Found- Part One
This was an unfamiliar place. I don’t remember getting here, or how I got here.
The air was thick with the scent of different herbs. I could hear the crackle of a fire and the bubble of liquid. I was lying on my back on top of what felt like a table. Someone had removed my shirt and replaced it with bandages. It could feel them tight against my rib cage.
Shadows danced across dim walls. I watched them for a while. Some moved with a slow and graceful sway. Others were more erratic. Jumping without rhythm. One, in particular, seemed to have more purpose than the others. It moved like it was human. It got smaller as it moved closer to me. That’s a real shadow, I thought. That’s a person. I’m in danger. I tried to sit up, but I felt a sharp pain through my body. The movement robbed me of breath. The pain felt deeper than flesh. It tore through my soul. It made me want to tear myself apart.
“What…” I tried sitting up again, but a hand stopped me.
“Slow down. You’re not in the condition to be moving around,” A voice answered. The hand and the voice belonged to a man. He was thin, with long, matted white hair and matching beard. He was terrifying to look at. There was an ancient madness in his eyes. I was in a dark, unfamiliar place with a terrifying, crazy old man. All of my alarms should have been going off. But the fire surging through my body stole my focus. I couldn’t think of anything else. Had he done this to me? “You’re very weak. I found you in quite a state. I wasn’t sure you would make it through the night.” He spoke low, as if to a wounded animal. I wasn’t sure if I would make it through the minute.
“Please,” I tried again. “Don’t hurt me.”
“Drink this,” the man sat me up and put a small vial to my lips. No. I didn’t want whatever that was. I tried to move my face away. “It is not poison, lad. Had I wanted to poison you, I could have done that while you slept. Had I wanted you dead, I would not have brought you into my home. I could have left you to die. Now drink this. It will bring you relief.” He put the vial to my lips again. I took a sip, and the fire in my body extinguished. I needed more. I sat up more and tried to grab the vial. I had to have more.
“Careful, lad.” He hid the vial away in his robes. “The potion can be volatile in large quantities. I’m ignorant of the extent of your condition. This concoction provides temporary relief only.”
“Please,” I could finally speak. “Who are you? Where am I? And what was that?”
He ignored me. He walked over to the middle of the room to an old cauldron; the fire underneath was the main source of light, the source of the shadows. The cauldron was large and dominated the center of the space. It comforted me. Or maybe it was the potion that gave me comfort. He inspected the cauldron and its contents. The cauldron was old, and I could tell it had served him well for many years. There were many sigils carved into it. Next, to it, there was a small table with all manner of herbs, mysterious jars, and piles of books. He added things to the cauldron without looking. And yet, he gave the air of someone well versed in what he was doing. As I watched him, it began to click. A cauldron, a vial of mysterious liquid, the scent of herbs, old books…
“You’re a sorcerer. I didn’t think there were any left outside of the castle.” There weren’t that many sorcerers, to begin with. Many years ago, the King summoned all magical humans and creatures to the castle. It was under the pretense that the King wanted to weaponized magic and used it against his enemies. That wasn’t his true intention. He wanted to purge magic from the world and killed anything that resisted his new world order. When everyone who left was submitted, he did everything he could to make sure they lost the will to resist. It was a difficult upbringing.
“So, you’re from the castle. That does explain a lot.” The old man kept working around the cauldron. “Before the effects of the potion wear off, I would like to ask you about that.”
“But I have questions too! Who are you? How did I get here? How long have I been here?”
“Calm down, lad,” he gathered more herbs while referring to a large, dusty book. He continued to ignore me.
“Will you stop and just talk to me?” I yelled. I regretted it. The strain pulled at my wounds. It hurt like hell.
“Well then, it would seem respect for elders is out the window,” the old man said to himself. “My name is Calum. I found you in the woods. In quite a state, let me repeat. You’ve been stabbed, and burned, and it is possible someone has poisoned you. I believe that you have several broken ribs, but that was the best of it. You are afflicted, by something I do not know.”
“You don’t remember? I was able to find you because of the way you screamed. It sounded almost inhuman. I’ve never seen or heard, anything like it. If I’m to make you a medicine for it, I’ll need details, lad.” Calum put his hand on my shoulders and looked right into my eyes. “I see suffering in your soul, dear boy. It’s deep and has quite a hold on you.”
“My name is Nox,” I moved my face away. He stared past my body and into my soul. I could feel him looking at me. It was uncomfortable, and I couldn’t handle it. I felt that if he stared any longer, he would know everything. And I didn’t want anyone to know.
“What happened to you, Nox?” No one had once ever asked me that. I didn’t know what concern felt like.
“I have seen the magic hiding in you. You are a sorcerer like me. I know it. You are powerful. Now, look at me!” Our eyes met. His gaze burned through my defenses. I tried to speak, but he held his hand up to stop me. “The depth of your suffering is great. It is perhaps more than I can heal. I can heal your body, but not your heart. I hope for your sake, Nox, that you find someone who can.”
Can’t wait for the next chapter!!!!