Writing 2014-06-21

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The foxes back off enough to make a plan. That works out to a short time to forage and make sure they are ready to move in a hurry if need by, then to go see what the human they have followed from the pixie’s tree is up to.

They forage first. Larrikan heads off to see if he can catch anything, while Bandé forages for some fruit he saw along the stream. Aedaith fishes.

Bandé finds some tart apples, and Larrikan catches a couple of rabbits. Aedaith manages one large fish. While they prepare and eat these things, they discuss how to approach.

In the end, they decide to play innocent, and to be three foxes walking alone the stream. No one will have much trouble believing this.

The sun is just passing noon when the foxes put this plan into motion, and stroll easily along the stream, finding the human’s campsite.

The campsite isn’t complicated. A cart full of lumps under a sheet of canvas sits to one side, with a heavy pack leaning against it. The man apparently pulls the cart himself, as there is no animal to pull it.

A fire crackles near the stream, with a couple of fish speared on to sticks roasting over it.

The man himself is reclining on the bank of the stream, a string dangling into the water. At first, he looks to be asleep, but he opens his eyes and looks over the foxes as they approach. At first glance, he seems to be very old, but he may just be intensely dirty. Dirt is caked under his fingernails, and in his hair and even in the wrinkles on his face. He has long, matted hair, which blends into his long matted beard. His clothes are worn nearly to rags, and have been heavily patched. They are as dirt encrusted as the rest of him.

Sharp vulpine noises had warned the foxes the human was dirty, but they are met with an almost visible miasma when he stands up and approaches, slightly warily.

Aedaith says, “Hello there, fellow traveler! How goes you journey?”

Larrikan hangs back a little, smiling, while Bandé adds, “We are up from the Southeast, and have no trouble on the trails. Is there any problems you can warn us of?”

The man almost visibly relaxes; after all, it is only some wandering Shy Folk, with their usual tales of the road and travel.

The man’s breath is truly hideous; all three foxes have to work not to shy away. It smells of rot, decay, carrion, and tobacco. The man’s teeth appear to be rotting in his head, and some of them are growing a disturbing yellow fuzz. He finally says, in a quiet, reedy voice, “Hello foxes. I’m up from that way myself, so have no news you haven’t seen for yourselves. You’re probably making better time than I am with this load.”

Bandé says, “Ah, yes. I’m sure you’re right.”

Aedaith looks at the cart and says, “Oh! A tinker! Do you have anything interesting?”

The man gives a wicked grin, and says, “Actually, for foxes like you, I just might.”

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