A Means to an End

Tribe 8 – RPG/TRPG Session

Run by Chris (alcoholandaphorism)

Tribe Members;

Me – Lady Quinn

Jason (jymmijamz) – Brhyannon

Will – Aulderush

CHAPTER FIVE

Introductions

The three new Fallen find themselves now in the company of a hideously tortured guy called Charon, from the Evan tribe.  Aulderush performed the last rites and found that it was not such a good idea, as Baba Yaga is paying no heed to his words.  The terrified express that crossed his face as his life slipped from him attests to this.  His soul never made it across the River of Dreams.  Brhyannon has Charon’s last words echoing around her mind, a warning about the terrible Spiritwalker, and his plans for the tribes.  After a moments silence and contemplation, Lady Quinn makes a move and rummages through Charon’s clothes, seeing if there is anything of worth that they can use, to help them survive or trade out here.  The only thing that may be of worth she finds, is a small piece of metal, in the shape of a heart and attached to a broken weak thin chain.  Most of the silver is tarnished and corroded in places.  The heart opens up ever so slightly revealing a very small compartment, that could probably only hold a thin piece of parchment or something.  Lady Quinn turns it over in her hand and then slips it in to her pocket.  Aulderush stands there not really seeing anything now, as he contemplates the implications of Baba Yaga not being there at the end.

After several minutes they resume their journey on, to find Shitaken of the Fisher tribe in hope to gain passage over the water to Hom.  Aulderush leads on, checking the route as they go, with Brhyannon bringing up the rear.  As they are walking along, Aulderush hears a crunching under foot, not really paying attention to his feet but more the middle distance.  Looking down, both Brhyannon and Lady Quinn spot a crushed crustacean on the ground.  From what remains it appears to be crab like.  Then there is a sudden rank aroma that invades their nostrils.  Aulderush seems oblivious to it all.  They all then hear a scuttling sound around them, and see more of these fist sized crab like crustaceans immerging from the ground, their eyes focusing on the three of them.  These things have the near same colour as the ground, and could easily blend in.  They then also hear some shouting and cheering in the distance, in a tongue they do not recognise or understand.  As these crustaceans begin to fan out around them as they scuttle sideways.  Aulderush, Brhyannon, and Lady Quinn quickly step over and around these things and press on.  Press on towards the sounds to which they were heading towards anyway.  Aulderush gets this strange feeling that he is missing something, something important.

They soon come upon a small group of Squats, which seem to be wearing a strange form of clothing, which seems to be some sort of armour possibly.  It appears to be organic in origin, and it is still slick with bits of goo hanging from them.  They are all carrying short wooden spears that look as if they have burnt them.  The Squats are ringed around this creature that has dragged itself out from the water’s edge, and they are all shouting and screaming as they set upon it.  The armour looks almost the same as the crustacean plates on this creature.  This creature is probably about one and a half times the size of the boar, and it has thick claws as it drags itself across the ground, stabbing at the feet of the nearest Squat.  The squat likewise, try to stab at it with their spears, looking for opening to attack at unprotected flesh.  The claws from the creature find its mark on one of the Squats, its claw closing down on his ribcage as blood squirts out.  The Squat collapses backwards as his guts spill out in pool of blood.  With this the Squats encircle and press in on the creature, lunging their spears in on unprotected flesh.  One of the Squats seems to have more protective armour than the others, which still has guts hanging from the armour in a fashion of war paint and authority.  On the ends of the guts are nasty looking hooks.  And as the three Fallen draw closer they can see that in fact this person is a woman, and she uses the hooks on the creature’s legs to topple it.  She then leaps on top of it and uses the hooks on it’s throat.  The creature screams out as blood sprays from it’s torn neck, and it collapses on to the ground dead.

The Squats now tear in to the creature, rendering flesh and fat from the thing with special fashioned tools for the job.  One of the Squats grabs a handful and takes a bite, but the woman, who seems to be in charge, slaps the side of her metal hook against the guy’s head.  She then kicks him to the ground shaking her head, tearing the meat from his hand.  She then takes a mouthful of this meat, chewing it herself and then swallowing it, before indicating and allowing him to get back to working on the creature.  Aulderush, Brhyannon, and Lady Quinn slowly and carefully approach the Squats, making sure they appear friendly and unarmed.  Walking towards the Squats with their hand open and out and drawing attention to themselves as they approach.  The Squats soon notice them, even the woman seems to sniff the air and then turn towards them.  The female Squat barks something out at them, pointing her finger at them and then indicating to move back.  They quickly stop and take a step or two backwards, holding their hands up and shaking their heads.  The female Squat then goes over to the woman that seems to be in charge.  This one then turns and walks from the creature to face them, spinning her hooks in her hands and barking something out at them.  She then pauses and spits on the ground.  She moves the ornamentation from her face, revealing a lean muscular, and more well feed face compared to the others.  “Tribe?  You understand tribe?”

Aulderush answers, confirming that they do understand.  She then tells them to stay back, and Auldersuh apologises for trespassing.  She grunts at this and tells him that the creature is theirs.  He assures her that they understand, and tells her that they need to get to Hom.  Lady Quinn adds that they are also looking for a Besanti.  But the woman looks puzzled and asks what is Besanti.  “Stay back.  Scent on you.  Stay further back.”  So they all step back even further.  The head female Squat then asks them about Hom and what they have in trade.  Aulderush informs her about the man they came across, and the warning he gave about Spiritwalker.  She tells them that they avoid Spiritwalker, and they know him better than they do.  Suddenly one of the men working on the creature collapses, blood pouring from his neck.  The head female Squat turns to look at him and then back at them in shock.  Turning, everyone sees a group of Squats charging them from out of the scrublands.  “Trade.  Distraction.  Trade.  Traitor.  Now.”

Suddenly the charging Squats are upon them.  There are roughly between fifteen and twenty barrelling down upon both the Fisher tribe and the three new Fallen, swinging their weapons as they charge.  These Squats have all sorts of different spikes and studs stuck through their skin,  both made of lumps of metal or simple pieces of wood.  Some have hooked weapons while other have simple wooden spears.  Brhyannon looks panicked as she looks about trying to find something to hide up or behind.  Aulderush has a large angry looking man lunge at him.  The man has some nasty looking piercings in his face, made up of odd bits of blade and chain.  The man thrusts a spear at Aulderush’s side, and Aulderush just manages to knock down at the weapon, causing it to tear through a thin portion of his side instead of impaling him.  However he still feels light headed as the blood finds a release from his side.  Another one with a large club, a lean well-muscled man, swings at Lady Quinn.  She senses his action and easily avoids his attack, hopping out of reach, but plays on the fact that she is a wounded and easy target.  She then tries to harmonise herself with the dreams in preparation of using her synthesis later in the combat.  However she suddenly realises that there is no dream for her, and she feels empty and hollow.  A brief panic shoots through her.  Two men turn on Brhyannon, swinging their weapons as they try to take her out quick.  One of the men grabs her from behind and lunges a sword in to her, while the other over extends himself with a wild swing and misses as he spins and topples.  The sword bites deep, cracking a rib out through the front.  The sword tears out as she collapses to the ground holding her side as the blood pours from her.  She does however manage to get back on to her feet as her head swims.  Aulderush tries to return the complement but misses as the guy with the spear uses the shaft to knock him aside.  The Fishers are managing to hold their own, but they are gradually being pushed back.  Each side managing to take out one from the opposing side.  The man attacking Lady Quinn is taken aback by her action and goes more carefully this time, he is cautious as he makes another attack.  This time the guy tries to wrap his club around her throat, but she manages to duck and dodge back out the way knocking her head up in to his sending him away from her.  Her throat feeling a little soar from the close call from the club.  Aulderush being more prepared this time easily manages to avoid another lunge from the spear as it impacts against the ground.  The guy with the sword, feeling confident, raises his weapon to head height and makes a move for Brhyannon’s neck, thrusting and swinging.  Luckily Brhyannon manages to just duck and roll under the attack but finds herself beneath the guy now.  As an angry builds within Lady Quinn, at this empty feeling, another strange feeling builds within her, a sense of retribution and vengeance runs through her body, urging her on to attack.  She swings loose her makeshift bone axe up in to the guy before her, biting deep in to his stomach as the force sends him about a foot back towards his colleagues.  The guy’s intestines spilling to the floor as he hits the ground.  Lady Quinn can see a red burning rage around her, and a blue fear radiating from the guy she hit.  But just as suddenly the colours return to normal as she stands there looking at the guy trying to hold his guts as his eyes roll up in to his head.  Aulderush misses his once again, as the guy easily bats away the attack, indicating to his colleagues that this one is his with a smile.  The Fishers have lost half of their men now in this fight, as the pressure pushes down on them.  Brhyannon tries to hit out at the guy above her, but he just brings his knee up to intercept.  She is finding it difficult with the loss of blood and pain that is assailing her right now.

Aulderush and the guy attacking him seem to be dancing around each other, but not really making any further progress.  The man over Brhyannon thrusts his sword down at her and narrowly misses, imbedding it close to her head in to the ground.  The attackers near Lady Quinn seem to be given her a bit of a wide birth as she now charges to Brhyannon’s rescue.  She uses one of her battle cries from the plays she has performed, shouting it out in the hope to send fear before her.  Lady Quinn’s bone axe meets the guy’s face as it takes a chuck of flesh from it, exposing the bone and blood beneath.  The guy scream out in pain and collapses from shock.  The Fishers manage to push back with a renewed vigour, seeing Lady Quinn perform, and their female leader pushes on leading the attack as she uses the one she just wounded as a type of shield.  Brhyannon staggers to her feet, swinging out at the closest target, making contact but not with enough force to damage due to the pain.  Another attacker with chains wrapped around his fists, and seeing an easy target with Brhyannon who just tried to attack him, makes a lunge at her and manages to catch her along the side of her face and she twists herself from the full brunt of the attack.  Lady Quinn turns and growls at this new attacker with the chain fists, as she swings her bone axe at his neck.  And in a shower of blood, his head disappears as it flies through the air and lands with a wet thud at one of his colleague’s feet.  Everyone near by turns to look at this blood cover woman with the bone axe, all deciding as one to make a run for it.  In the confusion, the remaining attackers become aware of the retreat and make a run for it.  Aulderush is unfortunate in not being able to make a final hit on the guy before him before he runs away.  Lady Quinn also tries to take another out as they run for it, but in her blood lust she swings again at the headless body standing before her, knocking it to the floor.

At the end of this conflict, the Fishers only have four remaining members alive here now.  Just three and their leader as they begin to path themselves up.  Lady Quinn now calming down looks around her and finds a nice sword at her feet.  She picks this up and decides to keep this for herself, and then walks over to Aulderush and hands him the makeshift bone axe.  They both then turn to Brhyannon and look worried as they can see how bad her wound is.  She is busy seeing to her own wound, finding it difficult as the pain racks through her, but she eventually manages to stem the blood flow and place a tight bandage around her.  Once she has calmed herself and can think clearly Brhyannon then turns to Lady Quinn, seeing that she has opened her wound again due to the physical exertion, and tends to her wound again.  Brhyannon then turns to Aulderush to find him wounded too and sees to his injury.  Once they are all stable they all sit a let out a large sigh of relief, happy to have survived another incident in the Outlands.

A Trade

The female leader of the Fisher tribe walks up to Aulderush, Brhyannon, and Lady Quinn, with her remaining members following behind.  She warns them to stay away from the water in her rough language of the tribe.  They ask her how she and her people have faired, being told that most of her men have been killed.  They also offer to help with any wounded, by she tells them no as her people have already seen to them.  She then holds her hand out to them and introduces herself as Shitaken, the leader.  And that she is in debt to them for the help.  Lady Quinn introduces herself.  “Raider.”  Shitaken responds and then spits on to the ground.  She tells them that they will take everything they have back to her tribe, and then turns to Lady Quinn, “You strong.  Very.”  Lady Quinn smiles at this.  “Raider have tribe also.  You want Hom, yes?”  Lady Quinn confirms this to her.  “You talk Raider.  Keep them away.  We take you Hom.”  Brhyannon asks Shitaken if they can go back to her camp to rest up, and Shitaken agrees saying she owes them.  “You do this above Hom.  You have friend here Fisher tribe.”  Lady Quinn thanks her agreeing it is good to have some friends here.

Shitaken tells them that they will take the bodies back with them, informing them that the bodies skin will be preserved.  “More food for survivors.  Yes?”  The three Fallen are a bit stunned to hear this and are not sure what to say.  Shitaken pats Aulderush on the back, “You will join feast.  We have many dead here.  Plenty food.  Aulderush assures her that they have food too and will share.  Thinking that they will only eat their food and not hers.  So Shitaken leads them all back to her camp and tribe.  After a while she assures them that it is safe to be able to go near the water now as the breed ground is passed.  The Fallen go over to the water to freshen themselves up and wash off any dirt.

They soon come upon Shitaken’s tribe camp.  It has a few simple plain huts near the water, built with the rear against the sand banks to protect against the winds.  They can see nets hung from wooden frames, some are even stretched out in to the water, with people working them as they drag in their catch.  The people in the camp either look very thin or have swollen bellies from a parasite.  One particular child, whose belly is twice the size of his head, looks over to the newcomers and smiles.

Aulderush spends some time looking around for some herbs found here to help against the parasite he can see invading the people.  He finds some stuff, mostly difficult to find and scrapes enough up for a paste.  After some difficult persuasion with the child’s mother, Aulderush manages to convince her to allow him to place some of this remedy on the child’s tongue.  Suddenly the child begins to vomit violently, and the mother rushes at Aulderush, grabbing him.  The child heaves up this huge lump of what looks like string of flesh.  It writhes about on the ground.  Aulderush offers the child’s mother his axe as a show of not wishing to harm anyone, but the mother looks confused by this.  However upon seeing the worms come out she then understands what he has done and backs off.  Aulderush now goes over to the child and pulls on the worms, tossing them on to the fire.  The other people of the tribe watch this with distrust, but also upon seeing this with a certain amount of awe.

The evening feast soon comes around.  They all gather around the large campfire.  Many of them wishing to sit near the newcomers and hear the tales.  There are a couple of translators who help with the communication.  They all want to ask and talk at once.  Some look over at Lady Quinn and make wide swinging motions with their arms.  Chunks of cooked meat and some sort of homemade bread are handed around.  There are also odd metal, half orb like cups being passed about which contains a liquid of some kind.  People carefully drink from the cup, being careful not to cut themselves on the lip.  It gets passed on to the three newcomers.  The cup contains a strange milky kind on liquid.

As Aulderush takes careful sip from the cup, he can see odd shimmering colours dancing within the liquid.  His mind reels slightly with this.  Then a figure appears amongst the shimmer liquid.  The figure has a half shaved head, with the other side cut short to spikes.  The bald side has nasty scars from where it has been shaved.  It appears to have been done as a ritual, and self-done at that.  The figure has knotted muscles, and tied around one arm is a twisted metal wire with spikes on.  This has been seen before from the world before.  It had been used as a defence to keep people away.  The figure carries a massive axe on his back.  Aulderush recognises this figure as seeing him before but within the dark and shadows.  He has been watching the fight but keeping his distance.  The figure looks satisfied, and as he looks at Brhyannon fight he nods, “Uh, finally didn’t run.  Bit rubbish but didn’t run.”  This figure seems to have following them to a certain extent.  Aulderush senses not only in him but people like him have had a great loss in their past.  And it is this that drives them to the violence they do today.  The figure then turns to look directly at Aulderush, and as he does the vision fades away.  Aulderush is then aware that everyone is looking at him, as he has been holding this dripping cup and mumbling.  He then remembers that he has heard stories of these Outland tribes taking drugs to help aid them to connect to the River of Dreams.  He looks over at the water they are camped near, and to his eyes it looks like quicksilver.  He turns to those around him smiling and shaking his head.  A whisper goes around the gathered,  “Spirit touched.  One of the mad seers.”

Brhyannon sits stunned upon seeing Aulderush act this way.  She sits there holding a cup herself that has just been handed to her.  Gingerly she looks at the contents of the metal cup before carefully taking a sip herself.  Instantly she feels a fire running across her tongue.  She can see the fire inside the cup and a fire spreads down her throat.  She chokes as it oozes down her neck, and she takes a look around her to see everything around her is on fire too.  Brhyannon then spots a woman with dust goggles, standing in a long dust jacket, holding something of Brhyannon’s.  The woman speaks to some other people unseen.  “Wait.  You’re telling me that we will be getting a star fall in Hom!  Are you fucking kidding me?”  Brhyannon  growls and abruptly the vision disappears from Brhyannon’s eyes.  Her eyes focusing once more on those around her, Brhyannon can see people backing away from her as her fingers grip tight with white knuckles on the cup.  Even a couple of her fingers have punctured the metal cup, causing both her blood and the contents to drip out.  Brhyannon mutters under her breath, “Fucking bitch.  She’s got my metal.”

Even Lady Quinn is handed a cup of this strange liquid.  She carefully brings the cup up to her lips, smelling the contents before tipping and taking a sip.  The flavour and taste washes over her lips and tongue.  She takes in a mouthful and feels quite high from the experience, but nothing else happens.  Everyone around her are looking nervously at her, possibly expecting her to leap up and gut some in an instant, but no.  She hands the cup on to the next person.  A young child goes up to her and prods her several times, as if checking that she is still alive.  People turn to the child with a look of horror at his actions, but are relieved to see nothing happen.

Next the people stand up and take the guts of the sea creature, and begin to paint images upon themselves.  It appears to be a telling of the history of the Fisher tribe.  They dance around the fire, acting and painting the story.  And as they watch the images seem to come to life and act their parts too.  The story tells of how there were hundreds in the tribe, and how they used to ride this metal God in the water.  How this metal God had a deep hunger for the fish.  But then something from the darkness came and tore the metal God asunder, taking the people down and they drowned in the water.  The story telling how they survived and returned to the sea.  And how they feast on the demon tainted creatures of the water that had mutated from the touch of the demons in the dark.

Aulderush, Brhyannon, and Lady Quinn are given a hut for the three of them to share for the night.  They soon pass out and are awoken the next morning with the expectation of them fulfilling their part in the task with the raiders.  The Invader Squat Tribe.  Before heading off they check on how long a journey it is to the Invader’s camp, and make to sure they have what is needed for the trip.  They are told to follow a metal and wood track, which should lead them the correct way.  Brhyannon fashions herself a wooden walking stick to help her on the way, and then off they set.

It takes them roughly two hours to make their way to the Invader’s camp due to the slow progress of Brhyannon with her injury.  The ground is dry as they near the location of the track; it has metal strips that run in parallel in places, on top of wooden beams.  But in most places the land has taken it over again.  The trail leads them on to the mountains.  And in the shortening dark shadow of the mountains they can make out a stone archway.  It is here they find the camp with people sat around a fire.  There are several people walking the camp, with more pacing along the archway, all keeping a look out in to the surroundings.  As they draw nearer they spot what appears to be the leader.  A man with spike sticking through the back of his hands.  Chains looped and hanging around near his crutch.  He had no clothes covering his manhood that just hangs in the cold air, blades sat at his hip.  They also spot a large woman who seems to be apart from the others.  The other people, both male and female, seem to give her a wide birth as she walks by.  And a smell of a strange kind carried on the wind coming from her, the aroma making Aulderush gags as he looks at her.  She is wearing loose leather robes, with a blue tattoo of lightning above one eye.  And on top of all this she wears a loose cloak.

Aulderush steps out in front and approaches the nearest guard.  As he is spotted arrows are drawn in bows, and a shouting is raised.  The leader barks out some orders, but then the woman steps up to him and whispers something.  Aulderush holds his arms out and open as he stops, showing him to be unarmed.  The woman comes out and walks up to him.  The aroma she is giving off becomes strong as she approaches.  Aulderush is feeling quite sick upon looking at her, even though she is obviously a well-endowed and attractive woman.  She stops short, keeping a safe distance.  “Are you all completely insane?”  She says in complete perfect tribal language.  “From what I can tell from Dogpar.  You have killed this tribe’s best warriors, and now you walk up to us.  You either have the biggest pair on you, or you’re insane.”

“A bit of both.”  Lady Quinn pipes in from the back.  The woman looks over at her and then looks at Brhyannon.  She notices the scars from the ritual judgment.  “Oh your Fallen, I should have known.  Then I guess you’re insane.”  Aulderush brings her attention back to him and explains why they are there, telling her of their visit with Shitaken and of the hope of peace between the two tribes.  The woman assures him that they have the upper hand her and don’t what they have to trade.  Lady Quinn suggests that it would be a good idea for them to join forces as it will give them great numbers for when the Spiritwalker comes.  The woman tells them that the Spiritwalker is already demanding tribute from them.  Food and a lot of it, which is not giving them much for their people to eat.  Aulderush tells her that she is only feeding a monster, but she assures him that they have no choice.  “Let me advice you.  You do not want to go too far on the wrong side of the Spiritwalker.  He is the predominant power here.  I am trying to keep a few out from under him.  I have sent a friend of mine to go and talk to him, in the hope to find out something useful for future negotiations.  He is a healer; he should be able to do something as they frankly have a very poor way to deal with the wounded there.”  Aulderush asks her if she has heard from the healer she sent out yet.  She shakes her head and tells him no.  He ask if she knows who this Besanti is.  “May I introduce myself, I am Besanti Janczi of Magdalene.”  He introduces himself, adding formally of Baba Yaga.  She tells him that she is not interested in who he formally was as he had let them down.  Instructing him that it sullies them to have their name on his tongue.  Next he checks with her if the man she had sent should have returned by now.  She nods in agreement.  Brhyannon asks if the man was a Evan, as Aulderush tells her that he believes they may have seen him.  “So you have met him.  I see he has not returned, so have you waylaid him?”  Aulderush assures her that they had no reason to and had done nothing.  He explains that the Spiritwalker had tortured him and left him to die, but the man had crawled as far as he could when they found him.  She pauses studying him, looking back and forth between them all.  She seems to be holding back her emotions as she looks at Aulderush as if reading him.  “Really.  Tell me then if this is true.  Did he have anything on him when he died?”  Lady Quinn pulls out the metal heart on a chain and hands it over.  “Thieving from the dead.  Why am I not surprised?  You met him then.”  She bows her head and seems to shrink slightly.  After a moments pause she thanks them for the message

Another Trade

“I think I can offer a trade.  How about you allow peace between your tribe and the Fishers, for as long as possible.  And I will tell you what your poor friend said to me as he was dying.  It is worth it.”  She thinks for a while on his words.  “I will listen to your words, and if I fill that it is worth it, then I will try to convince Dogpar.  But I can not guarantee it, as he does not listen to everything I say.”  Aulderush turns to both Brhyannon and Lady Quinn, checking to see if they have anything further to add.  Lady Quinn just nods in agreement with his words, and Brhyannon doesn’t really seem to be there as she tries to hold herself up and against the pain, leaning heavily upon her walking stick. He turns back to Besanti and tells her what her friend the Evan had said to him.

Aulderush explains to Besanti how Charon had warned him about the Spiritwalker, the man who had killed his father, and now wants to take power.  Spiritwalker wants to control all the tribes in Outlands, and to take them all by force.  To take them by as much force as possible and then destroy them.  After Aulderush finishes, Besanti looks at him in silence for a moment, chewing the words over in her mind.  “Really…. Interesting… With words that big I can’t take confirmation from you alone.  Unfortunately I don’t have a Terashiban with me, so I can’t tell is your lying or not.”

“It is possible that your messenger was lied to.  But I am certainly not lying.”

“If you can prove this, then I think I can get peace.  The Invaders are proud, they would not like to be yoked.  Come with me, they will not attack while you stand beside me.”

“Oh how very kind.”

“No not really, they are savage beast.  But it is something I have to do for the Tribes.  A sacrifice you would not understand.  I have had to kill three attempted rapists so far.  They are scum, and they only stay out of my way because they know what I can do.”

As they walk in to camp, the male leader Dogpar looks over at them, and especially the two females, Brhyannon and Lady Quinn.  He casually stretches and re-arranges his male member as he eyes them, it slowly swelling and rising.  He carries on doing this as he talks to Besanti, she ignores what he is doing having spent so long with them that she has become oblivious to it.  She talks to him in the Squat tongue.  As she talks she indicates to Brhyannon and Lady Quinn, shaking her head and indicating again.  Dogpar frowns at this and releases his manhood for it to stand there proud on its own.  He then points to one of his men, a man who has differing wooden panels strapped to himself with vines for armour.  Besanti informs the three Fallen that Dogpar believes her plan to be a reasonable one.  “Your Plan?”  Aulderush asks.  “To confirm if your lying or not.  You are going to take our man here.”  Besanti indicates to the armoured man in wood.  “In to the center.  And if you can convince the Spiritwalker to loosen his tongue in front of him.  To give some hint as to confirm your story, then there will be peace.  Dogpar has sworn it.  They are taking a massive risk here, because if true then they will be having to be on the run for the rest of their lives, fighting and moving.  We need distinct confirmation of this or else we are not going with it.  That sounds perfectly fair to me, what do you say?”

“Fighting and running for the rest of their lives.  I wonder what that is like?”  Auldrush asks with a hint of sarcasm.

“Hopefully yours will not be for that long.  You still live.  Now I don’t know whether that is the Fatimas kindness, or if it is the worst punishment they could inflict on you.”  Aulderush sits down and asks Besanti if he could have a minute.  He then closes his eyes and meditates, concentrating on the Spiritwalker.  He makes it a group meditation with both Brhyannon and Lady Quinn adding to the ritual.

Besanti watches distrustful as Aulderush projects this odd mishap of different images flashing and rushing in and through each other as it goes faster and faster.  And as Aulderush slows his breathing and breaths out, it holds there, frozen for a moment and spreads out like ice on a lake.  Several things are seen.  One is only seen by Lady Quinn.  She sees an image of a man, a chef who has run away, and she is kneeling upon his wound, torturing him as he screams.  Brhyannon also sees an image in this.  She sees keepers, with goggles upon their heads.  They seem to be having safe dealings with the Spiritwalkers tribe.  They are trading food in large quantities for something that seems worthless to the Squats that they carry away.  Aulerush and everyone else see a vision of a meeting coming up.  A tribe that is represented by a flock of birds, travelling as one across the sky.  The Spiritwalker and his tribe treading upon dark clouds as a storm is coming.  The birds lost within the storm.  There will be a meeting between these two tribes, and at this the truths will be spoken.  Then the frost melts and the vision is gone.  Besanti the Magdalite looks at him and steps back, “Z’bri touched.”

“I don’t know the Z’bri.”

“Possibly not, but they know you.”  She keeps her distance from him now as he asks her if she knows who this other tribe could be, the one represented by the birds.  The scent around Besanti is even stronger now, making it even more difficult not to gag by just being this close to her.  “Well we are on this path now so lets see where this runs.  If your lucky you will be dead.”  She then thinks on the subject of birds and tribes, closing her eyes slightly as she concentrates.  After a moment she opens her eyes again and states that it must be the tribe across the mountains, about a day and a half journey from where they are now.  She tells them that they do not know the name of this tribe, but they are referred to as the Sky Touched.  They are a powerful tribe, but not as much as the Spiritwalker’s

Aulderush discusses with Besanti of where the likely meeting will take place.  She perates him for not know anything of the Outlands and the tribes when he suggests going to his lands or his home.  She tells him that all belong to Spiritwalker, and no one has a home as they travel to where the food is.  Besanti suggests that they go to one of the smaller tribes to see who has been recently hit and go from there.  When asked she reminds Aulderush that just the short stocker man with the wooden armour will be accompanying them.  The man steps up in to Aulderush’s physical space, metaphorically looking down at him even though he has to look up to him.  The man then places his hand on Aulderush’s chest to push him away in a show of dominance.  Aulderush goes to grab his arm but then quickly releases it, remembering that he is wounded and cannot afford to be stupid now.  The man was ready for a fight but looks happy at this submissive show.  He turns and points off to the distance as he grunts something in Squat tongue.  He then bends down and scoops up his bag and begins to walk off in the direction he pointed.  “Besanti, is he going to understand us?”

“No, not a single word.”

“Is there anything that we really shouldn’t do that could upset him?”

“Really!  There are three of you and only one of him.  If he upsets you then the three of you set upon him and stamp on his balls until he stops.”

“Okay body language it is.”  So with that Aulderush sets off following this stocky man, shortly followed by Brhyannon and Lady Quinn.

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