Nessna Amberlight wasn’t sure what she was supposed to be looking for. Sath’alor’s note hadn’t specified, but he had asked her to check around the house. He wouldn’t have taken Rylad up to the school so hastily without good reason, so she approached the house carefully, walking as lightly as possible. She wasn’t sure what to expect.
She approached the door, but stopped as she touched the door handle. It was still locked. Perhaps it would be a better idea to check around outside first. If an intruder had gone inside, she thought it would be pretty doubtful that they would bother to lock the door behind themselves. She walked around to the side of the house, still not sure what she was looking for. She had read the note over and over on the way here. It wasn’t a long walk, but it was long enough that she had it memorized now.
Went up to the school. Rylad is with me. Please check the house and around it, I’ll explain when we’re back. I love you. -Sath
She smiled to herself when she thought of the last part of the message. It was just three little words, but they meant so much. She loved him as well, though she hadn’t told him. It wasn’t that she didn’t want him to know. In fact, the opposite was true. She hoped her actions were enough to let him know for now. She had tried to tell him, but each time the words got caught inside her mind, never making their way to her mouth. It hadn’t even been a year since Vessen had died. Many people thought it was too early. She was aware of that, but she had still fallen for Sath’alor. He was sweet and loving, not to mention handsome. Of course, it wasn’t just her. She had to think of Rylad as well, and Rylad adored Sath’alor. The people who thought it was too early would just have to get over it.
She didn’t see anything on this side of the house. She peered into the forest. The leaves were only just beginning to bud on most of the trees in the Ghostlands, though there were some shrubs which kept their leaves through the winter. She didn’t see anything. She rounded the corner to the back of the house, and checked the back door. It was also locked. Some of Rylad’s toys had been left outside, but that was nothing unusual. He loved to play outside.
It was then that she did see something. It had rained the previous day, and with all the work that had been done, and the fact that it was spring, not all of the lawn had grown in yet. There, in the mud next to the doorstep, was a track. At first she thought it was a rabbit track, but what would a rabbit be doing so close to the house. Rabbits typically didn’t approach people. Upon closer inspection, the track would have had to come from a rabbit with very deformed feet, or not a rabbit at all. The most concerning feature of the print was its long claws. She looked around, finding a couple more tracks nearby. They led to the small shed behind the house. It was now that she noticed the door slightly ajar to the shed. She nocked an arrow to her bow and carefully approached the small building.
She had barely touched the door, opening it just a crack more than it already was, when something rushed out past her leg. She jumped back, startled as it raced towards the forest. Then she saw what it was. An imp! She drew her bowstring back and let an arrow fly towards it. It ducked behind a tree just in time for the arrow to thud into the ground. Nessna ran after it, nocking another arrow as she kept it in sight. It dropped down over the bank along the Dead Scar. She ran after it hoping to get another shot at it before it reached the other side of the Scar. As she neared, she saw the imp already deftly hopping up the ledge on the other side. She ran faster, slowing only slightly as she neared the edge and jumped. She drew her bowstring back as she did, and let loose another arrow before the imp could hop out of sight. The arrow hit its mark, and the imp tumbled back into the dark dirt of the Dead Scar. Nessna landed on her feet, and rolled forward. It was a fluid roll, almost as if she had planned it, but she hadn’t. Pain radiated throughout her ankle. She sat on the ground for a moment before standing, greatly favoring one leg. Lani had warned her to be careful, and not to overdo it. She twitched an ear as she limped towards the dead imp. She picked it up by the arrow protruding from its skull, and started limping back home with it. Hopefully, it was the only one.