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Gimble shuffles off to get some firewood, collecting any and all dry branches he can get, unable to fell a tree or chop any fallen logs, he hoists the branches over his shoulder and heads back towards the cave. Depositing the wood in the middle of the cave he starts getting out his tinderbox and lighting the fire. Gimble nods towards Bryce to signal she can take it from here.

Gimble walks back to his pack and takes out some rations one for himself and one for Iselka. "Iselka, 'ere. I can imagine you're hungry." Pushing the rations toward her he sits down next to the fire and starts munching his eyes flutter as he takes the first bite.
 
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“Thank you, master Waywocket.” Fauntleroy has made herself comfortable while waiting, having opened her coat and taken off her boots. She’s absentmindedly nibbling on her own rations, peering at her notes in an attempt to get ahead while waiting. She glances at the fire for a moment, before she snaps her fingers and mumbles <“Awaken!”> in Sylvan.

She settles as the fire lights itself. She puts her back against the wall and notebook propped up on her knees, still nibbling on rations. “I can keep an eye out until master N’Vaelharn comes back, if you two want to get some rest.”
 
Carwyn opens one eye and looks towards Fauntleroy. He clears his throat a little and tries his hardest to apologise, still swimming in a world of shame, fear and the high of being contacted by his goddess. "Professor I... I am sorry. I know that isn't enough for what I said. I did not mean it but it was said. I understand your ire towards me and I accept full blame for it. You are not a monster and your work will outlive all of us. Goodnight." He closes his eyes again and returns to praying.
 
“Well, that is just about the opposite of my work to do,” Fauntleroy huffs quietly. “The whole purpose is that we sentient beings stop outliving things. But do what you must, master Gwirionedd. I shan’t keep you from your prayers.” With that, she raises the notebook in front of her face, her face creased into a frown as she stares at the pages and tries to focus on those, rather than the praying cleric.
 
Gimble Turns his head towards Carwyn's voice and nods with a smile on his face in jolly approval, whispering "Aye that's swell".

Gimble lets out a yawn "That's very generous of you... Master Fauntleroy..". Giggling a bit as he says that "Dang I 'aven't called you by that since we met... well since you told me your first name" letting out a chuckle. "Was that before or after you disturbed the golbins 'to-be' feast of my bones at old abandoned fort? Then you told me the only reason you did it was to supply yourself with more samples!" Laughing non-stop Gimble has to stop himself from chocking.
 
“I recall that being before,” Fauntleroy says after a moment, though she doesn’t look up from her notebook. “I was introducing myself to the goblins, hoping they’d consent to being test subjects. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to meet a goblin who actually consents.” She turns a page in her notebook without actually reading. “If I remember correctly, you were there looking for their treasures, weren’t you? Was the haul actually worth the goblin-induced peril in the end?”
 
Gimble sighs a bit "Ahh. Sadly no, those gobbies only had a small amount of quartz nothing to sell really only to practice my craft on". His eyes turn up to Fauntleroy "Perhaps we can make a career out of our skills one day Bryce? Some day in tha future once I 'ave enough money and materials I want to become a jeweler, a great one like me grandfather..." Gimble starts getting his backpack into a comfortable-ish shape and puts his travelers cloths over his armor to get some more warm. Getting comfortable "maybe one day...Say, what kinda aspirations do you 'ave? Academic?".
 
“A shame. Perhaps the Duchess will reward us with something more worth your time,” she offers as weak consolation. She nods at Gimble’s words. “Dedication is the start of any great career. As long as you keep at it, I am sure you will achieve your goal. Perhaps you’ll even surpass your grandfather.”

She sighs and closes the book, keeping her thumb between the pages. “In a way. I used to be a more theoretical scholar, but I have decided it was time for a more hands on approach if I wanted to prove the naysayers wrong.” She nods resolutely, as if to remind herself to stay on track. “I will do the world a great service, become the foremost expert in my field and will publish groundbreaking research— all in one go.”
 
"That's a great undertakin' Prof. and hey, as long as your efforts are to help people, I will always do what I can to help you." looking at his hands feeling the magic that his mother taught him "Also, I do have some talent towards the arcane, would you consider helping me increase that capacity?"
 
Carwyn opens his eyes and turns around, placing the incense down on the floor and adjusting his robes. He smiles to himself and then looks at Gimble and Fauntleroy warmly. "I have nothing but confidence that you will both achieve your aim. Maybe one day Gimble you will make a piece of jewelery for me and I will treasure it forever. And if Fauntleroy succeeds then that truly will be forever." He looks down at his hands. "All I ever wanted to do was help people, it didn't matter to me how. Now, with Eldath showing herself so close to me, I feel that maybe I need to really look at the best way for me to help."

He turns to look at Iselka. "And for you Iselka? Warmth, security, family? I feel that all of us want that in one way or another. Except maybe the Professor." He laughs gently. "That makes her the most brilliant of all of us, she thinks circles around me. Around everyone I've ever met." He points at Gimble. "And this gnome can get in and out of more places with more jewels that you would ever believe possible. As for our absent elf, I watched him track a hare through fresh snow with no tracks. As long as you don't count on him to hold his liquor." He turns back to the other two at the campfire. "Do you remember that night in that tavern in Daggerford, where Balion had that rum?" He laughs heartily and there is life in his face you haven't seen since the dinner.
 
“I appreciate the sentiment, master Waywocket. I fear there’s very little you can help me with, but it’s nice nonetheless.” She hesitates for a few moments. “I’m afraid my specialization lies within the Necromantic school of magic. Theoretically I know of a spell or two I could teach you, but I do not have any experience casting them. If you don’t mind subpar teaching from something outside my usual field of research, I’m willing to assist.”

She glances up when Carwyn starts speaking, raising an eyebrow. For a moment, she considers arguing with him—but there was no point to it. Her reputation was established, and he was right in a way. She’d never sought out any of those things. Not after what happened. What was the point of finding those things if Fate, or the Gods or whatever was governing their world took it away at a whim?

“You mean the rum I was trying save so I could use it for the experiment I had set up in my room?” Fauntleroy asks instead, trying to keep her voice mild. If Carwyn wanted to gloss things over, then she’d let him. She’d just have to be more wary not to trust him to understand the next time.
 
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Carwyn looks confused for a moment and raises a hand in thought, frowning. "Was that the same night? I meant the one where he broke the table showing us that, what was it a dance? I didn't realise that the was the rum for the experiment. Do you think that's why it caused him to act so strangely?"
 
"Ah, I'm sure you'd be surprised when you'll next need some ill gotten materials" winking at Bryce. "I thank ya for your time then Prof."

Looking over at the both of them with a growing smile. "That's where he got that rum from? oh man! I can only imagine where that could've been" Letting out a hearty high pitched laugh. "I can't imagine what else could've done it." He gets out between a bout of laughter.
 
“I’ll be sure to think of you then, next time I find myself in need of tentacles,” Fauntleroy says with a hint of amusement. The corners of her lips turn up in the slightest hint of a smile. “Give me a bit to go through my notes and see if there’s anything suitable to start off with.”

“No, I can discredit that idea.” Fauntleroy shakes her head. “I hadn’t done anything to the rum yet, so I posit that master N’Vaelharn is simply a lightweight.”
 
Carwyn lies down on his blanket, putting his hands behind his head and using his pack as a pillow. He was much happier with this sort of situation, it could almost make him forget about the fear. Staring at the shapes the fire makes on the ceiling he almost drifts off to sleep right then. "Maybe they just don't have rum where he is from. I know I'm not great with it either. Back in the grove I could never handle what the druids drank." He frowns for a second. "I miss the grove. I miss how easy it was back then. I even miss the... village. Sometimes." The was clear hesitation before he mentioned the village, but to look at him there is a smile on his face, and the hint of tears in the firelight on his cheeks. He turns over to face the wall and tries to wipe his eyes without anyone else seeing, making a show of going to sleep.
 
Misty Forest Cove:

Iselka nods at the group, taking Gimble's offered rations and nibbling a bit on the dried jerky. Watching curiously as the once tense atmosphere around the cavern softened into tall tales and conversation, she eventually breathes a sigh of relief, seeming to let her own guard down finally. "You guys are certainly an interesting bunch," she says with a soft chuckle. "So different, yet as close as family. Reminds me of my group."

She pouts slightly at that, curling up a bit closer to the fire. "It wasn't exactly like the scary bedtime stories, you know. I was never 'afflicted' -- I've just been this way for as long as I can remember. Never met my parents, though. The other two I don't think were as lucky, so we had to be careful on nights like tonight." Her gaze floats over to the outside of the cave and she sighs. "Dreams of fortune and fame were kind of just an afterthought... all we really wanted was to get by and live our lives without people looking at us like freaks. At least that's how I felt like I had to feel..." she trails off, then shakes her head. "... Whatever. I just hope they're alright, wherever they are. "

Seeing Carwyn attempt to go to sleep, she looks to the other two that were still up. "And you two? I imagine we will want to depart as soon as possible. Not that I wouldn't want to hear more of your stories of course," she says with a shy smile.

Daggerford Streets:
After about an hour of traveling, the fog remaining thick but not overwhelming, Balion sees the familiar silhouette of Daggerford's walls, beyond the chill rushing waters of the Delimbiyr river. In the distance, the nomad camp from before can be seen, the previously roaring bonfire snuffed and only glints of flickering candlelight remaining in some of the tents.

He quickly moves on, soon finding himself on cobblestone streets once more before making his way over to the Duchess's manse. His approach catches the attention of one of the guards keeping night watch, who after squinting in the darkness recognizes him as a regular and heads inside to fetch the Duchess.

He returns promptly clutching a lit candlestick, the Duchess in tow behind him. She rubs her eyes and looks over to the elf, her long silk nightgown swaying gently in the faint nighttime breeze. "Oh... Balion, you're back. Where are the others? You look like you ran all the way here," she says, frowning. "Did something happen?"
 
Balion looks down at himself and realized he hadn't thought on the condition he might look. He looks back at the Dutchess, not doing anything to change it, with his usual oddly serene air and eyes like a void and shakes his head. "Nothing to be concerned of yet. I came to report to you that the nomad camp seems just that. A camp of travelers. They pointed us in the direction of some werewolves though. We are tracking them and have reliable information that the werewolves are in possession of the missing child. We hope to rescue them, may the Wheels turning be that forgiving." His voice quiets before the mention of the werewolves and he steps in closer to better accommodate the whisper-like volume. He takes no heed if this would be some breach of etiquette.

He looks deep into her eyes, his own reflecting a depth yet ventured. "You should know we are tracking them by one of their own who we found injured in a cave. Also, that we believe any attack on the nomads at this time to be...not the most correct turn. Keep guard posted and if possible have some posted near their camp, as much for their protection, as everyone's here. I don't trust this situation, nor fully the nomads, and the Wheel isn't often forgiving. Especially on a fell night like this."
 
As close as family, Fauntleroy thinks. That couldn’t be right. That couldn’t be safe. That is just a risk. She can’t get caught up in— this. She was meant for more. All that— warm fuzzy feelings and friends and family, that had to come later.

But she swallows down the thought, knowing that voicing it out loud would just alienate her more.

“I suppose in a way, I would be able to relate,” she says after a moment. “I might not be afflicted by lycantrophy or the like, but I am familiar with having to act very careful lest you’d be judged.” For a moment her gaze slides to Carwyn’s figure, before she looks away. “Of course, it’s only partially similar. I can’t pretend my life is anything like yours.”

“I’ll be up for a while longer. At the very least until master N’Vaelharn returns. But...I’m afraid I’m not much of a storyteller.” She nods at Gimble’s words. “I will. Good night, master Waywocket.”
 
Daggerford Streets:

Duchess Morwen listens carefully to Balion's report, not sure what to make of it all but reluctantly accepting it regardless. "Well, alright then... thank you for letting me know, though I will still probably have to send someone to check on the camp in the morning, just in case." She frowns. "Yes, I had heard about the missing child... but I didn't realize the stories about werewolves were real, nor that the two were connected. And that you've found one? I can't say that I find that terribly safe... but if you insist that you have a handle on things, I can't stop you."

She wraps her shawl just a bit tighter around her shoulders, to stave off the cold. "Did you need anything else from me while you were here? I'd love to assist any way I can, but it's quite late into the night and I'm sure you don't want to keep the others waiting for too long."
 
Balion's lips twitch up slightly at the corners. "Unless you have ready access to a collection of silver weapons or any healing potions, no. I just made the journey to update you." Obviously not really expecting such luck he gives his foreign bow. "Sleep well, Duchess Morwen." He would begin to turn to leave and head back to his companions unless stopped.
 
Daggerford Streets:

Morwen nods softly at Balion, seeming to consider it for a second. Then, reaching under her shawl, she pulls out a small vial of sparkling red liquid and offers it over. "Normally I keep it on my own person out of self-preservation... but it seems your lives will be in more immediate danger than my own at the moment. It's the least I can do. And... thank you, for everything." Regardless of whether Balion takes it or not, she nods once slowly and retreats to the warmth of her quarters, shutting the door behind her.

The trek back is easy, the steps seeming familiar now that the ranger had a destination in mind rather than a vague track to trail. The fog itself seemed to recede for a moment, as if clearing away for the lone traveler (or, conversely, conserving energy for a stronger presence later). After about two hours in total he finds his way back to the cavern where the others were residing, awake or otherwise.
 

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