Part 2 - The Ruins

 
Emeric took a step back and looked back towards the group. "I think it's not as bad as we thought. It's precarious, and the middle rock bit is going to be a bit slippery, but if you're surefooted enough, we should be able to make it to the other side." he said with a smile. Walking towards Talos, he took his reins in hand and gave the horse a pat. "Looks like we're taking the jump my good friend. Let's go."

With those words, Emeric stepped, almost impossibly sure-footed, onto the bridge. Leading the horse, which did seem slightly nervous, it eventually relaxed and followed its masters' lead with a similar dexterity. The wood creaked underneath them, but it seemed as if they would make it to the other side just fine at the pace they were going.

Once Emeric eventually put down his foot on the opposite bank, he let out a sigh of relief and pulled his horse away from the bridge.


"Huh. Easy enough." Cuthred swung down from the saddle with an ease that surprised him. He was growing accustomed to life in the saddle, it seemed. Some part of his mind focused on this fact and what it represented while the rest of his awareness shied away. He was far from in a foreign land, and it was changing him.

"All right, horse, I don't like this any more than you do. So let's get it over with."

He grabbed the reins and started towards the bridge, giving them a firm tug to get the horse moving.


These dice sets were omitted or moved: 1d20+4, 1d6

Cuthred stepped heavily onto the bridge, easing his horse behind him. The horse's eyes rolled as it saw the foaming water rushing across the black rocks that stuck out like jagged teeth. But Cuthred managed to master the beast and continue along the perilous foot-bridge. When he had reached the center stone, his foot slipped. He waved out one arm and caught his balance, but he was stayed and could move no further without first regrouping.


Cuthred paused, catching his breath. He waved to Emeric at the other side. "I'm all right! Just lost my footing. . ." Resisting the urge to look down at the water foaming around the rock, Cuthred waited until his nerves had steadied and then took a cautious step across the slick stone. Slowly, he picked his path across the rock, then the next section of hanging bridge. He breathed a sigh of relief when his feet touched firm ground again.


Tristan laughed softly as Cuthred momentarily lost his balance and looked as if he were going to fall. When he made it to the other side, he dismounted and took the horse by the reigns. Whispering softly to it and rubbing its muzzle, he led the horse on to the bridge. Carefully he stepped across the bridge which was sagging beneath their weight. He relaxed only when he made it dryly to the opposite bank.


Rikard gestured for Braithe to cross. His expression bore no hint of cowardice or chivalry; the swordsman simply knew that should the woman run into any trouble he would be in the best position to help her from here. There would be no means for the return favor given their relative proportions, in any case.

Braithe stared at the bridge, then turned to look at the horse. Frowning, she leaned in and muttered something to the beast that included phrases like, 'I will find a way to come back' and 'make a very big stew'. Then, white-knuckling the reins, she stepped out onto the bridge.


It was no good. The horse took one look at the bridge and whinnied loudly, shaking its muzzle violently. It reared and backed away, almost bolting free from Braithe's grip.


Rikard watched with dismay as Braithe stepped confidently onto the bridge, only to have her animal grow faint of heart. Seeing that she wisely left the beast behind, the swordsman grabbed the reins of the woman's horse before he decided to bolt. And now he was the only one left on the near side, with the two horses.

Thinking quickly, he tied the lead of Braithe's horse to the reins of his own animal. "Be good," he encouraged the tired equine as he himself tried to stem the churning tide of butterflies in his stomach. It would be no good to have lead the survivors this far, only to perish in the icy waters of his own homeland.

The swordsman nearly stumbled as he stepped onto the bridge, but was fortunate that Braithe's horse, having already refused to move for her, was even more stubborn for him. His own mount would have followed him to Nor and back, but the second animal flat out would not budge. Rikard gave the beast a withering look, then untied it and prepared to try again.

This time, his own horse had other ideas. Perhaps it had grown faint-hearted watching its master nearly fall to his watery grave. Either way, Rikard had to spend several additional minutes coaxing it to even attempt another crossing, before it finally was willing to again approach the edge of the abyss. Finally, with much pulling and soft talking and promises of carrots and sugar, the sword master finally reached the north side of the bridge with his own animal.

Now, there was still the matter of the poor beast stranded to the south...


"I'll give it a try," Cuthred said. "At the least I can use the practice with these beasts." He stripped off his weapons and armor; now that he was across, there was no sense in carrying it back and forth and risking a plunge with full armor. . .if the current swept him to his death, at least the others would have his arms.

Wearing only his cloak and the loose Quadan trousers, Cuthred stepped onto the rope bridge. He negotiated the slick stone easily this time, knowing where to tread.

Reaching the horse, he began cooing at it with soothing tones, the way Rikard seemed to do. He took the reins and started towards the bridge. The horse stood rooted to the spot, even tugging back against him. He broke his litany of sweet nothings with a vicious curse.

"All right now, horse. I'm doing you a favor, you hear? Braithe over there is going to turn you into a meal if she has to come back here, and I don't really blame her. But come along nice and easy and maybe I can put in a good word."

What in hell am I doing, trying to reason with a horse? He glanced back at he precarious crossing. Especially when he seems to be the more reasonable one.


These dice sets were omitted or moved: 1d20+5, 1d20+5, 1d20+7, 1d6z, 1d20+7





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