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located in Calisma, a part of Calisma, one of the many universes on RPG.

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Character Portrait: Rydas Errion
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Rydas Errion
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Freedom of the open road was just within his reach, a few strides of the lengthy steed’s legs beyond the gate, but it was halted again. More questions assaulted the back of his head. While a few of the followers fell in line, obviously competent in riding, others congregated around the monk. It seemed that where she road for the day was a huge dilemma, and everyone had their opinion. His opinion was asked one some matter or another and he dipped his head in correspondence, it was the most polite way he could answer at the moment. Vision scanned the group once more, suppressing a sigh. Sometime or another a few more of the stragglers had managed to join their troupe and find a horse without being too noticeable. The Feledine from the other day had managed to make it. Now, however, was not the time for discussing such introductions.

“The sun stretches to afternoon, we leave now.” He announced. Rydas paused a moment at the ragtag band of travellors: some would need more direction. “We will follow the road north for as long as we can, and make camp in Gaeric tonight.”

Hopefully, he thought, wondering if the group could ride so far in half a day. The Prince’s equine dug at the dirt and huffed. The beast was as restless as he, perhaps his tenseness was being felt through the saddle. Expert hands reined the horse back around and clicked his teeth, heels gently pressing into the sides and a steady walk picked up. Rydas steeled himself to maintain a slow, consistant pace to allow everyone to follow easily. Once the horses were in a line they’d obey his commands, and the irony of that was not lost on him. Rydas Errion, commander of horses but not a pack of “adventurers”. Thoughts darkened.

As the last horse passed the gates of Paetax something stirred inside him. For better or for worse, the future of the kingdom was in his control. So, he thought, it starts now.

Even as the sun descended from its peak in the sky, the day was hot. He pulled the hood of his cloak up over his head. It served for many purposes: it kept some of the head off his neck, it shadowed his identity to the passing travellers, and aided in preventing idle chit-chat from his companions. The scattered masses of people returning from farming fields or other cities towards the capitol parted as the adventurers passed. Rydas nodded in silent greeting to those he received but kept quiet, thoughts elsewhere. The looks they were given, however, were unmistakable. The Prince could only imagine how strange they must all look. They were a misshapen crew, some barely able to ride, following a shaded man with a bright red cloak on a pure white horse. They were less than subtle, but he’d imagined that the bard would have a field day.

When people began to dwindle he again clicked his teeth and urged the horse on. Happily, the horse picked up speed to a steady trot. Behind him he heard the rest of the horses follow suit. The rhythmic beat of hooves on dirt road began to soothe him, and the rest of the day passed quickly. His mind began to ease. When the day finally started to cool off and slip into evening, he looked for a place to set and make up camp. Rydas was pleasantly surprised that they had managed to make it to the eastern tip of the northern forest without any further incidents.

The Prince dismounted, sliding off with fluid ease, and tied his horse to a branch. While his mount really needn’t be tied, it was faithfully his, the others would need to and he had decided in his long hours of thought that he would teach by example. Rydas watched as the weary travellers dismounted as well. He had forgotten how painful it was for inexperienced riders to sit in saddle for so long. The dark prince frowned a moment, cursing his oversight. But there was nothing he could do about it now, except for make for a decent night.

“We will rest here tonight, and leave at first light in the morning. We still have many, many miles to travel. Please, make camp. We will eat and then discuss strategy.” His tone was a few hundred shades brighter now. The smell of pine of the deciduous forest greatly lightened his mood. One would say he was almost jovial. Riding soothed the soul, it seemed.

Patiently he showed each how to unclip their saddlebags, how to set up their bedrolls and brush down their horses. Rydas taught them how to loosen their reins on the horses so they could graze. He made fire, and threw his saddle on the ground for a place to sit, teaching any who wanted to know how to remove the saddle the same. Deft hands created fire. Fire would keep them warm, keep away the beasts of the forest and lighten the mood for all. The whole set up took a few hours, but they would learn and grow quicker as each day passed.

They had been packed rations for a few days, and after that they would need to hunt. With the few cooking utensils he had brought with, the Prince began to cook a stew for the lot. He made sure every soldier in the Kings Guard knew how to cook properly and well. Many deemed it a skill for women, or unneeded, but a good meal lightened spirits in even the most dismal of situations.

When bowls were full, and scent of rich herbs and stewed meat laced with the smoke of the fire, Rydas looked to the bard. “Acacia, I would be very grateful for a song. Would you grace us with one.”

Food, fire and music he hoped would lubricate the group for a smooth discussion of the mission at hand.