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More from Thorne, Eltiana, Elena, and company. This was all one session done on Friday March 27th through Saturday March 28th.

Session Start: Fri Mar 27 22:29:58 2009

<>Ambiance<> Begin Chapter Six.

<>Ambiance<> When last we left the elf group, Eltiana was recovering from some strange malady... was it caused by a vision of some sort?

<>Ambiance<> No one seemed to be sure exactly what had happened, but Eltiana was clearly determined to find out as soon as possible.

<>Ambiance<> She made the decision the ride out for home as fast as possible in the morning, taking only her servant - now friend - Elena, and her nephew Ragnus with her, leaving the pilgrims in the care of her sister Ariana.

<>Ambiance<> Ariana woke at dawn, and worried that no one had woken her with progress reports during the night, went straight over to find her sister and her nephew.

<>Ambiance<> She found Ragnus sleeping next to her sister. At her approach, Ragnus awoke.

<Ariana> Ragnus, how is she?

<Ragnus> She is better.

* Ragnus rustles out of bed to stand and tell his mother of last nights discussion.

<Ariana> Why didn't you wake me to tell me? (she sounds rather cross)

<Ragnus> She did not want you to be disturbed. We are leaving as soon as she is ready, we must check to see if her vision was just a nightmare.

<Ragnus> She... would like for you to stay here with the others, we can make better time as a small group, and we will ride ahead and make sure all is well…or.. not well, as the case may be.

<Ariana> Leaving? What madness is this? Surely she can't be well enough to leave.

<Ragnus> She seemed in fairly decent spirits last night, but I worry for...

<Eltiana> Nevertheless, I am leaving.

<Ariana> But Tia, this is madness. you must rest!


<Eltiana> Rest is a luxury at the moment, Ariana.

<Eltiana> A luxury that I engaged in last night because these good people would so insist.

<Ragnus> But what if it was all just a horrible nightmare?

<Eltiana> Then it was all just a horrible nightmare.

<Eltiana> I sincerely HOPE that it was all just a terrible nightmare. In that case I will simply have ridden at the maximum pace the horse can beat for a week only to find out all is well.

<Eltiana> The alternatives... are far less good.

* Ragnus nods in agreement.

<Ragnus> Mother we will be fine, I and Elena will be with her.

<Ragnus> Shall I go ready our horses? and where is Elena?

<Ariana> You know... I love how when things happen, you just assume I’ll stay behind and cover your ass. You just assume I'll take care of your followers out there... Not to mention, you just grab my son and involve him in whatever is going on without so much as a “by your leave.”

<Eltiana> I... Ari...

<Ariana> I'm sorry...

<Eltiana> Please, Ari, if there were another alternative...

<Ariana> I'll do it... because you are my sister... because I love you... but you better at least ASK and say thank you next time.

* Ariana gives her sister a big hug

<Eltiana> I'm sorry sis, but I have to know... besides there's a chance, if I hurry, maybe I can stop something terrible from happening...

<Ariana> I know... I just... You know, I thought I’d lost you yesterday, and now you’re leaving again. (Tears drip down her face) Please be careful, both of you.

* Ragnus hugs his mother.

* Ragnus heads off to find Elena and get the horses for their journey.

<Eltiana> Ragnus, please go wake Elena. I want some time alone with your mother before we leave.

<>Ambiance<> Ragnus finds Elena sleeping with the group of elves.

* Ragnus approaches Elena, remembering their encounter just days ago, when she seemed to KNOW he was there, however oblivious to his presence she seemed.

* Ragnus kneeling down next to Elena, "Elena, are you ready?, Elti wishes us to get ready to move out.

* Elena stirs.

<Elena> I haven't held us up have I?

<Ragnus> Not really no. Eltiana and mother have just awoken.

<Elena> I'm sorry, I guess I was just exhausted from yesterday.

* Ragnus offers his assistance to Elena to get up.

<Elena> No, it‘s ok, I'm fine. Better for you to go get the horses ready while I get myself ready, we'll save time that way, and I know my lady wants to be gone as soon as possible.

* Ragnus nods "Agreed."

* Ragnus heads to get the horses and brings them to Eltiana, checking his supplies and making sure he has all he needs.

* Elena appears just in time, ready to leave.

* Ragnus readies his longsword, in scabbard to his side, tucks his dagger and mounts the horse. "Ready Aunt?"

<Ariana> Are you sure you're ok to do this Tia?

<Eltiana> Not really, but I have to be, don’t I?

* Eltiana laughs.

<Ariana> It's not funny Tia!

<Ariana> There's no sense in trying this if you can't do it... I just got you back in my life again, I don't want to lose my sister because she's too stubborn to admit when she's not strong enough to go riding off on some fool‘s errand!

<Eltiana> Tia, I'll be fine... and if I'm not, I think these two will take good care of me.

<Elena> I won't let anything happen to your sister Lady Ariana. I promise.

<Ariana> I can see there is no talking you out of this... Just, please be careful. I've missed you so much all the years we've been apart, you know. I couldn't bear it if anything happened to you now.

<Eltiana> I promise to be careful….

<Eltiana> Ariana, I've missed you too... I... you were the center of my world growing up, little sis, and it tore my heart out when you left. I love you Ari. I promise you again, I will be careful, and we will meet again soon.

* Ariana is unable to restrain her tears as she clings to her sister for a long moment, before finally letting go.

<Eltiana> I'm sorry, but we must go now...

<Ariana> I know. Ullr be with you, all of you.

<Eltiana> Ready Ragnus, Elena?

<Elena> I am ready Lady.

<Eltiana> Elena... you don't have to call me that anymore... well, outside the church anyway.

* Ragnus with one last look to his mother, "Ready as ever Aunt Eltiana"

<Elena> sorry, I mean, ready Tia!

* Eltiana smiles.

<Eltiana> Lets go then!

* Eltiana spurs her horse on at a gallop.

* Elena does likewise.

* Ragnus spurs the horse to ride just behind Eltiana.

* Ragnus almost yelling trying to be heard over the sound of hooves and rustling beneath them.

<Ragnus> You had mentioned goblins? what if... well.. what if.

<Elena> Goblins are small, weak creatures. I hardly think goblins would pose any threat to us.

<Elena> They shouldn't be able to come within miles of the forest without being seen and eliminated

<Eltiana> Ordinarly true, and besides, why should they bother?

<Eltiana> We're so far out of the way no one ever disturbs us, but...

<Elena> But you fear that it could have happened nonetheless lad... Tia?

<Eltiana> I do.

<Eltiana> Understand that it may... hopefully is all just a dream, but...

* Ragnus looks to the skyline, almost sure a fire of such size, would be noticeable for quite a ways.

<Ragnus> Would we be able to see smoke if there were a fire?

<Elena> Maybe, but maybe not. We're still miles away.

<Eltiana> Actually, I really doubt we'd see anything this far away. It's probably farther than you think Elena.

<Ragnus> Did you see... anything else in your... well your vision?

<Eltiana> Yes... I did... and what I saw scares me.

<Eltiana> I'll not talk about it while we ride. Tonight, when we stop for the night, I'll talk about it then.

<Ragnus> I.. I understand.

<>Ambiance<> The party rides hard all day, resting their horses as absolutely necessary, but they cover a good 25 miles before coming to a rest.

<Eltiana> Elena, would you please make camp. I'm very tired.

<Ragnus> Anyone hungry?

<Eltiana> Not especially... yet I know I must eat.

* Elena is making up the camp.

<Ragnus> Perhaps there is time to catch dinner, or perhaps we could eat some of the leftovers.

<Elena> I'm rather hungry, but I've got a good deal of food that I brought with me. I think I shall just have some of that.

<Ragnus> That will do yes. Eltiana, you mentioned.. more to the dream?

<Ragnus> Anything we should know about?

<Eltiana> I'm tired Ragnus...

<Elena> Tia, please, I think we have a right to know... maybe I don't, I'm just your servant... acolyte, whatever, but Ragnus does.

* Eltiana Looks surprised that the girl spoke up this way.

<Ragnus> I worry that you may be in danger, if we come into harms way. In your condition perhaps we should be prepared for the worse?

<>Ambiance<> You have a hard time reading her exact expression. A little surprise, a little anger, a little... you can't really tell. The hodgepodge eventually dissolves into resignation.

<Eltiana> I suppose you're right Elena.

<Eltiana> I saw... some kind of new war machine... like a catapult, but... much bigger.

<Elena> I can't believe you're so worked up over a catapult, there has to be more...

<Eltiana> It didn't shoot boulders Elena...

<Ragnus> Well.. please, I know you are tired, but what did it shoot?

<Elena> I don't understand. If it didn't shoot boulders, what...

<Eltiana> It shot...

<Eltiana> Magic... fire... a mile or more away.

* Ragnus stops eating pondering such a contraption.

<Elena> That’s... impossible, isn't it?

<Ragnus> Magic?! But..

<Eltiana> I hope you are right, that it's impossible...

<Eltiana> Because if it's not impossible, then...

<Elena> If it's not impossible then?

<>Ambiance<> A sudden bolt of revelation strikes Elena… something she’s been subconsciously preventing herself from thinking about.

<Elena> Then everyone...

<Ragnus> But who could even devise such a device?

<Ragnus> On top of that, who would bring it to bear against your home?

<Eltiana> I'm not sure, child, there might be survivors, but it's possible.

<Elena> That everyone is dead?!

* Elena is clearly panicking now.

<Elena> My family, everyone might be... dead?!

* Eltiana goes over to Elena and wraps her in a motherly hug.

<Eltiana> We don't know that. Don't assume the worst. There's always hope.

* Elena weeps and holds on to Eltiana. Then after a moment, she lets go.

<Elena> I'm sorry lady. It's not fitting that I should behave in such a way around you. Friends or not, I'm still your trainee and it‘s not proper. I'm sorry.

<Eltiana> Don't be sorry Elena.

<Ragnus> No thoughts as to WHO would do such a thing?

<Ragnus> It all seems so surreal.

<Eltiana> Patience Ragnus! I was going to address your questions in a moment. Can you not see that she's overwrought with the thought that she might have lost everyone she knows?

* Elena thinks -At least... even if the worst has happened... at least I still have one friend in the world now... but... will she still want me around if... my whole life all I've ever wanted to do was be a healer... if I lost everyone, and my life’s dreams too... I couldn't take it... I should go mad...-

<Elena> I... I...'ll be alright. I just want to be left alone for a bit now if it's ok?

<Eltiana> Of course it's ok, my friend.

* Elena wanders away a little ways.

* Etliana sighs as she watches Elena walk away.

<Eltiana> Now, Ragnus...

<Eltiana> Your questions are important questions, and I intended to answer them, but softening the blow of her realization was a more pressing concern

<Eltiana> As to who, specifically, no, I have no idea.

<Eltiana> Generally, I'd say it has to be...

<Eltiana> One of those damn dark elven sorcerers, or at least some damn human who's learned the ways of magic, probably from one of the damn dark elves.

<Eltiana> I could not see the face of the person who was powering the infernal machine.

<Eltiana> It's even conceivably possible that it's someone who's learned magic from those idiot Light elves that still deal with the humans in the south.

<Eltiana> More, I can not say.

<Eltiana> Of course, you know, it's possible that all of this is nothing more than the delusions of your aunt gone mad.

* Eltiana smiles a fey smile.

<Ragnus> well I would wish that neither is true. but unfortunately one must be.

<Ragnus> Why would any of them feel the need to attack your village though? I know you must be tired, but I just cannot fathom anyone performing such a deed.

<Eltiana> Other than that we're elves and they hate elves, I know not.

<Eltiana> Perhaps that is reason enough, though it does indeed seem strange.

<Ragnus> Perhaps you should rest aunt, We will have to leave early to make good time I suppose.

<Eltiana> Have you any other questions? If so, ask them quickly or save them for the morrow. I'm tired and hungry and we need to get up early tomorrow.

<Ragnus> You need rest Elti, I shall leave you to it.

* Eltiana sees Ragnus looking in Elena's direction.

<Eltiana> Leave her be, Ragnus.

<Eltiana> Go to sleep as well.

<Eltiana> I've known her for but a couple of years, yet I know enough of her to know she is stronger than she appears. She will be alright.

* Ragnus nods yes, I should sleep as well, A lot to think about. good night Eltiana

* Ragnus makes his bedding for the night and rests thinking of such an amazing contraption. What is if Eltiana is mad after all. What if it IS real, Perhaps we will find out soon enough.

* Eltiana goes over to the bedding and falls asleep.

* Ragnus looks to Elena. -For their sake I hope it is not true, but if it is.. Why did Eltiana have this vision.- Pondering these as he drifts off to sleep.

<>Ambiance<> The night passes uneventfully. Ragnus is first to awaken in the morning, and he sees that Elena is asleep in her place.

* Ragnus wakes and stretches in the morning sun gathers some food from the horses and prepares to get his things ready.

<Ragnus> to himself "Elena and Eltiana are probably near exhausted after the last couple days, perhaps I should let them sleep a bit."
* Ragnus looks to the skies for any signs, yeah we're prolly much too far to see any signs even now.
* Eltiana wakes up and sees Ragnus moving about.

<Eltiana> Good morning Ragnus.

<Ragnus> Ah, good morning Aunt Eltiana, I was just getting ready for the day's travel. Do you require anything?

<Eltiana> No. I'll get some rations out for us. Would you please make sure the horses are watered and ready?

<Eltiana> I'd rather let Elena sleep a bit, she's had 2 long nights in a row.


<Elena> I'm not asleep, I'm just... thinking. You rest, and I'll get breakfast ready.

* Ragnus nods and gets the horses and takes them to the nearby water, and decides perhaps while he has a moment... looks around the marsh for anything nearby to use as bait.

<Eltiana> Overruled young lady! You will do the resting.

* Eltiana smiles disarmingly at Elena.

* Elena giggles “Ok, if you insist.”

* Eltiana sees what Ragnus is doing. If you're going to fish, do so quickly, we need to leave shortly.

<>Ambiance<> Ragnus has no trouble finding some fishtastic worms.

<>Ambiance<> Unfortunately, his luck did not hold out as far as catching anything, and the party settled for some jerky and berries from their stores.

<>Ambiance<> After breakfast, the party made ready to ride out.

<Eltiana> Are we all ready?

<Ragnus> Aye, ready when you are.

<Ragnus> Elena, how are you feeling today?

<Elena> Terrible.

<Elena> But I'll survive.

<Elena> And yes, lady Tia, I am ready.

* Eltiana thinks about telling her to drop the lady, but thinks better of it

<Eltiana> Let’s be off then.

* Eltiana spurs her horse on.

* Elena follows.

* Ragnus follows suit.

<>Ambiance<> More than 400 miles lay ahead of our group before they would reach Greenguard. While that could be easily covered by the horses in 4 days on flat, open land, there was very little of that kind of terrain ahead of them.

<>Ambiance<> The trio rode on through the Sylvanus forest for more than 150 miles the next 2 days, reaching the boarder at the end of the second days ride. They camped at an elven camp just inside the forest rather than push on a few extra miles, because there they could sleep safely without a watch.

<>Ambiance<> The next day they made good progress through the flatlands. It was less than a days ride from the edge of the forest to the base of the path that lead from the northern base of the Weather Mountains up the trail to the mesa at the top where the Greenguard forest lay. Once up on the mountian trails, their pace was forcibly slowed a however.

<>Ambiance<> There was no time for hunting, of course, and little time for fishing, though Ragnus managed to catch a few fish on a couple of occasions while watering and resting the horses.

<>Ambiance<> Once out of the Sylvanus forest, Eltiana was able to catch a little game with her traps overnight - She daren't use the traps while in Sylvanus, because the forest gnomes hate their use and can be quite... unfriendly to anyone who use them in their forest.

<>Ambiance<> Finally, after 4 days of ride through Sylvanus, then up thousands of feet through the Weather Mountains, the party was finally getting near to the Greenguard forest.

<>Ambiance<> It is now dusk at the end of the 4th day.

<Eltiana> I think we shall stop here for the night.

<Elena> Here? Shouldn't we go on a bit further?

<Eltiana> No, not tonight. The horses are tired. We've driven them close to 400 miles through some pretty rough terrain most of the way. That's a lot to ask of a horse in 4 days time.

<Eltiana> There is no way we can make it tonite, even riding through the darkness, which isn't the safest thing to do on a mountian trail. There is a safe place to make a camp over there, and I think we can make it by late afternoon tomorrow if we get up early enough in the morning, and, either way, if we have to ride through the dark an hour or two, we could as easily do that on the morrow.

<Elena> I suppose you are right, as always lady Tia.

<Eltiana> You know, you can just call me Tia...

* Ragnus brings his horse around, and dismounts.

<Elena> I know... but, somehow...

<Eltiana> If you want to call me lady Tia out of respect, I suppose I shalln't be cross about it… as long as you include the Tia. I know you do it out of respect, but as far as I’m concerned we’re equals now.

<Eltiana> Just one more day, Ragnus, then we shall know, for good or for ill...

<Ragnus> Perhaps tonight I shall set some snares for morning? Elena, if you are not busy, would you care to join me? After we get camp ready that is?

<Ragnus> Seems I’ve had little luck fishing, and you've had little luck trapping. Perhaps a night of rest would be good for you.

<Elena> Actually... I mean no disrespect, but if it's ok with you, I'd rather just go to bed early so that I can have as much rest as possible for tomorrow.

<Ragnus> I understand

* Ragnus flashes a comforting smile as he removes his roll from his pack, and prepares to make camp.

<Elena> It's been a long hard journey, and we've a long ride tomorrow. I'd like to look presentable for everyone... assuming of course...

<Eltiana> Don't worry about it now, Elena, we shall know for certain tomorrow.

<Elena> Yes, lady Tia.

<Eltiana> We have some jerky left, and some apples I've been saving. Is that ok with everyone?

<Ragnus> Well I shall try my luck in the nearby wood to see if I can scrounge up a decent breakfast after we eat. If that is ok.

<Ragnus> Apples and jerky sound fine by me.

<Eltiana> Thats fine, Ragnus. Would that I still had the youthful energy of you and Elena.

<Ragnus> Afterwards, perhaps I will have a look around. so far from home, I am enthralled by this beautiful countryside.

<Eltiana> It's the most beautiful place on Arland, Ragnus.

* Ragnus takes the horses to drink while Eltiana gets ready the provisions.

* Ragnus, once they have finished returns to camp, and eats.

<>Ambiance<> Dinner passes without event.

* Ragnus proceeds to the nearby woods while Elena and Eltiana prepare for bed.

<>Ambiance<> After dinner, Elena passes out almost immediately.

* Ragnus looks about for signs of recent activity and sets a snare hoping to catch something for tomorrow.

<>Ambiance<> Ragnus spots some very fresh deer tracks.

* Ragnus takes in the countryside, with a deep breath, and upon noticing the deer tracks decides to follow them a bit.

<>Ambiance<> It's mere moments from full dark, and Ragnus has just about decided that he'd better turn back now if he's going to find his way back, when he spots the quary.

* Ragnus looks at the animal, reaches for his bow. studying the animals movements. Reminded of his expedition mere days ago with his aunt.

<>Ambiance<> Ragnus lets fly his arrows. The first one misses so wildly the deer doesn't notice for a split second. The second one however, finds the mark, killing its target.

* Ragnus looks for the stray arrow before preparing the animal for movement and gutting it.

<>Ambiance<> Ragnus doesn't find it. It's too dark. The killing arrow does turn out to be salvageable, however.

* Ragnus figures 1 out 2 ain't bad, prepares to gut the animal, and gather carrying poles to return to camp with his kill.

* Ragnus secures the deer to the poles and before heading back, takes one last look around. looking to the skies to make sure of his course.

<>Ambiance<> It's now completely dark, and it's difficult for Ragnus to find his way back.

<>Ambiance<> Ragnus uses his skill with reading the star constellations to try to navigate his way back.

<>Ambiance<> For about 20 minutes, he wanders off in the wrong direction. Eventually he realizes he must have made a mistake... probably because the stars look different here... somewhat different than back home.

<>Ambiance<> He studies the stars again for a bit, and correctly figures out his mistake.

<>Ambiance<> He finds his way back to the road, and knows that if he follows it South, he will find the camp.

<>Ambiance<> He nearly reaches camp, when something draws his attention back to the sky...

<>Ambiance<> There is a bright flash in the sky.

<>Ambiance<> Moments later, there is another flash, and then, yet another.

<>Ambiance<> A point on the horizon line begins to glow an orangeish-red color.

<>Ambiance<> Ragnus realizes that it was all for nothing. They are too late. Too late by one damn day! Greenguard forest is burning.

* Ragnus drops the poles and rushes back to camp.

<>Ambiance<> Burning, and there is nothing he, or anyone can do to stop it now. He prays to any god he can think of that at least there should be some survivors.

<>Ambiance<> End Chapter Six.
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