Monday, October 7, 2013

Hunter's Fragment

Idylls of the King - Gustave Dore

The wind blew hard, loudly and ominously, tearing through the beleaguered countryside like so many fell ghosts. All around, ominous groaning emanated from trees that were only one hard gust away from crashing towards the ground.
            All in all, it was not the sort of scene anyone wanted to be in, when he had already been walking for a whole day and a good part of the night. The unforgiving cold sank deep into bone.
            But Lukas was a different breed; he had a temperament that years of training far harsher than anything this weather could bring had forged. The sinews in his muscles were so prepared that he could barely feel the cold stinging against his exposed hands. He was in his own element, certainly, but he was anything but calm,
            Why did every thought of her haunted his waking actions? He had been told never to feel: never to let an inch of sentiment cross his mind. And yet here he was. What would Epicurus say? He had no clue. It really didn't matter. Her face haunted him more than any teacher or instructor’s. Had he known this girl for how long? No. Two days at most. Still, all the education and lectures seemed like a pale haze compared to it. He wondered if he was falling in love. He hoped not, because he could be executed for that if it became known, but he felt sure that wasn't the reason. There was something about her that kept teasing the edges of his head. There was something important he had forgotten. He just couldn't tell what that was.
            He shook his head violently. There would be other times to face his personal demons, but now was not one of them. Tomorrow wasn't going to be one of them either. In fact, Lukas had learned from long experience not to face personal demons. It was best to let the demons be, and usually if he concentrated hard enough, he could drive the offending thoughts from his mind. Sleep was the only thing he truly dreaded. Long discipline had taught him to keep his doubts silent in his waking hours, but nothing kept them from his dreams.
            He forced himself to focus: on the path ahead, on the cruel, painful wind, on the distant sound of sheep bleating, on anything that kept her eyes out of his mind, but nothing seemed to work. Not this time. Nothing was able to rid his conscience of her eyes, those eyes that always seemed to remind him of what he could never remember no matter how his mind tried. He had just about given everything up for lost when he saw a small, golden chink of light half a mile up the road. An inn! Not a nice one by any means, but still, it was somewhere to stay the night! It provided a welcome distraction. His mind fixed on the ethereal glow of the candlelight, banishing his poltergeists  back to the shadowy corners of his soul. 

 - Brendan 

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