Untitled Short Story Pt. 2

Ivanson’s vision cleared, the soft glow permeating the swirling mists stinging his pale eyes. In the fog’s timeless grip it was impossible to tell how long he was out. “I ain’t starving,” he grumbled, wiping the crust from his eyes, “so it can’t have been too long.” The ache in his bones supported his theory, his rest insufficient to pull the fatigue from him.
Decades of training pushed the pain to the back of his mind. Planting his sword into the unseen sea of pebbles he pushed himself up, bark clinging to him. Mist whirled round the traveler as he rose, dancing between the plates of his armour and grabbing at his shaggy beard. 
Ivanson snorted as he stood, clearing his fog riddled nose before spitting a ball of snot into the mist. The itch in his throat spread rapidly, overwhelming the aged traveler. He leaned on his sword, doubling over and heaving. His lungs burned as he hacked and wheezed, and Ivanson feared he would soon pass out. 
It took him a moment to regain his composure. Cursing under his breath, he wiped his chin. Pulling his hand away, he noticed his glove stained crimson. Blood. Ivanson sighed, then turned and wiped his hand on the putrefying corpse of the willow. He patted his chest and cleared his throat carefully, trying to avoid another attack. Spitting one last crimson flecked glob, he grabbed at the chain round his neck.
Silver links glittered as he pulled a small compass free from his tunic, its gilded case tarnished. He fumbled with the delicate lid, his shaking hands compounding the issue. He cursed as he picked at the small lock, his irattation mounting. Once the latch was undone, he held the compass to his face and squinted. 
The corroded needle wheeled for a moment before the point came to rest in front of Ivanson, away from the dead tree. He doubted his path truly lay south; the last he recalled he was on a ship westward, what seemed like a lifetime ago. But since he entered the mist, the needle was locked on his point of entry, as if longing for home. Ivanson could certainly relate; a world away a creaky cot in a soggy barracks awaited him, and he pined for it.
Turning, he looked past the willow and into the seething grey sea ahead. He knew not how far his journey would take him, only that the tree would be his last landmark. Past that…
Ivanson decided it was best to not dwell on the future. “Cross that bridge later,” he hummed, picking his helmet from its perch and planting it on his bald head. The weight was encumbering and reassuring in equal measure, and though it was unlikely to be much use in the fog Ivanson bore enough scars to know it was better to be safe than sorry.
He rolled his shoulders, adjusting his ancient suit of armour, before hobbling into the mist.

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