A travelers story

The story is about the the 15 year old James and the friends he meets on his journeys. James carries a big burden and a big hate, which eventually will lead him and his friends to a battle whit the strongest of demons.

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5. Chapter 4

“Hey Char before we go today I need to buy something, could you perhaps pack the rest, I’ll be back as soon as possible.” James said whilst they were packing for the long trip they had in store “Ok” Charlotte answered. “What are you going to do?” She then asked. “I’m just gonna buy a new set of clothes. These are getting, a bit worn out, but perhaps you should come to. We are going to the North Mountains so it will get quite cold; even though it’s hotter here a city always sells hot clothes.” James said. Charlotte nodded. “Also we should get some food that’s long lasting we don’t know for how long we’ll be without seeing a city.” Charlotte said. “A big bag of jerky?” James asked. Even though jerky tasted badly it were still an important thing in a traveler’s life. Meat that’s long lasting without any means are quite a nice thing to have a lot of. And especially when in the cold temperatures of the North Mountains, where the temperatures could get down as much as to the point where the body would begin freezing. “Shouldn’t we then get some sleeping bags and a tent too? I mean it does get quite cold in the mountains,” Charlotte added. “We should, but luckily the pass we are going to use shouldn’t be that long of a walk. A day max.” James said. “But yeah, just in case something does happen I would like a warm place to sleep” he then added. “Well let’s finish this and go buy these things,” James said thus ending the conversation.

It took quite some time before they finally found the tanner in the town. As they walked into his store, a bell rang over the door. “Just a minute then I’ll be there,” a voice proclaimed from a backroom. A few seconds later, an old grey bearded man came walking to the desk. He had clear blue eyes and not much else to make him look apart from the others. A small narrow nose and pale skin. His hair were gray, but well he were old. “What can I do for you travelers today?” the man asked. “I’d like two sets of clothes. One for weather like this, and one for the cold. I and my companion are going to Saijei so we need a set of warm clothes each, and if you have a sleeping bag each and a tent.” James said. “Uhm, that’s a difficult one you demand there young man. The clothes I can give you both warm and for weathers like these, but sleeping bags are, nothing I’m doing in and a tent for those surroundings are difficult to make with what I have. If you can wait with the sleeping bags and the tent till you’re around the area.” James nodded “Well is there any place we might could try out the clothes before we buy them. After all buying something too small would be a dumb idea.” The man nodded at James demand. “I’ll show each of you a room in where you can test the clothes.” “Thanks” James said. “Wait a second while I find something. Any specific details for the clothes?” James though, “If possible a furred skin jacket, and clothes looking like the ones I have on now, just newer” James said. The man laughed “Yeah getting new clothes with that quality would be a real downer” the shopkeeper said. “What about the young girl there in the back?” Charlotte stood and tripped in the place “Just something that looks well on me” she said ever so shyly. “Follow me and I’ll show you the rooms. Afterwards I’ll find the clothes.” The man said and led way to some cramped room in the back of the store. Here he told James to wait while he showed Charlotte a room, and found the clothes. A few minutes later, the man came back with a bunch of clothes. The pants were leather, but were such a loose fit that James thought they might be of wool instead. They were furred but weren’t hot but could be tightened so that they were warm even in cold weather. The first shirt were like the one he had on now. Easy to move in, looked good on him and smooth on the skin, reddish with a hint of orange. I nice thin green blueish colored vest-followed with it and provided cover from rain and the sorts. After that, James tried the leather jacket. It were a size too big for him, but as it would take a quite long time to get to Saijei so it were good enough. This is nice, James thought. He took off the clothes and toke his old ones back on. He went back to the desk and so did Charlotte. “I’d like to buy these” they said in synch. The shopkeeper laughed and said “Of course. That would be three gold coins. For it all” James almost dropped it all in surprise. “Only that? Really?” “Yes. This aren’t high class stuff but rather some very low class easy to make things. I’d be robbing you if I demanded much more” James laid three gold coins on the desk. “There’s no need to argue over such a price for such good clothes. Keep them,” James said. Charlotte were about to ask what her clothes cost but the shopkeeper shut her off, “It’s for it all dear friend. Not only his but also yours. He already paid, be sure to repay him someday ok?” Charlotte nodded and left the store together with James.

“What a nice man” Charlotte said when they were more alone. “He sold us all this for that low price.” She then added. James nodded, “He certainly is. This must be worth 4-5 gold coins and still he charges us this low. I wish more merchants were like this.” James responded. “But he’s right we should buy sleeping bags and a tent in a more northern village. I’d like some clothes to have under the jacket after all” James said. “But for now let’s concentrate on food; we need a pan, a pot and some salt. I know quite a lot of eatable plants and roots. What we need most of all is the jerky. But we’re not gonna buy a lot here. Perhaps enough for 2-3 days. I know a place where we can get a good discount.” James said. It didn’t take nearly as long to find the city’s butcher. The smell of meat were far easier to follow than random directions from villagers. They bought a small bag of jerky and then left. “The first step on our journey will be the city of meat; Waterville. Why that ironical name though? It never rains and the nearest river is miles away,” James said confused. True Waterville had no water what so ever near it and rain were so rare that they even worshipped water in the town. Charlotte didn’t understand but nodded anyways. Little did they know that what they had of meat would disappear quicker than the two of them could eat it. After that, they bought a pot and a pan at the local blacksmith.

James and Charlotte had left town and walked their way northeast. In the far distance, they could see a city. But of course since that they were multiple days from Waterville this weren’t that town, but James himself had never been in the city they could see. Every traveler refused to go there no matter what. It were said to be a ghost town build on the ruins of another ghost town. James himself had slept the night outside the town. Never agin would he go close. Screams of death and suffering rang from the city. Growls like the biggest monsters were right beside him and kept haunting him all night. He didn’t sleep a wink that night. “Char can you see that city in the distance?” James asked. Charlotte nodded. “We’re not going there, neither pass it. We go a mile to the west of it and then after we’ve past it with a mile we go back to the original route. That city is haunted and I refuse to ever go close to it agin” James said. Charlotte looked shocked but quickly accepted what were fate. “So let’s go we have a lot to walk after all” James said and started walking. Charlotte looked at the city for a second more before following.

They had walked all day and set a fireplace in a small clearing in the forest surrounding the ghost city. “I’d liked to have walked a mile more by today, but I guess I get what I deserve” James said, Earlier in the day James had seen wrong of left and right on a tree and then they ended up lost. When they finally found their way, it were already late in the evening. “I told you moss grows on the north side not the west side of tree.” Charlotte said. James send her a look saying I know please don’t rub it into my face anymore. “I know you did. And I agreed with you the last 15 times too.” Charlotte just smiled “As long as you learn.” James had always been bad at finding the directions but being beaten by a new traveler were just humiliating. They had already eaten and were readying for the night. Charlotte didn’t have blankets or anything with her, and James only had one. “You can borrow it, I’ll just use my tail agin” James said and tossed Charlotte the blanket. “Thank you” she said and prepared to change. “I’ll go off a little to change. Don’t follow me,” Charlotte said. “Of course I won’t” James said and waved her off. While she were out he himself changed back to the old clothes he had and used those for night garments. This would at least bring some warmth, he thought. Charlotte returned in a few minutes and the two of them went to sleep.

In the middle of the night, James woke up. Something were rustling with his bags. James always had the shed close so that he could draw the blade quickly. But now it might would backfire and make him get in trouble. The handle still were out which were a good sign, but still. James looked at the creature. It had a very human-like body. However, it also had a tail and ears: When James saw more clearly he saw that it were some quite wolf like ears and a quite wolf like tail. A wolf? No, wolves didn’t usually come this down south and especially not a single one. Perhaps I were a person. The next thing the creature did made that quite clear. The creature stood up on two legs, put an arm to the mouth and then ripped the jerky with the mouth. Definitely human. In a single smooth motion James drew his sword jumped up and pointed it directly at the person in such way that the person would know that mowing would be devastating. “Who are you and what do you think you’re doing?” James asked loudly enough to wake up Charlotte. “What’s the problem James?” Charlotte asked sleepy. “To answer both questions my name is Emily and the problem you’re asking this boy about is me. For what I’m doing it obvious actually. I’m eating.” The person said. And just to demonstrate what she were doing she took another bite of the jerky. “I’m surprised you woke up though, I’ve been eating for the last half hour,” Emily said before sitting down. James were baffled. “What?” “You heard me” Emily said with her mouth full. “For the last half hour I’ve been eating this dry meat. It’s really salt how do you even eat this.” She said but still ate more. “Charlotte start a fire. I want to see this intruder before I decide what to do further,” James said still holding his tachi dangerously close to the newcomer. In a few minutes, Charlotte had a fire going. She took her rapier out and made sure that Emily had no way of escaping even if she got past James. “So tell me Emily. Why shouldn’t I kill you here at this moment? You walk into our camp and eat our food. Even we travelers have a limit to what we will take. And you’re soon crossing the line.” James said. Emily just answered with “Because I’m a girl.” Which were less than an excuse than I’m hungry that’s why. “And I’m hungry” she then added taking another bite of the jerky. Before she got the chance to even chew it once James had his blade under her chin. “You tell me right now why I shouldn’t just kill you. And if you can’t find a good reason by word you pay for what you’ve taken” James said. Emily stood up again. And James finally took a second to look at the girl, she had a nice blonde hair and brown eyes matching the color of the trees. Her face were friendly even now that her live where in danger. Upon looking down at her James quickly noticed that she were lower than most people and probably quite young too, she wore leather clothes with a loose fit. However on her chest were two big circles. James quickly looked at her face again before anybody noticed he had looked at her. “I don’t think the reasons I have to do what I did will satisfy you, but I know of a way of paying for it,” she said with a smirk grin and began untying the clothes over her breast. Before she got too far with that James blade were at her throat again. “I’m not interested in that kind of thing,” he just said. This girl is even weirder than Charlotte were in the start. James thought. The girl looked baffled. “I’ve seen lots of others do that kind of thing here, and they seemed to like it. Why can’t I use that as a kind of payment?” The girl asked. “Because I’m not interested in doing it the first time with someone like you,” James answered and almost pierced the outer layer of skin on Emily’s throat. “Then what can I do?” She asked. “I’ve been out here for as long as I remember only thing I know of value is food, but I don’t think you want a bagfull of apples as payment for this,” the girl said. James eyes lit up for a second. “Oh so you would like a bag filled with apples as payments?” Emily asked. James knew that apples weren’t quite as filling as meat but still James were ready to say yes. It had been a while since the last time that James had lastly gotten apples. However, apples were his favorite fruit they were sweet and juicy on a whole new level and whenever he ate some he always wanted more. Charlotte had also began drooling. “We’ll take them,” James said. Emily looked shocked. Obviously she liked apples herself and haven’t meant it when she said she could offer them a bagful. Now she had trapped herself in her own trap. “Show us were you have all these apples or pay with your life,” James said. This were his first time doing something like this, but he had been taught on how to handle one such situation. Rule number one were to not let the person in question wander off alone. They rarely come back. Don’t let a single person follow and make sure that their weapons is drawn at all times. And James didn’t have in mind to fail on rule number one. Emily were silent but showed them to follow. A few minutes later, they stood in front of a big plantation of apples. “Here take as many as you want.” The girl said rather sadly. James and Charlotte picked about 50 apples all together. As they were somewhat close to Waterville, they didn’t really think that they could grow tired of apples. Emily sat at a stump looking quite sad. “James why don’t you go talk to her?” Charlotte asked, “She seems so lonely and sad.” “So you’re proposing she could travel with us?” James asked. “If she wants.” Charlotte said. For someone so shy to be that open to a newcomer in his or her party it were quite clear the person were kindhearted. “Ok I’ll go talk to her. But no promises.” James said. Charlotte just nodded.

James sat down on the grass next to the stump; Emily looked like she were almost on the verge of tears. “My companion thinks you look quite lonely being out here by yourself.” James said. Emily just angrily said “None of your business,” and looked away from him. “She were thinking if you’d like to travel with us but I guess not,” James said and made a move to rise. “Seriously?” Emily asked looking at James with shining eyes. She were beautiful in her own way, but her beauty didn’t even touch Charlottes. “Yes. Even though she’s shy she were the one to say it were ok for you to travel with us if you want,” James knew that meant something about people. Emily’s tail suddenly got fuzzy as if she were angry. “Oh that stupid tail, why does it keep doing that?” Emily said and flattened it with her hand. James laughed so hard he hardly could breathe. “Why don’t you comb it with water?” He asked still laughing. “With water?” Emily asked. “Your tail is static and either you touch either me or Charlotte and it will hurt both you and the one of us you touch, you touch metal and it feels like a needle in the finger or you use water on it and it will be flat easily.” James said. When Emily were about to ask how he knew this he just pointed at his own ears and tail. He knew what he were talking about. “Well you want to join us or just sit there all still?” James asked. “I’ll travel with you and that girl,” Emily said making a big smile.

In the morning, James slept a lot warmer than usual. A more fluffy tail laid on his body to keep him warm. James realized something were off before waking so abruptly that he ended up waking the two girls. “Why are you sleeping next to me?” James said when he got up and Emily were responsive. Emily’s responds seemed so like a child’s that James for a second thought that maybe she were younger than she looked, “Because I wanted to,” even Charlotte, who had little traveling experience, looked shocked over Emily’s response. “How old are you?” James asked. Emily looked thoughtful before answering, “I’ve seen snow 6 times, but have experienced short nights and cold days 4 times without snow. Furthermore, I’ve experienced short days with more heat 3 times. I guess that makes me those numbers combined” she said and looked a bit confused. After a short count James concluded that were 13 years, but he knew he had to add another year to her age because no one could remember their first year. “That means you are 14. However, you have the smarts of a small child. What have you learned throughout these 14 years?” James asked. “How to find good shelter, where to find food, what to eat and not to eat. Not to bother buzz’ and remember to bathe because one: it’s fun two: It removes the smell from my body.” Only that? James thought, I learned this when I were three.  Not only do I have to teach Charlotte about travelers rules and codex’ and just to think probably. But now also teach this child manners and logic, James thought. “Well firstly we have to go to Waterville as fast as possible. After that we need to go to the dessert, we’re not gonna cross it but still have to go around it.” James said. “Wouldn’t it be faster to just cross it?” Charlotte asked. “Yes it would, but I don’t know any save routes through it and every traveler has his secrets. The save ways is one of those secrets. I’ve wanted to cross that dammed sandbox millions of times, but never have I known the right way through.” James responded. He didn’t just sound mad, but also annoyed when he said those words. Charlotte nodded and had already began to pack her things. “Emily we need to get going. If we are to avoid the snowstorms in the Northern Mountains, we need to get going.” James said to Emily. “I don’t have anything to pack so don’t think I’ll wake up just because you guys wak… Ouch” Emily said. Charles had taken the handle to the tachi in his hand and had hit Emily with the blunt side in the head. An effective way of waking people up. If anything it helped waking Emily up. “You’re mean,” she said while rubbing her head where he had hit her. “I need to be strict you’re not the only one I need to learn a thing or two.” James just responded to her insult. Emily looked at James in surprise but quickly just shook her head. “You like her don’t you?” Emily asked. Both James and Charlotte stopped with what they were doing. “What?” they asked like one mouth. Emily burst into laughter with this response. “His ears twitches every time he sees you and his facial expression changes just as fast as the wind comes and goes” Emily said while laughing her heart out, “That and his tail wags like an energized puppy every time he talks with you” she said. Tears now began coming down together with the laughing. “I wouldn’t say I didn’t like her, but I wouldn’t say I love her either.” James responded. Emily laughed while responding “As long as you say it” and soon she began being chocked in her laughs. Charlotte looked at James with a disappointed face. “I bet she feels the same way with you” Emily said when she finally stopped breathing. “James is a dear friend to me. Nothing more,” she responded. Now it were James turn to feel disappointed. However, he had it coming for him and he knew it.

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