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While Birds and Rannath went on ahead, Zahara and Markuran chose to leave the Mask's gathering slowly to get a chance to know Cerin better and introduce him to their Circle and its ways. The gentle rolling land of the Crosanti City-States was home to few farms, most of the people living in the great stone havens of safety.But as the three walked along, their horses borrowed from the Blood-Guards getting a rest, they spotted a maiden...

<Zahara> "So the Sunlands are the most prosperous and well-run in the entire Southeast, thanks to us." she boasts mildly. "We took a fractured set of cities and unified them under our rule, and we do not suffer crime to go unpunished. That has led to the lowest crime rate, anywhere outside the Realm."

<Cerin> "You have done very well it seems. Your people seem to like you"

<Zahara> "I stay mostly behind the scenes, except when it comes to the relations with the leaders themselves. Markuran is more man of the people than I."

<Markuran> "That is because you do not respect them. But you have your own purpose."

<Zahara> "I respect them, I do not love them."

  • Cerin nods "That I can understand"

<Zahara> "My name is whispered by those who think to commit crimes. And then they become good citizens instead. That is my purpose."

  • Cerin smiles "I shall have to be good around then, I see" he smiles slight

A scream sounds out from afar.

  • Markuran turns and looks for the source of the scream. "Did you hear that?
  • Cerin nods "It sounded like a scream"
  • Zahara looks as well, "Yes.. it came from over there, I think.." she points, and starts heading in that direction, "Come on."

As you ride toward the sound, you see her. A woman from one of the villages, her clothing torn and her face stained with tears, held in the arms of a man bedecked in silver tattoos. He moves with a feline grace, bringing the woman to the ground. As he sees you approach, he hefts her on his shoulder and suddenly flees up a tall tree, looking down and hissing low.

  • Cerin follows after Zahara, easily keeping pace, then exceeding her speed as he sees the ..thing climbing the tree.

The woman is maybe in her mid-teens, and the man holding her barely older than that. He has a wild, unrestrained quality to him, however. Angular body shape, feral eyes.

  • Markuran looks up into the tree. "What's going on here?"

<Zahara> "A Moon-touched." she gestures slightly and suddenly four weapons and a bell begin to orbit her body, and she draws an iron sword to complete the set.

  • Cerin calls his bow to his hand as he does, an giltering bow of dawn light, with a string of sunset and feathers of night. "He went up that tree, with a girl"

  • "Why do you trouble me?" He hisses as he holds the woman closer. She whimpers.

  • "Put the bow down!" He hisses, as you draw it forth. "I will kill her!"

    <Zahara> "We ask the same of you. Why do you trouble this girl?"

    • Markuran has a deep, rumbling voice that commands attention and respect. The nearly seven feet of height and the muscles of two oxen would make him impressive even if he lacked the air of instant command. "If you harm her, your harm will revisit you tenfold."

    He pulls his hand away from her face, and she screams, "Help me! Please, oh gods!" He kisses her cheek. "She is the most beautiful woman in miles about, and will be my bride. I could not bear the thought of her in the arms of another." His voice, while petulant and angry, is entirely sincere.

    • Li seems shaken by Markuran's voice, and climbs another pair of boughs to get distance from them.

    <Zahara> "Let her go, and you shall leave unharmed. Your other option is death."

    <Cerin> "It appears she does not share your thoughts on that subject." he shimmers slightly

    He shakes his head and sneers. "I will not let her go. She is mine now." His sneer increased when Cerin comments, "Why does that matter? She is only one of mankind. I am one of the gods of the moon. I see you, Gods of the Sun. Why does it matter to you what one of the humans fate is?"

    <Markuran> "In my tribe, a rapist is deprived of his manhood if it is proved true. If you touch her, I will deliver the sentence early. It matters not that she is un-blessed. She is not yours to claim."

    • Cerin leaps up onto the lowest branch "Very little in the great scheme of things, she will be as dust long before either of us have lived a fraction of our lives, but still, I choose to take issue this time"

    He again glances fearfully in Markuran's direction, and bargains, "One of them is nothing. Give her to me, let me go, and you'll never know I existed. Force me to kill her, and I will be gone to return. Villages will die in vengeance for her."

  • "You think you can kill me. You cannot. I could not hope to kill you, but I would be gone before you laid arrow or sword upon me."

    <Zahara> "If you kill her, you cannot escape."

    <Markuran> "You can best two sun-blessed trackers, moon-born? You think highly of yourself, pup."

    <Zahara> "If you wish a bride, then woo her as a human would."

  • "How would you find me, Sun-touched? I leave no footsteps, I have no scent. I have been washed away in the silver of my goddess. Disappearing is our highest gifts." He hears the words of Zahara and spits. "She will not listen to any reason!"

    <Zahara> "What makes you think she will listen once yo uhave spirited her away?"

    <Cerin> "And tracking is one of mine. I have tracked you kind before. They fell to my arrows no harder than any other foe I have fought"

  • "She has no choice. I am a god upon this earth and I take who I want!" He snarls, and suddenly vanishes! The woman drops... and is suddenly caught as the creature reappears to catch her a bough lower.

    She cries out with fears.

    <Zahara> "She will NEVER love you. You are not worthy of such!"

  • "YOU LIE!" He snarls back.

    <Zahara> "Why don't you ask HER?"

    There is a pause. "She's all I have left now. If I let her choose, she will now surely hate me after what I have done. I have no choice in my path. Leave me alone and she will live!"

    <Zahara> "How could she ever grow to love such a beast as you? Who steals her away from all she loves, bruised and bleeding?"

    <Zahara> "Will you force her into servitude, or let her pine to death?"

    <Cerin> "And if she dies then you will truely have nothing...not even her hatred"

    <Markuran> "You will live every day seeing her hate in her eyes. Hate and fear and rage that you call love. And then, maddened by the sights in her eyes, you will kill her. You are a fool to do this, moon-pup."

  • "Tell me what else I can do!" He climbs higher. "Tell me!"

    <Zahara> "You have proven your love to her. That you would do ALMOST anything for her... but not EVERYTHING. Perhaps she will learn to love you if you let her go, treat her kindly, protect her, her family, her village."

    <Zahara> "I'm sure she will agree to give you a chance, in return for letting her free."

    He seems unconvinced by that.

    <Markuran> "Prove yourself worthy of the blessings you have been given! Prove that you are a man, not a beast. And most of all, prove you are a man worth loving. Let her go and find another woman to love. Go to a new home and carry in your heart the knowledge you are better then the beasts of the forest, that you deserve your manhood and your blessings."

    The woman whimpers in his arms.

  • "I have proven myself worthy of my blessings. I take what I want and hunt what I cannot find. What have you done? You lot are lackeys of your lessers!"

    <Zahara> "A common thief dares to compare itself to the Rulers of an empire?"

    • Zahara laughs

    He snarls at that, and you sense you've stretched him to breaking point.

    He's ready to cut and run.

    <Zahara> "Have you heard what we DO to thieves?"

  • "You'll never do it to me." There is a horrible crack, and the woman's body falls to the ground. With that, he suddenly leaps from the tree, and vanishes.

    <Zahara> "Leave her. After him!"

    • Markuran snarls and deftly catches the woman in his arms.
    • Cerin whirls and leaps off the tree, drawing back 5 motes of sunfire across the bow. He lets them fly toward the essence halo now surrounding the young lunar. They all seek his heart.
    • Zahara lets the bell peal out a tone that none can deny, and the sound causes blood to spring forth from those she calls enemy.

    <Zahara> ::A fine mist of red fills the air and floats down gently to the ground::

    • Markuran murmurs over the woman's back-broken body as he lets Solar Fire consume her earthly vessel

    <Markuran> "A pity he was such a fool. He died for his foolishness as he deserved."

    • Zahara checks for errant tattoos on the ground

    <Zahara> "He was young, and consumed by passion. As most fools are."

    • Zahara picks up a scrap and inspects it.
    • Cerin walks over to study the body and the scrap.

    <Zahara> "This reminds me of some of the protective runes I've carved." she holds up the silvered skin

    • Cerin studies it some more. "They are, yes. Powerful ones at that"

    <Markuran> "The best place for a rune you don't want to lose is your flesh."

    <Cerin> "I wonder what they are for though, that you would need such powerful wards, in moonsilver no less.."

    • Zahara shakes her head, "I'm not sure, but perhaps we can find..more.. for studying." she casts around for pieces that are big enough to contain complete runes

    <Cerin> "Perhaps." he starts to carefully look over the mulshed lunar "Ah here is one"

    <Zahara> "oh good.. here's one as well. I think it was on his back. Or maybe his leg?

    • Zahara shakes it til the meat falls off.
    • Cerin sighs "That seems to be the last whole symbol on it..."
    • Markuran shakes his head at the two. "Let him be. The beasts will take his body. We have a long journey to complete, since there is nothing further we can do here."

    Tags: (:tags Lunars:)

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