A Wylde Tale by T. J. Schaaf and Cal Westray
Chapter 5: My Wildest Dream
“Tava come. Leave him alone.”
What? As the really big cat turned around and started to walk away, I could now see a really hot girl. She looked to be about twenty, maybe twenty one. She was about six foot tall, long dark hair, and man was she beautiful. That along with a big-ass spear in her hand and hardly any clothes on made me almost die. She was a sight alright. Something in her eyes told me she was more than she appeared to be.
“Wow, you look beat,” she said.
“Thanks, I feel like it too. Are you my next master?”
“Sounds kinky. I’m a little old for you don’t you think.”
“Huh? No, I am supposed to meet my next teacher here.”
“Oh, well I’m not them. I live over the ridge. I have to go now,” she said quickly. “Tava come.”
With that, she left. No “see ya later,” just a quick dash with her cat deeper into the forest. Did I say something? What happened? Who was she is the big question? And when can I see her again. Man, I go through this every day. I see a pretty girl, in this case a drop dead gorgeous half naked jungle woman, and automatically have a thing for them. When am I going to learn? And where the heck is my next teacher?
“You’ve done well so far,” suddenly echoed from within the forest. “I didn’t expect the banana trick. It was crude, but effective. Now that you’ve eaten, rested, and stopped the swelling of your lower body. Let’s work on healing you.”
After that, a figure emerged from a group of trees. I am almost inclined to say out of a tree itself. He was a tall and thin man. Almost seven foot I’d wager. His outfit screamed “RANGER.” He came closer and then held out a pouch for me.
“Here, open it and put it on your feet. Then cover your feet in mud and wrap them with some long grass.”
Upon opening the pouch, I found a bunch of what looked to be ground up herbs and stuff. So after getting some mud and long grass from the river, I did what he said. I’m not kidding, almost all the pain went away instantly. It was like my feet were numb or something. It felt so great.
“There, that should help a lot. How does it feel?”
“I think I love you. It feels so much better.”
He chuckled, “Don’t love me, love the forest. It, as well as almost all of nature, can provide you with everything you need. You must simply learn to tap the power and harness it for your needs. Come, we shall spend the rest of the time going over plants that are good and bad. Follow me.”
And with that, I got up on my now painless feet and walked with him for the rest of our time. We walked all over the place. He pointed out so many plants and told me what all they could do. He explained to me that I could think of some of the plants like paint. I can start out with two colors, two plants that is, mix them and form another color, or plant. Each of the plants he showed me all had different properties. Some healed, some hurt, some numbed, some were good for cooking. A few, if you mixed them, became more potent. It was very complicated. I felt like I was back in biology. I knew there would be a lot of memorizing involved with this guy. He also told me a few ways to read the forest and to look out for trouble.
“There is life all around you in a forest. And it’s loud,” he said. “You must learn to listen to the forest life. If it’s quiet, then there is trouble nearby. The animals get quiet to warn each other. Follow their advice. And if you do find trouble in the forests, take the shortcuts the animals use for daily survival. They are ground down paths. They also tend to lead to water and food if you need those too.”
He gave that and many other great tactics for staying alive in the forest. After so many hours of trying to remember what was what and what did what, I did manage to get down the basic pain reliever and healing combination. He did however tell me not to expect it to be as potent next time. He mentioned something about how he infused it with energy and that that is why it worked so well. Whatever, I’ll worry about that later. Out of the two sessions so far, I liked this one a lot better. I didn’t end up bloody at the end of this one. But the end did come and I was sent home. So, I bid my master goodnight and headed back to the hut.
“Good, you are here,” the wizard said.
“Yeah, so what do we do?”
He grinned. “Why we sit, of course.”
“I can do that.”
“What do you need to do right now?” he asked.
“Nothing really, I could use some sleep. Wait, no, I need to contact my friend.”
“Other than that.” He said firmly. “You need sleep. Okay, we’ll start with basic meditation. Now, what we are about to do may be a little awkward at first, but you’ll get used to it. I’m going to put you in a trance-like state. For all intents and purpose, you will appear to be in a coma. But your inner mind will be awake and working like crazy. Go ahead and get comfortable on your bed, I will begin to prepare you slowly. Once I enter your mind, we will be limited to speaking at first. But eventually, your mind will be strong enough to handle incoming thoughts. I won’t need to describe things to you, I will simply convey my thought unto you and you will know exactly what I mean.”
“Sounds cool.” So after a few minutes, things started to go dark. Then I awoke in a black room, two chairs, and a single light in the center. Then he appeared.
“There we go. Now at this point, we are both in your mind. It sounds odd, but you will understand soon. Now get comfortable, because I am about to talk for a while. If you don’t understand something I say, it’s imperative that you ask so you understand. Now, your mind has more power than you would have ever dreamed. The thing is, it takes time and practice to be able to use the power. We will start off with some basic things in here. First off, this is your mind. Right now, it’s dark and empty. I don’t mean that as if you’re stupid, only that you have not yet tapped the powers of it. This light. It’s a simple light. Change it. Make it into a light that you like. And the same for the chairs. Change them to what you like. You do this simply by focusing, and thinking about changing them. You must visualize them changing, and so it will happen. I am going to convey a very simple thought unto you that will help you do this. As I do, try to change things.”
So I tried, as I did, something occurred to me. He was right, of course I have the power. It’s my mind. Why wouldn’t I? Things made sense, all I had to do was change things. Slowly, the normal looking light turned into my blue lava lamp from back home. And the chairs into bean-bag chairs. I
couldn’t see the mage very well with that light the way it was, so I made it brighter. Now everything looked really cool.
“Now I want you to think about something. I want you to make a piece of paper and a pen. And then I want you to write down whether or not gravity affects you.”
“What, like it keeps me from jumping up a hundred feet in the air?”
So, I created a piece of paper and a pen. I wrote down that I can only jump about four feet up because gravity keeps me down.
“Now I want you to sign it so that if you read it again, you would believe it. Something that if you read it, you would accept it without question.”
I then wrote, “This is completely true, I give you my word.”
“Now, I’m going to convey another thought unto you.” He paused for a second. “You can only jump about four feet because gravity prevents you from jumping higher,” he said.
“Huh, no it doesn’t. I can jump as high as I want. What’s gravity got to do with it?”
“Look down and read the paper in your hand.” He paused again. “What did you think about that?”
I was speechless. “I honestly believed I could jump as I high as I wanted to. You conveyed the thought that gravity didn’t have an effect on me?”
“Yes, and you took it as truth. That is basic mind manipulation. The question is, does gravity have an effect on you?”
“I think so.”
“Now before, you didn’t know what I meant. Simply change things to what you want. That’s impossible you thought. But then I conveyed an idea unto you. Now the idea that you can change things is real. In your mind, you are god. I simply gave you the confidence you needed to. You took it like a rule of thumb. Gravity holds you down, you don’t put your hand in fire, and you can alter reality in your mind. That is the power of thought.”
“This is really powerful stuff isn’t it?”
“You have no idea... yet. Now I want you to think about the physical world. This will not be as effective. I want you to change your body. I want you to be completely healed, healthy, and full of energy. Now, I will have to help you with this for a while, but soon the strength of your mind will grow and you will be able to do things by yourself. So now let us focus on healing your physical body.”
For about ten more minutes, we focused and I tried to do what he said.
Then he said we were done and that it was time to wake up. When I did this with his help, I found that is was morning and that I was completely healed. I was sent to do my physical training now, but all I could think about was what had just happened. I was on an emotional fence. I was torn between feeling like a god, and being scared enough to cry. What have I been thrown into?
The rest of the ride into town was uneventful. Fortunately, there were no other pack mates to follow me. Fending off a pack of hungry wolves is not my idea of a pleasant way to spend a morning.
It’s getting daylight as I reached Talladale, I hope someone has a pot of tea ready.
Talladale is considerably larger than Shady Dale, more of a city than a village. A place large enough to get lost in or kept hidden in. Searching for T.J. here, may take awhile. I may as well get comfortable here.
I walk the horses to Days Dunn Stables and Smithy at the edge of town and find the stable master, Cole Dunn. After an introduction and a brief discussion, I sell the gelding to him; I want to keep the mare. He is curious about where I am from. I explain that I came from Shady Dale and know Amos and Sam. He knows them and asks about them. I tell him enough to satisfy his curiosity. I pay him in advance for a weeks boarding and ask him for a recommendation for a comfortable inn. He suggests the Silver Minstrel Inn (or Minstrel for short) for lodging and the Fox and Hound Tavern for food and drink. I thank him for the suggestions and make my way to the Minstrel, with my possessions slung over my shoulder.
In the Minstrel, I check-in and get a front corner room on the second floor. I want a room that overlooks front of the Minstrel and the road into town. The Inn is clean and comfortable, quite acceptable.
By the light of day, I can tell how poorly I fared against the wolves. My new suit was shredded by the teeth and claws of the wolf. I clean up and dress my injuries from the claws, at least there were no bites. Sam included some ointments that I can use on some the deeper scratches. I begin to apply some ointment to my scalp injury, but I notice that it’s nearly healed. How odd. Should it heal so well within a couple days? I don’t actually know.
Feeling clean again, I change into clean and casual clothes. I pocket all the local currency and my silver possessions. Fortunately, my clothes match my hat and umbrella; but not well enough. I will take care of that soon enough. I find a map of Talladale in the lobby of the Inn and familiarize myself with the details, then pocket the map.
I walk over to the Fox and Hound for breakfast. I have a well-prepared omelet, bangers, hot tea, and juice. My appetite is sated and I have another cup of tea before leaving to begin my search.
I find a silversmith and do a little bartering. I sell my silver flask, silver knife, and silver lighter. It takes awhile to get a good price out of him. He has difficulty hiding his surprise at the quality of the merchandise. If Sam was correct in his appraisal, the silversmith certainly gets the better end of the deal. However, I was not expecting a great deal of money, just enough to handle expenses for awhile. I am not ready to part with my other items yet.
Pleased with funds from the stable and the silversmith, I continue to a clothing merchant. I find one that specializes in men’s clothing. I find clothing suitable for a merchant or nobleman that will match my hat and umbrella. I purchase several suits and return to the Minstrel with my collection.
I organize and put away my clothes, then change into one of the new suits. It looks stylish and impressive, the look I am trying for. I put on my hat and pick up the umbrella. I don’t know what I did, but the handle twisted loose and the umbrella came off. The bamboo handle is attached to a shaft of metal.
Well I’ll be, it’s a concealed blade! I examine it closely. It’s a gleaming triangular blade, three very sharp edges with runnels on each side. It’s very thin with the appearance of flimsiness, but the design makes it very hard and difficult to bend without cutting my fingers. I take an en guard stance to get the feel of it and try a few attacks and parries with it. It has a perfect balance and feel to it, almost an extension of myself. Designed specifically for concealment and for fencing style fighting. I am very pleased with this discovery.
I reassemble the umbrella and discover how the catch works. Excellent, it’s a simple design with easy twist release operation for quick effective use. Who needs any other weapon, with this beauty? I wonder what other gadgets I haven’t discovered yet.
I consult the map and leave the Inn in my new attire. I make my way to the next stop. Soon, I reach the Constabulary and ask for the Captain of the Guard. His name is Captain Jason Willows. I explain that I came from Shady Dale and I was looking for a lad who was possibly attacked by some highwaymen. “They were headed for Talladale and I thought someone may have seen him. His family is worried about him and I am looking for him to see him safely home.” I show him a picture of T.J.
He doesn’t recognize the lad but shows genuine surprise at the picture. He asks about the scribe that drew the picture, he never saw such a quality sketch before. I explain that it belongs to his family and I have no knowledge who the scribe is. He wishes me luck but tells me that he doesn’t tolerate trouble in Talladale.
I smile at the alliteration and reassure him. “I only want to make sure the boy is safe. I will inform you if foul play is involved and if I need your help in dealing with the culprits. Do you have any suggestions that may help in my search?”
“As strange as it sounds, I suggest that you check the gypsy caravan. If this boy is important to you, you should even try magical assistance. Madame Moonscrye has helped me in difficult cases before.” He gave me directions to the current location of the caravan.
I thank Captain Willows and leave to continue my search. It helps to establish contacts, in case I need the assistance of the authorities later. The caravan sounds like a good place to start, I won’t refuse help from any quarter in this realm.
It just takes minutes to find the caravan. There is a long row of horse drawn wagons. The wagons are colorfully decorated and the horses look well cared for. The gypsies are busy at various tasks that involve working with the wagons or horses. The sound of music fills the air and the music sounds like the type used to cheer the others in their labors.
I approach the nearest wagon. A young man is brushing a draft horse. “Pardon me lad, I am looking for Madame Moonscrye. Where may I find her?”
He looks at me suspiciously. “Why do you seek her?”
“I seek her aid.” I glance sideways at the draft horse. “Beautiful horse you have there.” But something seems to be wrong with her.
“Yes, she is. Madame Moonscrye is busy now and cannot be disturbed. You should come back later.”
He is becoming impatient. “Maybe tomorrow, maybe later.”
I smile. “I’d rather see her now. It’s very important.”
“Perhaps you didn’t understand me. She is not to be disturbed. Go away.”
“I think not.”
He displays a knife. “I said, go away!” With a sneer, he shouts at me. “Misli!”
“That’s not very hospitable of you. I must say I’m a little disappointed.” He used a phrase from a language I haven’t heard in many years. But from where?
He lunges with the knife. I parry with the umbrella, pushing the blade and arm away. I remove the bowler and hit him over the head with it. I hear a crack of metal on bone and he drops. Why did I do that? I suppose it was instinctual. I tap the bowler on the wheel rim and hear a metal on metal clang. Interesting! More gadgets. I put the hat on and tap it in place.
I turn and see several gypsies closing in on me, after seeing their fellow gypsy bested so easily. They take position around me, knives drawn threateningly. “You were told to leave.” The boldest of the lot changes his grip on the blade and throws it at me. I bat it away with my umbrella, it sticks into the side of a wagon.
I frown. “I am saddened by the lack of hospitality in this caravan. Misli!” [Be off!] I call out. “Madame Moonscrye! Nulsk you suni mwilsa, gris b’or’?” [When will you come to see me, fortune telling woman?]
The ruffians take a step back, shocked that an out-worlder knew their old tongue. The one who threw the knife boldly steps forward. “Sakr, grasi get’a.” [Brother, please forgive.] “Nus a Dhalyon dhuilsha.” [The blessing of God on you.] Switching back. “You speak the old tongue very well, brother. I am Aldis and leader of this caravan.”
“Mwilsha bog’d Sheldru swurth nadherum’s miskon.” [I learned Shelta on my mother’s breast.] I switch back. “No harm done, Aldis. I am Wylde. We should check on the boy, I didn’t want to injure him.” The boy recovers quickly and they explain to him of his error. “Now, when can I see her?” I have proven myself as an equal, not to be ignored or dismissed.
Aldis frowns. “She is away, brother Wylde. She is getting supplies to make medicine for our horses. She should be back soon.”
“What is wrong with the horses?”
“They are suffering from a stomach disorder. Madame Moonscrye knows how to cure it, if she can find the ingredients. My brothers have been on edge and ill tempered since the horses became ill.”
“I understand fully. Perhaps I should apologize for intruding when I did.”
He holds his hand up, sensing that this is something I ‘shouldn’t’ be required to do. “No apology is needed, brother Wylde.”
“I thought I detected something wrong with the lead draft horse, but I was uncertain what it was. Is there something I can do to help?”
“Pray that Madame finds what she seeks. The ingredients she needs are very rare and expensive.”
“May I examine one of them?” I show genuine concern.
“As you wish, brother Wylde.” He takes me to one of his draft horses.
I check him over. “He is strong and noble, I can sense the pride in him. I ‘see’ that he was foaled and raised in the company of gypsies and he is nearly three years old.” How I know this I am uncertain, I just ‘feel’ it from the body, mind, and spirit of the horse.
Aldis smiles at the observation. “You are correct.”
I knit my brows in concentration and run my hand along the side of the stallion. It flinches as I pass the flank and I stop there. I keep my hand still, and feel... something. Yes. No! “Aldis, he has a stomach parasite, much like bot flies but worse. The parasite also causes acute wind colic. Both causes him severe pain. The parasite must be killed to save the horse. Worse yet, it may spread to every horse in the region. Every horse in Talladale should be treated!” I don’t know how I know this, but it’s accurate.
A frown returns. “Madame Moonscrye has told me as much and it’s what all of us fear.”
“Aldis, you must take me to her! I need to know what she is looking for. Time is critical.”
“Very well, brother Wylde. Let’s go.”
He leads me down the row of stores. We look into several shops until we reach an herbalist. Aldis points her out to me as we enter the shop.
She turns to face me and I greet her. “Madame Moonscrye. Nus a Dhalyon dhuilsha.” [The blessing of God on you.]
She looks at me then Aldis. He nods. “Madame, he wishes to aid us. Stes gifan suni.” [He is a horse seer.]
She looks at me, with a deep penetrating gaze. “Is this true?”
“My name is Wylde. I wish to help. I make no claim of any abilities beyond caring for the gifan.”
“Aldis, the cards spoke truly.” To me. “Nus a Dhalyon dhuilsha, Wylde. We welcome any aid. You understand that time is short. I have tried the standard treatments, but with little success. I even used indigofera water, hop tea, red pepper tea, and milk with syrup. They provide some relief, but it doesn’t remove the parasites. I need a more powerful treatment.”
“What do you require?”
She shows me a list of ingredients she is gathering. Most are common ingredients: cayenne pepper, cloves, chamomile, ginger, ginseng, lemon, mustard, peppermint, saffron, sage, tansy, thyme, turpentine, and vinegar.
“These items I can find in sufficient quantities. What I need is a large quantity of a particular root, found in only one area. It has various names: Crawley Root, Coral Root, and Chicken Toe. But it’s known mostly as Dragon’s Claw.” She shows me a sample of the plant. “The herbalist provided all that was in her stock, but it’s not enough. We need enough to treat every horse in Talladale. The herbalist will check with her suppliers to find as much as possible of the plants. I know where it can be found. The plants must be carefully dug up, a portion of the root removed, and the remainder be carefully re-planted.”
“Madame, I will go to this place if you can provide a guide.”
“Aldis, have young Alban guide him to Dragon’s Peak. Wylde, you need horses that are unaffected.”
“Madame, I have two. We will use them.”
“Thank you, Wylde. Grasi graxu!” [Please hurry!]
Aldis finds Alban and gives him instructions. I chuckle, it’s the lad I knocked out.
“Alban, I am Wylde. I hope there are no hard feelings. At least, I will give you another chance to nail me after this is over.”
He smiles. “No hard feelings, but you can show me that move later. I am honored to work with a brother.”
“Thanks, I will. I feel the same, brother Alban. Gather some digging tools and I will get the horses. Meet me at Dunn’s stables.”
I head for the Days Dunn Stable and Smithy. I find Cole Dunn feeding the horses. “Cole, I need to buy the gelding back. Here’s double the money you paid for it.”
“Whoa. What’s wrong, Wylde? Have you found trouble in Talladale so soon?”
“Are you familiar with Madame Moonscrye?”
“Of course. She makes medicines for my horses.”
“She has discovered that some horses are infested with a stomach parasite, like bot flies. She needs special herbs to treat them. Every horse in Talladale will need to be treated, or they may become infested as well. My horses are not from Talladale and so far are unaffected. Young Alban is taking me to Dragon’s Peak. We have to hurry there and return with the necessary herbs before any horses are lost to the parasites.”
“Very well. If she feels it’s necessary, that is good enough for me. Besides, we can’t afford to lose any horses. Keep your money and God’s speed.”
“Thanks, Cole.” Alban arrives with the tools, we ready the horses, and ride off.