Chapter 6 - South to Saerloon

   
Gren looked to the new comer, nodding to him. His nerves, however, were beginning to wear thin. He spurred his mount onward, peeling off from the caravan as they began to pick up speed. It's wings unfolded, cutting through the wind and proving some amount of lift before the hippogriph started flapping its massive appendages, lifting them slowly off the ground until it was running on air.

Once they'd taken to the skies, the hippogriph folded its legs in as they travelled, flying in an almost lazy circle around the group. Gren's goggles covered his wild eyes once more, their soft glow breaking through the clouds and allowing him to see further than ever as he kept his eyes on the horizon.


Joachim had gotten back onto his horse the necromancer had nothing else to say and seemed not to have understood his, Joachim's, interrogation, and disregard his advice as he continued his conversation now with Garak. As for the question he was addressed, on work ethics, he was not expected to reply such a rhetorical statement so he ignored it altogether. If by chance they would talk about something the likes again he would likely express his conviction and argue for a higher moral than that of the word and that it all was connected to what was best for everyone not to a contract, vocal or written.

Meanwhile Gerwin was busy observing both the halfling and the hunter shooting wildlife. She was a bit irritated by the fact that these people were shooting wildlife in the fashion they did. It seemed almost as if they did so more for sport than actually the need for food. For this was the truth if they needed food she would be able to produce it for all of them, also she was sure that if indeed they were hungry they would take care of the hunting at a more opportune moment than while they were riding. Speak of the man with the bow who had been slowing them down travelling on foot altogether. At least he was sensible enough to realise that and to travel on the cart from now on. Although it was at the least peculiar to see that he was the one rushing to carry on. Another thing that seemed to have off set here was the necromancer. It was just not right what he implied he did. Controling the dead after life, it was just not natural, besides it reminded her just a tad to much of the military and Adiari. That corrupted forest, the corrupted unlife.

It almost seemed as if the couple had to be on a opposite moods for now Joachim had grown a bit lighter, likely due to the joke before. He listened into the conversation between the necromancer and his Nemesis and almost had to smile to Garak's words. He had almost missed the other in his way of being. Which in itself surprised the Paladin, were he aware of such. In fact it had shown in many a situation that the assassin and paladin had traits in common more than ether were likely comfortable to admit, so here too Joachim cared little for those newcomers until they showed the worth of their company.

In a group like this the knight in armor cared little for the new arrival. The man on the raptor was an acquaintance and as such no more a stranger than those who he already was travelling with, so he tolerated him as much as any of them. Only time would bond or separate him and any of them, and only time would show how this happened if it happened at all.

Eventually he is approached by the gnome that had been rushing back and forth between the lot of them. On his part he had little the other might want, at least judging from the last few inquiries, but perhaps once Artax was present it would be another story. Unlike before he actually turned his head to the other, not a question of preference, but simply of mood. He even followed the others gesture to Garak and gave the other a meant friendly smile, he knew that it would annoy the other, but eventually he would get through to him. And it amused him even further. As he turns to the gnome for an answer however he grows more serious once more. "Garak, yes we met some time ago, when we last were at the orders headquarters ..." He contributed to the Khel's assertion, however when exactly it was, they where last at the orders headquarters, was uncertain even for Joachim. Much had happened. Perhaps it had been only a few days ago, a week, or a month, but for what it was worth it could have been five years. "I believe he is flesh and bone." Joachim says innocently "I wouldn't advice you to speak of people you barely know, far less to speak ill of them, even less when they are in range of sight and might very well overhear the conversation. I would advice even more so, when the person in question is Garak." Joachim pauses for a moment. He had been speaking his face facing forwards, wouldn't the assassin read his lips, and even at the front of the line with all the noise the horses where producing, it wasn't all impossible to listen into the conversation, besides the paladin wasn't whispering. But Joachim knew Garak and he had his fun having his privacy. "But don't take him lightly, it still isn't clear what happened to the rest of our group in Saerb." His face turned to Khel smiling indicating he had just jested.

While some attempt to start conversation with their newly-found comrades, their efforts seem to lead mostly to veiled threats and confusing banter, leaving each side wanting more. Others, like Gren and Ser Martin, mostly keep to themselves, using their own senses and skills to feel out their allies.

Up in the sky, Gren acts as the party's de-facto scout, flying high above the caravan to spot potential road hazards, dangers, and alert the group when they were in sight of Saerloon.
Now, he does send down a warning, but it is not that of Saerloon, but rather of a small convoy rolling down the path towards them, two large armored men on horseback leading a three-horse merchant-style carriage, an additional mounted warrior keeping watch behind the group.

Their pace seems somewhat rapid, as if eager to reach their destination, but they make no sign that they see Gren in the skies above them, and your own party is still several hilly turns away from being seen.
From the fellow's estimate, they should become visible in approximately 5 minutes...

Kesendaran continues on his raptor, somewhat oblivious to what happens around him, but here and then exchanging a word or two with someone from the party. At one point, he even begins to sing something, along the lines of:

Dere be a devil in mah shouldah makin' me dance... Dere be a spring in mah step but a heavy heart...

However, the last words are sung very low and then, out of a sudden, he starts laughing hoarsely, as if he had just told a joke. Once the laughing stops, he begins whispering and muttering to himself, sometimes looking sideways or extending his hand as if to caress something that isn't there, though he seems to see it.

After Gren's report, the shaman seems to wake up and his eyes focus on the two phenomena happening around Khel, specially the whirlwind that accompanies him. Reaching closer, the shaman points with his chin before talking.

Yah be travelin' wit' dem spirits as well? Yah be havin' business wit' dem? His smile, though still existent, is now what could be called a warming smile; as much warming as you can imagine, by looking at a fellow with lichens growing on his skin and with his hair in a state most housewives would ban from their households.

Gren's eyes dimmed as the goggles quietly hummed, returning his vision to normal levels. He looked down at this below him, than up to the horizon again. It was unlikely they had been seen, and given the lack of reaction, it was just as likely he had gone unseen. Leaning over the head of his mount, he whispered in its ear once more before it closed its wings, plummeting to the earth, as silent as death.

With precious little space to spare, the hippogryph broke from its dive, wings spreading to level it out with the ground as its hoofs met earth, tearing into the road.

"Caravan ahead," he said, spitting off to the side of the road. Every instinct he had honed over the past several years told him to hide, but he wasn't alone anymore, and that wasn't his choice to make, "In a bit of rush from the looks of it, and they're guarded. Might be they're heading somewhere in a hurry, might be they're leaving in a hurry. 'Tsup to you what we do," he says, forcing a shrug, "Just thought you'd want to know."

Martin doesn't react visibly to this piece of news. Travelers ought to be common on this part of the highway, after all, that's exactly what the road was for, wasn't it? For travel?

All the same, the archer believed in being prepared, and he strung his bow in preparation, giving the weapon a light tap and hearing the musical buzz of the string inspired in him the same strange mixed feeling of coolness and heat, the feeling of being more focused, more aware, and a sense of his hands being out of his usual control. The hands of a killer, they were, and sometimes compelled their owner into quick and rash decisions simply out of a desire to prove their ability in the Way of the Bow and their reasons for existence.

Ser Redford stuffed the rush of adrenaline down with some difficulty, and nodded at Gren in thanks. "Three men ought not to be a threat to us... save we wish to be a threat to them. We should hail them, have ourselves a palaver, and move on."

"Yes," said the darkly clad necromancer as he listened to Martin's words with a slight smile, "We should hail them. I have some provisions from my last stop I could trade, and I'm a merchant's son at heart. Perhaps they have some trade goods for sale, my cart seems rather empty with only alcohol."

He stroked Dusk Taker's mane as he held his position towards the middle of the caravan and turned his eyes towards the oncoming traders. The Dark arts were his passion, but trading was in his blood. He wondered what some of the others in this motley crew thought of a necromancer with a soft spot for business.

With riders of unknown origin or purpose approaching, Garak had few options. He rode quickly up to Joachim and dismounted, handing his reins to the paladin. "I need to be on foot. I trust you know why." With that, the assassin ran towards the trees,
Hide:
Dice Roll:
1d20+39
d20 Results: 9 (Total = 48)
blending into the shadows as soon as they were near his body.


Kesendaran watches Garak's moves and follows him with his eyes up until he suddenly disappears, near the trees. He begins humming, his eyes still locked in the place where the thief was gone, but no longer registering any information about it. Inside his mind, though, his gears were functioning at full speed, intrigued by the Shadowed One's behaviour.
An interesting specimen, indeed....

Joachim nods and tells Gerwin to mount Garak's horse, although naive the paladin was not deprived of thought and so the rationalisation of seeing a unmounted horse, specially given that there was a man riding in a cart and a woman on his back, revealing the absence of a possible member of the group, made sense. Besides should there really be need to act as some of the group seemed to believe, Garak vanishing into the woods, Gren's somewhat nervousness, besides the ever enchanted Khel. However Joachim believed he fit more into the second part of the group together with the necromancer and the man in the other's cart, he had mostly forgotten their names again.

Bones and Bow guy (in Joachim's nomenclature) seemed rather eager to meet them for banther and trading as the necromancer made believe. However it seemed unlikely that someone in a rush had his time to trade with strangers on the road. Someone rushing normally had some urgent matter to attend to, a familiar lying on his death bed, a urgent deal, or something else, or and this was a big alternative here, they were running from something, taxes, the law, some kind of plague, or the likes. In ether cases he doubted they had time to chat much and would rather be interested in pursuing their course wherever they where headed.

That in mind Joachim guides his horse towards the right side of the road, gently pushing Gerwin with him, he expected the others to do so as well, but the road was big in any case.

Finally after the paladin had done the two things, have his wife mount Garak's horse and moved to the right side of the street he smiled at Gren and spoke "Well thanked for the warning. We shall know more as soon as we encounter the Caravan." with that he continues his ride slower now that he knew Garak on foot. Just enough for the other to keep up with the group.





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