Private Tales Behind enemy lines..

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Katyr

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His fingers splayed slightly.

Katyr tried to remind himself of who he was, what he was.

During the war he had slaughtered hundreds of her kind, dozens of dreadlords. There had been ambushes, skirmishes, outright battles where he had faced down more than he counted after it was all done. It had always been out of necessity, or that was what he'd told himself.

Firmly he believed that his kin were better than the Humans, that they had their reasons, that they made sense. Their fight had been for freedom, for the forest, not for the horrors that the Anirians would inflict willingly on those around them. "They will come for me."

He stated plainly.

"When they do, you'll be the wall between me and them." A barrier, something to keep them at bay. "After that, you may go."

A promise he could keep, even if it meant setting her loose in the Falwood.
 
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Sorai

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Sorai stopped her work to stare at him. It seemed somewhat surprising to her that he intended on simply letting her go if someone came for him, but her brow quirked and her throat cleared as the question entered her mind.

"And if they don't?..." she asked, a shudder of worry in her voice. "If I make it to your people, they will..." she cut herself off and dragged her glassy eyes from his face and back to the mulch she was making, her jaw clenched tightly as she fought the urge to cry at the thought.
 
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Katyr

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"They will what?" Katyr said accusingly.

"Tear at your skin with hot pincers?" His voice was cold, broken. "Deprive you of sleep? Carve your skin with their knives? Beat you? Break your bones?"

As he spoke the words seemed almost spat, bitten. It was obvious was recounting the tortures that had been placed onto him, every vile and evil thing that the Dreadlords and their Keepers had drawn onto his flesh. "Torture you? Starve you? Try to break you?"

Katyr hissed.

His voice was bitter, but cut off.

"No." He told Sorai. "My people will do no such thing."

Because they were better. "They remember me."

A hundred years was a lifetime for her kind, but for his? It was a blink. Just a small gap. At least that was what he told himself, how he had survived all of these years. That lie, that small little white lie that let him continue on.

None of it mattered. "You'll be turned free."
 
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Sorai

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Her brow furrowed at his words and she didn't dare look at him. Each torment he spoke of, each image that he put in her mind caused her stomach to churn and a hard lump of pain to form in her throat.

Had they really done those things? He must've done something terrible if they had..

He was an elf, after all. They were all terrible.


Her head dipped, her eyes closing as though she could stop her mind from playing out the horrible visions he painted, but instead she cried silently and tears rolled slowly down her cheeks as he hissed at her.

Free?

Sorai frowned at that, her eyes opening to look up at him in disbelief. Elves were not better than that, she'd seen what they could do to men and she wanted to laugh at him for expecting her to believe she'd be unharmed and free to go.

"Free to try and find my way home, alone in the Falwood.." she said in a dry tone. Like she'd stand much choice of surviving that.

Sorai reached out her hand and gestured toward his. "Let me see your wrists."
 
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Katyr

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"Now you know a fraction of how I feel." He said blankly in response to her.

Sorai might have seen the Falwood as dangerous and deadly, but for Katyr? For Katyr these lands were ten times that. Humans were ignorant, foolish. The Falwood would not seek to harm you if you did not harm it.

The same could not be said for Anirian territory.

For all Katyr knew these lands would burn him at the stake simply for the point of his ears. That wasn't to mention who and what he was. If anyone found out what he had done a hundred years ago, hell, if they found out what he had done days ago he would find himself quickly killed.

A fate that was not so assured for her.

The Elf grimaced slightly as Sorai reached out to him, a suddenly reaction sending him flinching back ever so slightly as she moved. For a brief moment she would see a flicker of fear over his features, one quickly suppressed as he stabled himself.

Lips thinned, and then he reached out and offered his wrists.
 
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Sorai

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She only frowned at his words, still unsure how two wrongs made a right in his mind.

She did note the fear as she reached toward him however, and she softened her expression to offer some assurance and a hint of apology. It seemed he was as wary of her kind as she was of his.

Had humans really done those things he spoke of?

Her touch was gentle as she took hold of his hand with one of hers, and carefully applied the salve to the sores around his wrists. It would instantly cool and soothe any pain, and after one or two more applications, would soon start settling the inflamed skin and healing the wounds.

She glanced up at him as she moved onto the next hand just as gently. "I need some fabric to wrap them with.." she said quietly after a while and lowered his hands before holding out her arm to him with a tug on her sleeve.

"I'll need the dagger.."
 
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Katyr

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Katyr slowly raised an eyebrow.

The request would have been seen as a poor joke from anyone else. A prisoner asking for a knife was like lich asking for your soul. The thought was practically inviting trouble. Of course it was a little different here. The two of them already knew that even with a knife Sorai could not kill him.

At least not before she met the same fate.

With a silent, but stern, face Katyr reached to his belt and pulled the dagger from his waist. It was an ornate weapon, curved and well made. He flipped it over in his palm smoothly, as though it were an extension of his hand.

The Elf held the blade, offering it to Sorai and seeing what she would do.

Already he could feel the salve working, a slow numbness drawing away the pain that had been aching away at his wrist for decades.
 
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Sorai

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Sorai didn’t take her eyes off of his as he reached for the dagger, admittedly as dubious as he was given that he’d already pressed it to her throat more than once. She tried her best not to look afraid, but her jaw was tight and her breath held for a moment as he flipped it and held it out to her. Her eyes fell on the blade and she gave a subtle nod as she reached to take it, the breath she’d held tumbling from her lips.

“Thank you.” She murmured, tightening her grip on the blade as she stared at it. She couldn’t deny the brief thoughts that flitted through her mind, but even if she stood a chance, she wasn’t sure that she had what it took to plunge a blade into another’s flesh. Her brow furrowed at the thought and she suppressed a shudder before carefully drawing the blade under the fabric of her sleeve and cutting. It was awkward and she fumbled, trying to cut a thin strip that she could tie around his wrists. The hem of her dress was begrimed with whatever dirt and blood and ash that’d covered the city streets, but the sleeves were clean enough.

“I can’t quite….” She grumbled. “Could you?..” she asked hesitantly, not entirely fond of the idea of asking him to put a blade anywhere near her..
 
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Katyr

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For a few seconds Katyr stared at her in silence, lips thin.

Then after a moment of hesitation he reached out and grabbed the blade. His fingers slid over hers with a shockingly soft touch. He drew over her palm, and then took the handle of the knife from her with deft fingers. Then it slipped backward, cutting through the cloth in one smooth motion.

One could almost have called it practiced, the hand of a seamstress dragging through their material.

The reality was of course much darker. In his time Katyr had done this a thousand times. Cut his own clothes, the clothes of his fellows, as he had desperately tried to save their lives. Bandages had always been short on the front.

Particularly when dealing with Dreadlords.

The blade slipped through the last of the cloth. "Your family."

He asked, the blade coming to a stop.

"Who are they?" Katyr challenged quietly.
 

Sorai

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It was strange to feel his fingers on her own. He'd touched her before, of course, his fingers had been wrapped around her throat trying to choke the life out of her, his hands had gripped at her in restraint, but now there was no malice in the touch and it was what it was. An elf, close enough to touch, and a human suppressing a shudder at the reality of it. He was the first elf she'd ever spoken to, and the touch to her hand was an odd thing to someone who never thought she'd ever be this close to one.

She watched him for a moment, studying his face, the tattoos on his neck, the pointed tip of his ear. Her eyes lingered on it for longer than she'd realised before she flinched and looked down as he spoke. Her brow furrowed at the question and she took the strips of fabric from him, reaching to take his wrist and begin wrapping the cloth around his treated wounds.

"Lord and Lady Devereux." she answered hesitantly, hoping to the Gods that the names meant nothing to Katyr. It turned out, she hadn't known very much about her father after all.

"From generations of merchants who made their wealth in Oban. The 'social status' ladder there was a little too high a thing to climb for my father. I suppose he thought here, he had a better chance of making a name for himself. My mother was from one of the great houses." she told him quietly, tying a knot in the cloth.

"And, you?.."
 
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Katyr

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Katyr listened for a moment, recounting the names that he had been told for most of his early life.

Urahil, Banick, Sirl, Luana, Weiroon, Pirian, Virak.

Those were the names that rang within his skulls. Those that he had been taught, those that had been drilled into the depths of his mind. Devereux was nothing, not even a blip. Had her family even been in Vel Anir during the wars?

A pang of...something flickered through his stomach. Guilt? Anger? What was it?

The Elf frowned for a moment, his head shaking as he spoke. "My family doesn't matter."

He was lowborn. His mother and father had no status. They were not princes, nor anything more. Yet neither did that matter.

"My family became those I fought with." Katyr said quietly. "Those who died on the battlefield. Those who I was forced to leave behind."

His eyes seemed almost to stare through her as he spoke.
 
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Sorai

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Sorai eased slightly as her father's name provoked no particular anger from him, and she decided that keeping her mother's family name to herself. She glanced up at him as she listened to him, her brow furrowing.

"I'm sorry." she said quietly and knotted the second bandage tightly around his wrist before setting his hand down.

Her gaze was thoughtful as it drifted over his face, but she shifted herself back against the wall of the little cavern and dipped her fingertips into the salve she'd made, using it to clean the small cuts and grazes she'd picked up, including the small nick on her throat..

"I don't understand any of it." she admitted after a moment. "All I know is that humans and elves have been at war since the beginning but.. Why? Why fight in the first place? Why can't people just...live in peace, instead of dedicating their lives to fighting?" she frowned.
 
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Katyr

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The ignorance was almost bewildering. "Have you forgotten your own history?"

Or had she simply not been told?

It was something he had noticed within humanity. Their lives were short, and their memories even shorter. It seemed that they forgot the past almost as readily as they were able. Things simply slipped away, pushed away out of convenience.

"Vel Anir invaded the Falwood." He told her. "Trying to take our home, and in turn we slaughtered your armies."

There was an emptiness to his voice. "A hundred years passed, a generation, and then you came again."

His eyes closed.

"The Dreadlords burned, slaughtered, reaped and raped." Lips thinned. "Until even for them the taking became distasteful."

There was a long pause, and then Katyr continued. "Then we took back what was ours."

Katyr looked down at his hand, at the marks on his flesh.

"Little by little. We came from the Falwood and seized what had been lost." His voice was more shaky as he finished. As if he was not quite sure if they had even managed that.
 
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Sorai

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Sorai felt her cheeks heat at his question. Was she really so ignorant? Was it her parents' fault for not telling her, or her own fault for not asking? She was sure if she had asked anything about elves she'd have been told not to speak of such things. She'd been taught that elves were the enemy, that anything other than human were the enemy, that they were monsters who didn't think like humans, that they were evil and had no souls.

She frowned as she listened, though what he said sounded more like frightening fiction than true history. To hear him speak of the Dreadlords behaving in such a way caused her to wince. They had always made her somewhat anxious, though they'd always served the houses and the city well...Hadn't they?

"I..." she frowned, not knowing quite what to say. These weren't the things she'd been taught at all.

"The rebellion that's going on right now. My father, if he's still alive. He was part of it. I didn't know.. I didn't know anything. They were killing each other." her brow furrowed and she dropped her gaze. It turned out there was much that her father kept from her, even her own people's history.

"I'm not even sure there will be a Vel Anir to return to, if I ever find my way back."
 
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Katyr

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Rebellion?

Is that what it had been? Who had rebelled? How? Why?

A thousand questions ran through Katyr's mind, his lips thinning as he considered her words for a brief few moments. "Then perhaps it will be a better world."

The words were perhaps harsh, but all he had ever known of Vel Anir were it's cruelties and pain. The hurt and tortures that they could and would inflict. His life had not been that of a pampered Princess. It had been that of a prisoner, a victim.

An elf whom they had tried to break.

"I don't know your city." He told her, his voice firm. "I don't know your family. I don't know what is happening. I know only the pain that was forced upon me."

Lips thinned. "What I am, is what your people have made me."
 
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Sorai

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Sorai grimaced slightly at his words and swallowed an ache in her throat, deciding not to offer any comment to his view. She had grown up in the city, she had family there, friends. The sorts of people that Katyr was currently trying to get home to. Her jaw tightened.

"And I only know that my people are afraid of yours. To my people, your people are the enemy. Your people are the ones trying to force us from our home. Elves have killed humans for hundreds of years and I doubt you'd stop until every last one of us were gone. Men, women and children. Innocent or not. Perhaps what we are is what your people have made us."

"I was taught that your people are monsters. And I've already seen what you can do, I have little reason to doubt it." she frowned bitterly.
 
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Katyr

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"Every word. Every belief you hold, is a lie told to you from the beginning of your life." His words were strong, his voice a bastion.

The Elf stared at her, through her.

It was almost as though he were seeing her for the first time, the truth that was there. Who she was, what they had made her. Instead of hatred, he now felt nothing but pity. Lips thinned, and he shook his head in disgust as she spoke.

"I have killed doze-hundreds of your people." He had never counted, but he knew it was true. "I won't, will never, deny this."

He could not. It was what he had been made to do. "But this is a war started by your people."

"The people of Fal'Addas don't care about you."
Katyr said simply. "The Princes of Ivradin, Tel'verin, Almathen think nothing of humanity. We would have been happy in our homes. We would have been happy with how they were. For us, you are a brief glimpse, a blip. Nothing more."

He frowned. "Our eyes only turned when you began to burn the Falwood. When you tried to destroy our cities, when you took our people. When you slaughtered our children."

Katyr stared at her.

"I am a monster." He said simply. "But a monster that your people made."
 
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Sorai

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How could she argue when she only knew what she'd been taught by others? When he'd no doubt lived far, far longer than she had and no doubt longer than her father or grandfather had. How old was he? Did they really live hundreds and hundreds of years?

Her stomach twisted as he mentioned slaughtering their children and her head shook. She wouldn't argue but she could refuse to believe it. Choose to believe that his tongue was poison and that he sought to fill her mind with lies about her own people. Humans were civilised, they didn't slaughter children, they defended their homes and their families from those who'd seek it harm.

She said nothing, but the look she gave him said enough of her doubt. She pulled her shawl around her and leaned back with a huff, turning away from him.
 
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Katyr

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The Elf only stared.

There was no "victory" to be had here. No feeling of accomplishment as though he'd achieved something. They were speaking of war, genocide, battle. What did a conversation matter in the face of any of that? What did belief of anything matter?

She had been deceived, lied to.

He couldn't change that.

Katyr offered her no words. Not anymore. He had said what he needed to say, he had said what he would say. As she turned away in a huff the Elf only shook his head. There was nothing else that he could say to her, not to change her mind.

He leaned back slightly, letting out a breath.

All he wanted was to get home. Then it would be alright.
 
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Sorai

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The silence eventually lulled her to sleep and the stillness called the cold into her bones to rattle at them as she slept, clutching tightly to her shall as she curled up as much as she could on the smooth rock. The sleep wasn't comfortable, but necessary to give her mind and body some semblance of rest.

Her mind replayed the horrors of her city's devastation again and again, though in her dream the elves joined the fray, and every single one of them wore Katyr's face, grinning as they slaughtered her people and piled them high.

First light had only just broken by the time she jumped awake, from one nightmare into the one she was currently living.
 
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Katyr

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Katyr didn't sleep.

He couldn't.

They had taken that from him too. It was something that had escaped him for decades, something that had been stripped from his very being. He closed his eyes. He rested, but he had not slept since before he had been dragged to that keep.

By the time dawn came the Elf was already standing, his muscles tense, his hands placing another log onto the flame.

It was close now, the Falwood. He could hear the call of his home, the trees that were nearby, the sounds of...the sounds of where he was supposed to be.

When Sorai awoke she would find him perched over the fire, his hands outstretched, as if seeking a warmth that would never be able to touch him. His eyes were closed, still resting after near a century of deprivation.
 
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Sorai

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Sorai stared at him for a long moment, wondering if he'd fallen asleep like that. Quietly, she got herself to her feet, rubbing the sleep from her face and rolling the aches and stiffness from her muscles before creeping toward the mouth of the cavern on her tiptoes.
 
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Katyr

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"Are you really trying to leave?" His words rang out in an echo within the cavern.

They seemed to ring within the mind, running along the spine and calling out to some force beyond the spoken word. It seemed to almost crawl beneath the skin, as though something had been injected into the very soul.

"After what you've seen?" His voice was only spoke this time. "After everything you've learned?"

Katyr's eyes snapped open, glancing up towards Sorai.

There was no anger in the way he looked at her, no rage, nothing even close to her. He only stared, watching carefully. As though he expected her to try some trick.
 

Sorai

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A sharp gasp caught in her throat and she stumbled as she felt his words shudder through her, the jagged rock of the cavern wall grazing her skin as she gripped hold of it to stop herself from falling. She looked back at him, her brow furrowed indignantly.

"I'd hoped for some privacy.. Or am I not permitted to go to the bathroom on my own now?.." she huffed, rubbing her hands on her skirts.

"I might be human but I'm not entirely devoid of sense." she grumbled.
 
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Katyr

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Katyr chuckled. "I never was."

The Elf said with a shake of his head.

He had no idea if she was telling the truth or not. The Humans who had kept him never particularly cared if he needed to soil himself or not, they'd simply mocked him and told him that it was the 'natural' way for his disgusting kind.

"Go on then." He told her with a wave of his hand.

Katyr was not them.

He did not trust her, not by a long shot. But she had at least earned this little bit of rope. There had been times when she could have tried to run, when she could have fled or tried to kill him...and she hadn't.

Perhaps he could be reasonable, at least once. "Just don't trip."

Katyr mocked with a smile.