In Warlike Array

   
Astaban arises to the now-familiar grunts of Karn in his morning routine, and proceeds to break down the tent and prepare for the day.

Blake

Blake rises, looking much the same as yesterday: bleary eyed and unkempt. He gnaws on some breakfast, and while it's still cold, tries to catch a few grasshoppers.

Sofia wakes up early and greets the dawn with a prayer to Elawyr. The young priestess half whispers, half chants her words of praise and thankfulness. As her prayer ends, her entire body starts to quiver, and - for one moment - Sofia finally feels the comforting presence of her Goddess.

With a stretch and a yawn Layna steps out of the tent, her bedroll tucked under her arm. She walks over to her horse and sets the bedroll down before joining the others at the center of camp. She silently sets herself down on the dewy grass and nibbles on a bit of her trail rations.

Astaban's industriousness has the party already ahead of schedule as you "enjoy" a bit of breakfast--the Crocus's trail rations aren't bad, but they're no warm meal either--and plan your travel to the mine. Although you are less burdened with mining equipment this time around, it will still take two weeks to cut across the southern reaches of the Veldt and find the once-prosperous gem deposit.

OOCLooking for a general outline of how you guys want to proceed--visit cities or avoid them, ride early in the day or late in the day, etc. I'd prefer any discussions of the topic to be IC. As far as the actual travel scene, I don't intend to allow the passage to drag out as long as it did the first time, but I'll give you guys a continuous span of a week or so to RP and then flash forward to the local area of the mine.

After finishing her meal, Sofia clears her throat and addresses her companions.
"Since we are going to plan our travel... I would prefer to visit Stony Ford this time. I know it is wiser to avoid cities in general, but I do have some business there." she says.

Layna exhales gently before speaking, "Everyone from the hood to the halfling to the quartermaster was quite clear that OUR business is to resolve the issue at the mine as rapidly as possible - they are probably expecting us back within the month," Layna says matter of factly. "If we make good time on the first half of our trip, perhaps we will have time to make personal stops on the way back. And if we do our job well, perhaps they will grant us some more personal time when we return," Layna conceeds. "Though aren't there bandits near Stony Ford? I'm sure we could handle them, but that would probably draw some unwanted attention to us."

Layna falls silent for a few moments as she gathers her thoughts, "Anyway," Layna resumes, "we need to be reasonably rested and have a plan ready when we reach the mine. I would suggest we ride steadily through the day, leaving some time in the evenings to discuss plans in camp before we set watches and turn in for the night." She tucks a stray whisp of hair behind her ear and says, "we could cut a few days off the trip by riding sunrise to sunset," she surmises, "but that will leave us overly tired when it comes to facing 'Zul,' so I'd suggest a more measured approach, probably reaching the mine in about two weeks. I'd also avoid towns or other gatherings of people. The fewer questions we need to answer the better time we will make and the fewer chances for mishaps."

"If need be we can pick up the pace on the way back, probably in a score of days," Layna suggests. "That may provide time for a brief stop in Stony Ford, though it is probably wise to travel faster on the way back, no matter what. Our employers seem very eager to start their mining expedition; fewer days to be noticed and a successful early return could only be to our advantage."

Astaban listens to Layna's words, nodding his head as he does so. He thinks for a moment, then says to Sofia, ""I think I understand the nature of the business you wish to attend to in Stony Ford, but I think that, in this case, Layna is right. The quicker we can get there, the sooner we can get home."

Astaban looks a little anxious as he finishes.

"Having a chance to speak with my brothers and sisters at the Temple in Stony Ford is important to me." Sofia answers.

The priestess hesitates, trying in vain to hide her anxiety.
"From a timing perspective, it would only take a few hours." she continues. "Now, there would also be some risk involved - and I shall take that risk alone."

Wyngrad speaks up, agreeing with Astaban. M'lady, my father is very sick. Money is a priority. The quicker we finish this job, the better.

Wyngrad looks with confident determination. He shows no fear to the prospect of facing a dragon.





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