The Bumpy Road South

Willowstalker Manor Part 2


“We will find you, Sigthyme. We fill find you.”

Sigthyme shook his head trying to get the voices out of his head. The same perpetual nightmare of the stone cell was tormenting him. Night after night. He felt the cold stone. We heard the screaming.

“Sigthyme? Sigthyme?” Riffen shook his shoulder.

“Oh, huh?” Sigthyme blinked.

“You alright? You just stopped mid song?” Riffen asked him.

The group of five adventurers were back on the road traveling South towards Xylon. They ate breakfast at Christine’s house before leaving shortly after sunrise. Now it was about mid-day and Augendale was far behind them.

Riffen and Sigthyme sat together on the back of the wagon with Tak sitting near the front of the wagon and the two girls, Juniper and Grace, steering the horses. Juniper’s Red Dragon, Piakol sat on her shoulder chewing on scraps of meat.

Sigthyme held his Viol in one hand and the bow in the other.

“Oh, yeah. I’m alright. I guess I didn’t sleep that well last night,” Sigthyme admitted.

Grace gave him a sideways glance and then returned to looking up ahead.

“Honestly, I couldn’t sleep either,” Juniper said. “I’m excited to see my brother again. The closer I get to Xylon, the more nervous I get. I hope he’s ok.”

Riffen nodded.

“I can’t wait to see Lillian again,” Riffen said. “It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve seen her. I just want to find her and bring her home.”

“Group breaking up,” Tak said.

Sigthyme did his best to laugh.

“We’re not exactly a group of friends, Tak,” He said. “We’re just adventuring buddies heading the same direction.”

“Good to know you’re going to miss us, big guy,” Riffen said to Tak.

“Don’t miss you,” Tak said.

The whole wagon let out a laugh.

Piakol popped up his head and Juniper noticed.

“Did you see something?” Juniper asked Piakol speaking Draconic, the language of Dragons.

“Heard a noise in the grass,” Piakol said.

Juniper looked out around them. They were no longer in the heavy woods outside of Augendale. Around them were plains with rolling hills and tall grass.

Piakol flapped his wings and took to the air, flying out to the tall grass to the wagon’s left.

The rest of the adventurers quickly went for their weapons as Juniper brought the cart to a halt.

“What is it Piakol?” Juniper stood up drawing her bow and notched an arrow.

Tak leaped over the side of the wagon and landed on the dirt road with his war hammer in hand. Riffen and Sigthyme hoped off the back of the wagon and drew their blades.

Piakol dove down into the tall grass and disappeared for a moment.

“Piakol?”

Piakol flapped hard and rose above the tall grass. In its claws was a rabbit.

“Fresh food,” Piakol said in Draconic.

Juniper let out a sigh.

“False alarm everyone, just a hungry dragon finding a rabbit,” She said.

As she said that arrows shot from the tall grass. One passed overhead, a second struck the cart, a third hit Tak and the fourth struck Juniper in her back shoulder.

The adventurers looked around. They were surrounded by small humanoids. Many were green skinned creatures about Sigthyme’s height, slunched over with long fangs and carrying blades. Others were a bit larger with orangeish-red skin holding larger swords.

The groups emerged from the tall grass barring their teeth as they ran towards the group.

“Goblins,” Sigthyme said with wide eyes.

Sigthyme knew that Goblins were pretty weak on their own, but that in a group they could be quite dangerous. Especially if a group wasn’t expecting an attack.

“Baddies!” Tak yelled raising his war hammer.

“Be careful,” Juniper raised her bow and shot an arrow at the goblins running towards her.

The arrow released striking the creature in the eye, and it fell forward rolling to a stop before getting to the wagon. Unfortunately, many others ran up to the wagon.

Grace stood on the wagon and threw a dagger out towards a goblin warrior. The goblin acted quickly and used its blade to knock the dagger out of the air and it fell harmlessly into the tall grass.

Tak swung out with his war hammer slamming it into the goblin. The goblin got knocked off his feet and flew into the air. It landed back in the tall grass with a sickening thud and cracking of bones. Tak let out a laugh.

“Who next?” He asked the crowd of goblins and hobgoblins.

Riffen raised his shield and sword and swung his blade at the goblin closest to him. He slashed through the goblin’s makeshift armor and their was a spray of goblin blood on the side of the road as the creature crumbled.

Two hobgoblins ran from the grass up towards the wagon where Sigthyme stood with his rapier. One swung its blade cutting Sigthyme across the leg while the other swung and slashed him across the chest leaving large, ragged slashes across him.

Sigthyme let out an audible grasp as the pain racked his entire body.

He responded by thrusting out his rapier at one of the hobgoblins but in his weakened state, the hobgoblin easily deflected the rapier.

“Help,” Sigthyme managed to let out as blood ran down from his mouth to his chin.

The two goblins closest to Grace attacked with their swords, but Grace was quick enough to dodge out of the way of their attacks. Then she leaped from the wagon bringing down a blade on one of the goblins. She stabbed into its neck and the goblin crumpled. Then Grace rolled backwards into the tall grass.

There was another volley of arrows from the tall grass surrounding the wagon. Two sailed past without hitting their target. One struck Riffen in the back of the leg while another struck Juniper.

Juniper swung around and shot another arrow. This one struck a hobgoblin over Sigthyme in the neck and it fell backwards into the tall grass.

“Piakol, get the ones in the grass,” She yelled out.

Piakol flew overhead in the nearby field and unleashed a torrent of hot flames. Two creatures screamed out as they were covered in flames.

Tak ran forward with a battle cry out towards one of the goblins hiding in the grass. He quickly closed the distance and used both his hands to slam the war hammer into the goblin crushing its skull with a splat.

Riffen turned and saw Sigthyme wobbling on his feet.

“Hold on, Buddy,” He said running forward.

He slashed at the hobgoblin, but the hobgoblin defended itself with the blade. It growled at Riffen.

“Elven Mutt,” It spat at Riffen.

It slashed at Riffen, but he raised his shield and blocked the attack.

Sigthyme knew he couldn’t run without risking further injury, but attacking was useless. Instead he hummed a few notes underneath his breath and he felt some radiant energy swirl around him, closing his wounds. He was still in bad shape, but no longer bleeding out.

There was another arrow from the tall grass which struck the side of the wagon embedding itself in the wood.

One goblin closest to Grace turned towards and barred its teeth. It struck out at Grace, but again, Grace was too fast for it. She deflected the sword and then slashed the knife across the goblin’s neck, cutting its throat. It fell back onto the ground.

“Big mistake, monster,” She said.

Juniper aimed at the other hobgoblin engaged in battle with Riffen. She shot two arrows at it. One struck the hobgoblin in the shoulder. It turned just in time to get an arrow through the skull. The hobgoblin fell backwards into the grass.

Riffen saw behind it was the last green goblin hiding in the grass with just the tip of an arrow exposed.

“He ran forward out into the grass and brought down the sword against the goblin. It was taken by surprise and put up little to fight off Riffen as he plunged the sword into the goblin, killing it quickly.”

The threat was now gone as all the goblins and hobgoblins were killed.

“Siggy!” Tak ran back towards the wagon.

Juniper lept into the back of the wagon heading towards Sigthyme.

“Sigthyme, are you alright,” She said placing a hand on his shoulder.

He was standing, but his clothes were tattered and bloody.

“I’m fine,” Sigthyme said weak from blood loss.

Juniper closed her eyes and nature magic flowed from her body to his, healing some of his wounds.

“You need to rest,” Riffen said helping Sigthyme into the wagon.

“Siggy hurt?” Tak asked.

“He’ll be ok, Tak,” Juniper said. “He was hurt in battle, but he’ll be fine. He just needs some sleep.”

Grace walked around the wagon.

“I can’t find my dagger. Lost it in the tall grass. Stupid Goblins,” Grace said. “Woah, what happened to him?”

“I’m fine,” Sigthyme mumbled again.

“Let’s get back on the road,” Juniper said. “We’ll just have to be on better guard.”

“What about my dagger?” Grace asked.

“Grace, there are more important things,” Riffen said.

“We can get you another in Xylon,” Juniper said. “Let’s just go.”

“Fine,” Grace rolled her eyes.

“Riffen and Grace take the reigns of the horses,” Juniper said. “I’ll sit in the back and keep an eye on Sigthyme.”

“Stay with Siggy,” Tak said.

Juniper nodded. “And Piakol will keep an eye on us from the sky.”

Everyone took a deep breath and regrouped in the wagon heading on the road heading South towards Xylon.

 

Sigthyme laid in the back of the cart sleeping bouncing up and down with every bump in the road. His head laid on Juniper’s cloak balled up into a pillow. His body was healing but weak from the injuries.

His eyes grew heavy and eventually he fell asleep.

He opened his eyes once again and found himself standing in a dark, cold room. He saw a blurry image of a man standing in front of him.

“Come on Sigthyme,” The man said with a stern tone. “Stand up straight and pay attention.”

“I’m sorry,” Sigthyme said, but his voice came out different. It was small and childish.

“Now focus. Hold out your hands. Concentrate.”

Sigthyme nodded.

“Make yourself invisible,” He commanded.

Sigthyme closed his eyes and focused. He then opened them. His hands had vanished.

“Brilliant,” The man said. “You’ve done it, Sigthyme. You’ve done it.”

There was a knock on the door and they both turned.

Another man stepped into the room and his image was blurred as well.

“Sir, Sigthyme is doing well. He’s mastered invisibility,” The instructor said.

“His progress is slow,” The man in the doorway said. “I told you to discipline him.”

“But I…”

“Nothing. You continue to undermine me again and again. I told you to take away the instruments and you didn’t listen to me. You’re too soft on him,” He yelled.

The man quickly walked across the room knocking the first out of the way. The man reached for Sigthyme’s viol lifting it into the air.

“No, don’t,” The instructor said.

The man began to slam down the viol, but stopped suddenly.

Sigthyme had his hand reached out holding the man in place.

“Sigthyme, no,” The instructor said and his face came into focus.

Sigthyme saw the look of terror on his face.

“You’re a monster,” The other man said through gritted teeth. “And I’m going to kill you.”

Sigthyme stood there motionless holding the man in place.

“I’m going to kill you.”

The voice swirled around in Sigthyme’s head.

“I’m going to kill you.”

 

 


Other Dungeons and Dragons Inspired Stories:

The Witch’s Cabin

Willowstalker Manor

Out Of The Woods Part 2

Out Of The Woods

 


Header Photo Credit to Art of Magic The Gathering
http://www.artofmtg.com/art/plains-theros/

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