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Eleforian Elite Guard
The week of travel that they rode was fairly quiet. Only a small scuffle with a few highwaymen disturbed the group. The group only grew a little more relaxed as they traveled together. Things fell into a routine. Echo pitched in wherever she was needed. She would help set up tents just as easily as she would collect deadwood or take care of the horses. But constantly, the young woman was always moving, using work to distract herself from the pain that still twinged in her heart. It got to the point where sometimes nobody had to speak if they didn't wish to, if that day had been a little longer than usual. Tomick would give a glance, and Juli and Mender would simply nod at him in return, and with a sigh, all would slip into the routine of setting up camp. Echo sang often, performing her duties as a bard to them all, sometimes making up small ditties on the spot just to make one of the members laugh.

It had been a day after Shad left that the first bout of nausea hit her in the morning. She had risen a bit earlier, and slid down to the stream that was nearby, and as she had splashed her face, wishing that she had a warmer place to wash. At the scent of broken foliage, her stomach had rolled and she found herself retching into the bushes. She avoided breakfast, and had managed to successfully avoid breakfast, waiting until her stomach settled to begin gnawing upon jerky a little later as they rode. Along with that, a strange craving for sweets had hit her. Apples worked when they had them, being a sweet enough fruit, but she wanted cakes and candies, more so than even usual.

At night, she took a watch, usually whichever one people wanted least, leaving it to Whisper to assign her a partner or not. Anytime she got a watch alone, she sat the entire time with on hand protectively over her stomach, a hidden knowledge inside of her that caused both a fear and wonder. She did her best to not think of the half-elf, scar-covered man that had stormed away from her, but occasionally, awoke in her bedroll with tears in her eyes.

It was almost a week later now, and Echo was wearing her travel leathers, singing softly, one song after another. Her feet hung loose along the sides of her gelding, renamed Gruff for his mannerisms of snorting at her, and she mostly let him simply follow the herd. Gruff tended to stay close to Wraith, which meant she was often riding near her sister. Because of this, she was careful to never find herself touching her flat stomach. If I really am, I won't show for a while... I can't tell for sure yet... my moon-time isn't for another week or so. I'll know then. She smiled as she sang, looking around and seeing forest ahead of them, and a town off to the right.

In general, nobody questioned her happy facade. They all knew that it was a facade, but only Whisper knew the depth of it. Echo looked up at the sky, trying to gauge where the sun was through the light cloud cover. She swallowed thickly, the craving for sweets not satisfied by the salty jerky that she had in her saddlebags.

Tomick rode almost constantly in the manner of a sentry, dropping back and coming forward, ever alert. He most often rode with Mender, teaching the man what he knew of woodland signals from his pilgrimage, and signs in the weather. He drilled Mender when they stopped for longer than five minutes, sparring with the heavy man at quarter speed, making the man strengthen the muscle that Tomick knew resided underneath the extra layers of fat. The weight would make a shift soon, since Mender had not been eating as much as he would have at the Complex, and was exercising even more. Occasionally the man would even add to the duties of a bard, telling the tale of Leosine's rise to divinity once, and another time, one of the tales of the god's battles before his deification.

Echo looked over at the town they were passing. "How far are we from Phenvast, do you think, Whisper?" It was an idle question
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To Kill Your Blood · Uruhyo Forest

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