The Way Through the Woods
Of a summer evening late,
When shadow cools into midnight pools,
Where hunters stir with savage hate,
You will hear the beat of a hind's feet,
And the swish of an arrow in the dew,
Steady chanting through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the Gray Forest.
But there is no road through Riven woods...
Trouble stirs in the Gray Forest. One of the forest's rarest creatures, the cimmerian hind, is very sick indeed. Its calf is in an even worse state. A call goes out for trackers and hunters to deliver a cure to the hinds. Now if only they weren't pretty much invisible in shadow... This scene features combat (risk: moderate). Preference to Grayson fealty members and especially new players.
Oct. 2, 2018, 8:33 p.m.
Outside Arx - Bastion - The Gray Forest
Comments and Log
Rumours rage throughout Bisland over the past few weeks. All thanks to a few foresters, much of Riven and its adjacent lands buzz with word that a creature thought to be nearly mythical prowls the Gray Forest. Perhaps not prowls so much as shyly moves under the trees. The cimmerian hind hasn't been seen in living memory. Prodigal elders know a few old tales that circulate like wildfire about how the deer-like ungulate can practically vanish into the sylvan woodlands. A few call it holy. Most call it precious. A hunter might be atop the beast and never know what rests quietly near his boot, dead still. Alas, the creatures claimed to be sacred to Petrichor are just that -- the stuff of legends. It's exactly the sort of thing to bring back to the Lodge or put under protection if it existed. Apparently the claims are good enough for House Grayson. Or House Riven. The proof? A tuft of inky hair the size of a lady's thumbnail that can be lost on any dark cloth and a dainty hoofprint gathered in the past day. That sent forth hunters to try to find the poor thing.
Dusk is still an hour off when the first bedraggled scout returns to the edges of the clearing somewhere beyond a mustering point northeast of Riven. Among the fifteen people sent out, this is the first to return to the countess. His face is grim, lathered in sweat. The man is about thirty-five or so, dressed in humble leathers, and marked with a few pricks of paint to suggest he still holds to older shav ways. Still, he doffs his cap and pants, cheeks bright red. In the warm golden light of approaching autumn, his eyes are wide, showing their whites. "Pardoning yer ladyship," he wheezes out, "but Merdin got its trail." A beat. "'s bad. Got a...a fawn."
Both of the Countess' dark brows lift sharply at the man's expression, and even moreso at his words. "Bad?," she asks him, pointedly, and her pitch-dark eyes trail down the path he's made through the forest, as though she might somehow be able to see some faint glimpse of it, unlikely though that may be, off in the distance, among the trees. "Is it injured, then?" Her voice lowers, the concern readily evident. Who knew the cool woman could show such tenderness for tiny things?
Dumpling whickers a warning, ears swiveling towards the approach of what turns out to be a woodsman of their company. The great palomino snorts and and stamps, Kaldur reaching up to stroke her neck, his brow creased with concern. He ducks under the strap of his waterskin and hands it to the scout when the man is done giving his report. "Any sign of danger? Man or beast." The Gray is a dangerous place in a good year... Looking off in the direction the scout came from, he checks the draw of Wavedancer and looks back at the crew. The young knight is eager to set out, but defers to wiser and perhaps cooler heads.
Settled upon a fallen tree, Emily is checking the fletchings of her arrows and adjusting them accordingly. A long breath drawn her head snaps up from her work as the first scout breaks the perimeter to offer Mia the update. Slowly she tucks away her arrows, placing them back in her quiver at her side before rising to her feet. Hands press the cuirass into place before rolling her shoulders back. The scout is quiet, listening to the any details that may be given, "How fresh is the trail?" She asks finally, giving the scout a considering look.
There is something about a hunt that makes Ophelia feel truly alive -- it's like a switch takes place. The typically sweet and aimless Velenosa princess turns into something focused and driven whenever she's close to woodland. Today, however, she is hunting to /find/ something. Not kill it. Dressed in her leathers and tall boots, Ophelia is seemingly prepared to venture into the forest with her bow in hand and a quiver of arrows slung across her back should she need them. As she stands amongst those gathered, she watches the exchange between Countess and scout, then glances at Lord Kaldur soon afterward. Still silent and observing, ready to go at any given moment.
The young man standing among the others, Curran, instinctively rests his hand on the hilt of his blade, hearing someone come out onto the clearing. He tenses up a little, looking over the man, but seeing him report to the Countess puts him back at ease. He'd heard about this whole ordeal from the Scholars, and his own, more private sources, having decided to come out here to hone his already good tracking skills, which are primarily urban focused.
The Prodigal scout, Verlan, mops his brow with the back of his sleeve and leaves a rough red trail. His eyes dart back and forth between all the nobles and he nods. "Hour and a half, give or take. That's into Abandoned territory and worse, given... well, you all know the trouble well as me. Merdin fletched the branches with ash leaves." A scratch at his collar speaks to sweat rolling down his neck. "I ain't never seen a hind before. The little one was moving slow and falling. The big one kept moving it along and nosed it when it went down."
Emily checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 23 higher.
Emily has little trouble finding the scout's path. The dirt path through the forest is very easy to follow in the first hour by her standards as clearly this is regularly traveled. There are few bushes or any impediments, and deadfall has been mostly cleared except to ford creeks. The ash leaves pinned to branches are subtle and discreetly placed to look natural. She can see them and leads the group through a fork into rougher territory. In the meantime she sees less and less signs of habitation. A few bent branches, a single tiny hoofprint. Little, would fit in the palm of her hand with much room to spare. After that point though, the group reaches a fairly swift, silty tributary of the Daughter River. It's far enough across that one simply can't jump.
Water. The armor-wearer's most dire foe. Kaldur scans the trees growing along the stream's edge and the banks, looking for a narrows, or stones in the flow, a log... anything except submerging.
Kaldur checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 9 lower.
Coming upon the river causes a slight frown to crease the scout's brow. It puts an end to her tracking as she looks across it and attempts to figure the best way about. "Well this brings us up a little short. Traveling soaked is not my idea of comfort," though truly her worry is for how swift the waters may actually be. Watching the water race its then a matter of depth before she tries to get a look up and down for a better crossing point.
Emily checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 46 higher.
Curran's gaze moves along the river, for a second it seems like he's genuinly considering just jumping it, which isn't plausible and he quickly realizes it. "Aye, I ain't about to get swimming in my clothes either.", he says, though there might be a note of mocking in his voice, if anyone bothers to pay attention. He doesn't add much more than that, after seeing others getting to work looking around for possible ways of crossing the river and deciding to join the efforts.
Curran checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.
The banks of the Daughter are a familiar sight -- at least for their lady, whose own windows at the Twainfort overlook its rushing waters. But this is a point far enough upriver that she can make no claims on knowing it half so well as those she's seen more days of her life than not. Mia's lips turn down faintly in a frown and then looks back towards Emily, towards Merdin. It's a thoughtful expression that she wears before she asks, rather pointedly, "....It doesn't look to make for a fair crossing here, but if it'd be difficult for any of use to manage the waters, I can't imagine an injured fawn would fair better. Quite the opposite. Are you sure there's no other signs of them continuing up or down somewhere along the river's edge?"
"Oh, an apple!" The knight's belly rumbles a bit and Kaldur stoops to scoop the green apple up. Sniff. He is about to take a bite when he pauses, "Did one of you leave this?" Curran? Ophelia? Countess?
Ophelia checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 3 higher.
Ophelia exhales a silent breath through her nose as she makes her way along the scout's path and into the forest. Her senses are heightened as she breathes in the natural scents around her, and she's keen on looking out ahead of her and the group. The river's edge is soon upon them and she finds herself narrowing her honey colored brows as she gazes across the way, then she's looking down considering the path they might take. "I /hate/ walking around in wet boots." She's then shaking her head at Kaldur, or perhaps the idea of wading into the water with said boots. "Not mine."
Mia checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 19 higher.
Her head lifts for a moment, looking to the overhanging trees before giving Mia a look, "Possible, but.." Emily's voice trails as she squints her eyes to make something out on the far side of the stream. Frowning she shakes her head. A breath is drawn, "There..in that tree across the way." She points to one across the Daughter from them. A crude arrow is embedded into its side, whatever it was aimed at it never met its true target. "Something else is after the hind is my guess...but how they even crossed.." she lowers down to check the embankment for hoof prints or othewrise, pausing for a moment to look at the apple Kaldur finds and arches a brow.
The arrow is devilishly hard to see even with the assistance from Emily. The very colour implies an intent to remain unseen and hidden, shot from stealth. The position so high up makes little sense on its own unless the archer had a real hatred of squirrels or, say, birds. The angle in fact corresponds about to where Kaldur and his apple stand.
Upon spotting a quieter part of the river Curran walks along the edge of the water until he reaches it, taking a careful glance at the part that seemed a little off. "Ah, there's a log here. We can cross!", he calls out to the rest of the group. "It's shallow enough to waddle across. Or you could walk along the log, but...", he chuckles, forming a somewhat mischievous smile. "It's a little slippery. I'll try myself and help anyone else, if they need it.", he says, taking a step forward, putting one of his feet onto the log as he attepmts to cross the river that way. Hearing someone talk about arrows distracts him, nearly causing him to slip then and there, but he catches himself in time with a soft exhale.
Curran checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.
Kaldur notes the lack of ownership of the apple and is about to take a bite again when he notes a nearby Dumpling with her ears perked forward standing oh-so-patiently, nostrils flaring as she takes the apple's scent. A woodsman, Kaldur is not, and neither is his horse. The apple is the center of their universe at the moment until Emily points. The knight squints and sees or imagines he does the arrow. Without looking, he offers the apple to Dumpling who crunches happily. "Swung across, maybe?" Are there vines? Ropes? Oh! A log, "Gods bless you, man." Kaldur leads a munching Dumpling towards the log. She can splash on through the water. He braves the log and leads his girl across without incident.
The arrow draws Mia's attention up -- high, to where Emily had pointed. Even so, she has to squint to see it, and squint further still to be sure. Or, perhaps, she was looking for something? Darting from the arrow to the branches, she mmurs murs to the rest of the party, "Given how graceful they supposedly are, and how very small, they might have....," she trails off, shaking her head for a moment. No, even to her it sounds a bit mad. "Either way, that tells us we aren't alone. Be on the lookout for people. As well as logs," she adds, dry.
With some wet feet and a devilishly slippery surface of the fallen giant, Curran starts to pick his way through the water. The confused current makes for slower passage that rushes on downstream, but it's possible for those on foot to cross safely. On the other side, the bank leads up to a tangle of roots and several bilberry bushes that impede the way. An ash leaf flutters at shoulder height on a branch a few yards past that, hard to see in the gloom as the dying sunlight leaves the woodlands prematurely dark.
Emily checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 9 lower.
Delilah GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + stealth(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 29 higher.
Giving Curran a thankful look, Emily glances back across the river at the arrow - looking non too pleased to see it. She looks to Mias as the others begin to cross. "Hopefully they have given up their pursuit and we are truly alone. But shoudl prepare for the worse case," she adds. Emily will bring up the rear, making sure Mia gets across without incident and that they are not being following in their pursuit. Some may note how pale her skin becomes as herself takes care on the log and crossing it. She is all but sweating and gasping when she makes the other side. "I hate water..really I do."
Kaldur gives Emily a curious look, "If you've ever a notion to dispel that, let me know," he peers around into the gloom, eyes sharp for any sign of hind, fawn, or foe.
Kaldur checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 15 lower.
Sadly, who knew tracking a hind capable of blending into darkness might be difficult at the edge of nightfall? With everyone across the high stream, if Dumpling is a bit drippy, Kaldur is able to give some indication of the basic path ahead. Given the trees have little but game trails, it takes a bit of bushwhacking on the Seliki's part to guide the way into thickening trees. Behind them is the river, and no hide, hare, or hind to be found.
Having spotted absolutely nothing for awhile now, Curran is getting a little tense, keeping his eyes peeled and carefully scanning every nook and cranny, to the best of his ability, which is to say fairly limited being out in nature, trying to spot anything or anyone of note.
Emily checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 23 higher.
Curran has rolled a critical success!
Curran checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 28 higher.
Brushing off her near death with water, Emily steps ahead, beginning to try to rustle up the scent/trail again. She blinks a few times, false trails with small details but finally she sees it and gives a tip of her chin. "This way," she instructs and gloved hand will pick up the branches that are broken, the churned soft earth in places that hint at hooves. Until finally they break into a clearing that was once harvested three to four decades ago and is showing signs of small saplings here and there. Something draws her to a portion of the clearing and as she gets down to inspect a broken branch she pulls away the hair that has snagged and a wet bit of blood stains her glove. "Blood and hair," she intones to the others, glancing back to roll her fingers along the portion of her glove that holds the evidence.
Mia checked perception + animal ken at difficulty 20, rolling 8 higher.
Kaldur falls in step beside Emily, taking cues from the scout, since he's mostly succeeding at finding apples. Maybe he's not bad at surviving after all!
Delilah GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + stealth(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 15 higher.
Mia checked charm + animal ken at difficulty 20, rolling 11 higher.
An acorn crashes down to plink off Kaldur's shoulder. Another pile of oak leaves cascades into Dumpling's mane, considerably less noisy and impactful.
And Curran's staring pays off! As he's being led into the clearing with the rest of the group, he suddenly stops in his tracks, staring rather intently at a certain shadow, across the clearing, created by a whole bunch of ferns planted over a rise. He closes his eyes, shaking his head a little, before staring back at the same place. Yup. Still there. "Hey... I know you're busy and all but, I'd advice if you all stopped moving and cut the noise.", he murmurs quietly enough to hear, with a light nod pointed over at the direction he was staring so intently at. "There's a deer shaped... darkness. Not even a shadow. Kinda like umbra."
Not a great deal in the way of amenities await in a forest. It's enough to have a glimpse of the sky and the clearing allows ragged glimpses of the darkening ultramarine bowl overhead spattered by a few emerging stars. Footing is treacherous and uneven. Distinguishing shapes among the crepuscular light is a bit of a process without a light source, and Kaldur nor Ophelia hanging back with the scout (sorry, Princess!) has thought to ignite a torch or lantern to destroy everyone's night vision. Small blessings. The stillness is apparent and uncomfortable, unnatural. Not so much as a cricket chirps.
Turning her head from inspecting the passage and the fresh blood, Curran's marking of the hind causes her to go still. Instinct causes her breath to slow and she even goes so far as to briefly hold it to focus on the shape. Eyes shift to that of Mia and then the others with as little turning of her head as she can make. "By the gods," its such a hushed utterance that she can barely hear herself. Now the question remains - how to approach without losing the poor creature or causing it further harm by scaring it.
Emily checked perception at difficulty 25, rolling 5 lower.
Mia, too, falls silent at the warning from Curran. Still, even. She is not a particularly stealthy woman, herself, and is even less so when weighed down by the bulk of armor, which she isn't especially useful -- not even armor as light as leathers. So rather than make an attempt to hide, she does quite the opposite. Slowly, very slowly, she picks up one of those damnable apples that Kaldur keeps pointing out and plucks it up off the ground. With a small knife from her healer's pouch, she cuts into it, several times, to carve out a slice. And with one, two, three careful, shuffling steps forward, she crouches down to lay that slice in the grass -- toss it, really -- so it lands a few feet in front of her. Near the... shadow? The shadow.
The faintest sound of a wheezy, tiny bleat emerges from seemingly nowhere. The noise is ragged, weary in all its dimensions. From somewhere in thin air ahead and to the side of that rise, perhaps.
Curran continues to stare at the same spot, not daring to move his gaze even an inch as he could lose the creature. For a second there, he spaces out, plain fascinated with a creature so perfect, by his standards. Even his umbra doesn't make him as elusive as the hind in front of him. "It... looks kinda defensive. Ready for a fight. I'd be careful if I was you.", he whispers to his partners, still keeping an eye on the creature, ready to warn everyone if it makes any sudden movements, or shows any changes in it's behaviour.
Emily can't focus, the creature is there and then it is not. She shakes her head a little and blinks trying to widen her eyes enough to see it again. Its like watching a mirage in fading light knowing that something is moving and there. The sound alone is enough to cause her concern to rise. "We may have little time to be worried over such things," she nearly breathes out but her attention moves to Mia as the bits of apple are thrown forward in invitation..peace offering? Emily considers a moment and extends her hand to Mia. "If you give me some I MAY be able to get closer and lay some down and then come back this way leaving a few more. It might be enough to get it closer and paint us as friends."
The miserable muted noise blats again from several strides ahead up to that rise. The apple lies forlorn in the grass not so far away, with a smell wafting softly into the air. Curran might see the blurry darkness shift just by a fern, articulating a hint of a long ear twitching. The weak little hind honks its face off, as loudly as it can manage.
Meanwhile, Dumpling lowers her head and starts to chew the bark off the nearest oak foolish enough to pelt her with its foliage. For crown and Compact, she nuzzles up and munches. Kaldur remains much on guard.
Mia almost winces at the sound and nods to Emily, slicing off a few more pieces. "If we can get near enough to it, I may be able to tend to its wounds, but... I cannot say what help I can give, if I can hardly see it. And even then, that's if we can keep it from fleeing, or its mother from lunging at us. I doubt she's far off if it's wounded. I'd certainly not be, if it were one of my children." She deposits the slices in Emily's hand, given that the other woman seems far more likely to move without terrifying the poor thing.
Mia checked perception at difficulty 25, rolling 6 lower.
Emily checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.
Taking several slices of apples, Emily remarks faintly to Curran and Mia. "I am going to try to gain us some ground...if I succeed, Countess you should join me and see if we can not convince the hind that we are here to help." She glances to Curran, "If you think you can follow me..please do. The more we get it used to us the better," here is to hoping at the very least. She starts forward, slowly, carefully and as the lower growht of the clearing shifts, she tries to make it seem naturally so. And then she pauses, visibly so by her compatriots for she extends her hand slowly and goes stil. She tries to adjust to introduce herself slowly to let the small creature smell her rather than be surprised by the introduction of a gloved hand holding the apple - ironically it may smell like them considering she had been touching the bits of hide left behind. She makes a motion low with her free hand for the others. She is feeding what looks like a fern to some of the group.
Mia checked charm + animal ken at difficulty 20, rolling 4 higher.
Doesn't make a sound and just nods, following Emily's example and making his way along with her, standing slightly behind her and not daring to move all that much, just trying to get a better look at the creature, to warn Emily of any possible dangers.
"She seems rather miserable.", he whispers to his partners.
The shadow behind the fern keeps licking the apple. It would be more of a pathetic sight if the hind were actually more visible, rather than stealing the moisture from the fruit. Mama lowers her head and lifts a dainty little hoof, even her snuffle snort hard to hear compared to the baby nosing around the fruit. They can get fairly close to the dark outlines blurring into the night. The slightest musk on the air might be a slight giveaway of their proximity. On the other hand, it might be hard to credit the fact a tall deer-like creature is precipitously close to the armoured countess, the thief, and the lady-archer.
Maybe the gleam of an eye gives it away, liquid and dark. Maybe those spiralling horns like onyx swept back from her noble head. The fern has iddy biddy spirals, a pair that reach blunted nubs because who gives baby pointy things to play with?
Mia makes no attempts to conceal her approach, once the others have neared. There would be very little point in doing so, given how unlikely she was to be at all subtle. So instead, she falls back on trying to seem as little of a threat as possible, by making herself plainly seen and -- if need be -- easily withdrawn from. Her gloved hands reach for a pouch at her belt as she walks, in search of some of the contents therein. "There now," she murmurs gently, and it seems her bedside manner with the young and vulnerable is far gentler than it is with, say, her wounded war-lord husband. Indeed, she's well-practiced in the soft tones of a mother consoling a child. "We won't hurt you, dear thing. I'd help you, if only I could see you better."
Noting that the baby does not eat the fruit but licks it, she reaches for the water at her side and tries to pop the skin open. The apple she has in her hand lowers slowly and drops. Carefully, as nonthreatening as she can she upends the waterskin in her hand and cups her now apple free glove. Water spills forth from the opening of the skin and fills her hand, she stills it and waits, seeing what the little hind will do with the moisture offered. The slight hints mess with her eyes and she is careful to shift her weight to rest on her knee rather than her haunches so she doesn't end up losing her footing with the way her foot feels like its starting to tingle. She can hear Mia's words for the creature and remains quiet as she focuses on the small thing, offering more water should it enjoy what she first offers.
Who is to say a hind doesn't appreciate the dulcet tones of snarling Crownland shav and tender touches delivered by someone wearing the leathers of its greatest enemies or cousins? Words prick the long ears. The mother's head bobs down low and rises partway after a temporary loss of control of her neck muscles. Nostrils flare. Apple. Water. Those rheumy eyes in liquid night flash. She turns to that imminent threat to her baby. Wielding water, what foe is that? Hooves in the ferns don't do more than tippytap a bit, the front only, her strength played out but still fighting for the baby sticking its nose out from the fern and muzzle-planting the offered palm. Traitor!
As the mother shifts towards her, Emily starts to lean a little but does not go far wanting to allow the baby to drink. "Shhhh, its okay," her voice takes on an airy richness trying to remain quiet and unassuming. "Alls well.." she says again but she's not an animal whisperer and she looks hopefully at Mia as the mother is distracted with concern for her child. Emilys hand with the water skin lifts in case she needs to protect herself and ward of the muzzle of the creature. There is a thrill in the moment however, when something thought lost is made real before her eyes. "This..." she can't put it to words though she has tenses a measure. She will wait for the mother to be calmed and guided before she will approach the foal, and set her water skin down, her hand coming out to try to brush at the head of the thing and let it realize there is no harm meant.
Mia is so bold as to actually settle down onto the clearing's green floor, then. What predator can she be, seated so thoroughly in the grass that she can't easily lunge, or bolt, or pounce? One hand reaches up to brush her jet-black hair back from her eyes, and she sighs with relief as the fawn comes into something akin to focus. Drawing off one of her gloves with her teeth, she holds bare fingers out -- nearer, not quite touching -- the direction of the deer, so they can better catch her scent, and so that the mother can pluck up the last of the apple, if she'd like. "Beautiful. And exhausted, by the looks of it."
Mia checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 20, rolling 2 higher.
The apple ends up vanishing in very white teeth adorning a very hard to see shape that is -- all things considered -- as tall as Mia herself if one includes that dramatic rack that spirals back behind pointy, long ears. The mother nips the apple away and chews it in two snappy chomps before it vanishes. She looks to be ready to fall over in the slightest breeze, although the impression can be somewhat hard to be certain on. Sweat mats her cobwebby pelt to her sides. Her eyes are rheumy and she looks like she's been running for hours. Maybe she has. The baby might drown without assistance from keeping its wet nose out of the water. Tongue sluggishly lapping up water is at least promising. Picking up the baby might irritate the bigger one, but the baby hind is all legs and not much else, weighing less than the common cat. A somewhat fat common cat.
Looking to Mia and smiling a bit, "Miraculous," Emily adds and watches the small thing stick its nose so deeply within the water, she has to carefully try to keep her hand moving so that it can partake without drowning itself. A crooked smile takes her lips but a look over that which she can see of the mother causes her brows to furrow. "There was an arrow back there, I think perhaps we may need to move now before whatever shot it finds us and the hinds." Because unlike the hinds, they stand out like sore thumbs. Strapping her waterskin back to her side, Emily scoots forward slowly on her knees and comes around beside the little baby, slipping one arm and then another around it, making sure to support its long legs so it feels secure. "Here we go...the mother will likely follow.." she slowly rises, one foot beneath and then another and its not for thew eight of the small creature it is all to do with not startling or alarming either of them. She keeps the baby near the mother a moment or two to show all is okay before she looks to Mia, "Countess...." she waits for the lead of Mia.
The baby makes a wobbly bleat in that much too quiet tone when lifted off its spindly legs. Its soft fur is a bit patchy and the thing's heart beats too sluggishly even for fear. No doubt it wouldn't be standing on those legs. Emily is warm enough and it has no real ability to struggle.
Mia nods once, sharply, in agreement to all of what Emily has said. "We can hope, though she's too worn to travel very far, even with you carrying the fawn." With little grace, but with surprising gravitas given all of her clambering in her armor, the Countess pushes herself back up to her feet. Brushing her hand very gently against the hind's side, she nudges the great beast along as best she can, remaining near lest the mother stumble or trip in her exhaustion or require some sort of herding. Near, and ever so slightly behind. Best to avoid the point of those horns as much as possible. "Come now. We've got to see you out of here, and I'd rather not truss you up if it can be helped."
Wobbly mama hind won't be the fastest moving creature. She follows that baby though without much hesitation. The going back towards Riven is slow, uncomfortably slow. Dumpling and Kaldur are going to have a fun time fording the stream with a near mythical animal slung over her back. Half rations for everyone, and onward to the Twainfort!
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