The Plan (Dread pt.5)

Arlo and Xander sat inside of the yurt trying to find it in themselves to get some sleep, but the situation they had gotten themselves into made them too nervous.

“What if Nox actually tries to kill us,” Xander whispered. “You saw the size of that bow and how easily she was able to hoist me off the ground, with one hand I might add.”

“You think if she was going to kill us she would have done it already,” Arlo replied while looking through his bag for some snacks. “I don't get the feeling we have anything to worry about from her. After all, once she found out where we were going she was more willing to help.”

“That's the one of the things that concerns me. What if she wants the contract for herself and is going to use us to find the old lady and then off us once we have her?”

Arlo scrunched his face up in thought. That was a possibility, but taking a look around the yurt he had a theory that Nox wasn't interested in the contract.

“Look at all these wolf pelts,” Arlo said gesturing around the yurt with a piece of jerky in his hand. “I'm guessing she's here to do some hunting and not search for missing elven grandmas.”

“But why would she have said that staying here put ~us~ closer to where we might find the lady?” Xander said. “Also give me some jerky too, I'm hungry.”

Arlo tossed his brother a piece and peered over at the entrance to the yurt. The opening in the canvas wasn't big enough for him to see all of what was going on outside, but he could see Marine sitting by the fire with the staff in her hands and the tree where the wolf carcass was hanging.

“Psst, Marine,” Arlo whispered harshly startling Marine. He waved a piece of jerky trying to summon Marine inside so they could talk. She quickly came and joined the boys after seeing the jerky.

“Do you have a plan for getting out of here?” Xander questioned Marine sounding worried.

“We get some sleep and head towards the mine in the morning,” Marine replied with a mouth full of jerky. “With any luck we find some obvious signs of where the old lady is or maybe we will get lucky and Nox will come with us to do the tracking.”

The brothers looked at each other and then back at Marine with a scowl.

“There's no way she can come with us,” Xander said. “We can't trust her.”

“She saved our lives,” Marine said sounding offended. “And she is letting us stay in her, uh, home for a night. For free.”

“But why is she?” Arlo asked. “She clearly finds us annoying and is probably just using us so she can collect the reward for the job we accepted.”

“First off she finds Xander annoying,” Marine snapped. “And secondly she's clearly in the area for hunting and will make her money off selling the wolf pelts. Why else would she keep so many in here? Also Arlo, you're the one that asked for her help.”

“I asked her if she would take us to the nearest inn,” Arlo spat defensively, “I didn't think she would skip formalities and bring us home.”

Marine took an aggressive bite of her jerky.

“Look around you,” Marine said gesturing around the yurt, “Nox is obviously a hunter by trade and this is how she makes a living. She is clearly good at her job, so why would she want to make a career switch.”

The boys quietly ate their jerky and looked at all the pelts neatly folded around the yurt.

“So you aren't bothered by what her bow is made of?” Xander asked Marine. “Bones are not what I would consider a normal material to make bows out of. I may not have picked up much during class, but I do know that bows are generally made of wood and not spinal columns.”

“You are being awfully rude to our host who happened to save our lives. I for one don't think it is wise to openly judge someone for their choice of weapons. We don't even know what type of bones it's made of. It could be made out of the wolves for all we know.”

Marine knew deep down it was better they didn't ask the question.

“Marine, you told her our names and she hasn't called any of us by them,” Arlo said offering another piece of jerky to the other two. “Doesn't that worry you?”

“Yeah, it is like when farmers don't name their live stock because they don't want to get attached,” Xander explained. “It makes killing them easier. Where is she anyway?”

“She left to go get rid of the wolf guts so they wouldn't stink up the camp,” Marine said taking another piece of jerky from Arlo.

“She left?!,” the boys exclaimed in unison.

“We have to leave,” Xander said jumping to his feet, “make a torch out of the staff using pelt scraps and lets go.”

“Now that wouldn't be a very good idea,” an unfamiliar voice laughed from outside.

A cold shiver of pure terror tore through the bodies of the trio and the fire outside suddenly went out. The trio scrambled to the back of the yurt and looked in horror out the small entrance to see a glowing pair of icy blue eyes staring them down from outside.

“You want to try and fight them too, Marine,” Xander said sarcastically, “or maybe we can ask them nicely if they have any cold mead to spare so we can have one last drink before we are all murdered.”

“Cut it out, Xander,” Arlo spat trying to hide the fear in his voice.

“How about both of you shut up,” the voice outside called, “stealing from the Blackwood Estate is a serious crime in these parts.”

Marine scrunched up her eyebrows and pulled out the summons flyer from her bag.

“We aren't here to steal from the estate, we are here doing a job for them,” she replied with confidence holding up the flyer. “Nox saved us on the road and is letting us stay here for the night.”

The glowing eyes blinked twice and the individual sneezed letting out a burst of blue flame that reignited the fire outside revealing a pale skinned elven woman leaning against a tree across from the yurt. Even with the fire going again her eyes were glowing the same icy blue and black smoke was streaming out of her mouth which was turned up in a sinister grin.

“We will see to the truth of that when Nox returns,” the woman hissed, “until then, start thinking about what your last words are going to be.”