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Explorers of Ariqua. Rated R


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#101 Mikoto

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 02:06 PM

Nick estimated that they had been trudging through the jungle, plagued by wind and rain for about ten minutes before they rounded a bend following the stream they had camped by since it wound in a long, slow route in roughly the direction they wanted to go before he came across something he'd never seen before. It was obviously a caravan with two wagons pulled by beasts that looked somewhere between a horse and a deer. The people camping there-obviously waiting out the rain-were like nothing he'd ever seen in that they resembled walking, talking lion people. A female was guarding the camp and was closest to him so he put up his hands away from his weapons. "Elizabeth, you'd better come and see this." To the lion-person female guard he said. "Take it easy, we aren't hostile." And hoped that she would believe him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Elizabeth was fascinated when Nick unexpectedly called for a halt then told her to come and see what he'd stumbled across. So she eased past Arlene and Tevyn to the front of the group. She was very surprised to see a caravan of lion-people camped near the steam. The female that Nick was addressing caught her attention so she followed up his assurance the Explorers weren't hostile with a short explanation of her own. "Yes, I'm Elizabeth and I lead this group. We're hunting down some slavers operating nearby and won't cause you any trouble. We're just passing by." Unless of course these lion-people were working with the slavers in which case she intended to cause a lot of trouble. Still, it was best not to assume the worst of someone you'd just met. At least that was Elizabeth's philosophy.

Edited by Mikoto, 14 March 2013 - 02:08 PM.


#102 EChatty

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 02:25 PM

Tevyn halted when they rounded the bend in the stream and saw the caravan parked and waiting out the storm. The one guarding didn't look all that happy and he put his hands up as well, to show that he wasn't armed. He'd never seen people, nor animals, like that before and he was fascinated. As it was, he was glad for the pause since he was feeling a little tired by now, the rain and the wind weren't helping that feeling one bit.

Jhanell glanced up sharply and growled a warning when she heard the footsteps coming closer to the caravan. When the people stopped and the male in the lead, as well as the male behind him, raised their hands, she lowered her bow, which she had raised automatically. Then a female came forward and introduced herself as Elizabeth and the leader of the group, saying that they were hunting for slavers. "We passed a cove yesterday evening before stopping here for the night." She said in a slightly growly voice. "There was a ship moored there. I assumed it was waiting out the storm, but it could have something to do with your slavers. The cove is isolated, a good spot to hide in."

She was studying the group curiously. She assumed most of them were the humes she had heard about while the ones with pointed ears were the Eliviri or Salarans and the rather large, mottle-skinned one was a Zapiyan. She kept an eye on them as she spoke, as she wasn't sure yet if they were friend or foe.

Aveline stopped and gawped at the lion-person that was standing in their way, guarding a caravan. She raised her hands as well, keeping them away from her weapons while Elizabeth came to the front and spoke with her. She was fascinated by these people and wondered where they came from and where they were going. "Fascinating." She said in a low voice.

Demiriz stopped and regarded the lion-person female who was guarding a caravan and he kept his hands away from his weapons as Elizabeth spoke to her and she answered that there was a ship moored in a hidden cove. This must be the race of people he had heard about, who lived to the south and didn't usually have anything to do with others. But if she knew where this ship was, then maybe she could show them where it was.

#103 RJDiogenes

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 07:09 PM

After a peaceful night under the lean-to with the rain pattering from above, The Professor awoke to a breakfast of hot tea and a couple of the Waldentian biscuits that he was carrying.  Eru had already gotten up and gone on her early morning exercise and raw breakfast frolic.  When she returned and the group was ready to move on, he packed away the lean-to in his shoulder bag and got out his incredibly wide-brimmed fedora, which kept the rain out of his eyes.  "Quite a heavy rain," he remarked to no one in particular. "But I've seen worse. Like down in the bayous of Creedence where the rain comes down on sunny days."  

When the group got underway again, Eru got back into her jungle adventure rags, as she liked to think of them, and followed along, taking up the rear.  She would have been more comfortable in that weather as her Werewolf self, but she didn't want her companions to deal with how her fur smelled in the rain.  After a few minutes of walking, she heard something happening ahead-- several voices, including an unfamiliar one.  When she caught up around the bend in the trail, she saw Nick and Elizabeth and the others talking to a cat creature! Actually, a caravan of cat creatures.

"I've met cat people like this in the jungle before, when we were living in the ruins by Khurumes," she said, "when I was out in the deep stretches where the Waldentians were too afraid to go. They never said much, but they were always polite and friendly."

#104 Mikoto

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 07:39 PM

"Really?" Elizabeth said with a note of hope in her voice. Knowing where the pirates are would save them hours if not days of searching. "We're looking for a ship that wants to hide itself. We think it's the slavers' base of operation. If you could give us directions or show me on my map we'd appreciate it, be on our way and trouble you no more." She hadn't missed how the lion-female hadn't so much as given her name, nor the way she was eying the entire group with a wary eye. Both were giving her the impression that she didn't want Elizabeth or her Explorers near the caravan. Hopefully she'd give them the directions to get the Explorers to go on their way.

#105 EChatty

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:02 PM

Jhanell relaxed a bit when Elizabeth asked her to give them directions to the cove. "It will probably be easier if I guide you to the cove myself." She offered politely. "My name is Jhanell, and I just need to inform our leader. The caravan will remain here until the weather clears and the ground dries. If you would follow me, please." She then led them to the caravan where Shuvanni was waiting out the storm and knocked. If there were slavers about, she wanted to help dispatch them before they decided on capturing anyone from the caravan.

Aveline waited while Elizabeth asked if Jhanell could point them in the right direction to the cove and she relaxed a bit when the cat-person relaxed her stance and offered to guide them. That would shave a lot of time off of their search if they could find the ship the slavers were using and then make sure they couldn't use it. It would make a perfect spot to ambush the slavers as they returned, if they were still out. She went with Jhanell as she went to talk to the leader of the group and waited while Jhanell knocked and waited for permission to enter.

Tevyn waited a tense few minutes as Elizabeth and the cat-person conversed, then the cat said her name was Jhanell and she offered to guide them, after informing her leader. If they would be staying here until the ground dried, then that could be awhile, and it would make their search a lot easier if they had a guide who knew where the ship was. He followed Nick and the others as they followed Jhanell to the caravan her leader was staying in, then he leaned against the side of it as he rested, waiting to see what would happen.

Demiriz waited next to Elizabeth as she negotiated with the Khajitaar female, who finally offered to guide them to the hidden ship. He then walked with them to the caravan that her leader was staying in and Jhanell knocked and waited for her leader to give her permission to enter. He hoped she would be allowed to guide them, it would help them get rid of the slavers and it would help keep them safe on their trip to wherever they were going.

#106 Mikoto

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 09:55 PM

Shuvanni looked up from the puzzle that she was working on within the wagon. "Come in." She was mildly surprised when Jhanell stepped inside the wagon. She set down her puzzle and her whiskers twitched with curiousity. "What is it?" She asked. "Is there something wrong?" She was sure that she'd have heard any sounds of fighting if there had been any trouble.

#107 EChatty

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 09:59 PM

Jhanell entered Shuvanni's caravan and shook her head when the leader asked if there was trouble. "No, not at this time." She hastened to assure her. "But there could be." She stood aside and motioned for Elizabeth to come into the caravan, then she introduced her. "It seems there are slavers working around here and she and her group have been sent out to stop them. The ship we passed may be their base of operations and I would like to guide them to it, and help them stop the slavers before they find the caravan."

#108 Balthamos

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 06:21 PM

Rylan sat as a silent sentry throughout the night. He was not the only member of the exploring turned hunting party that did find the thought of sleeping in this lycan infested forest. He watched several patrols sneak by almost silently. He even witnessed a particular spectular sword fight between a shadowy figure he believed to be Jhandra and some fierce opponents that only she could see. He suspected her insubstantial foes were defeated and suffering at her hands.

His broad rimmed hat kept his head dry but in this weather he was forced to wrap his gun, his rifle and his ammunition in an oil cloth to keep them dry. One of the few advantages of a bow he thought, was that a single drop of rain didn't have the opportunity to prevent a round from being fired. Though left in the rain too long he new even the best bows would become useless. His weapons being tied up was almost certainly a good thing because Rylan's reaction to a caravan full of strangers who looked distinctly lion-like was not to greet them and ask them for directions. By the time he had maneuvered in to a position with a good view negotiations had already started. It seemed these people were friendly. For now.

#109 Mikoto

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 06:23 PM

Elizabeth followed Jhanell inside the wagon and regarded Shuvanni as she was regarded in turn. It was hard to guess but she estimated that the lion-person was in her early forties. She carried herself with a certain dignified air. "Thank you Jhanell. Greetings. I am Shuvanni of the Khajitaar peoples. We live in this continent far to the south of here. We are primarily traders and warriors. We heard about the strangers arriving in the north, of Niobia. We've come in search of that town to make contact." The Khajitaar introduced herself.

"I'm Elizabeth and I come from Niobia. Indeed we're trying to build relations with the local Zapiyan trives here. On their behalf and ours we're seeking slavers preying upon them." She explained. "I believe you'll be well received in Niobia so long as you're peaceful." Shuvanni inclined her head. "This is good to hear. I would propose a deal with you, Elizabeth of Niobia. Show us how to find Niobia and I'll grant Jhanell permission to travel with you to find these slavers."

Elizabeth thought for a few moments. It was likely the Khajitaar would find Niobia within a few days anyway if she declined and one caravan didn't present a threat. She nodded. "That sounds fair." She reached into her backpack and withdrew a small leather container. "This is a spare map I have of the area. It's incomplete because we genuinely haven't explored too far but it will show you how to get to Niobia from here." Shuvanni smiled. "It was a pleasure doing business with you. Jhanell, you may show them the ship we saw across the lagoon."

Elizabeth then handed over the leather container and Shuvanni examined the map sealed inside. "Excellent. Swift hunting, Elizabeth." She smiled and stepped back out of the wagon into the rain and went back over to the rest of the Explorers. "They're merchants and seem interested in opening relations with us. Jhanell here will be showing us how to find the slaver ship." She told them.

#110 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 07:11 PM

Damien was somewhat fascinated by the appearance of a humanoid race of "cat people" and watched silently while negotiations commenced, then Elizabeth disppeared to speak to the leader. He leaned against a tree, pack and all, thinking how his ability to take on a humanoid cat form was from a curse, whereas those he was watching came by it naturally.

When it was announced they were being led by the one called Jhanell to where the slavers were possibly moored in a ship, Damien pushed off the tree. He wondered was this species was called as he'd never seen nor heard of such a people.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 15 March 2013 - 07:11 PM.


#111 EChatty

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 07:37 PM

Jhanell bowed her head respectfully to Shuvanni when she gave her permission to lead the group of people to where the ship was moored in exchange for a map to get them to Niobia. It appeared they were making the right decision in opening trade negotiations with them, she could only hope that they could help in the battle with the brutish Ariqun, who were trying to convert everyone to their way of thinking. If they couldn't they then would try to annihilate them. "I will be back as soon as I can." She told Shuvanni, then left with Elizabeth and nodded politely at the others when Elizabeth said that she would lead them. "It's this way." She said, leading them away from the caravan. "If we cut through a game trail up here, it will save a lot of time, rather than following the stream."

"All right." Aveline said, straightening when Elizabeth and Jhanell came back outside and said that Jhanell would take them to the ship. "A shortcut sounds good too." She said, following the cat-creature. Anything that would keep them ahead of their competition was a bonus as well, then maybe they could clear up this mess before too many bounty hunters joined the fray.

Demiriz was relieved when Elizabeth managed to deal with the Khajitaar to get Jhanell to guide them to the slaver ship. He could only hope that they could catch them and rescue any prisoners, including the Professor's friends. He walked with Elizabeth when Jhanell started leading them away, mostly to be sure that she was recovered from the night before and also because he just enjoyed her company.

The rest that Tevyn managed to get while Elizabeth negotiated with the Khajitaar helped him out a great deal. He felt better able to keep up without feeling strained and he hoped it wasn't just wishful thinking. He fell in with the group when Jhanell started leading them off and walked with Arlene, who had taken it upon herself to stay close and monitor him, not that he was complaining about that. He just hoped they would be able to find and take care of the slavers before it became a free-for-all.

#112 Mikoto

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 08:57 PM

Nick was happy to let Jhanell take point and lead them to what-hopefully-was the slaver ship. He sheathed is machete and studied the Khajitaar with curiousity. He could see the strength and grace in her muscles. The way her tail moved in conjunction with her movements indicated that she would probably fight much like Arlene or Demiriz would in battle. Her kind would indeed made formidable warriors, he thought. Just as they resumed their trek through the jungle along the game trail all of a sudden the rain stopped like water had been poured out of a bucket. The sky was still cloudy and overcast but he was glad it had finally stopped for the moment. "That's an improvement." He remarked to Aveline as they walked.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Any shortcut is good." Elizabeth told Jhanell as they got underway again. She couldn't help but smile for two reasons now as the rain stopped and Demiriz travelled close to her. She smiled up at him as they began to walk. "Fortune seems to favour us on this journey." She remarked to Demiriz, enjoying his proximity and company. That didn't stop her form being alert though for any kind of danger. The weresnake attack had proved that this jungle could be really quite dangerous.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Arlene was fascinated by Jhanell and the other Khajitaar that she'd briefly seen around the camp. They were unlike any kind of life form she had ever seen before. They had a subtly different skeletal and muscular structure from any variation of Hume or Elviri. Her attention was split between Tevyn and the fascinating new sentient in front of the group, studying the way she moved and walked. "Fascinating species." She said to him. "I hope I get the chance to examine one of them in more detail."

Edited by Mikoto, 15 March 2013 - 08:57 PM.


#113 EChatty

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 10:12 PM

"And that's an understatement." Aveline laughed as she put her hood back when the rain stopped. It was a major improvement. She walked along with him and studied Jhanell as she led them through the animal trail. She was stronger than her size indicated as she cut away the occasional obstacle that got in their way that the animals hadn't trampled down on their treks through. She was amazingly graceful and light on her feet and Aveline couldn't help but feel a tiny bit jealous, though she smiled. She held onto Nick's hand as they went along behind the Khajitaar. "This should get us there long before any other bounty hunters." She remarked.

Tevyn walked along with Arlene while she led them through a well-used animal trail on their way to the ship and he was glad he didn't have to wield a machete at this time. "Jhanell is pretty strong for such a small person." He said to Arlene. "Very graceful too, like you were when you were fighting. Very impressive." He was very glad the rain had stopped, just that helped to make him feel better, but he wasn't sure he'd be up to raiding a ship of pirates. "I feel kind of useless right now, though." He said. He only hoped he didn't slow them down too much, and that they would stay ahead of their competition.

Demiriz pushed the hood of his rain poncho back once the storm stopped. "Typical." He remarked. "Pouring down one second and then it stops just as quickly." He walked along beside Elizabeth as Jhanell led them down a game trail, and he was impressed with the way she wielded the machete. Just as cats were stronger than they looked, so was she. She also looked very relieved to see the rain stop as well.

Jhanell sighed in relief when the rain stopped, and she pushed her hood back as she continued to lead them down the game trail. Soon she would have to divert off of it, but she was making better time using it than hacking her own trail from the beginning or following the winding stream back to the cove where the ship was moored. If it didn't start raining again she would be extremely happy, in fact her face reflected how much better her mood was as she smiled a bit while she hacked her way through the trail and her tail would swish back and forth as well, showing how much more relaxed she was.

#114 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:56 PM

When the rain stopped, Jhandra pushed back her hood then stripped her waterproof cloak off. There was nothing much to do for now except follow their new guide along the trail to where this ship they were now interested in was moored.

#115 Mikoto

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 06:21 PM

After another half an hour of travelling Elizabeth and her Explorers reached the secluded cove that the Khajitaar had passed the evening before. Jhanell guided them to the cove without fault. They had paused on a part of the game trail near the edge of the cove. Although the group was well hidden in the foliage they had a clear view of the cove and the ship that was nestled in one corner, well hidden from any other vessels that might pass by out at sea. It was a steam vessel similar to the make and model that Voyager was. Elizabeth was half hidden behind a tree with a particularly wide trunk using her portable telescope to view the vessel up close. "Well, it looks like our vessel."

She remarked to the others who were hidden around her. "I can see two watchmen and two more guards patrolling the deck. From the look of them I'm surprised we can't smell them from here. Looks like we found our slavers." Next to her, Nick used his own telescope to examine the ship. "Looks like there's only a skeleton crew aboard. Seems likely given most of the crew will be searching the jungle for slaves. Now might be as good a time as any to strike." He advised and Elizabeth nodded. "All right. We'll need our archers to silently take out the guards. And... I think Tevyn and Arlene should remain hidden out here in the jungle until we're done fighting." She added.

#116 EChatty

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 07:59 PM

Jhanell led the group for about another half an hour before she called a halt and paused behind a tree for cover, then she pointed out the ship that was trying very hard to remain behind cover and unnoticed. She then watched as Elizabeth and Nick took out some kind of device and put it up to their eyes before describing what they saw on the ship, which was four guards, with a skeleton crew below, most likely. She wrinkled her nose when Elizabeth said she was surprised that they couldn't smell them from here, but she could, when the breeze blew just right. After Elizabeth called for archers, she pulled her own bow out, but she saw that four of Elizabeth's group had already gotten theirs out and were targeting the guards already, so she held onto hers, intending to act as a backup just in case one of them missed. She recognized three recurve bows, but the fourth was unlike anything she had seen before. It was a small bow set across a stock similar to the rifle that Elizabeth had slung across his back.

Aveline traveled with the group for about another half hour before Jhanell called a halt and pointed across a cove at a ship remarkably similar to Voyager. She ducked down behind a large bush and studied the raggedy guards from a distance, wrinkling her nose and turning to NIck. "I'm glad the pirates you ran with at least had a sense of cleanliness." She whispered. She pulled out her bow when Elizabeth called for archers and selected a target, one of the ones on the deck. She figured either Demiriz with his greater strength and Damien with his crossbow could take out the ones in the crow's nests while another archer could take out the other one on the deck.

Demiriz estimated that they had been traveling approximately half an hour before Jhanell called a halt and showed them where the ship was hidden in the cove. He studied the ship from the cover of a large tree, and he had never seen anything like that before he went with Elizabeth to her ship, which she said was named Voyager, and this ship looked remarkably similar to that one. He was also surprised that they couldn't smell the pirates from here, as dirty as the ones they could see were. When Elizabeth called for archers, he dropped his pack and pulled his bow out. He then sighted in one of the guards high up in what she'd called a crow's nest. He knew that they had more than enough archers for each to take one guard on the deck, and if all went well, the ones below wouldn't know anything was wrong until it was too late.

Tevyn was feeling a bit of the strain of walking before Jhanell called a halt and he leaned against a tree and wiped at his face while Elizabeth and Nick studied the ship across the cove. Being that they were as unkempt as the gang who'd assaulted them recently, he was surprised that they couldn't smell them too. When Elizabeth called for archers, he pulled his bow and sighted in the guard nearest to the group, shipwise. "Maybe I can't raid the ship and fight, but I can shoot one of them." He said determinedly.

#117 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 08:18 PM

At Elizabeth's request for archers, Damien positioned himself near a large rock and checked the extra arrows on his crossbow. They lay secured across and underneath the arrow he had already loaded. Using the rifle-like scope he sighted the farthest guard high up in the rigging of the ship. He saw Demiriz aiming for the other one, and Arlene and Tyven ready to take out the ones on the ship's deck.

With all the talk of smelling the slavers, Damien had to silently agree that their stench was certainly noticeable to him as well.

As he had the furthest shot to make, he made sure the others were ready. "I'm letting go!" he hoarsely whispered.

Then he let go his arrow knowing the others would follow immediately. He watched it for a moment as it whizzed through the air, powered by the force of the crossbow. He watched it impale his target in the chest. Not quite in the center of the heart, but close enough.

The man barely had time to yell, or so it seemed to Damien before he was falling through the air to the water below.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 16 March 2013 - 08:24 PM.


#118 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 08:24 PM

While four in the group positioned themselves with bows and crossbows, Jhandra took the opportunity to drop her pack and secure her weapons for the foot attack. There were surely at least a few of the pirate slavers on board the ship but when the guards were taken out they could raid the ship. She waited anxiously for the order to go. While the Salaran Elviri wasn't a warrior by nature...or perhaps she was deep down...she didn't shy away from a physical attack when necessary, or even killing when the situation warranted.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 16 March 2013 - 08:24 PM.


#119 EChatty

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 09:12 PM

Tevyn let go his arrow as soon as Damien said that he was letting go, and he watched as his arrow embedded in his target's chest, sending him to the deck in a crumpled heap. He stepped back and leaned against a tree after, glad that he wasn't going on the raid itself, as even pulling the bow back like that took a lot out of him. He would be very glad when he was back to his normal self and could sail arrow after arrow and barely feel it. When Jhandra dropped her pack, he moved it closer to his, might as well do something useful and keep an eye on any dropped packs while they did the dangerous stuff. He sat down with his back to the tree and watched as the other two guards went down with barely a whimper.

Demiriz let go his arrow a split second after Damien announced that he was shooting, and he watched as his arrow embedded in the man's chest and sent him to a watery grave. The splash probably went unnoticed by the ones inside the ship, as the thick wood would dampen most outside noises. As the last one went down, he put his pack down next to Jhandra's, since Tevyn had indicated that he would watch them while they were gone. He then stood with Elizabeth and waited for her signal.

When Damien let his arrow fly, so did Aveline, and it struck the intended target, sending him overboard since he was standing near the far railing. He went in with barely a yelp and that was that. Tevyn, Damien and Demiriz had all taken their targets out with one shot and the element of surprise was still on their side. She dropped her pack with the others once she removed what she thought she would need during the raid, then she joined the others in preparation for raiding the ship.

Jhanell relaxed and put her bow up once all four guards were dead. She was impressed with the skill of the four bowmen and she intended to let Shuvanni know about it once she returned to the caravan, for they were looking for allies who could help them in their disputes with the Ariqun people, huge, horned brutes who tolerated no way of thinking or worshiping other than theirs. That was a very backward way of thinking, in her opinion. If there was no diversity then the people would stagnate. She moved closer to the raiding party while some dropped their packs for Tevyn to watch while they were gone. She would like to see him in action when he wasn't ill, that had been an impressive shot to make, even as it took a lot out of him.

#120 Mikoto

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 09:53 PM

Elizabeth couldn't help but smile with a bit of pride as the four archers felled their targets within a couple seconds of each other. She had chosen skilled people and it showed. She unslung her backpack and her rifle next to Tevyn and the packs other members of her team had deposited there. "All right, let's go before they notice that their watchmen are dead. Tevyn, we'll signal you and Arlene when it's safe to board. I'll probably send someone back to help you carry the packs."

She drew her revolver and led the way around the edge of the cove to were a gangplank provided a walkway from the shore to the slaver ship. While she was quick in reaching the gangplank, she slowed when they arrived and held her revolver ready to shoot as she looked around. So far it seemed that none of the slavers below had realised what was happening. Elizabeth eased her way across the gangplank and onto the ship. Once she was aboard she stood aside and stayed alert for any signs of danger while the others crossed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nick, as the one who had been in charge of doing most of the hacking through the undergrowth, wasn't carrying a pack of his own so he simply drew his pistol and followed Elizabeth when she indicated it was time to begin the attack and headed for the slaver ship. Of course he had been admiring Aveline as she'd shot her arrow but that was natural. He liked to admire her whenever he could. He kept up with her easily until they reached the gangplank. Then, he stepped slightly to one side and kept an eye out for danger. He would cross last once everyone else was aboard. Nick split his attention between the portholes along the side of the slaver ship in case anyone was looking out, and towards the jungle in case they had a sentry posted on land.


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