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-   -   Chapter 4 - Hallowtide (

Cadrius 22nd of February, 2005 13:21

Chapter 4 - Hallowtide
A week has passed since the burning of Kingscross. For the first several days Heulwen had been convinced of pursuit, but no orcs were seen. As the nights passed without incident they began to feel less anxious if not safe. South and west they headed, staying away from the few roads that run through the Westlands. Even if they were not afraid of pursuit, too many of them would be picked up by a simple patrol to risk travelling openly. Instead they took to the rolling plains where few men had traveled before.

They passed a hamlet once, three days back, but it had been abandoned. A cautious inspection ensued, but anything of value had already been taken and the fields had been allowed to go fallow long ago. The buildings were half-collapsed and weeds and other hardy plants had begun to force themselves up between the floorboards. It could not have been Fairbrook. The age of the settlement could not be divined, but a dry riverbed nearby told a tale of its own. Lyr theorized that without the water the terrain became unfarmable and when the food became scarce the people followed suit.

Under Aleina's skilled hands the dwarf recovered quickly and by the third day he walked under his own power, much to Bombur's relief. Soradur did not speak much, but keept watch with the others and even aided in foraging with Rhotha'ah and Heulwen. Strangely enough he often volunteered to keep watch at the same time as Aashya, although he rarely spoke with her. There was little game in the area, but they did come across several edible plants. It was a bitter breed, but it nourished the body and quieted the stomach.

The nights were mild, but the rough winds gusted across the plains almost constantly. Even sheltering themselves they had to be wary of airborne bladegrass. One night while on watch, a large piece caught Dun by surprise and opened up a neat cut across his temple. Yet with tending it quickly mended as well.

And so, a week later, they find themselves standing outside of a village. Dusk is fast approaching and the wind is blissfully absent, and the gray-black clouds overhead promise rain. The mighty Eren flows on the far side on the village, helping make the nearby land habitable. There's far less blade grass here and far more river plants. A forest even sits off to the south of town and numerous farmsteads can be seen in the surrounding fields. It is in sharp contrast to the last village they came across.

The settlement itself is build with an eye toward the Eren. While obviously not a large trade stop for passing vessels, it does sport a set of docks and the buildings become more numerous and tightly packed the closer they get to the river. A smaller river flowing from the west feeds into the Eren and sits firmly between the companions and the village. From where he stands, Rhotha'ah thinks he can see a place to ford it, but a nearby farmstead and fields obstruct his view.

"I hate bloody human villages. Bet there's three score alone that'd turn their own mothers in just to get a shot at kissing a legate's arse," the dwarf grumbles. "So...what'll we do?"

Dirigible 23rd of February, 2005 21:07


It had been a trying time.

In his dreams, the cowled Lyr had ran along the hard-packed, molten lava streets of Kingscross, screaming at the char-fleshed citizens to flee. As each one turned, he saw only his own face, with swirling Sarcosan patterns of ash snarled around his features.

Travelling had been hard; Lyr lacked the long stride of Dun or Rhotha'ah, and was forced to struggle through the ankle-snaring grass at the pace of the shorter women, scarcely faster than Soradur. Still, it could have been much worse; once pursuit seemed less likely, the pace was slackened sufficiently that even the scholar hadhad no toruble in matching it. And it was good to see Dun's spirits rise day by day, the longer they were on his father's trail.

And Aleina... was a puzzling torment to him. Mercifully, the torrent of her that had threatened to overwhelm all his senses when she had wielded magic outside the village had retreated. Now it was only her subtle, expressive grace and enigmatic beauty held his attention.

She still withdrew from him as if he was a leper. And the pain of that rejection, with it's implicit, all-consuming rejection, was a worse pain to him than the guilt of Kingscross.

Lyr cleared his throat, tucking his hands under his arms to keep them out of the wind, then asked the question that was perhaps too laden with ill memories for any of the others to vocalise. "Who... what precautions will we take so that this place may be spared the fate of... the last that gave us shelter?"

Gralhruk 24th of February, 2005 07:00


Lyr's question jabs at her heart with mercilessly cruel spikes and her head snaps around to fix him with a baleful gaze. Their flight from the slaughter at Kingscross had left her feeling helplessly bitter and painfully ineffectual. Time had served to deepen her wounds rather than heal them.

There must be a way.

It was the mantra she had repeated to herself since she set out from the Eren months ago. The challenge had always seemed difficult, but she had been more than ready to try and solve it. To fight without hurting or letting others be hurt - truly a noble goal. Unforunately, the world was devoid of nobility. And now she was beginning to understand why. Yet there must be a way.

Mustn't there?

Almost imperceptibly, she straightens her bearing and forces her face to be calm. Lyr's question was valid. Aleina tucks her hands into the long folds of her sleeves.

"We must not reveal either Heulwen or Soradur. We must also consider that our enemies may have spies here, waiting for us. Our stop here will be brief. It may be best if only Dun and perhaps one or two others enter the town in hopes of gathering information about Dura."

Berova 24th of February, 2005 16:22


For once, Dun was remarkably in agreement with Aleina, quite stunning actually. Dun nods in concurrence when Aleina completed what she had to say, and adds, "Yes... one or two others... Lyr perhaps? It shouldn't take long. Enough for a few discrete questions and maybe some supplies, saving us the time of having to forage so much. So... I'll require some goods in trade, some salt or herbs perhaps? Anyone need anything in particular?"

Dun removed his rapier and scabbard as well as bow and quiver, "I won't be needin' these until I return." and turned to Rhotha'ah hesitantly at first, " you... take care of these?" The young Erenlander nervously awaited his blood brother's answer not used to asking anyone for anything. Before he made another request, Dun turned back to look at the others, "And take care of them..."

Lastly, Dun reached into his backpack and takes out his carefully folded peasant's garb. He quickly swapped off his traveler's outfit and donned a peasant clothes [modestly behind some vegetation perhaps].

OOC: For this day, Dun will be a hero among men +2 to all Cha-based skills

Dirigible 24th of February, 2005 16:30


As Dun slips behind a shrub to change, Lyr speaks again. These two sentances are almost the most words he has said to anybody in the past week of travel. "Well then. We three are the least obtrusive..." he says, gesturing at Aleina and Dun with a slight spreading of his arms. He doesn't elaborate on the obvious implication.

Suggest. Advise. But don't tell anyone what to do... that way, there is no blame for what will go wrong. Any of his companions that happen to be glancing at him at the time see a cloud of pain drift across the solemn sky of Lyr's features.

Kelemyn 28th of February, 2005 01:00


Aashya hadn't been happy travelling overland. Heulwen kept them moving at a fast pace, especially at first when she was afraid that orcs were not far behind. Walking all day was bad enough on a road, but it was even more miserable going through bladegrass! By the third day, Aashya was convinced (again) that she never should have left the gnomes and tried to set out on her own.

Especially since she was heading back the way she had come. She couldn't help feeling that the farther she went south, the farther she would be from achieving her own goal - finding the place called Greenfield. It was only Aleina's conviction that south was the best direction to take that kept Aashya from doubting the way.

Now she stands with the others outside the village near the River. They are both welcome sights - the village because it means they can all stop walking for a while; and the River because..... well, Aashya is suprised to realize how comforting it is to see the wide body of water again.

The others talk about how to proceed. Aashya doesn't like the reminder that what happened in Kingscross, could happen again here. Aleina says, "... our enemies may have spies here..."

Our enemies. Our enemies?? Aashya has no enemies that she knows of. (Conveniently, she forgets for the moment the near-fatal gut wound she woke up with a few months ago.) Who is she to have enemies? She's nobody worth noticing, just a friend of the gnomes. And Izrador usually leaves the gnomes alone.

But now she has allied herself with Aleina and her friends. And she travels with a halfling and a dwarf. These people have enemies. It takes some getting used to.

She has slipped easily into the habit of speaking Trader since the dwarf woke up. "I have some tobacco for trade," she offers to Dun. And to Lyr: "Are you going to take that book in with you?

"And the rest of us.... Where shall we wait? We may be able to find a sheltered spot down by the River."
She repeats this in Erenlander for the Dorn's benefit.

Black Plauge 1st of March, 2005 10:23


The week of travelling in the wilderness had been invigorating for Heulwen. The continual sense of movement. The daily activity of erasing what she could of the signs of the groups passage. The challenge of choosing the best trail to take, or find a suitable campsite for the night, or to find enough food to feed he large group of travelling companions. Heulwen imagined that this is what it must have been like for her ansestors before the arival of the humans and Izrador. Of course, her anssestors would have only traveled with their own kind and the wogren, but this rag-tag group of humans (and a dwarf) are not bad travelling companions.

The thing she valued most about the travel, however, was the time she had gotten to bond with Cytaill. She found that talking with him was a little easier now, and she could do so for a longer period of time. On top of that, between the two of them, they had worked out signals that they each could use to communicate simple ideas with each other, even when they weren't speaking the same language. Heulwen felt closer to Cytaill now than ever before.

Now, however, these feelings of contentment were being pushed aside. The group had arrived at a human settlement. Here was a place where she was not in control, a place where she must trust the others and let them handle things she could not (as her experience in Kingscross has so clearly shown). Sarodur's words echoed her own sentiment well, she thought.

"No journeys to town for me this time," Heulwen comments to Cytaill before replying to the others.

"I have nothing to trade now. The spices I stole when escaping probably made the stench of Kingscross' burning only slightly more bearable, and the little game that was had this past week didn't have hides worth tanning."

"Before we go much further, however, we'll need to aquire gear for the winter. Blankets, cloaks, boots, and the like. Winter is fast approaching and trading for enough for all of us at once would attract unwanted attention. If you can, trade for a few of these items here. If we get them a few pieces at a time in the diffrent settlements we come across as we travel, we're more likely to go unnoticed."

Switching to Erenlander, Heulwen comments on Aashya's idea, "The river is likely to be more heavily populated. We should stay away from there as much as possible to avoid detection."

Berova 1st of March, 2005 15:58


Dun thanks Aashya for the tobacco, "I'll try to get the best deal possible." Dun sniffs the smell, eyes the color, and feels the texture of the tobacco to assess it's quality and suitability for trading while the discussion continues.


Originally Posted by Black Plauge

"Before we go much further, however, we'll need to aquire gear for the winter. Blankets, cloaks, boots, and the like. Winter is fast approaching and trading for enough for all of us at once would attract unwanted attention. If you can, trade for a few of these items here. If we get them a few pieces at a time in the diffrent settlements we come across as we travel, we're more likely to go unnoticed."

"That all sounds quite prudent....and we'll do what we can Huelwen. Anything else, besides food I mean?"

Cadrius 3rd of March, 2005 14:18

Dun, Lyr, Aleina

The three Erenlanders make toward the village, leaving their more conspicuous fellows behind. Regardless of its allegiance, neither a dwarf nor a halfling with a wogren will be welcome. Even a Dorn with a shorn skull would draw perhaps too much curiosity. The bear what trade goods they imagine will be of use, having already made their plans with the others.

Much of the autumnal crops have been harvested, but long fields of wheat still stand, not quite ready to be reaped. They pass through one of these as they make for a ford. The day’s light grows weaker and Lyr cannot help but feel he is being watched while weaving between golden stalks of wheat. Yet no one but a few scarecrows bear witness to their passing. No men linger outside in the evening air, but faint light can be seen within the farmsteads. They are very much alone here.

The tributary is forded easily enough, and the night air is not altogether unpleasant, but they shiver all the same upon reaching the far bank. The village shows but little sign of activity. The few establishments that can be seen are closed for the evening. Light can be seen shining dimly through the drawn curtains of several homes, but it’s largely quiet save the sound of flowing water nearby.

Dun spots a building, much closer to the Eren, which looks to be a tavern. And if the light is of any judge, it’s open.

Cadrius 6th of March, 2005 04:59

Heulwen, Aashya, Rhotha'ah

While the three erenlanders make a direct path for the village, the others skirt around it. They pass through similar fields of uncut wheat, but give the farmsteads an even wider berth than their companions. Three travelers may not cause suspicion, but a dwarf and a halfling surely would. It might be that these farmers wouldn't want any trouble and would keep their heads down. Then again they might send for the nearest legate so as to curry favor.

They stop briefly at the river while Aashya inspects it. The water is clear and cool and runs swifty to join the Eren. She can't recall the name, but it likely flows out of Erethor. The gnomes rarely spoke of the elves, but when they did it was as if they were speaking of a distant cousin, and not a separate people. Perhaps all fey are related somehow.

Water streams around her fingertips as they brush the surface of the water, and suddenly she's a little girl again. It's brighter, the air is hotter, and the water is nowhere near as clear or cool, but she's doing this same thing. She feels the flow of the water along her skin. There's someone else with her, a boy. He's perhaps twelve or thirteen. Still a boy, but approaching manhood. There's something about his eyes, a smile in them perhaps. And then he shoves her into the water.

Cytaill splashing noisily in the shallows brings her back. The world suddenly seems markedly darker and colder. The wogren stops and studies her a moment before lapping at the water and resuming his exploration. He's a creature of the plains; water is a rarity for him.

They find a place to ford further upstream, and resume skirting the village. As the day's light weakens they can only dimly see anything west of the settlement, but the village, and the forest south of it, still remain somewhat clear. If the clouds hold true to their promise, those trees will provide shelter from the rain.

Cadrius 6th of March, 2005 07:51

Interlude - Kathryn

"Burn her!"

The cry was solitary at first. She thought it came from the thick jowled butcher, but she couldn't be certain. Within moments it was taken up by the teeming mob. Thronged in around her, she was only kept safe by the score of orc and human guards. That amused her. She was spared a death at the hands of the villagers so that he might kill her instead.

One man tried to break through the ring of guardsmen and received the butt of a polearm in the face for his efforts. He went down, blood gushing from his mouth before being dragged off by a pair of orcs. They were armed and armored heavily enough considering the smallfolk carried no weapons. Bearing halberds and black mail decorated only with the silver symbol of Izrador, they held back the crowd. Instructed not to kill any villager unless necessary, they still took delight in disciplining any that tried to get too close.

"Burn her! Burn her! Burn her! BURN HER! BURN HER!"

She hadn't even been given a mirror and some water to clean herself before her execution. Instead a guard had spat on her and offered her one last ride before her death. At that moment she had wished for nothing in the world but a dagger and a chance to geld him before being burned. Neither the blade nor the opportunity arrived. Instead she tried her best to look presentable. She wouldn't stand before them bedraggled and looking the part of a witch. They would see her for what she was. They would not bring her a dress from her home. They would not allow her to die wearing her family's livery.

Time had not been entirely unkind to her, but it had left its marks. Wrinkles at the eyes and around her mouth marred an otherwise comely face. She was heavier than she used to be, and her breasts were sagging, but she still could draw an eye, at least when they didn't know who she was. That was always the problem, she thought, recalling the countless suitors who suddenly lost interest as soon as her heritage became known.

The crowd grew suddenly quiet and she snapped out of her reverie. He was approaching now. The rope tying her to the wooden pole chafed at her hands and ankles, but she couldn't ask them to be loosened even if she thought that they would comply. She was gagged as well. They would take no chances with a witch. Several guards were dutifully dropping piles of wood soaked in oil around her.

Yet all eyes were on the man making his way through the crowd. A half dozen guards surrounded him and shoved smallfolk aside as they passed. He wore a shirt of black silk, dark trousers, soft supple boots and a jet cloak trimmed with ermine hung from his shoulders. Yet was his eyes, not his dress, that held her gaze. She shivered despite the impending heat. He strode right up to her, climbing up the makeshift pyre until his face was scant inches from her own. Those eyes. They were flat and cold and looked ready to devour her. She swallowed hard.

The man leaned closer, putting his lips to her ear and whispered. "Give him up and I'll have you taken down this instant. These vermin will never trouble you again. I have it in my power. All you need to do is whisper a sentence to me. One sentence. Tell me where he is and this will all end." She looked at him, uncertainty flickering across her hazel eyes.

"Have you ever seen someone burned?" His voice grew louder. "Your skin will blister and peel, but you'll live on in agony for quite some time. Do you want that?" Someone in the crowd cheered. "That pretty red hair of your's will melt across your skull before you die. Do you know how will feel? Do you?" He strode up to her again and whispered once more. "I do."

She struggled uselessly against her bonds while he turned and addressed the mob. "This woman stands before you accused of witchcraft and aiding enemies of the Shadow! She is the reason Greenfield has been plagued with troubles! She is the one to blame for your withering crops! She is the one to blame for the Fell attacks! She is the one--" He was drowned out by a roar of hatred from the crowd. They called for her blood. A young woman picked up a nearby stone and hurled it at her, bloodying her mouth. A guard backhanded the young woman with a gauntleted hand, sending her sprawling.

The man turned to regard her once more. "Do you have anything you wish to say?"

Terrified, she nodded. Forgive me, my love. Forgive me. Her eyes searched the crowd for the one she would betray. She spotted him in the back, a cowl pulled up around his face. The gag was removed from her mouth.

When she was finished the man smiled and stroked her hair like her father used to. "That's a good girl. Everything will be better now. You're safe."

It was three days before the stench of her burned corpse began to leave the village.

Dirigible 6th of March, 2005 09:52


While he and Dun wait politely for Aleina to hitch up her skirts and cross the shallow path across the river, Lyr surveys the swaying , ripe wheat fields along the way they came. When he sees the straw-filled homonculi keeping hungry birds away, he comments meditativly, just loudly enough for the other two to hear:

"I wonder why they use men for scarecrows. Are they really so afraid of us, when there are crueller things by far waiting in the night?" For a moment he is silent. Then he adds, even more softly: "Would men have burned Kingscross for no reason?"

Whether or not the others deign to respond, eventually they make their way towards the village. Lyr finds himself uneasy, never having been in two such settlements of any size within a week and a day of each other. He peers down alleys and around corners, looking for people out and about this late.

"Last time, we found welcome in a tavern. This time, it mgiht serve us better if we get a sense for this town, first." Lyr steps towards a window, and briefly examines it to see if it is bolted, barred, shuttered or otherwise reinforced.

Black Plauge 6th of March, 2005 10:06


Travelling in silence for the most part, Heulwen takes stock of her surroundings. These human settlements had a way of altering the landscape, disrupting the natural order of things and "taming" it for human use. And while Heulwen certianly didn't appreciate it the way a human would, it was a damn sight better than what an orc or a goblin would have left in their wake.

Noting the approaching weather, Heulwen concentrates on what they will need when they arrive under the shelter of the trees. A fire might attract attention, but may also be necessary for the health of their dwarven companion. That meant finding dry wood and protecting it from the weather. Wet wood, whether green or rain soaked, would smoke like crazy and while they might be able to hide the light of the fire by positioning it with a suitable screen between it and the town, there would be no hiding the smoke. Any fire that was made, if one was made, would have to be small and dry, and that meant suitable shelter.

"It will be a wet one tonight," Heulwen comments in a low voice to Cytaill.

Berova 6th of March, 2005 19:07


When Lyr commented on the scarecrows as they went through the wheat field, Dun broke his silence and softly quipped, "Sadly, my friend, there are many men that would, and have..." Dun gazed upon Lyr's face as he continued, "...and you needn't have very far to look. Why, I've little doubt the Hound would've had many reservations... if that would've given him what he long sought." A slight chill came over Dun with the thought of that terrible man and the fact that there were many of his ilk in the world.

When they reached the tributary, Dun offered a hand to Aleina for balance as they made their crossing.

Disappointed they made it so very late, Dun wondered if it was better they had stayed together with the others until day break. Once they made their way to the village, Dun kept a wary eye and an alert ear out for strangers and strange noises.

At Lyr's suggestion, Dun again replied softly, "That maybe, but I'd think there'd be little but trouble about this time of day. Afterall, that's why doors are generally locked and shutters shuttered. If we'd look hard enough, there's a good chance we'd find it."

Curiously, at first, Dun looked at what Lyr was doing at the window. He then keeps a look out for anyone approaching, staying in shadow for cover. He would occasionally throwing a gaze back to Lyr to see his progress or for a chance to lend some assistance, if help was needed.

Kelemyn 7th of March, 2005 07:36


She is one of the misfits now. At least if feels something like that.

Aashya watches Aleina, Lyr, and Dun head off for the village. She's left with the dwarf, the halfling, and the Dorn - the ones you really wouldn't want to be caught dead with. Or rather, if you were caught with them, you might as well be dead.

They make for the woods, Aashya trailing behind the others. They reach the little river flowing into the Eren and she pauses to savor the feel of the water on her skin. Memories are a flood engulfing her - the gnome rafts drifting lazily along the sun-dappled River; she and Gylda letting their feet dangle over the side to wet their toes. And then something comes to her, a memory from much further back in time. She lets the water flow over her fingers feeling as if the river were feeding the memory, giving it life. The boy seems so real, so alive! In a moment, he'll laugh and call her name. But reality intrudes, and the vision fades away all too quickly. Reluctantly Aashya follows Cytaill further upriver.

Whenever she looks up lately, Soradur seems to be loitering nearby. He says nothing and seldom even glances in her direction. But when she lingers at the river's edge, the dwarf is there too, having stopped to examine a rather ordinary-looking outcropping of rock. He continues on just ahead of her without saying a word. Well, they are a small party, so it's not surprising that she finds him close at hand much of the time. He probably just hung back to make sure she didn't get lost.

As they approach the trees, even Aashya with her limited knowledge of the outdoors can see that the clouds threaten rain. She is not cheered by the prospect. She catches up to Heulwen, and waits to be told what she can do to help make camp.

Gralhruk 8th of March, 2005 07:18


The channeler is silent, a ghost in the company of mortals, as the three make their way toward the town. The thought stirs the pit of unrest that her heart has become, sending a shiver of fear through her. Death held a special dread for Aleina but that wasn't the source of her chill. No, this moment's spectre was Kingscross; the thought of what happened there and her part in it had unburied memories of Brall. His death and her unwitting actions were too similar to Kingscross to be ignored.

She had no skill with weapons and had never been physically strong or quick. Dun holds out a welcome hand to help her cross the stream and she accepts it courteously, despite the bitter taste of ineptitude in her mouth. Even now, crossing this stretch of wilderness, she showed more stubborness than agility.

Always, she had used her mind and her looks to overcome problems. These things had served her well - she could live off the land or make her way in a city with equal ease. Yetthey were all but useless in the face of the hatred of the Dark One's servants. They cared not for what she said or how she looked. In the end, her only defense was the white hot flare of her magic. And she knew well that fire cared not who it burned.

A stealthy movement from Dun brings her mind back to the present. They are close beside a dwelling and Lyr is gingerly probing a window while Dun seems to be keeping lookout. Her urgent whisper cuts the darkness between her and Lyr.

"What are you doing?"

Dirigible 8th of March, 2005 15:55


"If these people live in fear of beasts or the soliders of the Occupation, their windows will be barred." Lyr pauses, considering this for a second. "Of course, if the soldiers hold a particularly strong grip here, then such bars will be outlawed."

Cadrius 10th of March, 2005 14:29

Dun, Lyr, Aleina

Most of the homes along the street have heaven oaken shutters drawn across their windows. No bars can be seen, but the wooden shutters could serve as a deterrant without standing in any direct violation of Shadow law. Lyr sees no one in his search save those in their homes. Figures can occasionally be seen moving to and fro behind the shuttered windows.

However on that street they do come across one unshuttered building. Little more than a shack, it sits slumped between two nicer homes. Faint candle light can be seen from inside. Lyr peeks into the window and sees an old man sitting at a table, his face looking down into an empty bowl. His hair is snow white, where it isn't bald, and a thin, whispy beard hangs from his chin. The young scholar watches for a time, but the man doesn't move save to breathe and blink. The bowl itself is plain, being cracked and well-worn. Several minutes pass and the old man finally pushes himself away from the table, blows out the candle, and moves to a moth-eaten cot laying in the corner.

Heulwen, Rhotha'ah, Aashya

Cytaill's tongue lolls as he shakes the river water from his fur. The wogren seems to enjoy being wet. He's still a young animal and hasn't seen enough spring rains to be used to so much water at once. He's happy. It's a rare enough feeling given the wogren's brutal introduction into Heulwen's life. Rhotha'ah offers to carry Heulwen across the river so that she needn't drench herself.

Once on the far side of the river, they pass through several more fields of wheat and other autumnal crops as they draw nearer to the forest.

And that's when they hear it.


It's a scream, likely a man's, and clearly full of panic. The rest is incomprehensible, but there is no doubt that it's coming from the farmstead nearest to the woods.

Black Plauge 10th of March, 2005 14:48


Heulwen is clearly enjoying Cytaill's mood, when everything is rudly interupted by a man's scream. Immediately drawing her bow, Heulwen knocks an arrow and looks in the direction of the scream. Cautious, Heulwen debates checking out the source of the scream. On one hand, what ever caused the man to scream could be dangerous to them, and forwarned was forarmed. On the other hand, what ever casued the man to scream could be dangerous and investigating could attract its attention.

Looking to the others, Heulwen waits to see what they have to say.

Kelemyn 11th of March, 2005 03:52


Aashya freezes in place as the scream cuts through the still evening air. Her gut instinct is to drop down among the stalks of wheat and hide there until the bad thing that caused the scream goes away. She starts to duck down, but stops herself.

Things are different now. I don't have to hide. I- I'm not afraid, and there are good people with me. Maybe we can do something to help the person out there, the person who is screaming.

I'm not afraid.

Heulwen has her bow out and ready, and seeing that makes Aashya feel more confidant. She stands up straight and looks over at the big Northman. His strapping size and array of weapons makes her feel even more confidant. She only has a sling, which seems rather paltry in comparison. But she takes it from her belt and starts fumbling for her pouch of bullets, all while trying to force herself to breath normally.

"It came from over there," she says, pointing toward the farmstead near the woods. "Should we.. you know, go take a look?"

Dirigible 12th of March, 2005 15:41


Despite all the pain, exhaustion and fear that he has felt on the journey since Kingscross, no, before that, since Voreen's tower, Lyr can only feel pity for the old man in his cottage. For a long time afterwards, he wonders why this is. Eventually, though, Lyr will come to understand that the human mind can put up with far more suffering if it makes even a token gesture of defiance, such as flight, or the ording of forbidden knowledge, than if it lies unprotesting against the earth.

"All right..." Lyr murmurs as he shuffles away from the cottage to where Dun and Aleina wait. "There is nothing more I can learn here. We should away to the tavern."

Berova 13th of March, 2005 15:17


Uncertain what his fellow Erenlander found out and it did not appear Lyr was going to volunteer anything, Dun remained quiet. He was just glad they will shortly be leaving the cold dark night. The rough-spun garb he was still getting used to was a little itchy. With a glance toward Aleina, then back to Lyr, Dun spoke up again, "To the tavern then."

Cadrius 14th of March, 2005 11:18

Dun, Lyr, Aleina

They leave the old man to lie in his misery and turn their backs on the hovel. Instead they make their way toward the river and the tavern located near it. They note the buildings as they pass; each of the humble shops and homes vary in size and stature, but none could be considered opulent. The village as a whole looks plain enough given its proximity to the Eren.

It's getting closer to full-dark now as they move up a side street and past a sod thatched abode. As they draw nearer to the river Lyr recognizes that the village, while seemingly dominated by humans, is set up in gnomish fashion. The buildings are set up in concentric circles moving away from the river. A modest open area in which to trade is set up closer to the river and they cross it on their way to the tavern.

The One-Eyed Fish stands in contrast to most of the other buildings in this village; it's actually making noise. Perhaps it isn't boisterous, but compared to the flow of the two rivers, it's practically a cacaphony of humanity. The three Erenlanders come to a halt outside the door and look at each other once before Dun opens the door and leads the way.

The interior is small but warmly lit, with a fireplace at the far end and lanterns and candles stationed about the common room. A bar runs along the far wall, well-worn and a few patrons are sitting on stools, nursing flagons of ale. A half dozen round tables are scattered throughout the room, and perhaps three of these have occupants as well. All of the patrons look to be men and most in their middle years. Within a few moments, the conversations fade as they turn to face the newcombers. A tall thin man appears from what can only be the kitchen and steps behind the bar.

"Strangers, eh?" He says, brushing a stray lock of thin dun-colored hair behind an ear. "Don't just stand there, you'll let out all the foul air we've got cooped up in here. Come in, come in. Best not to be out at night. Welcome to the One-Eyed Fish. I'm Callum and I run this sorry excuse for a tavern." He gestures for them to take a seat by the bar as he pulls three mugs from beneath the counter. "How about three warm, watered-down ales and a cramped, rat-infested room? I'm guessing you'll want the second if not the first. Don't think you'll want to be going anywhere else tonight unless you've got a boat."

Heulwen, Rhotha'ah, Aashya

Cautiously they move toward the farmstead, brushing through more unreaped wheat and past more emaciated scarecrows. The yelling seems to have subsided, but Heulwen thinks she can still hear noises coming from past the farm. When they emerge out of the field no one can be seen on the far side of the farm. A small barn is nearby and the sounds of some sheep and perhaps a pig can be heard coming from within. Wary of danger, they carefully skirt around the small, one floor house and out back. Heulwen and Cytaill stay on the near side of the corner, out of sight from the sounds of wimpering.

Laying on his stomach, in the small bit of land that isn't claimed for crops, is a weeping farmer. He looks to be as broad as Rhotha'ah, but likely a hand or more shorter. A thick, somewhat unkept mane of black hair hangs disheveled and covering his face. He's dressed simply in a roughspun tunic and breeches. In one strong hand he holds some of that black hair, likely ripped from his own skull. His chest heaves as he sobs and he murmers words that are mostly incomprehensible, all save two.

"Elia" and "why?"

At last he weakly pushes himself off the ground, dirt and grass tangled in his beard and snot. And it's only then that he becomes aware of the motley group staring at him. He gives a start at Soradur. One hand makes a vain attempt at brushing some of the mess from his face. The sobbing has stopped for now.

"W-who are you? I don't have much. It's inside. Some olive oil and spices. There's a pig in the barn and a couple good sheep. J-just take what you want and leave me be."

Kahluah 15th of March, 2005 00:56


The scene before him is one that resonates with the Dorn. Over a week ago, he'd done much the same thing, and were it not for the steel knot of resolve within him to keep going, he'd still be doing it. The fact that the man is so similar in his build also helps to rekindle the sparks of sorrow within him.

Instead of bursting into tears alongside the farmer, Rhotha'ah steps forward and shakes his head, kneeling in both respect and deferrence to the man as the rightful tenant. "We mean you no harm, farmer, nor do we wish to take what you have left. We came because we heard screams, and feared for what had happened." He looks around at the grasses surrounding them. "If you would tell us, maybe we can help."

Berova 15th of March, 2005 07:43


"Why thanks, Callum." Dun replies with a nod at the proprietor's kind words of welcome and a warm smile at his sense of humor as he takes the middle seat.

"Me name's Dun Abben an', well, we can always start with the ales, watered-down or not..." Dun picks up a tankard and takes a sip, if it is to his liking, he gives Lyr and Aleina a nod before taking a deeper draught.

" for the room, preferably one that's not rat-infested, if you have one, if not, well... then a rat-infested one will have ta be. Also, I know it's late, but we've been on the road fer a while, so to speak, and it's been long since we've last had a warm meal...ya wouldna' be able to arrange ta fix somethin' warm for three strangers just come out from the cold now, wouldya'?"

OOC: Dun's attempting to determine if Callum's trustworthy (whether his welcome is/was genuine) so Sense Motive +6 (or possibly +8 from another +2 hero among men)

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