Chapter 4

Chapter 4

A Chapter by Analae
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What awaits Ellion outside the Forest? Who is Warret?

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The moon slowly started settling over the horizon, the purples and reds of the dawn painting the morning sky as the horse's hooves resounded over the road.  Ellion shifted in the saddle, his legs stiff from so long in the same position.  Soon the sound of the beast's hooves changed their tone, the road having changed from the hard packed dirt to stone.  Ellion slowed the animal down, the canter becoming a slow, steady trot.  Fence posts lined the road and his gaze traveled towards the buildings drawing near.  

As the town came into better view, Ellion could make out people moving about, dots along the horizon.  He further slowed the animal down to a walk, the beast taking a deep breath, sides heaving as the gait changed.  A sweat was lathered over the beast, turning it's beautiful light brown coat into something much darker.  Within minutes, the horse and rider were stopped outside the town by two armed guards, looking up at the cloaked figure.  

Ellion made no move to dismount, one of the guard's taking the reins to prevent him from turning around or leaving.  “What business have you here?” Asked the guard, his face dark and lined from too long in the sun.  “The road is closed.”  

The second guard stood watching the encounter, ready to move in at the slightest reason.  He was young, bored and ready to have a chance to do something other than this boring patrols.  He remained silent, hand on the sword on his hip.  Ellion sat up a little straighter, hands tightening on the reins.  “I am here to speak to Warret,” he answered, his spoke with acrimony.  

“Boss ain't seein' nobody,” the younger guard spoke up, taking a step forward.  The older man frowned.  “Tristian.” He snapped at his help who took his step back and went back to being straight-faced.  

Ellion smirked slightly from beneath his hood, sitting back in the saddle, straightening his back.  “Well, if he does not wish to speak with me,” he enunciated every word, “I will have to report back to my captain, Delone.”  He waited, watching the two look at each other.  

“We have orders not to allow anyone in or out.”  The older man spoke, a frown showing on his face.  “Lord Warret is preoccupied with other matters at this very moment,” he continued, shifting from one armored foot to the other.  

“I will see him now and I am not to take no for an answer.  My leaving was timed and if I am not back with an order in a timely manner, Delone will be sending others here to see how 'Lord Warret' is spending his time...and the king's money.”  He lied, the tale running smoothly from his tongue.  

Tristian shook his head, “Boss, ain't nothin' worse then having that band come through here.” He stated.  “I'd let Lord Warret know he has a visitor.”  

Jarl sighed, looking at the younger guard, running a hand over his beard.  He was not looking forward to interrupting the lord's quiet time.  “Take him to the holding area.  I will go and inform Warret.” He glared at the traveler, handing the horse's reins over to the younger guard.  “Store his horse in the stable, tell them to lock it up.” He continued.  “I am sure you can handle this.  If Delone has sent a message, I do not think this one will give us much trouble.”

Ellion nodded.  “You are correct in your assumtion.  Now, make haste.  I have been far too long.” He looked over his shoulder, shifting slightly in the saddle, his armor creaking.  “I am on a timed travel excursion you must remember.”  He held up a gloved hand, measuring the sun on the horizon.  “Time is slipping by already as I wait on you to move.”

Jarl snorted.  “Uppity start this one is.” He shook his head and nodded at Tristian before moving off into the town's center.  His metal covered feet echoed on the stone road, chiming in the epmty streets.  Tristian took a firm hold of the reins and clicking to the horse, started walking leading the horse and rider down a narrow road.  

Ellion rested his hands on the saddle horn, eyes darting along the road and landscape of the city.  The town was deserted except for soldiers moving about or the odd cat bolting from a shadow.  The roads were fairly clean, showing very little travel.  He could tell they were behind the buildings, seeing cellar doors built into the road and the narrowness of which they traveled.  Tristian did not speak, eyes forward as he took his detainee towards the holding area.  The jail was not nessecary, at least for the moment, so he sighed, ready for a real arrest.  He was bored.  A few moments later, they stopped.  “Dismount and stand here,” Tristian ordered, holding tightly to the reins, yelling for a stable hand.

A young man, hair disheveled came running up as Ellion slid from the saddle.  He stretched out his stiff limbs watching as the stable hand lead the horse away.  “This way.”  Tristian motioned for Ellion to follow him.  Ellion gave a slight nod and gave no resistance, falling into step, making sure his daggers were covered.  They had not checked him for his weapons yet, so he was not going to give anything away unnecessarily.  The building was grey stone, roof was shingled and slanted, three small steps leading to the wooden door.  Ellion was not impressed and as the door was opened, realized the inside was no different.  Wooden furniture dotted the sitting room, a few simple chairs, a bench, a few tables and a single book.  Very simple, very sparse, and the two men walked inside.  “Sit down and prepare to sit a while.” Tristian ordered before walking over to look out one of the two windows, arms crossed over his armored chest.

Ellion padded across the wooden floor, dust kicking up as he walked.  He realized this building must not be used much as dust clung to everything.  He sat down in a chair against the wall, the stiff back uncomfortable.  He studied the armored man across from him, pegging him around his own age.  He could tell the armor had never seen battle, the metal catching every speck of light it could and shining like a fresh piece of silver.  The soldier would stick out like a sore thumb on a battlefield,  and Ellion almost felt pity for a moment...almost.  Ellion crossed his legs, leaning the chair back, getting comfortable as he listened to his ward pace the floor.

“Delone's personal messenger, eh?” Tristian questioned, breaking the silence a little while later.  “That must be interesting.”

Ellion shifted slightly in his chair, looking out from his hood, seeing two brown eyes studying his cloaked frame.  He smirked to himself, shrugging slightly but not breaking his own silence.

“Must be important if he sent you all that way, especially alone.  I mean, if you were able to travel that far without being seen...”The guard pushed, trying to wile away the time.

Once again the messenger answered with a shrug of his shoulders, sitting up slightly.  He shifted his body in the chair, finally removing his hood from his head.  His blonde hair had fallen from it's leather tie and fell around his shoulders and he watched the guard, knowing now they were face to face.

Tristian tried again, seeing someone close to his own age looking back at him.  “I could not do it.  I mean, seriously.  All the hiding, the having to be quiet, the stealth, the lack of sleep.” He rambled on, adding on what he thought being a messenger entailed and Ellion smiled, glad that he had yet to break his own silence.  He would nod or shrug at intervals and that seemed to fuel the fire of the guard, making him continue on.  

Time slipped passed the two men as Tristian chattered on.  The door opened and Jarl walked in, Tristian snapping instantly to attention.  “Sir!” He stated, saluting quickly.  Ellion smirked, crossing his arms from where he sat in the chair.

“Lord Warret will see you now,” Jarl stated, glaring at Tristian.  Ellion nodded, slowly standing up.  He smoothed his hands over his golden locks and stood in front of the chair.  “Lead the way, oh gracious hosts.” He gave a mock bow and when Tristian joined Jarl near the door, he moved forward and followed them outside.  

The change in the light slapped his across the eyes as he stepped out and he blinked quickly a few times, forcing his vision to acclimate quickly.  “Follow me,” Jarl commanded, turning quickly and heading down the main street.  Tristian fell in behind Ellion making sure he did not stray from the path set for him and the messenger snorted following the gruff guard.  The procession lead through the main part of town, what was now an empty market place, one could tell used to contain life and bustle now was empty and barren.  The wood was starting to rot and fall apart, the awnings were ripped and falling apart, and the booths were covered by grime and dust of time.

Ellion took all this in, trying to decifer what had happened here.  Before long he was being lead up a large flight of stairs, large stone columns jutted along the sides, leading up to two giant oaken doors set in steel fittings.  When they entered, Ellion looked around, scones mounted in the walls, flames dancing in their holders.  A massive fireplace roared in the back of the room and in front of that sat a massvie wooden desk.  Ellion's eyes roved through the room before resting on the discusting sight that sat at the beautiful desk.  

An overweight man sat, a leg of some beast in his fist, drool dribbled down his chin.  His skin was greasy, his hair was slicked to his head in a thick mess of filth. He had a frilled collar, crumbs of pie sitting along the rolls of his neck, hiding neatly against the frills. His leather jerkin was covered in stains from whatever he had spilled while he dined, looking like he had not changed in days. He looked up, food stuck to his chin and he licked his fingers and slobbered, his tongue darting over his thick lips.  “And who is this?” He asked, setting the bone down on the plate, taking a silk napkin from his lap and wiping his hands.  

Ellion fought to keep his face from showing discust and took a step forward and bowed.  “Hello, Lord Warret.  I am here in your presence from my own Lord Delone.”   He let his eyes meet the blue eyes of the stout lord, waiting for his que to continue.  He was no beginner in this dance.

Warret wiped a piggish hand over his nose with a snort, eyeing the young man in front of him.  “And what does the war captain send me this time?” He asked, clearly not amused.

Ellion reached slowly into the pouch that held the missive, pulling the sealed scroll out carefully and presented it.  “I bring to you a message, my lord.” He answered, walking forward.  He held the scroll out, waiting for it's recipent to take it.  

Warret took the scroll into his greasy fingers, rolling it around.  He studied the seal, running a stubby digit across the wax with a frown.  “I care not what he has to say,” he stated before dismissing the scroll to the side of the desk.

Ellion bowed again, remembering the war captain's words as if he were still speaking them in his head.  Failure was not an option, nor was it in the messenger's vocabulary and he shook his head.  “My lord, I wish to warn you immediately,” he was a silver tongue and knew it.  

Warret frowned, looking up at the messenger.  “What game are you playing at boy?” He asked, confusion playing on his face.  “Warn me about what?”

Ellion smiled inwardly a frown playing across his features.  “That seal you just admired,” he held up his gloved hands, “As you can see, even I am wary of touching it.”  He motioned to the scroll.  “My lord Delone told me you would deny reading it so he dipped his stamp in poison before sealing the letter my lord.”

Warret pushed his chair back, his short frame standing up quickly.  He was short, barely standing over the desk.  “What!” he demanded, slamming his fist on the desk.  “Well then you must have the antidote on you.”  He sweated, fear already rolling through him.  “Give it to me!” 

Ellion bowed.  “You must first open the letter, read it, and sign on the dotted line, my lord.  I cannot help you before hand.”He continued playing his role.  “If you apprehend me, punish me, or have me killed my lord, you will surely die.” He continued, watching the scene play out before him, Warret's composure breaking down by the second.

The seal was ripped off the letter as sweat rolled down his face to disappear into the folds of his neck and into the frills of his collar.  Warret sat back down, visibly shaking, eyes darting across the page.  He fumbled in a drawer, signing quickly, a messy signature quickly on the page.  He rolled it and threw it back at the messenger before him.  “There, now save me boy!”  He demanded,  panting.

Ellion reached into a small pouch at his side, pulling out a small vile of whiskey he had saved for himself for a cold night and popped the seal.  He walked over and held it out.  “You must drink it quickly my lord.  Time is of the essence.” He let worry seep into his voice, playing his role perfectly.  

Warret steadied his hands, seeing his saving grace dangling before him.  He slowly extended his hand out, fingers grasping the small container before bringing it to his lips.  He threw his head back, downing the two swallows quickly, sputtering as the liquid burned his throat on the way down.  He closed his eyes, his mind telling himself he was going to survive.  “Delone had come prepared this time,” he muttered to himself, watching the blonde slide the scroll into oblivion.

Ellion bowed low.  “I am simply the messenger my lord,” he answered.  “I travel for him and simply make sure his message is heard.”  When he righted himself he took a deep breath.  “I must be on my way before he surely sends someone to look for what has kept me away for so long.” He shook his head.  “One would not want such posterity to be ruined.”

Warret frowned quickly.  “Get his horse, fill his water, give him food, and get him away from here!” he snapped, motioning for the two guards that waited in the back of the room.  

Jarl and Tristian moved forward quickly.  “Yes Sir!”  They saluted and left quickly, ready to see him gone as well.  He had already caused more trouble than he was worth.

Ellion smiled.  “Thank you my lord.  I will inform Delone of your hospitality upon my return.”  He bowed one final time and pulling his hood back over his head he turned and headed for his horse.  

Jarl and Tristan stood in the courtyard, the horse in hand.  A few simple saddlebags were thrown over the back of the animal, and it had been brushed out.  Otherwise it looked exactly the same as when he had left it.   Ellion nodded and walked over, taking the reins.  He threw them over it's head, and slung himself into the saddle, settling down for the long ride.  

Jarl frowned.  “I hope our paths never cross again,” he stated, nodding to the young man.  

Ellion nodded, getting a good grip on the reins.  “And if they do may they be on different terms,” Ellion replied, turning his mount.  He gave a small, mock salute and giving the horse a small click, started his trek back towards the camp on the other side of the forest.

The two guards watched for a short while, making sure the horse and rider were disappearing over the horizon before returning to their patrol.  Monotony was welcome here.    


© 2018 Analae


Author's Note

Analae
Please ignore grammar issues. Rough draft.

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Added on January 12, 2018
Last Updated on January 12, 2018
Tags: fantasy, elves, darkness, evil, wizards


Author

Analae
Analae

Sumter, SC



About
I love to write. I have a lot of new ideas and have found a few of my ideas to have taken a darker turn. I have moved from doing poetry to doing more along the story lines. I have been updating a l.. more..

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