[continuing story] Whispers in the wind
ok, i'm starting this after i started it on another forum so this first post is about three times what i normally partition the story. you're just getting the first three chapters at once.
Whispers in the wind
By DragonRider2004([email protected])
Moonlight shines on a forest of skeletal trees, its soft white light picking out delicate whorls and patterns in the dead bark caused by insects. Long dead leaves swirl gently in a murmuring breeze that drifts slowly through the trees and around the boulders that dot the landscape. Coming around a particularly large boulder is a solitary man dragging a strange sword. The man moves with the shuffling gait of one who is forcing themselves on even though every fiber in their body cries out for sleep. It is coming after him. He knows it.
Dressed in little more than tattered rags not suitable even to be dish rags the man staggers on fleeing some unknown terror. The scabbarded sword he carries emits a soft radiance even through the metal and leather of the scabbard. Looking up the man sees the flickering light of a fire in the clearing ahead of him. Coming closer he sees seven men and women gathered around the fire, each and everyone looking directly at him.
One of the women speaks in a melodious voice "Come, join us at this fire. For you appear to be at deaths doorstep and the night is cold."
He breaks into a shambling run and smashes through the last few brambles between him and the clearing. Stepping out into the clearing he notices that there is a wagon there even though it was impossible drive one into the clearing, so closely grown were the trees. He walks up to the fire, kneels before the woman who spoke, and speaks for the first time since he can remember. His voice is dry and cracks harshly, yet there is a sort of kindness and a deep sadness in his voice.
"Please milady, I beg of you, food and shelter for one night. I have no money to pay you but I ask this still." he croaks.
"Nonsense, you shall get your food and a bed for as long as you need them. We are not stingy in offering hospitality to travelers here. What is your name?" the woman responds in the same melodious voice that is so easy to listen to.
"Yuræl, the wanderer." the man responds as the dark blackness that he has kept at bay by sheer force of will finally overcomes him and drags him down into the soft darkness of a dreamless sleep.
"Sleep well, Yuræl. For the world has much need of you in this troubled age." one of the men speaks, his voice carrying the sound of one who has read many books and gathered much knowledge.
"Yes, his trials will be great. And yet he will overcome them" speaks another woman, her voice carrying the timbre of one who has cried for too long.
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
He came awake slowly, parts of his body drifting in and out of wakefulness. He realized that he was in a bed and he was covered with a thick woolen blanket that scratched and irritated his skin. There was a soft weight on his chest. Tilting his head up, he saw that it was a pure white cat with a red leather collar. The cat was looking at him with jade colored eyes.
“Hello, kitty.” Yuræl mumbled.
“Mogget! Get off of him!” the lady with the melodious voice hollered at the cat “Shoo! Shoo”
“Mrrroow!” muttered the cat as it got up, walked to the edge of the bed, and jumped down.
“Did you sleep well? I’ve got some porridge left from breakfast if you want. We thought you’d sleep through this day too.”
“H-How long?” he murmured
“Two solid days, and most of this one too. We were beginning to fear that we found you too late.” Suddenly a curtain at the end of the room was flung back to reveal an elderly woman coming into the room carrying a tray of breakfast.
“Where am I?”
“In one of the local inns, the best room in the house in fact. We rented the entire house.”
“Me and the rest of us, Are you going to sit up on your own or do I have to help you?”
“I’ll do it.”
“Ok then. Give a holler if you need something, someone will answer. You’ll find some cloths in that chest over there that should fit.” She said as she made her way to the curtained doorway.
“But what is your name?”
“My name? It’s Dyrim, the speaker.” She said as she left the room.
Sighing, he got up, found some cloths that weren’t too big and ate the breakfast as he pondered what had happened to him. Being unable to remember much of his recent past, he gathered up the dirty dishes and left the room in search of a kitchen and some answers.
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Wandering around the inn, Yuræl found the kitchen and deposited his tray in the waiting hands of Dyrim. After some polite small talk she shooed him out onto a porch overlooking a neatly kept back yard. Two young children, a boy and a girl, are playing with a ball and a beautiful woman sits in a rocking chair watching them. Looking at the woman Yuræl couldn’t help feeling sad for her, he could see how her shoulders were slumped as if a terrible sorrow rested there.
“Umm… Excuse me?”
“Yes? Oh, you’re awake. I was wondering when you’d be getting up! Come, come! Have a seat!” despite the cheerfulness of her attitude her voice sounded like she was moments away from breaking into tears. Carefully Yuræl sat down on the indicated chair.
“Do you know what happened to me? My memory of recent events is quite vague.”
“I don’t know anything more than what happened between when you staggered into our campsite and collapsed. You were asleep before you hit the ground. I thought you were going to die. I’ve seen too many people die y’know. It’s not good for the heart.”
The two children suddenly run up to the deck and jump into Yuræl’s lap.
“Hiya! I’m Kibeth!” chirps the little girl “I’m sweven!”
“Hi! I’m Ranna!” exclaims the boy “I’m nine!”
“Oh dear, I’m sorry about that. They’re two strays we picked up on our travels and we haven’t been able to teach them much in the way of manners.” The lady says. “I’m Astaræl. I’m sorry I didn’t introduce myself before.”
“It’s OK. I’m a little confused about everything anyway.” Yuræl stammers.
“Come pway wif us!” cries Kibeth, pulling his arm.
“Yes, play with us. Please?” Ranna asks.
“Well, OK.” Says Yuræl as he gets up and follows the children.
“Now don’t you two go and tire this man all out! He’s still recoverin’ y’hear?” calls Astaræl as they make their way to the immaculately cut lawn.
“We won’t! We promise!” chorus the children with all the apparent sincerity of youth.