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Unread 28th of February, 2011, 18:21
Cadrius's Avatar
Refusing to Sow [Epic GM]

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Join Date: Jan 2002
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Location: The Emerald City
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The sun stands at the highest mark it will reach today. The cerulean sky is as clear as can be with a bright, but cold, sun shining at its apogee. Puffs of breath roll from man, horse, and dog, as the train makes its way through the road that runs between the hills and mountains separating the wilder lands from the kingdoms of men. The nearby hills are covered with the greens of pines and spruces who ever hold their color as badges of courage against the cold. As the hills climb higher the snowline appears, a marked border between the courts of autumn and winter. White reigns above. The evergreens hold the snow, their many arms blanketed while their deciduous brethren hold little at all, having cast their burdens aside weeks earlier. At the very top are the craggy faces of the mountains. These are truly the old kings of the world, with wisps of clouds hanging about their stony visages. They have held court since the world was young and have watched countless men rise and fall during their time.

Three days had passed since the discovery of Brenden’s savaged corpse, frozen in the morning air. Pallor had settled in over the band for the last several days. Gregor had done little to hide the fact that one of the men had perished though he did his best to obfuscate the details surrounding the death. Brenden had been well-liked by the other guards and even their attempts at honoring him through drink fell flat. Yet by midday on the third day, some life had creeped back. Men spoke in voices that were above a hush and the occasional laugh could be heard. Even Gregor appeared to be restored to something more akin to his usual gruff self.

Gregor calls a stop for half a hand to water the horses and fill skins from a nearby stream. Cadrius stands outside of a wagon. Juni’s voice is muffled slightly by the canvas. She is teaching Sarra something she learned from her youth. Cadrius isn’t certain what it is, but he cares not. Anything that can be done to stir the morose youth from her near catatonic state is welcome to him. For the hundredth time he reminds himself that he merely needs to escort her to the Duchies and put her under the care of someone he can trust and naught more.

The nights have been restless but quiet with the fires built high and the sentries kept in close. Each of the companions has taken their turn staring into the dead of night while the night stares back at them. Cadrius has spent hours gazing off into the black with nothing save the crackle of the fire, the snores of men, and the cold stars above for company. It is during those darkest hours that he finds himself most full of doubt. When the light is gone and the night hems in close he is at his most hopeless. Specters of his past live anew, guaranteeing him failure.

Afternoon passes quickly, the sun cutting its shallow path through the sky and sinking fast toward the west. Camp has already been made by the time the sky is painted with faint pinks and pale purples. Kindling and wood has been gathered and stoked into a fire. The men who wish to try their hand at hunting are allowed to do so, but only in pairs. Wooden bowls are brought out and the company forms a line as a thick, bland stew is ladled out, steaming in the early evening air.

“Nicos,” Cadrius says, inclining his head to a stump nearby. “Would you favor us with a tale?”