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Risky Business (Marie)

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    Risky Business (Marie)

    The hearth had finally begun to draw down after Marie's evening spent tending the bar. The only remaining patrons were Old Ulfur and a handsome young hunter she had never seen before. Ulfur had been a hunter much of his life, though now he mostly just held down a seat in the local inn and told his stories. Marie had heard the stories so many times she could practically retell them herself, though she took little stock in the more horrible ones.

    The young hunter intrigued her more however, Henri he had called himself when she brought him a beer earlier in the evening. He had even given her a silver piece for her troubles. The intriguing part though was that he had spent the evening speaking with Ulfur and listening to one of his stories. The one about the black wolf that could turn into a man in the nearby forest, the one that no one among the townsfolk believed.

    Something about the young man just seemed to fascinate her, she couldn't tear her eyes away. Even when he stood up to leave she almost wanted to follow him out the door, but she still had a little more time and Ulfur was calling for another beer. Thankfully it wouldn't be much longer and she could perhaps take a walk to find the young hunter.

    #2
    Re: Risky Business (Marie)

    (Heh, I see he's already got quite charming aura going to work already :P )

    Marie took note of which of Ulfur's stories was the night's highlight. An odd choice, for if Henri wanted something fanciful he'd be better off talking to a proper bard. Heaven forbid he was actually taking that one seriously, in which case perhaps her opinion of Henri ought to be a bit lower.

    While late, Marie was still quick on her feet. She brought Ulfur another drink. It was far from her to urge the man to get on with things and turn in for the night, but maybe some small talk could shed some illumination at the very least. "Trying to scare away the young competition eh?" Marie was naturally cheerful, and didn't have to fake anything, even if she did have other preferences she could be pursuing at the moment. "He doesn't look like one who would easily frighten."

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      #3
      Re: Risky Business (Marie)

      Henri had indeed been taking the story seriously, as though he intended to hunt the fanciful beast down himself. Still no matter what she may think of his choice in prey she couldn't help but want to follow him for some reason. She would be cautious if she did go after him though, it wouldn't do for her get mistaken for the great, black loup garou of the western forest by a jittery young man. No matter how handsome he might be.

      Ulfur quickly gulped a bit of the beer, spilling perhaps a bit too much as he did so. It was a wonder the old man ever got drunk as much as he spilled on himself and the floor. With a quick wipe of his chin on his sleeve he forced a smile. "I certainly tried but if my stories can't frighten a girl such as yourself what hope do I have of frightening a bold young hunter. I just hope I instilled enough knowledge that he actually understands what he's after. I won't be having his death on my consciousness, I can assure you of that."

      Ulfur had apparently told the story so many times that even he believed a werewolf stalked their forests. Wolves would occasionally get close enough to take a few livestock from the local farms but not close enough that anyone had ever seen them.

      Another sloppy sip of beer and Ulfur looked at her in a grave fashion. "Now don't you be going out for one of your walks tonight, Marie. I know you aren't afraid of an old wreck of a man's stories, but I've got a bad feeling tonight."

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        #4
        Re: Risky Business (Marie)

        Marie didn't really know how to argue with Ulfur, or really if doing so was wise in any regard. An awkward silence was just unacceptable, however. "If such a beast exists, surely it could break into any building in town if it were truly determined, no? I just don't see why if it exists it hasn't done so already? Besides, wouldn't the safest place be with the best hunters around? If anyone stood a chance against it, it would be them, yes?" Maybe a half-argument, but she was pretty sure such thoughts were reasonable, even in the context of Ulfur's tales. She couldn't resist slipping in a reference to Henri's perceived talents as well.

        "Maybe it was just the change of routine getting to you. I'm sure if something was going to happen, it would happen by now. Nothing every happens around here." She let out a small sigh and returned to the bar after making sure Ulfur had what he needed. Surely he wouldn't be long now and she could go about finishing up for the night.

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          #5
          Re: Risky Business (Marie)

          Ulfur's eyes grew black as he smiled at Marie, something about the smile made her blood run cold as he said. "What makes you think the beast can't break in when it wants to. The world is a far darker place than you think it is little one. Hopefully you don't find out the hard way."

          After her further response he nodded his head and said a simple maybe before finishing his beer. He sat for a few more minutes before forcing a sigh from his lips and stood to leave. A handful of coin and some spilled beer was the only sign anyone had even been there before.

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            #6
            Re: Risky Business (Marie)

            "Ah... well... isn't... isn't that just as good? If it wanted to, it would, hmm? I've certainly never been attacked, despite as some might say, ample opportunity. Yeah..." Marie shook and stuttered a bit at that, she just couldn't help it, and her reassurance sounded a bit hollow, even to herself. Maybe it was because Ulfur suddenly gave off a much darker vibe than normal. Not outright making her afraid, but she definitely swore a cool draft must have wafted by at that exact instant. Her conversation wasn't going to go anywhere anyway, so Marie was happy to not dwell on the moment any longer.

            Marie made a final check as Ulfur left, sorting cups and the like. Even eager to get some fresh air, it did no good to leave things a mess. She would just have to do it later if she didn't do it now. Same went for Ulfur's minor spills. Being second nature by now it didn't take long, though, and soon she could crack the door open with a soft sigh. She really didn't know why she was so spooked. Maybe something was in the air tonight. Maybe there was a cold spell coming, and it could explain some of her feelings earlier. Marie almost felt herself being deterred... almost. Besides, even if there was danger, just a look couldn't hurt, right? If something was going to get you, might as well see what it was first. Sure, things would move along from there, but Marie would be careful. Or at least that's what she would tell herself, and even then with a half-sly smile in the back of her mind.

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              #7
              Re: Risky Business (Marie)

              With everything stored away and cleaned as good as it was going to get, Marie stepped out into the night air. Despite the clear night sky overhead there was a definite chill wind on the air. Thankfully the thatched house of the village would cut most of the wind out as she walked to where Henri was looking for the silly beast of Ulfur's.

              The houses were all dark but the moon was enough to light her way through the rut-filled streets. The thought of the full moon and a supposed werewolf did give cause her to pause for a moment, but they were just stories. Weren't they.

              The western woods were just ahead of her now, she just had to cross the field in front of her without falling in the mud. Just a few more feet and there she was on the edge of the woods now.

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                #8
                Re: Risky Business (Marie)

                Marie sighed again. After the earlier chill all this work was rather off putting. She carefully put a foot forward to test the ground. Regardless of feelings, getting all muddy wouldn't do for seeing Henri either. She lingered a few moments, savoring the windblock the buildings created, and letting her eyes adjust more both so she might see a safe path to step and so that she might catch a glimpse of Henri from here, to provide a good mark to aim for. The last part might be a bit of a stretch if he was in the treeline, but her extra caution allowed her to vent her unease slightly. Maybe these small hardships were just creation's way of making the good things in life hard to get.

                A small grumble escaped Marie's lips as the night frustrated her. Good path or no, glimpse or no, eventually she would move forward. Carefully and slowly though, as merely wishing for the best only got one so far. As foolish as it sounded, though, she almost wanted to close her eyes as just imagine being in the wood at her goal, skipping over the damned mud. Whatever allure Henri had, maybe it was both a curse and a blessing, for it was certainly doing a good job distracting her from being careful!

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                  #9
                  Re: Risky Business (Marie)

                  Marie managed to make it through the muddy field without any trouble, other than muddying the hem of her dress and shoes a bit. There were more than enough patches of dry ground to make it into the wood line. The chill wind sent a shiver down her spine as she slipped past the first line of trees and stopped to let her eyes adjust to the darkness.

                  The woods seemed unnaturally still as her eyes began to differentiate between the shadows and trees. Even the crickets seemed to have taken the night off, it was so deathly silent. As her eyes grew more and more used to the dark she stepped further into the western woods. There was little game in these parts to attract something so large as a wolf, making Henri's plan to hunt for wolves seem more foolish than it was before. Still it seemed as if something was calling her towards the young hunter.

                  Just then as she took another step a crossbow bolt thunked into a tree less than a foot above her head!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Risky Business (Marie)

                    Marie idly wondered if the inn master would be suspicious if she wanted to move laundry day up a bit. She fared well, and was no complainer when it came to a bit of muck on her clothes, really, but being presentable in the dark one was thing, and in the light another. If Henri stuck around and this became a regular occurrence, she would have to quickly change something to keep her appearances up.

                    A sense of disappointment settled in as the border area of the woods was found deserted, along with more thoughts about difficulties before good things could come. She made sure to move slowly as to not run into any stray branches, or actually rip her dress. That would be most uncalled for tonight! She just had time to think how at least she was out of the muddy field when the bolt hit near by, causing Marie to let out a small, sharp screech, instinctively ducking and almost losing her footing in the darkness.

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                      #11
                      Re: Risky Business (Marie)

                      Marie managed to avoid falling despite the treacherous terrain in the dark forest. The bolt had probably missed her by mere inches judging by its place in the tree. Struggling to stand back up in the dry underbrush of the wood that not only was she making no sound, but her screech hadn't made a sound either.

                      She tried to spin around as soon as she noted someone standing right behind her. She was too late, whoever it was already had a grip on her wrist. The man seemed incredibly strong as he twisted her arm behind her and began to try to bind her arms. Struggle as she might it didn't seem as though she were any match for his strength.

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                        #12
                        Re: Risky Business (Marie)

                        Marie tugged a few more times, despite lack of effect, opening her mouth to scream again even if no sound came out. It was late, and in her tired state she had a hard time mentally catching up with events as they happened. At first she thought her voice had just been lost in the heat of the moment, but only at this point did a more sinister possibility take hold.

                        Still, while Marie was rather carefree, it wasn't as if she had never thought of what to do if some creep tried to grab her, though such a thing had never even come close to happening. The man was focused on her arms, but her legs were free, and most people, herself included, were stronger down there anyway. And more vulnerable...

                        For a second she stopped struggling, trying to lure her assailant into thinking she had given up. Had sound seemed to carry, he might have heard a dramatic, terrified gasp, but it would be slightly overplayed. Then, when he seemed to least expect it, Marie would kick straight for his kneecap! She had no illusions about winning this fight, and dresses were most definitely not designed for this sort of thing, but all she needed was one lucky hit and hopefully he would be staggered and in pain. Then she could run...

                        (Heh, once again, quick inspiration. The other setting Marie is in saw her gain a reputation for making attacks to the legs, so...

                        Also I see my earlier comparison was once again apt, and the Quietus trick makes a return, heh. Granted, it could be something else I'm not thinking of at the moment, but it is pretty convenient, heh.)

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                          #13
                          Re: Risky Business (Marie)

                          Marie's mind raced with sinister thoughts as she struggled to get away from the man behind her. She stopped her struggling in what might be a vain effort against an impossibly strong opponent. The plan seemed to work as he relaxed his grip just enough for her to get in place to kick him in the knee cap.

                          As her leg shot out she felt a satisfying snap as his leg bent in leaving her time to attempt an escape. She started to run for all she was worth back towards the village and the perceived safety of the inn. She risked the briefest of looks behind her only to feel herself tackled into the underbrush from the front. What how could the man have gotten in front of her so quickly, she wasn't that slow.

                          The man quickly finished tying her hands behind her back and then warily tied her legs together. Marie felt confused as she watched the man for he dressed in the same fashion as Henri had, but his face was much different. Gone were the handsome looks replaced with those of a darkly tanned slight man with a thin beard. She had never seen anyone like him in all her times, though she had heard stories about the people of the Holy Lands.

                          Only once he had finished binding her did she realize she could hear once more. The man may not have made a sound, not even the sound of breathing after all his exertions, but the grass and the ropes made noise. He soon began hoisting her so she hung from a tree in her tied state.

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                            #14
                            Re: Risky Business (Marie)

                            Marie couldn't help but be at least a little bit satisfied at how solid her kick had been. It was a feeling best enjoyed, later, though. For now, she had a new plan, perhaps the only strategy left to her. Be a nuisance, delay, become more trouble than she was worth, and maybe she could keep the brute occupied until help arrived. It surely would, now that she could scream again. Marie let out an ear-piercing scream, as high pitched as she could make it. Surely someone would hear that. She tried not to dwell on the alternative, nor on the man's strange and foreign appearance. She could not give into tricks of the night that could confuse her mind if she wanted to get out of this in one piece.

                            She tried wiggling side to side, or crawling forward. Just because she was bound didn't mean she was fully helpless, only enough so to make her attempts laughably pathetic. They had to be better than nothing, though. It might seem all for not when she was brought into the air, but maybe she had bought valuable seconds. There was no way to say for sure. She tried to make herself a further bother by screaming again while swinging as much as she could, though that sort of effort would not last long, as this position was quickly making Marie dizzy. She just had to hold out a bit longer though. Any second Henri would be a long to help. Despite the similar clothes she refused to believe that the night could trick her into seeing him this way, and heaven forbid the thought that he would ACT this way. Someone from town would do, though, if Henri was not to be found. Even Ulfur. The big oaf probably could return to his prime with ease in a situation this dire. She wouldn't even mind a lecture on not being careful enough later! Any second now, any second....

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                              #15
                              Re: Risky Business (Marie)

                              The man nodded, a thin smile creasing his deeply tanned face, as Marie's ear-piercing scream resounded through the woods. It was almost as if he wanted the village to come and investigate. He cinched the end of the rope around the base of the tree so that she could do little but struggle about in the air and whispered so softly that she could barely hear.

                              "Yes mortal, scream to your little heart's content. There's nothing like live bait to draw in the best prey."

                              The ropes felt as though if she struggled just right she might be able to get her left hand free. It would take some time but if she kept her head and kept working at it she could get loose. Keeping her head of course wouldn't be easy for as she looked back at the man he was once again Henri. Same clothes and height just with Henri's face and hair. All Marie could think about as he retreated into the nearby darkness of the trees was that she was going mad.

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