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 Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert

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AniRedFox
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:09 pm

Ashwyn saw Sigurd's signal to stand down and she lowered her bow. She was still wary of the creatures as she lept from building top to building top. Finally, when she was near Sigurd, she jumped from the buiding. She rolled as she hit the sand, so as not to hurt herself, and then walked over to his side.

[Ashwyn Athletics roll: 18]

She stood behind her mate as he sat, hand still tight on her bow in case they tried anything.

Brynoff was more relaxed as he walked forward. As he passed the dogs, he reached down and pat them on the head. One of them whimpered in obvious fear from the large man that smelled of wolf, the other yipped happily, seeming to have taken an instant liking to Brynoff. He stopped in front of the two creatures, towering over them.

The female watched with wrapped attention as the fluid flowed into her father's throat. The wound began to heal and she instantly went to his side, clicking rapidly. After a few moments, the male Thri-kreen straightened, clicked something to the female, and turned to face Sigurd.

He bowed his head to him, his upper hands pressed palms together below his chin. "Thank you for your mercy." He said. His voice was higher pitched too, but lower than the female. He raised his head, his wide black eyes staring at Sigurd.

"This... Kakarot... he is sorceror? Human man? Unkind eyes?" He asked.

Brynoff grunted. "Yeah, that sounds about right." He gruffed.

The male Thri-kreen nodded. "Yes, he send us. Tell us to kill any we find." He explained.

The female clicked rapidly, she seemed nervous. The male patted her on the shoulder.

"Man take mate and young children. Tell me he kill them if we not kill for him." He explained and the female nodded sadly. He bowed his head. "We have failed them." He said softly. "We accept defeat with honor." The female bowed her head just like the male.


Ashwyn frowned. "It seems Kakerot enjoys manipulating others for his purposes." She said in a grumble.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:18 pm

The wolves stared her down for a while. Finally the leader spoke again.

"If seeking something lost, the Finder is whom you should seek. Near the waters edge sits a toadstool. One bite will take you to the Finder." He said and then, without waiting for a response, began to walk forward. If Lo doesn't move to the side, he'll topple her over with his slow steps. One of the smaller wolves paused next to her.

"The blue toadstool. Not the red." He chuckled and then hurried to chase after the alpha.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Oct 24, 2018 6:00 pm

Sigurd snorted and growled and turned his head towards his mate, "All the more reason to stop him.." he stiffened slightly, looking at the bowing mantis creatures "tell us where he is, take us there if you must and we'll save your family."

He was serious but his focus was on killing Kakarot, saving the others would be secondary above all else. Shifting back to his human form he waved his hand at the pair in an effort to tell them to relax.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Oct 24, 2018 6:43 pm

Blinking at the massive wolves of Twilight, Lo has no idea what to make of it all. The Finder? Eating toadstools? Uhhhhh well ok then. Barely moving fast enough to keep from getting knocked off the path, Lo finally remembers her manners and bows her thanks after the lead wolf passes by. Smiling at the smaller wolf....lips closed of course, only an idiot bares teeth at a wolf...Lo nods her thanks at the additional instructions.  "Thank you. I will keep that in mind." Watching their majestic retreat down the path, Lo feels the need to say something more bit isn't really sure what. Well too late now, they're already out off sight.

Continuing down the path, Lo ponders their words. Eat a toadstool? In Twilight? All of the stories she'd read warned specifically to never eat anything in different realms. Lamont had only specified to stay on the path, but they hadn't exactly gone over what to expect in great detail! Besides that, what if this toadstool is off the path? Whether eating anything is a good idea or not is moot if she can't leave the path to begin with. Contemplating all of this while keeping an eye out for anything else unusual, Lo tries to remember which stories warned against eating anything.  Mostly ones about the Underworld...and while Twilight isn't a place she's even remotely familiar with, if this was the Underworld Tabitha and Gazeem would be here, as well. That sobering thought is a kick in the gut. Tabitha and Gazeem died for her, because of Kakerot! Their deaths cannot, will not be in vain. Anything it takes to find and destroy Kakerot is worth any risk. Head held high, Lo continues down the path, intently seeking this Finder's toadstool.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Oct 24, 2018 6:49 pm

Ashwyn nodded along with Sigurd's words and knelt next to him. More and more this Kakarot was proving to her that his time on this world needed to come to an end.

The male Thri-kreen looked up, his eyes wide again, this time with shock. "You...you help us?" He turned to his daughter and they exchanged a series of clicks.

The female looked over to Sigurd. "We not know where man is. He never show self. Use magics to take kin through gateway."

The male nodded. "Our home many leagues away. We not know how far. Not shown where we go. We from lush jungle. No know sand land." He shook his head sadly. "Man say he watch us. Will harm mate and children if fail."


Ashwyn frowned. "I wish there was a way we could find out where he's holding their family. It might give us a clue as to where he's hiding himself."

Brynoff gruffed again. "Maybe the ritual folks are having luck. But until they come out of their hidyhole..." He knelt before the man to be more at eye level. "If what you say is true, and he is actually watching you, then he'll no doubt see that you're not fighting us anymore. The way I see it, you have two options. You can either take up arms with us, or you can keep up the fight. I assure you, the latter will not go your way."

The two Thri-kreens exchanged a look and some clicks. Then the male turned back to them. "I Zexink-tik. This daughter, Rezto-cha." They both bowed towards Sigurd. "We greatful for mercy. Life debt to you, sir. We serve you."


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:13 pm

Once the wolves were gone the forest was silent again. A little further along the path the sounds of water began to get louder. Coming around a corner, the trees parted just long enough for the river to be seen. Well, river was a strong term. It was really more of a small creek, but upon approach, it was clear the water was moving through it very fast. This close it was clear that all along the walls of the creek were bright red mushrooms. They seemed to glow in the low light.

The trail came to move parallel to the creek. The walls of the creek were about a foot long before the water started. The red mushrooms lined the rocks there, as though they grew from the rock itself.

[Lo, roll a d20 for a perception check.]
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:44 pm

Following the path, Lo stops at the sight of the....river? Creek? Stream? ...rapidly moving body of water. Looking around at all the red toadstools, Lo is almost overwhelmed! So many red ones, how can she even hope to find one blue one? Walking slowly along the path as it parallels the stream, Lo keeps looking around. It must be here, just keep looking...

(Rolled 8, bleh Razz +3 WIS mod=11)
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:54 pm

Sigurd rubbed his face with his hands in irritation. Of course they didn't know... His ears twitched at Ash's words "if we get to Kakarot's lair, I should be able to find them, I know what their blood smells like so if they're dead I'll know or if they're being tortured I'll know."

Pinching the bridge of his nose another wave of irritation washed over him, each enemy they had faced so far that had a pulse seems to have been manipulated into fighting for Kakarot. He looked to the two and smiled sincerely "I don't need servants. If you fight with us you fight as equals. Zexink-tik, Rexto-cha. I promise we will do what we can to save your family so long as you help us kill Kakarot.... If we ever find him that is.."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:56 am

Leaning over the edge of the creek, Lo would spot a single blue mushroom. It grew so low on the rocks that the water licked the bottom stalk as it rushed by. It didn't glow like the red ones and it was skinny and snaked against the rockface, so it was difficult to see at first.

She could reach it, but it would require her leaning very far forward and risk falling into the rapidlly moving water.

[If she attempts to reach the mushroom, she must roll an acrobatics check...]


---

Zexink-tik raised his head and stared at Sigurd. "You Honorable Sir. You not kill when most would. We follow you."

Rezto-cha nodded eagerly. "We give many thanks, Honorable Sir. We fight with you to kill man who attack family."


Ashwyn couldn't help but smile at the way they had dubbed Sigurd, 'Honorable Sir'. She placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed it with a little smirk directed at him for a moment. "We are honored to have you fight with us. "My name is Ashwyn. This is my mate, Sigurd, and this is Brynoff, Alpha of a nearby village."

Brynoff nodded his head when his name was mentioned.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:49 pm

Walking slowly along the banks of the swiftly flowing creek, Lo stops what looks like a reflection of the stream...but it seems to be too stable, and doesn't seem to be affected by any light source that is visible to her human eyes. Leaning toward the reflection reveals that it's a small blue toadstool, barely clinging onto a rock right at the water line! Stunned that she was actually able to spot it, Lo carefully kneels on the bank with all the red toadstools. Glancing from the path to the blue toadstool, it suddenly occurs to her that maybe the reason there are so few blue ones left is that whenever someone wants to locate the Finder they take the whole toadstool, removing it from the system entirely...not wanting to do that, Lopiena decides to just take one small bite and leave the rest in place. Unfortunately that requires getting her face right down next to the water...hmmm. Well, maybe if she can lie down on her belly, she might be able to reach it without falling over...but there are so many red toadstools it's impossible to lie flat, so she ends up rather precariously balanced on hands and knees overlooking the riverbank, leaning dangerously close to the water. Here goes nothing!

(forgot my dice at home, and the Random Number Generator isn't playing nice...gave me an 8, +2 DEX = 10)
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:29 pm

Sigurd slapped his knees and stood, extending his hand to their new allies "welcome to the team" he smiled.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:58 am

[She just HAD to make it more difficult.....:p ]

Though it didn't appear to be from the path, the rock walls were slick with moisture and algei. They were slimy to the touch and her skin had no purchase on the rocks. The moment she was down far enough to even think about reaching the mushroom, she slipped. Trying to grab the rock face would prove useless as her fingers would slide right off the rocks.

Head first she landed in the water and was instantly swept away. The current was strong and would be no match for her strength. She was helpless as it pushed her deeper into the forest and further away from the path....


---

Zexink-tik looked at Sigurd's hand for a moment before carefully reaching out and clasping it with his own. As Sigurd rose, so did he, his daughter following after him.


Ashwyn stood as well, smiling as her mate shook the hand of their new allies.

Rezto-cha clicked rapidly to her father, she still seemed distressed.

Zexink-tik nodded to her, bowing his head. "Forgive daughter. She fears for kin."


Ashwyn nodded. "We understand." She sighed. "I hate being so helpless." She grumbled.

Brynoff scoffed. "That's what it's about, though. He WANTS us to feel helpless. Well, I refuse." He gruffed and turned, stalking back towards the caves.


"Where are you going?" Ashwyn asked.

"To get an update. You folks stay here in case he sends someone else to try and kill us." He called as he disapeared into the city.

Ashwyn frowned and turned to Sigurd, a look of concern and frustration on her face.

The team spread out a bit to keep watch. Rezto-cha and Sigurd stayed on the ground, while Ashwyn and Zexink-tik took to the rooftops again, just.... waiting....
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:33 am

[Well it seemed like a good idea at the time...oops!]

Slipping on the slick rocks is bad enough, but falling into the icy water is soo much worse. At first stiffening at the shock of cold, Lo tries to keep her head up but as she's swept away from the path by the swift current panic starts to set in. No no no no...this is bad...keep it together Lo, find a way out! Watching the riverbank flow by, Lopiena seeks out trees that are overgrown into the river. Any roots overhanging the water will be too slick to grab onto, but if there's a mass of roots it's almost as good as a net. Something to keep her from getting swept further downstream, at least...and maybe if the roots are dense enough, she can use them to climb out?

(No idea what kind of roll this would be...rolled a 12 without any modifiers, so here's to hoping!)
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:39 am

The creek's water was extremely fast moving. Faster than any water source Lopiena had ever experienced. And it was full of eddies and spirals in the water that caused her to spin and flip in the water as she was pulled along. The cliff walls surrounding her are slick and covered in red mushrooms, none of which are sturdy enough to grab hold of. If she attempts to grab the walls, her fingers will be coated in something slimy and it sticks to her skin, making her hands slick.

After what seems like hours of being tossed in the water, she would suddenly find herself falling. The creek opened up into a short waterfall that fed a small pond. The water in the pond was clear and crystalline. The bottom of the pond could not be seen, so Lo would get the impression that it was extremely deep. The pond was surrounded by a sandy beach and the sand glistened like it was dotted with diamonds.

Once Lo recovered from being tossed around, she would discover that she was not alone. Surrounding her were beautiful creatures swimming in the water and relaxing on the shore. They had the upper halves of humans, and the lower halves of sea creatures. The mer-folks tilted their heads and looked curiously at her. But they each had a kind smile. The nearest one approached her.

His skin almost seemed to glow with the crystalline shine of the waters and his face was perfectly symmetrical. His fish-like body glistened with teals and blues like a topical fish. When he spoke, his voice was melodic and serene.


"Welcome stranger. It isn't often we get such beautiful guests. Please, won't you swim with us?" The other merfolk around him nodded eagerly, smiling at her.



---

Several hours passed and no new threat had been summoned. Eventually Brynoff returned to the group with a frown on his face.


"It seems... there's been a complication."

Ashwyn looked down from the rooftop and frowned. "Complication?"

Brynoff sighed. "The others have come out of the Twilight, but.... Lopiena hasn't. They can't wake her."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:36 am

Trying not to panic, Lopiena struggles against the current at first...grabbing at the slick walls, trying to hold onto mushrooms only to slip of again...but eventually has to give up in exhaustion. Just trying to keep her head out of the water enough to breathe is hard enough, and as she's tossed and turned in the current she gets completely disoriented. Good thing she'd been swimming since she was a child; even with the swift water she can at least find the surface to breathe. The sensation of falling is nearly her undoing; she's terrified, exhausted, and fears that her life is at an end without ever completing the mission. Pushed by the force of the waterfall deeper into the pool reminds her of...something, too exhausted to remember...but it's as good of an indication as any which way is up and out. Surfacing, gasping for breath, Lo tries to head to the shore but is so tired and disoriented all she can do is float in the calm water. Calming herself until she is able to look around again, her panic starts to ebb. One thing about this place, it sure is beautiful. Which is good, considering I'll probably be stuck here the rest of my days...which may not be too many...

Finally calm enough to head to shore, Lo nearly panics again when she realizes she's not alone. Visions of being pulled to a watery doom by these creatures surge up...but their friendly smiles put her at ease. Not too much ease, you never know with strangers in a strange place...but still.

"Swimming with you sounds lovely, but I regret that I cannot swim long. I seek the Finder. Have you heard of such a person?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:54 am

A merwoman swam up behind the man and smiled, resting on his shoulder.

"Oh but it will be such fun!" She said. She had a child-like voice full of excitement. She swam to Lopiena and took hold of her arm, tugging her towards the center of the pond. She wasn't tugging her very hard, but her grip on her arm was firm.

"Yes, you simply must." The merman said, taking hold of the hand on her other arm, also pulling her towards the center of the pond.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:30 am

Sigurd's muscles had finally relaxed and he was finding himself starting to nod off. He had gone from an alert standing position to sitting on a crate, his back against the wall of a building. Never one for guard duty he had an itch to do something. Anything. The urge to find his way over to Ashwyn so they could amuse themselves crossed his mind but with their new allies so close by he waved it off.

When Brynoff showed up Sigurd lazily got to his feet and walked over. When he mentioned complications Sigurd pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed "can nothing on this trip go smoothly? Take us there.."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:50 am

Brynoff led the group back to the cave area of the village where everyone was gathered around Lopiena. She was still sitting where she had originally, the circle still sat where they were, not wanting to break the circle and loose her for good, but they had their eyes opened watching her.

Cirro looked extremely worried and was holding Lopiena's hand, rubbing the back of it with his thumb. Jaquelyn also seemed very worried, her eyes flicking from Lopiena back to Lamont, whose eyes were closed.

At the approach of the group, Jaquelyn looked up. She looked confused at the two newcommers, but at the nod from Brynoff she nodded and turned to Sigurd and Ashwyn.

"Something has gone wrong. Lopiena seems to be trapped within the realm of Twilight. Lamont has gone back in to try and find her."


Ashwyn frowned. "Is there anything we can do?"

Leif sighed. "Her mind is lost within Twilight. Lamont is the only one who knows Twilight well. There's nothing we can do in the waking world...." he said, looking worriedly at the little sister he only just met.

"....What about going into Twilight?" Ash asked.

They all looked up at her. "I'm serious. We know her better than any of you. If anyone should be able to find her, it would be us."

It was then that Lamont opened his eyes. "If you wish to delve into Twilight, you may join the circle. But be aware that you will not have any control over your magic within Twilight. Not even magic you were born with." He said, looking pointedly at Sigurd. "It will revert you to a normal human state. At most, you will only be able to enter your Wolf form, but it will put a strain on you.You will also find that in wolf form you can communicate outloud."

He looked between them. "The path you will find is safe. Nothing can harm you from the path. But once you leave it, you are subject to the spirits who reside there. It is possible to find your way back to the path, but the spirits will try and mislead you. More than likely Lopiena is trapped within Twilight because she left the path, for whatever reason. We must return her to the path before she will wake."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:44 am

Sigurd stood still and considered their options for a moment "hmmm... No magic... Half of my transformations... Not ideal, as long as I can hit things I don't see the harm in it. I'm still a fighter without magic and transformations" He looked to Ashwyn and shrugged "you make the call dear..."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:45 pm

Ashwyn looked into her mates eyes for a moment, considering the options.

"I don't think we have a choice." She finally said. She reached forward and took Sigurds hand in her own, giving it a squeeze. "How can we not try and help her?"

Lamont nodded. "Very well. Sit down in the circle. Join hands with those around you. They will work to keep us stable until we return. But I warn you.... if she remains lost in the Twilight for more than a few hours... her mind will be forever lost. We don't have much time."


Ashwyn nodded and, still holding Sigurd's hand, squeezed her way into the circle.

With eyes closed, Lamont repeated the same encantation he recited earlier and slowly Sigurd and Ashwyn would see the forest forming around them. The difference is that while the previous visit had left each person alone in the Twilight, this time Sigurd and Ashwyn appeared in the same darkened clearing. Lamont was not physically present, but they could feel him near and hear his voice.

"I am the forest." He said. "I will do my best to lead you in the right direction, but the spirits control these woods far better than I. You must hurry."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:05 pm

Looking around, Sigurd smirked "doesn't look so bad... I mean a forest is a forest right?" He paused for a second and then started to strain himself as if he was flexing his whole body. "Well... They weren't kidding..." He tried to transform into his Hybrid form but obviously it hadn't worked.

"Alright let's get moving, we need to find her quickly.." he said as he headed forward.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:24 pm

Smiling back at the nice people swimming along with her, Lo simply floats whichever way the water pulls. At the excitement of the merwoman, Lo almost laughs; her child-like innocence puts her fears to rest. The only part that really resists is her body; she's just too tired to really do much swimming, and anyway there's a mission..gotta focus on...whatever it was, oh yeah finding the Finder. Being pulled toward the center of the pool rings some alarm distantly, but Lo isn't too concerned about it. Such nice people, and a beautiful pool... "That does sound lovely, but...you see, I am a land-dweller. I won't be able to keep up with you." Lo lifted up her legs a little to show that she doesn't have fins.

When both of them start pulling at her arms toward the center of the pool, the distant alarm in her mind becomes a little more insistent, but Lo is just too tired to give it much thought.

(yes I rolled for something, anything...wisdom, perception, how tired...the highest I got was 8. Didn't roll a 1 at least, but she's really not paying attention.)
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Four: Barren Wastes of the Desert   Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:16 pm

> "That does sound lovely, but...you see, I am a land-dweller. I won't be able to keep up with you."

The merfolk giggled happily at her words. "Oh don't you worry about that, darling girl." The female said, holding a bit tighter onto her arm. "I'll help you." She said even as she pulled her towards the center of the water.

The male followed closely , holding her hand in a delicate but firm hold. "You haven't seen the water until you've seen it with us." He said with a dashing smile.

Soon she had been pulled to the very center of the pond, far from any of the shores and a merfolk on either side of her. As she floated along with them, she'd notice many more merpeople poping up around her, all with happy smiles, some of them waving from behind the others.


---

Ashwyn nodded to Sigurd's words, her eyes taking in the strange forest. She followed Sigurd without comment at first. As they walked down the path she felt a chill travel her spine.

"I.... I don't like this place. It... it doesn't move right..." She said, her voice a whisper even though they were alone.

All around them, poking out from the edges of the trail, were glowing dots of various pale colors. Like eyes watching them. They didn't feel ominous, persay, but they did feel watchful.

Turning a corner they came across the same giant wolves that Lopiena had met. They were sprawled across the path and appeared to be dozing. The largest of them looked up with his large head as Ashwyn and Sigurd came into view.
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