Dragonheart - Page 1

The screams which woke me from my rest meant that somebody, or more precisely, several somebodies, were on the verge of intruding upon my self-imposed isolation. That was a dangerous thing for others to risk these days, but quite literally nothing I needed to lose sleep over . . . so I didn't. The screams made it difficult to return to sleep, of course, but I persevered since experience had taught me that only the most dire of other people's problems can't just be ignored away once you put your mind to it.

It's one's own problems there's never any escape from.

As this was hardly the first time screams had disturbed my rest in the night, ignoring them wasn't as hard as it had been at first. Lately these woods had become more trafficked by pilgrims or refugees or the like, I couldn't be bothered to find out, and that had brought an increase in bandit activity. Judging by the sounds of it, particularly brutal bandit activity at that.

Not my problem,I reminded myself. And as long as they stay far enough way, my problem won't become theirs.

Fortunately for all concerned, my cave was actually quite far from what passed for the road, so whatever was happening, wasn't happening nearly as close by as it sounded. Noise traveled far in these woods, which is precisely why I had relocated to them a generation back. As early warning systems went, it admittedly lacked precision and meant that occasionally my sleep was disturbed by the sounds of the desperate preying upon the desperate, but it was effective, and as an added bonus, gave the woods an unwarranted reputation for being haunted. It was quite the boon to my privacy, not to mention a time saver, to find a remote location with a dire reputation that wasn't actually haunted by anything fearsome and terrible.

Prior to my arrival, that is.

I don't know if the screams died off that quickly (presumably along with screamers), or if I slipped that easily back into sleep, but either way, return to sleep I did, all the while vowing that no scream was going to wake me further this night . . . and no scream did.

The sobbing is what did it.

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