[P] I used to roll the dice
Tattersall | Wabanaki Coast
[Image: sl_corank.png] Vedetto Prompt [ 584 / 1,200 ] Perform a reconnaissance mission beyond the pack’s borders — scout out a new possible trade route, patrol ahead of your group, locate an enemy, etc.
Optime | Wabanaki Coast | Evening

Vedetto / Milite challenge prompts!

Grisha’s scent is disguised.
As the sun had started to set, the heat of the day had started to wane with it. The slowly darkening world had come alive as critters of the night began to wake up and become active again. Birds sang their final tunes, and frogs and crickets had begun to fill in the void left behind. While some prey animals went in search of a safe place to spend the night, others came out to enjoy the marginally cooler temperatures.

It would be another hour or two still before the day finally eclipsed into nightfall, which suited Grisha just fine. They still had enough daylight left for him to complete the task that they had been assigned, Grisha felt. It’d been a bit of a surprise—albeit, a welcomed one—when the Emissary had selected him for the task. Though scout-work often fell under the Striker’s duties to assign, the mission had fallen into the Emissary’s realm of interests, and, so, she’d personally sought out Salsolans befitting of her needs.

Unfortunately, she had been sparse on the details she’d given him during his briefing; he was to help track down a merchant and confirm their presence in a particular area. Part of Grisha suspected, however, that his assigned companion for the mission, Henchman Tattersall Valentine, had been briefed further than he had. Another might have been jealous or irritated to have been left out of such information—particularly when that someone was younger than them—but, Grisha could understand the reasoning behind it given the nature of Kamari’s rumored work.

The Director’s son was of much higher standing than he, and his interests obviously aligned towards that of the Shield. As well, Kamari and Tattersall appeared to have a teacher-student-like chemistry, not unlike that which Kamari had with Mirko. Such facts considered, it would have been easy to assume that there was intel that she trusted with Tattersall that she did not yet trust sharing with Grisha. With any luck though, the success of this mission would show that he, too, could eventually be trusted with her specialized work beyond Salsola’s claim.

Until then though, he had a job to do.

Grisha paused as he sniffed the ground where a faint set of tracks had left their indentation in the soft, forest soil. His eyes shifted about the worn trail that he’d found, searching for other clues about their quarry. Had he not had to travel so far from the Kingdom, he might have gone in his Lupus form to make his work easier. However, there were notes that he had to make, key landmarks that he had to jot down. It was easier—and more accurate—to do such things on the go rather than retaining everything until he returned to the Kingdom.

A soft sound behind him announced the arrival of his mission companion having returned from his own scouting of the area. Grisha sat back on his feet, glancing over his shoulder. “Looks like their traveling pace started to slow here,” he reported lowly so that only Tattersall could hear him. They had been following their target for a short while now, and there was no telling how close or far off they were.

“The gait of the horse is closer together now.” He pointed to the set of prints left behind as a testament to his assessment. There was a pause before he asked, “Did you find anything?”

Grisha Darkleaf
— The Scholar —
[Image: sl_corank.png] Milite Job Prompt [643/1200] Act as a guard at an event or while accompanying a Salsolan or Salsolan party beyond the pack’s borders. Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. If traveling, make sure you and your fellow Salsolan(s) are safe and don’t make yourselves an easy target while on the move or when setting up camp somewhere.
It had been a quiet summer, but Tattersall didn't mind this. He had learned firsthand what war was like and had little desire to endure it anytime soon. They had won, of course, but the cost had been exponential. Though he often forgot about the scar on his face, every so often he would touch it or be reminded of its presence and think back to the battle.

These days, he no longer dreamed about it as he once had. When he did the moments were fleeting. It was a grand improvement from the end of winter, when the nightmares had been more vivid and constant. It had been this way with his sister too, though he could no longer remember what she looked like.

He went through the routines without complaint. Some days he would work, either scouting beyond the borders, taking a shift at the Garrison, or picking up a patrol. On others he trained. Usually he was alone for this, but he arranged for others to spar with him every so often. By and large he did this on foot, but had begun adding mounted combat to the rotation – Whisper Eternity, though not as demanding as her sister, had been eager to participate in such affairs. At least once a week he would clean the home he and Morrow shared, a task which fell to Tattersall solely given his friend's refusal to shift. Though he might have grown to resent this, Morrow pulled his weight in other ways and always looked so sad and pitiful about the whole thing that Tate let it go.

It was during one of his patrols that the Emissary had approached him, manifesting like a creature of myth as she so often did. As this was not the first mission he had been assigned by the Shield member, Tate had been both pleased and eager to accept the task. It seemed straightforward enough, though Kamari had made a point to emphasize that it was not the traders which truly interested her, but the clientele they attracted.

More to the point had been the fact that she wanted to ensure the man she sent out was both capable of performing his assigned role and make it back in one piece. He was a scholar, after all, and ill suited for battle.

They had departed late in the afternoon, when the sun was arching down towards Loch Fundy. While he had considered bringing Nadine, Tate had ultimately decided against it. Night worked against horses, and they were meant to be unseen – a horse would be too loud in the dark. It was light enough that he had no trouble picking his way through the woodland and seeing the trail they were meant to follow.

When he returned from a cursory circle of the space they were in, Grisha showed him the tracks  they had been pursuing for some time. Pleased by the development, Tate nodded in both approval and agreement to his companion's statement.

Unfortunately, he had little else to provide. “Nothing of note,” he admitted. They had yet to pick up any unwanted visitors, however, and this was a good sign. “Just the one horse so far.”

He shifted his own weight and dropped a hand to the dagger on his hip. A ceremonial gift from his father, it had yet to see combat. This was largely a contingency – the spear he carried was more than capable of handling any presumed problems they might encounter. While he had considered bringing the bow, he did not want to risk shooting in the dark. The spear would be capable enough of defending (and killing) if they needed it to do so.

“If he's slowing down, he'll probably stop soon. If he's going to camp he'll probably make a fire.” That, Tate imagined, would attract company.

thanks for being so patient!!
[+ 6]
You got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.
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[Image: sl_corank.png] Vedetto Prompt [ 1,018 / 1,200 ]
Tattersall hadn’t found anything to add, or, at least, perhaps nothing that was to be shared with the Confidant. It was a disappointment, though, only a small one. If the task had been an easy one, the Emissary likely would not have sent both of them to see to its completion. They had a wide field to cover and search, and having to be stealthy about it was another added difficulty. They still had daylight left though, and, from the clues left behind, Grisha suspected that their quarry wouldn’t remain elusive for much longer.

Rising to his full height, Grisha offered a nod in agreement to the Henchman’s assessment as he quickly dusted his hands free of any dirt that might have collected on them. His sharp eyes swept up and down the path that the target had traversed down. It was large enough for three or four Luperci to walk abreast, and the vegetation had been worn away from years of traffic through the area. Grisha knew the main trading road to be some ways south of their position though. He could have speculated all day about why their target had chosen the lesser road. That had not been his role for this mission, however.

So, instead, the Confidant reached into his belt bag and procured the field journal he’d brought. Untying the cord that kept it safe and closed, he flipped to a marked page and jotted a few notes with a piece of charcoal, glancing up and down the path to make sure his notes were not flawed. They’d traveled down the path far enough that he thought it accurate to notate it as a landmark to follow. The small trickle of a stream that he’d passed found itself marked as well.

He was quick about it, knowing full well that the longer they tarried out in the open, the greater chance they had of being spotted.

Kamari had been quite adamant about the mission being a stealth operation.

With his notes made, Grisha quickly stuffed the journal back in his belt bag and looked to his mission partner. “Do you think it’s safe to keep following the road here if we do so from a distance?” He asked.

While Grisha could have made the judgement himself, he knew the young man to have been a native to the realm. Ranked as a Henchman too, assumptions were that Tattersall would have been more familiar with the area, and, thus, been better able to deem if things were safe enough to continue their mission forward.

Grisha Darkleaf
— The Scholar —
[Image: sl_corank.png] Milite Job Prompt [710/1200] Act as a guard at an event or while accompanying a Salsolan or Salsolan party beyond the pack’s borders. Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. If traveling, make sure you and your fellow Salsolan(s) are safe and don’t make yourselves an easy target while on the move or when setting up camp somewhere.
Foot trails like the one they were currently on offered more than just an easier way through the forest. Without debris to tarry their movement, they would be able to walk without risking being heard. It would slow them down, but their speed would still be improved over what it would have been had they spent the evening skulking through the underbrush.

Tate listened when silence fell between himself and Grisha for any noises out of the ordinary. Songbirds were still winging their way home, and the drone of insect life was present. These signs were good. If it had been entirely quiet, either they or their quarry would have been responsible and more likely to be noticed.

Grisha finished his notation and asked the question Tattersall himself had been pondering. As it stood, he was forced to make the decision for them – he could not rely on an older, more experienced scout as he might have done in the past. Young as he was this was still a daunting task, and one for which the pressure of failure weighed heavily upon him, but he had education to fall back on.

“Yes,” he answered. “It's likely they stayed upon it, and we should be able to see the horse even if they haven't started a fire. Go slowly,” Tate advised. “They might have set someone to watch. If there looks like an easy way into the woods, we should take it. Just to be safe.” From what Kamari had told him, it seemed likely that these traders would not be so quick to drop their guard.

You got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.
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[Image: sl_corank.png] Vedetto Prompt [ 1,503 / 1,200 ]
Feel free to maybe mention signs of the “clientele” that Kamari warned Tattersall of being in the area! :O Maybe their presence could have compromised the mission somehow, and makes Tattersall have to utilize the “guard” aspect of the Milite rank and get them out of the area before they themselves are compromised/caught?
Grisha nodded with Tattersall’s decision on the matter.

He slinked away from the immediate vicinity of the road, though, did well to keep it within easy visual distance as they had agreed. While not as stealthy as the Kingdom’s Shadow, Grisha thought himself talented enough in the skill. He kept his profile low, taking advantage of various bits of foliage as they came across his path until he was able to move in a bit deeper into the woodland. As the Henchman had said, there could have been a lookout nearby or anywhere along their path, and the last thing either of them needed was to be spotted. Being caught by their target could have led to any number of issues, and a failed mission would not earn him the praise and respect that he so wanted from the Emissary.

They needed to complete their objective; get the intel Kamari wanted, and get out as quickly and smoothly as possible.

The Confidant kept his wits about him as he followed quietly along, listening, smelling, searching for a sign that they were close to their quarry. For a short while, there was nothing but more and more forest and trail to shift through. Eventually though, just as the fading light of the day grew ever dimmer, Grisha’s nose twitched as he caught wind of campfire smoke wafting lazily through the woodland. And, sure enough, in the far distance, he could just make out the dancing light and shadows of a fire’s glow.

He paused, crouching low as he assessed the situation. His eyes swept left, then right, looking for a body or figure, or something else that might have been amiss. He didn’t see a lookout posted, which either meant that they were well hidden, or, the traders didn’t think themselves in any danger. Frustratingly though, from where he’d taken cover, too much forest foliage blocked his field of view, and he couldn’t make out the exact position of their targets either.

Around him, the birds had long since quieted as they’d bedded down for the night, and the hum of insects had grown loud in their place. He glanced over his shoulder, searching the darkening wood for Tattersall. As he placed his hand down though, he couldn’t help but to notice a strange feeling beneath his finger pads.

Looking down, he noticed a light indentation left behind in the dirt. Brows furrowing, he bent down further to sniff it. His lips formed a heavy frown as he realized it didn’t carry the scent of either of their targets or their horse.

The mark was fresh though, lingering heavily in his nostrils even after he picked his head up. Was someone else in the area? Had the traders rendezvoused with someone?

Grisha looked up, scrutinizing the shadowed forest for his mission companion. Where is Tattersall?

Grisha Darkleaf
— The Scholar —
[Image: sl_corank.png] Milite Job Prompt [1226/1200]
Being caught was not an option.

To be seen meant two things – the first was that the people they were tracking would have reason to change their pattern or be on guard, and the second, more concerning one, was that there was the risk of violence. While Tate had experienced his fair share of this, and trained for such events, he still did not wish to tangle with an unknown enemy in the dark. They were on foot, and far enough from Salsola that no immediate help or aid could reach them. Anything could happen if they were compromised.

They had the crickets and cover of night to hide them. Their scents had been masked as best they were able to do so, but up close this would not erase their presence completely. Luperci noses were simply too sensitive, even with the campfire haze providing a shield of its own.

The further along the two men went, the more likely it became that moving together would compromise their position. When it seemed safe to do so, Tattersall diverted from the trail and crept around to better examine their position. He moved with extraordinary slowness – each step was made to avoid the snap of twigs or crunch of dead-leaves, all while keeping himself as low to the ground as he could manage. Again, he was glad he had chosen against bringing the bow: the arrows would have been too loud with him practically crawling as he was.

When he felt he had gotten close enough, Tate lingered between a leafy bush and a young maple tree. From here, he could just make out the shapes of the Luperci around the fire. They matched the number Kamari had mentioned. The horses were unsaddled, and their packs and tack piled in a circle around the fire. Two horses, two men.

No, he realized with a start. There was a third figure there, engaged in what looked like an intense conversation. This third shape was cloaked in dark garments, the type meant to hide their form. It evoked memories of the assassin in Tattersall's mind, and he realized quickly that if this was the type of person these so-called traders were dealing with, they were dealing in more than goods.

His intuition and past experience warned him against lingering too long. Quietly, Tate moved back to where he had split from Grisha.

There was a new scent on the road. Was it the person at the campsite, or an unseen partner?

Not wanting to discover the answer, Tate hurried to find Grisha. The mapmaker was further ahead, but seemed to be actively looking for him. Pleased that he would not startle his packmate, the young Henchman indicated that they needed to leave.

The two men retraced their steps quickly but quietly. Neither spoke, and this silence was what alerted Tate to the fact that a hush had fallen over the forest. He gripped the shaft of his spear and scanned the dark treeline.

“Go now,” he told Grisha in a low whisper. “I'll make sure you aren't followed.”

You got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.
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