Snippet #2154650

located in Skyrim, a part of Skyrim: The Mentor & The Sellswords, one of the many universes on RPG.

Skyrim

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Character Portrait: Dominicus Drayk Character Portrait: Adrienne Jastal Character Portrait: Sinderion Direnni Character Portrait: Vanryth Galero
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There was little else to be done. The door was open for them, and the Sellswords did not want to wait around for Moroth to change her mind, even though she now appeared to be at least cordial with them. Respectfully, the group left her and her guards behind, heading back the way they came, through the darkened halls of the Keep, past the low-burning braziers that could only take Drayk's gaze for a moment. A few guards gave them nods on their way out, and one even apologized for the deception, but other than that, their exit was silent.

So too was the ride they embarked on shortly afterwards, taking the road east out of the Markarth, towards Whiterun and Falkreath Holds. There was a slight chill in the air, intensified by the occasional gust of wind that passed through the highlands of the Reach, but the ride was not altogether uncomfortable. Just quiet. The four of them were exhausted from the day's events, having not slept since departing from just outside Solitude that very morning. They were practically falling asleep in their saddles, the adrenaline of the fight against the Forsworn, as well as the near ambush within the Keep afterwards having worn off.

Still, they managed to locate a semi-decent place to set up camp and wait for the approaching Imperial caravan, a slight indent in the rock wall along their right, providing them some shelter from the elements, but close enough to the road for them to be able to see clearly when the caravan was approaching. Deciding that the caravan had likely stopped for the night as well, for the risk of being ambushed by Forsworn in the night if nothing else, the Sellswords deemed it safe to wait until morning for them. Shifts were taken on watch, and the four finally got some much needed rest...




Chapter II
Hammer, Feather, and Flame




Adrienne was woken for last watch by Sinderion. It was the easiest watch of the night, all things considered, and she felt rather guilty that it had been given her without much consideration. Never did the raw newness of her membership here sting, except when it came time for each to pull the weight he or she was able. Then, it became painfully evident that, even compared to her compatriots, she still had far to go. That was discouraging, in the sense that palpable inferiority in any sense of the word added leaden weights to her barely-afloat sense of self-worth, but she was willing to accept the facts for what they were and make the best of them. What good did moping about it do, after all? She was at least better and more capable than she had been a year ago, and that, phrased in her head in the Mentor's soothing baritone, bouyed her spirits.

Enough so, actually, that she grew ambitious enough on her watch to spend some time in the surrounding area, gathering edible plants while still keeping an eye on the campsite. She rummaged through their belongings for the rest, using dried meat and dried herbs for something resembling seasoning. They'd had the foresight to bring basic camping supplies, which she was thankful for as she wrested the pot from a bundle atop one of the horses, along with a spoon made of wood. It had taken rather too much effort, and she'd dislodged more than a few hairs from her ponytail in the whole endeavor, but she was smiling softly as she sliced, crushed, and otherwise made things suitable for eating.

When it came time to actually throw everything together, though, she realized she had something of a predicament. Cooking this would require heat, which necessitated either fire or more magic than was prudent to use for a purpose like this on a day when she might need it for something more... violent. Adrienne bit her lip, worried eyes wandering to the sleeping Drayk, then shook her head sharply. It was a campfire. She had to be willing to trust him, or how were any of them ever going to learn to trust themselves? He could handle it; she knew this. Resolute, she left the pot for the moment and went off to collect some fallen branches. A small fire would be adequate; no need to broadcast their location with smoke signals visible for miles around. The treeline should obscure what little this would produce.

Moving away from where her three compatriots were sleeping, she tented the sticks and called the flames to hand. Understandably, she hadn't used the magic in a while, and it felt almost unfamiliar now. Nevertheless, the wood lit without difficulty, and she got to work, humming quietly to herself as she stirred the resulting stew. By the time dawn came around, it was simmering pleasantly and smelled not half-bad, if she did say so herself. More importantly, the plants she'd selected had a variety of nutritional benefits, some of them near-instantaneous even in this simple form. It should help recuperate the vigor that a short night's sleep hadn't managed.

The morning came too fast for the sore Vanryth. He had offered to take first watch, and it was lucky that no Forsworn chose that time to attack. Most of his watch consisted of him forcing himself to stay awake. Mostly mental exercises, categorizing his destructions spells, flexing his newly scarred hand. Anything to keep his eyes open. Still, it had only managed to marginally ward off sleep. When he was tugged on the shoulder by Drayk, signaling the end of his watch, he had barely managed to rise to his feet—even then with much protesting from his joints. A symphony of pops and cracks followed the Dunmer’s rise to his feet. He manage to spare a half-assed grin to Drayk before he made his way to his bedroll and fell asleep before he even had his eyes shut good.

When he awoke, his body ached and screamed protest from every nook and cranny of his bones. Age. Most likely. He was still too damn young to feel that too damn old. He was only forty-one. Though, one could surmise that a life lived as hard a Van’s could easily have shave many of those years off from his lifespan. He managed a grunt as his one good eye searched for the likely culprit as to his awakening. It was Adrienne skittering about the camp, collecting supplies for who knew what. He watched her with half-closed lids-- dreading the moment he'd have to get out of his bedroll. He wondered what she was doing, though the answer came clear enough when she managed to procure a pot and wooden spoon. Food. What a marvelous idea. When was they last time they had ate? The last thing Van remembered was that stale ale at the Inn. Some warm food would do some good.

Or a large quanity of spirits. But food seemed the wisest for now.

Finally, Vanryth forced himself to sit himself up in his bedroll. Or rather, tried to. About midway through, the soreness hit him in a heavy wave, knocking him back down to the bedroll and hard saddle he used for a pillow. This... Adventuring thing was for the young ones like Adrienne, Drayk, and even Sinder. Laying there in the bedroll, Van wondered how much longer could he keep it up. How much longer did he have on Nirn? If the other night had been any indication, it wasn't for much longer. He joined the Mentor so that he wouldn't have to fight anymore. Not fight a tribe of Forsworn on the whim of a paranoid Spymaster. Van sighed, too tired to be mad. Once again, he attempted to sit up, and this time was successful. Well, more successful. The soreness and aches only intensified as he sat. It was an early morning, and certainly a long day was to follow. He rubbed his face with his hand, feeling the strange texture of the scar on his hand rub against his face.

With that, he pulled one of his journals from his saddlebag and a charcoal pen, and rose to his feet, making his way to Adrienne. He might not know how to cook-- nor even knew what taste was anymore-- but that didn't mean he couldn't be helpful, could it?

Sinder's sleep had been uneasy. He wasn't sure if Drayk had noticed when the young mage woke him, but he'd regained his claws and teeth over the course of his fitful dreaming. Thankfully, he hadn't lost control of anything else, though it took a very quick, reflexive kind of self control not to savage the limb used to bring him from sleep. This... sleeping had never been as restful for him as it could be for others, but the fitful dreams had faded with time. Now, it was as though he was in his early twenties once again, not the mindless animal he'd been when the Mentor first found him, but certainly not the contained, stoic man he'd been a week before. He could perhaps understand the utility of fire-based metaphors for that, but he'd leave them for his youthful counterpart's thoughts rather than his own.

The watch itself passed quickly enough, though truthfully Sinder didn't do much watching. His night vision was fine, but it was nothing when stacked against the utility and acuity of his hearing and smell.

He'd woken Adrienne, then, and felt a bit guilty for doing it. It was clear that the youngest member of their merry little band was feeling the effects of the last few days quite sharply, and he almost wondered if he shouldn't have taken her watch, too. It wasn't like the sleep was doing him any good besides, but all the same, he understood that an extra few hours' rest wasn't going to be worth the blow to her self-esteem. She hid it well, but he suspected that she was not nearly so confident as her gilt tongue allowed her to appear. So he lay restlessly for another few hours, listening to the sounds of the Breton girl moving about. To her credit, she made little noise, but everything was magnified in the silence, even his own breathing.

Not until Van stirred did Sinderion rouse himself as well, flexing his limbs to return full wakefulness to them. He inhaled, a small smile touching his face at the scent of the prepared meal. Packing up the remnants of his slumber, he tossed his bedroll over the backside of his horse and buckled it in place before advancing to the fireside. "Fair morning," he greeted quietly, unable to muster up the necessary sincerity to wish them a good one. The factual inaccuracy was simply too obvious for that.

Drayk woke to the sound of a crackling fire. A more pleasant aroma than smoke reached his nostrils, however, and it was enough to dispel the tension he naturally felt. He rolled over to see the others already up and about, gathered around a small fire in which Adrienne was preparing a stew. Drayk's rumbling stomach was already thanking her for the thoughtfulness. He rose to his feet and stretched with a satisfied groan, working the cold of the night out of his limbs, before sliding his feet back into his steel-plated boots, and heading over to join the group.

"A breakfast of heroes, if I may say so myself," he commented, taking a seat. His eyes lingered on the fire, and he let them. His thoughts during sleep had floated about to how he had almost died the night before, how the presence of fire on the battlefield had turned him into a useless statue. How he probably wouldn't be speaking to his friends currently had Adrienne not intervened with a timely potion. Drayk was just glad nothing had happened to any of them while he'd lost his head. He was supposed to be the shield, the protection, the front line, and yet it was the others who were busy protecting him. It brought him to the second item he wanted to discuss with the group. For now it could wait... but he was tired of hiding from his faults.

"The caravan's probably on the move already," he guessed. "When they get here... we should probably have a plan in place, in the event they won't let us speak to their prisoners. I don't want to be taking on Imperial soldiers... but we need whatever information this Vodrin guy has. If he's alive and with the caravan, that is."