The merchants paused at the intrusion of the large man, their ‘leader’ taking the initative to interact with him. All attention was directed at the four who had simply walked into their camp, some whispering among themselves and others sneering at the sight of a Orisiri. It wasn’t long, however, before their attention shifted back to their food or dockets as many did their daily check of equipment. The leader of the merchants was a tall and lanky man, hardly fit for any sort of combat but certainly the bookish type who’d do well leading a caravan. ”I would not be able to say for sure whether they are beasts or man however all my men have been spooked by something. On our journey here from Vernthouth, we encountered the corpse of a stag and a few hours later one of our scouts found a warg with an antler from the stag inside of it.”
The leader paused and sighed, looking at the group of men in the camps behind him. ”I’m not a superstitious man myself but the men believe it to be an omen, they follow the Old Gods after all. They think we’ll die if we go back through the Forest and think it better to camp here for the rest of the month. But we don’t have the time for that, the nobles who arranged this caravan want us back before the Moot, to sell our wares to all the men and women coming with Hagrir and the other Kings. I sent some men into the Forest yesterday but they haven’t-”
Crows rose up from the fields and Forest as three men and four horse came barreling out of the forest, almost as if on cue from the Leader. Though he made no movement until he himself heard the pounding of hooves, the few guards towards the Forest rushed and shouting rose as men ran to the arrivals.
Cries for a medic and bandages arose as one of the men was dragged from his horse, another limping badly as he followed behind. The remaining two, though injured, walked to the Leader and shook their heads. ”We ran into wargs out there in the middle of the night. Whole pack of them. They tore fuckin’ Horim’s arm off before we could beat ‘em back. Hardly made it out,”
The man stopped as he noticed the four behind their Leader, a grimace on his face. He spat on the ground at the four and sneered. ”I see. Ya’ bring in the fucks from up in the Sacred Flame bullshit cause ya gotta get back eh? Lord Yimmir riden’ your tail to get his payment? Lookin’ to get that nice plot o’ land for yer misses too? Fucking traitor.”
The scout stormed off, heading towards the makeshift infirmary most likely, as the Leader sighed. ”My men don’t like the Order being here. They take it that I’d rather let them die out in the Forest and get home than get as many people as possible back. That is why I need someone to track down whatever is going on in those Forests. I’m willing to pay both you and the Order a heavy sum for your services, even give you a discount on our goods, if you can help us.”
The words hung in the air between Einarr and the Leader, the camp’s momentary chaos dying down as work resumed.
@Lionhearted@0 Azzy 0
As the guards gave way to the two travellers their weapons were stripped and a guard placed ahead of them to guide them along. All around various men and women mulled, going about their daily duties and briefly glancing over at the strange woman who walked through their halls. Some would remember seeing her years ago, though her dress was entirely different now than before. Others simply knew not what to think of her appearance or even the man beside her. It wasn’t long, however, before the guard directed them inside a room and paused.
Around them were gathered eight men sitting at a crescent shaped table, they seemed to be in the midst of an argument and their attention placed fully upon a man at the crux of the table. ”Just because these outsiders have come here doesn’t mean we need to help them. Let them freeze for all I care, the Order doesn’t belong here,”
A scraggly looking man shouted across the room, his palm smacking the wood of the table as he gestured towards another across from him. His opponent in the argument was a well dressed man no likely older than forty, though his hair was already as grey as the others. ”Leave them to die and then what Lord Turin? If they die in the Winter will they not send more men here? Will they not think that we chose to let them die? Perhaps they will wage war on us when they come back. Do you think we can survive a war when Vernthouth is in such chaos?”
Lord Turin shook his head in response to the man in front of him and sighed, looking heavily at the man at the crux of the table and the noticing the travelers and guard. ”You are right Lord Erith. We can’t just act however. We know not their intentions as of yet, right King Gorim?”
The Lord smiled over at the King, his distant stare broken at the mention of his name and his attention turned towards the travellers in his Court. The King rose from his chair and stepped around the table, coming face to face with Tarasynora even as guards flanked him. The Lords at the table flinched and tension seemed to rise as they watched their King. ”She’s a restoration mage, more importantly she’s likely the best restoration mage the Order can give us. If she can help my son then I could care less about your petty squabbling Erith, Turin. We’d have a debt to the Order.”
Clamoring rose as the Lords shouted at the King, various words of dissent being thrown at him and even some claiming that they could just as well kill his son. It was until Lord Turin slammed his gavel on the table that silence rang out, the Lords taking their seats once more. ”But sire, this is the same woman who visited our lands many years ago. From what I’ve heard with my contacts in Ioria, she had her own Father killed. Do you surely think you should so easily trust this woman? She could as well have been sent to kill your son instead of help him. The Order so wants our aide that now they are reliant on causing chaos in our own lands!.”
Lord Turin stood from his seat and glared at the woman, his eyes seemingly burning as he watched her. ”True, how do you propose we should trust you, Healer?”
With the horses prepared and packed with supplies, the four prepare to head off towards the mines. Though the mines are only a days ride north, the travel is hard as the plains give way to rocky outcroppings and harsh hills eventually even that gives way to steep rises as the mountains grow ever closer. As the day wears on the party feels the ever present cold from the mountains as their ascent takes them closer to the foot of the monstrous heights. Camp was made not long before night fall.
Silence, the mountains are surrounding forests were eerily silent as the party slept. There were no sounds of owls or howls of wolves, no crunching of leaves from deer or stags. There was simply the silent howling of the wolves. It was like the world itself had frozen at foot of the mountains and nothing could break it. The air, however, was uneasy as a wave crept through the camp and down to the waiting party.
Georgia and Vélaneah could feel
the presence of something creeping into their minds, its magical threads winding its way slowly through their minds and probing deep inside them. The creature remained shrouded and silent even as the uneasy rest of the two continued. It, however, did not find what it was looking for a crept to Nazan and Stravi where it was met with resistance. Nazan’s martial mind acted as a steel wall against the threads, the creature finding no purchase in his mind. Stravi’s mind was similar, however, the creature was more prepared this time and struck through the barrier. It wove its way through the mind of the dwarf and found what it had been looking for, creeping out as silently as it had come.
In the middle of the night, the frozen world seemed to burst anew from its bubble. Owls returning and wolves howling. No trace was found of the creature as the four awoke from their sleep, no magical residue left to trace and no sign of movement on the ground. The unease remained, however, in the mind of the three it had probed. An unease of a shadowy being in its depths, looking for something.