A Tale from The Scattered Shards
The wind tried to pull the door from Andre’s hands, forcing him to throw his weight against the door to get closed. The storm howled its protest at being shut out. Andre slouched against the door, snow falling off his coat and puddling on the floor. He kicked off his snow covered boots.
A merry fire flickered in the way-station’s hearth. Two Wildlings reclined on a couch made of hewn wood and leather. The couple had left the triage center an hour earlier, at his biding, after exhausting themselves.
“Have you reached your limit, Ancient?” Stephan asked.
Andre gave the elf a tired smile. “It would seem so.”
Madlen lifted her head from her mate’s chest. “Oh, Ancient. Do you need us?”
Andre waved away her concerns. “No, I think the others have things well in hand. This storm is going to stall the search and rescue efforts for a while.”
An avalanche had tried to erase half the town from the mountain as the same moment he’d arrived there. The other six Wildlings had arrived either just before or just after him. The Creator always knew where they needed to be, but still…
So many had died.
Andre could still feel the spirit of the young elf he’d been healing as it slipped away. He’d been so young, almost the same age as…
Andre crossed the room to the bookshelves on the far wall, eager for news. He selected the last two log books. Hoping against hope for a response to his message.
“You haven’t rested since this began, have you?” Stephan asked.
“I haven’t worked this hard since the war.” Andre took the books to a fur covered chair.
“I’ll make you some tea.” Madlen shrugged off her blanket, revealing the roundedness of her belly.
“Oh, you don’t need to trouble yourself.” Andre said.
“It’s no trouble.” She rubbed at her lower back. “I need to move about, anyway. You sit and read. Let us know if you find anything interesting.”
Andre nodded and opened the first of the two books. The log books were how the Wildlings communicated with each other. Everyone who stayed at a way-station would enter something in the books before they left. Even if it was just their name and the date of their stay. He skimmed through the book, looking for anything of note. He told the couple of the births and deaths as he came across them. As he reached the end of the first book, his eyes caught on a familiar hand. He caressed the words as if he might touch her through them.
The Creator must have known I needed a rest. She wrote. It’s just what my spirit needed. I pray the Creator brings me back here some day. It feels like the wanderlust is taking me west. Be well.
The note ended with his initials followed by an ink spot. He could almost see her sitting with her quill poised to tell him something, the ink dripping from the tip. All of her entries were that way, it was like she wanted to tell him something.
“Here you go.” Madlen handed him a steaming mug. She cocked her head at the book, a golden curl falling to frame her eyes. “Someone you know?”
He inhaled the refreshing aroma of the tea and smiled. “My daughter.”
She returned his smile and left him to read in peace. He sipped his tea and picked up the second book. The familiar dread built as he read. Still no word. It was like the boy had vanished from the planet, a real possibility he didn’t dare contemplate. He smiled when he found his daughter’s hand again, his eyes jumping to the bottom of her note.
His breath caught.
A.A. I’m sorry, but I can’t take seeing your messages any more. The one you seek is well. Last I heard, he was a student at the magic academy.
Andre didn’t feel the cup as it fell from his hands and shattered on the slate floor, or the tears as they fell from his eyes.
He was alive.
His son was alive.
Elijah was alive.