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Chapter the Second, The Road to Canagadi

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Unsettling eyes kept watch on the outside of the cave as the rest of the mismatched group entered and discovered Inan; someone needed to cover their flank. At the tattered man pointed to the ceiling of the cave, those same eyes glanced upward to the roosting birds. He had scanned the cave as the group had entered, but the absolute darkness had hidden the dangerous predators hanging above them. This was a nasty, nasty situation to be in. Splitting his attention as best he could, Saano attempted to keep watch on both the Moadi Birds and the area immediately outside the cave mouth.

Hopefully none of them will wake those d**n things up...

Anquetiti waves at them, and proceeded to sneak outside, supporting the weakened Inan. The birds slept? Well, she wasn't one to wake any sleeper unless she wanted to. The mystic was so heavy - was he badly wounded? Nay, he was of a tougher breed. 'Shh, come, it's just a flesh wound.'
Cure Light Wounds

Indeed, the mystic dervish Anquetiti called "Inan", was in bad shape. He dragged one leg which looked like it had been chewed on, and copious streams of blood were pouring down his ear, shoulder and arm, where he had lost a lobe. Not as serious of an injury, but a bleeder. Bird pecks, of the toothed variety, scarred his scalp and one of his nipples had been chewed on as well, and now bleeding profusely.

Anquetiti's soothing words of healing revived Inan considerably. He went as best he could with Anquetiti's and Nisher's support. Saano guarded them as they backed up out of the gruesome cave, his bow at the ready. Tagu, many shades of pale, and stoic Iskander followed quickly and warily.

Finally, they were out, and headed back through the shrub and their camp.

Moments later they approached the camp-fire, which had ben recently doused with water it seemed.

Zuan Coursi nearly leapt from the ground, crossbow in hand, but with relief on his face at seeing his companions return.

It was well past midnight now, yet no one but Inan was sleepy.

As if portending a return to normalcy, a pack of red-jackals howled somewhere in the distance.

Saano was lost in thought, still clutching his bow. Iskander had his brows furrowed as well. Unbeknownst to both, they were contemplating the same thing. Until this night they had only heard of Moadi birds. Now that they had encountered them...would it be wise to leave this nest of iniquity as is, and escape with their lives? Were they dooming the next group of travelers to a pre-ordained gruesome death?

Nish stumbled into the dark camp loudly. He was not a strong man, and supporting this sizable nomad was no easy task for him, even with Anquetiti on the other side. He smiled smugly when Zuan lept up in surprise, the trade priest pale as though he had seen his death. "So jumpy, priest? Did you think us jackals?" as though anticipating his words, the creatures in the night let out a howl. "We have found a lost soul in the night. Perhaps you'd be able to patch him up some? And then lets get out of here, I say! Let the next travellers passing by courageously overcome the beasts!"

His duty done, the shrewd spellwriter eased the man on the ground and went about poking around the camp. First on his list of tasks was to retrieve the sack he had pilvered from the obnoxious trader earlier and assess its contents - not before checking it for traps or tricks, of course!

 The night air still sung to him, and he felt as though he could almost hear the words... Moadi bird. Moadi bird. Wings of steel. Wings of steel...
 A manic smile spread on Nish's lips, and he flicked open his book and dabbed his quill in a pot of ink.

Iskander had little to say, not trusting himself to speak after the horror that was the cave.  He had seen horrible things in his life, and perhaps had done some, but nothing compared to that.

Perhaps someday he would come back, with more men then birds, and plenty of brush and oil, to torch that place.

Or, another voice in his mind spoke out, it could be a useful location for some people. Knowledge, even fell, had value.

Neither thought he let show on his face.

"For once I agree with the spell-writer.  Though perhaps we should leave a sign or note for the next travelers."


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