Crellion, Elu and Alette re-group and ride back towards the refugee camp, Arvid’s body slung over Elu’s horse and Regimius’ head dangling from Alette’s saddle bag. The trip is cut short as they near the clearing. The grassy expanse is empty – not a single refugee in site. Only Enrico, holding two horses at bay occupies the flattened field. Strangely enough, he wears a torn piece of cloth over his mouth and nostrils.
The Fabluso points out the caravan on the far horizon and quickly reports the news to Crellion and the others of the sickness and their choice to move on to Breitblatt, leaving Enrico behind. The most important detail saved for last: the wagon lagging behind — full of sick Hochlanders. He adds in a muffled voice:
“Masters Roland and X thought it best to keep them isolated. We can still catch them if we hurry. How did you fare? Did you find the ambushing bastards?”
Alette lifts up the severed head of Regimius Janicke. “There was only one bastard.”
“And the bow?” add Enrico.
Elu grips the bow string across his chest. “Safe.”
“Not without a loss,” says Crellion pointing out Arvid’s body.
Enrico shakes his head, hands a piece of cloth to everyone. “Sad. Put these on. You don’t want to catch you death.” Enrico mounts his horse, leaves the other behind and rides ahead.
With little choice left, Crellion and the others ride forward, Elu mounting the spare house and join the group mid afternoon – on this the 4th day of the journey. It is only a few hours later that the forested town of Brietblatt enters the view and the job of releasing the refugees begins…
The peasants are happy to arrive at their new home. Flutes are produced songs are sung, and a general sense of festivity blooms amongst them. The few villagers left in Breitblatt turn out to meet the mass of new arrivals and start inspecting the incoming goods as does the small militia of six men that are posted to the village, all of whom are eager for the news from the city.
Roland glances to X and nods, prompting X to look over his shoulder. The wagon of sick peasants is parked about a 100 yards beyond the village limits and as he stares intently, the swarm of flies around it becomes very discernible. The rest of the party takes notice then remembers Arvid’s body turning ripe on Elu’s horse. Alette quickly draws her cloak over Regimus’ head.