Eraenes narrowly dodged three quick strikes from Katherine's wildly whipping vines. Katherine continued her assault, willing the tree roots beneath the ground to spring up and trip her. Eraenes spilled onto the ground ungracefully, and didn't have time to roll away before the roots fully ensnared one of her ankles. Katherine took aim with her bow, training the tip of her arrow at her friend's chest, but before she could release it Eraenes forced the moisture within the roots to freeze, before shattering her restraints and running. Just as Eraenes thought she had reached a safe distance a sword swung up at her from the underbrush, sending her falling back to avoid it. With Morgan's sword at her throat and Katherine guarding her from behind, Eraenes thought she had lost the training exercise.
Kalypso peaked out at the scene from within the trees, a bit scared that she would have to continue the exercise alone. Eraenes kept her eyes on Morgan so as not to alert the enemy of her teammate's whereabouts. Kalypso waited until Katherine turned her back on the trees to quietly creep towards Morgan. The second before Kalypso made her move Eraenes let out a sharp cry and collapsed onto the hard ground, sharpening Morgan's attention on her. Kalypso snuck a dagger to Morgan's throat the moment after. Morgan tried to elbow her back, but Kalypso was far too sturdy to be moved by someone that small.
With Morgan covered, Eraenes scrambled to her feet. She drew a long, thin stream of water from her flask that reacted to her motions like a whip, cracking through the air and causing Katherine to turn around in surprise. The end of the stream struck a tree just to the right of Katherine's head, splitting the wood and sending her running. Eraenes swore under her breath at the miss, but was secretly relieved to not have hurt her friend, despite Morgan's insistence they treat the exercise like a real battle. While Morgan tried to dislodge herself from Kalypso's hold, Eraenes hurried after Katherine.
Eraenes had never been very fit and was easily winded by running, while Katherine was as swift as any deer as she moved. Still, Eraenes did her best, trying to force Katherine into a corner with calculated strikes to her friend's path, turning her away from freedom. Behind them Morgan continued to struggle. As Eraenes gave chase, Kalypso had confiscated Morgan's sword and lifted her up off the ground in a tight hold. Katherine reached the end of her escape attempt against one of the Kowe's wooden huts. Both women knew that Katherine wouldn't risk damaging anything belonging to their new friends, so Eraenes was able to bind her tightly with her whip. They walked back over to Kalypso and Morgan, and given that both women had been restrained, declared the exercise over.
"Honestly, with legs that long how are you so slow?" Morgan sneered at Eraenes in annoyance as they ate lunch.
"I'm a scholar not a warrior Morgan. Besides, there's never been any need for me to be very fast on land," Eraenes replied, ignoring Katherine's smirk when she translated.
"You would probably be faster if you would come on runs with me, you know," Katherine told her. Eraenes neglected to share that comment with the group.
"Slow or not you're well enough to train, so we can head out tomorrow morning," Morgan said.
"At least we have a destination now," Kalypso grumbled. "Anymore word from your boy toy?"
"Yesterday, and he is not my boy toy," Morgan answered. "I wrote back to tell him where we're headed so he can send reinforcements."
"Do you really think that plan wise," Katherine asked through her friend.
"That Sabia did make it seem like the dragon was the friendly type," Kalypso added.
"Just because someone seems friendly doesn't mean they are," Morgan replied.
"Advice you should always be careful to remember," Eraenes said.
"You wanna fight you goddamned freak?" Morgan shot back with such venom Eraenes couldn't bring herself to stare the knight down again.
"Um, so, I suppose we'll leave at dawn tomorrow and head for the mountain," Kalypso said, trying to cut through the almost palpable tension in the clearing.
"That sounds fine, the morning should be beautiful, don't you think Eraenes?" Katherine asked. Eraenes agreed softly.
"Right," Kalypso said. "I suppose I'll see you all tomorrow, I'm just going to...go." Kalypso escaped as quickly as she could.
Katherine greeted the dawn with a loud whoop of excitement that served to rouse the rest of the party. Beside her Eraenes groaned. While Katherine ran out to the horses, her friend struggled to sit up and find her glasses in the blinding light. Nearby, Morgan elbowed Kalypso awake before rising easily and dressing. Kalypso and Eraenes took much longer to get ready than their friends. Neither were morning people, and both usually made it a rule to never rise before ten, but they had no choice and so did eventually manage to prepare themselves.
"If I drop dead from exhaustion I want my ashes thrown in Morgan's face," Eraenes said as she pulled herself onto her horse.
"Maybe you would conserve more energy if you weren't so dramatic," Morgan muttered from her perch. Kalypso just grunted and slumped down on her saddle.
"I do hope you all aren't leaving without saying goodbye," Sabia called out as she tottered over to the party. "It's rather rude you know." Everyone looked down at her, guilt clear in their faces.
"Please forgive us."
"Well that's alright then, as long as you're sorry," Sabia replied with a sigh. "I just wanted to tell all of you to be careful on your trip. Somebody's been stirring things up around these parts lately; it wouldn't do for any of you to be hurt because I didn't warn you."
"You don't need to worry about us, ma'am. Now that we know what can lurk out here, we'll be prepared," Kalypso assured. The rest of the party nodded in agreement.
"Thank you, again, for your assistance and hospitality Sabia," Eraenes said.
"And again, there is no need for thanks. Now be good, and try not to stray too far from the path," Sabia responded, as the party began moving. Everyone waved goodbye to her, except for Katherine who blew her a sweet kiss as she rode off.