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Offline Jabbathejack

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For a moment, at least, the spark returned to Roe's eyes.
"Pfft." He snorted. "I'm fine where I am."
He gestured to the chair that he'd already sat down in.

"I've been a soldier for a long time. Working for Lord Staunton and before that, I was a mercenary since about the time I could first pick up a sword. You might have slept in some strange places, but so have I. There'll be time to rest when I'm gone."

He gave a quiet chuckle.
"Won't be just yet, I assure you."


Offline Firesblood

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Valaria frowned, her posture and expression becoming obstinate.  When she spoke, her voice kept its gentleness, but there was a firm undercurrent to it.  “You don’t look yourself, Etienne.  You look exhausted, worn down, you have seen unbelievable things, and you have been through hell these last weeks.  I believe you when you say that you have slept in strange places, but you are also not as young as you once were.  Please, for me, take the bed and have a decent rest.”


Offline Jabbathejack

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Roe snorted, muttering a curse under his breath.
"I've only just sat down..."

Yet he doubted that she'd let up, not until he'd done what she wanted and lay down. Besides, the Lord knew he was tired. Grumbling, he slowly stood, wincing as his knees creaked in protest. Sitting on the bed, he pulled off his boots and settled down on the bed.

"There. Satisfied? Just for a few minutes, then you have the bed."

Sod's law he probably wasn't going to be able to get any actual rest, but after a few minutes, he pulled his cap down over his eyes.

***

Staunton spent most of the voyage on deck, remaining there even when it started to rain. The sailors watched him warily, but he avoided them. Around an hour from dawn, the lookout called down, sighting the fire from the lighthouse in the distance. Land was close.

Smiling to himself, Staunton headed over to the horses, starting the process of getting them ready. Etienne did not need to have to do all the work by himself.


Offline Firesblood

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Valaria nodded in satisfaction when Roe rose and took the bed, settling herself in the chair he vacated.  She watched as he got comfortable on the bed, folding her hands on her lap.  “Immensely.  Rest well, Etienne.”

Of course she had absolutely no plans to wake him, nor did she stop watching him until his breathing deepened and slowed, and she was certain he was asleep.  Finally, she closed her own eyes and fell into a shallow, uneasy slumber.  Images of Malachi’s death featured prominently, as did the feeling of being hunted by a Spanish gentleman sporting an easy, charming smile.

When they reached landfall not long before dawn, Val stirred to the sounds of the crew preparing to moor the ship, coming wide awake within seconds.  She could not see Staunton in the cabin, but Roe was still abed. 

Rising from the chair, Valaria peered through the porthole to verify that they had arrived, then turned and gently roused her friend.  “Etienne, it’s time.  We’re here.”

---

Oscar appeared on the deck at that point, shouldering his saddlebags and moving towards where his and Celyn’s own horses were.  Still a bit on the groggy side and not morning person by any stretch, the older Werewolf grunted a drowsy greeting when he saw Staunton and began the process of saddling their horses.

About halfway through the first, Oscar glanced briefly at Staunton, not pausing in his work when he spoke.  “I know that the plan is for you and yours to travel with us for a time.  Bearing in mind that I do not expect or require you to tell me the sort of trouble you’re in, have you an idea of where you are going?  Do you require sanctuary?” 
 
« Last Edit: February 04, 2021, 10:44:56 AM by Firesblood »


Offline Jabbathejack

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Staunton smiled a greeting as he tightened up the girth of his horse, giving the animal a gentle pat on the neck.
"Good morning, my friend."

He nodded at the questions; they were expected, after all.
"I owe you some sort of explanation, it is only fair."

Finishing with his own horse, he moved to the next.
"Some years ago, I was forced to leave England with my son. Unfortunately, my enemies have caught up with me and my son was killed. I believe it is time to return to England and rebuild my strength. As you have already found out, my enemies do not care who they hurt in pursuit of their goals. I am sorry that you have been dragged into all this."

"I appreciate all that you have done for me and my friends. I hope that our presence will not inconvenience you too much. It will not be long, I assure you."

He spied Celyn in the distance, finding some food for himself and his uncle.
"I understand that this journey was not what you were hoping for. I can only hope to repay you for your assistance, when I'm better able. I haven't decided where I might settle just yet, probably safer to choose a place where I have little history of."

***

Roe woke with a start, immediately fearing that he had slept too long. He sat up and pulled his boots on, grumbling halfheartedly.

"Why did you let me sleep so long? There's work to be done."

Standing up, he pulled on his jacket and headed out of the cabin. Yet to his surprise, the bulk of the work had been done, with all three horses tacked up and ready to go.

"My lord, I..." He hurried over to Staunton, worried that he might be upset with him.
"No need." Staunton spoke softly, smiling as he passed the reins to his subordinate. "It won't be long before dawn. I think it best for you to make a start without me, I'll catch you up once darkness falls."


Offline Firesblood

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Oscar listened while he finished saddling his horse, glancing up at Staunton occasionally as the Vampire explained what was going on.  He was on the run from longtime enemies, having lost his son and everything he had built in France.  All that was left to him was a troubled young woman that would be more distraction than help in a fight, and an old man who—while skilled in a melee—looked as though his fighting days were fast running out.  His enemy outnumbered and outmatched him for strength, and they had followed on his heels all the way to the port.  It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out where Staunton had gone, given his prior history in England.  This foe of his would catch up fast.

Helping Staunton would put the pack at great risk against an enemy they knew nothing about.  That made him doubt, but Oscar didn’t believe in coincidences.  Things would not have gone the way they had if they weren’t meant to be so, and life would not have put them in Staunton’s path if they were not meant to play some part in it.  They had already accepted the risks when they fought and killed those men in the woods.   

Oscar sighed and moved on to Celyn’s horse, a grim frown creasing his features.  “It wasn’t, no, but that isn’t your fault.  You’re welcome to come home with us and plead your case with our Alpha for further assistance until you find your feet.  These enemies of yours will be on your trail soon enough if they are as set on destroying you as they seem.  You can’t fend them off with an old man and a woman who can barely fight.” 

--

Valaria watched Roe as he pulled on his boots and chided her for letting him sleep, stubbornly unrepentant.  She had done it because she cared about the man and he had desperately needed the rest.  Truth be told, she was beginning to love him like a father or a favorite uncle, and she wasn’t sure she could handle losing one more person she cared for so soon after the others.  She couldn’t think of anything to say, so she said nothing, watching him rush out the door to take care of the horses. 

She left the cabin a minute after he did and climbed the stairs to the top deck, seeing that Lord Staunton had already readied the horses in Roe’s absence.  He didn’t seem upset about it, thankfully; she had been ready to step in and rightfully take the blame, since it had been her fault that Roe had been delayed.

There Werewolves were there as well, and Valaria hung back a little as Staunton instructed Roe to go ahead without him.  Dawn was approaching, and he would have to take shelter. 

“Where will we go?” Valaria spoke up uncertainly.  Without knowing Staunton’s plans, how could they be certain they were going in the right direction?  Or were they still traveling with Celyn and Oscar?




Offline Jabbathejack

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Staunton smiled at Oscar.
"They will be after me, true, but I have a few tricks left to me yet."

He lowered his voice to that he was almost breathing out the words, but he knew damn well that a werewolf would be able to hear every syllable.
"Besides, they don't yet know of your involvement and I intend to keep it that way. Ordinarily, a werewolf pack would be the last place they would look for one such as I."

He followed the werewolf's gaze, resting on Valaria as she approached.
"You might see just a young woman, a human, but I see that she has potential, given the right support."

The ship had finally reached the docks and there was a flurry of activity as the sailors ran to moor her securely. After a little while, the gangplank was lowered and they were free to disembark along with the other passengers, leading their horses.

Staunton passed his horse's reins to Roe, knowing that the horse would be vulnerable without someone there to watch it while he slept. He would have to catch up on foot. He smiled at both of them.

"Stay with our friends here. I will find you soon enough."

He paused, thinking for a moment before he continued.
"New start on new shores. It would make sense that I had a new name to go with it. Forrester? Good English name? Malcolm Forrester. Best that we dispense with Staunton, that name has served its purpose."


Offline Firesblood

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Valaria nodded at Staunton’s direction, glancing at Oscar and Celyn briefly before returning her attention to the Vampire.  Dawn was nearing, and he would need to find a place to wait out the sun before he would be able to continue on.  She nearly asked how he would find them but decided against asking; if he said he would find them, she believed it.   

When he spoke up about taking another name, Valaria nodded slowly.  It was smart.  His enemies would be looking for a man named Staunton, not a Malcolm Forrester, though it would take time to adjust.  Was it really so easy, to change one’s name?  She briefly considered whether or not she should change hers as well.  He had not yet made her his daughter, but his enemies had already become her enemies too, and they knew who she was.  Would it make a difference?

She decided to think about it and ask later.  She didn’t want to delay him any longer than necessary with the light beginning to brighten on the horizon. 

“As you say, Mister Forrester,” Valaria murmured, testing the name.  It wouldn’t be so difficult to get right.  “Rest well.  We will see you tonight.”

“Shall we, then?” Oscar asked, climbing astride his horse. 


Offline Jabbathejack

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"Safe journey." Forrester gave them a final nod, watching as the riders headed away from the quayside. After a moment, he turned away and began to walk along the shore. It had been some time since he was last in this area, so the safest place to sleep would be underwater once more. Sparing a brief thought to the state of his clothes, he waded into the cold water, the waves lapping against his legs. With no one watching, he silently slipped beneath the waves and began to swim out to sea.

***

"Welcome to England." Celyn smiled brightly as they made their way through the city. The sun was just beginning to peek up above the horizon and the city was already beginning to wake up.

"It ain't much to look at. Not this bit anyway." He grinned at Valaria. He was feeling much better now that they were closer to home. The sooner they arrived back in their forest, the better.

"It will take a couple of days to reach home."

Both he and his uncle knew the road well, having taken this journey to the coastal city many times before. There was the occasional threat of banditry, yet they hardly looked to be as rich a target as those types were hoping for. If they did start anything, they'd quickly find that they'd bitten off more than they could chew.

"Folk around here are tight lipped. Anyone asking questions when they don't sound like a local born and bred won't get the time of day out of anyone."