Adventuring through twisted time.
The day had been long the sun beating down on the brunette as she sat on the ground picking the herbs from her garden that she needed. Dirt was smeared across her rosy cheeks and forehead as she worked away in the dirt. Singing to herself as she worked away in her garden, when she finished in the garden she stood with her basket and headed back towards the road and around to the front door of her little shack. Upon entering she lit a candle and hung it on the hook in the middle of the room illuminating the whole room for her. She went to the countertop which had a water bucket on the top she began to wash her hands and then the herbs and hang them across the string in the window to dry. Pushing her hair back out of her face she still sang, moving to the shelf along the whole other wall she picked up a few vials putting them inside her basket along with some bread. Placing a cloth over the basket she gathered it up in her arm and headed back out of the shack.
Her feet carried down the dirt path towards the village she lived on the edge of, her eyes scanning the many people who were heading home for the day. Ashlan enjoyed spending her day in her garden planting and harvesting the herbs she needed for various potions and remedies. Now she was on her way to the home of a man who’s child had been sick for some time and the wife had recently passed on from the same illness, Ashlan hated to see a child suffer. She had mixed a healing potion in with the herbal remedy she had been giving the man, she didn’t want him to know she was a Magi so she made a low dose.
When Ashlan arrived at the house she knocked on the door and waited heading inside when the man opened the door for her. Walking to the room where the little girl lay in her bed, she was pale as a sheet eyes dark almost and she looked like she was fading away with each passing moment. Ashlan sat on the edge of the bed and ran her fingers through the girl’s hair. “Hello there Kenna, can you sit up?” she asked helping her into a sitting position, she then opened one of the Vials and placed it to her small lips. “Take just a sip, I brought enough for you to start to feel better.” She grinned softly.
After the little girl had taken the medicine she helped her to lay back down and went out to the kitchen to make a meal for the man and his child. Using the bread she brought and items he had in the kitchen she made a stew for them. Leaving the house she looked up at the sky her basket now empty. Heading back towards her shack she practically bounced with every step, her birthday was fast approaching and she was not sure what she wanted to do for that day.
Looking ahead of herself she felt like someone was watching her, she had that feeling since the sun had started to go down, and now the feeling grew stronger and stronger as she approached her shack. Rubbing her arm with her free hand she glanced around the area. “Is someone there?” she called out.
Her scent was easy to pick up on the road. The lingering smell of herbs wafted through the air and mixed with her unique make up that was all her own as he held onto the gloves he was given to aid in finding her. Raffaele peered through the woods at his current bounty while she walked alone along the dirt road. Her err of caution made him stay perfectly still, being able to blend among the shadows of the darkness while she looked around as if knowing he might be there, but it could be nothing but an inkling for he was too good to be noticed in the hundreds of years he had practiced at being practically invisible.
It had been an interesting few weeks of locating this missing woman. Her husband had paid Raffaele plenty to see his wife's safe return and upon finding her, he could only think- 'She certainly doesn't look as if she's been kidnapped'. It had been years since Ashlan had gone missing and if he had to guess, this seemed more like a woman wanting to be free from the bonds of an arranged marriage. Raffaele couldn't blame her. The man who had requested his service seemed like a pompous ass, but he of course did have the money to pay Raffaele what he wanted in order to find his runaway wife. That was all the convincing he needed to take the offering of work.
Raffaele's eyes lingered on the woman as she moved closer to the small home she'd made for herself in the time she'd left her husband. Ashlan didn't know it, but he'd already been inside her home previously in the day when the sun was high and she had left. A person in his line of work always prepared themselves before actually making the attempt to retrieve someone and she would be no different. He wanted to know as much as he could about her as the journey to bring her back to her husband would not be an overnight trip. He moved from the cover of the trees and made his way to slip inside the back door before she would enter from the front.
The house still smelled of the baked bread she'd made earlier, but it was her scent he focused on solely. In an instant, Raffaele moved to the darkened corner of the home as the door opened. He remained perfectly still as she walked through and lit a candle without a clue of his presence and as she lay her basket down by the empty vials of potions, Raffaele stepped from the shadows. "Miss Garnet. I come on behalf of your very concerned husband."
When she didn’t get a response to her calling out she hurried into her home, lighting the candle and setting down the basket. She began to untie her dress just as a male’s voice came out of the shadows of her home. Reaching for the fire poker she had she gripped it tightly, and took a swing. “That man has no concern but for himself.” She said and said a spell to knock over the shelf of herbs as she gripped it. She turned and ran as quickly as her feet would carry her out of the house and into the woods.
She ran as fast as she could feel the twigs and leaves whipping against her skin as she ran into the woods. Her brown hair becoming a tangled mess blood mixed with the dirt smears on her face as she waved through the trees. There was no way she was sticking around long enough to find out what a man in her home wanted to do with her; definitely not a man who spoke of her husband. Shuddering as she ran trying to retie her dress, trying not to stumble as she ran.
The young woman stopped running when she thought she was far enough away from the shack. Her breathing was heavy, she lay her back against a tree as she tried to catch her breath, wiping the back of her hand over her face. She cursed under her breath “How did he find me, I’ve been so well hidden for so long, why now I was just starting a life, I was just feeling normal again.” She felt the sting of tears well up in her eyes as she tried to make sense of what was happening to her.
Pushing herself off the tree she would need to circle back home to get a few things so she could move on again, and be away from her husband’s grasp once more.
Raffaele dodged the oncoming weapon as the woman swung the fire poker towards him. He rolled his eyes in slight annoyance, but was more taken aback as the shelf with various spell supplies came tumbling off the wall, its contents crashing to the floor in front of him in some small attempt at slowing him down. Sadly, the poor woman didn't know that that would hardly be good enough to slow someone like him down as he watched her run from her very modest home and into the night. "I guess we will be doing this the hard way."
He casually stepped over mess that now littered the ground and sighed as he walked back out into the fast coming night. Now that the sun had set, it was far easier for him to move with ease and not have the draining sun to worry about. Raffaele took a deep breath and immediately picked up her trail as his eyes scanned the woods before him. The scent that had become so familiar to him from the gloves he'd taken from her previous life as the wife to his employer was now mixed with fear and confusion with his sudden arrival. "Shall we begin then?" he whispered to the shadows and disappeared into the trees.
Just as the hunter he was naturally, Raffaele moved silently through the forest to stalk his prey. She had stopped moving and no doubt was attempting to hide from him which was the last thing someone should do when escaping a sanguine. Of course she didn't know what Raffaele was and that was more advantageous to him, however, he also didn't plan to underestimate Ashlan either. She was after all a magi and magic was nothing to turn one's nose up at, especially when he had the feeling she was rather competent at her work from everything he found out about her through the time he'd been tracking her whereabouts.
Raffaele could hear her heart beating quickly against her chest, her blood pumping loudly like a beacon to him. He placed his back silently against the same tree opposite her and pushed away the part of him that wouldn't love to have a taste of her life force which taunted him currently as it coursed through her like a wild river. He spun around to face Ashlan finally and preemptively covered her mouth, anticipating the scream that would follow from his surprise appearance. His larger hands wrapped around her small wrists before she would even have the chance to possibly cast against him, placing them high above her head and pressing himself against her so she wouldn't be able to run. Once he was able to grip them easily enough, Raffaele reached with his free hand for the magic binding rope attached to his belt to tie her up. "I'm not going to hurt you, but it would be much easier if you just cooperated so we can make this trip back to your husband less painful without you trying to escape me."
TRIGGER WARNING POST
Ashlan was sure she had lost him in her dashing through the woods there was no way he had been able to follow her through all that. She was about to take a step when he appeared in front of her she was about to scream as he clasped a hand around her mouth to stop her. Her screams muffled by his hand, she thrashed about in his arms trying to get free. When he raised her hands above her head preventing her from casting she let out a frustrated growl. The smaller woman continued to thrash about as he bound her hands, the way he pinned himself against her gave her only one opportunity. Upon hearing that he wanted to bring her back to that man she had no choice. Bringing her knee up between his legs as quickly as she could.
While the man doubled over she darted back in the direction of her house trying her best to get the bindings off of her wrists but nothing was working. When she reached the Shack she grabbed a bag that had all the supplies she would need to start a new somewhere else. She gulped and ran towards the docks, hoping maybe she could find a ship to pay her way onto before the man could recover.
Her heart was pounding in her chest and all she could think was ‘I am not going back there is no way I can go back to that monster of a man, why hadn’t he given up after all this time’ The brunette was halfway to the docks when she heard something behind her before she could turn around something struck the back of her head and she blacked out.
While she was blacked out her mind travelled back to the time she lived with her husband. The fear that she lived in on a daily basis filling her entire being, the night he returned from a night of drinking with the boys she feared the most. This was the night she realized she needed out he had come back from a night out and she had not finished the dishes he had grabbed her by the hair and hit her head against the wall yelling that she was a horrible wife who never listened to what he wanted. The tears and blood mixed on her face she was far too scared to use her magic against him so she never used her magic at all. That was the night he had taken her to bed and forced himself on her in the most painful of ways.
When Ash started to come to she wash thrashing and screaming “GET OFF ME! STOP!” she was thrashing so much she fell off the horse she had been tossed over and fell into a puddle of mud.
Just as Raffaele had finished the bindings on her hands and felt satisfied his time taking her would be much easier, the blinding pain from her attack caused him to instantly double over. He let out an annoyed groan, dropping to a knee and cursed as he watched her take off through the trees again. He wasn't in the least concerned about catching up to her again and instead took the time to wait until the pain had dulled before feeling steady enough to stand fully. Frankly, the sanguine was getting a little annoyed now.
He moved through the shadows and back into her home where it was clear she had gone. Raffaele stepped outside once again and let his hearing take over, but it seemed she had gotten far enough away that he heard nothing of her retreat. Instead, he trusted another one of his senses which seemed to know her more intimately than any other. The trail of her scent led down the dirt path, though it was fading quickly. Ashlan was headed back into town and never had he expected this to become such a nuisance of a bounty.
The town was mostly quiet except for the one tavern where people gathered to drink and forget about their hardships. Raffaele's boots stepped quietly over the wooden planks of the docks as his hues moved from ship to ship while they swayed in the black water. He knew Ashlan would try to find the quickest way to escape him and her ticket would be to find a crew member in the tavern. He glanced through the window and only saw the dark and leathered faces of the sailors. It had seemed she hadn't yet made her way into town which unfortunately for her was fortunate for him.
Her hurried steps made his ears twitch as he waited behind the tavern. Turning his head, he could see how frantic she was in her attempts to flee from him as the moonlight showed her features. He almost felt bad. Almost. Raffaele took the moment she became distracted and knocked her in the back of the head with the hilt of his dagger, letting her slump unconscious into his arms. "Had you just come along quietly.." he whispered, lifting her into his arms and moving back into the shadows behind the inn as if they had never been there.
Hours later and the sun was just becoming bright over the horizon while Raffaele pulled the hood up of his traveling cloak. He had picked the roads less traveled as always in order to avoid the incessant looks and questions that would come on when he had captured someone who happened to be bound and usually walking behind his horse, tied to the saddle. Of course what he did was on the right side of the law most times and many knew who he was and what he did along the countryside, but avoidance was always the preferred. Being what he was went far deeper than just a man capturing fugitives. He still had to hide what he really was to the humans and most of the world.
His hand tightened on the reigns of his horse as he led it down a small hillside to cross a shallow river when the sudden screams of the woman he currently had draped over his saddle rang out through the quiet. Raffale jumped in response and so did his horse, literally, bucking at the commotion. The sanguine turned around just in time to see Ashlan go tumbling to the ground in a heap, instantly covered in dirt and mud. He immediately stepped in front of his mount and calmed him down before sighing with annoyance as he looked to Ashlan. "Are you alright?" Raffaele lowered himself and grabbed the woman's arms to lift her to her feet. His eyes moved over her dress that was completely covered, including the spots which had splattered over her face. He reached out to wipe it away with his thumb, but she instantly flinched from him which made him roll his eyes in response. Not that Raffaele could blame the magi. He was taking Ashlan against her will, after all. "Fine."
Pulling the clean rag from a satchel, he offered it to her and then looked to the river only a few feet away. "You can wash up if you like, but I won't be untying you." Raffaele took the reigns once more and guided the horse to a nearby tree to tie him up, turning his back on her for privacy. "It would behoove you not to plan on running."
The woman glared at the man when he asked if she was alright “Of course I’m not alright!” she said in anger and snatched her arm from his grasp. When he reached for her face she pulled away from him she had a scowl on her face. “You have taken me against my will trying to take me back to a place I do not wish to be.” She yelled. She accepted the rag and moved to the water dipping the rag into the cold water, she wrung it out and began to wipe off her face. Clearing her face of the mud once that was done she looked behind her at the man who still had his back to her.
She dunked the rag again and began to wipe off her dress but it really was useless, her brain raced with thoughts trying to figure out how to escape. She nearly laughed when he told her it was useless to run rolling her eyes the long-haired brunette. Stood up and ran at his back in an attempt to knock him over in the hopes of knocking him off his feet enough for her to grab his horse and escape.
If anything Ashlan would not stop fighting him and trying to get away, she was not going back to her husband. The man was a brute and didn’t have a kind bone in his body and that made her flinch just thinking about it. The Magi continued to think about how to get the ropes off of her hands, reaching her hands out in front of her she pushed on his back but lost her own footing in the same moment.
“I won’t go back, you will have to kill me if you plan to take me back.” She said in a flat tone trying to get to her feet it was hard with her hands bound. “How can you live with yourself?” She asked finally getting to her feet facing him and taking a few steps back so he couldn’t grab her again. She was ready to fight him if she had to, Ashlan was not going to go without a fight and this man was in for a world of pain if he thought otherwise.
The Sorceress struggled against the ropes feeling them digging into her wrists and the skin beneath becoming raw. “You clearly know what I am.” She held up the rope that wouldn’t allow her to use her powers. “So what are you?” She asked, he clearly wasn’t human he caught up to her much quicker than any human was able to.
Raffaele sighed and looked off into the woods, wishing he could be back in Italy already as she argued with him. Taking this bounty was of course never about the money. He had plenty of coin to live enough lifetimes that would never have him worry about a roof over his head and would keep him away from all others in the secluded lifestyle he preferred. No, this was just about keeping his mind occupied with something else that didn't involve the torment of his past which was always there and waiting to spill over in his guilt.
The sudden sounds of quickened footsteps from behind made his ears perk up. Just as he went to turn around, Ashlan had foolishly tried to push him which barely budged him. The sanguine spun just in time to see her fall to the grass. Raffaele sighed shortly and leaned nonchalantly on the horse's side, looking down at her. Her words cut deep. Deeper than she knew. Living with himself had been nearly impossible for decades and it had taken more time than he cared to admit to make himself become a part of society again instead of living in the darkened manor that was his family home. He didn't show it on his face and went to help her up instead, but she'd managed to do it just as he reached out, probably giving her the proper will to do it and avoid his touch.
"Yes," he replied simply to Ashlan as she stated his knowing of her being a magi. He could see how much she was struggling with the bindings still on her wrists which showed the tenderness of her flesh underneath. "I'm a bounty hunter." That was his answer to her final question and was all he cared to share. The sanguine started towards her then until she was backed against the mount. He didn't have the time or patience to deal with her grievances and looked down into her eyes for a silent moment before taking her tied hands in his. "Take hold or you will go falling over the other end." Raffaele placed her hands in the soft mane of the horse for her to grab onto before taking hold of her leg and hoisting her onto the saddle.
The sun was rather tiring him and he adjusted the hood on his cloak once more. A tavern would be a nice place to get out of the brightness, but the shade of the forest would have to do for now. Raffaele looked up to her and took the reins in his gloved hands. "I'm not going to kill you. If I kill you, I don't get paid. If I don't get paid, this will have all been for nothing and my time is not worth nothing." He walked around the mount and lifted the worn buckle on one of the satchels, pulling out some bread, an apple, and a smaller bag of wine. "I'm sure you're hungry. Here." After placing the items on her lap, the hunter walked back to the left side of the mount and started their journey deeper into the forest.