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Riders of the Steppe (Astarte) GMed by Takimaru

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    #16
    Re: Riders of the Steppe (Astarte) GMed by Takimaru

    "No, I am an archer. Our best, now." Altani responded simply. Normally she might have been hesitant to reveal such a potential weakness without her bow at hand, but she was already at a disadvantage, and he seemed more interested than hostile. Whether or not she was the most skilled archer among them had been questionable previously, but Vachir had been her only true rival in that regard. "I simply prefer to keep my bows safe from the elements when I don't have need of them."

    Altani let herself relax a little when the man dismounted to tend to his kills, but remained wary. That he would do so in front of someone who could still be an enemy spoke of either considerable confidence or recklessness, and she wasn't certain which it was in this case. Just as she was considering whether to ask him what he was doing out here alone, he chose to explain of his own volition. If she believed what it was he was saying, it went a long way towards explaining his behaviour, and it put her in a very difficult position.

    Even if this was simply a recruitment, he was making it quite clear that they wouldn't be given a choice in the matter. Altani didn't want to get involved in something this big and uncertain—What he was speaking of was not simple raiding, it was going to war. But what else could she do? Even if the others agreed with her sentiment, they were nothing compared to the numbers she could see approaching. This was not a battle the could fight, and it was already too late to run.

    "I will speak to them." She spoke up again after a few uncertain moments, choosing not to answer his question about their leader for the moment. It might be better to have one of them play the role of leader here, to present a strong front. No single one of them was entirely in charge. Suren was perhaps the closest thing they had to a leader, though Tegus and Altani herself usually had an equal say in decisions. She needed to speak to them before she committed anything to this man, and prepare everyone for what was coming. "It would be best if I passed your message along first, to avoid any... misunderstandings an unfamiliar rider approaching might cause."

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      #17
      Re: Riders of the Steppe (Astarte) GMed by Takimaru

      An archer… and the best amongst a clan? With no bow?” asked the man with a slight chuckle. “Of the Manly Pursuits, there is none more important. But clearly you are of Ulralia like us, so you mean to say that you are the only man in your group?” Altani would go on to explain herself as to the absence of her trademark weapon, earning a thoughtful grunt and a nod of understanding from the stranger.

      I see. Well, don’t be so keen to store them away now, as you will be in need of them soon enough,” he explained. “Your initiative is appreciated. I am Halran, by the way. I will accompany you,” said the man, practically inviting himself. His words were spoken firmly enough that Altani might find him difficult to dissuade.

      If she so chose, he would then follow her back to the camp, even offering her a ride if she dared to take it. If the girl found the courage to do so, she would find that he would indeed take her to the camp, where three members of her group were outside in the immediate vicinity, tending to the fire.

      She would recognize those of her group as Berke, Tegus, and Qaral. Of the three, the falconer was the first to take notice, as his bird, much smaller than the stranger’s by nature, began to flap its wings and squawk. Qaral responded with a few hushed whispers to his hunter, trying his best to calm it down from the sight of a much larger bird. He couldn’t help but glare at the newcomer somewhat, and shoot Altani a questioning look, though she knew the question very well already--’why is this man here?’

      The messenger responded calmly by offering another piece of meat that he had kept from the day's earlier hunt to his golden eagle, which kept the falcon’s natural predator occupied well enough.

      Tegus eyed Altani and gave her a nod before tossing his chin in the direction of one of the yurts, giving her the unspoken request to meet her in private.

      Once they were inside, he spoke. “Seeing as the both of you are in fine shape, I don’t imagine we need to worry about his intent right away. But who is this guy, and why is his bird so damn big? Do you know anything of his traveling companions? Even with a raptor like that, nobody travels these steppes alone and manages to look that old.
      Developer of Despair Labyrinth and primary GM of the PbP.

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