Here’s another one from The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks. I’m finding it difficult to locate the older teasers, so they might all be new. This is a part from Ichabod Brooks & the Orphan’s Shadow. The adventure is him helping to escort some adopted children alongside a rather irritable guard captain. As usual, things don’t got as planned for Mr. Brooks. Enjoy and feel free to check out the rest of his adventures.
Lightning streaks across the sky and rain pours from the black clouds as the travelers reach the Neberith temple. The stone building sits on the side of the road and a spiny orb on the top of a central spire emits a beacon from its star-shaped hole. Usually a welcoming sight, all of the windows have been shuttered and the front door is closed in response to the storm. There is a dome of magic over the central courtyard to keep the healers and patients dry, the water funneling into tubes that lead to the colorful plants below. While difficult to see in the darkness, the roadside temple is fairly small and humble when compared to those one would find in a town or large city. Still, it is a sight that brings hope and smiles to the convoy whose horses muster a final burst of speed to get through the mud. For a terrifying moment the drenched and exhausted travelers consider that the temple is closed, but a hole in the entrance cracks open to let out a shaft that illuminates a welcome sign. All of the adults breathe a sigh of relief and help the tired horses get as close to the doors as possible.
Cradling Agnes in his arms, Ichabod leaps out of the wagon and charges into the temple while Kia shouts orders to her men. The adventurer slows down a step when he thinks he sees someone approaching from around the corner, but a burst of lightning reveals that it is nothing more than the shadow of a tree. The slight hesitation gives those inside enough time to open the doors and gather in the lobby, six of the Neberith followers rushing out to help with the horses and wagons. Blinded by the pounding rain, Ichabod barrels through the entrance and nearly crashes into the two priests who move to greet him. They are quick to get out of his way and make themselves useful by going to meet the other children. Finding a nearby cot, the adventurer places Agnes down and whirls around to call for the person he has been praying to see for the last two hours.
“Neberith has heard your call and told me of your arrival,” Tevy whispers, the elderly halfling stepping out of the crowd. Tying up her silver hair, the high priestess pads across the stone floor without a sound. “This will either be a good or terrible night for us. The storm means we have plenty of room, but nobody will be able to travel until the morning. If this girl is in need of stronger magic than I have then she will need to depend on her own strength.”
“Thanks and I know you’re one of the best of your order. I have complete faith that you can help her,” Ichabod claims while trying to catch his breath. With a wide yawn, he takes a seat on the floor next to the cot and puts his hand against Agnes’s head. “She feels ice cold and her veins are black. I did my best to keep her warm, but it didn’t make any difference. There was one time that she spit up black stuff. I got hit by it, but I haven’t shown any symptoms. On the plus side, she doesn’t seem to be getting any worse. The kids said she was up late standing guard since they’re unofficial deputies for this journey. Don’t say they’re playing or Jeff will lecture you about how there is no job too small for a soldier.”
“Then it’s a good thing this young lady has such a brave warrior to watch over her. Better than an old grump like you,” the priestess says with a smirk. Her eyes glow white as she examines the shivering girl, the heavy blankets threatening to fall to the floor. “I can’t say I know what this is right away. At first glance, I’d think it was some kind of magical infection of the blood. That would explain the veins and her being so cold. Sniffing at her breath, I would say she coughed up bile and that typically relates to something digestive. Pulse is quick and breathing is shallow, which makes me fear that it’s a multiple organ disease. Are you sure her condition hasn’t gotten worse or improved?”
Ichabod gladly takes a cup of tea and sips at the hot drink as he carefully thinks about the journey. “I watched her the entire time and used the basic skills you taught me. No deterioration or improvement as far as I can tell. She was getting candy from this pouch, but none of the other kids got sick.”
“He’s only saying that because I blamed his toy for the problem,” Kia reports as she joins them. The soldier extends her hand to Tevy, but the gesture is only met with a warm smile and nod of the head. “I feel I should tell you what we are doing here. These children are adopted orphans who we are bringing to their new families. A mutual acquaintance felt that Mr. Brooks was necessary for the journey. Is it possible that one of his enemies has targeted Agnes to bait him into a fight?”
“I can tell you’ve dealt with Ichabod before and he left an impression,” Tevy says with a chuckle.