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Chapter 11: New Companions
The rain hit heavy on the roof of the stable, wind knocking the shutters in an unsteady rhythm. The little girl sat huddled in an empty stall, eyes closed, knees pulled to her chest. Her once-white simple dress was mud stained and wet. She was confused. Sad. Alone.
She didn’t think she’d meant to hurt those people. She had just reacted. The man had imagined hurting her. She had seen it clearly in her mind. The flames had come and she’d fled in the night along the dirt path, eventually finding the nearest town.
The door opened.
- A man came in 0%
- A woman came in 31.5%
- A young boy came in 37%
- A young girl came in 31.5%
Her eyes were closed but she knew that it was a young boy entering the stable. She could feel his cold and discomfort and also knew he was just looking for somewhere to hide from the weather. He was alone, like her. She felt a pang in her chest. She didn’t like being alone.
She realised that she was shivering. She was feeling the cold. Was she adjusting to this place? She realised her emotions were starting to penetrate through the glassy wall she had felt when she woke up in the mountain.
The boy didn’t notice her, settling in a different stall.
- Introduce herself now 70%
- Wait until morning 30%
She heard the boy fussing as he tried to get himself comfortable. He muttered to himself a little & eventually settled.
The girl lifted her head & opened her eyes, still hugging her knees?
“Hello?” she said gently into the darkness, just loud enough to be heard over the rain.
The boy shouted, shocked at not being alone in the stable.
“Who’s there?” He said loudly. “I have a knife!”
She knew he didn’t have a knife.
“I just want to talk” she said meekly.
“Who are you? What’s your name?” he demanded, standing up & looking in her direction.
- “I… don’t know” 22.3%
- “My name is Ain” 22.3%
- “My name is Alya” 33%
- “My name is Mira” 22.3%
“Alya” the boy repeated. He moved closer, moving into the dim light coming through a window. He was short, had dark hair and his clothes were dirty like her own.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
She stood. “You are cold. I think I am too.” She raised her hand.
A sigil hung in the air and suddenly the stable filled with a comforting warmth.
“Wow! You do magic!” Tom said with a start.
Alya looked confused. “I just make things happen sometimes”.
They both sat down in her empty stall.
“Where are you from?” he asked.
- She points upwards 11%
- She points South to Tor 44.5%
- She shrugs 44.5%
“South? You mean you are from Tor?”
Her face looked blank and she shrugged.
“Where is your pet? People from Tor always have pets.”
Again she shrugged.
“Where are you going? Why are you alone?”
“I need to find my sister” she said. “I’ve always been alone. And you?”
“I’m alone too” he said. “I had to leave home after ma died. I want to go to a big city.”
She looked at him, head tilted, and felt his loneliness. She didn’t like it. It resonated with her uncomfortably.
“You should come with me” she suggested. “Help me find my sister.”
- He says yes 91%
- He says no 9%
After a moment’s thought Tom nodded at Alya. “OK” he said quietly.
Alya felt him surge with a mix of excitement, nervousness and a sense of relief. She new he felt drawn to her somehow.
The wind outside picked up and the rain fell harder. Thunder rolled in.
“Will you help protect me?” she asked him quietly, barely audible over the noise of the weather outside.
Tom nodded. “I’m only small but I will try my best”.
She smiled. Alya leant towards him and took his face gently in her hands.
Power surged from her palms.
The crystal foxes darted around the ruins of the farmhouse. The roof & upper floor were gone, thick ash covering everything. The fire must have been intense to cause such destruction.
“What monster could do this to a family?” Selayne said out loud but to nobody in particular.
“We need to inform the Queen. The child has moved beyond our borders, into Altier” said Eden.
He looked at Selayne. “Lady, I think you should be the one to return.”
She shook her head vigorously. “No. This is my task. Send some of your trackers”.
- He insisted she returns 36%
- He sends two trackers 64%
Eden hesitated but understood the young woman’s need to continue. The royals of Tor were expected to lead by example.
“Yes, Lady. I understand.” He called over two of his trackers. “Report back to Tor. They must know about this powerful new threat. It appears to be hostile.”
Eden looked North East. “It’s got a few days on us. I believe it’s moved on to the village of Hamlet. It must have passed through Myrtle. Gods know how that small town fairs.”
The next day, the three rode into Myrtle. To their relief, all looked well.
- Find an inn 47%
- Find the mayor 16%
- Find the local sherif 37%
The three walked through the small town of Myrtle mid morning. The small market square was busy with trade. Heads turned towards the strangers from Tor, particular curiosity turned towards Selayne’s thigh-high blue crystal mountain cat.
They headed to the one Inn on the square.
The innkeeper served them some stew, answered their questions about news in town and left them to eat.
A man in a long brown robe approached them from the corner of the room. His beard was messy, hair unkempt and his eyes showed signs of madness.
Eden looked up suspiciously.
- “You seek the girl” 33%
- “You need to leave” 11%
- “Help me. I need help.” 33%
- “The end is upon us.” 23%
“You seek the girl” than strange man said confidently. “I see her. In my dreams.”
Suddenly his demeanour changed from confidence to cringing. “You need to help me. Save me.” His eyes darted side to side like he was being hunted.
“Save you? From who?” asked Selayne.
“The girl, of course.” the man said, this time with arrogance in his voice.
“He’s mad” whispered Eden.
“But he knows about the girl” replied Selayne.
“What do you know?” she asked the man.
“She’s a devastator. A re-creator. A seed. I’ve seen it.”
- Ask him about his dreams 29%
- Dismiss him 7%
- “A seed?” 57%
- Threaten him 7%
“A seed?” Selayne asked, confused.
“Yes! A seed!” The man said imperiously. “Don’t you see? She will break things down and build them up. She will create life but will destroy it first.” He shook his head. “You don’t understand.”
“You say she should be stopped?” Eden asked.
“No! She can’t be stopped! She’s needed!”
“But you said she would kill people”
“Yes! She will kill me! Save me!”
Eden sighed. “I’ve had enough of this. Begone, man. Hide if you must. The girl isn’t here. You’ll be safe.”
“I can go with you!” the man said excitedly.
- Agree to take him 47%
- Send him away 53%
Eden barked a laugh at the suggestion. “You really are mad!”
Selayne also shook her head. “No, you shouldn’t. If what you say is true, coming with us will put you in danger! You would be better off staying here.”
The man’s face turned angry. “You are fools!” He backed away.
He bumped into tables & chairs as he moved to the Inn door. “Fools!” He called before exiting.
Eden sighed. “Well that was interesting”, sarcasm plain.
Selayne shrugged. “We need to leave. If the girl passed this way, there’s no sign of her.”
They ate, left coin & departed.
The mad man watched as the three from Tor walked East, out of town. He arched an eyebrow and cocked his head to the side.
“Follow them” a voice said in his mind. The man flinched.
“I’ll die!” he whined. “You can’t make me. They told me not to”.
- He followed them East 73%
- He stayed in town 0%
- He left town, South 27%