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Lost in the Night by Jonathan Llewellyn
SUMMARY: Finnius, a young man in his prime, joins an old adventurer named Douglas. Together they travel far into the cold lands of the north seeking wealth. *Not final tital*
"Douglas, I see it!" Finnius shouted as he hung tightly to the upper branches of a tall oak. From his perch he could see the entire valley, a vast carpet of green leaves and spindly pine tops. A stone tower stood alone at the edge of the distant tree line, barely distinguishable from the mountain behind it.
"Which direction boy??" a gruff voice called from below.
Finnius studied his compass. "To the north east."
"So can you see the tower?"
"Yes, but just barely," Finnius replied. A cloud of birds swooped by, chirping wildly. "You should come up here Douglas, it's beautiful!"
"Damn the beauty Finnius, now mind the tower!"
"But if you would climb up here you could see for yourself." Finnius said as a gust of wind shook the leaves and branches of the old oak. Since they had begun traveling together over a year ago Douglas had stubbornly avoided any sort of climbing, Finnius was sure that he'd sooner cross a fetid swamp than climb a stump.
"If I could climb up there then I wouldn't need you!" Douglas shouted bitterly. "Now get your bearings and come back down."
Finnius took a deep breath and reveled in the beauty of the valley, "On my way." Lightly he sprung down the branches to the ground below.
Douglas was sitting on a rock stuffing his pipe from an old brown tobacco bag, a thick carpet of rotten leaves covered the forest floor around him. It was gloomy beneath the canopy of trees.
Finnius had never learned Douglas' age, he'd been too polite to ask, but the streaks of grey that filled his long, dank hair betrayed an age of over fifty. His filthy, matted furs and thick beard made him an ugly sight and if you watched him long enough you would see that he was racked with aches and pains, his body broken down from years of ill use. Such appearances were quickly forgotten though if given time to study his face, it was gruff and scarred, hardened by war, the kind of face Finnius hoped to wear someday.
"It's due north, north east, little over a days walk I figure," Finnius said, checking the bearings on his compass.
Douglas closed up his tobacco bag and returned it to his pack. Without speaking he took his flint stone and struck it on his knife, setting fire to a small pile of dried moss he'd set on the ground before him. An old stick served to transfer the fire to his pipe and within a few seconds puffs of smoke curled out from his lips.
"This best be it," Douglas said. "If this damned scroll is leading me wrong there'll be hell to pay."
"I'm sure we'll find something," Finnius said cheerfully, the trip had been an adventure for him, seeing lands and people that he'd never knew existed. Treasure was never truly expected, though with the sight of the tower, a landmark that Douglas' scroll said was within a few hundred yards of the treasure, his excitement had grown tremendously.
"What do you care anyway boy?" Douglas said as he stomped the flaming moss beneath his mud caked boot. "You've already found your reward."
For the last year they had marched across the northern lands, the tattered old scroll their only guide.