Jan 10, 2012

Tales of Tyria - Chapter 8: Karthis

If you missed it, here's a link to the previous Chapter.
Naimh and Skoldur stood at the western edge of an alpine meadow.  The rocks and scrub were broken up by the scar of a trail running north-south through the middle of the clearing.  However, their attention was focused on a large, dark shape lying in the middle of the glade.
"What is that?" asked Naimh in a hushed voice.
"Looks like a Charr lying on its back."
"Is it dead?"
"No scavengers -- vultures or the like, so probably not."
"Well, it looks like it needs help then", and without any further hesitation, Naimh got up from her crouch and started to walk towards the form.
Skoldur hesitated for a second as he worried that they were walking into a trap, but then reminded himself that he was Norn and not afraid of anything!  Still, he paused to check the trail for tracks as he crossed it.  In addition to deer and wolf prints, he had no trouble noticing the many different Charr footprints.  This was obviously a well-travelled route. As he caught up to Naimh he could see that the mass in the field was indeed a Charr.  It had grey fur with black stripes and a white-ish belly which was clearly visible because the Charr was lying spread-eagle on its back.  Skoldur's trained eye also noted that the tips of the horns had been intentionally dulled.  He half expected to find the tail cut off, but it seemed to be intact.
As they stopped next to it, Skoldur remarked "Somebody -- or many somebodies -- have staked him out like this for a reason.  That can't be good".
Naimh had knelt next to the body to feel for a pulse.  Surprisingly, she was able to detect one, although it was very weak.  Without a second thought (which alarmed Skoldur), Naimh pulled out one of her daggers and began cutting through the ropes which tied the Charr to the ground.  It didn't move, even after all of the bindings were cut.
"Stand back" said Naimh as she stood up.  Gripping her staff, she held it out in front of her and looked up at the sky.  Suddenly, rain began to fall in a little patch centered on the prone Charr.  At first, nothing seemed to happen, then the Charr's four ears started to twitch.  Its mouth then opened and its tongue licked the water off of its muzzle.
After the rain stopped, the Charr's eyes opened and it craned its neck around.  When it saw Naimh, a very tired and gravelly voice said "I am Karthis.  I believe I owe you my life, do I not?"
"Don't be silly", said Naimh.  She then added "By the way, I've cut your bonds, so you can move your arms and legs."
"Oh?" croaked Karthis.  He tentatively flexed his arms and the tried to bend his knees.  "You'll have to excuse me for not moving very quickly.  I've been staked out here for sixteen days."
This got Skoldur's attention as it sounded preposterous that anyone could survive that long staked out on the ground.  "How?!", he demanded.  When he saw Naimh's scowl, he added "...and who did this to you?"
Karthis replied "I will gladly share my tale with you, but I would ask first if you have any food you could share?  Even with your magics, I don't have much strength left."
"Of course" Naimh said as she got out some of the meat she had taken from Cracktooth.  Karthis thanked her and then ate it without further comment.  Skoldur offered a waterskin which Karthis drained in one, long drink.
"Much better.  Again, you have my thanks.  Before I tell my story, could I ask how you came to rescue me?  I'd like to rest just a bit more before exerting myself."
Naimh introduced herself and Skoldur and explained how she was looking for an Asura who had gone in search of a Bloodstone.
After she had finished, Karthis said "I know where you can find your Asura and I can tell you that he yet lived three weeks ago.  If he still lives now I can not say, and rescuing him would be almost suicidal." As Naimh started to ask rapid-fire questions, Karthis held up a hand and said "Allow me to tell you my tale and all will become clear."
The story continues in Chapter 9

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