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The Sublime Overlord of the Realm
Whisper had lead. It seemed a thing she had been born to do. She simply moved forward. The knowledge of Echo's hurt made her avoid the topic of Shad completely and, to some degree, she ignored Tomick too. It wasn't that she had been trying to be mean to the man, but rather, she didn't want Echo to feel pain when she saw someone else in the arms of her lover, especially not her sister. Echo meant the world to Whisper and she tried to protect her even in this way. She would not seek out the comfort of a man's arms until they were safely back at the Complex. A part of her knew that there was a great chance that even Tomick might die in the battle that was before them, but she stubbornly pushed it aside for duty and loyalty to her sister above all others. She never assigned Tomick a watch with her because of it. At times, she wondered if she could see hurt in his eyes, but she pushed that aside, taking it forgranted that he would understand at some point.

In her guts, she knew that something was strange with Echo. She wasn't eating much and seemed to try to avoid food, though was strangely happy every time they came upon an apple tree. It worried Whisper, but she couldn't place what would be wrong. Echo didn't act like she was ill. No coughing or running nose or fever. She sang as she would have always done in the evenings or on the road. She eventually just placed it all under "Missing Shad, the asshole." Depression had always made her own voracious appetite slacken. It was no wonder that even Whisper was eating less. She had lost some weight on this jouney and all that remained to her was muscle and bone. What little bit of plushness she had created from life at the Complex had disappeared completely. It showed as a gauntness in her face, but that was not something she could see and thought nothing of it.

As Echo rode beside her, question raised, Whisper thought. It was two, three days from Phenvast to Randatria. A week out from Randatria... Well, in days' time, we're a week and a half out, roughly. It's probably close to 500 miles, I would think. We've been pushing ourselves pretty hard. I would think that--

A man darted out of the town they were passing, waving his arms. He looked like a peasant, but he was dirty and his eyes were wild. Not that way! Not that way! Turn back! Turn back! Whisper pulled Wraith to a stop and the man approached quickly despite the fact that these were armed riders. That way is cursed!

Whisper shook her head, frowning in confusion. What are you saying, man? The road is cursed?

The bedraggled man shook his head vehemently. No, but the field is! Whisper's head turned quickly to glance down the road. Gideon. I can see by your eyes that you want to go further, but please, do not!

What about the field? What makes it cursed?

It is covered in statues. Living statues! Come, stay in town tonight. Turn back upon the morrow. It is already late. The man motioned back to town and began to walk back. We've an inn! Good stew and soft cakes of sweetbread. Please, come! Rethink your journey. We've even got maps for a different route.

Whisper looked at her companions. It was true that it was late in the day already and she didn't want to get caught unawares in the dark with Gideon about, if that was truly whom Gidocian was. Well? Should we call it a day early and buy ourselves a room? She left it open for the others to speak amongst themselves. It was a wise decision, but she wanted to hear their opinions.

I'm up for a room. Mender thought stew sounded tasty. Anything was better than travel rations.

I'm for heading onwards. The sooner we've done what we've come to do, the better. Juli's sensible advice. Do the job and go home.

The town beside the road was a clean one, but small. The inn was clearly the largest building in it, but it looked like it was kept in well repair, painted wooden siding and a friendly little sign with a harp on it, "Harper's Inn." The stable beside it was empty except for a boy sweeping it out. The man that had met them continued to walk into the town, heading for the inn as well. Whisper glanced at Tomick and Echo for their opinions.
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To Kill Your Blood · Uruhyo Forest

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