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The early morning after the dance, Wolfgang was not as ill as before, and managed to put his gear together without too much supervision. He was still rattled enough by his transformation that he gave the barest of arguments when he was not allowed to pack his sampling kits. I honestly think it was a spinal reflex, but he knew the mountains about us. This was to be a trail trek, and he knew the drills from home. We would pack the barest minimum needed, for even if we were to be horseback, there could be the need for us to carry our own gear.

Yes, I am able to camp in the rough. I do not enjoy it - no one from home does, except perhaps Sparks and truly unbalanced people. The Wastelands are a dangerous place, where survival of the fittest includes things that escape from laboratories and rampaging mobs. No, it takes something very important to venture into the Wastelands, and it is usually done in large, very well-armed groups, or swift courier packs - never alone. I have trained with both, as have most of the group here. Captain Veles found me in the stable, checking the straps on the rifle scabbard and saddlebags. "Hyu going to be hokay?"

"I am not a fainting townie. You know that, even if I have not shown that here." I paused before turning to him. "I have to go. Griggs is not here. Amarantis has her hands full with school and the newcomer thinking he is Jeremiah. Mother and Augustus have their duties, and the other... it is too early to share that link. He needs a bloodline link with him." I shut my eyes, "...just in case."

He took me by the shoulders, "Hyu vill keep him zafe, hyu iz der mozt dangerouz creature in de forezt - a mother." His grin faded, and he continued, "Hy haff to tell hyu. Herr Baron, he told me to not zay ennyting. Vun zecret Hy keep, dun vorry - iz a nize surprize, bot de other hyu needz to know. There iz a verevolf hunter out there. Hy tink Hy got hiz scent, but not for schure. Only name Hy got vaz McGee. Ve ask der scheriff on der trail out, ja?"

"We?"

"Ho, ja - Herr Baron und Mazter Gil are packing now. Greegar, Maxim und Hy are on guard detail mit hyu."

I rubbed my eyes, tired from lack of sleep. "The Baron knows how to pack for the courier runs, the question is - did anyone tell him about the trails we would be following?"

"Hrm... no?"

I led the horse from the stable and spotted the wagon. I sighed, "Oh, ye cogs and flywheels, that man... if he does not have his camping gear separate on his horse, I do not think the sheriff will wait for him... and neither will I."

"Heh. Now, dot iz onfair. Herr Baron iz de Oldt Campaigner. Hyu knowz he vould chust haff hiz Scientifik Zuppliez un dot vagon, nut hiz bedrollz. Haz nut bin dot long zinze he traffelled mit der Mazterz."

Wolfgang brought his packs to the stable then. Keeping my voice low, for all the good it would do, I replied, "I know, I am just... nervous."

Veles helped Wolfgang with his packs, and continued, "Ja. Ja, notting wrong mit dot. Giffz hyu de etch." He watched Wolfgang mount up and head to the plaza. "Hyu iz nut alone, hey?"

I stopped fiddling with the buckles and climbed into the saddle. "I know, and thank you."
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frau_lowey

July 2012

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