Private Tales Some Dogs Think Their Name is No

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Clemente

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“You sold me bad carrots!” A shrill woman’s voice echoed around the square, causing many people to pause and listen. It was quite a claim to make, especially to a well established vendor. Her daughter was beside her, head down low as if she felt all eyes on her, when really they were on her mother who was holding up three small, rotting carrots. The vendor spoke in a hushed tone, or at least tried to. “You’re calling me a liar?! How dare you?!” And continued on with a stream of obscenities, demanding to be compensated. She didn’t want three new carrots, instead she should have four as for being taken advantage of she wanted one more.

“Your turn to handle this Clem,” the older guard yawned, leaning back against the wooden post and shaking his head. Clemente blanched, looking at his fellow guard and then looking back at the scene before him. Patrolling one of the smaller squares— especially in the places that some could consider being more unconventional for Vel Anir—was a job no one wanted, even Clem. A lot of places were still being rebuilt due to the revolution, which still was a subject that Clemente hadn’t processed much opinion on even a year later, but because of that, lots of citizens, and noncitizens, had dispersed to other places.

And it often caused problems.

Can’t we just wait for the next watch to show up and let them handle it? It could be any minute?” He offered, looking down the path the majority of the guard traveled to and fro. He was reminded with a hard, strong clap onto his shoulder that he had no right to weasel out of this, or any right to complain for that matter. When it came down to it, Clemente may have been part of the noble and great Anirian Guard, but he was at the lowest of the low. He hadn’t moved up a single bit! Four years later and he was still getting the worst posts during the worst time of day, which was midday, because that was when swindlers made their rounds. With a gulp to try and calm his nerves, the young man made his way to where the commotion was being held.

M’am, what’s going on here?” Clem asked in the most authoritative voice he could muster up, trying to looks serious and intimidating. His size was impressive, but his face often made no one take him too seriously.

“He sold me bad carrots, taking my coin and smiling like he isn’t being a thief!” The woman screeched, and Clem blinked. Did she just… get spittle on his cheek? He quickly wiped it away, although the woman didn’t seem embarrassed by it at all. “I have a child to feed! She could get sick!” He looked down to the child who was looking down, clutching up her folded apron. The man frowned. It almost looked like she was holding something.

“I said I’ll replace them! I get my produce from a reliable farmer, I don’t know how those got mixed in with my stock, but I’ll give you new ones. You can pick them out.”

“And I said I’d pick out four. I need an extra one to know you’ll learn from being a thief.”

“You only paid for three.” The vendor growled. “Look, I give you a fair price, even with your reputation for the sort you like to hang around with. I still sell to you even with your knife-eared bastard.” Clem blinked, and looked back down at the daughter. Sure enough, her ears were pointed, although her long hair could hide just how pronounced it was.

What does she have in her apron?” Clem asked the woman, and when she froze, a look of fear on her face as she moved in front of her child, the vendor roared in a rage.

SO YOU’RE THE ONE STEALING FROM ME?!” A crowd had started to swarm around them, and Clemente knew that he had messed up. He was most definitely not handling the situation very well at all.
 
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The Girl with no name

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Nobody took much notice of the girl in the tattered, grey cloak who wove her way through the streets, her feet bare and covered in whatever she'd trodden through in the rancid streets, though she didn't seem to notice. Her pale, spindly arms wrapped tightly around her ribs and she kept her crystalline gaze downcast under her hood, for she had no right to look upon the residents of Vel'Anir.

It'd been an entire night and day since she'd crawled out of a drain like a sewer rat, and she'd lost count of the days before that that it'd taken to free herself from the rubble of her room, the dank cell under the city that she had called home for so many years. It was gone. The proctors had gone, the others had fled, and she had been left alone.

She couldn't recall the last time she'd eaten, but she'd thrown up until there was nothing left in the pit of her stomach and if she didn't eat soon she doubted she'd make it another day. She never thought she'd ever feel grateful for the stale bread and bowls of indistinct mush that she'd been fed, but the pain of true hunger was so intense that she'd prayed for just a single mouthful of that slop and Gods she'd have been grateful for it.

The girl paused just outside the gathering crowd, her eyes lifting slightly, unfocused and distant as she tried to determine what was happening. Some argument and accusations over carrots, it seemed. Whatever it was, she would keep her distance, her head down and her 'knife ears' under her hood and straggly dark hair. She edged her way around the rambunctious rabble, almost stumbling to the ground as someone shoved past her. So frail. She had never been so frail. She pressed the back of her wrist to her lips as she fought the urge to vomit, her free hand steadying her by gripping the edge of a barrel.

A barrel of apples.

Her bleary eyes stared down at them. She couldn't remember what they'd tasted like, only that she used to pick them from trees and that they were sweet. Her mouth watered painfully and she glanced up, seeing that still, nobody seemed to be paying attention to her, and hesitantly she reached to take one and tuck it quickly under her cloak.
 
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Clemente

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“I just—“ “KNIFE-EAR FUCKER!!” “You—“ “WE DON’T” “under—” “WANT” “stand!” “YOUR KIND” “She’s just—“ “IN OUR CITY!!” “—a child!”

Clemente could hardly make sense of the raging crowd, obscenities flying left and right as the mother instinctively pulled her child behind her. No blows had yet to form but as the guard looked over to his partner, he could see the look of disappointment clearly written along his face. He was supposed to be stopping the disturbance, and due to his wishy-washy nature, things were steadily blowing out of porportion.

He didn’t even register the cloaked figure who had entered the square, too busy he was trying to gently push angry citizens from the mother and daughter.

Stand back! Stand back!” He shouted. “We’re handling this right now!

Thief! Stealing from your own home!

Learned it from those smarmy elves!

STAND BACK!” He roared, just as a woman went to grab at the woman, her hand like a claw searching for flesh. The woman managed to rip the coif off of the mother’s head, snatching off strands of hair which caused her to cry out in pain and shock. It set the little half-elf girl off, rushing out from her mother and running away from the angry mob.

“He said stand back, let the Guard handle this.” Finally! Clemente’s partner had finally appeared! He wasn’t sure if it was because the older guard held more respect due to his age or size or being more likeable, but the citizens settled down slightly. But only for a moment. He looked at Clemente, that look of disappointment still visible. “Clem, get the kid.” He chastised, causing Clemente to stand up straight.

Y-yessir.” The young man stammered, extricating himself out of the dozen people. He finally felt like he could breathe, and while the crowd was intent of telling what they saw to the older guard so that the con artist could get a fair punishment, Clem had began searching for the quicksilver blur of that child. Despite how young and small she was, she was quite fast.

Yet also clumsy. Just as he had began sprinting after her, she had stumbled and tripped, crashing into a lone, cloaked figure near a barrel of apples. The barrel tipped over, apples pouring all around.

Don’t run! You’ll just get in trouble if you run away!” Clemente called, hoping that the young girl would listen to him. However, as she scrambled up to her feet, Clemente knew that being in vel anir was dangerous for her. He was certain her mother had probably warned her that the best thing to do would be to run and hide. He had to catch her before that could happen— and hopefully without tripping on any of the apples.

The Girl with no name
 

The Girl with no name

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Of course she could hear every slur and insult that spilled, venom coated from the mouths of humans, but she was far too used to them to take any notice or offence. It was true that her kind weren't wanted within this city, her kind weren't wanted in this world. Abominations each and every one, and best remaining silent and out of sight. That had been exactly what she had been trying to do. Get out, get food, and crawl back into the otherwise abandoned city below, the prison now entirely her own.

The girl's stomach burned and knotted with the sort of hunger she knew would not be sated by a single fruit, and she'd boldly been in the act of tucking another one away when something stumbled into her, sending her staggering and dropping the stolen apples to the ground along with the others. She whipped herself around to meet the wide gaze of a child just as startled as she was. Perhaps it was that it was fear and surprise and not anger or hatred that she wore on her face, but the child saw fit to hide behind her and curl her little hands into her threadbare cloak as she peeked around her to the guard that followed.

Her pulse struck a staccato beat in her chest at the attention the child had drawn toward her, and there was little she could do but back away from the approaching male, opting to flee rather than fight. The child held fast, shuffling back along with her until the tipped barrel caught the back of their legs and the two tumbled to the ground amongst the pool of apples.

The child let out a bleat of panic whilst the cloaked woman grimaced as sharp pain lanced through the wrist she'd landed on. The two thieves now sat side by side with little to do but stare up at the guard as he caught up, her crystalline blue eyes peeking through the straggly dark hair that fell over her pale and dirty face.
 
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Clemente

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Clemente wasn’t sure what had happened. The half-elf girl seemed to have just been desperate, and he felt bad for the cloaked figure that had gotten involved as well. It at least made his job easier when he caught up to them, the girl was still on the ground, looking as if she were about to cry. He frowned, a worried frown moreso than because he was upset at the girl, and then glanced over at the young woman beside her. His eyes met hers as he tried to offer an apologetic smile.

Dear Kress, her eyes were bluer than the sky above them, which Clem never thought could have been possible before today. They sparkled too, as if stardust was infused in her blue irises. The young man had never seen something so stunning before. He had been in the walls of Vel Anir all his life and had never witnessed any sort of ethereal beauty that could be found outside. The messy mop of hair didn’t dissuade the Anirian guardsman’s opinion on her eyes. That second Clem took to look into her eyes felt much longer than it actually was. His mouth was slightly open in shock until he looked away. He had to.

I’m so s-sorry.” He stammered, and looked at the girl. He offered a separate hand to both of them. Clem may not have looked very intimidating, at least not compared to some of the other guards around, but years in the guard had hardened his muscles. He packed a good amount of strength and his naturally lithe form was very deceiving to the eye. “Please, just take my hand.” He said the half-girl who was regarding his hand suspiciously. “I promise, no one will hurt you. I’m just going to bring you back to your mother over there, alright?

It wasn’t necessarily a lie. Things had changed in Vel Anir, but in all honestly, despite the hatred towards elves, it was clear that the human mother was at fault. Really, he was sure that people were more upset about her trying to swindle a well-known and generous vendor and they had thrown in those racist comments to hurt her. At least, he hoped that was what had happened. At times he tended to be naively optimistic about the darkness that resided in one’s heart.

The girl took his hand and Clem easily pulled her up. He wasn’t so green that he would just take this moment of trust as a sign that she was going to obey everything so he placed a sturdy hand on her small shoulder, holding her there for the time being.

Are you alright, miss?” Clemente said, briefly looking back at her before having to glance away. Her eyes were dangerous things, at least to a sheltered young man like himself.

The Girl with no name
 

The Girl with no name

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The heavy pounding of her heart resounded in her ears, muffling the turmoil around her so much so that she could only read the lips of the man who eventually spoke. She had not expected any semblance of a smile, and she was almost certain that he'd apologised to her, causing her dark brows to angle themselves suspiciously. Her gaze shifted between the man, the child, and the offered hand between them. There was not a human she'd ever set eyes upon who would reach out their hand in aid of monsters like her, and so naturally, she expected beating before benevolence.

She watched as he helped the child to her feet and she felt her stomach knot at his promises. Promises such as those were never true and always a painful penalty, particularly if they were believed. There was something strange about this one, though. She had been around proctors and handlers her entire life and she'd learned to read them. Even when their smiles appeared genuine, their true intent could always be found in their eyes. This one was clearly far better at hiding it. Her ears may have been hidden, but the child's were not.

The cloaked girl remained where she was, her head nodding quickly at the very odd question he'd asked her. She supposed, it wasn't an odd question for one human to ask another, and for the moment that is what she had to be. Human. And so her head nodded quickly in mute response, though given that she currently clutched a sprained wrist against her chest, she had clearly not been unscathed by the incident.

Behind him, another two guards were approaching, and so she flashed what she assumed was a reassuring smile and nodded again, hoping to garner no further attention.
 

Clemente

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Clemente frowned looking down at the girl’s wrist pressed tightly against her chest. As the two guards approached he turned towards them. What was he supposed to do? The young woman was still on the ground and he could feel the little girl tensing up beneath his grip. He sighed. He hated making choices like these, when it felt like two people were in help and he had to decided who needed his help more. He looked down at the young half-elf girl. He gave her a reassuring smile before looking at the two guards who were supposed to relieve them earlier.

Keith,” Clemente greeted, “Daniel. Please, take this… young lady to her mother for me?” Clemente said as cheerfully he could before he felt the girl try to take a step away. “H-hold on. Wait. If you go with them back to your mother,” with his free hand Clemente began to rummage at the small burlap sack holding onto his belt with his free hand. He produced a wrapped sugar candy and held it in front of the young girl. Her eyes widened. “If you listen to us nice guardsmen you can have this. They’re just going to bring you back to your mother, sweetie.” He glanced at Keith and Daniel. Only Daniel seemed to be repulsed by the use of Clem’s nickname ‘sweetie’ while Keith seemed unbothered.

The girl hesitated before nodding her head and Clem dropped the sugar candy into her open palm.

Good girl. Now remember, always listen to the guards and then nothing bad will ever happen, okay?” Clemente had no idea how inconsiderate that advice was. Daniel before them was living proof that even if a elf were to listen completely to a guard that they could still face very unjust treatment. Ever the optimistic, Clem was still under the impression that if everyone could just be nice to one another as strangers then there would never be issues.

He finally turned his attention back to the young woman before him and knelt down in front of her. His eyes met hers and once again he felt that sublime awe. He had been told before by previous lovers that he had pretty eyes but why did he feel like his paled in comparison to hers? If hers were that deep blue of the sky then his own blue eyes were like the blue dirty linen cloth he used to clean his dishes.

Are you hurt, miss?” This question was much different this time. “Can you show me your wrist? I don’t want to hurt you, I just want to help you. It’s my duty to help others.” Clemente said, flashing a toothy grin.

The Girl with no name
 

The Girl with no name

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The hooded girl's gaze continued to shift. From the Clemente, to Keith, to Daniel, to the young girl and the offered treat that must surely have been a trick. Poison, perhaps.

Nice guardsmen? That was a lie that she could only pray that the child didn't fall for. She had the briefest of urges to reach out toward the child, to shake her head, to do all she could to make sure the child didn't believe that these men were men who could be trusted - but she had long ago accepted that this world was a cruel place and terrible things happened, and she'd long since learned her place in it.

Her lips remained tight shut, and she said all she could with the worry in her eyes as she caught the child's gaze before she obeyed and was led away - hopefully back to her mother, as was promised. Now the guard's attention was back on her and her attention snapped back to him with a sudden jolt as he spoke to her again. At first, her brow furrowed in the confusion she felt at being offered aid, but of course, he still thought her human. He hadn't noticed her trying to pilfer a few apples, either. Now it made sense, but for how long could she keep her ears hidden from him if she accepted his aid?

Her head shook gently despite the wrist once dainty and pale now swollen and blooming with angry bruising. She tried her best to offer what felt like a smile, though it was not something she was very well practiced in and it most probably appeared as more of an awkward grimace as she tried to mimic his grin. His seemed much more natural, and she was sure if genuine kindness was a thing, it'd look like that.

She gingerly shifted onto her knees and used her good hand to steady herself as she pulled herself back to her bare feet. The girl couldn't have looked more flighty (or clumsy) if she tried as she moved back only to stumble on a few apples and quickly catch herself before the ground rose to meet her once more. Her teeth latched onto her lower lip and she chewed anxiously, offering the guard a stiff nod in feeble assurance that she wasn't in need of help.

The proctors and handlers may have deserted her, but they could be back at any moment, and should they find her up here without their permission, should they see a guard speaking to her? Her stomach flipped over at the thought, and without thinking, she ran for it. Food or no food, she had to get back to where she belonged, for it was safer for her to die of starvation down there than it was to fill her belly up here.
 
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Clemente

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Clemente wasn’t sure what exactly he had done that was so wrong. He wasn’t sure why the girl with very pretty eyes was regarding him as if he were some sort of monster. Was he really that imposing? That would be a first, if so. He balked as she began running away from him and dear Kress, she was quite fast despite looking like such a petite thing.

“She’s suspicious.” Daniel sighed. “Clemente, c’mon man, go after her and see what she’s hiding. Unless you’d rather have one of us…?” There was an edge to Daniel’s voice, and it always caused Clem to tense up. Even the first day that Clem had worked with Daniel, which was years ago now, Clem had known that to go against what Daniel wanted or to even speak back to him meant that Clem would receive a punishment he wouldn’t be able to prove.

G-got it.” Clemente stammered and then with a deep breath began to chase after the girl. Now, she was fast, yes. And Clem was wearing the standard issued armor of the anirian guard. But the difference was that Clemente wasn’t starving, and had never really starved since that one bad winter when he was eight years old. Energy wise? He had her beat. And to be fair to Clem, he was rather athletic, especially when it came to running moreso than lifting.

His footsteps pounded around them due to the heavy boots he wore and as he was soon gaining on her he reached out a hand. He just needed to grab her shoulder, pull her back towards him and ask her what was going on. That’s all. He wasn’t going to hurt her, had to reason to. Heck, even if he had discovered that she had stolen a apple or two, maybe it was an accident. After all, she was so gaunt.

Then how on Lessat’s biggest ring was she so quick?

Miss please stop running!” Clemente shouted. “This is just… it’s making you look kind of suspicious is all and I’m sure you’re innocent. We can just talk about whatever it is is going on, I promise you’re not in trouble. Unless you killed someone or—“ Clem sucked in a breath and wanted to slap himself for saying something so incredibly stupid. How could someone as slight as her possibly kill anyone?

The Girl with no name
 

The Girl with no name

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The mistake she made was looking over her shoulder. She knew better than to look back, and taking her eye off of the path ahead for just the briefest of moments caused her to stumble on a loose cobble, slowing her down just enough for his hand to reach. She panicked, wrenching herself free with a gasp and taking a sudden right turn into an alleyway, and straight into the wall of a dead end.

Her good hand splayed out on the damp stone and she stared up at the wall. Even without her injury she had little chance of scaling it, and so the cornered girl turned, pressing her back to it as she settled her wide eyes on the guard. For a moment she was still aside from the rapid undulations of her chest as she breathed, and then her head shook, and her good hand was raised in mute plea that he stay back from her.

Again, her head shook. She hadn't done anything wrong. She didn't need any help. Just please Gods whatever he could take from her frantically shaking head let it be that it was best to turn and leave.
 
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Clemente

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Oh perfect, a dead end! Excellent!

Clemente was rather thankful that now she could stop running away from him. Not that he wanted to capture her or do any sort of unsightly things to her, but now they could finally speak. Clemente was positive that if he could just talk to the young woman with lovely blue eyes in private that perhaps she would understand that Clem wasn’t trying to harm her in any such way.

He could check on her wrist, make sure that was alright, and then just ensure that the guard was here to help the citizens of Vel Anir. After all, that’s what the Republic was now about: less prejudice, less power to the houses, and more about the people. And Clemente was most definitely a people person.

Alright, Miss, now,” Clemente said, taking deep breaths. He laughed for a moment, if only because now he felt rather… strange. A twinge of anxiety was nagging his gut, and he wondered if it was because he looked ridiculous to chase after this young woman. “Well, you’re faster than you look!” He said as amiably as he could, still chuckling before growing quiet. He rubbed the back of his neck and looked away, feeling like a awkward young boy.

Could you just tell me your name? And let me check out your wrist. I’m certain you’ve sprained it.

The Girl with no name
 

The Girl with no name

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That she was now cornered and he could seize or harm her without much risk of her escape was not lost on her. Neither was it lost on her that he hadn't yet done either of those things, and in fact still seemed intent on helping her. She stared on in scrutiny as he laughed, and she found the genuine way in which he did so something strange to behold. As was the way in which he seemed almost shy, despite being someone of authority. Anirian authority.

Her stomach twisted at that thought, and it only confused her more because he seemed nothing at all like any of the others she'd ever had dealings with. For one, he continued to call her 'Miss'. It was genuinely one of the nicest things she'd ever been called, though she knew that had her hood been down and her ears visible, that he'd call her something far worse and the laughter would be far colder.

As he asked for her name, her head shook slowly this time. What a confusing question for one who had no name and could not speak it even if she had. Even if she had a name and could speak it she was quite certain that even still, she would not have been allowed to tell him of it. She glanced down at her swollen wrist, the skin all shades of blues and purples. It wasn't like she could claim that it was fine when it looked like that, and he didn't appear to be taking no for an answer.

With her back still pressed firmly against the damp wall, the girl lifted her arm, her hand trembling as she held it out toward him to allow him to look at it. Perhaps if she just obeyed, she'd be scurrying back into the under city sooner to reflect on how much of a mistake this was.
 
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Clemente

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With a affable smile, Clemente waited patiently for her to speak. Seconds passed. She didn’t even part her mouth. A slight frown did form, not from disappointment but rather from befuddlement. Her eyes were wary, and while Clemente wasn’t the brightest, he understood it was most likely due from him. Was she afraid of the guardmen? Or was it just Clem in particular? He was about to say something else, hopefully something more soothing and comforting, if only to coax her name out from her finally, but then she held up her wrist.

Clem gasped at the sight. Dear Kress! It looked like that one time when he was no older than twelve and he had fallen out of a tree, landing on his feet wrong, hurting his ankle and foot simultaneously. He couldn’t put any sort of weight on that foot and sadly that summer he had to remain in the confines of his home or their small vegetable garden. How on Arethil was she not crying?

My goodness gracious!” Clem exclaimed, eyes wide with shock. “Miss, oh dear Kress, oh no,” he looked around as if he could find someone else to help him. The issue was, Clem didn’t do well with body horror. That’s why he specifically stuck to the walls. Nope, he’d never go up North. Nope, he’d never go to the East. That’s where all the bloodshed was! And he refused, he damn right refused to be surrounded by wounded men and women and bloodshed. Nothing made him feel more queasy.

A hard swallow.

Miss. Would you… allow me to fix that for you?” He had minor training in first aid. And while he wasn’t the most ideal candidate to administer it, he could hopefully keep it from getting worse. “I have a bit of a soothing balm, and I could wrap it up for you. Or I could take you to a healer?” He proffered albeit awkwardly, taking a step forward as he rustled in one of his pouches, producing that small container of a healing palm. It was nothing more than lidocaine but hopefully it’d administer some relief for her.

The Girl with no name
 

The Girl with no name

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His reaction was.. unexpected, and so the gasp he drew caused her to pull her arm back to her chest and her back to flatten against the wall with a wince. The cynical part of her still believed his concern to be a hoax, and perhaps she'd expected him to twist her arm. A broken wrist would be worse, and humans only ever made things worse.

She could have sworn that he'd paled, and her head tilted with a look of blank confusion as he fretted over her injury. Of course it hurt, but by Gods she'd suffered far more terrible things than a simple sprain. He was a strange thing - one that she had the good sense to be still quite terrified of, but not the type she'd have expected to don a guard's uniform. He didn't seem at all brutish, but she wouldn't take that for granted.

Her head shook suddenly as he mentioned a healer, and her eyes immediately darted past him, reconsidering her exit. The racing heart in her chest had yet to calm, and his step forward had her pressing back into the wall as though hoping it might just absorb her. Sadly, that was not a skill she possessed, and the wall was a sturdy one.

Her blue eyes shifted between his and the pouch he rummaged in, her traumatised mind a carrousel of past horrors and inflictions that she might possibly be about to face once more. A small container. Poison, then? Her lips pressed into a thin line as she watched him carefully, though as he opened it she rose onto her tiptoes and lifted her chin to get a better look at what was inside.

The quiet girl's brow furrowed, and she latched her teeth onto her lower lip to gnaw anxiously at it. Trusting anyone was a mistake, and so that wasn't the reason that she hesitantly held out her arm again. Either he was genuinely helping this girl he believed to be human, or he knew better and this was to be a punishment she deserved for getting herself caught. Either way, her eyes narrowed apprehensively as she waited.
 
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Clemente

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“This won’t hurt one bit, I promise,” Clem said as soothingly as he could. He could see the unmistakable sort of fear within her blue eyes, the lines of anxiety that creased her forehead whenever she raised or lowered her dark brows. At this point, he merely assumed it to be because of the armor, or maybe because he had chased her like a dog chased a rabbit. Perhaps she assumed his duty was to interrogate her, and maybe he was supposed to— he was sure the rest of the guardsmen would have said it would have been a good idea to do so.

But at this moment he merely sought to help her. If even only for his selfish desires.

“Sometimes after I do a bit of heavy lifting, my neck gets stiff.” Clemente explained, dipping a single armored hand into the balm, the scent of rosemary and mint wafting up as he did so. He rather enjoyed the smell, even if it reminded him of a rich, old man who liked to frequent bars were younger folk tended to go. Upon her swollen wrist, Clemente gingerly dabbed it around. He frowned, thinking that it wasn’t enough and dipped his finger once again into the balm to dab on her wrist.

Screwing the cap back on, he then took off his armed glovers, and placed them on the crook of his belt. He looked into her pretty serene blue eyes and preferred a sheepish smile.

“I’ll be gentle when rubbing it in, I promise,” Clemente whispered, although really there was no need to do so. He then reached out and with a touch like a kiss of butterfly wings across one’s cheek, began rubbing the salve into her fair skin. “If i hurt you, let me know.”

The Girl with no name
 

The Girl with no name

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Though the frown had softened, still she wore it, but it betrayed her confusion more than her fear. He still hadn't hurt her. He was still making promises to help her, and gently too. He really was gentle, and though she flinched initially as he touched at the tender swelling, she slowly settled. Whether it was the scent of whatever balm he was using, or whether it was the unfamiliar, seemingly intentional gentleness in which he rubbed it into her wrist - she didn't know, but she could feel her muscles unravel under her skin and a deep sigh spilled free of her chest.

A flicker of hesitance remained in her shy expression as she watched him intently, her eyes drifting from the hands that held her arm to the face that did not suit the armour he wore. They'd almost always looked like brutes in her experience, not that she'd ever ventured this close before.

The girl's chin dipped ever-so-slightly in acknowledgement of his kindness and in assurance that he wasn't hurting her. How could he? She was certain she'd never felt such a gentle hand in all her life. She'd hated being close enough to anyone for them to lay a hand on her, but right now she was rooted in place not through fear, but because whatever he was doing felt so terribly nice that it was everything she had not to let her heavy eyes close.

She allowed him the time to apply the ointment, already feeling it sink deep into her wrist and soothe the pain that'd radiated through her arm just moments ago. Her arm was gathered back against her chest when he was through, and she dipped her chin to draw in the pleasant scent with a deep breath. Her lips twitched, a fleeting thing and not quite a smile, but she gave the guard a nod that she hoped would be taken as a gesture of gratitude.
 
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Clemente

Forgiving to a Fault
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Clemente made sure to be gentle. And he focused on that aspect so much that it did take a bit longer to rub in the healing ointment. For Clemente it seemed too long and not long enough at the same time. When he had finished up, he looked into the girl’s eyes for a split second, his fingers lingering over her skin for a moment longer and then he pulled back and cleared his throat. His heart, it was beating fast, much faster than it should have been from a mundane task.

Clem gave her another warm smile, seeing that she had in turn… almost returned the smile. Something about it seemed awkward as if it were her first time to do such a thing.

Daniel’s words, she’s suspicious, echoed in the back of his head. He rubbed the back of his neck, mulling over what he ought to do next. He knew procedurally what he should be doing, taking her back so Daniel could ask her a few questions but he felt a sense of dread settle within him from such a thought. She had yet to utter a single word. Mute? No, he had heard her cry out earlier. Deaf? No, she could understand what he was saying.

So,” Clemente started, his heart beginning to beat faster. “Another guard wants to speak to you I’m sure but…” he brought his cerulean gaze from her fair face and looked away for a moment, working out in his mind how he should phrase this next bit. “I think it may be better if you don’t. You’re one of those shy girls that can’t talk to men, right? It’s alright, I had a friend like that. I get it.”

It wasn’t a lie. It was true. As a teenager he had made a friend, a small girl who was shy and nervous around everyone bigger her. She only talked to Clem because at the time he was actually a inch shorter than her. While Clem got teased for being small for a boy, he didn’t mind it one bit. It allowed him to stay by her side and he’d much rather spend lazy afternoons sitting with her underneath the shade than rough-housing with the other boys.

Then, somehow after turning sixteen he had grown nearly a whole foot in less than six months. He had joined the guard and when he came back to visit, ironically, the timid small girl had actually married a giant of a man.

It was the first time Clem experienced heartbreak.

Let me escort you home and I’ll tell my… comrade… that I lost you in the crowd. Fair?

The Girl with no name
 
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The Girl with no name

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She was staring at him too, her expression soft with confusion as she listened to how his pulse piqued. The girl's eyes darted to the end of the alleyway behind him, as though expecting to see some sort of danger in excuse for the sudden arrhythmia. They remained alone, and so her head tilted slightly under her hood as she watched him with the look of a curious animal.

If it were at all possible for the forsaken's milky skin to pale any further, what he said next did the trick, and she found the damp wall pressing into her back once more. She shouldn't have been 'speaking' to anyone as it was let alone him, and especially not a guard who would no doubt be much less gentle with their questions.

Her head shook quickly, her heart now pulsing in synchronicity as panic reared, ready to take over once more before he added a reprieve. She nodded with no idea what he meant about said shy girls, but she agreed none-the-less if it meant not having to set foot near those other guards.

'Home'. Had she ever been so excited at the prospect of her home? It wasn't that she felt safe there, it was just that she felt particularly unsafe here with the possibility of being discovered. The girl swallowed, her lips twisting as she glanced behind him once more. He wasn't going to let her go on her own, there was little point in trying to insist and instead another quiet sigh tumbled from her lips as she gave him a single nod.

The girl's head fell, and when she walked she did so with her gaze downcast whilst still quite able to navigate people and obstacles. The chaos of recent events had caused her to forget the aching hollow in her stomach, but passing by the baker's to be punched in the gut with a whiff of fresh baked bread made her dizzy enough to have to pause against a stack of crates for a moment, her injured arm falling from where it had cradled against her chest to wrap around her stomach instead.

She was moving again before enough time had passed to draw attention to her, turning up a quiet lane. Her entry point to the undercity was close by, but she stopped instead at the door of a small family home judging by the lines of clean clothes that hung above like bleak bunting. The girl turned back to the guard, nodding in thanks for escorting her 'home'..
 
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Clemente

Forgiving to a Fault
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Well look! Things were turning out okay! Clem couldn’t believe this sort of good fortune, and was reminded of the wise words his mother told him. Compassion has no enemy and kindness has no limit. Words the guardsman tried to follow as much as possible while also completing his duties. Often times it got him in trouble with the fellas but it seemed today that by being kind, he had actually won! Blissfully unaware, as the girl with no name led him— wait. Her name. What was her name?

When did he become so rude? Every man knew that the best way to get a girl’s name was to offer your own first. But… she had done little than nod or shake her head or grimace or wince. He paused, seeing her steady herself and wrap a arm around her waist around the baker’s shop. Strange. Was she pregnant? She was so slight, Clemente couldn’t imagine someone of her size carrying anything for nine months.

And so they continued on, Clem being far too dense to consider why she had stopped, instead, thinking more of how he could get her name. How should he proceed? “Hey, by the way, my name’s Clemente. What’s yours?” Or maybe he should sound more casual-like, “everyone calls me Clem, what do people call you?” No, that sounded desperate. Maybe, “whenever you need help, just call for me, I’ll be there.” Ew. Now that sounded creepy.

When they stopped at the home, Clem was no closer to figuring out how to bridge the subject of figuring out her name than when he had first called her ‘miss.’ He was frowning slightly because of it, and when he looked at her and took a good look at the faded door, glancing at the clothesline and catching sight of a black painted number, he balked.

Oh, you live with the Warne’s?” He asked her as he turned towards her, beginning to smile. Perfect! So he could finally know her name after all!

The Girl with no name
 

The Girl with no name

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Oh dear...

If it was possible for her to look more guilty of lying, she didn't know it. Her crystalline eyes stared unblinkingly, her mouth slightly agape, her breath held in her chest and her face drained of what very little colour it had. She didn't know how long she'd stared at him now, and she wished that she'd been quicker to react, 'explain' that it was the next door, or that she'd got the wrong street, she could be new here!

Even if she could speak those lies, none of them would have mattered now.. She didn't take him for a fool. Her mouth closed and her lips twisted as she gnawed on the inside of her cheek, her head shaking slowly with a sheepish shrug and a casual glance along the street. She did live nearby, but she couldn't allow him to escort her there. He'd either know what she was, which was doubtful, since the Forsaken had been a secret to all but a few of the highest standing Anirians, and of course, the handlers... Or, he'd ask her more questions that she couldn't answer, both physically and otherwise. They'd be back, and things would go back to the way they had been, and she could only imagine the punishment for this kind of clusterfuck.

The girl gave him a pleading look, giving the impression of an animal trapped and pleading with its captor to free it. It was clear enough that she had no actual home. Perhaps he'd assume that she was an urchin, Gods, she hoped so. That would be far less terrible. She cleared her throat and her eyes narrowed with a wince of trepidation as she raised her hand, formed a fist, then raised her thumb with a smile that showed her clenched teeth as though attempting to say 'I'm good' whilst in fact looking absolutely not good in the slightest.
 
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Clemente

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Clemente wasn’t sure what exactly was going on, but as he watched those ethereal blue eyes, all he knew was that this wasn’t her home. She had lied. But why? To make the situation worse, she hadn’t said a single word. Clemente had been doing a lot of talking, of course someone had to fill the silence after all, but had she said anything back?

Was it from shame, the guard wondered now. Because one thing was evident to him now: the young woman was homeless.

Oh the horror! How dare she sully the grand and noble streets of Vel Anir! And it all made sense now, did it not? Why she would run from the guards, why she looked so gaunt and thin and—

“I… I…” Clem stammered, not sure what he could even say at a time like this. “Uh, miss, you see, I think… I think it’s best if you would… well, uh,” spit it out, Clem! He was practically screaming at himself in his head, exasperated and worried. At himself. At her. At this situation. “Are you… hungry by any chance? Before you go home, perhaps… perhaps you and I could share a meal?” The last three words ended in a sheepish whisper and he looked away.

Look at him, asking a homeless person out. He should arrest her, she was disturbing the peace if she were indeed homeless. But perhaps a hot meal was in order, and then he could send her on her way and feel assured he had done his duty as a guardsmen. Yes, that was why he was still hovering over her, why he had offered to feed her.

Duty.

Nothing more and nothing less.

The Girl with no name
 

The Girl with no name

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Oh now wasn't this an excellent plan. Now what?! Now as he stammered at her, she couldn't look more nervous if she tried. Her teeth latched onto her lower lip to gnaw anxiously on it, the skin there already ragged and torn from the habit. Her hands wrung together in front of her and her gaze darted this way and that in search of an escape route once again. Gods, hadn't she run enough?!

She was certain that he'd been about to detain her, so much so that she had already planted one foot in front of the other in the direction of her escape route of choice when he asked her if she was hungry. The word itself seemed to prompt pain in her stomach which gave an angry growl like it had a voice of its own since she did not. The girl stared at him, her brow furrowed suspiciously, though despite another look around and the hesitance in which she looked back at him with, she was clearly considering it.

Eat, then run. If she planned on running anyway well she might as well run with a full belly and return home until she had to go seeking food again. Of course, he might be lying, or he might think to poison her and let her throw up her insides onto the street... But right now, hunger was winning, and her glassy blue eyes wandered his face as she gave a quick nod.

Yes. Oh Gods yes she was hungry.
 
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