"Actually, without knowing the wine used or the spices, I'll stick with tea."
"Suit yourself," said the wizard. He shook his head. What difference does the wine and spices make? It all tasted the same and it was a quick way to warm up, unless you have a Warmth spell like I do. Sometimes it was very hard to understand others, and at Brashani's age, he had less and less interest in trying to do so.
The sun reached its zenith, as Evan and the others rode up a small hill. At the top of it, Evan peered down the other side. Below was a village.
"Martingis," said Evan.
James peered down at the settlement and was surprised by what he saw. Martingis was even smaller than the town they had come from, Clearbrook. There was no clock tower or central square. The shops seemed to be scattered about randomly with no thought to the roads or future development. Still, the town would provide a place to go and get out of the cold, maybe even have some decent food for a change.
James shot Evan a sidelong glance. "Kind of small, isn't it?"
"Yes," said Evan, pleased.
"And disorganized, too."
"Perhaps, but it has a certain charm. I'm glad to see the village has changed so little."
Iriel raised an eyebrow. "You've been here before?"
"Yes, eight years ago, on one of my first adventures as a demon hunter. The local priest had written to His Grace about a group of necromancers who were in control of the town. I, and several other Michaeline priests, came to free the town them their control. With the help of the town priest, we captured the mages, and restored control of Martingis back to a town manager appointed by His Grace."
"Do the priest and town manager still live here?"
"I don't know, Iriel, and I doubt we'll have time to find out. I expect we'll only be staying a day or so, just long enough to replenish our supplies for the journey to Wrightwood."
Evan and his companions followed the road down the hill and into town. As they approached the village, a scream filled the air. Evan immediately halted Alsvinn; Daniel and the others did the same.
"Someone's in trouble," said Evan.
"Or has seen something awful," added James.
"Regardless," returned the priest, "there may be danger ahead. We best be prepared." Evan drew his sword. Another scream resounded in the cold afternoon air. "Ready your weapons and follow after me as soon as you can."
Without another word Evan spurred Alsvinn forward and galloped down the road they were following.