The Dark Moon and The Old Trunk
( This story is narrated in first person by Odysseus. It takes place three years after Leo has left Green Nook when he was 16. I would like to thank Ernestine Livilla for her help on this story.)
That damn plague. 'The Dark Moon' is what they called it back in Kuu, where it originated two hundred years ago. In my books it reiterates that it only lasted a year and that there had been no signs of the plague since, supposedly. However, all the villagers’ symptoms point to their sickness being The Dark Moon plague. Why would it come back? And in Green Nook of all places? This bit of land is sheltered from the whole world! How did the vires find its way here?
The villages were all in pain. The symptoms of The Dark Moon were horrifying. Bleeding rashes, violent hallucinations that were so freighting to the victim that if they were not paralyzed by the pain they might walk around lashing out to everything in front of them. And worst of all temporary blindness that when it starts makes black marks around the eyes. That's where the name came from, the two eyes of the victim of the plague look like black moons when the illness is in full effect. This shouldn't be happening! Not here! Not this village!
Complaining about the damn thing is not going to be-rid of it, sadly. I need to find a better solution, or any at that! Otherwise the only thing villagers will get is an earth bath.
I have been franticly reading all my books, books were scattered all over my desk and study. Some were half open and most had tea stains on them. All I could find were ailments and symptoms, no cure or way to treat the plague. Kuu must have one! In their private libraries maybe? I would need to get there and check myself if I were to find a cure. How would I get there though? My old airship was scraped and used to build this house I now live in. I have only but a cheap steam bike from the incident three years ago that would be of use in travailing. Maybe if I work on it tonight I can get it moving by morning. That still leaves me with the problem of Kuu being across the Ocean.
"Alright Odysseus," I told myself out loud. "We are going to have to go back into the world, first to Optilocus to passenger a boat or airship to Kuu where I can get a book the cure to this plague." This can't be that hard. After all, I was an adventurer back in the day! I went all over the world! I believe the king still owes me a favor or two, he should be able to get me an airship with ease. I wonder if they will ask where I have been for fifteen years. That might be a problem. I can't very well tell them about Green Nook. I'll think if something. I was forty one when I disappeared now I'm fifty six, I could try to pass off that I had been in retirement.
I pulled away from my desk where I had been studying The Dark Moon plague for hours. Now that I knew where I could find a cure I had to prepare for it. I walked out of the study and to my room where I kept my old trunk. It was around twenty years old but still as solid as a rock. The wood itself was thick enough to take a bullet without chipping. Unless you had enough black gun powder to take down a wall, you would need the key to open this trunk. I reached into my pocket and took out the key. I always had it with me, it never left my side. It used to be so my apprentice would not find it and his way into my old things but keeping it on me always was a good habit to keep so I just kept on doing it.
I inserted the key and twisted it to the left. I could hear the cogs turning and the locks lifting out of their place. It had a light rhythm to it. The final *Click* was sounded and the top lifted ever so slightly. I placed my hands under the lid and pulled it upwards. My stash reviled itself.
I had a few things of high value inside, first was my small bag filled with coins and currency. Then there was lager pack filled with survival equipment: compass, rope, matches, spy glass and a few other essentials. Along with my old gun.
It was a semi-automatic steam powered pistol. A gift from a friend of mine back in the day. Crazy fellow, he was a gun smith that had big plans for new weapons for the world, so devastating that he often named them as the old god of death and time. The majority of them were horrible and broke at first try, but he gave me his third working prototype. I only had it for a year before I ended up in Green Nook, yet the time I did spend with it was incredible! It was different from what I was used to, it had to be fed what my old friend called "magazines". Once you got used to it they were quick and lovely. If I had this kind of gun in my earlier years I would have had quite an easier time with my adventures...
Then there was my old adventure uniform. It was a nice simple dress shirt and vest at one time but over the years kings had their tailors fit it with royal crests and colors and even made the vest stretch into a long cote. The inside of it was decorated with all my medals I collected form my years or service and adventuring. From the golden royal staff of the king medal for helping him and the kingdom from a massive barbarian raid, and the silver fish medal from the queen of Kuu for helping in fixing their economy. Or the chest of strength badge from the Prushland for wrestling on of their tusked bears! I had only done that one because I had a bet with the baron of a Prush town who was also a friend of mine! That one cost me a few stitches and adventure marks in the medical tent. Haha, those were some good times....
I got back to my feet and piled all my equipment on top my bed. I would come back for them later, once I fixed the steam bike. I worked my way down the steps toward the ground floor's left side door. That's where I kept the bike. As I walked I could feel the slight tingle in my right leg. I got a bullet right through it three years ago and for a while I had to walk with a cane. It's faded now after two years, but I can still feel it from time to time. What I would give to be young and get over such things quickly again.
It was morning before I had finished fixing the bike. It was a lot of trouble but that's what happens when you have a junkyard homemade bike. Not that the steambikes in my time were much better.
I walked back to my room, put on my old clothing, strapped the gun to my hip and threw on my pack that now contained my small bag of money and then I headed out. I rode the bike to the front of the village where the two large mountains parted just a little to make a small road to leave the village and go into the outside world.
I looked back, the sun was rising over the mountains and the village looked stunning. My love for this village was going to get me killed I know it.
"It’s worth it, you old man." I told myself. Then I pulled down my goggles and road off into the desert. Off to find my old city of Optilocus.