Mordekai speaks first, “Brenn, how long have you been here? And we are perplexed, as not but two days ago we were searching Gardmore for you. We had heard that you rescued a githzerai before arriving at Gardmore. Is this correct? We’d like to know as much as you could tell us about finding the githzerai, as well as how it is you came to be here. Did you leave Gardmore in the two days since we left? Forgive the relentless questions, but it seems events spiral around the nexus of Gardmore, and we the Winterguard want nothing more than to protect it. Please, tell us as much as you can.”
One of the prisoners that Brenn introduced as Duris takes a tentative step towards Izera‘s outstretched hand, cautious at the simple gesture. Looking over the faces of the rest of the Winter Guard however, he takes the waterskin and gulps down hasty mouthfuls.
He hasn’t had water for days… you think to yourself. Catching himself, he passes the waterskin to one of the women and slumps down, exhausted against the open cage door, eyes closed in relief.
Brenn looks to Mordekai and continues: “I don’t know; maybe three days… they held us here and offered no food, no water… without the sun how does one tell time?” Brenn’s shoulders slump as though each word was an effort. “I’m sorry… I’m very tired, we all are, but none of us dared sleep; the orcs kept us awake most of the time and after Teela…” His voice trailed off and he looked at the younger man behind him, quickly lowering his gaze.
“… they took her, we don’t know where…” Brenn continued. “But why were you searching for me in Gardmore?” with an awkward nod and forced smile in Izera‘s direction, “Until this day I’ve never met one of your kind, but thank the gods you came…” Brenn tilts his head back and closes his eyes for a moment, as if exhaustion will take him.
Stepping to Brenn’s side, Enoona lays her hands gently on his arm and looking at Odus, her face drawn and haggard she says, “We were all taken when we were alone…” her agony almost tangible in the air. “… except for Hew and…” she pauses abruptly, but then continues, “… only Duris and I are from the Arantide… ”
“The rest of us were in the caravan.” Brenn finished. “I was the last to be brought here… we were all brought here at different times. The caravan stopped in Arantide like we always do before we come to Gardmore… and while here, we always spend two days. The vendors sell their wares, the workers get hired out, people come and go, you know, it’s always routine…” Brenn steps toward the prison and holds one of the bars for support, taking from Hew the waterskin and gulping greedily.
Wiping his lips and with an exhausted sigh, he continues, “I was asked to come see someone in the village; someone was sick. They don’t have anyone in Arantide, I’ve done this before… they can’t always pay, but… all I remember is coming in the door and then nothing. I woke up here.” Brenn looks at Enoona with unveiled gratitude/affection.
The air is still with the weight of the prisoners’ story.
Hew, silent until now, eyes fixed firmly on the floor in front of him says just loud enough to hear, “Have you found anyone else?”
Enoona, Duris and Brenn say nothing… but look to the faces of the Winter Guard.
Mordekai, trying to remain expressionless, glances from Brenn to Izera. The seeker attempts to show no reaction to Brenn’s tale, even though his mind spins at what may be happening in Gardmore. Izera‘s eyes lock on Mordekai, and she nods. He can tell the avenger is thinking the same as him: What dark powers are at work inside Gardmore at this very moment?
Turning to Hew, Mordekai bows his head respectfully.
“Hew, I take it? We encountered the orcs outside after following their trail from the main road. We’ve fought our way to this very spot since that moment. There is more to these caves that we have not yet cleared, and as soon as we are able to, we shall clear them of orcs. We have, however, encountered no other prisoners, other than your group. Teela is someone special to you? If she is alive, and here, I can avow that the Winterguard will free her. How were you captured? Any details you remember will help us achieve what you desire.”
Odus provides words of comfort to the now freed captives, as well as provides necessary healing. Odus summons the Leomund’s Chest from Winterhaven, and provides them with water and rations from within the chest.