In response to his questions, one of the Gilneans mentioned hearing noises from Addle’s Stead, just across the road to the south. She warned him it might not be the wails of the living she had heard, and offered him a censer to calm any spirits he might find there.
On reaching the Stead, Seryth was at once disappointed and fascinated to find spirits were haunting the fields. He approached one, but it attacked him, and when he stumbled back, he fell over.
The spirit loomed over him. He couldn’t make out its features, but it seemed to be examining him…then it stretched out a hand and Seryth felt a great terrible PULL from inside his chest.
Shortly after, a fire ball exploded in its face. “Whew, that was a close one!” said the imp.
“Th-thank you,” Seryth stammered. He clambered back onto his feet, grabbing the censer, but by now, the incense had spilled out of it. “What was it trying to do to me?”
“Um, I dunno,” said the imp, and Seryth doubted it was telling the truth. “But maybe we should move on. This place is giving me the creeps.”
“Me too,” said Seryth.
Leaving Addle’s Stead, Seryth followed a trail that turned into a road. A giant spider attacked him, leaping down from a branch that had overhung the cobblestones. Surprised, but not frightened — Seryth’s father had told him stories of giant spiders before — Seryth dispatched it.
“Did you know you can eat their legs?” said the imp.
“Suit yourself,” said the imp, pulling off a leg and roasting it over a fire it had conjured in its little hand. For the next few miles, Seryth was subjected to the crunching of spider tendons.
They were attacked by several more spiders, and Seryth took it on himself to search their nests — both for his father, and because the imp wouldn’t stop wailing about the passed up opportunity for spider leg snacks. He found rats and roaches and one snake, but no quel’dorei.
Back to the road it was.
“Eventually, Seryth came upon another encampment, this time of the Night Watch. When he asked them if they had seen his father pass by, one of them suggested that the Splinter Fist ogres in the area made it a habit to attack travellers.
“What’s the chances he even made it out this far?” Seryth muttered to himself, but he asked the Night Watch man for directions to the ogre mound…
The ogre mound was dark. And it stank. And Seryth did find an elven-made satchel, but it just contained some ogre’s collections of bird bones and on second thought, Seryth never recalled his foster father ever carrying such a satchel.
“What did you expect?” the imp asked him. “A nicely penned note, ‘Hi, Seryth, I don’t know why you’re looking for me in an ogre mound or why I’d know enough of the future to pen a note to you in one, but now you can find me if you just follow the rainbow!’ “
“Shut up,” said Seryth. He trudged back to the Night Watch and obtained the bounty reward for the ogres.
“You do know,” said the imp, “That you can find information in the Twisting Neth–“
One of the guards looked up as Seryth stuffed the imp in a sack. Like the dwarves, they never seemed to notice the imp, but Seryth’s expression warned the guard off of asking any further questions.
Seryth spent the night with the Night Watch.
On waking, it occurred to him he was free. Not freedom in the good sense of being able to follow his own loves without restriction, but the freedom that comes with a lack of mooring. Aimless. Unconnected.
A common enough experience as a child. Though he was half-elven and his foster father fully elven, they didn’t share a bloodline. His father rarely talked about Quel’Thalas, and Seryth didn’t ask. It was hard enough fitting in without leaning into the elven part of his heritage further.
Now, his foster father was gone, perhaps never would return. Seryth could spend more time looking for him, maybe, but his father was a Farstrider. If he didn’t want to be found, he wouldn’t be.
So what now? He could always return to the farm and continue with the spring planting, assuming his father would return there eventually as well.
Yes indeed, return to the cat-calls, the suspicious looks of the other villagers, the mind-numbing boredom of batting away one more goretusk from the fields or coyote from their animals…
Or he could seek…vengeance.
His heart pounded, and the imp’s clawmark on his chest began to sting. He could journey out in the world, develop his power…help people in a way more meaningful than just providing more food.
Where would he go? Tag along with the Night Watch? Go back to the dwarves of Loch Modan? Or head even further north, to that clouded part of his bloodline — to Lordaeron and Quel’Thalas?
It was an unreasonable thought, but the idea flashed through his head: maybe that’s where his foster father had gone to. Maybe he had returned home–to his real home, in the north. Seryth would be doing him a favor to go there now. He could find him and increase his power at the same time. Win-win.
The imp’s clawmark was becoming unbearably hot, or rather, something beneath it. Seryth lurched to his feet. One of the Night Watch suggested he travel on to Darkshire to join with the local guards, and Seryth took her up on it, eagerly. It was a chance to exercise this new part of him that was hungering for glory.