Deciding against Jahl's wise advice this time, Cole, Whisper, Kay, and Wulfgar
head out too hunt for lunch and hopefully dinner too. They arent gone long before
returning with a few rabbits and a small buck. Appreciating your good fortune,
you realize you have enough meat for at least several days and get to work
skinning and cleaning the carcusses. That done, the party enjoys a quick lunch
and gets back on the road. Gareth and Cole discuss the best way to get to the
next town realzing it will take a while on foot, but determined to get there and
move on nevertheless before the business with the magic problems, and diety
disappearance becomes too widespread to contain. Cole estimates you are about 10
hours outside Landry on horseback. He really couldn't say for sure on foot.
"Congratulations on both the quickness and the skill of your hunting, my
friends." The knight turns to address the party, with special discussion
position towards Whisper. "We are travelling to Landry, approximately ten
hours ride from here," Gareth nods in acknowledgement to Cole. "My
apologies, Whisper, if you feel so closed to the notion that creatures may
look after one another, or assist each other in noble causes. Quite simply,
we need to travel swiftly, not dawdle at a walking pace. It is no excuse, I
speak, but the truth. There is a disruption in the magic of the land, and
it is tied to a widening gulf between the gods and their people. If it is
not resolved, the dangers multiply. You may stand strong in your
convictions that to ride an animal subjects it to slavery, yet the mining of
ore to make your arrowheads damages the land. Trees were cut down for no
other reason than to make arrow shafts and bows so you can shoot. Do either
mean that you are a callous savage raping the land? No... of course not.
There is a balance within the land, at most times, a balance of giving and
taking. We tend our mounts as friends, as allies..." the paladin pats his
mount with an obvious affection, "And could not imagine them as anything
servile. We trust that they will give all they can to assist us, and they
trust that we will not ask more than they can give. We ask for faster legs
beneath us to aid the inhabitants of this land, and they request that we
care for them when their work is done. None of the people within this
company harm their steeds, and most would sacrifice themselves to protect
their equine companions. I follow the teachings of Pikahl, and live each
day to aid my fellows, protecting them by my service; do you strip away that
gift from such dedicated creatures as Emperor?If I were to lift you higher
to reach an apple too far out on a tree limb, does that demean me to servant
or slave?" Gleaming in his honour, Gareth's question carries across a
ripple of ridicule at such an idea. "We do not abandon allies in combat,
Whisper, which means that any danger that can outrun us afoot - of which
there are many - would doom the entire party, since you refuse to ride.
That cannot be. If you cannot establish a partnership with a mount, and
treat him or her as an equal and an ally, our ways will not be able to
remain together long. We need speed to aid as many people of the land as
possible. I understand your abhorance for slavery, and to it I lend my
voice, but remember to understand that teamwork and alliances are bonding,
On other thoughts, Landry is near, and if we ride until sun-down, we
should make it to the town after the gates open, but well before noon the
next day. Disagreement? Thoughts?"
The knight helps in cutting and sharing the meals provided from the hunt,
cleans up, and feeds Emperor a carrot while he awaits party decision.
Whisper shrugs. "Good arguements, I shall think about them on my walk to
Landry. I am paid to serve but not to ride." If Whisper knows the
direction, he shall begin walking, elsewise he will ask Gareth and go.
Arilyn slides off her horse and runs her hand over her horse's neck. His
brown coat is warm and so very soft. She walks to the front of him and
she runs her hand over his snout. Her eyes look at him and they
communicate the care they have for each other. He nudges her shoulder
and knocks her back a step. She smiles at him and leans her forehead to
him. Arilyn reaches into her pouch and opens her hand. Her horse opens
his mouth and scoops up the sugar that is in the palm of her hand. She
watches the others and pulls out a piece of dried meat and chews slowly
on it...savouring the taste and the nourishment.
Arilyn walks over to Whisper. "Hello. I overheard what you said with the
others about horses and all animals. I was not being rude by listening
and I apologize if you think that what I did was wrong. Elves have very
good hearing and sometimes that can be a blessing or a curse. I have my
ideas and you have yours but I did not come over here to talk with you
about that." She shifts from one foot to the other. "The fact is...we
travel by horse and it has proven to be faster than travelling on foot.
I would like to ask if you have travelled with others who travelled by
horseback and if so, how did you keep up with them? Also, do you have
any suggestions on how we can all travel as a group? Having us
'horseriders' walk on foot is not an option."
She smiles and waits for a response.
Whisper waits for a reponse from Gareth and turns to regard Arilyn. He
gives her a curious look and says, "No need to lecture me about elves,
lady." He glances to the horses. "You say travelling on horses is
faster. I say, sending out an army to destroy all evil would be more
efficent than a group of random adventurers. The best way is not always
the way things are done, is my point ." He pauses and then says, "No I don't have any ideas.
Travelling on foot is not an option for you, and I don't question that.
If you give me directions I will meet you in Landry. Like I said, I am
paid to support you, not to ride." He glances at Gareth again.
"In this case, however, one requires the other," Gareth explained as he
dismounted. The knight stretched his six-foot frame and gently rubbed the
forehead of Emperor. In a thoughtful, but grave tone, "By my oath to
Pikahl, abandoning you every day of travel to fend on your own is a grievous
offence. In addition, your absence would act as a worry and distraction to
others in the party, reducing their alertness and their concentration. Your
absence thus becomes a danger to the party. By my oath to King Arion, I am
to clear and secure this land. If we must walk the entire path, the party
becomes no more fluid than an army and loses their effectiveness. We become
to slow to respond to emergencies because of your slowness. Your presence
thus defeats the party's mission. You are here with the party only for the
money; that is fine, but this party is here for the mission and the goal.
Your resistance would break oath and intent. I wish the party's feelings on
this matter, but I believe that I, as leader of this company, will put forth
this premise to you: we will escort you to Landry, as that is our next
destination. At that time, you must decide whether you can learn to ride
our equine friends, or feel too strongly to do so. If you are willing to
ride, we will keep you within the company. If not, you will be bid a
farewell and safe travel, with a small sum to provide you for your travels
such far. You have until we are departing Landry to decide. I estimate it
will take us three or four days to walk to Landry, and, perhaps another day
within the town, barring misfortune or trouble present. Money and one
person's wishes are secondary to the dedication to the goal and the party's
best interest. Until we leave Landry, Whisper." Gareth took reins in his
right hand and began walking towards the now-more-distant Landry. Over his
shoulder, a response floated, "Regarding the why an army would not be
superior to send than our select company, it is that we are all highly
skilled indivuals. Incidentally, an army requires many swordarms, scares
the populace as it passes through, and requires a very large and steady
supply of food. Further, an army is subject to many tactics a party can
avoid, and far more hindered by terrain than a flexible mounted company.
Cheaper, faster, friendlier, and more committed than a large group there for
the money; that is why our company is superior to an army."
Laban looks at the others talking about riding horses and looks at the beast
with interest. He walks to the nearest one and raises a hand slowly he pats
it gently and smiles, he whispers softly to the animal and continues to pat
it. "I have never ridden one of these fine animals would someone care to
show me how it is done?.." He looks around the group.
Seeing Laban approach his horse Wulfgar looks on intently to see what he is
up to. Seeing him pat Sundancer he slowly relaxes and continues his
cleaning and gutting of the animals they have caught, the blood up past his
wrists as he slices up the buck with expert movements of his knife. Hearing
Laban mention that he has never ridden a horse before surprises Wulfgar but
then he nods as he thinks of the stories of his young childhood.
Jahl snorts as he hears Laban's question. "By all means, please help
yourself to this beast!" Jahl offers the reins to the horse he has in tow.
Arilyn mounts her horse and rides next to Laban. "You have chosen well,
Laban. You must sit on the saddle and hold the reins...like this." She
shows Laban the reins in her hands. "To go left, you pull gently on the
left rein...and to go right, you pull gently to the right. To stop...you
pull back on both reins at the same time. To go forward, nudge the horse
with your legs. I never kick my horse to go fast. We seem to be able to
communicate most things and he almost knows where to go and what to do,
even before I do. And that will come with you and your horse as well."
She says this to Laban, but perhaps more for Whisper's benefit. "The
horse and the rider are a team. We are of equal importance. Do to the
size of the horse...we are on top [ooc - no comments about that ]."
Arilyn looks to Laban. "Riding a horse does take a little time to get
used to. And your legs will definitely be sore from being spread [ooc -
definitely no comment allowed there either lol]."
She pauses and watches, Laban. "We are a group and thus we travel as
one. If we don't all travel the same way, or if we cannot keep up with
each other in some manner, then I dont know why one would remain a part
of the group."
"Do you have any questions, Laban?" she asks.
She rides over to Wulfgar and quietly watches him. His movements are so
sure...his touch so strong yet so gentle. "I am sorry for running off
earlier." She smiles and asks. "Will you still train with me?"
Her eyes sparkle and she leans forward, caressing her horse's long
neck. Her hand slides down the underside of his neck, feeling his
smoothness and warmth. Her lips curl into a slight grin as she gently
rubs up and down...watching Wulfgar.
Whisper moves up quickly behind Gareth and grabs his shoulder. "I told
you, friend, my beliefs will not change. I do not expect yours to either.
If you are going to be this way about the horses, then you might as well
ride now. For things will not change at Landry." Whisper smiles. "I
have travelled by myself for many years now, in much of my travels through
the human world. I am still alive. Don't worry about me." Whisper looks
at Gareth and then turns and looks at the rest of the party one by one,
his glance falling on Laban for a little longer. He looks at Kay last and
then raises his bow in a sort of salute to her. Then he moves off, in a
Cole mounts his horse and looks down at Whisper " Sir,
I can't speak for these other's but my horse is not a
slave and is free to go as she pleases, She has chosen
to follow me because she is my friend and we care for
each other on our journey, She could not survive on
her own and I do not believe that I would do much
better without her." Patting his horse and mumbling
gibberish to her. " I wouldn't ask you to go against
your beliefs, but perhaps you should acquaint yourself
with a horse, perhaps then you could make a change in
Whisper glances back, but does not respond to this one.
Laban listens to Arilyn's words and slips into the saddle easily and seems
to be at ease although not to sure about being on the back of such a mighty
creature he moves the horse round in a circle as Arilyn tells him how to
then stops and slides from the saddle he claps the horses neck and speaks
softly to him again. Then walks to a quiet spot to eat some food.
Wulfgar listens to all that is said in the exchange between Whisper and
Gareth seemingly deep in thought and only snaps out of it when he realises
that Arilyn is next to him speaking. He looks up and starts to smile then
stops when he hears Gareth and Whisper end their conversation with Whisper
seemingly leaving the group. He returns his attention to Arilyn and nods
"Arilyn! I will train with you. We can both learn from each other" He
Gareth sighs softly at another traveller abandoning the protection of
others, but refrains from sermonizing [somehow]. The knight nods a silent
farewell, chucks Emperor beneath her chin, and hooks himself into the
saddle. "Mount up! We ride until sunset, then on to Landry the next
morning. Pikahl watch over and guide us... especially those alone..."
"Fare well my friend Whisper. I will miss talking to you on your study,
perhaps we will get a chance someday." With a smile and a polite nod, Jahl
"Now where is that beastly creature that I must sit upon?!?" Jahl looks
around, finds his horse and nearly sneers at it as he clumsily climbs onto
its back. "Lets make this journey quick! The less time I spend on this-
THING- the better." Jahl clicks softly to his horse and moves on at a
Keldar picks up his things, and sighs. "Oh fer a hot meal and some mead
right now. This roadtravel's wearyin' me bones, I'll tell ya. Vincas!
How'bout a song ta get us in the travelin' mood... and not with that
`special' harp o' yours. Somethin' normal."
Vincas laughs at Keldar's request for music. "You sure you don't want a harp
song Keldar? Come on, let me have a little fun with this lot."
"Tell you what, once we make camp for the night I'll pull out the old lute
and maybe my last skin of wine and we'll have a little fun."
Laban slides back into the saddle as the group rides to Landry. He settles
into a steady pace next to Arilyn. His hood covering much of his face and
eyes, he rests as he rides and thinks of the times that brought him to the
surface world. What would lie ahead of him in the next few weeks and what
other wonders would he find on this strange world.
Wulfgar quickly slips the bagged meat into saddlebags and washes his hands
before jumping into the saddle he clicks his horse forward and catches up to
the group handing one of the meat filled saddlebags to Jahl so that one does
not carry the whole meat for the group. He then spurs his horse forward to
ride beside Gareth at the front of the group.