[RP Episode] In the realm of forest and snow


#81

Baldrikos hummed appreciatively as he tested the weapon’s edge. “A fine blade. Here’s to hoping its like will never face ours in battle.” He lifted his tankard towards the chieftain, in a clear offer of a toast.


#82

”I’ll drink to that!” Varian swept up his own mug, raised it to Baldrikos, and drank.

The feasting continued for several more hours, before the elves and Cuio retired to their beds to sleep. The next morning, Varian awoke time hear the neighing of horses in his ears. Seizing an axe, he slipped from his sleeping quarters to the vacant hall, where he found Melcar and several other warriors dozing. Shaking them, the elves cautiously crept outside, weapons in their hands.

A rider was sitting on a grey horse, clad in steel armor that had a blue-ish hue, and a large fur cloak which hang from his shoulders down onto his horse. His hood was cast back, revealing a head of long white hair, held together with blue beads. A long curved sword in a simple scabbard was at his saddle, and a spear was in his left hand, one end braved against his stirrup.

”Suilad, Varian Cartanion. I bring news from Helcar. Tera-Macil demands you deliver up the foreigners you have sheltered, and dispatch them with an escort of warriors to the city.” the rider proclaimed. Seeing Varian’s questions clear on his face, he answered quickly. ”Their ship was spotted several days ago, and pieces of the wreck washed up on shore farther west. On the off chance that any survived, the High King demands they be sent to meet him.”

”And if I refuse?” asked the Chieftain with a glower.

”It would be unwise to do so.” said the rider. ”Give them up, and the Eagle will not bother with the Shark. Withhold them, and it will not go well for you.” His tone turned slightly less threatening. ”Tera-Macil wishes to shed as little blood as possible, and would prefer to not kill proud warriors for no good reason.”

Varian did not answer, considering his options, limited as they were. Around the village, more and more warriors were slowly arriving, grasping whatever weapons were at hand.


#83

On the far side of the clearing, Baldrikos and his remaining crew emerged from their tent, girth with their weapons and wearing their heavy cloaks. The former bosun took one look at the richly endowed stranger, spat derisively as he recognized him for one of the pompous noble fops playing at war the Commonwealth was so infested with, and compulsively fingered the new dagger at his belt.

He strode up to the chieftain, nodding towards the fop. “Sagonos’ teeth does he want?”


#84

”He’s a messenger from the Teranor.” Varian noticed Baldrikos’ derision. ”I do not know how it is in the south,” he said softly, ”But here, the better a warrior’s armor the more dangerous he is. As for what he wants, the Teranor wants you and your crew. I’ll give you an escort, and this one will take you thence.” The Chieftain’s voice was heavy with regret. ”I would that you stay longer, but I will not go against the Sorni. I have a clan to look after.”


#85

Baldrikos’ gaze was cold.

“So be it.”

He stepped up to the ponce. 'I am the leader of these men. Where do you intend to take us?"


#86

”To Helcar, and the High King of Helegeron, master seaman.” replied the rider. He spoke the common tongue without stumbling or hesitation, unlike Varian. His horse shifted slightly. ”The word of your coming has reached his ears, and I was therefore sent to fetch you hence.”


#87

An eyebrow arched. “And what business would this king of yours have with me or mine?”


#88

”Your are on his land. He wishes to ask you certain questions pertaining to your own country, and then he will set you on the road home.” replied the horseman. His cloak swayed in the breeze. ”Tera-Macil gives his word as a Sornion that you will be unharmed. Our King is most interested in the lands to the south.”


#89

Baldrikos nodded. “We have no horses. How are we to ride to meet your king?”


#90

”There is an encampment five miles from here. Horses will be provided to you.”


#91

'Very well. Lead the way." Baldrikos gestured to the men, to collect what few possessions they had amassed from inside the hut. Before long they were underway, plodding through the snow, bags slung over their shoulders and hands fingering the haphazard weaponry they wore at their belts.


#92

Behind them, Varian and his son spent sometime conversing in the strangers who had so briefly been a part of their lives…

The nameless horseman directed the Cuio across several paths through the woods, appearing without warning in the center of a war camp. There were easily two hundred elves, grim faced and hardy, scattered about the encampment. Their armor was steel, that glimmered blue with an eerie light. White were the crests of their helms, with long tassels flowing back to join their long unbraided hair. They bore axes, spears, shields, and bows, and note a banner of blue, emblazoned with a white eagle.

Baldrikos’ guide briefly talked to one of the elves, and after a short conversation rejoined the Cuio. ”The High King is no longer at Helcar. We will meet him in the field, where you will have a chance to speak with him before your journey home. It is three days ride to the hosting, and we will travel light and swift. Take only what you need!”

The warriors provided the Cuio party with several dozen shaggy horses, with saddles of brown leather and harnesses of black. Lashed to each saddle was also a long battle axe, double sided and razor sharp, along with a grey cloak.


#93

Baldrikos had not sat a horse in a long, long time. The horse felt nervous beneath him, skittish, probably because it was aware of his discomfort. The cloak was thick and concealing, providing adequate cover against the cold, and a brush of a fingertip against the edge of the heavy weapon confirmed, in a bead of red, its sharpness. He looked up at the elf. “If we are your captives, why arm us?”


#94

”Who said anything about prisoners? What value are you to us?” asked the elf in return. ”Consider these weapons a gift from the Sorni.”


#95

The eyebrow lifted again. “If we’re not prisoners, then what are we?”


#96

The elf looked puzzled. ”You are travelers, who will be the guests of the Teranor for a day or two before we send you on your path home.”