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  #76  
Unread 6th of December, 2004, 03:20
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The voices in the present reached through the haze of memories that held Nicos in check, and bought him back to reality. Still disoriented, the bard looked around and noticed an elven woman standing nearby.

'Saelyn,' he started still without a complete grasp on the situation. 'Che cosa faites aqula?*'

As the last of the fog lifted from his mind, the man realised his mistake. While the woman was indeed an elf, her hair was more silver then white, and Saelyn would never have dressed in those clothes. Recovering from his gaff as smoothly as possible, Nicos smiles.

"Shame on you all. Why didn't someone tell me we had a guest?"


((OOC: *elvish = What are you doing here?"))
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  #77  
Unread 7th of December, 2004, 06:33
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She turns as she hears an umfamiliar voice speaking a familiar language, and almost, almost, the sound brings her close to tears. It has been so long since she heard her own language, even slightly mangled as the human speaks it, unable to pronounce the words quite as an elf would. Involutarily she replies in the same style,
"Ne dovienda misain shau."

Then the coldness returns, and she turns empty eyes on the one-armed man who dragged her emotions close to the surface for the first time in a year.
"Who are you, and what do you do here?"

((OOC: said "I hunt killers" ))
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  #78  
Unread 7th of December, 2004, 07:31
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Catching the words, and the change, Nicos' smile broadens.

"Us? Well we were sent out to find the key-stone of an item which contains a terrible power, by a secret socity of mages, in their hidden fortress," he states with a straight face.

"Why do you ask?"
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Unread 7th of December, 2004, 07:52
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Irritated by Nicos' easy familiarity with a potential enemy, Shade can only roll her eyes. However, his words were certainly more apt to keep the situation from exploding than her own. Behind the veil she frowns. Maybe it was just her recent experience with Laronar, but elves definitely seemed to have a way of getting on her nerves.

"Like you said, anything hostile knows we're here and might come looking. Why do you want to be around for it?"
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Unread 7th of December, 2004, 19:12
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Suddenly being interrogated from two sides at once, Surayon stiffens slightly. Humans. So quick to be suspicious, so untrusting... but then, was she really any different? She turns, pointing at the now unconscious human.

"Because he doesnt look to be in a fit state to fight another troll. From the way your tracks are running, you look to be heading into the foothills further north of here. The man I'm tracking went that way. I'd rather not find him, then come back and find you've been eaten if I can do something about that."

She listens to her words as they leave her lips. Did she mean that? Perhaps, perhaps not. She rubs a hand over the hilt of her longsword without realising it, thinking of the battles to come.
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  #81  
Unread 8th of December, 2004, 04:13
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Shade regards the other coldly, skepticism clear in her eyes. Those damned wizards might well have sent her after them. Even if they didn't, why would this stranger want to help them?

She wouldn't.

What did that leave? Surayon said she was tracking someone. Maybe she figured that she'd need help when she caught up to him.

"We can fight our own battles. And we don't have time for yours."
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Unread 9th of December, 2004, 20:35
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Surayon glances away from the woman, taking in the area around her as she speaks.

"We can fight our own battles. And we don't have time for yours."

She looks back at the unconscious human, the scent of burned flesh still hanging in the air.
"Yes, I can see that..."
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  #83  
Unread 10th of December, 2004, 01:06
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As the conversation shifted away from Nicos, the ever present stench of burnt flesh and the fresh memory of Cadrius' flesh burning under his hands, conspired to drag the bard back to older memories. To the remains of a slave camp. To a crowd of people around him. To a blade, burning and searing his flesh. To a scream, rising from deep within, echoing forever deep in his-.

"Ahhh!" Nicos yelled leaping to his feet. Ignoring the startled glances, Nicos starts talking, attempting to cover his agitation.

"Damnit, you two can kill each other later," He starts. "Right now we need to get out of this clearing, and find a campsite nearby where Cadrius can rest. Shade, you find somewhere while Blarth, Ben and -". Noticing for the first time that Ben isn't present, the bard grits his teeth in annoyance, but pushes on anyway. "Blarth and I gather Cadrius' gear, and then move it and him to the camp site."

Spareing the newcomer only a glance, Nicos continues. "As to you elf, you can either help us or stay out of our way. I don't give a damn."

Not giving anyone the opportunity to argue back, the one-armed-man angrily kicks a rock out of his way as he moves to gather his cast off blades.
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  #84  
Unread 11th of December, 2004, 01:02
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Shade bristles at the implied challenge from the elf. The battle, Cadrius' wounds, and now this arrogant woman: it all worked to fuel her natural tendency towards anger.

Try me.

The words are as close to her lips as her palms are to the hilts of her swords. And then Nicos interrupts with an inarticulate cry. When his tirade is done she decides that a fight with Surayon gains them nothing. The knowledge does little to lighten her mood, though. Ignoring the elf and her words, Shade answers the one armed bard icily.

"I'll get Ben and find someplace close."

Giving Surayon one last stony look, she heads after Ben at a trot. Nicos might look like an invalid but Shade knew better. Plus he was smart enough not to turn his back on the newcomer. And he had Blarth to back him up.
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Unread 11th of December, 2004, 01:56
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Quickly shoved out of the converstaion by the more assertive members of the group, Blarth sits down to rest and shake off the remainder of his battle fatigue. It would do no good to keep pushing himself now if another threat showed up. And besides, the elf didn't seem too dangerous. Far less dangerous than the troll at least.
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  #86  
Unread 11th of December, 2004, 15:39
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Ben started moving down the other side of the rise as soon as he was out of sight of the others. Sliding down would have been more accurate actually, as loose rocks and dirt made it a treacherous descent to say the least.

When he got about three-fourths of the way down, he looked back behind him. The rise was much larger on this side than it was at their battle site. Apparently this side was a depression going down lower than the rest of this desolate wasteland. Ben saw a figure appear at the top of the slope, but paid it no heed. Probably just someone coming to help him. Maybe Shade had finished with her little quarrel with the elf. Ben turned back around and started shuffling down the slope without acknowledging the figure.

A few steps later, he stepped on a rock that looked stable from above, but gave way when he put his weight on it. He cursed as he slipped and fell painfully on his rump, and promptly started sliding towards the base of the hill as the loose pebbles and dirt continued to give way.

Well, at least I'll reach the bottom fairly quickly this--

"Ah crap," he said aloud when he saw that the "bottom" of the rise was actually several feet lower than he'd predicted, revealing a sheer drop at the bottom. He flew off the slope, tried to catch the edge but just got a handful of dirt, and fell 12 more feet to land painfully on his back on the bottom. His shield blocked the pain any rocks present might have caused, but landing on the flat metal back of a shield with handles wasn't that big of an improvement in Ben's mind.

"Ow," Ben said after several seconds of pain and grimaces on his part. He looked over to see his sword lying beside him on his left. Getting back up into a sitting position, he said, "By the gods, what'd I do to get on Fiol's bad side today?" He reached over and picked up his sword and brought it so he could look at himself in the blade to ensure he hadn't cut himself in the fall. The ichor from the troll was still present on the blade though, and he found his thoughts moving back to the troll.

It just didn't make any SENSE. Attacking them by itself had been stupid, it should have know it never would have been able to beat them alone. Ben had fought goblins before, who were never particularly bright, but big tough creatures like this troll were generally more intelligent than simple goblins. So it only made sense that this troll would have friends to reinforce it. Didn't it?

Ben sighed. He didn't know that much about trolls, but he realized that sometimes singularly powerful monsters weren't always bright, like with Bugbears. Maybe that was the case here, the troll just wasn't that bright. But was he really willing to risk it? If the troll DID have friends, they weren't that far behind it probably.

Ben looked up to where he had flown off the slope of the rise. An overhang jutted out from the slope going out about 20 feet or so to the left and right before stopping. Then the slope came back and led back down into this depression at the same grade as the rest of the hill. Underneath the overhand was what grabbed his attention though. About 6 feet underneath the overhang was a boulder, roughly as tall as he was in height.

Ben got up, sheathed his sword back into the loop on his belt, and moved over to the boulder to examine it. Why would there be a boulder here? Maybe it was hiding something? But when he tried to find evidence of a cave, he came up empty. Ben frowned in disappointment. Maybe he should try and move it instead. He positioned himself on one side of the boulder and threw his weight into trying to move it.

The stubborn thing wouldn't budge.

Ben grimaced and tried again. And again. And again. Something about it, a hunch if you would, was telling him that this boulder was important somehow.
  #87  
Unread 13th of December, 2004, 05:49
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Surayon winces slightly at the cry from the one-armed man, the sound boring through her hood into her ears. The following words did have a point, however. The people here had no reason to trust her, after all, and arguing with people still high on a battle rage probably wasn't the best plan. Still, at least she had some names now. The injured man, still laid out cold on the floor, that was Cadrius, if she remembers rightly. The woman... Shade? possibly, after all, she didn't exactly look like a Blarth; that most likely was the half-orc with one of the biggest clubs she has ever seen. That would presumably make the other human, who had wandered off as she emerged, Ben.


She lets out a quiet sigh. Cadrius didn't look in a good way, and despite what they said, right now they needed all the help they could get, after all, the troll was hardly the only beast out here. There were signs everywhere for someone who could see them, and the mountains up ahead were probably the lair for any number of creatures. She pushes her hood back and bends over Cadrius' form, studying him intently. Bad, but not seriously so, at least at the moment, and probably safe to move. She looks up at the one-armed man, the only member of this party whose name she doesn't yet know, violet eyes staring into his.

"So, how can I help?"
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Unread 16th of December, 2004, 00:44
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Having recovered his blades and composure, Nicos grins at Surayon's question. Reaching out and rapping on Cadrius' heavy armour.

"You can carry this."

Turning towards Blarth and dropping into a crouch, Nicos queries the half orc.

"Do you think you can carry Cadrius?"
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Unread 16th of December, 2004, 00:46
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"Make a travois," Blarth replies. "It will be easier and safer for Cadrius if we transport him on a travois."

"We'll need some poles about half agian as tall as him and as thick as his wrists. Strips of birch bark would also be nice," Blarth continues, looking around, "but we may not have that option here. We'll have to make do with what ever kind of vinage we can find or strips of cloth from our clothing and bedrolls."
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Unread 16th of December, 2004, 01:02
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Shade crested the small rise and looked down the shale strewn slope at Ben's retreating figure. Behind the veil she makes a face, irritated that he insisted on wandering off and further irritated that he picked this spot to wander off to. Even as she watches, the unsteady slope gives way beneath his weight, sending the one time mercenary crashing unceremoniously out of sight.

Cursing under her breath, Shade hops over the edge and half slides down the slope, quick stepping to avoid the same fate as Ben. Almost before she starts there is a metallic clashing - presumably the sound of Ben hitting bottom. More muted curses from her (and, one might imagine, from Ben as well). So much for keeping quiet.

She leaps off the rapidly approaching edge and lands lightly, tumble rolling, then comes up crouched and ready for anything. Her searching eyes quickly find Ben, inspecting the stone beneath the overhang.

"What in the nine hells are you doing? Cadrius can't walk and we've got a stranger in camp. This isn't the time to go prospecting for gold."
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Unread 16th of December, 2004, 03:10
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Surayon looks down at the amour piled unceremoniously into a heap near Cadrius's body, and sighs quietly. What was it about people that they thought encasing themselves in metal helped protect them? A body could be trained to avoid blows, natural reflexes could be honed, improved on, while a man in armour was no more than a walking target for a swifter, more dextrous foe. Her time spent with the natural world had taught her that, showed her how deadly a wolf could be with nothing more than fangs, claws and speed, and her tutors amongst the rangers had honed the lessons learned, praising her abilities and eventually giving her a place amongst the settlements defenders....

She shakes her head abruptly, her hands clenching around her sword hilts, knuckles whitening, as a memory forces its way to the front of her thoughts. She sees the chapel of Blackwood burning, the fire set by her own hand, the bodies of her friends and family scattered about the ground. With an abrupt mental effort, she banishes the image and squeezes her eyes closed, breathing hard for a few seconds. Calming down, Surayon crouches and starts to sort throught the armour, placing the smaller pieces in her pack and lashing the rest together to make it easier to carry.
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  #92  
Unread 16th of December, 2004, 03:45
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He had hoped that the pain might've been gone by the time he awoke. That hope, it seems, was foolish. The ghost of red-hot metal against his flesh lingers and he keeps his eyes shut, trying to drive off the pain by sheer force of will. He fails. Cadrius doesn't wish to see the work done by the bard. He dimly wonders if by some stroke of poor fortune, he might end up with only one arm as well.

Never before had it been necessary to heal by fire, and the fallen paladin prays it never will be again. Before there had always been battle priests or his own divine gifts to heal any wound quickly and easily. Of course there had been nicks and light gashes that were allowed to heal on their own in order to harden the squires and dull their sensitivity to pain. Yet nothing from those days had trained him for this. By comparison the brand upon his hand had felt as sweet as a maiden's kiss.

Relucantly he opens his eyes and sees a woman stealing his armor. Her features are fair enough, angular in nature. An elf. What manner of elf would give in to avarice? She methodically sorts the pieces that protect from the waist up and stows them in a bag. As she hefts the breastplate Cadrius realizes she's slight in comparison to him and wonders if all elves are of a similar stature.

Cadrius moves his left hand slightly so that it rests upon the dagger hilt on his belt. The motion is slight, but even so the elf catches it out of the corner of her eye. Violet eyes framed by silver hair regard him cooly. She possesses the same manner of beauty that Shade does. The two are like statues carved of marble: so fair, but also so cold. He notices no fear in her eyes from the threat of the dagger. The fallen paladin doubts he cuts much of an imposing figure at the moment, yet the hand remains. He has had little dealings with elves, but there are always stories of those who have given themselves over to evil. And in a godforsaken place such as this, Cadrius would not be surprised to meet one.

"Tell me," Cadrius says, his voice soft from the stress, "why are you taking my armor?"
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Unread 16th of December, 2004, 09:28
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A movement from the downed man catches Surayon's eye, and she pauses in her sorting of the armour at her feet to glance round. Incredibly, the man is both awake and aware, although from the look of pain in his eyes, that isn't a good thing. She glances down, caught by the flash of sunlight on steel, and sees that he has a dagger clutched in his hand. Dismissing it as irrelevant, the man can barely move, let alone be a threat in his present state, she hears his words, whispered in a voice taut with concealed pain.

"Tell me, why are you taking my armor?"

Her eyes widen slightly, then narrow as she searches his face, looking for some trace of any ability to trust. She lets out a quiet laugh, smiling as she thinks of the absurdity of anyone choosing to trust her, a non-human, far from her home in an area so far not renowned for its treatment of other races.
Catching Cadrius's eye, she replies softly,
"Your friends are doing other tasks. Shade and... Ben? Yes, Ben, are looking for a more... defensible spot than this one. The half-orc and the one-armed man are seeking a way to carry you, and the man asked me to carry your armour." Her gaze grows harder, more challenging. "But if you choose not to trust me, then by all means, get up, put your armour on, and move on."
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Unread 16th of December, 2004, 16:35
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"What in the nine hells are you doing? Cadrius can't walk and we've got a stranger in camp. This isn't the time to go prospecting for gold."

Shade's scolding of Ben is prevented from escalating further by a voice, cracking and obviously in pain.

"Help. I'm stuck."
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Unread 17th of December, 2004, 04:33
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"What in the nine hells are you doing? Cadrius can't walk and we've got a stranger in camp. This isn't the time to go prospecting for gold."

Ben felt a twang of annoyance at the woman's voice. The words, and the way they were spoken, left no doubt as to the speaker.

If I was looking for gold, I can think of go greater reward than taking my sword to-. The words were on the tip of his tongue when another voice, pained and in agony from the sound of it, spoke.

"Help. I'm stuck."

"Wha--?" Ben said in confusion. He looked again at the boulder that seemed to be where the voice came from. He couldn't see anywhere that might be an entrance through the massive rock.

He glanced back at Shade, his face showing confusion and a bit of helplessness. He gave a shrug, showing he didn't know what to do. He figured that someone might be trapped behind the boulder, but he couldn't see how they could have possibly gotten behind it in the first place.
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Unread 17th of December, 2004, 05:56
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"...then by all means, get up, put your armour on, and move on."

He scowls and thrusts the dagger back in its sheath. His shoulder pains him, the skin an angry scarlet to match the blood-soaked remnants of his doublet. Cadrius pushes himself into a sitting position with his other arm, careful to avoid upsetting the seared flesh. Waves of nausea crash over him and his head sways, but after a few moments the dizziness passes.

Reaching across his body, he wraps one hand around a gauntlet and drops it in his lap. So far, so good. Yet when he comes to the breastplate, muscles contract and his shoulder throbs mightily. The fallen paladin grits his teeth against the pain and watering eyes and refuses to groan. Stubbornly he slides the armor along the ground and props it against his thigh. He looks at the remaining pile and then at the bag containing his belongings. There's little chance of donning it again and less that he'll be able to lash it to his bag and carry it.

He keeps his eyes downcast at the steel that had failed to protect him; Cadrius pushes the breastplate away. His voice still soft, he speaks to the elf again. "I will need aid."
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Unread 17th of December, 2004, 06:24
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Watching Cadrius struggle to pick up his armour, Nicos frowned knowing that it would prove an impossible task to the man, yet not willing to take the lesson away from him. When the former Paladin finally gave up and asked for help, the bard let out a silent sigh.

Dropping a hand on his uninjured shoulder, Nicos quietly speaks.

"Peace Cadrius, your body just needs time to heal. You've avoided becoming a cripple so rest. By tomorrow morn you should be back to your jolly old self."
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Unread 17th of December, 2004, 06:30
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Shade glares at Ben, then at the implacable stone. Of all the stupid possible coincidences, that they should stumble on the one rock in this god forsaken wasteland that had someone in need behind it . . .

If it actually was a person and if they really did need help - two things Shade was not entirely convinced of. Unless it was the troll's den and this fool was his next meal. Possible, but unlikely. She didn't think a troll would postpone eating a victim. Certainly not one hungry enough to attack a group as large as theirs. She eyes the size of the boulder and then her companion. It didn't look like they'd be able to move it. And the others were busy elsewhere.

"Look, I don't know who you are or what you are doing in there but I don't think we can get you out. We'll come back with help."

Well, maybe they would and maybe they wouldn't. No need for this poor fool to know that though - or Ben, for that matter. She looks over to him grimly.

"Alright, let's get out of here."
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Unread 17th of December, 2004, 07:16
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"I will need aid."
Surayon lets out a quiet breath, relieved that Cadrius is enough of a man to admit when he is unable to accomplish a task on his own. She sets to packing his armour once more, finally splitting the pieces between her travelling pack and a lashed-together assortment of the bigger pieces. Hefting the unwieldy shapes onto her shoulder, she sways slightly at the unaccustomed weight, but manages to distribute the load enough to regain her balance. Grimacing at the encumbrance, she refrains from saying anything; in trying to do things his way, Cadrius has at least earned enough respect to keep her from mocking his way of fighting.

She glances around, noting the lack of creatures; presumably the troll ate anything that crossed its path, but the absence of living things could also mean the approach of others, unlikely as that was. Of course, that could also be to the noises that were coming from here just a moment ago, she muses. She turns back to the one-armed man.
"So, now where? And by the way, I still haven't caught your name..."
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Unread 17th of December, 2004, 08:11
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Ben looked at Shade with something between worry and resignation. On the one hand, the whoever was behind there was probably trapped. There was no way, unless he was strong as a bull, to move this boulder by one's self. And if there was a cave behind this boulder, it might make a good defense point. Especially if they put the bould back in front of the entrance.

On the other hand, they couldn't actually SEE behind the large piece of rock. It could be a person behind there, or simply an incredible creature that wanted to eat them. Besides, he couldnt' move this by himself, and Blarth and Nicos were helping Cadrius, who was injured. Going off and releasing another danger wasn't exactly a career building move here.

Finally, Ben wondered whether or not this group even really WANTED another person along, for any reason. They barely tolerated him, at least, Shade barely tolerated him. He got the feeling she felt that way about a lot of people. But and elf had just appeared, not more than 10 minutes ago, and Ben had only gotten involved roughly two days ago himself. Adding a third person to this group that at least seemed fairly tight-knit might be too much, too soon, too fast.

Of course, leaving someone here to die wasn't that big of an option in Ben's view.

So he just nodded at Shade. They'd be right back he told himself. Whether or not the trapped individual believed wasn't going to change his trapped status.

And whether or not Ben really believed it, well, HE sure didn't want to die out here just becuase of a sense of righteousness. That wasn't good business.
He stepped away from the boulder and moved to the side of the outcropping, then let Shade tak the lead. He followed her back up the slope so as to make sure he didn't slip again. He'd rather not have any more bruises.
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