In the previous episode, Gremlaw and Marshi saw into the mind of the witness, revealing that it was the Lost Ancestors who took his wife and daughter. When she asked what he planned to do, readers voted for him to calmly respond, “I’ll do what I do best. Find my wife and daughter, then kill anyone who had anything to do with their kidnapping.”
“How exactly do you plan on invading another country single-handed?” Dornoyen asked in an exasperated tone. Gremlaw’s anguish-filled eyes cut to the captain’s gaze as he replied,
“I had thought some of my friends might come with me,” his near-lethal gaze scanned the few people who had filed from the vagrant’s room. All but Mar-Tshi-Srin looked away in discomfort. Gremlaw grunted and stalked off along the corridor. The Lavashian magician followed, catching up when they reached the main hall of the DeLarouge palace.
“Grem,” she cried, gripping his arm, “You are not alone. I will come with you.” He turned, his aspect showing gratitude.
“Thanks, Marshi.” He said.
“Marshi!” Dornoyen attempted not to shout within the silent halls of his employer, “What do you mean you will go?” His face wore a mask of shocked outrage, “You cannot go!” Mar-Tshi-Srin rounded on her husband as if a demon possessed her,
“You are my husband and I love you,” she said in a determined voice, “But I will go if I so choose! I have chosen to live in this beautiful country, but Lavash is my place of birth and if this has something to do with the Lost Ancestors, it might affect both countries,” she paused in thought for a second, “They have…different ideas regarding how Lavash ought to be run.” Mar-Tshi-Srin looked deeply into her husband’s eyes, “Besides which, Grem is right, he needs some friends at the moment.” She cast a glance towards her friend.
“Your wife speaks true, captain.” A voice from the upper hallway surprised them all. Argrotiern DeLarouge made his way down the grand staircase, one hand trailing down the polished, walnut bannister. The duke crossed to where Gremlaw stood and looked into his eyes, “And if you will allow it, I will offer my aid in recovering your wife and daughter.” Gremlaw stared back into the face of the young man he detested only due to the actions of the man’s father. His need for aid and the obvious fact the young duke had not been involved in his family’s abduction led to him nodding gratefully. Argrotiern smiled thinly,
“You may take horses from the stables, enough for however many will be traveling with you, and provisions to care for them as you ride. I will have the kitchen staff pack some food and make everything ready for first light tomorrow.” DeLarouge noticed Gremlaw stiffen, “Preparations take time,” he said, “And stumbling blindly around in the dark benefits no one, please get as much rest as you are able tonight and leave early tomorrow.”
“You’re right, your grace,” Gremlaw replied after taking a few moments to think on the situation. If the abductors were still using his pony and cart to travel, he on horseback would overtake them easily, “And thank you,” he added, “You have no obligation to offer any aid.” DeLarouge pursed his lips and nodded,
“I will speak with his majesty,” he said as his face changed to a puzzled expression, “This infringement cannot be allowed to go unpunished.” DeLarouge turned to climb the grand staircase again pausing halfway up, without turning, to say, “Captain Dornoyen, I believe it time for you to take a leave from your duties. I will make sure your daughter is cared for in the absence of yourself and your wife.” With this last statement the duke ascended the stairs and left.
A trio of riders slowed their steaming mounts as the cold evening air enveloped them like a yeti hug. Gremlaw, Dornoyen and Mar-Tshi-Srin had traveled north from Palandine through the small towns of Flukel and Glenmoro before turning north-west towards the border garrison town of Vulvuge. Dornoyen had insisted they stop at Vulvuge to report to the commander and see if anyone had witnessed the pony and cart with its conspicuous cargo.
Gremlaw had baulked at first before Mar-Tshi-Srin reminded him they needed some supplies. The six days they had journeyed so far had taken a heavy toll on the horse oats and the people were down to a few staples left from DeLarouge’s pantry. Not knowing if there would be an opportunity to buy provisions once they were in Lavash, he eventually capitulated and they had entered the city.
A far cry from the ruin which had been Strathnave, visited by Gremlaw years before, Vivulge was a thriving little town with a mixed population of both Trathlainians and Lavashians seemingly living in harmony. This said, there was a heavy, and visible, military presence on the streets, ensuring the kingdom kept control. Dornoyen had made arrangements to meet his wife and Gremlaw after he had met with the garrison commander.
“I took a little time to speak to the men who had just come back from a scouting party,” Dornoyen told Gremlaw after he had rejoined his wife, “They saw very few travelers headed north but did remember a two wheeled cart being dragged by a single pony,” the tall captain looked from his wife to Gremlaw, “Yesterday.” Gremlaw’s stomach did a somersault at the news Huleta and Neevis were not too far ahead. He had mounted his horse immediately and driven the poor animal hard until nightfall made it too dangerous to ride.
Gremlaw dropped to the ground, mouth agape at the sight before him as, revealed by the bright moonlight, he looked down on… Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.