Hugh Entry 2
So, the armored man with Petrus was not Tolison, but a Solomarian knight called Imed Brosch. He was seeking Aleena, the chaplain of keep, who had apparently gone looking for the wayward paladin. Introductions were made, though Imed and Faolan seemed to be acquainted already.
Petrus explained that Tolison should have been coming to Kendal Keep from the south. Faolan offered to help find the man so long as he could hire me as a translator for his diplomatic meeting with the lizardfolk after that was resolved. I am not thrilled by this. Of course Adara wanted to help, although Tree’s knee joint had failed fully and he would have to remain behind. Petrus said that if the four of us would check out the southern roads for signs of foul play he would remain behind to see what more he could learn.
This was to be a test of my usefulness to him.
. . .
We were three hours on the road before we encountered anything. Everyone was pretty quiet, seemingly lost in their own thoughts. They didn’t even bat an eye at the clinging shadows that accompanied me as we traveled. This suited me fine. What we found, though…
An overturned wagon…
Smashed and scattered crates…
And the bodies…
Images of Elric’s scorched corpse flashed through my mind, and I was several moments coming out of it. When I did, I noticed that Faolan and Imed had moved forward to take a closer look. I stumbled forward a few steps past Adara, who seemed to be praying. When I drew close enough to smell the carnage, my mind recoiled and I retched off the side of the road. Once the heaving had finished wracking my body, I turned to see the Solomarian offering me a hand up, a concerned look on his face. Another care giver. Awesome. I did let him help me up, though.
While Faolan scouted the perimeter, Imed and Adara looked the bodies over. Amazingly, one yet lived! The priestess revived the dwarven man with a whispered prayer, and once he got over his disorientation he was able to tell us that a wizard had ensorcelled the knight traveling with them, leaving his men to kill the others. Back in the keep, we had heard rumors of the roads being plagued bandits led by a wizard. It seemed the rumors were true.
Once his dead wife and their fellow were loaded onto the hand cart, the dwarf insisted that he continue his trip to Kendal Keep. And what else was there for him to do? We could have accompanied him, but then we might have lost the bandits’ trail – and any hope of finding Tolison. With Faolan leading, we tracked the villains deeper into the woods.
When I set out on this trek, I didn’t know how I was going to bring myself to tap into the powers I’d gained in accepting The Stranger’s pact. The scene of the slaughtered caravan and the dwarf’s story had provided me with an answer. This wizard abused his powers much like I never wanted to do…again. If he wasn’t stopped, he would do it again. I still had doubts, but couldn’t allow that to happen.