Darkling Abroad   
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Introduction. Viresse devises a plan to assure that Rube will be safe - though she is not sure if he is even in danger... until she speaks to Taluen.


hen Viresse arose the next evening, she felt refreshed. She was finally getting the hang of the dark elven sleep schedule - she didn't stir at all during the day. In fact, she didn't dream either. She sat for a second, clutching her pillow. Was that a good thing or a bad thing?

She rose and exited Sifl's quarters, and headed for the clearing. It was still kind of early - people were rising still, which was fine with her. She kept a quick pace and headed towards the clearing, keeping an eye out for anyone she knew.

Tending a fire, she saw Taluen. She let a sigh of relief escape her - had she found Terquan, she'd not have approached him, and if it was Tristen, she felt that she would be in for a word of hurt if she asked him. Tristen had a level head and a quick mind, it would be easy to speak to him and discuss the options she had in her head.

"Taluen?" she asked, and waited for him to turn around. He saw her and smiled, then held out a hand to shake. They did, and then he paused.


"Viresse - you seem in thought - is there something I can help you with?" he asked.

"Yes. There is. I'm glad I found you." She walked over toward the felled tree where she had sat with Terquan a few days before. But the atmosphere - other than being the night - was far more relaxed, and even safe. "I have a few questions to ask about Hunting and the Arvins Festival."

Taluen gazed at her with slightly widened eyes, then looked to the ground. "I don't really like to participate in those, so I can't answer many questions. But go ahead and ask - there are probably quite a few that are common knowledge around here." He looked up at Viresse, his eyes conveying a sadness.

"Is the Arvins Festival really that bad?" she asked as she looked at him.

"It's not really BAD, other than the quarry we use and the amazing amount of friendly death," he said. "I had a sister- she was about fifty years older than me, and she went hunting with a girl pack for the Arvins festival three festivals ago. That makes it about seventy five years ago... I was still young at twenty five and despite having some skill and even a brace of hounds - Ergo and Mitten -... " He smirked at himself as he got lost in his memory for a second. "She was killed by a human who hid a weapon in his boot." He sighed. "No - I take that back. She was wounded by the human, the other girls she was hunting with wound up killing both her and the human in that blind hunting rage."

He pursed his lips and looked over at Viresse. "I know one was a demonologist - these girls were my sister's friends. So it easily could have been averted, had the demon one not been so wound up." He paused.

"You didn't need to know that, did you?" Taluen said, and laced his fingers in his lap. He looked very sullen.

"It's fine. You need to stop apologizing about what you say. I'm sure there's a reason you say it - I mean, I heed it as a warning. Don't hunt unless you're prepared, and many times things will go wrong," she said.

Taluen looked up. "You shouldn't come with us in the Arvins Festival. I think something's going tp happen." He looked at her, a cold sense of prophecy in his eyes.

She blinked. "Have you been dreaming?" she asked.

He nodded slowly.

"So have I - and that's why I need to," she said.

Taluen looked up at her, a look across his face that seemed openly scared. "Someone's going to die. Someone that's not a quarry."

She looked at him - maybe there was hope for Rube. " Did you dream of a human?"

Taluen nodded. "But it was weird, he wasn't dead. In fact, you clinged to him like he was keeping you afloat in the ocean- like you knew him."

Viresse quickly turned to Taluen. "Rube's going to live?"

Taluen looked confused. "Who?"

Viresse shook her head, and cleared away the cobwebs. "I had a dream that my human friend Rube was captured by Hounds, and was going to be prey in the Arvins festival. And I can't let him die that way..." She looked up at Taluen. "I'm going to hunt in the Arvins Festival. Not to kill, however."

Taluen nodded slowly. "I admire you, Viresse. You're going against near impossible odds, and you're staring the threat of death in the face, and just for a human fiend." He sighed, and let a smile cross his face. "I wish I had friends like that. "

Viresse looked over at Taluen. "You do. One may be bordering on insane, but he's a good friend. Don't forget that."

Taluen nodded. "He really said that to you?" he asked.

"Not really - but you two share something that I have seen few people share." She smiled.

"Thanks," he said.

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