Posted: Jan 28, 2019, 6:52am
Just A Crazy Old Wizard
Luna was relieved to be headed away from the bandits. “We are losing them.” she whispered to Tiella as the wagon raced onwards. As the angry figures began to fall away into the distance she settled down trying to interpret the shadows strange messages.
Tiella looked back and for a few anxious moments it appeared that Sigrid and her band would try to overtake them but a loud roar from the hill top signaled a fresh assault by the trolls and the bandits were forced to turn and fight salvaging what was left of their temple fort.
Treno was a two day ride from their current position and the hapless band spent their first night in near silence as their merchant benefactor rode on through the darkness. Majvoc was sullen, mourning the loss of his loot... again.
Tiella wondered if the man had been cursed with ill fortune for such an obviously skilled thief he had a spectacular inability when it came to keeping hold of his ill-gotten gains. She said as much and his response almost caused Balar to take his axe to the man.
Balar however was in no fit state to start a fight the shadows affliction together with the blood loss from his wound were taking their toll. She eyed the sleeping form of the stranger, she guessed a man but could not really tell as he was dressed in a bundle of rags. He seemed to be clutching something tight to his chest and she peered forward to make out what it might be but it was too dark.
Dyvia was fast asleep snoring like a heard of auroks and to make matters worse she was leaning on the shoulder of Luna who looked horrified to be stuck so close to the snoring drooling dwarf.
"Give her a nudge Luna and come sit over her." Tiella pointed to the empty space next to her and Balar shuffled over to make more room.
Luna was glad to move. “ I would really like a bath” she muttered.
It was not long before Luna had fallen asleep. The shadow reappeared. It was much smaller this time and only sat on top of her staff. It was as if it were watching for danger.
The next morning brought streams of golden sunlight filtering through the gaps in the great wagons canvas. Balar awoke with a groan, painfully stretching out the crick in his neck and the stiffness around the wound on his back. Tiella was sat over him gently stroking the hair on his head and beard, concern etched on her face.
"Morning." she whispered as their eyes met. Balar peered around them his eyes captivated for a brief moment by the golden motes of dust suspended in the rays of the early morning sun. All around them the wares of their merchant benefactor were neatly piled. He spotted Majvoc sound asleep beneath a bundle of furs and close by the stranger still curled up in his blankets a wiry tuft of white hair poking out now hinting at old age.
Luna was sat nearby studying her staff. Shadows seemed to play upon its tip similar to those snaking their way over his hand and wrist. He could feel those now, cold and alien. It felt as if they were sapping the life from him. Luna looked over and smiled seeing him awake.
He heard a harsh laugh then from outside and recognised the voice of their new Dwarf friend talking to the merchant. Dyvia was it? The merchant himself had a dwarven look about him, maybe they had family or clan in common.
Balar pulled himself to a seated position and gasped as fiery pain sliced along his back. He felt as weak as a kitten.
"Be careful." Tiella urged, "You are not in good shape."
"Any chance of a pick me up?" he gestured down to his wife's dagger that she had sheathed at her waste. If she had been using it in battle it might retain some power for healing. She shook her head however,
"Luna and I discussed that while you slept. Until we remove the effects of her magic from your body trying to use more on you may do more harm than good. Especially with the added complication of the amulets." She touched the item that was nested on a chain around his neck and then her own. The two amulets bound their life forces together and lengthened his own. A dark gift from the Harlequin.
"When we get to the City we can find a private place." Luna said, "Then we can see what can be done to remove the ill effects of the magic." she kept her voice low wary of the merchant overhearing.
"And the thief?" Balar asked.
"What of him?" Luna asked with a curl to her lip.
"He has been afflicted also, though gods know how her bears it so well."
Luna raised her eyebrow and stared at the still sleeping form of Majvoc. "Has he indeed." she sniffed and then gave a short nod as if deciding something.
"Magic you say!" came a strange voice from beside them.
They almost jumped out of their skins at the sudden exclamation. Balar looked over to see the previously inert bundle of rags that was the sleeping stranger now sitting bolt upright with a look of sheer delight on his face. He was old, ancient even and human to the look. His thick white hair was wiry and poking out in all directions as was his brows and beard. He wore thick glasses that magnified his eyes and highlighted their difference in colour. One bright blue and the other green and neither pointing in the right direction. Balar wondered when he had woke up, he hadn't heard or seen him move at all.
"Eh? tell me, what magic? is it here? is it powerful."
He licked his lips and flipped open a thick book held tightly in his hands and began to leaf through the pages while talking to himself.
"M for magic, thats it, thats it. No no no. An elf, a man and half an elf." he cackled to himself and slammed the book shut.
"shhhhh" he placed his finger on his lips and went to peer out of the side of the wagon. He looked back with a grin.
"I will take a piss now and then you tell old Kespin all about magic yes?" and with that he dropped his trousers and started to urinate out of the side of the moving wagon, his pale wrinkly arse on display for all to see.
Luna turned a sickly pale and buried her face in to Balar’s shoulder. “I think I’m going to be sick” Luna said. She was not about to tell the stranger anything. That was for sure.
"For the sake of all that is holy will you stop doing that." The merchant called back to Kespin. Dyvia peered back to see what the man was shouting about and gasped as she saw the old man releaving himself, she quickly turned her head away.
"Nearly done." Kespin cackled back.
"I told you not to wake the old lunatic up." the merchant called back into the wagon.
Tiella who had turned to face away from Kespins antics shook her head and called back,
"We didn't touch him, he woke up on his own." she heard the merchant curse but no more words were exchanged.
After a few moments Kespin covered himself and came springing back to the centre of the wagon. He was spry for an old man, and as he sat crossed legged before them he eyed Tiella, Balar and Luna through his thick goggle-like glasses. Tiella noted that Majvoc was awake but doing his best to appear otherwise. Did that man ever do anything honestly...
"So..." Kespin said in a grand tone, still clutching his precious book between bony fingers, "Tell me everything."
“Why would I tell you anything” Luna snapped at him. She crossed her arms and glared at the crazy old man.
"Why?" Kespin yelped, "The elf girl asks me why?"
He thrust a bony finger at Tiella and frowned. "Tell me!" he demanded.
"Tell you what?"
"About the magic."
"There is nothing to tell." Balar growled.
"Lies, you tell lies to old Kespin and he wants to know."
"Mind you own business old man." Tiella warned. Balar placed a hand on his axe and glowered at the crazy eyed stranger. Kespin looked down at the axe and swallowed.
"Never mind." he squealed and scurried to the back of the wagon. "Don’t mind me, carry on."
The rest of the day passed by in silence as the wagon rolled on through the Troll March. They paused around midday for a bite to eat and to stretch their legs and the strange old man watched them the whole time, sometime mumbling to himself and at other times searching his precious book for some unknown secret.
“Old man if you have a good reason to know then maybe I’ll tell you” Luna said finely. Her disgust aside she felt kind bad for the old fool.