Hunched over the river, Brand cupped his hands together as best he could, scooping up a large portion of water that he quickly wiped his face with. Dried blood flaked off, but he paid no mind to this. Returning his hands to the water, he shook them before bringing more to his face, only this time to drink. His thirst satisfied, Brand stood up, wiped his face with his robe sleeve, and pulled the veil up to the bridge of his nose once again. Turning on his heel, he retraced his path back to the road. A loud screech from above alerted him to Beatrice's presence, and, feeling secure, he resumed his trek down the road, the clack of his cane reverberating through the trees. His mental state relaxed, he listened to the soothing noises of birds chattering back and forth among themselves. He went on his way like this for several hours, stopping infrequently to rest his legs. It seemed perfect, until an explosion of some sort sounded from far away. This was immediately followed up by an inhuman scream, causing the once peaceful birds to scatter. Again Brand was reminded that he was alone in the forest. Or, at least, for now - another explosion followed, and then an eerie silence. His curiosity sparked, he increased his pace as much as he could, even more so after successive explosions followed.
A short silence was ended with even more detonations, and his inquisitiveness was beginning to give way to caution - he had no idea what he was trying to walk into. The trees had begun to slowly become more sparse while the air had taken on a burnt, dead flesh smell, and as he rounded a corner, Brand was greeted with new ones - innards, feces, urine, and other, less prevalent scents. In the far distance, he could see a boat of some sort - it was too far for him to make out clearly - but about thirty feet in front of him, a boot was laying on its side, bottom to him, in the middle of the road. Approaching slowly, he reached the boot but found nothing else. Glancing around him, he slowly crouched down, his gloved hand gripping it. The leather boot was heavier than Brand had expected, and the reason why was shown to him as it sat itself up - the foot and half the shin was still stuck in it. Standing up slowly, and a little painfully, he paused his march to rummage in his many pockets until he found what he was looking for - a solid block of smelling salt. Pulling the veil down, he took a long whiff before storing it back in the pocket, returning the mask to its spot, and resuming his frantic walk.
As he got closer, he realized that it had gotten quiet again since the first detonation he could only assume was two or three minutes ago. Not only that, but the frequency of gruesome scenes became more and more profuse. Pieces of bloody flesh were everywhere, as well as bone fragments, and someone's intestines were spilled across the road. Stepping carefully over these, a final explosion went off, and he realized just how close he was. This was followed by the first actual voice he had heard during the whole incident - apparently a name, Vincent - followed by more silence. Even the animals had fallen quiet. Something in the back of his head told him it would be a better idea to not get involved, but Brand ignored that voice as Beatrice came down from the sky and perched on his shoulder as the scene in front of him became apparent. Blood was splayed everywhere - in fact, the majority of the area around the boat - a ferry by the looks of it - was coated in the liquid. Body parts and pieces littered the ground, too - and at the edge of the river, various liquids pooled together to make disgusting mixtures of bodily fluids.
And in the center of it all was the one whole person in the entire gathering. A woman, laying face down, covered in blood and other liquids, unmoving. Brand merely glanced at her, however – he was mesmerized with the entire scene of liquids and other mixtures he didn't even think was in the human body. And it struck a chord in his brain that there was so many body parts and so much blood, that there had to have been a large amount of people here. And that meant that this woman was more than likely a murderer.With this in mind, he and turned his attention back to the woman on the ground. She appeared almost sickly, with how skinny she was. Thinking this over, his gaze swept from the girl to the water and back again. Sighing, he removed his gloves - consciously putting them safely in his robes and not dropping them - and stuck his cane in the mud. He then gripped her long red hair as well as her waist. Brand pulled with all his might but succeeded in moving her a little and pulling something in his arm, as well as collapsing himself on the ground next to her. Cursing, he stood up - his robes weren't touched by the gore or dirt or mud - and he decided on a new plan. He signaled for Beatrice to land - she had taken off when he bent to try and pick the woman up - and whispered instructions into her ear. The raven instantly flew off to the west and disappeared on the horizon.
Bringing his mind back to his current work, Brand held his chin between index and thumb of his left hand while mentally debating how to do this. An idea appeared in his head, and, with a sigh, he removed his cane from the muddy froth and leveraged it under the woman's stomach. Pushing down, he turned her over to her back. He looked down at her face - it was covered in blood and other, more disgusting substances - and decided that what he was doing was the nicest way to get information from her. As such, Brand continued with his work, rolling her over and over until she was floating in the shallows. This is where it gets tricky... he thought as he pulled his right robe sleeve up to his shoulder, though he didn't see a point in doing so, before he stopped what he was doing, holding her from drifting by her foot. He looked up to make sure no one was watching before he let out a resigned sigh. With that, he pulled his left robe sleeve up over his fingers and began to scrub the unknown lady's face before giving her a bath.
Twenty minutes later, he was sitting next to a fire that had clothes drying over it, as well as a burning bird that actually smelled quite delicious, albeit wasn't even close to being finished. Beatrice sat on his shoulder, staring at the unconscious woman who was laying under a thick woolen blanket – Brand's own, actually – whereas Brand, sitting with his legs crossed, his hands resting on the ground in between his calves and thighs, had his eyes closed, his veiled mouth muttering incantations and prayers to his deity under his breath. He opened his black, dark red flecked eyes at the same time that his mouth stopped moving, his eyes fixated on the solid black, smokeless fire in front of him. He had relocated them a little away from the ferry and the massacre that had taken place, and for his own sanity had purged the ground beforehand, which caused the ground to give off heat of its own, albeit a cooling heat. Brand's eyes looked everywhere but where the lady was laying. He let out a deep sigh and sank his head back, staring up at the sky, wishing he could be anywhere – or, at least, almost anywhere – but here.