Fable - Ask The Tides of Fate

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Kol

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Kol listened carefully to the description, nodding his head.

Even as the island showed itself to be more alive doubt still clung to him that they would find anything of real significance. His gaze swept forward as they began to walk, searching for the trees that she had named. "A day, perhaps."

He glanced at the sun.

"Though it felt longer." The magic within that place had been twisted, and he briefly wondered if that had been the work of the now dead King or just time itself.

Magic was not eternal, and the price that one had to pay for such things was often corruption. The Dark Gods had once whispered such things to him, spoken of their own origin and how they had come to be.

At the time he had thought it lies, but the more he learned, the more he reconsidered. "Over there."

Kol said as he noted a small grove over the curve of a hill.
 

Ruvsá

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"I don't think it was just our physical senses that were warped in there," Ruvsá agreed. "The passage of time itself seemed... inconsistent."

"Over there."

Kol said as he noted a small grove over the curve of a hill.

Ruvsá turned toward the trees, and as they drew close a minute later she grinned. "There!" she pointed up into the boughs of a fir tree. "Do you see the pale green strands hanging from the branches? That's the lichen. I don't need much, and you can just break it off where it connects to the bark."

She looked around the grove, then, and listened to the sounds nearby. She couldn't hear any snuffling of wild boars nosing through the earth, but she did hear another most welcome sound. Water.

"There's a spring or a creek nearby too," she turned and smile at Kol with sparkling eyes. "I can hear it."
 
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Kol

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The Dark Gods were never silent for long.

Their whispers started up once more as they neared the grove. It was idle chatter. Some called for him to kill Ruvsa, others asked him to leave the isle and simply go. Still other simple spoke of the power he now had, the magic he had stolen.

Kol ignored them, as he always had to do.

His fingers reached up for a moment, a slight shift coalescing within the air as something seemed to rupture and cut through the branch that Ruvsa had indicated. It fell to the ground, tumbling with the plant that his companion had indicated. "Is that enough?"

The Sorcerer asked, his head turning.

"A spring?" He repeated, frowning for a moment.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá raised an eyebrow and shot Kol an amused glance when the branch fell to the ground with just a twitch of his fingers.

"Should be plenty for a few applications," she said, kneeling down to pull the lichen from the bark. She parted the strands, checking for the white core just to make sure it was the bearded lichen and not a look-a-like, pleased to see she had identified it correctly. She gathered several portions of it with her non-bloodied hand.

"A spring?" He repeated, frowning for a moment.

"You know, water? That's not full of salt?" Ruvsá teased lightly with a smile, glancing at the distant ocean shoreline. "I wasn't terribly thirsty inside the prison, but I suspect that was part of the spell in place. Now I'm parched."

She was hungry, too, but she wouldn't be a proper shield maiden if she complained of hunger after a mere day without eating. Water, though, was a little more vital.

She led the way over the hill and through the trees, following the sound of the water. While most of the terrain was dusted with snow--there was rarely ever not snow in the tundra, after all--after several minutes of hiking, they entered a vibrantly green valley. Water flowed softly out of a hillside into large rock basin, and soft wisps of steam rose into the air. The water emptied out of the basin to flow gently through the valley and out as a gentle stream.

"Oh," Ruvsá exhaled softly. "It's a hot spring. But... the water in the stream, at least, should be cool enough to drink."

The valley was awfully quiet for as fertile as it appeared to be, though, and Ruvsá wondered for a moment if the water might be toxic. A place like this should have been teeming with wildlife. Her fears were allayed, though, when a red dea'roh bird flitted out of the trees and perched to drink at the edge of the stream.

"We're in luck," she smirked, amused at her own pun. Dea'roh sightings were rare and considered a good omen. "The water's safe to drink, it seems."

She made her way to the edge of the stream and found a clean spot to set the lichen down, then took off her cloak and cut (another) wide strip from the bottom of it, then cut a small square off of one end. She dipped that in the water and carefully cleaned the drying blood off of her arm, then knelt at the edge of the stream and scooped up water in her hands to drink.
 
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Kol

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Kol stated at the stream for a moment, watching it with listless eyes.

He had drowned his brother in a stream much like this one. He could still feel the heat of the water on his hands, hear the Dark Gods call to him as a life slipped away. The memory flashed before his eyes, and then snapped away as quickly as it had come.

A frown tugged at the Sorcerer's lips, and then slowly he squatted down besides the water. Fingers formed a cup and he took a slow drink before glancing over at Ruvsa. "How did you get onto the island?"

He asked.

Kol knew that he could not linger here for long. The Dark Gods would urge him forward soon enough. His own ships were gone, destroyed and dashed upon the rocks. He was hoping Ruvsa had a way out.
 
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Ruvsá

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Ruvsá sat back on her heels and reached for a piece of the lichen, shaking it out to make sure there was no debris or bugs in it, then began gently crushing it between two rocks. She saw Kol squat down beside her, saw his glance at her before he drank.

She wasn't sure what to make of the look in his eyes.

"How did you get onto the island?"

He asked.

"I swam," she shrugged. Swimming to an outlying island off the Eretejva's coast was not difficult in Svalen form. But her movements faltered and her eyes grew a little sad. "I came here for solitude. My father's death anniversary is near--" her voice hitched a little as she realized that, depending on how long they'd actually been trapped in the prison, maybe it was even today "--and it's been a few years since I was able to spend any time remembering him. And since his death coincided with me gaining my ability to shift into my Svalen form, I've always liked to... get away. Spend a day in the wilds that he loved so much."

Then Ruvsá realized she was rambling, and she bit her lip as her face heated with embarrassment. "Sorry, you probably weren't interested in hearing any of that."

She turned away and cut another small square from the strip of wool from her cloak, and carefully folded the crushed lichen into the fabric, then cut a narrower strip of sufficient length to wrap around her forearm.

"If you need to go, you can go," Ruvsá told Kol as she stood. She doubted he was sticking around for any obligation, and while she'd appreciated his help retrieving the lichen, she would be fine on her own.

Then her eyes widened as she remembered how she'd first come across him. Shipwrecked.

"Oooh, you don't have a way to leave, do you?"

Because while swimming to the island in her Svalen form had not been an issue, even with whatever magics his Dark Gods had granted him, Kol was human. Trying to swim back to the mainland through the frigid ocean would likely be his death.
 
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Kol

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Of fucking course she swam. Kol thought to himself with an internalized role of his eyes.

The cubs had always taken an opportunity with their gift. A few of the Nordwiir could match their abilities, at least in some areas. Skad could probably have swam to the islands, so could Rajk, but Kol? Kol only had his sorcery.

It might have been the Dark Gods would bless him with life enough to make it, but at at the same time they might think it humorous to simply let him die in the water. Their motivations were not for him to understand, and he would rather not risk it.

If no one else would watch out for him, he would have to.

"I don't." He said with a frown.

The Dark Gods would eventually lead him from this Island, even if he had to carve a ship from one of these trees and make it himself. He was not yet that desperate, though in time he very well might be. Lips thinned for a moment.

A breath filled him. I'll have to find a way then."

For him it was as simple as that.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá sighed and shook her head. Kol was clearly used to not relying on anyone or anything, and not very good at asking for help when it might ease his path.

"I won't just leave you stranded you here," she said, then up the stream toward the hot spring, stooping to test the temperature of the water a few points along the way. When she found the water to be warm enough, she carefully submerged the folded fabric pouch of lichen in the water and let it soak thoroughly, then pulled it out and pressed the excess water out.

She turned back to Kol, and retrieved the shorter strip of fabric. She pressed the make-shift poultice to the cut on her forearm, wrapped the strip around it, and tied it off with her free hand and her teeth, carefully tucking the loose ends in, and rolled her sleeve back down.

"I'm not someone who can disappear and have it go unnoticed. If I haven't returned within a week of when I departed, someone will come looking for me." Then she smirked. "However, if they find you here and not me, I doubt that they will simply let you go on your way."

Then she shrugged, and began gathering up her cloak and the remaining scraps of fabric she'd cut from it. "Or, we can wait a couple of days and let my arm start healing up, and I'll swim back to the mainland and bring a boat back for you.

"Though that would, on your part, require that you trust me to do that."
 
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Kol

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Kol calculated in his head how difficult it would be to kill a few Nordenfiir.

He had seen Ruvsa fight, and in her transformation she was strong. He had magic on his side of course, The Dark Gods. A blade in the dark would take care of her as swiftly as anyone else, and she needed sleep sometime.

Of course she was not his true problem. His problem would be those that she mentioned.

Could he kill a dozen Nordenfiir on his own? He doubted it. Felling half of them would be simple enough, especially with what he had taken from the Elven King, but it was the other half that worried him. There was also one other fact...

He did not really want to kill her.

Even if it had presented an easy solution, Kol was not some heartless monster. The woman had helped him, fought with him. Why would he want to see her dead if it offered him no gain? The butchers of Trik might have, those that worshiped the Blood Throne, but Kol was not one of them.

He was wiser, smarter.

"I can wait." The Sorcerer said softly. "How long until they come looking for you?"

Kol asked, wondering what would be fastest.
 

Ruvsá

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"Four or five more days, perhaps?" Ruvsá answered, tucking the extra scraps of material into the concealed pocket inside her cloak, next to the strange knife she'd taken from the prison cell. She hesitated for a moment when her fingers brushed against it, curious. She wanted to pull it out and examine it, but she also didn't want to draw Kol's attention to it. So she brought her hand back out empty, and slung the cloak over her shoulders.

"It depends on how long we were actually in there." Her eyes wandered back in the direction of the now-demolished prison. "When I encountered you, I'd been on the island for... maybe half a day?"

She grinned then, amused at how the situation had circled back around. "Do you think you can find firewood again? We'll need heat, food, shelter... I can take care of the food. Even if I can't find game, this time of year there should be berries somewhere in this valley, or edible roots. And for shelter, I can try to find a cave, or we can make something from tree boughs."
 
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Kol

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He tried not to laugh when she mentioned finding a cave.

There was an old Nordwiir joke about their cousins. Bears and their love of dens, he did not think that Ruvsa would appreciate it. A smile touched his lips though, a rare emotion for someone like him.

Five days.

It was not a great amount of time, not in the grand scheme of things. He tried to puzzle out for a moment exactly where he actually was with what Ruvsa had mentioned. His gaze flickered over the stream and across, then head tilted in a nod. "I can find us firewood, and build a shelter."

Survival would not be an issue. Compared to the Lost Isles this place was practically a paradise.

"You said you were a shieldmaiden, yes?" He mused. "What was your life like?"

Kol didn't actually know what life was like among her people.

She had offered him a small glimpse. He remembered being startled at the mention of a Harem, mostly because among Nordwiir the women were much more likely to murder each other rather than...well, rather than participate in anything like that.
 
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Ruvsá

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Ruvsá saw the amusement that flickered over Kol's face for a moment, the hint of a smile when she mentioned a cave. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously, but she wouldn't press for the moment.

When he actually asked about her life, though, it was her turn to be surprised. "I am a shield maiden," she said. "But that's... a long story. One better suited for over a meal. Take care of the fire and the shelter, and I'll go find dinner."

She stepped away then and shifted to her Svalen form and wandered off.

She realized there was one place she hadn't considered earlier when hunting for food. The island itself may have been... shrouded. Life on it may have been stunted for a time, with only the most adaptable of creatures able to survive while the magic of the prison held firm.

But there was still the ocean.


It was perhaps an hour, maybe two, and the sun was low on the horizon when Ruvsá returned to the valley, two giant salmon clutched in her maw.

She laid them, still twitching and gasping, by the stream where it led out of the valley and shifted back to her human form. As she expertly descaled and gutted and filleted them, a strange satisfaction filled her as she felt their life fade away beneath her hands.

It had been all she could do to resist tearing into them on the beach, a yearning to feel the last of their life pulsing away between her jaws.

"I hope you like fish!" she called to Kol as she finished, cleaning her knife and washing her hands where the stream flowed out of the valley. She grabbed both fish by their gills and came to see if the fire was going and what he'd done for shelter.
 
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Kol

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Kol had indeed fulfilled his part of their 'bargain'.

Though he'd had only an hour to do it, the Sorcerer had something that Ruvsa did not; magic. Some would have called it cheating, but Kol had long ago learned that one had to do what they could with the tools that they had.

When Ruvsa crested the small hill she would find a fire built and firewood neatly stacked to the side of it. Behind it was not a lean-to of brush and branch, but rather the earth itself seemingly shaped and molded into a small hut that was just large enough for the two of them.

As long as she remained human.

"It's much of what we eat at home." That and the strange fungi that grew over most of the Lost Isles.

Crops and farming was not something typically done where he was from.

Kol sat by the fire, almost hands extended, as though he had done no work at all. The only noticeable change was a long cut that ran through a dozen other scars on his forearm.
 
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Ruvsá

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"I see I did not need to find a cave," Ruvsá said with a brow raised, amusement clear in her voice. "You just made one."

She grimaced at the sight of Kol's arm, though, and once she had the salmon spitted and roasting over the fire, she quickly made another poultice of the lichen and handed it to him. "It'll keep it from getting infected," she said, with a look that didn't allow any argument. "It's a wonder you haven't died of an infection already with all those scars."

As the fish roasted, Ruvsá settled on the ground near Kol. "I don't remember what all I said while we were in the prison," she began, "So if I repeat anything, just humor me.

"I've wanted to be a shield maiden for as long as I could remember," Ruvsá said, "much to my mother's chagrin. I think she hoped for a daughter who wanted to be a healer or midwife like her, and while I won't deny that the knowledge I've gained from her has been more than useful" --she gave a pointed look at the lichen poultice-- "I have a terrible bedside manner, and like to fling weapons around far too much."

She shifted a little restlessly then, and reached up to unfasten her cloak and let it slide to the ground behind her. Nights could get cold, but the valley was sheltered, and with the fire going, it was practically hot for the Nordenfiir woman.

"The settlement I grew up in is where all the shield maidens are trained. Most don't begin training until they're 17 or 18. I started when I was 14, shortly after..." she paused for a moment with a sad sigh. "Shortly after my father died."

She stood then, checking the fish and turning it over the fire before settling back in her seat again.

"Life as a shield maiden--training, really, because I've been a full-fledged shield maiden for only a few years now--is... privileged, in many ways, but it's also work. Those who don't know how to read are taught to read and how to write, and the basics of Fiirevik. We're taught the history of the Nordenfiir, the history of our allies, and we spend hours each day training our bodies to fight, and how to fight both on our own and in units. The Shield Maidens of the Nordenfiir can't really be considered a standing army, but any of us grouped together would be an elite and formidable foe."

A wistful look crossed her face. "I've missed it," she confessed. "The few years I spent in Aggar's harem were... torture. I thought I would get to use my talents. To have a Shield Maiden as a mate is considered quite an honor among the Nordenfiir, but he just... wanted me as a trophy." Her voice turned bitter. "He wanted me for my looks and simply to be able to say that he'd snagged a Shield Maiden. It was so boring until I discovered he was plotting against the queen. But even that took patience. I had to bide my time for two years before I had a chance to do anything about it without getting myself killed."

She snorted a laugh then. "The look on his face when he realized I was the one who exposed him was almost worth all of it, though."

Almost. She still wished she'd seen him for who he was sooner. Before she'd accepted his invitation.

She rose and turned the fish again. "It should be done soon," she said.

Ruvsá turned a curious gaze back on Kol, though. "I have, hopefully, answered your question. Now you should answer one of mine. Why are you called Twice-Bloodied?"
 
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Kol

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Kol listened carefully to every word that she spoke, lips thinning for a brief as he considered the implication of everything that she told him.

There was still the slight disbelief that any man would want a 'harem', mainly because it seemed like inviting a whole host of trouble into your world without really all that much gain. He frowned for a moment when she mentioned the new Queen, his head tilting to the side.

This was something new to him.

Eventually the Nordwiir just nodded his head as she rose and turned the fish.

All of the information was taken in, filed away. All of it was important, though not in the way some might think he would use it. Kol had no interest in fighting with the Nordwiir, had no designs upon their lands in the Tundra.

His crusade was to bring his people forth from the Lost Isles, carry them away from the barren wasteland the Dark Gods had tested them with.

Why would he want to trade one wasteland for another?

Kol did not want the Tundra. He wanted the Southlands.

"My people do not have Svalen." Of course, but it was important for her to understand the baseline. "Legend says that once, we did, but our ancestors made a choice. In return for the gift of our blood, the Gods would grant us a boon."

Kol leaned forward slightly.

"It is different for each person. Some are granted near immortal vigor, some can change their shape in new ways, and rarely, like me, they are granted the gift of Sorcery." Though even that varied from person to person.

"This boon most be brought forth through a Rite of Blood." Hence being Bloodied. "It is different for each person."

Some, like his companion Skad had slaughtered her own Kin. Others killed their parents, and some completed some great task. "For mine, I slew a Frost Wyrm. Bathed within it's blood. It was the first to die within living memory."

In the Lost Isles Frost Wyrms were rare, almost extinct many claimed.

"As I carried my near lifeless body back to my village I came upon another." More accurately, the creature had come upon him. "Twice Bloodied."

He explained.
 

Ruvsá

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As Kol finished speaking, Ruvsá checked the fish again, then pulled it off the fire and offered one to him. She sat back down with her own, cross-legged this time, and turned slightly toward him so they could speak easily. The sky overhead was growing dim, and soon the first stars would peek out of the night.

"It is quite a formidable feat to slay two Frost Wyrms, let alone the second while still weak from battle with the first." She gazed at him a little differently then, suddenly judging him with a warrior's eye more than she had before, but a teasing smile crossed her lips. "I should have let you pull more of your weight in the prison."

But it was, truly, in jest. They would not have survived the giant if she hadn't been the distraction. With the enchantments on the thing, she doubted even Kol would have survived it unless his gods had truly come to his aid, even with his magic.

"We did not always have Svalen either," she said, pulling a flake of meat off the fish and popping it in her mouth. "The priests say that our ancestors traded our freedom for the power of the bear, and that the Nordenfiir served as slaves for generations as a result, until Eogorath the First began the revolt that would free us.

"Whether the Nordwiir split off before or during that time... well, we'll probably never know. The truth is likely lost in the mists of the past."

She ate a few more bites of salmon, then asked another question. "If your sorcery was gained through the slaughter of the Frost Wyrms, why must you still cut yourself?"
 
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Kol

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Kol let a smile flicker over his features, though did not say one thing or another regarding his 'work' within the prison.
The tale of her peoples history was an interesting one. He mused for a moment, wondering if the two were somehow connected. Fingers intertwined, and he questioned if the Dark Gods had left some piece from the story he'd been told.

It would not be surprising.

Even for him it was rare that the Dark Gods told the whole truth, if not outright lies. Part of the game that they played, part of the tests that they constantly put forth to him. That was how they worked. They toyed with their followers as much as each other.

A confusing melody of chaos. "Magic always has a price."

He answered simply.

"Mine is paid by the Gods." Something that most mages would find surprising. "But their power comes with penance. Every cut is a bond. A reminder of where my power comes from."
 

Ruvsá

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"It seems like a double- or triple-price to me," Ruvsá murmured between bites of fish. "To have gained your powers twice over and then have to pay each time with a penance."

She glanced down at her hands, though. Knowing what she knew now, could she have survived the prison without the use of her hands? Probably. Would the magic that injured her in the first place have ended with the destruction of the prison? Maybe. Would her injuries have been undone? ...unlikely. And not having her hands, whether at full capacity or a limited one... her life as she knew it to this point would have been over. She'd made an error in judgement with Aggar, and spent almost three years not getting to do what she'd trained for. What she wanted to do. She was not willing to give it up again so soon.

There was... much she wanted to know, about how exactly Kol had healed her hands. She still wasn't sure what price she'd paid, but she didn't doubt there'd been one. But she wasn't sure what to ask yet. Wasn't sure she wanted to hear any answers he might give.

So instead, as she finished picking the last of the fish from its bones, she glanced back in the direction of the prison, though it wasn't visible through the hills that bordered the valley.

"Do you think it's all really gone?" Ruvsá asked. "All of the magic? Everything we encountered within? Did... did you get what you were hoping for?"
 
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Kol

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"It's gone. There is an echo of it, but the string we pulled was enough to cause it to crash down." He said softly.

Kol didn't address her comments on his magic. It was a thought that he himself held long ago. He'd reasoned to himself that the Dark Gods were testing him, that there was always something to be proven, something he needed to show them.

The Dark Gods knew that man was fickle, knew that changing course was as simple as the next impulse.

There was a reason he had wanted the Elf King's soul though. A reason that he had risked his life. A small smile touched his lips as he looked up at her, a flicker of blue crossing through his eyes. "I did."

It was a tug of war.

One that was constantly being fought by the Dark Gods himself. They wanted him to be stronger, but they wanted him to rely on them.

Every little tug he could take on his own, was a bit more incentive for them to actually help him. Not just to offer false truths and lies.
 
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Ruvsá

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Ruvsá couldn't help the quiet sigh of relief at Kol's reassurance that the prison was completely destroyed. It wouldn't have sat right with her, to leave the island and not be sure it couldn't entrap another witless person.

She didn't miss the strange blue light that flickered through his eyes.

"What did you need the elf king's soul for?" the question tumbled from her lips with barely a thought. She uncrossed her legs and bent her knees, wrapping her arms around them and leaning forward, looking all too much like a child eager for a campfire story. "You said back there that what you did with a piece of a soul depended on the soul. So... what are you doing with it?"
 
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Kol

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"To win a game." It was cryptic, but it was also the only way that he could explain it.

He had taken souls before, bargained for them even. None like this though.

'The Reapers Work' it was called among his people. Burgeoning from an old story told around the fires. A man who could take and give souls, change and shift them. It was the second gift he had been given by the Dark Gods, the one that few knew of.

"To win a fight you need weapons." Kol asked her. "The sword, the shield, your Svalen."

He gestured to her weapons. "I require the same."

Though his weapons were different.
 

Ruvsá

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"Hmm, yes, but what kind of game requires souls for weapons?" Ruvsá wondered aloud, but not really expecting an answer. She was curious. She'd never met anyone like Kol, and if they hadn't gone through the experience of entering and escaping that prison together, she probably never would have spared him a second glance after determining that he was not a danger.

But they had gone through it, and survived it, and part of her wanted to know what exactly she'd ended up aiding him with, even if it was something that would never touch her own people.

But she wouldn't press for it, not right now. He had as little reason to trust her as she had to trust him, after all, even after all of that. And, from what he'd said so far, it was commonplace among his people for those who should trust each other the most to betray each other.

So she leaned back slightly and rolled her shoulders and her neck, then stood. She tossed the salmon bones into the fire and gathered up her cloak, gently shaking brushing off the dirt it had collected from the ground.

"I'm going to take advantage of the hot spring," Ruvsá said, nodding toward it. It was far enough away that in the dark, they would each have some semblance of privacy. "Unless you want to bathe first?"
 
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Kol

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Kol only smiled at her, but offered no answer.

Any explanation he gave wouldn't have been enough. Even the small glimpses he had offered into the nature of the Dark Gods hadn't been enough, and going much further would either end up with her wanting to kill him...or embroiling herself in something far more dangerous.

"Ladies first." Kol said with a gesture towards the water.

"Hopefully." The Sorcerer began. "You won't find any shades in there."

It was the first joke he'd told in front of her, but was also perfectly in line with the humor of his people. More often than not Nordwiir comedy revolved around violence or death of some nature.

It was what featured most in their life after all.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá gave an amused snort. "Will you come save me if I scream?" she smirked and winked, then turned away with a soft laugh. If Kol thought to frighten her, even as a joke, he'd have to do better. Even if she wasn't really knowledgeable about the ways of magic, she would easily wager that this valley was free of any untoward non-corporeal beings. It felt too peaceful.

She was still chuckling to herself when she reached the edge of the hot spring. The shore around it was made of smooth pebbles, and she set her cloak to the side then sat down to remove her boots. She stood and dipped a toe in the water to check the temperature. It wasn't so warm that she would be miserable, and she quickly finished disrobing, folding her clothes and setting them aside where they wouldn't get splashed easily, then waded into the water.

She took a deep breath and dove under the surface to soak her hair. The spring was deep, and even as she kick and drove herself down a few times she didn't reach the bottom of the rock basin. When she surfaced a few moments later, she smiled and turned to float on her back, looking up at the stars. They weren't all out yet, but the brightest of them were.

It had been some time since she last got to relax like this, though she still stayed alert. But at the same time... it was nice to not truly be alone.

Ruvsá wasn't sure how long she floated there, letting the warmth seep into her aching muscles. It took quite a bit to make her sore, but she'd also not kept up with the same physical rigors in Indeholm that she had during her training in Hjerim, and hauling Kol out of the prison had been more of a strain than she expected.

Eventually, though, she sighed and returned to the shoreline. She wrung out her hair and used her cloak to towel off, but only dressed back in her tunic and leggings, carrying her boots, cloak, and weapons back to the campsite. She plopped dropped her belongings near the entrance to the... cave-shelter-thing, then plopped down lazy, back to the fire to help her hair dry.

Even Kol's uneasy presence couldn't sway her mood, and she smiled at him, eyes sparkling with contentment. "Your turn."
 
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Kol

Twice Bloodied
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Kol sat by the fire as Ruvsa had her bath, his eyes closed as he enjoyed the feeling of warmth washing over him.

The Tundra was cold, icy to even those who lived there, but compared to the Lost Isles the chill was a ore manageable one. It was not the temperatures themselves, not the actual cold, but something else all together. The cold in the Isles was bone-chilling, biting, as if it purposefully sought to snuff out your life.

In the south, even if it was cold, it did not feel as though everything was set against you. There was wood for a fire, earth for shelter. Things that could protect and sustain if they were put to good use.

That at least, was their benefit.

When Ruvsa approached the camp he heard the sound of her steps. A nod tipped his head when she spoke of bathing, and the opportunity was one he relished.

Unlike her however he had no modesty, and almost as soon as he stood he began to strip off the leathers that had clung to him. He pulled the armor free, dragging his coat away and leaving it by the fire as he moved down toward the spring where he placed the rest of his clothes in bunches.

His own bath was shorter, but he allowed himself to rest, recover.

At least a bit.
 
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