Day 025: Hail Mary - The Road To Tondc
Summary: The Tondc expedition hits the road, and tries to talk its way past Indra's troops.
Date: 6/19/16
Related: Hail Mary - The Bridge
Kai Fiona Elias Veks Britt Wren Rinnan 


The Road
Somewhere east of Coesbur.
Day 25

There's the sound of hoofbeats in the distance. Multiple hoofbeats. More than one horse. Wren did say something about getting horses, and that it might've taken him longer to avoid curious looks from Sonia's men. So he left in the opposite direction, then doubling back after he felt like he had gone on for far enough. Eventually, the big man on the equally big Roach comes into view on the road, with three hoses in tow, two tied to Roach's saddle on each side and one being led at the rear. Might've been a bit tiring for the man, having to keep three other horses inline. But they all have saddles on them.

Coming up to a halt, he brings the animals off of the road into the taller grass to graze. Looks like he hasn't been driving them hard, in an effort to conserve energy. There's a look around before sliding off his own saddle, picking out a burlap bag that had been in one of the saddlebags. "Good. You're all still alive." he grunts, as if that might a mild surprise.

Kai takes off the makeshift bag to offer up to Elias,"There's some fruit leather in there, what water I could fit into a bottle." she offers for him quietly,"I'm fine." but there's the sound of horses, and the lean girl stirs with a look towards the Trikru before she recognizes Wren, and well, one of those horses at least,"How about you and Fi?"

Again, Veks drinks first from his waterskin before he offers it out to the nearest Delinquent. This time, it happens to be Fiona. "Three Skaikru talked to our steheda," he says as he holds the leather pouch out to her. "Now one. Why?"

Talking is probably less than Rinnan's forte, ergo she's done not much of it. She's checked in on the three Skaikru as they've made their way to the meet up bridge, making sure no one is about to pass out from exhaustion and vomit up a lung but has otherwise spent her time moving through the woods in basic silence. The arrival of her horse has her pushing off the tree trunk she's been leaning on previously, readying it for the possibility of taking on 2 riders at a time. The horse is a black and grey piebald, unremarkable in its horseness other than its penchant for non-cooperation. A string of desicated ears hangs like a jaunty line of festival bells from her saddle, certain to make this a leader in 'who wants to ride the one with the body parts?'.

Fiona looks up at Veks, smiles faintly, and accepts the waterskin with a murmured, "Mochoff." She takes a careful swig before replying. "We learned a lot when we were meeting with Oxfor." she explains. "And part of that was having three to speak for everyone is not as good as having one, singular voice." She takes another sip, and offers it back.

Fiona adds to Elias, "I'm okay. Tired. But we all are."

The sounds of horses draw his own attention, but he continues taking the bag from Kai. He's still wearing a pack of his own, but doesn't take it off just yet. Elias' concern seems to mostly be for Kai at the moment. "Sit down for a bit," he whispers to her, though he doesn't push the issue. Rather, he finally takes his own pack off and sets them both down on the ground. Taking a canteen of water from her pack, he hands it up to her before taking a piece of fruit leather for himself and one for Kai. "I'm okay. Tired." He then nods again to Fiona. He looks to Rinnan and raises a brow then. "Uh. Pass," he says, looking at the horse with ears dangling off of it.

Britt had doubled back a bit to watch the way they'd come and make sure nobody appeared to be following them. Now she makes her way back to the others, bow in hand.

"You. Skaiboy." Wren is regardling Elias, opening the sack and rummaging around, then tossing a set of clothes at his feet. "Old clothes of mine from when I younger. Probably still have cinch the belt through." They'll work, though perhaps still being one size too big. So even as a kid, the warrior was the large type. "And you." his gaze turns on Fiona, expression a little…something. Hard to say what. Another set of clothes is offered, but these are given a bit more tenderness involved. Scout's clothing, leath longcoat included, much like the one he wears. There's some damage to the coat, and to the shirt, with some bloodstains that go with them. "These…" he starts, staring her with something that might border on pain. "…were Lark's. My sister's. I give these to you." There might even be more he wants to say, and yet, he doesn't, handing them off without another word.

"Azgeda." Rinnan's chin twists towards the ears hanging from her saddle as she pauses in her adjustment of her saddle's latigo to then look at Elias. "You'll learn," she adds, her mouth twisting into a momentary, pleasure taking smirk about the value of Azgeda. Or the ease at which one can live without an ear. Unclear! Britt's arrival perks her interest, switching the recipient of her interest. "Are we good?," she asks, eyebrows raising at Britt in an expression that seems to expect that they are but leaving room for the opposite of good.

Kai accepts the canteen as she leans up against the rocks,"I'm fine." she repeats for Elias quietly and her attention shifts to Veks,"And, we managed to get enough of them to agree to one voice, too." she chimes in quietly, accepting the bit of fruit leather though she worries more about the water for the moment, holding onto it when Wren speaks but waiting sort of to offer it to Veks rather than snag some more of his this time with only a vague smirk for Eli as he's offered clothes. Her gaze shifts to Rinnan, her horse, and the ears,"Az-getta?" yeh, skaigirl is no good at trying to speak their language,"The big bald guy.. the maker? He called the camp sky-getta.. and you guys call us sky-ku, right? So what does getta mean? And who are the Az-getta?" though there's a question being asked of Britt, and she falls silent again to listen, chewing on fruit leather mechanically.

"Oh, horses?" Fiona perks a little. "We rode them to and from Coesbur for the summit. I liked mine a lot. My thighs hurt like hell, though." And then Wren is offering her his sister's clothes. There's a moment's consideration, and she takes them gently. "Mochoff. I'll be mindful of her and wear them honorably." Rinnan catches her attention as she clutches the clothes carefully. "What are Azgeda?"

Britt nods to Rinnan. "Seems so. For now." The grave tone of her voice betrays her suspicion that Sonia's band won't give up so easily. Green eyes landing on Wren, she says, "No trouble getting the horses?"

The clothes tossed to his feet are eyed a moment, but Elias does eventually shift his gaze back up to Wren. "Thanks," he says, nodding to him. The lack of tenderness doesn't seem to be minded, but he may well just be too tired to care at the moment. Rinnan is regarded once again with a slightly wide-eyed look, but he doesn't opt to press that line of discussion any further either. What he does do is look up to Kai. "Did you hear that? I get to learn to make ear-jewelry. That is - jewelry made out of ears. Yay." The 'yay' is spoken in a soft, higher-pitched tone. "If you insist," he says, offering up some fruit leather as well.

"You do that." Wren utters, as if that was the obvious that Fiona gave. Not the easiest thing in the world to do. "She is dead. And I don't want to see another's dead sibling over this. /That/ is why I'm here." Nothing more is said on that one. Hard enough as it is. Instead, he starts to move toward Britt, shaking his head. "I left in the opposite direction. It has hard enough getting the horses from Afaye. She made is painfully clear that heads will roll if any of the horses come back injured. Or not at all. Mine likely, but someone's. So I would prefer that we took care of them. I prefer being on her good side. But, I didn't think I was followed. At least it didn't seem like it, so when I went far enough, I doubled back to here. We'll know soon enough anyways."

"Another clan. Ice clan." Rinnan states, turning around to look at Kai and Fiona. "If you had landed behind their borders, you'd all be dead now," she explains, bluntly with a easy shrug of 'it is known' acceptance before she nods at Britt. "The stink of death is mostly off them," she states, her attention switching to Elias in a tone that's probably meant to be a 'feature' and not a 'bug'. "You should get dressed now," she continues, gesturing to the clothing at Elias' feet. "Sonia might have sent more to Tondc to give her version of things first. It will be harder for you if they get their words in first. They can say you attacked first, which may not be true but this does not matter. This will cause enough confusion and stir things."

There's a small intake of breath as Fiona looks after Wren, but she leaves it be, and nods to Rinnan. She moves a few feet away, turning her back on the others to change. She doesn't seem to be shy about it, though she is careful about not flashing folks. Over her shoulder, "And they're part of the Coalition?"

"<In Trigedasleng> Are you scaring the Skaikru with your ears?" Britt asks Rinnan, smirking as she catches part of the exchange with Elias. She nods to Wren. "We should get on our way as soon as we can." Fiona's question causes her to look that way. "They are now. It is what gives me hope for this. If we can make peace with Azgaeda after a lifetime of war, why not Skaikru?"

"You'd be very good at making ear jewelry I'm sure. As long as you don't include your own." Kai deadpans for Eli. She's not getting up, the other two need to change, and she's quite content to sit there, eat a little, drink some, and eye those horses like she's pretty sure one of them is liable to eat her. Or step on her, but not about to complain about the prospect of riding one. It's Britt's words that draw her attention with a tired sort of nod,"I hope you're right. Fi of course knows better than Eli or I.. but whatever we can learn to make that.. more likely.. I'm up for. So how we going to do this? Cos not going to lie.. never been on one of those things before."

Rinnan shrugs dryly at Britt before she perks up slightly exchange a smirk back at her. "<In Trigedasleng> It's a boring story to the rest of you," Rinnan replies with a lilt of nostalgia for the Ghost of Murder past. "It's uneasy," Rinnan admits, switching back to English and providing a little shrug to Fiona, even if she can't necessarily see it. "Two wars have taken place. There is a treaty but not much trust. Maybe it will last for a while. But. Maybe…," she shrugs again letting it trail off, unable to squelch the hopeful note in there all the way. About the treaty or about a visit from the Ghost of Murder Future? Unclear!

"Two wars…" Fiona finally turns around once dressed. She's a little skinny and small for the clothes, but she's done what she can to keep them from falling off her body. "Trikru are not forgiving people." This is not a criticism. "<In Trigedasleng> Blood must have blood." She switches to English. "How did they become part of th Coalition after so much conflict?"

Poorly-muffled sniggering snorts of laughter erupt from Veks as he watches Fiona turn around in her 'new' clothes. "<In Trigedasleng> Runt of the litter," he says, clearing his throat repeatedly until he's able to swallow down his mirth. Holding a straight(er) face with effort, he says, "<In Trigedasleng> Oughtta figure out who's with who and get moving again."

"Sometimes there is such a thing as too much blood," Britt responds grimly. She doesn't elaborate on that, slanting a weary look to Rinnan. Kai's question and Veks' comment cause her to nod a bit. "I still say we should take the road." She tries to pitch her tone such that it's clear she's discussing and not ordering. "We will run into patrols one way or the other. Going through the forest just invites them to think we are doing something wrong." She looks to Fiona then. "Our mission is an honorable one. If you want the kruheda to take you seriously as an emissary, I think you should act like a serious emissary, not a thief in the night."

Wren bristles just slightly at the fact that Fiona is speaking their language. Them knowing it does exactly sit well with him. Means he can't talk smack to their faces and smile afterwards. "The Azgeda are without honor. I would not be shocked if they did break the treay sooner or later. Infact, I expect that they will, when the time is right." Britt gets a nod. "The raods are faster. If they look the part and keep their mouths shut, we should be able to avoid notice. I will claim her as my Second." he points to Kai. "And Seconds are seen, but not heard." Then there's a skeptical look at Fiona. "The treaty was created because sides must decide that there has been enough blood. When you forget the reason why you're at war, you lose a taste for it. At least, those with any sense. While I'm happy for the treaty, I still hate the Azgeda. It is….enough."

Kai shoves the canteen back into her bag and swallows the rest of her fruit leather, shoving herself to her feet roughly before she readjusts her carry with a puzzled little blink. An expression full of 'mew?' at the words offered, especially by Wren as she dusts herself off,"So. Az-getta bad. Got it." is how she elects to sum it up with a slight nod to herself, rolling her shoulders as she glances first at her fellow Skaikru, then at the horses with tired patience.

Rinnan tests the stirrup of her sadle with an unforgiving pull as Rinnan notes Britt's sideways glance. "They lost, we allowed them to save face," she summarizes, the accuracy of this particular summarized ending up for debate. "But we do have the capacity to be reasonable," she admits with a grimace before whatever mental test regarding the soundness of her saddle is passed and she's swinging up atop her horse and looking expectantly around the group. Who wants to play Second on the Earbiscuit, guys?

Fiona is oblivious to what Veks is actually saying, but knows he's making fun of her. She just mugs him a look before saying, "You work with Lexa, right? Do you work with Indra as well? I want to know as much about them both as I can, so I know how to talk to them."

Britt raises her eyebrows at Wren. "A Second who doesn't speak the language well enough to even follow directions and looks like…" Well, that, is left unsaid with a vague gesture at the Skaikru. "They will not pass for Trikru if anyone gets close." She moves over to her horse before answering Fiona's question. "I am here at the Heda's orders, yes, as is Rinnan. We can discuss them more on the way - we should get a move on."

"Azdega land is wind and ice. They want Trikru land. So our warriors kill them." Geopolitics lessons, a la Veks. Another amused look is shot to Fiona before he turns his attention to choosing his own horse. The snarky grin warms to a look of genuine fondness as he fusses with the horse's leather tackle and fingercombs some snarled mane out of the way. Whooza good horse? Izzit yoooou? "We must go. Choose," he says as he mounts.

"She's taking her English lessons." Wren shrugs at Britt. There's always an explanation for everything. "But I see your point. Still, it's something for her and I to talk about in the future." Because the big man has to keep hoping that there will be a future. At least that suggests he was serious about asking at all. Apparently he sees /something/ in Kai, enough for that. "Perhaps not, but we don't have to get close until we arrive at Tonic. There's little else we can do at that point. Unless you have some idea. I'm just making sure no one else gets killed on our way there." That last wast at Britt, then nodding to Veks. "Indeed. We need to get moving. We've wasted enough time here as it is." And then he's moving to pull himself up upon Roach. "Who rides with me."

Kai glances at Fiona and Eli,"Me." is what she elects for. She's still reasonably certain she should be offended by the implication of Britt's words but really, not like she's not oblivious to the fact that they're all baby's by comparison. Still, she walks her way over to Roach and eyes the big beast before looking up at his rider with a little 'um, holy crap how do you actually horse?'. Because damned if she knows.

Fiona looks around, and then wordlessly edges over to Britt. "Beja." she says. Please.

Roach farts at Kai. Not like it was on /purpose/, just weird timing. He's a big horse with a sensitive stomach, nobody understands. "Don't mind Roach, he's just an ass." Wren remarks, pun possibly intended. A hand is extended down at Ex-C. "Take my hand, and I'll pull you up, swing your leg over as you up. Then, hold onto me. Don't need you falling off."

It honestly never occurred to Britt that Wren was serious about taking a Skaikru as a Second. In fact, she's still a little hazy on exactly what the two will be talking about in the future. But they're getting underway, so she lets it pass without comment. Hooking a foot in one stirrup, she climbs into the saddle with practiced ease, slipping her bow into the saddle scabbard. While waiting for the Skaikru to pick their riders, she shrugs to Wren. "Ask for an audience, hope they don't shoot us on sight." She's awfully blase aobut the possibility. At Fiona's request, she nods briskly and extends her hand down to the Skaigirl, moving her foot out of the stirrup so Fiona can use it to get up.

When in Rom.. Trikru.. though Kai can't help but eye Roach like 'you did that deliberately I'm sure' as she takes Wren's offered hand to be hauled up on the back of the beast. The skaigirl's not a fan of touching in general, and hadn't equated that into her mental processes, but hey, one shift of the horse is all it takes for her to decide nah eff that and grab hold of Wren like her life may well depend on it,"Eden." it's largely under her breath, but no less ferverently uttered for it, in the tone of 'oh god please don't let me die'.

Fiona has done this before, and it shows. She fits her right leg in the stirrup, and uses the pull and her own heft to get her body up and leg over, sitting neatly behind Britt. Despite the dire situation, she's unable to resist smiling. Look Ma, I'm onna horsie!

Eventually, Elias opts to ride with Veks. Earbiscuit doesn't look like much of a pleasant ride. None of it does, if he were to be honest. He decides against riding with jewelry girl, though.

Is he-? Yes, Veks is braiding some of the horse's mane as they wait. Now and again he'll click his tongue at the animal, and then grin to himself as the horse's ears swivel, as if they're sharing some equine joke. "<In Trigedasleng> Careful if he picks you," he mutters to Rinnan, his grin sharpening toward a smirk again. "<In Trigedasleng> He'll-" He stops short when Elias moves toward him, pale brows lifting Just So. Snarking? Thwarted. "Here. Grab. Up. Your leg, here." His version of Horse 101 is not nearly as helpful as Wren's, but hopefully it'll do.

"<In Trigedasleng> Beg me to have his Sky children," Rinnan helpfully finishes Veks' sentence for him, as Veks helps Elias up into sharing the saddles. She throws a smirk at Veks' before she upnods her head towards Britt and Fiona, signaling her readiness to be on their way. A brief cluck of tongue to the back of teeth and Horse begins a low plod towards the direction of the road.

Britt's eyebrows go up a little when Fiona mounts the horse so easily. "You're a fast learner," she observes, then grins over at Rinnan. "<In Trigedasleng> I don't know. I think your collection puts them off, Rinn." Once everyone is all mounted up, she nudges her horse forward. "I don't know what to tell you about the kruheda." She finally gets back to answering Fiona's earlier question once they're on the move. "She is a warrior. She respects strength. You would do well to have something to offer besides merely pleading for peace."

Elias doesn't look particularly pleased about sharing the saddle nor about riding a horse. The language he doesn't understand. Hazel eyes flick from person to person and he just looks all the less interested for it. "How far a ride is this going to be?" he asks, raising a brow at Veks or anyone else who wants to field that question.

"So how.." this from Kai on the back of Roach,"do we show strength without it being seen as offensive or disrespectful?" a sympathetic look is exchanged with Elias for voicing the other question on her mind.

"I try to be." Fiona replies, putting her arms around Britt's waist carefully. "I've heard the kruheda is very fierce." she admits. "I know I can't just beg…but we're not the ones who deserve to be punished. If making some kind of offer is the only way to stay their hands…" she drifts off. She'll think of something.

Wren will be quiet for this, on the most part. He doesn't really have a lot to add to entire ting. He's just the driver here. And Roach isn't going to say much, he's a horse afterall. "I would say offer your own heda. In the end, he is responsible for letting it happen. Letting that…ship of your leave your Ark in the first place. Would that be accurate?" There's a shrug to that, as if he's not really sure he's getting that all right.

"The Kruheda is tested. She doesn't need to prove herself. /You/ have to prove yourselves to her. Don't argue or whine or threaten. Appeal to her leadership and her wisdom. She is not interested in what is best for you. She is interested in what is best for her." Rinnan provides, as they ride along before she looks over at Veks. "<In Trigedasleng> The runt looking one asks how to talk to our people of authority?," she translates for Veks, bringing him in on the 'How To Be Hard: Trikru Style'.

"Fierce, yes, that's a good word. But also fair. Well, most of the time." This whole war-first-ask-questions-later thing still puzzles Britt more than a little. Britt glances over to Kai on the other horse. "Is it so different on the Sky Ark, when you speak to your elders? What Rinnan says is true, though. She might spare you for mercy's sake if you convince her you're not responsible, but if you convince her you have something to offer the Trikru, you have better chances."

With questions unanswered, Elias is content to quietly ride along on the back of the horse. Listening to the parts he understands for the moment, he casually nods his head in response to what might be needed. "A fortnight, you say? Let me tell you about location…"

"We ride until we are there." Veks is just /all kinds/ of helpful, isn't he? He's not the horseman that Afaye is — then again, who /is/? — but he still rides like he's been doing so since before he could climb the stirrups himself. "You. Skaiboy." A glance back, over one shoulder, at Elias. "You ride like a corpse. Sit up. Your legs in-" He slaps his own thighs, trying to demonstrate. "Hold them on. You ride heavy, no walking tomorrow."

His next installment of Horse 101 given, his attention flits over to Rinnan. A click of teeth and some indecipherable twitch of reins spurs his horse into a faster walk, bringing him abreast of her and Earbiscuit. "<In Trigedasleng> Like I know what the fuck to say to the heda?" he replies, snorting at the thought. He's watching Fiona again, though, gone thoughtful despite the dismissal. "<In Trigedasleng> They beg for mercy, they're hers an' it's done. You bend yer neck, you don't put it under their boot without making them work for it. They know things- their Sky things- and if the heda wants those secrets for the Trikru, she can't kill them all."

"But.. that ship was another.. skaigeda? Like our camp. It had people on it." Kai utters for Wren, grimacing every time Roach shifts an unexpected way but possibly at least in part because she can't see a damned thing around the bulk of Wren,"All of them died, too. Parents of some of the kids even, maybe. We don't even know who was on it." she utters with a shake of her head and then furrows a brow at Rinnan,"Very different. Our rules are written down, we're taught them the same way you learn yours. Being respectful to my father was just remembering to call him 'sir', and sure as hell didn't include potential death and war into the bargain."

"It's structured differently on the Ark." Fiona explains. "There are no tribes, at least not officially. We have one a ruler, our heda, and they are chosen by the people. They then pick out others to advise them, that are a council. Their rule is absolute, and any crime committed on the Ark is punishable by death." She nods. "I've been thinking about that. We don't have much, but it's just a matter of finding out what she might want from us that we can give. But we are innocent, and I think I can convince her of that. I hope I can. I'm committed to trying. Or dying, for trying." Her jaw suddenly set, she remarks, "<In Trigedasleng> Little skygirl learns language. Little skygirl talks. Some people talk loud, some people talk not-loud, so speak loud or soft the right way to speak right."

At Veks' direction, Elias does endeavor to sit up in the saddle and try to be less stiff. Having never seen one of the animals before not even a month ago, he's really just doing what he can to not fall off for the moment. Still, he does what he can to comply and ride 'correctly'. "I don't know…man. I've never even seen…or smelled these things before. A corpse might improve the smell." Still, he casts looks back over to Kai as well as paying attention to the conversation regarding Grounder diplomacy.

Rinnan snorts. Not loudly, but its audible all the same. It is followed by a shake of the head, having paused to listen to Veks reply in Tri. The snort seems more aimed at Fiona. "Fee-owna. Innocent doesn't matter. You did not send that ship yourself but you must speak for that ship. It is a question of how much you must keep and how much you must give away to have what you wish to keep." Rinnan pauses, looking over at Fiona before offering a slightly apologetic shrug. "To say you are innocent then puts you in the position of being a victim. If you are a victim, you are weak. This is, as Veks says, making it too easy for Kruheda."

Britt smirks over at Veks, and then answers Elias more concretely. "We should reach there by nightfall." Assuming they don't all die horribly on the way. Britt studiously avoids mentioning that part, though. She looks over to Kai. "As I understand, there is plenty chance for death if you break the rules there." Her eyebrows arch a bit at that. "Anyway, I cannot give you a script for what to say to the kruheda. Just… don't piss her off." Britt offers with a shrug.

"Doesn't matter if it had people in it or not, Kai." Wren looks over his shoulder at her. "You can't prove it. Nobody can. There were no bodies. At least none that can be identified one way or another." Then he goes back to directing Roach. "I'm only saying it as an option to save your camp. If one more person has to die instead of all of you, I would call that a worthy sacrafice. And a heda should always be willing to die for their people, no matter the cost." But even the big man sounds dubious. Though he himself said it wasn't the best choice, only one that they could take if they wanted.

Fade into a time-skip to further down the road…

Time marches on, and aches settle into Skaikru legs unused to riding on horseback. They're probably a third of the way from Coesbur to Tondc when the trail they are following bends around a corner… and there is a unit of ten Trikru marching toward them on it. They carry various weapons, bows, spears, crossbows, swords, and axes, and they stop when they spot the riders, a few of them stepping to the verges of the trees just out of precaution, but one of their number approaches more directly, raising a hand in greeting, "<In Trigedasleng> Heya. Aren't you going the wrong way?" There's a bit of laughter from the rest of the group, and the leader gestures off to the southwest of the trail, "<In Trigedasleng> The rest of the force is that way."

People. Kai dares a lean one way at least briefly to take a look at the force briefly around the bulk of Wren but then decides wisely to sit back again, shifting her eyes towards Fi and Eli just to track where they are in relation to her by automatic habit and keeping herself.. well, as out of sight and hopefully out of mind as possible.

Elias puts on his best poker face, not understanding a word of the dialect they're using. There is a very brief glance around to the others he's traveling with, but his eyes go back to the front. Glances are spared for the 'strange' Grounders.

Fiona keeps her mouth shut. This is where things went south with Tuan, but these Trikru are older than him and she's hoping their words will carry a weight of authority. She remains silent, watching the new arrivals covertly and trying to stay innocuous.

Britt sits up a little straighter in the saddle once the other Trikru come into view, a tension settling into her shoulders. "<In Trigedasleng> Moment of truth," she mumbles, glancing over at Veks. She lifts up a hand to the leader. "<In Trigedasleng> I only wish we were. Our mission takes us elsewhere for now." She smirks. "Try not to win the war before we get back."

So far, Veks has seemed quite free with his opinions, whether anyone else really wants to hear them or not. As the group rides up upon the warband, though, his cocksure attitude grows subdued. His horse seems to pick up on the growing tension, and tosses its head once, snorting fretfully. "<In Trigedasleng> Easy," he mutters, slapping at the horse's neck and scratching at its hide. A quick glance is cast behind him to Elias, and a mute up-nod is given. We cool? We cool.

The upnod from Veks is returned in as Grounder-like a fashion (to mean curt and stoic) as Elias can manage. Yeah, we cool. Still, he doesn't say a word. The Grounder-made sword that he'd gotten from Orion is still slung over his back, helping with his disguise just a bit more. Armor, he could use, but that's for another time.

Fiona remains quiet. Seconds - and presumably, young Grounders - should be seen and not heard, right? So quiet it is.

"<In Trigedasleng> Is Coesbur finally sending troops to fight then?" The apparent leader's face is hidden behind a skull-like mask, distorting his voice slightly as he approaches, "<In Trigedasleng> Not you, obviously, if you're heading east. But others? We heard they liked the murderers." The other troops draw in again, forming a loose knot as they follow along with their leader, shifting slightly to one side to edge around the horses.

Rinnan lets out a mild snort. "<In Trigedasleng> Coesbur will see the return on its decisions," she mutters, the utterance at least aiming to be open largely to the ears of the beholder. "<In Trigedasleng> We've got our orders, maybe there will be a little war left over," Rinnan offers with a hopeful smirk, leaning down pluck at the string of Azgeda ears hanging from her saddle. "<In Trigedasleng> I need more for my collection," she concludes, with a silent tug on the string that makes the ears jangle. Probably not adorably.

Kai has no idea what's being said. Nope. Judging it fair enough for her to be looking at the Trikru, she doesn't avoid looking at them simply for the perceived likelihood of that causing her to be noticeable, but she sticks to staying silent and holding her seat without trying to look like she has a death grip on Roach and/or Wren. But Rinnan's jiggling her jewels, that can't be good.

Wren, like any other warrior, says nothing. When it comes to things like this, there's nothing worth while saying. Besides there are others who're better at talking than him.

"<In Trigedasleng> Yes, I believe so. Oxfor would be a fool not to, unless he wishes to suffer the kruheda's wrath," Britt answers evenly. And it's true - based on her last conversation with Oxfor, she believes he'll be sending someone to answer the call, at least per the letter of the law if not the spirit of it. "<In Trigedasleng> But as you say, not us. Not yet anyway. Now we must be on our way." She nods slightly towards the road for emphasis.

Elias sits quietly, using his peripheral vision to keep an eye on body language while the discussion takes place. They don't seem to be paying him any mind for the moment, so he contents himself with silence and the best blank, stoic expression he can manage.

Barring the sudden disappearance of the bunch of carrots meant for supper, horses really aren't capable of looking guilty. Perhaps this is why Veks chooses to let his horse act casual for him, giving a little dig of his heels to encourage his mount to pick up the pace. Just gonna trot on by. Yep. Been lovely and all.

Fiona turns her attention back to the road. She's not willing to breathe in relief just yet, though. Not until and unless they've well and truly passed the war party by.

The Trikru unit leader shakes his head a little, "<In Trigedasleng> That's not much of an answer." Britt causes him to nod though, "<In Trigedasleng> Good. It's been too long since I've seen Oxfor." He starts to step aside, then stops, looking to those riding double, and centers his attention on Kai where she rides behind Wren, "<In Trigedasleng> Who are you?" Suspicion colors his words, but also confusion.

When the Grounder leader approaches Kai, he continues to watch from his peripherals, but his hand gives a little twitch. Elias' appendage knows where the sword at his back is and the quickest way to get it. While he doesn't give anything away for the moment, he does have his attention on that situation. Still, his peripheral vision is used liberally to watch the potential problem unfold.

"<In Trigedasleng> My second." Wren says evenly. "<In Trigedasleng> And her mouth has gotten her in trouble one time too many. She is not to speak to any until she has learned a lesson." There's a growl back at Kai, annoyed, like any good teacher would be. "<In Trigedasleng> And her punishment is she must learn the value of silence before her betters lest she speaks up too many times to question me. Next time, I will not be so kind."

Well, Kai's being looked at, and demanded something of in treeslang, and though there's a squint at him that suggests she's actually going to say something, there's a whole bunch of words from Wren and a growl at her and she clicks her mouth shut again and looks down like she would if it was her dad yelling at her and just prays that's enough.

Britt is learning the value of silence. Also the value of gritting her teeth as Wren forces her hand. "<In Trigedasleng> If you're finished ogling her," she says with a note of irritated reproach in her voice, "<In Trigedasleng> We have an actual mission to complete here."

"<In Trigedasleng> Her mouth worked just fine last night." This from Veks, as he guides his horse in a sharp curve in order to look back toward the group, sneering more than a little. Did he just go there? Yep. He went there. "<In Trigedasleng> My ass is numb. Let's /go/, already." A jostle of the reins brings the horse in a sharp curve to the other side, making it swish its tail in irritation. See? Even the trusty steeds have had enough with the chatting.

Fiona's mouth quirks suddenly, but she buttons it tight. Did she pick up a smattering of Veks' meaning? Maybe. Regardless, she continues to maintain her silence.

Does Elias catch any of that? Not a bit. The young man is the very picture of grim stoicism for all that he does keep an eye and an ear on the one that's still looking at Kai. A bit of tension, certainly, creates a bit of nervous energy in his body. He resists the urge to move for the moment.

The unit leader shakes his head at Wren's words, even more when the others start to pile on — although Veks' words cause him to snort a laugh. And then he looks over to the other youths, and his humor disappears, "<In Trigedasleng> Are all three of them supposed to be silent then? Just what is your mission?" The nine other Grounders pick up on both the words and the tension in their leader's frame, looking confused and then starting to peer more closely at those riding bitch.

Britt smothers a smile at Veks' remark, before the words from the leader cause her eyes to narrow at him. "<In Trigedasleng> I am Britt kom Trikru. My orders come from the Heda and are not your concern. Now if you have a problem with that, you can take it up with the Heda. As I understand it, she is bound for Tondc, and I'm sure she would be glad to hear why you felt it necessary to delay our mission. Now are you going to let us pass or do we have a problem here?"

Fiona debates speaking, but isn't sure she can carry it off to string words together properly. She does smirk a little at the exchange, but yep - still remaining silent.

Kai's so not looking up, newp. There's no sounds of swords leaving sheathes and there's no shaking or prodding going on, so she can only assume that maybe it's okay? And suddenly after hours of wishing for the damned horse to stop it's all she can do not to try and mentally urge Roach to start moving. Or fart. Something, making faces at her own limited view of her thigh and the surrounding patch of ground as she let's the words trickle about her.

There's no reaction from Elias either. He seems rather committed to silent stoicism as it seems it has drawn a bit less of their attention. He doesn't respond in the least to any of them. His eyes are forward and he takes very soft, shallow breaths for the moment.

To his credit, Wren has said his peace, and isn't about to say anything else, seeming to take his orders from Britt and/or Rinnan. There is a look over to the woman with ears on her horse, as if waiting. Then a look to Britt.

And because they're not exactly moving again yet, it gives Roach time to let his stomach settle.

Which means he farts. Again.

The lead Trikru in the patrol shakes his head, "<In Trigedasleng> Anyone can claim to have orders from the Heda, Britt kom Trikru." And then, between words, he switches to English, "What does the Heda want with three Skaikru when she has given leave to the kruheda to deal with this matter as she sees fit?"

One of the nine Grounders is a little too close to Kai, Wren, and especially Roach, stepping back quickly and waving a hand under his nose, "<In Trigedasleng> Ugh. That smells like oil dipped in shit, rolled in skunk."

Rinnan grimaces, letting out a low, slightly annoyed sigh for the continued delays. She reaches up, pulling aside the cascade of her hair and the braids the begin in tight rows along her scalp to reveal the brand of Heda's Mark behind her ear. "<In Trigedasleng> Rinnan kom Trikru," she self-indentifies, craning her head for the men on the ground to oggle a better look. "<In Trigedasleng> Heda's mark," she points out, just in case there's any confusion. She allows them a beat or two longer view before finally sitting up and releasing her hair. "<In Trigedasleng> I haven't gotten into the personal business of asking the Heda or the Kruheda what she wants or why she wants it, if you think either lacks in wisdom by all means ask. They're both rumored to be here soon. I'm sure your questions won't bother them at all." Her eyesbrows raise at the Grounder, as her mouth closes as she regards him with that look of collapsing patience. In another century, it was probably called Mom Face.

"<In Trigedasleng> How high of a dogfucking pike will our heads be on if we're lying about the heda, eh?" snaps Veks. His horse dances in an unhappy semi-circle, lashing its tail as he twists in his saddle to look back toward the warband leader. Luckiest of all, Elias is getting a live lesson on just how powerful a horse's haunches can feel when the beast is itching to be Anywhere But Here. "<In Trigedasleng> I reckon it'd be about a foot taller than the one she keeps for people sticking their nose up her business."

Britt frowns at the Trikru leader. "This is the Skaikru bandrona. And we are taking her to the kruheda, to deal with as she sees fit." She nods to Rinnan when she reveals the tattoo. "<In Trigedasleng> Now I will ask you again - stand aside and let us do our job."

The leader of the band cranes forward to look at Rinnan's mark, shifting slightly as he considers. Veks' snapping causes him to look over in that direction, and more than one of his unit to shift, two even putting hands on weapons. Britt's words seem to still him, however, and he nods, "<In Trigedasleng> Should have just said so in the first place. We'll take you to her." It's not… entirely… a reassuring tone. But at least he's promising to take them to the place they want to go, right?

Skaikru. Well, the jig is up, so to speak, so Kai stops looking down, eyeing the guys with their hands on their swords and their relative proximity to Fi but well, yeh, she's not going to risk anything, especially not with Roach's lethal gasses wafting in the vicinity, no sir. Not her.

Nothing on Wren's end. But he is watching the other Trikru put their hands on their weapons. No, a warrior would notice that. And he's already taking a visual headcount, just in case.

Fiona seems to think it's still worth it not to let on that she has any clue as to any part of the ongoing conversation. She does however, lift her eyes and take a more level look around. Is she a prisoner? A guest? Who can say, and she's not offering clues.

Elias manages to stay upright, despite it all. The haunches of the horse do make him waver just a little, but he rights himself quickly enough. Having never ridden on a horse before, he's almost literally flying by the seat of his pants. With no idea as to what's being said, he remains entirely silent as he rides behind Veks.

"<In Trigedasleng> Easy," Britt cautions Veks when she sees the warriors' hands move. She can't help but slant an irritated look in Wren's direction when the leader says that. Oh yes. There'll be words later. "Fine. Let's get on with it then." It's better than eating a bow in the chest. For the benefit of the Skaikru, she says, "They are escorting us to Indra."

Rinnan gives up consent to the band leader's proposal in the form of a slow, long, not interested in hiding its irritation shrug. "<In Trigedasleng> Whatever gets us there," she adds, with gesture that seems to state 'after you' to the war band in general.

"<In Trigedasleng> Sweet goatfucking mercy, let's /go/, then," mutters Veks. In the wake of Britt's cautioning tone, the words are quieter and grumbly, rather than confrontational. Auntie has spoken. As they start forward again, he glances back to Elias and jerks his chin in a quick nod. "Good," he says. There's a moment's awkward pause after he says it, as if he's aware he's lacking the proper words, before he just nods again and returns his attention forward. Silly Skaikru. If they're so civilized, why don't they speak Trigedasleng? Hmf.

The unit leader nods to the rest, turning to walk back down the trail the way they came and looking back, expecting the others to follow. The rest of the unit moves to take up position where they can walk along behind the horses. Although a couple of them do carefully move over to ensure that they're not walking behind Roach. They're the smart ones, the ones to watch out for if this all goes south.

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