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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Chicken Run - Attn: Tyosh


Winter Mist
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Her neck ached from another night on a too-thin pillow. Dilora looked all around her while the sun filtered through the windows, fracturing into diverse beams. Dilora shifted on her cunningly wrought bed and finally tiring of it, she got up and changed into a comfortable skirt and blouse. Running the brush through her hair, she pulled it into a loose braid and looked outside. Caemlyn fields lay around her, and a lone building stood a few yards off that she had not seen when she had pulled up for the night. Only she would not have seen the ruination the farmhouse suffered in the dark. The roof had gone, the windows vanished and the walls gone to age and ivy, yet animals still roamed. If there were owners, they were not there yet, and had not had time to fix the place up.

 

Eggs for breakfast then.

 

Her other companions were asleep, and somehow Dilora felt a pang of sorrow for those she had left back outside of Caemlyn. She missed Forge the Ogier, and she missed her Gleeman. Dilora missed a lot of people. Tyosh… She missed the friendly bearded Saldaean, and wanted to talk to him. That herb for painful morning headaches – she hadn’t remembered the name of it and wondered how popular it would be in Tar Valon. Locking the wagon behind her, Dilora crept into the early morning sunlight and headed for the deserted farm.

 

Sheep bleated occasionally in the distance as dew crept over the toes of her boots and saw mushrooms growing wild around the bases of the trees. It was only a small stand of trees, but it reminded her that she needed to stock up on vegetables, and perhaps collect more feathers for her arrows. She could easily pick up the dropped feathers from wild birds and use them in such a way.

 

A shaft of sunlight filtered through the trees, and Dilora stopped suddenly as an idea hit her. It surrounded her. Everything came together, and she almost slapped her forehead it was that simple. A farm should have chickens, if she had considered having eggs for breakfast. Chickens were birds. Birds have feathers… She could get all the arrows she wanted from that, and still end up with some nice meat for sandwiches. She could also get feathers for a nice, soft pillow…

 

She walked on, feeling a lot more purposeful than she had done in a while.

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Tyosh rode on towards Tar Valon. His brief detour to herb collecting wasn’t all that rewarding. There wasn’t enough honeyroot and the primseeds weren’t in blossom around here. Not to mention he completely lost his companions, traveling alone after having some company really was harder than just traveling alone from the start. He really wished he would have at least told someone else to come along or at least went along with someone else. But alas at least he had his trusty War Steed, Arrow. Well he liked to think of Arrow as a War Steed but short saldean horses really can’t be classified as anything near Steed or Stallion… and Arrow going to war was just hilarious.

 

Boredom attacked Tyosh like a tiger on a gazelle. Thoughts were just bouncing around in his mind, but entertainment was scarce on a plain a top a horse. He’d seen bards and gleemen juggle on horses, he decided it was a skill worth investing in, and then his heart dropped as he remembered he was traveling with a Gleeman for a whole day and he slept and thought for the whole trip. Light blast his luck! He still stopped to pick up a few rocks and try his luck at horse-juggling. It was very unfruitful, but he kept practicing or something along the lines, maybe by the time he reached Tar Valon he’d be able to juggle at least on foot.

 

Rain was in the air and Tyosh knew it. He’d been spying on a little building for a while now, he thought he’d make it before the rain arrived, if it did arrive anyways. He sped Arrow on, he wanted a nice place to rest for a while. In his haste to try and reach his old party he’d rode on most of the night with out relaxation. But at this point he’d given up all hope, they were probably in Tar Valon by now drinking up a pint without him… Light he wanted a drink. Maybe it was the tiredness, but the hunger he was feeling was intensified ten fold. As soon as he reached the building he’d go out and hunt something this seemed like good game area. He’d cook himself something really nice, he’d break out all the good spices. Even if he ran out, he was going to have a nice little feast in honor of… something… When he was closer to the building he finally figured out it would be a “Welcome to the Building” feast! Fit for a king… without a court though, a nice gleeman would be nice, maybe a queen… and so he rode on to the building with fantasies of King Tyosh.

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~Dilora~

 

Dilora’s walk was doing wonders for her mood. Except until she looked up, and saw the sunlight being threatened with being overwhelmed by a massive bank of dark clouds, scudding purposefully in her direction, that was. Every now and again she would look back wistfully at the sunlight draping itself lovingly over her wagon, but plodded onwards towards the barn – a feather pillow, chicken sandwiches and eggs for breakfast were far too tempting to worry about a little rain. Oh well, at least her rain bucket would be full again for when they set off.

 

Another thought occurred to her as she drew nearer to the barn. How was she going to transport everything back to the wagon? It was unlike her to forget such a simple notion as transportation, but she had become caught up in the idea of resting her head in comfort. If all else failed, she could always carry things back in her skirt, as long as people didn’t see her. A solitary figure riding a familiar looking horse was also approaching the barn, something that twigged irritably at the back of her mind. They were heading in the same direction, so they’d likely meet soon anyway.

 

She pushed at the gate to the first field, and looked around her quickly to make sure no one had seen the thing fall shabbily off it’s hinges and into the field proper. Light! Dilora stepped over it quickly and picked it up, resting it against the posts in the hope that whatever was in this field wouldn’t get out. She did hope it wasn’t a bull! It was with a slightly quicker step that Dilora crossed the field to reach the barn, and a fair few glances around her to make sure no irritated farm animals had taken a fancy to her. The other figure was trotting the horse up to the barn too, and by now Dilora was able to make out the bearded face looking grandly around him, one arm in the air in a regal gesture. Tyosh?

 

“Tyosh? Is that you?” The clouds were looming ominously overhead, so they might be forced into the ramshackle barn sooner rather than later. She hoped wet chickens were easier to catch than dry ones…

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King Tyosh was well on his way to arriving at the small infrastructure. He really couldn’t decide what it was, a fort, a castle, the Reuna keep? Probably a barn though. Still a nice fort filled with servants, all willing to fill dozens of mugs with ale and wine, it did have a certain appeal to it. Bloody hell! He was rambling like a madman. Maybe he was mad! A touch of the One Power in him? Now wouldn’t that be grand? Making things burst into flame and making random people float! He’d have to investigate about it, he’d heard there was a place where people like him, male channelers, could discover their powers and live in peace and training. He slapped himself right then and there. Him, Tyosh Reuna, a chaneller, Light! He was a lot more tired then he thought. Maybe a little rain would help to shake this slumber cloak off his shoulders.

 

The slapping had worked its magic, he started to regain the sense of himself, in a very harsh way. His body was aching, like a bonfire in his muscles, he was pretty sure that if he moved more than a few inches his body would start creaking. He’d be lucky if something didn’t fall off. But today he had the Dark One’s own luck, nothing fell off fortunately. But stretching out, was a bittersweet adventure, each movement a stab followed by a nice warm feeling. Any longer than this to stretch and he probably would’ve needed help getting off Arrow. Tyosh mentally revised his herb collection, maybe there was something in there to make a nice muscle ointment… mmmm that’d be good.

 

Tyosh betted anything that King Tyosh would have a nice carriage with Arrow, dressed in elegant armor, at the head of a team of horses, no a team of chickens! Giant horse-chicken! He’d probably be the only king with chickens pulling his coach, ha! Not even in the Age of Legends were Chickens so majestic, powerful, with coats so golden and shiny. And then of course Tyosh would stick his head out of the coach and give his wonderful speech of how well prepared the Tyoshean army was.

 

“Tyosh?” Were his subjects clamoring already? Heads would roll for not including his Royal Status!

 

“Tyosh is that you?” There was something about the voice now, in fact it was a real voice, or at least real enough to pull him out of his sleep induced fantasy. And then he knew he had reached not only the barn but company, the best company he had had in a while. “Indeed it is me Dilora, the king has arrived”, Tyosh said with a giant smile.

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~Dilora~

 

King Tyosh? The man must be suffering from delusions somehow brought on by dehydration or something. But he seemed to be healthy enough, if a little saddle-sore from the looks of him. She ran up to him and threw her arms around his horse, glad to see him. Tyosh, that is, not the horse – it was a perfectly nice horse, but it wasn’t her friend Tyosh. “Oh, how have you been?

 

She looked up at the threatening sky, and hoped she hadn’t left any washing out. We’d better get inside before the rains come. I really want my pillow though!

 

“Well, Tyosh, King of the Herbs, I suggest we either get inside, or get rained on. We can catch our dinner when the rains gone, if you like. Or, we can stay out here and chitchat and slip around in the mud. What do you say?”

 

Dilora devoutly hoped the would prefer to get inside and keep dry, largely because she had not got a cloak with her, and her shirt was rather thin. The animated squawking of the chickens caught and held Dilora’s attention: all she could think about was resting her head on a proper feather pillow. There were no geese around, true, but the softer, downier feathers would make a nice headrest. And she could sell the rest for arrows after all! It was a win-win situation. Now, if only the rain would hold off long enough…

 

She didn’t want to hesitate any longer. If she got wet, she got wet – she’d have to deal with it. Catching chickens couldn’t be that much work, surely? She pointed to herself with one hand, straightened her hair with the other and then turned to walk towards the chicken pen. Dilora looked girlishly over her shoulder and winked.

 

“We can talk while we catch chickens, Tyosh. I do hope your noble self doesn’t mind getting dirty. I rather fancy an omelette…”

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Tyosh was glad to see his peddler friend once again but there was just something in her gaze that reminded him of a elephant wary of a mouse… an insane mouse. Did he really look all that orbited? Maybe giving himself a royalty was a bit too much, but she was sure to understand, peddlers were always great storytellers with ample and exaggerating imaginations. Oh well it was something to ask later on when they were in their cups and she’d be honest. Speaking of honesty why in the world was she hugging Arrow instead of him? He was a sturdy horse but had he really caused that much of an impression on Dilora? Mystery after mystery plopped on Tyosh’s doorstep…

 

He eagerly answered Dilora’s questions with: “I’ve been chasing you all like there’d be no tomorrow. In fact I was pretty sure I’d lost you for good, especially with the rain that’s bound to arrive, maybe you had decided to press on to avoid a good soaking. I’d just about given up a few hours back, but lucky me I found the party”

 

“Well, Tyosh, King of the Herbs, I suggest we either get inside, or get rained on. We can catch our dinner when the rains gone, if you like. Or, we can stay out here and chitchat and slip around in the mud. What do you say?” As good as rolling around in the mud with a woman like Dilora sounded, he was bone tired and just wanted to rest a bit maybe a bite to eat stolen off the wagon before a nap. But before he could answer he saw a look of indecision in Dilora’s eyes. She was seemingly making a decision, a life altering decision at that, or something she really desired. At one point she even gave a little tug to her shirt, Tyosh could only guess at what her planning entailed. He certainly didn’t expect what he heard though.

 

Dilora quickly fixed her hair skillfully with one hand and said: “We can talk while we catch chickens, Tyosh. I do hope your noble self doesn’t mind getting dirty. I rather fancy an omelette…” Omelettes? He missed the notion of warm, comfy, dry wagon all too soon. But he wouldn’t make himself seem like he couldn’t do it. So he found himself trotting after Dilora’s retreating figure. Noble self? Tyosh had a feeling that the Royal jokes wouldn’t end all that soon.

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~Dilora~

 

Yes, an omelette would be just the thing. Maybe there were cows here too, so scrambled eggs on toast, with bacon and bread fried in it’s grease, and lots of nicely browned sausages. Her mouth was watering already. Dilora doubted all the ingredients of a full Andoran breakfast were available here, but she could do the best with what she had. Her steps were slightly more hurried as she made her way out of the barn towards the chicken pen.

 

Idly scratching the dirt under leaden skies, fifteen or so large, white chickens were obviously trying to find whatever remnant grain or seed they could find before the rains came. Dilora made placatory hand gestures in a vain attempt to soothe the birds at her approach and she thought it was working – they merely looked up at her warily, and then returned to their search for dinner. She continued her stealthy advance, reaching the gate and opening it slowly. Of course, the birds would be used to someone collecting their eggs on a daily basis, so they would be used to human contact. The only problem would be if no one had collected them for a few days and whether they would be more vicious if someone tried to take them.

 

She spared a thought once more for the owners of the barn. Where had they gone? Closer inspection of the farmhouse revealed there were seasonally correct curtains hung at the windows, and the farm implements they had seen only had a few traces of weathering so it had not been a long time since the occupants had left. It was as though they had vanished, but there didn’t appear to be many signs of a struggle. It was a mystery. Dilora wondered if she would be right to take the chickens, but in all honesty she was surprised that foxes hadn’t already made their claim on them before now. The animals were meat-eaters, after all, and they would not approach unless it was safe to do so. Any large dogs or hounds the owners had must have gone too.

 

Dilora devoutly hoped that were the case. This skirt wasn’t made for running.

 

First step would be to get the eggs so that in the press they wouldn’t get scrambled before their time. She could see the Herbal King approaching out of the corner of her eye, and gestured for him to help her collect them. They could deposit them in a bucket or something … if they had a bucket. She scanned around to try and find one.

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Tyosh was worried somewhat. He hadn’t seen any indication that the owners of the barn were in fact not here, everything seemed in order. He had just thought they weren’t in because… Well there must be some reason he thought they weren’t home. But Dilora seemed very cozy and homey here. Maybe they weren’t “the” chickens, maybe they were “her” chickens. So she was the owner of a nice farm, who would’ve thought? Who knew what else the rich and the famous did to quell their quimsical interests? Tyosh knew for sure he wouldn’t peddle wares around the land if he could afford to have farms all around the land instead. But the wealthy had their own way of living, he could be no judge of how they lived.

 

Dilora didn’t seem to have that wealthy high-born attitude of the nobles, she seemed really down to earth. But he had heard nobles tended to be good with expressions, years of practice had made her a perfect imitation of a peddler! Yes, that had to be it! He was about to catch some chickens with a high born lady, this would be a story to tell, maybe she’d even let some of her true self shine. It’d be an interesting conflict of personalities to observe, who knew maybe he’d even get some kind of title of sorts, or being able to open up his tavern again under royal protection and production. That’d be stretching it a bit, but stranger things have happened, people did get lucky sometimes. He’d even heard of people falling off buildings and surviving or plates forming into interesting patterns.

 

The owner of the farm seemed to look around for something. Odd, she should know the place better than anyone. It’s probably been a while since she’s been around, and when the cat’s not around the mice will play, so hard to find good help these days, poor Dilora and her mice servants. While Tyosh went about looking for the container Dilora asked for he wondered if she was good to her help or not. He finally found a nice little straw sack which he promptly took to Dilora for the start of the egg hunt!

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~Dilora~

 

“Ah, good, Tyosh. Let’s start gathering those eggs!” The hens were not exactly amenable to having their offspring collected, since the owners of the farm had not been around long enough to recently do so, which brought another interesting thought to mind. Should she keep one or two eggs, hatch them, and raise a couple of chickens for future food use? The top of her wagon already had a few layered blankets stored up there, under a tarpaulin, which could easily have a small pen built somewhere so they could run around, and grow, and lay eggs of their own. Did chickens get scared of heights though? Dilora wasn’t sure if they could fly all that high. One day, if she eventually settled, she vowed to have chickens, and perhaps a farm of her own. Or a tavern…

 

Receiving numerous pecks and scratches to her arms, Dilora grew short of temper, finding it harder and harder to keep the smile on her face as she moved among the white, flapping birds. She was definitely going to hire someone to look after these things if she had her own farm – there was no way under the Light that she was going to risk her arms in such a way. Then, on second recollection, chickens could be quite cute before they reached the table and were still pecking at grain on the ground. Would she be able to do the deed when it came to it?

 

After a few minutes or so, it seemed like they had gathered all the eggs from the pen, being ever watchful for the large roosters that were strutting angrily. Who knew, maybe there were a cow here that needed milking. They certainly couldn’t take that back to the wagon with them, and if the place only momentarily abandoned the owners would know that foxes would have difficulty bringing down such a large animal without leaving any visible signs of it, whereas chickens and eggs would pose no problems. Yes, that’s what she would be in this – a fox.

 

The sun was actually trying to burn through the murk above them, giving a promise of hope and a chance to get more done before leaving. She flashed a white smile at her bearded Saldaean companion, and started purposefully towards a plump looking hen. The hen did not like the look of Dilora, and gave a squawk and ran around the pen, startling the others into action. She gave chase of the plump bird and slipped over, landing heavily on her rump.

 

“Ow!”

 

A stream of curses that would have made a guardsman blush followed. She caught sight of Tyosh at the other side of the pen, wondering what on earth his royal highness thought of her, falling over like that. Dilora pushed herself to her feet, dusted her skirt down and once again went after the fat bird.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tyosh still hadn’t fully shaken off his lack of rest and it showed like a green leaf on a dead tree. All in all he wasn’t all too inspired for scrambling around in a pen for eggs, in his state it would probably end up in scrambled eggs on the floor, but hell, for Dilora he’d do his best or die trying! Except that’d come later, right now he was concentrating all his might onto actually moving. He was pretty sure his lethargy had taken on solid form and was holding him back from any productive movement other than staring blankly, yawning and stretching. But his blank staring had won him a definite prize, the scrambling of his fellow egg-hunter. If only there were someway to record everything that was happening with something other than writing or paintings, only the true movement in the crazy chicken evasion jig could capture what was happening. She was all over the place!

 

There was indeed grace in all the jerky movements, Dilora hadn’t completely avoided the pecks and scratches but she had done a hell of an effort. All the eggs were retrieved with minimal damage and apparently not noticing that Tyosh’s only labor was to commit every single detail of the chicken ballad to memory. And now it seemed she was onto the second phase of the operation, collecting the actual chickens. This was a new challenge all together… or so Tyosh could gather by looking at Dilora’s fruitless efforts. This time her strategy was completely dedicated to offense, she was about an inch away from strangling them all after, the dedication it took to chase after a pecking-scratching-running-feather ball, was immense in Dilora and even fall after fall she’d get right back up, after a regenerating chant of curses, for her next try.

 

This moved Tyosh deeply, he’d help his masochist companion in her labor, together these chickens would go down easily, he hoped. He decided against going after the same fat chicken Dilora was chasing and eyed a nice apparently tranquil one. He thought it’d be just like hunting, a bit of stealth, not walking directly toward it and he’d be set for some chicken breast later today. His walk was steady, his eyes planted firmly 4 inches above the actual chicken and hands in the capturing position, he was ready for anything the bird could throw at him. Except maybe what the chicken actually threw at him. At the very worst of scenarios he thought the chicken would run away, but this one was a fighter. Or possessed. Or a bull born in the body of a chicken? Probably. The beak served as the non-existent horns and the two little feet had enough power for four strengthened bull hooves, all this incremented by the power of flight, it was a terrifying bull-chicken. For a second he was sure the brown eyes of the chicken had flashed red in symbolism of its thirst for blood which was sated with a nice Saldaean herbalist/hunter blend.

 

Once Tyosh had safely retreated from the bull-chickens territory the chase was over, it was on to a more stable and chicken-like chicken. And there was the perfect specimen just waiting for him in the center of the pen, clucking and bobbing its head, just like a real chicken! None of the hunter lessons for this one, it was back to square one, the real square one, with pre-historic men and barbaric rituals. Tyosh dove for it with primal instincts and had come within an inch of it when it just stepped back. Not even flying away or running, no, it just stepped back and let Tyosh fall face first into the ground. These were no ordinary chickens, too smart. Light! Too smart. He spat the bit of dirt that got into his mouth, rolled up his sleeves and gave chase to the next closest chicken.

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~Dilora~

 

This was harder than it looked. Always, always, always, she had thought that farmers had an easy life and that the chickens were given to the younger daughters to tend because they were such placid birds. Ha! Probably faithful chickens that would defend their pig-tailed younger farmer’s daughter of a keeper unto death! Which, Dilora thought grimly, was just the thought she had in mind. Her hands closed, finally, around the neck of the big fat bird she had been stalking, and she drew it to her chest to look it in its beady eyes.

 

Don’t you dare peck me, you little feathered rat!

 

Her face alone must have shocked it, because the hen struggled briefly and when Dilora adjusted her grip to make sure it was held securely around the wings so it couldn’t flap away, she transferred it to under her arm and enough was enough.

 

The deed was done. Roast chicken for dinner tonight then.

 

Outraged squawks filled the air like insect noises in the night. Dilora reached for another sack with her free hand and tossed the dead bird inside, ready for plucking and stuffing and eating later. Advancing on the next one, she cast her eye over at Tyosh, who was having similar luck. A few more chickens ought to do it – best not to be greedy. Her mouth watered over balls of stuffing made from breadcrumbs, herbs and a few bits of bacon, baked in the cavity so the flavours could infuse, and maybe a large Tairen lemon sliced in two.

 

She always woolgathered if she thought about food for too long! The chicken had managed to flap its way to a corner of the pen. Dilora had long ago had enough of this by now and was regretting ever thinking of the words “feather pillow” and gave up stealth. Foxes were no good if they lay in henpecked piles. She reached forward and received a couple of nasty nips to her forearms, another to somewhere delicate when she picked it up, and a grin of grim satisfaction painted her face like a Cairhienin sunrise when it joined the first bird in the sack.

 

“Your Royal Highness!” Dilora called over to her companion, who looked to be trying to avoid the chicken-mess on the ground to grab another hen for the bag. “We should get a few more birds each, and then get back into the barn so the natives here can settle. It might be easier to get some more once they’ve gone to roost.” Dilora hardly thought they were going to post a guard, but the image of a feathered sentry, standing there with a spear under one wing saying “Halt, who goes there?” would not go away. Stalking her third, Dilora pictured sitting down to a royal banquet with the semi-delusional herbalist, and biting deeply into a crisp-skinned chicken drumstick.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tyosh’s luck had started to change, but not abruptly, not at all. The tending of his wounds tonight was going to be quite a hassle, probably a little painful, or maybe a lot painful. Warriors didn’t know about war wounds until they fought chickens. His peck pains were stored in the back of his mind for now, he needed every ounce of concentration he could muster to dominate the next bird. There was only one chicken death on his hands for now, but he planned on having at least 4 more. But that one chicken taught him much in the manner of hunting nervous buck wild animals. It wasn’t about strategy or patience or anything else normal hunting related, it was all about becoming an animal, a raving beast that snaps chickens necks!

 

His next prey looked feisty enough, but proved to be all cluck and no peck. Tyosh recovered his humanity for a few moments as he held the chicken’s neck in his large hands. The eyes looked pleading, almost screaming for release from the hand made shackles around its neck. There was a pang of sympathy for the little bird, all white and fluffy, almost like a living cloud… with beady eyes. What did these chickens ever do to him? Did he really think he could just kill for his own survival? Was it ethically correct? What if the chicken had family? Would Tyosh like being hunted? Well, those were questions for when he was hunted, and with that thought he snapped the chicken’s neck with ease and stuffed the chicken in the sack with the rest while he flashed a smile to his peddler companion. They all looked really plump; they’d all give meat for a few days easily. Which was exactly why he agreed with Dilora’s thought of collecting only a few more chickens, anymore and they’d be swimming in feathers and bones.

 

As soon as he straightened himself up from his contribution to the sack he saw it. The help he needed to finish collecting his part of the chickens and finally get some rest, the shovel… the world renowned chicken slaughterer. He’d be batting chickens left and right, and after they were knocked out chasing after them would be much easier. He grabbed his weapon of choice and went straight to nearest chicken…

 

WHACK!

 

“One down, three to go.”, Tyosh said with delight.

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~Dilora~

 

Her sack full of feathered carcasses, Dilora turned to see where the highborn herbalist had gone and how he was getting on. Suffice to say she was pleased at his bulging sack, full of dinner and down, yet Dilora felt a pang of guilt at the sight of his arms covered in scratches. The look in his eye, triumphant yet vaguely haunted, more than made up for it. She’d stuff the birds with some lemon and enough herbs to heal them, well, at least flavour them enough to make eating them the most delicious herbal remedy on this side of the land! Dreaming of crisply roasted potatoes and a creamy bread sauce, Dilora hefted the sack onto her shoulder and backed away from the feisty looking fowl.

 

“Your highness, we have enough for a feast fit for, well, you.” Her bow made the sack swing over her shoulder again and deposited the load on the ground, startling some of the chickens nearby to flee to the other side of the pen. And Dilora subsequently winced when she saw them heading towards Tyosh.

 

“Tyosh, come on!” She set a pace away from the pen, holding the gate open for His Royal Herbal-ness and idly kicking her skirts in front of her to prevent any chickens from making a run for it. The leaden sky overhead was not the most pleasant of portents, and the rapidly retreating sun promised more rain by morning. The others would be worrying about where Dilora had run off to – she had not left a note – and if she strolled up come morning time with a sack full of feathers and a certain grinning herbalist of her acquaintance, they were going to leap to all kinds of conclusions. The one that stuck at the forefront of her mind was that she had been … waylaid somehow and a mattress had burst with the enthusiasm of their greeting each other. It would be better to get back to the wagon before nightfall for other reasons too…

 

She didn’t like leaving Altie alone for too long, particularly overnight when it was not too secure. The owners of the farm she was so adamant was deserted might yet linger in the area in the hope that they could run Dilora and Tyosh off their land with pitchforks and torches, and then they would have her wagon, horse and companions too. Which, all things considered, was not the most ideal of situations. No. What would be the best course of action would be to finish up and see if the few final things she needed were available here, and then to head quickly back to the wagon so Dilora could prepare a lovely dinner of omelettes and roasted chickens.

 

“Tyosh,” she called, forgetting the sarcastic honorific title in her haste to be away like a fox in the night. “Would you be a dear and have a look around to see if you can find any sacks of vegetables laying around? I’m going to see if I can’t find a cow to milk…”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tyosh was glad the chicken run was over. He’d have dreams about for a long time still he thought. But his next duty was nothing close to simple, you’d think vegetables were a copper a dozen on a farm, but no. Whoever the owners were had done a good job at hiding any and all green life or taking it with them on their journey. The dotted line was that Tyosh was one hungry, tired vegetable hunter with no vegetables to hunt.

 

Considering he was still on the outskirts of the farm, he decided to check out the more homely of the edifices in hopes of finding the coveted hoard of goodies. The place really was nice to be in. Even with the looming rain clouds, there was peace in the air, as if you could really just be here with no worries about the past, present, future or any other time, place or thought. It was a farm where you could really just live to live. Nice peace and quiet, it was really an underappreciated quality in today’s lifestyle, where people were all after the gold andoran or the curviest courtesan. It felt good to get away from it all, maybe his journey through the wild lands with no company, scarce food and even scarcer rest had helped purify him. Perhaps he had cleansed himself of his past misdeeds, elevated his status in the Great Wheel, become an entity closer to true knowledge and enlightenment. His black and gray period had ended, he was now on the brink of his time in white and his time of true well being. The cleansing of his soul and mind had cleansed his senses he felt more in-tune with the vibes of the world than ever.

 

Just living to live, it’d be his new philosophy let go of all the superfluous things in his life. The things he did were just in vain, all in all, the only thing that mattered was to be in peace. Why even look for vegetables? Couldn’t chicken be eaten as plain chicken? What was the use of herbs or accompanying vegetables? They didn’t feed, they only added taste, taste which didn’t help to live. It was an effort, a pressure, a stress that only helped to add exactly that, stress. Stress for vegetables you wouldn’t remember in the morning. Dilora would see reason in his logic once he explained it, maybe she’d even join his school of thought, the first follower of “The Way of the Un-gathered Herb”. She’d be sure to spread the word, make the world see the truth of peace and living leisurely and plentifully.

 

The thoughts running through Tyosh’s head would’ve been productive and lead to somewhere significant if he hadn’t found himself with a wine cellar. All thoughts of letting go of worldly possessions vanished as he rummaged through the hoard, taking only the best of the best, and yet still managing to take a good gulp from most of the dozens upon dozens of bottles. The red, the white, the darker, the lighter, the sweet, the bitter, it was a frenzy of colors and tastes, where beverages of some kind were involved Tyosh wanted all his possessions safely in his mug. Upon more investigation of the place he found some left-over vegetables in a pantry on the above level. They were scrawny but they’d do well enough with the hunger, and a few spices here or there would compensate he hoped.

 

On his way back he tried to remember something about “The Way of…” something about an herb, to no avail, not that he cared of course, he was heading for a grand meal which was bound to fill his mind and belly.

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~Dilora~

 

The plaintive mooing was coming from somewhere, Dilora just couldn’t find from where it issued. She had tried in the large barn, but it didn’t seem to be in there. The barn had been unlocked, the padlock shorn in two – a sure sign that people had been here before she and Tyosh had arrived, and that they hadn’t been the owners either. Eventually she found it wandering around the sheep pen of all places, the few woolly occupants too scared to come near her when she approached. Dilora put her hands up soothingly and walked closer to the cow, trying to see if there was a tether somewhere that she could use. It wouldn’t do to milk her out here. Dilora would have to lead her back to the barn to milk her and it couldn’t be that difficult, now could it?

 

The image of that blonde pigtailed farmer’s daughter that chickens rallied around to protect swam into mind. Being neither blonde nor a farmer’s daughter, Dilora felt the odds were slightly stacked against her in trying to deal with the cow. Still, she made a grab for the animal’s lead and was amazed to get it on the first go, and not falling over in the attempt. Pulling the cow (that she devoutly hoped wasn’t a bull), Dilora closed the gate behind her and lead the animal to the barn.

 

She sat on a small stool and carefully positioned the bucket. At first, Dilora didn’t think she could do it, but checking to make sure it was a cow rather than a bull made it easier. The animal seemed almost pleased. The milk sloshed around in the bucket as Dilora crossed back to the farm gate where she had originally met the mushroom king, Tyosh.

 

“Aha! There you are, Tyosh. How did your search for vegetables go?” Dilora had a sudden thought about leaving a note with a pouch of silver for the items they had taken, but thought that thieves would take it as soon as they left it. She’d use her network of peddlers across the country to find out who had lived here and to get money to them somehow. That would ease her conscious a little. Thinking now would be an excellent time to get back to the wagon, Dilora nodded in it’s direction hoping that Tyosh would get the hint.

 

“Shall we?”

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  • 2 weeks later...

It. Was. Finally. Over.

Tyosh and Dilora were slowly making their way to the peddling wagon. It was going to feel so good to just sit and eat and enjoy not having to actually hunt or produce or chase after food. It would just be there, waiting to be devoured. The only good food was cooked and dead food. Yum! His mouth was watering at the thought of ripping at that warm crispy chicken skin. But besides all that, it was a nice thought of enjoying a nice meal with a human being again, instead of just Arrow. Great mount, horrible conversationalist. It’d be good to just talk about nothing, he’d been around Dilora all day but there had been scarce words shared, it’d be nice to officially catch up.

 

She really didn’t seem in a mood to talk right now, probably just as exhausted as himself, so Tyosh kept quiet to not ruin the mood. He did however start humming a nice relaxing tune to lighten up the general ambience. He was surprised to hear Dilora pick it up, and so it went until they reached the wagon, both humming, probably remembering different times, different places and different people, all connected by a single tune. And this walk another memory to add to the power of the song with no name or words.

 

And all of a sudden there it was, the wagon, just as he remembered it from a few weeks back. He didn’t expect for it to change, but it just felt like it had been such a long time. It wasn’t exactly home, but it was like a close relative’s bed, just as comfy, just as homey only not exactly home, it’s a shame his home burned down, he could never go back. For now he’d just enjoy the comfort of family. But before he enjoyed anything he really needed some water, a bath was necessary if he was going to interact with people again.

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~Dilora~

 

Ah, the wagon. Yes, it was good to be back. The sky above was threatening and, even though they were neither of them very pleasant-smelling, glad to be back under cover. When they reached the next town, she’d avail herself of the nearest inn and trade something for a nice long soak, fully intent on spending about half an hour up to her ears in steaming hot water. She giggled as she put the bag of chickens, eggs and other sundries down on her sideboard and reached inside.

 

“You know what this means, don’t you?” Dilora dazzled at Tyosh, reaching deep inside the bag and pulling out two chickens by their feet. “We get to pluck them!” A feathered lump dropped into Tyosh’s lap and Dilora happily got to plucking, carefully putting the feathers to one side for her pillow. She would rest her head on a comfortable pillow tonight! Hopefully. Coughing as a tiny feather shot into her open mouth when she went to talk to Tyosh again, Dilora flapped her arms around, feathers flying.

 

If he compares me to a chicken, I’ll pluck him! The thought was half-angry, half-amused. Dilora wouldn’t really pluck him, since he didn’t have feathers to pull out, but she might just roast him. The audible rumbling of her stomach reminded her of how long it had been since they had eaten and, pulling the soggy feather from her mouth and glaring balefully at it, Dilora began to pull at the bird’s feathers with gusto. Tyosh had started as well, being a lot more serene about it than Dilora had. They both made short work of the first two birds, and made their way down the bag, ending up with a large pile of tougher outer feathers to be used for fletching arrows and a smaller, fluffier bag of the downy under-feathers that she would use for a pillow.

 

Dilora pointed to the now plucked chickens and then pointed at Tyosh. “If you get a fire started, I’ll get these beauties ready to be roasted. I have…” Dilora rummaged around in a drawer trying to find what she was looking for, pulling out several small sachets and examining the contents before returning them to the haphazard pile until she found the object of her search. “Aha! I have some herbs that will make these chickens roast wonderfully and taste even better! And I think I have some potatoes somewhere …we can have chicken and potatoes and omelettes.” And then when the fire was made she could sit back and talk of things while the food cooked, and then watch the stars overhead, or through the window, until it was time for bed. In the morning they could set off towards Tar Valon, and more importantly than Tar Valon, a bath.

 

OOC – We can leave it there if you like – Dilora has her pillow and the meal is in the process of being prepared. This has been tremendous fun – thank you!

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