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Eternity

Un-Foretold Journey

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While they continued their journey to the outer villages, Okina became more at ease with the conversation that she was holding with Paris. “I’ve read some of the books that have spoken about Lycanthropy as a curse. Which in the aspect of myself being born into it, if I were to bite or rip into a human with my claws, I can infect them. The only difference is; when they turn, they’re much weaker than the natural born.”

Okina took no offense to anything that was being discussed, although it was fascinating to be having this conversation in the first place. It wasn’t often she met someone who was so interested in her condition or where she came from.  Shifting in her saddle pushing up in the stirrups, Okina lifted her bottom out of the saddle a bit to relieve the ache in her tailbone.

Before she could go more into the history of her birth right as it was always claimed by her pack, she thought a moment of the hierarchy of the very clan. Indeed, it was very much like wolf packs, and often there was a lot of violence to determine your specific rank.

“Yes, my clan or pack very much worked like that of natural wolves, lots of bloodshed and violence to determine your rank. Often the death of those who won’t give up their rank after being defeated by the one below them.”

Lowering her butt back into the saddle, she shifted her weight making herself more comfortable during the ride.

@King

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“That makes sense,” Paris said, an interested smile playing at his full lips. “Curse, disease, whatever it may be, the lycanthropy is a part of your genetic makeup. Having been born into it, I mean. If you were to introduce that into an outsider’s bloodstream, while it might be powerful enough to infect them, as it were, it certainly wouldn’t be as powerful as one that evolved with it.” What a wondrous world, the crown prince reveled in the privacy of his thoughts. Thrilling as it was, however, he’d need to be more careful with her. He could ill afford to contract such an awful condition as lycanthropy.

His smile persisted even as she revealed the darker aspects of her family’s way of life, which was unsurprisingly base. Even for Okina, herself, Paris could sense the wild animal lurking in the shadows of her veins. A pretty thing, to be sure, but not so much that he would ever forget the beast she truly was. “That’s a shame,” he said, tone flirting with disappointment. “Though, I’ve found that to be common amongst even some of the lands ruled by men.”

Even humans were prone to savagery.

There were other questions he wanted to ask, some that his companions may have found inappropriate. What was her ranked before she absconded from her pack? Had they tried to stop her? And if they had, how many had she butchered and slaughtered for that sweet taste of freedom? Later, he told himself. She may be more open to discussing it when we have some privacy.

“Thank you for satisfying my curiosity,” he purred through a salacious smile. “I am a relentless pursuer of knowledge.”

Ser Solomon grunted at the statement, but Paris ignored him.

“We’ll ride until sundown before making camp,” Paris instructed. “We’ll have covered a good deal of ground by then.”

The further they traveled from the capital, the more of Lyria’s untamed land overwhelmed their surroundings. Dense, oppressive forests; deep rivers; uncropped fields that stood to the waist of a grown man. It was among the crown prince’s favorite regions, if only because of the fantastical beasts and other creatures—like his dear Helaine—that dwelt there. Lands like these, he wanted to preserve through the tenure of his reign. Protect them from the steadily rising demands and needs of a growing population.

“Do you have any questions for me?” Paris eyed Okina. “Or am I so utterly transparent that you have me figured out already?”

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“If I were to scratch or bite you in my wolf form, it would mean you would turn the next full moon. Yes, you wouldn’t be nearly as powerful as I am being born into Lycanthrope bloodline.” Okina returned Paris’ smile once, then turned her amber hues to the green land around them. Paris was by far the most interested person in who Okina was not as a person, but as a lycanthrope. It was apparent to her how much knowledge he sought after, some would say there was great power in knowledge.

His words about how men too fight for rank in the world resonated with her, as she had worked for many men who fought to have power over others. Many battles ended in bloodshed of more than soldiers, but the people too themselves got swept up into the struggle for power among men with great titles and lands.

“You’re welcome, My lord.” The pure interest he had for her was intriguing, a past she didn’t often share with others as many never bothered to ask. Okina brought her horse to ride up alongside Paris instead of behind, she wanted to be able to see his face as they continued whatever conversation sated his curiosity for the time being.

Solomon’s grunt towards the comment Paris made was given a glance by Okina, she had to admit there was so little of him she knew about him. It would be a long time till she got to know him so intimately as Solomon, if given the chance based on how many toys he had to play with.

Her eyes filled with the lush green forests that began to over take the sides of the path they road, her ears would hear what humans wouldn’t. Every single heightened sense was on high alert now that they’ve been consumed by nature. Paris instructed they ride till sundown, an order she could easily handle although the saddle was rubbing her the wrong way.

Transparent, hardly. Turning her amber hues to meet the gaze of Paris as she steadied her horse to stay next to his own. In all honesty she wasn’t sure she was allowed to ask questions, but given the opportunity. “What does your heart truly desire, Paris?” The look in her eyes would show the ultimate seriousness she held in her soul based on that one question, a man with so much had to have one thing left he desired that wasn’t so easily attainable.

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Paris looked to the side, eying his wolfish companion. “Everything.”

It seemed a ridiculous response to a question so specific, and yet, his lips did not curve in a smirk nor did his eyes shimmer with facetiousness. Okina looked upon a man of pure ambition, with an insatiable appetite for all things knowledge and pleasure. If he could learn all that there was to know from the world, and fuck every beautiful entity in, perhaps he might be satisfied—for a time. The crown prince was not content to see himself locked away in Lyria, governing his spit of land while the whole world passed the kingdom by.

When the time was right, he would open their borders again, embrace foreign trade—as their Sitraic Emperor preached—and explore all that he could in his limited lifetime. But, there were things to do before that. There were those who would oppose his creed, see him deposed for his “radical” ideas that threatened tradition. He would need powerful allies, if his rule was to survive—instruments, both blunt and sharp, to shape the world he saw so clearly in his mind’s eye.

Hopefully, Okina would prove useful enough to become one.

“I want to see all that I can; learn all that I can; eat what I can and fuck what I can,” he said, smiling that handsome, prince’s smile. “Being crown prince, I have been fortunate enough to be blessed with quite an extensive library. But, I’ve found literature to be quite disappointing when compared to its living counterparts. For instance, no prose could do your beauty or intrigue justice, she-wolf. Therefore, when my kingdom is ready, I will go forth and bring the world to them.”

Turning his eyes forward, Paris looked not to the road, but to the future. “It is my hope that what I bring to them will not be enough to satisfy their curiosity, and in turn, they too will venture out to see all of what Valucre has to offer. And then, have what they bring their children inspire their sense of wanderlust, and so the cycle will continue, on and on.” He could almost see it, dancing between the leaves and in the shadows cast by the sun filtering through the canopy. “That will be the legacy I leave my kingdom.”

His gloved hand fell to the ornate hilt of his blade. “But first, we have some highway men to put down.” And then, from the seed planted moments before, a wicked thought bloomed. “Your fangs and claws may prove useful tonight, darling. Be ready to hunt.”

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Everything.

That one word held so much power, the ambition and lust for all he desired could be felt in the gaze he gave her giving his answer. She knew that he would get everything he wanted one way or another, despite what obstacles would lie in his way.

Keeping steady on her horse shifting her weight evenly on the saddle, her fingers held tightly on the reins of the beautiful beast that granted her the pleasure to ride. Glancing back over at Paris as he finished describing seeing the world and bringing all its glory to the people to inspire them to adventure. His dream for the people was a very glorifying feat that would be accomplished by any means necessary, this Okina felt in her bones.

Just like that the topic fell back to her wolf form, meeting his eyes she nodded. Taking her wolf form wasn’t hard with the years of control she had built turning without the full moon, others of her kind would often have a more difficult time doing so. Although Okina felt herself more of an alpha, her change went much smoother than others she had witnessed. Tonight, Paris wanted to see her fight in her werewolf form, although it was hard to really decipher it is was for the mere pleasure of seeing her covered in fur, or pure curiosity of her kind.

“As you wish, Master Paris.” Giving the most genuine of smiles, she continued to guide the horse down the path preparing in her mind what she would have to face during her change as it wasn’t the cleanest of rituals.

 

@King

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Much to Paris’ disappointment, the remainder of their journey—while undoubtedly beautiful and captivating—was an uneventful bore. It’d been weeks since his last duel, and longer still since he’d been forced to defend himself from a real threat. Like most warriors shelved from the fields of battle, the crown prince worried his skills had rusted, his edge dulled; fewer things terrified him more than that.

Dusk set upon them, and night quickly followed. They’d made good headway into the northwest, and judging from the thickets and bubbling creeks, now stood amongst the outskirts of the kingdom’s northeast flank. Ser Solomon proposed traveling a little further, knowing of a town with a modest inn not several miles further, but Paris had grown stiff in his saddle and tired of riding.

Besides, one could not marvel at the beauty of the world when caged.

Paris took his time stretching, working the stiffness out of his legs and lower back. Helaine seemed to enjoy the space as well, arching her back deeply near his feet, then brushing her ears along the fine leather of his boots. When Solomon set off to collect firewood, the she-kitten took off after him, following him by his armor as it glinted in the moonlight.

“Solomon makes a rather good stew,” Paris said idly. “I’m sure that’s what we’ll be having to eat. I saw him stuffing the ingredients into his satchel before we left.” There was a hint of displeasure in his voice, just enough to heat the air. “Hopefully, he’ll not attempt to scorch my tongue from my skull with too much spice this time.”

Idly pacing about the low grass, Paris found his way to a tree and planted his back against it, arms at his sides, a single heel hiked up against the bark. He watched Okina move, almost dancing from light to shadow; she seemed free her, like him, more comfortable than in the grand halls of the palace or in the lavish chambers that filled it.

“You truly are a magnificent creature, Okina,” he purred. “I’m rather pleased to have met you.”

Edited by King

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The lands were unfamiliar  to Okina, but she had a sense of determining which direction they were heading. The further they traveled northwest the rougher the saddle begun to feel upon her buttocks, a creature of her stature wasn’t one for riding horses. She had never been one to take long rides, and this one was threatening to leave blisters on her buttcheeks. Having been pushing up with her legs in the stirrups, Okina stood hovering her butt just above the leather saddle. Relief washed over her face when Paris turned down several miles to reach the town with the inn Ser Solomon had mentioned.

Happily dismounting the steed, she brushed her hands down the fur of the massive beast in thanks. Allowing the horse to graze on the nearby grass, Okina stretched her arms up into the air. Rolling her shoulders inward and outward, she smirked finding herself doing a few squats to test her thigh muscles. Stiff was one way of describing how she felt after the days journey, although fatigued wasn’t apart of that recipe.

Looking up to the moon Okina’s amber hues reflecting its light seemed a natural sight to onlookers, her ears twitched to the sound of Helaine following Solomon on his journey to gather firewood. Grateful for the decision to camp in the woods made this she-wolf happy, her inner beast craved the thousands of wild smells and sounds of life around her.

Brought back to reality, Okina moved towards the tree where she felt would be appropriate for her to rest against. Her fingers moved to unbuckle the belt that held the three swords against her lower back, allowing them to swing freely around to her front. Leaning the blades against the trunk of the thick tree of choice, she smiled in response to hearing Paris speak.

“A stew? Hm.” Fidgeting with the leather belt that held her blades a moment longer, fussing over how they leaned against the bark. “Well I hope he makes it to your preference. “

Finally pleased with how her blades stood alone against the tree, she smoothed her hands through her white hair. Caught off guard by the compliment given her by Paris, she turned her full body and attention to him. Thinking how she should respond, she nods her head towards him.

“Thank you.” Two simple words, and the thoughts of how he has no true idea of how magnificent she truly was. Okina wasn’t one to brag nor believed she was more intriguing than any other life form she has encountered or yet to encounter. Modesty was a card she played often, other times she kept silent to compliments made out of men’s desires of her.

Glancing over to where the horses seemed to be safely grazing, Okina had the drive to make sure they were safe before turning her attention to the man she made a pledge to. Although she wasn’t his personal guard, it was her nature to ensure not just his safety but her own. Can’t make any good coin if she allowed the man she worked for to be harmed, right?

Closing the space between them, moving quickly to where Paris stood with his back to a tree. Okina let her eyes flash the wolfish gleam to him, and smiled. “Paris, I too am glad we have met.” Leaning in to take in his scent, she was really committing him to memory.

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The soup bubbled loudly in the large iron cauldron, well on its way to completion. Solomon knifed large, succulent chunks of white rabbit meat into the broth, already spiced and crowded with potatoes and a variety of vegetables. Helene lingered by the burly knight as he cooked, poking this, pawing that, making a rather adorable nuisance of herself. It seemed Ser Glass was becoming fond of the she-kitten, perhaps coming to look at her as something of a pet. She certainly behaved like such.

Paris returned to their company more tired and worn than when they’d departed previously, but nevertheless his charming self. The crown prince took his place beside Helene, and per his more aimless mannerisms, took to stroking the she-cat behind her ear, favoring the left. “Let the man cook, Helene,” he teased the curious woman. “Otherwise, I imagine I’ll starve to death.”

He’d worked up an appetite, and suspected he wasn’t the only one. Okina had returned to the group as well, hands still a bright pink from where the wood had splintered into her skin. I wonder what her healing is like, he thought. Superhuman, no doubt, but by how much? As the wielder of his family’s ancient blade, Paris knew what it was like to enjoy the benefits of the supernatural. It granted him a number of perks, one of which was his accelerated healing factor. But whereas some creatures might be able to endure wound that would prove otherwise fatal to a normal man, or even regrow entire limbs, the crown prince was not so lucky.

The she-wolf’s injuries were nothing so severe, but still, these small notes might prove valuable to him one day. Lovely as she was, and as dedicated as she appeared to the coin he exchanged with her, Paris was not so ignorant to dismiss the idea that she might one day be paid to seek his life. After all, she held no loyalty to him—only the gold. If that day ever came, well, he would be ready.

Shaking the troubled thoughts from his head, Paris smiled at the she-wolf, letting his eyes convey his satisfaction with her efforts thus far. “So, my sweet mercenary, I trust that you’re a rather well-traveled woman, yes? Following coin has surely led you to some interesting places, and put you in some rather interesting predicaments. Tell me a story—what is the most fearsome creature you’ve ever slain?”

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Following not too far from Paris, Okina rubbed her right thumb over some spots on her left hand. The palm of her hand was a bright pink from the splinters she had previously pulled from her flesh, showing the fresh healed skin. Looking up from her hands, she noticed Solomon cutting up white chunks of rabbit meat for the stew, a delight she seemed surprisingly eager for. Feeling the rumble of her stomach after such a vigorous workout, her cheeks like other women didn’t turn red to the embarrassment of their stomach growling. 

Ignoring Helene who crawled all around Solomon, Okina sat near the fire that was being used to cook on. Holding her hands out to feel the heat of the flames against her skin, she closed her eyes for the briefest of moments to take in a heat that could hold up against her own. “We can’t do with the Lord Paris starving, Cat.” Something about Helene just didn’t sit well with Okina, she seemed more of a pet than anything. 

Shaking the thought of the cat woman out of her mind, she dropped her hands to rub on her bare knees. Closing her eyes she could pick out every seasoning added to the stew, the meat and the smells of the wood burning in the fire. 

Looking back over her shoulder, she stood to walk back towards the shadows that were being cast by the fires light. Against the tree she left her swords resting, Okina pull the belt of blades up returning to  her spot at the fireside. Unsheathing the Katana from its elegantly carved casing, she carefully examined the integrity of her blade. Carefully she ran the pad of her thumb over the sharp side of the folded steel, never letting the slice in her thumb bother her. With her inhuman capabilities in healing, Okina learned not to let such minor wounds bother her. Caring for the blades she branded was an important part of her daily routine, although they went neglected the night prior. 

Holding the blade up and outward from her body and away from everyone else, she watched as the light of the fire danced over the blade. Satisfied with the blades sharpness, she carefully resheathed the blade. Setting the blades down near her, she made sure they were kept at a distance where she could snatch them up the moment she sensed anyone coming up on the party that relaxed near the fire. 

Looking up at Paris, his question lingering. “Well traveled, yes. “ Straightening her posture, she felt her stomach eagerly rumble to the smells. “Gorgons.. Nasty creatures, hateful and full of unbridled anger.” Okina shifted herself to face towards Paris, scooping up a rock that laid at her feet. Flipping the rock from side to side, she took a moment. “I took up a job in a town that was becoming popular with travelers with the idea of gold being mined in the hills. Problem was that some of the adventurers who came to cash in on the earth's prize never came back, children were also disappearing. “ Looking down at the smooth rock, tracing the pads of her fingers over the small changes in its surface. “Of course no knew what was happening, till one day a group of children came back missing a friend. Screaming they talked about a creature, a woman possibly.. They couldn’t really give details, as the tunnels were so dark.” The cool rock became the center of her hands attention, as she recalled the experience. “So after hearing what they could tell me of the situation I prepared my blades and made my way towards the mines. Most of the lanterns that were used to light the tunnels were either missing or broken, it was apparent that darkness had to be left alone. Gorgons are creatures that learn to use the dark, stealthy creatures till they want you to see them. Which by then, you are done. Stone, another talking piece for the nobles.”

Looking across the fire to see she had Helene’s attention with her story, she paused for a moment to take in the expressions of her traveling party. With her eyes lastly falling on Paris, the man who coaxed the story out of her. “With my abilities I could smell the creature, wet almost musty. Like moss in an underground watering hole.” Letting the rock fall from her hand near her boot covered foot, the sound of it easily picked up by her ears. “I found the tunnels lead into a massive opening, a cave full of stalactites and water that reflected any given light onto the walls. That’s where I found the Gorgon, standing in a mass of bodies turned to stone. If it weren’t for my senses I would have fallen prey to a beast that wants all to see themselves to their deaths. Eliminating my sight for this fight was my key, my sense of hearing and smell is what guided me through the fight that began in a tomb of statues.” Straightening her posture again, stretching her arms up. “My blade sunk deep in the neck of that creature after some time dancing in the dark, needless to say, I gained my fair share of wounds from its claws.” Obviously there were no longer a trace of that battle on her body, though wounds from other supernatural creatures tended to heal much slower. 

 

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A pet indeed, but one that Paris adored, for she knew her role and played it well. Nothing more, nothing less. Helene’s time in the wild—which the crown prince imagined was from the moment of her conception, or short thereafter and until the moment he plucked her from the haunted forests and took her home with him—had left irreversible behaviors on the she-kitten’s psyche. Rather than go against that troublesome grain, Paris chose to embrace them, allowing her to live her life as she was meant to. She would never be a lady, never be a knight (though she often enjoyed mimicking their mannerisms), never bee a princess or noble—and so long as she continued to bring Paris pleasure, he saw took no issue with that fact.

He nodded along with Okina’s story, his left hand continuing to stroke behind Helene’s feline ears, eliciting a purr from her full lips. A gorgon, hm? Like many of the supernatural creatures Paris knew of, he’d learned of these foul monstrosities through the royal library’s vast collection of foreign and domestic literatures. The she-wolf must be quiet formidable indeed, if she was able to kill one of those things without any permanent scars to show. While she may have possessed accelerated healing, there were some things that could not be fixed, especially at the hands of such ferocious, mythological beasts. Or so the stories went.

“Well, I’m rather pleased you were able to survive the encounter,” Paris said when she was finally finished with her tale. “I feel quiet protected with you in my retinue.” Ser Solomon cut the crown prince a sideways glance, feigning insult at the implication he was not enough to inspire a sense of security in his lord. The gesture prompted a knowing smirk from Paris, but nothing more. “Hunting down bandits must seem like poor sport compared to the dangers of your past.”

Truth be told, sellswords and cutthroats were issues well beneath the crown prince, himself. Were it not for his desire to secure the trust and support of the commonfolk, many of which had been neglected during his father’s rule, he likely would not have bothered departing from his comforts within the palace. It wouldn’t be enough to dispatch a handful of skilled knights from his personal guard to deal with the issues. The people needed to see their future king “in the trenches,” as it were, sullying his boots with mud and wetting his hands with the blood of those that would bring them harm. Paris needed to walk amongst them, feel them, be them if he was to mend those shattered fences.

“Perhaps I’ll be able to persuade you to take me along on your next—”

The glint of silver by the firelight, and the hiss of an arrow cutting through the air proved an effective disruption. Paris craned his neck back and away, letting the bolt pass through the air where his head had been just a second before. It thumped into a tree further to his right, the white fletching shimmering with the orange and crimson colors of the flame.

Bandits came flooding around them from the darkness to the south and east, a porous wall of men and women dressed in gangly furs and leather armor. In every hand was a club, sickle, dagger, axe or sword.  On every pair of lips were incoherent screams and warring chants. There was hunger in their eyes, and lust, and deranged fury that burned even hotter than the campfire.

Paris rose to his feet in the span of a mortal heartbeat. His left hand gripped the leathered pommel of the sword slung at his waist, and with a long slither and great luster of light, he drew it forth into the cold night. Gone from his lips were the playful smirks and from his eyes the soft, sensual smolder. His mouth had become impassive and bland, his eyes sharp, hardened, and focused.

A storm brewed in those emerald depths, and along the length of his blade were webs of crackling white energy.

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Nodding her head, as it was a great ordeal with the Gorgon. To come through at the end of the fight was chore, she had to use all her senses besides sight to take the beast down. With a few failed attempts to remove its head, she had finally been successful with minor scrapes and bruises.  Catching the look Solomon gave Paris, she couldn’t help but let a giggle leave her lips. A confusing moment for her, as if she was beginning to enjoy the man’s company. “Well needless to say I believe you are well protected no matter who you have near your side.”

While they spoke, her ears slightly picked up on sounds in the trees beyond them. Although she could hear some noise, nearly chalking it up to the wind pushing branches into one another. The men who were approaching them must have been approaching from downwind, leaving Okina’s nose absent of any sense of others beyond the party around the fire. “Bandits I wouldn’t say are poor sport, sometimes they have surprises up their sleeves.” Okina learned a long time ago never to underestimate her prey, sometimes they had something hidden in their arsenal that could be terribly detrimental to her life.

As Paris began to speak once more to her, his words were quickly cut off by the arrow aimed for his head. Okina’s ears only caught the snap of the bows string at the last moment, her eyes shooting up at the glint of the metal pointed arrow. While Paris avoided the shot to the head, Okina reached down to pull the katana from its resting place. The sound of the metal unsheathing from the scabbard was a magical sound to her ears.

Rising with her blade in hand, her eyes darting around taking in the savagely dressed men and women who’s rising and falling battle screams echoed off the trees. Her nose scrunched at their smells, of dirt and urine. Old blood on their weapons could be picked up, even the smell of the animals that lingered in the furs they wore. A mask suddenly appeared over her face, her eyes sharpening in the darkness. Focusing on the ones that moved up around behind them, turning to put her back towards Paris who shot to his feet with his blade crackling in hand. Prepared to cover Paris, she was eager to let her blade rip into the flesh of the men and women who dared to challenge them.

 

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Paris despised assassins.

Schooled in the more traditional arts of war, forged and tempered with honor and bravery, the crown prince could not bring himself to condone or accept those that would conduct themselves in so cowardly a manner. Poison, hidden daggers—it disgusted him.

While the marauders that charged them now were hardly of a caliber to call themselves such, that they would behave in so low a manner as to attempt to murder him with an arrow set a fire in his belly. The heat scorched through his veins, and as it rose, a storm gathered within him, churning and growing stronger with each passing second; more violent.

He surged forward, sword gripped tight in both hands. The energy from his blade continued to grow, webs of electricity crawling up his arms, over his shoulders, spreading across his chest and down his legs. It crackled loudly, pulsed brighter. The marauders must have liked their numbers, because they didn’t cease the charge or retreat.

One brought an axe down in an overhead swing. Paris grinned, and with a flicker of crackling light, he was gone. The axe head cleaved through the air where he’d been just a second before, throwing the man off balance. Paris was deeper in the crowd, spinning between three other marauders, weaving his greatsword between them in wide arcs. Dying screams and splashes of blood and gore filled the air.

Trusting Okina, Helene, and Solomon to handle themselves, Paris carved a bloody path toward the trio of arches still lurking near the rear of the group.

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Standing back to back with Paris, Okina could feel the hairs on her left arm which rested in a state of readiness near her side rise up with the electricity coming from her Master. Feeling herself grin back to the screaming marauders who decided to ruin their fireside dinner to be, she felt the soft breeze that took the place where Paris used to stand. Rage overtook the man she pledged her services to as he mowed down the offenders, their hot blood washing over his flesh and the ground alike. Never miss a beat, Okina pushed through the marauders who came from behind, the elegant curved blade of her katana slicing through their flesh and bone with little hinderance. 

While Okina seemed to dance through the marauders dressed in furs and leather, her body moved with an awareness of the woods that surrounded them. Beastial instincts took over, her feet knowing where to step and where to avoid. Heightened senses warned her of the man brandishing a wooden club coming at her from behind, allowing her to swirl around in time for the blade of her sword to slice through the center of the club. With the blade held up from the slice it just took, it came back down with another fast motion as Okina moved to avoid the free hand that came at her close fisted.

Ripping across the mans chest to stomach, her blade hung point down to the ground allowing the blood to drip on to the now consecrated ground. The numbers of men and women who dared to attack Paris and his party was greatly diminishing as the other did their part to protect themselves but more importantly their master. Although they wouldn’t dare step in his way in battle, they still glanced when they could to affirm he was still fighting the battle with them. 

Stepping over a woman who squirmed on the ground in hopes to crawl away with her wounds, Okina let the tip of her blade slice into the back of her skull. Warm with blood over her flesh, she still held the grin over her face she begun the fight with. 

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Paris swept his blade out in a wide slash, cutting through the chest of one man. A pillar of crackling electricity rushed from his open hand, stopping the heart of one woman and sizzling her flesh. He moved like a storm, flashing, rumbling, raining death down on the marauders.

An arrow whizzed through the air, missing him; but it found the eye of the marauder behind him. Another came for him, but he batted it away with his sword. The archers were too slow to realize he’d found them, and by the time they turned to flee, the crown prince’s blade was sweeping it.

It cleaved through the back of one, and then impaled another. The third, it decapitated with an effortless stroke.

Solomon and Helene were not idle, and while their lord dispatched the archers, they too had already killed nearly a dozen raiders between the two of them. The knight’s dreadful axe whirled through the air, hacking, rending, while Helene’s shredded through leather and flesh with her fangs, claws, and shortsword. Their pattern of attack fenced the marauders in, driving them back toward Okina and Paris.

The crown prince was there to greet them.

Save for the crackling and chirping of electricity, Paris was silent as he cut down all before him. Medivh, the sword of legend, was red and pulsing in his hands—its power flowing through him. Blood soaked his gloves, splatters of it across his face. He could smell it, taste it. The screams of the dying, the thrill of battle – it’d been too long since he’d enjoyed himself so fully. There should have been more, he thought as he split another man in two at the waist. There must be more!

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While Solomon and Helene pushed the remainder of the marauders towards Paris and Okina, the she-wolf danced her way through the ones Paris hadn’t gotten to. Pausing long enough to catch a throwing axe heading towards her face, she turned it in a split second to send it back home. While the blade sunk itself deep into the bridge of the nose of its keeper, Okina turned to greet a man who got in close with her. Too close to use the blade to slice through him, her left hand instantly grabbed the man by his esophagus. Pulling him up off his feet as he clawed at her hand, her fingertips easily sinking into the warm flesh that burned with the blood that streamed out. 

His fight was still strong as she let him dangle as high as she could lift his body, his weight was nothing to her. With the supernatural ability to bench steel, Okina watched as he started to choke on his blood while scratching at the flesh of her hands. Human amber hues shifted in the shadows the fire light danced over her face, the wolf purred just under her flesh. Holding her blade down and out away from her body, Okina turned with man in her grasp. Looking to meet Paris’ eyes, she winked before squeezing the man’s throat.

The blood burst from his neck, as if she had just squeezed a tomato in her fist. Tossing the now gurgling man who fell limply upon a pile of carnage left behind by the Prince, Okina licked the splattered blood from her upper lip. The cooling touch of the blood on her tongue sent goosebumps over her flesh, the beast in her satisfied by the sacrifice given to the earth. 

Everything was heightened to her, even the smell of what remained of the stew that cooked over the fire caught her attention. Looking over the bodies, spotting her sheathe slightly buried under a few bodies. Stepping over the masses, she pulled the casing of her blade from under a pooling hot mess of death. Just by looking at the sheathe, she knew everything would have to be very delicately cleaned to her liking. Hoping by days light she would have the opportunity to find a stream to clean up, the thought came with the flexing of her fingers that now grew sticky with drying blood. 

“Well, I’m starving..” 

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