Eaten by Darkness

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by HeliumJack, Feb 2, 2015.

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  1. In the darkness of the little inn's room, on the small, cotton filled mattress, a woman shot up from where she had been sleeping, chest heaving and taking shaky breaths. Rubbing her face with the trembling hands that weren't listening to her orders to stay still, Estella exhaled slowly as she tried to slow down her panicked heart – and body, which was prepped, ready, and demanding for her to run for safety.
    You'd think after this many years of this, it'd be easier to handle. She thought to herself wryly, and swung her legs out of bed, and stood. Starting to stretch, trying to appease her body's want to move, she glanced at the window, trying to figure out what time it was. By the sky, she figured it was a couple hours or so before the sun rose.
    Good, the lean woman thought to herself, stretching and beginning to tie her thick gray mane back, I don't have to try and fall back asleep.
    Estella's joints felt wooden as her rough clothes slipped over her head and up her legs, and she gave a huge yawn, eyes watering. The nightmares had come more often than usual, with more intensity, leaving her more and more tired every night. If they continued on for much longer, she don't think she'd be sticking around. Life on the road and taking random day jobs wasn't a bad living, but the nights weren't anything she wanted to live for anymore.
    With another yawn, Estella hoisted her pack up onto her shoulder, and buckled her sword onto her waist after grabbing it from beside her bed. She needed to get out of the building and go get some fresh air. After that, she wasn't quite sure what her plans for the day were.
  2. Waking up early was a habit Richard had formed in his early childhood, and it was one he'd never bothered to break during his entire adult life. A good couple of hours before the sun would show its face was early even for him, though. He still felt tired, but he pushed weariness out of his thoughts. He was awake now, may as well get some breakfast and get moving.
    The straps to the leather armor he'd acquired a few months before were every bit as much of a pain in the ass as they were every morning. It wasn't like they were complicated, quite the opposite, it was that they were so different than the plate armor he was used to wearing. Richard had never much cared for different. Not that he had a choice.
    Slinging the strap to his pack over his shoulders and picking up his blade, still attached to its baldric, Richard scratched idly at the few days worth of stubble under his chin as he walked to the main area. The innkeeper was, thankfully, awake already, and it was easy enough to request a plate of food. He leaned his greatsword against a table before sitting immediately to the right of it, ensuring the large weapon was near at hand in case he had need of it. Combing a hand through dark, wavy hair that was so much longer than it had been when he left Rostan, he realized it was approaching a length where he would have to decide if he was going to tie it back or cut it back to its customary shortness. He frowned softly, contemplating the decision while waiting for his food to come.
  3. Estella quietly closed her room door behind her, and headed down the hallway to the inn's common room, where people ate and drank and sat by the fire. She intended to walk right past it out into the pre-morning air, but the smell of breakfast wafted by her, and she found herself aiming towards on of the tables.

    Partially to her table of choice, she noticed another early morning greeter, and her footsteps came to a halt. True, social interactions weren't her strong point, but the traveler hadn't had a decent conversation with a person for a good couple of weeks. It wasn't like she was in a rush, she could sit down and make idle chit-chat while she enjoyed a good slow breakfast.

    Hesitating another moment, she veered towards the occupied table, and issued a small, shy greeting. "Um, hi. Is there room here for one more?" Estella stumbled over a few of her words, her back stiffening as she did, and eyes riveted blankly to the wall. PleasesaynopleasesaynoI'vealreadyfuckedthisuppleasejustsayno, she repeated in her head, remembering why she hadn't had any social interaction for the past two weeks.
  4. The voice, too close to be directed at anyone but him, surprised Richard enough to boot him out of his thoughts. Brown eyes, the color of freshly turned earth, snapped to Estella, surprise flicking across his face before being replaced by a soft smile. It wasn't often people in this country approached him to talk, so whenever someone did it was a pleasant surprise.
    "Of course. Have a seat, if you like," he told her with a gesture at the empty seats around the table. Richard's voice was low in pitch, inherently soft, pleasant to the ear and accented with something that wasn't of this particular country. Pulling his sword closer to his chair, closer to his body, he shifted and looked the woman over again. "What brings you through-" he paused, gesturing at the area around them in general, having no idea what this particular place was called. "-here?"
  5. Too late. Estella thought bleakly to herself, brushing some of her thick gray hair out of her face. Can't back out now. Fuck me, this was a bad idea. Still, she forced a smile that came off as more grim than pleasant, especially with her furrowed dark gray brow, and sat.

    Ugh... Estella could feel her face and neck heat up, and sweat beginning to form in her armpits. Her morning brain had made such a mistake thinking it was a good idea to talk someone. She adjusted her shirt before looking past the man's ear, unable to bring her green eyed gaze to meet his eyes. For a moment, she was quiet, trying to put her words in order. "I... am a traveler, usually... a mercenary." Estella paused again, this time to ask the innkeeper for food. "Ah... My last job needed me to deliver a package here."

    The innkeeper set a cup of tea in front of her, which she began to sip quietly at. After a moment, she started, remembering her manners. "Ah, sorry, um, why are you here?"
  6. The word mercenary made Richard's lips twitch. Not pull down, exactly. He didn't disapprove of her profession, though his reaction to her just a year before would have been very different. As a knight, he couldn't imagine a sellsword possessing honesty or loyalty, or really any redeemable qualities. His opinion had changed drastically.
    Estella's question turned the twitch into a very soft frown, mostly directed at himself. Twas a bad subject to begin with, he should have avoided the topic. His exile was not a thing he cared to think about, let alone discuss with others. Especially a stranger. Glancing up as the innkeeper delivered their food, he took a second to set his expression to something more neutral before replying. "I am also travelling. Looking for a place to settle."
    Richard had taken a few bites of the food (decent, if under-seasoned) before he realized that he had yet to introduce himself. It took a second of fumbling (bumped his knee against the table, almost knocked his blade to the floor) but he wiped his mouth and offered a hand to the woman. "Oh, shit. I apologize, haven't introduced myself. My name is Richard."
  7. Estella dipped her head in what she hoped was an amicable way. She was something of the same, she supposed. Just looking for a place to settle. Her thumb nervously rubbed at the teacups chipped exterior, trying to think of something to say. As her food was set before her, a simple but filling biscuit and gravy plate with bits of meat, her shoulders stopped trying to connect to her ears, especially as the man started eating. It was quite hard to be worried about someone questioning her or perhaps getting angry with her if they trusted her enough to eat around her.

    She took a few small bites of her breakfast, and then he spoke again. Flushing, she realized she hadn't introduced herself either. "Ah.." The pale-haired woman hastily wiped her hands on her napkin, and took his hand in a gentle squeeze, along with another dip from her head, and both shoulders, as her eyes looked down at the table. "It's nice to meet you, sir. I am Estella."
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