He's real Isolde, K'uavaens' really here. I'm free, and the others are coming for you.
came the voice of her faithful friend, his tone soft yet hopeful, as if spooked that by even saying it 'aloud' would ruin all their chances. At the sound of his voice in her ears and the words he spoke, Isolde could feel her world crumble down around her, and tears came unbidden to her eyes. Reshi was free
. She could almost feel the cobblestones beneath padded feet and her heart sang in relief, knowing that no matter what happened to her now, Reshelde was free and could live on.
The woman sank down to the floor of her cell, using the rags of her dress to dab at her eyes, though it did little to wipe the grunge from her cheeks either and likely only added to it. They were coming for her too, she wouldn't have to live in the dark anymore, in this dismal squalor, and just the thought of a real bath, was enough to make those tears finally fall. She didn't know how K'uavaen managed it, what tricks he had to pull, who he had to know in order to break her out of this prison, but to the goddesses above and beyond, she thanked them and whispered vows of devotion and faith she hadn't spoken in Turns.
All was quiet in the cells, save for the cough or shuffle of one of the inmates, and so to those ears tuned to the silence, the softest scuff of footfalls approaching was enough to draw her from her reverie. A guard would never tread so lightly, and the dayhandler began to rise to her feet, ready to meet whomever it was that was coming for her. The man who appeared at the door of her cell was someone who looked like he'd done this before, speaking to her in hushed tones and she wanted to tell him that she already knew why he was here; yet it was so good to hear someone call her a Lady again, and speak to her with even a hint of respect that she remained quiet while he worked the lock.
When the door finally opened, and her freedom lay just on the other side of it, there was just the briefest moment of hesitation, more wondering if her legs were going to work with so much weight upon her. "Thank you, gentlemen."
She said softly, her throat scratchy and dry but she did her best to convey her everlasting gratitude in those simple words and chocolate eyes glanced from their leader to the others and gave a nod to each as she stepped free of her cell for the last time. Their leader put another in charge of her then, and he separated from them to move further into the prison and she looked after him for a moment. She would pray for his safety, though something told her he could not have come this far only to have one more excursion into the labyrinth of cells to take him down.
Instead, she dutifully followed the one put in charge of her own safety, and whenever he paused, so too did she. Bare feet made naught a sound on the cold stone floors as she stepped carefully behind him until they made it to was she hoped was a safe waiting place in the small storeroom. Taking cover behind a crate, Isolde crouched down low and practically hugged her legs to her chest for a moment, wondering what would happen if they were caught. They would throw her back in that cell, or worse, and she didn't want to ever go back in there... A chill ran down her spine and she shivered, running her hands up bare legs, more as a comfort than anything to keep her warm.
The young man with her wasn't much of a talker, and that was fine by her at the moment as well, left to her own thoughts about Reshelde, K'uavaen, about leaving Walled and never looking back. All of those dreams that had given her hope before were suddenly coming back to flood her mind and her heart once more and part of her could barely contain it. Biting her lip, she kept the tears at bay, kept her breathing steady and her body from shivering. She was Lady Isolde, she had more control than to breakdown before she was even out of the prison...
When the rogue returned, the other man visibly seemed to relax, and she found herself doing the same without even realizing she'd been worried. They wasted no time when he was back though, and despite the commotions behind them on the other side of the prison, they made their escape through the way these two had come in. They emerged into the Hold and though there were so many thoughts running through her mind, she was quiet as they worked their through what had once been her Home, her life and sanctuary, and now even the walls of the Hold were still her prison. The leader was taking them someplace, a Mouse's home? And from the looks of it, they were traveling toward The Bottoms, which seemed almost fitting given the name. Yet it mattered little to her, because she knew that wherever this man was taking her, Reshelde and K'uavaen would be there.
As they ventured deeper into The Bottoms, Isoldes' anticipation grew and when the group came to a small hovel and paused just outside, she felt her heart stop with them. From behind an overturned cart across the street, came a familiar bleat and soon after followed the lean form of the gray daywher, practically sprinting toward the woman and Isolde felt her whole self grow lighter. Reshi!
She cried in her mind, and she barely had to take a step before the daywher nearly collided with her and she sank to her knees to wrap her arms around his gaunt frame. My Isolde.
The hunter purred, nuzzling his nose into the crook of her neck and pressing the rest of him as much against her as he could, practically pushing her off her feet in his attempts to be as close to her as possible. Never again my love, never again shall we be apart that long. Every day, beside you, together until the end.
The woman vowed in a whisper of devotion to the daywher, and his croons and rumbles were all the answer she needed.
Stepping up after the daywher was another face she thought she'd never see once more, and as K'uavaen stopped before her, Reshelde seemed to catch the hint and relinquished his hold on the woman, if only just for a moment. "K'uavaen..."
She whispered softly as she rose to her feet once more, chocolate eyes growing watery at the mere sight of the bluerider. Isolde wished she could have been at least a little more presentable before seeing him again, a comb through the tangle that was her hair, a towel to wipe the dirt and grime from her body, and even a burlap sack would be cleaner than the rags she wore. And yet, there he was, smiling at her as if she was still the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.
Those arms moved to wrap around her, his voice in her ears and once more Isolde felt her foundations shake beneath her. Tears sprang to her eyes and this time, she couldn't stop them from falling. This was
real. He was here, Reshi was here, she was free... they could leave, and be together again... It was a dream come true. I... didn't think so either... I told you to leave me, and yet I'm so thankful you didn't... Oh K."
The woman stammered quietly between tears, her own arms wrapping around the man's waist and pulling him in closer, holding onto him like a rock in a storm, as if letting him go meant that this illusion might shatter into a million pieces and she'd be back in that cell once more.
Several moments lasted in a comfortable silence, the wonder of being held in those strong arms and letting herself melt against him. She was a waif, thin and bony where curves had once been voluptuous, and yet when she was with him she felt whole again, could remember a life that felt so long ago and she allowed herself to be swept away for the time being. It was a moment that couldn't last forever though, and they both knew it, so when Locke spoke up once more, she clung to K for those last few seconds that she could.
"Isolde, I want you to take Reshelde and go to where the dragons are waiting. We'll keep in touch, but I'd rather you two not join us for this. I've mapped you a route that should keep both of you undercover on the way there. Just be sure to stay low and keep quiet."
The rogue said, handing her the map and for a heartbeat or two, she didn't reach out to take it. She didn't want to leave K'uavaen, to let go of him and doe eyes turned to look up at the bluerider practically pleading with him not to go, not to leave her... but this must have been the promise he made in order to enlist this rogues' help to free her. The dayhandler had a feeling there would be no arguing with this man, the others followed him without question, and they'd come this far and her freedom was so close at hand.
Isolde took the map from him and nodded reluctantly. "I'll go, but you promise to keep him safe for me. Didn't come this far just to have him killed on a fools' errand."
The woman said, her voice taking on a bit of heat and resentment for just the barest moment before she remembered who she was talking to, the man who'd freed her. "I just... couldn't bear the thought..."
She said quieter and leaned back against K'uavaen once more, her hand curling against his tunic. "Come back to me."
Isolde pleaded with the bluerider, embracing him once more and pressed a promising kiss to his lips, a promise of many more when he returned, safe and sound.
The dayhandler had to pry herself away from K'uavaen when the time came, and she leaned against Reshelde, the gray quite content to be at her side forever more. She couldn't bear to watch, or look away, as the group left the dwelling and she didn't know when she'd see K'uavaen again. The map lay crumpled in her hand and she finally opened it, reading the street names and noticing landmarks to guide her way through the Living Ward and back to the rogue's entrance. Isolde sighed softly as she resigned herself to leaving, yet the thought of going to Synsith helped to soothe her uneasiness.
The crippled man who apparently lived in this hovel had the kindness to at least offer her a blanket before she left, claiming he had one to spare though she saw only the one fine blanket. Part of her didn't want to take it, to leave him with what meager possessions he had, and yet another part of her knew it would be cold out there in the dark and she would be thankful for the blanket later. With a grateful nod toward Mouse, she wrapped the cloth around her shoulders and pulled it close like a cloak and Reshelde stepped up to her side, looking eagerly at the door. As they left the hovel, she glanced back over her shoulder to the crippled man, and there was something about the look in his eyes... guilt? shame? ... It unnerved her for a moment, but then he looked away and closed the door behind her.
The gray daywher padded quietly beside his mistress, thankful to be with her once more and yet knowing they were out of the weeds yet and they kept to the shadows as much as possible, paused at every noise they heard, and crept slowly yet surely through the Hold. Isolde followed the map as best she could, detouring only once when she'd run across a patrol that had decided to kick their heels up for a bit and the pair had to skirt around them before finding the path once more. She was unpracticed at such ways of stealth, but when the need of survival lay heavy on your shoulders, anyone can become a quick learner and use their heads to endure.
In the end, they emerged from the Hold unnoticed and unscathed, dread and worry slipping from their shoulders as they hurried for the cover of the jungles. Relief washed over her, the feeling of soft grass and dirt beneath her feet was almost intoxicating in those first few moments, but she would have plenty of time to savor the little things she'd taken for granted. They hurried on, following the route Locke had laid out for her until she heard the tell tale sound of a wings rustling and she came upon the clearing that housed the dragons and stumbled through the underbrush. "Synsith!"
The woman practically cried out as she hurried toward the pale blue, barely even registering the three other dragons that lay close by.
Woman and daywher would find a small piece of solace as they waited in the embrace of the pale blue. Isolde sat with her back against the larger beast, Reshelde resting with his head in her lap, and all they were missing was the man who'd made it possible. "Tell me everything you can Syn... please, let me know he's okay."
The woman said softly, curling her fingers around Reshi's head knobs and leaning further into the dragons' warmth while they waited for the others to return.
As soon as Locke had appeared in the alleyway, Kent dropped his guard and rose to his feet. The gray daywher took that as a sign that it was all safe and bolted from their hiding place to reunite with his bonded, and the bluerider was soon to move after him. A soft sort of smile crept over his lips at the sight of such a reunion, but there was another he was looking forward to more. They hadn't been apart for nearly as long as Isolde and K'uavaen, but it was still a relief to see the wraithrider in one piece and Kent went to him and embraced his husband the moment he could.
The moment their kiss ended, the question was on both of their lips, how it went. Locke asked after the kennels and Reshelde, and the greenrider filled him in on their success, assuring him that most of the blood upon him was not his own, a minor scrape across his bicep, but nothing that would slow him down in the slightest. From what the chimerarider said, their end had an unexpected yet useful distraction and they'd rescued Isolde without incident or alarms raised. Kent was grateful to hear they'd both managed to pull it off without anyone the wiser, but how long would that buy them? Until the next shift change at least, so when morning came they had best be far away from Walled.
That meant, they had to be quick during this next phase of the night and Kent was both dreading and looking forward to it. He wasn't entirely keen on any plan that involved The Reaper, and yet to put a sizable dent in the slave trade that was always a threat over the heads of orphans like himself, Kent was glad to do it. And so, when Locke called them back together again, the greenrider was apt to listen and quicker to follow suit, and they all moved together from shadow to shadow through the alleys of The Bottoms.
The tension and apprehension he felt seemed to take it's toll on his relations with time and it seemed to take forever for them to get through the maze of the underbelly of the Hold. When they finally reached the complex the slavers were housed in, Locke pointed out some cover for them and told them to wait. Kent narrowed his eyes at the wraithrider, not intending to be left behind while The Reaper went gallivanting off again, and for the briefest moment the greenrider moved after him. One look though and Kent paused in his steps, a hiss pressed through his teeth as he knew there was no argument and instead he would have to wait with the others while Locke worked better and quicker alone. The redhead just wished that sometimes, this time, Locke would let someone watch his back for him.
While they waited, the greenrider turned to K'uavaen, and gestured to the crossbow that he'd given the man earlier. "Might want to get that ready, gonna need it soon. You good I'ent?"
He asked of the other greenrider, making sure the young man had everything he needed for a fight. And then, all they could do was wait.... He worried, up until the moment the wraithrider appeared again and ushered them all forward, assuring them the guards have been taken care of. "I could have helped."
Was the faint whisper that escaped him as he brushed past the rogue and slipped into the building. Just beyond the door already lay a strewn guard, evidence of how well The Reaper could handle himself, yet Kent held his daggers tighter in hand and glanced to K'uavaen, to make sure the man was steady enough to face what was coming next.