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FYRP 3

See FYRP 2 for the previous section. See For Your Reading Pleasure to begin at the beginning.

Only mere minutes had passed since the men had left Henry sitting alone in his boat, but it felt like hours. And within the few minutes of the rain starting, it stopped, leaving a drenched Henry in a very large puddle. Henry grumbled to himself, “Oh almighty mistress in heaven, why does this always happen to me?” Then he sloshed to the end of the boat, stumbling through the water, stiffly grabbing the sides of the boat in the fog that had remained through the rain. Reaching the far end, he picked up the bucket that sat floating above the water. The bucket was worn on the sides, dented and scratched and yet the man handled it very carefully, lowering the mouth halfway into the water and sliding it around before picking it up and pouring the water over the side into the lake. Though the process took a while, the bucket did a rather quaint job and Henry’s boat soon showed only the merest signs of having been rained apon, in the damp wood and the tiny puddles sitting on the boat’s wooden floor.

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

The fog slowly disappeared but was replaced very quickly with a damp stickiness that clung onto the men’s clothing. Each man began perspiring, increasing each yard of cloth that stuck to their legs, or backs. A slight mist discended upon them, but did not slow them down even a step. Lord Ergomer continued in a vague direction, Gregory noticed. Each man had been called for this mission due to their superior status and ability within their towns and villages, and each had stayed of their own volition after learning a gist of what the mission entailed. This gist, of course, was not a lot. They were told to pack whatever weapons they deemed suitable, that their lives would not be in too much danger, and that they would be heading into unfamiliar territory for a great purpose. Fame, honor, and money would acost them upon their return to The Capital. Most men had stayed after talking amongst themselves. After all, what could be worse than the hardship they were already going through at home? Families needed to be fed, children needed to go to school, and honor needed to pass through the family. No harm could come upon them.

Now they pushed on through the unfamiliar territory that had been spoken of to them. The trees were massive. At least twice the size of the ones in the woods near Gregory’s small village. The only game in that forest had been the little rabbits that sometimes came too close to the village and happened to become that night’s main course. The trees stood all around him, silent witnesses to whatever glory they would soon be achieving. The bark was a dark muddy brown and the roots extended far beyond the tree trunk, high and low on the ground, sinking deeply into the earthy grass. The terrain made movement slow. Each trunk blocked the view a few feet to the right or to the left so men were positioned at each tree. Each man would consult with the others before everyone moved on to the next set in the distance. Gregory looked out from behind his tree and spotted a figure in the distance, but it was much too hazy in the fog. It seemed the figure had only one side, as if it were a wall blocking the way. But within this wall there flared a light that cast aside the nearby fog such that whoever was near could see the ground. Lord Ergomer gave the signal, and Gregory crept forward to¬† the tree on his right.

Soon there was no fog and only a large wall sitting before them. This wall did not seem to end in either direction. Looking left and right, the wall only seemed to curve, as if it were a circle if one were to look down upon it from up above. The wall extended high above the ground, with only a spare window now and then that stood empty in the dark.

FYRP 2

For Your Reading Pleasure

Gregory could barely see his hand held out in front of him whose touch told him of trees or other obstacles in the way. Normally he would have relied on the other men he was with, but tonight the fog was so thick, he doubted any one of them could see each other. Every now and then he’d hear a faint rustle to his left or perhaps someone muttering on his right, which kept him alert and let him know where his companions were, but aside from those sounds the forest was dead silent, which put him on edge. There weren’t crickets chirping or the scampering of tiny feet on tree trunks. Nothing was stirring in this forest. The eery silence raised the hair on the back of their necks and a tight clenching began in the men’s stomachs. After a few minutes of walking, Gregory noticed a faint outline in the distance — and outline that looked oddly like a large tree. He finally saw his companions’ faces, since the last time there had been visibility which had been somewhere towards the middle of the lake, as everyone began emerging from the fog and gathering at the base of the large tree. Some of the eyes that looked at him were large and wild, others were squinted and glancing around. Gregory was sure his eyes were a bit narrow at the edges. One could never be too careful in unfamiliar territory.

“Men, I know the visibility is well below what is necessary, but we need to make do with what we have,” rose the voice of the man who had led them on this mission, Lord Ergomer. “It looks as if from beyond this point the fog has gotten a bit better, so perhaps from now on we can see a bit more than what we’ve been seeing, or not seeing as the case may be. Be on the lookout. And please keep the noise down. I highly doubt there’s a need to complain like ladies.” Then he lifted his hand and signaled some of the men towards the right and another third towards the left. He pointed to the men in the middle and then pointed to his chest, then turned around and began walking in a low crouch. Every man spread out in the same low crouch in the direction they had been shown and followed their leader into the disappearing fog.

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

It was quiet. Incredibly quiet. And dark. Dark and quiet. And foggy. Dark, quiet and foggy. Great, Henry thought to himself, everything I hate all together in one night and here I am, stuck alone by myself on a boat. Wonderful. Life could not be better.

The lantern lay by Henry’s side resting contently as if mocking Henry’s predicament. Henry turned his head and gave it a stare, or as much of a stare as he could do in the dense fog. Seriously, I would prefer rain over this fog. At least then I’d be able to see something. And then it began to rain. Henry felt the first few drops on his nose, which was a rather long distance from the rest of his face. Then he heard in the distance a few more drops landing on the boat. How far, he could not tell. The fog distorted sight, smell, and hearing. And he felt it was beginning to distort his mind, too. Suddenly the rain poured down in sheets accompanied by cold and more fog. Henry sat in his seat, not even moving a muscle as he became soaked to through in seconds. This is ridiculous. Why did I ever sign up for this job?

For Your Reading Pleasure

The fog crept slowly up the bank, barely stirring the sparsely growing grass lings. A splash came from within the fog and then the grinding of rocks as a boat’s hull sliced through the water and landed on the beach. Quietly, men began to pile out of the boat, their soft boots and quick movements hardly making any noise as they crept up the shore and crept on their hands and knees out onto the grass.

A dimly lit lantern, the fire inside just a small weak speck, emerged from the back of the boat, carried by a black-haired man. He watched the other men treading onto the forest floor then turned to face the man who had remained next to him. “I’ll stay here, just a ways off from the beach. When you get back, give me the signal.”

The man next to him nodded and then followed his comrades into the forest. The man on the boat extinguished the flame then pushed the boat away from shore and out into the fog covered water with barely an outline visible as he disappeared.


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