It didn’t take long for the beasts to realize that this was a bad place to be. When Almonihah finally stepped out of the tree-shrine, the only fell-wolves in sight were the four he’d felled. Almonihah looked around for a bit, then turned back to the tree and said, a bit gruffly, “Thanks,” before continuing on his way South.
The Northern Ranger Order Headquarters looked pretty much the same as when he had left it, just a few rough log structures in a small clearing in the forest. He’d already passed the sentry, and was headed toward the cabin that was Commander Imlloen’s ‘office’.
The elf commander looked up as Almonihah entered. “Almonihah,” he said in greeting.
“Commander,” he responded.
“Are you here to do better than your old lizard of a teacher at reporting in?”
Almonihah grunted in acknowledgement of the joke. “That, and join th’ Line.”
Imlloen was silent for a moment, looking at the half-dragon. “Well, we could certainly use you,” he finally said.
The elf started pulling out some pieces of paper and looking at the map on his wall. “We’re stretched thin right now, Almonihah. I won’t lie to you. It’s been a hard year, like something has the Madness-Touched all charging out of the Madlands all at once…”
He paused for a moment, then pointed to a dot on the map. “Here,” Imlloen said. “The Ranger assigned to this stretch” he indicated a small part of the red Line next to the dot, “hasn’t been heard from for three weeks. In case you don’t know, that usually means he’s dead.”
The Ranger Commander sighed. “See if you can find him, or what’s left of him, while you’re manning your post. A human by the name of Lonan. Wears some boiled leather, carries an ax and a bow.”
Almonihah nodded. “Anything else?”
“Go talk to Kina. You look like you need some equipment replaced.”
Almonihah nodded again. After a moment of silence, he turned to leave. He heard Imlloen get up and open something behind him.
“Almonihah,” he called out.
The half-dragon turned just in time to see a shirt of chain mail flying at him. He instinctively caught it.
“Put that on. Not all of us want to see so much of your scales.”
Almonihah grunted in acknowledgement, then turned to leave again. He looked at the mail shirt as he did so. It seemed too small to fit him, but… he tried anyway. He was rather surprised to find it slip on easily, almost like it was made of cloth. Examining it, he realized it was forged not of well-polished steel as he first had thought, but of mithril.
“Too bright,” he muttered to himself—and was startled to see the brilliant links fade until they were even duller than the leather of his pants. He dropped the corner he was holding and noted that it didn’t even clink as it hit his scales. Almonihah glanced back over his shoulder, as if to ask Imlloen if he knew what he’d given away, but then just grunted and made his way to the quartermaster’s cabin. There was no way the elf had given something like this to him by accident.
Well, I remembered to post this time. Just didn’t quite do it on Saturday.