Ghost Story - Part Two

The stranger hesitated for a few seconds, staring suspiciously at Roccio, but deciding that the offer was meant to be serious, he cautiously took a seat at the bar and swigged a deep gulp from his cup.

“Ahhhh...that's good.” he said as he put the cup back on the bar. “This is the Matisian hospitality that I've heard so much about!”

Roccio smiled to himself at the implied compliment

“All is good then” he remarked in a friendly manner. “However, now tell us stranger, since you are not from here, as we can see plainly; who are you and where do you come from?”

“You are very curious!” The old one grinned.

“But I'll answer your questions. People call me Ciosso and I live nowhere, as I have said before. At least not at a place you could name any further. My home is the forest.”

“Surely it is impossible to live in the forest all year round?” one of the guests threw in from his place at the bar.

“Ahh...of course it is quite possible.” Ciosso's look seemed to penetrate into the Homin’s soul. “You live here in your cottages and lock out nature. You tell each other of heroic deeds of past times and boast about victories on long lost battlefields.” The Homin that Ciosso had spoken to slumped on his stool under Ciosso's stern gaze and looked as if he would have preferred not to have started the conversation. “Can only one of you claim that he has, only once, camped outside in a storm, during icy cold like tonight?” Ciosso's gaze wandered through the room, but no-one wished to reply. Indeed, every single Homin became very interested in their drinks as his questioning look flickered over the assembly.

“That's about what I expected!” he snapped and grabbed for his cup again.

Roccio hesitated a moment and then cleared his throat.

“Well....ehm...you really want to tell us that you normally camp outdoors during such weather, under the open sky?”

Ciosso laughed, “Not only that. I have has worse to deal with than a bed under the trees on nights like this. For it is at such times that ghosts and demons walk the lands of Atys"

Astonished whispers and quiet, muffled laughter instantly filled the tavern. "Ghosts and demons!" asked a sceptical voice. "That he picked a fight with some wild gingos, that I would believe. But ghosts and demons?"

"Shhhhh" a different voice responded. “Maybe if you tried it, who knows what you might see?”

"Yes, ghosts and demons!" reiterated Ciosso loudly and again the room grew still and silent..

"It does not surprise me, that you don't believe me. Nonetheless if you all wish, I'll gladly tell you about one of my experiences, which happened not too long ago. Then you can decide if you believe me or not." Again his inquiring look raked the room, and this time it was met by many with curiosity. Some indeed nodded at Ciosso to encourage him; what could be better around a warm fire on a wild night than a shocking story?

Also available in: HTML TXT