Chapter 4: The Village

During the afternoon of the next day the three found themselves entering a small village. The houses were of wood or stone with thatched roofs. Throughout the village they found the bodies of people affected by the curse. It was now that Kerna and Trayn realized how unexpected the sealing of Alira had been. They found people asleep at all sorts of tasks. By the well they found a boy asleep, his head pillowed on the bucket he carried. Two young women were asleep, their heads resting together. It was the same all throughout the village.
"This is Yola. A small village, but one that is situated between the two big cities of Ascrom and Oimwer making it a favourite destination for travellers." Solin said after gazing around.
"How do you know that? After all you're a book aren't you?" Kerna asked.
Solin looked down his nose at her. "I'm created of one of the books that are a part of this entire land. Obviously I know all about it."
"Geez, no need to be so nasty. I keep forgetting. It's easy to forget, given you look normal enough. Except for your eyes. I've never seen anyone with golden eyes before. I've been meaning to ask, but who, um, designed you?"
Their guide glared at Kerna again. "The Ancient One. He chose my form and the forms of Luna and Starn. If you have a complaint about my appearance then speak to him."
"You keep talking about Luna and Starn, have you met them?" Trayn asked.
"Yes. Shortly after the Ancient One failed to unseal Alira, he created us through the books. We are separate books but are one in the sense we're tied to this land. So when we're not around we exist in a kind of limbo. Until our books are unsealed of course. Then we just revert to being books."
"What do Luna and Starn look like?" Kerna wanted to know.
Solin rolled his eyes. "Only you would ask a question that stupid." He told her before continuing. "Luna is tall and slender. She has silver hair and eyes. Very graceful but very unemotional. Doesn't show her emotions much. Starn on the other hand is always moving around, talking or doing something. He gets annoying sometimes. He's got white-blond hair. Oh, and a warning. Try not to look directly into his eyes. They'll hypnotize you and he won't realize he's done it. They look like diamonds and will grab your attention and hold it until you'll do whatever he tells you. Which would be bad as he's an idiot. You're a fair match for him. Must be why I don't like you, you remind me of him."
"Good. He'll at least be nicer then you. And there is no way he can be as freaking arrogant as you are!" Kerna taunted, sticking her tongue out at him.
"We need to find some supplies. Look for backpacks, food and bedrolls. Don't worry about stealing it, I'm sure the people would rather we use some of their things then having to remain asleep forever." Solin ordered Kerna and Trayn before heading off by himself.
The mage student rolled her eyes. "Arrogant jerk." She said.
"Arrogant he may be, but he's also right. We need supplies. We may as well split up. It'll be easier to find things that way."
Kerna sighed and nodded. Her brother was right again. Ah! I hate it when he's right. He does it all the time too.
Heading off in the opposite direction that Solin had taken, Kerna wandered into houses, but couldn't bring herself to take anything. No matter how she looked at it, she still felt as if she was stealing from these people. Sighing at her own folly she headed over to the inn and entered the stables. Kerna loved horses; it saddened her that these horses were asleep, unable to run. Walking up to the nearest stall, she rubbed her hand against the nose of the beautiful bay stallion asleep inside. "I wish you were awake. It has to be boring just sleeping all the time." She whispered.
Kerna turned and walked up to another horse, this one a handsome chestnut. She stroked his mane and visited the last horse in the stable a small, gorgeous white mare. She patted her side and was about to stroke her nose when a noise distracted her. A snort of air and clatter caused her to whip around.
She scanned the stable but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Turning back to the mare, she was surprised to see the mare was awake and drinking from her water bucket. Well perhaps surprised is too mild a word. More like absolutely floored.
Kerna turned slowly and saw that the other two horses were also awake. The snort and scrape of hoof on stone had been the bay. "No freaking way." The girl whispered unable to believe what she was seeing. "Solin said that we can't wake them up. Not until the spire of sleep is destroyed. So why are they awake now? All I did was pet them!" Kerna babbled, unable to figure out what was going on with her and the horses.
Unable to think of anything else to do, the mage student ran outside to find Solin and Trayn. Much to her dismay, the first person she found was her guide.
"Solin! You've got to come to the stables. The horses are awake!" Kerna told him, grabbing Solin's arm and dragging him forward.
The guide pulled his arm out of her grasp. "Either you must be hallucinating. Everything here except for you, your brother and me, is asleep. So whatever you think you saw is just mere fancy." Solin turned and would have left had Kerna not, in a rage over his refusal to even check, grabbed his arm and hauled him after her. Kerna shoved him roughly into the stables and pointed to the three horses who were even now eating and drinking.
"Am I hallucinating now?" the mage student demanded.
Solin very slowly walked over and touched the stallion hesitantly, almost as if he was afraid the horse would disappear. "This isn't possible. It just isn't possible. Until the spire is destroyed nothing can awaken. Nothing." Suddenly the guide whirled around. "What'd you do? How did you wake them? Tell me! If you are one of the demon's minions I will see you to your grave!"
Kerna backed up a step and then drew her pen/sword as Solin had drawn his blade. "I was just petting them and they woke up. I don't know how. As for being a minion of the demon's, I've never even seen a real demon. Just the pictures Master Freem showed me."
Solin advanced another few steps so Kerna retreated right up until she hit the wall. Now she was trapped. The guide had his sword raised and was about to strike when a voice called out. "What in all the gods' names is going on?"
Trayn had entered the stables in search of Kerna and found his sister backed up against a wall, her sword out and their guide about to strike her.
"Trayn? Thank the gods! Solin thinks I work for the demon just because some horses woke up. He's insane!"
"There is no other possible explanation. The only people with the power to reverse the sleep spell are all the demons servants. Which leads me to the question what did you do with the real hero?"
"Look, I don't know what the heck your problem is, but listen carefully. I, do, not, know, why, the, horses, woke, up! I don't know anything about the demon you keep talking about except what you told us." Kerna said, starting to get angry.
"You think I'm stupid enough to fall for that?" Solin hissed.
Trayn had had enough. He marched over, grabbed the guide's shoulder and wrenched him away from Kerna. "Idiot!" he told Solin. "Did you not listen to a word she said? You met us and decided because we had the pen- sword that we had to be here to save this place. You're the one who's been dragging us all over this country. You're the one who insisted we come here. We have no idea where to go, so we followed you. You want us to destroy the spire of sleep and we're doing it because we want to go home. We're not demons, minions of a demon or whatever the heck else you might have decided. We're two students who accidentally unsealed your book. So stop threatening my sister!"
Kerna was impressed. That had to be one of the longest speeches she'd ever heard from Trayn.
Solin glared at the two of them for a moment and then stalked off. The two siblings exchanged glances and then shrugged simultaneously. If they had to, they'd go on alone.
The finished scrounging for provisions and headed into the inn. After all it was getting dark and neither wanted to spend another night out of doors.
They made breakfast in the inn's kitchen, using the ingredients already in there. They were just sitting down when Solin came in. He walked over and sat down at the same table as them. No one said anything as they demolished their meal.
As they were cleaning up, Kerna couldn't resist. "So, were sulking? Or were you consulting with our demon master?"
The guide hissed a curse and glared at her. "You're too stupid to be a demon's minion. That's the only reason I believe you. We're going to take the horses with us. We'll be faster and they can't very well feed themselves." With that, Solin headed upstairs. Kerna stuck her tongue out at his retreating back.
"Arrogant idiot." She muttered while she swiftly finished putting everything away.
They were lucky in there were three unoccupied beds. However, two were at opposite ends of the hall and one was right in the middle.
Diplomatically, Trayn took the middle room, knowing that the farther Solin and Kerna were from one another, the less likely they were to start fighting again.
All three were tired so as soon as they lay down on beds, real beds, they fell asleep.
Kerna was dreaming of a tower made out of what seemed to be pure gold, but every time she touched it, the tower looked as if it were made out of human bones. Afraid, she drew her sword and struck the tower, which made a loud banging sound. The banging continued until she finally woke up.
She ran to the door and found a dishevelled and nervous Trayn standing in the hall. "Get your sword and anything you need for magic. We're under attack. Seems the demons real minions found us."