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(Continued from The Return: Derron and Niko)

In the meantime, Niko had indeed found Tyek and Eron. As with any veterans, they had efficiently finished their task, and were trying to get rest in the time between when that task was *supposed* be finished, and they were ordered to a *new* task. Eron looked up dubiously as Niko approached; Tyek a bit more warmly. "Ah- there's the lad," he said. "Or captain of the guard, as ye've become known," he added with a flourishing bow.

Eron as usual was succinct. Spitting in the hay, he looked back towards Niko, a scowl on his face. "More work."

"We are headed back to Clearwater," Niko said with no preamble.

"Everyone? Why hasn't the hue and cry been raised?" Tyek said, studying Niko's response.

"If the answer to that you do not know, then perhaps you do need to laze here a bit longer. Though this one would be grateful for your companionship."

Eron chuckled, even as Tyek did a verbal back peddle. "Of course we could figure it out, but wanted to make sure," he said, so lamely that Eron chuckled all the more. "How fast?"

"We have to get there before Thelbane does. He has a head start, but is going through the swamps."

"Hells," Eron said, putting a wealth of emotion into that one word. "I woulda thought th' woman woulda put paid t' him- n'matter what th' steward said. She knew what was what."

"This one does not know what happened, but we do have free rein to stop him if we run across him- any way we please."

At that Eron's face split into an evil grin. "What're we waitin' for then?" he asked, hopping up.

"You two," Niko said pointedly. "Get your gear and some rations and such, and meet me back here."

"Yes, sir!" Tyek said with a mock salute as he and Eron took off. Finding the best horses, Niko was trying to determine if they even *had* six horses to spare for this journey...

(Continued from The Return: Derron and Merivel)

Derron quickly found Niko preparing horses in the barn, while his compatriots apparently were rounding up rations for the trip. Derron held out the two sealed pieces of parchment.

"For His Lordship. Answer his questions as fully as you can, then return when he sends you." He paused before smiling and adding, "We'll try to survive without you for a few days."

"Yessir," Niko said quickly. "Be safe," he added, taking the parchment from Derron.

"And you, lad." Derron helped saddle the last horse as the other men arrived.

Derron watched the men ride off at a good, steady, ground-eating pace. They would not tire the horses too much, nor spare them unnecessarily. He then turned and made a round of the camp, speaking with the men, and telling them that Niko was taking dispatches to Lord Draupaud. Upon his return the main party would head back to Clearwater. He kept his eyes open for the hedge knight and his so-called squire.

They seemed to be taking the road to Marshend without fuss or concern.

(Niko's thread continues in Riding Hard for Clearwater: Niko)

His men reporting nothing unusual, Derron headed inside the cottage.

The inside of the cottage appeared to be deserted. He could see Mariam outside, directing his men in the best place to dig their latrines. The Septa was presumably abed still ...

Derron sat down to simply gather his thoughts for a moment or two.

(Continued in The Search: Derron and Merivel)

Page last modified on October 08, 2007, at 07:39 PM