Chapter 33; 34 and 35

Chronicles of Mace

Wilmer tries to lift himself up from the ground but the pain across his back causes him to stumble and he falls on his face again.  Mace cries in pain as he tries to put some pressure on his knee which is shattered.  He looks directly at Wilmer and attempts to cast “Sleep” on Wilmer.

 

Wilmer is flat on his face and Mace cannot tell whether the spell has worked or not.  No time to delay though, he begins to drag himself across the ground towards his horse.  In his mind he can hear the clicking getting ever closer and although almost unconscious knows that he must get away.

 

He grabs hold of one of the Horse stirrups, tries to lift himself up but fails.  With one arm gripping the stirrup and his other arm holding the Sword, the Horse begins to walk dragging Mace with it.

 

The Horse is edgy and the clicking seems to be upsetting it.  It walks away from the fight area, leaving Wilmer lying face down, not moving.  Mace doesn’t know whether the sell has worked or Wilmer has died from his wounds.

 

The Horse picks up pace, pain shooting up and down Maces leg as it bumps over branches, get dragged through bushes, but he manages to hang on for a few minutes.  The Horse moves off the trail it was following as Mace can offer it no direction.  Another 50 yards and the pain is too much, Mace lets go and fades into unconsciousness from the pain and exhaustion………………

 

Mace slowly opens his eyes, but can’t see anything.  His head aches and the pain in his leg is immense.  He tries to move, but stops suddenly.  His senses return and he realises he is lying in a bush at night.  A movement nearby makes him start, be he quickly relaxes when he sees his Horse munching on a bush.  He has no idea how long he has been unconscious, but he is still alive and has his freedom.

 

He lies still for a few minutes, and then starts to gently move his body into a more comfortable position.  Minutes pass as he crawls, manoeuvres him to where a large stick lies.  He manages to use the stick and push his back against a tree to get into an upright position.  The stick takes his weight, and he slowly scrapes his damaged, useless leg to where his Horse is.  This time he manages to pull himself up and into the saddle, although he has to stop several times from the pain.

 

The Horse shuffles about, but Mace manages to spur it into life and just guesses the direction he should go in.  The Horse only moves at a fast walk, but has soon emerged from the trees and he finds himself passing the side of a large Lake.  A good three hours pass when he arrives at a river, which he stops at, not feeling ready to take the Horse across without finding a ford.  Swimming at the moment would be very dangerous with his mobility so badly impaired.

 

He dismounts as slowly as he can, and just lies out on the ground.  His mind runs through what he has to do, survival being the only thing passing through it at the moment.  His Horse munches on some grass…..

 

Chapter 34

 

The serenity of the area seems difficult for Mace to adjust to.  His heart rate begins to fall as the calmness of the trees begins to take their effect.  Sharp stabbing pains from his wounds bring him back to his current reality.  How he has survived he knows not.  Perhaps some divine being is keeping a watch over him, or is he just plain lucky.  Whatever it is he makes a mental note to get his life sorted and try and avoid getting into such scrapes again.

 

Turning his mind to the current, the escape seems to have been successful, although he doesn’t know if the chase is on or not.  He must keep moving just in case, but the priority is to get some medical help.  Although feeling mentally strong his wounds have severely disabled him.  Should he run into a Wolf or Bear he would have few options but to provide the creature a welcome lunch.

 

He needs help and can think of now where else hereabouts other than trying to get back to Laster.  Probably not his first choice, but if aid can be found there perhaps he can refocus on what he needs to do and start again on the issues that need to be resolved.

 

After several attempts and some painful moves he manages to get back onto the Horse, who looks a little disdainfully at Mace and his clumsiness.  The Horse is directed southerly and moves on a parallel course to the river.

 

As he travels he looks into the Laster Forest and can see that the damage caused some time ago by the Battle of Laster and the great damage caused has started to heal.  On the edges of the Forest new trees and undergrowth can be seen.  However, he cannot help but feel a menace from within the Forest, generated by the deep darkness of the cover and the feeling as if he is being watched.  He sees few birds above the Forest ceiling and is happy to be moving on the edge of the trees rather than within them.  Strange half sounds emit occasionally, none of which he recognises.

 

As he rides he tries to mentally control the pain and utilise his skill of body damage stabilise.  The movement of the horse reduces this ability and the pain begins to increase as he rides on.

 

The hours pass as the Horse gently trots southwards alongside the new dark and gloomy Forest of Laster.  He is not making the progress he would have liked.  The shadows are lengthening and he realises he will not make Laster by nightfall.

 

As darkness finally engulfs him, he again falls from his Horse and lies on the ground, just on the edge of the Laster Forest.  The cold begins to bite into his body, but strangely this seems to ease the pain.  A warmth begins to flow through his veins and consciousness leaves him….zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

Mace wakes and sees it is still very dark.  He is shivering and sweating at the same time, pain wracking his body even more.  He hears noises and manages to lift himself to look towards the Forest.  Within the darkness of the trees he can see Ghostly figures, dressed in White.  They are both human and dog creatures, and seem to be fighting.  The scene seems unreal and strange noises echo around the trees.  Metal on metal, dog barks and human screams.  It is a battle ……. his consciousness leaves him again…zzzzzzzzzzz

 

It could be hours, it could be days, but finally Maces eyes gently open. It is dull but not dark.  He is lying on a bed and is covered in blankets.  He smells one of the most wonderful smells ever, freshly baked bread.  Mace believes he may have gone to heaven, but as soon as he moves a great shaft of pain runs up his leg, through his spine, into his mouth and he screams  ……..

 

He hears voices and a large burly man comes to stand over him, with a woman just behind.  The man looks to be about 50, and the woman early 40s.

 

The man says, “welcome back from the land of the dead Mr.?  We thought we had lost you a couple of times…. Now I suggest you lay still until you feel a bit stronger, then we can talk.”

 

The man leaves the room, and the woman moves forward with a bowl of broth, which she begins to feed to Mace, without saying anything.  She is friendly and not unattractive face.  As Mace sips, he looks around a fairly plain room, with basic furnishings …..

 

Mace although in pain, feels safe and the soup seems to be hitting the spot.  The woman continues to slowly feed him the broth………………………….

 

Chapter 35

 

The broth seeps into Mace’s empty stomach easing the pains within his body, and combined with this heavenly sustenance, and the comfort of the bed, sleep overtakes him again… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

Over the next few hours Mace drifts in and out of sleep, his body mending as best it can.  Each time he awakes he sees the woman busily working, walking in and out of his room, but he knows she is keeping a close eye on his progress.  On an occasion when she is out of the room, he quickly checks the bottom of the bed to see what possessions are there.

 

During a period of half dozing and sleep he tries to imagine how these two people view him.  What would he do in their situation?

 

Probably a day later, he is woken by the gentle shaking, and the calm voice of the woman.  She is sitting on the bed with the man standing slightly behind her offering Mace another spoonful of the broth.

 

Feeling stronger, Mace ventures to find out a little more about his situation.  He starts by thanking them and telling them his name, and that he is from Zoon.  He quietly croaks, “Thank you, I’m Mace from Zoon, caravan guard on route to Laster.  We’ve had a bit of trouble.  I can pay you for your kindness and any help you can give me to get to the authorities.  I have cargo that must not fall into the wrong hands.”

 

The Man keeps a very stern and straight face and responds, “Pleased to meet you Mr. Mace, my name is Estling and this is my wife Tizzle, you are welcome to our home.”  There is a slight pause, then Estling continues, “You just worry about getting yourself well again, we are not doing this for any gain on our part.  With the amount of belongings we found you with, I doubt you could offer much anyhow.  We carried you here with what you have with you and on the end of the bed.  You had no money and certainly no cargo that you talked off on your person!”

 

Mace grimaces at this news, “do you know of a Healer?”

 

Estlings nods that he does, then adds, “There is a Healer in the Town but he would cost more money than we have, and unless you know of something I don’t, you have no monies either.”

 

Mace finishes his broth and settles back on the bed.  His body aches but his senses and thoughts are much clearer today, so the rest is working.

 

He watches as best he can for a time when Estling and Tizzle are talking to each other, so that he could use his lip reading skills, but the opportunity doesn’t present itself.

 

Mace puzzles over what has happened to his belongings…..and the cargo!!!