Journey of the Messenger Cycle 1 Part 6e

Journey of the Messenger Cycle 1 Part 6e

Previous Next

 

So far the trip to Twalvin, or maybe Trawlin, had gone well. Yesterday evening she had returned to the sands, though there had been no sign of the road. Berri had not seen much in the way of animals, just a few birds here and there, but oddly no crows. She wondered if Crow had been a figment of her imagination.

That morning she had headed out to the south, around mid-morning she had spotted the old road slightly east of her position. Once on the road she felt better about the trip. Horse seemed to be enjoying the excursion, Berri figured that had to be because of the lighter load.

She worried about Ijah and hoped Osran was following her instructions.

The day was warm and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. Despite the serious nature of her mission, she enjoyed herself. Still, she mourned the loss of Odeena. Her mind kept slipping back to the time they had sheltered together from the wind demons. She did not know what to make of it, she had never felt like that before, about anyone. Why Odeena?

Ahead of her there was a rise in the land, not really a hill… but not not a hill. There was an old gnarled tree atop the rise and a few sheep. Maybe someone was tending the sheep?

She gave Horse a nudge in that direction. Horse shook her head and started prancing up the incline. Berri seemed much better at staying on Horse than her previous experiences riding without a saddle. She had to attribute this to the training she was doing with Ijah. Breathing exercises, stretches and the odd dancing the Kereshi did, Berri figured that had to be it. Ijah had said that her awareness, balance and coordination would improve. Noticing the difference in herself made Berri happy.

As she neared the top of the slope a lad a few years younger than her stepped out from the other side of the tree. He had a sling in hand, staring at her cautiously, “These sheep are under my protection.”

“I’m sure they appreciate that. Is this the way to Trawlin?”

“You mean Twalvin?”

“Yeah, probably.”

He gave her an odd look, but he did relax a bit, “You sure you know where you’re going?”

“Pretty sure. Is Twalvin a border town with a big fort?”

“It sure is.”

“Yeah, then I know where I’m going.”

“Okay. Just stay on the road.”

Further south and somewhat east of their position, Berri spotted a dark smudge that ran southward, along the edge of the Sudakkar. She pointed and asked, rather excitedly, “Is that the TreeWall?”

He seemed surprised at her question, “It is, yes. Where did you hear about that?”

Berri felt a moment of sadness, “I used to know someone from the Republic of Caffern. Are you a citizen?”

“No miss. My family lives north of the border. Maybe when I’m old enough I’ll sign up for military service with the Republic. A decade of service guarantees citizenship.”

“I’d heard that. Well, I need to keep moving. Thanks for the information.”

“No problem. Safe travels.”

Berri smiled, “Thanks. Good luck to you.”

The kid kept an eye on her as she moved past, sling still in hand. Once she was back on the road she was hopeful of reaching Twalvin before the evening. By early afternoon she had noted that there was less sand along the road and that the land had a lusher appearance. She passed a modest homestead, wondering if that was where the shepherd lived.

She soon found herself in a more populated area, there were homesteads every few yat and people moving along the road. She smiled, waved to folks as she passed them and for the most part they returned a friendly greeting. Two riders approached from the south, along the road, moving at a moderate pace. Berri nudged Horse over to the edge of the road to let them pass by. She was surprised when they slowed and stopped.

They both wore the blue of the Goddess of Mercy, they were well kitted out. The man asked, “Is this the one?”

“It would seem so.” Replied the middle aged woman, “Excuse us. Are you in need of a healer?”

Berri blinked at them a couple of times, “Ah, yes. How did you know?”

The woman replied, “I had a dream two nights ago. The Goddess lead me to you.”

“Mardornon’s prick! Thank the goddess!”

They both appeared shocked by her exclamation, though they did laugh. “I take it that’s a yes then?” The man chuckled.

“It certainly is. I’ve a friend a bit less than two days from here, she needs a healer.”

The woman nodded, “So, we should be heading north then?”

“Yeah, let’s go.” Berri turned Horse around. They were on their way back towards Ijah and Osran within moments. Berri could not believe how easy that had been.

They rode at a steady pace, not pushing the horses too hard. The afternoon passed. When they took a short break, the clerics shared bread, cheese and some mead. Berri observed them with curiosity. They both seemed jovial, they treated their horses well and it seemed as if they had known each other for a long time. When the meal was finished the priestess asked, “Do you wish to continue? Or did you and your horse need to rest?”

“Horse is good and I’d rather get back sooner, rather than later. I’m worried about Ijah.”

“What happened to your friend?”

Berri was not sure Ijah was a friend, it seemed too casual of a term, “We were attacked by a wyrm. It killed one of our companions and nearly did the same for her.”

“How was her condition when you left?”

“Fair considering the circumstances. She had fought off a bout of fever. I made sure Osran knew which plants to give her, but, I’m worried about her hand and knee, if she looses much use from either then she’s kind of screwed. She’s a warrior and we still have a long trip ahead of us.”

The priestess asked for specifics about the wounds, Berri answered her questions as best she could. When she had finished answering the priest asked, “I take it Ijah killed the spawn before it finished her off?”

“No, that was me. I shot it in the eye, I nearly hit Osran and Ijah, it was a risky thing to do. A lucky shot really.”

“Perhaps.” He looked to the sun, “There’s still plenty of daylight left. Shall we get moving?”

“Yes.” Berri nodded, “Let’s.”

They kept moving until it was nearly dark, stopping only a few yat from where Berri had made camp the night before. She was tired and sore. Berri took the blanket from Horse and was asleep shortly after laying down. She woke before dawn, the priestess was awake, keeping watch.

Berri yawned, stretched and sat up, “Hey.”

“How do you feel?”

Berri thought about that for a couple moments, “Alright I guess. Sad, sore, worried about my companions.”

The priestess nodded, “Sounds normal under the circumstances. You sound like you’re from up north. Brisken area?”

“Swampdon.”

“Oh, goodness. Is there still war with the Tannicans?”

Berri was surprised by the question, “Yes. It had been going pretty well for a couple of years, but things have changed, there’s a necromancer with the Tannicans now. He raised the dead on the battlefield, from both sides. We lost over half of one of our armies and the Pwhanna also took considerable losses…” She trailed off, unsure she wanted to talk about the reason she and Ijah were so far from the war. This woman might be a Priestess of Mercy, but Berri did not know her.

The priest woke up, he stretched, sang a song of praise as the sun was showing itself on the eastern horizon. Not like those who followed the OldWays, rather, a song honouring the Goddess of Mercy. When he was done they ate the rest of the bread and cheese. Berri shared some jerky with them. It did not take more than a few moments to break camp and inspect the horses, then they were back on the trail again.

It was not long before they found Horse’s tracks from yesterday, some sand had drifted into them, but they were still clearly visible. It was another long day of riding with only a couple of short breaks. By the time they came in sight of the camp it was nearly dark. Osran had kept busy, there was a simple shelter made from branches and a tarp, as well as a small pile of wood near the fire.

Berri called out, “Osran!”

At the sound of Berri’s voice Osran moved out from the garden area, she approached cautiously, “You fast, three day, not five. Good thing. Ijah not wake up since morning, wounds stink. I did everything you said. She fever again.”

The priestess dismounted with a tired sigh, “It is good then that we were able to reach you today. Praise the Goddess for her visions. Now, build up that fire, we brought some wood as well. Show me the warrior.”

 

Previous Next

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *