Though a light rain pours from the heavens, cooling the otherwise temperate night amidst Aegisport upon the Ninth hour by the Shadow on Shadowwatch, one Knight of Bronze doesn't seem to mind - nor care - as he sits upon his mount within the Aegisport square, watching those below him who seem to fear the rain and the moisture it brings as if each droplet was cast down by the Shadow itself. The reddish-gold hues of his armor shine clear against the darkness of the city, lit warmly by the flames of the stanchions that refract light upon the metallic surfaces of cuirass and tassets alike, reflecting orange and crimson shades upon the equally bronze armor of the Warhorse that weathers the rain beneath him; both rider and mount looking as stoic as the clouds themselves.
They stand within the Square of the town, living statues as they hold sentry within what was once the crossroads of a younger Aegisport. The cloak of blue velvet that shrouds the rider flickers slightly as the light breeze challenges it; the weight of the light rain in turn working to thwart the intentions of the wind as it forms droplets upon armor that run down in streams of moisture. The marks of weather from days past also linger upon the two, indicating a long ride has recently been had, but not a hard one.
Ester Shardwood turns from the stable and adjusts the hood of her cloak over her face. Her eyes are dark with saddness her face a grim mask. She starts off towards the tavern, her line of travel cutting across the square. She can't help but notice the armored man on horseback. She stops as she draws close, recognizing him at once. Her head lowers in a brief bow of respect, "Your Highness. Light's greetings."
From Cleo's saddle, Ashlynn rides into the town's center from the west, the mare held to an easy trot as she reorients herself with a glance around and begins to head toward the tavern.
Reaching Aegisport, Orell's retainers ride in behind the carriage. As the carriage stops, Orell steps out followed by his guard commander. The retainers has Sprinter untethered from the carriage and then prepares to help Orell into his armor by the edge of the town, evidently intending to protect the Emperor with their life if neccessary.
Ester Shardwood is speaking with Serath in the center of the square. From Cleo's saddle, Ashlynn rides into the town's center from the west, the mare held to an easy trot as she reorients herself with a glance around and begins to head toward the tavern.
Riditt walks slowly out of the forest from the east, his hands brushing various brambles and thistles off of his blue cloak as he walks towards the town's center.
Evidently as stoic as the living statue that he may well resemble as he holds sentry upon his Warhorse, Serath Kahar casts an ice-blue gaze upon the Ducal Huntmistress and, though his expression seems of one currently indifferent to the world around him, manages a soft smile of greeting all the same.
"Light's blessing, Huntmistress Shardwood." he offers, his voice maintaining a regal purr, though the usual balance of serene sorrow that he speaks with seems to lean more to the latter upon this wet night. Shiningcoat huffs her own form of greeting, though to whom remains in question, prompting her rider to pat her gently upon her moisture coated neck as he continues tp regards Ester. "I hope the night is treating you well?"
After he has donned his armor, Orell has his retainers stable his mount and then heads towards the gathering at the middle of the township.
Orell Mikin pays a stableboy to have Sprinter stabled in Aegisport Stables. The boy leads the animal back into the stables.
Vhramis steps out the tavern, inspecting the crowd as he walks towards it. In particular, he looks to the mounted and armored figure of Serath, slowing for a few steps before resuming his previous speed. A shardwood longbow is slung over his shoulder, strung up and ready to use.
Grinn Harwel throws open the tavern doors and stalks out. Spotting the gathering crowd and putting two and two together, the mercenary retrieves his mount from the stable and leads it toward the throng. A small yellow dog glances up from beneath a bush and darts out to meet its master, barking and yipping excitedly until Grinn tosses him a piece of dried meat from his saddlebag.
A stableboy leads Garrol out from the stables and around to the front, handing the reins to Grinn Harwel.
A few drops of rain drip from the edge of her hood onto her cheek. She absently brushes them with her finger as she replies, "Aye your Highness all is well enough. Under the circumstances."
Fael Mikin steps out of the nearby tavern, a tired expression on his face as he looks about the rapidly filling square. Next to him comes the cloaked form of Sophia Mikin. Near the entrance to the tavern stand a small contingent of the Ducal Guard from Wedgecrest looking just as tired. Fael's head shifts casually from side to side as he examines the Square until his gaze falls upon the the mounted figure of the Horsemaster and he begins to move in that direction.
"Under the circumstances." Serath repeats in turn, nodding once to that as he affirms the validity of the statement, before allowing an expression of dark humor to caress his otherwise indifferent features of royal heritage. "And under the weather, no less." he adds, finally reclaiming a gauntleted hand from the side of Shiningcoat's neck to rest it upon her reins.
The Warhorse merely huffs. No affection. Clad in armor. Getting wet. People crowding around her. Huff indeed.
Through the slowly roiling fog that drifts in from the surface of the Fastheld River to the south, a small, gangly form starts taking shape in torchlit shadows, just east of the Riverview Tavern.
The form moves sinuously, in a half-crouch, with its long, slender fingers dangling below its bowed knees. It regards the world through silvery eyes that peer out from a vaguely conical head. The closer it gets to the torches near the crossroads, the clearer it becomes: Mottled green skin, four colored splotches on the back of one hand, clawed fingers, and glittering fangs.
From Cleo's saddle, With the distinctive and polished gleam of armor and horse that accompany Serath as beacon, Ashlynn begins to pick out individual faces, naturally gravitating toward those she knows best - Vhramis, Fael, and Ester.
Vhramis stops at a respectful distance from Serath, looking consideringly to him and those others about. By chance, he spots a familiar horse, and nods his head in a somber greeting to the rider, Ashlynn.
Orell Mikin walks towards Serath, his deep blue eyes scanning the surroundings. Reaching the Horsemaster, Orell inclines his head towards him, "Greetings, your Highness."
Ester Shardwood glances up towards the sky and wipes another few drops of the rain off of her cheek. "Aye," she replies simply with a frown and pulls her cloak around her, shaking the fabric lightly causing some of the wetness to drip on the ground. She greets Orell with and incline of her head, "Your Grace."
Riditt slides into the center of town and watches the proceedings from somewhat of a distance, his curiosity apparently piqued. He smoothes his cloak nervously, and one hand moves up in a vain attempt to flatten his unruly sandy blonde hair.
Fael Mikin doesn't seem to mind the weather too much, in fact a faint smile touches his lips for just a moment despite the unpleasant circumstances. As he draws closer to the Horsemaster he recognizes the Huntsmistress speaking to him, and then the form of Orell Mikin as the other man strides up the Horsemaster. His own attention shifts towards Vhramis for a moment and then to the rider who has captured the Stewards attention. Recognizing the courier almost immediately he nods a greeting as well, though no sound passes his lips.
Reins gripped tight in one calloused hand, Grinn kneels to scratch his mutt's head as the animal tears into the morsel of food. "There's a boy. Eat it all up. We got a long night ahead." As he rises he pulls the cowl of his cloak back now that the rain has let up and leads Garrol toward one of the few familiar faces he sees - Fael's.
"Trademaster." The Prince of the Blood softly states in a formal return of greeting, inclining his head just a little towards Orell in mark of respect of position and title. What sincerity there is behind that greeting remains in question, to etiquette has been satisfied all the same. This done, ice-blue eyes fall back upon Ester... and then upon the gathering crowd around his mount, attempting to pick out names that go with faces, and paying attention to faces that as yet have no name.
"Well now." he muses, mostly to himself. In the gathering ocean of people, Serath guides his Warhorse a little distance away from Ester, to ensure that she doesn't get trampled if Shiningcoat should startle.
"The One," hisses a voice from the fog-shrouded shadows to the left of Vhramis. Clawed fingers gently clutch the Steward's thigh. It doesn't drive the claws of its four-splotched hand through the cloth covering Vhramis' leg. But the domed head tilts to gaze up at the Fastheldian.
Vhramis practically almost jumps out of his boots as he feels the claws and the all too familiar touch. "Wha...Four Splotch!" he shouts in panic as he spins about, backpedaling. "Light..." he sputters as he fumbles for the bow on his shoulder, "Wha..."
From Cleo's saddle, Ashlynn smiles wearily toward the steward, her head dipping in greeting before granting a similar gesture toward Fael. Stretching in her stirrups, she begins to look around with a narrowed gaze, apparently still trying to pick out someone in particular, before a shift of shadow on the other side of Vhramis has her pulling reflexively on her reins with a gasp, the river trotter snorting in protest as it dances in place, suddenly alert.
Orell Mikin nods in response to Ester's greetings and then at Vhramis' shout, he turns his attention there, his hand already onto the hilt of his longsword, deep blue eyes ablaze.
At the Stewards startled gasp, Fael begins to move towards the other man, still uncertain what exactly is going on. As he draws closer the shadowed shape becomes more visible through the gathering fog.
"Where is *She*?" Four-Splotch inquires of Vhramis, gently stroking the Steward's thigh with clawed fingers. "Need She. Seek She." Ester Shardwood opens her mouth to say something to Orell as the stewards shouts. Her gaze turns abruptly in his direction and peers through the fog with narrow eyes.
Weaponless, the intrigued Riditt merely walks slowly towards the commotion, his grass green eyes peering with a child's curiosity, searching for the source of the commotion amidst the group of people.
Shiningcoat huffs a fretful sound in reply to the protesting snorts of Cleo, the animal empathy between Horses enough to get her jittery at the sound of another of her kind getting startled. It takes but a moment for her rider to react; Serath leaning forward a little to stroke the Warhorse's neck to calm her while keeping control of the animal via her reins.
"What?" he asks of Shiningcoat, repeating the word a second time before the obvious lack of answer leads him to look for the source of his Steed's worry with his own eyes; he finds it in the gaze of others around him - Vhramis, backing away from a Wildling. The Horsemaster promptly wheels his horse around to face the creatue, and it's prey, but makes no other move. For now.
Harwel's dog looks up from its meal, spotting Flour Splotch before its master does. The animal bares its fangs and growls, though it edges back from the creature. "What the shadow's got in you now, eh?" Grinn follows the animal's near-feral gaze and gasps loudly at what he sees. Iron grates against leather as he whips a throwing knife free, though no clear angle presents itself to hurl the weapon safely.
From Delar's saddle, Through the fog to the east, Medu rides into the town and curiously approaches the outskirts of the crowd. Grinn Harwel equips Bushdragon Dagger.
Vhramis growls loudly, looking down to the Wildling as it strokes at his thigh. It's either that, or begin shivering from the feeling of is -stroking- him. Again...it almost tickles. Ugh. "Light, not this *She* business again," he grunts, voice tense. His eyes wander about, looking to the others as best as he can without moving a muscle. "We...where is *He*? The boy?"
Orell Mikin sniffs at the mention of *She* again, his deep blue eyes watching the Wildling as he lightly treads in a circle away from the Wildling's direct sight.
"Bloodling lives," Four-Splotch whispers, giving a faint squeeze to the Steward's thigh. He eases up onto tiptoes and grunts up at Vhramis: "Find *She*. Free *he*."
From Cleo's saddle, "We are trying," Ashlynn says with lips tight-pressed in tension as soon as she recovers from her surprise, easing the mare around so that she can view the Wildling from a better angle. "We need more clues, though."
Fael Mikin doesn't say anything to the Wildling, instead just watching the Steward and the hunched shape gripping his leg. A thoughtful frown touches his lips for a moment, but he makes no other motion, apart from a quickly darting of his eyes towards the Courier as she addresses the creature.
Ester Shardwood gasps softly at the sight of the wildling and immediately looks from side to side, peering at the other buildings. Slowly her movements cautious she retreats backwards, stepping towards the stables. As she leaves the vicinity of the group she turns and hurries inside.
Tensing, Riditt watches the Wildling with a mix of fear and fascination, and a hint of repulsion. "Oh...dear.” the young man stammers, his eyes never leaving the scaled creature, his fists tightened into balls, the knuckles white.
The glimmer of the iron of a throwing knife catches the attention of the Horsemaster. The sound of others reaching for weapons, or moving to angles of attack, or also details that don't go unnoticed. Shifting in his saddle, Serath listens on as the Wildling mentions the 'Bloodling'. Orell slinks away. A horse rides in from the east. The stakes are high...
"Still your weapons!" The command cuts through the hushed atmosphere as Shiningcoat is moved into motion; the Horsemaster positing the Warhorse between Vhramis, the Wildling, and the most obvious angles of attack from the crowd, causing the Warhorse to whinny a protest at being told to move around such tight quarters, closer to /that/ thing. "Make no moves against the creature of Shadow, lest your blades be met with mine."
Garrol whickers nervously and prances away from the wildling. Grinn tightens his grip around the horse's reins and whispers a few soothing words. He lowers his dagger cautiously as the creature seems passive enough and growls at his mutt to be quiet. When words fail to still the beast he gives it a sharp kick to the flank that sends it scampering away from the crowd whimpering.
From the edges of the gathering, still facing the Wildling, Orell raises his brows at the Horsemaster with his command, deferring to the military leaders as he usually does. He has not even pulled his blade free, but he halts his steps to see what Serath intends.
The Wildling glances toward Ashlynn as she comments on the need for more clues. Then its domed head turns so that the silvery eyes fix briefly on Riddit. Four-Splotch tightens its grip on Vhramis' leg. "Can show *She*, if together-mind," the creature hisses at Vhramis. "Kill Four-Splotch, bloodling dies. Bloodbitch screamed. Bloodbitch died. Four-Splotch safe, bloodling safe." The claws dance softly on the fabric of Vhramis' pants. "Must flow. Must hurt. Must show, through One."
Vhramis nods his head in agreement, most likely to both Ashlynn's and Serath's comment. His eyes focus on Four-Splotches head, mouth quirking. "We are looking. We really are. It is difficult..." he begins, glancing down to his thigh and the claws of the creature for just a moment as the claws spring into action. He draws in a ragged breath, steeling himself in preparation for something. "Give us back the boy...the 'bloodling'. It would be a step in the right direction...you won't gain anything /this way/."
From Cleo's saddle, Ashlynn draws a deep breath, unable to hide the slight tremor in it, as she stares at Four Splotch after a brief glance toward Riddit. "Vhramis...do you understand what it is saying?" she says softly, as much for only Vhramis' ears as she can possibly manage in such quarters. "If you do...you don't have to do this if you do not want to. We will find another way, somehow."
Rayma watches the events taking place with a careful eye on both the crowd around him and the wildling. After a few moments he makes his way carefully past a couple of people to stand next to Orell for the time being.
Delar stops a dozen yards away. Medu, being unarmed, rests his hands on his saddle and watches with concern at the strange creature and the talk of 'bloodling'.
"The Wildling speaks of the Heir to the Throne." states the Prince of the Blood in elaboration, looking upon the crowd as Shiningcoat is set up as an armored barried between them, and Vhramis and the Wildling. Though, evidently, the Courier is being allowed unchecked movement.
"If any of you should harm the Wildling, then that harm will be exacted upon the Heir tenfold. Should that happen, then *I* will make sure whoever harmed the Wildling to begin with suffers the same fate." The threat is not spoken with venom, as one might image, but as a promise as it flows upon the Horsemaster's regal purr of voice.
The warning issued, Serath now looks upon Vhramis and his... company. "Ask it if it would return the Heir *if* you allowed it to..." he headtilts, "...Together-Mind with you." Serath offers, "If you are willing to do so for the Crown."
Riditt extends a pinky finger from his clenched fists, licking his lips nervously. His eyes continue to be locked on the Wildling, either deep in thought, or scared out of his mind. His cloak sways as his body rocks from side to side.
Fael Mikin frowns thoughtfully at the creatures’ hisses phrases, attempting to decipher what it is that this four splotch wants. His hands remain far from his weapons, even prior to the Horsemasters injunction, though he still watches the unfolding conversation intently. As the Horsemaster he shifts his attention towards the mounted man for a moment before looking back towards Vhramis, the Wildling, and the mounted form of the Imperial Courier.
Ester Shardwood exits from the stable a bow clutched in her hand at her side. She walks slowly back towards the group, finally stopping just behind Orell. She peers at the wildling her expression a mixture of caution and curiousity as she listens to the conversation.
Grinn Harwel mutters gruffly to himself, though makes no move to sheath his blade. Idly he tosses the weapon and catches it in his palm, lips drawn in a tight frown.
Orell Mikin nods towards Rayma as he notices the woodsman come close to him. He also acknowledges Ester when she approaches. The Trademaster then listens to the words of the Prince of the Blood, his eyes though is focused on Vhramis, wondering what melding a mind with a grotesque creature like the Wildlings will do.
"A 'Together-Mind'?" Vhramis echos, looking a bit confused at Four-Splotch. It doesn't take him long to sort things together, however, and he tightens his lips together into a thin line. He stares for a few moments before breathing in deeply. "For the...Crown..." he agrees, nodding to Four-Splotch. “Show me, then..." His body tenses noticeably.
From Cleo's saddle, "No more than a scratch!" Ashlynn admonishes after a last, absent frown toward Riditt before refocusing on Four Splotch, seemingly altogether ignorant of the ridiculousness of such words to a Wildling. "Or he may die and then you will never find *she*."
"Will you return to Heir if he allows you to do this to him?" Serath asks of the Wildling from his position atop Shiningcoat, ice-blue gaze locked upon the members perpetuating the events unfolding below. "For then we will know what to look for, and will seek *She* as you do. Should you not do so, then the "Bloodling" may die in your care, and you will get /nothing/ in return but furious wrath, creature of Shadow."
Fael Mikin's lips quirk slightly at the courier's comments, though more so from the absurdity of them than any real amusement, an emotion that is understandably quite difficult to summon in the present setting. His brows furrow thoughtfully as he watches for the creatures response to the Courier's admonitions and the Horsemaster’s declarations.
"Next aftersun," Four-Splotch hisses at Serath. The Wildling points west, toward the looming shape of the Aegis. "Loud walldweller. Angry walldweller. High walldweller. Wallkeeper. To him, the bloodling. Next aftersun." And then, head tilting, Four-Splotch clutches Vhramis' thigh and allows the three sharp claws to pierce - tips only - through the fabric and into the Steward's flesh, introducing the dizzying toxin.
Listening to Vhramis' willingness to sacrifice, Orell nods towards him with a touch of respect in his eyes. He holds his breath as he watches the wildling pierce Vhramis' skin.
Riditt clutches his head quickly, his hands massaging his temples. He frowns intensely, his youthful face twisted up in worry. A hand runs through his messy locks. It seems that the stress of the situation is too much for the boy. He walks back towards the outskirts of the group, away from the Wildling, and leans against a building, breathing deeply. Delar snorts and stamps the ground nervously. Medu absently pats the horse’s neck.
Vhramis grimaces, more out of anticipation of the future pain to come than from the present pain of the claw piercing. He looks down to his pierced thigh and claws, then back up to Four-Splotch, biting his lip. Soon, his leg gives out under him, and he falls to his knees, and then willingly lowers himself down flat to the ground, as it would be his final destination anyway.
Ester Shardwood covers her mouth with her hand grimacing in pain and concern as the steward falls to the ground. The hand clutching the bow tightens, her knuckles turning white as the blood squeezes from them.
Serath watches on as the events continue to unfold beneath him, and before the watchful gaze of the crowd behind the Warhorse that bars the way between them and Vhramis. Offering a solemn incline of his head towards the Wildlings pledge, he merely watches; a shield of indifference hides the feelings of compassion for Vhramis that he holds, hiding the hatred for the Wildling, the concern for deals made, and the horror at what the creature of Shadow does.
"Oh, yes, Vhramis, very intelligent," growls the Wildling within the Steward's mind. The Wildling - it appears to be Four-Splotch - is wearing an ankle-length crimson velvet robe. It's got a slender black pipe clutched within its fangs. A monacle glitters over one silver eye. It's speaking with the gruff, somewhat oily voice of the old man, Syke Kahar. "Get yourself poked - by a *Wildling*. You *really* need to get yourself a woman. How about that courier? Sure, she's covered with trail dust half the time, but dump here in a horse trough, give her a good soaking, and I bet she's not half bad."
And while that's going on in Vhramis' mind, Riditt detects the following: A plunging descent through rock, roots and shadow, and then, in the darkness, a flash of violet and blue scales and two eyes: One emerald green, the other sapphire blue. A roar bellows out from both envisioned creatures, and consciousness is momentarily deprived from both Vhramis and Riditt.
Rayma stops himself from taking a step backward as he watches what the Steward drop to the ground but his attention is momentarily caught by a younger man moving to the back of the group holding his head as if in pain, however he looks back to the wildling as it begins to speak.
As the Steward lowers himself to the ground, Fael takes a step forward, and squats next to Vhramis, carefully keeping an eye on the Wilding as he does. He makes no threatening moves however, merely keeps watch over the now unconscious Steward of Wedgecrest falls.
Riditt grunts in pain and fear, his palms covering his forehead as he slides down the side of the building he's leaning against. His eyes close and tighten, and his lips twist, like a child that has a mouthful of bitter medicine...and he slumps over to one side, unconscious.
Orell Mikin is about to step over to Vhramis, as he slumps, when he hears Riditt, his head turning to the stranger, his eyes quizzical as he watches the proceedings. He then turns to stride over to Riditt, intending to question him after the proceedings today is completed.
From Cleo's saddle, Ashlynn winces in sympathy as the deed is done, and after a furtive glance toward Serath's imposing presence, she swings her leg over her mare's neck and slides out of the saddle, letting the river trotter go as she takes a few steps closer. She halts, however, upon seeing Fael approach, and leaving Vhramis to the constable, she turns to eye Riddit once again - before, eyes widening when he slumps over, she rushes over. "Hey," she murmurs in concern, crouching down beside the youth with only a brief bow of her head to Orell in acknowledgement.
The unconscious Vhramis' body twitches violently for a brief moment at something before falling still again, the poison running it's course.
Rayma catches Orell's movement from beside him and turns to follow his gaze, seeing the young man he noticed earlier now lying on the ground. Casting one look back to the creature and that it is doing, he turns and follows Orell.
Perpetually looking on in sentry, Serath regards the Wildling once more with an air of contempt. "Well?" he asks of the Wildling, having witnessed the Steward of Wedgecrest slump under the watchful gaze of Fael, dashing features pained by the suffering the creature has caused by necessity. "Are you done?" There is no love in the Prince's voice.
Ester's eyes widen as she hears the dry of the young man. She doesn't move as Orell hurries towards him. She seems riveted to the spot her gaze moving from Vhramis and the wildling and Riditt and the Duke.
"It looks like its gonna be more of the Duchess' brew for you, Vhramis", The constable mutters under his breath, a dark humour quirking his lips upward into a faltering grin for just a moment as he rolls the Steward onto his back to observe his condition. Removing his gauntlet he places his hand above the Steward's mouth to ensure that he is still breathing properly.
"Done," the Wildling echoes Serath. "Almost." It leaves Vhramis sprawled on the ground, then walk-crouches toward Ashlynn and Riditt. Silvery eyes fix briefly on Orell, a soft hiss coming from between sharp fangs. And then its eyes turn toward the courier: "Tell bloodsire. Next aftersun. The wallkeeper. The bloodling." The creature bows its domed head, and then starts off to the south, into the roiling fog.
From Delar's saddle, Medu Clearwater backs his horse away nervously as the wilding starts to move away. Serath watches the Wildling move, and then finally vanish into the shroud of fog. He makes no attempt to pursue, it would seem.
From Avocet's saddle, Slowing to a cautious trot, one haggard and trail-worn Shadowscourge in brassy regalia clops into town. The robust steed snorts in fatigue, though its curly blonde-haired rider holds it of no consequence - at least now now. There is an unusual gathering... Fael? Vhramis? Ashlynn... and several more familiar faces. Sister Laeria reels in the reins to Avocet.
Riditt breathes softly from his position on the ground, one hand still touching his forehead, the other splayed-fingered and pointed away from himself, his legs bent and together. His cloak is tangled and flipped about his torso, wrapped around his outstretched arm.
Orell Mikin frowns as the Wildling passes near him and he returns the Wildling's silver gaze with a steely one, undaunted by the lone Wildling. He continues to look down at the unconscious Riditt, he checks with Rayma, "I have never seen him before. Is he in the employ of someone here?"
Tugging on Shiningcoat's reins, the Prince of the Blood leads the Warhorse forward around the mass of quickly departing people, heading towards Orell, confident that Vhramis is in the safe hands of Fael. Drawing closer to the Trademaster upon the careful hooves of his mount, Serath makes his quarry know. "Fael." he states, voice showing little emotion other than indifference right now.
Rayma takes one step back from the wildling as it passes by, keeping a wary eye on it but showing no other action until he responds to the question from the Trademaster, which he answers with a bit of a shrug. "No Mi'Lord. I haven't seen him before at all so would have no idea as to his status."
Ester Shardwood tenses as the wildling moves in the direction of Orell and Ashlynn. She takes a couple of steps towards them when it becomes clear of the creature's destination. Her eyes light with fear as she instinctively lifts the bow. It drops to her side again as the wildling moves away into the fog. She breathes a sigh of relief and stops. Turning her attention back to the steward, she strides over and kneels down beside him, across from Fael.
From Cleo's saddle, Ashlynn stares back at the Wildling neutrally, giving a sharp, jerking nod before releasing a long breath as it lopes away. "Hey, I wasn't sure it was you until you just tumbled over like that. Your mother wasn't joking when she said you don't deal well with stress, did she?" Ashlynn says quietly with an off-centered smile as she turns to look down at the youth again, resting a hand on Riditt's shoulder before nodding to Orell. "He is with me. His mother wanted him to learn some scribing skills. I thought it would be convenient to meet him here...just not under these circumstances."
Fael Mikin glances towards the huntsmistress, his concern obvious on his features. He blinks at Ester for a moment before recognizing her, and then says with a faint smile. "Ah, Mistress Shardwood. Good to see you again." He moves his gaze down to ensure that the wounds in Vhramis legs are not more serious than he originally imagined then adds, "I fear that we need to get him to the Duchess as soon as possible. I had heard that she was at the Bronze Hall is that still the case?"
The Wildling known as Four-Splotch stands in the fog, crouched near the edge of the Fastheld River, gleaming eyes turning back to regard the crowd near the crossroads. And then, without another word, the mottled creature disappears into the mist.