The day seemed to be getting worse and worse with each passing second. Valentine was known for her way with technology and how she made use of them but for the first time since arriving in Evermore, her systems were down. Her base was located near the woods so calling for help was no use.. What would people think of her if she couldn't even fix the technology she, herself built? Why the time she had managed to get them up and working, the sun was already beginning to set outside and since she wasn't used to the area without light, she knew she needed to get going.

What astonished others who came across her was the mere fact that, though she was a Lycan, she didn't associate herself with the Therian faction. Instead, she lived a good distance away where she could watch them from a far, taking note of how the ambassador worked as well as keeping an eye out for any weaknesses they may hold. To her, no one was an ally, not even her fellow Guards. The only people she trusted were her flesh and blood and that would never change.

Once she finally got her computers to work, the sun had completely set outside, causing her to curse under her breath as well as her technology that had failed her for the first time in years. She opted for the only option she had left, logging out of them all and just as the quiet settled around her, her enhanced hearing perked up at the sound of foot steps not too far from her location. Her head immediately darted upwards towards the door that lead to the outside which was the empty area of the woods. What she also managed to pick up was the scent of a wolf. "Wonderful." She mumbled. No one knew where she'd set up base, where she worked and if someone suddenly did, she was basically screwed.

Valentine headed for the door and upon swinging it open, she knew the unfamiliar figure was moving closer to where she was standing. Before he could get any closer, she tossed one of her sharp daggers, the blade landing in the tree beside the unknown mans head. She never missed, that throw was simply a warning. Obviously, she wasn't in the mood to kill anyone. She gave him a false smile, playing with the other dagger she had in her grasp as she stepped outside, closing the door behind her to keep his gaze away from what was behind her. "What can I do for you? This isn't public property." She seethed.

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Dominic pushed through the woods with what seemed to be hours. With a look to the sky and a view of the sun, he realized it had in fact, been hours. The Ailwards had given him the job of finding the thief who'd taken a very powerful talisman from the Dhampirs who were meant to protect it about a week ago. Whoever it was that had taken the artifact, they were good at hiding their tracks. He was confident in saying no one was better than tracking than him. No one better qualified for the job. Whoever this was however, was really starting to piss him off. Dominic didn't like when he couldn't finish the job in a timely manner. Plus, he wasn't exactly sure what this talisman was capable of and he was fine with that. The Ailwards could point him in a direction and he would go. A true soldier in that sense. 

The sun was now down below the horizon and he sighed in frustration. Tracking this person would be nearly impossible at night and he was fairly far from home. He'd have to pick up the trail tomorrow. Cursing, he turned around to make the trek back when another scent hit him. It was faint, but it was there and no one was living out here that he knew of. He began making his way through the wood, when something whizzed passed his face and landed with a thump in the trunk of a tree. 'What the fu...'

"What can I do for you? This isn't public property," came a woman's displeased voice.

Dominic pushed through the clearing a few more steps with caution; hands raised slightly to show no threat. He saw a dark brunette standing by a structure that didn't belong. He'd been through these woods plenty of times and had never known this to be here. It was new and he wondered what she was up to... and if she had anything to do with the powerful talisman that was missing. 

A closer look at the woman and he could tell she was probably in her twenties, however, being in a supernatural world, one could never really be sure of anyone's age. Despite the dark falling around them, Dominic could tell she was beautiful. 'Deadly and beautiful.' His kinda lady. She seemed familiar... Had they met? He doubt he would forget her...

"I'm looking for someone," he replied casually, keeping his voice steady. Another brush of wind that came passed him carrying her scent, confirmed she was Therian. Interesting. "He took something that didn't belong to him and I'd like to get it back." He crossed his arms over his large chest and leaned against the tree that had her knife embedded in it. "Was wondering if you've seen someone passing by that shouldn't be? Well... besides me of course."

Valentine narrowed her eyes at him as he moved further into her view. Though she noticed him raise his hands as if he was no threat, anyone looking at him for the first time would think he was one. She placed the knife she was playing with in the back of her pants so if anything were to happen, she could reach for it. Crossing her arms over her chest, she gave him a look that said speak. Then, her dark hues zeroed in on the Ailward Guard tattoo he had which was identical to the one she sported on her forearm. Now, his reasoning for being in the woods made more sense to her but what she didn't understand is why the Ailwards, who were well aware of what she did and how she worked, would send him so close to her little base. 

Once he did begin to speak, she arched a brow. If there was anyone else out in the woods beside the two of them, she'd have a fit. An unprotected building that held important technology of the Ailwards had to be terrible and she couldn't find it in her to allow that. She continued to listen even though she was tempted to interrupt him by telling him she didn't care and that he needed to leave. 

The brunette made it a point to look around them as if she was looking for this person he was looking for. "Besides you, I haven't seen any other unwelcomed visitor." She told him truthfully, emphasizing the word unwelcomed. "Lets hope no one else did pass by.." She spoke the last part mainly to herself though she was certain he could hear her. However, as she turned her head to look towards the woods that were becoming much harder to see through as the night arrived, she could sense movement and could hear it. The one thing she couldn't catch, though, was a scent which both confused and angered her. Val turned her attention back to the man who remained against the tree her knife had pierced and gave him an unhappy look. "Are their others with you?" She questioned him.

Dominic watched the woman's movements carefully to try and determine if she was telling the truth. From what he could tell, she was, but it still didn't explain what the hell she was doing in the middle of the woods in a building that wasn't there only a week ago. Whatever it was, it was certainly sketchy. Everything about her body language was screaming she didn't want a single thing to do with him. 'Too bad.' 

He pulled her dagger from the tree and walked over to where she stood. "I'm alone," he answered. "And if you wanted to flirt with me, there are less violent ways." He smirked and handed her the weapon when a new scent abruptly passed over them. It was the thief. His facial expression suddenly changed to alertness as he heard a small movement from the trees behind him that most beings wouldn't have been able to hear. Just as he turned toward the sound, Dominic saw the barrel of the gun and a dark figure stepping into a view.

'Shit...' He instinctively grabbed the woman and dropped them both to the ground as the first shot rang out. They were too far from the door of the building and Dominic knew the trees would be their best chance. Wrapping his arm around her, he lifted her smaller frame up and nearly carried her toward the woods where they could find better cover as the second shot rang out. He pulled them behind a very large and old tree that hid them from view after running a short distance. "Are you alright?" A searing, hot pain suddenly ripped through his left shoulder and he realized one of the bullets had grazed him. His adrenaline had kicked in so fast and hard, he hadn't realized he'd been hit. Then the rain started...

Valentine watched him carefully as he approached her with the dagger in hand, snatching it from his grasp the moment it was held out to her. In response to his words, she rolled her eyes. "If I was trying to flirt with you, it'd be obvious." She told him with a nonchalant shrug. "Violence isn't my only way of getting what I want." The brunette mused as she placed the dagger in it's holder alongside the other dagger she had in her possession. 

Her guard, however, went right back up when he told her he was alone.. Then, who was that? She thought as more rustling was heard and this time, the movement sounded much closer. She looked back at him and upon noticing the expression that crossed his features, she had a feeling that whoever it was, was the person he was after. Whether her guess was right or wrong was unknown but panic did set in once she caught sight of an unfamiliar figure behind him with a gun pointed their way. Now, Val wasn't used to these types of situations so instead of getting away like she should have done, her body was frozen in place like it wanted to be shot at her first night in Evermore.

Luckily, he'd pulled her down before anything could happen and she could faintly hear the bullets fly past their heads. For once she wasn't worried about the damn building and since she'd locked the door before coming outside, she knew they'd be in a worse situation if they tried hiding inside there. He took her by surprise when she was suddenly lifted off the ground and within seconds, the two were behind a large tree that probably wouldn't keep them safe for much longer.. She let out a breath she didn't realize she was still holding and rested her head back against the tree trunk. "I'm guessing that's the guy you're looking for?" She questioned, turning her head to look over at him just in time to catch the wound the bullet had left on his arm. Valentine chuckled, softly when he asked if she was alright. "I think I should be asking you that." She said just as a few raindrops met her skin. She looked up at the sky just in time for it to start pouring. "This day can't get any better." She mumbled, sarcastically.

Dominic gritted in annoyance at his wound and cut his eye at her with her sarcastic remark. The rain was drenching them, despite the dense wood they were currently trapped in. He tried to to sense where the assailant was, but the weather was masking his scent along with the vibrations of his movement. The sound of the water falling was almost deafening.

He pushed his wet hair back from his face which had fallen while they were running and pulled his large hunting knife from its sheath on his back. "If you don't mind too much, I'd appreciate it if you'd start throwing those knives at the guy with the gun instead," he quipped while slowly looking around the tree to see if he could find their pursuer. He seriously didn't like the idea of being vulnerable and nothing was more susceptible then being in the dark, out in the open, with a gunman trying to kill you. 

Dominic put a finger near his mouth before she had the chance to respond. He finally caught the scent of the attacker and it was clear he was beginning to circle around the tree. Grabbing her arm, he quickly pulled her forward, and they broke out in a run again. "Go!" They dashed through the trees as the gunfire began once more. He tried to keep her ahead of him to act as a shield if one of the bullets were to find its target. The ground underneath them was just as soaked as they were, making it difficult to not fall.

When they had made some ground, Dominic pulled her behind a large rock formation that he knew was near some cliffs that ended in a fifty foot drop to the massive river which ran through the woods of Therian and Diviner territory. He twirled the knife in his hand and sighed. "How do you like the idea of being bait?" he asked with a sarcastic smile.

Valentine could feel her clothes stick to her body as the rain picked up, her fingers pushing back the few strands of hair that clung to the side of her face. She didn't like how dark it'd gotten because her green eyes couldn't spot out anything. Their surroundings were quickly becoming hard to see and what made things worse was the fact that the mud beneath them was making it hard to move.

She suddenly wished she'd never come out of the little sanctuary she had behind her computer, that way she might've been safe from the damn gunman who could end either one of their lives any minute now. 

When she heard him speak up, she simply rolled her eyes. She usually aimed to kill and she had a feeling he didn't want whoever it was coming after them dead. Before she could voice her thoughts with the attitude she could never tame, she noticed him put a finger to his mouth, instantly silencing her though she was tempted to snap at him. "Dick." She mumbled under her breath instead. Val realized she'd lost scent of their attacker and that seemed to make the situation ten times worse in her opinion. Obviously, he did catch the scent because before she realized what was happening, she was suddenly pulled away from the tree they stood behind and was darting away.

The fact that he was using her as a shield didn't go unnoticed by her and she managed to keep some space between them just so the bullet got him instead of her. She liked her life way too much to let it waste away so quickly because of him.

Her chest rose and fell as she stood behind the gigantic rock. That was probably the most exercise she'd gotten in weeks and she just wanted it to end already. Val sent an annoyed glare his way. "You're more suited to be the bait.. I mean, you're way bigger than I am." She stated the obvious with an eye roll, running her index finger along the smooth side of the dagger in her grasp.

(( I actually meant he was keeping her in front of him so he could be the shield haha ))

He leaned back against the boulders and gripped the knife tightly as he listened for any movement that may be coming up on them. Turning to face her, Dominic nodded to the dagger in her hand. "Yes, but being the bigger one, I'd like to be the person that tackles with him instead of you. When you get a clean shot, throw to disable, not to kill. I unfortunately need him alive as much as I'd like to put a bullet from his own gun in his head."

Bringing someone else into this hunt was definitely not something he planned. If anything were to happen to an innocent bystander, Dominic would see that as a failure to his duty as a guard. The only upside he could find in this situation was at least this woman seemed capable. "Just hear me out," he began, wiping the water away from his face. The rain was unrelenting. "Once he gets closer, you can lure him after you and I'll grab him from behind." Dom tossed the idea of letting her know more about why he was after this person in the first place, but thought better of it. It could just make things more dangerous for her and this was Ailward business. 

Dominic suddenly felt something he'd never really known before. Weakness. His senses were dulled and he felt less strong, physically. All the heightened senses that came along with being a Therian seemed to have been lost. He looked over to the woman and it seemed she was noticing it to. They were just human. 

Without warning, the gunman rounded the side of the boulder and was aimed directly for her head. He reached above her and grabbed the man's wrist, smashing it against the rock as the gun went off and sent a bullet ricocheting. Something was glowing red beneath the man's shirt and Dominic knew it was the talisman which hung around his neck. 'It suppresses supernatural abilities.' Yea... he could see why the Ailwards might want something like that under protection. The assailant quickly landed a punch to Dom's face with his free hand and he actually felt more pain than he had in a long time. Dominic landed a kick to the man's chest and threw him over his shoulder, spitting blood. He didn't hesitate and was quickly on top of the thief, landing punch after punch. He reached over and grabbed his knife putting it up to the man's covered face. "I'll be taking that back now."

A pulse of energy abruptly knocked him backward some fifteen feet away. He rolled over and saw his new companion had been slammed into the boulders and couldn't tell if she was conscious. The earth began to move. Dominic groaned and was able to get to his knees until the ground beneath began cracking. The entire wood around them started to slide backward and off of the nearby cliffs. 'Holy shit...' He clambered to his feet just as it seemed she was regaining conscious. Before he could reach her, the footing under him went and he was sent off the side of the cliff. He scrambled at the side of the mountain and was able to grab a piece of root as the ground from above continued falling around him. Screaming in frustration and adrenaline, he stabled himself by planting his feet into the wall and he reached his free arm out as the female Therian came tumbling off the cliff. He was just able to grab her by the arm and the two of them hung precariously in the air.

Dominic already felt himself slipping. The rain was no friend right now and he knew they would be plunging into the raging river below. He grit his teeth as he tried to hold onto her, but they were sliding down the root he held. Gunfire rang out through the woods as the assailant shot at them from above. There was no choice left. He looked her in the eyes and hoped to God she could swim before letting go of the root.

// oh! My bad lol. I must've misread..

When she realized he had a point, Val nodded. Her father had trained her quite well but knowing he tended to go easy on his only daughter, she had a feeling she couldn't possibly take down the assailant. "You have a point there.." She said as she glanced down at her weapon. "I'll try not to kill him but no promises. I kill, not disable." If someone ever appeared to be a threat, she didn't go easy on them. It was in her nature to take down an individual she thought could bring harm to herself, her family, or even the Ailwards. However, she knew she couldn't kill the gunman because he obviously held something in his possession that had great value.

She listened as he gave her instructions on what to do and instead of complaining about luring a guy who could kill her without a second thought, she agreed. Not even a second later, she looked to her side just in time to see the barrel of a gun pointed right at her head. She acted fast unlike she had done before, moving out of the way before a fight broke out between the two men. She heard a shot go out and was relieved when it didn't come in contact with either one of them though from where she stood, the encounter between the two was quickly turning gruesome. Blood was flying everywhere and though she could handle blood, she wasn't the biggest fan of watching two grown men fight. 

When she saw him on top of the gunman, landing punch after punch to his covered face, Valentine figured since he had the upper hand, things would be coming to an end and she wouldn't have to risk getting shot at any longer. Instead, a strong force pushed her back against the large rock behind her. The contact was harsh and her head hit the rock with so much force that her vision started to give away and all she saw was black.

Her body fell unconscious for a few minutes and the continuous shaking of the ground managed to wake her up. She sat up from her spot on the ground against the boulder, a groan escaping her lips as pain ran through her skull. Her hand immediately went up to hold her aching head. What made her more aware of the situation at hand was when the ground beneath her gave in and she went tumbling down towards a stream of water.

Before she made contact with it, however, she was grabbed before she could fall. She looked up at him, a sigh of relief leaving her but her panic set in as the sound of gunfire was heard. Valentine made eye contact with him and just by the look on his face, she knew what was to come. Seconds later, she was met with the water.

The fact that she was wearing jeans didn't help her one bit. The water soaked up her clothes, more than they already were, making it a struggle to swim back up to the surface. It took her longer than usual to swim up, seconds longer and she would've probably lost consciousness. She let out a breath the moment her head was above water, pushing her hair out of her face as she looked his way.

The water was ice cold. The shock of it made his muscles immediately tense as he forced himself to get to the surface. He didn't need much help as the immense river pushed him downstream. Dominic broke through and coughed up the water he'd managed to swallow. He frantically looked around for the woman, but couldn't find her. Trying to find anyone in this current would be impossible. Not only was the force of the water so fast, but the dark of the night wasn't making for much visibility. He tried to fight against the water regardless, but was only tiring himself out. When he thought the worst of her fate, a sudden splash caught his eye in the patches of moonlight that illuminated the river and was relieved to see she was alive farther upstream. However, it didn't take long for the current to pull her in and send her along its dangerous ride.

They were both helpless to the rapids as they went along with the river's path. There were several jagged rocks that were cutting into his skin as he banged back and forth between the debris. Thankfully, he knew the woods well and realized they were coming upon a shallow part of the river. He'd spent hours fishing on the shores of the area and never dreamed he would be a victim to its power.

When his boot hit the bottom of the river, Dominic lifted himself to stand. The current was still incredibly strong and he had to widen his stance to stay upright. His eye caught the woman coming straight at him and she collided into his frame. She looked as badly cut up as he was. He heaved her up to help her stand, though the water was well passed her chest since he stood much taller than her. Wrapping his arm around her waist, the two made their way to shore and collapsed onto the rocky dirt. He took a few deep gasps and turned to face her. "Dominic... Name's Dominic." He then fell flat on his back, looking at the night sky, and wondered how everything had gone so wrong.

The moment she was able to spot him out, the currents of the water began to pick up, taking her away with them. Val tried not to panic or let her fear set in, knowing that wouldn't help her on bit. It was beginning to get hard to spot anything out the more the water pushed her body around as if it were a rag doll and every now and then, the waves would pull her under before letting her right back up for some air. Her panic finally did set in when a bit of water filled her lungs, burning the inside of her throat and causing her breathing to become a constant struggle.

She could feel the fresh cuts grazing her skin as she came in contact with rocks here and there, hissing in pain whenever a new wound and the salt water would meet. She struggled to get to shore before the water pulled her under completely without letting her back up and before she knew it, the water was pushing her in a certain direction and her body collided with a harder one. She let out a breath of relief as she was lifted from the water and laid with her back against the rock beside him, her lungs protesting with every breath she took.

Val's chest rose and fell as she continued to take breaths, the sound escaping her lips as gasps instead of actual breaths. She pushed her hair out of her face, still a little surprised that she was still alive after the past hour. She placed one hand over her chest, subconsciously as she turned her head in his direction. "I'm Valentine." She said softly in response before resting her head back against the rock, both her hands moving up to run down her face.

When he gained the ability to breathe in a mostly normal fashion, it was clear his body was starting to spasm in attempts to get warm. His breath was coming out in puffs as the night air was continuing to drop in temperature. They needed to get heated up as fast as possible or they would be dangerously close to going into hypothermic shock. Dominic stood up and removed his black tank top shirt which was nearly torn to shreds, tossing it to the ground and leaving him shirtless. Every bit of his body felt like lead. It was like he'd been hit by a Mack truck which backed up over him after for good measure. The only good thing going for them was the rain was beginning to slow.

This night had seriously gone to shit. He had been tracking this person for days and in the end he had become the target. Not only did he not have the thief or the talisman, but now an innocent person's life had been dragged into the mix. Dom looked over at her as she sat against a larger rock. There was a pit of guilt in his stomach as he saw the cuts and bruises on her body which didn't include the ones he couldn't see.

They needed to get to a fire, fast. He didn't want to start one out here in the open where it would be easy for them to be located. They still needed to be careful, despite being carried so far down the river. Turning into their wolf forms seemed to be too risky as the change alone would only weaken them more from how draining the process could be. His house wasn't too far from where they were and he knew that was their best option. He'd never brought anyone back to his place before and the thought irked him. Privacy was all he wanted and his land was his heaven.

Dominic walked over to Valentine and knelt down beside her. He noticed the blood which was coursing down her head from the wound she'd gotten after the blast of the talisman knocked her into the boulders. It almost looked black in the darkness. He wasn't sure how bad the wound was, but he needed to make sure he kept her from going into unconsciousness if it was serious. Wrapping his arm around her waist again, Dom lifted her to her feet and let her weight lean against him for support. He could feel her shivering as well. "I usually say this in a much different situation, but take your shirt off." He didn't wait to see her reaction before he began to explain. "We need to get our body temperatures up and the best way to do it is without clothes on. Since total nudity is a little off the menu for now, I can at least keep you close enough while we make our way to my house. It's not more than a twenty minute walk, but we need to keep our blood flowing properly."

Dom did look down at her then with a reassuring and playful smirk, but was thrown off when he saw a familiar dragon tattoo on her forearm which was now visible through her torn clothing. He reached out and grabbed her arm a little more roughly than he intended. "You're a Guard?!" The identical tattoo matched the one he had on his chest which he knew would've been partially visible to her since he'd only had his tank top on at the time they'd first met. Even it being partially visible, all Guard members knew the tattoo from the smallest stroke of the symbol. It occurred to him that's why he seemed to have recognized her when seeing her in the woods. She was one of the newest members and he'd seen her picture posted in the meeting room the last time he'd been to the Isle of Sky when he was receiving the mission they were currently thrown into. Half the damn guard was made up of her family members. His eyes narrowed down into hers. "Why didn't you say anything?!"

Valentine moved to sit up on the rock, the area around them suddenly spinning as her vision tried to get used to it. One hand held her head and as it did so, she finally felt the blood that was coming from the fresh gash she'd gotten when her head had connected with the boulder up the hill.

Her head was throbbing and the fact that she might have a concussion didn't cross her mind.. Mainly because she didn't want it to. She didn't get injured very often but since moving to Evermore and joining the Guard, she'd gotten hurt more times than she could remember. It caused her father to be more on her back and even the smallest scratch set him off. Who knew how he'd react to the wound on her head as well as the cuts and bruises that now covered a good chunk of her body? She wasn't too keen on finding out but she knew she could avoid the man forever.

Val's body was becoming weaker and it was hard not to notice that. Her soaked clothing were also having an effect on her as the wind picked up, causing a shiver to run along her spine. When Dom suddenly helped her stand, she nearly collapsed right then and there but the more she leaned against him for support, the more her vision had gone back to normal. She still felt uneasy and her head was still pounding but at least she could stand.. The next thing she knew, he was telling her to remove her shirt and she responded with an arched eyebrow. With a little explaining from his end, however, she sighed and gave a reluctant nod. "Fine. This shirt isn't even a shirt anymore anyways." She commented, glancing down at the ripped shirt she still had on. Those rocks really did a number on her.

The corner of her lips curled up into a smile, one she had yet to reveal since their whole incident occurred. As she moved to remove the shredded shirt, however, her arm was grabbed roughly and her green hues darted from his hand around her wrist to his face, a bemused expressed crossing her features. She was a little surprised that he hadn't realized that she was a Guard until now since she'd noticed a while back. She did understand why he was unhappy, sort of, but since she didn't think it was a big deal, she opted against making it a big deal. Val snatched her arm from his tight grasp. "That, I am." She responded, matter of factly, another shiver running down her body from the cold. She ignored his unhappy expression towards her as she removed the torn shirt that clung to her body and placed it on the rock beside, leaving her in a bra and jeans. She finally looked back up at him and in response to his last question, she shrugged. "Must've slipped my mind. I mean, we were in a bit of a predicament." She glanced around them to prove her point.

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