The party packed their things, and climbed aboard the wagon in just under an hour. The constant droning of the rain hammering down on the rooftops and the ground outisde, and the canopy of the trees. Most pressing was the sound of raindrops in water, an unsettling prelude of what awaited them outside. Once they had everything together and set into the cart, they struck out again.
Outside, the roads were flooded, and the rain didn't look as though it was going to let up. Thunder rumbled across the hills as they exited the shelter, welcoming them to the mud and rain. Vance was probably the most displeased of everyone to set foot outside again. The old guard had just dried his armor, and now it seemed that it was for naught. He sighed tremendously, and then recalled that there was others in the party sharing a similar fate. He glanced up at the wagon, at Xylex and his progeny, and sighed, annoyed. He quietly, and quickly, removed his helmet, and his furs. He took them off, one at a time, and slung them over his shoulder. He strode over to the wagon, and passed them over, without making eye contact.
"Wrap yerselves up." He commanded, a little softer than normal. It was kind of difficult to be gentle, with the cold rain beating down on his naked shoulders now. "They'll get soggy before long, so try to stay dry. They'll keep you warm--warmer, at least." Sure, they were furry wolfmen, but no creature enjoyed being pelted with the heavy rain. Not men, not horses, and certainly not dogs. He passed one to both of the pups, and handed the last one to Xylex himself. He wanted to follow up with a growl or threat, but offered only a stout nod, and a benign request:
"No thanks needed; just keep track of these; I want 'em all back before we're done, here."
With his armor all but gone, save for a heavy pair of boots, thick trousers and a small 'kilt' of pelts wrapped around his belt, there was no further reason for him to be weighed down by his spear. He set that in the cart, too. By now, Lars and Xaga had found their way into the driver's bench, and the horses were hitched up and ready to go. At Lars' command, the procession began down the road, into the pouring rain.
The road was difficult to follow in this much water and filth, where it rose nearly a third of the way up the cart's wheels everywhere they went. Worse still, the horses slowed down considerably, to the point where Lars considered returning to the house until the rain let up. Muddy roads were dangerous. If the horses stepped into a pothole, or caught their leg in the mud, such an injury would set them back indefinitely. They couldn't go back, and they couldn't march forward without risking hurting either animal. It was an absolute slog.
However, Lars knew better than to complain. Walking right next to the cart, staying silent, his bodyguard continued to keep watch even as rain soaked into his battered, weathered flesh. It clung to the hair on his head, and ran down his face and neck in rivulets. He was being far stronger than he had any right to, and Lars had to respect that, had to respect that, despite his annoyance with their impromptu passengers, he'd done what he could to help them. Lars even recalled how careful he'd been recovering the body from the bottom of the stairs the other night. Lars had to be better, because Vance was being better, too.
He kept that in mind as he kept his gaze trained ahead, at the muddy, watery road ahead of them. It was still a good day's journey before they'd reach the forest, and they had to take it slower than normal. He'd keep his eyes forward, in case the road conditions improved, or trouble loomed ahead.
Nearby, Vance shuddered, but set his jaw in place and soldiered onward.