"We have to get out of here," hisses Raúguey. "Those things are busy. Let's start creeping west, and put some distance between us and them."
"I go first," says Mordikarr, "Move quiet, move careful." The beastmaster slips between the first trees and quickly vanishes from those still trying to blink away the effects of the glowing creatures' whining call.
"I'm just gonna rest here a bit," mutters Rawon, slumping next to one of the mules.
"Oh no you don't. Get up." Ingvild shakes his head and tries to pull Rawon to his feet, but he's having a hard time keeping himself upright. "Dag, give me a hand will you?"
Maro watches Mordikarr, his elvish eyes adapted to the dark. "Hurry up, Mordikarr is moving. Jonquil, you and Ohwatoo follow and lead the mules. Raúguey, go with them. Where's Durego?"
"Here," mutters the cleric, "but I can barely see. So dizzy." The cleric staggers toward Maro's voice and trips on the undergrowth, slamming into a tree with a clash.
"This is never going to work without light," says Ohwatoo.
"We have to try. Just be sure we get everyone moving," answers Dagmarten, who is helping Ingvild with Rawon.
Slowly, ever so slowly, the group begins to move, the more stable and steady helping those most affected by the wisp-things, cajoling the unwilling to their feet, and dragging them along by force. They make scant progress, but the cluster of glowing spots remains where it is, for now. Ever so slowly the faint flickering lights disappear behind the trees.
After a few-hundred yards it's clear moving without light is nigh-impossible. Raúguey barely notices when Saurabh staggers off the line of travel and collapses in a heap, and the mules are getting more and more cantankerous each time one gets led into a tree or thorn bush. Finally Ohwatoo and Saurabh pull out their light stones, muffled in cloth, and this dim glow provides enough light to avoid the worst of the undergrowth.
The night slog becomes a blur: leaves slipping underfoot, trees looming out of the shadows, stumbling over rocks, and thorny bushes clawing at cloaks and packs. After a timeless interval even the strongest party members are done in, though at least those affected by the wisp-whine have partially recovered from its dizzying and blinding effects.
Jonquil is the first to collapse, and Ohwatoo, when he moves to help, collapses as well. Even doughty Mordikarr is dead on his feet. He slumps next to a tree and strokes Ava's still form. Rawon takes a swing from his flask, the sweet mead providing much needed energy, or so it seems. "We need to rest," he says. "The mules are about done, and we're going to lose someone in the dark if we keep going."
"I don't see any sign that we're being followed," whispers Maro. "What time is it?"
"Late," pants Dagmarten, hunched over and leaning on his quarterstaff. "We've been moving for at least an hour, I think. I..." the cleric slumps further and slowly collapses, his brother easing his fall.
"Well, I guess we're stuck here, and now half of us are exhausted and useless," mutters Durego. He checks his mace for the tenth or twelfth time, then scans the shadows beneath the surrounding trees. "Anyone know where we are?"
OOC: Jonquil, Ohwatoo, Mordikarr, and Dagmarten are pretty well exhausted, those affected by the glow-whine are still not 100%, and the mules are in sorry shape, worn out, unfed, and very unhappy with the night march. Even party members that are in fair shape are very tired. Unless you're carrying people, or dumping gear off the already stressed mules so people can ride, you're going to have a hard time going further. Right now there is no sign of pursuit or lights behind you. The nearby terrain is wooded, with patches of dense undergrowth and occasional rock outcroppings.