In the previous episode, Gremlaw and the others decided to do whatever it takes to get back his wife and daughter. On their way to the get the girls back, readers voted that they encountered thousands of tents full of Lost Ancestors.
Gremlaw sat with his back against a tree on the lee-side of a hillock two miles west of the vast encampment they had come across. Tents in uncountable numbers had been lit by thousands of camp fires around which he had seen figures engaged in cooking and revelry. Their skins, lit by the flickering fires, had been covered by the traditional tattoos of the Lost Ancestors.
Head hanging between his knees, Gremlaw contemplated the mass of teeming life, knowing Huleta and Neevis were probably somewhere within. Disappointment mixed with anger brought pain to his chest again and he wondered if he would ever be free of the sensation.
Mar-Tshi-Srin and Dornoyen sat across from their friend, worried about how he might take this news and concerned about his reaction over losing his family in the mess of humanity.
“Well, I suppose that is that.” Dornoyen stated in a final tone of voice. Gremlaw’s head snapped up, fixing him with a baleful glare. Mar-Tshi-Srin gripped her husband’s arm tightly in warning,
“Dor!” she hissed.
“That’s that?” growled the haggard-looking man seated across from them, “What do you mean by that?”
“They are gone, Gremlaw,” Dornoyen tried to reason with him, “There is no way we three can find them now, not in that mass.” The guard captain threw out his arm towards the vast encampment. Gremlaw snorted,
“Oh, so we just go home and forget them? Just ride back to Palandine so you can return to worship at the backside of DeLarouge?” his voice dripped sarcasm, “Leave if you want, Dornoyen, I will do what I must to be back with my wife and daughter, even if I end up dead trying.” Dornoyen shook his head in the moonlight,
“I do not see the sense in that,” he retorted. To their surprise, Gremlaw’s face split in a demonic grin,
“I’m sure you don’t, Dornoyen,” he said, “Maybe if you had the same kind of feelings for your wife as you do for your precious Argrotiern, your mind might be clearer.” Gremlaw looked from Dornoyen to Mar-Tshi-Srin. The captain launched himself to his feet and crossed the small distance between them, Gremlaw rose to meet him.
“I came here to help you!” Dornoyen shouted into Gremlaw’s unflinching face, “If that help is not wanted, we will leave!”
“Balls!” The shorter man yelled angrily, “You came because DeLarouge said you should, and because, even after all this time, you still think I want to steal your wife!”
Dornoyen’s arm shot forward to hit Gremlaw. He somehow found himself, however, laying on his back with dust settling in his eyes, Gremlaw held his arm in such a position as to snap his elbow backwards if he wished. An overwhelming ache set up in his elbow and shoulder, rapidly becoming a fire. Dornoyen’s breath came in pained grunts and he groaned in agony before Gremlaw released him.
“Stay or go,” Gremlaw snarled like an animal, “I’ll return later.” With these last words he disappeared silently into the night. Mar-Tshi-Srin turned to her husband with a sad look.
“I do not feel more for the duke than you.” Dornoyen sounded as if he was trying to convince himself.
“Of course not,” his wife replied in an unconvinced tone, “Gremlaw is under great stress, however, and it would be better for all of us if you did not enrage him.” She leaned into her husband and wrapped her arms around his comforting, solid body, wondering sadly when he had stopped loving her, “Maybe we should try and get some rest,” she suggested.
Dawn crept over the horizon, chasing night’s shadows away from the remote area Dornoyen and Mar-Tshi-Srin had bedded down in. Dornoyen came instantly awake as a disturbance in the underbrush nearby caused him to roll to his feet, sword in hand, ready to take on who – or what – ever invaded their campsite.
Mar-Tshi-Srin stood nervously behind her husband as the bushes parted and Gremlaw entered the small clearing beside the hill. He held someone over his shoulder and her large eyes grew, impossibly, even wider as he dumped the Lost Ancestor unceremoniously to the ground. The man’s unconscious form hit the dusty ground with a thump and the couple could see a bruise on his temple where Gremlaw had knocked him out. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.