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Friday, September 29, 2017

The Invitation



The group finally reached the shadows cast by the stone fortress. Azereus called to a halt and everyone gathered to see what he had in mind. “I think we should make camp here for the night. This way we can study the layout and figure out the best way to enter the fortress. I have this weird feeling that we shouldn’t just walk through the front gate. What do you guys think?”

Both Bo and Zirede studied the looming fortress. Zirede was the first to speak. “I wish Nilla was here, she has a knack for finding the most unlikely ways into places. I must agree we need to go in some other way. The stories of this place have the missing parties always entering the front gate. I am all for not disappearing over this thing.” Both he and Azereus looked to Bo for his opinion.

As much as Bo hated to look over the place, he knew from experience the front gate was not the way to go. Hell, he doubted any way they chose would save them but he kept that to himself. “I can say for certain I watched my father and then the party sent to find him, walk through that gate and never saw any of them again. So, if we can find an alternative I am all for it.”

The younger group of males sauntered toward their elders. “What do you think they are discussing now?” Dominic asked.

“Probably the best way to avoid going into that big old fortress. You know Bo has bad memories of this place. I think we ought to go explore the area and not tell them what we are doing.” Neko said as he turned to walk backward and gaze up at the gray walls.

Diewen studied the powerfully built Felis, his senses still yelling at him that he was standing in the presence of a Pantheri. He couldn’t prevent the question from escaping, “Are you a Pantheri, and if you are, how are you here?”

This stopped the twin’s dead in their tracks. They both exchanged glances before looking at Neko who had apparently not heard the question or was pondering his response. Either way, he bumped into Donny as he turned to face the little Rex. The look on his face gave witness that he had indeed heard the question.

Neko thought about how to answer Diewen. He felt exposed and that wasn’t a good feeling. What if he said yes, and the little guy decided to use it in some way against him. Yet here they were getting ready to trust the strangers in finding the Triad. He wished CeCe or Bo were beside him so they could advise him on his answer. He ended up not having to say anything though as the little Rex answered his own question.

“I knew it. Don’t try to deny it the answer is written all over not only your face but theirs too.” He pointed at the twins who both wore identical looks of surprise and wariness. “You don’t have to worry, my prince. And don’t deny you are a prince because your bearing speaks of your royal blood. Not to mention the rumors that the prince was hidden away when his family was slain. I can’t believe we found not one member of royalty but two. No wonder Amerak wants you guys dead.”

Neko’s head came up at this statement. “How can he want us dead if he has no idea we are alive. My sister tells me he is the one responsible for the destruction of Mithral, I grew up never knowing who or what I was until we started this quest.” He had turned to watch CeCe and the other females build the camp. “She kept the truth from me to protect me and I am glad she did. Goddess knows how big my head would have grown with that information…”

“And he has a big enough head without it,” quipped Dominic as he bumped into Neko. “It doesn’t matter. We are going to find this Triad thingy and Amerak is gonna lose. Simple as that.” He continued.

The closer to the walled fortress they got the more silent the group became. Just as they were before the main gate Donny stopped dead in his tracks, a look of bewilderment on his face. The others watched as he leaned the Specter’s Staff towards the time-worn rusted gate. The others stopped close behind him waiting for him to tell them what was happening.

“I hear whispers. It is many voices all garbled together as if they all are trying to tell me something at the same time. It’s weird. As garbled as they sound I know what they are saying. They are inviting us inside. They want us here.” He cast a glance back towards the others. “I think we should take them up on their invite. What do you guys think?”

The looks that he received were comical in the way they mirrored each other perfectly. Shock and revulsion mixed in with disbelief that he would ask such a stupid question. He couldn’t help what he did next the staff took over and the ancient spirits dwelling within it pulled him forward. He willingly followed leaving the trio behind to watch in bewilderment as he headed towards a gate that just by chance was opening.

Bo had just turned to start walking the perimeter when he noticed the group of young Felis’ heading towards the opening gate. He took a second glance, and yes indeed the gate was opening as Donny led by the staff calmly walked through it.

“What in the seven hells is he doing? Has he lost all the sense I taught him to have?” He waved his hand to alert the others around him to what was happening. “Donny! Stop!!” he shouted at his brother. He began running towards the fool. He stopped dead in his tracks as he watched the others all running as he was towards the young male.

As he approached the group in which the other young males were gathered he asked, “What is he doing? And please tell me why you haven’t done anything to stop him.”

“The staff is telling him to go in, I for one think we ought to see what happens before trying to go against a cursed staff, don’t you agree, big brother?” Dominic spoke to Bo as he was literally strangling the wood of his bow in his angst over what his twin was doing.

Soon all the group had gathered with Bo and the young males. They all felt this odd sense of relief and panic at what would happen when Donny entered the grounds of the fortress of Black Barrow.

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