*Nibbles and Essence*
Ess had not seen Tala since the night before. She was not at her usual spot by the front door when Ess awoke that morning. There was no worry in her expression, not until she called several times for her furry friend with no response.
“I thought you wanted to go hunting Taaaala!?” She yelled into the crisp, morning air. Her neighbor was sweeping out his home, to pause and look at Ess curiously as if she were yelling at herself.
“Damn wolf..” she muttered.
With a sigh, Ess went to grab her Relic sword, hidden away beneath a floorboard. She never did get to see Mageria again last night, to retrieve the matching dagger. Perhaps later that day she would run into the Captain Guard again.
"" “Well, if you want to learn some moves with the blade, some of my people earn a bit of coin by giving lessons. Give me a chance to assess your skills as they stand, and I can figure out who would be best to work with you."
Ess needed to start somewhere to advance her sword skills. She understood it would not happen over night, but it was necessary to better herself and she had been slacking. Long ago she had made a promise, and out of grief tossed it aside as if it had not mattered.
Strapping her sword to her belt, she straightened out her green tunic that draped around her curves. Pulling her breeches tight around her waist, she secured the sword. Ess relinquished her blade from it’s sheath, staring at it softly. Still no idea what the silver engraved markings stood for, she tilted the blade in the morning sunlight from her window. The bright rays casted odd shapes along her wall in reflection before she brought the blade home to her left hip.
“Since your brother isn’t here today,” she spoke tapping her sword hilt absently with her fingers, “..guess your cousins will have to do.” Reaching beneath her mattress she retrieved several finger sized throwing knives. Simple, fairly plain, she hid them along her waist, beneath her sleeves and tucked into her black velvet boots.
Fastening her cloak around her hour glass form, she stared into her mirror, lost momentarily in the porcelain face that watched back.
“Almost forgot....” she flinched, reaching for a red, leather journal. “I haven’t written to Blue Eyes today...” The journal consisted of letters to her past; to someone she lost very long ago who was quite dear to her soul. She wrote:A beautiful morning it is today my friend. You are missed as always, never forgotten. I am sorry that I haven’t been keeping my promise, but I am changing that. I met a few different sorts of young people last night. One, who may lead me to the path that was your dream...To become a knight and protect the people. I will train hard, and continue to gain knowledge by collecting and determining results based on my own conclusions. No one is to tell us that we are not good enough for this world. That we don’t deserve to be here. Someone..or something is threatening the good people here in NewHaven. What kind of person would I be if I went against myself? If I ignore the evil and let it thrive and not even try, would I still be a good person? You would be so disappointed in me if I did. I taught you better than that I think.
I will make you proud of me, wherever you may travel now, lost from this world.
Love Your friend,
Tucking the journal beneath her tunic, keeping it close to her heart she made her way out the door. Still no sign of Tala, she headed out the nearest gate on foot having a pretty good idea where to find her this time of day, outside the city walls.
Kirsten rode into the city at a gallop, the speckled horse he was on was lathered with a foamy sweat and froth flew from his lips. He pulled the beast to a stop, the red cloak covering his face slipping back as the horse reared. His black eyes seared through the crowd, looking for a girl dressed as a man. His eyes caught the gaze of several, including a beautiful woman who looked ready to fight. Unfortunately her eyes were not blue and brown but a stunning violet. He spurred his hose over to her, carefully making his way through the horde of people. He stopped in front of her, his black riders forming a tight circle around her.
“My lady, we mean no harm to you,” he said with a slightly amused grin on his face as she reached for her sword. He dismounted tossing back his black hair from his face and nodding to her.
“Have you heard or seen of a peculiar girl. She would be moving around mostly at night, dressed as a man perhaps?”
His golden brown eyes looked deeply into hers, searching them for a trace of a lie as she responded. http://youtu.be/mSAgaUoNeso
DA Party Camp
Essence huffed in surprise as she was stopped suddenly just paces from the gate. Quirking a brow she met the gaze of the dark haired stranger, her fingers lingering upon the hilt of her heirloom blade, eyes darting right and left as she was surrounded. ‘Not a threat....huh?’ she mused to herself. ‘Must be a joke.’
“Yes, I pay attention to every woman who wanders this city, didn’t you know?” She sneered with a sarcastic tone. She looked down at her pants and looked back up into the man’s golden brown orbs.
“I’m dressed like a man...does that mean you are looking for me?” She hissed towards him. Ess had things to do, and was not in the mood to be foiled in her plans. “I don’t know you, so I’d say not. If you don’t mind...” She nodded behind him towards the gate. “I was just going on a hunting trip of my own.”
Ess straightened, her fingers leaving her sword, inattentively fiddling with the cuff of her left sleeve. Her obvious annoyed demeanor quickly changed, lush lips spreading into an attractive smile. “Unless you wish to join me good sir?” She whispered alluringly, her violet eyes glowing slightly, as they usually did whenever she had an emotion of any kind.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said smiling sweetly and taking her hand to press his lips gently upon them, “Perhaps you will give me the liberty of meeting you later perhaps?”
Before he could wait for a response though there was a shout from the rooftops and his eyes focused on his man, waving his arms just a few houses down. He swung back up onto his horse, his eyes fixed on the man in black before riding off without another glace at the girl. He was sure that he would see her again, and soon. She knew things and he found himself wondering how she could use her to find the girl. He mused on this for awhile. Before nodding sharply at his men and turning and riding back to the girl.
"I will join you but only for awhile. Dont try your mind tricks, violet eyes they wont work on me."
He extended his hand, offering her a lift up onto his horse, waiting for her to take it.
Ess laughed sweetly, shaking her head. “I can not help the color of my eyes good sir...” Cutting herself off, she grabbed his arm, using the leverage to hoist herself upon the horse. Adjusting her sword, she wrapped her arms snug like around his waist. “If you find yourself weak and hypnotized against a flirt of a woman, then perhaps that is your problem, not mine.” Ess teased.
As the horse turned abruptly around, facing the gate entrance she nodded, still smiling. She tossed loose curls from out her eyes, exposing her tattoo like scar, etched below her left eye. Ess was a little perturbed but non the less accepting of the company, especially since tracking Tala on foot would take much longer.
“My name is Essence, and I thank you for the lift.” She awaited his reply as they headed out past the city guards, towards the dense foliage of the forest. Riding hard into the forest Ess tucked her lip against her top teeth and blew, an ear piercing whistle echoing into the air. It rang out for about fifteen seconds, rising and falling in a unique melody. She used it often to call for Tala, amidst the other tunes she had taught the wolf to respond to.
“Stupid wolf..” She muttered again, hearing no response.
He shook his head roaring in laughter as they cantered out of the gates, the whistle sharp in his ears.
“The call me Kirsten,” he called back, “And don’t worry, we will find your wolf.”
He offered no explanation of how he knew this, only whistling sharply into the air. He held out his arm, slowing the horse to a rolling canter as a scream filled the air and a brown hawk landed out on his arm. As soon as they hit the woods he slowed the horse, dismounting and pulling Essence from his back.
“Your wolf is nearby, Kie will take you straight to her as soon as you answer just a few things,” He sat down on a log, moving his sword.
“I’m sorry girl, I happen to be a bit of a flirt, I will admit to that. But as you are enlightened I see no reason why you would lie about the color of your eyes. Hide what you will I do not need to know,” he said holding up his gloved hand to keep her from speaking, “Essence, I am in need of your aid. My sister has disappeared from home and mother has sent me to find her. She is strange, silver hair and different color eyes. If you hear or see anything, whistle like you did to your wolf and Kie will find you. He will bring you to me. If you hear of anything, anything at all I beg you to tell me.”
He stood sharply, walking close enough to gently touch her arm but respectfully keeping his hands down by his side. His eyes glimmered, his face fallen; his whole body was acting for his cause very well. He waited for her response, eagerly looking into her eyes and searching her face.
Ess nodded towards Kirsten and his Hawk. She was a bit taken back that he knew she had an enlightenment, but she was not lying. The hint that she was hiding something did send her voice into a mocking response. “And why should I trust you? Who says this woman is your sister?..Perhaps you are trying to kill her?”
Crossing her arms she turned her head aside walking off in another direction. “My eyes...are always this color...” She hissed defensively. Ess has never really trusted any man, except one, so why would she confide in this Kirsten. Turning back to face him, she cleared her throat. “My apologies for being rash, but one can not be too careful around here. I appreciate your assistance, but I have no way of knowing if you speak the truth. If I come across....this sister of yours...we shall see...I can't promise anything."
He nodded, his black eyes shining. His hand rested on the hilt of his sword, running his fingers along it.
“You are wise to doubt, m’lady,” he said dipping his head slightly; “I give you my word as a human being. But then, as you are a cautious women, I suspect that will not be enough to convince you. I only can hope that you will take my words to heart and see how much I need to find this girl before she kills another,” he shook his head sadly, “But I would say that my time here has ended and I must get back to my men in the city.”
He whistled lightly and Kie came soaring down from a nearby branch, settling down on his shoulder. The brown hawk nuzzled into his shoulder. Smiling lightly Kirsten taped the hawk under his beak gently.
“You know what to do,” he whispered and then watched as he spread out his wings and flew towards Essence.
“Raise your arm out,” he directed watching carefully as she did so and Kie landed on her arm, “He will stay with you until you have found your wolf. We will meet again Essence.”
He walked carefully over to the grazing horse that had wandered off to a nearby tree. He took the reins and mounted up, looking down at the girl with wonder and mild curiosity.
Ess gave a genuine smile as she looked from the Hawk to Kirsten. Gently her finger stroked the top of the Hawk’s head, smoothing out some ruffled feathers. She was awed by the bird’s loyalty to this stranger but more so by the fact that he offered her assistance without even knowing (to her knowledge) what kind of person she was. Few offered out trust before it was earned, but she supposed this was his attempt at earning hers. In his observation of their meeting in the future, she couldn’t deny that possibility.
“I suppose we may.”
He turned his horse back to the city, running the poor beast back through the gates and over the stones. His hood back up over his face and the people running to get out of his way as he rode past. Kirsten knew that at the taverns that night, talk of his arrival would be spreading. Who he was and what he wanted would be unknown and that would inflame the rumor. He didn’t mind, he liked it when his prey knew he was there. It amped their fear and fear made them reckless and short-sighted. Even without Essence’s help he was sure that he would find the girl with the different colored eyes, Phantom.
Kie still on Ess’ arm fluttered his wings slightly as she kneeled down to the snow, her free hand running over the slushy mud as she inspected for tracks. It was easy to find Tala’s prints amidst the hoof marks from several horses passing this way. Before standing back up, she noted the pinching of the Hawk’s claws into her left arm and gave a wave of her arm hinting for Kie to take his leave. With her free arm she pointed towards the west, where the trees were thick and darkened with little light passing their branches.
“That way we must go.” She stated to the Hawk, unsure if it would understand, but to her surprise it took off from her arm, circling above as she stood and continued on foot down the dark path. Absently Ess sang quietly to herself...
“Light...and fragile...she’s feather sky blue....”
Glancing toward the sky, she watched the hawk listening to it’s call. Ess couldn’t imagine how free it must feel to fly, light and floating on the wind.
“She flys....so high...up...in the sky...way out of reach...of human eyes..”
By Kie’s cries, she knew it was following her as she ventured forward, pausing now and then in her tune to whistle for her wolf. Her mind wandered back to last night, flashes of blood and gore, the meeting of her first Black knight, and to end with a strange, forgotten reunion of a fellow lost soul. Luckas. She hadn’t honestly decided if she would kill him one day or take him to bed. Maybe both? She laughed. 'He probably wouldn’t even know what to do.’ She cackled to herself.
Muttering to herself, “That would be the day." Still, there was something about him she couldn’t pin point, and it was enough to keep her interest for the time being. It wasn’t like she had anything better to do, except look for her lost wolf. Ess sighed, a bit annoyed. Luckas was, the only other person who knew her some what, even if it wasn’t by choice.
An hour or so passed before she came to a thicket where the tracks ended.
“Okay Tala...come girl..” She called. As she glanced back up towards the sky, the Hawk was swooping down towards her, causing Ess to grow nervous, she ducked thinking the Hawk would land on her head. Instead it preyed upon a field mouse, taking off with the life within it’s talons.
“Shit...What was that?!”
A sudden howl distracted her, she turned just in time to see Tala tackle her to the ground.
“Ah, geez Tala, who was hunting who, eh?” She joked, ruffling the wolf’s furry neck, Tala panting happily in her face. “Still the better hunter...” Another cry from the Hawk, Ess looked over to a nearby bush, Kie eyeing her a bit oddly. She wished she could understand what it was thinking as it fluttered it wings, screamed at her and flew off back towards the city.
Kirsten slowed his mount as he reached his black riders in the alleyway where Phantom had been the night before. They handed him the Rose Blade, the ivory hilt now blackened and scuffed from the ground below. His gloved hand gently wrapped around the blade and was sorely disappointed that there was not a trace of blood. His men motioned him to climb to the roof top and that is exactly what he did.His eyes burned with anger as he saw one of his best men lying on the roof, dead. He kicked the lifeless body shouting at two men to clean it up. He watched as they did so, the bloodlust rising in him.
'So Phantom,' he thought, 'I guess none of my men will be able to do the job. Guess it’s my turn to hunt.'
His black eyes scanned the rooftop, searching for any more clues when he found them; blood against the wall, sign of a struggle, footprints. Not just two pairs, but four. He smiled as he realized that his quarry was being aided and that she herself could not have been able to handle his best. If she was being aided, well, that meant that news of her arrival would spread through the city. She would have to come out of hiding one day and her “protectors” would be right beside her. He would have his men out on the roof tops, watching the comings and goings of people from the buildings and if they saw something suspicious they would let him know. That, and he also had Essence to rely on as well.
She puzzled him but as soon as he had looked in her eyes Kirsten had known her biggest fear and it made his stomach twist with pleasure. Her eyes were striking and the effect they would have on men untrained unlike him, would be devastating. He had extended out his hand and trust and she had taken it. He knew right away that she had seen right though his sister story but that didn’t bother him too much. If she came to see him, she came. If not well, that would only be a slight dent in his plan. She was a sweet girl and he honestly did not want to kill her but if she began to cause trouble.... Kirsten let his mind wander as he leapt from the roof top and walked back to his horse. He would start his search at the tavern, and then move on to look for healers who had recently done some work on a girl. Based on the blood left on the roof, Phantom was going to need one. He nodded briskly to his men, watching as one by one they rode off, tiny pieces of mirrors in their hands to signal each other across the roofs.
He moved through the crowed street, his blood red cape shining with its gold embroidery along the edges. His horse pranced under him, very conscious of the looks that its rider was getting from those on foot. There was something dark about this Stranger and Kirsten had to hold back a couple smirks as mothers drew their children close to their breasts and men hurried to get out of his way. He urged the dappled grey forward and the horse obediently did so, turning to skip down an alleyway. When he was sure no one was around he dismounted walking to stand in front of his horse.
“Easy Demono,” he said gently, stroking the horse’s nose. The horse instantly calmed, his prancing feet striking the earth one last time before falling still. Kirsten smiled and carefully took the reins, leading Demono through the alley and toward a stable. There he gave him quickly to a stable boy, paying him right there before walking off. His head hurt from all the things that had already happened today and his throat was dry, he needed a drink. His eyes darkened as he caught sight of a little urchin hiding in the dark and he strode past without a backwards glance, the boy reminding him of a younger, less deadly him. He stopped a little girl running down the street and asked her sweetly where the nearest healer could be found. She pointed, her little mouth forming the shape of an O at the beauty of Kirsten. He thanked her and gently ruffled her hair before continuing onward. Kids, he always had a soft spot for them. They were just so innocent and willing to trust.
He shook his head and smiled, thinking back to a kid he once knew. Her name was Eri or Ari, something like that. She had the greenest eyes of anyone he had ever met, including his sister. She boasted about adventures that she had never taken and strangely, she had no fear that he could find. Her eyes were what he remembered most.
Kirsten shook his head quickly before continuing onward, thinking too long about the past was dangerous. Better to look to the future. His eyes flickered as a directed beam fell across his face. He squinted, holding up his hand to block the ray and see who it was. One of his black riders was standing on the rooftop. The light flashed once, twice, three times, and then after a short pause, a fourth time.
He smiled. His prey had been located.