~2

The following three days passed in somewhat of a blur for Laoch. He regaled his kind hosts with tales of heroes long past, men and women alike who had played a significant role in history. He recounted the awe-inspiring battles which had taken place; from the war of the North to the struggle to defeat the tyrant Alucard Revilo. The couple listened intently, their minds amazed by the world beyond the confines of their city walls. All the while, Laoch continued his recovery.

On the fourth morning following his arrival in An Chathair Solais, Laoch and Ahren sat in silence. Ahren leaned forward.
“Tell me, Laoch, do you intend to find the thieves who did this to you and gain justice?”
Laoch sensed the other man had desired to ask him the question for a while, but had been waiting for an appropriate moment. He did not answer immediately. He had not come to a decision on the matter himself. Vengeance would be sweet, but it was not his way to attempt to gain revenge. But the assault had left him with a bitter taste in his mouth.
“To be honest, Ahren, I do not know where my intentions lie. I need to deliberate a little further on the topic”.
“That is understandable”.
They sat in silence,, and after a time, Laoch retired to bed.

*****

Laoch awoke with a start. Someone was crashing about downstairs. He listened carefully. Suddenly, footsteps thundered down the stairs. There came the sound of yelling.
“The old hag has a rolling pin!”
“Get her!”
A scream echoed up the stairs, undoubtedly from Belnine. It was followed by a roar. Ahren’s footsteps stamped down the stairs. More yells and the sounds of a scuffle followed. Then Laoch heard the intruders fleeing. He raised himself from the bed, grimacing at the effort. He shuffled to the door and down the stairs.

Ahren was crouched over Belnine. He looked up as Laoch entered. Belnine was moaning, and her leg stuck out at an odd angle. Glancing through the window, Laoch saw the thieves who had ambushed him on his journey dash by.
“Those are the same people who attacked me”.
“I don’t know about you”, Ahren began, “but I mean to find them and make them pay for what they have done to my wife and to my home”.
Laoch looked at the other man. “And I mean to accompany you”.

*****

It was beginning to snow again. It had snowed often in recent times. The flakes fell obliquely. They crowded together at the base of the window-frame and began their ascent, slowly crawling up the pane of glass. A blanket of white covered the ground outside the window. It was probably snowing throughout the entire kingdom.

Laoch returned his gaze to the living area. A bright fire was burning in the hearth. The flames reach high, licking the charcoal black of the fireplace walls. Ahren entered the room and deposited a travel pack on the floor. Laoch had his ready beside him.

“I have been thinking,” Laoch began, “it would be wise for us to hire the services of a hunter. Their skills as trackers and as warriors may be of benefit to us.”
Ahren nodded. “I know of a suitable person”.

The End

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