A new day would soon start in Dymentia. The sun slowly rose and the people awoke from their sleep. But not everyone in Dymentia had a good nights rest. In the cities Utopis and Yigrim, two people refuse to sleep and have been awake for over a week now. These people are Iquela, Bearer of Light and Glamia, Bearer of Darkness. It was 18 year ago they felt their Strings split, so the new Strings should be by age by now. In an attempt to find the new Bearers, both Light and Darkness have send out their troops, agents and special forces, scouring the land of Dymentia. Many cities are also filled with posters, asking the people to keep an eye out for the new Bearers.
Glamia contacted one of her most loyal followers through a letter.
''Triana Bouteller, my loyal subject,
As you have probably heard, the new Bearers their powers are finally unlocked. While my soldiers are looking for the new Darkness, I want you to look for the new Light. Do NOT kill him or her. I know the temptation to kill our biggest enemy while it's still weak is very big, but it is not the way. I want, however, that you stall him as much as you can. Slow him or her down in discovering his powers. Or when he or she is on their way to Utopis, make sure that that is slowed down too. This will give Darkness more time to learn, and will give us a heads start.
While I said you couldn't kill him, I never said something about hurting though. Capture and torture is allowed, just don't do it over the top such as last time.
Also, if you're in Yigrim, be sure to visit the stables. There are many different animals I bet you would love to ride. See it as a gift for your families loyalty.
Darkness cover your trail,
Glamia Yia, Bearer of Darkness
Meanwhile Iquela asked the help of two very respectable men, who she asked to come to Utopis. She wanted to tell her request to them personally, for that was her style. These men went by the names of Johan the Kind and Cadeyrn Heldar. She had asked them in a letter to come to Utopis as soon as possible, for she had an important mission for the two, with a hefty fee attached to it. Something that would surely persuade the two.
In the capital city of Life, Livus, the rumors of were spreading. Rumors about the new Light and Darkness being the next-doors kid, or that Darkness would get his butt kicked as soon as people saw him. But this wasn't interesting for Celestine "Celeste" Cinderford. Many people came by her bakery every day, and every time some one would ask her: ''Do you know who the new Light and Darkness are?'' But she had to shake her head in denial. This time, she couldn't say: "Don't tell me something I already know.", for she didn't know it. She'd also seen the posters in the city, asking the people for help finding the new Bearers. Maybe that was something for her? To get away from her dull life? Maybe...?
In Ordo, the news was mainly focused around the new Darkness. The Strings of Psychic never really cared about the Light. ''What string would it be?'', ''Would it be one of us?'' and the main question: ''Who will the King his new ally be?'' But Carus Halbritter could just continue his life in the Libraries of Ordo. Those weren't touched by the rumors or the news. Or did he care? Would the coming of a new Darkness and Light mean more to him? What would his part be in this play?
In the other cities, the questions were the same. Who would the King ally with? And what would that mean for their own Strings or their surrounding lands? Would it come to another war? Or would something special happen since it was the 100th Cycle? All their questions will be answered in the coming years... In the years that a new Dymentia will be formed.
Pharenhae town. Everything was silent and still, the wind was barely whispering through the leaves of the trees. The dawn of a new day was upon them, but not just any day. It was the day of the cycle. Rumors about who would be the new Dark, or who would be the new Light spread throughout the land of Dymentia like a wild fire, and a constant presence of isolation could be felt in the air. It was the dawn of the new cycle, and it was damned cold.
Mercure woke up from her light sleep as the sun rose over the edge of the window. Her hammock was cold and the floorboards were drafty. With a shiver running through her body, Mercur lifted her bandanna off her eyes, and placed it on her forehead, then rolled off the hammock and landed gracefully on her feet. With a huge yawn she stood up and stretched before immediately hogging the blanket, and wrapped it around her.
"MERCUR!!" A sharp tone of voice broke through the the silent morning, and across the trees. "Get over here, you are late! Harvest has already started and you are meant to be up for over an hour ago!"
Mercur grunted but didn't back talk. She didn't want any more problems, still feeling the sore eye from yesterdays drama over being late back for supper from a hard days work. Her mother wasn't the nicest.
She rushed out from her corner of the living room, while putting an extra shirt on, then opened the door to the front porch, and took a deep breath of fresh air as she stepped out from the house. Only to become face to face with her angry mother.
"Mercur..." She started, her tone of voice low, and sharp. "How many times have I told you not to drop your stuff all over the house? HMM?" She said. "And you don't even close the door after you leave it like a mess in there!"
"Mothe-" Mercur started trying to defend herself.
"Shut up Mercur."
"But Mother, I haven't even left the..."
"Mercur are you back talking me?" Miss Olygri said and then shoved Mercur back in to the house and slammed the door behind her.
"Mercur, do you know what day it is today?!"
Mercur silently nodded, as she took a step back to distance herself from her mother. "Yes."
"You know that it is the 100'th Cycle today?! Do you KNOW how much STRESS the village is under because of this Century stuff that is happening?" She took another step toward Mercur and raised her hand. "Not ONLY do I have to deal with the stress of the whole village, The natural changes, The not so natural changes, and your dad. I have to deal with an incompetent and sloppy daughter like you!" With that the hand swung and slapped Mercur across the arm which Mercur held up to protect herself. Then something happened.
It was like a will not to be punished took over Mercur, and her block turned into a grip and she pulled her mother towards her.
"Mother. I am 18 years old now, and I might not be the biggest or best daughter you had. But you only have me and I would like it if you stopped to abuse me."
"Mercur Olygri, HOW dare you!" She started, then Mercur shoved her away, and opened the door then took off.
She fled the house out into the orchard, an orchard she loved and hated at the same time. It was a place for thoughts and as she leaped from the ropes and branches into the heart of the orchard, she started to form an Idea. It was an Idea for revenge.
Johan slowly strode up to the gate of Utopis, his halberd tied against his back by a pair of loose but sturdy knots. They kept his weapon against his body even while he was running, but could be easily removed with a single hand each, allowing the adventurer to arm himself at a moment's notice. "You there! With the halberd! What is your business in Utopis?"
Turning his head as a guardsman called out for him, Johan spread his arms in a gesture of peace. "My presence has been requested by Lady Iquela, the Bearer of Light, herself. I have a letter from her, with the Seal of Light, if you'd like to see." Of course they'd like to see it. The guards of the city weren't notorious for violence or refusing entry for petty reasons, but they took their jobs seriously. As what appeared to be the senior guardsman looked over the letter, a look of familiarity crossed his face.
"I know you. Johan...Johan the Kind, they call you." A smirk crossed the guard's face as he rolled up the letter and passed it back to Johan, waving him through the gate. "Our gates are always open to somebody with your character. Especially since Lady Iquela herself has requested you."
Smiling happily, Johan entered the city and looked about. It wasn't his first visit to Utopis, but the city was a bit different than the last time he'd been there, which was about two years prior. A sign or two here and there were changed and the overall feel of the city was different. Though, this was to be expected, as the heir to the Light string was about to awaken. It was the beginning of the 100th cycle, and much would be changing soon. Johan considered himself lucky to be able to see such an occurrence while in the prime of his life.
Making his way towards the Seat of Light, Johan prepared himself. He was about to make himself part of something genuinely important. More than just retrieving a family heirloom or protecting a trader's goods. He was about to become part of history.
Deep within the Palace of Ordo, through various convoluted twists and turns in the palace basements, lay the Ordo Archivus. There, many records of past deeds and atrocities lay, ascribed within innumerable ancient tomes. There, at a desk stacked high with dusty books written in Gothic script, sat Carus Halbritter. To an outside observer, Carus was sitting idle, his eyes shut, with his hands in his lap. That didn't explain the odd purplish glow emanating from his closed eyelids, however. To Carus, however, he was engaged in a journey that few could possibly understand, and even fewer could undertake. His eyes snapped open, the unearthly glow permeating throughout the chamber.
Carus was traversing the collective unconscious of every mortal within the plane of Dymentia, their chaotic thoughts swirling within the 'landscape' of the Immaterium, ever changing and never constant, unlike the physical realm that Dymentia occupied. Carus took care to avoid the presence of other psychics within this realm, as one false move could enslave a young Psychic to another, their thoughts forever controlled and manipulated, even without knowing it. Carus was no young psychic, however. He had walked this path many times, and many times he avoided enslavement to other, less scrupulous psychics. Those that tried to enslave Carus' consciousness were violently ejected from this realm due to Carus' raw willpower. One thought was constant throughout, one of the 100th Cycle.
"Who would the new Bearers be?"
Following this train of thought, Carus was drawn to two 'polarities' within the realm. One of immense light, almost blinding Carus. He ventured away from this polarity, as those who utilized Psychic Irn were not attuned with the Light. It's brilliance could render psychics permanently blind, as they were not worthy to look upon it's glory. All he could glean from this was raw, but unrealized power. Absolute darkness was cast from the other 'spectrum' of the Immaterium, drawing Carus to it. Despite other psychics trawling this end of the Immaterium, Carus maneuvered his way through the non-Euclidean space, and looked upon the source of this shadow. This shadow originated from a young consciousness, who had only existed for only 18 years, and was weak as a result... but the potential was still there.
Immediately, Carus knew what he must do. He detached himself from the realm, the light from his eyes fading, returning to their lack of pigmentation. He was back to his mortal coil, his mind only focused on two things.
I must venture to Pharenhae. The balance between light and dark must be maintained.
Celestine Cinderford woke up at the crack of dawn. She gets out of bed and proceeds to the kitchen, dragging her feet across the cold floor. She ate a light breakfast consisting of leftover honeywheat bread from the previous day's batch, some blueberries, and a cup of milk. She then proceeds to change from her nightgown to her everyday dress and her brown leather baker's apron, washes her face with water from the well just outside her house, the usual morning routine one might usually do. The baker then dons her cloak, picks up her lantern, ensuring that it contains oil enough to sustain light for when she gets home, and places her pouch of collectibles in her dress pocket and leaves her home to her bakery to begin the working day.
When she arrived in her bakery, she fires up her oven not without noticing her supply of firewood has been running low and makes a mental note to get some more from the local merchant. Celeste then ties her ebony hair with her ribbon and begins to make sweet cinnamon bread, the customer's favourite of all her products. She then opens her bakery door to indicate that her bakery is, take a wild guess, open. Soon enough customers come and go, and some have conversed with each other and with the baker herself. All is well until one customer decided to bring up a subject that left Celeste befuddled for the rest of the day, the subject of the new Light and Darkness. "Ya know 'bout them new Light and Darkness, Cinderford?" a regular asks, "I actually don't." says Celeste. "Heard there's some kind of reward for finding 'em. Just a thing I've heard." This statement from the regular stirs her interest, "A reward? I'll keep an eye out for this 'new Light and Darkness.' Also it's almost closing time, so finish up your business. Oh, and I'm not open tomorrow, I need the time for firewood." the baker replied. "I see Cinderford, catch ya sometime later." is what the final reply from the regular is. He leaves the bakery with some money and heads off his way. A little while later, Celeste shoos out any lingering customers out of the bakery to prepare for closing time. She closes the door after the last customer leaves through it, locks it up and grabs her belongings and heads home, the only thing she's thinking of on her way home is about the whole "new Light and Darkness" thing, and the alleged reward when they're found. When she returns home, she concludes that no matter what happens, she is certain that it will leave an impact and add something unexpected to her dull life.
High up in the mountains, a city slowly awakes from it's slumber. A bit earlier then most cities down on the ground, but most people still had a goods night rest. Montus was the capital of the Ice String, and a very important place for scholars. The Glacier University has the second largest library in the world, and it is also the place where we find Nipe Niktus most of the time.
Nipe woke up from another restless sleep. He had trouble sleeping for the last week. He just kept seeing weird flashes of light when he closed his eyes. But it was probably nothing, so he wouldn't bother anyone with it. He was 18 now, thus meaning he should take a bit of responsibility.
He didn't want to leave his bed. Leaving the warm blanket behind would mean another day of icy winds plagued the high mountains. Most people were already familiar with it, and as the People of the Ice didn't care anymore. But Nipe was different. He preferred warmth over this stupid cold. But what he preferred even more was a good book. So he threw away his blanket and got dressed. A thick pack of clothes and a fur around the neck would keep him warm enough. He grabbed his staff, put on his satchel and made his way to the University.
Although it was early, most people were already up and about their business. Nipe got his own house when he turned eighteen, so he wouldn't have to worry about the business of his parents anymore. Life alone had been pretty good thus far, though cooking was a bit tough. But that was nothing a visit to one of the restaurants wouldn't take care off. When Nipe finally arrived at the University after a walk through the snow, the Library was already quite full with other scholars. Nipe didn't really care. There were enough books to go around with, and thus he walked to one of the icy bookcases and took a look at the various titles. He already read many of these books, but he didn't mind reading them again. So he took a book titled: ''Culinary recipes from all over Dymentia'' Maybe it would help his cooking a bit? So he sat down in a comfy chair with the book in his hands, and started reading it. But not before his eyes changed color from their normal dark blue, to red, yellow and back to blue...
It was just another quiet day at the Sassolino residence with Nico in his room poring over his assorted documents. Off to the side he had a piece of paper as wrote down little notes and commentaries as he continued reading. Suddenly there was a knock of the door with the voice of Abelard, the head butler of the household. "Pardon my interruption Master Sassolino, but your fencing instructor has arrived."
"Tell him I'll be on my way, I just need to change clothing." he said clearly excited while clearing his desk of things before changing out and heading outside to meet the instructor. It was habit of him now, to hide anything related to his parent's research he'd be looking over. For although the servants were aware of what they were up to, they never were fully clued into the specifics and he didn't want his little secret being exposed which is definitely connected to his parents.
However such thoughts weren't appropriate for today it was time to hone his swordsmanship! Making his way out back he exchanged pleasantries with the instructor. A child like glee filled his spirit, betraying his much more reserved and reclusive nature. "Well you quite spirited this morning, Nico." the instructor commented while readying himself for another round of sparring.
"I'm just getting to appreciate this activity even more is all." he replied most sincerely as he readied himself. And it was completely true as although in the beginning he was quite awkward and not very fond of it; he has learned to enjoy it. Most importantly he was getting quite skilled at it with a slowly developing penchant towards flashiness. There was just something satisfying to him about swinging a long, hard, pointy piece of metal.
With their blades finally clashing he went on the offensive after effortlessly parrying and dodging the instructor’s opening attacks. Adding some flourishes to his moves he seemingly won the match, deflecting the instructor’s blade away and causing it to rest gently on his right cheekbone while his blade’s point dug into the chest piece. Unfortunately he was not skilled enough to back such confidence the moment the instructor withdrew the sword leaving a small nick. The instructor simply said, “While a certain amount of flamboyance could be useful method of obfuscation and impressing the ladies. You focus a bit too much on it and leave yourself open to easily guarded things like this.”
“I’ll keep that in mind with the next,” He said to him wiping away at the cut, “Abelard, where did I place the cloth? I do not wish to be distracted by the sensation of my bleeding.”
Abelard who had been watching the sparring went to the nearby table and picked up a nondescript cloth handkerchief and handed it Nico. Who then held it to his cheek until he felt the bleeding stop and begin to coagulate and gave it back to him. The boy’s interest in this type of activity and growing bravado was not only of concern given his status as sole heir, but also more than odd given his personality. However he like many others in contact with just chalked up to another of his idiosyncrasies brought on by the tragic circumstances regarding his parents.
It wasn't long before Mercur reached the center of the Orchard. The trees were full of fruit and despite the chilly wind she could feel the heat of the sun peering through the leaves of the trees. She stopped at a Pear tree, nearly out of breath. Her escape from the house had been faster than she originally thought, and she felt tired, and angry. Exhausted. Hurt, sad, frustrated... Scared. She curled up in fetal position and took a few deep breaths as she hugged her own legs, and looked over the view.
What have I done..? She drew a deep breath... Then shook the feeling. She had done nothing wrong. During all of her time at home, she had been treated unfairly and poorly, getting beaten whenever she objected or did something just a tiny bit wrong compared to her mothers will. She was not the person at fault here. Now, that she was older, she knew that she could take her mother on. She couldn't treat Mercur as a child anymore. Not today.
Sitting in silence for a while Mercur thought about how she would aproach her mother. Directly, subtly, or subconciously? She thought about ways to make her mother pay for the punishment she had been giving out unfairly. She thought about the house. If she just left without a word, perhaps her mother would mourn the loss of her only... worker? If she stormed out, would she be angry? if she kicked her mother out... yeah. She had to figure out a way how.
Through the thought process a smile started to form on her face. A wind carried the fresh air through the trees, and Mercur played with it, forming a puff of air into a ball in her hand. She watched it as she thought, her eyes going darker as she stared into the air bubble.
Then suddenly a sharp headache shot through her head and her arm cramped. A puff of smoke replaced the air that she held in her hand, but she failed to see it as the headache was so intense she nearly fell off.
She moaned in agony and put her hand to her head, focusing on just trying to get rid of the headache aswell as staying up in the tree. "Ghhu... What the... Owww...!!" She shook her head a few times.. And almost as soon as it had started, it was gone again.
Mercur opened her eyes, and rubber her forehead, trying to let her eyes adjust themselves to the daylight once more. The feeling of pain that overtook her through the headache was now replaced by determination. Her day had been shitty so far, and nature wasn't helping. Mercur wanted change, and she wanted it fast. Carefully she stood up, a firm grip on the branch in case she would feel dizzy again, then when she fellt secure enough, she started moving agiain, heading back to her home, where she knew exactly what she wanted and needed to do.
Love to Write
Triana Bouteller moved like a shadow along the dark corridor, silent and unnoticed. The house she was creeping along in belonged to Travis Corium. A widely known leader and a very influential man in the Earth Capital City of Medietas. Unfortunately he was sided with the light and spread its propaganda wherever he went. Her mission, to kill him...and make it look like an accident. Glamia Yia had already set up someone who would spread the truth of the dark in Travis' place when he was gone. All she had to do...was get rid of him.
Triana peeked around a corner and saw two guards patrolling the hallway in front of the bedroom where Travis was sleeping. She climbing into the rafters and waited until the guards passed beneath her. Normally she would have killed them, safer that way, but then everyone would know Travis' death wasn't an accident. The guards moved on to another hallway and she dropped silently to ground. She had about 2 minutes before the guards passed by again. Triana expertly oiled the hinges of the door and pushed it open without even a creak. Travis lay in bed beside his wife. Snoring silently. His mouth was slightly ajar. Perfect. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a vial of poison. This particular poison would stop his heart and make it look like he had a heart attack. She poured a few drops on his tongue and he instinctively swallowed.
"May your sacrifice ultimately lead to the destruction of the light." She whispered. No death should be in vain. Even the death of a believer in the light.
Footsteps started sounding outside in the hallway. Soon the guards would peak into the room. Triana moved towards the open window. Below her was a two-story drop, and almost no ledges upon which to climb. Almost. She climbed over the window sill, found tiny footholds that no human would normally be able to find, and made her way down to the ground. The job was done successfully and no one had saw her. Such was Triana's expertise.
"Mistress Bouteller. How good to have you home." A stocky dwarf of a man said as Triana opened the door to her house. The man's name was Bodahn and he served her every need.
"Bodahn. I've told you before that you don't need to stay up until I get home." Triana said as she looked at the clock at the mantel. It was nearly 3:00 in the morning.
"I know, mistress, but its my duty to serve you." He said cheerily. Triana had no trouble believing that the man would give his life for her if need be. He was a good friend. One of the few she had. "I have your regular cup of tea waiting on your bedstand." Bodahn continued. "Oh and there's also a letter from Mistress Yia. I know you always want to see her letters immediately."
"Thankyou, Bodahn. You've done well. Get some rest."
"As you wish, Mistress." The servant bowed and left for his room which was on the other side of the large house.
Because of Triana's loyalty to the Dark she was very well taken care of. She had a two story home, a personal hot bath, servants, horses, she wanted for nothing...and yet something was missing. She wasn't sure what...but she could feel it in her heart. Triana got out of her dirty clothes and into her sleeping wear before sitting on her bed to drink her tea and read the letter from her commander. Glamia spoke of the new bearers of light and dark and Triana was being given the honor of hunting down the new bearer of the light. Every man in the legion would have killed for the position of being the appointed hunter but because of her loyalty she was being given the honor. Soon the truth of the dark would cover the land and order and peace would be restored. Criminals, murderers, rapists, all would be destroyed and the laws of the land would be restored. No more of this "we can all live in peace" crap. No...without order and law, evil would always run rampant. Human kind couldn't be trusted with freedom.
Triana lay the letter down, finished her tea and blew out the lantern. Tomorrow she would find a psychic to lead her towards the new bearer of the light. Tomorrow the hunt would begin.
Carus had traveled for the better part of the day, his Ironwood staff clinking against the cobblestones as he used it as a walking stick. Observing his surroundings and comparing it to his map, he found that he was close to the border of Tuyinvo, with the Empty Plains just beyond. Carus smiled, knowing that he made good time. Walking further, Carus happened upon a sign on the side of the road.
Post Station -- 45 Units
It was fortunate that Carus made it this distance. Dusk was falling, and nighttime in Dymentia was fraught with danger, whether it be the magically-altered beasts that roamed the wilds or amoral criminals who would slit your throat for pocket change. Carus hummed a tune to himself as he walked, manifesting a purplish ball of kinetic energy in the palm of his hand absentmindedly. Like any other skill, the use of Irn required practice, and Carus spent most of the travel time forming different shapes using his powers of kinesis. T'was important to remain sharp.
Carus then withdrew the energy. He sensed a presence up ahead, albeit a fading one, the sure sign of a dying consciousness. He sped up his gait as the cobblestone road twisted and turned through the Psi-blasted landscape. Peering ahead, he noticed a prone form on the road. As he neared the human silhouette, he noticed a slowly-expanding pool of crimson under the unfortunate person. The person was wearing a cloak, with his hood down. He was bald with a ruddy complexion, but was slowly turning pale from the blood loss, and was losing consciousness fast. Carus knelt and gently shook the wretched soul. The cloaked male's eyes fluttered open, promptly coughing up a gout of dark red blood. It was clear that he was mortally wounded, and judging by his attire, he was a courier.
"Go... run away... b-b-band..." he choked out, abruptly convulsing, then expiring. Carus shook his head... what killed him and left him out in the middle of the road? The realization hit him: this courier was left here as bait. Carus focused inward, psychically scouring the dead treeline on the side of the road. He sensed three souls to the northeast of him.
Standing upright, Carus peered into the trees. Three burly men wearing animal skins and leather cloaks strode out of the treeline. The leader was taller than his other fellows, and wielded a vicious looking bearded axe. His subordinates wielded short swords, one of which was stained with the blood of the unfortunate bastard in the road. Bandits. Carus' brow furrowed as the three approached.
The leader grinned, revealing yellowed, decayed teeth, framed by scarring and a salt and pepper beard. "If ye value your life, old man, tip out the contents o' your ruck onto the road, nice an' slo."
Carus' face showed no emotion at the threat, staring intently at the three criminals before him. One of the leader's subordinates lifted his sword to his face, tasting the fresh blood.
"Did ye hear me? Take off th' pack, OR DIE!" the leader barked, hoping to intimidate Carus. Carus decided to break his silence.
"If you value your lives, you will turn around and walk away."
The leader craned his head slightly, as if he couldn't believe what he heard. "Don' say we din't warn ya. Go spill 'is guts, Umlaut."
The degenerate with the bloodied sword strode towards Carus, laughing with twisted glee as he raised his crude sword overhead, looking to disembowel the apparently frail old man. Carus grinned. They had gravely underestimated him.
In the blink of an eye, Carus struck at the bandit's sword arm with the Ironwood staff, shattering the limb, making him drop the blade with a scream of anguish, which was silenced with a deadly jab to the neck, crushing the trachea. He dropped to the ground, asphyxiating. Cursing, the leader and his comrade charged Carus; a grave mistake. Channeling his thoughts, Carus' staff glowed an eerie purple. A half second later, a resounding FOOM heralded the blast of a kinetic missile, which collided with the leader's subordinate's head. The impact of the bolt crushed the poor sap's head inward with a crunch, dropping to the ground soundlessly as the shattered remains of his head pooled out blood. The bandit leader's eyes bugged, unable to comprehend what he just witnessed.
"You will suffer for all those you have murdered," Carus stated, devoid of emotion. His eyes glowed a terrifying magenta as he focused his thoughts. Mindfray.
The bandit leader staggered back two steps as his sense of reality slipped away, screaming as otherworldly nightmares from the Immaterium manifested in his mind. The bandit dropped his two-handed axe as he first covered, then clawed at his eyes, ripping them open and spilling viscera down his face. He dropped to the ground, a gibbering, blinded wreck. As Carus walked past his prone form, he swung downward with his Ironwood staff in a thunderous blow, crushing the criminal's lower spine, paralyzing him from the waist down. Carus strode away, leaving the bodies behind. Ten minutes later, Carus reached the post station and rented a cheap room for the night, thankful for the shelter. He would travel in the morning; hopefully he wouldn't encounter any more unsavory characters.