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Rated: E · Chapter · Fantasy · #1146219
Scout and wisdom - swords and powers fantasy
The harvest moon swept its silvery fingers over the forest floor highlighting for a moment the gnarled stumps and twisted roots. As the path snaked away from them through the trees, Matt sensed movement. Knowing as he did the forest he did not dismiss it to the wind that caught the high tops and swayed the canopy. Turning to his left he inched the silver blade from its position at his hip ready for the attack. As he did so a soft hand touched his shoulder and words whispered in his ears

‘Do not worry, the moon is high and the night clear, we will not be bothered tonight’

He wondered has he had many times before at the knowledge and prescience of his companion. She was not, he had decided, a travelling wisdom offering help to the poor and sickly. No she was much more. The short time he had travelled with her had given him more reason then not to look beyond the frayed shawl and dirtied smock and when he did he saw the steel and strength that shone in her eyes.

‘Let us find a clearing and rest’ He offered ‘The night grows cold and soon we will reach the forest’s edge.’

The forest’s edge, that’s what he had agreed. To deliver the wisdom to the Raines River that ran along the east edge of Blackenwood. Any further would have put him at risk, ‘Too many enemies’ he muttered.

‘Rest if you must my Lord, but not in a clearing, although I trust nothing will disturb us we must not tempt anything to try’ she counselled and Matt knew she was right. He needed to sleep but not with one eye open or one ear trained to unfamiliar sound.

As they left the path Matt scored each tree he passed, a brief glance would not uncover these markers but they would help in the morning when light changed the trees and gorse. His companion had found an old oak and he settled himself in its cover. Pulling the scout’s hood low over his eyes he slept.

The morning dew, dripping from the hood, woke him and his eyes dulled by rest sharpened and quickly surveyed their camp. Everything was as he had left it, his sword by his left thigh and the small scouts bag tucked under a tree root. ‘No visitors’ he thought and was relieved to have survived the night. The wisdom, already standing, was moving her hands over the oak and the spot where she had lain. Matt rose and as he did she moved towards him and performed the same actions over his resting place. This ritual had been performed every time they had stopped, and he knew better than to question it.

Following the notched trees Matt led the woman back to the path and they set off eastwards to the river. Although the forest was still dim and the sun low in the sky they moved with haste and arrived at the bargeman’s hut before mid morning. The barge was already crossing so they had to wait sitting on a chest that served as a makeshift bench. Raines river had not the width of the famous Argo that ran through Trimea taking cottons and grain to the sea nor the depth of the Dom that had over centuries carved the great canyons of Anath’ere but no man could cross it alone. The bargeman made use of this knowledge and as the nearest bridge was 5 days hard march to the south he charged accordingly. Five silver coins was the cost of a single crossing and Matt wondered how the man lived in such a small rundown hut when he was taking such a sum.

As he pondered this anomaly the wisdom visibly stiffened and he touched his blade all thoughts of money vanishing from his mind.

‘They’re coming’ she said ‘We must cross.’ Matt had had no intention of crossing; he had fulfilled his promise in delivering her to the river. But those two words froze his soul.

‘How long?’ Matt asked, whilst he studied their options.

‘Three miles northwest of us, She is with them and squeezing every inch of speed from their legs. We must cross now’

The barge was on its return and Matt had to decide stay and face the pursuers or flee with the woman to a land of enemies all to ready to put a knife in his back or a blade in his belly. The look of fear in his companion’s eyes and the ice in his veins made his decision for him. He barked at the bargeman to hurry and he readied their fare knowing the ferryman would not cross without payment.

The barge drew nearer and the wisdom jumped from the bank landing square on the deck, Matt followed and thrusting the silver into the man’s hands order him to return to the far bank with haste. He cursed himself for having rested the night and hauled the barge rope to speed the crossing. The wisdom, eyes closed, was moving her hands faster, and faster creating shapes out of thin air that vanished as soon as they were formed. As she did the barge seemed lighter and easier to pull against the river’s flow. Sweating and cursing Matt crashed the boat against the far bank and pulling the wisdom with him he run up the jetty. The woman was still muttering and casting shapes as the came up the short rise and before the river vanished from sight he saw the barge rope burning until nothing of it remained. He was astonished but ran on praying to the elders that they would be safe.

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