While unconscious from their battle with the Bound Orcs, Haduk Grimword had a vivid dream:
He awoke in a cave, hungry and nervous. Looking around revealed that he was a fox. His vision, smell, and hearing were all enhanced and he could detect prey nearby. He did not go after the prey however; he fought all the urges in his body and moved with single minded determination to some unknown destination. As he drew closer, he recognized many of the smells as those of a large city, and after passing through a drainage opening in the wall he found himself in an unfamiliar city. He moved through the streets as though he knew exactly where he was going, and soon came to the building he was looking for. He sat quietly in a dark alley way, waiting for nightfall. When night came, and the busy streets grew empty, a man walked over to the building he had been watching for some time and opened the door. He stood, and made his way inside. There he found a woman in bed with a man, both asleep. He tore the woman’s throat out and viciously clawed at her body, and then when he was sure she was dead he quickly exited the building. As he fled his shoulder was struck by something and the dream faded, making way for another. Haduk was himself this time, standing in a crowd of people, watching as Errwihn Osis was tied to a stake to be burned alive for murder. Haduk stepped forward and asked to be given one more chance to prove Errwhin’s innocence, and then he awoke.
As Looran and Venrek came to in the wagon, Errwhin called out from the front that there was someone on the horizon. The group prepared themselves for combat, and waited as the stranger came towards them. As he drew near, it became apparent that he was skipping and humming. He stared at the oxen pulling the wagon and did not seem to notice anything else. He came to a stop in front of the oxen and stared at them quietly. Ultimately Haduk greeted him, and the man looked up in bewilderment. He looked over the group once, then snapped his focus back to Looran. He greeted Looran like an old friend and extended his hand in warm welcome. Looran had never seen him before in his life, but shook his hand regardless. He introduced himself as Theraklin; and after a brief, confusing conversation, he explained that he had come out that way to meet someone. He thought about it for a moment, and then decided that he was supposed to meet Looran and give him something. He searched his pockets for a moment, and not finding what he was looking for he then searched the ground. He exhaled excitedly as he reached down to pick up an ordinary looking rock from the ground, then he handed the rock to Looran and told him to keep it because it was important, critical even. Looran accepted the rock, and then Theraklin looked up at the sun and proclaimed that he was late for another meeting and ran off, away from the city.
To be continued…