A few hundred metres out of the village; they left the path and took to the grasslands; not taking the route toward Ornaom Hill. Salla made it known that they would have to make a brief stop at her family’s farm so she could gather her belongings and leave a note explaining her disappearance. This displeased Nanor, but he relented.
The farmhouse soon came into view; and they moved onto the dirt trail leading into it. There was no sign of life on the farm apart from the animals moving about their respective fields; Salla’s family was still in the village. Nanor stayed outside to keep watch; and Markus accompanied Salla into the house, along with Sed. Once inside; she bustled about, quickly gathering up her things along with foodstuffs for the four of them. As she sat down to write a note to her family; Markus felt a pang of regret. He had not thought to leave behind a note. Daein would explain it to Keritha and Jonin, but his mother deserved better.
Salla had tears in her eyes as she rose to leave; but she ignored them, not wanting to appear weak. She led the way out; her bag over her shoulder; and her own bow in her hands. The quiver of arrows was strapped to her waist. Nanor met them outside the front door; a hard look on his face.
“We need to move; now! We have lost enough time already. Salla; we are going to have to take your family’s horses. I shall leave gold behind; enough for them to buy four new ones. But we need to go, now”.
Salla nodded. They made their way to the stables where they each picked out a horse. Markus chose a black stallion which had a strong build and would last well over distance; while also capable of reaching high speeds. Sed chose a similar, brown stallion; Salla took her own mare; Caerta, and Nanor took a white coated stallion.
Nanor pulled a purse from his pocket and counted out a large amount of gold. He left it on a shelf in the stables and then they rode out into the night. Salla cast one glance back at her home; then fixed her gaze ahead.
They rode in silence through the night; putting as much distance between Carromsford and themselves as possible. Nanor set a hard pace, and did not slow once. Markus wondered what their fate was now; a small bunch of four travellers on the run from an evil surely stood no chance of surviving. He shook his head and cast all doubts from his conscience; best to leave them until they made camp.
After several hours hard riding; when they had made their way deep into the trees of a forest, Nanor called them to a halt. “It’s time we made camp for the night”. They all gladly dismounted; rubbing their feet to get feeling back into them. Sed set to lighting a fire while Nanor tethered the horses to nearby trees. Markus sat beside the fire; grateful for the chance to rest. Nanor took a seat across from him; and Sed and Salla sat either side of him. The older man had a haunted look in his eyes.