If you’re new to this story then you can catch up here with the prelude. It takes me a while to update these so to refresh you’re memory here’s the story so far!
Two escaped slaves Kil and Rick flee from their captors through one of the most dangerous forests in Sevren. On their way they find Maron, who left her village to escape conviction of a murder she committed. They are in fear of pursuit from their captives and have spent several days in the forest already.
Unknown to them they are being stalked and followed by the terrible bandits that inhabit this forest. They get kidnapped, stolen from and questioned. Once set free they put their revenge plan into action. They find that a bandit is still following them so they steal all of his stuff and leave him for dead!
Now they continue their journey past Glemore forest and into Canden, a town where Rick and Kil want to find work. Meanwhile the third adventurer Maron is planing to leave them to travel to the kings tournament.
When I left Hanasen village I was foolishly unprepared and I had paid the consequences for it. Walking for days suffering from hunger was unpleasant. Being attacked by a bear was a nightmare. And getting kidnapped for a day was a nightmare that wouldn’t stop even after you woke up.
Every bristle of wind caught my attention and made me alert. It shocked me with fear. I would never check but the idea of being stalked by people who knew the forest like the back of their hand unnerved me and destroyed the morale of the group.
The two people I had found looked shady and violent. The one called Rick had an eye missing and a terrifying glare. Kil was a man made of muscles; he was physically impressive and would also have scared me if I wasn’t so desperate for food. They both reeked of something difficult to name and had unpleasant hygiene. But they were good companions anyway and the smell was very easy to get used to.
While I found it difficult to talk to Rick, Kil was very friendly and welcoming. They had also been slaves. I had been wasting my time back in Hanasen getting drunk and murdering while these people had spent a lot of their lives suffering. It made me realise how much of my life I had just thrown away being stupid. I had the time Rick and Kil never had and just squandered it.
I wish I had been as mature as them when I was their age. Slavery had changed them into people who were fearless, strong and smart. Knowing the horrors of what they have faced would lead them to become better people in the end.
They had treated their lives as slaves as shameful when there wasn’t really anything to be shamed about. They were in a situation out of their control. If anything I was the one who should be ashamed. I had hidden my dark past from them and through that betrayed their trust. It felt like I was using them. If they knew anything about me then I’m sure they would leave me in an instant.
It was a little humiliating to rely on people far younger than me to survive but I was grateful for their company. I don’t think you could be tied up next to someone for an hour of perpetual terror and not end up forming some kind of connection. I think that’s what led to me and Rick becoming good friends in the end. They were both young teenagers and I was happy to be the first person to help them and talk to them after their horrific expiriences.
What worried me was that they were going to try and live In Canden, the town just outside of Glenmore forest. The bandits would be a constant threat to their safety. If I won the kings tournament I would make sure to burn Glenmore forest to the ground, or at least cut the whole thing down. It had caused too much trouble.
It was hard to believe that I only left the village about a week ago, but I felt like such a different person. The people you’re with change you a lot. Maybe having Kil’s jokes to ease my crippling worry helped a lot.
I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be for the pair to get jobs giving their position of outsiders. We would have to see.
It took us two days to arrive from Glenmore forest but when we did we were sourly disappointed. While Canden was still on the map it had clearly shrunk in size. There were very few shops and little sign of anywhere else to work. There were maybe one hundred houses at most.
I simply trailed around the pair, going from place to place looking for work, and getting rejected at every opportunity. It could be to do with their smell or the fact that Ricks wound was really ugly. I didn’t dare ask how he got it. I’d assume it took place when he was a slave but I wasn’t too sure.
Spending time with them nearly made me forget the look of my victim, I’d been having those cravings for drink again but there was no way to fulfil them, so staying sober was painful yet easy. I suspected that there would be some back at the outlaw base but they didn’t seem to want to go back, it was probably for the better.
It’s sad to say that I contemplated murder for a second time after seeing that outlaw on the floor hopeless. I was able to trick them into not realising but now I just felt sick about it. Every so often the anxiety and fear for my actions would worm itself back into me like a panic attack. I didn’t want them to know I’ve killed; I don’t want them to hate me.
Canden was small but it took a surprisingly long time to visit everywhere, each time they’d say “do you know where I might find work” after the rejection but it was extremely unhelpful and it became very clear that they were not wanted in this place. Once they had all but given up I sat them down.
“The place where I’m going next is Taltree, it’s where the kings tournament is taking place. It’s also the capital city of Sevren so it will almost certainly have jobs for you. Do you want to join me further?”
Almost instantly Rick said “Yeah, I think we have to now.” And Kil slowly came to agree with him once he realised how much he didn’t want to be alone in a new place which wasn’t friendly to new visitors.
“I was going to hire a horse and cart but there doesn’t appear to be any here, which is a shame, so do you want to buy food and then get walking?” I asked.
“Yeah” they both said one after the other. They were tired and fatigued. They didn’t want to continue, they wanted to rest. But both Kil and Rick knew that waiting wouldn’t make anything any easier.
The bag we had taken from the outlaw had a little amount of money in it and was enough to buy food for about ten days, after that we’d need to get our own food but I wasn’t worried anymore since I knew someone would think of something, maybe even me. We had to worry about getting to Taltree before contemplating what we would do when we get there.
So we set off along a huge road that would take us right from Canden to Taltree, but I knew it had to happen at some point, we couldn’t have lasted the whole journey without experiencing even a little bit of rain and this was the time. It started soft at first but it quickly turned into a vile storm which relentlessly attacked. Each drop thundered to the ground and it felt like a constant attack.
Unfortunately it showed no signs of stopping, this continued for a long time and we just had to bear it. After fifteen minutes I saw a shelter on the left. Our path was next to a huge mountain range so the path was rather hilly. This was to our right though and a smaller mountain was in-between us and the big ones. This mountain had a small hole in the side of it and without thinking I shouted “FOLLOW ME” and ran into the cave. It was spacious and more importantly dry, with only a few trickles of water leaking through. I sat at the back, it was dry and I was happy to relax.
Rick ran in quickly and sat next to me, while Kil entered more slowly, choosing to sit by the wall on the other side. I was freezing and it quickly became apparent that everyone else was as well.
After a few moments Kil asked “How long do we want to be here?” as if the rain wasn’t as big a deal, maybe he just wasn’t affected by it as much.
“I’m feezing! I want to wait to it stops.” I replied. I was not leaving. They weren’t about to abandon me so they had to stay as well.
“Yeah it’s a shame we can’t have a fire” Rick added “there’s not enough wood around to burn, it’ll all be wet.”
Kil took his shirt off as well as his trousers; both me and Rick looked at him. He was as strong as I imagined, he didn’t have a six pack but his build was very muscular.
“What? We’re all friends here.” He seemed rather defensive for a person stripping in public “The thing about wet clothes is that they freeze you, I’m never going to get warm wearing them.” It was a fair enough argument and if he was comfortable with it I guess it was fine. For obvious reasons I wasn’t about to join him, no matter how much warmer it made me. Also I didn’t want to show them the marks from when I cut myself. To avoid being found I cut in places people would never see, but still some would have been visible.
Rick decided to do the same thing, so I was now an adult in a cave with two half naked young boys who were maybe 18 at best. This didn’t make me look like a molester at all!
Despite the fact that they looked so silly they were actually getting warm which was annoying because I was still cold yet recovering slowly. As I sat there in silence I heard the noise of a horse and cart which was approaching at a mild pace.
“You hear that?” I asked. They nodded in silence. “Shouldn’t we ask if they’d let us ride with them?” I was met with blank faces.
“Well they’re not going to let us on, it’s stupid to ask.” Kil said but I had already thought of something that might persuade them.
“How about we ask and then if we don’t get on we steal it.” Stealing might be a bit extreme however I felt like the time called for it. It might just be worth it.
“What no? That’s stupid!” Kil shouted loudly
“And why is that?” I asked “It’s not like we’ve not stolen before, we even crippled someone just for their food bag, what difference does this make? It’ll also let us arrive faster, theirs a cave here and they can just wait here like we are for the rain to stop.
“These are good people, I didn’t mind robbing from people who robbed us but this is extreme.” Kil said.
“Alright how about if we ask and don’t get in then we go back and wait for someone else.” I said, hoping it was a good enough compromise. It was probably the suggestion I should have mentioned at first, it might have made me look less crazy.
“Alright” Rick said and Kil was basically forced to go along with it. If nothing else we could leave him here and ask if he didn’t want to go.
They scrambled to put their clothes back on and braved the outdoors; we spread out across the path so that there was no way they couldn’t stop for us. I saw that it had a carriage for carrying people and probably belonged to a very rich person. Hopefuly they were generous and rich, otherwise I’d be pretty angry. I was surprised by how far away they were, I could have sworn they would have been closer.
The horse and carriage approached at a quick rate, quicker than I expected, I had no idea why they didn’t pass us already at this speed. I nervously stood there hoping that it would come to a stop but it didn’t, in fact it was going faster. And I only realised it when it was too late, both Kil and Rick had stepped to the side but the cart was going to hit me.
I was able to avoid the horse but the cart bashed my head and body so hard I couldn’t feel it and I fell to the ground only to have the terrible pain of a heavy carraiage scraping through my back. I couldn’t help but cry out in pain “Fuuuuuuuuuuck” it was horrible.
“You FUCKING BASTARDS!” Rick shouted and he chased after the cart, Kil did the same. They ran to climb on the top of the carriage and before I knew it they’d thrown the two passengers out and were brutally kicking them. It was good to see justice done, all we wanted was to ask to ride and they’d trampled over me. I felt a strange sense of satisfaction to watch Rick jump on top of the drivers head and Kil repeatedly kick the other dude in the balls. It showed that I had people who cared about me, and at least now I would be able to rest in the carriage. It was a terrible display that I relished in.
Rick ran back, picked me up and placed me in the carriage, once that was taken care of he threw the unconscious bodies into a ditch, we didn’t kill them but I hoped they would die, nobody who did that deserved to live. The pain was too much; I passed out.
Thank you for reading chapter 8 of this story! The journey will continue next time as the gang travels to the kings tournament, unified as battling allies for the first time! But how will they fare as they enter the scheming den of snakes known as the Kings Tournament?
Also all feedback is appreciated especially ideas/edits for improving the chapter! So thank you!