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The Stars are Silent, Ch. 6Auscol found the darkness of the woods quite comforting but for thatMaribeth continued to trip over the ferns. The snap-stumble she keptmaking made it hard to listen for the weight difference in Yelshilelsstep that meant Riehwol was falling off. To be fair to him, the warriorhad been coming out of the saddle far less than he had been. Auscolhoped this meant he was recovering. Riehwol had not been looking anybetter, but he had taken his weapons up again, even though Maribeth hadmade the decent point that disguising him might lower the chances ofthem being attacked again. Ah, but the warriors pride. They had gonethree days now. Riehwol suspected the bandits were no longer aboutbecause the forest keepers were. They could only hope he was right.The moon was high and bright, the air clear with the season. The forestcanopy was aglow, and swayed in the wind, making movement indiscerniblein the shadowy depths. Yelshilels step was antsy, as the scent ofpredators
The Stars are Silent, Ch. 5The yellow-brown grass was thick, consuming every inch of ground itcould get its roots into. It tended to only grow to the mid-thigh, butoften enough it reached past the waist. It was strong too, and pickeditself back up even as they rested in the midst of it. Maribeth wasglad for her long skirts as she watched her two kawul companions spendtheir breaks treating grass cuts on their legs and feet, which, giventheir fur, happened with surprising frequency. Even Yelshilel sported afew streaks of blood.It had been about a week that theyd been traveling when the grassbegan to give way to lesser, greener things. Riehwol and Auscol hadquickly made up by more or less refusing to speak to each other. Theyboth, however, found it perfectly acceptable to speak to Maribeth, butnot at the same time. Annoying as it was, it was probably preferable tothe alternative.Maribeth heaved a sigh as she adjusted her position in the shade. Theboys were sleeping, and Yelshilel was grazing la
The Stars are Silent, Ch. 4With the moon’s return to the sky, the warrior men had returned to thevillage. Or so Auscol assumed. He hadn’t really gone outside since hearrived at the inn, preferring to rest inside and let his legs recover.He had also done his best to catch up on sleep, figuring he’d need tobe as alert as possible should he be confronted by the warrior men.Maribeth had been unwilling to let him do this, as she wanted toexplore the village and, understandably, didn’t want to explore byherself. He had walked her around once, then managed to convince her torest inside for the rest of the time. Her legs still hurt too. Betweenmeals and naps, he taught her more Kawulish, which helped keep her mindoff of her homesickness.Auscol walked out into the main room to try to get some food. The sightof Therryel stopped him in his tracks. The gamekeeper was sharing adrink with another fellow, a dust-haired man with well-muscled arms,and ignoring Auscol, although he was quite a
The Stars are Silent, Ch. 3 Maribeths head felt twice as heavy as usual, butshe was determined that she was not going to fall off the horse again.The past three days had been incredibly difficult, as their erstwhilesavior had cleverly forgotten to tell them how to get the horse towalk. Auscol had tried several words, including some that Maribethwas pretty sure had nothing to do with going forward, but the horsewould only respond to the ones Therryel had mentioned. On top of that,if they didnt tell her to stop soon after telling her to slow,shed return to a trot, keeping both of her riders bouncinguncomfortably on the cloth saddle. The only option was to hang on whilethe horse trotted in a northeasterly direction. Maribeth had given uptrying to talk to Auscol, for both of them were far too grumpy to speakpleasantly. At least her arms and legs had finally stopped hurting.Though it probably was not a good thing that she couldn
The Stars are Silent, Ch. 2 Spearfishing requires patience and precision. Youmust either strike before the fish notices you or you must guess whichway its going to dart once it does. The herons legs are long andthin; when he steps, he creates no current that can alarm its quarry.Maribeth was a very skinny girl, but no matter how carefully shestepped she could not help but alarm everything edible in the area. So,her only option was to wait motionless in the marshes, and hope thatthe fish forgot that she had scared them away in the first place. Evenwith her skirts hitched uncomfortably high, her dress was soakedthrough. The mud was beginning to grow warm between her toes, but thewind plagued her with fresh chill every time it passed. She shivered,sending the fish away in a panic. She gripped her spear tighter. If shewere pretty and buxom, like Elsie, she might have been able to get aboy to do this for her. But shed never gotten one to look more thanonce at her. She
The Stars are Silent, Ch. 1 Auscol ducked into the shade of a grove of trees andbent down to remove the burrs entangled in the fur of his legs. Hestood, sighed, and wiped the sweat and wet hair out of his face,wondering for the fourth time why he had decided to travel southwardwith summer on the way. He had had his pick of direction two monthsago, when the Zeyue tribe had finally decided he was old enough tobanish. He could hardly complain, as they had waited until histwentieth year to do so, but that didnt mean he didnt want to. Notthat he had anyone to complain to. Most of the sons of the conqueredTheshe tribe had been removed either immediately or upon birth, and thefew spared had been of no rank. Being a male child in the direct lineof the Theshe warrior class, Auscol knew he shouldnt have lasted aday. He wished he knew why he had. No, he couldnt complain. He was free to live wherever he chose to go.And he was the one who had