Frost crunches beneath each step of a hoof, leaving dark patches of melted ice with every pace. Softened leaves, a flurry of reds and oranges and golds of every shade, litter the dying ground and blow about in the breeze, creating a cushioned floor beneath them, and a beautiful scene around the elf and his partner. Ilai slows the trotting horses to a stop, and the creatures toss their heads and snort in upset. Shushing them with both word of mouth and word of mind, he calms them, and instructs them to stay. They do so rather unhappily, but that doesn't matter to the elf, who then ignores the two mounts. Shaking Marus' shoulder, he stands rather impatiently beside the Clydesdale.
With a slurring moan of 'what do you need?', Marus awakes groggily. Ever so kindly, Ilai gives a solid shove to his friend's shoulder; not enough to push him over, no, but roughly enough to jar him awake and coerce him into shouting:
"In the name of the seven hells, man, I'm awake!"
"Well then get up!" Ilai snaps back, rubbing his eyes in exhaustion. "We need to eat. Or, at least, I need to eat."
"So eat..." Marus replies through a deep yawn. "There's food in the saddlebags." He makes a vague wave towards the leather satchels attached to the saddle on his horse, wriggling his way off the creature. He lands on his feet unceremoniously, stumbling a few steps ahead before regaining his balance.
The elf unclips the hood of the worn, tanned leather bag, and paws around within it. Clasping his hands around a handful of various foodstuffs, he pulls his arm from the bag and snaps it closed with his free hand.
In his hand he holds a small piece of barley-and-rye bread, a strip of cured venison, and a small amount of dried berries from a variety of plants and fruit-bearing trees.
Popping a blueberry into his mouth, the runaway asks, "How far, would you think?"
"Eh?" The warrior looks over at Ilai, who now busies himself with devouring the food grasped in his hand. Marus twists his back, stretching in an attempt to shake the stiffness of sleep from his limbs.
"How far until we reach Damir?"
The soldier shrugs, frowning. He walks to the elf, and picks a few raisins from Ilai's hand, tipping them into his mouth. "As I've said each time you've asked; it depends on how many times we stop, how quickly we travel, and how long the horses can go without food or drink."
The thief groans, finishing off the rest of the sun dried fruits resting in his hand in one large mouthful. Marus stretches a bit more, then climbs back atop his mount, watching Ilai continue to eat. The sight reminds him, oddly enough, of a squirrel harvesting acorns before winter falls.
"Quickly, quickly!" The weathered fighter snaps, looking impatient. "If you insist on complaining on our progress, I'm forced to rush you in order for us to make it within the timespan you insisted upon!"
"Another minute will not put us too far behind schedule." The elf mumbles calmly, storing the strip of venison and the piece of bread in a pocket within the cloak, which drags behind him as he walks, like a bridal train.
Using the stirrup on the saddle, he pulls himself onto the Arabian, yawning and running his fingers through the nameless steed's mane.
"Your turn." Marus says, holding up the map. The faery blinks in surprise, noticing just now that his friend had taken the map. He doesn't protest, though, and hands the reigns over in silence. Only another day's ride, he reminds himself. Just a day.