RP Between Sand and Stars

He waited patiently, or tried to, the side of his body pressing firmly into the nearby wall - a partial respite from the cold. When the door finally swung open, he moved inside, bringing with him the chill and overwhelming darkness. It was swallowed though, by the single candle and the wooden structure that'd managed to survive the crash.

His gaze briefly wandered over her, noticing the change in clothes but nothing else. It was too dark to notice her reddened eyes. "If we keep to your suggested pace - aim for twenty five kilometers a day, we'll get to the closest military base in just under sixteen days," Ishaan began to say, slinging his bag down onto the ground. "Once we get to the mountains we'll have more of a chance to find water and vegetation. But that'll take at least eight or nine days." He walked over to the flickering candle to light the one that'd been extinguished.

The next week was their biggest problem. With no water source, they'd be dead within days. And even if they did find water, in the middle of the desert, their main food source was buried beneath the sand.
Eight or nine days in the desert… It was a long shot, but not impossible. She had trained for this, so the climate wouldn’t be as much of a problem as the endless possibilities of what could happen once they left the faux safety of the carcass of the ship.

“Wear this.” Klaire said after Ishaan got up from lighting the candle, pushing the clothes towards his chest. Her voice was weak, but it could easily be blamed on her tiredness. “It’s clean, and it’ll keep you warm throughout the night. You can sleep on the bed, I’ll keep watch for the first few hours.”

The brunette captain, with her violet eyes already used to the darkness, walked over to an armchair by the door, turning it around with its back facing Ishaan, to grant him enough privacy to change clothes.

“We’ll pack things up and leave before the sunrise. We’ll need to find shelter before noon, rest when the sun is at its highest.” And at night… They’d have to figure it out later.
Clutching the fabric to his chest, Ishaan blinked, watching as she strode away from the warm candlelight. Clad in something very similar to what he held; light-weight, plain - the colour of sand, yet soft enough to provide some comfort. For a moment, he considered doffing everything, though the creeping chill quickly reminded him that layers were a necessity. So once she'd turned, he did the same, facing away from her. The outer layer he wore was worn, shredded in some places, intact in others, no doubt because of the crash. Slinging it over his head, he scrunched it into a ball and tossed it onto his pack. It'd provide little protection from the sun, but perhaps they could use it for something else. An undershirt remained, and although a little dusty, he slid the new fabric over the one that remained.

"I don't mind taking the first shift," he said tentatively, as if worried that she'd take the offer as resistance. She'd lost her mentor, her crew. In mourning, unlike him.
Klaire sat on the chair, with her legs curled up to her chest. She didn’t realize how tired she was until hesitating to answer Ishaan's suggestion.

“Aren’t you tired?”
She asked, unsure if it was safe to look back at him yet. He wouldn’t have suggested it if he was, or maybe he could see how much of a wreck she was, even through the darkness. Slowly, she pulled herself out of the chair.

“Don’t let me sleep all night, you must rest as well.”
She said firmly, stepping close enough so she could see his face, and he could see hers. “I”ll let you have the first shift.”
Ishaan didn't answer, though his silence was answer enough. Instead, he thanked his very limited blessings that she'd agreed to his proposition.

After exchanging few promises and pleasantries, silence overcame them as Klaire laid to rest. He took a seat in the armchair, draping his new cloak over his body, a single candle burning beside him. He'd looked over the map, double-checking his calculations, noting their location, until there was nothing else left to inspect.

Yet time passed so slowly.

He took to watching the wax drip down the length of the candle, each path hardening along the shaft. The wind howled, and he shifted, yawning. Eventually, initially out of boredom, he pulled out a worn notebook and began to write. Name, date, the series of tragic events that belonged to said date, until he'd filled two pages. Until he felt it'd been long enough and it was time to wake Klaire.

Sleep came quickly, but it didn't last.

Before daybreak, they'd gathered their meager belongings, completing one final sweep of the wreckage. And they left, the coolness of the night lingering, providing comfort in the moment, especially since they very well knew what awaited them soon. They walked in silence mostly, speaking only out of necessity. Truthfully, Ishaan didn't know what to say, or what kind of conversation would be appropriate. The only thing he knew about the Captain was... well, her Captaincy. And her dedication to the mission. The disaster of a mission. It didn't feel like a good time to discuss either of those things. So he kept his chapped lips shut, gaze focused ahead.
No amount of training had prepared her for this.

It was chilly at first, but as the sun went up, so did the heat. It only took a few hours for her skin to become sticky due to the thin layer of sweat growing over it, and for her to feel the grains of sand on her hair every time her fingers ran through it. She regretted keeping her hair short, making it impossible for her to tie it in a bun. The air that brushed past them was hot, and the sand that quickly covered their feet after every step made walking even more exhausting than it already was. Klaire questioned if Ishaan had accounted for that when he calculated the duration of their journey, but she didn’t speak about it. In fact, she didn’t speak about anything.

Neither did he, and even though the silence was beginning to bother her, the immense silence of miles and miles of sand and nothing else around them, she had no idea of what there was to say.

Speaking about the weather would only make it more unpleasant, and there was nothing pleasant that had happened in the past 24 hours that she could draw a subject from. The captain unscrewed the cap of the bottle attached to her belt and took a sip of it’s content, only enough to wet her tongue. She decided to take the easiest route.

“Water?” She asked, handing him the bottle.
She broke the silence first, offering a single word and a drink of water. Ishaan took the bottle without complaint, halting in place to take a small, steady sip. The water, just like everything else, was warm, but as it passed his lips and slid down his throat, he could think of nothing better. "Thank you," he replied, passing the bottle back to her and resuming his steady steps forward. "What's your poison, back at home? In recent years I've developed a taste for uisce beatha. But I think I'd rather a rumman - pomegranate, with orange and honey."
Great, the silence was gone. Klaire reattached the bottle to her belt and glanced at Ishaan, who walked by her side.

“Good ale will do it for me.” She said, the memory of the cold drink making her mouth water. Some of the best memories she had of the academy were spent in the local tavern with her classmates, drinking until she could barely stand. “Rumman… Don’t remember ever trying it. Who produces it?” Klaire knew Uisce Beatha to be a popular Fir Bolg beverage and she’d quite enjoyed it, even if it wasn’t her favorite.
"It's hard to find here - in Costa Duba, at least - " Ishaan commented. "Independent producers. Fae, mainly. Those that live northwest of here." In the desert, at the foot of the mountains. "That's where my parents were from, east of Brimstone. I vaguely remember having a sip when I was young, but I've been fortunate to find a merchant who imports rumman."

He glanced over her shoulder, his dark eyes - the only part not concealed by cloth - gazing at her. "But seriously, just ale? That's a safe choice... not even a wine drinker? Actually, no, I'd bet you can hold your liquor."
“How far east?” Klaire asked, wondering if they’d flown over Ishaan’s hometown and if they did, if he’d felt nostalgic. It wasn’t something she felt comfortable enough asking, not knowing the reason why they left in the first place. The talk of liquor was more fun. It was safer.

“I like safe. But I also like wine.” She said with a chuckle. She could hold her liquor alright, but it was a good thing Ishaan hadn’t seen her drunk. She wasn’t herself when she crossed that line, ‘a more fun version’, Willow had told her once. Her stomach turned; suddenly the conversation wasn’t as fun anymore.

She’d have to get used to ignoring that feeling. The casual conversation helped distract them from the long hike, up until the point the heat was too much to ignore. Over miles and miles of sand, Klaire was happy to find the remains of what could’ve once been a wrecked ship just like hers, and it was large enough to cast a shadow over the two of them while they waited for the sun to go down.

From her bag, Klaire removed a loaf of bread and split it in two, giving Ishaan the bigger half. She took another small sip of water before taking a small bite of it.

“Try chewing it for as long as you can, and taking small bites at a time. It’ll trick your stomach into thinking you’re eating more food than you are.” She told Ishaan; after all, they didn’t know how long the food was gonna last, or if they even had enough of it to make it to the base. There was a slim chance they could find food in the desert, but the creatures that lived there weren’t easy to come by and at least half of them were poisonous. It was a good thing Klaire studied enough about the region to be able to tell which ones were safe for consumption.
Time passed faster when they spoke, and the longer they spoke, the more Ishaan realized that despite her intensity and position, Klaire was just like the rest of them. With interests and preferences, family and friends back home...

He took the bread, noticing the difference in size but knowing better than to argue pointlessly. Back against the weathered wood, he sat and ate, gazing out upon the vastness before them. She must've trained for this too - how to survive for as long as possible. "If you imagine hard enough, you can taste the apricots too-" He joked, thinking back to the apricot pastries he'd purchased before their departure from Costa Duba.

Slight smile on his face, Ishaan glanced towards her. Out of pure luck, he noticed the slight movement in the sand beside her. Something practically invisible, camouflaged with the sand. But he'd seen the movement, seen the spiked horns. "Move towards me, slowly," he whispered urgently, his free hand moving to grab her upper arm, hoping to pull her towards him.
The sea of sand drew on for days, swooping up and down underneath the blistering sun. Even the thought of water didn't exist for miles to come. It was dry, windy, and almost reflective I'm the way the sun shone off the sand. The original destination was the city of pirates, a much sought after destination for most. Especially pirates, and the military whoml have seem to have never cracked the code on its location. Therrin was closer to finding it than ever before a storm knocked them off trail, crashing their ship, The Trivela. Of which Therrin never found the captain, but assumed he was dead with the rest. He (the captain, and assuming some of the other crew) knew where the priate city was, at least that's what they said. But for what god forsaken reason would it ever be out here? Other than maybe a good veil to keep them hidden? Therrin couldn't think of such reason, and since no one filled him in, he had nothing to work on. Not to mention he had no fucking idea where he was. Or where he was going.

It had been a week since the ship crashed, presumably leaving only therrin as a survivor. The Brute mostly chalked it up to his stature and quick thinking for his not so fatal landing. Therrin spent the better part of a day looking for survivors and salvageable supplies. Not that he cared if anyone lived, but it would lighten the load he would have to carry for sure. The wreckage was brutal, blood smeared along what remained of the wooden vessel. Limbs and body parts were found crushed beneath the devastated Trivela, leaving no hope that Therron would have a pack mule. Wrapped up in some canvas, Therrin hauled about a weeks worth of food and water from the ship, giving him enough to atleast attempt his journey. If he conserved his energy enough he could make the food last maybe two weeks if needed. The last piece hed search for through the rubble was gold. There wasnt much left to be foundz but enough to get him a place to stay should he ever find it. Before departing the large creature would wrap his own head in a combination of cloth and canvas to conceal his face, not only for protection from the sun, but for his identity.

That was over a week ago, and there was only a day or two of food remaining. Although Therrin had finished the remainder of the water this morning. His large body required more than that of a puny human, or even an elf. Food was something he learned to train his body on dealing with less of, but water he could not. Especially with the nagging of the Kerbal in his back pocket. These mushrooms not only fatigued Therrin, but dehydrate him faster than normal. Something he had to compromise was better than dealing with the withdrawals. With that, the large Brute broke off a small piece of one of the mushrooms and chewed it slowly, breathing out as the adrenaline lightly pumped into his veins. For a relief moment his eyes flashed red and his muscles pulsated, the physical affects lasting mere second when put up against Therrins tolerance. At this point the Kerbal were only to ease his symptoms, especially since they were almost impossible to kick cold turkey. With a disappointed shake the fir bolg dropped the last morsel of water onto his tongue before angrily tossing the canteen over the dune.

Despite the harsh conditions, Therrins mental never seemed to waiver. His focus was solely on that of finding his target, even through being stranded in sand land. His target belonged to the crew of Nox, a notorious pirate band that many urged to finally silence. Therrin wondered why he wouldn't be tasked with taking out the whole crew. No this Bounty was different and one like Therrim hadn't completed before. The client wants the target alive, no doubt to be a display and a warning to the rest of the pirate world. To Therrin, it didn't matter what side he was on or what happened to his targets, as long as he got paid. And if the tsget so happened to die in the process if capture, The Bounty Hunter would make sure to receive his payment regardless. Let's just say his size made him more persuasive than others.

Now, through the peak height of the sun, a large lumbering figure shuffled over a large sand dune with careful footing not to lose balance. There was a clear visual of the mountains to his left, one that he was unsure of to the name. While Therrin was intelligent, geography wasn't his strong suit. So while he should have some idea where he was, he hadn't the slightest. He pondered for a moment, visualizing his travels from the past as he walked hoping to find some answer to the question of his journey.
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Apricots. They weren’t Klaire’s favorites, but she’d devour one happily right about now. She laughed along with Ishaan, briefly closing her eyes and savoring a piece of dry bread as if it was the succulent fruit.

"Move towards me, slowly," Klaire opened her eyes and stopped chewing, purpple irises darting down at her left, where a near invisible creature slithered through the sand. With her free hand Klaire reached for her sword, a motion the snake almost seemed to have taken notice of. While slowly moving towards Ishaan, She kept the blade in the ready in case the animal decided to strike.

It happened in under a second. The snake’s head moved back and lashed out at Klaire, who at the same time she swang her sword, splitting the creature in half. Not fast enough, for the two long teeth had sunk into the skin of her calf, piercing through the thin fabric of her clothes.

Klaire groaned, hopping in one leg while pulling the head of the snake out of the other.

“Fucking shit.” She muttered, bringing it closer to her face for examination. Spiked horns, with beige scales and white eyes, a yellow drop hanging from its fang. She’d read about that snake and its poison before. If she didn’t get a shot of the antidote, she was going to die.

“Lunch break is over.” She ended up saying, looking for something to wrap around the snake’s head. In case they managed to make it back to the base in three days, which she knew to be impossible, a physician would know what to do with it. Three days. She’d keep going regardless.
His warning had been whispered in vain. In an instant, Ishaan was on his feet and the remainder of his meal had been shoved into his jacket pocket. Dark eyes wide, concern etched across his exposed features, the man nearly reached out to touch her shoulder. Instead, he watched as she, with surprising levels of calmness, folded the snake's head into a scrap of fabric. He was hardly an expert in desert wildlife but the gleam of yellow was not a good sign. "How long?" He managed to ask, his tone oddly firm despite the rising panic.
The pain was manageable. Still there, but she figured she could still walk, at least until the poison began to hit. She finished off packing her things, her back turned to Ishaan when he asked how much time she had left.

“A week, maybe two.” She was a terrible liar, but since he didn’t know that about her and her face was hidden, perhaps it would’ve done the trick. “There’ll be an antidote at the base, we need to make it there quickly. Start moving.”

Klaire tossed the bag with her weapons over her shoulder and started walking, staring at the sand near her feet in case there was any other horned snake around. She’d read about them, and in her books it said they weren’t usually found that close to the mountains. She should’ve known better by now that books weren’t completely reliable.

If she hadn’t been staring at the ground, perhaps she would have noticed the silhouette in the distance sooner.

“Get down!” She hissed, laying face down in the sand. They were still nearby their little hideout, if the person didn’t notice them perhaps they’d be able to crawl back there without being seen.
Therrin could feel his massive feet digging and sinking into the hot sand with each step he took, willing himself to keep going with nothing but the hanging sun for miles. Or so he thought.

A shuffle in the distance caught the keen eye of the fir bolg, two smaller figures shuffling behind some makeshift protection. An ambush? Therrin's eyes darted around the landscape, looking for any hidden foes that might try to take him by surprise. With a surprising amount of grace Therrin carefully slid down the side of the dune, drawing the massive sword from his back as he did. He used it as a fin to steady his slide. Once he reached the base of the dune, the sword slid across the ground and upward to rest on Therrins shoulder.

"Your best option would be to show yourself now, before anything foolish costs you your life." Therrin warned as he stopped about twenty meters away, his booming voice bellowing through the open area.
A week, perhaps two. It was a large range, one that caused Ishaan to pause. He tilted his head as he gazed upon her back, pondering. There was no reason to lie, no reason to keep something so crucial from him, her only remaining crew mate. So he believed her, though chose to doubt the upper number. She was petite - the poison would take effect faster, compared to him, if he'd been bitten.

Wordlessly, he stumbled after her, pushing the covering back over his nose and mouth. They managed a couple paces before she dropped to the ground, Ishaan following swiftly after. Tracking her gaze, he watched as the figure slid down the dune, his massive sword acting as a stabilizer within the dense sand. His stature and the boom of his voice did little to settle the fairy, who remained deathly silent, angling his head towards Klaire. Such stature required high levels of energy - perhaps they could outrun him. Still, he waited for her command.
Shit, they’d been seen.

While the man slid down towards them, sword in hand, Klaire loaded one of her pistols and cocked it, aiming it at the fir bolg while pushing Ishaan to hide behind the wreckage.

“We’re not looking for trouble.” Klaire said firmly. If odds weren’t against them, she’d tell him to turn around threatening to pull the trigger, but she didn’t have much time and there was a chance, a slim chance that the man in front of her wasn’t a pirate. There was also a slim chance that he was by himself. Without taking her eyes out of the stranger, the captain of the Dragonfly pulled Ishaan close and whispered in his ear. “Be prepared to fight. Keep an eye out, there may be more of him.”

"Who are you?"
Therrin raised a brow when the female stepped out with a pistol in hand. She'd have to be a pretty good shot to hit anything vital from that range, but Therrin didn't feel the need to risk it. It would be pointless to fight unless he had toom wasting that much energy could see his lack of water become a much bigger problem. Though, he wasn't going to let his guard down.

"Youre pointing a weapon at someone three times your size. If youre not lookong for trouble, than what are you looking for?" Therrin expected an amubush, but eas starting to believe thay wasnt what this was. The girl alone looked tired and worn, but there was a very small chance they were out here alone. "Where are the rest of you? Dont tell me you two are alone?"

Therrin sighed and stabbed his sword into the sand, leaving hia large hand peopped on the hilt. He couldnt tell them his name, atleast not immidiately. Therrin had no idea where he was, and it would be too easy for someone with military knowledge to recognize the name. From what he had heard the story had taken many forms, and traveled by word of mouth through the lands. Another risk he couldnt take. "I am but a hand for hire, and I have no quarrel with you, unless you choose to create one. I am terribly thirsty so if we can avoid making me kill you I would be okay with it. Who are you?"
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Standing half a step behind and to the right of his Captain, Ishaan assessed the towering man and the sword resting casually against his shoulder. It'd take a little longer than a couple years to prepare himself. The handful of pub brawls, childhood scraps, and very limited training he'd obtained since departing Costa Duba was all he had, so if it came down to fighting, there was very little hope.

While the man spoke, Ishaan kept his head forward, eyes sweeping past him and to the sides, watching for any other movement. Watching, and failing to notice anything else out of the ordinary. Was he truly alone? And like them, stranded and surviving in the desert? He claimed to be thirsty - and although they had a scarce water supply, it was the single most valuable item they carried. Apart from an antidote. And the odds of this man carrying exactly what they needed was impossible.

"Whatever the story is, I'm in," he murmured, slightly bending his head down to hover over Klaire's shoulder.