"We have very little water up here," said Talberth. "But I can use a small spell to remove this dirt."
"I will let it stay awhile," said Ghibelline.
"As will I," Harald said as well. "There is a clear stream below, I will enjoy a soak."
"I need to study. I will have to rid myself of this dirt before I touch my book." Talberth reflected for a moment then cast the spell. With a gesture he wiped the dirt from his hands and robe.
"This oerth is a most honorable covering," said Telenstil, "but I must consult my grimoire as well. Talberth if you will."
The young mage used his power once again and with it made the drying mud slide away from the elf's clothes and skin.
"Now, we had best break camp soon," Telenstil told them, "But before we do, we need to talk."
"What is there to say," the little thief said glumly.
"Hey! Hands! Hands! Use spell, clean hands!" cried out the young orc. Little Rat pranced about and held up his filthy hands for Talberth to see.
"Get away!" yelled Talberth.
"Come my friend," chided Telenstil, "It is a small spell. You still have it prepared, do you not?"
Talberth scowled then cast the spell. It fought against the grime already caked on in layers atop the orc's skin, but the magic proved the stronger of the two. Dirt both old and new fell from Little Rat and pattered around his feet in a small pile. Little Rat rubbed his hands together then wiped his palms across his face. He licked one hand then scrubbed at his arm."Look! Magic, all clean!"
"Powerful magic there," said Harald snidely.
They had no fire and few supplies, but what they had they shared among themselves. The orcs had raided the giants' kitchen and had taken what they could stuff within their belts, but they had eaten it all in one frenzied meal.
Gytha shook her head and then kneeled in prayer. "Sustain us, my Saint, we are in need, our enemies are near, bless us with your strength and the food to keep our own strength pure," she intoned, and the ledge before her shimmered. Upon the stones there was now a cloth and upon the cloth bread, fruit, meat, and skins of water and a few of wine.
"Thank you for this meal," said Ghibelline.
"Thank Saint Cuthbert," chided Gytha pleasantly, "This is his bounty."
"I thank you both," replied Ghibelline with a smile.
Murmured thanks went around the gathered company and they set to with gusto. Gytha put aside a portion for the orcs as well. Little Rat sat himself beside the halfling and ate heartily, while the other orcs accepted the food and water but offered no thanks themselves and sat several yards away.
"A waste of good food," Harald complained.
"Maybe it would be better to leave them here," Talberth suggested.
"Perhaps," Telenstil said then cleared his throat. "First though, we need to decide on our next step. My friends, we came here to discover, and to punish, as best as we were able. We all began this quest knowing something of what to expect, beyond that, beyond the depredations of Nosnra and his kind that brought us here, we possessed merely guesswork and rumors. Some of what we came to find has been found. That map, now I hope safely in the hands of my Queen, will be of help to those concerned, your leaders, your kindred or your patrons. I do not feel that the map alone has been enough. For myself I cannot return home till more has been done."
"Yes, I say yes. We must kill Nosnra and as many of his kindred as we can," said Harald.
"Wipe them out!" called out Harold.
"Yes, that would be well," said Telenstil. "Let me speak," he cut short any further replies. "Henri said to us that Nosnra was just the finger on a hand, I agree. Killing him and all his kin will not end this, delay it perhaps for a time, but cut down Nosnra and another will rise to take his place."
"Like a tree," said Ghibelline.
"No, more like a weed," Telenstil said. "These few score giants, they are powerful foes, but throughout the hills and mountains there are many more. What I saw on the map were names of chiefs, more clans than the number of giants that people Nonsra's hall. It showed these lands, and at their borders where the great mountain chain takes hold, it showed the route that their allies would take. It did not name them, but from what some of us have seen they are the giants of the frost and snow, their ambassadors and scouts have already arrived, and these cold monsters are greater beasts than any of their hill dwelling kind."