The Amulet Saga
Volume Two: The Traveler
Other Stories in the series:
A Place to Stay
Rose helped the bleeding man to the small cot in his upper-story dwelling. It was one of many rooms that comprised the three-level building of living spaces. It was dingy and bare, decorated sparsely with rickety furniture and a few dishes.
The man groaned and lost consciousness.
Rose found a bowl on a shelf and handed it to Myrta. “Go get some water. There was a fountain in the courtyard. Hurry.”
Myrta scurried to obey and Rose pulled the tattered shirt off the man. A wound in his shoulder seeped blood and pus. Someone had treated it, stitched it closed but it had been days, at least.
“What happened to you?” she murmured.
She scoured the shelves for any sign of herbs or food, but other than a bit of crusty bread, there was nothing. She waited anxiously until Myrta returned with the water. She found a rag and used it to carefully clean away the blood from around the wound.
A slight greenish tint glowed along the veins surrounding the wound. Someone had used magic to try to heal him. But magic was illegal in Sunnland. Who would dare risk it, especially for a man who, by all appearances, was poor and without standing?
The magic was good, though. If she could draw on that, she might be able to refresh the spell that was used and help him heal. Of course, there were no herbs or anything with remotely magical properties in this little dwelling. Perhaps she could buy some.
In the meantime, she cleaned the wound as well as she could and used a clean rag to bind it again.
“Myrta, we need food, and so does he. Go to the inn and see if you can buy us some soup and bread.”
Myrta clutched the tiny purse of their scant coins. Her jaw hardened, but she nodded. “Yes, m’lady.”
The tiny cot was the only place to sleep in the room, and she couldn’t really move the invalid from it, so Rose spread her and Myrta’s cloaks on the floor. She found a pot and filled it with water from the fountain, then hung it from the hook in the small fireplace in the corner of the room. She’d never seen anything quite like the fireplace. It was hollow at the back, the chimney running both up and down, apparently sharing the same chimney with the apartments beneath it. Probably the same stones were used for the chimney in the next room over, as well, so four dwelling spaces on each level could use the same chimney.
It was a smart design, allowing the landlord to have several more tenants in each building for a lower cost than in the rows of one-level homes that each had their own fireplace, like in the North Village in Legerdemain where the miners lived. Perhaps when she went back…
No, she had to stop thinking like that. She was never going back.
Rose looked up. The man stirred, blinking.
Rose hurried to his side. “No, I’m Rose. I don’t know Jyn.”
“She’ll come. When she can. Who are you?”
“I met you outside a tavern. You said my friend and I could stay here if we helped you.”
“Right. Thank you. How bad is it?”
“Pretty bad. It’s infected. Do you know someone used magic on you?”
“Traces of the spell are still there. I can revive it, but I’ll need ingredients.”
“No. If you get caught you’ll be executed.”
“I know. But if I don’t, the infection will take over and you’ll die. Where do I get herbs and things?”
“There’s a market in the center of town. I’m not sure you’ll find what you’re looking for, though. There are strict laws against selling magical plants.”
Rose shook her head. “Magic is nature. All things that are connected to the earth have innate magical properties, which is why herbs and certain gems are particularly potent, but I can draw magical elements from anything green.”
“How do you know these things?”
“There was a sorceress who lived in my father’s ca…village. She taught me many of her arts.”
The man nodded. “The market will be open during the day. I’ll take you tomorrow. ”
“You’re in no shape to go anywhere. Myrta and I will go, if you’ll tell us where.”
“I’m not sending you into the market alone. If I make it through the night, I’ll be well enough to go.”
Rose crossed her arms, prepared to protest, but before she had a chance to argue, Myrta returned bearing a tureen of fragrant soup and a loaf a bread.
“Thank you, Myrta,” Rose said. She turned to the man. “Can you eat?”
He nodded and struggled to sit up. “Where did you get that?”
“The inn,” Myrta said. Her voice held a note of bitterness. “You claimed you had food, but there’s nothing in this place.”
The man chuckled. “I wasn’t lying.” He pushed himself up from the cot, despite Rose’s protests, and made his way to the shelf where the sparse dishes where lined up. He moved the bowls from the top shelf and opened a hidden cupboard in the wall. From it, he pulled dried meat, tea, butter, and dried food.
More rich food than Rose and Myrta had eaten in months. A feast fit for a king. Or at least a wealthy merchant.
Rose stared at him. “Who are you?”