- Markshire PCs:
[dialogue in the elven tongue]
“Hey, that hurt,” Marco said. One of the oilskin packets used to protect bowstrings from the salt air had just grazed a small scar across his cheek. “It’s not my fault, you know.”
Sun-Ok grunted lightly, either in response or from the effort required to string the big recurved bow she had brought ashore. She had sat in sullen silence on the boat after he told her, speaking at last now that they were ashore—and in elven, afraid of saying something improper in the tongue she had been learning. “You could’ve told me.”
“I didn’t teach you those words, or even use them around you. I…wouldn’t. You picked that up from the rest of the crew, and you’re a quick study. Not my fault…” Marco trailed off as he watched her, panting slightly, set the newly strung bow down near her bedroll. His tone softened as she obsessively and unthinkingly brought order to their campsite. “Don’t worry about it—Nils will straighten you up…”
“Nils can’t even straighten himself up,” she started, exasperated. “It’s just,” she stopped fidgeting with their gear, sat, and stared into her lap. Wistfully, she went on. “It’s just that I’m alone, Marco: no people, no family, the world and the ways I know far away and unknown here. If I survive, it’s because I can fit in, because I can adapt, and now…”
“Now, you’ll have a whole new world to learn about and fit into. Sun,” he said, reaching out and gently raising her chin so she looked at him, “we are all sad that you’ll be leaving us, too. But not one of us doubts that you’ll thrive wherever you go.” He looked at his hand, and abruptly let go, “Thrive, that is, if you get a little food in you. Gods, who’s ever heard of a grown elf who can barely string a bow?”
The first boat’s crew had already started bringing in fresh fruit and some other supplies. Marco watched in amazement as she dug in, ravenously, all fastidiousness gone as juice and pulp dribbled from her mouth and onto her clothes. Despite her obvious hunger, there was no passion in the feast; she ate as matter-of-factly as she had been vomiting aboard, and as diligently as she worked on the sails. He shook his head to himself, and they sat in easy silence as the crew went about their tasks.
Lars was organizing some men over by a faint path leading into the trees. He looked much more impressive—fearsome even—in the chainmail he had donned after coming ashore: a cutlass hung at his hip, and a crossbow was strapped to his back. In fact, most of the crew looked dangerous—armed to the teeth with a bizarre assortment of weapons and bits of armor. The group with Lars had made a sled of sorts that was loaded with small casks.
Marco nodded toward Lars. “They’ll be going inland for fresh water—there’s a spring a few hours’ walk from here. Be back late tomorrow. We’ll stay here with this lot, and see if they can bring in fruit faster than you can eat it.” She looked up sheepishly, mid-bite into an oversized pear. Marco smiled. “You go ahead, Sun; it’s why you’re here. Try to enjoy it, though, okay?”
As the water party filed into the woods, Sun-Ok continued to gorge herself, and Marco sat beside her, quietly alert, watching the treeline.