Writing 2014-05-04

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Professor Djarlee tells Larrikan, “Close and bar that window.”  The gnome picks up a jug of water from its spot by the door, and pours some of it over the little fire in the stove.

Ktharr says, “What that for?” and looks confused.  He has shared this office with Djarlee for years and never seen the gnome this agitated.

Djarlee uses the poker to stir the muck in the stove and completely smother the fire.  He says to Ktharr, “Listen!  If you can’t hear it yet, it won’t be long.”

The troll and the Shy Folk listen.  After the abrasive screech of Djarlee closing the flue on the stovepipe the room is quiet.  The sound of the lamp burning and of rain spattering on the roof is all anyone can hear.

Just as Ktharr is opening his mouth to ask, he sees the Shy Folk’s ears perk, and Larrikan clearly starts tracking something.  Ktharr stills, and listens.  He can soon hear it, too; hoofbeats, pounding in time with the rain.

The sound comes from the South and gets closer rapidly.  A sudden loud crashing, tearing sound distracts them all.  The direction isn’t as clear, but it seems to be on the other side of town.

Listening closely to hoofbeats, the crash is jarring, and both Ktharr and Larrikan wince.  Djarlee is looking through a couple of old, heavy books.

Djarlee asks Ktharr, seriously, “Do you recognize that yet?”

Ktharr stares at the gnome, finally saying, “It can’t be.”

“I was sure when I saw the energy pattern, but the hoofbeats confirmed it,” Djarlee says.  He adds, “We saw this, too.”

The gnome hands the troll the big book he is looking at, and points.  The section is titled, “Weapons of the Hunt” and describes the Huntsman’s Spear.  Ktharr reads in growing horror.  The troll asks Larrikan, “Is this what you saw?”

Larrikan reads the passage and nods, asking, “Is it really this bad?”

“Worse,” the gnome says.  He looks at the troll and adds, “I’m sorry, old friend.”

Larrikan has never seen one of the trolls look so sick.  Ktharr says, “I had no idea,” and stares at nothing.

The sound of hoofbeats grows louder.  Soon, the sound reverberates through the building, feeling like the riders are right outside.  The sound becomes clearer, a group of horses, moving fast and moving together.

The hoofbeats get louder, and only a bit quieter before they slow and stop.  There is a long pause, filled with tension, and the rising wind bringing unexpected rain.

The silence goes on long enough that everyone wonders if it is over.  Just then, there are several hoarse screams, which turn into abject terror, and then to the baying of hounds.  The horses pick up again, and slowly thunder back off to the South, surrounded by howls and barks of their hounds.

By the time the sound has faded, the rain is steady.  Djarlee says, “Let’s go see who we lost to the riders,” and heads out the door.

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