[P] I'm more than just a pretty face
#1
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OOC *eyebrow waggle* (+)

It unnerved him at times, being here after what he'd done; remaining despite the title he used to hold- the name. He was changed, older- and one would hope- wiser. But he didn't feel wiser. If anything he felt less so. He didn't even feel old yet, not really.

He was still himself though, not Sole, but still Alistair. Ser Alistair, technically. He was still a knight. It suited him better, this; not the lifestyle (he was still clueless about this loner thing) but the identity. No one to answer to but himself, no commitments or responsibilities other than those he placed upon himself. It was, for lack of a better word, nice.

And then there was the guilt. It roiled in his gut and kept him up at night. Deserter it whispered, nagged, until he woke up and started again the task of living. Pressing on.

At least he wasn't alone anymore, well he was at the moment. Atalanta was accustomed to this life, he hadn't expected to see her again, and then she came like an angel out of the snow...

His steps crunched in the icy snow, stealth was near impossible. He didn't have the skill with a spear that he had with his sword, but it would just have to do. His gold pelt was striking against the sheet of white. Distance was his only option.

He caught movement out of the corner of his eye. Tawny and thin the doe's nose was quivering and her steps were tentative. She must have been separated from her herd, but Alistair felt little sympathy. His stomach nearly gave him away as he stood, his breath leaving him in a plume of mist.

By a stroke of fate the doe ambled closer and he lifted his spear and threw it with all the force he could muster and hoped for the best...desperately.

The thud it made was wet and solid. He heard the doe bleat sudden and harshly and then saw her fall. He ran and set himself upon her, gripping the spear's shaft and driving it deeper and deeper until she stopped struggling and the snow was stained red.

He sighed heavily then smiled gratefully and looked around, hoping that somehow, somewhere Atalanta had seen that. But she wasn't there...

It was someone else.

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#2
281 words.
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The first of her comrades were dead.

The black-caped wolf scratched at the stiff tissue on the side of her cheek, staring at her paws as she marched through the snow. Ears swiveled in a mess of shaggy but well-kept hair, and she paused to scent the air cautiously. Though she was armed with a dagger and wore very plain armor in the form of a leather breastplate, the woman was no soldier like the others -- more like a camp follower whose silver tongue had granted her some semblance of rank. She had to be especially cautious in this no-man’s land, knowing that the heathens and coyotes would be on their trail.

But Zilpah was hunting -- for men rather than prey, for canines who might join their cause. The coyotes had evidently caused some strife in this land, and the sins of the secretive bay pack were numerous. It was not a difficult task, and already she had talked some into joining their ranks -- or at least into providing them with some supplies if they were sympathetic to their plight.

The pale wolf sniffed again; a deer had wandered past, and she supposed she ought to investigate it. When she slipped through ferns wet with melted frost, however, she saw a man and a spear. She froze, watched.

After killing his prey, the warrior looked around -- spotting her, for she had emerged from the foliage and was grinning broadly in spite of the stiffness of her scarred flesh along her mouth and cheekbone.

“Good kill,” she said approvingly, and looked him up and down. “You’ve got a good handle on that spear, too. Hunter, or soldier?”
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#3
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OOC (+)

His smiled faded.

Alistair took to his feet and tore the spear from the flesh with a wet squelching sound. A shade disappointed that it hadn't been Atalanta there in the shadows he nevertheless looked the scarred woman over. His eyes were wary, his guard was up. This was another loner, his nose told him, and he was hungry.

He kept a tight grip on the spear's shaft. If anything, her armor and dagger made her more of a threat. And he knew just how to deal with threats. This could be a bad day for her.

"It's knight, actually." He said with a smirk and light click of his tongue. "I'm Alistair." a beat later, "Ser Alistair." He'd never insisted on the title when he'd been a member of Casa di Cavalieri, but now that he was a loner he considered it an important piece of his identity. Knight's were trustworthy, they fought for what was right. That was all Alistair had every wanted, to do good in this world.

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#4
222 words.

The loner was wary, and Zilpah did not blame him for this. In Zion, a wolf had little to fear from another wolf—but these northerners lived without such a code, and there were always dangerous outliers. She lifted her hands lightly to show that she would not make a move for her dagger, keeping her light blue eyes on the handsome wolfdog’s face rather than his precious little meal. Her smile lingered.

“A knight, hm? That’s very noble.”

There was no twist of irony in her tone, no sarcasm in her smirk—but knight was just a word. Unless he was a soldier of God, a champion for the Lord, she did not care for his motivations. She just needed to be able to twist them to suit her cause.

“I’m Zilpah,” the monochrome she-wolf offered, and set her hand on the ample swell of one hip (opposite her dagger, so he wouldn’t flinch). “It’s a relief to find a nobleman in the north. There are so many heathens and slavers about, I wasn’t sure if there was a pure heart to be found in this place.”

She, too, clicked her tongue. “And yet God has led me to a knight, and a handsome knight at that. It’s good to meet you, ser.”
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#5
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OOC (+)

He was old enough to know that while her movements were graceful they were done with purpose; the hand on her hip accentuated it's pleasing swell. But he had been burned before by another "pretty" face. (Not that he could call Zilpah pretty.)

Beyond his own vanity Alistair was not choosy with the opposite sex, he had his preferences, but they didn't tend to affect his choices. However, hers was a face he could scarcely look away from. The scar which marred it's side was gruesome and disfiguring. He didn't mean to stare, but couldn't help doing so.

He felt pity but little else. He had scars of his own, exposed skin which burned in the cold. Hers didn't seem to hinder her in any way, at least.

"I wouldn't say pure." He corrected her dryly, "but I'm working on it." He wasn't sure purity existed or if it ever had.

His ears gave away his interest at her mention of slavers. "Ahw, I wouldn't call them heathens," he quipped. "Tramps, maybe, vagabonds? Heathen is little harsh, don't you think?"

"As for the slavers," a shade of seriousness crossed his face. It worked into his brows and darkened his velvet voice. "I've had a few run-ins with them myself."

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#6
290 words.

Few men looked at her with anything more than abhorrence, and perhaps this was part of why Zilpah flirted as she did. She was not misguided, did not believe that someone could be seduced by her physical charms when she was so disfigured, but she was still a woman and this was important to her.

She was used to the pity, and while she hated this too, she smiled broader at the weight of his hazel gaze and spoke lightly. “Don’t feel ashamed to look, honey. Enemy soldiers did this to me when I was very young, but I survived, and I am proud of that.” She survived their teeth and their fire, survived infection, survived it all. She was strong.

Her blue eyes lit when he spoke of the path of purity, though whether this was approval or amusement, it wasn’t apparent. Perhaps he would be another mission—but she did not care for that. What they needed were bodies, and there were godless men among their ranks driven by instinctual hatreds and thirst for action against the blights in this land.

Heathens, too—she laughed, but it was not a kindly sound. “Tramps and vagabonds do not slaughter innocents,” she corrected mildly. “Or sacrifice them in the name of sorcery.” She’d heard many stories of the witches in the north, and all Boreas wolves were intimately familiar with the barbaric practices of the coyotes.

And when he claimed familiarity with the slavers, she smiled again, sharp-toothed and very interested. “Oh?”

Zilpah dropped all pretense of posture and stood straight, like the soldier she’d been turned into, and her tone flirted only with an old danger. “You are not friends with them, I assume.”
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#7
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OOC (+)

He wasn't comforted. Alistair felt ashamed. "I'm sorry." He said sincerely and kindly. "That must have been...traumatic, the pain no less." It was gruesome and unsettling to look at. Though his ears perked at 'enemy.' What enemy?

His brow creased at the sound of her hollow laughter. It made the hairs on his nape stand tall. He wasn't sure who they were speaking of now, but as talk turned to the slaver he quickly fit the pieces together.

Zilpah changed then. Her posture corrected itself and her words set a solemn mood. "I wouldn't say friends. No. I wouldn't say that at all." His foot suddenly felt very tender. He planted his spear deeply into the frozen ground and stood very still. She had his attention now.

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#8
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Zilpah tilted her head then waved a dismissive hand at his apology, though perhaps she went a bit too quiet afterward. She was proud for surviving, and the horrors she faced were the horrors all her comrades faced—but while she'd accepted it, she couldn't forget it. Little things like this, talks and reflections, brought some of that pain back, but she set it aside. She was good at setting it aside.

But it seemed talk of slavers, of evil-doers, had piqued this knight's interest. He stood at attention, spear in hand, and Zilpah let her eyes gleam and her smile twitch the damaged flesh.

Good. Like I said, wasn't sure if there were good hearts in this barbaric place. She pricked her ears and studied him curiously, deciding that she could take a chance. I'm part of a group, Boreas. We are soldiers of God, though others march with us—loners like you, those who've had family killed or things taken from them by the devils in these lands. We can always use recruits.

She watched him, gauging his interest. I imagine Salsola has done something to you or yours. They deserve the punishment of the righteous. The folk here deserve to be free again.

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#9
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His ear twitched when her lips tugged upwards in a smile. Her callous disregard for life, even Salsolan lives unsettled him. Reminded him. He'd never felt regret for the Salsolan life he'd taken despite the blood they shared.

But still, it was tempting. His heart cried out for justice for the enslaved and the lives Salsola had taken in sacrifice to their cruel pagan gods. Surely this was a just cause, yet it soured in his stomach. The pull, however, was strong. Justice or retribution. Either way, this was dangerous ground he tread.

"Good?" No. Not entirely, but he said nothing. All he could do was try.

The name Boreas was entirely unfamiliar to him, he didn't know the implications. He would regret that.

"We have a bone to pick, Salsola and I." He said darkly and later mused, "more like a full skeleton." He frowned. It seemed as if he had decided something.

"I'll help." He said finally. "Just give me a few to fetch my things." And say goodbye to her, for now.

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