3/366 – To the Wall (Cont.)

Continued from 2/366 – To the Wall (Cont.)

Morn turned away from the shell of a man before him and walked back upstairs, skipping the sixth stair from the top, entered his room, lit the candle on the table, and closed the door behind him. He looked at the small straw mattress supported by a few boards with disdain. It had never been comfortable, and would never be comfortable to him.

The anxiety from earlier was instantly replaced with a quiet fury. He hated everything that his life had become since his mother died. His school, most of the people in the village, and especially his father. Morn spun and swung at the door frame with everything he could muster.

The world slowed suddenly. Morn was aware of his body acting but felt no control over it at that moment. He could feel his heart racing and the muscles in his arm straining. He knew that the pain would come next. He wanted it, somewhere deep inside, he knew, but something in his mind was also screaming for him to stop, but too late.

His fist connected with the wood, and pain exploded up his arm. He heard the crack after he had felt it, the bones in his hand and wrist shifted and splintered under the force. His mouth opened involuntarily and a shrill cry escaped him before he could stop it. The fury was gone in an instant, and now all that remained was the hollow husk of sadness.

Somewhere that seemed far off, he heard a scuffling sound, but it didn’t matter anymore, none of it did. He collapsed to his knees cradling his arm as the tears began streaming down his face. The sixth stair cried out and his door flew open a moment later.

“Is everything alrig-” his father stopped.

“No,” Morn managed between the sobs. His breath came in great heaves. As much as he resented the man who stood before him, tired and frail-looking, he also loved him.

“How did this happen?” his father asked as he reached down and lifted him from the floor. He gently led him out of the bedroom and down the stairs. “We should go see a cleric. They’ll heal it quickly so-”

“No,” Morn said, pulling away from him. “I don’t want-”

“We’re going,” his father said.

Morn closed his mouth and nodded. He followed his father out the door and southward down the road away from the monks and the wall.

His father spoke most of the way to the cleric, though Morn heard none of it. The dark sky was showing the faintest hints of the sun rising over the eastern mountains. With the light came an awareness of the exhaustion Morn was feeling. His body felt sore and tired.

Passing the South District where the nicer homes in the town stood felt like a parade to Morn. They were more than twice the size of his house and had things in them like feather beds and hot water baths, or so he had heard. He moved a little faster, just in case anyone was awake. He knew that if any of his peers saw him, there would be questions and gossip around the school.

They arrived at a small house, the wooden structure bore the symbol of Rashem, the god of life and death. The structure paled in comparison to those standing around it but stood out as more majestic in its simplicity.

Morn’s father knocked on the door, “Cleric Josten, are you awake?”

A moment later, a haggard-looking man pushed the door open. His dark hair in a tangle resembling a bird’s nest, “What’s the problem? Ah, Frederick, what’s got you up so early this day?”

Morn’s father stepped to the side, unblocking the view of Morn. “My son has had an accident.”

“I see, come in, come in. Let’s see if he’s in Rashem’s favor today,” Josten said with a smile before disappearing inside.

Morn followed his father into the living room. To the left of them was an open doorway leading to a smaller kitchen, and to the right was a bedroom matching the size of the kitchen. On the back wall was the hearth, crackling cheerily as Josten added another log to the embers. In the center of the room stood a few small chairs.

“Please have a seat, and I’ll look over your son’s injury,” Josten said.

Morn and his father sat as Josten pulled a chair in front of them. Morn smelled the smell of fire mixed with something else. The scent was almost musty or earthy, but not at the same time. The throbbing and shooting pain in his arm was stopping him from concentrating too much on it.

“Let me take a look,” Josten said as he gently grasped Morn’s forearm. He looked at it for a moment, his face contorting as he turned Morn’s arm over. “This is a bad break. How did this happen?”

“It was an accident,” his father said.

“It wasn’t an accident,” Morn said, “I punched a doorframe.”

“Ah, I see, I’m sure there was good reason to attack the doorframe, but I’m going to need to set the bones before I can heal it. Look here at the left side,” Josten said as he pointed to a spot on Morn’s wrist that stuck out and was growing a dark blue color, “the bones have been completely pulverized together. I’m sorry.”

With a quick motion, faster than Morn had ever suspected the man of moving, Josten reached up and grabbed his hand and gave it a solid pull, a slight twist, and a push. Morn’s vision flooded with black spots as the bones popped and snapped. Josten quickly moved his hand from the end of the hand directly over the wrist and muttered a word. From beneath Josten’s hand, a bright light flashed, lighting up the room, threatening to blind everyone present, and just as quickly it was gone.

“That should do it,” Josten said, a warm smile spreading across his face. “Sorry about the sudden movement, I find it’s better in most cases not to give you enough time to flinch. Rashem smiled on you this day and let me heal your injury. Please be more selective in the future when you choose your targets.”

Morn sat in his chair, dumbfounded.

“Thank you, Cleric Josten,” Morn’s father said. “I’m sure he’ll be better about it in the future.”

Continued 4/366 – To the Wall (Cont.)


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