Lyle watched as Nil sauntered over to the chest. She solemnly opened it, pulling out her coat. She hung it over her arm and picked up a belt he hadn’t seen before. She put it on, and Lyle noticed there was a silver cross, about the four inches tall, hanging from the belt. She turned, feeling his eyes on her back, and asked what he was looking at. Lyle blushed, and meandered around the tree until she was done. Nilys watched him for a second, and went back to the chest. She pulled out several leather pouches, and attached them to her belt as well. She hid several knives in belts at her thigh, so her coat covered them. Lyle glanced back in time to see her putting several rolls of gauze in one of her pouches. She walked over to him, obviously ready to go. Lyle looked her up and down. His gaze fell upon her belt. It looked silver, but slightly… off. She caught his stare, and answered the question he didn’t ask. “It’s made of GodSilver. In addition to being worth a lot, it is the only thing to identify one’s self as a Bishop. I haven’t worn this in a long time….” Lyle nodded, accepting her answer.
The pair began to walk to town, and just before it was out of sight, Lyle saw Nil look back at the tree where she had spent so much time. Lyle was about to place a hand on her shoulder when he saw her lips move, what he assumed, was a quick prayer to the goddess. She turned around, and began walking. And she didn’t look back.
They reached the town in about two hours. Nil hesitated at the entrance, but Lyle ushered her on. She took a step through the gate, leaving Lyle a few steps behind. As she stepped in, Lyle noticed the talismans posted on the gate fall off. He thought nothing of it, and continued after her. They walked through the empty street, glancing at the buildings that were even more destroyed than when he was here first. This time, no children ran around. Nobody laughed. They found their way to the inn, near the entrance to the town. Lyle entered first, followed by Nil. The innkeeper, a man this time, greeted them, and his eyes fell on Nil. He glared at her, but otherwise ignored her. Lyle put several gold coins on the table, and asked for two horses. The innkeeper looked at him as though he were crazy, before saying, “Listen, bud. If ya want a horse, go to Capall Ranch. It’s not too far from here. But cha won’t find one in this town. Now get! I’ll not have such foul company.” Lyle was taken aback, grabbed his coins, and left with Nil in tow.
It was the same reaction no matter where they went, and no matter what they asked for. They were always harshly turned away, and kicked out. Lyle slumped down on a step outside of the last shop in town. “I don’t get it! They were so nice before. We saved them, what’s with this new attitude?”, Lyle Huffed. Nil sat down next to him, and explained, “I told you. I’m not exactly welcome. Lyle, we should probably go. If we stay much longer, it’ll get dark.” Lyle reluctantly stood up and Nil followed. He said, “We should probably go to the ranch the innkeeper mentioned.” Nil nodded and followed him out of the town. He led her down a winding path leading away from the town. Nilys was awestruck at what she saw. It was a large field, much larger than her swamp, holding at least twenty different paths, several mountains, a lake, a forest and a kingdom. Lyle spoke first, “Welcome to the Pathmeets. All of Regland sits upon, and is connected by, this one area. Lemme get out my map and I’ll—“ Nyle dug through his pouches, and his face turned white, “I-I lost it…….” Nil looked at his with a blank expression, while he franticly dug through each of his pouches again. Lyle groaned. “How do you lose a map?” Nil chortled. Lyle shot her a dirty look, “OH, maybe in the three foot deep swamp? Nothing we can do now. If I remember right…. Capall Ranch is that way.” Nil followed Lyle, and they walked for fifteen minutes, until Nil abruptly sat down. “I can’t do it, Lyle. It’s too much walking!” Lyle stopped and stared at her, “You were just fine walking for two hours in a swamp. If you ask me, this is a million times better!” Nilys laid on her back, “That’s different. I HATE walking. The swamp is soft.” Lyle pulled her to her feet, “Why don’t you use magic then? Call Bahamut. Or use that teleport-y zappy thing mages can do.” Nil groaned, “ I can’t call Bahamut, he is only for dire use. It takes a lot outta me.But….that ‘Teleport-y zappy thing’ might work if I use it for short distances. Ya think maybe five feet each?” Before Lyle could say anything, she answered her own question, “yeah…. Five feet would work…. As long as there are no hills… or trees…” Lyle sighed and continued walking. Nil was Zapping here and there, but Lyle paid her no mind.
By the time they reached the ranch, it was already dusk, and Nil was exhausted. They were almost at the gate, when a wild horse leapt over gate, nearly trampling them. The horse was followed by a young boy, who was attempting to wrangle it. Lyle was petrified, and Nil was in awe. She quickly snapped out of it though, when a girl, who had followed the boy, yelled that she was opening the gate and they had to stand back. The gate swung open, and the boy chased the horse back in their direction and through the gate. Lyle and Nil followed as the chaos continued within the ranch. Nil ran right into the middle of the action, despite Lyle’s protest. She positioned herself to be right next to the horse, completely forgetting her exhaustion. When the creature ran by, she took a deep breath and used that split second to teleport herself onto the creature. She grabbed its mane, and directed it in circles until it was worn out. She jumped down, and patted the horse. The boy and girl ran over, commending her on her skills. The boy introduced them, “I’m Shol, and this is my sister Cillian. We’re the kids of Janfo Capall, the owner of this ranch.”Cillian spoke, “I’ve never seen anyone handle Tolon like that! He’s been untamable since we got him, but look!” Nil was petting Tolon, who seemed to warm up to her. Lyle stood next to her, and Nil remembered her exhaustion. “You okay?” he asked quietly. She nodded, “Just used a bit too much energy on that. I should be okay.” Shol looked at them, and offered them a place to stay, “Dad’s out for a bit, But he’ll be back by tomorrow. You both look tuckered out, why not stay the night? We can talk business in the morning.” Lyle and Nil eagerly agreed, and followed the siblings into the ranch house.
The ranch house was homey, but one thing bothered Lyle and Nil. Chickens. There were at least twenty chickens roaming the lower floor. Shol and Cillian were unfazed by this, and led them up the stairs. There were several bedroom upstairs, and Shol and Cillian offered two bed, in one room, on opposite sides for Lyle and Nil to sleep in. Shol left to feed the animals and Cillian went to her own room. As soon as they were gone, Nil took off her coat, revealing her bandages, and set it on the bed. Lyle pretended not to notice, and took off his boots and tunic. Lyle Lay down in his bed, and said, “Well, Nil, I’m pretty beat. I’m gonna go to sleep. Night!” With that, he rolled over. Cillian came in to check on them, and seeing not only was Nil still awake, but still in her clothes. She beckoned for Nil to come out, so as not to wake Lyle. Nil made her way into the hallway, and Cillian spoke warmly, “Hi! I.. uh.. I don’t think I got your name… But I was wondering if you’d like to borrow some of my night clothes….. and uh… Oh! Dear! What happened to your arm? It’s all bandaged!” Cillian reached to touch it, but Nil jerked back. She smiled and said, “My name is Nil. And I would appreciate it if I could borrow your clothes. Thank you!” Cillian shied away. Nil sighed. She leaned against the wall, and held her hand up, looking at it somberly until Cillian came back. Cillian handed her a nightgown, and Nil thanked her kindly. Nilys quickly returned to the room and shut the door behind her. She glanced over to Lyle, who appeared to be sleeping. She threw the nightgown onto a chair, and grabbed a roll of gauze out of her pouch. She was still exhausted, but continued to unwrap the gauze currently on her arm. Lyle silently watched her, curious to see why she kept it wrapped. Nil winced. Lyle strained his eyes in an attempt to look at her arm, but saw nothing in the darkness. He continued watching as she removed the gauze from her fingers, flexed her hand, and began re-wrapping it.
© Copyright 2016 Amelia Laoche . All rights reserved.
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