In search of Suriane. Part one.
This had been a bad idea.
It was only a few hours before that Argyle had been in Timberline, watching the other Sylvari of the Hand frolic in the freezing cold water. He was leaning against a tree, staying out of everyone’s way, they’d all split off into couples anyway, it was hardly as if he’d be noticed. He kept his eyes on the water, avoiding looking at those who were laughing happily, or in some cases, staring vacantly happily…Or as happy as they could get in any case.
He had done what he was best at, fading into the back ground. He was pretty sure most had forgotten his presence altogether, and maybe it was because no one seemed to register he was there, or maybe because with all this cheer around, his mood had become significantly darker than it was usually, but his absent gaze went south, Far over the rolling mountains of the shiverpeaks, and further still, than the humid jungle of Maelstrom, to the rotting carcass of Orr.
It’d been on his mind ever since Sylvana had mentioned going to see Suiriane, just a few days ago. The only thing Orr held for him was Suiriane, and although he knew that she was quite capable of taking care of herself, worry had started to settle in his mind. He was maybe a day or two away from Fort Trinity, if he picked up the pace.
Pepperae wouldn’t need him for a few days, or so he thought. It’d been quiet in Cathal of late, and she had more than enough support without an old tree like him breathing down her neck. He was confident that the support of the medicine man would be enough to see her through. Besides, he didn’t think he’d be gone for that long, she’d probably not even realise that he was missing.
The Isle had been quiet as well, which you would have thought was a normal thing, considering it was an Island full of soundless, but in recent days he seemed to be getting more visitors than he’d ever gotten, which he frankly found to be a little odd.
Aevelinn had gone off somewhere, he wasn’t sure where, but she was no longer at the Isle, so that was one less person keeping him there. And then there was Vervain. She hadn’t come home this previous morning, having said the previous night that she had gone off to meet a friend. He would admit however, that it’d been a little odd not finding her in the big bed across the room from his own that morning. He’d gotten used to her presence in a surprisingly short amount of time, and he found some comfort in her being there. It had been odd to see the bed cold and empty. Normally he might be worried, but this was Vervain he was talking about.
“Vervain can do anything!” The phrase had almost made him smile, and perhaps it would have, if not for his mantras. But as it was, they were firmly in place, and really needed to be with all this cheer in the air.
Scieri was in good hands as well, Sylvana would be there to take care of her, and it seemed like now she had found some sort of purpose. He’d made sure of that. There’d been new light in her eyes the last time he’d seen her, a determination that was hard to ignore. He knew that for now at least, he could stop worrying about her.
Yes, he would go to Orr.
With his mind made up, he pushed himself off of the tree, blinking over the water, to the nearby bank. Alwyn hurried to catch up to him, her paws scratching against the crisp, snowy ground. Once he’d crossed the bridge and climbed the slope to Kyesjard, fern hound in tow, he began to gather a few things from the lodge he might need for his trip, food, water, that sort of thing, shoving them in his pockets, then sitting down to make a mental list. Seeing if he had everything he needed.
Anavra and Laeja walked up to him during his mental check, and broke his concentration, but in the end, they provided the push he needed. Getting to his feet, he turned on his heel, not saying another word, making his way out of the clearing and down the slope, down the mountains, onward.
He didn’t stop walking that night, even when it had become so black it was hard to see a few steps in front of him. He knew the general direction, and by the time the sun had peeked over the horizon he had become sure of his whereabouts. The trees had started to thin out and die, the corruption of Orr spreading even this far inland. The smell was the most noticeable however. There was a thick scent of rot in the air that almost made him gag, but thankfully he managed to keep his composure.
Alwyn was doing worse off than Argyle was however. She had brought up her lunch on the way towards Orr and had been retching ever since. Argyle was feeling quite sorry for the poor pup.
It wasn’t long before Fort Trinity began to loom over them, its metal structure making odd, eerie noises as the wind battered against her sides. The cannons were poised and ready for attack, which gave Argyle some comfort in these barren lands. He’d yet to come across a single risen, which unsettled him a little, as he knew the longer he went without seeing one, the more he’d lower his defences, and that was dangerous.
He got into the fort with little trouble; saying that he was a valiant on his hunt was enough to convince the Vigil troops to let him through. He imagined they must see a lot of Sylvari in similar circumstances.
He spent a few hours, just watching the pact go about their day, securing the gates and barricades, making sure the defences were fully functional, and had enough ammunition. He watched as troops went off on patrol, and the grim reality started to set in as more often or not, the patrols would come back with fewer soldiers than it had left with.
Argyle remained, leaning against a wall, scratching Alwyn behind the ears, relieved that the fern hound had long since stopped looking like she were about to throw up. He had sort of hoped he’d randomly see Suiriane, just walking around the fort, but alas, he was not so lucky. Instead he decided that he’d have to actually go and look for her.
He looked around the outskirts of the fort, finding little other than the wild animals who either completely ignored him, or attacked him, hoping to find that he was something more appetising than the mouldy corpses around him. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t find what they were looking for.
He eventually did however, or at least he thought he had. A wild boar was what lead him to the site. The creature had just walked up to him, sniffed him, and moved on. Argyle and Alwyn had found this to be a little odd, so out of curiosity, they had followed the animal to a small clearing that looked as though it’d been used as a camp quite recently.
There was one thing that stood out to him however. In the underbrush, nearly hidden from view, was a spark of magical residue that was so familiar to him it could have been his own. Upon closer inspection, he found that the magical object was a lump of gold coloured armour, seeped in the magic of his friend.
He didn’t like this, not at all. Turning on his heel, Argyle headed right back to Fort Trinity, moving swiftly. He started to question the first troop he came across, which may not have been the best idea considering they were a whisper’s agent. The agent gave Argyle very little to go on, so instead he asked some others, people who were not quite so cautious with the information they gave out.
He eventually got what he needed from a talkative Priory Asura who went on for quite a while about rumours of feral Sylvari sightings that fit Suiriane’s description. With a sigh, Argyle realised he had little choice other than to venture into the putrid landscape, something that he had wanted to avoid.
He slipped out of the Fort without drawing any attention to himself, it was unlikely that anyone cared about the comings and goings of a lone Sylvari. He took the road, or at least what he assumed was a road, west, noting how the smell of rot was slowly getting stronger. He was well and truly on his way into the heart of Orr.