08.31.3013: Making Camp
Summary: The volunteer Waygate party has escaped the Hostile clutches for now and make camp.
Date: 31 August 3013
Related: Sacrifice, A Respite
Agnes Chiron Jarek Kaedin Kassandra Momoko 

Somewhere in the Eastern Spine
Wooded campsite
31 August 3013

It was another long day of slogging through the woods, heading for the foothills of mountains for the ragtag band of Havenite defenders. Last night they didn't get far, before making camp and tending their wounded. Tonight, however, most seem a bit better thanks to the efforts of those with field medic training. The camping spot for the night is a small clearing in the woods, where the undergrowth is both dense, and tall, shielding them from sight.

Another fire has been lit inside bits of armor, with a helm visor over the top to mute the light and keep them from being easily seen at a distance. Agnes, one of the more readily mobile of the injured, steps through the hole they bore through the foliage with a brace of rabbits hanging from her belt. Sergeant Ablist taught her well to survive in the wild, and her makeshift snares worked perfectly. "I have meat for dinner," she announces.

Another fire has been lit inside bits of armor, with a helm visor over the top to mute the light and keep them from being easily seen at a distance. Agnes, one of the more readily mobile of the injured, steps through the hole they bore through the foliage with a brace of rabbits hanging from her belt. Sergeant Ablist taught her well to survive in the wild, and her makeshift snares worked perfectly. "I have meat for dinner," she announces.'

Chiron is laying down, trying his best to rest from the battle that happened just last night. His wounds are bad, but not as bad as some others, like Jarek. His breathing is still pretty shallow, but he's stopped coughing, but his ribs still hurt. When Agnes returns with the rabbits he wheezes out, "Horay, we're saved." Flashing the tall knight lieutenant a smile.

Kaedin wear no armor, since he himself was going to scout the area and see how -safe- the group is. He has been unusualy quiet since their retreat, thoug hhis eyes hold alot of conflicting emotions that he honestly doesnt want to talk about. he comes in wiping abit of mud from his face, makeshift camoflage. Looking to Agnes he nods about the dinner, though any sort of happyness is gone in an instant as he moves over to check on his medic, bow attacked to his quiver and his shorter blade at his hip.

Momoko hasn't took her armor off yet and for now she's been doing what her profession taught her, being aware of everything. A second scout, but scouting around places that make sense for her rather than the paths, she comes back through the brush and enters the camp, pulling nettles from her hair. Upon inspection of the group once her hair is mostly nettle free, she notices that Agnes is holding dinner and Kaedin is sniffing around, while the rest are pretty much half dead.

Scouting done she moves over to Chiron and bends down, "How are you holding up?"

Jarek's where Agnes left him when they made camp, his breathing is more and more labored after the hike here. Clearly there is more going on inside him than meets the eye. He's resting with his eyes closed but he's still not been allowed to sleep just yet, his mind is going and now and then someone has had to slap their hand over his mouth when he started to suddenly call out, delerium starting to set in from a loss of blood, the immense pain, and the lack of sleep.

"How is your breathing, Chiron?" Agnes asks, as she sets the rabbits down on a tree stump and begins to skin them and prepare them for stew of some sort. "I want you taking it easy. If you've broken those ribs, we don't want you puncturing a lung." She glances over at Kaedin and Momoko before her eyes return to Jarek. "Damned priest. That sonic weapon of theirs. He's going to need more help than first aid soon." She grimaces and looks to Momoko. "Is there any way we can transfuse him out here in the middle of nowhere? I'm sure Sir Kaedin knows his blood type."

Kaedin looks up. "The same as mine…" he says, his voice soft since he hasen't been speaking… "Once we get to the mount… I'm going to beacon and offering lord Hollolas my aide." He says as he moves to have a look at his cousin's eyes. "I'll make them all pay… the streets will run red for this…"

"I'm doing fine." Chiron says to Momoko. It's not true, but maybe she'll focus on others like Jarek or Kaiden, who needs more help. "How are you doing?" He wheezes out to the medic, giving her a smile. He's a little delirious, partially from the pain, and partially from the pain killers. Taking a few more shallow breaths he says to Agnes, "It's doing better… I think. I stopped coughing, anyway." Which is good, because the coughing was really starting to hurt.

Momoko shakes her head, "I don't have the tools. I didn't pack for that kind of thing, just for field dressings. Maybe if we're lucky once we hit the smuggler's cache they'll have something I can use to jerry rig a transfusion, but not with what I currently have. Can't do it. Sorry." She turns to look at Kaedin, "Well good, then we have a donor too. Though you're just as banged up as him." She returns to Agnes, "If we can help it, None of us are in a position to offer a transfusion. We need to reach Khar-Mordune and badly."

Though she turns to Chiron and smiles, "Oh, the usual. I can't take off my armor because it's stopping my bleeding at the moment. And I don't really look forward to messing with this crossbow bolt. Otherwise I'm fine." She stands and brushes through her hair, "Though, at least it's clear. I didn't find anything scouting. You Kaedin?"

Agnes grimaces at Momoko's assessment and sighs. "Then if someone can finish cleaning these rabbits, I'm going back into the woods for materials to make a litter. We have to keep Jarek as immobile as we can. He took one of those high frequency pulses to the chest, and I suspect there are things broken inside him. We'll need to carry him as much as possible."

Kaedin shakes his head. "Nothing aside from a buck, and it's just my hand… nothing vital was hit otherwise." he says as he removes a makeshift bow holder from his left hand, which is wrapped up neat. "How far are we from the smuggler's den? If he needs blood, then we have to give it to him soon. Momo, could you make a… whatever-you-need for a transfusion out of my armor… I would say give him an adrenaline booster, but with blood loss…" he says with a frown. "I'lll clean the rabits, though, I can't cook to save my life… I once set water on fire…"

"FOR ALL THEIR GLORY!" Jarek suddenly blurts out at high volume, though a slight fit of coughing settles him, flecking his lips with blood. He hasn't started a fever, a good sign for now, and without his armor on he's not as restricted or confined so he starts to wiggle about slightly. Shakes could mean many things, but they aren't usually a good sign. The remnants of his aggressor armor lie in a heap near him, lots of bits missing as more and more of it is needed for whatever.

Momoko shakes her head, "You mean besides the chest wounds? Anyways, no, I can't make it out of your armor. Dirty blood would kill him faster than me stabbing him again would. Anyways, if he has internal bleeding then at least we know that it isn't major and probably can be ignored." She stands and moves over to Jarek, "And, judging from my best diagnosis, he's alive. He has no fever, he's breathing on his own, he walks on his own and he talks. He's not exactly aware but given the blood loss that's hardly a serious problem. So all in all, he's okay. He should make it to Khar-Mordune unless something happens."

She bends down to look at him, "He's sleeping and well, shaking, but again, blood loss. If he gets a fever we'll be in trouble, so do everything we can to stop that." She stands to move to her bag o' treats and takes an injector and two bottles, injecting him with both. "One for infection, one for pain. There. We can't afford an infection with this one."

"We have plenty of tubing in Jarek's armor, "Agnes notes. "We can sterilize it in boiling water, and use some syringes from the med kit, with the backs cut off, to draw and insert the blood. Just need to raise Kaedin's body higher than Jarek's and gravity should do the rest." She hands Chiron her skinning knife. "But that's if it comes to it. Otherwise, we see if anything is available at the cache first." She heads into the trees to go collect litter materials.

Kaedin places a soft hand over Jarek's mouth. "Jarek, ssshhh, quiet game." he says as he removes his hand and begins to skin a rabbit. He looks to Momoko and frowns. "We need to get you medical treatment as well… If I can;t die, then you can;t eather." He says with a nod as he continues his work. "Not a bad idea… just make sure I have some kinda sugery thing afterword… I'll be VERY woozy…" It's not the first time he has donated blood.

"Uncle Kevyn! The fizzbots got the better of me… I think their bicycle tires over inflated again." Jarek mumbles after Kaedin removes his hand, mixing up three completely different events in Kae and Jay's past. Fizzbots from the Alien's In Bikini's game Kaedin got for a birthday once, one of Kaedin's friends who'd over inflated bicycle tires to get a 'smoother' ride, and talking about Kae's father who'd routinely best the boys in almost anything until they got older.

Momoko teeters a bit, "Er, I would prefer not to use the hosing from anyone's armor, even his own. Even if we did put it in boiling water, that's a still a risk I'm not sure should be taken." Then a shrug as she puts all the things back in order and shakes her head at Kaedin, "I don't have a family to go back to. You have Odette, Agnes has Jarek, Chiron has Agnes and Jarek. Everyone has a family to return to. I'm least important tactically speaking. And as long as the crossbow bolt remains lodged in my chest then I won't bleed. And the armor is pretty much padding the rest as the blood is stuck to it. It's holed it off. I can't complain."

Kaedin blinks at Jarek. "Oh boy… Jarek, Father is back on the ring… or in Spikka with your father worried sick about us… might be grounded." he says with a half smile, more then he has given since they ran off. He look to Momoko. "Don't say that, you got me, Tacttics can kiss my ass at this point, I'm not loosing anyone else to this piece of crap situation." he says with a nod before continuing to clean rabbbits, tossing one finished one and grabbing another one. "Besides… Odette's probibly worried sick about the both of us." he says to momoko. "Now, no more talk about how important you think you are or are not, that's an order."

Chiron takes the knife from Agnes, "Momoko… we might not have that much time. Jarek needs help, and fast. We can't wait that long." He looks over again at Jarek. "What is he talking about?" He asks just in general to anyone. Sighing again he says, "Momoko, if anyone here is the least important it's me. I'm just a squire, and I have little medical experience. You have important knowledge that's vital to this group's survival."

Momoko looks over at Jarek, "He's fine. Anyways, I want to wait until the smuggler's cache. It's not much farther, maybe a half day. Even if there isn't anything there, we should do the transfusion in a place that isn't exposed to the elements. I'm not saying I'm doing it, but if we have to, let's not do it on the ground in the middle of the forest. He doesn't have a fever which means he has no infection and he's breathing normally. Right now he's just confused due to blood loss. It's like when you get real woozy and start spouting nonsense thinking they're words that mean something."

Then a nod at Kaedin, "Right, whatever you say."

"I'm marrying that Woman!" Jarek says with happy smirk of delirium pointing straight up (at no one but ceiling and sky beyond), "She's wonderful… keeps me warm at night like Pudo." Kae knows Pudo, the Drakes only ridge backed lizard that he'd caught as a teen and promptly made into a belt dagger sheath on a whim. "Also, she kicks Delf ass with her schlongingest sword, she wears the colors of money, and her hair is like mother's cookies." Which could mean really any color as his mother never baked a day in her life. Delf is another video game reference to these blue zombie like creatures that would suck out your innards.

Kaedin blinks and looks at Jarek… he knows he shouldent, but then again… "Uncle Farphax said if you don;t keep it down… he is gonna make us do muck work again." He says with a nod as the second rabbbit is tossed onto the pile… Farphax is Lord Erik and Lord Kevyn's brother, and also the man who Squired Kaedin. "And cow pies smell, so shadapp.."

Chiron continues skinning his rabbit, worried about the state of mind that Jarek is in. "That can't be good. Momoko, there's nothing that you're willing to do for him?" He sounds sightly annoyed, but there isn't much else he can really do. He grabs another rabbit and begins skinning it. "So, sense we're all here with nothing else to do, any fun stories we can share with the group?"

It is sometime later that Agnes returns, with an armload of sticks, vines, leaves, and other things to be used to create a litter. She dumps the items in the camp and finds a place to sit and begin to assemble it. "If you put the rabbit bones in the water with some of those carrots we found yesterday, they'll make a good stew broth. We'll add the rabbit in a bit," she advises.

Momoko peers over at Chiron, "Nothing i'm willing to do for him?" Her brow furrows, "What in the name of the six's collective asshole have I been doing since we left town? Whistling? Just because he's badly wounded doesn't mean I'm willing to take the risk of upsetting his current state of health even more than it's already upset. So unless you went to school to be a doctor, pipe down about it." And with that she closes the backpack, "I'm going on patrol again. I'm pissed off." And with that she disappears into the bushes again to patrol.

Kassandra has been out collecting firewood while also bitching nearly non-stop about how much she really hates camping. Having met Agnes on her hunt, the two teamed up briefly to collect the last of the necessary supplies. She follows a few paces behind the Peake, panting heavily beneath her burden of branches, and is startled as Momoko brushes past her to go out on patrol. "Be careful," she offers in a kindly manner to the doctor before leveling Chiron with an inquisitive stare. She drops her load on the ground in the center of their camp. "Make a fire." It's all she says before lowering herself down to the ground to sit, wincing as she does so.

Kaedin blinks and watches Momo go off, if she is anything like Odette, he will just let her fume for a while, though, that's how he deals with most people. "So, we get the water… and then chop carrots.' he says, acting very carful, like it's come kinda science… He looks at Kassandra. "We have a fire, but if you want me to teach you how, I can." He says, he himself is trying to cook, and doesnt have time for any of that foolishness.

Chiron looks slightly confused. Did he say something wrong? Man, these meds are powerful. Looking over to Kassandra he gives her a weak smile. "Heya, Kass. How are you doing?" He's been asking everybody that question when they approach him. "Why didn't we think ahead and bring food ourselves…" He asks no one in particular.

"Uncle Phalanx can kiss my Knight Lieutenant buttocks, I have rank now… don't make me pull it." Jarek's eyes shift back and forth wildly, "Bring me my kisser, I demand to be kissed. I am King Hafas, and I shall be kissed by my woman." he slightly nods, but only slightly. King Hafas is from that one game that Kaedin got Jay after getting knighted… it's content isn't to be talked about in public.

Agnes lays two long branches, around 3 inches in diameter, parallel on the ground, and begins laying out smaller branches across the span, as many as she can, to make for a stable surface to strap Jarek to. "Sir Kassandra, if you could put a pot of water on and salt it lightly, Sir Kaedin can bring you the bones and carrots to add to it while Chiron finishes up dicing the rabbit into bite-sized pieces."

Kaedin shakes his head. "Jarek, be quiet before 'Your Lady' comes over here and beats you sensless… and I'm not going to stop her eather." He says as he finishes cutting the carrots, and has the bones ready as well.

Kassandra ignores Kaedin. It's easier for her that way, and her head is throbbing too much for her to give any shits about fires. She reaches up to cradle her head in her hands, but she glances up when Chiron greets her. "Hey," she replies, offering a faint and fleeting smile. "I feel like chewed up ass, I'm pretty sure I have bug bites in regions where bugs should not be allowed, and I can only hope those leaves I used for toilet paper don't give me a rash. How about you?" When politely ordered to participate in the making of dinner, she gives a loud groan of dismay but rises up to go about her duty.

Agnes looks over at Jarek in concern, even as she begins to weave vines around the large and small branches to secure them together. She begins to sing very softly, enough for him to hear, but not enough to carry past the clearing they are camping in.

"The wild winds peep
And the night is a-cold;
Come hither, Sleep,
And my griefs infold:
But lo! The morning peeps
Over the eastern steeps,
And the rustling birds of dawn
The earth do scorn.
Lo! To the vault

Of paved heaven
With sorrow fraught
My notes are driven:
Make weep the eyes of day;
They make mad the roaring winds,
And with tempests play."

Chiron laughs a little. "You'll get used to it. It's easy once you know how!" He says to Kassandra. "I feel… shitty." He adds, too drugged to come up with something clever to say. He's cutting the rabbits up slowly and methodically. He has a slight smile when Agnes begins to sing, he'd sing along if he had the ability to do so.

Jarek at first starts to join in with his own drinking song,

"She was round at the counter,
And bluff in the bow,
Take a drink, way hey
pass the beer down…"

Then Agnes' words begin to work their magic, and her voice slowly begins to calm him down. A gentle smile curves his lips as he starts to drift into half sleep, "Agnes.." whispered before he falls fully silent, his breathing still labored but regular.

Singing, companionship, a fire, food being prepared, and a crazy wounded guy high on meds. "I fucking hate camping," Kassie mutters to herself beneath her breath as she secures a pot of water over the fire. She throws in a healthy dash or two or three of salt before looking sideways to Kaedin. "Vegetables done?" she grumbles, crouching down near him; despite herself, she looks up to watch Agnes work while she waits.

Momoko comes back from the patrol, satisfied nothing is going to jump out at them at least right now and returns to her doctor duties while everyone cooks.

Kaedin nods and hands over the slab of wood with veggies on it. "Yes… didnt mind the work, pretended the carrots were hostiles.. made chopping FUN." he says as he looks to a finaly calmed down Jarek.

Chiron says, "Why would you hate camping? It's great. You get to spend time with good friends, or make new ones. I'm glad that I'm out here with everyone here, as weird as that sounds. I hope to spend many more days slaying Hostiles and camping out like this." He says as he finishes cutting up the rabbits. He looks at Agnes and says, "They're done. You feeling ok?"

"Just tired, Chiron," Agnes murmurs. "I'll eat a bit later. I'm going to see about getting some sleep." She may have sat two watch shifts last night so Jarek could rest. She gets up and moves to curl up beside her wounded intended, and falls promptly asleep.

Kassandra takes the slab from Kaedin and rises, moving to the pot on the fire. She dumps the vegetables into the water, and now considering her work is done, she steps away. Her attention drifts toward Agnes as the woman turns over to get some rest, and the Valen squints before glancing up to the sky. "I wonder if my brothers think I'm dead." Well, how macabre.

Kaedin looks to kassandra. "Well, I'm sure they arent giving up hope, and you ARE a knight, so thins kinda crap goes with the territory." He says with a nod to her, noting jarek and agnes. "If she wasnt next to him… I'd put a frog on him…"

Chiron frowns, "I've been thinking about my siblings as well. I told my sister and brother that I was going to deal with something important just before leaving. I'm sure they're not happy about it." He smiles as he thinks of his family, they're good people. He looks over to Kaedin, "Eh, do it anyway." He says, giving the Knight a big grin. "I'm sure he deserved it at some point."

"It isn't hope that they're giving up," Kassie replies to Kaedin, glancing down to him before taking up a casual stroll. It's more like slow pacing as she traces the same path back and forth. "We're all knights, so we know to expect the worst. I'm just curious if they're thinking about me, that's all." With a shrug, she follows the change in subject and eyeballs the sleeping Jarek and Agnes. "I would do it."

Kaedin chuckles. "last thing I need is him mistakeing a frog for a drake, and reaching for his sword… He did that once before… the slug he gave me after was worth the laugh." he says with a smile. He looks to Kass and offers her a hand to help him up. "I'm going on patrol, Chiron, make sure the stew doesnt hop away.. Kass, if you want, you can join me."

"I'm sure they're thinking about you, Kass. Any sibling that you're even ok with would be worried about you." Or at least he would hope. He gives a nod to Kaedin. "Ah, don't like my company, I see." He says, giving the knight a grin. "That's ok, I guess patrols do need to happen. I don't /think/ the stew will burn…"

Kassandra reaches out a hand to Kaedin, gripping his tightly and helping haul him to his feet. "Luckily they will only worry for a very short while before moving on," she replies matter-of-factly. "The stew won't burn if you stir it often enough. Once it starts to bubble slowly, check the meat, and if it's cooked then you can raise the pot." She twists at the waist, looking down to check her axe in its magnetic holster. More importantly, she checks the dexterity of her left hand, squeezing her fingers into a fist several times before offering Kaedin a firm nod. "All set."

Kaedin nods and gets his quiver and side blade ready. "Chiron, hostiles come through here, take that big sword of mine, and cut their fuckin head off." he says with a nod. "I come back and all is safe, I'll buy you a beer the next chance I get." He says as he turns to make his way out. "Camping though, Kass, isn't as bad as you think, makes for goood alone time to ponder stuff." he says as he hooks a bow holder to his left hand, since the hand itself is almost useless.

Chiron looks over to Kaedin's sword. "You think I'll be able to lift that in my condition?" He says to the knight, jokingly. "I'll do what I can and I look forward to that beer." He keeps an eye on the stew, only wincing every few minutes now.

"I know. I bitch because it makes me feel better to do so," Kassie replies to Kaedin, sweeping her gaze slowly from side to side to scan their surroundings. She follows a little behind him, well out of the way so he can work with his bow with plenty of room to spare. Her stiff fingers curl about the handle of her axe, and she can feel the sharp burn of stitches in her hand pulling. "But I spend the majority of my time alone, Kaedin. Camping doesn't have the same appeal to me as it does to people who socialize. You sure you're going to be able to use that?"

Kaedin nods. "I'm sure I'lll get used to it… if the hand has to be removed, maybe I can get a hook or somthing." he says with a smirk. "I would love to spend my time alone, but Jarek wants to hang out, and training soldiers, and a whole foobar of crap…" He says as he looks around and leans against a tree. "Lookit… that same buck I saw earlyer… shhh… quiet now.." he says, not wanting to hunt it, but just watches it.

"huh?…." Jarek opens his eyes, and looks around but keeps stock still. His survival training taking over in his still slightly delirious mind, he doesn't move, but he listens and will strike when he knows to… then, that's odd. There's someone breathing heavily but regularly next to him… hey, he recognizes that sound, it's Agnes. She's sleeping next to him again, and he slowly relaxes.

"As I was a'walking 'round the Drakholt
Way hey, Drink that pint down.
A bonny young woman I chanced for to spot,
Wey hey, pass the beer down.
She was round at the counter,
And bluff in the bow.
Way hey, Drink that pint down.
So I offered my arm, and showed her the sights,
Way hey, pass the beer down…"

His voice as low as possible, only modicum of sanity he's got right now is to try and not wake her, but the urge for the drinking song is too great to remain quiet.

"I don't think you'll lose it," Kassie murmurs, eyeballing Kaedin's hand for a moment. "But I'm not a doctor." She falls silent, allowing the man to talk until he tells her to be quiet; she grits her teeth, because she was certain she was already doing her best to not make noise. When he mentions a buck, however, she turns her head slowly to spot it. Poised in anticipation, Kassandra is obviously expecting Kae to shoot the creature, but after two minutes of silence pass, she finally turns to look down at him. "Wait, seriously? You just want to watch it eat?"

Chiron smiles over to Jarek. He's busy making sure the stew doesn't burn. "A Drakeholt song, eh Jarek?" He says. He's clutching more at his chest, for fear that everything might spill out. He knows that won't happen, but it /feels/ like it should. "I like it, it sounds nice." His voice is still rather wheezy. "You feeling ok?"

Kaedin looks at Kassandra. "Welll, I can;t drag it back to camp, can you drrag a four hundred pound buck back to camp?" He says as he turns to watch the buck again. He cups his right hand over his mouth and makes a long low sound, the buck looks up and then moves to pee on a tree. "Mating call."

"I could if I were in better condition," Kassandra mutters, watching the buck as it goes about its business of doing whatever it is bucks do. Ah, there we go - peeing on trees. She rolls her eyes and snorts, but her half-smile shows that the sight is, at the very least, an amusing one. The expression is short-lived; her smile fades quickly. "Wait, what? Is he going to run over here and try to get with you?"

Kaedin snickers. "No.. I did the mating call, so it marked the territory, because I did the male mating call, and… uh-oh.." he says as he raises his bow to the now CHARGING Buck. "Usualy you shoot them when they piss… damnit all.."

Kassie relaxes for about a second until she hears the 'uh oh', and then her axe is up and she's on the defensive. "What? WHAT?" Her shriek is loud enough to reach back to camp at this point, and her bemusement at the charging buck is warring with her desire to smack Kaedin. "Shoot it. SHOOT IT! I am not dragging a giant carcass back to camp unless it's yours, damn it!"

"Thanks Chiron, and I'll be fine I think… quiet though, I want Agnes to get a full night tonight." Jarek doesn't move much but is able to bite down on a waterbladder tube and drink plenty of fluid to stay hydrated. Once his thirst is slackened he licks his lips and lets our a breath, "There isn't a banns up just yet… but a few days ago my father mailed me saying he'd secured our betrothal… we'll be married in several months time. So, I will just have to get better and stay alive, because of that."

Kaedin smiles as he gets the buck in the neck, and it staggers, he then places another arrow in it's eye and smiles. "Relax Kass, buck dead." he says with a nod as he walks over and plucks the arrows from the dead animal. "a Twelve pointer… would look wonderful on my wall…" he says, now kinda sad that he can;t get the head stuffed and mounted, so he takes a picture instead. "Should we drag it back and process it?"

Muttering things about men and hunting and animals how much she dislikes the wilderness, Kassandra storms over to the carcass to stare down at it intently. Perhaps the anger bubbling in her chest will shoot out her eyeballs and cook the thing right on the spot. After a few seconds, she realizes she will have no such luck. "I will never understand the male obsession with tropies. Right, well, we can either drag this miles away so that the local carnivores can eat it in peace without treading too close to our camp or we drag it back and start cutting it up. Camp is closer."

Chiron smiles, "That's wonderful, Jarek. I'm happy for the both of you." He would sound more excited, but any more expressiveness from him right now would just hurt more. "Sir Agnes deserves to be happy, I'm sure she'll feel at home at Drakeholt." He is quiet for a bit as he sighs. "I'm glad I went on this, as much as my chest hurts right now. I'd like it was a good bonding experience with everybody." It's clear by his tone he's a little out of it, and is a little more emotional about things then Jarek has seen him be before.

Kaedin chuckles and holsters his bow, grabbing the carcass and deftly tossing the WHOLE DAMN ANIMAL over his shoulders, since h9s chest would is much better. "Just make sure I don't fall back and break my spine." he says as he moves back to camp. "So… still have that sirt I let you borrow? Not that I'm hurting for it, jjust wondering what became of it."

Kassandra watches Kaedin and purses her lips, and after watching him struggle while lifting the animal, she slips in behind him help carry the animal. "I might be a female, but I'm not entirely helpless. Now that you have proven to me that you are, in fact, a manly man, I will help." Without waiting for him to protest, she nudges Kaedin in the back to signal he can start moving. When he mentions the shirt, she barks out a laugh devoid of humor. "I threw it away. Bad memories of a shitty night that served only to remind me why I don't bother with people. I will pay for a replacement."

Kaedin chuckles. "Well, that scrawny Khourni is a bad apple, never did like him much, if at all." he says as he walks twoards the Camp. "You don't have to push me… I'm not half delirious like my cousin… poor love struck bastard." he mumbles as he walks twoards camp. "And not all people are bad, you just havent met the right people, I mean, if you like killing hostiles and saving people… somthing we didnt accomplish here, crone on a stick… you would join my rag tag group in killing hostiles." he says.

"Don't worry Chiron, when we all look back on this and tell my children the stories of their father… I'm sure we can leave out the fact that you're being emotional right now." Jarek smirks at the ceiling, he's just messing with the squire… his right after all. "As for me, right now I'm going to shut my eyes and pretend to sleep."

Chiron looks more hurt then he should when Jarek speaks to him. "I was being serious. Being a knight has been something I've always dreamed of, something I thought I would have never been able to achieve…" He is about to continue with his emotional breakdown, but Jarek has already fallen asleep. When the two knights return from their escapades, they find the squire almost near tears as he's diligently stirring the stew.

"I'm not pushing you. I was just letting you know you could move," Kassie grumbles, but she falls silent as she struggles to help heft the stupid, stupid animal back to camp. "No," is her reply to what almost sounds like an invitation; her tone is rough, but after a second she clears her throat and tries to answer in a less rude manner. Tries, anyway. "I have my duty to my family first and foremost, and I will go where they send me. Even if where they send me is to the ass-end of the planet on a suicide mission to watch civilians die while I beat a retreat." No bitterness there. "But we saved many, many more people than we lost, Kae. We did well."

Kaedin blinks as he comes back to campo, and frowns, half tempted to drop the huge buck on his cousin. he drops the animal and turns to face kassandra, nerve… struck, "Well… WELL? No, well would have been if we were able to kill half of what we fought, well would have been if we could have gotten some of what died into that damn gate, then we ran… I'm going back, I don't care if it's with ten, or ten thousand soldiers… They almost killed my cousin, and those mindless mechanical zealots will burn in the lowest hell, I'll send them there personaly." He says as he takes out a knife to begin cleaning the buck, he understands the implications, but the whole thing just doesn;t sit with him alll to much.

"Hey." Chiron says, sniffling. "I think the stew is almost ready, if you two wanted some." His voice sounding slightly shaky. "You're going back there, Kaedin? When?"

Kassandra takes Kaedin's outburst in stride, sparing a glance for Chiron as she does so. "The stew is probably done," she murmurs quietly before taking a seat beside Kaedin. She pulls out her knife and checks the blade over before gesturing to the carcass in a silent inquiry as to whether or not he would appreciate her assistance.

"This is the difference between mindlessly obliterating an enemy and following orders, Kae. Anger is good, and I would never tell you to feel anything less than pure rage at the atrocities you have seen and will continue to see. But you are no good to anybody if you let it get the best of you. Our mission was to go through, evacuate as many civilians as we could, and then shut down the gate permanently. By doing this, we saved thousands of more lives that would have been lost had the Hostiles maintained control of the gate." Kassie pauses, reaching up to rub her fingers over her mouth in thought before continuing. "We did what we were supposed to do. We managed to help some people evacuate. We killed a couple Hostiles, and we escaped with our lives. We saved the goddamn day, in a sense, because those people were lost before we even got there."

Kaedin frowns and looks at Kassandra. "Yes we did what we were suposed to do, we gave away a chunk of OUR land to -them-, that's what we did. Fuck.. we arent suposed to be ALIVE right now.. they send us in there to die, and I was mind set on getting you all throug hthat gate before it closed." he says with a frown. "Then you all wouldent be out here, and jarek wouldent be close to death." he says with a frown. "You all didnt have to be the statistic I was."

"The loss of land is temporary, and retreat can be just as strategic as all-out battle." Kassandra must be having a particularly zen moment, because despite Kaedin's struggle with their most recent encounter, she seems to be in a nearly meditative mood. "We're not a statistic. We made it out alive. We'll reach Khar-Mordune soon, and we'll get to go back to our homes to recuperate until we're needed for another mission. We will mourn those we have lost, and we will pledge to do better in the future. I am not saying you should accept what happened as being a good thing, but I am saying you should accept that sometimes it is beyond your control. There will be so many more of those moments as the Hostiles become more aggressive - and they will, because we've been parrying their smaller forays for far too long, now."

Chiron frowns, feeling a little ignored. He pulls the stew out of the fire and places it down gently with only muttering a few ows. He turns around to join the conversation at hand. "Kaedin, there was nothing more you could have done. Those people…" He stops talking, taking a deep breath. "It's better that you're alive to keep fighting. We need men like you to make sure we make it though."

Kaedin frowns. "This is just all so stupid, why.. why do they come here ant start this shit.. what the fuck do they want? I'm not going to accept it. I mean, I'm sure Lord Hollolas is going to muster a force to try and take back that holding, but acceptable losses? that's just another fancy word for 'we didnt plan for that, my bad." he says, clearly upset. "Chiron, get yourself a bowl of stew, you will need your strength, I'm going on guard duty." he says, tossing the deer skin aside. "if you need work, use that salt rock and cut chuncks from the Buck, then salt it so it wont go bad while we travel." he says as he walks off, driving his work knife into a tree as he passes.

Kassandra sighs, reaching up to rub her temples. Her head is throbbing painfully, and spots are beginning to dance in front of her eyes. "You are right, Kaedin, 'acceptable losses' is a piss-poor term. It's what we say to ourselves so that we can stomach the fact that we will not be able to save everyone - because we won't. We'll never be able to save them all. But we will keep trying until we die, and that is what matters."

When Kaedin announces he is going to take a guard shift, the Valen lets out a sigh allows him to leave. "Be safe, and wake me first when you get back. I want to let Sir Agnes get more sleep since she took a double-shift last night. Chiron, pass me the stew before I finish this deer."

Chiron passes over the stew Kassandra. "Be safe, Kaedin." Chiron says to the knight as he runs out. Turning back to the Valen knight he gives her a smile. "So you guys found buck while you went out there? That's pretty lucky, I'd say."

"Kaedin did, and in all of his glory he managed to get it to charge him, so he was forced to kill it, and here we are with more meat than we can manage." No sir, no innuendo there. Kassandra smirks at her own words as she sets into her stew, savoring each slow bite. She studies Chiron from beneath her lashes. "How old are you, anyway?"

"The meat will be nice to have, it'll save on having to find some later." Chiron states the obvious. "I'm Twenty-four, my Lady." He gives her a smile. "I've only been a squire for a few months. Was a Sergeant before then. I've not seen any real combat before this… It's a lot to take in. I almost died! I watched innocent people die…" He says, his breathing getting a bit more shallow.

Kassandra finishes just enough stew to feel full, and afterward takes up her knife to tend to the remainder of the buck. "Twenty-four? So am I," she answers, apparently willing to make small talk while she works. Of course, it doesn't take long before she senses another emotional crisis on the horizon, and she looks up to Chiron with pursed lips. "Easy there. Tell me what you did as a sergeant."

"Mostly Guard work. I had a platoon I was a member of, was taking classes to be a combat medic. I've always dreamed of becoming a knight, and I was upset when I didn't get squired. This is something I've always wanted, and now I have it… mostly. I still need to get knighted." Chiron says, happy to talk about his life. It's clear by his speech that he's not all there. "You'd like my sister, Sparrow. She's a poet, and was a handmaiden. My brother is trying to get into the Academ and is dating a Rhoven knight. She's kind of ok I guess. She insulted our ranch." Chiron rambles on, oblivious to what's going on around him.

"I don't like poetry, and I've never had a handmaiden. I'm not sure what about your sister I would like," Kassandra replies nonchalantly; there is no venom in her tone, merely a statement of fact. She works on the carcass efficiently, having practiced this more than her fair share as a squire. "That's what you get for dating a Rovehn. Husbandry is in their blood. What is your brother going to Academ for?"

"Oh." Is all Chiron says in response to the Knights response about his sister. "He's studying to be a medical doctor. I think he might be looking at combat medic? I'm not completely sure, but something in the medical field." He says. "I don't know so much about it. What about you? What's your family life like?"

Work, work, work. Kassandra doesn't miss a beat in the rhythm she has developed, glancing up to Chiron occasionally as he speaks. Her lips purse together at the sight of slightly crestfallen explanation, so she attempts to soften her demeanor to some degree to compensate. "A medical doctor? It sounds like an interest in medicine runs in your family." There, that's polite, right? When he questions her family life, however, the Valen pauses for a moment.

"My family life is — businesslike, in a sense," Kassandra replies slowly and begins her work again. "My siblings and I are as close as we can be having grown up relative strangers. All four of us are knights, so we were squired out before we had much time to bond. Still, we've had a few years together, although the youngest wasn't home long after his knighting before he married out. My father is — was — the Knight Commander."

There is a small fire going with a pot of finished stew siting beside it, Kassandra is skinning a buck that was recently slain, and Jarek and Agnes are sleeping next to one another. "We're kind of medically inclined, yeah." Chiron replies back, frowning some as Kassandra begins to speak about her family life. "I imagine the life of a noble is a difficult one. Being thrust into all of the politics. What happened to your father?" He asks before realizing that hostiles probably happened to him.

The vehemence behind Kassandra's knife-strokes deepens as Chiron inquires after her father's current status. The politics behind that particular story are enough to set her blood boiling, but the most that the Valen responds is a cursory, "He lost his job." Well, at least Chiron knows the man is still alive. "Here, help me with this. We need to clean it out and cut the meat. It's getting late and Kaedin will be back soon to have me take the next two shifts. You will need your sleep, too."

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