Bain looked at the man differently now. At first, he had taken him for mad, but now the man had produced something unforeseen. He might still be mad, but the coincidence was too great. Bain’s curiosity wasn’t helping any either. If there was even a slight possibility of getting a power like that…
“Can you teach me that, Warlock?” Bain slowly calmed his furious heart.
Malkoff gave him a sidelong glance. “I am no Warlock. Just a man cursed to share his body.” Malkoff looked to the door. “You must go see your wife, before it is too late.”
Bain gripped his sword once more. “What are you talking about? What do you mean too late?”
Malkoff did not answer, but instead gave a sad sigh, then walked out of the room. Bain noticed then something he hadn’t during the fight or even when Malkoff walked in; Malkoff had a white aura glowing around his form, like a picture frame. Was it a trick of the eye? Bain still had a glare in his eyes from the light earlier. Maybe it had just been a trick…? No, something deep inside told Bain this man was not joking, nor did he ever. Just who was Malkoff Lichtengel?
Bain walked from the room with thoughts buzzing through his mind like a swarm of bees. Was this what it felt like when he tried to teach the sword stances to his soldiers? They already had thoughts of home, along with thoughts of the next battle going through their minds, then with Bain teaching them the sword stances and purposes, it would probably have been a mess. Bain was lucky. From birth he had been taught in stages and always was quick to learn and understand. Knowledge, useful knowledge, was something that he obsessed over.
That alone is what dictated his next action.
“Sir Lichtengel,” Bain said when he found the man outside in the stables, “I would like you to accompany me so I may understand this ability you have. You would be pardoned from any work you have and I can pay your expenses. You would also be a guest at my home and dine in the finest of dishes. What say you?”
The large man looked at Bain for only a moment, then chuckled. “I had planned to follow you whether you allowed it or not, but this is good. Thank you.”
Bain was irritated at the comment but it disappeared when he spotted Dalzig. The horse was alright! These next few days would be great. He could feel it! Bain rushed to the black Stallion and checked over his body. Aside from some nicks and a bruise, Dalzig was in great condition. Maybe even riding condition!
“I knew you would not fall, friend,” Bain said.
Dalzig snorted in answer and kicked a few times. He was impatient as well. Bain could laugh. The horse wanted to be off just as much as Bain. But, he couldn’t chance it. Those cuts could be infected and that bruise might be worse than it looked. He would have to inspect Dalzig fully before he went back to Garrison’s March.
Malkoff waited silently while Bain did the inspection and watched people who passed. They stared at him in turn and seemed to avoid getting close. It wasn’t surprising, considering how Malkoff stuck out like a sore thumb. Not surprising. A large, cloaked man was nothing short of suspicious. Had it not been for the man saving Bain’s life earlier, Bain himself might have his sword at the ready.
It was odd, though. This man was a complete stranger and an oddity as well, yet Bain felt comfortable around him. He even trusted him somehow. It was like the long lost brother he never had. No, closer than that. It felt like this man was part of Bain. A more depressing and uneducated part, but a part nonetheless.
Bain finished up and re-saddled Dalzig, as he had to remove the saddle for inspection. It was time to go. The trip home would be long, but in the few hours left in the day, they could at least get part of the way before nightfall. Dalzig had had a nice long rest as well.
“Are you ready, Sir Lichtengel?” Bain asked, hoping on Dalzig and transferring his sword to his back. It would be faster to pull and attack that way.
Malkoff walked over and nodded. “Let’s get going.”
Bain laughed. “You’ll need a horse. I fear your legs are no match for Dalzig’s.” The man looked thoughtful, but realized Bain had a point. Was this man stupid? Or was it just that he had never traveled with others? Bain set a fast pace. The boy named Zero had found that out.
‘I wonder how he is doing.’
‘Fine, I am sure.’
They had to travel to the nearby stable to buy a horse for Malkoff. It wasn’t a long walk, but they did have to pass the road that they fought on. It was a surprise when they reached the point. Not because people were gathered. Not because a few guards were inspecting the corpses.
No, the thing that surprised both Bain and Malkoff, was the lack of Cultist corpses.
“There he is!” someone called in the crowd when Bain came into view, “He is the murderer!”