Carpe Diem, Page 16

You try to make your way back to camp by retracing the path you took. The guards are nowhere to be found, and that’s good, but you’re not out of danger yet. The creatures of the night are out and about now, so your steps must be even more subtle than before.

You get lost a few times; at one point it even feels as if you’re going around in a circle. Eventually, you manage to find a path that seems familiar to you somehow, and you decide to follow it.

By following this path, you end up at the vantage point from a few days prior, where you had stood before you met the bandits. You have a clear view down to the town in the plains. It stands like a beacon in the vast sprawling prairies around it.

As you look at it, suddenly, footsteps can be heard behind from you. A voice calls out,“Hold it right there!” You hear a bow being pulled back.

When you turn around, you see a hooded figure staring right at you, with his bow trained on your heart. As you lock eyes, the figure takes a moment to squint into yours… he then promptly lowers his bow and removes his hood. It’s Tani!

“Oh, it’s you. Where’s Eustace?”

“He… He didn’t make it.”

“Ugh! Damn it! Did you at least manage to find something while you were out foraging?”

“This is all that I could find.” When Tani sees the bag, it’s as if a heavy stone is placed on his back. He is clearly devastated.

“Damn it all to Gehel! This won’t last us even till the end of the week.”

“I’m sorry, but this is all we could gather. Have I earned my freedom? Can I go?”

Recoiling, Tani replied, “Go where? You’re one of us now. You’ll be hunted down as a brigand wherever you go, especially if you’ve been seen. That mark only goes away with a king’s pardon or at the end of a gallow’s noose.” 

“Wait a minute. You tricked me!”

“I didn’t. You’re free to go. Isn’t that what you wanted?”

“It is, but what kind of freedom is this? The freedom to die by the noose in the next settlement I enter?”

“Some freedoms are less ideal than others, yet they are freedom nonetheless.”

“Huh, some freedom!”

With your freedom earned, what will you do now?

  1. Stay with the bandits. You are one of them now, and with that, their struggle is also yours.
  2. Strike out on your own.