Damious must find the Goddess Stone to save his world
The road was hard and slippery under his feet. His breath came in raged pulls that turned to fog with ever exhale. It had steadily gotten colder as the sun had set and he knew if he didn't keep moving he would more than likely freeze to death. If nothing else he thought the cold was at least helping numb the pain in his left thigh. He had been walking for hours and had yet to come across a single dwelling along this cursed road. Waking up after Goddess knows how long, he wasn't sure where he was. He decided the best thing to do was to just head out and see if he could find somewhere warm to hold up.
The faces from that courtyard still haunted him. So many dead and for what? Had he been one of the ones responsible, or was he left for dead as one of them. More importantly then that, why couldn't he remember anything. He shook his head to clear his thoughts. No sense in worrying about right now. If he didn't find somewhere to rest for the night he wasn't going to make it and none of that would matter.
As luck would have it, just as soon as that thought cleared his mind he caught a glimpse of a light ahead in the dark. Hope filled him with energy and he pushed on. As he drew closer he could see that it was a small, shabby looking inn. The sign above the door said it was called "The All Nightier". Pushing his way through the front door he could see the place was empty except for a raged old man standing behind the bar half asleep. At the sound of the door opening, the old man raised his head and look expectantly at him.
"Help you sir? "The old man's voice sound like sand in a tin can.
"Oh dear" An old ladies voice caught him by surprise. He turned to see, she was standing in a side door, presumably leading to the kitchen in back.
"Scott, get him a chair and some of that warm cider, quickly." The old man, Scott moved out and pulled out a chair at the nearest table. The women came to him and lead him to the table.
"Oh my, you poor thing. You are half frozen to death." She said as Scott returned with a steaming cup of cider. He took the cup and slowly put it to his lips. It was warm and sweet. He could feel his inside warm as he gulped down the entire contents in long pull.
"Now that a good boy, drink it all down. Will warm you right up. Martha here makes the best cider in the whole damn kingdom."
He could feel the warmth returning to his body. Unfortunately this also returned the pain to his wounded leg. Absently he reached down towards the wound. Marthia seeing the move she followed his hand down and when she saw his leg her face went slack.
"Now that looks pretty bad young man. Best let me have a look at that leg."
"Please, its fine. I don't want to be a burden to your or your husband" he said pulling his leg back from her grasp. Doing so he noticed fresh blood had begun to soak his pants leg.
Martha stoops over and brought her wrinkled face close to his.
"Now listen to me young man, the cold outside slowed the bleeding for a while, now that your body is warming if it's not tended to you could bleed out. I understand your caution, we being strangers and all, But Goddess as my witness we mean you no harm." She said with a warm smile.
He couldn't explain why but he felt he could trust this women. Besides he thought what choice did he really have? If the words this old women spoke were true, if he did not he would soon be dead. Still holding her stare he gave a slight nod of his head.
"Good, now Scott, help him into one of the guest rooms. I'll be along in a moment after I fetch a few things." With that Scott reached down and helped him to his feet. For an old man, he was unusually strong. They headed towards the back of the bar room and down a hall way. Coming to the first door, Scoot reached out and opened the door. Once inside he could see that it was a decent size room with a small table, couple of chairs and a bed in the corner. The hearth was ablaze with fresh logs and he wondered how that was so. Neither of the old couple had left his sight for more than a minute. Yet the room had fresh sheets on the bed and the hearth was stoked.
"Now you just lie down here on the bed good sir and Marthia will be along in a minute and fix you up. If you don't mind an old man asking Sir, what be your name." Scott asked with a smile.
He looked at the old man and his mind just froze. He couldn't think of what to say. Should he tell this complete stranger the truth? He strained to get his minds wheels turning to come up with a name. After a few seconds he gave up. His mind could not come up with a thing to say. Little did he know but the reason he was so reserved and unable to think was that the poison from the arrow was very strong. It had been several hours since he had been shot and it was starting to shut down his bodies systems slowly.
"That be alright young man, I don't blame you for being wary. You just relax and Marthia be here any second now." With that the old women came through the door carrying a tray. As she sat it on the table he could see her hand Scott a dagger. She grabbed a vial with what looked like a green liquid in it.
At the sight of the dagger he became alarmed and sat up in the bed. If they meant to kill him, he would not go down without a fight.
"Easy there, we mean no harm, Scott will need to cut your breeches so I may clean and dress your wound." Marthia glided over to the bed and placed a hand on his shoulder. Strangely this had a calming effect on him and he lie back down. She uncorked the vial and held it out to him.
"This is an elixir that will help with the pain and help you sleep." He looked from the vial back to Marthia. In the back of his mind something screamed that this all seemed wrong and he should get out of there.
"Fear not young sir, I take a bit of the same often to help with aches and pains of old age." Scott said with his friendliest smile. Reluctantly he took the vial and turned it up. It had a sweet taste and numbed all the way down his throat. Scott moved in and gently started cut his breeches so his wife could have easy access to his wounded thigh.
As the elixir began to take hold he started to drift away into a mind numbing sleep. Just as his eye where about to close he could have sworn he her Marthia say "Sleep well young Damious, your journey has just begun."
The old man Scott turned to his Wife.
"These creatures of yours do not give in to trust very easy"
"Can you blame them, there world is full of evil things." She replied.
"We must move quickly the poison is already causing damage to his brain." She placed a hand on the young man head.
"And his memory?" the old man asked
"It will return with time."
"Would it not be easier to just repair him and send him on his way?" Scott asked
"Unfortunately my dear Artimas that would raise too many question. You know as well as I that if he is to save this world he must be allowed to do so on his own, without our influence. All I can do now is rid him of this poison and stop the bleed that will certainly kill him." With that she laid a hand on Damious' leg. As she did her hand began to glow in a golden light. After a few seconds she laid both hands on his chest and both hands gave off the same golden glow. Finally with what help she could afford she turned to the old man.
"This should be enough to keep him alive without raising his suspicions. Be a dear Artimas and stich up that leg for me." The old man reached for the tray and pulled away a needle and thread.
Pulling his chair forward he begins to put in stiches to close up the wound.
"Will we see him off in the morning?" Artimas asked pulling tight another stitch. The old women though for a second and nodded yes to her companion.
"Excellent. That will give me an excuse to make him breakfast."
"You really have taken to cooking, haven't you?" she asked.
"Yes, My Goddess. I find it strangely fulfilling."
Thomas sat by the fire rolled in his cloak. He had eaten the rest of spiced meat and biscuits for evening meal and was settling in for a long cold night. He had thought he would have made Bren by now, but between dodging Larken patrols and the slick frozen ground, progress had come slowly. He believed he was only a few miles from his destination and had chosen to make camp in a small clearing among thick pines. Now he was just sitting there listening to night, trying to tune into Damious. Off to the west, towards Bren he could still feel the familiar tingle of Damious' Inner Fire. This alone gave him hope that he would find his friend tomorrow.
Before settling in for the night, Thomas closed his eyes and let his Inner Fire expand out. He wanted to check the net he had set up over his camp site. If anyone he didn't know walked up on him in the middle of the night he would know it. Not only that, but Tabitha had shown him a little trick to add to the web that would immobilize anyone stepping into it. They wouldn't be stuck for long, but it would give him time enough to not be caught by surprise.
After seeing that everything was as it should be he rolled himself tighter in his travelers cloak and closed his eyes. He knew he would not sleep much that night. The fire would need to be stoked every couple hours to fight off the frigid night. As he drifted off he thought of Tabitha's kiss.
Morning came too soon, but brought with it the sun. After several days of dreary, overcast skies it brightened his mood tremendously to see the sun. After packing up and removing the web he set the night before, Thomas swung up onto Lightening and headed out to the west. He hoped to make Bren in a few hours. Hopefully it would not take him long to find Damious and this little adventure would be done. Carefully making his way through the heavy underbrush he looked up and saw smoke on the horizon.
"That can't be good." He said to no one. Lightening gave a little snicker and bobbed his head up and down. Progress was slow for a while til finally they came across the road that leads to Bren. Thomas turned the horse and hastened their pace a bit. Several hours later Bren came into sight. Thomas stopped at a nearby grove of trees and tied off the pack horse and then head into the village with lightening. A small stone wall surrounded the village and had a wooden gate were the road entered the village. The gate lay shattered to either side.
The dead lay frozen everywhere. The only life was the crows as they picked at the remains. As he drew closer to the center of the village, flash backs of his dream danced before his eyes. He suddenly pulled lightening to a halt and dismounted. There 30 paces in front of him laid the remains of the fallen statue. Moving quickly he hurried to where he had seen Damious in his dream only to slow when he noticed the body he had seen lying there was gone. He began to cast about for signs of passage and found a set of prints heading further off to the west. Why would Damious go that way? Home was to the east and surly he knew this. Thomas closed his eyes and felt out for Damious. The tingle of his Fire was still there.
Thomas hurried back to lightening then to retrieve the pack horse. If Damious had no found shelter from the night he might be in serious trouble. He led the horses around and skirted the edge of the village. No sense in try to lead them though and have one trip over a body or debris and get hurt. They picked the road back up on the far side and Thomas quickened their pace. He had to find Damious soon or they both would have to spend another night out in the cold.
Pretty soon they came across an old building to the side of the road. The windows and door had long ago rotted out and it look as if it would take much to bring the whole place down. Thomas slowed the horse and noticed that the foot prints lead right up to the front of the building. Damious had been here. He dismounted and moved to the front. Sure enough the tracks lead in, then lead out and continued on down the road. Something struck Thomas as odd. The tracks leading form the village looked like Damious had been dragging one foot. This made sense given that he was wounded. The odd thing was that the tracks leading away looked as if he was walking just fine. He must have held up here for the night, but still where was he going? Thomas remounted and heading on down the road in the direction of the tracks. As he rode away an old man and women stepped out of the building and looked in his direction.
"Will he find him in time?" Artimus asked.
"It will be close my dear. Let's hope he does. If Damious dies at the hands of Savion, all hope for this world is lost." With that a golden glow enveloped them both then suddenly both were gone.