2# The Long Road Ahead

2# The Long Road Ahead

A Chapter by M.King

With his Mentor gone Pipel must travel to the university and warn them of the coming danger. Weather or not the university believe his tale is where the real challenge lays.


Like the village, the man Pipel felt empty as he watched his mentor disappear from his gaze, his body drained of feeling and as hard as it was, he would begin his journey to the university. 

After his mentor left him in Tambem he found it hard to move, his eyes stuck on the horizon waiting hopeful that the professor had changed his mind and turned back.  It took some time to sink in that nothing was going to happen in that empty place.  Brushing his fringe to the side of his face Pipel tidied himself as best he could.  Removing the blades of grass that had attached to he’s clothing along with the dirt that smudged on his belly and knees.  Approaching the oak door belonging to one of the homes Pipel wondered to himself if it would be considered breaking an entry into the empty homes.  Entering the home, he edged the door open little by little until the whole room inside could be seen, these village houses were small and old.  Scoping the room he found what he was looking for, a flask, covered in light leather and accompanied by a thin long strap.


The flask sat upon a thick wooden table that had been wedged in the corner.  Besides the flask a plate with a loaf of bread, freshly baked but now cool.  It must have been set down moments before the arrival of the lechers. 

 As ill as he felt Pipel was not hungry, he took the flask and turned to leave, his foot accidentally kicked something, as he looked down at the dusty floorboards he watched the cotton filled toy come to a holt.  It resembled a bear and was missing its left ear, the stuffing leaked from the remaining wound. 


‘The children as well’ he shouted out with a growing hatred, forcefully Pipel kicked the bear across the room bouncing it against the wall.  Suddenly Pipel was focused, snapping out of the daze that shook him he marched back outside not bothering himself was shutting the door.  He set his sights across the dirt road to find a bucket of water sat outside the adjacent house, filling the flask with its contents Pipel watched the bubbling of on the water’s surface, the escaping air causing the water to splash onto the sleeve of his white shirt. 

 Resting the thin leather strap on his left shoulder, Pipel took in the view of Tambem realizing that the smell of sulphur still lingered, the village now as quiet as the one’s before it, it was a sad sight.  Reaching the hill that he had lay on before Pipel found his heading and set off, his thoughts with what the professor had asked of him.  It would be a long four days walk straight to the university but that was not his primary destination, heading east would take him the riverside village of Nalt, the walk would be less and transport would become an available option.  He could take the ferry the passed through Nalt on a weekly basis; however the odds of catching the ferry were against him as he and the professor had taken the same ferry three days ago.  Pipel’s mostly likely transport would be by carriage, it would take longer than the ferry but was still faster than walking the whole way. 


It had been several hours since Pipel had left Tambem.  The determination he had left with had faded, his body now sore and his stomach growling, lifting his heavy head Pipel watched the sun descend behind the forest that lay ahead, the leafy maze he would have to pass through to reach Nalt but first he would find somewhere to sleep.  Where he walked now wouldn’t suit, out in the open space of the hills, the verge of the forest, any manner of beast would see him as an easy hunt.  Although he wished against it inside the forest would be safer, the forest floor was filled with life but if he could find a high enough tree to sleep in perhaps he would be safe. 

 The sky now lit with a crescent moon and shining distant stars could only be seen through small openings where the greedy overhead trees left gaps of light for few shrubs on the forest floor.  The forest was dark and its soil moist; fallen leaves still held their natural colour; footprints of small mammals left in the ground.  Pipel’s footsteps slow, he moved carefully not wanting to make a sound, the phase quiet as a mouse repeated in his head, brambles and native shrubbery was flattened with each step as he moved deeper and deeper into the dark forest. 


Pipel listened to the sounds of the night, the soft wind gently pushing against the trees, the occasional rustle in the plants as something scurried passed them and the distant howl of a Nightprowler; a large feline that lives within these forests, recognized by its golden eyes, short stubbed tail with black and grey patterned fur; not afraid to attack animals bigger than itself.  Everything Pipel knew about a Nightprowler was from a book. 

 The howl he had heard caused his heart to skip a beat before taking into account the echo of the call, he would be safe for the night where he was, there was no need to endanger himself by travelling any further.  Standing still in a circle of trees Pipel inspected each of the trees, as if he were at a store ready to buy.  He took into account which was tallest; which was the easiest to climb; which had to most branches.  After a quick browse he had chosen which tree he would rest; a large ash tree which Pipel estimated to be thirty-five maybe forty foot high, it was a very large and lush tree.  Ascending the tree wasn’t too hard, groves and bumps in its truck made easy footing, reaching half the tree’s height Pipel found the most secure branch, or set of.  He lay across two thick braches, his legs dangled in the air and his back jammed right against the truck.  Crossing his arms he wriggled and wormed in attempt to become more comfortable, it was pointless to try but at least he was secure, due to the acute angle of the branches. 


Looking up he could see the stars in between the above leafs, Pipel stared for a long while thinking how much he missed his bed and how the professor was, Pipel didn’t want to think what could of happened but it seemed inevitable to think the worst, all he could do was try to sleep. 

 When morning came and Pipel’s eyes opened blurred by the sun, he found that he hadn’t moved all night, still secure in the ash tree.  Like a crippled old man he rose aching, carefully he lowered himself to the ground, his hands and feet following the route down from which they climbed in the night.  Wiping his hands up and down he cleared himself of pieces of bark that had rubbed against him. 


Batting his eyelids his awoke thirsty, taking hold of his flask and unlatching its cap he took a long drink but stopped the second he realized he had to ration it, spiting back the contents in his mouth back into the flack he shut it and tried ignoring his hunger.  

 After relieving his bladder he had set off again, deeper into the forest, the shade of the tree kept him cold, shielding him from the sun’s beams.  The forest was vast and seemed to not end, if Piple would to turn himself around he would be lost here.  Pipel had kept to the same path; forwards, not left nor right but a straight path, he would eventually emerge from the tree and if his navigation was correct Nelt would be the first thing he saw. 


As the day progressed and Pipel’s flack became empty he found himself leant against one of the many trees, his head tilted back; dragging his head it had felt so heavy, he had to take a rest.  Too tired to think Pipel listened he his surroundings, his own breathing filled his ears, he could not heard much else except that noise in the distant.  The snapping of twigs and rustling of leafs being kicked up into the air, someone was coming his way.  Fearing for his own wellbeing he crouched down to keep himself secret. 

 As moments passed and the sounds of running got closer Pipel soon saw its origin.  A young man with tanned skin and jet black hair, short and pushed back by the wind; the man must have been the same age as Pipel.  The dark haired man wore a green tunic underneath leather armour covering his chest; bracers and boots matched the armour; he held the hilt to a long sword, sheathed to his belt.  The stranger was coming right for him, in a panic Pipel sank down against the tree, the man’s heavy footsteps went straight passed his line of sight, Pipel signed with relief but had no real reason to hide from the stranger, at that moment the running sword man slowed still gripping his blade’s hilt. As the two man’s eyes met a tense moment had arrived, the man’s eyes held a fire of rage, shown with the expression on his face, while Pipel looked much like a lost dog. 


Finally the tension broke but from either of the men, shouting and rumbling in the distance of guardsmen, eight in total most wearing full body armour; armed with swords and axes; one noticeable man from the group more rounded than the rest; bald except the small tuff of hair above his lip.  Huffing and puffing falling behind the whole group; wielding not a sword but a leg of cooked chicken, the grease of it running down the man’s hand. 

 Both Pipel and the sword man locked eyes once more before the dark haired man sprinted off in the opposite direction.  Seconds later and the guardsman charged pass, Pipel leaned into the tree fearing they might trample him to death.  After they went Pipel got to his feet and stared on at the pursuit, a fugitive he thought. 

A stubbly sweaty hand tapped on Pipel’s shoulder, turning his head he saw it was the fat man that had fallen behind.  The short man with the little moustache regained his breath as best he could. 

 ‘Do? Do you know that man?’ the words were spoken one at a time, Pipel rotated himself to face the man he answered ‘I’m afraid I don’t, can I ask? What has he done to be a wanted man?’


Pipel felt as if he could see the man’s blood boil.  ‘Ward Kyran is wanted for disrupting the peace; assaulting men of the law and speaking blasphemy in the name of the empire’ the little man’s arms punched the air, his feet stomped the ground, Pipel couldn’t help but smirk as he was reminded of a three year old not getting their way.  The fat man quieted down and cleared his throat, he held his hand to the young man and introduced himself ‘Chief Teplin Rimsley at your service’ Pipel replied with a firm handshake ‘Conner Pipel’.  

© 2013 M.King

Author's Note

Again any feedback is much appreciated.

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Added on April 21, 2013
Last Updated on April 21, 2013
Tags: Haskieer, Monsters, Pipel, Fantasy, wilds, demons, animals, travel, university, forest, fat, stranger



Wolverhampton, West Midlands, United Kingdom

I read, I write. If I like something I'll let you know and I hope to one day have a published book, it's on my bucket list. more..

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