Nov 28, 2011

Tales of Tyria - Chapter 5: Chase

If you missed it, here's a link to the previous Chapter.
When Naimh awoke the sun was already streaming brightly into the room.  It took a moment for her to remember where she was and why she was there.  As the haze of sleep lifted, she realized that her late start may already have cost her.  Not wanting to delay herself any more, she slipped out of Krankk's house and headed to the inn where her potential guide was staying.
When she arrived at the inn her worst fear was realized -- Skoldur had left at the first light of dawn and had a headstart of several hours.  Considering how much taller the Norn were when compared to Sylvari, Naimh knew that catching up to Skoldur would be no easy task.  The good news was that he was headed in roughly the same direction that she was and that the fresh snow and clear skies would make him easy to follow.  Knowing that she wouldn't be able to avail herself of the amenities of a town for a while, she allowed herself the time to have a decent meal.  Once she had finished, she gathered her pack and headed out into the wilds north of Hoelbrak.
Once through the city gates it was easy to find Skoldur's trail.  No one else had travelled in this direction today and the still air had left his footprints clearly visible in the snow. Still, Naimh was aware that the weather could change at any moment in the mountains and it would only take a strong wind or another snowfall to obscure the trail.  With that in mind she struck out with a purposeful stride into the mountains.
The day passed uneventfully; however, as night approached, she still hadn't caught up to Skoldur and wasn't sure if she was getting any closer or not.  Despite the clear, starry sky offering some amount of light, she knew it would be foolhardy to try catching up to him at night -- it would be far too easy to lose the trail and become lost.  Instead, she found a large tree with some bushes at the base of it.  One thing that she had learned was that Sylvari had more to fear from being nibbled on by mice or an elk than they did from being attacked by wolves or other carnivores.  Where a Human or Norn had to be careful sleeping in the open where a predator could surprise them, Sylvari, being plants, just didn't have that worry.  She hoped that not having to make and take down a camp would allow her to gain some ground on Skoldur in the morning.
After an uneventful night, Naimh was pleased when she awoke and found that the sky was still clear.  Skoldur's tracks were almost as fresh today as they had been yesterday.  Naimh set out on the chase right away, eating some biscuit as she walked.
Taking the time to look around at her surroundings, she was struck by how different the forests of the Shiverpeaks where from theswamps and jungle of the Maguuma that she called home.  The forest she walked through was still and silent as it was too cold for the insects which provided a constant backdrop of sound in the jungle.
Naimh found Skoldur's camp in the middle of the morning.  The firepit was cold, but in these northern mountains It doesn't take very long for that to happen.  Encouraged that she might be gaining ground on the Norn, Naimh doubled her pace and pressed on.
As evening approached, she assumed that she wasn't going to catch up to Skoldur again when she saw a thin column of smoke up ahead.  The trail she was following led straight to it and Naimh assumed that it was Skoldur's camp.  Despite the quickly fading light, Naimh hurried towards the source of the smoke.  Oddly, a ways before the source of the smoke, the trail branched.  Naimh wasn't a Ranger, but after studying the tracks for a minute, even she could see what happened.  Her quarry had gone into the trees towards the smoke, then he had back-tracked and come back to his previous position and continued on his way.  She wasn't sure why Skoldur had abondoned his camp, but it meant that Naimh had a chance to catch up to him!  Still not sure exactly how far behind him she was, Naimh was still confidant that she was close enough that it made sense to push on through the evening.  When it started to get dark enough that she was in danger of losing the trail, Naimh broke a branch off a dead tree and made a torch out of it so that she'd have enough light to see the trail with.
There were no easy landmarks to judge by, but the pain in her legs told Naimh that she had been climbing for a while when she suddenly found that Skoldur's tracks were now joined by giant tracks that she could only assume belonged to a very large bear.  She wasn't sure if he was following it, or if it was following him.  She did know that if she kept her torch lit, something would find her and probably surprise her in so doing.
Although she was eager to catch up to Skoldur, she didn't want to blindly charge into danger so she extinguished her torch in the snow and waited for her eyes to adjust to the starlight before she continued to cautiously follow the paired tracks.  Using the light of the stars, while walking through trees wasn't the fastest way to travel, but she was determined to find Skoldur before she rested.
Suddenly, she heard a loud roar from up ahead and knew that she had at least found the bear -- and most likely Skoldur too.  She broke into a run, heading in the direction of the roar.
You can continue reading the next Chapter here.

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