Private Tales Muscle

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Riley

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Riley hobbled over, Thorn not leaving her side but giving her enough space. Whoever said young elves weren't wise?

"Hey," she grunted at the two as she neared. "I may have human ears but I still heard all that." Thorn rubbed at the back of his neck and gave Arwyl and Kaius an apologetic look with a hint of silent pleading to be re-assigned to something else. Someone else.

"I can talk to the other humans if you think it'll help. When are we doing this, tonight?"

She certainly said we and not you.
 
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Arwyl Minras

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Arwyl let that slide for now. She wasn't coming along with them, whether she wanted to or not. He'd have her chained up if he had to.

He offered an apologetic dip of the chin towards Thorn. The memory of them taking a turn to patrol together just hours ago was still a little fresh in his mind.

"It doesn't have to be many," he reasoned. "I know what you mean. The way some of them have been treated...if you were them you'd have to think about whether selling us out would be worth it. We don't know a lot about some of them. Just a few more inside that gate would be good."
 
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Kaius

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Kaius shuffled to give her room to sit next to him, and a helping hand if she required it. "Tomorrow. If we're ready." he told Riley. He wasn't having that argument with her here and now either, but she couldn't surely think she was going anywhere in her condition.

He gave a quiet nod and a thoughtful sigh at Arwyl's words. They needed the humans amongst them to trust them, and he was certain that over time they would. The fact that they'd stayed with them in the first place was a good start. They had saved them, after all.

"Aye, that'd be good of you, I'm sure Calden will help rally them round too.." he answered Riley with a tired smile. "How're you feeling?.."
 

Riley

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She nodded in response to Kaius.

"I'll find Calden first thing after this. See if we can come up with a plan." But it really wasn't a plan. She just wanted to talk to some of the other humans. Some of them had offered her nods of thanks as she'd passed by this morning, recognizing her from the mines. One of the ones who had freed them.

But her thoughts kept drifting to the one that had reminded her of her mother. The one she couldn't save; the one she'd failed to save. Riley gnawed on the inside of her cheek nearly missing Kaius' question and his look of concern.

"I'm fine," she huffed, carefully schooling her features. She looked between the two elves, one a friend (and pain the the arse) and the other something far more. "What were our losses like yesterday? Do we have enough to take the city?" She hadn't heard reports, not yet.

She did know if she hadn't stopped that explosion it would've been worse even if it felt like she'd done nothing.
 
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Arwyl Minras

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"We'll find Calden and bring him to you," Arwyl corrected. He didn't have the energy to give Riley a look to try and make the point. It would inevitably lead to her making a stubborn attempt to ignore him.

"Our numbers aren't the problem, though we lost a few good people," Arwyl said.

"The issue is that they heard the explosion and sent out scouts. They've shut the gates and posted guards so we've got to tweak the plans. None of us could have known they had alchemy down there..." he bemoaned.
 
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Kaius

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Kai's gaze darkened at the talk of loss, Henry's last moments still fresh in his mind, as well as those when he'd thought Riley wouldn't make it. His jaw tightened. Fighting was always one thing, he went into it reluctantly, performed it skilfully, and left it feeling utterly broken whether he'd been wounded or not. Another fracture on his mind, a little more pressure against cracking glass.

Realisation set in, and he gave Riley a look at Arwyl's words. A stern gaze that he held for a long enough moment to let her know that he'd known fine well that she was aware of the alchemist before she'd gone further into those mines. She'd been warned by the same slave who'd told him about it, and still she'd gone.

He'd already expressed his chagrin at her impulsiveness, her poor concept of risk, and she'd almost paid with her life, and his. He'd been reduced to a crumbling wreck in front of everyone, he'd been terrified, and now anger bloomed in that hole left behind now that the fear had passed. He remained quiet and brooding for fear of his words sparking a larger flame. For now they needed rest.
 

Riley

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She'd been warned. None of them could have known that the alchemist set that trap up for this very event. And she knew if she hadn't been there, it would've been far worse. Even so, she felt like she'd failed. Should've cast a larger shield. Should've...

For a moment, her gaze hollowed out as her face darkened. Hazels didn't seem as bright as her eyes dulled. She'd deserved the burns on her back. Her broken leg. She'd deserved far more.

A dry swallow.

"He was ready for us," she said slowly. "The alchemist. It's almost like they knew we were coming. Or, they were just prepared to blow the mines if anyone ever tried to rescue the slaves." She and Kaius had been set-up before. Almost captured and killed by that dreadlord. There's been rumors of a spy then.

And now...

What if the spy had never left?
 
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Arwyl Minras

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"That...hmmm..."

Arwyl didn't like the thought at all. It made sense. Who would fill a mine with alchemical explosives. It was certain to be far more of a risk to the mine itself than any form of defence.

"If there's any chance they knew we were coming for the mine, then we can't make an attempt on the town," Arwyl said firmly.

Despite how certain he sounded, he cast his gaze towards Kaius. He might have been trying to fit the role he had inherited, but he still looked to Kaius for guidance.
 
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Kaius

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Kaius rubbed at the aching tension in the back of his neck with a low, guttural growl. "We can come back. Give them time to think they're rid of us. We can't risk them waiting on us." he frowned and scratched at his stubbled cheek.

He stood, throwing a huff from his lungs and swearing irritably as he turned away from the little group to storm off through the camp, grabbing his bow and disappearing into the wood.

"Stay!" he barked at Elena who'd been about to rush after him. He needed time.
 

Riley

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Her frown deepened as he stormed off. And without him? She felt the weariness wrap around her. She half rose to go after his stubborn ass but she felt it wise to give him his space. At least for now.

With a quiet grunt, she sunk back down on the log. Frustration rippled across her brow as she stared at the make-shift crutch leaning next to her.

She caught Arwyl's gaze.

"There something you want to say to me?"

A quiet huff.
 
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Arwyl Minras

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"Nope," replied Arwyl.

He sighed in frustration. He didn't express it as strongly as Kaius.

"I know he's right. Either our luck is cursed or they knew we were coming for the mine. We haven't got the numbers to take that town by brute force if they're ready.

"Or were you hoping I'd have somethibg to get off my chest," he mused. He knew how the rest of his day was going to go if they had to put their plans on hold. A bottle of wine and finding some comfort in Thorn's arms for the evening.
 
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Riley

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"The latter," she huffed and wobbled to a stand, shoving the rough wood of the crutch beneath her armpit. "But you lost your opportunity your royal highness," she forced her signature smile, the lopsided grin. Only, it didn't stretch across her face like it usually did. The ghost of a smile; the ghost of a signature.

Thorn made to move to follow her as she took hobbling steps toward the woods and then some more.

Kaius did not have the right to just storm off alone into the woods while they camped within enemy range. She was going after him. Albeit a lot slower. She knew he needed time to be alone and she hoped her slow gait would give him enough of it. She remembered speaking her frustration about it the last time he'd done it. Or been about to do it, when they'd gone on mission a few months ago. When finding that small clearing and cabin and their chats under the stars had changed everything between them.

"I think your prince needs you more," Riley grunted to Thorn and gave him a pointed look. Before she could see if Thorn was blushing, her back was to him as she made her way deeper into the woods, tracking Kaius' trail.
 

Kaius

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Kaius hadn't stalked too far, just far enough where he couldn't hear the noise of the camp or smell the smoke of it, where the deer would turn away rather than get too close. He tracked deer a little further up river and had waited long enough in the thicket for a small herd of them to wander down to the water to drink before he made a kill. The buck should have been easy enough for him to carry back to camp on his own.

He stayed a while by the edge of the river, feeding on the energy of the roots he sat amongst, letting it soothe and nurture his mind as he stared toward the heavens and lost himself in far more pleasant thought and memory. His brow creased slightly as he heard the unmistakable sound of feet and crutch nearby and his head shook.

"You should be resting!" he called out from his 'hiding' place, and rolled his eyes to himself. "Bah, what's the point?.."
 

Arwyl Minras

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"If she has a thing for the elderly I don't see why that's my problem?" Arwyl asked Thorn with all the bravery of a man who thought they were both well outside of earshot.

"They're both upset and blaming themselves," Thorn replied.

"You know I hate it when you're just cold and rational about things," Arwyl replied.

"You'll just wind yourself up if I let you start ranting," Thorn said with a shrug.

"Oh...go and find me some wine."
 
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Riley

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“And you shouldn’t go off alone in these woods,” she called. Head swiveling. Thorn and Arwyl’s words still ringing in her ears.

Who knew?

And when had THAT started? Something to think about later.

Bright hazels with those flecks of gold finally found him. Beneath that towering tree. The look on his face. “I was resting all last night. Nearly all morning. YOU need rest. Can you please not...walk away from me?”
 

Kaius

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Kaius laughed incredulously under his breath, his head bowed as he rubbed at the back of his neck with a shake of his head. "I'm quite capable of hunting on my own." he rumbled in response before lifting his eyes to her with a deep huff.

"I wasn't walking away from you, I was walking away from everyone. Sometimes I just need that time to be alone with my thoughts rather than take out my frustration on anyone else. It's worked for me so far." he frowned.

"I'm not..the best company, like this. You'd best be heading back." he nodded lightly and tried his best to force a smile. "I'll be alright." he assured, bracing his arms on his knees.
 
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Riley

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A frown on her lips as her eyes searched his own. And in that moment she knew she’d be with him to whatever end. She’d always find him, no matter what. She’d hung on in the mines because she didn't want to regret not telling him how she felt. She’d shied away from it before. At the cabin. Didn’t think she deserved anything like him. But as the pain spiked down her back, as she was pinned in the dark, choking on borrowed air and time, she knew.

To whatever end. Together.

She lowered herself slowly on a fallen tree. “You don’t have to be the best company around me. All of you, all your sides. Good company or no. Kaius, I’ll take all of it. And I want to tell you something. Something I wish I’d told you earlier. But if you still need a moment. Need some time alone. Just say the word and I’ll go back to camp.”

Riley let her eyes drift to the ground, giving him the time and space to decide. Letting the sounds of the woods fill the silence between them.

To whatever end.
 

Kaius

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His eyes rose to watch her as she spoke and his brows dipped into a frown..

Be careful what you wish for.. He thought to himself, knowing how bad his company could be when he was in one of his moods. She'd already witnessed his temper, and he knew it was best to just take time away on his own than let anyone else suffer it. And here she was, trying to soothe him. His fists and jaw clenched tightly for a moment before releasing and he settled his head back against the tree with a huff.

"Something." he murmured in a breath, his lips a thin line as he regarded her again, fighting the urge to send her back to camp, knowing he'd only feel awful about it later.

"Go on." he shrugged and sighed quietly.
 
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Riley

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A small upward curve at the corners of her lips.

She wobbled to a stand, stubbornly tucking that crutch beneath one arm as she hopped and shuffled toward him. She was a woman on a mission now. And nothing could stop her. Not even the grasses, dried leaves, or twigs that crunched beneath her boots. She finally came to a pause in front of him, hazles tracking upward to meet his gaze.

"I'm in love with you, you old fool," she didn't back down as she stared at him, holding his gaze. Lips twitched slightly at their corners. A lightness in her eyes even in the middle of the serious shit-storm she and the rest of the rebels found themselves in. Even with the pains of her healing injuries. A lightness only he could draw out.

Only him.

Even if he could be just as stubborn of an ass as she could.

"And I have been since that cabin. When you told me before...I wanted to. But I was too scared. Too scared of what it would mean. Too scared of losing you before anything began. Too damn scared when I was raised to not fear. I love you. All of you. Even when you storm off. Even when you need time alone. And I will love you for as long as you'll have me."
 
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Kaius

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A muscle feathered in Kaius' jaw as Riley spoke, his chest tightening slightly. "Scared?.." he laughed under his breath with incredulity as he rubbed at his face. "I opened myself up to you. I told you everything, told you my fears. You knew how hard it was for me to let myself.." his jaw tightened to allow him to take a breath.

"You've felt it since then and let me wonder this whole time? Do you get off on torturing me?" he looked over at her.

"You sure do pick your fucking moments, Riley." he sighed and got to his feet, offering his hand to help her back up. "Lets go back to camp."
 
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Riley

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Do you get off on torturing me?

Her smile faltered and her voice cracked slightly.

"Maybe I do."

She didn't.

When he'd announced his feelings in the cabin that day she'd tried to tell him but saw a part of him would only think she was placating to him. Based on her initial reaction. She had been scared. And she hadn't been ready. But she was ready now, damnit, and she was going to make it count.

Or she hoped she was. Fingers wove through his own and she squeezed once. She looked at him. His cutting eyes, the freckles on his face. Lips parted and she paused in her limping steps as if to tug him back. To hang back. To stay a moment longer where it was just them. To settle things where she now felt they were unsettled.

"How can I make it up to you?"
 
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Kaius

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He let out a deep sigh as he stared down at her, her dark brow furrowed at the question. "Rest. And don't run into trouble like that again. If the odds are against you, you turn around." he grumbled, a hand finding the side of her face to pull her into a firm kiss.

"You fucking infuriate me." he growled, and left a more gentle kiss at the corner of her mouth before urging her toward camp, and picking up the buck he'd caught for supper.
 
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Riley

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She wanted to argue with him. Point out she didn't think she'd been running with the odds against her. Point out that if she hadn't gone, the entire mine would've been brought down on all of them. Point out that he did that all the time. For Arwyl. How many arrows had he taken now? But she knew why he said those things. So this time?

She kept her mouth shut.

Except for that kiss.

That kiss she made deeper and lingered against him.

A low, laugh from her lips at his statement. Hazels with flecks of gold within the swirling browns and greens lightened. Danced with amusement as she said, "Someone has to do it. Keep you on your toes old man." And as he urged her toward camp, her fingers show out, wrapping around his shirt as she tugged him in for one more lingering kiss. Then she'd release him and start back to camp, a glance over her shoulder.

"I will rest," she grumbled. "And stop making your and Thorn's life a living hell for the next few days."

She'd at least try.
 
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Arwyl Minras

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Thorn and Arwyl were sat around a fire by the time they returned. They were sharing a skin of wine that sounded as if it was almost empty as it was passed back and forth.

Arwyl looked up, his lazy gaze swinging back and forth between the two of them.

"Were going north at first light," he said. He looked down at the wine skin and then over at Thorn.

"Well, midmorning anyway. Plan's gone bad so we vanish and reassess," he said with am air of finality. They had feed slaves and crippled the town's economy. It would do for now.
 
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Kaius

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Old man.. Kaius snorted.

"Thank you." he grunted quietly as she agreed to oblige him in resting up. "Gives me one less thing to worry about.." he huffed.

He followed Riley back to camp and dropped the deer carcass by the camp's edge where it was quickly picked up and taken away to be skinned and butchered. He was his usual brooding self as he returned to the fire, his gaze drifting from Arwyl, to Thorn and to the wine skin as the Prince spoke.

"Wise choice." he commented. "Try not to get bladdered, we're close enough to the town that they might find us if they look hard enough." he grumbled at them. "I'll set up some patrols." he nodded, rolling his shoulders as he wandered around the men, pairing them and giving them instruction.
 
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