The Isle of Dread

Sir Kage gave the command to set camp at midnight. Everyone began to take off their armor and prepare watch shifts. “Enjoy it while you can.”, said Sir Kage, “We start moving again in four hours.” Billard laid down the critically injured body of Kirby gently to the ground. Kirby had been hit in the head by one of the rakastas’ arrows. The arrow had penetrated the skull and had hit into the brain. Although they had field surgery to take out the arrow and cauterize the wound, it was doubtful that he’d live much longer. Even if he did live, there was no way to tell what the wound to his brain would do to the Kirby they knew.

“I told ye we shuldna be bringin’ no damn kid with us.”, said Stalfor for hundredth time.

Kage blamed himself. He should have sent the kid away the minute he saw him. What did that idiot Billard think they were going on? A picnic? Kirby had reminded him of his own son somewhat. Kage reminded himself that many more had died by the theft of the S.S. Assailant, but he had done that in necessity. He couldn’t blame any of the merchants if they had done the same to him if it was their sickly son. But still, there would be so many fathers not coming home to their sons this year…..

He knew he had to keep his mind on of something else or else go crazy.

Kage began bagging up the white armor drapes. Although white was the best color for protection against the sun, it showed up the best at night. Generally, knights wore white if they planned to travel during the day and black if they traveled by night for camouflage. This caused a stigma to surface in child-lore about knights’ colors since looters and sackers tended to travel by night while castle guard normally traveled by day. But then again, in child-lore, knighthood in itself signified you were specially chosen and had gone through tests of great endurance, though in real life knighthood was granted to hundreds and simply constituted you were working for a king.

Everett stared into the starless night, eyes wide, and his face emotionless. The travesty that befell Kirby had made Everett worry about the welfare of Marina and made him check his crystal ball. He couldn’t believe what he saw. He never would have believed Marina would have betrayed him. It seemed to him that you couldn’t leave a human female in company with another male for a prolonged period of time, less her fickle emotions surrender to base lusts. Viper was going to pay for this, with his life.

“Come on, tenderfoot.”, said Stalfor, “Now’s the time to be finishin’ that trainin’ ye been needin’.” “NO WAY.”, countered Billard in a very serious voice, “I am injured, exhausted and famished. I have no energy whatsoever.” Not only was that true, Billard felt in no way mentally capable. Kirby’s condition was his fault. He suggested for Kirby to tag along, he helped in stowing him away on the ship, and he let him into the Kikapa village. If Kirby died, the blood would be on his hands.

“Ye still needa be learnin’ the parry overhead strike, the feint lower stab, and the parry forward charge. Ye want to get one of those on yer untrained head if those dark humans catch us?”, Stalfor replied pointing to the wound in his shoulder.

“I’ll do better if I’m fighting them while I’m awake.”, mumbled Billard, curling up in his sleeping bag. But he knew he wouldn’t be falling asleep soon. Not when the million of thoughts and fears over Kirby bombarded him.

Greegan played with his dirk as he circumvented the camp. They had noticed smoke in the air earlier. Everett and Stalfor argued over whether it was from the Kikapas or what Denier called ‘rakasta’. Why did the wizard schools make such outlandish names for creatures like that. Couldn’t they just call them ‘cat men’? Right now he noticed other dark shapes in the sky. Not smoke, but heavy black clouds and lightning not too far away to the west. He hoped it wasn’t coming this way. They had had enough problems on this trip as it was.

The rouge always kept an eye on Everett’s backpack. He knew it would be easy for him to take a look into Magic Item Paradise if it’s owner was a human, but Greegan had heard tales of the extra perception elves had while they slept. Those ugly mule ears they had weren’t there just so people could laugh at them. Everett’s magic items were a very large prize, but the risk was just too great…. for now.

Denier finished studying his spells from his leather-bound spell book. The knowledge always gave him a sense of power and well being after studying the valuable tome. He closed it and snapped the latch to it shut. After placing it in his backpack, he turned over on to his back and stared up at the stars from inside his sleeping bag. It was a lot easier to see the vastness of the universe from here than shut up in his room at Greyrobe Duchy Wizard School. The school had taught him so much the nature of the universe: That every creature was made of independent organs that worked in conjunction to keep themselves alive, each made of cells working in conjunction to keep themselves alive, each consisting of a vast amount of particles after sub particles after sub-sub particles working under the magical laws of existence. At the same time, the world they lived on was in a universe too huge to ever prove that it wasn’t infinitively large. The existence they understood was caught in a tiny view span of size, blind to both sides of largeness and smallness, unable to even estimate if there was a limit. For all they knew, entire universes could be held in every sub-particle of an atom. Or the universe as everyone knew it could just be a particle to another life form’s universe. The same unanswered limit went for time as well- perhaps this was the millionth ascension of life since the dawning of time- and to the number of alternate dimensions, as uncountable as the grains of sand on a beach. Even the magical laws of existence were only relative to the conditions of both time and space, and each relative to themselves. All this he learned in a school whose original purpose was to find the grand scheme of a multi-universe that could never be comprehended.

Denier sighed. Such truths made life seem so futile, sometimes.

By on May 30, 2001
Last modified on June 9, 2016

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