B10 – NIGHT’S DARK TERROR
09 FYRMONT OF 1005 AC
AT MISHA’S FERRY … AGAIN!
“That’s all?” I was incredulous to say the least.
“Yes Dan. That’s it. But if you want I repeat it for the third time” grumbled the dwarf referring to my doubts. He walked to the center of the group and, now that Tiberius and Brannart were gone, Stephan was to serve as a pacer. At his side Marjana walked in silence, for some days now sank in her silences and accompanied only by her thoughts. Glimreen however, walked with his bouncy and festive steps, side by side with the dwarf, the only one with which he could exchange some words, from time to time. I was behind the group. Vaeris and Stoik, according to the story of Pyotr, had left about ten days before we arrived in Rifflian, the city of the Callarii elves, located west of Kelvin, the city where we started this mission over a month ago. Taras, the eldest son of Pyotr, had left with our comrades too, with the task of bringing to the elves the horses taken from the goblin and the elf Fyodorll. The passing of Tiberius and Brannart demanded that he tried to reach soon the elves to make them aware of the situation and, above all, to thick our ranks ahead of a trip, adventurous and dangerous, to say the least. We agreed with Stephan to try to reach them in Rifflian but without going through Kelvin. We had concrete fears that the Yellow Wizard Golthar, or agents of the Ring of Iron in his pay, had a base of operations in the city on the Hillfollow and Foamfire rivers. Our mission now had a purpose and the secrecy, together with a good mixture of cunning and luck, would be essential qualities to be able to complete it successfully. The plan, therefore, planned to reach the ferry dock located near the house of Misha and to ford the river Volaga there. At that point, we followed the old track, less known and popular, in the direction of Highforge, instead of the one pointing to the southwest, for Kelvin. Once arrived at the outpost of the gnomes in Karameikos, we would have then followed the Hillfollow river toward the south and so reach the city of the elves. “No, Adrik, no need for ..”
“However Dan ..” he cut me off without giving me the opportunity to complete my answer. “Since you insist, and that otherwise the day would be long and boring ..” the look of understanding exchanged with the amused Glimreen soon made me realize that it was useless to argue and so I went back to listen again to his story. “
“The magical tapestry, the ancient map, you saw it too, showed us the way. The way that leads to Hutaaka, according to the ancient text we found. The text also speaks of ancient treasures and everything suggests that Golthar is moving to reach the place before us.”
“Before anyone else!” added Stephan who then went on loudly to be heard from us that were behind him. “We can not let him. He is an evil person who works for an organization, the Iron Ring, whose aims are well understood and known. If he were to really find an ancient lost treasure he could finance his trade, to bribe other humanoid populations and expand his reign of terror. “Then, turning toward us he concluded. “No! We can not allow that. We have to stop him. We must, we ourselves, get our hands first on the treasure and .. “
“Stop, stop, young Sukiskyn. Let’s not rush things.” Adrik interrupted him. “We reach our comrades first and then, only then, we will take a final decision on this whole situation.”
“Sure, sure. I certainly did not want .. ” Stephan had shown signs of excitement and impatience, from the previous evening, after the revelation shown us through the magic of the tapestry. The idea of this journey back in time, in search of a lost civilization and its treasure, seemed to have stricken the heart of Pyotr’s brother. I vowed at that time to keep an eye on him.
“Here we are, Dan. Healthy and sound and, thanks to me, not dead of boredom at Misha’s ferry.” Then elbowing Glimreen “You should thank me, guy, for making your day less tedious.” Glimreen chuckled, “You should thank him. T-H-A-N-K-H-I-M!!!” articulated in Thyatian the gnome. But there was no time to do it, or possibly to send him to fuck off to the Nine Hells. STOK! The sharp snap of a crossbow bolt struck the canteen tied to my backpack. “An ambush!” shouted Marjana.
“Damn it, we are surrounded.” Stephan, wielding a bow and notching an arrow, began to run toward the shed of the ferryman, hurling arrows in quick succession one after another. I did unsheathe my rapier and long knife and, crouching down, I began to run toward a tree, behind which I thought to have seen some furtive movements. The slowest ones to react were Adrik and Glimreen who remained motionless at the center of the clearing in front of the wooden hut. Close to the tree I could smell wine and tobacco from the man who clumsily tried hiding there. I was on him silent like a shadow, and without even giving him a chance to notice me, I skewered him with both blades, ending his life. From my vantage I started to observe the battle. We were attacked on many fronts and by a large number of attackers.
The man at my feet had the tattoo of the iron handcuffs inside the forearm but it was impossible that Golthar could know of our plan and our trip already. Glimreen was covered in a thick and spiky crust of ice, when one of the attackers tried to hit him with his long knife, he was wrapped in a frozen layer which first ran down his arm and then wrapped him completely, killing him. Adrik instead pelted the enemy with magic missiles and fire bolts.
Marjana was not in sight, and from my position I could not see Stephan neither. I started to move then in an attempt to encircle the men of the Iron Ring. “Too many” I muttered when I saw three other men move to the shed, but it was then that I heard the horn. Looking toward the river I saw a boat dock at the pier. I could see two men coming forward after getting to the ground thanks to the moving walkway fell from the boat. One was tall, imposing and a dark cloak hid his face and hands. The other, a robust young man of about my age, jumped onto the jetty with less momentum, staying behind his companion.
The giant grabbed from the back a mighty hammer that he kept secured with leather straps and with a kind of roar he fell with impetus towards one of our attackers. When the mighty weapon dropped on the man’s skull, splitting it and sending it into a thousand pieces as if it were an egg, I understood that the tide of battle had turned for us and that we had make it out alive this time too!