Marpenoth 19, 1367 DR - Year of the Shield
Remenissions cantered south passing through fields, some plowed and some left fallow. Peasants worked the field at frantic pace, all struggling to begin the harvest. None paid any attention to the armored warrior on horseback riding through their fields and Remenissions was fine with that. He had a growing feeling of dread ever since he slayed the lizard man. It was scum, unworthy of life, but somehow he now felt wrong about it.
He had hoped his growing dread would have decreased by now as he reached rough and rugged terrain. The slow ride through untamed plains and brush did little to ease his mind. Remenissions shrugged off the feeling as he continued his ride long after the sun set. The stars twinkled overhead only overshadowed by the fullness of Selune.
The paladin pushed forward giving his steed small rests as it needed. The horse’s temperament never improved, neighing and biting at Remenissions whenever the opportunity arose.
“Relax,” Remenissions muttered as he patted the side of the horse’s neck, a vain attempt to calm it down.
The infrequent clouds, remains from the storms above the swamp to the north, increasingly forced Remenissions to a walk as the darkness was near total. When the moon and stars once again broke through the cloud cover they played tricks on his eyes.
The feeling of dread returned, as images of horrific beasts crawling after him swarmed his imagination. The grey dappled stallion stopped and refused to move. It neighed as the paladin dug his heals into the horse’s side. But still it removed to budge, its nostrils flared wide.
Remenissions at last took the hint and looked to his left and right. He cursed as a large cat jumped from the darkness. The paladin leaned back, causing the big cat to miss and land on the other side of him and the horse. The plains lion’s eyes glowed in the moon light as Selune once more broke through the clouds.
“I must look like easy prey,” The paladin said as he swung out his warhammer from behind his back, “let me dissuade you of that notion.”
The plains lion snarled its response, lunging at Remenissions stallion with its claws. Its instincts as a predator helped the big cat rip its claws into the hide of the horse. The horse screamed as the lacerations began to bleed.
“Leave my steed be!” The paladin yelled. As the paladin swung his mighty hammer at the big cat only to see it dodge the blow and once more rake its claws into the horse.
Remenissions stallion kicked out making the big cat growl as a hoof landed a soil blow to its ribs. The lion tumbled and once more charge at its bleeding prey as the horse reared up in panic.
Remenissions struggled to stay in the saddle and heard a crunching noise as the horse finally set its front legs down. The paladin looked around for the hungry lion, gripping his hammer tightly with both hands. He pulled back on the reins and the horse backed up. Remenissions looked in front over his steeds head. At last he found the lion. Its skull crushed and its brains clinging to his mount’s front hooves.
He shrugged as the silence of the night returned to its normal white noise. Remenissions stopped the horse as he turned and looked once more at the dead lion. He slid off and walked up to the dead lion. Small insects had already started to claim the lion’s carcass, storing up its rotting flesh for the coming winter. The light of Selune as his guide he collected as many teeth as he could, and shoving them all into one of his saddle bags as he returned to his mount.
The horse’s temperament had only become worse as it bled form the parallel cuts along its side, biting into Remenissions’ hand as he grabbed for the reins.
“Stlarning horse!” The paladin cursed. His gloves stopped him from losing a finger, but pain will always be pain. “I get the idea. I will heal you.”
Remenissions once more let the reins hang loose and laid his hands upon the horse. “Torm, your humble servant and warrior in the name of Justice beseeches you to heal this poor beast.”
Remenissions waited, expected to see the slight glow from his hands and feel the warmth of his god’s love. Nothing, no worse than nothing, the paladin thought as he felt a distinct emptiness.
Remenissions pulled off his gloves and looked at his hands. They looked normal felt dry as the feeling of dread once more overcame him. The paladin shook his head, replaced his gloves and examined his horse’s wounds. The wounds looked angry but not deep and had already begun to clot.
He carefully grabbed the reins and mounted his horse, careful to not let himself get bitten again. Remenissions pushed on once more. Something was different. He felt slow, and disconnected. Every time he stopped to give the horse a short rest the animal would turn its head toward him, giving him an eye. As if making sure he was in fact himself.
Remenissions did his best to shrug off these thoughts. He was a true paladin of Torm. Not like those pretenders he left in Westgate. They were all heretics as far as he was concerned.
Remenissions thoughts were broken as he heard the distinct sound of a cow. He cursed as he realized that he had let the horse ride him into the middle of a herd of someone’s cattle. He forced the horse to walk with slow and deliberate steps. Even on horseback a stampede is a dangerous thing. Or so he had been told by a former friend.
The holy warrior looked around for the fastest way out of his dangerous situation, only to see a tent nearby. The soft orange embers of a fire recently gone out shined a dim light on the front of the tent.
Remenissions walked his horse up to the tent, “Hello?”
He waited for a response, only to hear the casual low moan of a nearby bull or cow. Remenissions crept closer to the tent, his eyes alert as he looked for movement. The herd had created a space around the tent, and his steed began to resist his guidance. Soon her understood why as he smelled the distinct coppery scent of blood on the air.
Remenissions dismounted and armed himself with his scimitar and body shield. His eyes darted to and fro as he searched for a body or an assailant. Closer he crept peering as much as he could inside the tent.
May the gods watch over he muttered as he found the source of the scent, as well as the possible owner of the cattle. A young man in the brown leather breeches and homespun shirt had been torn to shreds.
“Mountain lion?” Remenissions wondered aloud. The paladin opened the tent flaps further, spying a dark colored feather in the moonlight. The feather sat upon pooled blood, though much of the blood appeared to have dried. The paladin took the father for inspection in the morning sunlight, and began to poke around the deceased herdsman’s things, “You won’t need any of this anymore. And I still might. Thank Torm for small miracles.”
Remenissions pulled out a small healing kit bearing the mark of Chauntea. He pulled out trough bandages and prepared poultices and tried to do what he could for his horse.
The animal’s attitude improved, but only enough so that it wouldn’t bite hm. But a little was better than nothing he supposed.
The paladin patted the side of the horse’s neck once more then went over to the cooling embers and stoked them up to moderate blaze. HE looked around and narrowed in on what he needed. A small pile of wood and peat had been gathered, and he could see the pile in the silver light cast by the moon. The flames climbed higher and higher, soon his eyes stung from smoke and his skin burned when he was too close. The holy warrior nodded, it was time. He gathered the herdsman’s body into his arms, and prepared himself for the discomfort to come. With a stumbling gate born of exhaustion and the smoke from the flames, Remenissions approached the bonfire he had created and tossed the body into it.
The corpse crackled and burned on its makeshift pyre. Remenissions stepped back and nodded, reciting a short funeral prayer. The words felt hollow and empty. As though there were no life to them. The feeling left him cold. He once more ignored these feelings and watched as the flames died down. He mounted his horse and pushed on to the coast. He would ride all night if need be.
|Remenissions and the lion|