The figure fell to the ground gracefully, much like Baron did at times. Though he appeared to be anything but graceful. Dangerous, would have been the right word. His apparel was of black leather, from head to toe. Reminding her of a crow.
Sage grabbed Nera's reigns in her hands in case she had to make a quick run for it. The man bowed to her, and Nera whinnied in warning. “Who are you?” Sage demanded, seeing through his facade.
He raised his head, and smiled at her. His eyes were the brown, nearly black. The color of cole she decided. Even as he smiled, they remained narrowed. Giving her another reason not to trust him. His brown hair was tied neatly into a ponytail. Thru his body language and confidence Sage guessed he was a man of high stature. “Empress, I am well aware that the state of your Empire has ...declined in many ways since the passing of your father.”
“ Yes well, we're in the process of revisions, now as we speak.” She said defensively. “Now who are you, and where are you from?”
“My name is Vernox. You may call me Vern.” He said reaching for her hand. “Where I'm from is of little importance.”
Sage pulled her hand away. She didn't like being tested. “Well, Vern. I was only asking for the sake of conversing. I have already determined you to be from the new Syronian Empire. Your clothing is a dead give away. Also you possess the ability of flight. So I suppose the Syronians are bathing you in richess in return you allow them to use you as their own personal weapon. It's true, isn't it?”
Vern's smile wavered slightly. “Aye, that may be true, though I am not here on behalf of my Empire.”
She studied the man closer. His face was void of any emotion. Purposefully? She wondered.
“I am here Empress. To offer you a proposition as I stated in my message.”
“Well. Get on with it than, we're wasting daylight.” Sage said indifferently.
“Empress. I request your hand in marriage. Before you answer me I ask you to decide with your people's best interest at heart. If you allowed me to rule Galvenston, by your side I swear to rebuild the Empire with my riches, and with that I could bring back the merchant's, improve the harvest. I could give Galventon worth again.” He proposed.
Through her periphial vision she noted the way the sun reflected off of a piece of silver on his hand. Not that she was even considering the proposal, a man who could betray his Empire, was not to be trusted with hers. The wedding band on his finger was a poor slip up on his part.
Vern followed her gaze, to his ring. “It was my father's.” He said all too quickly.
Sage shook her head. “Even so, I do not wish to marry. Least of all someone who's intention's with my empire remained unknown to me.”
Vern's smile transformed into a grimace. “ I was afraid it would come to this Empress.”
Sage pulled out her akinakes as he drew a Single shot pistol on her.
She knew she would have to make the first move. His gun was a one shot. In desperation she chucked the dagger. He was quick enough to dodge it. Leaving her defenseless.
“Are you sure you don't want to reconsider?” He said raising the gun at her. Sage swung her arms slightly, and swayed her body to gain momentum. She knew he'd mistake it for a nervous tick.
“Fine!” She spat. “I except your proposal. He lowered his gun. “Wise choice.” He said meeting her eyes.
She responded with a well placed high kick A maneuver that Baron had taught her. The gun was sent high into the air, landing several yards away. Vern starred at her in shock for a moment before they broke off into a race for the gun. He had the advantage of longer legs, though she had the advantage of lighter clothing. She made a leap for it, lunging her entire body at the gun. Vern did the same, only lunging for her instead. He rolled her onto her back.
“Your a pathetic traitor, a disgrace to anyone's Empire!” She yelled.
Vern laughed. “True as it may be. I am the one who will survive in the end. So you tell me how far your loyalty has gotten you!”
She wriggled out her arm from underneath him. Digging up a handful of sand. Unfortunately he had noticed the gesture. He clutched her arm painfully, and began bending it high above her head. She bit her lip to keep from crying out loud. Even as she heard the painful snap of her radius bone. He smiled in delight, as she struggled to keep her agony to herself.
“Has anyone ever told you. That an army is only as strong as it's weakest link Empress?”
Sage lifted her head long enough to look her opponent in the eye. “Why stop there I have two arms you know?” She said fastidiously.
“Aye. Though I will need you to sign away your rights to Galvenston with the other.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a subtle movement of a large creature. “Aye, is that right?” Sage made sure to keep Vern's gaze on her, and not at the movement behind her. “Tell me what do you intend to do with my Empire?” She asked in efforts to distract him from looking elsewhere.
Vern chuckled as he began to list all the gory details, of what he was going to do with Galvenston. Sage was only half listening. The other half of her attention was directed on the sound of shuffling dirt.
“Yes.”She murmured as the shuffling sounded closer.
Vern shot her a curious look.
“Yes...you are indeed a vile breed of species.” She quickly recovered. He smiled. To him that was a compliment. “Do you think so Empress.” He asked toying with a strand of her hair.
“Indeed.” She replied preoccupied in freeing her left arm in time to receive the gun. Nera was shuffling it with her hoof through the sand. Sickeningly Vern lowered his mouth to hers. “Yes, indeed.” She reiterated.” You remind me of my father.” She screamed, before his mouth came down harshly on hers. She took advantage of the moment to free her arm. The gun was within arms reach now. She closed her fist around the handle as Vern busied himself with her mouth. She raised the pistol over his head and brought it down so hard the impact of the gun's weight knocked him unconscious. She rolled Vern off of her, and dragged his body to the closest tree. She whistled for Nera who seemed proud of herself as she trotted over to Sage.
She searched through the saddle bags for spare rope. With one arm she bound Vernox to the tree. Tying a strategic knot. She figured it wouldn't take long for him to free himself. It was hard to bind him with only her left arm to utilize. She stared at her handiwork for a moment and realized she had forgotten something.
She took out her dagger and leaned closer to the man. She would have liked to have made the gouge on his forehead deeper, so it would scare, but she didn't dare wake him. She stared at the blood stained “T” on his forehead. It would serve as a warning to him and his Empire. Now his Empire would be able to see him for the traitor he was.
She picked up the gun, before mounting Nera with her uninjured arm. She supposed she did have a git for Baron after all...