A joke? Issa cracked a smile at that,"I can't be sure without looking. It will be temporary though, better clothes can be easily gotten once you're safely to my home."
His mother and sister were usually very kind to captive girls. Fussing over them and making them feel comfortable.
Her shriek shook him from his thoughts, and he rushed to her without hesitation. He saw the snake, and knew what must have happened. With a quick, skilled hand he struck out and had the snake in his hand, the back of its head pinched between his fingers so it couldn't reach to bite him. It writhed in his hand, clearly angry. He let out a sigh, and threw the snake off toward the rocks. It hit the sand with a think and slithered off,"Off with you."
With that taken care of he turned his attention to her and her ankle,"It was not venomous. It will hurt, but you'll be fine. Let me see."
He still felt on edge, his shoulders tense as he leaned over to examine the little punctures more closely. They were bleeding, but not much. It would be important to keep sand out of the wound as much as possible. He frowned,"I'm sorry you got hurt at all. Let's get that cleaned and wrapped, then keep going. You shouldn't walk on it anyway, so it's good I have the horse. Stay still and I'll get some water."
Water was with the horse. He gently set her foot in the sand, feeling the need to repeat as he stood up,"Don't move, I'll be right back."
Rosaline didn't like being sat in the sand, But she didn't complain about it at least she wasn't bound anymore. the blonde looked up as he spoke, she knew he was amused by her not wanting him to watch her undress. when he finished, saying he figured she knew better than to run the blonde nodded some.
"And I'd rather not be bound on horseback for hours on end," she added. When he got up, the girl staid put in the sand, watching as he moved to the rocks and brought a bundle back, kneeling in front of it.
Finally, she was untied completely and the girl took a big sigh of relief, though the bit of relief she felt left when she saw the clothes. They looked.. Less than pleasant. Rosaline gave him a slight glance, obviously displeased with the choice of clothing.
Her frame was so small she'd be lucky if the clothes even staid on her body. But.. once his back was turned to her she pulled off her nightgown and slowly pulled the clothes he provided over her body. Of course, the dress was almost falling off over one shoulder and the length drug on the ground some. What did he expect her to be? A giant?" the blonde outstretched her arms to look at herself "You're sure this isn't our tent?" She asked, actually making a joke.
The blonde took a step back to pull on the shoes, which weren't going to go over well either. lastly, she tried to attempt to tie the length of the skirt up so she could walk without trouble, but the way she did it was fair... lopsided.
Rosaline looked at herself again, taking another rather careless step back as she did. She lifted her head to speak again when she felt a sudden pain in her ankle. The girl let out a shrill, startled shriek. in her move to get away from whatever bit her she tried to walk in the too big shoes only to trip in the sand, behind her was a snake.
Out of all the poisonous snakes around the desert, Rosaline was lucky enough that she only got bit by a non-poisonous one. "I..I " she stammered a hand holding the ankle bite.
Her word. What was the word of a princess worth? Issa wasn't sure, but the girl sounded sincere. Her sudden nervousness puzzled him, until she stammered out her question. "Ah."
She was blushing. Issa's smirk was hidden behind his mask, but it was still obvious. "Very modest. I see. Well, if I thought you would run... But you seem smart enough to know better."
Not that he'd be reckless. Still, if she got some small things like that, she'd be more cooperative. Issa went to the rocks, and after tapping them with his dagger pulled one away and took the bundle out from its hiding place. He returned to her and dropped it next to her then knelt down. He untied her ankles and wrists, then untied the bundle, careful to keep the rope intact. Rope was useful, and no resource should be wasted lightly.
Inside the bundle were clothes of his people. Unlike his darker clothes though, these were off white, undyed material. A dress, which was the sort to fit loose. A calculated choice since it would fit most women, and he didn't know her measurements. There was also a cloak of the same material which was what everything else was wrapped in, and a pair of sandals that seemed, now that he had her, a bit too large for her feet. The thing tying it together was a red cord that could be used as a belt, to help keep the skirt up if it was too long. He guessed the skirt would be a bit long. He stood up,"I hope they fit well enough. I'll be by the horse, when you're done. Do hurry."
He stood up and went to wait by the horse as he said, his back to her. He couldn't see her, but he could still [i hear] her. He'd hear her if she tried to run, the way she'd likely struggle getting any speed in the sand. He knew he'd catch her if that happened.
As they neared the rocks and the horse stopped, Rosaline looked around quietly. When he picked her up from the horse the blonde gave a startled gasp, but other than him startling her, she didn't put up any kind of fight when being taken off and set in the sand.
When he said he'd untie her, she seemed to become slightly more attentive to what he was saying, and nodded as he listed off what was required of her. "I.. I understand." She spoke, hoping that was enough to convince him. but if it wasnt she spoke again "You have my word." She didn't know if that meant much, seeing as he didn't really know her.
she did want to run, But knew it wasnt in her best interest to do so It was late, and the only thing she could see sand stretching on for miles and miles "I know you're afraid I might run.. But.." she seemed abit.. nervous on the subject
"You're not.. going to watch me dress.. are you?" The thought of it seemed to make her uneasy. "I-I promise I wont try and run.. I just.. " she sighed looking away "N-nevermind.." the girl spoke, her gaze still away, trying to hide the blush forming on her cheeks
"Trade secrets, Princess. I did prepare some though." She was getting more talkative, and less panicked. That was good for him. He'd just need to keep an eye on her to make sure she wasn't up to anything.
So naive. Issa's grip on the reigns tightened slightly. His answer was calm, but it was a slightly sore subject. "Not as friendly as you think. Some individuals may be, but your people don't want my people around. [i Asking] hasn't gone well. How much do you really know about your peoples dealings with mine? Anyway, what my father wants with you is his business. Some kind of leverage against your family. Maybe money, maybe political. I'm just the delivery boy."
The rock formation was tall in front of him. He stopped the horse and climbed down, and pulled her down, her knees over one arm and her back supported with the other bridal style. As long as she didn't fight he could be more gentle with her, treating her more like a lady and less like a sack of grain. He carried her to the base of the formation where some smaller rocks were, and set her in the sand,"Now, if you can promise me a few things I'll untie you once I get the supplies. One, obviously, is don't run. Two, don't go too near the rocks. That's where the snakes like to hide, and I can't have you hurt. Three, you change without a fuss. Can you do that?"
Rosaline really didnt want to listen to him. but he reassured her that was her best option. "Fine..I'll wear the.. clothes" she spoke quietly, perhaps then he'd cut the ropes around her ankles.
He had a rest stop set up before they got to the camp they were to rest in? It seemed he had planned this out rather thoroughly. "so what.. did you just travel to my kingdom, Take me, and then just leave.?" she asked "No staking out the place, finding the best entrance? " she asked, seeming slightly calmer now. " And what does your father want with my family besides money anyways. If he needed money kidnapping the kings daughter isn't the best way of doing so. Perhaps a treaty? or some kind of friendly negotiation..?" She rambled on
"I just don't understand why this was his go to option. My kingdom is more than fair, and very friendly.. If you needed help, you just need to ask.."
She was afraid. Issa rolled his eyes, looking ahead at the moonlit sands. It was understandable, but irritating all the same.
In the distance there was the rock formation he was looking for. He turned the horse slightly to head straight that way, responding lightly,"You think we're such barbarians. You'll be fine, Princess. My father will see it all sorted out."
The families always paid the ransom sooner or later. Issa was determined that this go well too. The desert air was cold, and as night went on it would just get colder. It would still be easier to travel in the freezing nights with her than make her struggle in the hot sun. "At that rock ahead I have supplies. Clothes for you, to keep you warm. We'll have to make the stop fast, to make it to the rest point by sunrise. You'll want to be in shelter before the sun really comes up out here, believe me."
Rosaline listened to him explain the situation. It didn't make her feel any better about it. she didn't believe her parents would pay a ransom, even for their beloved daughter.. Elaine's demeanor seemed to change slightly with the knowledge of his. she was silent, even for a small while after he asked if she had any questions.
she just kind of sat there, quietly fighting with herself to ask the next question "...And if they refuse to pay..?" She asked quietly, looking down at her wrists once again, the marks slowly beginning to fade away. "I..If they don't pay, then my cooperation will be for nothing, i'll be dead!" Rosaline tried to take a deep breath, to keep herself calm, to keep her thoughts collected.
she couldn't bring herself to look up, she knew if she did tears would start rolling down her cheeks, and she didn't want him to see her in such a weak state, seeing as he was the one with authority over her at the very moment. Rosaline let out a long shaky sigh, slowly looking forward. her mind was running a mile a minute, so many possibilities of what could happen to her depending on her cooperation, and in the end her parents cooperation..
She was such a shy thing despite her feisty outbursts. He wondered if she was tough enough to keep that spirit, or if the desert might break her. It almost didn’t matter, he was supposed to protect her from it as much as possible regardless.
He was looking at her in silence when he realized he should check their heading. He snapped his attention forward and saw the horse had stayed mostly on course. With a little sigh he turned the horse slightly before turning his attention back to her.
“Let me explain how this works. I take you, like this.” He made a little motion with his arms, vague but as if indicating the two of them sitting here,”I keep you safe and deliver you to my father. There, we keep you safe while my father negotiates a price with your family. Once that’s done, we return you to your home, safe and sound. Your comfort during all this will depend on your cooperation.”
He glanced back ahead before leaning in a little closer over her shoulder, as if trying to get a better look at her face since she kept looking away,”I’ve done this several times. Some have been exceptionally uncomfortable but none of my captives have died. Any questions, princess?”
It wasn't until he grabbed her wrist that she had realized what had happened. It was just the way his breath rolled down her neck, and the way he whispered in her ear. "I-" she finally looked up to see him staring at her, And just when one thought her cheeks couldn't get any redder the color of red on her cheeks seemed to darken.
which made her begin to try and pull her wrist away from his grasp. Finally he let go and she quickly retracted her hand listening to him answer with a simple 'Because'. the blonde girl went to protest that 'because' wasn't a good enough answer, but then he went on about the clothes.
Rosaline felt frustration building up inside of her. Why should he be the one to tell her what to wear, to her, her clothes were perfectly fine. The elven princess looked up, to see him looking down at her. when he spoke, Rosaline went quiet for awhile her gaze going down. After awhile she gave a sigh.
"I know.. You want me 'Alive and unharmed'. But for how long?" She asked, glancing up at him before once more adverting her eyes away. She wanted to know the answer.. but then again would it even matter?
She was scared, But was trying to hide it, and was doing well, but deep down she knew what kind of trouble she could be in, and that if she got too out of hand she could just end up making things worse on herself.
He had half expected some sort of retaliation. She had a fire to her that he thought may make her a handful later on. Still, even expecting it he was nearly too late to catch her wrist. His gloved hand had closed over her wrist leaving her hand too close to his face for comfort. He didn’t want to admit to her how close she’d gotten to actually hitting him, and hoped no one else would ever find out. He prided himself on his fast reflexes.
For all that fire she was a shy thing still. He saw how red her cheeks had turned, even with her eyes averted. It was so tempting to tease her further, but he released her hand and tilted his head. His answer was impish and teasing,”Because.”
As if that answer was enough Issa continued about the clothes in a more serious manner,”You will want to wear something better than this. Believe me, I’ve lived my whole life out here.”
He looked down at her, leaving navigating the next stretch of sand entirely to the horse. Almost nothing of his face could be seen but his eyes. He had less of that amused twinkle in them, instead wearing something more thoughtful like he was studying her. Deciding what to do if she continued to be stubborn. How to persuade or force her. “I am trying to protect you, as unbelievable as you may find that.”
Rosaline had finally gone quiet for a few moments, trying to take in what she could, there wasn't much of anything around them. Only to be pulled out of her thoughts by his voice. Rosaline looked down at her clothes. What was so wrong with them? They were light, and flowy, kept her cool in the kingdom, the only thing she was worried about was not having any shoes. "My clothes are fine. " She said simply.
Moments later she felt him lean in close, his breath running down her neck as he spoke. the girl shuddered softly, her cheeks flushed a deep red and she stammered. Her eyes widened as he finished speaking to her. And without even thinking she swung her hand around, slapping him right in the face. That was if he wasn't quick enough to catch her "C-cut it out!" She exclaimed, obviously quite embarrassed at the thought of what he said coming true.
"I don't understand why you must toy with me like that." She spoke, her cheeks still the same shade of red, her eyes trying their best to avoid looking at him
Issa chanced a look behind them to see the sand as empty behind them as it was ahead of them. No one seemed to be in close pursuit, but he wouldn’t stop until he reached the supply stop he’d left himself for the return journey.
His mouth twisted into an amused smirk under his mask,”Assuming everything I have is stolen? You might not be wrong, but it would be wiser to wear something more suited to traversing the desert, princess.”
He leaned closer, his head over her shoulder so he could very nearly whisper in her ear,”As fine as this little gown is, it won’t protect you well. The desert nights are cold, and the days are hot and harsh. The journey will not be entirely on horse. This dress will be ruined by the sand and rocks, but by all means, wear it until the desert tears it from your body. I’ll wait.”
Rosaline was rubbing her wrists, when he spoke, asking if she had any other complaints. She shook her head. "No.." she muttered "I suppose I'm comfortable for now.." having her hands untied seemed to calm the girl some, and the anger and frustration that was there just moments before has seemed to subsided, even when he noticed how he was enjoying this, and she didn't want to give him the satisfaction, thought she knew he had won.
the girl was silent, which was probably a change from all the other people he's probably done this too. for Rosaline, this is the most excitement she'd had in her entire life. She had never left the sanctuary of the kingdom before, It was safe there, she had everything she needed.. that and when her older sister had left, she had never returned, not alive at least.
the elven princess was pulled from these thoughts as he went on about clothes. "Pratical?" she scoffed "My clothes are fine, I dont need clothes from you that probably dont even belong with you. I'm not wearing stolen goods. I'll be fine in my own clothes." She said simply, trying not to look at him.
It was good she understood. She had fire, but wasn’t stupid. A good combination for staying alive out here. Caution would serve her well in the days and nights ahead. Once she held her hands out he cut the rope with his knife with a swift, precise move and then sheathed it. A little bit of a waste, but it wasn’t a very long piece of rope and he wasn’t going to fiddle with untying it on horseback.
“There. Any other complaints?” He smirked down at her with the cheeky question. The mask would hide his mouth, but not the amusement in his eyes. He figured she would complain, which was understandable. She hadn’t fought very hard, and she seemed willing to cooperate. All she’d done in any attempt at defiance was complain, which he found more funny than irritating at the moment. He was used to his captives fighting more, or else just crying or pleading.
He turned his attention back to the way ahead. Some distance yet, and some time before dawn. They had hours on horseback to kill through long stretches of mostly barren land. “It’s going to be a long ride. Hopefully it will also be uneventful.”
He looked at her again. His attention kept being drawn back to her, sitting right in front of him. “I have some clothes for you at the camp I left, if you want to wear something more… practical.”
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