Chapter 16: Premonition
The noise caused by the mourning pale-faced Zoliphian was absolutely excruciating to the entire village, as Gar was being laid to rest. For the entire time she had been weeping over the loss of her companion, as were Kat and Tiria. (Albeit with much less noise.)
Maba, on the other hand, was in a completely broken state of mind. Little by little, however, his need for vengeance kept purging the catatonic state. Little did he know, that the death of his companion was to change his plans of travel completely..
On the second morning after Gar's demise, Kuntz Inn:
"After we get Tiria to Naltis, I'm going to get to the bottom of this whole mess. Gar was my best friend, and I'm not going to let the real bad guys behind those thugs get away.", Maba said, in a stern voice over the table of his group. Side by side sat Kat-Chi, Tiria, (still-broken) Zoliphian, Igatona, Tan'nein and of course, Maba himself.
"I'll accompany you up to Naltis," Tan'nein stood up. "Me too." Igatona continued.
"Thanks." Maba weakly responded.
"No, no, I owe it to you. I'm the one who attacked you, right?", Tan'nein offered. "Besides, I've got some.. unfinished business to deal with my latest employee about last night," she said in a cold tone.
"So, who was behind the thugs?", Kat asked.
"None other than Count Nordendorf, one of the three ruling members of Naltis.", Tan'nein told the group.
"NORDENDORF!? What is HE doing amongst the rulers? He was one of the magician commanders who caused my family's lands to be wiped out because of their cowardly retreat!", Maba asked angrily as the name stung in a nerve.
"How could you not possibly know? He got into the ruling membership.. right after the previous member, Kar'Za Dermin, your father had died. The court of leaders needed a magician to replace him, and his Necromancer background is more than formidable.", Tan'nein continued.
"Looks like it's time to settle this one..", said Maba, and cracked his fists.
"Me too. After his thugs trashed Gar, I'll be sure to trash HIM!", Zoliphian joined, still with tears in her eyes.
"We're going to take Tiria to Naltis anyway, so we can all go," Kat-Chi informed. It seemed like a plan. But it was stopped by a pair of clapping hands.
"Good. Great. You're just going to waltz in and do a RULING MEMBER OF THE NALTIS TOWERS IN? Great Scott, first you need evidence!", Igatona interrupted.
"Oh booger," Zoliphian remembered and lowered her head down to the table. Tan'nein coughed.
"I do admit that killing Dermin here was my first priority after Nordendorf hired me.. But now.. perhaps we could go for a slightly more stealthy approach here?", Tan'nein started.
"Now, Nordendorf obviously wants something from this group. Dermin's death, obviously, and the girl too.", she continued, and nodded towards the two persons.
"But why exactly would he give out the orders for such if we're going TOWARDS his position?"
The whole group went silent.
"Perhaps.. perhaps the girl might have something to do with it?", Igatona offered.
"But.. Nordendorf isn't a dark elf.. The elves from underground are rumoured to be looking for her in their search for a method to operate in daylight, using her as a sacrifice in the process.", Kat-Chi offered.
"Sounds like trouble to me. Nordendorf is rumoured to have used Drow Assassins earlier.. maybe it's them searching for the girl using the Necromancer to aid them in their task?", Tan'nein said in a worried tone.
"Then we should just GO already. The sooner she's gotten her eyes fixed, the better, right?", Zoliphian asked impatiently.
"Uh-huh.", Igatona answered. "We should travel there as soon as possible, today, if possible, now that the Cor Yemilb bandits haven't returned to their leader- not to mention Tan'nein too. We couldn't handle a drow night raid, especially now that we have a hunch they might be involved.", the Zweihander-wielder warned.
"Very well. Tiria, are you ready to go?", asked Maba from the girl. She nodded, and in doing so, Maba asked Zoliphian.
The woman gave a cold stare. "You're asking ME!? If I was in charge here, we'd be kicking the Count's arse already!", she raged.
Kat-Chi stood up. "I'm going. If the necromancer truly is a tool of disaster who dabbles with the drow, I'll make sure to bring him down."
"Let's do this!", Maba proclaimed and smacked his fist upon the table.
The group made their final decisions in a small hurry. The horses and the carriage were made travel-ready in a record time. Just as the group was about to embark to their travel, Zoliphian asked for a slight delay.
'You keep your business to yerself and I'll keep mine to meself, Bard!', she yelled at Igatona when questioned.
As the woman disappeared from sight, Tan'nein made a mental note: A slight portent of change of fate in the spiritual balance surrounding the group. Surely, a member of it had just passed away, but she wasn't sure if the earlier incident was but a beginning..
Unfortunately for Kat-Chi, she too had sensed the fates dealing their cards.. and what she had felt was a cold wave.. similar to the one before the day Gar had been slain. All was not well.
Zoliphian stood in front of Gar's grave. Tears couldn't find an ending to the continual stream. She kneeled and put her right hand on her chest.
"I swears to you, Gar.. I'll get the bad guys.. then.. maybe.. If we could just meet.. just.. once..", she whispered.
The woman then stood up, crossed her left arm over the other and gave her wrists a small flick, causing the blades in her bracelets to emerge instantaneously.
"..Even.. even if it needs.. a little ..encouraging from you two..", she finished and turned her back towards the grave, starting a stern march towards the others.