He returned to his family farm only to find the fields empty. The animals were loose from their pens, disappeared all but one dead calf that a pack of coyotes and fleshrippers were now tearing apart.
In a rage, Seryth attacked the scavengers, but even after they were dead or fled, he found no signs of his foster father or the rest of their animals nearby. The fields lay fallow and empty in preparation for the spring planting.
Was it the fault of the gnolls? Had they raided here, too, before pressing on to Sentinel Hill? Seryth looked to the southwest.
He knew where to find answers, if nothing else.
Many gnolls lay dead, along with a few wild boar that had wandered into the way of his spells, but there had been no signs of his foster father at the gnoll camps. His magic was growing stronger, and more frightening — he thought he saw green and violet fires now mixed in with the red.
Seryth climbed his way up to a high ridge to get a better view of the land. Dead gnolls and burned out camps were in his immediate vicinity. The smoke from Sentinel’s Hill meant the humans were still under attack, too. Might they have seen something? Seryth was sure the guards would’ve told him if they thought anything was amiss at his home, even if they didn’t like either him or his father that much. Answers — and vengeance — had to come from somewhere else.
Seryth looked east, towards the dark blue-green smudge that was Duskwood. Father had been a Farstrider, most comfortable among the trees. Had he swam across the river for shelter? There was only one way to find out… Seryth grabbed the reins of his nervous horse and moved on.
The river was wide, and there were no signs of his father on the Westfall bank, though Seryth had traversed up and down it several times just to be sure.
“Ugh, please don’t tell me you’re going to swim across that!” cried the imp. It had been skulking on the periphery of Seryth’s vision, occassionally adding some fire bolts to his own, and Seryth had been too tired and worried to shout at it.
“I don’t have any other ideas,” Seryth answered tersely.
“You know, there are ways to scry the Twisting Nether for information–“
“No!” Seryth cried out, and dived into the water before the imp could further protest.