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The Sublime Overlord of the Realm
Whisper went back into the house now that the girl was gone. Tomick was gone with a bucket to the water source in order to help set things right and Brian was around back. The woman stood there in the home, nostrils overcome with a scent of so much death. It made her stomach uneasy to say the least which only followed suit with her mind. The light came in from the opened windows, a breeze picking up the smells and casting them about. I wish it was just the blood. Blood she had smelled before, a companion that followed her about during battle. Blood at least seemed clean. The way these bodies lay was anything but. The man broken, the women raped in such an obvious way... Her mother's fears from the past boiled in her mind. Her mother was so concerned about rape as well as the deed in general. What kind of monsters were these trolls?

Her footsteps were light on the floor of the hut as she neared the little girl. The paladin hunkered down, squatting beside such a small, delicate frame to smooth the girl's hair, close the eyelids, and tug the skirt over her bony hips to decency once more. Unbidden tears found their way to Whisper's pale blue eyes. How could anyone...? The question was left unsaid as she slowly lifted herself to standing once more to go to the older woman and give her the same treatment, turning the dead girl's mother over, pulling down the skirt, and closing the horrified and unseeing eyes for the final time. Rigor mortis had set in and the bodies remained so very rigid. Whisper had no wish to try to soften the limbs nor the working knowledge of how to do so. It was easy to be repulsed by them, a death so gruesome as theirs, to find both disgust and pity in equal measures along with her own sense of anger and injustice.

To the girl again she went. It was like picking up a large wooden doll. A dead, smelling thing in her arms, Whisper could do little but shoulder aside the doorflap and lay the little girl down in front of the house. They all need to be removed first before we can do anything about the house itself. Logic demanded she move the bodies before she cleaned. There was little sense in simply sweeping about them as if they did not exist. The older woman came next and was more ungainly because of the weight and the way she was posed. As soon as Whisper tried to lift her, a stream of wet brown came out and down the dead woman's legs and onto the paladin's arm. She choked back her disgust and continued on with her burden, gently laying the mother beside the daughter before moving away to grab some clumps of grass and using them to scrub off her arm. Her exhale came out as a shudder as she breathed in the fresher air, knowing that she would need assistance to get the dead man out. Tomick will be back soon. She did not want to rely on young Brian, knowing there was much he was unaccustomed to and this thing particularly awful.

When she heard her lover nearby, she looked at him, her face still slick with unwiped tears that even she still seemed unaware of. I got the girl and her mother out. I'll need your help with the man. I thought it would be better out here for you.


Exelder looked around the area of the pond as Greta splashed herself with clean water, striking the filth from her body. It was an oddly peaceful place though only small birds seemed to stir in the trees. He saw no true animal trails for deer or wolves or other animals save for a large bit of shore on the opposite side. The tracks in it were obvious in their sizes. Trollsign. Large footprints dotted the sand everywhere, plant growth restrained in that area for easier access to the water source. It seemed that the humans and their troll neighbors shared the watering hole at one time... if they could share it. Perhaps that was where the first conflict arose. Surely the two cultures would have to meet here by accident if not on purpose. He had stopped watching Greta in order to survey the area and hadn't even noticed when the splashing had stopped.

Her voice was not even far enough away to be inches away from him when she decided to speak. Am I clean enough now, sir? Her light hazel eyes peered up at him, dark blond hair swept back and against her head, sleekly wet. Her small mouth was slightly ajar into an almost sulky O. Her pale shoulders led to pale, well-formed breasts to wide hips and... Exelder jerked back, startled by the sudden realization.

Greta, where is your dress? He averted his eyes just as sharply as his words came out.

It was dirty. You said to get clean. Is it not customary to offer myself to you for your help, sir? I will... I will gladly let you take me to avenge my family. I thought... Her voice seemed so innocent even as he felt her press her body against him through the armor that he wore, her wet fingers finding one of his hands.

Exelder was an honorable man, yet he was still a man. This offering of herself made him tense in more ways than one. No! Greta, no. I... No. He moved away from her again, trying to gently disengage her from himself. Still wearing his cloak from earlier, he unclasped it one handed and only turned towards the girl to flip it over her shoulders and wrap it securely around the body that was woman enough for most men. The cloak caught her arms and wrapped everything entirely save for her feet and ankles.

You... you don't want it? You won't... won't help me? Her eyes moistened as she looked at him.

No. I mean, yes. Wait. Greta, I... He exhaled heavily, trying to make it come out without being confusing for either of them. Greta, you are an attractive young woman and I would gladly... He coughed and swallowed roughly, his face red. But I'm sure that we will help you. Sir Whisper is an honorable woman, but she is in charge of our troop, small as it is. But you should know that we won't do this for sex. We don't need that... sort of payment.

Oh. Her fingertips caressed the cloak that she now willingly held around her.

I'll... I'll wash your dress, Greta. Just stay right there, okay? He saw her nod and then turned to take care of the garment that the girl had carelessly left thrown by the shore.


The cloak slid from Greta's shoulders as she moved away from Exelder whose back was turned as he scrubbed at the burlap fabric and its coyote pelt attachment. Her feet were whisper-quiet as she moved back towards the house. The woman and the silver haired man were at the front and inside the house. The younger man was at the back. Perhaps she doubted Exelder's sincerity of aid when she approached Brian. Her body glistened with the moisture that Exelder's cloak had failed to lick away. Hello, sir. Will you help me? Help me avenge my family? She had gotten uncommonly close to him as well, her face unreadable in many ways. He was easier to approach silently than Exelder due to his inexperience. I offer myself in payment for such a deed. I have faith in your strength.
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Warhorse Way · Pathways of the Five Pilgrims

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