With the breaking of the dawn, a rider came thundering up the Coastway upon a white steed whose coat was marred by a hefty splattering of mud. The rider himself wore blue finery as well as a silver breastplate upon which had been etched a rearing griffon. A silver helm he wore as well, the visor of which he lifted upon reaching those guardsmen who stood watch at the gatehouse. Not long after, Commander Adrian Durham was roused from his cot within the southern tower and within minutes he was striding forth, his helm held in the crook of his arm, to meet with the rider just within the cities’ courtyard.
Seated astride Shadowflight, just within the eaves of the Wood of Sharp Teeth, Lystra surveyed the open grasslands that stretched to the east of the woodlands. Unlike the lands that comprised the majority of the coastline to the west that were rocky and oft-broken by small ravines and dells, here the land was, for the most part, flat and covered in a healthy growth of plains grasses and small shrubbery. This was the stomping ground of the Elturel Hellriders, she knew, and where she hoped to spot the hunting party with whom Duke Belt rode.
“Night in this city seems darker these days,” Ethon mused to himself as he stood outside of the clinic/temple of the followers of Ilmater that was tucked away along a grungy street within the Baldur’s Gate slums.
Rendrick awoke slowly from his slumber. Having had little rest since he and his companions had first entered Cloakwood, a fact they had likewise noticed, it had been insisted upon that Keira and Tiberius would split the watch that night, allowing the Ranger a much-needed full nights sleep. Though he had been against their proposition at first, he had relented when even Katarina joined in on their behalf. Waking now, grogginess fogging his mind and a stiffness clinging to his limbs, he knew that one full night's sleep had not been nearly enough.
Within the tunnelled sanctum of the Talosite priests, far beneath their House of Rolling Thunder, the Sellsword Kharne stood patiently within a circular chamber, a large contingent of Storm’s Rising Mercenaries, bereft of their normal company colors, as well as the hulking Barbarian, Dorn, arrayed behind him.
Night had fully engulfed the land when the Percin caravan hauled itself into the small roadside dell Rendrick had ear-marked for their first night’s camp. The ranger, Keira, and Tiberius led the way into the sheltered space, guarded on all sides by high outcroppings of stone and roofed by the canopies of great oaks that had taken root there. All three were exhausted, their fronts covered in mud, evidence of their recent labors of dislodging the latest wagon wheel.
An ominous roll of thunder heralded the dawn for Lystra and her companions. They had awakened early, Kivan rousing them from their slumber, a meager fast of dried fruits and meats their only sustenance before they took once more to the road.
Jherek lay upon his bed within the Elfsong Tavern, asleep and yet not fully asleep. His eyelids were closed and, beneath them, his eyes spun as if he were possessed. A slight creaking of the door to his room urged him to wakefulness. A shadow passing his curtained window suggested an intruder. A light exhalation told him someone was near at hand.
At long last, after over a mile of rugged grasslands traversed at a quick pace, Rendrick and Tiberius made it to the relative safety of the eaves of Cloakwood. Over the course of their escape, Tiberius had regained much of his faculties and now sported a hastily wrapped bandage about his brow to help stem the steady flow of blood that dripped from his head wound.
Despite the continual foul weather, Lystra had to admit that her ride east along the Tradeway was almost pleasant given the unexpected company of Kivan. Though the majority of her travels were on her own, which was how she preferred it in the wilds, there was just something about riding with another on the open road that made the experience all the more enjoyable.