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 The Band of the Hawk

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Drake Kento

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PostSubject: Re: The Band of the Hawk   Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:59 pm

Ronan's eyes flung open as a male voice cried out in shock. Instinctively,he rolled to the side just as something buried itself amongst the furs with a dull thud. Rising up out of the bedding like a supernatural creature of wrath, the Bandit leader slammed his large fist into the face of the hooded assailant.

With a crunch of bone, the man stumbled back into the door, clutching at his bloodied face, before a second blow smacked him in the side of the face, his body crumpling to the ground lifelessly. Ronan wasted no time and hauling the assassin out of the way and throwing open his door.

Outside, a large group of heavily armed men skulked towards the other cabins, swords drawn.

"To arms! Up arms, enemy in the camp!" Ronan bellowed, his deep voice like thunder in the silence of the camp.

The armed intruders jumped in surprise, obviously thinking the leader would be taken care of. A group broke off the main body of men to rush towards Ronan, intending to quiet the man, but the damage was already done.

The camp sprung to life, the doors to the cabins thrown open to expel their deadly cargo. The assorted members of the band began to lay into the intruders, leaving death in their wake. Ronan turned to Reyn who was pushing herself back up off the ground with eyes as wide as saucers.

"Keep that knife close. If we fall, I suggest you open a vein. It will be less painful for you." he said softly, looking over to where the knife still stuck out from the body.

Without another word, Ronan leaped from the doorway and into the path of the men charging towards him. Twisting in time to dodge a thrust of the leading attacker, he grabbed the wrist of a second and with a precise movement broke the bone, pulling the blade free with his other hand in time to parry a cut aimed for his neck. He danced between the blades in his style of fighting, hamstringing a man here, cutting an artery there, throwing the sword into the chest of another only to roll and pick up another fallen weapon in time to block a counter blow.

Two of the men came at Ronan from behind as he stabbed one of their fellows in the stomach. Turning as fast as he can, he knew he'd be too slow to stop their blows. But the blows never fell. The pair had suddenly sprouted an arrow each in the throat. Glancing over his shoulder, he nodded to the shadowy form of a figure crouched on a roof, a longbow raining death on the intruders.

In the centre of the camp a larger group of the attackers milled about in dis-array, the screaming form of a man suddenly thrown into their mass with a crash of armour and weapons. Vlad stood in the very middle of the enemy, battering them into a mess with what looked like part of a log bench, flinging men out of his way with impunity with bare hands when they drew too close. Sloan ducked in and out under the golden giant's arms, crushing knee caps and tenderizing male parts with his pair of hammers whenever someone got behind Vlad's guard.

Jade moved through the men with a sinuous grace, her blades leaving fountains of arterial blood as she sliced throats, her body seeming to flow around their attacks. Leaping off of a falling soldier, she'd hand stand on the shoulders of another, his neck cut at the same moment before flipping over the hack of a third's sword.

Sly slid down off the roof, his quiver empty and drew the notched sword breaker at his hip, bare hands crushing wind pipes, while using the breaker to catch the blows, twisting the weapon the snap their sword.

The group attacked in a flurry of primeval vengeance as they repelled these people that would desecrate the peace of the Band's home. After what seemed like hours, the last few stumbled out into the trees, escaping the death trap that they had wandered into blindly, leaving a good two score of their fellows behind, never to return.

Sly pulled free some of his arrows and immediately melted into the forest after them to chase down the survivors. None would return to tell what happened. Sloan was sent out as well to find out what happened to Rat, who was on patrol. Rat would never let this many get through without some kind of warning unless something happened to stop him.

Ronan sighed wearily, dropping the bloodied sword to stumble back towards his cabin, intending to check on the girl whilst Jade and Vlad combed the camp for any skulkers. No one checked on Aunty. No one needed to.
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PostSubject: Re: The Band of the Hawk   Sat Nov 16, 2013 8:40 pm

Reyn watched as Ronan barrelled out the door, yelling for his men and she almost called out for him to wait. She didn't want him to leave her here by herself! Biting her bottom lip, she ran to the entrance and slammed the door shut, her hands shaking against the wood. She couldn't get her mind to catch up. One moment, she had been sound asleep and the next, someone had tried to kill Ronan. Or had the been trying to kill her? She had been in such a panic, she had simply reacted to the threat. She hadn't even known if she could.

Collapsing to her knees, she turned so her back was against the door, completely at a loss. What if she hadn't be able to get to the blade? 'No,' she thought, what if she hadn't woken up. Wrapping her arms around herself, she glanced around the room only for her eyes to meet the dead body to the right of the room. Squeaking, she flew up onto her feet and stared it down, almost afraid it would come back to life.

After long moments of a continued stare, Reyn took a shaky foot forward and then another. Ronan had said to get the blade and he was right, it was her only means of protection. She couldn't fight anyone off with her bare hands, she was too small and weak. They would break her in an instant.

Taking a deep breath and biting down, the young girl swooped down and wrapped her hand around the blade, tugging. However, it was lodged in the dead man's side further than she had originally thought so she had to use both hands to pull until finally it slide out with a wet sound. A gush of blood that had already been leaking onto the floor, bubbled out and Reyn immediately felt lightheaded.

Quickly, she retreated to the corner she had slept in earlier and curled into herself, hands secured around the blade so tight, her knuckles were white.

Long moments passed until finally the door opened and in walked Ronan, his eyes sweeping the room before landing on her fur draped, naked form. As soon as she saw him, she broke out into hysterics, sobs wracking her body as she babbled incoherently through her gasps. She didn't know why she had only started crying now but she knew she was also relieved that he was back.

His strides were long as he ate up the floor between them and swooped down to pick her up by the underside of her arms, moving to plop her back down on the bed of furs.

"I-I-he..and"she spoke to him through her tears. The words wet and unclear, "-killed-ed-him."

He stared at her with tired eyes and nodded, "Yes, he's dead."

Her sobs grew harder until her whole body was rocked by the sounds, "I k-killed-d him." Her hands finally unclenching the blade and letting it fall in between her thighs. However, Ronan gave her a strange look, one she thought almost looked amused.

"I killed him, you merely stabbed him," he spoke slow, as if trying to explain something to a small child. It pissed her off that he was acting so calm after such a thing and feeling like he was mocking her.

Smacking her hands against his chest, she hiccuped, her lips turned down in a frown as she snapped back at him, "No, I killed him, you stupid lion!" She didn't even know what she was arguing about anymore.
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PostSubject: Re: The Band of the Hawk   Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:31 am

"Whom did you kill?" a stern voice asked from the doorway, the shadowy form outside coalescing into Aunty as she stepped through.

Her sharp eyes quickly scanned the room, taking in the body, the blood, the knife, the crumpled clothing and Reyn's bare skin in a matter of seconds before she clucked her tongue distastefully.

"Never mind, that. Vlad!" she called out, the hulking man ducking through the doorway quickly.
"Will you get that out of here, please." she motioned towards the pale body as Reyn hid herself behind the broad back of Ronan for a modicum of decency.

Vlad grabbed the would-be assassin by the scruff of his collar and hauled him outside with a smile of thanks from Aunty. The moment he stepped out, Aunty turned to the unclothed pair.

"Ronan, you ox brained lump of coal!" she snapped, her eyes blazing like an icy fire.
"After everything I've done to keep you alive and you let an amateur nearly shove a blade in your back?" she growled, her previous hunch seeming to disintegrate as she stalked closer.

"I..-uh-it..." Ronan stammered, backing away a step with his hands out protectively.

As he stepped back, he nudged into the still hiccuping girl behind him, causing her to let out a squeak of surprise. Aunty's eyes widened as though she just remembered the girl was there and in a heartbeat, her calm, soothing demeanor, returned like a comfortable cloak. She shuffled around Ronan, her back hunched once again with hands gathered behind her back, a soft smile playing across her lips.

"So, I guess he has you to thank for still being alive." Aunty raised a finger to stall the girl's arguments as she began to protest once again. "Who killed the assassin is of no consequence. You acted valiantly and saved a very precious person to this group. That is all you need to know and all that matters."
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PostSubject: Re: The Band of the Hawk   Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:37 am

Reyn shivered in shock at the tone in Aunty's voice. It was colder and crueler than it normally was and the young girl wasn't sure how she should take it. This whole night had been a mess and her brain was struggling to keep up. Matters only got worse as the man in front of her started tumbling over his own words - something she had yet to see from the large man.

Blinking in shock, her ears drowned in muffled sounds as Aunty stepped forward to address her but Reyn had had enough and felt her legs give out under her. Collapsing onto her bottom, she clutched the fur draped over her naked flesh closer to herself and took deep breaths in an attempt to calm down.

"It's fine, it's fine, it's fine," she chanted to herself, her voice soft as her breathing slowed down, "This would have never happened at home."

"Ah, but this is your home now, girl. Now quite being a trembling lamb and let's clean you up," she felt Aunty's hand on her shoulder before blinking at the woman's words once more. After a moment, she process them and looked down at herself. Her right arm was speckled and splashed with red from when she had sunk the blade into the clocked man's side. There wasn't much but it was enough for the young girls skin to crawl as she swallowed hard and pushed herself to her feet, nodding obediently to Aunty.

Lifting her head, she went to look at Ronan but her eyes caught on the pool of blood that sat in the middle of the room. A small trail lead to the door from where Vlad had removed the body and Reyn let out a groan, "That's just not right."

A frail hand patted her on her back, "Chin up, girl. No reason to make a bigger mess by getting sick."
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PostSubject: Re: The Band of the Hawk   Fri Dec 13, 2013 6:49 pm

Two days passed during the clean up process. The bodies of the unknown force were piled onto a flat cart then taken deeper into the woods to be burnt.

Rat spent the time lounging in his cabin, recuperating from his wounds. Sloan and Jade had found him sitting up against a tree, clutching his bloodied side amongst the bodies of two more of the men garbed like the assassin. The trio had jumped him while he was on patrol, but even with a knife in his side, he went down fighting, cutting their number by two before collapsing.

Vlad and Sly had hauled out the bodies of several soldiers from Aunty's cabin on the first night and Reyn noticed how no one seemed surprised about that. Just as no body was concerned for the old woman's well being during the attack.

Reyn was made to take over cooking duties, assisting Aunty as the others returned the small base to it's former glory. Floors were scrubbed, arrows re-made, windows patched temporarily with layers of cloth. New soil was spread over the old, burying the grisly scene from sight.

On the morning of the third day after the attack, Ronan tapped at the cabin door where he and the slave girl shared the room.

"Get up, girl! You've got a long day, today." he called through the wood, his deep voice carrying clearly.

He listened to the ruffling of the bedding as she stirred, then the soft patter of bare feet on the flooring. The door cracked open, the blurry eyed face of Reyn staring up at him, her pale blonde hair a tangle from sleep.

"What for?" she croaked quietly.

"I wish to try something." he murmured, turning on his heel. "Now, come." he ordered over his shoulder as he began to walk away, slowing his stride to give her time to quickly pull on more clothes and run to catch up.

He lead her to the clearing designated to training and warming up for the Band of the Hawk. Two figures lounged on a rough bench made from a felled log.

The one on the left was draped in thick robes, the sleeves growing wide the closer towards his wrists it got until flaring like a funnel. A wide belt of cloth tied tight around his waist cinched the robes to keep them close against his body. A black staff as long as both his arms put together, rested against the bench beside him, long sinuous creatures engraved along it's length, huge claws on each foot, the tail curling around the staff with a long flowing mane running to the tip of it's tail. The robed man had a serene face, his eyes crinkling with amusement as he spoke. He wore no jewelry, no facial hair and his head shaved completely bald.

Beside him, the contrast of his companion seemed so obvious. With golden hair brushing his shoulders and a bold nose, ice blue eyes twinkling merrily as he re told a story to the bald headed bandit. A glimmering breast plate covered his chest, the metal lined with golden trimming along with the other pieces of plate over his lean body. A shield shaped like a reverse tear drop strapped to his back and a sword with a bejeweled pommel in it's gold enameled scabbard resting beside him.

The pair stopped their conversation as Ronan and Reyn approached, standing up in respect of their comrade and leader.

"Girl, this is Shijiamouni Xing Heng" he introduced the bald headed fellow who gave her a half bow, palms pressed together in front of him.

"And Richard the bold" he motioned to the armoured man who gave her a flourishing bow, taking her dainty hand in his gauntlet-ed one, kissing the back of it softly before rising again with a dazzling smile.

"Today, you will train with them. It came to my attention that you need a little toughening up, so every day you will be trained by someone in the Band. You will wake at this time every morning, train to the full extent of your abilities, then proceed with your regular chores." Ronan told her, his silver eyes meeting hers sternly before turning back to the other two.

"She's all yours." he murmured before striding away, leaving the girl with them.

"I will start." the bald headed man announced, stepping up, Richard shrugging and taking a seat again patiently.

"You may call me Shi, it is faster and easier for one unfamiliar with my language." he said softly.

"I will teach you to defend yourself with fists and feet." Shi said, pausing to point to her eyes, then her ears and finally her mouth before continuing.

"Watch closely. Listen intently. And ask if understanding escapes you. Now, let us begin."
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PostSubject: Re: The Band of the Hawk   Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:19 pm

Reyn's mind swirled with what what happening in front of her. One minute she was sleeping, the next she was stumbling sleepily behind Ronan, and now here she was, being told she was about to learn to fight. She was now more awake than ever as she watched Ronan striding away after his orders. Her mouth fell open to complain but the hooded man was already stepping forward and addressing her.

"Now, let us begin," the man whose name she had already forgotten brought his hands up in front of her, causing her panic to rise quickly. Her arms pulled in tight around her body as she stared at him wide-eyed.

"I-I do not know how to fight nor do I wish to," the young girl pleaded, taking a off-balance step back, trying to talk this unknown man out of this new situation she was being subjected to. Her mind was cursing Ronan for leaving her here to defend herself when he knew damn well she hadn't a clue or the slightest ability.

The man merely nodded his head, as if he understood her reluctance, "A sad reality but one we are forced into. One must learn to defend themselves if they wish to survive," his hands raised one more time in front of her, drawing her eyes down as he spun and swept her feet out from under her with his own leg. His move was a very drastic contrast to Reyn, smooth and effortless and she collapsed onto her bottom with a yelp of surprise.

"One must be aware that hands do not pose the only threat. Try and stay up on your feet always for if you are grounded by a stronger enemy, you are dead," he continued, ushering her back up to her feet.

Reyn was shaking in fear but took an almost audible gulp of air to try and calm herself. She was trembling where she stood but she also felt a twinge in her stomach, hot and unsettling. She was mad that Ronan had simply dumped her here as if she was a sacrificial lamb, wiping his hands of her as if she was the one bringing him annoyance when she didn't want to be here in the first place.

"Hold your arms like this," he shifted his arms, pausing patiently as he waited for her to copy him. Reyn wasn't going to, not even because Ronan expected her to or the fact that he made her want to hit something, but she felt bad denying the man in front of her when he so patiently waited for her to comply.

After a long moment, she nodded before trying to mimic his pose. It felt awkward, very uncomfortable and she found her body didn't want to remain in place.

The man walked forward, causing Reyn to flinch but instead he placed his hand on her collarbone and pushed her slightly, "Straighten your back and widen your stance. It will make it easier to hold your position." Reyn did as she was told, readjusting until he seemed satisfied.

"Loosen up," he continued before once more dropping into a low spin-kick, "And always be prepared."
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PostSubject: Re: The Band of the Hawk   Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:44 pm

Reyn hit the ground again for what seemed like the hundredth time as Shi smoothly deposited her there.

"Okay, I think she's had enough of that for the day. You'll bruise her lovely rump if you keep it up." Richard laughed boisterously as he pushed himself up to his feet with the rattle of metal.

"You are right, I shall pass her on to you, then." Shi replied, giving Reyn the half bow again before turning to take a seat as Richard stepped up while the girl brushed the dust off her clothes.

"I'm going to assume that you have no weapon expertise." he smiled, waiting for her curt nod.

"Thought so. Go fetch one of those swords." he said, pointing towards a weapon rack where practice swords sat.

He waited patiently for her to go and grab one how ever reluctantly before carrying on.

"The blades are dulled so you won't cut yourself." he assured her by running a thumb along the edge as she cradled the heavy weapon away from her body in both arms as though handling a venomous snake.

"I suggest using both hands for the time being, at least until you build up your muscles to handle it." he walked up closer.
"Widen your stance. Back straight. Hold the blade forth, right hand at the top of the pommel." he instructed, circling her and prodding at her legs and back until she's in the correct position.
"That's it. This is the first stance. When you strike, keep your balance and use the blade's momentum to do the damage. Do not strike with your arms or you'll tire fast. Lock your wrists with each strike."

The pair took turns training her in the basics for two hours, drilling the basic stances and strikes into the young girl until her body glistened with sweat, her extra layers of clothing discarded long ago from the heat. Finally, they gave her leave to attend to the daily chores.

As she stumbled away, they whispered to each other.
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PostSubject: Re: The Band of the Hawk   Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:00 pm

Reyn felt like a sack of flour, heavy weight that was just tossed from one pair of hands to another. After what felt like a lifetime, she had stumbled away from the men to go do her daily chores. Something she had grown used to doing in the week she had stayed in the camp. However, she had to bite back her complaints as she dragged her overtired body from one place to the other.

She would have rather skipped dinner all together but Aunty had made sure she had cleaned her plate, poking her sensitive sides every time her head slumped forward and threatened to fall within the food that graced her plate.

Standing up, she mindlessly began collecting the dirty plates, limping her way to the kitchen to help Vlad wash.

Despite being exhausted and beyond sore, her eyes brightened at the sight of the very large but silent man who she found she had found a silent-friend with. He never spoke but always was listening and complying the the wishes of the higher ranks. Reyn particularly liked that he posed no threat to her other than potentially being stepped on. They had never spoken to one another but he was her silent companion.

Stepping up beside his wash basin, she gave him a very small and shaky smile in greeting. One he blinked at and returned to his chore, giving her no response.but Reyn smile crept a little bigger on her face.
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PostSubject: Re: The Band of the Hawk   Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:33 am

Richard sauntered into the circle of light where the majority of the group rested after their meal, his shift on watch over and replaced by one of the Twins. Quickly spotting the hulking form of Ronan picking at a bone in the fire with a branch, he unceremoniously plopped himself down beside him.

"How did she do?" Ronan murmured, his gaze never leaving the crackling flames.

"Shi seems to think that she has a knack for his Martial Arts. Her first day and she was progressing at twice the speed a student usually does. At least, according to him." Richard finished with a wry laugh.

"And the sword?"

"Eh, she's weak. No muscle to lift the thing, and that's just the training sword. She learns the stances quick, but can't handle a dozen strikes before needing a rest." He replied with a shrug, plucking a long grass blade and placing it between his lips as he lent back against the seat, looking at the stars.

"So I was right." Ronan grumbled in confirmation before suddenly standing, his stick thrown into the fire as he strode off towards the washing area.

"Yeah, you're welcome!" The amused voice of Richard called behind him, shaking his head ruefully.

****

"Vlad, go rest, my friend." The gruff voice said behind the silent pair as Ronan approached from the lounging area.

The giant turned and nodded his understanding, carefully placing a clean plate onto the drying rack before drying his hands on a much too small towel on his way out to join the others, leaving just the slave and her new Master.

"How was your training, today?" He asked, emotionless.

Waiting long enough for her to answer, he continued to stare at her for a few moments after her answer, as though weighing her value with only his eyes.

With a slow nod, he murmured something to himself, the only recognizable word being "useful".

"Tomorrow, you train with Vlad and only Vlad." At the way her face visibly brightened, he couldn't help but chuckle at the naive girl.

"Don't get too excited. Not all of Vlad's size is natural." he smirked, teasingly, knowing she'll be ten times as sore and broken after her weight training with the Giant.

"Clean up and go to bed. You will need the rest." he finished darkly before turning on his heel and fading back into the throng of lazy merriment.
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PostSubject: Re: The Band of the Hawk   Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:50 pm

When Reyn had heard Ronan claim Vlad's size wasn't natural. She thought he had meant Vlad's height, not the size of his muscles. She had clearly been wrong. So very wrong.

Here she was, trying to flip a barrel filled with weights from end to end. At first, it hadn't been too bad. Heavy but after watching how Vlad did it, how he bent his legs and used the angle of his body to tip it down it's length to the other side. However, after the twelfth time, her arms and legs were trembling and she couldn't even lift it fully back up onto it's end let alone the other side. They had been at this for well over an hour and she thought for sure she would end up face planting before Vlad let her finish.

Dropping it back down, almost having it fall onto her leather slipped feet, Reyn arched her back, feeling it crack which did nothing more than make it ache more. Lifting her hands, she looked down at the dried, already callusing skin before a grunt pulled her attention to her left.

Vlad was standing there with furrowed eyebrows before nodding his head back down to the barrel without a word. Reyn flushed slightly, before bending back down to grip the end of the barrel. As much as she hated this, she couldn't bring herself to speak against Vlad. She especially did not like the thought of disappointing him so with another feminine grunt of her own, she went back to her fumbling, trembling barrel flips.

***

Reyn collapsed on her stomach onto the grass beside the training area. Vlad had disappeared a few minutes ago after letting out another grunt that she had assumed meant it was time to break. The only reason she had been able to understand it was most likely because she physically hadn't been able to do anything anymore. After the barrels, they had moved onto pulling ropes that were tied to heavy crates and other things she hadn't cared to inspect.

She was drenched from head to toe and the sun was warm against her skin. It was making her drowsy on top of the physical exhaustion. She knew she should drink some water since Aunty had continuously reminded her of the dangers of dehydration but Reyn couldn't bring herself to move and she let herself doze off for just a few moments.
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