Fighting the elements

The wind howled as it blew around Deathwulf.  It wasn’t the frigid temperatures that made travel treacherous, at best.  Indeed, the thick coat of fur kept the warg quite warm.  It was the swirling snow and the fact he couldn’t see more than a few feet in any direction that made travel dangerous.  There were a few times traveling the path where he had to jump to keep going as the trail had crumbled away.  But this… this feels like it is taking forever to get up this path… and who knows if this even leads anywhere.  It has to lead to the Moors, for Wargie’s sake! That thought gave him extra drive to combat the heavy, blowing snow… the seemingly endless path going higher and higher, steeper and steeper…

—————————————

Winterwulf came to a halt and dismounted, with Sylwith not far behind.  The horses were lathered and breathing heavily from the hard gallop back to town.  Winterwulf turned to the stable hand that came to get their horses.  “We need the fastest horses you have, boy.”  The stable hand nodded swiftly and took off with the two horses in tow.

Orthonn came to greet the two hunters.  “The others left with the warg not too long ago, so you should be able to catch them before long,” he said as he grasped Winterwulf’s arm in welcome.

“Good to hear they have started out.  There is a mass of goblins and orcs to the southwest in Dol Dinen… they seem to have made that place more of a stay than a quick camp and assault, but it would be wise to keep an eye on them.”

“Aye, I have rangers watching their movement as we speak.  They do concern me more than the dwarves to the northwest.  Since we killed their leader, they fled into the mountains… I don’t think we have to worry about them.  Even still, the dwarves of Othrikar are keeping watch on them.”

“Good to know you have a handle on things, then.” Sylwith said with a smile.

Orthonn gave the elf a smile.  “Well met, Sylwith.”

The hunter’s welcome was cut short by a commotion behind them.  The hunters were able to get out of the way as a rider-less horse came galloping past them.  It snorted as it reared on it’s hind legs, but the locals were able to get a handle of the reigns and get the horse calmed down.

“If I didn’t know any better, that’s Creami’s horse,” Orthonn said, concern growing in his voice.  Before Winterwulf could question him, the hunter told him what he knew.

“Creami left with Chucaro to find the warg, Deathwulf.  They left together when Chucaro realized Deathwulf was missing.  You and Sylwith were gone at that point.”

Sylwith looked with concern at Winterwulf, who seemed about ready to lose it.

“Unfortunately, we have to hope the best and hope she is safe with Chucaro,” Winterwulf said as he regained his composure.  Before Sylwith could protest, the hunter held up his hand.  “We have to cut off Deathwulf before he gets too close to the rangers… they will kill him without hesitation.  We don’t have the luxury or the resources to look for Creami since she left with Chucaro, and it would take us some time just to find her.”  Exasperated, Sylwith threw her hands up, but knew Winterwulf was right.

The stable hand came up with the horses, as requested… ready to go for the long trip to Rivendell.  “Thank you, son.  These will do quite nicely,”  Winterwulf said as he gave a quick once-over.  He flipped a silver piece to the stable hand, who caught it and pocketed the coin in one swift motion.  He ran off, smiling merrily.

“Thank you for the information, Orthonn.  Good luck with the two enemies,” the hunter said as he briefly looked towards the back entrance. And with Creami… I pray that she is safe with Chucaro. “Let’s get moving. We don’t have time to spare,” he said as he and Sylwith hopped onto their horses in smooth motions.   Orthonn patted Winterwulf’s horse as they galloped off out the front.  He glanced at the horse that the others had put into a stall.  So chaos has reared it’s ugly head… I hope the minstrel is still alive. He sighed as he went off to find a scout.

————————————–

Creami rode atop Chucaro as the wind started to pick up.  Flakes of snow started to fly in the wind the higher they got.  Creami had taken out the hooded fur cape and scarf as well as a set of gloves for the cold weather that was fast approaching.  As Chucaro approached, the path suddenly fell away before starting back up a few feet later.  Creami got off Chucaro and stood on the path.  “I’ll go first, as I’m the lighter of us,” said the minstrel.  She made the mistake of looking down before she jumped.  Her face went white.  Will my journey end here? A gentle nudge brought the minstrel to her senses.  “I can go first, if you’ve had second thoughts..”

“No,” replied Creami as she took a gulp to steady herself.  She gathered her footing and leaped before she had any second thoughts about it.  It feels like I’m floating…

Chucaro watched as the minstrel landed on the other side of the path.  When Creami judged that the footing was fine, she called back to Chucaro, “Ok, it is safe to come over to this side.”

Chucaro nodded and prepared herself to jump.  As she went to leap across the break in the path, her back paw had slid on a patch of black ice.  Her momentum carried her into the minstrel, who held the warg but was forced against the rock wall, nearly knocking her breath away.  The slip had cost Chucaro, however.. her back paw slammed into the side of the rock, sending sharp pain shooting up her leg.  Chucaro let out a yelp as the sudden pain hit her.  She quickly turned to her back leg and began to lick it, trying to judge how badly she was hurt.

“How is it?” Creami asked, “maybe I can help.”

Chucaro stopped licking and gingerly put her back leg to the ground.  She winced slightly and brought the leg up instinctively.  She slowly brought her leg back down and was able to apply a little pressure to it.  Chucaro responded, “It’s not broke, but it is deeply bruised.  I’m afraid you’re going to have to walk a while as I can’t support the added weight right now.”

Creami nodded and looked at the path ahead.  “I think we were at the end of the ride,” she said as she looked at the path ahead.  It disappeared around the mountain and vanished from view.

With trepidation, but purpose, they ventured forward into what awaited them.

———————————

Ellenroh and the others traveled south to cut off as much time as they could.   The group slowed as they approached the elf encampment, Lin Giliath.  Ellenroh jumped off the wagon before it had stopped and quickly walked to the approaching elves.   Silentknife trotted up to Tregoan, who was behind the wagon, as they also watched the group.  The approaching elves stopped when Ellenroh approached them and got into an animated conversation… looking more than once at the wagon as they did.

The burglar glanced uneasily at the hunter, “I don’t like the looks of their ‘discussion’,”  he said.

“Neither do I, but we don’t know what is being discussed, either.  Regardless, we should be ready if there is any trouble.”  the deep-voiced hunter replied.  The burglar instinctively patted his daggers, knowing they would be ready should he need them.

After what seemed like a long time, but was only a few minutes, Ellenroh came back to the wagon alone… the group of elves remained where they were and just watched the wagon.  Tregoan looked at the burglar and made his way to the front of the wagon, where Ellenroh had just sat down next to Tracer.  “What was that all about?” asked the hunter.

“What?  Oh, them…” he waved his hand dismissively.  “They were warning me that the orc camp not too far south was completely devastated and they weren’t sure that whoever did it was gone from the area.  They invited us to stay with them so we wouldn’t have to travel through the rain.”   Tregoan glanced at the sky… it had gotten dark out and the clouds had completely blocked out the sun… it would rain at some point.  “I’d rather not have to take the wagon through the rain while we are in this marshland.  We need to hurry out of here.”

“Yes, yes…” Ellenroh answered, almost not hearing him.  “We have to get to Rivendell as fast as we can… we can’t let a little rain stop us, now can we?”

The hunter could only sigh as Tracer stifled a grin… he knew that even though the elf seemed absent-minded at times, he was as sharp as they come and cared for all their safety.

“Well, shall we head off?” Ellenroh asked, politely.

The big hunter was a bit surprised and moved out of the way as the wagon started out past him, picking up speed along the way.

The hunter fell into a trot beside the burglar.  “Nothing to worry about, was there?” he asked with a wink and a grin.  Tregoan could only roll his eyes in answer as he followed the wagon towards the orc camp.

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