In the history of Hieratgate, few mercenary captains would ever have set forth with so strong a force, at least in terms of power. Perhaps only in Vivo’s heyday? So thought the townsfolk, no mean judges of such things.
The weather was typical of the season: bleak, wet and windy. Several of the foray ceased wearing armor, as hypothermia threatened. Edric considered sharing round the resistance Mitra granted him against the elements, but decided to leave it for the time being. An uneasy feeling had been growing; as if things were not quite right. Besides, he was by no means certain of his standing with Mitra: his subterfuge had breached his order’s rules, and he was in company with an Asuran and – possibly – a worshiper of Bori.
Forgrim the Silent really didn’t talk. At all. And his armor was unadorned. It was only when he removed his helm, that first evening, that Edric noticed that some of the scars on his massive bald head were runic in character.
On the other hand, he’d adventured for years with a Crom-worshiping Cimmerian and a who-knows-what from accursed Zamora. So really, Edric rationalized, Mitra had guided him to the right people for the right time!
The third village along the road to the Gates was reached without anything more than the weather to vex the journey. Bardic and Gollarn checked the village center and beckoned the others in. Brother Keth gained the head-man’s permission to camp and a cautious welcome to share hearths. The villagers seemed fearful. “Bo” the inexperienced swordsman managed to chat to some of the village-folk as he cut kindling and helped brew hot broth.
Rumor had it that bandits had made an unexpected attack in force on Castle Crow. Since up until then, the common opinion was that bandits had been cleared back out of the woods and that the road was safe all the way through the Gates, many feared that it marked a return of out-of-work mercenaries, desperate and well-armed, to prey on travelers and villagers.
“I don’t see how mere bandits could seize Castle Crow,” Bo remarked to the others. “It’s small, but well-defended.”
“We’ll see when we get there, Ed-uh-Bo.”
“It’s just Bo.”
“Aren’t we dropping the whole Bo thing?”
“It’s best to be safe. What if some spy is spying on us?”
“We would have seen them, even with the foul weather.”
“They could use arcane means.”
“Really? how does that work?”
“Oh, it’s pretty simple, especially for those advanced in magicks. What typically happens is, an adept focuses on a pool or mirror or crystal and thinks of the person he wants to spy on.”
“So, would you know if they were doing that?”
“Uhmmm, usually. I get an uneasy feeling…”