Cabin in the Woods

Saying not a word as she dismounts, Rebecca drapes Demon's reins over the saddle horn and sends the stallion to the water trough. Silently, she lights a cigarette and waits for Fay and Kade to dismount so she can see to their horses. Things will need to be checked over. She wanders a bit from the others, keeping her troubled thoughts to herself.

Finn dismounts as they approach the lodge, sliding from the saddle and pulling the roll full of weapons and ammo off of Blake and onto his shoulder. He turns to the others as Blake moves towards Rebecca and Demon. "Alright, we'll take a meal and a rest here. Fay, could you speak with the trees and see that our perimeter is secure? Arkadios, check the cabin, just make sure we're as alone as I wanted us to be."

He pats the roll, "I'll check on what we managed to haul away. Rebecca can help me with that when she's done." Finn eyes Rebecca, seeing that she's troubled, and then moves to the porch to give her a moment.

As he comes to halt Kade dismounts and thanks Rebecca when she offers to see to his mount. Not being used to being given orders Kade bites back a reply when Finn tells him to check the cabin, instead he nods and moves off to comply.

Faylinn dismounts as well and stands beside Poppins for a moment, looking around. Then she loops the reins over her arm and leads the mare off to the trough herself.

After checking the small stables next to the lodge for feed, Rebecca sends the horses to it to eat and rest while they can. She keeps her rifle nearby - just in case as she goes about her business. She warns them that there may be gunshots fired later and not to panic when they hear them. She tossed a stick of their favorite treats into the feed bin and returns outside.

Seeing Finn still on the porch, she makes her way to him to help look over the firearms. Her boot heels thump on the wood planks of the porch floor as she crosses it to him. She leans her own rifle against the rail, shrugs out of her duster, and lays it nearby.

"How's it lookin'?"

By the time Rebecca walks over he has the firearms laid out neatly, along with corresponding boxes of ammunition. He has a buffalo rifle beside him, along with a couple of revolvers. A two-gun rig would be easy enough to come by, as would the belt he'd need for the rifle. His lips press together as he finishes his count.

"Not bad. Not as good as I'd hoped, but not bad." Finn answers Rebecca, "Your scattergun has some ammunition here." He gestures, "I've got a holdout for Fay, I don't think she'll want or need anything else." Finn taps a two shot derringer, "It takes the revolver ammunition, so she'll be alright there. I got a rifle and a pistol for Kade, but now that he's shown himself to be more 'Clarissan' than 'Rilgan', I'm not so sure he'll want or need them either." Finn shrugs slightly, "It's enough to make an impression, but not enough for a siege. I'll need to uncover more ammunition along the way."

Fin regards Rebecca silently for a moment, before asking, "What's on your mind, Rebecca? You seemed out of sorts."

She shakes her head and picks up one of the shells for the shotgun and examines it. Her expression unusually blank. "It's a cowboy thing; Code of the Plain." She pushes her hat back with one finger and smiles "Don'tcha worry yer pretty little head 'bout it."

Finn raises an eyebrow at her turn of phrase, and smiled slightly in return. "Aah, I'm afraid pragmatism will become more necessary as we continue. I don't expect what we'll find in Greymoor to allow for anything else." He shakes his head slightly, and seems about to say more, but chooses to heft his new rifle, and sight along its length.

Turning, Rebecca pulls the shotgun out of her duster and opens the break-action to load it. "How long we got ta rest up here, ya reckon? I think I could eat somethin'…"

"I think we need to give the horses a couple of hours. The normal ones anyway." Finn states, "You'll find supplies in the root cellar, canned goods and non-perishables. Everything we need should be here, barring fresh meat maybe, which I planned to fix. A good meal won't hurt us any, and we can save the sandwiches and trail rations for when we really need them."

Kade finishes his recon of the lodge, then retrieves his gear. He arrives back on the porch in time to hear Rebecca's question,

"I'd quite like to know that myself Captain, do we have minutes, hours or days?" he asks politely but there is a sardonic smile there too.

Finn gets to his feet, his eyes cutting to Faylinn, where she appears lost in thought. "If that lasts too long, I'm going to shake her out of it." He frowns momentarily and then turns to Arkadios.

"A few hours, no more. If you need to sleep, do it now, we can wake you for dinner." He eyes Arkadios for a moment, "Are you going to be reliable, Arkadios? We're likely to have to cross the Black Road at some point, or at least get very near it. I need to know if you're going to have another episode or not, or if that was some kind of offensive — arcane event."

Exhaling smoke around the cigarette dangling at the corner of her mouth, Rebecca jerks her arm, snapping closed the break-action on her now loaded shot gun. She leans it beside the rifle and takes the cigarette out of her mouth to flick ashes from the end while Finn talks to Kade.

"If yer goin' huntin' fer meat, keep it small if we're only stayin' a coupla hours. Unless Blake can polish off most of a deer in that time. I can cook anything ya bring in, though it ain't gonna be fancy."

Kade nods, "I would appreciate a bite to eat at least.

"I hope I shall remain reliable, my earlier reaction was caused by my linking with them." he pauses and glances at Rebecca then back to Finn.

"Perhaps I'd best explain what happened." he collects himself for a second or two then speaks quietly, "No doubt you'll have guessed that the sinkhole back there was caused by something from the Black Road, two things actually, I perceived them as beating black hearts. When I sensed what they were about I decided to go after them, they fled before me back to the Road." he smiles slightly, crookedly, "That stopped the disturbance on the mundane level, and I could simply have left off there and then but I decide to attack since I feared they might rally and return in greater force, I slew one of them whatever they are, but as I came close to the other heart I somehow saw them"

Kade's face becomes ashen, "I got no sense of the individual, I still don't know if there are many or just one entity controlling events, not for sure, but I know that they seek to destroy us, in a vision I saw my home shadow assailed by a leviathan beast and saw many other places attacked. It felt like, like they want to blot out any place with even a trace of the mark of Amber upon it."

No. No, no…

It is a paling Rebecca whose fingers are compressing the wood of the porch rail to the point that it audibly begins to protest its treatment.

She is two seconds away from gathering up her gear and going for her horse.

Kade stands in silence for some moments his face sad, and thoughtful, "I will admit to some embarrassment for my debilitation, but my mind was very close to the source of all this for a moment, they are many and they are powerful and they want us all dead."

Finn nods, "I was thinking something smaller than a deer. Blake can certainly eat the rest, and you and I have a fair appetite." He shrugs slightly, "I was thinking pork. I chose this spot because it was meant to have everything we needed."

Then he turns to speak to Arkadios, and listens to the other man's explanation of earlier events. Finn does not interrupt Arkadios, and nods slightly when no offense is taken because of his rather pointed question. He gets to his feet, and loads his rifle as he listens. "I did sense that it was something 'offensive' from the Road. How is it you slew one? And if you saw them, what did they look like?"

Finn notes Kade's expression and shakes his head, "I have known that for some time, though it was only the supposition of a field oficer. I have staved off too many organized attacks, and lost too many men to the things from the Black Road to believe it is not intelligently and viciously directed." His lips press together for a moment, "Rangers are not taken prisoner, even the wounded are put down by the enemy." he frowns slightly.

"Do not be embarrassed, but if there is time, you may wish to mention what you are about. If that were to happen in heavy combat, we might not notice that you need to be covered." Finn nods, and turns at the sound of protesting wood. He nods to Kade, "Thank you for your explanation. It would have been helpful to know that you were a Sorcerer from the outset, but I will keep it in mind from now on."

He steps up beside Rebecca and covers one of her hands with his, "I know what you're thinking. Where will you go? And how will you get there?" Finn shakes his head, "We are doing the best thing we can. Defending Amber. It is the lynchpin, and despite Arkadios' vision, you're home may be perfectly safe for the moment."

A muscle in her jaw twitches and one can almost hear her teeth grinding. She can get there without him; it will just take a lot longer. Cimarron means too much to her, but she isn't about to open up about here and now.

She doesn't quite jerk her hand out from under Finn's, but it's certainly a sharp and sudden gesture. She gathers her firearms and duster and turns to Finn. "Then I reckon ya better get us there quick," she says through clenched teeth. Then she stalks across the porch and into the lodge.

Kade waits until Finn has spoken with Rebecca before he answers, his face shows a hint of sympathy, which is perhaps understandable considering that he saw his own home being ravaged. When he feels the time is right he speaks.

Stalking through the lodge, Rebecca finds the kitchen. After setting her rifle and shotgun in easy reach and hanging her duster on the rack by the backdoor, she looks around at the appliances (such as they might be) and bangs through cabinets looking for what she needs to cook in.

She is not quiet about it. She desperately needs something to take her mind off what Kade had said. She is more afraid then she ever has been that she'll get to the ranch and find them all dead; or they won't find anything. She bits the inside of her cheek almost hard enough to draw blood. She isn't going to cry. Not now. But she can't get her mind off Uncle T…. Wyatt…

She finds the appropriate cookware. There is a basin of water nearby she can use to rinse the dusty utensils.

She also finds an array of ingredients necessary for one of her favorite pork meal; the right herbs and everything. The way Uncle T used to make them… The way Uncle T will make it when she arrives in Cimarron.

Fortunately, this involves chopping onions, so when the worry grips her she can write off the tears as a result of those damn onions.

Uncle T may cook, but if Rebecca gets her way, she's going to shag Wyatt stupid.

And then she's not letting either of them stay behind.

All things considered, Finn comes into the kitchen after a short time, with his kill … a smallish pig … field dressed and partially butchered. He walks into the kitchen and leaves the portion meant for their meal, before quietly going to give Blake the rest.

By the time Finn walks into the room, he can already smell cornbread baking. Oil comes to a sizzle in an iron skillet on the stove while something bubbles along in a lidded pot. He can smell onions and bacon. Standing at one of the counters, Rebecca has her back to him while she ruthlessly dices her way through a pile a potatoes. On the counter near her is a platter of seasoned flour — and a tall glass of whiskey. But she either doesn't hear him, or isn't in the mood for talking.

Rebecca has no concept of the minutes that have passed since she came inside. The monotony of cutting, dicing, dredging, stirring occupies her as she tries not to let her imagination run away with her. She has no idea how long she has been cooking when she hears the already familair sound of someone's steps.

"Can I help at all?" Kade asks casually.

Some things are already on the table; she raided the neglected garden and managed to find some hot peppers, a few tomatoes that the birds hadn't gotten, some apples and plums. Peppers were arranged on a plate with sliced tomatoes and hunks of raw onion next to a jar of home made pickles. The kitchen smelled of pork chops and onions, spices and cornbread.

She is standing at the stove stirring a pan of home fries with onions when he comes in. A pan of thick, breaded pork chops sizzle merrily along on the griddle at the back of the stove. She steps to one side, still stirring, at his question.

"Pot holder's by the sink. Fetch that skillet of corn bread from the oven. There's plates in the cabinet. Ya can flip it onta one of them an' then set the table if'n yer so inclined."

Finn moves back towards the kitchen, and inhaled the scent of Rebecca's cooking. His belly rumbles.

"You take care of the corn bread, Kade. I'll set the table." Finn moves to do just that, and as he passes Rebecca, adds, "It smells great, Rebecca. I did not expect to eat so well." He sets the table, and glances out the window to gage the passage of time. "I will see if Faylinn is done. We will eat, rest to give the horses time to recover. How long do you think for that, Rebecca?"

Tilting her head to one side, Rebecca considers the question. "Ours're fine. The other two weren't ridden to a lather, so I reckon they'll be fine in an hour or so. Horses don' need as much restin' up as people do. Don't know how much Hellridin' they've done 'fore now, so we'll need ta keep an eye on 'em ta make sure exhaustion don't set in. If their eyes go dull lookin' and their ears go limp, we'll have to get fresh horses an' send those two home." She dumps the taters and onion on a cotton towel to drain and checks the chops. "There's some loose salt out in the stable. I'll grab some o' that 'fore we go. They'll likely need it. Make sure they drink their 'fore we leave too."

Finn nods, taking Rebecca's assessment at face value. There was no sense in asking an expert and then ignoring them. He consideres for a moment, as he lays out the utensils. "Two hours then. Enough to get through dinner and a nap if anyone wants it. Then we leave." He finishes the table, "We'll Trump the horses through to the City if fresh horses are needed." He smiles slightly, "Do what you think best. I will serve the meal so its ready when you're back. Let me go and check on Faylinn again, she's been talking to the trees for a long time now."

Rebecca stays where she is and shakes her head once Finn's gone.

"'Fore we leave don' mean right now. Sometimes that boy's a card short of a full house."

Kade finishes up with the corn bread, and grins in response to Rebecca's comment.

"He seems sane enough, maybe a little overly… focused." he says quietly watching Finn walk over to Faylinn.

She dumps things out of pots and set bowls of rice and field peas on the table. "Oh, I reckon he's as sane as the rest o' us. Long as he's been with Benedict, ya shouldn' be surprised at that focus. He can be an intense fella, fer certain." She paused a moment before adding; "Both o' 'em.

With a smile and a nod Kade checks over the table settings such as they are then either helps Rebecca with the food or gets out of the way whichever she prefers.

While this is going on his expression becomes thoughtful, he makes a ‘mmph’ noise then muses out loud, “I wonder… I think I need to speak with our esteemed leader.”

Standing at the sink to start pots soaking, Rebecca glances out the window. "Looks like he's comin' in with Fay." She looks over her shoulder at Kade. "Reckon ya can talk to 'im over victuals."

Finn and Fay enter shortly thereafter. Turning off the water in the sink, Rebecca brings a pitcher of lemonade and another of water to the table. She waves everyone to the table and sits down herself.

"Eat up," she smiles. "With Finn here, I don' reckon they'll be anythin' leftover but the bones, so ya best get to it quick."

Taking a seat Kade sits waiting for the others before eating, he does pour himself some water.

"Anyone else?" he asks as he pours.

"Please," Faylinn answers. She picks up a glass and passes it across before settling into the chair that the glass and it's place setting belongs to.

Kade fills glasses for all who want it then as everyone takes a seat Kade just sits and sips his own water.

"Finn, I've been thinking and in the spirit of cooperation and information sharing you suggested earlier I thought I'd best let you know that I believe my tussle with he forces of the Black Road have made me somewhat sensitive to their presence. I don't know quite how sensitive yet, and I'd need to try things out, experiment a little preferably in a neutral location, but I might be able to sense them, perhaps even determine if they are on the move as it were."

Finn chuckles softly at Rebecca's comment, and then clears his throat, before soberly stating. "I'm afraid that she is not exaggerating." He serves himself some lemonade, and then picks up his utensils. He takes a moment to savor the scent of the meal, his eyes closing for a moment, and he does not acknowledge anyone, if only for a small space of time. He takes a bite of the meat, slicing a small piece of to do so, and smiles slowly. He sighs, "Aah, this is excellent Rebecca."

"Ya can thank Uncle T when we get to the ranch," she replies while buttering a square of steaming cornbread.

His eyes rise to Kade, and he listens to the younger Amberite's explanation. "Will such — psychic sensitivity render you unable to defend yourself or others against a more common physical assault? I certainly see the usefulness in an early warning system, but there will be times where a pair of hands, or a well-flung spell, will be more useful than the knowledge that the Black Road and its Beings are after us. I assume that they always are, and will be, until we can move away from the Road itself." He sips his lemonade. "This Hellride will not be getting any safer. The four of us must be alert."

Kade nods in response to Finn's qualification. "I would hope my earlier episode is a one off problem, if it isn't I shan't be able to use my spells at all since my heightened awareness is part and parcel of my arcane endeavors. I can't be sure though, which is why I suggested experimenting in a neutral location. I'll let you decide where, assuming we don't encounter trouble which forces my hand as it were." he concludes with a rueful smile.

Suddenly he smiles and glances at Rebecca and Faylinn, "I believe I might challenge Finn here in the eating stakes, so I'd dig in ladies if I were you."

Rebecca just smiles as she pours herself a glass of lemonade. "Won' be tha first time I've had to fight fer my dinner. I got a fork an' I ain't afraid to use it." She waves it at him to underscore her point then stabs it into a porkchop.

Faylinn regards the conversation - and the participants and the fork-wielding - with amusement. "You should improve your focus," she offers. "Dealing with an emergency is not the time to be falling off and frightening your horse."


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