Journey of the Messenger Cycle 1 Part 3d

Journey of the Messenger Cycle 1 Part 3d

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BogWalker turned out to be fine, while both Horse and BigNose had received a number of small cuts. Berri was presently with Flint giving him some advice on how to treat his horse’s wounds. Walker had earned a couple cuts, Flint came away from the fight unscathed and Ijah had a half dozen wounds, none of which were overly serious. Their biggest concern was infection at this point.

Water had been boiled and Ijah had cleaned and wrapped Walker’s wounds, who now was treating her. At first she had been resistant to his help, distrustful of his touch. However he had obviously done this before and she forced herself to relax, allowing the man to give her the treatment she needed. Truthfully she found that she enjoyed the gentle yet confident assistance. He also had a pleasing voice and thankfully did not use it more than required for the task at hand.

Berri on the other hand had been babbling since the three of them had stepped out of the old house. Ijah could not fault the girl over her excitement, it was not every day one had an encounter with the undead, still, she was pouring out her life story to Flint, presently informing him of all her aunts who might find a man, such a he, to be attractive. She sighed and tried to relax her aching body, she focused on her breathing and soon the girl’s prattle faded into the background.

Walker took a moment to throw more wood on the fire, they were now burning the wood that had defined the stalls within the stable, it was old, very dry and smelled horrible as it burned. It was the handiest source of fuel they had, though perhaps the old bones that were everywhere may have burned well enough. Ijah wondered if burning the bones of the undead would be safe.

Walker returned, inspected his handiwork in the better light and fretted about the wound on her upper leg, “It’s still bleeding, much less now than earlier. I could stitch it up?”

“Perhaps in the better light, unless you think I’m going to bleed out.”

“No, you won’t. Unless you open it up again. I’d rather wait until we have the light of day, but you’ll have to stay off the leg and it would be better if you rested.”

“Well, I’ll take first watch and then get some sleep.”

“The rest of us can handle keeping a watch. Drink some more water, then get some sleep. I’ll tell the others to keep an eye on you through the night as well.”

He left her by the fire and Ijah shifted from the stone she had been sitting on to the ground. Berri came over with her bedroll and helped her get settled. Thankfully the girl had stopped talking and Ijah pointedly ignored her concerned looks. For a while she heard the other three talking in low voices, though it was not long before she settled into a deep sleep.

Ijah awoke near sunset the next day, she was exhausted and had been covered in many blankets. She felt cold and yet she was covered in sweat. She sat up, discovered that her leg wound had been stitched up, a tidy job with a fine needle by the look of it. The big guy, Flint, was nearby. He noticed her sitting up and came over with a mug.

“Here, Berri said you needed to drink as much of this as possible.”

Ijah took the mug, gave a sniff and then gulped the liquid down, it was bitter tasting. After a moment she asked, “Where’s BogWalker?”

“She and my cousin went to find you some medicine. She said she had seen something yesterday along the trail that would help you. She also said you need to stay under the blankets and drink as much water as you can. You have a fever.”

“Yeah, feels that way.”

“Do you need me to bring a pot over?”

Ijah was confused for a moment, then realized what he was asking, “No, if you can help me up, I can manage the rest.”

He did help her up and then walked her over to the hole in the ground they had been using for waste, he gave her some space. Once she had done her business she took a slow walk around the old homestead. Many of the bones had been gathered and piled in a couple of places, there was also a pile of weapons near the old oven. By the time she was back to her bedroll she was feeling tired and noticed that she was a bit shaky. Flint had rotated out one of the blankets, now spread over a couple nearby stones to dry. He gave her a hand settling back down. Ijah had intended to stay awake until Berri had returned, but her body had other ideas.

When next she woke up, BogWalker was hovering over her, it was dark. The girl held a cup for Ijah to drink from then told her to lay back down. She was soon asleep again.

Bird song and bright light woke Ijah. She sat up with a start, briefly confused as to where she was. Her head was clearer and her body no longer ached. She was also very hungry. There was a pot simmering on the fire and Walker was nearby picking through some of the weapons they had gathered from the skeletons.

When she rose to her feet Walker glanced over. He smiled at her and said, “You must be hungry.”

“I am.”

He took a cup and dipped it into the small pot then came over to her, “It’s mostly broth.”

She took the proffered vessel and gave it a sniff, it smelled good. She took a sip, it tasted great. She gulped it down, despite the temperature, as he watched her, “There’s more.”

She carefully walked over to the oven and took another cup of the broth. She looked around between mouthfuls, “Where are the other two?”

“The horses needed some exercise and Berri said something about fishing.”

“How long was I in the fever?”

“This is the third morning since the fight.”


“Yeah, you had a bad fever, Berri was very worried.”

“I feel better now.”

“That’s good. Though I was given specific instructions not to let you do too much today. Berri figured when your fever broke last night that you’d be up and about. Likely looking to get back on the road, she expected.”

Ijah gave a noncommittal grunt and looked around the area. She was surprised to see that they had started building a low fence with the bones, Walker chuckled at the expression on her face and said, “Flint was restless yesterday.”

“I think those skeletons were specifically going after him.”

“We noticed.”

“I assume there’s a reason?”

“Well, yes. Not far south from Thom Drago, Flint was investigating a lead that the dwarves had given him about a strange metal door in the foundation of an old building. It was the home of a lich or some other powerful being. Flint killed it with his Ellodran blade. However, when he came up from the lair he found that there were hundreds of undead in the surrounding countryside. By that point he knew I was close, I had sent him a dreaming a couple of night previous, so he fled towards the Madden Hills. The undead followed him.”

Ijah looked at Walked for a few moments. He certainly seemed to believe what he was saying. She had no reason to think he was the sort to fabricate fictions. She considered his words before she said anything else, then asked, “Do you think the creature he slew was a necromancer?”

“Most definitely.”

“The cause of Madden Hill’s undead problem?”

He gave a shrug, “Hard to say. It seems related, but the Madden Hills have had issues with the undead for a long time. The stories about how it all came about are varied. None of them mention a metal door in the ground though. Then there’s also the fact this took place a few days travel west of the Madden Hills. So it could be completely unrelated.”

“When we were in Madden Bridge, just before we left, their marshal had received a message that there were two large hordes of undead moving into the area. From what we heard then, they were about three days away from the town. I’d guess the folks in the valley are fighting for their lives at this point.”

She noticed that he looked troubled by her words. She added, “I’m actually surprised that we haven’t been attacked again. As they seem to be after your cousin, given the time and distances, there should be more of them pretty close. Maybe a lot more.”

“You’re not wrong. We had thought about that, though you were in no state to travel and we’re not the sort to just abandon folks…”

She cocked her head to one side and regarded him with a critical eye, “There were a lot of folks in the valley. Some of them seemed decent enough.”

He looked away, obviously discomforted, “Flint and I talked about that. We both have pressing business to deal with.”

“I’d imagine it’ll be difficult for Flint to conduct his affairs if everywhere he goes undead keep showing up.”

“Certainly would be. We were hoping that if we were able to get far enough ahead of them that they would stop following.”

“Well, there might be someone who could help.”


From down hill they heard Flint give a friendly call up to them, “We’ve come back with company.”

The two of them stood. They could hear the horses starting up the trail and indistinctly Berri’s voice could be heard babbling away. Walker said, “When we’ve sorted out whatever this is, I’d like to hear more.”

Ijah nodded then turned her attention towards their approaching companions. Flint and BogWalker were leading three of the horses, half a dozen rough looking women and children were on them. Bringing up the rear was an orc riding Flint’s smaller horse, a half-orc by the look of it.

Berri waved to them, “Look, we made some friends. There was a big fight, Flint almost died, I saved him, she saved me, now we’re all friends. Oh, and I’d had a dream about the fight a few days ago with a tower on a shield, and there was a real tower too. I caught a bunch of fish, though now I think I should have caught more, but I didn’t know.”

A handful of crows winged into the area, a few of them settling on the rooftops, the last circled over Berri, croaked, then settled on one of the standing stones uphill from their camp.


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