Quest for the Emerald of Ivaneye
Narrator (8:20:10 PM): The lamps are dimming, and it's late at
night. Redwall abbey has been bustling all over since
the arrival of the vermin...
Narrator (8:21:04 PM): It's midnight, and most beasts have gone to bed to anxiously await the next day, where it is expected by many to go off on a search for the Emerald inside the abbey
Narrator (8:21:51 PM): In the corner of the great hall, at the very end of one table, their shadows cast in dramatic directions, three beasts have different ideas
Narrator (8:22:11 PM): Because, surely, the emerald isn't in Redwall. And surely it must be somewhere...
Weston (8:23:12 PM): "Northwest, I say," Weston stated, slamming his paw down on the table. "Look at this map."
Narrator (8:23:34 PM): from down the hall, Rudda joins the group
Sybul (8:23:42 PM): "Oi b'aint heard tell o' an em'rald since 'ee leafwood."
Ari (8:24:12 PM): Ari, a young female squirrel, quietly sips a cordial. "Neither have I. Do you think anyone in the woods might know?"
Ari (8:24:31 PM): "It might be in the records from the gatehouse."
Rudda (8:24:46 PM): "What is all thee commotion?"
Weston (8:25:04 PM): Weston glowered. "The only thing we agree upon is that the emerald is not in this abbey."
Weston (8:25:15 PM): "We can't decide where to look, though, Rudda."
Rudda (8:25:43 PM): "the emerald is south,Isay"
Ari (8:25:54 PM): Ari pushes her point. "I'd try the records. Somebody has to know about it, don't they?"
Sybul (8:25:56 PM): "If et be in Mossflow'r, somebeast's gorra know where. 'Septin the beast wot has et b'aint gonna tell usn's."
Narrator (8:26:28 PM): It occurs to all the future-travelers that if they are to recover the Emerald from wherever it is, they must do it tonight, while they have the most time, and before they can be stopped.
Narrator (8:26:49 PM): Surely the elders, at that moment in confrence in the Cavern Hole, would not agree to their quest, as all were untrained and untested...
Weston (8:26:53 PM): "We've no time. That gatehouse is a veritable maze of old scrolls."
Rudda (8:27:13 PM): "Stormy,look for clues in the old droors."
Ari (8:27:14 PM): A thought passes in Ari's mind. "Alright - but I won't pretend. I'm frightened."
Sybul (8:28:02 PM): "Wot gudd be a em'ral anyway; give Oi a bowl o' soup anyday. But we'm b'aint got no time."
Rudda (8:28:05 PM): "er, sorry"
Sybul (8:29:22 PM): "Oi think the best thing to do is start roight away. Let's go afore dawn breaks."
Ari (8:29:51 PM): Still pressing for some information, Ari sets down the cordial. "Which way?"
Rudda (8:30:02 PM): "Iike Turnup-n-tater-n-beetroot pie,sybul"
Weston (8:30:11 PM): Weston dissappears into the kitchens with a pawful of haversacks.
Rudda (8:30:33 PM): "ill take a berry flan"
Sybul (8:31:03 PM): " 'Ee badbeasts be towards ee coast, they'm corsairs an all. I say west.
Weston (8:31:03 PM): "They don't do well in haversacks, my friend- they have a tendency to squash," Weston calls as he rummages around.
Ari (8:31:14 PM): Sighing, Ari gets up and grabs the broom she constantly carries. "Right. I'll just...follow you. And I'll bring a flask of tea."
Rudda (8:31:59 PM): "Let's get moving." as Rudda gets anxious.
Sybul (8:32:16 PM): "Burr, then let's gerron wiv it. West?"
Weston (8:32:33 PM): Weston returns from the kitchen, bearing four loaded haversacks and a poker from a fireplace. He hands a sack to each of his friends.
Ari (8:32:39 PM): Air nods and heads towards the cavern doors. "For lack of a better direction, I'll say west."
Rudda (8:32:41 PM): "fine with me."
Weston (8:32:52 PM): "West. Good. Let's get moving before we're found out."
Ari (8:33:39 PM): She thinks for a moment before swining them open. "It still makes me nervous - there have got to be others looking for that emerald. After a few minutes, I'll scout ahead. You know, see if there's anything out there."
Sybul (8:33:56 PM): "Aye, then let's find this jool." Sybul shoulders a pack and heads out of the abbey by the back gate.
Weston (8:34:09 PM): Weston rolls up the map on the table and tucks it into his pocket, then follows Ari and Sybul.
Narrator (8:34:33 PM): The outside air is slightly chilly, and from outside there is the sound of crickets. All seems peaceful and quiet, but for sounds of crackling fires, forever reminding of the presence out the main gates.
Rudda (8:35:10 PM): The night looms ahead.
Ari (8:35:27 PM): Gesturing with the broomstick,Ari points westward. "This way?"
Sybul (8:35:52 PM): Sybul shivers. "They'm rats be drefful beasts; carn't leave usn's in peace. What are we lukkin furr, besoides a jool, o'course. Who'll have et?"
Weston (8:36:00 PM): Weston shrugs. "That's what we agreed upon. Let's get moving." The squirrel dissapears into the treetops in a blur of brownish-red fur.
Ari (8:37:18 PM): Slinging the broomstick into a specially designed pouch on her back, the squirrel follows Weston into the trees.
Rudda (8:37:27 PM): "Sybul,the jewl is very powerful."
Sybul (8:38:28 PM): The molemaid looks up at the squirrels in the trees, then dashes through the loam of Mossflower's ground.
Narrator (8:38:14 PM): From the bushes, there's a faint rustling. Sybul and Rudda turn to try to see it, and the squirrels look from above
Narrator (8:38:45 PM): "Aye, Aye. Ground not good enough for ee squirrels ey?" The voice is gruff...
Weston (8:38:56 PM): Weston reaches a paw to the haft of his poker. "Who's there?"
Ari (8:39:19 PM): Ari climbs to a low branch and pulls at the broomstick. It's a weapon, besides the cleaning benefit. She waits.
Narrator (8:39:22 PM): "Better yet, oo are you?"
Rudda (8:39:24 PM): "Don't worry, I'll portect you from the Scurvy vermin!"
Narrator (8:39:43 PM): "Scurvy Vermin my worn jacket!"
Weston (8:40:15 PM): "Calm down, friend. I am Weston of Redwall. The otter meant no disrespect."
Ari (8:40:15 PM): Ari tilts her head, the scholar in her taking over. "Scurvy's a disease."
Rudda (8:40:17 PM): "in old sea slang...."
Sybul (8:40:27 PM): Sybul looks around for the source of the voice, leaving the talking to her friends. At the last remark, she sighs relieved. "We'm be abbeybeasts, there noaw, who you'm be?"
Narrator (8:40:30 PM): from the darkness, a shape resolves into a fat old vole. he's got a large brimmed hat with a feather in it.
Narrator (8:40:54 PM): "I be Jonuk"
Ari (8:41:06 PM): She raieses a paw. "Ari."
Rudda (8:41:45 PM): "I was on the SEAQUEEN for many a season."
Ari (8:41:56 PM): With a sigh she returns the broomstick to it's sling.
Sybul (8:41:57 PM): "Oi be Sybul, but We'm carn't be wastin' toime flapjawrin'."
Weston (8:41:59 PM): Weston bows from the waist, which is quite a feat when you're hanging from a tree by your tail. "You know my name, sir Jonuk."
Rudda (8:42:08 PM): "I'm Rudda"
Narrator (8:42:18 PM): "Ships...bah! The woods is the place for a good and honest beast"
Narrator (8:42:27 PM): Jonuk scowled as he said that
Weston (8:42:28 PM): "Couldn't agree with you more."
Ari (8:42:34 PM): "Indeed."
Narrator (8:42:56 PM): "What you young 'uns be doing out in the fresh air of the woods?"
Narrator (8:43:08 PM): "off to dig for treasure, eh?"
Sybul (8:43:32 PM): "We'm be out on abbey business."
Rudda (8:43:48 PM): "Ships be great things if your not afraid of the sea."
Narrator (8:43:54 PM): "Abbey business? Hah! Like what?"
Ari (8:43:57 PM): Ari glares warningly. "And that's all you need to know."
Sybul (8:44:31 PM): "Aportant abbey business. Naow, we'm shudd go."
Narrator (8:44:41 PM): "Aye, aye, I suspect you think you know everything. All there is to know in that young youthful head, eh?" said Jonuk scornfully, as he said many things.
Weston (8:45:15 PM): Weston sighed at the vole's many biased attitudes.
Narrator (8:45:30 PM): "I heard that, young 'un!" snapped Jonuk
Ari (8:45:41 PM): Ari angrily jumps from the tree. "No. But I'm smart enough to know that you shouldn't spread news lightly, especially with folks you don't know."
Sybul (8:46:00 PM): Sybul turns to go, plodding through the loam. "Ari, Rudda, we'm haren't much toime!"
Ari (8:46:39 PM): The squirrelmaid turns her back on the rude vole and follows Subul.
Narrator (8:46:42 PM): "Children these days! Didn't their parents teach them respect, I ask? Nay, nay, not for the evidence."
Rudda (8:46:56 PM): the three then run after her
Ari (8:46:59 PM): Ari smiled in spite of herself.
Weston (8:47:06 PM): Weston's eyes narrow. "And you, sir, your parents taught you what?"
Narrator (8:47:31 PM): "To be good! And kind to others. a slight message yours left out!"
Weston (8:47:55 PM): "I have been nothing if not respectful, master vole, despite insults to myself and my friends."
Sybul (8:47:57 PM): The last remark stings Sybul. "We'm be on a bit of a scavengin' hunt. Lukkin' to foind a aportant arteefact."
Sybul (8:48:11 PM): "Zurr."
Narrator (8:48:45 PM): "Aha! The emerald of Ivaneye, I'd guess, then. Trust the young to go off on foolish quests, I say.."
Rudda (8:49:01 PM): "It's jewl of great importance."
Ari (8:49:15 PM): Ari flinches angrily. "I think it's time I went ahead to see if there's anyone else waiting to talk. I'll scout, you follow, alright?" She disappears into the treetops.
Narrator (8:49:37 PM): "Only if you can't fight off the vermin..."
Sybul (8:49:44 PM): She blinks. "Haow'd you'm know... unless you'm know abaout 'ee jool?"
Weston (8:50:26 PM): It's evident that Weston is slowly losing his temper. "You, sir, have been steadily insulting myself, which I do not mind, and my friends, which I do mind. I'll ask you to kindly stop."
Narrator (8:50:45 PM): "Who doesn't know about the jewel? Practically shouting it across the countryside, those rats."
Sybul (8:51:03 PM): "You'm know whurr et be?"
Narrator (8:51:33 PM): "By all accounts, to the north, or to the west, or to the east."
Narrator (8:51:47 PM): "depending on what addle-brained traveler you're talking to"
Sybul (8:51:54 PM): "South it is..." She smiles cheekily
Weston (8:52:08 PM): "I'd have to agree."
Narrator (8:52:51 PM): "My own thoughts tell me to the north, but you'd never get it, for Ivaneye is a northlandish name, and if there be any treasure remaining of his, it will be long since claimed."
Rudda (8:53:19 PM): '"if It is of great importance,Isay south also."
Weston (8:53:44 PM): "But if the vermin thought it would be in Redwall, that means it must have been travelling south. What if the carrier continued past Redwall?"
Narrator (8:54:17 PM): "Thok is no fool, laddie."
Narrator (8:54:41 PM): "He can depend on the Abbey beasts finding the jewel for him, to save their little home."
Rudda (8:55:08 PM): "Then to the east,but if wrong you will have to turn around."
Sybul (8:55:35 PM): "Praps we'm shudd go north."
Narrator (8:55:44 PM): "All be better off living on our own, I'd say, but beasts hold to their traditions, and Redwall be one thing I'll not slander"
Sybul (8:56:03 PM): "Aye."
Weston (8:56:11 PM): "You change your mind easily, Sybul... I still feel that south is the correct way, but I will abide by your decisions."
Sybul (8:56:41 PM): "Furgive oi, but Oi'm not one to disregard a'voice of elders."
Weston (8:56:41 PM): "So, Rudda, the final decision rests with you. I say south, Sybul says north. Choose one."
Narrator (8:57:20 PM): "Southland's got naught but primped up royal squirrels with their heads in the air. hah! treasure there would be harder getting from the bottom of their maelstrom..."
Sybul (8:57:33 PM): "Oi'll follow you'm lot whurrever you'm may go".
Rudda (8:58:35 PM): "I say south-west,to the coast."
Weston (8:59:23 PM): Weston unrolls and examines his map. "Southwest is toad lands."
Rudda (9:00:27 PM): "then we shall deal with them,they area stupid species."
Narrator (9:00:48 PM): Jonuk chuckles, "Toads! There's a treasure-trove, little 'uns. You could find a huge emerald in a big vat of mud. Isn't that where all emeralds are?"
Weston (9:01:00 PM): "Aside from which, you underestimate your foe at your own peril, Rudda- only a fool fights without need."
Narrator (9:01:28 PM): more quitely, he sighed too softly for anyone to hear, "the imagination of youth. what a wonder..."
Rudda (9:01:41 PM): "You all have weapons ,don't you?"
Sybul (9:02:03 PM): "Oi have all Oi need.
Weston (9:02:08 PM): "A fireplace poker, solid steel though it may be, is a far cry from the Sword of Martin."
Rudda (9:03:45 PM): "Figure it out,his name is from the north,his treasureis gone from the north,so,he must be south bound."
Sybul (9:03:47 PM): "We'm gorra go! What way?"
Weston (9:04:20 PM): "South, then? I'll wait here for Ari. You two go on ahead."
Narrator (9:04:47 PM): Jonuk sighs. "You didn't decide where to go before you left?
Rudda (9:05:08 PM): "I'll have to agree,south it is then!"
Weston (9:05:24 PM): Weston blushes. "Not precisely, Jonuk- we had a minor disagreement."
Sybul (9:05:50 PM): "We did, then we;m run into you." She tugs her snout to the vole, then turns and plods on through the loam.
Rudda (9:09:12 PM): "Enough chit chat,We've got an emerald to find."
Narrator (9:09:38 PM): "Indeed, you'll be hard pressed to find out where you're going, get there, get the emerald, and get back in time..."
Ari (9:09:54 PM): A squirrel appears on a branch a few yards of from Weston. "Back," she calls. "Still talking?"
Weston (9:10:11 PM): "Yes, I fear we are. Tell me, Jonuk, could you assist us?"
Narrator (9:10:40 PM): Sybul trods off into the loam, promising to follow the others later, and saying she is looking for some berries...
Ari (9:11:21 PM): Ari tries to hide the annoyed look on her face, and fails miserably. "Fine..." she mutters.
Narrator (9:11:27 PM) Narrator (9:12:28 PM): "Assist ye in what?"
Weston (9:12:47 PM): "Locating and retrieving the Emerald, of course."
Narrator (9:13:16 PM): "I've told ye once, laddie. clean out yon ears and listen! It be to the north, I'd say."
Ari (9:13:25 PM): Ari begins to fidget with the broomsling, eager to go.
Riala Goldentail (9:13:42 PM): The treetops rustle with the motion of some passerby, or perhaps it's just the wind... Anybeast who happens to glance up at the faint sound, though, might catch a glimpse of red-brown fur. Noisy creatures...
Narrator (9:14:11 PM): "I fear me that my days of questing and treasure-seeking were over the day I discovered the wonderful food of cake, and gained an extra self..." he said, rubbing his stomach.
Weston (9:14:24 PM): Weston drops out of the tree so he can bow properly. "Thank you, Jonuk. You seem to know more of this than we do... how?"
Ari (9:15:15 PM): Ari descends as well. She offers a curt nod and a quick "thank you" before glancing around nervously.
Narrator (9:15:29 PM): "I be older than ye, laddie, that be how. And, true, I once spent a time in the northlands myself. Should you run into any other voles up there, just mention me, and they might help ye out a bit."
Riala Goldentail (9:15:44 PM): Gold-brown eyes narrow at the sight, tufted ears pricked forward to catch the conversation below. The watcher remains silent, however, motionless now in the branches above, waiting to decide whether or not to get involved.
Weston (9:16:21 PM): "Again, my thanks. Quickly now, my companions, we must be off." Weston dashes into the treetops, then, a moment later, lets out a yell of surprise.
Riala Goldentail (9:17:00 PM): The squirrel leaps back as Weston nearly rams into her, one scarred paw automatically going for the dagger and the odd stick tucked into her belt.
Narrator (9:17:52 PM): With everybeast's attention on the arrival of the squirrel, nobody notices as Jonuk goes off...
Weston (9:18:08 PM): Weston reflexively drops into a crouch. "Who are you? What want you?"
Ari (9:18:11 PM): Ari whips out the broom as soon as she hears the yell of surpise and starts climbing, the nob on the broomstick pointing forward.
Riala Goldentail (9:19:17 PM): "I might ask the same of you," the squirrel replies, her voice low and rough, likely a natural tone.
Rudda (9:19:27 PM): Rudda glances up ,trying to keep his paitence
Riala Goldentail (9:19:30 PM): "You are the one who nearly ran into me, after all."
Weston (9:19:58 PM): Weston bows, reflecting on how often he seems to be doing this. "My apologies, milady. I am Weston of Redwall."
Ari (9:20:55 PM): Ari nods vaguely, eyes wide. "And I am Ari..." She fingers the broomstick nervously.
Riala Goldentail (9:21:16 PM): The heavily scarred squirrel snorts at Weston's words, amused. "And you've a Redwaller's formality too, it seems," she says dryly. "The name's Riala Goldentail." She nods slightly in greeting to the both of them.
Weston (9:21:58 PM): "The formality, Lady Riala, is unique to myself, I fear."
Narrator (9:22:26 PM): Had Jonuk been there, there would have been a snort, and all suddenly realized his disappearance
Rudda (9:23:31 PM): "I Fear im an Otter gone far to long without a good battle
Riala Goldentail (9:29:15 PM): The squirrel looks from Weston to Ari to the others on the ground. "What are you all making such a noise about, anyway? I'm surprised you haven't drawn half the vermin in Mossflower to you by now."
Weston (9:30:11 PM): "Have you ever heard, milady, of the Emerald of Ivaneye?"
Ari (9:30:17 PM): Ari looks up nervously at the thought, then grips the broom handle with all the more fervor.
Ari (9:31:03 PM): "I don't like all this explaining," Ari mutters, half to herself.
Riala Goldentail (9:31:04 PM): Riala grimaces at the 'milady' but decides to ignore it this time and instead thinks on the other squirrel's question. "No, can't say I have."
Weston (9:31:40 PM): "Ari, you know more of it than I. As it please you, tell her."
Ari (9:32:59 PM): She rolls her eyes at him - figuring he'd probably heard her. "Fine. I'm going to make this short, because I don't like noise much better than you do. There's a rat and his horde who have approached Redwall and demanded this...
Narrator (9:33:14 PM): Rudda wanders out, in search of a friend she has in the forest. He would be able to aid in their quest, and he was not far off, so she would be able to keep track of her companions.
Ari (9:33:29 PM): ...this emerald. Only we don't have it. So we're finding it. End of story."
Riala Goldentail (9:34:59 PM): "I see." Riala drops to the ground from her perch and glances from quester to quester. "Any idea where it might be?"
Sybul (9:36:24 PM): "Same oidea we'm had before. Either north, south, east, or west."
Ari (9:36:57 PM): "Jonuk said we should go north." said Ari
Riala Goldentail (9:37:33 PM): She stares at the mole, struck dumb for several moments. "...So what you are saying is... you have absolutely no idea where this emerald is, what it looks like, who might have it, or which direction it could be in."
Weston (9:37:53 PM): "That would be correct."
Sybul (9:37:59 PM): "Roight." She blushes a bit.
Ari (9:38:16 PM): "It's an emerald, so we do have a small idea of what it looks like. and it's probably pretty big."
Riala Goldentail (9:38:30 PM): "Sounds like as hopeless a quest as I've ever heard of."
Ari (9:39:06 PM): "But one with many lives in the balance."
Sybul (9:39:40 PM): "Jonuk was roight, Ivaneye is north. An' if we head north, then mayhap we'll cross paths with whoever has et. An' all they corsair greedyguts stay to the coast. So Oi says nor'west."
Riala Goldentail (9:40:04 PM): She nods at Ari's words, sobering. "Aye... Count me in, then."
Weston (9:42:12 PM): Weston checks his map again. "Northwest would take us to a path, then the flatlands, then the River Moss."
Ari (9:42:45 PM): "Sounds a good idea, and good traveling" interjected Ari.
Weston (9:43:08 PM): "But no trees. I must admit that makes me feel less than perfectly safe."
Sybul (9:43:54 PM): "Then we'm be off agin. Thank 'ee seasons! You'm be foine on 'ee ground loike Oi. Jus' keep 'old o' your brush."
Ari (9:43:57 PM): "It's a choice between you feeling safe and the beasts at Redwall feeling alive, Weston." said Ari, quite sure on the importance of the quest
Narrator (9:44:34 PM): Together, the beasts began to set off in a northwesterly direction...
Weston (9:44:35 PM): "I am aware of that. I am also aware that, feeling safe or not, I will fulfill this quest if I can. Let us go."
Sybul (9:44:49 PM): Sybul again travels west and north, knowing that soon, they would not be in the comfortable green of Mossflower.
Riala Goldentail (9:45:30 PM): "And if we find nothing as we travel, what then?"
Sybul (9:45:43 PM): "But who'll usn's be lukkin furr? Vurmints or guddbeasts?"
Ari (9:46:09 PM): Ari begins to think aloud, an infamous habit of hers. "Alright, supposing we find this emerald. What then? How do we know it won't be under heavy guard, or such?"
Weston (9:46:22 PM): "What does it matter? We require that Emerald. We travel until we find it, or die trying to gain it."
Riala Goldentail (9:46:44 PM): "So we'll travel until you freeze in the Northlands?"
Weston (9:46:54 PM): "If neccessary."
Ari (9:46:54 PM): "I mean, none of us are warriors," she continues, then touches the broom. "At least, not conventionally so."
Sybul (9:46:59 PM): "We'm won't know what we'm 'll foind untill we foind et."
Riala Goldentail (9:47:04 PM): She's not too worried about herself freezing; Riala was born and raised in the frigid north - but the others are Southerners...
Riala Goldentail (9:47:35 PM): Riala chuckled at Ari's words. "Nay, not warriors... I'm a fighter, though, which may help."
Riala Goldentail (9:47:41 PM): Warriors have honor... I'm no warrior.
Ari (9:47:49 PM): Ari sighs and walks on. "Mole logic.."
Weston (9:48:58 PM): "One of the more frustrating things known. But always correct." None of us are warriors... The only thing I have ever wanted... Perhaps I will find that, also, on this quest.
Weston (9:50:11 PM): "You asked, Ari, what happens if the Emerald is guarded. I should think that obvious. We take it."
Ari (9:50:25 PM): She nods. "I suppose." The squirrel takes the broom from its sling and begins to twirl it, wondering exaclty how good it would be as a weapon.
Sybul (9:51:08 PM): "Hopefully you'm brought a cloaker, if'n you'm be gettin cold. And Oi'm no gurt wurrior, but Oi knows 'ow to 'old my own with moi own paws. Oi been knowed to take a weasel out with a single blow."
Ari (9:51:28 PM): Of course, she'd won a few of the festival fights back at Redwall, but she doubted it would be useful as an actual staff. Without practice, anyway. Practice....
Weston (9:51:46 PM): The same thoughts were running through Weston's mind.
Riala Goldentail (9:52:17 PM): Riala smiles thinly at the talk of battle. Redwallers... Few, if any of these abbeybeasts seem to have much experience in war.
Weston (9:53:16 PM): Practice, practice, how am I to practice...
Riala Goldentail (9:53:28 PM): Perhaps I'll have to teach them... Her rust-gold tail flicks sidewards as if brushing away the idea. She's no teacher, and to teach peaceful creatures to kill... I can't do that to them. Not after what it's done to me.
Ari (9:53:50 PM): Ari continues her thinking aloud. "Of course, I've used it before. When we owned the Unicorn Inn back in rough country, I was the hustler. I fought them off. But they were just drunk..."
Riala Goldentail (9:54:18 PM): But it might keep them alive, at least for a time. The only sign of Riala's inward argument is a slight twitch of her jaw muscles as she clenches her teeth.
Ari (9:55:16 PM): "...I wonder if Riala knows anything....about fighting...she certainly looks it." Ari is, by now, obviously oblivious to the rest of the group.
Weston (9:55:28 PM): Weston looks over at Ari, who is trudging through the forest beside him. "Ari," he whispers, "Would you consent to practice your skills against mine on the morrow?"
Sybul (9:55:41 PM): Sybul looks at Riala oddly. She looked a little sick, or like she was fighting back saying something important. "What's 'ee prollum?"
Riala Goldentail (9:56:18 PM): A slight, wry smile tugs at the corners of the squirrel's mouth. "Nothing, Sybul. Just thinking."
Sybul (9:56:39 PM): The mole frowns a bit. "Awroight."
Ari (9:56:43 PM): Ari snaps out of her reverie with a little jump. She turns to Weston. "What?"
Weston (9:57:17 PM): "I asked if you would practice against me tomorrow," Weston repeats with a slight frown and an unidentifiable expression in his eyes.
Ari (9:58:19 PM): She smiles slightly. "I might just sweep you off your feet," she says, ignoring mental pokes.
Weston (9:59:25 PM): Weston either has a very good poker *(sorry)* face or he didn't catch the pun. He smiles, the expression in his eyes shifting to another, equally unreadable one. "So that is a yes?"
Sybul (10:00:09 PM): "Ef they won't, Oi will. Oi shudd lurn 'ow to use a long weapon. For naow, Oi think our chances of foinding ee' em'ral are slim to none. Mayap we should start preparing for a battle?"
Ari (10:00:12 PM): She sighs, disguising a giggle. "Yes."
Sybul (10:00:34 PM): "Foind some sticks furr poikes an' such?"
Ari (10:01:13 PM): Ari smiles and pats the sling. "The broomstick is the only stick I'll need."
Riala Goldentail (10:01:14 PM): Riala grimaces, the scars on her face contorting the expression into a dibbun's nightmare. Looks like the mole's made my decision for me...
Weston (10:01:22 PM): A third indecipherable expression replaces the other two. "Thank you, Ari."
Riala Goldentail (10:02:07 PM): "If any of you need training in fighting, I could probably help," the squirrel says finally.
Ari (10:03:17 PM): Ari turns to her. "You know, I was just thinking that myself," she says, unaware that this was aloud. "That would be good. Thank you."
Riala Goldentail (10:03:51 PM): Riala glances at the dimming sky, barely visible through the darkening treetops. "Very well," she says to Ari. "And now I think we'd better find a place to strike camp..."
Ari (10:03:57 PM): She turns back to Weston, eyeing the poker uneasily, but not mentioning it.
Weston (10:04:08 PM): Weston glances at the moon. "Agreed."
Sybul (10:04:25 PM): "Aye, We'm carn't foind anything if our eyelids are droopin'."
Ari (10:04:31 PM): "Good idea," the young squirrel mutters, pawing at her tunic and apron.
Ari (10:05:00 PM): She tries to hide a yawn with the other paw. "I vote for something nearby," she mutters.
Riala Goldentail (10:05:07 PM): Riala nods and looks around, mutterin to herself. "I know there's a place here somewhere..."
Narrator (10:05:36 PM): Nearby is, in fact, a small clearing, and as the group comes across it, most see that it is a good place to stop and sleep
Riala Goldentail (10:06:11 PM): "Who wants first watch?"
Weston (10:06:28 PM): "There should be blankets in the packs," Weston says. "As for watch, I will go first."
Ari (10:06:38 PM): Ari sizes it up with the one eye that is not closed and wearily pulls herself into a tree nearby. "I'd volunteer, but I'm very tired."
Sybul (10:06:40 PM): Sybul pulls up a nice patch of loam after stowing her haversack in a bush. She curls up near a tree root. "Burr, not Oi. Oi'll take second."
Riala Goldentail (10:06:54 PM): "I'll take third, then."
Ari (10:07:43 PM): "I'll be early morning, then," Ari calls from the treetops.
Riala Goldentail (10:07:54 PM): Claws scrabble on bark as Riala climbs swiftly up a nearby oak, nestling into a comfortable fork and falling into a light doze immediately.
Weston (10:08:15 PM): Weston leans against a tree-trunk and stares out into the dark woodlands.