Isis had nodded at his stories and had even laughed a bit when he got telling the crazy stories of the old coot and his crazy inventions. She sighed at the thought though.It seemed he had so much adventures and fun in his travels she felt jealous,but what he had said before kind of bothered her,but she didn't know how to bring it up so she lowered her head slightly and sighed again. "I know what your thinking....why help humans....what did they ever do for us except treat us like monsters when them themselves are worse then monsters. Why take the risk of being found out and hunted down for the same thing they are out to kill....why be on there side.....why take the risk.....well....I suppose I have a point to get across to them and it might just kill me....,but it's a risk I rather take then not taking one...and living my life in the shadows of what if.....hell might even be looked at as a spy...one would think...,but it's just who I am. I rather die knowing I did something good then giving into the animal that is really me.....besides"She said looking up at him."If I did give in.....you wouldn't be sitting on that horse right now...and I wouldn't have no words for you that you would understand.....probably just be in a pool of blood at my feet"She said and smirked."Which one would you prefer though?"She asked him.
The Zofien thief grinned at his companion. "Oooh, tough negotiator! Well, I'm not going to argue with personal standards... not that much, at least." He chuckled to himself, shrugging his shoulders. "If you feel you've gotta prove something then that's up to you. Not my kind of risk, but to each their own I guess."
They had waned, the sun beginning to ride lower on the horizon -- not yet sunset, but not many hours from it. Kassom could feel a faint gnawing in his stomach too as they continued to ride. "Probably not a bad idea to set up camp soon. We'll want to scout out the situation at Haverstone tomorrow under daylight and decide whether to make an open approach or wait until night and sneak in. Meanwhile," He stretched, then eyed the treeline as if looking for something familiar. "... Yeah, this should be about the area. When I came through here before there were wild boar in the woods -- good meat, very filling, and fun to hunt. Should make for a nice dinner."
Pausing for a moment, he gave Isis a daring, somewhat teasing and mischievous look. "Well, I suppose you can make camp while I do a bit of hunting. Unless, that is... you want a chance to cut loose? Go wolf? It might be fun..."
"So what is your kind of risk...this kind of stuff?"She asked him with a laugh"A thief's life....is it really worth the risk?"She asked him as she noticed it had been hours since they rode off and she was getting wary of riding on the back of the horse and she nodded her head to what he said next. "That sounds like a good idea I am getting sore from riding"She admitted as she had been used to walking or running longer distances then riding,but she knew this way was faster. She then raised an eye brow at his next daring statement after saying something about the wild bore that ran through theses parts.
"You really mean that or do you just not want to get your hands dirty with catching food?"She asked him with a laugh. "Then again I haven't let myself turn in awhile....it could be fun....."She said unsure she didn't know him that well and she didn't want to be lead into a trap because of her openness.
"Why, my dear knight! Doth thou accuse me of duplicity?" Kassom japed in a teasing faux-formal tone, followed by a hearty bout of laughter. After he calmed down and took a deep, easing breath he became more serious. "I could catch a boar easy enough -- I did it on the way here, after all. You look for the places mushrooms grow and, sure enough, you'll find 'em. After so long keeping yourself cooped up among humans I think you'll find the hunt... cathartic. Just imagine all the little piggies are bastard customers groping poor innocent girls, or evil monsters threatening human cities. Whatever suits your fancy."
The thief pointed to a spot up ahead, a clearing set some ways back from the main road but not entirely out of sight. "Looks promising. I should be able to set up a campfire pretty quick. How's this for a deal, m'lady knight: you catch it, I'll cook it. And if there's any left over we'll have smoked pork strips for the road tomorrow. Sound fair?"
"Your never know with people anymore....like you said....why trust humans not to hunt me down after finding out what I am.....I would't put it past others to do the same"She said and smiled."I can tell we are going to be good friends your a joker and I like that....your probably the first person to offer me anything other then...money for pleasure"She said as she smirked at him. "Oh yeah now that does sound like a good idea"She laughed about picturing the piggies as basterd customers.
When they got a good spot she nodded in agreement that it was a good spot to set up camp."You could do more then that."She said as she stopped the horse and unmounted him. "I'll catch the food and bring it in,but since my condition is a bit touchy I would need my tent set up first...so I'll have something to change back to "She said hinting the fact that when she turned she was naked when she turned back. So it was always a good idea to have clothing out for her to change into and a tent set up so she could do it in privacy.
Pulling his horse up alongside a suitable tree, the feral thief shrugged. "Been a while since I've set up a tent, but eh, sure. I'll give it a go." He pointed to a large set of branches about midway up one of the nearby trees. "I'll probably sleep up there. Old habit -- never quite got used to sleeping on the ground, and when bandits come poking around campfires at night they tend not to expect to find anyone up in the branches. Works for bears and wolves and whatnot too. Not so great against squirrels, though." He gave a chuckle at that last bit, clearly remembering an amusing incident.
It turned out Kassom's tent-making skills weren't quite as rusty as he'd thought. After only a few minutes fiddling around with the supports and canvas he picked up on the gist of it and had Isis' tent standing proud. He held open the entry flap for her, looking just a little bit smug at his accomplishment. "All yours, lady knight. I'll get the campfire started while you get changed."
It wasn't hard to get the fire going either; Kassom guessed others had used this spot to camp before, and not altogether long ago, as there seemed to be a few burn patches in among the grass and a pile of twigs suitable as fire starters just behind a fallen tree trunk at the clearing's edge. He gathered them up along with stones to form the fire pit's bounds, wondering as he began building just what Isis would look like transformed. The truth was, he had never encountered a werewolf before. This would prove interesting.
"Well I am not to worried about badits I doubt they be expecting to encounter a woman with skills"She said and smirked at his comment about a squirrel"Oh....was it deadly?"She teased him as she streached slightly glad to be off the horse making a note that he would be in the trees rather then sleeping on the ground,but she perfer it on the ground then again he was a cat and she was a dog more or less it was completely natural. She smirked at the thought though. Who would of thought they would be working together.
After he had made her a tent for her and opened the flap for her adding an other Knight comment she shook her head at him and patted him on the side of the face. "Oh why thank you good sir"She said adding a wink for effect as she entered the tent as he went to go get a camp fire going.
Once inside the tent she thought about her goals for awhile and her focus on what she would do next. She had slowly stripped herself of her clothing and folded them neatly on the ground before she let herself turn into her white werewolf side before she had turned and walked back out of the tent stretching a bit more. She was sore from the transformation,but nothing to serious she had gotten used to it long ago. She glanced over at Kassom with her bright green eyes .She stood about over 6 feet something in her werewolf form cover head to toe in a thick white coat. She then turned from him and headed into the woods to go catch a pig or two.She didn't want to linger to long in this form since it was unpredictable and she was unable to really speak words this way either. An other reason why she didn't let herself change to much .If one person mistook her for a threat she knew she would be hunted down and killed. One reason she never got to close to any except just a glance of there imagination.
Kassom couldn't help himself, doing a bit of a double-take when Isis, in all six-feet of her burly-muscled savage canine other self emerged from the tent. For one, it didn't look like she should've been able to fit in there... and for another, something way deep down in him reacted to seeing her like that. Not fear -- there was that, sure, more than he would ever admit to -- but something else, too. Something primal and instinctual, an urge to run that he had to fight down hard. Cats and dogs... he hadn't thought anything of it, not really, until he saw her, but now it prickled under his skin. If she hadn't headed off on her hunt right when she had he probably would've bolted up the nearest tree without entirely realizing he was doing it.
Taking a few deep, calming breaths, the thief set himself back to working on his fire pit. If he'd known a reaction like that was coming he would've opted to do the hunting himself... after a few minutes, though, he rationalized it away as just an unexpected shock. Somehow he'd assumed she would look more... well, to be honest, like himself, just with slightly more canine features than feline. How wrong he'd been on that.
Within ten or so minutes he had a decent ring of stones laden with kindling and a few larger hunks of wood, with more piled up nearby for later use. Dusk was starting to fall so he quickly pulled his hammock from his horse's saddle bag and, with practiced grace, bounded up into the tree to tie it in place. A quick glance at the sky from the treetop confirmed that the night ought to be peaceful and free of rain, though he knew that could change quickly if a strong enough wind started to blow. Still, instinct told him they wouldn't have to worry about that. With the weather check completed he was quickly down again, showering sparks onto the dry wood from a flint stone and one of his knives until at last it caught alight. Just as it started to truly get dark he managed to have the fire at a tidy blaze, with a few long sharpened sticks at the ready to roast boar meat on.
His eyes had told her everything though and she took it to mind. She never seen herself as some scary beast,but she guessed when others saw her like this she was large and intimidating and she didn't blame them for being a bit scared and wanting to retreat,but she just wanted others to feel like there was nothing to fear. Just because a wolf looks you in the eyes and is big doesn't mean it is some mindless monster. It was a point she wanted to get across to so many for so long now,but she did admit she was scared herself. She never killed a human in this form and she didn't want to start. It has always been self defense in her human form,but she didn't want to rely on it to much. She sighed at the thought and closed her eyes to the sweet smell of the boars nearby. She bared her fangs slightly extending her hand and letting her claws dig down the side of a tree giving it a slight try out with how sharp they wore. She then let out a howl that echoed through the forest before she darted in the direction the boars wore in. They would spook and confuse the boars at the same time so they wouldn't know which way to run. She found out this was the perfect place to hunt thanks to Kassom and she knew she would enjoy this. It was about time she let her hair down anyways.
It wasn't to long after she had went into the woods when she had came back into camp carrying three boars. One was in her mouth an other was thrown over her shoulder and another was being dragged behind her in her free hand. Her claws and face was covered in blood as well as the ground as it continuously dripped with the boars blood. She had walked over to Kassom and the fire dropping the boars close to it before she had turned from him. Her eyes wore glowing red now as she headed for her tent. She knew she had to turn back quickly now or she would lose herself for the whole night.
Steeling himself, Kassom spoke up just as the werewolf reached her tent, then willed himself to stand and walk over. It was clear from his expression that whatever his intent he was summoning a lot of courage as he approached her. A flicker of fear shone in his eyes when he saw the red in hers, but he kept moving forward until he was standing right in front of her.
"... I hate fear, hate being afraid. And I know you hate people being afraid of you. I've lived with risk my whole life..." He took a deep breath. "And I don't plan to stop now. So... just... give me one moment here, okay?"
Hesitating, with a nearly imperceptible trembling, the Zofien thief reached out, wanting just to touch Isis' arm -- to prove to himself, and maybe to her for however much it mattered, that he wasn't like those ignorant fear-blinded people that they both had to hide their animalistic faces from. Fingers brushed across an unstained patch of moon-white fur that glowed with a golden edge in the firelight, tentative and with trepidation at first but with subtly more ease and confidence a second later. Kassom, sighing in relief, let his hand drop away from her arm and flashed a grateful smile.
"Thanks. Sorry about that -- just something I wanted to get over." He half-turned towards the camp fire. "I'll see to dinner while you get changed. Nice hunting, by the way."
Within ten minutes' time Kassom had the first boar carved up and several large steak-like strips starting to cook over their campfire. He worried a bit about the smell, both of the cooking and all the spilled boars' blood, but there was nothing to be done for it. If something found them they'd deal with it. As he started work on the second boar he wondered to himself what Isis would think of what had transpired... then wondered further why he was so concerned. They were partners on this job, strangers with a common purpose and not a lot else. Getting over his fear of her transformed state was just logic, he reasoned; if ever she needed to use it around him, in a fight for example, getting all swept up and petrified wouldn't help their cause. He shook the thoughts away, trying to focus himself on something practical. With all that blood earlier she was sure to want a chance to clean up, but aside from a couple of canteens on his horse they didn't have a lot of water on hand. They'd have to figure something out later.
She had almost entered the tent before he had asked her to wait a second. She glanced over at him with her eyes glowing red a bit and could see the fear in them as he approached her and listened to the things he had said as he had walked over to her. She had to admit it was hard not to react to someone approaching her she usually either field to avoid conflict or she attacked and right now she was in attack mode,but she forced herself to stand her ground as he had walked over.
She nodded her head to him as he talked listening to every word as he knew it took a lot of courage to do what he was doing right now. She knew she was scary looking so this made her feel a lot better as he was mastering his fear of her right now in this form. She watched as his arm outstretched and slightly growled out at him,but closed her eyes after he had put a hand on her arm. It was like something she never felt before. No one had ever dared to come to her in this form let alone touch her and she had to admit she had liked his hand through her fur and seemed to give a wolfish smile to him as he sighed in relief and let his arm drop to his side as he apologized for acting weird,but he wanted to get over his fear .Which she could understand.
After all that she had took one more glance at him before she had took to her tent to change. Once inside and settled she let herself change back into her human form. Shuddering at the slight chill she felt from being bare now and without fur. She was covered in blood and looked like she probably slain a hundred men,but she knew the truth taking an old worn out shirt she carefully began to use it as a towel to get as much blood off her as she could before she had slipped into her other clothing. She gave what happened a lot of thought and she couldn't help,but wonder if she really liked being touched and approached like that or not. She shook her head and sighed and just let it fall to that she had liked it. After all these years someone approached her wolf form without the intent to kill her and it felt nice. As she thought about it the smell of the steak cooking had lingered in her tent and she closed her eyes and licked her lips to the smell. Mmmm it smelled wonderful. After she gave herself a moment she walked back out of the tent and walked back over to Kassom and the fire where the boar was cooking.
The feral rogue looked up as she exited the tent, waiving her over and then pointing out one of the pork steaks. "Good timing, this one should be just about done. Your kill, so only fair you get the first bites."
He went back to tending the fire for a long moment, poking at it with a long stick to keep the flames somewhat even. "... Sorry if that was awkward earlier. I figured, heck, if we're going to work together there was no point getting myself thrown off if you end up needing your other form." He looked up at her, expression neutral. "Don't take this the wrong way, but... I'm surprised at the differences between us. We're both Zofien but that clearly means something very different for you than for me."
"... What's it like? The changing, and being like that?"
She was lost in her own thoughts when she had came out of the tent and hardly noticed he had said anything to her,but she rose her head as if saying huh and noticed he pointed to the pork steaks and she nodded her head"Thanks....I am grateful for your cooking them. As well as being fair"She said as she sat across from him and started at one of the steaks she was hungry after all. She thing cocked her head at him when he had started talking again."Oh it's ok I completely understand..."She said as she trailed off as she looked into the flames of the fire as he went on .Yes it was clear they wore both zofiens but very different in many many ways. She sighed at his question as she looked back at him. "It's different...that's for sure...."She said."It's hard to control sometimes.....I was turned when I was younger,but I can control when I want to turn now.....it's turning back that is the problem......I want to be wild and do my own thing like always,but when I turn.....it's like I am wild.....very wild...and very unpredictable and dangerous at times. I stay away from others in fear of losing control and killing them......so I guess I was surprised when you came up to me like that.....no one's ever done that before......so....you took the creature by surprise.....I felt different for once.....like the wolf was finally satisfied in me.....all theses years hiding behind a human mask when it craved to be let out was harder then I could ever imagine one reason why I wanted to become a knight to push myself even more,but....that touch....it did something to me.....it now longs to be touched more in that form"She said blushing slightly since it sounded funny to her."Lets put it this way.....I feel like a lion on it's own for the first time...everytime I turn....till now...."She said and rubbed the back of her neck. "It's hard to explain I suppose...unless your getting it....are you...?"She asked.Wondering if he understood how she felt.
He looked at her for a long, silent moment, eyes searching for something he didn't seem sure he could find... but suspected was there nonetheless. The dusk filled the silence with softly windswept branches and the muted chorus of distant cicadas and hooting owls, punctuated only by the crackling fire and the searing roasts. After a long moment the Zofien thief shrugged with a mild sigh.
"... I can't say for sure that I do. I've been Zofien all my life -- never turned, never transformed. If the 'creature' and all its wild yearnings are part of me then it's so deeply twinned with who I am that I doubt I could tell the difference between it and me, if there even is any. Maybe I feel it in the thrill of the hunt, or the pursuit of a valuable score, but I've known a few human thieves who could claim the same as well."
He pulled out one of his knives and began cutting pieces off a boar steak that looked to be done, eating them one by one. At first he smiled at the meat, clearly enjoying it, but as the silence hung between them Kassom's expression became more contemplative. "... Now, losing control..."
His mind flashed back to a day he'd almost forgotten, years and years in the past when he was small and scrawny and rough around the edges. Fields of corn and tomatoes and plenty, his pockets stuffed with stolen produce, ducking low behind verdant stalks and watching as the farmer greeted an armored man on horseback.
The flash of shock and then rage as he overheard the word: Templar.
"That, I know something about." He stared down at the blade in his hands, remembering one much simpler than it gleaming not with firelight but under the rays of a thin crescent moon. His mind drifted from the scent of pork and smoke and greenery to a dry, rustic barn full of scents of hay and horses and dry earth.
The sound of a man sleeping on a bed of hay. A man. A knight. A Templar. A Zofien hunter.
The feel of hands beginning to tremble, half from fury and half from fear. A throbbing in his skull, right where the blood-red fog had fallen across thought and reason. If I just kill him... if I can just... then I'll never have to...I'll never have to...
Kassom was silent again for a moment, then tossed a chunk of boar steak up and caught it in his mouth. After chewing and swallowing, he continued. "I've had to learn a lot about fear in my profession, lady-knight. A thief has a lot to fear if he succeeds, and more to fear if he fails. And the one thing I've come to realize is that fear can't be fought. If you try to it'll twist you inside and make you do stupid, reckless things that you'll look back and hate yourself for. It's like running out of a burning house only to find out that the door wasn't a door, it was a window, and you're three floors up and falling uncontrollably towards solid stone. Getting away from the fire and smoke was a good idea at the time, but first impulses are only ever right when they come from experience, not ignorance."
"You wanna get over your fear of the 'beast' inside you, of it going wild and destroying everything you've built in your life?" He twirled the knife with graceful agility between his fingers, making it dance at seemingly impossible angles. "You don't fight that feeling. You don't embrace it. You can push and push and push, but it'll tangle you up in itself and squeeze even harder. No, you confront it, face to face. Try to recapture that wildness you're so afraid of but do it while you're human, make it feel as real and as terrifying as you can manage. Then let it flow into you, right to the core, then right back out again through your fingertips." He gripped the dagger, holding it firmly, then with a flick of the wrist it disappeared from sight. "It's like swordplay: you don't practice with steel until you've got the hang of sparring with wood. Best advice I can give you."
"As for getting you out from behind your 'human mask'," He smiled, revealing his real intent in having her handle the hunt. "You're welcome." He leaned back, enjoying the rest of his steak. He wouldn't admit it, but he wasn't entirely sure what to make of her reaction to his overcoming-his-fear touch earlier; he'd expected her to be mildly annoyed, maybe awkwardly avoid bringing it up... but maybe the Zofien side of her felt so 'feral' in her mind because it had never been treated like anything other than a caged beast? Maybe one little gesture of trust could be a step towards making a difference, towards bringing woman and werewolf together. It was the best he could come up with, but where to take it from there -- if anywhere at all -- wasn't a sure thing.
"... Anyway, have as much as you want -- your hunt, you deserve it. I'll be up a while getting the leftovers set to smoke overnight but we'd both best get some sleep. Tomorrow could be an busy day."
Isis listened to him as she had watched him move the blade with his fingers as it danced beautiful between then. She was unsure what to think of the things he had said,but she wasn't sure all of it was such a good idea. Then again it didn't hurt to true,but you could tell the look on doubt on her face as she had thought about it. She rubbed the back of her neck uneasily as she had finally finished her meat and stood up and streached slightly not looking at him now."It's easier said then done....not all of us started out with simple basics so there not as easy to face"She said and lowered her head."It would be hard to do......even in my human form....I wouldn't be able to control my werewolf form if I was to practice that...it's just...I don't know...."She said not really wanting to talk about it any father right now. She seemed upset about the whole thing now as what he had said hit home harder then ever and she wanted to try,but she was unsure what would happen if she tried to practice it was nothing to give in,but to give in and let go.....that was way harder then it seemed. Her wild side was very wild more wild then a common wolf and it did scare her,but she didn't want to be consumed by it. She wanted to practice it on him more then anything then alone in her tent,but she didn't want to hurt him. He might be a cat who could climb trees,but so could she in her wolf form. Faster then in her human form.
"Oh.....thanks....it's been awhile since I let myself go like that"She admitted"And I think I am finished for tonight...it is a good idea to go to bed now....so...I shall turn in. Thanks so much for your words..."She said as she headed to her tent then turned and looked back at him. "If it's not to much to ask....I rather try it on you then doing it myself,but....I let you think about that"She added.
Credit to the original artists of all displayed artwork. Themes designed by The Maven.