By Brian Flood
Chapter 46 - Moving On!
Along the Dusk Road
North of Asbravn, The Sunset Vale
Early Morning , 3rd Day of Marpenoth; Year of the Tankard (1370 DR)
After an uneventful evening, the party rises to meet a new day. Although the late evening showers have passed by dawn, a pallor hangs over the party as they consider what they must now tell Simon
After he has made his daily devotions to Arvoreen, Cyzicus excuses himself from the party. He gently moves to Simon and leads the boy by the hand to a spot that is a short distance away from the party. As they walk, Simon uses his free hand to rub the sleep from his eyes.
* * * * *
When the Cyzicus and Simon are out of earshot of the others, the halfling sighs and says, "Lad the news is not good. We found no trace of your family below. Unless they made it off the farm "
"But " the boy stammers, "how come you couldn't find 'em? You mean you and Master Darius and the elf lady and that funny lookin' man with the axe and Mage Lucas NONE of you could find them? Where could they be? Papa and Michael and Mama and Sarah they MUST have been down there somewhere! They can't be gone they CAN'T be!" The child starts to rapidly inhale as he tries to hold back the tears that coming on like a raging torrent.
"Wha-wha-what am I su-sup-supposed to do?" he asks helplessly between sobs. "I d-don' wanna s-stay here alone. The b-bugs, they'll c-come back to get me, I j-just know they will!"
Cy takes Simon by the shoulders and looks him in the eyes. "Lad, while we did find a nest of the buggers and wipe them out, we found no trace of your family." The halfling then gives Simon a hug and lets him cry it out.
While the boy cries, Cy comforts him. "We will not leave you," he says softly to Simon. "And I assure you there are no more creatures about."
After a few minutes more, Cyzicus looks Simon in the eyes. "If you wish, I can teach you to protect yourself," the halfling offers. "That way, you can be sure they won't get you."
The boy nods wordlessly and then returns to crying on Cy's shoulder. Once the boy has cried himself out, Cyzicus take the opportunity to address him again. "Is anyone in the area that you would like to stay with?"
In response, Simon sobs and shakes his head, indicating no.
"Then I shall protect you in the meantime," the halfling declares.
The two stand together for several more minutes. Once Simon has regained control of himself, they head back to the main body, who appear to be readying for travel.
* * * * *
As the halfling and the boy move out of earshot, Corax speaks up.
"Lucas," he says, "you said you found some items in the caverns. Could you show Darius and I what it is that you found?"
Dolak arises and begins repacking his bedroll and lantern into the cart with the forge. Overhearing Corax's call to Lucas, he pipes in, "Corax, when yer done with the sack o' trinkets, I'll pack it away here in the back o' the cart. I dinna envy Cy right now - nor the lad. He's bound t' take it a wee bit rough. Better off now than yesterday, though."
Dolak continues to prepare the cart, and offers another observation about the road, "Well, at least the wee bit o' rain last night should hold down the dust on the trail today. The roads dinna look o'erly muddy, just wet enough t' keep the dust away. Should be a good ride today."
As Dolak packs his cart, Lucas empties out the contents of the sack that he found in the ankheg lair. The rogue takes a knee to sift through the items, studying each one briefly. After a few minutes, he straightens up again.
"A silver teapot, a necklace of the same, a sliver of turquoise - an ornamental jewel, at best - and what would appear to be about two score silver coins and about five times that many of copper. Quite the odd little cache for one of those worms to be keeping.
"You say you found this in their nest?" the rogue asks.
Dolak wanders over from the cart to the small pile of trinkets, getting a look at the items up close for the first time. "Odd trinkets fer a farmer, especially th' teapot. I'm sure there are stories behind each o' 'em. We might be wantin' t' check with the lad and see if any belong t' his family. He'd be the rightful owner, then."
Lucas nods to Dolak. "My thoughts are perhaps when the family tried to run they gathered up those valuables we found in the sack and tried to flee. Unfortunately, they never made it and were perhaps dragged underground into the worms' lair."
Lucas turns to address Corax, "Corax, we did find it in the lair area where we found the dead male worm critter and baby acid-exploding wormlets. We discovered no human remains that we could discern, however."
Alani, eager to be away from the tunnels and dead farmers, brightens considerably as the party begins to pack up. "Lucas, the next objective is to continue to Hluthvar?" she asks, following the mage.
Corax and Dolak proceed to pack up the contents of the bag. As they finish, they notice that Cyzicus and Simon are returning from their discussion.
Cyzicus approaches the others with his arm around Simon's shoulders. It is obvious that the boy has been weeping, by the dirty tear trails that streak his face.
"Cy, does he have family or friends around here?" asks Alani
Cyzicus responds, "No Alani, he doesn't have family in the area. As for friends, he at least has me, isn't that right Simon?" The boy sniffs and nods wordlessly. Cy is obviously trying to keep Simon's spirits up.
Then Cy says, "Now I have a question. Did y'all discuss what we will do now, while we were gone?"
Corax sets the sack on Dolak's cart and then turns to answer Cyzicus while Dolak secures the bag.
"I guess we are simply going north," he says. "Perhaps we can find a temple or such in Hluthvar, when we arrive there."
Lucas packs up his remaining belongings and waits until the others finish their preparations. Once all are ready to depart, the red-robed mage takes his spot in the travelling order on the road.
The content of The Sunset Vale Saga are the property and copyright of Brian Flood, and are not to be published or redistributed without permission.
Return to The Sunset Vale Saga main page
Return to Campaign Logs