[RP Episode] The Northern Reach


#41

‘‘What?!’’ Rhae whelped, but not in objection, but rather with joy, a wide smile on her face. ‘‘You use dogs to pull sleds? Unheard of! You must teach me!’’


#42

The elves smiled as well. Speeding through the snow was far more fun than waiting in a defeated camp for the next battle.

”If you wish to learn, I shall teach. We are the Narmani! Wolves are our kin.” promised Landro with pride. ”These my sword brethren,” she gestured to the younger warriors, ”Will each steer one sled. We shall pair off, one of yours with one of ours. We travel light, take only what you need. And I shall procure a peace banner for when we draw closer.”

While the elves set about making ready, and piling supplies and the Niirai’s gifts on top of the sleds. Landro gingerly checked the sling on her arm, after a moment’s hesitation removed it, and breathed an inward sigh of relief. There was a massive bruise on the discolored skin, but no blood or broken bones. After shifting her damaged limb around a few times, making sure it functioned, she chose the lead sled, with 10 eager dogs fairly prancing to be off. None of the sleds had more than the weight of three people, including the supplies, in order to travel swiftly.


#43

‘‘Lord Verel said you would only be with us for three days of a journey which will take two weeks, how will we possibly make it?’’ Rhae pointed out.


#44

”Not three days. We will drop you off three days away from the Sorni. We cannot venture closer. It is easier going in their lands, as the Sorni have built roads around their city. You will not need the dogs there.” replied Landro, who was double checking the straps on her sled. ”Never fear, you will not be abandoned to freeze in the snow.”


#45

‘‘Very well. Thanks again.’’ Rhae replied, and held tight.


#46

”Hyah!” The elves slapped the reins down, the dogs barked and leapt forward in their harnesses, and the band was off, the Niirai clinging to anything they could find. The snow was still coming down, but it was a well trodden trail at first and the sleds slid across it at a terrific pace. They quickly passed through the houses, raced down the mountain at a terrifying pace, swing through the gates and turned right, heading out of the mountains and forests, and out onto the endless plain of the tundra.

Nothing but whiteness extended as far as the eye could see, and the falling snow kept visibility relatively low, but the Narmani did not lose their way. The dogs continued their breakneck gallop, being well fed, rested, and eager to be on the move, not to mention the light load.

For three days the journey continued, and no landmark was yet to be seen. But on the fourth day, a low smudge of green in the horizon betrayed the presence of a forest. The Narmani turned and headed towards it, now at a slower pace to not wear out their beasts, reaching the trees by late afternoon. There they made camp, and rested, while several of the younger elves procured some meat with the small hunting bows they had brought with them. The majority of the food was given to the dogs, who dug themselves a hole in the ground to sleep in each night, and had to be woken like children before school.

During their journey, Landro as promised did spend several hours each evening teaching Rhae the basics of dogsledding, the commands in the Helcelen tongue, what to feed them, and how to control them. It took a few days, but it was not difficult to get the hang of and soon Rhae was able to drive the sled air relative ease.

The following morning, they continued their journey, moving southward on the edge of the forest, passing through one parcel of ground that was completely covered in small mounds buried under the snow. Here, Landro slowed the column, and began moving extremely slowly and cautiously along the edge of the strange field, keeping a watchful eye in all directions.


#47

‘‘What’s the matter?’’ Rhae asked while suspiciously looking around.


#48

“There was a battle here, two weeks ago. Tera-Macil threw Narmanion back after two days of battle. It’s why so many of us were wounded. This is Sorni land, and I do not wish to be ambushed” replied Landro. The dogs sniffed suspiciously at one of the small mounds.


#49

‘‘Maybe host that peace flag you mentioned?’’ Rhae suggested.


#50

Instead of responding, Landro reached into the packs one the sled, and drew out a thin pole, with a bright blue banner with a white eagle emblazoned on it. “The blue is to denote our location, and indicate that we are not sneaking into to ambush them.” she explained. “The eagle is for the Sorni.” The pole was quickly lashed to the corner of the sled, sticking straight up into the air for 6 feet.


#51

Rhae felt a little bit safer. She did not like traversing this young battlefield. As a sage, she could feel the wandering spirits here, some of which she could feel as if they were continuing their fight in the afterlife. Some stared back at their sled with curiosity, others, with burning hatred. She shook her head, and let go of the tether of energy she had subconsciously taken a hold of in her mind, and her visions faded.


#52

The column of sleds proceeded carefully, spending several a full day passing through the battlefield. At the far end, several destroyed buildings stood, filled with the bodies of elves and horses. Running through the center of the small hovels, was a snow-covered roar that headed directly east. In the distance, could be seen an extremely large mountain.

”We will try to get you as close as may be, but after that we will give you two of the sleds and let you continue on your own. Once you are within a few hours of the city, if you make it that far, cut the traces and set the dogs loose.” said Landro, during a brief stop in the outskirts of the burnt out village.


#53

‘‘Why?’’ Rhae asked.


#54

”Those are my dogs. They’ll find their way back to us.” replied Landro. ”It will not be hard to reach the city on foot. The Sorni are more welcoming to strangers.”


#55

‘‘I see. And why is that?’’ Rhae inquired. Verel and his people have been pretty welcoming themselves as far as she was concerned.


#56

”The Sorni dwell in the city of Helcar, which is sacred to all. Once all Helcelen lives there, in one clan. To shed blood in the city was to be cast out of the Elven people. This custom had faded as the Sorni have been forced to defend the city many times, but they still keep the old traditions in many things.Tera-Macil also seeks people’s from other lands they say, and so welcomes strangers from everywhere.” Landro eyed the ruined houses warily. ”We had best get moving. Let’s go!” The group set off again, flying down the road towards the distant looming mountain.


#57

‘‘So you are saying the other clans are the descendants of those people who were exiled for spilling blood within the city?’’ Rhae prodded further.


#58

”No.” called Landro over her shoulder. ”The clans desired more room, and so they left. The Teranor was weakened, and wars broke out. I do not know the full tale, but there will be those in Helcar who do.”


#59

Rhae got confused, ‘‘The clans desired more room? But i thought you said you were all one clan.’’


#60

”I misspoke. Originally there were dozens of clans, as there are now. We were united, briefly, in Helcar, but it did not take long for groups to break off. It is muddled in history, but the breakaways were not always peaceful. The throne of ice changed hands four times in one night on one occasion.”