Kelly Smith woke up in some woods, Where am I,and how did I get here?
She thought looking around her seeing nothing but trees, she had just been in her apartment asleep in bed and now she was in the woods lost and totally confused.
Alden strolled the streets of Ashton on his way to collect his payment from the Duke, feeling uneasy he closed his eyes and listened for a moment to his surroundings. Alden opened his eyes and saw blue sky through a thin cover of leaves above him. He leapt to his feet off the damp ground, drawing Ora as he did so. Wincing in pain at the bright sunlight, spinning quickly and silently he took in his surroundings. He was in a forest he did not recognize without a clue how he’d gotten there so suddenly. He quickly pulled his hood tight to block out as much of the light as possible, his blessed night had somehow been taken away from him as had Ashton and replaced with day.
Lydia awoke with a start, immediately searching for her things. After locating and inspecting them, she was relieved that she had not lost a thing. Then, in a sudden thought of terror, she reached up around her neck for her amythest pendant, finding it secure, and calming down almost instantly. She surveighed her surroundings and something didn't seem right, but then again she had never spent the night in the woods before, so she was sure the changes in scenery must be because she was not used to the space. She got up and began to walk back in the direction of the road, only then realizing, there was no road. Where the hell am I?
Disgruntled Lydia walked on in a southern direction, the forest seemingly endless. As she pushed and hacked her way through the brush, she pondered where she could be. The bandit could have taken me to another part of the forest, or even transported me someplace else, hoping I wouldn't wake until he returned...Or...
The thoughts continued to race across her mind as she walked.
Finally the trees thinned a bit and hope surged through Lydia, thinking she had found a road, to her dismay, she stumbled into a small clearing no more than ten feet wide and eight feet across. A man dressed in all black stood at the far corner, trying to stay out of the sun. Great.
she thought, Bandit number two.
and she got into a defensive position, drew her bow, and tried to remain quiet.
Kelly had decide to wander in the forest in the hopes of finding a road, or a person, she saw a man standing in a clearing trying to stay out of the sun, Maybe he can help me.
she thought hopefully as she walked towards the clearing she then saw a girl standing in a defensive position with a bow, Who is that and what is she doing?
At the sound of another approach Lydia jumped and accidentally loosed her bow, missing the man's head by inches. Uh oh...
she thought as she quickly scrambled behind a tree.
Alden jerked as an arrow lodged in a tree just in front of him. Spinning around he barely caught a flash of movement ducking behind a tree. He cursed the sun and himself for being caught off guard. Squinting he ran a silently as he could trying to flank the tree where he'd seen the movement, gripping Ora tightly. So they are hunting me, whoever they are
Cursed Lydia in her head as she took off into the forest. She was going to wait until he attacked first. Now she had instigated a fight. Whoever the other person was she cursed them too. Her chest heaved with her efforts as she continued to race back the way she came. Suddenly, she tripped on a rock and landed hard on the ground, decaying leaves flying around her, she scrambled, trying to get up before she was caught.
Alden kept running, noticing someone else in the clearing. He considered going after her but she had no bow, she wasn't his attacker. Later
He thought. Suddenly he heard a crash and almost at the same moment felt the twinge that told him he was close enough. Stopping he closed his eyes all the way and pictured the arrow. In his minds eye he followed it back to the hand that released it, and took himself along with it. He raised Ora and opened his eyes, looking down at a girl just getting up off the ground. Smiling he said. "Nice bow, terrible aim."
"Take what you will but spare my life. It was a misfire. I was waiting to see if you would attack. Please sir. I am no murderer. I would not kill a man with his back turned. Just wound him a bit." A cunning smile threatened to spread across her face as she stared her pursuer down. His eyes were beautiful...A deep, rich green. She had never seen eyes like those. They could almost be hypnotic.
"I doubt you would beg for forgiveness had you killed me." Weary of this girl even considering her poor aim he moved Ora closer to his body to be more defensive but ready to kill if needed. "What I want are answers, who are you and what are you doing here? Moreover, where is here?"
"I could easily ask you the same thing." said Lydia coldly, eyes narrowing. "Seeing as I know not where I am, or why I am here, all I can give you is my name. I am Lydia Black. I am the daughter of Countess Beatrice Black and an unknown aid to the Italian ambassador Giovanni Caligari. I am a bastard. Nothing more, nothing less, and I know how to weild my weapons, so try to harm me and I WILL fight back."
"You already could have killed me dear Lydia, I would be well within my rights to end your life right here." He hesitated. "You do not know how you got to be here?"
"I do not kill without need. And until now I have not seen even a possible need of killing you. The key words, until now. And no. I do not know how I got here. I don't even know where here is." she answered him.
He stepped back just a single step. "Then it seems as though we are both at a loss for an explanation." He looked back towards the clearing for the other girl. "Lucky for you I also do not kill without need. Get up and call your friend. I do not fancy any more arrows at my back."
"What friend?" asked Lydia as she climbed to her feet and brushed her skirt off. Collecting her pack she said, "I am alone."
Watching her hands on her pack he said, "I saw another girl with you just after you tried to kill me. Where is she?"
Kelly stepped into the clearing, Wow, that was strange, I wonder if I startled her?
she thought feeling bad.
"She wasn't with me. And I already told you. I didn't try to kill you." Lydia thought to herself, God he's beginning to seem arrogant. I wonder if he's an aristocrat.
"Forgive my stubborn nature, this tiresome weather has me in a mood. Getting shot at also tends to make me suspicious, especially of the one with the bow." He finally took his eyes off her hands but he was still listening intently to her movements. "Well if she is not with you and she is not with me, then perhaps she knows what is going on."
"It could be possible. Who knows. And will you stop watching me like I'm going to turn on you. On my honor as a French woman and a bastard I will not shoot you. And before you ask if a bastard's word is worth much, consider this, I am proud of who I am. That I am not a full blooded aristocratic ninny."
"You are French alright, I will give you that. Excuse me a moment" Alden stepped away from her and walked towards the clearing.
Kelly had plopped down in the clearing sighing heavily she had hoped to get some information, but instead she was alone again in some strange forest away from her house wearing jeans and a t-shirt because she hadn't had time to change because she had been too tired.
"Mon dieu!" said Lydia exasperatedly as the man walked out of the clearing. What a fine mess I've gotten myself into.
she thought. She turned and proceeded to follow him back towards the clearing, no way was she going to let him out of her sight.
Alden stopped and squinted again, the girl was still in the clearing. She was actually just sitting there. Well, she will not turn out to be the mastermind behind all of this.
Lydia stormed up to the clearing and stood just behind the man, arms crossed and extremely irritated. She breathed out heavily and waited, fuming slightly, for him to turn around and talk to her or decide what he was going to do.
Alden cast her an amused glance and then gestured wordlessly to the girl in the clearing.
Lydia took that as a hint, whether it was meant to be or not, and slowly started walking towards the girl. When she got within range of an attack, she said, "Hello. I'm Lydia. That brooding male over there is...Well I don't know what his name is, but I was wondering if you knew where we were, why we are here and if you could just tell me who you are, we would be much obliged." Lydia flashed her most dazzling courtier smile and waited for a response from either the man or the girl.
Kelly squealed in shock, "What the hell?!" she said as she tried to stand up but stumbled and fell, "Hey,don't you know better than to sneak up on people?!" she said loudly.
"My apologies miss." said Lydia politely, "I figured by speaking I wouldn't startle you as much. Now, would you be so kind and answer my questions?"
Kelly was panting from being snuck up on, "My name is Kelly Smith, and I have no idea where I am or how I got here, one minute I was asleep in my bed, and the next I was in this forest." Kelly said her breathing slowing down to normal.
Alden stepped up, Ora still at the ready. "So you do not know anything?" He looked around then said to the women, "Unless one of us is lying then someone has brought at least three people to this forest in an unknown way, instantly it would seem and with none of us understanding."
"How is that possible?" asked Lydia.
"I have seen stranger things." He tried to look around but the light was too blinding in the open to see anything. "Do you think there are more of us around here?"
"It is possible." Kelly said handing the man some sunglasses she always carried with her, "You can borrow them."
"So what are we going to do about this? And you still haven't said your name sir." stated Lydia.
"You never asked." Alden looked at the things Kelly was offering him. "What are those?"
Lydia noticed the object to and she spoke up as well, "Yes, what are those? And why are you dressed so outlandishly? Speaking of which, why sir are you dressed so strangely and in all honesty, I had asked your name, but I will do so again. Sir what is your name?"
Kelly looked at the two, "They are called sunglasses they protect your eyes from the sun, and what do you mean why am I dressed so outlandishly, this is the way everyone dresses."
"You are right, you did ask I just did not care. My clothing is not strange, but wandering into a half naked woman, in trousers no less, in the middle of a forest is strange indeed. He took the offered thing. "Sunglasses? I had heard of something like this coming out of Italy but I have never seen any. And why would I need protection?"
"You were squinting, I just assumed the sun was bothering your eyes." Kelly said, "And who are you talking about being half naked?" She asked curiously.
"You're all but half naked." stated Lydia, "Your arms are half bare, and you are in some sort of pants...but they're extremely loose and most unbecoming."
"Unbecoming is in the eye of the beholder." Alden lifted the lenses to his eyes and blinked. He pulled them away and studied them before putting them on and for the first time in almost two years he could see in the day. His sense of color was strangely muted but so was the pain. He turned back to the second girl. "You are kind to gift such a rare and valuable object." He bowed almost a fraction of an inch to her. "You may call me Alden."
That one little gesture pissed Lydia off to no end. Here she was being polite, trying to repay for the damage she almost caused, and trying to be helpful and here Alden was, mooning over the half naked girl who probably couldn't even take care of herself in a sword fight, let alone hand to hand combat. She grumbled under her breath and her eyes slanted with rage as she began to breath harder from the emotions taking control.
"Oh, it no problem, I don't mind." Kelly said turning slightly pink, "Oh, and I'm not half naked this is how I dres on a normal basis." She added.
A look of shock crossed Lydia's face and she said, "Then where do you come from? I've seen no one in the fifteenth century dress like that!"
"F-F-F-Fifteenth century?!" Kelly said shocked, "I'm not from the fifteenth century, I'm from the year 2009!" Kelly said looking at Lydia.
Alden turned, "Two thousand and nine you say? My dear I think you have been in the damnable sun too long."
"What?!" Lydia half screamed, "How is that possible??? That's not possible! It can't be!"
"No, it's true!" Kelly said searching her pockets for a picture of her and her friends before she moved,"See!" she said flashing the picture showing her and her friends wearing jeans and short sleeved shirts with fishnet shirts over them.
"I'm almost afraid to ask but Monsieur Alden when are you from?" then, to herself she muttered, "That doesn't even sound right! When are you from...despicable!"
"Sixteen hundred and twenty eight of course." He glanced at the small painting Kelly was holding. Odd, very odd...
Lydia wavered, thanking God that she had a strong countanance and did not faint in front of those two. "How is that possible!!!"
"Perhaps whatever or whoever brought us here must have taken us from different peirods in time." Kelly said looking at Alden and Lydia.
Lydia sat on the ground hard and wrapped her arms around her legs. "This is too much," she said softly, almost mumbling, "First I lose mother and now this...What am I to do?"
"Calm yourself. If we really have been carried through time, which I do not believe, then whoever has done this is immensely powerful. We must assume we are in danger and your panic will only get you killed."
"I'm not panicing, I'm disparing." replied Lydia as she took her amulet from beneath her blouse and began to hold it close to her, murming all the while the words engraved on the pendant.
"We should all try to find a way to get home instead of disparing."Kelly said looking at Lydia, with the amulet which made her think of the locket around her neck with diamonds on it.
A single tear fell from Lydia's eyes and she despaired no more. Climbing to her feet she said, "Well, what shall we do?"
"Well first we have to get out of this forest, or at least try." Kelly said looking around at all the trees.
"Just choose a direction and we'll go." said Lydia, "Or at least I will. I will not speak for Alden. I cannot in truth."
Alden pointed to the west. "That way, I hear water, perhaps we can follow it to a town. At the very least we may need water."
"You do have a point." said Lydia as she began to rustle inside her sack. Pulling out some herbs she quickly sat once more, mixed a concoction together and placed it in a bottle, leaving the stopper off for she planned to use it very soon. She stood back up and nodded, "Alright. After you." she said.
Alden eyed the bottle she held suspiciously. "Lady's first."
"I hear water too." Kelly said listening, "Let's go then." she said walking in the direction Alden had pointed.
Lydia followed Kelly, know the exact reason why Alden wanted her to go first, "And no Alden, I didn't just mix a poison. These herbs will help me detect poison to see if the water is potable or not."
"Actually I was remembering the first time you were behind me." For the first time since meeting these two he returned Ora to her sheath He set off following the girls, listening for anyone following.
Lydia breathed out hard, biting her tounge to keep from saying a very nasty comeback that was swirling around in her head at the moment.
The sound of rushing water got louder as Kelly walked farther, "Hey, there it is." She said 20 minutes later as a creek came into view.
Lydia immediately marched up to the water and took a small ladel out of her sack and poured some water into the bottle of herbs, watching the reaction. The water went cloudy and then back to a crystal clear as the herbs dissolved. "It's safe to drink. If any of you have a way to store water, I reccomend filling the item." she said as she began to fill her own waterskin.
"Not many poison streams outside of children's tales." Alden sat down on a smooth rock near the stream. Cupping his hand he took a refreshing drink. Marveling at the way the strange glasses even removed glare allowing him to see fish swimming below the water.
"When you have lived where I have, you know that caution is a useful tool and to not underestimate even the most seemingly harmless things." replied Lydia calmly.
Kelly looked at the water she also cupped her hands and drank some, "What kind of herbs did you use Lydia, I'd like to know." She said still looking at the water.
"It's a special blend an old wisewoman near where I lived developed. It contains nightshade, belladonna, thyme, and rosemary. And a couple of secrets I won't divulge. But basically the poisons added with the right herbs will change colors if a poison is in the water. A plant poison turns blue, man made poison turns pink, and water poisoned by a body turns green."
"Oh, that's cool." Kelly said as she looked up at Lydia, and smiled slightly.
Lydia smiled back, she kinda liked the outlandish girl from the future. However, the man known as Alden she was unsure about how she felt. Hundreds of emotions roared in her veins as well as her mind whenever she heard his name.
"So what color would you get if a man was fed the sap of the oleander and died in this stream?" Asked Alden amused. He glanced around at the nearby trees. We should eat now while we have food.
Kelly looked at Alden, "Is that whole poison thing supossed to be a joke?"
"It would turn green." said Lydia, slightly irritated, "No matter how the person dies, if the body decomposed in the stream enough to poison the water it would turn the water green when in contact with the herbs. Why is something I cannot tell you." Lydia looked around as well. "You are right. There are quite a few edible plants here. We should eat."
"Go good with trout, mind if I borrow one of your arrows? You can hand it to me not shoot it at me if you would be so kind." He smiled.
Lydia rolled her eyes and handed him an arrow and a bow. "Be careful. Those arrows are made with swan feathers and the bow is made of yew. They're some of my most prized possesions."
Kelly looked amazed, "Wow, really, My father used to have some like that." She said picking up an arrow and examining it.
Lydia suddenly picked up on a wave of saddness from Kelly so strong it caught her off guard. She had always been able to sense when something was wrong, but never like this before.
"You miss your father don't you? What happened?" asked Lydia quietly.
Kelly looked at Lydia then sat down, "My father and mother died in a car crash on their anniversary." She said sadly holding the arrow and looking at the ground.
Lydia came and sat down next to the girl and placed an arm around her. "I am so sorry for your loss. I know the feeling... I never knew my father, but my mother passed away the very same day I was spirited here."
Kelly looked at Lydia with blurry eyes, "I'm sorry about your mom, I miss my parents alot, I was 16 when they died, I was at a party when I found out, how did your mom die?" She asked looking back at the ground.
"She grew really ill...I think it was my fault. My exhistance pained her. Reminded her of the atrocities of my father..." replied Lydia solomnly, "But no matter. No time to dwell, not for me at least. But I'm here for you dear. Whenever you need me. If we get out of this, I'll make sure you get a bow and arrows like this of your own." Then to Alden she said, "How's it coming with the fish?"
Alden had set aside Lydia's bow and was leaning over the stream with an arrow in hand. He slowly lowered it into the water and then thrust it at a fish. He missed the first time but managed to snag two with the second thrust. Pulling the arrow out of the water with two still thrashing fish on the end. "Coming just fine my dear, either of you any good with a fire?" He set aside the two dying fish and went back to catch more.
For the first time when it came to Alden, Lydia smiled. "I'll start gathering some wood. Kelly, you wouldn't happen to have some futuristic device for immediately lighting a fire would you?" she laughed good naturedly after her little jest.
"We do not need one, we mastered fire long ago as it is." He pulled a metal device out of a pocket of his cloak. "A little something I picked up from a giant butterfly." It was made of iron hammered thin, it held a small chunk of flint rock next to a metal hammer. He tossed it to Lydia. "Just squeeze it so the arms rub together like the legs of a cricket."
"I know how to use a flint Alden." retorted Lydia, growing irritated again, "I was just trying to cheer Kelly up with a jest."
"I have a lighter." Kelly said pulling a blue lighter from her pocket, "But we can use the flint if you want." Kelly said smiling slightly.
"Whichever is more convienient. I think I'm up for this lighter contraption you have." said Lydia, tossing the flint back at Alden, "You don't mind do you Alden?"
Alden caught his flint wordlessly and caught four more fish. He pulled out a small blade and began to clean them.
"Need any help getting firewood?" Kelly asked Lydia standing up.
"Actually that would be wonderful." replied Lydia as she dropped a small pile of wood in a patch of dirt, "If you'll continue getting wood, I'll start gathering some greens and such."
Alden finished the first three fish. As he was starting on the fourth he asked Kelly, "So what is this future of yours like?"
Lydia moved around, listening to Alden's conversation with Kelly, just as curious as he was. She began to gather some lemon grass, wild onions and she also pulled some herbs from her sack to flavor the fish with. She noticed some blackberries growing in a thicket and gathered them into a bowl. Fish, blackberries, and lemon grass wasn't much, but it was better than nothing. She set to work finding a rock that was flat enough to cook on and began to clean it in the stream.
"Oh, well the gas prices to fill your cars up are way too high, Child abuse is high, other than that it's pretty much the same." Kelly said looking at Alden.
"What is a car?" asked Lydia.
"I expect we will not understand as much about the future as we would like. But it was worth a try." He finished with the fish. "Fire ready yet?"
"Hold on." replied Lydia as she set up the wood, "Kelly? Care to use your contraption?" she asked as she began to arrange the fish on the rock she cleared to cook on, sprinkling it with the herbs and surrounding it with lemongrass.
"Sure, ok." Kelly said taking her lighter out and lighting it up with her thumb by spinning the little wheel and pushing the button at the same time,and lighting a piece of paper and tossing it on the wood starting the fire she turned to Lydia "Oh, and a car is a machine that you get in and you use a key to start it up and it takes you places so you don't have to walk." Kelly said looking at Lydia, "Here let me show you." Kelly said looking in her wallet that was in her back pocket and pulling out a picture of her car, a 2009 Honda Accord Euro.
"You're so boxed in! Whefe is the joy in traveling!? The wind in your hair, the sun on your back, give me a good mare any day." said Lydia as she placed the rock towards the outside of the coals so the fish could cook without burning.
"Well there are different types of cars, there's a car called a convertable, you can drive with the roof down and that way you can feel the wind in your face and in your hair, and when it rains you can put the roof up." Kelly said looking at Lydia.
Lydia shook her head, "I'd rather ride horseback. Or walk. This car seems too, unnatural."
"It's natural in my time, and so is riding a bicycle." Kelly said off handedly.
"In your time they can probably turn lead into gold, but that will not help us here. Would someone from your time have the capability to send you into your past?" He said, shifting the fish Lydia had placed on the rock so that they would cook evenly.
Lydia shook her head slowly she couldn't imagine who could possibly have had the power to send them all here.
"Well we will find out soon enough, I doubt whomever did this sent us all to this place just to spy on our recipe for trout." He reached into his cloak then stopped and looked at them both. "Try not to overreact to this, most people do." He pulled his pet ader out of his pocket and set it beside him on the sunny rock. It quickly stretched out and took a drink from the stream before starting to sun itself. Alden watched the two girls closely.
Lydia stared in fascination at the creature, she had seen a snake before but none as beautiful as this one, "What is is?" asked Lydia, "It's gorgeous. In a deadly way, but still..." her voice trailed off in awe.
"Her name is Casan." He said stroking the snakes head softly. "I found her about two years ago, about the last time I was involved in something this strange." He gently picked her up and offered her to Lydia. "She's friendly, usually."
"W-W-Wow." Kelly said staring at the snake in awe, she had always loved snakes even as a child, she had never been afraid of them, "She's beautiful!" She exclaimed with a low voice.
Lydia too the snake in hand, calming all of her fears and placing them away. She knew fear and anger were the emotions mostlikely to make the snake strike. She stroked the sides of the beautiful ader and smiled, she always did love animals. "Casan. Such a beautiful name. Perfect for such a beautiful girl." She cooed to the snake, then she turned to Alden and said, "The last time you were involved in something strange? Do strange occurences happen to you alot? I know they do to me. I had one a moment ago when talking to Kelly."
"One or two every few years, less common than some." Alden flipped the fish on the stone.
"Really, what do these occurrences involve?" asked Lydia.
"I expect you'll find out for yourself soon enough." He smiled at her.
"I guess I will." she smiled back, "Would you like Casan back? I believe I've held her long enough. She's starting to get a bit squirmy. I think she wants to be back with you."
Kelly was staring at the snake she didn't want to look away from her, she was just too beautiful.
"She's probably trying to decide if it would make me happy if she bit you." He took her back, "She's such a good girl"
"I love snakes, I used to have one when I was little, till it ate my mom's hamster." Kelly said still staring at Casan.
"I'd prefer if she didn't bite me. I'd hate to deplete my herbs by having to make an antidote." replied Lydia with a laugh.
"It would not help." He smiled darkly. "Even if you could find something on earth to stop her venom, you would not have the time to use it."
"She's that poisonous?" Kelly asked with curiousity on her face as she looked away from the snake.
"I don't know Alden. I'm pretty talented with my herbs. I can cancel as well as create a myriad of poisons." replied Lydia.
Alden laughed softly. Holding Casan up to the light he asked. "Would you care to try my dear?" He smirked at her.
"I'd rather not tempt fate. At least not at this point in my life." Lydia smiled and turned to the fish, "Ah, they're done."
"That's good I'm getting hungry at the smell." Kelly said with a smile looking at the fish.
Alden carefully returned the snake back to her special pocket. "We had best eat quickly and move on we have wasted enough.." He stopped in mid sentence and looked across the stream at the treeline a little ways down stream.
Kelly looked at Alden, "What's wrong?" She asked curiously, following his gaze.
Lydia looked as well, reaching into her sack and grabbing her beautiful blade Venin-Coeur and strapping it's sheath around her waist and pulling the blade out to be ready for an attack.
Alden shrugged and reached for a fish, using the moment to cover his other hand taking a grip on Ora. "Nothing, just an animal of some kind." He looked at Lydia, trying to use his eyes to point her gaze farther up the bank than she was looking. Annoyed with both women's lack of subtlety.
Kelly looked at Alden and got the hint her gaze went farther up and she had to blink, Did I just see an arm? she thought to herself she grabbed a fish, No, I didn't I must be losing it. She thought rationally.
Lydia nodded and replied, "Good point. Probably a deer. The woods back home were full of them." she purposely left out where home was as her eyes drifted quickly where Alden meant. Definitely saw a figure. she thought to herself. Resheathing her blade she dropped down and took a piece of fish for herself and began to nibble on it, all the while playing with one of her swan feather arrows and having her bow close at hand, just in case.
"You saw a figure too?" Kelly whispered to Lydia as she took a bite from the fish.
Spotting the unique moment Alden shouted. "Down!." He jumped to his feet, drawing Ora in a blink he barely managed to knock the slow moving crossbow bolt away inches from Kelly's face. "Cover!" He yelled, grabbing Kelly and throwing her bodily to the ground behind a rock that he too ducked behind just as another bolt whizzed past his head, whoever was shooting seemed to be aiming for the girl first.
Lydia crouched immediately and began to fire back arrows in rapid succession, taking care to use more of her sparrow feathered arrows that were in her quill than her precious swan feathered ones. She heard a grunt from the direction the shots were coming in so she fired a few more in close proximity and began to creep forward, sword drawn and ready to fight for her life.
Kelly wasn't scared or in shock her training with her father prepared her to be calm in a situation like this, she remembered that she had not taken her leg pouch off that had her chinese throwing stars in it, in a flash she opened the pouch and threw one in the direction she heard the grunt from and moments later heard a grunt of pain, That sounded like a male. she thought.
Somehow in all the ruckus Alden managed to hear a snap from upstream from them. He turned drawing one of his throwing daggers and spotted a figured almost totally hidden by the brush. "On the flank!" He pulled himself up quickly and threw the dagger, striking the figure in what he thought would be the chest. From somewhere another bolt slipped around his protective cloak and sliced a shallow cut in his right arm.
Lydia rushed forward to avoid any attacks from secondary attackers and just barely managed to duck a bolt that went whizzing towards Alden. She rolled quickly and rose right before the man with the cross bow, knocked it out of his hand and held her blade to his throat saying, "You sir have some explaining to do."
Kelly decided to help Alden she ducked behind a tree and threw another throwing star hitting the other man in the arm she ran at him and was behind the man pinning both of his arms behind his back and had him against a tree, "Alden, I think this is the only other one come over here and help me, there is some rope in the pouch on my leg take it out carefully and tie this man's hands together."
Alden ignored Kelly, getting up he examined his minor wound. He walked over to Lydia who was holding the man who had shot him at knife point. He man did not seem scared just angry at being captured, he was glaring at Lydia with terrible hate. As the mans gaze shifted to Alden, Alden stabbed him in the heart with Ora, driving her blade clean through him.
Kelly sighed she was able to hold the man with one had as she found the rope herself and tied his wrists together behind his back, she looked around when she heard a man groan, "Alden, why did you do that?" She asked confused and curious at the same time.
Alden pulled Ora smoothly from the man's chest and began to wipe off the blade as the dead man toppled face first into the water. "He shot me." He said simply.
"That's no reason to kill him, what if he knew where we were and how we got here?" Kelly asked him seriously still holding onto the other man who was staring at his friend.
"That's why we have that one, right Lydia?" He smiled at her.
"I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with Alden. That one was too dangerous to keep alive. If you had seen the way he was glaring at me, you'd have known he'd do anything to escape. This one is weaker. And if he cooperates, he won't meet the same fate." replied Lydia, trying to hide the shaking of her hands as she sheathed her blade. Alden's ruthlessness scared her, she was grateful, but the fact that he killed so easily was slightly frightening.
Alden stopped wiping the the blade, leaving a little bit of blood on the end. "Yes, of course he was dangerous." He said vaguely.
"Well if he looked dangerous to you guys, then I guess it's fine." Kelly said pulling her throwing star out of the dead guys arm, "Do either of you have gaze, or a cloth I can tie his arm with he also has a throwing star in his arm and I don't want him to bleed to death, I'm not sure how deep it is." Kelly said gesturing to the man she had captured who was looking at his feet.
"I've got some clean linen and I'll also make a poultice for his wound. Don't want him getting blood poisoning and dying on us before we have a chance to interrogate him." Lydia pointed out.
"Yeah, should I wait till you make the Poultice before I remove the throwing star or should I remove it now?" Kelly asked curiously.
"Go ahead and get it now." replied Lydia, "The poultice will clean it out as well enough that we won't have to worry. Just use this extra cloth to keep the bleeding down while I work." she said, mixing some herbs together in a bottle and grinding them slightly before adding water to make a paste.
Kelly took the cloth and placed it on the man's arm as soon as she took out the throwing star.
Lydia finished mixing the poultice and placed it on the man's wound after Kelly moved the now bloody linen out of the way. "I really wish I had been able to sterilize everything," she said as she wrapped some clean linen tightly around the area, "But that would have taken too long."
Kelly looked at the man, he hadn't even flinched when Lydia put the poultice on it, he hadn't even flinched when Kelly took the throwing star out, That's odd. she thought.
Lydia tightened the bandage one more time and started to look worried when he didn't flinch, normally people flinched when she did that. She tied her bandages very tight. She began to inspect him, his eyes were open, but not moving, and he didn't seem to be blinking. She noticed two puncture wounds on his left wrist and said wairly, "Alden, where is Casan?"
Kelly looked at the wounds, "Wait, these don't look like snake bite marks." She said, she knew what snake bites looked like, "These look like they were self inflicted."
"What do you think Alden? Did he poison himself?" asked Lydia.
Alden knelt down beside the man and examined the marks. Checking his pulse he said, "He is dead, could he have stabbed himself with something when you were subduing him?" He looked around trying to find what had killed the man.
Lydia searched around the body and decided to lift it up a bit, she found a strangely shaped vial with a needle attached. "Maybe he used this...whatever it is." she stated as she gazed at the body, suddenly she saw his chest move a fraction of an inch, "Alden...I don't think he's dead. That may have been his goal, but he's waking up. I think he did try to poison himself, and ended up knocking himself out instead."
Alden snatched the vial out of her hand. He sniffed it then laughed genuinely amused. "This is no poison, it is living death. A potion designed to mimic death. These guys probably take it when wounded and wait for one of their own to find them and administer the antidote. Risky, considering what could happen to them like that." He gave the stirring man a light kick. "This fool must have been given the wrong dose." He laughed again.
"I've never seen this stuff in action before. It's so lifelike. Well, I guess the correct terminology would be death like. I may not have ever seen this stuff in action, bu thtat doesn't mean I don't know how to counter it. I just don't have the tools to brew it right now...Do you think he'll come out of it enough for interrogation without the antidote? I can attempt to brew it using my glasswear and vials, but it'll be risky. And it'll take longer." said Lydia, beginning to formulate a plan for making the potion.
"Well, I suppose it depends on the dose he had and how it was prepared. He might come out of it, might stay this way for ever. He may spasm so hard he breaks his own back and coughs up his own liver. There really is no way to tell at the moment." He pointed at the man he'd killed. "Check him, he was probably trying to get to his dose as soon as you had your knife to his throat. A sample may help with an antidote, herbs were never my best skill."
Lydia knelt down and began rifling through the dead man's pockets, after a few mins of searching, her fingers brushed against something smooth, cold, and hard. She pulled out a second vial very similar to the other man's. It was filled with a lightly tinted yet still translucent liquid. "I think this is it." she said.
Alden carefully took the vial and sniffed it as ell. "Yes, this is indeed the living death potion. Rather crudely made, these people are either poorly imitating a more skilled potion brewer, or we are in a time before the potion was fully refined, then almost lost to time." He stopped to consider the possibility that were unfolding before him, slightly disturbing him. Which disturbed him even more as he was not used to being disturbed.
"But living death was already beginning to lose it's basis in the fifteenth century. I should know. I'm one of the few who still bothered to study herbs and make that antidote." replied Lydia, a fear clenching in her gut.
"Then Kelly is not the only one in the past. We have all been sent..my god..." His voice trailed off in fear. Alden looked down at the dead man. "He could have been my ancestor, any of us...."
"Are we sure this is the past? This crossbow looks terribly advanced." Lydia's voice was shaking from the terror in her heart.
"A thousand years before my time civilizations were using weapons the secrets of which are lost forever. Civilizations rise and fall just because something is old does not mean it is less..." He glanced around looking for any sign of more attackers, he saw none.
Lydia's hand immediately grasped her pendant and clenched it tightly in a fist. Worry mottled her brow as a terrible feeling of dread stole over her. She could not only feel her own anticipation and worry, but that of Alden and Kelly as well. It was all but overwhelming.
Alden spun around, trying to watch every where at once. "Think about it, how many children did our parents have, their parents and their parents before them. The farther back in time we go, the higher the chances we could meet an ancestor of ours. The possibilities are endless. If we fight to survive, we could erase our own lives."
"Depending on how far back we've gone, I can recognize my mother's kin. Everyone of them has an amulet like this somewhere in their family. It belongs to the women of my family. Or they used to." Lydia said softly, holding out her treasure, "By the time I came to own this, it was one of two left. But there were once many. I also have the second pendant, though it is pendant no longer." She pulled out her dagger, "This one was intended for my brother. He never got to weild this blade. Dying before the age of three."
"And what of your fathers line? The countless men and women before him, would you know them? No one would. For all we know we are here for the amusement of some dark creature to watch us destroy our futures. Kelly you yourself could be a descendant of one of us. Why did I not see this sooner?" He kicked the dead man in anger. "I fear the situation is worsened." He looked somberly at the two women.
"No..." Lydia's head dropped, "I know nothing about my father's family. I know nothing about my father...Our situation has indeed worsened. What are we going to do?"
Kelly looked at Alden then at Lydia, "What if one of you are one of my ancestors, what could happen?" She asked curiously.
"I...I'm not sure...Alden? Could it be possible?" whispered Lydia.
Alden was thoughtful for a moment. "Well it is unlikely in any case, but if one of us is and they're killed..you and whatever family is descendant from us, would never have existed."
"We had better be careful." said Lydia, she looked at their pitiful fire and looked up, "Kelly? Could you get some more fire wood? This fire's dying." a single shoulder of her blouse fell and exposed a bit of Lydia's flesh as she wiped her brow.
"It will be getting dark soon." Said Alden, he sat down against a rock watching the drugged man. "We may want to keep moving." He was absentmindedly polishing Ora.
"If its going to be dark soon, then why keep moving?" Lydia asked, placing her hands on her hips, "We don't know what else is out there. We need to stay put tonight, see what everything is like."
"And sit comfortably silhouetted around a fire waiting for some archer to pick us off?" Alden asked her irritated.
Kelly looked at Alden, "Well when this guy wakes up you can ask him if there are any more." She said as she went to get more firewood.
The man had started to come to he looked around him as his eyes started to come into focus, he tried to sit up but he couldn't yet, he fell back down.
"I have to admit I am surprised, the living death is usually the real death mixed wrong." Alden gave him a jab with Ora slightly harder than was needed to bring him to a better focus.
The man cried out in pain and glared at Alden, he looked at Lydia.
The look in the man's eyes when he turned to Lydia made her shudder. The scoundral, tied up and imprisoned as he was, was looking at her like he could see all her charms. "I wouldn't look at me that way if I were you." she said with a deadly venom in her voice.
Alden kicked the man. "Talk or you will get to lean to play dead real convincingly."
"Who else is with you?" spat Lydia in the mans face.
"No one else, It was just us." He said looking at his dead friend.
Alden held up the vial the dead man had on him. "And your plan was what? Take this and die of exposure? A poison would have been better. You would not have taken this if there was not someone else that would save you."
Lydia kicked the man in the side, "Who else is with you???"
The man grunted in pain, "The other guy was supossed to help me, I took it when I got hurt by that wretch, and it took effect as she started to tie me up, I had no idea you would kill my brother." He said looking at the other man.
"Randomly being attacked might have that effect on the attackers. How does it feel knowing we killed him so easily?" replied Lydia.
Alden held Ora just under the mans nose. There was still some of his friends blood on the blade, he'd left it there for just this purpose. "You should envy him, he was the lucky one. You my dear friend." He slowly drew Ora across the mans throat not cutting him. "You, are going to be begging me for such a pleasurable death."
The man looked at Alden, "I think he failed, he failed to read his targets correctly." The man looked from Alden to his brother.
Alden leaned down right next to the man. Whispering he said. "And I trust you will not make the same mistake." He laughed softly.
Lydia took her dagger out and twirled it in her fingers, "So, where are we might I ask? And why did you attack us?"
"We feared you were working for..." The man had not finished the sentence because a silver tipped arrow flew from the trees and right through the man's head killing him.
"Damnit!" Shouted Alden. "Get down!"
Lydia swirled around swiftly and picked her bow off the ground quickly pulling an arrow back and laying low in the perfect position to let it fly at an attacker. "Not again!" she said exasperated.
"Stop complaining and shoot back!" Alden closed his eyes and tried to follow the arrow back but the archer was out of range.
All of a sudden a scream could be heard, a scream coming from Kelly, "HELP!" Kelly screamed as a figure in a cloak came at her in the dark making her drop her flashlight.
"I can't shoot what I can't see!" screamed Lydia as she took off in the direction Kelly's scream came from, "I'm coming Kelly!"
Alden took off at Lydia's heels. Muttering his annoyance with Lydia.
Kelly came into view after Lydia and Alden ran 6 feet, but she was not alone a cloaked and hooded figure was holding her with a knife to her throat.
"Step away from her or I swear to God I'll kill you where you stand." said Lydia through clenched teeth.
Kelly started to feel sick and faint for some reason, the figure saw this and threw her towards Alden and Lydia.
Alden stepped to the left into that familiar feeling. He came out of it next to the cloaked figure and pivoted, kicking the man in the knee until he heard a very satisfying pop of it dislocating.
Instead of hearing a man scream, Alden heard a woman. She scrambled away from him disappeared and reappeared some 5 feet away in a tree, she was well hidden because it was night time, she popped her leg back in place and bit down on a cloth to stiffile her scream of pain.
Lydia fired a single arrow towards the womans heart, somehow the woman evaded her shot, "Damn! And I'm a good shot. Something's not right here." she said to Alden.
The woman dodged the shot, and then disappeared deeper into the forest, meanwhile Kelly had come to, "What happened, where's that person that grabbed me?"
Alden took off after the woman. "Stay here." He hissed.
"Don't kill the person, they might know what's going on." Kelly shouted after Alden.
"No promises!" He shouted back. He dropped to his knee listening for any sound. He pulled of the dark glasses and the world was illuminated brighter than any other man could see. He easily spotted the trail the woman had left. She was good at covering her tracks but he was better. He quickly set off following it as quietly as he could.
Kelly couldn't understand why she had felt so sick when the woman had grabbed her, or why the woman grabbed her in the first place, could she know where they were and why?
The woman had left the tree and had came to a stop some 10 feet away to rest her leg.
Lydia groaned in frustration, "Men always get all the fun. Wait here ladies! I'll save you! I can take care of myself." she said.
Alden leaned against a tree looking at the woman a few feet away. "Leg hurt?" He asked maliciously.
"That's it." Lydia said to Kelly, "I'm going after him." She immediately took off into the night.
Kelly went after Lydia, maybe she could ask the woman why she attacked her for no reason.
The woman looked at Alden, she said nothing she didn't even move, she just looked into his eyes.
"I would think that after attacking my companion you would have run farther, leg or no leg." He grinned and raised Ora to catch the moonlight. "No leg, that is a good idea how about we start there?"
Lydia snuck up quietly, sidling around to the back of the woman. Putting her bow on her back, she pulled her blade out silently. Ready to attack when Alden did.
Kelly arrived and saw what was going on, "Don't kill her, she might know what is going on." Kelly said looking from Alden to Lydia.
The woman disappeared and reappeared next to Kelly and she spoke in french, Kelly knew how to speak french because it was her second language.
A shocked Alden caught on instantly. He recognized the way she'd vanished. He dove at the woman, now next to Kelly and tried to run her though with Ora.
"WAIT!" Kelly cried, "This woman had to kill that man and she only attacked me because she thought you would leave her alone." She said looking at Alden.
"I hate to say it but Kelly is right. I'm French after all," then, to the woman she began speaking a long drawl in French, basically asking her where they were and what was going on.
"Well, I know where we are, and what's going on. We're in France. Near Aquataine. Welcome to a war." she said solomly, "The year is 1166."
Kelly looked at Lydia then at the woman, "Are we in the french revoloution?!" She said shocked.
"What revolution?" asked Lydia, "I'm 1400s and we've had no revolution..." her voice trailed off.
Alden pressed Ora to the woman's throat. "Say what you want, but I want to kill her."
"Alden no!" cried Lydia, "Show some mercy!"
"Lydia's right, and what if she's one of our ancestors, you could make any one of us disappear." Kelly said pulling the woman away from Alden.
"I am not French, and I see no reason for mercy."
"I am part French Canadian, and Lydia is French." Kelly said pointedly.
"Again, allow me to point out, I am not French." To emphasize his point he pushed Ora more firmly against the woman's throat.
"Yes, but if she is my ancestor or Lydia's one or maybe both if Lydia is my ancestor would disappear, and you would be stuck here in the past maybe forever." Kelly said as she pulled the woman away, the woman seizing an oppertunity hid behind Kelly.
Alden slowly and deliberately placed the tip of Ora on Kelly's throat. "Stand aside girl. Now."
"Fine, but if Lydia or I, or both of us disappear it'll be your fault." Kelly said as she moved aside.
The woman looked from Kelly to Alden with pleading eyes, "Please Monsieur, don't kill me, I meant you no harm, nor did I mean the Madame any harm." She said with a heavy french accent, "I was only doing my duty, I was instructed to kill anyone that was about to speak of something or someone forbidden to be talked about with outsiders." She continued before bowing her head and crying.
Alden glared into her eyes. "Good then that's two answers you can give me before I kill you." He twitched Ora cutting Kelly's neck slightly making blood flow down her neck. "Out of the way, or the next one spills it all."
Kelly sighed and moved away from the woman to stand next to Lydia.
"Alden please." said Lydia in a soft voice touching his arm, "What if what Kelly says is true and one of us disappears? Please. Mercy, I'm begging you."
Alden didn't even seem to notice her. "Tell me how." He said the the woman.
Lydia tugged on Alden's arm, "Alden please, don't hurt her!" then, to the woman she said, "Miss, please. Just answer his questions and he'll let you go."
"Tell you how? How to what." The woman said a bit confused.
"Do not put words in my mouth Lydia." Alden had to resist the urge to cut her down. "You can do what I can, tell me how."
Lydia sat there wringing her hands, unable to help. Once the woman answered the questions, she'd pull Alden away and tell Kelly to make a break for it with the woman. No innocent blood would be shed today. She didn't know how, but she believed the woman. She could feel her honesty and her fear.
The woman understood what he meant, "It runs in my family, my younger sister can do it too, she's not in the srevice I am because she is too young." The woman said looking at Alden.
"There! Alden. She answered your question. Let her go!" said Lydia.
"Be silent Lydia." Alden glared at the woman. "Now since you were so rude to kill our prisoner before he could tell us who he thought we were. You are going to finish his story."
The be silent comment put Lydia in a foul mood, but he was not harming the girl so she would put up with it all, for now. She drew her dagger and hid it in the folds of her skirt just to make sure he couldn't hurt the girl and her be unprepared to retaliate.
Alden noticed the movement Lydia made, he was well experienced. "Answer me assassin." He turned just slightly to better see Lydia, he did not expect any trouble from Kelly. If he was wrong, he was confident if he could deal with it. He hoped it would not come to that, they clearly did not understand and he could not explain now.
Damn it all. thought Lydia when she noticed how Alden shifted. I wish I could communicate with Kelly and coordinate an attack if I had to.
"These girls wish to save your life. I want to kill you but I would prefer to not wipe out their entire existences on a poor chance." He glanced at Lydia, "But I will if I must."
Kelly had heard Lydia's thoughts somehow she looked at Lydia and blinked.
The Woman looked at Alden, "I'm not sure if I can tell you there are more like me out there and they may be watching us, and if I'm killed they will put my little sister in an orphanage where she will be beaten and possibly raped, can you protect me?"
"Why would I care what happen to your little sister? You killed that man, you waited for just the right moment. Anything that happen is on your head." He shifted Ora ready for the strike and watching Lydia. "So either you try and tell me and hope there is no one else like you out there waiting. Or you take your chances with me. I would advise you to take the former option, these girls look ready to fight me for your life. I am starting to like them I would be very cross with you if you force my hand."
The woman looked at Kelly then at Lydia, then she turned to Alden and sighed, "Fine I'll talk, we were employed by a man named Monsieur Jean-Paul Bonnaire, our mission was to find and kill our enemies, anyone we did not know he told us to kill them, and we did not know you, and I said to spread out and if they saw anyone they didn't know they were to kill like Monsieur Jean-Paul said, so that's why they attacked you, he told us that if we were captured to drink living death, but he didn't tell them that it was a poison, I was the only one that knew. When I saw you questioning him I attacked him, because that is what Monsieur Jean-Paul told us to do if one of us was captured and questioned so the enemy wouldn't have information about him." The woman explained.
"You are just a common murder for hire." He glanced at the girls. "Still want to spare her life?"
"She might not have had a choice." Kelly said, "I've heard that people have been forced to do jobs like this because of blackmail, or threats." She continued.
"So she is just a coward?" He glared at the woman. "She said employed, not forced. Lydia what do you think?"
"Maybe she was forced to, and she didn't refuse because she was thinking of her sister!" Kelly said before Lydia could speak, "Do you agree Lydia?" She asked looking at Lydia.
"It's possible. But I can't really read her mind..." Lydia trailed off..."I'm afraid to say it, but its too dangerous to let her go and likewise too dangerous to kill her. We need an alternative."
"Too dangerous to kill her?!" Alden tightened lips in annoyance. "And what do you propose we do? Tie her up? That did not work so well the last time."
"I don't know! Kill her then! But if she is my ancestor know that my disappearence will be your fault and suffer the consequences!"
"I never should have told you that theory." In one fluid moment the pulled a supple flask out of his cloak and squirted it into the face of the French woman and then Kelly. Both of whom crumpled to the ground in seconds.
"What the hell did you do?" screamed Lydia, "I swear if you killed them I'll...!" She lunged at Alden with her dagger.
Alden easily sidestepped her and locked his foot around her ankle using her momentum to topple her onto the ground. "You should never attack an able opponent in anger." He chastised. "And no I did not kill them so before you try to kill me again listen. I gave them a little something to buy us a few moments." He raised Ora between the two of them.
"A few moments for what? You to get me out of the way?" Lydia glared at him from her position on the ground, tensing her body, ready to spring if need be.
"I am considering it." He shifted his position slightly. "You fire an arrow at my back and claim it was a misfire. Now a woman attacks Kelly and you both are foolish enough to instantly trust her. And you!" He was practically shouting now. "You draw a blade, try to hide it and attack when my back is turned. I should kill you right now Lydia, you seem determined to kill me. Stupid child, you have to be willing to hurt someone to get what you need, or at least they have to believe it. If you coddle them you will get nothing."
He glared at her, "Now stand up and explain yourself. And I do not want to hear anything about erasing your lives."
"I can't explain it!" she shouted at him, "I felt her. I felt her fear! I felt her honesty! I felt it all! Every emotion she was feeling at the time, somehow I felt it all! I can't explain it any more than you could! I have no idea what it was! But I trust her!"
"Trust her!? You trust her?! She admitted to being here to kill us! She shot her own companion, you and her have much in common, she just has better aim."
"You're impossible! You're cold and you enjoy it! I doubt you could feel anything! Even an emotion as basic as passion!" she continued to scream at him in frustration.
"I made that mistake once and it almost cost me my sight. I am not going to let you get me killed." He raised Ora. "I am going on alone, you and Kelly can stay with the woman and get yourselves killed if you want but you will not drag me down with you."
"Go then!" said Lydia, a slight waver in her voice, "We don't need you! Never did! I should have killed you when I had the chance!" a single tear escaped her eyes unnoticed by her.
Alden's eyes flashed in anger. "You wish you had killed me?" He took a deep steadying breath remembering the advice he had given her moments ago. He raised Ora. "Then take your second chance!" He lunged at her intending to cut her head off.
Lydia swiftly rolled to the side, just barely missing the full force of his blade, managing to roll away with just a shallow gash on her cheek. She crouched low and glared at him, eyes glazed with anger and the beginnings of hate. She stayed crouched as she drew her sword, preparing to fend him off.
Alden used his momentum to spin around to face her. As he did so he drew one of his throwing daggers and sent it straight at her leg.
Lydia was unable to avoid the dagger, it cut deeply into her leg and with a scream and a curse she fell. She quickly pulled the dagger out of her leg and through it back at him with a force that would surprise most men. She crawled to her feet, careful to keep weight off of her injured leg while still preparing to parry his blows.
Smiling Alden dodged his own blade which embedded in a tree behind him. "Impressive. Almost." He came at her again, at the last second spinning low intending to cut her legs off this time.
Lydia laughed a high, clear sound, like bells in a steeple and blocked his blade with her own. "Come now you'll have to do better than that. And to think I'm injured!" she thrust his blade back and attempted to drive him back to the trees.
Alden concentrated and in an instant he was behind her. Quickly he kicked at her injured leg and grabbed her sword arm pulling it back and forcing her to the ground.
Lydia fell to her knees with a jarring impact, searching frantically she located her dagger just barely out of reach. She tried to keep a grip on her blade while her free hand searched her reticule for a bag of powder she always kept on her.
Alden forced her from her knees to her stomach and dropped to one knee on her back hard. He pressed Ora against the base of her neck ready for a killing blow. He laughed. "Twice now you have seen me do that in battle and you were not prepared? Shameful."
With a flick of her wrist she sent a swirl of purple powder in the air, the semi-posionous cloud was just enough to confuse Alden and alow Lydia to break free of his grasp. All it would do is stun him for a moment. Her goal was not to kill, only to defend herself.
Alden cursed and fell back trying to stab Lydia as he did so. She threw him off balance onto his back.
Lydia quickly sat down on him pinning him to the ground and placing her blade on his throat. "Done resisting?" she asked.
Alden smiled. "Are you?" He looked down between her legs where Casan was coiled ready to strike.
Lydia flinched slightly but held her ground. "You will not make me lose my nerve. Kill me if you will but I will die fighting."
"It seems we have a draw then." He smiled.
"You're infuriating! One moment you're ready to bite my head off and then the next you're calling it a draw! You can't make up your mind can you?" Lydia threw her hands in the air, "What do you want from me?"
He smiled some more. "You would like to know would you not?"
"Yes I very well would!" she said, putting her hands on her hips.
"Easy now, no sudden moments when you are on top of me. You could make my snake angry."
Lydia's eyes grew wide with shock. There were two possible meanings she thought of for that statement. A sly smile crept across her face and she shifted slightly. "Sudden movements huh?"
Casan reacted to her master and coiled tighter. Alden attempted to calm himself. "Just do not move."
Lydia froze slightly, "Call your snake off. I'm human. I have to move."
Alden carefully scooped Casan up and set her to the side. "There, satisfied?"
"Indeed." said Lydia, a coy smiling spreading acros her face, she shifted her position ever so slightly.
Alden glanced at her leg. "You are bleeding on me."
Lydia felt a sudden twinge of pain in her leg and looked down. "Oh dear, I'm sorry." she said, "Well what are you going to do about it?"
Alden glared at her, he covertly and very slowly reached for a dagger.
"I would suggest you put that dagger away and help me." she said smoothly.
Alden relaxed his grip on the dagger. He smiled. "Habit."
Lydia couldn't help but slightly smile back, "So, are you going to help me or not?"
"What is it you propose I do?" His other hand started to inch towards a dagger.
"You could carry me back towards our fire so I can bind and clean my wound." she said.
Alden's fingers touched the dagger. "You keep trying to kill me, why would I help you?" He was getting annoyed at being flat on his back for no reason.
"I told you that was an accident! And if you remember correctly you attacked first this time." she said, completely put out.
"Yes and I am beginning to be disappointed by your skills." He quickly drew his dagger and held it to her throat.
Lydia breath came in short, uneven bursts as she realized he had caught her unawares. She cursed herself and sat motionless on top of him.
Alden gave her an evil smile, having bested her again. "Take off your corset."
Lydia's eyes grew wide with shock, "How dare you? You think you can just make me..."
Alden removed the blade from her throat and quickly cut some of the cords holding the corset tight. "Yes. Yes I do."
Lydia gasped audibly and tried to keep the corset tight around her. "You..."
Alden rolled his eyes at her. "It is for your leg, you are bleeding worse than you think you will not make it back to camp."
"So you decide to ruin the garmet that's irreplaceable? I could have at least gotten away with no shirt and a corset! Now I'll have to put on that damn dress!" she slid her corset off and handed it to him. "Happy?"
He tossed it aside and pulled her shirt open. "Getting there." He smiled at her. "I lied, your leg will be fine."
Lydia reached out to brush his hands away, "What are you doing?" she
struggled to close her shirt.
Alden shrugged. "There are two ways to get to know someone without question. We have already done the first which is battle."
Lydia fumed, "You just can't order a girl to undress and expect to get something out of this. You're infuriating, You're..."
"Excuse me?" she said, forgetting she had to hold her shirt close and placing her hands on her hips.
Alden laughed. "Face it Lydia, we both know I am right. You could always just get off me if I am not."
"And risk having to duel you again like this? I don't think so!" she looked off to one direction for a moment.
He placed the tip of his dagger over her heart, under her bare breast. "You may not be willing to kill me. Can you say the same for me."
Lydia's chest rose and fall as she filled the space with her silent breathing. She could not answer that question.
He pulled the dagger away and with expert skill flipped it over in his fingers and offered it to her handle first.
"What's this for?" she asked him, bewildered and taking the handle.
"Your answer." He reached for the corset and managed to snag it. "Well, we had best be getting back to camp, those two should be waking up in about half an hour."
"You've got me half undressed and you want to go back to camp! Oh no you don't!" She said, holding his own dagger to his throat, "You had something up your sleeve and you will share with me what it was in one way or another."
He just smiled at her. "I never said it was up my sleeve."
"Explain yourself monsieur." she said, keeping the dagger at his throat.
"Take off the rest of your clothes and I will."
"Why don't you make me monsieur?" she said coyly.
"I thought I already had." Gesturing to her opened shirt and undone belt that she hadn't even notice him doing.
Lydia looked down and saw it was inevitable. She slowly slid her shirt off her shoulders. "Why don't you help me out?"
Alden smiled then cursed. He'd just noticed Kelly and the woman start to stir.
Lydia crawls off him saying, "Stay put." She took his flask and sprayed another dose in each woman's face. Climbing back on top of him she asked, "Where were we?"
Alden blinked. "See what I mean about getting to know someone? I did not expect that."
"In all honesty I don't know where that came from. Not normally like that. You just do things to me." Lydia replied, bending low enough that she was just inches away from his face.
Alden's hand reflexively twitched towards his dagger. "I have been known to have that effect."
Lydia laughed, "You don't have your dagger. Remember?" Lydia kissed him square on the mouth, her supple lips full and tender.
Having secured one of his many hidden daggers he dropped it in shock.
Lydia returned from her kiss and smiled at him, taking the dagger and tossing it aside, "Help me out of this skirt?"
Alden produced another dagger and moved to cut away her skirt.
Lydia stopped him, "Are you crazy? You can't completely tear up my clothes, be gentle."
Alden laughed. "I see you still have much to learn about me." He tossed his fourth dagger aside.
"Unless you can repair fabric you already owe me a corset." she said softly, kissing him again, "But I can forgive that if you're careful with the rest of my garments.
"Actually I can." He said, returning her kiss for the first time.
"Can you?" she asked him, somewhat skeptical.
"Do you really want to talk about it now?" He smirked.
"No." she said rather forcefully and kissed him again.
He kissed her back becoming enthralled.
"Well, so long as you can repair it..." said Lydia as she slowly untied the back of her skirt, "Well, I still think you should help me out of my skirt without ripping it." she kissed him with a little more force than before and placed his hands on her hips.
Alden places his hands over hers and whispered. "Do not move." He quickly glanced behind her.
"what is it?" she asked him, terrified and trying not to move like he asked and cover her chest.
Kelly had started to stir, or so it seemed, but she didn't open her eyes.
"Get off me, and stay low. I really am beginning to hate this place..."
"I couldn't agree more." said Lydia softly as she kissed him a final time, moving quietly towards her clothes, and, staying low, began to replace the garments. "Little help with the corset?" she asked him.
Alden knelt and stared off into the sea or dark trees. "I must be getting paranoid out here." He picked up Lydia's corset and examined the damage he had caused. "I will get to this shortly." He tossed it to her then went over the barely conscious assassin. He fingered Ora's handle thoughtfully before binding her hands with a thick leather cord. Next he quickly gathered three of his daggers from the ground and pulled the last one from the tree. He wiped the blood off the last one before returning them all to his cloak.
You probably should not have done that one. Have to make that up to her. Or kill her.
With the realizastion that no one was there, Lydia began to feel slightly scorned, but she did her best to not let it show in her face. She pulled her shirt over her head and tied the laces at the top, standing there, she held the corset in her hands until Alden could attend to fixing it.
Alden finished binding the woman's hands as she started to stir, she and Kelly would both be very disoriented from the double dose of the sedative. Scowling he checked his flask and saw that he had just enough for one more dose on an average sized person. He would have to remember to ask Lydia if she possesed the ingredients to make more.
"So, what are we to do now? We're stuck in the past, in France no less, with no money, no place to sleep, and no idea why we're here." said Lydia.
Kelly started to stir, she groaned and tried to sit up, but feel back down.
Alden turned back to the trees and studied them silently.
Lydia walked up to Alden and placed a hand on his shoulder, gazing at him with mixed feelings, the most prominent, concern.
Kelly tried to open her eyes but they were too heavy, "H-H-Hey."
Instead of reacting as she normally would about her torn corset, Lydia stayed where she was. More worried about Alden than Kelly.
Alden took a few steps away from the group looking out into the woods with curiosity. After a moment he shrugged and turned back to the girls. He started walking and said, "Alright let us..." He stopped mid sentence, he blinked and seemed to wobble slightly.
"Alden!" screeched Lydia as she took a step forward, prepared to catch him if he should fall, worry spread across her face.
Alden seemed to mutter something to himself and then fall he did. The point of another crossbow bolt shallowly impeded in his back. Noticing a strange feeling in his limbs as he fell he thought to himself. Well that did not happen last time did it?
Lydia barely reached Alden in time to catch him as he fell towards the ground. Seeing the bolt, Lydia's heart started beating a fast tattoo as she all but panicked, wondering what she should do. She laid him gingerly on his side, hand hovering over the bolt. Oh Alden, what have we gotten ourselves into? She drew her blade once more and stood guard over his body, wishing she could get to Kelly who was still incapacitated as well.
Alden lay on his side blinking in surprise. He knew he should be fine, he had taken the arrow in his defensive cloak. However he was quickly losing feeling in his body. Damn...
"Ly..Lydia.." He tried to get her attention but he could barely speak. Somewhere deep inside him he registered this fact with annoyance.
Though his call was faint Lydia heard him anyways, she brushed his hair out of his eyes and gazed deeply, worry and concern etched upon the features of her face, "I'm here Alden. I'm here. What do I need to do? How can I help. You can't die on me. Stay with me. Stay with me." panic filled her voice and she cursed the fact that she was injured as well as the fact that all of her herbs were back by the river.
"Drugged...arrow..get Kelly..safe." His vision began to darken. "My cloak..potion..might..might work, my pocket.." He opened his cloak with what little strength he had left revealing dozens of small pockets lining the inside. He started to slip farther into the blackness. "Left side..bottom row..third pocket."
"No." said Lydia forcefully as tears began to fall down her face, "I'm not leaving you here to die." She rummaged through the myriad of pockets until she found the potion he was talking about, "This might hurt a little." She said, pulling the bolt out of his back and then quickly tipping most of the potion into his mouth and placing a few drops on the wound itself, "Come on Alden! Don't leave me!"
Alden blinked once more than began to fall fully into unconsciousness, his last thought before the blackness took him was, There is no way they are going to talk me out of killing these Conach valks now...
Lydia's tears fell headlong down her cheek as she shook Alden's body until she knew for sure he was unconcious. She checked his pulse, it was there, it was weak, but he was alive. She stood, lifting his body, knowing she couldn't do this for long, and got him back to their clearing by the river. Afterwards she retrieved Kelly and did the same. She belted her shirt with her scarf seeing as Alden never had time to fix her corset, and then she sat down to wait, to watch. Praying that he would wake soon.
Out of the darkness from far away came a soft sound. Like the dying breath of an animal in the leaves of the forest.
The effects of the powder that Alden and Lydia had sprayed in Kelly's face was starting to wear off she felt kinda sick and sat up alittle before seeing Alden lying on the ground, "Wh-What's going on?" she asked with a slight headache looking at Lydia.
Lydia all but ignored Kelly saying, "Stay here with Alden, and DO NOT follow me." She got up, blade in hand, tears of anger streaming down her cheeks, moving towards the sound. Whoever shot that had to have an antidote. Whoever shot that probably made that sound. Whoever shot that, was going to die.
Kelly nodded and crawled over to Alden not wanting to stand because she didn't want to fall over, she took some deep breaths to try and help clear her mind and help her to recover quickly so she could protect Alden if someone came along.
Lydia stalked into the forest, heading back in the direction they had come, towards the sight of the attack. Moving towards the area where the bolt had come from, Lydia noticed that the woman was missing. Immediately her raged flared into an insatiable blaze and she ran in the direction the womans tracks led. It wasn't long until she came upon the woman and another compatriot of hers.
"WHICH ONE OF YOU BASTARDS SHOT THE ARROW! Tell me now and I might spare your life." screamed Lydia, her eyes narrowing.
The woman looked at Lydia, "I-I-I didn't." she said frightened for the other person had a knife to her back.
"You're dressed rather similarly." said Lydia coldly, "Have a buddy come rescue you and get rid of your only threat? Alden was right. You were not to be trusted." Lydia's blade, Venin-Coeur, glinted in the pale light diffusing from the trees as she raised it menacingly. "You've given me one wrong answer so far. One more and you're life is forfiet."
After a few moments Lydia's voice grew harder as she spoke again, "You try my patience. Answer me or die."
The man behind the woman slit her throat in the blink of an eye, "I shot your friend." he said wiping the blood off of his knife with an emotionless face, "What of it?" he continued with a smirk.
Kelly wanted to see Alden's wound more clearly so she gently turned him on his side once she was back to mormal, she lifted his cloak and shirt to see his wound.
"Where is the antidote." stated Lydia her voice shaking with pure hatred and her right hand clenching her blade so tightly her knuckles were white. "You would do well to give it to me without a fight, if you value your life." She took a step forward, raising the blade a bit higher, ready to strike.
"I could break this before you even come near me." The man said with a smirk while holding a bottle which contained the antidote over a rock.
"Are you so sure of your abilities?" asked Lydia, sneering at him. She looked around at her surroundings, calculating angles and playing out different scenarios in her mind. Trying to figure out the correct way to pursue her goal. She needed to save Alden. That's all that mattered to her.
"I know this forest better than you do miss." The man said with a smirk, "I'll make a deal with you, since your friend doesn't have but a few minutes left anyway, I'll give you this antidote if you swear not to go after Monsieur Jean-Paul, or tell antone else what this wretch told you about him." he said spitting on the woman, then looking at Lydia, "Well, do we have a deal?"
Kelly looked at Alden's wound it had a grenish tint to it, "That poison, I've seen it before!" she said when she saw it.
"We care nothing for this Jean-Paul. That agreement is easy to make." said Lydia. She may have made the agreement, but she did not let her guard down. Alden had been right all along. She shouldn't trust anyone.
"Good, it's better that way." He said with a sort of regret in his voice as he layed the bottle on the ground and disappeared taking the woman's body with him.
Kelly knew the ingridents needed to make the antidote, but she did not know how she could get them, she just hoped that Lydia would be able to find the antidote.
Lydia snatched up the bottle and ran back to Alden at full speed. She made a mental note and vowed to kill the man the moment Alden was cured. She burst into the clearing, breathing heavily and without saying a word to Kelly put the antidote to Alden's lips and tipped it back, letting the liquid slide down his throat.
It took almost half an hour before Alden finally opened his eyes. He blinked once then closed them again. "Can I kill them now?" He asked.
Lydia gazed down at Alden, whos head was in her lap, "No you cannot. I'll go after the man who shot you and he already killed the woman. Made me quite angry as well. I wanted to kill the bastard after what happened. You just need to stay here and rest." she stroked his brow softly, not even noticing her movements.
Kelly sighed and fell backwards lying on the ground, "If you hadn't have given him the antidote when you did he would have died in the next minute or so." She said sounding relieved that Lydia made it back in time.
Lydia nodded, "I'm glad the guy was reasonable. I'm still going to kill him though." Her eyes narrowed into slits as she watched Alden, making sure all was well.
"It's strange isn't?" Kelly said sitting up, "Why did he give you the antidote, I wonder... I mean if he wanted Alden to die he wouldn't have given you the antidote." She finished thoughtfully.
"I honestly don't know." replied Lydia.
Kelly thought for a few seconds before snaping her figers, "Hold on, maybe he didn't want to kill Alden, maybe he wanted to injure him so you would take Alden and me away so he could get to that woman." She said, then she looked at Lydia, "Did he say anything before he left you?" She asked.
Alden coughed. "Why do you always care about their motivations? Sword..sword works just the same.."
"I have to agree with Alden. And right now, my sword aches for flesh." the last part of her statement was cold, hateful even, "Kelly, go get more firewood or something. Alden, rest. When you're back Kelly, I'm going after him. Alone."
"Well, alright then." Kelly said, and knowing she couldn't talk Lydia out of it, she got up and went to get firewood.
Lydia's hardened face softened the moment Kelly was out of sight, worriedly she looked at Alden saying, "Are you going to be alright?"
Kelly was collecting firewood when she noticed something silver shining on the ground in the moon light, she picked it up to examine it more closely, only to discover that it was a silver coin.
"I..I feel..odd..something's wrong.." Alden started to choke as the slow acting part of the potion the man had given Lydia took effect.
Lydia's hands fluttered as she desperately wished she could do something, "It'll be okay...It has to be okay..." she said, tears beginning to roll down her cheeks.
Tynan sat in the cave he had found and made his shelter. He had been traveling for what seemed like months in the mountains and lost track of the time. He was tired and in need of rest. He closed his eyes to nap but kept alert for danger.
Back to- And so it began