The Adventures of Kyran The Luckless Recruit - Episode 2
Author: Elyss Koh'inor
Help Kyran the Luckless Recruit navigate a path of danger and excitement! At the end of each episode, vote in the comments to set Kyran in the right direction. If you haven’t read the first episode, click here to catch up.
Kyran made a decision. He would stay with the merchant caravan. At least long enough for him to get a cloak and enough money for food. Maybe if the odd feeling he got from these merchants wore off he would even stay with them until they reached Tar Valon.
“I’ll take the job,” he said.
The merchant smiled. “It’ll be good to have you lad.” He clapped Kyran on the shoulder.
Kyran saw a few of the men looking at him, giving him almost the same appraising look their leader had. The dogs, which had been tied by their collars to one of the wagons, still growled at him when Kyran looked in their direction.
“’ey Morris! Grab our new man here a cloak. We don’t want ‘im freezin’ to death on us.” The leader said.
A man rummaged through the interior of one of the wagons for a few minutes. Kyran was given a dark brown cloak, which he quickly wrapped around himself. It smelled like tobacco and dogs and had a few stains on one side, but it was warm.
“Get some rest lad,” the leader said. “You look tuckered out. We’ll be movin’ tomorrow, bright and early.”
Kyran nodded. He didn’t need much more convincing. He rolled over and laid down by the fire. His sword and belt he took off, but after thinking about it for a moment Kyran decided he would cradle it in one arm while he slept. He had agreed to work with these men, but that didn’t mean he trusted them yet.
The warmth of the fire and his belly full of bread made Kyran fall asleep quickly, while the merchant leader talked quietly with his men.
Kyran’s eyes opened. The fire was lower, and it was colder than before. But that hadn’t woken him.
There was silence in the camp. The others must be asleep. Kyran forced himself to breath easily, as if he were still asleep. What had woken him?
He felt the movement before he heard it. A fist swinging through the cold night air. Kyran twisted in his cloak, the blow glancing off of his shoulder instead of hitting his head.
It was a blur of movement after that. Hands and feet seemed to surround him on all sides, punching, kicking.
Kyran thrashed and tried to disentangle himself. He tried to get to his feet, to fight, but it was useless. Hands grabbed at his sword but Kyran wouldn’t let it go. He heard curses, and the voice of the merchant leader. He heard the big dogs barking from somewhere else in the camp.
The light of the campfire renewed itself, and kept growing. Kyran could see the flames through the legs of his attackers. The fire had become a pillar of flame and smoke.
Kyran felt as though there was a fire within himself as well. He continued to thrash, and managed to get to his feet and draw his sword.
The men were confused now, stunned by the sudden explosion of the campfire. The flames were slowly dying down.
Kyran took advantage of their confusion. He ran through a gap in the men, towards the edge of the camp.
Someone tried to grab at his cloak as he passed but Kyran swung his sword. There was a startled yell, and Kyran saw in the light of the dying fire that he had sliced the man’s forearm.
He continued running. Into the darkness, through the trees. He heard the dogs barking behind him, but they weren’t chasing him. The men had been too scared by the sudden pillar of fire to think of setting the dogs on him.
In truth, Kyran was scared of that fire as well. Where had it come from? The men’s reactions told him they hadn’t set it off. What had happened?
Those questions tore at Kyran until the first gray light of dawn appeared. He had continued moving all during the rest of the night. Not running, but walking and jogging briskly through a few inches of fresh snow.
Now with the light of dawn coming over a few trees, Kyran could see a town in front of him. Smoke was starting to come from a few chimneys, but no lights showed yet.
He had the beginning of an idea of where the sudden burst of flame had come from, but he wasn’t sure if he liked it. Kyran had only seen that type of work with fire once before. The previous summer, when he had gone to a celebration and bonfire at the Tower. An Aes Sedai had lit a huge stack of wood all at once with a wave of her hand.
Had he channeled, triggered by his fear? Kyran had heard stories before that said things like that could happen.
He tried to think about what he felt about the possibility of being able to channel, but he was so tired it was difficult for him to stay on one train of thought for long.
By the time he reached the village he could see light from a few windows, and smoke came from nearly every chimney. He saw the largest building had a sign out front, marking it as an inn.
Kyran opened the door of the inn and came into the warm main room. He had become numb to the cold as he had fled the merchants’ camp, but now he felt the warmth return to his skin and instinctively drew towards the fire.
“Blood and ashes man you look terrible.”
The innkeeper had come in. It was a man of the type most innkeepers seemed to be, plump, with a kind face and few gray hairs on his head.
“How far is it to Tar Valon?” Kyran asked. He didn’t know how far he could trust the merchant leader’s word after the events of the previous night.
The innkeeper seemed confused, but he brought Kyran a chair closer to the fire. “Close to four hundred miles. You don’t seem to be in any condition to walk though lad.”
Kyran sank into the chair. He knew the innkeeper was right. He had started shivering violently as his muscles relaxed, and dizziness was setting in.
Don’t people get sick after they channel? Kyran thought. The innkeeper was talking to him but Kyran wasn’t listening. What if I channeled? What will I do?
“Do you need a room lad?”
“I need to get to Tar Valon.” Kyran said. The Aes Sedai would know what to do.
The innkeeper frowned. “Are you sure lad, those bloody Aes Sedai aren’t…”
He trailed off as Kyran shook his head. “I’m a Recruit of the White Tower. I need to get to Tar Valon.”
“I could sell you a horse if you’re determined.” The innkeeper said slowly.
Kyran hesitated. “I don’t have any money.”
The innkeeper puffed out his cheeks, thinking hard. “Did you get that sword at the Tower?”
Kyran’s knuckles tightened around his sword.
“I’d trade you for it. A good horse for the sword.”
It was a bargain. Even a sword from Tar Valon wasn’t worth as much as a decent horse. Kyran was beginning to feel nauseous. He had to get to the Tower as soon as possible, but he didn’t know how sick he was going to get. But he would have to give up his sword.
He tried to stand but the dizziness made him sit down again. The innkeeper seemed kind enough, but was he trustworthy enough to ask for aid?
What should Kyran do? Should he ASK for the innkeeper’s help, or TRADE his sword for a horse and travel towards the Tower?
Vote in the comments before Feb. 25 to help determine Kyran's fate!