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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Out of one Nightmare comes another (wolfsbane)


Liitha
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ooc this start in the andoran forests but end in the steading so figured this was a happy medium placewise

also continues from here http://forums.dragonmount.com/index.php/topic,26245.msg713575.html#msg713575

 

IC:

 

 

Branches and twigs where flying above her, others where scraping against her as she charged through the dark forest on horseback. All care for her stallions feet had been left behind as she panic striken had set out on this wild trip to escape whichever monsters the forest hid. Her companion gone to who knew where, maybe the animals had taken her. Images of horror realed through her mind as she thougth up all types of nigthmares of what had happened to Dilora, she also thougth she could hear something chasing them. Mayhaps it was only the wind in the leaves, but she was sure she could hear something breathing, maybe it was just her heart, but she thougth she could hear soft thumps against the leafy floor of the forestground. She shivered imagining sharp tooths sinking into her legs and drag her off her horse, trying to look back under her arm, her heart racing quicker and quicker.

 

She had no clue where she was when dawn emerged and she thumbled out on a plain in the midle of the forest, her horse was shivering and froting under her as he stoped in the center. Causiously she sliped down, she hugged him and poured water into her cup, nothing in sight, it was all quiet before one by one forest birds took up singing. As the horse slowly calmed she checked his legs and then sunk down in a bundle on the ground, shivering and silently tears started runing down her cheecks. If she had had a mirror she wouldnt have recognised herself, large red pouty eyes, her hair a big knot full of leaf and twigs, her clothes covered in dirt kicked up by the horse, and her clothes riped as well as her skin from the twigs whiping against her. Her stumock growled but she had no food, and she was so tired, but all she could do was let her eyes panic stricken search around for monsters even in high daylight.

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The wind carried the flavours of late autumn. The tastes of pumpkin spice and crisp cinnamon, mulled wine and ochre dust sifted and spun in this wind. The warmth of a summer that had burned on for far too long traced spirals of heat throughout, that glowed, that hummed and buzzed and sparked in the air. And something else lingered in the air… It was something sharp, hot, quick and anxious in the small gust of wind pushing along the edge of the woods from the small grassy plain.

 

Erik knew the smell.

Fear. Hard and strong, like… His own fear the night in the blizzard and a white stranger with golden eyes happened upon him.

 

Erik tied Lynx to a small tree; the grey courser nodded his head, snorted and tested the air again. Erik wished the horse would be content in just trusting Erik’s actions by now, but the horse wanted to know what his fool rider was doing now.

 

“If I get killed you can bloody well do what you like Lynx,” Erik scratched the tall horse’s nose and it sniffed back at him, “but until then, you’ll follow me into the gates of The Blight and back.”

 

Lynx snorted and rolled its eyes at him. Erik was grateful he could only talk to wolves. Erik took a step from the tree border and took a closer look at the Wanderer in the distance.

 

“Well, no problems so far…” The sun bathed Erik as he stepped out into the light, gave a quick prayer to the Light, and hoped if this Wanderer refused to come she was lighter than the Murandy girl.

With less pointy fist would be a plus too.

 

-Erik

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She heard a sound behind her, fatigue or not she scrambled on her feet and around with her waterbottle raised as a weapon. She was unaware of how her swaying form must look after 2 nigths spent in different plains by a fire she was not sure how she had goten started. Her eyes wild, she was in a living nightmare, and something more then normal beast where in these woods, she was sure now. The first day she had wandered deeper into the woods and seen a lady in the distance through the trees, but as she raised her hand to shout wind had hit her and made her tumble backwards. From there and how she had goten away, how she had been reunited with the stallion, all was a mistery, and she had seen things move in the shadows she was sure, things that made her shiver with fear even if she could not see them.

 

That had been the second nigth and day, and she had been stumbeling blindly around, seeing eyes in the dark, or hearing soft paws on the undergrowth. She was all lost now, and sleepless for the most, yet somehow she must have goten away from that place she had originaly been cause neither last nigth nor this day had she felt anything but the normal by now sence of being watched. "Stay away..." her" voice shivered as she backed into the horse, "who are you..." her heart was racing, her eyes going wild for options to get away. Could she get in the sadle fast enough, she doubted it she could hardly keep on her legs, yet what choise did she have "please" she didnt want to die, she wasnt ready for that, tears started rolling down her cheeks as she watched the guy waiting for something bad to happen.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The girl looked lost in her fear. She looked like a beaten street dog, exhausted, dark eyed, eyes wrapped in the shimmer of tears. Her movements were sluggish, even as he approached and she turned and saw him; it'd only take a long conversation and she'd be out cold.

 

Erik spread his hands wide. No weapons, no threat, and stopped some paces in front of her and her horse. Her feeble hand stretched out in warning, her burnished gold eyes fiery and hot.

"Stay away.." She croaked as sunk back against her horse. The thought of escape seemed to cross her mind, but she seemed to be willing to accept defeat as readily.

"Who are you..?"

 

Erik continued to look into those golden orb eyes, measuring her out.

"My name is Erik Hammar. I'm a traveler in these woods.. My camp's just beyond this clearing," Erik broke eye contact to point back towards Lynx, "over there. I heard your horse and I came to see if you need any help. I have some food and water and bandages.."

Erik let the statement hang in the air.

She'd have to trust him. In a few seconds she'd have to decide whether she was safer moving on through the woods or to accept help from a man with golden eyes. He was going to give her the choice. He'd prefer the latter, anytime he didn't have to chase a Wanderer down, or pick them up out of the brambles after they've tumbled in unconscious, is a good time.

 

Erik took a step back and spread his hands wider.

"I just want to help."

 

-Erik

 

"Maybe what we've done is wrong, what we've achieved is a defeat, what we've striven for is a lie.. Maybe we will find out in due time that we were on the wrong side all along. Until then, I will fight with all my heart and being for a cause I believe in."

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ooc i was just starting her on catching signs of her howling as she spent time in TV, asuming she wouldnt have noted it before as it was so weak and well lots of noise in there and whatnot. Hadnt changed her eyes so that Dilora couldnt recognise her and blow the surprice on her, but someone said it happened fairly quickly in the books, and as she been runing around a couple days or so alone i figure it could have happened then (to move things on), but that she herself is unaware yet of her new eyecolor.

 

Celerita, or maybe she should think of herself in the new name now, Erita looked at the man, she hardly caugth half of what he said. Fear was shivering through her, it was surely the end, it had to be a nigthmare, this must have been the shadowhunter, he had eyes of a wolf. She could feel her head spin, help, no it was a trap she had to get away, but she was frozen with fear. She hardly registrered that her conclusion reached her lips, "darkfriend" she could feel tears run down her cheeks as she sank to earth when her legs could no longer hold her up. She edged under the only cover there was in the open glen, her horse, shivering whispers passing over her lips, "no, please no, i dont want to die, please..the creator..the.." her voice failed into a hick of fear.

 

Erita could see the world spin, what next would happen, would there be trollocs as well, she had seen some dead ones, but not for long, they had smelled to badly. The silver bells in her hair was softly clinging from her shivers, and seemed to be the only sound there, it felt like the time was frozen, and the bells was booming inside her head. Things seemed more dim, she could see him move down, and the last thing she saw before her world turned black as she passed out from fear and fatigue was those glowing yellow eyes.

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OOC - noted. but for Erik to receive the Calling to retrieve Celerita [i do like the nearness in her name to celery ;p ] she would need to have passed through the initial changes. eye colour's one of the first to go, before the dreams, around the time of hearing and smell and eye sight.

 

Erik grunted. The girl filled his arms, limp and breathing shallow, and he shifted her weight carefully. The girl's horse eyed him wearily, ears back, eyes anxious. Like a sack of wheat he lifted her up on his shoulder and he reached for the stallion's lead. It backed away and Erik growled at it. With a quick stab he grabbed the reins and dragged the beast the rest of the way across the clearing. He was lucky. If the horse wasn't as tired as the Wanderer on his shoulder it probably would have dragged him all the way to the Edge of the World.

 

Lynx did not stir as Erik stepped back into the woods, leading his odd procession.

 

"One word Lynx. One whinny. One bite. One anything and we'll see how the wolves treat you when I'm gone."

 

Lynx snorted and stomped his hooves. Wouldn't want to hear what he had to say anyway.

 

* * * * *

 

Erik worked her lips open. She lay on a mat of cloaks and a pillow of saddlebags. Her blonde hair radiated out from beneath her while she slept. Erik's thumb released its tight grip over the bottle's mouth and another dribble of water spilled out and into her mouth. She coughed.

 

"At least some is going down your fool throat Tenderpaw."

 

Erik set the top back on the skin, left it beside his still sleeping companion, and checked on the pot of tea water. The crisp scent of pine and mint leaves spiked the air and Erik could feel the warmth slither through the air.

 

Erik doubted the small bit of twine around her ankle was necessary, it was loose enough she would not feel it until she stood and Erik doubted that was any time soon, but there it remained.

 

A tune spun in Erik's head, and with the two horses tethered paces away munching on their patches of grass respectfully, Erik let it slip out.

"And I'll kiss my bonnie love, I'll tell her twenty times and twenty times I'll tell her.. She's my bonnie love in the kitchen, she's my bonnie love in the cellar.. Oh the love I have for she. I'll tell her she's my bonnie love until another bonnie love bounces on my knee..."

 

The fire crackled in applause and Erik fell silent and sober once more.

 

-Erik

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She swallowed, her troath felt like paper, her world was black and she felt dizzy, what had happened, had someone druged her drink, had her teachers found her. She licked her lips and in the distance she could hear a song, no song any of her teachers would sing, and the voice became stronger, but also deeper. Was she dreaming, maybe it all was a dream, maybe it was one of her grandmothers men, Chalinda tried to remember and to open her eyes so she could get some perseption of where she was.

 

She forced her eyes up a litle and then closed them to shut out the brigthnes, she moaned, she felt weak like, she didnt know, too weak, was she sick. She tried to speak to tell whomever to shut the drapes. The bed was hard, she tried to breath slowly, her grandma always said to do so when you tried to focus. Slowly things came back to her, she had gone to Tar Valon, her grandma was dead, the reasons to leave Tar Valon, and then, her eyes sprang up looking around wildly, it hurt and they stang with tears but she could see.

 

The darkfriend was there, she was not dead, what did he want with her, her lips formed wordless no's. She had to think, what would her grandma have done, she hurt, and the world was starting to spin, she had to lay down her head, and could hear the soft sound of bells. Tears formed in her eyes of despair, water, or was it, what had he given her, why wasnt she dead yet, all sort of horible images spun up in her head. Was there more of them, this seemed like a camp, maybe if he got distracted she could sneak away, but she was so tired. Erita closed her eyes, but the yellow eyes seemed to follow her into her mind, she couldnt stop thinking on them, and it scared the wits out of her.

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  • 4 weeks later...

OOC: Hey babe. This is attempt #3 at posting. Wish me luck  :P

 

The girl's silent denial was clear on her lips, her tired eyes sagged lower as she shook her head back to sleep. Her dreams would not be restful, Erik knew that from personal experience. Her breathing was quick, she was rank of fear and distress.

 

Erik settled himself beside the flames, knees tucked beneath him one would think in prayer if they did not know the dreams that haunted him, he stirred more pine needles into the boiling water. It was rhythmic, his hunting knife slid through the water as it grated against the bottom of the pot, like her quick breaths, like his quick breaths.

 

He looked over at his tortured captive. Sweat beaded at her brow as she mouthed words in her slumber. She'd look pretty he thought, if she didn't have the smudges of dirt and the traces of once existent make-up. He could imagine her done up with an artist's tools to be like those dolls he had seen at Illian's festival, and she'd fit right in, or stand out for her beauty.. But here, at his feet, in pain, in fear, exhausted and near broken, she was like every other Wanderer he had seen come to him and run from him and be dragged by him and be welcomed by him.

 

Erik stuffed his pipe with some Emond's Field leaf, lit the tabbac with a coal from the fire, and settled back against his bed roll. He sipped at the long stem, not watching the girl as she slept - that'd be wrong - but the space of trees just above her head. That was fine. Erik sipped at his smoke, and dreamed of normal dreams and sombre sleep. For her, he dreamed of normal dreams for her; long had he given up on himself.

 

Erik

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

She awoke with a blasting headache, her back was sore, and when she forced her eyes up she had to squint. Birdsong, where was she, she tried to raise her head and the world spun, she let herself drop back down and tried to get her vision focused again. She felt terible, and she was hungry. She could hear noises, and the scent of forest was so strong. She laid her hand on her forehead, what had happened, she usualy didnt enjoy the forest and would stay away from it, instead listening to her grandmothers stories, her grandmother. Images and memories flew through her mind, she was dead, the figth with her mother, she needed to run off, no she had already, Tar Valon.

 

She felt sick and turned over to gulp things up, nothing but bad taste came though, her hand had scars how had that happened, an image of falling, looking back, seeing a dark shade move over the ground behind her. A chilling feeling went up her spine, and slowly piece by piece it all came back, her captorers, where were they. She could hear sound off on the other side of the clearing, nothing behind her in the forest.

 

She strugled up on her feet slowly backing into the forest, she had to get away now before they realised she was awake and on the run, the further she could get the better. She turned and looked rigth into two yellow eyes "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Erik watched the girl awake, well, not quite.

Erik felt the girl awaken, through Smoke, felt her eyelids flutter and her scent slide through the air as she got up.

Good, he thought, as he twisted the knife along the tuber in his hands, peeling back the layers of pulpy brown skin to reveal the soft green and white flesh, at least she's conscious.

 

Her scream was clear and ringing, full of surprise and primal fear. He knew she was frozen to the spot, through Smoke's eyes, as the tall black wolf watched her from his dull golden eyes, but Erik hurried anyway.

 

He broke through the wall of brush and came upon her, inching away from the passive-bordering on unconscious, uncaring old wolf. She was slick with fear and dislike and confusion.

 

"Smoke, can you check on the horses, make sure they aren't trying to twist their reins around again?" Erik said calmly and quietly. The girl still turned in surprise and a new look of horror washed over her face. Of course he didn't just say it out-loud, he sent the image of Smoke checking the traps and rabbit lines he'd spent the better part of yesterday setting up. Smoke puffed out his lips, stood, which caused the girl to breathe through her teeth sharply, and turned to disappear into the woods.

 

The girl stared and waited. Erik breathed out and the girl turned, an identical look of surprise clear on her face like she'd forgotten he was there.

 

"Brought some vegetables for a stew and hoping to have some rabbit with it, Light hoping. I'd sit back down if I were you though, your knees are shaking and I don't want to have to bandage you up again since your last fall."

 

Smoke sent the smell of rabbit fur, and Erik fought the urge to lick his lips. The girl was frightened enough of him killing her, eating her too might be too much.

 

-Erik

 

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Run, the thougth eccoed boomingly through her head, but her feet was frozen to the ground. The voice of the man telling her to sit down sounded tick and far away, she was so tired, she could feel her whole body shaking, every nerve on tension, the hairs felt like they practicly stood out her back. Sudenly her knees caved in and it was all she could do to bend over and get her hair out of the way before her stumock emptied itself. To weak, to weak, how could she get away, and the darkfriend talked to the beasts, her eyes drifted to the sorounding woods as if there was a thousand eyes in there. All other going on around her was blocked out as her fear raged and threw the most horible ideas at her.

 

She felt like emptying again, but nothing came out, her stumock hurt, and she could feel his eyes on her, feel him waiting. What was he waiting for, the tension of it all broke her over untill she curled up with her arms around her knees, she just wanted it all to be over. It was over, nowhere to run, no where to go, no strength left in her tired body, she just wanted rest. Somewhere back in her mind the voice of her mother calling her foolish, she had thougth herself so rigth, been so stuborn, and this was her pay, she was sure now. But it did not mather, the only one she ever felt cared for her was her grandma, and she was in the creators embrace awaiting.

 

Why did nothing happen, why didnt it all end, where did the pain go. She realised she had no more tears left, she just wanted an ending, couldnt wait anymore. She could feel her head turning, her eyes catching that of the man, a last cry of defiance. "What are you waiting for..." panik was welling inside, her hand clutched around sand and leaves, like an insolent child as she once had done when overly angry at her mom she tossed them with all the strength left she could manage to find. "What are you waiting for.." her voice grew in volume and panic, more pieces of the forest ground flew through the air "do it...do it..get it over with...do it...WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR..." she didnt care anymore, the frigth had consumed her togheter with anger, she just wanted an end to it all, and screaming felt good, tossing the dirt felt good, it was all she could do, but in that moment it was enough.

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The girl squirmed pathetically, eyes clenched, screaming at him, both fearing and wanting a quick death.

Erik turned from her.

 

"Stop," his voice carried the weight of a thousand forests, the seriousness five long years alone had granted him, the ache of a lifetime of persecution, "stop."

 

The girl no longer screamed, she was saving her breath, maybe to run, maybe to gather her strength to fight.. Either way the condition she was in at the moment, it would be like a kitten against Kodiak.

 

"You know, until the day I die, everyone will think I'm a darkfriend. Until I collapse, get slaughtered in battle, or strung up by some townsfolk, I will be thought to be a companion of Heartsbane. Do you know how hard that is? How much weight I carry? How long it has been since someone with normal eyes has looked at me and not screamed in fear or anger?"

Erik's breath left him and he refilled his lungs, turning to look down at the girl who no longer had her eyes closed tight.

"You have known a life of privilege, probably able to rival the Queen of Andor in your prettiness when you're all done up like those Domani Dolls or Illianer festival goers.. You know a different kind of judgement from people as soon as they look at you.. They don't fear you, but they don't respect you either, little one. A face like yours does not speak volumes of days wasted in scholarly pursuits.

"You know so little about the outside world, but you see something that scares you.. and rest assured, if I were in your shoes and a golden eyed man like myself appeared, it would scare the wits out of me.. but do you think the Dark One would be so overt to have me as his minion? The Dark One works in shadows, kills you in the darkness.. I cannot sneak into a city without notice, what use am I? You've never seen a Trolloc in your life and I've cut a Shade down by myself."

 

Erik's eyes moved to his bag of supplies, and the slender outline of the object he was thinking about just visible. It would be cruel, too soon, but one of the only ways to make her see... Erik shook off the idea, and turned back to her.

 

"With the fear ripping through you, you wouldn't ever stop to think I may not be a child of the dark, would you? You wouldn't pause and consider I just might be here to help you.. that whatever fluid you just sicked up is because I wasn't going to let you die in your sleep.. And if I'm not after killing you, and there is no way I'd be after anything else from you especially the condition you're in.." Erik regretted the joke and pressed on, "I can't be all that bad. Now stop begging to die, go over and sleep some or help me build the fire. They did teach you how to build and tend a flame between lessons on how to giggle and how to make yourself up?"

 

Erik walked past her over to the pit and began righting the twigs and branches, his back to her.

 

Light this one's going to be headache.

 

-Erik

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Slowly the words penetrated on her, if nothing else then by the tone of lecture, a tone she hated. Who did he think she was, never seen a trolloc, well true not alive, but for that she was just glad, the foul beeings where horendous enough dead. And how could someone like him not be, he was clearly not human with the wolves eyes, the fade must be a lie, it had to. Only deep down something trickled her memory, she must have been quite small, playing with her dolls infront of the fireplace while overhearing her father and a comrade in the background. Somehow she knew the memory was important, what had they said, she closed her eyes and slowly it came back to her. They had been surpriced observing from a distance as a pack of wolves had engaged in a figth with a small group of trollocs, only a handfull of strays the men had been hunting them for days. Wolves had killed trollocs, maybe it was true, maybe he had, observing his back she descided he did have the build of a soldier.

 

And old wisdom of her grandmother came back to her, always be causious but remember not always are things as they first apear, maybe just maybe this would be one of the times. It didnt mather, she wasnt going anywhere any time soon on her own, she was lost, hungry, and totaly exhausted, for now the only option was to accept the situation. She was not sure how she managed to get to the fireplace, but from there she just sat staring at the wood, she had never been the typical girl to take interest in hunting, and in the house it was always the maids making up the fire. Huging her arms around her feet she realised just how helpless she was, her father had insisted on her trying to learn to use a knife, but he had seen himself content when she knew which end to hold, as she made it clear she had no interest nor skill in that direction.

 

She was cold though and a fire would be nice, however there was only one way that would happen, slowly she swallowed her pride and fear and turned her head. Her voice was shaky as she spoke, she still wasnt comfortable with the man and his eyes, "I dont know  how to make up fire" her fingers toyed helplessly with one of the old sticks on the ground. Her eyes where lowered, she didnt want to meet his, it made her uneasy, and she kept glancing around herself for signs of the wolf.

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The sigh that escaped was almost bitten off, one of the critiques his mentors had had of him is his patience with the new and fearful Wanderers.. not like she was the first he had run into but Tenderpaw or not, she was a sliver beneath his nail when he considered her life compared to his own..

 

The girl was looking at him though, well, his feet, and it wasn't fear that held her eyes cast down and it wasn't the threat of death the held her where she was. Exhaustion, hunger, loss of hope, any of those fragrant wisps slid off of her and Erik resigned his annoyance.

 

Her slender fingers toyed with one of the sticks, she was unfamiliar with the texture, or maybe it was simply the situation.. Girls played with sticks, just like boys.. right? Erik pushed his country bumpkin ideology away and slid two sticks to form a lean-to with the one in the girl's hand.

 

"When you form a tripod like this, the sticks will fall together, and keep each other up while they burn.."

Erik ripped some dry moss and began placing it around the base of the sticks, pulling sliver like bits of wood away to add to the kindling, all the while talking and explaining each step. Eventually, the words leaving his mouth became that of his father's, when the two of them had sat in the back woods of their land around the unlit fire. His father's hands had seemed much smoother, more deft than his later years provided. In the Caralain Grass, you measure a man's life not by the wrinkles around his eyes or the gray in his beard but by his hands. The creases, the scars, the cuts and calluses can breathe a much finer tale of the breadth of a man's life than any gleeman's story. Any time an old relative would come round the property while Erik was still young, his father would push him forward to clasp arms and would whisper "look at their hands boy. Look at their hands. You want to know why Uncle Sherwin had to learn to write with his left hand? Look at his right boy."

 

Erik glanced at his own hands, as they sewed the last bit of kindling through, stabilizing the stick tepee. The white scars stretching across the back of his palm, the lines of calluses etching and shielding his fingers, the creases of years of work his hands absorbed.. To tell their tale again, another day, perhaps to a son that will awe and hum as he gazes upon them.

 

Erik raised the flint and smiled.

 

-Erik

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She tried to follow and see what he did, but about halfway through she was sure she had forgoten half of what he had done, and the pile just looked like any old firepile she had seen, nothing special about it. She watched as he put it on fire, and saw the flames slowly taking grip of the wood untill she finaly could feel some heat starting to radiate from it. She moved her hands forward and held them close to the fire, they where shaking slightly but the warmth felt good.

 

She sudenly felt so very tired down to the bone, and cold, she raised her hands to drag the rests of her shawl closer around her, it was a miracle that she hadnt lost it. Though come to think of it she migth have another one in the sadlebags, and some of her best dresses, but so much of her property was lost, and well if she changed before bathing she would just ruin another dress. Silent tears started runing slowly down her cheek, this was not at all going acording to plans, she was ment to be in Caemlyn now.

 

There was so much she was ment to do, setteling in on a nice inn while waiting for the rigth type of contact to come along so she could play her way into the noble society again. The skin on her hands where scratched, and by the feel of her face it was in no better condition, it would take time to heal. She pluked at a broken nail, it was torn, nothing to it, and she carefully removed it.

 

"I need to get to Caemlyn" she would just need to stay low key, but she still had to get it, the best chanse of puting herself back togheter lay there where she could buy the goods and services needed to fix herself back up again.

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  • 2 months later...

Her whisper was swallowed up by the crackle of dry tinder.

The small girl bowed her head and settled back down on the saddlebags and cloak on the ground, eyes open but glazed over with sleep. The girl reeked of the ache from her bones to her hair, Erik had to fight back a yawn that would crack his jaw.

 

He warmed some tea, and thin blend of thistlewood and pine needles.. It wouldn't put her into a deep sleep, but it would warm her and hold back any chance of scurvy if she hadn't been eating well. Erik raised the small cup to his mouth, wooden and well worn around the edges, he traced his fingers along the grain.

 

It was a shame she'd never be able to travel to Caemlyn, Erik breathed out over the tea, the bloom of heat cushioned his cheeks. The tea water rippled and stirred, the surface glinted the red brightness of their small fire.

She'd never be able go anywhere, at least, for the first while.. She might still have hopes of reaching "civilization".. But they would quickly die with her, as she found out how civilized golden eyes and wild stories earned her, regardless of a pretty face..

 

Erik shook his head again and finished his drink, listening to the girl's low breathing as she drifted back to sleep, as he waited for the moon to turn back to a glowing golden orb, for another day.

Light let this go swiftly.

 

-Erik

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  • 3 weeks later...

In the following days Erita used time trying to mend her clothes with what megre resources she had, as well keeping her wounds clean by the water from her bottle. Even if she still felt uneasy with the man she had accepted him for now, she needed help geting back to civilisation. She also spent the time soothing herself and entertainng him by telling him about how she would dress up and and attend festivities, she was sure he never had been on anything as grandeur as she and loved hearing about it.

 

She had lost track of time by the day she spoted civilisation, "Look a town, we can get a hot bath, and I can shop new materials and maybe some other nesesities that can help make me more presentable for the time I arive in Caemlyn." her voice now growing with new hope she spurred her heals into her stallion and made him wearily trot towards the houses. A warm bath, a proper meal, sweat tea, her tummy was rumbeling just at the thougth of it, a tender beef, rare with herbs butter...oh she was hungry now.

 

Lost in her own mind she didnt notice that her company had fallen somewhat behind as she reached the border of the town, reining in she stoped to block the way of a farmer. "My good man can you recomend an inn?" she looked down on him with her most whining smile, to see shock in his eyes, nay horror like he had seen a trolloc. A shout made her turn her head to that of a child, a boy holding the hand of a girl who was sudenly screaming. She stutered "I am sorry for my aperance, I had an accident but I asure you.." she broke off as someone steped towards her, looking around she saw she was now the center of attention.

 

She yelped as something sharp stung her in the shoulder, turning she looked down at the clining stone rolling over the ground before setteling. Her horse shifted nervously as another hit him in the shoulder, "what are you doing? stop it.." she felt a stone hit her in the back, turning the horse around she saw another come flying her direction and ducked to not have it hit her in the face. She heard steps aproaching behind her, and turned to see men aproach varily with forks in their hands, and they were directed at her. Her head twisted at the sound of a loud children shout, and just in time to see several children tossing handfulls of small stones and sand in her direction, she turned her head to not take it in her eyes, and the next moment she was moving, she only barely managed to cling on to the sadle to gain her balance.

 

Shocked at what had happened it took her some time to regain her mind enough to try and controll her horse again, but it was obvious that the tired horse after all that had had happened had had enough and would not stop to put up with more. Or maybe it was his old training that had kicked in as she had inherited him after he got retired as a war  horse from age and damage that left him half blind on one eye. With wisdom and training he had been seen as a safe alternative to put an inexperienced child on under supervision, and over the years they had grown more attached, and he had become a loyal companion to her. Frustrated she tried to calm him, but for the first time in her memory since she had been old enough to ride unsupervised did he not listen to her, and all she could do was cling on as best she could as he galloped out of the town. Celerita didnt even notise that she was bleeding, or that tears was staining her horses mane.

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The stones flew with precise strikes. In a matter of seconds the whole town had billowed out and were shouting and screaming and threatening. Pitch-forks danced in the men's hands as they tried to scare Erita out.

 

Erik's view was clear, though he kept himself from plain sight so the town would not believe them an invasion force... Light, this was necessary. Her talk of the joys and triumphs of civilization, of balls and concerts and operas and on what occasion it was necessary for her gown with a boned bodice and pointed waistline and ivy vine embroidery features on the bottom front and around the bottom of the bodice and on the neckline and which occasion... She could not pick up on scents yet, pick up on his emotions yet so he felt no need to  conceal them, if she could she would think he was in agony. He was, conversationally at least. Light let's talk about a war, or wood, or sword forms, or Farstider... Please.

 

The girl's horse seemed to have more sense than her though, and he was the first to make his move, turning and galloping straight back out of the town. Erik mounted Lynx, and rode in beside Erita. He could smell the tears and blood running down her, her shoulders and face damp with both.

 

He knew all the paths along this route back to the Stedding, knew all the backways and old logging and mining trails... He knew paths that would pass them so far away from any towns that she would think the world was all trees... But he had planned them to pass within eye shot of Braething, an old leather and pelt trading town. He had not tired of her to the point he wanted her dead.. No.. But she needed to see how this 'civilization' she triumphed treated her.

 

Lynx moved in right beside the girl and her mount, Erik wrapped his arm around the girl's waist and lifted her into his lap. The girl's old warhorse knew he had been dismounted and began to slow, but Erik held the girl with his left and grasped the girl's horse's reins with his right.

 

"Let's get you cleaned up," he pulled his heels out of Lynx and the beast slowed to a trot, "you have to see something."

 

The camp he set was meager, cloaks on one side, bags and gear on the other and a spot in his mind to set the fire. He chose the spot because a small pool was just off to the side, a small bit of water bled out from an underground stream. It was fresh and clean, and he sat the girl down and washed her cheeks and shoulders and hands with a cloth dipped into the water. She was calm, but silent, her eyebrows pulled down as she struggled to understand.

 

"Erita." The girl did not move. "Erita," her eyes lifted up, "Look in the water, and you'll see why."

 

-Erik Nighthowl

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She was too shocked and confused to even react or become aditionaly scared finding herself moved by the guy she only half trusted. She barely registrered that he gained controll of the horse, and her head was in turmoilt as she felt wet fabric wash over her skin a while later. It took several times before she actualy heard him trying to talk to her, and she looked lost at him, was she really that damaged, what had the hunt in the forest done to her. When he promted her to look into the water she was scared to do so, if she was so damaged why had he not told her, what had happened that nigth she was fleeing for her night, what had her hunters done to her, it seemed so unreal now thinking back to it.

 

Slowly with her heart up in her neck she turned to look at the water, and it was her face not as hideous or damaged as she had feared, but more over it was not her eyes...it was..his, she screamed and jumped back, the darkfriend had infected her. Her hand griped out into nothingness as she fell on her butt and grabed a handfull of moss, which flew through the air against him before she could even think. Her voice soon following up on what she was thinking "You...YOU DID THIS TO ME..." the accusation was mixed with panic, "What did you do...what did you do to ME". Her hands griped more moss throwing it through the air, slowly she scrambled to her feet, exhausted after all that happened mentaly, but somewhat recovered in body she lounged herself at him, hiting at his torso with her small fists like a child, untill he stoped her and locked her wrists in his hands, and she looked up accusingly into his eyes, "Why? why did you do this, you are with them aint you, those who chased me...why do you want to ruin me...what have you done...why ..what" she was loosing her word not understanding what she posible could have done to deserve this.

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"Why? why did you do this, you are with them ain't you, those who chased me...why do you want to ruin me...what have you done...why ..what."

The girl's fists beat futilely against him, her words tangling in her mouth as she shouted, anger hot and flashing spinning off of her.

 

"I'm with the ones that hunted you?" The girl, slumped in front of him, recoiled as if the question were a statement. "You think I cursed you with my own affliction? To what end? To serve the Shadow? The Father of Lies and Heartsbane?" Erik lifted himself kneeling and glared down at the girl. Two golden orbs simmered with the intense flame that rose within him.

"I fed you, I tend your wounds.. By the Light I listened to you prattle on about balls and performances and dress styles.. I think an agent of the dark would never be prepared for that kind of torture.

"But what you have, the gift your body is undergoing right now, is no disease nor corruption by the Dark One. I have served the Light with my every taking breath, fought the darkness with every movement."

 

Erik dropped to sit down, his legs pointed towards the girl but he watched the cool still pond. "What's happening to you is a Light-blessed gift... and it isn't anyone's fault but your blood. Old blood, the blood of Wolfkin." He skipped a rock across the water's surface as he spoke.

 

Erik turned to watch her, burnished gold eyes met gold eyes. "You are a Wolfkin, Celerita Temeraire, a soldier and preserver of the Light and the Creator. Whether you accept that or not is not up to me, but I know I must guide you to safety before you have more encounters like back at Braething."

 

The girl watched him, drywashed her hands, massaged the knuckles that had beaten at him.

 

"The change would have occurred whether I was here or not. I was not the catalyst to your change, Erita, this I swear. And you know I speak the truth, because it isn't your eyes that are the only thing different about you from the Erita of last Winter. You can sense my intentions, that's why you came with me, you know you long for a place not in Caemlyn or Tear or any other big city." Erik scratched his ankle with the toe of his other boot, his hands drifted along the ground, feeling it around him.

 

~And I'll carry you over my shoulder the whole way back to this place if I have to.~

 

The girl's eyes flared in outrage and surprise. She knew he hadn't said it but Erik knew the smirk that was on his face was evidence enough for her that it was from him and not her imagination. Let's see how she stew on that..

 

-Erik Nighthowl

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She watched him speak words of utter crazyness compared to her known world, only trollocs she knew had animal features, yet not like this, she knew that, not just the eyes, still it couldnt hide the fact his eyes was that of an animal, and hers too now. She was not going to serve the dark one though, before would she kill herself, she was a lot of things, but she would not abandon the cause of her ancestors so gravely. She was still a borderlander, her hand reached into her pocket touching the silver bells, she had to take them out to be able to comb out the worst knots in her hair. They had been her grandfathers, and she usualy had several minor braids in her hair that she decorated with the bells, her grandma had told her about the man she had loved and lost, the one she herself never had fully known. Somehow it all reminded her about something her father used to say "The dancing is sweeter on the edge of a sword" she had never fully goten that, because dancing was pretty sweet on the floor. She looked up with clarity "But I know no sword, it lay never to me to learn it"

 

She thougth back, she had been feeling odd in the time before leaving Tar Valon, and now thinking back maybe for longer then she realised, she had been preoccupied with learning, but there was that time or this time now that she tried to remember, even as she didnt want to remember, she wanted him to be wrong, she needed to blame him. The more memories came about, the colder she felt, and she draged her knees close, huging her arms around them shaking her head in denial. When had she told him her name, it must been when she was sick, she thougth she had had fever, at least she had lived long enough with the name in the city that it had become part of her identity, who knew what this man would know, who knew if he would know her fathers true name...but that wasnt a problem, aparently whatever she told him she had used her grandmothers maiden name, and the new identity she had taken...she didnt know how, but she senced it was the truth.

 

It was when he stoped talking she first just looked, and then jumped back as she realised she hadnt seen his lips move with the last words. Her eyes widened as she looked at him in shock, it couldnt be she must be imagining things, yet she would have no grounds for thinking such words, and his eyes spoke of knowledge and... no it couldnt be, her heart was thundering in her chest...her head shaking once again in denial, her breath catching and then going quicker, should she run for it, who was this man, which beeing of the shadow was he, which lies which plot.."get out...get out" her voice was scared now, what was he doing to her, was that why she was alive, could he come to posses her, her eyes was growing wild as thougths of horror struck her.

 

"You cant, no, I wont...leave me alone" she was scrambeling backwards, she had to get away, oh the creator help her, have mercy she could find a quick way out, she should have stayed with her mom, never could marriage gone so wrong as to loose herself. No she couldnt, she wouldnt, she wouldnt disgrace her grandmothers blood like that, what would she have done, a knife, she looked around and her eyes focused in on the one at his belt, she froze in place. Could she reach it before he could stop her, if he thougth she was going for him then at least she could get out of this with her honor intact, she bit her lip, yes, she couldnt figth him, he was too strong. But she could keep him from geting her, grandma Carana would be proud of her, and in the next moment she was lounging for the knife, not notising the growl deep in her troath as she prepared to meet death rather then sucumb to the dark.

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It was her eyes, her stance, how she had withdrawn then dared forward, blazing golden eyes staring out from her tangled hair, the growing growl at the back of her throat, the scent of desperation shifting to determination and acceptance, that told him.

 

She must be awful at Stones... if she's ever played it, Erik mused.

 

A life growing up between the civilization of the port cities and the Borderlands, Erik knew both types of people- well, enough of them, more than the stereotypes but not enough that he could tell a person from Four Kings from any other Andoran or the other way... but his father had told him the stories of the Borderlands, the strength of not only the soldiers.. but the people too.

 

"You count your blessings boy there be no creatures of the Shadow in the waking world here. Here by the Ivo you be safe and sound. Up north, they live with them creatures every waking moment. But that makes em strong, not weak. A boy no younger no older than you will die defending his house rather than be taken. A boy. It's as dangerous for a Trolloc or a Fade to attack a house as a garrison."

 

If she couldn't kill him...

 

The girl burst forward, again. The same attack, head down, hands outstretched, except her gaze and reach was for his belt knife. Erik stepped back. With a thump from his forearm against her shoulders the girl hit the ground. A quick whumph and the air was gone from her lungs. The girl's hands scratched at the earth as she puffed air back into her lungs. With a smooth glide, Erik pulled with knife from his belt, stretched out his right leg, and kneeled on his left over the girl. With a light push he flipped her over and straddled her at the waist. Her hands were free and she had them ready to defend herself.

 

"Now," the blade turned his hands as he leaned closer to her, "there be no possessing here. Nothing against your will that would do turn you against the Light."

 

The girl started to shout and scream but his growl rolled over all the sound until her lips hung open but she uttered nothing.

 

"If I were a creature of the Dark.. what need would I have for a disheveled woman I found in the woods after she had been hunted and obviously no use to me? If I were a creature of the Dark.. why would I have any inclination of showing kindness, empathy, consideration for a girl that has caused me nothing but trouble? Now if you be some princess or Lady even, you might be worth such an effort. But you're not. You were a girl I found in the woods, and you know every word that comes from my mouth be true.” Erik held her arms back with his left arm as the knife dared forward in his right.

 

If… Now,” Erik’s thumb spun the blade in his palm, his left hand pulled her hands forward and together, and he placed the hilt of the blade in her hand. “If I were in the service of the Father of Lies.. I doubt I would put my life in your hands." He eased his pressure on her and led her hands to his chest until the blade caught the bit of skin just below his neck where the shirt opened. Her eyes stared intent on the spot.

 

“To be honest, if the town would have taken you in, I may have left you there. If they accepted you as one as their own, I would have let you be. I would have watched, in the many Winters since I took the same path as you I hadn’t had a town that would serve me moldy bread once they saw my eyes… And as a Borderlander you, more than anyone in these lower counties would know, that the Dark One’s spawn moves in shadows, moves to be concealed. If true I, and now you, though coerced against your will, were Dark friends… Why mark us like this? To be persecuted? To be judged and hated? There be no kingdom I can sneak into, no palace or manor where golden eyes be waved off as mere eyes and eyes alone.” He let the blade slip a little further until she had almost full control behind it. Almost. Her eyes widened.

 

“I knew they’d no take you in… like they’d never take me in,” Erik coughed. More and more of his Caralainian accent seemed to flourish out of him the more blades were sticking into him. He breathed and the blade pushed harder against his flesh.

 

There, in a woods, miles from the nearest road, straddling a crazed disheveled woman, Erik Hammar leaned in, until his face was a foot from the girl’s. Hands placed on the ground at either side, his breathing was shallow and paced.

 

“You are a Wanderer, helpless, hopeless, unable to fend on their own, in danger every step of their existence, like I was before, and like those after you. There be no choice in the matter, like everything in life it seems, but the choice that makes all the difference—is what you’re going to do with it.” Erik pulled in her scent, committed her to memory. “I was drawn to you. That is why I knew you’d be in that field, be in danger, in need of help. Every Wanderer is such, they pull a single Kin to them… Some say the wolves choose the Tracker, some say the Creator himself has his hand… Others, like me, hold less to chance and are certain it is you who choose us.

 

“You, alone in the forest, hungry, desperate and tired, know what you need. You need protection, you need guidance, you need-” Erik’s voice caught as a steady trickle of blood ran down the edge of the blade and onto the girl’s hands. “I know you’d rather take your own life than be any servant of the Dark- Sheathing the Blade- your grandmother do be proud if such strong blood flows in so small a girl. But shame you do your name, to kill the man who helped you, with the blade he gave you, with the life he saved for you, ruining the shirt he… Well no, that be his and you can’t have it…”

 

The blade did not quiver. The girl watched the blade, his flesh, the blood, his eyes, her scent a torrent of images and thoughts.

 

“If killing me will end this nightmare Celerita, then do it. Do it and I’ll be in the Dream, with the only woman I ever loved. If you know in the very depths of your soul that I deserve the blade to rush through me, then do it and be done. If there be no doubt anywhere in yourself, your heart, your mind, then end it.” Erik placed a hand around hers, around her thin knuckles, lifted himself a hair off the blade’s point. “I am here, I have made my peace with the Mother and made ready my wedding bed with her on many battlefields, if it be here then so be her wish. Do it Borderlander. Do it with all your soul. No regrets. No doubts. Kill the Shadowspawn and your nightmare will end. The monsters will go away. If you’re right, if you’re absolutely certain.”

 

~At least I won’t have to listen to you prattle on about gowns any more.~

 

He smiled. If anything, she might let him live just so she can torture him with courts and balls and operas…. Light… Maybe he wanted that blade in his throat…

 

-Erik Nighthowl

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Next her air was gone and she found herself grounded scratching at dirt as she tried to draw her breath again. She turned and saw him bending over her with the knife, her heartbeat quickened, now what, listening to his words she could barely focus on their meaning as her eyes kept looking on the knife.She didnt know when the sound passed her lips first as she dreaded what he would do, untill the growl made her choke on it till she went rigid and quiet with big eyes. She realised next that he did not know for sure who she was, something she had doubted even if he hadnt seemed to know her real name, and he had not understood moreover from what little lugage she had left, her speak or behaviour, or maybe he had not even bothered checking her things at all. No suspicions that she was anything but the farming girl she must look like after all that had happened.

 

What happened next surprised her, the knife in her hand, slowly being moved to his troath untill a drop of blood graced the blade, his words, his challenge. She listened to all that he said, thosing the words back and forth in her head, her options, the chanses of truth and lies, looking for holes in the logic, plots. Then he was in her mind again and she could feel her eyes thining as she looked at him and growled, realising what she had done she droped the blade and scuried back in shock. She was confused, she was no dog to be growling as thus, she could have killed him, but she couldnt be sure, and she would not make a murderer of herself unjustified, not when it was dawning on her she may be able to just walk away yet. But to where, the village had shuned her for her eyes, whatever she had attracted, wheter infected or not by him she was still herself. She looked at her hand shaking, she had controled herself she told herself asuredly, thus far. So where too, the only place she could think about was the very place she had run away from already, and she couldnt get back to Tar Valon even should she want too without purchasing food or the like. Why had this happened to her, she looked to the sky, her lips forming the question quietly over again to the creator.

 

Erita

lost in her mind

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Time was growing short and the girl wasn't as swayed as previous Wanderers. Erik let a growl rumble in his throat as he stood, taking the kerchief from his pocket and wiping away the trickle of blood.

 

"Tar Valon will rip you apart and dissect you, fledgling."

 

He disliked the feeling of someone reading his thoughts, in his mind, when he wanted them no where close to him, but Erita was struggling against the truth and time. She was wasting time, and time was always his enemy.

 

"You will be the first golden eyed specimen any Brown will have laid hands on in almost a generation. They will know you aren't a shadowspawn, they know what we are. But if you insist on believing I've turned you to the Dark One unwilling, turned you into a shadowspawn, they'd waste their... Power.. on you than more to turn you to ashes? They say an Aes Sedai can feel shadowspawn approaching, so you'd hear the lightning bolt before you even got into eye sight of one." Erik's hackles rolled and tossed. He hated the Power. No person should have that much control, that much influence, king or pauper or Aes Sedai or the Dragon Kinslayer himself.

"So if you're right, you'll die. And if you're wrong, you'll die on a lab table deep below the White Tower surrounded by witches prodding and cutting and sawing. There is no where you can go child! No where! When will that enter your thick skull and settle somewhere?" Erik's voice filled the forest and his finger pointed dangerously at the crouched girl. She bared her teeth for an instant.

 

"You are Wolfkin and there is no running. No more running. You will face it or you will die. It would be a mercy considering what any town will do to you if you leave. I've come too late to get to some Wanderers... The town saw to them before I could get there.. Do you want to know what they did to Simon Chillits in Tarabon?"

He sent the image of the boy, younger than both of them, innocent face, tussled blond hair, mouth a gaping black hole as he screamed ablaze from the torches of the crowd, his limbs twisted at awful angles as he hung from ropes tied to two trees.

"Or Cheia of Braems Wood?"

They removed her eyes, set her in a cage in the center of town, and let her shriek until the crows finally ended her.

"Or..." He didn't have a name, no one knew him.. The feral boy.. Eyes strained, claws for hands, vicious and tearing and ravenous and uncaring, a stake through his heart and burned. Erik didn't send that he had been the one to end the boy, only the image of his small body pinned by the chair leg through his chest as flames engulfed him.

"Your civilization hates you now. Not for what I've made you, but what you've become, and the longer we stay here, the greater the chances that we won't make it to Andor. To the Stedding."

Erik sent that too, the image of the town, the buildings, the scents, the people, the trees and wilderness and... The girl's face was still abject.

Well we don't have balls or operas or festivals... We drink.. and sing.. And neither I'd want my mother to see.

"All I know is that on my life I swear you will not become one of those Kin. As much as I know you Erita, do not mistake me, I will grant you the gift of the Mother's Embrace if you might turn or be tortured."

 

Erik started disassembling the hastily laid out camp. They'd be traveling tonight.

 

-Erik Nighthowl

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  • 2 weeks later...

She had her own reasons despite his to not want to go back, she had started feeling uneasy as was which was what caused her to leave, she had secrets she had kept from him about her past, and she was scared they would belive her mother over her if she was found, and the likelyhood probably had not decreased with the rescent changes.

 

She snaped out of her contemplation where she was only half listening at first as his voice grew and took on a sertaint tone, shrinking away from him. She was confused about everything that had happened, confused about herself, how could she trust him when she wasnt sure she could trust herself. He had not said he would stop her from leaving though, but at the moment she had no where to go, and as she looked the likelyhood of being welcome anywhere was not huge, on top of that she didnt have the best provitions and unlike Erik she could not hunt.

 

As it was she had few options as she could see it, and time seemed to be what she needed now if she had it, but she could not see another solution then to follow along untill she could descide what to do. A soft tud behind her made her turn, and as her eyes scaned the forest line she felt her neckhairs raise, when her eyes hit yellow shining orbs she jumped, but she didnt scream. Erita instead backed away untill she could hide behind her horse, better yet get in the sadle, if it was not for not knowing the direction she would have ridden off already. "So which way is Andor then?" her voice was somewhat composed but still tinted with nervousness, her eyes not leaving the orbs but for quick scans to make sure there wasnt others around.

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