Tales around Mirateia 5

It had been a week since Ira had told him that they had to run away, he had stood guard when she suddenly came out from her chamber in normal common clothing telling him to follow her. All that was was a week ago and since then they had brought an old used wagon with two horses and to avoid too many eyes and patrols that might be looking for them they were avoiding larger towns, at the moment they were camping maybe 20 minutes or so from the small town of Lostrom. Azran was walking back to their camp after having walked to the town for some supplies, walking into the camp he sees Ira sitting on a log next to the fire with two rabbits next to her.
  “I see you caught our dinner” Azran said both impressed and glad because then the supplies he had bought would last longer
  “yeah, I was walking around the area to see what's around, when I found this opening with these two just sitting there and two fast arrows later well..” it came proudly from Ira, who looked over at Azran who were putting the wares from town on to their wagon
  “hey Azran, could you possibly clean and skin the rabbits? I'm not that good with the whole inside of creatures thing”
  “Oh yeah sure no problem, let me get those rabbits” Azran then walked over, grabbed the rabbits, and walked to the edge of the camp where he began to clean out and skin the rabbits, when done, he then took them over to the campfire Ira had made ready.
  That evening Ira said that she wanted to make the dinner since she felt it was only fair since Azran had been doing it for the past week, considering that it was the first meal she had ever made herself it turned out pretty good, only one of the rabbits got slightly burned but that was not her fault, she had gone to answer the call of nature and asked Azran to look after the rabbit but he forgot all about it so when she came back it was slightly burned on one of the sides. Deciding that they were to save that one for other days as snacks they sat down to eat the one that was cooked almost perfectly.
  “Are you sure that you have never done this before? Because if this is your first try I think you are a natural talent” Azran said or tried to say while he was going all-in on one of the rabbit legs.
  “Thanks, but yes this is my first try by myself,” Ira said while trying not to laugh at how ridiculous Azran looked trying to get all the meat off the bone with juices running down on his shirt.
  “Azran you should see yourself, you look ridiculous,” Ira said.
  “what?” Azran said before looking down then up again laughing
  “Sorry, think I just got back in the mindset of being on a campaign you know, it's not like we think about “table manners” in those situations”
  “I guess so, I also guess that the food is not as delicious as what you are getting today,” Ira said with a teasing voice
  “you are right, well in the first week or so it might be but it quickly beings to get more bland and boring, up until we might see combat then we get some of the good stuff,” Azran said while getting up, throwing the bones into the fire and after getting his sword he sat down again “is it alright with you if I quickly take care of the sword?”
  “Sure, I will get our beds ready in the meantime,” Ira said before getting up and moving towards the wagon.
  The next morning after some breakfast they got on the road again and continued their way south. After a few hours on the road where they had just enjoyed the slow rumble coming from the wagon or done some small talk, or it was mostly Ira who had done the talking Azran was not fully awake.
  “How is it that you can be a successful legionnaire and take hours to fully wake up?” Ira said where after she lightly punched Azran's shoulder to try and wake him up.
  “well if I had to wake up quickly back when my life was normal before I ended up next to the crown princess of the empire,” Azran said lightly punching Ira's shoulder back
  “well... How do I explain it? Hmm, I can wake up quickly If I know that I have to be active soon after, but now where we are just doing our own thing, I'm back to when I was a kid just ask my mother or father and they would tell you that I was not to get out of the bed back then” Azran said smiling.
  Ira was silent for a short time “you know this is the first time you have ever mentioned your family”
  “It is?” Azran said.
  “Yeah, so far you have always either changed the topic or avoided it,” Ira said after thinking it over shortly.
  “I see” Azran answered lightly chuckling.
  “You know what? I would like to meet them and if I remember right you are from the southern part of the nation and we are going south”
  “you WHAT?!?!? Are you sure about that? It's going to take us at least a month to get there assuming we don't run into any trouble” Azran said while as a demonstration quickly checking their surroundings.
  “Yes I'm sure about it, and just to make sure that you take me there I'm going to order you to take me there,” Ira said smiling
  “oh, are you going to order me?” Azran said.
  "Indeed I am, and I technically outrank you,” Ira said while trying to look extra royal and important
  "well..." Azran paused before sighing loudly "yes fine... I'm going to take you to Buan” it came laughingly from Azran.
  “Thank you Azran,” Ira said where after she jumped back into the wagon to find them something to eat.
  After some days on the road, they arrived on the outskirts of Swanmeay, a small village.
  At first, Ira and Azran didn't see anything out of the ordinary, but when they came into the village they were surprised that there was no one around
  “I don't like this” Azran said before giving the reins for the horses to Ira and crawled back in the cart where he after a few minutes came out of the back of the cart with parts of his armour on, and walked to the front of it and was about to walk away until Ira called for him and handed him his sword.
  “I think you forgot this”
  “Yeah thanks, alright you take the cart towards that big house over there and then wait,” Azran said whereafter he began walking towards one of the houses, halfway there out of the edge of his eye he saw some lightly armed men coming towards him with a bandage around their mouth and nose.
  Stopping to face them he placed his hand on his sword, one of the men raised his arm and said
  “Stop right there, who are you and what are you doing here” Azran looking all 3 men over removed his hand from the sword.
  “I am Azran and I'm here with a woman named Ria and we are just passing by, can you by any chance tell me what is going on here? Why is the village almost abandoned?”
  The same man who had spoken before again spoke.
  “I'm not sure if I believe you but I don't have many other chances to get help, but before I tell you and your friend what is going on, I would advise you to put on a mask and if you have some herbs with some healing powers put them in the mask and put it on your mouth and nose”
  Azran looked a bit confused before taking a piece of cloth and placing it on his face
  “Alright, I'm going to tell my friend that, come to us in 5 minutes and we can talk”
  The men nodded and Azran walked back towards Ira and the cart, shortly after he arrived at the cart where Ira was looking after the horses
  “Ira we need to put on a mask and where did you put those healing herbs we found last week? We need those in the mask, I suspect that there is a disease going around here… oh and I told them your name was Ria, just to keep a low-ish profile”
  Ira nodded “hmm I think the herbs are to the left, next to the box of vegetables,” Ira said before she began cutting a piece of clothing to use as a mask when she was done
  Azran came out with the herbs, shortly after they had finished the masks, Azran saw the 3 men from before coming towards them, poking Ira and nodding towards the men, Azran and closely followed by Ira walked towards the men.
  “I don't think I ever asked for your names,” Azran said
  “ oh my bad, my name is Dain DeGrey and this is Horhik and Cedrick, as you might have spotted our village have been hit by some plague, and all we know is that it's coming from the east from the hills”
  “How do you know it's coming from the hills? I mean it could be coming from any direction right?” Ira asked
  “We are pretty sure it's coming from there, it began a week or two ago when the wind came from that direction, and every time since then the wind has come from that direction the disease seems to get worse”
  Now it was Azrans turn to ask what they were both thinking “why have you not send some out to see what it is and maybe stop it?”
  Cedrick stepped forward “we have tried, but none of those who went away came back in a state where they could speak, so we send a runner towards the nears town with a doctor to ask for help cure the sick”
  “Let me guess, you would like us to go out there and take care of whatever it is?” Azran asked with a slight trace of annoyance in the voice.
  “Would you!?, we will of course pay you whatever you want”
  Ira placed a hand on Azrans shoulder, and he looked at her, he could see on her that this meant a lot to her, nodding slightly and then releasing a heavy sigh “ Fine we will do it”
  Hearing that the men got so happy that both Horhik and Cedrick ran towards a house, Azran guessed was where they housed the sick, Dain who had stayed behind turned towards Ira and Azran
  “Thank you so much”
  “Don't worry, we will fix whatever it is that not right Azran?” not saying anything Azran just looked towards the east.
  Soon after Both Azran and Ira walked back towards the cart where they decoupled the horses from the cart Azran took a few materials to light something on fire with and then they began the ride towards the east, but before leaving the village Dain came out and handed them a vial containing some orange liquid that Dain told them could be used to set a small area on fire to cleanse it if needed, and he also gave them a wooden shovel just in case.
  After a few hours on horseback, they arrived at an impressive sight, in front of them was crashed down between the hills a giant ancient green dragon, it had been dead for a while but anything around it was also dead.
  “WOW, never thought I would see an ancient dragon this close” Ira said
  “yeah same, I'm just glad it's dead, I have heard stories from the guys in the legions and dragons are no joke, specifically not an ancient green one,” Azran said while taking his horse a bit closer,
  “so how do you think we best take care of this beast?” he said, getting off the horse.
  “ well, I didn't exactly learn about how to take care of dead dragons in my education at the palace but from what I can see, burying it will probably not make it much better, given that the area around it seems to die as well, I think and no its not just because I want to see a giant fire but I suggest that we use what material you brought and together with the vial of liquid fire? Was that what Dain called it? We should be able to stop the spread of sickness” Ira said looking over the area.
  “Sounds about right, and even if that doesn't work, we still have the shovel” Azran said before finding the materials and the vial and began to set it up around the dragon, focusing on the body of the dragon, he got the materials ready.
  “so how was it we used this again?” he said while turning the vial in his hand.
  “ just throw it at the Dragon and it should do the work from there,” Ira said.
  “Hmm okay,” Azran said handing Ira the vial who from a safe distance tossed it and at first it seemed to do nothing but then in a bright flash, it burst into flames and began spreading across the dragon. Taking their horses and riding a bit further away because of the smell of burning flesh, they just sat there observing the fire until it had burned it all.
  Riding back to the village, they told them about the Dragon and that the disease should stop now. Being full of joy and happiness the villagers had between them managed to find 500 silver Farthings, but not wanting to ruin an entire village and knowing that the healers they had requested from the nearby town would not be cheap, both Ira and Azran agreed to only take 200 silver Farthings before leaving the village behind them the next day only to find that the villagers had one last reward/gift for them, some bags of dried and salted meat for their trip further south.

Cover image: by Gayle Porter Hoskins


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