Thursday, February 24, 2011

The fighting had gone on all day and part of the evening. It had been a desperate and intense battle, the forces determined to take Morgan and her protectors. There were few losses on the warriors side, but more than a few injuries. As they straggled back to camp they began to compare notes, figuring out how many of the creatures on the Plane had died and how many were left of Morgans forces.

Inari all but falls in front of one of the fires. She feels so cold she thinks she will never be warm. She watches as the men return, hoping to see Torin and his men. They had started out fighting side by side but were separated at some point. Please Goddess, not again, I think it would kill me...

Gareth returns, dropping next to Inari. The sentries were busy seeing to the horses and providing drinking water for the men. Gareth hands her his cup and she drinks deeply. When he takes the cup back he notices her watching all the returning men. He leans close and quietly says, “He is alive, just talking strategy with Keon.” At her surprised look he adds, “I am not blind milady, although I dont think anyone else realizes.”

Inari looks down at her hands, unable to respond to Gareth. She couldnt lie to her friend and she couldnt really put words to her feelings. Afraid that even trying would somehow damage the fragile bond forming between them.

When she looks up again she sees Torin arrive, in deep conversation with Keon, the Riders close behind them. Inari lets out a sigh of relief. Everyone was accounted for except Ky. Where could she have got to? She was always the first one to run into battle and the last to leave but she should be back by now.

Inari stands and looks around. There was no way she could have slipped by her, K'thyri was exuberant and she didnt do anything quietly or passively.

Torin notices her worried glances and asks whats wrong.

When Inari replies 'Ky', one of the soldiers, a younger man starts to laugh. “I wouldnt worry about the wyldfae. They probably switched sides halfway through the battle...”

Before the man could get another word out or before anyone could stop her, Inari has the man by the throat and slams him on the ground. “You will not speak of my friend in that manner, you swine. She is a warrior and her loyalty is past question. Yours is not. I will rip your tongue out myself and drag you before the Queen for court martial if I hear another remark from your mouth.”

Eyes wide, first with pain and then with the realization of who he had offended, the man goes to his knees and apologizes profusely. Inari walks away, fighting an overwhelming desire to kick the soldier in the face.

Inari starts to pace as a horse and rider race towards her. Several people have to move quickly to get out of the riders way. It could only be a wyldfae, riding like that, but Inari knows it isnt Ky's horse. With a skidding of hooves and a cloud of dust, the horse comes to a stop next to Inari. A wyldfae leaps off the horses saddleless back and Inari finds herself in a bear hug from an old friend.

“Inari! Ky said you were, so I had to take a break and see for myself. How are you?”

“Drai, its good to see you.” Inari returns the hug.

“You look happy... hmmm... and I know it isnt just because of me, not that I havent tried.”

Inari swats at him, the teasing had been a constant thing between them. He tried to flirt, she said no, he would launch into a tirade about his shortcomings, mainly not being civilized enough for a queens emissary and his impressions of a courtly gentleman would leave her laughing until her sides ached.

Drai was K'thyri's older brother, one of a large clan of siblings. So large Inari didnt know how many sibs she actually had, if Ky even knew herself. Drai was handsome, dark red hair framed laughing brown eyes and his muscular body was always attracting some ladies attention. He was charming according to wyldfae standards, but could be insufferably rude by anyone elses standards. His attitude really wasnt any different from most of his kind. They lived life to the fullest, taking enjoyment in whatever they were doing at the time. Never particularly worried about what anyone else thought of their behavior either. As a whole, the wyldfae reminded Inari of a group of naughty teenaged boys. Daring one another to do some stunt and then laughing and comparing injuries with one another after it all went wrong.

“Ky asked me to deliver a message if I got here first....” Drai looks around at the men, Riders, Nighthawks, Wyldfae, a few with no visible allegiance. His eyes roam and land on Keon.

“The one there, with the blue streak in his hair.”

Keon looks up, wondering what message a wyldfae could have for him.

Drai approaches, doesnt introduce himself, since he feels no need to do so for a simple message. “My sister asked me to tell you that you forgot something on the Plane and she is bringing it to you shortly.”

Only partially successful at stifling her laughter at the expressions on some of the mens faces, Inari tries to find out more from Drai.

“What could she have possibly found of Keons on the Plane? Is she joking around again?”

Drai assumes a look of pretended horror at her suggestion. “Joking? K'thyri? Ky would never make a joke about this. Seriously, you will have to wait and see. She'll be back soon...”

Keon went back to his discussion with Torin, who gave Inari a grin. He understood the wyldfae, having fought besides Drai many times in the past. Although most of them preferred to fight farther south, the realms troops were scattered thin at that point, so there were less restrictions allowing the wyldfae to fight when they wanted.

Coming into camp amidst much commotion and hollering is K'thyri. Inari wonders why she is riding so slow, she never does anything slow, always seeming to be in fast motion, especially out here in the wilds. As she gets closer, Inari can see that she is dragging something behind her horse.

Ky pulls up next to Inari and Drai. “Did you tell them?”

“No, sister. I only told the rider what you asked me to.”

Ky slips off her horse, “Good. I love surprises. Wont they be surprised brother? What fun this has been...”

Playfully grabbing Ky's arm Inari asks, “What is it... or is it a who? Quit teasing Ky, and tell us what you have bundled up in there.”

Suddenly the bundle rears up and starts trying to get out of the wrappings it is in. Screams of rage are coming from the bundle and as it makes contact with the horse, it starts to beat on the horses side.

This infuriates Ky, and her face turns almost as red as her hair. She picks up a large fat stick and strikes at the bundle in time with her words, “Do. Not. Hit. My. Horse.”

When she turns and sees the Riders and the Nighthawks staring, she says, “What? He is a good horse.”

She drops the stick and unties the now silent bundle from her horse. Ky had tied a leather strap around her horse to hold the bundle since she had no saddle to tie it to. She drags the bundle to Keon, gives it a kick so that it settles at his feet and hands him the rope that binds the bundle securely.

“You forgot this. And I found it trying to sneak out the back door, so to speak. Drai wanted to kill it immediately and I will if you wont. But I think you will....”

A stunned Keon uses his knife to slit open the fabric and ropes. Ky laughs gleefully as Morgans red hair, covered in mud and blood, tumbles out.

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