Judas made it to the village several hours ago with Emma. It was a random stroke of luck that they chanced upon the village as they had missed whatever runner had left the town days before. But monster hunters all had different methods of finding work. Some waited near the Capital, some simply killed monsters and presented the corpses and others, like Judas and Emma wandered. They would catch runners, see flyers or hear criers and sometimes, like today, they would chance upon a village.
The pay for this job was good, which wasn't always a good thing because pay was generally indicative of the thread of the monster. However, as there was no science to assessing monsters, sometimes the pay was not too accurate. Based on the stories they heard from the villagers though, this one would be no push over. The tracks that Judas could find were odd, looking canine but there were only two, with an occasional claw mark that seemed more like a clawed hand on the ground. However, the thing most odd is that they based the size of the creature at nearly 6 feet and stocky, but it's tracks appeared light, almost as if a rabbit or some other small creature left them.
"What're your thoughts Emma?"
Emma examined the tracks left by the beast. "I don't really know, to be honest, they are too light to be a big creature, but the size says otherwise." Emma scanned the area, looking for some other clue as to what may have been leaving the tracks. "Hey, Judas!" Emma shouted from some trees in the background "There are scratch marks on this tree, have a look." Emma stroked the trunk of the tree, mumbling a few words while waiting for Judas to arrive.
"Yeah, this is very unusual for sure. Also makes it hard to tell how long ago it was here." He glanced around casually. He was confident the thing wasn't near. After hunting for so long, you could almost feel when it was there, if it was watching you or stalking you. It wasn't absolute, but it was more common that you could feel it than not. He was saving up for an enchanted ring that would allow him slightly heightened senses, that was his next goal, and he wasn't far off.
"Glad it's not raining again today, would have washed these tracks right away." He gradually met up with her and watched her for a moment, adjusting his gear for a moment. His shield was strapped to his right hand and he had no weapon in hand. His shield was almost never slung or put up, that was a thing with him.
After finishing her detection spell, Emma looked towards the approaching Judas. "These marks were made around three days ago and the beast left in the northern direction." she frowned and muttered quietly "If I only had more training, perhaps I could have been able to know more." But just as quickly as the frown had showed itself on her face, it disappeared again and was replaced with her smiling face. "Oh well, I too am really happy that it's not raining right now, it would have made it really hard to find these marks after all, and my cloths would be all wet again, leather becomes so heavy when it's wet." Emma sat down, resting her back against the trunk. "I am so tired, we have been tracking for the entire day without rest" she said while she stretched her body. "Too bad we don't have a job right now, I really miss a warm and comfortable bed to sleep in, instead of a tent and a sleeping bag."
"This IS a job, you mean we don't have any money," he chuckled. Well, HE had money, but whatever he spent on food, or bed or women couldn't be spent on his ring. And Judas WANTED that ring. "And you spell slingers, you're so soft" he joked. "Wet this, heavy that. Like I always say, cry in the training room, laugh on the battlefield." He leaned over her, his arm on the tree as he scanned, not in much of a hurry.
"When I was in the Army, we were given lots of stuff, beds, food, girls, whatever. But I always saw it make the other guys soft. We were supposed to be strong warriors, hard and stout. Most of them wouldn't have lasted a day outside the wall, they'd have sat under it crying. I guess that's why I'm still here. They ate and drank and whored, then put on some mail and a uniform, I trained. Then, I found myself standing against a tree and rambling about shit that doesn't matter," he chuckled at himself, suddenly feeling slightly self-conscious. He debated offering to train her, help mould her into something a little...tougher, but opted against it, at least for now, they had other things to worry about.
"Don't remind me" she chuckled back "I know that we have no money" Emma closed her eyes and rested against the trunk. "If my old master saw this, he would be mad at me for not still standing up" she said with a happy grin on her face as she recalled her old master's words. "I miss the army somewhat, it was nice there, part from the other soldiers tried to get into my pants, your squad included" she said and opened her eyes again, only to find Judas leaning in over her. "If I remember correctly, you even tried once, some bet was it?" she chuckled. "*sigh* Guess we should get back to tracking down this beast again, at least until it gets dark" she looked up towards the sky; it was getting darker "or should we find a good campsite instead before it gets completely black?"
Truth be told, there wasn't anything that Judas missed about the Army or the Capital except the training afforded. They had gear, they had good Masters at Arms and they had facilities. Early in his life, Judas was born and raised outside the wall, so he was not raised in the posh and upper-class setting; it was something he gradually attained. That early life, being a child growing up with only the things you worked for and could provide yourself, which was why he felt so strongly about helping those who could use it, those who couldn't defend themselves or hide behind walls.
When Emma spoke about "that time" he got very uncomfortable and looked away, his cheeks turning a light shade of red. It was a bet, and it was one of the few times he was in his cups and he had other guys egging him on. That part of him, the part that actually TALKED to a female, or displayed interest in them or pursued them rarely made its way to the surface. When he spoke, he avoided the situation entirely. "Let's go a bit further. I've never been scared of the dark." One thing he DID have was a thumb ring that was enchanted to give him the ability to see at night, better than some animals, and so far that investment paid off MANY times over. He extended his hand towards her to help her rise.
Emma grabbed Judas extended hand and got up on her feet again. "Thank you Judas" she said with a smile on her face. "All right then, let's get going, guess I'll have to trust in that ring of yours again. Ahh man, I really wish I could cast magic to enchant more items, and not just persons and some items" she jokingly complained and started casting the night sight spell on her own eyes, her pupils changing into those of a cat's. "I am probably never going to get used to these eyes, they feel so, foreign." She then started purring and she nestled closer to Judas and meowed like a cat, lightly scratching her "paw" against his cheek. *meow?* she said and tilted her head.
He cleared his throat and stiffened up awkwardly, not really wanting to push her away but definitely taken aback by her being in such close proximity. The touch on the cheek and bit of flirting put him even more at ease. He turned his head away from her touch, feigning as if he were scanning. "We should get going. It's uh, getting dark. Like you said. Interesting spell." He stammered out whatever came to mind, very much desiring some space and to be on the move, anything except this awkward situation.
"Haha, you're so cute" she said while she brushed against his shoulder with her hand. "But, yeah, let's get going then" she said and walked over to her dropped backpack and picked it up again. "Due north we go!" she cheerfully said while taking long strides in the northern direction, following what her spell had told her about the path of the beast they were tracking. She took one quick glance behind her to see if Judas was following her, then she kept looking at the trees and on the ground after further scratch and paw marks. After a while, she spotted more scratch marks on the trees, and some clothing on the ground, stained with blood. "Judas, I found some cloths, perhaps they would fit you" she said and held up the blood stained rags. "But I think you'll need to wash them before you wear them, they are all blood-stained."
"Yeah, I say that we leave those there." He studied them and looked around, very happy to be free of the uncomfortable situation. Everyone had always teased him about his clumsiness around females and he never got past it. He adjusted his sword belt again and continued slowly forward, studying the ground. His tracking was limited to physical information, so he looked and smelled when necessary. "It doesn't look like something died here, that rag was probably in a claw or stuck somewhere. At least we know we're headed in the right direction. Would you feel ok camping out tonight? Looking around, we either are staying out or need to head back to the village."
He wasn't sure what to do, it was always safer to stay inside, but that trek would cost them time. But sometimes, that time was worth not staying out in the wilderness where a confirmed monster was stalking about...
Emma took a good look at the rags and chanted the same detection spell that she had used earlier. "According to my spell, this was left here two days ago, and the tracks keep going north. I think that we would be safe if we camped outside tonight. It took us so long to find these tracks, and with the weather being so unstable, I don't want to lose the beast again. We have already lost it once in that rain a few days ago. Besides I want it brought down fast, before it kills more of the villagers, they don't have the power to defend themselves." Emma looked around, the area was easy to defend and with low-branched trees if they needed to escape up into them, also there was a small stream of water nearby. "I think this site should be a good place to set camp. Can you set up the tent while I gather some firewood?"
"Yeah. Can't wait til you can afford your own damn tent," he muttered as he dropped his own gear and the two of them started to set up camp in relative silence, at least for the duration of the set up.
"So, oh great hunter, what is for supper? I am starving" Emma asked Judas when they had finished setting up the camp and some firewood was ready to be lit. Suddenly a small breeze blew through the camp and Emma was able to smell her own body odour for a second. "Bleah, I really need to take a bath. I'll take a bath in the stream nearby while you hunt for food, all right?" Emma said with her biggest smile and then fetched her bathing supplies from her backpack and walked off towards the river. "Brr, it's cold" she muttered and channelled the cold resistance spell her master had taught her and got undressed and then got into the water, washing away the dirt from days of traveling.