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An Unexpected Ally || Fates.Gamble & Amoret

Amoret

Queen of Liebe
Joined
May 8, 2019
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.
 
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Fates.Gamble

Revendeur de Destin
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Location
Somewhere out there...
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
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
Location
Somewhere out there...
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?
 

Amoret

Queen of Liebe
Joined
May 8, 2019
For a while, she felt as though she was laying in darkness. A place, where she wasn’t able to see, hear or sense anything at all. Her body didn’t seem quite like her own anymore and instead, a sense of numbness had settled over it. Breathing, too, didn’t come easy to her, as if something heavy was weighing down on her and sought to choke her to death, little by little.

A single, simple thought occurred to her then.

Was this… it? Had she—finally died?

Iseabail would have laughed bitterly if she could, but like the rest of her body, her lips refused to move. Granted, she’d been foolish enough in the first place to believe that she would receive peace at least after her death. There was no warmth or comforting light here, no ancestors who waited for her and longed to embrace her. Of course not.

She never had much of a family to begin with. Her mother had been a servant at the royal castle and caught the king‘s attention due to her remarkable beauty. Upon finding out that she was with child however, she left the castle in an attempt to protect her babe from the cruel ways of the royal family. But to no avail. The princess was twelve when they finally found her, Sadon sixteen. It had been impossible to hide or deny her evident ties to the king, for she was the spitting image of her father. They both had strikingly golden brown hair, and their eyes, too, were almost identical: A mesmerizing combination of amber and green, with curious golden flecks towards the pupil. Iseabail was certainly as beautiful as her mother, with an angelic face that was lined with a stubbornness that made some of the contours harsh, though. Her nose was aristocratically straight and her chin decidedly sharp. In comparison, Sadon looked more like the late queen, with his raven hair and eyes the color of dry blood.

The two notorious half siblings weren't able to stand each other from the very start. Upon her arrival at the castle, not a peaceful day had passed wherein Sadon came up with ways to make her life miserable. Every time he caused her grief, she would return the favor tenfold. Their father was always highly displeased by this and made sure to let them know of it. His beatings were brutal, and even after her father had died around two years ago, his name alone was still able to invoke a sense of fear in her; and Iseabail wasn't afraid of a lot.

She was losing herself in a sea of dreadful memories, until all of a sudden—they vanished. Completely.

The darkness around her, too, dissipated and her senses came back to her as well. Instead, she began to dream. Of a beautiful man. Tall, powerful, and strong of body. Standing over her, he would wipe her brow and softly whisper that she would live. Again and again. Long ago, she gave up hope that she’d ever find a man she could love and respect. The warriors at her brother’s castle were brutish, rude, and often brainless. By the time she escaped and went on to lead her army, she’d become almost dead inside. Over the two years she led the rebellion, a few of her men had showed her some interest... until something made her angry. Then they all seemed to drift away. This man was different though. She wondered where she’d created this dream lover from. Had she ever seen the man before? Perhaps in one of the towns or villages that aided her troops? Or perhaps she created him from her own imagination. She knew not.

But whenever his kisses grew more fervent and she reached out for him, he pulled away from her. It was as frustrating to her as it was arousing. She grasped after him one last time—and found herself face down on the floor in the twinkling of an eye.

“Ooompf—”

A loud thud followed her clumsy descend from the bed. Izzy gasped for air as she rolled herself on her back. Whereas she’d felt close to nothing before, she abruptly felt overwhelmed by stimuli. Usually when she woke up, she was used to feeling sore, either because she’d been training or fighting the day prior. Not pain. At least not this kind of pain.

Her eyes snapped open and she realized that she wasn’t inside her usual tent. Memories of the last fight against her brother’s men and Dusmond flooded her mind and she let loose of a frustrated whimper while covering her face. She'd failed. She'd failed to protect her men, and she'd failed to protect herself. Then she froze altogether when she realized that this wasn’t the glen anymore either. That there had been someone else, aside from her brother's troops, who had been present at the scene. She removed her scarred hands and immediately began to study her surroundings, panic swelling inside her ample chest.

Where was her sword?

"Where—," she trailed off, horrified at how parched she sounded.

Where the hell was she?
 
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Fates.Gamble

Revendeur de Destin
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Location
Somewhere out there...
Audric couldn’t remember the last time he felt so lethargic; not since the early days of his training with Eseld, most likely. A bittersweet smile crept across his face as he thought of his late master. While the healing magic had certainly left him weary, few things in life were as exhausting as her stringent upbringing. There had been many a painful lesson, as Eseld’s sink-or-swim approach didn’t leave much room for failure, nor excuses. Having arrived at the end result, Audric could only look back on the experience with fondness, now. Every step of hardship had proven worth it in the end, and he knew his teacher would be proud to see how far he’d come. Bringing a woman back from the grips of death was no easy feat. Of course, he wouldn’t be certain of that until she woke, but her chances seemed better with each passing moment. She’d clung on to life for this long, and chances were Iseabail the Bloody wasn’t about to stop fighting anytime soon.

He rested in a large armchair near the fire, basking in its warmth with a paltry bowl of rabbit stew sitting untouched in his hands. However much he would have liked to cast away his worries, he had trouble directing his thoughts anywhere else. Though, now he wasn’t as concerned with Iseabail’s survival as he was over the implications of it. This could only mean one thing: The War had now fallen right on his doorstep, or more specifically, into his feather bed. Everything had changed on a whim; No longer could he linger on indecision, casually debating whether to stay or leave. Even so, it felt like a more impossible choice than ever before now that the rebel queen herself was sheltered beneath his roof.

He leased a heavy sigh, partly out of weariness but mostly out of frustration. Audric had worked so hard to remain out of this conflict thus far, but now… Now even if he fled back home Sadon’s displeasure was likely to follow him across the sea. Their ill-tempered dictator had all but won the war once that blade was driven into her side. Audric had outdone all that the moment he stumbled across that battle scene. Once Sadon learned this, it would not be forgotten. It had been quite some time since Audric had any cause for fear, but he felt a touch of it creeping in now. No matter what happened; no matter what he would decide, the overbearing weight of one, solid fact kept him on edge: Everything would change now.

Perhaps it’s a good thing, he tried convincing himself. After all, he’d been living alone out in these woods for so long now, and truth be told he was beginning to feel a bit stagnate. Well there’s nothing for it now, Audric decided. He couldn’t very well make a decision while Iseabail was still in his care. Once she was well enough to see her off, that’s when he could determine what to do next. If Sadon’s men don’t follow the trail of corpses and find us here first, anyway…

Audric at least tried to set his concerns aside for now, and focused on his meal instead. The dour thoughts had done a fine job of sapping away his hunger, but the food was sorely needed after expending such effort today. He savored what he could of the stew, dreaming of the venison he could have had were his fortunes just a tad bit better. But as long as he had a meal, who was he to complain? Most were left to starve amid this country’s turmoil. The warm broth helped to lift his spirits some, though he didn’t so much as make it half way through the stew before a loud thud from across the hovel had him practically jumping out of his skin.

The swordsman was on his feet in seconds, stew forgotten as a hand sprang to his hip, where his sword should have been. He’d been so caught up in his thoughts of soldiers coming to visit that it was easy to forget he was within the safety of his own home. Audric berated himself for the jumpy nature, especially upon realize what, or rather who, had caused the disturbance. He found Iseabail sprawled out on her back across the floor, looking awake and alert at last, if a bit toppled and confused. She scarcely had time to utter out the question, her voice dreadfully hoarse, before their eyes met. It was hard to look anywhere else once he was trapped by the blended hues of her gaze.

“It’s alright,” he told her, stirring himself to action and coming forward to help her. “You’re safe here… If you can stop rolling out of bed anyway.” Kneeling down beside her, Audric helped her back up, firmly coaxing her back onto the bed. “Take it easy, I didn’t do all that hard work saving your life just so you could undo it all. You need to rest.”

As quick as he was there, he was gone, sweeping away before she could so much as get a word in edgewise. He returned a short time later though, bearing a small goblet of water for her. He handed it over, giving her a moment to quench her thirst. “Well I’m not sure whether to call you lucky or unlucky,” he admitted once she was satiated. “Do you remember what happened? You were pretty close to gone when I found you...”It took some effort not to barrage her with his own questions; such as how many more of Sadon’s men might be in the area, or whether their battle plans included the potential of razing everything around his home to the ground… Now wasn’t the time to badger her about complicated matters. Instead, he let his concern take place of the curiosity.

“You should heal rather quickly, but it will still take some time before you’re well enough to get up and about, I’m afraid. If you’re in pain I’ve got something that might help. Terribly bitter, though. I’ve some food as well, if you think you can keep it down.”
 
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