Veniset: The Church
The women and children of Veniset settled amidst the pews of the church, huddling beneath their blankets and offering reassuring words to one another. Terrence dispatched a young boy to bring T’alen while Talton and the vicar returned to the cellar for another armload of weapons and armour.
Veniset: The Town Square
The bitter wind howling from the east carried with it a bone-numbing cold stolen from the iceberg infested waters of Bangle Bay. It howled down on Veniset with a fury, driving the falling snow nearly sideways, cutting through heavy clothing in its search for the warm essence of life. In this way, the wind was a perfect analogy for the deadly doom that lurked nearby, presumably awaiting its chance to fall upon the village and wrest the fire of life from all that live there.
Sebastian rubbed the numbness out of his fingers. For a time he wandered the town square, offering the fortifying gift of his song to those that toiled to build the defences. The music helped to galvanize all who heard it, bringing to them a confidence and pride that urged them to greater speed. Near the bonfire at the centre of the square the bard came upon Matrim.
The ranger was surveying the work pensively. There was much more that he would like to see done, but the men were tired and half frozen and with night falling quickly there was little else that would be accomplished.
At all entrances to the town square six foot barricades had been erected. Trip lines and grease puddles had been set beyond the perimeter where they were quickly hidden by the snow. Two rickety bridges had been built between the stone church and the buildings flanking it. Archers stood on the roof tops and men with spears and pitchforks, dressed in whatever piecemeal armour had been passed down through the generations of their families, tended to the barricades.
The doors of the church opened and a boy of about ten ran forth, clutching his lambskin cloak tightly. He paused, scanning the square and the gathered men before settling his sight on T’alen who was warming himself by the bonfire. As the boy crossed the square he passed in front of a half dozen men bundled tightly against the cold.
As the boy hustled to give a message to T’alen, Matrim’s eyes settled on the men that he had just passed. Little enough could be seen of them, dressed as they were. Only the eyes could be seen from under their hoods and above the thick scarves wrapped about their necks. It was one man, set apart from the others that caught Matrim’s attention. The man was edging towards those nearer the bonfire. A queer feeling filled Matrim and for a moment he almost dismissed the misgivings that tingled across his skin. It was then he realized the nature of his apprehension: Around each of the men in the square a mist issued about their heads as their hot breath met the cold air… all of the men except the one who was moving purposefully towards where T’alen stood listening to the boy, perhaps forty feet away. From that man, no breath was expelled and no warmth yet lingered. As the light of the bonfire cast across his visage, Matrim could see two eyes burning with hatred, driven to a maddening urge to snuff out life and fill the world permanently with the coldness of the grave.
The Logging Camp
Ulof’s men, bewildered at first quickly found their anger, scooping up axes and pics they crowded around their outraged master. The menacing pack began moving towards Alma and Lornaal, fanning out in a broad line.
Alma placed a restraining hand upon Lornaal. The Thent was taught and ready for action.
Ulof, I don’t want to waste my powers this night slaughtering your men. I have undead to kill! You fight the Thent 1 on 1. If you lose your men accompany us to Veniset and help defend the town. I am sure the town council will arrange some form of compensation for the damage I have caused and your help…
Ulof choked out a scornful laugh.
If you have been sent here by the the elders of Veniset, then I shall have my compensation and more. First, however, I will take your skins to shelter from this storm.
The sound of Torngrin turning his horses and urging them down the snowy trail caused both Alma and Lornaal to glance behind them. The man was mounted, leaning low in the saddle, the leads of the trailing horses clutched in his gloved hand. He shouted desperate encouragement as the three great steeds plowed through the drifts.
Turning back to the loggers, the two members of the Company of the Manticore found Ulof sneering at them.
Kill ’em both.