It was not a night to be outside. The rain slashed icily at anything caught in its grip while the wind bellowed for entrance to the few buildings in the village. The tavern was open and filled with travelers taking shelter for the night. The barman looked up as a new shadow crossed the threshold. The figure was completely enveloped in a soaked traveling cloak. Though they must have been chilled to the bone, they did not take off their cloak. Blood seemed to drip from one of the cloak's sleeves. Whether it was theirs or someone else's was anyone's guess. The only visible feature of the figure was purple and blue streaked hair, the natural color was a honey blonde, now darker with blood and grime. They stumbled in, nearly falling to the ground numerous times. Though all eyes were on the figure, no one offered a hand. They finally made it to a stool, and collapsed onto it. Stretching a bleeding hand out to the bartender, they whispered "Help…" before slumping onto the counter.
The observers had hardly anytime to take this all in, when an armed soldier walked briskly through the door. After scanning the room, he went to the figure and slung them over his shoulder, hardly seeming to notice the weight. Basing by the looseness of the cloak, the figure couldn't have weighted much.
"I wasn't here." He said, tossing a few gold coins onto the counter. "And neither was she." He jerked his head to the figure on his shoulder.
The bartender nodded and pocketed the coins before returning to the glass he had been cleaning. The soldier turned and walked out of the tavern toward the Inn that was just across the way. Sadness filled his heart. Why had she run from him?
In a room he had rented, the soldier lay her down on the bed, and took off the more soaked clothes to dry by the fire. He left her more basic garments on, the corset, underskirt, and necklace. The necklace he had given her more than five years ago.
Setting her soaked clothes by the fire, dressed her wounds, recognizing several scars, and noticing some new ones. Then he sat down at the table across the room and waited.
Her head hurt. That was the first thing she thought of. Her head hurt. The good thing was that it meant that she was alive. She didn't open her eyes yet, she sent her awareness down her body. All in one piece, as far as she could tell; and warm and dry. Something wasn't right. She was laying on something soft; a bed. That couldn't be right. She last remembered sitting on the stool at the Tavern. She couldn't be there now. She opened her eyes a crack, enough to register that she was in a room at an Inn, and that there was a fire still going in the hearth. Then she realized two things that made her almost jump up, until the pain in her head made her lay still. One, she was practically naked, only her corset and underskirt remained, and her necklace. So she hadn't been robbed. Good to know. Second, she wasn't alone. There was a man sitting in the chair by the desk across the room.
"Where are my clothes?" She asked her voice scratchy with disuse. She turned her head, trying to ignore the throbbing in her temples. As she met his eyes, Pain of a different sort rocketed through her veins. She screamed and writhed on the bed, the new pain drowning out the old aches and the headache by far. The man had leapt up and was trying to quiet her, but his touch burned with an icy chill. She jerked away and had to turn away before the pain went away, leaving a light hum in her blood.
"What the hell was that?" The soldier asked.
"I don't know, but before we continue this conversation, who are you?"
She heard his shocked silence, and was only half surprised when his voice cracked on the words, "You don't remember me?" He turned her around, holding onto her corset to save her the apparent agony of his touch. It hurt him more than the spear that came inches within piercing his heart, having her not remember him, not be able to look at him.
"Why don't you remember me?" He asked, his voice low, tight with the pain in his chest.
"I told you, I don't know." She said, gritting her teeth, as if even acknowledging his presence brought her physical pain, while it brought him pain of a different sort. He walked closer to her but she waved him away.
"Why don't you remember anything?" He asked.
"Memories are painful." She said, gritting her teeth against the pain crackling through her veins. It was painful just talking about memories. It was impossible to avoid the pain. Her clothes were dry now, and he left to let her dress. Once she was once more dressed in her long skirt, the royal uniform of the Queens Mysteries, and the navy blue traveling cloak, she stepped out the door. And immediately ran into the broad chest of the Soldier. Contact with him was pure electricity. It burned her blood and she could swear that her hair was standing on end. She shrieked from the pain and pulled away. He stepped back, and she darted past him, heading for the door. She could hear him chasing after her. Who was this man? Why wouldn't he leave her alone? She was loosing him in the dark. It had stopped raining, and the wind had moved on. It was silent, and she was swift, her dark clothes concealing her in the night. She heard his footsteps fall away in the distance, and then she heard another sound; A sound that made her pulse quicken with fear and adrenaline flow into her veins. A whisper; or rather, five. Whispers were the deadly creatures that haunt any darkness. Their bodies were blood red, the color of their feast. They had Lizard's bodies, with snakelike necks and heads. With eight eyes they saw more of the world than most giant creatures. A horned tail brought a deadly poison that was incurable save the powder from the Cristle Plant. This plant matched the Whispers in color, but was feathery smooth, and was plentiful in most areas. Salamandria glanced over her shoulder. The soldier was nowhere in sight, but there were five distinctive red glows about thirty feet away. Salamandria felt for her stash of Cristle Powder. If she threw it on the Whispers, it would kill them. The plant itself did nothing. The reason being; the chemicals in the different parts of the plant must mix before it repels and kills the Whispers. She cursed; the stash pouch was limp and empty. She was a dead woman if she remained there. She tried to slip away unnoticed. She glanced behind her; the Whispers seemed to have not noticed her yet. A shout came from in front of her. The soldier had somehow circled to the front of her.
"Hey! There you are!" The Whispers looked up, and saw her.
"By the Gods, are you sane, man? The Whispers are there, and we shall be dead!"
The Soldier looked over, and saw the Whispers. He cursed.
My thoughts exactly, Thought Salamandria. She and the soldier sprinted to the light, one hundred feet away. A stone in the road caught Salamandria's sandal and she fell. The soldier, tried to help her to safety, but it was too late. The Whispers were upon them. Fangs slashed and the tail whirled around them, the soldier acted quickly, with little thought, he spun, scattering Cristle Powder all around them and on the Whispers. Their death screams were the only sound they made with any volume and it rocked their senses as the Whispers withered and collapsed to the ground to stir no more. Salamandria took stock, she had been cut by the tail a few times, but there should be a shop selling the powder in the town, if not, there was plenty covering the ground in the forests to gather and crush into powder. The soldier was less injured than she. Whispers usually went for the least threatening victim. He held out a hand to help her up. She ignored it and hefted herself up onto her good leg. Her left leg had been cut mostly by the venom, and it was deadening the limb, making in of no use until the Powder was administered to the wounds. She started to hop away from him, but he scooped her up so that she was sitting in his arms. A faint memory was there, causing her blood to burn, but she turned her thoughts away and the pain eased.
"You don't need to help me."
"What if I want to?" He asked. Salamandria was astonished at his boldness.
"I don't even know you!"
He shifted so that he could free one hand. He lifted her left hand in front of her face making her look at the gold ring comfortably resting around her ring finger.
"Don't you?" He asked, gesturing to the matching ring on his. The memory started to come back, but before it could surface, pain made her limbs twitch and cast about. She jerked so much that she fell out of his arms. She gained some control of her limbs and clutched her head.
"Don't remind me!" She shrieked, then quieter, as the pain receded. "Don't remind me."