The Endless Horizon

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 11 (v.1) - Truth Untold

Submitted: June 27, 2019

Reads: 59

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Submitted: June 27, 2019

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-11-

Truth Untold

 

 

Returning to Chenglei, inhabitants were bustling just as they were when we had left them. Without the faintest idea of how to proceed from here, we ended up at the oak door of Samson’s household. We had yet to even clean ourselves from our latest endeavor, attracting us numerous stray glances. I wrapped my knuckles against the wood and waited for him to answer. When the door swung open we were welcomed into open arms.

“You two! I told you you’d have little trouble, did I not?” His wide grin was contagious; I found myself beaming with the same pride that he did. Then worry filled his face as he examined our attire. “Oh but Corda, your robes are devastated!" His hands exuded a soft glow as he ran them along the gashes in the bloodied fabric, slowly mending them with magic. "You two rest, I’ll be back quickly.“

Cordella stopped the man before he could leave. “Pardon my interrupting, but we ran into something most troublesome.” She looked at me as though she expected me to describe the occurrence.

“It can wait,” Samson urged her to sit, “I can’t have the two of standing about looking like morticians.” He vanished into a neighboring room.

He returned minutes later with tunics and a large cauldron in tow. He tossed the clothes into our laps for us to change into and then took our current garb, leaving the cauldron in front of us.

“Your clothes are fairly battered, I’m afraid my magic will be no faster than a seamstress. For now, you two just clean yourselves up and get comfortable.”

Upon the lip of the cauldron lay two hot rags which Cordella and I used to clean our wounds. After some time we had cleaned ourselves of most of the blood so that Samson could then suture our more dire injuries.

Once all was said and done we got ourselves better situated in the house’s living space. Samson and Cordella sat across from each other while I stood, scanning the various trinkets hanging from the walls.

“Tell me everything of your encounter Corda, I’d love to hear the tale.”

Cordella wore an uncomfortable expression as she cast her view towards me.

“Before that, we’ve got to discuss something more alarming,” I said as I came to stand beside them. “We did, in fact, defeat the beast you'd informed us of, but it was neither of our strength that brought us back to the surface after the fact.” Samson tilted his head inquisitively. On a short end-table, I laid both of the weapons that I'd been carrying up until now, unwinding the twine that held them together. “A man concealed in a dark cowl ushered us out of the caves after we had collapsed, and when I came to he assaulted me with a number of questions to which I didn't respond. After I told him that we killed that thing he grew furious with me.”

Samson made no effort to respond, so Cordella continued for me. “He fought fiercely, but we managed to best him with luck. Who was he, and what in the hell did we kill in the mine?”

Samson was notably slow to answer. “I have an idea, but I think it be best we start from the top. When I informed you two of my suspicions, please don’t think wrong of me, but I knew very well what dangers lay in wait underneath those abandoned burrows.”

My face was overtaken by warm redness that radiated from my cheeks. From the depths of my throat words rose, horrible accusatory words -but they didn't escape my mouth, not before Samson took to defending himself.

“I admit it was careless of me to send you to the mine without better preparation,” he said, trying to quell the ember he had sparked, “but I wasn't sure you'd have been willing if you were truly aware of the risk.”

“To what ends would you send us into that things den, knowing full and well that we could’ve died as any other bunch of misfit mercenaries?” I was on the verge of shouting.

“Don’t sell yourself short my friend,” his soothing words were ineffective, small stones against my steel unwavering steel tower.

“Please, just listen.” This time it came from Cordella, now vouching for the man whose decision in no way contributed to her being here amongst the living.

“And what about you?” I barked. “Not but hours ago you lay dying, how've you so soon forgiven him for letting you walk to what was very nearly your demise?” She fell silent. “Is this the real reason you needed me?” I finally asked.

“Please stop,” She begged.

“Was I just a tool to help you in this ridiculous endeavor?” The more I spoke aloud the harder it was for me to stop myself.

“Stop it Kaiser!”

Despite the sense of betrayal that boiled in my veins, the tears welling in her eyes made my blood run cold. We'd come too far together for me to deny her my ear now. I exhaled sharply. “Then speak quickly,” I said with an accusatory finger pointed at Samson.

“My word may mean little to you now, but I promise that Cordella was just as ignorant to my plan as you. Direct your anger towards me, not her.”

I nodded, ashamed that my emotions had taken control of me like that.

“Now I didn’t lie per se, but I should have told you more. When I had theorized about what may have ended the last civilization, it was no mere hunch. Those stone tablets that I’ve been studying, they describe what occurred in great detail.” The heat of my temper cooled as I listened. “What’s more is that they go on to talk about those who colonized before them, and even they who preceded them. It’s all the same thing, one catastrophic cycle destined to repeat itself.”

“So it’s prophetical?” Cordella queried.

“Not quite, they’re more akin to warnings in nature.”

I spoke again, although this time it was in a lower volume. “Do you think all of this justifies your request of us?”

“I put you both in grave danger, and for that, I’m truly sorry; however, I thought you two would be understanding of my motives. This is after all for the betterment of our people. As for our cloaked combatant, he was an unforeseen threat.”

“Arch-wyvern,” Cordella interrupted, “That’s what he called that leviathan; what did it have to do with this cycle?”

“That’s a term saved for those too large to be classified as a wyvern. The texts inform me they have something to do with this cycle, but they go no further than that. I’d tell you where you could find the next if I had even the faintest idea of where it may be. I’ve become a resident of Chenglei because it was closest to the only one I managed to locate.”

With my anger now having fully subsided, I brought up another key detail: “He mentioned Mochada to us, do you know where this is?”

Samson reeled from the suddenty of my inquisition. “Mochada?” I reaffirmed that he had heard me correctly. “If memory serves correctly, it's a simple fishing village.”

“If he knew of the one in the mine, then I’m willing to bet that he knows of another wyvern there. But even if that were the case, it was only a stroke of luck that we made it back here alive. I’m not so willing to throw caution to the wind a second time.”

Samson's usual positive attitude was now vacant. “I understand your unrest, but the severity of the situation demands our attention.”

“So we’re to march to Mochada on a whim and nothing else?” Cordella chimed, now echoing my own uncertainty.

“Be it definite or a faint hope, it’s as good a place to start as any.” He selected his words carefully before saying any more. “I have no greater control over the two of you, your actions are yours alone and if my lies have curbed your pursuit of ‘the greater truth’ you spoke of, Kaiser, I can do nothing about it. Whatever the case, I hope you both find whatever you’re in pursuit of. That said, this will likely be the last time we speak for quite some time.”

~~~
With no prior connection to Samson, my feelings were reserved, whereas Cordella had become dour. Soon thereafter we exchanged our final goodbyes and walked into the open village, just the two of us. It was a lot we had been told, and being pushed back into the world was akin to being plunged into an icy river after a long summer.

When we had put greater distance between us and the looming tower, I met her still glistening eyes. “This is where we part ways then? Unless we-”

“What?”

“This,” I pointed back with my thumb as indication, “is not something I wish to be a part of. We, you, came within a hairs reach of death’s embrace, and I’d rather not come so close again.”

She took an accusatory tone, “So you’d turn your back on the world, the lives of countless people, to keep your own heart beating?”

“On the world that already turned its collar to me?”

“And on me?” she asked with a cold expression, “Because I’m going to Mochada regardless of your childish spite. I understand your frustration, but to let the whole world burn because of one man? Don't be so selfish.”

The thought of her lifeless body draped in the rubble as in the mine made me clench my teeth and drop my brow. “But why does it have to be you? Or me?”

“Because if not us then who? You've seen first hand the difficulty of convincing those unwilling to listen, you think they'll listen the harbingers of the world's end, two people fed by the ravings of an old man and his stone scribbles?”

I growled. Between the two of us she seemed the bigger man. At every turn along our journey, it had so far always been me that lacked confidence, always needing her hand in keeping my fear stowed. My shoulders dropped. “Are you not afraid of death Cordella?”

“No, I'm afraid of dying before I have a chance to live. You said to me that you wanted a chance to start over, here's your chance.”

I drew a shallow breath. “Deep down I know you're right,” I said begrudgingly, “But it's hard to see the end to this, what we've only just started, when I can't even see over the horizon.” I was staring straight down the bridge of my nose at the dirt, still damp with melted snow flurry. “If you’ve got yourself a death wish I’ll follow, but I'll have to ask that you refrain from dying for the sake of it.” I followed my words of resignation with a skeptical grin.

After she returned my smile, down to the concern bubbling just behind it, she continued walking with me close behind.

Though our time in the city was short-lived, it was a breath of fresh air no matter how bitter cold. Now, with our goals revealing themselves to us, any effort put towards changing our courses away from what fate had in store seemed that much more fruitless. Ignorance of this was the difference between life and death, and this weighed heavily on our minds. With the strings at our backs lowering us into inevitable free-fall, I could only hope to find peace by the end of what would undoubtedly be a perilous journey.

Before beginning the next leg of our journey we spent a few days resting, curing ourselves of fatigue. We had our clothes cleaned and patched at the local tailors and I had my blade made sharp and polished. As much as we would have liked to stay behind a few more days, we knew that we had to get to Mochada quickly if our new adversary was to head there himself.

 


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