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An Unexpected Ally || Fates.Gamble & Amoret

Amoret

Queen of Liebe
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
10
#1
The blade entered Iseabail’s side, ripping through armor and flesh and tearing through organs. Blood flowed and she knew she was dying.

And yet, despite that realization, her thoughts were still with the small band of warriors who'd accompanied her. Glen, Archaius, Conwall. Names that she'd grown fond of over the last two years. Names that no longer belonged to those among the living. She stumbled a step back as her vision began to become hazy, as she began to feel weaker and lighter. Her legs shook as her strength slipped away, and her body ached to lie down for just a few minutes and sleep. Just a little nap... Until she heard a bloodcurdling scream. Her heart dropped as soon as she recognized the voice.

Deidrick.

"We killed the last one of them, Sir! The bastard refused to die peacefully, though I didn't expect anything less from a former Kingsguard. The traitor finally got what he deserved. She's the only one left now."

The remaining soldiers began to gather around her, eight in total. After they'd killed her comrades, she knew that they deemed her easy prey, for she watched them move with assured slowness. Clearly, they also knew she was dying. Knew she couldn't fight much longer. But when her eyes met those of her very dear and precious friend, whose head had been impaled on a spear likely as a trophy and warning to others who would dare question her brother's reign, Iseabail came back to her senses. There was a snap of something cruel inside her, a sharp break of confusion that dug into her sides and caused for a deep frown to crinkle her forehead. A few of the men took a step back at the intensity of her furious gaze, then began to laugh at her cry of pain; which only brought out the telltale rage Iseabail had become famous for. The rage which had saved her life countless of times already.

She raised her blade and swung it. Fast. The steel sang through the air as it swiped through the closest man, separating his head from his neck. His blood slashed across her face and arm. The other soldiers stopped.

"How did she─ Why you─!"

Her life's blood drained from her body and she knew her time grew short. She struggled to breathe, but she'd fight as long as she had breath in her body. Iseabail raised her sword once more, clasping the handle in both hands, and waited for the next attack. Another one of them stepped forward, their leader. She knew that face.

"Lady Iseabail. When I had the men scout this area, I had no idea we would actually find you." She gritted her teeth. Samson Dusmond. One of her brother's many lieutenants and the man who used to appraise her in the most inappropriate sort of ways, even back then when she was only a child.

“Lord Dusmond. I'd really hoped you died.”

Some thought him handsome despite his age, with his ashy blond hair and grey eyes. But she only saw the ugly side of him. Like now, when his lips twisted into an angry snarl. “Preposterous! Because of one woman and a bunch of cheap mercenaries? No, my dear.” She swung her sword at his words and he easily parried the blow. The lieutenant looked back at his men, making sure they were all watching before he killed her. But he left himself open. And one thing her father always taught her? Never let an obvious opportunity pass by. She ran him through with her blade, slamming the steel into his stomach as his head snapped back around to look at her in horror. For good measure, she twisted her sword in his gut, watching in satisfaction as he opened his mouth to scream but left the world with nothing more than a whimper. She yanked her blade out of him and he dropped to the ground. She knew that it was her last kill.

"I'd give my life to see Sadon's face when he hears news of this incident," she got out as the little strength left fled her body and she dropped to her knees, her hands still holding her blood-covered sword. "If I weren’t already dying." She gave a bitter half-smile. "I hope you all will die the most excruciating death possible." She coughed and blood flowed onto her chin and down her burnished steel armor.

This was it. Her final moment.
 
Last edited:

Fates.Gamble

Revendeur de Destin
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
230
Location
Somewhere out there...
#2
Audric silently crept through the brush, his striking blue eyes focused on his prey. Clad in his dark tunic and hunkering down in the foliage, he was all but invisible to the jackrabbit. It remained blissfully unaware while the hunter nocked an arrow and lifted his bow, taking aim. He waited, motionless like stone, until the animal lifted its head and sniffed the air. A heartbeat later and it was over, his arrow sailing through the rabbit’s skull for an instant death. Lowering his weapon, Audric could only manage a weak smile over his success. The rabbit would make for a fine supper but it was less than he was hoping for. Larger game was once plentiful around these woods, but these days he was lucky if he found a healthy doe without venturing several hours out for it; one of the many consequences of the war that continued to rage, spreading its vile poison across the countryside.

After retrieving his kill, Audric retraced his steps, making his way back to where he’d left his horse. Along the way, he couldn’t help but wonder if it was finally time to leave this place behind. It was hardly the time time he’d considered whether to leave Elovalon and return to the far eastern kingdom from whence he came. The debate practically consumed him over the last two years, ever since the ravenous cruelty of their new dictator came to light. In truth, there was nothing left for him here. Yet, something tethered him to this land, keeping him rooted even as it devolved into chaos. He’d spent most of his life in this kingdom, after all. Even as it was ravaged by the flames of war, Elovalon felt more like home than his first home ever had. It wasn’t an easy thing to just up and leave, regardless if it might be for the best. One thing was for certain; he couldn’t stay here lingering in these woods forever. Sooner or later he would have to move on. And judging by how the conflict grew closer by the day it would need be sooner. .

Audric shook his head with a gruff sigh, frustrated by the whole situation. He was no closer to a decision by the time he made it back to his gelding, and continued to mull over it even as he lashed his catch to the saddle and mounted up. For now he decided to make his way home. The lack of game had brought him all the way to the outskirts of the woodnlands, leaving him with a fair ride back; not enough time to hunt anything else down if he expected to make it before sundown. With a little cajoling, they set off at a brisk canter while the trees were still open and sparse enough to allow it. They’d only ventured a short distance however, before the sound of a distant scream broke the silence, catching his attention.

Audric reined in his steed and sat, listening. He wasn’t entirely sure what direction it came from, or whether he’d really heard it at all; as distracted as he was he could easily have just imagined it. But as he strained his ears, he realized that was no the case. It was faint but the murmur of voices was there, along with the unmistakable sound of combat; the symphony of clashing swords. As curious as he was alarmed, Audric determined the direction of he clamor and wheeled his mount around. Shooting through the copse, they quickly broke past the tree line and came to stop upon the crest of a wide ridge. Their vantage point gave them a clear view of the conflict below; though judging by the opposing numbers it looked more like a slaughter.

He watched as eight men circled around a solitary warrior clad in steel. A woman? He wondered, squinting. It was hard to tell from this distance, but she had the look. She also appeared to be wounded, if her sluggish movement was anything to go by. The weight of indecision once again consumed him. The woman he was uncertain of, but he certainly knew the colors of the men who opposed her. Intervening would mean saving her life, yet it could also risk disturbing the delicate life he’d set up. He’d spared no effort to remain hidden here over the last few years. To be discovered now would be most unfortunate. That realization kept him at bay, even as one of the men approached to finish her off. But she wasn’t going down that easy.

Audric looked on in surprise as the soldier was promptly beheaded, downed in one fell stroke as swift as lightning. The sudden turn was enough to set the other men off guard, leaving them to stagger back. Why were they taking their time of it? Why not press their advantage while she was helpless? Either they were poorly trained soldiers, or there was something else about the girl. His answer came when the next man stepped forward. He could just barely hearing their conversation, picking out enough words to make sense of them. Iseabail… He repeated the name in his mind. Surely he heard the name wrong. It certainly couldn’t be that Iseabail, the very thorn Sadon worked so tirelessly to remove.
Even the possibility of it being true changed everything. Audric drove his heels into the flank of of horse, setting him off at a gallop down the ridge’s gentlest slope even as Iseabail lunged at her foe. He was too concerned with the task at hand to see their duel, and luckily Dusmond’s men were too enthralled with it to notice the approaching rider. Like many a foolish swordsman, overconfidence proved his downfall. Arrogance killed the man as much as the sword. Killing the man seemed to take the last of her energy, though. She collapsed and Audric was still much too far away to fend the men off. He urged a burst of speed from his mount and reached for his bow.

One of the men stepped forward to the fallen woman, an ugly sneer on his face. No sooner than the words left her mouth did he kick away her sword; an easy task in her weakened state. His sword drew back an instant later, second away from plunging forward to end her life. Audric’s arrow made it first, buzzing through the air and lodging directly into his throat. With a gurgle, the man stepped forward and dropped to his knees before her. Eyes wide with shock stared at his intended victim with a look of utter confusion before he fell to his back, choking on his own blood for a death every bit as painful as she hoped for. The rest of the men were quick to catch on, their attentions finally brought to the approaching threat.

Audric wasted no time in drawing another arrow and lining up his shot. The charging horse he sat upon rendered it a difficult task, causing his arrow to miss his next target by the fraction of an inch. Cursing, he thought to draw another but as one of the men decided to rush forward, weapon in hand, there wasn’t enough time for a clean shot. He tossed his bow aside, hastily drawing the sword from his hip instead. The sunlight caught his steel as it came free, granting it a hauntingly beautiful appearance before he swung it forward, catching his opponent under the chin. Momentum saw his blade through flesh and bone like warm butter, lopping his head clean off. With two of the enemies dispatched, he pulled hard on the reins, twisting his horse around to stand between the wounded woman and the rest of her enemies.

Audric dismounted quickly, sword in hand as he stood his ground. The challengers watched him with an air of wariness after watching two of their contingent fall. He didn’t look like anything special; wearing the faded clothes of a commoner with scuffed boots and worn gloves. He appeared a far sight more vulnerable than the armor clad soldiers before him. The sword in his hands, however, told a different story. The engraved steel appeared to be of master craftsmanship fit for a king. It wasn’t quite long enough to be considered a longsword, though the extended hilt made it easy to manage with one or two hands alike. The silver pommel was shaped into a form of a snarling wildcat, two small, glittering rubies serving as the eyes. Its wielder bore an expression every bit as fierce as the beast, displaying no fear.

The combatants stared each other down for a long, uncomfortable moment, before the first rushed forward. He waited, watching his opponent and throwing his sword up to parry the blow when the time was right. His enemy rebounded from the failed attempt, cutting at it from the opposite direction this time. This one he met in a deadlock, holding it at bay. With an impressive bout of strength, he pushed forward, causing his opponent to stumble and nearly lose his footing. At the same time he yanked his sword away and attacked at a gap in his armor, near the abdomen. The blade sliced right through, leaving the man howling in agony and clutching his guts as they threatened to spill out.

The next two were a bit smarter, attacking him together instead of letting one man do all the work. Audric met them blow for blow, staying well away from their swords but finding it difficult to take the offensive amid their aggressiveness. Desperation was setting in now that more than half their men were dead or dying. The remaining third stuck close, waiting for an opening as the mysterious swordsmen fended off the other two. His opportunity finally came as Audric was forced to turn around, exposing his back to the man. With a savage cry he dashed forward to run him through. He might have been more successful if he hadn’t been so foolish as to announce himself before attacking.

There was a sudden flash of pale, blue light and the next thing they knew, Audric was gone, disappearing from the spot. The charging enemy ambled to a stop, stupefied as his blade swept through empty space. As quickly as Auric vanished, he reappeared, now standing at his enemy’s rear. The poor soul hardly the time to notice his comrade’s alarmed expressions before a the sword was driven through his back, skewering him all the way through. With a lurch, he ripped his blade out and delivered a hard kick to his victim’s back, throwing him to the dirt to die with the rest. The last two looked like frightened animals after witnessing that little trick; no braver than the rabbit he killed for dinner. Seeing the opportunity, he decided to offer them a chance.

“You don’t have to die,” he said, though the cold expression in his eyes said he could care less if they chose to.

He knew Sadon’s followers better than that, though. If word got out that any of his men had run from a battle or shirked their duties, who knew what consequences they would suffer. And so he was hardly surprised when they came, refusing to back down. He killed the first man easy, one cut instantly severing his sword arm a couple of inches below the elbow. The shock hadn’t set in before the second blow saw the tip of the sword driven right into his face. Audric pulled the blade back out of his victim with a sickening squelch, and swung it around in the same fluid motion, cutting his last enemy’s throat as he came at him from the flank. The sword fell from his hands as he toppled, clutching at gushing wound in vain.

Audric showed no mercy, letting him bleed out as he sheathed his sword and turned his back on him. He approached the injured woman instead, lowering himself down to her level so he could check on her. His eyes swept from her face to the wound at her side. She’d lost a lot of blood already, with plenty more freely painting her armor a shade of scarlet. “You’re not looking so good,” he declared, donning a concerned frown. “I might be able to help, but I’m going to have to get you out of that armor first.” He didn’t give her any time to argue over it, knowing full well she would die if she was too stubborn to accept his assistance. He didn’t even offer so much as his name before he got to work, carefully lifting and supporting her up enough that he could work at the straps holding it in place.

He worked with as much haste as possible without injuring her further, ignoring any and all questions or protests as he quickly removed the bulky apparel. Once it was off he more closely inspected her wound, hitching up her undershirt to get a good view of the gash in her side. He took in a deep breath once he realized just how bad things were. He could slow down the blood loss for now, but the internal damage was far worse than anything he was capable of tending to out here away from all his supplies. Yet if what he heard was true, he couldn’t simply let her die. That was as good as working for the tyrant he despised. Without hesitation, he tore most of the fabric away from one of his sleeves.

“They called you Lady Iseabail…” he started to say, hastily placing the linen to her wound and applying pressure, likely causing her a great deal of pain but keeping her alive just a little longer for it. “That true?” he inquired, his intense eyes watching her carefully. No matter her response, he went on, “Well… whoever you are you’re not going to be around much longer if we don’t do something about this. I think I can repair the damage but the things I’ll need aren’t here, and I doubt you’ll survive the ride like this. If you don’t want to bleed out I’m afraid I’m going to have to cauterize that wound. I can maybe do something about the scarring after… But it’s going to hurt like hell.” It was here choice in the end, and so he gave her the chance to decide. All the while, his mind ran wild over whether this was truly the woman he’d heard so much about. It wasn’t often you heard tell of a woman strong and determined enough to lead a rebellion against one of the most sadistic tyrants of their history. The day might have just turned out far more interesting, far more dangerous than he could have imagined.
 

Amoret

Queen of Liebe
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
10
#3
Izzy braced herself for the final blow. Resolve took shape on her features. She refused to close her hazel eyes and to accept her imminent demise, facing it bravely and stubbornly like the true warrior that she was. She expected to see her ancestors very soon, who’d relieve her of her burdens and who’d welcome her to the next world. The soldier raised his sword and readied himself to strike at her neck. She took in a deep breath and held it as both anxiety and anticipation gnawed at her very being.

And yet—none of it ever happened. The blade never touched her and tore at her skin.

Instead, she became witness to a brutal and highly unexpected conflict. A man, a stranger, had stopped her brother‘s men in time and began to strike them down, one by one. And fight he did. He moved fast. Faster than she’d ever seen a man move before, his skills with a blade unparalleled. He dispatched the soldiers within seconds. While she certainly considered him with awe and a tad bit of envy, she also found herself feeling bitter; she couldn't help but wonder whether her friends' lives could have been saved, had this man showed up sooner.

When he approached her at last, her vision had worsened considerably and it had become difficult for her to see. His features were blurry and she wasn't able to make out his appearance at all. It should have multiplied her unease, given his abilities. Yet strangely enough, she didn't feel scared or threatened by him in the least. Perhaps it was to blame on the fact that she was still very much in the process of dying, with or without her brother's influence.

You’re not looking so good. She would have snorted at his observation if it weren't for the amount of pain which made it nearly impossible for her to speak, much less make a sound. He began to move her and she let him, although every fiber within her damaged body screamed at her to push him away. Every touch caused her immeasurable amounts of pain and occasionally, her cries rang involuntarily over the eerily desolated glen. She'd experienced similar situations before, the countless of scars which covered her body were proof of that. Nothing had been as bad as today though.

By now, it was clear that he wouldn't harm her any further. For now. Hell, he was trying to save her life even, it seemed. Unless this was some kind of a bad joke or scheme, the man was definitely not one of her brother's underlings. He'd proven that much. Suddenly, Iseabail allowed herself to feel something new amidst the chaos.

Hope.

Maybe there was a chance for her to survive this after all, so that she would be able to return to her men out there who were waiting for her. Men who had become her loyal comrades over the last two years; a far cry from the vile, lousy mercenaries Dusmond had accused them of being. On the day of their first meeting, they had attacked a heavily armed caravan coming from Loadán Isle on a whim. Its cargo had been Izzy herself, dressed in white bridal clothes and chained to the horse she rode, her destiny to be the unwilling bride for some noble in another city. Once the attack began, one of the men had released her and told her to escape. She didn’t. Instead she took up a sword and fought. Fought, in fact, like a demon sent from the gods of hate and revenge, her rage a mighty sight to behold. By the time the girl had finished, she stood among the headless remains of those she killed, her white gown completely covered in blood. On that day the men had given her the name Iseabail the Bloody and, as much as she hated it, the name stuck. They returned with her to their encampment, but no one knew what to do with her. The women of the camp shunned her. She frightened them and she turned out to be completely useless with anything domestic. But she possessed information on her brother. She knew where to attack and when. She knew his strengths and his weaknesses. And she wanted nothing more than to destroy him. Soon she brought in the financial assistance of other regions. No one wanted Sadon in power longer than necessary. If his sister could stop him, she would have their loyalty; or so it went. She protected their borders and the rebellion's troops grew.

Remembering this, her cause, Izzy called upon all the strength that she could and reached out for the man's collar, pulling him down to her until their noses almost touched.

She chose life. She always would, until she'd fulfilled her task.

"I don't care about some bloody scarring, Knight. Do what you must."

Soon after, she lost consciousness.
 

Fates.Gamble

Revendeur de Destin
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
230
Location
Somewhere out there...
#4
As things were, Audric wasn’t entirely sure he could save the woman. While his master taught him some small measure of healing it was never one of his strong points. Slight injuries were simple enough, but Iseabail was just barely hanging on. It felt like she could fade away at any moment; in fact, he half expected her to. Instead, something ignited within her, filling her gaze with fire and defiance. Audric was taken by surprise when she snatched his collar and pulled him close, leaving their faces just inches apart. The sudden action had him reaching for the hilt of his sword on instinct, but that determined look in her eye kept him from drawing it. Even at the end she appeared to be every bit the fighter her reputation made her out to be. It was a wonder she even had the strength left; that wound might have already killed a lesser man.

When she spoke, Audric couldn’t help but smirk at the bold declaration. If her words were anything to go by she might just prove too stubborn to die after all. His fingers curled around the hilt of his blade as she made her choice without hesitation. Suffering a gruesome burn was undoubtedly preferable to death, though all too many feared the pain too much to admit it. “I’m no knight,” he told her plainly, still meeting her gaze, “But you’re a brave one, aren’t you?” Without another word, he drew his sword. As the silvery metal slid free of its scabbard it reflected an eerie orange glow. For a moment it looked as though it had only caught the sunlight, until the magic was unleashed in full. In a burst of heat, a tongue of flame erupted, snaking its way down from the hilt all the way to the pointed tip. Audric saw the reflection of fire in Iseabail’s eyes just before they rolled back into a state of unconsciousness.

Audric caught her before she collapsed to the ground, careful to keep his flaming sword at a distance. Gingerly, he lowered her to the ground, setting her at a position where he could attend to her injury. It was a lucky thing she passed out before what came next; assuming the pain didn’t manage to wake her up screaming. If so, hopefully there were no other soldiers in the area to hear her. Either way, he had to move quick. Using his free hand, he firmly held her down and in place, making sure she couldn’t jolt up and make things worse should the pain prove bad enough. That done, he lifted the burning sword and pressed the flat of his blade against then open wound.

The searing hot metal seethed against her skin, burning away any corruption and closing the rent flesh in exchange for a terrible burn. It stopped the bleeding though, which was all that mattered for now. It would buy her time, at least, but whether or not she lived depended greatly on how fast he could get her through these woods. As such, he wasted no time in departing. He left her just long enough to ready the horse, retrieving both his bow and her sword from where they’d fallen in the scrap. Her sword he returned to its rightful place, through strapped it to the saddle so as not to burden her with the weight. Regrettably they’d have to leave the remnants of her armor behind. It would be too heavy for his gelding when considering the weight of two riders; though considering it was now damaged from the sword meant to end her life, hopefully it would be no great loss to her.

Lastly, he went to Iseabail and carefully gathered her into his arms. He was as gentle as possible in hefting her up, and into the saddle. It took a little finagling, but he managed to keep her astride the horse long enough to pull himself up behind her. No sooner than he was mounted did they set off, hooves thundering through the glen and back into the anonymity of the trees. Audric rode hard and fast, taking the most direct route possible, which saw them arriving at the cottage in record time. Iseabail was barely clinging to life by the time he got her settled inside, leaving him very little time to gather what he needed. He got to work with all due haste, silently hoping he remembered enough of his lessons to save her…


Several hours later Audric found himself kneeling by the hearth, casting a glance at his unexpected patient. Even now Iseabail lay in deep repose, her waist bandaged with his work long since finished. While he was confident the danger had passed, he couldn’t be certain until she woke. It wasn’t often he had cause to work healing magics, and never had he done so with such a dire wound. It was hard not to second guess himself, but if he did everything right there would no trace of the injury by the time she recovered. But the healing salve would need time to do its work, and as such rest was the best thing for her now; even if such a coma left him uncertain of her fate.

He managed to keep busy in the meantime, occupying himself with supper while she slept. The energy it took to heal her left him weary and sluggish, but he still find time to clean the jackrabbit and cook up a hearty stew. It filled the little cabin with an earthy aroma, blending in with the myriad other herbs and ingredients he stored around his home. The smell of cooking food brought his stomach to growl, but he couldn’t be bothered by hunger right now. His thoughts were running wild, his mind full with all the implications of what happened. Not only was he concerned for her well being, but also what saving her meant. All the while he kept thinking back to the scene of that battle, wondering how long it would be before more of Sadon’s men happened upon it; how long it would take before they realized where Iseabail the Bloody had been spirited away?
 
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