Waywards Wandering – Chapter 2: Babysitting

Here is the latest installment of Waywards Wandering- the novel I am writing. Click here to read the first chapter. To refresh those of you who are not new to our story: Kanji Takimura and Deathwish are two long-time, mismatched friends who have received a summons from their mutual friend Lial Pelung-Kionen. Kanji and Deathwish are both followers of the protector Goddess Brihaad and are sworn to a life of helping those in need and ridding the world of its ills. One obstacle in their path is Deathwish being a humanoid reptile who often unintentionally frightens others with his sharp pointy teeth and telepathic communication. Trying to get some breakfast before leaving the small city of Prima leads to an accidental tavern brawl. Our heroes may be apt at slaying goblins and the like, but winning a tavern brawl is apparently out of their league…

And now, resuming our story…

After a stern scolding by the town magistrate and with their purses considerably lighter, Kanji and Deathwish trudged away from their prison cells sometime that late afternoon. They were a bit battered and bruised after the brawl at the inn and terribly hungry, but otherwise unscathed. However, frustrations were beginning to consume Kanji and it showed clearly on his face and in the quick gait of his walk.

Slow down, I’m trying to keep this cowl up and my tail tucked in.

Kanji slowed and sighed.

“I’m sorry… I just was thinking, the entire time spent we incarcerated, that situation could have been easily avoided had we been better prepared. Remember back when it was you, me, and Lial? Lial and I together would very easily draw attention away from your…”

Deathwish turned his hooded head and stared at Kanji pointedly.

My charming character and ravishing good looks.

“T-that’s not what I meant, people- they just-” Kanji cut off his stuttering when Deathwish raised a scaly hand,

I know what you mean, Kanji. I also know that if we continue this journey we’ll be hard pressed with just the two of us if danger faces us. Like… say we get attacked by roving beasts in the Wastelands-

It was Kanji’s turn to raise his slight, pale hand, nearly lost in the loose folds of the robes he wore, “We’ve discussed this before. We’re not traveling through the Wastelands. It is an unnecessary risk when we can take a well-traveled road all the way to Highen-Po.”

Dangerous? How dangerous will it be when every town and city starts to expect a great, green monster coming to their town.

Kanji winced at that point.

Besides, we’ll make better time.

“If we don’t get delayed by monsters, dehydration, loss of direction, or death,” muttered Kanji sarcastically. He coughed then and quickly changed his harsh tone, “Either way, the conclusion is the same. We need help.”

But we need a warrior, emphasized Deathwish, not an extra person I need to defend. As it is, I have my arms full with you.

“Well, we could put that as a top priority if I didn’t need someone to help me baby sit the likes of you,” Kanji shot with Deathwish with a mischievous smile. They shared a laugh, meaning Kanji laughed openly and Deathwish smelled of mint leaves, the ridges around his nose wiggled, and he projected telepathic chuckles.

They chatted, sometimes more seriously, but more often easily as they made their way back to the center of town. Thankfully, no one took more than passing interest in what seemed like two robed monks, one small and talkative, the other large and silent. By the time they reached the main road, the sun was starting its descent down over the grassy hills of Prima. Finally Kanji stopped and turned to Deathwish.

“We need a new place to stay for the night, and not being the biggest of cities, we’ve used up our only obvious option,” stated Kanji.

Why don’t we just be away from this this Brihaad forsaken place and onto the road? Deathwish smelled slightly of mildew, showing his irritation.

“Leave without having even eaten, our coffers now low, and a decided need for an additional companion?”

We could get some dogs. Eat a few. Have a few fight for us in the Wastelands. They don’t cost much, they’re ferocious fighters, and a portable self-sustaining food source.

Kanji’s jaw dropped and he rose his voice in an agitated stutter before he detected the scent of mint and realized his friend had been joking. He sighed and pointed at a large, though modestly made stone structure down the road.

“There’s a temple of Brihaad here,” Kanji smiled, “and, last I checked, we were some of her most devout followers and bearers of her divine powers.”

Great, we’re going to hire another one of you?

Kanji shook his head, “No, we’re going to explain our position to the head clergy and hopefully he’ll assign someone to our charge, as well as feed us and give us a place to stay the night.”

Deathwish smelled horrible, like socks that had been worn through a bog and left in a moist place to grow, Assigned to our charge? We’re going to take on a novice priest? How will that solve our problems? The last thing we need is to watch some child!

“Rather than an overgrown reptile?” Kanji quipped, shook his head, and continued down the path to the temple. “Just trust in Brihaad, Deathwish.”

At that Deathwis nodded and was humbly silent. He knew the compassion of the lady protector, as well as her strength. Inspite his sarcasm, Deathwish truly believed that the Goddess Brihaad would help him find his path as she always had, since he had first come to this world.

Brihaad had led Kanji to him and gave him a place to stay within the walls of a house of her worship. There he was trained with warrior techniques and faith in her powers. Before Deathwish, the brothers at the Wenga monastery had said there hadn’t been a paladin of Brihaad in centuries. Priests, yes. Monks, plenty as that was their specialty in Wenga. However, a special blessing was reserved for those particular warriors of Brihaad. They were not apt with a variety of powers as were the priests and monks. However, they could heal wounds and diseases with their touch, will, and strength. Deathwish had begun by being able to make gashes shallower and fevers abate with a simple extension of will and prayer to Brihaad. Now he could heal much more major wounds and terrible diseases. He could also sense evil within a person, so that he better knew how to serve Brihaad. In addition he attained a level of mastery with his chosen weapon like a spiritual bond. This is how Deathwish was with his broadsword fashioned by his own people. It was the only thing that came with him into this world.

Deathwish missed his people very greatly, but he knew it was likely that he would never see another of his own kind again. Brihaad comforted him, gave him purpose, and he jested that she was the only ‘woman’ Deathwish felt he would ever need. Still, he knew the longing for his own kind would never abate.

Continue to Chapter 3