[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai found the little green man’s implication equal parts intrusive and humorous. It became apparent then that the goblin knew who he was, knew who the boy and his mother really were, and that this ruse was just a game between them. He would play along for now however and smiled.[+royalblue “Oh please, I haven’t been in paid since the day we left – do you think they just carry around bags of gold for paying me?”] Sure enough if he had still been General and Duke, he would have amassed some fortune in the last seven or so years. But if they were successful here, perhaps Augustine would see fit to reward him handsomely? A King’s ransom perhaps?
Knowing the wolf-rider would not be sated with such a response he went on,[+royalblue “I won’t deny it has been a different and certainly difficult time. I had never spent longer than a week or so away from Wistina and all of a sudden I am away for so many years.”] It was not something he had considered before they began to make their way back, but the homesick knot in his chest was ever present. He was home in a sense but he had to go to his true home soon.
[+royalblue “I think I’m not too different to yourself. You aren’t being paid to look after these people,”] he nodded to the caravan in front of them,[+royalblue “you do so because you’re a little lost and like to be productive. That and you find that these are the only people who understand and accept you for the degenerate and critically flawed being you are.”] He was staring down at his horses mane now, his free hand absently patting the steed as they continued on. It did take him a moment to look aside however and offer a pensive grin.[+royalblue “Clearly I am talking about myself when I say that. For the most part you seem quite civil and kind; if not a little blunt and rude to my Aurora.”] She was just as to the point but he found that more endearing in her than others.
Ool snatched the container from the air and tucked it back safely into his bag. He had all sorts of things like that squirrelled away in there and at one point it had even been organized, but that had long since fell to pieces. Perhaps when he found a moment’s peace he would find a new system for it all. If things kept going like they were, he would probably need to. [+sienna “You are welcome.”] He nodded as he accepted the man’s thanks, but Ool’s eyes lingered on the contents of his bag for a bit longer before looking back up to the elfin man.
As for the comment about his people and getting them where they needed to go, Ool couldn’t help but agree. [+sienna “You and me both.”] Their motivations might have been different, but they wanted the same thing: for the people of Preth to be safely settled in the town they would soon call home. It didn’t really matter to the goblin why Nicolai was doing this, just so long as it got done in a timely manner.
There seemed to be a look of reminiscence in the elf’s eyes as he mentioned the safety of the others. Ool followed it over to Aurora and her child. [+sienna “You sure are one dedicated bodyguard. They must be paying a king’s ransom to keep you around.”] There was clearly more going on here, which was why he was probing for information. It was strange that a simple guard would follow their employer across the boarder and back again. He didn’t find it likely, especially given the fact that they supposedly lost their land and livelihood.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The praise was not expected, neither from child nor parent, as in the past there had been little thanks to go around. That was not to say he hadn't committed actions against both that may over shadow any positives he did. But Nicolai decided against looking smug or annoyed and instead simply doffed his head to the boy.
The boys curiosity as to his well being was humorous though his helmet hid his amusement. Memories of the past came back and he wondered if perhaps his mother would enquire too, especially given he was actively moving his arm to lessen the ache. But Töka was not as humble as Nicolai and interjected with nonchalance of how easy the fight had been. Again the helmet saved the others seeing violet eyes roll with derision and he let them talk between themselves as he went about removing it. He was careful to lift it off in a certain manner to avoid the scars astride his head.
Brushing his free hand up and through his hair he closed his eyes for just a moment, feeling rather drained now his adrenaline had fallen away and the injury began to throb more. He paid no attention to Augustine rounding everyone up to get them moving again, though as the others moved off he swung his horse around toward the back to retake his place.
As they began to ride on he antagonised the wound, poking and prodding here and there that must have brought soft hisses and muttered noises as soon Ool was offering him a soothing balm that he managed to catch handily – no small feat given its small nature. Whilst it could have been a ruse he decided to take him at his word and trust the little man and his wolf now. If he knew who he was then the herb infused cream could easily be poison. But then, he felt the little goblin would have done something much sooner and more swiftly than this.[+royalblue “Thank you.”] He remarked as he applied to salve.
With it suitably covered and wrapped in a rough bandage – just a cleaner rag than the one used to wipe his sword of blood – he dropped the small glass container down into the goblins waiting hand.[+royalblue “Two days, two fights. Not exactly a homecoming I wished for.”] He remarked with a rueful smile as he looked on ahead.[+royalblue “Still, at least they are okay.”] Although he gestured to the caravan his eyes wandered to Augustine and Florence, holding there a few seconds longer.[+royalblue “I know I'll feel better once your group is safe in the next town. Good deal easier to ride away than fight things out, but not so easy to do with a large cart and infirm passengers to guard.”] It was not a swipe at Ool or his people of Preth, rather a tactical remark.
Aside from a couple of men who charged in around Nicolai, the main group had not seen much action. They remained unscathed. [+coral “Everyone here is fine, good job holding the front... Thanks.”] Augustine was sure the one time general knew how well he had done and didn’t really need to hear it from him, but it was probably best for the blond to get into the habit of acknowledging and thanking those who helped him. [+coral “Are you and Töka alright?”] They were the ones saw any real danger.
The dark haired young woman answered back before her mentor had a chance, and snarkily at that. [+red “Don’t make me laugh, I wouldn’t even count that as a training exercise. Those idiots couldn’t even touch us.”] She sneered, seemingly offended to have someone inquire after her wellbeing. Augustine merely rolled his eyes and brought his attention back to the others. He still wasn’t very good at handling her, especially when she was like that.
Florence nodded as Nicolai spoke her thoughts aloud. It was unlikely to be a problem within the scope of their current trip to the next town over, but it was definitely something they would need to think about and be ready for later on. What worried her the most was that there was no way of knowing if any of these groups might have connections to the Taken. Surely this one, as pitiful as it was, did not. But it may be a problem they encountered later if they were not careful. But for now with all these strangers around, she kept that to herself.
Marko, silent as always, knew he shouldn’t be quite so eager to hear that they would be faced with battle again, but he was. It was not some drive for bloodlust, but more that he wanted his chance to try again. Their first battle in the pass had gone horrifically for him, and while he knew no one here, aside from maybe Töka, was judging him for that; he still wanted to prove that he could be relied upon when the time came. He thought this might be his chance, but the one solid swing he got on a foe from atop his horse did not bring him the feeling of relief and redemption he was hoping for. Now he was left with this somewhat twisted feeling inside himself: a yearning for confrontation that he knew was not quite right.
As Florence was about to call the others to gather so they might move on, her son surprised her by beating her to the punch. He really was out to show some initiative today. Her eyes slipped over to Nicolai as she wondered if it was a result of the two’s conversation that brought out this determination in her boy. Overall she was happy about it, but hoped he would not take it too far. He still had a lot to learn.
On the move once more, the party fell back into position. Now that they had a better vantage and were not being forced together by the sharp stone walls of that ravine, they were able to spread out some. It felt like they could breathe again. Ool waited until they had put some distance between themselves and the scene of the attack before he moved back in near Nicolai. The goblin was a medic, so he had sharp eyes for the ailing. He saw how the elf winced and though he was sure it was not much, he felt the need to take action regardless. He wasn’t useful for much else so he might as well. Riffling through his bag, he located a small glass jar. The container fit in his palm, so it would probably seem minuscule to the purple eyed man. [+sienna “Here, put some of this on your arm. It will keep the infection out.”] As soon as their eyes locked he tossed the sealed bottle towards the elf. Inside was a greasy sort of balm with bits of herbs in it. It looked rather nasty, but smelled pleasantly earthy.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai's second sweep back at the line now dealing with Töka's surprise arrival was more successful. Several jumped aside having seen their friend trampled the first time, and only paused momentarily to grasp at the man on the ground before dragging him with them away from the fight. One or two swung at him, turning and lashing out in a panic and for the most part Nicolai deflected them with ease before cutting down on them. When he emerged out the other side he had downed two more and with his fiery accomplice knocking back several more there was no further resistance.
Augustine did well to get everyone going, moving them down the path and away from the bodies and smell of iron in the air. Using his horse as a screen, noting a few of their attackers lingering close to a copse of trees, Nicolai paced back and forth several times to make sure no counter was made. He needn't have bothered though as the only thing these men did once he began to leave was to seize upon their former allies and pilfer anything of any worth – he was quite sure he spotted one man stealing a pair of boots from a still dying figure.
Moving after the others they weren't too far away as he rode up he could see the caravan folk were huddling together to comfort one another. His mauve eyes looked to Florence first though progressed through the others one by one.[+royalblue “Are we all okay?”] He asked as he drew a rag from his saddle, wiping down the blade from atop his horse though he did wince lightly as he turned to place it away in his scabbard. Somewhere along the way he had been cut along the arm, only shallow and superficial, but like a cut from paper and mingling with the sweat of battle it was an annoyance he could do without. Shaking his arm and flexing his fingers he ignored it as he look back to Florence.
The two groups had separated a little to look over their respective kin. Keeping closer to the emerald eyed mother he nodded back the way they had come.[+royalblue “Border bandits are often the weakest and least organised, trying to make quick coin from small groups, but from what Ool says they are being allowed to roam free by Vincent, meaning there's likely stronger opposition further inland.”] She was a bright woman who had fought her own insurgency, so she would know this, but it would clue in the younger members and made Nicolai feel somewhat important and more useful than just a sword.
The dwindling groups flanking them were holding up better than the main one without the head to head combat, but by the time Nicolai was charging in for the second time, the mass of men standing in their way began to disperse. For the most part they were fleeing, some being pushed out of the way by the horse, with only couple stepping back only so they had the room to fight back. There were exactly three of those, but with Töka on the job, they weren’t standing their ground long. One of them managed a close swipe at her, but surprisingly light on her feet the woman danced around it gleefully before swooping back in.
Once the first and most looming threat was out of the way Augustine called for everyone else to start moving again. They needed to get on equal footing with their attackers, though it did not look like this fight was going to last much longer.
Losing their advantage, the few that remained at the edges of the divide began to make off as well, slinging curses as they went. It was amazing that such a group was able to hold together for so long. Much like the bandits in the pass they had taken a numbers approach for holding their territory and terrorizing the locals. That meant they would not be too hard to clear out when the time came, but Florence worried that a group this far out toward the boarder might not be the best example of what was to come. This area was not exactly prime real estate. More organized groups might control more profitable areas outside of the main cities, in fact that was likely, but for now they would focus on the here and now.
Officially out of the canyon and with the enemy scattered to the wind, Augustine took the others a bit farther away from the carnage before asking if everyone was okay. He knew none of the townspeople had been hit, but he wasn’t sure how used to violence they were. Samantha and Quinn were particularly shaken, but tight-knit group was already working to calm them, which was good because he wouldn’t have known how to do so himself. He paid close attention, hoping he might be able to learn something from it.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Whilst his initial hope of scaring off as many of the enemy with a sudden attack had been fruitful for Nicolai the charge forward had driven some to reluctance. If he had given them a moment to take in the sight of their dead comrade and let the fear build then a number may have voluntarily turned and made a break for the treeline not far away from the ravine. Yet in charging at them they had fallen on their instincts which was to draw weapons and face the threat. These tactical mistakes were seen in the blink of an eye but likewise it was too late to counter and change.
The stallions chest struck hard into one of the men as he galloped the beast in, the shock of the hit resonating up his right hand that held the reins. His left hand had drawn his sword across his body and with a somewhat wild swing he felt the metal sink into one of the attackers shoulders. The clavicle snapped with ease and his cry of anguish was left behind as he ran through the thin skirmish line and rode his horse several meters free and turned back, sword glistening in crimson as he took just a moment to read the battle going on toward the back of the caravan.
Töka was in her element now, much as she had been in the fight at the pass, and with the abandonment of civility the wildness in her vermilion eyes shone all the brighter. With the other four defending the caravan she felt more comfortable to charge on ahead to go after the group that had confronted Nicolai. It may earn her some ire but she had little to no allegiance with these teens and their den mother. Her only connection was through that bright eyed elf and if he died then so did her chance of payment too. Slipping from her horse, finding it easier to swing the double headed axe with both hands, she ran in behind those who were trying to face up to the elfin man and her axe cut deep into the spine of the nearest foe. The distraction of a secondary foe was cue for Nicolai to charge back forward and make for a second run on the group.
Stupidly enough, it was not until the dagger had struck and the big talking man fell backward that any of his fellow bandits moved at all. Not even to dodge, which Florence could scarcely believe. She only looked for a split second, not entirely eager to take her eyes from her own targets, but it was enough to grasp how moronic they were and that Nicolai was not going for the kill as of yet.
Now that things were set into motion, there were three general reactions coming from the motley bunch. The first being to turn tail and run, coincidentally the one who got away yesterday was amongst those who made this choice. The towering masked man on his horse seemed to be a bit too frightening for them. The second was to gawk; in fact that was probably the majority reaction in all of the groups. They just looked on at their leader, as if they had not expected him to be so swiftly handled. Their gazes were full of second thoughts, even if they did not run with the others. Lastly, there were the brave few who actually bore their weapons. Those were the ones that Florence chose to focus on. Thankfully only one of their bowmen was in this group, so she quickly loosed an arrow and marred his shoulder so that he might not be able to draw his weapon. This garnered her some glares, but she stared back fully composed. They were not the least bit intimidating.
The boys, especially Marko, were itching to go and be a part of the action, but each held back for the time being. They were needed to defend the cart, just in case anyone pressed through. And a couple did, but they were quickly made examples of between the two of them and Töka who was barreling in as always. Augustine almost felt bad for anyone who met her axe; because there was no way she was showing the restraint that Nicolai was. Back behind, Flora was mimicking Florence and picking off those with ranged weapons that seemed to start paying too much attention to any one person in their party. This continued until the injured outnumbered the able-bodied. It was then that they began to get the full picture. Those who had proved hesitant in the beginning now began to flee as well.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai watched the group closely as a man stepped forward as de-facto leader, speaking on their behalf and raising a pitiful looking claymore in hand. Whatever he said was disregarded as the sheer act of not moving aside as ordered was enough for the former General. Looking the man over from within the mask he was less than impressed with what he saw. These were vagabonds, rough and ready men with inefficient weaponry and very little armour. Several small groups of armoured patrols for a few months would be more than enough to defeat the larger bandit gatherings and disperse the others. His opinion of Vincent found new depths to reach.
With the other man seemingly done with speaking, the claymore brought back to him with a smug grin on his face as he glanced back to his friends, Nicolai let out a soft sigh. He did not want it going this way. His right hand had rest in his lap as he rode up but drawing it back he withdrew his dagger out of his belt. Catching the blade by the metal tip he gave a grunt as he threw it forward the ten or fifteen feet. He had always been good with throwing a dagger but primarily on stationary straw targets and it had been a while since he last practised. Had he been wearing even just a leather jerkin the man would have had nothing to fear, but due to this oversight the blade plunged half way down into his chest with an audible thunk and he fell backwards with a yell of pain.
As he struck the ground the rasping of metal came from the masked fighter as Nicolai drew his blade and charged forward. His plan was not so much to take them all on, but to injure and cripple enough that those of weaker disposition would rout. Whatever was behind him – and he was sure there were enough there – he would leave to the others to manage. As he rode his horse forward he could only wish for a solid set of plat and a sturdy shield as this could get painful.
The one recognizable face in the formation of men did not seem all too pleased to be here. The rest of the group stood confidently despite his gory recant of what had happened the last time they crossed paths with these travelers. They did not seem to care that they had lost their best fighter by far. The more vocal decided that it all came down to the numbers, which was why their leader fell so now they would do the same to the strangers. The survivor was not half as confident as the rest of them.
In front of the small crowd, but not by a large margin was a man with a hefty claymore. He was not particularly intimidating himself so the weapon seemed to overshadow him a great deal. Still, he lifted it and pointed at Nicolai with ease. [+purple “We’re not really the talking type, specially not after you and yer friends murdered ours in cold blood.”] He was clearly wasn’t too shook up about it, just a ruffian who wanted to save face before anyone found out their team took such a one sided loss. [+purple “So, since we are all in such bad moods, I suggest you drop all your valuables and maybe a lady or two and we might consider letting the rest of you move along.”] Aside from the rest of this rather pathetic picture, the front bandit kept a cool, condescending tone that might have actually held more weight if he actually looked the part. And if it all wasn't quite so similar to the spiel his predecessor had given before meeting his end.
Florence was just about ready to roll her eyes, but she suppressed the urge and kept her gaze back behind them. True to her expectations there were two other groups behind them on either side of the canyon. There were only a few archers mixed in, however the rest all carried smaller weapons, probably meant for throwing, but she seriously doubted they would have the power to make the distance and do substantial damage. Her sights were set on the closest archer, ready to strike as soon as she needed to.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Despite the relatively slow speed of the caravan things progressed very fast. As he moved up to take lead of their line, Nicolai grasped at his helmet and quickly slipped it up over his head. Moving it via the ears so that it audibly clicked into place he adjusted his collar to ease any chafing and made some rudimentary checks of his movement. Satisfied it was in place his sword remained in the scabbard even as he eyed the group that blocked the path ahead.
Horse at a walk he did not look back to check on the others, trusting in them to know what to do as they went over the precipice. He must have reached some ten feet before those across the road before his right hand rose up to bring the caravan to a halt and his horse not long after. As the general din of horse and cart subsided he remained rather still atop his steed and stared over to the man who had ran the day before. Interesting for him to take such a defeat and think all he needed were more bodies to throw into the fray.
When enough time had passed to build a tense silence, Nicolai wet his lips and spoke;[+royalblue “You are blocking the path. I suggest you explain why you are doing such, and then step aside.”] He was hoping some dialogue, some democracy, would see them all come out of this alive. With the elderly and infirm behind him, not to mention the teenagers he had arrived with, he did not want to risk a fight if he could talk his way out of it. Still his hand remained on his sword and ready to be drawn.
Ool was glad that the elf was quick to action; it made him hopeful that they wouldn’t be held up for long, however he blinked expectantly at the man as he gave orders to him and his pet. Where in the hell did this assumption that he knew how to fight come from? He was barely three feet tall and a naturopath for god’s sake. There was a definite reason that he looked for someone else to help them get out of Preth. Nicolai was gone before the goblin could say much of anything in response, so he turned to Flora who was nearby. [+sienna “How the fuck does he suppose we do that?”] His question was met with a look of confusion and no answer. The truth of the matter was that she did not understand what he was trying to ask through the language barrier, but Ool took the expression to mean that she didn’t know either.
Jonathan was the first to ask what was going on. He took the same grumpy tone as always. Florence gave a succinct response that they had caught wind of someone ahead and that all would be fine. Having them panic was the last thing she wanted, though they all seemed skeptical as the rest of the party drew their weapons.
With Nicolai up front they came to the incline that would lead them back to the surface. Still there was nothing. Whoever it was must have been waiting for them to breach before confronting them. Well, that was assuming the worst, but there really was no other reason for anyone to be all the way out here. It was tempting to send the fighters up first to take care of it, but that would leave the rest without guard and in an indefensible spot, so cautiously they pressed on as a whole. Those up front would be the first to see a small group blocking the path at the top. They were outfitted similarly to the men they confronted the day before, in fact if memory served one of them was the man who got away. He really was stupid enough to try again. Though, there was something to be said about those who tried to avenge their fallen comrades. With a better look, none of the group were as formidable as the leader they had slain, but now there was more of them which could pose a problem, but it was doubtful based on the skill level they previously displayed.
After hearing the skittering about from before, their tactic was immediately obvious. Part of their crew stood as a distraction at the top to draw attention while they had others farther back along the ravine ready to attack from behind. Florence nodded to Flora so that they would both be ready when as soon as these assailants came into view. However with them farther behind in the formation it would take a little longer. Her assumption was that they would be rangers, but there was no telling until they came into sight.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was depressing that the last real meal, a home cooked one at least, that Nicolai had enjoyed was with Elizabeth. Roast ham with lembas and a medley of winter vegetables followed by poached pears and honey wine. Natalya had passed out in what he could only describe as a food coma, mouth ringed by food residue and hands more sticky than the wine. The flash of the memory had his hand drift subconsciously to the helmet that hung against his saddle and he remained silent to the small man.
When he returned to the conversation he only offered a small nod of his head at the comment on Vincent. Whilst still not fully entrusting in the greenskin's motives or general allegiance, it could have been a ruse to check Nicolai's loyalty to the 'King', he was beginning to lean more in favour of the man. He seemed to have a kind soul and a positive outlook in life whilst denigrating and openly opposing Vincent. If he kept it up then things would go all the smoother. However he was not the only one to be keeping a constant vigil, as the wolf beneath him soon offered reason for concern and the pointed ears of the elfin man perked up.
[+royalblue “I've heard scuffling the last couple hundred yards, but down here everything echoes too much to be certain.”] His hand had returned to his side and sat reactively on his swords pommel. He understood the goblin's belief it was something to do with the bandits of yesterday but Nicolai felt that unless this man returned with a dozen or two dozen men, with the added boy from the village the little caravan could hold it's own. Having not seen a bow or ranged weapon on the wolf-rider, Nicolai clicked his tongue to garner his attention.[+royalblue “Remain back here with Flora. I'll take lead of the caravan out the gorge. If they are waiting for us then it may bide you and Cam to slip away in the back and find means of attacking their rear.”] The thought of a wild wolf charging out to attack would be as worth it for the fear factor as the damage the beast could cause.
Still, he kicked his heels and took his horse at a canter on ahead. Progressing forward he caught Töka's wandering gaze and nodded an unspoken order that the dark haired woman returned and signalled for Marko to prepare himself. Passing on by Augustine and Florence, a brief 'be ready' all he said as he went on to the front, so as not to concern those in their carriages. Best keeping the old man and his wife from keeling over pre-battle.
At mention of missing food, Ool was able to relate fairly quickly and groaned. [+sienna “Don’t remind me of food... I am going to be missing Margery’s cooking here soon enough.”] It would be quite the loss. He didn’t want to think that those pancakes might be one of his final meals from her that wasn’t over a damn campfire. Thankfully he kept it to that one complaint for now and just listened to the rest of what Nicolai had to say. Talk of parents reminded him that he also needed to get in touch with his. At the very least send a letter so they would know Preth was no more and not to look for him there. But with how they traveled it would be hard to get the message to them. In the end, he wasn’t too worried about it. He and his family weren’t particularly close anyway.
[+sienna “I am sure the backwoods of Wistina will welcome you with open arms… though I think with that many of us we wouldn’t really qualify as hermits anymore.”] Between the lot of them they basically had the making of a small village. They’d be on even footing with what remained of the town they just left. [+sienna “But I do hope you can do something about the land. It may just be a personal grudge, but after seeing how Preth was left to rot away, I am not such a great fan of Vincent… It might be nice to see someone stick it to him and his friends.”] Ool was not really the type to think of huge terms or look out for the greater good. He just wanted what was best for those standing right in front of him. It felt more tangible. Something a normal guy like him could actually manage, even if it meant coning some travelers into helping them.
By this time, the end of the canyon was coming into sight. And with it came a sense of relief. The great disadvantage of being stuck below their surroundings would soon be done with. It looked as though all was going well, but Cam soon slowed her trot, ears coming forward in an unhappy sort of way. Then she turned back to look at her master and chuffed, warning that she had caught scent of something she did not like. [+sienna “There’s someone nearby… probably our friends from yesterday waiting for us at the end of the gorge.”] From here there was no way to tell just where they were set up, but there was no doubt in Ool’s mind that they were set and ready for them to ascend.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was good to see the smaller man smile – at least when it wasn't at anyone's direct expense. And it was a good sense of humour too, rather than a fake version where he may laugh at anything if he felt he could get something from someone. Those pretentious people were without doubt festering deep within the Capital, kissing the arse of Vincent enough to get a few crumbs and selling out even their own mothers to further their own agenda. It was the part of this whole ordeal he was dreading. It was one thing killing a traitorous swine like Gabriel and Vincent, but to weed out the insurrection would be a long and bloody affair.
And that brought him to look down on the green man with interested violet eyes. Could he have put together the obvious answer of whom he was and was now just biding his time? Should they reach this next town and he immediately disappear to warn the guards and collect an outlandish bounty, then the blame would be put upon both he and Augustine for trusting in the impish being. Though it did not show, the healers life was hanging quite precariously based upon a suspicious elf's theories.
[+royalblue “Well, not just the sights but the culture too.”] At least the culture he had left behind. Perhaps now, Vincent had had time to instil his own ideals into the populace.[+royalblue “I mean, you can't get a good meat pie anywhere else in Esteroak that's for sure. Gravy as weak as water and filled with naught but half-cooked potatoes and gristle. I've longed for a pie every since we left.”] It was a spur of the moment thought that came to him but his stomach growled in agreement as the memories came back, not all pleasant though he plastered a smile on his face for Ool.[+royalblue “But truly, I wanted to see how things are. I grew up here, I need to visit my parents and check in on what's happened. Maybe we can get Aurora's land back, if not for her then her son. And if that doesn't work out then perhaps we can join you as woodland hermits.”] He grinned mischievously as he covered their true intentions quite well, at least by Augustine's standards.
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