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Exploring New Horizons [Sam, Ruki, Shrub, Fairess]
  • Cleo's expression tensed as the chains were clamped down on her wrists, the shallow points stabbing in the flesh of her wrists just enough to cause dull throbs of pain to pulse up her arms. The chains were carefully made to avoid the veins and anything particularly vital in the area, while still activating pain sensors. Cleo had asked when she'd moved in where the chains had come from, but Mara had always avoided the topic...there was no way in hell Mara knew enough metalwork to make the things herself.

    Keeping her arms as still as possible, Cleo felt the pain fade away as she grew slightly accustomed to the constant pain. As long as nobody was particularly rough handling the chain connected to the cuffs, it wouldn't hurt too much, but her wrists were going to be messed up by the end of this.

    Sighing, Cleo's shoulders slumped. Normally she'd have made some sort of joke about her captor "finally having her in chains" or something, try to make them uncomfortable, but the terrifying redhead looked barely older then a toddler, and Mara's smoldering ashes were still burning in the background.

    She wasn't entirely sure she'd ever be in the mood for jokes again.
  • She tried to ignore the sounds the shackles made as they clamped onto Cleo, failing and shuddering a little bit. When Renee touched her, she relaxed a little bit, and she looked at her and gave her a weak smile despite how she felt at the moment.

    "Thank you," she said, her voice surprisingly even. "I'm not normally like this..."

    Leaning back on the tree, she grasped around next to her until she felt her canteen. Robin opened it and took a swig of water, sighing as she felt the cool liquid rush down her throat. Water had always calmed her down for some reason, she didn't know exactly why. But whenever she felt the liquid go down, she seemed to feel content.

    Maybe I'm not drinking enough lately, she pondered, sighing. Glancing over at Renee, curiosity took over.

    "What's with the toddler over there?"
  • "There's no shame in crying or letting your feelings becoming known. Holding them in only hurts more in the long run," Renee said as she withdrew her hand, playing with her thumbs as Natasha - clearly getting upset - got up and marched over to Pyre and began fighting with him verbally.

    Even though they were some distance away, Renee could hear the argument as it increased in volume.

    "She's not our prisoner! What are you thinking?!"
    "She is too! Besides, do you want her to stab you in your sleep - whenever that may be? Because she'll do it."
    "All the same-"
    "Actions have consequences. These are hers!"

    The knight raised her fingers up to her temple and rubbed them as she took a deep breath. Normally, it was Natasha putting up with her and the drake's bickering. She had a sudden flash of sensitivity to what her princess must feel each time the two went at it. Especially when she agreed with the little lizard for once.

    "He's someone Nadie picked up," she said. "I don't know really how she found him, or what their whole back story is, but even when he had the chance to leave he decided to keep following after her like a lost puppy."

    :heart: Rinn “Arwyn” Nailo drawn by Liah :heart:
    Rakshael: if I know one thing about Ruki, it's that she'll prove you wrong just for the sake of saying she did it
    Characters | The Time Lost | The Rumors We Believe | Ruki's Reviews
  • "'Her'?" Robin looked at her, puzzled. "Wasn't Nadie a guy...?"

    She glanced over at them as they argued, feeling a little resentment growing for the tiny little boy. Her brow furrowed as she felt a flash of the same familiarity as before, narrowing her eyes as she looked at him in closer detail.

    "Never mind that," she said, sighing and leaning back on the tree again. "I'm sure Nadie has a good reason for cross-dressing, it doesn't really bother me much." The arguing was starting to get to her as it raised in volume, and she felt her tears rising again, though she didn't bother trying to hide it that time. She felt like going over and hurling the little twerp at a tree, wanting him to shut up.
  • Renee winced once she realized she let the truth slip. Oops. Well, she knew that Natasha wouldn't mind if she learned - after all a lot of people seemed to know. It was when people learned her true name and station did she get upset.

    "Ah ... no, Nadie's a girl. Her and Elaine are twins," Renee explained only to see Robin beginning to tear up. Feeling awkward again, the older woman wrapped an arm around Robin's shoulders and pulled her closer. From someone else perhaps the motion would be considered smooth, but Renee forgot she was wearing her armor. While it wasn't as cold as the icy motif might lead one to believe, it was still a hard and unforgiving surface.

    "Will you two shut up!" she yelled finally at the princess and the dragon. "Or at least continue your conversation where we can't hear you!"

    The yelling stopped, and both lapsed into a sullen silence as they looked at the crackling flames. The body was almost done burning. They would bury the body - no doubt give it a proper burial for that what Natasha would insist on - and move on at the first light.

    :heart: Rinn “Arwyn” Nailo drawn by Liah :heart:
    Rakshael: if I know one thing about Ruki, it's that she'll prove you wrong just for the sake of saying she did it
    Characters | The Time Lost | The Rumors We Believe | Ruki's Reviews
  • Cleo watched as the redhead and the brown-haired guy argued over whether or not she was their prisoner or not, with a somewhat detached silence. The cuffs weren't hurting too much now...well, that wasn't true. It wasn't that they hurt less, it's that she'd grown quickly accustomed to it. Like you got used to the ticking of a clock, or the air conditioning running.

    She sighed as the fire that was Mara began to die down, the ashes still hot. She felt like she should have felt more...sad. Distressed, even. But all she felt was emptiness. What was she supposed to do now?


    As the thought came to mind, Cleo began to quickly scan the area she was standing in as the light from Mara's fire began to fade. Where were all the trees? The rocks? What did the ground look like, the stars, anything that would help her remember this location. If blood was spilled on those ashes, Mara would be back.

    There would be no sleep tonight. She had memorizing to do.
  • When the yelling finally stopped, Robin sighed in relief, leaning into Renee. She didn't really mind her armor, noticing that hers might be jutting into her and feeling a little awkward. She shook it off, trying to relax again and not cry. She glanced over at Cleo, noticing her gaze traveling a little bit.

    "Hey," she said quietly, "I'm against the shackles, but I do think we need to blindfold her so she doesn't remember where this place is..." She didn't want the wretched creature to come back over some romantic folly that a desperate lover created, and the last thing they all needed was a bunch of corpses to deal with.
  • A tinge of red seeped into Renee's cheeks, made more obvious than the fearsome knight would have liked by her naturally pale skin. Almost on instinct, she looked over to where the others were. While she knew Pyre was aware of her ... leanings, she was worried about what Natasha might think of the situation. Or worse yet, Elaine.

    Well ... knowing Natasha, she might be completely oblivious. Elaine on the other hand ...

    Renee always had a sneaky suspicion Elaine knew about her imbalance, but through some small act of kindness - or perhaps more likely, future blackmail material - the princess never said a word about it. There were hints that she knew - oh yes, plenty of hints. Never a word though.

    "Truth to be told I think she should be restrained in someway. I don't trust her, and it worries me she was hanging around a monster such as that. If she truly is twisted as Pyre insists she is or if that was a ruse or personality she developed to cope being with the vampire remains to be seen. Unfortunately none of us have rope to spare at the moment," Renee admitted. She gave Robin what she hoped was a reassuring smile. "All the same, I doubt she will be in them long. When it comes to getting her way, Nadie usually wins out. She can be surprisingly stubborn when she wants to be."

    :heart: Rinn “Arwyn” Nailo drawn by Liah :heart:
    Rakshael: if I know one thing about Ruki, it's that she'll prove you wrong just for the sake of saying she did it
    Characters | The Time Lost | The Rumors We Believe | Ruki's Reviews
  • Her cheeks turned a little pink, but she smiled warmly, starting to feel a little bit better. She glanced over at Nadie again, wondering how someone like her could possibly be that stubborn. She guessed that anyone related to Elaine was probably going to be like that, and she smiled again at the thought of it.

    "No one deserves to be in shackles," she said quietly, rubbing her wrists unconsciously. "My father and uncle were slaves once, they both still bear the scars that comes with wearing them for years. Neither of them like to talk about it, but my father especially feels shame for it."

    Robin sighed again, rubbing her face with one of her hands to rub away the sleepiness.

    "All because they only existed. They were both children at the time... living in the kingdom of Almacea..."
  • "I'm sorry to hear that," Renee said truthfully as the fire finally began to simmer down. They would be finishing their business soon, and upon first light they would leave this accursed area. Renee still didn't know what they were going to do with the vampire's whore, but they couldn't leave her here. The best bet would to bring her far away, too far to get back.

    But they had people after them. They couldn't afford to be tangled with a prisioner who would slow them down, and most likely lead to their death if they weren't careful.

    Unknown shadows surround us, she thought grimly.

    "We actually just got out of a war freeing the slaves of our people," she continued after a heartbeat, chasing away the betrayal of their kinsmen. "It was heart-wrenching knowing just beyond our borders our people had been traded as livestock. Of course the reason as of why it had happened was a bit more nuanced than that ... but the choice those people had were to die or live as slaves."

    Renee sighed a bit as she fell silent. The screams. The fighting - they were all fresh on her mind. They had only just recently fled the country, for it was dangerous for deadmen to linger. Already the rumors of the Firebrand were no doubt circulating the land.

    It had taken a while to give the vampire the proper burial she had insisted on. Her hands - as well the others - were dirty as they clawed through the mud and dirt to dig a small hole in the ground. It hadn't been easy without tools, but they managed in the end. While Natasha would have preferred the proper six feet, Pyre said leave it be at three feet.

    "What animal would dig all this way for no flesh to feast on?" the drake pointed out as he threw the parcel unceremoniously into the ground. Kicking the dirt over it, he spat in the hole. "Besides, even if there was no sane animal would eat this flesh."

    He had thrown a glare to Cleo when he said that.

    Now with the sun rising and none of them getting any real sleep, they were getting ready to head to the nearest town with Robin as their guide. Cleo's eyes were blindfolded and the chains on her wrists removed, replaced by dirty bandages wound tightly.

    The plan was to stop in the town and get some supplies and much needed rest before continuing on their way. Natasha wasn't sure how long they had planned to travel with Cleo or what they were going to do with her, but the only real consensus of the group was to take her "away."

    "Right," she said, rubbing her eyes as she shook her head. She was tired, but this wasn't the time to act sluggish. "We should get going."

    :heart: Rinn “Arwyn” Nailo drawn by Liah :heart:
    Rakshael: if I know one thing about Ruki, it's that she'll prove you wrong just for the sake of saying she did it
    Characters | The Time Lost | The Rumors We Believe | Ruki's Reviews
  • Dead tired and on edge, Robin gazed at everyone sullenly, looking down at her hands and sighing as she tried to get out some dirt that had crusted under her fingernails. Realizing she was getting nowhere, she decided to look ahead instead.

    "There's a river nearby that we could wash up in, if any of you feel as filthy as I do," she said, starting to walk along an unknown path only familiar to her. Birds were chirping high up in the branches, likely trying to get all their preparations done for winter. The forest became a lot more lively as animals started to wake up, and she occasionally spotted some deer dodging just out of view as she walked. Glancing behind her, she felt a strong urge to have Renee nearby for some reason.
  • Cleo's ears perked up as she heard the words about a river, keeping her face stoic as she grinned internally. She'd gotten a decent look at the area before she'd been blindfolded, but not too great, but now she had another piece of information...they were close to a river. If she could find the river again, she'd be able to find her way back to the spot they'd buried Mara.

    Walking blindly forward with the group, Cleo frowned as she realized how dirty she already was. The dress she was in wasn't intended for this environment, by any means.

    "...Can we get me something different to wear?" she asked timidly. "This...won't work for much longer."
  • "No," Pyre snapped as they moved through the brush. The dried leaves and twigs broke under their weight. There were signs of life all around them - birds chirping in the tree tops and the occasional squirrel would dart out in front of them, unknowing that it was only recently a few of their brethren had been caught and roasted for breakfast.

    Natasha was in front of the small group slashing at the foliage which got in their way with her bloodied sword, the dried blood glistening in the morning sun. Sometimes the gleam would get into her eyes - causing her to squint and wishing she could simply rest them. They were tired and since they were a light color, they were already sensitive to the light. Still, she could at least begin to hear the water flow.

    Lagging slightly behind her was Elaine, moving silently through the brush although she kept throwing glances back at Renee and Robin who were bringing up the rear in case Cleo - guarded by Pyre - attempted to escape. An impish grin danced on the younger of the twin's face as a knowing look danced in her eyes. It was only a small blessing only Robin could see it, else wise Renee would be demanding what she was smiling about.

    Not that she would like the answer. Renee never quite liked anything which referred to her sexuality.

    :heart: Rinn “Arwyn” Nailo drawn by Liah :heart:
    Rakshael: if I know one thing about Ruki, it's that she'll prove you wrong just for the sake of saying she did it
    Characters | The Time Lost | The Rumors We Believe | Ruki's Reviews
  • Robin glared at Pyre momentarily, returning her tired gaze in front of her. Having light colored eyes wasn't really helping her either, and she wished she had some black war paint to put underneath them so the sun wouldn't be as intense. She noticed Elaine stealing glances at them, and the grin afterward when she noticed that Robin was watching her. She shook her head, sighing as they continued along.

    Her feet trudged through the fallen leaves lazily, and she wished she could curl up into a ball and relax. But instead she kept checking on Cleo, knowing she had made a small blunder when she said there was a river nearby. Thankfully the village she wanted to go to was nowhere near the river, up back in the plains again near the border of the forest. She had taken the shorter route through the forest rather than go over a bunch of hills, and she still thought that this was a better arrangement despite what happened earlier. She looked toward Renee, scowling a little.

    "Elaine keeps staring at us," she said.
  • "What?" Renee seemed startled as she looked around before squinting her eyes forward as she tried to see what she could not. Finally, she settled on Natasha's back - Elaine when she appeared was always close to the other half of her soul. Sometimes the knight wondered if other twins where one was dead had the spirit lingering, unable to move on. However, the only person she could ask a question to was Cardell or Khaz, and that wasn't happening.

    Her lips pulled into a frown as she glared despite knowing that nothing she did would phase the impish princess. It didn't in life, and it surely wouldn't now when Renee couldn't even see her. Still she glared because she didn't know what else to do - only for Natasha to turn around and look at her in confusion.

    "Is something the matter?"

    Renee flinched and looked away in embarrassment.

    "No, everything's fine," she told her hastily.

    "But you were glaring ..."

    "Perfectly fine," Renee insisted as Elaine shook her head with a wide grin which matched the Cherishe Cat across her face. Her shoulders were also shaking in silent laughter as if she knew the reason for Renee's behavior but wasn't saying so.

    :heart: Rinn “Arwyn” Nailo drawn by Liah :heart:
    Rakshael: if I know one thing about Ruki, it's that she'll prove you wrong just for the sake of saying she did it
    Characters | The Time Lost | The Rumors We Believe | Ruki's Reviews
  • "Now she's laughing," Robin said, her cheeks suddenly flushing in embarrassment. She looked over at Renee, confused. "Is there some reason she's laughing?"

    "No," Renee said quickly - too quickly - as her voice broke. Her cheeks flushed - whether if it was in embarrassment or anger, one could never quite tell. It was likely to be both though - especially if Elaine was behind it.

    Speaking of which, this only served to make Elaine go into hysterics as Natasha gave another glance behind her, sharing a look with Pyre.

    Robin hid her face in her hands briefly, not sure what to make of the situation. She glanced up at Elaine again, sighing with a little frustration.

    "Renee, is there something you're not telling me?"

    "I have no idea why she's laughing," Renee sniffed, although she had a pretty good idea.

    "... Isn't it because you're gay?" Nadie asked tentatively.

    Her words caused a brief silence as Renee's face went white as snow and she ran into a low hanging branch.

    With that the magic was broken as Elaine began to laugh so hard she was literally crying. Her arms wrapped around her green nightgown as she doubled over in laughter.

    Elrohir's eyebrow's raised up as he glanced back at Renee who was hiding her face behind her hands and it looked like she was about to cry. From the pain or the embarrassment of being outed by the last person she would expect, who could tell.

    "... Was that not the right answer? It felt like it ..." Nadie asked, seemingly oblivious to why the older woman was acting this way.

    "If anybody knows your twin, its you," Pyre said with a shrug of his shoulders. "Although, I'm kind of curious for how long you've known."

    "... Since we reunited," Nadie said, squinting her eyes at Pyre as it seemed to slowly dawn on her that the boy was insinuating she didn't know the sexuality of her own friend. "It was rather obvious."

    "Hm, and it doesn't bother you?" The boy asked, his eyes flicking back to Robin as he asked this as well. Almost as if he was questioning them.

    "Should it?"

    "I suppose not," Pyre hummed. The violet-eyed girl frowned as she looked back at Renee.

    "... Are you crying?"


    Robin gazed at Renee for a while, smiling a little eventually. She slid her hand into hers and grasped it gently, leading her along.

    "Come on, we're wasting daylight."
  • Cleo's eyes narrowed under the blindfold as she heard the conversation going on just behind her, the revelation about Renee's sexuality just making her more furious. The conversation brought back recent, unpleasant memories...memories of when she met Mara.

    Before, Cleo had just been planning on running away. Maybe slipping off into the darkness one night after slipping her bandages, find her way back to Mara, but no. No, she wasn't going to let these two sit around and start off their budding little romance after slaughtering the woman she loved.

    No, she was going to slit their throats with a goddamn smile on her face.
  • It wasn't for another hour until the reached the river. Natasha had tried bringing up what had happened several times during that time, but Renee was giving her the cold shoulder and seemed to be stewing in silence. So, she decided to give up and talk to her when she was a little less upset.

    For her part, Renee was furious at the princess for outing her like that. She was lucky that Robin didn't draw away in disgust and even now their fingers were intertwined. Robin's hand was warm - and Renee's mind kept getting drawn back to it. The fabric was rough against her own calloused skin She hadn't known Robin long, but there was a sense of commodity growing between them.

    Once more she saw Natasha's violet eyes seek her out, and her blood boiled more.

    You are getting angry for no reason, Aevukepe's voice whispered in her ear. A warrior knows to temper them-

    Shut up! You don't understand!
    Renee yelled internally at her armor as her cold eyes stared at Natasha's as they looked away once more. She had no right. No right whatsoever to talk of my imbalance. My damnation. My taint.

    Do you really think she meant to harm you maliciously?

    Shut up!

    Renee knew what the damned armor was saying was true. She knew, unlike her twin, Natasha didn't have a malicious bone in her body. She knew the princess wasn't bothered by it - after all, she had spent many nights snuggled next to Renee sleeping in her arms. Reaching for her for comfort. All while knowing.

    Still ...

    She had no right, Renee thought sullingly to herself as she looked up once more only to narrowly avoid running into the vampire's whore and the drake who had suddenly stopped. She was about to ask why they had stopped moving only to realize a moment later.

    Even though they hadn't quite escaped the woods yet, they had found themselves in front of the wide river. In parts it looked deep, and the current not too strong. Renee took a step forward, pulling Robin along with her as she stood on the banks watching fish swim in the clear water. It looked good enough to drink, but there was one thing Altamirians knew was that you shouldn't drink the water - only death awaited.

    Renee's neck bent backwards as her gaze found itself looking in the sky. The sun was nearing its highest point, and they had been walking for hours. It would be a good time as any to rest.

    Finally she pulled her hand away from Robin and unlatched her knight's cloak before working on taking off Aevukepe. Setting the armor on the ground, she noticed that Natasha had yet to make any movements as she simply stood dumbly at the river. Another wave of anger washed through her and before she could think about what she was doing, she flicked her wrist and the water rose up like a snake and hit the princess square in the chest, knocking her to the ground.

    For her part, Natasha didn't do anything besides raise her hand - now dripping wet - to where Renee had efficiently struck her. Not by her own hand - not technically - but it was close enough. And when those violet eyes found hers before looking away, they spoke more volumes than if she had yelled or cried.

    Renee's breath caught in her throat as what she had done dawned on her. While Natasha was never physically abused - that honor was left to her half-brother - she was emotionally abused. Shunned, ignored, called a monster - all for something she never had quite understood what she did wrong. All for simply being herself.

    Renee always thought she was better than that. That she always accepted the child that the country itself shunned. Looked after her when nobody else would. However, in an act of anger she had shown she was just like everyone. That look in her eyes - it was the same broken one that she had seen when they were children. Worse yet, she had caused it.

    "N-nadia," Renee said as she took a step forward, her nickname from childhood coming to her lips. It cut her like a knife when Natasha scooted back, the air temperature dropping as she clearly got more upset. "Nadia ... I'm sorry. That ... what was wrong of me."

    "It was my fault anyways." It wasn't said in malice, but Renee really wished the quiet words were. It would make the guilt so much easier. "I made you mad. I didn't mean to. I'm sorry."

    "You have nothing to apologize for!" Renee yelled, anger flashing through her. "You fucking IDIOT. Damn it!"

    Her breaths came heavily as her shoulders sagged up and down before she sighed. Dragging her hands across her face, she looked once more at Natasha who was looking at her with her impossibly wide violet eyes as if she would love nothing more to hide and run right now. Water dripped down her face, and if Renee hadn't seen her crying face a million times before she would swear the droplets which stained her cheeks were tears.

    "Come on," she said more gently this time, holding out her hand. "We need to bathe. Pyre and Aevukepe will keep watch."

    Natasha looked at her hand and then at Renee.

    "You're ... not mad at me anymore?"

    "If anything you should be mad at me, but you're too good for that aren't you?" Renee grunted, taking Natasha's hand - which, of course, was red hot. All the same she didn't let go. Especially since she deserved a little pain. "But, no, you dense idiot. I'm not mad at you anymore."

    :heart: Rinn “Arwyn” Nailo drawn by Liah :heart:
    Rakshael: if I know one thing about Ruki, it's that she'll prove you wrong just for the sake of saying she did it
    Characters | The Time Lost | The Rumors We Believe | Ruki's Reviews
  • Cleo sat down carefully as she heard Renee try to comfort...Nadia? She guessed it was probably the brown-haired guy. She wasn't entirely sure what had happened, and once again she swore unholy vengeance against whoever it was that had decided she needed to be blindfolded.

    A part of her thought of jumping in the river, trying to get free from the bandages around her wrists and go back to Mara, but her hands were tied and she wasn't sure if she'd be able to untie them in time. The risk was too high, and for the time being it seemed like none of them wanted to kill her, except for maybe the weirdo little boy. She had time to try to figure out an escape, at the very least.

    "So you're just leaving me here?" she asked the darkness, wondering if any of them were still close enough to hear. "I know I smell nice but that's only going to last so long if you won't let me bathe."
  • Robin watched Renee and Nadie interact with each other for a while, sighing in relief when she didn't have to intervene. She slipped her armor off as well, only leaving her underclothes and chain mail on as she started to slip her bracers off. She glanced over at Cleo momentarily, sighing a little and wishing she could help her out a little more. The risk of her trying to get away was a little too high, so she decided against saying anything at that moment.

    She can bathe once we get to the village, she decided. Hopping into the cool water, she splashed some on Renee playfully.

    "Quit pouting and come join me, you goofs," she teased, her first genuine smile finally coming out and lighting up her face. "We'll talk everything out later, okay?"