Orik Vancaskerkin’s last glimpse of the lower level of Thistletop was the blood seeping out from underneath Bruthazmus’s door, and a Gnome’s smile. Had anyone asked, he would not have been able to tell them which was the more unnerving of the two. He had accepted that the gods had not graced him with an overabundance of common sense, but if he had ever been thankful that they’d given him any at all, it was when he mounted the stairs on his own tiny Quest For Sky.
Much of the rest was a waking dream: Bloody boot prints, discarded bandages, a brief glimpse of the headless corpse that had once been Warchief Ripnugget.
As he plodded, dumbstruck, towards the yard where the group said the horse could be found, his sense of having made the right choice was a warm but tolerable nausea hovering below his ribcage. Being a mercenary, Orik was no stranger to violence or gore, but some sights as he led his half-starved charge towards the door were new to him. His eyes beheld tiny goblin bodies peppered with arrows taller than their targets, ones who looked like they had attempted to claw their own eyes out in madness, and scores of the little bastards immolated to the bone by Erastil’s piercing judgement.
He led Shadowmist carefully over the rigged bridge, wary of the thorns beyond but aware that other than the surf crashing below and an occasional snarl from a hungry bunyip, it was spine-chillingly quiet.
Before his lone planned detour to the fresh water of the Thistle River he sated his curiousity about only one last detail. It should have been obvious when the frightened warhorse refused to even approach the cave hidden in the dense thicket. Orik put his ear close to the rock, quieting his heart and his breathing before he heard something he would later compare to a very surly blacksmith working his bellows. If it wasn’t a bear, it couldn’t have been anything more friendly.
Orik spared one last backwards glance when he reached the road, half expecting to see a towering pillar of smoke and unholy fire. It was only when he was satisfied that things were out of his control that his hands finally ceased to shake. Either he would claim the reward for returning the horse and say a prayer for fallen heroes, or he would pray to survive his next meeting with the Saviors of Sandpoint.