Private Tales Behind enemy lines..

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Sorai

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"Take her - Go!"

Her father's voice rattled her to the marrow. Her home, her life, was crumbling like wet sand and Sorai couldn't think of a time when she'd ever felt so afraid as she did right now. She could hear the anarchic pandemonium taking over Vel' Anir, the city outside her smashed window suffused with the ghastly orange grin of fire. She could hear soldiers and Dreadlords yell and fight and die, and noble men and women plea and scream and die. Rhea, her father's Dreadlord, wrapped her muscular arms around her, pinning her own arms to her sides as she lifted her off of her feet which kicked out in protest. The woman was almost twice her size, though there was little room for logic in the chaos of panic in her mind as she fruitlessly fought against the woman's hold and ignored her assurances.

"Rebel scum!" a man who had been a 'friend' of her father's, she recalled, burst in through the door of the study with a blade held aloft but he was cut down by her father's household guard before he could reach his intended target.

Rebel? The confusion was just about as loud as her fear as she heard her father give orders to his guard. He was part of this uprising, and Sorai couldn't allow herself to believe it.

"For a new Vel' Anir!" her own father bellowed as he and his guard awaited a new onslaught of loyalists who barged through the large oak doors just as Sorai was carried out through the kitchens.

"Wait! No! What are you doing?! You need to protect him!!" Sorai tried feebly to pry the woman's arms from her.

"I have orders to follow, My Lady. I have never betrayed an order in my life, and I don't intend on starting tonight. I am to get you out of the city and ensure that you are safe until the revolution has ceased.. I would much rather not have to knock you out or bind you, so please, stop squirming."

Sorai had absolutely no doubt that the stoic woman would take whatever means necessary to carry out her father's commands. She was loyal to no end, and one of the strongest women Sorai had ever seen. As they reached the town square, Sorai paled, and Rhea threw her aside to take up arms against four men who ran at her, recognising her as a Dreadlord. Sorai hid behind a pile of rubble to watch as the dead fell like autumn leaves...

"You must stay with me, Sorai, if you want to make it out of this city alive, do you understand me?"

Sorai nodded quickly, her brown eyes as wide as a timid fox staring down a wolf. The woman gripped her shoulder and hauled her up to keep moving toward the city gates, cutting down whatever stood in their path without a second thought..
 
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Katyr

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His hand slowly pulled back from the man's throat, crimson dripping from his palm as he stared down at the dying Dreadlord.

There was a quiet thud as the man's body rag-dolled onto the floor. A brief flicker flashed over the black within his skin, the tattoos seeming to pulse. Katyr took in a deep breath as life surged through him. Eyes fell shut for just a moment, reveling within what he had been deprived of for so long.

Corpses lay scattered around him. Soldiers, Dreadlords, civilians.

All of them were splayed over each other, scattered as little more than dirt. Katyr didn't seem to regard any of them, not for a moment. They lay in a swath, a wake that followed the Elf at the very center of them all.

He stood directly in the middle of the crossroad, the path that lead to the east gate of Vel Anir.

The path Sorai and her Guardian were set upon.

His eyes slowly fell upon, chest slowly falling as he let out a breath. For a moment time seemed to stand still, and then his head turned towards where Sorai and Rhea were approaching from. Smoke rose behind them, but his piercing gaze fell upon the two of them.

On Rhea.

A small smile quirked on his lips. "I just knew it was a matter of time."

His voice was a bare rasp, a sound that had not been heard in a hundred years.
 
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Sorai

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Rhea's grip was rough on her arm as she rushed her from shadow to shadow, avoiding whatever trouble they could. Sorai winced and growled at every yank and twist, certain the woman was ill aware of her own strength or how she was damn near ripping the young woman's arm from its socket. She tried her best to keep up, but she found herself splashing through rivers of blood and tripping over the dead that peppered the streets that she'd grown up on. Shock gripped her, the sights she saw robbing her of breath and every scream sending a fresh lance of fear into her chest.

She hadn't expected Rhea's stride to halt so suddenly and the Dreadlord had to pull Sorai back behind her, the grip on her arm released and the lack of an anchor causing her to stumble to the wet cobbles. She looked up at the woman who was staring dead ahead, and she instantly regretted following her gaze to the blood-spattered elf.

An elf....

Sorai's mouth fell open in a silent gasp. The fear wrapping itself like a too-tight scarf around her neck. "Rhea.." Sorai croaked out, her eyes wide on the bodies that lay strewn at the elf's feet.

"Go, hide. I'll find you." The dreadlord never took her eyes from the elf as she handed Sorai a dagger. She took it without question, but she hadn't moved quick enough for Rhea's liking. "NOW girl! Run!" she demanded, disposing of all need for formalities.

Sorai pulled herself to her feet and made a run for the city gates as Rhea made her attack on the elf, her twin swords wielded with well honed expertise. The air around the Dreadlord turned static and crackled as she channelled the energy from around her.
 
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Katyr

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"Bold prediction." The Elf said with a smile, nothing but cruel contempt upon his tongue as he spoke. The blood that had been dripping from his palm was seemingly gone, not dried, but somehow entirely disappeared.

Katyr's head slowly turned, his eyes following Sorai as she banked left of him and headed directly for the gate.

He heard Rhea yell at the girl, shouting for her to get away. The elf had no idea who she was, what her value was or why the Dreadlord had been charged to keep her safe. Much of humanity was an anathema to him, but he knew enough to understand she was valuable somehow, and that was all he needed.

As Rhea stepped forward, as the air surrounding her seemed to crackle Katyr twisted his hand.

There was another of those strange pulses within the black lines upon his flesh. The tattoos seemed to glow for just a moment, and then magic that was not his own suddenly lashed out. The earth beneath Sorai shifted, jutting out just as her foot fell and tripping her to the floor.

As she fell Katyr turned, and lashed out towards the Dreadlord.

The earth beneath the woman suddenly opened up into a maw, dozens of spike like pillars rising up to impale her in one swift motion.
 
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Sorai

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Sorai had taken off at a sprint, and so as the ground suddenly shifted under foot she fell hard, skidding along the cobbles and rolling to a stop on her side, her expression contorted with the pain of new cuts and bruises. Steel scraped against stone as her dagger clattered and slid across the cobbles, and she looked up, forcing herself to crawl to it.

Her fingers had only just managed to curl around the handle of the blade when she felt the ground rumble and crack nearby. Rhea's strangled screams only lasted a few seconds before they fell silent, and Sorai's hands shook as she slowly lifted her gaze to the sight of the Dreadlord impaled through the back, her body limp. Sorai stifled a scream with her trembling hand, tears bursting from her eyes at the horrifying sight.

Brown eyes settled on the elf and she pulled herself back, looking around desperately in the hopes of seeing anyone else who knew her, someone who would help her as she staggered to her feet and clutched hold of her blade, the sweat in her palm threatening to let it slip free.
 
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Katyr

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"Dreadlords." Katyr said with that same contempt as he slowly shook his head in disgust, watching as the woman slowly bled out upon the pillars.

He lingered for a moment. Then began to move, stepping away from the pile of corpses and heading towards Rhea's dying form.

He seemed to ignore Sorai almost entirely as he moved, though one brief glance told that any attempt to run would have him after her like a hawk. As he stepped in front of the dying Dreadlord he reached out, palm soaking into the blood pouring down one of the rocky pillars.

That strange pulse ran over his skin once more, and Sorai would see the Elf's muscles grow slightly, his body filling out. As though recovering from starvation.

Then slowly his attention fell on the horrified girl. Slow, methodical steps took him towards her. "I would say I'm sorry for what I'm going to do to you, but your people made me abandon mercy long ago."

Katyr's words came as his hand suddenly shot forward and grabbed for her wrist.
 
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Sorai

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Sorai was moving backward as the elf approached her, hardly able to hear his words over the sound of her own thundering heart and heavy breaths. Her head shook at him slowly, a mute plea and a pointless one. She flinched as he reached toward her and she recoiled with a startled sound, and like a frightened doe, she was off and sprinting for the gates.

"Elf!" Sorai screamed, anything to hold him off, anything to draw his attention toward someone far more able to fight him than she. To cry elf in Vel'Anir was surely to spark a new fire. The girl was quick on her feet, and she tried not to think of the bodies that she leapt over or the stench of burning flesh. She tried not to think about anything other than making it out of this city alive.
 
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Katyr

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His hand caught air as the girl suddenly broke out into a sprint.

The elf stared after her for a brief moment, the sound of her shouts reverberating between the buildings. The yell seemed to be punctuated by the sound of a loud crack nearby, a building falling or the earth opening. The battle was still very much going on, and her cries would be answered eventually. Katyr shook his head, and then broke out into a sprint.

There was no hesitation, no stopping.

He knew if the girl got too far away she'd be gone. Katyr did not know the city, didn't know it's layout nor how to get out. He'd already fought hard to reach this far, and even his magic had it's ends. Eventually he would get tired. He needed a way out, and she was that way.

As he caught up to her, Katyr reached out. Fingers moved to grab at the one thing they could, the hair that flowed out behind her as she ran.

In one quick motion his fingers balled Into a fist, grasping and pulling her back. His other hand coming out to reach around her and pin her close against his chest.
 
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Sorai

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There had likely never been a time when Sorai had run so fast in her life. She could feel the screaming of her lungs and the will of her muscles to go far beyond what exercise could ever demand, her body and brain in full survival modem and it was nothing but pain and fear and dread.

For one foolish moment she thought she'd outrun him. She'd felt the world rushing passed her, an orange, smoky blur, until he quite literally dragged her back into reality. Sorai let out a cry, her face a grimace as she reached for the hand now clasped in her hair as she felt the hard planes of his chest against her back and she struggled in his hold.

"Let me go! Please!". She thrashed and kicked and screamed for help, and the dagger in her hand lifted into the air and she slammed it downward toward his thigh in defence.
 
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Katyr

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His other hand caught the falling blade only an inch before it sunk into his flesh.

Fingers clamped down like a vice around Sorai's wrist. He held her hard, hand sliding down her wrist until his fist consumed hers. Muscles flexed as he pulled her hand up and away from his thigh. The tip of the blade drew up her body, across her chest, and to her throat.

"Quiet." He hissed in her ear.

"I've no qualms slitting your throat." Katyr told her quietly. "But do as I say, and I might let you live when we make it out of the city."

A lie, one she was perhaps desperate to hear.
 
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Sorai

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His strength was effortless where hers was virtually non-existent. Suddenly she wished she hadn't spent so much time reading and sewing and more time learning what to do if she ever ran into trouble. Trouble was not something the noble ladies of Vel'Anir were supposed to run into. Trouble was dealt with by guards and soldiers and Dreadlords. And now she had none..

There was no masking her fear, it came in heavy breaths and whimpers and gasps, in tears and tremors and in a careful nod at his words. She didn't have room in her mind to think of anything else. She wanted to stay alive, and perhaps if she bought time, she could think of something else or someone would find her and help her. If someone saw him lead her from the city at knifepoint, someone might come after her.

Sorai swallowed, her eyes closing in a wince as she felt the blade graze her throat as she did so.
 
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Katyr

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The blade stayed at her throat for a few more seconds, lingering in place even after she nodded.

It was hard not to cut her throat. Not to let the blood flow and just die in a blaze of glory. Killing as many of them as he possibly could before they brought him down. His hand seemed to shake for a moment, and then he deftly slipped the blade from her hand and down into his own.

"How do we get out?" He hissed.

The gate beyond, he knew, would not lead out of Vel Anir just yet. Surrounding the great walls of Vel Anir was an entire city in it of itself. Most people called them slums, and now they were probably little more than rubble.

For Katyr however they were a confusing maze.

One he had to get through to get home.

Slowly he guided Sorai into moving towards the gate, waiting for her answer as they walked.
 
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Sorai

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Her eyes squeezed shut as she felt his hand waver by her throat, as though she could feel his consideration and she prayed to any God that would listen as she expected to feel her flesh cut open.

I do not want to die.

I do not...want to die.


His question made it painfully obvious that she was only alive because he needed a guide, never-the-less her shoulders eased slightly as the blade was removed from her neck. She started walking, not wishing to tempt his hand by staying put, though her eyes were frantically darting from face to bloodied face. She realised then that they all faced death in that moment, not just her. They were not fighting elves, they were fighting each other. Magic thrummed in the air as Dreadlord clashed with Dreadlord, and it was clear to her that the chances of anyone caring enough about someone like her right now was painfully low.

"How do I know you won't just kill me when you get out?.." she asked, her voice lacking much conviction.
 
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Katyr

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"You don't." The blade tagged at her throat as he spoke, cutting ever so slightly into her skin.

The bargain was one that she would have to take on faith. The only chance she had.

Katyr shoved her forward with not a single ounce of kindness. She could have been the Queen of Vel Anir urself and not an ounce more kindness would have been offered. The blade stayed at her throat as they stepped through the open gate, a horse of undead laying on the ground surrounding them.

Buildings, some half torn down while others marvelously still intact surrounded them. They reached the edge of a large square, four roads leading into a confusing urban labyrinth. A low growl ran through his throat as he looked around them.

"Humans." He said in disgust. "You tear down everything natural and replace it with this...filth."

His lips thinned. "Which way?"
 
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Sorai

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As someone who had barely had so much as a scrape in her life, the sting of the blade biting at her neck caused her entire body to jolt with fear and she hissed. There wasn't a muscle in her body that wasn't wrought with tension as she moved, her chin lifted as she cowered from the knife in his hand.

The growl seemed to reverberate along her bones and ran down her spine with a shudder, and she frowned at his words. "I haven't torn down anything." she answered meekly and she pointed to the road furthest to the right as he asked which way. It was the right way, but it also led toward the guard house and she could only pray that she'd see a familiar face or two..
 
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Katyr

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"Give it a few years." Katyr growled quietly, pushing Sorai in the direction that she had indicated.

Each step he took was practiced, patient. He was moving like a hunted wolf, a creature lurking in the dark of night simply trying to make it's way through unfamiliar territory. His head was on a swivel, looking left, then right.

It was as though each shadow might strike out at him.

"I'm sure." Katyr continued. "You'd slaughter a grove simply for a pretty little house."

The words were bitten through with contempt, spoken just as the guard house that Sorai had hoped for came into view. It's side was half caved in, dozens of bodies lay sprawled all around it, but within it's depths was movement.

Movement that Katyr somehow missed.
 
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Sorai

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"I am a healer. I don't slaughter, unlike you."

Sorai continued to move, rigid with fear. She could feel the ruby bead of blood trace a line down her throat and chest, and couldn't help but fear that it'd be the first drop of many. She wasn't blind to what Anirians did to elves, and she fully believed that they were the monsters that her people had painted them to be. Elves were ruthless savages hell bent on killing every human they set their evil eyes upon, and this was the first one who'd ever set eyes on her.

I do not want to die..

She continued to plead with whatever Gods had not forsaken Vel'Anir, if any. The city looked like the pit of hell, and it was difficult to recognise it as the city she'd grown up in. Now much of it was rubble and flames and ash and bodies peppered the charred ground in every direction.

Her heart sank as her eyes settled on the guard house and the dead that lay around it and she frantically searched for any sign of life. Movement. Guards. Someone, or hopefully multiple someones were still alive.

"That way.." she nodded toward the building, and started coughing loudly as they drew nearer in attempt to alert someone to their presence.
 
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Katyr

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Katyr looked down at the girl as she began to cough, his lips thinning for a brief moment.

Humans were so...inelegant. Every time she moved, every little noise she made, it sent a jolt of disgust down his spine. Lips thinned for a brief moment as she pointed towards a road besides the large collapsed building, his fingers digging into her as he shoved her forward.

Their steps lead towards more broken cobbles, through a mountain of corpses. Slowly they moved forward, passing besides the building when suddenly a voice called out to them.

"Hey!"​

Katyr instantly pulled Sorai back. His arm reached around her stomach in a quick and tight grasp. Fingers dug into her skin, pinning her against his chest as the blade drew up over her chest and hovered close to her throat.

They spun around towards the voice, Katyr offering a cold stare towards it's source.

Three men stood in place, all of them looking harrowed and half dead. They each wore the uniform of Anirian Guardsmen, two holding swords and the third clutching to a tall shield. Disbelief flickered over their features as they stared at the strangers.

"W-what's going on here?"​

One of them croaked, desperate to summon any authority.
 
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Sorai

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Despite the fear she so obviously felt with that blade at her throat, there was a flood of relief to see not one but three guardsmen. Perhaps, unlike Rhea, three of them might stand some sort of chance..

Her chest rose and fell quickly with each panicked little breath, her gaze shifting between the three men. "I am Lady Sorai Larsen. This elf means us harm." she swallowed, her muscles bound tightly to flee at the first opportunity.
 
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Katyr

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Katyr smiled bitterly, glancing at the girl as she spoke, letting the death sentence pass from her lips. Fingers tightened on her belly, the blade stilling by her throat.

Each of the three soldier seemed to tense all at once. He could see it in the way they stood. One of them took a step forward, the other two shifted their weapons. All of them stared at Sorai, their gazes flickering to Katyr with a mixture of rage and weariness.

"Let her go, Elf!"

The man who had taken a step forward barked. "And you say you don't slaughter."

Katyr hissed.

"Yet you've sentenced these men to death." The blade slowly lowered from her neck, dropping away ever so slightly as the hand on her belly slid up her body and grasped her throat. Fingers dug into her neck, forcibly holding her neck. "Watch them die."

As he spoke Sorai would notice a strange glow erupt from his palm, and then suddenly his hand seemed to shudder. Skin peeled away, flesh drawing free in the form of a shadow. It seemed to draw both left and right, pulling Katyr apart until suddenly the elf split into threes.

The Tattoos on his body glowed as another stolen magic came to life. Each of the three Guards seemed to freeze, one of them cursed and took a step back. Though it was already too late.

Katyr's doubles launched themselves forward, a blur violence and blood as they reached the Guardsmen.
 
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Sorai

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His words sent a dreadful chill coursing down her spine. She knew as soon as he'd spoken that she'd made a mistake, that she'd condemned these men to their graves, all because she had been afraid. They were trained soldiers, but they were human and all they had were weapons. Even Rhea hadn't stood a chance.

She tried to push back against him, to turn their direction, to change his mind. "No.." she sobbed quietly, her eyes on the men in panic and warning.

"Run! N--" her words were cut short by the hand on her throat, but her eyes screamed at them to go. Her body squirmed in his grip as shadows peeled away from his flesh and she paled at the sight of the three figures. If there was ever anything more frightening to her in this moment than him, it was several of him.

Her scream was silent. Tears streamed from her eyes as she watched the guards butchered, and it was her fault. Inevitability washed over her and her legs buckled, her body falling limp in his grip. He'd take her from the city, and she'd die. Her family were likely dead already, and Thea was not here to protect her.

Nobody was.
 
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Katyr

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Three new corpses.

They lay in the streets, pools of crimson gathering beneath them. Katyr clutched Sorai's skin, his fingers digging into her throat as he held her eyes upon the bodies. From his throat she would hear a low growl, disgust, righteous anger.

Whatever it was.

"A lesson." He whispered to her quietly, the weight of her body sinking against his chest. His twins seemed to turn back to him, one clutching an Anirian sword, the others hands covered in blood. They shimmered, and then suddenly shades snapped back towards him.

Sorai would feel Katyr shudder behind her, the loud clang of the Anirian blade dropping ringing out within the clearing. A deep breath filled his lungs, eyes closing for just a moment as he steadied himself.

"Do you want to learn another?" The elf whispered softly, his voice a twisted and soured honey in her ear. "Or will you do as I say?"
 
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Sorai

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Tears blurred the horrific sight, but not enough to know what she was looking at was her fault. Her eyes closed for a moment and her throat bobbed against his palm as she swallowed painfully, his whisper sending a chill spider-walking down her spine.

She watched the clones warily, her body rigid as they turned to face them and a she gave a sharp gasp as they rushed toward him. A shuddered breath tumbled from her lips and she cried quietly, her head shaking at his first question and nodding at the latter.

"I'll lead you out.." she croaked, though her legs trembled as she tried to walk.
 
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"Good girl." Katyr said with a scowl, his knife slackening against her throat.

As she moved to step forward the touch of the blade began to ease, his hand shaking for just a brief second as she moved.

The blade withdrew from her quickly, a breath filling his lungs. Katyr grimaced. His magic wouldn't last forever. Every trickle, every effort was another step too far. He could steal, he could take what he needed, but using it was getting harder and harder.

He needed to get out of this city.

"Go." The Elf said with a gentle shove. "To the Falwood."

His words were a hiss as they began to walk. "Away from this...wretch."

There was no hiding the disgust, the anger he felt as they moved through the cobbled streets. "I am so...so very tired of your world."

His tongue let the words slip, eyes weary as he watched for more of her tricks.
 
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Sorai

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Everything she had ever been taught, he was proving right. She had never met an elf, she had hoped she'd never have to, but now that she had, she understood why she'd been taught to fear them.

Sorai didn't so much as look up from her path toward the city gates. She was no longer seeking help, not searching windows nor listening for movement, and the streets were getting quieter the further out they moved. She prayed it stayed that way, now that she already had blood on her hands.

She was still shaking, still stumbling over debris, her legs weak with fear and shock and she had no doubt only stayed upright because he'd been holding onto her, but she tried to stop crying. Yes, she was afraid, and she'd never had to be brave in her life but if this was how she was going to die then she'd at least try not to give him the satisfaction of crying about it.

His words passed unanswered. This wretch had been her home, now crumbling rubble and ash, its streets soaked in blood. It was all far too terrible to be a nightmare, surely her mind couldn't conjure anything so horrific as this.

Falwood.

Her spine stiffened at the word, her hands balling into fists that she squeezed tightly in effort to remind herself of her newfound bravery. Anirians who ventured alone into the Falwood rarely returned alive. She'd never imagined herself dying there.

Sorai continued, trying to avert her eyes from the dead that lay strewn here and there, the rats and ravens already picking at them in feast. She paused and looked ahead, the path clear and the city gates open, and dread sank like a stone in her stomach.