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It was nearly dawn when they reached the village. However, Laiva
couldn’t risk being seen. She had been here quite often and she didn’t
want to be stopped by anyone she knew. It was too obvious what she was
up to. And nobody would allow a child to travel alone. Especially not
a girl. On the other hand she needed some things; it was foolish to
leave without preparing properly. Laiva knew that her aunt had
everything she needed in her shop. If she hurried she could grab what
she needed and leave before the village came to life. She was already
standing in front of the shop door and searched the wall; the joint
between the two stones was just big enough for the key. Carefully she
unlocked the door and entered, Mynor following her in. Laiva closed
the door. She didn’t need a lamp; she knew where everything was. The
backpack first. This one was just the right size for her; she put a
bit of everything in. When she had finished that she went to the
weapon shelf. Laiva took a short sword, a bow, a staff, throwing
stars, some arrows and a selection of different kinds of arrow heads.
Last but not least came a large water bag and a small pot of her
aunt’s secret ointment. She kept it secret because of the ingredients;
Laiva had seen her make it and had sworn she’d never use it again, but
you never know what it’s good for. The sun was just rising when Laiva
and Mynor left the village. When the street was filling with people a
few minutes later, they had already disappeared between the mighty
trees of the forest.
The forest wasn’t scary anymore. The sun was shining through the
leaves and once again there were sounds. Birds singing, smaller
animals running through the undergrowth; she had even spotted some
deer between the trees. What a lovely morning. It was quite odd. While
at night you had to fear for your life, at day it was almost as secure
as being at home.
The inns were an important part of travelling; not just for comfort
though. With their strong walls and bolted windows they were primarily
for protection. The distance between two inns could be easily covered
within a day, so you’d never have to spend the night outside. It was
already late afternoon when Laiva reached the inn and knocked at the
heavy oak door. She had hidden the sword, the bow and the staff in the
undergrowth, some distance away. Defense was one thing, but travelers
around here weren’t expected to be armed like that; after all the
roads were quite secure if you didn’t happen to travel at night. And
the last thing she needed was people asking her what she was up to. A
few moments later the door was opened by a middle aged woman.
‘Hello, little girl. I’m Mrs Onilly.’
‘Good afternoon, my name’s Laiva. I wanted to ask if I may stay here
‘Of course, come in, come in.’
Laiva stepped in. Then she noticed the woman look behind her and
turned around. Mynor! She had nearly forgotten about him.
‘Erm, that’s my dog…’
‘It’s a wolf.’
‘Well, he’s a wolfhound… he doesn’t bite…’
Why was she lying? Mummy always got angry if found out she was
lying. And she always found it out sooner or later.
‘It’s all right then, I guess.’ she said, but there was an undertone
of disbelieve. On the other hand he didn’t do anything; he was
behaving exactly like a well educated dog.
Mynor entered and the woman closed the door behind him.
‘So what does a girl with her dog do alone in the middle of nowhere?’
Laiva had been afraid of this question all the time, but now she was
telling her tale almost without thinking.
‘I’m visiting my aunt in the city. And my parents are tied up with
work so they can’t come along. I know the way on my own anyway. It’s
not the first time I’ve visited her.’
Again lies, nothing but damn lies.
‘Hm, I’ve never seen you here before…’
‘We normally ride our horse so we only rest an inn later, but daddy
needs him at home so I’m walking. Erm, I don’t have enough money…’
For a fraction of a moment the face of the woman looked a bit
disappointed before returning to its caring expression.
‘…but I’m all right with the stable.’
‘Oh, never mind. We have plenty of free rooms and I don’t see why you
shouldn’t have one of them. Follow me, I’ll show it to you.’
It was a quiet night. Protected by the strong walls and buried deep
under the soft warm quilt Laiva finally slept. She had been up for one
and a half days and now not even an earthquake could have woken her.
Mynor was lying curled up on the rug in front of the bed just like a
loyal dog guarding his master. However, unbeknownst to Laiva, great
events were already casting their shadows. Somewhere in the mountains,
in a dark hall of a long forgotten castle, thirteen figures in long
black robes were standing around a fire.
‘It is time. The first part of the prophecy has been fulfilled.’
‘Is it definite?’
‘It is definite.’
‘There is no other way?’
‘There is no other way.’
‘So it is us or her…’
‘It is us or her.’
‘Then it shall be.’
Mynor opened his eyes when the lightning struck. The thunder was
growling in the distance. He turned towards Laiva who was still
asleep. Poor thing, the way she had chosen was difficult enough, but
being a girl almost everyone would be against her.