Ball and Chain (Closed)

a topic in Fantasy Roleplay, a part of the RPG forum.

If you would like to make your own roleplay based in a fantasy realm (dragons, elves, magic), use this forum. You will be in charge of all things related to your roleplay, so you're on your own here.

Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:17 pm

Rohaan Ja'aisen's wrist burned as though someone had clinched a searing brand over it, squeezing with the force of a smithy's vise. In truth, the blue-tinged shackle around his left wrist was snug (though not squeezing) and it was quite cool to the touch to his handlers; big, girthy men with trunk- like hands and sagging pectorals. Each one brandished a sword or axe in case one of their "products" became insubordinate. Rohaan could see many people around him with missing toes, ears, or fingers, which were sordid and harrowing reminders of "correction" and was also a way to show which slaves were more submissive. Rohaan felt pity for them. Few had the resolve to stand for themselves and they likely would die soon at the hands of greedy masters.

The caravan stepped up to a platform where they began to sell the slaves off in auction. Rohaan squirmed the whole time. He was a strong man and it was not his first time in captivity, as a host of steel rings through his ears showed, but the magic of his shackle was too strong for comfort. More than once, the shape shifter considered cutting away his own hand to free himself of the binding pain that racked his whole body. He'd heard stories of his own kind killing themselves to end the pain, but it wasn't to that point yet.
Yet.

"And now, folks, we have a rare specimen!" The auctioneer called, his tone like a storyteller, mystical and theatrical. "A beast from a far off land, a vicious creature that some call the Captain of Thieves..." He let that simmer for a moment as a mourner spread through his audience. "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Rohaan Ja'aisen, in captivity!" Rohaan was shoved forward onto the platform and he snarled briefly at his handler before standing quietly in front of the gaping crowd. Over the years, he'd accumulated a reputation for being one of the craftiest thieves among thieves, and he was rumored to be immortal, but that was a flagrant lie--one that he himself liked to laugh at often. His face was recognizable to many, and in some parts of the land, it had become something of a contest to see how many times any one ruler could apprehend him. He, like all Vokurians, were elusive and hard to keep captive, but Rohaan had a desperation and years of experience that made him a more difficult catch. At any rate, seeing him in chains was a rare sight indeed, and the crowd was not disappointed.

"This creature has been properly restrained," he said, thwacking his shackled wrist with something akin to a billy club. "Fear you not. If I were you, I'd keep a close eye on this one, and discipline it regularly!"
It. It.
His father would have rolled over in his grave if he would have ever heard that term applied to a Ja'aisen, living or dead. His blood roiled within him. He needed an opportunity, just one little opportunity and he'd crack open that man's skull for saying such things. But there was no shifting, not unless he could chop off his hand where he stood, and he had no weapons on hand. Brute force nor stealth would help him here. He needed chance, and a little bit of cunning to get him out, for he would suffer no master. If anyone thought otherwise, they would be gravely mistaken.

"Let's begin the bidding, shall we?"

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Blackfridayrule
Member for 9 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Inspiration Conversationalist Novelist Lifegiver

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby riddle_me_thisx on Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:07 pm

“Why, miss Hermia! Miss Hermia, do slow down!” The teetering stack of packages, parcels tied with string and brightly coloured boxes continued to wind its way slowly – carefully down the bustling street. “I’m sorry…Excuse me…Pardon me…” The apologies were directed at other pedestrians, who were known only by their disgruntled protests:

“Watch where you’re going!”
“Hey!”
“Watch, it, lady!”

The unfortunate fact of the matter, though, was that ‘watching it’ – or indeed, seeing anything at all – was currently an impossibility for poor Mag. It was all she could do to keep her balance and avoid dropping any of her precious cargo. “Miss Hermia, please! I think I’m going to-“

“Oh, do stop your fussing, Mag!” A little way ahead, a young woman stopped in the street, lips pursed, with one hand placed delicately on her hip. In the other, she held a parasol (lace, to match her gloves). “They can’t possibly be that heavy – it’s just some silks, for goodness sake!”

And some hats, some more gloves, some perfume, some feathers and ribbon (for decorating the hats), some shoes, some under-garments… Naturally, Mag kept these thoughts to herself. To say them out loud would be plain silly and would end in dismissal if Miss Hermia thought she was giving her cheek. And then what? Mag would lose her weekly wage, she’d have nowhere to live, and no other household would consider employing a servant with a bad reference. “S-sorry, Miss, but-“

With a sigh and a roll of her eyes, Hermia walked back to her maid, the small heels of her shoes clacking on the cobbles. “You do complain so, Mag.” Despite this, though, the young woman reached up and plucked a single hat box – a vivid magenta colour, tied with deep green ribbon- from the top of the towering pile of goods. “There, that’s better, isn’t it?”

“Oh…Much…Thank you, Miss.” Mag hastened to agree, popping her head out from behind the stack of purchases. Whether it really had made a difference at all was debatable, but even a little kindness was more than some servants could expect from their masters…And at least she could see a little, now, so all the market stall traders could rest easy. Mag could’ve sworn she’d heard sharp intakes of breath earlier and clattering as traders practically leapt across their stalls to grab and cradle something precious before it was accidentally knocked over.

“It clashes something awful with my dress, but I’ll carry it, just because I’m fond of you,” Hermia continued, positioning the hat box under one of her arms. “We must hurry up, though, or we’ll be late for the auction!” Technically, they were already late, but this seemed to have slipped the young woman’s mind. Most things did when she was confronted with shoes, silks and hats. She was particularly pleased with the sky blue silk, which she planned to have made into a dress. The shop keeper had made a point of telling her how it would compliment her stunning, milky complexion…And who was Hermia to argue? She could imagine what her father or one of her brothers would say, though:

“You paid how much?!”
“You’ve been swindled! They’ve played to your vanity to rip you off! Outrageous!”


But then, they were men, and consequently clueless about these things.

“A-are you hoping to bid on anything at the…the auction?”
Hermia’s train of thought was interrupted by Mag, who was beginning to sound rather breathless. “Oh, I shouldn’t think so. Nasty, dirty places, auctions. I’d sooner not go, but father insisted.”

----

“And next up we have a dainty little side table, carved out of only the finest luffwood – a fabulous piece of furniture to grace any parlour-“

Tables, chairs, scratched up little trinkets… Hermia was far more interested in her nails, having removed one of her gloves, than anything being sold in the auction thus far. As she’d suspected, everything looked rather grimy and drab – like something picked up from any old junk yard. They’d been here an hour or so, and the only thing to grab her attention (and everyone elses’, for that matter) had been a bird. It’d been a flea-ridden old thing, though the auctioneer had insisted it could out-sing a nightingale, which ate only honey. Contrary to these claims, when poked with a stick, the bird had instead begun to shriek out a series of profanities.

With any luck, the next few lots would be entertaining, at least. The last ones were usually the most impressive, and Hermia’s father had told her proudly that today, his lot would be one of the last. And the most profitable. The young woman couldn’t help but hope so; she had a few debts with shop-keepers that needed squaring.

"And now, folks, we have a rare specimen!"

As the specimen was revealed for what it was, there were gasps from the spectators.

“Look at that!”
“What a beast!”

One plump little woman, sat a few seats away from Hermia, even swooned. Admittedly, Hermia’s own eyes were wide as saucers, and as the creature growled, Mag covered her eyes with her hands, giving a little squeak. So that was what Hermia’s father had been so proud of…And –though she was no expert- Hermia suspected it’d fetch a pretty price.

"Let's begin the bidding, shall we?"

Despite the auctioneer’s eagerness to begin the bidding, it seemed that the crowd was not entirely convinced, for no one raised their board. The auctioneer’s assurances had apparently fallen on deaf ears.

“Is it safe?” Someone called out.
“Yes – are you sure?” Cried another.
“It looks murderous! No amount of discipline can cure that!”

Hermia’s father, who’d been stood near the auctioneer (they were old friends, and went way back) stepped forward, keen to set any fears to rest. “I can assure you it is perfectly safe!” he replied, booming voice carrying well, despite the general hubbub of the crowd. “It may look fearsome, but all the proper safety precautions have been taken and if you’re not satisfied with your purchase, I will give you a full refund.” At this, much of the crowd seemed satisfied, though there were still murmurs. “Look, I’ll even show you.” Striding to the front of the platform, heavy boots clunking, the man rolled up his sleeves. “My dear…”

To Hermia’s horror, her father had stopped in front of her and was extending his hand towards her. Surely not…Surely there must be some mistake. “Father, really-“ Hermia began to protest, but was silenced. “Get. Up. Here. Now.” These words were, of course, hissed through clenched teeth and an affable smile.

Swallowing, the young woman got to her feet and allowed herself to be helped onto the platform. Her legs were shaking just a little and she was glad she’d thought to put on some rouge earlier, or she’d have no colour left in her cheeks whatsoever. To be stood so close to such a creature… Well, it was enough to give anyone a fright. In chains or not, it had an imposing presence and whoever had shouted out in the crowd had been right. It had a funny look in its eyes that was altogether disconcerting.

“Ladies and gentlemen – my daughter, Hermia!” Pausing, to let this sink in for a moment, Linius took Hermia’s hand and led her towards the creature. “Well, Hermia – give it a prod.”

For a moment, the young woman couldn’t quite believe what she was hearing. Her father expected her to touch it? To touch that creature? It looked filthy and there was quite a stench coming off it. Not to mention it was dangerous. “Father, really-“

“Hermia…”

Swallowing, Hermia turned to face Rohaan. Blinking, she pulled one of her gloves back on. Then, with her knees practically knocking, she did as she was told. She poked him, withdrawing her hand quickly, as though she’d just been scalded by some flames.

“There, ladies and gentlemen – you see?” the auctioneer questioned. “He is perfectly safe!”

Apparently.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
riddle_me_thisx
Member for 9 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:12 pm

The apprehension of the crowd to begin bidding made Rohaan surprisingly gleeful. He took pride in his fierce reputation and it gave him some small joy to see humans uncomfortable when, away from the safety of closed doors and warm hearths, they came face to face with the man of widespread rumor, which always seemed to reel through people's heads when they figured out what and especially who he was. Among the staple-rumors about his inability to be killed or kept captive, or his renowned ability to rob any man blind (he was most famous for swiping King Harath of Berian's circlet right off his head, which he wore around for a day or two before casually giving it to a young street urchin, and was also widely known for stealing food and drink off of many a noble table), he had a reputation for being ruthless; an indiscriminate killer who (as some would say) painted his face with the blood of his victims, ate small children who stayed out too late, and raped women as he went along. These rumors, particularly the latter, were vastly untrue, but he was a survivor, and he would do whatever it took to keep himself not only alive, but free. While he was not as malicious as he was made out to be, his sympathy extended to few, especially if they stood in his way.

Rohaan did not like that his people were all viewed as monsters, but he knew he earned his own reputation and knew how to use it to his advantage. As the crowd shifted uncomfortably and shouted their doubts to the auctioneer, his lips peeled back to expose startlingly white teeth in a cunning, amused smile that sent chills down the spine of many an onlooker. In an attempt to relieve the tension, a man who he'd heard called Linius instructed his young daughter--a fragile looking thing--to demonstrate how 'well behaved' and 'secure' he was. The terrified miss made her way slowly and cautiously over.

Rohaan's eyes, a startling shade of electric cobalt that was a unique and identifying feature of his race and was decidedly not human, lit suddenly. He had a calculating look about him, and he seemed more focused than he had been only a moment earlier. All he needed was an opportunity, and it was coming. The woman, Hermia, apparently, shuffled in closer, pointed finger outstretched timidly to give him a quick jab in the stomach. He toyed with the idea of snapping his teeth at her, but he decided to let her get away with it. But his eyes caught hers for a moment, and his two blue eyes showed a fire and passion, a deep, calculating intelligence and a world of hurt and buried sorrow. For a moment, despite his unnaturally shaded eyes, the blonde seemed very...human. But there was a darkness in him too, one that came from his unrelenting drive for freedom and life, and something very hardened, like a weathered sailor. This man had seen and done much more than any rumor would ever let on, and there was more to him than any human would give him credit for.

Hermia stepped back, her mission completed without incident. But the cogs in Rohaan's head were spinning at full bore now, and if one watched closely, he had the demeanor of a snake about to strike. Cobalt eyes darting around, Rohaan made a few last-minute calculations, and suddenly both hands, chained together, snapped outward to snatch Hermia by the arm and wrench her next to his body in one fluid and startlingly fast motion. The thumb of one hand pressed hard into the soft spot just above the center of her sternum to keep her still as he grabbed her parasol, cracked it in half over the bony part of her hip, and pressed the now jagged-tipped handle into the soft flesh where her chin and throat met. A wickedly unsettling, relaxed chuckle sprang from his lips.

"Let's all take it easy now, fellas. Don't want the little miss to get killed, do we? Tisk tisk! Shame on you all for thinking you could tame Rohaan Ja'aisen! You must not have known what you were getting yourself into. Well, now you do! I think I'm ready to open up the negotiations, aren't you? Or do you need a little more convincing?" Rohaan pressed his thumb just a little harder into the bottom of her throat. It was not the kind of position to choke her, but it would be uncomfortable at best.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Blackfridayrule
Member for 9 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Inspiration Conversationalist Novelist Lifegiver

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby riddle_me_thisx on Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:40 pm

Eugh. She would have to burn her gloves now, and when she got home, Hermia decided, she would have Mag draw her a nice warm bath. Fancy making her touch that…Thing! Really, it was enough to make one’s stomach turn. After all, it probably had fleas and all sorts! Not even the short ripple of applause – as though she had just done something very brave- could appease the young woman and wipe the look of disgust from her face. A pity, because recently, she’d become quite good at keeping her expressions in check, due to much teasing from her siblings:

“Don’t wrinkle your nose like that – it makes you look like a pug and it’ll make your skin sag!” Lucilla laughed, prodding her sister in the side. “And no one will want you with saggy skin!”

“I wasn’t!” Hermia snapped back, folding her arms.

“And now you’re pouting, just like a trout!”


Hermia couldn’t help but think, though, that even her sisters would pull ridiculous faces if they’d been in her shoes just now. Why, the creature had even had the gall – the raw cheek- to look her in the eyes, holding her gaze for a fraction of a second. With eyes like that, it should keep them on the ground! Cold, hard and a striking blue, like the sea on a clear day (Hermia had only been to visit the sea once when she was small, but thankfully, the weather had been fine). The young woman had often heard people describe the sea as ‘beautiful’ or ‘stunning’, but she couldn’t bring herself to agree; there was more to the sea than that. It was fathomless, dangerous and unpredictable, and there was no way of knowing what was going on beneath the surface. Besides. She’d never liked men (but then it was wrong to describe Rohaan as a ‘man’, because he wasn’t one, was he? Otherwise he wouldn’t be up for auction.) with blue eyes. They were shifty.

“There, you see! He’s perfectly doci-…”

The words died pathetically on Linius’ lips, just as Hermia’s heart jumped into her throat, almost choking her. A strong, vice-like grip closed round her arm, and before the young woman realised what was happening, it’d happened. Caught off-guard, she half stumbled and was half dragged towards Rohaan, shoes scraping across the rickety, wooden platform.

Crack!

Hermia whimpered, feeling the cane-like sting on her hip, despite her layered underskirts. She struggled, though of course, her efforts were ineffectual, due to the hand on her throat. She was caught, like a young rabbit in a snare – right down to the wide, frightened eyes and palpitating heart. As something jagged was pressed against her soft skin, her breaths came, short and sharp and it was a miracle her eyes didn’t just roll back in her head. The blood rushing and roaring in her ears was the only thing preventing a faint. The same couldn’t be said for the woman in the front row, who, having just recovered from her previous ‘episode’ swooned again, falling clean off her chair, despite her husband’s best efforts. People were speaking, but Hermia couldn’t make sense of any of their words. Her eyes flickered from the crowd –many of whom had started to disperse rapidly- to her father and the auctioneer, wide and desperate.

"Let's all take it easy now, fellas. Don't want the little miss to get killed, do we? Tisk tisk!...

The humiliation was the primary concern – Linius could feel his cheeks growing hot with indignation. A stark contrast to his daughter; she’d turned pale as the bleached bones Linius sold his unwitting customers, assuring them it was only the best quality ivory. She – Hermia – was of secondary concern. The priority had to be saving face, for he had a reputation to uphold. He was well known in the town for his shrewdness, his tight purse strings, his eye for a bargain and ability to drive a hard one. He couldn’t afford to lose all that for the sake of a little…Set back. Anyway, the man was reasonably confident that the creature wouldn’t do anything rash or stupid. There was nothing it could possibly gain from killing Hermia. His daughter was obviously very distressed and shaken, staring at him with a pleading look in her eyes, but Linius was reasonably confident no further harm would come to her.

“Negotiations?” Linius began (for the auctioneer was busy, cowering behind his stand). “You’re not really in a position to negotiate… And I have other daughters.” He paused, giving a weary sigh, as though this whole business were simply tiresome to him and would contribute to the grey hairs already visible in his neatly trimmed beard.

“Father!” Hermia couldn’t help the distressed squeak that tumbled from her lips. What was her father doing?! There was a maniac with…With something pressed to her neck, for goodness sake!

Linius seemed to ignore her outburst. “But let’s say – hypothetically- you were indeed a position to negotiate and that I would negotiate with the likes of you. What would your terms be?”

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
riddle_me_thisx
Member for 9 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:16 am

Rohaan, pleased with the reaction he'd coerced from the crowd (especially the swooning lady! That would prove to be a fun story later) smiled almost theatrically and turned briefly to show his quarry to whatever onlookers remained as though he was brandishing a sword. But the reaction from her father, the important figure in their little dance, was hardly moved. At least, not the way he wanted. He looked livid, red faced and fingers tensed. What was more, he was so nonchalant about his daughter being held hostage by an obviously desperate (and therefore dangerous) vokurian. In fact, he hardly seemed to care! Rohaan himself was shocked. How could a man be so calloused to his own flesh and blood? But Rohaan wasn't through with him yet.
"You've got more daughters? Maybe I could grab one of those too. Maybe then you'll take me more seriously. But that would take time, more time than I'd like, so if this one is disposable to you, I'll do you the favor of getting rid of her for you...." He pressed the broken parasol into her throat a little harder, just enough to lightly break the skin. The tiny cut would heal in a matter of minutes, but severity was not his endgame. Rohaan wanted to put pressure on this man to show him he wasn't screwing around. Besides, if the girl cried out, he would be more likely to break faster.

"Hypothetically," Rohaan repeated, mocking him with a grin. "My demands are as follows: I want a horse. A stallion, if it can be helped, one in good riding condition and with decent temperament. I'd like a saddle on that horse, if you don't mind. Secondly, I don't want to be followed. To ensure that you keep your word, miss....Hermia, is it? Will accompany me until I am out of the city walls, and if anyone feels like they want to be a hero, I will damage her accordingly. Could be....a broken arm....could be a broken neck. Depends on how well you behave. If I am attacked, she will die immediately. If I am followed beyond the city walls before sundown, she will die. But if you all keep your word, you will find her tomorrow afternoon on the road where it parallels the river, alive and unharmed. Now, I think if we all agree to this and keep our promises, everyone will go about their merry way, and we can all forget about this little incident. How difficult or simply this operation goes is entirely up to you. What do you think, lady Hermia? Mm? I think that's a good option for you. You don't have to die, I can walk, and we're all happy. Except your father. He looks to be in a sour mood no matter what happens. But not because of you, it seems. His ego, perhaps? That can't feel very good, can it? Well, I can tell you one thing, my father never would have spoken of me that way."

That much was true. Rohaan's father, Tane'aan Tenai Tai Ja'aisen was a bold and honorable man, and he loved his son deeply while he lived. Rohaan would never forget the ferocity and fire with which Tane'aan and his wife, Ryytika Ryyka Ria Ja'aisen, fought to defend his life when the Hunters raided his home in the night. As a mountain dragon and a cyradan (a distant relative of the mountain dragon, but much sleeker and smaller in shape) they fought until they died so their son could live. Rohaan certainly didn't see any of that kind of affection here. This was all business, and it disgusted him.
And they thought he was an animal...

"Whatever happens, let's make it quick, eh? I don't enjoy standoffs." In truth, Rohaan was trying hard to keep his body from trembling under the binding spell of the magical metal around his wrist. The moment he was free and alone, he could howl all he wanted to about the awful, painful thing, but now was not the time. He had to be strong and show that he was bigger and better than they were to get what he wanted.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Blackfridayrule
Member for 9 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Inspiration Conversationalist Novelist Lifegiver

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby riddle_me_thisx on Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:09 pm

The ‘negotiations’ – for her life, no less- were beginning to sound more and more like one of her father’s business deals. Hermia had heard that nonchalant, collected tone of voice countless times, drifting up the stairs of their villa as he discussed terms with customers, suppliers and other associates. If they charged a price higher than he cared to pay or offered less than he’d demanded, he’d coolly state his intent to go elsewhere. He did so with such conviction that more often than not, they soon changed their tune. It had to be that he was choosing to employ that strategy now…Though Hermia wished he wouldn’t. The jagged piece of wood was pressed harder against her throat, a single bead of crimson blood rolling down her neck. No more than might appear if one pricked one’s finger with a dress pin, but the sensation of the warm, sticky liquid on her neck was frightening nonetheless. No – whatever her father was up to, she hoped he changed his tactics soon…

Just let the horrid creature have what it wanted. It was practically feral, and although it said it was willing to negotiate, Hermia thought she’d not trust it as far as she could throw it. Who was to say it would not slit her throat out of pure spite? It was an animal, and it was an unnatural impossibility for men to negotiate with beasts. To add to this, Hermia had heard one or two tales about Rohaan Ja’aisen. That he was a killer, no better than the wolves that attacked livestock. Reputedly he was a liar and a cheat, too. The worst, though? She’d heard rumours that he’d abducted a young woman (apparently from one of the remote mountain villages), forced her to lay with him and then, when a baby had been born, he’d eaten it! Seasoned it with lemon and garlic and swallowed it whole, apparently.
At the time, Hermia had been unsure of whether to believe the tale or not. After all, events did sometimes get exaggerated and blown out of proportion. And if someone truly was savage enough to eat their own baby, they’d surely not be civilised enough to bother seasoning it first? The young woman certainly hoped not. Some things were just too horrible to believe or comprehend.
The roaring in her ears had died enough that she was now able to hear some of what was being spoken. The animal wanted a horse. Surely a fair exchange?! Surely, in exchange for her life, her father would give what had been asked? It needn’t be a stallion – just a semi-decent mare or gelding…

To ensure that you keep your word, miss....Hermia, is it? Will accompany me

No! No, no, no! Hermia took a sharp intake of breath, trying to repress the sob she could feel, threatening to break and bubble over, like a pot left on the stove too long. Tears stung at the back of her eyes. No. Her father wouldn’t let that happen – he couldn’t! …But then, what else could he do? If he didn’t, she might die. Was that worse? She didn’t know. The monster continued to speak and it became harder and harder to resist the urge to give in to her tears and wail, as she often had when she’d been little. The other children had often declared her a ‘cry-baby’. That- the creature, it seemed, wasn’t content with threatening her. Now it was mocking her, too, with a comparison of its father with her own. How dare it!

There was nothing – nothing true in what it said at all. Her father cared very much for herself and her siblings, and she knew it. True, he didn’t always show it, but emotional displays weren’t in his nature, as Hermia’s nurse (her mother had died of the flux when Hermia was very small, and consequently, the young woman didn’t really remember her at all) had once explained. He was stern, severe at times and often kept his true intent veiled behind false words, but he still cared. Not that she expected an animal like Rohaan Ja’aisen to understand that.

Meanwhile, Linius was considering. Rohaan’s earlier words had told him a lot. The very idea of grabbing Linius’ other daughters was ridiculous. How could it possibly do that, still chained as it was and with no notion of where Hermia’s sister were or what they looked like? Entirely ridiculous, but useful, for it informed the man just how desperate the creature was. Most likely, it was so desperate that it was just saying whatever popped into its depraved head. And yet Linius found he was forced to agree; he, too, hated a stand-off. Clearly, something had to be done. Hermia could not stay where she was and the creature would not let her go without receiving something in return. Brute force would be no good in this situation, which left only one option.

“Todd,” Linius glanced over his shoulder, gesturing to his groom. “Fetch one of the horses – the bay- and bring her here, saddled.” Not a stallion. Oh no. Rohaan Ja’aisen would not be allowed to ride out of town like a triumphant hero, with Hermia in-two, laughing at Linius’ expense. The groom nodded and ran off.

“B-but…Father…” Talking was difficult, given the placement of Rohaan’s hand and the broken parasol…Not to mention her constricted, dry throat. “Y-you can’t!” Hermia swallowed, unable to believe her father would go along with this. “Don’t let him take me!”

“I and one of your brothers will come and fetch you tomorrow. It won’t be long until we see one another again,” Linius replied, his tones no less indifferent than they had been earlier. “And you,” The man turned his address to Rohaan. “If you harm my daughter in any way, I shall make you pay.” That was a promise.
…Not that he wouldn’t pay, anyway.

“The horse, Sir…” The groom hesitated, holding the bay mare steady, stroking her wither.

“Ah…” Linius just about managed to keep the smile from his face. Descending the platform, he took the reins in hand. It was the horse Hermia usually rode when she did (seldom, unless she had a new riding dress to show-off) and it did, indeed, have a good temperament and was a perfectly fit horse for a wealthy merchant’s daughter. It had been trained to flick its feet out (subtly, mind) while walking, thus leaving nice, clear tracks, which could be followed if the need arose. “Let them go a little way, then follow. I’ll have Rohaan Ja’aisen captured and shamed a second time.” All this was muttered in undertone to the groom, as Linius turned away and made a show of checking whether the saddle was secure.

“Miss Hermia…” Mag had ventured onto the platform and was stood in front of Rohaan and Hermia. She couldn’t stand to see anyone looking upset, and she –sure as hell- wouldn’t want to be in her mistress’ position right now. “I’ll see you tomorrow, and I’ll fix up an appointment with the seamstress for two in the afternoon.” Then, she turned her gaze to Rohaan, drawing herself up to her full height (not very tall, mind). She was quite sure it took every ounce of bravery she had and her knees felt like jelly, but it had to be said. “And you! You ought to be ashamed of yourself.” This statement was completed with a rather rude hand gesture.

“Mag – calm yourself.” Linius approached, leading the horse towards the platform. “I shall expect the horse to be returned to me, along with my daughter.”

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
riddle_me_thisx
Member for 9 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:56 pm

One of Linius' men dashed off to fetch a horse for him, returning with a mare, saddled and ready for his use. Linius, still calm, ensured that Rohaan would pay if harm came to his daughter, and the shifter nodded in return. He had no intention of hurting the poor girl, but if they pushed him to it, there were few limits to what Rohaan would do. Chained or not, he was crafty and treacherous, and years of experience in similar situations gave him an advantage. If all went well, Rohaan would leave her where he promised in the same condition she was in currently, for he did genuinely feel bad for her, especially as her shallow breaths marked oncoming tears. She had nothing to do with this, and she didn't deserve to be tangled in his own personal war. She had done nothing to him and he felt it was truly unfortunate that she'd now been involved. But she was now, and that could no longer be helped. Rohaan would keep his word.

The girl's maidservant, apparently Mag, addressed her mistress quickly before slinging some unkind words and gestures to Rohaan. She meant every word, but Rohaan had thick skin and the insults meant nothing to him coming from someone like her. Rohaan smiled mockingly at her, but then something in his cobalt eyes turned grave and serious. "It's you who should be ashamed. I may be a violent bastard, but I realize that people are not items. The day you feel a shred of sorrow for treating my people like cattle is the day I will have remorse for my actions." His voice was low, and a fire was lot in his eyes. Rohaan meant every word.

Rohaan pushed the girl slowly towards the horse, who, as he neared, spooked and tried to free itself from her handler's grip as the reins were passed. She was mighty uncomfortable with the shifter, for she, like all animals, could sense the predator that he could become should be decide to shift. Only one horse ever peacefully allowed him to ride on her back, and she was called Nightmare, for she was a rich shade of coal black. Her master was the only soul alive Rohaan could call family, though they had no relation, and their friendship went back many, many years. Perhaps Nightmare sensed this relationship and allowed Rohaan to ride her without incident. This horse would need some work; Rohaan pulled hard at the reigns, shouting in an accented voice, "esai, kau'hi!" The horse pulled twice more, then fearfully submitted. Rohaan climbed into the saddle first, the hoisted the girl up in front of him.

"I'll keep my word as you keep yours. You can have them both back tomorrow. Any attempt to retaliate will result in consequences I doubt you'll like." Rohaan gave his own unkind gesture before spurring the horse on and out through the city gates as fast as was reasonable, and in they plunged to the wilderness that separated this town from other cities. Rohaan did not speak as they rode; he had little to say. But as the stint of adrenaline wore away, he began to wonder, 'what have I just done?'

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Blackfridayrule
Member for 9 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Inspiration Conversationalist Novelist Lifegiver

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby riddle_me_thisx on Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:52 pm

As they sped away from the town, Hermia couldn’t quite believe what was going on. None of it made sense. Not one little bit. Despite the sound of hooves and the occasionally clang of a horseshoe, striking on a stray rock – despite the turf, flying, it didn’t seem real. How could it be? The day had been entirely normal. Hermia had woken up, washed, dressed, read a little, made some blackberry pastries, she’d had lunch with her sisters and then she’d announced to Mag her intention to go shopping. They’d been to all the young woman’s favourites: the fabric shop, the hat shop and haberdashery. After the auction, she’d meant to stop and get some cream to serve with the pastries, which would be set by now. Technically, Hermia was not required to cook (they had a servant for that), but she enjoyed baking. It was a good way to while away the time.

It had started as such a nice day, then somehow, it had turned into this. She’d been held hostage by a maniac and now that same maniac was stealing her away to…Well, goodness only knew where. What of his promise? She doubted very much that he intended to bring her back to the designate point, riding away from the town, only to return to its borders. That would defy sense. She would have to find her way back herself – walk, she supposed. Swallowing, Hermia tried to concentrate on the direction in which they were going, rather than the sinking sensation in her stomach. Remembering what Mag had said, Hermia’s resolve stiffened a little. She had to be back for two o’clock. That blue silk would get made into a dress come Hell or high water. The young woman gleaned some comfort too, from the manacle, still on Rohaan’s wrist, for its removal had not been part of the negotiations. She hoped that it was tight and that it hurt. It was the least such a monster deserved, and when she was safe back home (because she would get home. Her father would make sure of it.), he’d get what was coming to him. In the meantime, though, the trees continued to speed past, just blurs of green and Hermia could see the sweat gleaming on Myrtle’s bay coat. Her flanks heaved with effort, flecks of foam appearing. Poor horse! Strong, safe and steady though she was, Hermia’s mare was not used to carrying two people – especially not at such speed. Perhaps her captor would realise this and stop a while, and then she would have her chance to escape.

This was not so likely, though, Hermia thought. Her captor hadn’t said a word the entire ride, so she’d quickly come to the conclusion he was nothing more than a dumb brute. He’d had no qualms about kidnap – or murder and such, so the stories said- so it was unlikely he’d have any problem with working a horse to injury.

“This is senseless.” Hermia surprised herself a little with her speech, but found herself continuing regardless. “You’ll be punished for this and dragged back in chains, regardless. You’d be better off just releasing me. My horse is unused to carrying two.” The young woman paused a moment, remembering the way he’d laughed and mocked. Insufferable! He’d threatened her – hurt, her, too and dragged her away from her family, her friends – her home! Currently there was little she could do to retaliate…Save perhaps make this experience as unpleasant for him as it was for her.

“And I advise you to jump in a river, too. You smell awful and your skin’s so grimy and disgusting I’d have been surprised if you’d have fetched a penny at auction, anyway.” Probably, the words would fall on deaf ears, but at present, it was the best Hermia could come up with. She was a vain little thing and the idea of someone insulting her appearance or her personal hygiene…Well, it would’ve made her blood boil.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
riddle_me_thisx
Member for 9 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:31 pm

"This is senseless," Came a shout from in front of Rohaan, feminine voice carrying through the whipping wind that took Rohaan's shoulder length blonde curls up and back in a wild swirl. Hermia proceeded to lecture an uncaring Rohaan all about how he would be caught and punished, and his whole effort was worthless. The shifter laughed, but it was a different kind of laugh than his usual cynical chuckle. No, this time, he was genuinely amused, and the sound was a very human one. He was not mocking her, even, but instead the idea that punishment was ever a motivator for him to change his behavior was bizzarre enough that he had nothing left to do but laugh. In his twenty seven years of life, Rohaan Ja'aisen had endured more pain and punishment, humiliation and dehumanization than any man could ever dream. His career as a criminal began very, very early and thus, so did punishment. He always found his way out of captivity, either by his own merits, stupid luck, or by the help of others, and more than once, he'd been marched to the gallows for a public hanging, which of course never actually happened, thus earning him the reputation of immortal and apparition-like. What was more, Rohaan did not fear death. He never looked forward to it and he always promised he would go down fighting, but he laughed in the face of danger and death. Being caught and punished, if they could even manage, would do nothing.

"My dear, Hermia! Don't you know who I am? I am Rheoaan Rohaan Rio Ja'aisen, Captain of Thieves! Do you know how many times I've been 'caught and punished?' You can count the rings on my ears and you won't be halfway there, yet. No, even if they do manage to take me again, it will not be for long. I also have absolutely no obligation to take to heart what you say about my hygiene. Although it be true, It's not me you have to thank. They don't give you soap in prison, Hermia. Besides, what do I care?" He grinned defiantly, then stood in the stirrups to gaze out at his surroundings. Sitting back down, he changed course slightly, veering to the right towards the river where rows of thin birch trees stood like sentinels on its bank.

The vokurian slowed the exhausted horse to a walk; as he did so, his body finally began to tremble slightly. For three days he had to suffer through wearing the shackle on his wrist, crafted of a metal his own people called taja'irei, or "death's iron". He'd been strong in front of his captors, never willing to give them the satisfaction of seeing him suffer, but Rohaan could no longer hide it now. As he began searching for something in the wooded bank, he pulled at the taja'irei, cracking glazed over scabs in the process. The wounds had been hidden under the thick band, but as he agitated them they became visible. What was more, the blood that now oozed ouf of the broken skin was silver, like a polished goblet. This characteristic earned his people the slang term 'silverbloods', or "sanguine-argent" in some regions.

Rohaan stopped the horse and dug through some small pockets in the saddle until he found some leather cord, which he promptly used to tightly bind Hermia's wrists together. The man dismounted and assisted her (roughly, but he did assist) in dismounting as well. One hand gripping the excess cord like a leash, Rohaan began digging through the fallen leaves and ferns at the base of a tree until he found a worn leather bandolier of pockets with a tightly rolled blanket and oblong pouch of food strapped to the back. It was pretty minimal and sleek for a pack, but it was what he had. Rohaan left it out there on purpose, for every time he pulled some kind of stint, he always understood the possibility of getting caught. Most of his things were valuable to him, so he hid them beforehand. Rohaan did not immediately don the pack, but instead popped open one of the pockets and pulled out an awkward hunk of twisted metal with thin extremities sprawling out in different directions. Deftly, he unlocked his chains and let them fall heavy to the forest floor, but the taja'irei was riveted onto his wrist and thus, could not be lockpicked. Rohaan audibly growled at this; a wave of panic and feral desperation struck him and he pulled hard at it, thin layers of skin peeling off from its sharp edges and blood dripping onto the leaves below. No use. Rohaan yelled; his cry held a very real anger, but mostly it was of genuine agony that was, again, very human.

Rohaan gave up....for now. Shackled hand trembling violently, the shifter guided both horse and woman to the gently sloping river bank. The horse knew what she wanted immediately, but to the woman, Rohaan said, "Drink. It may be a while before we stop again. They'll be pursuing sooner than they promised--I know. But I want to cover some ground first...." The vokurian bent down to wash his bloodied wrist in the cool water, silver streaking off of it like bits of steel cast away in the wind. As he did so, he was considering something, and eventually said, "I know I promised I would leave you at the river. I meant it, truly. But I need you just a little longer...it's a very simple thing I must ask of you when the time comes, and until then you stay with me. After that? I don't care what you do. You can take the horse and you can either wait for someone to find you or ride home. I don't want to keep you--taking captives isn't really my mantra. Until then, I will see to it you are fed, hydrated, and unharmed." There was a pause, then his eyes sought hers. "I never meant to bring you into this; my quarrel is not with you. But your father left me no choice, and frankly, I would rather stir things up than be killed, so you can hardly blame me. But...I am sorry for the way things turned out," he admitted, and everything about him told the truth. One would be hard pressed to find a sign of a lie in him, in fact.

"Come on then, let's move," Rohaan said after a while, giving a little tug on the leather cord in his hand. The vokurian looked up at the sky, then around, and he had a look about him that was akin to a wolf howling at the moon. Something in him felt empty, missing, and that pain showed through his eyes again.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Blackfridayrule
Member for 9 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Inspiration Conversationalist Novelist Lifegiver

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby riddle_me_thisx on Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:27 pm

Hermia was not sure what attitude she expected her words to be met with. Perhaps her captor would be indifferent and ignore her entirely; though he’d been vocal enough during the negotiations, he’d been silent the whole ride. Not that, with her insults, Hermia was attempting to goad the creature into conversation. She had no wish whatsoever to converse with the stupid brute, merely to point out the idiocy of what it was attempting – namely escape and kidnap. As well as this, it seemed important to let it be known that she did not intend to be a passive participant in this whole business; if she could oppose him in any way, she would.

It was to the brunette’s surprise and mortification, then, that her words were met with laughter. Laughter! Fear, respect, agitation, anger – any of those, perhaps, but not laughter! He found the whole thing a massive joke, then? Or perhaps the laugh simply masked a far more sinister intent. After all Rohaan Ja’aisen was a murderous criminal and as she’d heard it, his crimes were more numerous than stars in a clear sky. So surely, he could only take pleasure in them. What might be in store for her then, Hermia couldn’t quite bring herself to imagine. She only shuddered a little, though it likely went unnoticed due to the reverberations of laughter she could feel rumbling through Rohaan’s being. Thankfully, the sound of his laugh (rasping and unmusical, to her mind, at least) was not left ringing in her ears for too long. It was quickly whipped away by the wind, which was doing a fine job of undoing all the hard work which had gone into styling Hermia’s hair, despite an abundance of sturdy hair pins.

All thoughts of her hair, however, were struck away as Hermia’s captor made his reply. It was enough to cause offence to any respectable person. To begin, the odious creature had the audacity, the bare-faced cheek to call her by her first name, prefixing a term of endearment to this, as though he were family, or a very old and beloved friend. Thankfully he was – and never would be- anything of the sort. Secondly, he insulted her intelligence and brazenly boasted of his reputation – one that would cause any decent person to expire of shame. In doing so, he also introduced himself to her without first being recommended by a mutual acquaintance, which was frowned upon in polite society. Of course, so was kidnapping, but that was beside the point.
Rheoaan Rohaan Rio Ja’aisen.

Even his name was an insult to her ears – like Rohaan himself, it was brazen and self-satisfied. What purpose could anyone or anything seek in having so many names, save self-gratification? Two names were really sufficient, and most servants (those who hadn’t adopted the surnames of their masters) only had the one. To have two names was a privilege and a mark of the distinguished person, to have four? Well, that was just uncouth. Besides. They all sounded the same and not like any names Hermia had ever heard before.

Quite suddenly, Rohaan turned the horse sharply to the right, causing Hermia to catch her breath and wind her hands in Myrtle’s mane. The young woman was rather beginning to ache. With no stirrups, she really had nothing save the strength in her legs to stop her keeling forward and over Myrtle’s shoulder. The ride had not exactly been smooth – Myrtle was good-natured enough, but she was not a man’s horse; she’d been trained to carry female riders, whose hands were light on the reins and liked to travel at a dignified pace. Still, however uncomfortable she was, Hermia did not care to let Rohaan have the last word. ‘Captain of Thieves’ or not, he would have to be put in his place or there was really no hope of him keeping his word and returning her as agreed.

“Firstly, you will not address me in such a familiar manner.” The brunette sniffed lightly, her lips pursed. There had not been even a hint of amusement in her voice, for to her it was a very serious matter indeed. “Secondly,” she began, straightening up a little, her posture becoming increasingly haughty with every word she spoke, akin to that of a cat, sat proudly in a doorway, flicking its tail and casting disdain on passers-by. “Secondly – it is you who is to blame for being in prison in the first place.”

They continued to the riverbank in relative silence and Hermia was pleased that at last, her captor seemed to be slowing the pace. Why he should have been so desperate to escape in the first place was beyond her. Most likely, had he been auctioned to the highest bidder, he would have been placed in some great house – fed, watered and brought out occasionally, as it was with any other exotic, novelty pets. Everyone knew that his kind were essentially wild animals, anyway – they could neither think, feel or experience things so deeply as humans – and as with animals, it was the human duty to control and corral them. Rohaan had proved the necessity of it, hadn’t he? Without the guidance and supervision of his betters, he had turned into a liar, cheater, murderer, rapist and a thief.

It was therefore a great indignity and a reversal of the natural order to be put on a leash. A leash, of all things. Leather cord biting into her pale wrists, Hermia then found herself being man-handled down to the ground in a most undignified manner. There wasn’t even the slightest attempt to treat her with the respect which she was owed and deserved. The great lump had even torn her dress a little as part of it caught on the saddle. Before she had time to complain or even to catch her breath, he began to move, pulling her along with him.
The young woman stumbled behind, her shoes quite unsuitable for the soft turf, strewn with mouldy, rotting leaves as it was. Several times, she nearly slipped and the small heels of her shoes sank into the mud. Like the wild animal he was, though, Rohaan began digging through the mud with his bare hands, foliage and bits of oozing fungi flying up behind him as he did so. Nose wrinkled in distaste and wanting more than ever to go home, Hermia hung back as far as she could. She might be kidnapped, but there was no need for her to be muddy and disgusting as well. Had she free use of her hands, she might have used them to tidy her hair a little. Instead, she merely glanced round, noting that the river, rushes and reeds lining its banks, was in full flow and the water was high; it looked fit to burst its banks soon. This thought was more than a little unnerving, as she couldn’t swim to save her life – not a stroke. No, if she were to escape, her route would definitely not be across the river-

The young woman jumped, heart thumping loud and insistent in her chest. Hermia turned quickly back, brown eyes falling on her captor. His head was thrown back as an agonised yowl tore from his throat. Whatever was wrong? He’d lost something, maybe? Not that it mattered, because any pain caused to him could only bring her joy, but she couldn’t help but be a little curious. He was crouched over a bundle – something she couldn’t quite see – like a lion over its prey. Still, the cry was short-lived and somehow, Hermia didn’t think it wise to say anything. For all she knew, it could’ve been some kind of savage communication, directing others of his kind to come and meet him. And yet, he was growling, a low, guttural sound and scrabbling at something or other…
Then he straightened up, turned and made his way down the bank, as though the incident had never occurred. Of course, Hermia had no choice but to follow, though she leant back on her heels, trying to resist the tug of the leash. Rohaan was pulling her towards the water’s edge, so it seemed and she could think of few places she’d less rather go. He was going to push her in – drown her! A wave of panic flared within the young woman’s chest. She would be drowned and then she’d never see her family or friends again. With her hands bound, she’d have absolutely no chance.

“Drink…”

…What? Hermia’s eyes narrowed, her face taking on a pinched, mistrustful look. Myrtle had no such qualms, of course, but she was only a horse and knew no better. She wasn’t aware she’d been horse-napped. The young woman watched as he bent down, putting his hand in the stream. Where it broke the surface of the murky waters, silver-ish streaks, like slow-moving lightning appeared and then seemed to fizzle out. Poison? Was he perhaps poisoning the water with something? Although Hermia had heard of Rohaan and knew a little of his kind, the fact they were not to be trusted, were little better than animals and had funny eyes was about the extent of her knowledge. Hermia declared herself not thirsty and sat down on a moss-covered tree stump.

Rohaan began to speak again, and Hermia’s mouth fell open. She closed it, swallowed, then opened it again and closed it, much like a fish, gasping for air. She was, quite frankly, astonished. Not that he’d not keep his word – that wasn’t a surprise. But that he actually seemed to think he could ask something of her and that she would comply. “No – I’ll not do a thing for you. My father gave you a horse like you asked and you will return me, as and when you first agreed!” The young woman eventually snapped, eyes narrowing even further, so that they became little more than slits. “If you ‘truly’ meant it, you’ll keep your word!” Hermia took a deep breath, trying to refrain from hysterics. For a moment, she thought he was considering her words, though it seemed not, as he began to…Apologise?

Stunned into silence for a moment, rather than reducing her outrage, the apology only served to reinforce it. It may have sounded genuine enough, but the odds were stacked against Rohaan. He was a criminal, an animal and he had just announced that he did not intend to keep his promise. How could she trust anything he said? He’d probably just done it out of spite. He was probably enjoying her discomfort and most likely, he would laugh at her again. He looked at her, strange blue eyes catching brown for a fraction of a second. Hermia turned away. She didn’t want anything to do with him. She hadn’t even wanted to go to the stupid auction in the first place! The young woman couldn’t find a jot of sympathy for Rohaan or his plight, but then, she’d always been a self-absorbed creature, really. What did it matter to her if he was killed or not? He was just an animal. “I don’t want your food or drink. I don’t want your apologies,” Hermia replied, still turned away from Rohaan. “They don’t mean a thing to me. Animal. I just want to go home.”

At the order to move, Hermia merely stayed put on her tree stump, as though she’d not heard a word. She felt the tug on the leather, of course – it was digging into her wrists- but it hadn’t been anything too hard. “No. Shan’t.” If she had to lay down in the mud to avoid being moved, she would. She wasn’t going anywhere but home. “You can’t make me.”

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
riddle_me_thisx
Member for 9 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:25 am

Hermia began to make her demands, and Rohaan grinned. Had the circumstances been different, he would have graciously accepted that she did not want him to use her first name. In his culture, names were highly important and which one was used depended greatly upon who was using it. To break that code was dishonorable and offensive. But this woman's cocky, affected attitude rubbed on Rohaan, enough to tap into his spiteful streak that often appeared when people tried to control him or when people thought themselves better than he (and who didn't deserve such recognition). And when Rohaan got spiteful, it was rarely of the vengeful sort, but instead was accompanied by a mischievous grin, and his goal was always to push buttons and test the limits of his target. He'd been this way since he was a boy, and it was the accumulation of so many similar incidents that finally gave him his name. He recalled stories of his mother shouting at him, wondering why he couldn't keep himself out of trouble, and finally, in exasperation, declared his name to be Rheoaan, which meant something akin to, 'the spark that starts a fire'.

"Okay, woman. You don't want me to call you by your name? Fine. That's one thing I can respect. And truthfully, yes. Yes I did get myself into prison. But that's hardly the point." The prison system had become something of a joke to him. In smaller cities, or even smaller kingdoms, taja'irei was rare and most wardens couldn't afford it, or didn't know how to get it. In those cases, if he was caught, Rohaan would toy with his captors, giving them a false hope by staying for a few hours and, in a few cases, inciting riots, before flying the coop. And even the ones lucky enough to understand how to deal with a Vokurian, very few knew how to deal with him. He'd obviously become an escape artist and he once had companions who would help him in desperate situations. Whatever the method, he'd been in and out and openly defied near every convention that was designed to keep him in place. Why should he take it seriously?

The haughty girl refused to go any further with him or do him any more favors; Rohaan gave an exasperated sigh--the only sign of emotion from him that wasn't sarcastic in some way--though whether it was directed exactly at her unwillingness or the pain from his still quivering wrist was unclear, but it was likely the mix of both. But aside from that, he kept his cool. "Hah, don't test me, lady. Last I checked, you weren't the one making the decisions around here." The shifter twisted the taja'irei and pulled at it in vain; that thing would make him crazy eventually, either that or he'd chop off his own hand. "You may be a powerful, spoiled rich girl in your own hometown, lady, but out here? Out here, you couldn't last two days on your own. Out here, your words mean little and honestly, if I left you here, by the time you were found, darkness would have fallen and the wolves--for there are wolves in these parts--would have eaten you already. You don't matter out here in the real world. Try to remember that. Now," Rohaan said, casually approaching her as though he was going to move a piece of furniture. "We're gonna ride until we hit the next town. We're gonna find us a blacksmith, and you will explain to said smith that you recently purchased me and think I will be more useful unshackled, and have him get this off me. You will take the horse, I'll put you up in an inn or something if it's any consolation for your trouble," Rohaan reeled in his grip on the leather cord and hoisted the woman over his shoulder like a sack of flour, then headed back towards the horse. "Then I'll go my way and you'll go yours. You can go back to being a pretentious, clueless snob, and I'll live a real life. Uhkay?" His tone was so casual; it just added to his entire air of cocky untouchability. A part of him was teasing, though, despite the fact that he meant every word. Really, he just wanted to watch her squirm. If she was gonna give him lip, he'd stir the pot a little, too.

Rohaan hoisted her back into the saddle, climbed up behind her, and untied her hands before spurring on the horse at a light but purposeful pace. They weren't off for very long when he spoke up. "I have a question for you. An honest, sincere question." Without waiting for her consent, he continued, "Do you find your life...fulfilling? Worth anything? I mean, hey, maybe there's something I'm not seeing, but it looks pretty empty to me. Let me guess. You spend your day with that maidservant of yours, making her or someone else do most things for you in a house so large you scarcely know what to do with every room, and as you've gotten older, your father has goaded equally rich and powerful young men into coming to your window with a bouquet of roses or whatever flower you seem to like, each one claiming to court you, but really all they want to do is impress your father, not you, so they can be more rich and powerful. Am I right? Am I close?"

Rohaan had some knowledge of how the upper class lived (aside from the fact that they valued possessions highly--possessions he could just take for the sake of watching them howl about it) and a great deal of what he did know came from a woman he knew mostly as Shadow. Aside from his own mother, Shadow was the only soul who could evoke enough fear in him to be submissive, and she was tougher than nails. Over many years, that fear turned to a reverent respect, and she became almost an older sister figure for him. But though she had a rough life, she didn't start out that way, and she occasionally chimed in with stories of what it was like to live in upper class society. She often remarked on how empty it felt, to her at least, and how everything seemed to be surface-deep, including the affection of her own parents, as she later discovered. Rohaan never understood how people could live like that. He had little possessions and luxuries growing up as a child, but the world was at his fingertips. It was his to tame and to learn and to admire. He could do as he pleased. The thought of being cooped up in an oversized house with nothing meaningful to do, and a handful of people who bent over backwards for him because they were obligated, not because they respected him, seemed....sad. How could she possibly enjoy such a life?

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Blackfridayrule
Member for 9 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Inspiration Conversationalist Novelist Lifegiver

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby riddle_me_thisx on Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:40 am

Naturally, the suggestion that she had no option but to comply, coupled with scornful words did not sit well with Hermia. Not at all. She was wealthy, yes – she could not and did not wish to dispute that. It was the word ‘spoiled’ she objected to, because it simply wasn’t true. It implied something that had been irreversibly ruined and so far as she could see, her life had done nothing to ruin her. Hermia had been lucky enough to be born into a well-to-do and wealthy family, so it was the natural order of things that people did her bidding and such. Her maidservant, Mag, for instance, would be out on the streets if it were not for the fact that Hermia’s father could afford to employ her. Given his more than questionable background and inherently inferior moral compass (it was well known his kind had no conscience), Hermia really didn’t think Rohaan was qualified to cast such a critical eye on her. But why should she care what he thought of her? He was as inconsequential as he claimed her to be. Therefore, as he approached her, Hermia felt little need to respond. She merely sat where she was, head turned away in an act of unspoken defiance.

The revelation of his little ‘plan’ only succeeded in eliciting a small snort of derision from the brunette. She would ask a smith to remove the band of metal from his wrist? Well, that was about as likely as Hermia eloping with an impoverished pig farmer. “I will do no such thing,” she replied, turning to look at her captor, one eyebrow arched slightly, as though challenging him to refute her. It was an expression that had gotten her in to trouble on more than one occasion. If she were able, she would have folded her arms. “You will have to find some other way of removing your wrist-band.” From the way he twisted and tugged at it, Hermia guessed it was causing him some irritation and if he had not kidnapped her – if say, she had met him walking down the road – she might have granted his request. As it was, however…He quite deserved it. As for his promise of putting her up in an inn and leaving Myrtle with her, she dismissed it immediately. There was no point even considering it – he was clearly as slippery and dishonest as black ice.

Apparently though, the brute was not in the mood debate the issue, for he began to reel in the leather cord. Hermia endeavoured to make herself a dead weight, instantly, leaning back so as to resist the pull. It was little good, however; Hermia was not particularly tall and her build was slight. Like a fish on a line, twisting and writhing, she was eventually reeled in, shoes skidding and scuffing up the damp earth. Oh how humiliating…

It was not nearly so bad as what happened next. He put one arm around her, pulling her a little closer and hoisted her up right over his shoulder! Hermia squealed, using her fists, tied together as they were to pummel his back, legs kicking all the while. This was quite simply outrageous! “Put me down. NOW!” The young woman hissed, howled and all manner of things, her cheeks turning scarlet with mortification and anger. She had never been treated like this in all her life – not once in her twenty-three years! As though…As though she were an old carpet or some easy strumpet from a tavern, who’d flutter her eyelashes and more for a half penny. Hermia’s protests seemed to have little effect, so the brunette changed tactic. Managing to grab some of Rohaan’s blonde hair in both her hands, she gave a sharp tug. “Put me down this instant! I’ll still not help you!”

Cheeks still burning and quivering with rage, the young woman found herself sat in the saddle once more, her captor having climbed up behind her. Not even the cool breeze did much to reduce the colour in her cheeks. She would never help him. Not ever. As soon as they got to the next town and he marched her into the first blacksmith’s they came across, she would calmly explain that she had been kidnapped and that Rohaan was a criminal. Subsequently, he would be arrested or returned to her father and Hermia could go home, little worse for wear. They had not been very far, when Rohaan began to question her (it seemed he was pretty fond of his own voice). Hermia had half a mind not to answer – even his ‘honest and sincere’ question was insulting and rubbed her up the wrong way…But then she reconsidered.

Perhaps it would be best to answer. After all, if he thought she was becoming more compliant, he might relax his guard. Already, he had removed the leather cord from her wrists, and if she appeared more agreeable, perhaps he would not expect her to betray him to the blacksmith – or whoever they came across before then. “Don’t presume to know anything about me or my life,” Hermia replied, her tone somewhat clipped. Never in a million years would she admit that some of what Rohaan said had been accurate. Her house was large and sometimes the sheer size could leave it feeling lonely and unlived in. The young woman had her favourite rooms, of course, which were lovely, but there were parts of the house that were mostly unused. When the family ate, for instance, it was usually in the Summer dining room; she could only recall sitting in the winter dining room once or twice. Likewise, the third floor reception room was uninhabited, except for an old armchair and a dusty, mahogany bureau. Some days were also more dull than others, but then, that wasn’t something unique to her own life or a result of her lifestyle. All people had dull days. As for the vision Rohaan painted, of young men queuing up outside her bedroom window, with presents and strings of flattering words, what was so wrong with that?

“I assure you, the affection I and my fiancé have for one another is quite real and I think I shall find running my own household and raising a family very fulfilling.” What else was there to want in life? She would follow the example of her older sister, Lucilla, and one day, her youngest sister would do the same. Marriage was about strengthening your position in society and ensuring you could continue to life how you had been accustomed to. In encouraging the attentions of suitable young men (often the sons/cousins/nephews etc of her father’s business associates), Hermia understood all her father did was demonstrate his care and devotion. What good was a husband who couldn’t maintain you and any children you might have? …Not that Hermia’s oldest sister, Primula, had taken this to heart. She’d disobeyed their father’s orders and run off with a baker’s boy. The brunette paused, taking a moment to rearrange her hair. “Not that I’d expect a criminal, such as yourself, to understand.”

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
riddle_me_thisx
Member for 9 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:21 pm

Hermia refused to go along with his plan, which Rohaan expected. In no way did he ever expect her to curtsey to him and say, 'yes, sir, that sounds like a delightful plan', and in fact, he hardly expected her to comply at all. But he had his ways, and he had not exhausted his options yet. Rohaan decided a long time ago that he really didn't want to kill her--she'd done nothing of note to him, after all, and if anyone deserved the brunt of his wrath, it would have been her father. Rohaan was a man of mixed morals, yes, but his parents, and especially a man called Berlin that he loved deeply, taught him better than that. Berlin's philosophy, in fact, was not to kill at all if it could be helped, so when Rohaan was twenty three and saw Berlin kill 5 men for the first time, he knew the situation was dire. His parents taught him that taking a life should be thought about carefully and only done in defense, never in vengeance. Between the two factions, he had his own moral compass, and it certainly didn't include killing innocent people. But Rohaan was not above hurting anyone, except perhaps children. If Hermia would not comply in the end, he would either find a way to make her, or turn the tables and use her as a bargaining chip, as a thing to be bartered away so that at the very least, she might understand how he felt.
"Suit yourself," he said. "But if you refuse to help me, I'll start by breaking your fingers. One. By. One. I could take your ear off, too--did you know it doesn't take much force to do it?--but I feel that would be a little uncalled for at this point." Rohaan wouldn't do that, but he wanted to make her believe he would, which, given his reputation, wouldn't take much.

As the vokurian hauled her over his shoulder, she howled like a banshee and pounded her bound fists into his back, legs flailing. Rohaan had to admit, he admired her effort, but she was going about it all wrong. If she knew what she was doing, she might have tried to roll to the side to throw him off balance, or to twist around in his grip, or even a good strong bite might have been somewhat successful. Instead, Rohaan stoically took the wailing and drumming on his back and, when she demanded to be put down immediately, Rohaan gave a half smile and, as if talking to a small child, lilted, "Noo." His tone was mockingly and sarcastically sweet; she didn't need to see his face to know that his grin was taunting her. Then suddenly his head jerked to one side as she pulled at one of his twisted blonde locks; Though it stung, Rohaan chuckled. "Woman, let me teach you a lesson. If you're trying to hurt a man who's been beaten within an inch of his life twice....you might want to start with something a little more severe than pulling his hair. Just a thought."

Now riding away, Hermia actually answered his question, revealing that she had a fiance. Rohaan actually howled with laughter when she said that they actually loved each other. There was a chance that was true, he would admit, but Shadow told him all about these kind of marriages, and Berlin himself had a marriage that was 'affectionate' until some trouble came their way, and then the two never spoke again.
"You say I have no understanding of such things, but I think it's the other way around. You humans will never understand love until you are faced with no other option but to protect it with your very life." Rohaan thought back to his parents and how ferociously they fought to give him the chance to run and hopefully survive. Even as their silver blood poured over the sand and flowed into the mighty blue ocean, his mother with a sword through her scaled shoulder and his father with enough arrows in his powerful, dark chest to take down a bear, the two took down what Rohaan imagined to be an entire platoon before their shifted forms quivered, returned to their natural state, and died. Rohaan escaped with his life that night, and he would never forget it. Rohaan also remembered his former crew--an infamous band of thieves and lawbreakers, led by Berlin, called the Cyradan after the fast, stealthy dragon-like animal that served as their crest--and the members whom they had lost. It was in this pack of once-seafaring pirates that Rohaan got his start as a thief, and it was under Berlin's rule that Rohaan began to develop his own infamy and reputation. Those were the people that taught Rohaan about true love, be it brotherly, maternal, or otherwise. Hermia would never understand this, of course, which he thought sad.

"Let me guess. You believe my kind is not capable of love? Not capable of happiness, of joy, of affection or sorrow? You believe we have no moral compass to guide us and no intelligence to boot? Hm, I'd say the same about you humans, except I've seen a few of your people prove me wrong. Only a few. Most of you are more monsters than you think I am."

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Blackfridayrule
Member for 9 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Inspiration Conversationalist Novelist Lifegiver

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby riddle_me_thisx on Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:26 pm

The roar of laughter tore through the quiet of the surrounding wilderness, rather startling Hermia. What on earth had prompted that? Quite honestly, she saw nothing funny about what she’d just said. She was content with her life! Well…Perhaps not her life at the current moment in time (she’d much rather not be stuck on a horse with a great big, filthy, smelly criminal, thank you very much), but in general. She had somewhere to live, food to eat, clothes on her back and company enough – what else was there to want? She had everything. Huffing, the young woman rolled her eyes, trying her best to ignore the laughter and the burning sensation in her cheeks. She didn’t like to be the object of ridicule. If anything, Rohaan should have envied her – not laughed at her. “I don’t see what you find so funny,” the brunette grumbled, sitting up a little straighter in the saddle.

Not that she cared, of course, but why would he laugh at the notion of her impending marriage? Hermia considered for a moment, head tilted to the side just slightly. Perhaps her captor simply didn’t understand the concept of marriage. It could be that his kind, like so many other animals, didn’t have monogamous relationships. Thinking upon it, Hermia thought this sounded about right, if the stories about Rohaan were to be believed. Besides that, if marriages did take place in his culture (was it right to call it that? ‘Culture’ implied civilisation, after all…), Rohaan himself should have been wed by now, surely? It was a bit hard to tell, simply because he looked so different to anyone Hermia had seen before, what with those eyes…And of course, all the dirt didn’t help, but she would have guessed his age at around 29. To be 29 and unmarried –unless widowed- was unusual, though the young woman supposed it was possible. Still, if Rohaan did have a wife, Hermia couldn’t imagine for one minute that she would be happy for him to go roaming the world, stealing, murdering, eating babies and kidnapping young women. Did his kind marry? Perhaps she would ask… It was a curious subject, and Hermia never tired with talk of weddings.

Oh, her own wedding…It was going to be fabulous…

Her train of thought otherwise occupied (with wedding dresses, flowers, cake etc), the brunette was brought back down to earth and the current situation by Rohaan’s speech. Once again, he seemed to be chastising her. It was ludicrous, really. Rohaan was quite clearly insane. It was Hermia’s turn to laugh, shaking her head as she did so. What else could one do, when a man who had kidnapped her and threatened to cut off her finger and one of her ears, claimed to have an understanding of love and morality? “You’re mad,” the brunette stated, simply. Perhaps so…And perhaps he would cut off her ears for saying so. Instantly, Hermia regretted her words, lifting one hand to rub at her ear, as though checking it was still there. Her other hand curled into a protective fist. She’d sooner die than lose an ear or have her fingers chopped off. If that were allowed to happen, she’d never be able to be seen in public again, much less get married. Still, Hermia had to trust that Rohaan’s fear of her father was enough to keep her safe… And she wouldn’t be very likely to assist him if he harmed her in anyway now, would she? Then he’d have to wear his manacle for the rest of his life. If it came to it, she’d remind him of that.

Her captor’s last claim, of course, was even more ridiculous than the first. According to him, humans were the monsters?! If that could be any further from the truth, Hermia would gladly have eaten all the hats in her hat cupboard. If Rohaan was able to call humans monsters with such certainty, how did he see himself? It was impossible that he should even begin to consider himself as the victim in this situation. No – if Rohaan was more innocent than most humans, the world would be a very awful place indeed. There would be no civilisation, no culture, no polite society; chaos and violence would rule. If most humans were more monstrous than her captor, there would be no more ‘good mornings’ or ‘how do you do?’s. Instead, you’d be just as likely to get a knife to the throat the moment you stepped outside your front door. Hermia shuddered, caught by a sudden chill, icy fingers seeming to stroke up and down her spine. “I know your kind are violent. I know you’re a thief and a murderer – that you’ve raped women and eaten babies.” Hermia paused, the words feeling disgusting in her mouth, even as she said them. She disliked that, for now, at least, she had to try to be cordial. “I think you and I have very different ideas about the meaning of the word ‘monster’”

Somewhere, in the distance, a wolf’s cry was answered by that of another. Hermia glanced around, her heart starting to beat a little faster. They really were in the middle of nowhere and dusk was falling, bright pink and fading orange streaking the darkening sky. It was beginning to dawn on her how far from home she really was. Thinking to distract herself, Hermia leant down to pat Myrtle’s neck. “You asked if I found my life satisfying. What about you? How can you possibly find your life satisfying. What joy does it give you, except at the pain of others?”

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
riddle_me_thisx
Member for 9 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:31 pm

"You want to know what's funny? The idea that you'd actually marry some sap your father put up to wooing you. Probably did it for money, no less. And I'm sure he's a nice enough man and that he might care about you, but I sincerely doubt he loves you, and I sincerely doubt you love him. I'm not talking about being 'affectionate'. A puppy is affectionate with his owner, but you don't go off marrying those. I know humans love like we do--truly and deeply. But the upper class--you people--you do things differently. Children are chips in a game of poker to be dealt away to whoever has the higher hand, and the result is shallow, empty unions and a lot of pressure to have babies." Rohaan considered something for a moment, then added, "Let me ask you something. Answer me honestly, now. In my home, when you stand in front if the entire Ruvi'a--" Rohaan stopped himself; she wouldn't understand what Ruvi'aehir (the Vokurain word for village or community) meant, nor would she care for the explanation. Backtracking, he corrected himself, "in front of the entire village with the person you want to join souls with, you are first and foremost asked a question before the matriarch will let you proceed: "Ata nae'ira taja'io kaleila'ne?" Loosely translated, that means, "Would you die for her?", or vice versa when asked to the woman." When Rohaan spoke his native tongue, his subtle accent thickened dramatically and the words rolled off his tongue like beads of silver, effortlessly and smoothly. The common tongue was his second language, and for the most part one could never tell this was the case, as he'd been speaking it for ages. There were, however, a few words that always seemed to slip his grasp, and occasionally if he was excited or particularly angry, he'd slip unwittingly back into his natural tongue. "So, I ask you. Would you die for him?" Rohaan was honestly curious; his tone was not mocking and sarcastic as it was before.


When he was accused of all the crimes he supposedly committed, Rohaan roared again with laughter. He was well aware of his reputation, but he knew that most of it was old wives tales told to children so they would behave, or exaggerated tales spun at seedy bars. Rohaan never imagined that someone might actually believe all of them! "Babies!! Is that what they say about me? Hah! No, no, I don't do that. Never harmed a child in my life, unless you count the boys I used to scrap with as a kid, but they were willing participants. No, I've never done such a thing. Nor have I taken advantage of a woman. Never." His tone suggested a strong, adamant sense of finality, as if it was something he'd never done, never considered doing, and the very thought disgusted him. "But I'll admit, I have killed several men. I'll do it again if it means survival, especially if I don't believe they're good people. And of course you know that I steal." Rohaan smiled, as if this was a point of pride for him. "And I'll admit that as a culture, we tend to be more prone to violence than some humans. But do you know why we are that way?" Rohaan became very serious for a moment. "Because that's what we have to do to survive. If we were not, those of your people that carry swords and arrows would slay us all. I lived on an island with my people, and it was peaceful until the humans discovered us and tried to make us into slaves. When we refused, they attacked and tried to kill us. And thus began endless night-raids by your people, who cut off the heads of children and sliced open the bellies of pregnant women. That's how my parents died, you know. They both stood their ground and died so I could have the chance to run. If you think I'm gruesome...you just be thankful you haven't seen what I've seen." For the most part, Rohaan had been untouchable; no comment or gesture could move him, except to laughter or pity. But Hermia had struck a chord with the cruelty of humans and the ongoing perception that his people were things to be eliminated or exploited. It was something that affected Rohaan deeply, as it had changed his life and he encountered it every day. If he could do nothing else, he would not let her take his story lightly.

When asked if his admittedly alternative life was fulfilling, Rohaan nodded. "Aye, I find my life very fulfilling. I answer to nothing and no one, I do as I please, and I have no obligations to do anything for anyone. It's beautiful, that kind of freedom. You wouldn't understand--you've been a caged songbird your whole life and you wouldn't even be able to comprehend the joy that is true freedom. But let me tell you, I can never go back. And I like to upset the order of things....I don't steal from people who need it, but I prefer to go for royalty or nobles. They won't miss what I take half the time, but the indignity is priceless to watch. It really knocks 'em down a couple of pegs to take wine from their own cup. And in a way, I've become a beacon of hope to my own people, and to those who the bulk of society doesn't appreciate. After all, if I can stand up to those people, why can't they? And yes, I do have to think a lot about where my next meal will come from, or how to stay alive every day. But I really have very little to lose and it's liberating. It's worth it. And I've seen so much of the world! More than any human ever could--you do not know joy until you have taken to the sky on a pair of wings." Rohaan smiled, and again he looked less like an inhuman crook and more like a human who was merely of low social status. The joy he spoke of was genuine, and it showed, but it did not come without its pitfalls and losses, and these showed as well when one looked deeply into his aventurine eyes.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Blackfridayrule
Member for 9 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Inspiration Conversationalist Novelist Lifegiver

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby riddle_me_thisx on Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:31 pm

Hermia had come to the unsurprising conclusion that she did not like Rohaan one little bit. His manner and way of speaking grated on her nerves. He seemed eager enough for conversation, yet seemed to delight in mocking her words. It seemed likely that he had not had proper company in quite some time; the fact he seemed to have an opinion on everything made him most disagreeable. Sometimes, when one was ill-informed or had nothing pleasant to say, it was best to keep your lips pressed tight together and remain silent. It was a wonder no one had told Rohaan that before! Certainly, Hemia felt like doing so….And yet, a small smirk danced on her lips as her captor marvelled at the fact she would marry a ‘sap’. All he was doing was displaying his own ignorance. Had he not been so irritating, it might have been sad. As things stood, though…Hermia decided it would be a source of amusement.

The description ‘sap’, for instance, was hardly befitting of her fiancé. He was a tall, with broad shoulders and a well-muscled frame. Stood next to him, the top of Hermia’s head barely drew level with his shoulder. The contrast was no bad thing – hanging off his arm on a stroll about town, it made the young woman feel both very safe and quite dainty. She’d heard it remarked before that they made a ‘very handsome couple’. Even now, the thought caused her cheeks to glow. With his green, almond-shaped eyes, straight nose and strong jaw, her Marcus was certainly very easy on the eyes. At least, Hermia thought so. He was definitely a great deal better than her sister, Lucilla’s, husband – he was a cheerful, pleasant fellow, less severe and serious than Marcus, but he was rather squat and had an obvious fondness for cakes. Truthfully, despite his flame-red hair (Hermia consoled herself with the fact any children they did have would probably end up with auburn hair, at the very worst), the young woman found she liked him very much indeed. He would be a good husband and she was sure they would be very happy together. She found that her fondness of him only increased as she imagined, with some degree of pleasure, that he could quite easily beat Rohaan in a fight. “A good husband would never ask his wife to die for him or put her in a situation where it became necessary,” Hermia countered, finding the question an odd one. It seemed strange that where Rohaan came from, death should be so bound up with marriage; marriage was about life, not death! “I love him very much. He makes me laugh.”

Apparently, Rohaan found the accusations cast at his door rather amusing, too, for once again, he howled with laughter. Why anyone should find it funny that they had been accused (falsely or otherwise) of such things was quite beyond Hermia. Still, she thought he was probably serious and truthful as he denied ever eating a baby or taking advantage of a woman. It was not that she thought much of his character, but he admitted to the charge of murder; if he had been a lying, he surely would have denied everything. The mood seemed to change, however, as Rohaan began to tell her where he came from and what had happened there. Slaughtered women, murdered children and slavery; no matter how much Hermia disliked Rohaan, she could never condone that. And yet, he would say that, wouldn’t he? There were always two sides to every story, and Hermia was more inclined to believe that which she’d heard from reputable sources; the so-called ‘raids’ were merely self-defence.


An uncomfortable frown began to form on Hermia’s face, the corners of her lips tugging downwards. She didn’t like Rohaan, but the thought of pregnant women being slaughtered and children being harmed could never sit well with her, even if it was all an elaborate lie. After all, the version of the story she’d heard was rather different. From what she’d heard, Hermia gathered that the routing of Rohaan’s race had been self-defence and retaliation. His race were a notoriously violent people –he even admitted so himself – and Hermia could not think for one moment that they’d done nothing to provoke the raids. As for slavery, it had recently become illegal. If a human was caught trying to sell another human, he/she would be heavily fined and punished. Yet Rohaan was, technically speaking, an animal. He – and the rest like him – were not human, and so they were allowed to be bartered for and sold off to the highest bidder. If things were not like that…Well, then they would be the other way around. If humans had not taken precautions to control Rohaan and others like him, the consequences would have been disastrous. Despite this knowledge, an uncomfortable frown settled on Hermia’s face. “I am sorry for your parents…And I am sorry for the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of the men you –and others like you- have killed,” she replied, none of her usual haughtiness evident in her voice. “Perhaps if people were not so afraid, perhaps if your kind would abide by our laws and customs without violence, things could be different.”

Now, the conversation had taken a different turn, and Rohaan answered Hermia’s question. He, apparently, was entirely content with his life. He spoke as though genuinely excited by what he was saying, and the joy in his voice as he mentioned flying was almost tangible. The young woman thought it entirely bizarre; how could someone be content, living such a life? Without obligations, how could he see that he had a purpose in life at all? Oh, he might claim to be a ‘beacon of hope’ and perhaps he thought that his calling, but what good would frustrating a few wealthy people do? So far as Hermia could tell, it was done more for his own enjoyment than for any other purpose. More than anything, it seemed like the actions of a petulant child, starving for some attention and willing to do absolutely anything to get it. From where Hermia was sitting, it looked a very lonely sort of existence – not ‘liberated’ or ‘free’, but an outcast. There was quite a difference. Just as there was a difference between her life and that of a caged bird. The young woman couldn’t really remember a time she’d felt constricted. True, her father had certain expectations of her, but within reason, she was allowed her freedom. She was allowed to go into town, to go for walks and to go riding whenever she chose to, really. “I’m not caged. I have a home and people who care for me – there’s a difference,” the brunette pointed out, squinting a little in the semi-darkness. Perhaps her eyes were playing tricks on her, but she thought she could see lights flickering in the distance. The town Rohaan had spoken of? “You say you have nothing to lose and that it’s liberating…But I think that sounds the saddest thing of all. What is there to live for if there’s nothing you’d be afraid to lose?”

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
riddle_me_thisx
Member for 9 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:14 pm

Rohaan seemed bothered that her relationship with the man she planned to marry--to join souls with for eternity--seemed so...shallow. Where he came form, getting married was a huge ordeal that involved a great deal of proving dedication and love to the rest of the community. Most of the Ruvi'aehir had to accept the legitimacy of the partnership, but the matriarch, also called the tane'au'ri, had the final say on whether a pair married or not. Rohaan could never remember an instance in which his own tane'au'ri revoked a marriage, but she had that right. More often, though, Rohaan saw the death-vows tested to the bitter end, and he knew many a widow because of it. In fact, this same dedication is what kept him alive that fateful night.
"It's not a requirement...it's more about the willingness to do so. It should never be expected, but if you truly love someone, if you...uh..." Rohaan snapped his fingers searching with futility for the best descriptor. He could find no human word for it, so he reverted to his own language. "If you are i'eian with a person, then when you're put in a situation like that well...there's nothing else to do. Anything else seems inadequate. You don't do it because you have to, you do it because you want to." Rohaan let that sink in for a moment before prodding at the subject again. "You haven't convinced me yet. You make me laugh, but I have no love for you. C'mon. You still haven't answered my question. If a bear came upon you and your fiance and was going to eat you, but one of you could run for it, would you let him run and let the bear take you?"

Rohaan felt at least somewhat satisfied that Hermia had some sense of sadness for the plight of his people, though he wasn't sure she totally understood the gravity of it all. Admittedly, it was very far removed from her comfortable, luxurious life and would thus be hard to grasp. Rohaan's perception would always be more sympathetic because he was there to see and experience it himself, and he couldn't expect to hold her to that same standard. But she was moved, at least a little, and that was some small victory to him.
"You raise an interesting point," he said as though he was an intellectual debating with another over a glass of brandy. "I have a theory as to how this war between our people started, and I think you've touched on the foundation of it. Your people expect us to behave in the same manner as yourselves, but doing so is like asking a bird to trot and a horse to fly. Your culture, like mine, puts an emphasis on truthfulness. For us, you are truthful in word and deed, but you humans add appearance to that list. A vokurian like myself could appear to be anyone or anything they pleased. We have our own ways of identifying whether someone's shape is true or not, but you don't understand what to look for and thus feel lied to when we are not consistent in our shape. That kind of insecurity turns to fear, and fear leads your people to push out whatever intimidates them. I think, long, long ago, this happened to my people, and we, tired of being viewed as inferior, rebuked the notion, and things began to escalate. That's how I think this war started--and believe me, it's a war. Truthfully, not a one of us really wants to conform to your ways and your culture. If we had it our way, we'd keep to ourselves, but your people have other ideas. Your people can't let things be, and that's how the vokurian slave trade began. That's how the night raids began. That's why the vokurian word for human is synonymous with 'nocturnal monster', and 'soldier'. Ji'ci'ira encompasses all three, but these days it has an ugly context. I say if humans kept out of our business, we would keep to ourselves and thrive on our own." It was quickly obvious that this was a subject of great passion for the weathered vokurian, for it affected all that he was and all that he stood for.

"And as for the mothers who weep for the loss of their sons that I killed, I grieve for them. Not their sons, mind you, but for them. I understand their pain more than most and you would be a fool to think that I have never lost someone I loved. But when a soldier enters a battlefield--and trust me, they do when they engage with the likes of me--he is understanding of the risks he takes. I understand the risk I take, and those that stand with me understand it as well. They made their choices, and I made mine. It's the people who have no say in the matter, who never asked for it that deserve my deepest remorse." Rohaan pulled at his bond for a moment, hands shaking hard enough that he almost couldn't get a grip on it. He would get that thing off if it was the death of him. "You're naive, girl," Rohaan said finally, still honoring her demand not to use her first name. "You have a lot to understand about the true workings of this world."

Hermia did pose an interesting question, one that Rohaan stopped to consider for a while before answering. If he had nothing, what was left to defend? "Good question," he admitted. "I guess you could say if I truly had nothing to live for, it might be a bland existence. Every man has his breaking point, and ever man holds tightly to something he is terrified to lose. I find I have less of those, and that's often for the better. I have no social status to think of, no money to fret about, no job to slave over, no patronage to owe to anyone. I am who I am and I do what I want, and for it, no one can touch me. This freedom itself is a thing to live for and to cherish...you might not understand that until you truly lose all freedom. Then you'll know how sweet it is to have no limitations--believe me. More than that, there are people in this world I care for, and who care for me. They are few and far between and spread far and wide across this land and the next," Rohaan said, grinning, "but I'd give my life for any one of them in an instant. They'd do the same for me, and some actually have--rest their souls. To me, that is enough."

As the full brunt of nighttime's darkness fell upon the shady forest, the trees began to thin out and give way to flat grassland that then blended into a small town with flickering warm lights atop poles staked into the ground. It was obvious the town was mostly a farming community, as livestock seemed to outnumber the people and it had no fortifying walls to speak of. Neat rows of summer corn bordered the far edge, while grain faced the west end where the two approached. Behind wooden fences came the lowing of dairy cows and the din of big brass bells strung around the fluffy necks of sheep and goats. A black and white collie greeted them on the path into the heart of town, but after a quick investigation, she decided she wasn't fond of Rohaan's presence and trotted off. The majority of this town's patrons were making preparations for a family dinner; Rohaan could see that most shops were closed for the evening or were in such a process. He needed to find the blacksmith, and fast, or he'd start knocking on doors until he found one.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Blackfridayrule
Member for 9 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Inspiration Conversationalist Novelist Lifegiver

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby riddle_me_thisx on Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:57 am

Rohaan and all his race - if they were anything like him – were entirely strange and Hermia found she could make little sense of him. As a being, he seemed entirely illogical. With the beliefs he held, one might call it a miracle he was still alive at all. The question about the bear, for instance; the young woman had elected not to answer, as it was both ridiculous and impertinent. Any sensible person confronted by an angry bear would run as fast as they possible could. Rohaan claimed, a person ie…I-yeen (even in her head, Hermia found she could not pronounce the strange word) with another would make no effort to run, so that the person they loved might have a chance at life. With an attitude like that, the young woman thought there must be very few married couples where Rohaan had come from! For by the same logic, if two people in love were faced by a bear, neither would move; they’d come to a standstill, each trying to convince the other to run. The consequences of which would be a very fat and content bear.

Equally, though he called her naïve, he seemed not to see that it was he who contradicted himself, proposing a hypothetical and impossible reality. Despite the fact he acknowledged her question to be a good one (something Hermia appreciated), the young woman found she could not deem his answer satisfactory. Freedom and the thought of those who would stand beside him and fight for it was apparently what drove him, what ensured he didn’t just give up on life. That was all very well, but freedom was defined by its opposites – captivity, suppression and slavery. By that token, without the threat of confinement, liberty was nothing. It would lose its novelty. If the Vokurians were not at ‘war’ with humans, what would Rohaan speak so passionately about? Probably still about one ‘war’ or another. Perhaps it was a callous, sceptical view of the world, but peace never seemed to work. Like the horizon, it was something to be strived for, never fully attained. Violence was inevitable – akin, almost to natural disaster- and the best people could do was try to control it and manage the results.

“You are odd,” Hermia spoke at length, a slight frown on her face, for she could feel a headache coming on. Her legs ached something chronic, too; she was not used to riding except with a side saddle. “You value freedom, but you are not content with it as you claim!” There was a tiny note of exasperation in her voice, for really, such a character would have been enough to irk anyone. “Instead..” the brunette continued, brown eyes straying to the collie that came to investigate, tongue lolling, tail wagging. She found herself momentarily distracted; it was rather a sweet looking dog. Soon, though, it gave a whinge, pulled its ears back and retreated into the shadows of a house. Hermia heard it scratching at the wood of a door. “Instead,” she began again, remembering where she had been with her speech. “You try to enhance the value of freedom by antagonising those who would take it from you. You fear-monger in the process, and even if humans left you alone, I don’t think you would be capable of doing the same.”

Pleased to have re-entered civilisation once more (even if it was only a farming village), Hermia was about to demand to be let down from the horse, when she noticed the quivering reigns. Brown eyes soon fell upon the source of the disturbance; Rohaan’s hands, particularly the cuffed one, were shaking rather badly. What was the cause of that, then? It did not look so very tight as all that. Maybe he was nervous to have entered another human settlement; though to Hermia it looked friendly enough, with warm candle-light glowing forth from windows and quaint, thatched rooves. Still, no doubt he would want to be finding a blacksmith fairly soon and then she could go home. She did find herself curious about one thing, though; it still bothered her.

“…If your people love one another so much they’ll get eaten by bears and such, willy-nilly, how on earth are there any of you left at all?!”

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
riddle_me_thisx
Member for 9 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:52 am

Hermia called him odd, which he nodded and agreed to almost immediately. In the human world, he was a complete enigma, an oddity that defied the laws of human nature (as well as the laws of human society). But even to his own people, he was strange. Most men his age would have a home of some kind and children. Rohaan had neither home nor child to speak of. In fact, all that was left of his family was not his kin at all, but rather people whom he'd 'adopted' as such. Rohaan also was known by a great many strangers by his second name, Rohaan, which in his culture was completely uncouth and kind of disrespectful. In Vokurian society, a child is not named until they are a few years old and their personality begins to develop. Then, based on who they are as a person, they are given three names. Each one is as equally the 'first name' (to use the human term) as the next, but who is allowed to use what depends on who they are. The third name was always the shortest and most informal, and was used by anyone who did not know or did not like the person. The second was always a friendly name used between people who knew each other and considered themselves friends. The first and longest, from which the other two names were derived from, was reserved for immediate family and the spouse. Only one person alive was allowed to call him Rheoaan, and few knew to call him Rio, so most called him Rohaan.

"I think it's not possible to be content with freedom. Not in the same way, at least, and especially not in my case. Just because I was 'content' does not mean that you humans would stop pursuing me, would stop trying to capture me, enslave me, kill me. Besides, there are others like me who are not as free as I have made myself, and I hope to stand for them. You have something wrong about me, though," he said. "I don't antagonize humans to sweeten freedom, as you say. Half the time I do it because it's a mighty good show to watch them squirm over such pathetic things as stolen crowns and meat taken right of their table. Once I snuck into the Duke of Barrigan's dining hall, marched right up to him, took his fork right out of his hand and proceeded to finish his steak for him. The steak was delicious, by the way. But the look on his face! He was so stunned he didn't even call in his guards and hounds until after I left!" Rohaan laughed to himself; if there was nothing more he loved to do (besides perhaps fly or swim), it was taking food from the tables of rich nobles to watch their reactions. Calming, he continued. "My point is, I believe you're right in saying that I couldn't leave well enough alone, even if my people were given peace. I've thought about it, but it's just not in my nature. There's a reason my mother named me Rheoaan--in my home, it means 'to start a fire' or something of the sort, but in the mountain regions, the Ruvi'aehir up there use it more to mean incurring an avalanche. No," he said decidedly. "Settling is not for me. I think I might be less violent if my people had peace and people weren't trying to kill me all the time, but I can't help but stir the pot. It's what I do. My own people recognize that as my nature, for everyone has one of some sort. But you humans call it mal-content, uncivilized--whatever you call it. It's different."

Hermia asked a very interesting question then, wondering how there were any of his kind left. He gave this some thought, then answered, "just because we are all willing does not mean we all have to face that choice. You don't see any villages of Vokurians, do you? Of course not, because we hide. We go to the mountians, where Humans are incapable of treading, or to the islands that sit in the sea. We seek out the corners of this world to be left alone, but a few Ruvi'aehir, like mine, get discovered, and that's when our vows get put to the test. There are few of us left, and to this day I don't know if my home still stands. I never went back, you know. But there enough of us to survive as a race, and enough to keep our culture alive. No thanks to your people."

Rohaan searched for a blacksmith and found an empty smithy, but no smith. He almost yelled again, but a grumble sounded in his throat instead. He needed that thing off. Now. He'd been in a decent mood up until then, but his mood turned fast. "C'mon," he growled. "We're gonna start knocking on doors." He wheeled Myrtle around a little harshly and was about to head for the nearest door, when the whinny of a horse caught his attention. They were near the animal's fence, and the black and white-socked mare behind it trotted up to the fence, stretching her neck out towards them. Most animals shied away from Rohaan, but this one didn't. Only one animal he knew of did that.
Nightmare.
Rohaan stared at the small abode attached to the fence in shock. Could that be him? He trotted Myrtle up to the door of the small cedar house, leapt off her back and almost hesitantly knocked on the door. After a pause, a very large shouldered man with graying blonde hair pulled back in a tight ponytail and soft greenish gray eyes opened the door with massive, calloused hands. His face showed experience, good and bad, and scars on his hands and one on his face suggested he once lived a very different lifestyle. In fact, the steel rings in his ears--prison tags like Rohaan's--proved such a theory. Despite this, an air of calm, amiable charisma exuded from him. He was instantly likable to most people and very few people ever disliked him. It was this soothing charm that lured young Rohaan into his crew as a boy, and for it, the two men had bonded, even despite the huge cultural gaps between the vokurians and humans. No matter what, though, this man's very presence commanded respect from everyone and everything. He glanced once at the newcomer at his doorstep, then his eyes widened. "By the stars! Rheoaan!" He gasped as he enveloped Rohaan in a hug. "You're alive! You never wrote, you never--"
"I didn't know you had a HOUSE!" Rohaan retorted, grinning.
The large man put his hands on Rohaan's face, cherishing being able to touch the younger man in real life. It had been so long! "You look...surprisingly well! Dirty, but that's to be expected of you. And--" The man eyed Hermia on the horse, and his expression grew grave suddenly, the fierce part of him showing a little. He knew the kind of company Rohaan kept, many of them by name, and Hermia did not fit the bill. Something was up, and it didn't take him long to figure it out. What was surprising was that Rohaan seemed to sink in the presence of this man. If anyone else had tried to pressure him like that, he would have remained untouchable and aloof. But it was not so, this time. His green eyes narrowed. "Rheoaan Rohaan Rio Ja'aisen....who is she?" he growled through clenched teeth, leaning in closer to stare at him more intently.
"Funny you should ask...."
"Rheoaan!" One of his huge fists caught Rohaan's shirt and he thumped him against the doorframe. "You little bastard, how many times have I told you, you steal THINGS, not PEOPLE. Other people come looking for people--"
"I know--"
"People kill people that take people--"
"I know! This time was different, Berlin. They would have sold me at auction if I didn't do something. And that was not about to happen. Ada would roll in his grave if he ever heard of such a thing."
"And you, with your years of experience, chose to kidnap a girl? I think your Ada would roll in his grave for that, too!" Berlin gestured to the horse and her original rider, then glared disapprovingly down at Rohaan. It was clear Berlin's moral compass was different than perhaps Hermia's, but for reasons both he and Rohaan seemed to understand, the younger man's latest stunt was unacceptable.
"It was the best I could do, Berlin." Rohaan raised the wrist that had been shackled, silver blood crusted in streaky drips down the length of his forearm.
Berlin, seeing this, cradled his arm In his huge hands with fatherly tenderness. His rage softened a little. "Oh Rheoaan...you're gonna pull your hand clean off! Go inside and wash it before you catch something." Berlin smacked Rohaan with a heavy and open hand on the side of his face, which barely seemed to faze him, despite the dull thuck sound it made as it connected with the shifter's skull. "That's what you get for causing this mess. Now go inside!" There was something conflicting about Berlin, as he looked like he could rip a man in half but acted like a nurturing old man. What was most unusual was his command over Rohaan, who seemed at least halfway submissive to him, which was more than any other man could dream of boasting. He had the bite to match his bark, but he was not the sort to prove it, and in his old age, he'd settled some from the swashbuckling seaman he once was. And in his cool, dusty-green eyes was a wealth of wisdom and a sprinkle of the same fire seen in Rohaan's blue eyes, as well as some of the pain. He had seen much and done much, but he was pleased with where he was in life and his regrets were few.

Berlin made his way over to Hermia. "I sincerely apologize for him. What he did goes against even our code of honor, and you look like you've had a rough night. He knows better, but he'll do near anything if you back him into a corner." He extended a hand to help her dismount. "Please come inside. I'll get some milk chocolate brewed for you and ill try and console Rhe-er..Roh--Rio? I'm guessing he's Rio to you. My name is Berlin Havahann, former captain of the Cyradan--both the ship and the crew that named themselves after it. I've known this particular lawbreaker since he was a boy," he said, heading into his house, which was small, but large enough to have occasional company, and had a warm feel to it. It smelled like woodsmoke from the large fire that flickered in the hearth on the right side of the front room; to the left was a simple kitchen where Rohaan was washing his wrist under the stream of pumped water from a faucet.

"Again," Berlin said, gesturing for Hermia to sit in one of the apparently hand carved wooden chairs seated around a small round table as he began compiling ingredients for hot cocoa on the counter. "I'm sorry for all this. I can only assume someone is looking for you--until then, you're welcome to stay here. Make yourself comfortable. What are you called?" He asked. He almost never asked what someone's name was anymore--Rohaan, growing up, insisted that a question like that was demanding and forward. After all, what if they didn't want to share their name, the title that described their very being? If he asked what someone was called, they could answer with anything they liked. The habit stuck. Berlin, all appearances aside, was a very easygoing man, though a light in his eyes showed a now quiet side of him that was more like Rohaan.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
Blackfridayrule
Member for 9 years
Promethean Conversation Starter Author Inspiration Conversationalist Novelist Lifegiver

Re: Ball and Chain (Closed)

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby riddle_me_thisx on Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:02 pm

While Hermia agreed that on occasion, a little stirring could be fun, Rohaan really took the biscuit – or steak…Or whatever else, so it seemed. Boldness and daring in moderation would never be a bad thing, but it was definitely something her captor possessed in excess. It would get him killed one day, most likely. Surprising he wasn’t dead already, really. Very few people in the world reacted well to having their possessions snatched from them, after all – especially those who had worked hard for them. It was outrageous, really, that odd creature sat behind her on the saddle had been allowed to get away with such behaviour for so long. So far, all he had to show for his antics were the small metal rings on his ears, each one marked with a prisoner identification number, as well as the stamp of the individual prison. Come to think of it, they were rather like the tags cows sometimes wore, marking them out as the property of a particular farmer. The only real difference, Hermia supposed, was that prison tags were near-impossible to remove – at least, without a lot of pain. The barbs, designed so that there was no hope of removing the ring without tearing flesh or the like, served not only as a means of identification while in prison, but also a mark of character in later life. The brunette remembered a woman who’d once come to the house in want of a job. She’d been turned away at the door, due to the steel earring, despite her fervent, panicked claims that she was –and always had been- a law-abiding citizen and had been falsely imprisoned.
…And yet, Hermia suspected that with his brazen attitude, Rohaan probably considered the steel rings to be badges of honour or trophies of sorts. Unlike the shackle, which was clearly a source of great discomfort. Perhaps it had been seared onto his skin; Hermia had heard of such a thing occurring before, though only with the very worst sorts of criminals. Then again, it wouldn’t have been in her father’s interests to damage his merchandise.

Either way, it was ludicrous Rohaan was apparently so unaffected by his crimes. There was a possibility he’d had his nose broken before (he had claimed to have been beaten to within an inch of his life, after all), though Hermia couldn’t be sure, because she’d not had much opportunity to examine his face. Not that she had any desire to – not with those funny, unsettling eyes of his. Had all those times in prison been ‘worth it’? Was an indignant and outraged face really worth prison? Only a madman would think so. At any rate, Hermia certainly did not share in his amusement or laughter. It would not have been funny no matter who it was Rohaan had stolen from, but his story felt like a kind of personal insult. The Duke of Barrigan was a distant relation of Hermia’s late mother. And distant though the relationship was (he was either a 3rd cousin twice removed, or a 2nd cousin, thrice removed), it was plainly offensive and there was really no excuse for it. Even if Rohaan’s parents had died when he was very young and had been savages themselves, they ought at least to have taught him that stealing was wrong.

“There's a reason my mother named me Rheoaan--in my home, it means 'to start a fire' or something of the sort…”

Privately, Hermia couldn’t help but think that his mother might have done better to name him ‘pain in the arse’. Naturally, though, the young woman kept these thoughts to herself. There were some things that just went without saying. Instead, she settled for a prediction: “Well, one day you’ll get caught and stay that way, and all you’ll have to console yourself with is that you sacrificed your precious freedom for a cake and an angry face. Stirrers get what’s coming to them, eventually.”

As for never going back to his home…That seemed unnatural. Was he not curious about what had become of it? Having witnessed the raid, perhaps he didn’t want to return for fear of the memories that might rear their ugly heads. But then, hadn’t Hermia’s old nurse often said that time was a great healer? She’d said other things, too, but that had been one of her favourite sayings. Sometimes things that once brought pain, scratching at raw and open wounds could later bring comfort and if not happiness, exactly, something akin to that. Thinking this, the young woman was reminded of the long gallery in her home; on its walls hung portraits of the family. Some were so old the paint was beginning to crack and the colours starting to fade, while others still had that glossy sheen, lending the subjects that spark of life. From her great, great, great, great grandfather, to her new little niece, all her family were there. Though until fairly recently, there had been a gap between the portrait of her father and her oldest brother. It had been where the portrait of Hermia’s mother had once hung, and the picture had only just been reinstated in its rightful place. The brunette had often seen her father pause at the picture of his late wife as he walked the gallery, something almost like a smile on his face, before continuing on his way. Now, Hermia supposed, the portrait represented memories of happier times, whereas previously, all it had been was a painful reminder of loss.
So anyway… If the raid had been so long ago, was it not strange that Rohaan had not returned to his home? Especially if there was any chance that people he’d once known had returned there to rebuild their lives. …But then, if he were to go back, she supposed he would have a rather more difficult time annoying wealthy people and getting into trouble. “Maybe others of your kind have returned there,” the young woman remarked, seeming to ignore her captor’s bitter remark directed at the human race.

The little town (if it could be called that – it looked more like a village to Hermia), other than livestock and occasional laughter sounding from behind closed doors, or the cry of a baby, was fairly quiet. It was completely lacking the hustle and bustle the young woman was used to. Even after hours, it was a very different kettle of fish in her town. There was never a night the taverns were free from custom and noisy drinking songs permeated the dark air, mingling with the mist that rose from the river long after decent folk had bedded down. Luckily, Hermia’s bedroom at home faced into the inner courtyard, so unless the breeze was blowing in a particularly unfavourable manner, the noise wasn’t too much trouble. Of course, by the time the revellers finally collapsed in a stupor, after five or six too many, the working day would begin, tradesmen setting up shop for the day, or sailors, calling to one another as they unloaded the latest shipment at the docks. Yet here…Well, it was a very different atmosphere. Glancing around, Hermia couldn’t see a person in sight – not even a beggar, who were certainly a common enough feature (part of the brick-work, if you like; where there was money, there would always be people begging for it) in her own hometown.

Like the rest of the place, the smithy was mostly deserted, aside from a cat, sat on an upturned barrel. To be honest, Hermia wouldn’t have noticed it, were it not for its shining amber eyes. At their approach, it gave a hiss and jumped up onto a nearby beam, tail swishing disdainfully. In one corner of the smithy stood an oven, the glow of the cooling amber coals reflected by the metal objects hung on the walls (tools, for the most part), giving the impression that the building itself was smouldering. Hearing Rohaan’s growl, Hermia felt a smug sense of satisfaction settle in her stomach. So much for that plan of his! Ha! It was especially pleasing, because it seemed that –judging by the coals, at least- business had not finished for the day all that long ago. Now, if they could find an inn, she could simply explain her situation (and that her father would bestow a reward on anyone who troubled themselves to help her) and-

…And Rohaan declared that they would start knocking on doors. “You can if you like, but I’ll do nothing of the sort,” the brunette retorted, only to get a face-full of her own hair, as Rohaan wheeled Myrtle round very suddenly. “Eugh…” Spluttering a little, Hermia struggled to brush her locks out of the way with one hand (she didn’t dare take the other off the saddle, in case the idiot decided to make any more abrupt turns and unseated her). It wasn’t exactly an easy task! The current fashion was for women to wear their hair long, the back of it braided into elaborate coils, while wisps were allowed to fall, loosely curled at the front. While it looked gorgeous (at least, Hermia thought so – it flattered her heart-shaped face), it was certainly not what the young woman would have chosen if she’d known she would be kidnapped, man-handled onto a horse and forced to gallop through the wilderness. Her hairpins were probably lying somewhere in the mud now, and the braids (or those that had not come loose completely) felt frayed, like old rope. When she’d set out to town, her hair had been all neat, freshly washed, scented and shiny, falling in carefully arranged curls…Now it was just…Just…Frizz! Ohh…When her father did come for her, she’d not be fit to be seen! Perhaps it was a blessing the little town seemed so shut-up for the night… “You’ll damage Myrtle’s mouth, yanking the reigns like that,” Hermia snapped, turning –as best she could, anyway- in the saddle to glare at Rohaan. If she hadn’t felt sour enough towards the man before, she certainly did now; if it weren’t for him, her hair wouldn’t be frizzy… “Your hands should be light on the reigns! She’s not used to oafs like you.”

Thankfully, Rohaan dismounted rather abruptly, leaving Hermia sat by herself. He was honestly going to go knocking on doors, disturbing people – rudeness, she called it. Shaking her head, the young woman tutted to herself, rather regretting that they’d ridden so far. As much as she’d tried to keep track of where they were going, it had been difficult enough in the light – in the dark, Hermia knew she’d not stand much of a chance. Despite wanting nothing more than to ride off home while Rohaan’s back was turned, she therefore had little choice but to stay where she was (although Myrtle didn’t exactly stay still; when she was tired, she had a habit of drifting) and-

…Huh? The commotion at the door Rohaan had just knocked on grabbed the young woman’s attention. She watched, eyes slightly narrowed. Although she couldn’t quite hear what was being said properly, the voices sounded rather…Joyful – like a reunion of some sort. Oh no…That couldn’t bode well, could it? At least, Hermia didn’t think so, until she saw the man at the door drag Rohaan towards him by the shirt collar and smash him into the doorframe! Perhaps they weren’t so friendly after all… Or…Or maybe he was of the same race as her captor and it was actually some kind of greeting ritual; they were notoriously violent and savage, after all. Rohaan went in and it looked like the other man was coming her way. Chewing her lip, Hermia gathered up the reigns, pulling back on them, causing Myrtle to shy away from the approaching figure. Even to Hermia, sat on a horse as she was, he seemed very large, very threatening, with a chest the width of a barrel and hands the size of spades. That wasn’t all, though; in the gloom, Hermia could see the moonlight reflecting off a series of steel earrings. Prison tags. About to tell the bear-like man not to come any closer (she’d had more than enough of criminals for today, thank you very much!), the young woman was interrupted. With an apology.

The young woman hesitated, unsure of what to think. Brown eyes narrowed, she didn’t relax her grip on the reigns as she looked down at Berlin. There was something about him that seemed truthful enough… Yet there were the tags in his ears. He seemed to have some sort of relationship with Rohaan, too, which very much suggested he was not to be trusted. But then, his tone and words were kindly and he seemed to disapprove of the kidnapping. It appeared he had some semblance of manners, too, for he extended his hand to her…

At length and still with slightly narrowed eyes, Hermia accepted his help and dismounted, not without difficulty. Her dress was not a riding gown; it had too many layers, which caught on the saddle straps and didn’t exactly make it easy for her to swing her leg over the front of the saddle, in order to slide down to the ground. She managed, however, and was soon stood on the ground, trembling slightly, with what she convinced herself was exhaustion. She ached all over, her head hurt and the prospect of cocoa was certainly a tempting one. Still, she had an image to maintain. Forcing herself to stand straight, head held high, Hermia withdrew her hand from Berlin’s, instead folding them primly in front of her body. Her hair might be a mess, but she was still a woman of good birth and standing in society and she would sure as hell let it be known. “He’s nothing at all to me,” she replied, shortly, before falling silent again, listening as the man introduced himself. Personally, she had not heard the family name ‘Havahann’ before, though that was not surprising. His appearance was cleanly enough, his hair pulled back into a neat ponytail, but the rings on his ears and his house made it plain enough that he was of a very much lower social class. For some reason, though, the Cyradan sounded familiar… Perhaps Marcus had mentioned it at some point. He’d told her about some of the ships he dealt with most frequently, as they had both agreed that it was important Hermia had at least some understanding of what would be their family business (even if she had point-blank refused to set foot on a boat). The young woman decided she would not go so far as to say she was pleased to meet Berlin, yet manners had to be observed. “Thank you. I would be pleased to accept your hospitality.” For the time being…

Following the man into his house (once Myrtle was safely tied to the fence), Hermia glanced around – for really, all it took was a glance. It was a simple house, containing nothing very remarkable. At a guess, Hermia would have said the Cyradan was not very prosperous under Berlin. A fire crackled away in the hearth, lending the house a cheery glow and warmth. Undoubtedly, it was what some would have called ‘quaint’ and ‘cosy’, while others might have used the adjectives ‘pokey’ and ‘small’. Admittedly there was a certain charm to the place, but it was not really to Hermia’s taste. Even so, she settled herself in one of the chairs at the table, listening to Berlin as he spoke. While he was otherwise occupied with the cocoa, the young woman suppressed a yawn. For a moment, she debated whether to give her real name or not…But then, Rohaan knew it anyway and would almost definitely supply the information if he realised Hermia was loath to give it. “Oh, my father, brothers and I daresay my fiancé will definitely be looking for me. Especially as he –“ the young woman paused, shooting a dark glare that could have curled milk, in Rohaan’s direction “has not kept his word.” Allowing this to sink in for a moment or two, she continued. “My name’s Hermia Pertinax, and my father is Linius Pertinax… If you’ve worked on ships, you may have heard of him.” Berlin appeared to be about her father’s age, after all, and being a merchant, her father dealt frequently with ships and their captains.” …Of course, even if Berlin had never come across her father before, it was possible he’d know the name anyway; one of her uncles was a judge who’d been responsible for putting many criminals where they belonged. Perhaps it would not be a bad thing if her family name was known to him… There was always the possibility it would be enough to convince Berlin that he ought to deliver her home right that instant.

….One could hope.

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.00 INK in return for their work.

User avatar
riddle_me_thisx
Member for 9 years
Conversation Starter Conversationalist

Next

Post a reply

Make a Donation

$

Become a Patron!

RPG relies exclusively on user donations to support the platform.

Donors earn the "Contributor" achievement and are permanently recognized in the credits. Consider donating today!

 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest