Completed [Job Thread] [Sunset Falls] Fall From Grace

In which Rhov tracks down a rogue squire, and finds himself at a crossroads.

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Stretching northward along the coastline of the Suvan Sea, the Cobalt Mountains are the home of the Bronze Wood, numerous ruins, and creatures both strange and fantastical.

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[Job Thread] [Sunset Falls] Fall From Grace

Postby Rhov on May 31st, 2015, 12:31 am

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50th of Spring, Midday

She was pretty. That was the first thing Rhov noticed about his target, the charcoal black lines that defined her face appearing stark against the yellowed paper of her wanted poster. Whomever sketched these posters in the Order went into loving detail when it came to Elise Veklem, the criminal that Rhov was now tracking. Elegant cheekbones that complemented her summer-sweet face, and the artist even made the effort to detail the light dusting of freckles that graced her smiling visage. Perhaps it was because that the women was one of the Order's own that the artist gave life to her image on the page, or perhaps the creator of the warrant put forth such creativity into all their works.

With a sigh, the Chaktawe tracker began to fold the warrant back into his belt pouch; his hand only stilled by the sudden appearance of his guardian, Eria. Blood-orange feathers folded in upon themselves in an elegant manner as she perched upon Rhov's shoulder, razored talons sinking lightly into the hardened leather of his armor. At the sight of the women's picture, she chirped in a manner entirely to lilting for an eagle of her size.

Would you look at that? She's far and above better looking than the normal class of criminal we usually hunt. Don't you agree? Eria whispered mentally to her charge, her tone light and embarrassingly suggestive.

Rolling his solid onyx eyes at the eagle on his shoulder, Rhov shot his guardian a heated look. Doesn't matter how pretty she is. She broke the law, she's got a price on her head, and we'll track her like any other criminal we have before. Simple as that.

Such dialogues had become common for the bonded pair, with Eria intent on embarrassing Rhov and Rhov brushing aside such endeavors with a mental growl. It seemed the two had found a steady rhythm in their relationship of Guardian and Charge, the initial hostility that burned between the two divergent souls beginning to simmer down to a humorous, albeit barbed, friendship.

Looking back down towards the crinkled piece of parchment in his hand, Rhov ignored the inviting image of Elise in favor of the charges listed against her. Horse theft. Aiding and abetting a criminal act. Desertion in the midst of combat. The bounty hunter whistled in a low tone at the last charge. The Syliras Military was an extremely strict organization, even more so to the soldiers and squires beholden to it. To abandon her comrades in the middle of battle, and then run from justice? She had to have known the Order wouldn't have let her get away with it.

I guess that's why her family hired me, Rhov thought to himself, finally understanding his proprietors' wishes. If a knight found her, there would be no hope. The Order would lock her in the Tank and be done with it. If I get to her first and bring her home, however, there's a chance that her family could convince her to confess. If she confesses willingly, her sentence could be reduced. It's a lot of 'ifs' and 'maybes', but it's better than the alternative.

His face hardening with full understanding of the situation, Rhov let himself slip into a hunter's focus. He had to move quickly, while the trail was still fresh and able to be followed. With a grunt, the Chaktawe lifted himself from his sitting position and broke out into a light jog deeper into the Bronze Woods. If he hurried, perhaps he could actually capture the girl and make it to his home at the Mithryn Outpost before nightfall.

Eria's comforting cry rang briefly in the back of his mind, her sunset scorched feather's burning a path through the clear, blue sky of midday. Hoof prints, hidden in the foliage but clear as day to Rhov's trained eye, appeared to the tracker's left. The girl's stolen horse, no doubt. Despite his reservations about this contract, an all-too-familiar wolfish grin curled onto his face with predatory satisfaction. Crouching low next to the surprisingly fresh tracks, Rhov let the creeping prickles of elation spiderweb through his form as he followed the trail onward. To him, there was no greater feeling of joy than when he was stalking his prey.

All was well with Rhov, for now he had a target. A person to track, a goal to find.

Now, the hunt was afoot.

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Last edited by Rhov on February 10th, 2016, 6:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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[Job Thread] [Sunset Falls] Fall From Grace

Postby Rhov on June 4th, 2015, 4:20 pm

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"Child's play," Rhov whispered to himself with a satisfied smirk. The scattered traces of his prey throughout the forest might as well have been breadcrumbs leading him straight to her. A broken branch here, a subtle disturbance of leaves there. To anyone else, such sights might have been random, results of strange happenstance or coincidental interference. To Rhov, however, these tracks weaved a tangle web; one which led straight to Elise Veklem.

The young bounty hunter continued in such a manner for as long as the tracks remained obvious, only altering the course of his light jog when the hoof prints veered in a new direction. Whatever her training as a squire, apparently Elise's trainers saw no point in teaching her how to hide her tracks. In all fairness, Rhov supposed they probably didn't think they had to teach their trainees how to avoid being caught; the Order being paragons for all things lawful and just.

Verdant greens and warm, dark browns enveloped the atmosphere of the wood. Sunlight broke through the fractured emerald canopy of the lively trees, and a summer sweet breeze whispered past Rhov as he jogged through the copper colored forest. Had any observer not been privy to his intent, one might simply think that the youth was just enjoying a beautiful day in the forest, not tracking down a deserter of the Syliras Order of Knights.

Hai, if this keeps up, I'll have the girl home in time for a family dinner. Maybe they'll even invite me, the Chaktawe chuckled lightly to himself, an uncharacteristic good mood enveloping him.

A mood which quickly soured as he turned into a damaged clearing, the once easy-to-read tracks now somewhat muddled in whatever had taken place before him.

Rhov's confident air slowly became choked with concern, and a stern frown carved its way into the Chaktawe's angular features as his mind raced to the worst conclusions. The signs of conflict were apparent to him, the crushed and shattered foliage in the clearing painting a veritable picture of violence. Blood, ruby red against a field of emerald, all but confirmed his fears. The scarlet trail bled onward through the clearing, echoes of the violent conflict which took place here. Breaking into a run, Rhov followed the crimson marks with unerring determination. If his contract lie dead in this forest due to some unforeseen circumstance, not only would he have failed in his hunt, but also failed the Veklem family. A family so concerned with their daughter's well-being that they would risk the Knight's wrath just to give her a chance at a better life in Syliras. Such loyalty spoke to Rhov, the ties that bound them together reminding him of the love between he and his tribe back in the burning dunes of Eyktol. He owed it to that family to ensure their daughter's well being, to ensure that his hunt ended without a causality.

Stumbling to a stop, Rhov cursed his foul luck which seemed to consistently plague him. The ruby trail ended in a small crimson pool, the lifesblood seeping out of its owner in steady streams of scarlet. While the blood belonged to a horse and not its rider, the good news ended there. Behind the fallen creature lay Rhov's target, appearing relatively unharmed for the time being. Elise waved a gleaming sword in her hand in a threatening manner, though surprisingly not at the panting form of her Chaktawe hunter. No, instead the rogue squire haphazardly waved off a much larger threat than Rhov.

Muscles apparent under its tawny brown coat, the feline that stood between the bounty hunter and his target cut an intimidating figure in the midst of the copper colored trees. Thick, meaty paws lazily swiped at Elise, its claws gleaming like pearl-white razors in full view of the sun's light. Its black-tipped tail swayed with apparent joy as the creature taunted its outmatched prey. Whatever manner of being this feline was, one thing was abundantly clear about it. It was a predator, and right now, the cat was playing with its food.

At his entrance into its killing ground, the cougar turned sharply towards Rhov. Its heavy paws crushed the scattered leaves that drifted in its wake, Rhov suddenly taking up the wholeness of the cat's attention. With slow, deliberate steps, the two began circle each other with animalistic intent. The sharp ringing of steel released from its sheath was the only sound that managed to break the deafening silence that consumed the forest. Rhov felt the steady beat of his heart match the tempo of their collective steps, and his muscles grew tense from anticipation. There they were, two predators competing for the same prey. Only one outcome could occur when such an instance erupted in nature. There was a balance to things, every species filling a needed role. And when two species managed to fill the same role?

One would have to perish, or both would face extinction.

With a bloodcurdling yowl, the cougar broke the steady beat of their endless pacing, launching itself at Rhov with reckless abandonment. In this instance, it mattered not what motives the two had in their endeavors to corner Elise. It mattered not whose cause was just, or who had claim to this prey. As the two hunters matched strength against strength in the confines of this verdant forest, all outside influence ceased to matter. In this moment of feral conflict, nature was simply running its course.

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[Job Thread] [Sunset Falls] Fall From Grace

Postby Rhov on June 6th, 2015, 1:14 pm

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The beast was fast, much faster than he anticipated: a realization that did nothing to abate the pain which wracked his form as claws like razors raked through the meager defenses of his leather armor. The only reason why Rhov was not pinned down and at the mercy of this animal was due to his Chaktawe senses. As the cougar launched itself towards the youth with primal fury, its movement sent a shock wave of disturbances thorough the near stilled air. This sudden burst of speed proved enough to alert the freckle-like sensors on Rhov's hands, and his body moved on pure instinct. Still, even with the biological warning, he did not prove agile enough to avoid the grasping claws which tore across his back; exposed after his low dive to avoid the pouncing predator's curled claws.

Rhov landed with a clumsy roll opposite to his opponent. He scrambled to his feet with little grace, more concerned with the simple act of standing than any graceful movements. He turned with quick determination, and found his onyx gaze meeting the furious molten gold eyes of the carnivore before him. There was a brief moment's respite in the combat, a calm before the raging storm emerged again. The two hunters began their prowling motions again, circling each other in an odd sort of dance. Rhov dropped into a low stance, his bare feet ghosting across the forest floor. An uneasy silence once again filled the absence of noise, the quiet footsteps of the two combatants barely making a sound in the near-dead air. One step, and then another: the two circling each other in an endless procession footsteps. Neither broke eye contact with the other, their gazes locked in a soundless war.

This time, it was Rhov who broke the hunter's dance.

Rushing forward with light steps, the Chaktawe off-balanced his enemy with his fleet-footed charge. The cougar's surprise was brief, but it only took a few seconds for Rhov to dart to its side and slip away from its clawed reach. His blade like a raven's talon, the youth slashed against the tawny brown coat of the cat; leaving a curved, red smile seeping across its side. Unfortunately for Rhov, he was not quite quick enough to avoid the animal's retaliation.

Yowling with nature's fury, the beast turned on its would-be killer. The full size of the animal became suddenly apparent to Rhov, its muscled legs pulling its sizable mass backwards like a taught spring. Releasing the immense energy its muscles stored, the cougar once again pounced towards its enemy.

It did not miss it mark twice.

Pearl-like claws stained red as they sunk deep into Rhov's shoulders, cutting right through the hardened leather as if it were cloth. His legs fared no better, the heavy appendages of his enemy slamming across his own. He was pinned, arms still movable but of little concern to the cougar. He wouldn't be able to damage the creature enough before his end, the blade which carried him through so many battles now useless in the face of death. Rancid breath collided with his senses, the air hot and heavy with the promise of a new meal. Yellowed teeth gleamed at him as the animal pulled its mouth back in snarl. Its molten gold eyes were alight with pleasure, and the beast seemed to almost smile as it lunged its dagger-like teeth towards Rhov's neck.

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[Job Thread] [Sunset Falls] Fall From Grace

Postby Rhov on January 27th, 2016, 5:57 am

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Rhov's thoughts thrummed to life at an almost impossibly rapid rate as his charcoal eyes saw the jaws of his enemy rush down to meet his exposed neck. Fragmented flashes of his past thrashed in the midst of his mind's eye, pieces of pictures he thought so long forgotten he didn't even realize he could still recall them. They were whispers of days long gone, of growing up under an unrelenting sun, of the closeness of his family, of friends he had neither seen nor thought of in decades. The entirety of his short life flickered like a flame in an impossibly short instant, the thought of it being snuffed out seeming to force time to stop. There Rhov lay, staring into the feral maw of death as seconds stood still, and he realized that he had so much more to do. He realized, now more than ever, that he didn't want to die.

Luckily for him, it seemed the gods agreed.

As the cougar's teeth dived down for the easy kill, a sickening crunch crackled through the deathly silent air. Rhov flinched in response, but was relieve to find that the sound had not been the crushing of his windpipe in the cat's jaw. Dark eyes frantic and panicked, the Chaktawe found that instead of sinking into the meat of his throat, the mountain lion's jagged, yellowed teeth had found their way tearing into an innocent tree branch. Splinters showered down over Rhov's surprised face, a few wayward shards digging into the soft flesh of his cheeks. Claws cut new gaps in his already damaged armor as the predator above spun wildly, attempting to win its invisible struggle with the new aggressor. The impressive weight of the animal finally lifted itself off of Rhov, and the bounty hunter rolled away the now blood scorned ground. His onyx eyes bored past the beast who now pawed aggressively at its new target, meeting the terrified emerald green orbs of Elise Veklem who was now facing down the feral animal. It appeared the Rhov's prey had just saved him from a far worst predator.

Breath filling his burning lungs, the Chaktawe did allowed himself only a moments' respite. His body was battered, bruised,and broken, but he would not yield. Rhov had staked this as his hunting ground, and he would be damned before Eywaat himself before he let himself become the prey. But his conventional methods had failed before his new enemy, so Rhov did what his kind had been doing for centuries. He adapted. He endured. He persevered.

Reaching deep into caverns of his being, Rhov sought the storm which raged beneath his skin. That ravenous whirlpool of power which called to him, begged and beckoned Rhov to use it. His Djed burned bright as his blood boiled into a frenzy of power and purpose. The Chaktawe had only called on his newly gleaned power of Flux a few times, but every time he tapped that well of Djed it intoxicated him with the experience. His many wounds which had screeched aloud only moments before now seemed to whisper with complacency as the power dulled the pain. Rhov's mind obtained a razor-focus as he drank in the Djed, and as he shifted the latent strength of his left arm into his right, the bounty hunter let a devil-may-care grin slash across his face. His left arm limp at his side, Rhov once again rushed towards the now distracted mountain lion. After all, Elise Veklem was his prey, and Rhov was not known for sharing.

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[Job Thread] [Sunset Falls] Fall From Grace

Postby Rhov on January 27th, 2016, 6:33 pm

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Rhov felt the cool embrace of adrenaline seep through his body, providing odd contrast the the constant buzz and boil of Djed that swirled beneath his skin. Still new to the art of Flux, the Chaktawe almost reveled in the surge of power he felt storm throughout his being. However, Rhov could not afford the distraction that focusing on the feeling would enable. His target was in front of him, the only thing separating them was 300-some pounds of pure muscle and fury in the shape of a cougar. In all fairness, Rhov had been complaint his contracts were becoming too easy. Far be it from the gods to leave that challenge unanswered.

Legs pumping with urgency, Rhov closed the small distance between himself and the predator at breakneck speeds. The cat was distracted from Elise's newfound resolve, and left its flank exposed for the bounty hunter to exploit. Right arm thrumming with the strength of two, Rhov's enhanced appendage slammed into the cougar's side in an explosion of raw power. A thunderous crack and a murderous yowl once-again filled the dead air of the forest around them, only dimmed by the constant dirge of a waterfall in the distance. It appeared that the conflict between man and beast had slowly moved from the clearing in the forest to the sun-streaked waters of the Falls without either noticing. Regardless of the location, Rhov sincerely hoped that the resounding crack had been from the beast before him, and not the bones in his hand.

The cat's cries were soon replaced by bloodcurdling growls, the throaty sound striking Rhov as if it had claws of its own. Turning quickly to its new aggressor, the cougar once again exposed itself to the waiting glade of Elise, who had managed to find her sword in the bedlam of combat. The weapon dug deep into the beast's side, sending splatters of scarlet as it slid in and out of the cat's tawny coat. When it had faced only one opponent, the mountain lion had the obvious advantage, but now that both Rhov and Elise were working in tandem, it was finally put on the defensive.

Guiding the cyclone of energy which tore at the inside of his arm, Rhov's Djed boiled and bit as he focused the power of his upper body down to his lower. His legs twitched at the sudden surge of strength which forced its way into the Chaktawe's being, but they did not sit idle for long.

Rhov raged forward against the cougar, his arms hanging uselessly but his legs pumping at unnatural rates. He moved like wildfire, blazing past anything that stood in his warpath. The storm of his Djed was coiled tight in his muscles legs, like a spring taught and begging for release. As the cougar rushed forward to meet the oncoming threat, Rhov lifted his leg high. He snapped it forward at inhuman speeds, the bounty hunter's boot colliding with the cat's face with a resounding smack, followed by a sickening pop. Jagged, bloody teeth flew out of the beasts mouth and Rhov fell to the now blood-stained ground of the forest. Angry auburn mixed with the gentle brown hues of the dirt, and it appeared that the cat had finally taken enough punishment to deem these humanoids not worth the effort. The cougar fled it's impromptu battleground, becoming a blur of blood and brown as it stalked deeper into the forest to lick it's wounds.

Pain swarmed Rhov's vision as his hold on Flux slipped free from his focus. All of his injuries, the savage gashes and now dislocated bone in his leg, it was enough to make any man scream towards the heavens. And scream he did, a feral sound ripped from a darker part of the hunter's psyche. Blood seeped freely from his open wounds, and Rhov wondered if this victory might be his last.

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[Job Thread] [Sunset Falls] Fall From Grace

Postby Rhov on January 29th, 2016, 7:31 pm

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A low growl escaped Rhov’s bloody lips as Elise approached the bounty hunter with sword in hand. His faced twisted and pulled back like a pained animal’s as the woman continued walking towards the Chaktawe. One hand vainly attempting to stem the blood loss from his shoulder wound and the other gripping his Angle-Knife fiercely, Rhov pulled his lips back in a snarl even as streams of scarlet slipped through his fingers. The addlings of adrenaline still roared from the ramparts of his mind, and Rhov, still recovering from the heat of combat, acted purely on instinct.

“Easy there. My camp is near-by, let me help you,” Elise suggested cautiously, imploring the youth like one might calm an injured animal. Her own injuries paled in comparison to the serious wounds sustained by her savior, and either out of pity or duty the woman seemed intent to help him. She held her hand out and open to Rhov in a sign of good faith, pleading with the man to trust her. “You saved my life, I owe you this.”

Onyx orbs peered past the pain, distrust inherent in his gaze but tempered with curiosity. With slow, deliberate breathes, Rhov cooled his blood and took in Elise for what she was. Her bounty sketching hadn’t done her justice, she truly was a beauty of no small caliber. She held about her an apparent loveliness, an air of allure that was almost magnetic in nature. Hair raven-black like his own and bearing a face that poets would write epics for, it proved her hard, steely blue eyes that intrigued Rhov the most. Those weren’t the eyes one would expect from someone of her appearance. Those eyes did not speak of softness of spirit, but instead claimed a strength of character that the Chaktawe could respect. Hard eyes, eyes that had seen conflict and toil and yet still soldiered on despite of it. Eyes, Rhov decided, he could trust.

“Help. B-leeding, t-to much,” Rhov managed to spit out, scarlet seeping from his mouth even as he spoke. Elise, credit to her, reacted quickly, shouldering the weight of the man’s body despite his cries of pain. She shifted into a focus that was almost akin to Rhov’s when he was hunting, knowing that regardless of his protests, the best chance for the man was back at her camp.

The trip was a short one, and as the pair passed through the underbrush of the uncaring forest Elise’s hidden camp revealed itself. It was sparse at best, bearing only the base necessities and set up in a manner that one could pack up in a hurry. It contained a quaint serenity to it, the mist given rise from the nearby Falls hovering scenically above the browns and greens of the forest floor. Rhov chuckled slightly as the oddity of the situation struck him, gripping his side as fractals of pain shot through side. The very prey he sought to capture now served as his only chance for salvation.

Elise moved with careful urgency, ushering her new ward to the cramped confines of her tent. She lay him down flat, either uncaring about his blood smearing the blankets below his form or too absorbed in the moment to realize it. Her pale, white hand slid down to brush over Rhov’s bronzed fingers, tugging at them to open. “Knife please,” she ordered, not willing to work on a patient as dangerous a Rhov while he was armed.

After one more pained, cursory look at Elise, Rhov relented his vice-grip on his weapon. The blood-stained blade fell soundlessly from his calloused hand to the ground. Nodding, the woman’s hands shifted from Rhov’s arms to his right leg, probing the limb for what she suspected was a dislocation. Her theory was confirmed after a brief search, and she sighed in response. “Shyke, this is gonna hurt.”

Gripping his leg firmly, Rhov’s impromptu nurse forced the limb back into place, her toned limbs straining under the effort. Stars burned bright in the Chaktawe’s coal-black eyes, and his resulting shout battled the nearby waterfall for supremacy of sound. With is leg finally back in place, the fatigue of battle and resultant blood-loss finally seeped into Rhov’s form. His body went slack, and the cool, iron-clad hand of unconsciousness soon swept over the young hunter.

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[Job Thread] [Sunset Falls] Fall From Grace

Postby Rhov on January 30th, 2016, 7:33 pm

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A rough, croaking gasp rattled out of Rhov’s mouth as he reentered the world of the waking. His eyes fluttered open and his head shot upward in a panic, echoes of pain blossoming across his back and his legs. The Chaktawe inhaled sharply in response, a trembling hand rising to inspect the extent of wounds. To his surprise, they were bound tightly in fresh bandages, only the faintest hint of rust-red peering out from the snow-white linen. His calloused hand pressed lightly against the binding, and Rhov winced from bite of his injury as new stitches stretched his severed skin.

Pain. Pain is good. Pain means this is no dream, he assured himself with grim determination. Slow, ragged breathes tore through his lungs as the hunter attempted to take in his surroundings. The low light of a candle illuminated the tent with a warm glow, beating brightly against the dark of the evening. The bloodstained blanket he had lain upon was replaced by a darker, warmer fabric. In fact, Rhov had been stripped down to his skivvies, the tattered remains of his leather armor tossed haphazardly to his side. A slow stab of worry shot to the forefront of his mind, and his hands searched wildly for his father’s knife. Unarmed and next-to-naked while his target was outside, this was definitely not an ideal situation.

An all-too-familiar chirp brought his focus out of its wild panic, and his eyes softened at the sight of his Guardian Eria beside him. Her voice, lilting and pleasant, rose and fell in a way that sounded far too close to chuckling for a normal bird capabilities. With a tap of her talon against steel, the eagle managed to put her charge’s worries to rest as she revealed his blade. With a trembling hand, the youth reached out for the comfort of his time-worn weapon before turning to meet Eria’s piercing gaze.

Nice of you to show up, Rhov japed weakly, an undercurrent of anger brimming underneath his words. His fight with the cougar had by and far been his most difficult, and while he understood Eria’s restrictions, those rules had not seemed to stop her before.

His Guardian bristled slightly at the insult, but regained her composure before responding levelly. I’ve…interfered too much recently. Some journeys must be taken by you alone. Eria sighed as Rhov glared levelly at her, but pressed forward against the insubordinate hunter nonetheless. I am your advisor and friend Rhov, but I overstep my boundaries when I physically meddle in your affairs. Regardless, you need counsel and I am here to supply it.

Rhov’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion, questions roused to waking in his mind.

Speak plainly. I do not know what you mean.

You are thinking of breaking your contract.

Eria’s words struck clean and true, breaking past Rhov’s hastily erected walls of denial. His voice caught in his throat, a half-formed response smothered by his Guardian’s certainty. It was a ridiculous, audacious claim. Rhov was nothing if not a man of his word. He despised oathbreakers, liars, and manipulators of all kinds. Honesty was his weapon choice in social conflicts, and he prided himself on being candid and dependable. He cut through deception like a knife through skin, truth bleeding from the wounds of his words. When he took a contract, it was his oath that nothing would stop him from finding his mark. Rhov would rather suffer defeat or die than be found going back on his word.

And yet…

And yet, Eria was right. Despite not knowing anything about this woman besides what her bounty read, Rhov did not want to turn her in. They fought together, bled together, and saved each other. Without him, she’d be a mauled carcass left for the crows. Without her, he’d have bled out on that forest floor. She’d taken him when she didn’t have to, stitched him back together with what little she had, and now he was just going to turn around and put her in irons? It didn’t seem right. It didn’t seem just.

She saved me, Rhov offered up in the woman’s defense.

And you her. You may not like it, but she has broken her oath to the Order. She is a criminal, and we hunt criminals. Eria was stern and unyielding in her opinions, knowing full well that a decision like this could alter the path Eywaat had set out for Rhov.

She is a person, not just a target. She lives, breathes, and bleeds as I do. She deserves a chance.

She ran from her duty, her people. Any chance she had was forfeited the second she abandoned her allies in combat. Why is she any different from the men we have hunted in the past?

Rhov’s onyx gaze turned hard and unrepentant. She saved me.

Eria’s feathers ruffled in an annoyed manner. Despite the multitude of experiences Rhov had experienced this Spring, deep down the stubborn boy he had been in Eyktol still held a vice-grip on his attitude. She stretched her sunset-stained wings wide irritably, before folding them back neatly at her sides. She leveled a calm, cold look at her charge.

And she’ll damn you if you’re not careful. It is your choice, but I hope you remember your duty to your God and your people. That pretty prey of yours is evidence of what happens when one doesn't. Her heavy words still ringing loudly in his mind, Eria’s bright visage vanished from the tent’s confines with a wave of her wings.

Oathbreaker. A poisonous title, one usually reserved for the vagrants Rhov hunted. A title that the youth might take before the night’s end.

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[Job Thread] [Sunset Falls] Fall From Grace

Postby Rhov on January 30th, 2016, 11:52 pm

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Rhov’s exit of the tent was an eventful one. His leather leggings had sustained some superficial damage, but were overall wearable. After a few minutes of frustrated struggling, the youth managed to slid the brown pants back onto his battered form. Now somewhat clothed, the Chaktawe slid his Angle-Knife back into his sheathe and moved to leave what had become his medical tent. Distracted by the thoughts running rampant in the forefront of his mind from his conversation with Eria, coupled with his restrained movement from his bound wounds, Rhov’s attempts to exit sounded more akin to an angry animal being awoken than a man attempting to move. After a few minutes of raucous effort, Rhov finally emerged into the cool night air.

The stars overhead burned bright in the clear, ink-black sky. So far from the clamor of civilization, the heavens painted a portrait of serenity that almost matched Rhov’s memories of Eyktolian desert nights. Life was simpler in the desert, among his friends and family. It was removed of these complex moral arguments, of the intricacies of right and wrong. Back where waves of sand claimed the sun-scorched landscape, Rhov knew exactly what he needed to do. He had an objective to complete, a target to hunt. Now, here where the rivers ran wild and the trees scraped the sky, the Chaktawe found himself at a loss.

“Wow, you’re a quick healer,” chimed the silk-soft tone of Elise, genuine surprise infiltrating the lilting sound of her voice. She sat by a low-burning fire, tending to the flame almost as an after-thought of his arrival. Shadows danced off her elegant face as the fire flickered under her watchful eye, the dark contours only adding to her apparent beauty.

Rhov grunted in response, his gait slowed and stunted by the plethora of stitches which now threaded throughout his body. Rubbing his shoulder with a pained sigh, the youth stared deep into the flame which shimmered before him.

“Can’t afford to take my time. I did not know you were a medic,” he offered, if only to stave off the tense silence which seemed to nip at the back of his mind.

“No, I imagine the Order didn’t cover that in their bounty,” Elise chuckled bitterly, reaching to her side and revealing the crumpled paper that carried her face, name and price on it. She crushed the warrant into a ball and tossed it lightly in her hand, seeming to take in the weight of the words that lay on the sheet. “I was tempted to burn it, but figured I shouldn’t add ‘destruction of Knighthood property' to my list of crimes. So who sent you, the Order or my family?”

Bronzed fingers ghosting lightly over the hilt of his weapon, Rhov answered with a perhaps unwise amount of candor. “Family. Figured that if I found you and brought you back to them before a Knight did, they could convince you to turn yourself in. Argue for a reduction of sentence, so you wouldn’t get capital punishment.”

Elise muttered angrily under her breath at Rhov’s explanation. The hunter assumed it to be some variation of curses, and stared curiously at the woman who had brought about such conflict. She was an oathbreaker, yes, but also a noble fighter. She could have run while Rhov battled the cougar, but she didn’t. She stayed and fought alongside him, stitching him back together even after the battle was over. Still, Rhov knew what could happen when someone was faced with an ugly truth, and kept his hand firmly on his blade just in case the conversation turned to combat. He doubted he could take her in his current state, but he’d be damned if he didn’t go down swinging.

“Are you going to do it?” Elise croaked out, anger and fear apparent in her voice.

That proved to be the question of the night. And, in all honesty, Rhov was conflicted. He felt a sense of loyalty to the woman who saved his life, but also could not deny the truth of Eria’s words. He had a duty towards his family, and to his god Eywaat. Rhov did not know which side of himself would win out, loyalty or devotion. So he said as much.

“I do not know,” he replied truthfully, crouching closer to the fire. The flame seemed to call to him, its form flickering so much like his mindset. At one moment, he was bright and passionate, so strongly held in his convictions that they threatened to burn him up from the inside. The next, he was whittled away by the biting breeze of doubt. Like the orange flame before him, his principles wavered under uncertainty’s relentless assault.

“Well, I’ll come out and say I would prefer you not put me in jail. But that’s just me,” Elise joked, attempting humor to cope with the situation. Her pale blue eyes turned to Rhov, as if to study the man who would either be her ruin or her one chance at escape. With his extensive wounds, she did not doubt that she could take him if push came to shove. Yet, somehow she did not think the feral man would make it easy for her. In fact, judging from his intensity alone, Elise suspected that, should he live through the conflict, he would run her into the ground. He a constant enemy, and she always on the run, not a fate that Elise enjoyed even pondering about.

Raven-black eyes turned to meet the woman’s blue, and Rhov chose his words carefully. Her answer would determine his course of action, determine whether they came to blows or if Rhov’s morals were compromised. “Do you care nothing for your family?”

Elise’s eyebrows shot upward at the inquiry, and her eyes turned hard as they burrowed into those onyx pools which glared with unrepentant curiosity. Her pretty, pink mouth set grimly as she steeled herself in response.

“Of course I care! My running has nothing to do with them,” she growled indignantly at the man. She realized that perhaps this was not the wisest course of action, as a wild look overtook the whole of Rhov. The Chaktawe stood upright, the whole of his form towering over the still sitting Elise. His long tresses of coal-black hair framed the wrath burned into his face, and he exuded an aura of righteous anger. Despite the limp inherent in his walk, the multitude of wounds which marred his farm, and the apparent pain it took for the man to stand, Elise still found herself shying away from those remorseless obsidian eyes.

“It has everything to do with them! Without you there, it is they who reap what you have sown. Do you think the Knights will let the consequences slide by without retribution? No. Your crimes, your sins, all of it is left for your family to inherit,” Rhov’s rough voice railed into the woman staring in shock up at him. Anger seethed and roiled off his every word as he realized how little this woman had thought before abandoning her family and her oath. “You abandon your family to answer for your actions, and in doing so, you show how much you actually care.”

Blue eyes welling bright as Rhov roared down at her, Elise blinked away the resulting tears. “I-I didn’t think-”

“No, you didn’t,” the Chaktawe said with finality forged into his words. A glimmer of steel flashed in the starlight, but Rhov did not press the advantage he had. Not yet. She gets one chance, he thought to himself, one chance to yield. “Surrender. Go home. Your family needs you.”

A deafening quiet washed over the small campsite as Rhov waited for her reply. One second ticked ever-so-slowly by, then two, then ten, and still no reply. It seemed all the girl could do not to break down as the truth of the matter hit her at full force. One could almost hear the painful shattering of her delusions, and the young hunter again began to doubt his decision.

“All right,” Elise finally whispered, fracturing the solid silence which held them bound to her word. Her voice was heavy with a tired sort of sadness, and the vibrance of her being was replaced by resignation. Rhov nodded solemnly, and moved beside her to retrieve his pack. He sheathed his knife, the blade of his father and his father before him, and sought out the cool, iron touch of his manacles. They locked around Elise’s wrists tightly, as if to reinforce the decisiveness of their actions.

“Get some rest, we leave in the morning,” Rhov urged his new prisoner, ushering her off into what had been his tent the past day. Once she was secure in the shelter, the Chaktawe took her spot tending to the dying flames. Neither of them slept that night.
__________________________________________________________________

The trip back to Syliras was marked by an absence of conflict. They both walked in silence, and more than once Rhov questioned the legitimacy of his decision. Every time, however, he came to the same conclusion. This was the best choice for everyone involved.

The bight plumage of Eria circled the pair overhead, keeping ardent watch for anything that posed a danger for her charge.

I’m proud of you, the eagle stated carefully, attempting to comfort Rhov through their mental link. You did the right thing.

Rhov sighed reluctantly. It does not feel right, or even just. But it was necessary. And I suppose that is just the kind of man I am.

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Rhov
Justice despite consequence
 
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Joined roleplay: March 15th, 2015, 9:45 pm
Location: Syliras
Race: Chaktawe
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[Job Thread] [Sunset Falls] Fall From Grace

Postby Konrad Venger on March 26th, 2016, 10:43 pm

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Nice job! Your work has pleased The Sloth!

Rhov

XP:
Observation - 3
Running - 2
Tracking - 1
Philosophy - 2
Acrobatics - 1
Endurance - 3
Weapon: Angle-Knife - 2
Flux - 2
Unarmed Combat - 1
Rhetoric - 3
Socialization - 1

Lore:
Elise Veklem: Quite a Looker (Criminal or Not)
Tracking: Blood Trails
Cougar and Bounty Hunter: Two Predators, Same Prey
Flux: Frenzy of Power and Purpose (and Painkiller)
Eria: Pain in the Arse, But Damned Insightful
A Traitor is Still A Traitor
Face The Consequences With Honor

Click Me! :
Wow. I have to admit, THIS surprised me, and impressed me! I figured the whole hunter-killer thing was right up your alley, but then Rhov gets wounded, is saved by his target... and that sparring with Eria was SPOT ON. Exactly the kind of moral conundrum a bounty hunter might have. And you solved it not by betraying your word OR your own honor, but by confronting her with the reality of what she'd done... and even being a dirty bastard and dragging her family into it.

Neither right, not just, but necessary. Very nice. ;-)

My one complaint would be HOW you knew where to START looking for Elise. Your Tracking skills aren't THAT great, not at Competent. Be sure to lay more of that groundwork next time. :)

Oh, and please make sure you go back and edit your post in the Request Thread to reflect the fact this one is now done and dusted. PM me with any questions and later 'tater!

||Common||Thoughts||Pavi||Fratava||Myrian||Other's Speaking||
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Note: As of Fall 517AV, Konrad is known only as "Hansel" in Endrykas
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Konrad Venger
Long is The Way and Hard
 
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Joined roleplay: November 23rd, 2015, 4:05 pm
Location: Endrykas
Race: Human, Mixed
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