It was a day with weather similar to what Gavin and Fredorick experienced en route to the old man's house. A rainforest was being pounded with rain, and there was no indication of anyone living in this drenched place, making it a perfect place for enemy troops to set up an ambush or for refugees and escaped criminals to make temporary lodging while hiding from others who might be out to get them. I wasn't in the forest because I wanted to take an ordinary stroll through it, no, I was there for a reason. I had to cross the rainforest in order to reach a nearby military fortress on the outskirts of the forest. I was a messenger sent from Kings Bay to the nearby fort on the foothills of the mountains opposite of the Northern Coast, with very blunt, straightforward orders: Find a baby boy with a birthmark, and if you do, kill him instantly. I was shocked at the orders of the king. What kind of man would want to senselessly murder a baby? Then, I suddenly realized why he wanted this baby dead. The birthmark...
According to the royal priests, if a baby was born with a birthmark, it meant that the child was destined to achieve power, especially if the baby was born in the royal family. If he was born with a birthmark of a certain shape, it meant he had the potential to possess the powers of both a demigod and a king, depending on the consultation of a priest and his predictions. I was afraid for the life of this boy, wherever he was, and I hoped for the best, even if it meant the loss of my life, or my job.
The air suddenly got colder as I climbed the mountainous peak in the rainforest, and the rain was slowly turning colder and colder as I hiked my way to the foothills of the mountains. I could sense the ocean on the other side of these mountains as well, meaning that I had no margin for error when it came to finding this boy, and I didn't have many options in finding a place to keep the baby, since not many people inhabited this area of the Northern Coast, a surprisingly distant region of the kingdom.
I was walking along the mountain pass, and I found nothing that would be of any aid or assistance to me in my quest to find the blessed (or in this case, cursed) child. My compass was pointed north as I began elevating toward the mountain peaks. At this point, the rain that was becoming a distraction and a guise of the horizon in front of me was about to freeze, turning into heavy snow. I wasn't well prepared for the snow I was now facing, and I was afraid, then and there, that I might freeze and end up dead in the name of the King. My skin was starting to stiffen, and any of the heat I had left in my body felt like it was being extinguished by the crisp, frigid air.
At the point I was most likely to give up, I could hear a distant cry. I started to think, What did I just hear? It sounded like it was too good to be true, the cry of a baby! But, I had to make sure it was the actual cry of a baby, not a random nonexistent sound I had mistakenly created mentally, nor the sound of a wounded or dying animal. I stepped west, in the direction of the cry. Unsurprisingly, I heard it again, and started to look around for a baby in the blowing snow. As I was stepping right over the baby, I unwrapped the blanket, and found a baby boy, his face still red and tears flowing from his eyes. I briefly unwrapped the baby, freeing it from the blanket with my cold, stiff hands, and saw a star-shaped birthmark on the boy's right breast.
I couldn't believe it! I had to find the monastery!
I started to dig into my inventory bag, looking for the map I had of the Kingdom, more specifically, a monastery that might be located near the Northern Coast. I found almost nothing of the sort, and I was frustrated. Nevertheless, I knew I had to cross the other side of the mountains and be as far away and protected from the forces at Kings Bay as possible. I couldn't find a sled nearby to take as an aid to travel down the mountain, so I had to walk down and risk the chance of losing my life or the baby's.
When I was almost a quarter of a mile down the mountain, I tripped over something rough, almost flying headfirst into a pine tree while I could've fumbled the baby, despite holding him as tight as I could. I regained my balance and composure, hiked back to the rough object, and couldn't have believed my luck. A sled!
I swept off the snow with my nearly frozen hands, wrapped the baby in my shirt, and thrusted the sled down the mountain. As it accelerated, I found myself dodging the trees and rocks I might have run into. I had a terrible fear of heights and a terrible fear of riding horses, so it was hardly a wonder that I was deathly afraid of tripping over a dislocated tree branch, fly into a tree headfirst, or lose my balance going as fast as I could down the rocky mountain trail.
The ride only went on for quite some time, and after I was dodging everything coming towards me, my fear of this journey diminished with every movement I made to dodge a rock, tree or animal on the mountain. I managed to make it down the mountain pass without falling or making too sharp of a turn (or not sharp enough, which meant possibly landing in the branches of a tree or falling into a frozen creek) and I didn't have to walk too far down the mountain to the beach as well. As I walked for a few more hours toward the beach, the snow and rain I was dealing with suddenly became a thing of the past. I was beyond thankful that I finished the most difficult part of this journey, and I was not dealing with freezing temperatures, rain, or snow anymore, just walking along the rocks and sand on the shore of the ocean while trying to find the nearest monastery.
Alas, I had to postpone my efforts to find the monastery for the day, as it was slowly getting darker, the baby was getting hungrier, and I was becoming more and more exhausted, ready for sleep. I managed to find a few berries which I used to feed the boy and keep him satisfied, while I had to settle with either finishing the last of my uncooked meat or starving through the night, just for the sake of letting this baby stay well-fed during the night. I set up a camp fire in the bushy place near the shore and prepared a spot for us to rest for the night, letting the fire warm me up and heat the rest of the meat I had. As I was preparing to eat the meat while the baby was sleeping, I suddenly heard rustling in the bushes and trees behind the campfire and in the rocky, sandy shore nearby. I was petrified with fear, as I heard deep voices in a Kings Bay accent approach my vicinity, getting closer and closer to me. I doused the fire as quickly as I could, hid the baby in my inventory bag, and hid within some nearby bushes to cover myself and the baby. They stopped for a few minutes, close enough for me to hear their conversations.
“Johan, what the hell is taking so long? You look like you're pissing blades out there! Put your pecker away and let's get to searching!”
“Quiet, Aldis, I'm actually using mine! Just ask your sister!”
The whole platoon howled with laughter. Even though I was about to break out in laughter, I held back a slight chuckle, and used it as an opportunity to move stealthily through the bushes and away from them while the men were still distracted. I had a feeling that some of them were intoxicated, so I might have had a slight advantage in escaping the area with the baby.I was ready to take advantage of it. My heart was steadily beating faster and faster, with every step I took away from these men. Just as soon as I thought I was clear and far enough away from them, after their humorous conversation died down, the baby let out a gut-wrenching cry.
Fuck! I thought. It was over for me.
One of the men who was sober, presumably the captain, heard the baby scream. He started listening and approaching this direction, directly following the scream from where he was, imploring his men to do the same. “Shut up, you inbred fools! We might have found the baby Nikolas wants!” The other ones in their right mind started following him, while I kept my hand around the baby's mouth to keep us from cover. The baby's cries were growing louder and louder under my hand, and even though the cries were muffled, the men were coming closer and closer, as I squatted down for cover. The bushes were hiding me for now, but the men walking through the shore were coming closer and closer to my hiding place, while my heart was palpitating faster and faster. I started to breathe heavier, against my own rule, while my heart couldn't stop beating as fast as it was. I let in a deep breath, and suddenly was more relaxed. Just as I was breathing out slowly, the bushes above me were rustled, and I found myself staring into the eyes of a man in chain mail and a helmet, the uniform of a Royal Knight...ns 22.214.171.124da2