Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.
LMS things again. WC: 1048
Getting ready took a little longer than any of them liked. Issy had seemed somewhat impatient, pacing and glancing about a lot as Lorne packed a small bag and then dressed for travelling in his padded leather armour, making sure he had his daggers and their scabbards. He'd had to dig a little to find them, but eventually he did.
Then there was the issue of food for travelling. Sage had been cooking for them for the most past, and had also been making jerky. It seemed the dragon knew that some of them would leave eventually. At least Delwyn was able to bake them all some bread and various other pastries. Lorne was glad that their friend was being helpful, even if he wasn't going to come with them.
Emyrs could find almost anything, and Lorne knew they'd need that on their journey. They'd need a decent tracker on their journey.
And Cassidy... Well, Cassidy was very good at making them go unnoticed. It had helped a lot when Sage started teaching him how to ward the castle. Dragon magic and whatever it was Cassidy had was a surprisingly good combination.
Hopefully, all of that meant that their journey would be fairly smooth.
Lorne had no idea how wrong he'd be.
They had been travelling along the lake edge for several days when they ran across trouble. A small pack of wolves had found them. It was barely a fight, especially when Sage burnt them all to cinders before Lorne even had to draw his daggers. It was pure luck that the dragon happened to be on watch at the time.
After that, the journey was easier. They weren't attacked again, but there was plenty of strange noises in the forest, always very far off, somewhere beyond the edges of the forest.
Eventually, the trees gave way to grasslands and the sounds of laughter, chatter and the occasionally squeal or scream. Lorne exhcanged a look with Emrys as they rounded a bend in the path and fully emerged from the trees. Sunlight glinted off a wide river that wound its way across the plains before them, bringing with it the sight of a small group of buildings bundled together on the banks of the river. Smoke billowed up from three of the five buildings and Lorne could see a handful of people tending to a nearby field along with what appeared to be a very orney grey ox.
A small settlement, then, he thought. A village which, last he'd heard, didn't have a name. He wondered if they'd named it yet or not, but after four days of travel and an encounter with wolves, Lorne had a feeling that the others wouldn't be inclined to linger. Who knew what the villagers would do if they discovered that Sage was a dragon.
As they approached, Issy's mare shied away from him with a distressed neigh. They'd turned her into a pack horse for the journey back with a plan to find more mounts later, if at all possible. Lorne turned just in time to find she'd yanked his brother right off his feet and was side-stepping off the path and towards the nearby river.
He sighed and made to head towards her when Emyrs grabbed his arm and nodded towards the ground by her feet.
Something moved and caught his attention, flashing bright orange and black amongst the mud and grass. Lorne squinted and caught movement again, then swore. It was a snake, one that was apparently quite poisonous. Before he could attempt to draw his dagger, there was a whoosh and a thud. He blinked and found an arrow pinning a now writhing serpent to the ground.
It had gone for Issy, who was on his hands and knees in the mud with the snake mere feet from his wrist. Lorne swore again and rushed to his brother's side, quickly drawing a dagger and stabbing it down through the snake's head.
"Issy?" he asked, gently touching his stunned brother's shoulder. "Are you alright? It didn't get you, did it?"
It took a moment for his brother to recover enough to speak. "N-No... I'm... I'm fine."
"Good," he sighed and glanced up to find one of the villagers approaching them. No, not a villager. A mercenary. She was definitely of an elvish nature with pale hair and brillant blue eyes, and she wore armour that was very clearly of elvish make. "That was a good shot."
She huffed. "Better if it had been the headshot I was aiming for."
Lorne smiled and helped Issy to his feet, sheathing his dager in the process. "I suppose you're correct. Thanks for the save, regardless. A moment later and I may have been saying my brother's prayers to the Mother for him."
She inclined her head. "Indeed."
They stared at each other akwardly for a moment before she nodded and turned, heading for the villager. Lorne glanced over Issy and then ruffled his brother's hair. He could sense Sage and the other's watching them.
"You good?" he asked, studying Issy's face. Islwyn looked a little pale but was otherwise unharmed.
"Yeah," Issy said, staring after the elf lady. "I'm alright. Just a little startled." He cleared his throat and then his eyes went wide and he turned to look for his mare. "Wait. Where'd Sorell go?"
"I think she went towards the river," Cassidy said, joining them. He tilted his head in the direction of said river. "I'll help you look."
Lorne watched them go and sighed, turning to find Sage and Emrys staring at him. He raised an eyebrow at them. "What?"
Sage snorted and turned to follow the elf towards the village while Emyrs shook his head. "Nothing," Emyrs said and moved to retrieve the arrow, snake included. "I wonder if we can eat this?"
Lorne glanced down at it and frowned, then shrugged. "Maybe? We'd probably need to ask the elf woman, wouldn't we?"
Emrys laughed. "I suppose it can't hurt, can it?"
They turned to follow after Sage. Emrys inspected the snake as they walked, gliding his fingers over orange and black scales. Lorne kept half an eye on him as they walked, considering their options. Hopefully Cass and Issy would be back with Sorell soon, and then they could speak to the elf. The villages looked wary and nervous. Something was clearly happening here, and Lorne wanted to know what that was.