Dark Days Ahead

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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:23 am

Darryl both puffed up with pride and blushed shyly, turning away from the table as if he had heard something, just for an excuse to keep his face hidden from the others. There was no doubt in the other three's minds that Darryl would go to the ends of the earth to keep her safe. And luckily for Darryl, the other three wouldn't let him fail.

Dancers of the Blade; an elite and prestigious school of training. Ericks had heard of them but been lucky enough to never cross blades with one. His instructors had warned him though; as much as Ericks heavy armour and long reach could keep most blades and opponents at bay, Dancers were well versed at creating openings others could not dream to find. He nodded in approval; no show of skill was needed for him. Just to claim such a title meant you were good.

Poor Darryl though just leaned in close to Varsil, speaking in a quiet whisper and glancing up at the older man while he hoped no one was paying attention, "...I can't dance...?" Varsil just blinked in surprise and looked down at the younger man in obvious confusion, not sure what he was getting at at first. But then he just laughed softly and shook his head, turning back to the conversation at hand.

"Bout time we got someone good at that sorta stuff." Shadrik cast her a grin then a mock glare at Ericks, "Remember them ruins last year? Had to beat the damn door down, couldn't just pick the lock. By the time I took it off the damn hinges, Elricks there had carved out the mortar of one of the base stones and was pushing it outta the way!" The group chuckled at the memory; there hadn't been much of interest behind that door of use to anyone asides from Varsil's delighted discovery of some weird plants and roots in the pitch black chamber.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:00 pm

Ezri helped herself to some more of the pork, still feeling a sense of guilt for this spread, but knew not eatting it would simply be worse. She was greatful for the flavor, the warmth, and the security of a good meal it provided, but her bites were small, almost timid, before Barsavi grunted, kicking her gently against her calf as if the nudge her on. She looked at him, then pushed the rest of the slice in her mouth and placed her hand firmly on the table before her.

They accepted, they knew the plan -albeit a weak sketch of one that was still... in the works- and their things would be seen to before the break of morning. What more was there? She was nodding, looking at the map as if searching for something that's evaded her eye for weeks. Jacobo, she knew where he was, but still it felt as if she was lacking in information. What?

Ezri drummed her nails on the map, bringing herself out of her thoughts before lifting her head once against and nodded to the four of them. That was their journey, that would be the easy part, if it would be so much. The trouble came from aquiring the sceptor, and getting it back. Two weeks in, two weeks back. If it went smoothly, which she knew it wouldn't. But that's where Ty-kui came in.... "Any questions so far?"
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:01 am

Any reservations Ericks had about eating the food were squashed shortly after it had arrived, and the four were munching heartily from the spread provided. "Parchment and ink? I shall write out a tally of what we will need, as well as measurements. I request some coin as well; there are some things I trust only myself to acquire. Components and the like." Varsil produced a pair of finely crafted spectacles from a particularly stiff pouch at his belt, scanning the delicate arms and frame for bends or damage.

The other three contemplated their situation, trying to decide if there was anything more then could ask, but all the preliminaries were covered. They had their own equipment for the most part, and would leave what ever needed repairs with her men as required. Varsil would provide a detailed list of any other requirements, like new boots for Darryl and the like. Anything more was more want then need, and they had gone long enough on need alone to go without the wants.

"You have provided us with more information then we normally get, Ezri." Ericks nodded slowly, rubbing his chin in thought as he went over the details one last time, "I have passing knowledge of the regions we will be travelling through; mostly academic, of course. Darryl should be able to keep us fed and on the right path through the wilderness, and between the five of us there should be few things we cannot handle. Asides from a determined attack, pehraps." If Jacobo realized they were coming for him, which wasn't doubted in the least, they would face more then a few happen-stance encounters with bandits and monsters.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:41 am

Ezri straightened, moving away from the table with the spread of map and food, and towards a small desk off to the right. It was much like the piece of furniture they dined on; aged, well used, and simple. No extravagant carvings, no fru-fru or unnecessary craftmanship. She had started working on a letter for her uncle, before Barsavi arrived; she folded the note in half, tucking it under a spare ink bottle, before snatching a quil and a few sheets of parchment from the stack. She presented this and ink horn to Elricks, to allow him to write what he needed.

She then turned back around, exiting through the flap in the back, towards her private room that was also where Edwin and those helping with the arrangements were hidding. They spoke quietly so as not to interupt, stopping conversation as Ezri entered to stand and offer respectful bows. Ezri didn't bother telling them to be at ease, though she grumbled something under her breath that made Edwin grin wide, before she unlocked a chest at the foot of her bed, and pulled out a small, red pouch. It jingled, and she opened it to count the gold pieces within, before closing and relocking the chest. Again she returned, offering the pouch to Elricks. Before he could take it from her, she held her grip fast, so that they both held the pouch. "I want you to get what you need. Price isn't an issue, Elricks." She released the pouch. "If you need new boots, buy sturdy leathers; I recommend Shark Hide. They won't rub your feet raw or much time to break them in. If you need more, you'll only need to ask." And here... more trust. Trust that they didn't splurge to their hearts content. There wasn't a lot of coin in that pouch by feel; but it was all white iron, worth more than solid gold pieces. It was enough to supply the whole group with solid gear and materials with extra.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:30 pm

Varsil accepted the ink and parchment with almost eager hands; the man loved to write, especially book keeping. Numbers and notes were his pass time of choice before his House had fallen and he had moved on to other, more arcane pursuits. Those in hand, he resumed his seat at the table, producing a much poorer quality of parchment from a pouch, unfolding it to reveal meticulous notes that had grown smudged and near illegible from being folded too long and began copying more from memory then anything else.

When she present Elricks with the coin pouch, he had reached for it almost reluctantly at first, and made no move of tugging it from her hand. Handouts, even earned as they were and needed for such a mission, chaffed the four's pride; had they had more time they could have earned enough money to get what they needed on their own. But time was of the essence. He nodded solemnly as she finally released the bag to him, carefully sliding the small bag into one of his own belt pouches intending on divying it up amongst the others after they were done here and out of her hair for the night.

"We will be ready come morning, ...Ezri." He'd stalled briefly to drop the title, offering her a warm smile at the familiarity she had afforded them; titles were fine and dandy, but had no place amongst travelling companions. "Geared to the nine, as Shadrik would say." The group nodded in agreement, and Varsil dusted the freshly inked parchment with a fine sand to help encourage the ink to dry and to keep it from smudging. Once that was done, it was set on her side of the table, with clear notations on various things they would need that could not likely be acquired by themselves in one night.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:29 pm

Geared to the nines... she liked that. It made Ezri smile wide, almost laughing once again but quickly it began to fade, and soon the woman was nodding, falling back into her stoic features. "If you gentlemen have any further questions, you're welcome to ask them. Edwin will see to the rest of your things tomorrow; if you wish, you're welcome to breakfast here. Otherwise, I'd like to head out before the lunching hour." When Elricks was finished, Ezri took the ink horn and bottle from the man, moving back over to the desk where she had plucked them from. She still had to finish that letter she had started to script together for her uncle... and before sleep, Ezri wanted to take one last walk through the camps of her men. Maybe she was going about this wrong... but since she took hold of the idea, it felt like something thick and heavy dropped into her chest, and as the days grew, the pressure began to build, higher and higher. One day it would explode, and she knew she wouldn't survive such a blast.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:13 pm

"Until tomorrow then. We will not trouble you for breakfast though, we will be short on time as is to get what few things we will need." Elricks glanced to the others to see if anyone had any further questions, but nothing pressing seemed to come to mind and each stepped back from the table, "Rest well, Ezri." And with that, Elricks was belting his sword and slipping out of the tent. Varsil offered her a less formal bow and made his own retreat, sword strapped about his waist again.

Darryl and Shadrik were the last to go, swordbelts returned to their hips, "You should really try to get some sleep, miss Ezri? You look really tired." Darryl hovered near the tent flap infront of Shadrik, blocking the bigger man's way. He just chuckled and shook his head, gently shoving Darryl out of the tent, "Ah hell, worst case I'll just carry ya lady. Real woman has more meat on her bones, you'll be nothin' at all." And then they were gone, with Shadrik saying something about finding an old barrel and Darryl sputtering that that simply wouldn't do!
---
Morning came too soon it seemed; the four had returned to the same hill top just past the edge of the rest of the festivities and camps to rest for the night, setting watch else risk waking in the skivvies and all their things gone. Elricks had evenly spread the coin provided, and Varsil had vanished for a large portion of the night to get what he needed; the sort of places he shopped at were open at night more often then by day. It hadn't taken any of them long to get what they needed; Shadrik had a pair of extra spears strapped to their mule, Darryl found some harder-to-come-by herbs and medicinal components, Elricks had a stout crossbow, and Varsil had his own odds and ends.

The four returned to her camp an hour before lunch, 'geared to the nine' as they had put it. Each wore some trace of armour; Darryl wore a simple boiled leather vest, oiled and rigid. He wore a wide brimmed hat and earth-tone cloak, and blended well into forest and grass. Shadrik wore a solidly built breastplate, dull and freshly repaired of a few dents. Thick leather gauntlets backed with steel plates, and a horned helmet that caged his face in with a nose guard, legs protected by thick leather greaves. Varsil favored a finely crafted chainmail shirt and skirt to the knees, dextrous leather gauntlets. And Elricks wore an archaic and well maintained suit of field plate, perfectly fitted and with a degree of articulation to rival even the newer foot knight's suits of plate armour.

They'd acquired mounts from somewhere along the way; Darryl's horse fast and well tempered, Shadrik favoring a barrel chested and aggresive draft horse. Varsil's was elegant and swift, faster then Darryl's but not as fine tempered or enduring, and Elricks was a solidly built charger, a well bred and trained warhorse. They had lucked upon their mounts from an auction, sold to cover debts or crimes, or simply because the owners had turned up dead for one reason or another. It would take a few days for the men to get attuned to their mounts, but they were skilled enough to make due in the mean time.

They were again stopped by one of her soldiers, and after a moment's exchange were led back to her tent. They had simply walked their horses through the camp, feeling no need to burden the animals any further then usual. Even their mule was less heavily packed, having spred some of the weight amongst their other horses and the stubborn animal seemed relatively pleased for it. Darryl and Varsil made their way into the tent after the soldier had entered to introduce them, leaving Shadrik and Elricks outside to check straps and packs one last time.

"Good morning, miss Ezri!" Darryl was all smiles again, eager to be on the way and do his best to serve her. Varsil was, as always, a bit more dignified, simply giving her and any others in the tent a nod, "Good day. We are ready to travel whenever you are, Ezri." Even he had dropped the titles, finding them a bit of a nuisance...especially since he didn't technically have one anymore.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:25 am

She was exhausted. Of course, staying up later than she intended hadn't helped things, but there was still a lot of work to be done. Edwin, bless the man, helped far more than he was expected to, reminding Ezri of where she had put this, and where that had been set to. Barsavi even sacrificed sleep to go tend her horse Tyro, who was like a brother to Ezri. The horse had been a gift to her a few years ago, and fought with her along the many battles in her life. He was like her right hand.

She finally slipped under the covers when morning began to threaten the horizen, and neither Edwin or Barsavi woke her until just before Darryl and Varsil arrive, as if some intuition had sense their arrival even before they headed their way to the tent. Ezri rose, eatting a hearty meal while she was pulling herself back into her studded leathers, a dark, mutted gray, lost of all signs of sheen, and even as she crouched down, working the sheath for a dagger it made no sound. Ty-kui was perched on the wooden dummy in the corner, he chipped and preened at himself, mask over the falcon's face, looking entirely comfortable inside a tent.

Ezri smiled in welcome to Darryl and Varsil, running a quick hand through her short, choppy black hair and shouldered her light pack. "Morning, gentlemen." She turned to Ty-kui, whistling short and low. The falcon sprung off the dummy, flapping his wings to slow his approach before he even really got started, landing on the leathers of her shoulder. She took the mask off of the falcon, running an appreciative finger over his head. The bird of prey keened, closing his eyes before crying out in protest at the two others. "Hush, Ty-kui, mind your manners."

Ezri didn't turn around to say good by to Barsavi and Edwin; she hated goodbyes, and prefered avoiding them when at all possible. Tyro would be packed and ready by now, she was ready to go. Nodding to let them know they could head out, Ezri stepped forward, and Ty-kui stayed right on her shoulder, preening underneath his wing. "I gather we're all ready?"
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:50 pm

Varsil nodded curtly, stepping back to pull open the flap of the tent for her. He looked back to Barsavi and Edwin, giving the men a confident smile, assurance they would bring her and the sceptor back, and moved to follow her out of the tent. Darryl had hold of the other side, so she could easily step out of the tent with her falcon on her shoulder, "All set, miss Ezri. You look much better today, you slept well?" As always, he seemed honestly concerned, stepping out after her.

Elricks and Shadrik raised hands in greeting then turned back to sinching off the last of the straps and ropes, checking their mounts shoes and the like. Elricks was clearly more comfortable with horses then Shadrik, willingly checking bit and bridle and petting the animals neck, where Shadrik was a bit less familiar with the new animals. They had also taken to loading what supplies had been provided from Varsil's list the previous night, carefully divying it up amongst the pack mule and horses.

"Good day, Ezri. We are as ready as we will ever be." Elricks produced a leather wallet, stepping up to her and holding it towards her solemnly, "Letters, to be sent if one of us do not return. We ask that you entrust them to one of your men so we can toss them in the cooking fire when we come home." He smiled confidently, as if he was quite certain they would all be back in under a month, and Shadrik was clearly already thinking of their victory meal, listing off a few choice meals he would like to come back to with Darryl.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:28 pm

Ezri rewarded Darryl with a sincere smile, patting him on the back as she stepped by and out of the tent. "Yes, thank you. I suppose it did do me some good." Ty-kui shifted on her shoulder, so that he was facing her head before unfurrowing his wings, shaking them a couple times. Ezri knew what he wanted and lifted her right hand. He hoped between the distance, handing on her leather glove, and gave another shout. "Go on, Ty-kui, go bring Tyro to me." She rushed her hand up into the air, and the falcon took off, tallons digging into her gloves, but they were thick and kept her from harm. She allowed a moment of joy, watching him fly off, before returning her attention back to the party. "All set."

She offered a hand out for the leather wallet, it felt heavier in her hand than parchment and hide should, but she gave a nod that silently said that he could trust her with such a thing. "Barsavi." She looked over her shoulder and called his name, shortly after the great man poked his head from the tent. She offered the wallet to him. "Place this with my letter to my uncle, would you please?" She had been working on much the same last night, before and after they had arrived. They could trust her with it. With a nod the black leather gloves reached out and took the wallet, before slipping away and back into the folds of the tent.

Horse hooves sounded next, and a red mustang, geared and ready walked around the edge of the great tent, huffing as he came to a stop, obviously impatient. Ezri walked forward, rubbing her horse's nose, before patting his neck. Another huff, the blast of hot hair ruffled both of their black hair, and he began to nudge her, pushing at her hand as if to direct it to the reigns. She felt like walking, at least until the edges of the camps, but waisting time would only prolong their journey. Ezri gave Tyro one last pat on the neck, before grabbing the reigns and pomel of the saddle, gracefully swinging herself up and into the saddle of the smaller horse. She patted his neck again, and kept the reigns loose. "Mind Tyro... he's something of an enthusiastic pain in the ass." The horse stomped, ears pulling back as if he knew that she was talking about him, and stepped forward, determined to get on the road.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:49 pm

While Varsil and Elricks had the formal training in horsemanship albeit in different schools (Elricks in martial style, Varsil's more casual and showmanship oriented), it was Darryl that was most at home with the animals. Growing up on his family's farm had had spent most of his life around animals, and it showed with the boy's easy-going certainty with his own mount. He gained the saddle easily, his bow too long for use from horse back and left in a special harness on his saddle. Instead, he had a much more common short bow with two quivers at his sides.

Varsil mounted with practiced discipline, all image and agility. With his weapon of choice a simple blade, he had no need of extra weapons to wield when simply sitting atop a horse. His cloak was expertly positioned, drapped about himself to protect his clothes from the dust of the roads ahead, and of all things a wide brimmed hat was pulled from a saddle bag, fluffed and set atop his head to keep the sun off.

Shadrik mounted with a strong show of awkward effort. His horse danced underneath him, snorting in almost comical annoyance, head cast back to watch the bulky fool get on it's back. He muttered and complained the entire time, things about real men walking and horses best for carrying your gear, but once he was finally up he seemed fine, giving the animal a stern pat on the neck before wrestling a spear free from the bundle on their mule, resting it atop his boot in the stirrup. A pair of long handled, light hand axes were strapped to his saddle, easily used from horseback in close fighting and just as easily abandoned.

Elricks, dawned in the heaviest armour of the group, instead carefully coaxed his mount to kneel, more then a little relieved that he had found a warhorse on such short notice, and once in the saddle the animal rose again with relative ease. He too acquired one of Shadrik's spears, planning to wield it as a lance while mounted, and had a longsword strapped to his own mount, his sword much too large for use from the saddle. With the four mounted, they nodded to her, ready to go.

"Falconry? It is a rare pass time, and few seem to form a true bond with their bird." Elricks watched Ty-Kui vanish, then studied her own mount when it came into view. He was a modest eye with horses, not nearly as skilled as Varsil's merchant's eye and Darryl's farmer's eye, but it seemed a spirited animal. "Darryl, take point."
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:55 am

"Ty-Kui isn't just a falcon," she spoke with amusement, "I stumbled upon his nest just over a year ago, he adopted me then as his mother... Though I'd like to think sister, because that just makes me feel old." Old... twenty five years, with no husband and no children was consindered old. Being the eighth daughter in a noble house led to complications; she never was close with her immediant family. Her older sisters and brothers had their arranged marrages, their stations intended for picking up... she joined the military for her uncle out of her love for him and all that was his. At seven she left the house to train, and hadn't looked back since. She wasn't certain she'd have chosen a different life; as short as it would likely be. Ty-Kui's shadow flew over them, the bird spotting a sparrow trying to evade it's sight, only to fall victem to it's tallons. The bird of prey took the smaller one down with ease, and began to eat it's lunch.


They traveled a good ways, stopping once, only to eat a late lunch, and rest the horses a while, making sure to give them water and to let them graze some before being pulled away. Day was faiding, and Ezri was surprised to see how much ground they had covered in one day. Perhaps this trek would be covered far quicker than expected? Then again, once they started dragging their feet, they'd begin to loose ground. Ty-Kui was once more perched on her shoulder, his head drooping and eyes falling closed. The bird was pleased to be out, wandering around, but he was tuckered out from all the flying and the many birds he's been picking off to snack on. He needed a nap. "There should be some ruins here, a little to the East. They'll be a good roof over our head for the night, and flat ground for the horses to stand on; soft. I think that might be the best place to hault for the night."
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:18 am

Riding a bit of a distance ahead, Darryl barely caught what she had said then scanned their surroundings for signs of what she had mentioned. Only his familiarity with nature helped him notice the ancient remnants of a stone lined road in the form of a few, seemingly randomly placed, stones just a touch too squared off to be natural, and he used that as a guide through the trees and underbrush.

He broke through to a long, narrow clearing filled with the ruins of some sort of ancient town or outpost, few of the walls still standing two stories and most all open to the elements from a missing roof or collapsed wall. But, she was right that it would serve them for the night better then trying to camp in the trees. The others broke the tree line shortly after him, Shadrik letting out a low whistle at the view and awkwardly dismounting, grunting and grumbling all the way down, squating once to help loosen up the muscles in his legs and back.

"Good call, Ezri. Should not be hard for us to find somewhere comfortable to rest in this place. Defensible too." Elricks pointed out the large central structure, which at a distance seemed little more then walls and one tattered old tower, and Darryl started to lead the way down one of the narrow streets choked with debris and undergrowth, swinging a leg over his saddle and dropping to the ground, switching back to his longbow and fussing with his kit briefly before finally moving into the ruins.

Varsil and Elricks remained mounted for the moment, riding in behind Shadrik as the spearman held the rains of both his and Darryl's mounts in one hand and his spear resting to his opposite shoulder. It wasn't until they were a few buildings in that something caught Darryl's attention, and he flashed a hand up towards them in warning before drawing an arrow from a quiver. He had heard something from off to their left, the faint scrape of stone against stone as if something had disturbed some of the fallen bricks of a collapsed wall.

Silence reigned for a moment, and Elricks carefully eased from his saddle, spear in hand even as he expertly pulled his longblade from it's sheath on his back in his off hand, moving slowly to keep down the sound of his clanking armour. Even Varsil eased his sword from it's sheath, and Shadrik stood quietly, staring off to their right down a narrow alley between two sets of ruins, mostly just to make sure nothing tried sneaking down that way while Darryl watched the other direction. They had stopped at a T-intersection straight ahead leading towards the tower, left towards a long narrow structure that was relatively intact, the alley to the right running between two square structures, and behind them leading back to the woods.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Sat Jun 20, 2009 6:05 pm

For being a warrior... she certainly had a soft spot for her bird. Ty-Kui was sleeping, and with a fluid grace and a keen eye, she slid out of Tyro's saddle without so much as a jostle to her feathered 'brother'. She even went as far as lifting a hand, carefully setting the leather around his wings to keep him still until she was settled. The bird kept its eyes closed, hunkered down in his feathers, oblivious. Tyro recieved a pat on the side of his neck, reigns released, and the horse continues to follow the group with the easy stroll of obediance.


There came another scrape of stone to the left, long and slow, as if something was idly shifting or dragging something. Silence filled the void for a handful of seconds before Ezri's soft gasp was heard, a startled inhale of air. About the same time, three orcs came lumbering into view from the passage off to the right, obviously early risers bringing food for the rest who had housed themselves in the building to the left. Ezri's gasp was significant mostly to the face that was blinking at her through a crumbled wreck in the wall, as surprised to see her as she was to see him. That's an Orc... Her mind had registered just as he was thinking That's a human... She wasn't certain who cried a warning first; Ezri's hissing breath, sending her blade free and Ty-Kui flying into the air, or the Orcs bellow, warning the others.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Sat Jun 20, 2009 6:44 pm

She hadn't chosen the four simply for their looks and personalities. The moment they realized what was going on, all four sprung into action. Arrow already knocked, Darryl spun and drew, sighted and released down the narrow alley Shadrik was covering as the three orcs that had come into view spotted the burly young warrior.

Shadrik leapt forwards, darting down the narrow alley, spear readied, even as Darryl's arrow flashed over his shoulder dangerously close, digging deep into the lead orc's throat. It's eyes went wide then blank, and Shadrik was spearing the next in line before the first's body hit the dirt, powerful arms bulging as he drove the broad headed spear into the monster's ribs, jerking it bodily to the side to smash into the third and sending both sprawling to the ground on the uneven terrain. "I've got the right lads!"

Elricks could only hope his recently acquired warhorse was trained enough not to flee during a fight, and he started towards the building on the left, stalking through the narrow hole that was once the front door, sword and spear in hand. Darryl moved closer to his and Shadrik's mounts, snatching the reigns before the animals could get spooked and try to run, and Varsil carefully navigated his own mount towards the boy, pulling two large prune-like objects from a pouch, rolling them about in his palms and clearly trying to get a clear view of their situation before taking any action.

Passing into the ruins of the house on their left, Elrick's eyes snapped wide in surprise as over a dozen orcs were leaping from crude blankets or patches of earth they had been sleeping on, axes and spears in hand and all turning towards him in equal surprise. They hadn't expected soldiers out this way, and he hadn't been expecting a raiding party either. He was the first to respond, hoisting and throwing the spear at the nearest orc, catching it clean in the chest and knocking it to the ground with a strangled roar of pain, then his blade was coming up, "14!"

Shadrik's voice was muffled from the walls of the alley, clearly enjoying himself as he wrenched his spear free and crashed it's base into the face of the unwounded orc, looking up the street he was now standing on, "7!" Varsil looks displeased, more so for what he was about to do then for the fact that they had run into orcs. The two objects in his hand were squeezed tightly in his fist, thick red juice, like blood, leaking between his fingers and his horse stepped skitishly. He uttered words of command in a dead language, then cast his fist out to the open patch of road infront of him. They hit with a disturbing splat, staining the ground red.

The stain began to quiver and grow, earth writhing and forming into bones and flesh, and it only took less then a minute for two wolf-like creatures to take shape, bony protrusions along their spine, jaw and above their eyes. The animals were sleek and powerful looking, their eyes glowing white, and they both growled towards Varsil in unison. He held his hand palm out towards the creatures, and spoke again in that dead language, commanding them to aide Elricks.

There was a moment of hesitation, a battle of wills between summoner and summoned, and then the creaturse spun and leapt at the walls of the ruined house, bounding easily over and through the mostly missing roof; orcs called in surprise and anger, the beasts let out ferocious barks and growls, and then descended upon a pair of orcs.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:24 pm

Her Orc bellowed, and Ezri reacted. Being small of frame had certain benifits, ontop of her agility and flexibility. She was able to squeeze into tight spaces. And, having known the layout of this old town rather well, she knew that there was only one way out for the Orcs to flood from. Ezri planted her palm against the top of the brick she had spied through, jumping up and inside, the rock only scuffing at her armor, a dull grind against her body that was easily ignored with the rushing adrenaline. The Orcs hadn't expected that. They hadn't expected any of this, fumbling from sleeping blankets and spots scattered about the interior that had been their 'room' for the night. Before the Orc could finish it's cry, she was in, her arm thrust forward, and braced against the ledge she easily gained the ground easily to pierce it's throat. The choke cracked and gurgled before the sickening slurp of her blade drawing free of so much blood and tissue interupted, and with a strong forward kick, she sent the body tumbling back and into the next.

This was Elricks 14, now thirteen as she ducked under the crude club fashioned by a shorter Orc with a wide, almost squarish face. She tumbled from the short ledge she had crawling in from, easily tucking out of reach and into the thick; keeping in mind of Elrick's blade. She ducked again, twisting and came up with a sharp kick, while thrusting in the opposite direction. Blade pierced through unprotected guts, booted foot landing a solid blow above the knee of another, bone cracked as it dislocated, and the beast went down. Ezri used him as a step when avoiding the path of an arrow; kicking off of his knee so she was bodily in the air, twisting and came back down, sword held with both hands so that momentum and strength could act as one. Point first, she drove the blade downward into the hollow between neck and shoulder. The Orc shuddered and began to buckle, collapsing shortly after she removed the blade, using his body as cover when a powerful thrust of a spear thrust through him and knocked them both back into the wall.

She gasped, the wind nearly knocked from her lungs, but leathers kept the blade from doing anything more than knicking her stomach, and she pushed the corpse off and away from her with a grunt, straining against its weight, and panting under the effort. It thumped to the ground; Ezri pulled up her blade, blocking the clash of an axe, and stumbled back, closer to Elricks to try again.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:21 pm

Elricks couldn't deny that she was a skilled fighter; she'd leapt straight into the thick of things and come out with only a scratch. He also couldn't deny that she was either striving to prove something to herself or was as reckless as him. Whatever the case, it was time for him to get involved. The addition of Varsil's creatures to the fray might not have been enough to win the day, but they had tipped things in their favour.

The creatures sudden arrival from on high, coming down off of the ruins walls and into the orc's sleeping area, gave them the benefit of surprise, bowling a pair of orcs to the ground and tearing at throats and faces with powerful jaws. Elricks, used to the odd things Varsil could do, leapt past the pair of fallen orcs and into the center of the room once Ezri had fallen back towards him. His blade flashed high over head, catching a bright glint of the setting sun.

The orc he was aiming for, confused to the quickly changing situation, made the fatal mistake of looking straight up at the sudden flash of light, arm raising to shield it's sensitive eyes. Shoulder to opposite hip, his blade flashed through the orc's flesh and bone, tip sinking easily into the cracked stone floor, and he stepped in to kick the body in half, wrenching his blade free as he stepped over the toppled legs, picking his next target.

Shadrik, facing too many opponents to handle alone, broke the mold of the classic 'bull headed brute.' He held some concept of situational awareness, wielding his spear much like a staff to glance away axe and sword and stepping back just past the mouth of the alley. The first orc to step into that open lane ended up with an arrow in it's ear, and the others just rushed in anyways, paying no heed to their fallen comrade. The opening the first's death created let Shadrik claim a second, the thick blade of his spear slicing through a second's exposed neck, a thick gout of dark blood.

Darryl claimed his third a moment later, an arrow to one's exposed calf, shattering the femur beneath the thickly muscled flesh. The creature dropped, and was ended by one of it's own, driving it's own axe into the wounded orc to get it out of his way. Shadrik's seven dropped to four in no time.

With Varsil focusing on keeping his summoned creatures under control, his only other contribution to the fight was watching Darryl's back and keeping track of the horses. His creatures tore away at the two orcs, their attacks brutally vicious, as if intended to intimidate other prey, but it was hard to intimidate orcs. One of the two creatures let out a pained howl as an orc broke passed Elrics, driving it's sword into the animal's side. It struggled briefly before dying and melting into a puddle of half-formed bones and bloody dirt.

The rest of the orcs pressed in, weapons sparking against Elrick's heavy blade. He made an opening for himself with one broad swing, forcing the orcs farther back, but then everything seemed to freeze with an inhumanly loud angry bellowing from the far side of the ruined building, "Oi! Wats all dat ruckus eh?"

"Boss! 'Ummies, Boss! Cuttin' us up right good!" One of the larger orcs in the room called back, this one hanging towards the back of the group trying to take down Elricks and Ezri. The orcs had thick accents, as if speaking was awkward for them, with their wide mouths and over developed jaws and teeth, but the group of orc's morale seemed to have spiked with the arrival of the source of the loud voice.

"Aye? 'Bout time wes had some fun lads!" The sound of crushing stone came from outside as the voice's source circled around the ruins towards the street Varsil and Darryl still occupied. Darryl was still trying to support Shadrik, launching another arrow down that way, but Varsil was watching with a worried expression as a particularly massive orc came into view. The patrol's Boss, towering some ten feet tall at the shoulder, a massive iron axe dwarfed by it's powerful left arm and what was likely once a thick oak door as a shield in it's right. Beedy black eyes peered out over an oft-broken nose and it's head alone dwarfed poor Darryl's body.

Armoured from the tattered remnants of breastplates and shields crudely laced together and worn like some disturbing sort of scale mail, a dozen skulls and rotting heads still resting in the helms of officers of the army or various garrison forces hanging from a thick shaft of wood made into a grotesque flail. And a half dozen more orcs rounded the corner with it, clearly quite pleased by the pair of soft, squishy looking humans in the street. At the mere sight of it, the group's horses bucked and panicked, fighting to break free of Varsil's grip. "Warboss!"
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:52 pm

Reckless... that was possibly one of the more choice words to use. Ezri lost herself to an abandon, all else falling from her shoulders as easily as a silk garment. She danced, as was her style was called, and she lived up to it's name. Reckless, perhaps... but there was an inner joy speaking in volumes at the release. She wasn't afraid of battle, she wasn't afraid of loosing; though she knew it was a matter of probability, and she wasn't afraid of getting hurt. She simply moved, constant, like the waves of an ocean, picking bits of sand in a pile until the whole thing collapsed on itself, unstable.

An Orc got a blade in the eye; and while it was clutching at the wound, he fumbled into the spear of one of his brothren. Another was gutted, and she arched her back to miss the wide swing of an ax, before reaching back, grabing the Orc's waist, and tumbled over his shoulders to avoid another blade. She was smiling, through the eyes, the blue gems seeming to brighten and shimmer with pleasure until hidden by the short choppy hair as she spun about to miss another blow.

It had all been fun and cames until the voice drifted through, and soon Ezri's smile was dissapearing behind furrowed brows drawn into confusion. Somewhere in the back of her head she knew what was going on... but it hadn't quite clicked until the words "Boss" stumbled out of the Orc's mouth.

"Ah, hell.." She mumbled, glancing at Elricks, and what was left of their hord. She wasn't going to leave him here to pick off the rest by himself... and while she trusted the others to take care of themselves, there was still a part inside of her that would have felt more comfortable if she were facing the Warboss herself; foolish perhaps, or maybe she really was trying to prove something to these four? Or maybe herself...

Encouraged by the arrival of their Warboss, the Orcs grew more confident. With a great cry, and as if some unseen message passed through them they all charged forward at once. Normally, Ezri would should out to her men to brace, to hold the line... but between the two of them it was wishful thinking. Ezri braced her footing, lept high with blade held aloft; and was taken in the gut by an Orc who had slipped down from the side. He tackled her until they both slammed into the stone wall, which rattled and gave way, causing the two to spill out in a heap as they lost balance and weapons alike. The wind was knocked from her lungs when she blinked through the pile of dust settling around her, struggling to breathe, gasping, trying not to vomit, and was stunned to see her Orc dead simply by falling on his own blade.

The woman was down; at least for a little while, laying in a heap and struggling to get to her feet, to find the air again, and to get to Elricks. Part of the wall began to crumble back, down onto the swarming Orcs within the building, but she couldn't yet see what happened to the man.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:26 pm

The fighting on Shadrik's side of things grew brutally close. Spear lodged in the skull of another Orc, the next to close on him glanced a club off his head and he staggered away, loosing his spear in the process. Three left, they rushed in on him, their own cries of triumph rivalling Shadrik's warcry as he redoubled his efforts. Fists flew, powerful bodies struggled in a fast paced melee.

His fist drove into the fleshy nose of one orc, a thick fountain of dark blood spattering across the bastard's face and his fist. It reeled back and he lunged in even as the next orc drove a fist into his back. His hands latched onto his target's face, thumbs jamming deeply into it's beedy eyes even as he let out a grunt of pain, vision blurring briefly from the blow to his back.

The orc screamed, and with the added leverage he'd found on its head, he spun it around and knocked the third off balance, sending the two sparwling to the dirt. Another blow to his chest this time, landing a large dent into his heavy breastplate, and even as he doubled over in pain, Shadrik drove his forehead into the orc's face, sending both reeling back in confusion. A swift kick between the orc's leg doubled it over soundly, and Shadrik's fists drove down into the top of it's head so hard he nearly broke his own hands.

An arrow took the one he'd knocked down through the back, barely piercing deep enough into it's thick body to lance it's heart, and the orc's axe stopped at the peak of its reach, dropping it to the ground before it could burry it's axe into Shadrik's back. He'd have to thank Darryl later; but for now, the blind orc was thrashing about maddly and his other opponent had just gained it's feet, grinning wickedly.
---
Elricks and Varsil's remaining beast had a hard fight on their hands; the summoned creature had no qualms about odds and chances; it wasn't real anymore anyways. It leapt on the orc that had killed it's brother, driving the brute to the ground and opened a clearing for Elricks to get to work. He'd let out a warning yell a hair's breadth too late for Ezri and saw her go straight through the wall.

He stepped into the fray again even as the walls started to grow unstable; an orc rushed him and it's face was smashed with the heavy steel pauldron of his armour. He went with it and sent it reeling to the ground. His next step and his blade lanced out to meet a thick orc axe. The weapons impacted with bone jarring force, but Elrick's sword let out a thunder flash of blue light and the axe burst into a rain of shrapnel that peppered it's owners chest and face. It didn't have time to feel pain; Elricks blade passed through it's chest and shoulders in a spray of gore.

His fist came out, thick plated gauntlet breaking the next orc's jaw as it stepped too close, it's shorter sword affording it no reach. His hand went numb from the impact and he was forced to finally fall back; the walls were giving in, the two orcs he had knocked down vanishing under the back wall of the old structure. He was out the door in a cloud of dust and raining stone chunks as other orcs poured out the hole she and her dance partner had created. Varsil's creature took one more to the ground before it too vanished under the falling stone.

Of the fourteen that had been in there, only one had made it out of the collapsing ruins.
---
Darryl and Varsil had a lot on their plate. Six orcs, their Warboss, plus backing up Elricks and Shadrik. Neither would turn down the challenge or balk at their chances, but neither had much expectations either. As the Warboss rounded the corner, Shadrik let an arrow loose, taking one of it's entourage in the ear, the fool orc having glanced up at it's Boss for encouragement at the wrong moment. Then they charged, the Warboss letting his remaining five deal with the two squishy humans in the street; there was sounds of a good fight brewing in their camp site and t next street over. Those where what held his attention.

Varsil's fingers dipped back into one of his belt pouches, drawing forth a piece of pure white quartz crystal the size of his thumbnail. He clutched it tightly, rolling his fingers to cut the palm of his hand on the jagged rock and let out an eerily echoing yell before casting his hand out towards the advancing group of Orcs, sweat beading his forehead as he dredged up enough will to execute the spell so quickly.

A bright beam of light cast out from his bloody palm, the quartz gone, and the advancing orcs bellowed angrily and threw up their arms to shield their eyes. Their skin sizzled and burnt as if from a great heat, hair vanishing in black whisps of smoke, but their thick hide held out against the impromptu attack. Varsil's horse reared in terror from the display, tossing the young merchants son to the ground hard.

Darryl capitalized; another orc died with an arrow through it's thick forearm and into it's forehead between it's eyes, dropping back almost comically with it's arm stuck in that position. But they moved too quickly, he fell back into the alley to gain some distance, turning in time to realize how serious Shadrik's situation had become. An orc was behind him, axe held high to strike Darryl's friend down. His bow came up, arrow knocked. He staggered sharply but regained his footing, a look of confusion on his face even as his arrow was let loose, dropping the orc before it could take Shadrik.

Not ready to die just yet, Varsil struggled to his feet and fumbled out his slender sword. Everything was moving slowly, sound was distant; he saw an orc charge down the alley that Shadrik had disapeared down when the fighting began; hopefully the brute of a mountain man was doing alright! Everything came back to him as a big cloud of dust was tossed up into the sky from where Elricks and Ezri had gone, the connection with the last of his summoned creatures winking out suddenly. And an orc reared up infront of him, rusty sword coming in a crude arc towards his shoulder.

His blade flashed out, cutting tendons in the bulging muscles of the brute's elbow, it's sword arm dropping heavily, and his blade flashed again to slice open it's gut, hardly able to put a worthy gash in it's thick skin. Alarmed at how little his sword could do to these things, he leapt back, then leaned in swiftly on one bent leg, his sword sliding easily between the orc's ribs and into it's lung. A deft flick of the wrist slit the other lung and his blade came free before it could get stuck in a rib.

Of the six that had come with the Warboss, three were left standing of which two came for Varsil and one had gone into the alley after Darryl. Plus one from the ruined house, and one in fisticuffs with Shadrik.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:00 pm

Ezri soon found fault in her possition. Gasping where she was sprawled on the earth sounded like a good idea at the time, but now, with the stone crumbling around her, she saw her folly. Her eyes were too blurry to see where she was going, the world holding a funny tilt while air was finally filling her lungs, sending everything spinning around her, and with this unbalance, she stumbled on her hands and knees before falling, curling into a ball, and protected her head with her arms while the last of the building finally collapsed on itself and sent a cascade of stone and debree crashing down and around her.

The armor helped protect her; she felt the jagged edges bite into leather and stud, but so few actually bit into skin. She grunted in pain as the endless wave kept coming, the cloud of dust rising to stick to sweaty skin and coat her raven hair until the only thing that could be seen was the great settling of the building. Like fog, it seemed too thick to pierce with the naked eye, and rolled forward with it's own wind and path, slowly moving around the trees and other buildings, until it thinned enough to settle down on the earth.

There was no movement for several long moments around the collapsed home, until a small shift formed a little ways in on the perimeter. The stone nudged and shifted, before a hand was seen, pushing it out to tumble away from the others. Several smaller stones on top shifted and fell to take place of the first, and with jerky movements, the hand tossed those as well, fighting to clear a path. Ezri wasn't deep, but the weight was certainly crushing, and mild panic was tingling in the back of her mind, wondering what was going on with all of the others, and the fact that she couldn't see out of her right eye. A clear mind would have known that it was simply from the cut in her brow; head wounds bled profusely, and this one made no exception. She struggled to get out of the rubble, working at the stones one at a time until she cleared enough room for her other arm to wedge around, and pick through the scraps.


The falcon was circling high over head, calling out sharply from the clouds, before he tipped forward, and tucked his wings back. In seconds he was soaring down towards the fight, tallons outstretched to tear at the face of one of the Orcs, easily piercing through the cornia, and was gone before the Orc could do anything more than screech, clawing at the bloody mask of his face.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:13 am

Varsil needed every advantage he could get; the dive bombing Falcon took one of his opponents off balance long enough for him to capitalize on the other. The orc was slow and brutal with it's attacks; each swing was aimed to kill, not taking advantages of opening or their differences in weapons. It seemed honestly surprised that Varsil narrowly ducked a wide swing of it's axe, coming up within it's reach, a peice of rubble in his bloody hand from when he'd dropped to a knee to avoid the axe.

The merchant-son turned magic user punched the jagged piece of stone against one of the orc's bare biceps, mildly alarmed by how big it was compared to his hand. The stone barely managed to gash the brute's skin, but it was enough for his intentions; a command word shouted, the orc's skin began to turn to stone at an alarming rate; ti's mind was too dull to resist the magic. With the other still trying to recover from it's lost eye, Varsil fell further back from the Warboss and the immediate fight to reasses the situation. His victim was a solid statue within seconds before crumbling to dust and rubble.
---
Thanks to Darryl's help, Shadrik quickly gained the upper hand against his opponent. He was even aided by the blinded orc, which grappled his own ally's leg thinking it was Shadrik. The orc bellowed in frustration, giving his wounded friend a heel stomp to the face in a display of physical power that even surpassed Shadrik. The wounded orc's skull caved in with a disturbingly fleshy crunch.

Taking his opening, Shadrik's short blade came into hand with an awkward tug from it's sheath, using the motion for one broad stroke across the standing orc's stomach, the heavy short sword easily cutting through the orc's green hide. He put it out of it's misery as it's insides quickly became smelly outsides, driving his blade point down into the orc's skull when the beast dropped to it's knees in pain. Blade trapped, he scooped up one of their discarded axes and bolted for the alley.
---
Elricks had barely cleared the cloud of debris when he discovered the Warboss. Or, the Warboss found him maybe. He blinked away the dust clouding his eyes to find the massive creature stomping towards him. He barely brought his sword up to interpose the Boss' iron axe. The blades clashed, the axe was deeply pitted, but Elricks just wasn't heavy or sturdy enough to stop it dead on. He was sent hurtling back like a rag doll, shoulder and back catching against the corner of another building and he spun and flipped, crashing to the ground like a barrel of pots and pans dumped from a window some twenty feet away from where he had been standing.

The Warboss let out a raucous laugh at the display, but it was cut short as it lifted it's chipped axe close to it's beedy little eyes, peering at it with an expression of intense concentration that slowly grew into a petulant rage, "Yous dirty metalman! Yous gone broke me axe! C'mere!" And he was stalking forwards again, eyes slowly shifting from their beedy black to a disturbing rage filled red, muscles bulging with the increasing anger.

Elricks' armour had mercifully absorbed much of the impact, but his arm still made a popping grinding sound as it popped back into the socket. He let out a yell of pain, pushing himself to his knees with his other arm, the daze of the impact dispelled by the sudden lance of pain burning at his mind. His eyes cast about in confusion, regaining his surroundings and he gave a surprised look at hilt of his sword that was still in his hand.

The Boss' angry, wheezing breath drew his attention and Elricks pushed himself to his feet, one handing his sword as his left arm hung at his side, still too numb from the pain to be of use. He hoisted his heavy sword, resting the flat of his blade against his good shoulder, turning his bade side towards the Warboss, one leg extended slightly, intending to use momentum to power his next swing. Running wasn't an option; they were too scattered, Ezri was still down and he wasn't in any condition to try it anyways.

Any aid Varsil might have been was delayed as he struggled with the Orc that had escaped the collapsing building, his light slender blade hardly cutting it's thicker hide with each hit. He ducked and moved constantly, making use of every opening the slower orc gave him, but he simply couldn't land a finishing blow; the orc would eventually tire or give in to the many smaller wounds Varsil gave it, but it was still just as likely it might get one good hit on him and end it then and there.
---
Shadrik darted into the alley, letting out a roar as he charged at an orc that was turned away, heading towards the Warboss and the rest of his friends. The axe he'd taken was awkward to wield in the narrow alley but he closed fast, the orc spinning around in surprise, a bloody sword awkwardly thrusting out towards Shadrik's chest. The bigger man barely twisted his torso enough to glance the dull blade off his dented breastplate, his momentum smashing into the over extended orc hard enough to bounce it back into the main street, and the axe was into it's chest before it even hit the ground.

He cast about quickly for another weapon, and froze suddenly as he saw the orc's bloody sword on the ground, resting near a gap in one of the walls of the alley where Darryl's bow was discarded. Despite everything going on in the street, Shadrik couldn't help but take a slow step back into the alley, looking towards that small gap to see what was through it. Whatever he saw, his eyes slowly grew wide, and it took him a moment to find his voice, snapping his gaze away as he ripped the axe free from the dead orc, "Elricks! Darryl's hurt!"

That got the other two's attention; the tone of Shadrik's voice, shakey and pitched with grief, spoke volumes to the two men. Elricks backed off from the approaching Warboss briefly, and it was then that he spotted Ezri trying to dig her way free of the rubble. They had hardly started their quest and Darryl was...their employer was near death in their first fight. He met the gaze of the approaching Warboss, his injured arm coming around to grasp the hilt of his sword, whatever pain he felt drowned out by his own growing rage. He could see Shadrik charging the Warboss from behind, and he stepped in to give the man the opening he'd need.

His sword flashed out, the Warboss raising it's crude thick wooden shield to glance the attack away. But Elricks focused and his sword passed through the dense wood like a knife through butter. It glowed blue, there was a thunderclap of blue light. His blade was just high of the Boss's arm, only digging a deep gouge through it's powerful bicep and chest, dark blood spilling down it's dark green hide. The shield broke in half, splintering and falling apart and it pushed it's arm forwards through the shower of broken wood, smashing hairy knuckles into Elrick's armoured chest.

The young man let out a grunt of pain and was tossed back a few feet, nearly doubling over in the air but managing to land on his feet, heavy sword digging into the cobblestones for balance. He spat blood from where he had bit his tongue, and let out an angry yell to keep himself standing, glaring up at the red eyed Warboss. Shadrik powered up behind it, axe raising high and falling with all the man's force. Thick, crude metal plates cracked and parted and the orc axe bit deeply into the Warboss' back with a spray of dark blood.

Too angry to feel it, the Boss spun, batting Shadrik away with the flat of it's iron axe's blade, sending the large man tumbling back with a frustrated yell. Shadrik landed hard, crashing into the earth and skidding until a dead orc's body stopped him and he started struggling to his feet again, panting and gritting his teeth against the pain of the blow, shock-numbed hands scrambling to find purchase on another discarded weapon.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:56 pm

The burning started in her chest, not her arms as she would have assumed would happen. Each breath became a little tigher, a little more shallow as pains began to awaken, like a buzzing deep in her body. Here it comes... Ezri thought to herself, trying to stay calm. The moment between stubbing your toe, and the agony that follows. When adrenaline begins to fade and allow other endorphins carrying your pain to flair wide... She felt it now; in her chest, down in her hips where most of the stones piled on her. Desperation began to hurry her hands, as if thinking the sooner she was out of her own grave, the sooner the pain would stop; or dilute and give her saving grace.

It began to hurt to breathe. Inhaling especially, and somewhere in the back of her mind she found logic speaking up. Broken ribs... keep your breathing as even as you can, you've had them before and survived... Another rock fell away, causing the gathering up around her back to clatter free, clearing her up to the middle of her torso. Pausing for a moment she stretched her arms out, gripping a large bolder that was twice her own weight; and luckily hadn't fallen on her. This she used to try and pull herself free, shortly after crying out sharply, voice pitching when that burning pain turned to seering heat, and everything behind her eyes went white.

It was nausiating. She felt her skin break out into a sweat with the pain which crashed through her body like waves; first flowing over her, then receding, a constant flow and eb she was forced to work with. Get up, Ezri... She swallowed with a dry mouth, tasting copper and dirt as thick as ash, making a crude mud in her mouth that was quickly spat to the ground before she pushed with her legs, and shimmied her hips. The pain flaired again, and while this time Ezri didn't scream, she could hardly focuss. She worked with the pain, forcing herself not to stop until she was about to retch, gasping, sweating and panting in the heap of stones, absently hearing Shadrik shouting; but at this point it sounded distant, like the man was yelling under water and her ear so happened to be under the waves.

Blinking, she turned to look in the direction she absently thought he was in. Still blind in one eye, depth perception was against her; but she could see clearly that Elricks was fighting the warboss, and things were getting desperate. The man in his armor had crashed through the air like a rag doll, landing with a loud bang that sounded distorted and muffled to her ears. She felt herself frowning, confused, and then further so when something brown stood above her. Ezri blinked lazily up at the tall shape that was blotting out the fadding light, and realized too slowly that it was Tyro. Her horse was wide eyed, watching everything that was going on around them, but hadn't ran off with the other horses. He snorted, stomped his foot, and dropped his head, hot breath snorting against Ezri's dusty hair. Absently she cursed at him, but the horse had his own plans; bitting the back of her leather armor at the nap of her neck, and began to step back.

It hurt... but not nearly as badly as when she had tried to do it, and quickly her legs were free of the rubble and stone, and Tyro stopped when she was clear of it all. A huff left him, before he moved to Ezri's side and kneeled there, waiting. She slinked her arm over his neck, curling her hands into the reins to strengthen her hold, nodding, and understanding, Tyro began to climb to his feet again. She couldn't lay settled over his back; not in the condition of her chest; whatever it be exactly, but with Tyro's height, she was able to find her feet without the pains of climbing there herself. It still hurt to breathe, but pain was pushed back while she became focussed on a new task.

She released Tyro, clutching an arm protectively around her chest as she stumbled forward towards Elricks and Shadrik, finding it easiest if she didn't think about her footing, or how much further there was to go, or what foolish thing she was going to do next. Ezri allowed her mind to go blank, just as her training had perfected since she was a child. The pain, the weaknesses, all of it was stored away to the back of her mind as she made one last desperate attempt to end this. The Warboss was moving to Shadrik, his back mostly to the sword-dancer. She leaned forward, almost as if she were about to collapse, and broke off into a sprint. Absently she knew her body was screaming at her, the pain was flickering through her eyes, making everything happen in glimps and flashes. She lept up; booted feet landing on the back of the Orc's calf as he was stepping forward. She stepped again, foot wedging into his wide belted waist, and then a third time, knees clutching his back, and with a click of her heels, the blades in the toes of her boots flicked out, and stabbed into the Orc's back to help keep her possition strong.

She didn't have her sword anymore; it would have to be picked out of the rubble when and if she survived this. The Orc swung around; but still Ezri couldn't hear anything, the bloody mask of her face calm, her breathing even, and the wicked stiletto blade drawn from her thigh seemed to have materialized from thin air. She didn't have any magics or enchantments on her weapons; just a practised hand and skill, and with the Orc's head at chest level, her target was easy. He thrashed, she knew his hand was lifting, she felt her bladed boots drag in the thick hide of it's skin; somewhere there was panic, but the calm mask of her face never shifted. The stiletto in hand slid deep into the Orc's ear, pushed to the hilt, and straight into the brain. There was a shuddering that wracked her body; she wasn't certain then if it came from her or the Orc, but she did notice then the ground racing up towards her.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:22 am

It was all over suddenly; or so it seemed to the dazed Shadrik and Elricks at least. Neither man was in great shape by that point, with Shadrik just gaining his feet with another discarded orc weapon in hand and Elricks gaining his breath enough to stagger after the Boss. To both men, she had simply come out of no where and finally brough the beast to it's knees. It fell heavily, creating a loud clatter of armour plates and cracking stone as it went down.

By then, Varsil had done away with the last of the regular orc warriors, panting heavily over an orc with his sword still stuck in it's eye. With the threat finally over, Shadrik dropped the scavenged sword and spun around, awkwardly running back towards the alley and staggered to a stop as Darryl emerged leaning heavily against the ruin walls, one arm pressed tightly to his stomach and the bloody tear in his simple leather armour, blood staining well down his leg. He was pale and struggling to stay up.

"It's not so bad, guys...snuck up on me is all, gave me a good poke, eh?" Darryl flashed his boyish grin, a little lackluster and it vanished quickly as a fresh pang of pain tore through his chest and he nearly fell, only to be caught by Shadrik who rushed in to steady him, "Varsil, he's bleeding bad! Get over here!" Shadrik's voice dripped with worry, shakey and pitched with panic and youth, and Varsil finally shook off his exhaustion to hurry over.

"My herbs are in my saddle bags...guess the horses booked once things got bad, ehVasil?" Darryl's voice was laced with pain and exhaustion as Shadrik carefully urged him down to a semi-sitting position, visibly shaking and fussing over the younger man like an over protective brother. Darryl just smiled up at him again, an appologetic look in his eyes, "Don't worry, not your fault...things got out of hand is all? Guess I still got a thing or two to learn yet, eh Shadrik?"

With Shadrik and Varsil tending to Darryl, and too worried himself to get involved just yet and learn just how bad it might be, Elricks moved towards the fallen Warboss and Ezri, thrusting his sword into the ancient cobblestones that still made up the old road, and fought back another wash of blood from his cut tongue, "Can you stand, Ezri? We need to find Darryl's horse, fast as we can." He wasn't sure how baddly hurt she might be; most of his pains seemed superficial, deep bruises and sprained muscles, bone deep exhaustion.

Much the same for Shadrik from all appearances; bloody nose and fat lip, bruises and minor gashes. Varsil was nearly untouched, asides from a slash in the shoulder of his shirt that didn't even knick the skin underneath; not so much skill on his part as pure luck. Only young Darryl seemed serious, and he could be distantly heard asking if Ezri was okay, even going so far as to try and see past Shadrik's bulk before the big man settled him back again and told him to worry about himself for the moment.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:43 am

Somehow she landed, but there was a span of black nothing that blocked her memories of a painful fall or a graceful landing. All Ezri really remembered was blinking, then blinking again and found herself looking up at Elricks. He was talking… The hammering of her pulse was blotting out his words until they were a distant humming, distorted and deep. Another blink, her face blank, showing nothing by mild confusion of his moving lips. But even so she was pursing her lips, trying to whistle.

Nothing. Not a sound. They were slick with blood, and shallow breaths from her painful chest did little to provide the sound she wanted. Tyro… That didn’t work either. Closing her eyes, Ezri concentrated a moment, focusing her attention on one word. “Ty-ro..!” It came out thick, tired, tasting of copper and the earth. Her neck crained, a thick wad of dirt and blood dripped from her mouth as she tried to spat, slowly, painfully, finding herself able to find her hands and knees; and stay there.

Muscles shook, her breathing was labored, painful, but oxygen was coming through. Wishing to shrug herself from her armor she settled instead with blinking to try and clear the gray spots dancing in her vision, and saw her horse’s hooves before she could hear him coming. The horse sighed, nuzzling her gently with his head, encouraging her to stand, and was stopped with a bloody hand that left a palm print on his nose. “Go… get the horses…” She squeezed out, nodding until Tyro huffed, turned, and ran.

Her hearing was getting a little better; but she was feeling worse. Somehow she knew that was a good thing, but that was just silly… With a groan she settled back to sit, leaning against the dead giant of an Orc, using it’s cooling corpse to prop herself upright with. She wasn’t going anywhere, not for a while at least, and waved at Elricks. Daryl was his friend, he’d want to see how he was. While she wanted to know too… Ezri needed more help than she was able to receive right then. “Go…” She tilted her head back, eyes falling shut, as if both things would make breathing easier.

It didn’t take long, though in such situations, seconds could feel like hours. Tyro returned with several leads in his mouth, pulling along the other horses, while, still wide-eyed from all the blood, hardly provided much of a fuss for the smaller mustang. He dropped the reigns near Shadrik, before turning to wander off towards the Orc for Ezri.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:15 pm

Watching her struggle was evidence enough for how rough a condition she was in. Certainly, Elricks was in pain, and as much as he put on a strong air, all he really wanted was to sleep. This was not the time though, and he ignored her words to instead drop to a knee beside her and call to Shadrik and Varsil to tend Darryl's wounds.

He tugged off his gauntlets and tossed them aside with his helmet, freeing his vision and hands. "One more set of hands will only get in the way. Darryl is a strong boy, and would never dream of letting you down, Ezri. He would also never forgive himself if we left you suffering alone while fussing over him." Traces of blood still lined his teeth and lips from the bite in his tongue, but it hadn't begun swelling yet so he could speak clearly.

He was confident he had no broken bones; bruised ribs and tortured muscles, certainly, but no breaks. She, however, was another story entirely. "There is little I can do but make you comfortable for now, but perhaps Varsil has some useful trick in his reportoire. In the mean time, we had best get your armour off to help ease your breathing." He moved to start doing just that, moving with undue care even though he knew there was no way of not causing her any more pain.

With Darryl on the ground and the horses returned, Shadrik quickly stripped Darryl's mount of it's saddlebags and began setting it all out for Varsil to work with. None of the three had Darryl's skill with poultices and medicine, but Varsil was the next best thing, mostly thanks to his own unique skills. The two worked dilligently, carefully cutting away the boy's shirt and ruined armour to reveal the wound and start tending it.

It was serious, the orc's rusty sword had been driven straight through Darryl's back and chest, leaving filth and ruin behind it. They washed it clean, holding the boy down with Shadrik's hand between his teeth to prevent him from screaming. Only Shadrik's weak attempt to quiet him, 'Lady Ezri must not hear you cry, brother. She'll worry.' managed to quiet his struggles and thankfully soon after he passed out from the pain as they applied a potion to help disinfect the wound.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:52 pm

Here was a good way to confuse Ezri; doing the opposite of what she had told Elricks to do. Her dark brows furrowed in a frown, gritty mouth parted to growl out the words so seldom said, 'That's a direct order!' but they came out as a single, gritty half sob instead. It cut off in her throat, her body undulating and flexing in an attempt to lock in the pain, to resist in it's flair up while straps and buckles in her armor were released. She had to remember that these men weren't her soldiers... it was a slow registration of the obvious, but there was still a sense of defiance. This was her mission, she had hired them, and while they knew the risks... she was still young enough to wish she could challenge Death and make him stay his hand.

More blood was spat from her mouth, dark and thick. This is a first, Elricks... She thought to herself. I've never had a building fall on me before. Is this a sad and pathetic start? Are you regretting your choice now? How could she have made such a mistake? How had she not known that there were Orcs here... She felt a deep hatred and disgust boil inside her guts, and felt that the pain was justly deserved. She was sorry... sorry because she felt that she had failed them, and now Darryl was suffering for it. "How.. is he?" She mumbled out, throat husky and thick, spoken through clenched teeth.

Both eyes fell closed, Tyro's shadow fell over to shade her eyes, and shortly after the hot rush of air from his nose caused ripples to spread in the blood that masked her face. Another huff, then a third as the horse nudged Ezri gently. She lifted a hand, leaving bloody streaks on his nose, but the horse didn't seem to mind. She wasn't dying... not really anyways. The cuts were superficial, the bruises black and ugly, but the ribs were definitely busted in several places. When the armor was off she shuddered as if suddenly cold, though she was sweating from the fight and felt a growing thirst begin to make itself known. Dark bruising on the left side already began to blossom, one of the bones broke through the skin, trickling dark blood from the small hole, the bone impossibly white against the black bruising. Breathing hurt, but there was no wheezing or gurgle that signaled a punctured lung, and while her pupils were dilated, each were even in size, and the whites clear, signaling no trauma to the head.

Another swallow, and Ezri blinked up to Elricks, curling her fingers into the soil in an attempt to simply hold onto something. "Would you believe me, if I said that I was sorry, Elricks?"
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:32 pm

With a task to keep himself busy, Elricks was able to ignore his own discomfort for the moment. Dented armour pressed uncomfortably into his flesh, but the heavy platemail had served him well in the fight. Her wounds were serious enough, especially as he discovered the exposed rib but he strongly doubted she would even humour the idea of turning back so soon into their journey. There simply was no time for such things.

As she finally managed to speak, he didn't respond at first. He produced what meager supplies he carried on him in his armour, some bandages and clean strips of fabric, and began very carefully bandaging the exposed rib. He hadn't the skills to fix the injury, but he could apply the battlefield medicine to buy her time for Varsil to see to her. He wasn't awkward about it; gentle and at least marginally respectful of her being a woman, but the task at hand was too important to be afraid of touching her.

"Your confidence is slipping, Ezri. Stop it." He sounded serious. They needed her to stay strong and commited; if their leader lost her edge after one hard-won fight, if she began to doubt herself and them, they would not make it much farther. Her uncertainty as leader was like a cancer that would spread through the rest of the team. "You have broken ribs, one is through the skin and your lungs might have been damaged for all the blood in your mouth. I need you to stay awake and start thinking. Where is the nearest village or town, or better still, are there any garrisons in the region we can go to?"

Shadrik and Varsil did their best with Darryl; the wound was carefully cleaned and plugged as best they could with a dark greenish brown thick salve that stemmed the bleeding. With the boy unconscious, their work was much easier, but by the end Shadrik was a mess; visibly shaking with worry, he stayed with Darryl and kept fussing over the boy, talking to him of silly things. Varsil was clearly tired by the time he made his way over to Elricks and Ezri and bringing over what was left of Darryl's supplies.

With Shadrik out of hearing range, Varsil shared a grim look with Elricks who looked past towards Darryl. A look of terror crossed his features before he forced it down, eyes softening again after a long breath. Elricks seemed to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was the leader of the four, and now their youngest was dying and their employer didn't seem far behind. And their mission was of the utmost importance; failing was not an option. He edged back to give Varsil room, who carefuly navigated his way in around the armoured man and her horse.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:58 am

He was right, and she hated that she was so wrong. It was she who was supposed to be encouraging them, lifting their spirits, not talking about her shortcomings… she had slipped, and instead of settling the weight of that failure on her shoulders, she had looked for an escape, to seek forgiveness. It was unlike her, so unlike her, and now that she realized it, Ezri couldn’t help but frown as she continued to gasp for breathes that were thinner and thinner than before. Is that good? She didn’t think so, but the bliss of the Black was seductive, and she wished she could simply fade away, unconscious like Darryl… but she couldn’t. She wouldn’t.

A red tongue darted out, making an attempt to wet her lips, and only succeeded in spreading copper. Blood… A building fell on you, blood should be expected… And she should be worried; things were beginning to hurt; others were going cold and numb, and breathing… that was a struggle to accomplish. In, and out, Ezri. Inhale, slowly… exhale… hadn’t I pulled more air than that into my lungs?

A painful grunt, and blood bubbled from between her clenched teeth, brows furrowed as she tried to concentrate on Elrick’s question. In short; no was the answer. There was no Garrison, no town, no anything. That was the main reason they moved along this path, so that they could keep the element of surprise as long as possible. But no… no that wasn’t right either. Her thoughts were beginning to grow cloudy, and something in the back of her mind was screaming to hurry, that it was Darryl who was depending on her, and time was of the essence. Think. Think!

“Sia…” She choked out, making an attempt to shift so that she was further comfortable; or maybe shifting would stall the pain that was beginning to burn through-out her chest? “Sia!” Again the name was choked out, but determined to get it across. “He’s… the Ranger, around here.” More blood and dirt were spat to the ground, and Ezri was finding it impossible to remain on her back. Reaching out for something, anything to steady herself, she quickly rolled to her side, and nearly vommited from the hot wave that crashed through her.

She almost lost it all right then; for a moment she sagged, her body wanting to give into the black Nothing that would take her away from all of this, even for a little while, but that little voice speaking aloud for Darryl chased it back, and soon had her blinking again; though what she was looking at was impossible for her to figure out. There was color, and blurred shapes, but distinguishing what was what would be impossible at this moment.. But she was awake…still. “East.” Not a long ways East, though it would certainly feel like that. “Through Druumi Meadow..” Away from their path, but not so far that it would take hours to get to. Lucky, that… “He’s got a cabin… North of the Glade… by a stream..” And he didn’t like company, he might not even be there right now; he was a Ranger after all… But what else was there? Ezri didn’t think she’d be up for the ride, and her head lifted again as Tyro’s nose bumped along her cheek, as if he could read her mind. No… no ridding wouldn’t feel good at all. But she trusted Tyro to keep her in the saddle, and the sooner they got Darryl there, the better his chances. What happened to him? She didn’t like knowing… though even knowing, she wouldn’t be able to help him until she got them to Sia. Let’s hope the Elf has forgiven me...
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by MachDhai on Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:34 am

Darryl was their experienced healer; he had a way with herbs and poultices that near rivaled Varsil’s magics and summoning. As it was, he knew Darryl probably wouldn’t recover from his wound…if he did survive it, he would never be quite the same without some serious care. And with so much of their resources used up tending the boy’s wounds, there wasn’t much left for hers. He stepped back for a moment, producing a journal from Darryl’s saddle bags where the boy had various instructions and recipes for a variety of herbal medicines, salves and potions.

“Shadrik! We need two litters.” The big man was still lingering at Darryl’s side, clearly shaken over the situation, but he had enough sense to know when something was important. He shared a few words with Darryl, even though the boy was still unconscious, then he was off in a rush to gather the necessary supplies. Elricks knelt next to her again, producing a simple cloth handkerchief and carefully took hold of her jaw to wipe the blood from her face.

As she struggled to change her position, he helped ease her movements while being careful to make sure she didn’t roll back too far. “Varsil, you don’t have any tricks up your sleeve? Nothing that could help here at all?” The merchant-son had a mortar and pestle out and various bundles of herbs and roots to ready some concoction or another.

He was quiet for a few moments, clearly debating what he should say. Yes, there was something he could do to help the two recover more quickly, something in his Collection that could speed both along to recovery. It was also something that he was saving for an emergency involving himself and had been very hard to come by. Elricks cleared his throat, easily reading his friend’s silence, and Varsil cast him a sour glare. “I do, yes. But it isn’t enough to make them right as rain Elricks. Not for two people so badly hurt. Either you pick one, or both will still need weeks to recover.”

There was a rush of anger in the pit of his stomach that Elricks barely kept under control. It helped clear his head from the nagging pain of his own comparatively minor injuries, but in the end he made the selfish choice. Saving her meant they could go on, leave Darryl with this Sia fellow. Saving Darryl, his friend, was in this case the wrong choice. “Do it, on both of them. If they are well enough then, we can continue on. Perhaps rest a night with this Sia of Ezri’s, then press on come morning.”

Varsil forced down his own anger at Elrick’s decision; he was supposed to take the easy way out and choose neither, damn it! But he was right, of course. Always right. He callously dumped out the contents of the stone bowl and produced a small pair of wood sheets bound tightly together. The straps were undone to reveal a pair of large butterfly-like wings that still seemed to glow with life, and after a moment’s hesitation began carefully grinding them into a fine powder in the bowl. Water was added, with a handful of dried berries from another pouch to add some texture to the mix, and he kept at it for a few minutes.

Elricks wasn’t quite sure what to make of the wings, but by the time Varsil was done grinding and mixing, Shadrik had returned with a few dozen long saplings and branches to lash into a pair of litters, which he took to quickly with a spool of cord produced from his own saddlebags and a pair of heavy blankets. With his potion complete, Varsil moved to Darryl first and carefully managed to get him to swallow half of it down.

There was no obvious reaction to it; Darryl still looked to be on the edge of the Other Side. Varsil still seemed put out by having to do it, he clearly wanted to keep those wings for himself. He edged around Ezri’s mount and knelt next to her and Elricks, “You owe me one, Elricks. This stuff is very hard to come by.” He held the bowl out to her but he wasn’t sure if she’d be able to manage it on her own.
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Re: Dark Days Ahead

Post by Shades Of Gray on Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:44 pm

Ezri didn’t fully understand what was going on, a frown tugged at the corners of her mouth as she blinked up at the two, trying to pay attention. Sound muffled, once again they were speaking under water, and while she was able to read lips, her eyes played funny games, as if they were slurring. Or speaking some foreign language she didn’t know. The frown grew, a sound of annoyance leaving her lips until it was lost in the heaving breaths that echoed in her ears, and then it washed away to black.

For a number of seconds there was nothing. She liked that. She didn’t hurt, she didn’t worry about Daryl, and she didn’t have to play leader to a mission she wasn’t certain would work. The façade was there, the necessary pretences of being confident, but in that black moment, she was able to take her shields down, to let responsibility go. Then it was all back when Elricks shifted, gray spots pulling away like a curtain so that she was looking up at his face, and confusion began to furrow her brows. Oh… Another blink came from sapphire eyes, the cloth passing over her face to clear the blood.

This wouldn’t do… this was wrong. Ezri couldn’t let herself slip, she couldn’t let them doubt her abilities, she couldn’t afford them to watch over their shoulders, to make sure she could rightfully guide them. She could do this, she’s been hurt worse before… Breathing deep, Ezri reached up, resting her palm over Elricks’ hand to stop him. Let me do it the gesture said, and before he could argue she pulled the cloth from his hand, fingers trembling only a little; hopefully it was something he would ignore, she certainly was. “I can ride…” Her voice was still low, broken, but it was stronger than before, confident, holding that regal air she held from before when they met for the first time. “I’ll be slow… but I need to ride point.” Sia might act rash if he saw her coming in on a stretcher. No… he would be rash, and the Elf was a better marksman then Daryl, she’s seen what he could do with a bad temper.

She didn’t like Varsil’s bitter mood; but she didn’t understand, and knew she didn’t. Whatever it was he had mixed could have been porridge for all she knew, and when the bowl was offered out to her lips, she turned her head to the side. “I’ll be alright.” Her annoyance at her situation began to show through her voice once again, as if she should be embarrassed that she was needing their care. Her eyes blinked a couple of times in an attempt to clear her vision some more, and she was looking right at Elricks when she spoke again. “Give it to Daryl…” A tongue passed over her bloody teeth, spitting what looked like coffee ground on the ground. “Sia can fix this..” Her voice spoke of experience, and as if to prove her point she reached out, finding Tyro right beside her just as she expected him to be. The horse huffed, hot air pushing across her face, now simply smeared of blood rather than coated with it; bloody rag still wadded up in her hand.

She might need help getting higher on her knees; Tyro was kneeling beside her, and had she been alone she would have easily been able to climb back into the sadle. Staying on might be difficult; but she's done it before, and once she got Tyro in the direction, he'd know where to take them. But she really didn't think it would come to that; having a goal was clearing her head, and she was determined to reach it.
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