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The Winds of Ysgard - Part One

Discussion in 'Winds of Ysgard' started by Nimue, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Chrisania looked over the mushrooms and agreed with Addison's descriptions of them. She also gathered mushrooms and the occasional berry or leaf along side, stuffing those for eating in one pouch and those for potions in another. She also discussed the various chemical uses for some of the things she was gathering. Everything from treating gout to insect repellent to regular bowel movements. It was not long before the two had gathered all that they needed and the fish were starting to get heavy.

    "I sink zis is enough for now," Chrisania said, gesturing to their overflowing packs of goodies. "We should return before shadows make path difficult, yes?"
     
  2. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison was clearly impressed by Chrissy's vast knowledge of the uses of plant, particularly the insect repellent.

    "I could've used that insect repellent on all me previous nights o' sleepin' under the stars. Now I can just will 'em to buzz off." She took a second to listen to herself, then added, "But come to think of it, I can't beast-talk in me sleep. If ye need any help makin' that repellent, let me know what ye need. I ain't promisin' I'd not muck up the mixin'—I'm sure me attempt'd attract skeeters from miles around. But I can gather the ingredients plenty fast, even on a moonless night."

    Addison was secretly relieved that she didn't trip over a twig while boasting of her night vision.
     
  3. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Holding up a purple flower, Chrisania said, "Zis easy one, no one can muck up. Zis flower is called lavender. You just crush flower and rub oil on skin. It also help calm itchy skin from bite and smells good. If you have zem, mix of olive oil and thyme oil works too, especially against mosquito wiz malaria. About four drops thyme oil to one teaspoon olive oil. Both very easy, yes?"

    The various remedies Chrisania explained were all quite simple once you knew they were possible. She avoided mentioning the more complicated ones as they could get dangerous if done incorrectly. Some required magical preparation and specialized equipment as well. She had studied such things for many years under the tutelage of a woman who was far more knowledgeable than she was. Explaining the remedies to an eager student filled Chrisania with a sense of pride and joy that made her wonder if this was what it was like for Baba Blythe to teach her for all those years. And much like the old crone, Chrisania was sure not to let her pride show to her student.
     
  4. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    She was so tired. She had been on the move for four (or was it five?) days now, and hadn’t had more than 4 hours total of good solid sleep in that time. Gudnor had told her once that a person could die if they went too long without sleep, and although she’d laughed at the time, she believed it now. Everything felt off. She should have heard those brigands yesterday from quite a way off, but the only reason she’d heard them at all is that one of them had been yelling at another. Had she rounded the next bend unaware, they would have seen her and likely been on her in a flash. A Halfling female traveling alone, and without even her short staff to defend herself with would have been a tempting target for one of that ilk. But she’d heard them, and so had moved slowly into the trees on the side of the road, even managing to clamber up one until they were well ahead of her, though even then her limbs had felt as heavy as a full sack of grain.

    Soon, she promised herself. I’ll rest soon. When I find a safe place.

    Absently reaching behind her for her short staff, which also doubled as a walking stick, she again found empty air. Gerta’s grace, that thing is a part of me, and I feel naked without it. She’d been watching the sides of the road for anything she could use as a makeshift staff, but if something was there, she was too tired to see it. And without an axe or saw, she couldn’t cut anything down.

    I’d probably chop my hand off by accident in my current state even if I did have an axe. Not a good idea.

    She thought that she might be getting close to the next town, Ilstenford, if the green squares she saw up ahead of her were any indication. Those normally meant farms, and after that would come the hamlets that tended to ring most towns she’d been to.

    I don’t have enough coin to stay in an inn. I could offer to do some work at a farm in exchange for sleeping in a barn, but farmers will expect hard work from me, and I’d need at least one solid night of sleep before attempting that. Two if I can get it. Not that I’m much of a farmer even when I’m wide awake. Too bad farmers don’t tend to have boxes they need opened.

    She would have kept right on walking if she hadn’t heard the braying of a mule.

    Startled, she jumped a little, and upon identifying the direction of the mule as being downhill from the road, loped back in the direction she had come from for about 100 paces. The hill was less steep here, and she made her way down it easily. Crouching, she began inching her way toward the mule, senses alert, or as alert as they could be given her exhaustion. Just make sure the mule isn’t associated with those brigands from yesterday. I didn’t see any mules in that glimpse I got of them, but better safe than sorry. She took a full 10 minutes to come parallel to the point where she’d heard the braying. Nice and quiet and slow, that’s how we do this. She didn’t hear voices, though she did hear what she guessed was the mule shaking its head. Moving forward, she listened again. Nothing. She kept repeating the process until she was within sight of the mules. She could see only two of them, and they were picketed, munching idly on nearby grasses. She thought she heard the soft whickering of a horse, too, though the sound was too soft for her to pinpoint the direction it had come from. There was also a waggon, which had a covering that looked to have been dyed in green. Continuing her scan of the nearby area, she thought she saw a pack or two.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  5. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    Hrrmmm, looks like a camp, but it’s not traders — I’ve never seen a trader caravan travel with only a single cart, plus they usually station guards at every cart or waggon when they stop. Not soldiers, either, I don’t think. A soldiers’ camp would be more formally organized, plus I’d see guards with weapons nearby, too. This could be brigands or miners, maybe, or even more ordinary folk just traveling. I think I’ll see if the contents of the waggon yield any clues about who these people are. I don’t need trouble with brigands, not when I’m alone and exhausted and missing my staff. The state of the animals might give me some clues, too.

    Circling around so that she was able to approach the mules from their front, thus avoiding the possibility of a rear kick in the event they startled easily, she examined the coat of the mule on the right. There were no bare patches, and the animal’s ribs didn’t stick out either. Pushing on the front of one of the mule’s legs, she lifted its hoof and examined it. The animal was shod and there were no rocks caught in the hoof. She examined the other mule and it was the same. Then she looked at the picket. It was in good repair. These animals seem to be well cared for, and that tells me something about their owners.

    Moving back toward the waggon, still crouching, she approached it slowly, opening her senses wide. That habit had saved her life a few times, that was for sure. Only once did she think she heard the faint sound of voices, but after freezing in position and not hearing anything more for a full 5 minutes, she continued.

    Using one of the spokes in the rear wheel like a step, she climbed up the side of the waggon and then around to the rear. Studying the rear of the waggon’s cover, she finally found the opening, then stepped through it. Pausing to readjust the opening as best she could back to its original state and give her eyes a chance to adjust to the gloom, she took in the sense of the waggon bed. It was a little stuffy, but not unpleasantly so, and the relative warmth felt good. A number of dark shapes were strewn around the edges of the waggon bed. She didn’t smell anything except maybe a faint odor of horse or mule. And then it hit her.

    Climbing back outside the waggon, she began to examine to green covering more closely. It was a bit dusty, sure, but that was to be expected with travel. Moving around to the side, she continued her examination of the covering. No thin spots and no tears. Moving over the other side, she did discover one tear, but it had been neatly mended. I’ve not known any brigands personally, that’s true, but I’ve known thieves and cutpurses, and they are only looking for the quick score. Usually their things are worn and while they might be repaired, they show signs of hard use. This cover hasn’t been used that much. It could just be new, or maybe the waggon is stolen or someone borrowed it from a rich friend, but it doesn’t feel like what a brigand would use. She climbed back into the waggon and once again closed the opening.

    After several seconds, the dark shapes she had noticed earlier resolved into packs that looked much like her own backpack, though she didn’t see any mining tools. Probably not miners, then. A part of her, that old part that she was trying so hard to leave behind, whispered how easy it would be to rifle through the packs and take what she needed, but she was just clear-minded enough in her weariness to remind herself that except for a short staff, she wasn’t really in need of anything, though come several hours from now, she was likely to be hungry. And if she was going to steal, it was going to only be from people who weren’t nice. She didn’t yet know anything about the people who this waggon and the mules belonged to.

    Squinting in the dim light, she searched for the pack that was neither the most expensive looking nor the humblest. Those are the two that are most likely to be warded with magic! Of course, she’d never actually found a pack that was warded with magic before, but Gudnor had trained her to always consider that possibility when she searched items, and some of Thane’s crew had encountered wards as well. While she hoped to find one one day — that would be interesting — a warded pack was the last thing she needed today.

    Deciding to rely on touch instead, she began lightly running her hands over the packs. One of them caught her attention. I don’t recognize the material, but that feels expensive. I won’t look in that one. The rest of the packs all felt about like her backpack did, but she did notice some raised areas and notches on one that suggested that this pack had taken a bit more of a beating than the others. She mentally discounted that one as well. Then, as she was reaching for one of the other packs…

    What do you know? A loose weapon!

    Grabbing the spear, she examined it. The spear had seen some use, but also appeared to be well-cared for. She set it back down. I couldn’t rule out brigands by the condition of this spear alone, but taken together with the condition of the waggon covering and the state of the animals, these feel like ordinary travelers, not brigands.

    As if in confirmation of her assessment, a feeling of safety flooded her, and the soft voice whispered in her mind, Rest here.

    Under normal circumstances, she would never rest in a stranger’s waggon and she would have argued with the voice and feeling, but she was feeling comfortably warm and she was just so tired

    Removing her backpack from her back, she removed the bedroll and laid it out in an empty space at the head of the waggon. Then she put her backpack back on in case she needed to leave in a hurry. There's too much need for that in my life. The bedroll could be left behind if she really had to. She had just laid down and turned onto her side when a thought hit her. Fumbling through her pouches, she pulled out the dagger she had stolen from that drunken fool who'd caused the argument during which her short staff had been broken and slid it under the small pillow that was part of her bedroll.

    Just in case.

    Elannor slept.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  6. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Farrun straightened, and as he did, there was a twitch in the corner of his mind inhabited by ongoing spells. He didn't have a ward up--had to be the bags. It wasn't an alarm, though. He frowned, and, unable to keep from scratching that itch, walked across camp and over to the back of the waggon. A cursory glance told him that all was dark and quiet within. Must have been a fieldmouse or a vole, giving the leather a nibble. He'd suspected that, too, but the bandits had made him jumpy.

    Ah well, he'd wanted to get something to eat, regardless. Addison and the witch Chrisania were off fishing by the creek, and he was glad the Caernishwoman had someone to talk to. But he'd not wait for fish to fry before heading back to Ilstenford. He wanted them all to be off west in the morning.

    Rummaging in the largest and nearest sack of provisions, he came up with traveler's bread and half a round of cheese. He strode back to camp, to where the bandit stood with Loke.

    "Sit," he growled, "and you can eat." The man was, indeed, looking a little grey, though how much of that was lightning and how much was Loke was hard to tell.

    The brigand thumped to the ground at once, and Farrun spent a minute untying his hands behind his back and lashing them back in a Y-knot that connected to his ankle-hobbles. The bandit didn't so much as jerk for the brief moment his hands were free. Maybe he had no intention of escaping at this moment, before he was fed, but Farrun wasn't about to let his guard down.

    He sliced off chunks of bread and cheese with his hunting knife and dropped them in the bandit's grasp, then began chewing grimly on his own portion. There was a long, unpleasant road through the gathering dusk before him.
     
  7. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison thought the repellent recipe was simple enough. All this time in the wild, and so much she never learned.

    "Me trainer knew a thing o' flowers and scents. She could tame a wildcat, but the scent drove men wild. She kept a wildcat nearby to ward off any unwanted advances. I learned a lot from her—not magic, but I'll bet she's a beast-speaker herself. Gotta be more than flowers letting her keep a pet that big."



    When they arrived at the camp, Addison noticed Farrun had bread out, and the frightened prisoner was going to be fed anyway. Addison also intended to do her part. A strong warrior didn't overthink a spared adversary, she figured. Maybe it's his last meal, maybe not.

    Addison skewered two mushrooms and two fish together, and sprinkled some herbs that Chrissy caught. She invited others to cook and season as they pleased, but before anyone could start she pointed to the two servings on her spear.

    "One's for me, and one's for the bagman." She turned to the prisoner. "Ye get to pick which so there ain't a question o' tamperin', but I'll tell ye now fish o'er a fire's the one thing I cook real well. If ye think I'd waste me efforts on a poison fish, I'll let Farrun use his truth magic on me so ye know I ain't trickin' ye. And I ain't just braggin' about me cookin'. I burn near everything, but fish're out o' water, so maybe that's why I cook 'em well."

    She turned to the others. "I'll cook all the fish if no one else wants to give it a go. I can skewer 'em all and cook the whole batch."

    She'd need a stick in the ground with a crotch to rest the tip of her spear if she cooked all at once. While she waited for others to reply, she gave Mount Freckle the idea to fetch a stick.


    * * *


    Not far from the caravan, a dappled gray horse looked around for a moment. She found a stick about a yard long. One end had a somewhat sharp edge which could be jammed into dirt without much force. The other had the stubby remains of parting branches, giving that end of the stick a Y shape. Mount Freckle dutifully headed toward her master with a stick in her mouth.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
  8. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Rikhard looked toward Addison when she mentioned cooking. "I can do the cooking if you like." It was one of the few things he knew he was good at. Now that his arm was healed, he wanted to be useful. Much more useful than he'd been fighting gytrashes or bandits.
     
  9. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison handed Rikhard a stick, thin and whittled sharp for spearfishing and skewering.

    "I'll just cook me own and the bagman's. I love ye cookin', but…" There were lots of reasons that fish over a flame made Addison feel peaceful, and none she cared to tell. "…this's the only meal I can cook. If I travel alone, I follow the water. I can eat a whole fish meself, but not a whole deer! I don't think Ciardha cares much for wastin' me prey." Addison couldn't speak for her goddess. She could speak for herself. "I know I don't."

    She'd soon prove herself to not be wastrel. When she ate fish, she ate all but the sharp bones. Even the eyes were meat. She'd not judge others who would toss the heads into the fire, or far into the woods for the crows.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
  10. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Rikhard took the stick with a nod, then set to work cooking the fish, humming to himself as he did. The mushrooms and herbs added rich layers to the aroma of the roasting fish.

    He handed out a portion to each person but Addy and Chris, and served himself last out of years of habit. Quite aside from the courtesy his mother had taught him to serve others first, the Captain would never let him eat until everyone else had completely finished.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
  11. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison thanked Mount Freckle for delivering the stick she needed. She sat far enough from Rik so both could prop their skewers. When Addison's fish were ready, she served Chrissy first, then the bandit. She kept her own on the skewer as she bit half the skin off its head, including the left eye.

    The bagman hadn't taken a bite. "I forgot to let ye pick. If ye don't care to eat the head, ye can trade if ye don't trust me. I'll take off the head for ye so ye don't eat what I bit."

    The bagman started eating what was served to him. Addison asked Farrun if he'd mind talking away from the others. In truth, it was only the bagman she wanted to be away from.

    "When he gets to town, will they give him a cell or a noose, or ain't it definite?"
     
  12. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    Loke watched the bandit's gaze follow Addison and Farrun.

    "Enough of that," he said, clapping the man over the head. "Were I you I would saviour that fish in your hands. I doubt my friends would have been fed so well, had you captured them."

    His hand slid down to his throwing axe. A shame the fool would not attempt to flee. He had the sense of his new axes, knew their balance, and could end their troubles with a single throw. Or he could simply draw his seax, slit the man's throat. Easy work, if bloody.

    He glanced towards Farrun and Addison.

    Farrun had chosen to spare the bandit. He did not agree but one little bandit was not worth betraying Farrun's lead. For now his blades stayed clean.

    "It's a good meal, no?" he said, smiling his wolfish grin. "Not quite a leg of boar, but decent fare."
     
  13. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Farrun would have ridden off on a dinner of bread and cheese, but hearing that Addison wanted to feed the bandit made him wait. Not for the wretched man's sake, but for the hope that gesture would give the huntress some sense of closure. Better choices could be made in the calm and quiet than in the heat of battle. He accepted a seared fish from Rikhard, and didn't mind the time lost. It was good, fat trout, and nicely seasoned.

    His thoughts were confirmed when Addison asked to speak to him. Farrun nodded and stood, wiping his fingers on his breeches. A few paces away from the edge of the campfire's light, he answered her question.

    "Could be either. Depends on the magistrate, and the local burgrave's law. The common rule for highway thievery, or kidnapping, is the noose. But I'll tell them that he cooperated, as I promised, and ask consideration that he's spared."
     
  14. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison thought a moment. She wasn't sure why she cared about the bagman, then realized she didn't. The world felt lighter.

    "Let me tell the magistrate meself." She wasn't sure how her request would come off, so she went on, "I made me oath to the Wolf Queen that day I met her. She seemed to trust me to be capable in battle, but feared killin' beasts but never men meant I'd struggle with me first. Struggle's over, and now that me head's clear I realized I ain't broken me oath yet. I let ye ride off alone to the magistrate, I'm an oathbreaker.

    "Ye can get the one without me help, I know. But the other eight're men ye never got a look at, and I got close and personal.

    "I've been wrestlin' with how I'd like to hunt down the rest because people that jump helpful strangers should never again walk the earth. Locked up or dead makes no difference to me. It's about what the rest'll do to others, especially after learnin' that victims're willin' to kill. Maybe they draw first blood next time.

    "If ye say we're too busy in our own mission, I get that. Let me do what I can without compromisin' me service to the queen. I can tell the magistrate what most of 'em looked like. If Rik and Chrissy're willin' to come too, we can describe the whole bunch."

    Addison wondered if Chrissy's magic could make wanted posters. She would ask, depending on Farrun's response.

    She looked Farrun in the eye. "Truth magic me if ye must, but I'm fine. Chrissy and I talked. It did the trick. I mean, not 'I'm instantly better,' still sortin' it out. But there're ways to sort out what I did, and sittin' out ain't one of' em.

    "Rope the dope, sit him on Mount Freckle. I share a horse with ye, or Chrissy if she'll go, and we ride like the wind. Much faster than if ye need to hold a prisoner on horseback, and no risk if ye let Loke tie him to me horse. Plus, he tries funny stuff on Mount Freckle, I'll know. I can speak to any horse, but with Mount Freckle it's different. So effortless, if a real druid told me me horse has person-speak magic, I'd believe it."
     
  15. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Chrisania had a small store of salt in her pouch which she used on her own fish before offering to anyone who might want some. The great thing about salt is it had an amazing way of making food taste like itself.

    As she nibbled away at the fish and Addison left the camp to go talk in private with Farrun, Chrisania sat next to the bandit and struck up a conversation with him. Maintaining the persona of the goddess she had 'revealed' herself to secretly be, she asked the bandit all sorts of questions.

    What was his name?
    Where was he from?
    Did he like the fish?
    Did he want salt on his fish?
    How did he become a bandit?
    What were their plans for their captives?
    What did he think his group would do now that they had been scared off?
    Where were they based?
    What did he think of "Addison"?
    What dreams did he have as a child?
    What would he do with the rest of his life if he survived the magistrate's sentence?
    What was his favorite color?
    Did he believe in fate?
    If he could be an animal, what animal would it be?

    The list of questions went on and on and it was clear that Chrisania seemed to be judging the man based on his responses, but it was unclear as to what end. She also could have used her magic to read his thoughts as she questioned him, but she chose not to, partially due to fatigue, but mostly due to whim of the moment.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
  16. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    Despite growing up in a fishing village, Bendalitz didn't like fish. Or perhaps the former caused the latter – he never thought about it. So while the others munched down on Addison's and Christina's catches, bread was fine enough for him. What wasn't fine were the incessant questions the new witch refused to stop throwing at the bandit.

    When it got to the point that she asked the bandit his favourite colour, he gave her a death stare and said, "Are you, by chance, really going to be accompanying us further on this journey?"
     
  17. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Farrun shook his head. "You've broken no oath, Addison. You've done more than anyone would've asked of you." He paused, rubbing his beard as he thought of what to say next. He'd wanted to take the man to justice himself, to spare her, and spare all of them, the aftermath. But maybe that was selfish, in a way, trying to make up for arriving too late for that battle.

    "But it's true that you could tell the magistrate more that I could. If you and the others want to come to bring this man before the dock, maybe we ought to wait until tomorrow. We'll ride to the next village, closer than Ilstenford--three-quarters of a day's ride at the waggon's pace, instead of a full day. Lullin, I think it's called, or Linden maybe. Smaller, but big enough to have a magistrate or a elderman at least. That way, we won't be delaying our journey. With all of our watch and ward, that bandit will be no further danger, for a night and a day."

    Indeed, the man looked cowed, crouched at the foot of a tree, taking slow bites of fish. He was faring none too well with Chrisania's questions. Having told her reluctantly that his name was Broum, and he came from a place to the south and east near the border, he fell into a mutter at the next two bewilderingly civil questions, at the inquiry about how he came to banditry he went completely silent. His eyes were dark and darting. He did manage to protest that he'd already told them what the group's plans had been and where they'd likely be, but after that turned back to silent alarm, as though he suspected the questions to be a trick. After so many alternating threats and kindnesses, it was plain from his look that he thought them all mad.

    Farrun turned back to Addison. "Ask the others if they want to go with us to the Lullin magistrate. Make it clear that there's no weight on them to do so."

    Thoros's search was a running mutter in the back of his mind; now, the dragon spoke to him. Still nothing. Farrun caught a glimpse of dark forest, spiraling below. The light was nearly gone. Found a few men, but they weren't bandits. One had pitchfork. The other had a herd of pigs. He'll have a hard time finding those pigs again. Farrun raised his brow at the dragon's dry tone, and shook his head. Bandits and farmers flee from me all the same. I've gone farther than any man could run or ride, now.

    Come back in and search the near ground again, Farrun said, echoing Thoros's own thoughts. Then you might as well stay by us. This is work for the town magistrates and the watchmen. As soon as we can hand it over to them, I'll be glad.
     
  18. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison thanked Farrun, then approached Chrisania. She was sitting next to the bandit, so she addressed him first.

    "Good news. Ye get to spend the night, and maybe get to eat another o' me kills. Make no attempt to run, and Farrun and I'll tell the magistrate ye cooperated, as promised. I was gonna let ye ride me horse, but come to think on it, ye can go in the wagon since we're turnin' ye in in... Lullin or Linden. An L-word."

    She turned to Chrissy.

    "I'm gonna see the magistrate meself. I know what the brigands look like, so I can help the lawmen find the lady and the seven men by givin' descriptions. If any chance ye can use illusion magic to help me memories, I'm game."

    She turned to Rik and Princess and went on, "Any who saw the brigands is welcome to join Farrun and I, but none're obligated."

    To the bagman, she went on, "If ye have a need to squat behind a bush, talk to one o' the men." Pointing in the direction of her tent, Addison added, "And stay clear o' the ladies' tent. That rule applies to all the men, even the captain, or I'd not agree to travel the wild with all these strong men around me. A Huntress takes every precaution to protect herself."

    She enunciated every word of the Huntress' First Principle, as if reciting the most profound combination of words a Cærnishwoman could possibly state. But after saying it, she was pretty sure those weren't the exact words.
     
  19. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    "Strong men." Bendalitz scoffed. "I wouldn't look at me like that." He stood up and appraised the bandit. "Farrun, since I wasn't there when this gentleman and his fellows attacked, I won't be going with you to the magistrate, but I'd like you to pass on that the Queen's Left Hand urges for mercy to be given." Shooting a glance at Addison, he sat back down and added, "I don't think he deserves to die."
     
  20. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison hadn't forgotten her words to Bendalitz. She didn't intend to back them or take them back.

    "As long as there ain't a battle, me axe stays in its sheath."

    She had more to say, but thought those words alone that sounded better then misquoting the First Principle. She left her response at that and took a seat by the fire.
     
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