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The Usurper and the Raven

By linkthehero
Backup thread


If I had a heart, I could love you
If I had a voice, I would sing
After the night, when I wake up
I'll see what tomorrow brings






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linktheheroKorvo   75d ago

Jane was fighting him and that made Korvo all the more miffed. If he alerted Jane to the danger they were truly in, then he’d have an even more frightened and untrusting girl on his hands. If she would just get. On. The. Horse.

“Hey, you folks okay over here?” Korvo was halfway to lifting Jane onto the damn horse when he heard the words. He closed his eyes, knowing it was too late. Nym’s smooth voice was already working its magic and Jane broke free of his grasp. He knew there was no point in holding onto her. The cat was going to fight dirty, as usual. Tricks and manipulation were her forte.

Korvo knew that trying to break through Jane’s panic in this moment would be fruitless. Besides, it’s not like she was wrong. How could he explain, Sure, I’m not great, but I am the lesser of two evil’s here and where she wants to take you is likely far worse than where I’m taking you, before Nym slit his throat?

Nym took a protective stance in front of Jane, playing a hero. Korvo sighed and drew his own blades. He was not looking forward to this, but he had little choice.

“Leave the girl and walk away,” Nym said, flashing him a grin and exposing her sharp canines.

Korvo shook his head. He let his hood fall, exposing his face so he could see better to fight. “I bet you’re loving this,” he said, his voice almost a growl. “Tell me, are you going to stow her away and torture her out of morbid curiosity or are you going to take her back to Daddy?” 

He was trying to goad information out of her. Did the king know about her presence? Did Nym know more about Jane than he did? Who she was? Why she was wanted here? What a fae was doing locked away in the human realm from birth? He didn’t have any hope he’d get answers. Still, it was always fun to provoke, even if it meant a harder beating.

FushenNym   75d ago


Nym had a snarky comment on the tip of her tongue as Korvo revealed his feathered face from beneath his hood: something-something far more hideous than she’d recalled. Nym didn’t need the beauty her curse allowed her, but admittedly, it was far preferable to the fate he suffered. And it was often fun to rub it in. Before she could say as much, however, he spoke first. She raised an eyebrow as Korvo all but growled at her with his words, but the smile never left her face. He was right; she loved this.

Briefly she considered the two options he proposed. Although torture might’ve been what Nym originally favored, if the Mystery Girl was from the human realm, there’d be little that she knew of this realm. Plus, she’d already admitted to not knowing where the crow was taking her nor why. She didn’t have a reason to lie, so there wasn’t much more that Nym could likely gain from stripping the girl of her fingernails one by one.

‘Daddy,’ being the king, on the other hand…yes, he’d be especially interested in what a human was doing in his kingdom. And why her aura radiated that of a fae before the fall of the previous ruler. No doubt he’d reward Nym handsomely for her efforts as well, which didn’t hurt.

“The King,” Nym emphasized the correction, never one to take kindly to her master’s ridicule. “Might be curious about her, yes, but he will ultimately only want to send her home,” she lied. Of course she knew that Korvo would see through this thinly constructed story, but his opinion wasn’t important. It’d be all the easier to get the girl back to His Majesty if she came willingly. By the time she’d figured out that was likely the last place she’d want to be, it’d already be too late. “She’s not of this world; she doesn’t belong here.” Nym heard the Mystery Girl’s sigh of relief behind her and knew that she’d won her trust. At least for the time being.

Sensing that Korvo wouldn’t give up his precious prize easily, she took a step towards him and sent a testing jab at his face with one end of her staff. He easily deflected it, signaling his skills hadn’t waned since the last time they’d met. Nym wondered whether they’d finally kill each other this time. She hoped not; he was too much fun. She grinned again.

“Do you mock him because you miss him?” She’d lowered her voice now that she was closer to Korvo so only he could hear. “My poor feathered friend, reduced to forgotten filth. I’d say he misses you too, but I doubt he even remembers you,” she purred in a pitying tone. She moved nearer. “You give me the girl, though, and perhaps I could consider reacquainting you, hm? You know he’d like her. I’ll even give you some of the credit for her capture. What do you say? You could come home, Korvo.” And, because she could, Nym slowly ran one sharpened nail under his chin, tilting it upwards ever so slightly.

linktheheroKorvo   75d ago


Korvo ignored how far Jane had fallen for Nym's lies. He had to approach this one problem at a time. And right now he had to deflect the first taunting blow from his nemesis. She was playing with him. She always did. Just as cats played with their food, Nym played with Korvo. He let her, hoping to draw her in. She came close, but managing to strike her was another feat in itself.

Korvo wished he was better than letting her taunts get to him, but they struck true. That lonely, sad place in his heart that the king had managed to fill, even thought he had been the one to create it, still ached. No matter how much he spat on the king's name or told himself he was grateful to be out of his service, he still felt like a forgotten relic or a lost child whose parent didn't care enough to search for. And this made her offer so, so tempting. If only he didn't know that every word Nym spat was deceit. 

Korvo leaned his head back to prevent her nail from digging deep. He knew this left his throat wide open, but he also knew she wasn't going to kill him so soon. Or at all. This is going to hurt.

"That place hasn't been home to me for a long time now," he said, looking directly into her golden eyes. "And I wouldn't put anyone in your care or your precious king's unless I wanted them dead or turned into an abomination."

Korvo brought his dagger up, hoping to get lucky with a stab to the gut, but he was too slow. Nym blocked his attack and with a kick he could hardly see send him careening backward toward into a tree. He could hear it crack when he hit and fell forward onto the forest floor, but he wasted no time getting up again. 

This wasn't like the last times they ran into each other. He could manage losing because he had nothing to lose. Now he had Jane. A mystery. And an enormous fortune on the line. He bared his teeth.

FushenNym   75d ago


Nym could see it in Korvo’s eyes when he met hers; her words had gotten to him. Just as she knew they would. True, it was a reach for the lowest hanging fruit, but it tasted sweet nonetheless.

She felt the wind of the dagger come up before she saw its point. Quickly, she blocked it and retaliated in kind with a swift kick that sent Korvo flying into the nearest tree. There was a scream that came from the Mystery Girl as he connected with it. Nym shot her a glance. The little human had both hands covering her open mouth. She looked incredibly apologetic that she’d let the sound escape in the first place. Nym did her best to refrain from rolling her eyes before turning her attention back to Korvo.

He was on his feet once again, teeth bared. Nym flashed her own, but there was a gleeful glint in her eye. It was so easy to overpower everyone else she met that she almost forgot how it felt to actually have a worthy opponent. And, even more, how it felt to cause them pain.

Nym charged at him, but he was ready. He brought one sword swinging down overhead and another slicing at her side. She was prepared for the one from above and blocked it with her staff, but the other blade caught her unguarded right. Luckily, her armor took the brunt of the blow, but the power behind it sent her stumbling in that direction. Their weapons disengaged as she went, but it was easy enough to regain her footing. Nothing that could be done about the bruise she could already feel blackening beneath the chainmail though.

“Not bad,” she muttered, a bit winded. “Keep it up, Korvo, and you may win this yet.” But the smile that refused to falter said otherwise.

Nym charged him again, but this time rather than meeting his attack, she launched herself over him to land between him and the tree. Using it as leverage, she jumped once more and braced her feet against it in order to propel herself forward into Korvo’s exposed back where her nails sank into the cloth of his cloak. When he fell face forward, she sat perched neatly on top of him before dislodging her fingers. She grabbed a fistful of his hair and violently yanked his head upwards so he could hear her better as she leaned in close to his ear.

“Tsk, tsk, maybe not.” With her free hand she stroked his cheek teasingly. She made a shallow slice there with her nail and lapped at the few drops of blood that fell. “It doesn’t have to hurt this much, though. What use do you have for the girl? Walk away and she needn’t be your concern anymore.”

linktheheroKorvo   74d ago


Korvo knew better than to celebrate his one landed blow on her armor. They were monsters, built to withstand just about anything, and her skin was much thicker than his. She taunted him again. This time he managed better with the sarcastic words.

"Don't you have anything new to throw at me?"

They were a fool's words. She feinted and he fell for it. She was behind him in under a second and he felt her claw-like nails dig into his back, pushing him forward with her weight. He caught himself as best he could, but he could only get his one human hand underneath him. He had not yet given her the pleasure of hearing him in pain. Not until she yanked on his hair.

His head wrenched back, but the pain came from her grip on his hair. It was so tight it was pulling out several of the feathers from his temple that wound their way into his hairline. They ripped out of his skin and he felt the blood streaking down his cheek. Nym's finger lined that same cheek, cutting a slice into it, adding more blood. He didn't wince, but he did growl.

"Maybe I just like to annoy you," he said, goading her despite the situation he was in. "Besides, finders keepers." He tried to roll over when he felt her grip relax, but she was quick and tightened it again. He couldn't get his sword at the right angle to strike her and she knew it. 

At this point he was going to have to transform. He really didn't want to risk the drop in energy after, but he could knock her off, grab Jane, and fly off before Nym was back on her feet. Hopefully.

FushenNym   73d ago


Nym couldn’t help but laugh at the boldness of Korvo’s comment. He was hardly in a position to mouth off, and yet… “You’ve got some nerve, crow, I’ll give you that.” Her laughter died down into a wistful sigh. “But as fun as this has been, we really ought to wrap this up, don’t you think?” Without waiting for an answer, she slid her staff to his throat, and released the hold on his hair so she could use both her hands to pull against it firmly.

The gagging and choking sounds Korvo began to make as Nym crushed his windpipe only mildly piqued her interest, it seemed, as she cocked her head to the side to watch him struggle.


Meanwhile, Jane was having a struggle of her own. She shifted uncomfortably as her former captor gasped for air. The noises he produced made her skin crawl. She pursed her lips together and shook her head; this felt wrong. She hurriedly rushed toward the woman, trying to keep the panic from edging into her voice as she exclaimed, “Wait – don’t kill him, please!

“Oh, I don’t intend to,” the stranger responded coolly. It was as if she were having a conversation over a cup of coffee and not over the body of a dying man. “Just waiting until he passes out, so we’re not followed. Don’t worry, shouldn’t be much longer now.”

“But…aren’t you hurting him?” Surely, Jane thought, there was a more humane way to knock Korvo out without causing so much suffering in the process.

The woman smiled slowly; her gaze locked on her victim. “Yes.” It was a simple answer, but full of disturbing complexities. There was no remorse, no guilt in her voice. She had no qualms about causing pain. If anything, she appeared to enjoy it. Jane could all but see it in her eyes as she held fast to the staff against Korvo’s neck. A shiver ran up her spine.

This was no savior. This was an oppressor.

Jane retreated from the woman timidly. She had half a mind to run away. The stranger was so absorbed in choking out Korvo, that she likely wouldn’t notice Jane slipping back into the woods. She could get a decent head start. Jane turned to the trees, but the sounds of continued strangulation kept her rooted to the spot.

No…you can’t just leave him. Not like this.

Thinking quickly, Jane scanned the area. Spotting a sizable tree branch, she hoisted it up, and with a mighty swing cracked it against the side of the woman’s skull. The stranger faltered, breaking her chokehold on the staff. There was one horrifying moment of stillness. Jane held her breath, wondering what she'd just done. Then slowly, ever so slowly, the woman rose from Korvo’s back and turned to face her. Amber eyes were dangerously narrowed and her pupils little more than slits. If looks could kill.

“Maybe Korvo had an idea there earlier,” she hissed. “Perhaps I should stow you away and torture you.” Licking her newly split bottom lip, she began to advance on Jane.

linktheheroKorvo   26d ago


Korvo’s mind reeled as he choked and gasped under Nym’s staff. He pushed back and up against her, but her strength was created to rival his own. Just when his vision started to blur he knew it was then or never. So he began to pull what was left of his strength and energy forward, hoping that he might be able to make his transformation before she choked the life out of him.

He called forth the crow but the crow had trouble responding. He felt his back prickle, attempting to grow the grotesque wing, but he was nearly unconscious now and he was losing his grasp on his magic. Somewhere near but far away he heard voices. He couldn’t make out the words, but then again, that didn’t matter to him. All that mattered was survival. His vision was all black now, his body completely weak.

And then he was pulling in a deep, rasping breath and coughing up phlegm.His eyesight slowly came back to him and he could see the ground stirring with every one of his breaths.

“...-you away and torture you.” Nym’s voice slowly worked its way out from under water and Korvo knew she had turned her attention to Jane. Still weak, still coughing, he raised himself up onto his arms, then onto his legs. He gripped his twin blades when he found them and, though still a bit wobbly, found Nym stalking her new prey.

He saw the tree branch in Jane’s hand and it all became clear. Brave girl, he admitted. He would not admit that he owed her his life. Not yet. Not when he still believed he could have fought Nym off in his half-form.

He tried to approach silently, but he stumbled slightly, still gaining his balance after nearly losing consciousness. Just when he went for an assassin’s blow, Nym either heard him or Jane gave away his approach. Either way, she blocked his blows in a series of talented twirls of her staff. 

What she didn’t expect was his sudden transformation. He’d been slowly gathering the energy since he came to and put everything he could spare into as speedy of a change as he could. His sleeve ripped as his arm grew and sprouted feathers. The wing from his back broke through his shirt and pushed his cape aside. He swiped at her with his winged arm, pushing her back and away from Jane while grabbing the girl with his human arm and taking flight. 

As usual, due to the placement of his wings, his takeoff was bumpy, but he managed. He looked back down at Nym who had just nearly grasped hold of his leg. He climbed into the sky, higher and higher and further away until she was out of sight.

He flew silently through the pain. His throat ached as well as the blows she had landed on him, but they were nothing compared to the pain of the transformation. Still, it was nothing he couldn’t bear. He wanted to scold Jane for trusting Nym and for selling him out. But he remained silent as he flew awkwardly. He hated that he couldn’t blame her. He had given her no reason to trust him. 

And he wasn’t even sure if she should…

FushenNym   13d ago


The human’s big brown eyes darted to the side and Nym’s amber ones immediately followed. The crow was up, poised to attack. Without the initial element of surprise, however, his attempt fell flat as Nym’s staff spun viciously to block it. But surprise was somehow still on his side. 

Man and beast merged together in an appalling display of appendages and plumage. It caught the expert assassin off guard – a rarity. Nym was in such a state of shock at the horrible transformation that she could do nothing to block the sudden swipe that Korvo took with his winged arm. She took the brunt of the force in the abdomen, and the power behind it sent her hurtling backwards a few feet. The air whizzed out of her for a moment. A moment was all it took.

By the time she’d regained her breath and her feet, the crow was ascending high into the sky with an armful of the little human. Nym tried to leap after them, but her outstretched hand snatched only air as the two flew out of range. She scowled as she stared at their figure fading into the sky. Failure was a foul taste. When they’d gone, however, she took a deep cleansing breath and that same sadistic smile slowly returned.

Of course. What was a game of cat and mouse – or crow in this case – without the chase? But first things first: the king would want to hear about these happenings immediately. Stowing her staff, Nym slinked back into the shadows of the trees.


There was a penchant for pain and death in the amber eyes of the tall woman. Jane feared it might be the last thing she saw on this earth before being granted a torturous exit from it. But no. Fate had a cruel sense of humor and subjected her to something far more nightmarish instead.

In the blink of an eye, the thing that had kidnapped and brought her into this mess in the first place returned. It swatted Jane’s attacker away before lunging at her. Although there was no powder to freeze her in place this time, she couldn’t help but remain rooted to the spot, muscles locked in abject terror. Even a scream couldn’t escape her. Her own heart lodged in her throat was blocking the way as it grabbed her and took off into the air.

Jane focused on holding on for dear life as a blur of treetops rushed beneath them. It wasn’t a smooth flight by any means. In fact, it felt like they were going to come crashing down at any moment. Thankfully, they didn’t. She suspected that they weren’t far off from it though, considering how quickly they had to land and how bumpy it was. Jane was all but tossed out of the monster’s grasp as they skid to a stop amidst a scattering of branches they broke on the way to touch down.

She clambered away in a hurry before she found her feet again. Even when some of the feathers fell away and the extra wing retracted, she kept her distance. But at least she didn’t try to run. Instead, she stood her ground a ways away from Korvo, her arms tightly hugging her torso.

When he remained quiet, which she knew by now was odd for him, a bright redness began to rise to her cheeks. Embarrassment. Guilt. Regret. Idly, she wondered how fast he could heal. Not for his own well-being, but so she wouldn’t be faced with the physical reminder of how she’d put him in imminent danger. Even from her vantage point she could see his neck beginning to bruise.

“I’m not sorry…” she mumbled after clearing her throat. “I… well, I’m not sorry,” she repeated more resolutely. Both for herself and for her captor. “There was an opportunity, I took it, it didn't work, and you…” Jane's eyes deliberately avoided Korvo's. But not for the reasons she previously avoided his gaze. “Got hurt, but…I'm not sorry for taking it. So. That's that.”


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