“I will protect you,” he spoke quietly. And carried her back to where Taisie sat watching.
As they reached her, the warrior removed her helmet and the child smiled weakly. Taisie had blood and dirt smeared on her face. Her hands looked like she’d fought the battle she had, and now wore the residue. She was breathing easier, and Stanton knew was regaining her strength.
“The Druids cast a spell to seal the bridge which keeps them safe. But they removed the spell so we might cross. It’s very possible that those three men wanted access to the Druid village and was angered by us standing in the way,” Taisie said. “I must signal them so they recast the spell now.”
She reached a hand up and Stanton locked hands with her each on the other’s wrist and helped her stand. Then she went to her horse and removed what Stanton thought might be a flare. She struck the end against a large stone and green flames shot into the air. Taisie held it aloft. A moment later a matching flare from the village answered.
Stanton heard a sound like screaming hawks about to kill prey. The air at the far end of the bridge shimmered and then solidified.
Now we are truly on our own, he thought as pain slashed across his shoulder.
With the warrior’s assistance, he removed his jacket and shirt, and used the healing solvents from his first aid kit to seal the wound after they stopped the bleeding.
Minerva had been watching at first, but now lay on her side asleep.
Taisie went to the river first to clean up. When she returned even her armor looked new. Stanton did the same and hung his shirt and jacket to dry after returning to the bridge.
“We could stay the night here,” Taisie said, “but another two miles down there is a cabin prepared for us.”
“Then we should go there. I would rather not have Minerva outside all night.”
It required serious effort, but two hours later, as night began to settle in, they were safely in the cabin with the door barred and locked. This cabin was built of stones with a concrete like mortar. The walls were thick leaving a wide ledge at the bottom of the windows. But it was weatherproof and he knew would hold the warmth of the fire the warrior built and started.
This is going to be a long and difficult journey, but what part of my time on the ring world has been anything but that, Stanton thought as he finally drifted to sleep.
It was silver light that roused him in the middle of the night. He rolled onto his back off his left side and looked around. The window covering on the window in the small kitchen area was rolled up to let the moon’s greeting inside the cabin.
He swung his legs off the bunk, and walked into the kitchen finding Taisie sitting at the table with an elaborate map. It did not show the entire ring world, but what looked to be a continent with the Lake Terminus at the center. There were rivers, mountains, forests and vast meadows, which were marked for division into farmlands.
Taisie glanced up and then tapped the map. “This is the Druid village. To reach the mountains you need we will stay as close to the lake as we can. There are villages here, here, and here,” she tapped them as she spoke. “This one is where I am from so it will not present us with trouble. This one,” she tapped the village in the middle of the three, “may be trouble. A large family from the mountains, moved in about ten years ago and now control everything. Rumor claims the leaders of the family, two men and a woman, locked up the elected officials and replaced them with other family members.”
Stanton smiled to himself thinking, Should’ve done that with a some of the ones elected in my world.