Casey meets Rhiun, a sorceress who has offered to help him get home. But first, he must do something in return.
Read previous parts here: Part 1
Casey opened the door to the tavern and stepped inside. The smoke from the fires stung his eyes, and the revolting smell made him want to retch. Through tears in his eyes, Casey looked around the room, searching for anyone who would remotely look like a wizard. The bar was to his left, and a grizzled barman stood behind it, wiping down a wooden mug with a filthy rag. In front and to the right were rows upon rows of benches, filled with a motley assortment of peasants, large men with a lethal assortment of weaponry, and women serving drinks. None of them looked like a wizard.
Casey approached the bar. The barman finished talking to one of the serving women, and Casey called out. “Excuse me, sir.” The barman looked at him as if a pile of crap had gained sentience and began speaking.
“Wha’ ye havin’,” he bellowed.
“Is there someone one named —.”
“I say wha’ ye havin’,” he repeated, cutting Casey off.
“Um, ale, I guess?”
The barman grabbed a wooden mug from the bar and filled it from a barrel on a shelf behind the bar. He slammed the wooden mug on the bar in front of Casey, and some of the liquid splashed out. It was warm and had the look and smell of stale piss. Casey reached for the mug to at least feign taking a sip then thought better of it.
“Thank you. Is there someone named Riyoon here?” He asked before the barman could walk away.
“Aye, Rhiun’s in the back,” he said gesturing behind him.
“Thanks,” Casey said, hefting the mug of ale off of the bar. He walked through the narrow spaces between the benches, feeling the hostile stares of the patrons as he passed. The tables towards the back of the bar were emptier than the ones in the front. Casey didn’t see anyone, except for a woman sitting alone, reading an ancient book. He guessed she was who he was looking for.
Casey approached the table, but before he could say anything, the woman held up a finger, instructing him to wait. After an uncomfortably long wait, the woman placed a ribbon in the book to mark her place and set it aside. She was beautiful and completely unlike what Casey had envisioned. When the man outside said “she,” he had imagined an old crone with a hooked nose, like something out of a fairy tale.
This woman was slender and dressed in elegant burgundy robes, trimmed with gold thread. Her shiny, black hair was pulled back with a silver clasp, allowing the ends to flow down her back. Her red lips parted in a smile, revealing rows of perfect white teeth.
“How may I assist you?” She said in a husky voice.
“A-are you, Riyun?” Casey said, still unsure of the pronunciation.
“Yes, I’m Rhiun,” she said, enunciating her name as if speaking to a small child. “And you are the traveler, I presume.”
“Yes, I think. How did you know that?”
“I have many ears around Aveinha. Please, have a seat,” she waved her bejeweled hand toward the bench across from her. Casey sat and shifted, wincing as splinters from the rough-hewn bench stabbed him in the ass.
“I heard from someone that you can get me home.”
“And where is home?”
“Los Angeles,” he said, the words feeling strange in his mouth, considering where he was.
“Los Angeles,” she said, slowly, contemplating each word. “That is a peculiar name. In what tongue is that?”
Rhiun nodded, no doubt having zero clue what Casey was talking about. “Unfortunately, I am unsure of how I to help you get home, considering I have never heard of such a place. How did you get here?”
“I don’t know. I was driving my car,” Casey paused when he saw a look of confusion on Rhiun’s face. “A wagon that can move without a horse. It was night, and I couldn’t see very well. I followed the road around a bend. Then, I woke up in someone’s bed. In a house, about an hour’s walk from here.”
Casey thought he saw Rhiun’s eyes widen when he said the last part. Did she know more than she was letting on?
“A very interesting story, indeed,” she said. “Carriages that can propel themselves. A strange land called Los Angeles.” She paused, causing Casey’s hopes to deflate. What would he do if she couldn’t help him? How would he get home? Would he have to spend the rest of his life living here? His heart raced, and he felt like he was choking on the smoky air. “But! I may be able to help you.”
Casey’s worries dissipated as quickly as they had come. “Really? Thank — .”
Rhiun held up a slender, manicured finger. “Before I can help you, I need you to do something for me.”
“Sure, anything,” Casey said, nodding. He would cut off his left arm if it meant getting back home.
“I need you to travel to another town to retrieve something for me. Something that may allow me to get you home.”
“So you know how I got here?” Casey exclaimed. “How? How did I get here? What is this place?”
“I believe your presence here results from the use of strange magics. But if you retrieve what I need, then I may be able to return you to your own world. First, let’s get you some proper clothing.” Rhiun stood, gesturing for Casey to follow her. Casey stood and fell in line behind her, when she turned and said, “Don’t forget your ale.”
~ ~ ~ ~
If you like my writing, click here to buy me a coffee!Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in