Private Tales The March of Progress

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Vass

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Northern Epressa - Camp Alegro

"God I hate rabbit." Vass said with a frown at the strip of meat that he held between his thumb and forefinger. He stared at it with no small amount of contempt.

"You hate rabbit?"​

The voice came from Marcus, one of the others across from him at the bonfire. He was a big man, half troll by some accounts. A huge hammer sat besides him, the massive spike on the end large enough to cover three of Vass' hand spans. Marcus was intimidating by any counts, though oddly enough one of the least violent within the Red Hundred.

"Yeah." Vass said with a frown. "It's gamey, feelings like I have to chew for a week."

Marcus sputtered.

"Gamey?! You ate that Delfin worm well enough and that was chewy for a week!"​

Vass shook his head. "No no no. Delfin worm isn't gamey, it's chewy. There's a difference. One has flavor all the way through and the other just..."

He shrugged his shoulders, as if that would be enough explanation.

"You're fuckin' bonkers, you are."​

This was what the conversation had devolved to around the fires of the Red Hundred. They had been guarding what was a glorified logging camp for nearly two weeks now, put onto patrol and scout duty by the command of the head of the army they had been hired by. The leader of this whole affair was some rich ponce looking to make a new city within unclaimed lands, apparently given a deed by his King.

Not that the locals were accepting of that deed.

A fact which apparently the Rich Ponce wasn't too keen on. The Red Hundred had been initially hired to assist with mapping the area, a job that they were quite good at since near half of their number had fought within this region before. Of course, all of that was stopped when the fucking idiot in charge decided they were better suited as Guards to the camp itself.

Apparently it took the 'elite' to make sure the man himself was safe, not that Vass or any of the other Hundred thought that was the actual reason. No. They had been stopped ever since one of the other patrols had brought something...or someone back. A bit of information they'd only been able to glean after one of them had overheard something someone overspoke.

Not that there was more detail than that. "Fuck it."

Vass said with a scowl.

"I'll go get something else." The mercenary said as he stood up and tossed the meat towards marcus.
 
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Ahsoka

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The soft song of the nightingale flittered through the trees not too far from the campsite. It wasn't an unusual sound, there were plenty of the birds around these parts, and most were bedding down for the night themselves. The song was familiar. Not even worth a comment amongst those on guard.

An error.

Shadows moved amongst the under bush barely visible despite the near full moon out tonight. Mother Gaia had smiled upon her children by sending forth enough cloud cover to create a patchwork of shadows for the tribe to slip in and out of and become a part of nature itself. Most of them wore dark browns, greens and browns or dark furs that would be mistaken as belonging to an animal out on the prowl for their own nightly feast if they were spotted at all. But the Tsa'lagi could see quite well and what they couldn't see they knew. Every rock and tree and blade of grass was committed to memory and cherished. Loved like a mother would love her babe. It was what made them pick up weapons to defend it when the Outsiders had come.

Hand talk flashed between the spaced out individuals who had been selected for the attack. The mission was simple really: Rescue Tsula. The young woman had been captured by a patrol whilst she had been out tending to her flock of goats. They had found the goats slaughtered and no sign of the herder. It had taken days to track her here, scout out the area and to come up with a plan.

As Enoli signalled to her Ahsoka peaked carefully through the gap she had in the bush. The message had been clear: someone was coming.
 
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Vass

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"Fucking rabbits." Vass said to himself with a whisper, pushing back some of the underbrush.

He was well aware that speaking wasn't quite the thing to do when hunting, but Vass was starting to get frustrated. They had been promised a thousand things, and only three of them had actually been fucking delivered.

This job was supposed to have been easy, and truthfully it had been, but...there was something humiliating about the treatment that had been given to them.

All of their choices had been taken away, everything they'd enjoyed yanked from beneath their feet. They were reduced to fucking camp guards, and Vass hadn't signed up with the Red Hundred just to guard some schlubby soldiers. He was here to be a fighter!

A fucking soldier!

Not glorified city watch.

Most of the others felt the same, fuck, he was sure the Commander did as well. At their core they were soldiers, and standing around was never good for soldiers. Not for ones like them anyway.

Vass stopped suddenly as he heard a rustle within the brush, his fingers tightening slightly on the crossbow in his hands. Eyes narrowed, peering through the dark as he spotted a small deer like creature rushing through. He took aim, and then released the bolt.

He'd at least fucking eat well tonight.
 
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Ahsoka

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Leave him.

The hand talk flashed. Ahsoka hadn't even been aware she had been drawing back a knocked bowstring until she'd glimpsed Chenchi's words. Reluctantly she lowered the weapon and slid the arrow back into her quiver.

He's a Treekiller, she laced the gesture with extra venom in the absence of her tone.

Later. Move.

With a reluctant sigh she tore her eyes off the soldiers back as he went crashing through the under bush to collect the Jukalope. You didn't ignore an order from the Chief's son but oh how she wanted to. It had been his kind that had taken her friend and was destroying her home. What was the difference between putting an arrow through his throat here and now compared to later? She contented herself with the knowledge that at least tonight they would win. They would bring Tsula home and she could see her children again who wept for her every night. Her hate could wait.

On they crept to the true boundaries of the camp with its tall wooden wall she supposed they thought would keep intruders out. Ahsoka took it at a run. One soft boot there, a hand there, and then she was hurling herself over the top and dropping down into a crouch on the other side. Now they just had to find the right Hut.
 
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Vass

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Vass picked up the small deer like creature using it's hind legs, a small smile touching his face.

He had managed to nab one of these a few days before, and the meat had been surprisingly delicious. Of course that had been in a stew and not roasted over an open flame, but...well it was probably pretty much the same thing.

Cooking had never been his bag.

"Now." He mused with a smile. "To get you back over the fi-"

Something moved in the corner of his eye.

It was barely a shadow, but a shadow it was. In an instant his other hand dropped to his sword, his legs bending as he crouched down. Then another shadow passed, then another. They moved over the wooden palisade with an inhuman swiftness. "Shit."

Vass swore, then quickly turned on his heel and darted back towards the Red Hundred camp, knowing that whatever had just made it over the wall likely hadn't done so to make friends.
 
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Ahsoka

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Find the White Hut. Spread out. Pairs.

The Tsa'lagi melted off in pairs becoming shadows with the shadows created by the temporary wooden cabins that the army had erected for themselves. Ahsoka found herself partnered with Mortag, one of the more seasoned warriors from their tribe as shown by how many stripes of red he bore around his upper arm. He was a silent type and not someone she had come into much contact with but the two worked as though they had worked together for years. No matter a persons trade or path, all Tribesfolk learnt the ways of War. You never knew when you would have to pick up your spear to defend your home.

Like now.

They crept like mice around a bend. Mortag paused and then gestured. Split up. Keep in sight. He motioned to the left she she nodded, slipping down the small side street these humans had created. She hadn't gone far when she spotted what they were after. The White Hut as they called it was a tent erected in the middle of the wooden cabins. A dim glow from inside illuminated the solitary shape of their friend bound with her head bowed. Ahsoka thought she must be sleeping. She pressed her back against the wall of the cabin right on the end of the 'street' and then motioned back towards her partner what she had found.
 
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Vass

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Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck.

Vass might have been the newest recruit to the Red Hundred, but he wasn't a moron. Dark figures slipping over the wall in the middle of the night was not a good sign. Had he and his not been thrown away into the squatfuck of the woods they might have been able to spot them, but as it was they simply hadn't had the angle.

The young mercenary rushed into the camp of his fellows, kicking boots and throwing open tent flaps as he ran along. "Get up!"

His words were not a shout, not an angry yell, but a hushed whisper. If shouts were raised the enemy would flee, that was the last thing they wanted.

"Enemies in the main camp, saw them go over the wall." The words grabbed instant attention, eyebrows shot up, men practically jumped from their bedrolls, and quickly the Red Hundred gathered their arms.
 
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Ahsoka

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Two men.

Mortag signed back not to do anything and she held in a frustrated sigh. He had let her go ahead, reluctantly, but only because he had had to agree she was smaller and nimbler than he was. Of course she understood: fighting was not what Ahsoka did in the tribe. The only reason she was on this mission was because of her Dreamwalking, a secret that only she and the chief and the other Dreamwalkers knew. And none of those were Mortag. He probably thought it was because she was close to the goatherder and had claimed the right to fight for her honour.

She watched impatiently as he crept his way over to the building and the deep shadow she had sat herself in -- and then completed his own check! Ahsoka quietly seethed and toyed with her dagger until he finally dropped back to his hunches next to her. His eyes flickered to her hands and he swallowed. A jewellery maker she might be but all the tribe knew how to fight and fight well.

You go left.

Finally. With a curt nod she made the dagger vanish and then on silent booted feet crept off to the left towards the tent flaps. Mortag took the right and at a nod they both slipped inside the tent. There were arrows in the guards before they could utter a sound.

"Tsula," Ahsoka cried softly and dropped to her knees before the other elf, cradling her limp face in her hands. The woman was out cold which would make it hard to move her.
 
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Vass

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The name of the Red Hundred had never once been accurate. Even upon it's founding there had actually been one hundred and three members of the mercenary Band, but none of them had thought that would really sound all that proper.

Since then the numbers had always fluctuated, generally going up and down with whatever conflict they had just been involved in. Currently there were sixty two members within the Band, Vass being the newest of the recruits. Though he had been taken in almost two years ago.

Every single one of those sixty two men and women now moved through the camp.

None of them raised the alarm. None of them called out or made a panic. Instead they stalked through the snoring soldiers and half-awake guards as though nothing at all was wrong. Half their numbers moved towards the direction Vass had seen the infiltrators go through, blocking off escape, and the other half moved towards the center of camp.

They could not have been sure what the enemy were going for, but they could make a guess, and that tent had caught their eye as much as the Elves'. Vass was with those who headed towards the center. Those who were springing their own trap.

"Vass, take Balderic, head around."​

There was no questioning orders, no asking for another assignment. The young recruit simply nodded, and cut to the left with the odd Azaki, his strange spindly legs easily outpacing Vass.
 
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Ahsoka

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"We must go," Mortag spoke in a whisper but it was still loud to her ears after an hour or more of silence. She nodded in hearty agreement and crouch-walked round to behind the pole to which Tsula was tied. Her daggers keen edge slid through the ropes like they were made of butter and with a flourish she put it away once more. Mortag had crouched in front of their injured sister to catch her as she fell forward without the bonds to keep her in place and then folded her her his shoulder. The goatherder gave a weak murmur but otherwise did not stir.

Gag her, he signed and she jumped to her feet to tie a silken cloth about her mouth. If she woke suddenly and cried out she might give them away. Ahsoka just prayed she would scent them when she did wake and know that what they did was for all their safety. With that done she turned towards the tent flaps and then paused. Mortag froze behind her and both listened to the noises outside. Even walking softly a large group of men made noise and the Tsa'gali knew the sounds of these lands like a lover would know their partners breaths. Without the need for the order Ahsoka turned towards the back of the tent and drew her dagger once more. The slice she made was along the seam so that it would not draw much notice until close inspection and peeked through.

The way looked clear but the sounds of men were louder out here. She slid through the gap and caught the shadow of one of the others.

Soldiers. Six tens. Wait for the distraction.

Ahsoka cursed to herself and the shadow melded back into the others. Who knew when these men would come to the tent to check their prisoner? Morteg clearly thought the same for he slipped from the hole to crouch in the shadows too. They didn't have to wait long for the distraction however. Off to the right near the stores of equipment that would be used to destroy their forest homes a sudden explosion errupted.
 
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Vass

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That explosion was the beginning of chaos, but it had the same effect for the Elves as it did for the men.

It was that same Elf that had signaled Ahsoka that would be the first of them to fall. The one that did not hear the steps of an Azaki because of the wave of shouts and utter horror that erupted through the camp. The slight insight like man slid his blade through the Elf's throat, his knife cutting deep before the man ever hand a chance to act.

Vass was two steps behind him.

His face was an impressive measure of calm, as was those of the other Red Hundred who now shifted through the camp and drew their weapons.

"TO ARMS! INTRUDERS IN THE CAMP!"​

It was the sounds of one of the others, calling to the soldiers to try to gather their attentions. It was a futile effort, they were simple folk, conscripts many of them and those that were not utter idiots. The flames were the more important part to them.

Vass moved to step forward, but Balderic's hand stayed him. The insect man shook his head, keeping him within the shadows as they waited for their prey.

That was what the Red Hundred did.
 
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Ahsoka

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Ahsoka leapt to her feet as fire lit the sky and cries rose with it. Footsteps began heading in that direction and the two elves crept silently in the opposite direction whilst hugging the edge of the tent still. They didn't know how many still lurked out there waiting to snatch them all up into ropes like cattle to poke and cut until they got the answers they wanted. Tsula's body had suffered and whilst she hadn't been able to see the extent of the damage from the state of her friend Ahsoka knew it had to be bad. Even as a goatherder it would have taken a lot to reduce her to this.

It was that anger she wrapped herself in to keep her deathly calm as another explosion erupted to the North in the direction they had just been facing.

"Go," Mortag hissed at her ear and the two made their break for it after a group of men ran past them. Long legs carried them quickly into the side streets and the pair twisted and turned as they made their jagged escape towards the walls.
 
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Vass

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There it was. Patience was something he had never been particularly good at. Waiting was hard, especially when you didn't know what it was you had been waiting for. Yet without even a word Balderic had known, had known exactly what would happen.

Vass thinned his lips, looking up towards the insectoid man as the two elves rushed passed, one carrying a figure over her shoulder.

Fingers wrapped around the hilt of his sword, but again a hand came against his shoulder. Balderic's head shook, and then made two quick motions. A frown touched Vass' lips, but he nodded. His boots quickly tightened, his stance shifting.

Then the two quickly moved after the Elves.

This time their steps were silent, quiet, masked with the chaos of the camp as it continued to erupt.

"BRING WATER!"

"BUCKETS!"

"THIS WAS THOSE FUCKING KNIFE EARS!"​

The shouts echoed out with every step, a cloak better than they could have asked for.
 
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Ahsoka

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Soldiers.

More soldiers this way.


They must have known somehow. Ice unfurled in her stomach to think they had stumbled on one of their people. All of them had sworn they would rather die than be taken prisoner and betray the Tribe. Each and every one had been willing to draw a blade across their own throat or take the small packet of deadly powder stashed in their pouches. These humans would take no more of them. Ahsoka drew back sharply round a corner before one of the soldiers with their back against the wall could see them. They'd positioned enough around the whole perimeter that they would have eyes on every inch of the wall.

They were trapped.

You will run, Ahsoka signed before drawing her bow from its case and knocking an arrow. Mortag looked at her aghast. Tsula needs Healing. I can distract them. He searched her face and then nodded grimly. If he had known her gift perhaps he would not have given over so easily but Ahsoka was not afraid of meeting the Darkness. Death should be a friend not an enemy. Positioning herself she gave a short nod then loosed the first arrow. It went through the first soldiers throat dropping him instantly. A shout went up and Mortag bolted for the wall. Even with another person he was over in record speed.

Ahsoka shot another arrow at an approaching soldier and made to make a dash over the wall.
 
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Vass

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Vass dashed out of the shadows like a blur.

He wasn't an Elf, far from it, but he had been training for decades. He knew how to move, when to move. How to take advantage of a situation that he had perfectly placed himself into. The sound of battle, chaos had been everywhere.

Those Red Hundred who had been sent to the walls had acted like a funnel, and even as some of them had fallen Balderic had held Vass back. The insectoid had known, understood what was going on, at least in part.

An opportunity would show itself, and that was this.

As Ahsoka rushed forward, dashed towards the wall, Vass popped out of the shadows as though he had been made from them. There was no sword in his hand, no, that rested on his belt. Instead his fingers swept forward with a Bola, the rope dashing forward as he swept it towards the Elves legs.

At the same time Balderic jumped from the other side, insect like leg kicking forward to trip the woman in an instant.
 
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Ahsoka

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For one brief, shining moment she had thought she might make it.

She had shot two other soldiers down who had been about to run towards her and she had had a clear run at the wall. She had even made the jump with her hands outstretched to catch the top of the wooden wall and heave herself up. But it was not to be.

Ahsoka hit the ground with a hard thud as weighted ropes wrapped around her ankles and swept her back to earth. The impact of landing practically face first in the dirt knocked the wind from her lungs and her head rang where her chin had collided with the hard ground. Her body was just one throbbing ache. It took a few seconds to register what had happened before panic set in and she scrambled for her knife which she brought up in a wide arc as she rolled onto her back to slash at whomsoever came close to her, legs wildly kicking to try and free herself. Her other hand went for her pouch and the deadly powder within. There would be no more captives!
 
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Vass

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The Elf was fast, but the Azaki was faster.

Vass had never met anyone like Balderic before, and apparently there was good reason for that. The strange insectoid like people tended to stay within the Underdark, never venturing out, never going beyond the realm of their people. If Balderic was to be believed, he was one of the few who did.

With good reason perhaps.

As Ahsoka's blade swept towards the strange man he immediately seemed to bound back, using one of his four legs to kick himself away and letting her knife flow just short of striking. Her legs kicked upward, but that didn't matter much.

Vass stepped in, his boot quickly kicked at the hand with her knife, hopefully throwing it away before his fist quickly came down and struck directly into her face.

Enough strength behind the blow to knock her unconscious.
 
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Ahsoka

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Ahsoka's eyes widened when her mind finally realised what it was she was seeing before her. She had never seen such a thing before. Were these monsters the humans brought with them to destroy her people? Her furious kicking and thrashing only increased in tempo in an effort to keep whatever the hell it was away from her. With her attention so focused on the insect she forgot about the powder and she had certainly forgotten the human who had tripped her in the first place. It was only when his boot connected with her hand, cracking more than a few bones in her slender fingers, that she remembered and by then it was too late.

Darkness swallowed her whole.
 
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Vass

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The Red Hundred did not enjoy being deceived, sidelined, and outright tricked.

There was never any doubt about why they were here, a battle had been expected. Yet they had been told that these lands were already under control. This contract was supposed to have been easy, fighting off a few scavenging strays, making sure the army wasn't too badly harassed.

None of them had been told about any elves, none of them had been told they would be kidnapping the natives and keeping them in tents. At least that was what they now assumed was going on.

It wasn't exactly like that was against their moral code...The Red Hundred didn't tend to have much of one. Yet there was a right and then there was a wrong. Where you fell on the side of that often fell on who struck first for the Hundred, and here it was obvious who had struck first.

Trouble was, they were on the wrong side.

That was why Ahsoka did not find herself dead in a pit, but instead bound on a bedroll within the Red Hundred Camp. Tucked away from the wandering eyes of the still panicking soldiery in the main post.

Vass sat against one of the tentpoles, his sword balanced on his knees. Two others were with him, though Balderic the strange insect was not there presently.
 
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Ahsoka

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The first thing she knew was pain.

Her whole head throbbed to the sounds of non-existent drums that set her teeth on edge. Half her face where the filthy human had struck her hurt and was no doubt a lovely mottled tapestry of bruises by now. It was an effort to even open her eyes and one of them was half swollen shut. She ran her tongue along her teeth to check they were all still in her skull before mentally checking down the rest of her body. Her right hand was an agony a degree less severe than her head but the rest of her seemed fine. She could run and that was the main thing.

Ahsoka cracked her eyes open a fraction to assess what lay before her. It would be a lie to say she wasn't relieved the insect wasn't there. Three humans she could maybe deal with or if she could just get her hand to her pouch then she would take the powder. What stayed her hand was the fact she wasn't in the same tent Tsula had been in and there was something soft she was laying on on her side. That and the fact her pouch was missing. She twisted suddenly, eyes opening fully to look for her pouches and her weapons.
 
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Vass

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Vass was rolling his sword back and forth between his thighs by the time the Elf stirred. It wasn't exactly hard to notice when she opened her eyes, less so when her gaze darted quickly through the room in search of the weapons that lay besides him.

He'd met elves before of course, even before he had joined the Red Hundred.

Arenholm was as diverse as could be, filled with everything from Elves to Duergar. That didn't of course mean he knew much about her kind of elf. His days within the Hundred had told him there was a dozen different kinds of folk all across the globe.

Even humans. "Alec."

Vass said as he rolled his head towards the Nerrilim.

"Go get Hopp." He turned towards the Elf. "She's awake."

The black skinned man looked towards Vass, then nodded his head and turned immediately out of the tent. Not a word uttered.
 
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Ahsoka

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Quiver, bow, tool belt... It was all there in the pile besides the youngest looking human. She gave him the weary look of an animal who had been kicked once and had no intention on being kicked again without biting back. As he spoke to the other one in that grating language Ahsoka's eyes flickered between the two of them. From the way they interacted it seemed that the sitting one was the leader. Odd. Usually amongst humans it was the older one who led.

Mindful of her injuries she pushed herself up. The cruel weighted rope he had used to bring her down had been taken off her ankles and she was able to cross her legs as she sat. The world swam and for a moment there were six men in the tent before reducing back down to two. A small stream of blood ran from her left nostril.

Silently, she simply watched the other two.
 
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Vass

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Vass studied the woman as she pulled herself up on the bedroll. Her legs were not bound, despite his objections, but her hands were tied enough that it wouldn't be a problem. At least that was what Hopp had said when he'd brought it up.

Of course his objections had been quieted, mostly when the Captain had pointed out that she was one Elf, and they had three of their own in the Hundred Camp.

Not to mention some of the others. "Can you speak Common?"

The question was leveled in a neutral tone, mostly out of curiosity. Among the Hundred they could count three dozen different languages, if not more, but it always helped if someone else spoke the Common Tongue. Vass himself was...painfully uneducated in that table.

Arenholm was diverse, but his parents hadn't been the sort to afford anything more than the basic.

Something he was constantly reminded of, at least in a roundabout manor. No one in the Red Hundred mocked him for being poor, just that he even now did not bother to learn.
 
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Ahsoka

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Despite her trussed up state and the bruising on her face Ahsoka managed to give the boy a withering look that gave the impression she was the one in charge here. The tribe's trade took them over vast expanses of Northern Epressa and into contact with countless people and their languages. If she was counting the young elf would have said she could fluently speak 15 languages and about 10 more in a muddied way that would see her get by.

In answer to his question however, she spat at his feet the snarled in a voice full of quiet, burning hate.

"Anha yeri khewo. Yeri ma eyak gwe. Qoy gwe ta'mai ma she athessazar anna kishi yeri Treekillers."

I will kill you in your sleep. You and everyone here. Their blood will go back to the Mother and in return she will strengthen our swords to cut you Treekillers apart.
 
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Vass

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Vass blinked. "So that's a no?"

He a knew a threat when he heard it in any language, plus spitting on the floor was a pretty clear message from pretty much anyone. A year ago he might have shirked away from such a thing, might have even shown a flicker of fear.

That was before the Illithen though.

A chill ran up his spine just remembering that little adventure, how they had treated their prisoners. Some of Vass' battle-brothers.

Being spat at seemed somewhat insignificant next to that.

"That's okay, we'll get a translator." Vass said, letting his sword bounce back and forth between his palms. "Common isn't for everyone's tongue, I suppose."

He mused.
 
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