Yeah, yeah, laugh it up. I still don’t have a name for it, or the ghost. I don’t know what to call her. Anyways, I’m bringing it up, because I know how I want to write it, and how I want to write so many of my other Koeleth stories. You know how I use the old man as the storytelling vessel of Tom’s tale? Well, I think it would be awesome to tell more of my stories through memories, flashbacks and tales. And thus, I present what may be the beginning of the ghost story.
Ghost Story: Chapter 1 excerpt
Starting at the End
The young man woke up, dazed and confused, in an inn room. After a few panicked moments, he remembered why he was there. It was just about the only thing he could remember. Yesterday he woke up in the woods nearby and, having nowhere else to go, used what little funds he had to secure a room for the night. His head in pain from trying to recall anything more than his own name, he decided it was best to head down to the bar.
“And guess what? We found a whole cache of weapons! Nothing terribly interesting, but plenty to make up for the previous loss.”
A bearded man in a tattered travel robe was talking to the red-headed woman behind the bar. The man must have been a warrior, because a halberd was leaning against the bar.
“Look alive, Cleo. I think your customer is in need of some assistance. Well? Come on, kid. Don’t be shy!”
“Right, back to work. You’ll have to finish that story later, lover boy.”
“Still calling me that, huh? I guess there’s no point in fighting it.”
“None whatsoever,” the female barkeep laughed, turning to face the young man. “Now, hon, what can I do for ya? You looked pretty beat up last night. Glad to see yer feelin’ better.”
“Umm,” the young man moaned, rubbing his head. “Not much better. My head is killing me. Do you…did I tell you anything about myself last night?”
“Nothin’ but yer name, hon. Which is Kaden, in case ya forgot. Why? Can’t ya remember?”
“Hey, kid,” the warrior started with concern. “You okay?”
Kaden grabbed his head and collapsed to the floor, his head pounding as the vaguest of memories tried to breakthrough. The face of a woman flashed into existence and then flashed away.
“Kid! C’mon, Cleo! Let’s get him to a room!”
The warrior hoisted Kaden to his feet, supporting him as they rushed to the nearest room. Sitting him down on the bed, the warrior took a glass of some foul liquid from the barkeep and forced it down Kaden’s throat. Kaden sputtered and heaved in response.
“Yeah, I know, it sucks, but trust me on this one. It’ll help. Now, what was that?”
“It was, um, a memory, I think.”
“How much about yer past do ya remember?” the redhead interjected.
“I remember everything up until a couple years ago. I was a bastard, an orphan, and I didn’t have anyplace to call home. So I took to travelling when I was young. Mostly aimless. And then…and then…and then I don’t know. Everything after that is vague. Until I showed up in those woods and made my way here. Dammit.”
Kaden slammed his hand into the bed. His anger quickly turned to despair, and he had to fight back the tears that threatened to stain his face. When he finally reined in his emotions, he looked up once more to his host and her companion. Something in the back of his mind sparked to life and he stared at the warrior.
“What’s wrong?” the warrior asked.
“Something’s telling me that I need your help. But…she doesn’t want me to…”
“She? Who is she?”
“I don’t know…No, I do…wait…Agh! This is so confusing! But I think you’re the one. You can help people like me…Or that’s what she’s saying.”
“Well, that depends. I help everybody if I can, but there are certain problems I am more capable of fixing. And what about ‘people like you?'”
“I…I don’t know…but I need to know who she is…She doesn’t want me to ask you for help, but…”
“Cleo, I need to go,” the warrior announced abruptly. “Take care of the kid. I’ll be back in a couple days. Do not let him leave. Kaden, I think whatever it is that is going on in your head is right. I’m the man for the job. Thomas Riversedge, at your service. Now, Cleo here will take good care of you, but I need you to stick around. And if you remember anything, tell Cleo.”
“Wait, I remember.”
The warrior stopped in his tracks.
“She was beautiful, but something was wrong…” Kaden mumbled as he began to tell his tale.
Kaden was wandering in the Ghostlands after narrowly escaping one of the neighboring baronies. He had been working with a group that turned out to be criminal and no choice but to flee. He had heard the dark rumors of the Ghostlands, but he was willing to risk them until he could return safely to his own land. Unfortunately, he was utterly lost in the mists.