Brent smiles at the compliment to his rugged charms, but it falters rapidly when she gives Hal the same compliment. The edge of his lips jerk down in slight dismay that she has such terrible taste, to say someone with such an ugly mug is handsome. As she speaks of a reward for the good samaritan, a chill goes down Brent's spine at the terrible pictures his mind could conjure. Quickly, he makes a slight space between himself and Sylvie, but the damage is already done. He could feel it, upon his back and clear through his duster. It burns and and stabs all at the same. He knew this sensation, the death glare of a banshee scorned and ready to devour your soul. On one note, it conjures a smugness within himself that Mikan would be so upset with his indiscretions. At the same time, it unsettles him that his travel partner may have a vindictive nature.
He sits down at the table as Mikan begins about what may fare in Rheinfeld and he glares at her comment about herself and Sylvie being anything less than stunning. Kouri had been alright before her transformation, but the green-haired punk and the newcomer were something else. The comment about him being possibly liked in Rheinfeld disturbs him, however. He had passed through once already and his findings of the behavior and conditions were not to his liking. The scum of the world had leaked through to the surface so a brief visitor such as himself could spy it without searching. Mikan's tales from the night before rind in his mind's eye and he grimaces. To be accepted by such bastards is disgusting, so does she think so badly of him? Even after he saving her life and providing her with two wonderful nights consecutively?
Alex takes a seat a tad removed from the group when she makes her way to the dining area. She listens quietly to everyone as they go about their day. Ishcar appears to wish to pamper Kouri like some prize pet with his comment about sewing a blanket. Her eyes flicker to his yellow sack and a brow crooks in curiosity. Normally she would have noticed something like that sooner, but she supposes such a detail had flown under her senses with everything going about. Thinking of bags, she snatches hers off form the floor and rummages around for something to munch. Though, she notices there is a fair portion missing. She lifts her eyes to the group and gives everyone a questioning look before shaking her head and taking out a loaf of bread and pouch filled half-way with berries. Tearing off a chunk, she tosses the rest to the group so everyone else might partake in her meager offering.
Mikan mentions something about Kouri's eyes and she looks up in surprise. Last night she had looked directly into those eyes and they had been black through and through. To her horror they were now blue, and they were supposedly this hue prior to their meeting. “Beautiful blue-eyed babe, huh,” she mumbles to herself in consideration. She shakes her head and tilts back in her chair, stretching. The tension between Brent, Mikan and the girl who calls herself Sylvie appears to be escalating even as Mikan discusses the general Rheinfelder greeting to expect ahead. At the mention of herself, she cannot resist the urge to smirk despite the overwhelming idea that any of the women, Ishcar or Brent may unintentionally stir up trouble along the way. A thought occurs to her, however, “No o'fense, Isolde, Kouri, but we'll 'ave t' get ya new garbs. Ya both'll jus' stick out too much. First time we stop in a parish, we attend a tailor's. I'll pay if it means we won't get caught for 'kidnappin' proper women o' the court' or wot nonsense.”
She sits back and listens as Sylvie goes into a tantrum and for a moment, she considers staying put to watch the cat-fight to ensue. A morning brawl such as that would never be permitted upon Val's ship, but it was a welcome event in any seaward pub they partook after docking. However, as Marcus offers her a chance to spar, she cannot keep from grinning like a Cheshire cat. Without hesitation, she moves to her feet and follows after the tiefling, Ishcar tailing just behind. Carefully, she discards her extra equipment and stretches her limbs in preparation. “Any rules for this fracas?” She stares him down with a wry smile, wondering if he ever fought a pirate before.
Marcus glances back to see Alex discarding extra equipment, a bit of a disturbing smile crosses his face, as he unsheathes his blade and grips the handle with both hands, tightly. "Aside from not killing each other? No. Why have rules in a fight when others would not provide such a.. Courtesy."
With a slight nod, Alex removes her sword from its scabbard. Her eyes scan the area, searching for anything she might use in the battle. The ground is nothing but peaty moss and patches of grass, but there are numerous trees with low-hanging branches if she absolutely finds it necessary. ”Fine by me,” she calls, dashing forward, intending to slash at his leg that had been injured the previous day, aiming to learn whether the elf girl had healed it entirely or not.
Elsha had done a fine job of healing it, mostly. It did still feel a little sore, but it wasn't anything that Marcus couldn't just ignore. As Alex rushed forward, blade in hand, Marcus' smile faded, and what little humanity he had in his eyes dwindled. He brings his blade to defend himself from her oncoming attack, putting his good leg in front and angling himself to provide her less to actually strike at. That, with the overly large blade and armour, should suffice.. At least, in his mind anyway.
A shame, his leg is fully functional, so relentlessly attacking from that side would yield no advantage. As his blade goes down to defend, her upward arcing sword blade connects and begins to slide off. Without a second thought, she jerks her body to his opposite side. As she shifts, her body turns so that the leg that had previously been on the outside slams into the back of his knee in an attempt to knock him down. While this is all going on, her off-hand has released the sword so that her other might extend out and tip the blade to point inward, ready to pierce into his side if he fails to act.
She goes for his knee. How predictable. She was quick, though. So, as she slams her leg into the back of his knee and focuses her attention on a quick finishing move, Marcus prepares in advance. He moves his blade, following her movement, and the moment she closed in to hit his knee, he moved to knock her blade out of her hand with brute force. Mind you, her strike at his knee did set him off balance, but all the speed in the world wouldn't help her when she chose to use it to strike him.. Especially when she let go of her blade and left it with one hand.
With the blade moving, she thrusts her free-hand against his back and pushes. It was too late for her sword, as it is cast off in another direction, so her goal is to get some distance between his now far greater reach. As she shoves herself away, she ends up on the ground and rolls, but quickly shifts back unto her feet in a crouch. Her heart races as she looks between him and the sword, Marcus being in between herself and the object.
Marcus doesn't make a sound as he is shoved forward, the previous blow to his knee having knocked down to just one knee. He quickly gets back onto his feet however, and turns to face Alex. He didn't seem to be in any hurry, and like a patient predator, merely kept himself between her and her blade. He wasn't putting his full weight onto his knee, though.. "Very fast.. Though your agility helps you little when your actions are so straightforward." His tone was almost mocking her. He wondered about her own patience.
Alex laughs slightly, trying to figure the best course to get her weapon back. Jumping over him would prove difficult between his height and reaction speed. There is simply no way she could avoid the deadly length of that sword. As she takes in his odd stance, she wrinkles her nose. If it is a trap, she risks losing. It is what he is expecting, she realizes, taking out from her sash the only other object she had kept in her artillery: a single dagger. She edges forward slowly, finding the best angle. As she rushes forward her mind lays out the following plan. She would act as if she were going towards his knee. When he moved to react, these would be her actions. If he goes to strike at her first, she'd dive and tumble out of the way, reaching her weapon. If he goes to defend, however, she would proceed through until the last second before changing course and leaping to the object of her desire. Whatever she does, she knows she has to get it back upon a more even field.
She wouldn't be suicidal enough to strike him head on with her dagger. She wasn't Ishcar. No, she would go for her weapon.. Still, he waits for her to close in for his knee, and then strikes out with his knee in an attempt to hit her before she could roll away.
When she comes closer, attempting to attack, Marcus' knee comes up and strikes her square in the chest. She grunts as she begins to fall back, but not before hooking her other arm behind his knee and pulling with all her strength.
Marcus is yanked down with Alex, although ironically her arm around his leg would end up with his leg pinning her arm down. A look of almost devilish delight crosses his face, although he flinches as his knee is suddenly jolted with the force of hitting the ground with Alex' arm. It was sensitive, already. Marcus was down on one knee, at this point, with said knee holding down one of Alex' arms.
A low growl leaves Alex' throat as she is pinned in front of Marcus by the arm. She might be strong, but there is no way she could throw his weight off of it, especially not with her awkwardly being upon her knees. She drops the dagger and places the arm against her leg and pushes, her hand of her trapped hand curling so she could pull in opposite direction, the being to twist his knee outwards. Her face distorts as she feels the armor jabbing into her arm, but she persists.
Marcus tosses his blade aside, and grips the wrist of her hand attempting to push his leg off. She appeared angry, and his devilish look faded. She was faster, he was stronger. There was no way she could stop him of just pinning her down and ending it now as his other hand reaches to grab the wrist of her pinned arm, in a meagre attempt to give his knee a chance to reposition itself.
”You're strong,” she mumbles, shifting her legs so she is on the balls of her feet. As he goes to move his leg, it gives her enough clearance to shift, so she lets her arm go lax and tugs it as much as possible despite his grip. She jerks against him, trying to break free, but his arms see like manacles holding her tight. Instinctive terror begins to bubble up from within, causing her to struggle against his grip before she thrusts her leg up to his collarbone and pushes.
Marcus grits his teeth as she pushes into his collarbone, even with the armour, that wasn't exactly a strong point. "You're clever." He retorts, as he brings his sore leg behind himself and begins pushing forward. Since she was pushing on his collarbone, she had no clear good footing. Which meant that he could shove her knees into her own chest. "Give up. You're done."
As the pressure threatens to put her knee to her chest, she shifts the leg on his up to his neck. Her other leg begins to slip on the moss. She shifts her foot into the ground and twists her legs so that Marcus continues to push forward, but she attempts to push him downwards. After a point she cannot move any farther with his hands around her wrists, but he'd have to let her free to shift anywhere else. “Let me go already and we'll be done,” a growl is at the edge of her voice, but at the same time there is a slight whimper from her desperation to escape.
Marcus lets go of Alex' hands and then pushes her foot off of his neck. He coughs as he does so; Being that position was more than a little uncomfortable. Still, a quiet chuckle could be overheard by Alex if she was listening for it. "Not bad.. Not bad at all.." Marcus slowly starts to stand up, but flinches as all the stress he put on his bad knee is now coming back to haunt him. "Starting to get too old for this. Fah."
What comes after Marcus releases her wounds her ego, as she stumbles forward, no longer having a restraint on her pushing. As she lands on the ground, she rolls over onto her back. Alex remains there, looking up at the bright blue sky and allowing her lungs heave to not only catch her breath but ease the hysteria back. It grinds on her nerves slightly that he is laughing after all of that, but as she calms, she finds a bit of joy in getting a good scrap in. She shifts her arms, wincing at the pain all the way to her shoulders, to prop herself up to at least look at him. “Wot's my excuse, then? Almos' losin' t' some geezer, hah,” she laughs, getting to her feet and dusting off the various bits of dirt and plant. “I'd say we ought t' do it 'gain soon, but then wot use are we gonna be?” she smirks, bending to retrieve her blades.
"Who knows." Marcus slowly stands up, forcing his injured knee to take his full weight. He could ignore it, and it was one way to learn how to ignore pain when needed. He walks over to his sword, a bit of a limp in his walk. He bends over, picking it up and sheathing it before looking back to Alex. "We are both hunters of prey rare and cruel. We both know that life is pain. For that reason, I can trust you." The sun's morning rays were peeking through the trees, in such a way as to once again cast a red glare to everything. It would last mere minutes, but it spoke volumes to see Marcus and Alex bathed in bright red.
For a moment, her amber eyes glint red in the light. Yet, his comment earns the elder warrior a nod and a pat on his shoulder after she stashes her dagger once more. “Not ev'ry day a demon tells ya somethin' like tha',” she teases, but stops after remembering Ishcar. “I 'aven't really seen Ishcar in a fight, but Hal an' I were paired at tha' cave. We have bloody mages out the wazoo, but are we gonna be able to hold off if a slew o' crusaders com after us? Rumors of Rheinfeld. . . an' them knights. . . Will a fireball o' Kouri's even connect?” Her eyes seem steely for a moment as she realizes just how deadly these lands may prove if the crusaders were truly the King of God's men, blessed so that magic would not harm them. Yet, these things may just prove rumors. . . She silently prays they are.
"Hm.. Crusaders." He looks to Alex, trying to cool her nerves a little. She was skilled, although her survival instinct was overpowering.. Which could ironically prove to be her downfall. "Crusaders are.. Egotistical, honour-bound, and uncreative. While skilled and brutal warriors, they have never done well in foreign lands for the very reason that their honour prevents them from understanding the cunning tactics which lay in wait for them." He looks back to the forest. "So long as we do not shake their foundations, we shall never be in true danger."
Alex leers for a moment, considering the new information, yet he had failed to qualm her primary concern. She shrugs, “I'll find my answer soon 'nough, then. After all, I came across ya when the princess out t' kill the gods was taken by a necromancer wit' a pet dragon.” She figures her response gives no misgivings on her opinion of getting to the coast with no confrontations. She picks up her gear and begins to secure it back into place upon her body. “We need to head out soon. The faster we get onto a boat and out of here, the better our chances. . .” she casts one last glance at Marcus, wondering if he might do the same as her if a battle turned a bit too. . . sickly savage. She may wish to assist them for now, but she will not die for them.
Marcus merely nods, then sniffs the air and growls in annoyance. "New girl is cooking something. Stupid girl."
Without turning back, she begins to walk back into the inn, “Sylvie? Maybe, but it's better than our friends bein' distracted by hunger at a dire time.”
Marcus remains outside, merely staring out into the forest as he once was before.
Elsha begins to come back from her stroll with Thane in tow. The marten has himself slung over her shoulder in a very lethargic manner, his stomach being decidedly stuffed. She pauses and looks in horror at two of her friends in a struggle in front of the inn. She begins to hurry towards them, but soon enough they are untangled and the wolf-girl leaves. Elsha stops, only a short sprawl of bushes separating her from the clearing that Marcus now occupies alone, to her knowledge atleast. With a start, she flings herself to the ground, accidentally throwing Thane off of her. An angry chitter comes from the small furry critter, but quickly the half-elf thrusts her hands out to cover his mouth before pressing him close to herself, giving a quiet shush. In her mind, she is begging the Mother of the Forest that Marcus not come to her hiding spot to eat her. She may be able to tolerate him with others around, but to have Marcus, alone, she fails to trust the man when no one is looking. So she waits, trying to hold her breath for the others to return.