Gremlaw considered his options as he sat on the bench with the sunlight filtering down through the branches of the tree at his back. He thought he should make his way back to warn Fitlock Haguana the Lavashians were probably aware he had been compromised. Then wondered if he should get Semmental to send word to DeLarouge but dismissed the idea as it would take too much time. Gremlaw looked around him, assessing the grubby little outpost for a possible solution.
Something nagged at the back of his mind, vying for attention with his guilty conscience over his killing of the one eyed man. Gremlaw closed his eyes and tried to force the guilt down so he could focus on this new thought. People shuffled past him on their mindless errands. Gremlaw’s head shot up as he realized what his mind had already registered.
There was virtually no sound. No raised voices, with the exception of the few vendors in the marketplace. No screaming children howling at the unfairness of being dragged around the market; in fact he could see no children at all! He watched an old woman stumble past where he sat, her vacant, slack jawed expression made his flesh crawl almost as much as the emptiness in her eyes. Gremlaw looked at a younger man who’s face conveyed the same emptiness. Almost everyone he looked at was in the same state of mind. Blank faces greeted him wherever he glanced and a horrifying possibility crossed his mind.
If the Lavashian agents had managed to spread Forever throughout the populace here and worse, the military outpost, they would have a gateway into the Kingdom of Trathlain. The two Lavashians had been boiling the wine at the warehouse! That must be how they got the Forever. It was in every bottle of wine, not just the occasional one in each shipment! Gremlaw stood and made his way back to the marketplace as a plan formed in his mind.
The few traders who had been outgoing enough to set up their stalls were now taking them back down and packing their wares away unsold. Gremlaw walked past the short row of stalls a few times, listening to them talk between themselves as they packed their stalls onto carts. The youth noticed two of them shared a larger wagon and wondered if the pair had formed a partnership.
“We needs to get away from ‘ere, Dorrian.” One said as he lifted bundles of cloth into the back of the wagon, “There’s somthin’ real bad happnin’ in this town.”
“Ye won’t be getting any arguing from me, Nims.” Dorrian replied, “I don’t be knowing nothing about what be wrong but me old Dad used to tell ghost stories to us young uns what sounded like this looks.” Dorrian threw one hand around to indicate the whole town.
Gremlaw made the choice as he listened, this pair was obviously his best chance to get a message to DeLarouge and he made his approach quite noisily,
“You two, listen up.” The two men turned, shocked at the sound of his voice, “I will tell you what has happened here if you do me and your kingdom a great service.” Dorrian and Nims took in the disheveled and blood stained clothing which Gremlaw wore and were instantly frightened,
“Don’t ye be coming no closer!” Dorrian warned as he reached for the hilt of a dagger at his belt. “We don’t be holding with no ghostly people.” He added, making Gremlaw smile.
“You have nothing to fear from me, good sirs,” Gremlaw reassured, “I just need to get a message to the capital and more precisely to someone called Duke Wattiern DeLarouge.”
“Go on.” Nims said.
Gremlaw told the pair of merchants about some of the things he had discovered before making sure they knew how important it was for them to leave as soon as possible. As soon as the wagon had rumbled away, Gremlaw melted into the shuffling, silent crowd.
He wanted to get away from this town and its Lavashian influence before he was introduced to Forever a little too closely. The young man kept to the shadows as much as he could while making his way toward the gate through which he had been driven by Jornsa. Could that really have been earlier today, Gremlaw wondered? So much had happened since he had killed the one eyed man, it felt as though half a lifetime had passed. His guilt came flooding back, robbing him of his consciousness enough for…