point and he blew an exasperated sigh. Tellis was fading fast and there was nothing any of them could do...

"She has to go back to the monastery."

Turning his head, Carwyn turned to see Takara standing next to him, Katsuro at her side. They both had the same grim looks on their faces. "Come again?"

"The monks at the monastery will know how to heal her properly," Takara said matter-of-factly.

Carwyn couldn't dispute that; none of them had the medical expertise Tellis possessed and their only supernatural help lay passed out on the ground next to their injured healer. "But we can't just turn back now, Takara," Carwyn said. "We wouldn't make it in time."

The aeromancer shook her head. "You would not," she agreed. "But I would." Before anyone could react, Takara had bent down and gently scooped the Tellis up into her arms. "I will take her back to the monastery, but do not wait for me. I will catch up." With that, a breeze blew up and Takara levitated a few inches off the ground.

"Wait." Tellis' voice was no more than a whisper at that point. "Let me see Chryseis."

At Takara's confused look, Carwyn stood up and pointed towards the black heap a few meters away. Striding over, he yanked the figure up into a sitting position and bound her arms behind her back. He pulled off the black mask, revealing a shock of white-blonde hair and a delicate, almost pixie-ish face that had a rather large bruise forming on the right cheek. As Takara glided over, Carwyn grabbed the back of the blonde woman's head and yanked it up, exposing her face.

Tellis turned her head slowly and tentatively reached a hand out to touch her assailant's face. A few tense moments passed, then the blonde's eyes fluttered open and focused on the wounded woman in front of her. "Tellis?" she croaked out.

"Hello Chryseis," Tellis replied softly. "You didn't leave me much choice."

Chryseis' voice was anguished. "You weren't supposed to get in the way!" she shouted, her eyes locked on Tellis' wounds. "Let me help you!"

"I think you've done enough, Chrys." Carwyn's voice was firm as he tightened his grip on his sister's arms.

Chryseis turned to look up at Carwyn. "You! Let me go!"

"Fat chance. Now quit struggling before I break your arm."

She barked a harsh, cold laugh. "As if," she mocked. "You don't have the guts to do thaAAAAAA---" Chrys' sentence was turned into a pained scream as Carwyn jerked his hand forward, twisting her shoulder until a loud *snap* was heard. "You bastard!" she snarled.

"Carwyn," Tellis' voice was admonishing. "Don't be too hard on her, all right?"

Carwyn's eyes focused back on Tellis. "It's only for your sake I'm not beating her death, Tel," he said. He turned to look at Takara. "We can't wait any longer. Go."

Takara nodded, rising up higher into the air, then speeding off into the sky. Katsuro looked after her, then turned to Carwyn. "I'll shadow them on the ground and make sure they get there." He gave the ranger's shoulder a squeeze, then took off after his mother.

Carwyn heaved another sigh, then turned back to the rest of his friends. "Everyone, meet Chryseis Stormchild," he said, his voice full of disgust. "My sister."




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Old 11-11-2007, 08:33 PM   #2042
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Kyo was silent as he watched the exchange between Chryseis and Tellis, his emerald green eyes strangely vacant as he did so. Tellis and Chryseis...they knew each other - and quite obviously had a rather fond bond together. It was interesting to see, the anguish in the woman that they had now deemed to nearly be a monster, alongside the subdued pain and fondness in the wounded healer. Even as the wounds - which could easily have been fatal - seeped her blood and her attacker was staring her in the face...Tellis did nothing. She was as calm and cool as ever. And what's more, she was actually asking Carwyn for clemency. Somehow, Kyo found that he could hardly picture himself doing something of the sort. It seemed...impossible.

His eyes flashed softly as he watched Takara depart with the wounded Tellis, Katsuro following on his mother's heels by way of the land as she took to the air. He hesitated a moment, watching Carwyn with Chrys before turning to where Aya had fallen. Striking the ground with the tip of his blade, he allowed his sword to sink into the earth, his hand leaving it so that it stood upright as he knelt beside the young merchant. He didn't look at Maggie, who was on the other side of Aya. Rather, he pulled off a gauntlet and pressed his fingers against Aya's pulse, pausing for a moment. When he had assured himself that it was healthy enough, he looked to the other woman and nodded silently. He stood, took up his blade again, and proceeded over to Carwyn and Chrys.

"Chryseis, hm?" he murmured, his bared blade resting at his side as he looked down at the attacker. The resemblance was there, between Carwyn and his sister - albeit it wasn't exactly one that you would notice automatically, had they not been side by side. "Well, I would say it was a pleasure, but quite obviously it's not. What exactly do you think you're doing attacking our group?"


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Old 11-11-2007, 09:50 PM   #2043
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"None of your damn business, you filthy dog," Chrys spat at Kyo, still struggling to free herself from her brother's grasp.

"That wasn't very nice, Chryseis," Carwyn admonished, his voice still hard. "Now answer Kyo's question."

Chryseis turned her head and focused a brilliant blue eye on the ranger. "No way. You'll have to break my other arm first and I know you're too much of a coward to do---AAAAAAAAAAGH!!!" Another *snap*.

"Fine, have it your way," Carwyn said coldly, digging his knee into the small of her back. "Now answer the bloody question."




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Old 11-11-2007, 09:56 PM   #2044
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"Carwyn!" Kyo admonished in return. "Control yourself! Despite all she's done, she is still your sister! Now, release her. There's little she can do with both arms injured."

The warrior had to grit his teeth as the second, sickening sound of cracking bone rent the air. Even with all the fighting and gore he had seen, he would never truly get used to the sound of human bone breaking - not even if he himself broke every bone in his body at least once. The fact that Carwyn could do such a thing to his own flesh and blood...Kyo only gritted his teeth harder. He had never expected actions so hateful and volatile to come from one such as the Ranger. Perhaps he had miscalculated when examining the man.

Taking a few steps forward, he placed the flat of his blade in the space between Carwyn's chest and Chrys's back, shifting it backward as way to pry the brother away from the sister. "Relax." he murmured to Carwyn before turning to the other Stormchild. "I don't have time to play games with you, Stormchild. Speak quickly before I personally silence you."


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Old 11-12-2007, 04:44 PM   #2045
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Maggie was surprised to see that their assailant was a woman, but was downright shocked when Carwyn broke her arm, then proclaimed that she was his sister. After Takara had departed, the injured Tellis in her arms and Katsuro at her heels, Carwyn had been even more brutal with his sister, who's name was apparently 'Chryseis'.

As Kyo moved to restrain Carwyn, Maggie looked down at Aya, having her friend's head cradled in her arms. "Hey, Aya," she said, shaking the merchant slightly. "You need to get up, c'mon now."
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:09 PM   #2046
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quist
As Kyo moved to restrain Carwyn, Maggie looked down at Aya, having her friend's head cradled in her arms. "Hey, Aya," she said, shaking the merchant slightly. "You need to get up, c'mon now."
Aya heard a faint voice calling her name. Slowly her eyes fluttered and she gazed up into the face of her best friend. "Hi, Mags," she said sheepishly.

And then she heard the most pitiful moan. She blinked, and quickly sat up. "Tellis?! Is she alr...." She frowned. Oddly, Tellis wasn't there anymore and in her place was a stranger--a blonde-haired woman that Kyo seemed like he was about to kill.

"I don't have time to play games with you, Stormchild. Speak quickly before I personally silence you."

Aya's mouth hung open, so surprised at Kyo's tone of voice that she didn't even catch that he had addressed the unfamiliar woman as 'Stormchild'. "Kyo?"


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Old 11-12-2007, 07:14 PM   #2047
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"I only do the will of those who command me," Chryseis said, glaring at Kyo imperiously.

"And who is it that commands you?" Kyo asked, intrigued.

"You are not worthy enough to know their name," she sneered.

At that point, Carwyn slipped deftly away from Kyo's blade and drove Chrys' face down into the dirt. "Not good enough," he said.




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Old 11-12-2007, 07:51 PM   #2048
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"Carwyn!" Deep creases of worry and confusion drew across Aya's brow as she rose to her feet, wavering just a little bit by standing up too fast. "Stop it! You're hurting her!"

She looked at Maggie and over at Takumi, and then back at Kyo and Carwyn. "What's going on?"


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Old 11-12-2007, 08:10 PM   #2049
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"Carwyn!" Kyo shouted in unison with Aya, astonished by the ranger's sudden violence. He quickly bent, grabbing Carwyn by the collar of his shirt and tugging him away from his sister with a mighty heave, pulling the other man to his feet. Pushing him backwards, Kyo lifted his sword so that the flat of the blade pressed into his opposite palm, and used it as a guard against Carwyn's chest to keep him back.

"Control yourself!!" he nearly shouted in the other man's face. "Calm down!"

The warrior was bewildered by Carwyn's behavior. He had never seen the ranger so angry - not even in battle had he been so hyped, so violent. What was it that was causing this change in nature out now? He could understand that he was upset that Tellis was hurt, but...he wasn't particularly close to the healer, as far as he could tell. He was acting as if Chryseis had mortally wounded Aya, rather than Tellis - a fact that left Kyo without a guess as to why.


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Old 11-12-2007, 09:17 PM   #2050
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Chryseis had not been the only person watching the camp from the underbrush... though the second watcher had no previous personal connection to any of the little band. She called herself Audra and thought it fitting. There were two parts of her and they called one another Dark Audra and Baby Audra; and that, she thought fitting as well. Dark Audra knew secrets Baby Audra would never understand, much less be able to handle. So Dark Audra Kept their secrets, thinking it was the best solution for the whole 'Audra' puzzle.

Dark Audra was the stronger of the two, though Baby Audra was becoming more aware of the world around them while Dark Audra was in control. It was a constant struggle between the two personalities... a struggle which led them here, to where they could observe the tiny camp and their preliminary interactions with Chryseis Stormchild.

"What you have planned," Baby Audra whispered. "It's not right."

Dark Audra growled softly. "I'm thinking of what we need," she hissed. "The General's shoulder isn't holding up well... we need something new. And the boots are beginning to be a problem too. What's more, we haven't eaten anything substantial for near a day and a half. We're close to starved, Baby Audra. They have food."

"And what's wrong with asking for it?" Baby Audra complained, brushing a hand over the stitches coming loose around the 'General's shoulder', the left shoulder of her 'dress', which was taken from a uniform clearly marked for a general of one of the Northern cities. "Why must you kill and kill again?"

"I will not be reduced to begging," Dark Audra growled in response. "Now shut up and go to sleep..."

"Just don't hurt them," Baby Audra pleaded. And then she was silent. Dark Audra smirked.

"I won't hurt them... much," she told the air. And with that, the puzzle that was a former slave girl, now known as Audra, slipped forward from the underbrush and entered the camp, swift and silent...


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Old 11-12-2007, 09:58 PM   #2051
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Seeing Carwyn settle down a bit, Kyo shoved him away with the flat of his blade - a movement hard enough to knock him to the ground. Hopefully, it would help knock some sense back into him. "Don't get up," he told the Ranger, "Until you have control of yourself again."

A sound in the nearby underbrush made the warrior look up, his keen green eyes flashing as he searched for the source. There was another sound - even closer now - and his frown deepened. Had Chryseis brought friends? Were they looking, even now, to...?

His eyes caught a flash of movement, and then he was off. A quick few yards to run, and then he was slide-tackling a shape that had been crossing the camp at a near-silent run. The new intruder flew forward, tripping up over Kyo's leg, and tumbled to the ground a yard or two from where Bob was tied down. His blade still bare and flashing in the sun, Kyo came into a crouch as he stared down the thief, not saying a word.


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Old 11-12-2007, 10:03 PM   #2052
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Audra had barely seen Kyo coming before he tripped her up, forcing her to the ground. She rolled (which is a little awkward when you have a katana strapped to your back and a wakizashi to your belt), and came to her feet. She took two quick steps forward, drawing the katana with her right hand and the wakizashi with her left, bringing them across her body and outward in a sort of scissor motion toward Kyo.


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Old 11-12-2007, 10:09 PM   #2053
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Kyo threw his own blade forward, catching it in the center between her two blades before they could finish uncrossing, trapping and locking them there where they were harmless to him. He paused there for a moment, glaring hard at her, before pushing the two weapons up and out of the way, lashing out with a foot to kick her back to the ground.

"First an assassin, and now a thief." he murmured, "Fine way to start out a journey. And in one day!"


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Old 11-12-2007, 10:16 PM   #2054
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Audra smirked, rolling to the side and standing up again. "Yes, you do sound to have been busy this morning, stranger," she agreed, her voice quiet, but firm. She struck again with her katana, three times toward Kyo's head, each of the strikes blocked easily. Then, she spun to her left, trailing the katana for a fourth strike, then bringing the wakizashi around for a fifth, and finally cutting low with the katana again for the sixth strike...


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Old 11-12-2007, 10:25 PM   #2055
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And it was only getting better.

It had been a while since Kyo had had to fight an opponent with two seperate blades - and was proving a bit more complicated than he had thought. As she spun, he threw his blade up to block the blade that would come closer to him, but he hardly had the time to force that blade away before she was striking with the other. Three blows - and three rings of metal on metal to match. It was difficult. Not impossible.

Deciding that enough was enough, Kyo, who's own katana was locked low against hers, threw the blade down on top of hers with enough force to pull it straight from her hand. The movement forced him to duck low, allowing him to avoid her retaliatory swing from her wakizashi. With another firm kick, he had her on the ground, his sword at her throat as he kicked the wakizashi from her hand.

"I wouldn't try getting up, if I were you." he said, his voice and eyes hard.


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Old 11-12-2007, 10:30 PM   #2056
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For a moment, Audra stiffened. Then, she went limp. "I yield to a greater swordmaster," she huffed, frustration evident in her eyes, though her voice sounded tired and beaten. She stared up at Kyo for a moment before turning her head away, and closing her eyes.

"My fate is now in your hands, swordmaster," she said quietly. Somehow, even with her soft tone, there was an odd 'edginess' to her voice. "End my life or take my service. I am no match for you with the sword, but I can learn. I'm a decent cook, and can sing worth something..." She turned her head the other direction, looking into the camp. "Though you do seem to have a bard traveling with you..."


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Old 11-12-2007, 10:36 PM   #2057
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Kyo had to consciously stop himself from rolling his eyes. Swordmaster?

"I'm no murder," he answered, dropping his blade ever so slightly, though he didn't let his weapon fall to his side just yet. He watched her every move, not believing that she was finished just yet. "And neither am I a slave driver. I don't want a servant - what I want is for you to tell me exactly why you came into our camp. What are you? A thief?"

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Old 11-12-2007, 10:55 PM   #2058
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Startled, Audra sat up, nudging Kyo's sword gently aside with her right hand, and turned her eyes up to stare into his. "You don't want..." she murmured, sounding quite surprised. "I've never met..." Again, her sentence was unfinished in her astonishment. "I-I..." For the third time, she was at a loss for words. Finally, standing slowly, she found her tongue.

"The General's shoulder..." she began, then paused, as she realized he couldn't possibly know about the general's shoulder. She tapped it and with every following word, a Northern accent became more evident. "This... is beginning to come undone. I needed thread, perhaps a pair of better fitting boots, and a bite to eat." She paused for a moment. "Oh, and I've been looking for a small-ish whip also... five foot long would do, eight would be better."

She shifted and looked into the little camp. "I have lived many years off the lack of attention paid around small camps such as this. You have quick eyes, Swordmaster. As is all too painfully evident, I had no such luck here."

Now that Audra was standing, Kyo could better see the patchwork that was Audra's dress. Pieces were taken from various military uniforms like the General's shoulder. Other patches seemed to be a random smattering of royal garments. Still others looked to be more well-worn, the clothing of travelers and the like. It was truly an eyesore and one had to wonder why, if she had encountered and overcome all of the people it took to assemble the dress, why had she not traded it out for something entirely new? But there it was, General's shoulder looking looser now due to the fight than it had when Kyo had first confronted her.

"To put things basic," Audra finished, a little pride touching her voice, "I came into your camp because I need things and you have them. I am not accustomed to begging for items I can more easily take, but you leave me little other choice... though..." Her voice wavered for just a moment and she looked to be near to collapsing. Quickly enough, she seemed to stabilize and the look on her face changed abruptly from reserved frustration to an unexpected eagerness.

"Will you let uuu-me travel with you?" she asked, her eyes brightening at the thought. "I'm sure there are so many things I could learn from you all. And..." She fell silent and the frustrated look returned and with it, the edginess came back as well.

"Perhaps that would be agreeable to all concerned," she said slowly. "Let me travel with you..." She rubbed thoughtfully at the General's shoulder and the threads holding it to the rest of the dress finally snapped. Her eyes shot open wide and she gripped the sleeve to prevent it from sliding further.

"Perhaps it's time to get rid of this," she concluded, brushing her other hand over the ratty dress. "You have a mmm-merchant amongst you. I can repay with..." She stopped short with a frown. "But you don't want service..." She swore in a Northern language, then shifted back into the common tongue of the age and said, "I feel as if I'm demanding, demanding, demanding... with nothing you'll accept in return." That thought seemed to frustrate her, but she said nothing further...


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Old 11-12-2007, 11:19 PM   #2059
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Carwyn had followed Kyo's suggestion, sitting on the ground until he had full control of himself again. This wasn't like him, he took no pleasure in torturing others, especially not one of his own flesh and blood. The roiling emotions inside of him subsiding, he rose swiftly and moved back over to where Chryseis was still lying prone on the ground. Before he could move to raise her up, he heard sounds of a scuffle from the campsite, then the unmistakable clang of dueling blades.

In a heartbeat, he had picked his shortbow up from the ground where he had dropped it and nocked an arrow from the quiver strapped to his thigh. Turning in the direction of the noise, he saw Kyo locked in combat with what seemed to be a young woman wielding dual blades. He tried aiming for a shot at her, but their movements were too fast, too furious for him to track, and his recent outburst had left his senses in less than optimal form. Instead, he settled for drawing close to Maggie and Aya, putting his body between them and the duelists.

With the corner of one eye still observing his writhing sister, Carwyn watched as Kyo was able to subdue the new attacker. As Kyo forced her down onto her knees, Carwyn could see that she was probably not a cohort of Chryseis, not from the way she was dressed, at any rate. Still, there had already been one attempt on Aya's life today and he wasn't about to risk another.

Kyo spoke to the woman, but for some reason, his keen ranger ears were unable to discern their conversation. He shook his head a few times to clear his brain. "Kyo?" he called out. "What's going on?"

"That's what I'd like to know," Aya chimed in from behind him, gripping Carwyn's arm and alternating looks from the blonde assassin on the ground to Kyo and his most recent sparring partner.

"Hell if I know, Aya," Carwyn responded, keeping his eyes trained ahead. "You and Mags just stay behind me."




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Old 11-13-2007, 05:54 PM   #2060
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The sudden arrival of a new threat had paralyzed Maggie, especially since she had already been shocked by the apparently hostile appearance of Carwyn's sister. She could do little at first but crouch next to Aya, peer over Carwyn's broad shoulders at Kyo and his fight with the intruder and cast furtive looks at Chryseis still writhing on the ground.

"You and Mags just stay behind me."

Something about Carwyn's words made Maggie stop short for a moment. She had told herself that coming along with the group was the start of a new life for her, a different life where she was to fend for herself and be less dependent on others, as she had been at the monastery. She had wanted to go with Takara and Katsuro to look after Tellis, but she'd been frozen. Now there was this new threat and she was choking up again.

Steeling herself, she gripped the quarterstaff she had dropped on the ground and stood up. She took a few tenative steps towards the campsite, then quickly closed the distance to Kyo, coming up alongside him, her weapon at the ready.
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Old 11-13-2007, 06:49 PM   #2061
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"Stay behind you? Don't have to tell me twice." Aya thought. At Carwyn's words Aya took a step backwards, but Maggie took her quarterstaff and moved ahead.

Aya suddenly felt rather useless. Maggie could fight. Carwyn could fight. Kyo could fight. She glanced over at Takumi. Even the bard was ready and waiting in the wings brandishing a frying pan and a large stick at the most recent intruder.

Looking around further, she noticed that Takara and Katsuro were nowhere in sight, and she surmised that the wind mage might have whisked Tellis away from the danger.

Feeling powerless to do anything really 'brave', Aya quietly crept over to the blonde she had seen Carwyn attack. Just a couple of feet away, Aya squatted down, resting her weight on the balls of her feet. The woman was in obvious pain, and Aya wanted to help her, but Carwyn had seemed so angry with her and she had just heard Kyo refer to her as an 'assassin', so Aya was somewhat cautious.

"Are you really an assassin?" Aya whispered to her.


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Old 11-13-2007, 07:19 PM   #2062
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Kyo listened to the girl's bablings, understanding what he could and drawing conclusions for the rest. He felt Maggie come up beside him, and though his first urge was to shift his body fully between the two women, he paused just before doing so. The girl didn't seem as if she would be much threat now - she had calmed, and was weaponless - and beyond that point, his blade was still angled between the legs of the two. Maggie would be safe enough. Turning his head ever so slightly to the side, he spoke over his shoulder - though his eyes never left the intruder's for a minute. "Nothing for the moment, Carwyn."

The warrior's eyes flashed over the intruder, taking in her body language and the expressions in her eyes. His frown was minuscule and insignificant, but it was there. "I'm not sure that we can trust you - or that we should." he stated rather bluntly, quite aware that the situation was obvious, "To go from attacking me while attempting to plunder our camp to asking to travel with us? It's a bit of a far stretch, if you ask me - especially when you were doing your best to kill me only moments ago."


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Old 11-13-2007, 07:40 PM   #2063
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A curious flicker of emotion passed through Audra's eyes and then, she dropped to her knees, clasping her right hand into a fist and thumping it solidly against the left side of her chest, a gesture of honest intent. Bowing her head, she said, "You have nothing further to fear from me." Standing once more, she looked him in the eye and nodded.

"I have never met anyone like you before," she went on. "You had me fully at your mercy and you would not take my life or my service. In my eyes, that makes you worthy of living the life that has been given to you. Besides that," she added with a faint smile, "we both know that if I try anything..." She gestured to her scattered weapons.

"I know you don't trust me," she concluded. "And I'd say you shouldn't... not until I prove trustworthy in one way or another... which is why I want to go with you. You're the first person I've ever wanted to be trustworthy for... and I'll be damned if I don't get that chance. Keep a careful eye on me, Swordmaster. I'd expect nothing less."


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Old 11-14-2007, 05:11 PM   #2064
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"Are you really an assassin?"

Chrys clenched her teeth and looked up through blurry vision at the young merchant who was crouched a meter away. Not close enough and my arms are useless, she thought bitterly. If she'd just get a bit closer, I could get her into a leg-lock and snap her neck... She spit the pooled blood out of her mouth before speaking. "Why don't you come here and find out?"

Aya remained where she was, but frowned with concern. "Your arms. They hurt bad, don't they," she said, more of a statement than a question. She glanced quickly over her shoulder at Carwyn. She couldn't understand why he had been so mean to the woman earlier, but as he seemed preoccupied with the more immediate threat of the other stranger she was hesitant to ask him the reason why.

"I can help you," Aya said to her. "If you let me."

She's more gullible than I thought. Chrys nodded. "Okay," she agreed, allowing some of the pain she was feeling to bleed into her voice. "Help me sit up."

Aya paused for a few moments, then stood up and took a step towards Chrys. Before she could get any closer, however, an arrow screamed past her and embedded itself into the ground next to the blonde woman's head. Aya looked around, surprised.

Carwyn stalked up towards them, shouldering his bow. "You don't want to be doing that, Aya," he said, drawing a knife and a length of cord out of his belt.

"She's hurt, Carwyn," Aya protested, gesturing towards the woman. "She's hurt and needs help." She scowled at him. "What's wrong with you?"

Carwyn sighed as he came up to Aya. "I hurt her because she tried to hurt you," he said, holding the merchant by her shoulders and gently moving her away from Chryseis, before using the knife to slice a length of cord away. "She's hurt because she hurt Tellis. If it wasn't for Tellis saving you, you'd be dead right now." Carwyn turned and pointed at Chryseis with the tip of his knife. "Because of her."

Aya gave Chryseis a strange look. "Why? Why would you want to kill me? I've never even met you before now."

Chrys craned her head to look up at Aya. "That is none of your business, miko." She said the last word as if it was an epithet.

Aya's shoulders slumped and she rolled her eyes to the sky. "Why is it that everyone besides me seems to know that? Do I have 'miko' tatooed on my forehead or something?"

Carwyn allowed himself a small smirk at Aya's frustration as he moved behind Chrys and dug his knees into the back of hers. Chrys shouted in pain as Carwyn brought her arms together and tied her wrists with the cord. "I'd like to know why she knows too," Carwyn said as he knotted the cord tight. Hauling Chrys up by the back of her collar, he placed a hand on her shoulder blade. "Don't try anything funny, Chrys," he cautioned her. "Or else your neck is the next thing that'll be snapped."

Chrys said nothing at first, but let out a yelp as Carwyn pushed her shoulder forward, resetting the bone into the socket and emitting a lound *crack*. He repeated the procedure on the other shoulder, then stood and yanked Chrys to her feet. As she wheezed laboriously, Carwyn pulled her arms tighter to her back, straining her still aching shoulders. "You sack of filth," she swore as she staggered. Raising her head, she caught the astonished gaze of Aya staring at her. She chuckled and licked her bloody lips. "You can beat me near to death, Carwyn," she said, "but you cannot even introduce me to your ladyfriend?"

Carwyn sighed as he replaced the knife at his belt with his free hand, keeping a firm grip on Chrys with the other. "Aya, you'll remember I told you about my sister a while ago," he said. "Here she is. Aya S'Ornaku, meet Chryseis Stormchild."

Aya's mouth dropped. "Your sister?" For a moment, she couldn't find any words for how she was feeling. She knew Carwyn was a ranger, every much a warrior as Kyo, but it was a shock to see him act so brutal--especially to his own kin. "But... I don't understand. I thought you told me your sister was a ranger. And rangers are good." Her brow wrinkled slightly. "Aren't they?" she asked rather sheepishly.

"She's obviously traded her bow in for the assassin's blade," Carwyn said, wrinkling his nose in disgust. "I just didn't think she'd try to kill you."

Aya looked at Chrys. "Why?" she asked, with a mixture of curiosity and concern. "Why did you want to kill me?" Then she blanched as a horrid thought hit her. She looked at Carwyn. "Wolf?"

Carwyn shook his head. "I don't know," he replied. Shoving his sister towards the campsite, he said, "C'mon, let's go see what's going on over there; see if we can't make sense of all this."




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Old 11-18-2007, 11:05 AM   #2065
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Things had gone from scary, to surprising, to weird and finally to just plain odd in a matter of minutes and Maggie wasn't sure if she could fathom it all in her head. One minute, Tellis had been injured saving Aya from death, the next Carwyn had come out of the brush with the assailant incapacitated, the next Aya had fainted, Takara and Katsuro had spirited Tellis back to the monastery and Carwyn had broken the assassin's arms (who was also apparently his sister). Then a new threat had come out of the woods and Kyo had engaged and subdued the unkempt young woman, who had then pledged herself to follow Kyo. All this was a little much for Maggie's simple mind to fully comprehend and she began to wonder whether it was such a good idea to leave home.

As Carwyn approached with his sister restrained, Maggie threw a cautious glance at Kyo, who was still studying the newcomer intently. "What now, Kyo?" she asked guardedly.
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Old 11-21-2007, 06:56 PM   #2066
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Audra's eyes flashed at the revelation of the 'swordmaster's' name. "Indeed," she said, cocking her head to one side curiously, and then echoing, "What now, Kyo? I have stated my prior intentions, abandoned those intentions after being sorely defeated, and insisted upon coming with you. Furthermore, we have established that you should not and so rightly do not trust me."

Arching an eyebrow, she crossed her arms. "What now, indeed?"


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Old 11-23-2007, 03:07 PM   #2067
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Kyo couldn't help but repeat the woman's words. What now, indeed?

Was he to bring this woman along with them, and risk getting harmed by her because of their trust? Was he to leave her here, despite the chance of her now good intentions, and allow her to go on in the state she was in? Surely that wouldn't be fair. But would her life be worth the chance of them losing theirs?

Chance. There was the keyword. The woman seemed to have been a student of somesort at some time in her life - she knew that when defeated by one stronger and greater than you, you yield yourself to them to chance escaping a deathblow. If she could know enough for that, certainly she knew enough of honor to be true to her word? Especially if they were the ones to provide her with the food she seemed to so desperately need? Finally, he slowly shook his head, knowing that there was a good chance that he was making this decision less out of reason and more out of guilt; he couldn't just leave her there...

"Perhaps I will come to regret this at a later time..." he murmured, "But for the moment, I'll allow you to come with us. Don't let that think that you won't be watched, however." He gave the woman a hard glare, as if he were scolding a child, before turning to the Ranger.

"And as for what we do with her," he said, motioning to the captive Chryseis, "Is entirely up to you, Carwyn."


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Old 11-25-2007, 02:41 AM   #2068
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Audra looked positively overjoyed. "You won't regret it," she promised. "As a further display of my trust, I leave you to retrieve my weapons and give them back to me when you're satisfied... or when you're convinced I need them." She turned and surveyed the rest of the group, now come to observe her. Almost immediately, she singled out Aya.

"You," she said, pointing. "Mmmerchant? Yes. Have you perhaps got something I could wear?" She gestured to the fact that she was currently holding up the left shoulder of her 'dress' to prevent it from sliding completely off. "This just doesn't seem to be doing the trick any longer..."


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Old 11-25-2007, 05:49 PM   #2069
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"Erm... indeed." Aya gave the newcomer a guarded look, but then as Kyo had asked the stranger to join them, she shrugged and then smiled at the young bedraggled woman.

"I'm sure I've got something that would fit you," she said, motioning the woman to follow her towards the edge of the camp where Bob was tied.

Once at Bob's pack, Aya turned and, pulling her chin, gave the woman a critical look. "Hmm... let's see... it's my guess that you want something practical, yet stylish, with ease of movement and the possibility of hiding a small number of sharp and pointy personal protection implements?" She then stuck out her hand. "Oh, I'm Aya S'Ornaku, by the way, purveyor of household goods, novelties, and other useful items. Like clothes," she added, grinning. "And you are?"


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Old 11-25-2007, 06:22 PM   #2070
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Audra did not shake Aya's extended hand, taking a single, small step backward instead. At this seemingly cold gesture, Bob's ears flattened, but Audra ignored him. "Audra," she replied simply. "And as to what I'm looking for..." She frowned. Unexpectedly, she darted forward, plunging the hand that was not holding up her tattered clothing into the pack.

Though it would not have been easy to tell, Baby Audra had just taken over. Bob went from downright distrustful to being rather puzzled. He turned his head to watch the girl as she examined several different things. Then, Dark Audra whispered a thought in the subconscious and Baby Audra took it as her own.

Fit for a warrior princess. The girl's hand froze for just a moment before reaching one final time into the pack. Her hand came back with something that definitely matched the thought Dark Audra had planted. It was near-black, but there was definitely a green cast to it; the sleeves were short, almost nonexistent; its skirt fell just above the knee on the left and swept downward across the legs to the right.

"Something's missing," she murmured. Indeed, she selected two more things from Aya's wares. The first was a heavy black cloak. Even without draping it across her shoulders, Audra could tell it would drag just a little on the ground. So she selected a pair of black boots with half-inch heels, which would lace up her legs much like her current pair did... though they'd certainly fit better. With a quick glance to Aya, she darted into a nearby tent.

When she emerged, she did look like a princess. Though she still had a bruised forehead from where Kyo had struck her to knock her down, the transformation was so stunning it was hard to believe this was the same girl. The dress fit better than Audra had expected it would, and the boots fit perfectly. Thanks to the boots, the cloak barely brushed the ground, Audra noted, and decided that would be fine. As a final touch, her weapons' sheaths were strapped in their customary places, adding a level of menace to the 'princess' figure. Even her hair had been straightened from its messy state, now flowed in a gentle wave down the back of the cloak, a few strands falling forward to frame her face. In her left hand, she held a small, brown cloth sack, which held the tattered patchwork she'd once worn.

She turned slowly, as if on display for Aya. When she had fully turned again to face Aya, she softly remarked, "I think this should be more agreeable to all concerned."


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Old 11-25-2007, 06:45 PM   #2071
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As Audra left to change in the tent, Aya's brow creased with confusion.

Bob snorted.

"Indeed," Aya replied, patting the pony on the neck. "Very odd." She shrugged it off, straightened up the pack, retied it down, and waited for Audra to come out.

When she finally did, Aya smiled with approval as Audra turned around to let Aya see how the dress fit. Audra was beautiful in it. A true warrior princess.

"It's very agreeable," said Aya, donning a friendly smile. "It fits like a glove, and the style definitely suits you." She lowered her voice. "And did you find the hidden pockets in the bodice and the side seams?" she asked her quietly, so as not to be overheard by the menfolk. "I think they are for carrying 'unmentionables' about, but... as I really don't know what unmentionables are, since no one ever mentions them, I figure they'd be useful for you to secrete other things."


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Old 11-25-2007, 06:51 PM   #2072
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Audra nodded. "They'd likely be useful," she agreed thoughtfully. Holding up the brown sack, she added, "The patchwork didn't have anything like that..." Another thought struck her.

"Ah," she went on. "I meant to ask if you had any whips... five foot long is sufficient, eight is preferable."


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Old 11-25-2007, 06:54 PM   #2073
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Carwyn kept a guarded eye on Aya as she led the strange newcomer over to Bob. He still wasn't quite sure what had transpired, but he trusted Kyo's judgment. Besides, the tall warrior wouldn't let any harm come to the young merchant, he was sure of that.

Shoving his sister down to the ground next to his belongings, he extracted his knife again and began systematically cutting away her gauntlets and her belt. "You know," he remarked as he slit the cords binding her tabard to her wrist, "Mom would be very disappointed in you."

"I don't care," Chrys replied coldly as she sat, unflinching. For all her training, she knew better than to test Carwyn's abilities. He'd always been quicker than she and even with all her new training, she wasn't sure she could beat his reflexes. "She is no longer my concern."

"Yeah, yeah," Carwyn muttered, removing several hidden shuriken from underneath her dark sleeves and tossing them to the ground. "That's what you said when you left the first time." He caught her gaze. "She was heartbroken."

Chrys grimaced. "I said, I don't care," she snarled, gritting her teeth.

"I heard you the first time," Carwyn said, drawing a piece of cloth from his belt along with a small vial of liquid. "I take it you're not going to cooperate with me?"

Chrys looked away from him imperiously.

"Didn't think so," Carwyn sighed as he turned the vial over in the cloth, spreading the liquid into it, then reaching over and covering Chrys' mouth and nose with it. Her eyes shot open and she struggled, but Carwyn's grip was firm and soon she grew limp in his arms, slumping to the ground, unconscious.

Carwyn stood and studied his sister for several moments. In her slumber, her face lost the hard, ugly look that she had previously worn and reverted to the young, pretty countenance that Carwyn remembered from their youth. He sighed again as he gathered her up in his arms and stalked over to a tree. Using more rope, he bound her feet and arms around the trunk, immobilizing her completely.

Gathering up the things he had removed from her person, he made his way over to Aya. "Don't suppose you could use any of this, could you?" he asked facetiously, offering up the dark gloves and boots along with the ninja weaponry hidden inside them.




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Old 11-25-2007, 07:36 PM   #2074
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Aya took the items and looked them over. "Well...." She peered over Carwyn's shoulder to where his sister had been sitting. Now, she was tied to a tree, head slumped forward and apparently unconscious. Or....

Aya's eyes lit with alarm. "Is she...? Did you...? Oh, Carwyn, she's not...."

"Dead? No." Carwyn gave her a doubtful look. "You know me better than that."

"Sorry," Aya said bashfully. "It's just... well, you were so angry with her. You hurt her," she added in a hushed whisper, as if it were something profane. She let out a sigh, sounding slightly disappointed. "I'll keep them for her," she said, nodding at Carwyn's sister.

She put them in her pack and then continued in her search for a whip for Audra. Finally, she found something. "Hmm... not sure how long this is," she said, handing the coiled leather to Audra. Her mouth twisted up at once corner in a dubious sort of grin. "Try it and see."


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Old 11-25-2007, 08:07 PM   #2075
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Audra eyed the whip critically for a moment before taking it from Aya. "I'd say about... seven feet." She turned, took a few steps away, and cracked the whip twice in rapid succession. Then, she turned back to Aya and nodded. "It will do." She coiled it and brushed the cloak aside to tie the whip loosely to the left hip of her belt. The tie was tight enough that it would not come undone on its own, but loose enough that, Audra could release it quickly. With that taken care of, she turned to look at Carwyn.

"Run into people like you before," she said slowly. "People think the world of you because you act so innocent... then, you do that..." She gestured to Chryseis. "... only you're different. Maybe you're not so bad." With that, she moved away glancing at Takumi, Kyo, and Maggie before going to stand by the fire.


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Old 11-26-2007, 12:09 AM   #2076
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Kyo watched the girl over his shoulder, taking in her change of outfit from the corner of his eyes. To go from rags to riches in seconds...and the style of the dress made his senses heighten. Perhaps it was cliche, but...he didn't know very many friendly people wore something like that.

"Hm." he muttered, turning his head and closing his vision of the woman. He wouldn't stare. But that wouldn't mean that he wouldn't be keeping close tabs on her. Crossing the camp, he moved to where he had dropped the sheath of his sword. Dropping the point of his blade, he slipped it under the simple scabbard and flipped it into the air. He snatched it out of the air and slid it on his blade, strapping both onto his back in a single movement.


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Old 12-02-2007, 01:10 AM   #2077
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Maggie watched the newcomer walk up next to the fire, an unreadable expression on her face. Holding her staff close to her side, Maggie moved quickly over to Aya, coming upon her friend just as the young merchant finished replacing her supplies. She glanced over at Carwyn, then at Chryseis, then finally at Aya. Leaning in close to her friend's ear, she whispered, "I'm starting to wonder if leaving the monastery was such a good idea."
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Old 12-03-2007, 07:41 PM   #2078
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Aya nodded, glancing askance towards Carwyn's unconscious sister. "Yeah, Mags, I'm getting that very same feeling," she replied. She then stared at the newcomer for a few moments. "Although much better dressed now than she was when she got here, she is still a bit... erm, unusual, isn't she?" she commented quietly to Maggie.

"Breakfast is ready!" Takumi announced exuberantly in Received Pronunciation, with an added flourish of a spatula and an overdramatic bow.

Aya grinned as she raised an eyebrow. "Of course, then again, just about everyone here is a bit unusual." She looked at Mags and gave her a silly grin. "Except us, of course."

She finished lashing her pack down, patted Bob on the neck, then turned to Mags. "So, let's get breakfast. I have a feeling that it's going to be a long time before our next stop."

She and Maggie each filled up their plates with the food Takumi had prepared, and then sat over on a log near the campfire, but across from where the newcomer Audra sat. Everyone was quiet for a moment, then Aya asked, "So, Kyo, how far do you think Enkahiru is from here?"

The fact was, Aya knew exactly how far the hilltop western village was, but she wanted to start up some conversation to break up the tension of the morning, as well as maybe try to figure out where this Audra person had been headed.

And then there was the question of Carwyn's sister. Where had she been headed and who had sent her? And why had Carwyn acted so cruelly towards her? Aya had found that answers to questions like these could be gleaned through conversation, but one had to get people talking first.


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Old 12-07-2007, 07:35 AM   #2079
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Audra cocked her head slightly. "Enkahiru?" she repeated. Pressing her lips together into a thin line, she concluded, "Hmm..." After a moment of thoughtful contemplation while staring into the fire, she shook her head and went after the food. She was hungry, after all. But something in the back of her mind screamed at her for even considering the move. A more rational part patiently reminded her how puzzling this group remained to her. What was their motive for travel? And still more importantly, she thought to herself, chancing a glance over toward Chryseis, why would an assassin be after them?

Dismissing her inner questions for the present, Audra loaded a plate with food and returned to the fire, dropping into a crouch beside Aya with a faint smirk on her face. She could tell the young merchant was uncomfortable around her... and somehow, that made her feel a little more at ease with the rest of this highly unusual situation.


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Old 12-08-2007, 12:49 AM   #2080
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Kyo watched the movement of the new comer, Audra, as he poked absentmindedly at the food in front of him. It looked good and smelled delicious, and the swordsman knew all to well that the rest of the day depended on how one started it, but...in all the excitement, he had lost most of his appetite. Even so, he poked a small bit of food into his mouth, knowing that he would later regret it if he ate nothing now.

"Probably another half a day's journey out from here." he estimated, glancing off to the west before turning to check the position of the sun in the east. "Although...with our delays, I don't know that we'll make it there before nightfall. If we do, we'll be rather lucky."

Glancing from Audra to Cherysis, Kyo couldn't help but marvel at how such a peaceful journey out from the Monastery had suddenly become so very...exciting. An assassin attacking from the underbrush, a thief sneaking into their camp amidst the chaos...was it destined by the gods that their journey not be easy? Must more interruptions keep coming? And here the warrior had thought that the gods would have wanted him to find the Blade...


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