Grabbing his gear, paused at the door to his home as he heads out, Steven standing there, “Thorn?”
“What is it Steven?” Somewhat annoyed being delayed, or being discovered on his now non-to-hasty exit.
“I… I’m sorry,” he begins to cry.
“Sorry for what?” Thorn says as he grabs his water skin, “Look, whatever it is… You are forgiven.”
“It was… It was… Me.”
Thorn stands there looking at Steven, his brain working overtime, “What was you?”
“Thousand Arrows is dead because of me,” Steven admits, openly wailing covering his face with his hands.
Thorn looks, stunned, shocked at Steven. “How…”
Steven, still crying, "Mr. Black… I told him, told him everything.
Angry, feeling betrayed, but there was a small amount of suspicion a few days ago, but he didn’t act upon it. “Who is this… Mr. Black?”
Steven looks at Thorn, “A thief.”
Disappointed, angry, betrayed he puts it together now. “I… I’ve got to go. It’s best if you’d not be here or come around anymore Steven,” pushing past the youth heading off.
Steven cries out as he watches Thorn leave, choking back tears yelling, “Thorn! I’m sorry!”
Not telling his companions as he left the city after the ceremonies ended for Thousand Arrows and his encounter with Steven. Too much anger still filling his head as he watched politics take over such an emotional event, and being betrayed he needed time.
Thorn stood outside the city gates looking into the distance to the nearby forest as he headed towards it, looking over his shoulder at the city shaking his head.
Wandering down the familiar road he hops off the path and into the woods. He went to the usual spot where he always did lately to meet his now fallen friend Thousand Arrows. Stepping into the clearing he looked around breathing in closing his eyes as he summoned a ferocious yell, screaming at the sky above him.
Still unsatisfied, he sits on a downed tree where he has sat before trying to meditate listening to the sounds around him, but the horrors of the tomb and the dissected Thousand Arrows fill his mind.
Trying as much as he can he forces himself to free his mind.
Minutes pass as he communes with nature, being outside of that corrupted city. A snap of a twig breaks his concentration as he quickly grabs his bow by his side opening his eyes seeing a rather large wolf enter the area, alone, nonthreatening.
“Hello…” Thorn greets the wolf.
The wolf keeps its distance from Thorn looking at the hunter curiously.
Thorn looks back at the wolf and hops off his perch, seeing that the wolf is actually limping as it moves, seeing a bloodied back leg.
The wolf growls at Thorn as he makes movement, struggling to get away, whimpering.
Thorn holds out his hands and shakes his head, “Woah. Woah… Be calm. I mean you no harm.” Placing one foot in front of the other slowly, “You’re hurt.”
The wolf growls baring its teeth at Thorn.
“I want to help. Just be calm.”
“Now, now… Just listen to me. I am a friend.” Thorn approaches slowly kneeling in front of the wolf.
The wolf snaps at Thorn.
“Hey! Hey… Shhhh… Let me see,” Thorn reaches out putting his hand on the wolf’s head, “See? I mean no harm.” Thorn using his best comforting tone of voice successfully handling the wild animal for a moment.
The wolf submits allowing Thorn to inspect the paw.
“Oh… You have stepped into a trap. Cut your leg up pretty badly. I’ve got just the thing,” petting the wolf slightly reaching into his pouch on his belt, pulling out some medicinal herbs and a cloth bandage, “This may sting.”
The wolf yelps as Thorn applies the medicine and bandages the leg.
“Almost…” Thorn says as he ties off the bandage, “…done.” He looks back at the wolf as he pets his head. “Not so bad, huh?”
The wolf starts to edge his nose into Thorn’s hand wanting to be petted more.
“Oh… You are very friendly now… " Thorn smiles, forgetting just for a moment the whole scenario of everything he was involved in living for just this moment.
The wolf nuzzles Thorn and together they sit there for a few hours as Thorn talks to the wolf about his anger, and feelings as he looks into the wolf’s eyes he feels, senses a very familiar presence there.
The wolf barks at Thorn and turns onto his side rolling over.
“No… Can it be?”
Standing up Thorn goes to his gear, “I’ve got to go back to the city.”
The wolf growls when he mentions the city and barks at Thorn.
“I’ve got to… I have friends and responsibilities there, to the good people, the people that need help.”
The wolf howls.
The wolf walks forward blocking Thorn.
The wolf circles Thorn, nuzzling his hand.
“I wish I could stay here.” Thorn begins to walk off and stops seeing the wolf follow “You are a stubborn one.”
The wolf barks.
“Fine, come with me. I can watch that wound of yours. You’ll need a name,” shrugging, “I’m simple… I’m Thorn named after a strange exotic bow found with me. I’ll call you…” Thorn bends down, “Narmo, elvish for wolf.”
Narmo howls and falls in line with Thorn.
Starting his trek back home Thorn looks back, feeling something, someone there watching as he spots a blurred man, that fades off into the forest. “Good bye, Thousand Arrows, friend.”
Steven who has been living in torment the past few hours grabbed his few things and left the orphanage that afternoon, scared as Mr. Black confronted him in an alleyway. “Where you going Steven? Hmmm?”
“I… No where.” Steven responds nervously.
Quickly picking up on the lie, Mr. Black shakes his head, “You’re lying.” He slaps the boy.
Rubbing his cheek crying now, “I’m not going to help you anymore. You…”
Mr. Black grabs Steven by the jaw, “You told him, didn’t you?” Tossing him to the ground. “You little shit. I rescued you. I saved you from torment.” Kicking the kid, “This is how you treat your savior!”
Steven crying, holds his chest where he was kicked, gasping, “I did…”
“That was more than anything that should have been told him,” bending down brandishing a knife, “You betrayed me, and for that…” Mr. Black thrusts the knife into Steven’s gut, “You must pay.”
Steven laying there gasps for air, feeling like he is drowning as his lungs fill with his blood, “T…Tho…rn…”
Mr. Black, wrapping up the knife stands ove the dying boy, “…will be framed for your murder. As I plant this in his home. Good bye kid.” He says as he walks away.