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Old 11-17-2020, 10:45 AM   #39
Join Date: Jun 2020
Default Day 181 since leaving The Homeland

Our discussion was cut short by a crash from outside. Nuur-Karif and I ran out of the bar and saw the locals tearing down one of the nearby shacks. Riko was nowhere to be seen, having surmised that we would not help them. Looking down the street, we saw that the materials from the demolished buildings were used to construct a barricade while an armed mob of humans were guarding the street. If we were not going to be involved, we would have to leave now and we went to fetch Grogg and Wolfram. In the meantime, they had bought three caskets of beer from the bar and stacked them on top of all the other stuff Grogg was carrying. As a result, the overloaded troll moved at a snails pace. Getting through the desert like this would take weeks, but the more immediate concern was getting out of the city. When we reached the mob, they did not challenge us, but pointed out another mob further down the street. Nuur-Karif started walking again, but Wolfram freaked out as usual and refused to move before they could hold on to Grogg's back, slowing us down even more. At least the other mob was smart enough to not attempt to stop us, though it looked like some of them wanted to. Walking through the slum, it looked like most of the side streets were being barricaded and we saw preparations for a fight everywhere. Finally, we reached one of the holes in the city wall. While a gang of humans were working on barricading it, they withdrew and let us pass through.

In front of us, the slums extended several hundred meters outside the walls, gradually becoming sparser further from the walls and finally giving way to small scattered farms. The sky looked clear, but it had done so the last time Palongi came as well. When we reached the edge of the slum, we turned eastwards, walking against most of the traffic. The farmers in the area was headed towards the city with their produce and to find shelter from the army on its way. To the north east, I spotted two columns of smoke. I would expect burning farms when the army arrived, but there was little sign of panic on the yet. Nonetheless, Nujan and I went to investigate. The others were moving so slowly that intercepting them would not be an issue, especially considering the deep tracks left by Grogg. When we got closer to the fires, we saw that they were indeed burning farms. However, there were no other signs of conflict and the only corpse was a dead animal in the well at the largest farm. There were far too many tracks of humans and horses and they had burned everything useful they could not take with them. To cement my suspicions, the horses had had bags on their hooves, like those we had seen on other Aldera horses. This must have been a base for the Aldera forces that had now withdrawn, the tracks leading north. Returning to the others, they had not gotten far, but had at least gotten out of easy view from the city and had filled the waterskins at a farm. I was acutely aware of how exposed we would be if the dragons arrived and I and Nujan scouted ahead to the north east to find a suitable shelter. Unfortunately, all the remaining buildings in that direction were poor hovels that would be blown away in a storm and we returned to the others again. The closest farm that definitely had a basement was the one where they had filled water and we decided to return. Apparently Nuur-Karif had managed to charm the inhabitants. On our way there, we spotted another column of smoke to the south east.

Nuur-Karif went ahead and had succeeded in negotiating our stay by the time Grogg had lumbered up to the farm. While the humans living at the farm hustled us inside, Nuur-Karif whispered that they at first had denied they even had a basement and it soon became clear why. The little dirt cellar under the main building was stacked to the ceiling with heavy creates, leaving barely enough room for all of us. On closer inspection, I noticed that all the crates had a defaced sigil. The whittler had been a bit lazy with one of the crates and I could just make out the seal of Aldera. Perhaps Mir does not intend to sacrifice Ur after all, or they just want to have supplies nearby for a long siege. Settling in, the others went to sleep except Grogg who wanted to smoke, but I persuaded them to drink the liquor they had bought instead. I had not been able to see the stars the night before and felt restless and meditation only made it worse, so I climbed up and overheard the humans discuss that their child was hiding somewhere. Hoping for a distracting challenge, I went looking for them, but found them almost immediately. Instead I got them to show me potential hiding places at the farm and ended up on the roof of the chicken coop which was a good vantage point. When Ajaw was nearing the horizon in the west, I saw a dust cloud rise up to the south east. Squinting in that direction, I resolved a throng of humanoids in white armour and white banners marching around the city walls and towards the slum. Larma had arrived.

Last edited by Stomoxys; 04-22-2021 at 01:27 PM.
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