14 Days to Toron

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Marianna, Mar 24, 2014.

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  1. Only the chimney’s of Collinsburg were visible from this side of the hill. Eletteria Latham took a final glance, watching the smoke tilt north in the breeze. The kick of her heals started the horses moving again, down the narrow path between fields in which green stalks were just starting to put out leaves. It was not uncommon for her to ride through this countryside on a pleasant afternoon, and a horse laden with bags would not seem amiss today. The young woman had been traveling throughout the town for days, gathering supplies for a party at the estate. The welcome home party was for her eldest brother, the heir, which she was going to miss. With a little luck, her absence would go unnoticed until the next afternoon.

    A few miles from town, past the last little farm house, was a small grove of trees. It should prove to be an obvious enough meeting place, even for someone who didn’t frequent these pathways. He might be family, the grandson of Opa’s cousin, but that only provided an excuse to talk with him. She still didn’t know him, and would pay him well to help her across the country, beyond the Grant River and into Toron city.

    Eletteria had found time to get away earlier than expected and dismounted in the shade of the trees to wait. Waiting was nerve-wracking. What if he decided not to come, or to tell someone at the estate their youngest hostess had no intention of returning? Offering a fresh sprig of weeds to the horses, stroking their noses, was the only comfort she found in the midst of the worry. At last she sat down, dragging a stick through the dirt until he would come.
  2. Alarem Sios had been watching her since she dismounted her horse. He didn't like to keep a lady waiting but from what he understood she wanted to leave secretly so he wanted to be sure it was actually her before he revealed himself. The main problem was that he hadn't seen her yet because they held their brief conversations via letters.
    After some time it became obvious that she was waiting for someone so he felt fairly safe finally leaving his role as an observer in the branches of the chestnut he had been sitting in.

    To avoid frightening her he got down on the side of the tree that was facing away from her and then walked around it.
    "Lady...?" he asked carefully, not wanting to take a risk.
  3. At the sound of his voice the twig fell from her fingers. Rising to her feet she offered a tentative smile, brown eyes watching the stranger carefully. Gesturing at the leafy trees, Eletteria began "You found it. Remind me, what were your Grandparent's names? I do not recall them." It was the stealthiest way she could think of to confirm his identity, one hand holding tightly to her horse's halter all the while.
  4. There was no risk in telling someone those names, even if it wasn't her. But by this point he was pretty sure that it was indeed her.
    "My granparents' names are Roys and Rose."
    Roys was the name of his grandfather. The other name he just made up. He knew that his grandmother didn't like to tell people her real name and he respected that. Hopefully this women knew that.
  5. She nodded, never having heard his grandmother's name for certain, she believed him. "Of course. I have something for you, now that we are meeting officially." She stepped to the far side of the horse, and reached into the saddle bag to retrieve a small pouch of coins. The young lay approached him, offered the bag first, and then her hand. "Half now, as we agreed. I have made arrangements to pay the rest once we reach Toron. It is a pleasure to meet you finally, Alarem Sios. Are you ready to begin?" She felt foolish forgetting his rank and title, but supposed under the circumstances it made little difference.
  6. He took the gold and then bowed instead of taking her hand.
    "I'm ready when you are mylady. At your service. And it's a pleasure to meet you, too Lady Latham."
    He looked over to the horses.
    "Shall we head of then?" He then remembered something.
    "How used are you to riding? How fast can we go?"
  7. “I ride every day, for a few hours.” Eletteria answered, smiling affectionately at her favorite horse. Mounting him she checked the rope holding the third animal, leading him back onto the main road. They would be traveling through farmland all day, and the next day, and the one after, maybe more. “We may ride as quickly as the pack horse can follow. The farther, the better.” She had no doubt the gentleman could keep up.

    Eletteria set the uneven pace, having to slow periodically to urge speed from the gray horse. When the smoke from another town came into view she lead them down paths around fields, avoiding the population entirely. They stopped at a stream flowing towards the village from the mountains. “What does your riding experience come from?” She queried while the horses drank, curious to learn more about her companion.
  8. "Well, I grew up with horses. Even my best friend was a horse. I started riding when I was as young as I can remember now and I didn't bother stopping since it is really fun. And useful of course."
    Plus I need it for my living, just like pretty much any other physical skill.
    But he wasn't going to tell her that. That was something that people shouldn't know about him.

    When they had rested for about 30 minutes he asked "Shall we journey on? I had enought rest and I think the horses can go again, too. What about you?"
  9. “This was plenty of rest for me today.” She responded, desperate to get a large head start. She was worried someone would notice her absence too quickly. Riding was not even able calm her nerves.

    They spent the remainder of the day circling around towns and rushing past isolated houses. They finally reached land that was less familiar to Eletteria. The sun glowed just above the horizon.
    “I only recognize the main road here. Any one of these side ways might go around that village.” She admitted.
  10. "That's okay. I know my way around, I have been here before."
    He pointed down the main road and towards the side road on their right.
    "Those ways lead right into the village, from different directions."
    Pointing towards the one on their back left he added, "That one doesn't go the way we want it to. The one on our front left is the one that we want to take if you intend sleeping outside instead of in the village. To be honest I wouldn't mind that. I have done it before and it's pretty good, especially in summer nights. Also I remember you don't want to be recognized, right?"
  11. She turned in the directions he pointed, making note of the paths before nodding. "Right, it would be better to avoid these closer towns. Do we need to stop now? Isn't there another stop only an hour down the road?" She asked uncertainly. Stop being so petty, if you can't even do this there is no point in going..."I can sleep outside, of course, I just want to get as far as we can today." She added quickly, hoping he wouldn't think she was unprepared too handle such a journey.
  12. "We can stop whenever you feel like it. My stamina is pretty good, we won't have to stop for me probably. If you want to get as far as possible we could ride for at least another two hours before it gets completely dark. Maybe we won't have a convenient place for the night then, but we could always just sleep on some leaves."
    He guided his horse over to the path they would be taking.
    "But let's discuss that while we're riding. We don't want to waste too much time after all, right?"
  13. She moved after him down the path, the gray packhorse still determined to lag behind taking up the rear. "There are blankets, so I can sleep on leaves if it means two more hours today. That is what I was...expecting," she didn't say dreading "but you know of a more comfortable way to sleep out of town?"
  14. "It actually is kind of comfortable. Especially with the leaves of the trees we will come along. But if you're uncomfortable with it, there is a small house just a little bit ahead and a short way into the forest. The couple that lives there are my friends, they'll let us sleep over for the night and they won't say anything if I ask them for it."
    He thought for a second.
    "That would be like 20 minutes from here."
  15. Silently considering possibilities, the offer of one more night indoors, with its very near arrival time, won out. The other worries would fester continually no matter what happened, she might as well try to sleep well. “If you really believe they are trustworthy, it would be helpful to stay there. I could ride two more hours, but we will have plenty of opportunity to sleep on leaves another night." She concluded.
  16. "Indeed. Let's head there then."
    They continued their way until they got to the place where they had to turn right and ride into the forest. The house was completely invisible from the path so he had to count on his memory. But after another 5 minutes they reached it and he signaled her to stop.
    Pointing towards the small barn he said "We can quarter our horses in there and take care of them. Let's do that first and then see if they're home."
  17. They followed him quietly into the barn. The horses were eager to be free of bit and bridle and the weight on their backs. As they finished trending to the animals she enquired "These must be very good friend, to provide hospitality even if they are not at home. What will they think of you bringing some woman along?"
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