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Michael-TLH

The Darakan Chronicles, Part 2

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Meanwhile, back in Searoad...

 

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Fires ring the citadel on the mountain. Upon the battlements three figures watch impassively as the horde continues streaming through the city, burning and pillaging.

 

A brown hand grips the high crenallated walls, knuckles cracking. A pale white hand softly covers the brown and pats it gently.

 

"There was nothing to be done, Janchu." Her voice composed, Beleah smiles as he turns and looks into her violet eyes.

 

"As always, you are right, Seer." He nods and looks to the figure next to them. An elf in shining crimson platemail steps forward. "As I told you before, Your Highness, Lady Beleah is never wrong."

 

"Indeed." The elf's words are clipped and arrogant. "I... must apologize, Lady. I did not believe you and that could have meant the death of us all. Your Sight allowed us to... shelter in these walls, and for that, you have my gratitude." The rush of common words seems to have exhausted the Elven Prince's store of patience. "By the Grove! More and more are coming. Every goblin and orc that was ever born must have been gathered here..."

 

Before he can finish, another figure comes marching down the battlements, huffing and puffing after a long climb up the twisting stairways.

 

"Roight then, yer Ladyship. Alla common-folk 'r nestled snug and ready. The ladies and the wee ones 'r pluckin' ever' chick'n an' goose what ha' the misfortune o' bein' in town, and all the lads and such 'r goin' through yer arm'ry, Janchu." Nine-Fingered Nick runs the "short hand" through his hair and wipes his face with a familiar cloth. "I got me own son down t' the yard as well, lookin' fer a way ta help an' all. Now, then, what did you need me to come up here for, there's a lot of..."

 

Beleah steps forward puts her arm through the huge barman's arm. A slender arm points into the city far away from Rockfist as a pillar of fire rises into the sky.

 

"I'm sorry, Nick. It's gone." She pats her arm and disengages, as he once again wipes at his face.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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Happy to be moving again, Stern rides silently a top his massive elven draft horse. The huge beast having been converted from a heavy drafthorse to a warhorse overnight to accomadate it's rider's tremendous weight. The large steed, however, seems unhindered by Stern's 400+ pounds and plods easily along the cleared path.

 

Hammer remains close to the tiny Hin, obeying her orders to guard the halfing wizard with her life if necessary. The big warhound easily keeps pace with the group.

 

Stern gently hums an age old Corpus battle song and he takes up the point assigmnent in the marching order. His ancient white tabbard and shining silver Aegis shield seem in stark contrast to the deep greens and rich browns that surround him in the elven woodlands. Regardless of his outward relaxed nature, the young Aegis remains ever alert, watching for any signs of ambush, but none reveal themselves. Strangley, the big man feels at ease in the thick forest as if many eyes guarded their passage.

 

We are amongst many allies father, I can sense it... None shall perish this day, St. Marcus be praised.

 

Stern's thought's are interrupted as a large nut bounces sharply off his helm, ringing his ears slightly for a moment. The giant paladin laughes with the others as he watches the guilty rodent scamper for cover in the trees above...

 

"A friend o' Nutkin's I am sure..."

 

"Come, friends... let's take a moment to rest our feet before the last part of our journey begins. We are safe and guarded here, so do not worry." So saying, the tall elf sits on a log and stretches his legs before him. "Tell me of your journeys and how you came to travel with one of the Servant, and I will tell you of what has happened in your absence, Lady... and why we desperately need your help."

 

Stern dismounts only after all are safely encamped and settled. Then the young paladin listens intently as Jesset shares her tales with Tanaar and the elven druid, in turn, talks of his people's plight and how the Companions may help save this beautiful land and it's inhabitants.

 

Eventually, the smells of the Eldon's cooking draw the large knight to the Hin's side.

 

Eldon grins over at the already lurking Stern and makes an exceptionally large roll just for him. "Soon enough, Sir Kestrelmann, soon enough."

 

Stern smiles and rumbles, "Aye, ma wee wizard, soon enough indeed..." as he crouches to pat the small man on the back.

 

SK

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Cuchulainn walks the path that the druid makes for them in silence. Once they reach the clearing, he makes his high-noon prayers.

 

I stand thankfull for our wwodland guardians and the safety you've provided.

 

I welcome your warm embrace and anticipate your direction of me for the events to come.

 

I work steadfastly towards your divine will, Mother.

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Eldon almost stumbles at the generous hand placed upon his back. "Easy there, Sir! You almost knocked me over!" He grins back at the giant armored might of Rockfist, then turns to the pale and weakened Greywynd. "Can I fix up something to comfort you? Maybe some light broth or some of this lovely mulled wine that happens to almost be ready?"

 

The tiny Hin does take pages from the Goddess of the Hearth, doing his best to make those around him comfortable...

 

--LSH

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Warrick nods appreciatively to the Hin. "That sounds like something my stomach can be a peace with. Many thanks. It's nice to have one skilled with fire and food among us."

 

Warrick looks doubtfully at the foul-smelling bag handed to him by the Druid. "Maybe your skill could even make this appetizing, though I don't know whether additional ingredients might dilute its effectiveness. But from the smell of it," he adds conspiratorially, "I'm not sure I care." Warrick flashes his trademark grin and settles back near the fire but upwind of the scent of food.

 

Quietly, he begins taking a mental inventory of himself, trying to feel what it is that is happening to him. In truth, he has had moment where he feels fine which only adds to his fear. Am I growing comfortable with this rot? What could that mean...?

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Eldon hands the warm mug to the Scout of Searoad, smiling at him as he does so.

 

he leans in a little in comic conspiracy, saying "You'd better do as the Druid says. Something I've learned about the Shining Host is that rarely do they not get what they wish. Do yourself a favor and drink his brew, then chase it with the wine."

 

With that done, Eldon makes the finishing touches on the meal, plenty for all of the Companions. Man, Elf, Hin, and Beast alike.

 

--LSH

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Mykayla rides in silence, thouroughly not enjoying the company. when the time comes for lunch, she wonders if the other wonder why the delay? If things are as bad as they told us, we should be riding on through and getting there as soon as possible. Not rding along like we are on a holiday! But she keeps her thoughts to herself, no need to cause dissention and show a lack of unity in front of Tannar.

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The smell of wet leaves and damp mold wafting from the cup of tea Eldon hs brewed makes even the hardiest adventurer among the Companions wrinkle up their nose in distate. Garr and Hammer, after glancing at each other, quickly get up and move downwind, wanting nothing to do with whatever is being served.

 

Tanaar stands and smiles at Warrick. "I know it doesn't seem like it, but I think it will help to alleviate your... condition... somewhat, at least." He nods and heads back to sit next to the drowsing bear.

 

"Now then... we are going to first enter the heart of the Old Wood and while there, speak with the leaders of my Circle, and later tonight, we will walk the trees and continue on to your home bole, Lady Skoli."

 

High overhead, a single hawk turns in lazy circles, riding the thermals as the morning slips into afternoon.

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The giant paladin swings himself into the saddle of his warhorse once more and nods with grim determination at Tanaar...

 

"Well, then ma friend we best get started as our day light hours shall no' last ferever..."

 

Stern dons his black horned helm, unfastens the safety clasp on the sheath of his massive greatsword, and gazes down at Warrick.

 

The Aegis, words slightly muffled by the closed visor of his helm, calls out, "Sir Warrick are ye ready ta ride again ma friend?", before turning back to the rest of the Companions.

 

"Would ye have us in tha same ridin' order again, Jess?"

 

Stern, the Holy Knight of St. Marcus, waits as the other prepare for departure.

 

Keep 'em safe Stern, none shall die this day, no' on yer watch...

 

SK

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Distracted by Warrick's condition, it takes a moment for Jesset to register Stern's question. "Wha? Hmm, yes. Same order. Thank you, Stern. It won't be too long before we get...home." The last word is hard for her to release.

 

It is impossible even for her to say if the word is more a source of comfort, or threat.

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Eldon looks up at the Cyan Warrior-Scholar, and smiles at her. The briefest pat of her hand with is own, and he says to her. "Don't worry, M'Lady, he'll be safe."

 

With that, and the sight of the armored Knight re-saddling his mighty horse, the Hin gives a little sigh. "No rest for the wicked, Fuzzbucket." with that, he summons a spell to help him with breaking down the foodstuffs and cooking supplies. Once all is cleaned and packed, he quenches the fire.

 

In attempt to break some of the heavy thoughts the Companions are feeling, Eldon quips at the mighty Aegis. "Oi! You know it's polite to offer to clean the plates *after* you inhale your food, Sir! If not for your size, I would swear you were one of us." he laughs and mounts Teacup, Fuzzbucket shortly following and once again is ready for the road.

 

--LSH

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Warrick gulps hard and holds his breath before draining the contents of the proferred remedy. He makes the appropriate face and even gags once slightly afgter getting it all down. "By the gods! Hemlock would have been better! And the aftertaste! I'm not even going to...wine please!"

 

The Scout grabs for the wine generously recommended by the Hin and chases whatever it was he drank swiftly. With the last taste, he swishes it about his mouth and spits it out. For a moment, he pauses to see if the herb's taste is diminished. But disappointment follows as he realizes that it will take something more than wine to clear the taste. Fortunately for me, I have just the thing on one of my bodas... Privately, Warrick takes another draught later hoping to abate the taste or at least distract himself to the point he doesn't notice it.

 

"I hope you're right about that stuff, Servitor of the Wood. Else I'll never forgive myself for falling victim to a joke of that magnitude." Warrick tries to force his spirits upwards but he knows his condition worries his blue love. Before getting in behind Stern he gives her his best wink and grin, trying to convey that it's all no big deal for him.

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Seeing that they are finally getting back under way, Mykayla gets ready herself. She moves over to Robert and whispers soemthing in his ear that puts s mile on the Ranger's face...a smile that is between a chuckle and anticipation! bending down he plants a light feathery kiss on her cheek, before seeing to his own mount. Adia, give an Audibl;e "Hrmmmph!" and shakes her head, if she said anything, she kept her comment to Mykayla.

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As the camp breaks, readying to move on, a change can be seen in the Scout of Searoad. His color improves drastically, and he swings up onto his mount with ease. Before, his movements were slow and careful, but now he seems more like his old self as he winks at the Skoli.

 

Tanaar nods as he passes another package to Eldon.

 

"Every three days, he must have one cup of tea made from this. I will make more when we get to the Gather." Clapping the wizard on the back, he urges Barata up and the party heads forth.

 

"We will arrive to the Gather in a few hours, everyone. All the leaders, crafters, and elders of both the Woodland Wild and the Druidic Circle will be there. Come, Barata." With a growl the great bear shuffles forward, the druid at his side, once again leading the way down a path which opens and then closes behind them.

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Robert's smile is prolonged by the sight of Warrick seeming much refreshed, and not to be outdone vaults himself into his saddle with the barest of effort. His mount seems skittish, perhaps surprised at the suddenness of the mounting but with a few soothing words and gentle strokes of the beasts mane it is calmed. He is ready to depart.

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