Late last night several of the dogs started acting squirrelly. There’s an old Northern expression that if a dog barks for no reason you should ignore it, but if it gets quiet for no reason you need to watch out. I’ve never understood what that meant. I calmed them down and stood half-crouched in the darkness of the farmer’s shack listening intently. I definitely heard something moving around out there – moving stealthily. I carefully awoke Quinna and whispered to him.
“Alright buddy it’s go time, there’s something out there.”
His eyes widened “What do you want me to do about it?”
“Go check it out, take your hatchet.”
“What hatchet? I’m a dog trainer, I don’t know anything about fighting.”
“What? You’re a barbarian from the hills, you were arrested for poaching – you should at least have a throwing spear or something right?”
“My people . . . “
“Look, whatever man, just sic your dogs on whatever it is.”
Quinna turned loose his six attack dogs and they charged out of the hut with all the enthusiasm of trained murder beasts, but there wasn’t a sound after that. No barking, no snarling, no sounds of bone cracking, nothing. Quinna called for them to come back but nothing happened. I had the bastard fetch my crossbow and I activated my tattoo for night vision.
“Alright, I guess I’m going out there alone you coward.”
I crept out the door as silently as I could and was immediately presented with the six vicious war dogs sitting obediently at the feet of a woman floating a few inches off the ground – her hair was also floating lightly as if she was being buoyed by a light breeze. You know how elf women (and men come think of it) are somehow a lighter and more ethereal version of a human woman? This being was like the same thing only to an elf woman. I’m sure many people would describe her as beautiful but that’s not quite right because she wasn’t like us – her beauty was that of a mountain spring or an autumn tree. I have to admit I was taken a little aback.
When she spoke it was in some musical language that I didn’t understand – I’ve been enspelled a time or two and listening to her speak was something akin to that, but not in a bad way. When you feel a spell taking hold of you there’s a kind of sick feeling that accompanies it – this was similar to that but it felt comforting. When I told her that I couldn’t understand her she gestured my dress – which by the way appears to never get dirty or ripped – so clearly she could understand me but was either unable or unwilling to speak the common tongue.
“Right, the dress. I had a bit of a run in with what I think is one of your . . . kind. But let’s not dwell on that, we’re here because this man’s wife was taken by someone with a magic mirror, do you know anyone like that?”
I’m not very practiced in reading the body language of faerie queens, but I’m pretty sure she did know – however her only response was to float away directly into a tree and disappear. Quite rude if you ask me. Once she was out of sight the dogs snapped out of their trace and seemed wildly confused. I herded them back inside and lay back down in the farmer’s lumpy, scratchy bed.
“What happened out there?”
“It was a giant, don’t worry though, I killed it.”
Usually a mid-night interruption like that will ruin the rest of my sleep but I slept like a baby and awoke feeling fresh as a daisy. A fresh daisy. Saying goodbye to fish-face, Quinna, the bastard, and I set out with the dogs hot on the trail of the mirror-wielding kidnapper, which seemed to be heading mostly towards the Upper Sandy Creek.
“I’m telling you Quinna, there’s going to be all kinds of mirror shit going on when we find this guy. Like he’s going to create a bunch of reflections of himself and they’re all going to attack us. Or we’re going to have to face mirror versions of ourselves or something. I’m left handed Quinna so when I’m grappling with my mirror self and you have to decide which one to shoot shoot the one that’s right handed.”
“I don’t want to shoot anyone.”
“What kind of barbarian are you?!”
“Just because my people choose to . . .”
“I don’t want to hear it Quinna, after last night’s shameful performance you need to channel one of your ancestors who was a mighty warrior or something because I cannot do this alone.”
“I’m here too” piped up the bastard.
“Yes and a fine job you’re doing to – you have a long career ahead of you carrying stuff for better people.”
“Good Gods woman, do you have to speak to him like that?” I gave Quinna a hard stare “Sorry, I mean, do you have to speak to him like that my Lady.”
The trail petered out after we crossed the river but I started talking to some of the locals while they were out tending their crops and several of them mentioned that a man had gone missing in Newberry Hill recently. None of them mentioned anything about a man with a mirror, but it seemed like a decent lead. By which I mean it was the only lead.
We reached Newberry Hill shortly before dark so at least we don’t have to sleep outdoors tonight.
Inventory: Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Dagger of Venom, Bracers of Armor +2, Ring of Protection +2, Rope of Entanglement, Enchanted Feycloth Dress (Green), Light Crossbow
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince
Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle
the butler , Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire
Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror,
Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe,
Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family,
Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale
Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna
Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee, Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer,
Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin