The Edge of Twilight
The air was still as twilight turned to darkness in Duren’s Cove. Khurran and Sharra made their way across the bridge back to the beach with their weapons drawn and scouting for any more of the undead goblins that had risen from the sea. Nezrin leaned on Devin, the wounds he had suffered had been many and the vile salt that the undead had excreted made the pain terrible. Death by a thousand cuts was on Nezrin’s mind and now his focus was just trying to fight off the pain. Luckily the healing salves were working but it would take a while.
A boat could be seen entering the cove, a lantern was lit and the light was focused on those who stood on the beach.
“If you don’t mind friends, please step back, lower your weapons and state your purpose,” a sea worthy voice shouted.
“We seek passage to Baden’s Bluff,” shouted Devin in return.
The boat came to a gentle sliding stop as it hit the sand. Sharra could see those in the boat clearly enough now to notice it was a gnome, two men and a cloaked figure landing on the shore. The two men were the rowers and the gnome was steering the boat while the cloaked figure sat near the front holding the bullseye lantern. The rowers jumped out immediately when the boat came to shore drawing spears as they landed in the shallow water.
The gnome was grey haired and looked as if he had seen too much sun and sea salt in his time. His face was worn and toughened.
“Are you the ones who lit the lamp of Duren’s Cove?” questioned the gnome.
“Aye, that was us,” answered Devin.
“Looks like you could use a little help. Yer friend looks a might bit wounded. Did you run into some trouble?” the gnome looked a little concerned.
“He’ll be alright with a little rest. There were some fell goblins that rose from the sea. They had us trapped in the tower earlier this day. It was all we could do to fight them off but in the end we are here and they are not.”
The men holding the spears seemed a bit nervous hearing this news and glanced back at the sea behind them.
“Well, if you have made it this far you must have some friends in Erenland and we all know that is tough to come by. How is it that you came by this place?” the gnome leaned forward trying to gauge the group before him.
“We are with the Black Wolves … “ spoke Devin holding the symbol for all of them to see. Khurran noticed in the corner of his eye the person in the dark cloak tense for a moment at the mention of that Black Wolves. He also could see now the slender fingers and the long dark hair. He could tell it was a woman but that was it as the bullseye lantern that she was holding flashed across his face blinding him momentarily.
The gnome on the other hand seemed to have no recognition of the Black Wolves.
“… and we come seeking the Rat King,” piped up Khurran.
“The Rat King, huh?” a somewhat surprised sound was in his voice. “I haven’t heard of someone looking for the Rat King in a while. However, I might be able to get you to someone who could help you in your search.”
“Yet, that still doesn’t answer my question. How did you come by this place?”
“An old man in a dying village told us to come to Duren’s Cove. I wish not to name him but only to say that he is a friend of the resistance and a link in a chain we have followed,” Devin was now going to keep things close to the vest. The stakes were getting higher as they moved closer to city and a slip up could mean certain death for the whole group.
“That sounds good to me Erenlander. Keep ‘em secret, keep ‘em safe. That is the life of the resistance,” the gnome seemed to ease up a little. “Turok, douse the light in the tower,” the gnome pointed to the man on his right side, “The rest of you can grab your gear and start getting into the boat. By the way, the name is Waryk. I’ll take you to the Worm Docks of Baden’s Bluff and from there we can set you up in a safe house. That way you can store all those weapons you carry. Get caught with those in the Bluff and you’ll be tortured by the Sisters of Mercy. That is something you’ll want to be avoidin’.”
It wasn’t much longer before the boat was shoved back into the dark water of the sea. The rhythmic sound of the paddles and the lapping of sea at the hull created a soothing sound.
“Who is the one in the dark cloak?” asked Nezrin to Waryk as the boat continued to move away from the cove.
“She is someone we picked up further down the coast. The girl has been mostly quiet the whole way, almost somber. I was at least able to get her name, which is Anandra.”
Devin overheard the name and Khurran had already confided in him that she had reacted to the name of the Black Wolves moments earlier, “Anandra, do you know of the Black Wolves?”
“What? No.” she stated coldly.
“Then why the reaction, you seemed tense when I mentioned the name earlier,” pushed Devin.
“My reaction was because I lost someone close to me to wolves,” she said with what sounded more like anger than sadness. “Wolves should be wiped off the face of Erenland, and if I can take part in that I will gladly make it happen.”
“Aye, there are lots of frightening things in this world but not much come close to them goblins and their howlin’ worgs when they close in on their prey”, interrupted Waryk.
Khurran was listening intently to the conversation but his eyes wandered back to the cove they were leaving and it was there that he believed that the night and the sea were playing tricks on him. Someone was standing on the shore, a cloak was fluttering in the light sea breeze. The moon ducked behind a lone cloud in the night sky and the darkness enveloped the figure and it was gone. Khurran strained his eyes but what he had seen was no longer there when the moonlight returned.
The breeze had begun to stiffen and Waryk unfurled the sail. It would be early morning, the sun not even up yet, when the cliffs of Baden’s Bluff appeared and the fading ghostly light of the moon made the city glow an eerie white.