Perhaps Brienn’s shout saved Odorf or the creature was still young and it had no experience, but it was Odorf’s lucky day. He almost lost his head back there. As he somersaulted he noticed an opening and grabbed his chance. He threw one of his daggers and missed the head of the wyvern completely and for a second it seemed like the wyvern was grinning with happiness that the halfling had just missed. It knew that Odorf was done for. The wyvern swung its head ready to bite the halfling in half, but Odorf was not scared. He was pretty calm and it looked like he was waiting for something, patiently, calmly. Just before the wyvern had enough time to gather momentum a net, with all kinds of sharp objects attached, emerged from the ground and swallowed the wyvern, lifting it up in the air. As the net tightened around the now helpless creature the sharp objects pierced its skin. The wyvern was struggling to get free but the more it moved around the more damage was inflicted. Before even letting out a devastating cry for help, Odorf already jump in the air and dashed against the wall to gain enough momentum to launch himself to pierce the wyvern’s neck, and with a swift twist movement sliced its neck apart. As much as Odorf would have liked to make this more playful, he knew they had very little time until either another group of creatures showed up, or until the group of people that resided here returned. In either case, he wanted to be long gone before anyone else shows up. He jumped back down on the ground, into a pool of blood getting bigger and bigger.
The hole was now silent, filled with despair and a heavy thick smell of blood. ‘This isn’t good. It will soon attract other creatures as well.’ Odorf thought to himself. Little Tobias, the other halfling child that was hidden, suddenly emerged and ran towards the rest of the halflings. He ran past the mingled body of Ymir. Everyone watched him run across the hideout, as if they were expecting something to happen. He silently ran into his mother’s embrace and started sobbing in quiet. Thaf ran over to Brienn, who was still in shock, on the floor curled up and staring at a point in front of her. He crouched down and rested his hand gently on her face. “Brienn, dear, it is over now, we are safe and the nightmare is over.”
At that moment, Brienn’s cold stare slowly turned towards Thaf. She started screaming all of a sudden: “Are you out of your turnip sized mind?”, she shoved his hand back while standing up, “The nightmare just started! Look at your people! Do you…” Thaf quickly stood up and slapped Brienn across her face with such force that she staggered back a few steps. “Woman don’t you think I don’t know what is going on, huh? Don’t you think I am not ashamed of what I got ourselves into?! But we have to endure, we have to live on. We will mourn our dead, but right now we have to secure this place.” Upon hearing those words Odorf quickly turned his head and just bluntly cut in the middle of Thaf’s speech: “The stupidest thing we can do right now is stay here. Don’t look at me like that, just use your brains for once. They” Odorf pointed at the now dead wyvern on the floor “They will be back, or something worse might even come. Right now it is getting dark outside, our best chances of survival are if we get a move on.” Thaf gave Odorf a stern look. “I am still the chief and I will say what we’ll do next!” Odorf just shook his head slowly “No chi… Thaf, not to me you are not anymore. My instincts are telling me that we should get the Hells out of here as fast as possible. Whoever wishes to not die without a fight come with me, the rest can stay here and wait for their slow bloody death.” Silence has once again befallen.
After long moments of silence, Thaf reached into his pocket and pulled out a small insignia ring, on it a small depiction of an acorn was engraved. “I, Thaf, hereby banish you from the Nurtee Community. You are to forever wander the lands alone.” Odorf just turned his back on Thaf, and started walking away. “I have never imagined you had it in you to banish anyone. But I don’t have time to play around. I am going to survive. With, or without you guys.” He picked up every little bit of useful thing he could find, completely ignoring that the rest of the halflings watched him with incredulity. While searching the hideout he has stumbled upon a hidden hollow nook in one of the walls. He managed to come across whatever was inside, a small cloth covered box not bigger than perhaps 25 centimeters. He concluded that it would be better not to uncover what it is in front of everyone. Thaf put his ring back and ordered the rest to clean this place up so they could set up a small camp and figure out what to do next. The small community went about their business and pretended as if Odorf wasn’t there, and frankly Odorf couldn’t be happier, although he didn’t show it.
When Odorf finished packing and cleaning himself of the wyvern blood, he just simply walked outside into the dusk. The heat has dissipated and it was a pleasant evening, disregarding the previous few hours of horror and terror. He breathed in the frisk fresh air and looked around, hoping he wouldn’t find any sources of light other than the stars, not even the Moon was out this evening. In the distant horizon the fading crimson colored sunset was still visible. Odorf checked once again that he had everything he needed, checked the positions of the star and concluded where north was and started his journey in the direction of Old Obarren. Even though there was no moonlight Odorf was able to see properly, another nifty perk of being a halfling. He kept thinking about what will happen to the rest of the guys, but he was sure that they could defend themselves, probably. After a good half an hour of walking he decided now was as good a time as any to see what he has found.
Odorf stopped and kneeled down in the sand, pulling out a small candle out of his bag and lighting it with the flint and steel that always hung around his neck. When the candle had a steady flame he pulled out the small box he found. He unfolded the cloth and revealed that it was a small metal box, although he couldn’t distinguish what kind of metal was used. It felt cold to the touch even though it was quite warm outside and it had an eerily familiar feeling. He fiddled with the lock for a while and noticed that a small inscription on the top part of the box. Odorf couldn’t read it because he never saw anything like this before, although he could make out the symbols . For the time being he feared he could unleash something he wasn’t prepared for and thought it would be best to first fi
nd out what it could contain. He packed it up and put it back in his bag, blew out the candle, put it back, and continued towards Old Obarren once again. ‘I will find someone who understands whatever is written.’ Thought Odorf merrily.
It took the halflings a few hours into the night to clean up as much as they could and create a makeshift fortification to last the night. This endeavor took all the strength they had left, they even dug a little grave for Ymir, held a short burial and hoped that his little soul would make it to the Other Side safely. Despair and grief were felt heavily in the air, everyone was silent. Thaf knew they were in a tight spot, but they have to move on, they have to keep the community alive. With heavy thoughts rushing through his mind, he barely fell asleep, just to be awoken by a swift kick to the head.
By Dejan Vicai