Clash of Worlds
Rain cascaded in thick sheets upon the forest, rivers ran down Kade’s thick green tinted skin dripping off her wide nose and small tusks. She was crouched near a thick tree watching the two human bounty hunters picking through the vegetation, she gripped her axe handles. She let out a breath and moved slightly to the right to ease the discomfort in her left knee, her scaled armor scraped almost slightly against the bark.
“You stink,” Nahal whispered who was pinned between tree, ground and orc. The bloody blade pressed against his cheek and he pressed his lips together knowing he couldn’t push his luck. She was always testy when they were so close to the bounty hunters. Though, oddly they were not the usual ones that followed them. Green eyes met his blue ones for a moment before they returned to the hunters.
Kade couldn’t understand why she didn’t just slit his throat and get it over with. Honestly, she had no other place to go after killing her own, this way she wasn’t alone even if it was with the man she wanted to make bleed more often than not. The hunters continued to head south and were out of hearing range when she finally lifted her weapon from his cheek. “Says the elf that fell into the pile…”
“Shut it,” he hissed, slamming a fist on her hip scraping his knuckles against her armor. He pulled his tender and bleeding hand close to his chest. He didn’t want to think about the huge pile of dune he had tripped in yesterday. They hadn’t been able to linger at the river longer than filling their waterskins.
Kade moved away from the elf and moved half crouched away from where the hunters had been. He gathered his robe and followed suit. Soon, they were able to walk normally and they started down the side of hill. He watched her maroon braid swinging behind her. “Do you know where you are going?”
“Not a clue, just away from them,” she pointed south.
Nahal rolled his eyes at the back of her mostly bald head. “Typical answer, youthickhidedgreenmenace.”
Kade stopped short and whipped around, Nahal fell back a step and paled slightly, she saw his eyes moving over the faint scars that littered her strong jaw and neck. “And I thought you didn’t care.” Nahal dropped his jaw and let out a squeak of protest. “Come on, Elf. Get those slippers in high gear.”
They found a cave near the waterfalls, it was damp and chilled Nahal to the bone. He shivered under his blanket while she hunted. She was back in no time with a gutted boar that showed over kill wounds. She had the fire going and the chunks of meat cooking as the sun finally tucked behind the horizon. The storm wasn't letting up anytime soon, Kade ate her meat the way she liked it best. Brown on the outside and bleeding on the inside. Her sharp teeth made little work of the hunk of meat.
Nahal waited a little longer to ensure a proper done-ness for his tender stomach. He tore into it like a very hungry savage.
Zane shivered uncomfortably, hiding under his cloak and the cover of a large bush. He looked up, squinting raindrops out of his eyes to meet the eyes of a teenager who crouched on a thick tree branch half-way up its trunk. She had heard rustling and scampered up the tree quickly to examine the surrounding area. The rain always ruined her senses. Through the thick vegetation, she could see the moving bodies of two bounty hunters.
If she could just catch them, she thought, she would have the best meal she's had in a while. For Zane, it meant new clothing and maybe a trinket or two. Isabel motioned to Zane, making the movements they had agreed upon that meant "fire at will". He gave the slightest of nods and crept through the shadows.
Isabel climbed down the tree. She moved just as softly as Zane.
As they approached the bounty hunters, Isabel silently thanked whatever Gods were up there for this rain. The wind covered the occasional breaking of a tree branch and rustling of bushes. The edges of her mouth curled into a smile. The thrill of hunt was so exhilarating to her. She pointed to the taller bounty hunter for Zane to deal with. Again, a slight nod and a movement of his ear meaning "I understand."
Isabel waved her hand, another signal to Zane and stepped out of the brush behind the men and said loudly "Looking for me?"
The two men turned around, just as Zane released his arrow into the air, striking the taller man in the lower back. Isabel tackled the smaller man easily. Her nails dug into his wrists as she plunged her fangs into his jugular. The man struggled for only a few moments before falling limp. Color drained from his body as Isabel continued to suck.
Zane looked away, busying himself with the other man. He hated this part. It only took seconds for him to remove the arrow and cut the man's throat, draining the blood into vials he kept in case of an "emergency" for Isabel. He then removed the clothing from the man, folding the damp fabric neatly and packing it into his bag. He would dry it when they found shelter.
Behind him, Isabel had finished with her meal and had dropped the body. She too removed the clothing, peeking into his pockets. "Catch." She said, tossing a dingy golden locket to Zane. He caught it with ease and pocketed it, smiling.
When the duo had finished with their looting, they lifted the wet, dead bodies over their shoulders to a stream they had found earlier that evening. They threw the bodies into the current, watching them wash away downstream. They followed the stream downhill, coming across the base of a waterfall and many caves. They descended quickly, their leather bound feet slipping in the rock. They picked a cave about halfway down, where they could be on the lookout.
Zane started a fire as Isabel unpacked the bag, examining their findings. The fire crackled as conversation was struck, growing louder to the point of laughter and joy. Zane was relieved. With blood in her, the color returned to Isabel's cheeks. She was cheerful and full of youth, unlike her terrifying, serious nature during hunger. As they lay back to relax, watching the fire, Zane pulled out the locket, running the chain through his fingers and watching it shimmer in the flames.
Kade's eyes snapped open at the noise that sounded like boots against wet rock, their fire had long since burnt to embers. Nahal was snoring softly wrapped tightly in the blanket, she moved silently the two steps to the cave opening. The rain was still falling just as it had been while they were out and about. She had a hard time seeing in the darkness without the aid of at least moonlight. Kade remained at that spot for a long while listening for more noise a few sounds like talking and laughing came out of the dripping and water crashing. She wasn’t about to start searching the numerous caves with no aid of light or even a hint of reason to believe anyone was there. She returned to her bed and eased her tired body down, her weapons mere a breaths away from her grasp, she allowed herself to relax enough to rest.
The moonless night was a good thing for them, they didn’t have to worry about bounty hunters until the rain let up or the sun rose.
The sun rose swiftly, the landscape was still being dampened with a gentle cold mist, the clouds still hung heavy in the gray skies that seemed unwilling to pass by them. Nahal was up and sitting next to the opening reading his spell book, studying as he did every morning when he woke up. His eyes rolled over the handwritten text he had done years ago, he had added several new spells he learned from his mentor since his leaving the school. His eyes drifted away from the page and rested upon the falling water, it had been so long since he saw his family. He ached to talk to civilized people, he wanted to go home and just forget this horrific life on the run. It would be possible for him to just waltz in his family home and have a normal life. He killed a person, his life would never be the same again. Kade roused in her usual soft snort and roll to her side which spurred him out of his reprieve. He ran a dirty hand over his face and tried to collect himself enough to study again.
Kade sat up rubbing her hand over her face and touched her tusks, they still haven’t grown much since yesterday morning. She was getting impatient, she tossed her blanket off visually finding Nahal. She yawned and stretched before adjusting a few pieces of armor on her body and slipping her axes in the harnesses attached her belt. She dealt with her bedroll and tied it on her back gathering anything else she had forgotten to pick up during the evening.
Nahal shut his book just before an arrow slammed next to his head, spraying rock against his face. He dropped to the ground and rolled toward the orc, Kade freed a weapon with practiced ease. She grabbed the elf and pulled him behind her as he reached back and seized his spell book. She peeked around the jagged rocks as a body moved just on the other side of the bank. “We are pinned,” she whispered, her sharp eyes moving about the landscape seeing a hint of another not far from the first. “Two, so far.”
Nahal tucked his book in his pouch and latched it. His fingers slipped over the scratches on his face. “I wonder how patient they are,” he whispered.
“More than I am,” Kade grunted, the rain wouldn’t be held back much longer. The two out in the open would be in full exposure to the weather. They could try and wait at least until darkness fell again. At least then they would have that cover when they left the cave, they would have to travel at night for a while until they left this region. There were to many towns that could house greedy bounty hunters. She didn’t want to make it easy or comfortable for them in anyway.
The day ticked by slowly, they cooked the rest of the meat from the boar while they waited for the sun to set. Kade rarely left her post watching their habits, she wasn’t sure if they were going to get out of this one without looking like a porcupine. Late afternoon the rain again poured.
The sun was just starting to set when Nahal slipped near her and leaned over her shoulder to peer out at the enemy. "Plan?"
"None yet," she whispered studying the rocks and thin paths around the cave. It would be a trick, there was very little cover for them for several feet. She could jump down with very little risk of broken bones, at least she like to think so. Risking a hairbrained move was not something she wanted to toy with at the moment.
Isabel and Zane talked late into the night, like usual. They watched the storm and told stories, laughing and joking like siblings. Eventually as the fire died, Zane retired to bed. Isabel continued to watch the storm, organizing the bag and relaxing. She loved the rain. It meant she could be out longer. Daytime was once her favorite time of day. At night she had to work and perform her duties.
Soon enough, she retreated towards the back of the cave in case the rain stopped while she slept. It was more than a doze than anything. She hadn't had a real night's sleep in 14 years.
Zane awoke a few hours later. It was difficult to determine the time with the rain, but it felt to be about mid-morning. He looked to the sleeping body of Isabel in the shadows a few feet away and shook his head with a smile. She really was still a child, it was impossible to believe it, but she was. Zane poked at the fire and the drying cloaks hung over the rocks that littered the cave.
After eating, Zane sat at the mouth of the cave, watching the rain fall. As he examined the area, his eyes fell upon a bounty hunter. He slowly inched backwards, his eyes not moving from the figure. He reached for his bow as the bounty hunter strung his own. He followed the arc of the arrow into a cave below him. It was a close call.
"Iz." He called quietly, rousing the sleeping vampire. She stretched with a groan. He put a long thin finger to his lips and motioned her towards him. "More of them." He explained, tilting his head towards the opening of the cave. "They missed though. Terrible shot."
Zane strung his bow, waiting for the next arrow.
Last edited by Delfay; 01-30-2013 at 10:31 PM.
Reason: Fixed the cave location issue.
"Are they out of range for anything?" Kade asked, it was nice to have the option of a ranged weapon even if the wizard didn't hit half of the time. It was a good distraction for her to gain on the enemy, she was amazed a lot of the time that she ever survived this long without. Not that she would be telling the elf that, he already had a big enough head about his magical abilities.
"All that can reach that far is a fire ball," Nahal answered, itching to use it again. He loved the heat and sheer power in those spells, it made his whole body throb with life. If he didn't know any better he would think fire was made just for him to cast. Heat and cooking were just happy side effects. "Those are huge spells, I can only cast twice and I am drained."
"Make it good," she ordered.
Nahal whispered and moved his hands focusing on the ridge across the small chasm. He drew upon his energy and gathered it heating it to the point it began to bluster his palms. With a careful step into broad sight he threw the ball of flame, it zoomed from him on a course straight toward the bounty hunter. Kade grabbed the elf and pulled him back to safety. The flame slammed against the rock hissing and roaring the bounty hunter flung himself back beating his hair out. His eyebrows had been all but removed by the heat, he yelled in pain as his face was red from the intense heat. He swore and cursed the wizard, his partner rose and drew back his arrow and let one fly into the same cave as before. He reached back and grabbed another arrow to notch.
Zane and Isabel both followed it with their eyes. A fireball, somewhere below them.
"We aren't alone Iz." Zane muttered. He pulled back on the string and the world around him melted.
It was chaos. Everywhere people were yelling and crying. Arrows whizzed left and right. The orders were to load, shoot, reload, repeat. Zane, a young elf in his 50's, stood in the middle of the mess. He was shooting too, but his eyes were fixed on the enemy's lines, waiting for a glimpse of her to make sure she was safe. Near him a captain yelled to get back to shooting. He nodded and his fingers fumbled around his next arrow. A whisper of a spell and fire burst onto the tip. He was one of the best spell casters in the army. Was.
And then he heard it. A high-pitched scream. He looked around for the source - it came from a stretcher being carried by two medics into the tent. What next he replayed in his head daily. A lock of silvery blonde hair cascaded off the stretcher, hanging in the air.
"Zane, shoot!" brought him back into the present. Isabel was at his shoulder, watching the bounty hunters. He whispered a spell. The tip smoked slightly but that was it - nothing.
He released the string and the arrow flew through the air, hitting the man who was not on fire in the leg.
"What happened to your aim?" Isabel shouted at him. She was at the edge of the cave, peering over it. "There's another cave down there! I can see it!"
Kade saw the flash of an arrow from a slight different direction. The bounty hunter screamed in pain dropping his weapons before he collapsed, he glanced down at the arrow just above the knee. The shaft bounced with each heartbeat, to remove it would cause him to bleed to death before they could get to help. To leave it in was just insanely painful, the other was finally done slapping himself and moved to help the other.
Kade glanced back at the cave, it was now or never. She darted from the cave, Nahal close on her heels. They moved swiftly up the rocks and goat trails to the top. She signaled for the wizard to wait, she pulled out her other ax and moved toward the loud bounty hunters. The eyebrow-less one noticed and ran like demons were on his heels toward the town, the other he had his throat cut. Her body teemed with energy from the rather short battle and the smell of blood. There were more out there trying to collect the price on their heads, there was always more. Like vermin, they never stopped coming or finding them. She patted him the corpse down finding ten gold and a couple platinum coins. This guy either had a rich family or he was overcharging for his services.
She broke fingers twisting off rings and yanked a gold chain off his neck. Unfastening the chest piece she pulled that with her. She had some repairs to make on her own armor and this would do nicely for that cause. She left his weapons behind and the fifteen arrows in the quiver, she had no use for them. She thought about taking them to the fellow that shot the guy in the first place. Trust was not a strong suit when it came to this game of survival. After a moment, she grabbed the quiver and hurried back to Nahal.
She moved down the slope again and rattled the quiver holding it out in front of the cave she had seen the arrow come from. "One got a way, he is heading straight to town." She sat the quiver down. "A token of our thanks for your shooting."
Zane stepped forward, taking the quiver with a curt nod. Isabel on the other hand had retreated back to the darkness of the cave, a hand over her nose and mouth. She could smell the blood on the ax. She wanted it - she needed it. She clutched her head, shutting out the smell.
"We'll need to get out of here, then. He'll only bring back reinforcements." He said as he leaned the quiver against the wall of the cave after examining the arrows inside. "Were they looking for you, or for us?"
He examined the duo. An elf, not much older than himself, but much more put together and the large orc. What an odd pairing, though he and the fledgling vampire was not much better. He turned to his bag, pulling out a vile of blood he had stored the day before. He brought it over to Isabel, uncorking it as he walked. "Come meet our guests, Iz."
She drank the vial and nodded, returning to sanity once more. She eased herself up and walked towards the two, holding out a hand.
Kade wasn't so sure her idea was a good one when the blond woman ran back into the cave with her nose covered, she could only smell the blood on her person along with the smell of dung that clung to Nahal. Both were wreaking a little of being unwashed, typical for such a lifestyle they enjoyed. Those two were not exactly smelling like blossoms either, her dark green eyes narrowed slightly at the human not understanding the reason for the retreat.
"I think it would be unwise to stay," Nahal said with a sigh. "They always have reinforcements. Like they spawn out of no where." Nahal's eyebrows rose in question. "You on the run as well?" This was indeed some strange twist of fate. "Either or."
Nahal took the hand in greeting, feeling somewhat like they were attempting to be civilized. "I'm Nahal and this is Kade. It is really good to meet you."
The rest of his words were cut off abruptly by the orc, he flashed her a glare. "We need to go now," Kade grunted. "Come with us at least until we figure something better." She grabbed Nahal and pulled him after her. "We need to keep our head start or they will be licking at our heels for days."
Last edited by Thinker; 01-31-2013 at 01:56 PM.
Reason: spelling mistakes corrected
Zane picked up the bag and quiver and fastened his cloak around his neck. Isabel grabbed her's as well, pulling the hood over her head. They followed the orc.
"You must excuse my... outbreak." Isabel said apologetically as they walked. A polite smile revealed her still-growing fangs. "I'm Isabel, by the way. This is Zane."
Zane nodded. The duo tried to keep up with the orc.
"Why are you guys on the run, anyway?" He asked, adjusting the straps of the bag.