Welome to this week’s Eye of the Storm. I have but one thing to ask in this week’s edition. Please excuse the shamlessly Dwarf-like being found in the story… He just popped into my head that way.
The Wayfairer Part 4
Sara followed Lyan without a sound. She hoped that he assumed that it was because she was still ashamed. She was, it was true. It had been her fault that the brigands had picked them as targets. Lyan had warned her many times that she needed to better secure her purse, to stop the coins from jingling against each other. Defiantly, angry with the taciturn man that had all but forced her from the only home she could remember, she had refused.
The true reason for her silence though, was that she kept all of her energy for keeping up with him. His pace had slackened since the attack, it was true, but her wounds were beginning to fester, and with every step dizziness threatened to overcome her. The steep hill that they now climbed, did not help her situation. Her breath came in short gasps, which as best as she could, she tried to hide from her compainion, and her entire left side, where the two wounds lay, one in her shoulder, and the second at her side, seemed to tingle.
As they crested the hill, Sara looked down upon a dense green forest. Lyan did not pause, but Sara could not help but stop for a brief moment to commit the beauty of the place to her memory. She did not hurry after Lyan down the hill, she knew that the pace at which he strode toward the forest was beyond her capacity. Instead she came after him at her own pace, knowing that he would not go too far before stopping to wait for her to catch him up.
Lyan paused at the base of the hill, and leaned upon the trunk of an old tree which rose high above his head.
“We’re almost there,” Lyan spoke quietly, and Sara thought she caught a hint of concern in his tone, but as soon has he had spoken the words he turned away from her, and moved into the darkness of the forest.
Sara gasped as a circle of finely pointed spears appeared at her throat, as if from nowhere. The denseness of the forest hid their new attackers perfectly.
“Please,” Lyan spoke softly and raised his hands, “We seek the Seer.”
“Why do you seek the Lady of the Pool?” A short, stocky man with a tangled mane of firey red hair appeared from the undergrowth.
“We are injured,” Lyan told him simply. The red-haired man looked Lyan over sceptically, then turned his eyes to Sara. His eyes seemed to soften instantly as he looked upon her, and he went straight to her side, and offered her an arm.
“Your lass is in a bad way,” He said as he began to lead Sara forward. Lyan watched her as she passed, his eyes dark. She could not gauge him, but then she had not been able to gauge him successfully since the moment that she met him.
“The Lady forsaw your arrival,” the red-haired man said quietly as he led Sara down the rough path, “I am Karath.”
“I am Sara,” Karath watched her for a moment with eyebrows knitted together in concentration, then suddenly he burst into a wide grin.
“That is not the name the lady gave you, Mistress, but no matter,” He whistled a merry tune as they followed the path with Lyan and the remainder of Karath’s band following closely behind them. Karath’s band was made up of both men and women, all dressed in leather vests and worn breeches. Their hair and the beards of the men were decorated with beads, gems and feathers, and while their clothes were dusty and worn, their weapons were perfectly tended.
The dense forest gave way suddenly, to a grassed clearing which backed up to a sheer granite cliff. A deep blue lake lapped at the rockface and filled the air in the clearing with a sweet, fresh scent.
“Welcome,” A tall, lithe woman stepped forward from the pool. Sara had not noticed her on her first survey of the clearing. Her flowing blue gown seemed to melt into the colour of the water and seemed almost to flow like water across the blonde haired woman’s frame as she crossed the short distance to where they waited.
“Sara, the forgotten,” She bowed her head with a small smile, “I welcome you to the pool.”
“She is injured, my lady,” Karath spoke quietly.
“Yes,” The woman laughed softly, “I am sorry, I forgot myself for a moment.” she raised her eyes. Sara was startled by her beauty. She skin was flawless and pale, and her smiling lips blood-red. Her eyes though, stared back at her unblinking, and irisless.
“This is the way of my people,” The woman said as she reached out a hand to take Sara’s arm from Karath, “You must come with me now, I am Aierla.”
“What about Lyan?” Sara asked with a note of panic in her voice, “he is injured also.” Aierla laughed lowly.
“Your companions wounds have been well cared for already, for now, it is you that we must care for,” The Seer led Sara toward the pool.
“Where are you taking her?” Lyan growled angrily his hand dropping to the hilt of his sword.
“It is forbidden to unsheath your weapon in the grove,” Karath restrained him, “You must trust in the lady.”
“You must leave the grove,” Aierla said, her voice soft, but firm. Without hesitation every member of Karath’s band returned to the forest. Karath spoke a few soft words to Lyan before together they also turned, and moved back down the path to the forest.
“Drink from the pool,” Aierla said quietly and helped Sara to kneel at the bank of the lake. Sara could not find the strength to argue, and so, carefully, she leant forward and lowered her hands into the cool water.
Small feet pounded upon a stone stairway and the smell of smoke was thick in the air. Two girl-children fled therough the dark streets, frightened whimpers in their throats. The blonde ringlets of the first girl bounced as she ran, dragging her companion a smaller, dark haired child along the narrow streets.
As the mob had advanced on the house that their families shared, the mothers of the two girls had ordered them to run, and never to turn back. The girls had obeyed quickly and quietly, the fear had not come upon them until well after the mob had overtaken the small cottage.
A cheer from the mob caused the girls to pause as they reached the top of the stairwell. Clouds of acrid, black smoke rose from the central square of the fishing village. At the place where the fires burned the brightest the girls could make out two figures trussed tightly. Both of them were women, they knew, even from this distance. One with long, flowing blonde curls, and the other with perfectly straight black hair.
The blonde child bit back a sob, and hastily wiped tears from her bright blue eyes, then turned away toward the road out of town. The dark haired girl, though, did not turn from the flames. She watched tearlessly as the flames engulfed their mothers’ bodies, grimly keeping her deep emerald eyes focussed. A strong wind whipped up around her, and blew her hair across her face, but she did not attempt to move it.
“Run, Child,” She heard her mother’s sweet, soft voice in her head, “At all costs you must survive, without you, there is no hope.”
The Dark haired girl turned slowly to her companion, and held out her hand.
“Come,” She said in a voice much older than her years, “We must go now.”
Sobbing, her blonde companion took her hand, and staggered after her through the unmanned gates.
That’s it for this week – Tune in again next week for the explaination ;). Remember that I welcome any feedback that anyone wants to give, so dont hesitate to email me on [email protected] or PM me.