Cor saw Kenji's hand slip to his sword and heard him mutter somehting about demons when he mentioned shape shifting. "Easy there Kenji, I did not mean to alarm you. Tis simple wizardly or druid spells I inquire about when I mention shape shifting. There are no demons here in this group. I expect if you travel with us longer you will certainly have a chance to see demons but I hope it is not on this day." Cor gave Kenji a puzzled look, "Do you not have mages or druids in your homeland?"
Kenji relaxed at Cor’s urgings, he didn’t sense any deceit in his words and he had come to trust Cor since their battle together to save Conall. His hands came away from his sword but he still showed his uneasiness at the situation.
“There are those who use magic among my people,” he said slowly as if thinking back to that time, “there was a ‘mage’ who worked for my Daimyo… but he didn’t have the ability to change into other beings or animals. Such magic was considered only suitable for those who used the ‘dark arts’.”
Cynil looks up to the forboding mountain, thers is something about it that bothers her, but she can not place what it is.
When mention is made of shape changing she volunteers.
"I can turn into a mountain goat, that way I will seem natural to any watchers, and it will give me the ability to move about quickly searching for the best path."
Kenji turned to look at her, again the eyebrow raised at her mention of turning herself into a goat. He definitely seemed uncomfortable with the idea of people changing into anything other than humanoid forms.
“I think I will see if there is any game about to he had,” he turned and going to his belongings picked up his 6’ Daikyu bow and quiver of arrows and headed off into the surrounding forest to look for game. He kept his eyes open for any traps that others in the party might have set to catch the unwary.
Conall sat with his family sword across his lap, the two sat in silence for some time. “This sword that was bound to my family long ago shall be bound also to you. For if by life or by sword your sacrifice will not go for not, Cor the gates of the castle Gledower will forever be open to you and your kin’s men. If it is to be as you have said and I am to find love, you will be a father to my children if I were to orphan them.”
Conall looked forward to the lady Rayne’s visits for it meant information on the people Conall now held dear to him. It also meant he may hear word of Cynil though he dare not ask out right about her for fear of something. What that something was he did not know. He was like a child with a king’s crown. Lost yet alive.
During one of Rayne’s visits she spoke of the passing of Haila’s father, “I will pray to Odin and I will go before the alter and give up an offering for him in Valhalla.”
But it was the time Conall spent with Cynil Conall looked forward to the most. She was like no other he had met before. She was like all the others but different. She could at one moment be difficult how she would always hand things to him half way not giving total thought in what she was doing. Other times she would walk with him never truly helping but some how her just being there gave Conall something he had never felt before. She did not walk behind him, nor did she lead him, more like she was beside him when he looked or pushing him forward when it was needed or just being in his thoughts when it was time for neither.
Nearing the end of Conall’s recovery when he was able to join the others for meals he met the one called Kenji truly for the first time. Conall gave a salute as was his way, “Kenji, I am Conall Glendower of the House Glendower I hope to one day repay you for the honor you have shown me. Until that day I will forever be your brother at arms. My sword is your sword.”
On the trail
Upon Conall’s full recovery or as best as one may recover from such an ordeal, he found all his cloths had been mended and cleaned. As he loaded up his things he spoke aloud, “I know not who looked after my things but I thank each and every one of you. For now I can say no more, for words can not say enough.” With that said he smiled and turned away and continued to get his things ready.
During the trip Cynil brought forth a bunch of small paper bound bundles. Now a Paladin such as Conall knew not of such weapons and with a clumsy hand smashed one and the sneezing fit that fallowed almost put him, his companion sharing his canoe and the entire supplies load in the canoe into the river. The group had a good laugh and it made for a day of story telling that went well into the late afternoon around the campfire.
At the base of the Mountains
As Cor spoke, “Seems that we will be breaking trail on this leg of our journey.” Conall reach down and rubbed his new leg. It still seemed to be strange to him but all the same he knew it must be faced.
As Kenji and Cor had words Conall kept his hands away from his sword hilt but was ready to step between any who would do harm to another whether it be Kenji or one of the others in the party upon him.
Upon hearing Cynil’s idea of shifting into a mountain goat Conall stood and without thinking spoke rather loudly, “You will do…. I mean...” Conall fumbled for some words when Kenji saved him, “I think I will see if there is any game about to be had,”
Conall turned and continued to ready his sleeping area mumbling to himself, ‘Stupid, stupid, stupid. This is her way of life, our way of life. She is an elf and no telling how long she has lived this life. Surly much longer than you have been around Conall, she was soaring over mountains like those long before your father’s father was swing a sword. Stupid, think before you speak.”
"Perhaps in goat form an old farm boy like Connel will find you more attractive." Cor ribbed his good friend. "At least you would smell more like him lass."
Back post conversation with Connel: "I am honored by your words Connel, I am proud to be counted as a member of House Glendower. Your children will be well taken care of if orphaned. Of course you have to make some first; I assume you remember how."
Blushing maddenly at Cor's coment of children and Conall's ability to make them, she manages to quip, "I am sure that when such a time comes, Conall will know to let nature takes it course."
"As for being a goat, they do not stink to other goats." She turns from Cor and Conall and head to Althena.
"Althena, where do you feel it best to look for this opening to the mountain, or I am just going to have to wing it." She waits for an answer hoping that she has some idea, if not, it was a big mountain and would take some time to search.
"Okay, how do we mant to do this, I can move a bit ahead of you and then come back to show you the best way, or if anyone has a suggestion I am open to listening."
If given a direction she will go that way, if not she will make a systematic search of the entire mountain. Onced the plan is set Cynil puts aside her pack and with her staff in hand, changes into a mountain goat ready to take up her place as a scout for the group.
Posted on 2008-04-02 at 03:24:35.
Brianna Not Dragon Mistress Karma: 105/32 2282 Posts
Rayne had already recently repack her backpack but she did take out her rope and hoil it up and loop it through her belt for the mountain trek as the rest poprepare each in their own way. "Haila so you still have that nagging feeling?" Rayne questions the woman. She had heard her when she first rbrought it up and while she did not want to be a worrier over this whole things still also felt the weighty importance of this quest and knew that somewhere those who did n't want them to succed would be trying to stop them.
So far they had run into many trials and tribulations she had not delt that any was realated to a direct opposition. That did not mean their would be none just means it hasn't happened yer. She had kept a sharp look out as they traverse the river and even now Arwen was out scouting the area at her insistance. Luckily the eagle owl was adept and daytime hunting as nightime hunting. A rarity amoung owls but that is why she had chosen him. Eyes in the sky were very important ones that soulc function day or night were even better.
LEts get going them whatever shapes your going to take them do it. I will have Arwen up hunting for anybody or anything in our area. I can also have him look for things like caves or opening in the rocks. Ulthok are you going to shange form and hunt or stay with us. I was thinking that Cynil and you should stay relatively together if you take land forms, hat way each of you can back up the other.
From Scroll Creating to Mountain Climbing BIG DAY.
OOC: A quick ooc here I have talked to Tann about this and am going to do a little back posting here since I have missed much in Main. The main thing is Ulthok is going to be teleporting back to the kings castle while we are staying in Main to retrieve some items he had left behind he is going to spend the quite time in Main transcribing a scroll, however if anyone was interested in going back to our home base either to retrieve an item or maybe to retrieve some of the money we left behind just post it so and you can have traveled back with me or had me retrieve something for you.
Back Post to Main
BIC: After the healing at the temple it seemed there would be some down time until Conall would be ready to travel again so Ulthok decides it would be a good time to prepare for the events that will be coming soon. So making sure he takes the time to seek out and talk to each of the party members he tells them what he is planning to do. Since once we leave here I think we will be reaching our destination soon I am going to try to prepare as best as I can. There are some items that I need for what I want to do back at our home base in the kings castle so I am going to be teleporting back there possibly a couple of times if any one of you would like to travel with me or would like me to retrieve anything for you please let me know, for I will be gathering some items of my own as well as visiting my repository and bringing back a little more gold, and will do for anyone who might need me too.
The one other thing he does before he goes is have a talk with their new companion who had approached Ulthok and asked him about the party’s quest. Ah Kenji I do not blame you for asking for we are quite a varied party with many different types after one goal. He will begin by tell him the tale of their rescue of the Lady Althena and the evil that had imprisoned her. About the huge battle with the dark cleric and the ones they lost. He will tell him about their return to the king and what he then reveals to them about Althena about the evil that is once again rising up in our lands and the need for us to seek out this weapon and recover it before they can. And so I hope you see fit to join us and help in this quest for I am sure we can use the help of one who has shown himself to be so noble.
With that said to each party member and his talk with Kenji over he does what he said and he retrieves the needed scrolls, inks, special quills, and other items needed to write out a scroll. Upon his return to Main he once again will seek each party member out so to speak with them. Good friends I have decided to try and use the time we are going to be stuck here to try and raise my arsenal of spells for the dangers we know are waiting for us on our journey. So I am asking that once I seclude myself away for the task for which I have prepared that no one disturb me unless it is an emergency or Conall is ready to travel and I have not yet come out, for this task requires the utmost attention and concentration.
He hopes they understand that he is not trying to be rude or avoid them but he must have total concentration to try and prepare his scrolls. He then visits the Inn and also asks them that he room be left alone until he request that it not and he picks up some food items and stuff to keep his strength up while locked away. Then he goes to his room and once inside locks the door gets out all of the items he brought along gets out his book of spells and begins to study. He will be locked in here for nine days and will come out probably the night before they are to leave again.
On the River
The trip up river was as uneventful as the first part had been full of trouble, the party made their way quickly to the spot where they had to leave the river and set out on foot. Hiding the boats the best they could they gather their gear and head out on foot the area they travel through is full of life and is rather lovely it does not seem they could be in the right place to be seeking something as evil as this cursed sword. When they finally stood at the base of the huge mountain there seemed to be no way to go. Then
Cor has the suggestion Perhaps one of you shape shifting types could do a bit of scouting to see if there is an appreciable difference in the various faces of that rock.
Well for some reason this does not sit well with their new companion, who it seems has not had the same type of upbringing in his land that we have had for he seems not to understand the way of our Druids or of our Mages for that fact and for some reason puts the idea of changing form to be the work only of demons. He at once becomes uneasy and as Ulthok watches his hands unconscientiously go to his weapons. Having had some conversation with Kenji Ulthok hopes maybe he could shed a little light on this idea of shape shifting. Moving from his spot canvassing the rocks about the base of the mountain he moves quickly but as non threatening as he could to Kenji's side
Hey there my new friend i understand that our customs and those from where you come from may not be quite the same but I can assure you that you find no demons here among our party, by the contrary, let me explain something here, many of our people which we call Druids spend their lives learning to commune with nature and they worships the lawful gods that are a part of that nature and just as our clerics get their powers to cure and heal people from their gods Druids are granted these powers to change shape from their gods but these are not demons but the gods who bring peace and love and beauty to our world. Also where you are from are there no Mages or Wizards who use magic for the good of the people. For as one who wields magic I don't worship any god for my magic I do worship the god of my people but my powers come from hard work and many, many hours of intense work and study. No god or demon gives me my powers so what I do is not the work of any evil but my own doing, and what I do is for the good of our people you need to understand that there are many different cultures and ways of life that may differ from what your use to but that does not make them automatically evil my big friend. I do believe the longer you travel with and fight along our side you will become more comfortable with our ways and customs just as we shall with yours. However at this point if you are uncomfortable please then by all means step back and either watch from a distance or hunt, but please don't wander to far for we may need to move out rather fast as we locate our path. I do assure you Kenji
and I swear on the lives of my mother and father you will find no demons helping or guiding the hands of any of our group we are committed to the eradication of evil on our world.
With all that said Ulthok gives the big man his warmest smile then turns and walks back to the base of the mountain where he is going to use his polymorph spell. As Cynil searches as a goat among the rocks he will soar around the mountains cracks and crevices looking for any way that looks good and hopefully easy for the party to climb or maybe a cave or opening that will lead them inside. So standing at the base of the mountain Ulthok looks up at the clear sky and with his arms spread and palms upwards he vocalizes the arcane words needed to complete his spell
“elage na sa ylf ot flesmih esuac dna lliw sih ot yrtsepat cigam eht evaew ot gnilflah sith wolla dlrow siht elur ohw seno taerg ho”
As quickly as he spoke the words of magisc where once stood a 31/2 ft halfling now from the same spot soared a great Golden Eagle. He at once soars up into the daytime sky and at first takes the time to scan the immediate area the party was standing in to scout out any thing that might look out of place or might look to be dangerous to the party. If all looks good he will then begin his methodic search of the mountain looking for any areas that look like they might present themselves as climbing routes, keeping a close watch for anything that might look as if it maybe been used in the past but now forgotten. The Eagle also keeps watch for any openings in the face of the mountain that and any that it sees will investigate these to see if they are more than just shallow depressions and might be caves they could enter and explore for a way into the mountain. Until he has done as much as he can for the moment or until he finds something of importance to report he will stay airborne then he will return to the rest and report anything he has found out.
Posted on 2008-04-02 at 12:04:17.
Edited on 2008-04-04 at 09:51:38 by Dragonmist
Brianna Not Dragon Mistress Karma: 105/32 2282 Posts
When Ulthok tells them he is going back to the King's castle. Rayne is ecstatic. "Ulthok, I would love to go back with you. I want to pick up my good bow and my wolves and my ferrets. I will not bring back Ariel though I think she would be perfect for me to search the area but I have a feeling I need to stay on the ground though I don't know why. Besides we must travel back down the river and go through that same area where I would be forced to send her off until we got through it.
Rayne asks to accompany Ulthok back to the castle looking forward to being reunited with her companions, with a joyful heart she stands with Ulthok as they teleport back.
It is an eventually happy reunion. Ariel is easy to find in the Pegasus herds. Rayne felt her before she saw her coming out of the forest. However she was accompanied by a huge Pegasus stallion following not to far behind her. He waited slightly apart and Ariel galloped and flew towards her. Rayne reach out her hand to the mare delicate muzzle. Her breath blew hot on Rayne’s fingers as she stroked the mare chin. Ariel loved being scratched there. The stallion whuffled to Ariel but she ignored him. She half reared and snorted a challenge. . Ariel turned her head and laid back her ears, and went so far as to cock a heel up in a threatening manner as if to say "Don’t interfere."
Rayne kept her eye on the stallion but didn't neglect the attention her mare wanted. Together she walked Ariel over towards the stallion. Telepathically she tells Ariel she will be going back but Ariel is to stay here for now.
Rayne looks the stallion over as she drew closer. He really was a magnificent animal. She didn't recognize him as one of the regular Pegasi of the Pegasus riders, perhaps someone was visiting or
She then asked Ariel ** Where did you find him? **
**He followed me,** the mare replied.
Rayne then suspected he was a wild one. Well none -the-less he was a magnificent specimen.
**Nice male** Rayne sent
**Yes,** was Ariel reply.
Rayne parted with Ariel leaving her to deal with the stallion on her own, with a grin she adds, **He should father nice babies**
Finding Storm and Shadow was a little more difficult but she did. The two wolves gamboled out of the forest after Raiel had spent an hour looking for them. Reaching her quarters she gathered her bow she went done to the animals area to find =Munch and Crunch they squeaked and chirped in their special way when they saw her with Storm and Shadow. They were happy to get out of the large room where they were housed in a natural manner while she was away. They certainly were plumb.
She scooped them both up they were rather hefty. "What have you been doing, eating the whole time?" She laughed and their comical faces and let them climb her arm and settle on her shoulder or backpack their preferred places. Rayne tool time to report to her superior the Ranger Captain in a crisp report about much that had happened since she left here and the incident and in the forest and the "treemen"" that corrupted the surrounding forest the perverted trees and the cannibalism. "Only come to think about it they might not be human at all and therefore they are just eating flesh of humanoids and they are something else. Those "tree men" need to be dealt with and it is not going to be and easy task. These "men" seemed to be able to meld into trees and the reappear. They all seem to have the same appearance. They are something I have never encountered before in reality or takes." she mentioned that the area would not be hard to find as there had been a huge forest fire radiating out from the area. She finished her report about the trip so far and then asks, "I would like to request some supplies, and I had not planned on staying out so long and I am running a bit short on a few things.
With her companions gathered Rayne went to meet Ulthok for the return trip to the town of Main
On the Base of the Mountain
Rayne turns back to the Lady Althena, and salutes her. After all they were here because of her this was her mission and they were all here to help her succeed.
"Lady this is your mission I am here to help you succeed. Will you direct me as to where you want me to start off."
Rayne launches Arwen off her shoulder telepathically instructing him what she wanted him to do. **Watch for other two legged humanoid and any monsters, warn me if you see them. Also keep watch for caves or openings in the rock inform me when you find those as well. Now fly my friend and search around this mountain.** The majestic bird rose on his broad feathered wings into the sky circling to get his bearing and then hunting as Rayne had instructed him to.
Then she sends of Shadow and Storm on the same mission but with a different view point. **Hunt together and be careful and look for any openings that go inside the mountain and warn me of any dangers you might find two legged, or four legged or any other monsters.**
Munch and Crunch she keeps with her, they like hanging onto her backpack or around her neck. She was ready to move out at Lady Althena directions.
Posted on 2008-04-03 at 06:15:00.
Edited on 2008-04-03 at 18:31:30 by Brianna
Althena watched silently as her companions morphed into animals. Then Cynil and Rayne ask here where the sword is, or for some clue as to where to begin the search. She looks at them in turn. The look on her face does not good news.
“I know the sword is in this mountain somewhere. However, I do not know its exact location. The entrance is hidden, and I don’t know which side of the mountain it’s on. I am sorry that I cannot tell you more.”
She looks up at the mountain, and back at them. “The entrance could be magically disguised, or maybe just camouflaged. Perhaps both.”
Althena frowns, as she knows this is not much of an answer, and doesn’t really give any direction as to where to begin their search.
The party had reached their destination in a manner of speaking though for the moment they found themselves on the outside. With no way to scale the mountain and no visible entrance, it would be up to the shapechangers of the party to scout ahead. With a few of the party having returned with Ulthok to further gather supplies, Rayne gathering up both her wolves and her two ferrets, the rest awaited the time to push forward.
It was decided that Ulthok and Cynil would be the ones to shapechange and explore the mountain above them for any sign of a hidden gateway. Cynil decided to stay to earth as the form of a goat while Ulthok took to the sky in the shape of a great eagle both determined to find a way up and in. Along with them would go Rayne’s two wolves and her own eagle
Before the change both Cynil and Rayne thinking to have as much knowledge as possible turned to Althena.
"Althena, where do you feel it best to look for this opening to the mountain, or I am just going to have to wing it."
“I know the sword is in this mountain somewhere. However, I do not know its exact location. The entrance is hidden, and I do not know which side of the mountain it is on. I am sorry that I cannot tell you more.”
As she replied to both she took a long look up at the mountain, then back to them.
“The entrance could be magically disguised, or maybe just camouflaged, perhaps both. For it to have remained hidden these past 1200 plus years it must be hidden by some form of magic, but again I know not what type or how we may detect it. It will not be easy to find for sure but I do know it is trapped and if found must not at first be touched by anyone until we can examine it closely.”
With that the search was on as one took to the air the other on the ground
For Cynil even as a goat she found it very hard to move upwards almost as if the mountain had been designed not to be climbed, but slowly hoof by hoof she managed to make her way up. As she finally made it to a small ledge, she was able to catch her breath for the first time since the start of the climb, only to find she was not alone, the growl of a large cat coming from just above her....
Ulthok, followed by Arwyn, fared better having chosen the easier path of flight and soon found himself circling the mountain from the top down. With the width of the mountain, almost 4 miles wide every time around took him roughly 15 minutes. As he approached finally the mountains peak, a slight waver or distortion, for but a brief moment caught the corner of his eye, but when he turned to look directly nothing did he see. The mountain was the same all the way around perfect in its majesty a symbol of strength no openings to be found, still followed by his smaller eagle companion he continued his search.
The party below continued to wait as morning moved into afternoon, Rayne’s wolves having returned finding nothing, and awaited word from Cynil the goat and Ulthok the eagle as to the results of the two’s search. For the moment unable to do anything more.
(OOC: OK good posting glad to have finally gotten the search started. DA I added a few lines as I forgot to tell you that you knew the door was probably trapped in some way. Hope you do not mind.
DM you face a larger then normal Mountain lion, clearly female, and she appears to be guarding something behind her in the shadow of a stone outcropping. She looks ready to attack but still seems hesitant for some reason. Depending on what you do combat may or may not start. Good luck
Brianna I am assuming that Storm and Shadow are your wolves and that Munch & Crunch are the ferrets is that correct. If so, I will add their names to your character sheet this evening and note that they along with Arwyn are with the party
Also as Ulthok posted now would be a good time to go back to the capital with him to gather anything you feel you might need, money, weapons, potions etc… Make a list and post it in the Q/A and if it is not in your stored inventory, I will roll % dice to see if it was available for purchase.
Once again, a hint if there is something you feel you need GET it now once inside the mountain Ulthok’s or anyones teleports may not work.)
Conall watched as those in the group changed and moved off toward the mountain. He stood still for a while until they moved out of sight.
Conall then turned and walked toward the camp fire. As he passed by Cor he nudged him and silently motioned toward Althena then continued to the fire side. Fixing him a cup of hot tea Conall turned to the lady Althena, “A cup for you Milady.” Conall stands with the cup for Althena or depending on her response to his offering of tea and walks over beside her. “I will sit with you a while and we will talk.” This was not a question but a statement and with that Conall found a nearby rock or log to place himself upon. “In the past I have wronged you. I do not know how or what to say to make up for those wrongs. I do know that you wonder often in your thoughts and day dreams. You look for some one as we here look for something. I would like to look upon you now and tell you he is sitting in the Halls of Valhalla beside Odin and my fore fathers or riding across the Elysium Fields on a Great War horse, but I can not. Even though he and I were not on the best of terms he and I were brethren in arms. Odin has a way of bring news of such people to his brethren and family. I have not received such words. So I know he is some where, where I and some of the others can get to. When all this funny business about swords and saving the world is done and put behind us, I alone if need be will go, find him, and bring him back. Then the two of you can be together once more. But I need from you one thing.” Conall paused and looked at her with all concentration, “I need you to stay here with us. I need you to stay alive and well. I, We, He needs you to do this first. Then we will go find you beloved. That I promise.”
Connel had nudged Cor on his way past and motioned towards Althena. Moments later Cor made his way over as well. "Mmmm, tea. Perhaps I could have a cup as well?" Cor tried not to shudder outwardly at the thought of drinking tea, nasty stuff when not prepared according to his grandmother's recipie. He was fairly certain there would be no dwarven brandy in this evening's cup but the conversation would be worth the sacrifice.
For a while Cor sat and listened. After Connel had finished he spoke. "We do indeed need you here with us; in fact Trilogy itself needs you if I understood correctly. I know you have lost one you cared about deeply and none can fill that void. However if you continue to retreat inward in an attempt to bring back that which cannot be restored you risk the void growing even bigger." Cor tried a sip of tea, it was as he expected and he deceided that he would simply hold it and enjoy the warmth rather than drink it.
I do assure you Kenji and I swear on the lives of my mother and father you will find no demons helping or guiding the hands of any of our group we are committed to the eradication of evil on our world.
Kenji had listened to Ulthok’s words and nodded and with his Daikyu bow and arrows to hand he turned and went on about his hunting as he had said he would. He left still uncomfortable about the idea of people changing into other creatures. He did feel slightly better after Ulthok and Cor’s reassurances but he still had doubts; a lifetime of distrust of magic he considered to be evil was not so easily dismissed.
He walked away from the camp area for a ways and then started to look for signs of game, trying to forget his mistrust of his new traveling companions and their strange ways. He was no Ranger but he did have some hunting skills learned back when he was a child and his father taught him how to find game and kill it.
He searched for a while until he spotted some game signs in the soft ground; Deer tracks it seemed and several of them. He followed them for only a few minutes until he came to a small clearing just over a rise from the area where they had camped. He spotted a small stream running through the clearing and a couple of does had stopped to drink their fill.
He smiled as he silently removed two arrows from his quiver; setting one in his teeth he notched the other arrow and took careful aim. He had been fortunate that he had a good clear shot across the clearing and the deer were presenting their flanks to him. He held his breath to steady himself then loosed the first arrow at the first deer. Before it had crossed the distance he had the other arrow to hand and notching it as he watched for the impact of the first.
The first arrow took the deer through the side, just behind the right foreleg, the deer staggered a step and dropped to the ground. He took aim at the second which bolted as soon as the first one dropped. He held his breath and tracked the deer as it sprinted for the edge of the clearing. Loosing the second arrow it too took it’s target in the side and this deer ran a few more steps before crashing to the ground.
Kenji ran forward and found the second deer still struggling, as this shot had not been a clean one, and drawing his shorter sword he quickly ended it’s suffering with a stab through the heart. He didn’t like to see anything suffer, not even when he intended to kill it. Death was a nature part of life but suffering was something that could be avoided.
Smiling at his incredible good fortune, he dragged the second deer back to the first, laid them out next to one another and using his short sword he began to dress them out. It took him about an hour to gut the deer, section out the choice cuts of meat, washing them in the cold stream, and stowing them in one of the sacks in from his backpack. When he was finished, he cleaned his weapon and hoisting the bulging sack which contained enough meat to feed the party for a couple days when properly cured. Leaving the little bits behind for the scavengers he left and headed back to camp.
A half hour later he wandered back into the camp and noticing the others either gone or engaged in conversation, he sat down by the fire and soon had a couple of nice tenderloins roasting on a spit. As those cooked and filled the air with wonderful smells, he dug through his pack and brought out a bag of salt and after sprinkling some on the cooking meat began to cure the rest so it would last until eaten.
As he worked, he wondered if the ones out searching had found anything yet. The way into the mountain was supposed to be secret and hence were not easily found. His consternation about the shape changing for the moment was forgotten.
Althena looked around silently, the void in her heart weighing heavily upon her. She found a relatively flat rock under a tree and sat there. She drew her knees up, wrapped her arms around her legs, and starred at the ground, lost in thought. In her mind’s eye she could see herself in Alasdair’s arms once more. He was holding her close to him, and they were talking and laughing as though he had never been stolen away from her. A solitary tear slowly forged a path down her cheek.
Conall’s voice broke through her day dream, and she looked up at him. Her eyes took a moment to focus on his face, but once they did she smiled sadly up at him. “A cup for you Milady.” Althena looked at the cup, almost confused for a moment. Then her mind cleared and registered that he was offering her something to drink. She wiped the tear from her face, set her feet on the ground in front of her, and took the offered cup. “Thank you, Connal.”
She took a sip of the tea when Conall again spoke.
“In the past I have wronged you. I do not know how or what to say to make up for those wrongs.”
Althena began to protest, but her words caught in her throat as Conall continued.
“I do know that you wonder often in your thoughts and day dreams. You look for someone as we here look for something. I would like to look upon you now and tell you he is sitting in the Halls of Valhalla beside Odin and my forefathers, or riding across the Elysium Fields on a Great War horse, but I cannot. Even though he and I were not on the best of terms, he and I were brethren in arms. Odin has a way of bring news of such people to his brethren and family. I have not received such words. So I know he is somewhere, where I and some of the others can get to. When all this funny business about swords and saving the world is done and put behind us, I alone if need be will go, find him, and bring him back. Then the two of you can be together once more. But I need from you one thing.” Conall paused and looked at her with all concentration, “I need you to stay here with us. I need you to stay alive and well. I, We, He needs you to do this first. Then we will go find you beloved. That I promise.”
By the time Conall had finished what he was saying, the tears were flowing freely down Althena’s face. It was as though she could feel her heart shattering in her chest yet again. She stared into her cup of tea, fighting off the urge to get up and run away from everyone. At that moment she wanted nothing more than to join her Alisdair.
She looked up at Conall, the heartbreak unmasked and clear in her voice, “I love him so much, Conall. Every moment is harder than the one before, to go on without him here. I have lived such a long time. To have found him now, only to lose him like this, I…” Her voice broke off. She dropped the cup and buried her face in her hands. Her voice was muffled as she cried, “It’s more than one can bare!”
After a few moments, Althena managed to regain tentative control, and looked up at Cor as he spoke:
“We do indeed need you here with us; in fact Trilogy itself needs you if I understood correctly. I know you have lost one you cared about deeply and none can fill that void. However if you continue to retreat inward in an attempt to bring back that which cannot be restored you risk the void growing even bigger."
She looked back and forth between Conall and Cor, considering their words. Her mind trying to come to grips with what they were saying. She knew they were both right. And as she did so, so many times a day, she called out to her Alasdair. “But how can I do what they are saying? Oh, Alasdair, please help me be strong, for though you are gone in body, your mind remains with me. I know you are with me. Please help me.”
Althena took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. She began to nod, hesitantly, wiping the fresh tears from her face, then, with a determined look on her face, she nodded more firmly. She looked at Cor, and then Conall right in their eyes. “Yes. I know what you both say is true. I will be here, complete this task, with all of your help, and do what is required of me. We will find and claim the sword, and return to my father.”
She suddenly went to Connal and knelt before him, grasping his hands in her own, a most earnest look in her eyes, and the desperation in her voice, “Truly, Conall? Can you do as you said? When this is all over, can you bring him back to me? Will you? Please, do not make this promise lightly.”
Posted on 2008-04-06 at 13:29:58.
Edited on 2008-04-06 at 13:34:11 by DarkAutumn
"I truely do not know if Alasdair can be found and returned to your side, but if there is a way then Connel shall do as he said for his word is is bond. He will not be alone in his quest for where he goes so go I." Cor layed a comforting hand upon Althena's shoulder. "Keep him safe in your heart and mind. You can draw strength from the knowledge that he is still with you and alwyas will be as long as you remember him."
Cor gave comfort to Althena and his word rang true, they also gave Conall some comfort for he now knew that in the search for Alasdair Conall would not go alone.
“MiLady Althena, Cor and I live by a Code of Honor. I also live by rules I have set down for myself. One of those rules is to never make a promise I intend not to keep.” Conall moved his right hand to a small dagger he kept close. He withdrew it and place the blade in his left hand and began to squeeze tightly. “By the Blood of Conall Gledower of the House Gledower, Paladin of Odin, I will find Alasdair and return him to the Lady Althena.” As a small trickle of blood seeped from between his fingers Conall open his left hand and showed it to Cor and then to Althena and then held it skyward, “These words I have said and to my fathers before me they are true!”
Conall then stood and walked over to his bed roll. Removing a small flack he tossed it over to Cor, “Tis not Dwarven but the Monks at the temple said it was not that bad. Perhaps you can tell me how well it goes with tea?” He then found a small cloth that was made for such wounds and wrapped his left hand tightly. Then he moved back over to Althena and Cor, “Now come let us move closer to the fire and see what Kenji has brought back to us from his hunt.”