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Lowenna 2 : The Secrets Of Light And Darkness, chapter 2

Lowenna is getting close to Hymdale. but is there more danger ahead for our heroin

Chapter 2 the Water Wheel Inn

Lowenna approached the inn cautiously. Did she dare stop for one moon? A man suddenly ran out the door, "Come in and rest, it has been a while since we had any riders stay." Lowenna glanced back at the track she had been following. If the Lawmen were after her, would they catch her if she spent one moon in the inn?

Lowenna looked at the man, "I will take you up on your hospitality, but will need to leave early in the new sun, I am heading to Hymdale city."

"Of course, you are, and you are not too far away either, but come stay the moon, welcome to the Water Wheel Inn, we are the cheapest inn till you reach Hymdale city. Actually, we are the only inn, but we are still reasonable, and our food is the finest around these parts."

Lowenna smiled and dismounted, for some reason, she trusted this man, and it had been a long few moons. "Are you able to look after my horse?" She asked.

"Of course, we have a stable at the back. I will make sure it gets some food and a cool drink," the man replied. "Go in, go in, its dinner time; my wife is baking a wild boar and mushroom pie."

On cue, Lowenna's stomach grumbled, as she hadn't eaten much over the last few suns and a hot meal and some sleep were just what she needed. She passed the reins of her horse to the man and entered the inn.

Lowenna glanced around the large room. There were a desk and a stairwell right in front of her, a large table with several chairs and an opening to the kitchen to the left and down a couple of steps to the right was a snug little seating area with a large unlit fireplace. "By the Angelous," a woman's voice came from the kitchen and a short woman rushed out and went behind the desk. She had short brown hair and was untying her white apron "Welcome, to the Water Wheel Inn, " she continued after composing herself, throwing the apron behind her, "we don't get many customers this time of the sun, how long would you like to stay for?"

"Just one moon, I'm riding for Hymdale city," Lowenna replied 

"It's three darnars for the moon. That includes a hot meal and provisions for when you leave." Lowenna handed over the three middle size coins from Grilk's bag. "Thank you," the woman said with a nod. "Can I ask your name?"

Lowenna smiled not wanting to scare the woman before her, remembering when she had first chosen the name Lowenna. "My name is Wenna," she replied. She thought back to when she had awoken on the beach, with no name, no money, and no memory. It wasn't even that long ago, but she had been through so much, that it felt almost a lifetime ago.

"Wenna? That's an unusual name, is it short for anything?" The woman asked, and the smile quickly disappeared from Lowenna’s face. 

"No just Wenna," Lowenna lied, quickly. "Can I go to my room now, please?" 

"Yes, it’s the first door on the left up the stairs, but I'm about to serve dinner, it will be ready soon." The woman replied as she came back around the desk, passing Lowenna a large metal key.

"I'll just put my bags up there and will be right back," Lowenna said and went upstairs carrying her bags.

The door swung open, and Lowenna looked around her room. It was very spartan with only a bed and a chair. Lowenna took the three bags off her shoulder and stretched her arm. She emptied the contents onto the bed. Then placed her curved dagger, Grilk's brush and her purse in her floral bag, and placed it back on her shoulder. She placed her red leather covered Lowenna book, and the rest of her possessions Grilk's leather bag and left it and the other bag on the chair.

Lowenna nodded to herself and left her room, locking the door as she went. She walked down the corridor until she saw an open door. In the room, she saw what she was looking for, a toilet. She remembered hiding behind bushes relieving herself while keeping an eye out for the lawmen.

Also in the room, there was wash basin, a jug of water, stack of towels and a small mirror. She used the toilet and then washed her hands and face. She ran her wet fingers through her long red hair, which was a bit of a mess. She had only been tying it back to keep it out of her way for the last few suns. Now she left her long hair hanging down.

She brushed it with Grilk's brush, straightening her hair while trying not to think about what the old Orc might have used the brush for.

She smiled, as she looked at her reflection. Her hair was less tangled, and all the little cuts she had obtained since waking on the beach had magically healed. There was one small scar which hadn't healed, that was visible on her cheek. She believed she had obtained that before the beach.

Lowenna decided she had better get downstairs now, or she might not get any food. Her stomach was gurgling in anticipation, and the smells were making her mouth water.

The smell intensified as she came down the stairs. The pie wasn't huge but would serve three easily, and a basket of crunchy potatoes, and some crusty bread were also on the table. "Have a seat Wenna, you're just in time," the man who had invited her in said, as he sat down. Now Lowenna could see him in a better light she could see how good looking he was. Clean shaven, muscular, hair short and tidy the only thing a little odd was his ears, they were very tall and very slim. Lowenna couldn't help but smile at him but then she got an uneasy feeling and turned to look at the short woman.

"If looks could kill," Lowenna thought.

"My husband is not for ogling at," The woman stated as Lowenna sat down a little embarrassed. “Torin would not be interested in you.”

"I meant no offence," Lowenna replied, trying not to upset the woman any more than she already had, but the woman burst out laughing.

"Allow me to explain," Torin said as he grabbed a piece of bread, as his wife started to serve the food, still giggling. "I'm part elf, my grandfather on my father's side. All women when they meet an elf feel some attraction, it's just part of the magic. My wife loves to pull the, don’t stare at my husband rant but she knows I only have eyes for her," he swung his head back looking at his wife who leant over and kissed him, before handing Lowenna a plate with pie and potatoes on it.

"I'm not from around here, and have never met an elf or part elf before," Lowenna started to explain.

"I knew that you had never met an elf before because you found me attractive. If you had met a full elf, the magic wouldn't have worked, as it’s been diluted down the line. There aren’t that many elves who live outside of their forests now, so it’s unlikely you will ever meet a pure blood. Elves distrust all other races, and they like their isolated lives. My grandfather used to tell me stories about the wars, the elves were very powerful and dangerous in their forests, but they were hunted down, and the forests were destroyed by the dark legion."

"They were the ones who attacked and defeated the Lowenna?" Lowenna asked even though she was pretty sure of the answer.

"That’s right, but the Legion also went after anyone who could use magic, and killed anyone who got in their way. The Lowenna, the Mavens, the Elves, the Humans even the Green skins, the Dwarfs, the Nymphs and the Avions all felt the Legions might. Then after they had nearly killed everyone they just vanished. At least that's what my grandfather told me.

After the Legion had disappeared some of the survivors started fighting among themselves for territory. Others went into isolation trying to undo and rebuild and some even banded together to try and wipe out the surviving Lowenna, but an uneasy peace has lasted for a long, long, time. Even now very few races intermix, but my grandfather wanted more from life than to live in the trees, so he left the forest and married a human, and almost lived happily ever after.

"Almost?" Lowenna asked before realising she hadn't eaten much, due to the fact she was still staring at Torin, so took a mouth full.

"His wife was killed, so he took his son, my father, and moved to Hymdale. My father got married and bought this place, and we ran it as a family, I married Meridef a few harvests ago, but my father and grandfather were killed by some monster soon after, and we have no children..." 

"Yet darling," Meridef interjected.

"Yet, and business had been a bit slow these past seasons, but we make do, don’t we, my love. The forest provides everything we need wood for the fire, plants and animals for food and the river provides water and the ability to move the wheel. Still, a few more customers would be nice.” There was a pause before he continued, “but enough of our boring lives, tell us something about yourself Wenna.”

Lowenna swallowed a mouth full of pie a bit quickly and had a drink before choking, “Well, I stayed in Penbirth, for a while, which is where I ride from, but there was some trouble with some raiders, so I decided to move on.”

“Raiders?” Meridef asked, sounding a little worried.

“Err, yes,” Lowenna continued, “I was lucky and wasn’t hurt.” She finished and took another mouthful of pie.

“Anglous be praised. What happened?” Torin asked.

“They attacked one moon and killed a lot of people, and stole a lot of valuables and then left.” Lowenna didn’t really want to talk about this, but she didn’t really have much else to talk about. She only had a few moons, and suns worth of memories and most of that was fighting for her life. “I decided to leave Penbirth. I had no family there, so I am heading for Hymdale city, though I do miss some of my friends.”

“That sounds terrible,” Meridef stated.

“Indeed,” Torin added. “And you are very brave to ride alone, after all, you have been through.”

Lowenna didn’t reply. She just looked down and just took another mouth full of food before deciding to get up. “I’m sorry, I am extremely tired, if you will excuse me, I am going to go to bed.” 

“Of course, dear,” Meredith said. “You rest well, and we will see you early sun.”

Lowenna went up the stairs to her room. She could hear Meridef and Torin still talking about her and the raid, but she didn’t care. She locked the door removed most of her clothes and collapsed onto the bed, instantly falling asleep.

It was dark when Lowenna opened her eyes. A few small candles and some strange glowing rocks eliminated part of the alleyway. She was standing by one of the lights, trying to get her bearings. She had been here before. The first vision she could remember. She remembered the smell of smoke and the sound of the dripping water. Lowenna looked at her wrist, seeing her crystal attached by string, now very grey and almost devoid of magic. She knew it was going to be there and not around her neck as it had been when she had fallen asleep. She also knew what was coming next. It would be after her. Fear started to build, and she began to run.

There was an open door, and she ducked through to escape the horror that was chasing her, but managed to stop herself from bumping into the tall man in the room. The first time she had been in this very vision she had bumped into him, and he spilt his drink down himself. This was Mr. Valery from Penbirth. Or was it; something wasn’t right. He seemed taller and thinner.

Lowenna quickly looked around the room it was greyer than she had remembered. The table was now made of stone, and there was a naked dead body in the corner sitting on the floor, covered in blood. This had been part of her vision, but not in the real world, the dead man had just been a semi-naked drunk asleep in the corner.

The man in the room turned around, and Lowenna gave out a gasp, this was not Mr. Valery this was not even human. Its skin was as grey as the stone table, and its eyes were black almost completely devoid of life. It had a large bloodstain on its ripped shirt. Its fingernails looked long and sharp, and its fangs looked lethal.

Lowenna could tell it was looking at her trying to decide what to do with her, and she drew her dagger and pointed it at the creature, her hand shaking slightly. The creature screeched before it launched itself at her. It was quick, too quick. It had her by her wrists before she could defend herself and it lifted her off the floor. It was stronger than it looked too, pulling on Lowenna's arms and extending them further than she liked. She couldn’t reach her crystal, and could feel an arm being pulled out of her shoulder.

Lowenna tried to kick the creature, but it made no difference as it opened its mouth and sunk its fangs into her neck. She cried out in pain, trying to break free, but the creature had her wrists so tightly she could hardly move. It removed its mouth from her neck, her blood freely running down her staining her clothes. It looked into her eyes and smiled, before biting down again on her neck again drinking the free flowing blood. Lowenna couldn’t fight back. She had no strength left as her eyes slowly closed.

Lowenna awoke with a short scream. She entered dream-scape most moons, giving her visions of the past, present, and possible future but what she had just experienced, had been the most vivid. She had died in a vision before, in those very alleyways. She had been chased by a large beast-man with a head of a lion that could breathe fire. It would have definitely killed her, but she had woken up before she had actually died. But that thing in the room, she had felt the life leaving her body; she had felt cold, and the room had faded away before her eyes. How could she die twice in the same place by two different monsters?

Lowenna got out of bed; she could feel the sweat running down her back, and her neck really hurt where the creature had bitten her. She moved her hand holding her neck, for a moment and when she looked at her hand, she could see traces of blood. She remembered the warning, “Whatever happens in dream-scape is almost as real as the real world.”

Opening a window, Lowenna allowed the cool air to flow over her body, the image of the thing that had killed her still in the front of her mind. She breathed slowly, trying to calm down as her heart started to slow. She could now think clearly. She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath, trying to compose herself.

She could hear something, in the distance. She breathed out slowly open her eyes, and pressed her hand against her crystal and suddenly she could see everything. Everything had a pink outline including four people on horses riding towards the inn. The lawmen had found her they would be there very soon.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © © 2015 by Robert Stevens All Rights Reserved

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