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Revision 2 . . July 6, 2002 0:27 by ip68-4-185-70.oc.oc.cox.net [a few emails worth (conversation may continue, but I'm attempting to move the plot along)]

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Added: 34a35,55

One of the farmer's daughters approaches you as you prepare to leave. When she gets about ten feet away from you, she sets her feet. "I'm going with you," she declares.

You look at the girl and blinks. "Really, now?" you say, a little bemused and a little stern. "And what would your father say about this plan of yours?"

She smiles, and waves towards where her father is still patching up one of her brothers from the fight. "He's right over there," she points out. "You can ask him if you want, but he's not going to stop me."

You glance over at her father. Sure enough, he waves and nods at you. "Be that as it may, it might be better for you if he did. Strange things are abroad... not to mention the perfectly normal things, which are usually worse. Out in the wild, your family cannot aid you."

"There are strange things right here," she mentions offhandly, noting the recent destruction of the orcs. "And I don't seem to need their aid."

Raising an eyebrow, you smile. "You're certainly spirited, I'll give you that much." You consider. She would be welcome company, and she did seem to handle herself fairly well... but she can't know what she's getting into... "There is more out there than Orcs, you know. Older and more dangerous creatures. Some may laugh at your sword, even if you wield it well."

She looks behind her at the farm, which still bears the marks of the orc attack. "And they are just as likely to be here. Have you asked yourself why orcs would attack a perfectly peaceful farm?"

Forced to admit her point, you nod. She smiles slightly, then takes a moment to get her own horse ready. A final goodbye hug to her father and family, and you're off.

You ride in silence for a decent while. Smalltalk comes every once in a while, but for the large part the ride is uneventful for several hours. Eventually you feel comfortable enough with each other that you chat more during the ride- talking about the city that you're riding to, and about the king and the princes. The topic drifts to the Forest, and you humbly admit your own role in keeping everything neat and tidy within it's borders.

Decently soon, however, you come across an odd sight. Two men, identical looking and in royal garb, each with what you assume to be a manservent riding next to them, are coming down the road on opposite sides, looking like they are trying as hard as possible to look like they aren't travelling with each other but can't manage to get ahead of the other to pass them.

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