Hawke was filling his flask in the river, when his reflection in the rippling water caught him off guard. Tentatively, he fingered the pink scar along his temple, tracing it down to his lips. There were times when he could forget, but sometimes, it still came as a shock to him.
“I didn’t realize it took a century to fill up on water.” Liliana muttered, entering the clearing behind him.
[["Got nothing better to do?" ->Frenemies]]
[[Say nothing ->Frenemies]]
She lingered in the background, a sign to hurry up on his own account before she made him. Most would have risen upon seeing Lilliana but thanks to their close quarters these past few weeks, Hawke had built up a resistance to her icy presence.
Like all Roahk, she wore an assortment of piercings and had the trademark red Markings - but it was her choice of jewelry that set her apart. Lilliana favoured bones. Since the battle of Haevn ended and the culling for their remaining enemies began, Lilliana wore her thirst for blood like a fashion accessory.
Today, she sported a few slender skeleton fingers tied to her own like rings. They made a clacking sound as she tapped her fingers impatiently on her thigh and it was starting to give him a headache.
[[Speak Your Mind->Challenge]]
[[Nice Jewlery ->Bones]]
[[Remain Friendly ->Friendly]]
“When do you see an end to this?” Hawke asked suddenly.
The clacking stopped.
“What are you talking about?” She asked testily.
Yes, he was picking a fight with the nastiest Clan leader and yes they were all starving and cold after spending weeks in the Wilds but none of that really mattered anymore. If Lilliana chose to finally snap and kill him right there, so be it - at least he'd be free of the hypothermia crawling up his fingers.
”Liliana, the clans are restless and so are the people from the Haevn. They’ve all had their fill of bloodshed and this culling is-“
“Is what?” She challenged. “A debt that needs to be paid? A disease that needs to be eradicated? I hope that’s what you were about to say or else we might have a problem.”
[[Remain diplomatic ->Lilliana Attacks]]
[[Be Honest ->Lilliana Attacks]]Hawke rose to face her, attempting to look brave. He towered over her when standing but the combination of red that painted her face and bones that adorned her body still made his heart hammer in his chest. After all, he'd seen her imaple her own people over far less.
"Just admit it already, the only reason we're still dragging our people all over the Wilds is because you're still greedy for blood." He said.
She was on him in seconds and shoving him painfully into the nearest tree with a knife at his throat.
“These animals killed hundreds of us. If you’re father were still alive to watch you lead, he’d surely drop dead from shame now.” She sneered.
[[Looking to the Future->Reason]]
[[My Father Isn't Here->Deflect]]
[[Other Things Lurk Here->Rumours of the Wilds]]"No, I thought we could stop with the witchhunt and invite them for tea."
"You make jokes when they've killed hundreds of us for their science expirements?" She gaped, hazel eyes filling with rage.
That's when Lilliana moved in on him.
"Would it kill you to take a breath of fresh air and appreciate the view?" Hawke said, pointing to the setting sun reflecting on the lakes horizon. A bird touched down for a drink and the orange and reds rippled, mimicking the dance of flames.
Lilliana looked down at him sharply.
"If you wanted to stay and play, you should have stayed back in the city, child."
[[Not The Only Leader->Hawke Attacks]]
[[Honesty->Lilliana Attacks]]"For someone so impatient, it's funny how you found the time for your twisted little arts and crafts." Hawke said wrly.
Lilliana looked down at him, narrow-eyed and brimming with contempt. He'd seen that look far too many times but even he was surprised by it's lack of effect on him now.
"Did you really have to skin those kids alive?"
"They weren't innocent." She reploed coldly.
"They were //once//-" he tried.
"If all you want to do is make jokes, you should go back to the city child. There are others here who take this threat seriously."
[["The Truth is..."->Lilliana Attacks]]"There are more of us than there are them now, we've practically rendered Biosteel extinct. They'd be stupid to try and fight us again."
"I remember a time when we were in their shoes - and we //did// win. What if they get the same idea?"
[[Agressive->Agressive]]“We should be focusing on building and expanding, making room for the newcomers. Not running around like crazed bloodhounds - we’ve practically forced Dom’s army into extinction, it’s over.”
“And what if all of that building goes to shit when the remaining soldiers band together and destroy our efforts?” She growled.
[[Agressive->Agressive]]"You don't need to tell me what Peter would do, he was //my// father and no one knew him better than I did." Hawke bent down to pick up his backpack and knife.
"Nor do you need to remind me what they were capable of. The people responsible are dead and he would want us to move on." He added.
Looking unconvinced, Lilliana crossed her arms. "And how exactly would he do that?"
Hawke spun and tripped her. Rising, he unsheathed his knife. Even now with a blade at her throat, she had no fear.
"We can't keep going this way, Lilliana." He said.
Returning the favor, she kicked his ankles painfully and his knees buckled. Lilliana threw him face down into the icy river water and he struggled for breath as the rocks scraped against his cheeks.
“These animals killed hundreds of us. If you’re father were still alive to watch you lead, he’d surely drop dead from shame now.” he heard her sneer over the thrumming of the water.
Hawke feared for a second that he'd taken one step too far over the line as his vision began to darken. Grabbing a tuft of his hair, Lilliana lifted his head from the water.
Hawke grappled for air but he had no time to be thankful because there was a knife at his throat. //His// knife.
"If you try something like that again, I don't care who your father may have been. I will slit your throat without a second thought, do you understand me?" She said.
[["We've Driven Them Exctint..."->Facts]]
[["What About the Future?..."->Reason]]
[["My Father Isn't Here..."->Deflect]]
[["There are worse things out here..."->Rumours of the Wilds]]“I say live and let live, they’d be stupid to try and come after us with such a small number of them left.” Hawke said, knowing as he said the words, that Lilliana would not agree with him.
Scoffing, Lilliana let him go and spun on her heel. “It's absolutely nauseating how similar you and Lizbeth are - neither of you seem to take this threat seriously and if it gets our people killed once again, their blood will be on both of your hands. Come on little Hunter, you've wasted enough of our time."
[[Meet the Rest of Your Group ->Unfortunate Reunion]]"If it comes to that, then we'll do what we have to." Hawke said, already dreading the hypothetical task. He'd had enough killing this past month to last him a life time.
For the first time since they began their bloody trek in the Wilds, Lilliana gave him a satisfied smile. Hawke //almost// hated to disappoint her.
"But until then, we need to think of what's best for our people."
Lilliana sniffed disapprovingly. "Why is it so hard to find honest killers these days? Come on little Hunter, we must return to our people."
[[Meet the Rest of Your Group ->Unfortunate Reunion]]Hawke decided not to answer her as they headed back to the group, instead trailing behind her quietly - they were all tired, cold and hungry. Most were disgruntled under the circumstances but Lilliana had a look in her eye like she’d kill anyone who pushed her far enough today.
Still, he reached out to stop her the moment he caught the metal scent. There was blood nearby, and lot’s of it.
He opened his mouth to speak but Lilliana held a finger to her lips and then pointed to the bushes ahead, where their camp was.
[[Keep Quiet->Something in the Woods]]Keeping low and quiet, they ducked behind the brush. Daring a look through the green, Hawke’s eyes widened at what he saw and he stood so quickly that he knocked over Lilliana. She was about to let loose a string of unpleasantries when she saw the scene for herself.
They stood in the clearing dumbfounded, as they tried to make sense of the scattered limbs and dead clansmen. A branch cracked somewhere behind them and an all-too human growl sent shivers down his spine. Hesitantly, they turned.
A pack of blood-soaked and ravenous Hollows looked back at them like they’d just found their dessert.
"And what exactly would your father have done //here//?" Lilliana whispered steadily, as if not yelling would make a difference now.
[[Make a Run For it->What Would He Do]]Heart thrumming in his ears, Hawke felt his hand wrap around Lilliana's.
“I think he’d tell us to run.”
To Be Continued..."Well if you head the stories, there are much scarier things in these woods to worry about then a couple scattered soldiers. Take it from me." Hawke said, pointing at his scar.
"You should know that I find it admirable you lived to tell such tales - you would have made a good Roahk." Her lip twitched into a smile.
Hawke was too stunned by the compliment to know what to say.
"Until I tell you to kill something of course and you refuse." She sighed with disappointment. "But, you //are// your fathers son and that means something."
[[Sentimental->A Good Man]]
[[Reasoning->Reason]]"He was a good man." Hawke sighed. "I still can't wrap my head around the fact he's gone."
"He was a strong leader too, I must admit." She admitted.
Hawke raised an eyebrow at that. "If memory serves, you fought him on literally every vote."
Lilliana grinned. "Isn't that the function of a council? To disagree?"
Hawke looked over at her perplexingly, wondering if he'd ever heard her crack a joke before and was shocked to realize this was the first time.
Putting her hands behind her back, the queen of the Roahk looked him over more seriously. "A councils function is to use their difference of opinions to find the best solution. And now, with the unfortunate passing of such a beloved leader, you too are apart of that council Hawke."
"If the culling ins't to your liking, then what would //you// have us do?" She asked.
[[Looking to the Future->Reason]]