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 The Wandering Wonderer

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Eripio

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Join date : 2009-09-01
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PostSubject: The Wandering Wonderer   Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:08 am

He was no fool. Well, perhaps a fool, but then again it was whispered by old men over older wines that fools who knew they were fools might either be wise men indeed, or the most dangerous of men. Depending on what one did with such knowledge.

There had been a time when he would have instantly been scrambling to find quill, ink and parchment at the birth of such a thought, but no longer. He tossed another piece of kindling onto the fire. No longer. It was strange how his fingers had ached to hold the quill in the harbormaster's ink stained hands. Despite the blocky, ill-formed script adorning that ratted old ledger, it had looked like magic to his eyes.

Magic. What a wonderfully curious thing. He lay back against the trunk of the tree and looked at the sun setting against the mountains to the west. The thick foilage of what seemed to be a young oak would hide the smoke from the fire, but the fading light made him nervous. There had been reports of bandits roaming out of what he had come to learn was called the Barren Land, some drifting deep enough into the Silver Forest to worry the lumberers from Eldarus. Better a cool night's sleep wrapped in the warm embraces of his cloak than drenched in the warmth of his own blood. He rubbed his hands together over the fire, feeling the rough scratch of heavy callouses. What would father think of me now?

He stared into the dancing flames, reliving old days and spare dreams, of bearing the Quill and Eye. It was foolishness, a lie. A cool wind brushed against his cheek and tickled his ear. Truth for the sake of truth. Foolishness. If only that had been the end of it. But no one can lie just once. And no school of thought could admit a wrong that undid the very foundations of that same school. His hands throbbed for the feel of the fire, the heat, the comfort, the luxury of living an old dream. She had a way of looking at him that had set his blood burning. It was odd, that even now, after these few years, he could still remember her laughter, the look of her face before a smile. What did the Quill and the Eye know of love? Something perhaps.

"But not more than I," He muttered with a grin, hands reaching regretfully to pill the slim kindling apart, covering the coals with dirt.

The hurt had rotted into bitterness, a stinging, biting bitterness. The moon, freshly risen, watched him hesitantly from just above the horizon, peeking out from behind dark clouds like a fearful creature cringing against the star broken black. It's light danced and wriggled through the trees, hugging softly the forest floor, wind shifting fallen leaves. When awake he fled what had been. When asleep...

He sighed. He was ever afraid of sleep. His past gave him no cause to fear. But what might have been? He lay a stone's throw from the fire, beyond a stand of brush that clung to the steep backside of a small knoll, a wall against the wind.

What might have been.

If only she had been brave enough to see the lie. He had been right. He was right. The soft hush of owl haunting mouse, mole and shrew in the hale, moonlit woods whispered to him. Cloak, tattered and dark with mud, drew taut against his shivering form, eyes hiding behind dreams, nightmares of peace and what might have been.
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Eripio

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PostSubject: ..   Sat Oct 31, 2009 5:49 am

He felt rough hands holding him down just a moment before he felt the leeching cold of the knife at his throat. They stood like meaning shadows in the pale light of dawn.

“Fair morning to you good fellows,” he said without taking any great deal of time to consider his dire straights.

One of them gave him a swift kick to the ribs with a hearty chuckle. After a time of listening to some of them poked around in the brush for any sort of supplies, they hauled him to his feet and searched him roughly. Grubby hands upended his haversack, inkwell spilling out over rolled parchment. He looked down at the mess and sighed as they shoved him forward, one looping a rope around his neck as the other tied his hands behind his back.

“Your knot is quite impressive,” he said with as affable a grin as he could manage,” but do you mind loosening it a bit, it is hurting my-”

He didn’t know what was worse the backhand slap or the laughter. His neck ached from the jarring hit. Bandits. He cursed under his breath. At least they were lazy and content to move at a slowly. His fingers ached to rub at the edges of his eyes were the remnants of sleep clung and itched. What might have been? Not this, he thought, drowning in chagrin. Certainly not this. Of only Alia could see me now. He frowned. She would be mortified. Appalled. She had been haughty. A squirrel chattered at the passing of men as a marmot scurried away through the brush. Far too haughty. The hint of her lips against his struck him the fool. He grinned at the memory before remembering the look in her eyes when she had watched the axe fall. He sighed and shrugged his shoulders against the rope that tugged snugly about his neck, rubbing against a thick, raised purple scar.

“Eripio is dead,” he muttered to himself as he put one foot in front of the other.

Fool.
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