Another Time, Another Place
, on Flickr Ryan tossed and turned under the sheets of the bed he lay in. His mind was running with visions of blackened skies and the stench of rotting flesh. Fevered dreams shook him violently, and he awoke with a fright.
He blinked, the morning sun shining brightly against his face from a stone window to his right. As the room around him began to piece itself together, Ryan was left puzzled as to where he had been sleeping.
“Oh, you’re awake. Peter was in a fit because he feared you might never wake up. I’ll have to alert him of that somehow.” The voice was Scott’s from across the room.
Scott! Ryan thought, his excitement masking any thoughts of confusion. He heard the panting of a canine nearby. Craning his neck over the side of the bed, he saw Holly’s familiar snout, tongue out and tail shaking. Holly! He exclaimed with his mind’s voice.
Ryan scanned the room, just now noticing the equipment scattered along the stone walls. A cauldron hung over a small flame, bubbling away. Books and manuscripts with illustrations of chemicals in countless colors lay open and unattended on wooden tables and stools. Various beakers and bottles were strewn about on shelving tables and on the floor. A ratty looking rug of bright red and gray covered only a portion of the floor.
“Oh, I apologize for the mess. It’s not easy setting up a laboratory in an unused storage room!” Scott cheerfully said, while pouring some unidentifiable chemical from a flask into a pot. "But, I have to thank the guards for allotting this space in their watchtower for me. Reginald’s word has weight even this far south, it seems.”
Ryan made a motion to get out of the bed, but a rumbling soreness ached throughout his body. He winced and grumbled, catching Scott’s attention.
“I forgot to mention, you probably shouldn’t move much. I was able to give you a medicine to heal whatever poison or infection was running through your veins when we found you, but the broken bones and scars will likely cause pain for a while. Not to worry, though, those had been tended to as well.” Scott said, matter-of-factly. “The shirt was a spare we found in one of the other storerooms here. Your old clothing was soaked in blood when we arrived, and not worth keeping, what with the stench.”
Ryan nodded, before mustering enough strength in his battered body to ask, “What-wher… what happened?”
“Ah, I thought you might ask something like that. Well, I’ll give you the story as best as I can.” Scott said, his smile turning to a full-fledged grin.
Scott told of the night of the stag’s death, “Quickly after you were chased by the stag away from the group, we gathered our wits and decided that we weren’t going to let some shadowy beast have a member of our party! At least, not without a fight. Reginald began to track the footprints left by the demon, and by the next morning we had arrived at the cliff to find your bloodstained dagger and the stag itself left dead with a slashed throat and torso. The only thing missing was, well, you! So we scaled the cliff, following the second trail of blood. Down there we found your bloodied and broken form in the grass, unconscious.
“Reginald and I saddled you onto his horse and traced our steps back to the path as best as we could, and then we pushed southward as fast as we could. As I mentioned previously, Peter was grief stricken, fearing that you were gone for good. Martin acted tough about the matter, but I imagine he was worrying for you on the inside. To be honest, though, we all were worrying, even me!
“We arrived in Minten soon enough, and Reginald was able to get us all into the city. I had my fun tormenting the crossbowmen on the way in with my ‘swamp magic’!” Scott chuckled before continuing, “In Minten we were able to get splints put on your broken bones, and I was able to peruse the markets and purchase a few herbs and things I would need to make another potion to help the fever you developed. While there, the soldiers in our company made quick work of spreading the word about you. You’ve got a bigger reputation than you did before you tumbled off the cliff, that’s for sure!
“From there, I was given a horse and rode, with you strapped along, down to Angten. Carrying an order from Reginald, I was able to secure this storeroom in the tower to house you as well as build my makeshift lab. I set to quick work making your brew, and I was able to administer it to you while you slept. In the meantime, I began work on your grandfather’s potion!” Scott gestured to the cauldron at the corner of the room. “It’s almost done, and when it’s finished I’ll escort you and the medicine to your home, and that should settle the issue with the White Grasp!”
Ryan was stunned. He never thought he would live past the drop off the cliff, and yet here he was, a hero among those in the western Dragon Kingdom. He couldn’t believe it!
“Oh, and I forgot to mention a few odds and ends here and there. I met with Harold while in Minten, and it seems that him and Elizabeth are enjoying their time together. She is with child, and happy as could be!” Scott stated, throwing his hands around while he spoke, clearly excited to tell his friend of the tale he had slept through.
“I… I’m sorry to have missed it all, I suppose.” Ryan managed to stumble the words out. It was all still sinking in. A hero!
“Your dagger, as well as some gold sent from thankful villagers, are in a chest by the bed, if you were at all curious. I cleaned off as much of the blood as I could from the blade, but it was pretty heavily caked on.” Scott declared, before returning to brewing and mixing ingredients together.
Ryan sank back into the bed, which for some reason felt more comfortable than ever. The sun shone bright in the window, but he didn’t mind so much anymore. He was soaring with glee on the inside, although his face was stuck with a stupefied smirk.
The room stayed silent after that point, save for the faint bubbling of brews and the shuffling of booted feet on the stone floor.
The next chapter! It's a bit of a long story, but I had to fit the rest of what happened in there. Brickshelf
has a few more photos, although it's not as big as some of my other creations. Only one more chapter left in this story! C&C welcome!