Define Friendship

Define Friendship

Postby CherryStatic » Tue Mar 10, 2015 7:18 pm

The two of them moved quickly and quietly through the back alley that threaded its way between two tall buildings near the heart of Myrken, no more than a few hundred feet from Glenn Burnie's home according to the maps that Crucia had drawn up using the information gathered by Selwyn and Venette. Cloaks the color of damp ashes concealed the crimson leather of their uniforms and the weapons at their hips, their features hidden in the shadows of hoods drawn low over their faces.

Alcara had managed to slip away from their hideout during the brief confusion brought on by Fascine's injury that morning, ensuring that Crucia would be sufficiently distracted by the shape shifter and not think to send anyone to keep an eye on her. She knew that the mistress of the Bloodletters did not fully trust her yet, her vanishing act and the subsequent adoption of an entirely new persona putting too much on the table to pretend that things were just the same as they had always been, but neither woman gave any outward indication that there was a problem; the lack of a Bond through which to control her had vexed Crucia since day one. Despite the loyalty that she had displayed to their organization in the past, Alcara wondered if the woman could ever bring herself to trust someone that couldn't be manipulated with magic.

She had joined Kess and Bern before they had reached the edge of the city, the half-elf refusing to look at her as she led them safely past guards in the employ of the Lady Warden, Affecting them when they met her sultry gaze. Hands dropped away from sheathed weapons as the magic overpowered their minds, leaving their mouths slack and their eyes glazed while the three slipped unhindered between them, the copper haired woman's fingertips ghosting along the curve of jaws and alighting upon broad shoulders on her way past. When they were safely beyond, the men posted at the northern gate gradually regained their senses, their heads clearing of the interference. They looked about, unsure of themselves, all but ignoring the others, who put more and more distance between themselves and the town by the second.

Alcara smiled brightly at the relatively few people they passed, drawing attention away from the half-elf's blank scowl and the dagger pressed stealthily to her back by their male companion. They continued down the road for nearly twenty minutes, the buildings becoming few and far, little more than farmhouses peppering the fields to their left and right. The smells and sounds of the town had faded enough that only nature made itself known, and the peaceful atmosphere that dusk brought with it played host to the sounds of nightlife and crickets, their footsteps the only interruption.

Kess abruptly steered them off the road, towards a thicket of trees to the left. It was no forest, but the trees were bunched closely together, slowing them as they wove between sturdy trunks, the canopy overhead blocking out most of the moonlight. They moved without speaking, leaves crunching under their boots in the yawning silence, until they reached a small clearing and stopped.

Bern was gently shoved away from the tip of the blade in Kess's hand, her own weapon. She caught herself and spun to face the two Bloodletters, who stood watching her passively. She knew they were both armed, and they had their orders; she had heard them issued herself, the blonde viper in charge of them looking her way with a thin smile as she instructed her subordinates to remove the bounty hunter from the walls of the town and bury the body somewhere out-of-the-way. Her fingers flexed, at a loss without the familiar weight of her throwing knives.

"Well?" she hissed, her tone challenging, eyes darting between them, anticipating the first strike. "Go on, then. Try and kill me. I promise I won't make it easy for you. I'll take at least one of you with me, I swe--"

Kess tossed her dagger to the ground at her feet, and her mouth snapped shut, eyes flicking instinctively towards it. There was a long silence. Turning her eyes up to meet their gazes, she gingerly knelt, ready to spring backwards if it was a trick. Her fingers wrapped around the handle of the weapon, and she nearly sighed at the relief she felt. She straightened, glaring suspiciously at the two of them.

"So you're not going to kill me." she stated bluntly, refusing to let the confusion carry in her voice. "Planning to disobey your ringleader?"

Alcara frowned the slightest bit, pulling a bag from beneath her cloak and approaching Bern. The knife came up in a flash, held between them, the half-elf's muscles tensed. The other paused, waiting, then continued forward unconcerned.

"Put it away, Bern." Her voice was quiet as she held the bag out towards her former bodyguard. "Your things are in here, along with a canteen of fresh water and enough food to last a few days. You should be able to reach the town over without any problems. The others don't have any reason to leave Myrken and look for you. As far as Crucia knows, you're dead."

Bern took the bag reluctantly, waiting for more of an explanation. When Alcara wasn't forthcoming, she pressed. "Why are you doing this?"

"We don't need to explain our actions. Knowing won't benefit you in any way." The words were mechanical, so unlike the cheerful tone that Bern had grown accustomed to. Now there was only the flat grey voice that hid behind a charming front and a pretty face. "Just don't come back to Myrken. Crucia will kill you herself."

"I already told you, I plan to have a nice, long chat with her." Bern snapped, sliding the dagger into it's sheath, still strapped to her thigh. "After threatening my daughter's safety as incentive, I'm not going to just walk away with my tail between my legs. I want to hear her scream until her voice gives out."

Alcara appraised her for a long moment, Kess little more than a hulking shadow off to one side. "Bern, that was a lie. No one is going after your daughter. Even if we wanted to, we don't have anyone to spare; we've already lost two people." The bounty hunter stood frozen as she absorbed the words, and the Bloodletter went on. "Crucia had Venette examine your greatest fears, and she used them against you. Your daughter was never in danger. You don't have any reason to involve yourself any more."

The half-elf snarled. "I have every reason to involve myself! She made a fool out of me. She threatened the only thing that I value!" She felt something warm and wet slip down her cheek and realized her eyes were welling up with angry tears. "That witch thinks that she runs the show, but I'll do everything I can to knock her off her pedestal."

"We can't help you twice." Alcara said, simply. "If she catches you again, you're dead."

"She can try. I'll be waiting for her this time."

The other was silent. Kess spoke after a moment: "We should go. She'll wonder why I'm taking so long."

Alcara nodded in response without looking at him. "At least lay low for a while. If you go after Crucia in broad daylight, you'll have to fight to reach her. That might entail fighting the two of us. The Bloodletters are our family."

"A family that you're betraying right now."

"Families have disagreements. Crucia is involving innocent people, and I'm not ok with it. She's planning to kill Gloria if she becomes any more involved." There was a slight inflection upon speaking the girl's name, hard to define.

The bounty hunter's eyes widened somewhat, eyebrows drawing together in frustration. "I told her to stay out of this! All of it!"

Alcara made a noise, somewhere between bitter laughter and exasperation. "She values her friends too much. And can't tell them from enemies, unfortunately."

On that note, she turned to leave. Her tall, dark haired companion gave a tiny nod to Bern, the only indication of a personality he had given all night, before following after. The half-elf watched them go, unsure of what to do or say, and quickly found herself very small and very alone in the clearing.
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