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 Phantom Archer. The adventure is him judging an archery tournament, which couldn’t possibly go askew. I mean, it isn’t like he’s recognized a pattern of odd events in his life. Enjoy!
Mumbling curses at the screeching cat outside, Ichabod rolls out of his soft bed and heads for the window. He forcefully blinks his eyes while grabbing a spoon and metal cup to bang in the animal’s direction. After tapping the two objects together in vain, the groggy adventurer puts them down and takes a deep breath in preparation of shouting at the stray. Looking at the street below, he spots the cat darting into an alley where it knocks over a pile of boxes. The air in his lungs comes out as a pathetic sputter and ends with pop that amuses him enough that he feels like he can return to dreaming of his wife. Before he crawls back into bed, Ichabod is startled and fully woken up by a high-pitched scream. With the festivities still going on nearby, he wonders if it is nothing more than a drunk getting into trouble. Yet, the way the voice abruptly cuts off drives him to get dressed and grab his gear. Wanting to finish his search quickly, the adventurer takes the back door out of the inn to avoid the celebrants, who would undoubtedly try to pull him into a conversation.
Sticking to the alleys for half a block, Ichabod considers that staying within the shadows could make him appear suspicious. Taking the first opportunity to get onto the well-lit streets, he closes his eyes and tries to discern the direction of the scream. Having been partially asleep when the sound first rang out, he is unsure of where to go or if it was a man or woman. Ichabod gives up on his memory and heads in the opposite direction of the celebrations. He makes a right at the first intersection with the intention of walking a large circle around the brightly lit square that is filled with loud people. He doubts the scream came from the crowd since it echoed with fear instead of happiness or whatever is fueling the cheering mob. In contrast to the pounding heart of Yew Cove, all of the homes that Ichabod passes are quiet with their owners either asleep or at the party. He curses at the fact that he cannot find a witness, which makes him wonder if he heard another cat and his sleepy mind is playing tricks on him.
Ichabod is almost back at the inn when a flicker of movement catches his attention. Nocking an arrow on his longbow, he creeps down the block and turns the corner. Nothing is there, so he relaxes and continues going to finally put his mind at ease. The ache in his fingers force him to ease his grip on the longbow, the old string showing signs of fraying. Coming to a small park that is engulfed by his illusion’s left foot, Ichabod stops to fix his weapon. He finds it comforting to let his mind focus on a problem that can be solved within a few minutes. Sitting on a bench, he repeatedly looks up at the translucent spell and peers into its shimmering depths. He cannot shake the feeling that there is something wrong, but it does not click in his mind until he takes a cleansing breath that becomes a yawn. The scent of fresh blood causes Ichabod to leap to his feet and turn in a circle to scan for enemies. Again, he finds himself alone and worries that his fatigue is getting the best of him. Counting to ten in his mind, the adventurer gets his heart to beat normally and stops straining his senses to find clues. Instead of looking for anything specific, he lets his mind take in his surroundings and waits for his well-honed instincts to lock onto whatever details stand out.
“What in all of Windemere is that?” Ichabod whispers when he spots a figure within the illusion. Jogging into the spell, he raises his weapon at the sight of Holly, but lowers it when he sees that she is crying. “What are you doing out here? Sorry for sounding like a parent, but it’s late. You need your sleep for the tournament or you’ll be more of a threat to the audience than the targets.”
“I told Callie that we should have stayed inside,” the girl weeps before taking her cloak off the ground. She turns away from the female orc, the competitor killed by a glistening arrow through the heart.