Private Tales Behind enemy lines..

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Sorai

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Her gaze fell as he answered so sharply and she nodded as she picked up another piece of food and cautiously ate..

"Alright." she agreed calmly. "If, you'd prefer.. I can make a salve, and you can do it yourself. If you'll let me find what I need.." her brow quirked and she hesitantly lifted her dark gaze to his face.
 
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Katyr

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He watched her as she made the offer, eyes focused on her expression, her eyes.

Katyr had always found it hard to read humans. They were a different sort than his own. They wore their emotions on their face, but telling them apart was...difficult. After half a century to himself it was even more difficult.

Despite all that, he could hear the tone in her voice. Perhaps she did not want to harm him, perhaps she even wanted to help. At least until it suited her to plant a knife in his back.

"Tomorrow." The Elf said quietly, still watching her.

"When we make our way further south." He continued. "You can gather what you need, and make the salve at night."

He left the other part of it unsaid. The fact that he would not let her out of his sight. Not for a second.
 

Sorai

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She saw him watching her, saw him study. She supposed he trusted her about as much as she trusted him, but at least for now he wasn't trying to hurt or frighten her and despite her dread of the journey ahead, she started to ease slightly. If she was to be taken to his home, she had some time before then to perhaps gain his trust enough, if she helped him, perhaps he wouldn't allow his people to harm her. She'd have to use whatever means she could to survive, and running or fighting would only put him at an advantage.

"Alright.. Tomorrow then." she agreed quietly, and managed some semblance of a smile at him, her eyes trailing over his tattoos as she dragged her gaze back to her food.

"Thank you for the food.." she nodded once as she swallowed the last of it.
 
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Katyr

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Katyr slowly nodded. It was the only answer that felt right to give, the only thing that he could really offer. He still wasn't sure, still didn't know why he bothered keeping her.

It would have been easy to cut her throat. Simple.

The Anirians would surely find her corpse, but why would that matter. They would hunt him regardless, at least...if there were enough of them alive. His lips thinned for a moment, a small realization dawning on him that perhaps Sorai had been right.

Maybe no one was following him. Maybe no one would come. If what she had said was true then the people who had captured him, the Houses, were no more. Was he free? Had he really escaped? Fingers tightened on his knees for a moment, head shaking.

No.

He couldn't believe it. Not until he saw the Falwood. Not until he made it home. "Get some rest."

Katyr said quietly.

"It will be a long journey yet." And he intended to keep her by his side until it ended. Even if he had to wrap a collar around her throat.
 
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Sorai

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Calm, if she just kept him calm, she could get out of this alive. She nodded at his instruction, though she doubted she'd be able to sleep at all. She'd pretend if she had to. She glanced at him and shuffled herself a little closer to the fire and pulled her woollen shall tightly around her shoulders as she lay down on her side and curled up.

As she predicted, there were only thoughts of the horrors she'd seen when she closed her eyes, the fresh memories of those who had died in Katyr's path. Rhea, and the soldiers she'd foolishly expected could help her. Those things kept her awake for some time, but slowly, the sound of the crackling fire and gentle breeze in the canopy above lulled her to sleep.

It wasn't comfortable. She was used to a feather bed and soft sheets, she was used to warmth, and when the fire died out Sorai was instantly shivering with cold and groaning quietly in discomfort as she slept.
 

Katyr

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Katyr didn't sleep.

Such things didn't come to him as easily anymore, not for decades now. Something else that the humans had given him, taken from him. His fingers curled into a fist, lips thinning as he glanced down towards where Sorai was laying.

Her whole body shivered, shifting upon the rocky earth.

He could still remember the first few years in his cell. How cold the ground had been, the chilled air rolling over his flesh.

Lips thinned, and slowly he pulled his stolen cloak from his shoulders. With one quick motion he draped it over her slight form. I'm not them.

Katyr thought to himself.

I'm not a monster.
He was better than that. Better than those who had kept him.
 
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Sorai

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Her body froze at the sensation of the cloak being draped over her, but it wasn't enough to wake her. The warmth seemed to seep into her muscles and settle in her bones and subconsciously she curled up in it and sighed as she stopped shivering.

It was the rosy, morning light that woke her as it cast the long, stretching shadows of the trees across the forest floor and warmed her face. As someone who had never spent a night sleeping outdoors in her life, her initial disorientation was startling but she was soon jolted back to her very grim reality, and her eyes opened on him.

Her heart was pounding, but she tried to settle herself and remember that she was supposed to be calm.. She wondered if he'd slept at all, but she didn't ask, she simply looked down at the cloak that covered her and frowned gently as she looked up at him with a small smile in thanks.
 
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Katyr

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Sleep had not come to him, not that he'd tried.

In the depths of his cell it had come easily some nights, and others not at all. He had gone weeks without a moments of rest, and months without ever waking up. It was a strange twist, one wrought without the sun, without the day or night.

He was a statue, or near enough, when the sunrise struck. He seemed to stare at it, watching the horizon as light slowly crept over the two of them. His eyes closed, letting the warmth wash over his features. He stayed there, still, until she moved.

When Sorai stirred besides him Katyr glanced at her.

Cobalt eyes caught hers as she smiled at him, the Elf's expression unreadable as he gazed down at her. For a moment he seemed to linger, then he pulled his eyes away. "Do you need breakfast?"

He asked, his voice more subdued than one might have expected.
 

Sorai

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His icy gaze sent a chill riding straight through to her bones and she tugged the cloak a little tighter. She wondered, if she lived, if she'd ever forget the sight of their rage as he slowly strangled the life out of her. They seemed to hold her in suspense, in uncertainty of whether he felt like killing her again or whether her compliance merited her safety.

Safety. She almost snorted at the thought. He was taking her into the Falwood, and she was a human. Of course she wasn't safe with him, and why would he ever put care in whether she was safe of not after spending over a century in a human prison?

His question caused her brows to rise slightly and she cleared her throat with a small shake of her head. "That's okay....Thank you." she answered, admittedly a little surprised at the offer, and how calm he appeared. She tried not to groan as she stretched and sat herself up, but her bones and muscles ached and it was clear enough in her grimace.

Her gaze fell on his wrists and she looked down at her own, realising that he hadn't saw fit to bind her again. She hoped she'd gained at least a little more trust in that she was still here and hadn't done anything stupid..
 
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Katyr

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Katyr looked down at the girl for the longest moment, and then he simply nodded.

If she did not need to eat, then he would not question it. Of course when she collapsed in the middle of the day from hunger there would be other words, but he would not force food down her throat if she did not wish it.

None of the strain she displayed seemed to fall on Katyr who rose from his place on the ground in one smooth motion. "We have to get going then."

He told her.

Katyr wasn't entirely convinced still that no one would come after them, and he would not risk it. The last century had been spent in a prison, and he would not risk spending another there. Not now, not ever again.

Not if he could help it.

"Come on." The Elf said as he reached down and unceremoniously plucked her from the ground. His grip was not harsh or wrenching, but there was no arguing with it either.
 

Sorai

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Sorai rubbed at her face when she realised that some part of her had hoped he'd changed his mind overnight. She was getting further and further away from home, and soon she'd have no idea how to get back if she did manage to escape, or if he did miraculously let her go.

Still, she wouldn't argue. She'd try to keep him calm in the meantime by doing what he asked. When on her feet she realised how sore she was and she grimaced as she stretched out her legs and rolled her shoulders.

"How far is it?" she asked quietly. "We'll need to travel nearby a river if there's to be much foraging for what I need to help with your wounds.." she cleared her throat, and started walking.
 
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Katyr

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He perked an eyebrow as she asked him how 'far' it was.

Katyr had used her as a guide outside of the city, but the moment she questioned him he realized that such was probably all she was good for. A glacial gaze studied her for a moment. Her demeanor, her bearing, how she held herself even now.

Had she even left Vel Anir proper before? "When I was imprisoned."

Near a century now.

"Vel Anir was a week from the Falwood by the pace of my people." He frowned. "I do not know if your kind have taken more of my home."

There was so much he didn't know, so much that he had missed. Had there been another war? Another extermination? They had kept him within the deepest pits of the Obsidian Keep, no news had reached him, no word of anything at all.

A darkness entered his stomach, a worry he'd not thought would appear. Katyr had spent so much time worrying for himself the thought of his people never occurred. A feeling that came alongside guilt. "I will find us a guide."

Katyr said softly, his voice far more mellow than it had been before.
 
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Sorai

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Sorai winced slightly, troubled not only by the answer of a week, but by the insinuation that Anirians had 'taken' their home. The disagreement was brief on her face, but she wouldn't argue or ask what he meant at the risk of angering him.

That said, there was a growing worry the further they walked, and she'd have to ask soon.

For now she walked with him, asking to stop here and there to study plants and trees, collecting cuttings of white willow bark, wild ginger and garlic, devil's claw and yarrow root.

"This should be everything I need.." she said quietly as she plucked a few sprigs of lavender.
 
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Katyr

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Katyr stood over Sorai, his head slowly swiveling left to right.

He did not watch her, a token of the small amount of trust that he now held in her. A part of him would always be weary of course, would always make sure she didn't draw out a stick and stab him in the throat. Yet he did not consider her the most important threat.

No. Now it was those who might be following, those who might be coming after them. His paranoia was more than clear during the day. Katyr seemed to constantly be watching the woods around them, his gaze flickering from place to place like a hawk.

Tension filled him almost at all times, and it would be there until they reached the Falwood. "Good. We can keep going the-"

A twig snapped, his head immediately shooting towards the sound.

There in the woods, a dozen meters away stood a boy. He was watching them, eyes as large as saucers as he stared at Katyr.

In an instant the Elf took a step forward, towards the boy. A knife flipped into his palm.
 
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Sorai

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Sorai's heart seemed to stop as she heard the twig snap. At first, she looked up at Katyr, and then she followed his gaze toward the startled boy.

The glint of steel flashed in the sunlight as Katyr started toward the boy who was clearly anchored to the spot by fear.

"No!" Sorai gasped as she remembered how to breathe, the roots and herbs she'd collected falling to the ground as she darted toward Katyr. Her hand shot out to grip his arm as she tried to get in front of him and form a barrier between him and the boy.

"Stop please, he's a child.." she panicked and shot a glance to the young Anirian.

"Go, run!"
 
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Katyr

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Katyr took another step before Soari managed to slip herself in front of him. His teeth snapped shut and he looked up towards the boy, then down at Sorai.

The lad seemed frozen in place, and then suddenly darted to the left. He rushed away through the woods, moving over roots and fallen branches as he disappeared into the forest. Katyr watched him, reaching up to grab Sorai and shove her away.

Then suddenly he stopped.

Flashes of fire, burning trees, slaughtered corpses laying on the ground took his vision. He saw soldiers marching, Dreadlords sliding their blades over the throats of captured prisoners. He could feel the chain around his throat. Hear the taunting screams of those he'd failed
.

Katyr froze, his fingers tightening on Sorai for a moment. His ears seemed to twitch as the sound of the boys steps crunching leaves faded away.

Lips thinned, eyes fell on Sorai. "Come on."

The Elf said, a simmer in his voice.

"We need to move faster now." With a brief hesitation he pulled away from her, continuing to step south.
 
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Sorai

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Sorai flinched, half expecting to find either hand or blade at her throat again, her entire body was rigid with tension and her heart playing a staccato in her chest as she stared up at him. She noted the distance in his eyes as he watched the boy run off, saw him listening and assumed he was planning on going after him.

She hadn't expected for him to let her go without recompense, or for him to head in the opposite direction of the young human who'd seen him and ran. A heavy breath escaped her and she turned to stare through the trees, unable to hear or see where the boy had gone. Part of her wanted to run after him, but she had enough blood on her hands for underestimating Katyr, and with that thought she turned silently to follow him.

She quickly bundled her fallen ingredients into her arms and hurried at his heels, glancing over her shoulder now and then. He was quicker than she was, and her skirts and shawl continually snagged on branches and thorns and so she had to run now and then to catch up.

"Can we rest soon?.." she asked after what felt like hours of rushing. Her feet and legs ached and her stomach growled in demand.
 
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Katyr

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Katyr came to a stop halfway up a small hill.

He turned back towards Sorai, his eyebrow raised as he frowned at her. Lips thinned, and then he slowly dipped his head in a nod."At the top of the ridge."

The Elf said, his voice still curt, gruff.

They were two days out from Vel Anir, but still leagues away from the Falwood. His paranoia had not ebbed even a single iota, and the tension he walked with still clung to him even as he stood there. He waited where he stood for Sorai to catch up.

When she did a hand came down to grasp her, helping her up the small hill and gently guiding her onto the top of the ridge. There they found an outcropping of stone attached to a cliff-face half adorned with moss and vines.

"This will do." Katyr said softly, motioning towards the small natural cavern.
 
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Sorai

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Every time his hand reached toward her she felt herself tense expectantly, but when she realised he was helping her reach the top of the ridge she let out a breath and gave him a tight smile in gratitude. Had she been with anyone else she'd likely have complained the entire way. She'd never walked so much in her life and the terrain was not always easy to navigate. The moment she staggered into the little cavern she all but fell against the wall and slid to the floor, grimacing as she kicked off her boots to rub at her aching feet.

Her eyes rose timidly to him and she cleared her throat.. "I'm not sure how much further I can go.." she laughed nervously under her breath. She still hoped he'd change his mind about taking her to the Falwood. She'd complied this far, he'd removed her bindings and he'd spared that boy.

Sorai started laying out the roots and plant cuttings she'd collected on some of the smooth rock next to her, taring at them and discarding what she didn't need.
 
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Katyr

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As Sorai slipped onto the ground and tore at her boots Katyr knelt down.

The clatter of fallen wood echoed out in the cavern, a surprisingly delicate touch beginning to stack pieces of fallen wood that the Elf had been collecting on their path to the outcrop. He looked at her with a raised eyebrow. "You've days to go yet."

He told her plainly, dispelling any notion of the thought she had.

"Even if more of the Falwood has not been taken." There, he said it again. As though his home had somehow been conquered.

His head shook.

"Have you never marched?" Katyr said with a frown. "When I was taken your...caste still fought on the front."

The elf gestured to her, clearly trying to find the word 'noble' upon his tongue.
 

Sorai

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Days. She had to resist crying at the thought. Not only was it exhausting but the fear of what would become of her when she finally got there caused her stomach to churn and her chest to tighten.

"Marched?" Sorai blinked at him, her brow furrowing incredulously. "No I have not. I'm not a soldier and I've never wielded a weapon before in my life until.." she cut herself off and huffed as she dropped her gaze. She wasn't entirely sure she'd have had what it took to do any real damage with the blade she'd held even if she'd had the chance.

"I wanted to be a healer. My father didn't agree, but I learned anyway. We are not all the monsters that you think we are." she muttered as she reached for a stone to start crushing the wild garlic and yarrow into pulp.
 
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Katyr

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"Could have fooled me." Katyr said bitterly.

There had never been an ounce of kindness for him in their prison. Not a second of mercy. For decades he had been tortured. Stabbed, cut, ripped apart piece by piece until they had simply grown bored of him. Then he had wasted away, barely fed for near half a century.

He had not been given a healer, he had not been granted anything but cruelty. "Do you even know that side of your kind?"

Katyr demanded.

"What they do in their dungeons?" He stared at her as the flame sparked to life, catching upon the dried twigs. "What your people do in the dark?"

The Elf balled his fingers into a fist. "What they did to us? Me?"
 
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Sorai

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No. Shamefully, she honestly had never really thought about it before. The city's guard, their soldiers and dreadlords were there to protect Vel'Anir from creatures like him. Elves and the likes who wanted nothing more than to eradicate humanity. What business was it of hers how they did that? They had been the heroes and heroines of every story she'd ever heard and she'd known many of them personally. They were her friends and protectors.

She didn't answer.

"I am sure that you are not taking me to your home for a peaceful vacation. I have seen what your kind do to mine. And your kind see far better in the dark than we do." she frowned, keeping her eyes on the yarrow that she was mashing into the rock, a hint of defiance in her tone that she didn't feel confident enough in backing up by looking at him.
 
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Katyr

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"You are here as a bargaining chip." He told her firmly. "Everything I do, I do to get home."

It was true, in a way, though history was always murky.

Vel Anir had begun the first war, but the Elves had ended it. The second they came again, but the third...the third was his own people. His own Kin had marched to war, and Katyr had glad come along with them. Hatred, vengeance.

That was what had brought the Elves from the Falwood. To reclaim what had been lost to them during the second war. That was what he spoke of, the 'lost' pieces of the Falwood. Those territories they had given up to Vel Anir and it's Dreadlords.

Katyr did not know how the war had ended, what had happened. He'd been locked away by then. "I just want to go home."

He said, a little of the anger replaced by something else.
 
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Sorai

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A bargaining chip. She snorted and shook her head at that. For what?! Her jaw tightened as she kept her thoughts locked behind her teeth and her gaze on the roots she was rather aggressively crushing.

I just want to go home.

She paused then, her dark gaze rising to his face with a brief frown. She'd been gone a day and the fear of being taken from her home, of what would happen to her amongst the elves was crushing. He'd been captured over a century ago and hadn't seen the light of day until now. Sorai suppressed a cold shiver at the thought.

"As do I." she answered quietly. "I am...sorry, that they kept you from your home. I just don't see what doing the same to me is going to do to change that." she swallowed, shredding some of the leaves she'd collected and starting to grind them into the paste.
 
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