Part 56-58 “A home of sorts…”

So as we were sitting down to breakfast Shojin finally stopped being an ass and screwing around with his stupid new bag long enough try and start something with Z. There was food thrown and threats and some spells. It was the usual sort of family crap we would get up to. I enjoyed it more than words can properly express. Except for the fact that Shojin just didn’t seem to care about anything other than being stuffed up to his shoulder into that bag. I got fed up with all the crap by the end of the meal and decided to just walk around the property. If this was going to be our new home, even for a little while, I wanted to have a solid lay of the land. Plus, it only seemed fair that since I made the food someone else could clean up the dishes and stuff.

The first thing I noticed when I stepped outside was that Gnoman was gone. It wasn’t all that surprising. This had been the longest he’d traveled with us and I was really just waiting to see how long it took before we lost him again. I hope he is able to find peace. It seems like all he knows is death.

I wasn’t paying the closest of attention to things as I walked from random feature to random feature on this farm. From the well near the house or the stream still overflowing from all of the recent rain and the pond in the middle of the property to the barn and the high weeds along the forested edge of the property. Well, stream, pond. Well, stream, pond. There was something not right about all of that but it just wasn’t coming into focus. Just seemed like a lot of water.

I decided to make my way across the stream, which for me might as well have been a river since it came up to my waist. It was fast moving and cold, which kinda felt good. I thought I might get swept away, and thought that would be a ridiculous way to meet my end. But then I got to the other side and thought about jumping in, floating away and hoping for the best.

I was just wandering around messing around with a stupid little spell I’m always casting, just trying to test the limits of what I can get it to do and I’d made a hollow metal cylinder that fit in my hand. Curious about how it would hold up, I dropped it to the ground and kicked it. It gave a very satisfying hollow, sound and that’s when I saw them at the edge of the trees, roughly a dozen deer. Well sort of some kind of monster deer. Just big and gross looking. I bet Shojin would eat them raw. As I saw them, they saw me. Awesome.

As some of them moved across the open ground in an attempt to confront me, I made a simple bell like thing to try and distract them away, which did not work. Good to know for future encounters. The stream was too deep for me to easily ford and I was essentially surrounded by either locked outbuildings on this farm or forest I was unfamiliar with. Good thing I’m small.

I achieved a tactically stealthy position in some tall grass and just hoped I was downwind from them, hoping that would help me avoid an unnecessary encounter by myself in the yard. As it happened, I was not downwind so I didn’t have much of a choice.

Eventually Fayne heard the commotion and between the two of us, with some timely intervention from Shojin we dispatched the beasts. Shojin looked like he’d been rolled down and I’d come to find out that there was some sort of basement structure consisting of a tunnel that led to the dry well and stairs leading into the dining room of the home. What weird shit were these people into?

Shojin now had some crazy dream about setting up a smoker and I was well and truly pissed because he didn’t seem to understand anything that I was going through or that his friends had gone through quite a lot to find and recover him safely. We did that right and we don’t do much right.

I followed him down into the underground tunnels and as he was trying to explain his grand plans for a smoker for the meat I tried to punch him in the crotch. I was so mad that my emotions made me miss, but I finally had his undivided attention.

I unloaded on him about what it meant to lose him and my growth while he was gone and what it finally meant to find him again. I get it, dying or at the very least coming so close that there isn’t much of a difference changes you. But I needed to get him to understand and he just wasn’t. So I slipped into his face the way I’ve done so many times now and explained to him that the face he was seeing was the reason I was angry and why I saved those half orcs, and why we slayed that dragon, because dammit we slayed a dragon and why we tracked his lanky ass through hill and glade for days just hoping to get him back. I told him that I love him like a brother and I’ll stand with him until the end, but he has to give me something to work with. And then I gave him a hug and I wasn’t really paying attention to which one of my birds decided to be a jerk and say there were too many feels.

My issue resolved, we decided to explore the cavern and see what we could see. Eventually we came to a corner and just past it was a doorway. We couldn’t get any closer due to the dog guarding the doorway. It was big and ferocious and smoke slowly rolled from its between the teeth in its massive mouth.

Shojin made a noise in the path behind me and the dog charged us and it was around that time that another lady like the one we’d fought earlier in the day came through doorway. Maybe they were sisters? By the gods, but we were so ineffective and the lady and her dog kicked the ever loving hell out of us and that is factoring in that at some Z and Fayne ended up down there trying to help. Ezrella was doing dishes or some crap. She’s just so precious some times.

Eventually it came time to make a judgment call that we were not going to survive if we continued this battle, so I ran. I yelled for everyone to follow me and as I ran through the dining room of the house I set the bookshelves on fire yelled for others to do the same. The hope was that the fire would help deter them from following us.

Whether it was that or something else, we were not pursued as we ran from the burning house. As we ran off into the afternoon sun as we’ve run off so many times before all I could think was that at least it wasn’t raining. That had to be something.