[NorthWorld] Thorgaut Kabbisson: Chapter 27 – Unbreakable!
The man’s arm came through the entrance pushing a torch in front of him. Thorgaut dashed over to stop him. But the massive rock over the opening crashed down before he could get there.
It crushed the man’s arm. Thorgaut heard his screams on the other side of the boulder. Thorgaut looked in shock at Svart who was still holding the rope he had used to pull the support out from under it.
“I have to say, that’s pretty impressive boy. Quick thinking, if I should say so myself,” he said trying to reassure the lad.
He reached down and pried the torch from the fingers of the mangled hand that was sticking out from under the rock. Thorgaut put out the flames and looked around in the darkness. Suddenly, the realization of what he was doing struck him.
“Why were they using a torch. We’ve been in the darkness of the cave the entire time, but I can see everything normally.”
“You got bit by the NightWalker,” Svart said bluntly as if it was the most obvious observation in the world.
Thorgaut reached up and touched the side of his neck. It was still sore and tender to the touch. He remembered stumbling into the black-eyed man in the dark and being grabbed by him. But after that everything went dark. He didn’t remember anything until waking up in the yard earlier.
“What happens after getting bit by a NightWalker?” Thorgaut asked.
The boy looked at him like he was crazy for not knowing. “You become a NightWalker of course. If they don’t kill you, they take you off and transform you into one of themselves like they did my mother and sister.”
“So, I can see in the dark because I’m a NightWalker?” he asked. “What about you?”
The boy gleamed with pride. “I can see in the dark like my father. Momma said he was half dwarf on his mother’s side. Besides, I’d never want to be a NightWalker.”
“That’s why these men came after me,” Thorgaut said. “They think I’m a NightWalker too.”
Svart nodded. Thorgaut walked back over to the bags of dried food and sat down on top of them.
“How do I stop being a NightWalker?” he asked. “Can I become normal again?”
The boy didn’t answer. He walked over and sat down beside Thorgaut. They sat in silence for several minutes. Thorgaut was in shock trying to process the fact.
“There’s something wrong with you,” the boy finally said. “The NightWalkers didn’t take you with them like Runa thought they would. I didn’t hear everything they were saying, but it sounded like some thought you were going to be their king. The others didn’t agree for some reason. They ended up throwing you out in the sun to die.”
Thorgaut didn’t know whether to feel sad he wasn’t the king or relieved they hadn’t taken him away.
“C’mon,” Svart said. “Let’s go down to the river and drink some water. Then we’ll look for a way out of here.”
“Can’t you ask the dwarves for help?” Thorgaut asked as they walked. “Ask them to show you the way out of here.”
Svart shook his head as he led the way deeper into the tunnel. “I don’t know any, nor how to find them. I was three years old when Papa died. Momma never had contact with them after that. They were scared to come around because of Arnulfr and his brother. Momma said they caught one soon after pappa was gone. They tortured it to find out where the gold was. After that, the dwarves never came around anymore.”
Thorgaut and Svart rounded a bend in the tunnel. They entered a massive underground chamber. The cave was so spacious that Thorgaut couldn’t see the other side. There was a broad stream flowing through the center of it
He walked over to the water and knelt down at the edge of the shoreline. He scooped up a handful of the cold refreshing liquid and took a sip. It tasted great and soothed his chapped lips. It felt like it had been ages since he had drunk anything.
Thorgaut splashed water on his face and scrubbed his cheeks and forehead. He remembered now that he still hadn’t had that bath he wanted when the men showed up. Svart had walked down the river away, so Thorgaut slipped off his shirt and pants. He waded out into the water and squatted down into the water. He splashed water up on his shoulders and back.
The water was colder out here. Thorgaut shivered a bit and finished scrubbing himself down as well as he could with his hands. He stood up and walked back towards the shore where he shook the excess water off his body. Then pulled his clothes back still shivering.
Svart wasn’t anywhere in sight. So, Thorgaut started walking in the direction he had last seen him headed. He still didn’t see the boy after walking for a minute or so. So, he picked up his pace. The ground sloped down, and there were rocks everywhere, so he had to watch his step.
There was one section though that was unusually slippery. Thorgaut felt his right foot slide out from under him, and his body start to go down. The other foot got stuck between some rocks and couldn’t keep his balance.
Thorgaut heard his leg snap and roared in pain. The rest of his body hit the ground immediately after. The fall knocked the breath out of his lungs. He lay there for a minute to recuperate and then sat up. He looked at his foot dangling uselessly in front of him.
“Great,” he muttered. “Now, how am I gonna get out of here.”
Svart came running up behind him. “What happened?” he asked breathlessly.
Thorgaut pointed to his broken foot. The boy reached down to straighten it before Thorgaut could stop him. Thorgaut gritted his teeth and grimaced in pain.
“Don’t move it. You’ll be fine in a minute.” the boy said. Thorgaut scowled at him incredulously.
“It’s one of the benefits of being a NightWalker,” the boy said with a smirk. “You heal fast. If you are a NightWalker, that is.”
Thorgaut reached down and poked at his foot, but he no longer felt any pain. He wiggled his toes and moved his foot in a slow circle. His foot worked fine as if nothing had ever happened.
“That’s crazy,” he whispered in amazement. He stood up and pressed down on his foot. It felt great. He pressed down on all the places he had been bitten before by the wolves, but they felt healthy as well. No wonder they hadn’t been bothering him any longer.
“How do you know about this if you aren’t a NightWalker?” Thorgaut asked Svart suspiciously.
“Runa told me,” the boy replied without looking at him. “C’mon. We have a long way to go before we find the lake of fire and the dwarves that Arnulfr mentioned. I’m sure they’ll help us find our way out of here once they know that I’m Fridmun’s son and of dwarf descent.”
“I hope we don’t run into the trolls or dragons before we get there,” Thorgaut muttered.
“You’re a NightWalker,” Svart said with a snicker. “You can handle them.”
“What?” Thorgaut asked. “I just bite them, and they’ll be transformed too?”
“I don’t think it works quite like that,” the boy replied. “Runa tried to explain things to me, but it didn’t make much sense. She didn’t know a whole lot at the time either. You’ll have to wait till you find your kind and ask them how to transform others. But promise me that you won’t bite me.”
“No worries there, buddy.” Thorgaut laughed. “I don’t plan on running around biting people. I still prefer to do my killing the old-fashioned way with my sword.”
They walked in silence for a bit. Suddenly, a voice called out from the darkness.
“Can I help you, gentlemen? You seem to be a bit lost.”
Thorgaut and Svart whirled around to face her.