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This could be the end. It looks as though you're letting go. [Open to Mordred]
Hopelessness stings deeper than the coldest bitter winds of the highest peaks of Cho Oyu. Mulan had been lost and wandering with no particular direction in mind for days. The woman had not even realized that her surroundings had changed. The snow was falling harder even as she moved down the mountain. The flakes melted against her fever warmed cheeks. Ice had begun to form on her pristine armor, so much so that the feather in her helmet had begun to hang in her face. The layers under her armor barely kept her warm and the pack and bow which loosely hung on her shoulder had started to become a burden. Her gloved hand rested on the hilt of the elaborate Chinese Jian hanging off her belt in an extravagantly decorated sheath. The gold and silver glistened in the sunlight filtering through the clouds. Even weather-worn and ill Mulan still held a well traveled but dignified appearance.

The snow crunched lightly under her boots. Her armor clinked ever so softly as she moved. Each labored breath she took sent a small cloud into the air. Faintly she could hear voices drifting into the mountains from the nearby Camlann. She could smell the fires burning inside the hearths of the houses below and suddenly her body longed to be warm.

Her footsteps faltered as a hare crossed her path. She teetered unbalanced on one foot before tumbling forward. She landed face first into the snow, her pack landing next to her with a small ‘pft’ sound as it sank into the powder. The sudden sensation of cold against her fevered face caused her to jerk and shiver uncontrollably. The woman forced herself into a kneeling position before drawing her sword to support the weight of her lithe body. The point of her weapon was buried in the frozen earth as she rested her weary head on the handle. She almost looked like she was praying, and maybe in her own way; she was.

They had her kneel like this against her sword, mostly naked and utterly vulnerable. They branded her and cast her out. They would not let her return home. They exiled her, sent her away from the country she’d given so much to. They had no faces but they haunted her every sleeping moment. She heard them when she closed her eyes, whispering about her fate. Speaking about her like she didn’t exist. Calling her a traitor and a dishonor to her family.

Her grip on the sword tightened, surely the knuckles beneath the gloves would be white. She made several attempts to calm her breathing. Sooth the anger boiling under her skin. She rose to her feet and began moving forward again. She whispered to herself in very soft Chinese. Reminding herself that she was not a Traitor. The fever was beginning to affect her senses as well as her mind. She was slow to react to the soft but audible crack of wood being snapped in two. Twigs being stepped on.

Who’s there?!”*” More of a demand than a question as she whirled around, her eyes moving from sparse evergreen to the low winter brush. Her sword was pointed and she was ready for a fight even if the woman was in no condition.

There! She heard it again. The tell tale crackling of twigs underfoot. She turned again, again, almost losing her footing and falling once more. She caught herself before her eyes rested on the hare not five feet from her. Its nose twitched before it ran off and she swore it was being followed by a faceless child.

The town she had been heading for couldn’t be too far. Mulan thought she could make out the barest of outlines from what was probably a road or path into the mountains during the warm summer months.

The snow had started to fall again. She needed to move but her feet seemed frozen in place and her eyes were glued to the underbrush where the rabbit had disappeared.

*in Chinese.

Tags: mordred, mulan

From: [info]what_a_hellion Date: 01/04/2008 01:01:43  

Mordred needed a break from the castle. His screaming had caught the attention of many of the guards who had rushed in after Guinevere had left. Everyone was shocked to see that the king was back. They cheered and welcomed him back but he could sense anxiety in them as well. No doubt they had been slacking off and gorging themselves with every earthly pleasure while he had been asleep. The rest of his evening was sent getting caught up on everything that had happened. He was only able to partially absorb all of the information. Eventually he dismissed them all and despite their protests headed out into the city.

He needed a break from all of the noise and the chaos of the castle. He needed a break from that wretched woman who insisted on insulting him and making his monster of a father out to be some glorious king. By now the sight of the castle had faded into the distance and the only sound he could hear was his boots crunching the snow beneath them. His body was kept warm by a dark cloak and matching leather tunic and pants. At his side was his sword, it was the only thing that felt familiar to him. It was the only thing he truly trusted. It had been by his side since he was a young man and over the years he had placed numerous enchants on it to match his growth in power.

That sword was drawn when he caught the outline of a figure just ahead of him on the road. From what he could the person had a small frame and was shivering. As he grew closure to the figure, the sword was quickly withdrawn from his sheath and he cold out in a cool voice.

"State your name stranger before you think to cross over into Camlann."
From: [info]boyish_facade Date: 01/04/2008 01:35:41  

Mulan’s eyes moved to the man who had drawn his sword. She studied him a moment before turning to fully face him. Her gaze had traced an invisible like from the point of his weapon to his face. She looked him in the eye, she always looked men in the eye, whether they knew she was female or not. Many soldiers had found it unnerving that, even while in chains, she refused to avert her eyes. She wasn’t afraid.

Mulan understood the words he spoke very clearly and while she was shivering and exhausted, she wasn’t about to show her weakness to this stranger on the road. Drawing one’s sword was usually considered a threat. Had Mulan been thinking clearly she would have realized it was her who had her sword drawn first. It was her who was trespassing into whatever land this was but Mulan wasn’t thinking clearly. She simply saw a weapon pointed at her and while her sword had no enchantments it was still a deadly instrument in her hand. She moved her feet apart, ready to lunge if need-be. Her grip tightened on the sword she held as she moved it closer to her own body, readying it at a moments notice.

“Hua Mulan.”

She had many years of practice deepening her voice to aid her in the masquerade as a male soldier. The cold just seemed to make her voice harsher thus adding to her gruff façade. With a flick of her wrist she brought her sword to ready pointing it at the man standing in front of her. The palm of her free hand was up and facing him, two fingers pointing skyward. Both hands were trembling badly and it was clear she was in no condition to fight. “Re-“ her breathing was already labored, “Remove yourself from my path. Please.”

The woman moved to take a step forward and stumbled before falling, her helmet tumbling to the ground. Sweat beaded on her forehead, not even the winter cold could touch the fever on her bare skin. She struggled to push herself up, gritting her teeth and looking the man in the eye again as she supported her weight on the sword once again. Her short gasps were creating small clouds of fog around her face.
From: [info]what_a_hellion Date: 01/04/2008 17:49:14  

Mordred watched the other 'man' carefully. At first he thought it was a female because of how small he was. But the voice was masculine and if it was a woman he imagined she'd be begging him for help. Instead the person in front of him was asking for him to move out of the way. If he knew what was going on in the kingdom he would have told the man in front of him to bow and show respect towards the king.

But for all he knew this could be an assasin and there could be hundreds more lurking in the shadows. Until he figured out everything that had happened in his absence he needed to play it cool and keep his ego in check. The sword was still kept at his side and he didn't move to help when the person in front of him fell. For all he knew it could be a ploy. He could move over there to lend a hand and get a dagger in his ribs for his troubles.

"I will not move. The kingdom behind me is the place I call home. I am a royal guard for the Great King Mordred Pendragon; Founder of Camlann. If you to enter the city then state your reasons for doing so."

The whole time he was talking, his gaze was constantly flickering around. At any moment he was expecting a group of bandits or monsters to leap out behind him and try and take him down. Paranoia made it hard to hold a civil conversation with strangers.
From: [info]boyish_facade Date: 01/05/2008 05:42:32  

Had Mordred told her to show respect to the king Mulan would have responded that she bows to no king. Her first duty was to China and its emperor, even in exile she felt this way. She knew nothing of Camlann, nothing of the king and nothing of any turmoil which must be brewing within the land. She had still assumed that she was beyond the mountains of her country. Doubt crept into the corners of her mind as the name of this land was unfamiliar.

The only fact that she was sure of was that this town was distrustful. Royal guards did not patrol the borders of a kingdom unless trouble was expected. Trouble usually meant war or paranoia was near. Neither was good for a kingdom.

“If you will not move then I shall walk around you,” the woman lifted her chin as her jaw set in determination. She had a very slight accent. Her business was not his to know, even if she had just planned to find a place to sleep for the night before moving on.

She took note of his wandering gaze. It didn’t surprise her that he was suspicious. The man probably felt obligated to protect his king and his country. She was a suspicious figure coming from the high mountains in the middle of winter. Mulan rose to her feet very slowly, almost as if she was unsure of her balance. The moment she was sure of her footing she had re-sheathed her weapon, only now realizing that holding it made her more of a threat to the man. She wasn’t afraid to use the weapon if he attacked her but she wasn’t going to make an active effort to provoke him. She remained motionless for a few minutes as her breathing steadied. She guarded her momentary weakness in studying the other man before slowly moving to pick up the fallen helmet.

The world seemed to spin as Mulan sidestepped to pass the knight in front of her. One hand held her helmet and the other rested on the hilt of her sword. She just needed to walk into the town. She just needed to pretend the fever affecting her equilibrium had subsided. Her steps were slow and deliberate, masking her doubt with defiance.
From: [info]what_a_hellion Date: 01/07/2008 14:01:26  

Why was it Mordred was running into so many defiant people since he had awoken? Without his leadership it seemed the world was falling into madness and everyone thought their two cents was law. That would all change soon enough.

His fingers tightened around his sword and the glow on the blade started to brighten. When she tried to move past him he stepped in her way and shook his head, making a slight 'tsk-tsking' sound. Though he had been asleep in an enchanted sleep for months Mordred was still in prime shape. The most intimidating thing about him had to be his dark eyes that could very well be black when the evening set in. Those who had seen him in a heated battle could swear on their very lives that his eyes belonged in an other worldly creature.

"You are causing my patien--"

He paused when he heard other foot steps and his eyes glanced into the near by woods. He caught several movements that couldn't have belonged to the same person. He rolled his neck from one side to the other before he lashed out with his free hand in an attempt to grab the weak man by his collar.

"I see you did not come here alone. Now the only place you'll be going to his hell."
From: [info]boyish_facade Date: 01/07/2008 22:57:35  

It was in Mulan’s nature to question everything and defy orders that served no purpose. Barring her from entering the town was silly and she wasn’t about to listen to the other man.

Until he blocked her path again.

Mulan was not shaken by his eyes; she had seen far worse things in the heat of battle. Defiance burned in her eyes as she quirked an eyebrow at the larger man. It was starting to look like she was going to need to fight her way into the city. The ‘tsk’ sound he made had annoyed her and the feeling was painted across her features. She opened her mouth to interrupt him when she heard the crackling of footsteps in the snow.

Mulan may not have been in the prime of her health at the moment but she was smaller and quicker than the man grabbing for her. The helmet in her hand fell to the snow with a small pft as she ducked out of the other soldier’s grasp. With a flick of her wrist the jian at her side was in her hand once again. She held the sword like it weighed nothing at all. He thought the bandits attacking them were with her? Did she really look that haggard? Did she look like a vagabond? A small snort escaped her, she would never associate with common bandits.

Her hands were trembling as she looked to the woods while keeping the knight with the glowing sword in her peripheral vision. Her stamina was fading fast and she was sure the knight was not her only worry anymore.

“You may try to send me there yourself and fail,” a pause, “These are no comrades of mine. If I were to attack you I would do so with honor and I would take your life with pride.”
Community: [info]pentamerone
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