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DarkHorse

Not Your Average Damsel in Distress Call

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It wasn’t hard, sneaking into the Uldwar house. In fact, he walked right in, claiming to have a message from Oscar Uldwar to his lover. The ease with which he walked in was astounding and he couldn’t help but smile to himself as he walked freely about the home. No one stopped him, no one questioned his going into Riha’s room, but quite a few were paid well not to do so. The starkly empty room left little to hide behind or in should Riha return early from her usual pacing across the great hall’s floors. He’d watched long enough to know she did that into the late late hours of the night. In fact - he’d been watching as soon as that letter arrived informing her father that she’d taken a lover. Insolent witch!

His fist clenched in anger and he resisted the urge to smash one of the trunks containing the little remains of Oscars things that stupid bitch managed to keep and hold on to. She. Was. His. That farm was his. That old bastard had no right to take her - no right to scoop up the runaway. Sure, he’d been warned off, told to stay away and not go near her. Not to upset the House Uldwar due to the wrath it would bring down on the farm he coveted so much. But now - he had to laugh - now Oscar was gone. His valuables - gone - his home left in a shadow of the state it was in prior. His house broken. He could walk right in an take just what he wanted. 

Rolfe spent months upon month upon months following the bitch, stalking her, watching everything she did. He’d bribed servants, seduced maids, done everything he could to find out about the Lady’s habits, where she spent her time - who she spent it with. Some eagerly divulged what they knew, anything from her practicing dark magic to being a helper of Gaia. Some of it was useful, not all of it was useful. A rumor floated around that she might even had carried his bastard, that one died quickly when she didn’t show after months of waiting for the tell tale belly to pop out. 

His original plan was to simply walk in and demand that she be returned to him. But he was a clever man, yes he was, there was no way the house would give up the Lady. The servants made sure he knew of that. Her friendship with the Lady Illyana and service to Gaia made her near untouchable. Not to mention the guards spoke in a reverent whisper about her and her commanding attitude. 

It angered him that another man took what should have been his - twice! First Odelia went to that stupid Elf, and then Riha escaped right from under his nose. What angered him more was that there was talk of her actually making that old bastard happy - happy! The bitch deserved to be treated like the runaway freak she was. Yet here she was, dressed in the finest silks and clothes money could buy, opening her thighs to another man that had no right between them. At least as he saw it.

This time he did kick a trunk, it made a loud thunk that echoed around the threadbare room. Thankfully most of the place was either ready for sleep or settling down for sleep. He righted it before Riha could return and notice it wasn’t where she’d left it. 

Taking deep breaths to calm himself he hid in the shadows when a servant entered with her night time wine, she turned down the sheets and smoothed them out. Rolfe resisted the urge to slit the woman’s throat. That servant was one of many that wouldn’t hear of harm coming to the Lady - one that couldn’t be bought. She left before the urge overtook him and he slunk out of the shadows, tipping a very generous amount of a black powder into the drink. It wouldn’t take long for her to pass out from the concoction. Now all he had to do was hide in the shadows and wait - and hope that her freak powers didn’t alert her to his presence. 

It was a long while before she returned, longer than most nights. Shadows under her eyes from that clear lack of sleep she had. The Lady took on much in her time since Oscar had gone, her service to Gaia and companionship with Illyana keeping her busy and stressed all in the same. Sitting down on the edge of the bed with a sigh she looked down at one of the trunks with her brow furrowed. Rolfe held his breath wondering if she would notice the slight dent in its metal from his boot. But she did not, and instead reached over for the drink and propped her feet up on the trunk. 

“Well” She let out a heavy sigh, “Here’s to another day we haven’t had word you’ve been mutilated, strung up or tortured. Looks like we stay here another day.”

She was of course referring to Oscar. Rolfe took this to be a sign of the girls affection towards that old bastard - she actually liked him! Rage nearly turned his vision red and caused him to blow his cover. He would bludgeon her to death as soon as he had the change. 

She took a long drink before dropping the cup with a loud clang, hand going to her mouth. As - the herbalist must have recognized the powder in her drink by now. The sting and numbness sitting on her lips that would soon spread through her body. 

Rolfe wouldn’t step out of the shadows while she could still scream though. That would alert one to many people and he didn’t feel like parting with any more of his coins - stolen of course from Vector Carthage. The farm was his as soon as he returned with Riha, so by Rolfe’s logic, it was his money anyway. 

Riha hit the floor with a thump, body going stiff causing her to slip from her perch on the edge of the bed. She landed almost on the threadbare rug he planned to wrap her up in to sneak her out. Stepping from the shadows, Rolfe dragged her rather harshly across the floor and into the center of the rug. He rolled her right into it and picked it up with the ease of a man that tossed hay bales and herded cattle. 

Hefting it over his shoulder he walked out of the room, down the hallway, through the great hall and out of the front doors. Intending to make his way to the port and his ship as soon as humanly possible so he could get as far away from Port Mars as possible. 

 

 

 

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The Scene

Crime scenes are harrowing, murders gruesome. But perhaps more bone chilling is the simple disappearance of a person that should have been there - nothing saying they left. 

Riha’s room sits empty. Barren and threadbare, a few trunks at the foot of the bed. 

On the floor is a cup that’s been dumped, its contents drying on the stones, the side of the pewter dented where it hit the floor. 

The rug that once dominated the room is gone, leaving a ring of sand and dirt and a darker patch of stone where the sun didn’t fade its color. 

Should one look close enough, really closely, there would be a letter sitting on her bureau. It is old, faded and crinkled. It simply states: 

I’m coming for you bitch. You’ll get what’s yours. 

-R.T 

Riha is gone, everything she owned and held close and dear left behind. She is simply -

               gone 

 

 

Soon enough whispers, rumors, tongues that cannot be kept from drunkenly wagging in the taverns would spread word. Even Lord Uldwar’s lover got taken out from under his nose - oh how the mighty family has fallen. And this would be simply to delicious to stay just in Port Mars. The rumor would float though out Ursa Maedum - leastways to those that cared to listen to it. 

@Infernal  @Aleksei @Alexei @Thotification

Edited by DarkHorse

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"What have you found from the servants?" She asked, standing in the middle of the crime scene, her heart in tatters. Riha was gone, vanished into the night, and why? That's what she needed to know, and was willing to do anything to find out. 

"So far none are talking. Don't worry though, my lady, we'll get it out of them, one way or another." Sir Gamesly was not one to tolerate traitors, which was why his tactics in discovering the ones who allowed such a breach in security were being punished, brutally. Sentries were lashed, servants were being locked in stocks, and the Dogs of War were on the warpath to find the identity of the intruder. Pain was being shared all around, and it wouldn't stop until answers were given. 

"Please...don't kill anyone." Illyana begged, knowing how they can get carried away when trying to do the right thing. "Have you sent out the call?"

"Yes, my lady. Help is on its way, though I wish you would allow us to handle this matter." 

"No." She said coldly. "Riha Cathrage was my friend, and I will be the one to find her. You or one of the other knights can guard me, but I will be there to bring her back home. Whoever has done this needs to be brought to justice, alive. Either respect that, or get out of my way." 

"Yes, my lady." Sir Gamesly stepped out of the room, leaving the Lady Uldwar to her thoughts. 

"Gaia." Illyana whispered to herself. "Please keep her safe. Protect her, guide me to her, let your will be done." In her eyes burned a fire that she had tried to keep smothered for so many years. For the first time since she was just a girl, she felt angry, she felt  indignant and wrathful.

She felt rage in her veins.

Suffer...

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63IoWNJ.pngKillian's yawn was interrupted by an intruding elbow being shoved into his side. It is not his fault his company barely stopped to rest, pushing the gentleman to his limits and furthering, limiting his ability to be any part of a respectable Seeker. All he wanted was a few hours to get his life together, but the woman refused, and he is in absolutely no position to go against the Grand Master. They both were given their orders, and much more is placed upon her shoulders than his own, being he is far more replaceable than Delaney, and this situation is more personal to her than himself. 

Austere's lovely wife Odelia is the reason the two Seekers find themselves approaching the house. Killian was given only the bare minimum, forcing him to understand that this is a dangerous situation that needs a severe mind to get down to business here. While his opinions about the Uldwar House is weak, it has little to do about the deaths of the Mythals and some such; it was just a matter how the House is a rather terrible failure in comparison to the rest. An unfortunate circumstance as the Uldwar House is a powerful creation that is full of potential; he would like to see something good come out of it. 

Something good has to come out of this mess.

Bright blue eyes took in their surroundings, while he trailed some feet behind Delaney. All around them, people were running about as if they had been threatened with beheading if they did not look busy. For a second he felt like they were back at the Free Marches where the people were always moving around, trying to stay active or at least look it, but they were happier than the people here. 

"We are here on behalf of Odelia Mythal, wife of Austere Mythal."

Delaney spoke to whoever looked like they were in charge or had some semblance of power that would get them inside the home. Killian stood behind the other Seeker, towering over the small woman who looked ready to move mountains and part seas.

 

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It was a dark day for the Uldwars and the crippled woman wanted none of it. Unfortunately, she cannot deny the fact that she had always liked Ilyana. So when her sources had heard of the drastic news form Uldwar lands, Holly just had to come. 

The burn woman rolled her wheelchair through the Uldwar estate in search of the Lady Ilyana. Kidnappings and investigations like these were nothing new to the Lady Sheathe. Before she had taken her place as the head of an aristocratic family, she was part of an elusive mercenary group that did a fair share of those things. One can say she was one of the few experts who had done both sides of the same coin.

She felt pity for these poor people. They loss may have hit them more than was intended and she could do nothing about it. This should have been Ilyana's job. Soothing the people. Washing away their troubles and worries. But Illy is too involved, too affected to even care.

She needed to find someone in charge. Perhaps Sir Gamesly might be here. As her borrowed memories can tell, the cartel had a few runs with the man both as an ally and foe. There's much history between her old group and the Uldwar but Holly only came because she was needed.

"I'm looking for Illy," Holly spoke to whoever is in charge, "My name is Holly Sheathe, just a friend."

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sBnjFHz.pngAolis followed behind the two Seekers, having taken it upon himself to get involved with the affairs of Ursa Madeum. He had kept a distance from the two, mostly just watching their actions, though he did make light conversation with them. Mostly answering questions when asked, or asking a few of his own. Mostly about the area and current events. Over all, it had been an easy time, despite what might have been deemed as a hard ride to the Uldwar lands. Though he seemed no worse for wear, in fact he seemed to be quite invigorated.

To him, riding a horse was very much like breathing, and lack of sleep never truly affected the Sylvus. They were in tune with the magic of the world, immortal so long as they chose to continue to be so. The horse he road was a mare borrowed from the Mythal, well trained but still keeping a bit of its fire from before it had been broken. It seemed the steed had taken quite a liking to the High Elf. 

His eyes looked over the sight over the people moving about, though their expressions were quite telling, as he was sure the two Seekers had noticed. Seemed the disappearance had quite the impact of the people as well, perhaps they were fearful of the repercussions falling on them? He dismissed the thought, how humans ruled their domains was of little concern to the prince. Such a thing was never uncommon anyway.

“I am simply here to assist the Mythal out of...curiosity, you could say.” He spoke after Delaney when the eyes of the ones she addressed fell on him. “I suppose you could say I represent the House Sylvanus of the Sylvanian Isles.” He finished, expanding on the information so that they knew exactly who they were dealing with. Subterfuge would have little need here, for now. Better to be honest, especially since he came in tow with the Seekers.

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On a ship leaving the harbor........

 

Rolfe was leaning back in his chair, feet on the table in front of him. He sipped on the fine wine he brought for himself to celebrate his success. His eyes stared at the unconscious woman he’d chained to cabin’s bed. The little escape artist wasn’t getting away from him this time, he was going to keep his eyes on her the entire time. If he looked away for a second she would likely use her freak powers to get out again somehow. 

It was easy to hire the crew - really - enough coin and anyone would eat from his pockets. Old man Carthage was getting ill and weak, he didn’t notice Rolfe cleared the coffers for this expedition. But it was worth it, that whole parcel of land was worth it. Get the bitch, get the land. That was the deal before Odelia was married off to some other bastard. Rolfe couldn’t touch Odelia - at least not yet, so he would settle for her freakish twin until he could get her. Have them both he would. He was sure of it - it was his right. 

Again Rolfe’s eyes narrowed at the woman on his bed her form slumped in an undignified way, as they trailed over her with lust he grew angry. Another man looked at her - had her in that way! That should have fucking been his! She could very well be carrying and Uldwar bastard or someone else’s progeny. A fist tightened around the cup until he forced himself to relax. He would make Riha pay for that affront to him, exact his revenge on her flesh until he was satisfied he’d been compensatedBut first he would wait - no need to have any rumors or doubt that any whelps she gave him weren’t his. He could be a patient man - to an extent. 

Riha stirred uncomfortably, she felt - terrible - like her head was filled with cotton. Her mouth was dry and she moved her hands to push herself up - only realizing that she couldn’t move one of her arms. It was halted quite abruptly with a clank and bite of metal into her wrist. She pulled harder and as her vision cleared more looked up at her arm - it was chained to - a bed? 

She looked down, this wasn’t her bed! This room wasn’t hers - where was she? She remembered the wine - and then - blackness - Dreading what she would see, she looked up to see a much much older Rolfe than she remembered. The last time she’d seen him was when he stuffed her into that coffin to ship her to her aunt and uncles, he was a man Nearly full grown then and that was ten years ago. 

“Hello Riha.” His oily voice doused Riha’s spine in ice, he was enjoying watching the horror cross her face, the delicate flesh paling. 

“You- “ Her voice came out strangled. 

“Oh yes.” His voice rose in intensity as he got angrier a “Your Cuckolded fucking fiancé!” 

She shrank back as he rose from his chair, towering over her in his rage. He threw his cup across the room, it smashed into the wall sending what little wine was left flying. Soon he crossed over to her and pulled her harshly by the hair so she had to look at him and wasn’t able to twist away. The back of his hand came across her face and he let her drop, his anger abating as quickly as it rose. Riha’s cheek split where he’d hit her. 

He walked away and then paced back like he was going to hit her again, this time with his fists. Riha shrank down and tried to avoid the blow that didn’t come. Instead he looked down and took a deep breath in. He wasn’t feeling like a patient man. 

“We don’t have a very long ride until we reach land.” He said dangerously, “and I intend to fully make you pay for your whoring ways in the meantime.” 

As he moved to climb over her she screamed and bit him, pushing him away to only be hit again. She had to do anything - literally anything to get him to stop hitting her. 

“Stop I’m pregnant!” She screamed curling up, hoping he was stupid enough to believe her, “If you cause me to miscarry I wont be able to have another!” 

The blows stopped and he let out an angry roar but didn’t hit her, ‘WHOSE?” 

She merely shook her head in fear and squeezed her eyes shut, refusing to answer him. In truth she was thinking, calculating as quickly as she could. Oscar had been gone too long for it to be his, she was sure Rolfe was watching her long enough to know that. She would have to think - he slapped her cheek again.

”Fucking tell me whose?” He demanded and shook her. 

“Godric!” She shouted the first name that came to mind, she had to make sure Rolfe wouldn’t go after him, “after Oscar left we took solace in each other! I encouraged him to cheat!” 

It was a lie, of course it was, but she was hoping Rolfe was still as stupid as she remembered. He dropped her like she was a poisonous snake and stalked away from her, slamming the door shut behind him and leaving her alone. The door locking loudly. At the very least she’d bought herself until the ship docked on the opposite port. 

 

 

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The others were brought to the room, where Illyana waited, holding the letter in her hands, trying to discern who the author might be. She was more than certain this was who had taken Riha, and the priestess was determined to find him. 

"Thank you for responding to my plea for help. As you know, my friend, Riha Cathrage, was kidnapped sometime ago." She sighed, holding back the deep dismay she felt at her absence, praying dearly to Gaia that she was okay. "Currently my knights are trying to ascertain who had done this, as we have learned our own staff allowed the predator to enter into our midst. Punitive actions are already underway..." As if to punctuate this statement, a cry of pain shot through the halls of the castle, painting a gruesome picture of what was being doled out to those who had betrayed the noble house.

Handing them the letter, she gave everyone a chance to look at it. "R.T. is the name of the person who wrote that, And I believe they has committed this crime. If you know who this might be, any information would be helpful, but ultimately, I will need your help in the pursuit as well. We can't risk wasting anymore time than we have to-"

"My lady!" Interrupted one of the knights, Sir Redford, as he burst through the room. "One of the servants talked. He was paid off by the culprit, and he says the man left the castle with Lady Riha wrapped in a carpet, heading for the docks!" 

"Have the horses ready immediately, we will ride for the docks post haste, and hopefully catch them before they leave." Looking to the others while the knight left to make preparations, she motioned for them to follow her while walking to the courtyard. "We will speak with the dock master, and he will tell us who had come in under these initials, and where they are headed. I am sorry for not being able to be more formal, truly, but time is of the essence." Her heart thundered with fear, the hope inside of her clinging onto the possibility that Riha was still okay. If she wasn't, she simply didn't know what she would do.

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63IoWNJ.png

Killian had known Delaney spoke with Milorian about allowing an outsider in. She believed it was an inappropriate move considering the call for help was a rather delicate one, but because there were no limitations on assistance Aolis was tolerated. He held no grudges against the elf, and neither did Delaney, she was simply looking out for the Mythal name, and it's delicate reputation - as is her job. 

Thankfully, Del is not the sort to be sour towards someone who has done nothing towards her and has been very courteous and curious about the other elf. A master at discussion, she picked his brain, forced him to entertain her though he didn't look too annoyed by it so maybe force isn't the correct word. Nonetheless, Aolis has meshed into their party with subtle ease, and it's with high hopes that he will stay that way for the entirety of this investigation. Killian doesn't want to do Del's dirty work, and the last thing she'd like to do is send a notable partner of the Mythal House home. 

When they were handed the letter, he peeked over Del's head and looked it over. He noted her gloved finger tap the initials; then he watched her straighten her shoulders and look forward - there it is. She and her Lord are connected to the mind; the moment she saw the initials, she asked Austere if it rang a bell who would then ask his wife. It was easy to tell when the Seeker is having a mindful conversation, she goes silent and still, almost uninterested in the events. Hopefully, Austere's wife can say something about all this.

"Do you think she'll know?" He finally spoke up, interested in the silent conversation.

"We will know soon enough. I had passed the initials over to Lord Austere; he believes his wife may know the initials."

Suddenly the room erupted with activity, peppering this entire event with the right amount of gravitas fit for a dramatic play. They followed Illyana to the courtyard, but Killian and Delaney did not get manipulated by the rushed maneuvers and the high of hope. 

"We'll be too late," Delaney said.

"Ask about ships that have left with any precarious cargo. The person may have been smart enough not to use their initials again, but maybe they let something else slip."

Killian spoke after Delaney, filling the space before they all rode off. 

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Holly listened to Illy's words but her eyes are shifting all around the room. She could have found more clues but then something else happened. A debacle, perhaps a discovery. More leads, and yet leading to even more questions. Now she wondered how much time had past since the kidnapping and how fast do these rumors go from one gossiping ear to another.

She shrugged as she caught wind of what the commotion is all about. Apparently there was an eyewitness and the usual bribed traitorous snake within the castle. The agonized scream coming from somewhere deep inside the estate only showed Holly how these nobles deal with their problems. Still, she was obligated to assist and only because she greatly respected the priestess.

Horses. I hate horses. I hate all pack animals.

Holly groaned as she looked at the transport they had brought and then to her personal transport, the wheelchair, and then back to the pack animals again.

I would bloody walk all the way but I'm not in my best condition at the moment. 

So she had her own carriage prepared. At least the horses would pull the bloody thing and not force a cripple to ride a bloody live mount. Despite the rough start and handling, she finally managed to settle her lame bottom on the carriage. She let loose one last grumble before her ride sped off after the others.

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In the Mythal house 

Disturbing times and even more disturbing news had Odelia pacing her gardens for hours on end, she’d worn down her fingernails chewing on them and feared she would start gnawing on her flowers if he anxiety reached much higher. 

No less than two days ago had someone arrived, claiming to be none other than Riha - Riha! Her dead twin! She was more than infuriated the woman had been sent away, at the very least she wanted to take to task the person dumb enough and bold enough to try and pass off as her long dead twin. Then there was this hush hush that even Austere wouldn’t speak about in front of her - oh but she’d heard that something was going on. She didn’t know what it was, but it was enough for Austere to send Delaney herself and Killian to take care of it. And just a few moments ago Austere approached her and asked her about the initials RT - something that put ice in her belly and fear in her eyes. 

Those initials linked to only one person for her Rolfe Thurston -The one she was supposed to marry until Austere arrived like a beam of hope and sunshine. The very same man that killed her maid the day she departed with Austere. Pushed her down the stairs, or at least Odelia was convinced it wasn't a mere accident. She’d told Austere as much and then begged, raged and argued that he tell her why he wanted to know. His answers were less than helpful and she was once again left to piece together what in the world was going on. Her brain ranged from every horrible thing imaginable to the least horrible. But she knew one thing - something wasn't right, and she didn’t need her twins “freak” powers to know that. 

 

Aboard the Broken Promise 

The crew was talking, whispers and snickers, but they reached Rolfs ears. He was angry, sulking at the bow, looking down at the seas and biting his lip. What if the bitch was lying? What if she wasn't? Either way the rumors would spread and doubt would be cast on what ever whelps she gave him. He’d have to wait - Rolfe hated waiting. He waited for Odelia and instead of getting his just reward the bastard Carthrage gave her away to another! 

His fist came down on the railing and he growled, not noticing one of his crewmen approaching him rather quickly, a smirk on his face. 

“Sir - “ he began. 

“What is it now?” Rolfe snapped angrily, spinning on his heel and glaring the man down. 

The other paused for a moment and looked uncertain, his feet shuffled and he took a deep breath as if to steady himself. The crew were nervous around Rolfe, as they should be - he was a dangerous man. 

“One of the crewmen saw the Uldwar guard just before he boarded,” He said, “Heard them talking about a complete family evacuation - moving them to a secret location. Another townswoman said that they were scheduled to depart from the island in no less than two days for the very same reason. She was complaining about bugbears and Gaia abandoning them. Perhaps the family has been pulled earlier -“ 

Rolfe smiled, “Perfect.” 

No Uldwar’s meant no trouble - he wouldn’t even have to worry about them coming after him. They wouldn’t be able to go after her if they even wanted to - because they had to leave. This took his soured mood upwards and he soared like a cloud, he merely had to wait a few more months to see if the bitch got fat with another’s babe - if not - then he’d be sure to punish the lying whore. But for now, he would setting for tormenting her a bit - and stretching the truth. If she was - why couldn’t he? 

Riha tried to still her breathing, calm herself down as best she could. However she couldn’t, she was panicking, had been since she lied and he beat her. Her cheek still stung from where one of his blows landed. If they were going back to her fathers home there was no chance of protection there - her father would ask him why he hadn’t beat her harder. It’s not like her children were of any importance to a man with two capable sons. 

Just as her heart rate was slowing and she was finally willing herself to think clearly, the door unlocked. Her blood pressure rose again and she was nearly seeing black out of the sheer fear coursing through her. Had he seen through her lie? Did he decide he just didn’t care? Riha tugged at the chains to see if there was any weakness in them, any give that would allow her to move - there wasn't. Her time to figure it out was up as well, the door opened and in stepped her living nightmare. A smug smirk on his face instead of anger. 

“Oh my sweet beauty.” He crooned, walking towards her. 

His pitying endearment caught her off guard. Rolfe approached her and leaned down, his thumb tracing the burning on her chin, he didn’t look sorry. He looked satisfied at the red smear that came off on it. 

“What do you want.” She jerked her head away from him. 

He grabbed her chin and made her look at him, “Everything and nothing. I heard that the Uldwar’s have been moved off island.” 

Riha’s eyes widened, how did he know? That wasn’t supposed to happen for another two days! She didn’t answer him and instead glared back, he must be lying - there is no why he would know they were moved sooner, not when he and his spies were no longer there - he couldn’t know - could he?

”We watched their ship just sail by in the harbor -“ He said smoothly, “Seems they’ve decided to leave you behind.” 

He finally let go of her chin, which was now quivering in the effort it took not to cry. She didn’t want to give him - tears ran down her cheeks - the satisfaction of it. His smug grin grew and he patted her cheek roughly. 

“Yes - by this time tomorrow we will be docking at the south side of your home sweet island. An hour from then you will be back int he loving care of your father. And hopefully not too much shorter I’ll have that signed agreement that we can be married.” 

She was too grief stricken to notice he didn’t even have permission to take her. She could hear her heart breaking in her ears. Her family had abandoned her - her best friend - her confidant - she’d just up and left. Riha couldn’t help but feel upset that Illyana was likely just as distraught as her - if not more - thinking that Odelia ran away from them. A sob escaped from her and she bit her lip to keep any more from coming. 

“No one is coming for you bitch.” Rolfe snarled, “If I were you I would use this time to get real comfortable with the fact that soon you will be Riha Thurston.” 

He walked out of the room laughing, being sure to close and lock the door behind him. 

 

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0JTdvJv.pngKillian and Delaney discussed the matter between themselves, taking their time before revealing any more information to the rest of the group. Del disliked making speculative talk, and Killian was often too impatient to just wait when there was so much action that could be done. There was very little they could do now, though. Thankfully, there was an entire fleet of individuals far closer than them, and with many more resources at their fingertips. For now, Killian and Delaney will have to rush to the Carthage estate.

Austere and Milorian had made preparations to descend upon the estate quietly and simplistically. Neither brother wished to war against the house, nor did they want to spill blood, they simply wanted recompense for the hurt and danger against a member of their household. Milorian was guilty of turning away the individuals that had first approached the house some time ago. If he hadn't done such, then Odelia may have a part of her history restored. Now the Mythals must move quickly to tie up these sudden loose ends daring to rip the seam of comfort apart.

"You can't leave her here, Austere."

The elf sighed against the hands slapping buckles closed; he exchanged his robes for something more protective and domineering. The Seeker armor was sleek, simple, and durable enough to withstand the most hateful of swords and most potent of spells. He had heard on the winds that the Carthage patriarch is failing in health and in mind, but such a snake has kept himself surrounded by creatures just as lowly as he. Rolfe clearly cares not for the consequences of his actions, making him far more dangerous than he ought to be.

"I know - I know!" Austere stepped down and sheathed the sword to his side, suddenly feeling both uncomfortable and uneasy. An elf descending upon the house full of humans ...

"Take her with you."

Milorian followed Austere to the docks were the Eagleships sway against the gentle lapping of the sea. The ships are fast creations that will take them to the Carthage house, hopefully in time to intercept the dastardly ploy set in place by Rolfe.

"Call for Odelia, let her know we sail to see her father," Austere said with some hesitance to his voice. He disliked bringing her back to a place he promised she would never have to see again, but Milorian was right in having her come along. Odelia would follow after Austere, and the confrontation would be less than ideal for both of them.

"I'll try to make this quick, Milorian. I'm sorry tha-"

Milo raised his hand to silence his brother. "Don't apologize to me, Austere. Just do your best to rectify this situation, and I say that as your King."

 

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Odelia was fuming. 

Angrily she tossed item after item into a trunk, her assigned servant scrambling to set it to rights as she added to the heap. The uncharacteristic flash of defiance and anger seething from every pore. It was the first time she’d ever been truly angry at her husband. 

Word came to her that she was to pack and prepare for a trip to see her father - her father! First she’d been asked about those initials, on the wake of the appearance of a woman claiming to be her twin - and now Austere was saying they were paying him a visit? Her fists clenched and she stood straighter, eyes narrowed and she let out an angry growl. She was going to demand answers alright - and he’d better provide adequate results, lest it result in the first real argument the couple ever had. 

The maid, sensing danger in every second spent with the Lady, suggested she change into something more fitted to their travels. Begrudgingly Odelia obeyed and once she’d put on a pair of riding pants and a nice shirt, she braided her hair and tossed it over her shoulder. The maid clicked the lid shut on the trunk and it was carried away, followed by Odelia. The diminutive and usually gentile girl had the glint of murder in her eyes - something that sent nearly anyone around her scurrying in the opposite direction. 

Odelia needed her anger, it was far better than the fear that threatened to tear her apart. Is he bringing me back? Am I not to his liking? Why would he return me to that prison?!  It really was too good to be true. If he was going to return her as damaged goods - discarded like he didn’t want her..... well he had another think coming to him. The longer she marched the more her anger turned to tears and soon she was a crying, angry mess as she approached the docks. She already threw up - again - this morning, what else could possibly go wrong? 

Her eyes watched the trunk being carried up onto the ship and she looked around to find the object of her ire. There he stood, wearing armor, sun glinting off of it like he was some sort of hero, hair messy as it usually was. This made her cry even harder for a moment, how could she be so mad at him? 

Sailors and servants alike gave her a wide berth as she took a deep breath, wiped away evidence of her brief loss of control and marched over to him. Anger could make a woman bold and it did indeed make Odelia bold. 

Her fingernail plunked against his chest plate as she poked it accusingly and stared up at him, a gleam in her eyes that said don’t you dare lie to me. 

“Austere Mythal - you tell me what is going on right now.” 

Despite her terror, anger and sadness, her voice didn’t shake or crack. It was commanding, strong and loud. 

 

The broken promise glided across the sea

The sails billowed, ropes snapped, wood of the deck creaked. It was the sound of victory, a job well done, success. Rolfe was a happy man; soon the ranch would be his, he would have his promised wife - and then use her to lure Odelia away from safety. His blade would taste the blood of an elf soon enough when he did away with her husband. Then it was a matter of disposing of Riha, marrying Odelia and finally the object of his desires would be his. Nothing and nobody was going to stop him. They couldn’t. With the Uldwar’s gone there would be no one else to come after her. And even then, he was certain he’d left behind no evidence of where she’d gone. It would look like she ran away. 

He praised himself for his cleverness, cunning, stealth. Riha would be so lucky to have him as her husband - though he cared nothing for the girl. She looked like her twin in nearly every way, for now she would have to do. But the fiery bitch would need to be put in her place time and time again, something he never would have to do with Odelia. Rolfe worked hard to groom her from a tender age - as soon as Lord Carthrage’s first wife died, and along with her the protection over her daughters. This time none of them would escape him, Riha would be his and Lord Carthrage would meet an untimely end as soon as the deed was done.

A satisfied puff of air escaped his chest, yes sir, he was a happy man. 

 

Riha took the reprieve from Rolfe to give into her grief. First she lost Oscar - a man whom she adored - but not for the reasons everyone thought. Then the family she’d carved a place in abandoned her, leaving at the first opportunity they had. They didn’t even bother to try and get her back first. She knew her place as Oscars lover was tenuous, that once he was gone her position of power would crumble rather quickly. Initially it hadn’t though, she continued to run his house, paid his reparations until there was not even something left to sit on in the dining hall. Cared for his family, and she thought they cared for her - at the very least Illyana did. She wondered if the old man even knew of her disappearance - not likely given where he was. And if he had found out, he probably would assume she ran away and be angry with her. 

She hurt, her arms hurt from the angle at witch she was stretched. Her face throbbed where he’d hit her. But worst of all, she lost hope and that hurt the most. 

Numb fingers scrabbled in her messy hair to find the pin that was holding up the last of her curls. The chains bit into her wrists, but she decided if she could pick the lock then maybe she would have the opportunity to escape and jump over the side of the ship, even take the black hearted Rolfe with her as the plummeted to inevitable drowning. 

 

 

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