" So. . . " Ra’sava drew the word out for a few seconds longer than necessary as he rolled his wrist to emphasize it. " I’m kinda new around here. . where should we start looking? "
" Couldn’t tell. " Sashja replied with a wry smirk, before adding. " Though, there is a Clearing Nearby, Autumnshade it’s called. If we could start anywhere, it could be there. "
" Autumnshade it is! " The Khajiit called out, challenging the world with his cry, as they left the gates of Riften behind and wandered off.
" Does he even know where it is? " Asked Celeyane.
" I don’t think so "
It was at this moment that Ra’sava had an Epiphany. He should let the Nord lead, after all, he was new around here. " Sashja.. was it? Yes! It occurred to Ra’sava that he is new, and you are a local "
" Well actua-"
Ra’sava interrupted. " Yes! Actually a Local, while Ra’sava is not! You should lead! It is settled. " He said with a satisfied nod.
With a shrug and a quiet grunt, she resigned to the task of leading them out towards the Clearing.
A Time Later, and a brief encounter with a trio of Wolves, the three Herb Hunters near the Autumnshade Clearing.
" So. " Ra’sava did the little wrist rolling thing and dragged out the word again. " Which herbs are you looking for? Ra’sava is a bit of an alchemist but isn’t sure of the area and it’s herbs. "
" Pretty much anything. " Celeyane replied and promptly began to look about.
" Oh. " Ra’sava nodded. " Well, that’ll be easy. " Then he too went looking around for some herbs.
After a quick scan around, the Wolves having put Sashja on guard, and finding nothing that wanted to try and bite any of the group, Sashja too, went in search of herbs.
A Short time later Celeyane had recovered some herbs.
Sashja had recovered some herbs.
Ra’sava… was stuck to a tree, partially covered in sap. " Gah, it is all in Ra’sava’s fur. Hey, Nord Lady, can you help Ra’sava out? "
Sashja eyed the stuck Cat and wondered how in the name of Talos he even got stuck there in the first place.. then went to help him.
She grabbed onto his shirt and started to pull. " Ow ow, hey! Watch the fur " Ra’sava complained.
Meanwhile, Celeyane had stopped what she was doing, but not to watch the pair struggling against the forces of nature. No, she stopped to listen. " Shh, Quiet. "
She turned her head to the side and tried to listen again. Yes, she could hear it now, something was just over the small rise in the hill.. and she was about to mention it when a ripping sound came from behind her, followed moments later by a shrill screech of a cat.
" Raaaaaahhhhhhhoooooooooooowwwwwwww!!!!!! " Ra’sava screamed as he was torn from the sticky treesap, leaving a few strips of fur behind.
Celeyane froze.. then sighed inwardly as she heard the sound of footsteps nearing, and shouting.
" Well well well, what do we have here? " Standing atop the rise was a group of four men, all wearing leather armour and wielding an assortment of weapons between them. The one having just spoken was a rather large Orcish fellow, scars covered his face and in place of a sword or shield, he had a set of Iron Knuckles.
" Holy crap, bandits. " Muttered Ra’sava before an idea struck him and he grinned wide. Puffed up his chest, then strode forward. " Brothers! It is good to see you! I have brought some prey for us to split! Ra’sava was planning on robbing them in their sleep and now Ra’sava can split their loot with you! "
The Orc frowned at this, not expecting it, and he churned the idea over in his mind slowly while Ra’sava continued to move forward away from the other two.
" You bastard! " Shouted out Celeyane. To which Sashja looked at her oddly, She noticed the small flick of Ra’sava’s ear accompanied with a wink, but Celeyane’s curse seemed a little too genuine to be faked.
" Now now, don’t be like that. What did you think? Ra’sava is to come wandering out in the wilderness with two strangers, unarmed. Of course he was leading you to an ambush! "
It was at this moment, when Ra’sava was most of the way between the two groups, closer to the Bandits when the Bandit immediately on the Left of the Orc suddenly coughed up blood and toppled over.
Which caused everyone to blink once, and stare. Afterall, a man doesn’t simply topple over for no reason.
The leader of the group, the Orc, took a few moments to process what just happened. One of his goons, someone who he had threatened into service, had just fallen over. He was wearing an odd looking necklace now, all feathery.
A few moments later, the Orc realized that his Face Down companion had just been shot from behind with an arrow, which struck him in the back of the neck.
For simplicity sake, I will short hand the Combat that ensued a few moments after the Orc’s realization.
The Orc ordered one of his goons to go back and see what was happening behind them, while he and the remaining would subdue the group down the hill with his new Khajiit Friend. (Yes, the Orc fully believed Ra’sava that he was there to help.)
Ra’sava kept up his ruse so well, that even when he managed to ‘accidentally’ trip the Orc, and the other remaining bandit saw the ‘accident’ happen and retaliated. (Which almost caused Ra’sava to lose his arm.)
The Orc turned around, went back up and promptly decked the Bandit who had nearly severed his new Khajiit friend’s arm.
With this new line of confusion, the battle was soon quickly ended.
" Oh. . Ra’sava is having trouble seeing. . is his arm alright? "
Celeyane was crouched over him, and made a dubious sounding " Mmm " Which made Ra’sava groan.
" Is it gone? It’s gone isn’t it. Oh no, Ra’sava has lost his arm. "
" It’s not gone. No! Stay still. I’ll see what I can do. " And she set about using magic to mend as much of the wound as she could.
" Oh gods, oh gods! No, please don’t kill me! " Came a cry from over the rise.
" What the? Oh! That one guy who ran back! " Sashja called out in a hissing whisper from nearby. " I’m going to go see what’s going on. "
" I’ll come, His arm is as good as I can make it. "
" Oh, that is music to Ra’sava’s ears. " He said with pure unrestrained relief as the other two crept up the rise to see what was happening on the other side.
The center of the clearing lay ahead, just beneath an small cliff edge sat a stone Alter, laying in front of the Alter in a limp heap was a figure in dark robes. Several items were strewn about the Alter and the figure, as if they were interrupted in the midst of something.
Off to the side the source of the screaming was laying on his back, using his hands and feet to wildly kick himself backwards away from a figure in a heavy woodland coloured cloak and leathers who was stalking towards him.
" No, no! Please! Spare me! I- I promise I’ll never do anything like this agai- "
He was cut off as the prowling figure drew out a knife from somewhere and with a flick of their wrist, hurled it straight at the crawling man. It caught him in the head and buried itself in his skull.
It was quick.
They then turned back towards the Alter and began making their way over towards the other downed man, but not before calling out in a female voice " You may as well come out, You’ve nothing to fear from me, I’m not here for you. "
The two on the hill blinked then looked at each other. Sashja was the first one to stand up, then head down the rise towards the Woman.
" Uh, Wow. What are you doing here? " Sashja asked.
" Hunting this guy. " The cloaked and hooded woman replied.
" Who is he? "
" Nameless dead Cultist of Molag Bal now. "
Sashja frowned a little and looked down at him.
" Whoa, that’s a Spriggan. " Celeyane said as she spied something laying behind the Alter.
The other woman grunted out a displeased sound. " Yes. "
" A what? " called out Ra’sava as he started wandering down the rise towards the group too.. now wearing a too large leather chest piece.
" A Spriggan, a Tree Spirit. "
" Oh " Ra’sava said, as though that explained everything he needed to know.
" You should leave here soon, the quicker the better. " The Hooded woman said as she finished binding the Robed man and hoisted him up onto her shoulder.
" Huh? Why? " Sashja asked.
The woman turned around to look the trio over, her face clear enough to see and show that a Dunmer face looks back out at them.
" Bounty Hunting Pays Well…. if you survive. " She then motioned to the dead bandits. " Take what you want from them, the Jarl or her Housecarl will pay you for dispatching these guys, they have been harassing the roads about here for a few weeks now "
" Oh? Really? Good thing we came then." Sashja said with a firm nod.
" Indeed. I’ll tell the guards you’re coming, they’ll come and collect the corpses and remove them from the Clearing. " The hooded one said as she headed back off into the woods with her bounty in tow.
The Group proceeded to loot the bodies of the Bandits and collect up the Ritual ingredients which were on the Alter, one of which was the Heart of the Spriggan.
Once they arrived back in town, they received a reward for the Bandits and went about dealing to their loot.
While doing so, Ra’sava came across a Leatherworker who was complaining about her last shipment of wares were taken by a group of bandits, lead by an Orc.