- Markshire PCs:
They quickly dispatched the remaining one-eyes in the camp, silencing the drums with much better considered tactics. Sun-Ok turned and followed Kyle into the cyclops cave, her friends following reluctantly, but the thoughts running through her mind caused her not to even notice their hesitation.
Once inside, Kyle showed his true, selfish colors, sneaking off on his own for the cyclops’ treasure. Sun-Ok distractedly noted his unexpected skill at such stealth, and remained distracted as she and Ava and Blizzard cleared the caves of a few more one-eyes, at last arriving at the rope leading down to the ice-snake caverns.
It was there—wisely fearing the powerful ice-snakes—that Ava protested and Blizzard mutely shook his head. Sun-Ok nodded silently—she would not ask her friends to do more, but the call to honor still rang loud in her conflicted mind, so she turned and climbed stealthily down the rope, prepared, now, to either sneak along as Kyle had doubtless done before her or face the ice-snakes alone.
There were no snake corpses below—Kyle was clearly only after the treasure ahead. As she herself slid stealthily past the first snake she saw, she was both heartened and fearful to hear Ava clattering down the rope behind her. Her friends had followed, with every reason not to, and it touched Sun-Ok deeply. As the snake moved toward Ava, Sun-Ok attacked it with a shout, and the three friends proceeded cautiously—healing after each encounter and preparing for the next—to kill all the ice-snakes in the caves.
They at last arrived at the one-eyes’ treasure chest, Kyle seemingly disgruntled with what he had found within. He turned and left, and the others discovered there the roses they sought, apparently the object of Kyle’s disappointment.
They too left, Sun-Ok pausing to thank her friends for their loyalty as they passed through the corpse-littered gate. Kyle rejoined them just outside, maintaining an unceasing stream of annoying chatter as they headed back to the grave in the woods. He refused to believe they had gone through all that merely for flowers, despite the roses happily brandished by Blizzard, and he openly questioned Sun-Ok’s honesty—unaware, perhaps, that such an act would earn him only her undying disdain.
His noise, however, was hard to ignore as they hiked, further befuddling Sun-Ok’s beleaguered thoughts. For the experience had also led her to doubt her previous decision, her commitment to actively fight for good and to follow the warrior’s way. At last they arrived back at the captain’s gravesite, where they calmly handed over the roses and quietly watched the sailors cover the captain’s grave. Sun-Ok nodded to herself contentedly as a fog bearing the smell of sea-salt rolled briefly in—at least that was one debt paid, and one of the many voices in her mind silenced.
Only to be replaced by another, in the whining, self-satisfied tones of a tattling child—Kyle’s voice, of course. “You buried a body just outside Kayla’s circle? She is not going to like that…”
Sun-Ok looked briefly over the wall of the ruined house to Kayla’s circle. It hadn’t really occurred to her, though she was fairly certain her friend would not have a problem with it—even if the captain had been a man of town and not forest, he had loved Kayla’s woods, and in any case was buried in a ruin of man’s own construction, like his body slowly being reclaimed by the patient forest and nourishing it. And he had been a sea-captain, after all, a man who every minute of every day worked at keeping his ship of wood and crew of flesh in harmony with the sea and wind around him.
Already disdainful of Kyle, she merely nodded toward the circle, which he alone had traversed on their way through the woods. “Think she be more upset ’bout the dead orc you left rotting inside it.”
Kyle glanced nervously back to the very center of Kayla’s circle where the bright, clashing colors of an orc-shield indeed shone through the leaves. He turned to follow the three friends, who had in quiet harmony turned to follow the path back to Foothold. Being who he was, though, he could not help but spoil that quiet and that harmony, ruining as well any chance the walk might have given Sun-Ok to order her troubled mind. His niggling, nattering whining about Kayla accompanied them all the way back to town.