Serial Fantasy Story – The bandits of Dunn – Part XI

Then the hissing sound of an arrow cut through his laughter and the spirit seemed to collapse in upon itself. Not slain, but surprised and weakened. Another arrow slashed through the night air and the spirit whirled around.

“Where is that coming from? Who is that?”

“Get ‘im James!” Wain whooped.

“Doomed, am I?” Sir James rose, “In nominii de Spiritus Sanctus. Avaunt!”

And he smote the flaming blade through the spirit’s center, tearing its dark spiritual flesh asunder. A great brimstone scented wind arose and sucked the screaming spirit away.

Sir James dropped back to his knees with an exhausted sigh. Wain walked in out of the darkness.

“Well that was neat. How’d you get the smell?”

“You have first watch. I’m exhausted.” The paladin collapsed onto the ground, to tired to even remove his armor and sword belt before falling asleep.

“Huh. I didn’t think he was hit that hard.” Wain broke down his bow, greasing the cord before putting it away in a small leather pouch on his belt. Then, in the dancing firelight of the campfire, he carved a second notch above the hand grip, careful not to cut deep enough to weaken the weapon.

“You have slain your second wicked spirit, and so I shall name you.” Wain stared up at the stars glittering in the night sky, waiting for inspiration.

“Spirit Slayer? Hmmm. Spiritbane? Yes, that’s good.” Wain’s smile swiftly turned upside down, “That’s the name of my cousin’s bow. Of course! All the good names are taken!”

Silence closed in as the barbarian stared at the stars and listened to the night noises about him and meditated on the name for his bow. Before very long, the effort of containing his thoughts to his mind overcame him and he began muttering.

“Ghost killer? No no no, too common. Wight banisher? No. No, that’s not crisp enough. Don’t worry, my beauty, your name is a wight puzzle… I mean, a right puzzle, but I’ll find it out, don’t you fret. Perhaps Widdershins? No. What does that even mean?!”

And so he muttered and murmured and puzzled over it deep into the watches of the night. So intense was his focus that he forgot to wake Sir James to take the watch. The paladin slept fitfully until the breaking dawn cast its rosy hue across the horizon and Wain leapt to his feet, shouting: “Eureka!”

“What! Where! How many?! Fear not Wain, I will smite down any foes who…” Sir James whipped his sword around as he turned back and forth. Gradually, as he found no foes about them, he slowed and finally stopped jumping about.

“Wain. What madness prompted you to scream at this obscene hour? And what did you say, anyway?”

“Eureka!” Wain shouted again, a huge grin across his face.

“When did you learn Greek?” Sir James winced as he sheathed his sword. The full nights rest had not cured his headache.

“Greek? What’s… No, that isn’t important! I figured it out! It was a puzzle to stump the scholars but I figured it out!”

“What? Puzzle? You figured… What? What did you figure out?”

“My bow! The name! The name for my bow.” Wain was practically dancing in place.

“A name for your… bow?” Sir James shook his head. “What is the name of the bow?”

“Wight-killer!” Wain beamed. “It’s perfect, don’t you see? Wight’s are evil spirits, and my bow has killed many evil spirits…”

“Two.” Interjected Sir James.

“…so it is a killer of evil spirits.” Wain paid no attention to his friend, “But where it really get’s good, if you say it right, wight sounds kind of like right. So my bow has a second name, Right-killer, because it is a right killer, and that is what makes it perfect!”

“You woke me up for…” Sir James trailed off as he realized that he had slept through the entire night without standing a watch and he had no room to complain. “You should have woken me up for my watch, Wain.” The paladin turned to pack his things onto Doubting Thomas, “Come on. We are up now, we might as well go see what we can find in the forest.”

“Don’t you worry chief, me and Wight-killer have your back. We’re ready for anything.”

“Well, that is good.” Sir James swung into his saddle. “Because I do not have the faintest clue what we are up against in there. When we camped on the forest edge though, I think something was nearby. My danger sense kept pinging. At the time I assumed it was the spirit.”

“Wight.” Wain interrupted happily. “I killed it with my bow.”

“Actually, I killed it but that is not terribly important.”

“Yes it is! I killed it! You would have died without me! So I killed it.”

“You were instrumental, for sure.”

“What does that mean? Does that mean I killed it?”

“If you like.” Sir James rolled his eyes.

“Good.”

“Anyway, my danger sense kept me awake, so something was nearby. If it was whatever wicked creature lurks within the forest, then mayhap we will find some tracks around our campsite.”

“I’m instrumental.” Wain chuckled to himself, “It sounds so musical! I never knew I was musical.”

The barbarian started to hum a drinking song.

“Oh sweet Lord.” Sir James muttered and rode ahead of the blissful barbarian all the way to the forest.

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