No Bounds

By linkthehero
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Kumospace [Everyone]
Gather.town [Everyone]
linktheheroGalen   11d ago

[size14 It had been some time since Galen had received a summons. Usually, his requests came in the form of a letter or a human messenger. It was rare that he was called to meet the elf who gave him the job. He had a feeling he would not be turning this one down and it had nothing to do with how extravagant the decorations of the lord’s keep were (and therefore he would no doubt be making a lot of coin from this job). It was mostly because he was afraid he might be locked away if he refused. He had seen many castles and keeps, but none so grand as this. Lord Aymar clearly liked to show off his wealth and Galen was sure his vanity and pride would not react well to being turned down.

Galen had been standing in the main hall for almost two hours now. His hair was almost dry from the rain that seemed to have not stopped for days. A guard had led him inside after inquiring about his business, then sent for a page, who then no doubt sent for Lord Aymar. Galen had handed them his summons as proof, which left him with nothing now, standing about stupidly and watching the guards pass by on patrol. Once, he spaced out and stared into the fire in one of the sconces so long that when he looked away he had a spot in his vision. It was when he was blinking it away that the page came back. 

“Lord Aymar will see you now,” he said simply and led the way through the main hall and down a few side corridors. Galen felt so out of place here in his worn cloak and weathered leathers. As would be expected, most of the occupants other than the servants were elves and were all in finery. The guard’s boots sounded on the hard marble floor where Galen’s soft leather ones made no sound at all. He was given a few curious glances, but mostly he was ignored.

At the end of the next all, they reached a door. The page turned to him. He was a human boy no older than fifteen. His eyes shone when he met Galen’s eyes as if he saw something he wished he could be. “You’ll ‘ave to give your weapons to the guards,” he said. So he did, handing over sword, quiver, and bow to one of the guards at the door. The knife in his boot stayed concealed, but he knew he would not need it nor would they need to know it was there. The second guard with his hands free opened the door for him. The page stepped back. Galen took that as his queue to head inside.

He entered a study with bookshelves lining the walls and a desk in the center occupied by a very cross looking elf writing something no doubt very important. Two guards flanked him on either side. Galen stood inside the door for several minutes before the elf finally stopped his scribbling and put his quill down. When he looked up, he was met with the fierce, sharp features of an exasperated lord. His long, dark, elven hair fell across his shoulders and his piercing light eyes met Galen’s. Galen bowed as was custom.

Lord Aymar crossed in front of his desk and looked Galen over. “So you are the ranger I have heard so much about? You can track a man across the entire continent if need be?”

[i If paid enough,] Galen wanted to retort, but did not want to be whipped, so he simply inclined his head. 

“Discretion is most important. I need to know that this will not get out.”

“My Lord, if I may be so bold?”

“Ask.”

“You have heard of me and yet you cannot name one of my jobs in detail. Is that not proof enough of my discretion?”

Lord Aymar seemed to think on this while looking Galen over. Then he nodded, as if deciding. “It is no ordinary man or elf I ask you to track down. It is my daughter, Sariel.” He gestured to a large painting on the wall of his family so that Galen could see Sariel for himself. He waited for some kind of response which Galen did not give. “This does not surprise you?”

“Runaway daughters are not unusual in my line of work.”

“You don’t wish to know why she has run away?” 

“I make it a point to not ask questions.”

Lord Aymar’s mouth seemed to twist up into a small grin. “I chose the right man for the job, then. There is one thing you [i must] know about her, though. Her magic is… unorthodox.”

“I am no stranger to dealing with magic, My Lord.”

“Then you have all the tools necessary to bring her in? I will provide you with whatever is necessary.”

Now this was odd. Using magic to quell magic was generally a human invention. The fact that an elf of such status was offering it to him freely was the first indication that perhaps Lord Aymar was right about his daughter being unusual. “I’m well stocked up, I assure you.”

“Good. She was last seen in Highmount, a town south of here. Now go. My men will give you whatever else you may need for the road.”

Galen bowed once more and turned to leave. His things were returned to him and he just as promised, he was offered food for the road and anything else he could possibly want. He wasn’t used to being treated so well by a bunch of elves, but he knew it was only because they wanted something from him. 

He knew better than most to never trust them. He wore the truth on his back. The scars that magic could give when you stepped out of line.
SoulDreamersariel   11d ago

Anything had to be better then the life she was being promised right? Even the sense of anxiety that buzzed through her body as she propped her back against a tree. Her breaths were quick, Sariel was still without a plan. Which was why this was perhaps the most idiotic thing she had ever done. 

It was the only choice she had though, she wasn’t about to let Lord Aymar control her for the rest of her life. If she stayed it would have meant a life where she was shut away from the world used by both her father and the man her father had chosen for her, Tiordan. 

He was as odious as her father, sure his outer appearance masked his vile nature. The memory of the feeling of his fingers wrapping around her arm was enough to send shivers down her spine. Well actually the memory was enough to start her nerves up again. Which in turn made the power in her start to buzz to life again. 

Her eyes frantically looked around hoping that no one was around. The idea of putting someone innocent in harms way was causing her breaths to pick up in pace. Sariel sunk to the ground burying her face in her hands. 

“Come on, reign it in,” she mumbled to herself. To no avail as she felt herself getting more wound up. Her powers started to swell out of her, crackling like electricity. 

“No, no, not right now,” she said. She started forcing herself to take deeper breaths. Focusing on the sound of the wind. 

When she finally felt the pressure in her chest ebb she looked up again. Turning her head she spotted the tree that she had leaned against was now sporting a large scorch across it just above her head. 

“Shit,” she mumbled pushing herself up from the ground. 

Sariel knew she had to get a move on before night fall. The town wasn’t too much farther, hopefully she would be able to keep herself calm for the rest of the night. Staying stationary would put her at risk of being caught by whoever her father had sent after her. 

As she reached the town she could see the sun starting to fall out of sight. The inn was easy enough to spot, which was good Sariel wanted to be able to shut herself in a room and start planning out where she was heading.
linktheheroGalen   10d ago

Sariel was easy to track. After Highmount she went north. She was moving like a lame deer. Galen had to wonder why Lord Aymar hired him of all trackers if it was going to be this easy. Why not just send out one of his own people? Soon, he could predict the next thing her tracks would tell him before he even read them. When he asked the townspeople if they had seen anyone of her description, he knew where they would tell her she had gone to. 

He almost felt bad for her. She was drifting more and more into human territory. The smaller the towns, the less likely she was to find her own people there. He wondered if she had at least thought to wear plain clothes. 

The thing he found the most interesting was that wherever she went, she left behind little signs. She was leading him right to her. The latest was a scorch mark on a tree. His fingers touched it and even though she had been hours gone, the bark was still warm. [i What have I gotten myself into?]

It was dark before he reached the next town. A human town. He was being paid to bring her back alive, so he hoped he would make it there in time before any of them took their anger at her race out on her. He picked up his pace and headed for the inn, knowing it would foolishly be the first place she went.

Once inside, he looked around. There was no sign of her at the tables, but no one seemed to be riding any elk-killing high, either. 

Galen approached the counter. Before he opened his mouth, the innkeeper pointed upstairs. “Third door. Figured a ranger would be along after a while to collect her. Thought there was no harm in taking her money. And yours.”

Galen scoffed. “You think I owe you?” 

The innkeeper shrugged. “I could have let some of these men gut her, but I like coin too much.”

Galen sighed heavily before handing over a silver. “I can’t make a scene here,” he said. “I’ll give you another if you let me sit in that chair all night and wait for her.”

The man nodded, taking the extra coin he offered. “If my wife don’t have to make your bed in the mornin’ you can do whatever you want,” he said with a jolly laugh.

With that, Galen turned to the chair in the corner and sat to wait out the long night.
SoulDreamersariel   10d ago

When she had entered the inn she immediately felt a sense of dread. Which of course made sense as she felt the glares against her back from both men and women alike. The innkeeper eyed her as she approached. Although she was sporting a plain shirt and pants, she always felt like they could tell that she was a noble.

“What’s the likes of you want here?” The innkeeper spit out. 

“I’d like a room for the night,” she said pulling out a coin purse. The expression in the mans face changed from disdain to intrigue as his eyes landed on the coin. Greedily he took her payment. Without looking up from the coins in his hand he grabbed a key giving it to her.  

“Third door upstairs,” he jerked his head towards the rooms. Sariel quickly made for the rooms not wanting to stay any longer in the presence of the men whose ill intentions she could almost sense. 

With the door clicking closed behind her she felt a sense of relief. Now at least there was a door between her and the many unfriendly humans that populated the main keep downstairs. 

Gods she felt like an idiot. She felt like she had been vaguely traveling in the same direction since she started and to top it off every town she arrived in was more hostile then the last. At this rate she ran the risk of being killed before someone caught up to her. 

Sariel knew it would be soon she would have to contend with someone who was sent to get her back. It was not a pleasant thought. She wasn’t even fully sure what she would do in that instance either. 

For now all she knew was she wanted to get far away from her fathers reach. Finally free. Maybe along the way she would be able to find someone that could help her control this power she had. Make her fear herself less. It was also becoming clear that she would need to brave the downstairs again so that she might eat. 

As the night got later she battled with the issue of the patrons being rowdier potentially. But perhaps there would be so many people around that she could slip in relatively undetected. She grabbed her cloak pulling it over her head so that it encased her. 

Slowly opening the door, Sariel started the venture towards the downstairs. Towards a danger she hadn’t even predicted. It was less busy then she had expected it to be. Which made noticing the man even even easier. His eyes seemed to focus on her the moment she stepped down onto the floor. For a minute she didn’t think much of it as she started walking towards the bar. But she noticed the way his eyes followed her movements, which in turn made her look more closely at him. 

Sariel’s eyes widened. A ranger. Of course. She stumbled backwards slightly. Her eyes flicked towards the exit. Others had taken notice of the situation as well. She could hear an evil sort of chuckle from some of the men. But she couldn’t give up without any sort of fight, she wouldn’t just let this ranger drag her back to her father. Without more thought she bolted towards the door. 

As she felt the chill of the outdoors hit her skin she could also feel her power start to surge through her again. She had to get away from the town before anything bad happened.
linktheheroGalen   10d ago

Galen ordered no drinks and he did not cloud his mind with other vices the inn had to offer. He had a feeling this job would be unlike any he had before and he would need to stay alert. The other patrons eyed him curiously, but he did not distract himself with conversation. He rarely did even when he wasn’t on a job. 

Most humans stuck with their own, but Galen preferred his own company. He didn’t trust elves and he didn’t trust his own kind. He’d been burned far too many times before by both.

Hours passed and Galen’s patience held strong. He had been planning to wait until morning, after all. And all things considered, one had to be patient to do what he did. So he was rather surprised when an out-of-place form braved her way down the stairs. Had she really not prepared for this trip? Just how spontaneous was this escape for her?

Most of the nobles he tracked down had at least a little something on their back. But she looked hungry. He ignored the feeling in his gut that something wasn’t right, his blue eyes tracking her across the room. She would know he was there soon enough so he made no attempt to blend in. The look of worry grew on her face and he knew her food would be forgotten in seconds.

He knew he had done this job too long when he could read her like a fleeing rabbit. For a moment they stared at each other, her with wide eyes, and he from under his brows with cool, almost lazy confidence. Then she was bolding for the door. 

Every eye in the rundown inn was on them as he made to head her off, but she was quicker than she appeared. Only his fingertips brushed her arm before she was out the door. Then the chase was on. What was left of the townspeople out at night made way for the fleeing woman and the ranger not far behind her. He was purposefully letting her stay ahead of him, if only to keep them out of the public eye and into the woods: his territory. 

When the trees enveloped them, his pace quickened, but his feet were silent. He could hear her panting. He reached out to grasp her wrist and readied the cuffs that would prevent her from doing any magic with his free hand. Yet when he made contact, a force more powerful than anything he had ever felt sent him back off his feet and into the trunk of a tree. He let out a grunt. The magic cuffs were lost somewhere on the forest floor. 

In all his years he had never seen magic like that.
SoulDreamersariel   10d ago

The elven woman felt the brush of fingers start to close around her arm after she entered the forest. She knew she was running out of time, after all Lord Aymar had enough money to hire the best. How long would she realistically be able to evade this man? Eventually she would tire and he probably would not. But still she had to try. Even if she was captured she still wouldn’t stop fighting for freedom.

She heard the sound of the cuffs he pulled out. Sariel’s head whipped around to look at the man pursuing her. Fear rippled outward causing a burst of magic to escape, “No!” she yelled. 

The thud from the man falling back into a tree was enough to make her hesitate. It was never a pleasant feeling when her powers hurt someone. Mainly seeing as she had no control over it. It seemed that the man was alright though, still conscious at the very least. 

“Please just stay away from me,” she called back to him, “Just let me be, I can’t go back.” 

She didn’t wait for a response. It wasn’t like she was naive enough to believe that he would abandon his hunt of her. Hell, if she were in his position she probably wouldn’t listen to herself either.

Again Sariel was running through the forest. The ranger would not be far behind her and she needed some sort of plan.
linktheheroGalen   9d ago

Galen shook the dizziness away. The buzz of magic lingered around him like static. He watched her disappear into the trees and was either too stunned from his collision with the tree or too shocked at her show of power to follow immediately.

He groaned as he picked himself up. His mind was reeling. She had acted like she hadn’t wanted to hurt him, but he had never come into contact with any elf that wasn’t in control of their own powers other than their children. But even they had a better grasp on their strength than she seemed to.

Now he understood why he was hired. While Sariel may have been easy to track, it would be no simple feat to bring her in. They could have at least warned him better. He found the cuffs and returned them to his belt.

He let her think she had gotten a good ways ahead. If he let her get a lead, maybe she would even think he abandoned his pursuit after her display. He would have to try a less direct approach next time. 

A slight drizzle began and it slowly made its way through the canopy of trees. Galen drew his hood up, glad for it. The sound would aid him in his silence. He trailed her closely for the rest of the night and the better part of the day. He never laid eyes on her, but he could read her tracks easily enough and he never once lost her. He could tell she was slowing. She never got her food and never got rest. 

The guilt climbed up into Galen’s throat as he chewed on the meat he had packed for the trip. The elves he usually tracked down like this were self-entitled. They usually thought they had it bad just because they had obligations to keep that they did not wish to. They didn’t know the truths of hardship. They had no idea what it was like to not have three meals a day or grow up without parents to show your right from wrong. Yet something about this Sariel seemed different. Something in the desperation in her voice. 

He tried not to think on it as he trudged on, deciding to put her out of her misery. When he had her ensnared, he would treat her fairly. He would feed her since he was no doubt starving by now and give her plenty of water. Then he would haul her back home where she belonged.

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