Private Tales Never trust the shadows

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Anais

The Hopeless
Member
Messages
93
Character Biography
Link
Her heels ached as she slammed them again and again into hard shins, the guard only squeezing her tighter and grunting warnings at her.

"Whores and thieves the lot of you." he growled, straining as she writhed in his grip.

"Fuck you." Ana barked back at him, just managing to reach her small carving blade and with a few rapid blows she stabbed it into the top of his thigh until it struck bone and stuck.

A roar worked its way free of the man's throat and he swore loudly. He let his grip on her fall only to reach out and grip her by the hair as she tried to run. Before she could say anything, something hard collided with her jaw and her head reeled, sending the world spinning. The ground rushed up to meet her and she slammed into it unapologetically, conscious enough to keep pulling herself back in the direction of the camp.

"Little bitch." she heard muttered before his weight pinned her to the ground.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fingal
Messages
29
Character Biography
Link
He kept his weight between her shoulder blades, elbow to her spine and fingers around her neck.

"Fuck, fuck," he hissed as he realised how deep the blade had been planted. It was only adrenaline that kept the pain at bay. That, and the promise of making her pay for it.

He roared as he yanked the blade free before pressing the bloodied steel against her neck. He didn't even know if she would still be conscious enough to heed the warning.

"Stay still now," he grunted as he took the other hand from her neck and reached for her skirts.

There was no warning before the jaws came out of the darkness. Teeth caught the moonlight for an instant before they closed around the guard's forearm. They sank deep, cutting through flesh before clamping down hard enough to shatter bone and to force him to drop the blade.

The guard screamed and clawed at her dress and then at the turf as he was dragged into the darkness. There was a growl, a snarl. Then the scream was abruptly cut silent.
 

Anais

The Hopeless
Member
Messages
93
Character Biography
Link
She could barely see a thing, but she didn't have to see to know what he pressed to her throat and it was enough to heed his warning for now. Her head pounded with every ragged breath she took, and she could only hope that everything stopped spinning and that she'd have some window of opportunity to get herself out of this. Or failing that, she could only hope she'd black out entirely.

Her jaw clenched as he reached for her skirts, her heart hammering into the earth she was pinned to, but she wouldn't give him the satisfaction of pleading or whimpering. Instead she muttered a venom-coated string of gypsy words, a curse, as it were. And one that would come to fruition far sooner than she'd expected.

The blade fell, and instantly she grabbed it along with a fistful of dirt. She turned, her eyes wide as they tried to take in what was happening. The man's screams threatened to shatter her eardrums, and she kicked at him as he tore at her skirts before being dragged off by something.

Wolves.

Ana blinked hard in the direction the guard had been dragged in, listening for any sounds of movement as she gingerly pulled herself to her feet and started moving back. She could still hear commotion from the camp, and then screams. The gypsy turned, stumbled, and ran as fast as she could back toward the others.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fingal
Messages
29
Character Biography
Link
Fingal waited until the beat of his heart had slowed to a regular rhythm before sitting back on his haunches. He hated that it had come to this. His brothers and sisters found him strange for spending more time dabbling in the mortal world than joining the hunt.

But he did hear its call. He was bred for it. He wanted to run, to chase, to sink his teeth in deep. His muzzle was dripping with blood. The guard's expression frozen in horror in the moments after his throat had been torn out.

This was going to be trouble. There was no way out of it with words now; the travellers would have to leave the town. They would have to leave tonight.

Fingal didn't know how much of a look at him the girl had caught. It seemed a rather minor problem compared to everything else.

The guard had a short sword at his belt. Fingal took it and stood up. He brought his hand and sleeve to his mouth and wiped most of the blood away. He started slowly, but soon paced back into the bedlam.

The gypsies would defend themselves, but perhaps he could limit the bloodshed.
 

Anais

The Hopeless
Member
Messages
93
Character Biography
Link
Pain lanced through her skull with every uncertain step she took. She could see shapes struggling ahead, and she reached the camp just in time to hear a gasp of shock stick in Marcus' throat before he fell to his knees at the foot of the last guard standing.

Oliver was wounded, the other guard was dead, and others surrounded their leader protectively, hands pressing to the bleeding wound in his side. Ana's heart stopped as the others screamed Marcus' name. The last guard stood with his back to the darkness, and with a burst of adrenaline and fury, Ana ran at him and leapt onto his back to bring the bloodied blade down into the crook of his neck with a feral roar.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fingal
Messages
29
Character Biography
Link
It was a chaotic mess. There was no chance the guard captain would have wanted it to descend into a blood bedlam like this. He had probably hoped for a bit of mild intimidation, but then left the work to guards who loved the power trip far too much.

He muttered something in surprise under his breath in a long dead language. He had no expected to see the gypsy girl launch herself onto the back of the last soldier. Despite what had happened, she was filled with a fighting spirit.

The guard reached for her wrist, fingers clamping down tight. He would have tried to use that to his advantage, except that his strength left him with the bright red arterial spray. She had struck true.

Fingal stepped forwards, sword pulled back and ready to strike. The guard dropped to his knees as more blood bubbled from his neck. Then he slowly fell face first to the ground.
 

Anais

The Hopeless
Member
Messages
93
Character Biography
Link
Anais held as tightly as she could to the guard, driving the blade as deeply as she could before ripping it out. She'd never seen anything like it, even in the dark the spray of crimson was a shock of colour. She felt it spatter her, sickened by how warm it was. She felt the moment he gave in to death's grip and she tumbled to the ground with him, rolling to a stop on her stomach and turning her wide eyes back to the man she'd just killed and the glistening blood that poured so freely from his neck.

Ana was still. The sounds of despair and panic around her muffled by the ringing and pounding heartbeat in her ears. Someone was trying to speak to her, there was a hand on her shoulder, but she could only stare for a long moment, her mind entirely void of any rational thought. She'd never seen a man die like that, nor had she ever taken a life before.

Around her, others were still tending to Oliver and Marcus, a few were getting the horses and wagons ready to make a swift escape. It seemed, they would no longer be trusted here after all..
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fingal
Messages
29
Character Biography
Link
The scent of blood and death hung heavy on the air. Fingal might not have been the same as his peers, but he was still a cwn. Of all the fae creatures, they were the ones bred for the hunt.

He felt a little swell of shame that the scent excited him, rather than made him feel nauseated.

Fingal tossed the sword down. He didn't have a scabbard for it. Even holding it by the leather had brought him too close to iron. He could feel the heat through his fingers that would have eventually become a searing burn.

"Come on girl, need to get you on a wagon," he said to Anais, but she wouldn't respond. All that adrenaline had burned itself out, it seemed.

Fingal dropped to his knees, looking around them briefly before bringing his lips close to her ear. He kept his eyes on the bloody blade. This time, he put a little magic behind the words.

"We need you to get up now, Anais."
 
  • Cthuloo
Reactions: Anais

Anais

The Hopeless
Member
Messages
93
Character Biography
Link
The whispered sound of her name seemed to claw its way through the fog she'd lost herself in, gripping her mind and pulling it firmly back to her senses. She dragged her glassy gaze from the dead man and turned to look at Radagan, a breath catching in her throat as she nodded.

Though her legs felt weak, they were bolstered by the need to get up and she got herself slowly to her feet. She looked around her, finally taking in the chaos. Marcus' lifeless body was being carried to one wagon and Oliver was being helped onto another. Tears that'd gone unshed now spilled onto her cheeks as the loss suddenly hit her square in the chest, though she quickly wiped at them, smearing the blood over her fair skin. Her hands shook as she looked at them, though once again the urge to fall to her knees was overruled by the need to move.

Her crimson stained hands balled into fists and she turned to help gather the last of their things into the wagons before climbing into Oliver's.

"What can I do?" she asked Agatha, the oldest female of the troupe and their only healer. Ana had been learning what she could from the woman, but she'd never had to put any of her teachings into practice until now.

The wagons started moving with haste, and with Agatha's instruction the two women managed to clean and sew Oliver's wound and ensured that he was comfortable. It wasn't until the older woman had told her to get herself cleaned up that she remembered the blood still spattered and smeared across her face and chest - the wave of nausea crashing into her so hard that she kicked the door open for a few greedy gulps of cold night air.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fingal
Messages
29
Character Biography
Link
Once most of the troupe and their belongings were in wagons, Fingal suggested they keep everyone stained in blood out of sight. The guards weren't going to look too closely if they were finally leaving, but giving them an excuse to stop the caravan would be foolish.

Fingal directed some of the younger lads to hide the nearest bodies in bushes. They didn't need to be buried, but placed out of sight so that they wouldn't be found until the morning. The town didn't have the riders to spare chasing after them if they got a good headstart.

He went to deal with the guard furthest from the camp on his own. No one else needed to see his throat torn out. He would have to find out what the girl had seen.

Fingal hitched a ride with the group. Staying in the back of another wagon as he tried to clean the blood away. The guards at the gate jeered and made lewd comments as the caravan left. They wouldn't be feeling so jovial in a few hours time.

The mood was somber as they rode slowly through the darkness. He wondered if they had a song of mourning and felt guilty for wondering if it would be one he hadn't heard before.

"I'm going to go out ahead of the caravan," he announced, hopping down. He was easily able to jog beyond the wagon at the front of the caravan. Once he was out of sight, the cwn raced on down the road.
 

Anais

The Hopeless
Member
Messages
93
Character Biography
Link
She only just managed to glimpse Radagan as he passed by, and had no time nor apparently the ability to speak before he was gone again and she sat herself down, letting one foot dangle above the road as they travelled onward.

What the fuck had happened?

Ana's eyes shifted with the the distant glaze of someone searching a memory, open without really seeing. It had all moved so quickly. The guards had been made a mockery of upon the troupe's arrival, and pride was a fickle thing. She'd known his face, the one who'd grabbed her. The thought caused her hand to smooth absent-mindedly over the torn skirts she wore, but before she could feel another churn of nausea she remembered the wolf. Wolves? She'd only glimpsed one flash of white. She doubted the creature discriminated, and that she'd somehow been lucky that the guard had been atop her at the time, but regardless - she owed the creature a great deal.

Marcus. Had that truly happened before her eyes? Had she really ended that man's life? Tears filled her eyes once more and she looked down at her shaking hands and the blood that stained them. As though reading her mind, Agatha was there with a cloth and some fresh water as well as a firm pat on the shoulder.

"Those clothes will need boiled. And I can sew those skirts for ya once we stop." the woman said kindly.

Ana nodded slowly and murmured a quiet thank you, and began cleaning off what blood she could. Minutes passed before she heard voices call back and forth to one another, and Radagan's name mentioned. She looked up, seeing the man return.

"I thought you'd left us. Not that I'd blame you." Anais smiled mirthlessly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fingal
Messages
29
Character Biography
Link
The cwn ran. Not to find bandits in the night. He would watch for them, but another fight was the last thing he wanted. He ran because he wanted to burn off the last of the adrenaline. He ran until the urge to chase started to abate. It was in their blood.

He was a rarity among their kind. Having lost much of his family he was self-reliant and worked alone in the mortal world. It didn't change his nature, wanting to fight and hunt with a pack when his blood was up.

Fingal had run farther than he had thought. Back on two feet it was a little while before he heard the sound of the wagons again.

"I thought you'd left us. Not that I'd blame you." Anais smiled mirthlessly.

Fingal turned towards her, not quite feeling up to offering a forced smile in return. He wondered what she had told the others about what had happened in the shadows.

"I said I was staying," he said, offered a slow nod of his head. He followed after her wagon.

"How are you feeling?" he asked. She had washed some of the blood from her hands. These were hard people, but Anais had been put through a lot.
 
  • Cthuloo
Reactions: Anais

Anais

The Hopeless
Member
Messages
93
Character Biography
Link
Her green eyes pooled with unshed tears at the question but she cleared her throat and frowned, allowing the anger to smother the grief rather than let herself fall apart. "Like I need a stiff drink." she answered with a huff, the wagon jostling her as it trundled off-road.

They were heading downhill into the valley where the forest was thick with evergreen. Most were on foot by the time they'd found a place suitable to stop, the wagons needing a bit of an extra shove here and there to get over the terrain of roots and rocks. They wouldn't be searched for here.

The wagons formed a crescent on a small beach of fine gravel, with the trees at their backs and a small lake surrounded by hills and peaks. It was perfectly silent, and the mood amongst the group was sombre enough that they wouldn't be disturbing the peace with their usual festivities.

When the horses were tended to and a fire was built, hugs and concerns were exchanged. Agatha assured the group that Oliver would be alright given time to recover, and tomorrow they would have a funeral for Marcus. Ana was given a simple dress to wear as promised, and she took herself a little further along the lake's edge before stripping out of the bloodstained and torn one that she wore, and wading into the frigid water.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fingal
Messages
29
Character Biography
Link
Fingal watched the moons rising. He was of the moons. Their light always brought him a measure of calm. Fingal had been through days that had been much worse than this, but the atmosphere of the camp was infectious. They were sad and angry and mournful.

"Your eyes are strange at night," Molly said, surprising him.

"Don't be rude!" Hissed one of the older women.

"I meant in a nice way..."

Fingal ignored them. His eyes were much better than theirs in the darkness. He could see down the curve of the lake's edge, could see Anais trying to wash the blood away. It would have looked completely black in the darkness.

He waited until she was drying off before he moved out from the camp and into the night. He followed the curve of the lake, listening to the water gently disturbing the shingle.

"What happened to you?" Fingal called out quietly, before he would be much more than a shadow walking alone the shore. His tone was gentle, deliberately so. He wanted to know what she remembered and how she interpreted it.

"You were carried out of the camp and I lost you in the darkness," he explained.
 

Anais

The Hopeless
Member
Messages
93
Character Biography
Link
The water was freezing, but after a few seconds she barely felt it at all. She scrubbed the guard's blood vigorously from her skin, washing away the last tears she'd cry about it before she returned to shore wringing out her golden hair to let it hang in damp waves over her shoulder.

She'd just pulled on the shift dress as Radagan's voice startled her. She whipped around, her gaze scanning the darkness for him, though she could barely make out the shape of him in the dark.

"How long have you been standing there?" she asked a little indignantly and sat herself down on a smooth rock to tug on her boots. Her breath was a plume of mist on the air, and the silver moonlight on her pale skin gave her an almost ghostly appearance.

"I don't know." her head shook. She'd been going over and over the scenario in her head. She knew what the guard had intended, and that wasn't something she wished to talk about. "A wolf, I think.." she frowned and her head shook again as she heard what she'd been about to say in her mind before letting it pass her lips. A wolf saved her? How ridiculous.

"I was lucky." she huffed quietly and looked up, her eyes squinting to better make out his features. "Were you hurt?"
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fingal
Messages
29
Character Biography
Link
"I haven't been standing here as long as you're worried I have been," he replied. Eyes and teeth caught the moonlight more than they should have done. It barely caught the silver that framed his face.

Fingal tilted his head to one side as he watched her pulling on her boots. He took a half step closer. A little more light made him look less predatory and more sympathetic.

"I was," he said. "The kind of injury that hurts a lot at first but goes away quickly. I've had the other kind and it's much worse."

The other kind usually involved being stabbed. He had once run twenty yards before feeling the sting of the knife. It was worse for his kind, the burn of iron could last for a long time.

"I heard an animal noise," he said, slowly nodding. "Maybe one of their own dogs they beat too much finally snapped," he suggested.
 

Anais

The Hopeless
Member
Messages
93
Character Biography
Link
Ana's lips twisted as she looked up at him. "Hm." she nodded in agreement. The most she'd had were a few lashes, but they'd been brutal enough.

She stood and gathered the ruined dress, eager to get back to the fire. A slender brow quirked at what he'd said about the animal noise, and she felt her cheeks flush with warmth. If he'd heard that, she wondered what else he'd heard.

"I didn't see much. But it wasn't a dog." she answered as she approached him with a shrug. Her hand scuffed her jaw as it came to curl her damp hair around her ear and she flinched at the swollen bruise that'd bloomed there, now reignited by the reminder.

"Thank you, for getting me moving earlier. I don't know what I was thinking." she frowned. "Either too much or nothing at all, I think.." she laughed awkwardly under her breath.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Fingal
Messages
29
Character Biography
Link
Fingal would not regret the decision he had made. He would have regretted allowing her to be subjected to the abuse of the guards if he hadn't shifted.

She had seen enough to know that it wasn't any common dog. He reflected that he would have felt insulted if she had agreed that it had been a common, mangy guard dog. His pride almost carried more weight than the logic that said he needed to go undiscovered.

It wasn't, however, an experience she would revisit among company. A mystery that she wasn't going to try and unravel.

"In the scales of things, I didn't help much at all," he said. Fingal tilted his head to one side, seeing the beginnings of the bruising she had felt.

"I could claim I would find my revenge for you all on my next passage through that town," he said, "after all it was my fault you were within the walls. Alas, if I made it my mission to deal with every ignorant, power hungry town guard I imagine it would take several of your lifetimes just to get through the country."
 

Anais

The Hopeless
Member
Messages
93
Character Biography
Link
She narrowed her eyes in effort to make her tight smile a little warmer if possible, but it was forced and obviously so. He was being kind about it, but all she could feel was nausea and a panic inducing guilt as she thought of those guards.

"I think we got enough vengeance.." she commented quietly, refraining from looking down at her hands to make sure they were clean. They were, physically at least. She pulled in a deep breath, finding it still difficult to breathe easily.

"I've seen people die before just, not like that. And I've never.." she frowned, doubting she had to continue. Ana rubbed at her brow and shook her head with a laugh under her breath. "I don't know why I'm talking about this." she murmured, her eyes glistening, but she refused to cry any more than she already had over the guard she'd killed, the one who'd killed one of her own family. They'd have killed every one of them and celebrated it afterward.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fingal
Messages
29
Character Biography
Link
"You're talking about this because I asked you a question about it," Fingal said. He smiled and turned his head to look up at the moons.

"I did not mean for my idle curiosity to clash with the way you and your people have suffered," he apologised.

The tenacity with which she had clung to the guard had made him think she had used a weapon in anger before. The truth was that she had never seen anyone murdered before, let alone committed the act herself.

Fingal couldn't quite imagine what that was like. He couldn't even remember a time before killing, a time before hunting with the pack.

"I am sorry for that, but talking about something like that often helps. You did the right thing," Fingal insisted.
 
  • Cthuloo
Reactions: Anais

Anais

The Hopeless
Member
Messages
93
Character Biography
Link
"Right.." she laughed under her breath at the answer to the question she'd thought rhetorical. Her smile slowly faded as he apologised though, and she frowned at him with a shake of her head.

"You've nothing to apologise for." she told him, and swallowed the rising well of emotion at his assurance that she'd done the right thing. It was a difficult thing to believe, but she hadn't realised how much she'd needed someone to tell her that until he had. She nodded in silent appreciation, her eyes crushed emeralds behind the glistening tears as she stared at him.

"He deserved to die for what he did, and he might've killed more of us if I hadn't. I did what I had to do.." she sighed. It still didn't make it her right to take a life, especially as brutally as it had been, like she'd woken some animal instinct in her that she wasn't aware that she had. She'd just have to try her best not to allow it to destroy her.

Ana glanced down at the ruined dress folded over her arms. "I should get this to Agatha. I don't have many.." she huffed a mirthless laugh and her shoulders sagged. Her skin was still speckled with sparkling beads of water and her hair hung in damp waves around her shoulder, keeping her cold. She shuddered suddenly.

"And get to the fire before I freeze.." she smirked.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fingal
Messages
29
Character Biography
Link
Fingal made a soft noise of enquiry before going: "Ah."

The cold did not bother him. He was not of the air, but he knew the moons and the night and cold such as this couldn't sting him.

He felt a pang of guilt. He had forced her to talk about horrific events for his own selfish reasons and he had kept her out in the cold. She had a slight figure, one he had watched quite happily from the shadows with his acute vision.

There was something less acute, buried deeper. The larger concern that he had pushed these people's lives off course. He had intended to steal a few stories, possibly meddle with some of the dancing girls and been on his way without leaving much of a trace. They wouldn't forget this day now.

"Sometimes when people don't back down you have to use your teeth," he said. "Let's get back to the fire," he agreed. All he could offer was a warm smile and some threadbare advice. It wasn't much. As they walked back he started humming an old tune. Older than they were, older than he was. Older than most remaining civilisations.
 
  • Cthuloo
Reactions: Anais

Anais

The Hopeless
Member
Messages
93
Character Biography
Link
Her smile was slight but her eyes sparkled with the gratitude she felt that he'd made the effort to justify her actions. She was careful as she walked in the dark, concentrating more on where she put her feet and avoiding the rocks and roots that waited to trip her. She had enough shame to deal with.

"What's that?" she asked as she listened to the tune. It wasn't often she heard one that was entirely new to her, and it tugged her mind out of the shadows of the day as her curiosity piqued.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fingal
Messages
29
Character Biography
Link
Walking alongside her, Fingal barely looked down as he avoided every root, rock and dip in the ground. There were times when he was careless.

"An excellent question," he replied. "It might be one of the four lamentations for the departed of the Oxcilli tribe or it might be a bawdy bar song from the dwarven city of Wuln. No one is sure any more because no one knows the words to it, or if it ever had any."

Heedless of her distress, and the situation they found themselves in, Fingal returned to his usual ways. Most fae, especially the cwn who stuck closely to the pack - which was almost all of them - found him strange. There were still times when his actions were very much that of a fae.

"Would you like to hear the rest? What would you offer for a long lost tune?" he asked. Fingal barely turned his head, moonlight caught his white beard and showed that his lips didn't move. He smiled with his eyes alone.
 

Anais

The Hopeless
Member
Messages
93
Character Biography
Link
Anais paused atop a smooth rock and tilted her head with a breath of a laugh in incredulity. She had already noticed how at ease he seemed with his surroundings, and now he was singing long lost tunes and inquiring about trade.

"Are you sure you're not Gypsy?" she asked with a chuckle. The moonlight suited him..

"What would you like for it? Coin? A trinket? A story?.." her brow quirked. "It very much depends what you value most, and how much its worth.."
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fingal