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  #26  
Unread 31st of July, 2003, 01:33
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Cadrius' jaw clenches as the elven tirade begins. His shield rests easily over his lef hip, obscuring the hand gripping the hilt of his sword. Everything about him cries readiness. They have little time to meander about the woods of Karkas and none to banter wicked words with an elf.

Yet there's something wrong about him, something odd. Cadrius can just barely make out the dashes of red on the elf's face. His gait is a little too wide and his reflexes a little too dull. Clearly he's seen combat, but how much is unknown to Cadrius.

The fast collapsing elf, gives Cadrius his answer. He looks over at Shade, seeking a decision to help or leave the trouble-maker where he lies. But the decision is taken out of his hands by Blarth, who finally seems to become aware of his surroundings.

"NO! Two deaths in one day is too much."

Cadrius is surprised by the half-orc's actions, but does nothing to restrain him. The fallen paladin has little time for petty disputes, but he has little interest in unnecessary death. For a moment he wonders if other of his kind do.

"Well?" He asks, "Now what are we to do? I cannot carry him and he does not look fit to travel. We could leave him, obscured from any beasts or bandits."
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Unread 31st of July, 2003, 22:41
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"You...shall...do no...such......thing!!"

Exclaims Laronar is a forced voice. Although some fo the damage has been healed, he is far from fit, laying face down in the shrubbery.

"My injuries came...not from...the first encounter...the Orcish tribe...responsible for....the failed...assault....on Karkas...thanks to Cadogan and myself. The....remainder of....the tribe....reside....in...these woods. I tried...but...I encount..ered...more....th..en expected. From...bell.......ow."

Laronar once again slips into unconsciousness, his speech proving to taxing. However, from Blarth's aid, Laronar looks to have stabilised somewhat, his injuries, nothing more then some rest could deal with.
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Unread 1st of August, 2003, 11:30
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Cadrius keeps his back to the elf during his struggle to speak. As Laronar collapses again, Cadrius sighs and looks at Shade. Folding his steel-clad arms over his similarly armored chest he looks first at her and then at Blarth and Nicos.

"He makes many demands for one who cannot stand on his own. We are to waste time creating a litter, a commodity that was so precious to him before. If he was truly concerned with Cadogan's safety he would not slow us down further."

It's the most Cadrius has said in hours. It feels like venting, but there's a ring of truth to it. While the elf had not made a favorable impression upon the Fallen Paladin, it would only hinder their already slow progress. Still, even if he was on the mend due to Blarth's efforts, the woods would not be safe, even for someone from a race that seems so at home in it.

His gaze returns to Shade. He trusts her decision, she's more pragmatic than he is when it comes to issues of life and death.

"However, if we are to take him with us, it will likely be my muscle doing it-" he looks at Blarth "- and I cannot guarantee a quick pace. If leaving him here is unacceptable, I will pull him, but I will need time to assemble a litter."
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Unread 1st of August, 2003, 12:31
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Is there no end to male idiocy?

So he and Cadogan stir up an orc nest, cause an earthquake, and leave the whole mess unfinished. Cadogan is abducted and Laronar is left with more than he can handle. Or maybe they'd been over their heads from the start.

Not a terribly fair assessment, but it's what comes to her mind. Her gut reaction is to leave the arrogant fool where he is and let him reap the benefits of the crop he has so carelessly sown. Beneath the anger, though, she knows that her attitude is overly harsh.

Had she any healing draught available she'd force it down his throat, but she has none. Nicos has remained silent throughout the exchange and now she looks to him. He'd healed Maeko, after all; perhaps he could do the same here. Still, she'd be damned before she let Laronar think she did it out of any kindness.

"We need to move, and quickly. I'd leave him here but no doubt he'll be found, and finding him will mean finding us. Can you do for him what you did for Maeko? Make him fit enough to travel?"
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Unread 3rd of August, 2003, 10:41
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"I don't know," Nicos says after a moment of looking down at the elf. "I could make an effort, but it would be taxing on both myself and our time."

Glancing back in the direction of the town, and then up at Cadirus the bard continues.

"No doubt they have trackers after us, and we don't know how close behind. If we move him just off the road into a sheltered spot, he should be fine, and those who follow should find him. Also it will gain us a greater lead as they tend to him."
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  #31  
Unread 4th of August, 2003, 23:49
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While the others argue over what to do with Laronar, Blarth rolls up his other sleeve and procedes to transfer another tattoo to Laronar's body. This tattoo also fades and as it does the skin around the wound begins to loose some of its pinkish cast and take on a more healthy hue.

"We shall not leave him here." Blarth states emphatically.
  #32  
Unread 5th of August, 2003, 00:03
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Shade eyes the half-orc studiously for a long moment. On the surface he seemed rather brutish, though probably the least imposing brute she had never met. There was definitely more to him than she had previously guessed. Laronar stirs, looking considerably better than he had a few moments ago.

"That should solve the physical problem. I'm in no mood to argue: we're going after Cadogan - are you coming, or not?"
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Unread 5th of August, 2003, 21:30
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"I doubt I have the will to argue with you any longer."

Says Laronar as he stirs, he looks at Shade quite defeated.

"I shall go with you..."

Laronar returns to his feat, stretching his arms, leaning on the tree for support, more out of habbit rather then injury now.

"We cannot take the direct route through the woods I am affraid. The Orcs I have mentioned patrol the area regularly, and from what I have seen there are many and they're organised."

Laronar pauses briefly before continuing, he is unsure of the group, their abilities, however if they're to risk the quicker route, they may not leave the forrest alive.

"I suggest we edge out to the north east, the patrols aren't as frequent to the eastern parts of the woods."

Laronar shifts nervously after speaking, they're strangers, and not the most firendly of audiences after his prior actions recently.
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Unread 7th of August, 2003, 05:33
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So it is that an unlikely group of adventurers spends the rest of the day marching northeast - in the end, they decided to skirt the orcs - somewhat more boring than it had started for most of them. There are times, however, when boredom is preferable to excitement. As it happens, this was one of those times.

The setting sun is invisible beneath the thick canopy of tall ironwoods; for those in the wood, darkness is already arrived. They push on until the humans are stumbling in the dark and even the stoutest among them are ready for rest. They camp in the lee of a small rise, sheltered from the west wind and well defensible. Laronar's tales of orcs make a fire seem less than wise, so two hasty shelters are constructed from the dead wood and leafy branches that abound in the area.

The evening meal is small and the group chews in silence for a short while, perhaps sizing one another up, perhaps thinking on the events of this day, or perhaps thinking about things to come.

Shade takes a moment to consider her companions, each in turn, wondering how she has managed to get involved once again. Cadrius was here because she'd helped him escape, and he hadn't had time to consider anything else; she tried not to think about what he'd do when he had some time to ponder his options. Nicos claimed to be along because he smelled a story; it seemed unlikely. Then again, she didn't know him very well - perhaps his motives were as he said, perhaps not. Laronar claimed to be along to rescue Cadogan, and him she believed. He didn't seem particularly good at hiding his feelings. Blarth she had convinced to join them, hoping to rid herself of the chore of rescuing Paladin - that is, if that message was truly from him and he really needed rescuing.

Like others she'd been around they had their strengths and their weaknesses. Like as not, those would be tested on this journey. She already had a bad feeling about it.
  #35  
Unread 7th of August, 2003, 08:04
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As the party pushes on, Blarth's movements become almost mechanical, as if his mind was not really directing his body. Even when the party elects to stop for the night, Blarth seems only vaugly present. He doesn't help make the shelters, nor partake in the evening meal. Instead he sits himself down on the top of the rise and stares out at the forest in front of him. He seems lost in thought, and any attempts to interact with him are met without acknoledgement.

As the others bed down, Blarth continues his lonesome vigil. A solitary figure outlined against the night sky.
  #36  
Unread 8th of August, 2003, 14:24
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Laronar makes his way to Blarths side, as he sits, gazing upon the forest. Laronar bows his head, as if reluctant to speak.

"I have not had a chance to thank you for helping me earlier. I may have well died today if it wasn't for your intervention..."

Laronar shifts unneasily to face Blarth, his eyes meeting Blarth's mid region before shifting to look upon his face.

"Why...did you help me?"
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Unread 9th of August, 2003, 05:26
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As the camp is set, and the evening meal is eaten, Nicos sings softly to himself. His words barely able to be heard by the others sharing the camp, those who focus are able to tell it is a ballad depicting the tale of Tarinis and Garthinia.

Tarinis is a simple shepherd-boy, who one night while out guarding the flock of sheep under his protection, he caught sight on the celestial Garthinia bathing in a moonlit stream. Stunned by the sight of her unearthly beauty he could but gaze at her. Alerted by some sense that she was being observed, she turned and gazed upon the simple shepherd boy.

Instantly the shepherd boy fell in love with the heavenly lady, but Garthinia knew better then to give the longing of her heart any credence. She was betrothed to a mighty lord, who jealously guarded her visage from others, so that only he might cast his view upon it.

Fleeing upon a dancing moon-ray, she hoped that the boy of a simple life would forget about her - but this was not to be. Inspired by his one glimpse of her, Tarinis left behind his simple and safe lift, beginning a great quest for his mysterious love.


Long before the boy began to draw close to the knowledge of whom it was that he gazed upon, he came to the attention of Garthinia's betrothed. Great was his wrath, that some mortal dared to lay eyes upon that which he had claimed as his, and his alone. Sending out assassins, and those creatures that he controlled, the lord was determined to destroy the boy.

Time and time again, the lord attempted to slay him, his determination an equal for that of the love-stricken Tarinis. Time and time again, Tarinis avoided death through a mixture of courage, wits, and what seemed to be luck.

But all was not what it seemed. Struck with guilt that a boy should die because he merely caught a glimpse of her, Garthinia departed in secret, and unbeknownst to all involved The lady took to guarding Tarinis' steps when-ever she could. Sending him dreams filled with foreboding before her lord's assassins struck, and other small actions.

Slowly the continued struggles, and his own pure heart, forged Tarinis from the simple boy who first set out - into a mighty hero. Travelling always, he sought out news of his love with a fever that never dimmed, doing much good along the way.

One night while looking over the sleeping visage of the man, who was once a simple boy who gazed upon a goddess, Garthinia released that she no-longer looked over Tarinis due to a feeling of responsibility. During the countless nights she had watched over him, she had started to return his affections. His never-ending love sparked a like feeling in her heart.

Then Garthinia knew despair. Her love was not something she could freely give. Her betrothed was a mighty and tyrannical lord. To him she had given her pledge, and she was bound by it to him. There was only hope for the pair- and it was a dim and desperate one.

The years past and Tarinis continued to quest for his love, gaining in stature still. One fateful day he finally found the knowledge that he sought about the radiant being he had glimpsed long ago. She was the heavenly-lady Garthinia; and she was the bride of a devious and mighty celestial lord who held her in his jealous grasp.

If he was to set her free from her enslavement, and allow their love to be, he will have to find a way to challenge and defeat a god.


Halting his quiet singing, Nicos looks over to his companions.

Who has first watch tonight?
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  #38  
Unread 11th of August, 2003, 22:41
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The music is pleasant and relaxing, but Shade is neither pleased nor relaxed. The corners of her eyes tighten, just as her stomach does, and she stops chewing. She didn't have time for romantic fantasies; neither did those who traveled with her - hadn't that been proven only recently? She rises stiffly when he is finished, her eyes sweeping over Cadrius once.

"I'll take it. Who wants the second watch?"

She flips her cloak back and adjusts her weapons belt with a wrench as she waits for a response. Loosening her swords in their scabbards she strides outside their little circle, skirts the low hill and disappears into the wood.
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Unread 12th of August, 2003, 06:12
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At first, Blarth doesn't even acknowledge Laronar's presence. He just sits there staring at the horizon. Silent seconds turn to minutes as Laronar waits for an answer. Finally, just as Laronar is about to get up and leave a small voice eminates from Blarth's throat.

"I'm sorry if my aid troubled you. I know I should not use the Mind Markings on the unawakened, but after watching my brother die today with the means to save him at my disposal, I could not bear to let that happen again. I swear, by the eye that your deity took from mine, that it will not happen again."

Blarth's voice breaks as he finishes, he is clearly on the verge of tears.
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Unread 12th of August, 2003, 10:26
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Laronar nods and leaves the half-orc be, Laronar did not wish to upset Blarth and anymore then he had already done so. Hearing Shades offer at watch during Blarth's, Laronar returns to offer his services for the one after but she has dissappeared. Notifying the others of his intent Laronar begins to rest.
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Unread 12th of August, 2003, 23:35
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The darkness of the trees swallows her and she pauses to let her eyes adjust. Behind her, she can hear Laronar announce his intent to take the next watch. It meant she would need to wake him.

Did he do that on purpose?

Probably. Most likely he wanted another chance to argue with her.

Whatever suits him.

The wind had picked up, making the treetops dance. Her cloak swirls and one hand darts out, grabbing the edge and pulling it around her. She buttons it down and adjusts her veil before starting a quick circuit of their site.
  #42  
Unread 13th of August, 2003, 00:14
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"I'll take dawn watch them, if no one objects."

Pulling out his bedding, and peeling off his boots, Nicos attempts to find a comfortable position.
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  #43  
Unread 13th of August, 2003, 12:31
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Cadrius remains quiet as he hauls pieces for the makeshift shelters. Rarely talkative, particularly around those he does not know, the fallen paladin keeps to himself. Occasionally he asks a question of Shade with regard to the camp. All squires receive basic wilderness survival, but she's had far more experience in the wild. He would have selected the same location for its defensive capabilities, and likewise would not have made a fire as common sense would dictate, but the shelters were beyond his ken.

As they eat, Cadrius slowly unbuckles and removes his armor. Piece by piece, strap by strap, he removes the steel shell. He rolls up the sleeve of his shirt, revealing part of an ugly, purple bruise on his shoulder. Wincing as if just noticing it, Cadrius works his arm in a slow circle, forcing it to move correctly. After a time he regains most of his mobility with it. The long hours stuck within his armor did not help matters.

However, despite his silence he is not oblivious to the outside world like their half-orc companion. He listens to the bard's tale as he stretches and works the rest of his muscles, all of which have been pushed to the point of exhaustion. From the brawl amidst the mob, to the escape through the sewers, and into the wilderness treck, Cadrius is tired.

He sits, back straight, pulling a rag from his backpack in one hand and continues to listen to the story. Eyes never leaving his armor, Cadrius polishes while Nicos spins his tale of lost love. Starting with the vambraces, and working his way across the greaves, breastplate, and gorget, the already bright plates now seem to take on a light of their own.

As the bard finishes, Cadrius at last looks up and his gaze is distant when he asks, "I believe I have heard a tragedy like that, although the names were different. Yet what is the moral? Do not challenge the will of the gods? Or do not love what you cannot obtain? I wonder what the creator of the tale intended."

Once the watches are divided up Cadrius shakes his head at the bard.

"I will take the last watch, or at least share it if you will not rest."

He watches Shade meld into the shadows, but does not have the energy to make certain she did not suffer any wounds during the day. His eyes are too heavy to remain open. At last succumbing to weariness, Cadrius lays upon his bedroll, and drifts down into darkness, trusting to Shade and later Laronar to watch over them.

Last edited by Cadrius; 13th of August, 2003 at 22:53.
  #44  
Unread 14th of August, 2003, 04:06
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Shade completes her circuit of the camp, finding nothing unusual and starts her watch in earnest. For a while, she spends more time gazing at those in camp than the forest around her. Slowly, they each find a spot and begin their rest. All, that is, except for Blarth. Clearly he'd lost someone close to him. Beneath her callous exterior, in a place she didn't admit existed, she felt the half-orc's pain and loneliness. She pushed the feelings down deeper, buried them next to the multitude of their relatives, and tried not to think about them. There wasn't any room for those feelings, not if you wanted to live this kind of life and stay living.

She circles the camp at random intervals, practicing her stealth and choosing a few different watch points during her time. The moon is rising when she judges her time up. She is tired, muscle weary and slightly bruised from their episode but still awake. She creeps into camp; Laronar is in the reverie that passes for elven sleep. Reluctant to speak with him, she moves slowly. Cadrius is sprawled in the shelter she'd helped him build. He looks somehow different with his eyes closed, unarmored and unarmed. Stronger, somehow. Her hand reaches up and grasps the neck of her shirt, feeling the lump of a medallion beneath it.

She kneels beside him, studying his peaceful visage, so different than the consternation he normally wore. A slim hand reaches out and brushes a lock of dark hair away from those eyes; he stirs in his sleep and she hastily scrambles back a step, still crouched. His eyes open, piercingly blue, confused but alert and determined as well. She is caught off-guard, flustered. Pushing down her emotion she thinks quickly, and lies with the first thing that comes to mind.

"I thought I spotted something passing by. Get your sword and watch my back while I check it out."

Last edited by Gralhruk; 16th of August, 2003 at 05:32.
  #45  
Unread 15th of August, 2003, 00:10
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Cadrius floats along in the darkness, his mind enveloped in the comforting dark. It's soothing, to be so surrounded while his tired body rests itself. So for a time, he is at peace, content to ride the currents of oblivion. No conscious thoughts pass here, he simply drifts.

Yet eventually he emerges from the shadow, taking a step into a bright meadow. The sunlight streams down, lighting the explosion of life present in the field. Long, gentle grasses spring up around dozens of species of flowers; roses, tulips, buttercups, even the frostwane, native to his homeland, resplendent with its delicate pale blue petals. Each flower pouring an separate fragrance into the air.

Birds fill the meadow with their songs, each one marking a territory or calling to a mate. They flit about, diving after chirping insects, or retrieving twigs to build a nest. It's a warm, late spirng day, and Cadrius feels alive. It's an unusual sensation for him, something that does not come over him often.

He turns around in a slow circle, stopping suddenly as he faces the direction that he had come from. The meadow suddenly ends, with a great wall of blackness. It hovers, not quite menacing, but it stands in sharp contrast to the field with its flowers and birds. By comparison it seem much less comforting than it was before.

"Cadrius."

The voice stops him from any further thought. He closes his eyes, and turns again, feeling the warmth of the sun shift from his back to his face. One eye opens, and then the other, his breath catching. She is here, yet unlike the nightmares he is usually plagued by, she isn't dying or betraying him in favor of his brother Ben.

Instead she wears a simple, yet elegant dress, cream in color. Jade earrings match her eyes, while honey-colored hair cascades around her shoulders, and around her neck is a locket. It is that which Cadrius focuses on the most. Trying to ignore her smile, or the way she tilts her head, or the aroma of her perfume.

"Well? Do you intend to stand there all day?" She says, her voice playful. A small basket is suddenly present in her hands and a blanket in the other.

Cadrius blinks and then looks down at himself. He's dressed well; soft riding boots, dark gray pants, and a blue tunic. Emblazoned on his left breast is his family's symbol, a hawk, wings spread, over a moon. On his right is the symbol of Heironeous, the lightning bolt held by a clenched fist.

"Come on then," she says, taking one of his hands, "we do not have much time. You must be back at the castle to meet the Baron in an hour."

Cadrius follows along numbly, caught in the thrall of the dream. As they approach a gently flowing brook she spreads the blanket out on the ground and sits. Offering a smile that would have normally dazzled him, she beings pulling food from the basket; bread, cheese, fruit, a bottle of wine, and more, creating a pleasant noontime feast.

"Sit down, Cadrius," she says, soothingly, reaching up and pulling on both his hands, "I honestly do not know what has got into today."

He sits, still caught within the dream's snare.

"Oh, these glasses are a little dirty. I'll wash them, be just a minute, love." She stands and briskly closes the distance to the stream.

Cadrius moves to slice the bread but recoils as soon as his hand touches the small knife. Something's wrong. He looks around them and sighs. The wall of blackness has moved. Once again it stands but a few feet behind him.

Turning from the stream, she begins walking back toward Cadrius, but a branch from a nearby bush catches on part of her dress, ripping a hole across the front of her stomach.

"Oh dear," she says, "I'll need to have Elayne fix that. Do you think this look is flattering on me?" She asks, giggling.

It is then, looking at the jagged rip, that Cadrius' mind finally begins to take hold. Past the torn cloth, there is a scar on her stomach, a neat two inch wide one.

He explodes into movement, leaping upward, sending the food and wine scattering. However one foot becomes entangled within the blanket and he falls backward, striking his head on a rock. Within an instant she is by his side.

"Are you all right?" She asks, brushing a lock of hair out of his face.

"No," he whispers, "anything but this."

"What?" She's confused, frightened. "How bad is it? Let me see."

He slowly, disengages his foot from the blanket, and with great effort pushes her away. He comes to his feet, arms and legs feeling heavier than if he had spent ten hours in the practice yard. Cadrius looks at her one last time, upset, on the verge of tears, but alive and he burns the image into his memory.

"I am sorry," he says, turning his back to her and facing the wall of shadow once more, "I am sorry I could not give you this."

He steps into the shadow

and

falls.

His eyes snap open, it's dark, less so than where he had just been, but dark all the same. A woman kneels by him and for a moment it's her. The same golden hair, only dulled by the lack of light, the same eyes, everything. Yet he blinks and it passes, the woman shifts into Shade.

"I thought I spotted something passing by. Get your sword and watch my back while I check it out."

Cadrius nods, grabbing the hilt of his sword he gets to his feet warily. If Shade suspected something was serious enough to wake him, it was likely dangerous. Holding the sword in both hands he nods to her, following as quickly and as quietly as he can.
  #46  
Unread 15th of August, 2003, 02:21
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What was I thinking?

Shade pads off into the woods, Cadrius close behind her. He's unarmored and trying to be quiet but even so he's far from silent.

He's going to know something is up, you don't even have a weapon drawn.

Belatedly, she carefully draws her blades before turning to face him. At his glance she puts a finger to her lips. She points deeper into the wood and then mouths the words I'll be back. She slips off, leaving him standing on guard while she disappears into the now inky dark. Almost as soon as she is out of sight she sinks down, feeling the heat rising from her cheeks into the cool night air. She takes some deep breaths and waits while her heart settles.

After what seems like an appropriate amount of time, she returns to the spot where she'd left him. His breath is steaming in the moonlight, the muscles of his forearm rigid as he grips his blade. She shakes her head at his questioning look.

"Looks like I got you up for nothing. I think it was just a bear; whatever it was is gone now."
  #47  
Unread 15th of August, 2003, 02:37
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itches
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Years of travelling through dangerous lands, less then reputable inns, and a health fear of angry fathers and Husbands had taught Nicos to sleep lightly when he was in an unsure environment.

From this shallow slumber the bard was woken by the sound of something moving heavily near the camp. Opening an eye to peer around, yet seeing nothing of immediate alarm, Nicos slowly sits up.

Well I don't think Im hearing things, and I don't think that was a dream, so lets see what we can see.

Standing, and moving as stealthily as any thief - year of sneaking in and out of bedchambers unnoticed- he checks to see if any of his new companions were disturbed by the noise.

Well what do we have here, Both Shade and Cadirus are missing. Stealing a moment together in the starlight no doubt. Quite odd, I didn't think Cadirus was upto that sort of behaviour. It seems I have underestimated him. Still we can't leave the camp unguarded, I hate having to be the responsible one.

Finding a deep shadow in which to sit, The Bard patently watches the camp -awaiting the lovers' return.

Last edited by itches; 19th of August, 2003 at 04:47.
  #48  
Unread 15th of August, 2003, 12:37
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The chill air washes over Cadrius as he does his best to creep along as stealthily as Shade. He fails at this, of course, but he is quieter than when fully armored. Breath turning to steam on contact with the air, he peers back and forth, the bastard sword held up in front of him. He's grateful for the waking. His body is still tired, but at least his mind is temporarily drawn away from the dream.

What frightens him the most is how real it felt. He can still feel the warmth from the sun, still hear the birds, and still smell her perfume. He's had dreams like that before, but never as strong. Most of all, he was frightened by how much he wanted to remain in that meadow.

I might have never awoke, he thinks, drawing to a halt as Shade sneaks off to get a better look at whatever it is that she's chasing. So wrapped up in his dream, he doesn't notice her lack of blades.

The next few minutes pass quietly with Cadrius straining his eyes, searching for danger. Yet he finds nothing, until a noise draws his full attention, muscles tense, and his hands grip the blade, ready for an orcish ambush, or worse.

Yet once again his vigil is for naught as Shade steps into the dim light.

"Perhaps it caught wind of our meal," he offers, speaking quietly, feeling as if a loud voice would violate the peace currently hanging over the woods.

Lowering the blade he turns and begins to walk back to camp, but after a couple paces he stops and turns back to the assassin, woodswoman, or whatever she is.

"I did not thank you for today," he says, the words feeling awkward, "you...did not have to do what you did. I...appreciate it. You and the others do not have to continue in my company. I will only endanger you all. Corrupt or not, word will spread to the other Temples. Things will get worse..."

Worse than being an escaped murderer from a border town? a dark part of his mind muses, Perhaps they will send the Trackers, but are you telling the truth or just trying to drive her off? Keep yourself safe, is what you're really worried about.

He looks away, into the woods, the trees twisted black shapes in the autumn night.

"I would not wish to see you harmed because of me," the words ring true in many ways, too many for his comfort.
  #49  
Unread 16th of August, 2003, 00:13
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Shade frowns as Cadrius turns away from her, somehow wanting to say more. He doesn't give her the chance, though, and she's too proud to stop him. Yet her heart does not leap when he turns once more to face her. Deep down, she's afraid of what he might say, what he might think about her.

Would it matter if he knew the truth?

She shakes her head slowly as he offers to leave, and her face freezes at his final words. Did he care for her or despise her? She suddenly feels naked and she shivers. Moonlight through the trees casts dappled shadows across her face, highlights the silver line of the straight scar beneath her eyes. She tries but she can't keep the emotion out of her voice.

"Do you want me to go?"
  #50  
Unread 16th of August, 2003, 01:44
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"Do you want me to go?" The tone in her voice tears at him.

Do I? he wonders, uncertain as to what he truly meant.

When she shivers, Cadrius is suddenly reminded exactly how cold it has become at night. Perhaps dipping low enough for an early frost. In the distance an owl calls, Cadrius finds the haunting sound appropriate. Visions of his past dance before him; his brother, laughing, training with him, her, beautiful as the dawn, and Shade, rescuing him and the blind mage from capture. The three important people in his life, two dead and the other scarred. There were others, certainly, but none with quite the same lasting impact.

Turning back to Shade, he's grateful for the low visibility, it hides the pain on his face. He studies what he can see of her, what he cannot see he summons from his memory; gray eyes, the neat scar on her face, dark hair. They're drawn to each other like moths to a dark flame. Yet Cadrius wonders if their connection is only due to a desire for a shared misery. Perhaps she hasn't slain her brother and beloved, or three men in defense of another's honor, but she suffers all the same. Perhaps it's enough for a start.

"I have lost many that I have cared for," he says, beginning slowly, the words difficult to summon. And so he begins his tale, doing his best to tell it fairly; the love, the betrayal, the rage, the duel, the deaths, the flight. It is only through force of will that he prevents himself from beaking down. It is not a story that he has shared, and he does not tell it well. Fumbling words here and there, backtracking to add details, he does not speak like the bard he might have been in a different life.

Instead of coming to a definite conclusion, he merely trails off at the end of his story, when he ended up in the border town of Karkas. He kept his voice low so as to not draw attention, but once he stops speaking it feels like a great silence sweeps over the woods, as if even the trees had been listening. Cadrius lets Shade absorb the story for a few minutes before looking up at her dark form.

"After that I believe the question is not do I wish to you stay, but do you still want to?"
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