The Cursed

"We don't serve your kind here," muttered the barman, walking towards the pilgrim, pushing him back out of the pub, closing the door behind him

"Ah," the pilrim raised his hand in objection, but the noise from the door stifled his complaint. Typical.

He sighed and turned around to see a girl staring at him, looking slightly startled. He immediately brought his hood up again, an awkward expression on his face. He knew the mask was a little... intimidating, but surely it wasn't that bad?

But the girl seemed unperturbed and she grabbed hold of his sleeve, tugging him away. He was about to object, but she silenced him with a steely glance. He shuddered: bandits were one thing, but determined women were another... It was best he just went along with her for now, maybe she could find him some food and a bed? But the cart... Ah well, it wasn't going anywhere, he could leave it for now. Why wouldn't she tell him where she was taking him? He closed his eyes. Maybe she couldn't tell him. Perhaps she was mute? Huh? Had she stopped?

The pilgrim was still walking as he thought this, but the girl stuck out her leg and he fell over in a heap on the ground. He picked himself up and adjusted his mask, wincing painfully. She pointed at a door next to them and then above it. At first he wasn't sure what she meant, but then he noticed. The white paint mark above the door in the shape of the cross. He really needed more details, but this little girl obviously wasn't going to give them to him. He looked at her and then pointed at himself.

"You want me to deal with this? That why you dragged me here?" he said, sighing. He'd been trying to avoid towns for exactly this reason. Just because someone was ill didn't mean... But then another thought niggled at his brain. What if the person actually was... He nodded at the girl and followed her into the hovel the door lead to. A minor wave flowed over him as he entered. The girl had been right after all, but the prescence seemed to weak to be a demon.

She lead him to a few shabbily knocked together planks of wood that were meant to be a bed and a construct made from similar materials meant to resemble a chair. On it sat a man, his face haggard and dissipated. He stared at the pilgrim and the light of hope returned to his eyes, like a flash of electricity from a long discarded battery.

"Are you...?" he croaked, "Can you help my daughter?"

The pilgrim looked at the bed. On it lay a girl, writhing in her fitful sleep, bound to the bed by cables. But that wasn't the most obvious thing about her - she was covered from head to toe (at least the bits not enveloped by clothes) with archaic writing and runes. This wasn't a possession, the pilgrim realised with a start, this was something much worse. Immediately the pilgrim's backpack was open, many instruments, vials, parchments and such soon littered the floor.

He looked at the girl's father, "I'll try," he said.

The End

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