Dragons of Magic and Metal

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Moonlit Blade, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. It was well into the evening by the time Aeon reached his destination. He reached the top of the hill, dropping his pack to the ground as he scanned the horizon. For the most part, Derrulin was a country that consisted of flat lands. To the west, he could just barely make out the Dragon's Tail, the vast mountain range that separated the western countries and the Spire Sea. To the north, Aeon saw nothing but stretches of land, and the barest hint of the Magri Forest, home to the Wood Elves. To his east, Aeon could see the ever-present glimmer of the Gran Arcadia Tower, though only because of the innumerable lights within the Tower. To his south, Aeon knew the vast Spire Sea was beating on the shores of Eiloth; he had come from the port city of Nishr.

    Now, however, Aeon focused his attention on the old, beaten down fortress before him, the reason he had come here to begin with. The old, crumbling stone walls were in disrepair, having long since been abandoned by anyone. However, there were fresh palisade walls set up, giving away the presence of someone. Or various someones. The fortress was inhabited by a group of bandits, who had been terrorizing small villages. Derrulin's military was far too preoccupied to deal with bandits, and so Aeon had seen a bounty poster up for the head of the bandit leader. However, Aeon planned on turning him in alive, for the bonus. Aeon surveyed the scene for a while, and was able to see several men standing guard. Luckily, the band was noted for being strictly human, and so Aeon knew their vision did not match his. They were completely unaware of him as he watched them. Eventually, Aeon decided it would be best to strike early in the morning. Fighting in the night might allow the leader to escape, and that would defeat the purpose of the whole trip. Grabbing his pack, Aeon made his way down the hill again, and a further ways down. He'd start a fire, have something to eat, and rest.

    It wasn't long before Aeon found dry wood for a fire; there were plenty of sticks and twigs in the sparse woods. Using a flint, he started a fire, allowing it to catch before he moved on. He had luckily caught himself a few rabbit earlier, anticipating this situation. Removing a small pot from his pack, he was eventually well on his way to making a rabbit stew. His stomach grumbled at the smell, though he resigned himself to waiting for it to be properly cooked. With his pack on the ground, Aeon sat down, setting the long, curved sword on the ground next to him.

    The katana his mother had entrusted him with. After two hundred years, he still remembered the day she died. It was the first time he had witnessed the cruelty of mankind. She had hidden him away with this precious blade, and tried to fight off the marauders. Perhaps only half of them had died by the time they had killed his mother. And he could only watch in terror. To this day, Aeon was ashamed at his own fear. He had been fourteen, he should have been able to defend her. But he could not fight, his mother had wanted him to grow up to be a scholar. He would have been killed on the spot. And yet, he had watched his mother cast blinding Celestial Magic, cutting down the men one after another. It was a luckily thrown dagger that had wounded her. But she still did not fall. His mother had summoned up a powerful Magic, and blasted several of them away. At the time, Aeon had not known what Magic she had used, but he knew now his mother had cast Demonic Magic. And to this day, he did not know why or how she was able to do so.

    Sighing, Aeon tightened the bandages around his right arm, and focused once more. He began listening to the sounds of the woods around him, noting the odd chirp of a bird here or there, the rustle of a fox, the creak of a branch. He needed to find others, Aeon knew that. The Silver Dragon had told him that he needed to find others who were exceptional, because something was happening. And Aeon needed to stop it. But he couldn't do it alone, not by a long shot. He'd need the help of others who were willing to put this war aside and fight a greater force. But he hadn't found anyone. The Silver Dragon had told him to trust in Fate, for she would aid those who were deserving. And so Aeon resumed his life, tracking down and capturing or killing bandits. The money was nice, but it was knowing that there was one less murderer free that drove Aeon to do what he did. But he needed to find others. And soon.
  2. Dusk had long since settled over the land around her, even if the moon had not hung in the sky Tuliya would have seen much clearer than a human, allowing her to track the band of thugs when they slept at night. She had been following them for awhile now but she never seemed to catch up, they had a gotten a head start and these surroundings where unfamiliar to the Wood Elf, she was used to navigate in woods. Stopping briefly on the road Tuliya turned and even in the dark evening she could see a vague spot of black against the slightly lighter sky, the large forest was just a thin band against the horizon.</SPAN></SPAN>

    She missed Magri Forest so much, it felt so odd to walk the open areas like this instead of running through the trees, she could almost see it before her eyes, a soft forest floor dappled by sunlight shining through thick canopies, birds fluttering here and there singing their symphonies. Pushing back those thoughts Tuliya turned back around and continued south, fixing the strap of her leather bag containing provisions and medicine that were slung over her shoulder. A quiver full of arrows was strapped to her back and her beloved bow was also slung over one shoulder, two sheaths strapped to her waist held her daggers, in case she happened in a close quarters situation.

    Raising a hand to her throat Tuliya sighed quietly, the missing weight of her necklace bothered her, what if the human thugs lost or sold her sister's necklace before she got to them. It was her one physical memory of her sister and Tuliya would do anything to get it back.

    Suddenly her eyes caught the dim light ahead, it seemed to be localized in some kind off building a bit up ahead. Quickly and quietly Tuliya circled around the light as she made her way closer, soon seeing the old ruin, it looked like it wouldn't hold together if a breeze blew past it but the fire light flickered inside and she could her rough voices occasionally. She had learned that she alone had trouble fighting the group alone and back in the forest she was in familiar territory so Tuliya gave in to her instinct and decided to wait with the attack until morning came so she could see details more easily.

    While moving away from the ruin, not wanting to risk being spotted despite the humans inferior senses Tuliya saw a low hill and what was definitely trees behind it. That would be a good place to spend the night she decided and made her way up the hill, her soft leather boots making nary a sound.

    Quickly she saw another fire burning ahead of her and the smell of food wafted up towards her, it smelled delicious but Tuliya stopped in her tracks, there seemed to be only one person by the fire, she could neither see or her another person. Slowly she made her way down towards the small forest, her want for a familiar place stronger than her suspicions, and she had not been raised to mistrust every person she saw before meeting them. If this man by the fire was unpleasant she could just leave, run in among the trees and spend the night alone.

  3. The snapping of twigs had first alerted Avendry to the possibility of others in the vicinity and her wariness did not go unrewarded. Her eyes narrowed, pupils already adjusted to the low light of the forest, watching intently for movement. She was still, perched in her tree, the hush of the wood engulfing her with its night, but still she did not make a sound. She had been raised by wood elves, taught to attune herself to the rustling of leaves and the hum of insects. Her senses had been perhaps not so keen as those she'd been raised with but her eyes and ears were still sharp.

    For days and nights without end, Avendry had been tracking, laying low and searching the lines of the land for any hint as to who might have done such things to her village. She stopped in towns now and then - a sight to behold, with all the humans and sometimes travelers of other races gathering - and made herself a shadow in the places where drink and talk were freely exchanged. From there, she got leads and sometimes, the ends of the leads led nowhere. Other times, the lead was already dead, likely due to someone else with a similar purpose who was killing the ends of these leads. Now and then, she followed a lead that seemed not to have been pursued before. More often than not, all she found were criminals and they were petty creatures at that. Often, she merely terrified them. If they seemed particularly dangerous, she would drown them and be done with it. Her skin was considerably more marked than when she had started, from these scuffles mainly.

    The lead into the forest had brought her near to the fortress that housed a pack of bandits, the bandits that she was searching for to question and possibly kill, but there had been more. It had seemed there was another, intent on making his way through to them. From there on, she had followed him silently, far enough back to not raise suspicion. She had been lucky that she had found him at the edges of the Magri Forest, for past that it was harder to remain stealthy. He was heading for the fortress as well, making his way across the land to it. She had been highly suspicious of him from the start, of course, but now he would likely be suspicious of her.

    Their time in the forest was ended up and she was stuck trying to creep across little more than grass. She's been successful thus far, but she sight of a few scattered trees made her heart soar and drop. She wanted to lay beneath these trees, to reclaim a feeling of home, but it was little use. There seemed to be a fire there already and the target of Avendry's creeping was moving toward it. Eyes trained on the fire, Avendry kept her distance, watching the shadows move in front of them to paint her a tale of what was happening.

    Could these people be hunting the bandits as well, perhaps in search of a bounty? Avendry would be furious if they managed to kill the bandits before she could question them. She'd been hopeful about sneaking in at night, but with the fire illuminating the area around the hill, she could not approach much more closely without being discovered. She narrowed her eyes furiously. The other option was that these were scouts of the bandits, which would be a fate even worse if she were discovered.
  4. Veritas had moved from town to town at full speed, changing horses every time he reached each settlement as he tracked the bandits. He had been offered quite a good bounty for the death of these thugs; even though he was a mage, he did need money to buy food and finance his quest. Over the course of a few days of sleeping in his saddle and really, really hard riding Veritas was directed towards this forest where the bandits had been said to have made camp. By the time the spellblade reached the forest, night had already fallen. The sky was pitch dark and the light of the moon was no reassurance, allowing the trees to cast ominous shadows that left more to suggestion and even then there were parts in the forest that did were not illuminated even by the moonlight, still pitch black and murky. It didn't give Veritas confidence.

    At one point in time the forest had grown too dense for his horse to trot through without any difficult, and the darkness made the uneven ground (not to mention the occasional hole) even more precarious, as a horse could easily break a leg at this point in time. Leaving behind his horse, Veritas tethered it to a tree and left it to graze and rest as he skulked through the forest himself. He found himself drawn to a light, and the crackling of leaves and twigs caught his attention too; the sound was too unlike those of wild beasts, and it suggested the presence of something bipedal. Veritas halted at that point to focus on the sound further, before he continued walking on, confident that such sounds were still a distance away.

    The light of the fire could be seen from in between the trees and Veritas drew the prized sword of his out of its leather sheath silently - Dramatics weren't wise for this situation. If whoever started the fire was malicious, or had a skill-level equal to or even higher than his startling people like wouldn't be a very good idea.

    Breaking out from behind the ring of trees that surrounded the clearing, Veritas walked into plain view of the person who had started the fire, his sword still in his hand but both of his hands were raised at face level in a submissive gesture, meant to tell the person that he was not hostile.

    "I mean no harm - Merely one to share the fire with through this dark night." Veritas acknowledged the man with a nod of his head and then nodded towards the darkness of the trees again, before continuing.

    "The night is dark and full of terrors. It will be safer if travellers like you and I were to stick together."
  5. Aeon had heard several approaching footsteps at once. The occasional twig cracking and the crunch of a dry leaf had alerted him, and he wasted no time reaching for his blade. The first to approach him was an armored man, his sword drawn and ready. However, Aeon noted, the man's blade was drawn merely as insurance. In case Aeon had been hostile. "I mean no harm - Merely one to share the fire with through this dark night," the man then nodded to Aeon and then towards the trees, "The night is dark and full of terrors. It will be safer if travelers like you and I were to stick together." Aeon kept the sheathed blade in hand, yet lowered his left hand, relaxing himself.

    "You are correct indeed. The wilderness at night can be treacherous. I see you mean no ill will to me, warm yourself by the fire and enjoy the meal. I have plenty more to make." Aeon spoke this towards Veritas, but Aeon spoke it loud enough for the other in the forest to hear. He knew, however, the bandits were too far off to hear, all the way on the other side of the large hill. "I am merely here to hunt the bandits down and turn in the bandit leader for a bounty. My name is Aeon." At this, he extended his left hand to Veritas, knowing full well some people were put off by his bandaged right arm.

    Waiting for the shake, a slight breeze blew towards them, carrying yet another unfamiliar scent. So, someone had been following me, Aeon thought. The person was too far for him to see in the forest, yet he had a feeling that whoever the other person was, they could see him and Veritas just fine. Finally, Aeon looked to face whoever he had sensed first. "Whoever is there, you are welcome by this fire, so long as you are one who honors the laws of this land."
  6. Tuliya's sharp eyes had picked up the shadow of a man before he came into the firelight and halted her gait to see what would happen. By their exchanged words they both seemed to be peaceful yet the man by the fire spoke of the bandits and Tuliya instantly became interested. Apparently the man was here for the bandits as well, she did not care what happened to those bastards just as long as she had a chance to find her necklace first.</SPAN></SPAN>

    "Whoever is there, you are welcome by this fire, so long as you are one who honors the laws of this land."
    </SPAN> The voice spoke up as if the man knew she was there and the promise of a warm camp with food destroyed what little hesitation she had though she knew better than to entirely lower her guard and as she walked down to the fire she let her hand rest on the hilt of on of her daggers. Actually she disliked fighting and Tuliya would rather run from unneeded fights than stand her ground but that she didn't need to show the two strangers.</SPAN></SPAN>

    "I come in peace," she said as she stopped in front of the flickering flames, looking at the two light haired men with ice blue eyes. Now she knew why the white haired man had noticed her easily, he was a dragonkin, possible to mistake for an elf by some if not for the feral eyes, they were a very rare sight nowadays, Tuliya had only heard about the dragonkin by elders in her village. "I too am here seeking the bandits, though not for any bounty," she said wanting to make clear that she wasn't here to compete about money. Having been raised in a forest and learned to take and give to and from nature Tuliya had little interest in earning money. Carefully she removed her bow from her back so she could sit down if she wanted to, the long bow held lightly in her hand hanging by her side. "I am grateful for sharing your fire this dark night, my name is Tuliya," she said as she sat down by a tree, feeling more comfortable already as she was closer to her own element now.
  7. Veritas took the man's hand and he shook it with a firm squeeze, before letting go. He nodded in acknowledgement when the one known as Aeon welcomed him by the fire and offered him food. "My name is Veritas. So do I hunt the bandits for a bounty. Perhaps we can split the prize, instead of becoming rivals in this chase?" Veritas inquired, though he didn't wait for an answer as Aeon called out to another in the darkness - someone his only human eyes did not detect. He didn't reveal anything about him chasing down the Artificers. It definitely would be safer for him to pretend to be any other traveller, skilled with the sword and just hoping to make a quick buck with these bandits. Who knew where Aeon's loyalties lay? The man might be an agent with the Artificers, or someone to seek favour with them, even.

    Veritas whirled about, the sword once again raised warily while his lips were already ready to draw upon the multiple words of Power that came hand in hand with his illusions, the same illusions he was so famous for that could fool almost anyone. He relaxed when it turned out to be a female elf who was also after the same bandits, except that her motivation was not due to the bounty. Now that he was sure there were no more immediate potential threats left in the darkness of the forest, Veritas sheathed his sword and sat down on a rock facing the fire and the elf. "You probably heard my name already spoken," Veritas called out to her, nodding in greeting to her presence by the tree.

    "You don't have to stay that far away from the fire."
  8. "Indeed, you may join us by the fire. The three of us share the same goal, you two are no enemies of mine." Aeon sat by the fire as well, and removed an extra bowl from his pack. He always had two, in case he met another traveler. "I hope one of you has an extra," he said with a slight chuckle. "To answer your question, Veritas, I would be happy to split the bounty. Three ways, even," he said, glancing at Tuliya. "Even if you do not need the money, you most certainly deserve a share, if you aid us in the capture of their leader."

    Aeon adjusted himself on the tree stump he sat on, his sheathed blade beside him. The curved katana would probably be a dead giveaway as to his race; outside of very special circumstances, katana were only ever used by Dragonkin, the blades originating from their homeland. In a lower voice, Aeon spoke to the two of them once more. "For a moment, earlier, there was another scent the breeze carried. There is someone in the woods, but I do not know who it is. I believe they are merely cautious, and not hostile. And it was one scent, so even if they're hostile, it is only one person. I don't think we're in too much danger." As he spoke, he poured a share of the soup for Veritas, handing him the bowl. Then, in a somewhat louder, more casual tone, he looked to Tuliya. "Might I ask, fair Wood Elf, what you seek the bandits for, if not for the bounty?" He poured another bowl for Tuliya, before hesitating. "Ah, I apologize. I have had the pleasure of knowing a few of your kind. I know some do not eat meat, so forgive me if you do not. I'd be happy to make something from the vegetables I have."
  9. Alesiar leaned back into the deactivated Ksayur's side. The metal lion wasn't particularly comfortable, but it was at least smooth, which was more than he could say for the ground of the ruin. His eyes followed the bandit scout that was making the round at this hour, circling the camp, pausing and watching the empty landscape. So far, there had not been a single night of trouble that the bandits had not caused, but being men of the night, they knew just what sort could strike at the worst of times.

    He closed his eyes, trying not to think about what he had seen and heard while with he bandits, but as soon as he did, he opened them again. There were others out there. After he had joined the Artificers, he had thought that talent had disappeared, but it seemed that it had just been unneeded. The bandits had been a careful bunch and rarely ran into trouble, but Alesiar could feel his own mind becoming accustomed to them they same way his mind seemed to tune to the minds of the merchants when he had been a sellsword.

    What he hadn't felt, until now, was the presence of others for there had been none. His hand instinctively went for the place he used to keep his sword, but it wasn't there. Instead, he heard the mechanical chatter of Kiloveer, his squirrel, who was attuned to his aggitation. Sighing, Alesiar instead reached about him for the third piece of work he had brought with him, a little bird he had named Tiaretat. Until now, the bird had been a simple statue nestled into the lion's mane, but now it took flight. He closed his eyes again so that he could see through the bird's eyes. Tiaretat flew directly up, but not closer to the foreign minds. From the sky, he could see a fire. It was near enough to be a threat, but not so near that they could move without him being able to get away first.

    Should he tell the bandits? Technically, he didn't owe them allegiance. He was here on behalf of the Steel Dragon, offering his services so that this group of bandits would not hit their villages and perhaps persuade the bandits to come to their side. Alesiar personally wanted nothing to do with them after he had gone through their first raid with them, but he hadn't seen any way out. He had a feeling they wouldn't take kindly to him simply bowing out, and even with his small metal army, he would be overwhelmed by sheer number. Plus, if he didn't go back to the Steel Dragon with the bandits' word or something like that (not that the bandits' word would mean anything), he had a feeling his funding would be cut. He had been working on a mole that could dig up earth metals, but without allomancy, he had little sense of where to dig. And without metal in his hands, he was nothing.

    Those that sat around the fire didn't number many, but Alesiar had hope. If they could cause enough ruckus, he might be able to get out. Even the Steel Dragon couldn't fault him for valuing his own life. He returned Tiaretat to his hand, and then placed the small bird again in the lion's mane. This, however, did not go unnoticed by the bandit scout.

    "Anything out there?" the scout questioned. Alesiar looked the scout in the eye, regretting that he hadn't been more discretionary in pulling out the little bird. Up until this point, he hadn't put the bird to use, and so naturally it was suspicious.

    However, he couldn't bring himself to lie. It always grated on his ears to hear others lie, but for him to do it himself was far worse. "There is someone out that way," he pointed, "but they have a fire going. I doubt they'll move soon." There, he had told. What the bandits decided to do with the knowledge was none of his business.

  10. The voice of the man by the fire brought a girl out from hiding, an elfish looking child with a willowy build, a contrast to the men in more than a single way. They were gathering closer to one another now but her ears could still easily pick out the words of their conversation. So the one knew of her presence, did he? Little she could do, trying to disguise her scent. With so many others around, bandits and animals especially, he must have been a gifted hunter to be able to distinguish her presence still, he was giving her the benefit of the doubt - mostly. She smiled in spite of herself. There was still no intention of making herself known to those around the fire and she was sneak ever so quietly and slowly to the bandit's hold.

    A glance back at them told her that they were likely not going any further tonight and she was unsure whether she should attempt to gain entrance with the bandits, discover if they had been responsible for her village, and determine course of action from there or if she ought to wait as well. It was dangerous to try to go alone, at night, into the hold of bandits. Still, she was a woman and one that was not entirely unattractive, even if she had a certain air to her the bespoke a muddled elf of mixed heritage.

    Determined, she slipped past the group at the fire and stole away to the entrance of the bandit's hold. Did one simply knock on the front door? They'd be suspicious if she snuck in and the last thing that she wanted was to give them a chance to ambush her when she was unfamiliar with the layout and unprepared. She supposed that knocking was as good as any other option, especially since there were certain some guards, there had to be.

    Wishing the choice were different, she crept to the nearest door that she could find and rapped lightly on it with her knuckles. Perhaps she would pretend to be the new courier of another group of bandits? She had very little time for planning now, after knocking, and wished she'd taken a moment to think this decision through a bit more.
  11. Smiling slightly Tuliya went closer and sat down cross-legged on the grass by the fire as well, "ah yes, pleasure to meet you Veritas, and you too Aeon. " She said politely, enjoying the heat radiating from the fire as the bright flames flickered as if alive, which, in a sense, fire was indeed. "It's unusual to come across people that offer to split their income freely, thanks for the offer though I guess some money could make it easier for me to get back home later." Not that she had much knowledge about bounty hunters and such but she did now that money meant a lot to most people, and while she acknowledged its use Tuliya never really found money that alluring.</SPAN></SPAN>

    A bit surprised that there was someone else in the woods Tuliya cast a look around, she was apparently as good as Aeon on finding people in the dark but just the fact that she herself didn't notice the person meant they were skilled when hiding in a forest, perhaps even an elf. As Aeon poured up the soup Tuliya smelled the distinct smell of meat from the pot and before she found the words to decline the food offered to her, Aeon spoke again. "I don't want to bother you but I would prefer the vegetables indeed," Tuliya said, glad for his knowledge.

    "As for my reason for hunting the bandits they have stolen something of great importance to me," she said, her ice blue eyes turning more serious. "It may only be a necklace but it is my only physical memory of my sister so I have been tracking them ever since Magri Forest and just now caught up." A more skilled tracker would probably have caught up to them by now, after all the bandits where human, but Tuliya was only a skilled tracker in wooded areas and when on open plains or rocky places she had a much harder time finding traces of the bandit gang.
  12. "Is that so?" The Bandit Leader, Garrith, was a large man. He was a wall of solid muscle, incredibly imposing, and knew it. He was dressed in animal hide, mostly bear. Bear he had wrestled and killed himself. He was currently talking to one of his many subordinates, who had come to tell him the Artificer, Alesiar, had found a camp nearby. "Ugh. I may not like them machines, but they sure come in handy, sometimes..." Taking a bite of a large ham, he thought about what he should do. "Take four other men. And the Artificer. Two of them better be wizards, for good measure." He had a few wizards in his service, people who couldn't cut it at The Gran Arcadia. Most could throw a fireball or two, but they were indispensable nonetheless. "You, two wizards, two soldiers and the Artificer. Go out and bring them to me. If they don't cooperate, kill 'em."

    "Got it, boss." The grunt ran to gather his men, and eventually approached Alesiar. "Hey, Artificer. Boss wants you and the five of us to round up those guys you saw. Get on your machine and let's go." The others already had their horses, and left through the west gate.

    Meanwhile at the eastern gate, their otherwise front door, came a knock. Another grunt approached the gate, doors still closed, and looked up to his lookout. "It's a... woman. Elven I guess. She's alone. Got one staff, and maybe a dagger. Should I let her in?"

    "Hm. Yeah." Gesturing, he called in five of his warriors and three wizards. "Stand ready." The door slowly opened, and before it was even fully opened, the soldiers rushed and grabbed Avendry, pulling the staff out of her grasp. "I dunno what the hell you want, woman, but you've got guts comin' here alone. Throw her in the cage for now." The soldiers complied, and the wizards stood ready, Fire magic sparking in the air between their hands. They led her to the cage and pushed her in, locking it behind her. Before long, however, the Bandit Leader arrived.

    "Huh. She's the one who knocked, eh? What is it you want, woman?" He still held the ham in his hand, taking large bites out of it.

    On a hill quite a ways away, two figures stood, watching. "This is interesting, is it not?" One of the figures said. Clad in full, silver armor, the figure, male, from the voice, stood with his arms crossed. Not an inch of skin was shown, as he was fully clothed in plate and chain mail. His helm was odd, the front having a thin slit for vision, though no matter how long one stared, it seemed there was nothing behind the helm. The back, however, was opened, allowing long, silver hair, tied into a ponytail, to flow free. It seemed to give off an ethereal glow, especially in the dark. Even his voice had an odd echo to it. At his back was a long katana, odd enough with his armor.

    "Aha, indeed." The other figure was a woman, voluptuous and incredibly beautiful. She, in complete contrast to the armored man, wore vibrant, flowing silks of reds, blues, greens and yellows. Her green hair was tied at the left, and hung to her waist. Her blue eyes had an inquisitive, knowing look. And she seemed to wear a perpetual smirk, though it only made her look more striking. Atop her head, however, she wore a wide-brimmed, pointed hat. And she sat atop an ornate, hovering scythe, the tip just barely off the ground. "I wonder if we can... intervene here? Fate told us to be careful, since it is not our place. Yet... Can we sit by and watch them get captured?"

    "Careful, Witch. It would be wise to think before we act. While I loath to take orders from someone I've never seen, Fate is powerful. I could feel her radiating simply from talking to us. And even still, I felt she was holding back." The man seemed to sigh, but was thinking carefully. "It would not be wise to reveal ourselves to them, yet. Do something to alert them. I would not wish them to die. Not before they finish their duty, at least."

    The witch smiled, only giving a slight chuckle in response, as she raised her right hand, and waggled her fingers dramatically. "Like this?" In the distance, between the scouting bandits and the encampment, a large explosion erupted. Several trees were ripped from the very ground they were rooted to and dirt flew everywhere. In the very center was a magic circle, burned into the ground. There were only a few runes, however.

    "Truly, Witch, your need to show off has not diminished even after all these years. And were those runes truly necessary?" Shaking his head, he turned. "Let us go. It would not bode well for them to discover us yet. And you made sure..?"

    The woman nodded, giving another light chuckle. "Of course. Their magic combined won't pierce the Soul Cloud I had conjured up. None of them can, nor will, sense us. I even shielded us from vision." Turning her scythe, the two of them left, the man shaking his head once more and the woman laughing lightly.

    "Ah, it's no bother." He assumed as much, having traveled with a couple of Wood Elves for a while. He began to prepare the vegetables he had, also, allowing her to prepare it any way she liked; he didn't know what her preferences in vegetables was, and didn't want to presume anything. Half done, he began to fill the pot with water again when he heard the explosion. "D-Dammit!" Catching the pot before it fell, he placed it on the ground. "What in the world was that?" Aeon rose, grabbing his sword as well. "I'm going to check it out. Do you two want to come along?"