The table was old and worn, its wood was pocket marked and scratched from its long use. My fingers traced the deep cuts engraved in the table. The lighting was dark in the tavern and I wouldn't normally stop in this kind of place but an appointment was an appointment. I began to play with my long red hair, bound into a horse tail and covered with the hood of my cloak.
The seedy looking bartender glanced suspiciously at me. I had to admit I didn't exactly look personable with a long black cloak that concealed my face and a worn pack at my side. The pack had been patched so many times it was less pack and more patch. Knives were concealed everywhere underneath my clothes and a broadsword hung on my back.
A hand landed on the table that I was so intently scrutinizing, perhaps the table was diseased, it looked dirty enough. That hand, however, did not belong here. It was soft and didn't have a single grain of dirt under that long nail.
"Are you Finnabharr? Seer of the North?" said the hand; I followed the arm up to a nervous looking face. His dark set eyes sat on a clean-shaven face. A rich man, I decided, he worked for the king perhaps?
I stared at him, not answering. He began to fidget, "Well?!" he asked, impatient with me.
His companion placed a hand on his shoulder, "Calm down Sarin."
I stood and bowed mockingly, "I am Finn at your service." So these were the men that had summoned me to this place for work. I was a Seer, as they had said. I can, with the help of a reflective surface, see things that have happened, are happing, or might happen. I often rely on my talent for money to fund my travels. These men had heard of my ability and had asked to meet me at this tavern, a rather bad place to do business, if you ask me.
"What do you wish to know of? The location of a lost love, a-"
"Spare us your speech; I want to know where the King of Dameir resides. I know he is hiding I want to know where that bastard is."
"What you want to know is valuable information," I told them.
"We will reward you richly Seer."
"A price first," I demanded.
"15 gold regals." The man called Sarin threw a bag on the table. It clinked promisingly.
I grinned, satisfied, "very good." Out of my traveler's pack I took a mirror. It was plain looking mirror. I drew a dagger lightly across my palm before squeezing it to draw out the blood. I had many such scars scattered across my hands. I let a single drop fall on my mirror and ripples fanned out creating a picture only I could see. The blood had vanished immediately after it had hit my mirror.
Closing my eyes I thought of King Adair, the King of Dameir. Show me, I thought to my power, show me him. I saw a landscape, perhaps in the East? I wondered. Appearing on the landscape I saw a small home. A man leaned against the wall outside, he was dressed as a farmer but I knew by his watching eyes he was no farmer.
"Vanis," A voice came from inside the house, "Vanis come to the meeting, the others will watch for approaching men."
"Your-" He corrected himself as he strode into the small home, "Adair, it is dangerous here."
A strong man sat behind a table filled with other men. No, strong wasn't the word for it, he was regal. His strong chin and rough, calloused body looked strange in the cheap clothes he wore. His black hair was flecked with gray, but he was too young to be graying so soon. He chuckled as his companion entered, "Dangerous. It is dangerous for me anywhere my friend. The latest assassination attempt told us that, did it not?"
Vanis shifted uncomfortably, "If it were not for that damned King of Benhal-"
"Calm," Adair stroked his clean-shaven face, "Tomorrow we leave for Fenir, Vanis you have-"
The vision began to fade. Fenir was in the North, the town of my birth. But there was something about this man that made me want to reach out to him, to help him. And then I remembered…
"Seer! What have you seen?!" The rich man grabbed a hold of my shoulder roughly.
"Kindly remove your filth from my body." I told him. "Your precious king lies in the South, Southwest to be precise. He mentioned a town," I quickly searched my memory for a town in the south, "by the name of Westhaven."
"You tell the truth Seer?" The other man asked.
I looked at him through narrowed eyes, "And why would I have any reason to lie? I shall take my leave now, and my money, a well and profitable day to the both of you." I lowered my head out of customary respect and sauntered past the two men who whispered to each other conspiratorially.
Flipping my pack over my shoulder I shouldered out into the rain headed for the North, for Fenir, for my brother.
… … …
I walked until my feet hurt; stopping long after the sun had set. My campsite was lonely and barren, but I was used to this. I had traveled most of my life, ever since my family had been murdered. I had no loyalty to Benhal, his troops were the ones who had slain my mother, my father, my two younger sisters, and until now my older brother had been killed as well. But now I knew the truth. He was alive! And yet I wondered if he knew I lived as well. Surely he would've tried to find me? But then again I wasn't an easy person to track down. I hadn't had a home since that day 10 years ago. I was only 7. But enough thought had been lost on that topic I thought to myself I had to keep my mind on the task at hand, reaching Fenir.
I lay down on my bedroll and soon fell fast asleep. Dawn had just broke when I was awakened by purring inside my blankets, was something moving? Something… furry? I threw back my blankets and there, nestled against my stomach was a black cat. Dark grey eyes met my own and I swallowed, hard. Those eyes were so full of knowledge, so full of wisdom I had no doubt that this animal knew far more that I did.
Glad you're awake it purred.
I yelped, and scrambled back.
So you see into the future and yet you can't stand a talking animal? It sounded skeptical.
"Eh," I rubbed my eyes, "Damn, you're still here," I muttered.
Now is that any way to treat a new companion?
"Companion? Oh Gods. What have a done to wrong you?"
Quite the contrary, The cat licked its paw. How could something so innocent looking be so… strange?
"So I'm stuck with you then? This isn't a dream?"
Not in the least, I am stuck with you. You'll need all the help you can get.
I tried to pry further but the animal would let nothing else out. I sighed, realizing that I yearned for companionship so much that I had resorted to talking to a cat. "Well, do you at least have a name?" I asked wearily. It was much too early in the morning to be dealing with talking animals. The cat blinked at me.
"Very well," I lifted up the small animal ignoring its yowl of protest. Satisfied that my new friend was male I set about thinking of a name as I repacked my gear. "How about Behemoth, for the size of your ego." The cat looked mildly offended before cocking its head and then resuming the cleaning of his tail. Taking this for a yes, I swung the pack over my shoulders and headed out, my new pet not far behind.
… … …
In three days time the weather had grown steadily colder and my shabby cloak no longer shielded me from the onslaught of wind. "So much for spring," I muttered.
Oh you just like to complain. Behemoth was rather talkative, much more so than I'd like. I had gotten used to having a talking animal around. I had found out that I was the only one who could hear my cat; this involved a rather embarrassing incident with a superstitious farmer and a bit of broken pride all around. The next day, however, dawned warm and sunny for a change. And I walked down the road I realized I was only 2 days journey from Fenir. I skipped jauntily down the road enjoying the chorus of birdsong and the pattering of Behemoth's paws on the hard dirt.
It was long until the day began a fatal turn. Behemoth was the first to notice something was wrong. His ears pointed forward and his grey eyes became slits in his face. " 'Moth? Behemoth? What's up boy?" I squatted down to his level, curious. It was then that I heard the screams. "Behemoth?" I asked more urgently.
Village raid. He said simply. I swore quietly to myself. There's no way to go through the village without being noticed, we have to go around.
"No," I said quietly, then stronger, "No, I won't, I have to help them."
I thought I saw Behemoth's head nod in agreement. Well tie up your hair and put up your hood, we don't want any bandits with a grudge coming after us.
I nodded and did as he said, pulling my long hair into a horsetail and shoving my hood over my face. I unstrapped my broadsword from my back and let it hang heavy in my hand. I hadn't practiced in a long while but I was confident in my ability.
When we came over the rise before the village we saw a sight that horrified us. Houses had been torched and old men lay bleeding in the street. Sitting on proud horses were ten soldiers, erect in their saddles. Behind them stumbled five young men barely sixteen. Their hands were bound and connected together by a rough length of rope.