We had a new arrival today, or rather a returnee.
Not long after dawn a man arrived on foot at our eastern gate. Dressed in a long tan duster and a wide brimmed hat that hid his face in shadows; he had a raven seated on each shoulder and leaned upon a battered staff seemingly crafted from the limbs of some dismembered mannequin. For reasons not entirely clear to me the security force at the gate challenged him. Somehow they ended up drawing their sidearms all of which fell apart in their hands.
The man moved fluidly past them and into the centre of town. There was the morning ritual as different people tried in vain to pull Caladcholg from it’s stony sheath. Some of whom had made the attempt every day of their stay. The man pushed past the line, ignoring all objections; his corvid companions crowing, flapping and pecking at any who tried to block him. I was on the far side of the stone and sought to reach him but he reached the stone before I.
He put out his left hand and Caladcholg rose to meet it. “Hello my brother,” I heard him whisper. He held the sword aloft in the dawn light, releasing his stave with his right, the stave remaining upright beside him, and drew another sword from within his coat and let it descend into the slot left by Caladcholg. “The Place is marked!” he announced to all. Caladcholg vanished inside his coat and he regained his staff as I reached him.
“Who are you?” I asked. He turned to regard me as the sun broke through a gap in the clouds behind him and for a moment I was dazzled. Then he embraced me like a brother.
“It is good to see you old friend,” he said. I must admit it was good to see him too.
First I reunited him with his family and then we went into the town hall and I debriefed him as to where he had been these many months. But that is a tale best told in his own words.