"Don't be silly Harald," exclaimed Gytha. "I will be with you, and I do not intend to let you die."
"And I intend to kill Nosnra," Harald replied.
"Yes, but we will need you Harald," said Telenstil. "There will be other chiefs who will take up where Nosnra left off, and these giants of the cold lands, we will need you more than ever if we go against them."
"When we go," said Talberth. "Why strike off a finger when we can wound the hand?"
"Time, Talberth, time," Telenstil explained. "All that we have done will give the lowlands time. If we kill Nosnra it will add to what we may have already gained, and with that map we sent, it will prepare them for what is to come."
"What do you mean?" asked the halfling thief. "What is to come?"
"Invasion," said Telenstil. "It is something that the rulers of the lowlands fear, but many wish to bury their heads in the oerth and pretend that it will not come."
"Many say that it is just the giants' way," Harald said, "that they are raiders and come down from the hills and mountains only for plunder. But I have fought them all my life and what I have seen of late is not the giants' way. They test us, ambush patrols, destroy the freeholds and outposts that would give warning to those living below, they weaken us, but the lowlanders think it is not their concern."
"Some have listened, Harald, and some rulers have called out for help," Telenstil showed them a hide scroll he had kept at hand. "This is a message from Nosnra. We have made him call for help. It is another strangeness. I have not heard before of such alliances as this note speaks of. Here is a call for another chieftain who has sworn blood-kinship with Nosnra to fulfill their oath and to send their warriors now instead of the rising of two new moons, when they were promised. I gave Ivo another such message to translate."
"This says the same," Ivo held up a second scroll.
"And a third messenger escaped us," said Telenstil. "This is not the way of giants. Blood-kinship, I have never heard of such between clans, not with their great pride in their family lines. Never has there been such an alliance of clans, not in any record of the wise. And yet the map named dozens."
"Well that was the proof wasn't it?" asked Harold. "What more do we need?"
"We need Nosnra dead," said Harald.
"And we need more information," answered Telenstil. "Hopefully we have not destroyed it in that fire. Now, time grows short for us and we must be on our way. We need to find another camp and we need to decide what to do with our orcish companions."
"I go with you!" spoke up Little Rat.
"I will keep an eye on him," said Harold.
"You have picked up a strange apprentice there," the ranger said. "Make sure you do keep him under watch."
"He will be fine," the halfling crossed his fingers on the hand hidden behind his back.
"I say we keep them with us for now." said Ivo. "Do not mistake my intent, I have no liking for these orcs and I do not trust them," his glance went to the young one by Harold's side. "But they may be of some help. They know things about the steading, and I want to study them."
"What are you thinking of?" asked Talberth.
"A spell, something to mask us," Ivo replied. "We might go unnoticed as orcish slaves and avoid raising an alarm. We will need to think of a way to get inside Nosnra's steading again."