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Long, Dusty Road
“We have nothing to fear, but fear it self!”
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945)
A twig cracked under Trac’s boot. He jumped. “Don’t be scared, nothing is going to get me.” He told himself. “Only a fool is afraid of the night. Why should I be? Nothing will harm me.” Trac continued walking along the long, dusty road. “It sure is getting quite dark out. Maybe I should make camp…”
He walked over to the small thicket of trees that were alongside of the path, and, with his small knife, started cutting small limbs off of the trees. He was working so hard, he didn’t even notice the sap oozing out of the trees onto his hands, and were seeping into the cuts which were caused by the bramble. Then he walked over to the side of the road, and took off his backpack, unzipped it, and retrieved some flint, a sharp metal piece, a blanket, and his bow.
“Time to get some meat in my stomach. Now where are those arrowheads…”
He set off at dusk. He stumbled into the woods, and listened for any kind of movement, a twig snapping, fluttering, and he even was startled when an owl set out in a tree a few feet away from him. Suddenly, he saw two yellow eyes piercing the darkness of the night, staring right at him. He did not dare to move. Wolf, he thought. Wolf. The two eyes came closer and closer, Trac’s heart faster and faster, until he thought it was going to explode from his chest.
The moment he found the nerve to move, he quickly knocked an arrow, and raised it towards the two “targets”, he called them, and released the arrow, which shattered the air, and it must’ve hit the creature, which fell to the ground, waiting for Trac to carry back to his encampment. “Got one!” he whispered.
Trac was still frozen with fear, so he kept still the entire night, until the first rays of daylight broke the sky. He stood up, and walked over to the corpse, and squinted to see what kind of creature it was. It wasn’t a wolf. In fact, he couldn’t identify it. It was large, with a fur coat that was as white as the moon, with silvery streaks running down the back. The muzzle was small and blunt, and it had a long tail. The creature’s teeth were bloodstained, and near the yellow eyes lay four scars, scattered all around the creature’s face. It was heavy, and it had a strange stench.
“What kind of bloody creature is this? Where did it come from?” Trac wondered. He slung the beast over his shoulder and trudged back to his camp site. When he got there, he dropped his kill on the ground, and retrieved his backpack. He searched through it until he found his favorite hunting tool: the butcher knife.
He then skinned, and retrieved the edible innards from the creature, and he set them on a small campfire stove he had set up, and started a fire with his matches in a hole that he dug in the soft earth. He cooked them until they browned. Still to this day does he remember the sweet smell of the cooking meat, and how delightful it was to eat? He took the first piece of meat off of the rack, and sunk his teeth into it. He chewed and swallowed it very carefully, as if it would poison him if he wasn’t careful. He raised his finger to his lips, and thought.” This is the most delightful meat I have ever eaten! But, I have to rest, so I better get my belly full before too long.” Trac continued eating his meal, and finally covered up with his blanket, and watched the fire burn out.
Trac woke up with a start. He was soaking wet. “Another damn nightmare… I best get going.” He got off of the ground, and stretched. He packed up his things, and started down the road again. He had been traveling for three days now, and his feet weren’t exactly feeling the best either.
He walked on, thinking of how birds were able to fly, how fish could breathe underwater, how bears had so much strength. But he tried as hard as he could to avoid where the creature he had killed last night came from. He continued like this for the next few days: hunting, cooking, eating, sleeping, and walking. It was a very considerable job he had, as a pyromancer, (fire-eater (person that juggles fire)), but the traveling hurt his feet. On the other hand, however, he had made many friends, and traveled to many places due to his profession.
He was thinking through all of these things, when he had heard the sounds of children playing, of men at work, and the gnawing at the trees from lumberjacks’ saws. He had made it to the city.
A New Face
“Who is this new creature, dwelling in my presence?
Why is this new creature, dwelling in my presence?
What is this new creature, dwelling in my presence?”
Christina was the first to see him. He had been walking down the dirt road that connected the small town of Hazell to all others. She was washing clothes in the river, when she saw a small figure in the distance.
“Mother? There is somebody on the road! Shall I greet him?”
A voice called from inside her house.
“Yes, but don’t be causing any trouble for him. We don’t want to have people scared of our village because of you!” Christina’s mother called in a playful tone. The girl ran off to the stranger, and greeted him.
“Hello. Welcome to Hazell! Is there anything that I could help you out with?”
“Yes, may I ask where the man named Reli lives? I need to speak with him immediately.”
Christina looked at him with an expression that was so confused, as if she had just woken up with a bloody head after being hit on it with a hammer.
“Do you… know him? If not, I guess I will have to find him myself.”
Christina gestured the man to follow her, and lead him down the streets of Hazell, and stopped in front of a house that looked as if God Himself had attacked it.
“It burned down, quite a long time ago. I was only three years old then, but I still remember Reli. He was so nice…” Christina’s thoughts were elsewhere.
“Thank you anyway. One more question?”
Christina shook her head and returned from her daze.
“Where can I find a place to sleep? My back is killing me from the long journey down the road. Perhaps a tavern or maybe even a care maiden that would house me for the night?”
Brooke nodded, and told him to follow her yet again.
They arrived at a small building that was fixed up really nice. It had no broken windows or burnt shudders, like the previous house. It had flowers in pots along the window, and a garden grew alongside of the door. The entrance was a large, sturdy door with a small wooden doorknob, and a strange emblem on the upper portion of the door. The wooden border of the house looked faded by the sun, and it appeared that several brawls broke out in the small lawn that grew in front of the house. Trac opened the door, and walked in. He noticed two men and a woman sitting in the corner, drinking from their mugs and laughing amongst them. A barkeep was washing down the tables, and when the two walked in, he noticed them.
“Hello, friend! What can I get yer? I haven’t seen you around these ‘ere parts. Are you from around here?”
Trac nodded in the barkeep’s direction, and spoke very smugly.
“I believe… that you manage sleeping arrangements? I would like to have a room for a couple of days.”
“Sure thing, friend! I will get you the key for your room, and you make sure you have at least three-hundred-fifty gold pieces in hand. Yer going to be sleepin’ up ‘ere in room two-nineteen.”
Trac sat down on a chair, and looked to Christina.
“Thanks you much, mate. Just lemme know if you need anything. You know where I am, and, if you want, I could show you a few things tonight. I call them my own little… “Fireworks”. Whatd’ya say?”
Christina smiled. “That would be wonderful! When can I see them?”
“Hmm… meet me in the marketplace at 8 o’clock. Deal?”
“Deal!” Christina giggled in delight, and then ran off to her mother, and asked her if she could watch the newcomer’s performance. Her mother agreed, but she had to finish her chores first.
At 7:45, she ran off to the marketplace with a lantern in hand. When she gotten there, she saw quite a crowd of people huddled around the newcomer.
“You there! I have been waiting for you!” a familiar voice called to Christina. The girl turned, and saw the man staring at her, with a big smile on his face. He was wearing a white tunic with a pair of dark red trousers. On his head he wore a cloak, and next to him sat a backpack.
“Come up here, and sit down! I have been waiting for your arrival to start!” called the man whom Christina had met on the road. Christina did what he asked, and sat down on a bench that had been placed in the front row. He then unlatched the backpack, and retrieved two glass bottles, one filled with a liquid that had a green tinge to it, the other was empty. Then he brought out a piece of flint, steel, and a couple of rubber balls. He laid them on the cobblestone road where he stood, and took a swig from the liquid with the green tinge, spit it into the empty flask, and dumped a little from it on his hands, the remainder on the rubber balls. He then picked up the flint and steel, ignited a spark, and caught it in his mouth, and tilted his head back. The man opened his mouth, and out leaped an inferno of fire, as if he were controlling where it went. He then picked up the rubber balls, and blew fire on each and every one of them, and started juggling them. He tossed them into the air, behind his back, everywhere, but throughout his whole performance, he never dropped one. The fire of which he was breathing had quit, and the moment it did, he stopped juggling the balls. He grasped one, and then through it past a random spectator’s head just missing them by inches. He then looked at Christina when he ran out of rubber balls, and took the flint, and lit it on his hand, which then set ablaze, and he kept playing with the fire until it literally turned into a fireball. The man then threw this last “toy” of his at Christina, and then brought it back, like it was connected to his fingertips.
He closed his fingers, which doused the fire. He bowed, and the whole audience started applauding wildly, throwing him flowers and whatnot. And then he started picking up his equipment, which Brooke helped him with.
“So, how did you like my performance?” asked the man, noticing that he had a few blisters on his hands, some of which were bleeding.
“I loved it!” Christina said with delight.
“Many thanks. May I ask what your name might be? Mine is Trac.”
“Christina.” The girl whispered.
“Christina? I like that name.”
Christina giggled and blushed.
Dust and Blood
There are no gains without pains.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Trac packed up his things and walked back to the tavern, occasionally seeing one of the few spectators that watched his performance. He was rounding a corner of a street when he smelled smoke. He looked up, and saw a lone house ablaze, but it looked like it had just started.
“My god, I have to help these people,” Trac thought.
He quickly took out the small flask of liquid which he had used earlier that evening, and poured it over his hands, wincing in pain as it seeped into his burst blisters. He hustled over to the fire, and put his hands on the house walls. The fire quickly swelled around his hands, which made it look as if though the fire itself was consuming him. The fire was out on the house, but Trac still had flames around him. Trac quickly hurried through the crowds playing with the fire, preventing it to burn somebody by playing with it. He ran back to Hazell’s forum, and found the well located in the middle of it all, and dove into it, fire in hands. When his skin hit the water, his body collapsed into a fetal position due to the freshness of the water. Trac started swimming up the water as hard as he could, hoping not to hit his head on the bucket as he broke the surface. His lungs were empty, and he was a good ten feet yet from surface. He felt his body start to go numb, and he started to feel lightheaded. He thought he was a goner, until he felt the warm rays of sunlight beating down on his face. He shot like a bullet out of the water, and gasped for air, clinging onto the bucket. The only problem, though, is that smoke was all around him. He took a deep breathe, and coughed vigorously. The fire had been doused, but the remains were probably going to be more fatal than the whole thing really was. He turned, and started climbing the rope as fast as he could. His limbs felt as heavy as yak’s hide, and his eyes felt like they were filling up the well with all the tears they were producing. Trac ignored this, of course. He climbed, on and on, without even thinking about stopping. The only thing he thought about was “Climb, climb, climb! Go, go, and go!” When Trac reached the top of the rope, he hauled himself over the well, and fell to the road. He lay there, gasping. He closed his eyes, and didn’t have enough strength to open them again, until two minutes later when, ironically, a townsman dumped a bucket of water onto Trac that was produced from the well interior. The same bucket that had helped save his life, twice. Trac wearily stood up, and coughed ferociously. He looked at the man, and thought he looked familiar.
“Reli…?” Trac sputtered.
The man nodded, took Trac by the hand, and led him to a house, neatly furnished on the exterior, but Trac didn’t get to see the interior, it was so dimly lit.
Trac woke up a good three hours later. He saw many people gathered around him, staring at him as if though he were a new-born child. When he looked at them, the crowd started applauding. They were chanting “Hero! Hero! Hero!” The man was yelling at the crowd to leave, but they weren’t listening. Trac got up out of the chair, pushing people aside to make an aisle for him to walk away. He saw a table with a chair, and sat down. He massaged his temples and then put his head on his arms. After a few minutes, the crowd left, and only the man that had saved Trac’s life and Trac himself were the only ones there.
Trac raised his head and looked at the man with a puzzled look.
“Are you… Reli?”
“Yes, it is me. I was waiting for you to get here. When I saw a man jumping into a well with fire in his hands, I figured it must’ve been you, seeing all the trouble you always get into,” said Reli, chuckling.
“I knew it had to of been you! It didn’t look like anybody was going to help me anyhow.”
“Why would you think that?”
“I don’t know… it’s just that… I don’t know…,” muttered Trac.
Trac noticed that he had bandages over his cuts. He saw blood droplets seeping through them.
Then he remembered what he was here for.
“You have to leave town, now! You’re going to be killed!” Trac breathed.
“Trac, calm down. Your head is just all jumbled up, that’s all.”
“No, Fowler’s men are marching to Hazell this very minute!”
“Fowler,” Reli chuckled, “How’s he doing?
Trac stared in disbelief. This man wasn’t taking this very seriously, as if though Death was his pal.
“Reli, I am serious! They are bringing enough ropes to make five nooses for every citizen of Hazell!”
“Yes, yes. I will pack up my things and leave in the morning. But, in the meantime, would you like to get a drink?
"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe unto him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."
~ The Bible: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.
“Two please,” Reli asked the bartender, raising two fingers.
The bartender nodded, and went away to fetch them their ale.
Reli propped his feet on the table and took out a deck of cards.
Reli gestured to Trac if he wanted to play some cards.
“No thanks, I don’t feel like it right now.”
Reli put his cards away.
“So, Trac. How’ve you been?”
Trac smiled weakly. “Business is good, and I’ve met a lot of people. Oh yeah, and Iacobus says ‘hi’.”
“Pig Latin is strange… Iacobus means ‘Jacob’ right?”
Trac nodded, and pulled out a small knife from his pocket as well as a blood-stained rag, and started cleaning his blade.
Just then, the bartender’s daughter that Trac met earlier came over to their table with their drinks.
Reli flipped her a coin and she handed him the ale.
“Reli, aren’t you concerned about this matter? Fowler isn’t very happy after what you did to him.”
“Ah, to hell with Fowler. I don’t care what he thinks.”
“Reli, you are really gutsy, you know that right?”
“Yup,” he answered, sipping his beer.
Trac picked up his mug, and took a sip out of it.
“Well Trac, I suppose tonight is the night. Thanks to you, I would have been dead by the end of the fortnight.”
“Hey, don’t mention it.”
“I think I’ll hit the hay now. G’night!”
Trac nodded to Reli and then he departed.
He took another sip from his mug, and thought you’re home, old boy. You’re home.
I'm not afraid of death but I am afraid of dying.
Pain can be alleviated by morphine
But the pain of social ostracism cannot be taken away.
Fowler trudged along the mountains with his army.
His mission was to capture a presumably delirious man named Reli Grisbath. After he had escaped his imprisonment systems numerous times, he was to be captured, brought in to the king of Yuibwanza for questioning and torture.
Fowler suddenly realized that somebody was watching. He held up his hand to his army to stop, and then he went prone. Nothing happened for quite a while, but then he heard twigs cracking, and a man cursing to himself.
Fowler crawled over to where the sound was coming from, and he saw him. Trac. Fowler turned around he grinned to his army. He gestured one of his followers up, and whispered to him:
“Release the wolf… I just found us our first meal of the day.”
The follower, named Tonsoon, returned with the army and eventually slunk back behind the crowd to the cages in the rear. He opened one, and out it stepped. The beast from the White Beyond in Yuibwanza.
The creature was trained to kill, and had numerous experiences where it had saved Tonsoon a countless amount of times. The wolf looked at him, and Tonsoon made him follow him to the edge of the road, just being hidden by a few bushes, staring directly at Trac.
“Sick ‘em boy!”
And the beast was on its way.
In the meantime, Fowler kept moving. He passed rivers, where the army drank out of, farm fields, where the army stole out of, cities, where the army pillaged, and cemeteries, where the army robbed. By the end of a fortnight, Fowler had stolen over one- hundred- thousand gems, over twelve-thousand gold pieces, and had enough meat left over to feed every soldier in the army thrice.
Fowler turned to his army.
“This is it! This is Hazell! Find that traitor Reli and bring him in alive! The rest of the village? Burn it if you have to! Just find that thieving fool!”
The Death of One of Us
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
Love leaves a memory no one can steal.
~A tombstone found in Ireland
A woman screamed. Men yelled with agony. Trac woke with a start.
“Bloody Hell… What is going on here?”
He got out of bed, slipped on his clothing, and peered out the window.
He saw the same brown and silver banner before.
Fowler was in Hazell.
Fowler’s Army was here.
Trac spun around and looked right into Reli’s bright blue eyes.
He said not a word.
Trac ran to his trunk in front of his bed, fished out his Spit-tooth dagger, his blade, his composite arrows and bow, and off he ran with Reli running behind him, not even dressed.
A man ran out in front of Trac, sword drawn and ready to strike.
Trac jumped back, drew his sword, and faked to his left, spun to his right, and hit the man in his back with the blunt side of his blade.
He fell down, unconscious.
Trac started jogging along again, and so was Reli.
Trac sprinted into a nearby alleyway when arrows started flying. Volleys of arrows smashed into the cobbled roadway, breaking spearheads and shafts, hitting villagers.
Trac backed up farther into the alleyway with Reli in front of him, until he felt something. He turned around and there was Christina.
“Christina! You’re still alive? Thank God!”
Christina looked like she wasn’t able to talk.
“Where is your mother?”
“My… my… mother…”
Trac suddenly had a bad feeling in his stomach.
Her mother had been slain by the blade of Fowler.
Trac slammed his fist into a wall, suddenly angry with himself.
Why didn’t he stay with Brooke and her mother when he knew Fowler was coming? He was so stupid!
“Come with me… I’ll get us out of here.”
He took Christina’s hand and ran along, Reli trailing behind.
As they rounded a corner, they were countered by at ten, maybe more, men-at-arms.
Trac turned to run, but tripped. Brooke helped him up, but where was Reli? He turned to see Reli fighting them off, three men-at-arms lying on the ground, blood spurting from their chests and backs.
It was starting to be too much for the old man. Trac reached for his sword, but it wasn’t there. He looked around and then noticed a dragon-pelt stitched onto Reli’s blade-handle. Trac’s sword.
“Curses, Reli! You fool!”
Trac took out his Spit-tooth, and lobbed it at a soldier. He fell to the ground. He ran over to the mess, and picked up his dagger. He then stabbed two more men, and then the Coat turned on Trac, and then he ran around the corner, Christina nowhere to be seen.
Trac quickly took out a vial with green liquid on it with some flint.
He popped the cork off the top of the vial, and waited.
When the Coat ran around the corner, he splashed at least three of them with the greenish liquid. He quickly struck the flint towards them, and a few sparks sputtered out, floating gently to the ground, but then it caught the boot of one of the Coat members’. He set ablaze immediately, and stumbled backwards into another Coat, starting him up as well.
Trac had to laugh to himself, seeing them jump around while the flames danced on the ground and on their clothing. The third Coat splashed doubled back, and run head on into another Coat set ablaze, and he set up like a snap. The remaining two Coats turned and ran, only for Reli to finish them with his blade.
Trac felt a rush of joy seeing these men lying on the ground.
He turned to see Christina jumping down from a nearby rooftop not too far from the ground.
And then she did something Trac never seen her do before: cry. She cried and ran into Trac’s loving arms, and he hugged her awkwardly. Reli walked over and whispered to Trac “Let’s go!”
Trac nodded and picked up Brooke and raced out of the city with Reli, into the forest, and then returning down the long, dirt road.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
Trac’s head spun. He was becoming delirious. So much blood… So much pain…
He snapped out of it.
“Um, Trac? Where are you taking us?” asked Christina.
“To the little town of McLay. There we should be safe for a few nights, and then we will get moving again.”
McLay was the only safe place Trac could think of.
Full of guards, there was no way they would be found without a notice.
Trac noticed the spot where he camped not even a week ago, and saw some bones of the wolf he had slain.
He also saw some cages to his right, and abruptly stopped, allowing Reli to run into him.
“Trac, what the hel-“.
Reli never finished his sentence, because he too saw the cages.
There was blood and dead corpses and carnivores scattered over the area.
Trac took out his Spit before anything got ugly.
He crouched down, and so did Christina and Reli. They went at least a mile like this before standing up again.
The three traveled for miles, stopping to camp and hunt. There were quite a few times when Trac thought he was lost.
But, they eventually made it to McLay. Trac was becoming desperate, so he asked over thirty guards to stick with the three until they were rested and fed. One volunteered. His name was Tross. He was pretty big, towering over Trac by at least a foot.
Tross carried around a large blade, probably a Fauntauna-Edged sword. Like Trac’s, the hilt had dragon-pelt stitched onto it.
“So, Fowler attacked Hazell? He might strike here next. I think I might alert the city…”
“No, don’t. He has way too many men. We traveled here from Hazell because he is after Reli here,” Trac said, gesturing Reli.
The two shook hands. Then Tross noticed Christina, and winked at her. She said nothing.
Tross told them to follow him to an inn, and that he would rent them a room, and himself one next door.
Later that night, when everybody was all settled in, a storm brewed. Trac thought he was the only one even awake. His mind was racing. He thought about how Fowler got there so quickly. Trac thought he would take at least another week or so to get there, seeing the route he was taking.
He was dragged out of his thoughts when he heard a loud banging sound downstairs.
Trac got up and pulled on a pair of trousers, and headed to the door. As he crept towards it, he heard a louder crash, and this time it sounded very close. Trac quietly creaked open the door, and peered out the door.
He saw something he would never live to forget: Tross was on his knees, bowing before the very Evil himself. Fowler had found Trac and Reli and Christina. There he was, standing right outside his door, with one of the most trusted people (that Trac knew for the moment) bowing before him.
Dark and Light
"People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in,
their true beauty is revealed only
if there is light from within."
-Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1926 -?)
Tross stood up, and pointed at the door of which Trac was standing behind. Trac felt his eyes widen, and hastily closed the door without making a sound. He turned and awoke Reli and Christina, and told them to get up right away, and follow him. While the two were slipping on their clothes, Trac dead bolted the door, and set up a chair against the doorknob. He turned, and ran to the window, opened and slipped out onto the road. Brooke and Reli followed, tripping over the windowsill because they haven’t even known what was happening.
“Shh,” Trac said when Christina whimpered when she cut her knee as she fell.
“Why are we runni-“
“Because Fowler has found us,” Trac said, cutting off her sentence.
“Who is…? Fowler,” Brooke asked in a whisper.
“Just stay quiet, and keep moving,” Reli said.
Christina quieted up.
Trac keep moving. He started sprinting when he heard a loud bang behind him, presumably from the tavern.
“Damn you, Trac!” Fowler called out after the three, which were Reli, Trac, and some child.
Fowler knocked and arrow to his bow, and took aim at the pair. He raised his bow a bit, and released the string.
Trac felt a searing pain in his left calf. He limped down an alley way, and sat down. He turned his leg over, and examined the arrow stuck in it.
“Damn it, he sticked me!”
Trac noticed blood seeping through his trousers, and winced.
“Trac, I will carry you. Don’t worry; we’ll get out of here.”
Reli tried to pick up Trac, but he nudged him off.
“You two… go. Your strength will tire out, and you will become slow. I will distract Fowler while you two escape.”
“I won’t leave you,” Christina said.
“Go, now! I can hear his footsteps!” Trac whispered.
Reli picked up Brooke and sped off, Brooke fighting against Reli’s strength, looking back at Trac with eyes filled with not fear, but sadness.
“Well, well, well. Look who we have here! Trac, did you miss me?” hissed a voice that Trac knew all too well.
Trac felt his breathe leave him when he hit the wall of Fowler’s jail cell. He felt to the ground, and didn’t get back up until Fowler left.
He sat up, and propped himself up in a corner. He then remembered he had his Spit in his pocket.
He sat in his cell for (maybe?) two days, having scraps of molded food brought into his cell by a man who had dried spit, blood, and what Trac thought was mud caked on to his grey beard. He always wore a dirty jacket with many holes in it, and his eyes were the brightest blue, but not even they could conceal the sadness and self-pity the man had for himself.
After a few days, the man stopped coming, and was replaced with a man who called him self Tonsoon.
One time when he came, he had something interesting to say.
A Gain and a Loss
He who possesses most
Must be most afraid of loss.
~Leonardo Da Vinci
Trac heard a clanging of metal to his left, and then was blinded by the light that suddenly flooded into the room.
Trac closed his eyes, and saw the light slip away through the back of his eyelids.
“Well, well, well. You’re such a poor soul, aren’t you? Being locked up in Fowler’s cages like this mustn’t be a thrill, is it not? I would easily kick you down in the dirt, but I decided not to.”
Trac coughed up some loose gravel stuck in the back of his throat.
“What is it that you want from me this time, Tonsoon? I don’t have time for your stupidity.”
“Trac, being locked up in these cages, you have plenty of time. I don’t know why you suppose you will rot away that quickly. Fowler wouldn’t allow it! But, I am not here to banter with you about Fowler’s nonsense. I’m going to make you a deal.”
Trac thought a moment. He then realized he could trust the fellow, seeing how Reli escaped so many times with his help.
“What’s your deal then, eh?”
“I help you get out of this dump, and you pay me two sacks of gold.”
Trac almost choked on the thought of two sacks of gold. Never in his life had seen that much gold at once. But, he agreed to. He figured he could trick the man into doing it, seeing how absent-minded he was.
“Deal,” Trac agreed.
Tonsoon unlocked the door with a pair of keys, and led Trac out of the dungeon, out into the sunlight.
Trac saw a mountain of green grass next to a large furnace, with coal piling up on the other side. The ground that Trac walked on was covered with boot prints, and the dust they kicked up because of it having no cushion from boots, cushions like grass. He also saw many holes in the ground, and buildings that looked as if though a gust of wind could pick them up and take them off.
How will I ever get out of here? Trac thought to himself.
He realized dozens of wilting lilac bushes lined up against the area’s walls. Under them, small caches of coal, knives, and a sword or two were hidden.
Tonsoon pushed Trac along, sweeping in and out of alleys, avoiding the eyes of FWGs, or Fowler Watch Guards. FWGs were armed with chain mail armor and had had javelins sharpened enough to appear if they could pierce dragon hide.
Suddenly, Trac heard somebody yell out behind him.
“Hey! You! Stop!” called a voice behind him.
Trac didn’t even turn, he just ran. Tonsoon wasn’t as lucky. He turned, and saw the FWG. He tried running backwards, and stumbled. Trac never did see him again. He ran on, out through the city walls, weaving in and out of crowds of servants and FWGs. A few more men carrying javelins and crossbows and silver-pointed bolts charged Trac, but he narrowly avoided them, doubling back around the city quite a few times, losing guards in the process. He could tell they were getting agitated.
Trac approached one from the behind, and drew his Spit tooth. He grabbed him from behind, raised his blade to his neck, and spoke.
“Your stupidity amuses me,” Trac said to his previous follower.
He slid the Spit across the man’s neck, and dropped him to the ground. Blood spurted everywhere. Trac picked him up, and dumped him in the compost bin. He kicked some dirt over the blood on the ground, as to not aware the other FWGs of his presence. He slipped on down a small dirt path and into the forest. A horn started wailing, and he now that he was spotted. But he couldn’t help it now. He just ran and ran, never stopping, allowing the bramble and insects eat him alive. The bramble opened the cuts, the mosquitoes infected them. Trac’s eyes started watering wildly, and pain developed inside him. He hadn’t eaten much in days. He felt his head get light, and stumbled. He picked himself back up, and ran, but only for a few paces before stumbling again. He decided it was best to just lay there and die, but then he saw them.
Sweet Jesus! Berries of the blue! Trac thought to himself, excited. He scraped his feet against the dirt until he got out of the ditch he was laying in. He flopped onto the path again, and crawled his way to the blueberry bush. He plucked every single berry off of the bush and ate them whole. He felt his strength returning, and felt energy surge through him. He slowly, but surely, stood up, and walked along, dumping off the blueberries into his pocket.
He just might make it.