After a rather intense conversation with Eucarion I have stopped drinking. He insists it’s the best for my health. I had been doing fairly well for a few days not drinking at the cottage but as soon as we took as visit to the Rose Shell my mental strength wavered wildly. I could smell the sake and ale a block away from the teahouse. What nightmare had I gotten myself into? I focused on my task of asking Shei for a few of her favorite recipes. Living with Eucarion now, I feel like I need to impress him all over again and I would start with cooking for him. Sure I’ve roasted him a rabbit or two on our hunting trips but want to REALLY impress him.
The place was a mess of folks that afternoon with Kethra doing her lunch show and some new half-elf lad that seems to have Eucarion on edge. If I thought R’kanna was recklessly spastic this new one, Frondel, takes the cake. I groaned in protest as he signed the charter. Great another fresh face to keep alive. Oranssi seemed pleased to see us and promptly ordered a massive order of Maiden’s Breath for the table. I had to bite the inside of my cheek so hard to pass on the glass offered me even with the insistence from Saru that it was “Good for my health”. I had made a promise to Eucarion I would stop drinking. I ordered tea as Eucarion scooped the proffered glass up and with a heated glare at him I responded to Saru that he would have tea as well. If he was to have me stop drinking there was no way in 7 hells he was allowed to drink in front of me. That just isn’t fair.
Oranssi explained very flippantly that he died. I am not dispassionate enough to be cold about his dying but, I was perplexed why he was not more elated to be alive. I am sure death is an unpleasant experience but by the grace of his deity he was alive once more that is something to be celebrated. Instead he hid behind that ridiculous paper mask once more and curiously enough was drinking the Maiden’s Breath he ordered for the table himself. Does death relieve you of your religious vows? I avoid religion like Asokan Plague but this made me curious…and jealous beyond words. I make my own vow to stop drinking as this pious fuck breaks his –to drink-!!
It was nice to see R’kanna and Tempest were still in town. As odd as the duo were they were refreshing. R’kanna’s bright eyed innocence made me smile and Tempest’s brutal honesty was thought provoking. With a good group around the table we decided we would test Frondel’s meddle beyond the wall the next day. I was hoping to stay for the evening show that Kethra would accompany R’kanna’s performance but the temptations of drink were too strong and Eucarion and I decided to have a quiet evening at home – I still hesitate to call it that as I’ve only been living there for less than a week, but it’s the first place that’s felt like a true home since I left the Forestlands. No Offense to my Lady but living with someone you care for with every fiber of your being will always outmatch the grandest of manors.
When it came time to return to the Rose Shell for our pre-adventure breakfast I just could not step foot in there. Every smell made me sick and I was not totally sure of my ability to keep my hands out of Saru’s wine cellar. I instead sent Eucarion in to pack rations for when I felt like I could hold food down and my preferred armaments from the case. I lead the trek to the wall hoping the fresh air would clear my head I was not far enough from the cart to hear Frondel desperately trying to flirt with Kethra. Good luck with that! She seems mooneyed over Serena who was suspiciously missing from this adventure. Bob and Tim seem rather familiar with this Frondel as they greeted him by name and inquired after a “Lena” whomever that is?
I was wildly distracted from Frondel’s panic attack about The Wall marking his cheek with a key by the fact that I kept hearing disembodied voices from behind me and when I turned to check I saw no one but the party that I expected. It wasn’t till I looked up to Eucarion to ask if he had heard anything till I saw it in his face and we both turned to stare at the cart horses who were both very clearly complaining about being brought beyond the wall. I don’t know why it never occurred to either of us that if we could understand Xiao and Charka that we should be able to understand the horses. I was a little horrified of their sentience. Especially for Gryphon Bait, I should talk to Lady Frivolity about renaming the poor gelding.
Our plans had been to travel back out to the Mara and see what’s past Makiko’s Trust so we inevitably passed the picked clean carcasses of the boars we had slain. I hope after a few more weeks in the sun those massive rib cages will collapse and let nature take back her creations. R’kanna has taken a shine to map making and has asked to see my map while we traveled. I couldn’t help from smile at her excitement to have the map in her hands. When we finally made it to the river to camp she asked very sweetly if I would take a look at the map she was drawing based on mine. After a quiet evening of helping her with minor tweaks I was feeling oddly proud of her accomplishment. Even though she is only 5 years my younger her pleasant innocence makes me feel protective of her. I see very clearly why now they have sent Tempest with her.
My exhausted sleep was brought to a halt when Tempest slipped into the tent and woke me with warning of wolves. I slipped back into my armor as quickly and quietly as I could and grabbed my bow. Only to be greeted by the visage of 4 wolves, 3 direwolves and 3 werewolves all circling the camp at the edge of the vision the firelight afforded me. I let off a lightning guided arrow to the center of the 3 direwolves who were right in front of me but was subsequently pummeled to the ground by the same mongrel. Eucarion dispatched the beast for me with a flourish of his sword; a skill I knew he possessed but had yet to witness. Color me impressed. Though I am always impressed by anything he does. He makes the most perfect griddlecakes I’ve ever tasted in my life.
Sorry journal, I must be hungry while I write this to be thinking of breakfast foods in the middle of describing a skirmish. There were so many wolves it was hard to focus what was right in front of my face. I was impressed to see the cohesive work of Tempest using a wave of thunder to slam the werewolves into the water and for R’kanna to bring them death with her lightning. I was NOT impressed to watch that flirtatious half elf scream like a babe and hide within the invisibility cloak. Fucking coward. I wonder what rules there are to strike people’s name from the charter? By the time his balls dropped enough to join the fray he mustered just enough a magic bolt to down the last mongrel attempting to retreat.
I set immediately to dressing the kills as a way to come down off my battle nerves. Normally I would be back in my bed roll with a bottle of rice wine by now but since that just isn’t an option I set to what could distract me the best. Delicately removing the pelts from the wolves to preserve their value. Eucarion and I got in a terrible fight that night. His obsession with making sure I get enough sleep seems to be a fight we will never stop having. Since the BEGINNING! He repeatedly insisted I go back to bed and he would finish dressing the wolves but he just didn’t understand that I –needed- this task to calm myself. Right then I didn’t –need- sleep. Our shouting match was interrupted and mediated very quickly by Tempest. Logic prevailed and I returned to bed but I sleep still did not find me for hours.
Rather than be awoken at dawn by the marsh birds I woke several hours later to the bustle of Oranssi making breakfast and the rest of the camp being torn down while Kethra and R’kanna sang a pleasant upbeat tune. I was in no mood for a meal feeling completely out of sorts oversleeping like that. Everyone treated me fairly awkwardly that morning after the fight but I haven’t fully processed that morning yet. I’ll return to this.
As we traveled up the river that day we stopped for a brief moment to update our maps only to see Tempest’s key call her home in a flash leaving R’kanna in a panic. But there was no time for that because without even time for a breath 5 weretigers appeared spaced equally around our caravan in poofs of black smoke. In her typical dramatic ways, the skies darkened and Blood Spatter’s voice boomed all around us directing the weretigers to “kill the weak ones as a lesson”. As we all took our respective opportunities to attack the weretigers closest to us Oranssi casts a spell over us all and shouts for us to run to the water. I feel like a fool now but I had no idea he had cast a spell of water walking in a plan to put us all out of the tiger’s range. One by one they ran out to the center of the river suspended effortlessly but I couldn’t pull myself to do it. Not that I don’t trust magic but… if it failed and I drowned… I feel like, more than ever, I have a reason to be alive and I couldn’t risk it.
Frondel was downed with one swipe from the weretiger but I had no love lost for him just yet my concern was for keeping my Eucarion alive. In hindsight, it’s selfish to forsake these newcomers to the ministrations of Blood Spatter but my priorities stand. Charka tried valiantly to encourage me into the water with the others but eventually gave up to save herself. I don’t blame her, she was being smarter than I. R’kanna in all her stunning battle thrall grabbed Frondel and threw him over her shoulder as easy as a sack of oats and ran to join the party in the river. Even after the weretigers reminded themselves of their goals and refocused their energies on the newcomers we continued to pummel them down one by one leaving just myself, Eucarion and Xiao on the shore.
In a shocking change of direction Blood Spatter directs her minions to focus on me. The 3 remaining weretigers rushed me prompting Eucarion to slice one clean in half and R’kanna to bring her lightning down on the other two completely frying one.
I barely got to see this before Xiao grabbed me in his teeth and flipped me onto his back before running me out onto the water’s surface. I think I killed the last one but battle nerves do odd things to your memory. I’m home at our cottage now writing this trying so hard to remember what my mind blanked out.
tear-stained pages with unsteady writing “Kill the child” she said. That’s what I couldn’t remember. It’s been days here at the cottage and Eucarion has been my shadow day and night and now I remember. The sickness has been overwhelming for weeks now and the morning we left for the wall was no different. I had to send him in for food and armaments just to keep what little I had been able to keep down in my stomach. I’m surprised I kept my gut settled until the morning after the night of wolves. I did not want to admit it to myself at the time because I wanted so bad for this all to be a secret but all the awkward behavior all morning was due to some continued conversation after I fell asleep. They all knew. Every one of them was aware of our circumstances. They were kind enough but everyone still seems uneasy. But that fight. The weretigers. What my mind so was desperately trying to keep me from. “Kill the child” I thought it was R’kanna. I thought I was safe. I did not know she spoke of my child. If it weren’t for Xiao I could have died. We could have died? Can I say ‘we’ this early? We could have died. Eucarion tells me I shot the final blow after screaming an obscenity about being a mother at the creature. I just remember being held by him. I felt so cold and like I could not keep track of time for a whole day. He tells me this is a type of shock that is common in soldiers. I’m worried that he is not sleeping trying to take care of me. The darker the circles get under his eyes the more I feel like a burden. I almost think I should go back to the manor. This pregnancy is literally my weight to bare. Not his. I made the choice to keep it.