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Author Topic: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]  (Read 712 times)

Sylphrena

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #60 on: May 17, 2018, 02:48:41 am »
Ariella accepted the dress but cowered away from Ranulf's hands. She couldn't bring herself to look into his eyes, avoiding looking at him all together as she clenched her eyes shut. The more he spoke, the less she wanted to hear from him. He was being too realistic, too grounding. All she wanted to do was forget. But it was impossible. The lives of twenty men weighed on her shoulders and nagged her conscious. Even her regality which contributed a wealth to her character felt threatened.


"Careful..." she murmured as he positioned his arms beneath her. She adjusted herself compliantly so his hands would be beneath her knees and at the bottom of her rib cage. Her hands kept the dress  covering her front, clutching hard when Ranulf knelt for her to gain her footing, his arm remaining around her back.

"I'll do it myself," Ariella whispered out. She accepted the soap and cloths before directing Ranulf to turn around, dealing with the rest herself. She wanted to be over with it fast, being as efficient as possible in the least amount of time although she had to kneel for most of it, her legs too weak to hold herself. The princess toweled herself off in record timing before pulling the dress onto her frame, instantly feeling a small bit of comfort. She was about to apply the ointments herself when she realized they were in Ranulf's own bottling and weakly called for help, sitting on the blanket and towel drying her hair in the mean time.

MacCloud

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #61 on: May 17, 2018, 03:43:18 am »
Ranulf had stood facing away from her holding another blanket from his bedroll.  he felt her revulsion of him and hoped she would still travel with him.  it would be several added days just to get out of these mountains from here.  And a few more to get back on the road to her intended.  he was thinking of that when she called his name.  "Yes Ariella, how can I help you?"  His eyes met hers and he hoped to see that friendship they had been developing was not all lost.  She would not meet his gaze and he saw the bottle.  He opened it for her and set it down.  "Just a little bit goes a long way My Lady.  You can use your fingers or the washcloth.  No need to rub just nab it where you are cut or bruised.  It will tingle but it will aid healing greatly.

He turned back around holding the blanket between them.  "I think I can make you a bed inside the cave.  I do not think we should try to travel in the dark.  I should recover your dowry anyway and I would rather not leave you alone right now.  Inside the cave you will be free of the sight and smell out here.  It should be more comfortable for you."  He spoke with a sense of loss he felt too keenly to hide.  He had let her down and no amount of reasoning would ever let her forget that.

Sylphrena

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #62 on: May 17, 2018, 04:06:06 am »
Ariella mumbled a thanks to the guard when he directed which bottle to use and began from her neck, working her way downwards. Growing up and always being encouraged to look her prettiest and at her best, the princess had adopted some unusual routines. Some that turned out to be useful. She mapped all inches of her skin that her eyes could see and in the spots she couldn't, she tenderly pressed with her fingertips for sore spots to apply the ointment.


"Comfortable? Do you really think I could be comfortable sleeping where you just murdered how many people?" The princess questioned in disbelief. It was harsh and she even surprised herself. She draped the damp towel over her shoulders and stood up on her feet.

"I'll come with you into the cave so you can recover whatever it was they had stolen. But, and I'm serious, we leave after that. I am not sleeping in this place, Ranulf."

MacCloud

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #63 on: May 17, 2018, 04:09:39 pm »
Ranulf took offense at her words, they hurt him deeply.  "Princess I will take you from here as soon as I possibly can but you need to know I did not murder anyone.  I killed Bandits who killed Connor, Marcus, and maybe Ryder.  Not to mention the horror they put you through.  It may sound as bragging to your ears but I walked in here alone and I killed nearly twenty armed men to safe you.  You are free to hate me for being what I am but I have never murdered anyone in my life.  I have killed a great many people though in service to your father.  They were killed to keep people like yourself safer."

He saw she was dressed and recovered his weapons an armor leaving her sitting where she was.  He put on his armor and cleaned his weapons before striding past her toward the cave.  "It should be safe here I would not force your company with someone you think so lowly of.  I shall be back as soon as I can than we can pack and leave."  He knew it was unfair of him but after the fear of her being even more abused then she had been and facing the odds he had faced.  He did not expect gratitude because he should have done his job better.  He would never accept being called a murderer though, not even from her.

Ranulf dropped a bandit's short sword next to her point sinking into the dirt so it stood vertical to the ground.  "You are trained in weapons Princess I trust you can defend yourself if need be while I am inside."  He did not mean to sound so cold but the fighting and killing, surviving actions like this left him without emotions.  Her calling him a murderer left him dead inside.  He never broke stride as he closed on the opening.  There were fires inside so it was lit, that meant they might have people inside.  Other hostages or camp followers?  They might be dangerous or just other victims.  he would approach this with the same caution he normally used.  He growled at his own folly, it had been many years since he had lost his temper like that and charged a mob.

Sylphrena

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #64 on: May 17, 2018, 05:38:00 pm »
The princess flinched from his words, her stomach churning with nausea once again. Ranulf must have seen Marcus' and Connor's dead bodies and the thought of not knowing whether your nephew was dead or still out there somewhere, it was too much for Ariella's mind to bear. "I'm certainly elated to hear many people are killed to keep me safe. That's what I wanted to be told right now, Sergeant," she barked back.


The princess unquestionably had a bite and while the guard was upsetting her, it was doing her more good than she would know. Her blood had begun pumping hot in her veins, warming the tips of her ears and nose down to her fingers and toes. It had even stoked the ferocity of life back within her blue hues.


She lifted her foot closest to the sword up when it sunk into the ground next to her. Ariella's eyes focused on the handle, her heartbeat raising in her chest. She was too concentrated on Ranulf and his failure that she hadn't taken the time to process her own failure to herself. 'What was the point of all those lessons these last few years?' she wondered to herself. She had been taught how to parry, how to initiate an attack with and without a sword, and also how to disarm a man twice her size yet none of it seemed to come to her aid. Did she only have such great dedication in hopes it would gain Daddy's attention? And was she repeating her actions when she asked about Ranulf's blade, no longer attached on her body. She could feel it subconsciously, always wanting to be in people's good graces and not just looked at as some pretty face, as the King's daughter. Even before the avalanche, Ariella was only working on the sketch of the deer because Ranulf had seen it and wished to see it completed despite her loss of inspiration. It was the life of a princess, always striving to please others and continuously disappointing yourself.

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #65 on: May 17, 2018, 06:17:12 pm »
Ranulf stopped just inside the entrance his voice almost to soft to hear but the still night air carried it to her.  "To keep you safe from harm I would have killed any that tried to harm you.  I would have slain many times this number to protect my Lady."  He had not meant to say it quite like that but there it was, he knew they were never to be together, but the race to safe her had made him realize how deep his affection was for her.  He walked into the cave hoping someone was left he wanted to have an outlet for all this emotion.  Alas no one was there, but the dowry chests were intact even if the locks were busted.  He dumped the treasures in a grain sack and put the sack in a sturdy back pack.  The jewelry was covered in soft cloth so would not be damaged and the coins were in the bottom so he was pretty sure it would be fine.  It was heavy but he felt the pack would hold till he could get back to the coach.

He had seen her horse outside and it was still saddled.  The pair of coach horses and his two pack horses.  The bandits had a half dozen as well so he was sure he could get as much transport as he needed.  He looked around the cave briefly, all of the bedding in here was filthy so he did not collect any of it.  He was sure her own bedding was still at the coach so it was no problem.  Most of her cloths were at the coach as well even if they were scattered about.  He walked.  He was done in here so he turned to exit the cave.

Sylphrena

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #66 on: May 17, 2018, 07:09:42 pm »
Ariella stewed on her conflicting emotions while Ranulf disappeared in the cave. She felt like she couldn't remain annoyed and disappointed with the only person she had until they reached Alethyr. It made her wonder if her feelings towards him were justified, like he said before, many women were treated far worse and still they recovered. She contemplated her next move heavily, staring at the sword by her feet.

Finally she bent down, wrapping her hand around it's handle and pulling it from the soil. The princess made a promise to herself as she adjusted the short blade in her hand. No more relying on Ranulf solely for her safety. She was capable and well-versed with a weapon and promised to use her skills any time a threat arrived. When she stood back up, she noticed Ranulf exiting the cave with a backpack over one shoulder. Ariella followed him towards the horses, staying a few steps behind. She felt guilty for the words she said but had suffered too much humiliation to swallow her courage and apologize. Her hesitation to stay out of her guard's way vanished when she noticed her horse amongst the others. Ariella flocked to her and buried her hands into it's mane, cooing, "Oh Serilda. I didn't know I would be so happy to see you."

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #67 on: May 18, 2018, 12:13:38 am »
Ranulf was glad to see she still had warmth inside her even if it was just for her mare.  He checked the girth and tighten it before he turned to the Princess.  "You are weak and sore just now still."  He reached down lifting her high and onto the saddle.  It is about a two hour ride back to the coach.  Stay behind me and follow the last pack horse.  Do not stray in the dark Ariella as these woods are never truly safe."  He collected the team and two of the Bandit's horses he used the bandit leader's saddle for now.  With the dowry on one of the coach team as he knew the horse was a steady one. Ranulf rode a mare from the Bandit horses.  The ones he did not keep with them he released to make their own way. Once mounted himself he took the lead to the other three horses and started back down the mountain.  "Call out if you need assistance."

The ride back to the coach was a quiet one.  Arriving at the scene the busted coach lay on its side.  her trunks of cloths were busted open and her cloths scattered all about, those still there trapped in the brush and the branches.  Much had blown away.  In the moonlight the rockslide was also visible.  There was no longer a road in front of the coach!  The odds anyone lived through that tumbled mass were not even worth considering.  Ranulf tied off the horsed by the coach and walked over to help Ariella dismount.  He looked at her and shook his head "this is no time to be defiant my Lady.  Hate me if you must but allow me the courtesy to help you."

He waited to see if she would risk twisting an ankle or let him help her.  "the sooner we get you on the ground the sooner I can set up a tented bed for you by the coach and tend the horses.  I have much to do yet Ariella."  He was a towering giant of stamina but surviving the rockslide, running up a mountain, slaying a bunch of bandits and now returning here was beginning to take its toll.  Even more so the emotional toll of fearing what would happen to Ariella every second they still had her.  He just wanted to get her bedded down safely and finish the days work.

Sylphrena

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #68 on: May 18, 2018, 02:33:50 am »
Ariella froze, her muscles becoming tense in Ranulf's arms as he lifted her up until she was situated with a leg on either side of her horse. She adjusted the hem of her dress, glad that they would be returning to the coach even if it were only to grab a few things before leaving again. It would be time to start wearing her trousers considering the amount of riding they would now be doing. She followed the pack of horses Ranulf had chosen, her body shifting and jolting with Serilda's movements.

The ride passed by rather fast in Ariella's mind and the mental wounds  still felt fresh, deepening when they arrived at the rockslide that turned their day, and entire journey, upside down. Her hands wrung the rope as she felt the panic bubble up in her chest. The princess pulled back from her guard when he first approached her, startling even her horse slightly. Ariella complied after he chided her, placing her hands on his shoulders while he lifted her from her waist.  Her hands slid down his chest once her feet were on the ground before falling to her sides.

She retrieved items from inside the coach that Ranulf passed her and instantly pulled one of the blankets over her like a cape. Surprisingly her knapsack was left fairly undisturbed after a bandit realized it only held plain clothing, trousers and blouses. He even passed her the cushions from the benches inside of the cabin which would work well for extra bedding. Without a single cloud in sight, the moonlight provided them with enough light to see their way around. Rather, for Ariella to find a spot to stay out of the way while Ranulf worked on stringing together a spot for her to sleep.

Once it was complete, the princess was almost falling asleep where she stood, knees cracking when she finally moved again. She was about to thank Ranulf for his work when the words caught in her throat and she swallowed them back down, crawling underneath the other blanket with the one still around her shoulders. Ariella laid there for a moment, willing herself to let the fatigue finally take her but found it impossible to achieve, too many emotions stewed inside of her. She adjusted her arm beneath her head, propping herself up enough to watch Ranulf tend to the horses. Just watching him work settled the discomfort she felt in her chest and at some point she managed to fall asleep, her face illuminated by the moonlight.

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #69 on: May 18, 2018, 04:05:19 am »
Ranulf got Ariella settled down with the cushions from the coach and extra blankets.  Once she was laying down he tended the horses the waterbarrel had not busted but it took a lot of effort to get water from it without dumping it and disturbing the Princess.  He water and fed the horses hobbling them so they could graze but not wander off too far.  he unsaddle them and brushed out each one.  He had the horses settled so he went and moved Connor's body so Ariella would not see his corpse.  It was very late but he wanted to complete one more task before quitting.  She was asleep so he climbed down the rockslide as carefully as he could and reclaimed his saddle and belongings.  If might seem a foolhardy thing to do but he wanted his few things.  After he returned it was full dark and he sat at the wheel a good ten foot distance from her and covered up with his own blanket.  He watched her face as she slept, like an angel she was.  His mood was sad, he had lost her friendship.  She was not the first nor would she be the last likely, that saw him in combat and became afraid of him.

He finally slept for a few hours waking with the dawn's first light.  He built a fire and collected supplies they would need from the coach as it took hold.  He cooked breakfast as she slept, hoping the smell of food would wake her.  He gathered her cloths that were nearby as the food cooked checking on breakfast time to time.  When it was done he had several piles for her to go through.  he figured two pack horses for food and water, one for her cloths and bedding, one for the Dowry, and the two for them to ride he was just about set.  He would have to ride down the mountain and through the valley below or over the mountain and around to the other side.  He was not sure which way would be safer for the Princess.  Although if she dressed as a man and behaved as his son?  Maybe they could pass through civilized areas without drawing undue attention?  The mountains had other perils but not many were human.  He decided to discuss it with Ariella when she woke.

He thought he saw her move and called her name "Ariella? are you hungry?  Breakfast is ready."  He already knew she was not an early riser.  He smiled at her and picked up her hairbrush.  His smile faded, another time and she would have let him brush her hair.  That time had passed and he offered the hair brush to her as her eyes opened.

Sylphrena

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #70 on: May 18, 2018, 12:55:42 pm »
Luckily, Ariella's mind was too bogged down by the stress and shock of the day's events to pull her into a dream, or nightmare. It was as if she were drugged for the lack she moved in the night was unusual for the princess. Even the little noises that Ranulf made at night or in the morning as he prepared breakfast and gathered what he could of their scattered items, didn't disturb the sleeping beauty.

Unsurprisingly the scent of food that drifted in and spiraled around Ariella's head, through the strands of hair that stood up from the pillow and tried to reach for  the sky, tickled her senses back to reality. She wiggled her nose, slowly adjusting to the morning light, the sun just rising past the horizon and awakening the forest. Ariella inhaled deeply, allowing the delicious scents to rouse her awake from the inside as she begun to stretch out her back, still buried beneath the bundle of blankets.

Ranulf's call grabbed her attention and her head perked off of the pillow just slightly, looking at him with sleepy eyes as if to confirm she was awake and he was really there before her head conked back to the pillow. The princess breathed deeply again, her feet poking out from beneath the blanket as her arms did the same, stretching out with a scratchy groan. She flopped against her makeshift bed, exhausted from her stretch, before shifting onto her knees and accepting the brush from Ranulf with a tired, "Thanks."

They ate in relative silence other than Ranulf asking her how breakfast was tasting. Truth was, Ariella couldn't taste much of the food. Bits and pieces of her mind and body still felt numb, as if some of her body decided to wake up while the rest was still stuck in yesterday's events.

She slipped on the pair of shoes that she assumed Ranulf had set at the foot of her tent overnight, thankful they weren't high heels, before crawling out and raising to her feet. Ariella wiped her face with her hands, trying to stop herself from looking around at the wreckage too much and to focus on the task at hand, organizing her piles of belongings to bring with her.

Surprisingly for a princess, Ariella ended up with only two bags of items, leaving behind a large majority of her gowns and any accessories. If this Prince she was going to meet managed to get on her Father's good graces, than surely he would be able to present her with a new wardrobe. Making sure Ranulf was distracted, she had changed into a pair of brown trousers that went to her ankles and a tanned blouse that buttoned up the front. The last thing Ariella wanted to wear was another dress..

She helped where she could in packing up their small camp, folding her blankets and squeezing the air from them while Ranulf prepared the horses, bringing them to him to put in the proper bag. While she wanted to help, she certainly didn't want to make anything more difficult for Ranulf. Already she could sense a tension between the two, and not the enjoyable kind she was beginning to feel before.

MacCloud

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #71 on: May 18, 2018, 03:10:07 pm »
Ranulf watched her moving around as she came alive.  At first he was relieved as she woke slowy as she normally did and stretched languidly which pulled at the strings of his heart.  He watched her move around after breakfast and he became concerned.  Not that she did anything odd but her general lack of spirit as she did tasks that needed done.  As she finished sorting her cloths He walked by her bed and picked up her hair brush and put one of her cushions on a large enough boulder she could sit comfortably.  "Ariella come over here and sit please."  His eyes held hers making it a bit more than a request.  He stepped behind her as she sat.  "I am going to brush your hair.  I understand you might not feel pretty today and we are in a wilderness.  You are still."  Ranulf had to swallow to continue as a lump filled his throat.  He put his hand on her head and began gently brushing her hair.  He had some skill from brushing the hair of his nieces when he had been able to visit.  The slight pause partially covered by his attention to her hair.  "You are still a very beautiful Princess and need to take care of yourself."

He did not know how to say what he felt without giving away how much he cared about her.  He would deliver her to her royal husband with the pride and spirit intact.  He hoped making her aware of her appearance might help?  He knew it could backfire on him, she could think the only thing that mattered was her appearance to the world at large.  He had to take that chance though.  He had seen warriors pushed beyond their strength loose spirit, the first sign was them no longer caring about their appearance.  The slide down from there they would begin to be self destructive.  He knew some of the signs.  He would do his best to make her fight back.  He had not understood how much she had grown on him till he thought of her being harmed.  She was more important to him than his life many times over.  "Stop fidgeting, my little sister behaved better!"  There was humor in his tone and he enjoyed brushing her hair.  He took longer than he needed to in fact counting a hundred strokes after he had brushed her hair to a decent shine.

"There, You can do with it what you like now."  His tone was his normal deep gruff friendly voice.  "I can do a pony tail but those braid styles I just could never get the hang of."  He put the brush in her hand and walked away so she could not see his emotions.  He would not let her see he cared so much as his job was to take her to her future.  The sort of life she was raised to live.  All he had to offer anyone was a skill that made people fear him.  He went to the coach and began cutting the tarp to fashion sacks to put their supplies in.  As he worked he spokw up "Ariella.  I will need an hour to get us packed up.  If you want more of the salve and ointments for your wounds help yourself.  Call if you need me."

Sylphrena

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #72 on: May 19, 2018, 12:45:24 am »
Ariella turned with surprise to see Ranulf holding her hair brush and gesturing towards the makeshift seat with a cushion. Their eyes locked and she swore her body malfunctioned for a moment; her tongue doubling in size in her mouth, thighs weakening into jelly, and her heart jumping into her throat. Once her legs allowed her, she walked forward and sat in front of Ranulf obediently.

It was both calming and extremely unusual, for a princess to be getting her hair brushed for her but by her guard, a man twice her age. She breathed in calmly through her nose, brushing her stray strands of hair behind her shoulders and ears. Her eyes slipped shut blissfully, bathing in the sun as Ranulf began stroking the brush through her hair. When he began to brush near to her ears, a girlish giggle slipped out as she wriggled slightly away from the brush.

She paused, her shoulders and back stilling, when Ranulf chided her for moving. "Well I'm not sure if your little sister is as ticklish as I am," Ariella countered. She stayed relatively still until he had reached the other side and brushed behind her ear. "You're probably doing it on purpose too!"

The princess accepted the brush in her hand once Ranulf was finished, looking up to him from the boulder as he walked away. She felt the guilt twist a knot in her stomach, somehow feeling responsible. Little did she know, it wasn't her words that cut as deep as her dedication to the crown.

"Take your time," she offered when he updated her on their schedule before they would head out. She hopped off of the boulder, having pleasantly run her fingers through her hair for long enough, and regarded her pile of clothes she was going to leave behind. Ranulf brushing her hair did seem to have an effect on the princess. She carefully chose three dresses to bring along with her after inspecting them for any rips, tears, or loose threads.

Bringing them to Ranulf as he gathered their remaining supplies, she held them out in front of her folded neatly but compacted. "Is there room for these?"

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #73 on: May 19, 2018, 01:22:17 am »
It was almost the same between them as he brushed her hair and he enjoyed the feeling of closeness once more.  He did not press though once finished as he did not want to loose his gain.  When she brought the bundle of dresses to him, he saw the spirit back in her eyes and he wanted hug her.  The neat pile of cloths did make him smile "If you want them Ariella I will make room for them."  He accepted them from her and added them to her other cloths.  "I do want to ask you about our continued travels if you would not mind."  He was hesitant and it was not normal for him to be indecisive.  "We have three choices as I see it.  One is a reasonable plan, to just turn back and return you to your father and family.  He could find a better guardian or even send a troop of horsemen to escort you to your Prince."  He sighed as he finished that, He would not like to fail but more important he had wanted to see her happy before he left the kingdom.

The other two plans are to push on.  One would be to backtrack and enter the valley below.  We would encounter a lot of people going that way and risk being discovered by your father's enemies.  The third option is to go North over the mountain and around the other side.  Than mostly we would only face the natural perils of the wilderness.  Both ways forward will add a few days to the trip.  One more thing to consider if we go South into the valley we would be able to spend nights at an INN and beds to sleep in.  If we go North we would be alone and camping outside."  Ranulf continued packing the horses as he spoke of the two routes forward trying to not sway her answer.  He liked the Northern route as he felt people were a greater threat than the wilderness.  She was used to a bed though and he would go that route without hesitation if that was her decision.

"We should decide before we saddle up, we have to decide before we leave here though."  His deep voice was still speaking softly like he was walking on eggs.  He was thinking though of her being ticklish and an image swept behind his eyes of tickling her.  With her giggling happily swatting at his fingers.  It was an unbidden thought but he enjoyed it just the same.

Sylphrena

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #74 on: May 19, 2018, 01:53:57 am »
The princess found her guard's smile infectious and as she handed off the dresses to him, a shy smile tugging on her lips in response. Oddly enough, the intimacy of Ranulf brushing her hair struck right through the walls she had built up and she never had felt anything in resemblance when her ladymaids were tasked to it.

She was about to turn back when he stood, his hesitancy clear in his stance. It looked odd on the warrior though the princess herself was wearing trousers. "I do not mind. Continue," Ariella offered, giving him her full attention seeing as they were each other's sole travel partners now. However she wasn't entirely sure herself anymore what she would do once they arrived. Would she be capable of never telling her husband of what happened? Or the opposite, would she ever be strong enough to tell him? Ariella simply felt like it was her duty, like she was obligated to continue on, and once she arrived in Alethyr, she would find out.

"No more inns," Ariella boldly stated, shivering as she thought back to her pitiful display of defiance at the other inns where they had first met some of the bandits. "I think the third option is the best if we have enough food, heading north and over the mountain."

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #75 on: May 19, 2018, 02:19:46 am »
"Than we are agreed we go North."  Ranulf's relief was obvious and he seemed to even finish packing swifter.  He saddled her Serilda this time as he felt she might still be sore after the rough treatment.  He brought the horses around "Tomorrow you can saddle your mare, I cut you some slack today knowing you have a long ride ahead of you."  He offered his bent knee for her to step up to mount.  He patted her leg "Ariella to not be over proud as we ride.  If you wish to take a break say something."  He frowned adding "Excuse my language but blisters on you butt would not only be painful but if they got infected I would have to be your doctor."  He turned from her so he would not see her blush if she did.  "I do not think you want mt big hands on your tiny derriere rubbing in an ointment.  It would also mean a few days in camp till you healed.  So a few extra stops will suit your discretion better than 'toughing it out."

He mounted in a single fluid motion.  He waved for her to ride beside him as they rode back up the mountain.  Although he selected a trail other than the one the bandits had used.  He suspected a stop for a few minutes every two hours would be good but she might still be sore from her earlier riding and her rough treatment so Ranulf was prepared mentally for a slow day.  The forest was thick here but there were breaks in the treeline and some of the vistas were awesome to see.  Ranulf rode easy in the saddle the pack horses strung out behind him.  He thought more than once the man who won her heart would be a very lucky fellow.  he hoped her prince appreciated her.

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #76 on: May 19, 2018, 03:24:35 am »
She accepted Ranulf's offered knee onto her horse, even placing a hand on his shoulder briefly as she swung her leg over. Her grasp quickly turned into a swat as he continued on in graphic detail of the consequences of her potential stubbornness. "Storms! Ranulf, you really don't need to talk about..." Ariella grimaced before continuing, "it that much."

It wasn't until he had mounted his own horse himself that she smiled widely, laughing openly as she exclaimed, "I almost smacked you upside the head there.." She waited until they were beside one another before adding on gratefully, "But thank you. Oh and I will not hesitate to complain." The princess' smile turned into a mischievous smirk and she turned her attention forward on their path.

Being surrounded by nature was certainly calming for Ariella, present in her thoughts. There was so much to absorb from her surroundings, her mind had no space to drift into yesterday. Even though she had the little reminders, they didn't seem to get to her as much.

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #77 on: May 19, 2018, 01:43:31 pm »
He was glad his back was to her so she did not seen his wide grin.  She was bouncing back well and he was not s worried about her anymore.  He stopped every two hours unless she spoke up sooner.  Each rest stop he suggested she walk for a few minutes before sitting down to stretch her 'cute backside'.  He teased her a bit more at each stop.  The first stop was a comment about her backside.  The second stop he just hoisted her by the waist and lowered her slowly to the ground with a smile and a "Are you tired already?"  The third stop he said "Lunch this time, so unsaddle your mare."  He ignored her at first as he hobbled the horses and removed the packs.  He fed the horses and began to gather firewood.  He was satisfied by her feisty eyes that she could absorb what he was going to teach her.  He still went about it as sort of a tease so she might not catch on what he was doing.  He was preparing her for the possibility of being separated from him.  So she could survive on her own if needed.  "Say Ariella do you know how to make a campfire?"  He stopped beside her where he dropped the firewood.  "If not I will teach you now.  Your lessons in surviving out here begin now."

He did not really let her respond as he knelt and built the fire with care, slowly so she could see every step in the process.  He explained in his soft deep voice the types of tree branches best for starting a fire, which ones burned faster, slower or hotter. Once the fire was built and started he moved rocks around the fire to contain it "Those rocks will get warm, on cold nights put a few by your feet and that will help you stay warm during the night."  He moved between a teacher explaining to a favored student and a warrior taunting a rising star trainee with a natural ease without really trying.  He had taught Ryder much the same way.  He pointed to the packs "I will fetch water how about you get what you want for lunch and a slab of the ham for me?"  He stood and gathered the buckets for water.  "That stream will be cold but if you want to wash up we could heat a couple buckets of water?"

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #78 on: May 19, 2018, 02:24:16 pm »
Despite claiming she could complain at the slightest discomfort, Ariella managed to ride for the two hours before stopping each time apart from once. She would walk briefly, stretching out her legs and working her muscles in her thighs into behaving properly again before she would sit with her legs in front of her and bending at the waist, reaching for each foot respectively. It was typically the same at every stop, the princess stretching out her limbs and muscles, sometimes focusing on certain areas for longer but never missing a muscle. Even when she was resting, she was doing so while extending a stretch.


At their third stop, Ariella was surprised to receive such coldness from Ranulf after he helped her down from Serilda, commanding her to unsaddle her horse and stepping away to do his own business. She didn't allow it to get to her considering she had said worse to him and silently obeyed. Although the princess was unfamiliar with riding, she seemed to understand how to unsaddle a horse perfectly. With fluid motions, she unclipped the bridal and smoothing her hands down Serilda's snout, the bridal slipped off of the horse. Ariella hooked this on her shoulder and moved to her torso, unclipping the girth and with a bit of struggling, she managed to slide the saddle off. It turned out that all of the time she spent reading had paid off a little bit.


Curiously, she flocked to Ranulf's side once she was finished, watching him clear a little area in the grass and dirt. The princess shook her head and stepped closer to watch him as he built a fire, pointing things out here and there. Her eyes held a flame within them, burning with interest, before the flames of the fire ignited. Ariella pulled her eyes away from the successful fire reluctantly as Ranulf stood, finding more tasks for them complete before they could sit and enjoy the fire. Doing as she was told, she looked through the pack of their food, finding the ham Ranulf requested and bringing out buns and corn as well.


After he returned with the buckets of water, Ariella watched him with the same curiosity as he began to cook their food. The warmth of the fire darkened Ariella's cheeks to a pink along with her ears. Yet despite how hot it was, the princess was eager to learn at Ranulf's side, nearly leaning on the man himself.

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #79 on: May 19, 2018, 03:07:49 pm »
Ranulf was surprised at her eagerness to learn.  The way she hung on every word made his heart soar.  He had been worried she would never get over seeing his ability to do violence.  Now he seemed to have his friend back again and he could not be happier.  He became ever more expansive in his explanations as she hovered at his shoulder.  She was quick to learn as well, a really delightful trainee.  He hoped all the things he was teaching her would never be needed.  He ate quietly though his happiness was evident.  he did not impose on her and left her to eat in peace.  he told himself she needed to learn in case something happened to him but he knew He enjoyed her being so attentive.  As they ate he had the two buckets of water warming.  After he put up blankets between trees so she had some privacy.  As he set the buckets in her enclosure he smiled "maybe soon we can find a stone depression you can use as a tub?"

He walked away giving her some privacy checking the horses hooves and the packs to ensure nothing needed repaired.  "Ariella do you want to stop here for the day or push on.  Even with the stops he had pushed her hard already.  "All this uphill I think the horses could use the break of a short day as well.  He sort of figured between the bath and the idea the horses were tired he could convince her to take the half day.  Exhaustion was something he wanted her to avoid as well.  He could see her adventurous spirit awakening and he would foster that.  He knew she was not used to rough living such as this and he cared about her.  He did not want to make her feel as though she were not up to the task though either.  He had more thoughts going through his head than he would have dealt with before a battle!  He knew very little about young woman except they could be moody!  "This is a nice flat location and well protected from the wind after all." 

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #80 on: May 19, 2018, 03:50:54 pm »
When the food was cooked, Ariella was glad to step away from the harsh warmth of the fire and the sunlight, sitting in some shade of the trees to eat. Her appetite hadn't quite returned like her personality was in bits and pieces and she had some food left on her plate by the time she couldn't force anymore. She brought her scraps to the horses, trying to distribute the bits equally like a mother with her children and showing no favouritism.

Her curiosity returned watching Ranulf begin to tie one of the blankets to a tree, stretching it across and tying it to another. The princess flinched, a flash of disgust changing her features, thinking of how her hands had been treated the same. She looked down to her wrists, the rope burn from her struggling still apparent. Looking back up, she felt a warmth spread in her chest fueled by Ranulf's smile, leaving her to wash privately.

"Isn't that what ponds are for?" she questioned, a smile could be heard on her voice as she disappeared behind the blanket which did little to muffle it. "Or was that a one time only thing?"

Ariella took her time undressing, her eyes admiring the view into the forest. Sunlight managed to peak through patches in the canopy, creating spot lights and illuminating the pollen in the air and the mossy patches on the ground. A breeze came through the forest, ruffling the blanket and playing with Ariella's hair, lifting it and twirling her locks in it's fingers. The beauty of the moment made her forget about the random aches and throbs in her body and she wished she could stay here for a bit, in a place she could easily forget.

She wondered if Ranulf saw the same beauty, oblivious to any affection he was beginning to feel for her. "We should stop here. I don't see why we should rush ourselves," Ariella said, finally pulling off her blouse and draping it  with her other clothes on a tree branch she could reach. She dipped a cloth into the water and began washing herself carefully. With a couple of hours before the sun would begin setting, Ariella spent nearly half an hour bathing herself and peering into the forest with wonderment. It was the water getting cooler that actually pushed the princess to finish up and get dressed.

Ariella peeked out from behind the blanket, as if she didn't want to get caught leaving from her dreamworld on earth. She was feeling more and more exposed around Ranulf and although it made her stomach jittery, it excited her as well. She gravitated towards the campfire, warming up and adding a few pieces of wood carefully.

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #81 on: May 19, 2018, 11:07:28 pm »
"Oh it was not a one time thing but the next pond you use I will let you decide if two buckets of heated water or a nice deep pond of ice water feels better?"  He had answered her before going about his chosen tasks to stay out of her way.

He was glad later when she decided to call it a day.  Having this diversion and losing the coach was going to cost them a week or so anyway so a day or three were not going to make much difference.  She was still behind the blankets when he went to the stream and washed off the grime of the last couple days, he had some deep bruises and a few cuts himself.  The rockslide had not left any visible marks when he was dressed but most of his back was angry colors.  He hurt but that was his life, no need to be overly concerned unless he got sick.  The cold water made his feel better and he dressed in clean cloths before putting his leather armor back on.  He had not bothered with the platemail, the weight was too much and he had left it at the coach.  There would be no need now for it, there was not going to be some grand procession since they had lost the coach.

She was back at the fire when he returned.  "I can set up your sleeping area over there by those rocks.  I think you will be comfortable there.  Did you salvage your sketch book?  I think you will have a magnificent sunset to watch soon."

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #82 on: May 22, 2018, 07:10:14 pm »
Ariella forcefully had to pull her gaze up from the fire's dancing flames when she noticed movement in her peripheral vision and watched Ranulf enter back into the small clearing from the forest. She noted first his wet hair, and then the refreshed outfit, clean cotton peaking out from the leather armour. She smiled, finding it oddly intimate that although they had not bathed together, it was not hard for one to imagine with both of their hair damp.

The princess acknowledged her suggested sleeping area with a satisfied nod. In a forest as beautiful as this one, she thought it wouldn't be so bad sleeping in the wilderness after all.

"I've never been good with skies. I did try sunsets and sunrises for awhile and despite all of the sleep that I lost making sure I didn't miss a single one, I just could not quite get the hang out it," Ariella explained unashamedly. "Do you think we could walk up a bit and look for a little viewing? Or was there a spot by the stream to enjoy the sunset?"

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #83 on: May 22, 2018, 10:41:57 pm »
Ranulf nodded "come with me, but we should be back before full dark.  No sense in risking a twisted ankle after all."  Ranulf walked a step ahead of her offering a hand to help balance her when she had to step over a log or a depression in the ground.  The level of noise grew and soon she would be able to recognize the obvious sounds of a waterfall.  Than he led her past the last few trees to a cliff, it was about a fifty foot high waterfall but it faced West and the sunset.  With the mist from the waterfall a small rainbow formed.  The sunset would pass through the rainbow.  Now Ranulf did not expect the very colorful scenery but he did expect the clear view of the sunset.

He laid a towel on a large rock for her to sit on.  "There you go Princess, a view as beautiful as you are yourself."  He stepped back away to the trees "I will be here if you need me, enjoy the view."  Ranulf did not really think about the compliment he gave her.  It was just something he thought and said aloud.  He never really even gave it a second thought.  He leaned against a tree watching her and enjoying his view of her.  He knew she was betrothed to another and was destined  for a royal life.  He could still love her from afar.  She need never know.

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #84 on: May 23, 2018, 04:25:00 am »
"Absolutely, Sergeant," Ariella responded with faux, rigid obedience, following him back out in between the trees. She couldn't find herself having any problems with being back before complete dark. Despite the short day and consistent breaks for Ariella to stretch her legs and hips, she was still exhausted and eager to sleep a wealthy amount if Ranulf allowed it. Surely the man had to get tired and would enjoy some more sleep to allow his body to recover. Ariella tried no convincing, keeping quiet as she followed in his footsteps and accepting his hand when offered whether she needed it or not. She rushed out in front of him when they  broke through the trees and reached the cliff, the rushing waterfall drowning out her gasp though the bewilderment was evident in her features and the way her body moved with excitement.

She turned around, hearing the baritone of Ranulf's voice, to see him laying a towel on a fairly flat boulder for her to sit on. The princess skipped over, looking as elegant as ever even in her riding trousers and white blouse that hid her soft curves. She sat daintily and watched the waterfall with curious eyes until the sun had lowered far enough and began the paint the sky with pinks and purples mixing into the existing blue.

Ariella twisted her torso, looking over her shoulder to call to Ranulf over the waterfall, "Would you join me, please?" It felt oddly lonely to watch the sunset on her own but with her guard now standing next to her, his presence soothed her and she could enjoy it fully before they headed back. Once they arrived back at their temporary camp site, winding down for the night, the princess waited until there was a lull and Ranulf seemed about ready to prepare for bed himself before gathering up all the courage she could muster. She pushed her tongue against the roof of her mouth until she finally spat it out, asking hesitantly, "Since it's just us two, would you-- Could you sleep with me? Like, just near me.. It would just put me at ease if I know you're close." Ariella adjusted the blanket she had pulled around herself after changing into her nightgown, making her discomfort fairly visible.

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #85 on: May 23, 2018, 10:32:53 pm »
Ranulf watched her closely as she asked and he rose smoothly from his own bed carrying his saddle and bedroll with him.  He was honored she was no longer afraid of him or dismayed with his failure.  At least he felt that was the case if she wanted his protection once more.  She had been pampered all her life so being out in the wilderness had to be a bit scary in the dark even with a fire.  He set his saddle beside her and then his blanket.  He set off his armor on the other side and his weapons would be close to hand.  Than he sat next to her but a discreet distance giving her some space.  "I would be honored to watch over you Ariella.  You can sleep easy as I am here for you."

He did not touch her and he sat just within reach to make her not too uncomfortable.  Still he was truly happy for the first time since the raid.  She was adapting well and showing her inner strength.  He was no longer worried it had been too much for her.  He would see to ti she arrived with her dignity intact and her head held high.  No one need know she had been captured and exposed.  He certainly would never tell and he did not think anyone else present had survived?  He slowly fell into a light sleep his hand on her blanket so he would know if she even moved in her sleep.

The sounds of the night grew and to Ranulf it was a peaceful song of living and the natural order of life.  Big cats hisses and wolves howled.  Bird chirped and the crickets sang their song.  The small critters rustled through the leaves collecting subsistence and the predators hunted them.  An owl hooted and other creatures answered.  Wulfe was at peace as this was the world he knew best.

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #86 on: May 29, 2018, 03:01:37 pm »
Ariella swallowed thickly, watching Ranulf across the fire as he gathered his bedroll and saddle. Her nerves had sent all of her hair to stand on end, sending a chilled shiver down her spine despite standing in front of the fire. Once she realized what the guard was doing, she headed over to her own makeshift bed for the night, hiding the small, shy smile that tugged at her lips. The princess had to fake clearing her throat to kick the smile from her features and watched quietly as Ranulf laid down his weapons and armour. Her curious eyes briefly tried to read her guard's expression but he was too turned away from her and she had to look away when he shifted and sat down next to her with a half of a metre between the two.


Her breath caught in her throat, stopped by the vibrations of Ranulf's voice, warming her from the inside out and sending those same vibrations through her bones. She finally laid her head down on her pillow, adjusting her blankets until only her eyes and the top of her head was visible.  "Good night, Ranulf," she murmured out, succumbing to slumber not long after.

Ariella slept soundly, her gentle, steady breathing adding to the rhythmic music of the forest. One hour, her leg has snuck out from under the blanket and was hiked up to her waist. The next hour, not even a strand of her hair could be seen from around the edges of the blanket. And by the time the sun had begun to crawl up the sky, the princess was nearly laying on Ranulf's hand. She was rolled onto her side, her peaceful face held by her hand on her pillow while her other hand had her blanket pulled up to her chin. Her mouth was opened slightly, soft puffs of air being exhaled through chapped, pink lips.

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #87 on: May 29, 2018, 09:24:17 pm »
Ranulf had rested well, waking when she moved, admiring her leg when it was exposed.  Mostly though he was captivated by her face.  She was young but not too young for him by the standards of the day.  He dreamed of having someone with her face in a peasant dress with their children hanging on her skirts.  She was watching him tame horses to sell and they were living happily on a small idyllic spread.  He sighed as the sun came up ending his dream.  Would he ever find anyone like Ariella?  She was almost perfect but she was also a queen to be and betrothed to a Prince.  her marriage might just secure the border for a generation or even more!

He hated the idea of losing her but knowing she would be happy made his life easier to live.  He got up quietly, built the fire back up, before going to the stream.  he caught a half dozen fish, cleaned them for cooking and returned to the fire.  Once he had them spitted he made biscuits in the dutch oven.  He still had some berrys from last night's walk so by the time the sun was fully in the sky breakfast was nearly done.

He reached over squeezing an exposed foot "time to wake Ariella.  You can wash your face in the stream and if you would bring back a bucket of water?  Breakfast will be ready very soon."  Ranulf had not put his armor on yet but he had his weapons close to hand, this was a wilderness after all.

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #88 on: May 30, 2018, 02:56:13 am »
The symphony of birds singing amongst the treetops and the sun peeking through the trees may have been enough to rouse Ranulf awake, Ariella, resembling a sleeping beauty under a spell, continued to slumber. It wasn't until her guard squeezed her foot that he managed to awaken her, while frightening her as well. Her foot darted beneath the blanket and her quiet, rhythmic breathing was startled and interrupted  with a yelp.

Her eyes blinked rapidly to adjust to the bright, blue sky looking back at her until the scent of Ranulf's cooking assaulted her senses, and with welcome arms. Ariella's eyes slipped shut once again and she inhaled deeply, breathing out a reluctant, "Alright," to Ranulf. She disappeared beneath her blankets briefly, changing to the clothes she had kept warm overnight.

The princess struggled to her feet, running her hands through her hair and away from her face and neck as she swayed there. A crackle from the fire reawakened her and she grabbed the bucket with a wash cloth, heading to the stream nearby. Once there, she knelt alongside the bank, tucking the cloth beneath her knee while she bent to fill the bucket with water. Washing her face with the cool water was refreshing and each day she felt closer to forgetting about what those horrible men had attempted with her, what they had succeeded as if she was wiping off the memory.

Suddenly feeling uncomfortable on her own, despite nature's ochestra filling her ears, Ariella lifted the pail with both hands and headed back towards the camp. The knot in her chest tightened by the second, only releasing when she broke through the trees and Ranulf looked up from his preparations for breakfast.

"I hope I took long enough, how's breakfast looking?" Ariella questioned, smoothing out the tension in her voice. She awkwardly made her way over with the bucket of water and set it nearby before walking over to Ranulf and taking a look for herself.

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Re: Revenge Sure is Sweet [MacCloud&Sylphrena]
« Reply #89 on: May 30, 2018, 03:29:10 am »
"Almost done Ariella."  Ranulf replied with a smile but it slowly faded to an expression of concern.  "Are you okay this morning, you seem to be moving a bit awkward which is unlike you?  We can camp another day here if you are sore."  He knew she was not use to rough living or riding.  Her ill treatment at the hands of the Bandits would make it even worse for her.  "I think we are fine here, if you want some more time to rest it is no problem.  Supplies are good and water supply is secure.  We could even smoke some fish for meals later on.  You are what is important Ariella, we will arrive when we arrive and they will be happy to receive you.  I mean who could resist that smile of yours!"  He laughed as he opened the dutch oven and spread the biscuits out on a slate.  "Help yourself to the fish and there is a jar of the jam there beside you to add to the biscuits."  He tilted his head "all the comforts of home."

He ate a coupled of the fish and a few biscuits making sure Ariella had all she wanted and the bits left over could be saved for another meal.  When she was finished eating he made eye contact "so which do you feel like today?  Staying than you can find a sunny rock and relax till I have this cleaned up.  If you wish to move on thought you can saddle your horse and help me pack up to get moving."  He smiled,his eyes seeking how she really felt about moving on today "the choice is yours Ariella."