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  #1  
Unread 13th of July, 2004, 04:17
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Prologue: Solar Exalted

What was once lost in the darkness,
Will reunite; a light rekindled by hope,
Let the might of the Sun shine bright,
May the darkness give way...

*
The meeting was a strange one. One, a smith. Searching for a purpose. Hardened by an iron hammer and forge. The other, a Rider. A free spirit, and most of all, a leader by nature. Shaedra, your travels from kirichast has led you southward toward Chiaroscuro, simply in search of somewhere where you could use your skills. Sylvia, you course turned south to avoid the wyld hunt, and Chiaroscuro was perhaps a good place to blend in and hide for awhile. When Kheervis threw a horseshoe just approaching the outer villages of the city, it seemed a good idea to find a smith on the outskirts and rest until morning instead of forcing him to gallop further.
*
At first it was a simple transaction for a horseshoe, but in time you two struck up quite the conversation. It even led to telling some of each others pasts, allthough you both neglected to tell some of the more important details, such as your exaltations or the wyld hunt. Even so, you feel drawn to eachother, as if you were friends in some distant life. Yet things did not stay so jovial....
*
Rain and darkness seemed to move in from the northern shore. Lightning struck violently as the men approached. Dark, abhoritions of men with the lines of a horrible false faith etched onto their stone faces. They gathered round Shaedra's small encampment, surrounding you, and muffling the light within their shadows. One of them, taller, older, and seemingly wiser than the rest, spoke in a dark, raspy voice...
*
"To ensure the power and prosperity of our Scarlet Empress and of the blessed dynasty that will reign for centuries to come.... you, Anathema of the putrid gods, must be ERADICATED..."
*
The ensuing battle forever bonded you two together as neither of you would have survived without the other. Jagged lightning flashed off of screaming blades. Shaedra swung her Goremaul with awesome power, shattering armor and bone alike and the now transformed Silver Wind, caste mark blazing, weaved in and out of her opponents attacks, protecting herself and her companion from the onslaught of the Wyld Hunt with her magic. The battle rages and quickly breaks back to calm, although the rain and lightning still falls on the scene. Some blood trickles down Shaedra's orichalcum breastplate mixing with rainwater. A well placed spear blow to her right shoulder before the battle ended. The few people around stare at the sight of the half dozen Terrestrials slain by 2 demons...
*
You two gather your things quickly and urge Kheervis to carry them as far as he can into the nearby forest. Deep inside and your anima banners calmed, you decide that stopping to rest here would be a good idea. Hopefully whatever troops they may have sent after you will pass by. Exhausted, and soaked, you thank Kheervis for his efforts, and settle in a low ditch surrounded by trees. A good place to hide. The forest is much too big for them to have much of a chance of finding them. The rain will make Kheervis's tracks impossible to follow. The only thing left is to wait till morning.
*
[OOC: In the excitement, Shaedras wound has only become worse. Its now bleeding openly. I hope you dont mind lyn but it would have seemed too easy if you beat them all without one of you getting hurt. You currently have 3L damage, and a -1 to all actions with your right arm until it fully heals (which will stack with wound penalties). It also needs to be treated. No need for a roll, it just needs to be done.]

Last edited by Erendiox; 14th of July, 2004 at 07:39.
  #2  
Unread 13th of July, 2004, 07:52
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Silver Wind could feel Kheervis' muscles expand and contract underneath her, even through the saddle, as he sped her and the other woman farther and farther away from the village. Silver Wind could feel the arm of the other woman wrapped around her stomach; feel the trickle of blood that kept rolling down it. If she was still bleeding, then the wound must need to be treated, otherwise her Exalted nature would have stopped it by now. Silver Wind thought she remembered a forest of some kind a ways from the town. That would probably be the best place to hide from whatever troops had been sent along with those Dragon-Blooded.

The battle. It was still all a blur to her really. She'd never been in a fight with other Exalted before. The closest she'd ever come was that fight with the God-blood, but that hadn't really been a fight in the end. Still, the fight had been intense, and both women's auras were flaring. She had to get them to safety and fast.

She'd never seen anyone like this woman though. She had swung that huge hammer as if it had been as light as the sword hanging at Silver Wind's side. Even now, she was holding onto it with only one hand as they speed away on the back of Kheervis, like it barely weighed anything at all. And the way she had killed those Dragon-Blooded. But she hadn't killed all of them, and the rest wouldn't be far behind.

Silver Wind couldn't bring herself to kill anyone, not even one of the Dragon-Blooded. She'd injured a few of them, but mostly she had used her slashing sword to block the incoming blows, both the ones intended for her and her new riding companion. It seemed to have worked, until the Dragon-Blooded started using their really heavy-duty charms. They hadn't really been aiming at her though, but at the woman. Her golden armor appeared to have helped, but a few slashes had gotten through. Silver Wind had gotten away with only minor scratches and bruises.

And so it was that they were now in the forest she had seen earlier. That new horseshoe the woman had given Kheervis was working fantastically, especially considering the fast pace he had been running at. As she drew Kheervis to a stop, she wondered if anyone was the keeper of this forest. First though, she needed to treat that wound though, or it would hamper the girls ability to fight. And if things didn't work out like they should, she may need to.

So after helping her get off Kheervis, Silver Wind opened up a pouch on Kheervis and took out some medical supplies. "Here, let me take care of those wounds for you." She went over to the woman, who looked fairly young to Silver Wind. She probably Exalted in her late 20s from the looks of it.

As she applied some of the antithetic to the arm wound, Silver Wind looked at the young woman. Curly blonde hair and brown eyes seemed to suggest a girlish figure, but her figure was anything but with large muscles and broad shoulders. Still, she was an excellent fighter and apparently a very good blacksmith. Silver Wind smiled as she looked at the woman and said, "You know, I don't think I properly introduced myself back there. My name's Silver Wind. You're really good with that hammer, you know that? I've never seen anyone swing a hammer that large with so little effort."
  #3  
Unread 13th of July, 2004, 08:15
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"Nice, to meet you Silver Wind. My name is Shaedra.", she replied, wincing in pain as the anesthetic starts to work, "You weren't half bad yourself, and I imagine that you would be as good with a hammer as I am if you spend 10 years of your life as a smith, and 7 before that as the smith's apprentice. Thanks for taking care of my wound, I wouldn't know the first step in caring for it. My thanks to your mount as well for carrying us both to safety." After Silver Wind finished her ministrations to Shaedra's wound, Shaedra sits up carefully, taking care to avoid overtaking her injury, and looks around. "Do you think that we should stop here and camp or should we move on?"
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Unread 13th of July, 2004, 08:45
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Silver Wind grinned at the morbid humor of Shaedra's training. She'd trained for most of her life too, but it had bee for something a little different than blacksmithing. Finishing up with the wound, Silver stood up and placed the supplies back in the pouch. She then reached over and stroked Kheervis' mane. The great silver Finest was huffing from exertion, though Silver knew that he wasn't anywhere near tired, not yet. But it would do no good to push their luck by running Kheervis into the ground. Besides, she wouldn't do that to Kheervis unless both their lives depended on it. He was as much her friend as anyone, not just a riding mount.

"Thank you my friend," she spoke in River-speak to Kheervis, "It was because of you, and you alone, that we are here with our lives intact." She pulled out her canteen of water and a tin bucket she had purchased early in her journey. She filled the bucket with water from the canteen and gave to Kheervis. Then she walked over to Shaedra, who asked in Low Realm if they should stay here or continue on.

"Hmm. The storm and the rain should cover our tracks. But the Dragon-Blooded won't give up so easily. But if we move further into the forest, we'll have to deal with any spirit that claims it as its domain." Looking deeper into the forest, Silver Wind knew that they really only had one course of action.

"Kheervis, thats the horse over there, may be able to take us further but I don't want to tire him out if we can help it. We should travel deeper into the forest. Hopefully I can negotiate with the spirit, if there is one. If not, then we'll have to go back out on the road and that will be dangerous. The Dragon-Blooded know what we look like now."

She picked up the bucket when Kheervis was done with it, and placed it back in the pack at his side. Turning to Shaedra she said, "Let's go." Grabbing Kheervis' reins, she led them both deeper into the forest.
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Unread 13th of July, 2004, 08:57
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When Silver Wind introduced Kheervis, Shaedra bowed and said "It is an honor to meet you, and again I thank you for taking us to safety." Then turning back to Silver Wind Shaedra takes some travel rations out of her pack and starts to eat part while offering the other part to Silver Wind. After finishing she says "Then lets go, and hope that whatever guards this forest will harbor us too for a while at least." Then she follows Silver Wind taking care to disguise the tracks of their passing.

[Rolled Wits+Survival (9 6 5 1 = 1 success) and Dex+Survival (10 9 5 4 3 = 3 successes) to cover our tracks.]
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Unread 14th of July, 2004, 07:38
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The three of you follow a straight path into the forest, protected from the cold rain by massive treetops. A thin mist hangs just under the canopy, giving the place a beautiful appearance. After what seemed like hours of green sights, you reach something more stone grey. A steep incline can be seen up ahead where the trees and bushes take up a more mountainous nature. There doesnt seem like much of a way around it as the incline goes on as far as you can see from both sides. It seems to be one of the larger peaks in the area.

Just as you are about to stop for a moment to decide what you should do, Kheervis whinnies softly to Silver Wind, pointing her attention to small cave, just inside your range of sight, which is wedged into the side of a somewhat steeper incline further to the right. It would have been completely overlooked if not for Kheervis. Hidden behind some very thick brush, you two think perhaps it is a good place to hide.
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Unread 14th of July, 2004, 12:49
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"Shaedra, look over there. See that cave? I think we can use it to hide ourselves for a while," Silver Wind said, pointing to the cave Kheervis had spotted. How many times now, had he saved her life, or sped her away from danger, or simply been there for her when she felt so lonely and needed someone nearby?

Far too many times to count now, she knew that. She wondered how she could have ever thought him something so mundane as a horse; it just seemed so alien now. He was much more than simply an extraordinary horse; he was her closest friend and companion.

Still, they needed to know if anyone was following them. And she didn't want to leave this girl alone, not in her wounded state. She might be able to fight still, but not very well or for very long. Kheervis wasn't so tired anymore; he could probably carry the girl to safety if they were discovered. Besides, Silver wasn't willing to risk Kheervis' life if the Dragon-Blooded were hot on their trail.

Looking at the younger, if somewhat taller, woman Silver gestures at the cave again. "Shaedra, you take Kheervis and head towards the cave. He can lead you to it. I'm going to see if anyone is following us." She offers Kheervis' reins to Shaedra.
  #8  
Unread 14th of July, 2004, 16:13
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"Wait a minute, you are at least as tired as I am, I agree that we can hide in that cave, but I deffinately think that you should come in too, at the very least because Kheervis needs to be taken care of and I don't know how to do that, and it wouldn't do any good for you to go out scouting and end up hurt or sick." Shaedra says, not taking the reins from Silver Wind. "Yes the Dragon Blooded are probably following us, but we both need to rest, we are in no state to go off into the woods alone, and besides if you go off and whatever guards this forest shows up, I have very little chance of convincing it to allow us to stay here. We can go looking for the Dragon Blooded after we've rested or after the rain stops, that gives you a chance to negotiate our safe passage through the woods, me a chance to heal a little, Kheervis to rest, and for us both to regain some essence."

"Now come on, we all need to rest and get out of the rain." Shaedra says leading the way to the cave, looking over her shoulder often to make sure that Silver Wind is following.

"Why do I feel drawn to this woman, its as if I knew her a while ago, but I've never seen her in my life... wierd" Shaedra thinks to her self, "Still it is good to have a companion again, its almost like I was home with my sisters..." Shaedra blinks away tears as she remembers those left behind and the betrayal of the villagers she loved. "I wonder if those Dragon Bloods are after me because I killed their preist... I guess I'll probably never know, and I still have to worry about making sure that the Dragon Bloods on our tail don't find us and finish the job they started back in that village, I certaintly am not fit to fight much right now, and I have to make sure that Silver Wind doesn't do something foolish, and end up getting us in more trouble than we can handle."
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Unread 15th of July, 2004, 08:31
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Silver Wind smiles as Shaedra refuses to take Kheervis' reins. The woman was right, all that she had said might happen. But what choice was there?

"It may be that what you say will happen. The spirit of the forest MAY come here and tell you to leave. If that DOES happen, I can always follow after you and Kheervis. After all, the bond between him and me is quite strong, and I can guarantee that I will come after him no matter the distance I must cross.

Yes it MAY come to pass that I will become injured or sick in some fashion, but if I am careful then the chances of that are extremely unlikely. The idea is not to challenge the Dragon-Blooded to a direct fight, but find out how close they are to finding us.

And yes, we both do need rest. But if the Dragon-Blooded are following us, then it would do no good to let them catch us and murder us in our sleep. I promise I will not be gone long. The rain will still do a fair job of covering my tracks, so now is the probably the best time to look."

She reached out grasped Shaedra's wrist in a firm, if gentle grasp. She knew the other woman was far stronger than she, but was hoping reason would win out. "I am entrusting Kheervis' life to you while I am gone. This is not something I do lightly." Silver wind placed the reins in Shaedra's hand.

"You have done more than enough already. Allow me to begin repaying the favor."
  #10  
Unread 15th of July, 2004, 08:46
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Shaedra turns to Silver Wind, an astonished expression on her face. "You really mean that? Then I shall do my best not to betray the trust that you have shown me." Shaedra says taking the reins, "You are right, I will wait here for your return. And may the Unconqured Sun watch over you and keep you from harm....Sister". At that Shaedra turns and leads Kheervis over the rocks and up to the cave.
  #11  
Unread 15th of July, 2004, 09:20
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Silver Wind's smile stays and Shaedra takes the reins. She nods at the woman's surprise. "I just trusted you with my life in that last battle. If I can trust you with my life, I sincerely hope I can trust you with the life of my dear friend here."

She looks at Kheervis as they begin to walk towards the cave, and says in River-speak, "I'm going to be gone for a bit. I'm asking you to take care of this woman, and yourself, while I'm gone." The horse whined and gave a wave of his head in affirmative. Silver Wind watched them until they got to the cave, then she turned back to the forest.

Time to see if there was any pursuit behind them.

[OOC: making a Wits+Survival roll to move through the forest at somewhat decent speed, and a Dex+Stealth roll to stay hidden if necessary.
Wits+Survival roll: 9 9 0 = 4 sucesses
Dex+Stealth roll: 2 7 9 = 2 sucesses]
  #12  
Unread 16th of July, 2004, 03:07
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You backtrack fast through the forest keeping to shadowed places and behind brush and trees. The forest makes great cover. The mist limits range of sight and there is plenty of thick brush to keep behind. The sound of rain and the soft, wet ground make footsteps hard to hear.

Before long you finally encounter something. You hear their voices long before you actually see them. Quickly getting behind something, you wait for them to pass. By the sound of it, they seem to be half terrified about something...

First man: (feebly, in a lowered voice)
"I don't believe this Otis. They raise us in the middle of the night, only to send us out into the forest, ALONE, to track down 2 DEMONS!"

Second man: (a bit more composed)
"Shut up and stop complaining Pelen. I don't like it either but its this or the stockhouse and 50 lashes, and there no way im going to have scars for the rest of my life."

First man:
"But we're going to DIE out here!"

Second man: (forcing himself to stay quiet)
"SHUT UP Pelen or you will get us both killed. By the dragons, how on creation did I get paired with you again..."

They come into view. Two soldiers, one very thin and young, the armor looking very big on him. The other looks much bigger and older. Both look like regular infantry. They are wearing reinforced buff jackets and they have their spears drawn as they move forward, peering into the mist.
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Unread 17th of July, 2004, 15:28
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Silver Wind crept through the forest, the mist hanging in the air concealing her presence from prying eyes, and the patter-patter of rain drops concealing the sound of her footsteps.

Why did I think I could try and sneak through a forest? I should have at LEAST braided my hair before I went back into here. Ugh, great it is going to take FOREVER to get all this junk out of my hair. That's something you never hear about in the stories; The hero, coming out of the forests after escaping his pursuers is always as clean as if he'd just come out of a bath house. Actually, a bath house doesn't sound too bad right now.

She started clawing at her hair, trying to get all the sticks and foliage that had gotten caught in her hair out. Then she heard the sound of two men arguing. She stopped trying to fix her hair and immediately crept into a nearby brush, watching and listening as they came closer.

Apparently they were hunting her and Shaedra. Silver Wind couldn't believe that she was labeled as a "Demon" now, but she didn't think she was going to change that label any time soon. She stayed silent as she watched the soldiers approach until she could see them.

One was young,obviously inexperienced, agitated, and not cut out to be a soldier from the looks of it, much less a soldier hunting an Exalt. The other one seemed more experienced, quite well built, and seemed far more suited to his current task than his hunting partner. Still, the sight of them reminded her of the ache she felt inside her, the hunger she had to return to the ones she'd left behind.

Looking at the two men, she contemplated her next move. She didn't want to kill them. They didn't deserve that fate, no matter what anyone else thought. What about knocking them out? No, then the enemy commander would figure out that they were still in the area, and devote more troops to finding them. That would get them caught for sure.

No, the best thing to do would be to sit tight, and watch if they went towards the cave or not. She continued to watch the two men from her position, hoping they didn't spot her or go towards the spot where she had left Kheervis and Shaedra.
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Unread 18th of July, 2004, 04:09
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The two men eventually quiet down and pass by, traveling in the direction of Shaedra and Kheervis. You worry but its best to just follow them and hope they dont discover the cave. You track close behind them, always keeping them in sight. After a few minutes, they reach the area where the cave is, but start to stray off to the left, much to your relief. They continue to follow the summit of the mountain in that direction.

Just as you feel it might be safe to leave and rejoin your friends in the cave.....

Younger soldier: "Hey Otis... is that a cave over there?"

Older soldier: "Yea. Looks like it. We should check it out."

You squint ahead of them, and surely enough there is another cave, strangely similar to the one you are hiding in... oddly close together also. You barely have time to think on it when....

Younder solder: "OH, and look. Theres another cave over here..."

You finally realize that either this is a very strange coincidence, or the mountain is riddled with caves, most likely connected. You suddenly think back to Shaedra and Kheervis...
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Unread 18th of July, 2004, 05:02
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Silver Wind followed the two infantry men through the forest, keeping hidden the entire time. She keeps getting more and more nervous as they get closer and closer to the cave Shaedra and Kheervis were staying in. As they get to the slope of the mountain, she places her hand on the hilt of her sword, ready to draw it and defend her companions if they spot the cave.

But they turn to the left, following the slope of the mountain, moving away from the cave Kheervis had found earlier. She almost breathed a sigh of relief, but she still wanted to make sure they left. Still, she had said she'd be back fairly soon, it was probably enough to know that the Dragon-Blooded were still looking for them. They shouldn't stay here, it was obviously too dangerous.

Not for the first time since dodging the Wyld Hunt, Silver Wind was grateful for the advice of her mentor that had started her on this wandering adventure of her's.

Then the soldiers found a cave. Looking closer, Silver Wind saw it was a cave, remarkably similar to the one from earlier, but not entirely. Then there was another one. And another.

1...2...3...uh-oh. Silver Wind realized that the cave from earlier was only one is a series of caverns, probably going throughout the mountain. A tunnel network. If Shaedra and Kheervis went in there and got lost...

Realizing that nothing she could do would prevent the Dragon-Blooded from sending additional troops, the best she could do now was get back to Shaedra and Kheervis and start them moving again. They'd have to cross the mountain, if they could, or try and travel through the caves.

Turning back the way she had come, Silver Wind started heading back towards the cave she had told Kheervis to lead Shaedra to. All the way back, she contemplated the tunnel networking she was now witnessing.

It must go throughout the enire mountain. We may not be able to get over it if we try and climb it, and we may be spotted by the Dragon-Blooded. The best option is probably to take those tunnels through the mountain to the other side, or farther down the road if possible. But what if we get lost? We could run out of food and water, and that would be a terrible way to die. And who knows what lies within there? Fair Folk? Demons? Anything could be in there.

They say better the deathlord you know than the deathlord you don't. I'm beginning to see why, but when you know the first deathlord is going to slit your throat, is it really that bad to try for the second one?
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Unread 18th of July, 2004, 11:23
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Silver Wind
You move quickly back to the cave where Shaedra and Kheervis are hidden. You find them there, safe and sound, much to your relief.

Shaedra
The last few hours have been a blur to you. You rejoice in the chance to enter the cave and rest yourself, to take in everything that has happened. Kheervis, although somewhat resistant to you at first, began to feel more comfortable with you leading her. As you sit in a dark corner of the cave, you close your eyes, letting your mind float free for just a moment. The cave echos with water droplets, formed from the misty atmosphere. The sound is soothing, almost putting you to sleep. Everthing is tranquil...and then....

"TRAITORS!!!"

A bellow of the utmost hate and intensity echos strongly from the bowels of the dark cave. Your eyes shoot open as you gasp. Kheervis neighs restlessly. The voice sends needles into your soul. The sound of a truely ferocious man...

The sound slowly subsides, as Silver Wind suddenly appears in the mouth of the cave.
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Unread 18th of July, 2004, 12:11
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Shaedra reaches the cave with some releif, and when she is safely inside the cave, Shaedra allows Kheervis to wander free, while she sits near the back taking tome to rest and attempt to understand the events of the past few hours...

...Shaedra comes back to herself with a jerk, lurching to her feet, with her Goremaul at the ready. Her eyes dart all around trying to find the source of the yell. When she notices Silver Wind she relaxes a little bit but is still on her guard. "So what news of the Dragon Bloods sister?"
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Unread 18th of July, 2004, 14:04
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Silver Wind walks into the cave, relieved to see that both Kheervis and Shaedra are still there, and they don't have the company of several Realm soldiers to greet her.

She glances back outside as her new companion asked her about the Dragon-Blooded. She felt like she had known the younger woman forever, not just the past few hours. Turning back to face her, Silver realized that she sort of thought of Shaedra as the sister she had never had. And though she felt slightly uncomfortable at being called "sister", it wasn't offending or rude. Silver Wind smiled and spoke.

"I did not see any Dragon-Blooded, but they have their soldiers out searching for us and the pair I was following seem to have stumbled across something. It seems that this cave is actually only one in a vast number, probably interconnected and there can be no doubt that they will report this discovery to their commanders. Once that happens, if I was the commander, I'd concentrate more of my troops at the caves and see if we are hiding within this vast network. Probably a few Dragon-Blooded as well, just in case they run up against anything vicous in these caverns."

While she was speaking, Silver Wind noted the stance her companion was holding. She had her guard up, as if she was expecting something to jump out and grab her, and her golden hammer was back in her hands and obviously ready for use. Still, she WAS a warrior, and might not feel comfortable letting her guard down with nothing at her back like this. Silver Wind didn't pretend to understand everything about the other woman's past.

"I don't think it will be long before they find us. We should leave. I think these tunnels may lead throughout the mountain, probably caves are dotted all over its slope. We can try and navigate it, and get to the other side of the mountain preferably, or maybe farther down the road away from the Dragon-Blooded and their soldiers. We COULD also try and climb the mountain slope, but it'll be slow going and the Dragon-Blooded will probably spot us. That won't really make our situation any better than it already is."

"And is something wrong?" Silver Wind asks, finally giving in to her curiosity towards her companion's agitation. Even Kheervis seemed a little anxious. "You seem...agitated. Did something happen while I was gone?"
  #19  
Unread 18th of July, 2004, 23:08
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Lyn Nalyr
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"Well, maybe, I'm not entirely sure. I was sitting here, and right before you came in I thought I heard a man yell out "Traitors", it startled me, the voice was filled with such hatred and anger..." Shaedra trails off and glances toward the back of the cave, "In any case I agree, we should move on, and going through the caves seems like the best options, for one thing we can avoid being seen, the echos should help us avoid the Dragon Bloods, if we get lost Kheervis might be able to help by locating fresher air, and if the Dragon Bloods do find us, hopefully the caves will provide us with cover and prevent us from being overwhelmed or surrounded." Shaedra lowers her goremaul and looks at Silver Wind waiting to here her opinion on the matter.
  #20  
Unread 19th of July, 2004, 12:33
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Erendiox
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Just as Silver Wind is about to open her mouth to speak, Shaedra, you sense that something is odd. You turn your gaze out of the cave, to rest on the two beasts making their way toward you. You feel like raising the goremaul in your hand, but a slight twinge of pain in your right arm causes you to hesitate. Your weapon lies limp at your side as you stare, wide eyed, at the giant man beasts. One is wolf-like, with massive chrome-colored fangs and teeth and white hair covering its lupine body. The other resembles a bird of some sort, covered thick in feathers, and has two enourmous wings curled up on its back. They look on you with strangely sentient eyes...

[OOC: this thread is now closed. No more posts should be made here. A new thread where both the lunars and the Solars post wil be made]
 

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