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 [HC Event] Star Catchers

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:06 pm


As he finished the knot, twisting the remaining string and doubling around with the wooden stick, he listened to Cassandra's take and nodded in agreement. She was really thinking ahead; he felt relieved for it. "Good assessment," he complimented, even as he grabbed the man under his arms and started to heave the body back towards the bush the man had hidden behind before. His arm pained for it - he was definitely developing a bruise - but he was no stranger to bruises and he'd deal with it, though help would be appreciated. Thirty six. "The less anyone knows, the better."

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:11 pm



At Leon's agreement to her idea, Cassandra set her axe on the ground for the moment and went to help the blond with moving the body. She wanted to feel a bit of pride at his agreement, like a student getting praise for a job well done, but all she could feel at the moment was urgency to get this task done as soon as possible. The sooner they got away from this place, the more distance they'd put between theirselves and the path of other enemies.

It'd almost be exciting—exactly like the raising of stakes in a story, the pushing towards the final climax of the plot—if it were not for the very real threat of it all. She'd seen enough, lived through enough, to have true fears and worries that quelled that excitement down to only a dull thrum deep in her heart. It continued to live, never disappearing, but dampened by experience.

She grabbed the assassin's legs, lifting the trailing limbs towards the nearby brush. It was oddly familiar, to move a body like this. Heavy and unmoving, limbs falling every which way. Instead of letting herself become distracted by memories, she stared at the assassin's face, etching out the details that were not at all like Charles. This was a different person, a different situation, and this man still lived.

As they moved it together, she started to look around for anything they could use that would help give even more coverage to the prone body.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:01 pm

DM wrote:
The only thing nearby that Cassandra could see are other shrubs (that could be cut and piled?) and rocks (that could be lifted and carted over to make a beautiful body-hiding castle) (with time)

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:09 pm



They decided to tie him up, and Cassandra suggested hiding the body. It was a good idea, but at the same time... if doing this shortened the gap between them and the other assassins... what if they caught up? Then there was no point in going to all this trouble in the first place.

As Cassandra and William drag the unconscious man to a nearby bush, Saphira went to another brush and cut parts of it quickly with her rapier. She gathered them as best she could and brought them over to the man's body, ready to pile it on top of him once he was set down. "We'd better work quick. There's no point hiding him if the others are going to catch up to us."

It was not going to be pleasant going the rest of the way surrounded by paranoia, but there was nothing else to do about it. They'd just have to pick up their pace and be careful about leaving trails. Hopefully William had a good idea about how to leave a false trail.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:48 pm

DM wrote:
Maen, that body looks pretty good and hidden now! It would need a perception of 5 to really notice it was there!

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:02 pm


As though reading his mind - mind affinity? maybe? - Cassandra released her axe and grabbed the man's legs to help haul him over to the scrub brush. Almost as soon as they dropped him, even as he was adjusting him to be mostly under the brush branches, Saphira supplied some boughs off another nearby brush to further cover the unconscious figure. He agreed with her comment and worked quickly to attempt to cover as much of the man's form as possible, and then stood back, checking his work, and nodded. It wouldn't fool anyone looking hard enough, but at a quick glance it should do. "Let's go," he stated, more as a suggestion than a command, and stooped to grab his shield and bow on the way back to his pack, keeping the time ticking in his head. 

Four minutes

All of that in the span of four minutes

Kneeling, he reattached the shield to his bag, unstrung the bow and added the nearby arrows to his own quiver before working the pack back onto his shoulders, checking the position, and continuing on at his original pace, glancing up at the sky for where the sun should be when they stopped and memorizing that he'd need to add on an additional four minutes to that measurement. Only once he was moving, the fingers on his right hand curling around his thumb to create a four on their own account, did he say "Thank you - each of you - for that."

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:10 pm



They finished the job, and finally were ready to continue moving. Saphira fell back into place beside William and resumed walking, now feeling like there were thousands of eyes upon them from all over the plains. Of course they had to run into assassins here where there was no cover. Although that meant there was not a lot of places for the assassins to hide either. And besides, that first man said they would wait until the group was asleep... which now probably meant they needed to set guarding shifts and have at least two of them awake at a time throughout the night. 

She nodded at his thanks, but then lowered her voice and whispered to him, "I'm sorry. This is all my fault because I let you be recognized back in town. I didn't think the consequences would be this disastrous... Did you recognize that man? Or do you have any ideas why now they are after you?"

Even if now news had spread that he was a Star Catcher, there was no way the King would know of his true plans with the star, right? Was he just being pursued by the kingdom's enemies because they knew he was so far from Thelline and completely unguarded? Was there something else going on here that she wasn't aware of?

As she walked, she made sure to keep up her guard and watch her surroundings for more surprise attacks.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:35 pm


As she started to whisper, William leaned in to better hear Saphira, but he shook his head at what she said. "It's not your fault," he whispered in return, "Ultimately it was my decision and I brought it up to begin with. I'm sorry I made this even worse." He considered her other question, even while he thought about what a train of assassins could mean for this trip. The end was already dangerous, that the journey there was now even more so - even without environmental factors and being this close to Ko'bak - made his chances of success even less --- but he wasn't going to think about that. He had a responsibility. There was no other option - he'd survive, get the star, and get back to Thelline. 

"I didn't recognize him," he continued, the nondescript face not bringing any name or prior interaction to mind, "and..." he shook his head again, not wanting to give voice to where his paranoia had led. "I don't know for certain."

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:56 pm



She waited. She could hear snippets and murmurs as someone drew nearer and, crouched there, she placed a hand on her daggers. Her fears were soon abated when she heard the chatter of the group. So... Now what? She knew she couldn't just spring out of a bush at them, lest she be axed directly between the eyes. As usual, she hadn't thought it through this far. She took a breath and decided to wait until they were in front of her before she climbed out. It'd be way, way less embarrassing and she'd probably be more likely to live.
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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:06 pm



She found herself averting her eyes as Cassandra and William hauled the corpse-like figure towards a hiding place. Memories she didn't want to revisit bubbled up towards the surface, threatening to reveal themselves once more. She knew in her bones how heavy that body would feel, how it would strain certain muscles as gravity fought to tug it away. The weight in that case would be different, though—the heaviness of death seemed to pool, unlike the way the body still supported the skeleton of someone living. The man was unconscious, but he still breathed, except in the horrible moments where she mistook a sense of motionlessness she had seen before. It kept her from assisting with hiding, but thankfully the others didn't need her, not in this moment. She turned away from it, and fell into stride with the others, back on William's path.

As they walked, Kitty's slate-blue eyes tried to find something else to look for—Shashka. The dark-haired girl ran when the skirmish began, and Kitty certainly didn't blame her for any of that. She had endured terrible dealings with ill-intentioned strangers; trying to find safety was not a crime. There didn't seem to be much out here, not much to hide from or behind, and she wondered if additional assassins would ignore Shashka or consider her an easy target. They didn't need more bloodshed, not after all that had happened. Would the other young woman be alright?
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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Thu Dec 13, 2018 3:14 am



With the body covered as best as possible in the small time they allowed theirselves, they struck out once more on the road. It felt good to get moving again. With the looming threat of enemies seeking out their group in a concerted effort, keeping a speedy pace felt more important than ever.

Cassandra walked beside Kitty, unable to keep from glancing at the other girl every once in a while, eyes searching for tell of any injuries. No one seemed to have been attacked besides Leon, but a lot could happen in the heat of battle. Relief washed over her, spotting no open wounds or splashes of blood, as well as a renewed sense of respect and adoration for this slight but powerful girl. Even though in a rush of fear, Cassandra had told her to find cover, Kitty stayed through it all. She found a way to get into the fray without hesitation, and that kind of emboldened and selfless action made Cassandra admire her even more.

"Thank you," she said to Kitty with a smile, gesturing a little towards the axe now back in its proper place. It felt good to have the Starcatcher Axe back, her very first weapon. She'd wielded dangerous tools often enough before, hefty axes to chop wood, saws and hammers to fix and build. But she'd never had a true weapon of her own before. "It means a lot to me to have this back. And thanks. For staying despite it all."

With that, she took the moment to glance around, wondering about Shashka. How far had she gone? Shashka was so difficult for her to understand at the best of times. To run when others needed help was something she'd never comprehend. Perhaps Shashka had taken this chance to get away from the group, or perhaps she only wanted to seek shelter. But with the danger settled and still no sign of the spit-fire girl, Cassandra didn't know what to think.

At one time, she might have called out Shashka's name, searching and loud, but not now. Not with assassins seeking them all out with nothing but greed and death in mind. Instead, she kept an eye out for any signs of Shashka ahead of them or hiding in the sparse vegetation. Shashka might not feel she was part of the group, she might be frightened and run away again when danger came calling, but Cassandra did not intend to abandon her.

"It seems things will only get more dangerous from here," Cassandra continued, partly speaking to the others and partly musing out loud. "We'll need to continue to support each other if we want to survive."

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:39 am



"Of course," Kitty replied, returning the smile with one of her own. She simply couldn't have imagined doing anything else with the axe; leaving it there, far from its owner, when they had so few resources among them, would have felt wrong. She picked it up because she wanted to have something to remind her of Cassandra, as if it could protect the other girl, talisman-like, despite all of the unknowns. When Saphira and Cassandra left with the robbers, the axe became a touchstone to quiet her fears. She wouldn't have given it to anyone else except its proper owner; it was only the rush of thanks and the lack of danger or need for significant tools that had caused her to delay for so long.

She was glad they were together. She knew that William and Saphira possessed skill and luck between them, possibly enough to have survived an attack like this on their own, but Kitty felt as though there would have been slightly more risk. She didn't want any of them to be hurt, especially not by others with malice in their hearts. It was one thing to face the wilderness and handle survival, but another entirely to be orchestrated against. She wished the lingering doubt in her mind, the one that crept up after the robbers ambushed them at that bridge, hadn't been right. She had never heard stories about people attacking Star Catcher candidates, but even despite William's high-profile, she couldn't help suspecting this was not as uncommon as she would have liked it to be.
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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:50 pm

DM wrote:
Cassandra attempts to spot Shashka!
Perception check: passed!
Does she see her?
--5

Cassandra is able to spot Shashka!

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:19 pm



"You didn't make it worse," she shook her head vehemently. "It's not your fault there are people after you. You're just... trying to fix things that need to be fixed. And only you can do it, so you must." And now she had vowed to make sure he would achieve his goal alive. She was going to protect him all the way to the star and back.

She let the discussion end there when he claimed he had no idea why they would be after him, having no reason not to believe him. There was nothing else to do but be vigilant now.

To Cassandra's remark, she noted that they had one less burden on the group now. That was for the better anyway. They didn't need weak links or added weights who added nothing to the group.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:46 pm


But he did make it worse, though; he could have just toughed it out, not given it a second thought, and dealt with being mostly blind to the increased noise and commotion and persons within Viachia, but he didn't. True that it was not his fault people were after him, but he did allow himself to be seen and recognized in a very public place. Would they have found him eventually? Probably, yes; it wasn't like the records wouldn't make their way back to Court. It wasn't like, right now, most of Thelline didn't know he was Star Catching. But that news hadn't reached here yet, and that he was just some nameless Star Catcher was the best defense he had had going for any random political issues and he had tossed it away due to some sensory deprivation discomfort. He wasn't going to stop, it wasn't going to make him give up, but he hated that he had dragged Saphira and Cassandra and everyone else into something they should not have had to deal with. That Cassandra had to make that statement and it not be about the heightened danger from predators. 

As Saphira straightened he followed suit, their whispered conversation over, and he chose to answer Cassandra's comment, "If there is anything I can assist with, just ask."

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:53 pm



"Strategy," she replied, even though the question wasn't directed to her. She couldn't think of anyone better suited to plan for whatever they needed to do, now that they were in greater and more-specific danger than before. William clearly knew what he was doing; he had a variety of skills across so many categories. Perhaps with his input, they could all stay safe. She didn't like to think that the others, like Cassandra, could be at greater risk of something they didn't really understand; assassins were not exactly a part of Lorham life. Maybe he could map out what they ought to do, sort of like he did when they successfully disarmed the man who threatened them.
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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Fri Dec 14, 2018 6:25 pm


"Of course," William replied, glancing back towards Kitty as he kept his measured paces, "though I hope each of you will continue to offer suggestions and ideas throughout our time together, too; while I've got some training in this field I'm nowhere near a master, and different perspectives make for better balanced decisions." He returned his attention forward, keeping an eye out for anything in his path, "Cassandra's suggestion to hide the unconscious man, for example; while it probably seemed obvious to her, it was completely out of my mind that anyone following could use the man - awake or no - to gauge our abilities and weaknesses. Perhaps I could have come up with the same conclusion in time, but as I was too focused on keeping up with the elapsed time and how that would effect our journey, I would have missed it completely if left to my own devices. Such catches will be instrumental in our success now, so, please," he glanced behind him again, offering a polite smile, "Speak up when you've got something to say."

Honestly, they all had such backgrounds to his that their realms of experience were vastly different, which was a boon in unknown territories like these. When their experience or expertise could raise their chances, he hoped they would say something instead of imagining that he had already thought of it and ruled it out for some unstated reason.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:38 pm



Shashka was still crouched and strained to hear as the party walked toward her. She picked out words and phrases from their conversation. Unconscious man? So, they hadn't killed him? It seemed foolish. Maybe they really were out of their minds... but then again, she didn't know if she could do the deed herself, when it really came down to it. But, that was different. After all, the stranger with the bow wasn't after her, or he'd have shot, whether she was a moving target or not. The more she thought about it, the more she realized he'd let her get away, and her mind turned over what or whom he was really after...
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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Sat Dec 15, 2018 4:51 pm



"What should we do to leave a false trail and cover our tracks? You trained in hunting, right? Did they ever teach you those things?" she asked William, checking back to see if they were leaving an obvious trail. It wasn't sand, exactly, so it wasn't that obvious, but who knew how good these assassins were at tracking. And how much time would they need to leave false trails? That was something to be considered too. A false trail would lead somewhere else, so they might have to double back a couple times and that meant more time being wasted and the gap between them and the assassins closing even further.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:46 pm



Through the brush, she caught sight of a familiar form. Shashka stayed nearby enough to rejoin the group at least, so that had to count for something, didn't it? She almost called out to her, now that she knew where Shashka crouched. But the fact that the dark-haired girl had yet to come out of her hiding place even though the danger now laid knocked out behind them made Cassandra pause. Would calling attention to Shashka, hiding and unspeaking, anger the other girl?

Cassandra frowned a little. Shashka was difficult enough for her to understand on a good day. Now added to the fact that she'd ran when her team needed her, Cassandra no longer knew how best to approach it all. She'd tried soft, she'd tried being firm, even friendly and accepting had only worked to a certain degree, so what else was left? Was leaving Shashka to her own devices the best course of action here?

She decided not to say anything at all, for now. The idea of approaching the hidden Shashka with storybook words like 'It's safe,' or 'The danger has passed', seemed condescending to the fear that must have driven Shashka to hide in the first place. Even if Cassandra couldn't imagine ever reacting in the same way, she at least tried to understand that this was a normal thing for people to deal with. Fear at imminent danger was normal, expected maybe. Perhaps she herself was the outlier in this situation, stupid and foolish to rush into danger without a second thought.

Still, she knew in her heart she'd do it all over again without remorse.

She listened as Leon and Kitty held a conversation with each other, and she allowed herself a small smile at it. Anything that got Kitty speaking more was a good thing in her eyes. She always enjoyed hearing that familiar soft tone.

Her smile grew a little at Leon's explanation that her idea to hide the body had been useful, thankful to contribute to their team in a way more than simple bravado and axe swinging.

At Saphira's question, though it was not meant for her, Cassandra tried to think of any stories that spoke of hiding tracks from enemies. "Could we use a branch to break up the look of our footsteps upon the ground? Or would that create a new kind of track that is too obvious?"

As the group continued to move forward, she kept an eye towards Shashka's hiding spot without staring at it outright to show that she'd found her. "We should find Shashka as well," she prompted once the group got closer, hoping that perhaps if Shashka heard her own name, it might lure her out from the brush. "She's still a part of our team."

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:57 pm

Dm wrote:
Looking back at their steps, Saphira would see that the scrub grass was depressed, and where some had stepped over or around brush some twigs had snapped loose. 

"Unfortunately the terrain I trained in was woodslands and plainslands," William stated, carefully stepping around another bush, "If we had more time, laying a false trail would be as easy as splitting up and making as obvious and long a path as possible before carefully leaving those trails and meeting up at a rendezvous point, but I don't foresee this going over well with no one here familiar with this region. Using a branch could definitely help, just don't let it drag on the actual ground to create grooves.

At mention of their fifth member William nodded once, but otherwise kept quiet. He was sure she'd be waiting for them somewhere up ahead. Even if not for loyalty or worry, then for direction. It was fairly clear now that even if they had agreed to travelling together he'd still have to watch out for being tricked or betrayed. If they had been on that final path, would Shashka have waited up at all, or just continued on to find the star alone and left them all behind? To search in vain for weeks or months, never knowing it had been collected and she was reaping the rewards back in Thelline... He was just handing her the opportunity, too.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Sun Dec 16, 2018 2:45 pm



Oh, crap, she sees me, Shashka thought as Cassandra looked toward her hiding spot. The girl must have surprisingly keen vision to notice her concealment. She should stop looking at Kitty and put that eyesight to better use. Then maybe we wouldn't be constantly shocked and rocked by random murderers all the time. Speaking of which... what the hell is with all these random murderers?! She would definitely have a word with Leon/William about the giant, invisible target on his back. It was unfairly spreading to the rest of them.

She held her breath as the group passed, surprised and a little confused that Cassandra didn't alert anyone else to her presence. She waited until they were several paces ahead before quietly and carefully extracting herself from her bush. She didn't want anyone to see her, sure they'd think she had been a coward and not just the only one with a brain.

It felt good to stand, hunched as she was the past, long moments. She walked behind the trio, deciding she'd listen and let them become aware of her, first... mostly because she had no idea what to say and "We should leave pretty boy here and save our own butts," probably wasn't going to go over well, from experience.
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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:55 pm



"Let's also try to be careful with our steps then and avoid cracking branches and flattening brushes. Try to walk on short grass and make it less obvious," she suggested. The trail they were leaving wasn't the most obvious, but it was also followable, considering there were four of them and each person was leaving their own. It made it more obvious as a group.

At Cassandra's comment about Shashka, she frowned. "How is she a part of our team? She literally left us the moment we were in danger. I don't think she even wants to be with us for anything other than convenience. A team is a group of people who work together and protect each other. Why should we protect her when she doesn't even care about our lives? Besides, if her concern is saving herself, she's literally better off alone, considering we have a lot more assassins coming after us. We'd be endangering her life if we took her back."

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:07 am



She nodded at William's response; he was right, of course, but Kitty didn't yet see a way she could lend any skills of her own. She knew basic survival tips from trips with her brothers, but it was nothing like this. Keeping wild animals unaware of your location remained very different from avoiding the attention of humans out to cause harm. At this point, until they found themselves in need of muscles for rote work, she wouldn't be of much use. She tried to listen as best she could, taking note of the comment regarding disguising their path.

Kitty kept her eyes open for a large enough piece of brush to serve as a branch to drag, knowing she'd be fairly well-equipped to cut it with her machete. (And if that wasn't enough, perhaps Cassandra could lend the axe.)

She felt hopeless in regards to the comments about Shashka. She wanted to defend the girl—after all, Shashka had helped her out quite a bit when they were together—but she felt like her words would be unlikely to change Saphira's mind. It was those two who appeared to have the most "bad blood" between them. It reminded her of the old Johnson family feud: old Dwayne and his equally-ancient brother Richam hadn't spoken in nearly half a century, nor had their progeny. She could almost imagine the smooth politician's daughter and fiery girl quarreling in the public forums like those hunch-backed, wrinkled men.
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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:40 pm

DM wrote:
Kitty finds a brush not too far from their current course! Her machete would take care of that in no time/

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:03 pm


"Running when an unknown danger surfaces is natural," he said, perhaps unexpectedly. While he had his doubts about Shashka, he felt the need to defend someone who was not present to defend herself - or, at least, attempt to keep minds open in her absence, "especially after what you all faced before with the bandits. That you three stayed when you did is commendable - not everyone should be held to those standards. As the trouble that follows is hunting me, I would like to attempt to protect anyone who is caught in the crossfire. It's true that she's probably better off alone - it's even more true that you would all be better off teaming up and separating from me. And if that is the course of action you would like to take you are welcome to it, but," he turned, his expression joking, "I won't lead anyone to the star if that's the case.

His gaze caught on Shashka, unaware that she had joined back with them, but rolled off the surprise to the best of his ability. "So, what will it be, Shashka? You can stay if you want and you don't have to fight, but if you want to split you can leave now and I won't follow. That should keep you free of pursuit and let you find the star on your own merit."

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:13 pm




Annoyed. Her face flushed hot. Saphira made her so damn angry. As far as Shashka was concerned, SHE was the one who should be alone, that way she wouldn't have anyone or anything to complain about. It might be the only way to shut her up, actually, she thought bitterly. She was surprised when William/Leon cut in, coming to her defense. She hadn't asked for it, but he was the only one the rich witch listened to, and she knew his words would help.

"I ran because it was the right thing to do. What would you like me to do against arrows, become a pin cushion? I've already said I was coming, so I'm coming, but I'm not going to die for people I barely know, for reasons I don't understand." The truth was, she was no navigator. She wasn't sure she could get to the star on her own to begin with, which led to another problem. She hefted her pack, more to blow off some steam through movement than any need to resettle it.

"We need to plan ahead. Nobody's thought of what we'll do if you die, or if the map is lost," she said, looking at William. "None of us will get to the star then. I think one other person should know the same information that you do." And that person should be me, she wanted to finish, but she knew Saphira's mouth didn't have a chance of staying shut if she said that. Instead, she suggested an entirely different option. The safest one she could think of, since it came with a built in body guard. "I think Kitty should do it."
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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:07 am



She'd expected Saphira's comments regarding Shashka, but she was finding it more difficult to come to Shashka's defenses when Shashka herself didn't even speak up. She'd hoped Shashka would say something as she rejoined the group, but instead she merged in from behind like a specter. She wasn't certain what she'd expected Shashka to say, exactly, as an apology and a promise to do better next time seemed far and away from the girl she'd come to somewhat know through all of this.

Bad blood lingered between Saphira and Shashka, sickly and poisonous. Even if she'd repeated the same words as before, it wouldn't make much difference here. But what other words were there? It wasn't as if she knew Shashka enough to build up a pretty picture of her. In fact, if anything, Shashka confused her far more than anyone else of their team.

The others continued the conversation, and Cassandra was relieved to find that Leon brought in a voice of reason, diplomatic in his steady tone. Even with Saphira set against everything Shashka did, at least Leon seemed capable of setting that bias aside to an extent.

Cowardice wasn't something to be condemned. When someone was scared—and especially when it stemmed from a valid reason—you protected them even more. Every story made that perfectly clear. Even if Shashka could not be counted upon to aid them in future battles, at least they knew that now. But was that enough to cast her out of the group? Cassandra didn't believe so. A group stayed as a group, grew as a group, and supported each other as a group. That was how it worked in the stories, so it had to work here.

Who else could they turn to if not each other?

Before she could get her thoughts into proper order and put them to words, the conversation took a sudden turn as Shashka spoke up for the first time since coming back to them.

Cassandra frowned thoughtfully, not having thought of it in this way. It was true that Leon seemed to know far more than them all, with Saphira being second with her vast knowledge. She'd felt it from the beginning, the fact that she knew so little in comparison, but that was before things became so dire.

She looked to Kitty then, gaging her expression at Shashka's suggestion, and then turned her eyes towards Leon. For now, she stayed quiet, though she approved of it all the same. It was a sound suggestion, a backup plan in case things took a terrible turn, and she was biased in the choice of selected person.

The more advantages Kitty accumulated throughout this journey, the better.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:11 pm


On some level, he felt like there had been some huge misunderstanding and he wrestled with what to do about it.

On the one hand, he needed to find that star and find it first. With what was after him and the monumental, probably suicidal task ahead of him, he could use all the advantages he could get. Travelling together had been a detriment turned advantage, and the longer he could keep everyone together the better it would be for him - he'd not only get support, but warnings now when danger approached and the ability to rest easy through some part of the night, knowing someone else was watching. Mostly. Almost. ... If he could trust that he wouldn't be sold out by the watcher. Nights were going to be stressful. But in any case, he knew he could count on Saphira, and felt similarly towards Cassandra and even Kitty, for while she was quiet she seemed the most steadfast in her opinion of what it was to be a group and team member. Grouping up also meant sharing the workload of day to day survival, and there would be more eyes on the lookout for the star, but, most importantly for him, it meant that he would know when the star was found. There was no competing with some unknown group or figure who was also looking for the star. There was security in the guarantee that if it is found, he would know it. 

Which leant itself to keeping the misunderstanding under wraps. If they believed he knew something they didn't about the star's location, beyond it's apparent trail, there was less of a chance a splinter group would branch off and attempt to find it first. He didn't know what wishes they were wanting to make of his grandfather, so he had no idea if someone with enough wealth or other power could persuade them to make a deal, or if they would think nothing of the thought of burning a bridge with - to their knowledge - the second in line to the throne of their country. Honestly, now that he really considered it, he was rather taken aback at how casually they treated him... but there could be several explanations for that, not least of which was that they met him as a peer and perhaps treating him as his position usually required now, so far after the fact, was confusing and a little weird. Or maybe it was that, here, he was more a star catcher - one of them - than a prince, despite the difficulties he added. 

In any case, as he strode through the Steppe he had seen only thrice since his birth, he had a decision to make in regards to Shashka's suggestion that one other person should know the same information he did... and she thought it should be Kitty. A neutral option, which was smart on her part. Less so, though, was that there was nothing she could do if he refused. She was asking for a sign of good faith, on the outset, but the phrase was literally right after casually mentioning the possibility of his death. 

In the back of his mind, he could almost hear Cardemon exclaim something about treason and half smiled. If he were here... Or if Edward was... well, things would be different. But they weren't, and that had been his choice, and now he had this one to make.

If he died, nothing would change. 

If he refused the suggestion he may be further cementing his importance within their group and further motivate them - Shashka in particular - not to let him die, but at the same time would be alienating them for not sharing with Kitty, a neutral party, what he knew. ... which, honestly, if they had come prepared, they would all already know. But that was, apparently, beyond the point. As was, again, apparently, the open suggestion that man had made that they would all be dying with him when the other assassins came to take him out. But mentioning either would be in poor taste.

If he accepted the suggestion he'd be once again opening himself up to the possibility in competitors for the star rather than a group. He felt like Kitty was the loyal type, but he had no idea what Kitty wanted the star for, and some motivations - as he well knew - could persuade people to do things they didn't think possible beforehand. 

He balanced the two thoughts for a moment longer, his gaze drawn skyward to check the sun's path as they advanced through the barren landscape, and then countered, "I'll agree, but with conditions."

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:37 pm



Shashka had slunk back into the group like the coward she was, just expecting them to take her back when she'd literally contributed nothing at all so far. If there was one thing Saphira hated the most, it was freeloaders. People who expected to get everything for free without offering anything back. Shashka wasn't supporting anyone, yet everyone was supposed to support her. How could everyone else be okay with that? How did that make sense to them? She didn't understand it one bit. It was obvious Shashka was only staying with the group because she had no idea how to get to the star herself, despite her foolish attempt to get to it on her own earlier, only to end up passing out in a ditch.

"Saying it's the right thing to do is debatable. We all took care of him just fine and nobody was hurt. If we all went to hide or run, he'd still be after us. And we all probably would have been dead." 

Maybe it was just because the rest of them were way more competent than Shashka, but still. 

So Shashka was saying if William died, all she cared about was that someone else knew the path to the star so they could get to it. Saphira raised an eyebrow, disgust coloring her expression. It was truly ironic that Shashka thought Saphira was the selfish one, when it was clear here that she herself was the most selfish of them all. All she cared about was the star. She didn't care about anyone else's lives. She'd probably kill them herself to get to it if she had to. And what was to stop her from stealing the map in the middle of the night?

...She'd have to make sure her shift was always with William, not just to guard him, but also his map.

She eyed William, knowing that he couldn't afford to give away his advantage. Right now, the group was mostly staying with him so they could find the star, since he was the only one who had had the forethought to bring a map. If someone else did... they could split off and leave the group sneakily to get it ahead of them. It was a terrible idea. It wasn't William's fault that no one else prepared enough to find it on their own. This was supposed to be a solitary journey. They weren't supposed to work together to begin with. It didn't matter that Kitty was the suggested person. She and Cassandra had picked up Shashka again after the girl left them behind. Saphira had no doubt that she'd be sharing the information with her too should the worst happen.

And Saphira was never going to let that happen. At least, hopefully, Kitty wouldn't run away with it for herself and couldn't be persuaded to do so.

The fact that William said he agreed alarmed her, but she waited to hear his conditions before she interjected.

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[HC Event] Star Catchers

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