"We were meant to leave the next day to the forest, but at a cursory glance at the soldiers who had arrived I could already tell the bell ends and the Bellington company had no idea what they were doing. Most of them carried spears and swords and at the back you had a dozen of guys with longbows. This wouldn't do. I made the polite inquiry to the commander of the group whether they even knew where we were going. He basically replied with a whole lot of hand waving and nothing else, he had seen battles against brigands and creatures alike and knew what they were doing. Well it took a bit of convincing to get him to relent and to swap some of the spears for shorter blades and axes and to change the bows for crossbows. That latter aspect was far more difficult to convince him of, as it goes with longbowmen, they do like to turn their noses up at the very mention of a crossbow in their midst, bowmanship is a noble tradition and all that.
It took a few more extra days preparing their new gear, all the while the shop was teeming with more activity than ever before, now with that platoon of soldiers moping about. Once we were all set gear wise, we got on our way to the forest, this time we set off during daytime. I figured going in during daytime would be far more convenient as then most of the afflicted would, by the common theory, be inside the caves. You'd see a straggler or two wandering outside during daytime too, but they tended to be less afflicted, so to speak. A trio of wagons and a whole lot of men moved up the main path until we reached the spot where I was thrown into the ditch, the overturned carriage still down there and the two wagons which belonged to the other group also still blocking the path. The wet air had done its deed on the remains of the hunters which lay strewn about the wreckage. I was honestly beginning to question the efficiency of the tradition of wearing expensive gear as payment and motivation for other hunters to come retrieve your corpse. Barely any of the corpses here were intact enough to even carry back, unless you were in the mood for a macabre jigsaw puzzle. It was like an orgy of blood and guts had taken place here, rotting guts and dismembered torsos and various other body parts strewn about, damn things really went to town on these poor saps. I got off of the wagon and waved a few of the soldiers to come and help me to clear the way and told them to not breathe too much through their nostrils. The soldiers weren't quite able to see what was in front of the convoy, but once they came marching forward behind me, the fall in some of their composure was almost tangible as they saw the carnage ahead. With their help we got the wagons off of the road and were able to carry on our way.
Our destination was marked by a lone wagon. We disembarked there and began on our way towards the cave. At lake doom there still was signs of the battle that had occurred a few days ago, judging by the signs it seemed like the creatures had come back here a few times during our time away, when the cats out the mice will play it seems. Though after the recent events I am not entirely sure which one of us is the cat and who is the mouse. Well at least it wouldn't be hard to trace them back today and with me and a couple hunters in the vanguard we proceeded towards the cavern."
I am Themefinland (Timi Honkanen) an illustrator from Finland, which you may have guessed from my username :) I specialize in landscapes and creatures which you can find aplenty in my gallery, have a look!
This is a gallery-quality giclée art print on 100% cotton rag archival paper, printed with archival inks. Each art print is listed by sheet size and features a minimum one-inch border.