Fools Rush In

The Final Stretch

With his cowl drawn Mor’den sat cross-legged beside the smoldering camp fire. Light from the glowing embers touched his pallid face with a rare warmth. But Mor’den was only there in body; his elven soul fleeted in a dream while he meditated on his ancestors, his proud elven lineage and how his place in this strange world might unfold.

Nearby, something small and unkempt stirred in it’s sleep. It too was dreaming, but not of lineage or legacy, rather of loot and larceny. The gnome’s little head nestled upon a magic wooden box and his arms affectionately embraced a golden candlestick and burlap bag of coins.

Across from Badger, on the opposite side of the fire, lay Tevaak. Beads of sweat glistened upon his dark skin as his body battled the potent spider toxins which still coursed his veins. Close at hand, Heff rested, the bowl of water and a cloths beside him from tending to Tevaak.

Magnus and his stalwart bodyguard, had made camp near his wagon. Magnus’s brow was furrowed from dreams of missed delivery deadlines.

One was absent from the camp site, but he was not far. On a bed of soft grasses and succulent leaves Finn slept. It wasn’t that he disliked the party, or even people for that matter, he simply struggled to find common ground. Animals and plants he could relate to; they did not lie, they did not manipulate and they did not pursue petty material goals. Finn marveled at the humble honesty of nature and in this honesty he found his sanctuary.

The sun had not yet broken in the east, but the tranquility of the dawn was broken by Magnus’ less than sunny disposition. “Wake up!”, he growled, “Time’s a-wasting!”

Like automatons, bodies rose from slumber, breakfast was prepared and the camp site packed up. The caravan lurched onto the dusty road, the only evidence of their sojourn were depressions in the earth where bodies slept and the fading tendrils of smoke which escaped the dying fire.

Magnus might have been mistaken for a slave driver that day. He’d been too long on the road and these escorts had made too many unnecessary diversions, endangering him and his cargo. The Adventurer’s Guild would hear about this.

And so Magnus pushed hard. They never stopped to marvel at the sight of Glyphstone Keep, nor to rest in Glathspyre. The oxen groaned in despair, but Magnus was relentless. The day cooled providing some relief from the trek and then the light began to fade. The hope that the darkness would force camp was lost when the full moon began to rise, enabling their arduous passage to continue into the night.

[WIP – MarkL]



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