Found – Part Thirteen
Parts One through Twelve can be found on my author’s page
I hope to be far away by the time you’ve woken and read this. In our short time together, you’ve done everything you could do. Now it’s time for me to do something for you. You’ve gone beyond your limits and I’ve seen what it’s doing to you. Your life was peaceful and quiet before I fell into it. You deserve that quiet life. No, you deserve more than that. You deserve to live in a village surrounded by people you can help, that can help you. You deserve to be looked after, and taken care of. Find a village. There must be another village like Haven’s End somewhere. Find it. Find it and be happy. Perhaps we’ll cross paths again. I hope you can forgive me.
Thank you for everything. Goodbye.
Leaving him that note was supposed to make me feel better. It didn’t. I was afraid. I knew he wouldn’t let me leave. He’d tell me I needed to stay, that I wasn’t strong enough to travel yet. He’d tell me about his plans for training, but how I should stay within my limits. He’d tell me that I was safe and that no harm would befall me under his care. And I know that I would have stayed. Calum’s home was a sanctuary. One that I never thought I could know. And I had made the choice to abandon it. I chose to abandon a place I could have called home.
The crunch of the leaves under my feet mocked me with every step. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. My body became colder as I got farther away. Past the pond, down the cliffside that overlooked Haven’s End, I walked. The warmth of safety escaped me. Calum would tell me to mind my injuries. He’d remind me that I was still healing. Well, you left him. So, stop thinking about what he’d say to you. I was deep in the woods; the dense cover of the treetops encasing me in profound darkness. I summoned light to the top of my staff. The light cast a hazy, golden glow around me. The forest was opaque, and beyond the light from my staff, there was only black.
“Good idea, Nox,” I said to the darkness. “Just leave the only safe place you’ve ever known. With no actual destination in mind.”
Haven’s End was the only place I knew of to go. The thought filled me with horror. Those people were safe, living in peace. Their lives were undisturbed by my darkness. Like Calum’s life was before he found me. But I didn’t have a choice. I was in no condition to live in the woods on my own. I still couldn’t walk without leaning against my walking staff. My wounds hadn’t completely healed. I also didn’t have any food or water with me.
“I’ll only stay until my wounds heal. Then I’ll leave,” I said to the forest. It responded with wind. This would be a good time to practice. I needed more light if I was going to make it to Haven’s End by sunrise. Calum taught me that all the Magic I needed was within my reach. All I needed to do was ask for it. I scooped a handful of leaves from the ground.
I breathed in the scent of the forest and the warmth of the light. The leaves became lighter in my hand. The golden haze from my walking staff intensified.
“My guides through this night, these leaves I send, to be my light, towards Haven’s End.”
The glow spread to the leaves, and I released them to the wind. They became small, gilded lights dancing with me, guiding me through the darkness. My body was weary and I knew I needed to rest. No. I’d rest when I got to Haven’s End. I had to get out of these woods.
In the distance, the lights came together. They lit up the night like my own personal sun. As I came upon them, I saw they had congregated in a clearing. A cluster of lights floated before me, illuminating a weathered sign.
“Welcome, weary traveler. Welcome to Haven’s End.”