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 Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert

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AniRedFox
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PostSubject: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed May 30, 2018 12:57 pm

As the moon began to touch the horizon and the sky began to lighten, our heroes woke, broke camp, and set off. Jacquelyn put out the fire and buried the root back under the sand while the others put the tents away.

They still had another hour or so before the moon would disappear and the sun started to bring it's heat. The breeze was cool but seemed stronger than the day before.  

"It's still early in the season," Jacquelyn was saying. "So it won't get too terribly hot. Not for another few months. But the sun will still beat down on us. I suggest covering your heads and bodies from its burn. Trust me. You don't want to suffer from one of those." She said with a smirk.

"Cover ourselves?" Cirro asked. "But with the heat..."

Jacquelyn shook her head. "It sounds strange. I know. But covering your bodies will be better in the long run. Think about it. On one hand it protects your body from burns. On the other hand, the heat makes you sweat, right? Well, it's super dry out here. Not even close to the moist air around the forest. So when you sweat, it dries up really fast. With clothing covering your body, the sweat gets trapped against it, so it keeps you from drying out as fast. Not to mention when a breeze blows your clothes around it actually cools you off better." She winked at Cirro. "Course, you're all adults. Do whatever makes you comfortable. " She shrugged and then continued walking.

Ashwyn had absolutely zero experience with the desert, and since Jacquelyn had lived here to so long she had no reason not to trust her judgement. Her armor pretty well covered her body anyway, but she removed her light weight cloak and put it on to protect her head. She also took some extra fabric and wrapped it around her mouth and nose to protect from the blowing sand. She wished there was a way to protect her eyes but the hood did to at least something for it. It felt good for now, with the cool breeze, but she knew it would warm up quickly.

Zane's robes's covered him pretty well so he wrapped his head in a similar way to Ashwyn, though his beard made the face wrap a little more difficult.

Cirro, who had not prepared like the others with clothing, didn't have much to protect his exposed shoulders from the sun. Zane pulled out one of his spare robes and Cirro wrapped it around his upper half.

The desert was barren. It was sand dunes as far as they eye could see, even for Ashwyn. The occasional harder rock surface appeared now and then, but the breeze pushed the sand over it like water and it wasn't visible for long. Jacquelyn walked with purpose. She didn't slow to take in the sights, it was clear she'd walked this path many times.


Ashwyn held Pip in her arms. It was hard for his small legs to traverse the sand. She kept him tucked under her robe to protect him from the cool breeze.

Cyna flew ahead of Jacquelyn, dancing this way and that as they walked.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed May 30, 2018 1:14 pm

As the moon began to fade from the sky with the rising sun Sigurd let himself shift back to his human form. He wasn't overly concerned about sunburns his body would repair itself as they went. But they did buy desert clothing for the journey after all.

Pulling Zane to him, Sigurd pulled a cloak from the bag of holding, the light reflecting off his polished plates would be a becon to anything that would want to attack, but this would cover them nicely. A quick drink and a splash to his nether regions cleaned off the nights remnants and he dressed himself in his shirt, trousers and armor.

He stretched and admired his exposed tattoo for a moment before slipping on his cloak and flipping the hood up. moving to meet the others, he stood beside Ashwyn until it was time to go.

As they traveled Sigurd used his greatsword like a walking stick trying to keep his heavy frame above the sand, he had eventually ripped two strips of fabric off the bottom of his cloak and wrapped it around his eyes he made sure he could still see through the material before passing the other strip to his mate. It looked silly but it would keep the sand and sun out of their eyes.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed May 30, 2018 3:02 pm

One sand dune looked just like another sand dune. The walking was already getting tedious and they'd only been walking for a few hours.

When Sigurd approached her with the fabric for her eyes, she smile up at him. She took the strip and leaned over on her tip toes to kiss his cheek. "Thank you." She smiled at him before lowering her hood long enough to wrap the fabric around her eyes as well. It lessened her visibility but with so little to see....

Jacquelyn was ahead of the others, but she slowed down a bit until she was next to Sigurd and Ashwyn. She turned to look at the couple and smirked. "So, did you two end up getting any sleep last night?" She asked with a suggestive wink.

Ashwyn giggled and blushed, glancing up to Sigurd.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed May 30, 2018 4:32 pm

"we did thank you" Sigurd smiled. He had been thinking about something all morning, "so... You've laid with a gnome and a werewolf in one night.. aren't you worried you'll get pregnant?" He asked almost ashamed to say in front of Ashwyn.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed May 30, 2018 4:51 pm

Ashwyn looked up at Sigurd's question to Jacquelyn. She was a bit ashamed to admit it, even to herself, but she hadn't actually thought of that. She must have been more... lost in the moment... than she thought.

In the few seconds between Sigurd's question and when Jacquelyn answered, a horrible thought passed through Ashwyn's mind. What if someone else mothered a child of Sigurd's? Of course, if she couldn't have children then she'd understand Sigurd's desire to spread his genes but if the liquid given to her by Lia worked then maybe she COULD give him a child. She'd like to at least be given the chance before someone else. But did she really have the right to argue? Sigurd would need an heir, wouldn't he? Before she could panic herself even more, Jacquelyn responded with a laugh.

"You weren't all that worried about it last night, were you?" She teased, elbowing Sigurd in the chest playfully. "Oh don't worry, dear. Another part of that deal with Selune. I sacrificed my ability to procreate in return other blessings. One of which being my ability to please werewolves." She said with another wink.

Ashwyn felt a wash of relief at her words. But then felt curiosity. "You can never have children? Didn't you ever want kids?"

"I have kids!" She said with a smile. "I was with Lorelei, Lopiena's mother, for most of my life. She gave birth to two sons while we were together and when she left with Lopeina to go back to Sylva I was left with the boys. With Lorelei so very.... VERY.... willing to procreate there was no reason for me to."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed May 30, 2018 8:56 pm

Sigurd sighed and smiled "well that makes me feel better" he said bluntly "as much as I'd like to bolster the spell wolf bloodline, that's not the mission I was sent on" he laughed to himself. His focus was shifted to his footing as he stumbled slightly "ugh... If fire didn't already cause this place is say burn it to the ground..."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed May 30, 2018 9:07 pm

Jacquelyn laughed ay Sigurd's grumbled curse of the land. "Oh you'll get used to it. Or you won't. But it's really not as bad as all that."

Ashwyn was in agreement with Sigurd. Walking in the sand was extremely annoying. It shifted with every step and when they walked downhill it was so easy to slide and loose balance. She was not used to being off balance and it made her very uncomfortable.

Jacquelyn turned to look back at Lopiena, Cirro and Zane. "Keep up back there! Don't want to get seperated out here in case of a sand storm!" she called back to them.

Ashwyn watched as Jacquelyn fell back towards the other three and the loss of focus made her stumble forward. She was just cresting the top of a dune so the stumble made her fall forward and slide several feet down the other side of the dune before she slowed enough to regain her footing. "Gah this gods forsaken sand will be the death of me!" she cursed, brushing sand off of herself as she stood.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu May 31, 2018 1:12 am

Breaking camp beforedawn is expcted, but getting only a few hours of sleep left Lopiena feeling exhausted. Exhausted but elated! In spite of the soreness she just can't stop grinning, and for a moment she had hoped to find out if the legendary 'morning stiffness'was true or not...but frankly her body just can't take much more and it's time to get going. A full bath would be amazing, but it's a complete impossibility right now; a quick pass with a washrag will have to do. More or less clean, Lo sighs regretfully at the loose robes previously purchased in Eventide. The robes are loose and lightweight as required, but she'd always hated robes with the way they bind the legs whenever she tried to move in them. Well, maybe there's something to do about that since she doesn't have someone breathing down her neck about proper appearance. Tying strips of fabric around the areas that fly up in the wind, the robes almost take on the appearance and function of the breeches Lopiena prefers. Much better! Topping herself with a light hat, Lo shoves her old clothes into her pack...and bites back a curse. She still hasn't had a chance to carve the alder sticks into something that can be used as straighteners for her pack, and the sun and wind will dry the sticks out to make it that much harder to carve later. She'd planned to work on that after the ceremony...well, what happened instead was so much better, she's happy to deal with a lumpy and uncomfortable pack in exchange for the best night of her life! Besides, shoving the sticks into her pack in the approximate position of where they should go is almost enough to make it at least tolerable. Good enough for now.

Walking across the shifting sands is a much greater challenge than she'd anticipated, and the...ahhh...soreness doesn't help. Leaning against her staff for balance and an attempt to stay on top of the sand rather than sinking into it takes all the energy she has, and it's well known that more moisture leaves the mouth when it is open than closed... silence is recommended, but even so she wants to know more about the person she'd shared such an intimate experience with. With Zane so close she'll have to keep it simple...well, all the better anyway to start small. "So...Cirro...our shared memories last night. Was what we saw your Naming Day? What is that ceremony like?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu May 31, 2018 7:46 am

Sigurd was getting frustrated with the sand, he tried shifting hoping that his bigger feet would help displace the sand. They kinda did but his added weight sink himnin deeper, shifting into his wolf form he wondered if four legs would be better than two... Nope.. a wolf wearing armor and a greatsword in shifting sand was actually worse than a hybrid. When he shifted back to his human form he had to dig himself out of the sand slightly "Jacquelyn! How in the nine hells do you walk so easily in this!?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu May 31, 2018 8:11 am

Cirro was just contemplating shrinking down to his smaller size to make travel easier when Lopiena approached him and began a conversation.

"Hm? Oh, no. That was the day I received my commission. Fairies don't really celebrate a naming day since so many of us hatch on the same day. But we receive our commissions very early in life. You see, ever fairy is born with certain gifts. We take the first few years of our lives to explore different tasks and jobs to see where we excel. Then we're awarded with our commission and begin training in that field." He explained.

"What about you? That woman with the dark hair and feathers.... that was your mother, right? She's very beautiful. You... You look so much like her." He said with a smile.

---

Jacquelyn laughed out loud at Sigurd's frustration. "Whoever said it was easy?" She asked with a grin. "You're all walking like you did in the forest. You're expecting the land to be something it's not. That's your mistake. Adjust your stride and move WITH the land, not against it. You'll find a rhythm." She winked. As though emphasizing her point, she jumped over a larger dune and landed with her feet sideways and slid the whole way down the dune as though she was surfing the sand. She came to a stop at the bottom and turned to wave her hand up at the rest of them.


Ashwyn grumbled a bit, the sand was extremely irritating, but Jacquelyn was probably right. How many nobels had she walked through the forest who kept tripping on tree roots and brush and she had to educate them on how to walk through the forest? This was just another set of skills that she'd have to learn if she wanted to travel here.

She stood again and tried to anticipate the way the sand would move when she stepped on it. That helped a bit, but it was still hard to predict sometimes. When she got to the dunes... well, she wasn't confident enough to slide like Jacquelyn did. But she did make it much smoother than last time.

Zane struggled to keep up even on flat ground, so the sand was making it much more dificult for him. He crested the dune, tripped over his robes, and ended up tumbling end over end down the whole dune. He landed in a heap near Jacquelyn, coughing and spluttering.

Jacquelyn smirked down at him. "Well, that's one way to do it." She chuckled.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu May 31, 2018 8:55 am

Sigurd watched Jacquelyn slide down the dune with ease. His covered eyes narrowed though she wouldn't see his irritation. "It's sand. I've walked on sand before. Just not this much sand" he growled. Pulling his sword from his back he layed the broad side flat on the dune before jumping on it, his weight to the crossguard keeping the tip out of the sand as he slid down the dune.

He put his sword back and hefted the gnome from his sandy pile. "If you disappear in the sand we're leaving you there..." He huffed. The sun was hot, the sand was annoying and there was nothing to look at but the vast empty nothing. He did have his mate to stare at so there was that at least. He just hoped nothing was going to attack, he'd be so hindered and frustrated he didn't know how well they'd do.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu May 31, 2018 9:15 am

Zane spluttered as Sigurd helped him up. He was lost in his robes for a moment before he righted himself. "Hm? Oh... yes... thank you..." He said still rather disoriented.

Jacquelyn chuckled at Sigurd. "Oh, forgive me. I forgot you were an expert at walking in the desert. I'll just leave you to it, Wolf boy." She teased, before turning and walking ahead.

Ashwyn approached Sigurd and hooked her arm in his with a smile. "That was pretty impressive." She said with a playful wink.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu May 31, 2018 9:50 am

Panting a bit with the effort of walking through the sand, Lopiena hesitates before speaking again. "Commissioning Day...sounds interesting. To be able to try out many different tasks and choose the one you excel in...how do you know what to choose? You must have had an interest in many things. I know I did, but my path was chosen for me." Thinking of her mother, Lopiena's face softens. "She was very beautiful. Probably why so many nasty things were said about her, the women couldn't compete and the men couldn't have her. Not that they didn't try of course, and I was too young at the time to understand the difference between gifts received for...services...and gifts from those who wanted them. It's good to know that most of what was said about her simply isn't true." Though in the back of her mind Lopiena still wonders about her own conception and that of her brothers, she can only assume it was during a ceremony like the one she'd experienced last night. She'd been willing to try anything, and being so close to those she cared about had made it even better...but anyway. "Mother was always the strength in my life, when things went wrong she'd encourage me to keep trying. She used to sing to me while brushing and braiding my hair...a year after she left I cut it all off as a tribute to her, and I liked it short so much better I kept it..." Starting to cough, Lopiena shuts her mouth and tries to moisten her throat with swallowing. Too much talking! She could talk about her mother for days, she missed her so much...but there's a time and a place for everything and this is definitely not it. Shaking her head and trying not to cough, she just croaks out "Sorry...talking too much" before focusing on the sand. She'd wanted to learn about him, darn it, and no one likes a chatterbox.

Watching Jacquelyn slide down the sand...she almost makes it look fun!...and then Ashwyn doing the same while Sigurd rides his sword, Lopiena approaches the sand dune tentatively. Zane's tumble is a bit of a concern, but no surprise...he would probably benefit from tying up his robes like she did. But he's at the bottom, and she's still at the top...nothing for it but to try! Though she's not quite brave enough to approach the slide like Jacquelyn, it doesn't look too bad from the right approach. Sitting down and shifting her pack so it's up against her front, Lopiena leans back and pushes off like a giant sand slide. Without an actual slide. Though it works fairly well...she's at the bottom, at least...sand is everywhere! It takes a moment to stand up with the extra weight of the sand in her clothes, and several more moments to untie strips of fabric,let the sand out, and retie. Well...it worked, anyway. Taking out more stips of fabric, she looks at Zane. "Want to try tying your robes? So you don't trip on them?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu May 31, 2018 11:42 am

With Lopiena's help, Zane was able to tie up his robes so it was slightly easier to move around. The sand still made it difficult but it was easier without the long robes.

The journey east was tedious and one stretch of sand looked very much like the next stretch of sand. Jacquelyn was striding along, seemingly unbothered by the sand. She even whistled as she walked. A tune that Lopiena would recognize as one that her mother sang to her as a child.

Eventually the walking began to get a little easier as the ground seemed to thicken beneath their feet. The horizon began to reveal more that just endless sand dunes as well. Rocky hills appeared and while the ground was still covered in sand, it had hard rock beneath it so it didn't give as much. By the time the sun was beginning it's decent they were entering a stretch of desert that had larger rock formations that had odd shapes from being battered by winds for hundreds of years. One such rock formation seemed to have a hole dug into it and a small cave was created.


"This way all! This is where my stuff should be!" Jacquelyn called out as she began to jog over to the cave.

"So... this is also where the giant scorpions attacked you?" Ashwyn asked, as she looked around them, waiting for something to pop up.

"Well yes, them too." Jacquelyn added, as though she'd forgotten about being chased for hours the day before.

Cyna flew happily into the cave and Jacquelyn followed shortly after. A few moments of silence and suddenly they heard Jacquelyn curse.

"By the nine!" She came out with a glare. "Damned creatures killed my camel! How in gods name am I gonna get this damn cart moving now?!" She cursed, kicking harshly at the dead camel that lay drying out on the sandy cave floor.


Suddenly Zane perked up. "Oh! Oh! I can help with that!" He dropped his bag and immediately began shuffling through it. He pulled out a book. "There's a spell I was reading out a few days ago... I thought it might come in handy...." he said as he flipped through the pages. "Ah-ha! Here it is!"

He stood and held the book in front of him. He held a palm out to the empty area near them and began muttering in an ancient language. The sand before them began to swirl around the magic, forming a small tornado of slow moving particles. As he muttered the magic began to form into a shape. It was like it was using the sand to create the figure. As they watched, the shape took the form of a larger than normal camel. It was at least twice the size of a regular camel and had three humps instead of the standard one or two. As the spell ended, the camel took on a realistic form, including fur and eyes and.... it spit into the sand at Cirro's feet, causing the fairy to gasp and jump back.

"Well, now that was rude!" Zane scolded the creature, which just shrugged.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu May 31, 2018 1:08 pm

Walking from the sand to the rocky area is very interesting; Lopiena had heard about wind-shaped rocks but it sounded so incredible she hadn't really believed it. Stories to reality indeed! Listening to Jacquelyn whistle is another point of interest; she'll have to ask about those songs later. No one in the village knew them, so hearing them from Jacquelyn only doubly confirmed her story.

Approaching the cave, Lopiena's senses go on high alert. Nothing about this place is remotely familiar to her, and Ashwyn's comments about the scorpions only redoubles her caution. Holding her staff at ready, Lopiena jumps and looks ready for anything at Jacquelyn's curse...but the concern was long past, and while she can't help but feel bad for the poor camel there's nothing to do about it now. But when Zane starts his spell to form...what is that!?...out of the very sand itself, Lopiena gasps and jumps back. She had no idea the gnome knew such spells! Amazed and alarmed, Lo glances from Zane to Cirro to the...sand camel? Sand..amel? Sandel? Suddenly bursting with laughter, Lo almost falls over herself. "That's great, Zane! It's a sandal to help walk in the sand! Sandel...sand-camel...get it?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:59 pm

Sigurd walked into the cave and turned quickly out of the cave, long dead camel was not the best smell to walk into, especially with his nose. Waiting outside, he sat on a rock and waited for the others to come out. When he heard Zane taking over and summon a sand camel he laughed at Lopiena's observation.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:09 am

Ashwyn smirked at Lopiena's joke while Cirro and Zane laughed outloud.

Jacquelyn clapped loudly in satisfaction at the spell. "Wonderful!" She exclaimed. When Lo made her joke, she groaned. "Oh dear.... you have your mother's sense of humor too..." she teased with a smirk.

They'd been walking for the better part of the day and the sun was already starting it's dip to the horizon.

"Well, with the day coming to a close we have a few options." Jacquelyn said. "It's cooler now so we can keep walking and try and regain some ground. We should be able to go for a few more hours before it gets too cold. Or we can make camp here for the night, get some sleep, and wake early tomorrow before the sun rises and make our progress that way. Personally, my old bones could use a rest, but I'll leave the choice up to the rest of you."


Zane, who sweating far more than anyone else, tentatively raised a hand. "I... wouldn't mind a rest..." He said softly.

Ashwyn turned to Sigurd, Lo and Cirro. "I think our first full day in the desert has taken more out of us than we thought it would. It might be a good idea to rest and regain some strength before we try to tackle it again."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:41 am

Grinning at Jacquelyn's comment about her mother's sense of humor, Lopiena looks like she wants to say something but isn't sure what. Her mother loved jokes, especially those that played with words, but had generally kept it to herself when Gramma was around. She'd always assumed that it was because Gramma didn't like the jokes, but maybe there were underlying currents that she hadn't noticed as a child. So many questions...well maybe there will be a chance to talk tonight.

Looking at Zane...he's clearly exhausted...Lopiena nods slowly at the thought of rest. Making up more time would certainly be preferable, but pushing to exhaustion wouldn't do anyone any good. "I can take the first watch. It's still light out, and I'm not tired yet." Heading back out of the cave, Lo stops at Sigurd and glances between him and the cave. "Smell? I honestly didn't notice it, but if it's that bad for you I can set up a tent for you out here." Smiling at him, she crouches next to him and lowers her voice. "By the way. I never got a chance to thank you...for last night. You were...very gentle, and amazing and..." looking up and smiling shyly, she suddenly looks nervous. "I didn't even ask you if it was ok...it just happened and...I'm sorry." Looking away again, she tries not to compare what happened last night to what had happened to Sigurd a few days ago. The situation was completely different, but...
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:00 am

Sigurd was lost in thoughts of home, the desert was such a far cry from what he was used to. Fighting the scorpions had told him that much, he'd never had to fight in deep sand before and it proved to be more difficult than he had ever expected. He made a mental note to add difficult terrain training to the regiment... He didn't even hear Lopiena sneak up beside him. "Oh? yeah, don't worry about a tent for me, I'll be fine." he smiled. When she talked about the night before his cheeks flushed slightly. "It was fine Lo, honestly. I was honored to be your first, though that form may not have been the best for it. I'm sorry if I hurt you at all." he said softly.

He felt bad, her first time should have been with someone she loved, not some wolfed out scruffy fighter amidst a moonlit orgy. It couldn't have been helped though, he guessed that was just something that happened during these things. Sigurd looked at Lopiena and smiled again before ruffling her hair "if you want seconds, you'll have to ask Ashwyn" he winked with a soft laugh.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:48 pm

Looking up at Sigurd in genuine surprise when he mentioned 'that form' not being the best for it...the feeling of his fur against her skin had been amazing, what's wrong with that?...until he apologized for hurting her. Oh. Blushing, she looked away again. "You are...really big..." The feeling of him inside her had been indescribable, but yes there had been pain. "...but it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would, and you were so kind...you let me take the lead, and only go as far as I wanted. Besides, at least I'm not covered in bruises or..." Suddenly clamping her mouth shut, Lo shakes her head. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Don't talk about the fertility ceremony, her village was already probably the least popular place on the planet right now. No sense pouring acid on the wound. Quick, change the subject! "...uhm. But you're ok with everything? I mean...I definitely enjoyed it, but it's important that you did too. I'm...sorry I'm so small..." The feeling of him stretching her had been incredible, and couldn't even really be desribed as pain... it was more like exercising a muscle she didn't know she had. A muscle wrapped in pleasure sensors...shivering slightly at the memory, she grins at him when he mentions 'seconds' but then her eyes widen. "Oh! I should talk to her, apologize..." Jumping back up, she turns to go back into the cave.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:38 pm

Sigurd nodded "It's fine, really." his voice was soft and reassuring, "I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it. It isn't every day that one of my people gets to lay with not only one, but three women. Don't apologize for your size, in this form you would be just fine." he laughed lightly. As she turned he readjusted himself to be comfortable again and went back to looking out into the desert "nothing to apologize for" he said with a smile, whether she heard him or not.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:38 pm

Stopping at his words, Lopiena blushes again when he mentioned the depth of enjoyment they'd all experienced.  He may have had three women, but she'd taken two men...at the same time...she'd enjoyed it immensely during the ceremony, but now she can feel her face burning.  "It was...something, wasn't it?  Definitely the most memorable night of my life.  And...I really did enjoy it.  So...thank you."

Grinning when he comments about size in his human form, she can't help but remember seeing him in all his glory in Eventide.  Between the hot springs and the aftermath of his nightmare, she'd gotten a pretty good look at him...  "Honestly, I think I'd probably be too small for you even in that form.  But uhh.  That's definitely an Ashwyn question."  Blushing even deeper, she decides to sit back down.  The others are in the cave, and while she still wants to apologize to Ashwyn soon some privacy would be preferred.

Changing subject again, she looks at him in his watchful warrior's pose.  "So...I was hoping to take first watch tonight, start making up for all the times I couldn't...but I've honestly never done it before.  Any pointers?  Other than just keep eyes open and pay attention."  Grinning hopefully up at him, she hopes she's not intruding too much...but there's so much to learn, and if she doesn't start learning these skills soon something else will come up to interrupt.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:02 pm

Sigurd turned his head to her again "Not a whole lot to know, stay alert, stay awake, and more importantly don't get bored. If you have some sort of task that keeps you busy but still able to focus around you then that's better than just staring off into space. If you hear or see anything unusual, come get somebody, Don't start screaming like a lunatic though, if you can get to us quietly and wake us, we'll gain the element of surprise."

He though about it more, it had been a while since he ever had to give someone the rundown on basic camp keeping, it was a fresh change of pace. "Even if it's something you think you can take care of yourself or you feel the need to investigate further. Don't. I've lost many curious recruits because of that. Now get in there and talk to Ash, your watch starts as soon as you come back"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:46 am

Listening to Sigurd with the rapt attention of a student with much to learn, Lopiena absorbs as much of his wisdom as she can. Something to do to avoid boredom...though she can stay up reading to all odd hours, getting sucked into a book makes her even more oblivious than usual and she knows it.  Perhaps carving the alder sticks! It's a relatively mindless task, it needs to get done, and as long as she is careful not to cut herself she can listen for anything unusual, even walk around the area every now and then to stretch. Get help if something comes up...no screaming...don't investigate alone...got it. Honestly there is very little that Lopiena feels confident enough to try to tackle alone, except for maybe a regular sized scorpion...something that fits nicely under a boot. Even then, the Archdruid's scrolls had mentioned that smaller scorpions have more concentrated toxin, and a single sting can kill.  No thank you! Nodding at his dismissal, Lo jumps up...er, rises slowly, her body is tired even if her mind isn't...and reenters the cave.

Even with the dead camel, the desert sands have dried the remains enough that the smell isn't too bad for her human nose, though she can only imagine what Sigurd must be smelling.  Retrieving the alder sticks and a knife from her pack, Lopiena looks at her travelling companions.  Everyone is visibly exhausted...everyone except Jacquelyn anyway, but even she looks a bit tired.  Zane looks about ready to fall over, though.  Digging further in her pack, Lo pulls out several herb pouches and checks them for possible use. Pain reduction, maybe...reduce swelling, possibly...reduce inflamation with a side effect of reduced fertility in human women...uhh. Rolling her eyes and mentally kicking herself, Lo takes a leaf and slides it under her tongue to remoisten it before chewing and swallowing.  Fairy women might be born infertile but she isn't...and the mission can't afford to lose time due to her own foolishness.  Taking the pouch of herbs that reduces swelling, Lo walks over to Zane.  "Zane, do you want to try this? Just one leaf...the taste is terrible, but it reduces swelling and might help your feet feel a bit better.  As well as much needed rest."  Winking and placing the bag between Zane and Cirro...just in case he needs it too...Lo approaches Ashwyn.  Lowering her voice as much as she can, she suddenly looks shy and uncertain. What does one say to the mate of the one she'd been so intimate with the night before? "Ashwyn...I wanted to...apologize. For last night.  I know we talked about...something, but I never meant anything to actually happen.  What I did was wrong, and I'm sorry.  I...yeah. I'm really sorry." What else could she say, that she enjoyed every moment? Absolutely true, but not appropriate.  Looking at the ground, she waits quietly for the anticipated anger.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:22 am

While Sigurd and Lopiena were conversing, the others were setting up camp.

Ashwyn stood over the dead camel and frowned. "Should we bury it in the sand?"

Jacquelyn shook her head. "Naw. The winds will only uncover it again. There's only one real way to take care of a corpse in the desert." She approached the camel and pushed it to the back end of the cave where a stream of light came from the ceiling. She held her palms out to the creature and it ignited in large flames. The flames burned hot as Jacquelyn encouraged them. With one hand she kept the flames hot and the other hand she pulled the wind around it to pull the smoke out of the cave.

While she worked with the animal, Zane and Cirro were pulling out bedding and setting up some twigs for a smaller fire. Ashwyn took the twigs while they continued with the bedding and began setting them up for a fire near the dead camel to take advantage of the same ventilation. She was just getting the fire started when Lopiena came back in and started talking to her. At first, not knowing what she wanted to talk about, Ash had kept working on the fire. That changed pretty quick when she heard how concerned Lopiena sounded.

She turned and watched the girl as she awkwardly apologized. When she finished, Ashwyn couldn't stop the chuckle. She placed a hand on Lopiena's shoulder. "Lo, take a breath." She smiled. "A lot of things happened last night and not one of us complained about it. It was surprising, yes. And very unexpected but...." she shrugged. "We are all adults. We could have stopped it at any time. No one wanted to. Besides," she chuckled a bit. "I already told you that Sigurd would be the perfect person to introduce you to these types of things. Mind you, I didn't expect it to be quite like that but..." She shook her head with a smile.

"And anyway, I found it surprisingly exciting to watch him with someone else. So... really, it's fine." She smiled. She glanced over to where Jacquelyn was working with the camel. "Maybe now is a good time to have a little heart to heart?" She asked, motioning towards Jacquelyn.

She bent over to the bag of holding and pulled some meat sticks and a canteen of water out. "I'm going to see if Sigurd is hungry." She gave Lopiena one last wink of encouragement before leaving the cave and heading to where Sigurd was sitting.

She approached him and sat next to him. "Hungry?" She asked, offering him the dried meat and water.
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Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert
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