Fable - Ask No Fury

Medja

Vizier of Stars
The Empire
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199
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Several months had passed since Nymeasha's induction into the Empire, an induction which had been based upon a promise: that Medja would aid the Princess of Salitra in tracking down her betrayer and getting her the justice she deserved. That was a promise that she intended to keep, yet she was not simply going to hand the girl what she wanted on a silver platter. There was no satisfaction to be had in that, not to mention that the Imperial Hands had been stretched thin already as of late. Tracking down someone who did not want to be found was no easy feat, but leads were there...Nymeasha needed only follow the threads.

Salitra's Princess had her own priorities, of course. Healing her wounds following her encounter with Gerra was among them, but Medja was also aware of her romantic interest in the captain of the Immortals. Additionally, Medja had promised additional training to the girl in whatever form she chose, and had provided it whenever she asked. The Vizier knew that she was living her life as she saw fit, now free from her father's will. Nym would approach Medja when she was good and ready, and Medja would be waiting for her with a guiding hand and the tools she needed to succeed.

Until then, the Vizier of Stars continued with her work. The promise still tugged at the back of her mind from time to time, even still, and Medja wondered if perhaps the princess might visit her at her office this day. The attendants and guards already knew her well and had been instructed to let her in at any time, appointment or not...Hundreds have mercy upon any who tried to stop the girl.
 
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Nymeasha

Royal Highness
The Empire
Messages
219
Character Biography
Link
Nym had returned several days ago, but none had seen or spoken to her. She found herself in Uvogin's quarters, in his bed, utterly alone and staring at the empty doorway for far too long. Her mind was nothing but a torment, both in sleep and in her drowsy state she heard his voice, saw his smile in her mind and each time she did her heart broke a little more. She'd never mourned a living person before, but still the grief came in waves. The rage had her smashing his room apart, the pain had her cry her eyes raw for hours at a time, the confusion had her question herself until her mind was numb.

She didn't know how many days had passed, but she woke with a need to focus on something, anything at all, and she washed the layers of dried tears from her gaunt face, her puffy eyes stinging. She felt weak, in more ways than one, and she cursed herself aloud as she shifted the blame from Uvogin to herself. He had abandoned her, but she'd let herself love him when she knew it could never have ended well.. Not for her. She didn't deserve that sort of happiness.

After dressing, she secured the Captain's bow on her back and his ring on her finger, and left his rooms for what she could only assume was for the last time. Her throat ached as she stood in the doorway for a moment, staring over the mess she'd made of strewn and smashed belongings. What an accurate reflection it was of her mind, her life..

Nym looked a shell of herself as she stepped by the guards and into Medja's office. She hadn't eaten in days, her skin was pale and her hair was pulled up and knotted messily atop her head. Even a forced smile was impossible, and her expression was stoic and tired.

"Medja I need someone to accompany me if you can spare anyone?" she asked, straight to the point as she strode to the woman's desk and sat herself down in a chair. She rubbed at her face and cleared the grittiness from her voice, realising she hadn't used it in a few days and her throat was raw. "I'll be leaving as soon as I can, Kaphiri should be in Nimra.." she sighed, her empty eyes wandering over the woman's face before she dropped her gaze to the floor.
 
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Medja

Vizier of Stars
The Empire
Messages
199
Character Biography
Link
The guards shuffled aside to allow Nym entrance. Medja glanced up from a pile of documents as the Princess entered the room, then did a double take as she sat down. Concern washed over the Vizier's face as she studied her protege's appearance.
"By the Great Sage, child, you look terrible. Are you sure you should be going anywhere in your condition?"

Medja rose from her own seat and floated over to Nym's, brushing the girl's hair from her face to better inspect her. The phrase "t'is better to have loved and lost" made a lap through her mind and she dismissed it as falsehood. The toll it had taken on poor Nym certainly didn't appear worthwhile.

"I have a few Hands in mind, but I almost wonder if I should be siccing them upon Uvogin, instead." The sorceress lowered herself into a still-floating, kneeling position in front of the girl and gave her a sympathetic look. "Would you like to talk? Or drink some coffee, at least?"
 
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Nymeasha

Royal Highness
The Empire
Messages
219
Character Biography
Link
Her condition?..

Nym’s jaw clenched and her head shook as she lifted her face to the woman, watching her approach. “I have no ailments or injuries. I’m fine.” She answered curtly, unable to hold her gaze as she brushed her hair back. Her head turned away. She didn’t want comfort, she shouldn’t need comfort and she loathed how weak she appeared.

“He doesn’t want to be found, Medja. Leave him.” Nym couldn’t help but snap. She’d considered searching for him herself, but she couldn’t bring herself to be any more pathetic than she currently felt by looking for a man who didn’t want her.

“I don’t want to talk, I don’t want coffee, I just want to work.” She turned to look at her, the look of sympathy on her face causing her chest to tighten.

“I’m fine.” She repeated firmly with a single nod and cleared her throat, forcing the most feeble of smiles. “Who did you have in mind?”
 
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Medja

Vizier of Stars
The Empire
Messages
199
Character Biography
Link
Medja sighed softly and returned to an upright position. She took no offense to her protege's irritability. It was more than understandable, given the circumstances.
"Very well, dear, have it your way." She spared the girl a smile and floated back to her own side of the desk, only genuine tones in her speech. "Let no one ever say that Nymeasha of Salitra has a weak will. I know you're more than capable of handling what's to come."

Sitting back in her seat, the Vizier rifled through a stack of papers until she picked three of them free and placed them out on the desk in front of her. Each bore a name, an artistic depiction of a person, and a skill set.
"There are a few Onyx and Emerald hands available to help, but these are the only ones I'd deem qualified to aid you. You may have your pick of them, but only one. I keep them all extremely busy." Medja explained. "If you wish to know more about any of them as people, well...I can tell you what impressions they've left on me, but I don't keep that information in their profiles."

The first of the three documents held information on the Onyx Hand, Settra. Medja's current top assassin, the hooded figure depicted was a master of stealth and skilled in metal-manipulation magic.

The second was a red-headed woman with an athletic build, another Onyx Hand named Ziba. She was apparently something of an acrobat, skilled with daggers, and an adept pyromancer.

The last of the three pieces of parchment depicted a hulking, crocodilian fellow named Rhix. An Emerald Hand, he specialized in pugilism. While he had no magical prowess of any kind, he was likely the most physically capable person under Medja's employ.
 
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Nymeasha

Royal Highness
The Empire
Messages
219
Character Biography
Link
She gave a firm nod in assurance at Medja’s faith in her. Nym wasn’t so sure. She was a mess and she knew it, all she could hope was that a mission would give her something to focus on, or at least some way of venting her frustration.

She leaned forward to look over the parchments detailing her options and her eyes scanned over each one briefly before lifting Settra’s profile and taking a closer look. She’d heard about his work but she hadn’t met him yet.

“I don’t care what they’re like as people so long as they’re not a hindrance and they’re not going to fucking abandon me.” the princess muttered quietly and put the parchment back down in front of the vizier.

“He’ll do.” She nodded, knowing well that he was Medja’s top assassin. Why not take the best when it was offered? “Thank you.” Nym cleared her throat and forced another brief smile before getting up from her chair with intent to leave, but she stopped herself and turned back to frown gently, rubbing at her tired face.

“He left me his bow..” she looked down, twisting the ring on her finger..“And this. I don’t know, how they work... Perhaps you might be able to help me?..” her brow arched. Both items had magical properties, she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to use them at all.

“I know you and Gerra aren’t on.. good terms. But he’ll take them from me if he knows. I’d rather he didn’t. Someone will have to send word that he’s gone...” she huffed quietly and shrugged a shoulder.
 
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Medja

Vizier of Stars
The Empire
Messages
199
Character Biography
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The Vizier gave Nymeasha a confident grin. Medja had the utmost confidence im all of her agents, of course, but Settra was her shining favorite for a good reason.

"Excellent choice. Not to worry, Settra would sooner die than fail me...and failing you is failing me." She replied, certainty gushing in her tone. For all the suicide missions that man had volunteered for, she highly doubted he'd be dying any time soon.

Medja wasn't about to stop Nym from making her exit, but when the girl doubled back and presented her trinkets for review, the sorceress examined them carefully. The bow was nothing special, of course, but the ring upon the princess' finger made her heart skip a beat. Apprehension and shock welled within her and she instinctively clutched at the scar on her chest.

"By the Hundreds...a Ring of Amon-Thun. I didn't think it was possible for that man to live someone more than his Emperor." A great sigh escaped her as she brought herself back from the initial surprise. Then, a sad, nostalgic smile swept over her. "You should count yourself fortunate; that ring is an artifact matched only by its own untainted kin."

Medja rose from her desk once more and moved to an ornate spear mounted on a nearby wall.
"Thankfully, one not need innate magical talent to make use of either of these tools of yours. You need only focus on what you want them to do and they shall heed your will." As if to emphasize, the sorceress plucked the spear from its mount, closed her eyes, and a blue flame erupted from its head. With a flourish, she extinguished the flame and placed the spear back from whence it came.

The sorceress drifted back to Nym, sparing her another sympathetic smile.
"Darling, I wouldn't breathe a word of this to Gerra even if he hadn't tried to kill me. As far as I am concerned, both the ring and bow belong to you."

Finally she placed a kiss upon the princess' forehead and held the girl's face in her hands.
"Travel safely, love. Settra will meet up with you shortly." She said softly, then once again returned to her desk.
 
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Nymeasha

Royal Highness
The Empire
Messages
219
Character Biography
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Medja's words caused another wave of devastation to shudder through her, making the familiar ache in her chest and throat intensify until her eyes watered.. "If he loved me he wouldn't have abandoned me at all." she answered dryly, and quietly to avoid a quake in her voice. She let out a short huff at the difficulty she felt in considering herself fortunate. She'd rather have him, and right now she struggled to see how the trinket could ever be more valuable to her than he was.

Glassy eyes followed the Vizier as she moved around the room and reflected the blue flame of her demonstration. A brief nod was all that was given in response to her tuition and she sighed quietly and tried her best to offer a genuine smile in appreciation of Medja's discretion, allowing herself to take some comfort in her affections.

"Thank you.." she answered almost silently, meeting her gaze for a brief moment before she left to prepare for her journey.
 
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Medja

Vizier of Stars
The Empire
Messages
199
Character Biography
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The Vizier of Stars smiled as Nymeasha made her exit. Heartache or no, that girl was out to cut her own path now. One day she'd find her peace. Perhaps her mission would serve as more than a distraction, it might even help her to heal. Only time would tell.

In the meanwhile, Medja had paperwork to do and a fresh bottle of wine waiting beneath her desk. There was information to obtain, spies to unveil, and foreign heads of state that needed silencing. As she popped the cork from the bottle and poured herself a glass, she glanced out the window, pensive.

* * *
Medja hadn't been lying when she said that Settra would "meet up with her shortly." In fact, the masked man was already waiting for her outside. Dark eyes stared down at the princess from behind a feathered, dark blue hood. A keenly athletic build was visible where armor, cloth, and leather straps weren't present. Only a sharp eye could detect the assassin's blades, tucked neatly behind folds of fabric.

"Your Highness." A hushed, gravelly voice greeted the princess, apparently deeming that introductions were unnecessary. "I am at your service."
 
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Nymeasha

Royal Highness
The Empire
Messages
219
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Nym has just about walked straight into the man and she flinched with a quiet curse under her breath as she looked up at him, her fingers clenching and a sharp huff escaping her nostrils. She drew the breath back in slowly and composed herself to offer a polite dip of her chin in response to his words.

Jade orbs narrowed slightly as she looked over him, studying the man with intrigue and without discretion. "Well, you certainly look the part.." she muttered more to herself with a single nod before she moved around him to continue on her path, assuming the man would follow.

"What if I'd have chosen Ziba or Rhix?" she asked curiously, wondering if Medja had predicted her visit and her request.

She didn't give him much time to answer, nor did she bother to look back as she continued speaking.. "If you're ready to go now we can reach shelter by nightfall, should give us the day to reach Nimra by tomorrow evening."

Nym's things were ready, she'd intended on going off to search for the captain and had changed her mind several times before settling upon her decision to let him go, physically, at least. As they reached the courtyard, the stable hands saddled the chestnut stallion and she greeted the horse with a gentle stroke of his face and pressed a light kiss to his nose. Fresh skins of water and wine as well as food supplies were brought out and added to the cantle, and her weapons were handed to her which she secured next to Uvogin's bow.
 
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Settra

Onyx Hand
The Empire
Messages
5
"Well, you certainly looked the part.."
A simple blink met Nymeasha's statement. If the assassin was offering any kind of reaction at all, it was concealed behind his guise. Dutiful and soft spoken, this one...

Not one to be particular about social queues, Settra replied to the princess' likely rhetorical question in a matter of fact manner.
"Ziba and Rhix are both competent members of Mistress Medja's entourage. You would have been in good hands no matter what." Settra trudged after her, unfazed. Nym might've gotten the sense that one of the other two agents might've been better conversational partners, at the least.

"I am prepared. Mistress Medja instructed me to obey you as I would her." The Onyx Hand replied flatly, staying perhaps a step too close for comfort. "Say the word and I will act."

Settra watched for a moment as Nymeasha went about tending to her mount, perhaps a hint of curiosity showing through his otherwise stony visage if only through the length of time his gaze lingered. Then, the assassin followed suit, prepping a sable haired mare with saddle, bags, and equipment. Just before mounting up he reached into a small pouch and produced a handful of oats, offered them to the horse, and waited patiently as his steed tenderly nibbled the treat from his palm.

Finally, Settra glanced upwards at the sky.
"I pray that the hundreds will guide us well. The winds are...fickle...as of late." He droned, an uncharacteristic bit of apparent small talk.
 
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Nymeasha

Royal Highness
The Empire
Messages
219
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Nym’s lips pressed thinly as Settra made his vows to obey her. She may have been a princess, but she’d never had any real authority and she had even less of it now, it was an odd concept to grasp and one she struggled with despite being her father’s daughter.

Good..” she tried, but the silence that fell after the word felt cold and tense and sat uncomfortably with her and so her throat cleared. “But I won’t be ordering you around, I’m confident you’ll know when to act without me saying anything at all.” she glanced at him expressionlessly, and her gaze fell to the hand the horse was nibbling from.
It was clear by the gentleness of how she handled the animals that she appreciated them, and her lips twitched slightly at the sight.

Nym was dressed for travel, simple, loose white satin trousers that cinched at the ankles and waist, and a woven vest and hood of the same fabric to ward off the scalding mid-day sun.

She pulled herself up into her saddle and gave an appreciative nod to the stable hands that stood back, her heels gently nudging her steed forward with a look to Settra to make sure he’d be following.
 
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Settra

Onyx Hand
The Empire
Messages
5
Having sat himself soundly atop his mount, Settra nodded his affirmation to the Salitran princess.
"You won't be disappointed, your Highness." He replied, the slightest hint of pride marking his tone. If there was any tension in the air between them, Settra didn't so much as hint at acknowledging it. The assassin simply observed Nymeasha and attempted to discern what he could from her attire, her mannerisms, and her movements.

When Nym glanced back, she'd notice as much. Settra made little attempt to hide his calculating gaze. He knew little about her beyond what few reports he'd read when she had first arrived in Ragash. Even still, he did not stray from following her. Life and service were synonymous to the Onyx Hand.

"I must admit, I have not traveled to Nimra before. I will not have the advantage of familiarity with its layout, should our target try to evade us." Settra cautioned, spurring his horse to move up alongside Nymeasha's. His volume got progressively lower the closer he got; perhaps he didn't enjoy having to shout.
 
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Nymeasha

Royal Highness
The Empire
Messages
219
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"Nym will do fine.." she answered, her tone not unfriendly. Titles were another thing she hadn't managed to get used to since being brought to Ragash. She'd never been afforded titles in Salitra, shadows didn't have titles, in fact they were hardly spoken to at all.

"Hm.. Then we best not allow him to evade us then.." she replied quietly and cast the masked man a tired look which she attempted to brighten with some semblance of a smile.

The pace was slow and steady so as not to exhaust the horses. The cruel sun beat down, it's one malevolent eye unblinking, and the sky was it's co-conspirator with not even a wisp of cloud to soften the harsh rays. The lizards and snakes took shelter in the shadows of the rocks where the sand was not hot enough to roast them, but there was no shade large enough for the two travellers. Each hoofed step sunk into the searing sand, the air was thick and hazy, each breath like drowning in lava.

For most of the journey there was nothing as far as the eye could see in any direction, but the early evening brought them to a large formation of monolithic rocks, as well as the start of the nightly desert chill. "We'll camp here for the night.." she told him as they wandered into the cleft, her voice echoing back as she looked up at the towering rocks on either side.

She pulled gently back on her reins by a firepit and she stared down at it for a moment with a furrowed brow before dismounting and unsaddling her horse. The rocks seemed to have held onto their memories of Nym and Uvogin's discussions here, where they'd spoken of life and happiness, where they'd watched him sneak away in the middle of the night and abandon her. Her jaw clenched and she threw down her bedroll and blanket, and took a long drink from her skin of wine before offering it toward Settra.

"I'm not entirely certain I'll actually find what I'm looking for.." she admitted. "I'm grateful to Medja for allowing me this courtesy, and to you for accompanying me. I will try to have it over and done with as soon as possible in order to return.."
 
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Settra

Onyx Hand
The Empire
Messages
5
"Nym will do fine.."
"As you wish...Nym." The assassin acquiesced, a ghost of amusement in his timbre. He found himself nodding in agreement at the notion of catching Kaphiri. "That is the nice thing about small towns; few places to hide, fewer places to run."

Misery was the only word that came to mind when travelling in the searing heat of the Kaliti desert. Sweat didn't even have time to roll down skin, it simply evaporated the moment it formed. Settra followed Nymeasha in silence, the mantle of his hood casting a heavy shadow over his eyes. Even still, those eyes warily scanned about. He was well aware that, even in a desolate land such as this, there were those who preyed upon wanderers like buzzards upon carrion.

Settra was quietly thankful that danger never came by the time they reached their first checkpoint. He followed suit, deftly dismounting from his horse. He noted the telltale signs of recent activity at the landmark, but quickly surmised that Nym was likely the one responsible given her familiarity with the place.

The assassin accepted the wineskin graciously, slipping the nozzle beneath his mask to take a modest gulp. Lukewarm and tart, the liquid was unsatisfying, but he was grateful for the opportunity to wet his whistle. Meanwhile, he continued to observe each of the princess' idiosyncrasies, noting each veiled attempt at hiding her chagrin.

"I am...talented, at finding people. If what you seek is out here, we will find it." He reassured her, beginning to set up his own bedding and removing his gear. He stood facing away from the girl as he spoke. "I, too, am grateful to my Mistress. But you need not thank me, and you need not rush."

As if to punctuate the statement, he finished undoing the straps that held up his cloak and the bladed, whip-like weapon that hid beneath and let both fall to the ground in a muffled heap. A mere glance at the man's back would reveal numerous scars, long and ragged, traced upon his flesh like brushstrokes across canvas.

"Haste leads to mistakes."
 
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Nymeasha

Royal Highness
The Empire
Messages
219
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“Oh I don’t doubt we’ll find him.” she answered dryly. Nym never had trouble finding anyone. But what she wanted was still a question that she battled with. Every day she heard the voices of her memories of those who’d asked her. Medja, Ashu, Kiia.. Uvo. She’d even asked herself aloud a few times and seemed to hit a wall every time she felt close to finding an answer.

She emptied a small sack of kindling atop the ashes in the fire pit, unable to help but find them slightly symbolic but she wasn’t poetic enough to put it to words in her mind. It was just a fucking fire pit.

A few trimmed branches were added and then larger logs and she lifted her eyes to Settra as he spoke, her hands working deftly at creating the necessary friction. She studied the lines on his back for a moment, a gentle frown knitting her brow as she considered what his story might be. Right now she didn’t have the attention nor care to delve into such conversation, she’d already had more discussion today than she’d had in a week and it had proven to be a tiring effort.

She glanced over the pile of metal on the ground before returning her attention to the smoking wood, a warm orange glow cast over her exhausted features as it finally caught alight.

“Curious weapon..” she observed quietly as she finally took down her hood and let down the tumbling waves of her hair. her gaze cast out toward the familiar myriad of colours of the sunset, but she dragged her eyes back to the flames with another wave of bitterness now that the beauty had been drained from it.
 
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Settra

Onyx Hand
The Empire
Messages
5
Settra hefted a pair of unused logs onto either side of the fire pit, a makeshift seat for himself and his charge. Even having shed his armor and the feathered helmet that sat atop his hood, the assassin left his head and face coverings in place. Dried and salted meat that he produced from a satchel was brought beneath the veil where it vanished, his jaw shifting slightly beneath momentarily after each bite.

"The artisans call it a 'scorpion's tail.' Few can wield it properly." He replied, still uncaring and unwitting if Nym's musings were intended to be responded to or not. The man stared across the fire at Nymeasha for several moments, watching silently as her raven locks tumbled down. Again she seemed pained by her surroundings, and again the assassin found his curiosity growing, unbidden.

"This place holds bitter memories for you..." He remarked in his rough intonation. Settra said no more, content to watch the woman across from him as embers kissed the air between them in the waning light of evening.
 
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Nymeasha

Royal Highness
The Empire
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219
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"I can't say I've ever seen one used before.. I'll be interested to see it done." she answered quietly, and despite her genuine interest and the truth of her words her tone held no enthusiasm. She wrapped her blanket around her shoulders as she sat cross legged by the fire and watched the flames, content to let their hypnotic charm carry her to sleep along with the wine skin she took another long drink from. But his comment made her muscles tense and her jaw clenched. She hadn't been aware she'd been being so obvious.

The reflection of the flames danced on the glassy surface of her eyes as she looked at him, biting her tongue for a moment rather than lash him with it. Her throat cleared and she let out a quiet sigh as she tried to let her answer flow casually and without betrayal of the irritation she felt.

"Recent, bitter memories that I'd rather not discuss." she answered as she looked back to the fire, unable to hold his gaze. Despite a lifetime of training Nym had learned to conceal herself physically, disguise herself, hide who she was, mask her expression, but she'd never learned to withhold the pain in her eyes.

Away to the west, the sun was sinking into a violet, undulating sea of light and the stars were already breaking through. The heat was quick to dissipate as the sun kissed the horizon and sank into the earth, and Nym pulled her blanket around her shoulders with a glance up at him.

"Don't you take it off?.." her brow quirked, meaning his mask and hood.
 
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Settra

Onyx Hand
The Empire
Messages
5
"Few have." He deadpanned in reply, though his manner of speaking was more from habit than from exhaustion.

"Recent, bitter memories that I'd rather not discuss."
The assassin broke eye contact with Nym at last, suddenly finding comfort in the sand at his feet. His lifestyle left little opportunity for social interaction, but he knew a struck nerve when he saw one.
"My apologies your Hi--Nym." He corrected himself.

His gaze locked back on her once more when she addressed his choice of attire. A moment of awkward silence hung in the air between them. Holding his stare, Nymeasha might've been able to get a read on him by the look in his eyes, barely visible in the dim light of the fire. Pain reflected back.

"Only when I have to." He replied at last, hesitation in his voice. Silence lingered and Settra's breath hitched as if he wished to say more, but suddenly his eyes snapped wide and he stood from his seat. His hand instinctively reached to his side, where a knife was sheathed in a sash tied around his waist. Quickly, silently, he stepped around the fire to place himself between Nym and the rock formation.

Settra looked back and held a finger to where his lips would be beneath his mask.
"You hear that?" He asked quietly, and drew the knife from its holster. The assassin scanned the rocks carefully, looking for any subtle disturbance. In the quiet of the desert night, only the sound of a small stone clattering down the side of the monolithic formation could be heard.
 
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