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Fantasy This Bounty of Mine

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  2. Adventure
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Daisie

RpN's demon dragon bodyguard
Moderator
The town of Finwood stood quietly at the edge of the Talon Empire, and the lake it was built around reflected the fiery evening sunset off its surface. Finwood was a small, agricultural town that didn't get a lot of visitors. Even so, they lived calm and blessed lives, housed around a lake brimming with fish, surrounded by lengthy green pastures used for crops, and altogether nestled in a valley between the mountains. It was a wonder that the Regime hadn't come and converted it into a military base yet, with how the land naturally guarded the place. The farmers of Finwood were humble people who provided much for the city, and had the privilege of leading safe, mundane lives.

But one of these people was not quite like the others.

Arla Hackney had come in from the city only a few days before, yet she was already settling in seamlessly. She kept to herself for the most part, aside from the occasional chit-chat among strangers. With her woven hat's brim shielding her eyes and delicate skin from the setting sun, she stood leaning against the Willow Inn's door, looking down at a piece of parchment in her hands. Scribbles of hasty information marked its surface, all surrounding one man... A certain Ken Laon.

The brim of her hat lifted slightly as she peered up from her document, the evening sun finally beginning to sink under the mountains. She scanned watchfully through the sparse crowds lingering outside the inn as she carefully folded her paper back up into a small square, tucking it away into a dress pocket. It'd been nearly two weeks since she'd been given her... assignment. Senator Cross was getting impatient with her, but she was certain to remind him time and time again that it was all a part of her process... Even so, the time to strike was drawing near. The blood pumping through her veins was riddled with anticipation...

She suddenly snapped from her thoughtful trance, almost like a sixth sense had taken her over. Through the final crowds of the evening, she spotted the one familiar face almost on instinct... He was the one she'd been actively studying for the past 13 days. That small limp, that scar up his hand, and that long, dark hair... There was no doubt about it. It was Laon. As always, he was armed with a nigh paranoid amount of blades, so her job wasn't going to be easy... She'd have to play her cards carefully. Especially since Senator Cross wanted him alive, of all things.

She quit leaning next to the door of the Willow Inn, approaching the man from behind, and on light feet. Then carefully, she reached towards his arm, giving his long cloak a tug or two as her voice came out softly.

"E-... Excuse me, sir..." She shifted uncomfortably on her feet with a clearly worried - nearly panicked - expression. "Are you a city guard...? P-Please, my son, he's out in the fields and I can't find him... He doesn't usually stay out this late, and I'm afraid he's gotten lost out there with the coyotes...!"

B Bionic_Knee
 
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Bionic_Knee

One Time Luck
In a small barn lays a quiet individual, who works from town to town trying to make a little bit of coin. Not necessarily a man on a mission but, someone trying to get by. Little did he know that destiny had other plans for that day.
"Ken. Ken! Wake up! Breakfast is almost ready and we have a long day ahead of us!" He bursts awake! But with a quick glance of the room he realizes... it was just a dream. "Those damn dreams!" He says with an angry yet mournful tone. One might think that a dream is a good thing, a special thing. But when it's a constant reminder of ones you have lost it quickly goes from dreams to nightmares. Seeing the sun begin to peek out from the horizon, he gathers some of his belongings and brushes off the hay and dust that stuck to him overnight. He could afford a low-end keep to bed in for the night, but when already making so little coin on a job it's simply not worth it. Besides he is already accustomed to an uncomfortable place to bed down for an evening. He is awake and quick to begin helping the family who hired his hand while their son was ill. Still constantly keeping an eye around him but less concerned when working in a open field. He enjoys little tasks to keep him busy, keeps his mind from revisiting past dark places.

After a hard day of work is done, he is compensated for his time on the farm and gathers his belongings, and makes on his way to town. and sent on his way. As he makes his way back into the town the sky goes from a beating yellow to calming yellows and blues. He pays a visit to a rather empty tavern where he can enjoy a ni-... Well just a cup of ale. A small farming town like Finwood is not gonna have a lavish keep like other larger city's do. He isn't after quality anyways. A few cups of brew are had, a tab is paid and he heads off to find a place to bed down for the night. When Suddenly he feels a tug on his cloak, he darts around quick to prepare his weapon. To discover it's just a troubled woman. He releases the hilt of his sword.

"I am not a guard member, sorry I can't be of help." He continues walking, not with haste but in an uninterested fashion.
 

Daisie

RpN's demon dragon bodyguard
Moderator
Ken's guarded response to her tug warrants a decent-sized flinch from Arla, who watches his hand shooting down to his sword. For a split second, she swears she's dead - he's spotted her tailing him all these weeks and wasn't going to have any of it, obviously. When the glove slowly slips off from his hilt, however, and her head doesn't end up on a pike, she lets out a silent breath she never realized she'd been holding.

It's when he turns away that her expression shifts into disappointment. While she's glad she hasn't been made yet, him walking away is not what she needs. She's shown her face to him. Coming at him again later isn't an option.... at least not with how paranoid he is.

"Please! Normally I'd ask my husband to come, but... he-... he isn't around anymore." She keeps her story vague, with room for Ken to fill in the gaps, himself. Persistently, she reaches out for his gauntlet and latches on again with a pleading look in her eyes, her legs shaking. "My son, he's only five. I-I only let my eye off him for a moment, I swear... I can't go out there alone, and you're the only one with proper weapons! I-... I'll pay you! I have to have a few coins left in my purse..."
 
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Bionic_Knee

One Time Luck
All though already a cold individual, he can't help but feel some remorse for her. He knows she won't be able to find any real help in this tiny town. He stops in his tracks, trying to work out the conflicting statements in his head. His head still on the lookout for any threat around him, but not paying mind to the women in front of her.

"Fine!" He says angrily "Show me where your boy was last."

He knows this will prolong his stay but taking risks is nothing new to him.
 

Daisie

RpN's demon dragon bodyguard
Moderator
While Arla doesn't appreciate being barked at, Ken's frustrated acceptance works in her favour. The corner of her mouth flicks up briefly in satisfaction... not that it would matter with how little attention he's offering her.

Plastering her worried expression over her face again, she thanks Ken profusely, letting go of his gauntlet. She leads him through the crooked streets of Finwood, and as the two draw closer and closer to the edge of town, Arla finds her heart pounding in her ribcage more and more. None of her bounties were ever easy, but the senator informed her that this man was the only survivor from his group. What that implies about his hand-to-hand combat gives her a small shudder... but as long as she has the element of surprise, she reassures herself, she should come out relatively unscathed.

Finwood serves her purposes well. Its rural nature makes it easy to find solitude... She coaxes him towards the corn fields, claiming her son had been asking her to take him there over the past couple days. When they arrive at the very edge of the towering green stalks, she pushes a few aside and steps in.

"Luke! LUCA!!" She calls, cupping her hands around her mouth as she delves further into the crops. Suddenly, however, her calling comes to a complete stop, filling the cool evening air with an eerie sensation.

At first it's not clear where Arla's disappeared to, to no help of the rapidly fading light. A stronger breeze sways past, sending a rattling wave through the cornstalks and bringing with it a brand new chill.

Breaking the serene noise, a kick slams into the back of Ken's knee from behind, forcing his non-limping leg - presumably the one with the most weight on it - to pivot... All in one precise movement meant to use his own weight against him. Arla's eyes remain vigilant, her hands armed with dual thin daggers that glisten in the last breaths of dusk.

Her move has been made, and there's no taking it back, now.
 
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Bionic_Knee

One Time Luck
Ken continues to the outskirts of the town sword in hand, weary of any creature that might be lurking or awakening in the evening hours of the bitter night. A slight shivering sensation down his spine is not a sign of weakness but of reassurance he is on his toes. He stays zoned in on the task at hand trying to not let thoughts pass into his mind that might take him off his game.

The night draws to a deep dark maroon color. The air becomes thin around him, the now set moon the only light he has to rely on. A small group of clouds covers the moon leaving no light temporarily, his eyes readjusting, he loses sight of her pushing on thinking he had fallen behind, she is still unable to be seen.

A moment of silence and stillness before he can even grasp the situation at hand a sudden thump causes him to fall, he lets a sudden but silent "Ahg!" out, not of pain but surprise. Almost like a spring, he jumps to his feet and spins around sword drawn. He sees the silhouette of a shorter human and with a peak of moonlight through, the familiar sun hat, fine clothing, and a no longer frightened but goal-driven individual. Quickly grasping the situation at hand. He readies for a fight but holds back the first blow

"What are you doing?" He says not frantically but concerningly. "I don't want to kill you but I will..." the following sentence with an oddly calming demeanor, implying has already made peace with whatever the outcome of this duel is.
 
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Daisie

RpN's demon dragon bodyguard
Moderator
Though Arla is shocked by Ken's calmness given the situation, she takes care not to let it show, instead remaining deadlocked on her target. She has to admit that she's had stranger reactions from her bounties... At least this guy seems to have some amount of class.

"It's not personal, if that's what you're worried about," she grunts in a low voice, baring her daggers bravely despite the intimidating longsword pointed towards her. "This'll all be made easier if you don't put up a fight."

The moon peeks in through the clouds for a few moments, and though her figure can be seen more clearly against the stalks, her face remains shaded by her woven hat. More noticeably, however, are her knives. Glimmering in the few specks of light the sky is giving off, the dual daggers are quite distinctively elven in nature. Straight and narrow, The entire blade ends in a spike, looking closer to a spearhead than a blade. A shaft stretches down from its tip all the way to the hilt, which is large and delicately engraved with carvings far too ornate to be owned by a mere peasant. The size of the hilt is bloated, and combined with the thin shaft running down the middle of the blade, is a sure sign of some form of poison.

Having had enough of the chat, Arla makes her move. One of her knives clangs against his sword, and as she lurches for him, it scrapes across its edge to prevent it from striking her. Sparks fly off as the two metals grind, and instead of going for the head, neck, or chest, she thrusts her other blade towards the man's leg. After all, she wants him alive... if possible.
 

Bionic_Knee

One Time Luck
Before he can even respond a sudden swing from her doesn't catch him off guard this time. Deflected by his blade he readies once again still somewhat hesitant. "Are you su... Arg!" As he is speaking a sudden strike with a knife to his leg causes him to swing his blade down and pierce the ground with it falling to one knee. Using the weapon as support to keep him from falling forward.

On one knee catching his breath he says quietly "Why? What could you possibly gain from this?"

His tone and position doesn't show a surrender but a more temporary defeat. Blood now trickling out of his leg, and no longer striving for a fight. He goes back to the same calm demeanor, acceptance.
 
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Daisie

RpN's demon dragon bodyguard
Moderator
Arla doesn't waste time in her attack, hardly pausing for Ken to speak before rushing into another move. Leaving the knife still deep inside his leg, her hand whips up to his head to grab him by his hair. Before saying anything else, she yanks his head towards his bad side, toppling him down onto the ground. After all, talking would leave room for error...

"Money," she answers simply when she feels unthreatened by his position. "Again, not personal. Just doing what the old, rich guy told me to."

As she talks, a certain numbness crawls up Ken's leg, and the answer to if that knife was poisoned or not becomes all too clear. Perhaps not your typical type of poison, one could deduce that Arla's blade is brimming with a paralytic brew... one that is still draining into his leg, thanks to her leaving the knife in. The leg becomes stiff and unruly, further handicapping the battle. Every move he doesn't make is lost time.

"To be honest, I expected it to be a little more difficult," she states with a small amount of satisfied shock in her voice. "It's about time that one of my bounties actually took my advice about not fighting back. You're gonna be coming with me."
 
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Bionic_Knee

One Time Luck
Ken quickly grappled by his hair after falling and thrown to the ground as he rolls over he lets out a painful "arhhh" as the blade lodged in his leg continues to do more damage from the movement.
"Money huh? Glad it's nothing personal."

As he tries to get back up he quickly falls down. Noticing his legs are starting to be rendered useless. "Well hell," he says while throwing his weapon to the side. "Knew it was gonna catch up one day, but certainly didn't think it would be today"

His hostility fades into an acceptance as he lays back unsure of the consequences that lay ahead. He says nothing, just looking up at the sky. Still in pain but no pain can overcome the burden he has had of running constantly.
 

Daisie

RpN's demon dragon bodyguard
Moderator
"It's amazing what the element of surprise can do for you." Arla stares down towards Ken with satisfaction before approaching him again, coming down onto one knee. "Can't say I expected you to go down this easy, though. Just try not to move."

With a surprising amount of strength for the woman's stature, her hands latch to the back of his armor and he's dragged off in some other direction. A few minutes pass in silence, besides the grunting, panting, and scraping of a tall woman dragging a full-sized man through fertile soil and foliage. It isn't long at all before the sound of a nickering mare sounds out somewhere nearby.

Out from the edges of the farmland lies a vast field, accompanied by an old dirt road that trails in and and out of Finwood. Upon that road stands a massive black horse, ears pricked up and head raised stout with deep black eyes locked onto Arla. It paws a colossal foot at the ground as it awaits her arrival, and as it tugs at the rope that tethers its halter to a nearby fence post, the wooden cargo cart behind it shifts on its axels, brimming with what looks like at least a month's worth of luggage and dried foods.

Arla hauls Ken up into the cart, making sure to bind him tightly down to the bottom as to prevent his movement. She lays a few strategically-placed baskets and containers around him, covering up the majority of his body with a small bale of hay or two.

"Now, since my client prefers you alive, I'm leaving this blade in. So unless you're that determined to dock my pay, I wouldn't try pulling that thing out of your leg until you get to someone who can stop the bleeding for you."

That being said, she gives him a quick pat on the chest before turning around and hopping off the edge of the cart.

As she walks towards the front however, suddenly the cart shifts beneath Ken, the steed at its head clearly troubled as he can hear it snorting and puffing in distress.

"What's wrong, Ki-" Arla's voice is suddenly cut off by a loud thunk, a short throwing knife plunging into the cart's wall just a couple of inches away from her body. She draws her remaining blade in defense as a figure, very similar to Ken's own size and stature, charges her from out of nowhere the instant after.

The loud noises of scuffling are mixed in with the cart rocking about as Arla's horse bays and snorts in distress. When Arla's dagger is forced from her hand, it's sent flinging into the back of her cart, nearly hitting Ken in the face... and everything suddenly lurches harder this time as Arla is slammed up against its side, unable to pry the calloused hands from around her throat.

Looks like Ken isn't the only one who has a bone to pick with his captor.
 
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