Seekers of Village Vengeance; Part 1:
(We're) Leaving Together
(but still it's farewell)
(but maybe well come back)
(for vengeance, who can tell)
Alick and the rest of the Northfeilds had been awake for a while by the time the rooster crowed, and were just about done eating breakfast. Kirstie had woken up early and loudly, and no one saw a point in trying to sleep through it. Alick yawned deeply, soon followed by the rest of the household. The combination of a late night and early morning was not sitting well with anyone, but everyone was used to it too, and they'd all gotten enough sleep that it wouldn't be a problem, though Alick reckoned the dinner break at the farm would be a bit longer than usual today.
Since he still had some time free before he had to join the others in the forest, Alick spent a while playing with Wee Gus before heading off. The boy was as energetic and cute as always, and Alick would have loved to stay there and play with him all day, but as they say; duty calls. After telling the boy to be a good boy and help out at the farm, Alick took his axe and was about to head for the forest when Fenella, his brothers wife, stopped him, and handed him a small cloth bundle. Apparently she'd been down into the village proper while he was playing with little Gus. "I bought some sweet buns, to give Leslee to congratulate her on her engagement, but apparently I wasn't the only one with that idea, and they'd already gotten more than they could eat so she insisted we keep them to enjoy instead, so we're having one each as a after dinner snack. There's one left over, so there's two in there for you, but don't tell that to Gus. I'm sure that silly husband of mine would pout if he knew you got more than him." she finished with a giggle. "Thank you a lot Fenella, but I couldn-" "Oh hush. You're out there working every day, and we both know you give us way more of your salary than you need to, so don't even try to refuse." "Thanks Fenella." "No problem Alastair." With that, Alick slung the bundle over his shoulder, waved goodbye, and started towards the forest, his axe hanging from his belt.
The workday went as usual, with the banter of the day centred around Ualan's engagement, and later around Alick and the other young men's marriage prospects. Beyond that, Mr Miller had decided that they'd be borrowing the Grantham's family horse the day after tomorrow. Looking at the piles they'd piled up so far, Alick thought they'd be better of if they'd brought in the horse today, tomorrow at the latest. But Mr Miller probably wanted to save some money by getting one more days worth brought in, and Alick was in no position to argue with the man. He just hoped Mr Miller wouldn't push the poor draft horse too hard.
When they were done with the days work, Alick decided to not join the lads for drinks. For once he'd rather walk the forest like he used to when he was younger. Besides, he still hadn't had a chance to eat his sweetbuns, so might as well eat them as he walked the forest. As he walked through the forest, he whistled an old fisherman's shanty. After a few minutes, two pitch black ravens landed nearby. Alick instantly recognised the two, he'd befriended them a few years back, and as he sat down on a small rock, they hopped over to him. Initially he'd wondered deeply about what to call them, but after remembering an old tale he'd heard a travelling bard tell when he was a child, one about gods from a faraway land, he'd decided to name them after the two ravens in the story. Thus he'd called them Hugin and Munin. Munin, the slightly smaller one, jumped onto his lap, and Alick gave him a gentle scratching. Hugin however, took to the air, quickly disappearing from sight. This didn't really surprise Alick. The birds liked him, but they were wild animals after all, and often took of for no apparent reason. As he sat there in the tranquil forest with Munin snuggling with him on his lap, the fatigue of the day got to him, and since he had the time, he allowed himself to dose of slightly.
He quickly awoke with a start though, as Hugin loud cries where quickly followed by the bird flying over to him through the forest, fluttering around him in a clearly panicked manner. Munin quickly joined him, echoing his cries, and pecking at Alick. Alick quickly got up, "Whats wrong Hugin?" He asked, the birds were scarily intelligent sometimes, and though he was sure they could't understand human speech, they seemed to pick up on the meaning often enough. No sooner had he asked, Hugin flew back in the directing he'd come from, landing on a branch just within sight, and cried loudly. Alick got up, and started walking towards the bird, taking it that it wanted him to follow it. Munin circled around him, and then pecked him in the shoulder, and croaked (I looked it up and apparently that's what you call the sound a raven makes) dissatisfiedly until Alick broke into a jog. They hadn't been goign for long when Alick heard a distant scream, and quickened his pace. Hugin continued to show the way and they quickly reached the edge of the forest, and found themselves on a small hill overlooking the village.
Alick fell to his knees almost instantly. The village had been overrun by giant spiders. The largest one was taller than any building Alick had ever seen while the army of smaller spiders coloured the village black. He instinctively knew that no one was alive down there. A pained scream escaped his mouth, as images of his loved ones torn apart by the beasts flashed through his imagination. Then he heard them, as crunching noises he'd been ignoring suddenly went silent. At the bottom of the hill, three spiders, each easily a meter tall and with bodies four or five times as long, their legs stretching beyond even that had been gnawing on the corpse of a human, the red scarf immediately identifying the poor soul as Moray, one of the member's of Alick's workings crew. Alick was was given no time to grieve however. The spiders had seen him, and started running towards him. And they were FAST. Alick ran, Hugin and Munin far ahead of him now. Deeper and deeper into the forest. Despite their size slowing them down in the cramped forest, they were still keeping up. Alick felt like crying, but choked back the tears, and kept running. It was all he could do. So he ran. And ran. Paying no heed to where he was going, beyond making sure he chose a path would slow the spiders down more than it would him. Unknowingly, he was drawing close to one of the area's many lakes...