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   Chapter 31 No.31

The Book of Deacon By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5497

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:03


After a day of spending, Myranda headed back to the inn with a handful of essential items for the days to come. A small, one-person tent was tucked under her one good arm, and a sturdy new pack filled with provisions was slung onto her back. Only a few pieces of copper remained in her pocket, but she had all she needed. Her last errand was to seek someone to give attention to the afflicted shoulder.

Healers had been a scarcity ever since enemy pressure required all available clerics to report to duty immediately. That was several years ago. Still, until recently here and there one could find an apprentice cleric or an alchemist deemed unfit for duty. Now even that was becoming rarer, as each year more laws were passed to prevent medical practitioners from treating anyone who had not served in the Alliance Army. It was just another way to prevent the people from avoiding service.

Myranda had just given up looking for one when she noticed a very urgent message arriving. A horse was galloping as quickly as its legs would carry it through the half-cleared street. When it reached the center of town, the rider jumped off. He seemed to be as winded as the horse, and drew an eager crowd around him.

"The old church is on fire!" he exclaimed.

The eyes of the crowd turned to the north horizon. A wisp of black smoke in the distance confirmed his story. Myranda felt a pang of fear burn in the back of her mind.

"That old place was bound to come down one of these days. It had been rundown for years, " a grizzled old man said.

"That isn't all. There were men, some of ours, dead. I went to see the fire, I saw them o

receded into the distance entirely that she pulled herself from her frigid hiding place. Ice clung to her cloak and chilled her to the bone, but at least the terrible throbbing in her shoulder had numbed.

Shivering, she reached into the snowy alcove and pulled out her things. All that was left was the sturdy pack, loaded with some food and water, and the travel tent. She set her body to the daunting task of hoisting the essential apparatus to her back and her mind to the still more taxing task of escaping the area, as well as the near impossible task of clearing her name.

In a perfect world, she would merely have to explain the truth to be freed of blame. In the here and now, though, she was a stranger and the victims were the beloved soldiers. She was as good as dead. There was a task at hand, though, so the task at mind could wait. The pack was across her back, the tent tied to the top. She was anything but a small target and could barely walk under the weight of her things. If she was to escape this place with her freedom, it would be through nothing short of a miracle.

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