She takes to the raptor well. 

He hadn’t been expecting much from her when she told him it would ‘be her first time’, but he can’t seem to care about those kind of semantics yet. The exemplar sits well in front of him, and props herself on the saddle horn as the raptor bounces along underneath them, and he’s very, very careful to remind himself to give Cirice treats for this kind of work. She speeds along across the fields past the hills, huffing and puffing as they break into the wildlands of the West and keep pushing South. 

The trail never goes cold, but they trail behind by a good margin. 

Darkness comes quickly, the multi-day trek they’ve undertaken for the sake of vengeance is drawing to a close, and the strain of it is becoming a mark on them both. Her usual, well-kept appearance is dissolving into something disheveled, she keeps her tangling hair up and away from her face in messy holds. Her makeup is smearing. He wonders quietly why she would put makeup on for such a thing but he won’t be the one to broach the subject of it, perhaps she wants it that way. Whatever her reason, the eye bags are growing darker, more visible. He doesn’t take that kind of stock in his appearance, but she’s the one keeping them together.

When they make a small camp, well hidden for rest, she demands to see the wound Corine had given him. He reluctantly gives, lifting his shirt to reveal the freshly bleeding wound, not yet closed from his feat at the cove — it hurts, as it should, it’s not deep but it’s there, and slowly drawing his will to continue out of him like an infection.

“It’s not looking good”

“It doens’t feel good, tell me something new”

He doesn’t expect the stifled snort of amusement, but he looks back at her in the dimming light and… smiles in return. She presses a salve to the back, and he grunts in pain and frustration, gripping his knee while she finds the bandages to wrap it.

Twilight comes, silence with her. Soha is the first to speak after a while, and it starts with the suggestion of a word, then more silence. And then another sound, a thought trying to form, and he turns to her.

“What’s on your mind?”

“… Do you…” a frustrated sigh. She pushes her hair back. “Are you going to be able to do this?”

“Whaddya mean?”

“I mean— I’ve heard things about ship crews, how you all get on like family, was she—”

Jesse laughs. Really , a good laugh. “I had a few people I liked and confided in. They… probably didn’t make it, realistically. Corine won’t be a problem”

“…what happened? How… I mean I know, you were a pirate at one point, but. You went from a scourge of Kryta to… this”

Maybe she doesn’t mean it that way. Maybe he’s just tired, the annoyance riles the hair on the back of his neck.

“…I was a part of something I didn’t understand. All I wanted was a good life for myself, and the other people in my way be damned. And in the end it ruined me” Cirice chirps, he puts his hand on her side, “I was one of the first to set for Elona when Orr fell, did you know that? The second that dragon was dead, I found the fastest skiff I could, loaded my trusted crewmates on it and sailed as fast as the winds would take us. I had no interest in opening trade routes, I didn’t want to bring anything back. I wanted to go there because I could. because it benefited me and what I thought I wanted”

A pause, quiet enough for the wind to get a word in edgewise.

“I was a selfish man. And now? I’d like to think I’m getting better. But we’ll see”

“Y’know, for a while, all I thought I saw in you was another pirate” Soha says, quietly. Unlike her. “And… My father was the one who pushed me to join the Seraph. My mother thought I would make a great diplomat, but… I was just angry. I was always angry as a child, and even now, but I had a purpose, I had people looking out for me while I just. Raged. And it worked for me, I didn’t have to care about what anyone else needed or wanted besides my superiors”

“And then the worst day of your life was meeting me, right?”

“Yes! Well, no, I— I was upset. I like working alone, and I thought…”

“Lone wolves starve, Soha”

“Yeah…”

Another pause. Another silence. She inches closer as the night gets colder.

“Jesse?” she looks at him, crossing her legs, looking towards the glimmering horizon. “Are you…?”

He looks at her.

“…At one point, yeah” he produces the wolf totem from his pocket, “not really, anymore.”

Author quorgi
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