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Captain of the Guard: The Sixth Companion

September 19, 2019

Leslie had found a purpose, abandoned his father, donned a simple robe, tied it closed with a piece of hemp, a plant which a lot of followers of the Mother loved for reasons that Leslie didn’t understand, stuck the holy writ into his makeshift belt and headed into the wilderness while eschewing anything that had been made from an animal.

He had been meditating, which mainly involved scratching bug bites and listening to his stomach rumble, when he had seen the glow of fire in the distance and immediately headed off to fight the blaze which threatened the forest and all the woodland creatures that depended on him (despite getting on quite well without him for generations).

He had no doubt that such a blaze was caused by the callous indifference of man (he was right that it was done by man and callously, the indifference part was incorrect. This may be a minor quibble, but this kind of erroneous thinking tended to get Raven into trouble).

In that state Raven ran into Cedric, his men, and the others, which Cedric tried not to think of as companions (and which his men were starting to refer to as his camp followers and jokingly complaining that he was getting the wrong type).

Raven stopped, took several deep breaths, and after a moment pulled him self up into what he thought was a haughty and condescending manner. “Who travels in the dark of night as if fleeing for their misdeeds?”

Cedric stopped his horse and looked at the scrawny man with the hooknose, and mangy scraps of beard that were just barely more than peach fuzz. “You?”

“What?” That was not the answer Raven had expected and it extracted a nonplussed response from him. He tried to salvage what he thought was his dignity, threw his shoulders back and tried to look down his nose, which was difficult when looking up at a man on a horse.

Cedric looked down at Raven, “You’re traveling at night and appear to be fleeing.”

“I’m not fleeing. I’m heading to yonder conflagration to stop it from causing anymore harm to the forest and upsetting the balance.”

“You need travel no further,” Vul said with a grin, “For yonder devastation is the destruction of a Traveler’s camp receiving just compensation for their cruel treatment of animals.”

“It is?” Raven tried not let his relief show. He was tired and sore and the idea of battling a fire was wearying.

“Tis true, stalwart guardian of nature.”

“Well met, then.” Raven bowed, “I am Raven Woodhaven, Guardian of the Wild, Lover of the Mother and Protector of the Balance.”

Vul flourished a bow from atop his horse, “I am Vul Tleftraeh, companion to the hero Cedric.” He gestured to the captain. “Join us on our quest.”

“Task” Cedric said reflexively and glared at Vul before snarling, “What are you doing?”

“Inviting the young follower of an ancient religion to join us.” Vul said with a grin then whispered to Cedric, “I feel sorry for the fool. Look at him: he’s starving to death. Besides, the cities have been filling with young idealists like him that believe they have resurrected an old and truer path. As a captain of the guard you should learn all you can from him.” Vul reached in his saddle and pulled out an apple and tossed it to Raven,

“Here my friend, have an apple that fell off a tree in its natural course.”

Raven was hungry enough to not be suspicious of the offering and ate the entire apple, down to the stem. “That was a kind gesture, sir, may the mother be kind to you in return.

“Lad, I will take what kindnesses that are offered.” Vul smiled in return.

 

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