Category Archives: Providence

Red Snow

What starts as a routine rumble turns for the worse.

The morning was colder than most mornings. I stepped from the small cabin and into the deep snow, my staff leading me.

“I would’ve like it to be a bit warmer,” I say.

With my cloak and staff I have no reason to stay and I strike out. Right in front of left, then left and right. A few moments pass while I try desperately to not think of the biting cold when something catches my attention. Something dark speckles the snow just ahead. I look around searching for any sings of company. My eyes hang on the clear skies over the city in the distance, the Miasma pressing in all around like a ring of fog. There’s no going back. The wind changed direction and the smell of blood revealed the speckles ahead and likely much more.

I ready myself as I venture further along the red trail. Another smell came on the wind, something familiar. Uneasy I climb through the trees and over a hill. They see me as soon as I do them. Only three wolves, a deep breath releases the knot in my gut. Wolves are not Veran, wolves I can handle.

My staff is in both hands now across my chest. The alpha lets out a low growl with blood dripping from its maw, the kill between them and myself. I let out a growl myself. The alpha advanced while the other two spread out on each side of me. I know better than to wait for them to make the first move, so I charge screaming into the alpha. It’s ears flicker for just a moment before it realizes it has a fight on it’s paws. It crouches to pounce a moment too late when the knot in my staff connects with its snout. Not a solid blow, but enough to nearly send it spinning. I hear the other two right behind me and spin. One wolf dodges the blow retreating, the other gets it in the side of its head.

That one is out for the time being. I turn and strike the alpha in the side, the attack elicits a loud whimper as it scrambles to get out of reach. Then a crushing pain envelops my arm as the unharmed wolf latches onto me. My teeth clench as it pulls me off balance trying to remove my arm from my shoulder. I pull back hard and manage to maneuver my arm back so my fist is in it’s mouth. I throw all my weight into the wolf’s mouth sending my arm into its throat. The animal jerks violently as its jaw stretches trying to eject the obstacle. I pull hard tearing as much as I can before my arm is retrieved with only a torn sleeve and imminent bruising. My fingers start to tingle as the cold hits the saliva soaking my whole arm.

The wolf stumbles backwards heaving blood into the snow. I raise my staff and smash it onto the wolf’s head and it collapses at my feet. Fatigue starting to settle I turn to face the remaining wolf.

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Respite

Arin sat starring into the fire. The biting wind whipped around them as they held their cloaks close. Gilbred sat directly across form him keeping his eyes on him at all time. He had a grimace on his face since he took him captive. It had been hours since either had moved. Arin just sat down in the dirt and Gilbred built the fire, they both settled as much as either could around the other.

It had just been Gilbred’s luck to stumble across a wayward Remnant. He’d hoped this would play an integral part in restoring him as Judge. It was that fact that troubled Arin so. He shifted first. Arin leaned forward starring into the sand, it was coarse and dusty, barren. Gilbred watched him tenaciously as he reached out his fingers. The wind had died down for a few moments, he wrote in the sand. And He will deliver us from the gnashing teeth of our devourers, and the scorching flames of their bellies. It was a Psalmanir. Gilbred tried to read it but the flames blocked his view.

Just before Gilbred stood a mighty gust blew across the plains and caused him to clutch his cloak tighter. Arin watched as the message was carried away in the wind, but in its place new words were formed. As if the wind were writing them they appeared, I am Deliverer. Arin’s heart caught. Then a second later the same wind carried them away.

Gilbred stood up when the torrent passed. Their eyes met, Gilbred’s burned but Arin’s were unaffected. He simply looked with a doleful expression on his face then looked back into the fire.

“Listen, I don’t know what’s going on up there, or what you might have planned but there’s nothing out there within miles that’s gonna stop me from taking you back so the Priests can pass judgment. Got it?” he jabbed his finger in Arin’s face.

Arin felt his flesh rise up, “Judges are supposed to be the faceless right hand of Sendiil, void of human em.”

Gilbred struck Arin with his armored fist. His head slumped has his hands cradle the wound. Conviction crept it and Arin whispered to himself, “Forgive me Lord.”

“You know nothing of Sendiil, you’ve been stripped of His mercy and grace, my loyalty is simply being tested,” he gathered himself never relieving the grimace and feeling like he didn’t owe any lowly vessel explanation.

Gilbred glanced around into the Miasma, and when it returned there was a weary travelers expression. His grimace returned as he settled across from Arin again. Arin wiped the blood off his face gently and laid with his back to the fire and Gilbred to get some rest. The travel would be continue to be merciless and the weather wasn’t the only thing against them in this country. Gilbred glared at the cradled figure, he didn’t understand anything about him. He especially didn’t understand the attitude Arin had conveyed from the beginning. Either way he was going to see justice in the end for Arin, and for the Priest who had stripped him of his mantle.