Dust and Doom
Bree dashed out of the healer’s home and climbed up onto the Hall’s roof. She stood beside the three middle-aged men on watch and scanned the horizon. She couldn’t see anything strange… Was it a false alarm?
“Where are they?”
The oldest of the men pointed across the horizon, directly north. He passed her a long tube capped with glass lenses on both ends. They called it a spyglass back home, though what it was known as here she couldn’t imagine. She held it to her eye and focused her gaze on where the man was pointing. Through the lens of the spyglass everything was magnified. She could make out the details on the Hall’s sandstone walls, the needles on a stand of cacti and – far off in the distance – a thick cloud of dust. Bree frowned. It was the sand and dirt kicked up by a large group of fast moving humanoids. In this case, a gnoll tribe on a war march.
A second alarm bell joined their own. It was coming from the south-western hill. The men on watch turned to try to spot the intruders.
Bree stood dumbfounded. The gnolls were coming from the north, not the south! She hadn’t missed some, had she? Were they being surrounded?
Bree remembered the spyglass clutched in her hands and held it up to her eye. She scanned the south approach for movement and dust clouds. Where were they coming from?
Bree dropped the spyglass.
It couldn’t be! It was too soon.
The men on watch scurried around her feet, trying to salvage the delicate tube. Bree was oblivious to their presence.
A force was approaching from the south. It was a modest group, no more than fifty people strong. They marched straight for Thrice Hills. And they wore the livery of Kelmarane.
A smile crept across her face.
Boden had done it.
Kelmarane had come.