On the journey from Woodhull to the clearing, the intended location of our meeting with the Eleshams, Dolins notices some disturbance in the woods. He and Darron go off to explore while I continue to ride with the Woodhulls. The rest of the ride to the clearing is uneventful and the Woodhulls are not very talkative. I hope this meeting is quick and painless, this whole feud between the Paps houses isn’t worth my time and I can’t wait to get off this forsaken island.
As we get to the clearing, the sound of racing hooves behind us becomes audible and Ser Darron comes into view. He pulls up right next to me a catches his breath for a moment before whispering “Caliala is dead, we found her and Mud Bottom in the woods.” I ask if he’s sure, and he confirms that he and Dolins are 100% sure it’s her.
I ask the Woodhulls if they know anything about this, and they seem fully unaware of the murder that happened on their land. These men are useless fools. My heartrate is building, as is my rage. Darron tells me that Dolins is on his way back to the Rambis with Caliala’s body. He fears this is a trap for me, and the sound of troops marching from the east reaches our ears. Darron pulls on his sword and points north to the woods. He and I spur our horses into the brush, following no particular path other than away from the clearing and the sounds of marching infantry.
As we leave the clearing behind us, I have a moment to contemplate the meaning of what Darron has told me. I’ve come to like Caliala quite a lot. I admired her knack for reading a room and getting out of trouble. She could always salvage a bad situation and spin it in favor of myself and House Jasper. Speaking of which, how did Caliala end up dead in the woods? She’s not one to be easily tricked, surprised, or killed. Something very unusual must has happened. When I find out who did this, I’ll make sure they pay dearly for what they’ve done. Aside from my parents, Caliala was one of my favorite people in this world.
Our winding path leads us to the coast, overlooking the cove where we anchored the first night we arrived at the island. Somehow we have to make it to the Rambis on the east side of the island. How is Dolins going to meet us there without encountering the forces at the clearing?