The Quest is BACK ON! DisreputableCharles and Hikaruchan

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Original poster
Alright so here is the last two posts:
(As I wrote for Soren, I was listening to 'Ship of Fools.')

Miyoko's words seemed to pierce Soren like a swift dagger; he had not been expecting this to come up, and therefore not fully prepared himself for it. As he made his reply, it was through gritted teeth.
"It makes no difference whether or not I would choose to leave from that place. There are powers at work that I cannot contend with, and besides..." For a moment, his voice trailed off, his expression filled with pain and nostalgia. "...I made my choice. My price is paid. And it cannot be returned."

(Don't really have anything else for Shane; just make them reach the outpost within your next post.)

Thank the gods they would be heading out by dawn the next morning. He didn't think he could stand another day sitting idly by, he could move after all with a few restrictions. Shane had healed him with her elven magik four days ago, but still, his companions had made him wait long.
Riker lunged with his scythe once more, gritting his teeth as the pain flared violently in his side. He planted his weapon firmly on the ground, his other hand pressed tightly to his bandaged wound. Ryuk, that bastard, he had spoken ill of the one matter Riker had no control over.
There she was, tending to the horses over on the other side of the field they had chosen to make camp upon. She was so openly gentle with any of nature's creatures, as though she wished to ease any hardships.
The only time Riker had encountered Shane acting as such was back in Da'Tak, that moment in the tent when he promised her his undying protection. How could he not protect that which was most important?
Shane looked up, their eyes meeting for a fleeting second before Riker suddenly became very interested with his scythe, his face reddening.
Gods, what was he to do? The very reason Ryuk had been so enraged was the way Riker had cared for her, and if it upset that elf, there were bound to be more.
He closed his eyes, "Shane..." It felt so natural to be able to say just her name. Yet she had no idea the true meaning of being able to say a birthtitle on it's own, and that left a bittersweet taste in his mouth.
He stood straight once more and took his grip on his weapon. The action caused pain in his side, but this time he ignored it as he attacked the wooden dummy, furiously striking at it with his deadly accuracy.
Perhaps it would better for the both of them if from now on, he would try to keep his focus on their Quest and repress the feelings he had for her until the end. After that, if there was a remote chance...
Pushing the image from his mind, Riker shook his head, his lips pursed.

"Shane?" Miyoko's voice rang slightly as she called out to her comrade. She stepped airly into the stables, seeing the girl she sought tending to a horse.
"Yes?" the elven girl responded, not taking her eyes off the animal. Miyoko kept her bearings being so close to the beast and focused on Shane, "N was just seeing if you're prepared to go already."
After tightening the saddle strap, Shane exhaled heavily and turned to Miyoko, nodding in reply.

"Indeed; just had to finish up with this one." She patted the animal on its muscular shoulder, finally looking the Aquarian in the eye. "Is one of them asking?" She inquired, nodding towards the boys. Well, one boy and one male of young appearance but indefinite age. Shaking her head, Shane thought, the Immortals...what a strange race. Possessing the appearance of humans, yet the aptitude for magic of the Elves, and with wisdom spanning millennia...are they not more similar to Gods? As Shane thought of this, she unconsciously let her gaze stray to Riker, who flushed as their eyes met and instantly looked away. She knit her brow curiously; what was wrong with him?

Making certain to stay out of the way of Riker's scythe---though it was not as though the weapon would cause him any injury---Soren made his way over to the boy, planning to ask him something of their journey from that point on. However, as he approached, the Immortal noticed a curious interaction between the human boy and the Elf; it was the sort of thing he had come to expect of them, and yet it still amused him, while simultaneously dragging from the depths of his memory waves of nostalgia that he fought so hard to keep unseen. Shaking his head hopelessly, Soren strode up and put a hand on the boy's shoulder.
"You really should say something, you know." The look Riker gave him seemed to imply something about the Immortal's sanity, and so he added, "It's painfully obvious. The only reason she doesn't acknowledge it is because, take no offense, but her mind is on more important things. Just end your vow of silence; none among us would object, and it'd be an easy change to cope with. Tell her, so that this distraction is removed and we can focus on this mission."
Riker knew that Soren was most likely right, but yet he felt his heart grow heavy with the very thought. It was that sinking feeling, the idea of confession, the risk the thought of utter rejection.
He searched, never remembering this emotional block with Alyss. In fact, in comparison, Shane was the drive in him, the one thing he could rely on, though never fully understand, yet the love he felt for her was so incredibly more....
Riker dropped the scythe to the ground, and turned to face Soren, "And, tell me, Soren, how am i supposed to go about this, without hindering the quest?"

She saw Shane glance toward the edge of trees where the two men stood conversing.
Oh, Riker...
She let out a soft sigh, breaking the elf's distant gaze.
Miyoko shook her head, "No, but I don't think its a good idea to stay here much longer. Riker seems very anxious."
Shane nodded slowly, as though she was just waking up. Indeed, these past few days seemed like a far off dream, in fact the whole quest had in fact had a far off feel to it. Like the stories the few Aquarians brought back to her home, filled with magic and green and even a unrequited love story.
"I already told you," said Soren, realizing that with Riker, this would need to go a bit more slowly, "Miyoko and I aren't bothered by it, seeing as it's painful to watch the two of you in this state. In fact, once you tell her things will most likely become easier dealt with. We won't have the nagging wonder of whether or not today will be the day you let her know the truth; no, you can be happy and we can continue to the Hall of Prophecy." Giving Riker a meaningful look, Soren added, "There's no sacred writing that forbids you. Why torture yourself this entire time?" When the boy still seemed doubtful, Soren sighed and put a hand on his shoulder, lowering his voice significantly, and said, "It's painful, I know, to be forced to watch from afar, thinking that no matter how much your heart aches at the thought of her, no matter what lengths you'd be willing to go to...see, Riker, in this case, that doesn't hinder you, nor her. I can see it in both your eyes."

Resigning herself to the strange behavior, Shane glanced back at Miyoko.
"Indeed." She took the shoulder bag she had brought from Mengar and slung it over the saddle of the horse they had taken from Da'Tak. Soren and Miyoko were to take the one stolen from Riker's village, as the Immortal had become somewhat fond of the beast. That left Shane and Riker to ride together to the outpost, and considering recent events the thought did not exactly make Shane ecstatic. She frowned in thought; this was not like her. She did not get nervous, she did not avoid gazes nor feel weak in anything, neither physical power nor conviction. A heated huff of breath escaped her; thoughts of this were frustrating, for Shane was accustomed to excelling and understanding, which was not something she could do when it came to Riker.
"We should get going, then. The outpost is close enough, but it's no easy ride to get there, and since I'm leading the way, I want to get there before nightfall." She stared at the saddle, became suddenly displeased with it, and jerked it into a "better" position, causing the very horse to give her a strange look. "Oi!" She bellowed, taking a few steps across the clearing towards the males. "Ready to go, five minutes! Put that fire out and get your things! If you're too slow, you can do without!" Shane marched back to her steed and whipped off her cloak, then stuffing it into the saddle pouch and leaping into the saddle in one deft movement. The blazing look she gave Riker and Soren would have caused an emperor to submit, and such was the case also with her male companions.
Riker, was admittedly, quite taken aback at the sudden turn from Shane's peacefulness to the aggressive and stoic resolve as she shouted towards him in Soren. The immortal cast him a look, as if to say I told to you.
He breathed and reached down for his scythe, feeling his side sting sharply as he did so. He ignored it, however, knowing that Shane was not exaggerating her orders.
With the scythe as his support, Riker moved towards the fire the with decision in mind to finally exercise his Magiyke.
It took a few seconds, however, the fire did quell, and he it pleased him that he still had control over the power that used to overwhelm him. He held his breath, knowing that now he had to face Shane. The bittersweetness....

Miyoko made her way to the Immortal, ignoring the sleepiness that the billowing of quenched smoke. Her eyes turned to Shane and Riker, curious in how this part of their journey would evolve.
Soren stepped next to her, and she smiled.
"What exactly did you tell him?"
Soren looked at her, confused, well as confused as the immortal's expression could be.
Miyoko gazed distantly, "They both seem a bit....apprehensive."
Turning to look at Miyoko with his eyebrows raised, Soren then let out a sudden laugh and ran through his hair.
"Seems that way, doesn't it?" He shook his head and joked, "Here I go telling him to just speak up...but now I see why he'd be afraid to!" Soren beckoned to Miyoko and made his way over to the black beast he had "borrowed" from the village. He stroked its neck, able to communicate with the very essence of the animal through that simple interaction. He too relinquished his cloak to grant them speed and swung it over the saddle, then turning to Miyoko to help her mount. "This may be a rough ride," he cautioned, "and I'm not sure how comfortable you yet are with the beasts of the land."

After having vaulted herself into the saddle, Shane gave a considerable kick to the flanks of her steed and led it at a trot over to Riker. She pulled back on the reins right alongside, towering over him with an expression that was both intimidating and elusive; who could really tell what thoughts were stirring behind those cold blue eyes?
"Ready?" She inquired simply, commandingly, as she extended her left hand to him, like Soren offering to help her partner mount.
She glanced at the large beast of a horse, and tried to give a half-hearted smile to Soren as he helped her mount the steed. There was an unsaid agreement between the two. It was a comfort to her, that he could understand the visions, her, it was good. It made her hope, that when they did go to that place, he found what he was looking for.
Miyoko attempted to keep her eyes open, the prospect of the animal still frightened her.
"Well, at least I'm not with Shane and Riker at the moment." she thought for a moment, 'though i am curious."

Riker proceeded to take her hand, though he lifted himself upon the horse. He did have to maintain some semblance of his manhood.
It felt strange being so close to her, he could even hold her as such as the time in Da'Tak, in the tent....
The very thought filled him with such pleasure and resentment. That was so unexpected for to open up to him. Had he ruined that by not telling her of the mishap with Ryuk?
Having seen Miyoko safely into the saddle, Soren swung his right leg over the animal as he mounted from the traditional left side. As he ascended he noticed Miyoko's eyes clenched shut and placed a hand gently on her shoulder.
"I'm not going to force you to watch the entire time," he said, somewhat solemnly, "but we don't know how long this mission will keep us on land. It might be good to ease yourself into confrontation." With that he gave the animal a swift kick and began to lead it across the field to where Shane and Riker were.

Before going to their companions, Shane took a moment to drop the reins and pull a small leather loop from the pouch attached to her belt. She pulled her silver tresses to one side, exposing the nape of her neck, and used it to tie the shining locks so that they would not fly about during their ride to the outpost at the border. When the simple task was completed, Shane took up the reins and made a fleeting glance back at Riker, then rode forward past the other pair, beckoning them with her right hand to follow as she kicked the horse into a canter.

What was he to say to her? Gods, he could hardly whisper, yet this tension of silence between them was unbearable.
Perhaps now was a good time to tell her of Ryuk, but not that part. There was no way in all of winterfell he could tell her that yet, no matter how much reason he heard in the Immortal's words. She seemed under strain already, and every part of him was aching to ease her path in any way.

Miyoko nodded, and though his words were calming, it didn't ease her fears entirely. However, Soren was right. the probability of the journey continuing on feet was highly likely. At least she was adjusting to walking on two feet well enough.
"Soren..." Now that she had him alone, perhaps they could discuss more of the Girl from the other world. Unfortunately, Shane beckoned to him, and seeing the state of the elven girl, Soren made a effort of haste to respond.

"Perhaps," Soren began, delivering a kick to his horse in order to match Shane's speed, "we shall have the opportunity for discussion when we come to our destination." He threw a glance back at Miyoko, a look of clear understanding in his amber eyes. "Though I am not trying to hide things or avoid the is not the best time."

As Shane pushed their gait to a gallop, she made a strange observation: Riker's hold on her waist was unnaturally tight, as though he feared being thrown off at any moment. She frowned in her contemplation, her gaze drifting to the corner of her eye. Surely she was not going that terribly fast? A hasty look behind her and brief glance of his face heightened her concern. She then turned her head slightly so that he would hear her when she asked,
"Riker?" He seemed to brighten vaguely at hearing his name, so Shane continued to inquire, "Are you feeling all right? You look like you're going to be sick." Her voice had lost much of its aggression; it now sounded light and gentle as it danced across the wind to reach him.
He wasn't sick, though there was a queasiness within him. He felt it hard to breath, hard to think, and his bandage wound stung fiercely, though none of these affected him as much as the disgust and shame of how he had sunk so low like Ryuk.
"Shane, when Ryuk attac-when I was in the fight with him, you wanted me to tell you what had occured?" The poor man's thoughts had turned garbled. How did he ever think of this as a good idea?

Miyoko nodded, somewhat disheartneted. She had heard Her voice recently, a phrase whispered which confused her. She had been hoping Soren would have been able to help her decifer the meaning. However, it seemed she would have to wait for the outpost.

At the mention of the other Elf, Shane's expression darkened significantly, though upon further contemplation she resolved to control it, to not take out on Riker anger caused by memories.
"...I did." She paused, then looked back at him for a moment painfully brief. "You never answered me." That last phrase was spoken as a statement, not an accusation, and yet her voice possessed the subtle sharpness that only Shane was capable of.
There was another period of silence before Riker responded.
"When we were following behind you as you attempted to make it to the center of Da'Tak, I had heard some...unusual noises coming from off the path. I went to check it out when Ryuk attacked me from behind. Afterwards, he had said some things...."
Shane gave him an expectant look.
"He spoke harshly.. well, he insulted you, Shane, terribly, it was vile and cruel...It made me incredibly furious, I couldn't even control my element slightly. I attacked him, and that is when Soren-senpaii came and Ryuk took advantage of the moment."
The air was stagnant until he once again broke the silence, "I could've killed him, and if it weren't for the immortal, I wouldn't have regained control..."
A resonant sigh was released by Shane; she could only keep her focus upon leading the horse steady, for otherwise her thoughts and emotions would prove a mess to difficult to even consider disentangling. After what seemed like a great long while, she allowed the animal to slow marginally, then spoke over the howling of wind,
"What did he say?" At first she thought his lack of response was because he had not heard her, at which point she said a little louder, "I had no love of Ryuk; he was an arrogant ass. If I had heard him throwing insults at any one of you, I would've done something as well. But you..." Another glance backward. "You say you nearly killed him. So," inquired Shane, slowing even more so that she might turn to face him for more than a moment, clear eyes desperate for his honest answer, "what could he have said, especially about me, that would have motivated you to that level of violence?"
At that point, Riker realized he had said to much, how stupid was he, thinking that Shane wouldn't inquire to the greatest extent. She was intelligent and driven. She also had him backed in a corner.
"He called you....a traitor, a who-" He couldn't even say the word, "Said that you were a whore for bringing us into Da'Tak, among other things...."
Shane nodded resolutely, though she didn't appear fully satisfied with his response.
Between the two there was a steady silence as they came to the outpost, a break that Riker greatly appreciated.
As they dismounted and stabled the horses, Soren observed how much smaller this settlement was compared to Galin or even Riker's home. Of course, it had primarily been a trading post, but more residential dwellings had developed over time. The first thing that caught his eye was an inn, and as the sun began to set, procuring rooms seemed the best current option. He made a gesture for Miyoko to follow him as he strode towards the building, intending for their discussion to continue once they were alone.

Not when they dismounted, not when they collected their belongings, not even when Shane strode ahead of Soren into the tavern of the inn did she utter so much as a syllable to Riker. It was obvious that he hadn't told her everything---she wasn't stupid---but still he was reluctant to speak, and so Shane decided on her own to remove the pressure of that altogether. She pretended to ignore him, even when he followed her into the pub and sat across the table from her.
He couldn't bare to look her in those blue eyes, nor did he know of how to break the silence between him. Riker felt empty, muddled in his way. Why did she have to be so...frustratingly determined.
Though, he wouldn't have her any other way, he loved that will of hers, that strength in her mind. To him, what others would have perceived as flaws were the very things he cared about most.
If only Ryuk as a whole couldv'e been avoided. But yet, without that bastard, there wouldn't have been that moment in the tent where Shane leaned against him, opened that outer armor, that self-dependence, and asked him to protect her.
"Shane, I know that I haven't been forth-" Riker was interrupted by the appearence of a middle-aged man at the end of the table.

After they had procured the rooms, Miyoko followed Soren into one of them and they both took a seat. He was silent, as if to gesture for her to begin. She nodded.
"While we are camp when Riker was healing, She spoke to me. And it wasn't in dreams, or visions like usual, it was a raw link. Which probably means it was important, because the amount of energy and strain it takes is just immense."
Miyoko paused as she recalled the words, "The Sacrifice is not Eternal."
Furrowing his brow as he drank in her words, Soren's immediate thought was that he knew exactly what she had meant by speaking to Miyoko, and that the words were in fact directly intended for him.
"She possesses that amount of power," he said quietly, his gaze drifting out the window and putting a far-off look in his eye. "So much that it was as though she were one with the worlds themselves...I too can sometimes hear her calling to me..." Remembering that he was part of a conversation, Soren turned back to Miyoko and asked, "From what I have told you you have any idea what her message meant?"

"Well hell--(hic) ---hello there, pretty miss." The man looked a good ten or fifteen years older than Shane, at least the way she appeared. From his swaying stature and slurred words, he had obviously had too much ale. Shane rolled her eyes in disgust, choosing not to respond and hoping he knew what was good for him. Unfortunately, he persisted, "C'mon, then, gorgeous girl, why not come with me? Leave this little boy…" He made to grasp her shoulder, but was subdued when Shane caught his wrist and twisted it backward in a movement so fast that no one even saw it happen. "Strong," said the drunkard, after letting out a groan of pain, "and feisty." He grinned, showing rows of teeth in varying states of decay. "That's new…I like it." Shane seemed unable to sit down for this; she stood abruptly and violently thrust his arm away from her.
"I do not condone being touched without my consent, sir," she said coolly, practically spitting out the last word. However, the drunken fool did not acknowledge the threat in Shane's eyes, and made another movement forward.
"Pretty miss, don't be so stubborn…have pity on an old man…make me feel young again…" He smiled stupidly and stretched out his arms as if to grasp her by the shoulders. Then, before anyone else could move, there was the metallic sound of a sword drawn from its sheath and Shane had her blade against the fool's throat. Ensuring that he would not come near her again, she sheathed her weapon and whipped around to leave, her distinctly Elvish ears revealed as her hair flew about.
"That ex(hic)plains it..." rambled the idiot, "she's a...a little Elven whore!"
The words struck a chord, reminiscent of all the events with Ryuk, and his anger enveloped him once more. Within seconds, Riker had lept at the man, throwing him to the ground. Fortunately, he had maintained some semblance of control and the raging fire within was not released.
Less fortunate was the fact the customers at the bar seemed ready for a brawl and were all too willing to rebuttal with violence. Riker stood his ground, directly in front of Shane in order to protect however he could. His resolve was like steel, though he had not expected the very thing he sought to protect drag him away from the brawl.

She shook her head, "She tried to tell me, but the link didn't hold. I'm afraid that was my fault, I didn't have enough power. Though there was an almost image-like something as well. It was black and cold, and hungry. And it seemed to be growing."
"No, no, it's not your fault," said Soren, attempting to be reassuring but plagued by another dark thought. The dark image she mentioned...he feared that he knew of its origin. It had been foretold to him when he made his selfish decision, and so if they were confronted with it...Soren could scarcely imagine what horrors awaited them. He must have been betraying these emotions on his face, for he noticed Miyoko giving him a look of deep concern.

Sensing what would unfold if she left him alone, Shane roughly grasped Riker's arm and dragged upstairs to one of the rooms Soren had rented, pushing Riker inside and closing the door sharply behind her. Before he could even speak, she unavoidably cut him off.
"Riker...who the hell do you think you are?!" Her eyes blazed with anger as she advanced, causing him to back towards the wall. "There were at least half a dozen men! Did you really think you could take them all on? Did you think that was brave?!" She paused to raise her eyebrows questioningly, but didn't actually intend for him to respond. "Wrong! That was a grand display of STUPIDITY!"