Matrim & Co
The dark cold night is pierced with thousands of sharp stars and a glaring crescent moon. The cold tightens your jaw and creeps up behind your ears to tighten in the back of your skull. While the wind has died it only means that your movement through the tall grasses has become more pronounced. You can’t help but feel more prey than predator in the crisp northern night.
Sebastian quickly motions Matrim, Talton, Lornaal and Terrence up the hill and quietly points down the length of the ravine in the moonlight. T’alen, down below, motions to the top of the hill with desperate hand signals while gathering all the horses into a tighter group before taking a few steps back from the dark winding gully the group has chosen to camp in. Matrim gives a quick nod and the party all heads to the camp with T’alen and the horses to quickly discuss what was heard and what is to be done.
Deciding that all are in favor of finding the plainsmen, and gathering Cora and Alma, it seems unwise to leave this site without fully understanding what has made the noise…or who might be following. So, now that the group is together, and everyone knows the horror that has become of the Blackwood, Matrim and Sebastian feel it would be safer to travel together with only a scout a few yards ahead instead of the miles used earlier.
Picketing the horses and making sure the entire camp is packed, The Company moves slowly down the ravine in the moonlit darkness. Afraid to light a torch, Matrim skips ahead several yards staying close to the bottom of the gully so as not to let his companions trip and fall in the low light…a light that is more than enough for him to see in. Moving forward, you hear several more wooden crashes and some shouted guttural commands that Matrim takes for goblinoid. Winding around a couple of corners you come to a bend with the hint of torchlight peaking around the edge. Sliding quietly to the lip of the bend you squat behind a tree and observe a small company of orcs and goblins working on a broken wagon swearing at each other in desperation.
There seem to be six goblins and five orcs either staring angrily off into the night or bashing and swearing at the crippled cart. The waggon is topped with a wooden cage containing at least six prisoners looking absolutely terrified and looking back and forth as if they can find a solution in the night-time shadows. Matrim waits quietly for the rest of the group to catch up.
After a hurried discussion and some quiet observation T’alen relates that the big goblin on the far right is the leader of the goblins and the orcs and he is seething mad that they are late for the ritual. The slaves were supposed to be an important part of the ceremony; and now his clan will lose faith with Nalgash…something you get the impression as being very bad. Lastly, he says, that if the orcs aren’t able to fix the wagon they will just lash the prisoners to the horses and drag them with some of the planks from the broken wagon. They must get to the Sky Tree before dawn.