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Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/11/2017 4:54 AM

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"Hey, are you alright?"

She opened her eyes, blinding rapidly in the bright sunlight. A figure was bent over her, its face in shadow.

"Are you alright?" The figure spoke again, crouching down lower.

She turned her head slightly, taking in the concerned features of the man. He was balanced on the balls of his feet, dark eyes shaded with worry. She was on her back, she realized, lying on dirt and dead leaves. There were trees above them, and a shaft of sunlight snuck its way through the canopy to shine directly on her face.

She shifted and heard a clanking noise. She glanced down, and saw that both her ankles and her wrists were cuffed, with thick, heavy chains attached to them. Another chain attached itself to a metal collar around her neck.

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Last edited by Kestrel on 06/13/2017 2:49 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/11/2017 4:57 AM

She hissed and began clawing desperately at the cuffs, ignoring the resulting pain that came stabbing up her limbs. The man reached out and grabbed her hands.

"Hey, hey, stop that, you’ll tear your skin. It’s okay, we can find another way to-"

The words died in his throat as a great dark cloud of energy gathered itself between her hands.

"What are you-"

She let the energy loose, and it blew open her left ankle cuff.

"What the…"

The man edged away slightly, but she was too preoccupied to notice. She summoned another energy ball and broke the second ankle cuff. She winced. She had hit exposed skin, and blood was oozing out and coating the broken metal.

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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/11/2017 5:01 AM

For the wrist cuffs, she gathered energy in just the opposite hand—less than for the ankles—and broke those as well. Blood began dripping from her wrists, but she ignored it, and instead tilted back her head, baring the remaining unbroken metal around her neck. Magic started gathering in her palms, but the man stepped forward and took ahold of her wrist.

Looking intently into her eyes, he said, "Hey, no, you don’t want to do that. You'll hurt yourself. There’s a lock on this one, see. We can pick the lock." He gripped her wrist tighter, voice soft.

She stared up into his eyes, and slowly, she relaxed her hands. They fell back to her side as the energy between them dissipated.

"There we go. It’s gonna be fine."

"Who are you?" Her voice came out cracked, dry.

"My name’s Zefiyron." He smiled. "What about you?"

A pause. She looked up towards the sky.

"Sotani."

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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/11/2017 4:58 PM

Zefiyron helped Sotani slowly remove the broken cufflinks. The sight of the open wounds under and next to them--some caused by force from the breaking metal, some a result of her energy balls, or whatever they were--made him shudder. They would need to dress those wounds, and fast. And he had no idea what kind of magical damage might be infused in them.

He helped her sit up, supporting her back as she rose. Her clothes were dirty and torn, and her feet were bare. They'd have to find her new things to wear, too. She wouldn't make it far in the jungle otherwise.

"We're going to need to get some medical help." He glanced off towards Nu'san Temple. "There's a temple with monks nearby. They should have medical supplies and clothes."

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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/11/2017 5:20 PM

He looked back at Sotani to see that she hadn't been paying attention. Instead, she seemed to be fiddling with one of the cuffs they had just removed. As he watched, she blasted apart the connecting link between the chain and the cuff. Gingerly taking the chain in one hand, she carefully removed the broken link. She then repeated this for the other three chains. Her shoulder length white hair--so white, it looked like all the color had been drained out of it--screened her face from his view as she worked.

When she finished, she grabbed the ends of all four chains and coiled them around her arm. She lined up the remains of the cuffs and, using her magic, disintegrated them. When she was done, there was no trace on the forest floor that they had ever existed--not even a scorch mark to mark where they had lain.

She stood up. She turned to Zefiyron and smiled then, the first smile he saw from her. But it was a strange smile, almost a dangerous one, and the dead expression in her black eyes only added to its eerieness. He involuntarily took a step back.

"Okay," she said, voice unsettlingly normal. "I'm ready now."

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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/13/2017 6:28 PM

Zefiyron collected himself. She seemed a little strange, sure, and he couldn't imagine why she'd want to keep those chains--not to mention why she'd seemed to be petting them...but it didn't change the fact that she needed medical help, and clothes, and someone to remove that last cuff. He could tell it was chafing at her neck, and she seemed to flinch every time her chin or her fingers touched it.

He returned her smile, albeit with a touch of hesitation. "Alright. We're headed this way." He motioned towards a path that lay just a few feet away. He had been headed down it, away from the temple, when he had spotted Sotani.

The temple was half an hour away, perhaps. Maybe he'd learn more about her history on their way back. There had been no one around when he had seen the figure lying off in the trees, and those chains certainly made him worried about what she had recently been through.

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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/14/2017 12:56 AM

She didn't move, but continued smiling at him in the same way as before. He stopped and looked at her more closely. A small shiver ran up his spine. Even though her dark, dark eyes were looking straight at him, he couldn't help but feel like she wasn't really looking at him, or really at anything, at all.

He took a few steps forward, but she made no move to follow him, so he reached out to hold her unchained wrist. "Here, I'll show you-"

He stopped as she jerked her wrist away and hissed at him, fury flowing into her expression. She cradled her wrist--the one he had touched--against her chest, the chains looped around her other arm clanking.

Taken aback, Zefiyron held his hands up. "I'm...I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I won't touch you again." His voice had shot up higher in pitch, nervous as he was.

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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/14/2017 1:03 AM

It seemed to do the trick. Sotani dropped her wrist and the anger faded from her features, to be replaced with the creepy smile and the empty eyes from before. She took a step forward, heading towards the path he had indicated before. Thoroughly confused, Zefiyron followed behind her.

As they walked through the trees, Sotani blasting through the undergrowth as needed (He felt himself wincing in sympathy for the plants every time she did so. Surely that wasn't necessary; she could always push them aside instead.), Zefiyron stared at her back and wondered. Honestly, she had seemed pretty normal for a while, when he had first found her. Traumatized, maybe. Lost and desperately in need of help, sure. But now? Now, he just couldn't make sense of her behavior. He had touched her before, after all, her wrists in particular. She had looked at him, really looked at him, dark eyes full of expression, desperation. Now, her eyes were just empty.

Zefiyron sighed, and adjusted the pack on his shoulders. Maybe she was going into shock from blood loss. He didn't know much about medicine, but that seemed like a reasonable explanation. All the better that they were getting her to help, then, he supposed.

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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/18/2017 9:40 PM

A hot wind blew through the jungle, and Sotani's chains clanked against each other. It was entirely out of place, amidst the rustling of leaves and the squawking and singing of birds. In front of him, she stopped abruptly, and Zefiyron bumped into her. She turned, eyes full of rage, lips still upturned into a nasty smile. Zefiyron took several hasty steps back, apologizing profusely.

The expression fell out of her eyes, and he watched as she wound the dangling ends of her chains around her arm a few more times. He was glad that they wouldn't be rattling against each other the whole way back, he supposed, but the length of all four chains made it so that her entire left arm was hidden by the metal. There was a sizable bulge at her wrist, too, and he could tell it bothered her whenever it bumped against her leg.

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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/19/2017 1:31 AM

They had reached the path pretty quickly and were making good time, but Sotani was leaving a trail of blood in her wake. Zefiyron chewed on his lip and reached a hand back to touch the wood of his bow. This close to the temple, there shouldn't be any swarm lurking about, but nothing attracted their attention quicker than blood. He glanced around, eyeing the gaps in the trees apprehensively.

"Can you shoot?" Sotani asked, surprising him. He turned to her and noticed that she had slowed to walk beside him. She was still smiling, but it had lost some of its edge.

He gave her a small smile back. "Yeah, I have since I was little. My mother taught me. She...was an excellent huntress."

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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/19/2017 1:39 AM

Sotani nodded, but was silent. She turned her head forward again. Zefiyron noticed that she was fiddling with the ends of one of her chains. Every so often, she would twitch and look about.

"There shouldn't be any swarm about," he said, striving to keep his voice soft and comforting. "Not this close to the temple."

She looked at him, eyes blinking rapidly. "I'm not worried about swarm."

"Oh, I...just assumed, since you were asking if I could shoot and you kept looking around..." His voice trailed off as Sotani continued to stare at him.

She turned away again. "It's good you're not useless."

Zefiyron frowned at that. "Gee...thanks, I guess?"

Sotani sent him a small, small smile, at that. This one reached her eyes, and Zefiyron felt his shoulders relax ever so slightly. He wanted more smiles like that.

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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/19/2017 2:54 AM

He dropped into a more casual stride (he hadn't realized how tense he'd been before), and grabbed an arrow out of his quiver. He ran his fingers along the wood and glanced at Sotani.

"I grew up in a small, rural village, see. There was plenty of game in the forests around us, and most of us children learned to shoot at a young age. It was a nearly essential skill. My mother was one of the best." Zefiyron smiled, eyes turned down. "I mostly use my bow for killing swarm these days. There's so many of them, everywhere."

Sotani didn't respond, and the two lapsed into silence as they continued to walk down the path.

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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/20/2017 3:23 PM

The next twenty minutes passed mostly in silence, the noises of the rainforest only interrupted every few minutes by a question from Zefiyron to Sotani, and (occasionally) a response. The gray stone of the temple slowly emerged out of the trees. Zefiyron brightened at the sight. The blood running from Sotani's wrists and legs had slowed, but still hadn't stopped, and he was getting a little bit worried about the quantity.

"We're here," he said, turning to her and smiling.

The monks at the entrance greeted them warmly, welcoming them into the temple's courtyard.

"She's injured," Zefiyron said, motioning towards Sotani's cuts. "And we were hoping you might be able to help? Sorry to impose."

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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/20/2017 3:29 PM

The monks shushed away his apology, and one of them stepped forward.

"Come this way please. We can tend to your wounds further in the temple," he said, a serene smile on his face.

Sotani glanced at Zefiyron. He frowned at the panic in her eyes. Her ever-present smile had dropped, until just the corners of her mouth were ever so slightly lifted. She had been a bit twitchy ever since they'd been able to see the temple, but he couldn't understand why.

"Hey, it's okay," he said, voice soft. "They can stop the bleeding and bandage the cuts. They're very gentle, and very nice. You don't have to worry."

There was no lessening of panic, but she took two slow steps towards the monk, nevertheless.

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Re: Here Be Monsters [P]

Postby Kestrel » 06/20/2017 3:35 PM

Zefiyron figured it'd be best if he went with her. Despite their kind faces and the warm, calming atmosphere of the temple, she seemed ill at ease. Perhaps having a somewhat-familiar face around would help. Also, he really didn't want her overreacting and releasing any energy bolts. The temple was beautiful, and the monks here were so kind and lovely, and he really didn't want any of it damaged.

The monk led them through the courtyard and into the main door of the temple. Inside, the ceiling above them arched high overhead, shafts of light falling in through the many slits in the roof. Zefiyron had asked about rain, before, but the monks had simply smiled and explained that rain in their main mediation room was very welcome. Rain brought life and peace. It cooled and eased the mind, washing away dark thoughts and ugly emotions. When it rained, all the monks of the temple came to this room and meditate and to be cleansed.

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