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A World Beyond Our Own


K'nahli

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"....not quite what I was expecting, though still a step up from home" she spoke with a semi-pleased sigh.

 

The lifeless form of the creature she had come to know as a 'Snapping Shrew' lay by the girl's feet as a frail, heap of flesh; out from beneath it's sandy skin, a single, well-placed arrow now freshly protruding from the side of it's neck. It was a fatty-looking creature to be sure, though one that would easily provide more than enough meat for the two of them to last the night, even if - admittedly - it had been the thrill of the hunt which she had been most eager find in these dusty outcrops, anything at all that might serve to help cement some sense of camaraderie between herself and K'rahto - the capricious Tia whom now stood but a short distance behind her with what she could only imagine to be a sullen expression.

 

'Drybone' as the Outsiders called it had at least offered much more interesting game. It of course went without saying that K'rahto's interests were surely no mere piqued than when they had started, his role in the end having served little more than to startle the creature out from the spiny thicket before K'nahli delivered a single, killing blow from afar. Her thoughtful stare began to burrow deeply into the carcass then, the mild satisfaction she had felt but moments ago quickly fading away beneath the weight of questions that ailed her. Had her efforts been entirely in vain? The Tia had said practically nothing since they began.... but then.... what else was it that she could have expected? His pride had been spit upon and thrown to the dirt. His reaction was nothing short of what she would expect from anyone else, but that it was K'rahto himself meant it could only go another step beyond. She was naive, she quickly realised. Very naive to believe that such a prideful being were ever going to simply forget such a thing so easily. The fine contours of the bow's wooden grain rolled firmly against her skin as her grip tightened. She could feel her gaze beginning to reach for him then, her visage somewhere at a loss between a colder apathy and a softer concern. Perhaps she could offer a small jest to lighten the mood or even complain on K'rahto's behalf, though... in the end she wouldn't make it as far as to so much as turn around and face the Tia; her thoughts - as so often was the case - never making it as far as her lips.

 

Normally she would not be as talkative around anyone other than her dearest blood sister, but K'rahto's presence in particular demanded a particular form of... attentiveness. Even before the incident, her commentary would always be simple, just enough to fill the silences and keep either of them from overthinking matters - those many curious matters that had surrounded the pair's relationship over the past number of weeks. Unfavourable as things had turned out for each of them, she had felt that it were up to her to at least try; Twelve knew that K'rahto himself would not. Though, even then she could not help but wonder... was he any more aware of her intentions than she'd like? Did she sound as forced as the facade felt inside her mind, she wondered? She'd like to think not... to believe that she were not truly so weak and uncomfortable for merely being in his presence, though in truth, nor would she think herself experienced at handling such situations either.

 

No, nothing had been easy ever since then.

 

 

"...I don't know if we can bring this back, it might be best to eat before returning, but..." her voice would eventually follow after the previous while cutting herself off mid-sentence as twin streaks of maroon washed across the grey canvas above, the unfamiliar weather casting a sense of wariness and unease upon the girl's mind. Even with the inexperience K'rahto in particular carried with him in these northern territories of Thanalan, surely he needed no further hints as to the inevitable and coming, turn of the weather. Rain. An incredibly rare sight, and under any other circumstances, certainly a wondrous luxury to that of a desert-dwelling miqo'te. Though without a fire or even shelter, it's foreshadowing only bore a deepening concern within the huntresses mind.

 

Nevertheless, she would await K'rahto's opinion.

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  • 1 month later...

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((Obligatory reminder that I'm not an English native, thus my English is very simple/uninteresting and likely wrong ;_; ))

 

 

 

 

He’d said nothing. There were no words he wished to share. Nothing. The Tia, with his broken pride and his broken lance still tied to his back, had kept a serious expression glued to his face all the time, coloured by his own private annoyance. His thoughts should be clear even if he didn’t share them, or at least some of them would be; other ones, born from the life changing experience he’d just gone through, would still remain obscure for the huntress.

 

He walked to their fallen prey as K’nahli spoke of the incoming rain, drawing a knife with his right and leaning down to start cutting – perhaps a bit more fiercely than what was necessary – the meat they’d use for dinner. She was clearly trying to sound and act softer than the usual, moved by some sort of stupid pity that K’rahto certainly didn’t need. That was right… He didn’t need that. Any of that. It was becoming clearer with every passing second, every word she pronounced in forced friendliness.

 

“We’ll find shelter,” was all he replied as he worked, not bothering to look at her.

 

[…]

 

A hunter is a hunter, no matter how unknown the land. Finding a cave didn’t take them too long. It was a very small space, but it’d suffice to shelter them from the rain as they had dinner. Once settled, the crisp voice of the bonfire was the only sound that seemed to reign between them, for K’rahto was still unwilling to give his partner any sort of useless conversation. He ate his meat with cold eyes lost in the rain outside, consumed by his own thoughts. Still no words he’d wish to share.[/align]

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I am an English native but if Clover needs to warn people of her "terrible" writing and inexperience then I should also mention that creative writing does not come naturally to me so I apologise in advance for my uninteresting style ^^a

 

K'rahto had already begun digging into his meal before K'nahli had so much as assumed her place next to the fire. Unbeknownst to the Tia, the young female's gaze had found itself fixated upon him for what felt like the longest time. Discretion was hardly even a necessity, so detached was the Tia from the unshakable annoyances around him that he had purposely made himself numb to. Focusing upon his features now, he certainly looked like the same Tia - the same cold and angry Tia that always seemed too busy being offended by the world around him... but the change in atmosphere was undeniable. Even for K'nahli it would have been something that would draw further upon that sense of unease that had preoccupied her throughout their entire journey, had her concerns not already been directed to another matter entirely.

 

"K'rahto..." the delicate trace of fragility... an unusual anxiety just peeking out from beneath an otherwise calm and neutral facade.

 

"Don't you think we should go back?"

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Silence. Even if he kept his gaze away, he could still feel her wine eyes upon him, shamelessly observing his every movement. Oh, he wouldn’t turn to face her now. He’d rather be stabbed in the heart than finding damn pity in K’nahli’s features.

 

"K'rahto..."

 

There it was, that careful tone again, far from the annoying and arrogant attitude she tended to display with him. He tensed his fist, deepened his frown, but still wouldn’t look at her. He just didn’t want to find out the things he’d be willing to do if he saw her now...

 

"Don't you think we should go back?"

 

(Stop looking at me. Don’t ever say my name.)

 

"......"

 

He inhaled, deeply and silently. The answer was easy, because it didn’t matter at all.

 

"Yes."

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His response was exactly what she wanted to hear, all that she could have hoped for from him; though she didn't dare allow herself even a second of relief. It wasn't that easy, she knew that to be the case... though perhaps her lack of clarity had been intentional, a weak barrier to shield herself from the abrasions she was sure to suffer with a more direct proposal - one that was unavoidable now.

 

"No...." she replied with the same voice, failing in her attempt to push through her usual strength.

 

"I did not mean home..."

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[align=justify]She did not mean home? What did she even think he meant? Home, Ul’dah… everything was the same to him right now. K’rahto took a new bite from his meat, perhaps more aggressively than he’d have liked, and forced himself to keep his gaze away. There was some sort of emptiness lying behind the coldness in his eyes, and as much was obvious from his next answer.

 

“Doesn’t matter”.

 

He just wanted her to be quiet.

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The bitter response was enough to make the girl flinch. He was being strangely compliant, even if it was obvious to her that he was not himself - very far from it. Though even acknowledging as much, the temptation to take advantage of the matter only roused even further within her, a brief silence to reward his unwitting obedience as the girl struggled to bite back against her desire to leave that place and yet not push the Tia ever deeper into uncertain territory.

 

How strange it was to see him this way... and how unfortunate for the girl that he chose now to recede into his shell.

 

 

"....stop it".

 

The words had surprised even herself, a sharp retort camouflaged beneath a silken veil. Though it would not show. Her gaze had bored deep into the the soil by her feet, flecked dark with numerous stains from where the strengthening mist outside gave way to intruding rain. To him, to everyone even... this was merely what was typical of the girl - forever seen as a mere imprint upon the canvas; ever so simple and lacking in dimension.

 

"Why must you be so difficult?"

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[align=justify]K’rahto’s mouth had opened once more to take a new bite, and it froze that way when K’nahli made everything stop with a demand. Stop. Slowly, painted with brushes of disbelief, the Tia’s eyes turned to look at the huntress; she’d always been good with her arrows, hadn’t she? Even now. He wouldn’t be above displaying the smallest signs of weakness for her, even now. But that wasn’t all, it wasn’t that simple anymore. How unfortunate, how ironic that now, when K’nahli was becoming something K’rahto didn’t need, she seemed to want him back.

 

My lance’s broken,” he answered, his expression recovering its cutting coldness from a moment before. “And I have no more words for you.”[/align]

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"And so must you be too?" she retorted with simmering impatience, her expression growing increasingly more firm in retaliation.

 

"You would be best served by more quickly taking shame in the way you so pathetically sit here and mope than you do allowing some outsider to bruise your fragile, little ego."

 

Her boots continued to shuffle and fidget restlessly against the chalky soil underfoot, playing an unsettled game with one another to which her gaze served to silently spectate; a gaze now caught in limbo between both the Tia an the distant view of Ul'dah from their humble little cave. Patience wasn't her strong suit, least of all when in foreign lands - and K'rahto new just how to test her.

 

"You're not weak because you lost. You're weak because you insist on letting it consume you" she chided.

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[align=justify]When K’rahto realized, the sound of K’nahli’s venomous voice had started making his blood boil more than what was safe. He’d let her talk too much, say too much. It was clear that the huntress wanted to punch him hard in the face, her words an attempt to make him wake up from whatever hole she believed he was trapped in, as if it were that simple. The reaction was unavoidable; K’rahto tightened his fist, bared his teeth slightly, and narrowed his sharp eyes with the danger of a predator. He’d been right; K’nahli wasn’t something he needed. She was, in fact, quite the opposite; so much he felt he really could murder her right then, right there.

 

Troubled by his own thoughts, the Tia stood up abruptly and tossed away the stick with the small leftovers of his meat. He then forced himself to turn away from the female that had caused him so much trouble, silently cursing day he dared to lay his gaze on those damn eyes for the first time. His voice was low, contained when he spoke.

 

“I will never want to be your Nunh again.”

 

This said, he stepped into the rain, willing to leave on his own. No; he would leave on his own, no matter what.[/align]

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The hollow clattering of wood against rock sent the girl's gaze shooting anxiously toward the back of the cave to where the feral animal stirred. She had provoked him. Too much. Her luck pushed too far, as she had predicted. Time and time again she had thought to reason with him, even if it meant wounding him in the process.... but each attempt had been as fruitless as the last. Moreso even, for it likely only earned more and more of the male's ire each time she would dare bare fang against him. The girl had gambled, the girl had lost. Once again she had lost.... and as though the Gods themselves had saw fit to punish her for her grossly intolerable ways, a thunderous clap of foreign origin rolled unseen through the skies above, crushing her fragile sense of hearing with an unbearable percussion.

 

((Open in new tab))

 

K'rahto had placed but one foot outside of the cave into they greying rain, his unprotected skin now falling prey to the strengthening torrent that unleashed it's drowning fury down upon their mutual and piteous display. He was strong, brisk in his attempted departure, though an unseen force had quickly claimed him, a smaller figure now joining him in that freezing hell while an outreached hand gripped tightly upon his wrist as though it were a lifeline and seeing him to an immediate halt. It was not the first time she had denied him this way, though this time it was not an angry and stubborn K'nahli fighting against the Tia's will, but instead a trembling and miserable excuse for a huntress, too weak to so much as meet eyes with his ferocious gaze as those brittle words leaked uncontrollably from her lips.

 

"Don't.... don't go...."

 

A second clap of thunder - distant though unmistakable - followed only moments after, rewarding the Tia with a clarification to cement his certainties as slender fingers wrapped tighter still around his wrist in silent plea. The downpour had swallowed up her pride in an instant, leaving naught for the boy to behold but a sad excuse for a Hipparion tribesmember, a soaken and lost little runt that had been abandoned by it's family in the storm.

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[align=justify]What was wrong with her? What in the damn Twelve was wrong with the proud huntress he used to know? Her hand made him come to a halt like the heaviest chainball. He became completely motionless, with his back still turned to her and something akin to surprise creeping up to his luckily hidden eyes. Then there was that weak plea, soft like rain and deafening like thunder, and K’rahto’s brow furrowed darkly. What was… wrong…

 

There was no answer just yet, no movement from the shocked Tia. He almost turned to look at her; almost. Perhaps he could abuse that weakness now, be the stronger one as she seemed to break for any reason, or just be her puppet once more as she did whatever she pleased with his pride. And none of his poisonous thoughts was something he needed. Nothing he needed; she was nothing he needed. And right now, neither was he something she’d need to be the strong miqo’te she’d always displayed herself as. Almost turned, but instead he removed his hand with a rapid, abrupt movement, as if she burnt—and she did. The next steps sought to take him away, far away from K’nahli Yohko.[/align]

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She lacked the strength to pursue. As though the very muscles within her had wasted away to nothing, leaving the girl to the point where she could just barely hold herself upon her own two feet. A desperate hand would be all that remained loyal to her. Reaching out, chasing the Tia's vanishing form into into the enshrouding darkness for as far as the girl could allow it to reach. Though this time, it would fall short of it's target. Pride and courage scraped vainly at the gates of a panicked visage, troubled beyond measure, but lacking the voice to call out in any weak attempt to offer one final plea to her one, single sense of security. He was gone. And she was alone.

 

A sheet of silver lit up the turbulent sea of black above, bringing with it a warning that would forever come too late for the the girl, no matter how tightly she clamped upon those slender vessels that denied her solitude. She retreated from the soaking barrage until once again, a shattered gaze had found itself turned upon the soil below, stained darker by the dripping mess she had now become. The timid, orange flame never looked both so welcoming yet so terrifying as it weakly cast it's flickering, uncertain shadow along the shallow, cave walls; vainly working to cast away the scorched memories of years past when that same, thunderous roar had consumed the world above them and turned everything they knew and loved into smouldering ash.

 

For the little that the red-eyed huntress was certain of in that moment, she knew that the fire could never be bright enough, her shelter deep enough... and K'rahto close enough.

 

[END OF SCENE]

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