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Author Topic: Clarion Quietus (IC) Part 3  (Read 76174 times)
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Pheros
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« Reply #500 on: September 20, 2017, 11:55:40 AM »

Dunk nods.  "We interfered. We broke their plans. Good, we did them a big favor then. Wendle's right, we can't go back, and we must go forward.

I just received a message from the Elf Queen in my dream. She told me to head to the city of Bluffs and Spies, to avoid the roads as they are being patrolled heavily, and that we are being hunted from close behind.  We leave at dawn, so sleep while you can. We'll talk more in the morning."


Dunk laid back down and rolled onto his side, seeking some sleep.
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« Reply #501 on: September 23, 2017, 03:46:56 PM »

"If you're receiving these visions for a purpose, rather than at random - and that does very much seem to be the case, Eirik - then this has to be a better time for you to be shown this than any point when we were in the Holdfast," Amethyst mused, frowning pensively.

Absent-mindedly, she restted a hand on Siobhan's arm, as if seeking the support of a little tangible contact.

"Can you imagine what might have happened, if we'd tried to warn people then?  They'd have had to choose between trusting us and trusting their own.  They'd either have turned on us, turned on a convenient scapegoat" - she very deliberately does not let her gaze flick to Fedwyn, in hope of avoiding unsettling her unexpected new ward - "or thrown the whole place into uproar as they tried hunting for a hidden traitor of wholly unknown identity.  At best, it would have been chaos.

Now, however, they've been warned of the attack.  Given at least a little more hope.  Shown that there are others out here, still fighting.  Told something of what they will face.  And we've been told that what we have to do is truly important.  If we are to believe your visions, then we must also believe that as well."


Then her thoughts catch up with what Dunkin just said.

The Elven Queen herself?!?  Oh, good grief.  I.... think that sleep might be desperately needed, for whoever among us might be able to find it."
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« Reply #502 on: September 24, 2017, 06:33:45 AM »

You're right about that. Siobhan sais with a sigh. Glancing at the soundly sleeping Fedwin she grinned. "Fortunate she slept through that."

Taking a deep breath she glanced up at the night sky, happy to see the stars again, before resting her hand atop Amethyst's to squeeze gently. "Get some sleep, I'll be on watch until sun up.
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« Reply #503 on: September 24, 2017, 10:56:38 AM »

Between the encouragements given between the members of the group, Eirik calmed down and saw the wisdom in Amethyst's words. Kjellan's worries were placated.

Then the news that the Elf Queen had contacted Dunkin set in around the camp fully. Save for Siobhan who stayed on watch, the rest settled down shortly thereafter and fell into a deep sleep.

Nefario woke first as the sky began to grey before the sun had fully risen. He went over to his pack and rifled through it before coming back with some salted meat and his water skin.  He came over to sit next to Siobhan. He ate silently for a time but finally spoke. We should avoid heading to Redwind. Wendle is right that it's the fastest route, but he's both a gnome and a merchant. He's used to taking the fastest routes and will generally get to use them. We should head straight to Swift Water instead."

He tore off a chunk of meat and offered it to her. " What do you think we should do?"

« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 06:24:47 AM by Luiniel Blades » Logged

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« Reply #504 on: September 27, 2017, 05:36:40 AM »

Siobhan raises an eyebrow as Nefario addresses her in Colonial. It figured that anyone related to Constance would be fat more educated than most. Taking the chunk of meat with a nod of thanks she considers her answer as she takes a bite. "I'd have to agree with Swift Water being the best choice....better equipped for moving us through without causing suspicion, less of a Legate presence in the immediate area and.....part of....the network.

The thought back to the last time she'd been there, seeming so long ago now. Glancing over her shoulder at the sleeping forms of Amethyst and Ivy she couldn’t help the smile that came to her lips. Thinking back on all they’d survived brought reinvigorated the hope that Amethyst had planted.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 06:39:37 AM by Ilona Ebonblade » Logged
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« Reply #505 on: September 27, 2017, 06:51:19 AM »

Nefario glanced in Siobhan's direction. "Well I'm glad someone else sees the sense in doing that. Huh, you really do care about her... be careful about how easily you show your emotions in front of people you don't know. Being an open book is a bad idea in most areas where Legates are.

If we can get to Swift Water we can make something happen with my contacts there. Windell should also be a big help too. If we've got any luck though, we should run into Garrion as well. I'm willing to bet that's where he's gone back to. "


« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 06:57:43 AM by Luiniel Blades » Logged
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« Reply #506 on: September 28, 2017, 07:13:03 AM »

"Yeah I do. I used to be a lot more closed off......now I don't think I could switch my emotions off if I tried. You're right though, shouldn't let just anyone be able to see my weaknesses."

At the mention of her father and the likelihood of seeing him again, another complex knot of emotion rises up. Gone for most of her life, then found again in the most unlikely of places, only to have to part in haste. And what of Cara, her mother, touched by the shadow, the darkness, and yet.....Some of her was still there on the inside. She'd saved her. Somehow they were now tied together by more than blood.

Slowly the Ashblade materializes in her hand, the twinge of pain that usually accompanied it manifesting mostly just background sensation as she contemplated what might lie in store. "Should definitely be interesting"
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 07:17:22 AM by Ilona Ebonblade » Logged
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« Reply #507 on: September 28, 2017, 10:50:09 AM »

It was not long before the grey sky lightened as the sun rose from the west. The sky turned clear and blue, the air began to warm, and the others began to awaken. Food and water was brought out and consumed. It seemed as though most people had some kind of ritual to do. From weapon drills, a regimen of stretching, a short run, meditating, taking inventory, reciting known phrases, or just relaxing and taking in the sight of daylight, everyone had something they were doing.

The first real hour of sunlight in over a week was uncomfortable for everyone but eventually almost everyone had adjusted. Fedwyn seemed to be particularly bothered by the sun, her eyes constantly squinting away and towards the ground.  She could barely stand looking up. It occurred to those who were aware of such things, that this probably had to do with the day sickness that most Orcs shared. It seemed less hindering to her but still noticeable.

After everyone had seemed to have time to ready themselves, Wendle stretched and gathered everyone together.

"Alright, we've got a long way to go now before we reach Redwind. It should be about 5 weeks or so on foot. We're not going to have any real chance to resupply at any villages or towns on the way. Getting horses for this many people would be far too difficult too."

Nefario glanced toward Siobhan and stepped forward. "I think we should avoid going to Redwind. I've heard it's a human farming town that's garrisoned and not only that but it has a temple there too. It'll be more dangerous for us to try and sneak through to get to the river. I've been through the area a number of times. The cliffs start to get high immediately after leaving the vicinity of the town itself. Unless we get lucky and find an easier spot it's not going to be easy to get down. I think we should head for Swift Water directly."

Eirik
looked at Nefario questioningly. "Wait, isn't Swiftwater over a week to the north of Redwind."

Kjellan came up to Wendle and gave him a short whisper which made the Gnome looked pained.

"So, it looks like we're in a bit of trouble here. According to Kjellan, it looks like when we were climbing through that underground river back in the tunnels, some of our bags weren't tied down properly. We've lost over a third of our food. We were already going to have to start rationing our food before we got to Redwind. We don't have enough to make it there now, there's no way we can make it to Swift Water."

Mandag nodded. "Okay, so it looks like we're going to have to hunt on our way. That'll slow us down. How much food do we have left?"

Kjellan shook his head. "About eighteen days worth between us. We can stretch it about another week or so with rationing."

Ivy looked worried.  "9 or 10 days without food? We'll have to slow down a lot."

Timeon almost laughed. "Alright, well I don't feel like starving again. From recent experience I can tell you all it is not something one does well. Now we need to think, does anyone have any ideas on how to increase our food stores? Hunting is one solution yes, but anything else? Skills you might have, or trinkets you may have forgotten about?"

Eirik perked up at this. "Yes actually, we have this block of material that the Elves we were traveling with were using for food. It's called, Erethor tea, I think."

"Good, good. Anyone else?"
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 01:49:53 PM by Luiniel Blades » Logged
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« Reply #508 on: September 29, 2017, 12:25:12 PM »

Dunk grimaces to hear about the lost food.
"I can set snares to trap small game while we sleep, but I'm not familiar with the land here, so I don't know how successful I'll be.  Still worth a shot.
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« Reply #509 on: September 30, 2017, 05:29:59 AM »

"I'm a fair hand at hunting as well. I agree completely that we'd be better off avoiding Redwind and heading for Swift Water,
 even in light of the supply problem.
Siobahn says as she stands.
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« Reply #510 on: September 30, 2017, 09:28:08 AM »

"I'm accustomed to supplementing my supplies with what I catch, and all my travelling, till recently, was within the region ahead of us," Amethyst said, though somewhat ruefully.  "But I cannot claim to be any great hunter or trapper.  If we pause every now and then, I can contribute.  An option could perhaps be to take an hour of travel-time out of each day, to forage and hunt for small game as best we can.  It might serve to keep us moving, and give us some appreciable chance of supplementing our stores as we go.  Say, a short span of foraging and hunting for birds and rabbits before departing in the morning and camping in the evening.  And people could keep their eyes peeled for anything we pass while walking."
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« Reply #511 on: October 01, 2017, 04:24:38 AM »

Eirik scratched the back of his neck. "Hunting like you suggested isn't a bad idea for going it alone, Amethyst. But in order to catch food for this many of us, unless we're very lucky, we'll likely have to designate several hours of our time to hunting daily once our supplies start to run low. The snare idea will work but only if we manage to find areas that look like good hunting grounds. Up in the mountains where travel is a matter of more up and downs covering ground it's generally a good idea but you had a place to return to, right? If we're looking to keep up speed and cover ground we may have to abandon and simply hope for a good hunting spot some days.
Even so, Dunkin, that's a good way to do things.  A lot of animals are nocturnal on the plains. We can check when we wake up and keep moving. That should allow us to keep moving at a decent pace."


He scratched at his chin for a moment.

"As long as we can beat the fall winds, we should be able to forage our way fairly easy enough. Even if we decide to travel to Swift Water on foot."
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« Reply #512 on: October 01, 2017, 05:26:46 AM »

Dorin had stood quietly in the back of the group simply shrugged at the conversation. "A few days of hunger and light meals is not such a terrible thing. Legates'll take notice if you eat too well."

Wendle grumbled under his breath. "Too much to ask for him to side with me... of course the Dorn would say that."

"Simple enough to see where the wind is blowing." Timeon said to no one in particular. "Another fortnight on the plains then, can't say I'm against delaying any unnecessary meetings with Orcs."

Fedwyn stayed silent while standing next to Amethyst. Her left arm raised to shield her eyes from the rising sun. The day was already starting to become increasingly warm from the summer heat.

Mandag spoke up then. "Amethyst, you should probably start thinking of a way to hide her heritage. You too Dunkin. We're alone for now and the grasses are high but there's no telling when we might come across someone else. It will be difficult enough for us humans to explain ourselves away without having a Dwarf and Dworg in our group. Not to mention Halflings." He said eyeing Nefario and Ivy"Although, the two of you will have an easy enough time hiding. I think Kjellan will be okay though."

Wendle nodded his agreement with Mandag's assessment. "At least have something ready, we don't want to be caught unprepared. We'll take this last hour to get anything else you need ready and then we'll get moving."
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« Reply #513 on: October 08, 2017, 12:38:28 AM »

The group readied themselves and within the hour, they finally began their trek across the Plains of Erenland.

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« Reply #514 on: October 08, 2017, 01:27:12 AM »

After looking over Amethyst's tools for disguising, Dunk realized that no face veil or cloak could truly hide a fully armed and armored dwarf. But he knew how to be quiet enough to sneak up on prey, so he would have to take the same tack if anything approached.

As they traveled, Dunk took up the rear. He couldn't see ahead well with the tall grass, and wanted to discourage anything from sneaking up behind the group.
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« Reply #515 on: October 17, 2017, 08:58:45 AM »

9 days of hard travel, the group found themselves moving along the open expanse of the Central Plains.  Hunting had been fair for the most part. Rabbits and other small marmots burrowing along the ground. The last three days however had been kinder, they had found a mess of Orts scavenging the remains of a grass cat which had slain a boro. The group managed to take down several of the Orts for their troubles before the rest scampered off and despite Wendel's grumblings, were able to eat well for several days.

It was midday and sun was beating down mercilessly upon the party. Dunkin was out ahead of the main group scouting with Amethyst to the north-east of the group. Dunkin's eyes caught movement to the east about 2 miles, he saw that there was a circle of buzzards drifting lazily through the sky. He could also see just the barest hint of smoke coming from the air as well.
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« Reply #516 on: October 21, 2017, 03:38:11 PM »

Amethyst was doing her best to persuade herself that she did not miss her travelling hat, and was perfectly happy with a head-scarf.  She did, at least, feel sincerely virtuous, and was truly glad that she had been able to provide poor Fedwyn with an appreciable - if probably insufficient - degree of protection from the glaring brightness of the surface world.  But on a day like this, her hat's broad brim would certainly have been welcome as a source of shade for her own eyes....

In camp, and at other points when she could keep the dworg company, she had sought to do so, and had continued her efforts to draw Fedwyn and Siobhan into a greater degree of comfort with each other - if nothing else, they might be able to bond over their shared desire to protect Amethyst.  But even her self-appointed guardians had to concede that when allowed to skulk off into the grass in her elven cloak, the story-telling alchemist swiftly became exceedingly difficult to spot.

Thus, she was out on her own on the North-Eastern flank of the group, at least notionally helping to increase their chances of spotting danger before it spotted them. At this particular point in time, however, she was thoroughly distracted from the movement of birds in flight by her attempt to remember whether the pallor of a bush's berries denoted poison, ripeness, or that they might be of medicinal use.  Crouched down, she was peering closely at the plant, wholly oblivious to anything happening up in the sky.
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« Reply #517 on: October 21, 2017, 10:40:27 PM »

It was a few minutes for Amethyst to sort through her mind and remember that the berries she'd been looking at were simple berries for nourishment. After she started to gather them she realized that while the outer area of the bush appeared plentiful with many berries on it, the  inner part was oddly sparse. Upon closer examination it appeared as though the inner area more than a few of the small ends of branches snapped or broken off.

Halflings perhaps?

It became apparent a few moments later that Dunkin's attention was clearly focused on something in the sky to the east. Following his gaze she could just start to make out a group of buzzards, 6 all told, which were starting to circle downward some 2 miles away.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 03:19:34 AM by Luiniel Blades » Logged
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« Reply #518 on: October 22, 2017, 03:18:36 PM »

Dunk was still as his eyes tried to catch a glimpse of what was making the smoke, and his ears listened for sound that might give away action.

He turned to Amethyst, saw her gaze following his, and gave her a worried look.

"No good can come of this. Let's go back and warn the group to steer clear of whatever is happening.  It can only bring us more danger."
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« Reply #519 on: October 24, 2017, 03:54:42 AM »

Deciding that it was better to avoid unnecessary trouble, Dunkin and Amethyst returned to the group and avoided mentioning anything about what they had seen.


It was only a day later, the groups were just beginning to get out hunting, Dunkin was with Eirik and Ivy, meanwhile Siobhan, was with Amethyst, and Fedwyn. when they spotted something else of note. Wagon wheel tracks. They were unmistakable and heavy. Pulled along by a team of heavy beasts.

Eirik's eyes narrowed and he began to examine the ground near the wagon tracks. Following his gaze, Dunkin began to spot signs of others passing through. It took him only a moment to recognize the familiar signs of Orcs passing through.

Ivy bristled immediately upon seeing the tracks. "Slavers." she breathed out in her native tongue.

Siobhan mind raced with possibilities, there were only two reasons a wagon would be out this way away from the roads. Either it was the wagon of a Witch Taker, a Legate who specialized in tracking and hunting down of Channelers or this was the wagon of Orcish and goblin slavers. If she recalled correctly there was only one clan of Orcs active in this region, they were known as the Poison Spear clan. They were well known and hated among the Halfling tribes.
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« Reply #520 on: October 24, 2017, 01:55:07 PM »

Dunk looked at Ivy, and he knew that fear and anger behind her eyes.  He didn't know the word she used, but he knew what it meant as well as she.

He spoke carefully to both and neither at the same time: "If we are noticed, discovered, all will be lost. If we are wounded, without food or safe shelter, we will die, our mission failed.  We are a big group, and easy to track, and any confrontation could be our end."
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« Reply #521 on: October 29, 2017, 05:53:35 AM »

Ivy nodded at Dunkin's words. There was a distant sadness in her eyes, an old would, but her resolve held. "You're right... We can't help others if it puts all our lives at risk." Dunkin could tell by the way she spoke it was not her really speaking to him but her quoting someone else's words to him.

A moment later there was rustling in the bushes about 20 feet back and Nefario came into view from a nearby hiding spot. Apparently he'd been shadowing them.

"Still quoting Constance I see. You've grown, but not that much, I'm disappointed." He stood with one hand on his hip, his eyes following after the wagon tracks.

"Nefario?! Have you been there the whole time? And what do you mean?!"

"Yes, but that's not important. You're choosing to ignore helping our people in order to follow after some large scale errand?"

Ivy's face contorted as if pained. "This isn't some simple errand, Nefario. We've been tasked by the Witch Queen to do this! You know she's real. I want to help them, believe me I do. But we can't. There will be consequences for any action we take. We have to ignore a lot of tribes who are caught, even if we want to help. Besides, this isn't what we were trained to do. Iron wagons means they are moving and will be a lot harder to free them. "

Nefario shook his head. "No, it's not what you were trained to do. Garion's operations changed after Cara was captured." He sighed. "I was going to ask for your help, but it seems like you've already made your decision."

He looked at Dunkin directly, finally switching over to a more common tongue. "I'm not denying that your reasons have merit, Dunkin. It's honestly the safer and smarter move to make... but I can't go along with that any longer. I'm going to try and help as many of them as I can, even if it is just me. And yes, I know the Witch Queen is real. My mother, Constance, knows of her. But that doesn't change the fact that I think she's just using us and doing what she thinks is best for her people.

If it looks too dangerous or if I'm successful, I'll try to meet up with you all at Swiftwater... but don't wait for me."
With that, he turned to go.

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« Reply #522 on: October 29, 2017, 10:31:28 AM »

Dunkin nods at Nafario's words.  "Between Dorin, Fedwyn, and me, a blind ort could track our passage through these grasses.  Any help we gave would instantly paint a target on us for the world to see. 

And I don't argue that we are being used by the Witch Queen. I know that quite well, but that is what duty is.  But it's my duty, and I can't impose it on you.

Do me a favor and loop back to that stream we passed a short while back, so your tracks don't lead to ours as easily.  And bleed the Shadow for me Nefario.  I'll see you in Swiftwater."
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« Reply #523 on: November 04, 2017, 05:16:24 PM »

Amethyst could, whenever she looked at Nefario in that particular kind of way, feel the seething malice within him.  Even so... he was one of their number, and had been throughout the passing of a many days and leagues alike.  And though she could not understand the debate between himself and Ivy, it was clear that he was driven to both reveal himself and then go his own way by powerful emotion.

Thus, she fought to suppress her instinctive dislike of the soul-damaged halfling (pushing it down alongside her own guilt at not arguing to intervene), and inclined her head to him.  "Take care of yourself," she said softly.  "And good hunting.  I hope that you are able to rescue many, and make the slavers regret their deeds into the bargain."
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« Reply #524 on: November 07, 2017, 05:49:22 AM »

Nefario paused for just a moment at their words. He looked back at them silently as though considering saying something.

Ivy was clearly irritated by her cousins brash behavior but when the silence became too long she stepped forward, "Just come back alive, Nefario!" she shouted in Trader's tongue, not just for her sake but for his as well.

Nefario for his part said nothing and then turned to go into the grass...
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