Aug 13, 2022 2:03 PM
ellie sedai meets the dragon and friends
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"Thank you, Miss Katwyn."

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Bright giggle! "Liland's not going to be in town right now though, and I bet Mat's busy."

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"I suppose you might have me to yourself a while longer, then."

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"Oh, good."

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What other stories shall they share?

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Katwyn would like some about the world outside the Two Rivers, now...

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She has enough of those to keep Katwyn occupied a good long while.

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Perfect. 

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Meanwhile - 

Liland and his father had arrived early for deliveries - and left early again. They'll return for the festivities tomorrow, but... 

Liland saw a strange man, a rider on a black horse, whose dark cloak didn't move in the wind, and his father didn't believe him at first, but... Liland isn't the only one, and neither he nor his father are comfortable leaving the farm untended at a time like this. 

(At a time like this, Liland wishes he could fight. Not something he normally has to worry about - you chase wolves and fox away with noise and a few stones or arrows, not your fists or axe. But a few boyhood brawls aside - no matter if Kat still teases him over them - well. He likely wouldn't win those brawls nowadays, no matter his height and strength.)

Liland's quieter than normal, scanning the trees constantly as they approach the farm. 

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"Remember the flame, lad, and the void," his father, Tam al'Thor, counsels, clapping Liland on the shoulder as they reach the farmstead. "Don't let your worry overpower your sense." (He's been watching the treeline as they go too, his eyes practiced and hard, slipping into a soldier's old familiar habits.) "See to Bela, then the woodpile needs restocking. I'll be checking the paddock, then working on the back plot."

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He smiles and tales a deep breath, searching for that flickering stillness in his own heart. "Sure, dad."

Working with Bela is meditative, too - though there's worrisome things threaded throughout the farm. They're put off oats, now, with no indication of a harvest coming soon; the early season vegetables they planted are struggling, more weeds than food and not that many weeds at all; the cow gave only a third her normal milk this morning; and he only finds three eggs when he checks the hen house on his way. 

There's - not much he can do about it right now, though, so he breathes evenly, and centers his mind on that flame in the void, and goes to add wood to the burgeoning piles.

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There's no obvious threats as he works. Everything around the farm is quiet.

Perhaps too quiet- No bird calls, no rustling foliage, no distant wolf howls or coughing mountain cat.

As the sun begins its track down towards the western hills, Liland might notice a group of ravens sitting on the eave of the barn, out of the corner of his eye.

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They make him uneasy. 

He's gotten plenty enough wood chopped - there hasn't been much else to do on the farm - and he still has mending to do, dinner to cook, a house to clean...

Liland sets aside the wood ax and goes inside, looking for his father - and blurting out, "The ravens are - weird."

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Tam scowls. "Bad as crows they are, blighted scavengers." He sets down his needle and the shirt he's stitching. "Let's run them off, then. We don't need them hanging around this night."

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Terse nod, and he retrieves and strings his bow.

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Tam lets Liland take the first shot-

-and that sends the ravens flying, their harsh cries shattering the stillness.

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"Well, they're gone for now..."

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"Aye. Keep an eye out though, lad, I've a feeling they'll be back."

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"I will."

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When they get back inside, Tam goes up to his bedroom and Liland can hear the scraping sound of furniture being moved. When he returns, he has a sword wrapped in a dark leather sheath. The blade looks to be about a pace long, and is slightly curved. As he sets it down on the side table, Liland can see a stylized heron embossed on the hilt.

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Liland hasn't seen that before.

"Is that from when you were a soldier?"

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"It is." His face is grim. "Never thought I'd take it out again, but. Well."

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"You're expecting more trouble than just wolves."

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"That rider you saw was no wolf, was he?"

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"No, he wasn't."

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