• Closed • Debt Accrued, Debt Settled [Lakia, Delta]

Master and Slave learn an important formula

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Debt Accrued, Debt Settled [Lakia, Delta]

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4th trial of Ymiden, Arc 715
"Yeah, I see her," Rake purred lustfully. It was short for 'Rayekell', a name he'd always felt was too smooth and feminine for a man. But the woman he was spying on through his Highmark, Warrel's, spyglass was certainly smooth and feminine enough for his tastes. He wondered idly what her name was, concluding quickly that he didn't care. His more immediate concern was how he was going to get his buddies, Trobo and Warrel, to let him have her first.

Actually, he decided, it wouldn't be any real problem. Warrel always seemed to like a 'buttered bun' as he called it, more than going first anyway. And Trobo would go along with whatever they settled on, in exchange for a little bit bigger share of loot. And it wasn't as if he was going to miss out altogether. Sure, the woman would have some bruises by then. 'Spit, she'll probably just be laying there crying, after Warrel takes her.' he thought with grim humor. Black and blue, bloody, broken and toothless...it was all the same to Trobo, as long as he was compensated in loot. 'Damn, it looks like he may not even wait 'til then.' Rake snickered to himself, as he turned away from the sight of Trobo groping at his own trousers.

For that matter, Rake could already feel his own pants responding as he leered at the woman's curves. His hands could already feel the soft bulges and recesses of the figure in the valley below. It was right at the edge of deeper forest lands. It was technically in the forest, but their vantage point of elevation, atop a nearby hill, allowed then to look down upon her.

They were there because Highmark Warrel, the ranking officer of their block, had had the sense to make some bogus claim about a report of a possible enemy scout. Otherwise, there was rumor that some unlucky pair of blocks were going to be tasked to repair the recent damage to the mill, and he wanted to have a task already on the books when that went down. They were on routine maneuvers in the plains west of Etzos, currently about a third of the way to Argos, just past the point where the Hiladrith river curved back to the south.

"What do you think she's doing down there?" Warrel muttered, taking back his spyglass, "...dancing?...praying?...Rutting Piss, if she summons some Spawn, we're cooked!" It wasn't so many miles to the Fields of Gauthrel, that superstitious rumors hadn't convinced many that magic could dredge up some mythical horror from those plains to beat upon the gates of any city in western or central Idalos. It didn't matter that such an occurrence had never been confirmed, or even recorded.

"It look more like she's jes' thankin' th'imps fer sumfin" Trobo gibbered in his unmistakably illiterate style, 'imps' being a derogatory Etzori slang for 'Immortals'. "All squattin' on 'er knees, rockin' and callin' out to d'sky."

"Spit. I'll take her on her knees, rocking and calling out to dis guy!" Rake corrected, getting appreciative chuckles from his companions. "Then you can take her on her hands and knees!" more rude laughter burst from his buddies, which was quickly shushed by Warrel.

"What is all that crap she's got bundled up there behind her? A bunch of pouches and bags and shit. Wait up!...She's stopped...She's gettin' to her feet. Okay, boys let's go, we don't want her gettin' to the plains there. If some of the other blocks see her, they might want to rescue her sweet ass. Ruttin' do-gooders!" he sneered.

"Or want a share o' the loot." Rake added. "Trobo, go down that way to head her off if she tries to get past us into the open. Highmark is right, we don't wanna share this gal with any of them other blocks." Trobo nodded wordlessly and headed south toward the edge of the forest, while Warrel and Rake moved slightly north as they rounded their approach toward the woman, to be sure she'd be "herded' toward Trobo if she made a break for it.
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Lakia Amaranthine
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Debt Accrued, Debt Settled [Lakia, Delta]

Lakia sighed and looked up at the sky, before reaching forward and stroking Tam's neck. The horse was looking a little tired, but she was pretty sure that was just the horse being dramatic, as Tam had hardly been worked hard. Twisting around to face the cart Tam pulled, Lakia looked at Delta and Fido riding in the cart behind her. The dog was asleep and seemed to be dreaming, her feet twitching in her sleep. Delta seemed awake, but then she figured she was worried about the same thing Lakia herself was.

Turning back to face forward, the Naer considered their Psinia supplies. She had given Delta the last of the supplies the previous day and while she knew the Biqaj would be able to last some time before it became a problem, she hoped to be able to get some more soon. It had been a long trip east from Argos, and she knew she had to be careful. She was hoping to get to Etzos, but she knew there was a chance of running into Plague Bearers when they got close to Etzos, since Rhakros wasn't that far away from it. And while the followers of the Plague Lord might have Psinia, she was pretty sure it wouldn't be the stuff they wanted.

Looking up at the sky again, Lakia figured they were getting fairly close to Etzos, close enough to set up their habitual semi-permanent emcampment. Lakia may want to reach Etzos to buy Psinia and other supplies, and sell the spoils of the hunt to finance their travels, but she had no interest in actually staying in the city itself. Guiding Tam off the main road and into the woods, Lakia tracked down a clearing next to a stream that was roughly an hours ride from the main road.

Pulling to a stop, Lakia slid off the mare and looked around, the beckoned to Delta. "Come on, Ellie. Let's get set up. Tomorrow we'll track down the city and see if we can get some more Psinia Smile for you." she said, her voice soft and quiet so as not to disturb the local wildlife. Taking her longbow out of the cart, the hunter checked the string, then set it aside and started to pull their tent supplies out of the cart. "At least we have a river. You'll be able to do some fishing and water won't be a problem." she said as she pulled more supplies out of the cart.
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Debt Accrued, Debt Settled [Lakia, Delta]

Lying down on her new mistress' cart, with only a thin folded blanket to act as a buffer between her shoulder and the uncomfortable bump of the wheels on the uneven track, which reverberated through from the wheels all the way up. It was just another thing to add to the unwritten list of why Delta hated the land. While a ship would rock back and forth, sometimes violently so if a storm took to the ship, it was nothing compared to the jarring movements of the cart. Land-dwellers were stupid, if the best they could do was this. Wistfully, Delta thought back to her father's ship, and the life she had been forced away from.

And for what? To spend every day wondering when her compassionate owner would be generous enough to give her the next dose of psinia. Right now... right now, she was fine. But Lakia had told her yesterday - when she was giving her her latest fix - that it was the last one. At the time, Delta had thought nothing of it, already far enough into the stages of withdrawal that all that had mattered to her was receiving the next dose. With no thought to the days following, she had taken the drug and had been enveloped by the cushioning comfort of a high.

With hindsight, now, looking back on the past few days, she had known, subconsciously that Lakia had been withholding the drug for longer than normal for bigger purpose than just to be sadistic. It had been a trying few days, with desperation for psinia causing the generally calm and tolerant biqaj to become temperamental, even irrational. Now, a small part of Delta found herself... almost grateful to the naer for her forward thinking. No. She couldn't think like that. This woman was not her friend. Lakia's people had enslaved her, had forced drugs into her system. They had made her dependant on a master. And now they laughed at the conditioning of slaved who unwillingly chose to remain with their owners.

It was disgusting.

The cart slowed to a stop, and Delta stirred at the sound of the naer's voice. A sigh (which was too close to a groan to be considered simply weariness) accompanied the novice slave as she sat up, disturbing the mutt as she did so. “Move, dog,” she muttered as she tapped it lightly. She had nothing against the dog, in fact she found him quite sweet, desperate for attention from any who would give it, Fido seemed thrilled to have a companion to share his cart now. But the dog belonged to Lakia so, out of [what's the fecking word I want to put here?], she felt compelled to despise the dog by association.

Jumping down from the cart, she dragged a rolled uptent out behind her, letting it fall from the cart with a thump. She stared blankly at it for a moment, wishing that it could just make itself. Already, Delta could feel the bubbling of irritability in her stomach. It would grow as her physical craving became more pronounced, but she knew rationally that a part of her was worried about how long she would have to go with withdrawal. No amount of begging or threatening or even actual violence would help her this time.

Glancing up, she met the eyes of her owner, “Do you want me to make the tent, or fish now?” As always, there was the distinct lack of respectful title tacked onto her question. At first, it had been an attempt to irritate her new owner, not now she wasn't even sure that the woman cared. Still, her tone was sullen, clearly angry at the woman... first for supporting her enslavement, but right now she was furious that Lakia had planned so poorly that she would run out of the damned drug.


I don't know why this is so shit. It's harder than I thought to get into an addict's mindset. To make up for it here's a joke:
Why are you not allowed to run in a campsite?

You ran! Because it's past tents!
...LAUGH.
word count: 708
"Happiness comes in waves..."

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Rake and Warrel slipped down the hillside to hurry around its northern base. There was a deep carpet of shrubs filling in the spaces between the trees. And while this gave them cover to approach unseen, it was a source of constant rustling that took care and patience to avoid. The trees in this area were thinning out as the terrain changed to the open plains where the arm of the Etzori military was currently holding routine maneuvers.

The arms rotated to different areas stretching from the city toward the four compass points. When Warrel's block rejoined his brace to regroup with the rest of the Arm, under Marshall Freiga Brann, they would probably be reassigned to some other task, in some other facet of the war games they practiced during this cycle. Next cycle, they would be heading north to do some reconnaissance on the avenues of travel used by the Aukari to encroach upon their land. They would be going at least as far as Hiladrith, to gather what information this allied city might have for them.

It would be more exciting than the war games, but nowhere near as exciting as the "games" they were going to play with the woman they'd spotted in the woods, now a mere fifty yards ahead. This was the one downside of being in Brann's Arm. As the only female Marshall, she was obsessive about the men taking such liberties with women that were not among the camp followers that provided the means for the men to be relieved of their pay while in the field. She'd already killed a handful of such men. And not in some manner which fell back on her rank, as a means of having an advantage in an otherwise fair fight.

She invited any such convicted offender to try to rape her as well, the both of them stripped down to small clothes and armed only with swords. She'd taken a few serious wounds in the process of overseeing this manner of "trial", and her men loved her for it. Warrel lamented sourly how it was getting more and more difficult for a man to get a freebie at the expense of some woodland wench. Who cared about such trash anyway?

A bird screeched overhead. There was something in its tone that warned the two soldiers that it was deliberately urgent. Warrel and Rake looked briefly at each other in angry realization and burst into a run toward the spot where they estimated the woman's campsite to be. The bird screeched again as they closed on the campsite, and a tendril of thorny brambles swung, as if of its own accord, across the path Rake chose, right at face level. He growled and clutched at his suddenly lacerated face, slowing enough to cause Warrel to slam into him and gain a blow from Rake's elbow as he pulled the vine free of his cheeks. Their curses mirrored each other as they flung blame back and forth and promised to "take it out on the bitch".

The bird released its end of the vine and screeched again to his partner, Annellei, the herbalist now running toward the site of a camp she'd seen being set up by a pair of women not long ago. She was not aware of Trobo, who had realized that he needed to adjust his course to head the woman off; and Trobo was not aware of this second camp, occupied by Lakia and Delta, who had arrived some time ago, and were now done with their set-up chores. If Annalei had been aware of Trobo, she might have counted more on the cunning of her bird, Sor'na, who knew tricks to lead the two other men astray. But she wanted to be able to return to the herbs she had at her camp, and thought that three women should be able to handle two men who would be running into an ambush.

Annallei could hear Sor'na's cries heading away as she burst through a perimeter of cleared forest into the two other women's camp. She carried a short bow in one hand and a quiver in the other, not having it strung over her shoulder when Sor'na had warned her of the soldiers' approach. She did not drop the weapons, but held them before her in a non-threatening manner as the two campers whirled to bring shocked and wary stares in her direction.

Annalei did not know if the two women had heard Sor'na's screeches, or her rustling of the brush as she'd made her approach, but she adopted a slight hunch, as a means of showing a passive demeanor. "I mean you no harm, but evil men are about," she began in stern common, hoping for some response that would show that the two others knew this widespread language.

Before there was time for a response, however, Trobo burst in from the opposite side, clearly surprised at the sudden lack of tugging undergrowth. Annalei wondered for an instant if it had been this third man's approach that the women had heard, and not her bird, whose screeches could now be heard from the same basic direction. There was a brief tableau of the one man and three women all staring in shock and realization of impending violence. Then Trobo spun to shout to his fellows at the same time that Annalei dropped her quiver, pulling a single arrow from it deftly, and nocking it to her bowstring as she lifted the bow to a horizontal, hip-fire position. She did not think she could miss at such a range.
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Debt Accrued, Debt Settled [Lakia, Delta]

Lakia considered Delta's question for a moment and thought about getting annoyed at the lack of the honorific that Delta was technically supposed to use when speaking to her. After only a brief moments thought, however, she shrugged it off as she always did. She knew that she should care that Delta didn't seem to respect her, but she really didn't. She'd prefer it if Delta would at least be a little less sullen, but she supposed that if she found herself a drug addicted slave, she'd be sulky too.

"Get the tent up first. If it rains, we can at least have the shelter." she said in her quiet, calm voice. Looking up at the sky, she didn't think it would rain, but she didn't like to take chances, since setting up the tent in the rain would be a colossal pain in both their behinds. Once she had all the tent supplies out, she took a moment to check the sling on her quiver and make sure she could get to her bow in a hurry if necessary, then helped Delta set up their campsite.

After the site was set up, Lakia stretched and picked up her bow, then handed Delta the fishing supplies. "Why don't you see what the river has for us?" she said, before turning to face the sudden sounds of something crashing through the woods...apparently heading straight for their camp. "On second thought, get behind me." Lakia drew and arrow as she spoke, raising her longbow vertically in front of her, nocking the arrow and pulling back on the string, ready to fire if something aggressive came through the trees.

When a woman with a bow of her burst through the trees, the Naer suppressed a groan. She hated when people stumbled across their camps, since they always seemed to want to stay and chat, or worse, camp with them. This always meant a sleepless night for Lakia, since the hunter couldn't bring herself to relax in any way with another free sentient sharing the camp with them. She always felt, however irrational the feeling might be for the situation, like they were just waiting to butcher her and Delta in their sleep.

However, at the woman's words and passive stance, Lakia shifted her attention to the woods beyond her, just in time for a man in what looked like a military uniform to come crashing through the woods. There was a brief moment of silence, a silence filled with the anticipation of violence and a tension that was matched only by that of Lakia's drawn bow. It was a feeling the hunter was well acquainted with. She felt it every time she encountered a wolf or bear other predatory animal, that brief moment before everything either turned to bloody violence and the fierce struggle for survival, or the animal decided to leave her be.

This time, the animal in question, the soldier before her, decided on violence. He turned to call and at the same time the other woman dropped the quiver she had been holding her hand, something Lakia found rather foolish, and nocked an arrow to her bow. However, the woman still had to raise her bow to fire it, while Lakia did not. The hunter turned her aim to the soldier, inhaling as she did so. On the exhale, she released her grip on the bow string. The tension she had been restraining was now loose and it launched the arrow forward, sending it straight towards to the man. "Delta, hide!" she barked, pulling another arrow from her quiver without moving the bow.
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When the order was given, the naer’s tone made it sound more like a request than an actual command given from a master to a slave. Not for the first lime, the biqaj girl wondered if she was the first slave that Lakia had personally taken ownership of. It certainly seemed that way, for Delta was positive that the other woman was not used to the concept of ordering someone else around, or even having to ensure the wellbeing of another within her care. Not that Delta needed to be looked after, of course - she’d rather be cursed thrice over by Kata before admitting that she was subject to the whims and care of the woman she was supposed to call ‘Mistress’.

No, Delta was more than capable of fending for herself, having grown up in the hand landscapes of the seas, where the mettle of any ship-dweller would be tested each and every day. If anything, Lakia was the weak one, who needed to be minded by her… for land-lovers knew nothing of the true, formidably harsh nature of the world. Perhaps that was why the two worked so well together, though she refused to consciously accept this fact. But it could not be ignored that Lakia already thought this, for she treated Delta much like a friend would treat an equal companion.

A companion who was unwillingly kept here, a companion who needed the lure of addicting drugs to keep her in place. They weren’t friends. Jaw set, Delta nodded her head once and nudged the tent roll away from the cart with her foot. Bending down, she heaved it into her arms and, holding it tightly across her chest walked a few paces away to where the trees would offer slightly more shelter from the wind. From there, she examined the ground, remembering the common sense and vague lessons that the land-dwellers had imparted upon her: your back would not thank you for sleepless nights pressed into roots of the trees, nor would your body be grateful if rain were to fall enough to leave puddles.

Spying a barely risen mound, the slave dumped her cargo next to it and began to pull out the poles and rope which would form the skeleton of the tent that her merciful mistress shared with her. Perhaps for the last night, she allowed, as she set about securing the skeleton to itself and to the ground, for if there was no more Psinia, then why would she stick around? Who was to say that she would fair any better through withdrawal in the company of this barbaric race, compared with on her own. If she could just find a port city, she might find her way back to her family.

Pushing herself to her feet, Delta grabbed the tarp that acted as the body of the tent and threw it over the top, making little effort to make it look presentable, she threw the mat down on the inside, knowing that Lakia would not pull her up on her application in the task set, merely right any wrongs. Delta was a sailor, anyway - what did she know about erecting blasted tents? Once done, she was handed a fishing pole with accompanying hook, and she was given her next ‘command’. Silently, she nodded again and turned towards the river that she could hear not far off from their campsite, only to be stopped by the sound of snapping twigs and rustling leaves as a body crashed through the undergrowth towards him.

Instinctually, a step or two behind her mistress, Delta spun and bared the fishing pole as if it were a deadly spear as a third woman passed through a bush, shouting words with an accent that left it difficult for Delta to completely understand. But when the woman, too, turned, it became clear that the threat was not she, but whoever was following her. Again, Delta found herself amazed by the selfishness of these land-dwellers, that they would thoughtlessly risk the lives of others for the chance that they might survive. Such were her thoughts that she was shocked into outright disobedience when Lakia shouted at her to hide, and she remained dumbly where she stood, spear still held erect.
word count: 725
"Happiness comes in waves..."

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Rake and Warrel burst in on the abandoned campsite where they'd first seen the lone woman. A small measure of greed slightly diluted the immediate lust as they took a quick look around for valuables they could plunder. "Naught but the raw stuff." Warrel growled, as Rake snatched up a rag to wipe the seeping blood from the scratches on his face. "She took the pouches with her. Come on, she we-..."

His comments were broken by rustling to their right, followed shortly by another insistent avian call. "Naw...THAT way, come on!" Warrel corrected, directing Rake to take the lead. Rake scowled back and commented sourly on the scratches on his face that 'taking lead' had earned him. He was in the process of taking a defiant pose when Warrel rolled his eyes and hissed "Fine!", as he started ahead, into the brush in the direction of the bird calls. Rake followed, a defensive smirk on his face.

After a few bits, Warrel stopped, looking puzzled. Immediately the bird calls erupted with renewed urgency. "That bird's an imp-shat ruse, Rake! We're bein' led off!" The two men looked around, trying to be quiet enough to hear any sounds of movement. As if in response, the bird calls shrilled to cover anything they might hear more than a dozen yards off.

"Pluckin' Imp-shat crow-bitch!" Rake roared, scraping up a rock and throwing it in the blind direction of the noise. it worked for a couple of ticks, in the midst of which they heard Trobo's call to muster to their left, and back a good fifty yards or so through a particularly thick hedge of undergrowth. "Shit!" the two men echoed as they plowed slowly in the direction of Trobo's voice.
______________________________________________________________________
No stranger to battle instincts, Trobo had seen the beginnings of Annalei's intent as he spun to call out to his brothers in arms. He had no shield, but he'd had enough archery practice to know that he was actually much closer than the optimum impact range for a bow. He continued his spin as he incorporated it into his sudden progress towards the woman, the hilt of his sword seeming to fly into his hand as he whirled, the blade hitting the incoming arrow with freakish good luck.

Lakia, however, did not miss, exactly, but neither did she truly hit. The arrow did penetrate both the tunic and the mail beneath. But anyone could see that too much of the shaft was still protruding for the head to have done much more than cut some muscle tissue. And Trobo had much of that to spare, as the singing hiss of his steel emphasized.

Annalei took just a tick to begin reaching for a second arrow. It was almost a lethal mistake as she wisely abandoned that plan to dive instead into a diving roll that saved her from a severed neck. Trobo, however, had apparently been counting on the impact to partially stem his momentum, because he stumbled past and had to stab the ground for a source of stability to keep from falling on his face.

He roared the names Rake and Warrel again as he yanked the big two-hander from the ground and prepared a second charge. Annalei had a curiously anticipatory look on her face as she tensed to dodge the oncoming rush of the big man. But it was interrupted by a sudden flash of screeching black as a bird dove by, leaving ragged red lines across his face.

"Gaah! Rut ya blind, ya bugger! I'LL KILL YOU!" He swore, taking a blind swing at the empty air. Annalei charged toward him, grabbing the poorly penetrated arrow and driving it deeper into the man's side. He screamed and tried to swing his elbow into her face. He connected, but it was too weak to do much more than leave a bruise, as she was now turning with him, using the arrow shaft as painful leverage to keep him spinning, and off balance. His sword was now useless in such close quarters, so he dropped it to get his arm locked around her neck, giving him a way to pivot and get hold of the arm she was using to aggravate the wound, which was now freely bleeding.

The two toppled to the ground, Trobo using his strength to bring her beneath him, one knee holding her arm away from the arrow, the other positioned to choke her. The two other women were forgotten in his rage, as was his sword, lying just a couple yards to his side. If they were not running away, those two other women would hear Rake and Warrel slowly closing the distance, demanding to know what was happening. And anyone familiar with the standard look of processed psinia, would recognize a small spill of it coming from one of Annalei's dropped pouches.
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Debt Accrued, Debt Settled [Lakia, Delta]

Lakia growled as she saw that her arrow didn't go deep enough for a mortal wound. She hated wasting her shots like that, it left her prey to suffer while she tried to end them. But then, this man wasn't an animal, however much he might feel like a predator to the hunter. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that Delta hadn't moved and the hunter let out another growl. Snapping her fingers, Lakia got Fido's attention and pointed off into the woods, then watched as the dog went to go hide until called. Fido was a good hunting dog, but she knew better than send a retriever into a fight.

Turning her attention back to the fight, Lakia saw the woman reach for another arrow before diving out of the way of a sword stroke. Tch. City folk. No respect for the dangers of the forest. She's lucky it's another human she's fighting and not a bear or wolf pack. It's the only reason she's still alive." she thought, before she took a step back. The business of city folk was no business of one who belonged to the woods. She'd grab Delta and get her out, then come back for their gear. City folk were never able to hide from anyone who knew a single thing about tracking. Too noisy, too reliant on light, too obvious. The Naer started to turn away from the carnage.

Then she saw the Psinia.

Lakia paused to weigh the risks and potential rewards of the situation, listening mostly to the sounds of more people struggling towards them, likely the rest of the soldiers pack or whatever city people called their social groups. After a moment, she pulled another arrow and nocked it to her bow, then took two steps forward and kicked the soldier in the side of the head. Hard. When the impact knocked him off the woman, she stepped over the herbalist to step on the soldiers neck, then aimed at the soldiers head and fired.

Turning to the herbalist, or at least that's what she assumed she was, the hunter gave a her a level look. "Get up. And keep your quiver tied to you when you're in the woods. The forest doesn't care if you aren't prepared and it'll eat you alive faster than this one will." she said, gesturing at the soldier. Turning to face Delta, Lakia frowned before slinging her bow over her shoulder. "Delta, take her and hide somewhere. I'll deal with the city dwellers." she said, before she turned and walked into the woods.

Lakia knew the rest of the predators would come to where their companion had called them from. Humans and such didn't generally have the sense to avoid death, even Lakia herself lacked it. And if she didn't know to instinctually avoid the stench of death, these city dwellers certainly didn't either. So the hunter didn't go far from the clearing, not when there was no need too. She just went far enough, her passage through the forest not exactly silent, but certainly quieter than the passage of soldiers some...maybe twenty yards to her right. They weren't moving very fast. She moved so that she was in a thicket slightly north east of the clearing and crouched down so she could see the camp from between the branches and drew her bow, nocking an arrow as she waited for her prey.
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Debt Accrued, Debt Settled [Lakia, Delta]

Stood still, fishing spear in hand, Delta was of no help to her mistress as the assailant came tumbling in, instantly shot by one of Lakia’s loosed arrows. Gripping the slim wooden rod tightly in her hand, her stance similar to one which she would use when fishing, the slave-girl made no effort to move forward and assist the two other women in their combat. Delta was used to her far share of fear; the sea was not a forgiving territory to those unprepared, ignorant souls. It took a certain amount of courage - and, with it, respect - to board a ship and lose sight of land. But the biqaj born girl was comfortable at the mercy of the sea… unpredictable as it was, it was nothing compared to the unpredictable ways of the selfish land lovers she now lived amongst.

But her attention was drawn away from the battle, as the familiar sight of psinia seeds fell from one of the new arrivals’ many pouches. “Mistress…” the girl tightened her grip on the spear as she breathed out the single word. It took nearly all of her self control not to step forward. She reluctantly tore her gaze away from the seeds to search out the naer. Lakia had also seen the seeds. When the order came from her owner, once again Delta hesitated, almost disobeying, this time, however, it was a conscious decision to stand her ground, and her eyes returned to where the seeds lay.

A horrified, strangled gasp escaped the green-eyed girl when she could not spy the seeds - the herbalist had moved, her feet scattering the few seeds that had fallen to the ground. Though Delta had not reached withdrawal yet, now that she knew how close she was to something that would stave off her cravings, she could think of nothing else. Eyes flashing as her anger turned to the new root of her problems, Delta realise something - she had more! Throwing the spear to the ground, the biqaj lunged for the herbalist’s arm and pulled her backwards forcefully. It would come as a shock to the woman and the younger girl was glad for the upper body strength that a childhood aboard a ship had given her.

Come!” She hissed, pulling the woman with her without so much as a backwards glance, leaving her mistress to fend for herself. Truth be told, Delta cared little for the naer’s safety or survival at the best of times. Now that the damned drug was within her grasp, the concern dropped all the more. The slave wasn’t a competent fighter, but the herbalist seemed even less capable, to demand help from two travellers, so Delta was sure that she could get the woman to satiate her addiction. With wide strides, she stepped through the undergrowth, ducking under tree branches and around bushes. Fingers wrapped tightly around the herbalist’s upper arm, she finally stopped and crouched, “I help you, you help me,” she whispered urgently in broken Common, eyes pleading.


So part of me feels like I've just forced the plot along too much, but the other part feels like it all makes sense >.>
sorry for the delay in this. And for the craptastic writing.
word count: 553
"Happiness comes in waves..."

Common | Rakahi | Euthic Sign | Ith'ession
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Debt Accrued, Debt Settled [Lakia, Delta]

The trauma of the near lethal choking spun Annalei's world out of balance for a moment. She stared at the twitching body of the soldier who had been crushing her throat mere ticks before, expecting it to rise and resume its assault. A voice was growling in her ear, rooting her to a last shred of reality around her. Something about the forest...eating her alive...or something.

She heard the woman before her call the other one "Delta", giving her instructions about hiding in the woods. It sounded like a good idea to her as well. But she remembered her bird, Sor'na, marking the location of other men now approaching from the west. The bird was making a curious call now, one made up of repeated pairs of squawks. Annalei realized her bird was telling her there were two men. She had wandered closer in that direction, being suddenly distracted by a gasp from the one called Delta. She looked at the girl with apprehension and started to go back to the one woman with the bow. But the one named Delta intercepted her, tugging her arm with surprising strength and urgency.

Annalei resisted at first, but Delta's near manic expression caught her attention. There was something familiar there, an intensity she'd seen in the eyes of desperate people who'd lost control of their lives to certain medicines. Annalei tried all the harder, now that this girl was clearly intending to abandon her friend. "NO...NO...There are two more...You must tell the other...Where are you taking me? We must tell your friend to beWARE OF THE OTHER TWO!" She no longer tried to reason with Delta, and simply shouted her warning to the other one, twisting and trying to escape the girl's almost unnatural grip.

She was pulled into the thick brush north of the campsite, her arms torn as much by Delta's nails as her face was by branches. She stopped resisting, realizing they were making too much noise, and that her yelling was going to give away their position. Her bird, Sor'na was now shrieking in circles, probably staying airborne to dodge arrows. Delta suddenly crouched, giving Annalei a sense that she was begging, but there was still an almost threatening determination in her eyes. "I help you, you help me." Her speech was less than fluent, but Annalei had no trouble understanding her.

She shook her arm enough to make it the focus of her response. "You let go of my arm first," she hissed. "We need to get out of danger before I...do...Wait...Sor'na is close..." she paused, hearing the shrubs rustle nearby.
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Rake and Warrel knew perfectly well that the bird was somehow sending back information about their movements. They tried to coordinate a thrown rock, to get the creature airborne, while the other had an arrow knocked and ready. Twice they nearly transfixed the bird with the arrow, once dislodging a pair of feathers, along with a sharp screech. Sor'na gave up its impromptu reports on their position, settling for simply circling the general area.

They heard a woman shout something about "the other two", and realized their targets were aware of their presence. "Damned bird, I swear I'm gonna stuff my pillow with it. I don't hear Trobo any more. That first gal had a bow. if they've stuck him, I'm gonna skin those bitches alive. We need to throw them off. Hand me the twine."

He tied a knot on the stalk of a sturdy bush and moved to run it around the trunk of a tree, which would serve as a sort of pulley. He motioned for Rake to go the other way. Rake grinned viciously and started out circle around to come at the camp from the south. He made no particular effort to be quiet, but neither did he go crashing noisily through the brush.

As he went around the other way, Warrel unwound the twine, continuing to tug it sporadically, to keep noise coming from where they'd started. He made his way slowly to come from the north. He did make an effort to be stealthy, so the women would think they were approaching from the south and west. He would then surprise them from the north. As he got closer, he heard some women speaking. He was maliciously pleased that they had brought themselves closer to him. He could almost feel their throats in his hands.

Just then noise erupted from the camp, Rake yelling and the bushes rustling madly. Right above his head, that cursed bird squawked suddenly. The women he'd been listening to both gasped, apparently realizing that the proximity of the bird indicated his presence. He rushed forward, slamming into the pair of women and driving them back into the clearing. He lost his grip on one of them, but secured his grip on the other. He did not know which one he had just yet, but he did know he had his knife to her throat. He looked forward to the terror and pleas, anticipating the fun of toying with their hopes before killing them.
word count: 874
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