She watches him unspool very carefully, like a loose thread on a bobbin, slowly spinning as it’s used and used and used until here’s nothing but bare bones left. He’s falling apart very quietly and without fanfare, the way he keeps his thoughts quiet, the fraying hairs that he hides under a worrying brim. His hand dances around with nerves as they fly every closer across the damp, marshy grass towards their target. And more than a few times, she tries to spark conversation, but that was hardly successful.
Soha had never been the empathetic type, it had been a boon during her inclusion into the Seraph and her subsequent transfer into the Shining Blade (at many’s behest), but even now there is a strain at her heartstring, the single thread of humanity she has left for such reasons. It humanizes her to a point, makes her an abstraction of justice and duty and made into human form and still she keeps it away. it becomes odd then, when she notices the little things about him. The way he fidgets. The aches in his left arm, how he stretches and how he scratches his chin when he thinks. The way he fiddles with a carved pieces of wood, artfully done in the shape of a wolf (she asks him if he made it, and he says no, it was ‘given’ to him by a Norn friend of his. Friend is used loosely, she wonders if he’s hiding something) but still suspicious.
She knows nothing about him, except that which has been written down on a ledger long since out of date.
She watches him reduce himself to burning ash under her gaze, just for an itch that he’s struggling to end.
Whatever their plan of attack had been, it had collapsed in a matter of moments. Yet, the goal remains unchanged.
They were East of Laughing Gull when the attack began.
Whatever had given their position away, whether it was just his hulking size or the time of day, those pirates began their open firing as soon as they were in range. She doesn’t ask why. This kind of trouble seems to follow him, and subsequently? Her as well. She chose this path, and she will see it through. They don’t relent, not until there’s a steady cover of fire that keeps them both at bay ( especially as someone in heavy plate, someone who looks very official and very out of her element ), and despite this setback, he doesn’t let up.
It’s admirable in a way. She figures if he were decent, if he had been raised under the watchful eye of the Seraph then he might have made a find Exemplar, a better soldier. This kind of tenacity is something rarely seen, and he executes himself in a similar manner, rare and undefineable. Soha watches with her shield up as he dives into the water and torpedos towards the island with that inimitable shadow of the thief he is. He knows the way.
She holds her position for a good while, and even advances when the commotion on the other side of the island reaches her, shouts of stolen boats and the sinking of the frigate. Whateve rhis motive, whatever he’s done, she’s waiting for him to come back with some kind of shit eating smile, that aloof, airy way he holds himself.
She’s looking forward to seeing him alive, which is strange in itself.
And he does.
He crests the hill at a breakneck pace and she follows after him, hot on his heels as they both dive into the water, deepe rand deeper and pulling on the aquabreathers. They don’t dare follow, and despite the relief and fear, they don’t surface for a long while. Slowly, they make their way north, and crawl out onto the beach near the lighthouse.
Ironwood’s breather hits the ground with a metallic sound.
“She got away” he fumes, his eyes watching the horizon to the west. “I was—- I was so close, I was right there—”
“Do you know where she’s going?”
A frustrated sigh, he’s starting to pace past the water in his boots and the ridiculous noises he makes whiel soaking wet. “Yes, I— I mean I don’t know if it’s ven there anymore—”
He looks at her funny. He wears the face of a man expecting more, or less from soemone and isn’t sure how to react when he finally gets the reaction h e wants.
“…There’s… a cave. We had a rendezvous point in the jungle before the dragon arose. She might be going there if she’s desperate, there’s enough supplies there to get her situated for a month—”
“If it’s still any good, you mean”
“Well… yeah. You have a point”
“Did you get a mark off on her?”
A defeated, solemn silence. He shifts.
She’s silent for a good long while, and everything in her mind tells her to keep it simple, keep it here. It’s Maguuma. It’s not your problem.
“Which way, Captain?”
He’s quiet. Something in him settles into those rough lines of his face, a familiarity she’s never known from him, a mantle she’s never seen in actions — chills take a hold of her spine.
“How far west? Can we make it?”
He shifts, and her nerves gather in a ball and drop into her stomach, and as little time as they’ve had together, she knows a plan formulating when she sees one. That totem is resting in his palm again, his thumb is rubbing over the wood, catching on the snout of the wolf with every wave of thought that seems to ebb and flow.
“We can make it,” he says, glancing back, “but you’ll have to trust me”