Rough draft continued…
Kytun joined Finn on the black rocks. Drying seaweed, sand and tidal pools lay beyond along the cliff. Within one of the tidal pools floated the wreckage of a boat. Long and pointed at each end, it had been larger than a dinghy. It could easily carry ten armed and armored men. Or it could if the bottom was intact.
Kytun and Finn climbed down to the wreckage. Kytun stood guard as Finn waded into the tidal pool, three feet deep despite the low tide. He examined the shattered timbers where the boatâ€™s bottom had been staved in.
â€œSharp splinters, hard and still dry. This was done within the last hour. Two at most.â€ Finn looked about the bottom of the tidal pool. â€œNo sign of loose gear anywhere. Whoever it was survived the wreck and walked away.â€
A shadow moved across the water. Kytun turned back. Hawk stood atop the rocks, pointing to a large cluster of seaweed beyond the tide pool. Kytun made his way around the edge of the pool as Finn waded across the rest of the way.
A corpse lay twisted in among the weed. It had been a man.
Kytun slowed as Finn examined the tangled mass of seaweed. A number of crabs skittered back into deeper water at their approach, abandoning their feast. Finn grinned at him. â€œDonâ€™t be shy. Too wet here for any tracks.â€
Kytun glanced back. Hawk was standing guard for them on the rocks. At least Kytun hoped that was his motive. He joined Finn next to the corpse. â€œArmor, weapons, even his boots, stripped from the body.â€
â€œOr he wasnâ€™t wearing any.â€
Finn pulled more weed away revealing a ghastly wound that had shattered the manâ€™s chest. â€œNo, his gear was taken after his death. See here, broken chain links from a mail hauberk are still in the wound.â€
â€œWhat did that?â€
Finn shook his head, puzzled. â€œA heavy spiked mace? Maybe?â€
â€œWell, it wasnâ€™t the crabs.â€ Kytun recalled Captain Radaamâ€™s tale of the dead man he had found washed out of the caves.
â€œHe look familiar to you?â€
Finn had brushed the hair and weed away from the manâ€™s face. Kytun recognized him despite death and time in the water.
â€œHobartâ€™s Port.â€ Kytun closed his eyes for a moment. The memory cleared. â€œHe was in the Widowâ€™s Hall. The night we agreed to this trip.â€
â€œAh, yes.â€ Finn cheerfully addressed the dead man. â€œHello, friend. Forgive me for forgetting you. I drank heavily that night and was bewitched by our lovely Lurissa.â€
Kytun grimaced. Finn grinned at him, a dazzling display that made it impossible to be offended by the manâ€™s gallows humor.
â€œSee if you can figure out how many survivors were in that boat and where they went.â€
Kytun walked back to the rocks. Hawk did not offer a hand as Kytun climbed up. Finn moved slowly along the line of the shore and cliff.
Lurissa climbed up to join Kytun and Hawk. â€œWhat are we looking at.â€
Kytun pointed out the boat wreckage and corpse. Lurissa watched Finn as he paused near the base of the rocks upon which they stood. Finn slowly crawled up the rock near the cliff face.
â€œHe a tracker?â€ Lurissa asked.
â€œYou might have mentioned that.â€ Lurissa failed to hide her irritation.
â€œYouâ€™re the one who slept with him. Didnâ€™t it come up?â€
Lurissa snarled at Kytun. â€œCute.â€
Hawk snorted what might have been a laugh and moved off the rock. Kytun and Lurissa watched Hawk leap down to the black sand. â€œBiggest reaction Iâ€™ve heard out of him yet.â€ Kytun said.
â€œThey climbed up here and went over these rocks.â€ Finn called. He jumped down to the wet black sand on the side they had landed upon and moved to the cave mouths.
â€œHow many?â€ Lurissa asked.
Finn shook his head. â€œNo telling. The tide wasnâ€™t all the way out. Waves were still hitting the rocks here. Weâ€™d have to search into all these caves to find the one they entered.â€