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The Ronin & The Serpent

Part Eight

The Serpent Strikes Back

https://charlottecarrendar.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/71192-snakegif2.gif

Writers
IceTe3a
CharlotteCarrendar
xZehphyrZ

IceTe3a: Ronin hung there as he swung by the chains, he would not let anything slip about where the young lady has gone or who had taken her, he watched her place the picture in between her breasts he’d have to get it back from her when he had the chance, as she came closer he averted his eyes so he was not staring at her as he overheard her state ‘I don’t understand you. You work for the Warthog. A man who goes back on his word – a sham. A crook, and yet….you are here, chained and about to be killed, and you would rather die than reveal who took the Child bride and why?’ he felt her finger on his chin as she forced his face up, to be at level with hers, glancing into her eyes he was brought back to the time when he was but a child, such memories he cherished by why did she bring up such a past? Her eyes must remind him of his mother or sister, he averted his eyes once more not allowing her to see the emotions that dwelled bottled up deep inside of him. ‘You like other men, can be bought – yet what you truly fight for is something you already lost a long time ago. I don’t know who this sister of yours is, but maybe by your actions here…you may have just gotten another chance to find her.’ His head hung low without much effort; he had not said much since she had entered the dungeon, but when she said that his dry cracking lips parted as he whispered softly “Someone like you, could never understand” before falling silent again, not even his breathing made a noise, as he faded in with the darkness. : The warlord had cleared the Great hall of everyone except a choice few, Keke and Kayne, His son of course, a few guards and he allowed the serpent to come when she was ready. “She’s taking her time, the poor bastard must be dead! HA” he bellowed into the empty hall, as the others watched him looking onwards “Kayne, I want you to go look for any clues you can find about the missing wife of my son, if anyone could find out this it’s you” Kayne nodded as he glanced over to Keke and smiled devilishly. The warlord watched Kayne as the Serpent entered the hall, Kayne said something to her before he left the room “Well what of him Serpent? “ he bellowed as he got an answer right after ‘ He refuses to speak, even under the threat of death. Whoever took the Child bride rode in with him and was able to get past the guards. My guess is they are on their way back to Rikken’s land. A land with no army. It would be easy to get her back, but….you have a war looming, My Lord.’ He growled low as the serpent had failed to extract any useful information out of Ronin “How unsual, usually you’d have them screaming for mercy within 10 minutes serpent; Did you go easy on the poor lad?” he chuckled slightly as he glanced over at the guards “YOU THERE, Bring me the Ronin, and make sure he’s in the right… Mindframe, Do not fail me unlike Serpent has” as his eyes glanced back to the serpent he rubbed his chin “So he has honor perhaps? No.. he’s a sellsword, He has weakness’s Keke, Serpent, Exploit his weakness’s until he either submits to becoming out ally, or tells us what we need to know” he smirks as he sat down on the throne, pulling his son to sit down next to him he leaned over “watch the wrath of the female’s son, maybe you will learn something from this” he chuckled : The guards were already in Ronin’s cell “Right, this is the one The warlord requests your.. PRESSENCE” the first guard said as he launched a sucker punch into Ronin’s stomach, only to have Ronin cry out in a gasp. Releasing Ronin from his chains, he fell to the ground as the dragged him out of his cell by the floor, his skin slightly grating as they continued to drag him without a care.

CharlotteCarrendar: – Truth – The Serpent before had never shown mercy to a man that had not only harmed her body, but toyed with her spirit. But something about that picture, that now rested between the folds of silk and the Serpent’s breast was the key to something bigger. An emotional response gained from merely taking it from him. This is why she didn’t burn it. This is why, she kept it. Was it for a future bargaining tool, when he said that the image on that picture was burnt into his mind? Family – the greatest bond one can have with another human being. More powerful than just idle friendship, the blood that ties us can never be erased. The Serpent was taken from her true family before she could speak, or protest. An innocent babe who was thrust into the blood thirsty world of the Warlord, and had to fight to survive from the youngest age. Humanity stripped from her, torn from her spirit and now she viewed herself simply as the Serpent that all saw her as. Cold, calculating…unfeeling. The girl that lay deep beneath the scales…was unreachable. The Ronin’s words however packed the surface of her cold exterior. “Someone like you, could never understand.” He like others judged the book by its cover. How little he really knew. The Ronin did not have the foresight to pass such judgement against this merc, the assassin of the Warlord, but he did anyways. Returning to the great hall, the Serpent would have to face her Master and explain how she failed to gain information on the Ronin, under the pain of death. She kept to herself about the picture, for to her that was a private matter and one the Warlord would never be able to even understand. The Warlord’s anger at the Serpent’s failure to bring up the goods, was noted and she bowed her head as he lashed at her that she had gone easy on the Ronin. Truth was, she understood the Ronin now better than before. Now it was time for the Warlord to act on this matter, and act he did. Telling the guards to bring the Ronin before him and his advisors. Kekeyama squirmed in her seat with a giddiness while waiting to see this tortured wretch be brought before them. The Serpent may be harsh in her ways of extracting information, but the gypsy had other ways of making a man talk. Ordered by the Warlord to use her talents to sway the Ronin, Kekeyama rose from her place and glided out to stand alongside the Serpent, who gave her an annoyed look. “Come now, Viper. Keep those fangs in check. Let a Mistress of Malice show you how it’s done.” The Serpent hissed at her violently, before simmering as the Ronin was dragged into the Great hall. <3>

IceTe3a: – Kayne whistled as he strolled down the hall, questioning guards and others he bumped into, each leading him to another clue or a wild goose chase, only time could tell. Strumming his guitar as he watches two guards get pissed by the gate he arches a brow before walking, over to them, “Eve lad’s, where’s the priest that was to be looking after the Bride?” the guards looked at each other half blind as one pointed in a direction just barely “Thank’s boys” as kayne walked off he could hear the merry making of the guards “ Iiiiiiim druuunk and I wanna go home” Kayne smirked as he sung the rest of the tune “I’m tired and I want to go to bed” as he turned a corner he could see the bishop chapel down the road “ I had a drink an hour ago” as his heels clicked on the cemented flooring he makes it to the door and just before he knocks “I had a drink an hour ago and it went straight to my head” *Knock knock knock* The door answered as he questioned the old man, who welcomed him in for some wine and bread. Kayne would not refuse one of the cloth so he entered as the father explained himself. Meanwhile Ronin was dragged into the great hall, and tossed onto his back as he took a deep breath, laying on the floor on his back his limbs stretched out unable to move to much as he glanced around the room as to what he could see. Noticing the Serpent eyeing him from a distance, he saw the young boy from Rikken’s, and next to him must be his father… The warlord, he glanced over to his side as he heard footsteps, only able to see the legs of a female walking towards him, he sighed slightly as he knew something was going to happen, He hoped to be able to get close to the serpent so he could snatch his photo back. His eyes flick over to hers, he stared straight into her eyes not giving her a inch as he gave her a cold dead look, the look of someone who has lost all emotion in the world, one who knew his end was up but did not care for his goal was more important.

CharlotteCarrendar: – The priest who was showing signs of his age, by the way he shuffled along the stone floor was all too happy to see the gypsy Kayne. It was not often that he was treated to company, especially with the current state of the Warlord’s castle, with half the guards intoxicated from the celebrations. He poured Kayne a chalice of wine, then eased himself into a chair slowly. His regal robes still hanging upon a hook on the door. He was waiting to be called by the Warlord to perform the wedding ceremony, as the old warrior had told him. “You work for the Warlord, my Son?” he asked, taking a sip of wine as he eased back. “I am so wanting to do this ceremony with the child bride and his son, but I imagine he is entertaining dignitaries and is not yet ready. Good thing the other monk has taken the girl to be blessed at our temple font.” You see, the priest had not even checked the temple to see what was happening there, more worried about being punctual for the Warlord. Little did he realize that he had just given away a clue as to the disappearance of the Child bride. Smiling in contentment, the priest chuckled. “Always love a celebration.” :: In the great hall, all eyes were now on the Ronin, who had been leaft to lay on the floor on his back with his limbs stretched out. Spread eagled. His head moved around to gain sight of those in attendance, and he paid particular attention to the Serpent. He had lost all his emotional feelings at this moment, as though waiting for a sweet death. Kekeyama approached the Ronin and sunk to her knees, reaching out to stroke his cheek gently. “It doesn’t have to be this way, Sell Sword.” She leaned down to his ear and whispered. “Tell us of the Child bride, and you shall be free.” <3>

IceTe3a: Kayne eyed the old man who just admitted to what had happened and his part in it, he shook his head, as he started to shuffle cards with one hand, taking the glass of wine in the other, he took a small sip and savored its flavor before clearing his throat. “Father, that was no man of the cloth you allowed to walk away with the young bride, it was a rebel agent of the dragon lords” his eyes went dark and mysterious as he placed the wine down, he came to a stand and looked around the room before glancing at the father, he knew exactly what happened now, and he did not want the father to be implicated, such a weary old man could not know of such trickery. “Father.. So you’re telling me you have not seen the child bride all night? In fact you have been here practicing your ritual for the ceremony, by yourself since dawn?” he leaned in and patted the fathers hand softly as he knew exactly what he must say now, but he hoped the father understood exactly what he was going on about. As he strolled out of the fathers chambers he gave a wave goodbye behind his shoulder. “So.. he’s to blame, let’s see..” leaning against a post he had to come up with a different story, so he could not implicate the father, his time will come and he is already suffering why would Kayne allow the old man such gifts as the relief of death? :Back in the great hall the warlord watched as he edged on his son, “See watch how she does it, completely different from the Serpent. In fact she may be better than the Serpent could ever hope to be, at gathering information from men” he said the last part as his eyes flew over to the serpent with a dare saying ‘Prove me Wrong’ he chuckled slightly as he glanced back to Keke and her work.: Ronin laying on the floor staring at the Serpent just as Keke started to stroke his cheek, his eyes flicked over to Keke’s with a deathly glare, silence in the room as he stared her down “If you want to keep that, Remove your hand” he growled, He may not have enough energy for a proper fight, but he may have enough to break some bones if anyone dared come close enough to piss him off. He waited for Keke’s answer as he shoved her hand away from him by budging it with his head.

CharlotteCarrendar: – From his happy daze the Father looked up as the gypsy spoke of the truth of what had occurred right under the old Priest’s nose. The sudden shock hit him, like a knife had been plunged into his chest, as the chalice fell from his grasp. “Nooooo, it can’t be. He was a man of the cloth! God…oh father what have I done?” He cried, looking set to have a heart attack. The girl must have been abducted right from under his nose. SHE WAS WITH THE SO CALLED MONK. The Priest’s whole body trembled violently, as he feared the wrath of the Warlord, when all this came to light. Terrified, he could feel the dark claw of death itself place a hand on his, but it was not Death, but the gypsy, who stared at the old man and told him exactly what his new story would be. That he had spent the night practicing the ritual all by himself. The Priest’s head lolled around as he tried to make peace within himself, and now live with the lie that was being planted. It was no secret the Warlord would kill the Priest in an instant to learn of his blatant act of stupidity. The gypsy waved a goodbye, leaving the Priest to dwell on the situation. As the door closed you could hear the quiet sobs of a broken old man. :: The Ronin was not at all an easy mark to torment, and even more resistant to the charms of the gypsy Kekeyama. He used the weight of his head to push her hand away, threatening to take it from her, if he was able. She pulled back her hand and then smiled at him as she saw the look of defiance in his eyes. Then the darting glare at the Serpent. This brought the gypsy to look back at the angered Viper who was standing back from the pair. What was it about these two that were trading looks like one could kill the other? One thing about the gypsy was that she had the ability to lock into people’s emotions. There was something in the Viper’s eyes that gave that away. Turning her attention back to the Ronin, she mused. “So the Snake didn’t kill you, and yet…she still has her coils around you. How very odd. Does she know something you’re not telling? Is she part of your schemes?” It was true, that Kekeyama didn’t trust the Serpent, and saw her as a threat to getting in close with the Warlord. <3>

IceTe3a: – Kayne nodded as he figured out exactly what he was going to do, he’d blame the guards at the gate for letting in the strange man and stating that they knew all well he was not known but let him pass just because he spoke The warlords name, This should suffice the old bastard enough to get him off his seat and into this war. He yawns as he goes on to stroll down the hall “Heads will roll~” as he notices a group of females sitting in a courtyard, perfect time for a quick wooing session, as he glides across the grounds with grace falling in between them “Hello ladies, lovely night tonight isn’t it? Amplified by your beauty of course” this of course was a winning line as they all sighed with a slight sigh of romance. He had them in his claws as he smirked, his needs more desire than that of a normal man wanting sex. Back in the throne room Ronin glared at the one kneeling before him, he listened but he did not say a word until she stated the serpent had him where she wanted him ‘So the Snake didn’t kill you, and yet…she still has her coils around you. How very odd. Does she know something you’re not telling? Is she part of your schemes?’ he growled “I’d kill her given half the chance” he said as he threw his right fist up towards Keke with all the energy he had left in him, hoping to land some sort of blow. The warlord listened to Keke and then glared at the Serpent, the cards did say treason, as he growled “Serpent, Is this true?!” he demanded she answer him at once, he knew she’d deny the accusation of working with Ronin as anyone would. He stood up “Prove yourself, I find it weird, you would leave this man in such a healthy state when I ordered you to get the information from him. As my eyes at witness, you prove yourself or so help me blade will find your head” he growled a threatening growl towards her, he did not know if this accusation was true or not but he needed her to prove she was on his side, and her salvation lay on the floor in front of keke.

CharlotteCarrendar: – The attempted fist strike attack on the female gypsy just missed it’s mark by inches, but that was not to say that the girl Kekeyama didn’t get the message – loud and clear. His body slamming back to the stone floor, but his admission that he would kill the Serpent in a second if he could adding fuel to the fire that there WAS something going on. The Viper like Serpent turned her body slowly towards the Warlord as he spat words at her in an angered tirade. “Serpent, Is this true?!” His words loud enough to rattle the very windows. The Serpent stood her ground, a menacing and cold expression washing over her delicate features. Did the Warlord actually believe she would go against his wishes? And all for the pathetic male spawn that lay upon the ground. Never before would the Warlord have seen the veiled hatred in the Serpent’s eyes. Disgust coiling throughout her insides, as her hands slipped within the confines of her sleeves. Rearing up like a cobra, she was not one to mess with. Her silken robe shimmered as the Warlord continued with his tirade of abuse…daring her to prove herself. “Prove yourself or so help me blade will find your head” The Serpent began a slow walk towards the Warlord, her eyes never leaving his. Her face like granite, and she did one thing. Removed the picture that she had procured from the Ronin and tossed it at the Warlord’s feet. It was a picture of a girl, a child. The same one stolen all those years ago. If he picked it up and had the memory to recall who she was, he would see the link for himself. “My service to you is done!” With that said, she simply walked out of the Great hall, and headed for her chambers to pack. <3>

IceTe3a: The warlord glared at the serpent as she threw the picture down, he stared at her as she stormed off stating her service to him was done he growled as he took the picture and glanced at it for a moment before his eyes widdend “I almost forgot…” he glanced from Ronin to the serpent “Her brother…” he growled as he stood up “YOUR BROTHER WILL DIE FOR YOUR DISRESPECT” he growled as he glared at keke “KEKE, Have your way with the man and make sure it’s painful and slow” he barked orders as he glared at his son then back to the Serpent “You will regret this woman!! “ Ronin laid there as the commotion was around him, he overheard the warlord sister… it couldn’t be, that would explain why… he glanced over at Serpent and grabbed her ankle as she walked by, his eyes glancing up at her as he came to the reliazation that she was infront of him the entire time, his eyes watering up full of sad and joyful tears, as he coughed, his lips part “Ayame Musashi … My darling sister.. “

CharlotteCarrendar: – Years of torment, torture….pain. The Serpent was a creation of the Warlord’s evil, and when it came down to it, the Warlord would easily discard her as a simple tool, no longer of use. The anger was practically boiling beneath the veneer of the Serpent’s skin as the Warlord shouted that her brother would die for her disrespect. The truth was now out in the open and those few in attendance were about to witness the full fury of the Serpent. Never before had the Serpent unleashed with such hatred and malice. Only the coughing of her brother as he lay on the ground, catching her ankle with his hand. The Serpent gazed down at her brother, a softer look on her face which was soon replaced with rage as the Warlord ordered Kekeyama to have her way with the Ronin. Hissing violently, the Serpent turned her attention upon the gypsy. Her lips quivering as they raised to show gritted teeth. There was a fluffy of silk, as the Serpent ripped her hands out from her sleeves and then propelled a hira shuriken at the neck of the gypsy girl, her mark true. Landing to the side of her neck, with blood spurting out. “AAARRRGGHHH!” Kekeyama screamed, while the Serpent twirled and gripped a long spear from one of the statue guards. She twirled it in her hands and then screamed at the Warlord. “YOU STOLE MY LIFE!…NOW, I TAKE A LIFE FROM YOU!” With deadly accuracy of a javelin thrower, she hurtled the spear at the Warlord’s son. The spear hit him dead in the chest. Blood exploding from the wound as the boy sat there, pinned to his grand chair. Knowing that there was little time, she pulled out a dagger from her sash and hacked away the binds that held Ronin down. “GET UP!” she screamed at him, and attempted to led him from the Great hall as no doubt the Warlord would be panicking about his now dead son. <3>

IceTe3a: Ronin watched as she responded to his calls, he smiled lightly as he watched her take action to her threats, firstly cutting Keke’s neck watching her fall into place, then she hurled a spear, a direct shot into the warlords chest, his eyes widened as he was cut loose by his newly returned sister, quickly he nods as he comes to a stand, he glares at the warlord “I will return for you” he growled as he took his sister by the hand and followed her lead. Kayne who wasn’t too far away heard the distinct voice of his dear Keke screaming, wiping the blood from his mouth, he left the drained females laying there in the courtyard “I’m coming my love” he said as he came to a sprint, his eyes flick past the serpent that was leading someone away from the situation but he had no choice but to run to keke. Coming into the door he growled as he saw her on the floor bleeding from the neck “WHAT DID YOU DO OLD MAN” he glanced as he saw the old warlord cradling his son who had a spear pierced through him “What happened here!?” he growled as he picked up his dear Keke
Holding her neck so he slowed down the blood coming out “Darling we need to get this looked after” as he came to a stand and glared at the warlord “I hold you responsible, I will return for our payment” he growled as he ran off into the night in search for a doctor : “MY SON” he said as he ripped the spear out of his chest and held his wound “My son, I will avenge you I swear..” his head lowering onto his sons as he started to cry “GUARD CLOSE THE GATES, LOCK THE CASTLE FIND THE INTRUDERS AND KILL THEM” he screamed out as the guards went off to find everyone who had betrayed him

xZephyrZ: For the Warlord’s lands they rode, he had a small group, scouts set out at intervals of five hundred metres in any direction would signal him if they came across a single man. The men and women of The Eyes were no ordinary soldier, each was a fearsome warrior in their own right, but these few who served as the eyes that guided their master’s hand were agents of shadow, infiltrators, liars, thieves and saboteurs, deadly with sword and arrow alike. They would be the first wave to bowl in to the Warlord in this oncoming storm, disabling his defences and leaving the path clear for Seiyuu and his vanguard make a bloody charge for the Warlord and his agents. He would take everything from this man, his money, his title, his home and his family, he would leave nothing, the Warlord would know loss as he had, he would know what it was to have hopes and dreams crushed before his eyes as his fate burned in Dragon Fire. They were close by now; horses had been tethered under the cover of trees, as had been done by the other intruders on these lands, unbeknownst to the Young Dragon. But one thought ran through his mind, a singular purpose, pure and unrestrained, revenge. They had approached in silence, as a Tiger stalks its prey. Scouts sent forward to end those who dare block the path of their master, Seiyuu and his vanguard waited patiently. (Seiyuu) “We end this here and now, though we may be few we are blessed with righteousness and justice, we will end the tyranny of this villain, let it be known to the world”. With a flash his own man returned, had he spoken too soon? (Seiyuu) “Takana, you return without rendering so much as a glance at our opponent? Are his forces so strong?” The Young Dragon whispered, surely the odds were not so insurmountable. (Takana) “Young Dragon, it is not as you think, your heart will dance with the glee of children watching a New Year’s fireworks show, the Warlord and his men celebrate their victory, drowning themselves in Wine and Beer, this will be a simple task”. Seiyuu’s heart leapt in to action, as they spoke the rest of his forward scouts would be ending the lives of the Warlord’s men indiscriminately, by bow and blade they would know death, their corpses paving the path in to hell. With that he could hold back no longer, the Young Dragon let out an indecipherable cry of rage and excitement, they charged for battle, killing anyone who dared stand against a Dragon. No one could stay his wrath, for he was now fury incarnate.

CharlotteCarrendar: – A large flap of skin hung down from Kekeyama’s neck, as blood spewed onto her beautiful gown. The gypsy maiden was gasping like a fish that had been taken from the sea. Her hand reaching out to her brother as he ran to her aid. Her body started to shake and tremble violently as she went into a state of shock. She seriously thought she was going to die from blood loss. Kayne came to her, kneeling and saw the terrible wound inflicted by the angered Viper. “Brother…” her voice a garbled whisper as she tried not to cough. She needed him more than ever before, knowing no one else would come to her plight. He spoke to her, saying that she needed to be looked at by a Doctor, and he rushed off, leaving her to her devices, as the Warlord was now cradling his dead son. Crying, he ordered the gates be locked, and to find the intruders to kill them. Little did he know, that the Serpent knew the Castle like the back of her hand. As a child she had explored its many floors, doors, and secret passages that were built by the Warlord’s ancestors. Stealing her brother down a long corridor, she came to a large tapestry, and flicked it back to show a hidden door. The dust rose from the moving of the rug, which showed this had not been used in a long time. “Quickly, we don’t have much time.” The Serpent urged, opening the door, and pulling her brother through. The passage was dark and there was the dripping of water from above. Rats scurried out of the Serpent’s way as she took her Brother deep into a maze that would ultimately lead them to the sewers. From there, it was a treacherous journey beneath the castle and to an opening grid that was a good mile from the Castle grounds. This had been used in the past to sprit people away undetected. Such as nobles who would not stay and fight the oncoming hordes of their enemies. Who would have thought the Serpent would dare use it? <3>

IceTe3a: Ronin gets dragged behind his sister, he was so happy to see her but he could not wait to stop and hold her in his arms; merely following what she said as he darted around with her “Right right, I’m keeping up” he mumbled as his body screamed out in pain from his muscle use. His body was tenderized, from the beating the guards gave him earlier, with a slight sigh he arched a brow “Take us out to the forest, I have a horse there waiting for us.” He stated hoping his sister would be able to find their way outside and towards the horses “It’s… so good to see you again sister.. I’ve missed you so much… I know I can never truly give you back the life you deserve but I hope I will be enough to satisfy your family needs” he said that with such emotion in his voice as a single tear ran down his cheek. His swords… he forgot his swords; His father’s blade was still in the castle somewhere, but did he really need it now he has his sister returned to him? Kayne had his sister in hand as he sighed slightly, shaking he laid his sister down, as he ran his fingers across his face “Darling, I love you so.” As a tarot card appears out of his hand he presses it to her wound as his eyes glow “Judgment” he stated, as his sisters neck healed as if it never had been cut in the first place, a red hot fire engulfs the same location on Kaynes neck, as the wound appears through the flames. “Argh, forgive me; I could not live to see your beauty harmed” he said he wrapped a scarf around the now fresh wound across his neck “. : Back in the throne room the warlord walked out onto the balcony and looked down onto the lands bellow “YOU WANT WAR, YOU HAVE IT, SERPENT I WILL FIND YOU AND I WILL KILL YOU” he roared loudly, as he became more corrupt, his features showing just that.

CharlotteCarrendar: – Hearing her brother speak of how much he had missed her, and then the directions that there was a horse in the forests outside the Warlord’s grounds, had the Serpent feeling emotions she had not felt since a young child. Her mind was trying to focus on getting them out of the Castle grounds alive, and as far away as she could dare, knowing the Warlord would be sending as many men after her, for killing his son. Trudging through the slush and slime that was on the bottom of the sewer it made it hard going, till soon you could see moonlight streaming through the large grate above. Gripping the rungs of the iron steps, she hauled herself upward placing a hand on the old grate and flipping it back, so that they could escape the dingy sewer. Only when standing in the tall grasses of the field, could see the forest close by. Looking back at the Castle you could see the ever present glow of torches, as they swung the gates shut, in an effort to stop the Serpent and her brother escaping. Little did they know, she and her brother had made it out. The Serpent was leaving behind everything she owned, everything she ever knew. As she waited for her brother to haul himself up the stairs and to the surface, the Serpent knitted her brow wondering where to go. “I am a marked woman. The Dragon will want my head, and the child of Rikken….she will want justice for the death of her father. You should take your horse, and go back to the Warthogs. I will take the north road, to the land of the Wolf. I may be of service there.” <3>