B10 – NIGHT’S DARK TERROR
09 FYRMONT OF 1005 AC
AT MISHA’S FERRY … AGAIN!
We are sitting around a campfire. I listen to Titus talking with our new companions. The men and the woman who we were sent to intercept on request of Rheddrian. “You have to find them. I have lost contact with two of them, through an object that I gave them, the specultum. I don’t feel them anymore attuned with it. Go. Find out what happened to them and do your best to help them.”
“Were you able to talk to him?” I hear Titus asking them. The lights of the fire dance on their faces and I watch them. When they saw me they had a shocked reaction. A reptilian face like mine, covered in golden scales, with yellow slit eyes, certainly does not go unnoticed. This is why I speak little but I watch. I let Titus to be my voice. The warrior of Thor is gifted for this kind of things. He speaks, prays and fights.
“Not really.” answers the dwarf. It seems that he is in charge of carrying and using the mirror shield. “It’s not really a dialogue, but rather I was able to ask him just a few simple questions.”
“What did you ask him?” This time it’s a voice to my right that I feel. It is that of a human boy of light complexion and short black hair. I observe Titus and then the girl and the gnome; their focus is again on the dwarf named Adrik.
“I asked him if we could trust the two of you.” The look lingers especially upon mine. “Huh?” urges the young.
“Yes, he has sent them. He confirmed their story, in fact. They will support and help us for the mission that we are going to do. “
“But when will he come back to us?” this time is the girl speaking. I look at her: she is young, probably the youngest of the group. She is tiny and helpless-looking yet there is something in her eyes. I wonder what Rheddrian might have seen in her for wanting to aggregate her to one of his “Shield.”
“What else did he say?” it’s Titus this time asking the question. It is evident to him too that, in fact, from now on, we are rightly part of the group and consequently we want to pose our questions, our doubts and, certainly, present our proposals.
“I asked him if it was okay that we were to embark on this mission. That is that we were to follow the instructions provided by the Ancient Map of the Hutaakas and to face the journey onwards to the Lost Vale. “
“I already told you, Adrik, that it is crucial that we just do it. We cannot allow that Golthar put his hands on the treasure first and .. “
“Yes Stephan, you have already stated it several times. Your reasons were heard but how you can well imagine our goals are quite different. Or so I thought.” hastened to reply the dwarf. “In any case, it is Rheddrian’s idea too that this is not a simple and banal treasure hunt. There is much more at stake. We will rejoin with our comrades Vaeris and Stoik, then we will follow the road from Rifflian north till Threshold and then to the north again till the Black Peaks. If the Lost Valley and the Hutaakas are there, then we will find them.”
“B-E-F-O-R-E Golthar!” stammers the gnome. Strange creature, really.
“Before Golthar!” the young man stands and raises his canteen to the sky, Stephan I think is his name. “BEFORE GOLTHAR!” they all mimic him.
“Ah, it’s not over.” it’s still Adrik speaking. “There was this thing that swirled into my head.” Then he turns and nails his gaze on the little gnome. “This thing of the letter that Glimreen has with him. It reads – To the one called Rheddrian but which answers to the name of Benekander – and I asked him if we were allowed to open it and read its contents.”
“Eh? Come on dwarf. Don’t let us beg!” urged him Dan.
“He said NO!” from the tone of voice and the look I understand the deep disappointment in the heart of the dwarf. Obviously curiosity is consuming him, yet even he must have realized that you do not mess with Rheddrian. The question of the mysterious letter is archived for future times.
The sound of hooves attracts my attention “We are not alone.” I inform Titus and the rest of the group while wielding my warhammer. A stallion approaches us and watch us with intelligent eyes, as if he is studying us. “Do not move.” Marjana stands between the animal and the rest of us. Then I watch her laying a hand on the animal’s snout which answers with a nervous whinny. “You can say to your lord that he has nothing to fear from us, and we are willing to talk to him when he wants to.” The girl is talking to the beast? It would seem so from the gentle behavior of the wild horse.
“It was a messenger of Loshad. The lord of horses wants to talk to us.” This time Marjana speaks directly to us as the animal behind her gallops through the sparse forest near which we camped. “Loshad?” I ask in disbelief in front of the girl’s powers.
“The chevall. You’ll see for yourself with your own eyes in a moment” young druidess assures me.
– – –
“Are those the men of the Iron Ring?” I ask from behind my hiding place on the steep cliff. The camp of the slaveers is below us, just as in the description of the man-horse. A dozen guards are scattered around the perimeter of the camp while a large group of marauders sleeps in makeshift camps around a fire whose embers, no longer fed for hours, are slowly dying. The first reddish rays of dawn spread from the east, creating ample areas of penumbra. “Yes.” Titus murmurs lying down to my side. “And those over there have to be the captive horses Loshad has mentioned.” I see a dozen wild horses inside the fence. I look at them and their natural restlessness seems to have died down a few minutes ago. “They sense the presence of their Lord. They know he has come to deliver them” Marjana’s voice answers to my doubts. Evidently she reads the perplexity in my eyes.
“It’s clear that they do not expect an attack. They are ill placed and there are large holes in their defenses. Even the guards seem sleepy and not very attentive.” Dan is a few meters from me, by his side there is Stephan. Both have the bow ready with a nocked arrow.
“Damn! But how long does it takes to the man-horse?” The anticipation of the battle is becoming unbearable. I can already feel the anger, the sacred gift of Thor, mounting inside, like sea waves breaking on the reef, bigger and bigger, making more and more way inside my being.
“Not yet Thoragon. Not yet.” Titus voice is calm and reassuring but it becomes more and more difficult at every time to retain myself.
Suddenly the horses become agitated, they neigh noisily and kick against the makeshift fence. Some men, slaves bound one to another and thrown into a low, narrow hole, look out from it trying to figure out what’s going on. Among them there are also small yellow-skinned beings, probably goblins. “Here we are. Get ready.” A couple of bored guards approach the fence yelling curses and blasphemies to the beasts in captivity. All of a sudden I hear the roar of thunder and the earth shake. Loshad come out galloping from one of the curves of the depression, followed by a dozen wild horses, pouring like a flood-wave on the bandit camp. The first to succumb before the galloping beasts are just the two guards who were headed toward the fence. They are invested in full and their bodies mangled and torn by hooves are dragged tens of meters away. Screams begin to rise from the entire camp as the raiders of the Iron Ring awaken and take arm in a vain attempt to stem the attack. Stephan let fly an arrow, then another and another, all in quick succession. Dan imitates him. “NOW!” screams Titus staring into my eyes. At that point I let anger overwhelm me and fill me with energy. Without hesitating a moment I make a mighty leap into the enemy camp and while falling from above, howling and gnashing, I start to swing my hammer.
When I land, for a while I savor deeply the smell of blood, the looming battle and death. “FOR THOR!!” I roar while my hammer hits the first enemy in reach, smashing rib cage and spine. I see with red-blurred vision, human pieces detached from his body ending up several meters away.
I love the intensity of these feelings, and without further ado I fall upon my enemies.