Fae Courts Trophy Hunted

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The woods before dawn were anything but still. Birds had risen an hour earlier to begin their chorus and every manner of creature wound its way around the leaf litter. With pale twilight heralding the dawn, Ceinwyn moved through the underbrush without a sound. Her cloven hooves left gentle depressions in the moss as she walked and her small tuft of a tail bobbed lazily back and forth. Wide, aquamarine eyes swept the forest for the small dew-covered leaves she was after. If the sun rose they would dry and shrivel back into their stalks, but if she plucked them at the right time they would stay unfurled, with their properties unmarred.

A snap brought her head up and she froze - ears and tail raised - seeking the source. She sniffed at the calm breeze and saw movement. Her powerful legs tensed, ready to bolt… until she saw the deer’s head come around the tree trunks.

Ceinwyn exhaled, relaxing and smiling. She nodded to the doe. Of all the forest creatures, how nice that she should see one so often compared to herself.

She had traveled for three days to find the elusive sprouts. The aptly-named dewcups were sparse, but she knew the signs to look for. A depression beneath a dying tree, with a healthy bed of surrounding moss but not too many mushrooms. There were plenty of dying trees in this old forest, but finding all three requirements for the sensitive plants was proving to be troublesome.

The sun was near cresting the horizon when she found it. She breathed a prayer of thanks and grinned in victory as she closed in. Three wide leaves, fresh with the green of new growth and glittering with dewdrops. They would make a fine poultice to fertilize the soil of the Erlking’s gardens, and if she were lucky a cutting would take root.

She moved quickly in her excitement, and in her carelessness did not see the hunter’s trap laid beneath the leaves. She screamed in shock and agony as the iron jaws snapped around her shin, falling to her knee as hot tears streamed from her eyes. She felt blood running down her right leg, and looked to see the trap jaws half-buried in her flesh.

Letting another pained noise escape her lips, she tried to pry the metal apart but could not move it. Any attempt to pull her leg free was met with fiery, white-hot pain coursing through her limb. She whimpered through grit teeth, trying to figure a way to free herself. How far was she from the court? Would anyone have heard her scream?

She heard another branch snap and voices with it. She lifted her head to attention, once more silent and rigid, but her breathing had grown ragged and panicked. Two men emerged from the bushes in front of her, two from the side.

Much more valuable than a doe she made out, and what the hell kinda thing is that.

Humans. How far had she gone? She shouldn’t be out of the court yet, humans should not be here… *shit,* her glamour! Ceinwyn had never been gifted in the glamour, but she should have known to conceal herself after traveling this far. It was far too late now.

She rattled the trap trying to pull free. The pain had been dulled by terror, and as the men neared she shrieked and screamed.

”Stay back! Stay away from me! HELP!!”

They did not stop. Ceinwyn swiped at them when they got within reach but they grabbed ahold of her arms and shoulders, lifting her to her feet. The faun yelled and kicked out with her powerful, uninjured leg, catching one of the hunters in the chest and sending him to the ground. She reared her head back, and felt the arms release her as her antlers sliced into the other’s face.

The wind was knocked out of her when she fell to the ground, and her right leg hurt so badly she felt sick. One of the men knelt on her, pinning her down while the other roughly tried to bind her wrists behind her back.

She screamed again for help.
 

Razareal

The Aberration
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This was unfamiliar land.

The lush lands of the Spring Court had been Razareal's home for many years now, longer than was worth remembering. The Sidhe had arrived in the forests of Falwood an outcast whose own kind saw no use for him, had shunned and rejected his existence because of his blood and his heritage. The Spring saw through such superficial traits, took him with open arms, and gave him a reason to be. Razareal was not a Watered to his brothers in Spring, he was a warrior.

Ever since that day when Oberon had pointed him in the direction of his enemies, Razareal defended those lands from any who would even dare entertain the idea of threatening Spring's peace. They began to call him The Sower-- Who tilled the lands touched by violence so that the seeds of new life could be planted in the wake of his destruction.

Oberon was no longer King, however. He was dead. In his place was Nairth San'Seya, a Duanann that Razareal knew very little about.

Now, he'd been called on once again by this new King, to quell a threat to not only the Spring, but all the courts. Nairth sought to wield him just as Oberon had, but against a far greater threat. Razareal relished the challenge, of course...

But this meant temporarily relocating himself to the Autumn Court, to assist The Erlking in what was expected to be a violent excursion against Titania and The Summer. As powerful as Razareal was, he was not comfortable with Autumn land in the slightest.

It seemed even The Sower could become lost.

Autumn's lands were far vaster than Springs, a mere parlor court. Razareal wasn't particularly concerned; It would only take him a few paltry days to discern his location and reach The Erlking as requested. Until then, the Sidhe was more than happy to enjoy the peaceful quiet of the dawn.

The only sounds he made were that of his feet pressing against the soft soil beneath them, his steps in a gentle rhythm that played like the slow beat of a drum in his head. He heard not the birds, the teeming life that made home in every nook and cranny of this vast haven of nature. The coolness of night was slowly giving way to the warmth of day, and the light breeze against his flesh was comforting as if reminders of home swaddled him in comfort.

Always had a talent for falling into peaceful trances, if he said so himself. Shame this one was so mercilessly shattered by a cry for help.

Razareal did not take even a fraction of a moment to consider who it was that called out in need. There was a life in danger, that much he could tell from the desperation that seeped from every word. He was an ally of the Autumn, beholden to their service for the foreseeable future, and any quarrel in Autumn's land was well within his jurisdiction.

The slow, gentle walk he'd been taking broke out into a sprint, the blackness of his eyelids raising so that every detail of the world assailed him at once, a cacophony of the purest sort. A mere wave of his hand as he moved, drawing from the Prim to seek out the life of another Fae in distress led him right to her.

A Faun, injured by a human device and being held down by two of them.

If this was Spring, the Humans would have been spared much pain.

Razareal was in Autumn now, though.

The man attempting to bind the Faun wouldn't even have time to react before a bright white flash of magic met the crook of his neck, slicing his head cleanly from his body, the expression on his face still and unchanged as it fell to the ground beside the rest of him.

Razareal did not attempt to stop the other from fleeing, nearly falling twice as he ran from the Faun and whatever had just slain his friend. With luck, he would tell others of what he'd seen here, and they would cease hunting in this land.

Or they would form a hunting party and come back looking for blood... Better be moving along soon, just in case.

The faun still lay on the ground, struggling to catch her breath. Razareal approached slowly, not wishing to cause her any more of a startle than he already undoubtedly had.

A frown crossed his face, his ivory eyes softening at the display as he lowered to his knees beside her. What madness was it, to wound something of such beauty?

"Relax. They're not coming back if they have any sense. How badly are you hurt?"

Ceinwyn
 
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Harper Kai

Lady of the Water
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She'd been tracking him. How many trails had gone so cold before this? Would this one as well? And she was so close when a sharp scream filled the air. Her footsteps traveled lightly along the swampy ground of Autumn. It helped the water nymph that there was so much available water - even in the air. Moisture beading on her skin that always demanded it.

A wisp of green hair and wide-blue eyes. A curl of her lips in a snarl as one of the humans was beheaded.

The other humans stumbling away, perhaps only to become prey of the Banderwald she knew lived just beyond the bottom of the hill. But her ire was not for the fleeing humans. Or the poor faun that had just been saved. It was for Razareal. He'd killed the one she'd been tracking for the past fortnight.

"What do you think you're doing?"
 
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Ceinwyn had run out of breath, or more accurately had been unable to refill her lungs with the weight of the human man on her back. The pain in her leg overshadowed her bruised ribs and mishandled wrists, and her struggling started to wane as the ground fell out of focus...

A flash of light immediately released the pressure on her back and she drew in a gasping, hurtful gulp of air. Her arms fell back to her sides and she managed to push herself up to her elbows. Her breathing was ragged and hoarse, and she looked around with wide, wild eyes at the men fleeing... and then finally saw Razareal himself.

He looked at her, and she shrunk away from his gaze, recoiling very slightly as he knelt beside her. She didn't know him, but she could tell he was a Sidhe. This calmed her very slightly... until she remembered what a Sidhe could do to her.

She had to blink a few times to process his voice, her ears were still ringing with her own screams and she could feel the thump thump thump of her own bounding heartbeat. She swallowed, her throat feeling very dry.

Ceinwyn was prey. It went against her every instinct to admit weakness and injury to this strange fae. She looked down at her leg, still bound by the metal jaws of the trap, and then back to Razariel. This could not be hidden, no matter how she tried.

"Bad. I-it... I think... broken."

Her legs was still bleeding, though the flow had lessened since she'd stopped struggling against it. A quarter-inch or more of flesh had been bitten through by the trap and her shin had an unnatural kink at the point of impact. She did not feel the pain right now, not after so much fright, but it would return.

She started again when Harper appeared, her delicately tufted ears rising to attention. A nymph... a water nymph? She had not seen them since she left the summer court, and few at that.
 
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Razareal

The Aberration
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As Razareal drew closer, Ceinwyn seemed to shrink back in fear; The Faun was terrified, not only of the humans, but of him as well. Not shocking seeing as they'd never met, but he wasn't asking her to like him-- as long as she calmed herself and got her breathing under control she would be fine, for the most part. Still, there was kindness behind his eyes. He'd been caught in such a contraption before, metallic teeth digging down to the bone.

"The worst is over, so try to relax for now." It was a tall ask of the Faun, especially as she was absolutely correct about the state of her leg. That small protrusion was undoubtedly bone, and while the bleeding was slowing and her life was not in danger, she wouldn't be able to walk until the leg was repaired. Raz lifted a hand and ran it slowly in the air over her injury. He was no doctor, and what little healing magic he did know wasn't nearly strong enough to set such a break. Not safely anyway.

"We need to get you somewhere safe, as soon as possible."

Maybe he could at least cover it up. Hauling her to safety was going to be troublesome enough without the danger of an open wound, and hungry beasts would smell the blood...

"What do you think you're doing?"

A voice from behind. The hairs on the back of his neck stood straight as Razareal rose to his feet and spun around fully prepared to fight back against whoever had accosted him. What he hadn't expected to see was what seemed to be a Nymph, glaring a hole through him the size of The Spine. His muscles loosened a bit, the brimming energy he'd been calling up to defend him waning slightly as he tilted his head somewhat curiously at the azure-haired woman.

"I was helping somebody who needed to be helped. Is there a problem, Nymph?"

What reason did she have to be angry with him for his actions? Even to the courts who wished for coexistence with humans, the killing of one who was attacking a Fae was far from an offense. He felt the corner of his lips twitch into a smile

"Or were you hoping to swoop in and save the day instead?"
 

Harper Kai

Lady of the Water
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Blue eyes like sunlight hitting the warmer waters on the Cortosi coast ROLLED. A sniff of the air told her exactly what he was. A Sidhe. Like most Duanan she met, this one was no less uppity and privileged. A bold step forward, then another. It was clear she would not by shying away from this scene or him.

Taking a knee by the beheaded man, she began searching his pockets.

"I was hoping for...more," she muttered, hands coming away empty. Save for a small piece of paper she slipped in her pocket. Gaze softened as she looked to the faun. A frown tugging on her lips as she noticed the steel trap still around the female's leg. A quick look back to the Sidhe.

"Okay Mister Big Strong Hero, can you break her free from the trap or are we to sit a deliberate with tea?" It was chained down. They wouldn't be going anywhere unless he could.

To the faun, "If we can find a running water source I can heal that for you," green-haired head tilted down to the angry wound on her furry leg. "I'm Harper," she offered to the faun. Gaze hardening to a glare back at the Sidhe.
 
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Ceinwyn had begun to grow dizzy. Adrenaline coursed through her veins and dulled the pain of her leg... but it was beginning to fight its way through. Her breathing had slowed, and her heartbeat had quieted its assault on her ribcage, though she remained wary.

This sidhe truly did seem to want to help her. He had killed one of her assailants, after all, and if he wanted to hurt her there had been plenty of time for him to do so. Some small worry remained that he may wish to capture her for himself, but she had little time and no choices.

"We need to get you somewhere safe, as soon as possible."

She nodded, biting her tongue to quiet her quivering jaw, though she did not move. She was still very much rooted to the spot by the horrible trap.

She sighed and groaned audibly as Razareal's healing magic wound its way into her leg. It did not knit the bone nor fix the horrid angle of her limb, but it provided a momentary relief from the growing pain and staunched the worst of the bleeding.

Her vision was beginning to blur, and Harper was fuzzy as she rooted through the dead man's pockets. Ceinwyn was quickly letting go of her fear, focusing on staying conscious over worrying about her new "saviors."

Suddenly Harper was next to her. Had she blacked out for a second? Running water, healing... yes that would be good.

"Mm," she nodded, though her eyelids were growing heavy, and the forest had begun to tilt to her left.
 
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Razareal

The Aberration
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Razareal stared bewildered as the Nymph tried once more to cause him severe bodily harm through her angry stare alone, before storming past him and rummaging through the dead human's belongings. She'd been hoping for more?

"How vile. At least have some respect for the departed." It probably sounded absolutely rich coming from the one who'd cleaved the bastard's head clean from his neck, but there was a difference between ending their lives and desecrating their remains. At least to Razareal. Still, he made no attempt to stop her. There was no point starting another fight. Raz had suspicions as to Harper's origins as it was, and if he was correct, causing trouble with her would make things worse.

Another loud moan of pain earned the lion's share of his concern, and his frown deepened as the Sidhe turned back to the struggling Faun. Razareal's healing capabilities were relatively weak; the bit that he had used would only keep her from death, and little else. "Stand back, Harper. I will remove the trap while you locate a suitable source of water." Whatever gripes the thieving Nymph had with him, they could wait until the Faun was safe.

A wave of his hand over the shining steel surface of the trap was all it took-- It withered away beneath the power of Razareal's destructive magic. What Raz lacked in healing potential, he more than made up for in force. "Just stay still until it's all gone..." He muttered to the poor woman underneath him. "You're going to be alright. I'll get you back home as soon as we've got you stable."

Ceinwyn Harper Kai
 
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