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Cierva Calderan, Arima Ossian & Friends (PNPCs): Tucked up for the


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((Valley of Knives; Dorfmenland; Byzatium))

::Arima, Belan and Varney dusted themselves off as the tall woman, who had rescued them from the Crazy and its tentacled master, pulled back her hood and glowered at the assembled trio.::

Cierva Calderan: I live in this Valley, and I know how foolish it is to wander here alone at night. I assume you’re resistance.

::Belan returned the woman’s steely gaze. He was determined to stand his ground. She may have saved them all, but that was no guarantee of friendship. For all he knew, she just wanted the prey for herself. However, he had to admit for an older woman, she was quite attractive.::

::The trio didn’t answer.::

Cierva Calderan: Fine, have it your way. But if as I think, you were part of the convoy beyond the valley, then your trip has been wasted.

::Arima was the first to break cover. Like it or not, the woman’s actions had shown that she wanted the three of them to remain alive, at least for now. In this war, that was the best one could hope for.::

Arima Ossian: What do you mean?

::Cierva pulled her hood back up and folder her arms. She was intrigued by these kids, and the girl reminded her of her daughter, in her voice as much as her looks. Cierva hadn’t seen Nia for years, and wasn’t altogether sure the girl still breathed.::

Cierva Calderan: I am sorry to break this to you, but the resistance fighters there have all been killed.

::Belan growled at her. She must be a government agent.::

Belan Horobin: What proof? For all we know you are one of them.

::Cierva grinned at the feisty boy. She had expected this retort.::

Cierva Calderan: True, but then if so I would have let those two *things* devour you, or worse.

::Before the youngsters could discuss the matter, there was a new sound in the dark forest. Cierva didn’t look alarmed, but she was stirred into action.::

Cierva Calderan: Come, we must get moving. Follow me.

::Varney and Arima, having little choice but to trust her, began to follow. Belan stayed put. Arima turned to look at her battle brother, rubbing the cut on her cheek she had received from the monster’s barbed tentacle.::

Arima Ossian: Come one Belan, we must go….

Belan Horobin: No..

Arima Ossian: ::pouting:: Move silly! There are more of them coming.. can’t you hear?

::Belan crossed his arms. He did not take orders from women. Varney piped up next.::

Varney Groth: Don’t be a jackanapes Belan.

::Cierva didn’t slow down her long stride. They could come with her if they so wanted. She’d saved them once, she had no intention of doing so a second time if they chose to ignore her advice.::

::Belan looked down at the ground, kicking over the soil. He then looked at the steaming mess of the dead Crazy.::

Belan Horobin: oO Stupid war Oo

::He looked up to see Cierva, Arima and Varney nearly out of sight in the dark woodland path. Burying his pride he started to trot after them. Into the night they went.::

::After some time, Cierva slowed her pace and the three fighters clustered around her.::

Varney Groth: What happened to the rest of our patrol?

Cierva Calderan: Government ambush. All slaughtered. The noise attracted the Omunic, who was feasting on the remains… as you witnessed.

::Arima and the others looked at each other. Was the Crazy one of their former comrades. It was hard to tell.::

Arima Ossian: Are you resistance?

::Cierva looked across at the young woman, barely out of her teens. Cierva’s eyes were hidden in shadow under her hood, and only the vague dappled blue moonlight gave them any illumination.::

Cierva Calderan: I am not part of any grouping. I merely look after myself and help where I can.

::She paused thoughtfully.::

Cierva Calderan: But if I am honest with you, I have no love for either the Omunics or the Pythron’s puppet regime in Gvenved City. However, I don’t trust General Telent.

::Arima and Varney didn’t say anything, but Belan was more vociferous.::

Belan Horobin: General Telent is a hero. He stood up to the Pythrons and the Omunics, and kept our hopes alive when all seemed lost. He is a great Dorfman.

::Cierva almost chuckled in her exhaling breath.::

Cierva Calderan: Oh, he is a *great* man, but beware those who aspire to greatness. I look for goodness instead.

::Belan snorted.::

Belan Horobin: He’s the best chance for Byzatium. I will follow him to the bitter end.

::Arima put her hand on Belan’s shoulder. She wanted to calm him, they had to keep quiet and keep moving.::

Arima Ossian: Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

::Cierva didn’t turn to look at the gesture between the two youngsters, but she spoke quietly.::

Cierva Calderan: Hope is always good.

Varney Groth: As is food.

((Time Jump – Banks of the River Jeryxias; Dorfmenland; Byzatium))

::Cierva led the trio to edge of a tumbling stream. Arima looked at the water. It was about ten feet wide and looked, in the moonlight, shallow enough to wade across. She wondered if they were going to get wet.::

Belan Horobin: What now? ::sulking:: Swim for it?

Arima Ossian: What’s your problem Belan? She saved us. Why are you so ungrateful?

::Cierva was unmoved by the boy’s surliness. He would learn in time. She knelt by the water’s edge and fumbled under a rock.::

Varney Groth: ::whispering:: What’s she doing?

Arima Ossian: I don’t know..

Belan Horobin: A trap?

::Cierva finished releasing the *mechanism*. To the youngsters surprise a rock on the far bank slid to one side, and a row of stepping stones rose from the water. The woman stood and smiled.::

Cierva Calderan: After you, my lambs.

Belan: Lambs?!?!?

::Arima moved ahead. Her face was sore where it had been cut, and she wanted to be out of the cold night. After the terrors of earlier, indoors was her idea of paradise.::

Arima: Oh get over yourself, Belan. ::Snapping::

::Varney followed Arima across the stepping stones, looking across at the mysterious Cierva as he went.::

Varney: Is there anything to eat in there?

::Cierva rolled her grey eyes at the pudgy boy.::

Cierva Calderan: Don’t worry, you will be taken care of.

::Varney grinned, and bounded into the cave, eagerly expecting dinner. With the loss of the patrol’s supplies AND his prized drempa rat, his stomach had thought his throat had been cut. The trauma of the Crazy and Tentacle had only added to his hunger.::

Cierva: Coming? ::gesturing to the stubborn Belan.::

Belan: Do I have a choice?

::Cierva looked over his shoulder then back to his fixed gaze.::

Cierva: Of course you do. You can come inside with your friends and the person who saved your life, or you can stay out here in the cold dark forest and fight that Omunic that’s a hundred yards behind you, single-handedly.::

::Belan spun around, and indeed the undergrowth near where the stream disappeared into the deep woods was shaking and he could make out terrible shadows in the moonlight.::

Belan: Ok, I am coming…

::They both went into the cave, the door sliding shut behind them.::

To Be Continued…

Arima Ossian, Belan Horobin & Varney Groth (PNPCs)
Free Dorfmen Resistance Fighters; Byzatium


Simmed by:
Major Leo Handley-Page
Strategic Operations Officer: USS Vigilant

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