Transient; he was floating through existence; squeezing through time from one second to the next; never belonging to any one moment. He was looking for a home. A home he had never known but believed was out there waiting for him. Meanwhile, he simply survived. Hopping from day to day, cheating death on occasions.
He did not have a name, he had never needed one. This was because he didn’t stay in one place long enough to require a name. When asked, he would simply give the name of the last Inn he stayed at or the name of the last bridge he slept under. It didn’t matter to him what people called him, he would soon find the road again and be on his way.
He had lived sixteen years on this earth and ten of those years were spent on the road; on his quest to find a home, and a name – his true name – and whatever else he was looking for that could fill the void inside him.
Sometimes, after spending a long time in one place he started thinking that maybe it was time to give up on his quest. Time to anchor down and finally settle on a name. The name that had stuck with him the longest was Sam. It was the name given to him at the orphanage in which he spent the first six years of his life. When thoughts of stopping entered his mind, he knew it was time to move on.
His journey had started those ten years ago when he looked out past the endless fields that lay behind the Lost Souls Orphanage and just started walking. He kept walking and walking, never stopping, and till this day he was still on that same walk. Only interrupting it long enough to sleep and to put himself to the task of filling his belly.
Sometimes he wondered where it was that he was going; what would be waiting for him when he got there; how he would know if he had arrived. During those times he looked out past the horizon and the feeling of ‘it doesn’t matter’ falls over him.
One day, a day like any other that found him on the road, he passed by a lonely farmhouse which seemed desolate and abandoned. Since it was starting to get dark and the night road was full of bandits, he decided to steal into the farmhouse and seek shelter for the night.
He made his way into the back-room of the farmhouse through a window; for he found the door to the front locked. The moon had come out and by its pale light manged to find a table and got on it to look for sleep.
He had hardly a chance to find his dreams when he heard it. A soft murmuring moan coming from the front room. At first he thought it was just his fancy or perhaps the wind. He stayed perfectly still, held his breath and listened keenly. He herd it again for sure. A soft muffled voice in the darkness.
He got up and walked towards the door that connected the two rooms, his body trembling in the moonlight. He tried the door and found that it wasn’t locked. He opened it slowly and by the light of the moon illuminating the room, he saw her.
She was an old lady wrapped up in a black shawl sitting on the floor looking through a window. She was chanting something under her breath. He tried listening to what she was saying but couldn’t make it out. It was from some language he couldn’t understand.
He was to her left and within her plane of vision but she didn’t seem to notice him. He spoke to her but she didn’t answer. He asked if she was okay but again, she wouldn’t answer. He decided to leave and as he was turning away, he heard her clearly speak one word – “Sam.” He spun around quick, quick enough that he saw the old woman dissolve from under her wrappings and disappear, leaving behind only her shawl.
He froze, numbed with terror. He didn’t know what to do. He had heard of stories of witches and sorcery while on the road but had never seen anything like this. Did the old woman really speak his long forgotten name? Maybe he had heard it wrong, but he was not mistaken about what he had seen.
He then saw something else. Something that caught the moonlight and glimmered from under the shawls windings. He stepped forward slowly but cautiously, surprised by his own bravery. Anyone else would have surely bolted into the night by now; but for some reason his curiosity compelled him or was it something else entirely that compelled him to move towards the glimmer, towards the unknown.
He picked up the item and saw that it was a dagger. A gold dagger with a smooth ivory handle like nothing he had ever seen before. There was something written on the blade. He strained his eyes to see in the moonlight. The letter lowly formed words and he was able to make out all words, they were:
Truth will lead you home. Falsehood will be your damnation.
He stood there wondering; all these question racing through his mind. Was he meant to come here? Who was that old woman? Was the dagger meant for him? He didn’t know the answers but he felt he wouldn’t find them in that room. He would look for them on the road.
He didn’t feel safe in the farmhouse anymore, not prepared for anything else it might have in store. He got back out into the dark road, the fear of bandits gone. He strode into the night cautiously, still searching for his home; and now also chasing something else, a mystery. The root of the mystery tucked safely in his belt.