Saturday, September 8, 2012

To the Moonwell

At first light Inae prayed, and I gathered stones for my sling, the three things to be had in abundance at the cove being stones and salt water and fog, and nought else. Left Grayson on watch, though in Truth he is not fit to stand, being still sick from the poison, but the sailors are yet more so than him, and Moffrey bound and gagged for we dare not set him loose. We gathered lines from the boat's rigging, and water, and set out, Inae and I and her otter, for the moon well, in hopes the water thereof would be a Curative proof against the venom.
The cliffs around the cove being wet and fog-covered and steep, would be not easy for me to climb, nor at all for Inae, therefore our sole way inland led up a defile or gorge, floored in loose stone and roofed by the gloom but otherwise not ill, we thought. We had gone a scant half mile when a Spirit appeared, an elven Lord of antique raiment and angry mien. In his hand was a ghostly sword, and from there tip thereof leapt a Spark of blue flame, like lightning, which struck me in the chest, burning me sore and also ruining my shirt, the second in two days, which Vexed me greatly. The Spirit gave forth a great wailing cry, and, being unable to stand its Power we fled. We took counsel and advanced again, to the same end, I being wounded again at the hand of this ghost. There being no other Path to the moonwell, we perforce essayed a third time, this time with my blade anointed with a mystical oil, and with Inae's blessing upon me. The Spirit had hidden in the depths of a great stone, and sprang upon me from close behind, but this proved his Undoing, for in his eagerness he came within reach of my Blade, and one shrewd stroke dispersed him, like smoke in a wind.
At this, a Man came forth from hiding, and said that we had done him a great favor, but that the Spirit had not been slain but would return, but with our Help the ghost might be laid to rest. The man, hight Owain Dylan, is an itinerant minstrel, as my mother was, and indeed he took a great interest in the Mandolin she passed down to me, although his own instrument is a Bodhran, which is curious kind of Drum. He spake of the Spirit, who he named Elereisolon the Seawarder, a ghost who had guarded this coast for many long years. The Sprit, being roused by the landing of foreign boats, might be placated if said Boat, viz, ours, withdrew, and the elven victory dirge was sung in his hearing. We loosed Moffrey and gave him bread and water and his dirk whereupon he, being addled by Inae's arts, was agreeable to take the Yawl and its oars, and set out to sea, and did so. We took the yawl's mast and yard and sails, for a shelter for Grayson and the men, and also so that Moffrey, without sail, cannot return against the current to the cove, for he might work a Mischief upon Greyson, or the men. Owain then taught us the Song, in a bygone Elven dialect, a mournful thing which laments the Cost of battle even as it recognizes Victory. We set forth up the gorge, singing, and the Spirit manifested, but the music verily wrought upon him even as Owain had said, and he rested at last from his long watch, and we passed by in peace.
Owain coming with us, and he and I speaking of many things, we marched towards the Moonwell, it being some ten miles distant, and we hoping to reach it before nightfall. The gorge floor rose and at last let us out on the level of those tablelands whose end is the sea cliffs. The land is heath* and rocky shelves, not the easiest for travel but no great difficulty for those afoot. And so we continued for some hours until, in the afternoon, I espied bandits, viz, three Archers and two Swordsmen who lay in wait, having perhaps heard our singing, I know not.
I called out to the nearest swordsman, but he answered not, but instead, seeing their Ambuscade was discovered, he raised his sword and rushed at us. Therefore I gave a mocking bow, and spake again to him, saying, Shall we dance?, whereupon he stumbled, and his stroke went wide, and my counter took him easily through the Brisket. Their bowmen, seeing their man thus felled, took aim at me, and one did me great harm, though the others missed. Not liking to stay where the Ambushers meant to have us, I sprang through the bushes and engaged one archer, wounding him and turning him so he stood between me and his fellows, who evidently cared not Overmuch for him, for they continued to loose arrows at me, and pierced him instead. I heard Owain begin to play his drum, which I did not understand at the time, although he has since said that the song lends Strength and Courage to those friends who fight under its influence, and he promises to teach me the way of it. A valuable skill, I expect, although the art of the Blade is, I warrant, more useful in such times. I sped to the second archer, and with a few strokes Dispatched him. The second swordsman, having sorely wounded Inae and Owain, turned to me, but Inae summoned a Wolf, or the phantom thereof, and set it upon him, and while he was distracted thereby, I slew him, and the last bowman as well. I examined the bodies, but they seemed simple Bandits, with nothing of great worth or note. Not desiring to delay our mission, we left them where they lay, and came at last to the Forest of Tor, an ancient wood, dark and deep, wherein lies the Moonwell.

1 comment:

  1. *I looked for a tavern or other drinking establishment, but there was no heath bar.