Journey of the Mire

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  1. It had been only a couple of hours since the group began to walk along the lone road out of Shadecreek, and through the marsh woods that surrounded the area. Thick expanses of trees flanked either side of the road for so long, illuminated in part by the filtered sunlight through their branches and leaves, and by the burning protective charms that were meant to keep the road safe for travel. Every once in a while, a stretch of the road would be hefted up onto poles and the dirt replaced with deceptively rickety boards over a stretch where the waters were high, but they would lower back to dirt paths overgrown with life creeping into the roads.

    A plethora of insect life audibly kept in pace with the travellers, buzzing as they followed along, hungry for a snack of blood as mosquitoes were wont to do. Birds with low scooping beaks and great wings moved lazily between the foliage, swooping down to grab at the tainted waters for feed, while others with beaks narrow and sharp stabbed away for their meals. At the approach of the villagers they flew off, startled by the entourage.

    Occasionally a stretch of road would be flooded in shallow waters, as small fish and mud dwelling crustaceans ebbed in the lazy to still currents of their homes. Dry paths were not always an option, but such stretches were usually small and very infrequent. There was little worry, few problems, and all in all the road held itself together for those who walked upon it.

    And then, it hit a fork.

    One path stretched on slightly northward, while the other did the opposite, instead turning south, but the both of them carrying an eastward trend, away from Shadecreek that sat upon the western coast. Both were dirt and stone, neither looking particularly well kept in contrast with the other, although the path south looked more worn.
  2. "That way." Mathilore was the first to speak up, of course. Few could manage to get a word in edgewise when the crone wanted to talk, and half the reason for it was that she was so quick on the start. She leaned on her walking stick and pointed to the south road. "Harder used, means there's something worth heading for that way. The simplest answer is the best answer." She said the last with the air of one quoting, and some might have recognized that as the lesson taught by one of the fables she oft told the children of Shadecreek.

    With her piece said, the crone hobbled over to the side of the road and peered at the plant life clustered thereabouts. Her eyes weren't what they used to be, but she could still spot an herb like a hunter could spy a rabbit cowering in the undergrowth. Amidst the grass she saw a plant with slim mud-brown leaves, like a miniature fern that led a less robust life than the real thing. It was called Sweetstring, and when brewed into a tea it worked magic on a sore throat. Of course the name was misleading, as it referred to the sweet relief rather than the bitter taste, but that was fairly common for herbs. They often had names that were half a joke, and Mathilore quite enjoyed it.

    She bent down with her right hand still clutching her walking stick for support, picking the Sweetstring with her left and stashing the herbs in her larger pack for the moment. It just wouldn't do to stuff them in her herb pouch before cleaning them and properly preparing them, but the books and robe and tidbits of food in her pack could survive a bit of mud and muck. She hummed quietly to herself as she worked, thinking of her sons. She hadn't seen them for years now, but she felt quite certain that Corwyn and Rikard had each come this very way and taken the south path. They went in search of excitement and cities, so the more worn path would have been their obvious choice. Mathilore had to admit to herself that this thought was a major reason for her own choice of direction, but there was no need to let the others know this. Her outward reasoning would serve well enough, so she simply gathered herbs and waited for the others to agree with her decision as she expected they would certainly do.
  3. Vrisette wasn't surprised to see the old woman take to the head of the group with her suggestion, only to teeter off to observe some propitious growth just off the beaten path. Mathilore always had something to say and she rarely stuck around long enough to see the outcome of her outbursts. Of course, the crone was right. The southern way was one she knew very well. But, she couldn't help wondering why the eternal try-hard, Beren, hadn't ventured to act as a map for them. He could barely find his own tools half the time, and had been that way since they were kids. Spending those years away had prevented her from fully understanding some of the residents of Shadecreek, as the formative transition from child to young adult occurred out of her line of sight, and yet Beren had only ever seemed to have gotten taller.

    Twisting the meager band of a ring that sat upon her dominant hand, the dark haired girl spoke up, "South will get us to the monastery in a couple of days. I don't know what's beyond that, but there's guaranteed food and shelter with the nuns, at the very least." The way was simple. So long as nobody went rushing into the woods, they should reach it without incident. Surveying the group, Vrisette decided that they weren't a pack of fools. Sure, some had been more impulsive than others in their decision to leave, but none had gone barreling out alone. That suggested at least a few good heads with a little more than mire vapor filling them.

    The north road just seemed so uncertain to her that she could not imagine anyone choosing to venture that way. She had never considered herself much of a coward, but she had suddenly realized how nice it would be to end up somewhere familiar. It was hardly the point of a journey to find one's way back to a second home, and so she decided not to push the issue any further. It would be unwise to paint herself as a creature of comfort over reason. Mathilore's logic was sound. If anyone cared to argue with it, she'd know exactly who not to ask for sound advice in case of danger. Standing close to Ana, a girl who definitely needed this new start and who embraced it fully, Vrisette waited for more voices to sound their opinions. Daylight would only be on their side for a few hours longer.
  4. "Everyone goes south because everyone is boring," Rook's daughter Thora declared knowingly, swinging her wooden sword around. "North is where all the adventure is. Or even into the woods!" She marked her words with a particularly exuberant lunge that nearly sent her tumbling into Mathilore, at which point Rook quietly took her wooden sword away and shooed her towards her cousin Fiona.

    "South seems a good idea," Rook said, agreeing with Mathilore on principle. Years of being questioned and second-guessed by those in their prime had given him a solid opinion of the undervalued wisdom that came with age. And age was something the herb woman had in spades. "I hear it's warmer in the south."

    "I've heard it said it's the north that's warm," Fiona said, guiding Rook's other daughter Alette through a dip in the path. "And others swear that it just gets colder the farther you go. Travelers know any stories they tell might as well be scripture for all we know about it." As Alette reached a flatter section of the path, she let go of Fiona to totter onwards on her own. From a young age she had picked up a peculiar way of walking to compensate for her blindness, where she kept her balance on her back foot while the other was first raised high and then slowly sought out the next step.

    "Cold or warm, there's a place to rest to the south," Rook said with finality, and - for his charges at least - that was that about that.
  5. Ana Gestin used to walk a lot throughout the fields when she was a child, and thus her feet became more tolerant to the long marches as they gained a few scars. A second look at the fork over the road nonetheless served as a reminder she would walk much more than she had ever walked in her life.

    Something too humbling, perhaps, even as there was a part of herself that still felt fear in letting go of her home.

    The skies looked rather clear this morning, but there was little else she could tell with the height of the trees, and even her attempt to stand taller on her toes to look further up gave her no better view of the road ahead. There was no telling for how long would the roads go, and even her idea of laying over the shoulders of one of the group seemed unlikely to help her get a better view.

    She had stuck close to the group -a little skittish, perhaps-,even when accompanied by Vrisette, who seemed to have more experience in regards to the more difficult things of society. In spite of her solitude after losing her grandmother, Ana had a too-comfortable life, and the current company made her wonder how fitting was she to this party, even with the sword she had bought for the journey - an expensive thing as it was!

    But when looking up at Kendra, keeping her as close as Vrisette had come to be, Ana smiled.

    The Stauntons were clients the Gestin family had for a long time, until Ana had to close down her businesses when Shadecreek was deemed unsustainable. In some ways, she regarded Kendra as a cousin of sorts. There were rumors, but... well, Ana essentially had to abandon a family tradition of generations to begin this journey, a crime she didn't think her parents, rest their souls, would have approved of.

    "Everyone... has already spoken what seems the most likely right now," Ana finally spoke after a pause, glancing at the group, and from Rook's daughters, remembering a time when she childishly wished for the adventures of fairy tales and the like. "We don't know what's in the north, and if it becomes even colder as we go on, our resources won't hold for long against it. If we go to the south past, we could eat and rest at the monastery, and hopefully restock our food. We could also ask the monks for directions."

    Just as she looked at the rest of their group for directions, Ana realized their group elder had moved on to gather herbs. While she did want to go as fast as possible to the nearest settlement, Ana looked at the road and then back, as it was obvious medical plants would come in handy if they gathered them quickly.

    "Ms. Mathilore," Ana spoke up, politely but loud to be heard by their elder, "Would you like some help gathering the herbs before we continue?"
    #5 Jaydee, Oct 29, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
  6. The sun was just below its peek distance from the horizon, making it close to midday. The Crone, Vrisette, Rook and Ana all vocalized their wanting to go southwards. No matter the decision made by the group, Devin would have followed suit. Devin had no intentions of wandering alone, or with the minority split of the group if it were ever to fracture. While traveling, strength is found in numbers.

    If Devin recalled correctly, he brought along some supplies to create torches. Only enough for six. It seemed like a good time to stop and look for some decent dry branches scattered within the forest detritus. His one concern when it came to the torches was that he didn't bring burning oil to soak the cloths in. He'd make due with his supplies. With or without the oil, the torches would still need a shaft.

    Devin walked just a couple feet into the woods southward away of the forked road to get a good look of the forest's detritus. He searched for anything that'd be usable, but the search was unsuccessful. All the wood that was swept by his sight was damp, or even soaking wet. Wet wood is too fragile, and pops under a flame. None of this wood do him well. Devin should have brought along some shafts.

    Meanwhile, Danny Boy approached Rook's daughter and laid at her feet with his tail wagging. The dog had been by Devin's side the past few hours, and felt neglected by his owner since Devin never stopped to pet or play with Danny Boy for a good half hour. If Devin was going to be in the woods, where the dog did not feel like going, he'd see if someone else could give him some love. Danny Boy let out a playful bark.

    "Aye, Rook!" Devin called as he approached back to the party, "Do you happen to know how to dry out wet wood to make it good for torches? We're gonna need 'em. I've the cloth and the means to start a flame, but all that's needed are some shafts."
  7. "There's no special trick to drying wood," Rook said, scratching at his beard. "You can either leave it out to air-dry, or put it over a fire and let the heat speed things up." Looking at the sky, it was clear there were several more hours of decent daylight before they'd need to stop. "Don't go bothering with gathering wood now anyway," he continued. "The trees aren't stopping anytime soon and there's no point in you tiring yourself out."

    Meanwhile, Alette stopped at the sound of the dogs barking. Reaching down, she found it's back and began petting away, burying her hands into the fur.
  8. Mathilore paid only a small portion of her attention to the talk from the group. They'd prattle on for a while, she knew, and it would be no use trying to hurry them along to what they all saw was the sensible path. They would arrive at the proper conclusion in their own time. She had her own thoughts to occupy her while they worked it amongst themselves.

    She was momentarily jostled from her introspection when a young girl, Rook's daughter if she remembered correctly, flailing around with a stick came close to bumping into her. Mathilore gave the girl a smile and a wink as she was taken in hand by her elders. Thora, that was her name. The girl had spirit, an exuberant liveliness which seemed a rarity most days in Shadecreek. She definitely didn't seem the type willing to sit and learn the ways of the crones, else Mathilore might have approached Rook with the idea of taking her as an apprentice a year or two back. Better to let the girl go her own way than trying to force her down a path she would not enjoy, even if it meant that Mathilore might be the last Crone of Shadecreek and end the long line with her death.

    As she bent down to pick another frond of Sweetstring, she heard someone asking a bit louder than necessary if she'd like some help. Mathilore plucked the plant and levered herself upright with the aid of her stick, then looked the speaker over with a critical eye. It was the Gestin girl, the last one left of the wine makers. Ana. Mathilore couldn't help but feel some sympathy for the girl; she knew what it was like to see loved ones die and long legacies heading for the grave as well. More importantly, she probably knew something of the power of plants after learning to make wine from them. Most people thought of herbs as little different from average grass, even after having their lives saved by potent little plants. Perhaps this Ana was different. And she'd already had some training in the finer tasks of preparation, which could be of some use... It would by no means be normal, taking such an old girl, a woman grown in fact, as a crone's apprentice, but it was worth considering. She'd have to keep an eye on Ana, see if she had the right temperament, but there was no need to rush anything.

    "How kind of you to offer, dear. There's no need to shout, it's only my eyes that are going as of yet." Mathilore gave her a broad smile to show that there was no malice in the statement. She held out the herb for Ana to see it. "Sweetstring, makes a tea to soothe a sore throat. Help would be welcome. No need to delay the journey, but so long as everyone is still standing about and talking..." Mathilore smiled again, this time more a lopsided grin than her previous smile, implying with it and her tone that she meant to get real work done while others were wasting time. She then put the herb in her pack and bent to grab another, intending to get as much of it as she could before they started down the south path. There was no telling when next she'd find Sweetstring or anything else to help a sore throat, and better to gather too much than to gather too little.
  9. Lothar looked at the two roads. Certainly, the southern path seemed more comfortable. In fact, it simply seemed to make more sense to go south especially since it appeared that some in the group had a decent idea of what was further down that road. However, Lothar's eyes strayed. He gazed upon the northern road. Despite his logic, Lothar felt some sort of yearning, an innate desire to sate an urge. Perhaps it was mere curiosity. Lothar turned to the group and said "Ladies, Gentlemen. I am fully aware that many of you are vocal about your desires to follow the southern road, but may I remind you all of a particular poem that I'm sure that we've all heard during our youth?"

    "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference."

    Did you all decide to leave Shadecreek just to tread upon familiar grounds? Or, did you leave to see what the world has to offer? To see the unknown and marvelous wonders beyond the horizon? I admit. I do have some bias as to why I desire to take the northern road. My father told me that despite all the travelling that the did as a merchant, that he himself came from the north. So, I do have some desire to learn more about my ancestors. However, it is not just some untamed wilderness to the north. I am sure that we are bound to arrive at some sort of city if we take the northern path. Yes, it may be more difficult and perhaps treacherous, but what is the reason that we all decided to gather here today? To just take a nice stroll on the sun-beaten path? Because of our unique situation, I understand that some of you will want to take more convenient routes, and if that is what most of us decide, then I will follow. I just ask of you all to consider before you decide. Why are we here today?"
  10. Beren sullenly meandered from one path to the other, kicking rocks with his feet and wrapping his cloak tightly about him.

    He'd spent his whole life in Shadecreek, and the furthest he'd gone from it was venturing out in the surrounding brush and woods for his foraging, not that it did much good. Nobody ever wanted the plants he brought back, not trusting him enough to keep from poisoning them accidentally. He felt like people severly underestimated his capabilities, always thinking him a complete screw-up.

    I get things done, when people let me try.

    ... Sometimes.

    To be quite honest, he'd been rather grateful that when his family kicked him out of house and home that the others hadn't instantly rejected him either. Highly doubting his ability to survive alone as a matter of practicality, he also didn't know how well he'd handle full-on solitude in the wilderness. Being disliked was preferable to being ignored, after all.

    As of yet, he'd been paying careful attention to the path they had taken out of the village, doing his best to memorize the distances and features of the landscape. As soon as they set up for the night—or if they continued to laze about plotting their course, right here and now—he'd pull out some paper and sketch out a map. Probably be pretty useless, he figured, having never traveled much himself. Don't know a thing about where we'll be headed, just where we been. If nothing else, at least it'd give him something to do that didn't involve causing trouble. Least, not in the eyes of the others, he hoped.

    For now, he continued to kick rocks. The others had apparently made a decision—'cept Lothar—but nobody seemed willing to move. The South's where they wanted to go, right? So why bother changing the tune now?

    "Can we just go? We'll be standing around all day like this, and rest's not coming any closer."
  11. "Thanks, Rook. I've never had to dry wood before. We'll get what we need for the rest of it when we need it I s'pose." Devin patted the man's shoulder in genuine gratitude. Devin has always been the type of man to be grateful for new information, and for lessons learned, for without them there'd be no room to become a better skilled individual.

    He looked over at Rook's daughter Alette and noticed Danny Boy had taken a liking to her. The dog rolled over on its back, gesturing for a belly rub.

    Lothar then made his opinion vocal, in what Devin found to be a bit dramatic but in a positive way. Devin always enjoyed songs and poetry, but he didn't find them to be much of use when handling the situation at hand.

    "I understand that you don't want a boring life, Lothar, and that you're in it for the journey and the chance to do something life changing." Devin said after turning towards Lothar and began to approach them. He stopped once they were a safe distance--about eight feet--away from Lothar.

    Devin wanted to keep a calm atmosphere, and not make Lothar feel threatened by Devin's response. The ship worker just wanted to discuss it with Lothar. Either way, Devin would follow the group if they chose the north or the south paths.

    "But what about the girls and the Crone? We need to be realistic and set our focus on the group's safety. The monastery is the safest option for our group. We can discuss the northern road there, when we have the safety to contemplate it and the opportunity to better supply the group. We don't know what lies ahead of that road. Maybe those at the monastary do, and could help us prepare for it if you still find that you want to travel there."
  12. Although it had only been a few hours since she left her home behind Kendra had a feeling that she had made the right decision. Whether it was due to the initial excitement of going off into the unknown or being physically away from location of her past loss, she could feel the weight that have been suffocating her the past few months chip away ever so slightly. Looking down both paths as she listened to the others discuss what direction they should take. As long as the direction they took would lead them far away from Shadecreek she didn't mind much what direction or where the group would end up at.

    A small chuckle escaped Kendra's lips as listened to the outburst of Rook's youngest daughter knowing far too well that she too would be traveling in a similar likeness if she was still young. Experience taught her that even though an adventure could be exciting, intentionally doing something reckless and putting herself in harm's way wasn't reasonable. However there was a difference between knowing and doing what ought to be done which at times was still a bit of a struggle for her.

    As Lothar continued the idea about going north she could feel the idea of an adventure enticing her. It wouldn't be as reckless as marching through the woods or even trying to swim across the mire and even though the northern path wasn't used as much it was still a path set in place which meant that there had to be something along the way. However when and how much help they could gain going north was unknown to her and she knew far too well that the responsible choice was to go to the monastery. Once they made it there the group could then work on figuring out what the next steps of their trip would look like but until then it seemed like the group made the consensus about going south and visiting the monastery.

    "Let's head to the monastery for now Lothar." Kendra added continuing from where Devin left off. "I don't know what's in store for us there but there might be someone there that could tell you more about the north if your heart is set on going there. Besides, no matter what we plan to do we're going to need more supplies than what we were able to scrounge up in town." Turning her attention towards the rest of the group the woman continued, a bit antsy and ready to start up again. "If we are all in agreement and ready to go we best be off and cover as much ground as we can before nightfall. Vrisette said we have a couple days of travel to reach the monastery so we best get moving."
  13. Knowing little of the plans Ms. Mathilore had for the last of the winemakers, Ana smiled to her. "Yes, Ms. Mathilore." She took attention to the traits of the plant: Sweetstring, and its places to find, taking note of its appearance and feel as she went on to search for it while the group decided. Having been good at spotting great weeds and herbs for drink, it's an easy task for her.

    Ms. Mathilore reminded Ana a little of her grandmother, with elder age and wisdom, who would teach her the ropes, difficulties, and benefits of the job for what would come. In the end Ana did inherit a good amount of wealth, but with her in this group, she couldn't help but wonder if her grandmother knew what would happen to Shadecreek in the long run.

    Having no family members left in Shadecreek was another big thing that began her journey. There was little binding her home but tradition.

    Ana stopped her gathering and turned to Lothar when she heard him. His poem, the promise of better things north... the things that could be forged from an unknown path. Ana looked down almost in shame. She sometimes felt she had to mature a little too fast, having to care for her wines by herself just as she became old enough to get married... and not even a boy to have a strong relationship with.

    She was not a heroine. Both fear and doubts reminded her of the food and resources needed for the journey, as well as the fact they were not a fighting group.

    "Unfortunately... we are not ready for going into new territory as we are now," Ana began, as she stood up from what she gathered for Ms. Mathilore, plenty of Sweetstring enough for four uses. "We still know little of what may be in the north, which if it is a less-traveled path, we would be at risk of coming across bandits if we took it, not to mention we're a big group and need resources and means of defense, I mean..." Ana gripped the scabbard and handle of her sword with both hands as if she was afraid it might go out on its own. "I.. I bought a weapon, but..." She looked at the party like a kitten that had broken a generations-old ceramic vase, before looking at her feet. "I don't know how to use it."
    #13 Jaydee, Oct 30, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  14. Having been tired of both his father and the village at the time he left, Elm was more then happy to be on the road. He wasn't a overly social creature to begin with, the young man preferring the company of birds and animals to humans. Humans were greedy, petty and overly emotional over the slightest of things. They were addicted to vices and their own sense of importance. One might blame Elms father for his sons cynicism towards the collected human race, one would not be wrong. His interactions with the village had been scarce at most times, his father providing him with the only insight to the human condition. Betty, his trusted owl was luckily unaware of her owners miserable outlook on the human race. The owl was happily perched on his shoulder, its hood keeping it from getting to excited by the myriad of little creatures in the undergrowth. As a owl, she had instincts after all.

    Elm kept to himself as the others argued about what way to take. Not that it was much of a argument, not drunken slurs or tossed clay mugs of stale ale. Elm could get used to people arguing in a ”civilized” manner. He took the opportunity to sit down on a rock and restring his bow, hands working with trained expertise as the rather simple bow was bent to allowed the loop to tie the string. He hummed to himself as he did this, and Betty joined humming with a very pleased sounding ”Hoot Hoot”. When he found that it was time to say his peace, he spoke up, still not looking at them but continued with the bow.

    ”I say south. The north path is trickier, I have lived in these woods my entire life, I can hunt for myself but can all of you? I reckon I am the only one here with the slightest hint of woodsman experience as well. If we go north, the journey will be more difficult by a half.” He said and finally looked up, eyeing the motley crew with a a look as if he was evaluating them all. Another suvenire of his father, who would always scrutinize and criticize people.

    ”We might want to take inventory on who carries what.” He rose to his feet, bow put into its holster at his hip. ”I have a bow and I can make more arrows if it comes to that. But a bow is a rather limited weapon. ”
    #14 Hellis, Nov 2, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  15. Taking inventory would have to wait, however. For standing around was not walking, and time not spent walking during the day was wasted, as the nights were far more treacherous. With the southern path chosen, and the monastery a long walk still ahead, those who counted them amongst the group continued onward through the swampy woods. Aside the occasional spotting of an animal in the distance, the walk was rather uneventful. No one came down the other way and ran upon them, for better or for worse.

    Truly, only one more eventful thing happened, when Thora feeling a snacky kind of hunger, snuck a bite from some random herb growing along the path that she thought looked like a sweet edible plant from back in Shadecreek. Caught as she swallowed it, it was too late to make her spit it out, much to the bother of the others. The mouthful had been of a slightly poisonous herb that very closely resembled the plant that Thora thought she was getting herself into, as Mathilore was able to determine, which would result in Thora having stomach cramps. The remedy for them would need their being settled down to prepare properly. The treatment needed to be slightly burnt, and was only safe when eaten with food.

    It was not long after that a small clearing, elevated from the waters and nearby to the road was found. The ground looked patchy, not much growing there, and there were old ashes from some time ago within a small circle of stones. It was a rather safe spot, near the charms that would ward off the far more hostile and dangerous creatures of the wilds, but lacking in cozy commodities. However, with the hour drawing late, it was the best spot to stop and situate themselves for a meal, treatment, and anything else they wanted sorted before they rested and slept.

    They would still have a long walk tomorrow if they wanted to reach their destination.
  16. Finally they had arrived at a respectable campsite, and none too soon.

    Tossing his satchel and walking stick to the ground, he fell to his knees and feigned falling asleep.

    After a couple moments, he realized this would get him nowhere, and so he rolled onto his back, pulled his satchel over, and tugged his flint and steel from the multitude of items. As the others set up their things, he quickly made for the circle of stones, pulling some sticks and leaves haphazardly into the mix. "Let's get some heat 'round here," he mumbled, staring intently at his work as he struck the steel against the flint repeatedly, holding it out at arms length by the collection of seemingly flammable materials.

    "Watcha guys have to eat? I can cook whatever!"
  17. Mathilore shot Beren a withering look, though she said nothing. Irritated though she was with the man's upbeat eagerness while a child was ill nearby, she did in fact need a fire to prepare the medicine the girl needed. One of the herbs she'd brought from her stock in Shadecreek, Twistroot, could fix stomach cramps, but it needed to be charred a bit to remove the hairlike tendrils on the outside that would make the girl sick if she ingested them. If the man could get a fire lit, Mathilore would forgive him his cheery mood.

    She left Thora to the care of her family until the treatment could be prepared. They would comfort her more than an old crone fussing about her uselessly, surely, so there was no need for Mathilore to do any fussing. Instead she would get everything ready for when the fire was lit, to minimize the time until she could help the poor girl. Mathilore rummaged around in her herb bag, which now held enough Sweetstring to make ten cups of throat soothing tea thanks to young Ana's help in gathering, and pulled out a gnarled brown root.

    "I need a stick." She made the announcement to nobody in particular, just putting the edge of command into her voice and expecting someone would do as she said, as they usually did. "It needs the bark stripped off. Needs to be thick enough to hold the root without snapping, about as thick as my little finger, and long enough to hold it over a fire without burning my hand." Mathilore got her knife and used the point to dig a little pit in the top of the thick end of the root, a little guide marker for where the stick would go once she had it.

    "And," she looked up at Beren, "something for Thora to eat along with the root. Can't have it on an empty stomach, else it'll to more harm than good by a fair stretch. Anything will do, so long as she'll eat it and keep it down. I was a picky eater as a lass myself, couldn't stand most meats, ended up right back on my plate with company, and my mother was none to happy about it. Can't be having that now, of course. I'm sure you'll figure it out, hmm?" She directed a meaningful glance toward the girl and her family, meaning to indicate that Beren ought to talk to them to decide on what food would work for her.
  18. Nervousness had Ana as strung-up as a guitar. The moments they saw an animal, she looked at it with wide eyes and held her weapon... all, until the creature wandered off, letting Ana gather her breath, and pace down her heart. This was another lesson given by her grandmother: Safety in groups. Wolves and bandits seek the solitary and the weak. This path would continue to be dangerous, but now that they've found a lace to rest, it seemed she would have a moment to breathe.

    It was a good thing that Ms. Mathilore had come with them, though. Thora had gotten ill, and Ana Gestin wondered what they could do until Ms. Mathilore did indeed mention they would need a fire and food, but more to help her condition. As soon as Ms. Mathilore mentions something to eat, Ana brings out her frying pans, pots, and spices.

    "I've got cooking equipment. Bring me over the wood and ingredients and I will make a broth. It's what my grandmother used to make for me when I got sick. I've got enough spices for five meals for each of us." Ana comments as she brings over her canteen, waiting for Beren's word on what would she eat. "Bring dry wood over the center and surround it with a stone circle. If we're going to eat and rest.. we better do it soon. It doesn't look like it will rain tonight, but clouds have been gathering all day."
    #18 Jaydee, Nov 4, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014
  19. The very last thing they needed was a careless mistake to set them off course so soon after leaving Shadecreek behind, and sure enough, with a few hours gone, there was a child in need of herbal remedies. Vrisette was slightly relieved that it wasn't a mauling of some sort, as they'd simply never get back on track if that had happened. The group was getting tired and morale was in danger of plummeting if they didn't find a place to stop soon and get Thora some help. Luckily, their lengthening shadows were pointing towards a suitable area to set up camp. It took her a few moments, but she realized that the clearing was one that she had stopped at on her last journey out this way. The grass seemed more trodden upon, but the general shape of the plot remained the same. Blinking, she tried to calculate the distance left.

    "If we've made it here," she said aloud, though more to herself than to anyone in particular, "We should only have a day left to walk if we keep up the pace." Glancing over towards Thora, she felt a twinge of compassion for the younger girl, knowing how easy it was to confuse any of those leafy plants with something so toxic it could rot your brain nearly on sight. It melted nearly as quickly as it came when Mathilore said something about needing a stick. She grimaced. Those expectant commands would certainly get tired fast as they went on, but Vrisette bit her lip and decided it would be the best use of her time to be helpful rather than to argue.

    Hurrying to the edge of the clearing, the dark haired girl found that there were rather thick, almost limb-like branches closest to their site, and a smattering of ones hardly longer or more resilient than rushes. They'd burn up instantly at the slightest spark and would never be able to hold the hefty root. Of course, she mumbled, as she took a step over the patchy grass to recede under the canopy of trees, there was no way I was going to find something out here in the light. After a few moments of fumbling about among gnarled roots and low-hanging leaves, she found a bough that could suit the crone's needs. It was fairly spry, holding up well against a bit of force from her palm, and about the length of one of the crops the monks would use to drive horses. Now isn't that fitting? she smirked to herself as she returned with the prize.

    "Will this do, Ms. Mathilore?" Vrisette inquired, brandishing the twig from a few feet away, not wanting to leave her prime hunting ground just to allow the woman a better view. She honeyed her words to make up for her shouting. Turning to Ana, she also added, "And there's a whole lot of dry wood back here if you don't mind pricking through some thorns and rough bark."
  20. As they traveled further south, Elm pondered. He was not a people person, nor was he any good with children or the elderly for that matter. He was a loner by neccity in the past, and it had tainted his perception of the world. And yet the comfort of solitude even now told him he was right in his choice . One of the little ones had eaten something she really shouldn't have, and he was reminded by his own words. He was the only real woodsman here. They would have a much harder time with the forest and its mysteries. At least the old crone seemed on top of it. Remedying her ailment with something that was actually edible. As they made it to the clearing he surveyed the land and forest around it briefly. He had not been here, but he could swear some of the boar paths would lead righ past this camp. The idea of taking down one almost made his mouth water. If would make ore exellent travelling food. And He could use the hide to sell.

    ”Anyone of you know how to shoot a bow?” He askes as he limbered up. ”I might be able to track something down. But if I am gonna fell something big enough to feed us I could do with a silent, good shot.” He said as he counted his arrows. ”And Make sure the fire is surrounded properly with rocks. Big ones. We don't want it to spread.” With that he waited and watched them go and set up camp. Snapping some twigs to cut into crude arrows.
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