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Old 09-21-2003, 08:13 PM   #60
Shadow of Tyrn Gorthad
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: The Fencing Lyst
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Benia watched in horror as Kaldir turned and began walking along Gilly's trail through the tall meadow grasses toward the wood.

"Gilly!" She called out. "He's coming! Beware!"

Careful to keep her injured ankle from bumping the ground and giving her a fresh jolt of pain, Benia rose up on her knees and watched the bounty hunter's back vanish into the shadows of the trees. She looked around wildly for a weapon or any way she might go to her friend's assistance, even in a small way. The only thing to catch her eye was the hilt of her father's sword, tied in its scabbard to the back of the little pack pony who grazed with the other two horses some twenty to thirty feet away. Quickly gathering a handful of clover and fresh green grasses, she began to crawl toward the animals. The going was awkward and difficult as the ground under her was littered with small, sharp stones that dug into her knees and threatened to tear her skirt. Before going very far she stopped and held the handful of grass and clover out in the direction of the horses.

She clucked her tongue against the roof of her mouth and called out to them softly.

All three horses raised their heads and looked at her curiously, then the gray stallion snorted authoritatively and stamped his hoof. He snorted a second time, then went back to his grazing, followed by the bay mare. The pack pony continued to stare at Benia with long-lashed brown eyes.

Benia glanced over her shoulder toward the woods, and, seeing and hearing nothing, went back to trying to draw the pony over to her. "Hi, Pumpkin!" she called out in her happiest tone of voice. "Come here, sweetie! Come taste this wonderful clover!" She held out the handful of clover. The pony took a few steps in her direction, then stopped and extended his shaggy head trying to determine what she had in her hand. Apparently seeing that it was just clover, which was already plentiful in the spot where he stood, the pony lost interest immediately and went back to grazing. Benia dropped the clover. If she was to have any hope of helping Gilly, she would have to think of something else. Looking around again, her eyes fell on her pack. Eagerly she crawled back to where Kaldir had dropped it once he was satisfied that it contained no weapons. It did contain something she could use...apples.

Reaching into her pack with her shackled hands, Benia pulled out the reddest apple of the three that remained uneaten and held it out toward the pony. "Pony!" she cooed. "Look what I have for you! Would you like an apple?"

The pony raised his head again and, seeing the apple, trotted eagerly over. Feeding him the apple, Benia grabbed the strap to the pony's pack saddle and pulled herself up to balance carefully on her uninjured foot. She closed her hands around the hilt of her sword, intending to draw it from the scabbard, then stopped. What exactly did she plan to do next? It wasn't as though she could go charging into the trees, sword drawn, to Gilly's aid, when she could scarcely even walk. Instead, she untied the rope that tethered the pony to the bay mare and pulled herself up atop the pack on the pony's back. Then she drew the sword from its scabbard and, clucking softly to the little animal, began to ride slowly toward the woods. There were still no sounds from Gilly or the bounty hunter.

The longer the silence continued, the deeper Benia's fears grew that something awful had indeed befallen her friend. She hoped that the silence meant only that Gilly had managed either to flee or hide successfully from the bounty hunter, but the fact that the bounty hunter had not yet returned bothered her. She hoped that it meant he was still searching for Gilly, but the hope was all she had.
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