Epilogue – Pirate Linage

I was  going to post the epilogue today but then the more I looked at it to edit it, the more I couldn’t quite get it right .  I couldn’t quite write enough to make sense.. so I’m scrapping it. No worries though, you’ll be reading more of their adventures. 🙂

 

Instead of posting another story, I decided to do something a little different and do some album reviews.

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Adventures in Food

I wanted to share my latest food related creations.

I know it’s a bit late to make black eyed peas, but I was looking for a meal that’s a bread alternative as I had spaghetti for the past 4 work days and it’s safe to say I’m over it.

So I decided to make black eyed peas with a meat.. but what meat.. then I remembered I have hickory smoked sausages in the freezer, though I normally use bacon to flavor the peas, I decided to try the sausage as it alone was a bit overwhelming flavor wise and way pretty heavy on the salt.

Perfect for use on peas that otherwise have no real flavor.

So i defrosted two sausages, one for my black eye peas and one for a egg, cheese and grit breakfast which we will get to later.

I soaked the peas for two full days as I’ve had problems in the past with soaking them for 6-8 hours (as the package says) and they were still stiff no matter how long I cooked them.

After draining them I put them in a medium pot with water and chopped up pieces of sausage and turned it at first to hi heat (9) and then realized if I wanted to ever get my stove clean again (for those that don’t know black eyed peas form a goop that is cement like when it dries.. good luck getting that off of anything) I wanted to turn the heat down to about halfway (5-6) and let it go.. when the water cooked down I filled it back up, stirred and let it go.

I did this about 4 times in total the final time I tested a pea and it was hot.. which happened to hit the spot where I burned the roof of my mouth last night eating volcano hot nachos but it was good, so I took it off the heat and sampled again wanting to make sure I could taste flavor.. there was lots of it..  perfect.

I scooped it out into 2 lunch sized bowls and 2 snack sized ones as I’m going to share a bit with a co-worker who says he will try anything once.

The end result.. black eyed pea goodness and lunch for two work days 🙂

As for my sausagem egg, cheese grit adventure.. I have packets of microwaveable grits.. they were on sale at Publix and I got them. I realized that the one small package is just not enough for breakfast so I made two and while eating the country bacon flavored one.. I got an idea.. what if I added cheese, egg and a meat…

the meat being sausage..

Well now I have breakfast for two mornings that’s  premade and just needs a little mircowaving.

I am a fan of smoothies.. I’ve made several in the past following a simple recipe but was forwarned by a friend that putting any type of juice in a smoothie makes it highly unhealthy.. so I decided to omit the juice.

My latest creation is below.

It consists of water/ice, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and grapes.. and a bit of honey.

Nothing unhealthy about it.. all the fruits were frozen.

Chapter 6 – Death & Rebirth part 2

part 2

Delmar found Kiera leaning against a tree, her eyes covered by her arm crying, “All those people. You were right I’m sorry I didn’t know. “

“You couldn’t have known. Those people can’t be helped now, they’re at peace. “

“But we can fight to save others keep this from happening again. “

She sniffled.

“What would Marritt say if he saw you now? He wouldn’t want to hire a crying bounty hunter.”

She cracked a slight smile and regained most of her composure.

“You’re right it’s just I didn’t believe you –“

“I know I wouldn’t have either.”

“Let’s go stick it to the Dark Lord shall we?”

She nodded.

 

 

“I saw what you just did” a voice said, stepping out of the shadow of the trees, revealing himself to be Kanjyor.

“What of it?” her orange eyes glowed brightly.

“You can cure me. “

“No.” Y’elt said firmly.

“Come closer.”

He did so without realizing it as though he was being pulled by some unknown force.

Y’elt stepped forward to stop him but he found himself frozen in place unable to move.

She grabbed Kanjyor’s arms closing her eyes and began to chant.  The writing came alive once again but unlike last time it didn’t crawl away from her. Instead it stayed on her arms, twisting into a rope like material which then split one, half heading up her arms covering up to her neck, the other half heading down to her boots.

Y’elt watched in suspended horror as her hair came loose from the bun she had it and began to ooze red. Running down over her shoulders like a waterfall dyeing her clothes as it went and finally collecting at the ground around her.

When she let go her eyes snapped open looking directly at Y’elt. Her eyes were black, void and soulless.

“I’m final cleansed.” Kanjyor whispered as he backed away from the woman, marveling at his unmarked skin more to himself than anyone else completely oblivious to what was going on.

“But at what price?” Y’elt asked when he was able to move again.

Kanjyor looked up and gasped in horror at seeing Nyri, “What have I done?”

 

“Nyri?” Kiera went pale upon seeing the native in her current state.

Dark clouds appeared on the horizon and the wind picked up, blowing fiercely as thunder rumbled in the distance.

“He is coming.” Nyri said her voice distance but her eyes were on the horizon.

Y’elt stepped towards her as it to touch her, but Kiera pulled him away, ”There’s nothing we can do for her now.”

He was about to protest when he heard a growling noise, from the woods. Emerging form the shadows was the panther followed by Morishta.

They backed up, afraid to turn their backs on any one of the three, inadvertently backing themselves into what remained of the group. Y’elt turned seeing Seline who had an otherworldly presence about her.

“The goddess.”

“She has awakened and just in time it seems.”

Seline stepped forward saying a few words and the krisna around them were revealed. They hissed in protest but dared not make a move closer.

Thunder rumbled as the sky darkened quickly and a dark cloud formed between Nyri and Morishta.  The cloud took the shape of the dark armored knight. Laughter came booming from him that echoed in the armor.

“You think you can stop me? Kill them all.”

 

“Don’t do this Morishta.” Aquil begged.

“All those years of struggling with the panther for control and you want me to go back to that? Nae wasn’t powerful enough to help me.”

“She did help you, she kept you alive.”

“But at what price? To be sickly and ridiculed? I would  rather been dead. He gave me power my allegiance belongs to him.”

“And I reward that loyalty with immortality. “

The dark armored knight held out his hand and in it formed a light purple cloud which crackled with lighting. The cloud moved towards Morishta and as it did it grew larger and larger so that by the time it reached her it was able to envelope her. Aquil broke away from his fight with a krisna, running into the cloud. A shrill shriek startled everyone as the cloud that had encased Morishta had dissolved revealing for a moment Aquil kissing Morishta. The darkness that had surrounded her had lifted and she returned to normal. The sky opened up and it began to rain melting the krisna where they stood.  A sudden bolt of lightning shot out from the cloud striking Aquil turning him to ash. She screamed tears began to flow mixing in with the rain.

“No!” she knelt before the ashes, trying to gather them together as if her sheer will could bring him back to life..

 

Seline took the momentary distraction as an opportunity, ”I hereby banish you, Signess Dark Lord of Destruction to the underworld take your minions with you . “

The ground rumbled and opened up around the dark knight who grabbed onto Nyri dragging her down. The ground closed up again, leaving Nyri’s hand  sticking out of the ground. Seline stepped forward, she bending over taking the native’s hand the ground parted slightly as if by her sheer will, setting Nyri free.

In her touch Nyri was transformed eyes turning from black to dark brown back to their normal orange, blood red hair faded back to black and the writing was sizzled off of her arms.

“You have a mission the panther still roams free.”

The native bowed before her.

Seline smiled and then moved towards Morishta who was still at Aquil’s ashes crying.

“My child, he is at peace.”

“It should have been me.”

“Has enough blood not been spilt today?”

“I wish it had been mine.” She said woefully.

“Do not wish for death so freely.”

“Why not?  I am nothing now, I have been exiled from my tribe and I am now truly alone.”

“My child, you are never alone. You have now another mission that lays before you.”

“Find the panther?” she questioned sniffling.

She nodded, smoothing Morishta’s hair like a mother.

“May I ask why did you not spare Aquil?”

“He saw your suffering was great and sacrificed his life for yours.”

“I killed him.”

“No, he sacrificed himself so that you could live. You had no hand in his death, every action he did was for you. To make sure you would survive. Nae would be proud.”

“I doubt it.”

“She never expected you to survive; she underestimated your will to live and Aquil’s commitment to you. You did not completely succumb to the darkness, do not live your life in shame.”

And with that the glimmer of hope faded sparkling from within and the pure white aura that had surrounded Seline faded, returning Seline to her normal self.

 

“What do we do now?” Kanjyor asked most of the group settled by the campfire.

“Got to the Rothous and tell Nae what has happened here so that their bravery will not be forgotten.”

He shifted his weight uneasily, her hand touched his, “I know it means you will have to face Aeji but once all is explain her can no longer deny you are cared and worthy of being a Kyti again.”

 

“Now that you’re rescued what do you plan to do?” Kiera asked, poking the fire with a stick.

“Return to GoldenCity and restore it to its former glory. You are more than welcome to join us.”

The bounty hunter looked thoughtful for a moment.

“I could use someone with your fighting ability.”

“What else are you going to do?” Delmar asked.

She shrugged,” You have a point. When do we leave?”

“In the morning.”

 

“Let me go with you.”

Nyri looked up from her packing,”Will you be able to strike the killing blow?”

Morishta paled.

“I didn’t think so. What good are you to us then?”

“I know where she is and can lead you to her. Without me you will be hunting in vain.”

“Fine. But if you in any way hinder our hunt I will leave you for dead. Understood?”

“Yes.”

“We leave tonight.”

Chapter 6 – Death & Rebirth – part 1

Death & Rebirth

Delmar awoke to a sword at his throat; the sharp edge grazed him ever so slightly. The owner of the sword‘s eyes were wet and dark as if she didn’t get enough sleep.

“Whatever spell you cast undo it, NOW.”

“I didn’t cast a spell,” he said with all the calm he could muster trying not to move for the sake of getting his throat sliced.

“Liar! Give me a reason not to kill you where you lay.”

“I don’t believe in spells and magic remember?”

“That is not reason enough.”

“Did you ever wonder why you can’t remember anything before the H’enigh? Memories of your childhood or parents or where you grew up? They may be a reason for that.”

Her stance wavered slightly as if considering his words. She sheathed her sword and offered him a hand up, he took it and was pulled up with surprising strength.

It wasn’t until sometime later he gathered the courage to question her change of heart.

“Would you rather be dead?”
“No I-“

“Look, whomever you think I am is not who I am. Let’s just drop and find your princess. “

“Why did you become a bounty hunter?”

She shrugged. “What else would a former H’enigh do? Become a housewife?”

“Become a merchant or pirate?”

Her nose crinkled , looking up at the sky she squinted seeing a dragon flying overhead. Kiera puts her fingers in her mouth and whistles loudly.

Delmar cringed “What was that for?”

“How else am I going to get his attention?”

“I have no intentions being dinner. “

“He’s not going to eat you. “

The dragon did a graceful circle around them and landed in the clearing. Dark purple scales glinted in the sunlight as it tower high above them. She spoke to it in another tongue it made a chattering noise and blew smoke out of its nostrils.

After a few moments Kiera turned to Delmar,“Y’elt’s been following a group of krisna that just passed thru this way with Nyri and a blonde woman, they came from GoldenCity. They’re heading towards Hagemage.”

“ Isn’t Hagemage sacred?”

“The borderlands between Hagemage and Yor are a shelter for those who practice dark magic. More than likely they are being taken there. He’s offered to catch us up. “

The dragon lowered himself to the ground allowing them to climb on his back near his neck. Standing up slowly it sprung into the air with a mighty leap its wings beating fiercely. The wind whistled in Delmar’s ears as they soared through the air.

The dragon tilted slightly suddenly drawing Delmar’s attention to a clearing where several beings were gathered.  He wanted to ask what was going on but a shrill shrieked froze the words in his throat. The noise belonged to a skeletal dragon as it called out a warning to the other beings on the ground.  Soon there were several more dragons heading their way and arrows began to whizz by Kiera shouting in a foreign tongue at them. An arrow grazed his lower leg, the sheering pain cause him to clench his teeth before he could make a move to see how bad the damage was he noticed they were going to make a nose dive for the nearby lake.

“Hold your breath!” Kiera shouted just before they hit water.

It took him few moments or two to surface slightly disoriented his leg throbbing with pain, he lowered his head for a moment afraid that whatever it was would still be after them. Kiera’s head popped out of the water.

“What was that all about?”
“Something big is going on.”

Another head poked out of the water, it was a man whose black hair that was plastered to his face, he swept it away revealing odd colored eyes, “Sorry, there was no way to outrun them.”

“You’re a shape shifter?” He said in disbelief.

Kiera nudged him hard glaring at him.

Y’elt seemed to not notice.

“They’re afraid of the water?”

“Not afraid, can’t swim.”

“Oh.”

“Nyri is there and so is your Seline.”

“How do we attack?”
“Ambush, it is the only way we will have a chance. Do not let them touch you or you will become one of them.”

“We need to get close as we can without them seeing us.”

They lept out of the bushes just as another group of two men and a woman from the opposite side did. Everyone paused for a moment forgetting their objective.

“Adra?”

“Delmar?”
“Look out!” someone shouted.

The  shriek of krisnas and sword clanging soon filled the air.

“Morishta!” a voice cut through the clanking of the swords a warrior was looking directly a woman who held a jagged dagger as she was just about to stab a blonde haired woman.

“Seline!” Delmar shouted

Aquil tackled Morishta knocking the dagger out her hand in the meantime Delmar freed Seline

“Are you ok?” He asked nearly hugging her.

“ I think so,” she asked dazed,” Where am I?”

He pulled her away from an advancing krisna.

“We’ll catch up later.”

Morishta hissed in anger holding her wrist as though injured but retreated along with the krisna.

Introductions were made and they broke off into smaller groups.

Adra began sprinkling powder  around the area to make a protective circle.

Seline found herself drawn to the mage, unable to stop herself from walking closer. The words the mage uttered a moment ago  were unfamiliar to her but now she understood with perfect clarity.

The woman paused for a moment to get more of the purple powder form the pouch tied to her waist.

Seline smiled an otherworldly smile and said in a voice not her own, “It is good to know that my followers still believe.”

“What needs to be done my goddess?” Adra knelt, bowing her head before the blonde woman

“Stand up my child, do not kneel before me. You have heard my call and tended to those in need that is all that I can ask of you. There is much work to be done before dusk as they will be returning.”

“I thought we defeated them?” Aquil piped in.

“Surely you did not think a servant of Signess would slip quietly into the night? No, they are gathering their forces as we speak. The darkest hour lays ahead. Grim decisions must now be made.”

Seline turned her eyes resting them on the Rothous warrior.

“What must I do Goddess?”

“You are the only thing that keeps her bound to this world. If she turns completely all hope will be lost.”

He looked at her eyes and in it he saw the answer, the only thing he could do to save her.

“Now is the time to ask her.” Delmar encouraged as Nyri and Y’elt walked out of earshot.

They walked up to Nyri who leaned slightly against a nearby tree. Y’elt stood beside her looking uneasy.

“What happened to my memories?”

“I took them.”

“You have no right to take them.”

In a flash Kiera had unsheathed her sword and had it at woman’s throat. Nyri’s eyes reflected slight amusement.

“Would you have preferred death?  If you kill me they will be gone forever. “

“Give them back. “

“Is this really what you want? “Y’elt questioned

She glared at him, “You knew?”

“Yes.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“It was not my place to tell you.”

“So you let her tell you what to do now?”

He ignored the insult “It was for your own good.”

“How could you? I trusted you.”

“You were nearly dead when we found you. Nyri’s only choice was to kill you so that krisna would not claim you.”

“How am I to believe you now?”

Y’elt turned to Nyri who shrugged, “I can give them back to you, if that is what you want.”

“Yes.”

“Very well.”

Nyri grabbed Kiera suddenly by the wrists and began to chant. The writing on the H’enigh’s arms came to life moving slowly as though a snake twisting and slithering to Kiera’s arms. The smell of burning flesh invaded the air, Delmar turned his head trying not to gag. When he turned back he saw the bounty hunter on her knees before the native.

“That’s enough Nyri.” Y’elt said concerned for both women.

She ignored him, cowering over the now crying Kiera,” Is this too much for you? You wanted it back you will have all of the pain and anguish that was that night.”

“NYRI.”

A smile crept upon her lips causing Delmar’s blood to run cold it was a smile of pure evil. The black snake like creatures fell off of Kiera’s arms and slithered back to Nyri crawling up her boots. A shiver went down Delmar’s spine.

Kiera got up uneasily and ran, Delmar followed her not wanting to spend a moment longer in the native’s presence.

Chapter 5 – Darkness Falls – part 2

part 2

It had been nearly a week since the incident he came and went at night as he pleased but remained with her during the day.

At dusk she felt a strange presence.

“Don’t go.” She said as he was heading towards the door.

“You’re concern is flattering but the hunting is prime at this hour.”

“Let me go with you, so I can make sure you are safe.”

“Very well.”

His body shivered and took the form of the wolf waiting at the door for her. She grabbed some spare bandages and her coat. Opening the door for him, he bounded out with nearly wreckless abandon disappearing into the snowy landscape.

Her heart sank upon hearing a muffled thud in the snow.

Going towards the noise what she saw caused her to gasp. A black panther stood on top of a man clawing into his back and spraying the snow red with blood.

“Stop it!” she shouted with all her might. The animal stopped glancing up at her with green eyes, it crouched down and lept for her.

She muttered a quick prayer and braced herself for impact. A sudden yip pierced the air, as a blur of grey came across her line of vision and intercepted the panther, pinning it down by the neck.

Both animals fought fiercely kicking up snow that was tinged with blood. The wolf refused to let go of the feline’s neck and it submitted laying down. The wolf finally let go backing away as the panther and wolf both began to shimmer, the wolf returning to the familiar form of Kanjyor and the panther into a raven haired woman.

 

Kanjyor surveyed the damage bending down to check the pulse of the woman.

“What have you done?”

“I saved your life.” He said defiantly

“You could have broken her neck.”

“But I didn’t.”

Adra check on the man who lay face first in the snow, feeling for a pulse on his neck.” He’s alive.”

“Do you think you can carry the woman?  The blood will attract predators if we don’t move them soon.”

She wordlessly wrapped the unconscious woman in her coat picking her up carefully.

 

Aquil woke to strange voices to a tingling sensation in his back, finding himself on his stomach he tried to roll over making it to his side. The sensation gave way to pain which caused his back to spasm  and him to fall off the cot He landed on his cheek bone with a thud. He grunted struggling to get back up when arms helped him up. The arms belonged to an auburn haired woman.

“You tore a stitch open,” she noted her voice soft and soothing “but you’re at least you’re awake which is more than I can say for your companion.” She carefully took the cloth off his back checking the wound.

“Morishta?” he managed through gritted teeth.

“She’s alive.  Kanjyor spared you from the worst of it. Here drink this, she offered him some green looking liquid he eyed it suspiciously despite his thirst.

“It’s nothing more than crushed herbs that will help you heal, those are some pretty deep wounds and will leave scars.”

He accepted allowing her to tilt the clay mug so that he could drink, he finished it quickly.

“Where are we?”

“Safe. This may hurt a bit.” He jumped at her touch, “I have to pull a stitch to seal it again.”

He felt a slight tug on his skin as she pulled gently at the thread and soon  found himself drifting off again.

 

When Aquil awoke the next time he was laying on his back he sat up slowly finding his back stiff from the lack of movement with virtually no pain.

“Hungry?”
“Yes. “

“Here is some stew.” The woman put the tray in front of him,” I’m Adra.”

“Aquil.” He said and proceeded to taste the stew, it was oddly familiar, “I’ve had this before.”

“I wouldn’t doubt it,” a male voice replied,” it’s a recipe only the Kyti tribe uses.”

“You’re a Kyti?”

“Former. I was exiled for the same reason as your companion, was.”

“Can you cure her?”
“No.”

“Where is she?”

“Resting.”

“You came to Hagemage for a cure?”

“Yes, is there a mage who can separate them?”

Kanjyor glanced at Adra and shook his head.

“I would if I had the ability.” She said wistfully.

Kanjyor opened his mouth to reply but stared at something in the doorway. Adra’s glance followed and she gasped. Aquil follow their gazes and saw Morishta standing in the doorway.

“What is that delicious smell? I’m ravenous.”

“Morishta? I thought you were injured?” Aquil managed to find his voice despite his shock.

“It was just a scratch,” she said marking her way towards the pot of stew and sniffing it appreciatively.

“How do you feel? “Adra asked cautiously.

“Fine, once I eat.” She served herself stew, and in tasting it she turned to Kanjyor, “Kyti recipe?”

He nodded.

“I had always smelt it but never dared to have any.”

She finished the bowl quickly setting it down and returning her attention to them.

“Don’t look so surprised to see me alive and well. I no longer fear the panther. Signess gave my life back to me to have control over the beast.”

“You may believe you have cheated Signess. You may think your dealings with Signess are done but they aren’t.”

“And you are one to talk. You’ld rather bear the pain then surrender to Him.”

“I would rather fight than admit defeat.”

The uneasiness between the two spilled into the night as Adra settled into her cot a hand came over her mouth it was Kanjyor’s

“Don’t touch her.  She may appear harmless now, but this won’t last. Signess will come for her and I don’t want you dragged into the darkness with her. I may not be able to retrieve you if it happens.”

She searched his features seeing only concern and worry.

“Promise me you won’t touch her.”

“I promise.”

“Good I will return in the morning.”

 

Morning broke and Kanjyor was nowhere to be found.

“Is this normal?” Aquil asked.

“No. I should go find him.”
“Let me go in case someone has tried to hunt him again.”

She nodded in agreement, he hugged Morishta and told Adra he would return with Kanjyor.

 

“we are alone at last mage.”

The tone of Morishta’s voice cause the hairs to rise on the back of Adra’s neck.
“Do not feat me. Join me.” She stepped closer, “You are all the stands between Signess and the destruction of all of Yasorus. Join us and rule this world.”

“Never.”

“then die with them.” The woman snarled and lunged. Adra ducked out of the way just in time shoving a wooden chair in raven haired woman’s way. The chair hit the woman knocking her into the door and causing her to hit her head, she crumpled into a pile on the floor.

 

When Adra caught her breath she dared go near the unconscious woman. A hand shot out and grabbed Adra’s ankle she scream as she was dragged into the darkness.

 

She is shaken awake by Kanjyor finding herself in a cot.

“You touched her didn’t you? I warned you-“

“I didn’t touched her, she grabbed me.”
“What did you see?”

“Signess is going to destroy all of Yasorus if we don’t stop Him.”

“Adra, we don’t have the ability to stop a God.”

“There are others in danger. We must do something.”

“You can’t save everyone.”

“We can at least try.”

“And get yourself killed.”

“Does that mean you’re coming with us?”

He sighed,” Only to make sure you don’t get killed.”

“Good, we leave in the morning.”

“Why not now?” Aquil asked.

“It is not far they are on the borders of Hagemage and Yor. Signess is gathering his forces.

 

It was nearly midday when they spotted the krisna  in the clearing before them. They crouched in the bushes.

“There are so many of them. What’s our plan of attack?”
“Adra, do you think you can protect us long enough to charge in?”

“I can try.”

“That’s all I can ask. Ready?”

Adra and Aquil nodded.

Chapter 5 – Darkness Falls part 1

Darkness Falls

It had been months since Delmar had left her. She busied herself with collecting and crushing herbs and healing and trading for supplies that would last her through the long blizzard season. It was in harvesting some lola root during dusk when she felt herself being watched. Turning she found herself staring into the yellow eyes of a wolf.

Her heart thudded against her chest, it was much bigger than her and very much capable of tearing her to pieces, but then she saw it move to lick its right hind leg that had been injured.

She crouched down slowly before the animal it watched her intently.

“I’m not going to hurt you. “Looks like you got into a hunter’s trap, “she whispered, reaching out to let the animal sniff her. Then moved closer, letting her touch it. Her hands immediately stroked the animals soft thick fur. The wolf closed its eyes for a moment as if enjoying the attention.

Adra was able to get a better lock and the wound it was red and possibly infected.

“It’s not far to my cabin, there is some food and water and I can bandage you properly there.”

The animal seemed to understand the offer and moved away from her turning as if waiting for her to follow.

It led her straight to her cabin, she let it in. While it was sniffing around, she got some cloth bandages ready. It settled in front of the fire stretching out. She kneeled down before it slowly and began to dress the wound with some of the lola root paste and then wrapped its leg so it would not fall off.

When she was done she brought it some dried met and a bowl of water.

“Sorry this is all the meat I have.” She apologized as the wolf looked at her for more.

She settled into her cot watching the fur of the now sleeping wolf rising and falling.

 

When she woke up the next morning the cabin was cold and the wolf was gone. Going outside to get more firewood she managed to start another fire and made herself some hot tea. Deciding to venture out to the market for a few more supplies she overheard the chatter from several of the local hunters talking about a wolf that was seen near the cattle at dawn that morning. One remarked to the other how unusual it was that it had a bandaged leg.

When she returned and unpacked her few items she decided to venture out in search for the wolf that afternoon. Knowing it would be killed by the hunters. Its not long into the woods that she hears cursing, running towards the sound she finds a hunter with the wolf in sight of his crossbow.

“Don’t!”

“Are you mad? It’s been murdering cattle.”
“Don’t you do the same when you butcher it for food?”
“but it feels the village.”
“And the wolf is hungry, how are we so different?”

“We’re not covered in fur and prowl on all fours. I’m going to kill it.” He turned from her the wolf closed its eyes and braced for its fate.

Desperate she did the only thing she could and shoved the hunter. He grunted landing in the snow. The wolf yelped catching the arrow to its upper thigh. She ran to it ignoring the hunter’s curses.

“You’re a crazy woman trying to save that animal. It will eat you alive. It’s a killer do you hear me?”

“Who gave you the ability to choose which animal lives and dies?” she shot back before kneeling before the animal.

She said a quick prayer to the Goddess in hopes that the hunter was wrong and lifted the animal up, surprised by how light it actually was.

 

Getting the animal laid out on her cot.

“This will hurt.” She cautioned getting a cloth putting it near the wound and gripping onto the arrow with the other hand and pulling. It popped out with ease and she put pressure on the wound to stop it from bleeding so much. Once that was under control she turned to dispose of the nasty arrow. Turning back to her patient she gasped seeing the animal’s fur stretch to skin turning slowly into a human male. She quickly gather blankets for him upon seeing the goose bumps on his skin.

She finished bandaging the wound and covered him with the blankets.

“Thank you.” He managed.

“Rest.” She said, he closed his eyes.

She waited for a moment and waited for his chest to rise and fall slowly with the onset of sleep. It was then in looking at him she noticed the markings along his lower arms. She reached out to touch them cold fingers startled him awake.

His lips moved but she could no longer hear him as darkness invaded her mind.

 

She came to slowly reaching for her head. Yellow eyes filled with concern and worry watched her.

She tried to sit up, “What happened?”
“You’ve been out for two days.”

To her quizzical look he explained, “You tried to cure me by taking in the darkness.”

“I’m sorry.” She said suddenly feeling guilty.

“If it wasn’t for you rescuing me the last time from that hunter I would have been dead. It was time to return the favor. I’m Kanjyor .“

“Adra. “

He nodded “Of the Corthaen. “

She started.

“We shared memories long enough for me to know that. Here,” he eased the pillows behind her so she could sit up with support, “Hungry? “

It was then that she smelt the stew that was cooking on the fireplace.

“While you were out I took the liberty of doing some hunting. “

She blanched, remembering her dream of the wolf chasing her with teeth bared.

“The hunt wasn’t as violent as what you saw earlier, that’s the darker side of the wolf. During the day he’s pretty tame. I caught a wild hare to put in the stew.”

“How did you get those markings?”

“I ate a cursed animal and became marked and exiled. It is said that the only one who can cure me is one who is able to harness the darkness itself. “

“Only a krisna could do that.”

“One would think, but I hold to hope. Did you not feel fear when you approached the wolf?”

“I did but I saw no anger, just pain.”

“Then you saw what the villagers could not.” He walked towards the door.”

“You are safer here than out there.”

“Don’t worry, I am only getting more firewood. You have not yet recovered your strength.”

Chapter 4 Homecoming part 3

Part 3 (a little longer than the other two parts.. sorry)

It had been sometime since she left , the tavern began to pick up again. He had to assist with getting tables ready as they were several barmaids short. He felt something crack against his head and he fell to the floor.

Delmar came to reality slowly, greeted by a dull throbbing in the back of his head. He rubbed it gently feeling for a knot. Trying to remember what happened that lead to his now prone position when he tried to get up when he felt a boot planted squarely in the middle of his back holding him down.

“Welcome to the land of the living.” a lightly accented female voice said above and behind him.

He heard a heavy sighed from the bar counter and knew it was Tekr.

“Be glad he didn’t show up himself. “

“Get up.” The bounty hunter said gruffly behind him

He managed to slowly, trying to make a sly move to see his assailant only to be met with a sword point.

“I doubt Marritt’ll want him scarred.”

“He was going to pay double for him dead, but I’ll let him take care of that himself.”

He was led out onto the street with the sword still at his back. The sun was disappearing  behind the mountains that both protected and separated GoldenCity from the rest of Akra.

The woman kept the blade as his back throughout their journey, leading him down the steep worn path towards the docks and the tavern. The worn wood of the docks creaked nosily beneath their feet.

Pushing open the door he was greeted by a massive grinning pirate who was every bit of the width of the bar he was standing behind. His gold tooth caught the lamplight of the tavern and glinted.

“Well, well, well. Good to see ya Delmar. I see ya’ve met my bounty hunter.”

The bounty hunter took a seat to Delmar’s left and pulled a small pouch out from under the counter pushing it across the counter. The bounty hunter caught it and opened it counting the coins, seemingly satisfied closed the pouch and tucked it underneath his cloak. Pushing the hood back revealing a face that been haunting his dreams.

His jaw dropped.

“Kiera?”
A scowl came across her face, hardening her appearance, “How did you know my name?”

The bounty hunter glanced at the owner of the tavern who shrugged his gigantic shoulders.

“Think ya might’ve hit him too hard.”

“If you wanted him dead that can still be arranged.” She offered

“Not ‘til he pays his debt. What say be ya punishment?”

“Barnacle duty?” she suggested idly, sliding off the barstool.

“Aye. That’s  a good one. But I’m a bit short on barmaids tonight. How ‘bout ya be a barmaid for the night and earn the 100 gold ya owe.”

“In one night?” he said in disbelief before he could stop himself.

“Aye. Unless ya prefer a watery grave.” His features turned dark and serious.

“N-no, that’s fine. ”

“Good, now git to work.”

The tavern was crowded with bodies and smells assaulted his nose.

At one point he had so many plates piled on the tray that he lost his footing and accidentally spilled ale on a blonde haired pirate.

She immediately got to her feet with her sword drawn,”Ya spilled ale on me!”

“That shirt was already stained.”

One of her pirate buddies pulled her back, ”Jenika, ya know getting into a fight with a bounty hunter ain’t gonna be fair.”

“No honor among thieves an’ mercenaries are worse’n us.” Another one of her cronies piped in.

“Ya better listen to ‘em.” Kiera cautioned, hand on the hilt of her sword, eyes sparkled dangerously.

The blonde woman baked down.

At the end of the night Delmar approached Marritt presenting him with the gold he had made, knowing it was short by at least twenty pieces.

The large man waved away his gold,”Ya debt’s ‘ve been paid. Could offer ya a spot here if ya want it.”

“No thanks.”

“Allright then, git outta my sight.”

Delmar obeyed slipped out into the cool crisp air of the autumn evening. He stumbled a few times trying to find the path back up to the city mercifully, the clouds moved and the full moon illuminated it for him.

Pushing the doors open he found the tavern nearly empty and oddly still. The hairs stood up on the back of his neck, something was  terribly wrong.

“Where is she?”

“Gone child.” A teary eyed Celea said between sobs.

“How?”

“She never came back from the market.”

“I’ve got to find her.”

He leaves to town center it’s dimly lit curses himself for not remembering his training. He bent down to trying to read the tracks, but he gave up a few moments later. Standing up quickly he and  nearly smacked into a cloaked figure.

“Watch it.” An annoyed voice said.

“Kiera?”

“What are you doing here?”

“I was leaving.”

“Can you help me?”

“If you didn’t have enough gold to pay Marritt, I doubt you can afford me.”

“I will pay you back.”

There was hesitation in her features, then it changed, “What is it?”

“I’m looking for a friend, she disappeared at the market today. Can you read those tracks?”

She glanced at the ground, pushing some of the gravel out of the way with her boot.

“Looks like there was a fight, a blonde woman and…” she frowned sniffing the air,”krisna?”

“A what?”
“Signess minions, they are mindless servants to his will. “

“I don’t believe in magic.”

“Your disbelief will not shelter you from Him, it will only make you more vulnerable. One from them will cause writings to appear on your arm and you will be cursed to become  one of them.”

He shivered despite himself.

She didn’t seem to notice, following the trail.

“They left the city and headed east.”

They walked as far they could

Daybreak was upon them he was hungry and tired. She had dried meat gave him a small portion .

“You didn’t come prepared?”

“I didn’t expect to leave the city.”

“Let’s make came here. We’re no used to anyone as tired as we are.”

She took off her cloak revealing a shirt, seeing a mark on her upper arm.

It was then that he noticed the mark on her upper right arm.

“What is that?”

“The brand of the H’enigh.”

“A what?”
She sighed,” Are you truly that oblivious to things not under your nose? They are a tribe from Monora.”

“You’re a native?”

She nodded

“You don’t look like one.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”
“I thought none of them spoke common.”

It was then that he noticed a scar that looked familiar to him.

“Where did you get that?”

She frowned looking at it,”Why do you ask so many questions?”

“I gave you that scar.”

“I highly doubt it.”

“Why did you pay my debt?” he asked changing the subject.

She shrugged,”Marrit was in a rare mood. Figured I would help you rather than see more bloodshed. Why are you so concerned about this woman anyways? Seems to me Signess has other plans for her and I would leave her alone.”

“I don’t–“he began to protest, but she cut him off curtly.

“Your disbelief won’t save her. “

“That’s why I hired you. “

“Do I look like a mage?”
“No.”

“Then why would I want to fight against magic?”

“Do whatever that is in your power track her down.”

“What’s so special about this friend of yours? “

“She’s the heiress to the throne.”

“Well that explains it, rescuing her will get you out of the tavern and into the good life. “

Delmar stared at her in disbelief, “You don’t remember do you? “

“Remember what? “

“What did the H’enigh do to you?”

“What do you mean? “ she frowned

“You’re Kiera Sunstar, heiress to the kingdom of Nyma. “

She laughed,” I must’ve hit you too hard. There’s nothing left of Nyma but ruins everyone knows that. “

“No, I was a knight in training the night Nyma was destroyed. I was the one who gave you that scar.”He stepped closer to her, tracing the outline of the scar,”the sword entered here and cut through the tendon. You couldn’t do much with your right hand for a while and forced yourself to learn how to wield with your left. Which is why you still use your left against weaker opponents but your killing blow is dealt with your right. “

“How do you?” she asked confused as he traced the scar along her arm with his finger.

There was something familiar in his touch it stirred a memory that her conscious mind could not grasp confusion crossed her face then anger as she snatched her arm away from him.

“Don’t ever touch me again. You had me for a moment but then when you started talking about Nyma I knew you had lost it.  Whatever fantasy you believe in, leave me out of it. “

She awoke that morning with a start, her heart racing as she tried to sort through  the images that were still floating in her head from her dream. Turning she saw Delmar was laying facing away from her on the opposite side of the now dead fire.

She got to her feet unsheathing her sword it was time to put an end to his mind games.