Chapter 8: A new friend

Chapter 8: A new friend

A Chapter by Gosia

May shifted on the bench outside the village’s tavern and watched the little boy who called himself Eren. He was a nice kid, polite and shy, but there was something odd about him. May scanned him with her eyes. The boy had bare feet covered in nasty blisters, a few bruises from before, was dressed in rags, and was in a desperate need of a bath. The short blonde hair looked like it hadn’t seen a comb in months. The old bluish tunic he was wearing, was nothing more than a rag hanging loosely from his bony shoulders.


Then May saw something strange - the kid had a small pendant with a blue gem hung around his neck. The stone looked like a sapphire, but perhaps it was just a fake. The pendant’s chain was definitely made of gold though �" confusing May, as something like that was way too expensive for a village kid to have, especially the one who was stealing apples to eat. Maybe he had stolen it as well?


“Eren,” May said to the boy as the sun hung low over the horizon, casting the red rays on the straw roofs of the farmers’ huts and the forest. “It was a pleasure to meet you, but it’s getting a little late. I think it’s probably time to return you to your parents. You don’t want to worry them, do you?”


Eren looked up at May with kindle of sadness in his unusually honey-colored eyes and hung his head.


“I don’t have parents,” he said quietly, staring back at his knees.


May’s eyes opened wide. It turned out, that she stumbled upon an orphan... The girl felt immediate empathy for the child. It had to be horrible, being all alone in the world… She reached out and put her hand on Eren’s head. The little boy seemed to be surprised by the sudden display of affection.


“It’s ok,” May said quietly.


Eren stared at her. May smiled to him and ruffled his hair; the boy smiled back to her.


“I’m not that sad anymore,” Eren said after a moment of silence. “My mother, father, my sisters and brother are dead, but at least Eren is still alive.”


May sighed mentally, pitying the boy. He had to be a strong one; he lost all his family at such a young age... and yet he put on a brave face.


“Do you live with someone in the village or in the Stronghold?” May asked curiously.


“No,” Eren shook his head. “I used to live in a monastery with nice monks who took care of me, but it burnt two months ago. Now I... travel.”


“Travel? That’s interesting,” May said. Though she thought that it as alarming for such a young child to travel alone. The girl decided to make the kid spill the beans a tiny bit.


May soon learnt that Eren had lost his family last year, though he didn’t tell how, but by his behavior the girl guessed, that it must have happened in some violent way �" maybe someone had killed them. Eren divulged, that he came from Teig �" the dukedom in the west of the Callesmere Empire. He mentioned, that the monastery, where he had spent the entire winter, burnt shortly after he left it two months ago. Since then he had been a vagabond, traveling from village to village, taking shelter where he could. As May expected, the child was spending most of his nights in the woods and was stealing the food from villagers. The Eren’s tale was a very sad one, especially with all those misfortunes befell such a little kid. May couldn’t help but worry about the child.


“Eren, where will you sleep tonight?” May asked him.


“In the forest,” the boy answered, shrugging his shoulders as if it was the most usual thing in the world. May, on the other hand, was shocked by the thought of a child spending a night alone in the forest, even though Eren must have done it a lot if she had been a vagabond for a full two months.


“That’s too dangerous,” May stated. “you should come with me. I can find you a nice room with a soft bed. I can convince everyone to let you stay as long as you want; you know, I am a princess.” She said with a smile and poked the little boy on the forehead.


But, to May’s surprise, Eren opposed to the idea strongly. Shaking his head violently, he nervously gripped the fabric of his thin and torn tunic. Setting his gaze on his knees, he refused to look the girl in the eye.


“I c-can’t stay at your house,” Eren stuttered in a quiet voice, pulling his knees to his chest, so that he almost curled herself into a complete ball.


“The forest is dangerous in the night!” May argued. “At least stay at the temple then.”


“Eren will stay in the forest,” the boy repeated stubbornly, not agreeing to spend the night under a roof in a comfortable bed.


May furrowed her eyebrows, not understanding, why the child opposed so strongly to the idea of not sleeping on the bare ground. It would be getting dark and the forest would surely become a hostile place for the kid. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know, that a lone child was an easy prey for wild animals that prowled the forest at night; he had been lucky so far but sooner or later a misfortune would happen.


“Kid, be reasonable,” May said in a slightly harsh tone, wanting to talk some sense into the child. “You might get eaten by some mean angry wolves  if you continue to sleep outside. Listen, I can arrange for you to live in the castle or the temple. Both are nice places. I’m sure, that you’ll like it there…”


“No!” Eren suddenly exclaimed, interrupting May in the midsentence.


The child was looking at the girl with bewilderment in his golden eyes. He shook his head again. He was silent for a longer while and shifted uneasily under May’s inquisitive gaze. Eren was biting his lower lip and was nervously twisting his fingers, clearly under a certain dose of stress. He looked at his companion, as though he was battling with the thoughts. It was obvious, that the child was hiding something and now he was probably considering whether not to share what it was with May. Finally, Eren stared back at his feet, speaking in a quiet depressed voice: “You… you can’t invite me. I bring bad luck.”


“Don’t be…” May wanted to scold the child for thinking of himself like that, but Eren reacted violently, raising his voice, so that he nearly shouted at the older girl.


“It’s true! Everyone, who let me stay with them is dead! My family, the monks, everyone…” the child’s sudden outburst ended with a depressed whimper, as his golden eyes locked with May’s green ones. “I don’t want you to die too, you’re very nice.”


May opened her mouth, as though she wanted to tell Eren that something like that wouldn’t happen, but closed it. Apparently the child’s past was more gruesome than she imagined. Most probably Eren was blaming himself for the death of his family and the caretakers, common amongst orphans that had lost their parents while they were alive. Feeling a rush of compassion to the kid, she reached out and trapped a surprised Eren in a comforting embrace.


“It’s alright now,” May said to the child gently. “it’s not your fault.”


Eren froze, shocked by May’s display of compassion for him, but then he hesitantly returned the hug, clutching the older girl’s dress tightly.


“I’ll stay in the forest,” he whispered, not giving up on the idea of rejecting May’s offer.


The girl smiled to herself at the child’s stubbornness. Perhaps she needed some more time to convince Eren and she shouldn’t pressure the child just yet. However, May couldn’t just leave the kid alone.


”Eren, maybe my friend could stay in the forest with you for the night. You really shouldn’t be alone,” the girl said, wanting to have Levi babysit the kid. However, Eren firmly shook his head, solemnly looking May in the eye.


“No,” he said shortly. May was about to try to reason with him more, but the little boy spoke first. “I’ll run away. I want to keep traveling anyway.”


May sighed deeply, giving up, as the child resorted to blackmail. Apparently she would have to let Eren stay alone in the forest tonight, even though she didn’t like the thought. But, May wanted to do something for the kid - in the night then he would be cold and starving.


Suddenly Eren jumped onto the roughly-carved bench, crouching like a wild animal readying itself either to fight or run. The boy’s wary gaze was fixed somewhere over May’s shoulder. The girl looked in that direction, curious what made the child act so strangely.


“My Lady!” It was Levi, who was rushing her way, breathing heavily and holding the golden medallion in his hand �" the precious seal of Agnar family. His previously neatly combed shoulder-length hair was now just as ruffled as Eren’s. The young warrior sighed with relief, seeing that May was safe and sound, although sitting in front of the tavern with some suspicious beggar-like child. “My Lady, I finally found you! Why weren’t you at the gates?”


May blinked.


            “Oh,” she muttered, realizing that she completely forgot to head back to the Duke’s palace because of the distraction in a form of a skinny blonde child. She glanced at Eren who was still tense, suspiciously eying Levi, and then the girl set her gaze back at her protector. “Sorry, I got held up. You see, I had to help this boy here and… I forgot.”


            Levi scratched his head, trying not to sigh at the girl’s odd behavior and way of speaking.


“Lady Maewyn, we must return to the castle before the sun sets,” the soldier reminded May, pointing his finger at the darkening sky.


The girl bit her lower lip as she stole a peek at Eren who was hiding behind her back. She knew she should return, but she wished to help the little boy somehow.


“Fine,” May finally said to Levi. “but first we’ll buy Eren some food and everything he’ll need while camping.”


Levi opened his mouth to protest, but shut it, deciding not to argue with the short head-strong girl before him. He smiled in defeat and made a gesture for her to follow him to the market. Having spend much of his gold for supplies for the orphaned boy, he handed the filled bag to May.


May opened the bag and examined the contents. She nodded her head with approval.


“Good job, Levi,” she praised the young soldier before turning her attention to the little boy who was still doing his best to stay hidden behind her. “Eren, no need to be afraid. You can stop hiding behind me.”


At her words, Eren hesitantly stepped away from May, not taking his eyes off the young warrior, as though he was expecting Levi to attack him.


“Eren, that’s for you,” the May said, pushing the bag towards the child. “inside are things you will need if you want to sleep in the forest. I will be going now. Don’t forget to make a fire, so that the wild animals won’t get you.”


“Will you come tomorrow?” the boy asked quickly, hope in his voice.


“Sure I will. I’ll come as soon as the sun rises.” May answered, ruffling his hair. “See you tomorrow, kid!”




Eren watched as May walked away towards the Thoen Stronghold accompanied by the young man, who looked like a warrior. He smiled to himself and dragged the heavy bag to his camp through the bushes. He checked if the pendant on his neck was still there and went deeper into the woods, hiding from anyone, who could find him.


Once he found his sleeping place, the boy took out a self-carved figurine of a horse. It was the only toy he possessed.


“Hello, Red Wind,” Eren said to the figurine. “I’m sorry I left you. Do you know that I found a new friend today? Her name is May and she’s really nice and brave. You would like her. Tomorrow I’ll see her again!”


As expected, the figurine of a horse was silent. Eren sighed, but then a small smile brightened his face. Today he was a little less lonely.






            A small unit of soldiers slowly rode through the night, carefully choosing the path as the pale starlight made the shapes of the trees and bushes look distorted. It was easy for a horse to break a leg and the leader of half a dozen warriors of Rimmisth wasn’t eager to report to Duke Skeye that another one of the fine steeds was lost because of his incompetency.

            “Let’s head back, sergeant,” one of the youngest soldiers complained, acting like a whining child. “we’ve been looking for those damn poachers for days now, but we found no one. There’re only stags and rabbits in this forest.”

            The rest of the unit grunted in response, supporting their younger colleague. However, the sergeant didn’t share the opinion of his men and their negligent attitude. He snarled and glared over his shoulder at the lazy lot who called themselves soldiers.

            “The beekeepers said that some suspicious characters have been roaming around the royal forest lately, probably poachers. Maybe there are only stags and rabbits, but the damn stags belong to Duke Skeye and we can’t let anyone steal them, understood?” the sergeant squinted his eyes in the dark, trying to make out the face expressions of his men.

The light was dim and he could barely see the silhouettes, but he was under a distinct impression that his speech had absolutely no effect on the youngsters. Not that he could blame them; when he joined the ranks of Rimmisth army he expected to fight foes, slay dragons, basilisks and other demons. However his delusions dissolved quickly and the sergeant accepted that the most dangerous task available was hunting some poachers down.

            “Sergeant, look,” the youngest of the unit suddenly whispered, pointing into the darkness.

            The sergeant and other men set their gazes at the spot and saw a red flickering light.

            “Campfire,” the soldiers’ leader whispered and made a hand sign for everyone to dismount. Moving as noiselessly as possible in chain mails, the warriors made way towards the source of light encircling it.

            When he was close enough, the sergeant peeked from behind the bushes to see who he was dealing with. The soldier of Rimmisth frowned with disappointment; he spotted two persons sitting by the fire, but they definitely weren’t the poachers he was looking for. Those two wore fine armors, too expensive for minor outlaws to afford. The sergeant thought that the design of the protective gear was unusual, nothing like he had seen before, but he dismissed the doubt assuming that the men could come from one of the southern dukedoms.

            The sergeant whistled and his unit emerged from the shadows, flanking the two people sitting by the fire. Surprisingly neither of the men looked startled by the sudden appearance of the soldiers, as though they had been expecting the Rimmisth warriors.

            “Good evening, sirs,” the sergeant addressed the strangers, who calmly observed him with wary eyes. “May I inquire what are you doing in the royal forest? It’s forbidden to enter here and hunt without permission.”

            One of the strangers, the huge muscular oaf with a shiny bald head crossed his arms on his chest, rolling his eyes. The other man gathered his long black strands in a ponytail, fastening a leather strap, not hurrying with the answer to the sergeant’s question.

            “I and my associate have not hunted anything here yet,” the stranger replied, his voice dreadfully calm. He slowly stood up, glancing at the soldiers. “I appreciate that you brought the provisions. We are a bit hungry right now.”

            The sergeant furrowed his brows in confusion.

            “Provisions?” he repeated, not understanding what the stranger meant. “I didn’t bring you any provisions.”

            The smirk on the dark-haired man made the sergeant have goose bumps. Suddenly the soldier’s eyes began noticing some tiny details, he had ignored earlier. The strangers’ ears were a bit pointy and their eyes… Their eyes were golden like those of the legendary beasts, the demons every mother in the Callesmere Empire warned. The man licked his lips, feeling his throat going dry. He took a step back, realizing that he and his unit walked into a trap.

            “Too late now, human,” the stranger said quietly.

            The last thing the sergeant remember was a glint of blade in the pale starlight and the cold touch of steel before his head rolled off his body.



            The black-haired man effortlessly pierced the dead sergeant’s chain mail and ribcage with his bare hand, ripping the still warm heart out. He smiled slightly before taking a bite.

            “Aedain, you won’t be eating that one’s liver, will you?” his huge companion asked. The bald oaf had his hands full with livers and kidneys, torn out of the bellies of their previous owners.

            “You can have it, Baltar,” the long-haired man called Aedain replied indifferently, finishing devouring the human heart. “Hurry up though, I do not want to lose those idiots of the falcon clan.”

            Baltar nodded as he retrieved another liver and proceeded with his meal. The whole time his associate was patiently waiting for him.

            “Dear spirits, I was hungry,” the muscular man exclaimed in a cheerful voice. He checked if his axe was firmly strapped on his back and wiped the blood out of his face. “I’m good to go, Aedain.”

            Aedain nodded and both men set off, finding their way in the darkness without even the slightest difficulty as though their golden eyes saw equally well in sunlight and the dim starlight seeping through the trees’ leaves.

            “The falcon losers decided to take a route south from Baigh Riada,” Baltar muttered, sniffing the air and examining the faint tracks on the forest floor. “So the brat heads for the sea.”

            “If so, they should find the boy easily. There are not that many bridges on An Eachain, he must have passed one of them.” Aedain was thinking aloud.

            Baltar grinned, the wide boyish smile oddly contrasting with his rough facial features.

            “We have good chances of getting it before the eclipse, we still have over one year left.” The bald man shared his optimism with his associate.

            Aedain frowned, glaring at Baltar.

“Fool,” he muttered, shaking his head. “even if we manage to lay out hands on the Guardian and the Key, we still have not the slightest clue where it is hidden. It will take us several lunar cycles to find out, probably we will be ready by the next summer. For now, we have to find the boy.”

Baltar was staring at Aedain blankly, as though his brain had trouble processing what his accomplice just said. Finally he shrugged his shoulders.

“You’re the prince, you call the shots,” he muttered.

A dark silhouette of a winged horse-like creature was circling high above their heads and treetops. The beast neighed and swished its tail which was like a whip.

© 2013 Gosia

My Review

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Much better chapter, although like May, I wanted to know what happened 80 years ago! There were a few mistakes that stood out particularly this;

“Lord Abrran, son of Duke Royse, the heir of Karhadon, welcome in my home. Accept the place at my table.” Duke Thoen said solemnly. - It should be welcome to my home. Will you accept a place at my humble table?"

Your original sentence was a little too curt bothering on rudeness which would be uncharacteristic. There were a few other minor issues here and there but I won't get into those.

I will say however that this line;

“Not so tight…” she whined when Hilda kept tightening the laces. “It huuurts!”

Is totally my favorite. It's such a simple line yet personifies, to me, everything that May is. I found that funny especially when you know that Hilda was the one dressing her and was probably venting some frustration as well. It comes off subliminally and it works.

The story gets really interesting although it seems right now you're juggling two plots with 2 subplots. i imagine all of those will tie into a larger narrative and from what I've read, I have no doubt you'll pull it off effortlessly. I also enjoy reading all the real world references you can get away with using on account of May being from Earth. Like when you used plastic surgeries to describe how Abrran's face looked. It was perfect. It didn't pop up and instead fit the narrative because it was relevant to May. Excellent work there.

Eren is some sort of guardian half breed the demons need? Now this gets interesting. Why do they want to open the way to Uaimth Dorchadais? Also now that they've got May's scent, I can only imagine the whirlwind she's going to be sucked into.

But right now, I really want to know what good news the priest as for her! Will it be what she's expecting or something completely different?

Really good chapter here!

Posted 10 Years Ago

I'd been really waiting to meet the prince, and you definitely didn't disappoint. "like someone addicted to plastic surgeries." I love May's descriptions.
I can't wait for more awkwardness with the prince, and to find out why he sent her that mirror.

Posted 10 Years Ago


10 Years Ago

Yay, another present for me. Have fun with the next chapter.

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2 Reviews
Added on August 17, 2013
Last Updated on October 1, 2013




Hello, my name is unpronounceable for most of humankind, but fortunately it can be shortened to Gosia. I’m an university student in my twenties, about to face the real life very soon. I’ve.. more..

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