Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Berserker Part 41

The heavy door to the apothecary’s shop flew open before Jarn could reach for the handle. Out stumbled Aniston, his face pasty and pale. Lars and Jarn helped him steady himself, leaning back against the shops’ exterior.

“What’s wrong?”, Lars asked urgently.

“Of all my life, that was the loathesome and dirtying experience I’ve ever had”, he gasped out, wiping his sweaty brow with a handkerchief.

Strung tight as a bow, the two burst into the room, prepared to see some twisted and depraved torture of the worst kind being acted out upon their friends.

If only it had been that straightforward. The apothecary was nowhere to be seen, but by the smoke drifting from the upper floor, the wierdroot had gotten him.

Near the back of the shop, Tyrel sat on a stool in front of Seryan’s table with his head down. Seryan lay on the table, pale, only then did they notice the steady dripping noise in the deep silence of the room. They came closer, trying to get Tyrel’s attention. But he was deep in his own realm, his head and hands clenching Seryan’s arm with fierce sorrow and pain. Such a scene would not be so disturbing if the arm Tyrel held was attached to something. It wasn’t.

The poor man’s left arm had been cut off just above the elbow. His wound was bound tightly with white linen and the stench of burned flesh indicated the stump had been cauterized. The blood slowly congealing on the table was dripping down in a steady trickle.

Fighting the bile threatening to choke his gorge, Jarn managed to place his hand lightly on Tyrel’s shoulder, trying to pull him out of his downward spiral. Tyrel looked up startled at the touch. Seeing his friends he tried to smile, his face a sickly green.

“What happened?”, Jarn asked gently, trying to humor the grieving man.

“The antidotes worked”, Tyrel responded through tear filled eyes. “But his arm was too far gone to help, it was infected and had to be taken. He called it an amputation”, jerking his thumb upward toward the smoke filled stairway.

“Will it work?”, Lars asked. “The apothecary thinks so, but that’s what he said about the antidote, and look what happened here”, waving the ghastly appendage at them without thinking, they were forced back a step by the horror of the thing.

“Could you put the arm down Tyrel?”, Lars asked as kindly as possible.

He looked at the arm as if he was seeing it for the first time. The he threw it disgustedly into a bucket of water on the floor in which a bloody saw bobbed.

“Did Aniston tell you why he came?”, Jarn asked

“No”, Tyrel replied, whiping his eyes. “He walked in just as we started. The apothecary’s painkilling potion worked but not well enough, so we had Aniston hold him down. He never told me anything before he had to leave.”

“Well, I don’t know how to tell you this”, Jarn continued. “But we have to leave in an hour’s time”.

“Why so quickly?”, Tyrel inquired. Jarn and Lars relayed the story in depth, using their bruises as bragging rights. At the finish Tyrel looked a little more like himself, their story had helped to take the plight of his friend of his mind.

“Well, he’s in no condition to travel”, Tyrel stated.

“But this city may come under attack”, Lars argued.

“If what you’ve told me is true, the army will make itself known long before any attacks occur. And if things get reall rough we can sneak out. Besides, I look forward to scouting out that tavern you mentioned”, Tyrel finished, even managing a smile.

“Right then”, Jarn said, preparing to leave. “We’ll see you in a week’s time maybe?”


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