The Hunt Begins

Talyn jumped behind a rock as he heard the sound of men in armour approaching. Gathering his worn and ripped dull grey woollen cloak around him he look over the moss covered boulder as the men that he had heard entered the clearing. Talyn had always been wary of armoured men, as was every one who lived in Eringuard. The royal family had fallen a few hundred years ago and most of these shattered lands had fallen into anarchy and lawless bandits stalking the unwary.

The men that had entered the clearing were mostly in the shade, blocking most of Talyn's view. But he could make out that there was a few of them.
" What hedge wizard are we after this time?" asked one of the men in a high nasally voice.
" Don't know, but ol' Hawkeye 'aint gonna let 'in go! I think there's somethin' wrong in that one's head, I do. I know these wizard folks are agents of Darkness an' all, but he seems to enjoy the killin' to much, mark my word." Replied a second, deeper voice.
" I knows what ya' mean Denton." Came back the first voice. The men instantly stopped talking when another man entered the clearing, Talyn could tell he was armed as well by the constant jingle of mail as he took each step.
" Denton! Harling! Don't let Inquisitor Baern here you talking about him like that!" a new voice ordered.
" Aye Captain!" both Denton and Harling intoned.
" Now back to camp, both of ya!" the Captain ordered. The sound of booted footfalls receding into the forest told Talyn that the soldiers were leaving, heading back off to their camp.

Talyn rose cautiously from behind the rock and looked about the clearing once again. Nothing but a few boot prints marked where the soldiers had been. Those soldiers had spoken of hunting a wizard, and mentioned the name of one of the Inquisitors but, to Talyn's knowledge, there wasn't any of the demon worshippers in Ravensbrook, the small village he lived in. But those soldiers were from the party of an Inquisitor, the church men who hunted evil in its purest form, magic users.

Dusting himself off Talyn began to walk back to his hut in Ravensbrook. His father had died several years ago, disappearing one night, he had never known his mother. His father's hut had become his own and he used his knowledge of herb craft to earn his way in the world. Using the herbs he gathered on his walks in Ravensbrook Woods.

It had been years since a priest of any faith had been able to perform any of the greater healings the ancestors had been able to. And even the minor healings cost more then anyone but the nobility could afford. That was why a young man skilled in the ways of herbs was welcome in any village.

Talyn approached the walls of Ravensbrook, the crude palisade built to help defend against the bandits that roamed the area frequently.
" Ho! Ondrick!" Talyn called to the gate keeper whose grey hair he could just see silhouetted against the summer blue sky above the wall. Ondrick looked over the wall at the boy young enough to be his grandson yet was better versed in the art of herb lore than any other man Ondrick had met.
" Talyn?" the confused man called back, but his confusion was lost on Talyn.
" Yes, Ondrick, it's me. Open the gates will you?" Talyn queried, then waited as Ondrick signalled someone behind the walls, then waited for a reply. He then turned around and signalled to come in as the gates were opened.

Lifting his pack to his side Talyn walked into town through the now open gates and started on his way to his hut on the edge of the village, whistling tunelessly to himself.

An explosion of pain seared up Talyn's leg and he felt himself falling to the ground, his leg unable to support his weight. He cried out in pain as another burst of searing pain cut into his shoulder. He glanced across to see a black plumed arrow petruding from the wound. He slumped across onto the barrel that lay to his uninjured right, then noticed the seven other arrows sticking out of the ground and barrel around him.
" You fools! You were supposed to fire at the same time!" a man roared, emerging from the doorway of the town's inn, the Bucking Frog. The man had shoulder length clay brown hair and carried a scar running across his forehead. His clothes were a long black robe with a blue sash across his chest. Yellow trimming marked out the lines of a breastplate underneath the flowing robes. In one hand the man bore a sword, which had a very dull sheen to it. In the other he held a long silver staff. Atop the staff was the symbol of a silhouetted eye with a sword driven through it, the sign on the Inquisition.

Several other armed men rose from behind their hiding places.
" So, almighty spell caster, where is your great power now, eh?" the Inquisitor asked smugly.
" Mistake." was all Talyn could say through gritted teeth.
" A mistake? Stupid boy, I never make mistakes, I'm an Inquisitor. And you are a spell caster of some kind."
" No..." Talyn gasped through pain.
" Don't you feel it boy? The mere touch of metal burns you. The very earth tries to kill you, purge itself of your foul base wickedness." The Inquisitor raised his sword, showing it to Talyn. Through his pain Talyn realised the blade was coated with lead.
" Lead, a mages worst enemy, is it not?" he sneered, then with a swift action slashed the sword at Talyn. Talyn dove back but the blade moved to fast, cutting into the bag of herds still held at his side. If the bag hadn't been there the blade would have sliced Talyn in two. As it was the blade scoured a line across his chest. He screamed as the wound flared into great heat, as though in the fires of a forge. He fell back onto the dirt in an ever growing pool of his own blood. The Inquisitor stalked over to him, then raised the blade over him. Talyn tried to fight off the pain.
" No." he grunted as he gathered himself onto his hand and knees. The Inquisitor laughed as he stood above him.
" No!" Talyn shouted, more forcefully and rolled to the side as the lead blade dug into the soft turf. Talyn swore again as the arrow in his shoulder was driven back further into his arm. He struggled to his feet to face the Inquisitor.
" Hah! Your stronger then I thought, boy!" The man laughed. " I'll tell you what, you leave the village now, and after an hour I'll come looking. If I don't find you, you can live. How does that sound?" the Inquisitor said, lowering his sword. Talyn didn't say anything, just began limping to the gate. As he dragged himself from the village he had called home for years he heard the cold voice of the Inquisitor.
" So the hunt begins!"