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First Impressions

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Sitting in the remains of a chair, the man unconscious on the floor in front of her, Sari scowled at the options open to her. “The life debt hasn’t been sealed so I don’t -really- owe him. But no crew, no ship, and no way back to my island means I’m stranded on the mainland where everyone is going to want to kill me. He has shit for supplies, I’m almost out of rounds, and he doesn’t even have a fucking map to tell me what I’m near.” 

Rolling him over onto his back she straddled his legs and checked through his pockets again in case she missed anything. Sprawled out on the table behind her was the contents of his bag. Or at least what little he had with him. “Too bad my bag was left on the ship.” 

“The ship… fuck… It’s long gone by now. Fucking mutiny.” Scrubbing at her tired face she sighed heavily, lowering her hands before they hit the remnants of her horns. looking over the man with a critical eye she tried to figure out why he looked familiar.

Barely taller than her and not much stronger, he was fairly similar to other human men she had seen. Main differences she saw was he lacked the sun-exposure and roughness that came with living on the sea. Picking up his arm by the wrist she looked at his palm and shook her head. Not even callouses except for the little bit from his flimsy looking sword . “What the actual fuck am I supposed to do with you … And what do you want with me?” 

It never occurred to her that he would recover that quick but as the question left her lips, his eyes blinked open and she was faced with a new dilemma… did she kill him or stick with him like she had mentioned… 

He understood now why she had been wincing before. Hair still wet from where she had probably washed it in the nearby stream, the broken horn stubs looked much worse but her skin coloring was improved. No longer pale from fever and pain, she was the deep brown of someone who lived in the sun with sharp cheekbones and full lips, dark eyes surrounded by thick lashes that watched him right back. Violence lived behind those eyes but he saw curiosity as well. Maybe she’s just as curious about the world as I am. That would be helpful. 

The way she held his hand palm up in both of hers reminded him of the way he inspected various oddities he found while hunting through ruins. Where she was sitting was nice though as he got a good view of her figure and how well the chest plate was fitted to her. Most of the blood had been washed off and his foolish self watched as a trickle of water slid down her ample cleavage. Ray… Focus on the murder and less on the tits. “So … Good afternoon?” He grinned though it faded as she began to scowl at him.

“So …” She tilted her head and looked down at him in a way that made him question if he’d see tomorrow… “Why me.” 

The way she said it, not as a question but more of a statement, caught his attention. “Ah… Well. Why not?” He shrugged to emphasis that he really didn’t think that far ahead this time. And that he didn’t have a real answer for her. “Just … I did. And I’d like to see how well this pulls off.” Don’t look at her chest when you say that … Shit. Good time for me to be distracted.  

Her brow quirked and she leaned down so that it was extremely hard -not- to look at the way her armor held her chest in place framing the deep plunge of her cleavage. The playful curl of her lips let Ray know that she was absolutely on to him and his internal debate. Rising to be on hands and knees over him, her face mere inches away, that smirk became something much darker. 

Good work. This is how I die. Well… Shit.  

“Pulling this off is going to take a lot of work, male. I don’t plan to make it easy for you.” She dropped her voice to a husky whisper that stirred his blood while hinting at the double entendres. “But if you want to try, then you’ll need to learn my name. I have a feeling you’ll be calling it. A lot.” More grace then he had expected an injured person to have, she rose to stand over him with her legs to either side of his hips. The building storm outside broke just then as a flash of lightning flared through the rotted boards throwing her face into sharp relief. Holding her hand out to him she helped him stand but didn’t let go of the tight grip she had on his wrist. Turning so that she could see his palm again she locked eyes with him just as she slashed across his palm with one of her long nails. “Sarith.”

Wincing at the gash she opened, confused at the cut and more so at the way he couldn’t look away from her dark eyes. Something about the bloodlust hiding behind those reddish brown irises concerned him but he supplied his own introduction. “Sarith … Nice to meet you. I’m Raymond though most folks just call me Ray.” Finally able to look away from her eyes that were going to be haunting his dreams for a while after this he watched as she let go of his hand and slashed her own palm.

Holding her hand up palm out to him she gestured him to give her his own bloodied hand. “The life debt is a blood bond. I can not purposefully cause your death or serious injury unless it is to save you from something worse.” That last bit was said with far too much delight and Raymond was sure she knew plenty of “something worse” that could happen to him. 

“And me?” He pressed his bloodied palm to hers, their fingers entwining. “Any limitations on me?” 

“I am your responsibility. You spared me. You will provide food and shelter.” Her fingers dug into his as the next part she spoke was in the strange language he didn’t know. Every word was sharp and unforgiving, the meaning unknown but he could tell she spoke some sort of rite. Something began to burn where the cut on his palm touched her hand, their blood mixing and dripping onto the dirt floor.

Releasing his hand as the final word stabbed into the air Sarith licked the blood on her palm while watching him inspect the cut. “Poor mainlander. Does the cut hurt?” Chuckling she reached for his hand again but Ray had had enough of her games and stepped back. “No fun. I’m hungry and you have no supplies. I’m assuming we’re hunting for dinner?” 

“I somehow doubt you mean hunting animals. The village near here has already been cleaned out so we need to head back inland.” He looked her over again, at the tall boots that clipped to garters going under the tiny shorts. “Can you travel in that?” Her middle was still bandaged but likely not for long the way she healed. Overall the armor she wore left little to the imagination and offered less protection then he would have preferred.

“I’ve been scouting these woods for the last few days. I think I can survive a few more.” Turning on a heel which he noticed were a little more than an inch tall but with a wide heel for stability she stalked over to the cot where her coat and belts were.  

I’m an idiot… and she has a very nice ass…  Shaking his head, Ray began stuffing things back into his travel pack. She had pulled it all out, organized it in some fashion that didn’t make much sense to him, but everything looked to be intact. Even the leftover cheese and bread was untouched. That told him she wasn’t impulsive but she didn’t seem patient at all. No way of knowing really but I wonder what made her decide to accept the life debt. She could have killed me easily enough and taken my stuff. Unless maybe she’s keeping me around because she’s culturally indebted already. Maybe that little ritual was just a formality? 

His bag packed and shouldered he looked over at her to see she had the coat on with the wide belt on the outside holding her dagger and pistol. Several pouches lined the belt as well as the big pockets for her coat. It was from the pockets that she pulled an interesting pair of gloves out. The thumb and forefinger were uncovered but the other fingers were cut in such a way that her nails came through with what looked like metal claws made into the gloves. From the way she moved her hand he could see that they were designed to protect her fingers in a gunfight as well as shield her arms all the way to the elbow. From the same pocket she pulled out smaller metal rings, or so he thought, that slid on the forefinger and thumbs to just past the first knuckle and were more of the metal claws.

“Armor for… your nails?” He was curious and held a hand out to ask for a closer look. She grinned and let him turn her hand around to look closer at the workmanship. “Seems a little… fancy. Why not just cut them short?”

“They won’t stay short. All my sisters and I have them and they’re useful. Why not cut your toes off since no one sees them.” Pulling her hand back, she propped her fists on her hips and looked him over. “Not that anyone will notice you anyway. How do you get chosen for jobs.” 

Looking down at his armored coat, simple blue slacks and plain white shirt, Ray looked back up at her and chuckled. “Because they know I’m good.” 

A snort and she shook her head, the mess of her hair jingling slightly from the thin chains tied through the curls. At least he thought they were curls. The chains were interesting, though, and gave a flash of color now and then when the lightning flashed. “The storm will keep the mainlanders inside. We’ll be able to travel easily so long as you don’t get us lost.”  

“We won’t get lost. But I was thinking we need to stay out of sight for a while. At least until we do something with those.” He nodded toward her head and the horn stumps that were clearly visible. Her expression darkened for a moment before settling on the usual look of haughty superiority that she wore. 

“We can think of something.The storm won’t last much longer so let’s go.” Brushing past him, she took point on the way out of the cabin but lingered for just a moment. Ray forgot they had burned the other bodies on the beach and assumed she caught the smell on the wind. The beach itself was a good five minute walk through thick underbrush.

Joining her at the tree line to see her face become an unreadable mask, he looked at the charred remains being washed into the ocean by the rain. She lingered for only a minute, muttering something under her breath that he didn’t catch, then turned and went back into the woods.