Aeris, Fargnau, and the other sages were set up in teams of 3 or 4. Yelling my name or Cebyr’s, looking for a reaction from either of us, or see if they could find the kobold. They kept close contact to one another in case they saw or heard anything.
Aeris checked around every tree and root, even a hole barely fitting a rabbit she would closely inspect, just in case. Fargnau’s pace was easier, careless. His hunched apathetic walk only aggravating Aeris, at least she gave a damn where he clearly didn’t.
“You know she’ll be alright, Aeris,” he said, his tired eyes casually looking around to take in the beauty of the forest.
“And what if she isn’t?!” She replied sharply. “Will you care about your children, your partner? Just ONCE?”
Fargnau shrugged. “I always care when a sage is in danger, but it’s their own responsibility to keep themselves safe.”
Aeris’ look turned dark, she dashed at the wood owl and held his robe firmly at his chest, pulling it upward.
“Your child is in danger, a helpless egg. And your first SON! Who are you to deny their existence?! Those books may make you smarter, but you clearly never learned what really matters in life.”
Fargnau didn’t move an inch at her violent gesture, his eyes seemingly looking past her in an empty stare. “At least books won’t betray you, deny your comfort, or annoy you. If they do, you just grab another.” She let go of him. “Fine, fine. You’re a rock, Fargnau. A lifeless island in an ocean of apathy!”
She raised her hands as to admit defeat and went back to her frantic search.
When they finally got through the forest, they decided to regroup and look along the riverbanks. Further downstream they could see a bunch of fishermen standing at the edge of the water near their boats on the shore. One of them was slamming a stick into the ground, the others had their hands on their hearts, slightly bowed. He then cut off a piece of the fishing nets, and tied it around the piece of wood. Lastly they each grabbed a flat pebble, and one by one carefully balanced it on top of the post they just made.
“One of them died,” one of the sages whispered, the others nodding, wondering whether they should ask the men if they knew anything about me or my son.
Aeris took the first step towards them, putting her claw to her heart. “My condolences, how did he die?”
The fishermen turned to her, their faces turning grim at seeing who actually was talking. “A kobold stole his boat and threw him off… A tiny lady owl went after him to save her egg. She’s down the banks, her kid went after her. Be gone, sage, that was one death too many already.”
She nodded, waved at the other owls to follow her and started to walk along the banks. After about a minute she could hear Cebyr’s voice faintly over the river. “Oh no…” she whispered to herself. “Pick up the pace! I can hear him!”
It was still quite a bit before Takk’n would turn into open ocean, but with their current speed and in this big a group they didn’t seem to gain on the owlet. He was clearly running too.
“Fargnau, with me! Get those long legs of yours moving! The rest of you try and keep up!”