A Mysterious Visitor

Darinal was disturbed by a rustling in the forest nearby.

He had been supervising his youngest son, Darol, taking his first steps by the edge of the forest where they would not be disturbed at this time.

Dusk was swirling around the small village of Haven, but there was such a fantastic community within the village that residents were not afraid of nightfall.

Despite the costant influx of strangers to the secluded village, people had made their peace with mysterious visitors invading their inn and buying from their merchants.

The tourism level was actually considered to be a good thing; due to the weary travelers often using Haven as a sort of pit-stop, merchants could be excused for raising their prices to the newcomers.

Darinal was a blacksmith - 'The finest weapons outside Hated' read the sign above his shop.

He also had some experience with an axe; being employed as a lumberjack by neighbours, he was able to handle himself with a weapon. It was simply an extension of his hand.

But he was unarmed now, and alone at the edge of the forest.

His gaze instantly flicked to his son, who was only three feet away, stumbling away slowly, but making progress nonetheless.

Silently, he crept over to his son and swept him off his feet, holding him in his arms and trying to keep him silent too.

Visitors rarely arrived from this direction, and normally they made themselves known, for fear of being misconstruded as an invader.

But this arrival was unannounced, and as of yet remained silent.

Darinal was once again interupted by a feeling of concern for his youngest. His other two sons, Derin and Dascal had months ago left Haven in search for glory, and he and his wife Floral were yet to see them again. They had no desire to see the back of Darol also.

Taking several steps back, Darinal saw the figure emerge as a silhouette. Huge - at least nine feet tall - the stranger was either mounted on a horse or some mythical being of huge proportions.

As the figure edged closer to the edge of the forest and the boundaries of Haven, Darinal was reluctant to shout out for help, in fear of the invader striking him or his son down. Darinal was no coward, but he knew when the odds were against him.

However, he breathed a sigh of relief as the mysterious stranger entered the moonlight and revealed himself as a semi-clothed man on horseback, seemingly unconscious.

Blood soaked the right side of his steed, and looking up, Darinal saw the source of the bloodflow - the rider's right arm was cut off at the elbow, and the blood was only being stemmed by a makeshift tourniquette of purple cloth, now streaked with the ruby glow of blood.

As the stranger seemed to pose no threat, Darinal set down his son as the stranger fell to his horse, landing only feet away from Darol. Looking around, Darinal saw that the curiosity of nobody else was aroused by this arrival. It seemed that this visitor's survivial was his responsibility now.

The End

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