- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
By mid-afternoon, they were exhausted from both the walk and the tension. Still, they had not reached the river. Tobbar was even more on edge. He had the poison vial in his hand again and on several occasions actually touched it to his lips. Thomlin wanted to snatch it away from him but didn't dare. Right now, that small vial seemed to be the only thing holding Tobbar together. He sighed, rounded a bend in the path and stopped cold. Tobbar stumbled against him, then let out a small, strangled gasp of disbelief. The Dirin village lay before them.
"How..." Thomlin muttered.
"They brought us back," Tobbar whispered, backing away. "They made us think we were going north, but they brought us back!" He turned and bolted.
Thomlin followed. They ran deep into the woods, zigzagging randomly. A few moments later, they once more saw the village. Tobbar went white and pelted in another direction. Again Thomlin followed, his gut tight with panic. And, again, their desperate flight returned them to the village. No matter where they ran, which direction they chose, they ended up at the village. Finally, Tobbar gave a little sob of despair and dropped to the ground.
Thomlin stood, bent over, trying to catch his breath, trying to analyze the feelings washing over him.
"It's hopeless, Thomlin," Tobbar murmured. "They'll have us back whether we want it or not. But I won't, Thomlin, I won't." He pulled the stopper from the vial, and before Thomlin could stop him, he gulped down half the contents. He held out the rest to Thomlin. "I promised."