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Urgent Errands


Rhys left Lord Hardy's rooms and made his way toward the gardens. Feeling an urgency to find his uncle and return as quickly as he could back to the Tower, he broke into an uneasy jog.

The herb garden where they both worked was empty of Sewell, alhough Daft Ed, the gardener's boy, was dutifully harrowing a row for some winter root vegetables.

"You are leading me on a merry chase, old man," Rhys mumbled to himself.

He jogged up to Ed and stopped, sucking in his breath. "Ed, where is the maester?" he asked.

Ed gaped at him. "T'other Maester?" He scratched his head, bemused. "He went into the woods ... "

Rhys gaped back. "What?! Where? The Godswood, or somewhere else?"

"Godswood," nodded Daft Ed, "that's where 'e be."

Rhys nodded his thanks, then continued his jog in that direction reluctantly. He very much disliked the godswood, especially the face in the tree, and especially at night.

As he approached the sacred trees he slowed to a walk. His ragged breathing and the crunch of his boots on the snow sounded unnaturally loud to him...or were they loud because the grove was so unnaturally quiet?

Rhys paused a moment, wary and wanting to catch his breath before entering, when the back of his neck suddenly prickled--he knew with utter certainty that the godswood was watching him. He felt its ill regard like fingers of ice down his back.

"Uncle?" Rhys called out tentatively, all desire gone to step within those trees where he could see the face carved into the heartwood...and it could see him. "Are you there?"

He could see Sewell, stretched out on the ground before the godswood ...

And as he came closer he could see another thing - the wooden face had been slashed, as though someone had laid open the face - and it was weeping sap as though its lifeblood was spilling out.

Rhys ran to Sewell. He knelt down beside him and assessed his condition.

He seemed to has suffered a blow to the side of the head - not fatal, but disturbing, especially for a man on his years.

But the thing that drew Rhys's more immediate attention was ...

The sticky substance crusting on his lips was not blood, but a clear resin.

Rhys didn't know what to make of that, or the slashed face. But first things first--there'd be time to think about it all later.

He scooped up his uncle into his arms, surprised at how light the old man had become, and ran out of the godswood as quickly as he could.

Apprehensive of who might be around in the woods, Rhys didn't cry out for help, but instead strode as quickly as he could toward the maester's tower, praying to the Mother under his breath for the sake of his uncle.

He reached the Tower and began to climb the steps to the infirmary.

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Page last modified on February 19, 2007, at 09:17 PM