Dragon Fire: Episode Three

On this sunny day with a clear sky and gentle westerly breeze, Brius let the horses move along at a lazy pace, the reins having been tied off to the post near the edge of the seat. The river leading out of Ethion kept a steady flow beside the road for a few miles before breaking off to run through the mountains. Razham sat in the back of the cart meditating while Briscoe, the grey wolf, followed just a few feet ahead. Suddenly Briscoe stopped and began growling at something just inside the bushes lining the river.
“What did you find, boy?” Brius asked pulling the horses to a stop.
He hopped down from the cart and moved cautiously over to the wolf.
Lying on the bank of the river was a young man, his clothes wet and tattered.
“Well, well,” Brius said, blocking the light as he stood over the boy. “I have found all sorts of unusual things on this river, but you have to be a first.”
The young man looked up squinting despite the shadow Brius was casting.
“What is your name, son?” Brius asked.
The young man looked around as if the trees would provide him with an answer.
“I do not remember,” he finally replied.
“Well if that is all the injury you have suffered, you are sound.” The man turned away and yelled, “Razham, come help me.”
Razham, a tall muscular man, stepped down from the cart and walked over to the riverside as Brius tried to help the boy stand. Razham reached out for the boy’s arm and lifted him to his feet.
“Seems our boy here has forgotten who he was,” Brius pointed out as he straightened up.
Brius’ shirt was dirty and his pants torn. His white hair was pulled back, and the ends of his long mustache were tied together to form a crude beard.
“Sorry for my untidy appearance,” Brius said as Razham helped the young man into the front of the cart. ““Had I known I would be meeting someone new, I would have dressed more appropriately.”
“I cannot make a proper introduction without your name, but I will do what I can. My name is Brius. I am a trader and have worked this section of the country for most of my life. The man who lifted you as though you were a leaf is Razham. He is from an island just south of here. He understands our tongue but does not speak a word of it. Our conversations are a lot like those between my dog and me.”
When Rahzam looked sternly at Brius, he quickly apologized. “He hates that comparison, but I cannot think of a better one.”
Razham was a dark-skinned man who wore a colorful vest and pants. His sandals had seen more than a few miles. Brius climbed into the back of the cart, and after several minutes of digging returned with a fresh set of clothes.
“You cannot remain in those clothes. They are badly ripped and barely cover you. Take these and go change in that thicket of trees, and see to that wrapped about your ankle. You might want to remove it. When you return, I will take you to the nearest town.”
The young man looked down and saw a whip still lashed around his ankle. He quickly unhooked it and wrapped it up. Then he took the clothes and entered a nearby grove of trees to change.
When he returned to the waiting men, Brius said, “Yes. That will do. “The nearest town is a day’s ride from here. I will take you there, and perhaps we will find out who you might be.”
The confused young man just looked at him, clearly unsure how to answer.
“You are welcome to ride with me until you get your memory back. Then we will drop you off at a more desirable location,” Brius said. He sat back in the seat and carefully looked the boy over. “You need a name, though, and since you cannot remember yours, we will call you Terrin. What do you think?”
The boy remained quiet without expression. Brius slapped him on the shoulder. “Alright then; it is settled. Terrin, you will ride with us until you get your memory back, and along the way you will learn a trade. Razham here is a pretty good fighter. We will have fun.”
“Razham always rides in the back. He has been with me for almost a year now, and I think he wants others to see him as my slave. But he has saved my life on many occasions and is more of a brother than a slave.”
Brius popped the reins, and the horses bowed their heads and started a slow trot.
“When we reach the town, we can find you food and better clothes,” Brius said.
The ride was quiet and peaceful. When the town came into view, Brius reached into the back of the cart and pulled out a pair of worn leather boots.
“Here. Take these. That pair you wear may be waterlogged, but anyone can see they once covered the feet of royalty.”
Terrin took the boots and slipped them on. He turned to Brius with his brows knit. “Do you know who I am?”
“No, but I have some theories. You have the marks of shackles on your wrists, but you are no prisoner. If you will take the reins, I might have just the thing.”
Terrin took the reins while Brius climbed into the back. After a moment, he returned with a bloodstained ax.
“Take this,” Brius instructed, handing him the ax.
“It once belonged to an executioner who was overcome when a prisoner’s partners attacked, killed the man, and freed their friend. I have often tried to sell it, but no one wants it. It is stained, as you can see, and the blade is dull. Razham has been sharpening it though.”
Terrin accepted the ax. When he held it up, he felt the weight and then rested it next to him on the cart. He looked at Brius and said,
“Thank you.”

Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

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