Aelistae nodded as first Elesia and then Bart spoke, although in truth their words merely reminded the drow woman how little she knew about humankind.
Every other human she met seemed to be so unlike the others she had seen. Zacharias clearly thought nothing of endangering innocent lives, but Bart did. The group that accosted Aelistae had desired to harm her because of the half-truths and stories they had heard of dark elves, but Ash had saved her even though he knew what she was. And although Bart spoke of Castle Tethyr and the Sulduskoon River as if they were common knowledge, Aelistae knew nothing at all of them.
‘So much still to learn,’ she reminded herself, as she urged Daisy on, and began to follow Bart on his quest.
[After an hour or so into the journey:]
Daisy proved to be a delight to ride. Aelistae was sure that the horse could sense her anxiety, especially on those occasions that she had pulled on her reins in one direction when she had intended to go in the other, but the mare seemed to take it all in her stride.
“Diola ile,”* she whispered in the horse’s ear after leaning close to affectionately pat the creature.
The horse nickered in response, and Aelistae rose to sit upright in her saddle feeling glad for Daisy’s companionship. As she gaze upon the assembled group, the drow woman found herself feeling the same way about all those that had so unquestioningly accepted her.
“You had some questions for me earlier I think,” Aelistae asked Linnix quietly as she slowed Daisy to match the pace of the woman’s cart. “I would welcome the conversation if you wish to ask them.”
Nebulos nods to Whip then turns to his other companion. I hope that Raven has good eyes. Sprites aren't the easiest critters to see. But, maybe we'll get lucky. Does your Raven see anything that might look like a glen within the woods?
Gone was all trace ot the lightness Linnix had shown in the courtyard and at the gate. Her enthusiastic demeanor simply died after she spoke to Loriel, and became even darker at Loriel's answer. It had not diminished even a little since they began their trek. Linnix smiled at Aelistae, but the smile held no humor. "I do apologize, Aelistae. I mean no disrespect, but I don't feel much like conversation at this point. Right now it is enough for me that you have shown me and all in this company courtesy and respect from the start. More than I can say for at least one other ... " She cast a meaningful glance in Loriel's direction, nodding once as she did.
"That one, I feel, seemingly doesn't know what she has done before we even started. If she does know and doesn't care, so much the worse. It was obvious she angered me, but the reason may not be so obvious. I don't like being told, essentially, that I know nothing, and that I had better listen to the voice of someone else's reason without question. I have fought, and do fight, well alongside those I trust and respect. She has given me no reason to extend either in her direction. To be honest, at this point, I would just as soon shoot her as the enemy, whoever they may be. Not a good way to start a relationship of any kind, much less one that her life may well depend upon. I shouldn't even be telling you this, because you were not involved in our exchange, but if I don't say something before nightfall, to someone, I'm gonna explode."
Linnix heaved a great sigh"And she seems to have affected Barrbarra in the same manner as she has affected me, and apparently for the same reason. But that is Barrb's concern. At first camp, or first opportunity, I would have words with Her Ladyship Loriel. The outcome of that will determine whether or not we continue to learn from and about each other, which I look forward to. "
She smiled again, but with somewhat of her original mirth showing through, "And I was saying I wasn't in a talking mood? Let this be a lesson about me. If I can say this much and not want to talk, imagine what I would be like if I really wanted to converse!" She shakes her head and laughs quietly, then turns her gaze forward and clucks for Tock to pick up the pace a bit ...
She listened to the words carefully, feeling the depth of Linnix’s frustration and anger at the way in which Loriel had treated her. It was impossible for Aelistae to disagree. The elven woman had ridden roughshod over the feelings of others, and had seemed oblivious to any sense of wrongdoing.
Yet for all that, Aelistae was more confused than angry.
Most drow were taught from the earliest age to hate the ‘faeries’ of the surface, and that there was no greater honour than to slaughter an elf in cold blood. The Elistraeyn were different. Aelistae had been encouraged to see in elves all that she was missing, and all that she could one day become. Parables were told of the love and everyday kindnesses of surface elves, of their willingness to lay down their lives for that in which they believed, and the respect they had garnered from the other races of Faerun. Rather than hate elves, the Elistraeyn reified them.
Loriel, however, seemed to fall short of that ideal, and that realization troubled the drow priestess.
’Were we wrong? Have we merely swapped an unconditional hatred for an unconditional love, and missed the truth of what they are actually like?’
Aelistae found that she had no answer, and that troubled her all the more.
“I…understand,” she replied at last to Linnix. “A trouble shared is a trouble halved, and I am always available if you need to talk more.”
Aelistae continued on in silence, wondering if she could ever share her own concerns.
Posted on 2008-02-14 at 10:45:44.
Edited on 2008-02-14 at 12:30:16 by Ginafae
On the Way to Castle Tethyr
HighSun, the 9th of Ches
The morning’s travels had been uneventful for Bart and his group of gallivanting would-be heroes. The sun sat high above, shining down upon them basking them in a pleasant warmth when coupled with a gentle easterly breeze. The road to Castle Tethyr was a well worn road across the plains, and the companions rode their steeds hard without incident for a few hours, stopping only to have a light meal while allowing the steeds a chance to rest, graze and drink from the supplies Bartholomew had graciously provided.
The company packed their things and made their way onwards once more, crossing paths with the odd caravan or merchant wagon bringing their wares to market, but they group did not want to waste precious time investigating the nutritional value of flax seed or compare the quality of woven fabrics between a couple of bantering tailors; and opted to continue right on past. For another hour they rode, the echo of thundering of hooves and the rickety thumps and squeaks of groaning wood from Linnix’s cart were left behind them as they made good time. Without much delay, the party was making decent headway, having already covered almost 20 miles of terrain. The cart attached to Tock groaned under the increased speed of travel, its wheels bounding to and fro over the unpaved road. The party continued west and in the thrill of the ride one could lose themselves in the freedom of the open road as the wind rushed by and the steady breathing of the noble steeds drowned out the worries of the world. Even Aelistae, unaccustomed to riding on surface beasts was finding the ride exhilarating, as Daisy took her rider to a gallop for a spell, circling the rest if the party as though the steed hadn’t a care in the world before settling back into marching order.
The party had primarily kept silent in travel, save Elesia who seemed so at ease atop Sunshine that she rode with her hands free. Instead of gripping the reigns she had an elegant set of pan-pipes, wrought from white wood and gold bindings. She played a lively, spirited melody as everyone continued. The first of what would be a series of inevitable delays however soon found the party. Up ahead, about 100yards, a wooden bridge spanned over a river running northeast to southwest, and a small group of cloaked figures (6) had seen fit to bar passage over the only visible crossing. What’s worse, was aside from a pair of sentries on either side of the bridge, the duo in the middle were obviously accosting a traveler, as the figure donned in gleaming chain brandished a hand-and-a-half blade in defense against her attackers. She fought valiantly even as the party closed the gap, but as she turned and struck a successful blow to one of her enemies, the other, with a vicious strike to the forehead by a mace sent the woman crumpling to the ground in a heap..
Bart, for all his humility rode forward beside Loriel and pointed ahead at the scene. “Quick everyone! We’ve got to help her before it’s too late!” Meanwhile, Loriel for the life of her couldn’t remember this river even existing on her map.
((Let's see if I can make a rough outline here of how this looks)
Distance to bridge: 150ft
Posted on 2008-02-15 at 22:20:28.
Edited on 2008-02-15 at 22:28:45 by Kaelyn
“I hope that Raven has good eyes. Sprites aren't the easiest critters to see. But, maybe we'll get lucky. Does your Raven see anything that might look like a glen within the woods?”
Selena turned to face Nebulos, closed her eyes and softly shook her head. “Even Soir’s keen eyes cannot seem to penetrate the treetops. The canopy is thick, and I would guess this will be no small task ahead of us.” With that, she started walking towards the treeline. Whip, already on the move hacked his way through the tall grass whistling in merriment as each blade fell before him, as though he had just felled a giant.
Selena walked along behind him, her raven locks bristling in the breeze. Taking a closer look at her, Nebulos would have to have placed her in her thirties, though in the right lighting she could easily seem a score of years younger.
(Presuming you continue on)
As the trio reached the tree line, the many trunks of varied hues, coupled with the rainbow of colors above them seemed almost surreal, as though they had stepped from the real world into a living, breathing painting. Each leaf hung just so, each clump of moss seemed destined to be in its exact position. The chirp of some wild bird hung melodically in the air, while the chitter chatter of squirrels and other woodland creatures seemed an orchestra of intricately placed sounds.
The trio walked the pristine forest path for only a handful of moments before they came to a fork in the road. The path veered both left and right, with the left path venturing towards some pretty pink and yellow flowers lining the right hand sides underbrush, while the right path proceeded towards a wider opening some 50ft ahead, large bell sprouts (approximately 4ft tall)could be seen in the middle of the small opening.
The soft melody that flowed from Elesia’s pipes helped to lift Aelistae from her sombre mood. The tune merged with the sweeping sounds of the wind beating against her ears, until nature and artifice merged into one. Aelistae had rarely heard anything more beautiful.
Daisy seemed to agree. The white mare pranced to the music as if she were a filly.
A sudden shout forced Aelistae to check her horse’s exuberance. The music ceased and Bart’s finger quivered in the air indignantly, pointing to a scene before them of a woman being clubbed to unconsciousness by a group of men.
Bart’s anger mirrored that which began to simmer in Aelistae’s eyes. And she needed no more encouragement to spur her horse forward.
The reason was simple. Elistraeyn enclaves had existed upon the surface of Faerun for centuries in remote wilds where few would normally tread. Those that did, however, were afforded a strange protection by the followers of the Dark Maiden. Bandits and saints alike would be given food, shelter and protected from harm especially if they travelled alone and especially if they were being pursued.
It was what Eilistraee asked of her priestesses. And as Aelistae rode towards the bridge, she was determined to fulfil her Goddess’ wish.
OOC: Eilistae will move 60’, and withdraw her bow as part of the move action. Then she’ll carefully dismount Daisy as a standard action. That’ll leave her within bow range and not within charging range of the men on the bridge by the end of the round.
Barrb preferred silence, but understood the music. She just tuned it out -- mostly -- so that it was faint and a "world away" to allow her to think. As she rode in the rear of the party, Barrb watched Linnix bouncing around on the seat of the cart as if she were sitting on a small land-shake. Tock was as good as Linnix had praised him to be, keeping the cart up with the pace of the rest, not slowing the group. And althugh Linnix may have been comfortable riding the cart at a leisurely pace, but she could not have been comfortable at the pace Loriel had set. Said pace had to be on purpose, and Barrb wondered what Loriel's hurry was.
Barrb thought long and seriously about taking Loriel aside at first night-camp to speak with her, and about what she would say to Loriel when she did. They needed to be able to work, and act, together as a group. She had experienced being a member of a relatively close-knit group guarding a castle, placing your life and trust and respect in the abilities of others who showed you the same trust and respect. She didn't know all of her fellow guardsmen well, but she did know their abilities and trusted them because she knew they trusted her. She needed to trust those she fought beside, and she could not allow herself the luxury of trusting someone who seemed to place herself above others, looking down on them in judgement, not acceptance. (Well, maybe not in all of us ...) She did show an absolute deference to Elesia, a grudging realization of Bart's position, and did offer a quiet nod and a smile to the gnome, Xaris. Probably because he had no horse for her to deride. Barrb chuckled at her own pun.
Loriel showed the forcefulness and disdain of the thoughts of others that Barrb expected from Aelistae, and Aelistae showed the respect and courtesy to others that Barrb would have expected from Loriel. It was confusing. Despite Aelistae's obvious heritage, Barrb trusted and respected Aelistae more simply for her treatment of others Her interaction with others was careful and thoughtful, but it could be mistaken for indecision were it not for her resolve. This resolve was shown again when Aelistae rode forward at the bridge ...
Barrb stops at the sight of the scenario at the bridge, and immediately turns Umm around to glance-check behind for any possible bad-guy reinforcements.
[[ If she sees any ]] She dismounts and unslings her bow to be ready, standing her ground.
[[ If she sees none ]] She wheels Umm about again and rides foward quickly. As she passes Linnix, she will try to get her attention and point to the rear, quietly asking, "Please watch? ..." . As she rides to join the other two archers, she unslings her longbow from her shoulders. [[ free action -- Quick Draw]]. As she moves, she notes the locations of Loriel and Aelistae so that she can form a "front-line" with them. She stays to the left of the road and approaches no closer than either of the other two. [[ no closer than 60 feet from the near end of the bridge initially, in any case ]] She then dismounts Umm and drops the reins to ground-tie him. She prepares to aim at one of the two assaulting the rider in the middle of the bridge, the biggest target from her angle. [[Precise Shot, no -4 penalty]]
Tock hadn't let her down. He kept up with the group. But it wasn't the easy, lazy pace she had set for her own travels, and she could now imagine how rough the ride would be if she was being chased on this road. It wouldn't be fun. It aggravated Linnix even more that she may have to forgo the cart, abandon it, and load all her gear on tock. It was already bundled for just that circumstance, but that would mean that Loriel had been right, albeit not for the correct reason. The music Elesia played on her pipes reminded Linnix of her father's flute he played in the evenings when she was much younger. The memory brought a smile to her lips and lightened her mood a little. When Daisy took Aelistae for a cantering jaunt around the party, Linnix had to laugh. Aelistae was enjoying the moment, and seemed to be enjoying Daisy immensely. She hoped that whatever happened would not dampen that joyous spirit ..
And the bridge they approached, would the cart -- the bridge!!!
Seeing the altercation unfold on the bridge, and Bart speaking to Loriel, and Aelistae riding forward, Linnix paused only briefly before looking back in Barrb's direction.. Barrb herself was already turned around and looking back behind the party. But only briefly. When she turned around again, Linnix looked directly into her face, and as Barrb rode by the cart and indicated for Linnix to watch behind her, Linnix simply nodded. She moved the cart far enough to be able to run to the others if needed, then set the brake and jumped into the back of the cart for what coverage she could get, if needed. She made sure her daggers were easily accessible, and unhooked her hand crossbow and set a bolt. She had complete confidence in the abilities of the others to handle what was up front, and knew they would call her if she was needed. Regardless, if after a few minutes, there was no one forthcoming from behind them, she would move forward on foot to help. Whether or not she stayed would be determined by the number (if any) approaching from behind ...
Posted on 2008-02-18 at 03:55:28.
Edited on 2008-02-18 at 03:58:10 by Zonk
The day had begun well and Kasenarrion Sunblade made her way along the road in the direction given by the High Priest of Tyr back home. As a follower of the God of Justice and especially as War and Retribution were two of his Domains, Kas had sought the input of the priest as to the best direction to go to serve Tyr, and so it was that she came to this road and the bridge. There she spied 3 sentries on each end of the bridge. As she rode toward the bridge a man in rough clothing held up his hand and indicated she should stop. Kas reigned in Sunfire, her war stallion and turned her golden stare on the man with his hand raised and the two others posted on either side of the entrance to the bridge.
As the man moved up Kas did not like the feel of him and Sunfire reacted to her own reaction by prancing in place and snorting. Evidently the man was knowledgeable enough to recognize a trained war horse and he stopped out of reach of the stallion hooves and teeth.
“That’ll be 2 gold for you and 5 for your horse.” Kas knew that the price was exorbitant and glared down at the man. Had the gulley the bridge cross ednot been so wide or so deep she could have jumped it, and she could still elect to ride downstream to fine a better crossing point, but who knew how long that would take. But the injustice of the rates, and the fact that others had probably been fleeced of their money by these men set Kas along a different path. She rode forward and fished out a small coin purse and tossed it to one of the guards at the bridge opening. It only had a few coppers in it as she kept her silver and gold in a coin pouch slung around her neck under her armor and clothes. It was more than enough for a common bridge fee.
“That is the proper fee,” she states and rides forward passed the man who had stopped her.
She trotted Sunfire across the bridge, the big stallion’s feet drumming on the logs that made the sturdy base of the bridge.
“Hey,” came a cry from behind her, “There’s only 8 coppers.”
Kas, not wanting to jeopardize the stallion, dismounted and sent him galloping off the bridge where he stopped and turned waiting for a whistle to return. With graceful ease, denoting natural fluidity and intense training Kas reached behind her back and drew a gleaming silver/white bastard sword and turned her back to the railing so that the oncoming men could not come up behind her.
She held the blade in readiness to defend herself and allowed them to strike first. Her first assessment of the men was justified as they both closed one from each end and attacked, they were evil in intent and in their actions. Evil was not to be tolerated in any form. After their initial swings, Kas unleashed a series of blade maneuvers that drove the men about the bridge. She kept both at bay and scored a number of minor wounds before one of them was lucky enough to get under her guard to stab her in the leg. She was worried about the man with the mace, he had uncanny agility and he knew how to handle his weapon where as the man with the sword, was no swordsmen. Inch by inch Kas drove the swordsman toward the far side of the bridge where she aimed to go while trying to keep the man with the mace far enough away to make him ineffectual.
Unfortunately Kas’s foot hit a loose board and she half stumbled, just enough to allow the mace wielder to hit her hard in the shoulder spinning her around thus allowing the swordsman to get a lucky hit, fortunastely it was on her helmet which rocked her back and knocked her helmet eschew and then the mace wielder put two hands on his mace and drove the end of it right into her forehead.
Pain exploded and darkness took her.
Posted on 2008-02-18 at 22:11:49.
Edited on 2008-02-19 at 00:17:49 by Dragon Mistress
Brianna Not Dragon Mistress Karma: 105/32 2282 Posts
Loriel eyes moving to keep watch had turn to Bart as he rode up to her. When he exclaimed she lifted her head and survey the scene unfolding before her. Her bow in hand as it always was on the trail and an arrow notched she urge her horse into a run. Moira sprang from walk to a gallop in a heartbeat. Her powerful hindquarters just sort of squatted ans she lunge forward reaching full speed in about three strides. Moonshadow lives up to part of her name as she raced forwrd in the shadow of Moira. the two animals almost moving as some strange black multilegged creature.
The three of them charged the bridge and the men wielding weapons over the fallen warriors woman. She wanted to get their before she was struck again. The three of them were a well practiced team. They moved forward to meet the challange before them. Loriel added a second arrow to her bow and notched them together when she got into short 50 ft or so she fired at at the man with the morning star. Then she dropped her bow on it lanyard and drew her sword. She charges right over the where the first man on the bridge is standing. He would either have to move or be trampled. WHen she reached where she wanted to be Loriel swung of of Moira on her left side. leaving her to go right and Moonshadow to break left. Loriel move forwrd in the middle sword drawn and ready to attack.
"Lay down you weapons and back up, or die" she commands.
Moonshadow lunges with a sudden leap at S3 right at his face from Moira's left side as Loriel steps down to engage the men. Loriel shot at S4 and now moves in to challange him.
A rush of wind blew strands of silvery-white hair across Aelistae’s face. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Loriel charge past her on her steed, and head straight for the men upon the bridge.
Aelistae cocker her head in surprise. And she was even more surprised when she heard the elven woman shout and alert the men she was about to attack.
To the Elistraeyn there was honour to be found in battle, but that honour came from fighting for an ideal and not from clinging to notions of chivalry. As all drow they struck swiftly and silently, to ensure maximum damage upon the enemy and to limit their own casualties. Loriel, however, clearly had other ideas.
‘Brave but foolish,’ Aelistae thought to herself, as she reached into a pouch by her belt and began to mouth a prayer to Eilistraee.
Her body began to feel lighter and her movements faster. Aelistae whispered her thanks before rushing forward to help her over-eager ally on the bridge.
Round 1: as above
Round 2: Aelistae is casting cat’s grace upon herself, and moving forward 20’
Round 3: Firing her bow at any wounded target, and moving forward 20’
Round 4: Firing her bow at any wounded target, and moving forward 20’
Round 5: Dropping her bow as a free action, drawing her sword as a free action and charging into battle.
*"Lady of the Dance, lend me your grace so I may aid those in need."
Posted on 2008-02-19 at 12:32:31.
Edited on 2008-02-19 at 20:40:35 by Ginafae
Kas saw red in more than one way and the rage that suddenly filled her sent her back into the fight with renewed purpose. The man with the morning star was beside her, but his attention seemed to be turned away from her as she pushed herself up to see that the man was now facing an elf and great wolf and a warhorse.
As much as she wants retribution she looks about for other enemies, and finds one right beside her, for him she raised her sword and swung with all her might and determination.
Death is in her eyes, as she faces him. Her intent was plain on her face as she faced the enemy. She wants his blood spattered on the ground, she wants him dead at her feet. Beyond him were others and she gave them a quick look, golden eyes promising their deaths as she smiled at them and at the man she faced.
She moved with power and grace, her Bastard Sword dancing in her hands as she wove her blade in intricate patterns to cause her opponent to come to the moment when he follows to block a sweep, only to find that she thrusts her blade forward under his sword into his unprotected body.