His plate mail dragged at him, but his conscience pulled more. He stank of fresh gore and sweat and yearned for release from all of it. He sat and rested his aching head in his hands.
His search for his horse brought him to an emerald pocket in the ancient forest. When had he started walking?
Moss covered boulders surrounded a pool with a waterfall at the far end. The cool greenness beckoned and he left his troubles behind as he answered the call.
His armor dropped away from him just as easily as had his troubles. He stripped his clothing and dove into the dark water. As he swam, the offal from his body washed away and the silky coolness of the water soothed his mind.
“Hello,” a woman’s voice called. He looked around and saw only mist surrounding his verdant refuge.
“Here,” she said. The voice had come from the largest boulder where the mist was the thickest. The vapors swirled and he thought there was a figure within.
“Do you like my home?” she said. The misty shape resolved into the curvaceous form of a woman with black hair and alabaster skin.
“Come to me,” she said.
His body’s response to her was instant, even in the cold water.
“You hesitate,” she said.
“Are you my fortune? What of…” what was he supposed to be doing?
“Don’t fret. Just react.”
He tread water, his arousal lessening. “I’m protecting the…” His mind was murky and he couldn’t draw forth his duty.
“Duty isn’t important.”
“I must leave, beautiful maiden,” he said swimming away from her and climbing out of the pool.
“Come love me,” she said.
“There are those that are counting on me.” He got dressed and donned his armor. “I will not let them down.”
His armor was light and he moved effortlessly. He looked down at it in surprise. It was spotless and polished to a mirror sheen. “How…?”
“You know your place in the world,” the woman said.
He looked around and saw a perfect ring of snowy mushrooms surround the the emerald pocket. “Ho! I’ve stepped into a fairy ring!”
“And freed yourself as well. Go to your duty and never fret again about right and wrong. You travel the path of empathy and justice. You are not mine.”
He walked out of the trap as easily as he had entered.
SoCS prompt “fortune”