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Rise of the Nightmare Crestmaster

Chapter 10 Hope Amidst Despair. Despair Amidst Hope.

Aldrich woke up with a strained gasp. His hands moved on their own to his left shoulder and right thigh, there was no blood. No searing pain. Aldrich found himself almost bathed in sweat.

Aldrich who was lying prone, got up, feeling that his hands shaking as if they could not support his weight. Aldrich looked around to find himself back at Isger"s house.

Aldrich finally looked at Mr. Isger"s unmoving figure. Aldrich didn"t forget. He crawled to Mr. Isger with bated breaths. The distance between them was no more than a few inches.

Of course, Aldrich had no doubt that Mr. Isger was fine. The Isger in the nightmare and the Isger here were not related. After all Mr. Isger was no swordsman and he couldn"t have entered Aldrich"s nightmare, thats an absurd idea.

Aldrich had a guess that the swordsman Isger was just a figment of his imagination. Likely his mind conjured him so as to protect himself or something to that extent.

Finally, Aldrich reached Isger and he immediately stretched his hand to Isger"s forehead. The heat didn"t leave him. Then he put his finger underneath Isger"s nose and felt him breath in and out evenly.

Such discovery brought Aldrich relief. But of course, it was expected.

But Aldrich always woke up when the nightmare ended, but Mr. Isger was still sleeping. Aldrich decided that he should wake him up, just to make sure that he was fine.

"Hey, Mr. Isger, wake up! It"s over."

Isger didn"t respond.

"Mr. Isger this not the time to be sleeping."

Isger didn"t respond. Aldrich started shaking him a bit.

" I am serious Mr. Isger. We got him. Wake up now, it"s over."

No response. Aldrich was now shaking him much harder and even slapping him from time to time.

"Mr. Isger, stop joking. This isn"t funny." Aldrich got a pitcher of water and sprinkled some on Isger"s face.

Aldrich suddenly threw the pitcher at the wall in anger. The pitcher crashed into pieces and the water spilled all over the floor. Aldrich then proceeded to punch the wall violently over and over until he was spent.

Aldrich breathed ruggedly. Was it absurd that Isger could somehow enter his nightmare and that he was a swordsman? Yes, it was. But what"s been happening throughout the last two days was absurdity itself. That absurdity is his current reality whether he acknowledged it or not was of no significance.

A calm mind is the key. If he lost his cool the consequences could be even worse than the current situation.

First and foremost, Isger is not dead yet. He was still breathing and his heart is still beating. All is not lost. There was still hope. That hope is healer Harvick, a real cleric.

Aldrich was determined not to waste time but he must first return the huge chest back to the secret basement. And clean up all the candles and the other random things.

Aldrich could imagine if someone uninvolved in all this seeing the state of this room and accusing them of worshiping some dreadlord or even worse, a false god.

Aldrich could only do some rough clean up, when he saw the sheathed sword, he held it for a moment before fastening it to his belt. Where he was going he might have a need for it.

p Returning the chest back proved more challenging than he expected, the chest was much heavier than Isger made it look. The basement was very small and had only space enough for the chest.

Closing the basement was much easier, just by returning the wooden plank back into place, he heard a clinking noise and it was locked. Aldrich found it in himself to be a little awed by the contraption.

Aldrich took all the bedsheets he could find and went to the barn to prepare a wagon. It was much smaller and lighter than the one Mr. Isger used to transport goods.

He then laid down most of the sheets to cover the rough wood. While leaving some sheets to the side. Then he woke the sleeping mare and made pull the wagon to the door of the house. He felt bad about waking the mare up when it should be resting, but this was not the time.

Aldrich went in and pulled up Isger, he carried Isger to the wagon and covered him with the sheets he left earlier. Aldrich pulled the reins of the mare and rode. His destination was the mountain woods by the old cemetery.

He was not going through the village trail, instead he was going to use a much less used trail that went around the village.

If he went through the village the time he would take would"ve been shorter but he was most likely going to be spotted by one of the adults even at such a late night.

Even if he told them about healer Harvick, they were unlikely to believe him. Letting him go on his own was even less likely.

Aldrich met Harvick last year when he attempted to go scavenge the old cemetery looking to make some quick coin when an accident happened.

He fell of one of the jagged rocks in the woods and his fall was horrible, what made it worse was the dry twig that got logged in his guts. Aldrich tried to return to the village when he stumbled on healer Harvick picking some herbs.

Healer Harvick healed him with his powers and in a few hours he was back to top condition. Harvick then warned Aldrich not to speak a word of what happened. Aldrich kept his word.

Aldrich knew very little about Harvick. What he knew was that he liked to be alone and he hid his existence from the village. Harvick is a Crestmaster, a cleric to boot, he would be treated like a king in the village were he to reveal himself.

And yet he chose to live alone in the woods. This means that Harvick disliked being bothered and interacting with people. Aldrich who was going to beg Harvick for a favor couldn"t bring a stranger while doing that.

There was another more important reason, Aldrich felt that he wouldn"t be able to meet Harvick if he did that. Harvick told Aldrich that he would be able to find his place only if Harvick allowed him to find it.

In the ancient past which was two days ago he wouldn"t have believed such nonsense. Well, that changed.

Going out alone in the night is bad, what"s worse is that he was using an old trail and carrying with him a sick man. The quiet in the woods was unnerving but Aldrich didn"t find himself as scared as he would have been.

This is only natural considering his most recent brush with death to a horrific nightmare monster, the quiet woods weren"t that bad.

Aldrich turned to check on Isger and found his heat getting lower and lower. The time between each breath he took was growing longer.

Aldrich had to spur the mare faster. After a while he stopped the wagon. And looked around. Aldrich didn"t know the exact place, he was simply following his gut feeling.

Aldrich didn"t hesitate, he dismounted and held the reins of the mare and pulled it along. The mud was damp and the stars shone brightly offering Aldrich a decent view.

Walking of the trail was bad enough on your own, but to head into the woods with a wagon was much harder. Sometimes the wagon got stuck in a tree root or slid down too much.

A clearing suddenly appeared, in the center of the clearing there was a simple and small wooden house, it looked neither new nor old. A camp fire was burning a few meters of the door of the house.

A man that was just like his house neither old nor young sat on a reclining chair facing Aldrich, he was smoking tobacco off his pipe.

Aldrich was not surprised that Harvick knew of his visit. He calmly guided the mare and the wagon behind it to the bonfire.

"What do we have here? If it isn"t the crybaby boy. Not such a crybaby anymore eh?"

"This man is sick. Please help me heal him?" Aldrich asked immediately without going into pleasantries.

"Ah, young men these days, always in a hurry. We"ll first, here"s a question, tell me why should I help you?"

Aldrich was taken back by an unexpected question, "because you are a cleric. That"s what you do. You heal people."

Harvick put down his tobacco pipe, "first of all, I am a healer not a cleric," he gave Aldrich a look and pointed at him, "Aldrich, you don"t mind if I call you AL do you? Well, AL, if a table breaks in your house will you bring a carpenter and tell him to fix it for free because that"s what he does? Does that make any sense to you?"

Aldrich got the feeling the Harvick wasn"t a fan of clerics, though he was ashamed of himself for saying such a stupid thing, he never thought about it like that, "but you saved my life back then why?" he demanded.

"Why? Because I fucking felt like it that"s why." Harvick laughed in his face.

"I"ll pay whatever you want just heal this man, he"s dying!"

"Well. well now that"s more like it, out of the way, boy, let me see the patient. As a noble healer it is after all, my sacred duty."

Aldrich forced a smile as a vein almost popped in his head.

As Harvick was examining Isger, Aldrich was going through his own examination.

"I still haven"t payed off my mother"s debt and now this? No matter, Isger risked his own life for mine and I can"t even do this much? I maybe a bastard but I am not an ungrateful bastard"

Aldrich was walking around the bonfire as he thought about how he could make more money...


Aldrich snapped out of his thoughts and looked at Harvick.

Harvick on his part had a serious look, and when Aldrich was close enough he asked, "how did this happen? I can"t do anything to heal this man. His death is all but assured."

Aldrich felt the world spin around him, "you"re joking right?"

"I am not."

"If this is about the money I said I"ll pay you whatever you want!"

"Aldrich calm down! This has nothing to do with that. This man is dying because somehow his soul has left the body completely. I don"t have the ability to fix something like that."

"The only thing I can do is to keep him alive until you bring here someone who can."

Aldrich finally saw a ray of hope in a sea of despair.

"Someone who can? Yes, of course. But who? You"re the only cleric in Wakefield. Mr. Krynt is a pyromancer."

"Not from Wakefield, certainly not. You must to bring an Archbishop here."

"An Archbishop? What? Me?"

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