A hunting party has disappeared, and it's up to Sarouth and Riaag to get to the bottom of things.
They were most of the way through their meal—Sarouth on his second dish, Riaag on his fifth—when a worried commotion sprang up at the edge of the field. Riaag's hand unconsciously spun his eating knife into a more offensive grip. No alarm bells sounded and nobody was shouting, which was some small comfort, but Riaag still had to repeat a few personal chants to himself to help center his mind as the source of the fuss drew nearer. Her clothes proclaimed her to be a lookout and slinger from the south gate, and she had something propped in the crook of her arm against her roughspun tunic. She genuflected to Sarouth without disturbing whatever it was she was holding.
"Holy one," she said, and to her credit she wasn't even out of breath despite having presumably run all the way there, "we found something just outside the walls."
This story contains no human characters.
This story is the second in the Rhoanish Works series. The author strongly recommends reading the previous story (The Stones' Earthen Grasp) first, as this sequel benefits from a whole year's worth of worldbuilding and writing practice; this is, however, optional.
The setting itself is very loosely based on the freeware game Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup.
This story has no related links.
This story did not have any author's notes when published. The author thinks it's much better than the first one, even if it uses a more traditional narrative format. It received much more beta reading and editing than its prequel. Sharp-eyed viewers will also note that the flora depicted is meant to be from a specific part of the world (versus Generic Fantasyland), and that the River People are exactly what you think they are.
The illustrations for this story almost didn't happen due to a misbehaving brush pen and a less than ideal work schedule; the author's husband was invaluable in getting supplies together on time. One of the finished pictures also required white balancing after the fact, though the "gray" version was only up for a few hours before being corrected.
- fairyninjas.wordpress.com: "A wonderful tale–a sequel to a past SSBB story–with some traditional fantasy elements, and some twists. Wonderful writing, wonderful characters, wonderful world-building."
- pinboard.in: "The return of orcs-in-love! This time, they're trying to broker peace with a village of humans who have assumed the worst of a search party. Love how this flips the usual fantasy script of villains/heroes."