continued from 42/366 – To Leave a Home
“Why should we trust the boy responsible for the zombie attack?” Mayor Kipperling spat, “If there is something in the lake, which I doubt very much based on this boy’s recent activity, our guards, wizards, and monks can handle it, I’m sure.”
“Can you trust me, Mayor?” Koldian asked, “What of Master Scaine? Do you think we would go to these lengths if his claims were baseless?”
“We know that things have been especially difficult for you since the zombie attack, but we can promise you that he speaks the truth,” Master Scaine said.
“My son wouldn’t lie,” Helem said, drawing the Mayor’s attention.
“By the power of Rashem,” the Mayor said, seeing Helem. “You died years ago. How is this possible?”
“It’s a long story we can’t tell you at the moment, but suffice to say that things are happening that is well beyond what we can handle,” Helem said. “We need to listen to them and get as many people to safety as we can.”
Mayor Kipperling looked from Helem to Master Scaine and to Koldian. The red in her face dissipated and gave her the look of a scolded dog. Master Scaine placed a hand on her shoulder and whispered something in her ear that Morn couldn’t hear.
“Alright. Let’s get everyone to safety,” the Mayor said, nodding solemnly.
The mayor walked away, muttering under her breath and shaking her head. Morn watched her approach a handful of guards and have a conversation for a moment before continuing on toward her house.
“Are we ready to go?” Celeste asked. “We need to find my father.”
“I’m ready,” Morn said.
“I’m not sure it’s a good idea, but we can take some horses and get as close as we can to see what’s happening out there. If we can get him, we will, but I don’t want anyone in more danger than they have to be in, do you understand?” Master Scaine said, giving Celeste a severe look.
“I understand,” Celeste replied.
Morn, Celeste, Koldian, Helem, and Master Scaine all walked off the town hall steps toward the livery by the North gate. The people they passed were already coming out of their homes. Some were pulling large trunks and bags, others only had a backpack and looked at their home with a sad expression.
“Wait up!” Jaque yelled, running up behind them. “What’s going on? Everyone’s leaving?”
“The town isn’t safe anymore,” Master Scaine said, “Morn spoke with Azariah last night, and we’ve discovered that there is something ancient and powerful at the bottom of the lake that is breaking its bonds.”
“Did Azariah say they wouldn’t help?” Jaque asked.
Morn shook his head, “it’s something that they can’t help with. This thing is older than that, I guess.”
“That’s crazy, has anyone checked the library for information on what it might be?” Jaque asked.
“We are going right now to see if we can rescue anyone still at the lake,” Master Scaine said. “No one has checked in yet, so we are worried that they may have been overwhelmed.”
“And my father is there,” Celeste said. “Since we don’t know if we can beat whatever is in the lake, we’ve decided to try to get as many people to safety as possible.”
Jaque nodded, his brows furrowed in thought.
“Six horses, please,” Master Scaine said as they reached the livery.
A young boy with sand-colored hair, freckles, and blue eyes wearing tattered clothes jumped to work, grabbing saddles and securing them to the animals.
“So what’s happening?” the boy asked while he worked.
“We’re evacuating the town,” Master Scaine replied. “Did you not come to the town meeting?”
“My dad did. He hasn’t returned yet. He left me here to tend the animals in his stead,” the boy replied, securing the third saddle. “Will you be needing food or grain?”
“No, thank you,” Master Scaine replied.
“What are you doing, boy?” a heavy-set man said walking up to them, obviously the boy’s father from his appearance. He paused when he saw the group standing and waiting. “My apologies, Master Scaine.”
“No apologies necessary,” Master Scaine replied, waving his hand. “We appreciate the time your son is taking to get us ready.”
“You’ll be taking the horses when you leave?” the man asked.
“We need to go to the lake to try to get our people out of there first,” Master Scaine said.
“I understand,” the man replied, his face growing hard.
In less than five minutes, all six horses were ready to go, and everyone was on an animal.
“For your troubles, and for your new start,” Master Scaine said, handing the man a large pouch of coin before kicking his horse into a gallop. The other five followed suit, moving quickly toward the gate.
The man’s eyes grew wide when he opened it, and he yelled his thanks behind them as they went.
The guard at the gate saw the group coming and moved quickly to open the portcullis just before they flew through at full gallop.
The fields gave way to the forest as they rode. A mile outside of town, Master Scaine slowed his horse to a trot. The sound of hooves against the packed dirt was all they heard for the next two hours until they arrived at a brook and stopped to let the horses drink.
“Do you think something’s happened to them?” Celeste asked Morn, catching him away from the group. “My father and the others at the lake?”
“I don’t know,” Morn admitted. “Your dad’s a scary guy. I’d find it hard to believe that anything would happen to him that would stop him.”
“What about Master Scaine’s initiate out there?” she pressed.
“Something could have happened to him, and maybe your dad is still fighting. We can’t give up yet. We won’t know anything until we get there,” Morn said.
“Everyone fill your water here,” Master Scaine said, “we can’t drink from the lake. If you need food, I have some jerky here that the livery was kind enough to sneak into my bags. We’ll be leaving in twenty minutes.”
Continued 44/366 – Blackwater Lake