Private Tales Dangerous Ground

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Sierra

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Eyes drifted down to that open pack of his. The bottle of booze. Then back up to his face, holding his gaze.

Measuring.

"I can sense emotions of others. Manipulate them, well, most of them." A knowing, quiet look in reference back to earlier that night. When she'd tried to make him feel apathetic and it hadn't worked. "From what I've sensed from you, you've given me no reason not to trust you. Not to mention your actions...," voice trailed off, pondering.

"As long as you don't give me a reason not to, yes, I trust you Cillian." She didn't sleep much, either. But she found herself wanting to close her eyes. Even if it was only to rest. She didn't want any fatigue on her part jeopardizing getting these kids to safety and well away from the walls of Vel Anir.

She stood slowly and clasped a hand gently on his shoulder as she went by.

"Wake me if you need a booze break," her eyes lit with something lighter as she turned away and would go curl beneath the tent next to Kristine's slumbering form. She kept her knives on and left her quiver and bow within reach.
 
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Cillian

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Cillian gave the lass a two fingered half hearted salute before settling back down into his seat.

There's a woman that would burn you from the inside out, Cillian, but I'll be damned if I wouldn't enjoy it. He shook his head in amusement but his eyes didn't leave her retreating form until she disappeared into the tent. He gave a low whistle then turned back to the view in front of him.

From where he was sat he had a good enough view of both tents and the horses who had laid down to rest. He smiled at the scene. It wasn't what he had been expecting this night but it was a pleasant turn of events. Life on the road could be quite monotonous and it was times like this - meeting new people, being side tracked onto some crazy adventure - that Cillian really loved about his life.

The hours stretched on and in that time he took out a battered book, a copy of Jorah in Faerieland, to entertain himself. He didn't think there would be much trouble through the night. Even the Brownies lost interest at some point and moved on, no doubt towards the city, to harass some humans in their usual mischievous manner. He was just beginning to think about breakfast when he heard the misplaced foot of someone stepping on a branch. He paused and then slowly rose to his feet, reaching for his blade.

"Sierra," he spoke softly, having moved slowly over to the tent with his eyes still on the forest around them.
 
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Sierra

#edgelord
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Gray-blue eyes snapped open. She'd always been a light sleeper and that tingle that something felt off from someone else feeling it hit even before Cillian said her name. Her movements were controlled and quiet as she lifted her head, hands slipping around her bow and quiver.

She stood with the fluid and grace of a Rathtic tiger.

Kristine shifted in her sleep, clutching tightly at the flower Cillian had given her earlier but she didn't wake.

The dreadlord's eyes locked onto the fae male as she mouthed one word.

"Where?"
 
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Cillian

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Cillian nodded with his head in the direction the sound had come from. It was over near a large tree that surrounded the little clearing. This was was bigger than the rest though with a trunk that was almost double as wide as he was broad. Its branches reached over the little clearing and despite the time of year as it was an evergreen it had plenty of foliage. For all they knew the person in question could have been watching their little group for hours.

"I dinnae know how many there are, but they're not fae," he kept his voice nice and low but his golden eyes tracked every shadow. If there weren't sleeping children he would call out to the figures stalking the camp. Perhaps a conflict could be avoided.

"What are tae feelin'?" if it was mere curiosity perhaps it could still be...
 
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Sierra

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Sierra frowned and stepped past the ring of the fire that had died out. An arrow was knocked to the bow but she kept it pointed downward. Shoulders remained tense.

"Curiosity...anger," she whispered back, keeping her eyes on the shadows between the trees.

"It's...," her gaze narrowed as a whhhssssssshhhhhhhhhhp sound echoed through the air and a dagger went flying, bouncing off the invisible walls of the wards. The dagger hadn't been aimed at her or Cillian. They were testing the wards. Testing the weak spots.

"Shit...elves," Sierra raised her bow and stepped to the threshold. She looked at Cillian. "Do you have my back?" She'd ask before she stepped beyond the wards. She didn't want to risk the elves bringing down the wards. She'd rather face them head-on so Jacob and Kristine could stay safe.
 
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Cillian

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Cillian's brows rose as the dagger flew towards them and bounced off the ward. The air rippled in front of them, a golden shimmer running over the whole dome, before it faded back to invisible. They would have a hard time breaking through the old magic but he didn't doubt their dedication in trying. Elves were just as long living as fae and the pair had been at war enough times before that they might have learnt some ways to counter his specific magics. He stepped carefully after the Dreadlord towards the edge having had the same thought as she about the children being kept safe.

"Of course lass," his golden gaze flickered to her for a brief moment before to the shadows beyond. "T'would be a shame after all for that back to get ruined," he threw her a smirk then stepped outside of the bubble.
 
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Sierra

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"Smartass," she muttered without taking her eyes off the woods.

There was so much hatred she sensed now it was stifling. "There are at least four of them," she whispered, bow up now. She felt concentration and..," watchout," she had time for one warning as she dove, took a knee and rolled as a wave of magic hit the air where she'd just been, freezing the bushes and trees.

She faltered for a moment. Not because of the magic. Not because of the attack. But because it reminded her of Hal. Two elves darted from the bush toward them. One with a thin but strong looking sword. The other she could feel the magic building again.
 
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Cillian

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Cillian dove in the opposite direction to Sierra at her words. It was an unthinking action really, he had trusted her and simply acted upon it. Turns out it had saved his bacon for the ground was covered in frost where they had been standing a moment before. He just about had enough time to roll to his feet and bring his sword up to meet the oncoming blade. The two swords let out a song followed by a large blast of energy that rippled outwards. Trees swayed under the force, the other elf stumbled, grass was flattened, and for a moment disbelief contorted the elves face.

"I told ye..." he pushed the elf back who stumbled. "We're not the enemy. Would an enemy --" he didn't get to finish as one of the two who had been absent until now leapt down from the branches. One, a young woman, landed on Cillian's back with a nasty looking dagger aiming for his throat. It was only by a miracle he managed to catch her wrist and flip her forward onto her back in the dirt that he didn't end up with a ruby smile across his neck.

"Would ye just listen?!"
 
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Sierra

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Whatever Cillian had done saved her ass from getting frozen to the spot. She re-focused and loosed an arrow into the elf with the ice magic. It's sharp point buried into the elf's thigh.

He snarled, "BITCH!" Curling his hand into a fist he hurled that magic at her again and she lunged. But she'd was too slow. She felt one of her boots freeze up. Teeth grit as the burn of the ice nipped at her socked-foot on the other side.

"We're just trying to pass through," she growled out, shifting the weight to her unfrozen boot. Taking a steadying breath, she cast her magic outward trying to snuff out their anger, violence, and feelings of...revenge like extinguishing a candle.
 
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Cillian

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"Aye, see, just like the lass said we're passing through," Cillian raised his hands though his sword still dangled from one. He ensured it pointed down, harmless and limp, towards the ground though. The elf with a blade similar to his gave him another guarded look and eyed up the blade for the third time as though unsure of how it could have gotten into his hands.

"Dreadlords don't just pass through," the elf who Cilli had unceremoniously deposited on her back spoke up as her partner pulled her to his feet. Their similiarities suggested a close relation of sorts - perhaps brother and sister? It was always so hard to tell with elves.

"He is no Dreadlord, Dreadlords cannot carry a Marked blade," the fellow bladsmaster said slowly before straightening up and sheathing his sword.

"Aye, see that's right, and neither are those 'ere kids - you would hurt innocents?" the woman's face twisted in anger as if even suggesting such a thing was horrific. Before she could open her mouth Cillian ploughed on whilst similarly sheathing his blade. "We're takin' 'em somewhere safe, away from 'ere."
 
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Sierra

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Sierra winced as she tried shifting her frozen foot. Her toes barely managed to flex. Jaw clenched as she forced herself to lower her bow. Arrow went back in her quiver. Apparently this fae had a silver tongue as well. The elves were actually listening. The fourth that had been hiding finally dropped from the trees and landed lightly next to his companion with the arrow in his thigh.

He had bright russet hair.

"What about her? Looks, smells, acts like a dreadlord." Taking some of the weight of his companion, he worked the arrow out and began using some kind of healing magic.

Sierra held her hands passively in front of her.

"I'm not here as a dreadlord. What my companion said," chin nodded to Cillian, "is true. It's all about those kids. Don't take your anger out on them." With a breath, she began retreating her magic as she felt the emotions of the elves shift. There was still mistrust. A little wonder toward Cillian. Curiosity.

There was a leveling gaze from the one she shot as his nostrils flared. His companion whispered something in his pointed ear that Sierra missed. His eyes shifted to Cillian. "Do not follow this river the rest of the way." A warning and temporary pardon in his tone.
 
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Cillian

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It seemed the immediate danger had passed. Cilli let out a slow, relieved breath and hoped it didn't show.

"Aye, I understand," he nodded solemnly and then grimaced. It would probably divert their journey and involve another day but it could be done and would be if it avoided more ambushes like this one. Not all elves would pay attention to their pleas for a truce. There was a pregnant pause as they looked one another over, casting Sierra wary glances and looking over Cillian as though he were a puzzle to solve. Eventually he began to move over to Sierra nice and slow so as to appear as unthreatening as possible. He crouched down and inspected her foot. With a few quiet words in a language thought dead and gone an Age past, the ice began to melt.

"Skřítek," the swords master breathed, his eyes widening. Cillian stood and nodded slowly to the man who clasped a hand over his chest and bowed suddenly. The others followed suit. He cleared his throat awkwardly.

"Aye, enough o' that, enough," he waved his hand and then glanced back to the slumbering kids. "Will ye leave us alone now? Ye know we mean no harm," the elves exchanged looks and then nodded slowly. With another little bow and murmurs of wishes for a safe journey they blended back into the forest.
 
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Sierra

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"You don't have to..," she whispered down to him and found a hand brushing against his shoulder for balance as he crouched down. But before she could finish her protest she felt that burst of magic. The smell like lightning before it struck flared in her nose. She managed to school her features though her eyes widened. Her hand dropped from his shoulder as he stood.

Her toes flexed and her foot felt...fine.

She waited a long moment until after the elves had disappeared and turned to Cillian.

"Didn't realize I was traveling with some sort of royalty. Should I start calling you, Your Grace?" She didn't pry or ask him questions. She wanted to keep things light. And if he wanted to tell her anything, he would.

"Sierra," Kristine had wandered to the edge of the wards. Her blonde hair tousled and a thumb now stuck sharply between two lips. "I'm hungry."

A lingering look was cast upon Cillian before she turned and walked back to Kristine, scooping her up with the ease a practice of a mother. "Well, luckily for you it's breakfast time. How about some eggs and toast?" Kristine nodded, still blinking back sleep from her eyes.

A loud yawn resounded from the wooden shelter Cillian had erected. "Did someone say food?" Jacob's head perked up.
 
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Cillian

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"Is no-"

Cillian began to explain, or at least attempt to though how he would quite manage that he wasn't entirely sure, when they were interrupted by the pitter patter of tiny feet. He pressed his lips into a thin line and watched as her eyes grazed over him in that odd manner she had. It was like she was looking beyond him to what lay beneath and she hadn't quite decided whether she liked what she saw there. He couldn't say he would blame her if that were the case. He might have been prouder of the man he was today but there were still corners of his being even he didn't think could be every fully cleaned out.

He took a breath and with one final look to the forest followed Sierra back towards the fire. He ended up passing by the wooden tent just as the lad stepped out. He smirked and ruffled the kids hair as he past before continuing on to the fire.

"Aye food and then we'll be on the road again," he squatted down beside the flame and carefully built it back up ensuring there was a flat surface on which to cook.
 
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Sierra

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Sierra set Kristine down and went over to the pacs. She began slicing some of the bread and pulled out some eggs. Turning, her hands fell to her hips. "Why don't you two see if Cilliain will take you down to the river for a quick wash before breakfast?"

"Why?" Jacob tipped his head back, running a small hand beneath his nose. "I'm not a baby." The boy grumbled.

"Because maybe he'll be able to point out some water sprites." Sierra didn't know if they even existed but it was enough to make the boy whirl and turn to Cillian expectantly.

"Really?" Jacob asked. Kristine wandered over and held out a small grabby-hand to Cillian, her thumb still stuck firmly in her mouth. Sierra needed some goddamned coffee.
 
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Cillian

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Cillian gave Sierra a look that a condemned man would give his sentencer. He looked first at the eager lad with his round eyes and his barely contained and, Cillian noted bitterly, returned childish energy. Then his golden eyes fell upon the girl with her outstretched hand and the flower that had been a gift tucked into her hair. With a deep, theatrical sigh he sighed and stroked a hand through his beard.

"Water sprites, aye?" his brows pulled down into a frown which had the boy practically bouncing onto the tip of his toes. For if Cillian sounded worried about meeting them then they must be dangerous and danger was the code every young lad liked to live by. Some, like Cillian, didn't grow out of it until they were dead and buried or they hit their eight century. "Well they're tricksy li'le things Master Jacob, ye'll have to help me protect lil Kristine 'ere, they do like pretty little maidens who wan' tae be mermaids," he hoisted the girl up and onto his shoulders and then set off with the two kids down to the shore to give Sierra a quiet moment to enjoy her coffee.

He just hoped she saved him some.
 
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Sierra

#edgelord
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She fought back a grin and lost at his retreating form. Jacob was peppering him with questions and waving a stick. Kristine remained quiet and pensive, though quite content upon the fae's shoulders. With a shake of her head and one last look, she went about getting a kettle on and within minutes, poured herself a piping mug of coffee. The sunrise was already underway, its bright light dappling among the trees and glittering off the distance on the water where Cillian was with the children.

With the elves, she just didn't trust to let them go off on their own. No chance in taking an unnecessary risk with trolls knew what else was out there.

Unfortunately for them all, Sierra wasn't the best of cooks. Tended to happen when one was training for battle and leading campaigns. Or learning battle strategy with a nose buried in scrolls.

Operating on sips of coffee, she burned the first piece of bread quite thoroughly. Cursing quietly, she flipped it off the grill area and tried to bury her mistake in the dirt with her boot as she worked on not over-cooking the eggs.
 
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Cillian

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Cillian wished he had had a cup of coffee before being sent on operation entertainment. The kids were ruthless.

Water sprites did in deed inhabit rivers. In fact every river, as he explained, had a Goddess of sorts who then had her own court which was made up of sprites, nymphs, merfolk and more. The kids were enraptured with the story and he was mildly impressed they had enough patience in order to give the correct offerings to those who called the river their home. It didn't last long of course but the water folk were a lot trickier to call upon than his own magic. After what felt like a lifetime but was in fact closer to ten minutes one of the sprites appeared and the kids erupted into gleeful shouts.

"Aye now we don' wanna spook 'er!" he tried to calm them but Jacob was already splashing into the water. In fairness to the sprite she was relatively calm though it might have been more to do with her lecherous looks towards Cillian than any real care for children. It was a good half an hour before all three of them trapesed back to the camp soaking wet but definitely clean.

Cillian squelched his way to the coffee pot as the kids began babbling excitedly about mermaids.
 
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Sierra

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"Oh you did see one?" Sierra asked as Jacob bounced over to her and gave her a wet hug. She was smart to set her coffee down before she was tackled. A part of the burned toast peaked out of the dirt and grass at the bottom of her feet. She was careful to put her boot over it.

"Well, a sprite and she had GREEN HAIR!" Jacob exclaimed, the louder of the two by far. Sierra handed a plate to Jacob that only had slightly burnt toast and a fried egg. She handed another off to Kristine who finally pulled her thumb free from her mouth.

"She was lovely," Kristine said quietly.

Sierra turned as Jacob released her and wordlessly handed an empty mug to Cillian mouthing, 'thank you.' She grabbed a plate for herself. Ever honest, Jacob loudly announced, "This toast doesn't taste like mum makes it."

"I'm sure it doesn't," Sierra sat across the fire from the children. "Just eat up. I'm not sure when we'll be able to stop again and you'll have to climb back in those barrels just in case." Jacob groaned and Kristine gulped. But they were too close to Vel Anir still. She wouldn't risk it.
 
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Cillian

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Cillian cradled the mug in his hands and sat back down with a relieved sigh. Coffee was a gift from the Gods and nobody could convince him otherwise, that was for sure. He took a tentative sip but the temperature was just right and he ended up gulping it down like a thirsty, dying man. The second cup he savoured more with smaller sips. Kristine tottered over to him with her plate and offered it up to him. The leprechaun gave her a charming smile that had the girl blushing and twisting to and fro in an equally disarmingly adorable manner.

"Alright," he sighed and picked her up, sitting her on his knee. She leaned back against him as he set the plate on her lap and carefully cut it up into tiny bits for her. In her chubby little hands she picked up the bite sized pieces and slowly ate, though every now and then she would turn and feed a bit to Cillian.

His eyes turned to Sierra.

"Do they really need to be in tae barrels? Maybe if we re-rig and ye all join me on my cart..."
 
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Sierra

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She shoved some of the fried egg and toast into her mouth. Not horribly bad. A thoughtful look to Cillian. A small smile at Kristine.

Jacob looked between the two and with a mouthful begged, "Yeah can we? Can we? Pleasepleasepleaseplease...,"

Sierra sighed and gave Cillian a mildly accusatory look. Sierra took another careful bite of eggs and pointed the end of her fork from one child to another, stopping with the biggest child of the group: Cillian.

"If we can all act the part of a family I think it just might work."

Jacob poked at his plate and looked back up. The fire was drying him nicely. At least he wouldn't be cold for the journey, even if they were going further south. When the wind blew, it wasn't a warm wind. "So that means I have to pretend you're my mom and he's my dad? And she's my sister?"

Sierra nodded and swallowed down another mouthful of toast.

A very mischievous look crossed Jacob's face as he next asked, "Does that mean you two will be KISSING?" He made smooching noises with his lips with a wild devil of a grin on his face, followed by a giggle. Kristine blushed and giggled too.
 
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Cillian

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Cillian choked on the bit of egg Kristine had just put in his mouth. It didn't help it was dry and flavourless so it got lodged there and took a good thumping to dislodge it. A grimace passed his face for a bare moment and he made a mental note not to let Sierra near the cooking ever again. Next time, she could occupy the kids whilst he sorted the food out. Everyone would be much better off. Once he had removed the imminent threat of death by badly fried egg and burnt toast, he threw Sierra a look the lad would one day try and practise himself in the mirror. The look said a lot of very different things than the ones which came out of his mouth.

"Ah ye think that's funny de ye lass?" he looked down at the young girl in his arms who was grinning away. "Wells I believe tha' calls for a ticklin'!" he was careful to set the plate down before launching into the assault on Kristine who squealed and writhed in between fits of giggles. He ended up pulling up her shirt to reveal her tummy and blowing multiple raspberries on it until she was struggling to breathe. Jacob was laughing too but he stopped when Cillian looked up.

"Aye dinnae think ye got away with it lad!" Cillian launched to his feet. Jacob yelled and ran. The leprechaun gave chase with Kristine flung dramatically over one shoulder. He picked up the lad and holding him in place with one arm against his shoulder began the raspberry assault on him too.
 
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Sierra

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Sierra narrowed her eyes on the fae male as he nearly choked on her food. Lips parted, about to offer a question when he gave her that look. It caused something to stir within her that hadn't in a long time. And for a moment, she saw a set of crisp blue eyes looking at her. The blue were ghostly whereas the gold were warm and merry. Her grip tightened on her fork and her jaw clenched even as the children burst into fits of giggles.

Looked like the coffee worked on one of them at least.

Slowly, the tension she'd been holding began to ease out. Head shook at the group. "Careful," she called out to Cillian. "Don't want them to lose their breakfast as soon as they got it down." A ghost of a smile on her lips as she finished her coffee and breakfast and began clearing up the plates and packing away the camp. It was time to get on the road. The further they got from the walls of Vel Anir the better she'd feel.

As she was packing up, she soon felt a small tug on her tunic. Kristine gazed up at her, face still red from all that giggling and asked, "Miss Sierra, when will I get to see my mommy?" Sierra took a knee so she could be eye-level with Kristine and brushed some of the girl's blonde hair tenderly back from her face.

"Probably not for a few weeks until we can get you set up with some nice people. But I'll make sure she can get to you as soon as possible." Kristine's lower lip trembled but she nodded. Sierra always had to get families out in shifts. Vel Anir took a detailed census every year for a reason.
 
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Cillian

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Cillian decided to keep the lad busy to burn off some more of his energy before their trip to cajoled him into helping take down the wooden tent they had slept in for the night. As they dismantled it he explained the importance of clearing up a camp in order to stop people from tracking them afterwards. Jacob of course found this a thrilling game and began to spin a wild yarn about who it was that was stalking the little group and why they were on the run in the first place. Sierra - 'mum' - had worked in a Lords House and the Lord had fallen in love with her. Like the epic hero Cillian had been forced to kill him to keep his love and now their family were running from the law.

"And then-!" the boy exclaimed as he jumped onto the wagon he had been helping Cillian hitch to FrauFrau. "You will dual the Lord who survived and kill him good," he made a few stabbing motions with his stick then grinned. Cillian chuckled as he tied Sierra's horse to the wagon too.

"Aye that sounds like ah grand tale, lad. Now settle down if ye gonna sit up front for a bit."
 
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Sierra

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Jacob heaved in lungful of air and tipped his head to the sky. “Ahhhhyes. All for love.” Panting his boyish grin spread on his face as he scrambled onto the cart and up front. He wiggled in his seat.

Sierra and Kristine carried the rest of the camp supplies up and loaded them into the joined carts. Scooping up Kristine, Sierra gave the girl an apple from her pack and wandered over to their horses now strapped side by side. “Can I give your fluffy horsey a treat?” Sierra held her up so she could reach. But Kristine’s attention was focused between Cillian and the horse.

Sierra’s mare shook her head in a silent protest.

“You’ll get the next one,” Sierra whispered a promise. Eyes shifted to the fae. “We’ll have to come up with a tad more believable tale for the road, dear.” That last word was as dry as the last of the fall leaves holding out on the trees around them.
 
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