Clem heaved the heavy wooden barn door open. The rusted hinges creaked and groaned in protest to the movement. A rusted plow, shovels, and other farm implements were stacked high and didn’t give room to maneuver. The building stunk manure and somehow there was no air movement even though the roof was full of holes.
“Here he is,” Clem pulled back a canvas tarp. Underneath lay a nude male body with many gashes upon his flesh. Next to the corpse lay a pile of clothing and a sword. “Had forgotten he was out here until you pressed the issue.”
“He’s dead. Demeter has reaped his soul.” Miirik said.
Clem pulled a jar filled with a slimy opaque substance off a shelf. “Found him that way. Been keeping him fresh with this stuff in case someone came looking for him. Gotta be careful with it, need to get it all over the body to keep him fresh. Into all his cracks and crevices every night, or else he’ll start to stink. He is Gustav, right? That is a Catheldor sword, is it not? I thought maybe a cleric in Catheldor could bring him back.”
“Thank you, Clem,” Arlin fought to maintain a smile. “You did a good job here. We will get him back to Catheldor to finish his mission. We just need to borrow your cart.”
Clem shook his head. “Can’t let you do that. That’s my cart. I need it. Don’t think about buying a cart in town either, there’s none left.”
Thothen scratched his chin. “How could there be no carts for sale?”
“They were all taken to Eginhardt, The military needs them there.”
“What do you know about the Ildonia military?” Arlin said.
“Don’t know much, just that they’re calling all the able bodied men. Thought you knew about it. Everyone around here does. Just assumed that you, a prince of Catheldor, knew about such things. I guess old Clem knows something a wise young prince doesn’t”
“How will we get Gustav out of here?” Miirik said.
Clem ran his fingers through the greasy remains of the hair upon his head before speaking. “Tell you what. Since you are a prince of Catheldor I will help you out if you help me. See these marks upon his body? He was mauled by wolves. They are quite deadly out here. Ate all my livestock they did. Nothing that old Clem could have done about it. There was no way I could have fought them off, but you look like powerful warriors, you do. You kill those wolves for me and I’ll give you my cart. I would rather have wolf stew then a cart. Would let me have cows again, and chickens too.”
“Looks like we have no choice. You have a deal.” Arlin walked from the fetid barn.