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COMPONENT 30: TRIBE
Angon had left the Gavin, and Buster behind. He raced across the desert far faster than his friend’s could go, even with the mounts they had gained. But the forge had another thing going for him; he couldn’t tire, at least he had never felt tired since he had awoken.
On he ran, following Gavin’s compass stone that was attuned to Lavina. The beam shot due north, leading the racing forge.
Angon was worried about Lavina. Ramona hadn’t seemed like an inherently bad person, but she had stolen from them, and that couldn’t be easily forgiven. All he could do was hope that the halfling wouldn’t hurt his friend.
“Lavina!” Angon shouted, seeing a horse standing idly, looking about quite lost.
He ran past the horse, which took off like a crossbow bolt. Another mount, a pony was already fleeing from his path.
“Where are you?” Angon cried, as the sun beamed down.
His head snapped back and forth, and he skidded to a stop just before a pass between two mountains. Laying on the ground was Lavina’s compass stone, and other than that, there was no sign of either girl.
“Oh no.” Angon gasped.
He took off into the pass, not even thinking to wait for Gavin or Buster. He needed to find Lavina and fast.
Shadow from the tall mountain cliffs fell over Angon. The path ahead turned off to the west, and a little farther down, to the right.
Angon stopped and stared down the western path. It became more narrow, and looked like it eventually might turn into a cave.
“I don’t know how track…” Angon whispered, looking to the northeast and then back to the path beside him.
He looked down to the ground. Two sets of lightly embedded boot prints headed down to the west. The feet looked small, so surely they had to belong to the girls.
“Lavina!” Angon shouted, and burst into a sprint down the western path.
Before he made it a few yards, a geyser of sand shot up before him. Angon stopped short of it, and even took a step back. Was it a sand shark? Or another monster?
But the geyser crashed down and standing in its place was a cloaked visage of a humanoid.
“W-who are you?” He asked. “What did you do with Lavina?”
“You are the one who should be stating your name.” The sand person spoke. “For you have passed into our home.”
“My name is Angon.” The forge said. “And I want to know that my friend is all right.”
“Your friends are fine.” The visage said, seeming to no more than a thin layer of sand now. “I see your aura… I request that you come inside. I will wait for your other friends.”
The visage of sand fell to the ground, and Angon was left alone. He stared at the pile of sand, wondering if it was alive, or the image he had seen was some kind of magic.
A moment later, he snapped out of his stupor and carefully stepped around the sand hill. He walked quickly around a twisting path that finally opened into a cave.
“Lavina?” Angon called inside.
He stepped through the mouth and peered ahead into a torch-lit cave.
“Angon!” Lavina called back. “Come inside.”
“Lavina, are you safe?” Angon shouted, and walked further in.
He turned a corner and came upon a scene he hadn’t expected. Sitting in a large circle were twelve of the cloaked figures, Lavina, and the halfling.
“What’s happening here?” Angon asked.
The tallest figure sat upon a tree stump. It stood and looked to Angon.
“We are one of the four great druidic tribes of Anhsook.” The apparent leader said, but Angon had no idea what a druid was.
“I came for Lavina.” Angon said. “You can keep the little one.”
“Hey!” Ramona snapped. “These guys are interesting, but I’ve no plans on staying here.”
“You aren’t coming with us.” Angon said. “Lavina, come on.”
“Wait!” Lavina pleaded. “The druids are the oldest race upon Anhsook! They know of the magic used to create you.”
“You do?” Angon asked, looking at the standing druid.
“We do.” He replied. “I beg of you, come in for a moment. We will explain what we can, and then personally take you to Angel’s Outpost.”
“O-okay?” Angon replied with hesitance. He stepped past the circle and sat behind Lavina.
Ramona looked over. “What? Afraid to sit near to me? I don’t bite, much.” She snapped her teeth, making Angon feel uncomfortable.
The lead druid cleared his throat and sat back upon his tree stump.
“I would like to give you the full story, but there isn’t much time.” The leader said. “A powerful foe follows in your wake. He comes for the shards of the weapon, ‘Soul Rupture’, which the halfling here has on her person.”
“No I don’t!” Lavina gasped.
“We can feel its power.” The druid said, as the others sat in a deathly silence.
“Fine!” Ramona sighed. “I stole it from that orc woman Gonzeelda.”
“And it is imperative she does not get it back.” The druid said. “It contains the power to create numerous beings like yourself, Angon. And I wish I could say that would be a good thing. But you were created special—With a pure soul. I fear the others would not be as innocent.”