Chapter 39; 40; 41; 42 and 43

Chronicles of Mace

Mace thinks for a moment then replies, “I think that you are quite correct, despite my leg it’s time to move on to somewhere safer, home to Zoon.”

 

Garling nods and then bows to Mace, acknowledging his decision, and telling Mace he will return to find out if he wishes to proceed with the trap.

 

Maces mind is a whirl, he wants to get away from here, try and find his friends, and seek the safety of another Town.  He feels inside that a net is closing around him, as if in a Spiders web.  He still can’t figure out what happened to the Spider Eggs, but decides that he must cut his losses and move now.

 

No time to lose, he tests his leg over the next hour and finds that it is much stronger.  Not fully recovered but better.  Estling doesn’t bother him much now, and Mace waits for Estling and Tizzle to be out of the house at the same time for him to make his move.  He doesn’t like doing this to people who have helped him, but speed and survival are of the essence.  He moves around Estling and Tizzles house, collecting anything that might be of use.  At times dragging his leg a little as he tries to move quickly.  Odd blasts of pain up his leg remind him that he is not fully fit yet.

 

He finds an old Backpack to cram a few things into, whispers a low, “Sorry”, aimed at Estling and Tizzle, checks the door, and makes his way out into the rain.

 

He dodges between passageways, until he spots a small house, with a small stable, which as fortune would have it, has a Horse saddled-up and outside.  He sees his chance, checks no-one is around, and creeps around to the Horse.

 

The Horse just stands and watches as Mace, uneasily manages to sling his injured leg over the Horse.  He spurs the Horse forward, and makes for the trail leading out of Town.  He half expects to hear a call of “Thief”, but all remains quiet.  His heart pounding, he reaches the Militia checkpoint that leads to the trail to Zoon.

 

The Militia just nod to him, more concerned with the one or two people that are entering the Town, rather than those leaving.

 

With his good leg Mace spurs the Horse into a trot away from the Town.  The rain hits his back and with the wind behind him, Mace feels almost relief as the Town walls of Laster slowly disappear from sight.

 

Mace takes a deep breath, and prepares himself for a few days ride to Zoon.

 

The light soon begins to fade, and Mace sets up a very rough and ready camp, eats some of the hastily grabbed rations, and sets a small fire ablaze…..His mind starts to focus on what he is actually going to do when he reaches Zoon, and wonders if what he has done will warrant the authorities, maybe even the Laster Rangers giving chase to him…….

 

Chapter 40

 

Although the weather is miserable, Mace feels free and alive away from the tight confines of the Town.  As he travels northwards he sees no-one.  Large puddles are forming on the trail, and his Horse seems to delight in splashing heavily through them.

 

He is starting to feel stronger, his power is returning and he feels more able to cope with the dangerous world around him.

 

As a non-eventful day draws to a close, he sees in the distance a group of Wild Horses tracking southwards.  He can also see some spires of smoke, drifting into the skies from a few isolated farming communities, which are in this area, hardly noticeable from the trail.

 

Mace wonders what the area around Zoon will be like, and with the rumours a plenty, whether it is safe along the trail.  What if guards have been posted, maybe ambushes?  He wipes his wet hair back off his face, wondering what he will find at Zoon……….

 

Chapter 41

 

Watching the tranquil scenes around him, Mace finds it hard to believe that a danger could be behind any bush or tree near him, however he must proceed as planned.

 

Spying the running horses he hopes that they are running for the shear joy of living and not running from some unseen menace lying in wait for him.  He wipes the rain from his face and wonders if paranoia is setting in.

 

Keeping a keen eye on his surroundings Mace continues his journey to Zoon while trying to maintain a calm state of mind so that he is ready to spell cast at a moments notice.  A few gentle kicks of his Horse and the journey is on again.  Following the trail he is pleased that there seems to be no one around.  Mace gallops though large puddles, which cover the trail, the sodden ground either side looks very unwelcoming.

 

He follows the trail through some long grasses, which sway in the wind that blows from North East to South West.

 

The afternoon begins to draw in, when in the distance he sees figures.  The shock of seeing other people shoots through his body.  His senses tingle.

 

He strains his eyes looking through the rainy mist.  Five riders head towards him along the trail.  They are riding fast.  They are some way off, and may not have seen him, although looking behind he sees that he has left a clear trail in the mud.

 

He has time to leave the trail, or he can continue and meet with the riders…..

 

Chapter 42

 

The afternoon begins to draw in, when in the distance he sees figures.  The shock of seeing other people shoots through his body.  His senses tingle.

 

He strains his eyes looking through the rainy mist.  Five riders head towards him along the trail.  They are riding fast.  They are some way off, and may not have seen him, although looking behind he sees that he has left a clear trail in the mud.

 

He has time to leave the trail, or he can continue and meet with the riders…..

 

Thinking quickly Mace guides his horse off the track into the long grass stopping just a little way in and while calming his horse prepares ands casts a spell, Phantasm I.

 

The spell works and a large Cow appears, covering the area where he sits upon the horse.  The five riders get closer. Mace tries to steady his horse and keep it calm, so that he doesn’t appear out the sides of the illusion.

 

Mace focuses all his concentration of the Illusion, as the Riders reach his position.  They slow for a few seconds when they see the tracks in the mud, take one look at the Cow and spur their horses forward again.

 

Mace holds his nerve, not sure if they were friendly or hostile riders.  The Cow continues to chew the cud and eat the grass as the Riders speed out of view down the trail.  All Mace noticed on the Riders was a Red Gryphon insignia, but he doesn’t know what this represents.  He has heard of the Double Headed Eagle insignia of the Overlord, but not a Red Gryphon.

 

The illusion wears off, and Mace moves back onto the trail.  He looks into the distance and can only see the riders as dots disappearing from view.

 

He looks back up the trail towards Zoon and decides what to do next.  Does he stick to the trail, or go cross-country. (Mike - You need to be specific if you go cross-country! Let me know what hexes you want to go in.)

 

As he sits on his Horse a very strange event happens.  The clouds overhead darkens, and Black rain starts to fall.  The Horse senses something unusual, and stirs.  Mace has to keep a tight rein to stop from the Horse bolting.  There is nothing they can do as suddenly from the skies a Black rain begins to hit them and the land about them.  As soon as the rain hits the ground the blackness seems to disappear.  He feels no adverse effects by being hit by the rain and the fear factor soon passes.

 

The Black rain lasts for some 12 minutes, during which time Mace just sits on his Horse, in an almost stunned state.  As soon as the normal rain returns, he sets his mind again on what to do next regarding his journey to Zoon.  Mace thinks, “These are certainly strange times.”

 

Chapter 43

 

The riders have given Mace course for thought, maybe the road isn’t as safe as he had hope and he is still far from Zoon. But to tarry here any longer will not help in any way, so he gives his horse a quick and sets off hastily down the track. Despite a reproachful look the horse gives him it sets off at a steady trot, looking quite water logged as does Mace himself.

 

After travelling for a while Mace notices that the road bends of to the right, making a detour around some farmland, after a momentary hesitation Mace decides to cut across the land and make a direct bee line towards Zoon off the road.

 

With a constant and more vigilant look out for any further encounters Mace continues thus.

 

The mud flies up behind him as he moves across ploughed fields, that are looking the worse for wear now.  The Farmers seem to have given up tending the fields, as the ploughs would be next to useless now.

 

The miserable weather seems to have kept most people in doors, and the last few miles towards Zoon are uneventful.  He sees the walled Town of Zoon getting nearer, and he feels a dangerous journey is nearly over.

 

As he nears Zoon he can see that a small queue has formed at the gate.  Militiamen walk up and down the queue seemingly asking questions.  He can see a couple of guards lifting Wagon covers, and checking the goods that are inside.

 

Getting into Zoon isn’t going to be that easy, and Mace prepares the story that he will give to the Militia.  Does he want to use his real name or an alternative?  How will the Militia treat Adventurer types in this time of trouble?

 

He notices that several of the Militiamen/Guards also have Red Gryphon insignia on their rough uniforms.

 

This seems to be the last hurdle before he can enter the town, and relative safety.  The though of a warm meal and comfortable dry bed also spur him on………………..

 

We leave Mace about to enter Zoon, as his quest to allow the Mystery to Unfolds.......................  Mace has returned HOME.............