"He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger."
By the time the sun peeked over the horizon, two exhausted kids were already strapping their supplies to their horses and checking their saddles. Usually by this time, the morning air was starting to heat up from the sun but it was quite the opposite that morning. The freezing breeze only made the children's skin turn red underneath its touch and the sun didn't seem to be warming anything up any time soon.
Bundled in several layers of wool clothing and topped with one of his families cloaks with his families crest upon the chest, Godric seemed relatively ready for his new adventure. The only thing that was eating him alive was the fact his first and only friend he made at the castle decided to not show up after all. Godric desperately wanted Salazar to join them so than the three of them could be the greatest best friends traveling to some unknown destination, but he understood why he declined.
Checking the pouch, he tied upon the strap of his sword, Godric made sure several days' worth of spark rocks and water were there. He then pulled out his map and climbed upon his white stallion. Glancing over at Helga, who was wearing the same squire training uniform and a cloak, Godric gave her a small smile.
"I don't think he'll be joining us any time soon, Helga. Maybe we should get going." Biting his bottom lip, Godric turned his attention to the stretch of cobble stoned flooring in front of them. Kicking the sides of his horse, Godric made his stallion begin to walk down the path.
A pained expression grew upon Helga's cold face as she watched Godric starting to ride off, "What if we wait a little bit longer, Godric? He might come!"
"I really don't think so. Come on. We have an adventure to go on!" Forcing a grin, Godric looked back at Helga, "Your mom did tell you to go on your own journey, so let's make the best of it! Alright?"
Silently, Helga nodded her head in reply before giving the castle a finally glance. Lowering her voice, Helga crossed her fingers into a pray, "Please join us Salazar. It won't be the same without you." Releasing her hands, Helga inhaled a deep breath of the freezing morning due before gripping the reins of her horse and telling it to follow Godric.
Brushing her hair behind her ear, Helga constantly kept glancing back at the castle, hoping a figure would start riding after them, "So where are we going to venture off to first?" She questioned as her hope quickly started to die.
"Well, according to the map the next closest village is a place called Glen. It seems like we are going to be camping on the floor for a few nights until we get there. When we're there, we can resupply our food and water." Folding up the map, Godric tucked it back behind his sword strap, "Come on, we have a lot of land to cover. Let's get going."
Squeezing his horse's sides, Godric forced it from a trot into a gallop and raced down the winding forest trail that led from the castle down into the village below. Every so often, Godric glanced over his shoulders to make sure Helga was keeping up and to his surprise she was managing herself perfectly well.
"Where did you learn to ride?" Godric yelled back as they turned into the empty streets of the village.
"There was a kind man in my village who used to get sick a lot. My mother always aided him, so in return he used to teach me how to ride his horses" She screamed back as the cold wind blew in her face and knocked the hood of her cloak down.
As a smirk grew upon his face, Godric simply nodded his head and focused on the road ahead. Slowly, Godric's mind started to drift to the thoughts of him ride his mother's horse all the time back at his home, but ever since his mother passed a few months ago, he always rode with knights or Salazar, never by himself. In both cases, he usually talked to them about whatever thoughts he had on his mind at the time, but since Helga was a bit behind his own horse, he couldn't really keep up a proper conversation. So he decided not to waste his voice in yelling to one another.
His life has changed from a simple relaxing life to a much more stressed filled and organized living standard. Quite frankly, Godric didn't really like it. Back at home, he was the king of sword, fighting among the boys and he was always the boy people could come to in order to ask for help. Back in Wild Moor, he could play among his friends or lay in the field watching the sky pass by with his mother. He always enjoyed the little things in life, like when one of the bulls were let loose in the village and a few kids including himself managed to stop the bull. Or when he picked a few flowers out of the fields and gave it to all the girls in town telling them they are pretty.
The more he thought to himself in silence the more memories started to hit him like whiplash. He couldn't help but remember his mother's cheerful face or the time when she took him on a few day journey into a big city in order to sell their products. Recalling so many memories made his chest tighten and his eyes sting from the cold air. Despite everything that the king had done for him since his mother has passed, Godric couldn't help but feel a small emotion of hatred towards him. Why couldn't the king have taken care his mother and him in earlier and acted like an actual family? Why was it that the king suddenly decided to take on responsibility of being a father after his mother's passing? In fact, why didn't the king send a letter to him before having his army invade his village and take him away without any warning as to why he was being kid napped?
Tightening his fists upon the horse's reigns, Godric slow started digging his nails into his flesh. He couldn't help but grow more frustrated as recalling how terrified he was when he was sat in front of the king and the king just stared at him with distant eyes. News of being the prince was so shocking to him that he denied it all. Yet no matter how many times he tried to leave the castle, the knights always threw him back into his room. He was emotionally distort from losing his mother and suddenly treated like a prisoner in a castle he knew nothing about only caused him to grow frustrated. In fact, he yelled at Salazar the first time they met because he knew Salazar had become his new personal baby sitter.
By the time they had left the village that rested at the foot of the hill, Godric finally snap out of mind and focused back upon the road. Mentally reassuring himself, Godric kept telling himself that it was good that he was leaving the castle. Who owes no alliance to the king, Godric repeated within his mind. The king wasn't there in his life so why should he be there now?
Managing to catch up with Godric, Helga gave him a concerned look. He didn't seem to notice, but Helga didn't really mind. Quickly Helga built up the courage to speak, "Hey," she coughed. To her surprise, Godric instantly turned his attention to her. His eyes reflected an upset expression that he tried to hide behind a smile.
"My village is only a few hours from here. Do you mind if we stop there so I can grab some clothes that fit me as well as some herbs for us?"
"Sure," Godric chuckled before giving Helga a hand jester telling her to lead the way, "After you, madam."
"This is Valley Board." Helga laughed as they crept into town with the hood of their cloaks up in order to hide their faces.
"And here I thought Wild Moor was a small place," Godric chuckled in reply before whiffing in a deep breath of smoke. Breaking out into a slight cough, Godric looked around the village unable to find the source of the smell. After a bit, he saw Helga's expression fade from glee to horror as she took off her hood. She then kicked her horse's side and booked it in the direction of the dim glow of fire and smoke. Kicking his horse in reply, the young prince raced after his friend, predicting what the problem was.
As they drew closer to the outskirts of town, more and more black figures started to grow into view. Each figure held different farming tools and torches. In heart of everything was a woman who stood upon a pile of rocks that rested in front of a willow tree.
"THIS!" The woman screamed as she pointed to a worn down house that was burning relatively quickly, "IS THE START OF A NEW ERA!" The crowd of adults and children all yelled in unison, agreeing with the woman. "WITCHES ARE ALIVE AND WELL! THEY HAVE BEEN POLUTING OUR LANDS AND POSIONING US ALL!" The crowd cried again, "WE CAN NOT WAIT FOR THE KING TO ACT! WE MUST ACT NOW AND END THIS PROBLEM ONCE AND FOR ALL! BY BURNING THE WITCHES LATER SHE SHALL BE SUMMONED! GOD HAS TOLD ME BY BURNING THE WITCH, WE WILL BE SET FREE! READY THE ROPE! PREPARE THE TORCHES!"
As Helga drew closer to the scene, her heart fell out of her chest. She couldn't understand why these people hated her family so much. Forcing her horse to a halt, Helga slipped off of the animal and pushed her way through the crowd. Her mind grew overwhelmed and quickly became disoriented as she grew closer to the house. Her breaths became rapid and light as she shoved her way to the front. Seeing the only connection to her mother light up in flames caused her mind to turn numb. Her hearing turned into a ringing noise as her attention to her surroundings quickly faded away. Her eyes burned from the smoke and ash, but all she could see was an image of her mother standing in front of their house. Her hair was tied back into her signature bun and she wore the same tattered dress she wore on the day she died.
Suddenly feeling hands grabbing her body and yanking her away, Helga couldn't help, but scream in pain as tears streamed down her red cheeks. No matter how hard she tried to fight in order to get away from the person, her body began to feel weak.
"HELGA!" Godric managed to scream over to roar of the crowd before jumping off of his horse. Shoving his way through the chaotic people, Godric kept getting elbowed and shoved around. His mind turned into a state a panic as he saw a glimpse of the town people pushing Helga upon her back and tying her to the tree. Between hearings her cries and everyone else's yelling, Godric's brain started to pulse in pain. Gripping the handle upon his sword, the prince unsheathed his weapon and held up to the grown men who stood in his path, "MOVE YOU ARSES!"
The men took this a sign of betrayal and tightened their grips upon their farmer weapons. Within the background people began chanting something as Helga's cries grew to pain. Not allowing his opponent to strike first, Godric stepped in and kicked the man in his stomach. As the man doubled over, the prince used the butt of his sword and hit him upon the back of his head. Several other men jumped from the site and sprung to attack the prince. As his mind race a hundred miles per second, Godric allowed his natural instincts to concur his mind. Left and right, Godric swung, punched, and kicked not caring how many times he's been knocked down and scratched. Eventually an older man managed to hit Godric in the face with the butt of his pitch fork. Stumbling back, holding his face in pain, Godric instantly felt his nose drip blood. Removing his hand from his face, the ginger hair kid's appearance turned from sane to beastly. Glancing at the man with eyes of hatred, Godric sprung forward and slashed his sword right through the man's shirt. Blood instantly flooded from the man's body as he fell to the floor crying in pain. Godric than turned to face his remaining enemies that stood between him and Helga. Glancing behind one of his enemies, Godric saw as the black hair woman grabbed a torch and threw it upon the willow. Slowly the fire grew fiercer as Helga's cries turned to screams of agony.
"SOD OFF!" Godric bellowed before his mind completely shut off all of his sanity. Sprinting, Godric took on several men at a time, breaking more of their blows during the process. When he saw an opportunity, the prince struck making sure the blade of his sword grazed their flesh but did not kill. By each passing second, there seemed to have been more and more men raising to their feet ready to fight to prince again. As Godric's breath grew shallower, his steps grew heavier. His body felt like it's been pelted by rocks and dropped into the bottom of a lake. His face was cut and covered from blood that trickles from his forehead and nose. Despite Godric's cut up clothes and bloody sword, he held a deep loathing feeling for the people of this town. He didn't want to know anything about them, and quite frankly, he didn't care what happened to them after his blade had pierced their bodies, but subconscious kept a whispering reminder to stop his body from killing the corrupted town's people.
Before having a chance to get through the small gap between opponents, someone from behind stuck the back of his neck and his gaze grew hazy as he felt his weighted body tumble upon the dirt flooring. Darkness crept from the sides of his eyes as he watched his friend burning upon the tree. Trembling, Godric lifted his hand towards Helga's direction before feeling his sight fade and his body relax.
Reforming their group, the beaten and bloody town's people cheered in victory as they chanted, "BURN WITCH, BURN!"
"YOU ARE SENTENCED TO DEATH ON THE COUNT OF WITCHCRAFT BY THE PEOPLE!" The ratted charcoal hair woman cackled over Helga's dying screams.
As the citizens cheered, a hooded boy upon a black steed raced in, gripping his sword until his knuckles where white. His deep green reaped nothing but death as he rushed up to the black hair woman and slit her throat. Blood gushed out of her throat as an unnatural gurgling noise emerged from her mouth. Ignoring the panicking crowd, the hooded boy turned his attention the Helga and cut the ropes that bonded her to the tree. Grabbing her blistering body, he threw her away from the tree and upon the dirt. Slipping off of his horse, the boy quickly stomped out the fire that continued to burn Helga's squire clothes before pulling a thin hand crafted wooden stick out of his cloak.
"You brought this upon yourselves," he sneered before whispering some words. A bright light shot out of the tip of the stick and shot at one of the many men that surrounded the fainted prince. With each step he took, the figure's voice grew increasingly louder by each curse. The crowd turned to chaos as they scattered in all directions. Most of the boy's curses struck the backs of random citizens causing them to stumble upon the floor as a few of his curses were purposely pointed away from people. As the village evacuated, a smirk grew upon the hooded boys face. Pulling off his hood, the boy leaned over Helga's body. "Stay with me," he whispered.
Helga's gaze was blocked by nothing but sooth and tears, but as she stared at the boy a small smile grew upon her weary face. "Salazar?" She whimpered before caving into the pain and allowing her body to faint.
Salazar's face instantly grew grim as he scooped up the girl into his arms. Laying her upon her stomach on his horse, Salazar went back and grabbed Godric's body. Salazar did the same thing for the prince, except upon Godric's white horse. He than climbed upon his stallion, and wrapped Godric's horse's reigns within one of his fists before galloping out of the village and away from everything. Never glancing back, Salazar's large pupil's slowly returned to their average size by the time they were miles away from Valley Board.
Coming back to his senses, Salazar inhaled a deep breath of air before looking at his surroundings in complete confusion.
"W-What?" He gasped, before glancing over at Godric's horse. Seeing Godric's bloody face lay limply over the horse, Salazar's mind turned to a state of panic. Pulling off of the main trail, Salazar entered the forest that followed the path in search for a river of some sort. It took a while, but once he stumbled upon a big enough stream, Salazar slipped off of his horse and tied their reigns to a tree branch. Pulling Godric's body off of the horse, Salazar rested him next to the stream. Taking off his cloak, Salazar folded it up and used it as a pillow for Godric's head.
"I need a cloth," Salazar choked before standing back up and returning to his horse. Seeing Helga upon his horse, Salazar panic grew even worst. Godric was a bloody mess, but Helga had burns and blusters all over her body. Cradling her body into his, Salazar's eyes started to water up, "What did you two get into?"
Walking back to the stream he rested her body next to Godric's and instantly started pouring the water upon her burns. Apply pressure upon the blustering wounds on her legs, Salazar's mind rummaged through all of the things he could possibly do to help her. After a few seconds, he remembered John teaching him about a natural remedy that could help. All he needed to do was find the supplies.
In fear of thinking they would wake up and he wasn't there, Salazar grabbed an arm full of wood and pulled out some spark rocks from Godric's belongings. After the fire was lit, Salazar made it his prime mission to find the plants and berries he needed.
Feeling as if his skull was being ripped apart, Godric slowly began to wake up from his long rest. At first, his vision was hazy and filled with warm colors, but as he blinked away from ashes from his eyes, Godric quickly realized that the warmth wasn't just in his head. He was actually lying next to a fire in the middle of some forest. Glancing to his left, he noticed Helga barely breathing, instantly a strike of guilt bubbled. He didn't have enough strength to save her from all those people. He wasn't strong enough to cut her away from the tree before the fire got too bad.
Glancing down as he burnt clothes, Godric noticed random patches of a green like paste upon her skin. From the pattern of the paste, Godric automatically assumed that's where she was burned. Most of it was down by her feet and a little bit upon her arms and stomach, but not nearly as bad as her legs. Turning his attention away from his friend, Godric shut his eyes and allowed the smell of food fill his lungs. His mouth began to water as his stomach bellowed out in hunger. Opening his eyes once again, the prince watched the star's beaming through the openings within the trees before looking over his body to the right.
There rested a well maintained fire with some pot resting upon it. A mouthwatering smell, bubbled from the pot but Godric didn't have enough energy to lift his body up and check out what was inside it.
"I'm glad to see you're doing better," a familiar voice chuckled. Instantly, Godric's attention turned to a boy who sat upon an up rooted tree root, with his back pressed into the tree trunk. The boy held a hand knife and a thick looking branch.
"Salazar?" Godric managed to ask before feeling the pain upon his face grow worst.
Shaking his head, Salazar continued to crave at the branch with his knife, "Don't talk, prince. You were in some big fight. I don't think you won."
Godric watched as Salazar silently whittled his branch, "I don't think it matters if I won or didn't." The prince eventually whimpered before pushing his body off of the floor. Spikes of pain streamed through his body but he didn't want to appear weak, "All that matters is that Helga I safe."
Turning to look at Godric, Salazar's expression grew worried, "You shouldn't get up."
"Oh, sod off," the ginger hair boy managed to weakly chuckle as he tried his best to peek into the pot.
With a chuckle, Salazar simple shook his head, "It's vegetable stew. Nothing fancy, but I couldn't go using all of our supplies on the first night."
As a smile grew upon his face, Godric turned his eyes back to Salazar's hands, "I guess you're right," he chuckled before continuing, "I thought you weren't going to come."
"And let you guys have all the fun?" Salazar laughed, "As if! Besides, if I didn't come your sorry butts would be laying on the floor dead by now."
"Guess you're right," Godric weakly shrugged, "but don't go thinking I'm weak, you hear? I was fighting against a village of men! So I had to fight waves and waves of adults!"
Salazar lifted his hands innocently, "Didn't say you were weak, prince. Anyways, you two had me worried out of my mind! What did you guys do?"
"Well," tapping his chin with his index finger, Godric pondered upon the thought, "We were going to follow the map, but Helga wanted to stop by her house to get some herbs and clothes. We purposely went around the village so they wouldn't catch us, but by the time we got there, they were burning her house. One thing led to another and here we are with you. Speaking of which, how did you find us?"
Shrugging Salazar put down his knife and branch into his pouch before grabbing two bowls from their inventory. Scooping the bowls into the soup, Salazar hands one of the bowl to Godric and kept the other for himself.
"Well, I was following you guys the whole time, but you happened to be a few miles ahead of me. By the time I found you guys, whatever fight had happened already happened. So, I took you guys as far away from the village as I could before I noticed that both your wounds were worst than I imagined." Refusing to tell Godric that he happened to just find him on his horse, and they were already beaten up in the middle of nowhere, Salazar pretended to play it off as if he actually picked them up at the village.
Nodding his head, Godric chuckled, "Alright. Makes sense, but why didn't you use stuff that was in Valley Board?"
"What if the people came back?" Salazar spat back.
This time Godric raised his hands innocently before sipping the soup from his bowl, "Okay, I get it." He chuckles humorously before glancing back at Helga with an upset expression, "I wish I could have done more."
"You did everything you could," Placing a hand upon Godric's shoulder gently, Salazar looked into his friends blue eyes, "She's okay now. That's all that matters."
Releasing a sigh, Godric nodded his head, "You're right. That's all that matters."
The two boys sat in silence for a while, just eating and thinking in their own minds, but after a bit, the silence started to get the best of Godric. All he thought about was how he couldn't help Helga any more than he did. He thought of all the signs that showed it was going to be a horrible idea to check out the scene, and how he could have stopped her, yet she managed to slip in between his fingers.
Salazar, on the other hand, couldn't help but wonder how he managed to find Godric and Helga. All he ponder on was how did he save them because he doesn't recall a single thing. He didn't even remember leaving that morning. In fact, he didn't even remember going to sleep last night. The last thing he recalled was a faint whisper echoing in his ears for hours at end.
As the fire snapped, Helga released a faint cry and the two boys whipped their heads around to stare at the girl. She was still fast asleep, which was a good sign, but they still were extremely worried about her health.
"Tomorrow we need to return to the castle," Salazar demanded, "We need to make sure she'll be okay."
With a scoff, Godric pulled out his map from his waist and set his bowl down, "If we're not too far away from the castle, we can. If we are, then we might as well as travel to the nearest city."
Scanning the map, Godric struggled to figure out where they were at, especially since he wasn't conscious to see which direction they headed to. Growing frustrated, Godric blew on his bangs making them get out of his face. Wanting to question Salazar, a small red lion print faded upon the map as the map shinned from the fire place. Godric's eyes grew wider as he watched the event occur yet he didn't say anything. Why would Salazar believe him? Maybe he was imagining it, he did get struck in the head pretty hard. The only thing that really stumped the prince was the fact that the lion was in the forest where Godric guessed they were at.
Looking at the length from their spot to the castle, it seemed like it was going to take a several day trip to return, yet the city that Godric told Helga he wanted to stop at was only a day trip at most. Growing baffled, Godric rubbed his eyes, "How did we travel so far away from home?" He questioned to Salazar not really expecting a reply.
"What are you talking about?" Salazar choked upon his soup before looking at the map that Godric was staring at. Seeing the huge gap between them and his home, Salazar's mind started to panic. How much did Salazar miss in his life? How long did he travel with his friends before realizing they were hurt?
Handing Salazar the map, Godric ran his fingers through his messy hair, "Man, I must look like a mess?" He chuckled, trying to lighten the stressed air between the two of them.
Salazar simple shook his head, "I cleaned your face why you were sleeping and put some of the stuff upon your cuts. Your wounds will heal a lot faster than Helga's." Passing the map back at Godric, Salazar's expression seemed to be in a daze.
Clearing his throat, Godric glanced over at Salazar, "So I guess we're heading for Glen tomorrow, huh?"
Salazar did nothing, but nod his head in reply. Once the boys finished their food in silence, Salazar washed out their tins and put them away. He then made himself comfortable upon the root of the tree before speaking once again, "I'll take first watch. You need your rest."
Without rebutting, Godric just nodded his head and rested upon the floor once again. He couldn't drift to sleep, but he pretended to for Salazar's sake. Several hours passed before he realized Salazar accidentally stumbled to sleep, so Godric laid there watching the night sky and hearing their fire crackle.
The night was actually one of the most beautiful nights the ginger hair boy had seen in a long time. The sky was so clear that you could see the stars perfectly and watch as the moons glow crossed the sky. Despite the morning being chilly, the night was relatively warm with a small breeze of cool air every now and again.
Watching the sky in silence, Godric could only hear the distant animals making their calls as the fire crackled every few seconds. Once the small breezes started to pick up, a gently voice trailed along with it, "Come quickly," it whispered. The voice sounded like it came from a young girl who seemed to be in a bit of distressed, "She may die if you do not hurry."
Drifting to sleep, Godric didn't register the fact Helga wasn't the one whispering in his ear. He just assumed it was her and quickly started to drift off as his body grew heavier.
"I will." Godric mourned before falling into slumber.
"Good." The girl's voice replied as the winds faded and the night sky seemed to glow brighter, "We shall meet in Glen."