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The poles are large and easy to spot. Maybe I can come up with something smaller? I can conjure things with my cantrip, but I haven’t tried anything especially exotic. Time to try something a little more difficult. First, I need something to write with. I could start by making a lump of graphite, but I think there is a small area with all our cooking stuff under the gazebo. Sure enough, there is some firewood. And here’s a stick about the right size. I char the end of the stick, and now I have a writing utensil.
With that stick, I doodle on the deck. Some of the kids notice that I am drawing and make a ruckus, so I quickly make them all charred sticks of their own. The parents smile at me some, which is good, and the fact that the kids are approaching is good. I wonder how much of their willingness to approach me has more to do with a lack of familiarity with trolls and the boredom of small spaces. Anyway, that is not worth thinking about right now.
Staring at my doodle, I keep smashing shapes together until I have what I want. It looks like a series of hexagons in a tight bundle, but this 2-D representation is just to help me with setting up the 3-D model in my head. I take a deep breath, and with the image firmly in my head, begin replicating the model. I add in some irregular variations as I go for what I think is strength. With one end anchored in the skiff, and the other end dangling into the water several hundred feet below, I judge this a success. I have made something like a carbon fiber monofilament. It is difficult to see and should be better at sneaking around vessels patrolling the river.
I could probably also use this as a weapon. I make a few more lengths and try to manipulate them without touching them. Sure enough, I can whip them all around, although it is kind of difficult to move it just the way I want. I change from trying to move the entire wire at once to picturing it more like a whip, and just applying small points of motion to force a whipping motion while affixing one end of the fiber. Soon, I have trashed several trees on the shoreline and feel good about using this as a weapon.
As I put the extra fibers in my inventory, a wave of emotion crushes my chest and spine. I sink down and pull my knees into my chest and try to hold in some tears. I try to not remember those terrible, cold bodies. So small and unmoving. Dull, blank eyes that will never blink, slack mouths that will never babble again. I am a fucking monster. People should fear me.
Suddenly, Tuck is gently shaking me by the shoulder, and I realize the younger children, just toddlers, are patting me on the back. One, a little orc girl in braids, is stroking my cheek. No, not stroking my cheek. Rubbing tears into my fur. Blinking, rubbing my eyes, I ask
A toddler says
“He sad. He crying.”
“The Sidhe are long gone. We should go.” Tuck was there and knows. His tone is gentle.
I get the feeling he and Jondahar have been designated as the main liaisons for talking to me.
I rub a kid’s head and stand up.
“Then let’s get out of here,” and I set us to a decent cruising speed. I don’t want to do this anymore; I want it to be done. I ratchet the speed up even more. The toddlers gather to their parents and huddle against the speed, even though I have set up a shield to divert the wind around our skiff. We coast along like this, blowing past ferries and small towns. My wire slices through a bridge, but it comes and goes so quickly I barely register it.
“We should stop soon. You just tore through one of Diversity’s bridges.” Tuck is looking at me with a weird expression on his face. Hey, you’re a scaly dog-man, you shouldn’t be able to make that expression!
“Yeah that was my bad. I think we’re far enough away that nobody will have followed us.” I slow down the craft and make the bottom stop glowing blue. We gently approach the ground until we’re just above a sprawling forest. None of the trees are more than 30 or 40 feet tall, so this place had to have been cleared in the last century. The underbrush through the trees is thick, and I hear the buzz of insects.
As a cheer goes up, we head to the west, away from the river and towards safety.