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Pins and Needles - Attn: Sallie and Myth

Winter Mist

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Ah, there he was! Light, where had he gotten the horses? And where was his shirt? Were all Ogier that heavily muscled? So many questions buzzed through her brain like the little bee Forge had named her for only yesterday. He was wet, too. Well, he had not asked her what had happened when she had returned soaking wet after Horsey had tipped her into a stream. What a ride that had been though! She remembered it fondly, even if her behind hurt rather from the … impact … it had had on her. On looking closer at the ground around her wagon, she noticed the slight imprint of large feet moving around and some other tracks that were too large to be her own and she frowned, pausing in the currying of her mare. Altie turned her head around and looked reproachfully at Dilora, who jumped slightly, and resumed her grooming of her companion. Long, soft strokes, firm and sure, getting all the burs and tangles out of her mane and coat. A happy horse made for a happy ride, it seemed. Maybe she could still smell the stallion…


Unless there were other horses here last night, while she had been asleep. In which case, was that why the Ogier was returning to camp with said horses in tow? Had he run off some would-be attackers after whatever loot they thought lay in her wagon? Possible, although the signs of a scuffle were too obvious, if rather well hidden, to Dilora’s trained hunter’s eye. She had always possessed a shrewd trader’s mind, and her time spent with the thief taker, Alianna, had put a few new ideas and motives into her head as to why people did the things they did. It still puzzled her. Only one way to find out though, and that was to ask.


“Good morning, Forge!†She began brightly, her voice carrying to him as the bare-chested Ogier walked back towards their camp. He’d not been away that long or else the morning sun would have dried some of his hair and skin it was that warm already. “Tell me, did Altie breed in the night without me knowing?â€

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“Uhm… not exactly,†Forge hedged, his ears twitching furiously in bewilderment. He vainly tried to change the subject, pointing at Altie. “I see you’re still planning on heading out this morning. The roads can be very dangerous, but nothing for you to be worried about I’m sure.â€


Turning his back on Dilora, he tried to surreptitiously tie the two strange horses to her wagon. This, of course, didn’t work at all.


Dilora quickly wrangled the truth out of him. All the while, the huge Ogier worrying that he would frighten the little woman, while the well-traveled peddler tried to calm the anxious giant. If there had been anyone else present, seeing the shirtless, soaked-to-the-skin, 12-foot tall legendary creature being consoled by soothing pats from a woman who barely reached his shoulder, even with him sitting on the ground, would have made for a good laugh. At least if they didn’t hear the subject matter.


Hearing Forge’s low rumbling voice speak of nearly splitting a man in two as emotionlessly as if he had been pulling weeds was enough to give even the most callus soldier a shiver. Dilora was no exception, but she hid it well. Her main concern was for the sadness Forge felt for having to “clean the fields†as he put it.


For such a gentle creature to feel the need to “prune†outside the stedding, surely the Dark One was stirring.


Forge, noticing the effect his tale was having on Dilora, quickly changed the subject. “We have a journey to make,†he said with forced lightness, as he stood and crossed over to his travel bag, “And what’s done is done. How long do you plan on being in Caemlyn?â€


With that, the peddler turned to business, reciting the plans for her visit. If all went well, she wouldn’t be there long, just a couple of days, which seemed to brighten her mood considerably. Forge smiled as the Little Bee’s energy returned and her infectious presence brought much-needed beauty back to the morning.


Pulling his shirt over his head, Forge asked, “Where do you want me to meet you?â€


Dilora gave him the precise directions that only a well-traveled peddler could, and by the time he had a fire going and his pipe in his lips, she was ready to go.


“No, no time for breakfast,†she insisted when he offered to cook. “There’s work to be done. You understand.†And with a gentle cluck to Altie to get going, her wagon creaked toward Caemlyn.


Reclining against the elm, Forge puffed on his pipe as she disappeared in the distance, silently thinking dark thoughts of Tarmon Gai’don. Soon, it would be time to leave.


He wasn’t sure if he meant for Caemlyn or for the Last Battle.

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