❧ Chapter Six: Tag-a-long Tails ❧Updated

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Parcival sighed as he staggered into town. Several hours had passed; the shadows stretched from under the few trees on the road. A wolfren cried its distinctive song ending in a howl ushering in the night. The stars were few and dim, the moon a faded glow. Clouds passed over, blocking the light.

This cold was unusual for this time of year. All the warmth of the past few days gone. A warm bed looked better and better. They weren't dressed for such an early fall.

Near the town stood a plain brown sign. It read: Sickle Village. The village road curved towards the right at the mountain's edge, partly encircling it.

Hereafter will rent a horse. The wall of rain made it almost impossible to see, but a hand's width away.

A freshly painted little church showed through the rain curtain. It was shaded by two trees on both sides.

The door opened a crack. He startled. A short being that looked like one of the great white cats of the north peered from behind the doorway. "What is it?"

"We seek shelter, kind sir." He rubbed his nose, trying to will away a sneeze.

His glasses slid down the bridge of his nose, stopping at the end; he pushed them back up. "Does this look like an inn?"

"Please? It's raining too hard to look," said Merryn. She wiped away some hair plastered on an eye.

His whiskers quivered. "I suppose'." He let them in.

Parcival stepped inside. "Thank you."

"Follow me into the back room; there's cots you can lay on." Han closed the door locking it.

She rubbed her wrist while looking around.

He nearly took her hand to hold it, but turned it into brushing his hair back. Better not, need it.

The church had a short hallway. The wall stretched on with several colorful nature scenes dotted on its length. Its hallway widened into the main room of the church, filled with long benches. A wall on the left side had a tall stained glass window of the god Olenus.

The mural showed the god's sacrifice that he'd made for all Gaxmina. They showed his tears flooding half the world from the loss of his human wife, Ruika, who the dark gods had imprisoned. As to how and why nobody knows, as the scrolls left were tattered with pieces missing.

Han led them to a small back room.

She eased onto the cot.

He rung the water out of his hair, then laid down on the other. Hea, what no complaints about being in the same room? Her chest rose and fell. Ah.

Han came in. "My fee is twenty coins."

He untied a fat pouch handing it over. He left, closing the door.

Laying on his side, points of light from a window above broke the darkness. The little creases around her eyes smoothed away, her brown skin a little flushed. Most times, her femininity was masked by the dirt and abrasive tongue. In this rare instance of the barrier lifting, a glimpse of the softer woman showed underneath.

Sometime later that night his stomach growled woke him, and he left the church. He watched the leaves swirl about on the street. The wind scattered them across and near a blacksmith's stand.

He went over. "Blacksmith! What will you give for these old braces?"

The blacksmith turned around and eyed them. "One thousand three hundred Irons are all I will pay," he said.

He stomped out of the stall. Then, turned around after a moment. "I'll want five thousand Irons, or forget it!" Highway robbery, but the gold is low.

"What the hell are you playing at? I will not pay that much!"

He stood there, trying to stare down the impudent man. "Two thousand irons are as high as I will go." Father isn't going to like this.

He went to a wooden chest behind a water barrel, and took out two gray pouches tossing them.

Catching them, he tied the pouches onto the belt, then took off the bracers and setting them on the bench.

Finding an inn took a while. Once inside, he flagged a barmaid that was clearing off a table. Her hair in a wispy bun. She smelled of bread and apples.

"What can I get you, sir?"

"Two of whatever you have that is filling." He sat at a table.

After disappearing into the kitchen, she brought out steaming bowls of stew and set them down.

"Thanks." He gulped it down, left several coins and carried the warm bowl back to the church.

Han sat at a desk, writing on a scroll. He put the feather pen down and nibbled on a chunk of bread.

Awake now she streched by the doorway. Skin soft and smooth-he quickly turned to inspect the interesting carvings in the door frame, such detail!

"I have such a headache."

Holding the bowl out he waited.

Smiling, she took it. "You're kind. Thanks." She muttered a prayer in an unknown language, then scooped it with her fingers.

"Tich. Such manners." Han gestured at the bread. "Take some, it's fine."

Grinning, she scraped the bottom of the bowl with a hunk, then put the bowl down.

It was nice to see a woman eat enough, it seems that after the great war ended that many wouldn't eat even though there was plenty. Have to talk to father about this.

He chuckled.

"Where you headed?" said Han.

(On Hold)❧ Soul Tear ❧ Book One: The Last Spirit AdaptRead this story for FREE!