Chapter 1 The dying Wanderer part 2 of 3
Getting away from the soldiers had been relatively easy, considering he had to manoeuvre a six-foot wide cottage-wagon through this infernal forest. Luckily there were no fallen tree trunks in this planted monstrosity. The dry, hard forest floor meant that there wouldnít be much of a trail to follow.
The mist had gotten so deep it muffled any sound the wagon made and Jonndi couldnít see any farther than Boreasí head. Still his trusted horse seemed to be able to find a way through without problem.
He thought back to when he had first met this Wanderer. His name was Tairyn, born in Oyashu, raised as a scholar. The man had possessed more knowledge of Meila than any human he had ever met. The talks they had, as the Spirit guided the manís every step on Meila, had been food for his soul. Unlike anyone Jonndi had ever met, Tairyn had been able to provide him with at least some answers. Had gained him valuable insight into his existence. He had learned more about Meila and the Spirit from this lone Wanderer than from his father; a Guardian of Meila.
They had long discussions about the nature of the Spirit, the ever-sleeping Watchers and of the Guardians who forever strove to keep Meila save. For weeks they had swapped stories about history, legends and myths, until finally the Spirit had guided the steps of this Wanderer away from him.
Riding through the thick mist Jonndi had lost all sense of time, but when he finally halted he was sure the road was far behind him and the soldiers would never find them again. It was time to get some answers.
Night had fallen and Jonndi had built a small fire to keep his companion warm. There had been no sign of his Avarian pursuers. The unnatural fog had lingered all through the afternoon, by now the legionnaires might well be miles away.
He felt a far greater concern for the fate of his friend. After closer examination Jonndi hadnít been able to find any signs of injury on Tairynís body. But his old friend still wouldnít wake up and from time to time the unconscious man would burst out in a fitful shivering, even though the nightís air was relatively warm. Mere fatigue wouldnít cause these symptoms, especially not in a man who had spent most of his life walking across the whole of Meila.
There was only one conclusion left, his friend had been poisoned. Although Jonndi still couldnít fathom who would do such a thing to an innocent Wanderer. Who would attack a tool of the Spirit and why did Algevaro want him dead? He had to know what was going on.
That left him with a rather gruesome option. In his wagon Jonndi had a variety of potions and antidotes, some very powerful, but without knowing exactly what kind of poison was used on his friend, he could do more harm than good in trying to cure it. In order to speak to Tairyn, he had to use a strong elixir that would shock his mind back into consciousness. This elixir would however tax his body so greatly that there would be no more possibility of him overcoming the poison on his own. In the state that Tairyn was in, drinking the elixir would mean a certain death.
Jonndi sat on a log fidgeting with the phial holding the elixir for almost an hour, monitoring his friendís condition, hoping against his better judgement that he would recover. Until the moment he felt he no longer had a choice. Jonndi steeled himself knowing he would speak with Tairyn for the very last time. He held up his friendís head and let the lime-green liquid pour down his throat.
For agonizing minutes nothing happened and Jonndi started to fear that he had waited too long. Tairynís breathing became shallower and the shivering stopped. Just as Jonndi thought that the wanderer had stopped moving altogether, his friend shot upwards in a coughing-fit, gasping for air.