Unending Trails

Walk of Nostalgia

It was indeed true that the odd regularities of the same path I had walked were what was keeping me from breaking. Each step I took further and further away from the encampment were steps reassuring me that I was home.

‘Just as if everything is where it’s supposed to be.’

Wonder what they are up to, those two.

Most likely working. It would be a waste of time not to be, in the state they’re living in.

‘You know they’re probably saving for somewhere to stay, right? Even then, we know that they aren’t that way.’

Possibly.


I had almost taken it personally that I had even thought of Eli or Mary as being that way. Deep down I knew that even if they were, they would have a reason for it; that I had accepted. It was a shame that even the most affectionate and kindest of people were also cast out. In a way, it was a devastating change from the gods. One in which we were all a part of, one way or another.

I had continued walking until the path became more open, and the noise became more recognizable with the growing sound of chatter from all who were near the town. It had given me the usual sense of relief that the town was coming back to its former glory as it had been.


‘Maybe I should’ve stayed with them. Probably would’ve been better for all of us.’

It would’ve been better for all of us, but you have ‘him’ to thank for this.

You can’t deny that it would’ve been inevitable in the long run. Might as well see if we can take our chances.


In the end, both were true. Me staying with Eli and Mary would seem like an enjoyable life —what with all the helping around and the luxury of having the feeling of another family. I knew in the end that it would only result in me wanting to leave one way or another. Being in one spot, with such a lush world out there… there would be no way I could stay confined.

Soon enough after a few feet, I had begun to see people doing whatever the thing that they were doing. Many were walking while holding baskets on both sides of them, the occasional person with farming tools upon his shoulder, the every once in awhile caravan exiting and entering the gates following the trail leading elsewhere, and the pleasant groups of people chattering in their conversations. The air became strangely more welcoming and hospitable with just the feeling of civilization thriving here —though it was just the same in reality.


Ahh, feels good to see all manors of people. Freedom at last…

Well, freedom for the rest of the day. Then what?

Alright, don’t ruin the mood.


I let a gentle grin as I relished in the wholesomeness of the situation. I had come to accept the one that is usually “moody.” He had a sense of feeling and emotion and usually took pity on the others and me, funnily enough. He was the observer in the conversation, and in some cases, he was more right then the harsher one and dictated my decision for the better of others. He saw morality and justice as fundamental, that which neither I nor the harsh one could deny. He was persuasive, and boy did he have a way with his words.

I had kept walking past the many scattered people around the front of the walls. It wasn’t until I had reached the enormous stone gate that marked one of the entrances to Tierredaviid, that the nostalgic memories of me when I was younger walking under the many archways, following my mother as she would walk silently through the crowds of people, satisfied with our trip from the merchants selling an assortment of fruits and vegetables.


Been a long time since the old days… too long. Keep that promise that we all made, never forget ‘em.

‘I haven’t forgotten. I couldn’t forget, even if I wanted to.’

After I had walked a few feet past the arch, I slow my pace to stare once again at the buildings and people around me. Many of the structures were somewhat damaged, and wooden reinforcements could be seen around the more visibly damaged and worn down from the construction still going on around the town. The streets aren’t as full and active compared to those days in the past, but at least I could depend on these people to make it that way in the future.

It was the stone crafted pathways that had looked as if they had all manners of exits and entries; the many people of all sorts of endless backgrounds, the chattering of conversations and the smells of the aromatic foods in the air. This was it; that was it. As if nostalgia had manifested into a humanoid entity and was welcoming me into home. Welcoming me with one arm on my back and the other outstretched in front of me, signifying that it had something to show me.

It had only taken just a couple of seconds before I had my first sights of the guards. Hefty figures of leather lining and metal armaments to cover the kinks of their joints that reflected the sun in certain angles, and colored cloth over their abdomen and back signifying their kingdom: Ties-Yicslin. Wooden shields with metal outlining hung on their backs, and the many weapons they chose to bring hung at their sides, back, and perhaps those that didn’t see fit to bring a weapon.

Many could see that even they do not ensure strict enforcement, for they too have seen only misfortune—the very same that we saw. They too had families here, friends, or even homes, and saw it needless to beat a wounded horse. The town welcomed them, and though they had a job to do, they were among us; Friends and family, all together.


‘You know, we should be glad that it's Ties-Yicslin and not any other. At least I wouldn't have it any other way.’

It was so that Ties-Yicslin was like a caring father. Never too strict, and always happy to help. Such like a father, that they need not interfere with the town’s processes or recovery, like a parent watching a sick child. Though they knew when to step in and when not to.

It had almost been a few minutes before I had reached the market center, where Eli and Mary had set up shop again. Out of any of the places in Tierrdaviid, the market streets had hit the most nostalgia. This was were much of my childhood had been outside of my home, or at least where I had gone to even if I passed by it. It was were much of the town’s commotion had been, and more of one’s senses were aware of the activity.

My mood had slightly bettered seeing that the market center was almost untouched by the destruction. Well, at least I’d like to think that way. In reality, it had also been destroyed, but setting up stands and hand-made stalls for a shop was much more efficient than rebuilding ruined houses.


‘...left, then a right, then another left…’

God, you think Alys is still in Tierrdaviid?

Highly unlikely. I’d think that if she was optimistic, she would've taken what had happened as a sign to leave.

‘Probably, I wouldn't blame her.’


“Alys...” it had been too long since I had heard of that name. A woman that my mother frequently visited from time to time. I had remembered her to be just like my mother. She was very picky about what went were and somewhat introverted to others, but not some. I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to recognize her if I did see her though.

After I had taken my last left past the other vendors, I had at last come to my destination. It was a stone building among all the others that had windowed cutouts in the front with banners wavering in the wind. It was partly destroyed on the left back side, though I knew that the two weren’t the type to just stop selling because of it. Finally, I could see that sweet arched sign from the wooden post attached to the wall that had welcomed me every time I came: “Welcome to Aroma’s Walk.”

Every time I had come to visit, I would read that sign. It had welcomed me, as it had welcomed others. Aroma’s Walk I had heard had been on the uprising; people, merchants, and even the guards would come to taste the food they so relished when they were starving after their routinely strolls.

I had walked near the openings in the stone wall before hearing the faint chattering a few conversations.


‘Boy am I glad to be here. Glad to see they are keeping up with everything.’

Mm-hm.


I had pushed open the wooden door that marked the entrance under the sign and was pleased to be welcomed with an intense smell of an assortment of dishes. With a quick glance around, there weren’t many people that I saw —as I had suspected. A couple in one corner of the building, and some eating solemnly a few seats down alone. Though, it had only been just a couple of seconds before Mary spotted me.

“Liam, sweetheart, it’s been too long!”, she exclaimed with joyous delight. “They brooding another event?”

“Yes ma’am it has, and it seems so. Lucky for the other trainees we finally get some room to breathe.” I respond while walking closer, picking a spot that is most comfortable. “So how goes business?”

“Well, it goes as usual. Nothing too special, but I’m thankful to have it nonetheless.”

I sat down at the usual spot I always seemed to choose, and I saw that she was wiping down the tables with a damp cloth, ever so swiftly and delicately. Around and around, she had the perfect routine to go by every day with the utmost efficiency.


Just imagine, what it would've been like if you’d stayed.

By looking at her, would you feel as if it were a prison or a dream?


I had a long thought of the two choices. Indeed it had been that way if I had stayed. Would it feel like a dream or a prison? Before I had taken deep consideration of the two words, a sudden eruption of one question made way to cloud all the other thoughts.

“Say, where’s Eli?”

“Ahh, he went to go do some business in town. Bet ya any amount of money he’s out buying in the market streets.”


‘Hmm, not often I don’t see him here.’

Before I could further watch her clean the other half of the long wooden table, she stopped and turned her head, as if she was trying to remember something. Often she did this, so it was no surprise.

“What happened?”

The ambiance of the room with the added conversations by the walls and the bubbling in the cook room was all but I could hear. With a sudden jump, she turned her eyes towards me and picked up the rag, walking towards the other end of the table.

“Say, Liam… do you know of a man dressed in a tunic? He’s about yea-high…” she raised her arm a little higher than her own height and continued on, “wears a brown Tudor cap with a red feather? Believe the man has brown eyes if my memory serves me correctly.”

I remark the height, with my only thought of him being some kind of militia officer.


Nothing. We haven’t spoken to anybody like that, and no officer wears that kind of attire.

“Nope, haven't seen or talked to anybody like that. Why do you ask?”

“Ole’ fellow frequently visits, asking for you. Been waitin’ for you to come, it seems. Wondered if you had gotten any kind of business with those types.”

I was surprised to hear of somebody I didn’t know of asking for me. I had thought that I was virtually invisible to many who go here.

“Me?” I asked surprisingly.

“Mm-hmm. Asked for your name directly. Just wanted to tell you in-case you saw someone like that. I’d keep your eye open.”

I nodded and continued on. “I’ll be sure to do that.”

Though I suddenly remembered why I actually came here.

“Say, you don’t suppose you don’t have any work for me?”

“Oh yes. Been needing to throw some trash out. Could you do it, my dear?”

“Absolutely. I’m guessing it’s where it is usually placed?” I asked, as I got up from my seat, and made way to the cook room.

“Mm-hmm. Should be in some buckets.”

I went past the doorway, and into the kitchen, where much of the activities happened. Pots and pans, the fireplace lit with a pot over it, and all kinds of herbs and spices sat on the tables and hung on racks. The cook room was where much of the food smell came from, and the sounds of boiling water with the warmth of the heat from the fireplace.

I had spotted the back wooden door and walked towards it, smelling the different shifts of the kitchen air. I pushed open the broken wooden door and spotted the two buckets filled with whatever kind of bile a sane person could call it. Almost instantly upon picking up the buckets, I had almost gagged at the horrid smell. Unfortunately, both of my hands were filled, so I had to rely on walking fast to continue getting more clean air, and holding my breath if it caught up to me.


‘Jesus, how do they do this?’

It’s their passion. You’d have gotten used to it if you would’ve stayed longer.


I was met with a dimly lit alleyway, with the backs of stone and wooden structures on either side for allowing a couple feet or so for walking. It was as eerie as any other dark place, just as I remembered as a child.

Though I had always abhorred that kind of side to going into this kind of business. On the outside, it seemed well… serving all manners of people that were hungry. Though many forget the dark side of it. In the end, I suppose if someone really enjoyed their job, it wouldn't matter.

After a while of walking down the alleyway behind many of the structures laid side-by-side from each other, I had dumped the buckets of bile into a large compiled bin had waited for any who had as much trash as Mary and Eli had managed to pile up. I closed my nose in full defense for the abomination of a smell the bin made, and hurriedly picked the buckets up to make way back to the cook room.


‘So who do you suppose is looking for us? Do you think we unknowingly killed someone? Perhaps we are a runaway murderer, and we don’t even know.’

I chuffed and let a grin as I was walking down the alleyway.

Not as I would like. Though, they will see one day.

Though in grim places, it was that same feeling of me following nostalgia. I let it guide me when no one else did. It welcomed me in back into my home, and so it did now —down this dark alley. A lovely feeling indeed.

I pushed open the same wooden door I had come out of and walked through the cook room. Nothing changed, except a figure I made out in the middle talking with Mary who still had the same rag —though this time over her shoulder. I paused in the doorway that connected the dining area with the cook room and saw a man wearing a Tudor cap with a red feather.


There he is...

A slow bellow clouded my mind, and in moments, the man looked up in my direction —though he was too far for me to make where exactly he was looking.

No…

Instinct had forced me to walk towards the two, and both Mary and the man stood still. Mary had turned her sights to me and smiled. As I had gotten closer, I had been able to make out what it is they were saying… though I wish I hadn’t missed the rest of it. Mary turned towards me, and started walking.

“That's him. Says he wants to speak with you alone,” she said, resting her hand on my shoulder. “Here,” she whispered grabbing my hand, and putting a couple of gold coins into my palm. “Whatever happens, come back here to tell us. We’ll be dying to know what happens. Come back soon…” she said, as she let go of my hand and walked past me.


‘What in the fuck is she talking about? Am I supposed to be somewhere?’

I don’t know, but he’s waiting. Let’s find out… I’m sure the dungeons and cells await us.


My heart had dropped, and a chill went down my spine as I made my way past the maze of tables and chairs towards the man.

‘What could he want?’

My mind was too jumbled to think in the matter of time I had before I reached the man. I looked at his stubbled face, and he stared right back at me. He let out a smile as he raised his arm to form a handshake.

“So… I suppose you are Liam?”

I took his words in and attempted to form a response as I grasped his hand and shook his hand.

“Yes sir, I am. Why do you ask?” I responded shyly.

“Follow me, I’ve too much to tell in here.”