The Kingdom of Zaniah
The Journey Begins
x frowned deeper, ”Maybe Ray was right. ”
”Usually is Im assuming… ” Nimer said.
”Yes she is. Is that a problem? ” Jex said. Ray meant the world to him. He wouldn let Nimer walk all over her like that.
”No Im just surprised that passion hasn drawn you to her lips, ” Nimer teased.
Jex held his words back falling into a pit of thought. He glanced up as Ray stumbled into the clearing, several large sticks occupying her arms as she struggled to hold them. Jex sprung to his feet in seconds to aid her, taking the logs to the fire pit then continued to add flammable material near the base.
”Everything in the forest is wet, ” she complained.
”Sorry, it is raining, ” Jex commented.
”And rain is wet, ” Nimer added.
”Like I don know, ” Ray growled as she arranged the logs by stacking them. She stood and retrieved a flat piece of steel and flint from her saddle bag.
”Might I suggest making a cone like structure… ” Nimer commented walking up next to them while examining the logs.
”I don need your help! ” Ray barked.
A light cloud escaped Nimers nose as he nibbled his pipe, ”Suit yourself. We are losing daylight fast… ”
Jex encouraged Ray with a glance though rage seemed to strangle her insides, flowing out of her like a squeezed lemon. Jex backed off to avoid possible backfire. She raised the two stones and struck them. Her eyes glowed as a spark ignited. She frowned when nothing happened. The surrounding downpour raged as her continued attempts to light the soggy logs did not prevail. Frustration infected her and turned into a festering wound of anger. She stomped the ground, clenching her teeth.
Jex watched worried for her. ”Ray- ”
Both Nimer and Jex leaned away, her anger cutting through their minds like a knife. Nimer, however, did not submit to her.
”Get closer to the bottom of the fire. You
e rather far away- ”
”I don need your help! ” Ray shouted.
Nimer stuck a finger in his ear, ”Youll call every ogre in the forest to our location if you don be quiet… ”
Rays frame shook like an earthquake as she stepped over, slamming the steel and flint into Nimers chest as hard as she could.
”Then YOU light the fire! Come on, do it, if you
e so good at it! ”
Nimer gave her an icy stare, tossing the flint into the air with a smug grin,
” Nimer knelt down close to the fire and arranged the logs in two teepee like structures, letting his hand linger a moment over the logs as he hummed to himself. He only smiled, continuing to stream his strange melody. With one strike of the two stones, a spark ignited the kindling close to the base of the fire. A dull luminance meet Nimers bright eyes as he muttered the melody under his breath. Smoke rose from the cone structure followed by a low glow of flame beginning devour the logs. Nimer stood and tossed the rocks at Rays feet.
e welcome. ”
Rays mouth flew open as she bore her teeth. ”YOU! You used magic! Or something! ”
”I did no such thing. ”
Ray scoffed looking to Jex. ”He HAD to be using sorcery! Its pouring out! Do you not believe me? ”
Jex made the utmost uncomfortable expression. ”Ray you don believe in magic. You said so yourself, ” he stated then retreated away from the heated argument to his saddle bag for dinner.
Ray stood there, baffled as the downpour drenched her face and clothes. She was always right, or so she thought. Her hands curled into quivering fists. She stomped like a mule to her place at Jexs side, sitting and curling up tight with her knees at her chest.
Nimer cleared his throat with a light cough which he muffled with his hand, ”As you can see, it was nothing. ”
”Oh be quiet. Your heads large enough as it is- ”
”All right, you two! Thats enough! ” Jex shouted at both of them aggressively. ”No more words, both of you… eat then get rest. ”
Jexs outburst stunned the two rivals, and they exchanged glances before crossing their arms and turning their backs to one another as they fetched a light meal.
Low embers burned a dull glow of orange releasing the last of its heat as the sky brightened over the peaks to the east. Frigid gusts raked through the barren trees, the last of their leaves littering the ground, blown off by the nights storm. The ground remained damp and coated in light crystals of frost, clinging to the earth, trees, and rocks. Water from the downpour left the trails muddy and slick. A treacherous hike awaited the three through the wood.
Jex and Ray shared warmth under the comfort of a wool blanket, lying on their old bed roll. The chill of the morning did not stir them, their expressions peaceful as they enjoyed a restful sleep. Nimer entered the camp from the forest carrying wood under his arm and a squirrel on a leather cord in his left hand.
”And how the blessed am I with a meal. Protected by gut you shall be, ” Nimer mumbled, an eccentric smile on his face as he tossed the dead rodent to the dirt near the fire pit. He wasted no time gutting the creature and had a fire going in minutes. The flame flared and twirled around the sticks, radiating heat that soon aided in warming up his breakfast.
The scent traveled through the wind stirring Jex awake. His vision blurred as he rubbed his eyes, his face stinging from the morning cold as he fought every urge to lie back down and sleep. He put on his jacket and make his way to the fireside to get warm.
”Good morning, ” he uttered through chattering teeth.
” Nimer answered. Jack Frost seemed to leave him alone as he poked breakfast with a stick,
”You best be getting your girlfriend up. We
e leaving in a few minutes. ”
”Minutes? ” Jex questioned, ”But we just woke up. ”
”Hence why we
e leaving. We have a long way to go, ” Nimer answered and pulled the squirrel meat from the fire, not bothering to share while picking the meat of the bones and tossing them into the fire. After finishing, he stuffed the last of it away before preparing for the days journey.
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