Chapter 7: Adamantium
The town of Triboar had become unnaturally quiet. Pieces of the town were smoldering ruins, others barely visible under the huge boulders that crushed them. The fire giants had come again to Triboar and left the scattered bodies of those who tried to defend their homes and lost. Darathra, the Lord Protector of the town, knelt down and pulled Narth’s eyes closed. The man’s broken body was one of many, and Roon couldn’t help but feel at least partially responsible. He wasn’t able to heal them. He had spent so much of his time after the academy focused on drinking and having a good time, that he’d almost forgotten what he’d learned. He clenched his fists and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, letting the guilt wash away, as he had often learned to do.
“I’m sorry about your town,” Kilian said to Darathra.
She nodded and stood, surveying the town. “Most of our militia is in the south fighting orcs. Perhaps if I hadn’t sent them, Narth and everyone else would still be alive.”
“This is no one’s fault,” Kilian said softly. “All the same, we want to repair this.”
“How?” Darathra asked skeptically.
“We’re not sure,” he told her uncertainly, sharing a look with Roon, “but we’re going to try and fix the giant’s ordening.”
“I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about, even after what you’ve told me, but perhaps I can help,” she said heavily. “There is a half-orc named Dral Thelev. If you take the Evermore Way to the town of Everlund, you can find him at Danavar’s house. He may be able to help you with the giants.”
“Everlund, you say?” Kilian asked.
She nodded. “It will be a three day’s walk on foot if you travel lightly.”
“Thank you,” the sorcerer said gratefully.
Urgola, the woman with the dark skin and short cropped hair, took Evelyn aside. “You are a very skilled fighter, little one,” the tall woman said.
“Thanks,” Evelyn said shyly, covering her scarred arms with her hands.
Urgola took her by the elbow and began to lead her away. “Listen, I have someone you should meet in Zimorval Hall…” they walked out of earshot before Roon could hear any more.
Darathra excused herself. “I will send someone to pick up the bodies,” she said, giving one last look to Narth’s body before walking wearily away.
Thia untied Aelar’s head from her belt where she’d strung it. The facial features were barely recognizable and had been preserved with tar that was now sloughing off with what remained of the face. It was a ghastly sight, but Thia didn’t seem to notice. She walked toward a grove of trees on the edge of town, a handful of his thick blonde hair in her grasp. With the flick of her hand, a mound of dirt rose from the ground and dropped next to a freshly dug hole. She placed the head inside and stood, hands folded and head bowed.
Roon walked up to where she stood and took out his staff, turning the symbol to face the grave and whispering a prayer. Then he twisted the staff in his hands and placed it at his back. Thia whispered her own prayer to the gods, then whisked her hands through the air and brought the mound of dirt to rest over the head. “Goodbye, Aelar,” she said quietly, then turned and walked past everyone without even a glance back.
“Do you think she’ll be okay?” Roon asked, surprised by his sudden empathy for the elf, whom he had rarely got on with.
“In time,” Kilian said.
“Good,” Roon said. Then, to lighten the mood he added, “I could use a drink.”
“Wait, who’s that?” Opal asked, pointing down the stretch of road where the giant had fled not long ago.
A stranger walked down the path with hands in his pockets, looking around with vague interest at the destroyed homes and shops. He was dressed in black clothing and did not look like he belonged. When he noticed their group standing in the middle of the road, he looked at them in surprise but continued to saunter over. “Well, well,” he was a tall half-elf with dark, chocolate-coloured skin and flowing black hair with pointed elf ears peeking out, “it looks like this town has been through a lot.”
“It was just attacked by fire giants,” Opal said in her soporific voice.
“Fire giants, you say? Hmm,” the half-elf looked around again as if unimpressed. “Haven’t seen any myself.” His black clothing was travel-worn and frayed to the point of being over-washed, and his large pack showed he had been on the road for a while.
“Where are you from?” Kilian asked.
“Oh, I’m from nowhere,” he said vaguely, shrugging, “and everywhere.”
“And what is your business in Triboar?”
“Well, to be perfectly honest,” he rubbed his cleanshaven face with a smirk, “I was planning on coming to this town to steal things, but it seems there’s nothing to thieve.”
“That’s very honest,” Roon said, eyeing the half-elf suspiciously. “Do you gamble, mister…?”
“Bran. Bran Tallstag,” he bowed in introduction. “And yes, I do gamble. I’m quite good at it.”
“We’ll see about that,” Roon smiled and folded his arms.
“Who wants a drink?” Kilian asked, looking longingly over to the Talking Troll tavern across the road.
“I’ll be there in a minute,” Roon said seriously. “I want to check the giant’s body.”
“Same,” Thia said, having appeared behind them to eye the newcomer. Her face was expressionless, void of the emotion that had been there only moments before.
As the two of them trotted off, Roon heard Kilian say to the half-elf, “what about you, Bran? How does a drink sound? I always like to meet a stranger on the road.”
“I could drink,” Bran said with a shrug. “Though I can’t promise you’ll like me.”
Thia pulled up a long metal staff from a spot near the fallen body of the giant.
“What do you think they were digging for?” Opal asked.
She and Evelyn had followed Roon and Thia out to the field to check the body for clues. Evelyn had first cut out the giant’s heart and stowed it away in her pack, and no one was too surprised. She was a strange girl who seemed to like body parts as souvenirs. Roon still wanted to know about the eyeball.
He cast a small detection spell and he could feel a glimmer beneath their feet where the dirt had been upturned. “Here,” he said, walking around. “There’s something magical down there. Look,” he pointed at a glimmer of metal and Thia immediately began pulling dirt from the surface of the metal object.
Soon, they had a large portion of it uncovered. It was a long, bent pole of metal.
“What is it?” Evelyn asked, and Thia inspected the staff more carefully, holding it up and pointing it at the large metal piece.
“I’m not sure, but this staff is directing me straight to it. It contains some sort of detection magic. This must be what they were using to find—whatever this is. It’s probably why they attacked the town.” Thia shook her head thoughtfully.
“It looks like it’s part of an old structure,” Roon said, inspecting the area. “Darathra might know. We could ask her.”
“Do we cover it back up?” Opal asked.
The hole was impressively large and their work over the last twenty minutes would be hard to hide. “No,” Roon decided, “the other giant said she would be back, and she knows exactly where it is already. Besides, it’s too big for us to move.”
With that, they went in search of Darathra.
They found Darathra organizing a cleanup party. She told them she had already sent word to their militia south to return prepared to fight a fire giant, possibly more. She didn’t know about the metal structure beneath the town, nor why the giants would be looking for it, but she suggested they speak with Alestra. “If anyone knows about it, it would be her,” Darathra said.
Thia and Opal looked at Roon nervously. “We need to tell her that her second husband is dead.”
“I can do it,” Roon said,
“No,” Thia said firmly. “That’s a terrible idea. The first time did not go well.”
When they turned to continue their conversation with Darathra, Roon winked at Evelyn and ran off in search of the Lionshare shop where Alestra worked. Sure, the first time might have been awkward, but this time, he knew exactly what to say.
“We sold it,” Thia said excitedly several minutes later. Thia and Opal had quickly caught on to Roon’s attempt to break the news to Alestra and stopped him before he could get a foot in the door. They left him outside, Opal picking him up unceremoniously and dropping him outside, and spoke with Alestra themselves. Now, they stood with Kilian and the awkward Bran outside the Talking Troll tavern, which was empty of its owner. They’d asked Bran for some privacy, and the half-elf now stood apart from them looking bored.
“You sold it? How? It’s already in their town,” Kilian said disbelievingly.
They had told Alestra about the metal structure they’d dug up, and she’d offered them five thousand gold in gems for discovering it. Thia shrugged, “she offered it, and I wasn’t about to say no. I warned her the giant would return and would be looking for it. Hopefully they move it in time.”
“Strange, but I won’t argue it,” Kilian sighed, “we could use the money if we’re ever going to get somewhere.”
There was a pause as everyone agreed to that. Roon knew exactly what he was going to use one of the gems for.
“Are we ready to leave Triboar,” Kilian said, “and head to Everlund?” Everyone nodded their agreement quite adamantly. They had quite enough of the dilapidated town of Triboar, and all preferred to keep their heads on their shoulders, and that meant staying far away from fire giants.
“What did you find out about our new friend Bran?” Roon asked quietly.
“Quite an interesting fellow,” Kilian said. “He was a sailor—well, a pirate. Now he travels through towns looking for things to steal.”
“Sounds like he’s gotten around,” Roon said jokingly. “But seriously, do you think we can trust him?”
Kilian shrugged, unsure. “I asked him to travel with us,” he said, “at least for a little while. From what he’s told me, he’s a decent fighter, and he’s good at sneaking into places. We could use that on our team.”
“We’re a team now?” Roon asked, arching an eyebrow. “Plus, who’s better at sneaking into things than a three-foot-one gnome? Seriously, Kilian, get your head out of your a—”
“Well,” Kilian cut in, “he could be useful. That’s all I’m saying.”
Thia glanced over at Bran. “I think you’re right,” she said finally.
“He’s kind of attractive, hey Thia?” Roon said, nudging her. “Despite the pointy ears, of course.”
She rolled her eyes in response.
Evelyn sighed wistfully. “I’d like to see him fight.”
“Me too,” Roon nodded. “But first, I’d like to see him play cards.”
“It’s settled, then?” Kilian asked, and one by one, the group nodded their assent. “I say we give him some gold as compensation for coming with us on the road. Five gold each should suffice, especially after the large sum we’ve made today.”
“Okay, but I want to talk to him first,” Opal said, and skipped towards Bran immediately, saying loudly, “excuse me, mister half-elf, but if you were walking down a path and you saw a cat and it, let’s say, rubbed against your leg and meowed, what would you do? Would you say hi to it, would you ignore it, or would you kick it across the road?”
“Um,” Bran looked over at the others, who all shrugged as if saying this is Opal, get used to it, “I would let the cat be, maybe make eye contact with it, and continue on my way.”
“Okay,” Opal said happily, turning to everyone else, “he doesn’t kick animals. He’s allowed to come!”
“Where are you planning on going?” Bran asked.
“Ah, yes, well, about that…” and Kilian began to explain their destiny to save the world and stop the giants.
Roon and Kilian headed to an inn that was still intact and had a meal. Meanwhile the rest of their companions went to speak with the other townspeople and see what they could find in the abandoned homes. Thia returned first with a wanted poster, showing it to them. “I found it in the campground caretaker’s shed,” she said, pointing to the drawing of a dwarf neither of them recognized. The poster read: Weavel the Dwarf, wanted, taken alive. Below that was a handwritten note scrawled in the corner that said: stables in Xanthrol’s Keep.
“Hm, an interesting thing to keep in mind I suppose,” Kilian said, “though I think we should focus our efforts on the giants.
“Speaking of,” Roon said, pulling out a deck of cards as he saw Bran enter the tavern, “who wants to play a little game of cards?”
The militia arrived early the next morning and began building their defenses around the town of Triboar. Before leaving, the group met with Darathra one last time and she handed them each a platinum badge, which she said was a gift for what they’d done for the town. They thanked her and headed East out of Triboar on the Evermore Way.
The next night they arrived in the town of Yartar, a place where Evelyn had been before when working with various mercenary groups. They spent the night in the Silver Stag tavern and spent some time gambling. Roon had to admit Bran was quite good, but Kilian took the pot and the two of them shared mead late into the night, reminiscing about old tales.
When they were back on the road the following day, Thia told them she was able to attune to the metal staff they’d taken from the giant. “I’ve spent some time studying it, and it looks like it will detect any adamantium metals and point me in that direction.”
“So, you think there are more of these structures out there the giants are hoping to find?” Roon asked.
“I’m not sure,” she admitted, “but I’m going to keep an eye on it and see what I can find.”
Once they left Yartar, they continued down the road until they were affronted with the musty scent of a bog nearby. Feeling apprehensive as the fog set in around the area, they continued until nightfall, where they made camp off the road. It was a chill night, and it was a challenge to keep their fire warm on the damp earth, but they managed to set up their bedrolls in a semi-dry area.
Opal and Roon took first watch around the camp. Roon waited until everyone else was asleep, then asked the genasi, “Opal, I realize I don’t know much about you. You know back when we were first on the road together and were attacked by those giant vultures?” She nodded, “And there were those goblins, and the one we took captive. Well, you seem to really hate goblins, and I haven’t noticed that you hate too many things. I’m just curious about what it is about them that affects you so?”
The genasi shrugged and looked through the mist, “they’re abominations to the land. There’s something about nature, and the life it holds, that creatures like goblins have no regard for. They burn and cut and wreak havoc on the beautiful things around us. That can’t go unpunished.”
“I never saw you for the type to punish someone for their misdeeds,” Roon said quietly.
“I don’t know,” she sighed in her dreamy way, “I just feel that it’s my responsibility to protect life.”
“I get that,” Roon said, thinking back to his time at the academy. “So, I know you’re half gnome, and therefore at least half awesome,” he said finally, “but which half of you is gnome? And where did the genasi part come in?”
“My mother was a gnome,” Opal looked down at him sadly. “She was shamed by our village for marrying my father. He was an earth genasi, which I think is why I feel so connected to nature… anyways, once my mother and father were both gone, the gnomes raised me, but they were cruel. They hated that I was different. So, once I was old enough, I ran away, and I never looked back.”
“They were probably just jealous by how tall you were,” he said quickly, then added “I’m sorry they did that to you. Although I’m a gnome, I really haven’t spent much time with others like me. At least, not for a while.”
There were footsteps behind them, and they both turned, but it was only Thia, come to take over next watch. Roon left the two women to speak and crawled into his bedroll, curling up into a tiny ball to keep warm. Eventually, his shivering turned to snores.
“Did you know that bogs can actually preserve organic material really well?” Roon said instructively to everyone as they walked, the strong smell of rotting plants and stagnant water ever-present. “You could drop a body in one and it will still look good as new when you dig it up a few thousand years from now.”
“I did know that, actually,” Evelyn said in her soft voice that made no one doubt she was telling the truth.
“How do you know that, Roon?” Kilian asked curiously.
“Oh, just something I learned at the academy,” he said, waving a hand. He rarely talked to Kilian about his time at school. “I don’t want to bog you down with such a boring tale.”
Kilian rolled his eyes at the pun. It was nearing nightfall, and they would need to set up camp again soon.
“Wait,” Thia said suddenly, stopping the group, “the staff can sense something.” She lifted the metal staff and pointed across the bog down a path through the marshes. “Adamantium. That way.”
“Do we follow it?” Opal asked excitedly.
“I don’t know,” Kilian said uncertainly, “we really should get to Everlund and speak with that half-orc Darathra told us about. Can we really afford the detour?”
“These relics might be really important, Kilian,” Thia said seriously.
“What if the giants are there already?” the sorcerer asked. “We didn’t fare too well against them last time. Look at how many people died.”
Bran looked up in interest but said nothing. The half-elf had been rather quiet in the journey, observing them from afar and saying little about their plans to repair the ordening.
“Can you tell if it’s far?” Roon asked, and Thia shook her head.
“It feels close, but I couldn’t say how close.”
“Let’s at least make camp for the night,” Kilian said, eyeing the darkening sky. “We can decide in the morning.” They all agreed and found a thick patch of scrub brush where they unfolded their bedrolls. “No fire tonight,” Kilian advised, looking nervous. “Not while we’re this close to that strange metal.”
Roon awoke to Thia saying in a hushed and frantic voice, “everyone, wake up! I can hear something coming—and it’s big!”
Roon could tell exactly what she meant. The squishy ground seemed to tremor with the sounds of approaching footsteps. He groaned internally, praying they wouldn’t need to fight another giant. He was much too handsome to die.
Roon scrambled to his feet and stumbled into the bramble as he pulled up his trousers and got out his shortbow, crouching down. Suddenly, Kilian threw out his hands and a massive cloud of fog rolled in around them, obscuring their view. Roon could hear shouts from small creatures in a gargled language that sounded primordial. They knew they were there. Roon cast his thaumaturgy to land thirty feet away. The air shimmered and there was an echoing animal scream caused by his spell. That seemed to draw the attention of a few of the gargling creatures. Roon could only see a few feet in front of him.
“Everyone grab on!” Thia said quietly. “We’ll use my staff to guide us out.”
Roon reached his hand out and grabbed Evelyn and Kilian’s hands until they walked in a chain, Thia in the lead.
Then, there was a booming voice overhead. “THEY’RE IN THE FOG. GET THEM!”
Evelyn released Roon and Bran’s hands. “What are you doing?” Roon hissed, but she drew her swords and cut both palms, and her blades ignited in black flames. “Oh, great,” Roon swore as the white-haired girl disappeared into the fog.
From nowhere, a giant scorpion tail appeared, dropping right in front of Bran. Bran jumped back, silently drawing a dagger from his sleeve, but Thia said, “it’s Opal. Grab on!” Bran grabbed the scorpion tail and started following it through the fog.
“I think we’ll have to fight,” Kilian said, looking down at Roon, then releasing his and Thia’s hands.
“Damnit,” Thia cursed as Kilian ran out of sight. “Alright, fine.” She reached back to switch out her staff for her sword.
At that same moment, Kilian’s fog cloud disappeared, and Roon had a momentary panic attack, thinking the sorcerer had been killed. He breathed out in relief when he saw the man standing ten feet away, shooting glowing orbs into the sky to illuminate a huge fire giant swarmed with winged creatures blazing with magma. A massive ball of fire burst and exploded in the middle of them, sending everyone flying back. Roon rolled to his feet a moment later and patted out the flames on his jacket.
Roon summoned his duplicate illusion and sent it running toward Kilian to see if he needed healing. It was then that he was able to fully grasp Opal’s new transformation. She was a massive brown and red scorpion with a wicked-looking curled tail. The druid charged at one of the flying creatures and pierced it out of the sky with her tail. Thia drew her sword and sang into the blade until it began to glow, then leapt and slashed at another creature. Evelyn was already in the fray, and Bran was sneaking around the edge of the bog, shooting them down with arrows. Kilian lined up a shot and threw a bolt of lightning, striking down two of the flying creatures and arching off to hit the giant, who roared in anger. “KILL THEM!” The giant shouted more fervently.
Meanwhile, Roon twisted his hands over his head and cast his spiritual weapon to hover next to the giant. It was a large hand with the middle finger out, and it started jabbing at the giant’s face and eyes. The giant roared again and tried swatting it away. The scorpion ran under the flying creatures and charged at the giant with claws and stinger snapping. Evelyn dispatched the last of the smaller creatures and they all surrounded the giant with their various spells and weapons. The giant raised his greatsword and slammed it onto Opal’s back once, twice, and finally cracked the hard scorpion exterior. Opal shuttered and shrunk until she was a small genasi standing at the foot of the giant, who went to stomp on her. With a scream, she changed back into the scorpion just in time to pierce the bottom of the upraised giant’s foot with her stinger. The giant nearly lost his footing.
Thia started shooting spells at the giant, standing next to Kilian, who threw a chaos orb that struck the giant’s thick armour and pelted off. Evelyn stood near the giant and she wasn’t moving, her eyes glazed over. What the blazes is that girl doing? Roon thought.
The giant grabbed his head, looking around in pained confusion, which gave Roon the chance to poke him in the head with the large spiritual hand repeatedly. The giant screamed, and Roon laughed out loud. “Uh, Kilian?” Thia shouted.
“Yeah?” The sorcerer replied as he struck the giant again.
“I just remembered, giants don’t have darkvision!” She said.
“Right,” Kilian nodded, and he killed the lights.
Then, Thia and Kilian simultaneously hit the giant with more lightning. Opal, again in her scorpion form, was the one to take the hits on her hardened carapace. For another few long, drawn out seconds, they all hit the giant with their various spells, slashes and shots, and finally, Bran shot an arrow into the giant’s thigh and he fell to his knees. At the same moment, Thia and Kilian hit him once more with electrical bolts, and the giant fell with a pitiful moan. When the dust had settled in the dark night, they could see Evelyn standing atop the corpse, already working at digging the heart from its chest. It was a gruesome sight.
With a sigh of relief, Roon cast a healing spell over each of them as Thia went over to Evelyn to check the body.
“Well done, Opal,” Kilian praised as the genasi walked over on two feet, back to her normal form.
“Thanks,” she beamed, “though I don’t think scorpion’s poison works on fire giants.”
“It worked well enough,” Roon said happily, nodding to Bran appreciatively. “Glad to see you’re a good shot, Tallstag.”
Bran gave an awkward smile.
Thia found the giant’s bag and it contained some very strange items, including another staff like hers, which they immediately placed in Roon’s bag of holding. There was gold, a large statue of a dwarf that looked to have been parted from its base, an empty chest, a wooden door, and a tent. The wooden door was perhaps the most strange and interesting find. But, for their health, and time being a heavy burden on them with the fate of the world on their shoulders, they set up the tent, which smelled oddly of troll, and bedded down for a restless sleep.
They followed Thia’s staff down a winding path through the bog, stopping once when they noticed a pack of sixteen orcs pushing along six halfling prisoners. They ducked and watched them go, certain they were no match for such a large number of orcs, especially after how they’d fared in Nightstone. Roon felt guilty about the decision, but Thia reminded them that they had a larger part to play, and they couldn’t take the time to save every little person. He tried not to take the ‘little person’ part personally. They walked for a few miles before they reached the outer edge of the marshland. Thia pointed her staff a few feet off.
“There. It’s buried beside that hill.”
They rushed over to examine the area. “This will take hours to dig up, even with magic,” Roon said, staring down at the packed earth.
“We have to try,” the elf woman said as she began to pull up dirt and cast it aside.
They took turns pulling up dirt and it was late afternoon by the time they uncovered three feet of a metal dome, with evidence that the piece was much larger and went quite a bit deeper.
“I don’t think we can take this with us,” Kilian said, wiping sweat from his brow and leaving a streak of mud.
“Definitely not. It’s huge, and we don’t have the time,” Evelyn said quietly, and Roon had to agree with the girl. She seemed distant after her conversation with Urgola, and Roon reminded himself to ask her about it some time.
Bran didn’t say much, only watched. Though, to his credit, he had helped with the digging.
“Maybe we should try to destroy it,” Roon suggested, “before the giants can get to it.”
“We can definitely try,” Kilian said.
They all agreed and began trying various substances against the metal: acid, frost, fire, even radiant light channeled from Roon’s deity. None of it had any effect on the adamantium.
“It’s no use,” Thia eventually said. “It cannot be destroyed.”
Roon agreed and took out a bottle of black ink and painted a giant representation of male genitalia on the top of the dome.
“What exactly is that for?” Kilian asked, arms crossed.
“Amusement. Relieving the tension.” Roon shrugged, “maybe it will be so off-putting, the giants won’t want it.”
“Or they’ll want it more,” Bran said with a hidden smirk.
“We could bury it again and hope they don’t find it,” Opal suggested.
“It wouldn’t take long for the giants to uncover it, not if, as we suspect, they all have a staff like the ones Thia and Roon are carrying.”
Roon hesitated before saying, “I—I could try sending a message to Zephyros.”
“You can do that?” Thia asked, sounding impressed.
“Well,” Roon winced uncertainly, “I’m not sure. I haven’t tried the spell in years, and it’s quite basic in its use. I can only send twenty-five words, and, if the spell works and he hears it, he can respond with twenty-five words of his own.”
“That’s oddly specific,” the wizard said.
“Thia, you should know better than anyone about the constructs and balances of magic,” Roon shrugged, “I didn’t pay much attention in that class because, well, who likes math?”
“I like math,” Evelyn offered and Roon gave her a sarcastic thumb’s up.
“Do it,” Kilian said. “If Zephyros can come, he could know what these constructs are.”
“And take this one before other giants find it,” Thia added.
“Alright,” Roon said, closing his eyes as he began to weave the spell in his mind. He pictured, in full detail, the cloud giant Zephyros with his grayish skin, flowing robes and white beard. He pushed the spell through the skies and felt a push back, like a nudge in his consciousness. He held up two fists and began to count the words as he said them. “Hi Zephryos. It’s Roon. We’re between Everlund and Callinghorn. Found staff and adamantium structures. Get us if you can. Look for giant penis. Thanks, bye.”
“The penis was a nice touch,” Thia said.
“You have no idea.” Roon grinned, and a few moments later he received a response in his head. “Hello, little one! Unfortunately, I cannot help you. I am quite far away and fighting more blasted dragons. Good luck!”
That was all.
“He’s not coming,” he told them, “so the dick was kind of a waste of time. I say we bury the thing and hope no one finds it. Or, at least hope it’s not that important.” Roon knew that wasn’t true, but they couldn’t dwell on it when there were bigger things on the horizon. He knew the structures were probably connected, but he couldn’t figure out what that connection was.
They covered the dome with leaves, knowing it was not an effective hiding place, but knowing there was no alternative. They were on their own.
In resignation, they followed the path back through the bog and made camp far from where they’d found the adamantium, close to the Evermore Way.
Bran woke them by banging on the side of the tent and shouting, “riders are coming this way!”
The sound of galloping horses thundered through the darkness. They all tore out of the tent and saw from a distance five riders carrying torches and headed straight for them.
“Let’s try talking to them,” Kilian said quickly, “before we try and kill them.”
Evelyn sheathed her blades, looking annoyed.