Note: This is Part Three of the story. Part Two can be found here.
I was incapacitated for a few days at that point, as my body--and more importantly, my mind--underwent it's uncontrollable transformation. I thirsted, but no water would sate me. I gained a terrible fever that refused to break under any treatment. I hungered, but any food I dared consume would inevitably be ejected from me in a most uncouth manner. Worst of all, my head ached with such an excruciating pain that, to this day, I find it impossibly to aptly describe. Finally, after three days, I awoke from the first decent rest that I had received in days to find myself feeling...perfectly fine.
He sat himself up, throwing the thick blankets off of him. Judging from the light peeking in through the slats of the shudders on the windows, he assumed it to be mid-afternoon. "Dad?" he called, his voice hoarse. A glass of water stood on the table next to his bed and he picked it up, drinking greedily, and could barely suppress a frantic giggle when he realized that, once he drained the glass, he was no longer thirsty.
The door opened abruptly, and Adem walked in. "What can I get for you, son?" he asked, before seeing the empty glass on the table. He quickly moved to pick it up. "I'll get you another glass, and don't worry, there's another doctor coming. One from Heathridge. He'll be here today, with any luck."
"Dad, it's okay," the boy said, swinging his legs down and stepping up. A quick rush of dizziness hit him and he blinked, swaying back and forth for a moment. "Stood up too quick."
"Are you...are you feeling better?" Adem asked, feeling his forehead. "Your fever's broke."
"I'm all right," he said, nodding. "It always lasts about three days." He realized his chest was bare and quickly remedied the situation with a simple brown shirt, before heading towards the stairs, his father not far behind him.
"What always lasts three days?" his father asked as they entered the tavern proper.
The boy looked around for his backpack, finally finding it in a corner behind the bar. "The transferring sickness," he said, grabbing some of the trail rations his father kept behind the bar and shoving them within his pack.
"Joseff, what are you doing?"
"Don't call me that," he said, as he began filling a waterskin."
"What? What are you talking about, son?"
"Sheaf. My name is Sheaf."
"What? Son, are you sure you're all right?"
Sheaf sighed, and massaged his temples. "How can I put this? Okay. You remember Sheaf? Not me, the last one, the one with the fondness for wine."
Adem nodded slowly.
"He wasn't the first Sheaf. He was," the boy paused, doing some quick counting in his head, "the forty-seventh Sheaf, actually. Whenever one of us is near death, we can feel it. So we find a suitable person to transfer to."
"What?! Joseff, what are you talking about?!"
"My name is not Joseff anymore," Sheaf said, frustrated. "I have the memories of forty-seven people that were born before me. I possess knowledge vastly beyond what Joseff could learn in his seventeen years. I was Joseff, yes, but you have to understand that's not who I am anymore."
"I...son, what are you talking about?"
"Except for the wife of Roland, the twenty-third, none of my other families have understood, either. I don't expect you to, Dad." He grabbed his backpack, now complete with three waterskins, and began walking back to his room.
Adem followed him. Sheaf began stuffing a few sets of clothing into his bag before closing it and shrugging it on. "My sword is...." he paused, closing his eyes for a moment. "Three-hundred feet East of here."
"You don't have a sword, Joseff!"
Sheaf sighed. "You really need to stop calling me that. And yes, I do. The sword Veracity has always belonged to Sheaf, and is the source of much of my power. I cannot travel without it."
"Son, you're not traveling anywhere," Adem said, grabbing his shoulders and looking into his eyes. "Now, I don't know what's gotten into your head, but--" he was interrupted by the side of Sheaf's hand crashing into the back of his neck. Sheaf caught him as he fell, lowering him gently to the ground.
"I'm sorry, Father," he said quietly. "But Sheaf must wander. My goal is much too important for your emotions to stop me." He sighed and began walking towards the door, before stopping one last time. Then, without turning around, he said, "But I do love you. And you will be missed."
Continue to Part Four