It was quite a pleasant today in Mossflower Wood, the occasionally non-murder bird calling out their songs to the forest as well as the slowly evaporating smell of the recent rains. The somewhat squishy ground making travel nice and painless as long as you avoided the occasionally sneaky tree root or pointy rock. The ground also thankfully soft as a yawn would ne beard behind some trees before an argh and then a pomp into the ground. The green shirted ferret pushing himself off the ground and yawning again before retrieving his halberd, planting it in the ground, and using it to push himself back to his feet. Leaning back a bit the ferret grimaced a bit with his armor filled backpack thumping against his back as he fell - but it would be fine in time. Though he should really find a place to stop and rest…

The beast had been walking all night, not able to find any kind of significant cover to shelter himself from the rain as all the trees had silly holes in their foliage to let the water fall through. Not like the trees up north but he couldn't hate nature that much for the trees. It was a nice place to walk around it...well stumble...well fall...ok he was lost. Rubbing his nose a bit the ferret yawned again and just kept heading in any random direction really, hoping to find something or some beast so he could ask where he was. And what was around here...and maybe sleep.

Finally he zeroed in on the sound of moving water and found himself at a little pond that even had a small waterfall at the top. Looking around the ferret didn't spot anyone around and noticed that the pond had a stream flowing downhill from it. A good place to head if it didn't want to head up river after a rest. Glancing into the pond he even saw a few fish! But he still had some rations and didn't need to try and go swimming yet. Stretching and yawning a bit he carefully set his halberd down near the lake, followed by his backpack with short sword attached, and then started to get himself settled for a short rest. Quite a picturesque day here in this mystery forest.

(Anybeast welcome like last time 🙂 - hes likely on a small tributary to the River Moss.)

This foolish ferret must not have known he was being watched. Two liquid amber eyes with no apparent body stared at him from above, watching his every movement, tracking slowly. There was no rustle as the eyes moved, no branch cracking or swaying, just the eyes. There was not even a blink or a bat of an eyelash.

Of course the eyes belonged to a body. A small body, but a body nonetheless. And that body was expertly moving through the trees, a muddied and wet. It neared the ferret, inspecting his bag, his weapon, his face… the ferret would have been blind not to see the nearly hypnotic eyes by now.

Smiling as everything was set down the ferret stretched again and took a quick drink of water from dipping his paw into the small lake. Shifting around to rest down on the rock he moved his backpack over to have his things close to hand in case someone showed up who wasn't just out for a nice walk. Which soon turned out to be a good idea as he spotted the two pools of amber staring at him. Blinking twice to be sure it wasn't just his tired mind playing tricks on him the ferret kept watching the eyes before he was able to drag his sight away and grab his shortsword. Pulling the scabbard from his backpack he held it loosely, but didn't draw his blade yet in case the watcher turned out to be friendly.

Finding the eyes again the ferret watched them as he tried to smile in their general direction as he spoke up. "Hello Sir? Is there something you need?"

(OOC: Is it alright if I do a Cheshire Cat sort of thing? And by the way, this is not Femble)
The eyes disappeared for a few seconds, then reappeared in a new spot in front of him. If one looked very closely, and I mean VERY closely, one could maybe spot a small form with a large bushy head, or was it a tail?

The forms mouth opened, speaking in a deep melodic sort of voice.It depends very much on what you need.`

(Sorry for the wait.)

Doing his best to follow the eyes as they zipped and darted around the ferret tried to guess what type of creature they belonged to. It was clearly speaking in an understandable tone, so that ruled out some kind of monster or reptile that he had heard on his way here. He was still alive so it wasn't some type of magic snake that could entrall him with a glance. And it wasn't attacking him so it was hopefully not hostile. Why it was being so difficult was beyond his guess though. Apparently the owner of the eyes just loved to torment travelers.

Finally finding them again the tired beast noted the bushy shadow behind the eyes and hummed a bit. A squirrel? A weird looking bush? A beast with some kind of disguise? Clearing his throat a bit and rubbing his eyes a bit with his right paw he left his sword in his left before nodding at the creature.

"Ummm…information or directions? I'm a bit lost." No need to tell the mystery being he was tired, lost was enough as he tried to keep his attention on the creature.

(OOC: Well, can I do a kind of cheshire cat thing?)

IC:

The eyes looked skywards, as if seeking patience, disappeared, and reappeared up a tree, looking downwards, as if gently telling somebeast off.
What information do you require? Which direction would you like to take? The eyes swiftly dropped down the tree and somehow did a full turn once at the bottom.
I can tell you anything you need the melodic voice seemed to almost sing, and it rotated again.

(Well you are already kind of doing it 😛 . )

"Must you keep up the act you're doing?" The ferret asked as he slowly turned away to try and follow the eyes. "I fail to see how this helps," he stopped to yawn before continuing. "Anyone…but knowing what's around this Forest would help. I was told of a lot of places when I was walking here. Salmandrasting, Mossflour, River Mass - things like that." The ferret was starting to get quiet annoyed at this mystery voice. If it was some kind of raider or bandit it was doing a terrible job as he bent his knees a little and got into a more ready stance as he tried to keep his ears alert for more creatures approaching. It may be a distraction.

But he still left his blade in its scabbard as he stayed as ready as he could. Unfortunately the small water fall made it tricky to hear anything but it was at least helping him stay awake as was the feeling of danger.

(OOC: I mean the grin! But I guess I am)
IC:
The eyes twinkled, just a little as the ferret yawned. They spun again, then rolled.
Must we do anything? I do not have to do what I do, but I choose to. No one is forced to do anything. It is of our own free will
The eyes seemed to harden just the slightest at the mention of the names, then they sparkled in a joking way as they turned once more.
We have no Salmandastring here, or a River Mass. There is a Salamandastron, and a River Moss, if thats what you mean. Care to join me for tea? We can discuss this further at my abode if you like` with that, the eyes started moving slowly towards the waterfall and the pond.

The ferret rolled his eyes a little as the voice kept talking about things it clearly didn't know much about, able to hold in a yawn this time as he replied. "Many creatures are forced to do things out of their control - fight in wars, raid, leave their homes. Conflict forces action from those caught up in it." Although the ferret was pleased that he now knew the proper names, assuming this other wasn't lying to him, he was still not happy with the jerk-around attitude of this creature. So when it came time for invitations to stay around longer the ferret just shook his head.

"No Sir, I am going to have to decline that offer." A nice simple answer as he quickly attached the sword to his belt and started to gather up his materials. Tired or not he needed to find some beast who would give some proper answers and not toy with him.

The eyes sparkled naughtily.
They werent forced to fight, though. They just had to make a choice with quite a common reactionAs the ferret declined the offer, the eyes rolled.Thats the problem you see. You havent got enough patience. I usually wait a little longer before I choose to answer in the easiest way, usually when I have enough information, but we can make exceptions just this one timethe voice was honest, sincere. The eyes dropped down the proper height, and moved forward revealing a wiry squirrel that looked a bit like a tree. He wore a barkcloth tunic with leaves dotted everywhere and his tail looked like a small bush. He wore a mask made of bark which was lined with twigs and leaves.Where are you headed? Salamandastron?`

Ignoring the voice as it continued to blather on about whatever it was referring to the ferret had just got his backpack on his back, the container clanking around because of the armor inside and pots attached to it, when the squirrel as he had guessed earlier finally revealed itself. Picking up his halberd and turning to face the creature one of the ferrets eyebrows raised up a bit at the squirrels strange appearance. Was this common dress around here? It was a forest so it wouldn't be that odd…but why?

Yawning again the ferret nodded at the question, much more open to talking now that the squirrel had stopped being so evasive. "Eventually yes, but I have no idea where it is and this forest is new to me as well Sir. Directions would be most helpful as would any information that would help me avoid danger." He waited a bit before tapping the butt of the halberd against the ground and bowing his head slightly. "Seig Averi, Halberdier of Fortress Tauril, Sir."

Well, Seig… what a mouthful of a name, I wont even try to repeat it, my tongue would probably end up in a knotthe squirrel chuckled.Though I guess my names worse; its Adipisci Velit. You could just call me Adi I guess, others call me idiot, or thickhead or... well you could call me anything but late for tea!he chuckled again. But seeing the ferret wasnt really in the mood, he stopped and composed himself.
Well, I guess you havent heard much of Salamandastron then...he started.Tell me what you know about it, and Ill further your education then he paused. Are you sure you wouldnt like to join me in my dray for some vittles?

Staying quiet as the squirrel went on a little tirade Seig just stood at attention and listened. Adi seemed friendly enough, or insane, both were equally valid right now from the little bit that Seig has seen. He was still greatly confused about the squirrels…uniform? That was the only reason the ferret could think of for dressing like that. Perhaps he was some kind of scout or a sapper. But he didn't see any obvious weapons - Seig's eyes moving up and down the squirrel as he kept his position as he replied. "I have not heard much no, just from the travelers I met on the way to this land. Only that it is a mountain fortress, near the sea, commanded by a great Lord with a standing army. A place I would like to see as I come from a similar fortress in the North, though mine was more of a keep with a Fiefdom around it, Sir."

When the question of eating came up Seig glances back at his backpack as he smiled a bit and nodded. "If you would still be willing to have me for dinner Sir I would accept...Though I have to ask about your attire. Are you a scout or other agent for a force? Sorry if I am prying Sir, it just seems like an elaborate uniform to just wear on a daily basis."

Adipisci waited patiently for Seig to finish talking, before considering what he had said. He disappeared once again, but reappeared in a flash, as if it was just a habit, and slapped his tail lightly, as though he was scolding it, then looked up again and grinned.
Hmm, it sounds as though you want to join the army? That might be a bit difficult
Then Adi paused again and looked down at the ground as if seeking help for an explanation there. Then he looked into Seigs eyes.Thats right, Salamandastron is a mountain; it used to contain a fire lizard, or so I heard. The creatures there used its fire in a forge to create weapons of great value. The only beast that would rule the mountain was the badger lord, but every once in a while thered be a badger lady, such as Spearlady Gorse, or Lady Cregga Rose Eyes. It is guarded by a large number of hares, and sometimes they would have a bird as a scout, but I have heard of other beasts aiding in times of need
Here the squirrel searched Seigs face for a reaction.They loath vermin, attack them at the chance. I could take you to the mountain, but you may have to let me relieve you of your weapons, or theyll think youre attacking themAdi stopped and thought again.As for vittles? I always have a good supply of them, drinks too. Sometimes I visit elsewhere to stock up, but most of the time I forage on my own. As for my attire, thats completely my own making. There are often attackers in this area, so I check them out for others, make sure theyre no threat. Sometimes it means molding into the trees, like this, other times Im a lone travelling player. And rarely I change into a different beast, like a fox or a mouse. Now, if you would like food, follow me
Adipisci gestured for Seig to follow, then padded silently over in the direction of the waterfall.

Rolling his eyes as Adi poofed away then back he listened, his expression going from neutral to frowning as more was revealed to him about Salmandrastron. It wasn't enough to deter him, but he was more annoyed that he hadn't been told about this before by the travelers, it seemed like pretty important information. But he knew the mountain was no-where around here at least or it was a lot smaller than he had been told so he shouldn't have to worry about the army mistaking him for a foe before he was able to properly disarm himself. The tales of the fire lizard were correct at least.

"I see…one would hope that if a 'vermin' as you say disarmed themselves they would be allowed to approach and negotiate. But I guess that issue will be dealt with if we ever arrive." He nodded a bit as the squirrel explained his appearance but kept his frown. "Are attacks that common? Bandits and other unsavory types seem to crop up everywhere. Am I correct in assuming that its mostly 'vermin' as well and you were watching me for the same reason?"

When food was brought up again Seig just nodded and started to follow after Adi, always on the lookout for some free food that wasn't cold berries.

Adi nodded vigorously at Seigs next question.Theyd search you up and down, give you two tough hare escorts for all times and lock you in the room you stay in at at night, but other than that, Im sure theyd let youapproach and negotiate, so long as you dont outstay your welcome or demonstrate bad manners` he burbled.

Then, in answer to the ferrets second question, Adi pulled his tunic down more and turned his back on the ferret, revealing quite a long scar running from the top of his head, in between the ears, down the back and out of sight. It looked as though it kept going down, and this was proven as he flicked his tail down, showing a slight decrease in the hairs growing in one line of the tail. As he turned around again, one could look _very_ closely and maybe see the pale form of scars glistening lightly on Adipiscis chest, legs and arms.
Oh, all the time he said, keeping his tone light, but his eyes were hard and perhaps slightly protected.
Most of the time its lost bands of vermin trying to find shelter, and forcing their company upon those who dont want it he gestured to the lighter scars.
But twice there were big assaults, ones that were hard to defend from. Thats where I got thishe gestured to his back and tail.Help arrived just in time, and even then, defeat was still slightly in sight`

Adipiscis mood lightened as he reached the waterfall.And here we have it! A beautiful view, a humble abode and of course vittleshe exclaimed then disappeared. After a few moments he reappeared in the same spot.Well, what are you waiting for? Just step through the corner of the waterfall!` he said, then vanished again.

"Manners shouldn't be an issue; we were trained for form as well as combat back at Tauril…But I'll be careful Sir - I appreciate the advice and information" Seig replied as he stood and listened to the squirrels tale. Resting his Halberd against a near-by tree Seig moved closer to look over the Squirrels scars. From what he had seen on the battlefield and in the hospital back in the North it looked like wounds from something not professionally made, something likely very ramshackle in its design and possibly rusted as the scar was very uneven. But it was impressive that a wound that large was made and Adi lived through it without much lasting pain from it.

"You have my condolences for the attacks Sir," the ferret said as he picked up his longarm, very un-vermin like so far. "I would normally request that you choose a different word for describing my species but with those wounds - seems like one from makeshift weapons - I would say you have that right Sir. I'll have to be more alert for if any of these sudden attacks come my way (could have some evildoers show up if we need some more excitement P: .). May have to wear my Cuirass while moving through if its that bad."

Nodding as he followed Adi toward the waterfall he just nodded and followed him in, using his Halberd as a walking stick to keep him upright as he moved across the wet stones. Blinking a bit at the light change as he tried to look around to see this new location.

((I didn`t realize you were in the cave already, whoops))
The cave, contrary to other beasts belief before entry, was quite large. The roof was a glistening set of stalactites, and the walls had hardened into something not quite rock. The floor was amazingly smooth, so smooth in facts that anybeast who was unprepared could slip on their way in. A series of tunnels at the back shot off into other areas which were lantern lit. One big lantern hung from the biggest stalactite in the very center, and its glow illuminated the entire room, light seeming to bounce off the glistening walls.

Apparently it wasnt just Adis home. A couple of otters were sprawled across the ground and were paw wrestling, muscles bulging and teeth clenched. A squirrelmaid had just come through one of the tunnels and was bearing a tray laden with beakers full of fizzy pink juice. A pregnant hedgehog was trying to manage two young hogs and a mole was tapping and sniffing at the walls a short distance away from one of the tunnels.

As soon as Seig and Adi entered, one of the otters looked up, resulting in his partner smashing his paw down, then looking up inquiringly. The squirrelmaid smiled at Adi, then her face became expressionless and she dropped the tray. The mole dived and caught the tray before any spilled, then looked up to see the reason for the squirrelmaid`s shock. He spotted Adi and Seig, then quickly set aside the tray and watched, his eyes wide. The two young hog twins turned and squeaked in surprise, running to hide behind the hogmaid, who also looked up, then stared, covering her stomach and the youngsters protectively.

A few moments passed, then the otter who had spotted the pair first jumped up. He strode angrily over towards them, teeth clenched and eyes angry. As he raised his clenched paw, Adipisci looked at him, amber eyes burning. The otter took one look at Adi, then lowered his paw, his eyes questioning. All the other beasts in the room also looked at Adipisci in the same way. He nodded to them.
Whos that ferret?Why did you bring him in here?Did he follow you?Did he force you to?Will he hurt my babies?Mummy, were not babies anymore!
Yeah, we can stop him hurting you!
Adi took note of all the questions swept at him, and waited patiently for them to stem their questions. When he judged the time was right, he stepped forward.
Now now, its quite alright. Hes not going to hurt any of you
A few of them snorted, then there was silence once more.
His names SeigAdi jerked his head towards the ferret.I met him in the woods on my way back from scouting. Funny fellow, seems to think my names Sir, even though I told him it was Adipisci
Adis eyes shone with humor, and the other beasts relaxed.Hes trying to find Salamandastron, so he can join the Long Patrol
The beasts chuckled, then were quite once more.
Tiptir?
One of the young hedgehogs looked up in surprise.
Yes?
Can you tell the others? Adi asked. Tiptir beamed.
Sure thing Adi he called over his shoulder as he scuttled off.
((Hopefully you can do something with that!!!))

(No prob, but Seig did try to enter the little cave like place, just blinking and trying to look around so you had time to describe Adi's place before I posted again.)

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