Extended Story

Almost a month later Vledamir returned home. He had come from the opposite direction as he had left from. He traveled across the open field only to realize that he knew this place. It wasn't just his homeland, this was the exact vision in his dreams. All along he had been dreaming of the castle he had called home since birth. Before he knew it he was standing at the gates, staring deep into the main hall where the wedding had been held. The soldiers stationed at the front cheered at the return of the General, but he did not share in their joy. Instead he looked at the castle as he had done in the dream and what he had done before. He turned away from the castle and towards the small village within walking distance.

Vledamir left his steed and things with the two soldiers and began walking in the direction of the tavern. He used the distance to think about why exactly he was being led down the path towards a place he often spent his time when he was off duty. As he walked it began raining, a memory he had from a few months before. The tavern was not as lively as it had been, but there were plenty of people there enjoying a nice ale after a hard day's labor. His usual table was vacant, reserved for him alone and so he sat with his back against the roaring flames. He was lost in thought when a tankard was placed in front of him.

"Here you go, General. It's good to see you again, m'lord," spoke a familiar, angelic voice.

He did not respond at first, still lost in his own thoughts. But as the brew settled an image appeared in the glassy surface of the ale. He had to blink several times before he realized what he was looking at. He slowly raised his head so that he could see the woman who had been serving him the same brew, in the same seat for nearly three years now. His chest froze with air locked inside as his eyes opened in full protest to what he was truly seeing. As she caught his gaze, she smiled that smile he had done many times in his dream. And he knew that he had found exactly what he had been looking for.

"Is it true what they say? That you traveled the world slaying creatures no one man was said could defeat?" she held her smile as she looked at the General. "Why did you do that? Were you searching for something?"

Vledamir could do nothing more than smile himself. He could go into great detail as to what he had done on his journey and everything he seen and witnessed, but he reduced it to one simple statement. One that made him sound foolish, even in his own head. He sighed as he took a deep drink of his ale and smiled once more at the barmaiden.

"Oh, fair maiden," he chuckled at the thought. "Believe it or not, I was searching for you."