Chapter 4b - North by Northwest

Joachim seeing how Garak speaks something to Raz, then the big priest answering something giving his horse runs back to his seat in the cart jumps on and takes of as well. Now that things were moving he did not want to be the one to slow things down. It did not matter the others did not reply, he thought it had been something serious, perhaps a sighting somewhere he had not looked yet, or a bad omen. As it turned it had just been a exchange of words nothing serious. Relieved the palladin continues to lead the small caravan.

Calming words again diffuse a potentially-dangerous situation, and Joachim returns to his cart at the front of the caravan.
Raz and Lorem take off in their own cart, while Tamrik and Garak follow along on their horses, preferring the quick maneuverability of a horse to the confined space of a wagon.

With Joachim leading the way, Garak keeping alongside while Tamrik covers the rear. The two-wagon caravan moves slowly, its speed decreased by rough terrain, poor driving skills, and the occasional false alarm. Up ahead the path widens slightly, and though it doesn't allow both wagons to travel together, it does allow both horsemen to ride alongside, should they so choose. All around the path, the road gently slopes upward, and off in the distance the path clearly valleys, a series of large cliff-like enclosures all along the sides of the road.

As the carts slowly meander down the path, a plume of smoke from the Western side of the road catches your attention. Thin, intermittent, and weak, its path trails downward towards the opposite side of the cliff. Looking forward at the upcoming path, you can see it loops westward for a good bit, then continues North again after curving around a huge boulder.

Joachim slows down to a stop. This smoke was disturbing enough. They sure were soon to drive into it. Perhaps the others had something in mind or wanted to say something. At his current position communication was rather hard. Coming to think how the last time his words had never reached the group. As well some might have some strategy prepared in case of an ambush.

The cart still on the road Joachim gets of once more. He walks to the rear of the cart on the way securing the brake and the wheels just in case. He then awaits the arrival of Raz's cart. He holds his hand up in greeting. "Damn the weather is hot. Already drank a whole water skin, so thirsty I am, can you believe that? Darn dust doesn't help to keep the eyes and throat moist either..." The paladins eyes were slightly red. Tears had come into them to drive of the dust stacked for a while now just shortly before they stood. "Have you noticed?" he asks the Cleric and Lorem innocently pointing at the smoke. As Tamrik and Garak catch up he nods at them not to happy for their arrival. He taxes Tamrik with a stout face.

As all are paused at the spot probably wondering why his cart is blocking the way he decides finally to speak. "Well I think that smoke is not one of natural sources, and out here it seems rather unlikely to be of some nice old farmers house... I could bet it comes from some Bandit camp or such ... My guess is that if we follow the road we'll ride straight into them. We should ready ourselves for a battle just in case. Also for what I know of camps if they have any organization they are sure to have scouts along the way, so they might use some signs or the likes to warn the rest. If we could take them out before they do we might have a chance on a surprise attack and take them straight on before they notice it. This way we might actually even be able to save some souls and take prisoners ..." Joachims years in the Neverwinter guard come forth. His training had been quiet reasonable and at least this much he knew of war, even if had never participated in one.

"They ain't having no barbecue, I can tell you that much." the priest says, concern in his eyes.

"Let's see what's up there."
he says, lurching the cart forward.

"..." Lorem kept on taking watch from the cart he shared with Raz, being attentive at everything around him, and yet.... Again and again, his attention kept on being captivated by his weapon. He had always seen himself as a cautious man, that was why he had learned to defend himself with both a bow and a sword, but... Ever since his weapon had been modified by their frosty ally, he had started to become fascinated, almost obsessed by the bow. ... Why is that? I do not know.

He got broke out of his reverie by Joachim's words. He turned to the west... Yes, indeed, there was smoke coming from that direction. A camp... A camp of what? And Raz of course, immediately lurched the cart forward. "Wait! Let me and Garak scout ahead, first!" He jumped out of the cart and landed on his feet, grabbing his quiver and bow in the process. He turned to the shady man. "You're the most stealthy. I can be silent enough to cover you, though."

"You want to be quiet, why didn't you just say so. I got one o them spells." he offers, thinking a silence spell cast on Garak might be a worthwhile use of his magical talents.

Joachim shrugs if Garak and Lorem wanted to scout it was up to them, they could even take the scouts down the other might possibly have. With that in mind it suddenly occurred to Joachim "Hey Lorem... just a little request. If possible take them prisoners instead of wiping them out of existence. They could give us vital information on the situation of where and how many are in the camp." He then looks to the priest "I guess we'll have to give them a head start ... but I am certain that we wont miss anything important..."

He turns to Garak who as usual seemed awfully quiet "So what do you say?" also Tamrik had not spoken his opinion on the matter. This time the paladin did not mind the absence, since the scene the other had made in front of the shopkeeper the knight in shiny armor found it best not to change words with the other and to avoid further conflict. A swift look in his direction was all the expression he would show to him this time.

Garak did not reply to Raz. He did not need to engage in worthless banter. His threat had been made, and the assassin intended to keep his word. The priest would die.

As they moved along, Garak kept to himself, happy to be alert to their surroundings. He was happy when the opportunity to scout ahead presented itself.

He nodded in agreement with Lorem and began to walk ahead. "Stay at least one hundred feet behind us, but no more than one hundred and fifty feet, and stay out of sight of us. You will know if and when we need you or if it is safe to come ahead. Wait for my will know it when you hear my voice." Garak called this back to the others. He hadn't heard Raz talk about offering a silence spell, but even if he had, Garak did not need it, for he had learned a few new tricks of his own.

Tamrik stayed quiet and found himself behind the wagons again, far enough behind to see Garak and Lorem start to scout ahead. He decided that it was good that Lorem went with Garak, that way Lorem could be labeled a murderous bastard along with him and Garak if the scouting went wrong and Lorem had to kill the enemy scouts without saving them. Tamrik smiled at that thought. Soon, you will be the minority my friend, the goodness will be the minority. Tamrik's whispered words drifted away into the wind. His melodic voice holding the same venom that Garak's voice had so many times over the past few days. Tamrik was not evil, but he didn't care about anything. Good and evil are ways we look upon life. They are not black and white. What I do, is good for me. Again the words were lost in the winds, never to reach the waiting ears of Joachim.

"Sorry, did you say something?" Joachim turned to Tamrik. He had gotten the impression the other was talking. Somehow it appeared strange since if the other wanted to make himself hear he should have said what ever he wanted to say a bit louder. It probably was just his imagination. Tamrik sure had a grim look on his face. Joachim suddenly became concerned about this person. He had not acted at all in the ways he had come to know along the first part of the journey. He became more and more vile ... sometimes it would even appear as if he was confused. Joachim remembered the sudden outburst he himself had in the shop, also Tamriks a bit contradictory words the whole time before that. Also he had called him to the shop only then to insult his nature not trusting his judgement of the situation...

Conflicts. Most of the time they broke out only because people did not understand or trust in the actions of someone close by. Of course viewpoint could differ but that was no reason to view someone as a foe or to insult them... Joachim thought about that and how he himself often seemed to judge people for what they said... he should stop doing that.

Turning to Garak. "We'll be as careful as possible to be out of sight... both of you be careful I don't want to have to tell your close ones that you are gone." Remembering that Garak seemed to be a loner "I sure don't want to see your dog starving only because you are no longer around to feed him!" Joachim has a smile on his face and hoped the other would understand he meant it as a joke. Of course he would take care of the poor animal in the miss event of Garak's death.


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