Chapter 14: Fields of the Dead
They spent the day in the Elfsong Tavern sitting with Whisper’s cult friend, Baror. “I’m done with the cult for now,” the dwarf said in common, draining the contents of another ale. “I’ve gotten my pay, now it’s time to look for something else.”
“No more dishes?” Whisper asked.
“Hopefully not,” the dwarf barked a laugh.
On the other side of the table, Reverence leaned toward Oszaren. “I’m—curious,” he gestured a hand to Oszaren’s hand where it clutched a mug of ale. “Where does—your sword go—when it disappears?”
The warlock tilted his head. “That’s actually a good question. I’m not sure I know.”
“We could—test it,” Reverence said, eyes gleaming with curiosity. “Whisper, could I have a piece of your yarn?”
Whisper pulled out a ball of yarn and tossed it to the monk, who quickly unraveled a long strip and ripped it on one of his sharp teeth. Oszaren held his hand out over the table and summoned his sword, which appeared in a flash in his grip. Reverence tied the piece of yarn in a loop around the blade carefully. “Alright,” he said, sitting back.
Oszaren recalled the blade, which disappeared instantly. The loop of yarn dropped to the table, knot intact.
“Fascinating,” Reverence said, shaking his horns interestedly.
“Watch this,” Oszaren said, summoning his blade and standing up from his chair. He looked across the busy tavern, then threw the sword hilt-over-blade across the room over everyone’s heads. It spun through the air until it was ten feet from their table, then vanished. The barkeep looked up in complete shock and dropped the bottle in his hand. It smashed to the floor, splattering its contents everywhere. The sword had only been a second away from impaling him.
“Sorry!” Shale said quickly as the patrons all turned to stare at their table. “We’ll pay for that,” she promised, and once the barkeep had recovered his shock, he shook his head and ran to the back to fetch a broom, muttering profanities.
“Neat trick,” Fillip said, sounding bored as he swirled the bubbles of his drink with the tip of his finger.
Eventually, the extremely drunk Baror got to his unsteady feet and excused himself from the table, stumbling out of the door after paying his tab. “Let’s follow him,” Oszaren whispered to Reverence, who nodded in agreeance. They both stood quickly and followed the drunk dwarf out of the Elfsong Tavern.
The rest of them were finishing a shared loaf of bread and a plate of cheese when the two of them returned. “Find anything?” Fillip asked when they seated themselves.
Oszaren shook his head. “He stumbled into the Blushing Mermaid—a brothel, and that was the end of it.”
“I don’t think he was an important member of the cult by any means,” Shale pointed out, and Whisper nodded his head.
Shale excused herself and went upstairs, where sleep found her quickly, Trigger curled up at her feet.
Whisper removed the large egg from his bag and placed it gingerly on the bed, rubbing his paws over its rough black surface. The tabaxi conjured a small knife and edged the blade into the shell until a small crack formed. He carefully spent the next half hour carving the fine blade along the shell, parting it from the membrane. Within the pulsing blood vessels of the membrane was the interior fluid sac containing the dragon fetus with small, curled wings. As he worked at a particularly tough piece of shell and tried to dislodge it from the rest of the membrane, the sac split open and fluid began to leak out. With an annoyed hiss, he made the knife disappear and, giving up on his careful work, tore open the rest of the membrane and let the contents spill out. The dragon fetus shivered and gasped for breath as the cold air struck it. Whisper used a spell to pull the fluid from its tiny lungs. Then, he summoned his unseen servant, and the invisible presence began stoking a fire to warm the tiny fetus. When he felt confident it was breathing on its own, Whisper sat back and let the servant work as he pulled out a book and began taking notes on the premature dragon hatchling.
They found a group of thirteen carts, made fourteen with theirs, pulled up around Ackyn’s wagonry and equipage shop. Fillip checked all their supplies, taking note of the various spices and nodding in satisfaction when his inventory seemed to be in order. The caravan was set up by the afternoon, giving them a chance to take stock of their new travel companions. There was a somber group that stood apart from the rest, guarding their three carts. There were several families with covered wagons containing their livelihoods as they packed up and moved north, all looking weary. There was also a well-dressed dwarf in fine robes selling perfumes from the south, a dark-skinned man and his halfling assistant carrying silks, a cheerful, lanky human selling porcelain dishware, a couple of elves carrying wood from foreign lands to be sold for furniture, and a surly-looking half-elf selling ale. The half-elf’s name was Beyd, and the friendly human introduced himself to all as Colyn the Hoper. Shale took her seat next to Fillip on their cart after checking on their new horses, and Whisper brought up a newly purchased donkey to hold some of their packs. Reverence seated himself in the back with the supplies, though he told them his plan was to walk around the caravan as they travelled to pass messages between the others. Oszaren found work with the surly half-elf as a guard, and Keelan offered up his services to the lanky human with the porcelain dishes. Shale and Whisper planned to hunt and scout ahead once they were on the road while Fillip drove the cart.
“Whisper,” Oszaren said, taking the tabaxi aside for a moment, “we all put our gold together and got this for you.” The warlock passed him a small bundle, which he opened.
Inside the strips of cloth lay a large ruby. “What is it?” Whisper asked in draconic.
“It’s a new eye, for the one you lost,” Oszaren told him. “It’s magical.”
Whisper picked up the ruby and held it up to the place where his other eye had been. He gave a quick nod to the warlock, “thanks,” then trotted away without another word.
Trigger leapt up on the cart next to Shale. She had a scarf pulled over her head to cover the coloured strands of hair. She didn’t like the look of the three carts that rode in the back of the caravan, away from the rest. They looked stand-offish and untrusting, and she, like the others, suspected they were hidden members of the cult.
They set off northward from Baldur’s Gate on the long, foggy journey across the Fields of the Dead. The place was brown and barren, the scorched earth still carrying scarred remnants of a battle fought thousands of years ago. They spent the days going about their business and observing the other members of their caravan carefully. In the evenings they would build a few campfires and gather around them, sharing food and stories. The three carts in the back stayed apart from the rest, their fire hidden and their conversations quiet.
One evening, Keelan seated himself next to Whisper and spoke to him in elvish. “I was told recently,” the Paladin began slowly, “that things are not always as they appear. I have always thought cats to be evil,” he paused as he considered his next words, “but you may not be.”
“I am not evil, I can assure you,” Whisper said in the flowing elvish tongue.
Keelan nodded, “tell me about yourself. That will assure me. What is your interest in the cult?”
“The cult killed my family,” Whisper said seriously.
“They crept into our forest and killed them all.”
“Why would they kill them?”
“I don’t know,” Whisper said, though Keelan wasn’t sure if he could believe the tabaxi.
“So, your motivation is revenge, then?” Keelan asked.
“Yes.” Whisper told him simply.
“What do you want to do, Whisper? What’s your goal by infiltrating the cult?”
“I’m not sure I know just yet,” the tabaxi sighed, rubbing his one eye.
They began talking about the languages Whisper knew and how he’d learned them from traders and discovered books, and Keelan had to admit the wizard was rather impressive, though still daunting. He hadn’t quite decided what he thought about cats, and he had a feeling he wouldn’t know for a while.
Oszaren helped Beyd pack up the cart for another day on the road. He carried the last keg of ale into the back when he heard the half-elf shouting and swearing. He stepped around the cart and saw him cracking a whip against the side of one horse and grabbing its head roughly.
“What are you doing?” Oszaren asked calmly, knowing after a few days of travel with the half-elf that he was quick to anger.
“Stupid brute won’t stand still long enough to latch the harness,” Beyd issued another string of profanities.
“I have a druid friend who may be able to help you with that,” Oszaren said softly, and Beyd lowered the whip long enough to look at him. “He can speak with animals, perhaps find out why they are behaving so poorly.” He said this, though he knew it was because the animals were mistreated.
Beyd glared at him for a second, then released the horse’s reins and stepped back. “Fine. Get these two hooked up so we can be on the road. Your druid friend can come by later.”
Oszaren gave a slight bow, then walked beside the horse and laid a calming hand on its back until the animal snorted and lowered its head, allowing the half-elf to move up to its face and buckle the harness. He whispered to the horse in elvish, scratching it between the ears.
“That’s a nice piece you’ve got there,” a voice said behind him.
Oszaren turned to see a small halfling man with a long nose, whom he recognized as the silk trader’s teamster. People called him Losvius Longnose, not just for his obvious facial extension, but also for the way he got his nose into everyone’s business.
“The horn, I mean,” Losvius clarified, pointing to the horn of silent calling that peaked out from behind Oszaren’s cloak. It was the horn they’d stolen from Mondath, the one she’d used to call Langdedrosa. “I’ll offer you twenty gold pieces for it.”
Oszaren glared down at the small halfling and drew his cloak over the horn. “It’s not for sale.”
“Twenty gold is a good price to get on the road,” Losvius insisted.
Oszaren straightened. “It’s a sentimental piece, and not one I’m willing to part with.”
“Very well,” the halfling sighed, “but the offer still stands, if you change your mind!” With that, he returned to Nahir’s cart.
“What was that about?” Reverence asked, walking up to Oszaren and giving Beyd’s horses each an apple, which they crunched on happily.
“The halfling was interested in buying our horn,” Oszaren stared at him across the way. “I don’t trust him.”
Reverence nodded and began to walk off, saying, “I’ll take care of it.”
Oszaren put a hand on the horn and silently vowed to watch it more closely.
Evening drew over the Fields of the Dead and Shale walked through the carts with a string of rabbits in one hand, moving toward the firelight. As she passed amongst the covered wagons, she heard grunting and a screech, followed by various thumping and hushed whispers. She dropped the rabbits and ran toward the noise, and she stopped short when she saw Reverence clutching a halfling in one fist and beating him in the face with the other.
“Stop!” Shale shouted, jumping in and pushing Reverence back. Reverence dropped the halfling unceremoniously into the dirt, bloody knuckles dripping. “What are you doing?” Shale demanded. She wasn’t sure what this was about, but it might help to pretend she didn’t know Reverence well. “Leave the poor halfling alone, tiefling.”
The halfling whimpered and wiped at his swollen face. Reverence held up his hands and stepped back, turning on his heel and walking away. She would have to ask him about that later. For now, she turned and helped the halfling to his feet. She recognized him as Losvius, the halfling who worked with the attractive silk seller, Nahir.
“Are you alright?” She asked, and the halfling muttered. “Here, eat a few of these.” She pressed a handful of goodberries into his palm. “They’ll help with the swelling.”
Losvius looked up at her, then stuffed the berries into his mouth and began chewing with a pained expression.
“What was that about?” She asked softly.
“I’m not sure I know,” Losvius said finally, looking shaken. “I expressed some interest in an item this one’s friend was carrying, and next thing I know, he was beating me into the ground.”
“That’s terrible,” Shale said, placing a hand on his shoulder. After a pause, she asked, “where are you headed with this caravan?”
“To Waterdeep,” Losvius said, “to sell silks and make a better profit than we could get in Baldur’s Gate.”
Shale nodded in understanding. “It is a dangerous road we travel,” she told him. “Take care of yourself.” With that, she walked away, picking up her string of hares in search of Reverence and Oszaren.
The light of the sunrise woke Oszaren, and he turned in his bedroll, rubbing his eyes. He opened them suddenly, seeing his pack had been rummaged through. He cursed and tore out of his bedroll, quickly sifting through his belongings. As he suspected, there was only one item missing: the horn of silent calling. It had been under his pillow, but it must have shifted in the night, and had been stolen as he slept. And he knew exactly who had it.
“Where is it?” Oszaren demanded, pressing his summoned blade into Losvius Longnose’s throat, drawing a small trickle of blood.
“Where’s what?” The halfling gasped, clinging to the cart he was pressed against. His face was a green and purple bruise with half-healed cuts all across it.
“You know what,” Oszaren said, cutting him a little deeper. “The horn, you idiot. You stole it while I slept.”
“I didn’t steal anything!” Losvius insisted.
Oszaren glared into his eyes for a moment, reading him. He gripped the halfling by the throat and raised him a few inches from the ground. Losvius gasped and wriggled in his grasp. Finally, Oszaren threw him to the ground, and the halfling scrambled to his feet. “Fine,” Oszaren snarled, “but it’s time you put your nose to good use. Keep an eye out for my horn. It’s been stolen.”
Losvius stared for a moment, then nodded his head.
“Away with you,” the warlock spat.
“M-my offer still stands, for when you find it!” the halfling shouted as he ran away.
Oszaren stalked off in the opposite direction in search of Reverence.
On their sixth day of travelling through the Fields of the Dead, Oszaren passed through their caravan in the early morning before most people were awake beside the guards. He nodded to Keelan as he passed, then cast a spell to tell him of anything magical in the area. He walked carefully, then noticed a glimmer in one of the covered wagons. He recognized it as one of the family wagons. They were a quiet group. A mother and father with a grown son and teenage daughter who was always cloaked in black and kept her face covered. Suspicious, now that he knew what to look for.
Checking that no one was watching, he cast invisibility over himself, and vanished from sight almost immediately. Quietly, he crept forward and pulled aside the canvas in the covered wagon. Inside were three sleeping figures curled up under the blankets. The young man was nowhere to be seen.
Oszaren slipped inside and found the glow of magic inside a chest at the base of the girl’s bed. It was padlocked, so he summoned his blade and slipped it between the bars, cracking the lock open and allowing it to drop with a thump. He opened the chest carefully and peered inside, his elvish darkvision lending sight to him despite the dimness of the wagon.
There, wrapped in ragged clothing, was his horn. He recalled his blade and picked up the horn with both hands, which felt strange since they were invisible. He tucked the horn under his arm and drew out a handful of gold coins, dropping them into the chest. When he turned to leave, there was a voice. “Who’s there?” It was the husband. He was awake and sitting up in bed.
Oszaren dropped his invisibility spell. “I came to get my property back,” the warlock said, holding out the horn for the man to see.
The man squinted in the darkness.
“My horn,” Oszaren said as way of clarification. “Where did you get it?”
“Horn?” the man said in obvious confusion.
“I found it,” Oszaren said, “in your chest.”
The man shook his head, looking afraid. “I promise you, sir, we took nothing from you. I don’t know how it got in there.” He held up a shaking hand. “Please, we don’t want any trouble.”
Oszaren leaned back and opened the canvas, dropping outside and flipping a gold coin to the man, who managed to catch it, looking even more confused. “Tell your daughter to keep her hands off my stuff.”
The warlock dropped the canvas and sauntered off, horn in hand.
It was eight days into their journey through the Fields of the Dead, and they were nearing the foothills when Whisper and Shale went on their hourly routine to scout ahead. As they crested a small hill, they could hear shouts and the sounds of clanging metal. They ran over the next hill and peered out. Ahead on the road lay an overturned cart with four people standing around it with weapons drawn. One of them was a finely dressed man who was screaming for help. There was blood down his front. Their horse lay torn open and bloody, still latched to the cart. Around them were three large warg creatures, snarling and drawing in near to bite and snap at the people. Two of the wargs were mounted by thickly armoured hobgoblins, and around them stood a group of hobgoblins on foot.
“Looks like we have trouble,” Shale breathed, then knelt down next to Trigger and said, “go find Oszaren and the rest and warn them that there’s trouble.”
Trigger yipped and ran off over the hill.
Shale stood and turned back, and Whisper gave her a nod. She drew her longbow and notched an arrow, casting her hunter’s mark onto one of the mounted hobgoblins, who seemed to be barking orders to the rest as they tried to corral their victims. Her arrow hit a moment later and bounced off his thick armour. She cursed as the hobgoblin spun in their direction. “I need to get closer,” she told Whisper, and the tabaxi wizard began conjuring a sphere of fire at once as he moved toward the hobgoblins.
Meanwhile, the rest of the caravan was moving forward at their slow pace when the small figure of a fox came bounding over the hill, yipping and huffing. It ran up to Oszaren and began pulling at his feet. “Something’s wrong,” Oszaren said to Beyd, summoning his sword and running to Reverence, who beckoned to Keelan. “There’s a fight ahead.”
They flew into the battle on travel-worn feet, slashing and shooting at hobgoblins and wargs alike. Reverence, Oszaren and Keelan appeared, Reverence in the lead, and the monk leapt without pause at one of the mounted hobgoblins, punching him with a fistful of concussing air and sending the creature flying off its warg and through the canvas of the fallen cart. Trigger returned to Shale’s side and she drew her two blades, fighting back an unmounted hobgoblin while Trigger bit at its heels.
Keelan raised his new gauntlet in the air with a triumphant shout and the ember mounted on the top of it began to glow hotly as he released a blast of fire at a warg, which snarled and bared its teeth as it tried to dodge the flames. Whisper’s flaming sphere bowled through the enemy line, forcing them to spread out. Oszaren released green blasts of energy while warding attacks with his gleaming sword. Three of the four people from the overturned cart ran in to defend the well-dressed man, and they were clearly his guards. Whisper cast a magical shield as javelin’s were thrown in his direction, and Shale barely managed to parry a hobgoblin’s longsword, distracted as she was by a snarling warg nearby. Reverence got a javelin in the shoulder, and tore it out without a noise, bounding after the one who hit him and pummeling the hobgoblin, finishing it off with a well-placed roundhouse kick in the jaw.
Shale swiped at the hobgoblin fighting her and it raised its sword to block. Then, the blade of a sword appeared through the hobgoblin’s neck, and it fell dying at her feet. Keelan stood on the other side, smiling at her, his longsword bloody. She thanked him quickly, then ran for her next quarry.
The hobgoblins had begun swarming around Whisper, noticing it was he who controlled the massive ball of fire that continued to roar and push through their ranks. Shale ran up next to the wizard to defend him as he worked his spell.
The hobgoblin still atop his warg began to chant and slam the hilt of his sword against his shield, and the others began to chant with him, pushing against their defenses. Shale heard a ragged scream but didn’t dare turn to see what caused it. There was another scream, and this time she looked and saw one of the guards being ripped into by a warg. She turned just in time to dodge a javelin, which flew over her narrowly as she ducked.
Whisper’s sphere took out two more hobgoblins, who ignited in flames and smoldered into ash. Shale ran at the final hobgoblin on foot with her two swords spinning through the air. She turned the blade in her left hand as the hobgoblin dodged the first hand and thrust the blade into his exposed armpit. Trigger leapt and jumped off her arm, then dug into the hobgoblin’s throat, tearing it out with a snap of his neck. The hobgoblin fell backwards, dead, and Trigger looked up at her, muzzle covered in blood.
She smiled approvingly at her fox and turned to see the last of the wargs still standing, the others downed by spears and fire. The leader, having lost his battalion, swung all the more fiercely as his mount dug its teeth into Oszaren’s shoulder. Shale moved her hunter’s mark onto the beast and began slashing at it while Trigger nipped at its heels. The warg already had a spear stuck in its hindquarters, and it was bleeding from several gashes along its side. As Oszaren tore his shoulder free of the warg, Keelan stepped in and chopped partially through the warg’s neck with his longsword. The creature howled its last and fell dead at the paladin’s feet.
The hobgoblin leapt from its back and began to run, but Oszaren stood and cast a spell, freezing the creature where it stood. Reverence ran up to it and thrust his pointed tail up through its jaw and into its brain. The spell, and the hobgoblin, dropped.
Shale turned immediately to see if any of the victims had survived. Two of the male guards were mauled beyond recognition, but the female guard knelt over the nobleman and was trying to bandage his wounds. Shale ran to the woman’s side and quickly administered a few goodberries to the unconscious fellow, whose bleeding immediately slowed. “Thanks,” she said, smiling gratefully at Shale as she sat back on her heels and wiped sweat from her brow.
Shale gave her a nod and the man stirred, opening his eyes. The two women helped him sit up, and the rest of Shale’s companions appeared around them, having assessed the bodies of the hobgoblins. “These people saved our lives, Oyn,” the female guard said.
Oyn looked up and gave a weak smile, and Oszaren bent to help him to his feet. “My thanks,” Oyn said, rubbing his chest and looking over at his overturned cart in dismay. “Bad luck,” he sighed. “Bad, bad luck.”
“Where were you headed?” Shale asked.
“Ah, to Daggerford.”
“I’m afraid your other two guards didn’t make it,” Shale told him solemnly. “We have a caravan coming up this way, and we’re headed north. It would be safest for you to travel with us for the remainder of your journey.”
“Much obliged,” the man nodded, and Oszaren moved over to peer inside the covered wagon. “Ah, be-be careful with that, p-please!” The man squeaked and rushed over to Oszaren’s side.
“Hiding something?” Reverence asked in a low voice, holding his chest at something beneath his robes and staring intently at the man.
“Of course not!” Oyn said, looking around at the tiefling in surprise. “Only—oh, no, perhaps it is too late for them…”
“Our friend Fillip will be able to help you with repairs,” Oszaren told Oyn. “He’s back with the rest of the caravan. They should be by any minute now. What was your name again?”
“Oyn Evermore,” the man declared with a nervous bow.
Reverence continued to stare at Oyn, and when the man looked at him, mouth quivering, Reverence said in his slow, calming voice, “you may not be—made for this lifestyle,” the monk said, “but—you had to try. I can—understand that. It is difficult—filling the shoes of a distinguished family.” Reverence spread his hands in a gesture of openness. “We would be willing—to take your wares—for a reasonable price.”
Oyn stared for a while, then said with a shaking head, “I would if I could. But, unfortunately,” he drew aside the canvas tarp, “they are gone.”
Inside lay several overturned birdcages containing dead exotic birds covered in colourful plumage.
“They’re from across the ocean,” Oyn told them sadly, “worth a pretty piece in the north. Now, I have naught to sell.”
“That is—unfortunate,” Reverence said. “Travel with us—and learn from us. It is good to learn.” With that, the tiefling put a friendly arm over Oyn’s shoulder and began to lead him away from the cart just as their caravan appeared at the top of the hill.
Shale raised an eyebrow at the friendly display, then leaned in and whispered to the female guard, “I’m glad to have you around. I’ve had just about enough with all these men and their denied homoeroticism.”
“You have no idea,” the woman sighed in agreement.
Reverence and Oyn seemed to have developed a strange bond with one another, leading to their strange evening displays around the campfire of what Reverence declared were ‘magic shows’. He used Oyn as his decoy, pretending to create the magic with fanciful and somewhat ridiculous flourishes, while Reverence would manipulate water and carve ice, and send sparks flying in every direction. They elicited some excited responses from others in the caravan, and even earned a few silvers every night. Even as the days passed into rainy, gray hours with constant drizzling rain, they continued with their evening performances, and brought a lighthearted attitude to the group despite the gloomy weather.
It did not take long for Whisper’s secret to become apparent to Fillip, Shale and Reverence, who all spent a good amount of their time around their wagon. It started with scratching noises, then thumps and screeches, and soon it was impossible to hide the tiny dragon hatchling in Whisper’s pack.
Reverence’s first response was to kill it immediately. He raised a fist over the tiny creature, which mewled and curled up, and Whisper put an urgent and protective paw over the hatchling. “No,” Whisper said firmly.
“Why shouldn’t I kill it—right now?” Reverence demanded, fist still raised.
Whisper shook his head fervently. “No kill. Not yet.”
Oszaren appeared beside the wagon and looked in, eyes widening at the sight of the hatchling. Shale watched the exchange but did not intervene, though she worried they would draw the eyes of others in the caravan.
“Why ‘not yet’?” Reverence asked. “What do you intend—to do with it? Be honest with me—Whisper.” The tiefling touched a hand to his chest, watching the tabaxi carefully. “If you tell me a good truth—I promise I will listen.”
“Use for study, then kill,” Whisper said.
“Then what—will you do?” he asked slowly. “Raise it? Train it?”
Whisper shook his head. “Will not live long enough to train. No raise.”
Oszaren sighed and spoke quickly in draconic, and Whisper responded in kind. Shale was always annoyed when they did this, wishing she could understand the exchanges.
“We should let it live,” Oszaren finally said, “for now.”
“Use it—to study,” Reverence said, dropping his fist. “All I ask ever, Whisper—is honesty. If your intentions are good—I will not fight you on it. So long as you fight—on our side—and help us stop the cult and their plans—I am with you.” With that, the tiefling removed himself from the wagon.
Shale exhaled softly as the tension dissipated. Oszaren gave Whisper a nod and then took his leave. Whisper looked surprised, then gathered the tiny dragon into his paws to warm it against his furry body.
“This group has some serious issues,” Fillip said once the two of them were alone at the front of the wagon, and Shale had to agree.
Not long after that exchange, they began scouting out the suspicious group of three wagons at the back of the caravan to ensure they were cultists, as suspected. Some nights Fillip would transform into a cat or a mouse and sneak through their camp to listen in and look through their carts, which, it turned out, contained stacks of crates filled with gold and gems.
Other nights, Whisper would send his owl familiar to watch them. Even Keelan entered their camp once under the guise of proselytizing about Kossuth, but they quickly told the paladin to kindly fuck off.
Finally, Whisper himself entered the camp and introduced himself as one of the members of the cult, and was welcomed into their folds with open arms after a long talk about Langdedrosa and Rezmir, and the cult’s plans for the world. He was told about others from the cult hidden amongst the families and merchants throughout the caravan and was also told to keep a low profile until they reached one of the larger cities. He told them nothing of the hatched dragon.
Whisper recounted his conversations with the cult to his companions every night, building on the shaky foundation of trust he had with them. He kept the dragon hidden amongst the spices inside their wagon, but Shale warned him that it could not remain a secret for much longer, not while the dragon lived and breathed and grew.
They continued northwards for fourteen more days without incident. They had been on the road now for twenty-three days, and Shale felt the boredom seep into her very soul. Not only that, but she felt with every turn of the wheels that she was being drawn further from where she had planned to be.
Along with the boredom, the darkness crept in.
END OF PART ONE