"THERE THEY GO! AFTER THEM!" shouted several men.
"Come on son! Through that alley!" Shouted my father.
Every step I took and every face I saw that took sight of us was filled with disgust or fear. I've never seen horrible expressions in my entire life, my thoughts jumbled inside my head as I thought "What have I done?".
I only wanted to experience the festival outside our home; to be normal. The screams of the terrified people still resounded in my head ringing over and over as we ran.
My father's desperate call brought me back to my senses as he was checking my head for injuries. as I stared blankly onto his rugged face, We had stopped in an alley with the shadows keeping us out of their sights. I saw him stand up and turn to peek into the corner.
"We're safe for now, They've lost sight of us."
"Why are the guards chasing us father? I thought they were supposed to be protecting people?"
"We're not people in their eyes anymore..."
"What do you mean?"
"I'll explain everything, but for the moment we need to escape."
"Why were the people looking at us as if we are dem--"
He covered my mouth and had pushed me as I backed into a wall, I took a glance beyond him as I saw guards and armed people passing through with wanted poster signs in their hands.
Did I try to calm down to assess the situation maybe they mistook the person in the poster as my father? as they passed, my father pulled his hand back.
"Knoxx... Whatever happens, always remember this, 'In Nomine Dei Libertas' repeat after me"
"In Nomine Dei Libertas," he repeated.
"In Nomine dei Libertas."
"Good... if you ever lost your way and I'm nowhere to be found, look for the monks of Gaia."
I looked at him dazed and confused as what he was saying did not make any sense, him? gone? monks of Gaia? everything was a mystery.
"Come we need to go."
He moved out of the alley and I followed, we sneaked pass each guard and person that could turn hostile towards us. We passed by a Clothing merchant and I saw my father stole for the first time.
He always told me to live honest and kind, so it boggled my mind--he cloaked himself with the drapes that he took and tossed the other one to me.
"Cover yourself," he whispered.
"Why the disguise? can't we just explain to them that it was a misunderstanding?"
"And what? add more wood to the fire? they won't believe us anymore not after what they saw."
"What do you mean? I could just say sorry or maybe pay a fine? it was only a crystal?!" ignorantly I replied.
"I'm not talking about the crystal son, they saw what they weren't supposed to see."
"B-but wasn't that a magic crystal? aren't all magic crystals like that? I've read about them in books and they all glow?"
"Enough!" he said sternly.
"Now is not the time... Stay here and keep hidden, I'll be back."
I bit my lip out of frustration and saw him move carefully towards the stables. In this alleyway that smelt of rancid water and dead rats, I took the wooden crates that lay useless on the ground and sat on them as I waited for my father.
I contemplated the situation, are we going to run away from home? I don't want to leave, my best friend would be lonely and no one would help the Leyland family with their business anymore...
I heard the noisy town from the alleyway as voices of random people echoed through. Especially with the Festival on--people went on their businesses as if nothing had happened until I heard two men talking.
"Remember that mountainous guy that helped the blacksmith a long while ago?"
When I heard the word mountainous, All I could remember was my father because the description fitted him perfectly. My father was a humongous person he barely fits through the door that he had to lower his head to get from one room to another. So I was curious about what they had to say so I inched a bit closer and listened.
"Oh you mean Mr. Abbot?" said the other person.
"Yeh! I heard that he's the wanted traitor that the king was lookin' for"
"No! that can't be him he looks different from the poster"
"No! mate! it is him! rumors say that he sold his soul to the void and took both cursed children of Gaia wit 'im! the day he betrayed the kingdom!
"He looked like a pretty decent man!"
"and people have been talkin' that earlier today the cursed child was 'ere blindin' people wit' his curse!--No one fits the description other than 'im!"
"But his face looks different than the poster it can't be him! maybe they both had the same height!"
"That's why guards are crawling all over the place lookin' for 'im! because he took the cursed child wit 'im! after the devil went blindin' everywon!"
They continued to argue as I couldn't believe what I had heard, my father? the traitor? he can't be! although he meets him physically, he looks too different! and has a different name! too dissimilar! This had to be a misunderstanding...
"SON! WE HAVE TO GO!"
I looked passed the two men arguing and there I saw him gesturing me to come. There he was mounted on a horse that's galloping at full speed, I ran towards his direction to meet him half-way.
"IT'S THE DEMON! OVER THERE!"
"THAT BASTARD TRAITOR IS WIT 'IM TOO!"
I overheard someone shouting as I was running then I saw father pluck a pole from the ground and placed it on top of the saddlebag.
"KEEP RUNNING!" he screamed at me.
I ran as fast as I could! my legs felt like giving out anytime soon. I heard masses of people behind me all mixed in the disarray of voices, I turned to look and saw at least a dozen soldiers running towards me--I took off the drapery on me causing it to cover my pursuers, stalling them for a little bit of time.
I couldn't run anymore, I was scared that anytime soon I'd fall face flat on the ground, so I closed my eyes hoping I've neared the gap between me and my father. Suddenly I felt my collar was pulled out of nowhere and my whole body flew upwards. I glanced upwards only to see my father dragging me with one hand.
"GRAB HOLD ON THE HORSE KNOXX! I CAN'T PULL YOU UP LIKE THIS!" he shouted.
With little strength, I had left I grabbed hold of the saddle while pathetically pulling myself till I could sit on the horse. As I sat down, I held tight especially with how fast the horse was running, falling off the horse would be easy. I looked forward and saw the town gate...
"THEY'RE NEARING THE GATES!"
"CLOSE THEM! THEY MUST NOT ESCAPE!"
"Father! the gates! they're closing!"
I looked at the gates with anxiety as I saw it closing relatively fast. Not until my father took the pole he had on the horse, I saw him aim as if he had a target somewhere...
"GAH!" he huffed out.
There it goes! the pole flying into God knows where. We were speeding towards the gates with it has no signs of stopping; I panicked--The closer we got the lower the gates have gotten then exactly right at the gate I heard the loud crashing of chains followed by disgruntled voices of men.
I ducked just in time as we sped through the Iron gates, oddly enough the gates stopped halfway that's why we could pass through. Was it luck? or was it fate? My father didn't look like he'd make that throw but whatever the reason was; I was thankful.
I turned around and took a look at Yorkburgen one last time as I felt a little emotional, I grew up there and it was the only place It ever felt like home. Around the people, I cared about and they were the same people that shunned us when we needed help, how could they just turn away from us like that after countless kindness we gave them... No words only disappointment and sadness filled my heart.
"Don't turn around, it's not home anymore."
My father said it as absolute but I know that somewhere in his heart he felt the same way I did, I hope we could clear this misunderstanding...
Miles away from home, we finally slowed down, too many thoughts filled my mind, and too many questions left unanswered. I was too tired to ask my father about what I heard. I always looked up to him as he had taught me a lot of things in life but I trust him--
"Where are we going?" I asked.
"We're going to look for an old comrade of mine."
"And where is that?"
"I don't know..."
He looked troubled, I was about to ask but then I saw a river from afar.
"There is a river over there!" I exclaimed.
I saw the clear and glistening flowing water with awe, I took off from the horse and sped through the bushes and plunged my hands deep into the water as I cupped them to take a sip. I turned to my father and saw him there tying the horse onto a nearby tree so it wouldn't run away.
"Drink slowly Knoxx, the water won't go anywhere."
"But I'm so thirsty, that was the first for me; running like that."
"You must be exhausted? alright, then we'll camp here for the night. Go look for some firewood later so I can start a fire."
I nodded as I gulped the sweet nectar of the Gods flowing into my empty stomach. Feeling rejuvenated and felt a little energized, I set off to look for firewood in the forest but not too far away.
When I came back both arms filled with wood and I had dropped them into a clearing, I saw my father stepping out into the same clearing with a wild boar rested on his shoulders.
When I saw the beast I felt my stomach rumbling with hunger, he placed the boar near the stack of wood and told me to line them properly or we won't have any dinner. So I did while he was skinning and butchering the animal ready for cooking. In a while, we had pork roasting.
I sat close to the fire and stared at the fire crackling under the sizzling pork leg, he was on the opposite side and was tending to the flames making sure that it would last the night. I looked at him and saw his eyes were blank as if his mind was voided of any emotion from what had happened. He looked back at me as I pulled my curious gaze.
"You know staring would get you in trouble."
"I know that! you told me one time already, it's impolite..."
It fell quiet after a while then he handed me the pork leg on a stick, I gorged on it like a beast chomping on its prey.
"Slow down, you might choke yourself."
"I can't help it, I drained myself from running."
I had my fill and went to the river for water--The lovely moonlight showered the river with unimaginable beauty, glistening in the dead of night. The crickets were playing their nightly tune as I stared into the water and drank. The peacefulness lulled my restless mind and finally, I collected myself.
"I'll ask him when I get back," I whispered to myself.
Right before I left, fireflies started glowing above the waters. The scene left me at a loss for words so I decided to stay a little watching the night grow darker and the scene brighter than ever.
Surprised, I saw the fireflies gathering together and had formed a figure of a person! I could not believe my eyes and rubbed them, after a split second that I did the apparition was gone; I'm imagining things.
I must be tired and headed back towards the camp only to see my father sound asleep, I rested next to the fire and warmed myself, I thought why all of this had happened? was it all because I selfishly wanted to experience the festival like the others?
Now that I've thought of it this is my first time away from town, I was stuck in thought as the crackling of the camp-fire soothed me to sleep.
Hello readers! What do you think of the first chapter? leave a comment down below. Please continue to support me and my new novel! I'll be releasing chapters for this novel as soon as I can!
1. Monks of Gaia are people that wordship the deity Gaia as their one true God.