A Collaboration between us, Caylie & Emmanuel Harney
Calla stared at the flames dancing across the roof of her once beautiful family home, the stained glass windows shattered, the doors ripped off their hinges, blood and fur strewn across the tiled road. Her small village consisted of a dying tribe of wolf people, their ears prominent on their head, their tails swirling elegantly behind them. Calla’s yellow eyes scanned her home land for any life. She had returned to late from her scouting chore that took her hours away to the ocean, she had learned of the Orc battalion heading toward her home on her way through a fishing village where the warriors were breathy with panic as the Orc raiding parties had destroyed the town next to theirs. She had rushed home hoping her meek warrior skills would help aid them in their survival only to arrive several hours late, the flames were just now starting to die and the stink of death was beginning to fade. Calla flattened her ears and scrunched up her nose against the smell, she fought the tears that threatened to spill over and a small whimper escaped her trembling lips. Shaking her head vigorously she flipped up the hood on her robe and sheathed her dagger, the bow against her back gave her added reassurance as she turned away from the death and destruction. She’d make her away to the rebellion army that was gonna take down the Orc armies and hopefully find peace once things settled down.
Carrie ~ There were more people than she had expected, men, women, elves, people from all walks of life. It was strange how well they worked together, status meant nothing, not during a war. Faelan leaned back against a crate of supplies, drawing her knees up and resting her elbows on them as she listened to the hushed chatter. A cold nose touched her elbow and she looked down, smiling at the large dog laying next to her. She reached down, scratching him on his head so he gave her his big doggy smile. “Good boy Jola.” The dog huffed. “You bored? Maybe we should let one of the commanding officers know we’re going hunting. I’m sure it would be appreciated.” Jola huffed again and she got to her feet, stretching cramped muscles and lifting her bow and quiver off the ground. Finding a soldier wasn’t hard since they were dressed in the deep crimson of their country and she let the highest ranking one she could find know she would be gone for awhile. She was waved off with a few muttered words and she rolled her eyes as she headed away from the military camp and into the woods.
It was cool, clean, the smell of earth permeated her nose, washed over her. It felt good to be out and she could almost forget about the darkness that they would be facing. She stalked through the woods, Jola moving as silent as a shadow next to her. Violet eyes watched for movement, long white hair pulled back from her face seemed to glow an almost silvery color in the light. She ran up the side of a tree, grabbing a branch and swinging up, spotting prey would be easier from there. “Jola, smell.” She ordered and the hound took off, her jumping from tree to tree.
Ashley ~ With tears sliding down her already soaked cheeks Zaylee went from villager to villager to help those who were still living after the orc raid. The second the orcs were gone her instinct was to search for her family. One by one she had found them all dead and with each one she grew more sorrowful and angry. She would help the people she had grown up around, bury the dead and then all she wanted to do was avenge her lost loved ones. Zaylee had heard of the resistance. She planned to hunt them down and do what it took to be a part of them. Upon finishing up the final little boys knee his parents hugged her “can we pay you Zaylee?” the mother asked “No, but thank you.” Zaylee said as she stood and wiped at her face again.
Her blonde hair had mud, blood and guts in various places while her body was covered in the very same but she didn’t care about that just then. They all began digging graves and performing small ceremonies for the dead so that they could rest in peace and not go through the ignominy of being nibbled at by animals. Zaylee left without a word once the last body was buried. She had many close friends in her village but her mind was a one way street of avenging the family she lost.
Caylie ~ Callahan made her way through the trails she had memorized growing up, she had completed her fledgling warrior training on these trails now strewn with the remains of the orcs passage, she was filled with grief but she ignored it as she made her way passed the gardens which she had helped plant the seasonal crops now nothing but ash and debris. She took a side trail leading away from where her scouting always took her and let out a shrill whistle for Gwenhuvar, she had left him upon arriving to her village so he could search for survivors with his keen nose and she hoped for the best. Moving past the the large barn still aflame she gave a weak smile and Gwen rounded the corner at full speed, his yellow eyes told her the sad story she had only just discovered herself, no survivors, as he came to a stop she buried her face in the scruff of his neck trying to hide the tears “Oh Gwen, why couldn’t we have gotten here in time, I’m sure we could have helped enough to save someone” his silence was answer enough, he knew they would have been slaughtered, she did as well, their small village was no match for the raiding parties that doubled, even tripled their numbers in warriors. Leaning back she blew out an unsteady breath and drew her obsidion dagger, reaching up she grabbed her ponytail and drew her dagger along it’s base cuting her hair short, it was custom for a moonsong warrior to cut their hair when leaving the village for good, it felt right, steeling her face she tossed the ponytail into the dying fire and slide onto Gwenhuvar’s back, sheathing her dagger once more she gestured to the East where they’d find the Rebellion cities standing strong against the Orcs, Gwen took off and Calla leaned low into his back breathing in his firmiler scent, at his fast pace they’d make it in two days, three is they stopped and helped other raided towns and villages.
Carrie ~ Killing the deer was easy, tracking it down was even easier, but it was the field dressing it was hard. It’s not that she was particularly squeamish, blood wasn’t scary or anything, she could get elbow deep in it and not care. It was the knife, she had never been good with them. Ever since she could remember, Faelan had been terrible with blades of any kind. She was about as graceful as a newborn horse when she got a sword or dagger in her hand and the cooks had banned her from the kitchen when she had nearly cut her fingers off on more than one occasion. She sliced the deer open, pulled out its insides except for the heart, kidneys, and liver and was amazed when she didn’t slice her hand open. She wiped the little knife off in the grass then stuck it in her boot. Her bow went across her chest and she lifted the deer, tossing it over her shoulder.
“Come Jola.” She ordered and the dog followed obediently.
When she arrived back at camp, some of the rebels gave her strange looks. She smiled back, knowing she probably looked like she had just murdered someone. She also knew some of the men would be underestimating her because of her short stature, so seeing her toting around such a large deer would be quite surprising. When their initial shock had worn off, a couple of them cleared a table for her. “Excuse me,” she said to one of the elves, “would you mind doing the skinning and cutting up please?” The young man nodded. “Thanks.” She would never tell them she could only use her bow. She decided to go get clean and once again went into the forest to bathe in the river.
Ashley ~ Zaylee hadn’t had much of an appetite as she traveled due to her grief but when she started to pass Loits River she decided to clean herself up and eat rather she actually wanted to or not. She didn’t really care about the blood and guts but it would attract trouble from wild animals if she didn’t take care of it. She walked over to the water then slid off her clothing, just letting it fall to the ground where it may. Zaylees mind was so consumed with her own thoughts she barely noticed how gelid the water around her was. She just carefully cleaned herself and stepped right back out to clean off her clothes. She was overly rough with her cleaning but she just wanted to be done so she could move on.
Once those were clean she hung them on branches and decided to hunt somthing to eat wearing only her underwear and bra. Lewd men didn’t concern her. She could castrate one in a blink of the eye if need be. Even if he was a skilled man she wasn’t worried about falling victim due to her lack of clothing. There simply wasn’t any way she was going to put on those sopping wet things and walk around in them during the cold of night.
Carrie ~ Faelan pulled her clothes off and tossed them to the side then waded into the river, giving a little shiver at the cold water. Jola found a place along the bank and rested his head on his large paws, snorting and then closing his eyes. She washed the blood off, letting the river take it away. It felt good being clean and she gave a sigh of content as she stepped onto the bank and grabbed her clothes. She washed the blood off of them and laid them out flat then flopped down in the grass, feeling much better. She laid down, lacing her fingers behind her head and closing her eyes, deciding to nap while her clothes dried.
What felt like a few minutes later, Jola licked her face and she jerked awake with a sharp inhale of breath. She groaned as she sat up and stretched. “What is it?” She asked and he gave a little whine. It was only then she felt the eyes on her and she came to her feet. “Come out right now.” She demanded. A young man hopped down from one of the trees, his face red with embarrassment. “Did you get what you wanted?” She asked and he looked at his feet. “Go back to camp.” He scampered off and she grabbed her clothes, pulling them on. “Come Jola, lets see if they cooked up that deer.”
Caylie ~ Having made their way East, Callahan and Gwen come across a larger village who had put up a decent fight against their raiding Orc enemies, bodies lay strewn about the open wheat fields now bare from harvest, the death toll trippled what lay in the streets of her own home land and she was suprised to see that the elven race were helping each other clean up the mess, clearly the elves had been victorious as on their way to the billowing smoke clouds Gwen had spotted a fleeing Orc chief and tore his throat from his neck in a lunge so fierce it gave Calla shivers.
She held up her hands in the world sign of piece upon entering the town, the elves were working diligently to heal their people and put out the fires and gave her no mind when her and her giant wolf came into view. The elves were also a dying race like her own and generally kept to themselves preferring the company of close friends and relatives and excluding strangers from their festivals they were so well-known for.
Calla helped all she could by dragging the wounded to the triage camp and collecting water for them to drink. The elves were a proud race and left little to the imagination when it came to conversation, they didn’t inquire about her tribe for they knew her customs well, her hair cropped off exaplined all they needed to know and they weren’t one for sympathy, not that Calla was searching for pity at all.
When Calla had done all she could do to help she called Gwen from the fields where he had aided in digging a large hole for the bodies of the enemy, it was elven custom to burn their people to let their spirits rise with the smoke and harbor to lingering grudge after death, they wouldn’t extend such rights to those who weren’t of elven breed and they believed the blood of their enemies made their crops flourish. With a wave of her hand she lept onto Gwenhuvar’s furred back and he raced in the direction of the rebel cities.
Emmanuel ~ Tehachi had just finished smithing a new blade. His new weapon was brimmed in a custom coded metal as he looked to it with a smile. “This one might be a favorite already.” He looked to his teacher as he shows the blade to him, unpolished. “Hey sir, check it out, I think this one might be the best I’ve made yet!” His teacher looks as he places his hands on his hips, inspecting it closely and vigorously as he nods while doing so. “Not bad Ozuma. Not bad at all. More importantly, have you finished the request from the armory..?” Tehachi begins to polish the newly formed blade as he looks to his teacher, head slightly hung low. “I’m getting to it sir. I promise.”
Ashley ~ The next morning Zaylee had what was left of her dinner then took off in a jog. She had trained herself to jog for hours so she could cover a lot of ground. Luck seemed to not have fully turn it’s back on her as she stumbled upon a mare grazing. It was obviously wild and it surprised her she wasn’t a part of a herd. She didn’t seem to be anyway. As an elf animals, even as only one fourth of one she could easily calm wild animals and get them to help her so she was going to try and get this horse to take her where she wanted to go. She carefully approached and the horse lifted it’s beautiful white and brown head when she drew close. “Hey gorgeous, I wont harm you” she held her hand out, wearing a kind smile. The mare stared at her for a time then took a few steps before pausing.
Zaylee was patient with her until finally it’s wet nose touched her palm. Zaylee cautiously went to pet her, glad when the horse didn’t startle. She spent a great deal of time sweet talking and stroking the beautiful mare before attempting to mount her. She hoped she wasn’t about to be bucked off. Maybe luck would have mercy on her after taking everyone she loved away. Zaylee felt jubilant when the mare accepted her “oh thank you sweetheart. Would you carry me that way?’ she asked as she pointed where she wanted to go.
Carrie ~ Faelan was called over by one of the generals as she practiced with her bow. She walked over to the target, pulling the arrows free and slipping them into her quiver before turning her attention to the older man. She arched an eyebrow in question and he explained that he wanted her to come and look at their maps. They knew her identity and after some research, they had found out the region she lived in. Since she was good at hunting and a future Baroness, they wanted her opinion on some things. She whistled for Jola and the dog followed her as she followed the general. He introduced her to the generals from other regions then unrolled the maps. “I think it would be best to put a group of rangers here.” She tapped part of the map that they knew to be forest land. “They could easily hide here and once the orc army moves past, they could launch volley after volley of arrows at them. It will take them by surprise and hopefully panic some of those in the back.”
The general nodded, contemplating her plan. He then asked her something she had not expected, to head the group of rangers. He told her she could pick them out and when she was ready, she could move them to the specified location. The idea excited her and she readily accepted. Being part of the military was her biggest dream she having her own squad to lead was quite the privilege. The general smiled happily and she was given a sash of deep crimson that she tied around her waist. It would mark her as an officer. She now had to take time in choosing the perfect candidates. To her failure was not an option.
Caylie ~ Callahan leaned low over Gwenhuvar’s back as he bounded over the river in a single elegant leap landing lightly on the rocky riverbed. They could see the great wall to the rebellion city Garoon ahead, the walls built from forged steel created by the dwarven race had held strong against the orc raiding attempts.
She drew back her white hood stretching high over Gwens shoulders, Calla had scrubbed the blood from Gwen’s face after he had killed the orc chief knowing that approaching the city with a bloodied wolf the size of a horse would only get them in trouble. Very few people knew of her dying race, they had been mostly wiped out when they had been hunted by dark elves who harvested their luscious furred tails for expensive robes lined in royal silks.
Once more Calla threw up her hands in the sign for peace as they neared the gates, Gwen lifted his ears and softened his face hoping to appear almost puppy like and less intimidating as not to frighten the guards who stood by the grand golden gates that towered above the road. As they neared Calla slide from Gwen’s back still keeping her hands in the air “We come in peace, our village was destroyed by Orc armies about two days west of here and we are seaking shelter”
The guards tightened their grips on their weapons as they neared “Stop where you are, come no further! Let us inquire to our chief”
Calla blew out an annoyed breath and flicked her ears as she stopped and moved to the side of the road, Gwen nudged her elbow with his massive head for reassurance and layed down on his side attempting to look as docile as possible, Calla dropped into a sitting postion beside him and scratched his jaw line “fine, we’ll wait here”
One of guards called up to a sentry to send a message to the chief that a unknown species had arrived, then they steeled themselves holding their weapons with white knuckles and growing apprehension.
Carrie ~ Faelan, along with the other generals were going over their plan of attack with the dwarf clan leader. He simply nodded, the only thing he cared about was being in the front lines where he and his people could shed the blood of their enemy. She was always amazed at a dwarfs need for bloodshed. The door to the throne room opened and everyone looked up at the dwarf who entered. “What is it?” The clan leader asked in his deep, gruff voice.
“There is a wolf eared woman outside, she seeks entry.”
“Hmm not an orc, so let her in.”
The dwarf guard did no argue and turned on his heels, leaving the room. “Should I accompany him?” Faelan asked.
The clan leader waved off her concern. “You are good where you are Miss Faelan, don’t worry yourself. Please go over the plan again so I can be sure I have it right.”
Ashley ~ They had traveled quickly, only stopping to allow the horse rest. Zaylee took advantage of that time by eating or bathing while the horse needed rest anyway. Finally the walls came into view and she rushed the mare along just a little bit. Zaylee was surprised to ride up beside a wolf eared woman. Before she could even say why she was there a guard came out, surprised to see the second woman there ‘why are you here?” he asked Zaylee and she answered ‘orcs have destroyed my village and I wanted to join the rebellion”
“so same as this girl. What is your names?”
Caylie ~ Having watched the sentry return Callahan rose to her feet elegantly brushing the grass of her white robe and looked to see what had attracted Gwens attention for he’d not only turned his head but lifted his ears curiously and sniffed at the air. Looking to see a lone rider burst from the woodworks atop an unsaddled mare either indicating she was well skilled directing a mount with no reigns or she was of elven decent which made Callas ears twitch, surely she wasn’t of the dark elf breed for Callahan didn’t see any traces of the shadowy tattoos that traced the small aggressive elven bodies like evils welcoming embrace. Turning her attention forward once more as the guard stepped out and addressed the girl asking her why’d she come and getting the same answer Calla had provided, the guard unsued with asking their names and Callahan perked her ears as the rider finished announcing her name.
“I am Callahan and this is Gwenhuvar” she gestured to his monsterous furred body and he dipped his head in reply.
The guard seemed not to pay attention the large beast that lay beside Calla and straightened his stance “well you’ve been permitted entry, welcome to Garoon” with that he stepped back to his post gesturing for them to continue through the large gates that opened just enough for a small party or a carriage to enter. Calla looked back at the rider who had named her self Zaylee and gestured for her to go first as Gwenhuvar picked himself up out of the grass and gave himself a mighty shake.
Ashley ~ Zaylee dismounted the mare and gently stroked her neck “thank you so much for bringing me so far. I am honestly grateful. You can go now if you don’t want to go further. Though you helped me you feel like a wild spirit who likes to be on her own” The horse nickered and pressed her head against Zaylees before turning and walking off. Zaylees legs ached from riding bare back but she didn’t let it show in her stride as she walked inside, already missing the mare.
Carrie ~ After going over every detail of the attack again, Faelan gave a yawn as she exited the dwarf leaders throne room. Though she liked the short, overly bearded creatures, sometimes they could make life rather tiring. They were amazing warriors, using brute strength to power through everything from men to mountains, and even better craftsmen. They and the elves seemed to sometimes compete to see who could make the most amazing piece of whatever to sell at the markets. She herself had bought plenty of both races items to decorate her home with. She stretched her arms above her head, deciding since she was finished with planning that she would take a stroll around the large city and see what interesting things she could find.
She heard Jola give a growl and then bark as they neared the front gates and she stopped in her tracks. She searched the crowd for what had disturbed him and it didn’t take long to realize it was the wolf eared woman and walking between her and an elf was a very large wolf. The sound also attracted the wolf’s attention and Faelan put a hand on his head to silence him. All three of them were looking her way and she waved, smiling at them in hopes they wouldn’t take offense. “Sorry, Jola’s not big on wolves.” She moved closer, her hand still on her dog’s head.
Caylie ~ Gwenhuvar gave a huff rolling his eyes to look at Calla who had pinpointed the large hound who had growled. She knew Gwen would brush off the dog’s rudeness as they neared the pair, Callahan eyed the dogs master who smiled also trying to deflect the dogs poor manners, Calla nodded in acknowledgment and began moving toward them letting Gwens massive body part the crowd, they seemed weary of such a large wolf and kept their distance which she readily understood. He was a towaring mass of claws, fangs and fur and should be feared by any one stupid enough to cross his path. Coming nearer to the pair she smiled lightly “Hello, my name is Callahan and this is Gwenhuvar, don’t let his size scare you” Gwen dipped his head low in a bow all the while ignoring the hound.
Ashley ~ Zaylee moved her hand slightly in a small wave “I’m Zaylee, your beautiful Jola didn’t bother me. He seems nice enough.” She smiled down at him “it’s nice to meet you. It’s also sweet you’re so protective.” Jola seemed to relax slightly even though Zaylee could feel he was still deeply perturbed by the wolf. She couldn’t help but admire both the wolf and the wolfhound. All animals were amazing in their own ways but there was definitely something special about canines.
Carrie ~ “It’s just part of his breeding, he doesn’t mean anything by it. His ancestors were used to hunt wolves, he’d only kill one in my defense though. I guess it doesn’t stop him from being a bit grumpy about the situation.” She scratched Jola behind the ears. “Now be polite boy and say hello or no table scraps.” Jola huffed, but walked up and gave the wolf a quick sniff then allowed Callahan and Zaylee to scratch his head. He came back and stood next to his master and she tried not to laugh at his attitude. “He’ll warm up to Gwenhuvar, it’ll just take some time.”
Caylie ~ Callahan patted the dogs head and Gwenhuvar blinked slowly in acknowledgment giving the smaller canine a sniff in return. “Well it’s good to be away from all the death and smoke” Calla laughed half heartedly and rubbed the back of her head. “There’s been so much pain and suffering along the countryside it’s nice to worry about simple things again like which tavern to eat at, can I offer you ladies some lunch? I know I haven’t eaten since dinner last night” She leaned into Gwens shoulder as he panted hungerly at the idea of food. Calla knew not what she was doing in Garoon yet, just waiting so she figured she could pass the time with a friendly conversation and some decent dwarven delicacy that mainly consisted of roasted meats and strong ale.
Ashley ~ “I’d really appreciate it. Thank you” Her stomach had been in fact grumbling for almost a days worth of time due to sleeping while her horse rested instead of eating like she had started out doing. Hearing of food and scent of it wafting into her nose only increased her hunger. The three girls and two hounds walked around until Faelan pointed out a nice eatery. Since she was the local they took her word for it and went inside to enjoy a hot meal. Zaylee was surprised when they allowed the animals in but as she scanned the room she soon realized there were other animals too.
Carrie ~ “Dwarves don’t mind animals. The cook here has a hyena in back name Saddar.” Faelan said seeing the look on Zaylee’s face. “As long as their are no fights between beasts then they are very welcome inside every store.” Their food came, large bird legs with potatoes, carrots, and ale. They all talked about why they were joining the rebellion and Faelan felt bad that her reasons were not nearly as noble. She tossed Jola a piece of meat then took a swig of ale. “Well, if you two want to know what’s happening with the orcs I suggest speaking to the clan leader or one of the generals. If they don’t assign you anywhere then you are more than welcome to join my regiment. We’re a nice little mix of rangers and trackers and archers.”
Caylie ~ Callahan had tried to relax a little, she tried to shake the sadness that had suddenly settled upon her shoulders, taking a large swig of the dwarven ale she was glad her right side faced Gwenhuvar and the wall as he quickly licked away the lone tear that had traced it’s way down her cheek, the realization had hit her and hit her hard that she’d never return home, never see her little brothers playing in the snow with Gwenhuvar or join in the celebration of the harvests where they all danced around together enjoying the close knit family they had and the warm fire that warmed their fur. Gwen licked at her face reassuringly snapping her from her memories. Quickly clearing her throat trying to hide what had gone over her she smiled brightly and waved her hand ordering a large roasted pig for Gwen as she chugged her whole glass of ale in a few single gulps.
Ashley ~ Zaylee enjoyed the company of the two women as they ate but was eager to be assigned, especially since she knew where she wanted to be now. She had only just met Faelan but she had more of a relationship with her now than anybody else here. After eating Faelan showed them where to find the clan leader. Lucky for both of them he was able to talk so Zaylee spoke up, telling him about how she came to be there and asking if she could be on Faelan’s regiment. He looked at Faelan who nodded so he told her she could be.
Carrie ~ Faelan gave her back a friendly slap and thanked the dwarf leader. She hoped Callahan would also like to join their regiment, but wouldn’t push the issue since she seemed to have a lot on her mind. She offered to give them a tour since she had been in the city long enough to learn where all the most amazing places were. “If you like we can go to one of the bath houses later. The dwarves even grew a forest around the pools of water so you’d feel like you were outside. It’s quite nice. I bathed outside in the river before the generals decided to move us into the city.” She stretched. “It wasn’t so bad, but nothing beats warm water.”
Caylie ~ Callahan’s ears shot up at the idea of a bath, oh how she must stink for she had skipped cleaning herself off in one of the rivers in hopes of getting to the city sooner, even Gwen tilted his massive head with intrest and began beating Calla’s legs with his tail “that sounds like a delighted idea”
She had been thinking about joining Zaylee and Faelan in the regiment but she felt the mission she had on her mind was a suicidal one if it didn’t go as planned for she wanted to skip fighting the millions of smallish armies that ravaged the country but instead attack their demon orc leader whom if fell all leadership responsibilities would go to the challenger and Calla didn’t want to get them killed.
Ashley ~ Zaylee admired the city as she followed Faelan to the baths. Everywhere she looked there was people and different animals to observe. Her mind tried to go to her family as she saw a couple with their children but she jerked her mind away from that. She forced herself to think of how nice a bath in hot water would feel because she knew she might become unplesant if she allowed herself to get angry over their loss again. When they arrived Faelan went in first.
Carrie ~ “Marigold, my friends and I would like to use the baths.” Faelan said when she walked into the front door. A large woman with red cheeks and twinkling blue eyes smiled at her.
“Of course, three of you?”
“Five, Jola and Gwen will need a bath too.”
“Well come on then.” Faelan followed Marigold into a room on the left where there were stone tubs lined up and filled with steaming water. There was an even larger pool in the corner used for the animals.
“Could we get some of your special tea as well?”
“I’ll bring it right in, stay as long as you like.”
Caylie ~ Callahan didn’t hesitate to throw back her robe and dive in, she hardly wore anything under her robe since she never really got cold. She wore a leather bra lined elegantly with yellow and small shorts to match, though her tribal belts lined sideways down her body that attached her bra to her shorts, the number of belts matched her rank as being a princess and a warrior scout. Upon hitting the water she flattened her ears and swam a few feet enjoying the warmth and clarity of the water, standing up she beamed at Gwenhuvar who watched her from his tub, his hulking mass now drenched with water made her laugh out loud as he looked more like a drowned cat then a ferocious wolf, he attemped to shake himself off in the water that came up to his chest spraying water everywhere and in every direction.
Ashley ~ Zaylee smiled at the scene herself then allowed her own robe to come off so she could wade into the water. Instanly goosbumps covered her skin due to how amazing it felt. She sat down, leaning against the side. She didn’t plan on getting her hair wet until after their tea so she just soaked and watched the animals play. When the tea came she accepted it with a grateful smile and a thank you. She set it down to cool for a bit before taking her first sip.
Carrie ~ “Thank you Marigold.” Faelan said as she took the cup of steaming liquid and leaned back against the edge of the tub. “This stuff will help you two relax. I don’t know what Marigold puts in it, but it’s pretty delicious.”
“I wouldn’t tell you even if you asked.” Marigold said as she exited the room.
Faelan glanced over at the animals, laughing at how small Jola looked next to the wolf and that was saying something. Jola was at least seven feet tall on his hind legs and still looked like a monster of a dog even on all fours, seeing him being dwarfed by Gwen was quite amusing. She sipped her tea then set the cup on the edge of the tub took a deep, contented breath. She knew there wouldn’t be many more of these moments before they went to war and after there would be a huge mess to clean up so she enjoyed the warmth of the bath house and the company of her new friends.
Caylie ~ Callahan sniffed at the tea and flicked her ears with apprehension, she didn’t often like accepting strange liquids but it smelled fine, she had waded to the side of tub and set her cup on the floor to cool, as she waited she leaned back into the warmth folding her ears backwards as to not fill them with water, her long white tail floated against her leg as she lightly waved her arms to stay floating, she tried to ask the girls a question but ir came out more as a jumble of words as she couldn’t hear herself talk. Sitting up she flicked the water from her ears and picked up her cup and bringing it ro her lips she blew at it, dragging her eyes to the other girls she gave a small friendly smile “so if it isn’t much to ask or to painful to answer, what was your homes like. I don’t often venture East at all, only ever West to the sharp winds of the ocean where all the people are just as salty as the sea they fish in”
Ashley ~ “My village was simple and quaint. It mostly consisted of humans. My family were the only ones there with elven blood but thats actually the reason why I’m only 1/4 elf. I still am blessed with much even though I’m not of pure blood but I’m sure in time all elven power will dry out of our blood if we keep mating with humans. That of course wont make me seek an elf mate. Love is much better than maintaining powers.” Zaylee sighed “sorry, getting off track. Everybody is pretty close in my old village. We all worked together to clean up and bury the dead. No doubt when I do go home they will help me rebuild where I once lived. I’m lucky to be surrounded by good hearted people…I’ll need it…with my family gone.
Carrie ~ Faelan felt a sadness move through her for her new companions, her heart seeming to be squeezed. “The village I’m from still stands. I am actually to take over the barony once my father passes. I also wish to be a knight so I’m hoping to do both. It feels strange sometimes where I live since everyone seems to think I should be treated special. I make it a point to get people to call me by my first name.” She smiled. “Anyway, it’s actually quite nice where I live and the reason I’m here is because I wish to help stop the orcs from further spreading their destruction. I like helping people, becoming a knight is just a bonus.” She took another sip of her tea. “My cause is not quite as noble as either of yours.”
Caylie ~ Callahan nodded her head slowly then lifted her eyes to look at Gwen who was laying on the warm floor staring back at her, he knew her pain, he knew that they could never go back and she knew he missed it just as much as her, she ran her fingers across the length of her hair seeking the ends which stopped right at her jaw line, pulling at a strand.
She blew out a silent breath and took a sip of her tea before starting “my village was rather small, we were the last of our kind, we had no more than fifty people and about thirty of them were warriors, ten of them full ranked ranger warriors. We were no match for the two hundred goblins and orcs that marched on our village” she paused and glanced at their faces “I wasn’t there, I was off on a scouting chore that sent me five hours to the west, when I returned most of our houses were nothing but smoldering embers, me and Gwen searched for survivors, but it was futile.” She let her voice trail off as she envisioned her home aflame and the smell of her burning dead people once more in her nose.
Ashley ~ Zaylee let a few moments of silence fall before she spoke to Faelan “You know your cause is still pretty noble though. I mean, yeah we lost our families and therefore want revenge but you personally haven’t lost anything in this. You’re helping because you want to spare others the suffering the orcs are causing. You have no vengeance to play out, you’re simply a good person. I admire you for being here, for risking your life to help avenge and save others”
Carrie ~ Faelan smiled. “You are too kind, thank you.” She then yawned. “I should probably get clean, this water and Marigold’s tea are making me sleepy.” She called for Marigold who already had some soap and shampoo ready for them. She made them herself and the bottles were free to take home. “What do you have for us today Mari?”
“Lavender and mint.” She handed bottles of soap and shampoo to each woman.
“Marigold makes the best soaps and shampoos. If you ever need any while in the city, come here, she’s fantastic.”
“So when do the soldiers move out?” Marigold asked.
“They sent out scouts, so as soon as they get back and we know what those monsters are doing, we’ll move out, wipe them out, and rebuild the villages that were destroyed. The dwarf leader promised to use some of their gold and gems to help. He’s a pretty sweet guy once you get past the deep growling voice, a real teddy bear of a man.”
“It’s probably because you’re so pretty.” Faelan laughed as she squirted some shampoo into her hair.
Caylie ~ Callahan accepted the bottles and gave them a funny look, she’d never used them before, her people were accustomed to the tribal way of living though she knew what they were. She followed Fealans lead and put some in her hair then gestured for Gwenhuvar to come, she put some on his side and watched for what Fealan did next
Ashley ~ Zaylee dunked under the water to wet her hair then quickly reemerged. She grabbed the shampoo Marigold had given her then dumped some into her palm. As she gave her hair a much needed scrub with some actual soap the smell wafted into her nose. It had a relaxing affect on her that she very much enjoyed. After rinsing and repeating the wash she scrubbed her body with the soap and rinsed, feeling better than she had expected to feel after this bath.
Carrie ~ “Come here Jola, Callahan has the right idea. I bet you stink anyway.” Jola walked obediently over and Faelan gave him a nice scrub down before sending him back to the big tub to rinse off. She then washed her body and dunked herself under the water, holding her breath as she rinsed the shampoo from her hair and the soap from her body. She came back up, inhaling deeply and resting against the edge of the tub. “This is where I’m coming back too after the war. Maybe I’ll get married, become a knight and work here part time. The clan leader’s single.” She said with a smile and then laughed at her own musings.
Caylie ~ Calla worked the lather into Gwens side frowning at the length of him, there was no way the whole bottle would cover his three inch thick fur that covered his horse sized body, she tried to use water to spread it out but Gwen just looked annoyed, he hated being pampered. With a sigh she rinsed the suds off and smiled at the plate sized clean spot, Gwen shook himself off and licked her face then slumped down on the floor beside her watching her all the while. Calla turned and dove into the water swimming slowly she resurfaced several feet away glancing at Faelan “Clan leader? That’s always good, in my tribe I’m the only first born female in about a hundred and fifty years which makes me a princess, so I’m required to marry to a person of either royalty or high rank”
Ashley ~ Zaylee just listened to the girls talk back and forth until by Faelan’s lead they dried, dressed and left the bathing area. “thank you so much for the shampoo and body wash” Zaylee said cheerfully to Marigold. Marigold smiled back “you’re very welcome.”
“May i buy some before I find where I’m going to be staying?”
“Of course” Zaylee paid her what she asked then took her bottles. Zaylee wasn’t sure what was expected of her since she was now under Faelans command so she looked to her for where she should stay.
Carrie ~ “There is an inn not far from here, it’s the one I’m staying in. It has really comfortable beds. Follow me.” She walked at a leisurely pace down the streets and glanced back to see they were following her. She laced her fingers behind her head, feeling relaxed and ready for bed. She really liked the inn they were staying in as well as the elf man who ran it with his daughter.
“Oh hey Fae, how’s it going?” He asked with a smile.
“Good, I wanted to procure two more rooms for a couple of friends of mine and their pets.”
“The dwarf leader sent a man saying you were to pay for nothing, apparently he’s quite taken with you. Plus, you’re part f the military now and we get reimbursed for housing soldiers.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, your money is no good here.”
“Well thank you.”
Caylie ~ Callahan followed behind the girls giving the idea of joining them some extensive thought, she looked at Gwen and knew he’d follow what ever choice she made “Hey is it to late to request joining your regiment Faelan? Cause I’d really like to” Calla ran her fingers through Gwens thick fur and looked into his large yellow eyes, he was the greatest companion she could have asked for.
Ashley ~ The question hung in the air as Zaylee was given her key to the room. She decided this was a conversation between Faelan and Callahan so she went ahead to the room that was given to her and left them alone. Zaylee felt a little spoiled at this point. She hadn’t expected to be taken care of so well when she didn’t have much money or anything that truly made her unique. Elves were rare but she wasn’t even a full blooded elf. A full one would be of much more use to these people than she could ever be. When she could Zaylee planned to give Faelan a gift to show her gratitude for being permitted to join her. For tonight she would just get as much rest as possible so she could be as much help as possible in whatever the next day brought.
Carrie ~ “Not at all, you want in then you’re in. Easy as pie.” She replied with a smile. “Gwen will do well flanking the enemy, his size alone will send them into a panic.” She held out a room key. “Here, you and Gwen get some rest if you can, I’m sure you’re exhausted after all you’ve been through and there is even more exhaustion to follow.”
Caylie ~ Callahan smiled kindly taking the room key “thanks” she turned and moved to her door stopping she twisted around to look at Faelan “also, I have some secrets, about the Orcs and their leader that might interest you, we can discuss them at a later time” she waved to Faelan before using the key and letting herself into the room with Gwen at her heels. The room was larger than she imagined and she had never been in something so nice. The wise women’s long house was as close as it came, she moved to the large bed as Gwen inspected the room “it’s so big” she looked at Gwen who huffed and then went and laid down facing the door as Calla climbed into the bed.
Ashley ~ The bed the Inn provided was surprisingly comfortable and caused Zaylee to sleep hard. She had been sleeping on the ground a few dsays so that may have contributed to her massive appreciatation of the bed but none the less she woke the next day refreshed until her mind started going. All she could think about as she changed was her family and the state of her village. When dressed Zaylee went to the place she had eaten with Callahan and Faelan yesterday to fill up then find how she could be useful.
Carrie ~ Faelan was at the archery range after breakfast, her arrows hitting the bulls eye every time. She had been informed this morning that the rangers had returned and their troops would be moving out soon. Archery helped clear her mind and she went over her regiments movements again and again in her head, wanting it executed perfectly. “Practicing again?” The gruff voice startled her from her deep thoughts so her arrow went a little wide and hit the twenty ring. It was the dwarf clan leader.
“Sir, what are you doing out here?”
“Admiring the scenery.”
She started laughing and he smiled at her. “I didn’t realize there was any scenery at an archery range.”
“Well there has been since you’ve been practicing here.”
“Are you flirting with me?”
His smile widened. “I could be. Are you taken miss Faelan?”
“If it’s marriage you want sir then you’ll have to wait till this war is over. Also, a little wooing would be nice. I love lilies and lavender, that should give you a good start. Now, I need to go find my companions, think about how you’re going to woo me.” She retrieved her arrows, stuck them in her quiver and kissed him on the cheek. “It was nice talking to you.” She patted his shoulder then walked away, whistling for Jola.
~ End Part 1