River

Child of Starlight: Issue 3 – Part 4: Necessities – Part 1

Dreams of gnashing teeth and yellow eyes plagued Aliene as she slept; the vague sense of danger scratched at her mind until it broke through, snapping her awake. Under the pale light of a waxing moon and shimmering stars, numerous eyes peered at her from the edge of the campsite. Aliene grabbed hold of the instinctual fear within her and strangled it angrily, sharing the feelings through her reach as she let it expand. The watching eyes blinked, dissolving back into the forest, leaving only the slight rustle of grasses and leaves.

Aliene woke up again to the more pleasant greetings of the sun reaching over her and Jacobus. Blinking away sleep, Aliene sat up looking around the camp listening intently. Beneath the calls of birds and other small animals the steady slushing sounds of the river beckoned to her. Aliene rummaged through her pack, retrieving the replacement shirt in a similar style to Jacobus’, and the pair of loose pants both were dark blue. As she took her clothes out and stood to leave Jacobus sat up yawning, “Be back in a few.” She ventured away from their camp as he signed a thumbs up.

The small river Jacobus found a few days ago had been working well as a guide for the past couple of days. They had shared each other’s skills to determine what work would be best, she had come to accept the monk was going to be better in direct combat, the man was tough above all else. He had been interested to learn of her stealthy approach but wasn’t surprised given her hunter label. Aliene let her mind wander to the many questions still lingering within her mind as she became accustomed to the rivers chilled waters. She scrubbed herself as best she could finding a few scratches and bruises that had yet to heal fully. After rinsing her old clothes she stepped from the water, placing her palms together. Aliene focused her reach to the surface of her skin gently raising the temperature and drying away the water.

A bit more refreshed Aliene went to check the cone-nets Jacobus had made retrieving them and the few fish trapped within. She remembered the few places Jacobus said he visited before Misten, but they seemed so abstract. He always seems to dodge talking about Schillia giving her an answer without details. Aliene’s thoughts looped around in her mind.What could haunt him like that? She accepted that he had done things he wasn’t proud of. But to never go back, to never see his family… She stopped walking, does he even have a family? Aliene shifted her mouth to one side, a monk, a soldier, tough, smart, scarred, and believer. That’s everything she knows, but who is he really?

When a god says someone is trustworthy straight to you, that’s not something to question. Trust, however, is only a part of knowing someone. Aliene felt tired still, for the first time in a long time she didn’t understand her place in the world, and terrifyingly her world was getting bigger.

As if purposely contrasting her thoughts Jacobus seemed focused, he was doing push-ups again, he said “one hundred,” under his breath as he pulled his legs in to sit cross-legged. He stretched as Aliene set about preparing a fish and tossing him his own to prepare.