Welcome to the beginning of Season 2 of The Wizard Killer.
Note that this is posted RAW, meaning it has not been edited nor revised.
Season 2 – Episode 8
I stay there, flat out at the soulless dirt, drifting in and out of consciousness, until my skin feels like it’s burning.
Rolling my head to the side, I see the sun’s getting pretty high in the sky.
Gritting my teeth, I push myself back up onto my knees. I cough and wince, as my broken ribs remind me that they’re there. Spitting blood, I shake my head. I really need to get my short-sword back.
Bowing my head and letting my eyes close for a moment, I put a hand over my heart again. There’s a scab. What the yig?
Rocking myself back, I trick a leg into coming forward to kneeling, and then I push off of it to stand. Life wasn’t always like this, was it?
Looking about, I can’t see the guy and his slaves. A passing burnt smell motions for me to turn around. All three of the tents are gone.
With an arm wrapped around my side, I stagger up to the campsite. The trunk I was in has all of its contents scattered about.
I run my tongue along the outside of my teeth as I take in what’s missing, then it hits me. There’s no jackal or rifleman body. There’s the body of the slaves I killed, but that’s it.
“That makes no sense,” I mutter to myself, walking about the campsite, but it’s true.
I find myself standing over the spot where I was stabbed. There’s blood, the hilt of a blade, and shards of metal, but no body.
Narrowing my eyes, I don’t remember seeing the jackal or rifleman with the blindfold man.
Taking a delicate breath, I straighten my vest and grimace at the quick, stabbing pain.
Gazing up at the sky, I know I need a plan. No way I can stay here another night, my luck didn’t go my way the first time, for sure it won’t the second. I need to get somewhere safe, or at least better.
The smoke from the west catches my eye, and I nod as if thanking it for reminding me where I needed to go as if I could forget.
I take a step towards the horizon when my eyes roll back over to the trunks, a nagging thought at the back of my mind.
I make my way over, and to my surprise, the blindfold man left me a roll of silk.
Huh, I guess he really did want me to see it as a draw too.
Trying to crouch down to pick it up only brings tears to my eyes. Yig, I’m an idiot for losing my short-sword to those scavengers.
Finally with my feet, and some dumb luck, I manage to get it in my hands.
I take a step, again, towards to the west, and I catch a glimpse of one of the Oner’s blades laying on the ground, in the fire pit. My mana-pistol’s also laying there.
“Huh, I think now I’m going to owe you a beer.” I laugh.
Carefully slicing a piece of silk, I put it over my head, grab my wine skin, and head off.
A few hours later, with the water gone and the smoke in the distance looking no closer, I come to what I think’s the end of yet another rolling hill, when I see it descend into a small, protected valley.
My attention’s stolen by a cluster of leafy green trees rising high above a hundred tents, shading the rooftop patio of a three-story building behind it.
“What world have I just stepped into?”
I notice a caravan of a few mules and men walking down a path from the opposite end, descending into the oasis, probably a half-mile away.
Scratching the back of my neck, a laugh escapes as my mind makes sense of the sounds. It’s the bustle of people. Real, living people.
With an uncertain and exhausted sigh, I start my descent down to the first up close look of civilization I’ve seen in a yigging long time.
Seems a lot bigger being down there.
The tents are pitched haphazardly on either side of the road, which itself comes to an end at a long row of logs, with iron rods sticking out of them with loops, and horses tied to them.
People are coming and going from the tents, no one’s paying me any attention. My stomach relaxes a bit, thankful to be taken for granted. Given how everyone’s talking to each other, some laughing, some yelling, I’m pretty sure they aren’t Oners.
It doesn’t mean I’m safe, though. Every time I let my guard down, I regret it. Hopefully, I’ve learned a few lessons.
Arriving at the horses, I see that the row of logs goes a lot longer than I thought. There’s a half dozen guys, walking the line, putting hay down for them. A few of the horses look deformed, one has five legs, but I shrug as it doesn’t matter. They aren’t biting or breathing fire or doing anything crazy, so who cares if they aren’t winning any beauty contests?
I give one of the caretakers a wave, and he hesitates, and I stop in my tracks. He offers a quick shaking of his hand in the air, but it doesn’t strike me as a wave. He flashes a forced smile and gets back to work.
Rolling my shoulders back, and grunting for the millionth time from the rib pain, I keep walking, my eyes narrowed and sharp.
The road becomes a path, a few feet wide, twisting and turning, with parts splitting off. I follow along, certain I’m going in circles.
I stop after a bit, rubbing my temples as a headache asserts itself on top of everything else. Too many people milling about, too much color, and smells… as welcome as it all is, my brain’s not having much more of it. And where the yig’s that building? They’ve got to have something stronger than water.
“Hey, I’ll trade for that,” says a woman stepping out of a tent. Her face and hands are weathered. Her sun-bleached blonde hair’s done up in braided that go down to her shoulders. She’s wearing a light-blue and white dress, with a curved. A hilt of something peeking out from behind her back.
I turn around and frown at her. She points at my legs. Frowning, I look down and realize I’ve rested the roll of silk against my legs. I’d completely forgotten I was carrying that.
“Huh,” I reply.
Pointing at the building, I ask her. “Is that place a bar?”
She frowns, looks and nods.
“Okay. What’re you offering?”
She studies me for a second, certainly sizing me up. My new clothes may be dirty and a bit roughed up, but at least I don’t look like a third-rate beggar.
“I’ll give you thirty gild,” she says. The hesitancy in her face tells me that she’s lowballing me. She’s curious if I’ll take it, which would mean that I found the clothes and have no idea what I’m doing. The wrinkles around her eyes tell me that if I counter offer, she’ll know I’m a salvager and have no idea of the silk’s worth. The truth is, I have no idea. I don’t even know what a gild is, never heard of it.
Scratching my chin, I shake my head. I go to pick up the silk and wince, a curse slipping out.
“You’re injured? I can get you healed, and I’ll triple my offer.”
I give her a squinty eyed look, and then to her relief, I widen my eyes and nod. “It might have some blood on it.
“What doesn’t,” she says, carefully taking away her prize into her tent.
I stand there for a minute, wondering if she’s coming out or if I’ve just been had by a master con, but she does.
She hands me a velvety bag that jingles, and goes to hand me something else when a deep, menacing voice interrupts us.
A sideways glance is all I need to recognize the blindfold man standing several yards away.
I guess I’m about to find out if he’s the beer type, or if he was baiting me.
Read Episode 9 (when it’s posted)
Comments welcome! Grammar? Inconsistencies? Something ‘off’? Loving something? Let me know!