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The Whisper of Keys - Part 2

I've known an ache in my heart for many years now...a yearning to discover the meaning of my own life and the stories that will be told of my passing only to have word brought to me unadorned and unheralded on that fateful day that circumstances unfolded resulting in my goodbyes to the ones who had cared for me for all those many years prior.  My parents wasted no time with pleas or displeasure, each knowing as I did it was time for me to make my own way in the great world beyond our village walls.

That was near ten days past.  I knew my story lay in discovering the secret behind 'The Scroll' and with no vision of wisdom to guide my path, my Da suggested I set off to the Capital on the most direct route possible West.  With luck I would clear the Western Plains of A'ru before the deep of winter closes the Silent Pass that lay beyond.  If the weather holds, I'll be climbing down the Pass and onto a great road that leads me to The Keep of Bloodwater Bay before mid winter. 

His plan and now mine was to seek answers from the men and women in one of the great halls of wisdom...and why i now find myself staring up at the cold, gray skies knowing my journey would not be without trials.

I set about opening up a small clearing on the leeward side of a massive, felled tree.  It wasn't long before I had a suitable lean-to in which to bed down and a small fire with kettle steaming.  While opening the clearing I'd noticed a number of forest carrots, creek tators and to my delight an troop of mushrooms which i eagerly gathered and added to my kettle.  Together with a bracer of coneys i knew this would be enough meal to carry with me for several days.  

The night came early and with my belly full and cooked supplies sitting kettle-bound on a few glowing coals, I made my camp and fell into a deep, hearty sleep...this would probably be the last deep sleep for many, many weeks to come.

When i woke at first it was almost calm.  My mind was filled with the haze of sleep. There was not a sound in the forest and the red coals of fire had consumed all but a modicum of the fuel provided within. 

A heavy fog had moving over the clearing and all at once i sat up instantly alert, "...not a sound" in the woods while good for sleep leaves me uneasy to the point of alarm.  I reached for the weapon Da had given me and stilled myself against the ancient tree that i called home for the last seven hours waiting silently, patiently for whatever had broken my slumber to make itself known but nothing followed. 

After another few minutes it became clear my journey and its dangers were starting to take hold in my mind.  I folded my bed-roll and blanket and stamped out the last of the fire and then withdrew several leather straps from my pack to use securing the lid of my kettle which held today and tomorrow's lunch and dinner when all at once the panic returned ten kettle which only a few hours prior remained sealed...and empty.

Someone had visited my camp while i slept.  Someone was following me.

From the Story of El - New Beginnings.


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