The party breakfasted early and packed up a quickly as possible. Activity in League Town was just beginning for take shape for the day, and they wanted to avoid any uncomfortable questions about the happenings of the night before. They decided that a fast exit through Westgate was advisable to this end, even though it would necessitate an additional delay as they skirted the town to gain the South Road.
They had topped up their provisions however, and all but Seymour had had at least some rest in a real bed.
Harvested fields were seemingly all the landscape offered them until they reached the south of the town, though it was punctuated by a few orchards still waiting to be picked. Here and there a cottage or small hamlet could be seen in the distance westwards.
They eventually reached the South Road and the foothills and mountains lay open before them. The map while dated, had made it clear that little lay between them and the hills, as League Town was the last true settlement this side of the Ralulee frontier.
The mountains were not their only concern, however. With the departure from the town, they were also leaving behind the last vestiges of law and order. In addition, the old races of Goblins, Trolls, and Elves still had a sizable presence in the highlands.
They were by now already several days behind schedule. The bridge collapse, and the “scenic route” from the town had cost them time they couldn’t well afford. The mountains would already have snow, and they needed to make their return journey before the passes became blocked.
By early evening, they had put nearly twenty-five miles between themselves and League Town. As they crossed a small stream which was home to a large number of geese, Gwendolyn suggested that they find a suitable camp site for the night.
Thilda quickly secured their dinner at the stream side. Though they would have preferred their goose roasted, cooking it on skewers still seemed to do the trick. There would be few leftovers, at least not with Seymour along. Thilda made sure to keep the best fletching feathers as well so in the end there would be little evidence of their presence there come morning.
The band settled in for the night, and their usual rota was set. It was during Breena’s third watch that an own settled above their bivouac. There is sat for the next two hours without making a sound, or looking for prey. It was still there as dawn broke and Seymour raised the party for the day.
* * *
The next day was breezy and they met no one along the roadway. The road in fact was now not much more that a wide path as it snaked its way into the first of foothills.
The party settled a little before dusk, and had a light meal of biscuit and cheese. The breeze broke as the sun set, and it was to be a clear and quiet evening.
As Thilda woke Breena for her watch, the healer noticed what seemed to her to be the same owl perched above them.
“We have a watcher,” Breena said to her companion, nodding towards the bird.
“I think it has been with us since we left League Town,” Breena said.
Thilda slowly began to notch an arrow.
“No need,” said Breena. She then muttered a few incomprehensible words, then boldly proclaimed “Obscure!” The owl blinked irritably, then flew off northwards.
“What do you think it was looking for?” Thilda asked.
“Not it, someone or something else, to be sure, but as to why is a mystery,” Breena responded. “For now, I think we are safe though. Now, go get some sleep.”
Ragtag Daily Prompt: Mystery
Inspiration Calls: Open
This tale follows from: “The League” Tavern