­Knight to E-5

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Entry 3026 03/03/11 01:41
Looking down into Sierra's wild mane, Diana apologized. "It was brash of me to assume."

She holster her knife and turned her horse back down the trail. "My business here is done. Last I saw the inn was occupied by smoke. I'll find a place to camp and set on my path home in the morning."

The girl didn't make three yards before bringing her horse to a sharp halt. Another creature stood in her path.
 
Entry 3027 03/03/11 01:47
A strange rattling sound filled the air, chilling them all to the bone. Though it seemed to be crouched over, it was taller than Diana on her horse. Slowly, it raised an arm and she caught glimpse of a large hand covered in fur and scales. It spread out its fingers and the ground beneath her began to shift. The horse seemed to sense the imminent danger but it also seemed paralysed; it wouldn't respond to her desperate urges for it to move out of the way. Alexios was at her side. 

"Get on my horse!" he yelled over the loud rattling. 

Sir Tralius and the beared man were making a charge for the Karithian. It seemed unperturbed by their approach and something dark had already began to seep out of the soil and grasp onto Sierra's legs. Alexios grabbed her and tried to pull her across onto his horse. 
 
Entry 3028 (03/03/11 01:56) 03/03/11 01:56
Diana lifted her knee and sprung from Sierra's back. The girl clumsily landed belly down across Alexios' lap. She looked back over shoulder as Sierra began convulsing.

"What's it doing to her?" she shouted desperately.
 
Entry 3029 03/03/11 02:17
None of them responded. The two horsemen rode past either side of the Karithian and slashed at its sides. Something metallic landed against a rock nearby. There was a deep rumbling and all of them turned to ride in the other direction. Alexios gave her a moment to mount properly behind him and then with a yell and a kick their horses shot off up the mountain path. There came the sound of a horse whinnying in distress as they turned a corner. 

The only sound was that of hooves echoing against stone. They travelled round several roads and they came to a steep slope. The horses slowed to a trot and they climbed it. At the top was a small level area on the side of a mountain with a small cabin and a vein of alpine forest stretching up and down the slope. Silently, they rode to it and dismounted, tying up their horses and moving inside. 

The interior was dark and old. It appeared to be abandoned for several years. Though the roof, walls, and floors were intact, the rest was sorely neglected. Sir Tralius lit a lantern and saw to the scratches on his face. The bearded man attended to the fireplace. The third man, who had thus far remained almost completely silent, went back outside. Alexios sat at the table and slumped against it with his face against his arms. None of them helped her off her horse or said anything to her. 
 
Entry 3051 (19/03/11 00:11) 19/03/11 00:10
Diana reclined on the horse's broad back and gazed up into the starless night. Thoughts of Sierra did not yet haunt her mind, but she was no less overwhelmed. The girl was uncertain whether the weight she carried was melancholy or exhaustion. Never the less, tears tried to escape her eyes, unsuccessfully of course.

She leaned forward and squeezed the neck of the prince's horse. To avoid appearing too sentimental, she casually wiped her cheeks on his mane and slipped off the saddle.

Having straightened her disheveled blouse, Diana joined Alexios at the table. Sizing up the boy, she cocked her head.
 
Entry 3056 (11/05/11 12:05) 19/03/11 01:47
Alexios didn't move for a few minutes. He wiped his face on his sleeve and turned his head to the other side, intentionally avoiding looking at her. The fire popped and crackled and the man who was there joined them at the table. The only light was now coming from the nearby lantern which Tralius was using. 

"We should send her home," the bearded man said after a silence. "She should not be here."
"Sir Varolta..." Alexios began. He heaved a deep sigh and lifted his head. "She is here. What would you have me do? Condemn her to the roads filled with Karithian witchdoctors? It's a sentence to death."
"That is a rapid change of heart," the bearded man, Sir Varolta, said. "First you tell her to go home, and now you insist she stays with us. What changed?"
"Do you criticise me?" Alexios sat upright, suddenly offended. He exuded so much authority so suddenly that Varolta bowed his head slightly. 
"No, your highness. I was merely offering an alternate perspective."
"Your alternate perspective can burn in a fire." Alexios stood, throwing his chair backwards onto the floor, and left the room. 
"I apologise, on behalf of those three," said the third man, who was standing in the doorway. "They are not trained in dealing with people. I am Sir Nicolas." He went to her and took her hand, kissing it softly. It became evident  that his hair was rugged and dirty blond, as he pulled back his hood. He looked directly into her eyes. "Madam, with all due respect, surely you can see our plight. We are on a confidential mission, and now we have you with us. Is there some place we can deliver you?"
"Perhaps she can be of some use," Sir Varolta said, stroking his beard and observing her with dark eyes. "If she proves to be valuable, and if she joins us, there is no need to waste time delivering her elsewhere."
"That wasn't what I... meant." Sir Nicolas. "But, madam, if you can offer us some sort of service, some helpful information, something which merits your company... and if it suits you, of course. Well, it is entirely in your hands."
"I would wager she cannot even wield a sword," Sir Tralius said as he finished washing his scratches and he hung the lantern over the table. He placed both hands on the surface and frowned at her. "Am I correct?"
 
Entry 3060 19/03/11 02:16
Diana crossed her arms and stared coldly at Sir Tralius. "I am competent in every skill I have needed. Swinging steel has never been a necessity," the girl stated as she leaned back in her chair. The chair's feet dug into the ground. In a quick motion, she pushed off the wall and rose to stand in front of the man. Reaching under her skirt she pulled a pouch from her belt. From the pouch she extracted a small vial and gave it a solid shake before removing the lid. She rubbed the clear contents across his cheek lathering the wounds. "That will prevent an infection. Pride aside, I apologize for invoking the attack that wounded you."

Diana moved to the fire place. "Unfortunately, I live several day's travel to the west. Until I can procure another means of travel, I believe I wont be going anywhere without you. Fortunately for you, I'm not a completely useless potato farmer," she said as her voice trailed off. The warm glow of the fire seemed to entrance her. [1]
 
Entry 3066 19/03/11 02:43
Her sense of humour was lost on all but Sir Nicolas, who coughed a laugh. 

"That ointment... You have skills in chemistry? Medicine? That would be useful. I have noticed that you know this area quite well, seeing as you already realise your home is a few days to the west. I cannot even tell that from a map! You can ride a horse, and you can carry yourself." He paused. "You are also a native Leotian."
"We cannot use her as a spy," Sir Tralius said. "If she is our guide, how will we locate ourselves if she is in another's camp?"
"I find it appalling that we were not assigned a guide to begin with," said Sir Varolta, crossing his arms. 
"We were, but he found you too rude. Do you not remember?" Tralius mocked Varolta. "So really, we are to blame you for our lack of direction."
"She has not even said if she wants to accompany us," Varolta added, managing to find a negative approach to everything. "She may well want to go home."
Nicolas looked from Varolta to Diana. "Allow me to propose this: His highness can pay you handsomely for your services as a guide." His bright eyes watched hers carefully for some kind of interest. "What say you, madame... err... I'm afraid I did not catch your name." 
 
Entry 3071 (21/03/11 02:13) 21/03/11 02:12
Diana cocked an eyebrow when Sir Nicolas mentioned Alexios' deep pockets. She did not turn out of fear of exposing her desperation. "Diana Wiery," she stated plainly. While pondering her options, the girl held her hands out to the fire. The flames licked the fire place's edge seemingly seeking an escape. "Two hundred for the pony and ten for every day I accompany you. I believe that's a fair rate if every day is this eventful," she said dully as though the girl was simply commenting on the weather. 

Continuing as if the rate had already been accepted, she said, "The medicine can be extracted from several of the local plants. It's also not expensive to purchase if you have the right contacts, but the knights start asking questions if you arrive in town asking for large quantities of medicine or bandages."

"Regarding qualifications as a guide, I've recently traveled through most of this region for business reasons. Acting as a guide shouldn't be too difficult assuming you want to travel on the main roads. Even if you don't, I have a fair natural sense of direction. It's a necessity in my trade."

Assuming Alexios was eavesdropping from the other room, "Does that suit the prince?"
 
Entry 3074 21/03/11 10:16
There was a noise in response outside, like something being tripped over, but there was no voice in response. After a brief silence and an exchange of glances between the three men, Sir Nicolas nodded. 

"She can hold her own, that's for sure. I think the rate is fair." He extended his hand for a handshake and placed a hand on his chest to seal the deal. "Very good. His Highness will be pleased. Granted, he mightn't show it at first, but he will come to see the wisdom of Paladine Nicolas and the apparent usefulness of Madame Wiery." He smiled at her. "And now, speaking mainly for myself, I am tired as an old dog. I take it His Highness has offered to go on first watch, and so Tralius shall accompany him. Us three can depart to sleep, unless, that is, Madame Wiery has any questions for yours truly..." He bowed slightly and waited. [1]
 
Entry 3088 (24/03/11 00:07) 24/03/11 00:04
Diana took his hand and returned the gesture. "Thank you for your civility. I believe I know all I need to know, for now anyway," she spoke with a smile, "However, I would like to speak with the prince in private before I retire for the night." Releasing his hand, she proceeded back out into the night.

The air had grown chilly. Each breath puffed out in front of her eyes. Adjacent to the cottage, Alexios was tending to his horse. Although she made no apparent effort to hide her presence, her footsteps were extremely quiet as she approached him.

"I never properly thanked you for saving my life," she stated. As he continued to brush his horse, she leaned in and pecked him on his cheek with a kiss. Her face was void of emotion leaving the impression that the act was a matter of politeness. However, in the dimly lit night, one might mistake the glimmer in her eyes for something more. 
 
Entry 3091 24/03/11 22:14
The prince backed away from her in a panic. He stared at her with a face of outrage. 

"You dare to kiss royalty? You should know better. You should learn your place, commoner." He was not quite shouting, but he was speaking quite sharply. "I did not so much save your life as I did secure an asset." He turned back to brushing his horse, drawing every ounce of attention away from her. 
 
Entry 3096 (25/03/11 12:09) 24/03/11 22:32
Diana scowled at the boy. "Leotian royalty would gladly accept such a politeness," she scathed despite being uncertain of that fact, "and that's all it was might I add. You too should remember your place here boy, because in this land you are no more than a commoner yourself."
 
Entry 3098 25/03/11 10:50
Alexios' mouth hung open, but there were no words. Finally, he mustered something up. 

"You have some nerve to speak to me this way. It was too much to touch me in such a way, but to justify it by pretending I do not have ultimate superiority in a land whose lord obeys my father is just stupidity." He paused and swallowed a lump in his throat, knowing that she only had common knowledge on political hierarchies. "I will forgive you this time as your tongue merely slipped. You are tired and you have lost your steed." There was an awkward silence. He seemed to suggest a dismissal, but he seemed as though he had more to say. 

"Look, madame..." He shifted and held his position. "This war... It is very complex. The borders of provinces are not as concrete as most are lead to believe." He glanced back towards the house to see if anybody was visible. Sir Tralius was still gathering his things from inside. Alexios ran both hands through his hair, the moonlight glistening off his dirty armour as it was momentarily revealed from under his cloak. 

"Before you retire for the night, would you fetch me some water? There's a path to a mountain creek behind the house, through the trees. It's only a short walk. There should be a pail there. The moon is bright tonight so you don't need a lantern." He nodded and went to tether his horse. [1]
 
Entry 3113 08/04/11 00:25
Diana glared at the prince. Despite holding back her anger, her voice still dripped with venom. "Very well highness." She offered a polite nod of the head and briskly walked away.

The path wound up a series of rocky hills. While biting her lower lip, Diana bitterly thought of all the things she might have said to the conceited boy. It didn't take long for the sound of trickling water to catch her ear. A pail laid half dunked in the water. Diana turned it over, emptying out the debris that had collected in the bottom. Without hesitation, she stepped knee deep into the creek and moved towards its center. Leaning over, she captured the water rolling off the edge of a rock near the far end of the creek.

Once the pail had its fill, she turned to make the trek back to the cabin, reminding herself of the pay that would make this all worthwhile.
 
Entry 3122 24/04/11 01:26
The night whispered to her. To one side, between twisted green trees, there stood a small stone structure. It sat in a clearing, moonlight beaming down onto the marbled white stone. It seemed old and new at the same time; vines twisted across it, yet it seemed completely intact. Under its small roof there was a stone pedestal with engravings on it. A strange looking handle protruded upwards from the stone. [1]
 
Entry 3125 08/05/11 21:12
Diana placed the bucket at the side of the stream and stood upright. A low rolling fog drifted between her and the structure. Although the alter was now obscured, her sharp eyes were well trained at recognizing valuable metals. She climbed carefully over loose rocks and crumbling soil until she reached the base of the structure. Grasping a pillar for leverage, she found the stone strangely warm in to cool night air. The markings engraved on nearly ever surface were foreign to the girl, but the silver in the handle attached to the podium was not. She grasped to the end and pulled perpendicularly to the to alter. With a final tug, she slipped on the the condensation the fog left on the floor. She hit the floor hard yanking the lever down.
 
Entry 3128 (10/05/11 06:18) 10/05/11 06:17
The metal shaft did not move down, but the leverage forced it to pop up slightly with a crack. [1] On tugging it upwards from the stone, Diana could see an old blade attached. It was a sword in a style quite unlike what was currently existent. Along its side were inscriptions which appeared to be random scribbles. Though it was old and had long since lost its shine, it sung as she waved it. But as she held it against the night sky, she caught sight of something. 

Standing on a ledge nearby were tall, dark figures. Though only black outlines against the night, she could see that they were all men in armour. Judging by the style of their outfit, it could be presumed that they were Jevithium knights from the east -- certainly not welcome in this place at this time. One of the knights in particular seemed too big to be a human, but his actual form didn't indicate anything other than that he was a human. They seemed to be talking, though nothing was audible from such a distance, and they were pointing in the rough direction of the nearby house. Then the large armoured knight turned his body to face her. [2]
 
Entry 3136 (26/05/11 00:12) 26/05/11 00:11
Diana let out an unsavory swear. Without any hesitation, she dove into the darkness. The girl slid down a steep hill of wet leaves until she came to a halt beneath a thick canopy. The whistling leaves enveloped the sky, leaving the path all but swallowed in darkness. Her heart raced as she darted through the trees. Diana held the strange sword by her side; it clanged softly as she ran. The forest opened up into a small meadow which ended in a step hill. She clawed her way up the path, not thinking to drop the sword behind her.

Diana reached the top to find herself face to face with a startled horse, Alexios's steed. The horse's whiny no doubt alerted the others. Out of breath, the girl stumbled from behind the stable and fell to her knees in front of the cabin. "Someone's," she gasped, "out there."

Diana stood and turned back towards where the Jevithium knights had been. She held the sword firmly out in front of her, pointing in their direction.
 
Latest Post Entry 3141 23/06/11 00:27
Alexios and Varolta had exited the cabin, and they all stood as she spoke. For a moment, nobody did anything. Disbeliefed had them all fixed in place. They had just began to settle down to rest after a long time of not doing so, and now they had to...

"We have to move!" Varolta hissed. "Highness, get th-"

There was a brief whistle and Alexios gasped. He looked down to see a thin wooden shaft protrude from his left shoulder. He was too shocked to move. 

"Highness!" Varolta went and placed himself between Alexios and the dark of night. "You there! The woman! Take Alexios' horse and the prince and take the road to the west. There should be a small village there." Two more arrows struck the ground near his feet. He pulled himself to Diana's ear, his voice trembling with fright, and said, "Make great haste, stop for nobody, and hide when you get there. I must find Tralius and Nicolas." He pushed her away and ran back into the cabin. "Go!" He yelled. "Go!" [1]
 
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