The next morning, the sun rose bright and early. The Septa left the wagon to prepare breakfast before they were on their way again; any who tried to help her she shoo'ed off, suggesting they went to swim in the lake and work up an appetite for the porridge she was preparing.
Niko's first business of the day was to check on Ranulf and Aerin- both he felt in one way or another were his charges, even though scantly over a year separated he and Aerin's ages. Once he did that, he expected he'd go check on their 'guest'- something still wasn't right there.
Aerin was sleeping curled up next to Shade, the two pressed together for warmth in from the cool night air. Her expression was tense even in sleep, as if something had disturbed the young woman either in her sleep or the night before.
Niko regarded her for a moment before crouching down beside her. Though close, he made sure he was out of reach of chance swipe of the claws of the rascible shadowcat. "Aerin," he called softly. "Time to wake. I'm sure the Septa could use your help."
Shade opened one eye and considered him - then opened two and roused to stretch himself.
Aerin startled awake at Shade's movement. "What!?" she asked abruptly. She looked around, up at Niko, then blinked furiously.
"What is it?" she asked somewhat petulantly as she pushed herself up to a sitting position.
Niko, startled himself by Aerin's reaction, jumped back, almost falling. "The Septa," he said quickly. "She is preparing for us to break our fast. I am sure she would appreciate your help."
"And not one of the others. Just the girl," Aerin muttered darkly under her breath as she clambered to her feet. "So be it," she told Niko as she started off in the direction of the Septa.
Niko stood at the same time, looking in her wake, scratching his head. "What did I say?" he said, looking towards Shade as if the great cat would have an answer.
Shade yawned ostentatiously and stretched his claws. Such mnatters were beyond him, he seemed to be suggesting.
Then suddenly his head lifted; he stared at a clump of bushes and gave a low growl - but not so low that Aerin wasn't close enough to hear it too.
Aerin didn't need any other sign. As if she'd expecting Shade's warning she stopped in her tracks and looked back at the tawny cat, half turning to see what had disturbed her companion.
Welcoming the disturbance, Niko looked towards the bushes, and began to cautiously move towards them, trying to acertain what had piqued the cat's interest.
The bushes rustled - and then a guard by the fire let out a shout - his companion had fallen, an arrow in his eye.
Another flew out of the bushes, a few scant inches from Aerin's head. Shade growled, preparing to pounce.
(Continues in AttackAtTheCamp)
Derron gave a some help to the men breaking down things from the camp. He also looked about to see if Lantern was still about, and what he was up to.
Lantern was up and helping to strike camp, talking easily and cheerfully to the men, amusing them with tales and snatches of song as he worked. His hair was damp from the stream, and in the light of morning he seemed a handsome young man, and a strong one as well. He nodded a greeting to Derron when he saw him - respect for Derron's authority combined with the friendliness of a free traveller.
Derron was not a suspicious man by nature, and as there had been no trouble so far since the minstrel had come to camp, he was inclined to be at ease. Derron returned the nod and continued to help pack and stow, though soon his stomach was rumbling from the aroma wafting from the cookfire. He sighed as he thought how much he would miss the Septa. But with all that had happened, the course of events was probably for the best.
The Septa, he saw, was beckoning him over.
Derron stopped his work and began moving briskly toward the Septa, smiling in anticipation of something filling to eat. He was famished.
She smiled as he came up, and then said, "Steward Thorne, I wish you could have a word with young Aerin. She is taking all this so very badly."
Derron's shoulders slumped and he exhaled loudly. "No worse than anyone else. It's difficult for many of us. And I doubt there's much I could say that would change her demeanour." He noticed the Septa looking at him skeptically. "But if she's of a mind to speak with me, I will gladly do my best."
Thank you," said the Septa. "Now - can you tell the others that ... "
Her words ended abruptly ... and she stared down with incredulity at her right arm - where an arrow was protruding, her sleeve showing a growing stain of red.
(Continues in AttackAtTheCamp)