“They are beautiful!” Cerys cried as she watched one crawl on Himeko’s hand. “Where did they all come from?”
Peter saw her looking around, and followed her eyes. The room had only two narrow windows, and they were both shut. “Not through the windows,” he scoffed.
“You’ll understand it very soon,” James told them. “For right now, Galen and Antonus have come to the very edge of the forest. There is a goblin bent low near a bush, gobbling down mouthfuls of berries.”
“I’m drawing my bow and notching an arrow,” Peter said in a no-nonsense tone. He grabbed a twenty-sided die and asked James in a serious tone, “Do you want me to roll for initiative?”
“What a minute,” Bayani cut in before James could reply. “Antonus, it’s just one goblin. Let’s just scare him off.”
“No way. I’m exterminating it.” Peter looked to James, waiting for his answer.
He did not get it right away. James turned to Himeko, glanced at his notes, and told her, “Barynn Onyxhand, while you are walking along the road, you notice a pair of elves at the edge of the forest. You cannot hear what they are saying, but they seem to be debating what to do next. Make a perception check.”
Himeko’s blue sparkly die clattered across the table. “Fifteen,” she told him with a worried look on her face.
James nodded and scribbled something in his notebook. “It takes you a moment, but you also realize that there is a goblin on the other side of a bush near the elves. You have no idea whether they gave noticed him, and his hands are red from some kind of squishy material.”
“I will vanquish the bottom-feeder!” Himeko declared with a grin. She loved getting to be different from her usual demure self, and being a dwarf was just the right amount of different for her.
The three of them were rolling for initiative when a strange sound found its way to Cerys’s ears. She peered towards the doorway, listening more intently. “Do you hear that noise?”
James looked to her with a raised brow. “Nothing unusual, why?”
Cerys listened again before answering. “I thought I heard something is all. Never mind.”
As her friend went on fighting the goblin, Cerys heard it again. “That sound!” she cried. “It’s some kind of grumbling or wicked chuckling. You have to have heard it.”
Peter and the others shook their heads. From their expressions, they thought that she was losing her senses, so she just gave a heavy sigh and let hem go on playing. When it happened again, she got up, saying that she had to use the bathroom, and left the study. In the hallway, she swore that she heard footsteps, like hose of a small child, going towards James’s room. She hurried down the hall, and stood in his doorway.
“What in the world…” she whispered when she saw his blanket move as though rustled by something.
Cerys got down on the floor and peered under the bed. Even though they had just moved in, he already had things down there; a few books, stray clothes, and–
“Wow!” she said to herself, and reached out towards a long object that was near where the wall met the floor. “This is a really nice sword.”