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Nov. 4th, 2008 08:14 pm
sagesaria: (NaNoWriMo)
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Karrah Chapter 5: Chapter word count: 1405

Chapter 5

Ryder lead Karrah up the hill. It was a steep climb, requiring long strides to push oneself up.
“Don’t foll be’ind, we’re almost there.” he said, somewhat out of breath. Karrah’s legs shook a little as she climbed; as athletic as she wasn’t used to steep hills.

Ryder pointed to the top of the hill.

“That’s where we’re doin’. The ‘ill’s so steep they don’t dare chase us all this way. We ‘ave a meetin‘ place everywhere we go fo‘ a gig, jus‘ in case som‘n‘ ‘appens, loyk jus‘ now.”

“Do they always attack you like that?”

“Oh sho’. Qeynos ain’t fond o’ public shows loyk ours. Tho’ I’m sho’ ye know that already.”

Karrah frowned. She thought their influence was only inside the city walls.

“Then why do you keep playing here?”

Ryder stopped, back turned to her for a moment in silence. Then he peered over his shoulder, offering her a bright smile.

“’cause if we don’t, then they’ll never learn.”

Leaving her to ponder that, he cupped his hands around his mouth and hollered uphill.

“Oy! Ye lot aloyv up there?”

The two bardesses from before suddenly appeared over the hill, seeing who called and hurrying to meet him.

“Ryder!” one of them exclaimed, leaping into a hug.

“When we saw you weren’t behind us we almost assumed the worst!”

“Aw don’ gimme that.” Ryder said with a smirk as he hugged them voice, “Ye know it takes more’n that te take this ol’ bugger down.”

They laughed together, then the girls noticed Karrah a few paces behind.

“Who is she?”

Ryder turned, holding a gesturing hand in her direction.

“’er name’s Karrah. She’s goin’ te Freeport an’ I thought we’d show ‘er th’way. Karrah,” he gestured to the girls, naming the lute-player and the dancer respectively, “This is me band ‘o merry bardesses. This is ‘elen, an’ this is Ameila.”

“Helen.” The lutist clarified, making up for Ryder’s accent dropping the h in her name. She smiled, holding her hand out for Karrah to shake. She blinked at Helen, who tilted her head at her, then gradually extended her own hand and taking Helen’s, shaking it slowly. The bardess smiled, stepping back and giving Ameila the chance to shake Karrah’s hand. Karrah looked between the two of them, and at Ryder. The three of them were a complete opposite of what she had seen in the past four years. Friendly, pleasant, peaceful intentions, something about them gave everything a cheerful aura. She had never seen that in people before. Even the fatherly Master Dareth and the students in the guild felt distant to her.

“Ryder said you’re going to Freeport, is that right?” asked Ameila.

“Whatever are you heading that way for? It’s a long trip.”

“Now now ‘elen, let’s not get in our guest’s ‘ead.” Ryder warned, “We go that way all th’toym, don’t we?”

“If I’m going to be a burden you don’t have to take me with you…” Karrah muttered, “I know the way by myself…”

“Oh nonsense!” Helen cut in, “We’d be happy to take you with us. I’m sure there will be time for a gig up there, we don’t have anywhere else to go first. And we have plenty of food.”

“Y’see? I told ye it’d be alroyt.”

Karrah tensed a little as Ryder put an arm around her shoulders, escorting her forward with the party.

“The way you was ‘eadin’ it’d take ye ‘bout ten days te get te the city. But we know a way ‘round that’ll only take six days, includin’ toym te rest at noyt.”


Nightfall had come, and the quartet of travelers set up camp for the night. Thankfully the skies were still clear, so there was no need to pitch the cumbersome tents that the trio of bards carried with them. They set up a small campfire and were now sitting around as Ameila brewed some soup. Ryder was currently sprawled on a bedroll with a beaten up scroll of parchment and Helen was smoothing out a fourth bedroll for their guest.

Karrah, meanwhile, was seated at the edge of the camp, barely in the light of their fire. She sat hugging her knees, back turned to the group, and stared at the wilderness ahead of her as she slowly worked her way through a loaf of bread she had packed. The hills they had been climbing all day were far behind them now, and ahead was nothing but flat green plains.

“You alroyt?”

Karrah turned. Ryder was standing over her, still giving her that smile. He held a wooden bowl in his hands.

“I’m fine.” she answered simply, looking out at the field again. He sat next to her, looking out at the field as well.

“That’s it, alroyt. The plains of Karana. One day in there an’ ye could be lost forever if ye don’t know ye sense o’ direction. Nothin’ but grass, rain, gnolls an’ if ye lucky an occasional loyon t’keep ye company.

Mos‘ blokes these days jus‘ telepo’t if they wanna get across ‘ere. Much quicker an’ less exhaustin’. ‘tain‘t cheap tho‘, if you ain‘t got magic in ye.”

Karrah stayed quiet, watching a spider skitter across the plain as she slipped another pinch of bread into her mouth.

“Don’ tell me that’s all ye eatin’!” Ryder exclaimed, carefully holding out to her the bowl he had been carrying, full of Ameila’s soup, “’ere. I can get meself some more later.”

“Oh…no, I’m fine.”

“Ah don’ gimme that. Go on, it tastes better’n that ol’ bread, I’d bet a plat’num piece on it.”

She made a face, but he didn’t falter, still holding the bowl out to her. Finally, slowly she took it, holding it carefully in her lap and putting the spoon to her lips, experimentally tasting the broth. Ryder watched with a little smile as she seemed to like what she was tasting, sipping another spoonful of broth.

“Good ain’t it? That’s Ameila’s rabbit soup. We eat well in out little group.”

They sat in silence a while longer, Karrah silently eating while Ryder watched, occasionally glancing back to listen to what the girls around the fire were talking about. After a while Karrah lowered the half-empty bowl to the ground.

“Not much of an appetite?” Ryder asked, breaking the silence. Karrah simply made a soft grunt and rested her chin on her arms again. He stared at her a moment, then decided not to bother her any longer since she didn’t wish to talk. He stood up, starting to stride back to the campfire, when,


He turned to look at her again.

“Why are you all being so kind to me? We only met just today.”

Ryder smirked a little, sitting down again.

“I jus’ do whot I can t’elp good people. Somebody in this world’s gotta lend a ‘and. When we met shouldn‘t matter none…I got a good eye fo‘ people, an‘ I c‘n tell you got a good ‘art.”

Silence again as she continued to stare blankly into the wilderness.

“…Ye really loyk keepin’ t’yerself, Karrah. You’re a big mystery.”

“If I don’t keep my secrets I’ll be skinned alive.”

Ryder almost laughed at that.

“Ye think we’re out te ‘urt ye? Trust me Karrah, th‘way you beat up those guards teday, we‘re the ones ‘oo should be watchin‘ ourselves.”

He scooted around, hooking a hand under her chin and lifting her head so their eyes met.

“It’s true that a lot o’ th’world ain’t worth trustin’. ‘Specially where you comin’ from.” he gestured vaguely in the direction of Qeynos, now miles away, “But we ain’t all out te ‘urt everybody an’ everythin’. Believe me wh’n I say that if you jus’ open ye ‘art up a li’le, ye moyt be s’proyzed about people.”

He smiled again, standing and brushing himself off.

"We got a bedroll out for ye. Get some rest t'noyt. We got a long walk in the mo'nin'."

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