Every day the visions became a little more clear. The woman… Mortivox was speaking to someone. When the sun went down, the Nameless Knight spent the time writing the most common phrases in his journal. Whoever she was speaking to must have been important. When the voices grew quiet, the knight would meditate. Staring into the campfire was his only relief from fatigue.
As he walked, a strange sense of nostalgia overcame him. The knight remembered his first charge by the king. “My friend, I believe you are capable of great things. But I am going to start you at the bottom.” King Rohan III handed him a leather bound tome, its cover embedded with a silver shield. “Write in this book the names of all you aid on your route. You are charged with the protection of the path between our home here in Aldra, and the small hamlet of Dane. Your predecessor could do this walk in three days time.” The knight smiled and spoke with confidence, “I will not fail you, my lord.”
A stumble caused the knight to fall out of his memory. Turning back, he saw a wooden sign sticking up out of the mud. Grabbing the protruding corner, the knight tugged with some difficulty. With a final heft, the knight pulled the thing free. It was much larger than he thought, nearly five feet across. Clearing the muck from the front side, he made out the letters.
A gasp of horror escaped his lips. “It can’t be.” A frantic look around, and all the knight could see is ruined building and burnt lumber. Searching through the debris, he looked for any sort of sign of life. All he heard was the sound of wood waning and the distant roar of thunder.
Finding what use to be the center of town, all that remained was the cracked stones of a well. Looking down into the blackness, The Nameless Knight spotted a rope from the pulley. The cries of sorrow in his mind clouded his judgment. Pulling the rope up with all his might, he heard the voices get closer and closer. But when the bucket came into view, he saw the broken body of a small child hung from its rope.
“Sir Leon! I’m glad you’re safe!” The knight turned and smiled as a small village girl came towards him at a run. “Mary! What do I owe the pleasure?” The knight took a knee to address the girl face to face. Short of breath, the girl presented him with a scarf. “You… uh… don’t have a favor, and since you saved papa, I wanted you to have this.” Without a word, Sir Leon took the scarf and tied it to the scabbard of his sword. “I thank you, Mary. Now, run along. I need to keep working and you should be safe at home with your parents.”
The first pangs of rain began to fall, and the knight finished burying the small child. The last time he saw Mary, it was on his way out of the kingdom twenty years prior. Though it was not her, the sight of such cruelty to one so young burned in the knight. With the rain settling in, the knight pressed on. The wooden sign would be the only marker for the dead child, and all it would read was “Dane.”