“Come on, guys!” Squeaky skips a half-step ahead, and strikes a hopefully-dramatic chord on his ax. A brief flourish of magic dances up from the strings, lighting the nearest trees with an unearthly, flickering glow, fading softly into the darkness as he releases the note. “We’ve got hot meals, and soft beds, waiting – for someone else.” The note strikes flat, and the glow flashes purple-red, before sputtering out.
Master Chief trudges on with the rest of the party, grumbling something about “bait” and “being helmets on a stick” or some other thing. All the while he remains vigilant, scanning the roads ahead and looking deep into the trees that surround. He watches, unamused, as the gnome prances ahead of the group while strumming his magical stringed axe.
After a quick look back to check the party’s rear, Master Chief glances at the group’s leader. “Sergeant, perhaps we may be wise to assign one or two of the more inconspicuous members of our group, to spread out a little into the trees. They may be more useful there, as a counter-ambush if needed.”
Sam peers into the trees, and looks back at Chief and nods. He taps Therin, points left, and heads right.
He blends into the trees, becoming near-invisible in the dense foliage.
Squeaky starts to play the first few notes of the tip-toe sneaking theme, tine with Sam’s steps… do-do-doo! – and then stops, and gets quiet. His dark little eyes peer out into the road ahead.
Master Chief notices the gnome’s pause, and looks ahead as well but sees nothing of interest. “What are you looking at, Squeaky? There’s nothing there! Let’s keep moving so we can get this march over with, and the Lieutenant can have his precious bed and breakfast.”
“It always creeps me out, a bit, when those guys disappear,” the gnome tells the tall one. “Makes me thing someone’s going to jump out of the dark and clobber me. Usually, it’s Sam.” He makes the last remark just a little bit louder.
Finally becoming overwhelmed with his irritation at Squeaky’s carelessness, Master Chief steps ahead of him, then whirls around and stoops so that the two are face-to-face, nose-to-nose.
The dragonborn speaks softly, but with such tone that he may as well have been roaring in the gnome’s face.
“Now you listen here, you little pipsqueak! I don’t know if you’ve cared to notice, but we’ve been sent out here as ambush bait! While it would much befit our purpose in this mission to trigger any surprise attack that may await us around that corner, I for one am more in favor of survival. So, if you don’t mind, I suggest you pipe it down and let the boys do their jobs without having their cover blown! Otherwise, Sam isn’t the only one you’ll have to be worried about out here!”
Squeaky stops up short. He looks up… he doesn’t have to look up, too much. Chief’s leaning down. Convenient. He shuts up. Ugh. Dragon breath. He takes a half-step back; then gives Master Cheif a level look. “I’m quiet. Get out of my face, lizard breath.”
Squeaky’s deadly staring contest with the dragon is interrupted by a wet thwap. He staggers, slipping in the mud, and falling on the side of the path. “Bloody!” The gnome curses loudly. “Sam!” He yells out. Looks at the dragon. “Saaam!” he calls in an angry stage whisper. “You lout.”
Squeaky wipes the mud from his face, with a grimace.
Suddenly, a clod of mud comes soaring out of the forest, thwapping on Squeaky, knocking him to the ground, the splash impressive and thoroughly coating the unwisely-low-to-the-ground dragonborn.
Master Chief stands from the gnome, and wipes the mud off his face. He then looks in the direction it came from, points, and glares.
Then, hearing the woods echo Squeaky’s outburst, Master Chief turns on the insolent gnome. In one swift action he grabs Squeaky and hurls him at Sam, knocking them both to the ground. He then shouts “That’s the last I want to hear out of both of you until we’re there! Do you understand?!?!”
The gnome crashes head-first into the bushes, landing on his guitar with a loud, echoing CLONK! that can be heard throughout the forest.
Sam gets up, taps Squeaky on the shoulder, points back in the direction of the party, and moves forward, attempting to hide himself again. He must be shaken – a rustle in the trees is clearly visible.
“You’re being too loud.” Squeaky tells Master Chief, as he returns to the road, picking leaves out of his cloak. “You shouldn’t be shouting. We’re trying to be sneaky.”
Master Chief shoots one more deathly glare back at Squeaky, before moving forward again. He really hoped that would be enough, since his patience with this assignment had worn thin even before the bard had struck his first note.
A harsh whisper comes from behind Master Chief’s ear “I thought I made it clear you weren’t in charge”
Zankul looks back to address the Sergeant, “Someone’s got to keep those two from getting us all killed. If no one else is stepping up to it, you can assuredly expect that I will.”
“Are you going to follow orders or not?” Sparks flicker around Serai
“Yes… Sir.” replied Zankul, with a slight grumble in his tone.