Fable - Ask The Tides of Fate

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Kol

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Kol blinked for a moment, his own vision adjusting to the light.

For a few seconds he couldn't quite see, though that faded after a moment as he took in a breath and let his eyes rest. He could practically feel one of the Orcs at his back as he opened his eyes, the uncomfortable breath spilling over his skin.

When he peered out beyond the ship and over the sea he saw what the Orc had been talking about.

It was not the Blight.

The land that stretched out before them was not the drab brown one would expect of Menalus' territory. Instead what lay before them were beaches of black and lands spotted with flows of orange magma. Nestled in a cove not too far away from them was a city, it's stone as dark as the abyss. "Sheketh."

Kol hissed quietly.

"WHAT!?"​

The Warboss called loudly, Kol feeling himself half thrown forward as the Orc pushed him towards the Warboss.

"You've taken us to the Isle's of Sheketh." Kol answered, though he did not know which one, nor which city lay before them.
 

Ruvsá

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Sweat beaded on Ruvsá's forehead just at the sight of the glowing magma, and her stomach clenched again at the word Kol muttered. Sheketh.

The Nordenfiir knew little of the Isles of Sheketh. The peoples there liked to stay isolated, and since the Nordenfiir had lived similarly for a very long time, there was little knowledge to be gained.

She resisted the urge to reach up and loosen her cloak ties. A normal human wouldn't find the temperature on the deck to be too warm, even after days in the hold where it was perpetually chilled.

"How did we go south instead of west?" she muttered quietly.

Sheketh might be better than the blightlands, at least for her and Kol, though.
 
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Kol

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"Shitty sailors." Answering Ruvsa's question earned Kol a hard strike to the stomach. One of the orcs using the hilt of a saber to knock the wind out of him. The Sorcerer doubled over, coughing and cackling slightly as his suspicion was confirmed.

As he had suspected, this was not the orcs ship.

At least it hadn't always been. They had likely seized it from some unsuspecting sap, thought they could raid foreign lands for slaves. Stumbling upon the prison island had likely been an accident, just like coming here had been another.

As he chuckled Kol felt something grab his hair, head suddenly yanked up as the Warboss looked at him.

"Wut city is dat then?"

He demanded, Kol looking up at him defiantly.

In truth the Sorcerer wasn't entirely sure. He had never been to Sheketh, had only known it because of the stories he'd been told and what he'd read. The isles were said to be controlled by giants, natural black obelisks and rivers of magma spotting the land like they had always been there.

The city in front of them could be one of a dozen. The Dark God whispered names, but Kol did not know if any of them were true. "I don't know."

He said honestly.

"But you could always find out." And give Kol and Ruvsa a chance to escape.
 
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Ruvsá

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Ruvsá rolled her eyes at Kol's answer, and the orc's response to it. There were too many damned males on this ship, though she suspected the only reason she hadn't been struck so far was because they didn't want to try and sell damaged goods. She suspected she'd get them better coin if they could pass her off as beautiful and docile.

She waited quietly as Kol planted the idea in the war leader's head. Go to Sheketh. Try to conquer that city, see what was there.

No matter if the inhabitants of Sheketh were stronger or weaker than these Blightland orcs, it would offer a diversion that she and Kol could use.

However, if Kol planned to take the ship, it would be... a challenge. She knew nothing about sailing, and she doubted he could sail the entire thing on his own. Even if she learned quickly, a ship this size would be nearly impossible for the two of them to man themselves.

But still... any chance at escape was one they had to take. Who knew when the next chance would come.

"Wouldn't Menalus be pleased if you brought back not just two Nord slaves and a new ship, but slaves from a new land as well?" she spoke softly. The orcs, while efficient, had not seemed too bright so far. She doubted they'd recognize or be wary of this kind of subtle manipulation.
 
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Kol

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The Orcs, were in fact, not.

It was not stupidity that got them, no. That wasn't the problem. It was greed, the desire for reward. For something more than where they lived now. Even the Warboss had the Temptation within his eyes. Kol could see it.

More than that, he could hear the Dark Gods whisper about it.

In that moment Kol decided to stay quiet. Ruva's insidious words were enough, and he knew that any comment he made would just serve to inflame the Orcs even more. He shied back for a few seconds, looking down at the ground until the Warboss finally spoke.

"Bring us closer to 'ta Island!"​

His voice was practically a boom.

"I want to know what the fuck this place is!"​

Kol smiled slightly, hidden beneath his ducked down head. He turned towards Ruvsa, allowing her a small glimpse as he mouthed. 'Good job.'

As soon as they were on land they would have an opportunity. That was all he needed.
 
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Ruvsá

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Ruvsá fought back a smirk as the war leader called for his crew to head to the isle, but flushed lightly when Kol praised her, then quietly swore under her breath for reacting like a girl with a crush when praised for something that was just part of what she was trained to do.

Unfortunately, their time on the deck--in the sun and the wind, which Ruvsá realized she had sorely missed the last few days--was at an end. The war leader barked orders, and she and Kol were dragged back below deck and locked into the hold again.

Once the guards had departed, too busy now with preparing for a raid than to watch them closely, Ruvsá eyed the locked gate. "In my Svalen form," she spoke quietly, "tearing that gate free will be simple."

She settled back on the ground, her legs crossed, as she watched Kol. "Are you hoping to take control of the ship, or to escape the isles? I don't know much about Sheketh."
 
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Kol

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He glanced up at the stairs for a moment. "We'll escape in the city, or on the island."

Whichever opportunity came first.

"The two of us wouldn't be able to sail this ship." Kol knew how of course, but he and Ruvsa simply weren't enough. They would need at least a dozen more men just to run a skeleton crew for the ship.

Kol could...make it work, but he doubted Ruvsa would be appreciative of his methods. Plus he would need some of the Orcs, and capturing was always more difficult than killing. "So we find ourselves in a new land."

The Sorcerer mused.

"I do not know much either." He said with a shrug. "But that has never stopped me before."

He would rather be a freeman in unknown lands than a slave in ones he was familiar with.

As if on cue the ship began to move once more, lurching forward as the vessel began to head closer to the coast of the Isle.
 

Ruvsá

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"I don't think this is a land I'll want to be queen of," Ruvsá snorted lightly. "Too hot already."

As the ship continued on after, Ruvsá thought quietly for a little while.

"Do we want to try and convince them to take us to land with them," she asked Kol , "or wait until they've left the ship mostly unguarded, and find a way to shore ourselves? With the two of us, taking out the few guards they may leave behind won't take long."
 
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Kol

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Kol considered for a moment, remembering the Warbosses words. "I think they'll take us anyway."

He said quietly.

"Orcs are not the most...free-thinking." He'd had enough experience with them to know that at the very least. "They will seek some guidance, and we provide enough of that."

There was always something to guide and move there. "Plus."

Slowly he stepped a bit closer to her, his voice dropping. "I think we can influence that decision. I just need you to..."

He glanced up the stairs.

"Bite me." Kol offered her his arm. "Summoning the blade is too difficult now, but I need the blood."

There was always a price.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá nodded thoughtfully as Kol spoke. She had noticed that the orcs tended to move as a unit, and while at times that could be more dangerous if it was because a group was a trained and honed unit, this was... different. It was more like they couldn't make decisions without each other.

Her thoughts ground to a stuttering halt, though, and her eyebrows raised so high that they nearly merged with her hairline at Kol's request.

"Bite you?" she repeated, a bit incredulously. "Bite you?"

She had to bite back a laugh for just a moment.

"I can think of a dozen easier ways to draw blood if that's what you need," she stated, then stepped a bit closer with a smirk as she stretched up to whisper in his ear, letting her warm breath brush against his skin as her voice turned into a low purr. "But if you want me to bite you, I can certainly oblige."

Ruvsá took a step back then, but her eyes were filled with mirth and mischief as she took of her cloak. There were so many options for drawing blood around them. A loose nail. A wood splinter. A sharp edge from one of the chains or manacles strewn across the floor. She could even shift into her Svalen form and run a claw along his arm.

"I still have the knife," she said in a whisper now, turning her gaze away to watch for any guards approaching. "The obsidian one, from the prison. No one ever thinks to search for a secret pocket in a cloak."
 
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Kol

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Kol smiled. "Well."

Bemusement flickered through his tone.

"Whatever you think is most effective." To him it did not particularly matter. All that he needed was the fuel for his magic. The Price that the Dark Gods demanded of him when he called upon his powers. "I'll let you choose. Knife or teeth."

Her svalen would likely be a bit too obvious.

"I intend to make sure things go our way." The Sorcerer told her softly, deciding that it was probably best she understood his intentions.

They needed the Orcs above to take them onto land. Staying on the ship was too risky, particularly if they were outnumbered. "Besides."

He said with a smile.

"As I recall you like to bite." Kol's smile quirked into a smirk.
 
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Ruvsá

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Ruvsá just laughed softly. Biting necks and shoulders and hips and thighs was fun, especially when both parties were naked, but grungy forearms after several days in a filthy slave hold on a ship was another matter.

She nodded when he explained. "I figured as much," she whispered, motioning for him to follow her back into a shadowy corner, and she dug out the knife from her cloak pocket.

"I'll save the biting for when we have time to have fun with it," she smirked.

With her cloak slung over her arm, Ruvsá took the knife in hand, removing it from the gold-and-opal sheath slowly, so that it didn't make a sound. She glanced up once more, making sure the guards were out of sight still, then took hold of Kol's arm and set the blade against it, pulling swiftly and cleanly.
 
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Kol

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The blood dripped down his arm and over his wrists, quickly pooling within his palms. It saturated there, and then suddenly dissipated in the same way that the Rune-Knife did when it snapped from existence.

At first, it would seem like nothing happened.

Kol closed his eyes, glanced over towards the window, then suddenly the sun disappeared from the sky. Dark and gray clouds began to appear, and the patter of rain drops falling on the deck of the ship sounded out. A crack of thunder echoed in the distance.

There. That was all they needed.

Kol looked over at Ruvsa for a moment, still waiting as the ship rocked back and forth a bit more violently. Then eventually the sound of feet thundering down the steps echoed out once more.

"You two, comin' with us. Boss doesn't want to lose the cargo incase the storm takes the ship."

Another small assumption made correctly.

The Sorcerer didn't resist as the Orc came into the cell and grabbed his arm, shoving him towards the stairs and doing the same with Ruvsa. Rain slashed down from the sky as the two prisoners were shoved towards a long-boat.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá quickly wiped the obsidian blade clean with her cloak, making sure not to dull the edge further, before tucking it back in her pocket. She watched as the blood vanished from Kol's hands, saw him look toward the window. She wasn't sure what he was doing or how quickly it would happen, so she slung her cloak back around her shoulders and just waited.

It didn't take terribly long.

Her stomach lurching again was the first sign, her senses picking up the intensifying sway of the ship before her eyes fully registered it. She bit back a moan a few minutes later, resisting the urge to clutch her stomach.

Despite the pouring rain, she sighed with relief when the orc dragged both of them back to the deck, desperately sucking in the fresh air again.

Then they were dumped in a long boat, and is it was lowered to the waves, Ruvsá watched Kol intently. She wasn't sure if he wanted to try and take control of the long-boat or wait until they'd reached shore, so she simply waited for whatever signal he might give.
 
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Kol

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Kol shook his head ever so slightly.

It was a twitch, nothing more, but he knew that Ruvsa would read it. Half a dozen orcs were on the long-boat with them, and it was true that he and his companion could have killed them, but it wasn't time yet. Not until they could be sure.

The Sorcerer closed his eyes, the storm continuing to roil above them. Rain slashed down, soaking their clothes even as they landed upon the black beaches.

"Get up!"

One of the Orc's shouted as he dragged Kol out of the ship.

"Wait for da warboss."

The words came a second later as three other long-boats approached the shore. Kol watched them for a moment, looking towards Ruvsa. His eyes flickered towards the distant ships on the shore, and then towards the knife he knew she had hidden away.

Then he made a slight biting motion, pointing with his right hand towards his left hand.

Hoping she would understand.
 

Ruvsá

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The orcs really were idiots, and Ruvsá was no longer even intimidated by the thought of them. They'd neglected once more to rebind their hands. The only advantage they had over her and Kol was literally numbers. Brute strength, even, was not a concern, because if she shifted into her Svalen form she could easily take three of them out with a single swipe of her paw.

She saw the barely perceptible shake of his head, and focused simply on staying in the long-boat as the stormy sea tossed them from side to side.

When the reached the beach, Ruvsá simply stepped out of the long boat while the orcs were busy tossing Kol out of it. The orc hollered orders, and Ruvsá nodded once when Kol gave his signal. The orcs were all distracted by the driving rain.

She stepped up beside Kol as she reached back into the cloak pocket and withdrew the knife again, unsheathing it while her hands were still concealed. Then she pivoted, moving to stand so their right sides faced each other, her body blocking the view of his arm and the knife, and once more--carefully--ran the blade along his skin.
 
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Kol

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The blood ebbed, and then suddenly the ocean roiled.

Kol didn't offer any subtlety this time, mostly because as soon as they were separated from the greater bulk of the orcs he knew it was their only chance. Just as the other two boats were approaching the narrow cave a massive wave suddenly rose from the waters.

It rushed towards, and then crashed into the other long-boats. A cry of surprise went up from the men within the boats, the Warboss beginning to shout something before the wall of water came crashing down upon his head.

One of the Orcs besides Kol turned his head, shocked to see him leader thrown into the see.

The moment his attention was elsewhere Kol turned on his heel, reaching up and wrapping the thick cord of his restraints around the Orc's throat. A heavy wrench pulled at his hands, and with a crack the orc fell limp onto the ground.
 
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Ruvsá

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Ruvsá didn't pay much attention to the details of what happened when Kol unleashed his magic. She wiped the obsidian blade clean with her cloak and sheathed the knife, this time tucking it into her waistband rather than fight with her cloak against the wind to get it back in the pocket.

She turned back in time to see Kol crack the orc's neck. One orc had stayed with the long boat, still securing it against the stormy sea. Two others had darted back toward the crashing waves to do whatever they thought could be done to help their leader.

That left two with them, and Ruvsá's mouth twisted into a fierce grin.

"Surprise," she whispered, not bothering to shout over the wind and the waves, and transformed.

With a roar, she slashed through both orc's throats with a single swipe of a large paw, then carefully cut through the bindings around Kol's wrists with her claws.

A few orcs shouted from the long boats, drawing weapons and making to charge, but the wind and waves buffeted them.

"On my back," Ruvsá shouted to Kol over the storm. She wasn't sure how long he could keep the storm brewing, and she could run faster and more sure-footed through this onslaught in her Svalen form than any human could.
 
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Kol

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Kol didn't need any more urging beyond that.

Without even a moment of hesitation he jumped upon Ruvsa's back just as he had within the dungeon. His fingers gently pulled into her fur, his head lowering in case any of the other orcs made it onto the beach with their bows in tact.

The wave that had crashed against them hadn't been enough to kill, but the tide would at least see to some of the weaker swimmers.

Especially with the storm. "Head to the city!"

The Sorcerer called to Ruvsa over the sound of the storm. Rain slashed down on them, and in the distance he could see the light of the roiling magma through the darker haze of the sky. They could try to flee across the landscape, but the Orcs would catch up with them eventually.

Better to trust their fate into the chaos of a city, even if they did not know it.
 
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Ruvsá

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As soon as Kol was settled securely on her back, Ruvsá leapt forward. The black sand passed quickly by beneath her paws. She carefully zigged-and-zagged as she ran, until there was a fair amount of distance between them and the orcs. With the heavy rain, it was unlikely that any archers would be able to fire an arrow unless they had some sort of bowstring that was impervious to the water, but she wasn't willing to risk it.

Ruvsá was not relishing the idea of dodging streams of hot magma across the open land between the beach and the city, though, and so she groaned with relief when they reached what was obviously a road that led to the city from the shore. She didn't glance back to see how far the orcs were behind them until they were within sight of the city gates.

Before the guards spotted them through the rain, Ruvsá stopped and gently shook Kol off her back, then shifted back to her human form. She clasped a hand around his wrist, pulling him forward again.

"I'd rather not be in Svalen when we meet whatever inhabitants are here for the first time. They might not recognize me as more than a wild animal," she explained, glancing back over her shoulder for a brief moment. The orcs were still in pursuit, and would likely gain on them now that they ran on human foot, but she and Kol would likely reach the gate before they were overtaken.
 
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Kol

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Kol nodded as Ruvsa dragged him along.

The logic was sound.

He had absolutely no idea what these lands were like, what to expect, who they would meet. The Dark Gods, as always, whispered things in his ears. Truths, lies, some things that meant nothing at all. They spoke of what he would find, what would await them.

What power rested here.

Quickly they made their way down the road, towering cliffs raising around them as they drew closer and closer to the city walls. The rock seemed to raise to the skies on either side of them, the gate looming ahead and beyond that another wall.

Four Guards stood on either side of the wall, armored in black plate that covered their faces and hid their skin. They were taller than Kol, taller than Ruvsa would have been within her Svalen. "Help!"

Kol called as they approached.

"Help! We're being chased by Raiders!" Two of the Guards immediately stepped forward, their movements lumbering, but exacting. They carried heavy pike like weapons, moving towards Kola and Ruvsa.

The Sorcerer did not stop running, carrying on as if expecting to be protected. The two Guards rushed forward, and then stepped around Ruvsa and Kol. They took up positions to their flank, letting out a guttural sound just as the raiders crested the way into the valley.
 

Ruvsá

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Quiet approval washed through Ruvsá as Kol cried out for help as they neared the city. It was exactly what she would have done. If the guards believed them to be inhabitants of Sheketh, that would be best. At worst, Ruvsá could reveal her standing within the Kingdom of Nordengaard and request asylum from the Blightland slavers.

Hopefully, they were not simply sprinting from the frying pan to the fire, even if they were literally surrounded by fire.

The air was heavy with steam from the storm and the flows of magma around them, but the wind quickly swept it away.

For a moment, as the two guards ran toward them, Ruvsá panicked that instead of aiding them, they would attack. But her panic was short lived when the guards stepped around them, and she stumbled to a stop, her hand still clutching Kol's wrist, turning to see whether the orcs would challenge the guards or back off.
 
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Kol

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Three of the Orcs rushed forward.

Kol had counted twenty total that had come to the shore, but the three that staggered forward were not ones that he recognized. They rushed with roars of battle, drawing their saber like swords and practically hopping at the two guards.

Before they even reached their intended targets the two Guards suddenly lashed forward. Massive Halberds cut diagonally, slicing through the orcs in one fell swoop and pinning the third to the ground with such voracity that the earth itself shook.

The Sorcerer glanced towards Ruvsa, then took a step back towards the gate. "Let's get to safety."

He said as the Orcs stalled at the top of the ridge.

Kol turned on his heel, finding one of the other Guards coming forward. Up close he could see the brief gaps in the armor, the slight grey flesh that was beneath.

"You are safe now. Worry not for the Raiders, they will be dealt with by the will of the Emir."​

The man's voice was guttural, broken, as though the common tongue was almost foreign to his mouth. Lips thinned for a moment as he tried to guess at just what he was."Thank you."

"Proceed into the city, quickly."​
 

Ruvsá

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Even in her Svalen form, Ruvsá would not have been able to deal with the orcs as swiftly as the guards did. She nodded when Kol said they should continue into the city, turning to follow right behind him. She paused at the sight of the third guard approaching from the city.

Her eyes were sharp as she took in the sight of the strange black plate metal armor, wondering if it was some metal that they mined within Sheketh. She made note of this Emir that was mentioned, curious if it was the one who ruled the city or the country. Nodding in assent as Kol thanked the guard, she kept pace with her companion as they walked the rest of the way.

As they approached the gates, Ruvsá craned her neck to see whatever details she could catch sight of. The city itself almost blended into the cliffs and hills around the cove, everything made of the strange black stone. All around them, magma slowly flowed down the rock face and into the sea, and she reached up to wipe droplets of sweat off the back of her neck. Yet another guard met them at the gate to escort them within the city.
 
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Kol

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The man, if he could even be called as such, in front of them walked with a stoic silence.

He, like the others, was an utter beast. His size itself would have made him a tough opponent, though the armor he wore and the halberd he carried made him even more so. Kol watched him carefully, though as they entered the city his eyes began to wander.

They stepped first through the gate into a large market square.

There they were greeted by dozens of faces. Some of them were human, some were...different. He could not recognize them, but their ears were long and their flesh was ashen, eyes as yellow as the rising sun. He would have called them Elves, but there was something...off about them.

Every now and again another one of the strange Guards stood out among the crowd, Black Armor and Halberd clutched tightly. "Excuse me?"

Kol prompted.

"Where are you taking us?" He allowed his voice to have fear in it, though he felt none.

"The Watch Tower, you must make a report, then you are free to go."

The voice was gruff, guttural, not used to the common tongue.