Till The Last Breath [Lexen x RedDusk]
Till our last breath, we will fight. We are the ones that society cares little about. The ones who must take refuge in the underbelly of bounty deals and stolen goods. But so long as a fire burns in us, we will fight to live in this wretched world. Now is the time to take arms, friends, for there is little else for us now.
The unlikely pair of a rouk and a gieve are signed into a contract to search for the wretched beings of mermaids that are said to be lurking in the water near a small village named Pellina. It's a small human village near a lake of murky colour. The concern came from a rich man in the main human city Wenwrist who has family in the area.
For those ignorant of the worries of mermaids, here is a lesson. Mermaids are sickened gieve, much similar to the human infections of vampirism and werewolfism. It turns the gieve hungry for flesh, even to the point of cannibalism. They have the mental capacity to speech; however, lack much restriction in their actions as they do whatever they desire when the mood hits them. It makes them very unpredictable and very deadly.
Ready? Here we go.
Last edited by Lexen; 01-05-2013 at 09:56 PM.
Falla Ne Rosimellena, a gieve from the north waters, had ventured to the south after receiving a letter about a possible job. It had been a request from a nobleman and the news was not good. Mermaids were the worry, which is a very large worry indeed. Mermaids were the worst of vampires and werewolves. Manipulative and intelligent as the bloodsuckers, but unreliable and vicious as the beasts. If a horde took route in a water way, they may as well call that area as a loss and start somewhere else. Yet, there was one weakness, if anything could be called a weakness with them. Mermaids could only live for one hundred years after turning, at best. It was too hard on the three hearts to keep the infected blood moving. That also means that they were not invincible. They did not regenerate, thus, if a good hit could be laid, the horde could be destroyed. Problem was making that hit. Such worries and thoughts passed through the young maiden's mind as she swam forward through the darkness. Her green eyes glowing in the deep as she followed the well made water path of her people. Then, as on time, the anchors of the docked ships came into view. It sent a small grin to her lips and hopeful beat in her heart. This is where her human-like life began. With a few twists of her feet, Falla made for the surface.
The shallower water was warmer and made the gieve feel slightly more calm. The insulation layer of secretions from her skin was washed away as her white soft flesh became bare. A small seaweed bundle held everything she needed, which consisted of a few coins and her staff. She had one extra set of clothing which were identical to those she wore. They were gieve clothes, made of bits of coral and seaweed that covered a ring around her chest and her nasty bits below. Gieve body was similar to humans, with the exceptions of their icy white skin and bright green eyes. The gills around her neck and fins adorning the bottom of her fore arms, calves and back didn't help at all. She hoped hunters would not be after her today. Gieve hunters was a passing phase; however, it was not unheard of. With this worry on mind, the young woman took her first breath of air and scurried onto the dock. Her rough feet having no ill will against the wooden planks before they met the broken stone street and was carried away.
Little time passed and much stressful breaths taken until the little woman hurried her way to their meeting point. She was meant to meet her partner, a rouk, which should be easy to find in this city - or would have been, had Wenwrist not become so multicultural. It was her hope he would find her. Gieve were rarely found milling about for the worry of losing their pelts. The only issue is that she was around a foot shorter than any other being around, with the exception of the few dwarfs that wandered by. Their scent notable even from a distance. Yet, there were worst things to complain about now such as body adapting to the dry air. If she wasn't careful, her skin could become dry and flaky, falling off like scales to show underdeveloped layer of skin. Normally her flesh looked just like pale human flesh, fluid as one cover; yet, dryness could reveal the truth. Still, this idea was pushed away as she waited. Her hands crossed as if impatient and her face into a nervous frown. Her mind consumed of all the what if questions. Thankfully, Falla was a positive thinker, always looking for the best outcome. If things went as her ideal plan was, there would be no mermaids and they would get paid for just checking it out. If not, maybe one or two. A horde consisted of at least eight members. But that was unlikely if there had yet to be sighting. For beings that lived off of impulse actions, staying secret can be quite the issue.
Last edited by Lexen; 01-05-2013 at 10:14 PM.
A request letter came in for Krainen Astaroth just three days ago. Appearently, a village up north had reported mermaid sightings, and a rich man who had relatives there wanted this issue taken care of. But in the letter didn’t mention any attacks, though. So there might or might not be mermaids there, and he could get some easy money by just checking it out. And considering his current state of finacial, it was best if he took this one. The inn keeper was getting restless about the number of drinks on his tab. Yes, at the moment, he was a little...broke. It all started because of a friendly game of cards. Had he not tried to con some coins out of his boss during their game last week, he probably wouldn’t have had to hide out like a rat in this backwater village. A bad habit, it seemed. But he couldn’t help being a rouk, after all. His race took bride in these kind of things, no matter how much trouble they usually caused.
Then the next problem presented itself. Krainen had finally come to the conclusion that the univer harbored some sort of ill-feelings toward him, as the next letter came. According to his contact, he would have to pay the transport fee by himself, and the fastest way there was by sea. And thanks to the amount of coins he had felt, ships were the only way available. Rouks hated water. They wouldn’t be hurt by it, but it felt extremmely uncomfortable and unnatural for them to just stand near that damn liquid. There was a reason why their houses were build beneath the volcano. But obviously, he had little choice in this matter. This job was too good to pass up, and he was curretly in dire need of coins. So the next day, Krainen boarded the earliest boat to Wenwrist, where he would meet his partner.
For the marjority of his time onboard, all Krainen did was curled up inside his little cabin and prayed to all the gods he knew for the ship to arrive at their destination as fast as possible. Or else, he feared that his sanity would give out. Fortunately for the rouk, the trip went soundly and they arrived the next two days. That morning, as he woke up to the sound of bell from the upper deck, a smile cracked across his face for the first time since he stepped on this god-forsaken ship. He wasted no time, quickly crawled out of his blanket and reached for his leather backpack. He had already prepared everything, just waiting for the chance to leave this floating piece of wood as soon as possible. The wooden floor creaked beneath his boots as he rushed onto the deck. Finally able to see the sky after two days of being cramped into a wooden box was a wonderful experience, but it was soon washed off by the sight of water around him. An uneasy feeling settled in his stomach as he walked on the wooden planks led to the dock, only disappeared when he managed to reach the stone street. Immediately, he scurried off, trying to stay as far as possible from the frightening liquid known as water.
Wenwrist had changed a lot since he was last there. More people had gathered in this once quiet fishing town, and the street truly had widened. He spotted humans, elves, dwarves and even occasionally some of his own kind. Rouks always stood out like a sore thumb in big cities like this, as they were easily a head taller than most people, not mention their rock-like skin. Even when he dressed as a standard mercernary, with light leather armor ,linen pants and a tattered cloak to cover up the blades strapped behind his back, shop keepers still gave him a wary glance when he passed by. Finding a gieve in middle of all this comotion could prove to be quite a challenge, though. He muttered a curse under his breath, as he made his way to their meeting point. It turned out to be easier than he expected. The gieve was already there, arms folded and seemed rather impatient. And his partner was also a young woman. Interesting.
“Falla Ne Rosimellena?”- He approached her, his blood red eyes narrowed at the scent of seaweed but his tone still remained calm. It always reminded him of water. And gieves. Waiting for an answer, he shifted uncomfortable, his left hand unconciously fiddled the handle of his sword
Last edited by RedDusk; 01-06-2013 at 08:01 AM.
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[[OOC: Sorry I've been away! I just moved for school so it took a while to get settled :] ]]
The gieve was slightly nervous at the moment. Her skin tingling with what felt like excitement. Although the dry world was filled with dangers and hideous monsters, Falla found such safety in it. Things here seemed more solid than in her watery home. Objects stood here for centuries, not morphed by any strong current. It was as if they were immortal. And yet, the smell of rotting wood and sunken fruit made her thoughts of suspended disbelief collapse onto itself. But while the woman's mind fell into a disappointed peace, her body kept its upbeat rhythm, pumping blood quickly and having her scales slightly rise to expel the extra heat. That was when her unlikely companion came into the picture.
It was the rouk. "Krainen Astaroth? Falla murmured with a curious look. Her wide green eyes studying him up and down. In truth, he seemed like any other male rouk. Tall, stone, and carrying a weapon. She wished she could say that they didn't look all the same to her, but they did to her untrained eyes. If he got lost in this crowed, Falla was almost certain she would never find him. Instead, she quickly made a mental note of the details on his weapon in an attempt to separate him from the rest. It didn't take long for the little one to pipe back up, "I guess this means we're all ready to go. You okay with mermaids? You know what those are, right? I, I don't mean to be rude, just seems strange for a rouk to take a, er, water...job. Yeah." The gieve turned silent with a flat face. The woman had surely dug herself into a rather large hole with this one. Either way, she tried to brush it off after a rather awkward moment of silence, "So, whatcha say we take a - " She paused, remembering the word momentarily "wagon." She tried to be sensitive; however, Falla assumed she was failing by this point. Either way, the woman managed a weak smile before adding, "It's only a five hour ride on wagon. Probably cost three coppers if ya got 'em," Again, another weak smile.
Falla hadn't waited for the awkward moment for his reply before scurrying away into the streets to head towards the cart bay. It was only a few turns away and she hoped he'd follow. If he didn't, well, this would be a very long day indeed. That, and that her bad sense of direction on land didn't lead her astray. Thankfully she had thoughtfully scribbled the directions above her left arm fin in ink after a warning by an elder of the surface dangers. Left here seemed up and right, left. All the same stone and brick. Yet, her chicken scratch map seemed true as she arrived before a small open area filled with ready wagons. A few strong humans shuffling items around, others tending to the horses. There was even one elf fixing a mane on a black mare. He obviously the tamer of these glorious beasts. Building up some courage, the small gieve marched onward to the elf, "Me and my stone friend have a ways to go. Pellina. Got anything we could ride?" The elf turned, his bright blue eyes meeting with her green. He gave her a blank look, studying her features. It was sick how elves looked at her. It was if she was simply an object for their entertainment. All she could imagine was him undressing her with his eyes. It repulsed her. "We need it rather soon." She coughed. In time, the elf looked back to her eyes with a small smirk. His right hand moving to point to an average cart."There. Five coppers and a song." She glared at him for a brief moment, weighing her options. They seemed rather bleak.
Taking in a deep breath, she hoped that her companion hadn't caught up yet. This was embarrassing, if not slightly degrading. No other species had to sing for their service, why should she? Especially at such a steep price. It was sickening, and yet, Falla did it. Her breath expelling out her gills. While it sounded similar to a wind instrument, a gievian translator may have said that her words had been vile. Thankfully, not many of those existed. Instead, the woman played along, staring at the elf as he enjoyed her noise. When she quit, the elf said he wasn't satisfied and wanted another.
"I don't want to play games. I've said my piece and I have the coin. Can we please head off?" She looked to the elf rather annoyed yet hopeful. However, the man didn't seem like he was going to budge.
Last edited by Lexen; 01-07-2013 at 11:12 PM.
His soon-to-be companion was a female gieve, and an interesting one at that. Despite his hate for water and seaweed, Krainen didn’t really find gieves that dangerous, unlike those in the stories of his kinsmen. It wasn’t the first time he’d seen one, and each time he did, his belief in those stories dropped. Instead, he found them intriguing. But unlike other races, who he could easily intetract with, the water and distintive stench of seaweed tended to keep him away. His discomfort had completely outweighted his curiousity. Now that he had actually seen one up close and probably would be travelling with her for a while, he wasn’t sure how to feel, excited or disgusted. It didn’t matter much though. He had to take this job, else the innkeepers might decide to put a price on his head. He had already had enough problem of his own to deal with.
Noticing her eyeing him up and down, Krainen raised his eyebrow subtly but remained quiet. She was here first, so it would only be fair to let her lead. And she was a gieve, obviously she knew more about mermaids than he ever would. Besides, he would very much prefer to stay as far away from the water as possible. Mermaids were also weaker on land, or so he heard.
As the gieve began to speak again, the corner of his mouth twitched slightly in amusement. Just as he thought from before, she was, indeed, very interesting. From the way curiousity gleamed in her eyes every now and then, he could tell that she wasn’t that experienced with the surface world. Which could bode very well for him. A few humans were very willing to pay good coins for gieve coats. Or at least that what the rumors were. He pondered the thought for a few moment, before brushing it off. Fighting a horde of mermaids alone was a terrifying thought. His inexperience in dealing with them could be quite fatal. Seeing where his train of thoughts were going, he decided to switch to more productive activities. His gaze began scanning her up and down, but he did so as subtly as possible. An old habit, he supposed. Staring intently at people in taverns would often lead to unwanted conflicts.
There wasn’t much to say about his partner though, besides her bright emerald eyes. He liked them. Green wasn’t a very common eye color among rouks, as well as blue and red, though blue was the rarest of them all. That was how people usually tell rouks apart, as to untrained eyes, rouks always seem the same. His gaze drifted back to her face when the gieve stopped speaking, and he bit back a chuckle.“ I have encountered mermaids before, so yes. Though I have never fought one directly.” He paused a few seconds, placing his words carefully so she wouldn’t get the wrong idea. Or maybe he was trying to give her the wrong idea. “ You’d be surprised by what people would do for coins.” Silence. Krainen glanced sideway, wondering if he should say something to ease the awkwardness. The female gieve didn’t do well with conversations, it seemed. He made a mental note to keep an eye on that. But just when he decided to say something, she managed to speak up, suggesting their transportation there should be a wagon. Interesting. He could already image what it would be like to sit in a small wagon with a gieve. Just perfect.
“That didn’t sound so bad.” Of course. It only sounded as bad as trying to mount mermaids. Krainen forced a smile at her, keeping his curses to himself. Luckily, the gieve ran off before any smart comment found their ways out of his mouth. He took off after her, keeping his distance enough to drown out the scent of seaweed. It always made him edgy. Keeping up with her wasn’t much trouble though. Her porcelain white skin stood out like a sore thumb in the crowd. She turned at a corner, and Krainen quickly rushed through the crowd. As much as he hated to admit it, he couldn’t do this job alone. Those mermaids would surely make short work of him, or he might just drown and die.
Krainen arrived just in time for the gieve’s song. It was his first time hearing a gieve sing, and strangely, he could only describe the experience as…pleasant. He actually liked it, so he stood back, and listened from a safe distance. He didn’t want to disturb her with his presence. When the song ended, he waited for a few more seconds, assuming she would stop entertaining random people and go get their wagon. But she didn’t. Krainen sighed, knew it was time for him to step in. As he approached her from behind, he slowly realized what was happening. It was the elf who was making demands. And his gieve partner should learn how to refuse. A kick to the groin usually worked best. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do that for her. As much as he loved fights, he didn’t go around and start them randomly. That was the basic code in rouk survival guide.
“Excuse me, but my partner and me have some urgent businesses in Pellina, and I’d appreciated it if you could start preparing our wagon right away. Time is something we can’t waste.” He loomed over the elf, offered him a rather crooked smile. Intimidation could be quite useful at times like these, and rouks had the perfect appearance for it. It seemed to have worked on the elf. He did a good job looking tough and refrained from running when he left, but not before taking the coins from the rouk. A grin cracked across his face briefly, but disappeared as he turned to face his partner. ”After you.” Krainen said, gestured toward the wagon.
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Falla was growing tired of his inappropriate advantages. She swore she would have showed him his place had she not needed the cart. Yet, in the midst of her silent suffering, a savior came in the shape of a large rock man. He appeared cocky, which would have been a major deterant had it not helped fix their issue. The gieve watched, in quiet joy, as the elf shook off the encounter and left them to their mission. In turn, the woman had worn a smug grin; however, that washed away as Karinen turned back to her. She perked up at his comment and wore an uneasy grin. "Oh, yeah, thanks." Timidly, the woman scurried away to the cart and took a seat.
While waiting for her company to join her, she swept her mind of common topics. In short, there was little, if nothing. She could chat about his experiences here but that would just be small talk. Desperate enough, Falla deemed she may even dwell on the weather. That thought brought her to a new level of feeling pathetic. 'Oh well,' She mentally shrugged before awkwardly squirming on the wooden seat.
"So, thanks." Falla murmured, her green eyes cautiously flickering over to meet with his. "You didn't, erm, hear anything. Did you?" The woman had hoped she hadn't embarrassed herself by her docile obedience. It was easy to say that Falla didn't care much for pride; however, respect was a main concern in her mind. Especially if she would be spending some time with this rouk. The gieve had no interest in becoming his personal bard.
When both members were in the cart, the caddie made an odd cry and the twin malivs were off. The large beasts throwing their tusks upward with a snort before stampeding off. Their large padded feet throwing up dust as they trudged forward. Their long brown hair keeping the many scents of their journeys strong in the surrounding air. It was a strange mix of smells but Falla could handle it. That's all that mattered for the moment since little could be done until they reached their destination. Which, after a long time of small talk, came into view.
There were several wooden houses, the largest adorned with a windmill. Up close it creaked once every two turns. Most of the homes had smoke rising from their stalks which was a welcomed smell to Falla after the scent of the malvis. "Ready?" The woman cooed, her face staring up to Krainen with mild curiosity. He had turned out to be something very...unexpected. However, as comfy as she felt with him, the gieve couldn't help but doubt herself. Tales of rouk dishonesty were known commonly known, even in the water world. Still, Falla would have a mild trust with him for now, until the job was done.
Jumping from the cart, she waved their silent caddie a goodbye before standing to wait for her companion. So, lava man, what would you like to do? Considering that there were only rumours, maybe it would be best to just go searching? At dark would be best." She paused, before understanding that her words could have been seen differently, "Oh, um, I didn't mean...that, just...you know, their eyes glow in the dark as well to see...not, us, um..." She paused. Her skin on her fins becoming slightly blue from the increased of blood by being embarrassed. "What do you say?" She murmured to try and recover.
Krainen sat opposite to the gieve, fighting the urge to gag when the scent of seaweed hit him. He wondered if he could ever get used to it. Probably not. But it wouldn’t hurt to try, since they were partners, after all. There was no telling when this job would be finished, and until then, he was basically stuck with her. When the gieve spoke, he turned to her, his face was impassive, save for a slight twitch tugging at the corner of his mouth. Now this he could make use of. Stories and tales about the gieve’s enchanting song was rather common, but he could only bring himself to believe them once he had heard the real thing. And he fully intended to hear it again. From her.
“Hear what?” He smiled, raising his eyebrow. Now was not the time though. Entertainment could wait. He wanted to focus on the job for now, and figure out a effective way to kill mermaids and stay dry at the same time. But he wouldn’t forget this. Having a gieve as your personal bard could sound like quite a tale.
Finally, when they were both settled, the cart started moving. Krainen leaned back in his seat, thankful for the breeze. He could barely smell the seaweed now. How long did Falla said it would take to get to Pellina? Three hours? Or was it five hours? The thought made him grimaced. So he decided to exchange small talks with the gieve, just to kill time. Which turned out to be a very bad idea. He had already known his partner wasn’t a very smooth talker, but he had no idea she was this bad. At least there wasn’t as many awkward moments of silence as he feared. Time flew by, and soon, the village came into view. Nothing too out of the ordinary here, just wooden houses and windmills and all that normal things. A typical human village. Besides him, the gieve seemed rather…relaxed. She was still looking at her with those curious bright eyes, which started to make him feel strangely uneasy.
“Of course.” He responded quickly, before getting off the cart. He took the time to carefully adjust the swords strapped on his back, then turned to her “A night walk sounds perfect. Just as long as I get to keep distance from the lake.” Seeing her like this, he wondered if gieves could blush. Possibly, since her skin was becoming slightly blue. Right. Why was he even wondering about something like that? It was both irrelevant and unproductive. Not waiting for a respond from her, he continued, as well as began to walk toward the lake. The way there was rather easy to find. All he had to do was follow the nausea feeling. “The sun will set soon enough. We should get going.”
As he headed to the lake, keeping his pace slow enough for the gieve to follow, he began putting his plan into motion. “ So…You have fought mermaids before I presumed? If so, think you can…ah, lure them further into land? I mean, you know, as far away from the water as possible? I can take care of the rest…” He stole a quick glance at the give, assessing her expression, then turned away before she could notice his gaze.
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((I was almost done my reply when I clicked backspace and it moved the page back so I lost everything. I need to go to bed for school so I'll have a real post up tomorrow. Sorry.))
(That's sucks...Take your time. I did that several times myself, so i started to use Word)
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Falla was unsure how to feel when her and her company departed from the wagon. Excitement was the most defined, enthused by the possible adventure that would ensue; but, then followed the dark feeling of dread as the possibilities of death arose. Mermaids were vile beasts that had littered her past. All those memories came to view when Krainen asked if she had done such battles before. Her mind flickered back to her life six decades ago when she was only ninety years old. It purged her of many things, most of which she would not bring to mind at the present. Instead, she would summarize her thoughts into a few simple words, ”Twice out of three times. Sometimes you have to flee.” The woman turned slightly to smile at her company, even though it was a weak smile.
Her feet had followed the looming figure. His head towering a few feet above her own when she stopped by his left side. ”And I’ll do what I can. But if we’re lucky there won’t be any to fight to be had.” Her voice was slightly lighter than normal. Her own self slightly opening up for a moment before her liveliness was drawn back into the small form. The elders had warned her about opening up to these land people. There were things in the depth that need protecting from the land trudgers so keep your soul at bay and your mind in locks. Those were their words, at least. They seemed wise for the young grieve, wise enough to be followed.
Moving her hand to catch onto the drift wood staff strapped to her back, Falla’s words fell into those of caution, ”If you see a pair of glowing lights in the dark, beware. Mermaid’s eyes still glow in the dark. I cannot see colour so I can’t tell you if they differ from my own. Just...be careful.” The gieve’s eyes quickly met with Karinen’s briefly. She tried for a smile, but only a nervous grin fell onto her white lips. Stepping forward, the girl fell into the murky water. It’s touch warm on her skin, similar to that of a swamp. It made her feel uneasy, but not enough to turn her back. Instead, with one last look and goodbye, ”I’ll return by morning’s light at the latest. Good luck, land dweller.”, the woman disappeared beneath the waves.
The water was dark enough that her eyes had started to beam light. If she had been gifted with color pigment, Falla would have said everything had a green glow; however, through her eyes, the world was simply gray. The bottom of the lake appearing a black color from the rotting trees that littered its bottom. There must have been a large milling project here, leaving behind their wreck to decompose within the water. These humans did not respect the water; yet, that did not cause Falla much grief. The waves were at least breathable for her, which was something to be said for a human waterway. Either way, the note was discarded in her mind as she passed through the water, aware of what dangers may be present.
It felt like it had been hours that the gieve had been examining the lake. She swore she had circled it twice already and yet had seen enough. There was one thing that had made her feel slightly uneasy. Around the rotting branches, there had been places were the lake bottom had been disturbed. Humans in this town seemed incapable of reaching so deep down; however, her people could have done something like that. The gieve slept on the water bottom, nuzzled in sand and dirt. Even a cursed gieve used such means which did not bode well for their quest. Mermaids could be here, but without a sighting, it could mean nothing. For all Falla knew, it could have been a fligger that had buried itself for sleep. Those large fish held many similarities to the gieve, made them assume it could have been a long lost ancestor.
There were several options to be considered, yet, no time would be given to these thoughts for the woman was distracted by a loud cry coming from above the waves. While muffled, the gieve could tell it was a female scream. The young lady barreled to the surface, yet paused just before to make her awakening into the air silent. She peered around quickly. Her eyes flickered between the houses as she tried to pinpoint the source. While she was unsure of how the rouk would take her leaving the lake before getting solid evidence, Falla took the chance and skipped from the water and onto the land. Her breathing switched from gills to nose. Her feet swiftly moving to reach the place of the scream. It was a small wooden house. The door broken open and another cry sounded. Gripping her staff tightly, the woman moved forward. She could seen inside at a small sickly form towering over a cringing woman. A voice rose, one that made her skin chill.
”Time to play. Play with me mother. Play, I said.” The woman on the ground simply cowered while muttering hopes of mercy and escape. Taking a step forward to see better, Falla could tell she had been found out for the body facing away turned her head. Two glowing eyes peered back. There was the mermaid.
She took her up staff before her as her gills peeled open. In her native tongue, Falla began to chant a spell. Most understood it as a simple rhyme of changing tones, but the gieve knew it to be a spell for lightening. The mermaid reacted, hissing while sprinting forward. Falla could see the beast raising its left hand, now adorned with claws, about to attack. The gieve hadn’t enough time to finish the spell before she had to push her staff outward in defense. The hand met with the wood and was drawn back as her left claw took a swipe, finding the same fate as the first. Falla was busy defending. Her arms moving the staff to block each hit until her back foot caught onto a chunk of wood behind her causing her to fall. The mermaid seemed to have the upper hand, but without a second thought, Falla sent her leg flying forward to meet with the thing’s lower torso. It fell back in response as the gieve scurried back onto her feet. She tried to get more distance; however, for now, she knew a spell would take far too long. She just prayed her company wasn’t currently sleeping.