Ch3: No Mementos

Sorry for the late post, but here is chapter three of my short story. A prequel to book 1 of the Oam's Cry series. 

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.
No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 

Chapter Three: No Mementos 
A peaceful silence overwhelmed the forest. The smell of dew was strong, and critters roamed among the brush. Birds chirped of the previous night’s storm, and small fury mammals played in the berry bushes. Arius could even feel the ants coming forth from their havens seeking food for their homes.
His eyes opened to find rich green foliage crowding around the rocks, while pink and purple flowers peeked through the underbrush. His eyes turned upward to find a tall pine standing tall atop the cliff overlooking its fellow trees and native streams.
Ahead of him hopped out a gray fur mammal with two tall ears. Its nose wrinkled in the air for the scent of something curious, and without a warning the creature was lifted from the ground by a mysterious force. It kicked and struggled but soon its neck was wrung, and out stepped Dueson from the shadows beyond. His figure was made clear from the light through the trees.
“I have breakfast,” he declared, coming to the camp.
He vanished under the shade before being revealed by the sunlight, but soon he uncloaked himself so that even the shade could not hide him.
Arius sat up finding his clothes still damp. The rest of the mercenaries were up and attending the small fire which the heat sticks still fueled. He felt awkward being the last one up, and wondered what the others thought of him for doing so. Why hadn’t they woke him?
“That’s hardly enough for the ten of us,” Ruekrow criticized, Dueson’s younger brother. “Maybe two to three at most.”
“We don’t even know if it’s safe to eat,” Rie said, from his end of the fire.
“Then don’t eat it,” Dueson said, sitting down with his kill. He removed a knife from his belt. “I don’t care to share my game with a bunch of gripers anyway.”
Arius moved closer to the fire next to Brockumus who sat silently staring into the small fire. Glancing toward all the men, he found them carrying stern faces. They knew not what to think of their circumstances, and it seemed that Dueson had been the only one out and about.
“What is that Ruekrow,” Thorim asked, spotting a hard image in his hands. “We can’t carry anything personal. You know that.”
Ruekrow began to hide it, but it was too late. His brother, Dueson, snatched it from his hands and tossed it into the fire after a brief look. Ruekrow began to protest, but had nothing to say.
“I would hope my brother would have more sense,” Dueson said, “but his naïve experience wins out in the end.”
“Sorry,” Ruekrow said. “I’ll be more careful next time.”
Arius synched up the collar of his jacket in order to hide the necklace around his neck. He was already unappreciated, and he didn’t need the others getting on to him about his personal assets. The necklace was all he had from home, and he couldn’t afford to lose it.
It had been given to him by his soon to be wife as a memento to remember her by. She told him not to forget her on his journey which was ridiculous indeed. He would never be able to shake her from his mind, and the only thing that would keep him away was death itself.
He felt regret as it was she who cautioned him against such a journey, but he ignored her pleas thinking that it would mend relationships he had long broken. He had done it for her, and them, for he thought that it would make things right, but what he thought would be a simple honor mission turned into a manhunt for one whom only legends knew of. It would be months before he would return home, and now that their ship had been destroyed he wasn’t sure if returning was possible.
How could he have been so stupid, he wondered. Looking back he could see the trap for what it was. His future father-in-law had convinced him to take the mission. He told him that it would be simple for pure diplomatic reasons, but now here he was surrounded by killers on a mission no one thought possible. This was an attempt to do away with him by his future father-in-law, and now Arius couldn’t be too careful.
Thanks for stopping by, and check out next week's chapter, "Family for a Lifetime," which will be here next Thursday. In the meantime please let me know what you think by leaving a comment, and check out my book.
Buy on Kindle here.


Post a Comment