Departure – Final Chapter

Kit knew where they were going; it was beyond the Anjin Col.  It was far beyond the forest on the other side of the mountain.   He was charged with helping the Jaspert take the caravan to the city of GornStan, in the lands of the Fifteen Earls.  Those that signed on to the caravan had hoped to leave Saj-Graf behind.

Ertle was in a luxurious carriage with a young man by the name of Siwaldh.  The driver of the carriage was Zahar, the fallen.  The three had met one night at Ermore Inn after the days of the cloudervan.  They had agreed to leave Saj-graf and chase their fortunes elsewhere.  Though not a one revealed their past, they were certain they knew each other and the capabilities that dwelled within.

There were several lesser carts of goods from merchants Ertle had convinced to buy in to the venture and cover his cost of needing guards on the road.  Traveling in this class was Deylin Greyston, off to Pigback Pass to build another watchtower for the city.

As they got ready to leave the city two men approached the caravan and spoke to Kit.  One seemed to struggle with the light of day, and told Kit he had been a shut in and was now ready to see the world.  The other limped a bit but assured he could pay enough to convince Ertle to make space for him.  After giving them a quick assessment, Kit admitted them to the group.  It would be a long ride out and a few more hands would be nice with the troubles they may encounter on the road.

The wagons started to roll out of town by midday.  Kit looked back at Jit tower, it was the first marker of Saj-graf he had seen and would likely be the last.  Its majestic rise over the city would leave a lasting impression.  In his heart he would feel peace once he moved himself from the outskirts of town, past the farms and outlying ruins.  If he could shirk his duty and run once more off to the woods he would do so.   He looked down the length of the caravan and then back to the city one more time.

These cities were living beasts that he feared.  They grew without conscious and bread contempt amongst those that dwelled within.  Somehow they made people feel safe and secure, but for Kit, he was happy to depart and be free.

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Observations of Lions

She stares out at the savanna, knowing that they play regardless of who may be watching. This is their home and she is but a visitor. Two of them greet each other with gentle head butting that would knock her to the ground. One of them flashes its open mouth, a quick yawn or a warning of the deadliness hidden under her beauty.

Yet she watches in reverie, enthralled with the anticipation of what they will do next as yet another joins the group and shares in the greetings. If not for the apparent size difference, she would think them the same as her ones back home that wait for her return. Her mind wonders to that of sitting in a chair on her computer as one of her cats comes up to her and nuzzles her with affection and want of attention. The joy and comfort she is feeling is amplified by her lover’s hand upon her back. He is there watching in fascination with her too.

The gentle caress of his hand brings to mind his own pet name for her, his snow leopard. Her thoughts dwell on all the attributes it has and she feels like she lacks. It is a creature of great power and beauty; never to be tamed. Questions enter her mind as she wonders if he sees the same things in her that she sees in it. She steels a quick glance and recalls the confidence he has in her, greater than her own sometimes. She feeds on those compliments, repeating them quietly to herself and still questions where he gets such ideas.

The lions in the field are now resting gazing pleasantly across the field now. The cats here are much like the ones at home. As they get sleepy you feel as if they beckon you to sleep with them. Or is it that they leach your energy to recharge themselves. The feeling is hard to say at this moment. For in the comfort of her family she understands why they are comfortable. In this moment she feels as though she empathizes most with the animals in the field more than many she knows back home.

She

And off she went into the night.  Her goal was the only thought.  But would she be in time?  Faster she rode, wishing she could go just a little bit faster.  Speed and time were the key players now, but speed and time are never good teammates.

Upon arrival in the clearing, she knew she was too late.  Everything was gone including a trail to follow.  Being an expert in tracking she did not give up the pursuit easily, looking for any sign even a slight trace in the ground.  But this was not to be her day and luck seemed to have turned its back on her.  The ground was frozen solid, not even an imprint of where she walked and now the snow started.

If experience was to serve correctly, and much to her anger it would, the snow was going to be heavy and long.  No longer was it an option to find her quarry.  Now she had to find lodging, out here in the wilds.  The closest town was over a day away and she now cursed herself for getting in the situation.

“Oh well, where now?”  The first words muttered by her since leaving the town.  The trees would keep back most of the snow, but sleeping out in the open would leave her vulnerable to other creature.  A wolf had been following her for the last hour and she knew it.  The wolf had mistaken her attempts to find anything resembling a trail as being lost or confused.  All it had to do was wait for her to become tired and then make its move.

The wolf was sure she would make easy prey.  After a failed attempt to steal food from those camping the night before, this made it four days without food and it would not become five.  His ill fated assault of the prior night left him slightly hurt, a small cut on the back.  A far better fate than if he had been caught, for those in the camp surely would have killed him.

Things had been much easier on the wolf a year ago when his human companion had still been alive.  Now that was a human any wolf would have liked.  Whatever his name was he was a true warden to the forest and kept out those that did not call it home.  Even he himself would enter more than a couple of feet if it could be helped.  It was a sad day when death came to collect him.  But now food was scarce, more so now that winter set in.  It was going to be a long winter, quiet and difficult.

She finally found a suitable place to rest, below an outcropping of rocks.  The place had obviously been a resting spot for others human and non.  For now it was hers.  Her horse took some comfort from the fire she built.  For the first time that day, luck smiled upon her. The pack of supplies she grabbed while leaving town would leave her in a comfortable situation for the next two or three days.  Now she could focus on her current adversary.  The wolf sat a ways off, watching her setup camp.  “Perhaps this won’t be as easy as I thought,” he thought to himself.  But then he saw her with what looked like food.  It wouldn’t be a fresh kill, as he preferred, but food was food.  She had to sleep some time and then that was when he would attack or at least sneak in and get something to eat.

At that moment she did something quite unexpected by the wolf.  A portion of cured meat landed in front of him.  It smelled ok…what was she up to?  He licked it…tastes salty but otherwise it was food.  He tore into it, ravished by hunger there was no way to appreciate the skill that had been put in to preserving the food.  And at that point he realized perhaps there doesn’t need to be an attack.  Though the hunger had been warded off, trust was not there, so instead of spending a night by a warm fire, he sat watching, wondering what she was up to.

Night passed without a sound, leaving behind a half foot of snow in its wake.  Both of them woke tucked nicely beneath the blanket, only upon waking did it become disturbed.  Both saw that the other was watching to see what came next.  The silence of the morning was broken by the horse standing up.  Like everyone there it was cold.  It looked quizzically at her.  As if to ask where’s the fire and what about the wolf.  Though these were not the questions the other two saw in it.  The horse had shaken them both back to reality and awareness of the snow falling, that  it was indeed cold and perhaps all three of them just wanted to make it through the storm.

Chasing the sun

Chasing the sun
Chasing the moon
The shortest day of the year
The longest 24 hours.
Two days travel in one,
It’s only Starting.

I saw it all
A distinct path to happiness
She showed me it was all an illusion
Things never to be.

I slept the night
Chasing Dreams.
I awoke this morning,
And found I had none.

It is home.
It is not.
It is far away.
It is not.
So much found un-needed,
So much needed no found.

Through the day,
Under the moon.
A train ride to some place new.
Am I exploring,
or am I running?
A desire becomes reality ,
While another slips away.

The train heads west.
At early morning,
Across Austria,
Into Switzerland,
Slowly I head home.

Italy
A welcome break
France
A reminder of days gone by
England
A call back home.

Is it what I left?
Am I going back?
A return to the familiar,
But will it ever be the same?

Around the world,
I chased the sun,
I chased the moon,
I ended where I started,
A wiser fool.