Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Turtle of Doom, Nov 26, 2014.

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  1. Leaning against the brick wall, Cheri felt a mischievous smile creep across her lips as her target came into sight. His description on the bounty was a bit off, but his talent was a unique one. A eerie blue glow radiated off of him as he meandered down the cobbled street toward the inn. Gazes were instantaneously drawn to him, like a moth to a flame. A few braver people even attempted to approach him.

    Brushing off the the advances his neon glare swept across his surroundings; probably looking for his next victim. Cheri's posture shifted as she twirled her bright, red hair in her fingers sending a flirtatious grin towards him before averting her eyes as though she was embarrassed.

    The ploy seemed to work, which was lucky because she might not be able to get within distance otherwise. The light beaming off of him shone brighter as he shifted directions and headed toward her. It was one of the few instances that Cheri's inability to use magic was actually fortuitous because his power called to the power of his target, pulling them in and attaching them to his whim. Without any magic to speak of, Cheri was immune to his charm.

    He sauntered over, the glowing blue of his eyes adding streaks of light to his black hair. If he didn't have the look of a man gone mad with power he might have actually been attractive, but the smug smirk that pulled the corners of his mouth up was almost enough to make her cringe away from him. "Hey there, pretty lady," his words carried a note of unfounded arrogance.

    Knowing the case to an almost obsessive level, Cheri knew better than to answer with anything more than a physical swoon. She tottered on her feet, giving him the perfect opportunity to grab onto her shoulders. As soon as he made contact, she gripped his wrist twisting him around and slamming him into the wall. "Thank you so much for making it so easy on me." Cheri's smiled widely as she clamped the iron restraints onto his wrists.

    "What-? How-?" He stammered, the cockiness had quickly evaporated.

    "I'm an Inept." She explained, feeling neutral about her social status at the moment. Normally she did her best to hide her failings, but this time it actually had served her quite well. Gripping the bend of his arm she directed him to the nearest Magister releasing him into the custody of the law.

    Cheri bowed, showing her gratitude at the pay she received and the pile of new bounties this Magister had for her to look at. She excused herself and headed to the Inn, looking forward to blowing the majority of the gold she had just earned on liquor while she poured over the papers looking for her next job.

    @Doctor Hi
  2. [BCOLOR=transparent]Arid walked along the top floor of the library, pacing back and forth. He had finished his book just now and needed to do something, something he could engage himself in to. Another book? No, not another. Books could keep his interest for a while, but he didn't want to invest his time in another right now. Arid looked at his fingers and rubbed his thumb across them. He gave a quick look around the place before getting up. He was up on the fourth floor, where other scholars were studying nearby, not giving attention to anyone else.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]As Arid got up from the table, he felt himself accidentally bump into someone behind him. A man, well dressed in his royal attire, looking quite angry that his most valued book had been dropped upon the floor. The scholar would’ve stared Arid down if Arid himself wasn’t actually taller than the man, so instead he muttered something about vermin coming into the library then picked up his book and continued.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Arid stared for a while as the scholar continued walking. Vermin? Arid didn’t look too much like a commoner. Most of all, he was skilled in his magic works and that man thought he was just some vermin? Maybe an example would prove good in this case. Arid focused, then saw the muscles within the man. This power he had found creepy at first, the ability to manipulate muscles to do what he wanted, and right now he wanted this man to feel some regret.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]The man suddenly felt himself pulled down onto the ground, making him topple over. He yelled in panic and got up, leaning on the balcony. Arid gave a smirk and twisted the man again, making him fall to the ground. The man got up again, very worried now. Arid pushed one more time to make him fall against the balcony. The scholar fell against it, but then suddenly fell over the top, screaming as he fell to the first floor.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Arid looked down at his hand, seeing the tips of his fingers glowing a bright green. He ran over to the balcony and saw the scholar laying still on the ground. Arid stood frozen, not knowing what to do. He had just killed that man.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]"You there! Stop!" A shout was made from behind him. Arid turned to see a guard with an iron blade unsheathed approached him. Arid looked back and forth from him to people down below.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]"No! No! It was an accident! I...I..." Arid tried to explain, but the guard wasn't taking an excuse. He slowly approached Arid and held his weapon ready. Arid backed away, quivering with fright. [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]This guard to kill me[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent], Arid thought quickly, not thinking things through well, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]I need to get out and maybe I can explain later. I just need to get past him[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]. As the guard approached Arid held out his hand focusing on moving the guard’s hand to move the sword away.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]It worked, but the blade went in the complete wrong way. It had gone right through the guard's throat. Arid didn't even look at the body before he started running. More guards had entered into the library, blocking the exit. Arid skidded to a halt before he ran into them.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Escape, he needed to escape. His only exit was that main door. Arid gave a breath, then he used his other power, blinking. In an instant he was in front of the guards, and the next he was right behind them heading outside.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Several hours later, Arid had finally lost the guards. Now he needed to leave this city, maybe even make for a neighboring nation.[/BCOLOR]
  3. Cheri shuffled the papers in front of her, none of the outstanding bounties offering what she needed; the challenge, the danger, the pay, that she required in all of her cases. The only one of these that was even worth the effort was less of a bounty, and more of a ransom. A particularly wealthy family of magicians were requesting that their rebellious heir be found and returned to them before their family lost face with the rest of the nobility. Child rearing, within the noble classes, went hand in hand with power. Failing to control one's offspring showed weakness that must be inherent. Weakness of any sort was frowned upon, and the family could possibly lose their social status.

    Cheri sighed, as she shoved the papers away, her thoughts heavy with the weight of her boredom, and the stress of maintaining her lifestyle. She wouldn't return to the streets, she refused to be a lesser class citizen for something she had no choice in the matter. Resigned, she told herself that she would ask for updated bounties as the sun rose, and if nothing else came about she would take on finding the rabble-rousing brat that had ran away.

    A few haggard guards came in, and at first Cheri just assumed they were coming in for their after rounds rounds, but they didn't take a seat. Her interest was piqued, and her ears picked up a few faint whispers coming from the civilians as well.

    Word traveled fast within the province, especially to those with ears trained to listen. Cheri traced the rim of her glass, staring into the amber liquid that still half filled it. The Inn was a good place to catch up on the local gossip, and for some reason they were also the first place the guards looked when they lost track of a criminal. Logic was not something one needed to become a guard nowadays.

    She brought the glass to her lips, taking a slow sip as she listened to the guards talking to the Innkeeper.

    "Yes, three guards were killed and one other, we are trying to identify him now..."
    "He had an interesting magic, definitely nobility."
    "One of the guards stabbed himself with his own sword..."

    Setting the glass down, Cheri left her payment on the bar before slipping out behind the guards. She smiled inwardly as she made her way to the Magister's residence. If several people had, in fact been killed he would have been woke immediately. Lit windows would be her signal, and sure enough she could see the flicker of a burning hearth from well down the way.

    Cheri stowed her cheer and made her face as somber as she could before raising her hand and knocking twice on the hard, wooden door. The muffled chatter immediately faltered and footsteps neared. The door opened just a crack, revealing a cloudy blue eye, and deeply wrinkled cheeks. A knowing sigh preceded the door creaking open to allow her entrance. "Now, Cheri, we don't know what kind of magic the perpetrator was using, and I cannot in good conscience send your after him."

    "Good evening to you as well, Magister. I'm pleased to see you in such high spirits tonight." The sarcasm all but dripped off her words.

    "You know damn well I cannot send you after unknowns. You status as an Inept does not relieve me of my civic duty to keep you safe, if anything it makes it more pressing." His stern voice reverberated around the stone room, but Cheri gave him a determined glance.

    "What if I promise to return with location only if I turn out not to be immune to his particular brand?" She flashed her most convincing smile, trying to win him to her cause, and win the probable fortuitous bounty to her pocket.

    The Magister lowered himself into a large chair behind a ornate desk, and fixed her with a stare of equal determination. "Well," he began, almost dejectedly. "If you swear upon penalty of imprisonment that you shall do just that, I suppose I could agree."

    After several signatures and a bit of haggling over price-- a generous price for a location and a stupendous amount for his capture-- Cheri was just shy of giddy as she made her way back down the dark streets towards her home. A decent night's rest was part of the bargain, and she had no intentions of going after somebody so dangerous with her mind addled by drink.
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  4. Arid blinked inside of his home, coughing vigorously. He had used his powers by too much, and now it was greatly taxing him. Arid looked around, he shouldn't waste time here. It was almost a mistake to come here at all, but he knew he needed to.

    Arid's home wasn't a mansion, but was in nicer condition that a commoner's. He had purchased it to get away from his family and get into an academy in the city, and now he had to leave that all behind.

    The gold Arid gtabbed first. Payment to others would be essential to getting out of here. Everyone would have their price. Next Arid went for his dagger. While his sword would be nice to have he needed to stay discreet. Putting all the gold in his sack them strapping on his dagger Arid felt ready. He gave one last look at his home then blinked outside.

    Arid knew he should leave the city during the night, but he felt so worn down. They'd certainly have searches starting, maybe even trackers. How important were the people he killed? Arid wasn't sure, and didn't like thinking of his murders. Giving a sigh Arid donned his hood and started walking down the road to the exit.

    Right before the exit Arid could feel the weariness creeping on him. He needed sleep no matter what he wanted to do. Maybe just a few hours would be good, then he could try to get out. Arid walked down several back-alleys and found a good area to get some rest. He slumped against the wall and went out almost instantly.
  5. The sky was still dark as Cheri began to fill her rucksack with items she figured would be necessary on her journey; a map, several potions from her fully stocked cabinet, clothes, water, and her identification papers. She then took her time to tug her red hair back into a tight braid, keeping it out of her way for the trip.

    The soft glow of the burning oil lamp on the table illuminated another map, the one she always kept out. It was unique in that it showed the intricate layout of the province, and every province surrounding, and was printed on the softest piece of tanned leather she could find. Cheri had commissioned it shortly after her first high profile bounty, and there was not another like it in any of the provinces. It took the entire area of her large table to lay flat.

    The kingdom of Aarkshoal had four provinces under the rule of the Sovereign King Garan. Arelind was the center most province, and also housed the royals, so it was highly unlikely that the perpetrator would travel there. Cheri's finger trailed across the map, the Crestian Province beneath her soft touch as she hunted for the location of the library where the attack took place. Crestian was the southernmost province in the kingdom, sharing a border with Zenith; the Realm of Forgotten Forests. Logically, Zenith made more sense than anywhere else.

    Zenith rested south of Crestian, wherein the library was on the other side of the province, bordering Arelind. Now if I was trying to run from my crimes, I would definitely run away from the scene, but also, I would be running away from the seat of power that labelled my crimes. A small smile tugged at the corners of her mouth, as she folded the expensive map up and tucked it under her mattress.

    Before leaving she blew out the flame in the oil lamp, leaving her home, once again, in darkness. She pulled her bag up in order to secure it onto her shoulders, she moved silently through the dim light of first dawn; heading south.
  6. The road for Arid had been tough. While he was in pretty good shape, he was never used to walking long distances with the nice fear that someone was likely after him. Arid gave a breath then readjusted his sack again, continuing his path south.

    He hadn't slept much, wasn't really even able to after what had happened. Arid grimaced, not wanting to think back to it. Movement was critical now, and having to move on foot was bad enough. Arid would've gotten a mount if he could, but he didn't want to risk getting noticed at the stables or anywhere else.

    Getting out of the city had been easy enough for him. After he had woken up Arid had simply blinked to outside the walls and made sure to quietly get distance away from the city. From what he saw no one had truly seen him, and that was a nice relief.

    Arid gave a yelp as he tripped over a root. From the surprise he barely had time to put his hands up to cover his fall. Arid gave a grumble and got up, looking at his hands to see that his left one had left quite a scrape and even was bleeding a bit onto the road. Giving a small mutter of a curse Arid continued walking his way south.
  7. The gates of Crestian were barred, as Cheri had expected. The guard tapped his foot impatiently as she dug through her sack. "I have the papers in here, it'll just take a minute to find them."

    The glint of devious belittlement that the guard gave her made Cheri want to cram his nose up into his skull, but with a deep breath she was able to pull her focus back to the task at hand-- finding her identification papers. Frustration began to grow, building slowing in Cheri's stomach and climbing. She was almost at the point of dumping her rucksack out on the packed dirt leading from the city, but only seconds before she found what she was looking for.

    A smug smirk graced her lips as she handed the guard her paperwork. He rolled his eyes as he read the bounty, and then her decree of intent. He handed the papers back to her and she stuffed them back into the sack, though this time paying close attention and placing them in their own pocket. The guard crossed his arms and leaned against the post building; he looked almost casual.

    Iron plate covered his chest, the royal stamp-- A kite shield adorned with a mighty oak tree-- decorating his breast. Matching greaves and bracers. Even his tough leather boots had beautifully designed plates covering them. Cheri almost laughed. Not a dint was evident on him, there were no smudges, nothing. She doubted he had ever even walked into a wall or fallen onto the ground while suited up. Still, here he was trying to intimidate her.

    She cleared her throat, and pointed at the gate. "You going to open that anytime soon, or would I be making better time if I scaled it?" Cheri made a miniscule attempt to keep her voice light and humorous, but laid heavily on sarcasm.

    The guard crossed his arms, and smiled; albeit a creepy, sadistic smile. "Now, I would be remiss if I were to allow a pretty Inept like yourself to go traipsing after a skilled magician. Especially a skilled magician that just killed a horde of people. You don't even know he looks like, nor what he's capable of." The grin spread further across his face as he straightened himself out and stepped closer to Cheri. Gloved fingers gripped her chin pulling her closer to him. "As a city guard I am honor bound to protect the denizens of the province, especially the Inept. I cannot let you through, but I'm sure we can think of something you can do to convince me otherwise."

    Disgust made Cheri's stomach clench, but she had dealt with jerks like this time in and time out. Keeping her face neutral was always the hardest part. Her arm moved slowly up until her hand closed around his. Without further thought, she bent his wrist back, tearing his fingers away from her face. His face contorted in agony as she continued to twist. A loud snap signaled that she'd snapped his wrist, but still her grip stayed locked on his arm. "I can take care of myself, thank you for your concern though. Now, I'm going to let you go, and you're going to open the gate."

    Cheri fixed the coldest glare in her arsenal on him until he was muttering something like "pleaseiwilldoitjustletmego". Grim satisfaction filled her as she released his hand and he pulled it close against his chest, cradling it as though it was a dead pet. True to his word though the loud creaking of the opening gates filled the air. "Thank you!" Cheri waved cheerfully at the guard as she hoisted her bag back onto her shoulders and slipped out of the south gates.

    Cheri shook her head, trying to clear all of the negative thoughts from her brain, but it wasn't seeming to work. Was that guard an omen for whats to come if I continue on this? Am I being an idiot? Nah, I'm sure the guy was just being a jerk because he was stuck on gate duty while everybody else is actively searching. Even an Inept. Ha! He must be a horrible guard. Yeah, that's probably it. Little-man complex or something.

    Lost in her own thoughts Cheri almost missed it. The top layer of dirt on the road was different. Like somebody had been pushed, or fallen, and there was blood. She almost shouted out loud with excitement. She was getting good at being inside the mind of a criminal; not that it was a talent to write home about, but useful nonetheless. Cheri smiled, the blood had started to dry, but was still moist, so she wasn't too far behind. She might be able to catch up before the end of the day, and be paid by nightfall at this rate.
  8. Arid breathed heavily as he gave a rest to drink some water and wash some of the blood off. He needed to keep moving for all that he could do and not stop until he crossed the border. Maybe even after that he shouldn't stop. How long will I be running for now? Arid wondered, looking up into the sky. He knew he continued just stop or turn back, resisting arrest would just make his punishment much worse.

    After taking his short break Arid continued down the road, moving at a slower but steadier pace. At several minutes into the walk Arid could make out something in the distance. Was that a cart? Oh he hoped so. Arid increased his pace, hoping to catch up with the cart.

    It took around an hour but Arid was finally able to catch up with the cart up ahead. Driven by several horses a merchant with two bodyguards was on his way down the road to sell his wares at Crestian. One of the bodyguards gave notice to Arid and the dagger attached to his belt and immediately got aggressive, pointing his halberd.

    "Back off highlander, and we won't have any trouble. Got it?" The bodyguard stated, leveling Arid.

    Arid gave a casual wave. "I don't mean any trouble with you good sirs. It's just that I'm not used to walking this far a distance and hoped that I could maybe pay to possible hitch a ride on the cart? I do have a large amount." The merchant turned his head as he heard the key word "pay" and gave a smile as he stopped and hoped off the cart.

    The merchant sized up Arid and eyed the dagger, wondering how he could best profit from this. The bodyguard gave a sneer, not trusting Arid by the least. "Why have you been walking then? Didn't you plan this trip out? What's your destination?" He interrogated, not putting down his weapon.

    Arid looked back at the bodyguard and gave a weak smile. "Oh, I've been coming down to Crestian to attend the funeral of my father. The poor soul died in a duel and I am to take his inheritance. Of course, I wasn't the best rider and ended up losing my horse. Got this from the fall," Arid said, indicating his scraped hand. "I'll pay at your price."

    The merchant gave a nod to his bodyguard and approached Arid, seeing what he was worth. "200 gold," he said smugly. Arid gave a hum and looked at his sack. He could pay that amount but didn't want to seem too rich.

    "100 gold now, 300 more when I get to the city. I am earning an inheritance after all," Arid said. "And for 50 more gold I don't want to be mentioned to any passerby. There's a rival of mine who likes playing dirty, and I'd rather not end up dead on the side of the road."

    The merchant gave a stare, and after about 10 minutes of bartering they were finally able to close a deal. Arid gave the gold, and they were on their way. Arid gave a sigh of relief as they started going. Maybe he would actually get away with this.
  9. Experience had warned her not to get her hopes up, and rush into this without care for her energy level, but Cheri wasn't known for her impeccable impulse control; in fact, nobody that knew her would say that she thought anything out before diving in head first.

    The midday sun burned her pale skin as she laid on her back, in the middle of the road gasping for breath. She had been running for hours, and despite her good night of rest and being blessed with fair weather, she was exhausted. Blindly, she groped her pack, which was laying next to her on the hard packed ground, feeling for her water skin. The stained leather caressed her fingers and she pulled it to her lips, taking in a big gulp before pushing herself to a sitting position.

    The road was vibrating beneath her with the beating of horse hooves. She glanced back over her shoulder, unconcerned about the galloping equines headed for her. She was sitting, the sun shining off her flaming hair, if the riders wished to trample her they would veer off after her regardless of where she was physically.

    As expected, the riders pulled the reigns, drawing their mounts to a stop just before running her over. "Oi, lady!" A crass, accented voice shouted at her. Cheri smirked, unaffected by the rude greeting. Taking her time, she rose to her feet and brushed the dust off her clothes before turning to greet the riders.

    "Good day, gentlemen!" Cheri bestowed them with a cheery smile, giving herself a moment to take in their appearances. The lead rider what dressed in fine dyed leather. Black to match his hair and grizzly beard. He rode with two other fellows, though they weren't nearly as well dressed, and had a mean look in their eyes. Bodyguards, most likely, and though not to be taken lightly, Cheri knew just by her quick analysis that the lead rider was the one to talk with.

    "What do you want then, lady?" His grizzled voice barked at her through the thick mane of hair surrounding his mouth.

    "I hate to take any of your valuable time, my good man, but I am looking for a fugitive. He murdered several people in Crestian and is now believed to be headed south toward Zenith. It would be best if you come upon him in your travels that you avoid him. The method of murder has yet to be worked out, but the magic was definitely noble quality."

    "Much appreciated, but the warning isn't necessary. Now, move."

    Cheri shrugged, and backed away to the side of the road to watch them spur their horses back into a gallop. She moved back onto the road and lifted her bag, they had all three been genial enough to avoid crushing it and its contents. She decided that it would be more prudent to walk for the rest of the day, and then decide on stopping for the night.
  10. Arid didn't remember falling asleep, but several hours later he was slowly woke up to the sound of voices outside the cart. The merchant had stopped the cart and was speaking with his bodyguards, yet they were still on the road with no city in sight. Arid sat up, listening into the conversation.

    " least 400 gold."

    "I don't like it. We kill him and we get all the gold with no questions anyway."

    "Hm...just don't get the blood inside my cart. Don't want to ruin the goods."

    Arid widened his eyes at the conversation and looked for his sack, which he realized wasn't there. Looking down he saw that his dagger was missing too, taken while he was asleep. Arid gave a mutter of a curse under his breath. He couldn't run from this situation, even if he blinked. They would run him down with the horses in minutes. Arid sighed, he didn't want to kill anyone again. Maybe if he played it safe, he could get out of here with a horse and his sack with no blood drawn. He just needed a diversion. Arid thought for several minutes, then remembered he could just blink. Yeah, him disappearing would cause a lovely distraction for several moments. Arid gave a smile and blinked right outside behind the cart.

    It was...probably the worst spot he could've blinked. Right in the middle of their conversation Arid appeared right there. The magician muttered a curse, he probably should've thought about where they were located. The bodyguard on the right charged him, sword in hand. Without thinking Arid focused and steered the bodyguard's hand away, causing the guard to move where the sword was. Arid gave a smile, but then realized that the sword had impaled the other guard.

    "" The bodyguard pulled his sword from his friend and charged Arid, but Arid had his dagger ready. He deflected the jab and used his magic to pull the guards hand through to stab his sword into the cart. Arid blinked away from the guard and was almost trampled as the merchant fled on a horse back up north. Arid gave a curse and turned to see the guard coming at him again.

    Arid gave a sigh and shook his head. "Please...I didn't want to hurt you. Don't try it," he said, brandishing his dagger. The guard said no words as he charged Arid. The magician looked ashamed as he pulled the guard's hand up to stab it into himself.

    The horse Arid chose from the two left accepted his new rider quite easily. After he had grabbed his sack Arid didn't want to look at the scene he had caused. This would stir more trouble, and that merchant would warn others. Just get to Zenith and you're clear, Arid thought bitterly as he kicked the horse and began moving.
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  11. Night was beginning to fall, and though Cheri had told herself she would look for a place to stop, she wasn't planning on it just yet. Besides, there had been no side roads thus far, and nothing immediately next to the road. The road began to twist moving to the southwest, and the western side of the road began to graduate higher and higher. Cheri had never traveled this direction herself, but she had seen the map markings indicating the rising of the mountains to the west. She hadn't expected the road to be carved into the side though.

    The dark rock rising straight from the roadside had an eerie effect in the failing light; casting long shadows across the roadway, and making it almost impossible to see anything further than a meter in front of her face. Cheri muttered a curse and slid closer to the cliff face, she wasn't about to stay in the middle of the road and chance being ran down, and the horses would naturally veer away from the large obstacle.

    It also hid Cheri's presence from any unsavory characters that she might happen across in the dark as well. Feeling safe enough she stopped, and shouldered her bag off her back. The soft leather hit the ground and immediately began to vibrate. Cheri's lips pursed as she pressed her palm against the ground to inspect. Sure enough, a rider was nearing her location. She cursed her luck and pressed herself against the hard, cool rocks trying to will herself invisible.

    Her breathing slowed as the rider neared, his horse frothing from exertion. Her curiosity perked as she took in what little details she could in the dim starlight. At a glance she would guess that he was running from something, and he didn't slow a bit as he passed her. His head only turned to look over his shoulder once as he continued to ride north.

    Digging her water skin out of her pack, Cheri took several small sips, staring after the horse and rider. It would have been great if it were light out and she could have flagged him down, and pumped him for information, but that was just not in the cards for tonight. "Wonder what he was running from like that?" Cheri mused, her voice low in the quiet night air.

    She pulled the pack back on and started south once more, figuring that she would probably find out in due time. She was unsure how many miles she had put between herself and Crestain, but her feet were throbbing, and she would be less than useless if she didn't find somewhere to rest.

    Placing one palm against the rock face, Cheri focused her gaze out to the east, looking for a place to settle in. A large tree would suffice, but the landscape wouldn't be permitting any of that just yet, so instead she looked for outlying farms with candles shining in the windows. Time passed and her feet grew heavier. She switched focus, staring intently at her feet, willing them to continue as she dragged herself down the wall of mountain.

    Ooof! Cheri fell into the wall. Had she been paying attention she might have noticed the crevice, but as it happened she fell into it, sliding across the stone floor on her side. She was about to release a string of curses when she noticed the warm glow of a fire flickering against the wall around the bend. She was too tired to question her actions and she rounded the corner.
  12. The fire Arid had made took quite a while to start, but finally he was able to get it going with some extra pine needles he had used for tinder. He hadn't wanted to start the fire, but figured freezing to death wasn't the best decision. As long as it was small it shouldn't be too noticeable, and the mountain covering it should be some help. The horse he had stolen was tied to a tree and laying down, facing the fire and Arid. The horse hadn't been too bad with him after he hadn't gotten it under control, but surely wasn't the fastest horse there was.

    Arid would've kept going had he not been so tired. While he did get some rest in the cart the fight had completely drained his energy. Don't...think about them, Arid thought, giving a frown. How many more would he have to kill? He hoped it would be no more. He could try to justify himself that it was self defense, but it was still eating him up. Stop. Focus on the present. Focus on surviving. Arid stoked the fire some more, his eyes starting to droop. He had never imagined sleeping on the dirt, yet here he was. On the run from an accident, probably branded a serial killer, trying to leave the kingdom, and now he was camping out in the wilderness with a stolen horse with a small fire.

    Arid perked up as he heard a noise nearby, getting closer to him. The magician stood up instantly to look at who was approaching. He reached to unsheathe his dagger but then remembered that it was lying next to the horse at the other side of the fire. Arid gave a curse and was about to blink over when the intruder entered into the light. Arid had to admit he didn't really expect to see a girl out here just suddenly appear. Arid glanced between her and his dagger, wondering if he should still run to it. Arid gave one last look before turning to the girl. She didn't seem like too much of a threat. In fact, she seemed quite innocent and quite tired, probably from travelling all day. If necessary, he could just blink to his dagger or twist her muscles. I really am thinking like a hunted fugitive now, Arid thought bitterly. "Uh...can I help you?"
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  13. Cheri's fatigue all but vanished when the stranger addressed her, though she couldn't really blame him for being confused by her camp crashing. "Apologies," she said, looking him over, to gauge for potential threat. He didn't seem like much, and he looked as tired as she felt. "I'm Cheri, hope you don't mind but your fire looks mighty inviting." She settled herself on the cold ground on the opposite side of the modest fire, watching the man closely for any hint of agitation.

    Considering that she only had a really general description of the perpetrator that she was after, he really could have been any of the men she had already encountered. This one included. He didn't seem dangerous though, in fact he looked the opposite of dangerous and she began to wonder if he was over his head in his travels. She stretched, and dug around in her pack for her small blanket. She placed it on the ground in a heap, planning on using it as a pillow.

    A yawn escaped her as she laid down. "I didn't catch your name sorry, but I'm headed South if you want to tag along in the morning."
  14. Arid finally relaxed his suspicions as Cheri actually got out her sleeping materials. Maybe his pursuers weren't even coming this way. Had he actually gotten away? Giving a frown Arid remembered the merchant who had seen Arid killing the bodyguards, and probably would twist the story to make Arid seem like some fearsome beast from the crypt. Well if it's turned around like that, maybe it might actually help me in the end, Arid thought hopefully.

    Upon hearing Cheri Arid thought for a while about the decision. Travelling with someone else shouldn't be too bad, and maybe even help him disguise himself. "It's Arid, and I think it'd be nice to travel with you," he finally said, using his sack as a pillow as he rested on the opposite side of the fire. The gold didn't help make it comfortable, but it was all he really had to rest on. Arid looked over at Cheri. He wondered why she was travelling herself. He didn't learn much from her but figured he needed to hide his own reasons for travelling. At least she seemed nice, quite attractive too. Hopefully this would turn out for the best.

    Something crept onto Arid's mind and he turned away to face the woods. Was giving his name away a bad idea? Would they even know his name? They shouldn't...right? How much did his pursuers even know about him? Arid gave a yawn and pulled the urge to go to sleep. Thinking about what he did would just wear him down. Arid snapped his eyes shut, but it took quite a long time before he finally fell asleep.
  15. Her mind was full of 'what ifs' and 'hows' as she tried desperately to comply with the wishes of her body and allow the sweet embrace of sleep to grab hold of her. Once Cheri finally fell into a slumber her agitated mind projected a series of troubling dreams. They all held the same theme; death. In every dream she was running, and her arms and legs wouldn't cooperate with her brain, and she would stumble, rolling right against the legs of the faceless killer. A deep malevolent grin was the only part of his face she could see and just as he bent forward, Cheri would find herself running once more.

    Dawn was barely kissing the sky when Cheri finally decided to get up off the ground. She folded her blanket and shoved it back into the bag after she found her water and took a few generous drinks. Her supplies were dwindling and she would need to restock soon, but now nothing could be done. She glanced over at Arid, and he still appeared to be asleep so she took a quick walk, mostly to scout the land around them, and part of her hoped the bounty she was after would just waltz up to her and introduce himself, begging her to take him in. Of course, the latter didn't happen, and she didn't find much in the way of landmarks either.

    Admitting to herself that she didn't really know what she was looking for anyway, she returned to the camp and placed her hand on Arid's shoulder. The sun was peeking above the horizon now, and Cheri wanted to put in a good day of travel. "Hey, we need to start making tracks. If you're not ready that's alright, but I gotta get going."
  16. The dreams were quite...uncomfortable that night. Arid hadn't slept well, dreaming of his accidents. First the noble, then the soldier, was frightening to watch. He relived the moments, hearing the screams and the yells loud and clear. And it was his fault. Arid's dream suddenly changed, and now he was running. He didn't know who from, all he knew was that he needed to run, but no matter what he did the pursuer had caught up with him, then dragged him all the way back. Then he was in front of a crowd, all who were crying for his blood. Arid felt it and knew this was the end.

    As Cheri woke Arid up, he reacted slightly stunned but remembered where he was. Looking up at Cheri Arid gave a nod as he rose up, rubbing his head. "Right, let me just grab my stuff real quick," he said. Arid turned to walk over to the tree where the dagger and the horse were, except the horse was now gone. Arid rubbed his eyes and ran up to the tree. The rope he had tied with the horse was gone too, probably off with the horse. Arid muttered a curse, he had assumed that the knot was quite tight. The magician gave a sigh and picked up his dagger to attach it onto his belt.

    After Arid quickly gathered the rest of his belongings and finally grabbed his sack he gave a nod over to Cheri before he began walking out to the road. Hopefully this would just be an uneventful day.
  17. Nodding, Cheri stood off to the side as Arid gathered his things. Her lips pressed together as she realized his rush to get to the tree. There had been a horse there before they fell asleep. Her brows furrowed together and she ran her fingers through her hair as she tried to recall whether or not she had heard somebody mucking around their camp as they slept. Frustration scratched at her, something wasn't right, she was normally a light sleeper, and the previous night she had woken several times. Her brain worked backward through each time she woke, trying to pinpoint when the equine went AWOL. She hadn't heard it knicker the last three times she woke, but she remembered hearing it shortly after she woke the first time. She shook her head, and looked at Arid as he walked toward the road.

    Shrugging her pack onto her shoulders, Cheri followed Arid back onto the path. She tried to quell all the anxiety she felt as they set out, but it wasn't working. Cheri knew her eyebrows were drawn, and try as she might, she just couldn't get her face to relax. To make matters worse, her stomach had began to rumble, and no sooner than she stepped onto the open road and oriented herself to the south did it become audible. Her cheeks turned pink, as she patted her stomach. "Sorry, I usually hunt when I travel so I don't have to carry the added weight of food. I guess I neglected it a bit last night."

    Lengthening her stride, Cheri scanned the land with an ever watchful gaze as they made their way south. It wasn't the most ideal hunting grounds, very few plants could sprout on this rocky terrain, and few plants meant few herbivores which in turn led to a smaller population of carnivores as well. This day was just not starting out well; her luck from the day before seemed to have bred and spilled into the new day as well. They would have to stop at an Inn to eat, unless Arid had brought food, but from the look of him, Cheri seriously doubted it.
  18. Arid gave a small glance over to Cheri as he heard her stomach rumbling. The sound reminded Arid of himself, which made him look down at his own stomach. He had brought little food, thinking more about running from attackers and have to bribe others than the prospect of actually surviving. "I wish I could say that I have some food for you but I don't even think I have enough for me," he said apologetically.

    Food was going to become quite a large issue. Cheri's comment about her hunting made him think about trying it, but he was no hunter and could do little anyway with just a dagger and not revealing his powers to her. Besides, hunting would waste time, and right now he needed to be constantly on the move. "Do you know about any inns down the road? I'd rather not want to stop and scavenge personally since moving fast would be nice," he inquired, looking over at Cheri. Inns would be fast and convenient, also the small bonus of being comfortable, but he feared being spotted by anyone. Fortunately, the merchant had moved North so maybe word hadn't reached these lower districts yet. Arid's own stomach rumbled and he frowned. It'd be a risk he'd have to take.
  19. Her eyes narrowed as his words entered her ears and disrupted her scan of the landscape. Cheri shrugged. "My maps don't show inns, they sprout up to frequently to have a reliable idea of where they are." Slowing her gait, she allowed herself to fall back with Arid. It wouldn't do any good for her to burn what little nutrients she had in her body by rushing off. There weren't enough animals here to make trapping productive, anyway. "We will just have to take our time, and keep our eyes peeled."

    I should be hearing word from a courier soon, why Cheri's mind went there right then was uncertain. She knew that the city guards normally had her back on these things. As soon as they were finished with interviewing the denizens, and taking a log of all who had been mysteriously absent since the murders. She scratched her head, and looked over at Arid; her curiosity about him suddenly ignited. Who was he? Why was he traveling? Why was he traveling so light? Cheri's brows furrowed as she realized in her exhaustion she had made some critical lapses of judgement. Beyond the man's name, and the direction his feet were headed she knew nothing of him.

    Cheri glanced over at Arid as they walked; really looking at him for the first time since she stumbled across his camp the night before. He didn't look dangerous but for some reason she couldn't shake her nerves. Arid also didn't appear to be a seasoned traveler, and his pack seemed lacking. She cleared her throat to gain his attention. "So, were you in a rush when you left?"
  20. Arid paused for a moment after Cheri asked her question, looking a bit nervous. It wasn't good that she was asking questions, but maybe he could just clear her suspicion with his answer to the merchant. "Y-yeah, I'm...collecting inheritance from my Uncle Medro. Since he had no heirs it was to go right to me, and since I haven't been doing well financially I headed out as fast as I could," Arid replied. "I'm honestly not too experienced on the road myself, just mostly remained in the city."

    He didn't like having the questions set against him, especially if she continued. Arid looked back over at Cheri, he knew little about her, so turning the questions around to avoid the ones against him shouldn't be too suspicious, right? Arid pulled his sack back up on his shoulder which made the large amount of gold inside make some noise. "What about you? What's your reason for heading down here?"
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