Table of Contents
Chapter 9 - Dreams and Shadows
The winter is almost over. The streets have turned to mud and everything is dripping and wet. Cloud continuously roll over the tops of the Stetmere Mountains, bringing a constant miserable rain that only ceases to allow the next cloud to drop it’s clammy contents.
The sun hardly shines through but that doesn’t stop you from thinking about the shadows. They have haunted your nightmares over the last month, ever since your run in with the cultists. The other girls have also had these dreams, and in increasing intensity.
You can’t help but remember last night’s nightmare. A being of inky shadow came to you and called you by name. It was impossible to focus on its face as black tendrils were constantly moving across it. It’s voice was like a knife. It had wings that unfolded and grew, encompassing everything around you. You couldn’t move as it reached out and grasped your head in its talons. You distinctly remember the pain of it’s touch. It’s mouth opened in a grin and it laughed. The sound filled your head and you woke up with a scream.
You weren’t the only one. The other girls shared similar descriptions.
To magic users: The magical veil that has been a constant pain increased dramatically with that dream. You feel like there is a weight pressing down any time you reach out to your magical source.
Encounter with King Gerould
During one remarkable moment when the sun was actually shining through the heavy clouds, an entourage of guards stops you on the street. King Gerould approaches on horseback and addresses the group.
“I see you are still enjoying my city. I wanted to make sure you remember the promise you made. We’ve received reports from scouts about your Orcish friends. They have taken Guild Bun and Irkelim in the south and all of the Eastern lands right up to Dyleigh in the North. Even Soutley Fort fell and Lord Joran is brilliant tactician. These brutes continue to fight right through winter. My kingdom is being gobbled up and I am not about to wait until Prince Tog pleads with his father.” “The reserves are almost all called in and I will be mobilising against them soon.” Looking at Sharn, “And don’t think I’m above putting your head on a pike in the middle of the marketplace for all to see. I’ve heard the report of you bringing one of my subjects to the church for medical care. They say you broke his jaw almost clean off! Keep your romantic spats more civil or I will see your head on that pike.”
“The Abbott informs me that his man is almost ready to leave to see if there is any chance that this rumor of some unheard of evil has any credibility. I can spare two horses and a cart for your journey. The bells of war are ringing and I can’t spare any more.”
- Martin, the man from the church, joins the party as they head out. He is tall, dark and handsome and is different than what the girls expected him to be. He is more like a hunter and more progressive in thought and speech than the usual thick tongues of the other priests. He is excellent with the bow, except, maybe, where Sharn is concerned.
- The group travels about 100 miles in the first day and sets up camp near the fork in the river.
- Martin claims first watch, but Aeowynn doesn't trust him and also offers her watch.
- Aeowynn stumbles into the camp after everyone is asleep and wakes Maebh and the others, saying the something is lurking in the woods.
- Shortly after that, Martin comes running in with a few reanimated corpses following behind. Other corpses lurch out of the woods.
- The group dispatches most of them but then a screeching sound brings four large bat-like shadow creatures to the battle.
- After a vicious back-and forth battle the group wearily gains the victory. Aeowynn spends considerable time tending to the wounds.