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  #26  
Unread 4th of August, 2016, 21:45
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Zinnia felt ready for anything. She had slept well, risen early, and enjoyed a hearty breakfast before getting her gear together and heading for the South Gate to meet her companions. She wore her traveling robes, made of a sturdy, dark green material; and a hooded cloak, though the hood was thrown back so that her head was uncovered.

"Good morning," she wished the others cheerily. "Shall we get started?"
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  #27  
Unread 9th of August, 2016, 03:52
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"Charles it is!" said Silas with a laugh, patting the oxen and then having to sidestep quickly to avoid a cow-kick from the irritable beast. He turned sidelong to look at the others conspiratorially, holding a hand up so the ox couldn't see his lips, and mouthed the words His last owner was named Charles. He nodded at his own joke, eyes twinkling, before his face turned more serious.

"As I said the other day, it should be a few days journey to Phandalin assuming our four footed friends can move with as much alacrity as they kick. We'll need at least one of us to drive the wagon, though there's likely room for a few up here. Not sure how easy it is to climb with all that armor -", he winked at Name, "- but I don't think they'll outdistance anyone just walking anyway."

He tapped out a slow rhythm on the drum at his side, in fair approximation of the pace an ox might drag a wagon. After a moment, he raised his eyes skyward at the monotony of such a pace, but then shrugged happily.

"Yes, I know, it seems a boring job but there's gold to be had at the end so it's all as well. Now, what say we get going?"
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  #28  
Unread 10th of August, 2016, 15:42
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Jun nodded. Gold to be had sounded really, really good. He shot a sideways glance at Nme who had offered his share to them - Jun still couldn't fathom why he would do so. Maybe he'd find out during their jolly little field trip. At least he hoped it'd be that.

"I'll take the lead," Jun suggested. "In case there's something to worry about, I'll let you know. At least there hasn't been a major storm these days, so I'd not expect any fallen trees to block our path. Which really is a boon. I wouldn't know how to maneuver Charles and Emma across. Honestly, the pair look as if they've got a mind of their own."

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  #29  
Unread 11th of August, 2016, 21:40
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Zinnia figured she could walk as fast as a pair of oxen pulling a wagon... at least for while. Then, if her shorter legs were having trouble keeping up, she could climb up and ride next to the driver, whoever that turned out to be. She herself had no experience with carts or wagons, except as a passenger.

"I doubt that it will be boring," she said in response to Silas' comment. "The road to Phandalin is new to me, there are sure to be some interesting sights. If you want to know what boring is, try a year aboard a ship. Sure, the ports are exotic, and nothing is more exciting, or terrifying, than a storm at sea. But most of the time the seas are dead calm and there's nothing to look at for miles and miles but grey water." She sighed a little as she thought about it. She missed the sea.
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  #30  
Unread 13th of August, 2016, 03:54
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After seeing Silas' rather poor rapport with the oxen, Name volunteered to drive the wagon - which the bard was happy to let him do. Animals weren't quite as easy to charm as people were, and besides, he'd just as soon walk with Zinnia. Unfortunately, with Jun taking the lead that left Silas and Zinnia trailing behind the slow moving wagon. The pace was easy enough to keep, though the pair quickly dropped back a short distance to avoid the dust.

"I haven't been to Phandalin myself, but I've been on the High Road going elsewhere and travel shouldn't be bad. We haven't had enough rain this year to make a mess of the road, anyway."

Though they had gotten an early start, the wagon did feel as though it slowed them down - the oxen were seemingly tireless, but they moved at a slow plod. The wagon, sturdy as it was, was laden fairly heavily which caused the narrow wheels to dig into anything less than solid ground. Name didn't seem to have any trouble driving, but once he pulled off the road to let another team pass in the opposite direction and it had taken all of them pushing along with the straining oxen to get the thing out of the softer dirt and back onto the hard pack of the High Road.

Overall, however, it was an uneventful day. They startled dozens of rabbits and twice sent deer springing away but even Jun saw nothing that appeared threatening. With the mild weather and full sun, it was warm but no overly so and indeed the journey at this point was almost pleasant. Evening was coming on when they finally decided they had made enough progress to camp for the evening.

"Well and well - I daresay this is quite like a vacation so far. Easier money you haven't made, and that's for sure. Should we leave the wagon on the road? I don't fancy getting it stuck again."
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  #31  
Unread 16th of August, 2016, 17:50
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There was something about oxen that just seemed right, Name mused as he slouched on the driving bench. A donkey was a traditional choice to pull a wagon, they could go all day like an ox but were much faster, and would be perfect except that they came with tempers and at the end of the day you were as likely as not to catch a hoof from one of the foul beasts, while an ox would placidly turn their attention to grazing for dinner.

There were horses, a noble creature, but an even worse choice. They lacked the stamina of the other two animals and their spirit made them difficult to handle, as if they could sense that pulling a humble wagon were beneath their station. Oxen were the perfect, natural animal for -

Name's thoughts were interrupted as the animal relieved itself, leaving the worst smell he could remember.

Foul creatures oxen, a plague upon the world. What was wrong with an good old honest horse? Why would anyone hitch a wagon to an oxen instead of the humble horse. What terrible character flaws beset such a person that would ally themselves over the demonic oxen over the natural choice horse choice?

Name resolved to keep an eye out, who knew what sort of brigands he had fallen in with.

"Leave the wagon? Yes, good idea. We should leave the ox-the uh, the wagon far from our camp."
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  #32  
Unread 20th of August, 2016, 02:03
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Jun spent most of the day walking ahead and enjoying the trip. It wasn't much more than a field trip in any case. Repeatedly he waited for the waggon to catch up and exchanged a few words with Zinnia and the others. Traving along safe roads in pleasant company with good supplies... life could be good.

Evening soon approached and Jun readily agreed to Silas' suggestion. Getting the waggon needlessly stuck a second time would prove tiresome and definitely not a good start for the second day. "Maybe we should simply set up our camp right next to the road," he suggested, scanning the sky. "It doesn't look like we'll need better shelter and we'll be close to the goods we're supposed to watch over closely, hm?"

Name didn't seem happy about... something. Maybe it was just the fact that there wasn't a creek in sight for fishing annoyed him. Or maybe sitting on a waggon all day didn't become him all that well. Zinnia and Silas looked happy enough with their situation. "Let's set up camp quickly, get a fire burning and some food in our bellies, shall we?"
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  #33  
Unread 23rd of August, 2016, 04:44
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"Agreed - I think the closer we are to our goods the better. And really, the further we are from these beasts of burden the better too. Why don't you see about unhitching and hobbling the oxen? They can graze and give us a break from their interesting odor while we eat dinner. I'll start getting camp ready."

With that, he called Name and Zinnia over while he began untrundling a large rectangle of canvas along with a number of wooden supports from the side of the wagon. The canvas tarp was attached to the top of the wagon and pulled out much like an awning. Using the wooden poles and some lashings they quickly had what amounted to a one walled dwelling with a roof - not the most weatherproof of shelters but this time of year it was mild and as Jun had noted it wasn't likely to storm.
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  #34  
Unread 31st of August, 2016, 16:17
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"So, what are we having for supper?" Jun rubbed the palms of his hands against each other as he eyed their supplies eagerly. "Anything special you pilfered, Silas?" When it came to food, Jun got a lot more talkative. He propped his bow against the waggon, sat down cross-legged and unsheathed a knife. "I'm good at cutting things up and at enjoying the final results. It's the part in-between that I'm no good at," he shared in anticipation of the meal to come.
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