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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:05 am

While Ashara was finishing the sketch of the Standing Stone, the half elf was still gazing up at it in wonder. A smile gently turned up the corners of her mouth. In spite of some particularly arrogant elves trying to tell him otherwise, all of this...the Stone, Cormanthyr, even Myth Drannor itself, was part of his heritage. Maybe his mother's family once lived in the great city! Maybe 1300 years ago one of his ancestors contributed to this Pact made with the Dales! It was likely that they'd never know, but for a young man who was hungry to learn of his history and a family that he never really knew, even the most remote possibilities were exciting.

She took out another sheet of parchment to begin a new sketch as Elric circled the monolith once again. A portrait this time. The look of awe and fascination on his face was one Ashara hoped she could effectively capture and add to her growing collection of such works. Sometimes she'd flip through those pictures of her husband and the memories would come as easily as if she'd sketched the event itself. It was like seeing it again through his eyes... Like a mini-Memory Read!

"It's unfortunate that we won't be able to simply walk the streets of Myth Drannor and marvel at the place like we can here," she said breaking the silence as she scratched at the parchment. "You know... With the demons and dragons and undead and who know what else lurking about, we're going to have to be on our toes. There's really no rush to be out of the city though, so as long as we feel relatively safe, we can take our time. We'll be there at least a ten day after finding the Endless Dawn, since the Everdawn Blade will most likely need to be bathed in its light for the same amount of time as the records stated."

After finishing the two sketches, the priestess rolled them up and slid them into her scroll case before packing up her supplies.

"Maybe we should press on now, just in case our most recent guests decide to pay us another visit. As unlikely as that may be," she smiled. "Besides, there are memories to be made to the north!"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:21 am

He laughed. "Honestly, I don't expect them to be popping up anytime soon... Even if they do go back to their normal lives, I don't suspect they'll bother US... We beat them pretty soundly. Soundly enough that they could guess what round two would look like."

They'd been more than generous to those two, and he truly hoped he was right. They had a chance to start fresh, and hopefully the Everdawns had given the concept of 'wandering travelers' a face to the bandits... He hoped they'd think of them when they felt the temptation to attack seemingly outnumbered or helpless victims. Maybe they'd damaged the Sibling's confidence a bit...

"They have to know how lucky they were... and the mistake they'd risk doing something that stupid again... Next time we'd never just cut them loose." He shook his head in annoyance. Letting them go was his idea... but he didn't know what he'd do if he ever found out someday that they'd continued killing. He whispered a prayer that Ashara's words had taken root.

"I'm not worried about them... but I make no guesses about their friends. Still can't believe he got away..." He kept running the memory of the chase through his mind... the abandoned camp... It must have been magic of some sort. He wasn't sure if that thought made him more or less comfortable...

Still as grateful as he was for the diversion of the Standing Stone, Ashara was right. It was time to continue on. The City seemed to change locations based on the age of the map they looked at and the skill of the Cartographer. Best case scenario put it about Twenty to Thirty miles from where they stood now. Alone, without a caravan, he felt confident they make that distance today... He was wrong.

Nearly as soon as they entered he realized their horses weren't going to be much use. The game trails were slim and winding. Despite the early morning the sun barely peeked through the treetops, What light they did have made the deep eerie shadows dance.

Sounds of scurrying animals and singing birds surrounded them and he was reminded of their time in the Forest of Wyrms... To date that forest had been the thickest he'd ever visited... and Cormanthyr seemed similar. A few miles in and even the small trails they traveled disappeared.

Elric shuddered as he heard movement to his left. Though he couldn't see them, he could almost feel the life all around him. The shadows enveloped them and while he knew it must be nearly noon, or maybe just past, in here it seemed closer to dusk. They could no longer even ride the horses, and more than once had to deviate from their course to find a route they could even take the beasts. The idea was suggested once or twice about simply setting them loose... but they were good horses and had served them well. Without them they'd have to carry all their gear, and running would be much more difficult. So until they had no other choice they'd try to keep them.

"Let's rest a moment." His voice echoed through the woods breaking the silence. Carefully he tossed the reins of his horse, the one Ashara had affectionately named Kalpa, over one of the few low hanging branches.

With a groan he sat on a damp mound near a cool stream. His magical boots were covered in mud from the perpetually moist ground. Apparently small springs popped up all over this forest, causing the moss and root strewn ground to be dangerously slippery and the whole journey slow going. More than once he'd felt his foot slip and nearly sprained an ankle. A terribly 'unheroic' way to start their adventure.

He removed his boots and set his aching feet in the cool running water while he tried his best to clean the boots a bit. On the whole... the deeper they went into the woods the more he believed the bards were liars. Cormanthyr was dark, damp, and generally creepy. NOT descriptions he'd used to describe a beautiful women in a ballad...
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:06 pm

Taking advantage of the brief respite, Ashara led her horse just upstream of Elric to water him. She couldn't help but be concerned with the density of the plant life this deep in the forest. Without sight of the sun to guide them and considering the maze of forest paths, she had no clue if they were still traveling north. That was normally her husband's province however...not her own, and she trusted that he'd lead them in the right direction. Another concern though, was the time of day... Considering their slow progress, there was no way they'd make the city before nightfall and she was pretty sure neither of them were interested in seeing what might come out and play in the ruined streets of Myth Drannor in the evening! Better to enter the city earlier in the day and hope to find some sort of 'secure' shelter at night.

While Himbar drank his fill, she watched Elric at the stream's edge and was just thinking that his feet may need some attention later that evening, when suddenly a vision of sharp teeth and claws and fur forced itself into her mind.

"ELRIC, JUMP!" Ashara shouted as they heard angry hiss coming from the mound he'd been sitting on. Himbar started at the sound and skittered back from the stream as the warrior leapt to his bare feet to see the long tubular form of a giant weasel emerging from its burrow. Followed by another...and another...and another... The four-foot long furballs just kept streaming out of the previously unnoticed hole, and Elric sprang into action.

Smacking her horse on the neck interrupted Himbar's panic long enough for Ashara to quickly tie his reigns to a branch. Then pulling Dawnspeaker from her hip, the priestess moved in to help put down this threat and maybe even secure their supper.

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:48 am

Ashara's warning came just in time and he felt fur and claws scratching at him as he backpeddled away. With a cry of Kil'ral he felt the power awaken in Ashara's ring and tingle through him.

The Sword of Quicknes slashed three times in quick succession and one of the beasts fell while another was left sorely wounded. A bare heel batted the wounded one aside before the warrior even understood what was happening.

Glancing around he recognized that he was being surrounded by weasels... The BIGGEST weasels he'd ever seen... but weasels none the less. As he danced and hopped out of the way of nipping bites, he determined that this part would not be put in the inevitable song...
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:26 am

Elric leaped and spun in his deadly dance as the weasels began to surround him, hopelessly trying to get a tooth or claw into the warrior. Ashara approached from behind one of the monstrous vermin, sending Dawnspeaker crushing down first onto its spine and then onto the skull, ending the creature as it turned to see this second unwitting intruder.

She was careful not to approach too near the half elf, but struck hard from the outskirts of the bloody maelstrom, picking off the weasels that had either backed away or had been kicked away.

After finishing off the one with a wicked wound to its ridiculously long torso, a couple of the creatures turned on Ashara, deciding they might have better luck with the mithril plated female than trying to get a nip in on the whirling half elf!

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:41 pm

As the battle continued Elric continued to slash with reckless abandon. Weasel blood splattered around them as he cut and kicked his way through the beasts. As he fought the ring on his hand pulsed showing him Ashara defeating her own opponents handily from somewhere behind him.

She was close by, close enough that he could hear the exertion that came with every swing. Close enough that he could 'see' himself off to her left, and more importantly 'saw' the wounded weasel that had circled behind him and sought to hamstring him. Trusting the vision more than his own chaotic senses, he swung towards the blindspot and felt steel strike flesh and squeal fall silent.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:16 pm

Claws squealed painfully against the metal plates as the weasels searched for an opening to exploit. The dwarven reputation as impeccable craftsmen was well earned however, and try as they might they just didn't have the tools to get through the armor.

Whether it realized the predicament or not, Ashara wasn't sure, but one of the beasts rose up on its hind legs and lunged for the only expose flesh it could see. Face and throat... It would have been a problem if those long sharp teeth had connected and managed to sink themselves deeply into her jugular, but they never got that opportunity as Dawnspeaker blasted into the side of its face sending it spinning away, not dead but wishing it were so.

The priestess put it out of its misery as the less intelligent of the weasels continued to scratch and bite fruitlessly at the mithril plate mail.

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:30 pm

The continual sound of wet smacking told him Ashara and Dawnspeaker were doing just fine, even if the visions hadn't been there. Of course, the sound of claws on armor wasn't nearly as comforting as it should have been. Still as long as it was scratching armor, it wasn't rending flesh.

As soon as his last one fell to the ground bleeding he spun to help Ashara. A slash or two later, and the battle was over. It had all happened so fast, that the half-elf was just now getting his surroundings. Scanning the trees for signs of any other danger he saw none.

Still breathing heavy and listening to his heartbeat in his ears, he collapsed on the damp moss and looked around at their opponents in wonder.

"Were we just attacked by Weasels?!
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:13 pm

"Giant weasels no less!" Ashara grinned, wiping a bit of the blood spatter from her face.

Then taking a knife from her pack, she began to dress one of the carcasses, gutting it from stem to stern where it lay. They still had quite a few hours to travel yet today, but it was cold enough that the meat would keep well until they found a place to make camp.

"Hope you don't mind eating vermin for dinner, my dear... I've never had the opportunity to cook weasel before, but it just has to be better than gargoyle!" She shuddered involuntarily at the memory before turning to look over her shoulder at the half elf.

"Apparently they thought you were a tasty meal delivered right to their doorway! We'll have to use you as dinner-bait more often!"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:29 pm

The half-elf's face twisted into a grimace at the memory of 'gargoyle'. While somehow his wife was able to make anything taste good... that didn't mean you wouldn't regret eating it the next day... After the long night following 'Gargoyle Stew' it was agreed, that not everything should be edible, and spice only went so far...

Still... considering the fine meals she'd made out of everything from Fire Beetle to Carrion Crawler, he had no doubt 'Giant Weasel' would rate pretty high.

"Bait huh," he grinned back at her as he pulled his boots back on. "I hope we can come up with a better plan that! SOMETIMES, I'd like to eat something that didn't first try to eat me..."
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:54 pm

"I suppose," she sighed dramatically. "Besides, the whole bait-ambush plan doesn't always yield expected results, as was recently demonstrated by our two favorite bandit siblings... Lle umaya karna saisaesien mereth, amin caela n'uma ruwa <You would make a very pleasing feast, I've no doubt>," Ashara winked, "nan' i'rashwe keaa e'neumien lle <but the trouble lies in catching you>!"

After the weasel had been cleaned and dressed, the young woman threw the carcass over Himbar's back and secured it, much to the vexation of the horse who snorted and stomped in displeasure.

The stream was cold and clear, so she took the opportunity to fill her waterskin after cleaning up a bit from the brief battle. "I suppose we should press on then? I doubt we'll be making the city today, but we could at least make a bit more progress toward our goal. If we could enter the city in the morning I think that would be for the best!"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:16 pm

"Sounds like a plan..." he said with a touch of disappointment. He'd hoped they'd make better time then they'd been doing. He turned around a couple times to help him determine which way they came in. Things seemed to turn around on him during the mighty battle, and it took him a little longer then it should to redetermine their path. He only hoped the path they were on was still heading north!

Elric was shocked as they continued on north...ish. He had thought the forest was thick before!!! Trees grew wide and tall, their large leaves blocking any semblance of sun or stars. He soon came to realize that while the elves lived with the trees... they had been gone for some time. In their absence, The woods themselves had reclaimed Cormanthyr. People weren't welcome here anymore. That thought gave him chills.

It was as dark as Dagadar. Well... almost. Though what seemed natural, miles under ground seemed more disturbing in this natural setting. As the sun neared setting, he quickly realized that not only was their progress slower then he'd hoped, so too was the day itself. Night fell early in the wilds of Cormanthyr.

The light of his holy symbol lighting the woods around him for both the horses and Ashara, he heard scampering about the bushes and trees. Unlike Dagadar, life was all around them, though for the most part it had gone unseen and unheard.

Finally he came across a small clearing and looked back at his wife. "I think we should stop... I'll admit, I'm guessing now. I think we're still going the right way, but this place..." he shook his head and gave her a wry grin. "I guess we know one elven trait I didn't get..."
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:50 pm

"N'uma delar, Mela <No worries, Love>," she answered with a comforting smile. "We'll get there! Besides, you're undoubtedly doing a better job than I would be. If I were driving this caravan, we'd be halfway to the Archwood by now!"

Ashara attempted an easy chuckle but it was obviously strained. Truth was, she was exceedingly uncomfortable here... Without any sign of the sun to guide her or light their way, Cormanthyr was closing in like a tomb. Things just had to open up a bit in Myth Drannor but then there would be dragons and demons and undead and other horrific things to worry about. She really wasn't sure which she preferred...

With a soft sigh, the priestess led her horse into the clearing to graze while she removed the incense that would be needed to create the ward. "I think I'll get Inner Sanctum set up right away then. I've no interest in company for the second evening in a row," she grinned, " and a restful night sleep would be a good thing before entering the city!"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:05 pm

His mind was too active to sleep soundly that night. It had been hours since their delicious meal of weasel. Despite the long day traveling and his general exhaustion, the half-elf simply had a hard time falling asleep. Though they've been using Inner Sanctum for months now, the idea of sleep without watches was... unnatural to him. Still, he trusted Ashara and the spell had never let them down. Unfortunately some nights were harder than others and not just for him. Ashara was having a restless night too. Undoubtably this was not the dream about the 'Endless Dawn'.

Part of him felt like he should stay alert. Part of him was excited about the adventure, a large part was concerned what her dream was tonight, and part of him was afraid he was dreadfully lost. Despite the pointed ears, the half-elf had spent little to no time in actual forests. He hoped he was heading north... but he had no way to know for sure. Any glance at a map of Cormanthyr's general size was disheartening.

All this was going through his over-active mind as he simply lay there listening to Ashara sleep. The campfire burned low, but inside the Sanctum there was no threat of it being seen.

Suddenly the night birds went silent and the trees themselves seemed to groan. Curious, Elric started slowly turning his head to see what was around. He saw nothing. With another groan he heard the leaves rustling violently above him. And then he heard a Hiss like hot metal dropped in water and a huge shape shook the ground.

In the dark it was hard to make out it's features, and in infravision it was almost too big! Serpentine Neck, Clawed feet, Thirty to Forty feet long from head to tail. Wings... flapping in the air kicking dust up around them then curling around the reptilian body. It's head, a solid four feet long seemed to stare right at the half-elf and he found it hard to breathe. After what seemed like a lifetime, it slowly turned it's head scanning the entire clearing.

Dragon! was the first thought that passed through his mind. Then he noticed the tail. Sharp, barbed, dripping with a poison that was legendary and he knew it was no dragon. It was a Wyvern.

A deep growl was quickly answered by that same loud hissing noise and the ground shook again. There were TWO of them...

Though they were less then thirty feet from him, the sanctum was holding. Lathander's hand was shielding them, and while they were as deadly as dragons in their own way... Wyverns were far less intelligent. They were looking for something but at least they weren't seeing it. Hopefully they'd get bored and fly away soon...

He reached over and nudged Ashara. "Wake up Melamin... You should see this...."

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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:56 pm

Ashara started awake, straight out of a nightmare about the Most Hated Wyrm just to open her eyes to two draconic heads and two pair of unnerving red eyes looking in their direction! With a soft gasp of shock, she scrambled halfway out of their bedroll and had Dawnspeaker in hand before she remembered where they were.

"Are those...are those wyverns?" The priestess blushed at her reaction, and pressed a hand against her pounding chest before sliding back under the cozy blanket. "I don't think I've ever seen one before... They must have smelled the roasted weasel!"

She wrapped an arm around her husband and laid her head against his strong chest as they watched the show. Safe beneath the Sanctum's barrier was certainly an ideal way to observe Cormanthyr's wildlife!

"They're much bigger than I'd imagined, and beautiful...in their own terrifying way." Ashara looked on in awe as the frustrated beasts grumbled and hissed in communication with each other. "If we leave them be do you think they'll be a problem for us in the morning? I'm rather comfortable where I am," she smiled, stifling a yawn, "and maybe they'll just leave to find their own giant weasels..."

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:18 pm

Elric found it hard to take his eyes from the darting tail with that vicious spike. He didn't know much about wyverns, but he did know they were poisonous. Though he had to admit looking at the stinger that must be close to two feet long, getting hit with that... poison may not be the only problem. He'd seen swords shorter than that thing.

His heart was still pounding at the sight, but Ashara's confidence in her spell helped calm him some. "If they're that hungry... I hope so!" he answered quietly. He couldn't imagine something that big just waiting for too long... but he really didn't know much about the hunting practices of wyverns.

"Either way, I'm not interested in starting that fight until we absolutely have to." He grinned and wrapped an arm around her. "Besides... It's cold out there!"

He was quiet as he watched the giant monsters pace around the area. Ashara must be right. The smoke and the smell from the fire had expanded outside their ward, and drawn the creatures. They knew something was around them but they didn't know what, and they didn't know where. Till Ashara had mentioned it he hadn't really noticed the wyverns for what they were... they really were rather beautiful in their own way... Deadly, but fascinating.

Suddenly one hissed sharply and the other's head snapped up. And with a speed and silence that disturbed the half-elf, they were gone. A short time later he heard a squeal in the distance as apparently the beasts found different prey. As the night birds started their songs again, Elric found himself relaxing again, drifting off to sleep with the knowledge that there were much scarier things in these woods than giant weasels...
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:27 pm

Ashara woke up a half dozen times before she decided to just cast her Know Time spell to find out how far away...or past...the Dawn was. That particular spell had been invaluable for keeping time down in Dagadar, and though Lathander was gracious enough to wake her with rose petals every morning while they were below the surface, the priestess had no illusions that the same would be happening here.

Fortunately she hadn't missed it. Instead, Ashara lay there staring up into the dark canopy for about an hour before finally rising to prepare for the day. The air was quite chill and she found herself thankful that the trees blocked what must have been a bone numbing breeze. It was the 22nd of Uktar now, very late in the season, and today they should reach Myth Drannor. The very thought roused nervous butterflies in her stomach! Not knowing what exactly to prepare for was difficult, but she'd gone over her spell choices for weeks now and felt pretty good about them. As of last night though, there had been a minor adjustment. Speak with Plants... Elric had agreed that it would be helpful to have a nudge in the right direction, since he wasn't at all confident about their heading.

After Dawn prayers were voiced into the deep darkness of the Cormanthyr morning, Ashara chose a particularly large and tall tree (which wasn't at all difficult in this ancient wood) and decided to have a little chat with it. Seems they'd strayed a bit off course... They hadn't gotten completely turned around, but would have to head northwest now to reach the city. Hopefully, if their travels weren't rudely...interrupted...they might be able to make the ruins by late afternoon!

The Everdawns wasted no time in camp. After prayers and the conversation with a loquacious tree, who was apparently not at all pleased with the wyverns crashing through its branches last evening, the two bundles of nervous energy packed up their things and continued the journey, THIS time in a northwesterly direction!

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:13 pm

The near encounter with the wyvern put the half-elf on edge. There was danger all around, and unlike usual, it came in a pretty presentation. There was still little light shining through the trees, and they never saw the sun or clouds, but there was a general lightness about the forest this day. It was really quite lovely at times.

However every time he started to relax he'd see a fresh scrape of claws, or come across the remnants of some large creature's meal that would only forcefully snap him back to reality. With the help of the trees they were back on track, at least for a while. If they found nothing by the next morning, they'd ask another tree for directions. He shook his head at how 'natural' that idea seemed to him now. He blamed Eddick.

The wyverns they didn't see again, though they found the remnants of their midnight snack. Elric guessed it may have a been a bear... but there wasn't much left to make the identification. The knowledge that whatever did that to a bear only helped motivate them to put some miles behind them!

They stopped rarely and seemed to be making decent time. Not everything they saw was a threat either. Various small mammals would scamper as they passed through, the song of birds filled the air. Songs that Elric took some comfort in. If the birds were content it was a sign of safety... it was when they fell silent he got concerned.

Once they passed an open glen and saw something neither would ever forget. In the distance, a pair of white unicorns frolicking in the field with a young a calf. Coats of the purest white Elric had ever seen on a horse and long horns that nearly glowed in the dancing shadows. Even the young one had a small horn just starting to sprout. He was spellbound. Many things about this trip would never make it in a song, but watching them in the field, a melody was already forming in his mind for this. He wondered if anyone else he knew... even Eldorath had seen a sight as rare as a young unicorn?

As they watched the male of the pair turned and stared right at them. Then went back to playing with his mate, They knew they were being watched and apparently deemed the Everdawn to either have noble intent... or not a threat. Elric preferred to think the first option.

Given the choice they would have sat and watched the unicorns all day, but thankfully for their quest, the option was taken out of their hands. In time, the three amazing creatures bolted into the forest and out of sight. It took him a few moments to start breathing again.

Shortly after the unicorn glen they found another less pleasant surprise. The trees still prevented any easy passage, but the undergrowth seemed to have been trampled down enought that there was the sembelance of a trail... perhaps an ancient road to Myth Drannor or perhaps something forged by adventurers who had come before them, but either way, Elric was happy for some clear sign they were traveling the right way.

Less than a mile on this new trail, Elric felt the ground give out from under him suddenly. Twigs and branches snapped under his weight and gravity pulled hard on the half-elf. The clanging of metal echoed through the forest as he fell into the deadfall. Pain shot through him and flashbacks of a dark alley in Waterdeep flooded his mind, as he felt spikes pierce into him.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:33 pm

The path seemed well-worn, but it was narrow and still slightly winding as so many of the trails in Cormanthyr were. The size of it forced them into single file, Ashara walking a few feet behind Elric and Himbar and Kalpa plodding along after them. It was a quiet journey. Mostly... While wearing mithril plate, there was only a certain level of quiet one might reach. Not so sneaky... Neither of the Everdawns wanted to make so much noise as to alert any of the forest denizens that there were tasty snacks roaming through their territory, and after the wyvern spectacle last night, they were slightly on edge. It was one thing to be wary of unseen dangers, but it was quite another when that danger had been seen in all its fanged, clawed, and poison-dripping stingered glory! Ashara had a sneaking suspicion that those two beasties weren't the most dangerous things out here, either...

A sudden vision of Elric falling dominated her view, and she called out for him to, "Stop!"...but a fraction of a second too late, and with a yelp of surprise her husband went tumbling into the pit trap. The vision did manage to save her when she instinctively stopped in her tracks. The cacophony of the metal 'alarms' that had been rigged to go off when a trap was spring, disoriented her momentarily, but fighting the urge to rush over to the pit and check on her love, the priestess looked around and spied another trap...some sort of noose made with wire, partially disguised by vines, that would pull taut and send the victim flying up into the trees if they stepped into it. Someone or something had set these, and that someone or something probably now knew they were there!

She figured another metallic alarm would be raised if she sprung the noose trap, but as the first one already went off, it hardly mattered and she couldn't risk one of the horses stepping into it and breaking a leg! Grabbing a nearby stick, Ashara carefully disturbed the trigger and as expected the stick was snagged and launched high up into the trees, pulled up by a previously hidden heavy stone used as a counterweight. Also as expected, a second cacophony rang out through the forest.

"Elric!" Ashara rushed to the edge of the pit to see the groaning half elf, who'd fallen into a hole about fifteen feet down, and from the look of it, had been impaled on about six spikes... Fortunately his Regenerative Heal should be active and knitting together the damage already, but she wondered if those spikes had been laced with anything. Poison? Filth maybe? Not good... First things first though, she needed to get him out of that hole, and they needed to get out of there as quickly as possible before the trap-makers appeared to check on their prey!

"Can you move? I'm throwing a rope down for you now! Hurry if you're able, I don't think we're going to be alone for long!"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:04 am

"hmm...." came an answer from the pit. "Was... thinking about... unicorns. Have to watch.. THAT!!" The pain in his voice was evident, as he tried to move and examine his situation. The first thing he saw was that he wasn't alone down here. In a corner of the pit was partially decomposed spider. A big one... So, whatever other problems he was in, it could have been worse.

Raising his head he realized it wouldn't have taken much to be worse! The pit was a good fifteen feet deep and there were spikes everywere. He'd gotten lucky with the fall, but he'd still been hit at least six times, two or three of them pretty deep. Nothing vital though. That's where the lucky came in. Many of the spikes seemed to have either deteriorated from age, or been jostled at the wrong angle. From this angle it didn't look like the pit had been used in some time. In it's prime, he would be dead right now... He was also lucky he'd let loose of the Kalpa's reigns, The number or angle of spikes wouldn't have mattered if the horse had followed in after him!

With a groan that turned into a cry of agony he tried lifting himself off the ground. Ashara was right, The racket could easily bring someone or something running... though he had a more immediate concern. He could already feel the familar hot tingling sensation that signalled the Regenerative Heal going to work. Lovely spell. Saved his life a few times now. Should even take care of any infection the rusted metal may cause. Still, if he didn't get off these spikes before he began to heal around them... His day was going to be a lot more painful!

With tears in his eyes and teeth gritted in a growl he slowly forced himself to his feet. One shoulder was bleeding freely, and one spike had gone clean through his left thigh. With a groan of desperation he finally tore his leg free and leaned against the wall where Ashara had thrown the rope.

Fifteen feet... on a normal day his boots would let him jump that. But he could barely put any weight on his leg yet, let alone jump. He wrapped the rope around his good arm and called out that he was ready. Slowly and steadily the rope started to pull him up. She must have tied it to Kalpa's saddle... if she'd used Himbar, he'd have probably flown out of the hole!
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:48 pm

The priestess winced at the horrible schplucking sounds that issued from the pit as he pulled his leg off the spike. She hated hearing anyone in pain, that was just her nature, but it was much worse listening to Elric suffer... Echoes of his physical traumas still reverberated through her mind from their Midwinter Memory Read. She'd lived his past pain. Felt it in his body! With Elric, she didn't just sympathize with that pain, it was hers as well!

When Kalpa finally pulled him to the top of the pit, Ashara helped her husband up with a hand laden with a bit of additional healing power to more quickly stem the flow of blood from his leg and shoulder. Regenerative Heal was working, it was true, but she wanted to help speed the process along.

The spike had probably grazed his femur on its way through his thigh... Elric was fortunate that it hadn't been broken entirely! Checking the wound in his shoulder, it didn't appear that there was any poison or other horrible substance involved, but the priestess went about the quick work of Curing Disease anyway. No sense in taking chances, and those grimy spikes might carry something far more insidious than merely a sharp point to fall upon.

"Can you walk, Melamin?" she asked, mirroring his grimace. "If you need, you can ride Kalpa until the pain subsides, but we should be going quickly in case we've attracted some unwanted attention. I'll use a spell to be sure we don't stumble into any more traps for about a half hour or so..."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:01 pm

He examined his wounds and tenderly tried to apply weight to the wounded leg. It held. Between the Regeneration and the additional healing, Wounds that may have killed less hardy men, had receded to a dull throb. A few of his wounds were already closed, and the rest would be soon.

"I can make it," he said with a grimace. He gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Thanks to your forethought. Excellent spell that Regenerative Heal..." This wasn't a trail for riding, and he didn't want to tarry any longer than they had to.

Gently he stretched his leg up toward the sky and worked out any kinks the magic may have left behind. Finally he took up Kalpa's reigns and with one foot in front of the other started limping forward. Ten minutes later even the dull throb was gone.

About that time, they passed an interesting sight. Three tents that had fallen far into disrepair. The campsite hadn't been used in years, and the pots, pans, and other assorted equipment were rusted and fairly useless. Still it answered one question at least.

"I'm guessing they were the ones the alarm was for..." Elric voiced his thoughts. "I don't see any remains... but I'm guessing they didn't make it out alive." He shook his head in exasperation.

"Why is it that of all the things rumored to be out here... our biggest problems have been from greedy people?"
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:09 am

Curiosity drove Ashara to quickly sift through the dilapidated equipment, just to see if there was any sign of who these people might have been, but there was nothing left... She couldn't help but wonder what became of them. Eaten? Slaughtered? Slaughtered then eaten? It wasn't likely to be a happy ending for those missing bandits...

"I think it's possible that we may have been quite fortunate that it's only been greedy people we've had to deal with so far! Hopefully that holds true until we reach the city... We've GOT to be getting close," she said, grinning enthusiastically. "After all this time talking and hearing stories about the place, I'm ready to see it!"

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Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:54 am

Elric simply nodded at her logic. It was foolish to complain about fighting human beings when dragons, demons, and wyverns were options. Still it saddened him on some level that in a place full of so much danger and death... people obviously felt the need to add to it.

They traveled for some time before stopping again. It was getting closer to evening, but the excitement continued to push them forward. The further they traveled the more the half-elves confidence faltered again. The way the trails twisted and turned... the detours they made for the horses... he was feeling lost again.

He sighed loudly and leaned against a large oak. "I wish we could ask the trees again for an update... I'm sure we should have been there by now..."

"Indeed you should have... If what you seek is the City of Song, and you had a clue what you were doing out here!" came a soft voice chuckling from somewhere above them. Elric spun fast and had his hand on his sword before he drew another breath, but he was too slow.

Above them resting comfortably on a tree branch was a beautiful woman with long golden hair. She wore plain leather armor whose simple laces seemed designed for quick and easy removal. Her hooded cloak was made of black and white feathers whose bottom draped over the thick branch she rested on. In her hands was a bow. It already had an arrow nocked, though she made no threatening move toward them.

"Who... who are you?!?" Elric demanded in surprise as he slowly moved toward Ashara. If they were close enough, her gloves may protect them both from the archer.

"Names aren't important. And if you continue bumbling around my woods I doubt you'll last much longer. Either way, we won't be meeting again.

"You've been lucky so far... " A fact Elric was all too aware of. "Just accept my warning... Go home!"

"No." Elric answered simply. "We've come for a reason and we're not turning around just on your say so..."

The woman sighed softly. "No, I doubted you would... Still had to try. If anything happens to you, my hands are clean of the whole mess." Quietly she hopped out of the tree, and landed gracefully in front of them. "You seem decent folk Elric and Ashara... Unlike many who travel through here, your deaths would bring me no joy."

Elric blinked at the sound of their names. "How did you... How do you know us?"

"Like I said these woods are mine, and while your woefully underdressed, your wife more than makes up for it. Your easy to track."

The half-elf visibly shivered as she admitted to watching them. How long? From the moment they'd set foot in Cormanthyr he'd felt like he was being watched. At the time he thought it was just paranoia from the legends... and undoubtedly most of it was. Still He knew now that all their time alone, they hadn't been as alone as they'd thought.... The thought sent chills down his spine.

"If you want to live, I suggest you go home... " She raised a hand to forestall arguments. Pointing to her right and a bit behind them she continued. "If you won't do that, then you should really head THAT way.

"You veered East again, and a bit too far north. You passed right by the city."

"Umm... Thanks," Elric responded. He wasn't sure what to say to this woman. The one who had been spying on them, and now chose to help... "Why are you helping us?"

"The Unicorns liked you... That's enough for me." She stated simply. "Now it's getting late, and there are few places 'safe' in the City. If you want my advice, there's a glade straight that way... Technically it's just outside the city, but it's still inside the mythal. It may seem open, but I've heard tell it's one of the safest places left. Evil doesn't set foot there after dark, the water's safe to drink... though I've heard there are guardians for those who bring evil with them..."
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Post  Penelope on Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:29 pm

Ashara blushed at the mention of her heavy mithril plate. In the face of this beautiful woman who wore only soft leather, and had the boldness to declare Cormanthyr her forest, she couldn't help but feel very, very out of place! To make such a statement, she must have lived in this wood for quite some time... Considering all the dangers that lived within, Ashara was quite sure that this woman had the ability to back up her words.

Hearing of the glade put her mind at ease... It was getting late and entering Myth Drannor in the evening held little appeal. A 'safe' place to rest before the Dawn illuminated the city was a welcome thought!

"Thank you for your aid, Lady of the Forest," she smiled with a slight bow, "you'll have to forgive our suspicion, but we haven't met anything or anyone here yet that didn't wish to rob us, eat us or kill us outright!

"You've learned our names, so perhaps you might also have knowledge of our destination..." Ashara felt as if she was risking little divulging a bit of information, considering if this woman had been watching them for some time it was likely she already knew. Hopefully she wasn't being too trusting... "As you may already know, we seek the Dawnspire. We have a map of the city," she said, patting a scrollcase, "but it was made before the Weeping War and obviously quite a long time before the temple of Lathander was built. Would you happen to know of the place? Maybe what area of the city it stands in?"

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