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Date Posted: 18:19:21 09/12/03 Fri
Author Host/IP: mid-tgn-neu-vty13.as.wcom.net/22.214.171.124
The company from Waterfall City had excited the Rainy Basin two days before. Thankfully, and to Ressa’s great pleasure, they had not run into any Basin carnivores. Their baskets of smoked eels and fish and Standtall’s Basin armor, however, had been left in a checkpoint just beyond the rain forest’s boundaries. This meant that now they were making much better time than they had before. The group had passed by Sauropolis the previous day, now the Capital lied to their northeast. To the west, they could barely see the outline of the Forbidden Mountains.
The party had now stopped for nightfall. Kael, Hikari, and Azonthus were busy setting up tents for them to sleep in while Allen and Ressa had taken it upon themselves to start a fire and get dinner on its way. Standtall was taking a break from all the heavy walking and munching on the top leaves of one of the last tall trees they’d be seeing for a while. Some fifteen minutes later, each member had the food of his or her choice and was sitting around the fire watching the still cloudy sky above them.
“How much longer, do you think?” Hikari asked Kael when he sat down for dinner.
“A few more days,” he replied while sipping some of the soup Allen had cooked up. “We’ve made great time thus far, with any luck we should be there within the next three days.”
“We’re lucky to have Standtall with,” Allen spoke up. “I could have already been there, but it would have taken you non-fliers forever to arrive!”
Kael smiled. “Not all of us have the advantage of being skybax riders. Where did Highwind go, anyway? I haven’t seen him since we started camp.”
“He and Featherlight went for a hunt,” the blonde rider replied. “They’ll be back.” He excused himself and went to the near by stream they had found to wash after he had finished dinner. Hikari and Ressa where deep in conversation, swapping stories by the looks of it.
“You know,” Azonthus spoke to Kael for the first time since dinner had started. “You’re nothing like what I expected at first.”
Kael looked surprised. “I’m afraid I don’t understand.”
Azonthus laughed in a raptorian way. “Well, you’re an O’Connor,” she said. “By rights and what I know from your family, trouble follows your every step. And you can be a bit reckless.”
The human laughed. “Oh, I see. My brother’s reputation precedes me!”
“Not in a bad way!” Azonthus quickly put in. “It’s just that I never thought I’d meet a non-hyper O’Connor!”
“I know what you mean, I think,” Kael told her. “Dylan and I are just as alike as we are different. It made growing up... interesting.”
“I bet!” Azonthus said. She watched him a moment longer.
It seemed as if his attention had suddenly drifted from the conversation he was having and focused in a point somewhere in the southern horizon. A cold draft blew across their camp making Hikari run for one of the blankets in her tent before returning to her chat with Ressa. She turned her attention to Kael again and frowned. His complexion had change. It almost looked as if he was in pain, though his attention was still fixed on the horizon.
“Are you feeling alrigh?” she asked getting up and walking towards him. For a moment he didn’t respond, but then, almost as if it caused him a lot of effort, his attention returned to her.
“I’m sorry....” he stammered feeling his forehead and snapping his eyes shut. “It’s just... I suddenly got this really bad feeling about my brother.”
“Dylan?” Az asked.
“Yeah...”Kael answered, though he still looked like he was caught between his thoughts and their conversation. “Featherlight told us he had been injured, but it couldn’t have been that serious, I didn’t feel... point is, something’s wrong with him now.”
“I’m sure he’s well taken care of,” Azonthus told him. “You said Tamith was with him, I’m sure he’s alright.”
“It’s not that,” Kael said looking sideways at the fire. “It’s just...” He seemed to think better of what he had been about to say and stood up. “I’m sending Featherlight ahead as soon as he returns, I hope he’s up for it. We’ll rest a few hours before starting off ourselves, we better move fast.”
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