Your Arrival #3

Just as the last light wanes on the horizon, you reach Cross Point, the main intersection of the king's highway where north, south, east, and west meet together. The guard post is empty—a small house made of stone and a thatch roof. The door open, the roads now deserted.   The last travelers have already moved on.   You hear the whistling of a sailor's tune…and a wagon rolls up the road. You step aside to let it pass. An old man, hunched over in his seat, nods to each of you as he rolls by. The wagon is filled with barrels. His long, thin white beard sways in the night wind and he calls out, though not looking back.   “Better be getting along, young ones…not a good idea to be out in the forest after dark!”   He stops at the crossing and slowly dismounts the wagon. Pulling a bucket from under the seat, he fills it with oil from the barrels and replenishes a lantern under the road-sign, pointing north: Castle Andilain.   The old man continues to whistle to himself as he works on lighting the lantern.   “Look at that,” whispers Dorbane, his keen Kutollum eyes peering through the dim light. “There, in the trees to the west!” He nudges you, insistent.   You and Valda have to squint, but sure enough—you’re able to see the outline of a man along the tree line. He seems to be…dragging a body down the embankment and into the forest!   “Is…that a guard?” you ask out loud.   Valda’s hand goes to her gem-encrusted knife at her hip. She scans the trees around you. “Would explain why the guard post is empty.”   With the lantern-lit, the old man drops the bucket into the back of his wagon, climbs back into his seat, oblivious as to the movements just over his shoulder. Within minutes, the wagon…and the sound of the old man’s whistling, are gone.   Dorbane looks at you soberly.     Follow the trail, go to page #4   Hurry on to the castle, go to page #30


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