“Thank you Pyotr,” said Stephan. “It will help much if we can use some of the horses and resupply our arrows and such. We’ll take only what horses we need, of course. The rest can be used to replenish the Sukiskyn coffers.”
The dwarf wasn’t pleased at having to backtrack to the Sukiskyn holdings, but the ale did make the return a bit more palatable.
The tour of the Sukiskyn clan treasures was brief. Feldard’s own family treasury held much, much more. But there were a few items to which he showed some interest.. the gold-plated hunting horn… and that patterned tapestry. It intrigued him. “Where did this thing come from? It looks rather antique.”
“Yes, sir dwarf,” answered Pyotr. “This tapestry has been in our generations. So long that none of us are even certain of its origins. Kuzma thinks it may even date back to the time of the Three.”
Miklos enjoyed the distraction of the treasures of the clan. It enabled him the divorce himself, for a while, from the pressing dangers he’d found himself in. “Fascinating histories, Pyotr. Thank you.”
When discussions after dinner turned to back to the goblins, Feldard listened in. The realization that the others would want to continue on via horseback prompted the dwarf to comment. “Such fine horses would only attract attention and make our party even more a target. We should continue on by foot.”
“Aye, Feldard, there is truth in what you say. But the horses would afford us much needed speed. Horses are common in these parts and having such should not attract undue attention. Of course, if you speak of horse thieves, that’s another matter.”
“I don’t think we’l need the horses, either,” chimed in Hasan. “Not that I won’t take one when, err, if it is needed for our next step. But now we will have to penetrate the goblin lair, and horses will not help in that. Too much time has been lost. The goblins will have returned to their homes and will be ready to defend them after the losses they suffered here. We will need to strike decisively when we have the chance, for surely all the Dymrak knows we are here. But come, tonight let us rest, and on the morrow, we off as dawn breaks.” And Hasan went to bed.
“I will defer to Hasan’s assessment of our needs in tracking the gobs.”
Stephan turned to his brother, “Your offer is most gracious and, as Hasan says, if our pursuit of the destruction of evil in Dymrak would benefit from it, we may return to accept your offer.”
Before leaving in the morning, Pyotr proffered the Sukiskyn family ring back to Stephan. “That was a quickly fulfilled oath, little brother!” He said with a smile.
“Nay, Tumish”, Stephan used the Traldarian term of brother endearment, “I’ll not take the ring back till your household is restored in a gob-free Dymrak. There’s much work yet to be done!”
“But brother, your pig-headedness is showing again. Surely you can see you deserve your ring back.”
“Again, nay, Tumish. My heart refuses it given the situation in Dymrak. It’s absence, and this scar, will keep me on task.”
Satisfied but perplexed, Pyotr pocketed the ring. “I’ll keep it safe till you achieve your goals. And I’m sure you will, Tumish!”
“I was wondering how we could track at speed. But horses can be looked after. All we need is a loyal ostler.” Miklos’s eyes strayed to Matvey, then to the women folk and dimissed the idea. “Perhaps not. We cannot delay our pursuit either way. The consensus is we follow the trail of destruction to the Southeast.”
Maruc bid the over generous clan fairwell as he joined the party outside the hastily constructed corral. “Nice family Stephan.” He crushed the pang in self pity and envy. To have loving bothers and sisters? A mother? All of Maruc’s memories were ash and ruin blown away on the wind. Halav had filled the emptiness. But He felt remote. This clan was real and urgent, troubled and strong. Bah! Halav was testing him again.
He marched beside the confident steps of the dwarf rying the keep his emotions of his face. Grinning, always grinning. Thats what Maruc always did.
And so the eclectic band of adventurers once again set forth into the Dymrak. They travelled on foot, and headed back toward where they had last left the trail of the goblins as they departed the horse bandit encampment.