Adventuring through twisted time.

After the run in with Kyan barely making it away with her life, Nerissa found herself spending a few weeks healing, hiding in her newly opened shop that Devon had helped her set up. She was sure Devon helped her out in setting up the shop so he would know where she was. Not wanting her to travel with the rogues and their misadventures. If she was honest she missed her friend, she hadn’t seen him in what felt like ages. The upside of that is he never knew she was in trouble breaking into the Fae kingdom. She ripped the letter apart that she had left him stating that she was going on her own to the Kingdom, the moment she was back. She slept what felt like several days in a row. When she woke up from the sleep she found her wounds mostly healed but she moved slowly.

As the weeks passed she was able to find her new rut selling the medicine she made from the plant she stole from Kyan’s land along with the other things in her nature shop. She watched the people get better in the small town, it filled her soul with happiness. Even though she had pissed off the Fae King she knew she had done the right thing. Watching dying children and families hurt her soul. Though maybe it was her guilt that made her do these things, she wondered if she hadn’t put all her people trapped in darkness refusing to give her life if she would ever be this giving. Though it was a useless question, after all if she had done what she was supposed to do she would be dead inside the Mother Red Dusk Tree.

She snapped back into the moment as she messed with some of her herbs before tossing them into the metal pot. She stirred the herbs slowly before taking it off the fire they burned over. She was lost in her thoughts more and more lately. Kyan had brought up points she couldn’t counter act. He was right, she was evil, she murdered her own people. How low could one get. She thought she was doing it for the right reasons, not caving in and giving up on life. “Maybe they would be better off without me?” she looked to the cat that often visited her shop, she reached in a bowl pulling out a piece of chicken to feed to the cat.

“I would miss you.” the cat purred out before taking the piece of chicken in her mouth and laid down to eat it.

“That is because I feed you.” she gave a gentle chuckle towards the cat as she chewed the chicken. “In the grand scheme of things though. What difference would it had made if I would have just done what I was supposed too? If I would have just given my life? The world would still be the world.”  She searched the cat for answers which the cat gave no answers as she finished her piece of chicken and went on her way. “Thanks for the great advice.” She said sarcastically as the cat got what she wanted and left. 

She gave a shake of her head and bottled the medicine, moving back into the shop part of the building when she saw Raffaele standing there. “Oh I had no idea someone was out here, you should have given a scream.” She chuckled as she moved, setting the bottles down on the shelf and moving behind the counter. “Can I help you find anything?” She reached into one of the bins that had flowers picking up a Pink Lily. “Maybe you need a flower for the lady in your life?” She gave a soft smile as she looked him over. He had an interesting look to him, one of someone who had seen a lot of the world. She wondered if her own eyes held the same look.

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There. A simple slip of her words despite the odd behavior of wanting to retain her lifeforce was damning to her facade. Worrying about healing too quickly was not something most humans had to worry about let alone trying to save their own blood. Raffaele watched as she busied herself, stepping back some in an attempt to put more space between them. It was completely pointless. He could be standing outside and still her blood would tempt him there. As Nerissa turned away from him, he gripped the back of a nearby chair and closed his eyes with the hopes of gaining more composure, though he felt the whine of the wood begin to crack from the pressure of his hold. The sanguine opened his eyes at this and grit his teeth tightly to keep his fangs at bay. 

Watching her approach him again was a true test to his will. However, he did as she requested and carefully wrapped the cloth around her wound once again, blocking out the monster inside him that wanted to take her life. Raffaele remained silent. Possibly because any chance that his mouth would open could then give permission for his fangs to grow as they so desperately wanted. Her words were dulled to him until the world came into focus again when asking if he was okay. Turning to face her, he took a few steps back as she went to prepare the tea. "Forgive me, Nerissa, I must take my leave for the night. I have to be up early in the morning for the meeting." Raffaele bowed quickly to her before backpedaling towards the door and then turning, speaking over his shoulder once his hand touched the door. "I shall come by tomorrow night, signorina. After the shop closes."

He hurriedly untied the rope to his horse and mounted the animal, giving it a swift kick to get as much distance as was possible in that moment for a creature slower than him. The farther away he got, the less his killing nature ruled over him until he'd gotten so far that he'd neared the inn he was staying without even noticing. His mind had been completely taken with the desire to have her. Raffaele hated himself for it. He hated not having control.

Despite the consuming reality of his thoughts, he suddenly became acutely focused at the movement behind him when the streets had been empty before. Raffaele gripped the hilt of his sword and spun around, placing the blade to the person's throat. A fair haired fae stood before him with a passive look on his face. Next to him was a small female companion who held the same expression. He recognized them from part of the guard that flanked their king when he was summoned for his current bounty. Raffaele lowered the weapon and put it back in its home. "It would be wise not to sneak up on others if you don't intend on attacking. I'm not sure if they taught you that etiquette in your kingdom."

"Have you located the traitor?" the taller of the two asked, ignoring Raffaele's comment. 

The sanguine looked between the pair for a moment before casually placing his hands on his belt and pausing in slight annoyance. "I have, yes. I did not realize his majesty would be sending his soldiers to come check on me after my last correspondence to let him know I'd tracked her to London. Why are you here?"

"Why have you not taken her then?"

Raffaele remained quiet again and smirked at the fae. His stoic face was becoming a lovely target that he wanted to punch. "I planned on taking her tomorrow night. As promised, the king would've had her in less than a fortnight, so I ask again; Why are you here?" 

The male fae seemed to size Raffaele up then and the sanguine couldn't help but raise a brow. "His majesty wanted to make sure you were on task and told us to offer our services if you should need."

Raffaele scoffed openly at this, looking him directly in the eyes with a big smile that revealed a hint of his fangs. "I can assure you, I do not."

"No? You looked rather.. unwell on your steed. You will need all your strength going up against your opponent. She carries magic beyond the abilities of our kind."

"I'll manage," Raffaele replied shortly, never wavering from his locked gaze with the fae. 

"See that you do. The king will not abide by a failure who's been partially paid upfront."

"Are you quite finished?" The sanguine finally broke his eye contact to look between them before turning his back and heading inside. Walking up the stairs of the quiet inn, Raffaele tangled with the real reason these fae were here. Had they come to London in order to find Nerissa's location and capture her themselves by order of their king? It was possible and he would lead them straight to her tomorrow, but he had yet to decide if he really thought to do so. Something wasn't right to him about the story still and he'd left before Nerissa had gotten the chance to possibly reveal what had happened. He paced. His gut was still telling him Nerissa was no true murderer and with that he found himself on the ledge of the window in his room. His acute vision swept the empty street below as well as the rooftops, but he saw nothing. It didn't mean the fae weren't there. Raffaele leaped from his perch and landed on the adjacent rooftop, taking off in a run that was indicative of his kind.  

Only a few minutes time had passed and he was forcefully opening the door to Nerissa's completely darkened home. "Nerissa!" He moved to the back of the space where her living quarters were in the blink of an eye where his intrusion had roused her from bed. "We need to leave. You're in danger."

Nerissa was naive to stay the least, something she should have been working on. Especially with Devons warnings of the world around them. Yet she truly wanted to see the good in everyone. She was vastly unaware of how much danger she was in that moment, she was unaware he was a sanguine or what a sanguine was even. As he seemed to hold an expression of disappointment on his face while tying her hand up. She became sadden in that moment, because she realized how truly odd her behavior had been. She watched him back away to the door and how he seemed to be avoiding her. “I shall…” She wasn’t even sure what she would say, since the door was closed and she was alone in her shop once again.  “So much for making friends.” She muttered to herself in that moment as she still made the tea and made herself a cup for the night.

After she took a long sip from her cup she put out the fire with her ability to control fire, snuffing the life out of it with a hand motion. She made her way through the darkened home to her room. Where she changed from the fanciest dress she had owned into something proper to sleep in. Her fingers traced the fabric of the dress she had worn out that evening. It had been a gift from the dressmaker whom she had healed of her constant headaches. It was something she never thought she would get to wear. Raffaele's invitation gave her a reason to wear it. She wondered what kind of dresses were worn over the world in that moment as she curled up on her bed. She felt the wave of worry if she had scared off Raffaele.

“You need to be more human.” Nerissa muttered to herself as her eyes blinked closed in that moment. She thought of her moments with Devon and how her weirdness never scared him away. “I will make Raffaele a flower crown that has to smooth over whatever I did tonight.” She was solic in the fact that was the answer to all of her problems. Yet little did she know that her problems may come to a head in only a few minutes more. Rolling over to face the wall, placing her back to the door, sleep took hold of the tiny fae.

Moments later she stirred at her name, before she heard the room of her door open and she sat up from her curled position. Her hand coming to her sleepy eyes to swipe across them. “Raffaele?” she said in a sleepy tone of voice that made her smile softly up to him. “What are you doing…” She was cut off by him saying she was in danger. Her eyes widened towards the man in front of her and she was quick on her feet. Pulling the bag from under her bed she was quick to take his hand and move out the back door. “Damn crazy king always having his people after me.” She muttered out as she didn’t even question his motives or how he knew she was in danger. Once in the tree line she pushed Raffaele away from her gently.

“You should run away from me. You don’t want to get hurt or caught with me. They will take your head too.” She gave a gentle sad smile as she was quick to jump into the air onto the tree. She needed to get out of the city, and the forest before she was caught by his people. She pressed the seed to her chest and took off using the ability to control the air to make it easier for her to move through the trees. Unaware of the sanguine that could follow her easily.

Raffaele let his senses push forward in an attempt to hear the fae that could possibly be coming for her, but that was like asking to hear what silence sounded like. He knew full and well that their kind was incredibly agile and silent if they wanted to be. He would more quickly notice them coming by scent if anything. His attention pulled from the front of the shop as he looked back to Nerissa who had now procured a prepared bag and was guiding him towards the back. As they moved into the woods behind her home which would most likely be the last she'd see of it, Raffaele peered into the darkness and saw nothing still. Perhaps they would have enough time to put some distance between those that were after her, but that also meant he would have to reveal who and what he was.

Just as he opened his mouth to explain his true intentions, she turned to him and spoke first. The fear she had was palpable and Nerissa was right to have it. He'd seen just how crazed the king was in the idea of getting his hands on the runaway. Raffaele had the feeling if she were caught, the sadistic smile on Kyan's face meant he had plans to do more than just execute her, but he didn't let his mind wander onto what those things may be. He was just supposed to get the job done, receive payment, and move on, but his gut knew the story he'd been told was wrong. From the way the king spoke of her, he had the feeling the egotistical fae truly believed the tale he told of how she'd murdered her people too. 

Raffaele tried to intercede, but Nerissa was gone in an instant. His head instinctively moved upwards as she jumped into the taller parts of the trees and vanished from sight. A slight breath released between his lips just as his acute hearing picked up movement behind him. It was just enough for him to know they were found. His eyes closed for a moment before opening again as he concentrated on the dark spots casted around him by the endless amount of branches and limbs of the wood. It was a skill not many sanguine could perform, but being as old as he was, this was just an extension of himself. Soon he'd melded with the darkness of the forest as he advanced in the shadows of the night, faster than any fae could hope to be. 

He had gained on the pursuing fae unbeknownst to them. They were on a determined path to catch Nerissa, though she was still far ahead from what he could tell with his keen vision. Raffaele pushed himself further until he was finally at the heels of the princess, passing the ones after her. The sanguine's hand materialized and reached out of the black shadows just as she stepped off a branch to land on the next tree. His fingers wrapped around her small ankle from a bough below, pulling her down from the air as he tripped her up. Raffaele fully formed back into his body as they fell and imagined it would be quite the reveal to Nerissa. His arm came around her waist and they landed safely on the ground, but he immediately pressed her back against the trunk of the closest tree to keep her still. 

"Tell me the truth. Why is the king after you?" The sanguine knew now she would most likely realize he was not being completely honest with her if at all, but this wasn't the time for his full story. "His soldiers are after you, but I might be able to spare you some time and an audience with the king, if only to avoid a possible death by those that are currently hunting you, Nerissa. There isn't much time. The truth. Now."

Run, get to the safe house, get there and leave a note for Devon. Run. Get home and end this once and for all. She was consumed by her thoughts to get to the waterfall and place her message that when the fingers wrapped around her ankle and pulled her from her mid jump she was confused, and scared all at once. She reached for the seed to use her own ability of light to fight the darkness when she felt her body pressed to the trunk of the tree and her eyes blinked taking in the arms around her. “Raffaele?” She questions quietly with confusion on her face. “How?” 

It all slowly sunk in, dragging her heart into her gut as her eyes turned from their normal hazel to a stormy gray to display her pain. “And here I thought I had made a new interesting friend. Yet you are working with him.” She said as she turned her gaze away for a moment before she figured this was her end one way or another. It had been closing in on her since she chose this path. Since she chose to cross into the mad king's home even if it was to help others. This was all because of her actions.

“Audience with him. Last time I was in his hold he left me scarred and promised the worst. But what do you want to know? He is after me because I hurt my people. I am sure you know that much. Yet I didn’t mean too. I was meant to give my life when I was eighteen for the betterment of my people, My blood was to be spilled to keep our forest thriving.” She moved her eyes back to keep locked with his to let him know she was telling her truth. “I walked into the tree I was to die in. Took the seed from within it and ran. I didn’t know my people would turn into monsters. I ran, I was scared. The seed helped me cast a dome over my forest to keep them from escaping or hurting anyone else.”

Her eyes searched his wondering if he believed her or stood on the side of her being the evil one. “I got on a log and made my way here not knowing what here was and have been here the last few years just surviving off the land. Making a home of my own. The king I guess knew about what happened. Cause word travels? I never fully knew. Yet he didn’t know about me until I broke into his kingdom to receive a flower to help cure a breakout among the children in the town.” She sighed softly, leaning her head back to the trunk of the tree.

“What are you?” She asked quietly, having never met a Sanguine before. “And why are you working for him? You seemed so nice.” she felt the tears forming in her eyes in that moment as she knew this was it. “Please don’t take me to him, he will at best kill me on sight. I was planning to return home. To do what was right. Please. I need to save my people.” She felt the tears start falling as her hands moved to his chest to clutch at his shirt that he wore to dinner. Yet time wasn’t on their side, she knew that. Pressing to her seed on accident they were surrounded by darkness as an attempt to make them invisible as she started to sob quietly into his chest.

This was the truth. Raffaele saw no lie in the words that she told and the story that had been relayed to him previously was just the rantings of a king who was hellbent on revenge for what he believed did truly happen without hearing it from Nerissa herself. It didn't surprise him in the least that she would have risked being captured to help the people in town just by knowing her in the last several hours. It just wasn't the best course of action for her own well being. Now they were here. In the middle of the woods. Being hunted by some very enthusiastic fae guards who would love to tell the king they were the ones to capture the elusive fugitive before the bounty hunter.

Raffaele moved slightly back from holding her against the tree as her emotions took over. The truth of the matter was, he didn't want to see anything bad happen to Nerissa. She was naive, yes, but innocent and with a good heart. Whatever happened in her homeland didn't seem to be a proper reason to have her executed despite the consequences of her actions or inaction. The fae could be so shortsighted sometimes. Their immediate reaction to things seemed to cause for such troubles when their emotions took hold instead of rational thought. Perhaps it was something both the king and Nerissa could learn from if it was possible to fight such a trait engrained in their kind.

His arms wrapped around her cautiously as the tears spilled down her cheeks. Honest affection was something he wasn't used to, but he didn't flinch away as he normally would. He tried to think of how he would be able to play this off with not only helping to save her life, but now possibly his own life should the king see fit to have another tantrum. The thoughts were interrupted though as the shadows began to creep over them which was something he was not doing, for he only had the ability to cloak himself. Raffaele put his finger under her chin and lifted it slightly to grab her attention. His hand moved over hers as it clutched the magical seed he guessed was the one she had just spoken about. So small a thing could cause such disarray. "Nerissa, let go." He knew the guards would be close now. "You can't keep running. They will never stop looking for you, even if I were to let you leave and not follow. They know where you lived now and could easily figure out who you've been in contact with. Friends, lovers. Even those children you were so worried about helping. They could hurt them in hopes of getting to you and I'm sure you wouldn't want that." The hand that rested over hers, squeezed slightly in hopes she would believe him if nothing else as he imagined trust would surely not be something he could ask for now. "If I had known the truth, I wouldn't have come here to find you and I'm sorry for that."

The sanguine stepped away from Nerissa and out of the protection of the shadows that still guarded her. A moment later and the two fae guards landed in front of him with all diplomacy gone from their demeanor. "You won't find her," he stated simply, lifting his chin slightly as if threatening them to challenge him on his words. "But I know where she is and I'll have my bounty reward for my efforts. I assure you, between myself and the runaway, you won't stand a chance should you try and interfere with my plans to bring her back to your king as promised." Raffaele smiled threateningly to them and just slightly bared his fangs to prove his point. "I've also had a taste of your kind and could do with some more, so if I were you, I would back off. The night is my veil and you all are just prey. "

Sobbing, weeping, uncontrollable emotions running rampant in her veins. The princess who was never meant to see past her eighteenth birthday was never taught control over her emotions. Something that was already such a detriment to most Fae. For her it seemed worst, especially since the seed came into her grasp. It brought out sides of her not many had seen. The more she used it, the more dependent she became on it. It was choking her, keeping her tied to the shadows, running and hiding from her past. Trying to live a future that was never meant to be. She knew it was fruitless, trying to have a life. She couldn’t have the romanticized love she read in books and heard tales of. She would never marry, have a husband, throws of passion, a family of her own. She always knew this deep down, though she tried to find it all in the short time she had been away from her land.

Her body shook against his as she no longer had control as the darkness wrapped around them. His softness is not what she was expecting to be met with, yet it didn’t stop the tears from overflowing. Leaning into the honest affection in that moment, as his finger came under her chin making her look up to him her gaze was swirled with black inkyness. He was right. She knew she couldn’t keep running from her fate. “I know.” She said in a tiny voice as her heart tightened in her chest and it felt like the breath had been knocked out of her at the thought of the friends and children she had gained getting hurt. Then the thought of Devon consumed her. The thought of him dead once again yet because of her was far too much to bear. “I couldn’t bear the thought. I knew this day was always going to come to pass. I just hoped I could take care of it and change my people back. I always feared the mad king would not allow that to be so. He is so focused on his vengeance.”

As his hand squeezed her she let her gaze fall to their holding grasp. “Even though it's been a few hours I do find comfort in knowing, you sense the truth from me. I never meant for any of this to happen. I just was so desperate to have a life, to have romance, to be loved, to have my own family of some kind. That I was selfish. I know I was wrong. Please know I do not blame you for any of this. This all rests squarely on my shoulders. Please do not fret over this. None of this is on you, nor do I blame you for doing your job. I commend you for allowing me to tell you my side of my story.” With a sad smile before he stepped into the light of the moon she muttered to him. “Thank you for my last meal, I did have a lovely time with you tonight. It was like a first blind date for me. I appreciate it.”

As he stepped away her hand came to her mouth as she took shallow quiet breaths to calm herself now. Keeping the veil of darkness around her. Knowing that he was the only one to know where she was as the Faes looked ravash with anger at him. His words. He was truly going to be her only way to plead with the king. Though in her mind she was quickly accepting her death was to come before the sun rises.  Her thoughts for one more moment turned towards Devon as she thought to herself. ‘I’m sorry for leaving you this way, my human. In another life.’ Closing her eyes tightly as in the shadows she shifted behind Raffaele allowing her magic over darkness to cast a menacing shadow as if the Sanguine was doing it himself. Her palms pressed to her back hoping he could feel she was vowing to go through with this. Allowing him to try and help her plead with the king.

The two fae guards stood silent for a few moments, pondering over his words and sharing a glance between one another. They seemed as if they wanted to test his warning and Raffaele would be happy to challenge their bravery or more like stupidity. He suddenly felt Nerissa's touch, but did not give any indication of it as not to alert the pair before him. His hand rested on his sword as if to solidify the point that this was no idle threat and they seemed to be giving into the fact they would be letting him go. It wouldn't be very smart to fight a sanguine his age, especially at night. They passed another look to each other and then he saw their eyes slightly widen as their gaze moved above him. Raffaele was curious, but didn't move because he could feel the shift of shadow behind him. It seemed Nerissa was helping to bring his point home and it worked, even if it wasn't exactly him manipulating the shadows. Each of the guards decided this was a fight they were no longer interested in, the male cutting his eye to Raffaele with uninhibited disgust. "Till next time then?" Raffaele goaded. He really couldn't wait for the day he'd get to punch that fae's smug face.

He waited. Waited until there was no sound of their quickened footsteps any longer. They had gone far enough into the forest that he could no longer hear their heartbeats, just the one of the fae beside him. Though, he was somewhat disappointed he wouldn't be having some of that blood to sample. Raffaele turned to face Nerissa who still seemed distraught and it was rather understandable. He wasn't entirely sure what he could say that would possibly ease her worry for the path that was currently ahead of them. His dark eyes moved to the seed around her neck. She clutched the thing like it was the only lifeline to keeping her alive and he wondered how magically connected to it she was. He'd seen his fair share of magical items in the world and many of its possessors as slaves to its existence. He didn't much like the idea of that thing in the hands of a volatile king, however, Raffaele did get the sense that Kyan was devout to his kind at the very least. It was that trait he hoped would spare Nerissa's destruction if he would take the time to listen.

"The king thinks your people are dead or perhaps he is just going with that as some excuse to get that from you," he said, dipping his head towards the seed. "The council and his parents will most likely get him to stow the execution if they hear your explanation. If the magic can be reversed and the fae can be changed back from your kingdom, I would imagine that would take priority, especially if you are the only one that can do it." His eyes tried to catch hers to see if she was listening to him, but she still seemed far off. He placed a hand on her shoulder to bring her round. "I'll do what I can to help. If I thought there was some better option.. if I thought helping you run would help, I would. The king is too focused on your capture and now that his guards know where you've been staying, I know he'll play that hand and come for the ones you've come to care for there."

Raffaele gently squeezed her shoulder before turning to begin the walk towards Thistlemoon, but paused to look back at her after some several paces. "You're no villain, Nerissa. You made a decision that had consequences. Believe me, I understand that perfectly. It haunts you and for that, it means you are a good person. I live my life trying to make up for the things I've done. I'll never be able to atone for them, but I think this is a chance for you to make things right in the end." He then continued forward into the night.

Watching the Fae guard take their leave she stayed in her veil of darkness as their footsteps disappeared into the darkness of the night that was wrapped around them. She felt her body fighting wanting to run away, that was what she was good at after all. Yet she knew it was time, it was going to bring only more danger to those around her if she didn’t face her crimes. She got more life then she planned to have, so had that to hang on too in the next coming days. She clung to the seed as her body was still writhing with panic. She almost forgot that Raffaele was there as she was running through all the friends she was going to be leaving behind.

While in the fog of her own mind caused his words to seep into her ears and processed them at a slow rate as her hazel eyes locked with his. After what was a few seconds but felt like hours she gave a gentle nod of her head. “This is what I can hope for. All I know of the king has led me to believe otherwise. Yet I know that not everyone has one side. Not all monsters are bad and not all people who believe they are good are good.” She said softly looking at the seed in her hand referring to herself in the latter part of that statement. “I want to bring my people back, I know the default way to do so.” She said softly as she kept her eyes to the seed. 

She finally placed her hand over his that rested on her shoulder softly as she gave a weak smile to the man who had shown her a wonderful evening despite the fact his ties were to the man hellbent on ending her. “I had far more time than I ever thought I would have. I do thank you for wanting to help more but what you are providing, or offering to provide is far more than I think I would be offered by another.” she swallowed for a moment. “That is why I know I need to do this now. He will come after innocent people whose only crimes are being tied to me. I can’t have him hurt them.”

As he squeezed her shoulder before starting to walk away, after a moment she was able to unfreeze herself from the shadowed safety she had provided herself. The darkness falling away and her eyes locked with his and his statement made her eyes well with tears. “I…” she choked up and sighed softly before falling into step beside him. Feeling the magic of Thistlemoon long before the beauty of it was upon them. 

“What is the plan to not get him to kill me the moment we are spotted? Are you wanting to wrap rope or something around my hands?” Nerissa questioned then realizing she herself hadn’t thought this far past pleading for the life of her people. Which she was more then sure was going to end with her at least taking some damage form the king if she is even able to survive past the gate.

He had been around the world, but nothing compared to the magic of this forest. It was like stepping into a different world, one that the Earth could not possibly contain. The veil of magic that separated it from the rest of the normal wood disappeared once he stepped onto its territory. Firelights provided twinkling lights like stars and the trees seemed far older and alive unlike its brethren some steps away. Raffaele wished he could spend more time in the forest, but instead of admiring its beauty, he instead had to focus on the fae guards in the trees that immediately aimed their bows at them. "No," he replied quietly to Nerissa. "I think showing you've come of your own free will can open up the chance to talk to the king. He's waited too long for this to kill you on sight. I'm sure he'd rather make a grand spectacle of it first."

Raffaele's head turned left once he saw a large figure coming from the shadows. The centaur he'd seen at Kyan's side before appeared and stopped in front of them without a word. His eyes seemed curious to the small fae next to him, possibly wondering how one being could cause so much stress in the king. That and the thought of what they were claiming she was capable of doing and had done if one were to believe the story being told of her lost kingdom. "You've done well, hunter," the centaur said to Raffaele in his inhumanly deep voice, not taking his eyes from Nerissa. "The king will be most pleased."

He didn't reply and only looked up to the many fae in the trees whose arrows remained trained on them. The sanguine put his hand on Nerissa's shoulder as if in trade for his payment, but it was really more in comfort for her to keep her resolve for what was about to come.

It had taken hardly any time at all. The king dropped to the ground from one of the many trees above, flanked by more of his personal guard. There was a wry smile across his face and an air of triumph about him as he came upon them. His icy gaze never moved from Nerissa as he stepped close to her, whispering in her ear. "I told you I would find you." His hand shot out and wrapped around the other fae's throat, squeezing.

"Your Majes..." Raffaele started, but Gwainar moved his spear between him and the pair before he could dare to interject. He tried to keep his expression neutral as not to antagonize Kyan any more. The king continued choking Nerissa with a sense of satisfaction as he watched her struggle. "If I may, your Majesty." The centaur cut his eye to Raffaele, knowing he was walking dangerously by interrupting. "Nerissa may have some information you'll want to hear. Killing her now may not be wise."

"I'm not going to kill her," Kyan replied through gritted teeth as his rage now displayed though he never took his eyes from Nerissa's. "This is just a bit of satisfaction and repayment for our last encounter." The king continued choking Nerissa for a few more moments before letting her collapse to the ground for air. Kyan spun on his heel to look at Raffaele, cocking his head slightly. "You've done your job, night child, but I think I may have another for you now after learning some information from a couple of my guards." He pulled a pouch of coins out and dropped it at Raffaele's feet before standing over Nerissa. "Go fetch that human she's so fond of. The little birdies tell me he might be of some use if we are to get all the information she might be holding." Kyan smiled wickedly and momentarily looked to Raffaele, squinting at something he was picking up. "Oh, don't tell me you feel badly for her? She murdered her own people, stole a powerful object, and ran like a coward. You're a bounty hunter. You do the job and get paid. Now, I will pay you thrice over once you drag that human here. That's the game." Kyan took one of the large axes buckled to Gwainar and placed the blade to Nerissa's neck as she remained on the ground. "Sooner rather than later, night child. I don't like to be kept waiting. You can meet us back at the Mapleshade for the rest of your money. Given the sun and all, I suggest you hurry." The king made a shooing motion with his free hand and Raffaele bowed his head to him, but caught Nerissa's eye for a moment in hopes she would remain strong as he reluctantly turned his back and left.


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Citizen of the Realm Raffaele Spataro
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