RP:To Look at the World with Broken Eyes
Part of the Death is Lighter Than a Feather Arc
Rheece remains quiet and apparently vigilant as he sashays along at Astrid’s side, attempting to take on the look of the more experienced Guards he had encountered; that sort of feeling of a coiled viper when you looked at them, capable of exploding into action at a moment’s notice. Whether or not he exuded that fel aura or not, he remained quiet for the majority of their interactions – assuming his role of stone-faced bodyguard with all the grace he can muster given his lack of sight. With the sound of the latch and lock sliding into place a sigh he was not aware he had been holding seeps free of his lips and he feels his way out toward a wall and slides down its length, “Thank the Light for that. Tense people around here.” His nose was twisted in a peculiar fashion though Astrid is deliberately not burdened with what he is smelling, wringing his hands in a dry wash, with the shank set aside for the moment, he looks in the direction of the woman whose scent cuts through the village’s stench like a knife through butter, “Great job in getting us this far but you don’t have to do all that work…”, a frown mars his youthful façade, “…much as it pains me maybe we better just bail on this place early as possible tomorrow and never look back.” A bitter laugh breaks the chapped lines of his mouth, “Ha, a few hours away from Cenril for the first time and I’m already talking about breaking the law…but it’s not fair to ask such labours of you. Not fair at all. Bloody eyes if I had them…” With another sigh he continues to speak, “You have the bed; I’ve slept on worse than this floor.” Shifting himself a little his feet find the rickety panel of the door, so he would be the awoken should it be jimmied open whilst they slept. At this bizarre diagonal position, his head propped up by his left hand he shifts once before speaking again, “Maybe we can borrow a horse or two from the stable, though don’t think I saw many inside of there. Gah, these people might be…strange...” there again that strange wrinkling of his nose, “…but they don’t deserve that. What do you think?” She had got them this far, would be foolish not to hear her thoughts after all.
Astrid immediately sought out for the single, dust covered window that the room offered and checked the stability of the hinges, as well as the latch. The view wasn't anything spectacular, it simply looked over the stables and yard where four horses and one cart was housed. After inspecting the window, she turned toward the rest of the room to investigate every crook and nanny for anything that could later help them, but all she found were cobwebs and the occasional spider. Rheece's voice filtered into her actions, and she glanced his way from time to time before finally realizing that his blindfold was still tucked into the satchel, and quickly, she fished it out and tossed it into his lap. "I'd feel terrible if I skirted my promises," she started after he had finished speaking. Since the room bore no hidden treasures, Astrid sat on the edge of the bed facing Rheece as he sat against the door. "And I have no idea which direction Cenril is in, let alone how far from it we are. But, if you think we should go, I did see a couple of horses in the stables. Our window looks down into a yard and the stables, so I can manage to tack up two horses once everything has quieted down." The uncertainty that could have been birthed from the idea of stealing horses and making off in the night was truthfully from her inexperience with equines and her general fear of them. "If you think we should go, then we'll go." They could sell a horse at the next village they came across if Cenril wasn't their next stop, and she could manage to get medicine and food, and probably a better room for the night. She flopped back onto the bed and threw her arms over her eyes as she released a long groan. "Oh I don't know what to do! Experience says that there isn't much here for us except trouble, and since you can't do anything right now, staying might not be the best option. But we don't know how long it will take to get back to Cenril, let alone to somewhere I am familiar with, and the blind leading the blind has never turned out in the best possible fashion." She fell silent and tossed him a pillow the head of the bed. "Just in case we decide to stay here for the night."
Rheece was not so much of a gent to decline the pillow, a faint glimmer of a grin touching his lips as it unceremoniously hits him now the only real show of emotion from his features as they had once more returned to their shrouded state. “Oi, could given' me a warning. That’s taking advantage!” The darkness felt good though, back in it again his other senses seemed to take on a primal edge rather than his blurred sight frantically fighting for purchase on a world that kept slipping away from him. In silence he remained as Astrid went about her inspection and rebuttal, his mind slowly working at the problems presented before them in that methodical manner he had grown accustomed to. Stealing horses and fleeing into the night seemed like the best option, selfish yes, to steal from the innocent and disappear into the night on the back of their trust. “Heh, I don’t know what to do, I just don’t.” He shook his head and reached out to grasp the crude weapon to his side once more bringing it close to his chest, “Maybe we should just stay the night, rest up, maybe my sight will be back in the morning and then we’ll be one up. I’ll give you a hand with the cleaning and we can leave on good terms. It seems a bit callous on our part to turn our backs on these people after they have given us a place to stay. Maybe they just aren’t used to travellers?” He offers a half shrug and glances in her general direction, “Sound like a plan? If things remain like they are…tomorrow we’ll make our move.” Should Astrid agree to his thoughts he would settle in to rest, his body –was- exhausted, running on the fumes of a few apples and coconut water after such traumatic events he would be asleep in mere moments and when his companion joined him in slumber they would be undisturbed for the most part until the setting of the sun proper and dawning of twilight. Sudden sounds of metal on metal and death rattles would resound throughout the inn and street outside. The clamour of frantic exchange in hopes of inflicting death upon a fellow man, woman or child. Rheece woke with a start, the smell filling his nostrils causing him to get violently ill as the stench of the purest death overtook him and sent nausea racing throughout his entire system. What was going on!?
Astrid agreed to Rheece's suggestion with nothing more than a grunt as she rolled over onto the mattress. It didn't take long for her to fall asleep despite the fact that the mattress was barely any better than the rocks she had been dumped on earlier; straw wasn't the best stuffing for sleeping on, but it would have to do. Her body intended to rest through the night and well into the morning, but the sounds of fervent movement stirred her from her sleep. "What's that noise?" She murmured her voice heavy with sleep just before Rheece retched onto the floor. "What's wrong?" If it wasn't for a long, blood curdling scream perforated the air, Astrid would have given Rheece whatever aide she could- instead, she jerked to her feet and flew to the window. With seconds of surveying the yard, which was occupied by two men desperately struggling to get the upper hand in a fight fought with snapping jaws and a gluttonous rage. The larger brute eventually managed to rip his opponent towards him, and a second later, the smaller man had been felled with a lethal bite to the throat. The blood spurting over the ground caused Astrid to scream out in terror, and the new tone, terror, amidst the sounds of fanatical hunger and need, created a new bounty and the people below and within the establishment surged toward their room with a new urgency. "Oh god, they're -eating- each other! We have to get out of here." She turned from the window and frantically began looking for a weapon within the room. She felt the prickling of frightened tears in her throat, and her breath hitched with each inhale. A loud crash below indicated that the monsters of the night either managed to make it into the establishment, or they managed to break the railing on the stairs as they fought to reach the room.
Rheece empties himself out onto the floor until he is hollow, a shell of the creature that he once was, the smell of, death, vile and malicious crashed throughout his system usurping any rivulet of fluid within him. Struggling to his knees and using shaking arms he feels around frantically for the stone dagger that now lay to his right – he had heard the scream from below, heard Astrid’s voice, the high octaves of fear ripe in her terrified timbre, he must do something. At length he brings himself to his feet, a little shaky but gathering strength now that he had pulled the blindfold down over his nose. To his relief his sight had bettered somewhat, Astrid was a distinctive blur by the bed and upon a brief inspection of the room the door and window also distinguishable against the wooden façade. Ignoring the wretched mess he had left in the corner of the room, ignoring the embarrassment of the situation instead for apt worry he speaks, his voice claiming a touch of the authority he felt within the Guard uniform, “How far is the drop to the stable yard below? I’m not sure I fancy meeting whatever is coming up those stairs.” As he is speaking he is moving the entire time, dragging the bed toward the door in hopes of slowing the gathering mass below as they sought fresh blood. “Can you find anything of us in the room, anything that can be used as a blunt weapon even? Maybe…” Launching a series of quick, hard kicks at one of the bed’s legs he rends it free, the resulting drop of the bed to the floor causing silence to consume the floor below them and Rheece can only look in horror at Astrid; what an absolute fool he was, he had just alerted the few who did not know of their arrival. “Okay, I guess it no longer matters how far down we have to go…” Pawing at the floor for the rough-shod baton he extends it to Astrid, “Just keep them back with this and tell me where they are coming from, you’ll have to be my eyes till they get close enough so I can see them.” Another treacherous scream alights the frenzied masses from downstairs as they move en masse in the duo’s direction, tearing at one another with reckless abandon to claim kills of their own. “Reckon you’re okay to do this?” He can’t notice her tears, the fear upon her face, nothing, only that same strong smell of purity that breaks through even the barrier of the black-wrap around his face.
Astrid had experienced a many number of things detrimental to her safety and at times her life, but she was never forced into such a situation without someone to truly look after her. The growing frustration of the flesh eating creatures could be heard as they tried to pack themselves within the stairwell; the only thing that offered Astrid and Rheece a brief freedom from an impending devouring, was the fact that due to such close quarters, the citizens of the crazed village managed to bite into flesh in any direction they looked. Easy prey tended to be the one that was often picked first, but it didn't stop the horde from struggling towards fresher food. The questions pertaining to the possible weapons within the room as well as the distance of the drop they would have to make swirled around her as she stood, rooted by terror to the flooring. It wasn't until after the crash of the bed, and the heavy post was handed to her that she managed a small amount of bravery to near the window. "It's about twelve feet from the window ledge." She stammered after shoving open the window. Due to her previous scream, and the heavy movement of furniture, the people that had once occupied the yard, save for the one fallen after his throat was ripped out, now threaded themselves haphazardly into the inn by whichever means necessary. Given the zombie-like creatures attraction to noise, Astrid eased the curtain rod from its support and rested it on the sill, her actions quiet by quick. "I don't know if the material will hold, but we need to go. There's no one in the yard right now, maybe we can make it to the stables." Unlike the building they occupied, the stable was quiet and still, which seemed a safe bet. As she slung her satchel over her shoulder and pulled at Rheece as she moved toward the window, a few of the monsters surged hungrily against the door, growling and gurgling with a basic, barbaric need. Her bludgeoning weapon was tossed from the window, and thudded dully against the spongy yard before Astrid crawled out the window and began lowering herself to the ground. Her movements were made quicker due to popping threads in the seams, and she eventually released their decided rope when she could safely fall the remaining distance. The bedpost was gathered in hand again, and she stood vigilant below their exit point and between two busted windows of the inn. "Come on!" She hissed.
Rheece wastes little time in following Astrid out of the window, a last wary glance thrown over his shoulder as the door moans under the pressure of the frenzied horde; his hands fumbling for the curtain before he slips from the room into the night Light, it smelled even worse out here. The tearing of seams returned at an accelerated rate given his increased weight and the haphazard way in which he lowered himself, his lack of sight messing with his depth perception and causing him to rock from side to side as he attempts to descend. Fortuitously, when the curtain finally gives way he is most of the way down, his landing far less than graceful due to the sudden loss of resistance but he makes it nonetheless without sustaining any further injury – much to his relief and no doubt Astrid’s. The dagger which had been tucked into his belt buckle is released once more and he motions for Astrid to lead them on to their destination. A fury-filled scream alerts them to the undead’s final entry to their room and finding their prey to be non-existent and another bloodthirsty howl that echoes from the windowpane announces they have been spotted in the yard below. “We better get a move on…” Rheece feebly points out the obvious as he increases the speed of his step, “…let’s hope they haven’t brought some more out of hi-“. Speak of the devil and he shall come, his father used to say, and with all the astute timing of the Dark One himself a pair of stable-hands come into view amidst a feast of guts, gore and organs; one of the four horses slaughtered in cold blood and now being harvested for its precious vitae by the crazed workmen. To Rheece it is simply a large corpse and two hunched figures and he glances in Astrid’s direction for a description, a hint or a tip as to what they are about to face. Beyond the two feeding men their escape stands, whinnying and stamping their hooves in terror and behind the duo the horde is once more battling the proximity of the stairs and the doorframe which from the kitchens to the yard and their eventual prey. For his part Rheece only hefted his crude shank, now was as good a time as ever to see if it would work.
Astrid helped Rheece to his feet regardless of whether or not he needed such aide before she took his hand and hurried toward the stables. His words weren't ignored, but entirely lost onto her when the stable hands emerged from their feast. They were significantly slowed after gorging themselves on a healthy horse, but they were still plagued by an insatiable hunger, and as they moved toward the bounty of the night, Astrid pushed against Rheece to hopefully force him to stumble back from the gluttonous duo before she swung hard for the first's head. Her bedpost bat connected with the boy's temple and his skull caved in beneath the weight of her weapon. Were it not for the fight or flight reaction they were experiencing, she would've crumpled beside the felled boy and sobbed her apologies, but due to the second nearing them, she couldn't do more than swat him aside with a wimpy strike to the torso. Frantically, she clawed for Rheece's arm to jerk him after her once again, "The stall. Get into the stall!" She was unaware of his returning vision, and so her touch was a lot rougher than it otherwise would be. The stall door that corralled a single, black gelding whose tack was hung on two rusted hooks that jutted from the warped wall. "Keep them back," she panted, pushing her bludgeoning weapon into Rheece's arms before turning to soothe the frightening horse while simultaneously trying to strap its saddle to its back and shove the bit into its mouth. While she worked, the horde that had packed themselves into the inn fell from the window they left open, breaking either a leg or an arm, or hurried down the stairs and through the demolished atrium and out into the yard.
Rheece moves with something of the semblance of a fully fit version of him would, his actions decisive and strong as he falls into the only thing he considered himself decent Bludgeon in one hand and knife in the other he delivered a brutal series of blows to the best of his abilities to the invading stable-keep, head, knee, chest. The final blow smashing into the creature’s sternum with a merciless crack, effectively disabling the man a moment before the dagger was thrust into its neck. Sweat poured from the young man’s brow and he had to quickly lower his veil to allow himself to empty his stomach once more, the fell stench of such depraved murder was back with renewed vigour – he didn’t know how he knew but he did, he just did, “They’re close, like, very close, I’m almost sure.” The hedonistic swarm would soon round the corner, the few who had not torn each other to shreds; even with a blade Rheece did not much fancy his chances against such reckless abandon and desire, “Not to put any pressure on you or anything but…yeah…” The first of the soulless rounded the corner and launched into a full out sprint, its pace terrifying now that blood had been scented. Blinking away the watered cracks that kept perverting upon his focus Rheece launches the bed leg with all his might hoping to slow the advancing male, who happened to be the cook, the baton lands true colliding with a knee and causing the chef-turned-hunter to fall to its knees, scrabbling forward even still as it fights to reach its feet once more. The one advantage Astrid and Rheece had was the stall would only allow one at a time to enter, so the Guard kept his stone dagger ready and prayers being sent in righteous volleys at the sky in hopes of some miracle.
Astrid managed to ready the horse for departure, but not without a heavy amount of struggling. "I got it!" She cried as Rheece's bat felled yet another soulless being, and she quickly clamoured into the saddle. But from her perch, she could see that they weren't leaving the stables the way they had entered; the horde had amassed outside of the building, and was now a sea of thrashing arms and angry snaps of teeth. Curses flew under her breath as she glanced around the room, and despite her small hold on magic, fervent need spurred on a levelling blast of air that demolished the outer wall of the stall that allowed them an exit into the streets of the town. Beneath her, the horse jerked and whinnied with fright, threatening to rear upward and pitch her from its back. However, with a few hushed words and a single, almost reassuring pat, the gelding settled and she reached out for Rheece. "Come on! Leave it!" Once he was stationed behind her, she turned the horse toward the hole she created out of panicked need, and dug her heels into its ribs. Their mount took off with a frenzied need to place itself as far from the Soulless and the village, its hooves pounding a desperate tattoo against the hard ground. With the jungle behind them, she steered the beast out toward the open grounds that flanked the outer edges of the cursed village and as far from the hungered horde as possible.