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Witchblood hunt 2- A New Start in a New Home

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Witchblood hunt 2- A New Start in a New Home

Post by Dullahan on Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:27 pm

“Taylor? Taylor, where are you?” I yelled into the woodlands loud as I could. I could hear the trees and wind respond back with my echo, but not her. (Maybe she treaded deeper into the woods. Or maybe one of the paper demons got to her.) I couldn’t stand the thought of losing her like dad! My angst built up to that thought; my heart cramped up uncomfortably, and I couldn’t breathe. “Come on, Taylor! Answer back! Please!”

“I don’t think she’s here anymore.” Jakob said in a calm demeanor. I could’ve misinterpreted what he meant, but it fully unnerved me regardless.

“Don’t you say that! Don’t you fucking say that!” I couldn’t keep my breathing under control. “I know she’s around here! I just know it!”

My left ear twitched from a faint sound; it sounded like someone stepping on twigs. It pulled my head to the direction where it came from. Out in the distance, from the trees, I saw Taylor walk out of the woods. She must’ve hid herself deeper in the woods to avoid instant visual contact.

“Nate!” She ran towards me and hugged me very tightly. “I thought I lost you when I heard the explosion! I’m so happy you’re still okay!”

“Well, there’s something that I need to tell you.” (I just hope she takes it well.)
“What is it?” She asked. I tried to muster up the words to tell her.

“Dad…dad died. Those things killed him when he tried protecting mom and I.” The news proved too much for her to handle. She cried into my arms and I couldn’t help but cry into hers.

“W-what about mommy; is she still okay?” Taylor asked me in her mumbled speech.

“Don’t worry,” Jakob assured her calmly, “your mother will be fine. In fact, she will meet us back at the guild later.” I thought it was amazing how he instantly calmed her down like that. Even mom couldn’t calm her down so easily when she throws a fit.

“Excuse me mister, but who are you?”

“I’m Jakob Frost- Guildmaster of Witchblood. Now how about I get you and your brother to safety?”

“O-okay.” I saddled myself up on his horse, but Taylor was having a hard time getting on. For someone who wanted to get us to safety as quickly as possible, Jakob helped her up with a surprising amount of care. He seemed almost fatherly, like he had done this many times. But he put her behind me, and that could be troublesome.

“Uhm, Jakob, sir? She prefers to ride in front, she gets really unstable.”

“I’ll keep a mental note of that; but for now, we need to go! Tell her to hold on to you, the ride shouldn’t take very long!” The horse bucked forward with ferocious might and sped out of the woods in no time. It raced through the now smoldering village- I only glimpsed at the other knights fighting off the demons as I passed. It put my heart into a rage leaving my home like this.

We were half way to Steady River with a few man convoy. We were finally safe from the danger. I take my last look at the village. From a distance, the fire doesn’t seem so dangerous- it actually looks…beautiful.

“Hey, Mister Jakob, there’s something I need to ask you.” Something was bugging my mind and I wanted to spit it out.

“Yes?”

“Yesterday, my dad, sister, and I came to your guild to give you a basket of bread, but the guard said you were investigating something-“

“Ah, so you were the ones who gave me that basket-“

“What were you investigating?”

“I was investigating a report that said the Western Pride village was eradicated by paper demons. In the same matter as yours was.” I felt a slight pain in my gut, it felt like a light punch.

“We weren’t the only ones?”

“Apparently not; they eradicated them without warning, but they acted like the eradication itself wasn’t their goal.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I don’t know. I can’t even tell if it was an organized assault or mindless slaughter. I just hope that this doesn’t happen to the remaining East and South villages.”

“Should we message them about this?” I asked Jakob.

“It has been some time since all of West was killed; I can assume that South has noticed something funny by now. And now with the fall of the Northern Village, The Eastern village will find something suspicious.”

“Can I ask you something personal?” I asked him.

“It depends.”

“Have you ever had any nightmares come true before?” He stayed puzzled for a few seconds trying to figure out what I was trying to ask him.

“Can you please elaborate a little more on that?”

“Like one night, you had a bad dream that you thought was real; then the next day, your nightmare came true.”

“Yes, I do have one nightmare, but it’s a little too personal for me to tell you. Why do you ask?”

“Just…nevermind.” I wanted to tell him about my dream vision; about how I foresaw the destruction of my village. But I didn’t know how to word it for him to understand. I can’t even word it for me to understand. For now, I’ll keep this a secret.

We reached the gates to Steady River. Jakob roared “open the gate!” and it instantly opened to his command. When I saw the inside of the city, I had a different feeling than when I first came- the first time I was really excited. Now the city gave me an empty feeling. We silently passed through, but it didn’t keep the patrons from noticing us.

I felt the eyes of everyone fixed on us as we rode through; it gave me a feeling much like a criminal would have being sentenced to public humiliation. It made me feel sick.

“Why are they all looking at us like that?” Taylor asked Jakob. “It’s disturbing me.”

“They’re just scared from the attack. Since it was somewhat close to the city, it threw everyone into a slight panic.” He explained. “It’s only natural they react like that. Don’t let it bother you.” That’s easier said than done, though.

“Alright, we’re finally here.” Jakob announced to us. Finally, after an agonizing ride that felt like forever, we arrived at Witchblood. But like the city, I had a different feeling visiting a second time. It could be the dusk sky ominously shading the building’s stone walls. Or it could be that it reminded me of a promise that’ll never be true- maybe both.

“What’s wrong, Nate?” Taylor asked me. “Is something bothering you?”

“N-no, it’s nothing. I was just taking in the scenery in.” I don’t like lying to her like that. But then again, that wasn’t a complete lie.

“The scenery does look beautiful in the dusk light,” Jakob agreed with me, “but it also has its hazards. We need to go in before it gets any darker.” That I could not agree more with; finally, something good will happen to me today. We unsaddled from the horse, and journeyed ourselves to Witchblood.

The loud music blared out of nowhere when we opened the doors. When I walked in, I saw that everything was arranged similarly to a pub scene: there was one gigantic catering booth that serviced the members’ needs- in both drink and grub. Several tables were aligned with each other in an orderly fashion. Nearly all of the members were loud and causing commotions- either intentionally or because they’re drunk. I couldn’t be so amazed, yet underwhelmed at the same time.

“This is it?” I asked Jakob in an unsatisfied tone. “This is the guild Witchblood?”

“No, this is just the mead hall. This is where guild members can get food, drink, and job requests. You don’t like it?”

“No-no, I do,” I feared I was getting the wrong point across, “it’s just that my expectations were a little higher than they should’ve been.”

“Trust me, give the guild just a chance, and she’ll be all that you expected her to be.” He assured happily. “I assume that you want to become a member, Nathaniel. Your tone of voice hinted you want to.”

“Yes, I want to join. But I’m not old enough yet. I’m only seven.”

“Tell you what,” Jakob bargained, “until you two become old enough to join, I’ll watch over you. I would hate to send two newly-orphaned children off into the streets after what they’ve been through. For now, why don’t I take you on a little tour around?”

“Yes, please!” Taylor instantly hopped in.

“Alright.” I agreed. I thought that I might as well take a look around while we’re here. Jakob motioned us out of the noisy pub, and began the tour.

We walked into a hall with many doors in it. I believe this would be the residence hall. When I asked Jakob about it, he confirmed-

“Oh, yes. This is the dorm hall. Some members literally make the guild their home. And all the guild asks for in return is their working hands; to earn their keep for the day.” Jakob continued navigating us through the building. Some of the stops we had were at the guild library, and one of the training fields.

“Here we are; the head office.” Our small tour came to an end. I was extremely glad it ended, the place was so big, it felt like we were walking forever. “That’s what the other members actually call it. Me, I call it my home. He opened the big wooden doors, and I was overwhelmed by the size of his room! It could fit all of Steady River in here! The tiled floor was clear as pearl. Marble busts aligned the length of the stairway.

“Whoa! It looks like a mansion in here!” I shouted in amazement. I looked at Taylor, and she was having an overload of excitement.

“It is a mansion. What you saw earlier was the guild; this is where I actually live. Of course, it goes without saying that only a handful of people had seen the inside of my home.” Jakob started to take off his armor, starting with the breastplate. All this walking must’ve taken the heaviest toll on him, being clad in heavy metal like that.

“Welcome back, master.” A middle-aged woman in a maid outfit and bunched up hair approached him warmly. “How went your mission?”

“The Northern Lion-kin Pride was wiped out, Jocibelle. We arrived too late.”

“Oh, how unfortunate; is that the reason you have those two adorable Lion-kin cubs with you?”

“Yes. I found the boy in the carnage, and the girl in the woods. I promised to watch over them. Their names are Nathaniel and Taylor.”

“Well then, I’m sure they will give Mistress Ericka plenty of company.” The maid said as she bent over to look at me. Her green eyes gave me the creeps.

“Speaking of which, Jocibelle, where is Ericka?” Jakob asked as he worked on his arms and gauntlets.

“I believe she was in the library in your office reading, last I checked.”

“Okay, so she’s staying out of trouble then.”

“Yes, master. She’s just been an angel the entire time.”

“Good to hear.” Jakob finished taking off the upper half of his armor. Underneath he wore a shirt of chainmail.

“Father?” Everyone looked up to the stairway. There was a little girl standing there, she must’ve came down when no one noticed. From what I can see, she had short, black hair like Jakob’s, only bobbed. She wore a dark purple night dress. She looked like she wanted to run up to him and hug him, but she stayed tense at our sight. “Who are those two kids?” She talked in a very quiet tone, but loud enough for us to barely hear her.

“Ericka, this is Taylor and Nathaniel, I’ll be watching over them for a while. Why don’t you come down and say hello to them, honey?” Jakob softened his tone.

“H-hello.” She said to us in a flat voice, but I felt she only said that because she was told to. I could hear the hesitation and anxiety in her voice.

“Come on, honey. Come down here and say it again.”

“I don’t want to. They scare me.” She argued back. She hid herself behind the columns of the stairs; she must be real scared of us.

“Why is she scared of us?” I asked Jakob.

“She isn’t used to seeing other people.” He replied. “Not many people actually come in here save me, Jocibelle, and the other maids.”

“What about her mother?”

“She has never seen her mother.”

“Why? Is she orphaned like us?”

“No.” He focused back to his hiding daughter. “Now Ericka, do I need to take you down here to meet them?” His tone slightly became more edgy.

“No, please don’t.” She continued quivering. “I’m fine here.” Taylor and I stared at each other for a second. I saw her make a devious looking smile on her face, and I knew what she was about to do. But before I could tell her not to do it, Taylor ran up the steps and shouted “I’m coming to get you!” to the frightened girl. Ericka screamed and was forced out of hiding. She ran down the stairs terrified to her father, and embraced his leg.

“Father, I don’t like her!” she cried out.

“There-there, Ericka. It’s okay.” He hugged her. “Jocibelle, could you take Nathaniel to the infirmary to patch up his arm?”

“Of course, master.”

I lay out on a bed in the infirmary of the mansion. The room was filled with the medical aroma of potions and remedies. I felt her pour some liquid into my wound, and the burning that followed was unbearable. It felt like burning oil in my wounds!
“Agh! What are you doing?! That burns!” I yelled at her.

“I’m cleaning out any infections you might have.” She replied in her smooth, polite voice. “With a wound as big as yours, you’d want to clean it out before healing it.”

“It feels like you’re cooking my arm for dinner; seriously, I can hear it sizzling.” She chuckled quietly into her hand.

“Oh, Nathaniel, don’t be silly- we already had dinner. The sizzling you’re hearing is the concoction working. It’s going to slowly seal up your wound and repair any vessels you damaged. The only thing troublesome is it’s still going to leave an undesirable scar behind; now, turn over, please~-” she hummed out loud; I did as I was told, but I did so with caution- I braced myself for more of that burning oil.

The maid poured delicate, precise drops into each of my back cuts; my back was consumed in a burning sensation in an instant. I tried fighting the pain off with grunts of discomfort, to at least keep myself from focusing on it.

“Oh, child, calm down,” she said to me in a tone almost like she was singing; “if you won’t feel the pain, the healing won’t work~”

“You-you’re on some kind of sadistic streak!”

“I’m just overjoyed to see my healing working.” After a while I stopped grunting, the sensations just sort of went away. What took its place was a slight chill penetrating my skin. “We would want to keep those wounds bandaged, to keep infections from going in.” She said.

She tightly wrapped my arm in some sort of adhesive cloth. My wounds felt better than they did an hour ago.

“Miss Jocibelle, do you know about that girl with black hair?” I asked her.

“Oh yes, Miss Ericka- Master Jakob’s daughter; what a lovely angel she is. She’s the fifth generation of Frost to take guildmaster training. Her father is teaching her everything he knows; but I have my worries that the duties will prove too much for the poor girl.”

“Why’s that? I think she might do fine.”

“It’s just that…oh, how should I put this…” she struggled to find the right words to say, “Miss Ericka is…delicate in the mind. She is bright for her age, but she acts a little more differently than other children. Of course, I want her to succeed, too; but I don’t want to see her break under her training.” She finished applying the adhesive to my arm, and started wrapping it around my back.

“Then can’t we just choose a different person for training?” I asked.
“Oh, but the Frost lineage has traditionally lead the guild for generations. She was born with this destiny, just like her ancestors. It sounds to me like you’re smitten with the young mistress.” She said to me in a sweet tone.

“What? N-no, I’m not. I thought that since I will be living here now, I might as well know her a little.”

“Child, it’s pointless to lie when I can see your face turning bright red.”

“That’s from your medicine. Your medicine is turning my face red.” Jocibelle could only respond by chuckling into her hand. She finished wrapping my back in cloth, my chest felt a little constricted from the pressure.

“Now, Nathaniel- every week we’ll need to change your bandages to new ones. It helps to keep your wounds from being infected.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.”

“And do try not to get yourself killed in the near future.”

“I won’t make any promises.”

Taylor and I tossed and turned in our new beds that midnight. We had trouble trying to go to sleep. And who can blame us, after all that had happened tonight? We could very well stay up for the next few days! But my mind; my mind had her image burnt in and her last words to me kept replaying in my head. “I’ll meet you at the guild, I promise”. But for some reason, I wasn’t able to cry. No matter how much I wanted to and forced myself to, not a single tear broke.

“She’s not coming to get us, you know.”

“What?”

“Mommy- she isn’t coming to get us; you know that right?”

“I…as much as I don’t want to believe it, yes; now, we are the last remaining Northern Lion-kin left. But why don’t you look sad, Taylor?”

“I am. I am very sad.” She said. “I’m sad that I won’t see mommy and daddy, and the other villagers anymore.” She ranted under her voice. “But now we have Mr. Jakob watching over us. And we found a home at the guild, and I feel a lot safer now.”

“I wish that I could be as optimistic as you, Taylor; to wear a smile and bear nice words, even knowing that the world I know is shattered, if not completely gone.”

“But now, you can make a new world, Nate. After all, wasn’t it your dream to join the guild?”

“Not like this!” I shouted furiously at her. Tears flowed out of my eyes like water from a broken dam- maybe all it took was for me to be reminded of the pain. I clutched my pillow as hard as I can. “All I wanted was to join the guild, was that too much to ask for? But noooo, the gods had to punish me by killing our entire village, just so I can achieve that dream!” My pent up anger was released and I came to a calming tone. “I feel like it’s my fault mom and dad are dead.”

“But is that how you are going to remember their deaths?” Taylor asked. “By believing it was your punishment by the gods? I don’t think that’s how they want you to remember them. For now, we should look at our future and not our past.” Taylor gave a slight yawn. “All this talking is making me tired. Goodnight, Nate.” She went to sleep and never said another word for the rest of the night.

With Taylor asleep, I was left pondering to myself. About the last two dreams I had. (Before mom died, she said the same words as in my dream.) I thought to myself. (And the other sounds I heard- the screaming, the burning, the steel against flesh, they were all in the dream, too. I think my dreams were trying to tell me of the future. But was this just a coincidence of de ja vu? Or will this happen every time I dream?) I felt drowsy, and let out a deep yawn. My eyes became heavy and hard to keep open. I thought to myself one more time, (But I admit, Taylor is right for once. Now we only have our futures ahead of us; but now that I realize it, that’s what scares me the most.)
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