... now they must watch their abundance of luxuries fall away, making room for the tools of survival, and witness this time of relative peace wither into the same fears that harper's ballads had warned them about for generations.
 
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 Setting plans into motion

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Eloaene

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PostSubject: Setting plans into motion   Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:05 pm


Kuroaku had been sent with a group totaling four, to the roads north of Igen Hold in order to prepare for and carry out the kidnapping of Igen's Lady Eolyn. The Exiles who had joined the Rebels recently, were able to gather enough information from their time at the recent Gather to know that she and her Lady in Waiting enjoyed the out of doors, especially on runnerback. Initially, from what information they'd shared, Kuro was able to begin scouting for the kidnapping mission. Though the Rebels in general did not necessarily trust him not to take their plan directly to the Lord of Igen for some great reward, they also knew that Kuro was the only man in their midst who was familiar with Igen's territory to any great extent. So, Kuroaku was sent to scout the way ahead of them and suss out the details of the Lady's routine outings.

Second time around, the Rebels sent out four lightly armed, lightly packed men on just two runners. Once they'd captured the girls, they would be able to use the additional two men to ride the girls' runners back to Telgar with them. They would be able to make good time, and if two runners tired of carrying the extra weight, they could alternate. With the runners also still missing, they should have bought themselves enough time to get a good head start on any search parties being sent out, given that it could be assumed the girls were simply taking a longer ride than usual or had made some other stop before returning home. By the time a search was sent into the surrounding wooded areas nearing the river to find the clues left behind for them, it would be the following day, and the kidnappers would already be hours ahead of them -possibly even half way to Igen Weyr if they made good time.

Another day after that and they should be within easy reach of the Weyr where they could cross through the mountain passes easily into Telgar, reaching the strategically located, temporary hideout of the Rebels just on the other side, before any other real action had been taken by Igen. There, they would wait with their hostages for further orders.

The Rebels would ensure that the death of Igen's daughter and the collapse of all friendly relations between Igen and Telgar was associated in the minds of people all over Pern, with the rising influence and greed of the Weyrs. So, it was near that place that they would dispose of them -when the time was right.



As they waited now, three other men were scattered, hidden at intervals amoungst the brush and trees where they could pass signals to one another down a particular stretch of road, setting their plans into motion. Based on Kuroaku's observations, the young Lady Eolyn of Igen and her Maid preferred riding this time of day, and would typically venture this direction.

When the twitter of a bird's call came to his ears, that was his signal that their intended hostages were approaching on runner from around the bend. Kuro quickly got into place, laying himself off to the side of the road in an awkward position, where it could be made to look as though he'd been beaten, robbed and left for dead. A few hours earlier, he'd used the blood of an animal to mark the ground in that same spot, so that it would appear as though he had indeed been injured as he lay there.

Surely the women would take notice and stop to help a bleeding man.


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:39 pm


To Eolyn the days seemed to pass more slowly than they ever had before. Even her rides didn’t distract her enough to make time pass more quickly. She found herself to be horrible company of late as well. She was much too distracted by her own thoughts to listen to what everyone around her was saying. There was one thing she needed to speak to Courisse about privately so the ride today should at least entertain them a little bit. The thought had been nagging at the back of her mind since the Gather and she simply could not shake the feeling that she was on to something.

So after the runners were saddled, she waited until they were a good distance from anyone else’s ears to ask her maid the question on her mind. Normally she was tactful but today she found herself simply cutting straight to the point. “Do you love my brother? And don’t try to talk your way around this… you know what I mean. I’ve seen the way you look at each-other.”

She was certain enough to bring it up so she had the true belief that there was something going on between them. If there was she was more concerned for Courisse than anything. Even if Zahir had true feelings for her which Eolyn doubted… there was still the matter of his being an heir and having to marry a girl from another major hold where he could make the ties between Holds stronger. She could only see it ending tragically. It would also upset her because she would not want to take Courisse away from her brother if she did love him to come with her to Telgar as she had planned. There her brother went again, botching things up for her like a true spoiled, selfish brat.

As she waited for her maid’s answer they entered the forest. The pace she had set was leisurely, not fast and not very slow either. She was quite happy for the quiet of the woods now so that Courisse would feel comfortable telling Eolyn what was going on.

After some time they rounded a corner to see a man lying on the ground, obviously injured. “Oh no. What could have happened?” She said, in surprise. Must have been some sort of attack by an animal or maybe this man had been set upon by the Holdless? They were never here though, even after a big Gather. “I’d better make sure he is alright and then send for the Healers. I’m not sure if he’s in any state to move.” Eolyn spoke as she dismounted her runner.


As she walked toward the man she thought perhaps the blood had been on his clothes a while and perhaps there was nothing she could do but it appeared that he was breathing and if that was the case there must be something she could do. She was close enough now to tell he was breathing normally. “Sir, can you hear me?” She asked, as she asked as she knelt down to inspect his wounds.


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:05 pm



It wasn't necessarily that she minded if Eolyn straight forward with her thoughts, but a question such as this certainly caught Courisse off guard. Expressive as ever, the girl's eyes widened, and her voice rose a octave, "Eeeehh! What kind of question is that? Of course I love him. H-he's your brother and he's family!"

She was laughing a little after that, and perhaps a little bit of nervousness shown. Indeed she was surprised at the suddenness of the question, but...

...no. Well. Now that she thought about it, Eolyn didn't seem upset when asking. Maybe she'd known for some time that the two of them had had some sort of special relationship. That, or perhaps she dind't mind? Courisse wasn't sure what to make of it. Nevertheless, she wondered how much the implication meant to her Lady and if she would be pressing the subject any further.

Before being given the chance however, they'd rounded that bend in the road and there was a man...laying there.

Courisse gasped audibly! Her expression complete with a mix of shock and worry. Just as quickly as her Lady had dismounted, she herself was following suit.

Rushing to where the man lay, she landed in the dirt on her hands and knees next to Eolyn, unable to take her eyes off of all the blood. "Sir! Oh! There's so much blood! Look! He's still alive!"

Eolyn had always been better than she when it came to healing, so she fell quiet as her cousin started speaking to the man and inspecting his wounds.


=======================================================================================

His hearing was focused. First on the runner hooves that came to a stop. Then it was on the sound of both of the women dismounting to rush to his aid.

Of course Kuroaku appeared completely unconscious, eyes closed, body unresponsive as they approached and Eolyn began inspecting him. He allowed her actions to roll him to his back so that she could further search for injuries. The man's head lolled for a moment, just long enough for them to get settled into the idea that he was unconscious. But again, those first few seconds were enough...

Feeling Eolyn's hand on him was enough to guide him through that first action that led to a series of motions carried out swiftly enough that neither of the girls were likely to have enough time to scream or even run, before he'd brought them under his control. So, grabbing for Eolyn's wrist, with a gruff strength he was sitting up and using that opposing hand to land a strike to the side of her neck that would have been effective enough to shock the girl's brain stem and thereby render her unconscious -at least very temporarily. Releasing the Lady Eolyn so that her body fell aside to the ground, he was already onto his next target, which was Courisse.


So startled was Courisse, at the man's sudden movement, that all she could do was fall back, and gasp audibly with a sharp intake of breath. She hardly realized what had happened by the time Eolyn was laying on the ground next to her. Without much a care for the fact that the man might reach for her next, all worry for her cousin overcame any other sense of self-preservation.

Crying, "My Lady!" Courisse threw herself over Eolyn in a panic, thinking the worst: that she had been killed! "Oh! Eoly..." But by that time, the hand of Kuroaku was stifling her cries, covering her mouth, while the other worked to deliver her a similar fate.


Courisse was soon unconscious as well, and Kuro was on his feet, signaling to the other men. In short order, they would have fed to the girls in water, a concoction that would keep them feeling drowsy and fairly unaware, if not completely unconscious until it started to wear off. Their bodies were sat up on the horses to ride in front of two of the men on their own runners and then sent off. They would need to get as early a lead as possible on any search parties.

Kuro stayed behind just long enough to leave a trace of misleading evidence for them: a torn, red tassel that appeared to have been an ornament of some kind -one usually attached to the end of a nobleman's sword- its string appearing to have been caught on the dead branch of a tree and been pulled loose, beginning to unravel. How well or for how long such a diversion would work didn't really concern him beyond today and tomorrow. All Kuro cared about was delivering the girls to the hideout of the Rebels.

Leaping up onto the back of his own runner, Kuroaku spurred the beast on and caught up to the rest of the Rebel's men. Now that they were moving again, they would not stop until nightfall to give the runners a couple hours rest. Then, they would have to continue, using the cover of nightfall to their advantage.


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:27 am


Lady Eolyn did not know what was happening. One second the man was unconscious and the next he had grabbed her. Before she could let out a scream or really acknowledge what was happening, she was unconscious. The seconds it took for him to render her thus were completely lost to her. Blackness consumed her.




Zahir was pacing or more prowling the stables. The Stable Master reassured him that the young ladies were often a little late back from their rider. However not usually this late, the man seemed certain they were fine. Well how would he know? Zahir felt irritation boiling under his skin. He didn’t normally care if the girls were enjoying their freedom but his father was requesting Eolyn’s presence on a matter concerning the wedding.

He had been sent out like some lackey to find her. All this wedding business and suddenly he was not being trained by father constantly. Overnight it seemed his father’s high regard for him had been wiped away. He grimaced. And now they were missing and he was going to be the one to bring his father this news. Well he wasn’t going to pay his father a visit just yet.

The young Lord first approached his Captain of the Guard, requesting a handful of Guards accompany him to find the young women who may have been lost in the woods. He might not have been so concerned but his sister’s marriage was a big deal, whether he liked it or not. She was going to ensure that Lord Rihan was agreeable when it came to negotiations with Igen. In the end she was going to help him out eventually.

Whenever his cunning father decided it was time for him to take on a Minor Holding of his own, he would be able to prove he was a worthy ally. Eolyn might not have the fondest of memories of him but he had never truly hurt his sister. And now, though he was quite irritated and thought the girls were just being silly, a quiet voice in the back of his mind sent the wondering question, what if something bad had happened?

Zahir mounted his runner with haste, the large breasted beast was off faster than a shooting arrow. He knew the usual route not because his sister told him but because Courisse had. And that was the other issue in all of this, Courisse might be in danger as well.
The runners slowed at the approach of the forest. The Guards behind him were quiet, as he insisted on riding through first. So far there was not a trace of them, other than faint prints from runner beasts which could be weeks old, or from that day. Zahir knew they would have come this way so the tracks meant little to nothing to him. As they turned a sharp corner, something caught his eyes.

There on a dead branch was something red. He dismounted quickly and looked over the torn tassel. The guards whispered behind him. He suspected foul play but who would kidnap his sister? Whoever it was wanted him to believe that this was the work of either a very wealthy Holder or a Lord. And what Hold stood to gain from this? He wondered taking the tassel. The only option now was to take the tassel to his father and report that Eolyn and her maid were missing.

The young Lord mounted quickly and took the runner through the forest as fast as he could. By the time he was back at the Hold proper, the runner was slathered in sweat. He half dismounted and half leapt off of the runner. From there he ran. The more quickly they got started the sooner they could find the girls and hopefully by the time they did nothing horrible had befallen them.

He found his father just as concerned and confused as he was. What would anyone want with Eolyn? They were supposed to believe it was Rihan’s forces that took her. Otherwise why the richness of the tassel? The situation was disturbing and neither the son nor the father knew what to make of it. They only knew they had to act quickly. The entire Hold would soon know that Eolyn was missing.

His father was quite clear in what needed to be done. While he continued to manage the Hold Zahir would be responsible for spearheading the mission to find the young women. And while he doubted Rihan was involved the man did have every right to know that his betrothed was missing.

Zahir was not going to waste time; he sent a message to Fort Weyr via drums, that he might gain a transport. It was of course under duress that he sent the message. The blue dragon arrived quickly. They had become allies with Fort in the desire to create a Weyr at Igen. He dressed warmly for the journey which lasted only a few breaths of time. He arrived at Telgar River Hold and planned on being there for a while, so he sent the rider on.

The young Lord, walked hurriedly. He was in such a rush he stopped the first person inside the Hold and said, “I need to speak to Lord Rihan as a matter of extreme urgency. It involves the Lady Eolyn.” He was almost out of breath from all the running around he had been doing. There was not a moment to lose.




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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:59 pm


While captors and captees were well on their way in the direction of Igen Weyr, having given little time for rest, the Heir Apparent of Igen was met by a servant who happened by as he arrived. Noting Zahir's attire and shoulder knots, the man was quick to oblige in assisting him. Catching the attention of a girl also dressed in a servants' uniform, he directed her to let their master know he had a visitor requiring urgent attention.

The man waited with Zahir until the girl returned promptly, "He will see you immediately. Please follow me." she ushered them up the stairs in the direction of Rihan's private study. When they'd arrived, the girl opened the door for Zahir, only leaving them once Igen's Heir had entered at which point she bowed to excuse herself before closing the door once more, giving them their privacy.

Even as Zahir entered, Rihan was standing from behind his desk to greet the man. Rihan's eyes were intent upon his soon to be brother-in-law, trying to read the expression he held. Privately afraid that something terrible may have happened, he inquired nothing, refusing to feed any fear...though a certain amount of concern remained apparent. He knew whatever brought Zahir to him so urgently, the man would speak of soon enough.

Gesticulating with one hand, a seat across from him was offered to Zahir, "Please, take a seat if you'd like. What is this matter of urgency? Is Eolyn alright?"


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:43 pm


Grateful that the servant had enough wit to send someone immediately he waited as patiently as possible. He had told the man of the urgency in this task and he had no doubt noted that he was the son of a Lord Holder. The young woman he grabbed rushed off. Within a few moments she was back and he was being led to see Rihan. Thank Faranth they had understood the urgency and that he had not the time to go through the Steward. His own servants would hopefully be as intelligent. The man and woman needed to be rewarded later. He would make mention of it to Rihan when they decided what to do about the situation.

When he was invited to sit, he shook his head. There was no way he could sit at a moment like this. He was pacing, rapidly. His hands were sweaty and he could feel that his behavior was causing the other man more concern. “I’m sorry I can’t sit at a time like this. Although, I am relieved that you seem to have had nothing to do with all of this as they would have us believe.” He paused only to catch a breath. "There is no easy way to tell you this so I'll come out with it. My sister is missing." He glanced up at Lord Rihan when he spoke, his eyes full of fear for her and her maid.

“Lady Eolyn went for a ride at her usual time, to the usual place. I was sent by our father to fetch her from the stables and when I arrived she had not yet returned. The Stablemaster assured me she would be in soon. I waited a little longer and then took a regiment of Guards to search the forest she and her maid always ride through.I thought perhaps their runners had gone astray and they were lost. However, we found this.” He took the red tassel from his pocket. “But they are both missing.”

Zahir continued after passing the tassel to Rihan to examine. “Someone kidnapped them and wanted to frame you.” He took another deep breath, “Do you have any idea who it might be?” He was worried, it was growing dark and he knew how Eolyn did in the dark. Why anyone would kidnap his sister, no matter how much fun it was to tease her? She was the most innocent and naïve person he’d ever met. It would have been all too easy to lay a trap for her.

Courisse was worldlier but again she was innocent to the politics of the world they lived in and would have assumed as he did that no one would want to cause harm to Eolyn.

“I came as quickly as I could…I just hope we have time.”
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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:14 pm


"My sister is missing."

The words seemed to fly into one ear and out the other. Rihan's expression, ever stoic, shifted into one seeming more dumbfounded than anything. It was a moment of shock and disbelief that caused him to space out the next few words Zahir spoke to him.

At a pause in the other Heir Apparent's speech, Rihan took the time to meet Zahir's gaze, searching frantically for some sign that this was all a joke -every word he'd said. But surely no mercy was found there, only complete and utter seriousness. Rihan felt an iron coldness form in his gut. All strength threatened to be drained from him. It took every ounce of his well-trained discipline to maintain some semblance of composure and not boil into an open rage. The inner struggle showed in his face as he tensed. He couldn't afford losing now!

Eolyn's safety hinged now upon his control and capability to carry out the necessary tasks to find and rescue her -if she was still alive.

Forcing strength into his step, he moved around his desk then, reaching for the torn tassel which Zahir retrieved from his pocket. His mind was a whirl of gears churning, trying to explain it all. Only the sons of the Lord Holder and the Lord Holder himself would possess such a tassel. As far as Rihan knew, no other House on Pern still used any such symbol of power. It was an ancient and iconic symbol that others had gradually replaced.

Rihan examined the threads of the tassel closely, comparing it mentally to the one attached to his own sword. There was a particular method of knot-work used in Telgar's tassels that would have to be present if it were indeed one of theirs. The fact that this was was a bit unraveled made it somewhat awkward to determine its origin however, Rihan was fairly certain that it was of Telgar craftsmanship for the purpose of a noble sword. There was no way that Zahir could have gotten a hold of such a thing unless it had been given to him or been discarded by someone of Telgar's own House.

Only, who?

His thoughts dwelt on his brothers, Kade and Ermon, pondering what motive they would have for doing such a thing. Silently he wondered who else would have known how to replicate a Telgar's tassel and had such a motive...it would have to be someone in Telgar Hold. They would have to pay Telgar Hold a visit immediately.

Rihan's eyes smoldering, he glanced back up at Zahir, his voice carrying all of the levity with it and all of the same urgency which had brought Zahir to him. "I want you to come with me to Telgar Hold. We have to inform my father and I have to rule out a couple of things..."

After just a moment's pause, he had pocketed the tassel and was on his way to lead them through the door. "After that, what had you planned to do? Is your Guard still searching the Igen area?"


Ushering them back into the hall, Rihan was not about to wait for Zahir's response. He grabbed the attention of the servant there waiting to assist them if the need should arise. Zahir could talk to him as they walked, but for now, he had a message to relay to the girl, "Have the drum heights sound an alert to all of the Holds near bordering territories to the South and East." On second thought, "No...if the kidnappers hear, they'll think we're onto them and may rush whatever plans they have. And we may be giving away our own plans. We need to buy as much time as we can.

"Melina, come with me." Having stopped dead in his tracks, Rihan rushed back into the study where he picked up a pen to form words of question and concern on parchment. It was a short note, but it was replicated on multiple pages and then rolled, placed inside of small silver scroll tubes marked with Telgar's seal, that could easily be carried by firelizards. "Melina, find Drien and tell him to have his Gold deliver these to each of the Southern and Eastern Minor and Major Holds. I will return shortly for their replies.

"Have the drum heights message the Guard Divisions here to stand on high alert until my return, at which point I will give them further direction."

Rihan was glancing back at Zahir now a bit apologetically, but the girl was already rushing out with an arm full of scroll tubes and Rihan was back out the door shortly after. Now...as they went hurriedly on their way to where the dragonrider had been awaiting Zahir, they would have time to talk briefly.


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:37 pm


Zahir knew it was all a little hard to absorb right away so he let Rihan work it out in his mind what exactly was happening. It had been a shock to all of them. He watched as Rihan worked out what he would do, it was nice to know his future brother in law was as concerned as he was. While the other man examined the tassel it was all Zahir could do to stand in one place. Every inch of him was fidgety. His mind was not necessarily on his sister’s safety alone.
He had to worry that whoever had taken the young ladies would do harm to Courisse. She was not the status of Eolyn and they might not know Courisse was every bit a lady as his sister. She might be better for them to mistreat since she wouldn’t be the main target.

So many thoughts whirling through his head. When Rihan sprung to action he wondered at his future brother in law’s composure. He had been worrying over it all much longer and he had had to tell his father that his beloved daughter was gone which was no easy feat in and of itself. His father made little secret of who his favorite people were. While being the only son had its perks in that area, no child lit his father’s features like Eolyn. It was plain for everyone to see.

“I sent them just before I came here, they are scouring the area. I couldn’t ride with them and come to inform you. My father wanted me to spearhead this on our end.” He then spoke more quietly. “Father cannot control his emotions in this matter, he was almost convinced that you were responsible however logic won over. I told him there was no reason for you to kidnap your own fiancé. I have never seen him like this, he’s always been quite mind over matter in everything.” He kept pace with Rihan. “This hurts him more than a dagger to the heart. Eolyn is his sunshine when the days are dark. If any harm has come to her, I fear what he may do.”

And who he would blame, which would be anyone from Telgar who could possibly have had a tassle like that, whether it made sense or not. Zahir was not threatening Rihan, he was merely suggesting how bad things could become if the two of them didn’t solve this quickly. Igen and Telgar were rarely in agreement and now they had come to an agreement where fighting over territory would end and the hope that Igen would have support from Telgar in the future concerning the new Weyr which many of the Holders were against.

The situation was quite delicate. If Zahir were in charge it might be different but he doubted his father would ever forgive anyone who might even possibly be involved in Eolyn’s disappearance. Rihan had nothing to do with it but that did not absolve the rest of his family. In Zahir’s mind that was exactly what whoever took Eolyn wanted. They wanted fighting between Telgar and Igen. “My thought is whoever is behind this wants there to be fighting between Igen and Telgar.”

Yes, the situation was worse than they may have first thought. All he kept thinking was that the young women better be alive and unharmed. He could already imagine the wrath that would be inflicted on those who were caught even if the girls were alright.

The dragonrider from Fort stood out in the main courtyard, waiting for the men. He bowed slightly to both men. “Where to my Lords?” The blue , made himself as close to the ground as he could for the men to mount up.


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:59 pm


“This hurts him more than a dagger to the heart. Eolyn is his sunshine when the days are dark. If any harm has come to her, I fear what he may do.”

The entire gravity of the situation was still setting into Rihan's mind. Everything that his future brother in law was saying only brought to light more possibilities and eventualities should the worst come to pass. Both of the men were piecing together futures and motives that were dark and terrible. Rihan wanted to push all of those outcomes into the furthest reaches of his mind, but he knew that dwelling on them might help them discover the truth of the perpetrators.

“My thought is whoever is behind this wants there to be fighting between Igen and Telgar.”

"That may very well be the case. If that is true, then I have my own suspicions...but...the tassel doesn't make sense." No one should have known how to replicate it.

Approaching the Bluerider with haste, he nodded his acknowledgement to the young man but gave no more time for pleasantries. "We will be headed to Telgar Hold. If you can remain there to wait for us, we will need to return here within a couple of hours."

Rihan rather nimbly was able to climb atop the handsome Blue and begin securing the riding harness about himself while Zahir and the Bluerider also mounted.

Momentarily, they were in the air and had slipped Between.

In the blink of an eye, there was the evening sun and a rising moon over Telgar Hold.
=========================================================================================



As soon as they'd dismounted, Rihan made his hurried way into the Hold Proper. Calling on one of the servants, he inquired where his father had gone to. It seemed as though the more minutes mounted, the more difficult it became for Rihan to contain his need to take action. And finally, having been directed to where they could find Lord Matoi, he ushered them into a small meeting hall where his father had conveniently been convened with a handful of tradesmen, his Steward and other advisers, discussing business.


Rihan was up the stairs and paused at the door long enough to take a couple of calming breaths, knowing that his father would not acknowledge him if he were too frazzled, no matter what the concern. Jaw setting determinedly, Rihan peered up through his black bangs with dangerous intent just before admitting himself.

All those in the meeting room immediately glanced toward the threshold as he moved into the room. His eyes met each of the advisers' and the Stewards very briefly before meeting those of his father. A rather displeased scowl was brought over Lord Matoi's face where he sat at the head of the room, his low lounging chair elevated before the others. Rihan could read the curiosity in his father's eyes however, and was not afraid to make demands. It was much unlike Rihan to go barging into his father's business, so it would be forgiven granted the gravity of the situation.

The silent room waiting for one of the Telgar Lords to direct them. Rihan spoke up first, "Gentlemen, forgive the intrusion, but your business will have to wait outside for a moment."

Each of them then turned to Matoi, who would give the final order, at which point, while still watching his son, spying the second Heir Apparent behind him, dismissed the tradesmen from the room. Something must be terribly the matter for Rihan to come barging in with Igen's Eldest in tow. The slight scowl remained, and Rihan waited for the tradesmen to leave the room before closing the door and taking their place before his father, on the floor of cushions and low-lying tables.

Where the Steward and viceroys all sat lining the walls of either side of the room, Rihan walked between them coming to sit on his knees in the middle of the room nearest Lord Matoi.

His father waited for Zahir to be seated before starting, "What brings the two of you here? I can only suspect the worst being that you brought an end to my trade negotiations, though it is always a pleasure to have a future son-in-law with us."

"Father." The red tassel was removed from Rihan's pocket and placed on the floor for all to see. "Lady Eolyn of Igen, my Fiance, has been kidnapped. This was found near the place it is suspected she was taken from. I demand that you bring Ermon and Kade at once, to rule them out as suspects. And then tell me who else would be in possession of such a thing...or be able to replicate one."

Matoi's eyes grew a little wider, and for a moment was silent with consideration. "Mmmmmm." The Lord Holder waved at the Steward to fulfill Rihan's request swiftly. "Call them here! And the craftsmen responsible for outfitting our swords appropriately."

The Steward went from the room as Matoi turned his attention on Zahir. The Lord's voice was a bit raspy in his age and his face sullen, but his eyes bore the same fire that Rihan's did. "Heir Apparent of Igen...tell me. What has happened?"


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:34 pm


The weight of the situation was not taken lightly by the dragonrider. He made certain to transport them safely and quickly to their destination. Zahir never quite got over the bitter cold of Between. The very few times he had been dragonback and had gone Between he became less and less inclined to use dragons. Used to the warmth of year round Igen weather, he was not fond of the cold.

When they arrived at Telgar Hold, he followed just behind Rihan so that he was like his shadow. He was uncertain of Rihan’s relationship with his father. There were things that Zahir and his own father disagreed upon. Such as right now, his father believed that Telgar was in some way responsible for Eolyn’s kidnapping whereas Zahir was not. He knew things that his father did not know, things he knew better than to mention or the source of the information would be exposed.

Zahir watched as Rihan dismissed the other men in the room with the Lord of Telgar. This was indeed interesting, he thought watching the interaction between father and son. They seemed to understand the meaning as well as he did at this point. The tassel was vital to finding his sister and Courisse. He would stop at nothing till both women were home safely.

At the Lord Holder’s request he moved forward, bowing and then standing straight, very formal for the man. His voice was clear and concise as he re-told the events of earlier that day. “Lady Eolyn is fond of her daily ride which is generally only one of two routes. These routes have been inspected before as safe and free of any Holdless. She and her maid went for their usual ride today and did not return at the time which they normally did. I went with some guards to the path I suspected they had taken. It was on this forest path that we found the tassel and no sign of the young women. Naturally my father and I discussed the possibility of Telgar’s involvement before I brought the information and evidence to Lord Rihan. We want to find the young women as quickly as possible. It is our belief that whoever is behind this does not want peace between Igen Hold and Telgar Hold.”

Zahir looked at the Lord Holder to see what his own deductions from this might be but he had a feeling that whatever this was about it had nothing to do with either Rihan or his father.


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:43 pm



Lord Matoi had his own informants and it seemed that Zahir's suggestions were not far from what he himself would have believed to be the truth of the matter. Nevertheless, there was the matter of the sword tassel, and that was a matter which could not be overlooked. The Lord of Telgar sat back in thought, his scowl deepening as eyebrows drew together in thought. The man's eyes had closed and his chin had tucked into his chest as if he might have fallen asleep were it not for the severe expression of contemplation come over his features.

"Mmmmmm." Dark eyes rising to meet Zahir's once more, Matoi addressed him, "We need to discover from your scouts which direction their tracks lead to. That will help us determine where to head them off and who is involved."

The Holder paused once more but just briefly, "It is known that Telgar's border lands to the Southeast have always been home to a few who do not share the same political understandings as most of Telgar's other holds. Geographically they are fairly far removed in relation to the rest of the holds in the territory. Such a thing is only natural. Rumour lately has it that their sentiments are becoming more extreme. This group should not be ruled out."


Just then, the door leading into the meeting room opened, whereas the younger sons of Lord Matoi entered. Following behind them was a small man whose form seemed to be shrunken with age. His back was bowed though he was doing well without a cane; the elderly man's face was gaunt and his eyes seemed hardly to open under the relative heaviness of their lids. He was dressed finely, but simply and had only a head of very thin white hair. He age must have been over 90.

All three of the men came into the room and sat on floor cushions behind Rihan. Having been shown the decorative tassel, neither of Rihan's brothers seemed to know where it could have come from. Both of theirs were in tact. The elderly man who'd come with them however, was examining it very closely, eyes squinted through concentration.

Leaning to one side on an armrest for repose, Lord Matoi's tone suggested heightened interest in what the old man would have to say. "Hideaki. Is there anything to be discovered by your inspection of the tassel?"

Hideaki indeed, was as aged as he did now appear. Nearly 100 in age, he had been in charge of all things concerning Telgar's greatest antiquities since his father passed away -his father having also been charged with the same task. The man was one of only two people in Telgar who knew enough about Telgar's Holding Family to maintain and even recreate certain symbols of Telgar's power such as the decorative sword knots. The old man had been so steeped in Telgar's stories and history his entire life, he probably knew more about Telgar than the Lord of Telgar himself.

At length, the Master of Antiquities completed his investigation of the thing and finally lay it back on the floor before all of them so that they could see. It was with a raspy voice that he answered, "My Lord, this is but a replica and it is new. Whoever was trying to duplicate it, it seems had some difficulty. There are a couple of errors which are evident to my eyes, yet...none could have gotten even this far in a replication without having an original to work off of. The knot-work in these tassels are very intricate and multi-layered as you know. In part, for that reason.

"Nevertheless...it makes me wonder. A member of the House of Telgar would never lose such a thing on accident, so it must have purposeful. This tassel was not produced here and so I can only assume that there is another original that we do not know about, wandering Telgar somewhere."

The old man's words struck a chord with both Rihan and Matoi, as both men's tried to absorb the implications of what Hideaki was suggesting, as all eyes in the room seemed to widen. For a moment, the advisers present and the Steward all rose their voices in a chatter, breaking into a bit of a debate across the room amiungst themselves.

Resting his forehead in his hand for a moment, Lord Matoi sighed, "Mmmmmmm. How disruptive."

And when the debate of his advisers only continued to grow louder and more frantic, the Lord of Telgar let his voice boom above them all. "I will have silence!" And it was as he said; for the room grew very still and quiet. Only one dared to even clear his throat, though there were no words to follow.

After a few moments of silence, Matoi spoke up again, "Hideaki. In your long memory, can you think of anyone at any time who may have had access to such a thing that it would now be out of our hands?"

Again, the old master of antiquities was taken by thought, and when he spoke, it was with caution considering the matter, "I'm sorry, My Lord, I'm not sure I have any answer to that question." Even then, it seemed as though Hideaki were thinking as hard as he could, trying to come up with some reasonable explanation. Muttering to himself, the old man just shook his head and peered back down at the tassel before them.


Rihan had been listening to everything anyone had to say intently. At minutes drew on into half hours of continuing their discussion, the Heir Apparent only grew more agitated. Nothing was being decided and Eolyn and Courisse were still in harms way. So, when no one else knew quite what else to say, Rihan interjected, "Father. There is only one lead we have, and that is toward the southern borders where Igen and Telgar meet. However,...if we are assuming that our suspects are indeed from Telgar and will try crossing back into Telgar territory then turning south to go back west would be much more perilous for them. There are more holds to the south of Igen Hold and more desert terrain that would make travel difficult. But...were they to head north, there is little travel on the roads because the river provides faster transportation. There is also a Pass into Telgar much closer to Igen Hold heading north than traveling in the other direciton; which allows them to escape the eyes and ears of Igen's Guard more quickly to a place they have no right of entry.

"I'm suggesting that they are headed directly for Igen Weyr. Passing through the abandoned weyr would also be relatively unexpected because roads on both sides heading to the weyr have not been maintained there for decades."

The Heir Apparent then paused to organize another thought before presenting it, "I'd say, if we start anywhere, we start there and work our way out in a sweep of the area. That way, no matter who's involved, we're bound to find them.

"Heir Apparent Zahir. Since it is also your sister involved, would you approve of beginning our search there? Personally, I would rather start any search than sit doing nothing at all." Rihan finished his words tightening his jaw and clenching his fists in his lap.


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:26 pm

“The Igen Guard is trying to track them down however, other than the tassel which I assume was placed on purpose, there were not any tracks or signs of disturbance. They were quite professional about it. They knew not to leave any sign of passage. They wanted us to believe it was a professional force like that of Telgar’s Guard who kidnapped the young women.” He thought more on the subject but there really was no more that could be done from his end. They were scouring the forest, heading North. The problem was these kidnappers were candlemarks ahead of them. They needed the destination so that they might find a way to get there more quickly.

The Lord had called for an expert to examine the tassel and thankfully put his own fears to rest in some ways. Of course no one in the room knew how there could be a tassel wandering about Telgar Hold that was not possessed by someone of Telgar’s house. It made no sense to him but he was not privy to secrets of Telgar Hold. Chatter grew louder and louder until the Lord Holder silenced them all. Zahir was almost afraid to breathe in that moment but soon they were back to discussing what this all meant.

However as the conversations and accusations became more and more farfetched he found he was itching to be gone from there. A swift conclusion was not to be had. The more questions asked the less any of them knew. It was to the point where no one knew where to begin anymore. He was growing frustrated as his thoughts lingered on Courisse and Eolyn. All of this talk was getting them nowhere. Zahir did not have the patience his father had and it was beginning to show as he moved about the room like a caged feline.

When the advisers finally shut up and Rihan spoke relief flooded him. Thank Faranth someone in the room was tired of waiting besides himself. “I agree. The sooner we take action the better.” He had no patience to begin with and what little he seemed to muster during this event was waning quickly. Perhaps it was because he was so young. Although he rather doubted that, some people were just less patient than others. He was ready to go. “I’ll send word to Igen via the dragonrider, telling my Guard to head towards the same area, that way we can approach from two different angles, making it harder for the kidnappers to escape.”


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:10 pm



A curt nod was given up at Zahir as he decidedly shared Rihan's wishes to take action. Glancing back to Lord Matoi, it was his father who filled the silence immediately following Zahir's words, "I will mobilize the Guard at Southern Telgar Hold then to make their way toward the Weyr."

Lord Matoi was motioning the Steward to prepare to send word out to Southern Telgar when Rihan stopped him. "Father! Allow me to lead the rescue. I will take those loyal to me to conduct the search."

One of the viceroys immediately interjected, "Lord Matoi, your son does not command a force capable of..."

"For how long?!" It was Rihan's turn to interrupt with fervent words. The Heir of Telgar was on his hands and knees now, his head bowed before Lord Matoi subserviently. "For how long must I hide behind you father, while you protect myself and those that I hold dear? If I cannot protect my own fiance now, then I have no right becoming the Lord of anything. No right to marry in the future. No right to hold any power, because my power would be without cause and thereby useless."

"But Young Master, this matter is crucial to the continued peace between Telgar and Igen that cannot be treated ligh..." An adviser began insisting.

This time the man was interrupted by Lord Matoi himself. "Respect his wishes. This is the first time my son has come to me with the desire to knock someone down." Adjusting himself where he sat so that he could take a drink of the steaming tea before him, Matoi regarded his son now with a challenging glare. "I think I'd like to see just how far he will take it...

"Rihan. I leave it to you then to find Eolyn and her maid and bring them back safely."

"You can trust in me." Rihan's eyes lifted from the floor first before he straightened himself from the bowed posture. Standing from the floor then, Rihan nodded to Zahir that they should leave to carry out their plans.

With his first step however, Rihan was given pause when Hideaki, the Master of Antiquities addressed him one last time, in an urgent whisper, "Young Master! There is something that I have remembered! Before you leave here, I must tell you!"



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Having heard the tale that Hideaki had recovered from his memory, the tale could very well be just that -just a story. But Rihan knew better than that. As a Holder's Heir, he understood well the stock that such stories held, which most people could afford to disregard, yet he could not. Hideaki had shocked them all in front of Zahir with a story of Telgar's Heir long ago being cast into exile by his own father. Having been erased from records, the name scarcely existed any longer and yet...such a name could be the missing link required to find out who'd been able to replicate the decorative crimson tassels so symbolic of the Telgar's House.

Retracing their steps back to the post the dragonrider had taken up in waiting, a thousand questions chased after Rihan. Though it might prove an answer, Hideaki's story only complicated things -on many levels.

Only a couple of minutes later though, the cold of Between seemed to help clear Rihan's head before they landed and he made his way directly toward the Guard Hall.

"Zahir. Please make whatever arrangements you deem necessary on your end. I have a plan for Telgar's Guard I will be setting into motion shortly. When you're ready, meet me inside the Guard Hall. We can finalize plans there before we take off."


In the mean time, Rihan would be gathering the small force loyal to him that would be serving as their search and rescue team. His pace hastened, making his way to the front of the training grounds located infront of the Guard Hall where several squads were lined up awaiting orders. Without hesitation, Rihan went straight to the two captains and their officers present. "Captains. Your men should be safeguarding the streets. Keep your patrols tight."

Recognizing then that Jungi was present, it was with gratefulness that Rihan smiled then, placing a hand on the man's shoulder to greet him. "I'm glad you are here. Let us go to the Guard Hall. Captains, you as well. I will fill you all in on what has happened."

Rihan and Jungi both headed into the Hall while Toshiro and Shannon directed their squads to double up on patrols within the streets of Telgar River Hold. Shortly after, they would be headed into the Hall where they could speak in private.




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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:15 pm


There was something about this advisor that rubbed Zahir the wrong way. None of his father's men would dare speak to him in such a way. Seeing a subservient rihan made him wonder how different their fathers were. Probably very different in raising children but not so different in running a Hold. Then Zahir always did know how to get out of performing a duty and had no brothers to watch out for. He breathed a sigh of relief when Rihan was permitted to lead the expedition. He followed Rihan as he left, only to be stopped by the old man who had examined the tassel.


The old man's tale was quite interesting. So Rihan had extended family that he had not known about. If someone might have reason to use such means to get attention that man's descendents were one group of them. This might have nothing to do with them but it did explain how a tassel could have been copied. Someone must have practiced though and who knew how to tie knots better than sea crafters? He wondered on it for a moment, as Rihan gathered his own thoughts and thanked the old man for the information.

Zahir kept up with Rihan pretty well. He was on the dragon just after the other Lord. When they arrived at Telgar River Hold, he said, "I'll meet up with you shortly."

Parting with him to head to Igen Hold only briefly. His father was waiting for him when he arrived. "Father, Telgar Hold itself is innocent but we fear there are some exiles or miscreants that have taken the women. Lord Rihan is leading his Guard to an area where we believe these men to be hiding out."

Lord Qisbon was listening but he was still rather distant. "I don't think your mother can handle this much longer Zahir. She is beside herself with worry. Make sure they aren't behind this at all. you are to accompany young Rihan correct?" Zahir nodded, "Yes Father. I must send a message to the patrol thats out searching for the young women."

Qisbon sent for the fastest messenger at their disposal. He knew the directionn the Guard needed to go in exactly as Zahir explained the path and the area that they were believed to be holding up the girls it made sense to attack from two sides. His father was not going to lead the Guard himself though. Instead he relied on the Guard to listen to their Captain.

"As you have everything under control here I must get back to Telgar River Hold." Zahir said, walking away from his father back to the dragonrider. Before leaving his father remarked, "I've never seen you so ready to do your duty Zahir." He didn't know what that was supposed to mean exactly but he wondered if his father suspected him of anything. No one knew about Courisse and himself at least he didn't think they did. He would have to be more careful in the future. It wasn't his reputation that was at stake. It was Courisse's.

When they arrived back at Telgar River Hold, Zahir offered the man a place to sleep and food for himself and his dragon but the man just chuckled. "Weyrwoman Karene, has given me orders to return as soon as possible but I thank you for your hospitality. I will convey to the Weyrwoman your request for a few more dragons." As if that would be enough to reward the man for emergency service like this. Oh no, Telgar and Igen Holds owed Fort Weyr as far as the Weyrwoman was concerned.

He had a bad feeling about that interaction as he walked away and the dragon vaulted into the air. He made up for lost time by jogging to the Guard Room. There was not a moment to lose now that nightfall was upon them.

The Guards room was filling up quickly, he thought as he peered through the groups of men to find Rihan. When he found him, he nodded. "I'm coming with you, so I hope you have a few spare runners." It was his decision, partly to protect Rihan if things did not go well. He knew Eolyn would want her fiance to be free of any accusations concerning her kidnap or worse. This would be the only way to truly prove that he had nothing to do with all of it. The Igen Lordling was not about to let Telgar have all of the fun either.


((Weyrwoman Karene sends: 4 Browns, 2 larger blues to help the men to Southern Telgar.))


The room was dark. Was she even in a room? She was unsure at the moment as the haze that had come over her lifted slowly. She shivered a little as what she thought must be a room became a little more clear. Her skin raised in goosebumps not out of fear necessarily but out of being so cold. Her teeth began to chatter a little and though she tried to clench her jaw to keep them from doing so the action was uncontrollable.

A growl from her stomach told her she had missed more than one meal but her thoughts consistently went back to Courisse. Was she there, or did they kill her? Or worse? Eolyn felt her eyes begin to water and went to wipe her eyes with her left arm t find it chained to the wall she was leaning against. The chain was slack so she could move around but it was heavy. There would be no escape even if she knew where she was. Eolyn wondered just what sort of men would deceive a lady like that?

Oh they better hope her father didn't find them. Or worse, Rihan. Her heart fluttered at the thought. He would find her. When he did find her the men here were going to be very sorry. Or maybe they wouldn't have time to be. In the meantime she needed to find out as much as possible about these men. Right? She should try to remember things for the future. Her thoughts returned to her cousin.

"Rissi." Her childhood nickname for Courisse, came out before she could stop herself. Courisse had told her she did not like her nickname all that much. "Courisse, Are you there?" Her voice was dry, raspy and quiet. She moved slowly to sit up. That was better. The ground was so cold it was warmer to sit. Her eyes looked around a little more but she found she could make out very little in the dark. Please let her best friend be there, alive and unharmed.


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:19 pm




Only a handful of Guardsmen had been gathered into the Guard Hall and behind them, doors were closed. Squads had been given direction as to what they were to do while Rihan and their Captains were absent. Other, lower ranking officers could handle security detail over the next few days, without difficulty.

Rihan sat himself at the head of the relatively empty training Hall on the floor, a place next to him reserved for Zahir when he arrived. The Guardsmen who'd been selected were five in number, plus himself and the other Heir Apparent made seven. Filling them all in on what few details they had concerning the kidnapping, each one of the men was sworn to secrecy regarding their mission. The Heir Apparent laid out for them their tentative plan of action and forewarned them that they would likely have to remain flexible.

Zahir was entering the room as the first questions started cropping up about certain details of the mission. To wrap up, Rihan recapitulated his instructions for the search and rescue, making sure also that Zahir didn't have any additional input.

Seeing the excitement in each man's eyes and the gravity they all portrayed through their understanding of just how dire a situation they were all in, it seemed as though they still assumed they would be returning home in a number of days. But in all truth, they had no idea what kind of enemy they would be facing. Rihan realized that, even through all their various suppositions and deductions...Whatever enemy they were about to face most likely held that advantage over them, especially if it were someone from his own family -even if it were an Exile. With that in mind, Rihan wanted them all to pay one final visit to their families,... in case the worst should happen.


Rihan dismissed them all then to prepare for their departure, but before Toshiro could get away, he caught the man saying, "Shiro. I have a few words to share with you in private, if you'd stay." Requesting that Zahir also leave them, the young Lord of Telgar assured him he'd be along shortly, whereas they could begin their own preparations.




---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When everyone else had left them, the door being closed behind the last man, Rihan's posture was somewhat bent toward the floor. The Captain couldn't see the young Lord's face but felt a certain heaviness..a certain unsettling & quiet concentration come over the man. And as Rihan lifted his head to find Toshiro there, it was with only the most dreadful charcoal oculii, coloured darkly by a dispassionate glaze that revealed the depth of his young Lord's displeasure. Though by all outward appearances, Rihan was ever serene. But if that appearance could be likened to the still waters of a pond, then let it be said that the only ripple disturbing its peace would be the satanic reflection within that baleful glare.

Now this was different. Toshiro had never witnessed such a menacing presence in the form of his friend. He knew that Rihan was obviously very passionate about events that had ensued, but...this? Different indeed. Never had he expected Rihan would be able to compose himself as such -robed now by such an intimidating presence. No, not just intimidating; Rihan could always be that. This was indeed different.

The only thing Toshiro could think of to describe it was, 'Rihan has changed'? Or admitted to himself that his position requires more than idealistic perspectives and good business sense. And after that, the only thing Toshiro could think was 'Yeow, I wouldn't touch that with a ten foot stick!' He nearly laughed aloud, but Rihan broke him from that reverie before he was able to.

With a quiet voice Rihan started, but it was not without the fervid insistence of a command, "Toshiro. I need you...I need you to become my sword. You must become the Sword of my Guard. Others fear you. They are awed by your skill and I know even more perfectly what you are capable of. So, I want you to show no mercy when you cut down my enemies!"

Those words seemed to catch Toshiro a bit off guard and had the two men staring evenly into eachothers' eyes for a number of seconds, communicating through the silence. In reality, the Captain was gauging the full truth of what Rihan was implying by issuing such a directive.

Then, as if everything Rihan had said up to that point was nothing more than a joke, Toshiro laughed.

Though the response came as a bit unexpected, Rihan's mind was too focused now for it to show.

"Ohh, forgive me! Ahahaha." One hand coming to conceal that left side of his face which was scarred beneath long bangs, Toshiro held it there for a moment trying to compose himself.

More seriously now, through still slightly narrowed gaze, he returned the look to Rihan, "Thank you! If I ever had doubts about how good a friend you are, then this settles it. You are much too kind!"

Shaking his head as if in disbelief, that laughing smile was still drawn across the Captain's expression. "Is that all you had to say to me?"

Not sharing in the laughter, it was only because he knew Toshiro very well that he understood how seriously the man had taken his request -and that perhaps, was the source of his amusement. Because in Toshiro's mind, Rihan had done him the ultimate kindness, and effectively just cut the dog's leash. It was only now, that he was giving the Captain full authority to cut anyone down,... without question,... if they dared to try and obstruct his path. Knowing Toshiro's irascible nature, allowing such a thing was quite the favour indeed.

"No. That is all." Rihan was standing from where he sat even before he could finish speaking. The Captain followed suit.

"Well, well. I guess I should go prepare with the rest of them." Extending his arms in a stretch, Toshiro couldn't help but grin; somehow he was still trying not to laugh.

When he reached the door of the Guard Hall first, opening it for both he and Rihan, Jungi was leaned against the wall on the porch outside that led to stairs going down to the open air training grounds. The Trader had one foot planted behind him against the wall and his arms folded over his chest waiting patiently. It was Jungi who began, "Don't worry, all I heard was laughter. Don't tell me Rihan can bear to tell jokes at a time like this?"

The remark renewed Toshiro's smile. "Oh, it was no joke, believe me." And with no more to say, the Captain continued walking, needing to return to his own barracks to collect a few things for the journey.


That left Jungi straightening himself away from the wall to regard Rihan a bit curiously. After watching the Captain walk away then, he turned again to Rihan, "Is he ever that happy?"

"I just made his day." But there were hardly any chuckles over that. Unbeknownst to him, Rihan only had the slightest clue as to what terrible thing he had just unleashed, and at this point, he didn't really have a care. As the Heir Apparent started down the stairs toward the main hold to have his things prepared, he made sure Zahir would be in tow.

Admittedly he stated, "My blood runs hot tonight. We shall begin our hunt soon."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Having prepared himself all but completely mentally, Toshiro wrestled with what most of the other men on the mission team were doing right now -sharing a few hugs and kisses goodbye with those they loved. But Toshiro had no one he thought he felt such a way for and so he paced for a moment restlessly in his barracks, wondering just what he should do while awaiting the time of their departure. Finally, the Captain decided to make a trip to the hold infirmary. More likely, his body took control of leading him there instead of his own conscious mind.

Truth be told, when he arrived there, he hadn't even realized where he was at first, his mind had become so distracted. He felt like he was in a bit of a fog. Yet some part of him wanted to look into Ariadne's eyes before he left. So, there he was, just outside the door of the infirmary, tucked covertly into a shadow where he could peer across the room and try to locate her.

Ah... just there...



-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When they'd all prepared for the journey, each man was to carry only the clothes on his back, maybe one change, and a small survival pack for dry rations and the like, outside the weapons required. They would have to travel light and be able to remain mobile and unhindered in their travel.

Each man chosen to join the mission met where dragons had landed and all at once, they were taken on dragon back to be delivered to Southern Telgar Hold.


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:01 pm


Zahir listened to Rihan’s words to the men gathered. When he asked to be alone, Zahir walked off on his own. He watched the other men as they began to set about saying goodbye to their families. Even when Rihan came back from his discussion with Captain Toshiro, he watched the others milling about. He walked over to Rihan when he looked like he was getting ready to move from the Guard Hall. Zahir was as ready as Rihan was although perhaps not quite as ready to kill people. He would certainly be tested on the field of battle.


Ariadne had been busier than she thought. She didn’t understand what all the fuss was about but the Master Healer requested her to be available for the infirmary if needed. She had her suspicions that something very big was going on already only to have that proven by the request. The other women were chatting around her. So many theories and with the number of gossips in the room she wasn’t surprised. Her own thought was it had something to do with Igen as she thought she had seen someone with the Igen colors. What did she know really though, being a drudge?

After folding the last few sheets for the infirmary cots, she asked if there was anything else that needed to be done before she left. The Healers gave her leave to go. She took a few minutes to say goodnight to some of the other girls, a couple of them giving her hugs. Ariadne was a warm person and after her little ordeal the other women just wanted to comfort her. Walking home would be a little more nerve-racking tonight. Her hands reached into the cabinet near the door for her shawl which she draped over her shoulders.

Opening the door she nearly jumped. She wasn’t expecting anyone to be there. Ari wasn’t sure what brought him to the infirmary but she felt a bit selfish to think he came to see her. Her face lit up with a smile, “Toshiro, what brings you down here?” Maybe he just wanted to see the Master Healer about something. There was something going on, whether they knew what it was or not. Her voice took on a more concerned tone, “Is everything alright?”


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:22 pm


Seeing how Ari jumped at his sudden appearance -though it wasn't sudden at all- the Captain could almost feel a little guilty for giving her such a startle. Since having arrived at the infirmary, he'd almost forgotten about the thing Rihan had spoken to him earlier which made him giddy with excitement; those things were pushed -almost- to the furthest reaches of his mind now that he was here, watching her.

Arms having been folded across his chest where he leaned against the wall in that deep shadow, he now stood to his full height, gladly meeting her eyes. "Hmmmm?" Came his only response for the longest moment while arms returned to his sides. It seemed as though he might just have been ignoring her in that time, but somehow even that was difficult to believe granted how piercing his eyes were as they delved into her own, as if he were searching for something personal and secretive there. Perhaps too intense was that stare.

A couple of breaths gone by and the man finally answered, being absolutely terrible in his lies, "I was just checking on a few things before taking off. I'll be gone,..."
Though the words ended there on a bit of an up-note, after a quick breath, sounded as if he were going to say something more. But that thought died on his tongue.


Her voice took on a more concerned tone, “Is everything alright?”

"Maybe it's too early to tell," There, he was already berating himself for having said something that might worry her needlessly, "but the danger isn't here. So, you have no need to worry."

Trying to let a smile creep over his face, he didn't feel very convincing, "In any case, the patrols and all have been doubled until we return. It shouldn't be long...You should really stay close to home or near the Hold though, just in case." In case he wasn't there to protect her was the completion of another unfinished thought.

Finished speaking, Toshiro was taking a measured breath, looking away from her and back toward the courtyard where dragons were to be waiting. Finally, Toshiro glanced down to where his left hand fingered somewhat nervously over the cords that wraped the hilt of the two blades at his hip. There was something strikingly different about these weapons than the ones he usually carried however. These were twin short swords, not a long sword, and there was no arresting rope to be seen on his person -which meant that wherever they were going, he had no intent of letting anyone make it out alive.

It was no wonder his hand worked a bit nervously then, even as he hardly realized it. When he did realize it though, he seemed to feel the need to explain to Ariadne. So, even before she could say anything else, he interjected, "Someones life is in danger and we don't know how much time we have to stop events from going badly. So, Lord Rihan picked me to help him. I am the villain he has called upon, when others lack the resolve to dirty themselves."

A faint smile curled up from the corners of his lips then as he gazed more intently upon her once more, "But don't tell anyone any of that. Heh. Or I might have to kill you, too." Always making jokes that never sounded like jokes. How terrible! But the slightly nervous, if not forced bit of laughter that followed proved how serious he was -not very. At least hoping he never had to be serious on that account.



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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:21 pm

If his stare was a bit intense she had not noticed. Something about the stare did set her mind to wondering although it had nothing to do with the length or intensity but rather her own feelings when he was looking at her. They were friends and she did care about all her friends. He seemed a bit unsure of himself right now though she had never known Toshiro to be uncertain about anything. Maybe it wasn't uncertainty but rather nervous energy. There was obviously something serious happening which required his involvement.

"Oh." She replied to his statement concerning his going. Ariadne was hoping that he might say something after it to indicate why or for how long. He probably wouldn't know exactly how long. Or maybe he was concerned that he would not come back. The thought made her close her eyes for a moment. She could not think in that way right now. It would only cause her to worry. "I'll be careful. I promise." Maybe that would set his mind at ease.

She tried not to think about the reason for the duel swords as he continued. He was going with Rihan to do his dirty work because he was the only one with the stomach for it. Ariadne was not as slow as she might seem, she understood what that meant. And just like anyone else at the hold, she knew what Toshiro was known for.

"My lips are sealed. No one else will know." She said quietly, her mind absorbed in her own thoughts. There were so many emotions that pulled and pushed at her that she felt like she was completely lost for a couple of minutes, standing in a silence that was not completely awkward but nor was it perfect in its quiet.

"Do me a favor, please. Don't take unnecessary risks." Ariadne said trying not to think of the worst case scenario but knowing it existed. She didn't understand why she was feeling so scared for him more so than she thought she would feel. "And one more thing..." She trailed off, closing the gap between them physically and wrapped her arms around him in a hug. "For luck." She explained although there probably was no need to.



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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:39 pm

After saying those things and watching Ari grow somber, Toshiro partially regretted speaking to her at all. The girl had already lost a husband and now that the two of them were starting to become friends, he was burdening her with the possibility of another final farewell. Now he felt like a real jerk. He should have just gone without saying anything? But that didn't feel right either.

The Captain was quiet as she responded. It wasn't until she shown meaningful concern to him that his expression altered. Toshiro came across looking rather dumbfounded.

"Do me a favor, please. Don't take unnecessary risks." "And one more thing..."

When her arms embraced him, Toshiro caught his breath and held it. Surprise was in his eyes as his body stiffened, not sure what to do. Even while she hugged her arms about him at length, he did not respond.

It was only when he finally took another breath, his heart beginning to pound in his chest, that he finally dared to set his arms around her, but only gingerly so that his hands held gently on her upper back. Such a tentative embrace it was, and so nervous.

Glancing down then at her, his right hand moved to settle on her head in an affectionate way where his fingers disapeared into her curls, holding her there against him -but still tentatively. At the moment it was all he felt he could do to offer her any comfort because there was no way he could respond honestly in words without giving her more worry.


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:54 pm

Ariadne did not consider herself to be a weepy sort of woman. At the moment though she almost wished she were because despite what the Captain might say, she could feel that he was nervous to go on this mission. There would be danger and he would be put at the most risk. Then it made sense he had come here to see her before he left. He wanted to say goodbye.

He wasn't expecting her to hug him, she knew as much but it took him longer than she thought to reciprocate the gesture. Ari didn't look up to see what his face might reveal, she could feel how tense his body was. He didn't know how to respond to her and perhaps that was for the best. She'd put him in a precarious situation. Perhaps despite her good intentions she was sending him off with more to think about than he needed.

She was going to move away when his hand came up to hold her head to his body. Ariadne let the silence continue. Talking right now would do no one any good. How long they stood there like that she could not say but it felt like a long time and yet it didn't. Finally breaking the silence she said the only thing she could, because if they stood there any longer she might just cry after all, "I have to go." Her head lifted from his chest where his heart had been pounding in her ear.

Stepping away from him, she kept her face from showing any emotional turmoil she might be feeling. Why was she so upset anyway? A part of her might have begun to admit to things another part of her could not yet acknowledge. Before she walked away, "See you soon." She tried to smile for him one more time just in case it was the last thing he saw from her.

On her walk home she did her best to bury thoughts and feelings deep down so that she could handle her family. Her daughter would be there. The thought of her child brightened her mood considerably.


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:50 pm

It was nice...having Ari close to him. Even if, after a few long moments had passed, he did begin feeling a little awkward given the nature of and the untold depth of their relationship.

Ariadne pulling away so that she could leave, left him still speechless though he wanted desperately to be able to comfort her. He could see it in her eyes when she looked up at him, that she was genuinely concerned. But, no. Toshiro didn't get that chance to conjure the words. Ariadne had said her farewell and even a hopeful, 'See you soon', yet, Toshiro was unable to move to stop her. Wanting to chase after her with reassuring tones, 'There's nothing to worry about', 'It was silly of me to bring it up', 'You should forget I even said anything', 'It'll all be over soon.', none of those evasive things passed through his lips.

Watching her head home, Toshiro growled in a moment of displeasure that was long enough to begin focusing his frustration into renewed focus on the main task at hand. The Captain couldn't wait any longer. He turned off in a different direction, heading toward the courtyard where dragons awaited.




[I was considering fading this thread out here and starting another with Courisse's reply tomorrow to the post with Eolyn and then a post for them arriving at STH taking off on runners or some such. What do you think Kate?]


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PostSubject: Re: Setting plans into motion   Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:11 am

((Sounds good to me. ))


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