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The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend... for now

elfgirl

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"Orion... It's been four days. We need to stop, and rest, and eat." He looked away from her, and she could tell he wasn't very happy at being talked to. But when is he happy?

"If they find it difficult, they don't have to follow me." She knew then; he needed some prodding. So she grabbed his arm, and looked him straight in the eyes, determination lining her face.

"We're stopping. And so are you."

*****

"We need someone to clean it, and leave some raw bits for our friends over there." There were no volunteers, and in the ensuing silence Orion noticed Rhea staring at them, and snapped at her."What?"

"You expect us to think you two went off to hunt?" She laughed, and for a moment Orion looked almost confused, before snapping again.

"Don't make me sick. Now is someone going to clean this or not? I don't have to eat it; I can live. We could just... give it to the warg." He smiled, waving towards the animal, as Alana tried not to hit him, clenching her fist yet keeping it by her side. I suppose I'm not good enough, am I? She felt like snapping at him. Not your kind? What, you don't like elven looks?

"Okay I'll do it." Straag interrupted her thoughts, volunteering for the job before skinning and cooking it. Alana sat near to the fire for a short amount of time, yet when Orion fell asleep, she slipped off into the shadows, traveling a little ways from the camp, keeping an eye on Orion's sleeping form and thinking about the day's events.

"You really think there are deer here?" Orion's voice was low and almost threatening. Alana smiled kindly.

"Easterlings must eat, too, mustn't they?" There was a long, weighty pause from Orion, before he muttered 'yes'. "What, they didn't give you any deer meat last time you were here?" He stopped dead in his tracks, all of the color draining from his face. She looked back at him as nonchalantly as was possible. "I heard you talking to the guards, and what you said in the cave confirmed it. This isn't the first time they've dragged you out here. That's why you're so afraid they'll find you. Because you know: if they capture you again, you won't escape. They'll be sure of it." He swallowed, yet did not speak. "Why do they want you back so badly? What is it?" He looked her in the eyes for a few tense seconds, before speaking.

"This wasn't the purpose of us coming here. We need food. Let's find some. I honestly don't care if it's rabbit meat." And he walked past her, let her stand there for a moment before following him.

"You can tell me. It's not like I'm going to tell everyone." He was staring at her, trying to assess her. "We all have our secrets." This was whispered, as she gently touched two fingers to his lower stomach, right above his tattoo. It felt warm, and for a moment, she thought she might have gained some trust. Yet then he grabbed her wrist, twisted it above her head, and shoved her back, his other hand at her throat.

"I don't know what bloody secrets you have but you sure better make sure they don't come out. Just like the rest of us. And if they're threatening to anyone, especially me, and I find out, I won't hesitate in killing you." In that moment, for just a moment, she believed him. Then, her entire body relaxed.

"If you don't want to tell me, you could have just told me that." Yet they both knew it was a formality; a lie. Somehow, though, it made them both feel better. Alana decided that, for the time at least, she could live with a formal, kind lie.


"Alana." She looked up at the sound of her name being called, straight into Rhea's eyes. "It's Graeme." Alana stood, following the slender elf to the convulsing, feverish man. "I can help him, but I need time. Two days, at least. We can't move him, or he could die. He's fever's been getting steadily worse, and his shaking hasn't improved." Alana listened, watched the convulsions die down for a little while, only to resurface quickly, more violently.

"Why are you telling me this?" Rhea shifted, swallowed.

"You're the only one who seems to have any influence over Orion. I don't know why, but you do. We need him to stop, otherwise people will follow him, leaving Graeme. And don't lie to me... you'd leave, too. You need to convince him to stay." Alana pondered this for a moment. I could convince him. Yet they could catch up with us. ...dangerous for us all... yet more dangerous to leave Graeme... And Orion... they were right. He's much more charming than I ever thought. I've never left my younger years... "Alana." She was brought back from her thoughts by Rhea's call. "Will you do this... for me- and him." The last part was added quickly, making Alana quite uneasy for a moment. Yet she pushed the thought from her mind. I wasn't warned. She's not a threat.

"I will."

*****

"Orion... It's Graeme. He's run a fever, and convulsing. Sometimes it's worse than this." Orion thought for a moment.

"Someone must carry him; we can-"

"No. His fever has gotten worse. If we move him, he may die. Besides, how can we carry him with him shaking like this? If that wasn't bad enough, he's mumbling. He needs to be kept here, and treated."

"By who?"

"I could do it." Rhea was quick to speak. "I've had some experience with healing. I know some herbs which can bring his fever down, and maybe some to keep him still. Just give me some time."

"Time for them to find me? To catch up with us?" Rhea thought for a moment.

"We are in a bit of a valley. We can have someone patrol the surrounding area and warn us if something is coming. And it won't be too long. Just... a couple of days. Besides, it's your fault that he's sick. If you hadn't burned him he wouldn't be going through this. You let something infect him. Do you really want his death to be on your conscience?" He looked into the air, shrugged.

"I could live." Alana knew that she had to intervene. This conversation was going nowhere. She set her hand gently on her shoulder, met his gaze warmly.

"Please. Just two days. We'll patrol; we'll keep watch." He inspected her carefully.

"Fine. Two days." Alana smiled, giving his shoulder a squeeze, almost wishing for just an instant she could hug him, as Rhea went over to attend to Graeme.

"Thank you." She whispered it, yet Orion just grunted and laid back down to sleep. She watched him through the night, staring at his form... and thinking.

I'm not sure I can do this anymore.
 

Seregon

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She had been scared; she wasn't sure why she was so afraid - she had seen battles before. Yet this was something else. One against many, and so vicious. She had run into the forest, and then, she suddenly realized, she was alone. Very, bitterly, alone. And even worse... she had no idea where she was.

*****

"We need to stay together. What if they come after us? We stand a better chance of surviving together." The stranger made sense, so she trusted him. He was fair, and yet not... fair in skin, with dark hair and eyes, as opposed to herself, who was just dark... Tan skin, dark eyes, dark hair... Yet he was strong, and she could use that. As they picked their way through the forest, they hunted, killing and eating what little they found. The easterlings had taken much of the game in their journey.

"You know, I still haven't gotten your name." It had been a couple of days, and she suddenly realized he was right. "I'm Tark." She thought she saw him relax a bit, and though something seemed very wrong, she pushed her instincts away, and smiled.

"I'm Theo."
 

yhwh1st

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Rain had come down hard the night before and a slight drizzle continued until late morning. The day bode fair for travel as a southerly wind blew the clouds off. The man made good time, moving fast to put as much distance between himself and the Easterlings before nightfall. Fearful of what lay ahead, yet even more afraid of what lay behind, he pressed forward hoping to find something to help guide him to his journey’s end.

* * *
The fire crackled merrily in the small clearing. Figwitt sat eating the conie caught earlier that day. He’d been hard pressed to find dry wood and good flint stones, but was quite pleased with his success. A distant noise caught his quick ear and the hobbit was up in a flash stamping out the flames. In the sudden dark it took a moment for his eyes to adjust.
The quarter moon was almost gone and the stars lent very little light to his surroundings. Figwitt ducked into the brush to await whatever was heading his way.

A full quarter hour passed before the hobbit saw the silhouette of a man step into the clearing. He made his way over to the glowing coals, looked frantically around, and made a mad dash straight at the hobbit, tripping over him and falling flat on his face. Moving quickly, Figwitt drew his knife and jumped on the man, placing the cold steel between his shoulder blades. “What do you want and where are you going”, the hobbit asked in a harsh whisper. The man spit dirt out of his mouth before answering. “I am escaped from a band of Easterlings and trying to find my way home. Which I imagine is what you are doing.”
“How do I know I can trust you?”
“You don’t.” he replied with a tone of resignation in his voice. “You can either run me through or let me go my way.” The hobbit hesitated for a minute then let the man up. “If you’re an escapee as well, I suppose the least I can do is offer you a seat by the fire and a little food.” Figwitt soon got the fire blazing again and leaned back against a tree. After talking for some time, they decided to get an early start the next day and continue west.

* * *
They traveled for several days and only stopped when it got too dark, but continued on at first light. Figwitt discovered the man’s name was Aleth. In contrast with the dark coloring of Easterlings, Aleth was fair with yellow hair and blue eyes he stood at about 5’4” and had a slight build. He also had a deep voice, unusual in a man as small as he was.

About the fifth day into their travels, they spied a fire some distance ahead, though hardly noticeable against the light of the setting sun. There was some debate as to whether or not they should approach the camp site, but they were interrupted by the approach of someone. Quick as a flash, Figwitt dashed into some under brush without being seen. The person approached but the hobbit couldn’t tell whether it was a man or woman. It’s most certainly a human though.
 
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Rosalee LuAnn

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In which Rosie is at the end of her rope

“In the name of all that is blessed and good, can you hold still for just one minute?” Exclaimed Rosie as Clover yanked away her cut arm before Rosie could secure the bandage she had wrapped around it. “I’ll have to start over completely now. Hold still.”

“But it hurts!” said Clover, not quite crying, though her eyes were shining with tears she refused to shed. “You’re pulling too hard!”

“It’ll be hurting a lot longer if you don’t let me fix it up for you. Now, hold still.” Again Rosie wrapped a strip of cloth snugly around the cut, then carefully tied it in place. Clover stayed still, but one tear dropped down her nose. She hurried to wipe it away and Rosie pretended she hadn’t seen anything.

“Now, if you’d only stop running and jumping around on the rocks, you wouldn’t be falling and hurting yourself and you wouldn’t need fixing up,” said Rosie irritably.

“Well, there’s nothing else to do,” said Clover, in a similarly annoyed tone.

“Remember what I told you about whining?” snapped Rosie. She was feeling very put upon after the last three days. She and Clover had agreed that they could help each other, but Rosie was almost constantly reminded of how little she knew about children. This last day her temper had been extremely short, especially when, on top of a throbbing ankle and wet wood and meager supplies, Clover had run off who knows where and had come back with a cut dripping blood all the way down her arm.

Rosie sighed, staring blankly at the cave wall. What can I do? She thought. I don’t know where we are and can’t find out. My ankle needs at least a few more days to heal. Our food is running out and I don’t know where to get more. I’m not good for much, and Clover isn’t good for much more. In an effort to pull her mind away from these thoughts, she began to slowly unwrap her ankle once more to check how it was healing. Turned away and bending over her injury, Rosie refused to let Clover see the tears of pain and frustration running down her face.
 

Seregon

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"Who are you? What are you doing here? Answer." Theo narrowed her eyes at the two, swords drawn and anger written across her features. Tark stayed where he was, hidden in the trees, watching carefully for anything that Theo might miss. Then again, she missed my name, didn't she? Doesn't travel much, I suppose. He smiled, staring down at them. A new start, though, at the least.

"We... we were captured. We escaped." She kept looking at them for a moment, and she saw no lie in the hobbit's little features. "Then you may come with us. We stand a better chance travelling together. There are probably Easterlings roaming all over these lands." She relaxed her stance, put her weapons back. "Now come... I haven't even gotten your names." She smiled at them, signalling Tark to come. Yet for some reason, he stayed were he was, so she didn't push him, focusing instead on the two before her...
 

Majimaune

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Straag was getting restless. It was the end of their first day in the valley, waiting to see if Graeme would come out of the fever. Straag had been on patrol at the start all he did was walk around and listen for enemies. He had been replace only an hour before so that he could have a rest but Straag didn't need it. His body was used to long forced marches or running for a long time. He could patrol for the next couple of days without rest. But he had been made to go and rest.

"I don't need this," muttered Straag to himself. He stood up and announced to the group "I shall go and find some more food. We seem to be almost to the bottom of out supplies. I will find whatever else I can as well. Just don't shoot me on return thinking I am an Easterling." With that Straag left the camp.

Straag went up the valley and out of it so that he could see the land around and scan for movement of any prey he might get. There it was, a relatively large animal. Straag couldn't tell what it was because it was half hidden behind some trees. Slow and silent as possible Straag crept up to the unsuspecting creature which he now saw was a doe. It was eating some grass that was growing at the bass of some bushes. Straag pulled out the hunting knife from his belt and leaped out of his cover and right next to the doe in a position to slit its throat. The doe heard the noise and moved quickly in fear. Straag only got to wound it with his knife.

Straag looked after the fleeing doe and sighed. "Ahh well now I have a trail to follow."

Straag set off after the doe. It was going at a good speed and had a head start. Straag followed the trail of dripping blood knowing that the doe would weary before he would.

Eventually after about an hour chase the doe stopped at a small river for a drink. With the fear of the man gone, she went in search of some grass. There was some just a bit further down the river.

Straag had caught up. He saw the doe, calmly eating at the edge of the river. His plan was to come up from the forest as far as he could and then crawl on his front until he was just behind the animal. Then he would grab the hind legs and brake them so that the doe could not run. And that was what he did. After braking the legs the doe let out noises of pain and Straag could not bear them. He quickly cut the throat with his knife. Blood gushed out onto the grass as the heart beat for the last time.

Straag was about to pick the dead animal up and put it over his shoulders to carry back to the others when he heard the sound of the bushes rustling. Out stepped an orc of large size with a scimitar in hand.

"Hey that was my food. Go give it to me or you die and I eat you instead."

"No." With that Straag pulled out his sword to meet the orc's. Clang. The sound reverberated around the trees. Straag had to fight for his life, mainly defending and waiting for a weakness in the orc's attack. Finally there was an opportunity that Straag instantly took advantage of. While attacking, the orc had left his side open, just. It was enough though. Straag plunged his sword into the side of the orc and went up towards the heart. In a final swing the orc brought his scimitar down on Straag's left shoulder. A cry of pain escaped Straag's lips. The orc fell to the ground dead. Straag went over to the corpse and started going through what the orc had. Very little, only some sort of poison and a small wooden box and the scimitar. Straag put the scimitar in his belt with his uninjured arm and the small box into one of his pockets. The doe he picked up with some difficulty and placed of both shoulders, trying to ignore the pain. Slow Straag made his way back to the camp where the others were.

It took him almost two hours to get to the camp and by this time it was dark. His shoulder throbbed but had stopped bleeding. There was blood on his leather shirt and it was torn where the scimitar had cut it. Straag threw down the dead doe next to the fire and collapsed to the ground saying "Someone else will have to clean this for eating tonight." And then he blacked out.
 

Amberpants

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Laia looked up from her pile of sticks and rocks as Straag noisly entered camp and stared at the dead deer sprawled across his back.

"Someone else will have to clean this for eating tonight." he slurred and then fell. She twinged at the thought of how bad the fall had to have hurt as his body hit the grassy yet hard surface of the prairie.

"Looks like we've got another sick one." Laia said, plopping down next to her injured and unconscious acquaintance. "I'll need some water to clean up this wound he has." she muttered quietly, moving the torn leather to get a better view of the gash on his shoulder.

"Here" someone from off in the shadows said as they threw a flask of water at her.

Laia poured some on his shoulder and wiped away as much dirt and blood she could. As she wrapped his shoulder with some fabric from her tattered outfit, her eyes fell upon a sword or knife of some sort on Straag's waist, something he didn't have before he went to hunt. She picked up the foreign object from his belt, careful of it's blade. It didn't look like any other weapon she'd seen.

"Hey, what's this?" she asked, holding the blade above her head in full view of the many eyes at the camp.
 
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Seregon

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Orion had been happily strategizing, looking at a map of Middle Earth and deciding how best to hide from or destroy his Easterling enemies. He didn't even look up or move when Straag came in to camp and collapsed. Ms. I-Can-Heal-Anything can handle this well enough.

"Hey, what's this?" He glanced up for a moment, and then did a double-take. He stood, strode over quickly, grabbing the blade from her roughly. "Ow. Hey-"

"This is an orc blade. A poisoned orc blade." One of the orc blades. Thoughts ran through his head faster than he could grab them. Whose side are they on? This could be bad. Very , very, very bad. The girl was quiet, and Orion suddenly realized he'd interrupted her, and probably hurt her. "I'll take care of them." He said, trying to be reassuring. He looked all around the camp, finally finding Alana, watching him carefully. "Alana! With me." And he motioned toward the forest, walking quickly into the forest. She followed as best as she could, not even having any time to ask him anything.

Rhea heard some commotion, and decided she would have to leave Graeme's side for a moment. She left with Luinwe watching over him, and when she got to where Laia was, she saw Orion marching off into the forest, scimitar in hand, with Alana running after him. We surely won't be well defended if everyone keeps going galavanging off into the forest. "What's going on?"

*****

“You know more about this than you’re willing to tell me.” It wasn’t a question, and Evia knew she shouldn’t treat it as one. It was just stating a fact – he knew it and she knew it and now it was time that it was there, between them. “Why don’t you just tell me everything, and get it over with?” And she looked up from where she was dressing, into his eyes… those deep, beautiful eyes. He seemed less innocent than before, yet prone; bare. Her eyes followed the lines of the muscles on his chest and stomach, before reaching his leggings, falling suddenly to the ground. She felt ashamed at her lack of self-control, and finished dressing, stood up.

“Do you really want to know? Everything?” He thought for a moment, never moving his eyes from where they had locked with hers. She moved to him, put her arms around him, let his head fall to her shoulder. “I don’t want to hurt you… But I’ll tell you if you want.” He left one more moment for contemplation, but he really shouldn’t have. He knew what he was going to say, whatever the consequences.

“Yes.”
 

Majimaune

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Straag was half in this world and half in another. He could hear almost everything going on around him but that was all. The pain was like fire, running through his veins. He tried to say something but was unable to. He was moving closer and closer to a black void. He didn't want to enter it. He fought and fought against moving towards it but could do nothing...
 

YayGollum

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Raoul, who had mostly been keeping watch over his Orc (and the rest of the camp, but only with half a mind), had overheard a word or two of the situation. After waking up to inhaled dirt that had been kicked at him, the Orc spluttered, "Ar! Warg! What? I don't see any Easterlings! We aren't about to die, so why am I awake?"

The Warg sniffed and nodded towards the poisoned human. "Looks like one of them could die. Something about being poisoned by an Orc."

Bugburz shot to his feet and scrambled around for his weapons. "Huh? Orcs out here? Since when? More Easterling prisoners? How many? Garn! Let's get away!"

Raoul coughed politely, then growled with annoyance. "Calm yourself, Orc. We aren't being attacked by your brothers, either. I woke you so that you could help them."

The Orc screwed his face up with confusion for a couple of beats, then shrugged it off and sat back down. "You don't have anything for me to do, don't wake me up. I'm no healer. Get our snacks ready to go, though. I don't want to take the chance of more of them discovering us. And they're not my brothers!"

The Warg slunk around to get behind the Orc, mostly to intimidate him into standing back up again. "Maybe not, but you'd know the most about them. You're always telling me stories about the heyday of the Orcs. You make your own poisons, right? Uh, you wouldn't want a good meal like that guy to go to waste?"

Bugburz thought about that, which finally got him moving. "Garn! Okay! I'll check it out!" Mayhaps shoving a couple out of his way, he approached Straag. "Let me see it. What? That cut's not so bad! What worthless Orc did that? Huh! Wasn't my kind of poison, or he'd already be dead! What am I supposed to do? What happened to the Orc? I could get some information out of him!"
 

elfgirl

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Alana vaguely heard Orion speaking.

"This is an orc blade. A poisoned orc blade." She looked over to him as a long moment of silence went by. "I'll take care of them." He looked around for a moment, before shouting at her. "Alana! With me." He motioned toward the forest, and she followed him without a thought. They picked their way carefully through the forest, trying to cover their tracks, yet Alana noticed Orion being much, much less careful than he usually was.

"Orion, what's going on?" Yet he kept quiet. "What are we looking for anyway?"

"Orcs." And he refused to say anything else.

*****

He had the orc pinned, but refused to kill it. It was spluttering black speech at them, and Orion was just... listening. Alana felt incredibly confused, and then, he started speaking back to it. Suddenly, she understood. She wasn't sure whether to run or stay. They talked back and forth for a moment, and then, finally, he got up, looking down at the orc for another moment, and spitting out a final phrase, before turning and walking away. The orc looked at Alana hungrily for a moment, before running after Orion.

"Wait!" She finally caught up, and he turned to face her.

"I needed someone to help me if they had turned."

"You spoke to him. In black speech."

"Well that is typically what orcs speak."

"How?... Why... What..."

"I... was around orcs for a while." He seemed uncomfortable saying it, and quickly added, "out of necessity."

"Necessity?"

"I needed to make sure they were still on my side."

"Side?! Side? You-" He clapped his hand over her mouth, and she gave a short scream, before falling silent. He removed his hand for a moment. "You have orcs for allies?"

"Orcs are allies, too. We share a common enemy; we help each other. They're not so... homicidal if you just feed them every once and awhile." Shock was written all across her face. "Besides... I need all the allies I can get." And suddenly, it hit her.

"But... this isn't you." This is who they say you are. You need to be clearer on this. This isn't you. It's not... it's not. "You're... you're not bad." She felt suddenly very, very stupid. "You're good." She was so desperate to cling to this one shred of reality, which just a year ago she bold-facedly denied. She needed it to be real. She never thought of it before, but he was. He couldn't be evil. He couldn't fit their description. It wasn't up to them. He was good. "...You're a good person. ...You're good." He kept her gaze, completely at a loss for why she was so close to tears.

"Sometimes..." He paused. "Sometimes... things aren't as clear as good and evil." No kidding.
 

AraCelebEarwen

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Neither of them tried to talk to the other the rest of the day; Clover's face -colored with darkened patches- made her look even more tired and hurt then she thought she should feel. Rosie hadn't tried to check the cut since tying the rag around her arm; in part because she knew it would take time to heal the bruised slice the girl had earned for running around like she had been, but mostly because Clover didn't come close enough again for Rosie to get a look at it.

They each picked at some of the bread Clover had salvaged, washing it down with careful sips from just one of the different bottles that had also been brought back. Rosie had been surprisingly quick to snatch one of the worst smelling bottles away into her own pack when she'd found where the girl had set them along the inside of the cave. Something about an 'evil muck' and 'bad dreams' was all Clover had picked out of the woman's mutterings before they had faded with a sigh. Now, they were down to one of the last loaves of bread and nearing the bottom of what the woman had said must have been a wine of sorts. Clover made a face at the smell of it, even nearly spat it out when given a sip. But there was little else besides odd tasting rain water still gathered by some of the rocks.

Clover nibbled less then half-heartedly at her scrap of bread; watching out over the rocky ground to the trees just beyond. It was growing darker quickly and a chill came in on the breeze. Gray eyes turned haltingly back over a thin shoulder. The cave entrance looked just as cold and dark as it ever had; a flickering outline coming and going as Rosie tried to light a pile of dry grasses and twigs. An empty sigh pulled Clover's shoulders down a little further and her thoughts wandered back to the sparkling little coin in her palm.
 

Majimaune

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Straag could hear a voice in his ears, a long way off at first. It was a beautiful voice, one like that which he had never heard. It was calling him back to the world of the living. He had no idea where is was coming from. Slowly he followed the voice, finding hidden power in himself. His veins still burnt like hell fire.

Straag woke with a gasp of air filling his lungs.

"He is awake." Straag heard many voices around him. "Don't let him fall back asleep." Straag let out a cry of pain from the poison being pumped around his body. He started to drift back into unconsciousness when he felt cold water being poured over his face which brought him back to his pain.
 

Amberpants

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Laia sat crossed-legged in front of Straag, gently whispering words of comfort, something her mom used to do, before the ambush. Painful memories of screaming, fire, blood, came back in waves of fury and anger.

Suddenly, Straag took a sharp intake of breath, making Laia jump back in surprise and brought her out of her movie of her past.

"He is awake. Don't let him fall back to sleep",someone out of eye sight said.

Panic rushed through her as she frantically thought of something to do. She grabbed the near by flask of water and threw it on him. It seemed that her futile attempt to keep Straag awake was pathetic and she slumped back to her thoughts of more successful ways of attempting the impossible. A movement caught her eye and like a snake striking it's poor, defenseless pray, Straag grabbed her hand, making the skin turn white with restricted blood flow. Laia looked around, terror flashing in her eyes and adrenaline streaming through her veins. "Okay Straag, you're killing my hand here." she said out of fear for her fragile hand.

As if he heard her plea, Straag relaxed his grip and fell back into unconsciousness.
 
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yhwh1st

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She quickly made her way through the thick brush, glancing over her shoulder every few minutes. Her foot throbbed inside her boot. The injury hindered her, but she was still able to make good time zig-zagging through the dense forest. No time to lose. No time to lose. They are coming. Stepping over a log she felt an unmistakable squish inside her boot.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Finally a rest, but not for long. She tore a generous strip off the hem of her long shirt and tightly bound the bloody foot. Savoring the last of the stolen rations she rested for a brief moment. ‘If I can make it just a little further, I might be able to rest and regain some strength’, she said to herself as she jammed her right foot back into the traitorous boot and again rose to her feet.

After a few miles the woman came across a shallow stream and quickly stepped into the water. This’ll throw them off the scent. She moved downstream for some time before stepping out of the shallows when she dimly heard rapids ahead. Knowing the blue twilight wouldn’t last long the woman made her way between the widely spaces trees and searched for a place to sleep. Deciding that the other bank looked as though it provided better concealment, she again crossed the narrow river.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It didn’t take her long to procure a good place in a tall oak. Swinging herself up on a low branch, she misjudged the distance and hit her bad foot against the branch. Seeing white she nearly yelled out in pain. Dropping to the ground she landed hard on her foot, and this time did yell out. The woman held her breath as the pain slowly subsided, then pulled herself up and leaned against the tree. Face pale, her body soaked in sweat, she noticed she was shaking and forced herself to stop. Bracing herself the woman reached up and grabbed hold of the branch once more and carefully hoisted herself up. “That’s what happens when you get cocky”, she breathlessly told herself as she settled in for the night on a high branch.

She didn’t even remember falling asleep. There was a purple haze in the east and the stars were nearly all gone. The woman sat and watched the sky change colors. From purple to pink to orange. A last single star was barely visible in the west as her mind once again began to function. The woman waited until the sun came over the horizon before she carefully made her way down the tree in search of something to eat. Across the river once more, and after some searching, she found an extensive patch of blackberry vines. It was still too early in the year for there to be many ripe berries, but she found enough to make a meal, though most were still sour.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She sat for some time resting as the day grew warmer. Her first order of business was to stop the bleeding on her foot. She had slipped on some moss as she’d crossed the river and had reopened the wound. She started to pull her boot off when she heard a slight noise in the direction of the river. Immediately on her feet, the woman swiftly drew her sword. Not one to hide, she moved and stood with her back to a thick tree to prevent anyone from sneaking up on her. And then, she waited.
 

Majimaune

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"Okay Straag, you're killing my hand here," said a female voice somewhere about him. He released slowly and fell back into the sleep that was not sleep...
~~~~~~~~~~
He woke again, covered in sweat. His body didn't burn with hell's fire anymore, it just hurt all over, like he had run for days on end without stopping. He tried to sit up but found hands holding him down. Very gentle and small hands he thought. He could probably brake the grip be decided to lie back down.

"There was an orc," he mumbled slowly. "Ambushed me. Tried to get the doe. Killed it. In my pocket...orc poison."
 

yhwh1st

Call me Meg :)
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Figwitt eyed the man with apprehention. He seemed content to simply stand and stare at them, which was a little unnerving to the hobbit. "My name is Figwitt," he said, giving a slight bow, "and my companion is Aleth. Why do you travel in this wood? Are you escaped as well?"
 

Amberpants

Ill go ninja on you! Hiya
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"Okay, I'm hungry" Laia said after nursing Straag back to health for what felt like hours."I'm gonna go hunt something"

Just as Laia was about to stand up Straag stopped her.

"You're not coming without me. You see what they did to me, what do you think they'd do to a meager woman as yourself?"

"I can take care of myself!" She shot back as she pushed away Stragg's hand and stood up in one fluid motion."And I'm not afraid to kill either." giving Straag the evilest look she could muster, intending on intimidation.

Without taking her look into consideration, but returning a smug smirk, Straag clumsily stood up, after he'd been laying down for hours, maybe even days, he really didn't know what was going on anymore, and followed her out of camp.

They walked towards the forested area from which they'd come out of figuring there'd be sufficient food waiting to be captured in the underbrush.

The farther they ventured into the forest the darker it became under the canopy of dense leaves. Straag was listening for any danger, making sure another incident didn't happen. He heard what seemed like mumbling and the rustling of leaves that became distinct and clearer the farther they went into the trees.

"Wait a minute." he said thrusting out his arm to hit Laia and stopped her from moving forward. Placing his index figure to his lips, signaling a sense of quietness, they advanced.

They came into a clearing where what looked like someone had gathered a makeshift tent and little smoldering fire in the mist of the trees.

"People" Laia breathed a little too loudly as Straag shot her a death glare and a shadowed figure moved away from it's hiding post, alarmed
...and ready to fight. __________________
 

yhwh1st

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The woman’s attention was drawn from the noise of the advancing figures to a new sound. She quickly looked up as voices surrounded her, muttering quietly, incoherently. It wasn’t the first time, and likely wouldn’t be the last. What does it mean? It sounded urgent this time.

She suddenly saw two figures standing a short distance off into the trees. It’s not them, she thought as a wave of relief washed over her. I’ll find out what they want before I attack.

The voices in and around her were making her light headed and dizzy, but they stopped as suddenly as they had begun. Her mind cleared and she decided to be blunt.

“What do you want?”
 

Amberpants

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Straag silently drew his sword from his belt. It still had orc blood on it, he forgot to clean it...well didn't forget, couldn't. It might help though not to have a glint of light off the blade. He drew his battered cloak around him and disappeared into the shadows of bushes.

Laia looked around helplessly, "Where are you going now?" she desperately pleaded, not wanting to be alone in the underbrush of some creepy forest defenseless, scared out of her mind at her situation.

Straag decided to ignore the comment and continued to creep up on the little makeshift camp...

"What do you want?" the figure said, demanding and in a pretty rude tone to say the least.

So the stranger was a female, thought Laia, pulling hidden courage from the pit of her stomach.

"We were just out hunting", She replied, her voice shaking despite her grown courage.

"We? What exactly were we hunting, now?" the figure asked menacingly, leisurely advancing, like stalking prey, knocking down Laia's wall of courage and intimidating her beyond belief.

"Uh...food?" she said cowardly, slowly backing up into a tree. She was blocked in. "I'm going to die, and he abandoned me to run!...I'm going to die alone. Defenseless as a deer...to be slaughtered as one. Her last thought was accompanied by the sweet dangerous music of a sword being taken out of it's ragged holder.

Laia and the figure both turned as Straag reappeared, running full force at the stranger, and Laia let out a breath of relief. But her relief was short lived as the figure side stepped Straag's attack and sent him, still running, into a tree before he could stop himself.

The figure slowly turned to the defenseless Laia, her last standing opponent.
 

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