Chapter 2 - Of Dust, Of Death, Of Darkness

Chapter 2 - Of Dust, Of Death, Of Darkness

It was nearly evening by the time they set out, and though there was some protest from the one called Korakk, it was decided that spending a night in the desert, near enough to the Order's base of operations, was good preparation for the remainder of their journey.

The travel itself, as opposed to the preparation for it, was surprisingly smooth. Ara's words about the horses were not spoken lightly, as they seemed to have an extraordinairy grasp of the sandy path, their wide hooves moving effortlessly through the soft sand. At the occasional outcroppings of rock the horses skirted around the stone, their large feet not well-suited for rocky travel.

For those travelling here for the first time, the amalgamation of ice and sand that they saw was like nothing else.

To the right lay The Great Desert, and what seemed like an endless expanse of sand, rock, and dust. Hardly a sign of life made itself known, though now and again a prickly cactus stood against the horizon, its green coloring in sharp contrast with its surroundings. Dust flew about on the wind, bandied to and from by the light current of air. Even those unfamiliar with this particular expanse of desert knew of various sand-dwelling creatures, and extra care was paid to keeping an eye on their right flank.

To the left lay The High Ice, a massive swath of ice that dominated the view. An occasional peak rose above the nearly-flat surface, illuminating the battle waging between water and rock for control of the area. At times, a brief chill wind came down from the ice, but nothing more. There were absolutely no signs of life anywhere upon it, though legends of ice-dwelling monsters were abundant in the region. Some say these creatures even left their frozen homes, though not without great cause...

It was this path that the journey followed, Kashue's instructions fresh in their minds. The ice was certain to provide a source of water, of moisture, in this harsh climate, and staying between the two gave them an extra avenue of escape, should anything dire befall them.

They had been travelling for several hours when nightfall finally came, its cold embrace welcomed by all, especially Zetroc, who seemed unaccustomed to any sort of hard travel. Beads of sweat were constantly upon his brow, no matter how often he wiped them off with the cuff of his cloak, and his posture was now slumped and tired. Delphine was also struggling, her life having been spent among the shadows of trees and cities. Only Korakk seemed completely unfazed by the environment, grunting impatiently when one of his company lagged behind. He had moved up alongside Ara, and though he did not overtake her, he was clearly impatient with the entire lot.

Ara signalled that they should stop, and Zetroc nearly slipped from his mount in his relief. He had relaxed too much the instant he saw her hand come up, and the only thing that stopped him from eating a mouthful of sand was a length of rope that had coiled around his mount, holding him securely in place. He looked down upon the rope, and moved his hand along its rough coils, gathering up the rope as it untied of its own volition. Hopping carefully of of his horse, he inscribed a small circle upon the sand with his foot, which promptly became a disk of shining steel, upon which Zetroc sat carefully to rest.

Tamrik basked in the sand as they took their nights rest in the desert. This may not be so bad he thought to himself. Things were finally smoothing themselves out after that inititial blowout with Joachim and Garak. Tamrik was worried about Joachim, they all needed to work together, and making an enemy within your own party was a recipe for disaster, hopefully Joachim could show enough battle prowess and cunning to disuade Garak from any rash dicisions. Tamrik closed his mind to all those problems, and slowily drifted to sleep under the blanket of stars above him, and his new companions. Things are getting better.

Huffing and Puffing, even though the horse was the one carying all the weight, Joachim was taken along the side of this small caravan. He had drank already one of his two waterskins to the bottom as they reached their camping place. Sweat was all over him his shirt was as fallen into a pond, every place that actually was covered from the sun was wet as hell the rest was sun dried. Vapor could have been thought of getting of his back, steam of human fluids, imagination eventually. He as well mas more then glad that the days travel came to an end.

As his horse came to an hold he got of. A big *clonk* was to hear and for those watchng the palladin was now lying in the sand. His legs had not taken the swap from the day's ride to an standing position and had given under the weight of the armor. Like a bug perhaps he was now lying there - Laughing. Laughing about his own weekness. "What a luck eh, if this were combat I sure would be death ... o boy ... I am just not used to this anymore" His loud and clear voice gives away to anyone listening in a slight ironic undetone. He seems happy enough though.

Next he gets his bedroll from of the back of the horse, What was his name?! oh shoot poor horse just forgot yer name ... then it comes to him "HALNOR!! good boy, well we rest now we will I guess..." As Zetroc makes his magic circle and sits on the steelen surface Joachim makes big eyes, not so much because of the magic fullfilled but more because the underground sure isn't hard, or at least so hard that flat steel could be more comfortable.
Laying the sleeping roll uppon the ground he sits down again. His Armor leaves him no coice then to sit in a very unpleasant position and soon he decides to take it of, this of course is unwise since they might be ambushed in the middle of the night, but he doesn't care about it. "Rather a good night of sleep and a little risk, then little sleep and a days risk (of falling asleep)" he mutters and takes of the armor.

"Well we take watches I supose? Any volunteers for the first? I myself would rather have the last one of the night ..." with this he lays back and awaits further movements in their camp, hunger was strangly not plaging him at all ...

Raen slides easily off his mount as the group stop. Some of the others, Joachim in particular in his heavy suited armour, look hot and bothered from the ride. In truth, the heat and discomfort of the journey were hard on Raen as well, but his mental discipline needed for his martial skills forced him through it. He was glad to stop for the night though, and showed very little outward sign of discomfort.

He tends to his yet unnamed mount, removing saddle and packs from it to ensure it could rest unencumbered for the duration of the stop. As he does so he marvels at the meeting of the two worlds here, the ice and the sand. It was truly an amazing spectacle, a sight that would live in his memory for a long time. He notices Delphine across the camp, and makes his way to speak with her. He had noticed her discomfort during the ride, this terrain more than likely being alien to her.

He passes by Joachim, and drops to a crouching position and pats the Paladin on the shoulder twice in a fiendly manner. "Rest easy my friend, the first watch shall be mine." With a nod and smile to the exhuasted man, Raen then progresses on. He checks in with all the members of the group, just a friendly hello, or a check to make sure they feel ok. His final stop before reaching Delphine is with Kashue.
"Tell me Sandrider, you know this terrain. What sort of enemies can we expect to bother us?"

After he has concluded his conversation with Kashue, he finally makes his way to Delphine, and gives her a warm smile.
"How fare you my lady Delphine?" he asks, as he drops to the sand next to where she is sat.

As Raen stated, he is more than happy to take the first watch with anyone else who wishes too.
Taking Watch

"... Man... This is something that you can call HOT."

They had been travelling all day under that cruel sun, on their horses. Everything was hot, in that place. The sunlight. The sand. Even the horses' skin. He got down from the animal in a few seconds, ansious to check if all his body was still there or something had been melted during the trip. And now, it was time to decide the watches.

"Lesse... I volunteer for the second watch. I don't mind being woken up."

Delphine, who had been riding low on her horse, looked up with a feeble smile as Raen hailed her.
"Well, I've certainly been better!" she said, looking about at the rest of their sweaty, feeble group. Making a move to dismount, she hoped Raen would help her down, and was soon sitting uncomfortably on the sand. After a few moments to catch her breath, Delphine nimbly removed a bedroll from her pack, and lay it down onto a smoother patch of sand. Loosening her clothing slightly to allow the cooler night air to vent, she watches the others as they dismount and begin to setup camp.

While the others relax, Ara heaves her packs to the ground, and after a moment of searching, pulls out a small silver bell. Closing her eyes, she hold her arm out, moving the bell in a circular motion, then ringing it once. Ara opens her eyes, and after taking a brief glance around, returns the bell to the pack.
"Raen, I have placed a small ward around this area...if anyone approaches, a bell will toll. Since you are on first watch, this will help keep us safe from some of the strange creatures I've seen out here," she says, making sure all can hear. "It should last through the night."

Anyone interested in knowing exactly what spells are cast during the game, feel free to make a Spellcraft roll in the Dice Rolling thread
Some may be obvious, some not...

Kashue was hardly bothered by the heat from the travel, the fresh air that came from the ice wall made the temperature more comfortable than in the rest of the desert. He also had now the opportunity to look at the others, as his place on the lead didn't allowed him to do that often, it turned out that his early assumptions where true, most of them where ill suited for this kind of travel.
He approached Joachim and Zetroc, as they where obviously the ones more tired from the travel.
"Take out your armors for tomorrow's travel, they won't help you in combat if you are too fatigued from the heat", he made a pause, and then said to the whole group (but specially for these two):
"Put blankets on you once you've cooled down, Anauroch nights are colder than what they seem, specially near the ice wall"
He then turned at Raen, it was a difficult question, as there where many things that could be considered a threat in the desert, Kashue decided not to mention the uncommon ones or the ones less likely to be so far in the north.
"There are many things in the desert that you could call a threat, too many to be counted, but most are highly unlikely to be found around here, our major problem for tonight would be scorpions and snakes, but tomorrow we will travel through the mountains, and we could find greater dangers there."

he took out his scimitar out of his belt and placed his
which was 3/4 of being full
waterskin against the ice wall, then smashed the sword's hilt against the ice over it several times until he created a small and shallow crater, with the pieces of shattered ice falling inside the waterskin, they would melt over the course of the next day. "I will take the third round", he said as he worked on the ice, and then returned to his mount and pulled out his bedroll and a blanket, put them on the ground, took out his armor, and finally drove the massive sword that was on his back in the sand before he sat and took out his dinner.

After helping Delphine off her horse, Raen, seeing Kashue's little trick with the ice does the same, and returns to Delphine with the cool waterskin.
"Here, take this, it may help." He hands her the pouch with a smile. "If you need an extra blanket while I take watch, then you can use mine." As he looks down at the bedraggled, exhausted elven maiden, he fels a strong urge to lean down and kiss her lightly on the cheek. But he resists, and instead stands and stammers "I must prepare for my watch."He then hurries across to Ara to find out the area the spell is covering.

As he stands close to the edge of the camp, eyes scanning the horizon, as the rest of the camp settles down, turmoil rages inside the elven warrior. He came to the order to get away from the pain of losing those closest to him, swearing never to again get close to anyone who he would put in harms way. And here he was, attracted to the first lady he met, and feeling a bond starting to form for this rag tag group of individuals. Damn it Raen, you soft hearted bastard, it's Shiran and Aska all over again. You need to get a grip and remember why you are here!

The air started to cool as the temperature dropped, and Raen started to make his way around the camp, periodicaclly taking different positions on his watch as the others finished off their business before settling down.

During his watch, Tamrik takes his job
spot check:
Dice Roll:
1d20+1 1d20+1 1d20+1 1d20+1 1d20+1 1d20+1 1d20+1 1d20+1
d20 Results: 4 (Total = 5)
d20 Results: 5 (Total = 6)
d20 Results: 15 (Total = 16)
d20 Results: 12 (Total = 13)
d20 Results: 12 (Total = 13)
d20 Results: 6 (Total = 7)
d20 Results: 8 (Total = 9)
d20 Results: 7 (Total = 8)
seriously He sits there in silence as he
listen check:
Dice Roll:
1d20+2 1d20+2 1d20+2 1d20+2 1d20+2 1d20+2 1d20+2 1d20+2
d20 Results: 20 (Total = 22)
d20 Results: 7 (Total = 9)
d20 Results: 9 (Total = 11)
d20 Results: 10 (Total = 12)
d20 Results: 11 (Total = 13)
d20 Results: 5 (Total = 7)
d20 Results: 9 (Total = 11)
d20 Results: 4 (Total = 6)
listens to the sounds of the night.
the rolls made are once every 15 minutes during the coarse of his two hour watch. which he is apparently bloth blind and deaf during. Grrrr...

Kashue wakes up in the middle of the night and dismisses Tamrik, for the next couple of hours, he silently watches and listens to any irregularity in the desert.


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