It started out like any other day. And then, they came…
They had no camel. They had little in the way of possessions. The look on their faces said it all as they dragged their fatigued bodies across the heartless desert.
The lookout near the front of Gitana saw them first, first believing it was just another one of the desert’s recurring mirages, but as the image came slowly into view, he realized there was much more than meets the eye.
Syeira saw him rushing inside the camp with urgent eyes. He asked everyone to drop what they were doing and to come outside the hamlet to help out those who were hanging on by a thread. Quickly, she was confused, but she obeyed and it was not long after that she saw the nomads almost on the verge of collapsing.
Desperation quickly gave way to confusion, and then to panic when the story was revealed about what had occurred at Ilona. A combined force of orcs and other heathens had laid waste to the village. Those who had not been able to flee the city either had perished or were taken as slaves. Many of the exhausted figures believed they might be just behind them, with plans to sack Gitana next.
Syeira covered her face with shaking hands. Why was this happening? Why now of all times? The Gypsies were not a fighting force, they were acrobatic and dexterous, there was no doubt about that, but against a hoard of orcs and other baddies? It was like finding the needle in the haystack, and there was never any needle to begin with.
The best defense the small town even had was to hide inside the nearby mountain caves and pray to all matters that were holy that the orcs wouldn’t be able to break down the gate leading in.
But there was still no sound proof that this destructive army was actually on its way to Gitana or not, but assuming otherwise without adequate proof was foolhardy, so, the guards that were stationed near the front of the area mounted their camels and rode off in at least two directions, east, and southeast, to determine the whereabouts of this band of evil.
Syeira pondered her own options. Should she stay in the village and take shelter in the caverns, or perhaps it was more reasonable to travel to safer parts. Her ‘fight or flight’ syndrome, if you wanted to call it that, was in full effect. She was no stranger to the concepts of fighting, she was actually pretty capable herself, but against an army was asking for a death wish.
In some ways, this was a sign to get out. After all, she felt like the black sheep here thanks to her heritage. She was a vagabond after all, and only stayed as long as was practical. She had made friends all across the Continent, but the closest thing to what felt like a home was here, so she was internally conflicted.
Ultimately, she decides to wait, just a bit longer, until this conflict passed. She couldn’t abandon these people, even if she didn’t get along with all of them. If the orcs and company DID come, she would fight them to the end.
All that she could do now, was wait. If the riders came back with the bad news, then it was time to make ready for battle. She prayed that they would at least come back, but ultimately, she was hopeful that the band of mayhem marauders might have another target in mind on their journey. If this was the actual case, where were they headed and why?
At the dawn of nightfall, the riders returned with the news she had been hoping for. The orcs and other associated evil was actually heading southwest towards Vhaerun, particularly towards the coastline. Their destination was there, not here. It was at that moment that it felt like the entirety of Gitana breathed a heavy sigh of relief
Syeira, meanwhile, began her preparations for departure. The only remaining question was, “Where?”