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Too Proud To Beg (attn Taymist or Winterwinds)

The Bard Babe

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Felvere of the House Staedryn was hungry. He had never felt hunger such as this in his life. He had gone a whole day without food, nearing two now. His coat was muddy and torn, his clothes filthy and his boots were showing signs of wear. He'd have to replace them the moment he found a merchant or a tailor or cobbler capable enough to serve someone of his standing.


Did he even have a standing anymore? Felevere's jaw tightened, his teeth grinding together, and he straightened his back. Of course he did. He was born noble, he would stay noble forever. It was in his blood. But...hadn't he defamed his brother? Practically stripped away his nobility? Well, Dravin was different. If he was truly noble, truly deserving of the status bestowed on him, Felvere never would have been able cast him down. If he had been...he was dead now. Felvere had killed him.


A cackle rose within him and Felvere's jaw tightened further. He stamped out the cackle before it could form. He was far too dignified to cackle at the death of a family member, even one he had caused, and he had caused two of them. That was two things not to laugh at.


Felvere needn't worry about ill-placed humour however. Felvere didn't laugh. Ever.


The occasional smirk perhaps, but outright laughter? He sniffed, holding his handkerchief up t his nose as though guarding himself from a bad smell. That was far too common for someone of his status. 


What wasn't common for someone of his status-former status, a part of his mind reminded him-was to be this hungry. Once his mind had recovered, he had found no more meat arriving at his campsite at dawn, and now was at a crucial crossroad. He needed to eat. That much was obvious. That meant he had to acquire food. He could go and buy some, but for that he needed a place to buy it from, and that was nigh on impossible, especially considering his rather unbecoming lack of finances. He could steal food, but that was beneath him. Or he could beg. Felvere didn't even dignify that option with further consideration. A member of House Staedryn, begging from farmboys? He sniffed at his handkerchief again and a corner of his lip curled up distastefully.


Well...what about the wolves? They had gotten him into this mess, invading his mind, his dreams. They had fed him once, broken him and helped him to heal. Perhaps they could help him again. It was mad, but honestly...Felvere glanced down at his scuffed boots. Could he get any lower?


Tentatively, Felvere reached out in his mind and looked for wolves.

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  • 2 weeks later...

From where she was sitting at the base of a tree, Winifred could not help but chuckle as images sent by her companion, the wolf known as Midnight who was sneaking around the nearby campsite of the Wanderer they were here to find, danced through her mind. The way the young man held himself, conducted himself. Especially the way he raised that damn handkerchief to guard his nose from some imaginary smell.


It all oozed noble to her. And it was taking all the control she could muster not to chuckle at how far this man, this child, must have fallen from grace.


Her cruel mirth must have seeped through to her companion because suddenly an image of Midnight smacking a younger wolf with his tail in mock discipline entered her mind. Quite literally it was a "Don't laugh at those less fortunate.", or to anyone besides her it would be. In reality it was more like "Save the gloating until later."


If there was a later, hopefully this Noble would not be too proud to see that he had to eat some time and that the meals the wolves had been providing for him had dried up. Sure, she had asked the wolves to do that. If he was comfortable and everything was provided for him he would never be ready to be taken to the Stedding, where nothing was ever just handed to you. Before too long, he would hopefully ask for help, and help would arrive in the form of Winifred and Midnight.


Patting the bag of supplies next to her which she had picked up in town not that long ago, her amusement broke through in a smile at last. Midnight didn't bop her mentally this time as she had reason to gloat. If only because Midnight also didn't like how some two-legs had everything done for them. He had been more than a little irritable when they'd found out that wolves had been providing the lad with food, that he could not hunt for himself, let alone find his own meat.


These thoughts however were interrupted in the form of the noble sending a call for help out to the wolves. 


And so the Head Tracker stood up, dusted herself off, picked up the supplies and strode forward with a faintly sardonic smile briefly crossing her face.


Upon reaching the campsite she approached from the bushes and trees in front of the Wanderer, knowing well from experience that when you are at your most low, you're also at your most dangerous. Midnight by her side, Winifred's smile normalised and she offered an only slightly mocking bow.


"I believe you requested help?" She was all business now. She could laugh in her mind, but not at the Wanderer. She waited for him to respond, to ask who she was and all the other normal questions Wanderers were full of before continuing.


"Name's Winifred," she put the supplies down next to his campfire, then looked over at him, golden eyes shining. "And, as I said, you asked for help. Didn't you? You could say I make a job out of helping people like you, like us." She kneeled down and opened the pack, pulling out some bread. Carefully breaking some off, she tossed it to the young man, "And you, you need help."


Throughout this exchange, Midnight plodded slowly around the campsite, sniffing and looking carefully around before settling down near a tree at the edge of the clearing. He trusted his two-legged friend to get what needed to be done, done.


((Late reply is late.))

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Felvere jumped nearly out of his skin as the woman and the wolf walked up to him. The wolf quickly wandered around and settled down and Felvere was very shocked to find that he was much more wary of the woman than the wolf. How? Why? Who was she?!


"I believe you requested help?"


He scrambled to his feet in as dignified a manner as he could and quickly sniffed his handkerchief. A barrage of questions flooded his mind and he felt several of them slip past his lips in haughty tones before he finished on, "Who are you?"


"Name's Winifred, and, as I said, you asked for help. Didn't you? You could say I make a job out of helping people like you, like us. And you, you need help."


Felvere regarded her cautiously as she went to her knees and rummaged through her pack. Winifred. That was her name, well part of it. It wasn't very useful. Winifred what? From where? Which family? Which job? People like him? What did she mean by that?


Upon her last words, Winifred looked up and gave him a look. Felvere didn't appreciate it, nor the tone that went with it, but his protests died in his throat as he saw her flashing golden eyes. Ah. People like him. A scowl grew on Felvere's lips. He didn't want to be that, he wanted his home, his bed, his servants...his food. His stomach rumbled.


This woman was rude and impertinent...but she was right. He needed help. Hadn't that been what he'd asked for? Well, he thought glumly, be careful what you wish for.


That was when the bread flew at him. Felvere almost cried at the sight of food again after so long without it. He refused to sit down, but deftly caught the bread. It took almost all of his restraint to keep himself from just shoving the bread down his throat like a savage. He tucked his handkerchief into a pocket and pulled a piece of bread off. He ate rather quickly, but he refused outright to scoff the bread. He would not.


Winifred gave him a look that said she didn't want to have to repeat her question and Felvere tore himself away from his bread. Could he admit that he had asked for help from some wolves? Obviously Winifred wouldn't think him mad, but Felvere had never been much good at asking anyone for help.

She already knew he needed help, otherwise he wouldn't have asked. So why was she insisting on him repeating it? Felvere's scowl deepened, but he really couldn't do much about it. He needed help. He hung his head, swallowing his bread, surprised to find it all already gone. "Yes, I did," he admitted.

"I don't know what is happening to me, and I don't have any food, nor any way of getting any food." His head shot up to glare at Winifred as if to challenge her to say something about how pathetic he was and how low he had become. "And I'm getting hungry," he added in a quiet growl.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The way the young man jumped when Winifred walked into the camp made her smile, oh so sweetly inside. It was not very often she got to sneak up on Wanderers like that. Usually they had been warned beforehand of her and Midnight's imminent arrival, either by the local wolves or, in rare cases, their own wolf companion. Of course, this one seemed simply too proud to ask the wolves for much help beyond what they were willing to provide him by default.


Of course, she could not fault the wolves for feeding him. No wolf would sit by for long and watch a fellow wolf, or 'kin for that matter, starve to death when they were clearly just a pup and did not have the skills required to feed themselves. Their charity though only went so far, and they were more than happy to stop so Midnight and Winifred could take him somewhere he could learn the skills he needed.


Winifred could tell he had many questions still, but was not voicing them. That was alright. She could put up with the silent treatment. He'd open up to her, or he wouldn't. She wasn't a Sage. She couldn't care less if the spoiled noble brat decided to say nothing about his past or ask her any questions beyond the obvious. All that mattered to her was whether he was in one piece, able to travel and not in the midst of madness.


After tossing the bread to the starving boy, Winifred herself grabbed some bread and sat down on the ground next to the campfire. A little dusty, sure, but she had just been sitting beneath a tree, and she was not about to complain about a little dirt on her trousers. The boy did not sit down, rather he just stood there, eating his bread real dignified like but quickly. 


As he munched away, Winifred gave him a look. Nothing offensive, but a little pointed. Enough to get him to admit that he asked for help. She could see his will wearing down, though she received another mental tail swat from Midnight for it.


Be careful with this one, he is not like other Wanderers.


"I will Midnight, you know me."


That is what I am afraid of.


A mental tongue sticking out at Midnight later and she heard the Wanderer speak.


"Yes, I did." He admitted to the help at last, "I don't know what is happening to me, and I don't have any food, nor any way of getting any food." A growl deep in his throat caused Midnight to stand and Winifred's hackles to rise a little, though the boy kept his playful smile as he continued, "And I am getting hungry."


Shrugging and sighing Winifred patted her bag, "I have enough food for the two of us, and Midnight there can hunt for himself... and us should it be needed. But, I doubt he will have to as the supplies I have should last us the trip." She continued to eat her bread slowly for a few moments before continuing, "As for whats happening. Now is not the time to explain to you in great depth. Suffice to say though, you've changed. For better or for worse, is yours to decide. However, I am here to lead you to a place where you won't have to worry about people chasing after you because of these new found gifts."


She sighed as she swallowed the last bit of her bread, "Choice is yours though, as I said. But trust me, you won't be getting help from the wolves for much longer. Going to need to learn to hunt for yourself, cook for yourself, fend for yourself. Going to have to learn to hide too. Those who do not share your gift won't look kindly on you. They'll try to kill you, burn you as a Darkfriend... might even call the Whitecloaks down on you." She looked over at the young noble, her eyes serious, "You do not want the Whitecloaks on your tail boy, because I can guarantee there won't be anything left of you but memories of your screams for the wolves to pass on."


Midnight growled a little at the mention of the Whitecloaks, but they were a possibility sometimes. Grabbing a wine skin from the side of her pack, Winifred took a long drink to wash the bread down as she waited for the Wanderer to respond, or at the very least digest her words.

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