(Originally from October 2007)
This is a study in free flow writing. It may not make sense when it’s finished. Oh well.
**Mature content warning**
Keena ceased struggling immediately, her surprise evident. “You believe me?”
“Yes, now be still.” He spoke no more as he led her through the quiet village to a hovel at the edge of town. The small structure looked ready to collapse at a moment’s notice. Still silent, he ducked through the narrow doorway, brushing aside the filthy curtain that served a s a door. She followed him, eyes squinted in the sudden darkness of the small building.
Once the curtain had fallen back in place she looked around the room,. Her eyes darted from the bedroll in one corner to the guttering fireplace and then to the drying herbs hanging from the ceiling and the shelves of bottles and jars. “Who are you?”
“My name is Querin,” he replied, stooping to catch up several logs. Without glancing at her, he began to slowly feed them into the fireplace. “I am not from these parts, nor do I live here. This house belonged to my brother Albeck-”
“Albeck,” she breathed the name like a memory. “He left with the hunting party.”
“Yes,” Querin nodded. “And like the others he did not return. I had come to deliver him the news that our parents had died, but when I arrived he was not here. There were only rumors. I have stayed trying to unravel the mystery, and then today, who should appear but the only mysterious survivor, returned after two years absence.” He glanced up finally and dropped the last piece of wood into the flames. “You say she is a witch. Explain your words.”
Without hesitating she told him the story, how she’d been coerced by her aunt to giver her sister the prepared draught, how it had induced her to miscarry, how she’d stolen the babe and fled to her Aunt’s house beyond the edge of the village, the ceremony and at the last waking to discover the changes wrought upon her.
He listened silently, his face passing no judgment on her or her actions. At the last, he gave a finalizing nod. “If it is as you say, the things are far worse than I imagined. We will know the truth of it soon enough, I wager.” He brushed his hands off, and indicated one tatty chair. “Come, sit. You are no doubt tired. Magic of that kind… I am surprised you lived, as, no doubt, is the woman you call your aunt.”
Keena took the offered chair with no complaints, relieved to be off her aching feet. Querin busied himself shuffling around bottles and jars in search of something, but the silence did not last.
“How do you know about dark magic?” she inquired, the full implication behind his words only just realized.
He pausedhis search and turned slowly to face her. “I have seen the dark arts with my own eyes. Once, I was an apprentice to the darkest warlock in our country, the things he taught me..” he trailed off. The far away look in his said he saw something beyond the shabby rooms, something lost to memory. “But, I abandoned his teachings,” he said firmly, his attention returning to his surroundings. “And I have vowed never to return to them. ”
She simply nodded, not knowing what else to say to his admission.
To be continued….
(Querin came as such a surprise I was interested to see where he came from and what he was doing. I have no idea how I am going to end this thing….)