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The Sublime Overlord of the Realm
Whisper was glad to call for a halt. Her rear was sore from riding already as she was used to staying on the ground instead of riding, but Wraith was at least fitted with a saddle that felt good enough not to chafe either one of them. Amber slowed the wagon to a halt at the paladin's signal even as Echo was already bounding off. Mender whistled in order to call in Jet and Paul, a loud enough whistle to be heard for quite a distance. Already we have made it through the morning. A few days of this and my rear will have been stuck permanently to the saddle. She slid off, hurting, but ignored the sore feeling in her body. I'll get used to it. It was just another type of training. Her father had always told that that training was important and, on the road, was where the best of it began. Neither of the girls had been all that far from home before either. That Whisper had left and gone to the swamp on her pilgrimage was probably as far as either one of them had been. Mother never wanted to go anywhere. She was content hiding in the house or around the cottage all day, every day. So we never went anywhere and I'd be showing Echo how to find the best frogs. And now here we are, very far from home.

She looked around at the trees as the rest dismounted. Jet came in first out of the two outriders. Report, Jet.

Jet slid down from his horse, holding the reins as Martin fidgetted. No signs of anything hostile. Deer tracks and maybe a farmer's boot print a bit of the ways back. Whisper nodded, waiting for Paul to show.

Mender, will you whistle again? I don't think Paul was paying attention.

Sure thing, Ma'am. The large redheaded man nodded and set two fingers in his mouth and whistled very loudly. The sounds of horse finally came. Paul brought Hock in and the horse looked exhausted. Whisper looked over the man critically. He seemed fine, an indolent smile across his face that made her irritated. A sneaking suspicion crawled up within her. They had passed a small village a little way back. Where there are villages, there are bound to be little farmgirls. I didn't see him in the village at all, but that's because probably got bored, rode ahead, found a girl, gave her a tumble, went back to the village, realized we were ahead, and rode his horse fast and hard to get here. An expression very similar to her father's displeased expression rolled across her darkening face.

Where were you, Paul? Her voice was low, dangerous.

I was outriding, ma'am. Looking for dangers to the group. As I was s'posed to. Paul responded fairly casually, looking at his nails as he sat atop his tired horse.

And, might I ask just how far you rode out? Whisper's voice stayed dangerously controlled. Any who knew her well, knew that when her voice was like that, she was acting just like her mother.

Paul glanced up and looked at Jet. Jet frowned and then looked away. Seeing no help from that quarter, he turned his hazel eyes onto Mender who was patting Firebrand's neck. Seeing no help there either, he gulped. Uh... Out.

Whisper raised an eyebrow. I see. Her face darkened again as she went over to him, her fingers raking into fabric and flesh before physically yanking him off the back of his horse by his pants. Paul gave a shout as he came tumbling onto the ground. Before he could even reestablish his feet beneath him, Whisper had grabbed him by the collar and raised him to them. When I am in charge of a group venture, I am in charge. Outriding is a privilege. You get to go out and explore the areas away from the road and still keep within an earshot. I count on them to make sure that there is no danger to the group. We are all here to keep Lord DeKlaris safe. If one of those under my command fail, then we all fail. So when all you are seeing out there is some farmgirl's ass as you take her from behind, you are not doing your job! If I catch you at it again, I will punish you for misconduct. Even if you desert, you'll wish you had taken your own life by the time I find you and rip out your spine. Do I make myself clear, Paul? Yes or no, and I guarantee I don't need more words than one.

Paul blinked, still choking within the grip she had on his collar, his eyes bugging out. Yes.

Her cruel, wicked smile came on with her narrowed, cold eyes. Good. She released him and he stumbled back, falling. She turned her back on him and then looked at the others. Hobble your horses and let's have some lunch! Everyone should be keeping their ears and eyes open despite it though.


Charles heard the knock on the door and peered out. Oh, Lady Echo. We must have stopped for lunch, I assume? Either way, Muffle cheats at cards and I am quite done playing for a bit.

Muffle snorted. I do not cheat, m'lorrrd. You arrre jusst bad at carrrdss.

The lord looked upward in his psuedo-eyeroll movement once more, a half smile on his face. Charles reached in to take his jacket from the chair he had left it in and then came out of the wagon, pulling it on even as he did so to keep him a bit more protected from the possible drizzle. I am glad to see that it has stopped a bit. A dreary day makes the heart the same. Are you faring well up by Amber? Hopefully she has been treating you well. He smiled as he looked at the woman he had not expected to be joining him. Already he was beginning to suspect that she had left a string of rumors behind her for going on a trip with the Lord DeKlaris' entourage.

Muffle slithered out behind Charles and wrinkled his nose as he glanced up at the dark clouds. I hate rrrain. Rrrain, rrrain go away and, forrr my sssake pleasse, don't come anotherrr day.

Amber came to the back of the wagon. Seems like the Lady Whisper is having problems with one of her men. The shorter blond fellow. The draconian frowned a bit, uncomfortable with the sort of discipline that it seemed Whisper was accustomed to giving by the sounds of her threats.
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First and Last Defense · Pathways of the Five Pilgrims

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