The following morning Miira was up before the others. She left camp shortly to gather some necessary herbs and prepared the seasoning for the meat. She hoped Primus Bayn would wake up before the others, but Torruhk was the first to join her. He sliced some steaks and seasoned them well.
Miira always admired Torruhk’s cooking skills. She knew how to prepare food well enough to survive, but most members of her warband would rather eat something else . Torruhk was making sure the fire had the right temperature before roasting the steaks. She just stared at him while he worked his magic.
“Tor, for the next mission, our last one before we’re a real warband, can I ask you something?” she spoke softly so as to not wake the others.
“Sure, what’s up?” He looked at her for a second before focusing on the fire again.
“I don’t have a good feeling about this. Bayn is hiding something. I saw it in his eyes. This mission is going to be more dangerous than he’s said and I want you to be ready.” Miira said.
“Mi, I’m always ready. But I’ll sharpen my sword before the battle, just to be sure.” Torruhk replied with a grin.
Miira’s eyes pierced Torruhk’s as she said, “that’s not what I’m talking about. I want you to listen to my orders. I want you to stay with me instead of jumping in head first. I need you to back off when I tell you to and run when we need to.”
That look was all Torruhk needed to understand what she meant. Their lives meant more than this mission. Even if they failed to complete the objective, only Primus Bayn would be punished. All they needed to do was enough to prove themselves worthy for the naming ceremony.
Miira was the strategist of the group. She was well known for her insight in battles and patterns. Ignoring a call from her often meant defeat as had become obvious during earlier missions and training. Malkov was a good scout. He often climbed into trees or on top of buildings to gain a better view of the situation. His information ensured that Miira could create suitable strategies and adapt to the situation . Korina, despite fearing death, always knew which fighting style was most effective for the enemies they were fighting. Torruhk and Sennen usually formed the front line together with Miira. Sennen would work his fire magic on the terrain to block off paths or ‘herd’ foes while giving Miira and Torruhk extra elemental damage.
They were a good team. They had proven so before whenever they’d followed Miira’s plans. Improvisation was highly discouraged, especially from Torruhk and Sennen. Any call they made only resulted in more trouble.
Torruhk knew he was often too reckless and nodded. The look in her eyes frightened him slightly. It didn’t show her usual confidence. It wasn’t like her. This thing with Bayn was bothering her more than she’d let on. He felt a strong urge to give her a hug, just for comfort, but it didn’t seem right. Although they were close, a hug seemed too intimate. He expected a rejection if he initiated one, because he knew he liked her more than she liked him.
Miira was relieved that Torruhk had understood the need for caution. Now she needed to figure out how she could talk to Primus Bayn without having any of the others around. Korina woke up next and went about to do her duties. Malkov immediately started packing up camp after he woke up, all while Miira and Torruhk prepared breakfast. Sennen woke up last. He didn’t have any morning duties. They stopped assigning him any after he’d torched their entire camp. It had taken them more than a month to earn enough silver to replace their equipment.
After breakfast they waited for Primus Bayn to lead them to their new camp. Miira hadn’t been to Agnos Gorge yet, but she’d heard about it. Earth elementals haunted the place and one of the last big crystal remnants of the Searing was there.
Primus Bayn had led them to the Spirit Hunter camp. “This will be our base camp for the next week. We’ll help the Bane warband with their duties. They just relocated to this place. Of course, you will be responsible for most of the cooking and cleaning for as long as we’re here. Torruhk, we’re counting on you for some delicious boar meat.”
“Boars? Awesome! They’re fast, so it will be challenge to catch them, but you can count on me.” Torruhk’s eyes lit up. He grabbed his sword and ran to the edge of camp.
“Not so fast, cub. We’ve got a camp to set up first.” Primus Bayn threw a rolled up tent towards Torruhk. Malkov snickered behind his paw. Primus Bayn threw him the other tent, wiping the smile from his face.
The members of the Bane Warband looked on from a distance as the cubs set up their own tents. Varian Ironbane was impressed with their swiftness as the cubs set up their tents. “They’re going to need this skill if they’re staying here. Should we tell them?” he whispered to Maris Spiritbane. Varian shivered at the thought of the ghostly visitors.
“Nah, they’ll find out soon enough. And then we’ll have a laugh.” Maris replied with a wink. “It’s bad enough we have to stay here. These cubs will lighten up the mood while they’re here.”
“As long as they’re not giant pussies like Varian, they’ll be fine.” Loculus laughed. Varian glared at him and let out a low growl.
“Save your growling for someone who is actually impressed by it.” Loculus retorted smugly as he leaned against the rock wall.
Torruhk had somehow found the biggest boar in the entire forest and presented it well-seasoned to his warband and their hosts. Loculus started telling a tale of old Ascalon, teaching the cubs a little about the history of the place.
“Have you seen any Ascalonian ghosts yet?” Loculus asked the cubs. Korina and Malkov shook their head. “You’ll see them soon enough. But you needn’t be frightened. You can kill them. If you’re brave enough. ” He paused and then started laughing. “Unless you’re like Varian, haha. You’ll find out why this place is called the Spirit Hunter camp.”
Varian winced. He had expected a comment sooner or later. He disliked Loculus’ teasing. His comments were sharp like daggers, but he did help out whenever the ghosts outnumbered Varian.
The young charrs were huddled up together talking about ghosts when the fifth member of the Bane Warband returned. Latres Bladebane had been to the Black Citadel to stock up on merchandise. She sold weapons to anyone who passed through Spirit Hunter camp. It was vital to keep a large supply because ghosts sometimes stole the weapons if they got the chance. “Heya, I’m Latres Bladebane, the first member of the Bane warband. I hope my friends treated you well. I know they like to tease, but they’re good guys, really. They’re just not very used to other charr. Their manners aren’t very inviting.” She winked.