Waiting for Trouble
The next several days went by, each very much like the one before. With Halbert gone, the tavern was a little quieter than it had been, but everyone in town seemed to still be celebrating the death of the Beast. I stopped to check on Sarah and Stanley, and I think spending time trying to help them has helped me work through some of my feelings for Ecanus. I realize now that he probably didn’t even notice me being around him. His people are outsiders I learned, and they live to be very very old. Ecanus is probably older than my grandparents. Well, I guess he would be if I knew who my grandparents were. I found a bed of flowers growing just outside the town, and decided to bury Ecanus there. I know that they will be taking him with us when we return to Leighstead, but he’s beginning to smell so bad that it was spooking the animals. I kept his holy symbol with me, and I wear it tucked under my dress. The cold silver on my bosom helps me remember that we have friends watching out for us. The rest of his things I moved from the cart to Master Caddis’ room until he returns.
It’s been about 4 days since they left, and Kaila is back! She stopped by the tavern, but only to ask for a drink and the whereabouts of Galeon. I asked Nora (my friend from the tavern) to go get Galeon, and then fetched a plate of hot food and some more wine for Kaila. She smiled and began to dig in to the plate of food. When Galeon arrived, I found out that they had tracked the Beast to the hamlet of Woodfield, which is a little less than two days travel from FHD. Another family had just been killed, and it was clear that the Beast was not dead, or perhaps there were more than one. Kaila told us that it was terrifying to stay overnight in Woodfield, as all night they could hear something (or somethings) howling around the hamlet. They didn’t see anything, but they did not get much sleep. Kaila was able to get a good idea of its size, and this was no ordinary wolf, like the one hanging over the bar. She told me to imagine a wolf that stood as tall at the shoulder as a horse, and was probably close to 10 feet long. I think that she could tell that I was worried about Master Caddis and the others, and she told me that she was going to get help. Caddis had given her leave to take his horse and ride back to Leighstead to get some of her companions to come help. While she is going to get help, they were going to try to alert the other nearby hamlets of the danger and have them come to FHD for safety. I led Kaila out to the stable after she finished, and asked her to be careful. She smiled at me and said that she would be back soon, and that she thought my friends were being very brave in helping the other villagers. This sounded very scary, and I was glad that Master Caddis was smart enough to send for some more helpers.
It’s been two days since Kaila left, and there was a big commotion today outside the tavern. I ran out to see what was going on, not even bothering to take off my apron. It wasn’t my master, but it was some man who looked like he was holding a half spear. Now that’s an unusual weapon, as I don’t see many folks carrying those. I know Master Caddis does because he is concerned about going into an enclosed space without a proper weapon. He carries daggers, but I know he prefers his spears. Anyways, I could tell once I got a closer look that they were his as he always has the heads of his spears stamped with his standard, crossed spears behind a castle sitting on an anchor. This fellow was talking to Galeon and he was one of the survivors of Woodfield. He had been sent to two other little hamlets, Woodside and Woodglen. Not very creative with their names, but I guess they shorten it to the Side or the Glen or the Field when they are talking to locals. Anyways, Ernest was warning the people in Woodglen and it just so happened that the people of Woodside had already decided to head to FHD by way of Woodglen, so they all travelled together and made very good time. The news of the attack on Woodfield has begun to spread, and at least a dozen times a day I hear someone in the tavern ask about Halbert. Mr. Sanno just shrugs his shoulders and asks if they’d like something to drink. They usually say yes, and he’s begun to run out of the harder liquors.
Four days have now passed since Kaila left, and I’m getting concerned about my master. Galeon said that it takes a couple of days to get from Woodfield to Kermit, and then another couple of days to get to Brookgrove, which is 2-3 days from FHD. I’ve been checking with the people that have been coming into town, but I haven’t seen anyone yet from Kermit or Brookgrove. I did see another man carrying one of Master Caddis’ half spears, but he has not seen Master Caddis since Woodfield. Galeon looks like he is aging every day – his hair seems grayer and his face more lined than when we first met him back in Leighstead.
Finally we had some people from Kermit arrive. They confirmed that Master Caddis was there and was well, but when I asked if he had a dog with him they looked confused and said that he did not. I am now worried for my loyal pet, and I hope that nothing has happened to poor Spot. I guess as long as they didn’t meet any bears they’ll be ok. More and more people have been asking for Halbert, and I think it is beginning to annoy Galeon as he kind of rolls his eyes whenever anyone asks for him. I think it was Kenjio that said that everyone has fame burning in them, but some days it burns brighter than others. He’s always saying some strange things, but it’s hard to dismiss everything he says when he seems so healthy and capable. Although I’m not licking any wagons like he does.
Kaila and Master Caddis have both returned, and within a day of each other. Kaila brought four people with her, all with the well-worn equipment and travel gear that I associate with proficient adventurers, and those who do not have someone to help them keep things polished and in good repair. If Kaila vouches for them, then that’s good enough for me. I haven’t asked her whether this was enough people to take care of the Beast, or if this was all she could find. I’m very interested to hear her answer. Master Caddis returned and it appears my fears were justified, as Spot did not survive the trip. Somehow they had the poor fortune to stumble across another bear, which made short work of my new pet. Master Caddis reassured me that he would replace the dog, perhaps with two so that I would not have to go without if he needed to borrow one. I’m thinking that he’s expecting more bears.
They were successful in warning Brookgrove, and they are expecting residents from there to straggle in over the next couple of days. If the timeline for the attacks holds true, then we should see something in the next few days. Master Caddis has already ridden off to take an inventory of the town’s defenses and plot out the best way to defend the townsfolk. He handed me his backback and warned me not to open or touch the contents with my bare hands. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I put it in his room and he can deal with it later. Kenjio was very excited to see Kaila (I wonder if he knows that she is betrothed?) and made much of his relief that she was safe. Elwll looks very tired, I think this journey was perhaps more taxing than in the past. I’m not sure if that’s because he was walking the entire time, or if something else happened. I was very excited to see him, as Sarah has been asking for him, and her family was hoping that he would come and visit them to see if he can get Sarah to talk some more and perhaps help her recover. Alear looks quite satisfied – I think that he has not had the opportunity to work away from the church much, and I think this trip was very satisfying to him. FHD may be searching for a new cleric to watch over their flock if Alear truly has an appetite for exploring.
I think the townsfolk were most happy to see the return of Halbert the Slayer, and you could sense the relief in the crowd when they saw that he was back to help watch over the town. Halbert has a strange look in his eyes though. I would not call it panic, but definitely a healthy sense of concern for what may be to come. Each day more villagers arrive in FHD, and I’ve heard gossip in the tavern of faint howling now being heard at night. I haven’t heard anything though, and I’m sure that as long as Master Caddis is around everything is going to be ok.
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