Fate - First Reply A Desert Rose

A 1x1 Roleplay where the first writer to respond can join


Fkn Weapon
Character Biography
The bedouin canvas stretched high above the small arena in the ruins of the Forbidden City. While it may have cut back some on the harsh sun of Amol-Kalit, it did nothing to actually cool the air. And arena was a generous term. Just a large square patch with some rugs piled across the blistering sand. Tribesmen and women sat on cushions surrounding the square space, yelling and waving their hands. Sand-elven eyes flashed between wrappings as they too, were dispersed among the crowds taking bets and placing wagers.

And Riley found herself smack-dab in the middle of it all. Dark-hair braided back. Olive-skin already glistening in the heat. Right about now she really missed the Cortosi Coast. She even missed Prince Arwyl and his snooty-hoity-toity orders. But here she was, fighting for coin. She bounced lightly on her feet, trying to keep herself loose as she waited to see who would step into the space to be her opponent. It was a strict no-weapons match. First to knock the other out won.

No one ever said magic wasn't allowed, though.
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Reactions: Crux
People had certainly called Crux insane before, and he was beginning to think maybe there was some validity to those claims now that he'd sought out what remained of the Forbidden City of his own volition. The wandering demon-hunter hadn't had much luck lately, not after that nasty little encounter with the nest of Dread-Heads in Alliria. That encounter had left him nearly dead, and even once he'd regained his health his powers were still totally out of whack.

So here he was, about to throw hands with what looked to be a frail young woman already sweating under the heat of the Kalit sun. A prod to his back from one of the sand-elves running the racket was a reminder for him to get a move on, and the raven-haired ex-slave turned his head to offer him a sweet grin. "Yeah, yeah. I'm going, sweetheart."

Crux stepped out from the little patch of shade cast by the cloth they'd placed to keep the fresh meat from overheating before their match, unhooking what was left of his cloak from his body and tossing it aside. He just needed to put this lady down as fast as he could, and then the money could last him a few months, at least until he found another job or a lead.

Standing across from her, murmurs from the crowd began rumbling as the tribespeople anticipated the upcoming spat. Crux met her gaze, stretching his arms out before stepping back into a ready position. "Let's get this over with, lady. I'm not thrilled about being here any more than you are."

Though anything was better than the Blightlands, he supposed.

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Reactions: Riley
Hazels caught the light with flecks of gold and a promise of violence in them. Even before he finished addressing her, she was moving fast. This lady was as scrappy as a dune cat. Weight tipped forward on the balls of her feet. Small but powerful sharp fists went for a quick one-two pummel toward his lower-side.

If anything hit it was less about the power behind her punches this time. It was more to feel her opponent out. How fast he moved. How strong he was.

If fighting was like a dance, she was taking the moment to get to know her dance partner.
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Reactions: Crux
She didn't say a damned thing, just came at him like a wild lynx. She was a speedy one, too; there was only a second and change between the shifting of her body and her fists slamming into the side of his stomach. Her blows landed, causing him to take a quick few steps back. The meager crowd let out some impressed 'ooh's with that one. No, it didn't hurt much, but Crux had a feeling she was just testing him.

If she wanted to play games, she came to the wrong place. "Cheeky, aren't you?" He spat through clenched teeth, more to himself than to her.

Crux pushed back, boots digging against the rugs on the sand as he brought his left fist forward to fly towards her cheek. Whether it connected or not, he would take another quick step forward, bringing his knee up towards her gut. Maybe this would be a little more fun than he'd expected, he hadn't had a half-decent fight in a while.

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She bobbed backwards but it wasn't fast enough as his fist connected with the side of her chin.


Once having survived the tortures of the Anirian Academy before she could escape, she was no stranger to it. It was like an old friend. And for a moment, she was brought back to that snowy courtyard where she'd been locked to a post in the yard to survive the brunt of winter with nothing but a thin sheet on. The spikes the ice felt like they left on her skin reminded her of the spreading numbness across one side of her face.

"Ya gobshyte."

Luckily, the blow made her sidestep, missing that knee of his to her gut even as she tasted the iron tang of blood in her mouth. As his leg was up she tried to capitalize on his stance, planting her forward foot and bringing her other up for a roundhouse kick to the hip that already had that leg of his in the air. And if her kick connected or if it didn't, she'd go for a right-hook to one of his ears.
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Girl could take a punch, he had to give her that. She sidestepped into it like she'd done it a hundred times. The fact that it made him miss actually brought a little smile to his lips. This was fun, especially considering he wasn't going to be eaten alive if he lost.

There was nothing quite like the feeling of landing a solid hit on somebody, and while Crux usually didn't make a habit out of roughing up women, he didn't feel so bad when it was pretty obvious this one knew what she was doing. Landing a punch gave him a good idea of how tough she was, and he could feel more power beneath the surface.

"Talk dirty, by all means."

Considering his usual fare, getting called a gobshyte was almost comforting to him. What wasn't as cozy was the foot that dug into his hip, his weight causing him to spin and bring his leg back down unsteadily. This wasn't his first scrap either though, and he ducked down before she could give him a kiss goodnight, spinning the rest of the way around and bringing a fist up from underneath in an attempt to uppercut her.
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She spit out a glob of blood as he spoke, her foot slid back to the ground after it knocked him off balance. She was close to him now, nearly next to him and as he spun with his fists aiming up toward the underside of her jaw. She'd go to grapple the crook of his elbow and forearm, even as she slowed down his fist from connecting with as much power as he had against the underside of her jaw, she still felt there would be a nasty bruise spreading across her olive skin as it thumped against the bottom side of her chin.

She'd go to tuck around herself, not letting go of her grip on his arm as she used her lower center of gravity to try and flip him over her shoulder and onto the ground at her feet.
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His blow didn't land as flush as he would have liked, thanks to the grip on his arm she'd snatched. Still, a hit was a hit, and those added up nicely over time. Crux smirked down at her, face mere inches from her own demure features before she spun herself around and tried to throw him. Relentless, like a damned wildcat after a fresh meal. She actually didn't fight to unlike him.

She succeeded in throwing him too, not because the move caught Crux off guard. (It didn't.) But because to try and resist would just risk hurting his arm, and it wasn't easy to punch people without those puppies. At the very least, he could use it to his advantage, angling himself so he rolled over her on his back before bringing his feet under him and rolling to the floor, using his weight to pull her down with him.
There was something familiar about his face. One who wasn't shy of violence. Someone who'd seen horrible things. Someone who wanted to win.

Just. Like. Her.

And like him, she didn't fight the pull. She went with it suddenly slamming against him. She'd try to throw an elbow into his gut as she fell. Then her knees would straddle him as she pushed upward over him and balled the fingers of her right hand into a fist for a quick jab to his face. Hoping to punch that smirk right off his stormy-mormy face.
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Quite an auspicious showing for this girlie, wasn't it? Crux hadn't had a good rough n' tumble in ages, everything was always spell-slinging and nasty pointed teeth. What had started out as work was turning into something he found himself not too opposed to, even if her elbow dug into his stomach like the blunt end of an axe.

She climbed on top of him, glaring down at him with a fire in her eyes as she began to rain down punches, her solid fists leaving some angry bruises on Crux's already blemished face. The crowd was beginning to rise, sensing that she'd gotten the upper hand on him, and the climax of the fight was approaching. And if Crux just laid there and took it for much longer it would have been over.

That wouldn't have been any fun though, would it?

So when she brought down another hook, Crux caught it by the wrist with one hand, pulling her down and hooking his other arm around her neck. To the spectators, it probably look like he'd just pulled her into the hug, but Riley would feel something quite different, feel herself getting... not tired, but exhausted.

"Feels like you have a little bit of magic floating around in here, mind if I have some?"
Even though her knuckles were starting to ache and bruise with each hit she got on him, she didn't slow her speed. Until his hand snaked around and grabbed her wrist. Her free hand quickly wrapped around the wrist of that arm that went around her neck even as she went down against his chest. The side of her face turned against his chin.

Her legs strained as she pushed against the sandy-rugged floor.

And then his voice and magic.

"You fuking muppet," she growled as she felt him drinking her energy away like she was a fine red wine. If she didn't do something, she'd be a goner in a matter of seconds. In one final heave, her hips bucked upward and her fingers would suddenly go to twist and try to snap that wrist of his. Her teeth even crunched forward going to bite whatever was in range.
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This was all just so damned romantic that Crux almost fell bad about the fresh magic he felt coursing through his veins. Just as he'd thought, she had a fair bit hidden away that she'd been saving for a rainy day. Hell, he almost took offense that she hadn't felt the need to bust any of it out on him. Then again he supposed he'd held out on her too, just a little bit.

She struggled against him, pushing her head into his chin and pushing up against the floor as she tried to break free, snarling up at him with a cute little pet name. "You signed up for this, doll. Don't give me shit." He barked back, a sharp hiss of pain escaping his lips as she bit down on his neck, just under his jaw as she yanked the wrist draining her so hard that he felt the bone crack.

"You little..." His hand released its grip on her, the arm hooked around her neck tried to pull itself free of her grasp.
A bloody smile flashed at him as she twisted free and rolled off to the side, pulling herself up into a crouch. If she didn't look scrappy before, she certainly did now. Bruises mottled her olive skin. His blood dripped over her lips. Sweat-moistened hair stuck to her skin wildly along with some of that desert sand.

Gods, she didn't even think Kaius had seen her quite like this. Although, she'd been close the day they'd met.

"Go to sleep ya mook," she growled and reached forward. The magic he hadn't took she funneled into a burst of telekinesis power aimed to lift his body into the air to slam it back into the ground. And nothing was personal. She needed to win this fight so she could get the coin she needed to track down the one who had taken the kids from camp.

So she could go back to Kaius.

So she could get out of this hellhole.
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Realistically, Crux was far from finished fighting; he was bloodied, battered, and being lifted into the air by the strange girl's magic, but it was nothing he couldn't or hadn't handled in the past. No, the problem lay in the fact that getting out of this situation would require him to draw out some of his own untapped energies, and doing something like that with all these eyes on him was... inadvisable.

Crux's magic wasn't typical. If he showed a glimpse of what he held within him, it would cause trouble. These people would want him dead. This wasn't a life or death situation; Crux didn't believe for a moment that this woman aimed to have him dead. That taken into account, it wasn't worth it.

He closed his eyes, and braced for impact before hitting the floor with a solid thud. A reverberation of pain sent shockwaves through his body, the wind squeezed from his lungs like paste from a tube.

The crowd roared, and he heard a dull voice declaring Riley the winner.


He'd remember that name.

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Fingers clenched in tight fists and chest heaved as he lay on the ground. Even as they declared her the winner, she didn't take her eyes off his prone form. She didn't know what she expected. A second wind. Him faking it?

She'd had too much experience to take her eyes off a fight or think it was done prematurely.

And she'd be lying if a teeny-part of her was surprised at how quickly that ended. But the crowd rushed in, cutting off her view. The hot wind of the desert swept across her bruised, cut, and sweaty face. They cheered, one grabbing her arm to hold it up as a victor.

"Fuk it. Hands off and I can raise my own arm, yah got it?" A cold-glare at the one holding her wrist up who quickly dropped it and stepped back. Another came up, offering her a coin purse, which she quickly took and shoved inside the relative safety of her clothing.

She stalked out of the fighting ring quickly, sticking to the pockets of shade the surround small village of tents provided as she wound her way further back to her own. But first? A quick stop at the water well. She needed to rinse the blood and dirt away. And get a godsdamned drink.
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Crux didn't remain down for very long. The wind had been knocked out of him and he'd lost his senses for a moment, but he hadn't given that fight is all, and judging from some of the dirty looks the locals were giving him as he dragged himself to his feet, they suspected as much.


The girl was strong. Stronger than him? He couldn't say for certain, not unless they had a rematch somewhere he could use his full range of power. Still, even without that hidden strength it wasn't often somebody could stand up to him in a fair fight. Dusting the dirt and sand from his tightly bound leather breastplate and moving his hand to the small impact wound on the back of his head, he growled as his palm came back with blood on it.

"Crazy bitch is pretty tough, I have to give her that..." Shooting a look at the one who'd attempted earlier to hold the victor's wrist up, he snapped. "Where can I get some water?" He needed a drink, and he needed to wash his wound as well. It wasn't serious in the slightest, but he didn't need the extra worry. Looking at one of the others with an odd expression on his face, the one he'd accosted pointed in the direction of the water well down the hill by the village.

Soon after Riley would arrive there, so too would Crux, not batting an eye at her presence as he collected handfuls of water for his wound.

"Nifty little magic trick, Riley."

She'd just poured water down the back of her neck. Gods it felt good. Made her want to get out of this hellhole even faster. Back to the shade of the woods. And his laugh.

Hazels lifted at the voice. Wary as a cornered lox cat. The desert sun hitting them brought out the flecks of yellow swirled among blues and greens. Was he here to take what she'd won?

"Listen," she took a sip of water from the wooden ladle she'd been holding, swirled her mouth out and spit, a mixture of blood and clear liquid coming out. Dark-purples and greens were spreading along her olive skin where he'd made contact just moments before. She'd have nasty bruises along the side of her face and jaw for some weeks.

Probably best she wouldn't be returning to the Falwood anytime soon.

Kaius would only be worried and livid if he ever found out.

"Could say the same thing about you." Lips frowned as she studied him. "Who the hell are you?"

And what was he?
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Crux didn't bother with a ladle, leaning down to cup some of the water in his calloused hands before bringing them to his mouth to sip, his long raven hair falling over his face like a dark curtain that framed the bruises she'd left on his face.

"I go by Crux." Of course that wasn't his real name, but then he hadn't used the one given to him at birth in so long he would likely struggle to remember it even if he wished to. Taking another scoop of water from the well, he splashed it onto the back of his head, where she'd broken his skin and shed his blood. Hissing a bit, he continued. "You held back until I pissed you off. Caught me off guard, I have to admit."

There weren't many who could get one over on him like that, and as the blood-mixed water dropped to the sands and dirt beneath his feet, he tied his hair back with a groan. "Would have been fun to go all out with you, but I'm not a fan of crowds..."

She was strong. And presumably after some money, too. Crux had come up short in that department, but the whole ordeal did make his curiosity itch a bit...

"How much money did they give you to drop me on my head, anyways?"

A pause, and then another question.

"Do you want to make more?"
"You held back until I pissed you off.

"Yeah well, most folks don't like being used like an oiled wick to fuel someone else's fire. Crux." Had he let her win? Maybe her younger self would've pin pissed off about it. Her current self didn't care.

She got what she needed.

Another glob of spit and blood sizzled in the sand. A slurp as she finished off the water in the ladle before she placed in back in the water around him. Arms crossed and head tilted as her hazels regarded Crux and his proposal. A wince along her face.

Fuk, she'd be so sore for the next few days.

"How much money did they give you to drop me on my head, anyways?"

"Enough to get me by for the next fortnight," she answered carefully, eyes narrowing on his next question. "Maybe," she'd finally answer him. "I'm tracking a group. Trying to catch up them and feel like I'm pretty close. So depends on this timing and what 'making more' involves."
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An oiled wick? The analogy earned a little snort from Crux, the closest he'd come to laughing in years, probably. "Oh, I'm so sorry. Was that an invasion of your personal space?" It was true that siphoning magic from a person did involve a sort of incorporeal connection between two people that drawing from an external source of magic didn't, but then Crux didn't do connections very well, so he couldn't tell if it was anything remotely intimate. "You weren't going to show me your best until I made you, but I could feel your power, and curiosity is a vice I won't deny."

If she was expecting an apology, she'd be disappointed. That wasn't his way of doing things.

Her estimation of her winnings didn't tell Crux anything, since she could have lived off goblin droppings instead of real food for all he knew, but that little twinkle in her eyes was unmistakable; she liked money just as much as he did. Which reminded him of why he'd come out this far in the first place... "This little arena, it's not far from a smuggler's run straight into the Savannah." The raven-haired man leaned against the well, letting his magic do its work as the wounds on his head slowly began to heal. "There's a large batch of stolen relics from all the old cities around here coming through, probably looking to sell in Maraan. I've been offered a generous amount to stop them before they make it that far."

This fight had been a time-killer, as well as a chance to earn extra money. In the end, it had accomplished one of those things, at least. Now, it was time for a confession. Crux tilted his gaze away. "These smugglers are expecting somebody like me to try and waylay them at some point though, and admittedly I wouldn't refuse some backup for a cut of the profits..."

“Yeah, well, don’t be so fukin proud of yourself yah numpty muppet,” Riley scowled and harumphed. Sparked eyes landed on his healing. A fleeting shadow of jealousy.

But he had her attention again on the location. That’s where the trail she’d been following was leading.

“Hm,” she mused. “How about a cut of the profits AND your help with something else?”A slightly impatient tap of her foot.
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Numpy Muppet? If she kept on pulling such colorful names out of her ass to sling at him, Crux might not even ask for his share. Hearing such ridiculous things actually leave a person's mouth was more entertainment than he'd had in months, and he covered his mouth to keep from displaying the amused grin on his face.

"I think you'll find I'll do anything for a good price, Riley. That sounds like a fair enough trade, although you're going to need to be a little less vague before I commit to anything."

Crux caught the brief glance to his healing wounds and raised an eyebrow. If anything, he should be jealous of her; not many people had magic potent enough to patch up a gash like that so quickly. What little he'd borrowed from her was rather powerful, and even after the skin had closed he still had a tad left in the tank.

"So enlighten me, my curiosity is at a peak. What would you have me do?"
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"Follow me, then, and I'll explain." She'd walk a little slower, a limp she tried to hide in her stride. Witless cocksplat. She was really going to be sore tomorrow.

Weaving through some unforgiving and unshaded sandy paths, she'd swoop and push aside the flap of a tent, stepping into the cooler inside. It was a place with simple insides. A bedroll, a book of maps, a few scrolls, some extra blankets, a saddle, and a pack. A belt of tools that looked like a carpenter would wear and a few daggers.

"A few kids from my village disappeared awhile ago. Been tracking them since the Falwood." Swooping up the pile of maps, she turned to one, finger pointing to the area and running a line across the terrain toward the area he just mentioned. "Dunno who took them or why but their trail looks like it's running where you need to go. I want help getting them back."

A careful look up at Crux. "Alive and unharmed."

Stars, she just hoped they were still alive.
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Oh, Crux noticed the limp, and it filled him with just a little bit of pride to know she'd be feeling him for at least a couple days. If she'd gotten out of their scuffle completely unscathed it would have really hurt his pride. Riley was good, but she wasn't infallible.

The pair of them collected a nice amount of wary and cautious stares as they wormed their way through the camp. Probably they wondered why the two people who'd just beaten the hell out of each other were walking like they had no issue with one another. Let them wonder, Crux wasn't one to care much about his public image. That said, he couldn't imagine staying too long inside the little tent she led him into. It was cozy and all, but Crux wasn't a huge fan of campsites and sand.

Welcome home, little humie. We'll mark you tomorrow, so make me some grub and go lay down somewhere. Make your whore mum proud.

A shake of the head clears his mind a bit, just in time to hear her little briefing as he sat down.

"Falwood? That's a long fuckin' way from here. How long you been tailing these people? How, even?" It wasn't in his nature to ask questions, but if he was going to be dealing with something that could slink away from a quick little thing like Riley all the way from Elf land he needed all the info he could get. "Look, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. Tell me what you have so far and we'll deal with your nappers."

Sneering a bit, he adds in a mumble.

"I have kind of a thing with kid smugglers anyways. You're practically doing me a favor."
Dark brows upon a tanned-canvas lifted in surprise at his mumbled declaration. Riley wasn't even show how much sanity Crux possessed. Not that it mattered right now. He seemed more chaotic neutral than anything so his statement surprised her.

She began packing the maps away as well as her other things. They couldn't stay here for long. She didn't like the murmurings she was hearing from the townsfolk as they passed. If they thought they'd staged the fight...

Fuk - she wasn't ready to take on a whole outpost.

"Yeah it is a fukin' cockwomble journey. Been following them at least a fortnight now." It was clear she was frustrated - no fukin' pissed - that they'd been eluding her this long. "Bet they have at least one mage among 'em. Don't understand why they've been able to disappear for this long. Don't really know their size. I've been following reports of missing kids. Not usually a lot to get picked up by authorities. Seems to be less than 5 kids each time."

She huffed, rolling up her bedroll and strapping it to her pack as she shouldered it on. Giving one last look around the place that had been her home for the past two days.

"But they go after elves."

Tongue darted out to test her split lip.

"You ready?" Head cocked to the side wondering if he had any gear stashed anywhere.
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