Make sure to start with Part 1, available Here. Listen to this tale narrated by the author or read the full text below. I stumbled through the wilderness for most of the night before I
Make sure to start with Part 1, available Here.
Listen to this tale narrated by the author or read the full text below.
I stumbled through the wilderness for most of the night before I came across any sign of civilization. To say it was a village would have been generous, but there were a couple of houses clustered together.
At last, a chance to rest and find some answers. My stomach growled. And food.
The odds of anyone there actually knowing anything about me were low, but I could probably learn more about where I’d wound up. And maybe talking with them would free some of my memories.
I staggered to the closest home. It was a low hut with a thatched roof. Sunlight creeped over the horizon as I knocked.
“Who could that be at this hour?” A man said from inside.
“Well, don’t just lay there wondering, go ask,” a woman said.
Nice enough people. I thought as they bickered their way to the door.
The man who opened the door was big—at least a head taller than me, and broad-shouldered. His face was mostly concealed behind a black beard, but the top of his head was bare. “What do you…?” His eyes grew wide when he saw me.
“I’m sorry, but—”
I don’t know how I dodged that first punch, but I was glad I did. His fists looked more like boulders than hands.
“The soldiers are back!” He shouted into the house. “Millie, go wake the others. Hurry.”
I dodged another attack and countered with the pommel of my sword. I caught him on the side of the jaw, but he didn’t seem to notice.
He rushed me. With his arms extended he was almost as wide as the house. We crashed back onto the ground, the man’s full weight driving the breath out of my lungs. I jabbed my gauntleted left hand into his gut.
When that didn’t work, I hit lower.
I pushed him off of me and stood up. Light shone from the open doors of a couple houses, in addition to the growing sunlight. Another three men had gathered around me, none as large as the man now writhing at my feet, but all of the same stock. Each of the men held a long handled farming tool.
This isn’t going well.
“This doesn’t have to end bloody.” I held my sword up, but away from them.
Something struck the back of my helmet with a loud clang. Or that might have just been the ringing in my ears. Either way, I staggered two steps forward and bright spots danced across my vision.
The men laughed. In a cave. Far away.
I staggered away from where I thought they were. My feet brushed heavily against the ground, slowing my progress. I made it three, maybe three and a half, more paces before my feet betrayed me, and I collapsed into a heap, as bright light enveloped me.
Sunlight glinted off snow-topped stone. I was a boy, looking up at enormous walls as our wagon approached the gate. I shivered under the thin blanket I shared with two other boys. Their faces were turned, staring back the way we’d come. I tried to speak to them, but all that came out was the chattering of my teeth.
The light dimmed as we passed into the shadow of the walls, a few more moments and we would be under the arch of the gate. The back of my hand burned, but I couldn’t raise it from under the blanket.
As we made the first turn through the gate, an old man leaned into my field of view from the front of the wagon. “Don’t worry, boys, we’re home now.”
His hair had shriveled to little more than a halo of smoke around his head. The skin of his face sagged, and his teeth looked like they’d rotted through. But his green eyes still shone bright. My father? Grandfather?
All I knew for sure was that I hated him.
To Be Continued….
Review all other Scarred in Ink Installments here.