-   Eidolon (
-   -   Chapter 2 - The Fellowship of Mud (

Cadrius 10th of July, 2002 05:44

Cadrius stares dumbly at the vial pressed into his hand. He looks back up at Shade questioningly, as if he is uncertain as to what it is that he holds. He then squeezes his eyes shut and opens them again, clearly attempting to concentrate.

Slowly he removes the stopper and puts the vial to his lips. Tilting it back he swallows the amber fluid with a shudder. It was bitter, and it smelled faintly of bananas. Yet his stomach felt warm, a comfortable warm similar to drinking a shot of whisky.

He winces slightly as he feels the potion taking effect, his blood begins to clot and the wounds begin to knit. Magical healing always made him feel slightly off. There was something about accelerating his body's ability to repait itself that felt peculiar.

The man shakes his head at her actions and sheaths his sword. Moving to Shade's side he gently nudges her out of the way before taking Itches under the armpits again.

I might still be weak, but I'll be damned if I'll walk back to camp while she carries him, he chuckles grimly at the thought. He probably already was.

Maeko 10th of July, 2002 17:36

Maeko moves, straightening the gnoll corpses, she quickly search them for clues. True, those who stole the relic where human, but maybe they had associates...
That done, she closes the deads' eyes, composing them she murmurs " May you find enlightenment in your next life".
Then she follows her companions, stopping on the way to pick up Itches'weapon, she carries it as if it was a strange beast, likely to bite her.

Gralhruk 10th of July, 2002 23:18

Shade numbly allows herself to be nudged aside as Cadrius resumes hauling the unconscious aristocrat back to camp. She stands still for a moment, unseeing, while her hands clench and unclench. Her fingers were getting numb. She looks back longingly toward their little fire and then down to the stream, absently noting Maeko composing the dead.

She seems no stranger to strife.

She is still somewhat amazed at the woman's composure and skill in the battle and resolves to ask about it later. For now, though, she needed a few moments to order her thoughts. Skirting the trampled area where they fought, she stoops to pick up her swords from where she'd dropped them to carry Itches. As she does so she notes the blood on her hands and her weapons.

Stained like your soul.

Despair creeps upon her then as she winds her way down to the stream. It came so easily, the killing, and always the same way. A little distraction, a little hesitation and then their life drained out with their blood. She stares at her reflection in the slowly moving water at her feet, her face dark but for the glimmer of her eyes. Not honorable, no, but effective. After all, she was still alive when so many others had died. She sweeps a black-stained hand through the wraith staring accusingly back at her, scrubbing violently to clean her hands before snatching up her armor and starting back for camp.

Cadrius 11th of July, 2002 00:16

Cadrius deposits the unconscious man by the fire. He begins sit down, his muscles aching for rest, but he sees the fast drying blood coating his arms and chest. Reluctantly he trudges back toward the stream, passing a cleaner Shade on the way he nods wearily to her. There is something about the look on her face that troubles him, but his weary mind cannot grasp it.

He reaches the stream and falls to his knees, allowing his blood soaked hands to dip into the cool water. His eyes widen slightly, the water was much colder than he had thought it to be. Yet it numbed his hands and there was a certain release in it. He removes his torn and bloody shirt and cranes his neck to look at the wound on his shoulder. The potion had helped it, to be sure, but it would be close to a week before he would be feeling good again, the same was true for the gash on his side.

Seeing bits of dirt scattered throughout the wounds he realizes they will need to be washed or they will become infected. Removing his clothes he takes a deep breath before plunging into the chilling water.

His head breaks the surface and he gasps as the icy water surrounds him. He is unwilling to stay in long, but he makes sure that his wounds are cleansed. Climbing out he quickly puts his pants and boots on, but not his shirt.

As he walks back to camp he begins to tear part of the shirt. There wasn't much to be salvaged, but by the time he reaches the safety and warmth of the fire he has two relatively blood-free strips of clothing. He ties one around his shoulder, and the other around his side. They would make crude bandages, but they would have to serve. He tosses the remainder of the shirt on the fire and watches it burn.

Looking over at the other two he says, "Perhaps we should wake him. I do not think he is injured, but he does not need to sleep the night away." He also carefully notes that neither Maeko nor Shade were injured.

Good. Better that the sword strike me than them.

Maeko 11th of July, 2002 01:01

" Yes, I also think we have better keep watch tonight," adds Maeko,"I'll take any turn that is needed, although I would like to take bath before, I be quick".

She had noted Cadrius' glance checking out Shade and her, and his evident relief, the reason why anybody should think that women neither old nor ill need to be protected, though, throughly escapes her, maybe this is a question she could ask to Shade.

She gets up, takes some spare clothes from her pack, and finds her way to the stream, strips down and gets in.
The cold water reminds her of the brook coming down from 'Heaven's Door Peak' who formed the monastery pool where novices often meditated as part of their training.
After a through, if quick, scrubbing, she dries, changes and comes back, to find the three around the fire, Itches is awake, now, but still has a bewildered look.

Gralhruk 11th of July, 2002 01:18

Shade returns Cadrius' nod with a brief one of her own, reluctant to meet his gaze. She can see the bodies of the gnolls still steaming in the dark and she moves toward them cautiously. Four of them, dead, lined up and arranged like horizontal sentries. She sits, cross-legged, at their feet and stares at each in turn. Maeko had closed their eyes, but she can almost feel them staring back.

Are their souls still here?

Shaking her head she tries to bury thoughts of a twice dead dwarf the way she should have buried his body. A nagging paranoia gets the better of her, though, and she creeps to each body in turn. She'd scavenged a few battlefields before she found a better way to make a living, and compared to some of the horror she'd sifted through these had died relatively clean deaths. Their weapons and armor were crudely made iron and hide and appeared ordinary for the species. Her quick search reveals nothing of value and she wonders if Maeko had pocketed anything. She didn't seem the type but then that was the real trick, wasn't it?

She carefully repositions the hands of the last body the way Maeko had left them, wondering why she bothers. The scavengers would be on them before dawn, and they would do alot worse. That thought doesn't make her feel any better as she rises smoothly and turns toward the fire. She can here a distant splash from the stream and wonders what Cadrius is about.

Bathing, no doubt. I should have waited as well; I could use another.

Still, she wasn't about to brave the chill waters a second time. The fire was a tangible pull on her, promising to drive the cold from her bones. She reaches camp, drops her armor in a pile, and silently takes a seat next to Maeko noting that Itches is breathing regularly. Sitting close to the fire, the heat soaks into her and she closes her eyes, pushing all thought from her mind.

A familiar, heavy tread brings her back to the present. She cracks her eyes open slightly as Cadrius saunters back into camp, damp and half-naked. She closes them quickly but the image of his wounds, poorly bandaged, burns in her mind along with another pang of guilt. He was valiant and honorable, virtues that apparently made poor armor, but she wondered what he had seen when he looked at his reflection.

"Yes, we should probably wake him. We will each need a turn at watch this night."

itches 11th of July, 2002 01:22

Cadirus nods to shade, and walks over to itches, and shakes him awake, none too gentle

Having been woken up Itches looks around him in confusion.

"What happened?" he asks looking around.

Seeing the fresh bandages on Cadirus Itches leaps to his feet and goes have a look at him

"What happened? Were we attacked? By whom? Why didnít you wake me? I could of helped fight them off!"

Itches looks at Cadirus's blank expressions and seeing no help there glances over to Shade and Maeko

Cadrius 11th of July, 2002 02:16

Cadrius is quiet for a moment, reclining against the tree he lets the warmth from the fire seep into his body. The heat has a hypnotic affect upon him and he finds his eyelids becoming harder to keep open. He shakes his head and returns his attention to Itches.

"Yes, we were attacked," he says simply, gesturing to one part of the surrounding darkness, "if you would like to see what, go ahead. I do not think we shall see any more this night."

He lets the fire chase the chill from his body. The frigid water had done a good job of numbing the pain from his wounds, but it would be back by morning at the latest. Yet for now he was content to sit by the fire and rest, tomorrow would come quickly enough, too quickly.

"I will take first watch," he says, and waves off a look that questions his ability to stay awake. He stands, but still stays propped against the tree. The large tree's surrounding branches gives a sense of safety and protection. The campfire is somewhat shrouded from the outside and there was likely little that would bother them.

"Go on," he says, "the three of you get some rest. I am happy to take first watch as long as I know which one to wake in a few hours."

Maeko 11th of July, 2002 02:32

" I am accostumed to interrupted sleep" answers Maeko, I would gladly take second watch".

itches 11th of July, 2002 02:42

Glancing out at the Darkness, Itches shakes his head

"I'll take your word for it"

at the mention of watches, Itches says

"i'l take third watch. Wake me when its time," and sits down next to the fire. Getting out a long stick, he pokes at the embers, making no attempt to fall asleep.

Maeko 11th of July, 2002 03:14

Maeko moves slightly, coming to sit closer tio Itches so that the two of them can talk without waking Shade.
" Do you remember what happened?"
Itches stare at her blankly.
" After you went off on your own, we heard you screaming, when we arrived we saw you being attacked by two wolf-like creatures..."
She waits to see if her words bring forth any memory.

itches 11th of July, 2002 03:41

Itches looks at Maeko in confusion

"When I went out? Oh yes I remember, when I went out looking for Cadrius and shade." Looking up at the duo, one asleep, and the other leaning on a tree Itches gives a half-smile I Found them too, but I thought it would of been better if I gave them their privacy so I started back here. But before I could get back. . "

Itches turn Pale and locks up as the memories return to him

"The wolf-things," he whispers with a slight shudder. "I, I Remember their eyes. They were yellow, and thatís all I could see. I tried fighting back, but I couldnít move."

Looking up at Maeko with the beginning of tears in his eyes, he pleads with her. "I tried to fight, tried to do something, anything, but all I could do was look at their yellow eyes.

Taking a deep breath, he glances around the camp. "Next thing I knew we were back here! What happened?"

Gralhruk 11th of July, 2002 04:08

Shade listens to the others decide on a watch schedule. It looked like she'd get last watch which was fine by her. She could use the sleep.

The deadwatch, how appropriate.

The others thought she'd fallen asleep, laying there by the fire with her eyes closed. She was content to let them believe that; in truth, she was still awake. Old habits again. Her eyes were cracked the teeniest bit, allowing her a hazy glimpse of her surroundings. She did have questions she wanted to ask but her mind was fuzzy. It would be best to wait until morning.

The fire was relaxing and she felt both good and bad with Cadrius on watch, the protector once again. He had to be as tired as she was, and he was wounded besides, but the stubborn fool was determined not to rest. At least he'd have an unbroken sleep when he finally did get the chance.

She can barely hear Itches account of his chance meeting with gnolls. As if through a thick fog, she can see Cadrius standing resolutely beneath the hulking tree. It almost looks like some gigantic monster looming over his battered body, arms outstretched, ready to pounce on him unawares. It is the last thing she remembers as she drifts off to sleep.

Cadrius 11th of July, 2002 04:14

Cadrius notes the conversation but remains quiet, content to clean and polish his sword. The aching pain of the wounds had come back more quickly than he had thought. For the first time in a long while he wished there had been a priest with them. He would put up with their religious fervor in exchange to be rid of these wounds.

He examines them and then doubts his wish for a cleric. There was a silver lining about the wounds. He was still alive. Having them will remind him of who he was, and it provided a release from the emotional trauma he had undergone in the haunted woods.

Remembering the fight he grimaces. He should have fared better than he had. The well-armored dogman almost had him. Yet he had refused to retreat even when given the opportunity. Perhaps it was that old habits die hard, or possibly it was because he would rather die than see these people harmed. He shakes his head at the thought, somewhat bemused, somewhat worried. He had not felt this way in a long time.

He suddenly becomes aware of the corpses proximity to their camp. Scavengers of all shapes and sizes will be drawn to the smell of blood and death and it would not do to have them so close-by. He ponders it a moment longer before buckling his sword back on and slowly moving through the darkness to the four corpses.

Cadrius notes the fact that they are lined up with eyes closed and hands placed neatly upon their chest. Maeko or Shade must have arranged them in such a manner, but he does not bother to question the reasoning behind it. Carefully he drags each corpse a hundred paces deeper into the woods, but further from the stream. There was no sense in contaminating the water. After the work is done he is careful to replace the hands as they were.

Despite the chill air his back is damp with sweat by the time he returns to the fire. He nods to Maeko and Itches and speaks quietly so as to not wake Shade, "You two should get some rest, we can talk about it in the morning. I do not wish to have to carry anyone because of a lack of sleep."

He leans upon the tree again, letting it grant him the strength he lacks. However he is still watchful and vigilant despite his weariness. His watch would be soon complete and he would have his time to rest. The time passes slowly and after watching the stars move across the sky for a time Cadrius gently wakes Itches from his sleep.

"If you hear anything, anything at all, do not hesitate to wake me. I would rather be disturbed over nothing than surprised by something."

His body grateful for the much needed rest, Cadrius makes his way past both Shade and Maeko to the very edge of the tree's protective branches. Placing them between himself and the fire Cadrius closes his eyes and quickly falls asleep, his weapons and armor laying in a pile next to him.

itches 11th of July, 2002 06:42

Maeko listens as Itches memories return to the point where he ran off, and then it stops. Trying to think of an easy way to answer his questions, she looks up and sees Cadirus coming their way. Thankful for the short reprieve she waits to hear what he has to say.

Looking up at Cadirus, Itches nods to Maeko.

"He is right, we can talk about it in the morning, until then I need to do some thinking."

With that he moves around to another point surrounding the fire, and curls up in his bedroll, looking at Cadirus leaning against the tree with his two wounds.

those wounds should have been mine

After what seems only a minute, itches is shaken awake. Squinting up, through bleary eyes at Cadirus, he nods his understanding.

"Wake you if anything happens. Got it"

Getting up and walking around the camp trying to ponder his memories of last night. Trying to piece the blackness of what happened.

After many hours the sun rises, and Itches is still on watch, glancing at the now risen sun Itches walks off into the forest, this time taking his sword with him.

Once again hours past, and the sun has made its way through about one forth of its daily journey, when the others awake, Still with no Itches.

Gralhruk 12th of July, 2002 02:06

Shade rolls over uncomfortably in her sleep, unwittingly rolling into a stray patch of sunlight that somehow manages to pierce the leafy canopy above. The light pulls her from sleep's vacuum and she opens her eyes blearily, momentarily confused.

Maeko should have woken me hours ago . . . did someone fall asleep on watch?

She sits up with a start and her eyes shoot around the camp, noting the still resting forms of Cadrius and Maeko. Grabbing her swords as she stands, she spins a slow circle looking for Itches and curses loudly as she discovers he is gone.

Did Cadrius fall asleep on his watch? Unlikely. He woke Itches, who started his watch. Did he wake Maeko? No, or she would certainly have woken me before going to sleep. So, what has happened to the aristocrat?

Several possibilities shoot through her mind, none of them good. She spares a glance at the others still present, now rousing from sleep thanks to her outburst, before skirting the circle of the camp looking for prints.

Cadrius' long, deep stride; Maeko's light print, similar to her own but more measured; and Itches' uneven stride, with deep heel marks, were all present and criss-crossed. She is relieved that she doesn't find any unrecognizable tracks but to learn more she will need to circle farther out: the prints here are too muddled to tell which direction he may have gone. Moving back to her small pile of gear she begins rapidly donning her armor, speaking to the others as she does so.

"Itches is gone, possibly for quite some time. I do not know if he was lured away, found trouble investigating something, or has simply decided he does not like our company. I think we should find out: he may be in need of help."

Maeko 12th of July, 2002 02:33

Loud cursings in a feminine voice, what...

Maeko reacts immediately, finding herself in a crouching guard position even before realizing what happened.

It's no attack, all seems in order...but for the fact that she has not been called for her watch and Itches is nowhere to be seen.
Neither is his sword, she notices; he went of his own will, then, trying to make amends? or did he notice something strange and went alone? It does not make sense.
The nun sees Shade checking the ground in larger and larger circles, she stifles her curiosity and remains near the fire, to avoid confusing the tracks, grateful that someone among them has the skill to read the ground.

"Itches is gone, possibly for quite some time. I do not know if he was lured away, found trouble investigating something, or has simply decided he does not like our company. I think we should find out: he may be in need of help."

Guilt is a bad counsellor, I hope he has sense enough to stay clear of trouble thinks Maeko, shouldering the wicker basket she uses to carry her belogings, and yet, it seems trouble has the habit of finding him

Cadrius 12th of July, 2002 05:21

Pleasant Awakening
Cadrius slowly moves his hand toward the hilt of his sword. There was something moving about. He opens his eyes, the world still fuzzy from his rest, and hazards a glance around. Suddenly he hears a rather loud bit of profanity. It is Shade. It strikes him that the bald woman likely does not curse often.

He rolls over and stands quickly, feeling the blood rush to his head. Listening intently he sighs and is tempted to take part in the cursing, but he merely frowns and begins putting on his armor. His wounds, still asleep, loudly announce their presence to his body in the form of an aching pain with each piece of armor donned. The morning light shines through the branches and glints across the bands of metal that he wears.

He seems a bit unhurried as he suits up though as if unconcerned with beginning the search as soon as possible. He can see his breath in the chill morning air and he wonders for a moment how the man could have survived the night without a fire.

"I suppose he did not wake either of you two for your respective watches?"

Glancing up at the sky and seeing the sun already above the horizon he says, "Then he has about an eight hour lead, but I don't think he will go far. Either he stayed on watch all night and left this morning, or he merely left in the night, but he will need rest no matter what he did."

Finishing he buckles on his sword, straps his shield to his arm, and slings his backpack over his shoulders. He winces as the extra weight causes the padding beneath the armor to press down upon the wound.

"Any idea where he went? Or why? The fool seems determined to be saved," he says with an odd attempt at humor.

Examining his breath a second time he says, "I do not think he left us in the middle of the night. He would not have lived and while he might be a fool, but he does not strike me as stupid. So he must only have a few hours lead on us and only a couple hours of rest."

itches 12th of July, 2002 05:58

As Shade Examines the ground she eventually comes across the tracks she was looking for - tracks if Itches heading away, towards where the fight with the knolls was. Calling the others over and pointing out the tracks, she leads the group in following them.

"He went down here"

Surprisingly it does not take them long to find itches, for he is standing where the battle had taken place the night before. Standing in the exact place he had before he had fled the night before. The group makes no attempt to hide their approach from him, but still there are within 10 feet of him before he looks up.

I was right here," he says to them in a halting voice. "I was here, they came out, but then blackness. I canít remember anything after that. What happened," he asks with more desperation in his voice. Falling to his knees he asks the ground "why canít I remember?"

Gralhruk 12th of July, 2002 06:55

Shade's jaw clenches as she represses an impulse to strangle the hapless aristocrat. Her rage licks up like a flame from her gut and she struggles, successfully, to hold her tongue. Knuckles whitening on her sword hilt, she remains silent as the anger boils over. When it is gone, color seems to return to the world and she sees Itches in a different light.

Guilt. He is burdened by guilt for what happened last night.

It was a foolish thing for him to feel but she could respect his feelings. Leaving them during his watch was even more foolish, and that she had a harder time forgiving. Gods knew what else was wandering these woods, and leaving them sleeping and unguarded was as bad as meeting danger all alone.

Taking a deep breath, Shade releases the hilt of her sword. Adjusting her cloak, she sits cross-legged on the ground across from the man. Her eyes and voice are neutral as she replies to his plea.

"The two of them were most certainly looking to take slaves; gnolls are a savage and evil race. You had no chance against them, taken unawares as you were. You did the smart thing and evaded them, else you surely would be their prisoner even now."

Cadrius 12th of July, 2002 11:46

Cadrius comes to stand next to Itches but does not look at him. Instead he surveys the surrounding trees and the spattering of blood on the ground. There are still grooves in the ground from when he had dragged the corpses off the night before. He scratches his chin in thought as Shade speaks. He had heard of gnolls but had never dealt with them before thus it interested him that Shade new of their habits. He wondered what else one learned while practicing her profession. If it was anything like soldiering it was likely the same thing: how to kill efficiently.

The only difference is, he thinks with a touch of grim humor, is that she likely is paid more than I ever was.

The fact that she seems fairly at home in the woods troubles him somewhat. He had always thought assassins to be city-dwellers, never leaving unless absolutely necessary. Picking up on the tracks had been an interesting trick as well. He knew that there was much more to her than meets the eye, but what was it? He makes a mental note to think on it later while walking. Cadrius returns his focus to the task at hand and remains silent a moment longer while thinking of the right words to speak.

"Indeed, you did the right thing. You...alerted us to their presence and ran. It was the smart thing to do. After that we took care of them quite quickly," he says his eyes still roaming the wilderness around them.

"The fact that you cannot remember does not surprise me. Many soldiers block out some of their worst experiences in war. Trust me, you did not miss much."

Turning at last to face the man, Cadrius regards him with cool eyes. He places his hand on the man's bicep and clenches it before speaking with steel in his voice, "But never leave the three of us asleep, no matter the circumstances. You might have been curious, but more of those beasts could have come back, or possibly worse. I fear that if they are around then these woods are far from safe."

Satisfied that the man understands why he cannot leave while on watch Cadrius claps him on the shoulder and attempts to take some of the edge from his scolding. He did not like reprimanding him, especially in front of others, but if they were to travel together they had to trust each other. He smiles trying to make the man feel better. The cold, stern quality has left his eyes leaving the familiar weariness and melancholy.

"Now come on, we can go back to the camp and make some breakfast and then get on the road. When we camp tonight I could show you a thing or two in case you find yourself in that situation again, if you like."

Cadrius nods one more time and then strides back to the great tree that they had spent the night under. The branches still felt safe, as if nature was embracing them, but they would have to leave its protection shortly. Pulling out some bread, cheese, and dried fruit he sets about cutting pieces of each and distributing them to the others. He looks in his backpack with dismay, his rations were beginning to run low.

"I fear if we do not find a town soon we shall be living off nuts and berries."

Gralhruk 12th of July, 2002 22:48

As she finishes speaking she feels Cadrius brush past her and she watches as he stands next to Itches, hands on her knees. She notes the way his eyes unconsciously scan the surroundings for movement or anything out of place. It was a habit common to both lawmen and criminals but it never ceased to amaze her how different it looked on each of them. Guards gave it a regal look that made you think you'd done something wrong; on thieves it looked more sinister and you felt that they had done something wrong.

Her eyes flicker at his scolding but she remains quiet. It wasn't nearly as harsh as the things she was tempted to say, but then again she'd managed to keep her mouth shut. Itches wasn't likely to turn into a soldier overnight and she wasn't going to force him. She'd sooner feign sleep during his watch than have her throat slit while he was off galavanting.

She watches Cadrius thoughtfully as he strides back to camp. So orderly; the situation had been dealt with efficiently and now it was back to business as usual. Shaking her head with a slight smile, she rises gracefully and follows the others back to camp. She didn't think it would be over so easily.

She accepts his food gratefully. She was down to trail rations herself, and precious few of those. Sometimes travelling lightly was problematic. She smiles at his mention of nuts and berries; the season was right, but that wouldn't near enough to sustain them. Her smile widens at the thought of Itches eating roots and grubs.

"I've got a little food, but it'll only last the four of us around half of a day. Do not fret too much about it; I can forage as we go. It will be slow going, though, and I fear that the things I find might not be to everybody's taste."

Maeko 12th of July, 2002 23:33

" I have something too" puts in Maeko " very little, tough, I am afraid".

She had followed the exchange in silence, keeping her thoughts to herself, although she notices Itches seems a bit relieved now.

Cadrius is a kind soul, and he seems used to having 'novices' around too... the man has her wondering, but each of us is a mistery to the others, who knows what they think about this strange bald woman?

The thought has her turning towards Shade :" Yesterday you seemed surprised by my way of fighting, is that not practiced in these parts?"

itches 13th of July, 2002 00:27

"I ran?" itches muttered to himself. Disbelief sits on his face until Cadirus begins to chasten him. Turning slightly pale as he realises what he had done, Itches begins to stammer. "I . .Bu . . No . ." Giving up and facing what he had done, Itches head drops in shame.

After the chasting is over Itches looks up at Cadirus with new respect. "Yes, thank you. It would seem that I need more help. Apparently Master Samuelís lesson didnít sink in as well as I thought they did.

Trudging back with the others, still slightly depressed, but no longer totally withdrawn Itches shows some signs of life, that he lacked yesterday evening. When everyone begins sorting through their food supplies, he digs through his pack.

"All I have left is Lilyís cooking, and not much of it at that." Holding aloft Several pieces of over cooked meat, and what looks some deformed flat bread. "This might only keep us going for about half a day. But it is hardy food. I'm more then willing to share, itís the least I can do."

Gralhruk 13th of July, 2002 00:50

Catching the scent of Lily's "cooking", Shade revises her earlier assessment. Maybe Itches wouldn't mind dining on roots and grubs. Her ears prick up at Maeko's question and she turns towards the other woman.

"You did surprise me. No armor, no weapons; that beast should have torn you apart. I've heard tales of those who fight this way but to be honest, I thought it highly unlikely."

It crosses her mind how useful those skills would be, especially when you wanted people to think you were defenseless.

"How is it that you learned to fight this way?"

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