The Adventures of Kyran the Luckless Recruit - Episode 5
Author: Elyss Koh'inor
Help Kyran the Luckless Recruit navigate a path of danger and excitement! At the end of each episode, vote in the comments to set Kyran in the right direction. You can also catch up by reading the first episode, second episode, third episode, and fourth episode.
Kyran couldn’t do it. He couldn’t leave Saiph there to face the trollocs by himself. Kyran dismounted, running to Saiph’s side.
“I told you to get out of here boy,” Saiph grumbled, not taking his eyes from the approaching trollocs.
Kyran didn’t reply; there was no point in arguing now. He focused himself, calming his thoughts. The stream bubbled beneath them.
What if we didn’t have to fight? Kyran thought. What if I could stop this now?
He pushed at that new feeling within himself. Kyran had made a bonfire grow twenty feet high, maybe he could set the end of the bridge on fire.
He concentrated, imagining the flames licking up the sides of the bridge.
The trollocs reached the end of the bridge, puffing only slightly from their run. They inspected the two men for a moment before the first one began to lumber across the bridge.
If trollocs minded crossing running water, the stream must have been too small to make much of a difference. Kyran darted forward to engage the first beast, a hulking monster with a ram’s head. Another one with a beaked face slipped past to attack Saiph.
Kyran didn’t think after that, he just fought. The quarterstaff whirled in his hand, connecting with the trolloc’s armor, sword, and any exposed flesh. The beast was prepared though, and the blows didn’t faze him.
When the trolloc raised his sword, Kyran struck his hand with a blow that vibrated the length of his own arm. The trolloc bellowed, but kept hold of his sword. Kyran took a step forward, grabbing a knife from the trolloc’s own sheath.
He spun under the arm of the angry trolloc, bending to drive the knife into the side of the beast’s knee.
Kyran heard a thud and splash. When he looked, Saiph was standing near the bridge railing, the trolloc he had been fighting thrashing in the shallow stream below. A second ram-headed trolloc moved forward, but Saiph didn’t give it time to get settled. He sprang forward in a fury of blows.
Kyran didn’t see much more. His trolloc, still bleeding from his knee, lunged at Kyran. The Recruit dodged the attack, dropping his staff with the clatter of wood on wood. As the beast tried to turn around, Kyran threw himself onto the creature, slicing at its throat with the rough knife.
The trolloc went down with a gurgle, but another one moved to take his place. The bridge was helping though, bottlenecking the trollocs so only two could cross at once. Saiph was still working on his second trolloc. Only one more hung back from the fighting, waiting for an opening.
Before Kyran could engage his second beast, Saiph gave a yell of pain. Kyran turned around to see the ram-headed trolloc’s sword slice into Saiph’s side a second time.
The Recruit gave a wordless scream, throwing the knife from the first trolloc at the other beast. The blade was buried in the exposed part of the trolloc’s shoulder.
Saiph sank to the ground.
Kyran moved to the farmer’s side, preventing the trollocs from attacking his injured friend.
Now he was dealing with two trollocs at once, the third one occasionally poking through gaps in his companions with his spear. Kyran beat away most of the attacks with the staff, only taking a glancing blow to his shoulder with a thick club.
His moves grew weaker though, arms tiring as the trollocs continued their onslaught.
Kyran felt something unlock inside of him. In that moment he felt a rushing power within himself, ready to burst forth. He focused on the bridge railings.
They exploded into flames, startling the trollocs. Kyran ducked another attack and began to drag Saiph off the edge of the bridge. Before the trollocs could retreat he made the opposite end of the bridge go up in flames as well.
The wood started creaking, the frame of the bridge weakening. Kyran finally got Saiph to safety, the power still raging within himself. He thrust his hands out at the bridge and the trollocs.
Everything went up in a ball of flame. The bridge collapsed into the stream, water hissing and turning to steam. The trollocs yelled in surprise, pain, and fear before falling to the tongues of fire.
Kyran felt the power leave him, becoming like a husk of the person who controlled the flames. He turned back to Saiph, who was groaning on the cold ground.
The wound on the farmer’s side was bad, but not as horrible as Kyran had expected. The two cuts from the trolloc’s sword were close to one another, but they weren’t too deep.
Kyran threw off his cloak, which was soaked in sweat and trolloc blood. The chill breeze nipped at him but he ignored it. Saiph’s eyes fluttered open for a moment and he gasped in pain.
“You’re going to be alright.” Kyran said in a near whisper.
Saiph grinned, “It will take more than a trolloc to kill me lad.” He sniffed the air. “You set the bridge on fire?”
Kyran hesitated, pulling out the small utility knife at Saiph’s belt. “Yes.”
The farmer nodded. “Knew you was a channeler.”
Kyran took Saiph’s cloak and began to cut off a strip for a makeshift bandage. He didn’t know what to say.
“No one but a channeler stupid enough to try riding a horse through a blizzard.”
Saiph’s words were cut short by a gasp of pain as Kyran began to wrap the bandage.
Once Kyran got the bandage in place Saiph didn’t try to talk much. That gave Kyran a chance to try to find his horse. The animal had bolted, but Kyran did find a stout branch that he could use to form a makeshift litter. He had to try to get Saiph to the nearest town.
Kyran put the farmer on the tattered and bloodied cloak, the end of it tied to the branch. Slowly the Recruit began dragging the injured man along the road.
Kyran was jolted awake as they rode over a bump in the town road. After dragging Saiph for a while a man with a cart had found them. He had been going to see where the smoke was coming from, and helped Kyran load Saiph into his cart and bring them into town.
Now they were here, and the man was already yelling for a healer. Kyran hadn’t even realized he had fallen asleep.
Kyran looked at the man who had brought them into town. His face was pale.
“The healer isn’t here. She’s visiting some of her family a day’s hard ride from here.”
Kyran felt his heart sink. “Is there anyone else who can help?”
“I can, but I don’t know how much,” a woman said. Kyran hadn’t even noticed her. He needed to focus.
“This is Tarai, the healer’s apprentice.” The man explained. Before Kyran could say anything else the apprentice began giving orders to move Saiph into the healer’s house. Kyran was about to follow when the man caught his shoulder.
“Saiph is a good friend of mine.” He said. “But it will be best to leave Tarai to her work.”
Kyran nodded, but he had seen the look of inexperienced fear in the apprentice’s eyes. “Is there a healer anywhere nearby?”
The man shrugged. “There’s an apothecary half a day’s ride from here. He has access to plenty of herbs and things but not much healing experience.” The man seemed to hesitate.
“And?” Kyran probed.
“Well…” The man said, glancing around. “There’ve been some rumors recently that there is an Aes Sedai in the Likken Groves, the forest around here I mean. Some say she’s got a Warder with her, some say she’s alone. If you could find her, if she’s even real, she could heal Saiph.”
Kyran had raised an eyebrow when the man mentioned an Aes Sedai. If that rumor was to be trusted, Saiph could be healed and Kyran transported back to the White Tower with ease. But there was no telling if he could find the Aes Sedai in the woods around the town, even if she did exist.
“Why would an Aes Sedai be here?” Kyran asked.
“Checking those wild tales of trollocs I’d imagine.” The man was going to say something else, but Tarai emerged from the house and beckoned to them both.
“He’s stable for now,” she said, “but I don’t know how much longer I can keep him that way. Hammond can you send a message for Pyna? I might be able to keep him alive long enough for her to help.”
The man Kyran had ridden with nodded. Kyran wasn’t satisfied. “She’s too far away. If Saiph is in that much danger we need someone now.”
Tarai shook her head, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do.”
Kyran pinched his lips to a hard line. “There’s something I can do.” He turned to Hammond “Do you have a good horse I can use?”
The horse was saddled and ready in no time. Kyran swung into the saddle, the image of his bleeding friend spurring him on.
“Where will you go?” Hammond asked “The apothecary lives in the town just down this road, but there’s no telling where the Aes Sedai could be.”
The apothecary might be able to heal Saiph, but then again he might not. An Aes Sedai would have no trouble healing his wound, but could Kyran find her? Was his wish to find a way back to Tar Valon clouding his decision?
What should Kyran do? Go for the APOTHECARY or try to find the AES SEDAI?
Vote in the comments before May 25th to help determine Kyran's fate!