Short stories · Untitled story

Untitled story, part 17

The men climbed on their horses and rode out of the town. And so did Lyam and Verrill. The sun was burning their necks as they left to see the damages of the little town, Tarrion. Lyam was still thinking about turning back during every step of the way, as the pictures of the burning town flashed in and out of his mind. He tried to keep his thoughts on something else, but as they got closer there was nothing in the desert to keep his mind elsewhere. Only times he was able to see something other than what had happened on that one night, was when he remembered his home. His birth home. The walls still rose up against the bright blue sky somewhere far from there. They protected the city, it’s people, buildings, palace standing in the middle of it.

Shivers ran down Lyam’s spine as he thought for a moment. Could he just leave? Could he just go back to where he came from? It would be a risk, a gigantic one and if he’d do so there’d be no going back. He couldn’t risk his friends’ lives, so they would have to part ways with Verrill. With Denisa. Even traveling there would have its’ dangers, it just might be he couldn’t even get there. Would it be worth risking everything all over again? Would she…

Would Denisa understand? Or Verrill?

Lyam shook the thought away. It was completely idiotic to even wonder about such. He pet the horses neck as they stopped near the verge of Tarrion. The air smelled like smoke, burnt wood and.. Flesh. It made even Verrill turn pale as the moon had been. Lyam climbed down and tried to keep his chin up, even though Verrill’s frightened look alone made him terrified. The town was empty, quiet and run down.

Everything was completely ruined, some of the houses had collapsed, if they hadn’t burned all the way. There had been people inside at least some of the buildings, which made all the men keep to themselves in a way. No one said a word, or even looked at the others.

The men walked around the town, but there was no sign left of the attackers. Or anyone else for that matter. Verrill had found a few of the townspeople that had survived to the nearest city like Lyam, Verrill and Denisa when Lyam had been trying to get better. No one they knew that well: The daughter of the local blacksmith and some woman who was visiting her brother. The wind felt cold, even as Lyam knew that it wasn’t. Suddenly he just was freezing, most likely due to the shock. There was nothing they could do. Nothing or no one to save.

Lyam walked outside of  the town for sometime until he came across a place he knew in his heart he might never see again. There was a stone plaque lied down on the ground, where Verrill was already standing. Lyam stopped for a moment and watched as the young man crouched down and put his hand over the plaque stroking its’ warmed up surface. As he got up Lyam approached, put his hand on the shoulder of his friend and watched the grave of Verrill’s mother and father. In the reality they weren’t there, they’d been buried somewhere further but the plaque was there, near home. The ground just was too dry and hard to bury anyone or anything.

Heartbroken they were about to leave, Lyam heard a voice. A clear, high pitched voice like a woman’s whispering in his ear. He turned his head, looked around but there was no one and the words he heard weren’t something he could understand. He felt like he was in a hurry, he’d need to leave. Go somewhere, but he had no clue where. Something was pulling him away. He was just being homesick, or that was what he thought at the moment about it as the idea of returning his birth home passed his mind again. He slowed his horse down, as just to make sure he wouldn’t leave. He couldn’t do that to the only family he had had for years.

“Did you hear that?”, Lyam asked Verrill as they rode side by side and Verrill turned to his way shaking his head for a no.

“You need some sleep”, Verrill said sounding absent-minded. It all weighed him down, and Lyam could see that. The young man still stayed silent, Verrill would need some time to get his head around everything that had happened and would talk if he’d want to do so.

As they returned the city Lyam could feel eyes on his back, but couldn’t figure out who could be watching him. There wasn’t anyone there for miles away, except him, Verrill in his own thoughts and the few town guards. He still couldn’t shake the feeling there was someone there.

 

Continue reading “Untitled story, part 17”

Short stories · Untitled story

Untitled story, part 16

Lyam lay there as the days passed. The woozy feeling started to disappear and wounds heal. It took few days but then he couldn’t just take the lying in bed and forced himself to get on his feet. He washed his face himself, got dressed. By a miracle his ribs weren’t broken, just sore but it still took a lot of willpower to get up and moving so soon. But he felt that there was no time.

No body had stepped a foot on Tarrion’s streets, as far as they knew, after that night. All of them could still see the flames, the blood and bodies on the pavement.. But it should be investigated, that’s what Verrill had said to Lyam as Denisa was out of the room. They both agreed that she wouldn’t be coming with them, but Lyam thought that they couldn’t go alone. They’d need at least few guards with them just to be safe. Verrill didn’t agree, actually Lyam had never seen that sensible man fight against something that hard though even he knew that Lyam was right. But after they both agreed, Verrill went to talk to someone about the mission and left Lyam to get ready.

His legs shook as he walked across the room to the big, old closet and opened it to find a pair of clean clothes. He dressed up. The boots were brand new, which might have not been the best choice: The leather was still stiff and would cause abrasions in his feet.

He pulled the boots on and opened his door, walked through the hallway and outside the front door after a moment of looking for it. He was out, for the longest time. The sun blinded him as he walked right out on a busy street in the middle of the town. He wasn’t sure where he was or where he was going, but stubborn as hell.

He heard the hoofs of a horse hitting the stones and a carriage-wheels behind it, so he took a step back to let it past. Slowly but steadily his eyes got used to the light, even though his movement stayed the same: stiff and slow. He walked along the street on a direction he felt right. Maybe he’d find to the right place. Or maybe he’d need to ask for help.

After walking around in circles for some time he stopped. His injuries made him slower than normally, and so did lying in bed. He wasn’t used to it. He was always up and moving, as he had been for years and didn’t know how to stop. But this time he slowed down enough to ask directions.

He ran into a man, a bit taller than himself, wearing the uniform of the town, so he explained the situation and asked where to go. The guard looked at him for a moment with out any emotion in his eyes and turned around. He walked to the corner of the next house as Lyam just stood there.

“Are you coming or not?”, he yelled and Lyam did his best to caught up on him, as hard as it was to do so.   Continue reading “Untitled story, part 16”

Short stories · Untitled story

Untitled story, part 15

It was dream-like. Lyam simply lied there at times staring at the wooden ceiling planks when he was strong enough to make his eye lids stay open for short periods at time. He heard people talking and the words morphed into his sleep making him feel woozy and.. Dislocated in a way. He wasn’t quite sure what was going on but what was more or less clear to him it wasn’t good. Better than it could have been. Or maybe not?

“He should be dead”, Lyam heard someone whisper and moved his right arm a bit, which made the person flinch, “Did he hear that?” Yes, he did, even though he wasn’t able to say anything and were to forget about it before waking next time from a nightmare.

Sense of time mashed and disappeared to somewhere inside those walls on that day. He didn’t know how long he slept, and how long he was awake. All the voices in the room sounded alike. It felt like years passed, even though it may have been just a day. An hour, Half of it or just minutes. Sometimes Lyam tried his best to open his mouth, say something or move his limbs which made him freak out for a second as he wasn’t quite sure if he could ever do that again. Was he really dead? Some voices he didn’t recognize. They felt strange to him and he didn’t know what made them. One particularly. It echoed from the walls bringing more noise to the room.

Then he fell asleep again.

 

The next time he woke it was night. It had been a day since the fire. A day since the attack and a day since he lost another home. Or maybe even more. As he was slowly waking up he could see her. It had been some time but her face was clear in all the fog he was living in. He could still hear talking, words he didn’t understand but he knew to be different from the language he had heard from the attackers. It felt familiar and made him feel warm inside. The voices were like a choir, singing the message Lyam couldn’t understand.

He felt a shiver.

It ran down his spine, like something was wrong. It wasn’t a stranger passing through his body, he had felt it other times and it was never something good. It made him squirm in the sheets. He threw his arms around until he hit something. A glass of water fell by his bedside table breaking on the floor. The door opened and someone came in to clean it up. His mind cleared up relatively fast.

“Lyam!” he heard a scream he knew as someone ran inside the small room. She grabbed him and held him tightly, mumbling things he couldn’t make sense of. For a short while he just enjoyed the warm embrace and imaged Her. His eyes were closed and he, while it took a lot of effort, held her. And as it slowly occurred him that who was there wasn’t the one he first thought, he still kept his eyes shut and held on to the feeling. The warmth, the memory. Even though he couldn’t hold on forever, he sure as hell would try.

The moment passed, the picture shattered and Lyam was wide awake. Open for the real world to enter his mind. He opened his eyes and let go of Denisa. Tears had filled up her eyes and looked closely there was something glimmering in the corner of Lyam’s eye. Verrill was standing right behind her looking over her shoulder at Lyam. Vaguely Lyam smiled at both of them, still feeling sharp pain running up and down his arm. His ribs were sore as he had fell off of a horse and his head was pounding worse than after a night of drinking. The pain eased a bit after Denisa let go of him.

“So this is how far you’d go to get yourself killed”, Verrill said sounding as calm as he usually did, “Don’t go any further.” His voice turned into more serious towards the end of what he got to say. It was more of a warning than anything else.

“Are you gonna be alright?” Denisa asked worried. She was squeezing on Lyam’s hand as she sat on his bedside. He thought for a second about the whole situation, but tried to sound as carefree as he could when he answered:
“Of course”, he forced a bit wider smile to appear on his face, “You wouldn’t get rid of me that easily.” Denisa teared up again and smiled from ear to ear. The door closed.

“Who was that?” Lyam asked, still confused about simply everything. The door opened again and a woman walked in. She worked her way pass Verrill and Denisa.

“Oh, that. No one”, Verrill answered his question before Denisa could open her mouth. The woman who had entered the room started to open up the bandage on Lyam’s arm.

“So you’re finally awake”, she said, “Your bandages need to be changed and the wound cleaned. The infection seems to be passing, you are a lucky man, mister.” She sounded more scolding than happy to see him awake.

“Infection?” Denisa gasped and looked at her brother.

“Well that happens when you get a wound and won’t treat it”, the woman blaming Lyam. He didn’t care, he was alive and breathing. And so was Denisa and Verrill at least. There was still hope that everything would be alright.

Continue reading “Untitled story, part 15”

Short stories · Untitled story

Untitled story, part 14

Denisa watched the back of  that young guard until her brother opened his mouth braking the moment she had created in her mind.

“How did you end up here?” he asked more kindly then he had talked before, his tone softened as he talked to his younger sister, “Are you alright, did you get hurt?”

“Yes, I am. I.. I got here with Lyam”, she answered trying to hold herself back for the conversation.

“Lyam! Where is he? What happened?”, his eyes lit up like Christmas lights as he heard her mention his best friend, maybe they both had survived. He tried to look through the door behind Denisa.

“He.. He’s gone”, she said even though it was hard to let out, “He and I rode here, but he.. Disappeared. They’re looking for him now.” He went silent and led her inside her room. They both sat down on the bedside and just stayed there. It was difficult to find the words, as neither of them had really wrapped their head around the situation or what had happened.

“Is.. Is he dead?” Verrill finally asked and that was a question she couldn’t answer, not that she wanted to either way. She leaned on her brothers shoulder and cried it all out. To the moment when the door was knocked on.

Verrill stood up and went to open the door. Behind it was the owner of the inn, who expressed her astonishment openly: “Where did the earlier bridegroom disappear? He asked me to bring you some food before, I apologize it took so long.”

She lied the plate on the bedside table and showed her way out. Denisa looked at the plate and then at her brother: “Are you hungry?” He shook his head and let his sister fill her belly in silence.

 

Long way from there the men of Farmire rode in the dust. It had took some time to get where they are and there was already a heated conversation about would it be time to turn back. It was a bit after the midday and hot as in an oven. They wiped the sweat over their foreheads and started turning back.

“He’s here!” someone yelled a bit further away to the desert. It was a mile or two away from where they had found the woman and her horse. There he lied. The nightmare that crossed Denisa’s mind had come to true.

 

Blood had been soaked into the sand of the desert and in the middle of the small pool he lied still on his face. One of the men got down from his horse and walked up closer. The vultures had already gathered up in the sky but were yet to start feasting.

The man turned the body over to see his face. His eyes were closed and he wasn’t moving. He wasn’t breathing.

“Should we.. Should we leave him here?” he asked the others and walked back to his horse. The thought of lifting a dead body on his horse and carrying it to the city made him feel sick. He pet the animal and looked to the other men around the body.

“We.. We should do at least something”, one of the men said, he was new to things like that too, “To make sure he has a safe voyage.” They gathered around and spent a silent moment there, some of them closed their eyes, one didn’t believe in stuff like that but did as the others. Then they turned away to leave.

It was the same voice as someone made getting up under water after a long time. A nearly violent inhale. All of them turned their head and there he sat coughing like he was about to drown. He spat few drops of blood out, and the men ran back to him. They helped him up and on one of the horses to get him to the city as fast as they could. Some of them did want to run, that was undeniable. But none of them did. And after that experience the one of the men did really believe in something bigger than him, maybe not what the others did but something.

Continue reading “Untitled story, part 14”

Short stories · Untitled story

Untitled story, part 13

Rives stood outside Denisa’s door and leaned his back against the wall. It took time but he ended up sitting in front of the door his arms resting on his knees. TIme after time people walked past him in and out of their rooms further in the hallway. Few times the owner of the inn walked past and glanced at him, first time confused and second kinda scolding. He didn’t care. He just smiled back and nodded as a ‘hello again’.

Time passed slowly by, but he stayed right there letting his mind wonder. Was she alright? She had been quiet for so long. Guess she’s sleeping, no wonder. She was tired when they found her. Hopefully she hadn’t fallen asleep in the tub. Should I go check? She needed her time alone to get her head straight… Would they have found that man she was asking about? Lyam was it..?

Few hours passed and in the end he was on the verge of falling asleep. For a minute or two he closed his eyes and drifted away. He could see her face. It was a surprise and felt kind of weird. Still a warm feeling lied down above him. He smiled a bit.

A loud noise broke his daydream and he jumped up. It slowly occurred to him what was going on – And where the screams were coming from.

He knocked on the door in a sturdy manner.

“Miss, are you alright?” he asked and knocked again as there was no answer. he took a few steps back thinking about braking down the door and as he was charging towards it, it opened. He tried to slow down but ran into the door and bumped into her.

“I’m sorry, are you alright?” he said and took steps back. Denisa didn’t fall back and that at least was fortunate about the situation. Tears were filling her olive-green eyes but she wiped them away mumbling a yes. The next door flew open and someone ran to the hall. In a blink of an eye, Rives had a black eye as the man from next bedroom threw a punch.

“What the hell?!” he shouted at the man and took few steps forward, until he heard her voice from the doorway: “Verrill!”

Denisa ran to her brother and wrapped her arms around him tight, sobbing as you may guess. Verrill hugged his sister and then looked back at Rives, who stood there completely stunned by the situation.

“Yeah, back off, asshole!” he shouted and was already looking for his sword from his belt as Denisa grabbed his hand tightly.

“No, Verrill, he’s a…” she started but she didn’t know how to describe the man standing a few feet away.

“A guard, Rousseau Belrose”, he helped her, but had laid his hand on the pommel of his weapon. The man between him and her was looking at him with an angry look in his eyes still as he introduced himself: “Verrill.” Nothing else he said, which left Rives confused ever more.

“I was ordered to look after the miss”, Rives explained even though he felt like Verrill didn’t even listen to him. He just looked back at Denisa at times leering on Rives.

“She don’t need you anymore, she has me”, he said in a cold tone, no word that was thankful, nothing. Not that Rives expected something like that. He looked at Denisa first, to make sure she was alright but after that he turned away to leave. He felt some weight on his chest – His heavy heart weighing down.

“Thank you”, he heard her voice, but wasn’t sure if he just imagined it. It could be. It may have been just a dream, a ghost. Something that he wished for as he left her behind. Something that would tell him.. Nothing. Nothing important anyway. He pulled himself together and pushed his feelings back. He didn’t even know her, it was just a crush, nothing much and would pass, or that was what he told himself to make it all fade away. Even though in his heart he knew that it never would.

Continue reading “Untitled story, part 13”

Short stories · Untitled story

Untitled story, part 12

Denisa let down her hair that had been tied up hastily and didn’t want to even glance at the mirror. Her eyes were tired, and the smoke in the air had dyed her skin somewhat darker and dirty-looking. Her feet were hurting and full of small wounds from running bare footed around the town.

She opened some of the tangles in her hair by running her fingers through her hair. There was some dried blood on her neck that had started flaking off many hours ago already, but she could still see the nick on the skin. She could still feel it. Her hands were shaking.

There was a knock on the door, and she went to open the door. The owner of the inn came bringing in water to fill up the tub. As she was done she disappeared just as fast as she did before. The door was closed and Denisa walked up to the bathroom locking the door behind her.

Now she couldn’t help but to see herself from a full-length mirror that was standing in the corner. As fast as she could she turned away. She opened the buttons of her worn down leather vest and dropped it to the floor. Soon it got company as she lifted her shirt of and undressed her skirt. She dipped into the warm water as soon as she could as the room was getting too chilly.

It wasn’t something she wished for, but the bath gave her time to reflect on things. She took a deep breath and dove under the surface. Belrose.. or Rives, as he had introduced himself, had probably asked the woman to come and make a bath for her. She hadn’t thought of it herself, she never had been in an inn. But how did he know about what had happened? Or did he even know? If he did, there would be someone else who had survived the attack. Maybe there was someone from Tarrion in the city. And what better maybe it was Lyam! Maybe he had find his way too the city. Somehow. Or maybe not.

Denisa tried her best to keep herself from thinking about her brother, Verrill. It was too much to take, losing her brother and for Lyam there still might be hope. Even though she didn’t want to keep up false hope, that feeling was something that kept her from trying to drown herself in the bath tub.

She lifted her head up from the water and inhaled. Then she ran her fingers through her hair and started washing herself clean.

It just might be that she was alone.

Denisa pushed the thought away from her mind and tried to think about something else. As she let her mind wonder she soon ran back into Lyam. She could see him in her mind. Remember the first time she met him in the stable. For a long time after that Denisa was sure that the boy was bad news. Maybe she was a little jealous for all the attention her father gave him. Or maybe it was just that she didn’t want to admit her own feelings towards him.

His dark hair curled a bit from the tips and it always found it’s way over his eyes. Those light blue gems that gleamed playfully. In the end all she could think of was his body lying somewhere in the desert’s dust scavenger birds gliding over it in the blue sky, sun burning the dead flesh, blood all over him boiling in the light.

She started to tear up again so she dove. Held her breath under water as long as she could. Then she got to the surface and rose up from the tub.

Denisa dried herself up and was just about to start getting back into her dirty old clothes that were smeared with dirt, soot and blood, that gladly wasn’t her own, but she stopped as she heard the door open in the room. She looked around for a place to hide when someone knocked on the bathroom door.

“There’s clean clothes laid down on your bed when you’re ready, dear!” the owner of the inn yelled from the other side as cheerful as ever. Denisa calmed down, or as much as she could at the time and waited for the door to close on the other side. Then she opened the door to the bedroom.

Fresh clothes, it was something that made her forget about everything for a moment and smile a bit. She got dressed, even though her eyelids had started to weigh like a bag of rocks. The warm and clean cloth felt comforting and cozy. She couldn’t help but lie down on the bed and sooner than she knew it she was fast asleep.

Continue reading “Untitled story, part 12”

Short stories · Untitled story

Untitled short story, part 11

The way to Farmire wasn’t that long after all, soon the two strangers rode in through the gates of the city. The wall that protected Farmire was tall and simply something Denisa didn’t see everyday. As they got closer the gates were opened, and then closed after they had gotten in. Men were patrolling the entrance, which should have made her feel safer.

They rode through the streets slower as there were much people considering the size of the roads. Denisa looked around slowly starting to wonder where she was being taken. As she dressed her concerns into words, the man answered her: “The local inn.”

Belrose was a few years older man, young still. His hair was longer, it reached his shoulders probably when it wasn’t tied up as it was now. His shoulders were board, he was well build and tall man. He looked a bit unkempt to be honest. His beard was long and full, bit wavy hair was pulled back away from his eyes and tied on a ponytail behind his head.

Denisa looked at the man’s hair and measured it in her head. It was a bit fairer brown then her own and he’d really need a haircut.

They stopped and Denisa woke from her own thoughts as the man slid down from the saddle and turned to her to help her down. Behind the facial hair she could manage to find that kind smile as he reached his hand towards her. This time she didn’t take it. She took a hold of the saddle and climbed down on her own: she wasn’t that helpless.

The man pulled his hand away and scratched the back of his head a bit awkward.

“Well, this is it. We can get you a room, so you can rest and eat”, he said and nodded towards the door few feet away.

“Thank you”, she said and straightened her skirt. Only know she could notice that she weren’t the one to judge that young man as she looked like a complete mess. He walked to the door and opened it for her as they entered the inn.

It wasn’t that bad, actually. There was pretty clean and the downstairs tavern was full of people. Just like.. Back at home.

Denisa’s eyes got wet again and she turned to look back outside the door. The man, Belrose, had walked a few steps before he noticed the girl wasn’t with him. He turned around and was relieved to see she hadn’t ran off. She wiped her eyes and turned back towards Belrose as nothing had happened. So he let it slide for now and went to talk to the owner of the inn. He got a room for her no problem.

“Of course, of course! Let me lead the way”, the older, a bit stout woman said with a wide smile, took a key from behind the counter and swoop through the tavern to the wooden stairs on the other side of the room, Belrose and Denisa behind her. Denisa did her best to try and remember what was the room she was led in: third from the right. The owner opened the room and gave the key to Belrose.

“There’s food downstairs and don’t be afraid to ask for anything, sweethearts!”, she said and before either of them could open their mouth she was gone and an awkward silence was set in the room.

 

Denisa looked around the room and ended up sitting on the edge of the bed. The room was small, smaller than she was used to as she had to share her room with other women of the house. Home was all that she could think of, but she did her best to keep herself together. Belrose stood near the door and just watched the tip of his boots. Denisa was pretty sure his face was bright red as an ember.

“I could take a bath…” Denisa said and looked at the door to the bathroom, which was left wide open. Belrose snapped out of his own thoughts, lift his head and started to back up to the door.

“Yes! O’course. I’ll be.. I’ll be waiting outside the door, if you need anything”, he rambled “Oh! The key, it’s here. I’ll leave it…” He look through the room until he found a small table beside the bed and walked up to it to leave the room key on it. “If you need anything, just shout”, he said and glanced at Denisa.

“Your name was… Belrose, right?” Denisa asked and looked back at him.

“My surname is, yes. Rousseau Belrose, but people call me Rives.. Long story”, he bowed shortly while introducing himself, “And I know it sounds ridiculous, but that’s my name.” He laughed with slightly nervous tone in his voice.

“You can call me Denisa”, she said to him as he backed away from the room.

“Great.. I’ll be right here”, he said and right at the door he caught a compassionate look in his amber-brown eyes, “You’re safe.” Then he closed the door behind him. He knew.

Continue reading “Untitled short story, part 11”