The next day, I made my way down to the village, excited by my discovery. Maybe I could find some more clues as to what had happened. The locals may have some answers to the questions swimming in my head, maybe even know where the Torro lived.
The first place I stopped was the local marketplace. There was no better place than one with many people eager to share gossip and stories to anyone. I walked past fish stalls, a fruit stall, a few other merchant shops, a carpenter, and blacksmith workshop before I found a little stall run by an old man selling magical items.
While it was not rare to see magical items being sold, it was rare to see the amount and quality of them he was selling. They were all of high quality, something you would not see in a village this size.
Curious, I walked up to the old man, and asked, “Good day. May I ask how you got these items?” I picked up a gold chain with golden bird shaped locket.
The man looked up and smiled. “I am a traveller, young man. Just travelling and selling magic wherever I go.” He looked at my hands, to see that I was holding the locket. His smiled grew wider. “Looks like you picked up an interesting object there.”
I looked closer at the locket, turning it around. It was quite plain and didn’t seem to have anything special about it. “It doesn’t seem so.”
“Oh, do not be deceived boy. That locket has a protection spell so strong that no one can ever break it, not even the gods. It was made by a Fae and once belonged to a queen.”
The old man must be high on magic. How could there be a protection spell that no god can break. And made by a Fae no less. There is no way. They are not as strong as the gods. “You must be lying.” I said.
“No boy. It was made by the Torro herself.”
“Yes, do you not know that she lives in the Goshen Forest. Haunts the old manor down that way.” He pointed at the direction I had c0me from. “Here, let me show you.”
He held out his hand waiting for me to drop the locket into his hands. I did and he put it on. Grabbing a jewelled dagger from the table, he handed it to me. It was a true aim dagger. Meaning it would always hit its mark no matter how poorly skilled the holder was.
“Stab me.” The old man commanded.
I looked at the old man. “Have you lost it. How can I stab you with this dagger? Do you have a death wish?”
“Do it, boy. I haven’t got all day.” The old man rolled his eyes at me.
I looked at the dragger and the old man again. “Okay, but I will not be punished if you die.”
“Yes, yes. Now hurry up.” He waved his hands at me, motioning for me to hurry up.
I moved the dagger toward the direction of the old man’s chest and closed my eyes. The old man muttered something, and I hit something hard. Opening my eyes, I saw a barrier had gone up around the old man. The dagger soon began crumbling away in my hand.
The old man smiled and said, “Believe me now, boy. This is a charm made by the Torro herself. It is a powerful charm”
I nodded and asked, “Yes, it is a powerful charm, but why would you sell it.”
“I am old and it’s time for someone to carry it now.”
“Yes, carry it. It is the rule of the charm. It will protect the user, however, when they are near death’s door, they must hand it over to someone else.”
“But why me.”
His eyes began to twinkle, and he laugh, “Boy, no one goes buying that old, haunted manor without everyone in this village knowing. It is easy to guess why you would. You want to meet the Torro and find out what happened to the Le Rod family.”
I blushed. “I…”
The old man removed the locket and handed it back to me. Shaking his head, he said, “Don’t lie. Only storytellers buy that place anymore, not that they last long, maybe one year at most. You, however, seem different. Maybe you will finally break the Torro and get her to talk. ”
“Yes, you. You want to listen to her stories, right?”
I nodded my head. I was the one thing I wanted most in life. To listen to the Torro’s stories. The greatest Fae the human realm had ever seen. It would be so great to hear the story of about the downfall of the Le Rod family. It was the greatest unknown story of the eight kingdoms with only one person knowing what had truly happened -the Torro.
“Good. Keep the locket and take this.” He grabbed a small bag from the floor besides him and handed it to me. “It has everything you need to find the Torro.”
“Oh, yes. Did you think she was going to come to you? No, you go to her and convince her to tell you the tales you wish to hear.”
“I’… I must go to the Goshen Forest.”
“But…” I couldn’t. The Goshen Forest was where the Fae realm and human realm met. As well as many of the other realms, but that was not the point. It was where monsters from nightmares lived and killed. It was a place where few came back from.
“Boy, you can do it. You have a charm and weapons to protect you as well as a map to guide you. A little food and drink for the way and you will be fine.”
“But… how can I….”
“I did it so you’ll be just fine.”
I looked at the old man with wide eyes. “You did?”
“Yes, decades ago when I was a young man like yourself, maybe even younger. So will you do it or not?”
I opened the small bag. Inside were two small daggers, an emerald bracelet and a piece of paper that turned out to be a map. It had what I needed to survive the Goshen Forest. I pulled out the bracelet and asked, “What’s this?”
“Ah, it’s a gift for the Torro. When you go to meet her give it to her and tell her it was from an old friend. She will understand.”
I placed the bracelet back inside the bag and closed it. I looked and the old man and smiled. “Thank you for your help.” I said.
He waved his hands and replied, “No, no. It was nothing. You are doing me a favour too. Taking a present to an old friend I can no longer visit. Now, you must get going. I do not know how long she will stay in the human realm. She never did stay in one place long, especially after…” The old man shook his head and waved his hands for me to move, “Now get moving, she will not wait for you.”
I thanked him once again and left to get supplies for my adventure. To finally sit down and listen to the Torro’s stories. It would be my greatest accomplishment as a storyteller.
Only when I got home did I realise that in all my excitement, I forgot to asked the old man for his name.