3rd Patrol Night—By the Campfire



Adriwyn and Dytha share some porridge and gin by the fire, recovering from the grim discovery of their patrol.

Dytha emerged an hour later from her tent, her brow glistening with the ice-cold water she'd used to bathe and cool her boiling blood. She stalked to the fire. There were no merry-makers among them tonight, no lute-music or shared meat. She sat and stirred up the porridge they'd passed on that morning in favor of the venison from the night before.

Adriwyn had taken a seat near the fire, since her limited non-armour wardrobe didn't leave her much choice outside her bedroll. She also had some of the porridge, mostly for warmth.

Dytha 's hands were pink from the scrubbing off of mud and blood. She poured herself a cup of some stronger stuff than mead and passed another to Adriwyn.

Adriwyn took it with a grim smile, sniffed it, and raised it in salute to her before sipping from it. 'Thank you.'

Dytha offered the best smile she had the strength for, but it was a feint one. "Thank you," she said, tipping the cup forward to spill two mouthfuls—one for each they buried today. "The hunter blessed us with a full moon, so messengers are already on the roads to nearby farms. Maybe they'll know something, maybe not, but we'll at least deliver them safely to the city."

Adriwyn nodded, looking firmly into the night for a moment, then sighing. 'I feel so much like a hound with the scent of blood... I want to bay and give chase, but I must remember that the strength of the hunt is in the pack, not the one hound.'

Dytha nodded, her gaze sinking into the fire. "To take down a warg pack you must give it chase, harry it from a distance. Attack it outright and you put yourself at too much risk. We'll need allies for this." She had a spoonful of porridge, but it didn't sit in her stomach as comfortably as the liquor. "Remember the Dunlending boy? The one caught poaching this Isen-side?"

Adriwyn nodded, furrowing her brow a moment to recall him. 'Aye?' She wasn't that thrilled with the porridge, either, but it was warm, and she needed that, even with the liquor.

Dytha nodded slowly, lowering her voice. "Mother learned that he's Dragon. He still won't talk, but she thinks it's because the Dragon are what drove him from his homestead. It makes sense why he wouldn't go to the Eagle for help, but would try to escape both." She took a long swig and held the burning tight in her throat with a held breath. "Someone's picking off people up and down the Isen. It may be north-men past Nan Curunir, or, and I think what is more likely...it's corsairs."

Adriwyn pondered, chewing ono her lip. Her recent exposure to maps was all too little, and she had to think hard on it, but then nodded. 'Seems far more likely. Transport's less an issue for them, anyway, I should think.'

Dytha turned her cup so that all sides were warmed by the fire, and her fingers would not burn so close to it. "The trouble is, there have been no ship sightings. Not from here to the very west of the West-March."

Adriwyn grunted with a sour face, then sipped more, and ate more as she pondered. 'Still seems more likely than a slog north, even if they've kept ships out of sight.' Shr shrugged. 'Trails will likely prove more telling than speculating by a fire, though, no matter how smart some of the thinkers are.'

Dytha spun her cup slowly between her palms. "Not always," she countered. "Sometimes the trails are only pieces of the picture, and it takes speculating by a fire to fit them with the others."

Adriwyn chortled, nodding, not that there was much mirth in the noise. 'Fair enough, m'lady, but it still takes the looking to add that into the thinking.'

Dytha took her hint and down the rest of her cup. "If you'd like to get some rest before we ride out early tomorrow, go ahead, but I will be up a little longer, I think."

Adriwyn smiled wanly. 'Much though I'd rather try to keep you company... I'm getting cold, and I'm not really that good of company anyway. Especially when cold.'

Dytha nodded as she felt the cold seeping into her own shoulders, but she would rather feel it than reach for the luxury of her bear-fur. "Get some sleep, then. I'll see you at first light."

Adriwyn nodded, carefully look away before sighing heavily. She finished her cup and bowl quickly, and scurried off to shiver a bit in her bedroll until she warmed it up and managed some fitful sleep.

Dytha did notice, that time. She watched Adri, puzzling if her frustration was the same as hers, or if there was something else her comrade wasn't telling her. She didn't linger long on the thought. As Adri said, it still takes the looking before a picture could become clear.