[P] I am death comin' to excel, I'll open the door to heaven or hell
SOSU WORD COUNT - 394 OOC: Let me know if anything needs to be changed! My brain is fizzling out. Kyrios.

Aelin trotted along the frozen path on the broad back of her stallion, Lindir. Her saddle was outfitted with various bags and pockets full of different things, wooden trinkets and figurines, fish hooks made of various materials, a few carved cups and bowls, and wooden jars with a secured lid of her own design. They weren’t waterproofed or sealed, but matching holes poked on the outside of the top and bottom of the lid could be tied shut with a leather cord, and functioned well to hold dry ingredients or other such items. She had other jars too, but these were more experimental and were sections of dried birch sealed shut with hoof glue she had boiled down and made herself prior to leaving Dublin.

Her most valuable item she thought might be of use on her trades was a sealed container of pine tar, painstakingly collected over the course of the summer when she had largely kept to herself. It had been an awkward time to enter Casa, after the Mad King had been put down and his son and pack members attacked, but things had begun to smooth over now and Aelin wasn’t quite viewed with as much suspicion.  In fact, now she was working on becoming a bona fide sailor, and it didn’t seem like her first trip to take the Avalon out with the crew was all that far away. There were ropes to be repaired, and rotting wood cleaned, sealed and replaced, but she was sure in due time they would make a lot more use of the ship and hopefully stir up more interest in the vessel.

Smiling to herself, the bob-tailed hybrid sat deeper in her seat, asking Lindir to slow down wordlessly. The reason her bags were so full was that she heard one of the loner bands was hosting a sort of end of the year festival, and all were invited to attend – trade being one of the main draws. The archer was also eager to establish more connections outside of her pack, and become more well known in the area. The chocolate colored horse with white roaning on him snorted as they rounded a bend and he scented an unfamiliar smell, with ears perked forward they were both on alert, and Aelins hand reached behind her back to grasp her bow just in case.
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He had never been particularly well-acquainted with the stretch of land that bordered the bay on the north, but he had been sure that it had been a bay, at least. Was it a lake now? It was difficult to tell through the hazy mist, which was lingering over the coast well into the late morning. Land stretched out where there had once only been water, that was certain, but how far did it go? Zaku had not seemed particularly concerned, but even still, they only explored a small portion of the new-formed land and did not venture far south.

Instead, they followed the new coast, which still stretched further into the water than it had before. The tides were much calmer though, even with the winter winds. Kyrios remembered how turbulent the waters sometimes were along Inferni's beaches, and the waves did not seem like they came from the same bay. It was a curious thing, but he supposed it fit in well with all the other stories of a changing earth. If mountains could sink, then why couldn't land rise?

The hybrid drifted from the water's edge back towards his horse, who kept pace with him near the tree line, taking hearty bites of weedy grass as she went. Kyrios did not have many saddlebags, and the four bows strapped to them dangled awkwardly, swinging with varying vigor as Zaku plodded along. The fourth bow was still unfinished, but he thought he might swap it for the one he carried on his own back once it was. A more pressing matter might be to get rid of some of the bows before he picked up another random piece of wood that looked fun to work with, though.

A steady, distant hoofbeat approached gradually. It seemed a leisurely trot, so he assumed there was no emergency and no hunt he'd be in the way of and simply waited for it to arrive.


Inhaling sharply, Lindirs nostrils flared as he knickered softly, dancing in place – unsure of how to proceed. The stallion was behaving oddly, not having come across a true stranger in many moons. With a reassuring pat on his muscular neck, Aelin spoke to her steed in hushed tones meant to be soothing. It was another matter entirely if he would still under her touch. One could only hope, because the alternative ( ending up thrown into the bushes ) didn’t sound all too pleasant. It seemed lady luck was on her side and after one very long moment Lindir grew quiet and once again relaxed. Whew, that was close. I wonder what bothered him. Deciding not to waste anymore time on it, Aelin urged the horse forward around the bend.

It dawned on her immediately what the issue was as another figure also atop a horse materialized, and Aelin hesitantly raised her hand in a distant greeting. Her chocolate-brown eyes drank in his cream-colored form, with attractive, distinct markings striped up his face and presumably down his back, if the pattern visible was any indication. Out of habit, her bob-tail twitched and the Cavalier had to fight the pang of annoyance that rose unbidden in her chest. One day - one day she was sure to get used to the loss of her tail. Pushing away thoughts of that experience, Aelin smiled as she neared the other rider and their horse.

Glancing at the abundance of bows the male seemed to be in possession of, she deduced rather quickly he would only have excess if he was intending to offload them somewhere. Perhaps he was also going to the same destination as her? It would be interesting if it turned out to be so, how many other celebrations that were open to any stranger were present in the area? Feeling pleased with her assumption, the wolf nodded at the coyote as she stopped a respectable distance away. She wasn’t about to make it a habit to encroach on the personal space of others, especially in an area she was largely unfamiliar with.

“ Hello there. “  The wolf hybrid greeted, shifting the weight of her pack into a more comfortable position. “ I see you also use a bow? Or several, it would appear. “ 
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The dark bay mare lifted her head from the grass as the hoofbeats neared and twitched her tail. Kyrios had always found it interesting that she was more troubled by strange horses than by strange canines, but he supposed that this was not so different from him -- he was far less bothered by a strange horse than he was by a strange canine. Those of their own kind presented more potential problems, while those of the other species were more predictable, somehow.

A girl and her stallion appeared, with the former holding a bow of her own. Kyrios grinned immediately. "Hello, love," he said, then laughed. "Several and there are more on the way, even. Perhaps it's growing into a curse? There are too many perfectly good pieces of wood and not nearly enough archers to appreciate the bow that can come from them."

The stranger's brown horse carried a variety of bags, but they weren't large enough that it seemed as if the other was a lone traveler. It was difficult to tell from the distance, but Kyrios supposed she was a packwolf. Her demeanor suggested it, too, as loners tended to be a little more suspicious as a default.

"I don't suppose you might be interested in one?"

Truthfully, he disliked trading away his bows, despite the burden of keeping so many. Casual traders rarely understood their value and did not have the skill to verify their effectiveness or comfort in use, and Kyrios did not like needing to explain, having to talk up his own skill in carving, or worse, demonstrating his skill in shooting. It was better to not draw attention to a feat of combat, even if he rarely used it for such. In a clan, that was when expectations came. In the wilds, that was when strangers increased his perceived level of threat.

Maybe it would be less difficult with a fellow archer, though.

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