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Submitted By: Gemma
All Characters Involved: Cithra, Deja, Emberlite, Gaskan, Karen, Kazeal

Submitted Log

While Karen is normally clad in pink head to toe, tonight she stood in the moonlight in a cloak of a greenish brown, and other dark earthy tones. She was a naturally tall woman, so tonight she wore shoes of soft suede to keep her footsteps light, and her height to a minimum. Strapped to her back was not her normal pair of heron branded blades, but a much longer glaive. She stood outside the compound, waiting for her friends to appear.  [Karen]

Riding forward towards the Foregate compound, Emberlite notices Karen and offers a slight bow of his head, "A good night for riding; cooler tonight. I was worried it'd be scorching as it has been lately." He slips off his horse and pats Casino's traveling pack to show how dense it is. He wore his bog standard scarlet and gold clothing, the giant crystal on his chest glimmering in the moonlight. "Now it's just a matter of waiting for the rest, aye." [Emberlite]

Cithra gathered a small squad of soldiers together, all of them wearing the colors of the Hand of the Light. "Remember, we're just going to collect some information and look for evidence. I'm bringing you all just in case things go poorly, but don't start anything." The members of the squad, consisting of Aspirants Keller, Ren, Balor, Sabine, and Svecha, saluted Cithra and then set about mounting their horses. Cithra climbed aboard her mount and exited the compound, joining those who had already gathered. "Good evening all." She nodded to Karen and Emberlite, "I hope tonight proves fruitful." [Cithra]

Kazeal strides up to the compound of the Children of the Light, confidently nodding to the guards posted at the entrance. Turning to wait just in front of the entrance, he notes Lord Mantear making his way up the road. His lips curl up into a faint smile as he watches the man approach. Kazeal wears his inky green, velvet coat over his usual black leather jerkin and crimson shirt. The Aesnan colors plain to see, the emblem of the House embossed on the sword at his hip almost serves as an afterthought. Dipping his head, he says, "A pleasure to meet again, Lord Mantear," as the man arrives.

Gaskan rides forth followed by two other members of his regiment. All three riders are armored head to toe, although all have temporarily removed their helmets, resting them on the high pommels of their saddles. Their snowy white cloaks fan out over the rumps of their mounts as they guide their horses out at a walk. The hard faced woman to Gaskans right peers at the gathered company, her face expressionless. The larger fellow to his left seems significantly cheerier, giving the Hand, and the parties other companions of toothy smile. Gaskan himself simply acknowledges both Emberlite and Karen with bows from the saddle, before snapping a sharp salute to Cithra, vambrace rebounding metallically off his breastplate. [Gaskan]

Karen noted that she appeared to be the only one not in her typical garb. She nods to Cithra and Emberlite as they arrive. "I agree, it should be a good night for a mission. I have a good feeling about this."  Her eyes seemed to wander when three more people showed up. Her eyes scanned over each person, taking note of the increasing number of folks they would be taking along with them. "Let's get a move on, shall we?" She mounted her horse that she had tied up nearby, and pulled up next to Emberlite."

"Well, I wasn't sure how long we'd be at this," Emberlite admits with a half-hearted jest to his voice. Truth is, he feels a tenseness to his body that he tries not to show. When cithra reveals herself to the pair of them with a small suad of men, Emberlite adds an with agreement, "I considered bringing men but I held concerns about how the Tuatha'an would take it if we marched on them with a full army. I am glad it will be more than the six of us after all." Emberlite reaches out to clasp Kazeal's forearm in greeting, "And you, you made it after all. A pleasure to have House Aesnan's support." Seeing Gaskan riding forward with his own men, Emberlite mounts back up onto his red eyes horse and nods faintly to Karen, "Looks like we've got the posse all here. If they turn out to be harmless, I may spend the night with them. The Tuatha'an can be good for the spirits." [Emberlite]

Cithra returned a salute to Gaskan as he arrived, and then turned her attention to Emberlite, "I am glad that not everyone brought a full retainer, but given my recent luck, it seemed prudent to be prepared." She glanced at the other newcomer, uncertain as to who he was, but settled on giving him a slight nod, "Cithra Saighan, High Acolyte of the Hand of the Light. A pleasure to meet you." [Cithra]

Kazeal waits in patient silence as the group assembles. As the groups of Children and the Hand arrive, he gives respectful nods to each. For the woman in dark green and brown he pauses, with a considering look, before saying, "At least we are a bit color-coordinated. My Lady, I appreciate your choice of garb," with a smirk. Turning back to Emberlite, he responds, "Indeed, House Aesnan wishes to get to the bottom of this before we, too, suffer further tragic loss. Lord Dorien sends his deepest regards and good wishes."

Gaskan quickly motions his companions to follow, and joins the group. Giving his horse a light touch of the spurs he accelerates into a trot to join Emberlite, opposite Karen. His mouth twists into a lopsided smirk at the Lord's words. "The Travelling People will be unsettled by this party no more than they would be if I approached alone. It seems to be the presence of arms not the quantity, which disturbs them." He says in a low rough voice. "As for spending time with them, I have never found their company to be enjoyable, laudable perhaps, but never enjoyable." [Gaskan]

Deja walked out of the gloom holding the reins of an older palomino mare. The collar of her half cloak obscured the bottom portion of her face and her wide brimmed hat was pulled low effectively only showing her face around her eyes and upper nose. She came to a stop near Karen and leaned over to whisper quietly in her ear before nodding at the others, "Evening!" [Deja]

Karen raises an eyebrow to the man next to her. "You plan on drinking the whole night? How unlike you." She sounded a touch judgemental as she was surprised that he would even have that on his mind. "Well here's to hoping that they are just harmless." She glanced down at Cithra and looked between the group. "Is the plan to sneak first, and if needed a few of us will approach them while the backup lays in hiding?" Her eyes landed on Kazeal. "Thank you, this is not my preferred colour but it would seem as if bright pink isn't the ideal colour for sneaking." As Deja whispered in her ear, she got startled and jumped, nearly spooking the horse. She smacked her arm lightly and gave her a peering look. "Must you do that every time?!"

"Aye, though if certain individuals had their way, we'd be charging with any number of hundreds of heavy cavalry." He agrees with Cithra, a sour note sharpening the edge of his words, "Fortunately, he can be made to see reason." When Kazeal does not properly introduce himself, Emberlite takes it upon himself to do so, "Lord Dorien, the High Seat of House Aesnan? has concerns that his sister may be targeted next by the disappearances. So he has kindly offered his Captain of the Guard, Sir Kazeal Barada, to assist us in our endeavor. This will not be an issue, I presume?" Emberlite asks the question though as this point, it is rhetorical. In regards to Gaskan, Emberlite shakes his head slightly, "Enough men with arms show and they'll be trying to run instead of tolerate. Some camps, in any case." To the other point, he doesn't bother to argue. A matter of opinion. Deja's appearance brings a grin to his face, "I was afraid you weren't going to make it for a minute there." Emberlite blinks in surprise at Karen's sudden judgemental comment and turns around, "That, too, but I just enjoy the music and the dancing. They have a good positive spirit to the things they do." Seeing everybody is present, Emberlite moves his horse onwards towards the edge of the Foregate. [Emberlite]

Chuckling, Kazeal responds to the woman in a voice loud enough for the group to hear with ease: "Indeed. I am partial to pink, myself." With a slight bow from his saddle as Emberlite makes his introduction, he goes on, "How rude of me. Thank you, Lord Mantear.Kazeal Barada, at your service. I have the honor to serve Lord Dorien Aesnan as Captain of the House's Guards. It is good to meet friends aligned around this common goal." Turn to look at the men and women in the snowy white garb, he says, "As you know, House Aesnan has long supported the Children in your mission to root out evil and I am pleased to be here with you, tonight." He stirs his mount into motion and attempts to keep a place near Emberlite as the group departs. [Kazeal]

Twisting in his saddle to get a better look at the unrecognized stranger, as well as the newly arrived Deja, Gaskan gives each a polite nod. "Fine evening for a ride, is it not? Mistress Deja?" He asks sourly. As Kazeal is introduced he gives the man another respectful nod. "Senior Squadman Gaskan Deatin, of the Children of the Light. May the light shine upon you Master Kazeal'' He says, formally introducing himself to the man. He then addresses Cithra as he explains. "The Travelling People, they hold a firm belief in non-violence and an avoidance of armed conflict. As such armed visitors are often discomforting to them. The best I can do is to advise you to be diplomatic, and most certainly respectful of their beliefs. We may be drastically different, but it is each man's right to guide his own thread within the pattern" As he speaks he backs his horse slightly, moving himself to the outer edge of the group, making room around Emberlite for the other riders all seeming to wish to speak with the man. [Gaskan]

Deja just grinned at Karen as she turned to stroke the nose of her horse for a moment before leaving the reins on the ground. The well trained horse stayed standing there as she double checked all of her saddlebags and supplies. "Wouldn't miss it!" She responded to Emberlite with a grin as she gathered the reins onto the neck of her horse before leaping into the saddle with an acrobatic leap. Her horse ignored her antics with a patience born from dealing with it for a long time. "They are good spirited folk. Just keep any violent speech or tendencies put away and you can get some of the best food you have ever had!" She interjected into the conversation. She kept her horse near Karen's as she took her place in the surprisingly large column for going to see some Tinkers. Deja winked at Gaskan's normal grumpiness and gave him a small wave. [Deja]

Karen followed Emberlite without protest. "I know there are lots of emotions involved in this, but we don't want to send these people running if they have hostages. Might make them do something we will have to make them regret. Ya Know?'' She looked back at Cithra. "I think you are good at getting answers out of people, so I am fine to have you come for the investigation. As for the stealth " She gave Deja another playful look. "This one could sneak up on her own shadow." 

"So long as one man carries a weapon, they'll be on edge," Emberlite replies to Cithra, in support of Gaskan, as they ride out the mud and into the grasslands, "but they are a peaceful sort if they are truly Tuatha'an." He glances over his shoulder when Cithra mentions stealth to glance at Karen's extraordinarily muted appearance, "I didn't think we were planning on spooking the lot of them anyway or I might have shown in a different attire. If this was some plan that was discussed, it might've done well to let me know." Was he pouting? He shouldn't be, the others were wearing bright white to his red, so he was clearly not left out of any conversations. "If they are Tuatha'an, they aren't holding hostages," Emberlite says shortly to Karen, "it goes against all their beliefs as Gaskan explained. And besides good food and good songs, they have great booze. Let's keep the surprise stabbings to a minimum tonight." [Emberlite]

Cithra nodded in response as the others explained the situation more fully, and she turned to her people, "Assume the role of a noble's escort. Remove colors." Even on horseback, it was clear this order was nothing new to the squad, as cloaks and colors were removed with practiced hands and slipped into saddlebags. Cithra did the same, though she went further as she began to slowly remove bits of her armor. "I can do stealth, but I can conceal my unit as nobility and house guards well enough." [Cithra]

A gasp escaping his lips before he remembers to keep decorum, Kazeal says, "Yes, if they are tinkers then I should hope there will be no stabbing involved. With the strange occurrences these days, however, we must be on our guard." Smiling at Gaskan's manners, he nods again at the man and responds, "A pleasure, to be sure. I feel all the safer with your force at our back." Addressing the spook, he says, "You, as well. Many talents make a more effective group. To have one as skilled as you among us lends me confidence." As he rides, Kazeal gently smoothes his horse's mane with an evident love for the animal. [Kazeal]

Gaskan continues to ride in relative silence. For some time he falls back alongside the hard faced woman who accompanied him. The two ride for some time, knees nearly touching, and heads together, conversing in hushed tones. At Kazeal's reply, he simply provides the man with a slight bow from the saddle for acknowledgement.  As the Hand begin to remove their cloaks, at Cithra's order, Gaskan looks up, impaling first Cithra and then the other Questioners with looks of pure ice. Face distorting into a snarl Gaskan twists, spitting in the dirt beneath his stirrup. Despite the reaction he quickly regains his composure, and returns to his previous conversation. [Gaskan]

Deja looked at Karen in confusion, "Sneak up on what? I can't exactly sneak up on something if we come riding in obvious as a rooster looking for a hen." She scoffed as she leaned back in a relaxed manner in her saddle. "But if we are just Lord Emberlite's procession of fools. Well then now that is just a normal every so often bad day for the Tinkers." She reached down and started rummaging in one of her front saddlebags for a moment before half pulling out a large bottle of wine she tilted towards Karen with a grin to show her. Her golden eyes looked at Kazeal for a moment, "Skilled? I'm just here to haul peoples' things around, cook, things like that." She replied with a little shrug.  [Deja]

Karen seems still for a moment and then nods. "We didn't have a plan without you, but at this point I think we do not have much of an option to stealth. But if Cithra is willing to remove the colours, we can approach them plainly. I might protest against leaving my weapon behind but perhaps a merchants retinue is the easiest option for being under the radar. She takes the wine from Deja and sips it but stopped when she mentioned cooking. "I am not eating your cooking." She finished taking a few more gulps and passed back the bottle. 

"I hardly think that'll be necessary. Unless your people have a habit of murdering unarmed civilians left and right." Emberlite expresses mild surprise that Cithra's unit suddenly begins removing their uniforms. He chortles at Gaskan's reaction and glancines off towards the north. "I have never had an issue with the Tuatha'an, weapon or no, as long as you do not mind the occasionally disdainful look. It's always been pleasant. Of course, I have never gone with an escort of Children before either... back in my mercenary days. We'd take turns trying to egg the other into joining each other's outfit." [Emberlite]

"It will be easier to explain away Gaskan and his escort than me and mine. There is a reason why one of our orders don't have the rules about always wearing uniforms." Cithra shakes her head at Gaskan's response and continues with her changing. "Besides, I like to talk to people, so I'd rather them not be distracted the entire time. Fear has a role in questioning, but it is rarely the best first move."  [Cithra]

At Gaskan's outburst, Kazeal's gaze snaps to the man and slightly squinted eyes betray his consternation. He opens his mouth as if to chide the man but is halted by Emberlite's words. He watches Cithra and her companions disrobe but makes no move to do the same; quite the contrary, his hand settles over the pommel of his sword. "I am afraid I will not be removing my sword. I beg your pardon, but times are strange and my trust is in short supply." Lapsing into silence, his eyes proceed to flicker across their surroundings, trying to catch any minute detail that might be out of place. His hand remains at his sword hilt. [Kazeal]

Gaskan's gaze drifts to many of his companions. His features are flat, and he seems to recognize that his judgmental behavior hasn't gone over well with his companions. However he simply ignores the attention, turning to face straight ahead, and riding on, back stiff and face unreadable. After a fair moment's pause he finally speaks, quietly pitching his voice for Cithra's hearing. "You do what you feel is best, Acolyte" he says flatly. [Gaskan]

Deja took the bottle of wine back from Karen and took a long drink before putting the stopper back in the bottle. She replaced it in her saddlebags and watched Cithra's people stripped out of their more obvious colorful attire. She noticed Gaskan's reaction and barked a small laugh at his discomfort. "Come now. Not everyone likes wearing the same things every day for the rest of their lives. Might actually talk to someone... normal if you changed every so often." She needled him with a grin knowing she was stirring the pot with him. [Deja]

In the distance, there is a large gathering of garishly painted wagons making three semi circles around what appears to be softly glowing pits. Perhaps more garish than the wagons, there are men and women dressed in all matters of colours of bright colours, pink, green, yellow, and some colours there may not even be words to describe. Several of them sat around the pits that had pots sitting over them while others meandered throughout their camp from group to group. Smiles could be seen on some faces, quiet laughs on others.

Karen seemed to keep an eye out for anything that was inside the woods as they rode. She seemed unusually silent as they approached their location. She pulled the reins and came to a slow trot. She gestured at the camp, and by using Syndorian hand signals she conveyed that she will go ahead of Emberlite, and he should follow behind her closely, and initiate the conversation. She started to move closer to the wagons, making out the faces of the people lit by fires. 

Slowing down when the camp starts to come into sight, Emberlite begins gently patting his destrier's neck comfortingly. "You know... I kind of miss wandering around. Being stuck in one city, day after day, speaking to the same people, day after day, it wears on a soul." The fiery haired man murmurs to himself, trying to take a deep smell of whatever might be in those pots. "Be on your best behaviors but keep an eye out. Don't forget, these people might be associated with a ring of smugglers and that appearances can be deceiving." With that, he rides towards the camp waiting to see who approaches them first. [Emberlite]

"I fully intend to Gaskan, and I trust you will do the same. I know you will represent our order well." Cithra nods her head respectfully in Gaskan's direction. The gambeson under her armor was hardly more subtle than her uniform, though far less threatening, in fact, the nice gambison looked to be of the same colors, though with the Diamond of House Saighan in place of the Crook of the Hand of the Light. As the group slows, Cithra begins to fuss more carefully over her outfit, adjusting the straps on the waist to be more aesthetically pleasing and less functional. To any capable soldier she would appear more as a noble playing soldier than anything else. "As one of those you see most frequently, I will try not to take offense to that." She joked lightly and kept pace with the rest of the column. [Cithra]

As the banter continues around him, Kazeal remains fixed on the group's surroundings. Aside from a slight frown as he notices the bottle of wine being passed between the women, he does his best to make no further reaction to the apparent tension felt between the Children and the Hand. Upon noticing the house crest on Cithra's clothing he pauses in thought, filing the detail away to address later. As the wagons come into view ahead of them, his features relax and a grin sneaks across his lips. "Just in time for food it seems. All to the good, people tend to be more open and friendly around a cookfire." Glancing to Emberlite and the woman in green, he nods at the man's cautioning words and takes up a position just off of his left flank, keeping close. [Kazeal]

Eyes sharp once more, Gaskan gives Deja a hard stare. "Implying you'd recognize "normal" if it ate your supper and slipped into your bed, Mistress Deja." he replies, his sour mood being lifted by his retaliatory needling. He turns his attention to the Tinker's camp as it comes into view, a calm smile splitting his face. He folds his hands on the pommel of his saddle, trying to look as unthreatening as an armed soldier could look. [Gaskan]

Deja gasped in mock horror at Gaskan, "I am the normalest person to ever normal!" She protested as she shook her head at him. As the group started approaching the wagons and Karen started to move ahead of the group, Deja studied the camp ahead of them with her burnished gold eyes. She waved a hand at Emberlite making a quick gesture, sentry line, before she put her hands back down on her reins and the pommel of her saddle for the remaining walk into the camp. Her posture was relaxed as she casually surveyed their surroundings.  [Deja]

As the procession approaches the camp, the men and women of the camp grow silent. Eyes grow wide as people begin to stand up or otherwise halt what they are doing to view the dozen or so individuals that breach their circle. Some move to hide part way while others enter their wagons and poke their heads through the windows. One man, after what appears to be a small argument with a woman, begins walking forward, opening his hands wide as if to give the newcomers hugs, "Welcome all of you to our fires!"

Karen stayed silent atop her horse. She glanced out to the woods near the opening of the clearing, unchanging in her expression. As the man approached them, she looked at the reactions of the other people. She backed her horse up a little, and allowed Emberlite to take the spotlight. Lowering her hood, she seemed to relax and had a warm smile on her face. 

Emberlite looks towards the man who approaches and offers a light bow of his head though he furrows his brows slightly, "Your welcome warms my spirit." He says back before gesturing towards his allies, "We heard that the Traveling People were near the city and thought we would go to listen to your songs, enjoy your company, and hear news of the world." [Emberlite]

Cithra bows her head in greeting as the man approached and called out to them and dismounted from her horse and passed her reins to Keller. "Are you the Mahdi of this caravan?" Rather than wait for Lord Emberlite's lead, she approaches the man on foot. "It is my first time visiting one of your caravans, but I have heard wonderful things of your hospitality and way of life." She smiles and touches her hand to her heart. [Cithra]

Maintaining his position at Emberlite's flank as the group reaches the perimeter of the Tinkers' camp, Kazeal's eyes continue flicking across the surroundings. He does his best to smile warmly but it does not quite reach his eyes, especially when noticing the apparent fear his group instills. He very deliberately makes a long, relaxed stretch and raises his hands up into the air; after bringing them down, he is very careful to rest them on the pommel of his saddle instead of the hilt of his sword. Taking note of the woman conferring with the apparent leader of the caravan, he nods in greeting when the man steps forward. After Lord Mantear's salutations, he chimes in: "I beg the kindness of the Tuatha'an and the warmth of their fires. We come in peace and warm spirits, good sir." Naught but a glance downwards hints at his concern for Cithra's rapid approach. [Kazeal]

At the man's approach Gaskan swiftly swings from his horse. He turns and flashes some hand signals to his fellow Children, a clenched fist striking the back of his opposite hand, followed by two fingers held up and then quickly pressed to his temple, palm forward. As he does this the man who accompanied him nods, snaps a quick salute and then spins his horse to head back the way they came at a slow walk. The hard faced woman however remains where she is. Satisfied, Gaskan turns his attention to the approaching Tinker, swinging his arms wide in imitation of the man he says loudly. "Light shine upon you, uh,Master Seeker. We mean you no harm!" [Gaskan]

As the group entered the camp and the man approached them, Deja came to a stop with the rest near the back of the group. She was looking towards a few of the others as the man spoke, her head turned towards the man and she studied the man with a passive expression although her eyes narrowed slightly as the man finished and Emberlite replied. She dismounted from her horse slowly, acting as if she was in pain as she leaned on her horse heavily for a moment as she pulled her cloth wrapped staff from the saddlebags and leaned on it heavily; as if there was an old injury and pain in her right knee and lower back. She rubbed her lower back with her left hand as she gave a small sigh and grimace. She walked with a limp to the head of her horse and held it loosely by the bridle as she worked her right leg back and forth. [Deja]

The people around the camp begin to go about their business when Emberlite returns the greeting though there are low murmurs throughout the camp about 'the Children'. With a long blink, the man looks to the rest of the company that enters into the light of their camp, stares at the face of each individual as if to memorize their faces before a smile appears on his face when Cithra speaks, "Indeed, I am, do you know the song?" He places both hands firmly against his chest and bows lightly to all those who are strangers with tones that are welcoming as if they were family. Things of note to those keeping a watch on the camp, the fire pits are deep and the pots are hanging from very low tripods, the smell of stewed meat and potatoes fill the air of the camp. There is very little light throughout the camp, however, as the firepits only allow the light to escape upwards. A woman begins walking forward, the woman that had been with the man in the first place, and approaches Deja asking concernedly, "Are you unwell?"

Karen adjusting herself in her saddle, she followed Emberlites lead and bowed her head as well. He was better at being sensitive about cultural differences. Watching Cithra walk up to them, Karen seems to be trying to judge the reaction of the Tinkers before them. As the Tinker seems to be responding well enough to the commotion of their entrance, the woman in dark colours dismounted from her horse. She gave her horse to one of the Children of the Light, and continued to look out into the forest. 

"We do not know the song, Mahdi," Emberlite dismounts from his own horse and begins guiding his horse into the camp. He looks back towards the rest of his company and gestures that they do the same. He strips the scabbards from his belt and places them onto his mount. "Tell us of the world, Seeker, from where did you come?" [Emberlite]

"While your welcome warms my spirit, as your fire warms my flesh, I do not know the song." Cithra looks around the camp, smiling and waving at anyone who caught her eye as she took in a bit about the camp. She frowned slightly at something she noticed, but then pulled her attention back to the conversation. "Yes, I would love to hear about your journey. I thought it was uncommon for your people to camp so close to a large city. Surely it must be an interesting story that brought you here." [Cithra]

Noting the depth of the several fire pits, Kazeal thinks to himself, "Odd. How long have they been here? For that matter, aren't Tinkers supposed to be as flighty as the wind?" As the Tinker woman steps forward and as Lord Mantear steps forward, Kazeal tenses in his saddle. He slowly dismounts, straining his ears as his eyes focus on placing his feet upon the ground. He drops his reins to the ground and the horse keeps its place. Kazeal, however, winces when the woman mentions a wound and he steps over towards the spook. "Oh, dear. Another flare-up?" As he nears, he pays particular attention to the tinker, looking for any odd bulges or bunches of cloth that may indicate a hidden weapon. He halts a few steps to the side, forming a small triangle with the two women and attempting to keep his back to the forest and his peripheral vision on the camp. [Kazeal]

Gaskan leaves his horse, approaching the man who greeted them. He leaves the scabbard hanging at his belt, but tugs his gauntlets off, tucking them behind his belt. He is followed by the short woman who follows suit in the removal of her gauntlets. As he draws near the man he bows respectfully to him, and says solemnly. "Your welcome warms my spirit, Mahdi, as your fire warms the flesh, but I do not know the song." He scans the camp as he straightens, a rare smile splitting his face. [Gaskan]

"Then we seek still. As it was, so shall it, but if we but remember, seek and find." He bows his head again. It is then and only then that the people of camp begin to return to business as usual, quiet laughs and conversation. Men move forward to take the horses from their owners, reassuring them that they would feed and care for them while they remained in the camp. "We are almost finished with dinner," He tells them cheerfully, "if you want meat, you will have to wait. You are not our first visitors and they have begun cooking their own meals. There is time for talk around the fire, come, come." He gestures for them to follow him. Already seats and boxes are being dragged from wagons and the shadows to serve as tables. The woman purses her lips slightly when Deja mentions she does not follow the Way, "Not enough people do. Come along, let us get you some tea."

Karen puts her weapon on her horse, before returning to Emberlites side. It was almost as if she had been waiting to see if she had to remove her glaive. She kept her hands on her hips as she moved into the camp, feeling the warm coming from the fires, and smelling whatever they had been cooking. Her eyes wandered as she tried to determine what the smell was. "Aye, I'd be happy to hear that story myself." She looked around for somewhere to sit. As she moved to the indicated fire, she settled herself down, and peered up at the man. "You had other visitors? Are they still here cooking their meals?" She was curious who else had come to the camp that night. 

Following the man to the fires, Emberlite searches the faces of the individuals as he allows his horse to be taken away. He settles himself into one of the seats being offered, "Whatever you are having is fine by me, Mahdi. I am Emberlite, these are my friends. Karen, Kazeal, Cithra, and Gaskan. The one with your wife is Deja. It has been years since I have properly sat down with the Tuatha'an. I notice your camp is oddly quiet and that your pits are deep. Have you been troubled?" [Emberlite]

Cithra smiled and moved to follow the Mahdi into the camp, before she could go far though, she noticed a small disagreement between her Balor and the man trying to take his horse. Cithra approached before Balor escalated the situation, "I know this is rude, but we have valuables on our mounts and my father would have Balor's head if something happened to them. If you wouldn't mind allowing my people to accompany you to care for the horses?" Cithra offered an apologetic bow and motioned for her squad to stay with the horses. [Cithra]

Quickly realizing that he may not be able to keep tabs on all of his companions at once, Kazeal makes a snap decision. Stepping closer to the spook, he moves to wrap an arm around her shoulders as if to offer support. "Allow me, dear," he says before looking back to the Tinker. "May I also infringe upon your fire? My bones, too, are weary and I would enjoy a good brew to settle me down." He does his best to ignore the nervous whinnies of his horse at the approach of strangers, only wincing slightly. [Kazeal]

Gaskan follows Emberlite towards the fire, but remains standing when they arrive. He seems content to allow the others to do the talking, simply scanning the camp of the Tinkers with an uncharacteristically cheerful expression. Despite his previous ill talk of the Tinkers, he seems to be enjoying their company. He stands at the edge of the firelight, side by side with the woman he brought with him. As Emberlite introduces him to the Seeker, he inclines his head. "AAnd this is Child Availya'' he adds, indicating the woman at his shoulder. [Gaskan]

Deja smiled in gratitude at the woman and allowed her horse to be taken away as well. "That would be lovely. Thank you." She motioned to her rear saddle bags, "The rear saddle bags are gifts for the Tuatha'an. Most are from the North, I haven't been in the South long enough to gather anything appropriate. One bag has a haunch of salted beef as well." She told the one that took her horse as Kazeal stepped up to her. As he put his arms around her she stepped to the side a bit leaning on her staff, "You know I have to walk on it a bit to get it feeling better." She scolded him with a wink, "But I wouldn't mind your help sitting down when we get there!" [Deja]

The Mahdi introduces himself as Erek and his wife as Clarice in response to Emberlite introducing those in his company. Notably, he stares at those that remain unintroduced with a look of uncertainty and it is only when Gaskan and Cithra mention some of their names. The one of the men attempting to handle the horses, dark haired and dark skinned, frowns at Cithra's implications but nods his head, "Of course. Nothing will happen to your horses but we will not stop anyone from going where they will." Clarice looks between Kazeal and Deja and when she sees the wink, she grins widely, "Ah, young love. Come along, we'll have your tea brewed in a moment. I am sure the dogs will appreciate the meat. Before you go, we will see about trading." And with that, she guides the pair towards the far western bank of the camp. With the rest settling up by the fire, Erek finally responds, "We are closer to the city than we normally come but not so close to draw attention. Or so we thought. There have been wolves and other animals as of late, killing out horses and our dogs. We have been walking long, last through Andor, and Ghealdan before that."

Everything seems a bit hectic at the moment, and Karen was still trying to get her bearings. She tried her best to note where people were gathering, and was trying to sneak a peek into one of the wagons while people were moving in and out of them. She looked at Erik as he spoke. "What kinds of other animals? If you were getting attacked, wouldn't it make sense to leave?" She wasn't sure if her question was tactful, but she was suspicious that their fire pits would be so deep if they continually got attacked. "Have you tried to get horses from the town?" [Karen]

"That far west?" Emberlite asks with a hint of surprise, "What news do you bring from Ghealdan?" Emberlite accepts any stew that's handed his way and when Karen asks her questions, he decides to look around the camp for these foreigners who are adding meat to their soups. "Is that why you have guests? Bodyguards? It would be most unlike your people." [Emberlite]

"I know you all would not touch them, but I have heard stories of wolves in the area." Cithra bowed again before departing to join the others around the fire and took a seat near Gaskan and his compatriot. "Just to finish the introductions, my guardsmen are Keller, Ren, Balor, Sabine, and Svecha." She watches Erik as he speaks, already a bit suspicious of this camp. [Cithra]

Momentarily taken aback at his companion's refusal, Kaz quickly recovers and smirks at the spook. He keeps pace with the two women as they amble over to one of the cookfires away from the other companions. He widens his eyes as he peers at the multi-hued wagons they pass, as if in startlement; his eyes jump to and fro, never settling in one place for long. "Clarice! I shudder to think at the effort it must take to maintain these after all your travels! You must tell me your secret, when do you find the time?" Finally nearing the fire, he strains his neck and attempts to peer into the pot. [Kazeal]

Gaskan seems somewhat excited when the man mentions Ghealdan and  Andor. "Did you pass near Baerlon, Seeker? And what of another band, I wonder if you've had any recent contact with the band of your people led by, or perhaps once led by, a Seeker named Melvan?" he asks, voice low. The woman, Availya, gives him a sharp look as he speaks, but she says nothing, and Gaskan seems unaware of her reaction. [Gaskan]

As Deja was following the woman at a slow pace, she casually looked around the camp. She heard Erek's words about the group's dogs and their troubles, causing her eyebrows to raise slightly for a moment. Her eyes caught note of a few details that she found interesting but her face never changed from her slightly pained genial expression. "How have your travels been Madame Clarice?" She asked as they walked towards their destination. [Deja]

"We have not spoken to another band in some time though we have passed through the circles." He replies with a touch of sadness to his voice. To Karen, he answers simply, "We Travel when we can and we don't when we can't. We have fled. We have not been bothered since we left Andor but we take precautions all the same. Do dare not enter the towns unless we absolutely must... but we do not know what these animals are. It was always at night." He replies distantly as if reliving the attacks. "We have been near Baerlon but we did not venture into the town. The news we carry is only the ones we have shared, there have been a great deal of animal attacks in the small villages. Luckily no one has lost their life yet but they say it is only a matter of time." Over to Clarice, the woman shakes her head at Deja, "The Travels have been eventful. We fear to celebrate though nothing has happened since we crossed the Cairhien border. We have stayed longer than we wish but we are uncertain where to Seek the Song next." She fills a kettle with water and places it over one of the flames, "We are craftsmen if nothing else, we fix things as they break."

Karen listened intently as he spoke, and she tried to make sense of what he meant. She tried to speak respectfully. "Unknown animal attacks? I can see why that would be frightening. I am sure you must be glad to have a little relief here." She took a bowl of stew as it was handed to her. "You said you have not been bothered, so the only people or animals who you have encountered since you settled here have been us, and the ones you mentioned prior? How fortunate for yourselves to find some stability."

"An increase in wild animal attacks in Andor?" Emberlite sups at the stew, considering what was said. Finishing up his meal, he slowly stands up and bows his head faintly, "Excuse me. I've got to relieve myself." He wipes his hand on the thighs of his pants before walking northward towards the centre of all the wagons. [Emberlite]

"I have to admit, your luck has been better than that in the city if none of your people have been harmed yet." Cithra shook her head slowly, "There have been a rash of vanishing people in Cairhien. I came here, in part, to find out if you all had experienced something similar or seen something abnormal. It is very concerning and has everyone on edge." [Cithra]

Kazeal raises his hands to warm his palms at the fire. As Clarice putters about, he notices her jittery motion and the tension in her shoulders and says to her, "I am so very grateful for your kindness this night, Clarice. I have never stayed with the Tuatha'an before and I must say, you are making a very favorable impression." Smiling warmly, he steps over and reaches to take her hands in his. Meeting her eyes, he tries to hold her gaze and continues on in calming tones, "I remember kindness. You are appreciated, and that can mean a great deal in Cairhien. Do you know of House Aesnan?"

Gaskan nods solemnly. "It has been many years since I spoke to Melvan. I thought perhaps by chance you had news of his well being." He turns towards Availya then, and simply shrugs at the woman, giving her a small frown as he does so. Returning to staring into the fire Gaskan fishes in his belt pouch momentarily before extracting a carved briarwood pipe. He then proceeds to busy himself filling and lighting the pipe, seemingly lost in the activity and the music around him. [Gaskan]

"Excellent ones at that, from my own experiences in the past. I still have a travel pot that was fixed almost fifteen years ago, still works perfectly." Deja agreed with the woman on their craftsmanship. As she started to sit down she felt at her belt and frowned slightly, "I forgot the crimsonthorn, I will be right back. The walking is loosening up my knee so hopefully by the time I get the herb pouch I might not even need it this time!" The last bit was put in a happy aside to Kazeal. She started hobbling back the way they came towards where they had taken their horses. After she was a few paces into the darkness she veered slowly towards the wagons she had walked past until she was close enough to nimbly drop and roll underneath one of them. As she did a small whisper of a thought, smell, sight, sound, even memory flickered like a dream through a portion of her mind as she requested a favor. Stormclouds building across a mountain range, a silent and still lake bordered by snow covered trees, a full moon shining from above larger than life, a song lifted in the air. [Deja]

Karen watched as Emberlite walked away to pee. She seemed unhappy that he left her side, but decided to continue in the conversation anyways. It felt like the plan had totally gotten away from them at this point. As the wolves started to howl she tried to get sight on Deja. As the camp seemed to burst into hostility she sighed and stood to her feet. She cracked her knuckles, and wished she hadn't left her glaive with the horse. "Alright now, you hear some dogs barking in the woods and you start pulling out weapons on your unarmed guests, what kind of hospitality is that?" She removed her cloak and let it fall to the ground dramatically. "Let's figure out what's happening now, we don't need to make choices we are going to regret."

As chaos begins to erupt around the camp, Emberlite holds his hands up defensively towards the woman who addressed him, "Yes ma'am, I'm going nowhere ma'am." His face is as blank as can be while he watches weapons being pulled from the pits. "Well. There's no way that that's okay." When the attention falls away from him, he places a hand onto his belt where his weapons would normally be before frowning slightly. If he has the option, he attempts to go between the wagons anyway. [Emberlite]

"You misunderstand me Mahdi. I do not worry that they've come here, I merely wanted to see if you all had people vanish recently" She trailed off as the chorus of howls began, and her eyes widened as concealed and temporary weapons were drawn. She rolled back off the box she'd been sitting on, rising to her feet with her hand clenching a long dagger previously concealed in her boot. "What is the meaning of this?" [Cithra]

As the spook disappears into the darkness, Kazeal grins warmly at Clarice's wink. "Oh, my dear. I fear you may misinterpret my cheer returned to you. I am devoted to another, and it is to them that your kindness will carry weight." He slowly lowers her hands back to her sides and continues in a disarmingly soothing tone, "Life on the road is hard. I know that well, but does something else trou-" Howls split the air as supposed tinkers drop their charade. Stiffening in surprise, Kazeal instinctively grasps Clarice's wrist and pulls her behind him. Quickly taking in his surroundings, he grasps the hilt of his sword with his other hand but only draws it an inch. Shouting towards the others he shouts, "Ho there! Halt or suffer the consequences!" [Kazeal]

Gaskan blinks in surprise at the sudden turn to hostility, and the utterly uncharacteristic appearance of arms within a band of the Travelling People. "Blood and Ashes!" he curses, and throws the still smoldering pipe at the nearest "Tinker" drawing a weapon. As soon as it clears his hand he snatches the gauntlets from his belt, dragging them on in a practiced motion, and claws for his sword. "Children of the Light! TO ARMS!" he bellows, the practiced voice of one accustomed to commanding troops carrying loudly. [Gaskan]

Deja crawled from wagon to wagon until she came to one of the ones she had noticed during her walk with Clarice. As she peeked out from under the wagon and observed the commotion erupting in the camp her eyebrows went up, she pulled her hat low and half cloak closely around her as she looked around to see if anyone was looking directly at her or the chained door she was near. She stealthily moved up to the chained door and considered it; even sniffing at it once, for a moment before putting her staff between the links and tried to torque the chain viciously in an attempt to break it and open the wagon to see inside. [Deja]

The men and women who pulled weapons out of the pit slam them against the edge of the pit causing the clay to fall away, revealing makeshift metal rods and axes. All attention to the newcomers is taken away as they move to the edge of the camp and begin shouting orders to each other in a slurred, slow manner of speaking. Orders to spread out and keep watch. Something about not losing a drop more to these monsters. Erek stands as the dagger is drawn and he takes a few steps back and pleads, "Please, do not hurt us." Clarice is taken from her seat, attempting to pull her arm away from the man who grabs her, shrieking, "Do not hurt me!" She shouts to Kazeal. The shouts continue as the armed men begin to pull into the woods, all six or seven who stand ready to keep Emberlite from wandering into the back though these men and women are unarmed. Deja, left alone for the moment, manages to rip the chain open to be met with young boys and girls, dirtied and clearly underfed, blink at the sudden light, what little there is. The man nearest to Gaskan is struck with the pipe and begins swiping at himself to put out embers.

As the chaos seems to be largely passed out to the commotion with the wolves she relaxed a little bit. Once the attention is off of them, she slowly moves to get out of the way of the 'tinkers' and slips behind the wagons if she is able to hide from their gaze during the confusion. She attempts to retrieve her glaive and Emberlites weapons from the horses, before anyone notices them.  [Karen]

"Don't you want to go help your friends out with whatever it is they're doing?" He asks with a widening grin, "Come now. The alternative is that I got to hurt you and between you, me, and the undertaker, nobody wants that. Well. Maybe the undertaker does but the man who has to dig the graves? He'll hate that." [Emberlite]

Over near the horses, Cithra's squad draws their weapons in response to Gaskan's call to arms. With about as much subtly as can be expected from the Hand of the Light, they are protecting the animals and hurrying to mount. Keller barks a quick order as the others start to circle up. "Child Sabine, get Cithra's horse to her. Run down anyone who tries to stop you.' Cithra maintains an aggressive stance, "Seeker. Explain. Now. Or else these wagons will be stained red with more than paint." [Cithra]

Seeing the newly-armed men and women rushing into the woods, he turns back to Clarice and attempts to imbue his voice with the same calm as before, "I do not harm people when I can help it. If you choose to follow me I will do my best to keep you away from any violence. The choice is entirely yours." At that, he sets off towards where he remembers seeing Lord Mantear and the Children. Sword still partially raised, his eyes rapidly search the area in front of him but he strains his ears for any indication that the woman is moving. If he passes any other tinkers, he urgently tells them he is a friend and will keep them from harm. [Kazeal]

Glancing around at the brightly clad people fanning out with their makeshift weapons, Gaskan hesitates, blade in hand. He has moved to Availya, and now stands back to back with the shorter woman, as she also scans the crowd, her own steel as bare as her teeth. "I haven't a clue what's going on here, but these are no proper Tinkers" He growls. He turns suddenly as his separated soldier comes galloping back into the group, still on his horse, and steel in hand. "Child Machyna, what did you see?" he barks. [Gaskan]

Deja's eyes widened as she studied the children in front of her, she slowly reached to her belt and pulled a pouch from it. She opened it revealing travel sticks of persevered meat which she slowly sat down on the floor followed by the canteen from the back of her belt. She gestured at the two items as she stepped back into the doorway and calmly began removing the cloth coverings from her staff, dropping them in the doorway as they were removed. The storm front roiled down the mountains building... building... The storm clouds rolled and crashed through the trees onto the silent lake. As the Stormfront Over a Mountain Lake reached the opposite shores a pair of golden eyes could be seen inside, as the clouds broke suddenly revealing a larger than life dark grey and tan wolf with odd silvery wooden like fangs. The call was sent out to her pack as she left the wagon, her face was hard, her mind broiling with rage as she stepped out into the main thoroughfare of the camp. Her staff gleamed in the light showing it's engravings as her eyes caught the fire pits glowing yellow in the darkness. She reached up and tossed her hat to the side as she looked to Karen and yelled, "They have children in chains!" Her voice was rough and edged with rage. [Deja]

Slowly backing away from Cithra but also looking around in genuine fear, he rushes his words out as quickly as he can, stammering on himself, "These men and women took our children hostage west of Ghealdan. They said they will let them go if we take them to Cairhien and back again, they would let them go. Let us go. Please, don't do anything. You put all of us in danger. You put yourself in danger. Violence is not the answer. They'll let us go, look, they don't care about you. They don't care about us." He cries out. Clarice, free from the man's grip, before saying, "You can't. You can't. Just leave our camp. Please." She whispers. The voices in the forest continue shouting to one another but they're closer now. It seems they have given up the hunt. The Tuatha'an men nearest the horses do nothing to stop the horses from being taken, indeed they spring to the nearest unlocked wagons and shove themselves inside. Around Gaskan, Karen, and Kazeal the scene is as follows. Many of the colourful clothed individuals have thrown themselves to the ground, the ones that have not retreated into the wagons. The rest, wielding weapons, have made a defensive perimeter around the camp. Deja can see that there are other wagons that are locked in a similar way. The ones nearest Emberlite continue to block his way but make no move to deal with him.

Karen is blocked by the men who were in Emberlites way. She takes a deep breath, and lays on her intimidation heavily. "Putting children in chains is violence." She steps towards the people standing in their way. "I am going to start needing answers NOW." She seemed to get more aggressive. "Who took your children? Who do these children belong to? If you think that we are going to walk away while you have children in chains stuffed in wagons, while you're pointing weapons at us? You are either naive or bold."

Emberlite shrugs his shoulders when they refuse to move out of his way and moves forward fists raised. "I wouldn't try to talk to them. I've been there and done that." He glances over at Karen before walking up to the blockade and begins swinging at them violently. He was fine with forcing his way to his weapons and freeing the children, whatever it took. [Emberlite]

Kazeal hears the declarations from Gaskan and the now rage-filled Deja and quickened his pace into a flat-out dash. Noting the noises in the woods coming closer, he finally draws the full length of his sword and holds it at the ready in front of him. As he approaches his companions he notices Emberlite begin to wade into the group, fists flying, and he charges in without slowing. Flowing from form to form with practiced ease, moves to cover his companions' flank. Over his shoulder he says "My lord, we'd best resolve matters here with haste. We'll need to turn to deal with the rest, who have weapons, and it just would not do to have these at our back." Sword whistling through the air, he does what he can to take limbs instead of life and merely subdue whomever he can.

At Deja's shout Gaskan's head swivels towards the woman. He hears the desperate plea, that the captured children are the Traveling People's own. "You heard her, Children, every bloody tinker with a weapon is a darkfriend, and under arrest! Do your duty!" To punctuate his own orders he immediately begins striding towards the nearest armed Tinker, sword held at the ready and eyes filled with cold hatred.  [Gaskan]

Seeing the rest of the chained wagons Deja's face only darkened more as she howled her rage into the night before bounding across the distance to the nearest wagon and repeating the process to open the door before moving onto the next wagon. A low rumbling growl was coming from the woman as she moved and her eyes glowed golden in the dancing light provided by the fire pits throughout the camp.  [Deja]

Erek begins to shake his head but when the violence begins to break out, he jumps to his feet. He seems torn between following the Way and benefiting from violence, even indirectly. Survival instincts win out and he begins shouting, "Keep to the Children of the Light or run to the wagons!" He cries out before moving to stand behind Cithra and Gaskan. Clarice is quick to join her husband, moving away from Kazeal who very clearly is moving to commit acts of violence. As Deja tears open this next wagon door, and she does, ripping it out from the hinges, there are women inside. Some as young as sixteen, others in their middle ages, two wearing white dresses dirtied, and a third wearing a white dress with multicoloured bands at the hem. She wore a silvery leash of some sort. Kazeal appears beside Emberlite and Karen and as Lord attempts to engage in fisticuffs, attempts to lop off their lips. He gets the arm of one of the men and he begins screaming but the rest are able to engage the three. Fists fly, legs sweep, these individuals dressed like tinkers seem quite capable. In the forest, most of them make their way back to watch the soldiers mobilize. Now their shouts are spoken and appear to be in a tongue not quite common but different enough to make it hard to understand.

Despite her best efforts, it was clear that these people were not going to be reasoned with. This became even more clear as Emberlite started swinging into the people in front of them. Grabbing the closest person blocking their path, Karen attempts to shoulder throw the person to the ground heavily. While Emberlite went for the jabs, she was happier to knock the wind out of someone. "These ones ain't tinkers!" She says as she throws another person. She doesn't seem all that concerned about the craziness that is happening around them. "If you are unarmed and not provoking us, then we are here to protect you. If you are here to take advantage of these people and putting children in chains? You are going to regret your choices." [Karen]

"You think I don't want to hurry up?" Emberlite asks Kazeal with an incredulous tone, watching as an arm is chopped off by the Captain of the Guard. "Appreciate the help." He manages to get those words out before getting popped in the face and stumbling back. Growling, Emberlite jumps forward and attempts to swing at throats, air wrapping around his hands to create gloves harder than stone. "These guys fight like the Aiel." He swears under his breath. With his newly armoured arms, invisible that they are, he begins pounding on limbs and trying to break bones. [Emberlite]

Cithra began to quickly move through the caravan quickly having Erek guide her towards the prisoners. As they approached the blockade, Cithra saw the fighting up ahead and rushed forward to the edge of the fray. "Karen, this will do you more good than I." Cithra tossed the still-sheathed broadsword to Karen and instead drew her dagger yet again and moved into the fray, focusing on getting through more than anything else. [Cithra]

Laying about himself with his blade, Kazeal is hard-put to keep the foes away from him and his newfound friends. Hummingbird Kisses the Honey Rose flows into Courtier Taps His Fan, to Ribbon in the Air. Fists fly towards him, and fly away just as quickly as the kiss of his blade separates them from limbs. Losing himself in the dance, Kazeal weaves through the fray like a seamstress at her loom. When a blow to the stomach knocks the win out of him, his sword collapses down upon the assailant. When a kick knocks him from his feet, he springs back up and into a thrust. After the third such blow, however, he calls out in a strained voice, "I can't do this much longer. Decision time."  [Kazeal]

As he approaches the nearest fake Tinker, Gaskan unceremoniously plants his foot, and throwing his weight forward drives his metal plated fist towards the man's face. He seems unwilling to immediately kill, obviously aiming for non-lethal incapacitation, but maintaining his guard in the event of counterattack. Availya and Norrim move to flank him on either side, arranging themselves so the three Children could put their years of mutual combat experience to use, covering and protecting one another. [Gaskan] 

Deja studied the women in the wagon for a moment before kneeling down next to the woman in a banded dress, "You are going to be fine. Just keep quiet for now and you will be free." She commented soothingly as she pulled a dagger out and cut the banded hem from the woman's dress and tossed it outside. She left the dagger with the collared woman and stepped back out of the wagon to begin making her way to where the group was yelling and fighting. She yelled to get Emberlite's attention before tossing the man her staff before she crashed into the side of the group. She wasn't trying to kill anyone, just put them on the ground and unwilling or unable to fight any further. [Deja]

The women plead with Deja, some nodding their heads, a few of them break into tears, the woman with the leash reaches down to pick up the knife that Deja leaves behind, hesitantly, and lifts it up testingly, almost as if afraid of it. Just like that, Deja springs off and crashes into the mess of bodies and blades. Blows are exchanged back and forth between the four but between Kazeal and Karen's blade, Cithra's dagger, and Deja's raw strength to match Emberlites strangely exotic martial arts, the six are overwhelmed and defeated, missing more limbs than they managed to keep. The original three engaging them are battered with bruises from face to chest but otherwise seem to have come away from the battle much better than their opponents. Erek throws up and staggers on ahead, guiding Cithra into the back of the prisoners where Deja had already begun working on freeing some of the victims. Gaskan's men work in unison with him and taking down their opponent is quick work, even despite the man's wielding of a rod to their fists. The foreign tongues become excited and they break back into the Tinker's camp though what they're saying is difficult to grasp. Something about the Blood is thrown about in a battlecry. Fortunately, most were only armed with their metal poles though they charged in. A quick count, there had to have been thirty... ten short than when they had gone into the woods, but more voices behind the wagons. In the forests, the barks and howls continue to fill the air. As Erek goes deeper into the back, more armed soldiers reveal themselves, haphazardly dressed in bright green armor in bits and pieces but wielding spears.

Karen heard Cithra's words and turned to grab the sword out of the air, as if her hand was summoning it to her. She removed the blade from the scabbard and flourished it once or twice before giving the fake tinkers a grin. ``What was your game plan here? Pick on children and pacifists because yer too weak to fight anyone stronger? Pathetic." She spat on the ground as she started to slash the attackers that were far too qualified to be tinker assailants. As the fighting starts to come to an end, she steps back and looks around at the carnage. "Sorry Erek about the mess. It is hard to watch people take advantage of the peace. We are here to make sure your children are safe, and so are the others."

Wielding the staff in his hand, he looks back at the mess of people coming in from both sides and sighs, "Nothing ever goes easy, does it?" He asks out loud before handing the staff back to Deja. He turns to the wagons and begins walking ever inwards to look for his weapons so the real fighting could begin. "They're probably using the Tuatha'an as cover to hide their movements. Most people leave them alone. Why they're locking up children is beyond me." He shouts back, "But if I find so much as a scratch on my wife, there's going to be a mess that will scar the memories of every living person here." [Emberlite]

Cithra rushed into the wagon with the prisoners, "Are you all alright? I'm here to get you out of here." She noticed the odd collar on one of the women and frowned. Her eyes followed it along the strange leash until it came to an end. "What in the light is that?" She picked up the end of the leash. "Can any of you fight? This is going to be a messy extraction, and I don't have enough horses for everyone... She trailed off as she tried to figure out how to open it. "My name is Cithra, who are you?" She tried to speak reassuringly, but her tone was a bit distracted by the strange device she was fussing with. [Cithra]

As the melee comes to a momentary pause, Kazeal surveys the carnage. Thinking quickly, he grabs whatever rags or clothing are at hand and begins to bind the hands and feet of the least-harmed foes he can find. If any resist, he bashes their skull with the pommel of his sword until they are unconscious. Still in a flurry of motion, he attempts to find and bring his horse closer, intending to load a captive up before the next group of enemies closes in. Failing that, he will fall back to take up a position with his allies. "Duty is heavier than a mountain Dorien, remember me." He closes his eyes, and when he opens them tranquility has settled upon his features as he makes his peace. [Kazeal]

Gaskan snarls as his fist connects with the first combatant's face, causing a satisfying crunch and a spray of bright red blood. He quickly sweeps the man's leg, causing him to fall on his already ruined face with a thud. As the haphazardly armed men retreat, and subsequently regroup Gaskan sheds all pretense of subduing his opponents. A brightly clad straggler with a pole lunges at him, and as sharply as if he were working the forms with his men, The Grapevine Twines twists the pole from the man's hand, although unlike in practice, the form is met not by a dull thud or a grunt of pain, but by a flood of crimson blood as his blade nearly severs the man's neck. "Child Machyna, Ride and bring reinforcements, I want everyone here now!" He bellows, breath coming ragged. Unordered, Availya shifts her position, re-orienting herself to the new two person arrangement, even as she works her own forms, leaving death and injury in her own wake. [Gaskan]

Deja accepted her staff back with a sheepish grin before she turned to see the larger group coming into the camp speaking an odd language she did not understand. She stood tall with her staff in her right hand as she studied this odd group for a long moment. She barely kicked sideways into the staff causing it to twirl up into the opposite hand as she stepped away from the others a bit, giving herself space and also providing an easy isolated target for the newcomers. She planted her feet and waited for them to come to her as she kept her staff loosely held in both hands in front of her. [Deja]

Emberlite is able to get to his horse with relative ease being entirely unattended. His blades are still present and he is able to retrieve them. As Cithra takes a look inside the wagon, she sees the women present. The woman originally had the dagger no longer carried it, her hand reaching for it in a panic when Cithra stepped in but as if an unseen force were gripping her arm, she could not get any closer to it. There is a chorus of nods and confirmations from the prisoners, frightened as they are, about their condition, all of them hesitated when asked if they could fight. Any other conversation is interrupted when the leash wearing woman begins to scream in a panic when Cithra picks it up at the opposite end, "Don't touch that! PLEASE! DON'T TOUCH IT!" She pleads quickly. Behind Cithra, a group of four spearmen show and one speaks, "You will surrender, now." Her voice is slurred and slow, hard to understand. The forests eventually quiet as the last of the soldiers enter into the glade and charge at Gaskan. Thirty to two, they start to close the distance, and as Child Machnyna starts to make their escape, lightning crashes down out of the clear sky, striking down beside them. Both them, the horse and all, go tumbling and while Machnya slowly gets up, bloodied from the bludgeoning of the horse, the horse is fried dead. Everybody standing near the blockade or where the blockade was, momentarily blinded by the light and feel a buzzing beneath their feet.

Karen while the fighting seemed to come to a momentary pause, she followed Emberlite to the horses to grab her glaive. She sheathed CIthra's sword into the scabbard and tried to get a handle on what was happening. She saw the lighting coming down and could hear the men telling Cithra to surrender. She cracked her knuckles loudly as she sprinted towards where Cithra was. "I don't think YOU understand. Surrender is not an option." She charged at the men with her blade, swirling it around in an aggressive manner. She attempted to cut down the spearmen as quickly as possible. 

Seeing the flash of lightning that improbably lands directly into the centre of the camp, Emberlite growls and begins climbing up one of the nearest wagons, getting to the top and taking a quick look around trying to locate the likely source. It had to be the One Power. He clips his scabbards back on and begins filling himself with Saidin, enhancing his senses, and searches. Where was she?  [Emberlite]

Cithra slowly turned around with her palms upward, just to watch Karen come barreling towards her with a new frenzy. "Seems surrender isn't an option I'm afraid." Cithra reached forward and pulled the door closed with a nervous grin. "It is time to go." Cithra tossed her dagger to someone near the back of the wagon. "And I don't think I can get that off of you without figuring out how it works." [Cithra]

After resuming his place, Kazeal jumps as lightning crashes down from what he thought had been a cloudless sky. Visibly jarred, he settles back into a ready stance, balanced on the balls of his feet, and waits to bravely meet his fate. [Kazeal]

Ears still ringing, and vision marred by purple after images, Gaskan drags himself back to his feet. "Filthy witches!" he spits. He has managed to retain his sword, but he now stares at the dozens of spearmen facing him and his two companions. "Availya... Norrim" he says, a thin trickle of blood escaping from the corner of his mouth. "May The Creator take you both home. No capitulation to the Shadow!" The last is a shout, his voice rising in volume and intensity as he lifts his sword, preparing to fight his last against the darkfriends before him. [Gaskan]

When the lightning struck the ground Deja rolled to the ground and came up on all fours with a surprised and stunned expression. She blinked a number of times to clear the blinding effects from the lightning and came to her feet. Deciding it wasn't a good idea to be in the open if lightning was coming down she moved to the side closer to the wagons when she saw Karen come charging across between their group and the group of enemies. Her eyes followed the lone woman for a moment with an incredulous look before turning back to the massed men coming towards them.  [Deja]

"It hurts me if someone other than those two women try to touch it. I've tried. Please." The woman begs Cithra again. Outside, the spearmen are forced to turn around as Karen engages them, glaive against the joint spears. The weapons clash back and forth and when Karen thinks she has an opening, one of them manages to deflect the blow. Lightning flashes from the sky again but this time strikes the centre of the thirty or so soldiers charging Gaskan close enough that Gaskan can feel the hit heat fly past him. From the forest, covered in blood too much to be only their own, the Inquisitors charge in to meet the handful of still standing soldiers, a pincer attack with Gaskan. "For the Blood!" The soldiers cry out as they're crashed upon in both directions. From the eastern side of the forest, three women walk forward, one wearing a collar, one wearing a bracelet, and the last staring in shock as the lightning destroys their own men. Inside the wagon, Cithra begins working on the hasp and pressing on it much to the bulging eyes of the woman but when she does not immediately feel pain, tears begin to well up in her eyes.

Karen was surprised that they were able to keep up with her. She calmed her thoughts and entered the void, clearing her frustrations and moving in sync with her weapon. She only thought of how to stop these spearmen and how to control the situation. Calling out to the one person who knew could keep them safe she shouts "Red, I think we need to make some big moves!"

"The Tuatha'an seem to have all but vanished inside their wagons..." Emberlite muses, his eyes drifting away from the soldiers that were about to engage Gaskan. He sees them. The woman with the necklace. Pulling in the One Power until he could feel it down on the tips of his toes, he creates an object of pure spirit and attempts to cram into all three of them. "I am making the big moves." Or he hoped it was them, standing so far away from the fight and watching it nonchalantly as they are. He jumps off the wagon and charges at them, blades flickering from their scabbards and slipping into each hand. If they could not channel, they would be helpless. He hoped. [Emberlite]

"So far you seem fine, so maybe just you can't touch it." Cithra tries to look for any signs about how this thing could possibly work or unclasp. "Do you know how they open it? If you've seen something, I might be able to mimic it. Or the end on this peg looks like it can be worn, how do they open it?" She grits her teeth trying everything she can, "The rest of you, try to get yourselves free. Things do not sound good out there, so we might be running soon." [Cithra]

As the lightning crashes down amongst the massed spearmen, Gaskan's face morphs from a solemn scowl to an almost mischievous smirk. "The Light blind those foul creatures!" He shouts, charging forward with his companions. They smash into the remaining spearmen as they recover, working the forms in coordination despite the blood and mud and soot caking their once snowy cloaks. As the three move, blades find flesh, and servants of the Shadow die, screaming in their odd accent as death takes them. [Gaskan]

Hardly jumping as more lightning shoots down from the empty heavens, Kazeal is beginning to step towards Gaskan and Keren as they clash with the new force. However, seeing Lord Mantear jump down from the wagon next to him and charge off, he freezes, uncharacteristically indecisive. We need allies. Mantear would seem to serve best, he thinks to himself. Nodding, he sets off in Emberlite's wake, the man's friendship more of an objective than whatever enemy he rushes to face.  [Kazeal]

As the lightning crashed down amongst the large group, Deja heard Karen yelling through ringing ears. Turning towards the sound she charged towards the wagon where she had seen the women prisoners. As she came around the wagon and saw Karen fighting the spearmen by herself, she charged straight in with a loud ringing howl as her staff came around and towards the first spearman she reached; Lioness Rampant, trying to break up their coordinated front towards Karen.  [Deja]

Karen continues to engage with the four spear ladies, taking nicks and cuts with every round of attacks and barely holding on, despite her superior skill the numbers simply make it a struggle. Suddenly, with the flash of lighting, Deja seemingly appears out of thin air and crashes into their rear with a pair of wolves. If attack did not destroy them, their distracted states did, allowing Karen to begin slashing at their backs. Cithra, inside of the wagon, hears the lightning strike and strike again and the three women in white shiver in fear. "We're going to die..." One of the girls cried, "We're all going to die." Suddenly, at the edge of her concentration, she manages to open the hasp. The collar falls free from the woman and she looks at it in shock before throwing her arms around Cithra. "Thank you, thank you, thank you." She begins kissing the woman's face in joy. Cithra manages to free them from their manacles and once free, the Accepted begins hurling bolts of sharpened ice at whatever person Cithra points at. One after another, the wolves and the bolts take down soldiers. Karen manages to make her way back to Gaskan now that her immediate issue is taken care of only to see him engaged in what could only be considered an execution. He had enough prisoners and the shellshocked enemies from the lightning put up very little fight. Blades fly as he works with the Questioners and his own men that flank them. Kazeal and Emberlite charge at the collared woman who can do nothing but scream; she is joined by the two who are with her when the soldiers that were protecting them are massacred by Kazeal and Emberlite's joint blade work. The two manage to slay a half dozen men working together, their opponents seemingly sluggish movements are less graceful and more confused than those they had faced up to this point. Finally, they knock on the three women. All in all, around fifty men were slain, ten were held prisoner, many of them were found half eaten in the forest. There are a total of sixty prisoners, each one underfed, most of them young, and a few of them kidnapped straight from the Embassy.