I am taken captive! I should have known better than to trust men who wear snakes as sigils.
I am alone on the ship except for my cellmates. Yue, Tugwyn, Gworeth and myself shared a small, smelly, room. At times I would grow so tired of that room and of those people, I would wish that the smelly orc and his guards would take me into the torture room. It was painful but it reminded me that the world was still there, that if I waited and took my chance I might still breath free under the trees before I die.
I was not the first taken, Yue and Tugwyn were already in the room when I joined them. Gworeth joined shortly afterwards.
I keep sane by counting the hours until I can go an be with the animals again. Time is strange in this room but I think they let me out once a day to care for them. My friend Scratch is up top, she is not doing well. I fear she will die. Some of the guards have been mistreating the mounts. I am doing my best to help them recover.
It had been a long time since I have seen the forest.
This evening we plotted an escape.
I would hide behind the door. Once that rotten orc entered I would slam shut the door and Yue, Gworeth would attack the bastard while I secured the door. We hoped to kill him and use his weapons on the guards that would surely come to save him.
It did not go as planned. After weeks of the same pattern the guards entered the room! Yue and I shared a long look and both bolted out of our prison. We knew we had but one chance. If we could just kill the orc we might have a fighting chance against his guards. Months of being malnourished and torture did us in. Unfortunately, I did not have the strength left to harm the orc. I managed only to burn myself quite badly. Yue made crude attempts but he too failed to score the kill we needed. We had hoped that Gworeth and Tugwyn would be able to win free, but the guards closed the door to the cell separating us.
In the end we managed only to make the wraith of our captures to fall on us rather than our comrades.
I awoke to a horrible sound and the floor beneath me shuddered and slid me across the room. Tugwyn tried the door and it was open! A chance for freedom! In our rush to escape we all fell over ourselves as we attempted to exit the room. Once we climbed up onto the top floor we saw immediately that the ship was sinking very quickly.
I rushed to save as many animals as I could. Scratch was already in the water, I play she makes it to shore. One of my dogs is dead, the others are weakened by the crash. Many of the other animals are injured. I doubt I will save many, but I free those I can.
Many of the animals can not make the leap into the water, few of those will make the shore. I hope they have the strength to make the swim. I hope I do. Gworeth and Yue have returned they have not been able to locate our 'friend' the orc. Tugwyn is still in the boat looking for our gear. We can not wait for long we too must make a try for shore. Tugwyn returns empty handed.
We all leave the boat together. I try to help the animals along the way but I am too slow, too tired, I have not recovered from the escape attempt. I do not know how but I make it to shore. I suspect Gworeth pulled me the last half mile. Yue and Gworeth seem to have made the trek without as much difficulty as myself and Tugwyn. His frail form is motionless on the beach. I crawl around looking for signs of Scratch.
If I have lost her I am lost.
I finally find her trail. She is hurt, the trail is bloody. I follow it into a thicket. I can not find her, I have failed her. Finally I stumble upon her, I can feel her fur, now we are whole again. I am too late! Scratch is dead! I can not look at life the same way, how could I have let this happen. She looks whole but the blood trail leads away.
Retching I leave my friend and follow the blood trail. Scratch has done what I could not. I could not save her, but she saved her cub. I did not even notice she was carrying a litter. I will care for him better than I cared for his mother. Screech, I will call him as he is already exercising his lungs.
When I return a group of men riding well fed animals meets us on the beach. Our number has grown by two. Hawber and Pandarus were also captives on that boat. The men talk to us about our enemy. They wish us to assist in revenging their lord on the man who killed Scratch. I agree to this mission.
Alas my dogs did not make the swim successfully. I see signs that some of the other animals made it. Perhaps later we can track some of them and recover what we can.
We move on to a large town to the north. We must find the Fletcher who will assist us further. This is badly used land. It is colder than I am used to and has been over farmed and grazed. There is no game to hunt, no roots for the pot or berries for health and good cheer.