Short Story - Benyr - Part I

Short Story - Benyr - Part I

A Story by Richard Linsley III
"

Just a short story about an old blind paladin. "Beware the old man in a profession where men die young." -- Bodhi Sanders

"
     Benyr woke up coughing.  He groaned and rolled over in his bed sack.  The cold, wet mist of the early morning's dew tickled his lungs, forcing harder coughs.  Slowly, he forced himself upright against the protests of his muscles.  Although his white-glossed eyes saw nothing, he could "see" the campsite as it was.  He felt the weakening heat from the smoldering ashes of last night's campfire.  He heard the morning calls of the woodland songbirds close-by singing a throaty call to their mates.  The horses pawed at the ground and snorted in the cool morning air.  The wind slowly moved the mist through the trees into the campsite.  If Benyr wasn't already 58 years old, he would have appreciated the beauty of nature.  However the complaints and pains of his old body prevented that.

     "Nope, not dead yet." he muttered under his breath. "Sorry mates, it'll be at least another day before we meet again."

     "Wake up," coughed Benyr.  Turning, he let out an uncomfortable groan as he reached over to his left to shake his companion, Lahir.  Instead of feeling the body of another person under cloth, he only felt wadded cloth bundles.  Although the cloth was still slightly warm, the boy must have already have woken up.  Benyr turned his head from side to side scanning the surroundings for the boy.  He didn't smell anything cooking, and there was no other movement nearby, so Lahir must be off in the woods.  No matter, might as well do something useful. 

     Benyr reached his hands through his grey hair.  A quick three strand braid and a metal clip for his long top hair.  Yep, that should keep it out of the way.  He leaned over to his side and felt for his backpack.  After working the knot, he removed his beard brush, two water skins, and a jar of ointment.  Slowly he worked his hands to the tree next to him and stood up.  Benyr took a mental note and then walked toward the river nearby.  His shoulders and lower back ached from the past few days ride.  A few feet away, his toe edged a large rock and he instinctively moved around it.

     The old fighter stopped at the waters edge and stretched his shoulder.  With no shirt on, the skin on his chest, shoulders and back presented many scars earned from years of protecting the innocent.  His face, tattooed with tribal marks also bore the weathering of age.  When he reached the river's edge, he squat down next to it and began to clean his beard.  Benyr slowly worked the silvery strands of his beard until each hair fell correctly into place.  Then he took the water skins and filled them both up.  A twig snapped about 20 paces behind Benyr.  Smiling, Benyr threw the second water skin at the sound.

     "Oh shoot!" grumbled Lahir as he stumbled forward to catch the skin.  "that's just not fair. I know you're blind and all, but it still amazes me that you're able to move around without hitting things.  That rock you stepped around earlier, would have bloodied my toe."

     "Takes practice," chuckled Benyr.  He walked back to his bed cloth and began rolling it up.  "Should have seen me when I first started taking missions.  First three or four missions, whenever I came into town I'd have to buy my gear all over again.  I'd forget where I put something and lose it.  I think the forest must have 6 or 7 caches of my stuff all over the place.  One time, I even got myself lost for 2 weeks.  That's when your dad came out and rescued me."

     "That would have been interesting to see," Lahir answered with a smile.  "The Great Benyr needing to be rescued.  I don't even know why I'm needed on this mission."  Lahir went about taking his gear and placing it in the wagon.  Benyr stopped his work and walked over to Lahir and placed his hands on the young man's shoulders.  Lahir was 23, and already able to look Benyr in the eyes.  However, Lahir's eyes and voice still held the innocence of youth untested.  Not even ready to grow out his own beard.  For a second, Benyr wondered what color Lahir's hair would be.  Red, like his mother?  Blond like his father?  Benyr never asked and probably never will. 

     "I know you're trying to make an old man feel good." Benyr started.  "I'm not anything special.  I'm not 'great.'  I'm not this fantastic warrior that your dad used to rave about in his stories next to the fireplace.  I'm just ... old.  There are many things I'd like to turn back the clock of time and redo.  I'll settle with just teaching you my mistakes so you don't make them."  Chuckling to himself, Benyr lobbed his gear into the wagon. "Say your prayers, do some weapons training and then let's get going.  If we get good time on the road today, we might be able to get this mission done and be back for your mom's weekly roast.  And that would be a shame to miss."

     "Yes, sir."

--------

     Alone, at least for a short while, Benyr knelt in prayer.  He opened up his heart and prayed for success on this mission.  He prayed for the health and safety of his companion and allowed his heart to open and yearn for the one thing that mattered most to him, the chance to join his fellow brothers on the other side.  As he continued his prayer, he felt the familiar connection between him and his goddess.

     *Not today, Champion.  There is work to be done.*  Though the words were soft and meant to be comforting, nevertheless they stung his heart.  He felt old, his friends and close companions had already passed on.  His wife even succumbed to the last bout of plague.  Benyr felt alone in the world.  He felt like a nuisance to his order lately more so than a useful combatant and agent.  The Order seemed happy, eager even, to give him orders for retirement as he had served well beyond the mandated years required for service.  However, he couldn't rest.  He had to fight and keep serving his Goddess.  The only reason he was assigned this mission was because he was too hard headed and stubborn to be told no.

--------

     "Captain?" Lahir broke into Benyr's concentration.  The two had been on the road for a while, and Benyr was entranced by the rhythmic hoof beats of the horses and the sounds of the wagon's wheels on the roadway.  The heat from the sun told Benyr it was close to mid-day.

     "I'm sorry," Benyr answered. "Yes?"  Benyr leaned forward and moved the leather hood of his tunic to the side so that he could hear Lahir better.

     "I heard a rumor." Lahir started his question. "The other paladin's talk among themselves.  Is is true that you were a healing priest before becoming a Paladin?"

     "Yes, and no."  Benyr's brow crunched up a bit at the question. "I've always been a Paladin.  But I was a healer when I started.  Why do you ask?"

     "Its just that I'm confused. Don't healers take an oath to never take up arms or hurt anything?"

     "I did make an oath to the Goddess, but its not the one that you know of.  The Oath has changed since my induction.  The oath I made was to protect and comfort the Goddess' children here on this world."  When Lahir did not respond directly, Benyr took another tact to explain.

     "Let me ask you this, suppose you made an oath to the Goddess to protect and serve her children of this world as a healer.  The Hordes of evil suddenly decide to come down upon them. Would you do nothing to protect them in order to not violate your oath?  Or, would you place yourself in harm's way, even give your last breath to prevent them from ever being hurt to begin with?"

     "I supposed I would work to prepare their defenses at least," Lahir looked further down the road.  "Your answer does make sense.  When you put it in that light.  Aren't you afraid that its contrary to the Goddess' will?"

     "Healers are rare enough, young one.  I'm certain She has plans for me, even if I choose to fight.  She's never turned my requests to heal innocents away.  The change in the oath was to prevent healers from going into combat and becoming even more rare.  There is a good side effect to the change.  When healers don't fight, and are captured.  The civilized enemy will usually allow the healer free movement to perform their healing as the Priests see's fit.  And that means when the battle is over, we treat everyone.  Friend and foe alike."

     "But you aren't treated that way, because you fight."

     "Exactly." Benyr responded. He leaned backwards a few inches and reached over to a pack behind the two.  Tapping on his plate armor, Benyr made a his point clear.  "Because I choose to fight, I am treated just like any other fighter on the battlefield.  And I would have it no other way."

     "What is the bad side of the change then?  You said there was a good side." Lahir's voice trailed off.  Uncertain he wanted to hear the answer.

     "You're the first target."  Benyr laughed aloud and leaned his head against the wagon.  "Kill the healer, kill the fighting force."

--------

     "We're here."  Benyr slapped Lahir's leg and ordered him to bring the wagon to a halt. "Lash the horses to the tree and set the wagon.  Leave the armor and weapons here.  We'll come back for them later.  First thing first.  Get information."  Benyr could smell the slight tinge of sulfur in the air.  Demons and devilspawn were nearby.  Who knows, the boy might get to see his first erinyes or even a succubus today.

     "Where do we go?"  Lahir finished his tasks quickly.  "Which way?"

     "Follow me"  Benyr answered. Benyr weaved between the trees and headed deeper into the forest.  A few minutes later, the forest line stopped and opened up into farmstead.  The smell of burning oak and flesh was pungent and hung thickly in the air.

     "This is one time I envy your blindness" Lahir said. "The buildings are all burnt down.  There are farm animal carcasses and ruined things everywhere."

     "You don't need eyes to see that, unfortunately,"  Benyr replied, his voice saddened by knowledge of the past fights with hell spawn.  "The likelihood of the families still being here alive are slim to none at this point.  There are many devils and demons here.  I'd venture to guess there's a bigger one running the show as well.  Do you see any rigid structures.  Maybe something made of stone?"

     "I can see the farmhouse, its completely destroyed.  The barn looks like it had a rock cellar underneath it.  Why?"

     "The demons need a rigid structure, a floor or wall or something, to create the magical glyphs that power their portals between our plane of existence and theirs."  Benyr absentmindedly stroked his beard while explaining the idea to his companion.  "That's the most likely location we're going to have to find the creature that created the portal or is keeping it open."

     "Think they've set up an ambush?"  Lahir questioned.

     "They couldn't call themselves devils or demons if they didn't." Benyr replied.  His face brightened with the thought.   "Lets go back to the wagon and get the armor and weapons."

     Benyr smiled as he walked back to the cart.  Demons, devils, creatures of evil to be vanquished.  Yes, today is going to be a good day.

© 2018 Richard Linsley III


Author's Note

Richard Linsley III
Part 1. Story broken into parts to make it easier to read in Writer's Cafe format. I hope everyone gets to enjoy the story! Please leave a review and let me know how I can continue to develop the craft.

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Featured Review

How does blind Benyr know that Lahir is looking him in the eye?
Why is "Kill the healer first" a new tactic caused by healer's taking vows of non-violence? Wouldn't kill the healer first always have been the tactic because then the enemy fighting force can't be healed?

Fun last line - things to vanuish = good day. I enjoyed the humor that Benyr has 6 or 7 caches of misplaced armor.



Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

C. Rose

3 Years Ago

What four?
Richard Linsley III

3 Years Ago

I've gone though Sword Art Online. Started on SWA2, but lost interest in it. Did Record of Lodus w.. read more
Richard Linsley III

2 Years Ago

I was looking through the comments and I don't think I answered the "why kill the healer" was an imp.. read more



Reviews

How does blind Benyr know that Lahir is looking him in the eye?
Why is "Kill the healer first" a new tactic caused by healer's taking vows of non-violence? Wouldn't kill the healer first always have been the tactic because then the enemy fighting force can't be healed?

Fun last line - things to vanuish = good day. I enjoyed the humor that Benyr has 6 or 7 caches of misplaced armor.



Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

C. Rose

3 Years Ago

What four?
Richard Linsley III

3 Years Ago

I've gone though Sword Art Online. Started on SWA2, but lost interest in it. Did Record of Lodus w.. read more
Richard Linsley III

2 Years Ago

I was looking through the comments and I don't think I answered the "why kill the healer" was an imp.. read more
The way you've set up this first part is fantastic. I have no criticisms except for picky little grammar things. The moral conflict you've set up is fascinating, that between the fighter and the healer. I do want to see what happens next. You seem to have a feel for something I've worked on for a long time, a good balance between dialogue and explanation and a good pace of exposition of facts.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Richard Linsley III

4 Years Ago

Thank you for the post, the balance between show/tell is something I wanted to work on. Will Neil, .. read more
Richard Linsley III

4 Years Ago

I'd like to follow up with a couple questions. 1) how old did you think Benyr behaved in the scenes.. read more
Jennie Baron

4 Years Ago

One thing I found was "Priests see's fit" which should be priests see fit or priest sees fit. There.. read more
oh wow i loved this! i really wanna keep on readin :) i enjoyd it alot! great job u painted a really good picture in my mind ^^

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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417 Views
3 Reviews
Added on March 2, 2016
Last Updated on April 29, 2018
Tags: Adventure, Fantasy, Videogame, Paladin, Fighter, Demon, Devils

Author

Richard Linsley III
Richard Linsley III

San Antonio, TX



About
A humble sailor with a story to tell. I'm a 39 year old dad of 3, and husband to the love of my life. Retired from the Navy after 20 years of hard work. Looking forward to some rest, and enjoying m.. more..

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