A collection carts and wagons creek and rumble as the group of student's travels down a dirt road. A fog lingers in the forest making it hard to see, but there's still enough light out to make traveling safe. They spent a day at the village next to Dheginsea to lick their wounds and now are traveling back to Tellinbrim. Erwin sits in the back of a wagon, he's sure that the amount of solders has increased. The current number is approximately fifty or so. Is it because we were ambushed he thinks but that really doesn't matter because things have been going well for Erwin.
Since the manticore attack, and Erwin’s act heroism, many of his classmates had turned their opinion of him. Leonardo came around Erwin's tent apologizing for what had happened. He received a thank you from Raiko and Salvador who were accompanying Leo. Several hours later, Isabella and Sam even dropped by. Isabella gave the standard thank with a smile, while Sam was extra thankful and gave Erwin a large kiss on the cheek for his bravery. For the young and unadulterated Erwin, the feeling of another person's lips on his cheeks was completely unexpected. Sam ended up giggling at Erwin's face redder than merlot, and adorable stuttering thanks that was the only thing that Erwin could muster up. Isabella quickly pulled Sam away before Erwin had a full-blown heart attack.
Erwin's happiness wasn't purely from the rather stimulating kiss from a ravishing young woman. Iskandar and Freud inspected the ambush sight, at Lover's Peak. Although they weren't able to find any clues on who attacked them. Upon inspection of the manticore's body, they were able to find a magically charged claw. Erwin inspected it using a spell and found it imbued with an attack known as air claw within it. This is the big reason he's so happy. Al had promised on teaching him how to make magical weapons when he got back, but now he can not only learn how to make magical weapons, he has the material to make one.
Erwin sits in the back of the wagon admiring the silver claw radiating with energy. What do you want to become? He thinks eyes piercing into the claw as if at any moment it would respond. The obvious thing to make a knife or a sword that could cut through wind, but he could also make a bow that shot a gust and didn't need arrows. Maybe, he wouldn't make a weapon at all and the claw could be used to make a shield that would create a shield with an invisible gust around it. A cowl that used wind to speed the wearer up. The possibilities are endless, and that filled Erwin with a childlike anticipation.
"How long are you gonna keep staring at that?" Erwin fumbles with the claw only to barely catch it. To his surprise Elliana is sitting in the same cart with a frustrated look on her face. "You know if you look at it like that I might start getting jealous."
"Sorry, I was just a little lost in thought," Erwin responds pushing the claw into a pocket in his coat. According to Ellie, she simply had to be in the same wagon as Erwin to make sure his condition is stable. She did, however, conveniently forget to mention how the effects of mana exhaustion only last a few hours, and that Erwin showed after effects. "Is it just me or are we moving slower than when we arrived."
Ellie looks outside noticing that it's already sunset. The forest surrounding the ravine only took several hours to journey, yet it has easily been twice that long. "No, your right. It's been far too long. Do you think where lost?"
"I doubt that," Erwin said peering his head over the wagons to look around. "I doubt Freud and Iskandar would get lost. This area is still under their banner, even with the infighting," Erwin exits through the wagons rear, slightly stumbling when he tries to gain his footing on the uneven fog covered terrain.
"Now that you mention it. This fog surrounding us is abnormal." Erwin grabs Elliana's hand and helps her off the wagon, making sure she has an opportunity to find sure footing. Ellie gives a shallow curtsy to express her thanks. She really enjoys playing the part of a princess, Erwin thinks giving a mocking bow in return.
"Wait," Erwin says attempting to not lose the plot. "What do you mean by abnormal?"
"Well I don't know much about meteorology," she prefaces "but this thick fog doesn't make any sense. Fogs occur when there's a shift in temperature. The air quickly becomes cool usually in the morning after a shower. That's why fog usually happen on winter mornings. But today there hasn't been any rapid changes in temperature or even the hint of rain."
Erwin changes pace from a brisk walk to a mild jog. Ellie follow suits. The way he sees it there are three possibilities, fogs work differently in this world, an animal is creating the fog, or someone is creating the fog. On most days, Erwin would probably chalk it up to an odd otherworldly phenomenon, but the memory of being ambushed is still fresh in the mind.
In several minutes, Erwin makes it to the lead cart. Freud is riding in front on a horse with Iskandar riding directly behind him. Freud's eyes stare into the distance, almost searching. "Freud," Erwin said in a forcibly calm tone, attempting to hide the worry in his voice caused it to crack a little. Freud looks down at Erwin, still paying most of his attention to the surroundings. Ellie notices Freuds concern for the environment almost confirming her suspicions. She also notices Erwin's worried state and rests a hand on his shoulder.
"This fog it isn't natural, is it?" Erwin asks calmed down by Ellie's consolation.
Freud sighs, "I was hoping that we'd be able to resolve this before you children caught on, but it seems I underestimated your intelligence. Yes, the fog is unnatural, there seems to be traces of mana in it meaning someone is using a spell to create it. We believe that another ambush is under way and have slowed down to make dose out a source."
"Couldn't they just warp in? Like last time." Erwin asks.
"If they could warp in, the fog wouldn't be necessary. The fact that they are using it as cover suggests that for some reason they are incapable of using their teleportation magic." Iskandar adds without turning his head. His logic is sound the cover of fog isn't really needed if you can just show up. so, what is happening? Was teleportation a onetime attack? Is this a fake out to surprise them when they do teleport in? Are they being attacked by a different group entirely?
"How can we help?" asks Ellie ready with a supportive glance.
"The best thing you all can do is inform the others of the current situation." Freud say in a hushed tone, "be sure not to incite a panic. Elliana, you do the actual talking, a woman’s touch is necessary in this."
Ellie nods preparing to tell everyone. She grabs Erwin by the arm and drags him behind.
"God damn, this wine is worth a village," Osmund says with a hint of annoyance, "Aren't you lot supposed to here on a mission. With this much to drink you'll be too tipsy to swing a sword, yet fight the yigdra."
Osmund looks at the raven-haired elf that sits in front of him. Smoking a mace sized pipe, sitting on barrel of Ealiodin wine while leaning on a tree, his solemn stare would make a grown man to cower for a moment. "Well, Vothe how ya liking babysitting our little lordlings." Osmund gestures around him at weapons and armor that have yet seen a drop of blood with people even more mollycoddled. The camp's soldiers are a collection of by fourth borns of fourth borns too incompetent to squire, to craven to fight.
They had hoped that venturing to the Dheginsea ravine would be an excellent opportunity to enjoy the sights like a summer vacation of sorts. Now they've been ordered to fight, most of them got themselves drunk to dull the fear.
Vothe stares back at Osmund. If he's irritated his face doesn't show it. The stern looks in eyes is always present, not a man alive has seen a smile on it. Osmund doesn't really think of Vothe as a friend, but certainly isn't unsettled by him like many others.
"They'll fulfill their role nicely," Vothe said monotonal, apathetic to his comrade’s fate.
Osmund sighs. Hopefully, they won't do anything to rash. He didn't have any fondness for these soldiers, but to have so many young boys die suddenly would leave a black spot on Osmund's conscious.
"What brings you here. I was under the impression you were sent back to Tellinbrim?" Vothe asks while exhaling a cloud of mist, that spreads out and settles creating a dense fog around the camp. The amount of fog exhaled greatly outclasses the lung capacity of a normal man.
"With this damn fog you made, it's nearly impossible to see my hands in front of my nose." Osmund points at Vothe with facetious anger. "The fact that I stumbled into this camp was dumb luck. You should really establish a barrier by the way. It'd be embarrassing if the enemy walked in with the same ease."
"Noted," Vothe responded.
"Currently, I'm on my way to Tellinbrim. If you'd open a shallow end in this fog. I'll happily be on my way." Vothe thinks silently for a moment, as if weighing whether or not helping it’s worth the time. Vothe eventually waves his pipe with an air of nonchalance allowing the fog to thin at the far end of the camp.
"My thanks," Osmund says with a wry bow. "Oh, I'll be takin' this too." Osmund picks up a barrel of the Ealiodin wine and jaunts out of the mist with a smile. Vothe sits silently apathetic towards the pilfering of supplies.
Soon after Osmund leaves, the disheveled soldiers of the camp begin to wake. Their lack of agency is surprising, but in the end Vothe didn't care all I need is spell fodder. In fact, their incompetence is quite the asset almost guaranteeing nobody will catch on to the plan.
"Well Ei'clr, my plan, does it precedes as expected? If the plan fails because your smoke doesn't live up, I'll have you demoted to my chambermaid." A short almost impish man walks up to Vothe with a look of unearned superiority. Behind him follows a young serf. Probably a peasant farmer who thought he hit the jackpot by squiring to a D'nuh, only to be greatly disappointed by the man he serves.
"Yes, sir." Vothe says standing straight in attention. Contrary to his demeanor, Vothe absolutely despises this child dressed in military fatigues. Vothe is glad that he'd be done with this caravan of fools in short time.
"Y'as, we'll have the yigdra in our possession in a matter of moments." says the commanding D'nuh. For the life of him Vothe can’t even remember his name. Not that he wants to commit it to memory.
"Milord, what of the soldiers?" a reasonable question by the young squire. His name is Kimmly as Vothe recalls.
"What of them? You think I fear some withering old man, his lot of human’s soldiers, or even the mythical yigdra. With the Aesir at our side, we are unstoppable!" The captain screams at the top of his lungs. The troops begin to gather around him. One by one they look up at their leader in awe of his assurance, his confidence in the face of battle. "How long have we been weak in the shadow of their pillars. Well enough. We, the elves, are the chosen troops of the Aesir given their blessing in form of divine weaponry. We have lived in the shadows long enough subjugated by the tierzal and the humans. Now is our time let them all now our might."
The elven soldiers are filled with determination. something completely new to these young soldiers that up until this point acted like spoiled jackanapes. "Hoorah! Hoorah! Hoorah!" They yell with their new-found confidence. The D'nuh commander stands tall with the undeniable belief that he will win.
Vothe has returned to sitting on a barrel of wine. He unfolds a small scrap of paper, orders from his benefactor lord Eviksen, and reads it for the last time.
Terramancer- approx. 5' 10". black hair. dagger. Earth-binding magic.
Vanguard- approx. 6' 6". Blonde hair. legendary blade- Rantzau. caution when approaching
Pyromancer- approx. 6' 1" red hair. Magic staff. uses long range fire attacks
Healer- approx. 5' 6". black hair. Magic staff. Capable of healing without chanting
Terramancer and Vanguard must be captured. Ensure the survival of all yigdra by any means necessary.
Vothe commits the orders to memory. He crumbles the paper into a ball and drops it into on the ground. The fog encompasses and begins decomposing the crumbled ball of paper until it completely vanishes. It won't be long now the yigdra are approaching.