Fable - Ask Winter

  • The Veil Falls

    Three times a year Lessat, the largest of Arethil's two moons, eclipses the sun. This time the event falls on Hallow's Eve. All across the world spirits start to appear, reliving their gruesome ends. They cannot be interacted with.

    Join us for this year's Halloween event. More information coming soon!

A roleplay which may be open to join but you must ask the creator first

Heike Eisen

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Heike had been prepared to go. Go, of course, in search of travelers, of a village, such that she might do what the damnable curse upon her demanded. Demanded on pain of death, and no mistake. She was forced either to be some abominable hunter in the night or to die starving, her duty to Reikhurst left unfulfilled.

But she did not need to go. For to her great surprise, the Rusted Warrior took off his gauntlet and bit into his own hand and let his blood flow on her behalf--this in much the same manner as Ye'svonne Airileth had. And, like then, she endured a moment of grateful shock, stunned by the stranger's offering of his own blood for her sake.

It was awful to see him hurt himself, but she was astonished by the gesture--visibly so.

"I..." Bashfulness from the kindness shown to her overcame Heike, and, in a way uncharacteristically demure of a knight, she held her left arm at the elbow with her right hand. Averted her gaze for a moment.

Then she looked back up, stepped toward Cauldwin, and gently accepted the offered bottle of blood. "Thank you. For this. For trusting me."

For helping with Maria. Words left unsaid, but words Heike felt nonetheless. She wanted to believe that she would have had the strength to do what needed to be done herself. But, as it so happened, she could now never know.

Heike sat down on the floor beside the bed, whereupon the corpse of Hedrig lay. She brought the bottle to her mouth and drank. Felt the sensual rush of the blood touching her tongue, gracing her throat, igniting her senses. Her heart quivered to life, beating in its momentary reprieve from stillness to pump the blood throughout her body. Heike squirmed slightly--could not help it. Her shoulders rose and her chest heaved, and the sinful pleasure of satiating the foul thirst made her thighs tense and her toes curl. It was vile, so her mind knew, yet her affliction had duped her body into thinking it naught but bliss.

Heike jerked the bottle away from her mouth. Had forced herself to do so. She panted heavily--once, twice, thrice. Then composed herself. Set the bottle down and corked it.

Said to the Rusted Warrior, "What will happen? When that someone comes back to tell you 'what goes?'"

Maybe he already knew the answer. Maybe he did not.

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

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The warrior stood there with the bottle outstretched and waited for the vampiric hedge to take the bloody bottle, pun intended. He readjusted his helm to fully cover his face, while Hieke turned away, if the pale complexion of the dead could display a bashful blush, she definitely had it. Something that would be rather adorable if not for the fact that this was over an offering of blood and thanking him, to which he gave a simple, "Mm-hmm."

Eventually she took the bottle, sat down in front of the corpse and began drinking it. He watched the curious state of the creature in front of him as he pulled out rolled linen from his satchel and wrapped his hand, before sliding back on the thick rusted gauntlet. She behaved not unlike that of a pour soul who was addicted to miania sap: a difficult to resist drive to consume and almost orgasmic convulsions upon doing so... Very different in behavior and physiology to Sando's strain, to say the least, but that's on him for assuming all strains of vampirism had only a few variations on the afflicted's mutations.

She forced the bottle away from herself, discipline of a knight perhaps, before corking it. She then asked him a question that made him feel like he had been hit in the gut with a haymaker, "What will happen? When that someone comes back to tell you 'what goes?'" He leaned against the wall where the chair once stood with his arms crossed trying best to not sink back into melancholy and to keep himself composed, he sighed before replying, dispirited, "Not that it's any of your business, but at best: I'm fired. At worst: I'm facing criminal charges.

Caudwin wasn't entirely sure she understood why he offered the blood, it wasn't just charity, it was a message. To ensure there were no misgivings he said with his deep voice in a rather joyous and whimsical tone, "Oh! By the by, you should keep a couple of flasks, or drinkin' horns on you... fill 'em with any blood of brigands or some other bastards think'n they've found and easy score." He then continued with a darker, deathly growl, "'Cause if I find ya force feedin' on some innocent shmuck... Watchmen or not: I'll crush you like a grape."

Heike Eisen
 
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Heike Eisen

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Oh! By the by, you should keep a couple of flasks, or drinkin' horns on you... fill 'em with any blood of brigands or some other bastards think'n they've found and easy score.

Heike glanced to the empty vials slotted into her belt, this with a small hint of resigned dismay. If only it was as easy as the Rusted Warrior said. Heike had striven from the terrible day of her turning up to now to feed only from the guilty, the wicked, those bandits and raiders and murderers and thieves and all else, but--strange a thing as it was to think--there simply were not enough of them. They were elusive, few and far between, and the encroachment of her vile thirst was always steady and relentless. It just was not realistic to feed only from the guilty, despite her sincere efforts to do so; she could not stay for long in one place, and the blood she carried with her in the vials had to be consumed fairly quickly--it only kept "fresh" for so long, and her afflicted body knew the difference.

Cause if I find ya force feedin' on some innocent shmuck... Watchmen or not: I'll crush you like a grape.

Hence why this statement sparked a small ember of worry within her. If the Rusted Warrior asked her directly if she had ever fed on the innocent, Heike would be Oathbound to say yes, she had, many times. Maybe there was an understanding that she had done so in the past, and he spoke only of what he would do if he caught her in the present--or maybe not. The Rusted Warrior might well crush her like a grape if he knew of her past ordeals, if he asked and she told. And his impulse to kill her would be right. Heike would not fault him for it, because such an impulse was righteous and just. Yet all the same, she could not stay in his presence now. It was too dangerous, and she had her duties both large and small left unfulfilled. Only a moment ago she had felt comfortable enough to sleep in his presence, such that her wound could have a chance to heal, but now that was out of the question. His tone when he'd said it, low and dangerous, was ringing with a resounding clamor in her mind.

Perhaps Cauldwin was right, then. His business was none of hers, and as well her business ought be none of his. Parting was for the best.

Heike rose to her feet, slow and calm. In her hand she held the wine bottle by the thick base rather than the thin neck--it was better suited to her elongated, clawed fingers. She looked down to him as he sat. Cordially. But quietly alert.

"Thank you again," she said. "For what value you may find in it, I wish you well."

Her heart still beat in her chest. The fading echo of her feeding, the more distant echo of life.

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

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The Golem considered beckoning Hieke not leave, partly because she was a witness, and he was ordered to not let her wander off, partly because he saw the fear in her eyes when his threat was issued. Either for the assumption that she may have fed on the innocent before, or out of guilt for inspiring such fear he could not say. None the less, he decided against stopping her.

She thanked him, and Cauldwin could only say in return, "Aye, safe travels knight. Be wary of the shadows, plenty worse monster's than me lie in wait."

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Heike Eisen

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"Of that there is no doubt."

Heike, her first few steps deliberate and careful, walked to the open doorway of the cabin. By then it became clear that Cauldwin would not try to halt her departure, and her stride loosened to a more flowing and natural gait as she walked out through the door. Her shoes crunched in the layer of snow on the ground, the tail of her coat billowing to one side lightly from the breeze.

She had it within her mind to do what she had not done in over five years. To do something she dreaded and anticipated.

To return to Reikhurst. To the ruins. She was close, the occasion was marked with tragedy (yet there could truly be no occasion that was not), and she would endeavor to return the recovered insignia to the Old Gold Mine. This, despite the danger. Despite what may very well lurk there in the corpse of the city.

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

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The Golem waited in the darkened shack, as the midday of the winter shifted to dusk. He looked over the damage of the home that once held warmth, and a comforting respite from the bitter cold was now filled with splintered wood and glass, the warmth was overtaken by the bitter cold, and the former occupants now shattered corpses around the premises. A sad place indeed.

The Golem waited until he could see the silhouette of a man come into view from dark grey mists of the frozen marsh. The Golem exited the building to greet the stranger, ducking beneath the door frame, fully expecting this to be Velt, come to give him his next and perhaps final orders.

As the man came further into view the Golem realized that this was not Velt, but Sildrich, a veteran watchman who had a very strong distain if begrudging respect for the Golem. Cauldwin felt much the same for man. Be that as it may, the individual dressed in the grey and brown, admiral-like uniform approached the Golem with an air of rage and vindication within a proud but condemning stride. Furthermore, the grave, disdainful look on Sildrich's tanned, burn scarred, lion-like face told him that this was not a discharge, as Sildrich would take much glee in giving such an order to him. No, this was something much, much worse.

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Heike Eisen

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Heike walked through the snow until the sky began to darken, the gray clouds deepening into the coming gloom of night with the slow retreat of the hidden sun. Even with the steady fall of the snow, she knew it would be prudent to cover her tracks once she saw a suitable location in which to sleep. One night. That's all she needed--maybe less. One night and her wound would heal and she could begin her eastward trek to Reikhurst.

As the winter light of dusk faded and faded and her nightvision began to rob the world of its proper colors in exchange for clarity, she saw a place. A place even smaller than the cabin in which the late Knight of the Golden Blade had lived. It was a shack. A shack wherein no one lived permanently, but one where hunters from a nearby village or town might use for shelter while out in the forest. If there was no one already inside, surely no one would be coming--not out in this weather. The cold was no obstacle to Heike (even if in a strange way she wished that it was), but it could be deadly for the unprepared.

The thought of covering her tracks she dispensed with. She'd anticipated sleeping in a natural refuge of some sort--a small ravine, a cave, the space between some fallen trees. The shack was a good shelter, but, though small, it might draw the inquisitive eye--tracks or no tracks. In lieu of natural refuges, this was what she had available. The snow would do its work to obscure her tracks anyway, and it was just for one night.

Heike approached the shack. Cautiously pushed open the thin wooden door.

Old ashes in the stone-ringed firepit at the center of the shack's dirt floor. No one inside. Good.

Heike closed the door behind herself. In here all was now dark, save for the meager less-than-pitch-black light leaking in through the tiny gap at the bottom of the shut door. To Heike and her peculiar nightvision, the interior of the shack was various shades of grays with only some varying intensities of white here and there, the true colors gone with the light.

She sat against the back wall. Laid the blood-filled wine bottle down beside her. She tried to sleep sitting, but eventually she slid down and lay on her back with her clawed hands resting one on top of the other on her stomach, just beneath her wound.

And she fell into a deeper sleep than she would have liked, for her physical wounds were not the only ones that needed time to heal. Light, breathy snores were the only sound within the shack.

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Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

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Sindrich stood in front of the Golem in an upright, officer like posture, looking up at him with a cold dead expression on his face, his eyes locked on to him with a steely gaze. The Golem understood this tactic well, he was waiting for the Go;em to speak before he would twist and jab at him with his words, a tactic almost all successful Allirian Watchmen learned to use when getting information from criminals.

The Golem did not wish to be at a disadvantage, but none the less one of them would have to speak, and so the Golem began with the deep robotic tone he almost always used, "Hail: Sindrich: inquiry: ord-"

Sindrich cut him off and retorted in a hard, disgusted tone, "Why did you do it Cauldwin..."

The mention of his name caught him off guard, no one but the Captain actually knew his real name, if Sindrich knew his real name... the situation he was now in would not have him finding any support from the other watchmen. Cauldwin responded in a worried tone, "What is it that you think I've done..?

Sindrich's brow furrowed at this response, his tone became angry as he responded, "What do I *think* you've done? I *think* that slaughter house you call an alchemical laboratory is one of the most reprehensible things I've ever seen in my career. I *think* Helda would be very ashamed-"

The mention of his dead mother's name made Cauldwin, he cut off Slindrich roaring a voice that was beastial and almost demonic, "KEEP 'ER NAME OUT OF Y'UR FORK-TOUNGUED, PESTULENT, PIG-SKIN MOUTH!"

Slindrich stepped back at Cauldwins sudden outburst, none the less he got to the point, "Cauldwin Valfnyr, for the heinous murders of men women and children, both of nobility and the humble classes: you will be tried and executed.

Cauldwin was bewildered at the allegation, responded the only way he could think to, he denied the allegations and insisted his innocents, listing as many pieces of evidence and witnesses that came to his mind.

Sindrich ignored Cauldwin and simply raised a hand with one shackle on his wrist and the other open before saying to Cauldwin with his right hand on his truncheon, "Dead or alive, Cauldwin... your going to face justice."

Justice? He spoke of this as justice? All the years he served, all the threats to Allira he has vanquished, all he had lost in protecting Alliria!? This man, one of his fellow watchmen would so quickly condemn him to die? Cauldwin was enraged at this, this grave injustice in his eyes, he spoke to Slindruch in a tone that was snarling, beastial and low, not unlike what would emanate from a man-beast, "You and what army?"

Slindrich raised his left hand into the air and opened his palm, signaling all the men that lie in wait to step forward from the obscuring fog to step forward. Cauldwin examined the army of watchmen and mercenaries assembled in front of him. He was intending to scare Slindrich off as a last resort, but the man had planned for that. Cauldwin might have been filled with rage, but he would never turn against an the innocent or those who represent Alliria. Even if he did, it would to little to reinforce his innocence, no... no the best call here was to run.

He sprinted into the thickest part of the forest off the Allir-reach with arrows and bolts wizzing by his head, into the trees so that their horses could not follow him. Cauldwin was not accustomed to being the hunted, he hated it, but he ran faster than most men do to his lengthy size, even with the thick Iron plates.

As he made a great amount of distance, Cualdwin ensured he made his tracks winding and confusing, coming across a particualar hunting shack, he ran around twice so that his track would lead into another long bend, and now making his third round about, he entered into the the shack. Kicking snow on his tracks that led to the door, and closing it. He turned around to see the hedge once again, "well... shit", he thought to himself.

Heike Eisen
 

Heike Eisen

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Heike's sleep was deep. Uncharacteristically so, even while wounded. Her sleep deep and her dream enticing, for it was not a tormented one as she had quietly feared but one of a better world, a better time. Easy for her mind to become lost in.

She stirred only slightly at Cauldwin's entrance into the hunter's shack, her head merely lolling over to one side. The light breaths of her soft snoring replaced momentarily with a gentle sigh of mild disturbance--this sigh, too, a perfunctory echo of life.

No breathing for a moment.

And then, gradually, much like a ghost mimicking what it had once done during its mortal time, she began to breathe. Audible breaths, in and out. She had no idea that she still did this during the rare occasions when she did sleep, yet the quiet snore came back.

A thin lock of hair came loose from the rest and drifted down to the side of her nose, this rogue lock the sole of its kind dangling down in front of her side-turned face.

The sounds of Cauldwin's entrance had failed to wake Heike. And so her rest remained as of yet uninterrupted. This, perhaps, leaving Cauldwin with a choice--if the further sounds of his movements and his armor did not wake her regardless.

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Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

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The Golem took in deep exhausted breathes, trying his best to muffle them behind leathered palm of his gauntlet, cupped around his mouth and beneath his helm. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that if the hedge woke up, she would take his attempt at hiding as him creeping up on her in the shadows, aiming for a kill. Though he did not fear her wrath so much as he did catching her disease, this paired with the fact that one of the hunting parties would be circling around at any time now... a single scream, a loud clamber from a sudden movement with his armor... they would know exactly where he is.

The choice to him became no choice at all, he had to ensure neither could happen. Not though murder, as he would throw himself off a cliff before killing someone he considered innocent, but by sneaking close enough to either muffle any screams or just out-right knock her out before any can leave her mouth. Hopefully not getting bitten in the process.


He stepped lightly, one at a time, a couple seconds after each other. His heart dropping with each rustle of his chain and plates. Until he was just an a foot or two away from the sleeping Heike. Slowly he raised his hands towards her face, ready to ensure she can't scream...

Heike Eisen
 
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Heike Eisen

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Heike lay sleeping.

Her face that of a restful peace, as distant as could be from the events of the day. She had not moved nor had there been any sign of her rousing from this slumber, even as Cauldwin drew closer.

Even the approach of his armored hands did not trigger some sense of innate vigilance.

Seemed anything short of a touch or the sound of his voice--close and directed at her--would wake her. As odd as that might be for a vampire, those fearsome predators of the night.

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Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

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In a single swift motion, the Golem's left hand clasped over the vampires mouth, the thumb arched around her chin to force her jaws shut, and the weight of his hand keeping her head pinned where she slept. No sooner had he done this that her eyes opened, the golem braced himself for the sheer panic that would ensue...

Heike Eisen
 

Heike Eisen

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Two things could be reliably counted upon to snap a person from sleep: a loud and sudden noise, or a rough and sudden touch. And this latter did indeed rouse Heike Eisen from her slumber.

The first thing she did hearkened back to her training, to her initiation into the Order of the Golden Blade. Her hands sprang off of her stomach and began to feverishly pat the ground on one side of her, the wall on the other, both hands in search of her sheathed sword. But she had no sword, for those days had long passed, and so in that frantic second her hands found nothing but the dirt of the ground and the wood of the wall.

Her eyes opened in that next second. Opened, yet she registered the sensation of touch before that of sight. And she felt a hand--an armored hand--on her face, over her mouth. She kicked her legs out and arched her back in a brief struggle to move, to wrestle herself free. But as it had been with her hands searching for the phantom sword of her past, she was unsuccessful in this initial effort.

And in the third second, who she was looking at dawned upon her. Her brow furrowed, half in bewilderment and half in apprehension. The Rusted Warrior? She was relieved that it was someone she at least knew to some extent and who had been receptive to her before, but his abrupt presence--in the wake of what had been said--left her with a tinge of cautious concern.

She blinked.

"Hmrf?"

What Heike had been meaning to say was: You? But with the hand over her mouth and her chin precluded from much movement, the sound of the word could not escape her throat and so rumbled there, a muffled thing of perhaps mostly incomprehensible sound.

Despite how she had awoken, she was at present still and calm.

And she blinked again.

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

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The Golem had been surprised by two things in the present situation: one, that a man in heavy armor was able to sneak up on a sodding vampire, and two, that it remained somewhat calm. Perhaps it reasoned that if the Golem wished to kill it he would have already, or perhaps it was truly helpless to stop him.

In either case the golem saw the flicker of torch light scour across the room from the cracks in the shacks door, and foot steps. The Golem raised his index finger in front of his vissageless helm in a hushing gesture, as two voices could be heard outside the building.

"Huh... *pant* ...just... *pant* ...just gimme a sec to catch my breath..."

"...fine... *pant* but only 'cause you... *pant* need the rest..."

"So, answer me this... *pant* ...why would this bastard just go and kill so many people? I mean... *pant* ...he was one of us for a time..."

"...I don't know... *pant* ...and I don't care... *pant* ...they found all the bodies there torn apart and... *pant* ...mutilated like a damn bear attack... *pant* ...that's the Golem's handy work if you ask me..."

"...Cauldwin ya mean... *pant* ...he evades us and a bounty hunter gets him later, we ain't gonna hear the end of it form the captain."

"Alright then, lets get this son of bitch."


"...right, ladies first."

"Up yours. More tracks ahead... bastards fast... lets go!"

He waited until the men's footsteps were long out of ear shot, before releasing his grip on the vampires mouth, how shit of a day had it been? He had just about lost everything save his life and armor, and now he was about to be judged by a vampire of all things in a desolate dark shack. He stepped back and waited for the Heike to speak.

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Heike Eisen

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The hushing gesture only added to Heike's confusion, but this was for only a moment. Light--torchlight--leaked in through the small gap of the shack door, providing to Heike a small island of color amidst the grayscale of her nightvision.

She did not move nor attempt to free herself from the Rusted Warrior's pinning hand. And she listened to the voices outside. Glanced toward the source of these voices through the wall of the shack and back to the Rusted Warrior. A moniker and a proper name had been mentioned: "the Golem" and "Cauldwin." Heike actually did not know the Rusted Warrior's name herself, but...the circumstances seemed to indicate that those men outside (whoever they were) were talking about him. About Cauldwin. Chief among these circumstances was that Cauldwin was here, now, trying to stay quiet, and it seemed highly unlikely that the men outside would just so happen to be looking for a different man who was not the Rusted Warrior.

Those accusations. Heinous indeed.

Eventually the men--the crunching of their boots in the snow--headed off. And Cauldwin let go of Heike's mouth and stepped back; notably enough, not doing as she had feared and attempting to seize her and crush her like a grape. She spared a glance to her stomach and touched the spot where the sword wound had been--and yes, the flesh had regenerated and sealed the wound of her stomach and back, even if the muscles and old organs inside were perhaps not yet done. Dried blood still stained her shirt.

Heike sat up slowly, swinging her legs around so that she could sit with her back to the wall. An ostensibly relaxed posture, with her legs stretched out and clawed hands down in her lap.

She looked up to Cauldwin. Spoke quietly. Said, "I thought you might be returning to Alliria by now. What are you doing out this way?"

Her question she had intentionally left open-ended. Aiming to hear Cauldwin's story in his own words.

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

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The Golem studied the vampire for a moment in the dark and silence. He couldn't see her all that well, but just as in combat: he didn't need to see what he could hear or smell, and he could hear her move just fine, hearing the vampires movements as she no doubt shifted her position.

The Golem recognized the irony of the situation: in his life he was called upon judge others, choosing to do so behind a vissageless, concealing uniform of rust and metal. Now he was the one being judged by an entity hidden from his gaze, he knew it was there but he could not see its true face.

Eventually the vampire, Heike, broke the silence, "I thought you might be returning to Alliria by now. What are you doing out this way?", she posited quietly. A flicker of relief flooded through Cauldwin, perhaps she had not been so apt with the watchman-that-hunted-him's conversation. Perhaps it lacked his name and his crime. So he chose to only speak what was necessary, "One of my orders were to stay with the crime scene, so that's what I did."

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Heike casually drew her right leg back. Bent the knee and planted the flat of her shoe on the ground. It would provide a good platform to spring back up to her feet, if she needed to do so. And she might. Something did not feel right. His answer was strange, and this whole situation was likewise strange. She had no doubt she could outrun him if necessary, but the trick would be getting around him and out of the shack.

She kept her voice level. Replied, "Then you are in the wrong place."

A small beat.

"Cauldwin."

And a longer one.

"What do you think those men were doing outside?"

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Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

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"What do you think those men were doing outside?"

Behind his helm, Cauldwin's pupil dilated. He could tell by the creatures stance that it was readying itself to spring. He did not fear the vampires wrath, but he did fear catching the desiease. He spoke carfully, with a hint of trepidation, nay, fear in his voice, "Hu- Hunting me."

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Now that sounded far more truthful than what he had said prior. In the congress of circumstances it fit quite well--the slight stammer and tone of Cauldwin's voice only the icing atop the sweet roll, in a manner of speaking.

Heike nodded in affirmation. Repeated, "Hunting you."

It was somewhat peculiar to her that he had acted as he had, merely keeping her silent while the men were in close proximity instead of--when he had the clearest opportunity--killing her outright to keep her quiet forever. Such was not the mark of the desperate and guilty.

As before, she would hear his words on the matter. For unbeknownst to Cauldwin's pursuers, she had heard theirs.

"You said that at worst you might be facing criminal charges." And that too baffled Heike. Charges for what? Slaying an enemy common to all civilized races of Arethil? But Alliria was a place of tangled laws, of that she knew--Captain Bronmarch had told her stories.

"Are you fleeing from said charges?"

She eyed him closely. A monolith of white and shaded gray to her nightvision.

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Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

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Cauldwin backed further to the door, not convinced that his words would inspire any real sympathy in the creature in front of him. The eyes the pierced the dark compounding on this impulse... Still he chose to speak truthfully, "No, I've committed no crimes to inspire a manhunt. I recon foul play... I think what ever it is they believe I've done is false. As to what that is, I'm not sure yet."

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Foul play.

Though Heike was in the position of the outsider looking in, all of the facts and observable circumstances seemed to indicate this as well. Even the men pursuing him retained a lack of certainty that Cauldwin had done the acts of which he was accused. A number of people had been killed somewhere from what Heike gathered--mutilated like a damn bear attack, so one of the men had said--and from the manner in which it was done alone they assumed it reason enough to level the accusation of murder upon Cauldwin. Frankly, though, how did they know it wasn't a bear? Seemed to Heike that in a rush to secure justice, these men were currently engaged in a miscarriage thereof. Or maybe that there was no intent to secure justice at all.

Could she be wrong? Yes. She could be looking at an unpunished murderer right now. But an accusation alone, the mere pointing of the finger, was grossly insufficient reason to send a man to the gallows.

Heike relaxed somewhat, the tension in her bent leg loosening.

"They seem to believe that it is multiple instances of murder. A serious allegation," she said. "What do you intend to do? Run into an exile from Alliria and Allirian lands, and perhaps wait for the true culprit to be revealed? Or will you attempt to clear your name yourself? Of this latter choice, I cannot foresee how you might accomplish such a task. You are..."

She looked him up and down, his full height from his helm to his sabatons and back up.

"...rather noticeable. Not given to subtlety, I would imagine."

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Golem
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The Golem watched the piercing eyes in the shadows closely, as a moment of silence passed after his last statement. He could tell that the creature was weighing the truth in its mind. Then the creature spoke,
"They seem to believe that it is multiple instances of murder. A serious allegation," she said. "What do you intend to do? Run into an exile from Alliria and Allirian lands, and perhaps wait for the true culprit to be revealed? Or will you attempt to clear your name yourself? Of this latter choice, I cannot foresee how you might accomplish such a task. You are..."

She looked him up and down, his full height from his helm to his sabatons and back up.

"...rather noticeable. Not given to subtlety, I would imagine."

Cauldwin took a moment to consider these facts. It was true, such an allegation would mean his death, even if he is taken alive (something he will not allow to happen), and a thousand times worse his honor is in ruins. Beyond that, all he really knows beyond the battles and manhunts are in Alliria, all that was not the Golem or the beast.

This also brought up the dreaded fact that he, once a lawman and champion of Alliria, was now a dishonorable outlaw. A wicked rat, not unlike the thieves he hated so. This weight stabbed into his svalen, Alliria is everything to him, for her sake, he would have crushed any army, felled any monster, stood between the land and any force that endangered it... but now, he was that thing he sought to protect this land from.

Given what Sindrich had said about the bodies being found in his alchemy lab, and that all now knew his true name, it was obvious that they believed in no other culprit. He had no intention of going into a full exile or lying low, he is a warrior of Nykios: he does not hide. As for how he would clear his name, Cauldwin replied to the vampire in a proud if hushed voice, "I intend to do what I have always done; bring and uphold the law, protect and serve Alliria and her interests, to abstain my blade from the innocent, to punish the guilty, and to rip and tear the wicked and corrupted until it is done."

Heike Eisen
 

Heike Eisen

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Heike gave another nod in the dark.

"An admirable answer," she said.

But one that lacked a plan of action, despite how enamoring it was to hear. It was an answer of generalities instead of specifics with regard to the ill that plagued him at present. Though she could hardly blame him. Cauldwin--by Heike's lights--was caught in a situation that was as awful as it was tricky. To be hunted by (ostensibly) good men who were merely doing their duty; men who were failed at some place higher in their chain of command; men who had no occasion to know better, for their very trust in their superiors and the institution they served had been--unbeknownst to them--betrayed.

Heike reached for the wine bottle that still had some of Cauldwin's blood in it. She plucked at the cork with her claws and pulled it out--a soft fwooump sound in the shack's darkness.

"If you would speak of anything else you know of this matter, then I would hear it. Any detail you can recall."

Heike braced herself for the euphoric and sinful pleasure that would come from "topping" herself off with blood--some it having been expended while she slept and healed. And she drank some. Not a lot, but some. It was all she could at present. And she might well need every drop.

During this she listened for Cauldwin's answer. If he truly had no idea where this allegation was coming from, if it was completely random or wholly fabricated in nature, then he would be in for dire times indeed. For if he had no place to even start, what could be done? It would be likely--if such were the case--that Heike could do little to help him. Certainly nothing with clearing his name, but perhaps aiding him in escaping injustice by evading his pursuers.

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

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Cauldwin stared into the dark of the cabin as Heike's eyes disappeared, replaced with the sound of a bottle being corked and the scent of blood, his blood. For all the seeming transparency that the vampire had had with him, he still didn't exactly trust her, and he didn't like the idea that his act of charity may fuel his downfall. Cauldwin may be a man of his gods, but he was a man of little faith.

He did not believe in simple kindness or compassion. When he had shown it to others: it was simply due to his divine oath to protect and serve those who could not do so themselves, utterly woven into his nature. When others had shown it: they wanted something in return. To him, it simply didn't appear to truly exist in anything but fables and fairytales.

Despite this, Cauldwin was in all due truth desperate and hopelessly in over his head. His best chance was to go along with the vampire or any ideas she may have. He decided to omit any extra details about the situation, she was not in the need to know. He then considered the best ways of going about his current task, after going through the options. If he spilled an innocents blood it would be a defeat worse than any the battlefield could offer. If he resigned himself to his chosen fate: he would die a traitors death, likely never to be vindicated. He was only left with the nuclear option: retreat now for victory later.

He then posed a question, trying his best not to come off desperate, as he was certain the vampire would take full advantage, "Given your... affliction, I assume it has led to a furtive and nomadic lifestyle. Do you know of any place I might use as a safe house? Or... perhaps safehouses?"

Heike Eisen
 
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Heike Eisen

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He would not speak on anything else he knew of the matter, as it turned out. Perhaps it was a source of substantial pain or shame for him? Heike had hardly been able to even use the word vampire to describe herself until more recently, saying only that she was afflicted and perhaps nodding or uttering a quiet yes when asked directly if she was one. She knew the feeling.

Whatever his reason, he didn't tell her (or he truly did not know, the worst circumstance indeed). He instead diverted to a question of his own. And, as it so happened, she did know of such a place. This place she had in mind and others, all of them were places to find seclusion, but that was it.

Heike pulled out one of the empty vials from her belt. Uncorked it and carefully poured blood from the wine bottle into it. She would rather not go about carrying the bottle, whether in hand or in some manner of pack. If there were men about she wanted both of her hands free and her movements to be as silent as possible.

"I know of places you may hide, but know that you will find no succor in any of them. My affliction mandates a certain cautious distance from towns and villages," she said, starting to fill another vial after slipping the filled one back into her belt. She continued, "On an easterly track from here there is a small, overgrown and long abandoned castle--dating to the Age of Expansion, I do believe. It is the closest place, and it is about half a day's walk from there to the nearest town. There are more discreet locations further along, if a rundown castle is unsuitable."

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr