This is a continuation from Kissing Scene 4 Part 1. Click on the link to get caught up!
He quickly dressed his wound with the healing kit he kept in his satchel. The pain was excruciating, but it appeared that he would live long enough to find a healing saint that could patch him up. He rested against the tree and began to create his next plan of attack.
He had a hard time focusing on anything for more than a few seconds. The blood loss and the trauma of the ambush made everything more difficult. After several failed attempts at creating a realistic route to safety he allowed his mind to wander back to the events preceding the ambush.
He had been part of a group of bandits that roamed the nearby highway for easy prey from far away counties. The black cat gang, they called themselves. Life with them had been hard, but rewarding. He had made some friends, but the gold was what had made him stay. The gold road was aptly named. Thousands of carriages wandered up and down the road every year, and the black cat gang was positioned at the largest cross roads. Everything was going fine, until everything went to shit.
He wasn’t sure exactly what had happened, but he was sure they had been set up. Everyone was in their typical positions. Kennith was the horse man, designated with stopping the horses in the road by any means necessary. Enru and Ernest were to cover the rear while everyone else was the hidden muscle. If the travelers were smart then the muscle wasn’t needed, but occasionally they made the mistake of believing only three people were present.
At first everything had gone according to plan. The horses were stopped and the rear of the wagon was covered. Then, before Kennith had even had a chance to demand the money, the driver raised his hand and snapped. That’s when everything went bad. Even now he couldn’t remember where dozens of armed riders had come from.
Everyone in the gang rushed towards their threatened comrades, but it was a hopeless massacre. Everywhere he looked his brothers fell into bloody pools of screams and agony. It was a miracle he had gotten away himself. He hoped he wasn’t the only survivor.
Playing the scene in his head seemed to clear his head. He couldn’t do anything for the dead so why concern himself with them? He groaned as he stood up. His head went fuzzy and he was worried he would pass out again. After leaning up against the tree for a few minutes to catch his breath, he stepped off towards what he thought was north.
He wished he had brought his compass with him on this heist. It seems like the only time you ever need something is when you don’t have it. It would have been really helpful right about now since he hadn’t paid attention to the direction he had run away from the road. He was pretty good with directions by using the stars and sun, but the night was dark and overcast.
Being lost didn’t mean he had to stay in one place. The knights that had ambushed him earlier could be tracking him down now, or they might be at a tavern drinking to a well-earned victory. The danger was in not knowing, so he hoped for the best and planed for the worst. That was why he was trying to head north. The north would mean safety.
If he managed to head north, the safety of the sabre tooth caves would hide him for a couple of days. He could get some water and maybe snare some food while he was there. The caves were deep enough for him to hide in should any sell swords or thieves come close to finding him. The only down side was that it would probably be an all-night hike, if he even made it there.
It didn’t take all night to hike to the caves. It didn’t even take an hour. He could see a light emanating from the entrance of a cave in about half an hour. He knew that was impossible, he knew there was no way the caves in front of him were sabre tooth cave. He stared at the entrance of the cave while he tried to figure out any realistic way to explain the cave in front of him. Then he saw a shadow flit across the cave. Curiosity overcame caution. He waited a few minutes to make sure no one was going to exit the cave, then snuck over to get a better view.
He noticed the smells of the cave before he saw anything. Once again he was caught off guard. He smelled a smoky fire and the unique aroma of slightly burnt bacon. The scents of raw honey, honey suckle, and straw accompanied the bacon with another mysterious smell. It was something disturbingly familiar like an old memory you’d rather forget, but he just couldn’t place it. Puzzled, he continued to move closer to the mouth of the cave.
He hid himself near the edge of the mouth of the cave. Huge spikes thrust themselves through the skin of the cave. Pale and rough, they looked like the specialized teeth of a predator. The orange light of the fire illuminated the interior of the cave. The floor was smooth and barren of stalagmites, while the roof was carpeted with delicate crystal hairs. Unlike the rest of the cave, the farthest reaches of the chamber were ink black, unlit by the light of the strong campfire. Tending the camp fire was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen.
She had deep black hair, like the feathers of a king crow. The fire light made it look like bands of moonlight were braided into it. The ends of it bobbed up and down above her shoulders as she chewed on some bacon. She had her face turned towards the fire preventing him from seeing her face, but he could see the oversized rough-spun dress that hung from one of her shoulders. It was a poor quality dress made just well enough to prevent nakedness. Here feet were dirty and bare.
He saw that she was unarmed. With nothing to fear he stepped into the fire light. The woman didn’t see him. She just kept eating her overcooked bacon and staring into the fire. He took another step forward and spoke in a strained, gravelly voice.
“Excuse me miss. I mean you no harm, but might a wounded man share your food and fire?”
He expected her to scream, or to be slightly startled, but she just stopped chewing and looked straight at him. He was the only one that was startled. She had the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen…