[P] remember your virtue

OOC: Born Unto Trouble, Rescue Team. September 30th, early morning, it's foggy, cold, and damp. || WC: --


The waxy morning air was damp and thick, and the blanket of fog was thick enough to cut with a knife, chased away only at the edges by the waning flicker of the camp's fire, hampered by the moisture that lingered in the air. Santiago held his hand aside in a silent demand to hold position to his adoptive son and Azade while his pallid, washed-out eyes skimmed the scene for her - any sign, whatsoever.

And there she was. Luciana had never looked so small, so dwarfed and petite, lingering near the horses of the encampment and running hands over the appaloosa's flank and smoothing out his coat, her expression unreadable at such a distance. Miraculously, unharmed -

What had she seen? Her stature seemed so different, were it not his father's intuition, Luciana could've been a stranger, by all means, were it not for her pallid, distinctive look, a silver waifish figure amidst animals much larger than herself.

They were hobbled and tethered to the trees and brambles, placid and gentled, some not by the proper means, and he tightened the grip on Bruni's reigns, and Dutch's head bobbed behind her. So the Del Mar bastard had a lick of sense to tell the truth, to give over what little info he had - but it was not enough recompense for the damage done.

"Alright, we make this quick - cut 'em loose, and send 'em running before we grab Luciana and get out of there -- everyone clear?"

Azade felt her heart thump faster as soon as she left Azwer behind with the other horses. She'd left her bow behind as well, trusting that it would be more of a hindrance than any kind of boon. She'd been in a lot of dangerous situations before, but it had been a long time since she'd been in a situation like this. Where her actions, how she performs, had any influence on the life of someone she cares for. Well, she doesn't really know Luciana besides that she's part of the pack, but that was good enough for her. She took a deep breath, letting it out silently and feeling her heart rate steady. She looked at Santiago, watched his expression shift when he found Luciana. She heard his breath hitch, gaze steadier than she would have managed if she had been in his place. 

She nodded at his instructions, drawing her saber silently. "I'll get the horses, take away their means of pursuit. You two focus on Luciana." She whispered, shooting a small smile at the two of them before rushing out ahead of the group, paws silent as they thumped along. She could hear them behind her, but she blocked them out, just focusing on the horses. They looked up, spooked, and she swung her saber down at their bindings. The leather split easily, and the first horse ran off without her having to do anything. She cut the other two loose and smacked their withers with their reins, chasing them off as quietly as she could.

WC: 265 words
OOC: Please let me know if there's anything that needs to get changed! <3
Remy’s gold eyes took a moment longer to pinpoint his sister than his dad’s, but when they did it felt as though he’d been struck by lightning.  If Santiago’s hand hadn’t come up, Remy would have raced forwards.  The youth was confident that the only reason he’d been allowed to come was because his dad had thought Remy might just make a foolish attempt to come alone, or perhaps try and stealth along out of sight.  The Tejada patriarch at managed to extract a promise that Remy would do as he was told, and that was why the youth did not rush in, but listened, his entire body alive with the awareness that his sister was so close.

As Santiago spoke, his tone hushed, the youth looked over to him.  A part of Remy knew how difficult this entire episode must have been for his dad, and the youth couldn’t help but wish he had half his adoptive father’s self-control.  Finally, the signal was given and they moved, covering the distance at a run, Remy doing his best to stay as quiet as possible.  Luci’s form grew as he drew nearer, and he wanted to fling his arms around her, but the sensible part of Remy, a small part of him he knew, decided against it, knowing that someone running up to her and grabbing her would be scary, so he slowed and whispered her name.

”Luci, we’ve come t’ get y’.”

Remy had no intention of spooking his sister, and after working with horses for all these months, he was getting good, but his impatience to get her away may well have made him less observant to her needs and those of the horses. 

”You okay? Can you ride?” he asked, looking to grab a horse for her to ride out of this place.  Remy wanted to hug her, wanted to tell her he’d missed her and was so happy to see her, but there was no time right now, he understood that, but his tail wagged frantically, unable to contain its jubilant excitement.

WC: 345


They were off, a trio of bandits, bound together by like cause and community and by the thread that his daughter had strung through his own family to bind. Down the foggy embankment, they moved, soundless - Ghosts in the mists, for all anyone knew, and the appaloosa gelding that had come to know Del Cenere for a time raised his fall-time shaggy head as he heard the soft and subtle approach, keyed into something being amiss.

Luciana stopped her brushing, and went on high alert, her ears perking high on her head as she listened to what even the horse strained to hear. Remy had got to her first, and the intial look of utter shock waned into a taut relief - enthusiasm, when Santiago had rounded on his son, and put a hand on his shoulder.

"Go take her up to Dutch -" he'd started, murmuring in a soft aside to Remy, though his instructions were cut short as Luciana flung herself on her family, arms wrapped as tight around the two men as she could muster and squeezing. There was a little puff of a breath between his lips, and he moved to pat her back gently, and stifle a chuckle. "C'mon, Luci, we gotta get you home."

"I didn't think I'd see you again!"

"Yes, yes, of course, we're glad to see you too, honey-" She was trembling as she pulled back, and pushed the heel of her palms into her dandelion eyes, and gave a nervous start at the sound of hoofbeats scattering, and she looked over to Azade, and sucked in a breath, overwhelmed.

Santiago broke the trio apart, pulling back to arm's length but keeping connected to his children by his palms as he heard an alarmed sound from further in camp, figures moving at the sounds of scattered horses. Wormwood gave a startled snort, and Santiago grimaced somewhat.

"We've got company," he stated, releasing his kids to free the gelding from his tethers and send him scattering into the fog with the other horses. "We've got to go - go-"

He herded his children, and waved his arm to try and pull Azade's attention from the fleeing horses.

"Azade, get my kids to the Parish, I'll hang behind, draw 'em off and catch up."

Azade glanced back to see the family reuniting with a taut smile, but still her attention was outwards. She was incredibly grateful that they'd finally managed to find Luciana, she couldn't imagine what the poor young woman must have been going through, wondering if she'd ever be able to return home. She watched the fleeing horses, squatting down a little bit in the hope that it would bring less attention to her in case their enemies returned. She knew there was truly no point, she was simply massive, and her mass of bright and colorful clothing (though she'd stripped herself of everything but the essentials) did nothing to help keep herself inconspicuous. Her ears twitched as they picked up the sound of hooves pounding against the sodden ground, and she spun to see Santiago trying to get her attention. Running over, she laid a hand on Luciana's shoulder, mumbling. "Hello Luciana, you might not remember me, but my name's Azade. We're gonna get you home." 

She helped/shoved Luciana up onto the horse, snapping her other hand at Remy to bring his attention to her. She signaled to him to come to her. "Watch our back, stay down, move fast! If they engage with us, take Luciana, I'll fight with Santiago." Together, they began running to the hill they came from, Azade leading the way with the horse and Luciana. Behind her she could hear the kidnappers engage with Santiago, and she sped up, not wasting time looking back. That was Remy's job. Glancing up, she saw Luciana sitting up, looking back with a conflicted gaze. With a groan, Azade reached up and grabbed her upper arm, pulling her down against the back of the horse. "Stay down! Do you want to get shot?" As they began running up the hill, Azade handed the reins to Remy and stopped. "You've got it, just keep going, I'm going to cover Santiago." She called from where she stood, stringing her bow. 

It was foggy, not clear enough that she could determine who was friend and who was foe, but if Santiago could just break away from them and move closer. . . . If she had to, she could always run in to help. But no, here came someone! The dark shape broke away from the group and began running over towards them. Hesitantly, she nocked an arrow and watched, hoping that it was Santiago. But no, now it stopped. Azade realized what was happening a second too late, raising her own bow as they shot from theirs. She loosed her arrow right when she heard a strangled cry from Luciana's horse and chaos erupt behind her. A burst of satisfaction erupted in her chest when her arrow reached it's target, dropping the canine to it's knees, and then to the floor. A part of her wanted to spin around and make sure that Luciana and Remy were alright, call out, but she didn't want to bring any more attention to them, so instead she stayed where she was and nocked a new arrow. 

WC: 524 words
Remy closed his eyes as Luci pulled them into an embrace.  The youth felt whole again for the first time since they’d taken his sister.  It was horribly cliché perhaps, but to have her back filled him with indescribable gratitude.  When his sister spoke, Remy was too overwhelmed to speak, and instead merely continued to hold her.  All to soon the embrace was over, and the reality of their situation came flooding back.  Remy did as he was told and helped Luciana onto Dutch, before hesitating and looking back to his dad.  Once more he was torn.  Remy knew he could help, wanted to help, the idea of leaving anyone behind was unthinkable to the youth.

Azade snapped Remy out of his reverie, and he didn’t resist as she took the reins, but he remained still another instant. 

”I can help.” He hissed, knowing they had to be quiet.  Once again it was Azade who broke made the decision for him, giving Remy instructions.  The youth rushed forward, keeping his gaze behind them and watching his dad’s form become enveloped in the mist and disappear from sight.  Blood pounded in his ears.  He barely heard the large female give him instructions, but was glad that she intended to go and help Santiago.  Horses Remy knew, and he took Dutch gently but firmly, Luci lying across his back, and led them as quickly as he could.  Remy’s desire to get his sister to safety was probably what saved his life.  Remy’s desire to get Luci to safety made it hard to watch where he put his feet, and he stumbled, which was why the arrow sliced along his shoulder, instead of into his throat. 

As unbelievable as it might have sounded, it took Remy a moment to become aware of the injury.  He was so high on adrenaline, he was only aware of the dull ache, but the smell of blood made Dutch nervous.  Although the large horse was steadier than most, and Remy managed to keep him moving.  The Arrow had only grazed, the wound wasn’t deep, but the tear was large and blood matted his pelt.

Remy wanted to tell Luci that it was great to see her, and keep asking her if she was okay, but knew that the more talk, the easier it would be for the kidnappers to find them, though perhaps the scent of blood was a better signal than any conversation.

”Damn.” Remy whispered to himself, looking up at his sister ”Stay down, we’ll get home soon.” It sounded lame to him, but he didn’t know what else to say to reassure his sister.

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