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Viewing Single Post From: Warhorse Way
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The Sublime Overlord of the Realm
Whisper was nauseous from the scents; bile, blood, vomit, feces, unwashed bodies, decay, death. There was nothing noble or right with how the dead had perished. They seemed so primitive in comparison to those that inhabited the cities or the nearby towns. Burlap clothing. They must have really tried to be self-sufficient out here. I bet there's a garden out back where they grew their own vegetables. Tomick, tie back the windows. We need some fresh air in here. There was simply too much. The wreckage of the home and the desecration of the bodies... It was too much. Girl, come outside with me. We'll talk about what happened.

The other woman nodded dumbly with her dirty hair covering her face and came outside beside Whisper. The fresh air outside of the cabin was calming to some degree, bathing her lungs with clarity even as she fought to clear her mind well enough to figure out what was going on. You'll help me kill them, won't you?

The paladin blinked her eyes as her eyebrows pursed together, confused. But why... why would anybody simply come here and do this?

It's my fault! They wanted me and Father would not let them have me and...! I didn't want to go, but he told me to hide in the woods and that he'd tell them I had died. And--

Whisper held out her hands, trying to stop the quick fall of words. They were the middle of a story she didn't know. Please. From the beginning. I can't understand what was happening. I need you to tell me how everything first started. How about your name? Let's start there.

My name is Greta. My father built this house here. We knew that there were trolls that lived nearby, but we always thought that that wouldn't be a problem. We stayed away from their settlement and gave them no reason to come here. We just wanted to be left alone. Her shoulders began to shake again and she shook her hair further across her dirty face, obscuring her expressions entirely. Then they began to come here. They demanded our goat. Father told them no and they went away. Then they came back and demanded the produce from our garden. Again, Father said no and they left. A third time they came back and demanded Mother. Father said no and threatened them with his axe. And lastly, not even a week ago, they came back and demanded me. Father told them to leave and never come back. But they always came here once a month. So Father told me to hide in the woods to protect me. I hid well, but... But I heard them come back and... Oh! The screams! Once they were... done, they left again... When I came inside and found... The girl's thin body bucked as if trying to heave something out of her stomach, but there was nothing to give. She shook in small tremors out of fear and other emotions. Whisper's heart went out to such a child.

Exelder, help her. Whisper laid a hand on the girl's shaking shoulders and gently gave her into the older man's care.

Sure thing, Whisper. He gave her a nod and looked to the girl. My name is Exelder. Why don't I go with you and help you get cleaned up a little? You've got nothing to fear from me. Greta whimpered a little and nodded, allowing herself to lead both herself and Exelder to a nearby pond where she could wash her face and arms.

Whisper went immediately to Tomick as Greta disappeared in Exelder's care. This... This can't stand! That poor girl! We need to help her bury her family and we need to help her lay to rest her fears. We should prepare the bodies for burial. Mind made up finally, Whisper tried to formulate a game plan. Brian, look around and see if you can find a shovel. There might be one around the back of the house near a garden. If you find one, look for a site that would be appropriate for three burial plots. We need to give Greta some peace. She turned again to her lover and second-in-command. Tomick, I hate to ask this of you, but can you... Can you bathe those bodies? Put them to rights enough so that they may find some peace in the arms of whatever gods they worshipped? I will work on setting things right in the house itself and scrub what blood I can from its floors before it all soaks in. There was so much to do and all of it sad, dirty work. The situation was already weighing heavily on Whisper's heart.
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Warhorse Way · Pathways of the Five Pilgrims

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