Writing 2014-06-20

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The three foxes set off in the late morning, each carrying a pack. None of the packs are too heavy, as they expect to only be a day, maybe two. As they walk, Larrikan tells Aedaith and Bandé his stories of the pixies, and what he knows of them.

After listening to the stories – and believing them, unlike some others – Aedaith says, “They sound wary of strangers. Should Bandé and I hold back so you can introduce us as friends?”

“That might be a good idea,” Larrikan admits, “Especially if someone has been bothering them, and they feel defensive.”

When the light starts to go, the foxes camp. They will send Larrikan ahead first thing in the morning. Dawn wakes them, and Larrikan goes ahead while Aed and Bandé break camp.

Larrikan begins to sneak through the forest when he gets close to the pixies’ tree. He doesn’t think he can hide from them, but if someone is there, they will have a hard time spotting him. He can’t quite sneak up on a dryad in her own tree, but he is pretty stealthy.

There is no need. There is no one there.

There are no pixies, either.

The tracks suggest two or three people all around the trees. There is the greasy scent of a smudge pot. And a familiar bogley smell.

Larrikan darts back to the camp to get the others. They are ready and come quickly.

Bandé is a better tracker, and builds a clearer picture of what happened. Two people – a human and a bogle – came to the tree, did some things, were there quite a while, making a muddle of the tracks, then left. The bogle and the human went different directions.

All three foxes agree; follow the human. After all, they’re pretty sure Larrikan killed the bogle last night.

Bandé leads, tracking, while Larrikan and Aedaith flank him, both on high alert for trouble.

The find the human’s camp. It is mostly trampled spots, the remains of a fire… and a discarded pair of pixie wings.

Aedaith, who found them, brings them to Larrikan, and says, “I’m sorry.”

Bandé looks shocked, but Larrikan says, “Unless they have the world’s best reason for this, they are dead.”

Bandé and Aedaith look a little upset by that, but neither object.

The foxes move on, trying to catch the human. They press on until dark, then stop. They make as simple a camp as they can, and mount a watch.

The morning sees them back on the hunt early. They are trying to scavenge a little without slowing down, and manage a little. They know they will have to stop and hunt tomorrow, which will take time they don’t want to spend.

They know they are close, as they find a few warm coals in last night’s camp’s fire.

The trail leads to a stream. The foxes are moving quickly and nearly walk in to the human’s new camp. It is only midday, but the trader they are following has stopped, and is fishing.

The foxes drop back into the woods to discuss what to do.

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