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June 4, 2004

Mixed Feelings

Theona's Journal

Flamerule 4, 1373, Spine of the World

We didnít travel too far before finding a spot to rest. Areon found us a ravine with a bit of overhang providing some cover; we all clambered in, decided how we would keep watches, and made camp with the intent of resting at least long enough for Deitricha to regain her healing spells.

I had assumed that Areon was the quiet type that would just gradually ease into the bond that had formed between us, but he surprised me with a gift of a beaded armband made of amber and green feathers, and a few more matching feathers to tie in my hair. I could see that heíd taken the time to craft the courting gifts himself in the time-honored fashion. This sort of pledge is traditionally made on Midsummerís Eve; it was touching that he didnít feel the need to wait!

With a quick look, as if for my permission, Areon gently placed the feathers in my hair and the band on my upper arm, I could see, finally, that heíd come to a decision about something that was troubling him. I think I was just as surprised by the story he shared with me as I was by his gifts.

Areon told me that heíd left the Coldwood in an effort to help the Uthgardt tribe his family has befriended. His mission is to find a stolen silver tiger; it is inscribed with the lineage of their tribe and is an important artifact to the Red Tiger barbarians. He got as far as Silverymoon before the trail went coldó remembering how we worked together to find Tassar, I understand that woodland tracking and city tracking are entirely different skills. Finding and returning such important objects is a very worthy cause, one that I am more than willing to help with. Wondering why he hadnít shared this with me before, I realized Iíd never told him of my quest either. Making sure that none of our friends were awake, I whispered to him what I knew of the ancestral blade lost from my family 500 years ago, and then had to admit I wasnít actually sure it was a bladed weapon at all, but I do know that I will recognize the glyph on itó a moon with a feather superimposed over it. I also explained the reason I didnít know more about itó I am the last in my family, having lost both of my parents when I was quite young (just shy of 50), and for some reason, even when in reverie, I cannot form a clear picture of them or the weapon. Or much from my childhood, for that matter.

I was surprised to notice that our shift at keeping watch had already passed. Tassar was up and forlornly counting out what rations he had left. Deitricha had rested just enough to provide us all with some healing; exhausted, she sat back down by our small campfire. Rosorc looked like he had not slept welló perhaps sleeping under the open sky is as painful to him as sleeping under tons of worked rock was to me. When Areon announced he would go forage for us, I decided Iíd rather do something other than sit in the camp and slipped off with him.

We walked in a comfortable silence for a several hours until Areon felt we had gathered enough for a few meals, and then turned back towards where our companions waited. Suddenly he stopped stock-still and motioned for me to do so as well. We heard several guttural voices nearby, but luckily, we had not been heard. We slipped by the voices and hurried back to our camp.

Though I wasnít clear on how he managed, Tassar wormed that bit of information out of us, and was off like a shot to see what else was camped out here, much to Deitrichaís dismay. Areon sent Nianque after Tassar, on the chance that we needed to find him in a hurry. After a few hours, Deitricha was absolutely agonizing over how long Tassar had been gone, and even though Nianque hadnít come back to get Areon, he agreed to go back out and check on him. Rosorc wanted to accompany him, but I feared the dwarf would make much too much noise regardless of his good intentionsó I begged him to stay with Deitricha while we went back out to find the halfling. I didnít wait for an answer.

We walked through a terrain of rocks and a few sparse trees to a small ledge where the halfling crouched looking down on a camp. The small cook fire below revealed the forms of three ogres, no doubt the creatures whose voices weíd heard earlier. No amount of convincing could get Tassar to leave his perch, and he was quite upset that we didnít agree to take out the ogres. We probably could have done so easily. My worry, and Areonís too for that matter, is that the ogres wouldnít be the only things out here, and a lot of noise could bring a us a lot more trouble. The halfling refused to return though, so we had the task of explaining that to Deitricha when we returned to our camp. Iím not sure, but I think Rosorc gave Areon a reproachful look. In fact, I have been sensing a growing unease between the two of them, and I donít think there is much, if anything, that I can do about it.

At dawn, Tassar did finally return to camp, still disgruntled that he never had a chance to slay the three ogres. It was probably a small consolation to him that he hadnít missed any exciting battles in our own camp.

We broke camp, and as before, Areon scouted ahead of the party. Things finally started to feel normal when I got into a rousing argument with Tassar about several words in the Elvish tongue that are apparently considered rude in mixed company (mixed company being Tel-Quessir and, um, anyone else). I finally realized that, while joking about it, he seemed genuinely upset that I use them, so I conceded his point by tossing him a flask of ale. I will have to make sure to tell Areon that Keírevanthas-Quessir would be a more appropriate term, at least for our companions.

I guess our voices were carrying enough, as Areon was waiting for us on the trail ahead. We still werenít to the Moonwood, but the small groves of trees were becoming more frequent. Rosorc had been looking more and more upset, and decided to take it out on the first really healthy trees we saw, using his waraxe. I was horrified, and worse, Areon, who grew up in woodlands, looked like he was going to take action. Before I could say anything though, a huge wolf darted out from another copse of trees and lunged at Rosorc. I could sense Areonís hesitation, but I pulled my crossbow and shot the wolf. A second later, I was broadsided by another wolf and knocked down; Areon came to my aid and slew this wolf before it could attack me again, while our comrades dispatched the first. The tension now was palpable, and I think Deitricha was going to step in and say something, when we all turned as oneó something else was rustling through the sparse trees beside us....

Posted by Kristin at 21:18 | Theona’s Journal