The Larethian home sat silently in the shadow of the nearby forest of Duskwood. Niviene walked into the bedroom to find Braghaman already in bed with his eyes closed. The priestess smiled, moved over to the bed and turned down the covers before sitting on the edge. She started to lean forward to blow out the lamp on her nightstand when she paused. Niv’s smile faded as she looked around the room and slowly sat back up.
Bragh’s eyes shot open and he turned his head to look at Niviene, still sitting on the edge. “Did you hear something?”
“No. But something is wrong. Can’t you feel it?”
Braghaman sat up and tilted his head slightly, his eyes looking down. After a moment, the paladin pushed the covers aside and got up. He walked over to the window and pushed the curtains aside so that he could see road.
“You feel it?”
“Yeah, angel. You’re right.” Bragh let the curtain fall back and moved the dresser. He pulled out some clothes and quickly put them on. Sitting back on the bed, Bragh started pulling one of his boots on when he noticed that Niviene was already dressed.
“What do you think it is?”
“Not sure,” Bragh grunted as he pulled his other boot on. “Doubt it’s any good.”
“Dad?” Niviene and Braghaman looked over to the doorway and saw Banagan standing there. “Something’s wrong.”
Niv and Bragh looked at each other for a moment before looking back at Banny.
“You feel it, too, son?”
Banny just nodded. Braghaman opened his mouth to say something, but before he got a word out a scream echoed outside. The priestess and paladin looked at each other again and then started moving. Braghaman stepped past his son and walked down the hallway. Niviene walked over to Banny and put her hand on his arm.
“Go get your sister. Quickly.”
Banagan left and Niv could hear him running up the stairs. Moments later, she heard more footsteps coming down and then Banagan appeared with Korissa in the doorway.
“Good,” Niv began. But before she could say anything else, Braghaman appeared and stood behind the kids. He had already pulled his breastplate on and with one hand he held out a staff to Niviene. She took it and smiled slightly. Then she noticed the mace and massive warhammer he was holding in the other.
“Get your things, son,” Braghaman said calmly. Banny looked at his father, first in confusion and then with surprise. Without saying anything, he turned and sprinted back up the stairs. Bragh glanced over at Niviene and the priestess raised an eyebrow slightly. Bragh nodded slightly.
“Momma, what’s going on?”
“Something’s happening outside,” Niviene explained as she stepped over to the young girl and placed a hand on her shoulder.
Louder footsteps came stomping down the steps and Banagan reappeared pulling a chainmail shirt into place with one hand and holding a wooden mace in the other. He stopped next to the rest of the family and stood up straight, as if waiting for an inspection. Bragh and Niv exchanged glances again. The paladin then held his hand out to his son and motioned for the mace. Banny looked at the wooden weapon in his hand momentarily and then handed it over to his father.
Braghaman took the wooden mace and, without looking at it, tucked it under his arm. He then took the mace he’d been holding and handed it to Banagan. It was larger than what Banny had been carrying, made of a silver metal that glowed slightly. Banagan took hold of the mace and looked it over, marveling that it felt just as light as his wooden one and seemed to vibrate slightly in his hands. Bragh then took the wooden mace and knelt down in front of Korissa and handed it to her. The young girl tentatively took the the mace, looking first at it, then to Bragh, and then finally to Niviene.
Braghaman stood up and put his hand on Banny’s shoulder. “Don’t leave the house. Keep your sister safe.”
“Listen to your brother,” Niviene added, giving Korissa’s shoulder a squeeze. “Help him.”
“Ready?” Bragh asked as he hefted his warhammer onto his shoulder and looked a Niviene.
‘Yes,” Niviene answered softly, but with steel in her voice.
Braghaman gave his son a pat on the shoulder and then started walking down the hallway. Niviene kissed Korissa on the head and let her go, then squeezed Banagan’s arm before following Braghaman.
“Lock the door behind us. Don’t open for anyone except us.”