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Cloak and Dagger II: A New Beginning


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Nodding a greeting to Adermar and checking over the cart to be sure that everything is still there and in one piece, Tanner looks up when Gund begins lecturing Shannon. "I know that a lot of it can be attributed to us being in a strange place. But, we all need to try to keep our composure and work together as a team. That includes you as well, Gund, but in your case it's your temper. It is all well and good to point out that you have a problem with Shannon's reaction a while ago, but please, none of us REALLY needs a lecture at the moment. Let's try to discuss this in a calm and rational way."

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Marcus had walked a rut in the ground pacing back and forward waiting for sign or word from the guards and the group of travellers, he was clearly doing a mental calculation of how far behind schedule this would put them. Adermar looked around, at the forest, it would not be difficult to get lost in such a place ... if you were not used to woods. Soon the were-touched also started to shift impatiently on his feet; there was not a sound coming from the woods. "Perhaps it would be best if we move the caravan on further, after all that is where they all entered the forest isn't it?" the wagon master agreed and soon the whole caravan was bustling again, Adermar tried to do a mental note of how many guards they were now down, it would be a dangerous journey if none of them returned, he shook the thought out of his head. He looked around and called over to one of the wagon hands, "Get on that cart, no sense in leaving it here, they'll want it back when they return, and it'll slow us down if we have to wait for them to get it back to us." A cry from the front of the caravan startled Adermar, he jogged forward, his two swords slapping against his thighs as he moved. The caravan had halted and some of the guards were staring at a tree, there was something there ...

 

He walked closer and saw that it was the body of one of the cultists, he looked across at the forest and walked a slight way into it, he went down to one knee and looked for tracks, it was difficult to miss them there were so many. He turned and called to Marcus, who had by now made his way to the front, "This is where they entered into the forest ... for obvious reasons I guess. I say we wait here, at least for a while. ... Someone deal with that body." there was something in the way that Adermar spoke, or maybe it was the large strangely curved knife he had jutting out of his boot, that made a few of the wagon workers set to with spades, digging a shallow grave. After some time Adermar's ears pricked up, he sniffed the air and then called all the guards to silence. Someone was running, towards them. He pulled out his two swords and waited, it wasn't a long wait, one of the guards came flying out of the forest, with a face that said Death himself had been at his heels. He collapsed to the floor, and between gasps for air he told the story of what had happened, he was lucky to be alive. Marcus cleared his throat and made a decision, they would wait for only a short while longer and then they would journey on to the city of Galethspyre once there they could acquire new guards, for now they would make do with what they had. He obviously doubted the return of his remaining men, there was no reason to believe they would be coming back, not after this long.

 

The collection of wagoners stood there some patiently, others not, looking and listening for signs of anything. At some moments Adermar thought that he could hear a voice being carried by the wind, but it was only ever for a second and it was always a while before it was repeated, he could distinguish no 'accent' from it, it was simply a shout. Finally Marcus called it time, and got the wagons to roll on, Adermar looked at him "I'll stick around a bit longer, you know me I can catch you up, especially the pace you go at! I've got a feeling they're still in there, it won't take me long to find them, I feel, or at least find something." the two shook hands and Adermar watched as the caravan moved on without him, soon all that was left was him, the cart, and the shallow grave of the cultist. He whistled to himself for a bit and then decided to enter the forest, he pulled out his Kukri and walked into the forest watching the tracks trying to highlight Vic's as it was the easiest to follow. After about ten metres he cut an X into a tree, he turned around, he could still see the cart, he jogged on a bit repeating the X process until he stumbled upon the bodies of what looked like most of the guards and cultists. He spat into the ground, there was a bitter taste of bile in his mouth, he looked around, there were still tracks going off from the other travellers but anything that could kill all these guards would make short work of that group. He walked back towards the cart, keeping his ears and nose open for any sounds of humanity, and then a remarkable thing happened just as he was reaching the wagon he heard some noise coming from near by. He knelt down and checked the tracks again, in case some other group had come by, but there were no new prints. Then he heard his name cried out by the Warforged, he looked up and there they all were ... well mostly, the Tiefling Ranger was not apparent and they walked with another by their side, but they all looked alive, if quite weary.

 

He stood up, "At last, I was about to leave, what happened did you get lost? The wagon left a short while ago, we might be able to catch up, it'll be a strain on your mule but it'll be worth it for the security. Who's the stranger?" standing in front of Ismark is what looks like an extremely well built human, you can tell by the characteristically flat nose, and more prominent hair than most humans, that he is actually one of the were-touched but that is more an after thought. He stands a few inches below six foot, but this just makes his muscles look more apparent, he is wearing leather armour, over a whitish vest, a large cloak of green billows in the slight wind behind him. At his flanks are two swords one long and one short and in his hand he carries a large knife, one with a wicked curve, you note to yourself that the blade is on the abnormal side of the curve. He simply stands there waiting for an answer, standing like some kind of human wall between them and the trade route.

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Who's the stranger?"

lost in thought as he takes in Adermar features It takes Ismark a moment to respond

 

A SHIFTER!…and here I was figuring Jess was pulling my leg about Human and Lycanthrope descendants. Guess they weren’t kidding about Changelings and Kalashtars either.

 

With a surprised and curious look on his face he steps closer, with an outstretched hand he introduces himself

 

"Hi, I'm Ismark Arbane”

 

after intro Ismark turns to the Warforged “err..Vic right, I’m cal….forget it” to damn tired to correct it, him.

 

Facing Adermar again “We were hoping to find Kyme waiting with the caravan, did he go on head as well?”

 

ERL

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"Adermar, we need to go and find Kyme. We don't know if he's alive or dead, but I want to know for sure. I know I can't make you go with us, but we really need someone skilled in the ways of the forest. What do you say?" the Warforged asked the wolfman.

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Adermar shook Ismark's hand with a firm hand shake of his own, he then looked up at Vic, and back to Ismark "No he hasn't returned. In fact I was surprised to learn he wasn't with all of you." at Vic's question the shifter stiffened slightly, he was being put in a slightly difficult position. He wanted to continue on with the caravan, Marcus needed the men and he wanted to reach Galethspyre, however, he couldn't leave these people alone especially when so many had already died in that forest. "Okay, I will aid you; there is probably no better man in this land suited for this task. However, if we find him soon I will want to return to the caravan, they are severely undermanned as it is, and this road can be treacherous." Adermar looked up at the sky to judge how much light was left in the day, a search in a forest at night time, though relatively easy for him would be very dangerous to some of this group. "Take what ever you need from your cart; if we are going to search for your friend then we must start quickly, before his trail is lost." Adermar himself walked over to the cart; while he had journeyed into the forest he had left his pack with their cart, now he was not certain when they return this way. He plucked up the backpack and slung it over his back, he still carried his kukri, he'd be using it again shortly.

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"I should tell you, the enemies are stronger than they appear. We have found at least... two hags? One of them is dead, I believe. There might be more. The old twigs tried to ambush us in the forest." Vic said.

 

"Ismark here said there's a village nearby. He said the people there hired him to hunt down those hags." the Warfoged continued.

 

He turned to face the group.

 

"Anyhow, I think Adermar here is right. We should strike them as soon as we can. Are all of you ready to take another walk in the woods?" he asked.

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“Adermar…, No!, you should have heeded MY counsel when I suggested that the opportunity existed to discern Kyme’s whereabouts” Ismark says angrily, then his tone changes as he comes to bear with his own actions.

 

“Despite your faith in his abilities I should not have held my tongue then, I suspected Kyme needed aid, I should have tried harder to at least convince you to do a simple perimeter sweep.” frustrated he turns away

 

a few moments pass before he turns back around, the look of anger gone, replaced with hope, which is clearly seen in his eyes. Seeing Kyra he says

 

“Kyra, did you not say the hag that vanished said she was going after Kyme.” He pauses to see if the others pickup on the hags words

 

“Don’t you see, even if the hag were trying to mess with our heads, it means that Kyme was alright at the time. Now, since one of them was with Vic and Shannon and we were dealing with the other two, though we killed one, the other was still in the vicinity, leaving Kyme a bit of freedom to decide his next course of action.” Ismark says with a sigh of relief

 

“Question is, what did he decide to do?

 

“Well, I still suffer from whatever taint the old crone we slew affected me with, much of my strength has waned away but I can manage a couple of curative spell if need be.”

 

“If were going into the forest again I say we do so with a plan. It would seem that they can be lured into conversation, that could by us some extra time. Our objective should be to recover Kyme if he's in there and avoid combat if possible.” here Ismark takes a deep breath

 

“If it comes down to combat then we should focus as many attacks as possible on one Hag, and provide aid by means of opening attack opportunities for one another and blocking when possible.”

 

“Does this sound reasonable?” he says as he looks at the others

 

did Vic refer to me by name?

 

ERL

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Vic shrugged, then shook his head.

 

"Ismark, how do expect to track down an elite ranger when none of us can even tell the difference between an oak tree and a pine?!" he said.

 

"Now, with the wolf-man here, we can at least have some chance of finding anything about Kyme!"

 

The Warforged buckled his scabbard belt.

 

"Adermar, have you found any tracks that might hint Kyme's presence?" he said pointing to the path the group took to go into the forest. Maybe you caught his scent or something?" he asked.

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"So we are going to the village then ?" Enquires Shannon. "That makes sense incase Kyme is already there."

Vic shook his metal head.

 

"I don't want to go in there either, Sha. But Kyme is my friend, and I don't leave friends behind without knowing if they're dead or not. If we go to the village now, we would waste valuable time. If we don't find Kyme, then the wasted time is for nothing. If we go into the forest now, we can at least find out if he's safe or in

peril." he said.

 

"Tanner, Kyra, Gund, Ismark... you guys got everything you need? Check up your weapons and ammo. Those hags can be rough..." he said.

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"Tanner, Kyra, Gund, Ismark... you guys got everything you need? Check up your weapons and ammo. Those hags can be rough..." he said.

"Glad you're here to tell us these things, 'cause I wouldn't know if you hadn't," Gund replies as he is checking his equipment. "Anybody got a crossbow I can borrow? Or a sling even? I'm still feeling pretty weak."

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"I was too, Sha. But we can't just leave Kyme there to die. That wouldn't be right. And there are more of us now. If we stick together, we out number them greatly." She opens her pack and removes a bottle of wine that she had picked up when they reached the cart.

 

"Here, take this. Maybe it will help settle your nerves."

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