In the morning Marek was his usual stern self, and Miranda took her place among the men. Marek reiterated that they would search every building together and that no one would be splitting up for any reason. Trax outlined the path they would be taking. They would weave along the east side of the city and then zigzag back to the city center, before finishing on the west side. The made a special note of where The Mist had attacked Zamir and left that place for last.They all ate a hearty breakfast and breached the city walls as a single unit.
It was deathly quiet, even the horses did not seem content as they were pulled through the city. Much like Xenon and Zamir’s first trip, they found nothing. Every building was empty and there was nothing out of the ordinary. During this time Barsheel was performing a simple searching spell for anything that might be resonating a magical force. Everything was ordinary. No locked cabinets, no blocked doors, no barricaded buildings. Everything was open and normal, which made it even more eerie.
“There must be something here!” Shouted Marek as they passed the city center.
“It does appear exceedingly empty.” Said Miranda.
They continued as a group through the west side. There continued to be nothing. They finally approached the area where The Mist had been encountered. Marek posted men at every corner of the building. Barsheel cast a weak magical shield around the rest of the group as they entered. Marek did not want to take any risks. As soon as they were inside they heard a rustling in the next room. Cautiously they moved in and they saw a shadowy creature whose form was lurking in the corner. The creature did not appear to notice the large contingent approaching, or it didn’t care. Marek addressed it.
“Show yourself, who are you?”
The creature did not move. Marek drew his sword.
“Turn and tell us who you are. What are you doing here?”
Still the creature remained, solidified in it’s place.
“This is your last chance to come out.” Marek said as he inched forward.
The creature was as obstinate as ever. Marek inched toward the creature and placed his hand on what he thought was the creature’s shoulder. Suddenly a loud screech was heard, deafening everyone in range. While the painful noise pierced the air everyone quickly tried to cover their ears. Marek stumbled back and saw a massive being emerge from what was a huddled lump. Very quickly it rushed toward Marek and burst into thin air, leaving only wisps of purple smoke behind. The smoke soon dissipated, and the noise was gone. Marek stood stunned. Trax came and shook him back to recognition. Marek uttered.
“I saw… I saw… I saw it’s face.”
“What did it look like?” Asked Miranda from the other side of the room.
“It looked… It looked… like me…” Marek sputtered.
The men motioned Marek outside and quickly gave him something stiff to drink. After a few gasping draws he recovered himself.
“I want every inch of that building searched. I want it turned inside out. Leave nothing to chance. If there is something there I want it found.”
The men quickly went in and started turning the building out. Miranda and Barsheel stayed with Marek.
“Barsheel, what was that thing?”
“I don’t know Marek, I’ve never encountered the like.”
“I cannot say Marek. You were the only one who got a good look at it.”
“It was evil, cold and in it’s purest form. Why did your spells not sense it’s magical nature?”
“There was no magic there.” Said Barsheel.
“There must have been, you saw that… that… thing! You cannot expect me to believe that it was not magic.” Marek chastised Barsheel.
“Magic, any magic would have left a trace of it’s existence. Even if I could not counter it, I would sense it immediately. I can assure you that there is no magic here. Whatever that thing was, it was something else. Whatever it was I cannot say, but I know that it is not magic.” Retorted Barsheel.
“It had my face! Why did it have my face?” Marek shouted
“Marek, none of us saw it’s face, you are the only one who knows what it looks like.” Miranda tried to soothe him.
At this point the men had finished searching the building. Trax reported.
“There was nothing there sir. We found some empty cabinets, and chests. We turned over everything. I personally searched for any hidden rooms or passages, there does not appear to be anything of that nature. It truly is empty in there.”
This made Marek uneasy.
“Fine we shall return to camp and have supper. We will leave this place at first light.”
The group turned and out of thin air they were surrounded a horde of goblins. The goblins rushed quickly and attacked without impetus. Everyone drew their swords in a flash as Dynast hid under Barsheel’s cloak. The battle did not last long. It seemed that their new armor and weapons were as effective as they had hoped. Marek approached the last goblin who was already dying from a swift flick of Marek’s wrist.
“Why did you attack us goblin?”
“Why do goblins do anything?” The goblin wheezed.
“Tell me.” Marek said in the harshest of tones.
“Isn’t it obvious, I thought you were supposed to be smart.”
“Somebody has put a price on our head?”
The goblin nodded in agreement with its last bit of strength and then went limp. Marek closed the goblin’s eyes and ordered everyone back to the camp again.