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  #101  
Unread 12th of October, 2004, 23:22
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Heulwen

Her belabored search of the tracks turns up no new informtaion, but still serves an important purpose. Heulwen is once again calm and in control of her emotions when she looks up to discover the others gone. The sound of voices drifts to her sensitive ears through the trees, however, and though she cannot make out what is being said, the voices are most assuredly speaking Ernlander.

Calling Cytaill to her side, Heulwen makes her way into the copse of trees, pausing only to look around make sure there is nothing dangerous on the horizon before the trees hide it from sight.
  #102  
Unread 19th of October, 2004, 11:14
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"I had other matters to attend to."

Feyd speaks in simple tone for a matter that likely involved the assault and murder of agents of the Shadow. Then again, they were all guilty in one way or another. Those that did not actually attack, aided those that did. In one day life has transitioned from simple to complex.

The Healer gives Rhotha'ah a grateful nod and beckons him. While the dorn gathers the unconscious dwarf into his arms, the Healer starts rustling through the saddlebags.

"Thank you, Rhotha'ah," he says, his back to the man, "it was hard enough getting him up on the horse the first time. I don't think my back could take another try."

Feyd shifts his gaze away from Aleina and back to Dun and Lyr. If he notices the scholar's cold demeanor, he makes no sign of it. He jerks his thumb at Aleina.

"Gonna meet her and the little one. Was on my way too, when I saw a man and a horse leaving. Figured I should take a look. Lucky for the dwarf that I did. As to where I'm headed" --he shrugs "--that's anywhere my feet take me."

Heulwen catches the end of Feyd's statement, striding into the small clearing. He raises his eyebrows at the sight of Cytaill but otherwise gives her a quick nod of recognition.

"So, what're you all doing here? Figured you'd be gone by now."
  #103  
Unread 20th of October, 2004, 22:32
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Aleina

She listens intently to Feyd's words, striving to hear something of the man beneath them. What she hears leaves her both relieved and disconcerted. Clearly, he was not an enemy - indeed, he was very much the man she believed he was when they had parted company. And that was the part that disturbed her too. He was a hunter, a killer of the minions of shadow. The purpose was noble but the method . . . it hurt to think about.

There must be another way.

A way that would leave them free? How? Aleina had no answers and yet no room for uncertainty. How much time did she have to find an answer? In the absence of a different solution there would be a time when she must needs make a choice. And no matter what that choice would mean death.

"We made the decision to help the healer, having by chance discovered that he was in danger. That tooks us away, but concern for the dwarf brought us back."

She pauses, guessing now that he has tasted his vengeance he would be unwilling to leave the table. That path was death for him - sooner or later he would be overwhelmed.

"We planned on looking after the dwarf for a time, yet even now we might be pursued. Your skill might be the difference between life and death. Will you join us?"
  #104  
Unread 21st of October, 2004, 04:14
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Heulwen

Returning Feyd's nod of recognition, Heulwen does her best not to scowl at the proof of Aleina's guess. Instead she unbriddles Cytaill, allowing him to drink freely, and procedes to fill her waterskin, drink deeply, and fill it again. Opportunities such as this were not to be wasted. There was no telling when they might chance upon such a water souce again, and they certianly couldn't stay at this one. Not with four orcs dead just outside the copse of trees that hid it and two more headed back towards Kingscross (and likely their fellows).
  #105  
Unread 22nd of October, 2004, 19:16
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Aashya

Aashya joins Heulwen at the little pool's edge. She kneels and plunges her hands into the cool water, splashing her face and her arms with it, washing away a little bit of the dust of the road. She, too, drinks and fills her waterskin.

A hunter like Feyd would be a good one to have with them. The proof of his abilities lay outside the cluster of trees in the pile of dead orcs that he and the dwarf had left to rot in the sun.

But what now? They'd reunited Lucien with his patient, the dwarf. Where would the two of them go from here? Was the healer just running from the Hound, or did he have a destination in mind? Aashya feels suddenly that time is ticking away; and she realizes that this lovely oasis is no safe place for any of them to stay.
  #106  
Unread 25th of October, 2004, 01:52
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Dun

Dun returns Feyd's gaze, nodding back as the hunter recounted his actions between now and Kingscross. Dun was intrigued to learn how Aleina and Heulwen were involved with the hunter from the beginning. The central question, however, was the dwarf, and only the Healer would have the answer.

Dun waits quietly while the Healer worked and the others traded looks and words. After a while, he spoke up, tentatively at first, "So... Lucien... can you save him? And more importantly, will he be able to travel?"
  #107  
Unread 27th of October, 2004, 11:27
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The Healer looks up at the young man, his eyebrows raised at the question. One hand is raised to scratch at his cheek, feeling the stubble. He mulls the question over, casting a few glances back at the dwarf before clearing his throat.

"Ah, yes, he should recover, I would think. Just wore himself out. Then again, if your friend is right, I don't suppose there's much choice but to run, is there? No, there never is," he sighs heavily and resumes his fussing over the dwarf.

Heulwen kneels to fill her waterskin from the oasis. The water is cool and fairly clear; it's a good source. Cytaill pads up next to her and takes a drink of his own. Sated, he leans against the halfling, his tongue lolling ever so slightly.

Feyd shrugs at Aleina's question. The tall man runs a hand through his tangle of dark hair and looks again at her companions. He spends little time on Rhotha'ah or Heulwen, content to study Dun and Lyr before lingering on Aashya. One might imagine he'd shiver from Lyr's cool demeanor, but the woodsman seems unaware of the distrust.

"Interesting bunch you run with, 'leina," he says, folding his arms over his chest, "but maybe I'll come for a while. Gotta make sure you stay out of trouble, yeah?"
  #108  
Unread 27th of October, 2004, 12:54
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Lyr

At " 'Leina " Lyr unfolds his arms, hard, with an audible snap. He snorts, loud enough for both Dun and Aleina to hear.

Suddenly, he hesitates. What am I doing? The simple fact is he doesn't like Feyd - but if there is one thing Lyr a'Corian isn't capable of, it's self-deception. He knows why he doesn't like Feyd. And it humiliates him. Aleina's request for Feyd to join them proves she has confidene in him, and Lyr has too much respect for her insight to waste breath asking the painfully obvious question do you trust him?

With a little internal effort, Lyr softens his features, unclenching his jaw and freeing his brow from lines. His face is not accustomed to smiling, and he can only think how odd it would look if he started grinning at Feyd now, no he simply lets it sink into it's normal withdrawn thoughtfulness, free from undue suspicion.
  #109  
Unread 27th of October, 2004, 14:15
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Dun

There is always choice old man. Maybe that's the difference between you and I. How ironic that when there is no choice to run, that is the very thing we cannot since the dwarf is 'worn' out. Dun thinks to himself.

In contrast to Lyr, it Dun has always had a ready smile. But upon hearing the hunter's decision to accept Aleina's offer, Dun could not bring himself to offer a genuine smile. Had he been so jaded by the events of the last couple of days? No matter, they faced a conundrum, one posed by the Healer himself. Dun asks to no one in particular, "What now? Lucien himself said the dwarf is in not much condition to run and yet, how much longer can we afford to stay here?"
  #110  
Unread 28th of October, 2004, 03:18
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Aashya

Aashya is unaware of Feyd's scrutiny; she's watching Lyr. His posture betrays his tension, but what is bothering the man? Something about Feyd... Is it his easy conversation and familiarity with Aleina? Aashya suspects that it is.

That will bear watching..... she decides ..but not right now. On her knees at the water's edge, she finishes filling her waterskin. Then she crawls a short distant away from the little pool, seeming almost to be swimming in a sea of sweet-smelling grasses. She sighs, and drops down into the soft green stuff, folding her arms behind her head and staring up at the cloud-veiled sky. It may not be safe here for long, but she can at least rest for a bit while the others decide what to do next.
  #111  
Unread 28th of October, 2004, 04:32
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Heulwen

"With two orcs fleeing back towards Kingscross, not more than an hour or so," Heulwen replies to Dun's question, "In fact, it probably be better if we left right away. We have no idea how far back the orcs have to go for reinfocements. It may be all the way back to Kingscross, or it may be less than half that."

"We've also got to take into account the fact that the Hound may be looking for us again, or rather for the Healer. The longer we stay in one place the more likely we are to be found."
  #112  
Unread 29th of October, 2004, 02:03
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Aleina

The smallest of smiles tugs at the corner of Aleina's mouth when Feyd answers.

"When last we spoke, staying out of trouble did not seem to be on your agenda. We would be glad for your company."

She smiles at him then, apparently satisfied that the situation will not turn hostile, and turns her attention to Heulwen.

"Yes. All very good points."

Her head inclines ever so slightly and her eyes continue the motion until she is staring at the ground. Very slowly, her eyelids close, covering her ice blue eyes like a death shroud. She feels her heart beat, louder now in her ears, until it drowns out all other thought.

One . . . two . . . three . . . four

Nothing but darkness shot through with sun streaked afterimages.

Five . . . six . . . seven

Nothing.

The dazzling eyes snap open and the world assaults her senses as though she leapt into a frigid sea.

"We will go now."

With a swirl of her long cloak she turns and walks to Lucien. Hesitantly she puts one hand on his sleeve, careful to touch lightly and only where his arm is covered.

"The hound follows. You have seen to your patient but his danger is greater if you stay with him. I will care for the dwarf and you can be free of our help."
  #113  
Unread 30th of October, 2004, 17:27
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Lyr

Aleina's plan sounds good, Lyr concludes as he mulls it over. Lucien wants to run his own path, and is it not just possible that the Hound is after the dwarf, or even one of the other companions, instead of or as much as he seeks the healer?

Lyr sighs, and picks up his pack again, making sure that his lorebook is well tucked into its secret pocket, and settles it onto his shoulders. He has nothing to say; they should be elaving soon, but Aleina seems to have taken matters well in hand.
  #114  
Unread 31st of October, 2004, 03:04
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Aashya

The long grass stalks rustle softly as Aleina walks by. She has declared that it is time to go, and Aashya stirs herself, stretching as she stands up, and gathers her things. She watches as Aleina speaks with Lucien.

We gain one, and lose another... she muses. If the Healer is willing to leave the dwarf in our care.

Aashya turns away, and considers the newcomer, Feyd. He's tall, fair-haired, and a little rough-looking - although come to think of it, so am I, by now! She waits till she catches his eye, then smiles.

"Welcome, Feyd. I'm Aashya. Glad to have you with us."
  #115  
Unread 8th of November, 2004, 07:14
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"I'm never looking for trouble, 'leina," Feyd says, grinning, "it's always the one looking for me."

Feyd turns his blue eyes to Aashya, giving her a polite nod in response to her greeting. He juts his chin to one side, as if he were considering her for the first time. Yet what, if any, opinion he might have is not revealed by his weathered features.

"Pleasure's mine. Didn't expect to see one of your kind up here."

Aleina touches the simple linen sleeve and she feels the Healer shift his arm away from her hand, pulling it as far back as the clothing will allow. He does not pull away, but his eye twiches slightly at her closeness. His mouth draws into a tight line at her words, but his voice is cordial, if a bit cool.

"Would you have me leave...my horse as well? Will you build him a litter? Or will the mighty dorn simply bear him on his back? What herbs will you use to ease his pain and speed his healing? Forgive the questions, but I would know the skill and intentions of my replacement."
  #116  
Unread 8th of November, 2004, 07:39
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Heulwen

Cutting into the conversation between Aleina and the Healer, Heulwen hopes to speed things along.

"No one would have you leave. It seemed, however, that earlier you were more interested in getting away from us than in accepting our help. Has the presence of your patient changed that?"

"In any case," Heulwen goes on, not waiting for a reply, "None of us are safe here. Even if two orcs had not escaped the slaughter of their fellows, the ample evidence of the fight outside this stand of trees would be a beacon for the Dark Gods agents. Let us get your patient on horseback and be away from here."
  #117  
Unread 10th of November, 2004, 01:26
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Aleina

The channeler ignores Heulwen's interruption completely, her eyes remaining focused on Lucien. Another encounter with the Hound would have dire consequences and she was unwilling to take that chance.

"Bombur can carry him. You will need your horse in the days to come."

Her eyes do not waver as Lucien questions skill. The question was not unexpected, but she feels the warmth of anger in her belly and supresses it. Truthfully, her supply of herbs was painfully short and with their hasty departure she would have little time to search while they travelled.

"I have Parhaila Shoots, which will speed his recovery now that he is stable. That should be sufficient to see him well, but I will be foraging as I am able. In any event, I have tended many wounds in a more traditional fashion and those in my care heal very quickly."
  #118  
Unread 11th of November, 2004, 03:59
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Aashya

'One of your kind'? I could almost take offense at that, Aashya thinks. But she doesn't take offense; nor does her demeanor become less friendly or open.

"I suppose Sarcosans are pretty rare in these parts," she admits with a smile.

Of course, I hardly feel like a Sarcosan at all.......

Feyd seems like a man of few words, and Aashya can't really think of anything else to say. She shrugs a bit awkwardly, then pretends that she needs to rearrange the things in her pack, effectively ending the conversation.
  #119  
Unread 12th of November, 2004, 03:36
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Rhotha'ah

With the dwarf cradled in the large arms of the Dorn, Rhotha'ah watches the interactions between his companions and the newest of the arrivals. He notes the sorceress' complete disregard of the halfling's comments and frowns. The little one was right, they should leave and fast before the Hound brings another cadre of goons to assault them, and judging from the defeat of the last time, whomever he brings with him next would likely be nastier.

"Aleina," he says, finally deciding to inject his voice into the conversation, "we should leave now. The stench of those corpses will likely bring predators to this place if nothing else." He flicks his gaze to the halfling wogren-rider and the scholar, alternating between the two. "How far from here to Baden's Bluff, do either of you know?"
  #120  
Unread 15th of November, 2004, 09:35
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Lucien gives Aleina a curt nod, accepting her proposed care as if it no longer mattered to him. He casts his gaze to Lyr, Heulwen, and Rhotha'ah. The scholar furrows his brow at the question posed to him by the dorn and produces a book. Lucien raises an eyebrow.

"No," he says to Aleina, keeping his voice soft, "I don't believe I shall stay here any longer." He catches Aleina's gaze and leans closer to her, whispering a few words. The others are too engrossed in conversation to notice this save Dun and Aashya.

"Well, then," he says, running one hand along the neck of his horse, "I suppose I shall take my leave. For your sakes, I hope we never meet again."

And with that, he leaves. Not much of a farewell, but then again, he never did seem to want to be a part of the happenstance band. They find themselves alone in the deceptively safe oasis. Yet once more they can feel time passing. Each moment passing is one closer to the inevitable return of the orcs, but this time they will send a capable force, one looking for resistance.
  #121  
Unread 15th of November, 2004, 14:23
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Heulwen

"Baden's Bluff? I've never been that far north, but as I understand it its maybe 12 days travel from here," Heulwen replies, "If we pushed hard, we could cut that by 4 maybe 5 days. Why go there though? We're far better off in the wild. Few trails, fewer people. We could hide out almost indefinatly."
  #122  
Unread 17th of November, 2004, 01:39
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Aleina

The healer moves his arm away from her touch and she almost starts, half expecting a vision to accompany the gesture. It does not and a certain tension fades from her mind as Lucien releases his patient to her care. She had not lied: when it came to healing the body she was more than capable. The tension returns with his whisper and the channeler finds herself staring into his unreadable grey eyes. Did he know or was he only guessing. Impossible to tell.

Aleina says nothing when he leaves, merely watches him go, apparently lost in thought. She crosses her arms in front of her, hands within her sleeves, and listens to the wind blow as if that slow, eerie sound might hold the answers to her questions.

Baden's Bluff.

Heulwen was right. With a halfing and a sick dwarf in tow, Baden's Bluff was a bad idea. She remains silent, not acknowledging the conversation, and places one slim hand on the dwarf's broad forehead, using her other hand to steady Bombur. Poor Bombur. It was more than he was used to carrying, but he didn't complain. Twelve days was a long time, and she was fairly certain the dwarf would be well before then. Which meant if they decided to go to Baden's Bluff they could stick to the wilderness as Heulwen suggested, and the dwarf could choose his own path before they got there.
  #123  
Unread 17th of November, 2004, 03:14
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Rhotha'ah

"We're far better off in the wild. Few trails, fewer people. We could hide out almost indefinatly."

The Dornish man stands still, his jaw clenching as he ponders the little woman's words. They would indeed be safer in the wild, but he had made a promise to his people, one he could not break.

"We may be safer in not going, but I made an oath to my people to find those of us who were taken, and I have already left it too long. That man," he says, pointing toward the direction the healer had left the clearing, "has given me the name of a settlement that might know where they are, and I intend to go there."
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  #124  
Unread 17th of November, 2004, 03:37
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Heulwen

Knowing full well what its like to be a captive to Izador's minions, Heulwen merely nods in understanding and begins to ready herself and Cytaill to leave.

"Time is wasting then. We'll head for Baden's Bluff, but stick to the wilderness for the most part. If we push ourselves then we will need to obtain supplies in a town or two along the way. Any one of you could do so without arrousing suspicion, but I would advise against any more than two of you going into town at once. A larger group would be more easily recognized. On the other hand, we could live off the land as we go. Cytaill and I can do so indefinatly by ourselves, but what about the rest of you? Have you any experience trying to live on nothing but what you can kill or forage?"
  #125  
Unread 17th of November, 2004, 12:45
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Aashya

Aashya stoops, still sorting through the things in her pack, but focusing intently on the conversation as it flows around Aleina. The healer takes his leave, and Aashya feels lighter, more at ease. The Hound and his henchmen may still pursue the party, but it seems less likely now.

She stands, and walks over to join Aleina. Heulwen's suggestion brings a pained expression to the Sarcosan woman's face. "Hide out?" she moans under her breath. "But why?" Twelve days in the wilderness will be bad enough, but to hide out there indefinitely would be unbearable!

The big Northman wants to find the people kidnapped from his village, and Aashya nods in agreement. She's willing to go with him to this place called Baden's Bluff. But again, her face blanches when Heulwen mentions 'living off the land'. "I don't have that kind of skill," Aashya confesses.
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