Fable - Ask The Road Home

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    A land once ruled by Dragons and Gods opens, but not every secret of Arethil's past is safe to uncover.

    Titanfall

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A

Aila

North of the Falwood

Aila quietly trudged along her compatriots on the dirt road.

To their right lay the Falwood, to their left was the ever expansive grasslands of the Savannah. She made almost no noise as they walked along, and oddly enough her hood lay down across her shoulders. Every now and again she glanced towards the right, her eyes lingering on the trees there in an odd gaze that she herself couldn't have identified.

Her lips thinned, but she said nothing.

It had been four days now since they had slaughtered the Baron of Nellit and left his wife the trophy of his head. Aila did not truly understand why they killed the man, but then again she'd always been told that she didn't need to know. Still, in the back of her mind she felt slightly bad for the now Widow Baroness. The woman's face had been abject terror when Aila had made her threat.

It couldn't have been helped of course, but...she hadn't really wanted to say it. Her hand reached up and she rubbed her eye, frowning as she noticed a fleck of blood still on her thumb.

Her head shook, and she quietly wiped it away with the fringes of her robe. "Can we make camp?"

She asked the others quietly, noting the sun was close to the Horizon.
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira sauntered along the road with her arms folded behind her head. Her hood was down and her wild dreadlocks bounced and swayed with her movements. Despite her thin frame she moved as though she didn't have a sharp angle in her body, simply melting into each step and flowing down her path.

She stopped next to Aila at her request. "Yess, we've walked long enough. My feet are aching." Four days on the road was pretty standard, they couldn't exactly hire a carriage. Even so, it was dreadfully boring and offered few distractions from her tight boots and the jagged pebbles underfoot.

Still, Nathaira did her best to enjoy it. The trips to and from assignments were the closest things they had to freedom. It was often left up to them how exactly to get from one place to another, and so long as the target died in a timely fashion the masters didn't particularly care.

"What do you think? Woodss or fieldss?" Camping in the forest would give them some cover from nighttime travelers or rain, but the fields would give them better views and it would be easier to set up in the open.
 
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Kasimir

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Kasimir walked as he always did, with his hands in his pockets. But instead of his usual board expression he looked intrigued. In fact, he had been intrigued since the moment he had arrived on the mission to see who exactly was joining them. A girl. An actual child. He snuck another look at her over his shoulder as she trailed at the back of the group to make sure she was, in fact, real. His eyes then moved to Nat who seemed to be this girls keeper, before back to Aila.

He stopped with the rest of the group; a shadow on the highway they walked down. As usual he was dressed all in black though this time he too had his hood back to enjoy the cooler evening air. This far out of Vel Anir nobody would question what they were. Perhaps, a little uncommon in regards to the Naga and himself, but they wouldn't be looked upon as horrific monstrosities. The shadows moved fog around his feet.

"Woods," he listed his head to the side. "I will go get food," Kasimir looked at the girl again as if unsure she would be there when he returned. Then he turned on his heel and vanished into the shadows without another word.
 
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Rumer

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Rumer was not accustomed to walking this much, or at all really. Her scrawny legs had been protesting for miles, so much so that she'd fallen in the dirt a few times but had managed to get herself up before there could be any consequence of it. She trundled along behind the group, her new family as Nathaira described them. Murderers, all of them. She remained silent as the grave, the shock from what she'd witnessed them do had worn off, she'd stopped trembling at least, but she wouldn't quickly forget about it.
But honestly, there were times that she forgot to look so forlorn as she saw the world outside of Vel Anir for the first time in her life. Trees, she'd quite literally never seen trees. The air was fresh, and she enjoyed breathing true air that wasn't filled with the smells of smoke, excrement or tobacco. She had even managed a small smile to see live deer amongst the trees. All she'd had to seek comfort in as a child were the pigeons and cats that'd stopped by her window.

Rumer had learned not to look at anyone for too long, she stole only very brief glances now and then, though at least out here she had much more to look at than stone walls. Otherwise, the girl's gaze remained downcast, and her hood remained up - a small comfort.
She did notice the horned man continue to look back at her, but he, like everyone else, frightened her and so she hadn't dared make eye contact with him.

The child thought of running many times during the journey, she spotted places that she could hide, narrow places that she could squeeze into that the others might not be able to. But although she was naive, she wasn't entirely stupid. They were not humans. They would track her, catch her and hurt her or kill her. If she was going to run, she was going to need a far better plan than simply making a break for it and hoping for the best. She didn't have that kind of luck.

She halted a few paces behind the group as they stopped to make camp, though her knees buckled and she fell onto them with a grimace. Like running was ever really an option...
 
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Aila

Aila glanced back towards the girl for a brief moment, frowning before turning to the nearby woods.

The idea of camping nearby the jungle made her somewhat uneasy. Fal'addas was a thousand miles from here, but the Elves still lurked within the Wood. One could never forget that fact.

Yet it had been decided, and she would not be the one to complain. "This way."

She said simply as she began to stalk towards the forest. Aila never even considered the idea that Rumer would make a break for it. Thoughts of running away had long since been beaten out of her. There was no escape from this life, there was only obedience.

They all knew that.

At least she believed.

Presuming that Nathaira and Rumer would follow her, Aila wandered into the foliage and searched for a few minutes until she happened upon a fallen Oak, it's broad trunk providing a natural cover as it laid over an expanse of boulders. "Can you make a fire?"

She asked the girl. There was no way she was completely useless. They'd already needed to hold her hand through the mission, this couldn't be another failing.
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira’s eyes lingered on Kasimir as he melted into the darkness. He so rarely showed his horns. He so rarely showed anything. She had been glad to be sent on this assignment with him, the mystery added to the entertainment.

She glanced at Rumer as the girl fell to her knees but said nothing. The night’s rest would do her good, and although her legs would ache for some time, she would build up her strength.

She followed Aila into the woods, running her fingers along the trunks of trees and soft leaves. The ground was soft and cool, covered in leaf-litter and moss. Her tongue snaked in and out, flicking in the air greedily. So many scents to explore, so much life. Earth, water, animals.

The spot that the half-elf had chosen was a good one. The oak tree would shelter them well, and the stones were dry. She looked at Rumer and tilted her head towards Aila when the request for fire was made, as if to say “Well? Get on with it.”

The girl had been… adequate on their mission. Nathaira had not expected her to impress anyone on her first mission, but she was a little disappointed that she had not spilled a bit more blood. The child’s face was still just that: a child. She showed obvious distaste for violence. More training would be needed, but for tonight she could rest.

With Kasimir finding food (probably using some dark and twisted means) and Rumer preparing the fire, there was little for Nathaira and Aila to do. She sat with her back against one of the boulders and her knees bent in front of her.

”Do you think we will get ssome time off after this?” she asked Aila. ”I want to take Rumer to the coasst.” Rarely, after extended missions, the Forsaken were not sent out on another job immediately. Even they needed time to rest, after all. As reviled as they were they were valuable property, and they didn’t want to work them completely to death. Just… almost. As for why she wished to take the girl to the sea… she would just need to find out.
 
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Kasimir

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Kasimir could do nothing so grand as teleport like many assumed when he vanished from sight. It was like stepping into a tunnel of darkness. He could see the world as clearly as he could when he wasn't in it, but the world out there didn't seem to notice him at all - aside from other shadow mages of course. He had a startling moment on one mission when a young girl he had been sent to kill had actually had an affinity with the darkness he called a home. He believed she was a Dreadlord now. Such a narrow escape from his blade. It had cost him dearly to disobey the direct order to take the girls life, but his Handler had seen the merit of why he had done so. Subconsciously he rubbed his collarbone where the mark still burned, though dimmer now the group had completed their mission. It would just stay a silent annoyance until he returned to the city they called a home.

Within the shadows the creatures who hoped to make a deal with him whispered. They needed a vessel like him to leave their world and cross fully into the physical. He ignored them. He had no need for further deals for now. Though he did not call them the big black dogs that had been his first companions appeared by his side. There had once only been one but through some sordid event he did not entirely understand himself the creature had found a bitch and sired a pup. It bothered him not. The black mutt was his one and only friend.

Casually he ran a hand down the beast whose head reached Kas's waist in terms of height. The bitch only came to his hip, but the pup seemed to be taking after its father. Kas followed their lead towards the smell of prey.

Kasimir stepped out of his personal shadow tunnel in the shadow of the fire the child had apparently finally managed to get going. Casting a silent look to Nat and Aila he heaved half a deer from over his shoulders. It was already tied and prepared, something he had elected to do in the shadows away from the child, as well as feed his dogs the other half. It was not a sight anyone needed to see.

With a practised ease he set it over the fire and then dropped to the floor with a soft sigh, his back resting against a large boulder. Then he pulled a lute from the shadows of his coat and began to strum.
 
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Rumer

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The youngster pulled herself to her feet, despite the weakness in her legs. She’d been desperately trying not to seem as weak as she was, and she couldn’t even handle walking. Her cheeks flushed a furious pink as her collapse was noticed, and she kept her face cast downward as she followed wordlessly.

She halted and looked up timidly to Aila, subconsciously waiting for Nathaira as though to confirm the request, and with the look she’d given her she started quietly gathering kindling and broken branches, and she piled them in the centre of the clearing where the women had sat before bundling a few rocks too.

She knelt and arranged a small fire pit, glad she’d been asked to do one of the very few things she’d been taught by her father. She really hadn’t been very good at much.

Rumer listened to Nathaira’s words, lifting her gaze briefly as she spoke of taking her to the coast. But why?... She’d always hoped to see the seas, but she doubted that Nathaira had been feeling generous enough to spend her much valued ‘time off’ taking her on family trips. She glanced to Aila too. The woman unnerved her, but her ears were of a certain fascination to the child and she couldn’t help but look.

She grasped a stick between her palms and pressed it down against another branch surrounded by dried leaves and grass, rubbing her her hands together in quick downward motions a few times until she saw smoke, and she gently blew until the flames took hold. She sat back then, lifting her attention to the horned man as he appeared as if from nowhere, a discreet shudder tickling at her spine, and she hugged her knees tight against her and settled herself against the tree.
 
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Aila

So she was not entirely useless after all.

Aila wasn't entirely sure if there was a selection process for the Forsaken. She herself had been with them her entire life, and many of the students that had joined her in the ranks had died along the way. Over the years she'd gained a sense for those that would survive.

This one did not meet that sense.

Still, she had been surprised before. Her ears twitched slightly as Nathaira spoke, the odd hiss of her S' ringing in her elven ears. "I don't know."

Aila answered as she stared at Rumer, her eyes fixed on the girl as she lit the fire of their campsite. After a moment her gaze slowly swept away from her, and settled on her Naga companion.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Kaimir step from the shadows.

"What is on the coast?" The way Aila spoke was almost entirely free of emotion. Almost as though a lifeless husk were speaking.
 

Nathaira

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Rumer had built the fire none too soon. The twilight encroached quickly beneath the thick canopy. The sky was still a pleasant pink, the sun having just started to dip below the horizon, but it could only be seen through tiny pockets in the leaf cover. Nathaira moved closer to the warm glow keeping most of her body covered beneath her leather wrappings, trying to hold on to whatever heat she could find.

Kasimir returned, billowing back into existence from his dark and cloudy realm. Nathaira was curious about what it was like in there. She bet it was cold. Her inquisitive nature was curbed, however, by the meal he had brought them. Her eyes lit up as he set it over the fire.

Aila’s question brought her out of her reverie. ”The ocean! The ocean can be a wonderful teacher. And the sand and sun are sso warm.” She pondered the possibilities for her and her ward. Thoughts twisted and began to take shape.

The sound of the lute drew her attention next, and she looked over at Kasimir, now reclined and lazily strumming. The music was soothing, and she stared back into the fire. Every so often her tongue lashed out, flitting about it the air before she sucked it back in to sample the pleasing aromas around her. The meat cooking, the wood smoke (nothing like the horrid burning of cigars), the unique scents of the people she was with.

It was a rare moment of calm.
 

Kasimir

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Kasimir was a surprisingly good player. It had whittled away the hours he had spent in locked cages and rooms and it had infuriated his Handler to no end. Every time they would storm in to try and steal the instrument off of the child they could find nothing, prove nothing, so hidden was the shadows mark on his person for this one small sliver of joy for what was something he enjoyed doing. Nobody would take it away from him. After a few moments of idle music his fingers began to drift and he plucked out the tune for a well known Vel Anirian song. Of course on their missions they interrupted all manner of things - balls, parties, intimate sordid moments. But his favourites were when he caught people around a fire much like this one and he could listen for a while to the music they played, then learn it before slitting their throats.

He didn't pay much attention to the conversation that was going on with Nat and Aila - the beach and the heat were not things that particularly interested him. What did pique his interest was the idea Nat was taking her ward on a holiday. Did those like Norris know about that? If he did Kas doubted it would be allowed. The girl was not allowed to have fun.

His amber eyes panned now to the girl who had tried to tuck herself against a tree as far away from the others as possible. She was trembling and had the look that they all got. She wouldn't survive very long.

When he came to the end of his song he stood up and checked on the meat quietly before moving across to where the girl sat. As he walked he removed the large trench coat. It was a warm thing, thick and heavy designed to keep the elements out and his body heat in. In comparison the girl seemed to be in the kind of clothes a street urchin might wear. He crouched down in front of her, his tail flicking for a moment as if deciding something before he carefully tucked the coat around her. It was ridiculously big for her and swamped her entirely. But it was warm and the weight comforting.

Without another word he got up and returned to his position by the boulder and began another tune.
 

Rumer

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Rumer dragged a stick around in the dirt, drawing little trees in the dust, and something that was supposed to resemble a deer but..didn't. The sounds of calm conversation, music and crackling of fire was soothing, and for the first time she felt free to relax without fear of it being a vile trick. She was bobbing her head from side to side with the sound of Kasimir's playing, humming along with the tune in her head.

She stopped moving entirely as the tiefling approached her however, staring at his boots first before lifting her tired, watery eyes to his face as he crouched in front of her. She hadn't expected the kindness, and she frowned briefly, casting a quick glance down at the jacket now covering her shoulders before watching him return to where he'd been sitting... "Thank you.. Kasimir." she offered quietly, and a small smile warmed her expression as she pulled the coat tightly around her, and watched him play his next tune.
 
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Aila

Aila stared at Nathaira in no small amount of confusion. Ocean? Sun? Who cared about such things. It wasn't like they were ever going to actually be able to enjoy any of that.

A frown pulled at her lips.

Did the snake woman actually have hope?

That was a thought which Aila found more than a little perplexing. She herself had abandoned any hope of freedom a long time ago. It was easier to simply do as she was told, to follow orders and go with the motion of things.

Hoping for things was simply asking for disappointment.

Aila frowned, leaning back against a tree as she fell into deep thought about her companions.
 

Nathaira

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The fire continued to crackle as darkness swallowed the forest around them. Nathaira sat with her knees drawn up to her chest, hugging them tight and rocking back and forth slightly to the music of Kasimir's lute.

She watched the tall, horned man approach Rumer. What was he going to do? She had never seen him interact with a child before. Would they talk? Unlikely, Kasimir barely spoke to anyone outside of missions. When he took off his coat she thought for a split second that he might be getting ready to beat her, or throw the coat on her in disdain, but instead he wrapped her in it gently before returning to play.

Her slit eyes, thin from the light of the fire, rested on him as he sat. Was that... compassion? She glanced back to the girl. It hadn't occurred to her that she would be cold. Couldn't these warmbloods make whatever heat they needed? She shuffled closer to the fire, willing the meat to cook faster.
 
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Kasimir

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Nobody spoke again. The only noise was Kasimir's lute filling the night air and he savoured it. Even the Shadows were quiet, lulled by the music and the satisfied feeling of a good hunt complete. Occasionally he opened his eyes a slit to check on the meat but other than that he kept his eyes shut and his head leaning back. The Forsaken were not good at this... relaxing business. It was easier to not make connections with one another during training and then they seemed to forget how by the end of it. Kas was thankful he had had the Shadows in those places of torture.

It took a while but finally the meat was done. The fat hissed as it hit the fire. Once the song he was playing came to a natural lull he stopped, stood and returned to the meat. It seemed the task had fallen to him and he was happy to oblige. It was a simple job and one that made him feel slightly more normal. He... hummed. As he carved up the meat with a blade that appeared from his wrist in a swirl of shadow. The plates and bowls, however, he pulled from his pack.

"I think," the tiefling said slowly, breaking the silence as he passed out the food. "I would like to go see the Jungles in the Wilds if we have some time off."
 
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Rumer

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The smell of cooking meat made her realise how hungry she'd been. It'd been something she'd been used to, she'd usually eaten every other day, hence why she had barely any meat on her bones and was still short for her age. Her stomach snarled and she squirmed a little to try and disguise the sound, in case it was found to be another weakness of hers and she was deprived of eating, just as she'd been dealt more pain any time she cried.

She chewed on her lower lip as she watched Kasimir plating the meat, and as soon as she had her portion in her grasp she smiled, and ate greedily, filling her mouth too full before remembering her manners and muffling another 'thank you'.

She savoured the last piece and sighed deeply as it nourished her. She rolled her shoulder and stretched her legs out, all off the aches she'd felt started to ease off and she yawned, pulling the tiefling's coat around her and curling up amongst the tree roots. She watched the others, listening to them talk of oceans and jungles, her face aglow with the warm light of the fire and her lips bearing some semblance of a smile in contentment.
 
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Aila

For the life of her Aila could not understand why they were talking about vacations.

The idea that they would ever get such an opportunity was laughable. Their masters did not care about wellbeing, mental health, or any sort of nonsense along those lines. They were killers, that was it.

Why would they get a vacation?

"You're delusional." The words were insulting, but the way Aila said them did not make it sound like it. She did not want to hurt any of their feelings, simply show them the truth.

"Once we get there we'll get a night, if we're lucky." She scowled. "Then we'll have to kill someone else."

That was their purpose, that was who they were. Aila stood, kicking a nearby rock against a tree. "This. This right here is the best vacation you'll ever get."
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira took her plate eagerly from Kasimir, her long fingers brushing over his as she accepted the bowl. "Thhhank you, dear." she said. The meat was hot and juicy, and she lapped up the scents in the air from the steaming meat. Her stomach rumbled in anticipation.

She picked up the cut and opened her mouth. Wide. Impossibly wide. The fissures of her maw ran up her cheeks to her ears as her jaw loosened and dropped low. She fit the sizeable chunk of meat into her mouth and swallowed it whole. Once the bulge in her throat had passed through she refit her jaw, opening and closing her mouth a few times to make sure everything was back in place, and licked the juices from her fingertips.

Satisfied, turned back to Aila. "You are abssolutely right, ssister," she hissed, "Not a vacation... but I believe the massters could be... persssuaded. Young Rumer could learn much at the coasst, and perhapss they have a target there already."

The half-elf was likely the most pragmatic of the bunch, and she was very realistic about their prospects. It would be risky to request anything from the Handlers, but they had done well on this assignment and, if she played her cards right, Nathaira believed they could be led to see the benefits of her proposed trip. A plan had already been forming in her mind. If there were enough cruelty involved even Norris may sign off on it.

"But no matter," she continued, "That iss for another time." Eager to change the subject, she asked Aila. "Do you know why we killed the Baron?" Of course, none of them really knew, that sort of thing was not necessary for the lowly servants. Still, she was curious, and she had her suspicions, and she wished to hear what the woman thought.
 
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Kasimir

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Kasimir merely looked bemused by Alia's little outburst and aggression with her kick but he said nothing more on the matter either. Like Nat said, it hardly mattered. But still it was a nice thing to think about to pass the time. What did she think about if not other things outside of her control to wile away the time? If he dwelt solely on the job then he would go mad for it. Better to think of nicer things even if they were impossible to keep the mind sane and serene. Instead of heading back to his spot however he took his mean and went and sat beside Rumer. Not too close but enough, leaning his back against the tree. and began to eat his own dinner whilst dwelling on the light touch from Nat. Touch was something they were starved of so it burnt in his mind probably a little too brightly.

He didn't particularly want to hear about the reasoning behind the job they had done. It made them human and humans were the people they were meant to serve. Better to keep that wall up and think of them mainly as obstacles to be removed for the peace of Vel Anir, so that their people could enjoy their lives truly. Any other thoughts got you burnt. Literally.

"How did you find your first mission, little mouse?" Kasimir asked instead of the young girl as he ate. His voice was low and soft but if the others wanted to they would probably be able to hear their conversation. If they preferred to talk of work or apparently sulk then it would also be easy to ignore.
 
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Rumer

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Rumer looked at Kasimir as though he’d asked her a trick question and she looked to the others for a moment before looking back at him. “I..” she paused, having to seriously consider her answer to the question. Norris’ voice crept into mind, and she remembered her pain just as he’d told her she should. She didn’t understand their mission, she didn’t enjoy seeing people killed and she didn’t want to become like them.

“I.. have much to learn..” she nodded gently, not daring to share her true thoughts on the matter. The thought that what they did disgusted her and she hated it. She had many things that went against her odds of survival. She was physically weak, she couldn’t wield a weapon, she had minimal control over her abilities and the idea of hurting people repulsed her. But if she had something that could work in her favour it was her obedience. She’d never been an unruly or rude child, and she seemed to know what to say to appease people for the most part.

“How did you find it?...” she asked even quieter than he had..
 
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Aila

Aila frowned at the question.

Why were they asking so many questions? Why were they talking about Vacations and such things? Was it because of the child?

Her head turned towards Rumer for a few seconds, lips thinning in consideration before her gaze swept back towards Nathaira. There was a certain unease about this sort of talk, and she couldn't help but wonder if it was some sort of trap.

Were they going to turn her into Norris if she answered?

It had happened before, not with these three, but others. After a few seconds her head simply shook and she answered quietly. "I don't know."

They had executed the Baron far more brutally than any other killing. Some of his blood still stained her clothes.

"A message. To sow fear." She offered in conjecture, though she did not know beyond that.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira hugged her knees back to her chest and turned so that he side faced the fire, her back had been getting cold. She nodded solemnly at Aila's answer. The half-elf had never been the most talkative, and she decided not to pursue the line of questioning, even though the answer brought a whole slew of new inquiries to her mind.

The "training" Forsaken endured often served to quash curiosity. It was not their place to question, not their place to think beyond how, when, and where to kill. Nathaira had been the same at first, and still she wouldn't dare question if a mission were necessary or worthwhile. Time spent in the real world, however, even the little bits of time on assignments, had reawakened her inquisitive mind. It was how she coped, endlessly seeking distraction, something to occupy her mind other than blood, screams, and pain.

Her ears picked up Kasimir's voice, quiet as it was, and she listened eagerly for Rumer's response. It was true, the girl had a long way to go, but she would get there.

The rune in the back of her neck prickled, and she scratched at it. So long as they made their way home bit by bit it would remain subtle. Nathaira wondered if the masters could track their movements through that magic, or perhaps even listen in on their conversations. She didn't think it likely... but one never knew for sure.
 

Kasimir

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Kasimir picked up a piece of meat and examined it as she spoke, a slow smile crawling up one side of his face before he ate it. Her answer was a good one - she may indeed have a lot to learn about the job but it seemed she had learned a little bit already about holding her tongue. He played with another piece deciding on how best to answer her question for he was sure she was trying to gauge what the appropriate response was if she was asked it by someone else.

"Routine. No problems," Kas was known for not talking a lot and it served him well when he was asked questions. Nobody battered an eyelid if one word is all they got from him now. He ate another piece of meat delicately before glancing over to the women on the other side of the fire, raising a slight eyebrow at Nat trying to sit basically in the flames at this point. Amusement twinkled in his eyes at the little game.

"Nat is very good at teaching the politics of our kind, Little Mouse, but you also need to learn the more practical skills of a blade. Not all situations mean you will be able to use your magic to carry out a job," he spared her a look now, made a shadow blade appear in his hand and passed it to her. It was surprisingly light for the length. "When you return from your little.... holiday," amusement in his tone at the word. "I will teach you."
 
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Rumer

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Little mouse, he called her. She supposed the nickname was apt, and it was much better than 'doll face', but it wasn't well suited to the forsaken, and it worried her. She'd didn't want to join this family or live this life, but it seemed there was little choice in the matter and she didn't want to die either. She'd have to work on her confidence, but it was difficult not to be so afraid of everything when everything wanted to torture her.

She glanced to Nathaira again as Kasimir spoke of her and she looked between them before reaching her hand out to take the blade. She had never held one before, but he was right, she would have to learn if she wanted to stand a chance.

Rumer offered a shaky smile to Kasimir, and handed the blade back, swallowing back the fear that rose from the thought of any sort of training with the forsaken. Their methods had so far been.. severe.

"... Thank you. I look forward to learning." she lied.
 
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Aila

Aila was of course rather aware of her nature as a killjoy, but she didn't particularly see anything wrong with it.

They weren't supposed to be friends. They weren't supposed to talk about things with one another like they might one day be out of this situation. The Half-Elf had once upon a time thought like that, and every single day of it had been torture.

What was the point of making yourself suffer? "Don't get her hopes of survival up."

Aila said, her voice low.

"She'll probably die." Most of them did.