Lost Honor Knot
by Andrew Borck |@bfriendlygiant
For when a Lookouts leader has lost his way.
The Venuvium Bush is simple to spot even for the newest Lookout; covered in ropey vines and sharp thorns, they are taught early and reminded often that it’s thorns can pierce and it’s sap is poisonous. This is the plant needed for this Knot.
I found it easily enough, and once I cut enough vines away to start tying I began right away. The over-under pattern was similar to Watcher’s Hands, but more repetition – a knot designed to take time, tied with a sharp and poisonous rope. No one who has tied this knot has lived.
When I was done my hands and arms were bloody with scratches, and caked with green sap. They felt heavy, and fell to my sides as I sat under the tree, laboring to catch my breath. I closed my eyes briefly, and when I opened them I was flanked by two members of the Thornwatch. One glared down at me, arms crossed. The other leaned on his staff and tilted his head to one side.
He asked, “What happened?”
I did my best to fill my lungs before answering, “They were not Wood-wise today. I did my best to prepare them, but they were caught off-guard…they…they…” I coughed blood, and the two exchanged a glance.
“Where are their bodies?” He knelt down beside me.
“Over the rise,” I pointed behind them without raising my hand, “follow the creek.” With a jerk of his head, he motioned, and she left to investigate my story.
“Now…what.” I breathed.
“Now we wait.” He picked up a small bug and let it crawl across the back of his hand. “When she returns we will see if your request is granted or if you will instead receive a slow painful death for your trouble.”
What felt like hours passed. The woods grew dark. In that time his small friend had blossomed into a beautiful winged creature in the palm of his hand.
“Quite the…transformation. How’d you…?”
He didn’t even look up, but said, “Magic.”
“It’s lovely.” It flew away; it’s wings beating brilliantly against the waning sunset.
He stood, brushing himself off. “There is great beauty in transformation.” Just then his comrade arrived behind him. His face showed no surprise or emotion as she whispered her findings.
“Very well.” He slipped a dagger out of his cloak, and she drew her sword with a smile. I opened my mouth, but the next sound I heard was two blades hitting the tree trunk behind me. I gasped, and gripped his cloak with the last of my strength.
“This is an honorable death. You will find the beast with our help, and bring it to an end before it corrupts any more of the Eyrewood. You will find peace in this.” His words washed over the pain, and I relaxed my grip. She leaned down to have the last word.
“Welcome to the Thornwatch.”