a small excerpt from After the Fall of Darkness...
At the top of a small hill in a clearing, Logar and Storm had stopped and seemed to be arguing. Even back toward the lands of home, they still sent scouts forward for safety. As the rest of the group approached, Storm and Logar fell silent. Krish could see a faint trail leading to a line of smoke to the north. Something they had missed as they passed by last night in the fading light. Krish turned to Carnac who was smiling, eyes closed and breathing deeply.
'What are you doing?' asked Krish.
'Can't you smell that?' asked Carnac, 'that is the smell of summer sausage cooking in the frying pan.'
'How can you can smell that?' asked Sam, 'that smoke must be a couple leagues away, at least.'
'Ahh good food is hard to come by,' said Carnac, 'and I could use some right about now.'
'Well if we would stop letting Krish cook for us, not only would our sense of smell return, but we may actually start to enjoy eating again,' said Storm.
'As if you are any better,' said Krish, punching Storm in the shoulder.
'And if you would stop before dark, I could gather more herbs and actually cook some decent food,' said Sam, 'but no, it's always hurry, catch up, stop dawdling from you men.'
'This doesn't get us anywhere or answers the question of who, or what is making that smoke,' said Calorn.
'That is exactly what I was trying to find out from Storm,' said Logar.
'You know about the smoke?' asked Krish.
'Not exactly,' said Storm,' I just noticed the path yesterday, thought maybe there might be something interesting down there.'
'I doubt there is much in the way of wine or women,' said Krish, 'you can get all the song you want here though.'
Raif snorted and danced over toward Storm, nudging him. Laughing, Sam pinned him from the other side and they all chuckled. With Storm it was always something. Not waiting for the rest of the group to stop playing around, Carnac started walking down the trail, following his nose. Krish waved them down the path, hoping it was indeed just an isolated farm and not another trap.
They needed to be on their way, it was a couple weeks of walking back and a side trip was not a very good idea with Elder Odae waiting. Then again, as they walked down the hill, Krish could smell cooking sausage and their supplies had been kinda slim the past few days. The little village shared what they could, but the travelers ate little, seeing how tough times had been for the people.
Leave it to Carnac to decide to go wandering off in search of food. He was not the biggest of men, rather short actually, that was why he went to study with the Druids. Carnac wasn't built for the life of a warrior, but he could eat like one, and there was no doubt he smelled fresh food cooking as they all could smell it now.
Sure enough, Carnac's nose led them to a small creek with a big farmhouse and stables. This place was one of the manor houses they had heard about but had never seen. The people that lived here were the type of people who had left the grove, and only attended to the village or Elders during ceremonies. This farmer was doing well and seemed safe enough, which raised the hair on the back of Krish's neck in warning.
'Hold my friends,' said Krish as they approached the treeline, 'We should announce ourselves before we enter the good man's property.'
'Speak quick, you are already on the master's property' said a voice from above,'Who is your master and what is your business?'
'I am my own master, a free person,' said Krish, holding out his hands, 'I am Krish from Clan Wenona and these folks are my companions.'
Storm rolled his eyes and edged back into the trees. Krish was sounding all important again and likely to get them killed. Logar and Raif slipped off to the right to get a better view. Krish and the rest just stood there, waiting. Storm shook his head and looked over at Vaughn, at least he seemed ready for a fight.