ARROWHOLD - 51052 RAIN (Previous)
Leora opens her eyes. Her head feels excruciatingly painful, almost like it’s being hammered into shape by a blacksmith. She finds herself inside a dark and mouldy cave, only lit by a few torches on the wall. Her bones are aching deeply, and her vision is still blurred. She tries to stand up but notices that her left leg is shackled to a large rock as she does so. As time passes she gradually comes back to her senses, and she notices that Cyor is next to her, lying on the ground, with his eyes closed and a large purple mark on his temple.
Leora approaches Cyor.
“Cyor, Cyor, can you hear me?”. She gently touches him on the shoulder.
His skinny shoulder feels warm, but Cyor doesn’t respond to her.
Leora looks at her shackles. They are about as thick as her wrist, and made of a mysterious type of green metal. Moments later, she hears footsteps approaching in the distance. She closes her eyes and lies down, pretending to be still unconscious.
Then suddenly, a dark-robed man with a black mask and a large sword appears. His right hand appears to be inside a red glove that has strange tentacles protruding from it. He walks up to Leora.
“I see that you have awoken”, he speaks with a deep and raw voice.
Leora whimpers softly, still pretending not to notice.
He walks closer.
“Do you take me for a fool?”
He holds his right hand next to Leora’s head, she creams out in agony as her headache intensifies. The man then withdraws is hand.
Leora opens her eyes, and stares straight into his black mask, featuring flashing orange eyes.
“What…who are you?”
The man looks down at Leora.
“You can call me the Mystic. I’m a caretaker. Of people and places. Particularly this place.”
Leora’s headache subsides gradually, but as her agony fades, concern appears instead.
“What did you do to us? And what are you going to do with us?”
The man sheathes his sword underneath his robes.
“That is a fair question to ask, after my inquiries.”, he replies.
“Inquiries?”, Leora says surprised.
“Yes. I scan the brain of every one who trespasses into Arrowhold. When I inspected yours I did not get the visions that I normally expect, but something very different.”
Leora is stunned in silence. Did he read her whole mind? Does he know everything she knows now?
The man looks down at Leora once more.
“You’re probably thinking whether I scan your whole mind, whether I changed it. The best answer I can give to you is ‘definitely not’ and ‘probably not’. But what I did read was…startling.”
“Startling?”. Leora has no idea what to say now. What is there to say to a man who seems to know how she thinks?
He pauses briefly. Leora fears the worst.
“Are you going to kill me?”
The man bursts out in laughter.
“HA! Ha Ha!”
He continues: “No.”
Leora sighs of relief.
“What about Cyor? What did you do to him then?”
The man turns to Cyor, and breathes deeply.
“His mind is… again different. It was much harder to scan him because of his past. It cost…effort. For both of us.”
“Will he survive?”, Leora asks with concern.
“He will. But he needs a few more days of rest. We are feeding him Leaves of the Fairy, which should speed up the healing.”
“Then what will you do with us, now that we’re your prisoners?”
The man extends his hand.
“You won’t be for long. We need to parlay, because we are going to need your help to survive what is coming.”
Not much later Leora is unshackled, given rations, and she is led out of the case by Mystic. They walk through a narrow mountain path downwards until they reach Arrowhold. From this side there is no log wall, although the cliffs on either side make an attack here extremely difficult. Leora walks along in silence for now. She is worried about her friend Cyor, who seemed to be much more injured than she is.
As the two walk into Arrowhold, various soldiers and citizens stop to look at them. Many of them have scarred, disfigured faces, some limp as they walk, while others appear to have arms in bandages. Soon after they walk out of Arrowhold again, down another cliffside path towards a clearing.
“Where are we headed?”, Leora asks.
The man points to the tent in the clearing, which emits strange glows of shades of brown.
As they approach the tent, Mystic opens the entrance, and Leora realizes the tent is much larger inside than it looks from the outside. At the far end, a women with green hair and a large black cloak mixes potions and elixirs. She turns around.